Self Care. The Realization That I am Worth More!

Self Care and the realization that I am worth more has been a long and winging road. In my new job I am learning a lot of things, about a lot of things.  Sports haven’t really been a big part of my life.  I enjoy watching baseball, I like a good MMA fight, I do enjoy a football game now and again.  I find myself diving into the sports world to become more educated in hopes of being better at my job.  As I learn more about the great athletes of the past I find inspirational words.

Muhammad Ali once said “I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest! Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round.” I really like this quote.  I like to think that he is talking about me, setting my goals and knocking them out one by one.  I can do all the hard things.  I just have to keep trying.

In having moved forward in my life, trying a new career path, being persistent and tenacious in my goals to be healthy and find happiness in my life I have discovered something.  The better I feel the more I take care of myself.  In both the sense of eating better and working out I do better, and in the sense that I enjoy the little things more.

Since I started my new position I have found a new way to reward myself for doing things like going to the gym, eating a balanced diet, and just frankly learning to be nice to myself.  I am of course talking about the simple act of pampering.

A few months ago I went and got a massage… it was not for me.  I spent the next several days, maybe a week sore beyond belief.  My chronic pain and connective tissue issues don’t allow me to enjoy the feeling.  I don’t relax.  I know having my haircut can be a double edge sword for me, sometimes its okay and sometimes it is very stressful. Yes it is just hair, but it’s too much pressure! I have found that getting my nails done is a really great way to spend just a small amount of time on myself.  I can’t do anything except just relax and focus on nothing.  I go every 2-3 weeks for a gel manicure at Ulta.  The girl there that does my nails is fabulous! Her name is Theresa, and she just makes me feel relaxed.

It seems silly that having my nails painted makes me feel more put together, but it does. Some people need to have mascara or lipstick on before leaving the house, I sort of feel that way about my nail polish. I am not a makeup girl.  Mom never taught me how to wear it. We would be late to a lot of things because she was putting makeup on.  It may be part of why I am so resistant to makeup.  My resistance to makeup might also be just that it feels so heavy or oily.

Every time I look at my bejeweled fingers, like little gems, 10 tiny presents on my fingers it is a reminder to me that I am worth taking care of.  IT seems so silly that one little change could do so much for me but it can.  One small behavioral change can be a visual reminder saying Hey Kris! You are awesome! Look at these awesome gifts to yourself!

And since I can, I’ll show off the two April gel manicures.

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Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror I find myself wondering if what I see is real. I have sat looking at myself in the mirror and asked our loud who the person looking back at me is. I have reached out to touch the mirror to see if I am living a lie. What in the world has happened to me?

On one side, I look at my life as it is now with a new job, that I adore. A job that challenges me, allows me to learn and expand my boundaries but doesn’t completely intimidate me.  A job, the piece of the puzzle that I longed for when I lost the near 180 pounds before that would let me keep my new life in order and keep my life moving in the right direction.

My previous job, the one that was supposed to give me a more normal life, has left me almost a shell of who I had become. My relationships have suffered, my health suffered.  When I would look in the mirror while at that job I didn’t want to look myself in the eye.  I felt like I was a disappointment to myself, like I had made a bad decision.

I look at my experience at my last job with a lot of sadness. As I was leaving there I could see only all the bad in what had happened there.  I gained back a significant amount of weight despite my best efforts to keep it off.  (Upside I have maintained over 100 pounds lost.)  I sat down with Robb towards the end of my time there and was so upset over all the positive momentum I had lost.  I felt like I was back at square one and that I had wasted so much of my life spinning my tires.

Robb helped me see the good in taking the job I did over two years ago. It showed me that I can do hard things.  Taking that job, and being thrown in to a sink or swim environment where I had to figure things out on my own, and make my own way was a real life lesson. I learned a lot while I was on the job there, about myself, about how I feel a business should be run, about the right way to do things, and not do things.

After the long talk with Robb, and a long look at myself and where I am in my life and that I can do hard things… much harder than I ever thought I could do.  I am reminded that I have done hard things, and I can do hard things… I look myself in the eyes again.

Do you know what it is like to see a part of you die? When I was so big I felt like there was a part of me that was dead. As I lost weight I felt my life come back, it was if I was being reborn, awakening, it was amazing. Working my 55 hour weeks I watched the death creep back into my life. The rebound after reducing my hours to 15 for my last week there, was like night and day.  It was like a rebirth.  Now that I have been free of what I can only deem as the soul suck for almost a month it is as though a weight has been lifted.

