A Case of the Hum-Drums

March has been a weird month.

The baby and I have both been sick twice, my current bout now going on 12 days (finally got antibiotics yesterday because this ish needs to STOP), hubs has been sick once, we’ve had both shipments of our stuff arrive (yay!) AND our car (yay yay!), but I hurt my back the morning of the second shipment (super fun spasm) so I’ve been off of working out for a week and a half. Combine all of that with having been in Korea for two months now and only having left the base a handful of times and not having left the town we’re in at all, PLUS the fact that I’m a stay-at-home mom with a stay-at-home job and 99% of my friends and family are in a different country, and, well, your girl’s got herself a hearty bit of cabin fever and maybe just a splash of situational depression.

I was on a looooong and much-needed call with Momma Bear this morning and was able to finally call the depression out by name. Hubs could tell something was off the other night and asked me about it, and I tried to explain how I’ve just felt off, like nothing looked how I thought it was gonna look this month and how I’m not happy. I mean, it’s not that I’m never happy, because I definitely have enjoyed plenty of moments this month, but I don’t feel like myself and I don’t like that. And for anyone who read the line about things not looking how I thought they would and thought, “Well you really shouldn’t have expectations because that leads to disappointment,” I love you, but shut it. But also I love you. I know expectations are dangerous, but it happened and now I’m here, so there’s really no point in letting me know that I shouldn’t have had them in the first place.

Anyways…

The cherry blossoms are starting to bloom and it’s about to get gorgeous around here. Korea is super pretty anyways, but the Cherry Blossom Festival comes around every early April and from what we’ve been told it’s quite wondrous. Our whole street on base is lined with the trees, with two especially large ones looming just over our front steps, so when they all hit full bloom I imagine it’ll be pretty spectacular. The festival itself takes place in Jinhae, and millions of people descend on our little town to take part in it. They even open up the base for a day, which should be very interesting given how small it is, but I also like that it provides a bonding experience for us and the local population. We’ve been told to be back on base by I believe noon on the day it’s open though, because otherwise we have to wait in line to get back on and it’s typically around an hour and a half. So we’re just not gonna leave that day!

I will say that the blossoms are gradually helping me shift in a better direction. I pass under a ton of them every time I walk to or from daycare (which is typically four times a day, five days a week), so I’ve gotten to see them in all of their stages, from dead, to sprouting, to buds, to peeking open, to half-bloom, and then an overnight blossom into beautiful flowers of the palest, palest pink. They really are something. And the process is hitting home with me right now, because I feel a little bit like that dead tree phase, where I’m not really dead but I’m not really showing the signs of life that I know are in here somewhere. I need to find my spark again, my sunlight that’ll help me go through all those other phases and turn into a gorgeous lil flower. I’ve been there before and I know I can get it back, but I feel like ever since I had the baby it’s been a constant struggle of back and forths as I try to dig myself back up out of the trenches. And what makes it frustrating sometimes is when onlookers comment on my physical progress or even talk about how great it is that I’m working in the fitness industry now and how it’s such a perfect fit for me, because while I agree, I don’t feel like I’m really in it yet. I feel more like I’m parading around pretending to have lost weight and smacking a smile on my face because it’s the right thing to do rather than being how I truly feel.

I don’t know. I know I’ll get out of this place. I need to get my ass out of the house more, to start with. I’ve decided that once my back is well enough to work out again I’m not going back to the 80-day program I was doing before. It’s a fab program, but I’m really craving lifting and there are several Beachbody programs that are perfect for that, so me and the laptop or iPad are gonna head to the gym a few days a week and get our swol on. Well, I dunno if the electronics will get swol, but they’ll help me get swol, so it’s kinda the same thing. And I’m gonna find other opportunities to get out, too. Like today hubs and I went grocery shopping on his lunch break so we could spend this evening going out into town for dinner, and this weekend I’m *finally* gonna get to go to Daegu (about an hour and a half from here), which is where the big exchange and commissary are. Hubs says it’ll be great for me because the drive up is super pretty and once we’re on the base there I’ll feel like I’m in America—there’s even a Burger King, Starbucks, and Subway! We’re gonna get cray, obviously. And since this was my birthday month (the big 32, woop woop), I might even let myself buy some new clothes (and NOT workout gear!).

