So, 2014 is underway… I look at my blog and I have FOUR blogs that I started, and never got back to… Do I lack focus on my blog? Possibly… more specifically I have been reaching out microblogging with my instagram account (Do you follow me over there? my name is KrisGetsHealthy) 2014 the year of Honor, honoring myself, my choices… making sure I am focusing on what I need to do to set my lifestyle up for those sustainable changes we need to make to have a lifestyle stick.

Since I took my new job back at the end of 2011/beginning of 2012 I have had an increase in my bottom line… meaning my rear end… not cool! My focus has been to try and make my life, that WAS working to get my weight down, work with my new 10 hour days of high stress near non-stop desk work.

I found that looking at the big picture was SO overwhelming, in as much as it wasn’t working. You can’t manage everything at once. There is too much to control! I have taken to breaking it down into more manageable parts and I have been trying to establish each part into it’s own manageable little bubble.

The first thing I worked on was to establish a bedtime routine… in my job I need to be sharp, I need to look at the bigger picture, visualize traffic patterns for the time of day, cross reference with the general layout of the state/city in my mind, estimate recovery times from airports, think critically etc etc etc… Dealing with brain fog from fibromyalgia is bad enough some days, add a lack of sleep and my goodness a lack of sleep spirals my brain into a VERY messy place!

I have a fairly strict bedtime that I keep. I am slightly more flexible on the weekend, but not every weekend… and if I do it one day I try to keep the regular bedtime the next. (for example if I am up Friday night, then Saturday night I don’t usually stay up). I sleep with headphones on, (sleepphones actually) that I can pull down over my eyes and use as a blackout mask. This is not to say that I don’t have insomnia come visit me on occasion… I have melatonin and a few herbal sleep support things I can take. There is this awesome thing called Sleep Water that I drink on occasion that helps too. My sleep routine is, I would say, pretty well established, it is a habit. A healthy living lifestyle habit. People that tell me they get 4 hours or 5 hours a night on a regular basis and can’t figure out why they aren’t feeling well, or can’t do X (whether that is focus, or be on time, or lose weight, or whatever) I just want to grab and shake… sleep is a foundational element.

So now that I have that habit well established I am looking at what are the bigger holes in my life… what are the things that are SO IMPORTANT to health, and wellness and well being, that I just don’t have a handle on. One of the things that happens with my job being so busy is that I forget to drink..not just water, but anything… So many night I would come home from work and find that I had only had a cup of coffee in the morning, and then whatever I was drinking with dinner! How horrible for my body!! I took to taking a 3 liter bottle of water with me to work, and I’d work to drink that during the day. I did pretty good with that, since it was in my line of sight most of the day. Having something visually there means I can’t avoid it, I can’t ignore it. However ambient water gets old… it started cold in the morning but by the end of my 10 hour shift it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. What is a girl to do… if I don’t see it I wont drink it.

The last few weeks I have been having great success at monitoring my water intake with an app from the iPhone marketplace called Plant Nanny… it lets you set reminders to “water your plant and water yourself.” You set your weight, your activity level and it tells you how much water your body needs. I am set to sedentary since I have a desk job, and since even when I hit the gym it isn’t much activity… it would put me at normal at most. The default reminders you can set are every 2 hours between 8am and 10pm, I have mine set to start at 0400 and run till 0500 reminding me every hour to drink. Even if I don’t go get a drink right away when the little alert pops up it at least puts the idea in my head that I need to be hydrating my body. I need to make drinking a routine that comes as naturally to me as going to bed. I need to focus on hydrating my cells, pushing toxins out of my body, and helping my body learn that perhaps what I felt as hunger is thirst, or a combination of both.

So here I am bringing my #Focus to one thing at a time. I can’t do everything, I am spread so thin at work trying to control everything that I am glad to be finding a balance and being able to pick and choose one healthy goal to focus on here in my everyday healthy life. Finding the focus and determination not to give up. Honoring my body by making sure that I am establishing some kind of healthy routine, and making sure that I am putting it into place. The more you do something the more ingrained it becomes.

Do you track your water or do you find it’s just one more thing to try and keep track of? How much sleep do you get a night? Do you try to get 8 hours? What kinds of healthy living routines do you focus on in your life?

One Breath, Because It’s Hard!

