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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Life Without Mr T.

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Without going into detail, my house has been under some financial stress starting back in May. I realize it happens to everyone once in awhile, but it took a toll on us.

When we figured out the only way to get through it was to tighten the belts and just power on, we sat down at the kitchen table and made a plan. More dinner at home, less eating out, leftovers for lunch, date nights would be games at home or OnDemand movies, but even that was not going to be enough. We looked further into our finances and Hammy and Jarrett agreed that they would both put a freeze on their gym memberships. As much as I appreciated that from them, I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t. I use the gym as my sanctuary and might go insane if I tried to completely give it up, so I compromised and said I would stop with my trainer, Mr T, for a few months.

When I first signed my contract with Mr T, it was only going to be for six months. I knew that with my Spartan race coming up, I needed him to push me in a way I could not. I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but he figured it out rather quickly. As I have talked about in previous posts, getting the guidance of Mr T was eye opening for me. Starting out with him in September, I was not ready for what he had in store. Even though I had already been going to the gym for over a year, I had never put that kind of strain on myself. There were lots of squats, lots of lunges, lots of battle ropes, and even some bench pressing… I also believe there was some crying, some whining, and even some (sorry, but I swore this would be good bad and ugly) puking. Basically EVERYTHING my body was not used to.

It is now July. A little over two months since I have heard Mr T yell at me and tell me I could do it… but I think I have this. Last night when I went to the gym, I walked in and I was not sure what I was going to do. I stood by the water fountain as I filled my water bottle and chuckled as I literally said out loud, “WWMTD” (for those of you who don’t speak Heather, that was What Would Mr T Do). I decided the first thing he would have me do was some cardio, as he finished with the client he always had before our session, so I opted for the elliptical where I kicked out a mile. Then after that I stood in front of the mirror where we always called “home base” and looked around at my options… I knew that with the 12# kettle bell in front of me that is where he would have me start. So that’s what I did. Next I headed over to the machine I called the “crunch machine” (he told me what it was but stopped arguing with my Heather style names for everything.) where I did crunched until my belly hurt. What to do next?   I looked up and saw the medicine balls and knew that’s when he would have me do side bounces. From there I walked back to the “leg squeezer” where I did my push outs and squeeze ins and mixed in my lat pull downs. Doing the rounds of all of these exercises, just like he would have told me.

When I finished with my last set I looked around the empty gym and although he was not with me, I could hear him in my head making wise cracks, singing the music that the gym plays and teasing me.

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When I agreed to let Mr T go back in May, it broke my heart, but I have to say, he left a his mark on me. I appreciate everything he has done, and will continue to channel him when I need that extra kick in the butt! #becomingabetterme is so much easier when you have people on your side who understand and are good at getting you to the next step. Thank you Mr T!

I Can’t Unsee That

A good friend and I were having a nice conversation today. We talk daily, so we are always sharing things we have seen. Somewhere in our conversation he pops off with a “Hey, did you see the article about the Playboy Playmate body shaming a woman at the gym?”  I had not seen or heard about it, so he sent me the link. Before I read it, I was a little annoyed, thinking that someone was getting shamed AT THE GYM, stupid – but then, I read the article. I WAS LIVID!

(To start I will say it was posted on TMZ, so feel free to give it a read for yourself)

The long and short of the story is this Playmate, Dani Mathers, is at the gym, in the “locker room” and took a picture of a naked gym goer taking a shower and body shaming her on social media. Her Mean Girl antics have got her into some seriously hot water (and I personally vote for jail time), but the kicker is her public apology that basically said, “I am not sorry I am a b*tch and meant what I said, I am sorry I got caught saying it out loud!”

After talking telling my friend I read the article, and finished practicing my swear words, we changed the tone of the chatter. We talked about the big what if…

What if that were me??  I have been going to the gym for about two(ish) years now, and am past the initial ‘everyone is watching me’ feeling that I had at the beginning of my visits… but what if I wasn’t… what if someone actually shamed me in my first visit… WHERE WOULD I BE??

