aug reflections, sept goals

Oh, man. Summer has been a whirlwind with lots of beach days, a Disney vacation, mini golf, early morning walks with the dog, a trip to Water Country, visits with family, Red Sox games, grilled meats, and walks to get ice cream. It was really a great summer and was full of love and laughter, regardless of how cliche it sounds. Now, here we are … September … the month of having an eighth grader, sixth grader, and preK-3 kiddo in the house.

Oy Vey.

I am NOT ready for this.

I also am not ready to start graduate school. Again. I wonder how many people have multiple graduate degrees, but honestly, most of my friends actually do… I suppose I surround myself with either really smart people or really nerdy people. I am not sure which category I fall into here… I guess the camp where none of us are too cool for school!

I am ready, however, for routines and my annual coffee and apple picking and mid-day walks with the Brutus and time to exercise someplace outside of my house and big weekend homemade brunches with the family, plus a surprise family day trip.

In addition to getting into the swing of fall fun, I am looking forward to really nailing down my routine. With 3 in preK, I am looking to capitalize on those nine hours a week to head to campus and work out. My goal is to do a 5K a day, 3-5x/week — and it doesn’t matter how those 3.1 miles are accomplished: walking, running, elliptical, bike, or any other cardio machine. I’d like to get in two lifting days a week and then yoga on the weekend (I found a studio close-by that has both hot and yin yogas; so, I hope I like it — one of the instructors is actually from my old studio in the city).

My fitness goals should help with manage my stress levels and anxiety. The diet piece is a little different — I want to just keep in mind that produce and water are my best friends, as is lunch — so, I want to make sure that I can maintain consistency. I am going to start to trust my body, otherwise; no tracking or monitoring what I’m eating. I know what works best for my body and I need to trust myself to make the best choices and follow the whole eat anything but not everything I want mantra.

Here’s to meeting my goals in September!

july reflections, august goals

July has been a great month! I feel like my health is improving, I’m down seven pounds, I’ve been to the beach as much as possible both to play with the kids and to read alone, and I am just overall feeling much lighter. All that being said, I did not meet any of my July goals — I stopped doing yoga and I only did one 5K; I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped and I feel fine about it.

Typically, I would get into my own head about such compromises: I’d feel anxious and I’d obsess about everything I didn’t do. This month, I took a different approach — I went into MayMyRun and turned off my goals and I canceled my yoga membership. Full disclosure: Getting into Boston for yoga was turning into a stress. There is a lot more traffic and there are a lot more people and unexpected road closures in the summer. It just became too much to leave 90 minutes before class instead of 45 and still find myself sprinting from the parking garage to the studio. I found a place close by that I am going to try once I decide I’m ready to dedicate the time again (September at the latest).

Enough about what I’ve not done. This month, I am going to focus on what I’ve done as I reflect. I have walked. A LOT. I only use the AppleHealth app on my phone, so it only logs steps I take when I have it on me. I have upped my walks with the dog, my son and I walk basically everywhere, and when I’m at the beach alone or with my husband, I go for long walks there. I am happy to say that I’ve been logging 2-6miles a day with minimal effort. I enjoy walking and I am finding that walking the dog 4-6x a day has him in a great mood as well. Win-Win!

I have also been eating better. I’m not really making a lot of food adjustments. I have just been watching and am making sure I don’t skip lunch and then eat nonstop from 3:30-bedtime. My goal is to lose 3lbs a month, which I think is reasonable and healthy and it will not have me feeling like I can’t eat cupcakes or have a drink or a shrimp quesadilla when the mood strikes. This has been a great approach for me so far.

Additionally, I haven’t been planning long, elaborate meals. Mostly, we’ve been grilling chicken and corn on the cob and serving it with either grilled or cold vegetables and watermelon. It’s easy and delicious and the pressure of meal prep/planning is largely gone for the time being. What I have been planning are trips — I am taking 3 on a surprise trip a month after his birthday. I booked our flights and our hotel and have gotten in touch with friends in that area. I cannot wait! I have also planned on going back to school and registered for my fall classes. Truth be told, I am nervous but excited.