As for the dietary changes we had going before, we tried grain-free sugar-free high-fat/low-carb for four weeks and ultimately decided that we would rather just eat a balanced diet. We’re still aiming for as few added sugars as possible and we’ll be limiting our flour intake, but things like brown rice and the occasional wheat or grain bread or pasta are back on the menu (along with quinoa, one of our faves!).

So that’s where I’m at, kids. And since the baby just woke up, I’ll sign off with a big hug to anyone out there who needs it, and a, “See ya when I feel like barfing up my life again.”

xoxo

Bulgogi & Badassery

I KNOW. I know. It’s been a long freaking time. I know. Almost four months, actually. And yes, I am well aware that my last posting was titled “Hiatus Be Gone,” but I may have been a liiiiittle premature with that. I don’t know what I was thinking really, since we were a month shy of hubs coming home and then we headed straight into 30 days of family visits and then a week-long turnaround where we packed up and sent off our lives and then moved ourselves and the minion and two cats overseas…well actually the two cats ended up coming about three weeks in, a very long and drawn out process which I will summarize by saying that they better start figuring out how to show some gratitude for the several thousand dollars it cost to get their furry butts here.

But here we are now, in Chinhae, South Korea. CRAZY. We’ve been here for over a month already, and while we still haven’t received any of our stuff (first shipment *finally* arrives this Thursday), I feel we’ve done a fairly good job of settling in. We have a routine, we feel very comfortable in our (spacious) house on base, and we’re adapting to communicating with friends and family who are a minimum of 14 hours behind us (soon to be 13 after the time change! I cannot adequately express how excited I am to not do daylight savings time for the next two years. My circadian rhythm is jumping with joy!). I’ve also progressed quite a bit with my postpartum fitness capabilities (which I’ll elaborate on more below), and hubs is getting back into running with the goal of doing his very first marathon later this year. Oh, and we have a potential Spartan Super ahead! Date TBA but likely this fall. EXCITED!

Baby girl is also doing well, she’s coming up on 10 MONTHS (and I’m pretending that the next two months aren’t going to fly by because I’m not ready to have a one-year-old yet), has two bottom teeth (and looks like the most adorable ogre on the planet), scoots herself very efficiently on her butt all around the house (no crawling, but she definitely gets where she wants to go), and has started stomp-walking (with assistance of course). Her hobbies include eating everything I put in front of her, yelling at the cats, banging toys together or on the floor, using me as a trampoline, clapping, waving indiscriminately at things, growling, yelling bababa and dadada as loud as she can, and blowing raspberries whenever I ask her to say “mama.” Oh, and she also loves power cords, electrical outlets, bags of recycling items, and finding random pieces of jagged plastic to stick in her mouth. Babies are such magical creatures.

All in all though I have no complaints. In the first several weeks here I was developing a bad case of cabin fever because we live on a teeny-tiny base (like 250 people and walkable from end-to-end in 10 minutes) and we have the exchange (think small CVS/Rite-Aid) and the commissary (grocery store), and two places to eat (a restaurant and a quick-order place with calzones/wraps/burgers/etc.). I grew up in Southern California, then I lived in a Denver suburb, and then I was in Southeastern Virginia—my high school graduating class had twice as many people as there are on this whole base. I don’t do small-town. Hubs has experience with it, but even though I gravitate towards homebodyism, I still like having variety and space and options, which, when you can’t read any of the signs in the outer city and don’t have a car, can be hard to find here. Living in “Little America,” as I’ve dubbed it, has its perks for sure—for example, daycare is a five-minute walk from my front door (woop woop!), and being surrounded by fellow expats and English-speaking Korean natives has definitely eased the culture shock that comes with moving to a foreign country—but the feeling of being trapped came around anyways, and we dealt with it in stride. Fortunately hubs and I have now had two opportunities to go explore sans baby and that’s helped a ton, especially since one of those outings was a hike, which I LOVED, even though (and yes, to all those who have heard this already, I have to mention it again) there was carpet in the forest. That’s what the featured image is for this post—that’s thick, straw-y, woven carpet folks. If there are any Korean natives or people with family in Korea who can explain this to me, please do! I would love to understand. Also, how did it get there? Current popular theory is mules. Oh and we’ve also now had amaaaazing Korean BBQ (though here it’s probably just called BBQ). Do yourselves a favor—find a well-reviewed, authentic Korean restaurant and then go order meat. Literally any meat. We had pork belly this time but we’ve also had beef bulgogi, and both will make you very, very happy.

