When Your Body Asks For A Break

There are some lessons that bear repeating.

1. The emotionally unavailable man will never change, not even for you.

2. It is impossible to open a package of Oreos and eat just one. You have to do an entire row or none at all.

3. Your body deserves better than you likely give it in an average day.

There are more but these are the big three.

I seem to swing between being ultra aware and responsive to what my body needs or I tune it out altogether. For the last couple of weeks, I have ignored my body as it has screamed for more rest, less stress, better food and much needed quiet.

I have this inner voice that’s constantly pushing me to keep going when I don’t want to, that tricks me into not hopping on the treadmill when I know exercise would be invigorating, and that tells me to eat the fries because that’s what I really want even though I know I’ll be sluggish tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my body is asking for a break, begging for good nutrition, movement and rest. And I ignore it.

I rely on my body to get me through the day. It takes me everywhere I need to go even when I’m mean to it. It has never failed me but I fail it all the time.

How to do better? That’s the $64,000 question.

This week has been stressful and tiring. Healthy eating, exercise and stress management are really just a pipe dream, something to be put off until the weekend when I undoubtedly will crash.

We all go through times like this and the best we can do is the best we can do. I’m trying hard to remember that good choices breed more good choices and that what I do to my body today will effect how I feel tomorrow.

I know that I’m approaching a breaking point when I simultaneously want to run away on a trip and also hide in my quiet house with a package of cookies.

A trip may be in my future but the cookies will not.

For today, I’ll just keep pushing forward and make the best decisions possible. And then tomorrow, I’ll wake up and do it again.

Things will be better soon.

A Mile Shy Of Laramie Peak

One goal for my western adventure was to climb Laramie Peak. Once a landmark for weary travelers along the Oregon Trail, today it is a popular area for recreation as part of the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming.

There is a nice hiking trail up the 10,274 foot mountain and Johnna and I were stoked to climb it. It’s about five miles up so we set out with packs full of water and supplies but felt no sense of urgency as the forecast was for blue skies all day.

This was the view early in the day.

Laramie Peak rocks and sky.JPG

Lovely, isn’t it? The sky was blue and clear, punctuated with puffy white clouds that my friend calls “Simpson’s Clouds.” It was the perfect day for a long hike.

Around mile three, we started running into rain showers. Just a little drizzle but we could see that a dark cloud was settling over us.

storm cloud.JPG

At mile four, the sky turned ominous and the rain picked up.

And then came the wind: wind so powerful that it sounded like a train coming up the mountain and so strong that it could knock you over.

The terrain turns rockier as you near the top, making travel treacherous when the ground and rocks are wet. There’s no cell service here and we saw just one house in the vicinity after traveling for miles without seeing another living soul – even at the campground.

In other words, it would be a long, lonely trip down the mountain to run for help for your friend should someone get hurt. And the rescue undoubtedly would involve a helicopter ride.

We discussed continuing on with our journey and considered sheltering in place if we could find somewhere safe. We had seen a number of natural rock ledges and shelters along the way but none were in sight in that last leg of the journey.

Ultimately, we abandoned our plan and headed back down the mountain toward safety.

It was the right thing to do, even if we were disappointed to abandon our goal. But there will be other trips and other mountains. And we still got in an eight mile hike which isn’t too shabby.

It was a friendly reminder that plans don’t always work out and that sometimes circumstances simply get in the way. We made the best of the day anyway and celebrated eight miles rather than be sad we didn’t make it to ten.

That’s a pretty nice victory too!

 

 

A Break in the Weather

Winter in southern Ohio has been interrupted by a few days of warmer temperatures this week. Wednesday was sunny and sixty degrees. Tuesday wasn’t quite that warm but the sunshine made it feel better.

So for the last few days I’ve walked at lunch and after work, soaking up the rays and enjoying a good stretch of the legs. After all, we know it won’t last so it’s a good idea to take advantage of it while we can.

Believe it or not, the above image is in the village where I work- the road through the cemetery winds along a hill, perfect for getting the heart pounding! And, in case you’re wondering, that hill is much bigger than it looks in the picture.

I would much rather be on a hike in the woods but this is a nice alternative when that’s not an option. Sometimes we just have to do the best we can with what we have and be glad for it.

Recommitting To Myself

new years 2019I’m not a huge fan of the New Year’s Resolution. Maybe it’s because I believe every day is a perfect time to commit to doing something that’s necessary or good. Maybe it’s because I see how quickly most people fail with their resolutions. It takes at least a month of commitment to form a new habit. Sadly it takes one bad decision and about five minutes to revert back to our old ways. Then discouragement sets in and before we know it, we’re waiting for next January 1 to repeat the process.

Last spring, my beautiful friend Sarah introduced me to the Whole 30. It’s designed to help kick a sugar addiction and it’s an elimination diet to help folks with health issues figure out their allergies or other food related problems. For me, it became more of a lifestyle to stave off sugar cravings, lose weight, have increased energy and greater mental focus. I even found that food was causing some mild Rosacea like symptoms.