I am hoping to keep things much the same for August. I want to continue to eat in a healthy, mindful way. I also need to be sure that I’m walking the dog and myself regularly. I can get back to yoga and running in September without skipping a beat. I know that once the school year starts and we are in more of a groove, I like to have more structure but for now, I want to allow myself to enjoy the leisurely exercise that I’m getting and the no-stress, no-pressure summer ways.

june reflections, july goals

Oh, man. June was not what I thought it would be in terms of health goals and really anything else aside from cupcake consumption. I only went to yoga a couple of times and really only could commit to my weekly 5K (except for the last week of the month). There were a lot of trips (VT & Disney to name two of them) that threw me off of my routine and once I’m off, I always struggle to get back into a routine.

My 5K times for June continued to improve with my personal best time of 28:44. I am planning to pick up my weekly 5K this week. I missed last week because we were in Disney and logged 40 miles on foot for the week (and that was with three resort days)!

I put my yoga classes on hold for August, but am planning to get there for the weekends. There is a lot of roadwork between my house and Boston now and the commute in has been more stressful driving and a solid 90 minutes if I take the MBTA. I think it being tourist season causes stress on getting in and through the city, so I am going to try to get there the weekends this month and then may try a studio closer to home to see if I like it there enough to go regularly.

Our vacations were great! I wrote about my BIL’s birthday already and will recap our Disney trip when I have a few minutes. Finally, the Boston weather is rain free for a few days and I plan on capitalizing it by hitting the beach every single day this week! I took 3 yesterday to a local beach and with the high being 74, I decided we’d just go and play in the sand. I always seem to forget how hot it can feel being in the sun, so I told him to just go into the water in his clothes. We had a blast!

Today, we are going to a different beach (basically, the plan for the week — each day a new beach!) and are going to pack lunch and some snacks and will wear our bathing suits. I can’t wait!

In addition to the beach goals for July and scaling back on my exercise goals to weekly 5Ks and weekend yoga; I want to pay closer attention to my nutrition. I started doing Weight Watchers and it’s been going well. I am eating more carbs that I have been in the last several years and am losing weight and actually feeling pretty great. I lost five pounds in June with excessive cupcake consumption, so I’m interested in seeing what July brings (though, in truth, both my husband’s and my birthdays are mid-month, so I’m sure there will be plenty of cake to go around this month too). I plan to write about my experience with this and my ‘why’ when I have some free time because it’s been a lot more freeing than Whole30 was for me…

Lastly, meal prep. I am pretty much throwing meal planning out the window aside from buying a good bit of shrimp, chicken, burgers/hot dogs and a then a bunch of vegetables, because we’ve been grilling nightly and it’s nice to have less planning in the summer but still have really healthy meals. Last night, we marinated some chicken and grilled that along with asparagus and corn on the cob; the night before, we grilled shrimp and peppers and made fajita pitas (SO GOOD). Summer cooking is so much easier. Tonight, we are doing a different marinade for chicken, grilled zucchini and more corn on the cob. I can’t wait!

Here’s to hoping July is as freeing as I need it to be but that I also am able to hold myself accountable to the few workouts a week that I’m planning.

may reflections, june goals

May has been a great month for personal growth and movement! First, I landed a big consulting gig and am working to develop a charter school proposal for a group on the west coast. Second, my exercise was consistent. I started 5K Fridays and I took a big challenge on and decided to try back-to-back yoga classes. I was really intimidated by taking a 90-min class but I’ve survived and I am seeing strength increase in my body; my second class on Tuesdays is a yin class where I drape myself over various props for an hour and leave feeling like I can float away! It’s a great combo and it seems to be balancing my body well. My nutrition is improving as well; I talked to my doctor about my concerns and she gave me some ideas, so I am going to try that out in June and see how things go.

