Posted on

Lifestyle Changes Pt. 2

Yesterday, I began to put some of my goals regarding this lifestyle change into action. Mr. Perfect and I were supposed to meet a friend of his to help prepare for his wedding, but the friend was delayed and his arrival was pushed back. With a free day on our hands, Mr. P. and I had a few things we wanted to do to spark some changes in our lives–well, I had a few things to do to spark changes; Mr. Perfect wanted new sandals.

On Friday, I went to Wal-Mart and purchased some essentials for my lifestyle change–a Brita pitcher so that I can have filtered water on hand at home as well as at work; some apple cider vinegar, and some soft scrub to clean my tub. I have to admit, the apple cider vinegar I got was not the one that was recommended and has all of these health benefits for the inside of your body. I didn’t realize this until I got it that it was distilled and I was supposed to get raw. There’s my first black mark in my journey to health and wellness. But I can still use it for my and hair, right? It was a start.

Yesterday, I went a little further. I needed a new flat iron, but I didn’t have a ton of money to spend on one. I love my current one–a Jilbere ceramic flat iron, but the coating on the outside has come off. It would cost upwards of $50 to replace it, so I opted for a cheaper one until I can work back there. I found a good deal on a flat iron at Marshalls–$20 for a flat iron, paddle brush and hair clips. Mr. P. bought me new pumps as part of a buy one, get one 1/2 off sale at Shoe Carnival. I bought some Argan Oil heat protection spray to try on my hair. Obviously yesterday was a day to implement new hair practices for me. I even signed up for the Ulta card to earn points towards discounts on products. I believe they offer classes and demos as well that I may begin taking advantage of in the future.

What is today the day to focus on? Fellowship, faith and friends. I am getting ready to head out to Sunday School in a little while, and we are meeting up with friends after morning service. I’ve been trying to catch up with these particular friends for a while, but with their busy schedule at the hospitals  and decorating their new home (not to mention being newlyweds), all of their weekends have been busy. It will be nice to catch up and have a little fun with some friends, especially friends who we fellowship with at church.

Posted on

Lifestyle Changes

DSCF1643

Before I went to my high school reunion, I made a decision not to try and shed a bunch of weight or drastically change myself in the short amount of time between registering and going to the reunion. I read on some wedding articles and blogs once that you shouldn’t make drastic changes too close to your wedding day, like chopping your hair off or getting a chemical peel or facial for the first time, because something could go wrong. At certain times, it’s just better to stick with a routine. I felt like going to my reunion, I wanted to go as I was: I didn’t want to pretend that my job was more exciting than it was or that I looked better than I did; I wanted to be my normal, bubbly self.

But I haven’t been satisfied with some things in my life and I wanted to change them. I waited until after the reunion to begin to look into making some of these changes, but some seeds were sown at the reunion. One in particular was from a conversation with my friend John.

John and I at the reunion
John and I at the reunion

I hadn’t seen John since graduation, but I knew what he’d been doing from Facebook. I knew he had just completed the Insanity workout program. When we saw each other and hugged it out, I had to take a step back to take in how much fitter and happy he looked. This wasn’t the John from high school! Even as I felt my best looking days might be behind me, his were right now. I had to ask him about doing Insanity and recent lifestyle changes. “Starting out, I thought I was going to throw up and I did horribly,” he told me, rolling his eyes. “But you just have to keep doing it. It gets better; you just have to stick with it.”

I haven’t stuck with much of anything for long enough to see results, health-wise. As I’ve read over entries in the making of this site and for other projects, I have noticed how often I’ve started going to the gym only to fall off. I see where I picked up running a few times and fell off. Registering for a 5K didn’t keep me from falling out of the habit of going running. I remember seeing my co-workers face as she completed the 10K less than ten minutes after I completed the 5K, and seeing how proud she was of her accomplishment. I tried to remember the last time I felt that in regards to my life, especially in the area of heath/beauty/fitness, and I couldn’t come up with anything, not one thing that I’d finished and basked in the results.

Leaving the finish line in my dust
Leaving the finish line in my dust

Throughout the beginning of this year, I focused on going after a few dreams I’ve had for years. One of those dreams was to have a self-hosted site where I could place most, if not all, of my blogs. I buckled down on getting this accomplished. I put a lot more effort into finishing my book, focusing on just one project. I accepted a speaking engagement to promote the site.  I started to feel a bit accomplished, even though I wasn’t posting as regularly as I would like. But I knew the rest of my life wasn’t going as well. I needed to bring a bit of balance to my life.