But anyways. I’ve also started something new since we’ve been here. Some of you already know this and some don’t, but since this is my catch-up post I’ll share again. Y’all know I love my fitness, and you also know that I love working with other women to help them on their journeys through life. Many moons ago that was in more of a spiritual/life-guidance world, but now it’s in the health/fitness/happiness world. See what had happened was, last August I met a health coach on Instagram and she wanted to talk to me about Beachbody. Well naturally, I was immensely skeptical because I didn’t know much about the whole deal and just thought she was gonna throw a sales pitch at me and I wanted nothing to do with it. I even told her right off the bat, “I don’t want to buy anything right now,” and she replied with, “So, I’m a free coach!” And that caught my attention, because, well, FREE. I like free. So I joined this free accountability group that she has on Facebook, and I met a lovely tribe of women who were all on various legs of their fitness journeys, and we got to share and encourage and support each other through successes and setbacks, through gains and losses, and it was just super nice overall. My workout routine at the time needed some help because I was struggling with my postpartum body and its lack of strength and tendency to get injured easily, so I finally signed up for the streaming workout service they offer and completed two programs over the fall. And guess what? That damn baby weight *finally* started coming off. Just workouts, y’all. I did start using the shakes a couple months ago and I now love love love them, but I started with just workouts and lost almost 15 lbs between Aug-Dec, which was huge for my confidence. I started being able to do moves that I hadn’t done in forever, like those lovely burpees I posted about before. This is what I was doing the whole time I kept this blog up, this is how I started feeling like I might get some sense of myself back. And I never really called it out by name (except maybe once?) because I feel like there’s such a stigma attached to the word “Beachbody” (I mean hello, I was instantly turned off when I found out that’s who my coach coached for). But now that I’ve experienced it firsthand I gotta admit—I’m a convert.

So with this rediscovered zest for life, I’ve decided to pass on what was so lovingly given to me—coaching. My coach approached me about becoming a coach myself in December, and I participated in a week-long “sneak peek” and almost immediately knew that I could do this, and I could do it well. It combines two of my favorite things in life, fitness and helping other women. I’m still working on a way to intertwine cats, but if you give me a little time I’m sure I’ll find a way (#catladyforlife). I didn’t really start kicking things into gear until early Feb, once we were nicely ensconced in our new abode, but since then I’ve had the opportunity to share my experience, love, support, and encouragement with several women and it’s been extremely rewarding. It’s also given me a change to start earning an income again, because as much as I love being a mom, I’ll admit that it isn’t enough for me. I have too many passions and interests in life, I don’t want to let my role as a mother take all of that away. Yes, I am absolutely there for our little dummy whenever and however she needs me, but it’s also time for both of us to learn some independence from one another so we can grow and be better for it. She gets daycare, I get to work. I think we’re both getting pretty good deals out of it.

All of that being said, this is not turning into a Beachbody blog. This is and always will be Fit Fam & a Little Ham (unless we have another minion at some point, in which case it’ll be Two Little Hams). Sure, I might talk about which workout I’m doing, but I would do that no matter what program I was using, just like I would talk about which workout studio or gym I was going to if that were the case. But this blog is also for #momlife and family adventures and overseas explorations and venting and all of that wonderful stuff that prompted me to even start this damn thing in the first place. This is my little corner of the world where I can just dump everything and anything and know that y’all will understand. If you choose to learn more about the Beachbody side of my life, connect with me on IG. Even if you’re not into Beachbody, connect with me on IG. There are tons of ridiculous baby videos and cat pictures, you’re really missing out if you’re not on there.