I am really proud of myself for my consistency around cardio this month. I tried to lock myself into a routine of:
– 1.5 miles + weights (Monday)
– 90 min hot yoga & 60 min yin yoga (Tuesday)
– 1 mile + weights (Wednesday)
– off (Thursday)
– 5K (Friday)
– 90 min hot yoga (Saturday)
– 90 min vinyasa & deep relaxation (Sunday)

The Sunday class is a great way to wind down after the busy week. The poses are slower and held longer and then there are props at the end for a restorative portion. I feel like this is a great combination of exercise for me and if I’m feeling burnt out or over-run, it’s easy to drop the 90-min class on Tuesday or Wednesday’s run.

Now to discuss the 5K Fridays — my goal around this is to eventually (in winter) get to a weekday 5K. I have a plan to slowly ramp up to that, figuring that I’m outside walking around a lot more in the summer and the winter added exercise should be able to help me better maintain my health. At the end of 2018, I would rarely attempt a 5K. My mile time was about 11:45 for one; 12:30 pace for two; and 13:30 for three. On Instagram, there’s a man who started to run a 5k a day — this is really what gave me the confidence to start working towards that. I was really thrilled with the work I’ve put in 2019 to improve my physical health.

My 5K splits for May are as follows:
May 3, 29:51
May 11, 29:26 (Saturday instead of Friday; Mother’s Day plans had me alter schedule)
May 17, 29:24
May 24, 29:15
May 31, N/A (I told myself all day that I’d tough it out despite feeling run-down thanks to my allergies but at the end of the day, I decided to forgo the last one. I’ll pick it back up next Friday.)

I know for people who are fast, this may not seem like much, but to me it’s huge. I’ve never broken 30 minutes for a 5K; not even when I was in high school and ran track (and was far more fit). This tells me that I am doing something right and that my consistency is paying off.

When I went to the doctor last week, I talked about how I’m seeing a change. I’m definitely getting faster and stronger (I can lift more and certain poses in yoga that I couldn’t do before are easier for me to flow through); my pants are getting looser; and I’m seeing more definition in my muscles; however, my weight is steadfast and isn’t changing. This is when she introduced I look into a low-glycemic diet. She shared her experience doing this last summer and said it made a difference. She told me that as we get older, exercise isn’t going to be enough to move the scale. So, I’ve done my research and am focusing on foods that are natural and whole. This is something that we do a decent amount of but we also rely on takeout/delivery far more than we should. I think that this will help to stay focused on healthier.

My goals for June are to continue a yoga schedule similar to above — travel will make it difficult to get there week to week but I’m confident I will figure it out and get in as many classes as I can (or fill in with self-practice at home). I like the contrast of the heated vinyasa class, which is quick and challenging with the yin yoga, which leaves me feeling floaty and relaxed. Saturday’s class is similar to Tuesday’s heated one and Sunday strikes a great balance between them all. I think that these classes all support the cardio I’m doing.

My running goals will adjust for June a bit:
Mondays, 2 miles + weights
Wednesdays, 1 mile + weights
Fridays, 5k
If, for some reason, I have to skip weekday workouts, then I at least want to make sure that I get the 5k in.

Beyond fitness and health, I’d like to get back to reading more. I have a handful of books that have gone untouched since the semester picked up. Ideally, I’d go down to the beach and read but the weather hasn’t supported that. I’m hoping to get back into reading this month and to continue on my writing. I’d like to shift some and focus more about parenting adventures — for whatever reason, I never get the details/tone right when trying to write about something that’s happened. Hopefully, I can start to work on that.

Overall, I think that my goals are attainable and I’m looking forward to seeing what June brings!

april to may

April was a really busy month for us! We hosted my parents twice; my husband ran the Boston Marathon (so proud); we hosted Easter… The kids started state testing in April and that continues through May, as do field trips and end of year activities. We are checking out a Parochial pre-school program for 3 on Sunday and while soccer’s been delayed a week due to rain, we have that on the horizon as well.

