Summer of Fun

 

As I was looking at Facebook and going through some of my pictures I couldn’t help but smile. As a mother of active teenagers and then the wife of a game designer I am always busy. Running here… taking kids there… then adding in the normal stuff that every household has to deal with: groceries, dinner, cleaning, WORKING… but this summer, this summer was a little different. I took time to do things for me, and let me tell you, I loved it. Not only did I love it, but truly, I needed it.

When I started the journey of #becomingabetterme, I had to start out by figuring who and what I wanted to be. Sure, I wanted to weigh less, I wanted to be healthier, I wanted to be nicer, but honestly, I wanted to be happier.

That was where I had a problem. I have never really been in a place that allowed me enough time to stop and figure out what is that made me happy. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom and a wife makes me happy, but I needed to know what made HEATHER happy. What HEATHER wanted out of life. This summer has given me a glimpse of all of that.

This summer started off with my Journey concert at the track. Then Def Leppard/REO Speedwagon/Tesla at Klipsch. Then two concerts in one weekend Chris Young/Brad Paisley followed the next night by Gwen Stefani. Then last concert of my summer was Rob Thomas/Counting Crows all at Klipsch as well. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but music is a big part of my life and to get to see some of my faves belt out their songs live, well, that is epitome of happy in my book.

Let us not forget my birthday extravaganza… I realize my birthday was a singular day, but as a lover of my special day, I tend to drag it out for at least the month.

Now only was the summer music packed but (as always) we added Gen Con to the mix. (Did I mention I am a huge nerd?) Four days of nothing but gaming… the “four best day of gaming” to be exact. Never a dull moment there. Not only did I spend a lot of brain power winning over half of the games I played, but I got to enjoy the cosplayers in their personalized versions of pop culture, comic, or game character costumes.

To round out the summer, there was a Housing Conference in Detroit I got the privilege of attending. For those who do not know, my job is all rules and regulations and compliance and structure… and I love it. My part of the conference was learning more rules and how to figure  cash flow and net operating income (blah blah blah, right… wrong. I LOVE IT!). Yes, it was mind melting, but I love learning how to do my job better.

Needless to say, in a matter of three short months I squeezed in a lot of play time. Which by extension was time practicing being a better me.

Before I sat down to write this, when I was looking at my pictures I started to get a little down on myself. I ran no real races (yes I have done a couple of virtual 5ks, but no real ones), I haven’t been with Mr T (my trainer) since the beginning of May, and there really hasn’t been a week where I have gone to the gym more than two times, where I was going three to four times each week… but then I looked at what I had done.

I spent time with friends, I walked miles upon miles without flinching, I made my brain stronger, and even taught the noob gamers a thing or two ; ) I enjoyed myself and still did what I needed to do to figure out that I am more than a mom or a wife… I am a person and the happier I am, the more productive I can be!

Once I got past all of that, I also realized that I did put in some serious gym time, and even managed to keep my weight right where I left off in May!

I can honestly say, with the kids back in school and the summer winding down I am looking forward to seeing what comes next!

 

 

 

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Figuring Out Forty

IMG_20160605_233629I remember, as a teenager, thinking about how old my mother was. She never acted her age, or even looked it, but the numbers didn’t lie. My sisters and I use to tease her about her being an old maid. At that time she was only  close to 40. As I sit here and type this I AM 40. Not almost, not getting there, I AM 40. In the footsteps of my mother, however, I do not act, nor do I look it… but again, the numbers do not lie.

I made jokes and laughed about it, but under it all I was scared to death to be 40.

 

I am sure that most of you are asking me “Why??” in your head right now, and I will tell you the simple answer… because I am not where I wanted to be at 40. More specifically I am not sure where I wanted to be at 40.

Those of you who have known me for half of my life are probably laughing because you know that the person I am now is a far cry from where any of you thought I would be anyway (and you are right), but for those of you who have recently met me, well… the old Heather pales in comparison. Do not misunderstand me, I am not tooting my horn here,  I am just saying, the Heather of five years ago was not this go-getter you know now. She would probably try to hide under the bed if the new Heather even looked her direction…  Anyway, the point I am trying to make here is I am not done figuring myself out and 40 seems like a crazy time to start… or keep going… whatever… but that old Heather seemed to be okay with normal and hum-drum… the new Heather isn’t.

What else does one do at 40? What other adventures can be found?? The possibilities are endless and so in my desire to embrace them! But first, I gotta get myself out of this funk.

To start with I am going back to the “EAT ME” days and hitting my whole 30 and paleo diet again. Resetting my body (again) is an excellent way to get the ball rolling. Next, its back to the gym three to four times a week. I see nothing wrong with focusing on me for an hour or so every couple of days. There will never be a squat butt without squats, so its on the list too. Lastly, find a new race and sign up. Even if it is a virtual 5k, getting back into the swing of things is the only way to move forward. After all, I still have to achieve my goal of  being able to run around my block without stopping!

I can do this… I want to do this… I am going to do this! #becomingabetter me is just going to have to move into the new decade and see where it takes us!

 

Don’t Stop Believin’

 

As I started this journey I promised to always be honest. Honest about the ways I succeeded as well as the way I failed.

Friday was a success. I am sure there was some eye rolling, especially from those of you who know that I went to see Journey with a couple of friends. Like, “really Heather, a concert is a success? Haven’t you done that before?!” Of course the answer is yes, yes I have, but this one was different.