Alright it’s time for me to scrounge up some kind of healthyish dessert. Oh yeah, that’s new too! Hubs and I are trying the “fat adapted” thing (same principles as keto but way less strict). I’ll do my next post about that! I don’t know exactly when that will be because every time I commit to a new schedule I end up not sticking to it, but I’m hoping for twice a month. I feel like that’s doable. Soooo hopefully I’ll see ya in a couple weeks! xoxo

Hiatus Be Gone

OKAY. No more dilly-dallying, no more excuses, no more hiatus. I’m baaaaaack! However, I have decided not to hold myself to any kind of schedule for right now. I don’t want another month-long absence, but I think telling myself I had to post once a week was making me avoid it, especially in weeks of high stress or when I just didn’t know what to say. I actually did draft a post on Halloween, but it’s rambling and pointless and I think served more of the purpose of decluttering mah brains rather than produce actual publishable content. Either way, I’m here now, so, that’s cool.

October flew by, meaning hubs has now been gone a month and I got to dress M up as Wonder Woman while we hung out at home and ate the candy one of our awesome neighbors left for me. The month also brought me more thoroughly back into running. I’ve been trying to go twice a week, and I’ve had some big accomplishments, like running five strollerless miles nonstop, and running my fastest stroller 5k yet at 36m 40s. I have further managed to add a new injury to my ever-healing body—de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, aka “Mommy Thumb”—which is preventing the overuse of my right wrist (no heavy dumbbells, no pushups, etc), and speaking of Mommy things, my own Momma Bear came to visit and it was so good to see her and hug her and watch her play with baby girl and just have grown-up company again.

There were also two milestones of 10.

I’ve written a bit about my several years of poor life choices and near-life-wreckage, but what I haven’t mentioned specifically is that all of the chaos ended with formal sobriety on October 22, 2007, and I’ve maintained it ever since. So, on October 22 this year, I celebrated a decade of sobriety. I have a beautiful life today, and even though I don’t attend 12-step meetings or do what a lot of my sober friends still do, I am very successful at not drinking or using any substances, and I try very hard to not be a havoc-wreaking mess of a girl these day.

The second milestone? TWO sacks of potatoes! That’s right my friends, 10 whole pounds lost. **It was 10.6 at the time of this first draft, but now it’s actually 11.8!** In the featured image above, the top row was from Aug 2, and the bottom is Nov 12. I’m now 180.2, I’ve worked long and hard to get here, and now that I’m 0.3 lbs away from being in a new number bracket (is there a better word for that? tax brackets are for income ranges, so…weight bracket? for weight ranges?), I’m more motivated than ever.

So now that you’re caught up on last month, let’s talk about what’s going on now. For one, I recently learned about something called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Apparently it’s every November, and writers from the newest amateur to the most experienced novelist decide to dedicate 30 days to writing a first draft of a 50,000-word novel (or 1,667 words per day). For some godforsaken reason, I thought it might be fun to try, and while I have already failed miserably because new mom and sore wrist and time change that made me feel like I was dying a horrible fatigue-ridden death, I have started what might end up being an actual book someday.

Ya see, there was a movement that went around recently that many of you may have seen—#metoo. It was a way for women to identify themselves as having experienced sexual harassment or assault, and my newsfeed was flooded, as were those of pretty much everyone I know. I even posted my own #metoo, not with any details, but simply expressing my inclusion. That movement plus NaNoWriMo, combined with the things that cross my mind when I look at my baby girl, got me thinking about all the experiences I’ve had in my life that have molded me into who I am today. I’m not just talking about the bad ones, but the good stuff too, like watching my nanny play these two certain songs on the piano over and over and over again, stopping and restarting every time she made a mistake, and how that led to me taking lessons for eight years, which later led to me composing music and entering a songwriting contest just a few years ago. And of course there are shitty memories, like my #metoo moments and being mercilessly teased for my weight all through elementary school, but there are also negatives that led to really positive outlooks. For example, the day I realized that my inner thighs that I hated so much have touched every single day of my entire life—literally—so I’ve spent many long, painful years trying to change something that will quite likely never change, and that all the self-judgement I weighed myself down with was because of what I thought I “should” look like, instead of who I am. I know I’m kinda running away with this right now, but I mean think about your own lives—are there not a hundred little memories that you think about all the time? Are there not defining moments that, whether you realized it at the time or not, were ones that would forever change your shape, even if only a little? My mind is filled with those moments, and I think—I hope—that by laying them all out in some kind of rough chronological order, they might provide some insight, some relatability, some point of identification for other women out there who have been molded too. And of course, I know the mens out there have had their own defining experiences, but as I have no penis, I will be sticking with the ladies on this one.