I have found that blogging has really helped me stay accountable to myself and continue to prioritize my health and wellness. It’s truly been a gift! This is the first area I’m going to discuss. My diet went a little out of control over the month of April; more meals out than usual and with company, richer foods than what my body’s used to. While I didn’t gain any weight, I definitely gained some bloat/puffiness, so I’m hoping in May to dial it back a little and get back to eating how I prefer to eat — largely gluten and dairy free, reduced grains, and lots of vegetables/fruits (and potatoes) with a moderate amount of meat, which I’d like to start swapping some out for seafood for lunch. My goal for May is to also continue making mostly good choices that don’t leave me feeling puffy on date nights. We try to go out weekly and it’s tough to always choose the healthier options but I think I mostly do a good job… sometimes, though, you have to have the shrimp quesadilla.

Further, I want to stay with my exercise goals. I track my exercise on the MapMyRun app. I’ve been using it for about 10 years now (back when it was just a website). Currently, I have two goals in place: Run 3 miles a week and Exercise for 3 hours a week. While I did not meet the 3-hour weekly work out (feel short two weeks, 2.19 & 2.24 hours), I did meet my 3 mile goal weekly. Today, I talked myself into just running half a mile to meet that goal and should have 3 hours of time completed after tomorrow’s yoga.

For May, I want to increase my mileage goal to 4 miles per week and maintain the 3 hour workout goal. Most of that time comes from yoga, which is tough because I’ve realized that the night classes are really rough on my body — I get home around 9PM and am more than ready for dinner, so I end up eating more than I typically would and I go to sleep too late/ wake up sluggish and exhausted. My semester ends on May 13th, so Monday nights will get back to normal then. Otherwise, I’ve decided to take one fewer yoga class a week. The yin class I take is really great, so I don’t want to drop that one; therefore, I’ll keep my Tuesday night class but will drop my Friday night class. I will keep Saturday and Sunday morning/early afternoon classes. I figure if I feel I can get to a Friday (or any other night) class or double up a T/Sa/Su class, then that’s great but otherwise, I will still get regular practice in.

For our anniversary (today), my husband got me a yoga bolster and two more blocks. I’m really excited because I think I can do restorative yoga at home now and it’s my goal to do that on Friday nights to come down from the busy week.

At the end of May, my husband and I are doing a staycation in the city while my MIL stays with the kids for a few days. I can walk to my yoga studio and my husband is doing a half marathon that weekend, so we are planning to stay active. We also got Red Sox tickets, which should be fun!

All in all, I hope that May can shape into a great month for us. I am really looking forward to seeing the pre-school for 3. 11 has a big field trip on Monday to a ropes course and he’s really excited about it.

Do you have anything fun planned for May?

 

march reflections, april goals

I have had a busy March: 10 turned 11, 12 turned 13, and I tried to stay calm and motivated by attending yoga and logging a few running miles (plus weight training) a week. I am happy to report that I met mostly met my goals for March! Every Sunday, I note in my planner my goals for the week — typically, I try to do 3-5 yoga classes, drink at least 64oz of water a day, log 3 miles a week and 1-2 weight training days, take my toddler on at least one excursion a week, and do my meal planning and grocery shopping.

A few things I learned this month — My goal for April is to split the mileage from 1mile/workout to 1.5 miles/workout and run twice a week with weights both days. IF I am only doing yoga 3x in that week, I’d like to add an additional weight training and 1.5mile workout to the mix. I have goals set on MapMyRun to log 3 miles weekly and to work out for at least 3 hours weekly; sometimes the ‘GOAL’ tab is inaccurate but I pulled up my ‘monthly progress’ and am proud to report that I met both goals each week for the month of March. I also hit a 9:00 minute mile; I was so close to just breaking in at 8:59, so I’m hoping in April, I’ll be able to.

