2018 Aspirations: May

I know this post is a bit late due to being on vacation the beginning of June. And now I can’t even remember the month of May which maybe isn’t such a bad thing!  I really want to keep looking forward these days.

Be Healthier

This is not really going so great.  Actually it is just not going as I thought but that is to be expected. I am shopping more at the farmer’s market and doing a decent job of only eating when hungry.  This is harder with school being out but I think I can adjust.  At least I am not gaining any weight.  At this point in time I will simply soldier on through the summer and see what happens.  Frankly I am tired of thinking about food all the time.  I have scaled back on my cooking which has had the effect of me eating less.  Go figure.  With the heat I am looking at more salads and fruit. If I didn’t I have to cook for the family life would be a lot easier and healthier.

I have found a balance with walking on the treadmill enough, but not so much that I dread it.  I have not been swimming as much as I would like because of my allergies.  I do not know if the pollen is worse this year or if I am getting more sensitive but my sinuses are making me quite miserable.  It seems to be more windy than usual this time of year and I wonder if that is a factor?

On the hormonal front the rollercoaster seems to have flattened out a bit.  No period at all this month, whew!  But I have had a few weepy days.  One day I started crying out of the blue, no idea what triggered it.  Luckily I was home alone.

Feet to the fire: Weight on 1 June 144.6 lbs.  I did yoga 21 days and only missed doing PT for my shoulder 3 days.  I can live with these numbers.

Random photo from Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto.

Be Happier

At the start of the month I gave my office a good clearing out.  It began with a plan to do a few shelves and then it spread to a few more spaces and finished off with doing the two bottom drawers of the file cabinet. It was an oddly satisfying way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I am loving my time in my office.

So far the “Summer Plan” is working out quite well.  It does take a lot of energy and patience in the morning but in the afternoon we each get a bit of time to ourselves so I can get some work done (take a nap) as needed.  I am happy I started right from day one of summer break so there were no bad habits to unlearn for either of us.

I went back to using a habit tracker for May.  I really do find it helps me get things done. My favorite thing to do right now is my coloring meditation. I am finding it very soothing these days. And I am thrilled with the progress I am making organizing my digital photos. I am done the first run through of making albums by date and event and now I am going to go back and make  some albums of different groupings. I was surprised to find I am really enjoying this task.

Pretty, flowers always make me feel happier.

 

See you next month.  Geez I hope I have nothing but positive results to report!

 

 

2018 Aspirations Summary: April

April was rather crazy.  I felt like I was failing at everything and then I realized what I am actually doing is learning. Finding out what doesn’t work for my eating habits can be just as helpful and valuable as finding out what does work.

Be Healthier

This month I am going to focus on what I am doing well at or at least better. I started visiting the farmer’s market on Sunday mornings and buying lovely fruits and vegetables. And eating them! They also have wild caught fish from Alaska that is hand processed, frozen and sent down to Tucson, very yummy.  Excited about my CSA starting in May.  We still get our Butcher Box every other month and that helps cut down on trips to the grocery store too. And I did really well with eating at local restaurants.

Focused eating is something I think is very important and that I am still struggling with.  I can’t seem to break the reading while eating habit.  I am trying to start with small changes and work my way up.  Focusing on at least a few bites and periodically tuning in through out the meal.   Hopefully in time I will reach my goal of eating with total attention.  I truly believe how I eat will make a big difference in what I eat.  I did finish reading “Food Rules” and am still flipping through it a few times a week mulling over all the advice.

I have been doing a great job of eating only when I am hungry. I feel best when I eat a hearty breakfast mid to late morning and then a late lunch and no dinner.  I sleep better and feel better in general.  It can be a tough schedule though with the family but I am finding ways to make it work.

Feet to the fire:  Weight on April 2 – 144lbs.  Weight on May 2 – 145.4.  I am not stressing because I can feel the water weight bloating thing going on. I figure if I can keep close to 145 then once I am done with the MHC phase of life I will only have to lose five pounds to be comfortable with my weight. I did yoga 17 days which I am happy with since I went on two trips this month. I am also doing PT for my shoulder at home once a day.  Still keeping up with the food log.  Still eating too many sweets. Sigh.

Random photo from my trip to Mt. Lemmon during the teacher walkout.  More dry than wet stream, sad.

Be Happier

It was a bad month for MHC (Menopausal Hormonal Craziness).  I had three periods during the month.  Yes, three. separate. periods. It was ugly.  Emotionally I was a wreck. I kept telling myself this must mean the start of full blown menopause is near and then I would laugh/cry and remember thinking that same thing this time last year.  So now I warily wait to see what happens next with my body.

On the positive side I did get away for a weekend.  I went by myself to Laughlin, NV for a bowling tournament and rather enjoyed myself.  It was a nice change of pace and scenery.

On the nagging task front I have started a new 10 minutes a day project: organizing my digital photos.  I was inspired by this post and then I watched a few youtube videos for more tips.  It is actually easier and going quicker than I thought.