Let’s be honest, my head is still swimming, or moreover my heart is still in overwhelm from Saturday.  The #OBOS events always hit me right in the chest.  I think it is because I let myself be vulnerable, because it is a necessary part of getting to the root of why I became 400+ pounds.  I think it is also crucial to helping others along the way.  So that being said, once again the topics covered hit right a bit too close to home, which of course were just what I needed.

Jen started out the morning having us close our eyes and raise our hands if we had felt recently that our journey was overwhelming or hard etc.  With my eyes closed, (but wanting to peek to know for sure) she assure us that we all had our hands raised.  I always secretly don’t want to raise my hand just to be “That Asshole”.  The point of the exercise isn’t about raising your hand anyway, it is about knowing that we are all there together, and I get that.  We all struggle, whether it is with motivation, or finding time to *whatever*.

Mary took over the conference just after that, and the topic she first brought up was, “Is being healthy hard?” Well, yeah! Duh! If it was easy there wouldn’t be the multi billion dollar pharmaceutical industry that exists, and the search for the magic-cure-all pill wouldn’t be happening.

This made me think about how we define healthy though.  Is healthy, the right weight, is it being fit, is it being off medications, is it fitting nicely in a box, or a certain definition?  It isn’t the same for everyone.  So it becomes very important for you to define your health your own way, and plan your goals and strategies the right way.

Mary started speaking about how sometimes our ideas and situations change, and that sometime the changes we make that are intended to be lasting changes aren’t always lasting changes.  For example, I joined the YWCA, it was awesome when I started out.  Since my new job started however it is not as convenient for me to work out there.  The hours are less convenient and I started using that as an excuse.  So my change to working out several days a week was no longer a part of my life.  This change didn’t last. Do I view this as a failure?  No Way!  This is a setback.

See, life is fluid, this is why all those checklists in magazines and 10-step’s to the perfect life type things don’t work out for any kind of long-term success.  You have to be prepared to be flexible and change your plans as life throws you a curveball.

Mary touched on a lot of things that I have come to on my own, but I have this problem… see I, like many of you I imagine, have these amazing moments of clarity and then they just pass, and I forget, or think perhaps they aren’t as great as I think they are.

Some examples of this are, Keeping an eye on “Your Bottom” line.  This is mostly about maintaining weight, but also pertains to when you are stuck in a plateau.  If you get comfortable in a place you become complacent.  Think oh it’s okay I am staying within these 2-lbs so it isn’t a big deal.  My lifestyle is changing and I am not.

I JUST went through this, I started my new job, and I wasn’t going to the gym because I was just plain exhausted, but I was eating the same.  The scale creeps around, and before you know it things are headed in a bad direction FAST.  You always need to be pushing the envelope, not necessarily to lose weight, but keep your eyes on the prize at all times.

Remember setbacks are going to happen, this is a part of life! They happen to everyone! Everyone falls, get back up, keep moving forward. You need to be prepared for this.  Remember everything takes practice which means that everything that you are doing is practice! So be prepared with a backup plan, know what tools you like, and what tools in your arsenal work best for you and use them.  Also be on the lookout for new things to try.

Did you read that…

Everyone falls, get back up. Keep moving forward. Falling is not failure. Failure is giving up, not getting up.

These words are a gift to you.  Let them sink in.  You need to remember them.

Another important thing to remember is that it is important when trying to do anything, whether it is lose weight or run a marathon, that you have to be doing it for the right reasons.  The right reason for me isn’t the right reason for you, and if you aren’t doing it for the right reasons you aren’t going to find lasting success.  That class reunion that you want to look awesome for, what happens when you go, and no one cares that you lost all that weight from when you were 15?  What happens after you break up with that girlfriend that had been making you go to the gym or train for that 5k?  Was the reason that you wanted whatever it was yours or theirs?  You can’t do it for someone else, you can only do it for yourself.  Looking back on my life, I WISH someone could have stopped me before I got to the point in my life where I knew I was going to die.

There were so many dark days in my life where I was so miserable, depressed, in so much pain, and I thought I was at rock bottom, and I just kept going down.  There are also so many people in my life who I see, and I want to push to rock bottom so that I can help build them back up, and make them want to save their own lives.  Sadly all I can do is offer a hand up when the time is right and hope that I can inspire them by doing what I need to and want to for my own reasons.  I got a taste of what I like to call the good life and I know what I want now.