It turns out that mirror I was looking into was a reflective coated window.  A window I could open and walk through.  A bad decision can be undone.  Failure is not fatal, failure is not final.  I  was unhappy with where I had gone.  The path I had gone down, took a left turn and led in a direction I didn’t like.  It may have taken some time to stop the skid and get life heading in the right direction again but I did it.

So keep that in mind… no matter where life is leading you, you have the power to steer into the skid so to speak.  Ultimately only you will get to decide if you end up in the dark woods, in the green grassy flower filled meadow, on the beach, or under a rock.

A Swimmers Life

I do believe that I have officially returned to my “swimmers” life. I was sitting at Starbucks drinking my coffee and I could smell the chlorine on my skin. I showered and scrubbed after my Aqua Zumba class on Saturday morning. (Which by the way I LOVED!!)

I think it must be time to start investigating some new soap again. I have some tea tree soap from Trader Joes that I guess I might try.  I am unsure how to get the chlorine off of my skin. I suppose google will give me 1000 different answers but I was hoping maybe someone that reads my blog might have a “tried and true” product they love? I know I need to find a shampoo that gets the chlorine out. The UltraSwim I have been using is killing my hair. Too many Sulfites I guess.  I may just end up having to give up the coloring on my hair.  I know that sounds like a horrible though.  I mean, I just do it myself at home anyway.  It isn’t as if I am paying hundreds of dollars to have someone put color and highlights in my hair… heck I have issues paying to get my hair cut some days.  My hair is short, my color is important.  As I get older the grey becomes more apparent and I am not vain about it, it’s been there since I was 12… henna was my dye of choice at that age… and it was MESSY!!!

So I guess what I am saying is to the swimmers out there, aside from winning the lottery and being able to move somewhere with my own private water source, be it a body of water that is natural, or putting in my own with lighting to treat it in addition to the chemicals does anyone have any suggestions on chlorine removing shampoo or body products?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the smell of the chlorine… I kinda like it (does that make me weirder than I am?)  I just figure it can’t be good for my skin.

Weekend Struggle

What is it about the weekend that just seems to make it so damn easy to stop doing what you know works so well for yourself?  For me I find that it is so easy for me to skip drinking the proper amount of water that needs to be consumed.  I will drink my coffee, and grab a coke zero or a diet root beer when I feel “the thirst” finally hit me.  I am not being proactive about my healthy habits.

My Plant nanny nags me, give me a drink and get one for yourself.  I look at my water bottle and think, It’ll be okay I drink enough.  I have my activity level set as sedentary because realistically I can’t keep up with over 200 ounces of water a day which is what it recommends for my body weight.

I want to be healthy, I want to live balanced.  I don’t however want to spend my entire day in the bathroom.  Saturdays and Sundays are in my mind supposed to be spent relaxing.  The darkness of a movie theater is the best place to be on a hot day.  Sipping on a cold soda shoveling handfuls of salty buttery hot fresh popcorn into your houth in the dark is how I wish I could spend every spare moment of my life.  It can be animated, horror, action the genre matters not, I love the feeling of it… despite people on their cell phones… and I will get up and tell you to get off your phone.  I have been the person to have people ejected from a theater, I have also been the person to tell my own friends to put their phones away.  (I know buzzkill)  This isn’t about movies though.  This is about choices.

Monday morning I didn’t attend my normal Aquatic Bootcamp at work because it was a holiday for me.  Opening Day is a bit of a big deal where I work now and we had the day off to watch the game.  I woke up, got myself a good breakfast at home, and made my way to one of the gyms closer to my home.  There was a shallow water aerobics class I was going to take.  It was, unchallenging.  I pushed myself as much as I could but I felt that the workout was just not sufficient.  While this was a victory of sorts, showing me that I am not as bad off physically as I have built myself to be in my mind, this was supposed to be my activity for the day.

Wednesday morning I arrived to my normal Aquatic Bootcamp class to find that the instructor wasn’t going to be there.  She was sick.  I was faced with a choice, stay and workout or go to work early/get coffee etc.  I stayed.  Others played waterball/volleyball in the pool, I grabbed the water barbells and worked it out.  I did my best to get a workout that felt comparable to what I was missing. However when I honestly look at it I felt a little defeated having not been “worked out” by an instructor.

Friday we had another “weather event” straight out of hell. If hell were made of ice and snow.  I set my alarm early, 5:30, and I still didn’t make it to class at 07:00.  It was 07:30 by the time I made it to the area where I work.  It was a very tough commute.  I felt defeated that I didn’t make it to the gym three times.  I did however keep my water and food on track.