I’ve also learned that 3-4 yoga classes a week are completely doable; 5 classes is where I apparently need to draw the line and the thought of attending that extra class does nothing but cause me stress. As a result, for April, I will have a goal to attend 3-4 classes a week — typically, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. This seems to work out best for me and gets me a variety of classes — Fridays and Sundays, I take Vinyasa & Deep Relaxation classes. I really like these because I feel it’s the best of both worlds. I build heat and then end in a few restorative poses. Saturdays, I typically take a heated hip hop yoga class; if for some reason, I can’t get there, they offer a V&DR class at night that I’ve enjoyed. Tuesday is a Yin & Restorative class and I always feel so buoyant afterwards; honestly, I feel like I could float away. This class is perhaps the most challenging I take because I find it difficult to not fidget during pose holds. I’m really happy that I tried it, though, because I find it really beneficial.

A funny thing about yoga, too — I am noticing that I’m really a part of a valued community at my studio. I’ve started to form bonds with people I see regularly; I feel comfortable going into the back room for a bolster if I want to warm up with one before a class where they’re not used; I’ll grab an extra block or blankets if I feel like it’ll help my practice. This may not seem like much but in the past, I’d have dwelled on wanting something only to deal with a convergence of my anxiety making me not want to get it and feeling regret for not getting it. This is a pleasant, welcome improvement for me and I’m ever grateful.

Yoga has also helped keep me grounded when other things in my life that are beyond my control are going on. I have kept with my practice (and my running/lifting), which on little sleep feels daunting most days, but I know that this is ultimately helping me maintain calm and order throughout my day for my own family. I am allowing myself to prioritize my needs and that greater enables me to support the needs of my family.

I have been staying largely on top of nutrition, but will try to reign things in a bit better for April. I want to be mindful of how I eat with the marathon coming up — my husband is running Boston and we have guests coming to town, so it’s easy to fall into the takeout/unhealthy eating trap. I also have been lax lately with eating grains, despite noticeable inflammation. We had cupcakes for 11’s birthday, doughnuts for 13’s, plus a date night that included a shrimp quesadilla (SO GOOD) and another in Boston’s North End with homemade pasta. I definitely notice a difference in how my body feels, so I’m going to try to approach April with more deliberate decisions around nutrition.

My last goal for April is getting out of the house more with my toddler. We love to go to playgrounds nearby, plus he loves riding his balance bike. We’ve been blowing bubbles the last few days and it’s just nice to be outside as the air warms. We also really like to go to the zoo; we were taking trips there until the wet winter weather hit. I love that I get to stay home with 3 because we can get out on weekdays with smaller crowds to do these types of activities.

self care sunday

I have a little routine that I do on Sundays.

I start my mornings with a 90-minute heated vinyasa and restorative class. Afterwards, I like to grab something to eat and enjoy a few minutes at home alone before everyone returns from church. Typically, I like to get my planner out. If it’s the beginning of the month, I’ll write in all of the happenings; then, I fill in my plan for the week. I like to set my goals (chores, exercise/health, plans, etc) and have them all there to review as the week goes on. This helps me stay accountable and also helps keep my anxiety in check.

In addition to planning out my week, I like to look at my birthday list. I made it a goal to send birthday cards to close friends and family, so I like to see who I need to fill out a card for. I also like to do a little health & beauty self-care.

My husband got me two face masks for Christmas. One is a charcoal kit with a magnet — it’s wonderful and always leaves me skin looking and feeling great; the other is a peel mask and I use it in tandem with face wash. I like to do the charcoal mask on Sundays when I can because it takes a while to set and it’s really nice to end the weekend/start the week feeling good. (If I miss the weekend mask, I’ll use the peel mask on date night for perfect-looking skin.)

Tonight, in addition to my charcoal mask, I used a sugar scrub and a rich lotion; I also gave myself a mani-pedi. I like to have my nails painted but rarely make time to get them done and even less frequently do I make the time to do them myself. (Surprisingly, wet nails plus three kids and a dog isn’t a winning combination.)

It’s been a good day to calm down and reset — I’m glad I prioritized self care today and still had time to make a big batch of pasta salad, egg sandwiches for the kids’ breakfasts, and school lunches. I am looking forward to hitting the week with a run/weights tomorrow and a calm presence.