Nike says “there is no finish line.” Which I totally agree with.  When it comes to things like living a healthy active life there will ALWAYS be something to do, try or achieve, however this brings up a great point… when there is no finish something is not a race which means it is perfectly acceptable to go at your own pace!  While at times I feel as thought I am sprinting towards my own goals, there are other times where I feel as thought I am sitting still on the track and lately I feel as thought I have turned around and am headed in the wrong direction altogether I need to be reminded that this isn’t a race.  The path I am on may have a loop or two but if I keep moving forward I will make progress.  Baby steps are still steps, I just need to keep making them.

One super alarming statistic that I heard during the event was that if you do not act on a new idea or concept within 48 hours there is a 50% chance that you will NEVER act on it.  This wasn’t surprising, as much as alarming… and I suppose it is very true.  This is why it was SO IMPORTANT that I act on switching my gym before I just decide to keep sitting around of going and using the hours as an excuse to not go!  When I first joined the gym in 2009 it was also an ACT NOW moment.  I drove past, and thought… I should probably check that out sometime… pulled a U-turn and headed back.  Enough waiting… if life has tought me nothing more it is that time is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted.  If you want something you MUST go after it… and don’t wait!

There was a bit of talk about setting goals, and knowing what goals actually are.  I personally really like the idea of setting up “S.M.A.R.T.” Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)  and I think that is what Mary was trying to get at in her discussion about pushing for deeper goals that allow you to form strategies with them. For example, I want to be healthy is an extremely vague goal.  However I want to get off of my blood pressure medicine by losing 15 pounds is a much more specific measurable goal.  With those things you can then formulate a plan of attack with diet and exercise.  Make lists of a few things to try, keep trying, and you will make progress on these goals and before you know it your goals become a reality!

Sometimes you have to learn to accept that your lifestyle isn’t going to match what your goals are, and something has to change.  Each situation you are in presents an opportunity for you to learn something.  You always have the opportunity to take something away from a situation, and it is your job to figure out what you are going to take away from it.  Sometimes it is very easy to spot what you are taking away from an interaction or situation.  Every interaction with a person or people can teardown or create a new level to your relationship, so be sure that you are doing all you can be, be present in that moment to foster what you want from that relationship, and this includes the relationship you have with yourself.  Don’t treat yourself poorly!

You need to acknowledge your feeling, learn to see them, feel them and lost of all how important it is to accept them.  It is perfectly okay and acceptable to feel sadness, or frustration, even regret is an acceptable emotion, everything you feel is okay as long as you let yourself feel it!  You know what is not okay?  Letting yourself eat these feelings,

I Challenge You!

So as those holiday months of nonstop eating have started, the end of year battle of the bulge that leads to all of those famous New Years resolutions.  Those resolutions that so many people make year after year to go to the gym more, to lose weight (but never making a measurable goal) are always going to be made.  How are you doing on last years resolutions, or commitments to yourself?

It is too early for me to be jumping on the New Year New You bandwagon, we aren’t even to Thanksgiving.  What I wanted to remind you of today is that so often during the holidays we pile our plates full of food with no regard to how things look.  Pile on a few slices of turkey, and a small scoop of this and a tablespoon of that.  Three bites of stuffing and just a taste of grandma’s corn and soon your plate becomes a sloppy mess.  Perhaps it is a bit of the fact that I am one of those people who dislikes my food to touch unless I decide that it should and I am mixing it in a certain proportion.

SaladNomsSo perhaps now is the best time to start a new habit.  Eat with your eyes first.  We have all heard, without a doubt, hundreds of times that you eat with your eyes first.  I know it takes time to make your plate look pretty.  It takes time to make your plate look good, set your table, and set the ambiance of your dining area.  Did you know that I think you are worth the time it takes to do those things?  So my challenge to you is the same one that I am undertaking for myself.  Make your food look good!

Take photos of your awesome plates of food, and perhaps share your recipes along the way!  How long are you willing to try to go?  One day? Twenty-four hours? 7, 14, 30-days? Part of what taking the time to make your food look better will do for you is allow you to connect with your food.  It allows all of your senses to become immersed in the experience of enjoying the meal.  It will help you feel more full and it will extend the length of time you deem as your meal time.

So no more sloppy plates! Think Top Chef, Iron Chef, and any of those cooking shows we all watch.  You are getting hunger satisfaction points for presentation! What do you say?  Give it a shot!