 

Food Rules #83  Break the rules once in awhile.  “Obsessing over food rules is bad for your happiness and probably for your health too.  Our experience over the past few decades suggests that dieting and and worrying about nutrition have made us no healthier or slimmer; cultivating a relaxed attitude toward food is important.”   -Michael Pollan

I feel like I know what I need to do to be healthy and I just need to act on it, at least as much as the MHC allows.  I know I can do it because there are days when I am in complete control and have no desire for junk food or feel the need to eat when I am not hungry.  When the hormones take over all I can do is minimize the damage and move on.  This phase of life will not last forever. Right?  Right? Please someone tell me I am right!  🙂

 

2018 Aspirations Summary: March

This was a good month as far as learning about my eating habits.  I am feeling a tiny bit hopeful that I am going to be able to make the forever changes that I need to be healthy. But I have to admit to an epic fail for going 30 days without added sugar.  I made it two weeks and then the raging hormones kicked in.  Damn I wish menopause would just come on already!  On to some specifics.

Be Healthier

I have been wrestling with myself about how healthy is healthy enough.  I am trying to ditch the all or nothing mentality I seem to have about everything in life.  The reality is there are going to be days or situations that will make sticking to a plan impossible.  The trick is not to let one bad meal ruin a day or one bad day ruin a whole week.  And I can control just how “bad” a meal is to some degree.

The first half of the month I tracked when I ate and how I felt before and after as far as hunger went.  The second half of the month I tracked how much I enjoyed what I ate.  I learned meals aren’t my problem.  I seldom overeat and for the most part enjoy what I make at home.  When I did mindlessly snack I really didn’t enjoy it.  The problem is eating when I am not really hungry.  This happens on weekends when we are doing family things and stop to eat because everyone else is hungry.  Dinner time can also be difficult, I cooked it, everyone else is eating so it feels weird to skip dinner with the family (though I do eat smaller portions).  Listening to my own needs will continue to be a work in progress.

I used a number for how hungry/full I felt and a letter for why I ate for the first half of the month. The second half I used a 1-5 scale as to how much I enjoyed what I ate.

This month I did a much better job eating at local restaurants when we ate out.  It was easier to make healthier choices and I enjoyed the food more.  I have noticed that fast food and most junk food doesn’t have the same appeal as I eat better tasting, healthier food more often.

For April I am going to concentrate on really focusing on my food when I eat. This is a huge change that I am having difficulty with but I am going to persevere.  In my re-reading of “Food Rules an Eater’s Manual”  by Michael Pollan I am into the section about how to eat.  Perfect timing to reinforce all those things I know I should be doing.

Feet to the fire:  Weight on 1 March – 147.8.  Weight on 2 April – 144.0! I did yoga 19 times which with my shoulder I thought was pretty good.  Still doing an excellent job keeping my food log, really unhappy about all the red circles (candy or sweets) though. Can’t seem to win against the hormones.

Be Happier

I decided it was time to do a family activity that I got to choose  so we went to a photo exhibition down at the U of A Center for Creative Photography.  They have the archives for Ansel Adams and display a selection of photos.  It is a small gallery with no admittance fee so after lunch (and after my son’s bowling league on Saturday morning) we went to check it out.  I enjoyed it and my son tolerated it.  Since it was a small display we were there less than an hour and afterwards we took advantage of a cool cloudy day to walk around the campus and explore a bit.  My only regret is I didn’t take my camera, there were some lovely sights on the campus.  Next time.

I have been feeling a little guilty about the time I “waste” coloring.  The above picture of buttons is one I have been working on quite awhile interspersed with coloring pictures for Easter and Spring.  I have found when I don’t take those moments to sit and color I really miss it.  It is my form of meditation and I find the day goes much smoother when I take the time in the morning to sit quietly for a few minutes and empty my mind.  I had to remind myself it is not a “waste” of time but a good way to start and end the day.

Still fighting the hormones and depression.  Nothing seems to work these days so I keep slogging away reminding myself that it will get better, to be patient and take it one day, one hour at a time. And that it is perfectly okay to take a nap in the afternoon, no prescription needed!  Much better than eating a bunch of junk food that I don’t really want. Of course I was able to find a loophole, ha ha!

Food Rule #45  “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.”    – Michael Pollan

Hello turtle brownies stashed in the freezer 🙂

2018 Aspirations Summary: February

This was a month of success, frustration and continuing education.  The typical mixed bag of life.

Be Healthier

By the middle of the month I was seriously questioning the validity of my goal.  I was not doing a good job avoiding foods with unknown ingredients or sticking to my ‘make it myself’ rule. I thought about specific problems I was encountering and what I could do to overcome them.  If I want to succeed I need to find a way to make my goals realistic.  While I am figuring all this out I have decided to eat no added sugar for 30 days (fruit is okay).  This should also help put a lid on mindless snacking and help me lose a few pounds.  I am also making an effort to eat more vegetables.