Friday night I went out to dinner with Robb to celebrate his birthday a little early.  We had steaks, and I chose a sweet potato and veggies over some of the naughtier things on the menu.  I ate all of my allotted food yesterday.  I drank all the waters.

As I was in bed last night I found myself looking at all the possible pool workouts for the weekend.  Pickings are slim for sure.  Lots of kids in swim lessons on weekend mornings. I suppose it makes sense, but it is disheartening.  Then there was a glimmer of hope.  A location not too far away, 08:15 Aqua Zumba.

Visions of the fun from Fitbloggin danced in my head as I drifted off to sleep thinking about Zumba, and the ease on the joints the water provided.  At 08:00 this morning my keycard was scanned in at the gym.  I owed it to myself.  I missed a workout.  This wasn’t a makeup workout, this is the beginning of a new relationship with my body.  I am working so hard on ending the cycle of self hate that exists in myself.  Working to end the train that you’re not good enough parade that goes through my head.

I am choosing to focus on one thing at a time that I can change within a day.  I won’t be the same thing each day, and may not be the whole thing each day.  Right now I know that I struggle to drink enough water when I am doing “other” things.  That has to stop.  Water before coffee on weekends will be mandatory.  Slowly I am learning how to take care of myself, by listening.  Are you listening to your body? Is there something you are doing during the week that you aren’t doing on the weekend that might be leading to self sabotage?

 

 

Beating the House

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Have you watched House of Cards? House of Cards isn’t about playing cards or anything like that. It’s political drama. I was sucked into the first season, riveted by the first episode of the second season… But it’s sitting unfinished on Netflix… Someday I may go back to it. So what does this have to do with beating the house, or better yet a healthy living blog? Well the quote above resonated with me in recent weeks.
If you don’t like how something is change it. If you don’t like the way you feel, do something about it. If you want to be healthy and lose weight, stop hitting the drive thru and ordering the large cheese fries with extra everything. If what you are doing isn’t working, try something else.
It is scary to turn your life on it’s head. I can’t even put into words how scared I was to change jobs. To give up something safe, something I knew and was I’ll say it was phenomenal at, to try something I might fail at is scary. There are almost no guarantees in life (we are guaranteed death and that’s about it right)
I have turned my life on it’s head in the last 19 days. I am now in a new job, with new hours. I am working out three days a week again. I am eating whole foods, unprocessed, real foods. I am still getting my 7-9 hours of sleep a night based on how my body feels. I have returned to trivia.
My word for 2014 was honor. As we are approaching the four month mark of this year, 1/3 of the way through the year I am examining how I am doing at honoring myself. I would ask you all to weigh in on this, but honestly we all know that isn’t the point. Do I think I am truly honoring myself? Hell yes! Was I honoring myself in January as I tried my best, kind of. In February as I struggled but made it to the gym occasionally, maybe. What was March about… In March I beat the house. I took the table, flipped it over, spun it around and made life my bitch as it were.
I am finding my footing, with both feet right now and I couldn’t be happier about it. The people that see me continue to see the change in me. People that don’t see me ask how I am enjoying my new job and I tell them my life is like night and day. Truly I feel so blessed by the opportunities that have been presented to me.
So I keep pressing on, feeling better each day. Looking forward to seeing just what I can do next to amaze myself keeping in the back of my mins that honor word and the goals that I have set for myself.

From Scratch, Creating a New Life.