My food pictured above was a salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, peppers, banana peppers, onions, cucumbers, egg, blue cheese crumbles, Cholula hot sauce, and Gardein brand vegetarian chicken wings

Back To “Normal”

After yesterdays breakdown I am feeling a bit better.  I had a talk with a friend at the gym about how I was feeling stuck and trapped and wanted to give up.  I was riding the high of once again finishing off week 3 day 3 of c25k when I got to water aerobics.  We chatted away for the hour of class, cracking jokes and being our silly selves.  Somehow in the mix of silliness we mixed in the seriousness of what I was dealing with.  By the time I got home my blog had gone live and I had already started getting an amazing outpouring of support.  I was amazed.  Thank you, each and every one of you.  It really means a lot that you took time to cheer me on, give me strength, share a thought or a prayer.

As I sit here it is 3am, and I am sitting down to dinner.  My calories are being tracked.  Homemade soup and a banana for dinner.  A strange combo but it is what I wanted.  The open bag of popcorn that I had been taking handfuls from is gone.  The unopened bag of popcorn will stay that way.  Once it is opened it will be bagged down and sealed off into single servings.  If I baggie them out I will be fine.  I have done this before.  I just need to go back to basics.  One step at a time.  Asking for help when I need it, planning my meals, and for the love of god stop eating out of the packages!

Pot Of Soup

I did make myself some lovely soup at the beginning of the week when I was starting to lose grip on things to try to have something that I could go to, to feel kinda healthy about eating.  Beef vegetable soup, I basically browned off a tiny bit of beef and added every veggie that was left in my fridge and freezer.  I added water, herbs, spices, and a few cans of low-sodium broth and stock.  Tonight I added some noodles since I didn’t have any barley.  There are enough veggies in the soup that it is more like a stew with the noodles but it is hearty and I know what went into it.

There are several quarts of non-noodled up soup frozen off ready for dinner at a moments notice.  I will be making a chicken soup this next week.  Before I do that I need to organize my freezer so I can fit the cupcake pans in there.  I like to freeze my soups off in cupcake molds as opposed to quarts because it allows me to thaw out just the amount I want.  I will be prepared for the fall and winter months coming up.  I won’t have to resort to higher calorie processed to go meals and foods.  I will be able to grab something I made and it will taste good!

I also am doing something I didn’t want to do right now but I am starting a #7daychip for #NoDesserts which is especially difficult because I just bought a pumpkin chai cheesecake from my favorite cheesecake bakery Muddy Paws!  It is a brand new seasonal flavor, and you know what, it will still be in the bottom of my freezer later on.  I need to break myself from this sweet treat before bed habit.

A cup of tea or some of my beloved Crystal Light might be okay, but no more cheesecake, ice cream, popcorn, veggies, apples etc at the end of my day.  Bad behavior needs to stop.  If I am hungry I can wait to eat until I wake up.

Now, its dinner time for me!


My Saturday, One Step One Breath Summer Part 2

And we’re back.  I have now logged more than 3 hours of sleep and I am feeling a bit better!
So I left off telling you all about all the wonderful things that Mary had to share with us.  So lets pick up where we left off.

Lets think back to any geology or earth science lessons you know that as water from the ceiling of a cave dripping onto a rock will eventually make the rock change shape.  As the water drips for more time, a hole can be worn into the rock.  It is a process, that rock changes shape, it morphs into something it had never been before.  Can you imagine anything harder than the rock?  How can something as soft as water change that rock?

The answer lies in consistent change. This has been mentioned by every speaker I have listened to over the last few years.  I stand by every single one of them, and absolutely believe them.  The key to success is making small, sustainable, manageable changes.  For example, one of the first things I started doing was making the choice to stop looking for the closest parking spot when I go to the store.  This is easy right?  Park a little further away and walk.  Another example of what you could do is make the decision to cut out something from your diet.  Give up that diet coke, or high fat salad dressing.  Make the choice that during your 60-minute lunch break you are going to walk for 20 minutes and then take the other 40 to eat.  The key is really to be consistent with these changes.  Nothing happens overnight.  You cannot expect to see changes over night.  You didn’t put the weight on overnight.

Don’t get frustrated when you aren’t seeing those changes right away!  You need to focus on the little things.  Celebrate all the things you are doing, all the NSV’s (non-scale victories).  You need to look at things like clothing fitting better, and having more energy.  Before you know it you will be walking further without being winded, climb those stairs with less pain in your knees.  The key is to keep making those little changes and stick with them.