In addition to thinking about what I eat I am now thinking about how I eat.  I read this book called “Beyond Chocolate” and I am implementing some of the ideas I found there.  After my no sugar 30 days I love the idea that nothing is off limits because once you make a food a no-no that is all you want.  And eventually you will cave, big time. The catch is you can only eat when you are truly hungry and you have to make a plate and sit at the table and focus on your eating.  No tv or reading.  You very mindfully enjoy satisfying your hunger with a food you truly want.  I love this idea. I hadn’t realized how often I didn’t pay attention to my eating.  I pretty much always read at breakfast and at lunch I either read or watch tv. Seldom do I pay attention to what I am eating much less really enjoy it.  I rather feel like I have had a mini break through here.  I need to focus on eating habits as much as the food itself.  Ah!

Now for the boring maintenance stuff.  I need to put this down to keep myself honest and no I am not that happy about putting my weight out there for the whole world to roll their eyes at, but I am doing it anyway.  Weight on 1 Feb: 148lbs.  I did yoga 18 times and I am back on track  getting in my 10k steps six days a week. (I was a bit of a slacker in January.) I am still doing an excellent job logging my foods and this month I circled everything in red that I considered a junk food snack.

Blue square was when we ate out. And yes, sigh, I eat a lot of junk food.  But not for the next 30 days!

 

Be Happier

I totally embraced my word for the year this month.  “Unhurried” is how I lived pretty much everyday.  And I loved it.  I made a plan every morning and thought about what I wanted to do as much as what I needed to do.  And surprise surprise, even when I took care of myself first all the have-tos got done as well.  Yeah me! I also finished my nagging task of knocking off a tote full of papers to be shredded.

Now I am marching into March with some new goals, a positive attitude about eating healthier for 30 days (even if it kills me!) and some new habits to give a try.  Pray for me.

“I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough the bad luck of the early worm.”   – Franklin D. Roosevelt

This quote cracks me up and makes me think.  I do wonder what the context was when he said this.

2018 Aspirations Summary: January

I knew January was going to be a transition month. I wasn’t expecting to start out perfect and just continue on. Actually I wanted to start out slow and make gradual but permanent changes. Well, it certainly has started out slow.  The first week we were still celebrating the holidays and the second week we were adjusting back to the day to day schedule and there was a lot of holiday food still around.  It took me until the end of the month to start to wrap my head around what I needed to do to meet my goals.

Be Healthier

Surprisingly I did a really good job with my food tracking.  The pages I selected to use in a Bullet Journal work perfectly.  The good news is towards the end of the month I started to do a decent job with not snacking. The bad news is I ate 25 cookies over the course of the month. All but five were homemade,  but still.  And eight chocolate covered pretzels from Trader Joe’s (full size, not minis). And there were a few mentions of chocolates and ice cream.  Yikes!  Moving on…

I am very pleased with how much yoga I did.  It helps that it felt really good.  I did yoga 14 days and one day of Qigong.

Eating out at only local restaurants was an epic fail.  Will have to try harder and plan better in February.

Be Happier

I am not going to lie, this was a tough month.  Exhaustion and moodiness seemed to dominate. I am hoping it is just the peri-menopause spiral.  At fifty-one I have to be getting close to full on menopause even though I haven’t even started the twelve month count down yet.   I can imagine my body trying to crank out hormones and flooding my system with who knows what and making me feel like shit. Hoping it is not my thyroid though I do wonder how one affects the other. Bottom line, not very happy this month.

But I did do a lot of thinking about what I can change, what I can let go of and what I can add to help myself through this period.  I went to bed earlier,  napped once in awhile and holed up in my office or bedroom when I needed my space. I decided to simplify dinners, get more help around the house and accept that somedays it is best just to say f*%$ it and retreat to bed with a book and a mug of tea and let everyone else fend for themselves.  Yes, I actually did that one Sunday.

I am re-reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” one month at a time.  I don’t want to do it all but be selective as to what fits with my goals. (Look at me being smartly flexible!) For January’s theme of “Boost Energy”  I opted to tackle just one goal  and address “a nagging task”.  I have been doing ten minutes of shred, six days a week.  I do feel a sense of relief at making progress on this long overdue project and that does make me feel happier.

I don’t know if this falls under Healthier or Happier (maybe both?) but just out of curiosity I decided to track my television viewing habits.  I don’t feel like I watch too much tv but then I grew up in the 70’s when watching tv was what everybody did, at least at night during the winter.  Over the course of the month I watched ten movies, six football games, eight basketball games and six shows (multiple episodes of “This is Us” and “The Kid’s Baking Championship).  Two days I didn’t watch anything at all.  What does this tell me?  I have no idea.  Any thoughts?

Over and over again I remind myself that this phase of life doesn’t last forever.  Everything I have read says most women feel a lot better once in menopause.  Energy returns, brain fog lifts, emotions settle and I am hoping for less joint pain.  Fingers crossed.

And this concludes the January once in a blue moon month in review.