I quickly learned that I am happier when I eat whole foods and avoid heavily processed stuff. 

It’s a real commitment to be a Whole 30 Pescaterian. It’s a lot of cooking and most convenience food is off the table because it’s packed with sugar and all sorts of nasties you can’t pronounce and probably shouldn’t digest. For most Whole 30’ers, the prospect of eating in a restaurant is enough to incite panic. In other words, it’s a commitment and a challenge. And unlike most diets, if you make a mistake today, you don’t just pick up and go on tomorrow. You go back to day one with every slip up. So if your goal is to just get through the thirty days, it’s stressful when you’re new or when you’re trying to eat on the go.

Like I said, I have achieved a place of lifestyle where I try to stick with it as much as possible but am not bound so tightly by the rules of being on a thirty day round. This healthier diet gave me more energy for hiking, working out and going on adventures. After a few months of being really strict, I gave myself a season of leniency – more or less to see what my tendencies are, what my weaknesses are and what I do if given some leeway.

Turns out, my weaknesses and natural tendencies are appalling.

So today I start a new Whole 30 round and recommit to some of the lifestyle choices that made me so happy last year – drink lots of water, fuel my body with good food, get outdoors when possible, hike a lot, read good books, listen to amazing music, write daily, and surround myself with people and things that make me happy.

I’m also doing a reset on my budget. The holidays and poor self control on this last road trip tell me that I simply cannot be trusted with food, money or anything else. Ha, ha… ahem.

So, I’m not making a resolution. Instead, I’m making conscious decisions to recommit to what’s good for me and to what’s really important.

If you are among the many today who are committing to a resolution, here’s my advice – PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!! Write out your strategies, write down what you’re doing, study your choices and reward yourself for good performance.

If your goal is to cut spending so you can pay off a credit card, you would need to make a budget, write down every penny you spend, study your spending habits and chart your progress as the credit card balance decreases. Then periodically reward yourself with something special but not necessarily something that costs money. Maybe you invite a friend over for coffee or take a long, hot bubble bath. If you have kiddos, plan a picnic at a local park.

You get the idea.

Whatever you do, remember that the thing you want – the slimmer body, the fatter bank account, the life without cigarettes, or whatever it is – you can work toward every day of the year. You don’t need a calendar or a silly annual tradition to make it happen. You WILL need some elbow grease and a commitment to make it reality.

I have my plan together and I have a goal to be good to myself. And really, my friends, what’s better than committing to being kind to yourself?

Best wishes with your resolutions or goals or whatever it is you call them. Go forth and conquer every day this year! Let’s make 2019 our best year yet!

Today

These last few weeks have been a struggle. Ever since the burglary I notice that I’ve been giving myself a free pass. A pass to eat that cookie because it comforts me, a pass to spend $20 on scrapbooking supplies to preserve my memories, a pass to stop worrying about anything because, after all, life is short. Why waste it worrying?

While science and common sense prove that stress will kill us, I have swung too far in the other direction. I don’t really worry about anything. Nothing seems to scare me these days.

Debt no longer weighs heavily on my mind and, consequently, I have been spending too much money lately. To be fair, much of the spending has gone toward home security measures and replacing the phone I ruined dropping it in water because I was terrified to be without it for even a minute. But the total has been creeping up and I just don’t care.

This isn’t like me.

It also isn’t like me to eat out a lot or to indulge in foods that I know are bad for me. After all,  I’m trying to clean up my diet, improve my lifestyle and become healthy. Cookies and garlic bread are not part of the plan. Neither is the pizza and Diet Pepsi I guzzled at a meeting last night.

My behavior is wrong. I know that. I should be sleeping, drinking water and eating a more balanced diet. I should stay away from stores and be happy with what I have and stop spending money on fast food and magazines (Magazines have long been a vice. I’m much happier when I’m not reading them too. Will have to cover that in a future post!).

I need to face the fact I’m struggling to pull it together and that I’m not especially happy most of the time. I keep thinking tomorrow will be better, next week I will be back to my old self, after I eat this wonderful slab of Chef Mary’s Cornbread Salad I will be ready to go again. But it never happens.

Today hasn’t been awful. I ate a good breakfast and reasonably balanced lunch. My snacks have been within reason. I haven’t been near a store and haven’t spent money on anything today. After work I plan to walk two miles before heading home to see my parents. I’m having dinner with them to celebrate the eight year anniversary of my dad surviving a heart attack.

And see? You would think the fear of bad genes and bad lifestyle choices would scare me into making better decisions! Not tomorrow but today!

Today I will be happy. Today I will treat my body kindly. Today I will pay attention to what my life needs. Today I will take charge and choose the good stuff. Today.