Mr. Perfect (aka MensHealth aka Tech Support) has been trying to get me to take my health and fitness more seriously for years, but I couldn’t do it for him. Honestly, ever since college, I couldn’t do it for God, either. In college, I would tell myself my body was a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in, and I needed to make sure it was a fit temple. Somewhere along the way, “my body is a temple” began to mean that I wasn’t to have sex before marriage or drink or smoke, but eating poorly and not exercising were perfectly fine, as well as not doing my hair or keeping my skin looking nice. I didn’t have any accountability in this area at all. I would get offended when people would tell me I had put on so much weight or ask me if I was pregnant. I wasn’t happy with how I looked, but I wasn’t ready to address it.

Then the mild health issues came up. I started to have a need for tums. I had such heartburn and gas in my stomach. My stomach was irritable. I was feeling so tired all the time, but not able to sleep well. My ankle, IT band, and hip hurt frequently. My apartment started to get messier and messier. I was just trying to get through the day. I am way too young for these types of aches and pains and health problems. So I began to get back into the Word and read blogs and books where people address appearance in a godly way.

DSCF1872
David, Steve, and I at the reunion.

I am slowly making changes, using the philosophy of just one thing at a time. It’s like juggling; you start out with a few, then add a ball. Then you get into a rhythm and make sure you can keep things going before you add another. I have started out with a couple of balls: drink more water, cook more at home, and do something physical every day. I order some vitamins off of Amazon after a little investigating that I hope will provide me with some nutrients that I don’t get enough of in my diet. I’m still researching different things I may want to incorporate, but this is a good start. As far as beauty is concerned, I am writing down a schedule for doing my hair and I hope to stick to it. Since I do it myself at present, including protein treatments and deep conditioning, I need to know when I did what so I don’t end up damaging it. I have a lot of hair and it gets overwhelming to keep it done, but I just have to get used to it. I bought some Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), which has a million uses, and plan to experiment with it in a few different areas.

I’m slowly starting to realize that my health and fitness is just as important in my walk with God as my willingness to serve. I can’t serve if my body isn’t working properly. I will make an effort to update on these goals often for accountability. I am still looking for an accountability partner in this area of my life, and let’s hope I find one quickly.

Just one thing at a time,

Erica

Posted on

Good News & Gripes

I’m sorry I left you with such a moody post. I promise this one has good news. I’ll end with that to leave on a more positive note. I’ll start with the bad, move into the INEBIGTDIA, and finish with the good/great. Ready?

The Bad

My great aunt passed away at the age of 67. This was one of the family matriarchs, a pillar if the family, and someone I was very close to, so it hits really hard, once I slowed down enough to let it sink in. I wasn’t able to attend the funeral, either, so I was a bit upset about that. My great aunt had a good life, loved her family, and was a woman of faith who could pass in peace, so I’m happy for that.

INEBIGTDIA

We had a nutritionist speak at work a few weeks ago. It was a great opportunity for me to get some guidance food-wise. I won a one on one consultation with her which included an evaluation. I had to get weighed and measured. I stood on the scale, endured the tape measuring of my bust, waist, hips, thigh, and calf, and had my body fat measured. Afterwards, I got to ask questions and receive advice. It was really eye opening and helpful.

I started couch to 5K so I will be able to run the 5K our company has a team for in April. I’m not sure if I’ll do we’ll, but my goal is just to do it…and to finish in 45 minutes, around a fifteen minute mile. I have no lofty notions where running is concerned. I am buying YogaWorks BodySlim and possibly another favorite yoga routine to get back on the mat. I’m not making any goals there, either, except to meet my mat at least a couple times a week.

The Good/Great

I bought a domain for my website! www.aseriousseason.com will be my website. Right now it’s a blog until I get the web hosting selected and work with MH to design the site, but I have completed step one. I will buy the hosting, if things go according to plan, next week, right after my birthday! I am so ready for this. I’ve found the brand I want to work under. I know what I want to do with it. It’s ready to roll out. Be sure to check out the blog and follow the blog’s twitter. @seasonserious.

The book stalled for a bit due to performance anxiety, but I am back on it. I bought printer paper ( I ran out right when I finally bought ink, smh) and I am listening to interviews to pull quotes. Details about the book will be on the site as soon as they are finalized.

What’s new with all of you?