Let me back up a little. For so many years there were things I wanted to do, was even invited to do, but the fear of failure kept me from saying yes and tagging along. Things that involved physical exertion was always a no for me. I missed out on so many adventures for fear not being able to handle the activity, getting winded and tired, and then letting my friends down. Keeping them from enjoying their adventure was the LAST thing I wanted. So I respectfully declined, and then just lived vicariously through their stories later.

Since I have been working out and walking and just all around treating myself better, I have been able to enjoy life so much more. Friday was one of those days. Jennifer had gotten two tickets to see Journey (one of my all time favorite bands since I was old enough to have an opinion on music), and offer one to me. I did not even hesitate to say yes to her! It wasn’t until later that I realized the concert was actually at the track (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for those who didn’t realize I was a Hoosier) on Friday before the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. When I found out, I still didn’t get nervous or worried, I knew that there would be a ton of walking (and as a side note, a TON of people watching… including the Mariachi clown in the chaps who happen to ride a Harley, but anyway)  I was perfectly fine with that!

Jen and I walked all over the Snakepit (a rather entertaining section of the track, I might add), people watching and laughing at the distinct generational differences and later met up with another one of my favorite people, Emily with her family, by the concert section of the infield. It was a fabulous day. Laughing, dancing, and singing our hearts out! I am not sure of a time I was happier?! It was truly a dream come true, and this would have never would have happened just two short years ago.

When I began working out and doing all of this to become a better me, the tool I used to measure myself against was other people, Spartan racers specifically, but I don’t need to do that. I can measure me against me. Using the old me as a starting point, I have come leaps and bounds from where I was.

A friend recently told me, “I don’t think you are becoming a better you, I think you are becoming the you you were always meant to be.” and he was right. This is me, someone who isn’t (as) scared to try. Someone who has enough get-up-and-go to be able to see a concert where about 4 miles of walking could happen. More than that, someone who isn’t going to give up what she wants just for fear of failing.

Again, I say this was a success. I got to fulfill my dream of seeing one my all time favorite bands in concert. A small victory, but a victory none the less… and ya know what? Those count too in this journey of #becomingabetterme.

Eat Me – The Final Installment

12716035_10208236210603539_8613048037293674295_oThis is the 3rd and final installment of Eat Me. The first was at the beginning of the month to start of the diet, the second installment was about midway through the month to give a brief progress report, and now as the month is coming to  a close and our month long paleo/whole 30 challenge is over, this is my review and final thoughts. I know technically we are only on the 28th day of February, but since its a short month, we are calling this a success.

Before all of this started, we talked about when we would be able to fit this type of diet change into our lives and when we decided that Feb would be the best month we didn’t think about it being the shortest month AND it would also be the month to celebrate the 16th birthday of my son. Those things considered, we know that we are using the term “month” loosely, but even with those things added into the equation, I am so happy with the way this turned out.

This was not something that could be entered in lightly, there was prep work that had to be dealt with.  To get started, on January 31st I made sure I weighed in, we went to the grocery store, and even talked about how far we were going to take this challenge. The first decision we made was that we would NOT give up out tablespoon of creamer in our morning coffee. The other decision we made was that our cooking would be done with olive oil and unsalted real butter. (Both the whole 30 and the paleo websites that we looked at suggested using ghee, but frankly, we wanted to make this as painless as possible, so we stuck with what we knew) Lastly, we decided that salads and fruits would be a huge part of the diet.

I promise I did not glaze over the weighing in thing… a lady never tells her weight but I will tell you the starting number was XX1.0 and when I weighed in this morning, I was looking at  XX5.0 which means I lost 6lbs in the process. Hammy, although I have no idea the starting or ending number, the bottom line for him was the loss of 17 lbs. I will not go into my frustration about how that happens, so I will just say I am happy for him.

12646969_10208116971142627_2109461552468668041_nCoffee creamer, I know it is dairy, and I know that it is unacceptable but when we agreed to take on this diet change I wanted to remain a semi-pleasant person, so the idea of taking creamer out of my life would not have been good for everyone, so that tablespoon daily was all that was allowed.

Moving onto the even better points… for the entire 28 days, neither Hammy nor I had a shred of heartburn! As I said before this was something that we both had struggled with many nights, but since this change, our nights have been way more peaceful!

I know in the second installment of Eat Me, I gave you a lot of menu items, but there were a couple of other things I wanted to throw in. By accident, I came across the combination of cucumbers and pineapple. Yes, I know it is crazy, but together in a salad they are amazing! Another pleasant surprise was how much I enjoyed lamb steaks on the grill. They are a little tougher than a beef steak but very yummy. I already told you about my new found love of plantains, but after a post on instagram I learned that plantain chips exist and make an amazing snack. Lastly, and probably my best find was Larabars. They come in so many flavors and are gluten free, soy free, dairy free, etc – and very whole 30 and paleo compliant. These will all continue to be staple in my daily meals.

I am really sorry that this has not been an “EDGE OF YOUR SEAT” type of post, but I was trying to be a little more informative in this one. To answer the question that several people have already asked me, YES, I plan to stay fairly true to this diet as I can see a whole new me coming out of it! I don’t have food coma sleepiness, the heavy groggy belly two hours after a meal, and I just really sleep better!

12771680_10208275858754718_6885379568679501588_oNow, if you will excuse me, like I said, this is the birth month of my son and tonight we are expecting several guests to help celebrate… and how do you celebrate the 16th birthday and the success of a diet challenge?? Well, with a Dairy Queen ice cream cake of course!!!