I’m gonna keep working on the book a little at a time, as my life permits, and I hope I can stay motivated enough to see it through to the end. It’s kind of a huge undertaking, but if I get the first draft done and stop my inner editor from trying to perfect everything the first go-round, I think I’ll be good to go. In the meantime I will also be continuing to run and keep up with my new home kickboxing workouts, and I get to experience my first attempt at air travel with the child later this week, so pray for us. Florida for a few days and then a quick turnaround to see hubs for Turkey Day (which should be extra fun now that minion is eating big girl foods)—gobble, gobble!

Have a lovely start of November, my fellow humans. I’ll be back in a couple weeks!

Post-Op

I’m having quite the week. My whole family is, really. I had my surgery last Wednesday, we learned that I might not be able to go with hubs to Korea on Friday, hubs left for school on Sunday, and then today we learned that en route to school the cooling fan in hub’s car busted and it blew the head gasket, so now we’re looking at $2000+ of repairs, which is more than the car is worth. Bad things are supposed to happen in threes, but I’m counting four here, so if Murphy can just back the fuck off right now and stop letting everything go wrong, that’d be super.

Surgery was successful and I am now officially cancer-free, but it was not my favorite experience. The spot on my abdomen actually wasn’t terrible, though the healing process kinda sucks ‘cause I carry a 15 lb ball of babyfluff around all the time and it’s resulted in me probably using/bumping my sutures much more than I should, but there’s really nothing I can do about that. As for my noggin, well, that sucked. Part of the problem is that when they’re working on your scalp, you can hear things, like the sound of the lidocaine seeping into your skin, or the crunch of the blade and the tearing sound of the skin being separated from its roots ::shudder::. Blech. And the sutures up there, well…there’s something called “purse string” sutures where they gather all the sides of the wound with the sutures and then use the ends to yank it all closed in the middle, and that’s what they used on me. It felt like my hair was being torn out of my head, but worse because hair breaks and offers a reprieve, but sutures most definitely do not. It was intense, and I almost cried, but I’m a prideful gal and was able to fend off the tears and stay strong. Now I’m (somewhat) patiently awaiting my suture removal appointment this Thursday so I can resume some semblance of normal activity levels, ‘cause this “light walking” nonsense is for the birds.

As for the Korea mess, let me just say uugggghhhhhhhh. Like moving halfway around the world wasn’t stressful enough, let’s introduce some super fun new elements, like me possibly not even being able to go, which would mean hubs would go unaccompanied for a year while me and the baby moved to CO so I could be near family. We planned the timing of our first child very carefully, “ensuring” that we would have several years together before hubs would have to deploy again or leave for anything longer than a couple months (excluding, obviously, the ever-unknown circumstances of war or disaster or whathaveyou). Here’s the problem: because of this recent skin cancer situation, there could be, as we’ve been told, about a 50% chance that the command in Korea could reject me. This percentage is even worse if I require any kind of “specialty care,” which apparently includes something as simple as seeing a dermatologist once every six months. I also now have to enroll in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFM or EFMP), which, much to my dismay, does not refer to how exceptionally outstanding and awesome I am, but rather to the fact that I am a medical exception and require aforementioned special care. A large majority of the people enrolled have chronic conditions, but in my case the two biggest factors are that 1) The surgery just happened, and 2) We’re going overseas and the military is more stringent about needing to be enrolled if you have any standout medical issues when you’re trying to pass an overseas screening. Once you enroll in the program, The Powers That Be in the EFMP offices will review my paperwork and decide which Category I’m in (Cat 1, 2, 3, etc.), and that will then help Korea determine whether I’m fit to go there or not. And if all of this isn’t stressful enough, we probably won’t even have the final word about it all until after Thanksgiving, possibly even into the first week or two of December, so with a month to spare prior to moving to another country, we could be flipped on our heads and have to plan not only an extra move (me to CO), but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepare ourselves for a prolonged absence. So to recap, our potential outcomes, which we won’t know until a month before we leave, are: A) Whole fam moves to Korea together for two years, B) Hubs goes without me and bebe for one year while we move to CO, or C) Korea decides not to take me but then also cancels hubs’ orders and we get stationed somewhere else within the continental US. Not stressful at all.

