end-of-year goals

About halfway through November, I realized I didn’t set any written goals aloud but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working towards some. I recently met with a nutritionist who I talked to about trying to lose enough weight to get within my healthy zone — I know that more than weight counts for health and I’ve been definitely working on my health this year. I have lost twenty pounds with minimal effort and have maintained that loss through many trips and even more cupcakes. Still, I want to match that loss in 2020.

With the nutritionist, she recommended I actually increase my carbs intake. I’m certainly not on a low-carb diet and I eat lots of potatoes but she recommended using more oats, brown rice, and pastas. I also talked to her about incorporating more plant-based meals into my life. Before I met my husband, I rarely ate meat because I won’t touch raw meat and thus won’t cook it — it’s really easy to eat plant-based when you refuse to handle any proteins. I decided to largely go back to that (and take my family with me). My husband was easily on board because so many of his runner friends told him that moving toward a plant-based diet would help improve his running time.

Incorporating more grains and eating less meat kind of go hand-in-hand in my mind, so this has been a fairly simple transition. Trader Joe’s makes it easy enough to buy meatballs if the kids want to add meat to a pasta dish and last week, we bought a rotisserie chicken and my husband broke it down so that there was the option of adding chicken. 11 & 13 (especially) are big on meat eating; 4 is like me — he could take it or leave it. This is a central part of our end-of-year goals; basically, intuitive eating with foods and nutrients.

Additionally, I have been focusing on moving more. I have struggled to get into a routine and my nutritionist asked why I felt the need to be in a routine. She suggested I look into ClassPass, which has been great. My old yoga studio in the city participates, as do several in my immediate area — these classes coupled with my gym membership on campus and my at-home cardio equipment and weights should have me covered. So, my goal is to get to at least two yoga classes a week — I can typically fit them in on weekends and then take further advantage on days my husband works from home. On other days, I can just do cardio at home or use the spin bikes/Expresso workouts at the gym.

So, my goals around fitness are to keep on this path — do what I feel like doing and if I don’t feel like doing anything, try to talk myself into getting in a 10-min yoga video or a mile run. So far, this has been working for me and I’m hoping to continue to push forward with continuing this way.

Lastly, I’ve been straightening my hair more regularly, which has given me a big boost — hair, eyeliner, and mascara accompanied by high-waisted ‘mom jeans’ and crop sweaters.

With all this being said, here’s to ending 2019 in such away that encourages me to keep eating carbs and plants, moving my body in ways that push boundaries and ways that make me feel healthy, and getting myself ready for tasks like the grocery store.

sept reflections, oct goals

Wow! September has flown by! Four-fifths of my household is back in school, myself included and my husband is the glue holding us all together. Lucky him! Personally, I am enjoying half of my classes so far; the other is okay. I am a little disappointed, to be honest: There’s a lot of theorist review, so it’s not particularly exciting but the worst part is that there is very little class engagement. It is a stark contrast to my other class where we are encouraged to try new things and the discussion boards are very active; even in the online platform, I can feel my classmates’ passion and interest in their collective work.

The whole program I am in is online, which is a really big adjustment to me. I’ve been going on campus to the library two nights a week and am treating both classes like an in-person class, so that I have those hours allotted during the week for work. I also try to get things done during 3’s “naps” and when I can take an hour or two to slip upstairs away from the chaos. I think that because I am so excited to be learning new things, it keeps me going and I don’t feel so bogged down with the work. I just hope when all is said and done, that this translates to employment in a library — sounds like such fun work!

13 is enjoying eighth grade and currently has straight As; she is anxiously (and not even the least bit patiently) waiting for the music teacher to announce this year’s musical. 11’s transition to middle school is going as expected; he’s having a more positive experience with peers but is greatly disorganized. We are watching from the sidelines to see how he handles things, which is easier said than done much of the time. 3 is also enjoying school; he’s going super part-time and he just loves his teacher. There are a lot of adjustments for him (big boy bed, front-facing car seat, school for everyone) and he’s having a hard time but I know that he will settle eventually.

My goals around school are to maintain my focus and schedule and in regards to the kids, to maintain my patience. 3 has some rough days and I try to remain calm as best I can. I give myself frequent breaks when needed and have been walking our boy, Bruttie, every chance I can so that I’m getting fresh air and some exercise. I also bought a Groupon for a new yoga studio; my in-laws got me a gift card for my birthday and I finally got around to using it. I am excited to give the next month a go at the new studio; hopefully, I can set down some roots at this studio and get back on my yoga grind. I am going to continue to try box jumps and tire flips. I’ve also been using the Expresso bikes at the gym and really like the workouts pre-programmed. I want to continue with that and also get back to challenging myself by doing a 5K a month — I liked doing the 5K a week in the spring and summer but I kind of doing what feels right each day and I want to continue with that trend.

Otherwise, my health goals are to just continue doing what I’m doing. I have been walking with our Bruttie Boy a lot. It’s good for us both. I have been drinking a lot of water and trying to eat foods that agree with my body and keep the ones that don’t to a minimum. I am just trusting my mind and body more; this is what I always used to do and then I’m not really sure what happened but I want to get back to a place where I can do that.