XOXO

2blu2btru

Posted on

Skinny Genes

I’ve felt skinnier the last week or so. I can’t explain it. I shouldn’t feel skinnier (TMI ALERT!!)–I mean, Aunt Flo was in town, and no sane woman feels skinny then, but there I was feeling skinny.

My clothes fit better…or they are worn out. I can no longer see my stomach when I look down, so it must have gotten smaller…or “the girls” have gotten bigger. Despite not having a reliable car to get to the gym, I am getting slimmer…or delusional.

The only thing I can point to is that I eat out less often. I am exercising again (usually at home…stupid car) and I walk more during the day at work as well. It doesn’t seem like enough to make a visible difference yet, but there you go.

I turn 27 in a few days, and I thought it would be fun to update you on where I am in life, what I’m doing, what I’m looking forward to, what I’m working on bringing about. It’s time to put out my real new year’s resolutions and tell you all what I plan on doing this year. But all I could think to write on this, day one of that plan, is the fact that I feel skinnier. Go figure.

I’ve been in a pretty good mood overall lately, and that doesn’t make since either. I have a car that isn’t working (even after paying to get a part replaced that was supposed to be the problem), MensHealth and I are still very much up in there as to what we are doing here (is it going to be yes or no? The world may never know), I have seen more physically fit and trim days, my finances are still all messed up, I’m being worked half to death at work…and yet, I’m in a pretty good mood. I’m taking life as it comes. I’m letting go of my fairy tale dreams that life’s problems can be solved in 30 minutes (60 minutes for a really bad issue) and am seemingly as happy as a clam. Is this God? Is this being resigned to a sucky life? Is this the calm people feel before they kill everyone they know and then take their own lives? I’m not sure.

Honestly, it’s probably the endorphins from working out more and the mental boost of feeling as if you look good. Maybe it’s just the pre-programmed response to my birthday’s fast approach. Maybe I AM a bit skinnier…and maybe I’ve officially lost my mind

2blu2btru

Posted on

Making an Appointment

I’m doing something “we” aren’t supposed to do: I’m going to see my friendly neighborhood licensed mental health counselor, Mrs. Jung-Freud. You may remember her from my other blog where she answered some of my questions about the psychological impact of marriage. I’m not going back for a further discussion about marriage, however. I’m going back for an actual session.

I’ve actually “done a session” with her before with MensHealth once, an impromptu session early on in our relationship that was pretty productive. However, this will be my first time talking to a counselor one on one for  a purpose other than an interview.

I find that I don’t have the type of friends that you can tell all your business to without a) hearing it in the streets (usually from people I expressly didn’t want to know about it), b) hearing it referred to in some snarky comment when they are mad, or c) listening to them tell me what to do. Counselors, on the other hand, can’t share your business abroad (Thanks to HIPPA laws, etc), and usually don’t tell you what to do so much as help you come to your own conclusions. To me, the unschooled layman, it sounds like having the best friend a girl can have outside the heavenly realm.

I am looking forward to an opportunity to focus on me and get a clearer vision of how I want my life to look independent of other people. I’ve made some great steps in moving my life forward, setting some boundaries, etc, but it’s time to make some more. Perhaps it’s time to cut some of those “jelly fisher” friends and people who seem to delight in my downturns of fortune; as my life is starting to come together, they won’t have much use for me anyway (and I have no use for them).

I probably won’t share many details about the session (except maybe in some password protected entries), but I wanted to share that I’m doing this because I think the stigma has to be overcome. I am a major proponent of counseling. My aunt is a counselor (that I’d never go to; too close a relation…but she’s a good counselor). I wanted to be a relationship counselor. I have worked with behavioralist and psychiatrists as well as psychologist. I always push pre-marital counseling and marriage education. There’s nothing wrong with getting another perspective. It doesn’t mean that you are screwed up or hearing voices. It means you want an objective person who isn’t interested in trying to get you to take their advice or use your experience for dinner conversation to help you gain a little clarity.

How do you feel about counseling? Ever been to a counselor? Do you use your friends as counselors? How do you take care of your mental health?

Posted on

Making Me a Priority

As I’ve looked back over the past year, I haven’t been much of a priority in my own life. Without going too deep into this (I want to save something for me end of the year/New Year’s post), suffice it to say that the things that pertain to me got placed on the back burner, even though I was striving for balance this year. It takes me weeks and weeks to get around to deep conditioning my hair, doing laundry, updating a blog. I had stopped going to the gym altogether. Consequently, there wasn’t much to write about here in my personal blog, as personally I wasn’t doing much.