The car thing is the icing on the cake. He drove my old 2002 Honda Civic with 164,000 miles on it down to school, right after we got it safety-inspected and dropped probably close to a grand on it already this year. We hoped it would survive the trip to FL and back, but clearly we were wrong ‘cause he’s been there two days and it’s already a hot mess (HA, literally…’cause it overheated and it’s busted…hot mess…get it?…I’m sorry, I’m stressed out and exhausted and still have a head wound). We have some options in this scenario, too: A) Pay $2098 to fix it and then sell for $1000 to hubs’ friend en route home from FL, B) Put it out to pasture and get a rental car (~$1700) for the duration of his stay, C) Put it out to pasture, buy a $2-3000 slightly less shitty car with a good resale value and try to recoup most of our losses with a short sale once he’s home. Again, not stressful at all.

I know sometimes life just likes to challenge us, but I would reeaaaallly love for it to stop. I would be extremely okay with an easy, happy, smooth couple of months apart, but unfortunately I just don’t think that’s gonna happen. I’m sure it won’t be like this last week was the whole time, but it’s certainly not a good way to start things off, and it means that we now have a lot of other stressors to deal with during that time. To balance out the bad juju though, I would like to say that I am super duper grateful for some things. I’m grateful that hubs and I have such a strong and loving relationship that I trust with all my heart, and that I know we’ll get through anything and everything that comes our way. I’m grateful that our little girl has slept with one arm unswaddled for all of her naps today (that’s a huge step for us), and put herself to sleep every time. I’m grateful that I lost another 1.8 lbs even when eating like crap in preparation for hubs’ departure and not working out in the wake of my surgery. I’m grateful that Momma Bear visits in less than two weeks, and that she’ll smother me with all the hugs and love (and baby reprieves) I could possibly need. And I’m grateful that the holidays are right around the corner, and that hubs and I will get to see both sides of our family and spend lots of time laughing, loving, and eating.

Here’s to a better week ahead.

Progress Report

This is a progress update, I promise, but as much as I tried to talk myself out of doing this, I have to say something first. I was going to avoid it because I hesitate to speak out on issues sometimes, especially online, because people online be cray and I don’t wanna drag that madness into my life, but given the events of this past weekend and the bundle of joy that’s asleep in the next room, I can’t help but address it.

I am a child of the mass-shootings generation. I grew up hearing about Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, Fort Hood…and as I grew older they started becoming scarier and scarier because I started to comprehend the helplessness of the victims and the randomness with which they were targeted. I walked into college classes and started becoming suspicious of students who seemed “off” or “unusual,” wondering if one day they would show up armed, turning myself and classmates into statistics.

Last summer when the Orlando nightclub shooting happened, hubs and I were just a couple short months away from trying for our first baby, and the event hit me differently than it had before. All of a sudden I found myself terrified at the idea of bringing a tiny, innocent human into the world, one who would be faced with all of these demons and threats and dangers that I simply can’t protect her from all the time. For the first time in my entire life, I questioned whether I should have children. I have always wanted to be a mother. Always. There has never been a doubt in my mind about having children and raising a beautiful and loving family, but seeing such a horrible and unpredictable world certainly gave me pause. And the most disturbing thing about it all is that no matter how many times it happens, and no matter who it happens to, nothing changes. We aren’t doing anything about it. We mourn, and “send prayers,” but then something shiny distracts us and the chatter goes away until—quelle suprise!–it happens again.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. I have opinions about gun control and mental health care and the political chaos surrounding both issues, and when I can vote on those matters I do. But still nothing changes. I recently mentioned that we’re moving to South Korea in January, and at least once a week someone mentions that they’re concerned for us because of our neighbors to the north. But ya know what? I’ll probably be safer there than I am here. Domestic terrorism is alive and well, my friends, and we have to do something different if we don’t want it to continue.