Creating a new life, from scratch… no I’m not pregnant, although if you check out my instagram, facebook or twitter feed you will see comments about how I look like I am glowing or radiant. However this past week it’s like I am finding a whole new world, or as I prefer to think of it I am creating my own. As of Friday afternoon as I packed up my stuff, took a look out my window, and shook my head as if it were all but a dream, I knew my life had been changed. I completed my second week on the job at my new place of employment. It has truly been awesome. Yeah okay, awesome is one of those words that gets overused, so we end up having to make up words for when something truly amazing really happens, but truly the changes that I have experienced in the last two weeks have been astounding.
It was my second full week in my new job. For some reason in my mind I kept thinking it was my first week. I had worked a full week the week before, working two jobs was crazy. I don’t know how anyone can do it, I was exhausted mentally. I guess that in my mind having still been tied to my old employer being at my new job just didn’t feel like it was my new job. It does now, I am slowly settling in, I put a photo on my desk, I have a comfy chair, and some of my things in the drawers. It is all becoming routine.
Pieces of my life are not so much falling into place, as being strategically and surgically inserted. As I mentioned on the blog in a previous post that I started an Aqua Aerobics Boot Camp which I am attending on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings before I go to work. I have missed the water. More than the water, I have missed the classes. I have been in the water on my own, swimming laps, walking in the vortex pool, but I hadn’t found a class that fit my old schedule. This one gets me excited, gets me out of bed.
The second time I was in class, I was more comfortable. It wasn’t that I was uncomfortable in the class, but I hadn’t taken the chance to really say hello to many people before class. At the end of the Monday class, after I had sucked all of my emotions back inside I introduced myself to some of the ladies. Wednesday after class we were all getting ready to leave and it finally dawned on me that two of the women in the class I knew! They looked familiar when we were in the pool, but people look different in bathing suits, then it dawned on me… I had met them previously when I was at weight watchers.
It is a very strange feeling to me that in changing my hours and having only reduced the number of working hours by two each day and adding on a commute that totals just about 30-40 minutes each way I have somehow managed to open up more time in my schedule. Somehow I can now magically easily fit a workout in… and it just works? I know it is just starting out, but it is too simple for me to NOT do it.
Rebuilding my life from scratch in this new daywalker world is weird… Tuesday night I made my return to trivia, which is something I very much enjoy. Since I had taken my old job I had only been able to go one time. That is once in over two years to something that I had done every night for years before that.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went back but I was greeted with open arms and a seat at our normal table. People wanted to know where I had been what I was doing now what was going on I had kept in touch with some people but not as well as I had promised or hoped to. I was SO TIRED, I had only planned to stay for a little while. My goal was to stay up until 2100, I made it to the end of the night at just after 2200. More than that I made it to the gym the next morning!
I keep wondering why the people around me keep talking about this transformation they are seeing in me. That I look years younger, and that I seem “better”. I didn’t know how far down the rabbit hole I had gone. Was I really that lost? How did I become so far gone and not realize it? I know stress causes cortisol problems, and there is no doubt that I have some adrenal fatigue issues, but can my body truly be physically responding this quickly?
How fast can my body heal itself getting sleep during the proper hours? How fast can my body start to remember what it was like to be at “peak performance”. I know it is going to be a long road to get back to where I was. I know I lost tone, and strength, and stamina, however the more you give your body the more it wants it. I am trying to get my body back. I am ready to fight… I have been persistent in what I have wanted I keep coming back. I kept changing my style of attack when things didn’t work, but like a dog with a bone I have not given up thus far.
I am excited for the things that are to come, I am excited for the adventure and the promise my life is holding. Just as spring has arrived, I too have arrived, just in time to blossom into a new and promising life.

Crying During Bootcamp

So Monday morning I went to my very first Water Bootcamp. Many of you know that I have been a HUGE advocate of water aerobics for years. It dawned on me as I introduced myself to the other ladies of the morning class that I have been doing aquatic fitness classes for over 20 years now. I am so glad that I went Monday morning before work… little did I know I would end up crying during bootcamp.
October of this past year Margaret V. passed away. She was my water aerobics instructor here. She was an amazing woman. Thanks to my crazy schedule I hadn’t been to many of her classes in recent years, but she still managed to keep in touch with me. Word of her cancer, and her quick passing hit me, but not as hard as it should have. I wasn’t able to attend her memorial, but I have a book that sits on my bookshelf from her. So thats all good right? I moved on? I still think I will run into her at the store, I still think I am going to hear her laughter somewhere.
As the workout wound down memories started to fill my mind. I thought about her smile, and the sparkle in her eyes. I thought about her sassy attitude, and how welcoming she was. I thought about how she introduced me to her daughter because she was inspired by my dedication to my 5k’s. I thought about how sad I was that I had fallen off my path, not that I had given up, but that I had veered from what I loved. I thought about Margaret, and Buzz and how we would all yell hello as he walked past the pool. I thought about how she would talk about Chelsea and her grand-babies.
The tears pushed toward my eyes and I started to feel… I was feeling things I hadn’t really let myself feel before. I have taken a few water aerobics classes since Margaret’s passing, but nothing had connected quite like this class did. I am unsure why this class was different but it was. I can’t wait to go back, it will be my Monday, Wednesday, Friday tradition before work. I guess it will be my way of honoring my old Monday Wednesday tradition with Margaret while getting back into honoring myself.