The answer to that is sadly simple, I would be exactly where I was two plus years ago, unhappy, overweight, and unhealthy. Those thoughts alone make me tear up. More than that, I would not be where I am. I know that sounds like a “duh” statement, but there is so much involved in that. I would not have met my new friends (and family) on my Cornfed team. I would not have had enough self confidence to go on adventures without a responsible adult to be my security blanket. I would never had the belief in myself to finish – not one, but tw0 – Spartan races. I would not have been able to better myself enough to become a trusted and respected coworker to my team. Above and beyond all of these things, I would not have found myself. Yes, I found me. I am now the person I knew I could be… or at least am pointed in the direction of becoming that better person I am striving to be.

It scares me to think I would lose my sanctuary. I use the gym as my outlet for daily stress, I go and walk my negative thoughts away, I lift away the ugliness that I see going on in the world, and come out stronger and lighter. I need that.

What Dani Mathers did to that poor woman is the lowest of low, and I only hope that it does not turn her off from #becomingabetterher … and take away whatever it is that the gym does for her. I hope that she has the inner strength to give Dani the middle finger and go right back to doing her thang, and doing it her way!

When I thought about writing this post I was so mad, I was worried that I would just use this as a rant, and I finish up (I am still mad, don’t think for a second I am not) it shows me how lucky I am to go to a gym where everyone is friendly. Thank you for being awesome, AnyTime.

Keep it classy, Dani Mathers… hope orange is your new black!

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!

 

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!!!

Sharing is Caring

12289612_10207695522726680_3827837324455363364_nGrowing up my family always had dinner at the table. Pretty much every night there was a main meat, a couple of veggie options, and maybe a can of fruit, applesauce, or cottage cheese. It was also common to have a pop and bake can of biscuits or crescent rolls with butter to make the meal complete. Dinner was always served with a glass of milk. Cokes were not permitted at the dinner table for the kids, and very infrequently even had by the adults. This was what a well rounded, fairly healthy dinner looked like to me.

My mother did her best to keep us healthy. She would always point at the broccoli on the table when one of us would ask for a second helping of mashed potatoes or would suggest that maybe the second biscuit should not have jelly on it.

Fast forwarding years later my mother has become even more health conscious. She and my step dad eat a lot of fish, try to steer clear of the pork and very rarely do you see a random bag of potato chips in her kitchen. When the kids and I go over there she offers snacks of yogurt with granola, bananas or apples, or even a glass of almond milk to take the edge off of the hunger if dinner is in the oven.

10903979_10205455305322645_8962295156564541714_oSince I started this #becomingabetterme journey, my mom has been a huge supporter (even if she isn’t a big reader and hasn’t really read my blog, sorry Mom, had to say that). She has told me about healthy options for snacks, talked me to about how to cook fish, even listened to me whine and cry about my upcoming races and how scared I was. She was right there telling me she could see the differences in me and swore I was going to come out on the other side alive and well. Since I didn’t die, I have to believe she was telling me the truth, right?

Well, after all of the support she has given me, she has also been asking me a lot of questions about this diet. How hard it is to eat healthy, how hard it is to not snack, if its difficult to not have ice cream… all valid questions and concerns, but honestly, none of these things have bothered me. (except the lack of ice cream…. I don’t know if you know this friends, but ice cream is my vice, and I miss it sooooo soooo sooo much!) Anywho, it is my turn to show her how to be better. Mom and my step dad are coming over for dinner tonight and the whole meal is going to be Whole30/Paleo compliant.

One of the misconceptions I had about the diet in the beginning was that “normal” food was not possible. This is where I was completely wrong, and I hope that I can show her how awesome this diet change has been and it is really about just having “normal” foods, but going with the fresh and nonprocessed.

The menu for the night consists of: steak, roasted red skin potatoes with garlic, spinach salad with homemade balsamic dressing, and grilled pineapple. Something that would not at all be weird to have on a random Tuesday night, but all within the diet. I am hoping for the same reaction I had when we first started. Something along the lines of “Wow, that really wasn’t difficult at all!”

So, friends and followers, wish me luck. It is not everyday that you get to show your mom a better way to live!