My family has been here for a week, a week in which I have had to work most days. I went from work to home to spend time with them and spent time with them all weekend after having spent the previous week cleaning up for them, trying to find things for them to do, making sure there was clean towels and linens for them. But I managed to do something I hadn’t done in a long time this past week: make me a priority.

I have been wanting to get back in the gym, and as my family aren’t early risers, I was able to go on Saturday morning and yesterday morning. I ran for a whole song one day and two whole songs the next trip. I went .6 miles the first day, and 1.3 miles the next time. I tried new machines (the stairmaster, for one) and used old favorites (the arc trainer and the rowing machine). I got in a mini sweat session, and it felt GOOD. It was nice to slow down (ironically, while moving more than I have in a while), focus in on my breathing, silently sing along to my favorite workout songs, focus in on changing minute aspects of my form. I felt like I had all the time in the world to do something for me.

Anyone who exercises at the beginning of the day can attest to how much better your attitude is throughout the day. Your endorphins are flowing and you feel like you’ve sweated out all the negativity you may have awakened with that day. You celebrate the new milestones and achievements, like being able to run longer or at a faster pace, finally getting into a yoga position you thought was impossible, going up a level on a machine or adding some more weight. For me, it’s been finally catching that feeling again of hitting a natural running stride, where my breathing slots into place, my stride evens out, and I feel my body moving like a well oiled machine performing a familiar task. I didn’t even have to think about what I was doing or remember to breathe; I could finally get out of my own way.

The reason I went to the gym on Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas is because I decided to put me first a bit more from here on in. I can’t do all the things that I’ve been doing if I don’t take care of myself. I don’t want to burn out on doing for others because I’m run down or resentful I don’t have time for myself. I took an hour a day out to do something that was exclusively for me in the midst of all the holiday craziness, and instead of feeling guilty about it, I can’t help but think it’s the greatest gift I could have given to myself.

When did you realize you needed to make yourself a priority? What’s the greatest gift you’ve given yourself?

Posted on

A challenging Run & a Ray of Light

Two hard runs where I couldn’t really get into a rhythm for longer than a couple minutes. When I did get into the zone, my breathing relaxed and all was wonderful. I see a few things to work on–hydration/fueling and cross training more (yoga, anyone?). My shins are so tender after a run, and my ankles feel like they don’t bend. Any biomechanical suggestions? On the run this morning; real update coming soon!

Posted on

We had a Good Run

This weekend was a relaxing one before we embark on one that will involve some outreach and planning for part of it. Friday’s run was…challenging. I decided to stop clock watching so much and just do my best, pushing when I could and backing off when I needed to. I saw a tiny flicker of my running mojo, but that was it.

Saturday, MensHealth and I took our time for the first time in a month of Saturdays–dawdling over breakfast, watching sportcenter and other such indulgences. I got up early, washed and conditioned my hair, and flat ironed it. I washed three loads of clothes as well before the singles’  ministry game night.

The game night was a success. Many people showed up and we had a great fellowship playing Family Feud, Phase 10, checkers, Tonk, and Spades while eating pizza and snacks. Hopefully, everyone had a good enough time to continue participating with the ministry.

OnSunday after church service, I made chilli cheese fries while we watched part of the football games, then MensHealth dosed in front of the football game and I continued watching episodes of Heavy. Heavy is a series on A&E that I discovered on Netflix. Each episode follows two super or morbidly obese people for six months through an intensive program to help the lose weight and save their lives. The first season had people from Texas and South Carolina.

Watching all of these people be told about the health problems they have from being overweight and seeing them struggle to do things I take for granted made me really thankful for the mobility and strength that I do have. I made not be where I feel I should be, but I can do a lot, and by continuing to push myself, I can get stronger and better.

This inspired me to go running. I woke up MH from his nap and we set off for the trail. Instead of the unpaved, shell-lined mile loop, I did the paved trail. I was able to push myself, run more, and faster than usual. I beat my mile time by 50 seconds to get my new personal best (since I started running again): 15:01! The second mile was really slow (20:00), but I really picked it up the last mile. There’s a bit of confusion with the ipod, but it recorded a new recor mile of 13:26! 😀 I don’t know how accuate that is (my ipod went dark twice and I had to wake it up), but I know either way I got a peronal best (or two).