Mary was also very fond of something we all seem to dig, which is cleaner eating.  This means less processed foods.  Processed foods have higher levels of chemicals and preservatives in them.  Too much salt and sugar is not good for your body.  I am not here to tell anyone what to eat or not eat.  I am not the person to tell you what is right for your body, but I can tell you that when I eat any kind of fast food after having eaten so much whole, unprocessed food it makes me physically ill.  So what is clean eating?  I describe it best as being able to identify the parts of your food.  Being able to trace the ingredients back to their original form.  A piece of chicken should be the shape of the chicken.  A McNuggett when you break it open, looks like a sponge.  I can’t tell you what part of the animal that came from so I shouldn’t be eating that.  If it came from the ground it is probably safe to eat too.  Keep food simple, it doesn’t have to be fancy to taste good.  All those additives are like food crack.  We don’t need them.

Remember that you get to decide who you are and who you want to be.  You have to visualise yourself being successful.  See your successes in your mind.  Picture yourself the way you want to be!  Writing affirmations can help you feel stronger about yourself.  I am ___XYZ___.  The negative and neutral talk can stop you in your tracks, and even derail your successes.  Saying I can’t is just as bad as I won’t.  Along the lines of turn that frown upside down… turn those statements into I am I can and I will.  Be certain in the things that you know, especially because you know them.
Mary showed us how to use some resistance band exercises and squats.  There is a photo of me looking quite silly helping her out with a demo!  I was happy to help out.  If you know me, ever the people pleaser before, now knows how to say no, but jumps at the chance to do something fun and new!  So Here is a website I found that shows how a few of the exercises.

Mary showed us how to properly do some squats with a chair.  Along with some techniques if you need to actually touch down on the chair due to bad knees or anything like that.  Mary spoke of the importance of weight training.  This is an area that I really need to look into.  I have stayed away from weight training due to my ehlers-danlos but I think it is time for a change.  Body Weight exercises, such as push ups (like my push up challenge, which I am sad to admit I have fallen off the wagon on) can be done at home and will help build muscle.  Muscle burns more calories.  So cardio is great you go to the gym and workout, sweat for your 45 minute run and are done, but that person busting out the 45 minute weight session will continue to burn more calories than you after their workout is done.

However cardio isn’t a bad thing, you still need to workout! Apparently the ideal workout is about 45 minutes long and is repeated 5 or 6 days a week.  She talked about the newer styles of cardio training that people are doing now.  The most common seems to be HIIT.  High Intensity Interval Training.  Does that scare you?  Is it the high intensity that scares you?  Well are you doing c25k, then you are hiit training! The key to cardio training is to work out in the right heart rate zone.  Immediately my hand shot up and I needed to know how to more specifically calculate the proper heart rate zone.  We were each given  this heart rate guide.  I had been mostly following this chart, but training in Zone 4, which is not particularly a good zone to obtain any kind of fat burn.  It also dawned on me that because my resting heart rate is so low that I may actually be peaking into Upper Zone 4, or Zone 5 where near no fat is being burnt and it is pure carbohydrate burn.  What a waste, I mean I am sure that I need the exercise, but I want to see some results too.  So I am waiting for Mary to send me some more specific information on how to calculate my heart rate zones.

Mary did an awesome job presenting to the group.  I was so happy to finally meet her.  I am hoping to develop a relationship with her, and possibly pursue a training relationship with her in the near future.  She seemed to really have a great outlook on life and very similar goals.  She is really amazing.  I am hoping to get together with her for a walk or coffee sometime soon.

Next up was Jen, she talked about relationships.

Get Back On Track! #PriorFatPack

Dear #PriorFatPack,

I have noticed a recurring theme here in our little family lately.  A whole lot of “I am not tracking like I should be” and a good bit of “I am not working out like I used to.”  So I propose a challenge to you all!  I want one solid week of your time.  I want one week of honest to goodness give it your all accountability for your actions to yourself and someone else.

Leave your contact info (Twitter Handle, Blog URL, Email Address, whatever you are comfortable with) in this post, and I want accountability here!  Trade phone numbers via email, and text message or call each other!  We are in this together and I want to see everyone reaching out to help each other succeed!  Heck, if you can wy not set up a walk-date, workout-session at your gym or virtual workout!Many of us are locals so why not use this to our advantage!  We have this amazing community and I think it is time that we start using the resources we have built-in!

What do you say? Are you in it to Win It?  Time to get back on Track? I’ll gladly give up my digits and text or call anyone in need to a buddy!  Just let me know! Let’s do this!