I believe in love. I believe in light and hope and strength and faith and peace and brotherhood and unity and joy. I believe in humanity, as hard as it may be sometimes. I believe a stranger when they smile at me in passing, and in the instant connections and bonds I’ve made with random customer service reps when I’ve called about a simple question and stayed on the phone an extra 10 minutes because we clicked and starting laughing and chatting. I believe that we have the ability to make the world better, as long as we don’t give up on ourselves. And I believe that I’m supposed to bring new life here, which is why my ridiculous baby girl exists. What I refuse to believe is that we’re a lost cause, that humanity is in an inescapable downward spiral. Do we have some work to do? Fuck yes. But we are so, so capable of doing it.

That all being said, I promised a progress report, and that’s what you shall get.

The pics above with the black bra were taken on August 28, and the ones with the striped bra are from today. I can’t see a difference (except that I apparently can’t take pics at the same distance with any consistency), but the changes are definitely there. Since the original pics I’ve lost 3.8 lbs, making my total loss now 7 lbs, and I’m also down a full percent in body fat. What I’ve gained though is much more significant. Other than 0.5% muscle mass and some notable quad definition, I’ve also gained self-confidence, pride, excitement, and maybe just a smidge of badassedness, all resulting from constantly pushing my limits and encouraging myself to succeed at everything I put my mind to. I mean, yesterday I ran three miles straight, including part of that with a stroller, after not having run in well over a month. And earlier in September I did 100 burpees in just under 18 minutes. That’s rewarding as hell! With every passing week my body continues to surprise and impress me in ways far beyond anything a scale could ever show.

As I was working on this post, I got news that my basal cell removal surgery got moved up from October 24 to tomorrow, soooo I’ll be taking the next 10 days off of workouts. Hubs is about to take a two-month absence starting Saturday thanks to this schooling thingy he has to go to pre-Korea, so we weren’t expecting that he’d be able to be here for me for this procedure. I’m very grateful that he now will be, even if it’s not exactly how I’d hoped to spend one of our last few days together. But, it will be easier on me, him, and the bebe this way, so we’ll make it work!

Once I’ve recovered from surgery, I will do my best to not sulk about missing hubs (though that will obvs happen from time to time), and instead I plan to keep challenging myself in new ways and make the most of our time apart. We recently set the goal of doing our first Spartan Race (a Super) in June 2018, so my running game needs to be majorly stepped up. I’ll be chopping up my strength training routine so that it’s now four times a week, and then I’ll run twice. And since I’ll be running with a stroller 99% of the time, my non-stroller running should be vastly improved two months from now.

I hope you all have a peaceful remainder of the week, filled with buckets of love and positive juju and cat pictures. In the words of the great Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Diet: The Dreaded 4-Letter Word

This week I decided to try something new. I’m down another 1.2 lbs over last week (WOOP WOOP!), and I wanna keep that trend going as strongly as possible, but since I’m already exercising regularly, there’s only one other change I could make…my diet.

I’ve long considered the word “diet” to be one of the most offensive four-letter words in existence. It triggers my flight reflex and makes me want to run screaming in the other direction. I’ve had looooots of experience with dieting, some of which I’ve mentioned before—no sugar, tracking meals, counting calories, HCG (500 calories per day while taking these little droplet things), Nutrisystem—and all of them have left me miserable. See, my problem is that as soon as I’m on a formal diet, I obsess about every. single. morsel. that goes in my mouth, from the biggest salad to the teensiest bite of cheesecake. I’ve been on diets where sweets were very much off-limits, but I caved and put some kind of dessert in my mouth, chewed a few times, and then, out of fear and a huge sense of failure, spit it back out into the trash. I don’t know about you, but to me that’s pretty freaking unhealthy, and it’s left me with a lingering fear of that one little word.

The trouble is, “diet” didn’t used to have the dual meaning it has today. The version of it I dread, the one that refers to special restrictions or eliminations or what have you for the sake of losing weight, is newer when compared to the original meaning. A diet, traditionally, is simply what we habitually eat. It’s not a temporary thing, it doesn’t have rules, and you can’t fail at it. It’s literally just whatever you regularly stuff your face with. It’s part of your lifestyle. And when I think about it like that, it’s a little less intimidating.