The best part is that it was easier to do. It was still challenging. My legs still got sore and breathing was still a struggle. I’m still working on my form. But it felt good, I went faster, and when I didn’t run as far as I wanted, a just walked a bit and went back to jogging instead of beating myself up about it. This was the first run where I felt like I could do a bit more afterwards (even though feeling & ability are two different things)–not in an “I didn’t push it” way, but in an “I’m not going to die after 3 miles; this is progress” way.

All in all, I had a good weekend, with good leisure time, a good fellowship, and a good run.

Posted on

Listening to my iPod > Listening to My Body

I think it’s time my body & I saw other people. All she ever does is complain. She doesn’t use her words well & is a horrible communicator. She gets all dramatic and acts like a three year old when the rest of me is ready to do what I need to do. She’s sending me mixed signals. I think I’m going to have to let her go.

If you’re just tuning in to our regularly scheduled program, first of all, welcome. I’ve recently been on a whole exercise kick that led to me accepting an invitation to run/walk/crawl a half-marathon. After a few runs with varying levels of success, my body and I are on the outs.

Confession time: I hate how weak and fat my body has gotten over the years. I know that I helped it get there, and some days my motivation is non-existent, but I feel like my body is working against me. Every time I tweak something to fix a problem, my body comes up with something else. I got new running shoes and said buh-bye to arch/ foot pain for two runs in a row now. Yoga has helped regulate my breathing, even in this humidity. My legs will even feel fresh, and my new cool sweaty band will keep the sweat from my eyes. Now that I feel perfectly ready and enthused: my form goes screwy; my left knee doesn’t seem to be bending; my hip starts to hurt; shin and calves get a bit tight, and; my turnover is uneven and a tad too slow for my stride, so one foot is kind of swung around. AAAAAAAHHH!

Some of these aches are phantom aches that start the moment I make up my mind to run that day and would disappear the moment I decide not to; it’s happened before. Some simply require better hydration/fueling and more stretching, but the bigger problem seems to be my fat body doesn’t want to move. I’m sure it wants to have energy and be toned and sexy as much as I do. I’m sure it wants to be a few pounds lighter (after all, that would be easier on my joints). The problem is, it doesn’t want to work to get there.

I thought lack of motivation was the prerogative of the mind. Hmph. I’m like a new father; I’m learning to separate the miscellaneous cries from the important ones. I’m putting on my headphones and sleeping through the complaints, and I’ll stop when I need to. If my body and I are going to get through this rough patch, I’m going to have to selectively listen to my body. All other times, I’m listening to the iPod and tuning her out. I’m praying we make through…or else I’ll be shopping for a new body soon.

Posted on

Once More With Corrective Shoes!

OK, so my shoes aren’t REALLY corrective, but they look like it. I went back to the running store yesterday because I knew after my run on Friday that I needed to be fitted for running shoes again. My arch still wasn’t supported enough, because it was STILL hurting and painful after running a short while. My legs and breathing were great, but my feet and ankles hurt too much. It wasn’t a “good hurt”; it was unbearable.

When I read the running store was having a sale as they were moving to a new location, I felt like it was a sign. If I’m really going to be serious about this half-marathon, I needed a new shoe.

I decided to go through the whole fitting process again and tell the salesperson (who had the same name as me) what I’d been experiencing. When she came out with a test shoe, it was a brand I didn’t try the first time. While it felt way more secure than the other shoes had, it was also pretty heavy. The soles were really thick and my arch had the support it needed, but I knew it would be difficult to lift my feet at mile 10 with them on. Through the process of elimination, I came away with these:

The "Slightly Better Than Corrective Shoes"

“These” are Puma Complete Cectana 2 W ortholite shoes (at least, that’s what the box and shoes say in different areas). As of right now, I decided to forgo the inserts, but we’ll see how that goes.

I wanted to get a new sports bra as well. My chest hurt after my run of Friday as well (mostly because my sports bra was too small, I discovered). I tried on a few different bras, but the best was the Moving Comfort Juno sports bra…what I got was the on sale (but very comfortable as well) Moving Comfort Phoenix, which was half the price ($52 vs. 25!).

I also had a little sweat problem, with sweat running into my eyes, so I had to get a sweaty band and try that out. I got a wide one, that looks like this (or, rather, is this):

My new SweatyBand

I was going to do a take two run yesterday, but that didn’t happen, so I’m shooting for this evening to see if the new shoes, bra and sweaty band make a difference in my training. Wish me luck!

XOXO

2blu2btru