It’s with all of this in mind that I chose my personal dietary changes. I wanted something that could be a learning experience, that I could sustain, and that didn’t tell me that I can’t do or have certain things, but that could still help me get my priorities in order when it comes to what I’m nourishing dis body with every day. (I mean, I’m sure my previous habit of eating three cheese sticks and a quarter jar of peanut butter every day was super balanced, but it doesn’t hurt to try something new, right?) What I knew right from the gate is that anything I chose to do was gonna be followed with the 80/20 rule—I’ll be diligent 80% of the time, especially in the beginning when I’m trying to create a new habit, but the other 20% will be flexible, allowing room for little indulgences and occasional off-the-grid days where I don’t track and just enjoy (like when hubs and I go to our all-time fave seafood restaurant next week and load up on crab soup, warm biscuits with apricot butter, and stay for dessert afterwards since it’ll be the last time we go before he heads to school next month). I know myself. I know what works for me and what doesn’t, and I know that for any dietary changes to become habitual they need to be realistic. I’m not going on a diet, I’m changing my diet, and there are monumental differences between those two.

So what did I choose? Well, a lot of the workouts I’ve been doing are part of the Beachbody on Demand (BOD) service (it’s like $10/month for unlimited streaming, 100% worth it if you’re self-motivated enough to work out at home…or if you’re a SAHM and that’s the only chance you have to get in regular workouts). They sell a lot of supplements and protein powders and such too, none of which I’ve tried, but the thing that intrigued me was these portion-control containers that are part of their 21 Day Fix program. I found a set of very similar ones on Amazon for $7.55 (free shipping and free returns if I didn’t like them), and since I already subscribe to BOD, I was able to get all the other program materials online. The idea is that you use these colored containers to portion out food. Based on your caloric needs (which they have a formula for), you’ll have X number containers each day for six different categories: green (veggies), purple (fruit), red (protein), yellow (carbs), blue (healthy fats), and orange (seeds/dressings). They’re essentially measuring cups. Rather than store food in them, you just use them as a measuring device to portion out whatever you’re putting on your plate or into your larger meal-storage containers (and once you’ve been doing it for a while, I’m sure eyeballing becomes significantly easier). There’s also a section for oils/nut butters but you just use a teaspoon for that (and you bet your sweet butt I’ve already stood in front of an open jar of peanut butter with a teaspoon, making sure I get my fill). And I don’t have to worry about forgetting how many of everything I’ve eaten because, of course, there’s an app for that!

I was concerned at first because I thought it was gonna feel too much like counting calories did back in the My Fitness Pal days, but it’s soooo much easier. I don’t need to look up the exact brand and enter measurements and all that junk, I just go in to the app, select my meal, and say “1 green, 1 red, 1/2 yellow.” Boom. Done. My favorite major difference here is that, rather than just counting calories, the containers help teach you to balance macronutrients (protein, carbs, fat). Counting calories works for a lot of people, but I would much rather know that I’m eating balanced meals at the same time—and whole foods. That’s a big one. You can count calories but have granola bars and Lean Cuisines and all these “diet” foods that aren’t truly that healthy or nutritious, but right now I have categories I’m trying to fill, and that encourages me to choose real food. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see just how much I’m still eating every day, and that I haven’t felt starvy or deprived at all, which makes me believe this is something that really could become a permanent change.

Today is Day 3 and I’ve done fairly well so far. I’m not being super strict with some parts (like their suggestion to use chicken breasts—I’ll stick with juicy thighs, TYVM, and I still have my glorious and oh-so-necessary cup of coffee in the morning with flavored creamer), but again this is where I have to do what works for me. Anything I’m super stringent and restrictive about won’t last, so I’m being realistic while still making huge strides in how I eat. 80/20, ‘member? I ‘member.

I’ll weigh in again next Monday and report on how my first full week went, and that will also mark the end of my first full month of the strength training program (Hammer & Chisel) I’ve been doing, so keep an eye out for progress pics! I’m down 2.8 lbs since I started it, so maybe I can drop one more from that before the week is done!

Have a lovely end of September, I’ll see ya next month!