I also want to continue grocery shopping without a list. It’s easy enough to figure out what we can make based on what I buy and hit the store for a few more items that are needed, if even anything is needed. I am going to try to highlight a meal or two each week that we’ve made and maybe include recipes/pictures so that I can write posts specifically about the meals we enjoy.

Lastly, my final set of goals for October is to bring back Self-care Sunday (or Saturday) where I paint my nails and/or use a face mask. I work out and try to keep a clear mind, so when I think about self-care at home, I think of pampering.¬† Other¬†things I’m looking forward to in October:
– Apple Picking
– Fall walks
– 3 turning 4
– Bruttie turning 10
– Family date day
– A fresh haircut
– Boots & booties and other fall-related fashion
– Hot toddy consumption: apple cider, lemon, cinnamon, and 1T of bourbon

 

 

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.

yoga-spiration

I was a little discouraged on Friday after yoga. I take a vinyasa/restorative class and for whatever reason, really struggled during the flow portion of class. I was frustrated and while that subsided when the restorative portion of class came about, I left feeling disappointed in my body’s abilities. Still, I hit the mat on Saturday afternoon for my hip hop class. It was very challenging because of the chosen poses/sequences, but I left feeling proud of what my body allowed me to do.

Then, Tuesday rolled around…

Tuesday was kind of a strange day for me: I ate a pound of asparagus for lunch and then dreamed of dancing of french fries on the drive to and at the end of yoga.

I take a yin and restorative class on Tuesdays. I’d briefly considered taking a hip hop class this week but I really enjoy the stillness of the yin portion and always leave in such a great headspace (which is absolutely necessary with the treacherous threes my toddler is going through). As class ended, I was planning my next move: French fries from byChloe.

byChloe is just down the street from yoga and I decided to try it because my usual, Dig Inn, stopped serving their chili oil brussels sprouts last week and I am oddly affected. I looked at the menu beforehand and figured on a Greek salad (sans tofu feta & chickpeas) and air-fryer fries. Before I left, I grabbed some beet ketchup (holy moly) and chipotle aioli — what a lovely treat and a great way to top off a strong showing at yoga.

I am looking forward to Friday’s class and am hopeful that my body will be more willing to expand and experience growth. I’m also planning to change up some of my classes in the coming weeks. I want to try a strength & structure class and a different yin class. I’ll be sure to update on the different classes/instructors, as I’m looking forward to more experiences!

Additionally, I am considering getting a bolster and yoga blanket for my practice at home. I have one block but want to get a set of two as well. My goal in the coming weeks is to do more self practice at home and also start to add in some elliptical and weight training — nothing to overly exert myself, but just to aid in strength building. I’d like to have a stronger routine so that once the weather breaks, I can get out for walks more frequently and maybe the occasional run.

What are some of your exercise reflections and goals?

 

 

yoga with benefits

I was really excited when I got back to the mat last month and joined a studio that offers hip hop yoga (the class that originally got me hooked years ago). Since joining, I’ve taken vinyasa (heated), vinyasa + restorative, yin yoga, restorative, and the hip hop. There are other classes offered that I’ve not had the chance to take yet, but I’m interested in the slow flow and strength/structure classes.

I’ve been thinking about other things that have changed since I started attending classes. First and foremost is my exercise regimen. I had been doing at-home practice a few days a week but only for short periods of time and, instead, spend most of my time focused on cardio (elliptical) and some lifting. I’ve not done either of these in 2019 and while I hope to add one workout a week that includes deliberate cardio and lifting, I’m otherwise unfazed by how things have shaken out. In truth, I’m pleased with the shoulder definition I’m developing by attending yoga 3-4x a week.

My diet has easily been cleaned up. Sure, we did a revamp but I’m finding that it’s really easy to find balance — I’m eating vegetables (my favorite) and have cut grains significantly; I’ve also added some protein but not so much that I feel overwhelmed by it. Before I started yoga, I’d have oatmeal (2) for breakfast, maybe a sandwich or salad and pita for lunch, and then pasta and vegetables for dinner. I’ve been still indulging in a lot of carbs (thank you, potatoes & fruit) and am still having pasta for dinner, just not as often. I also have indulged in a couple of Girl Scout cookies the last few nights. It may seem silly but I accredit yoga for empowering me to be do what’s best for my mind and body.

In addition to diet and exercise, I’m drinking a lot more water, my clothes are fitting differently, and I’m falling asleep without melatonin (and staying asleep); most importantly, my anxiety isn’t getting in my way and I’m feeling a lot freer as a person, which  makes me a better wife and parent. Lastly, and this is silly but I have noticed that when I’m planning to go someplace (date night, out with my toddler, the grocery store), I am dressing better. I am no longer grabbing leggings and a tunic; instead, I feel more put together. I realized this when the jeans in my drawer were running low but my leggings were abundant.

While we’re on the subject of clothing: I used to online shop a lot. I didn’t only buy things for me; I bought for everyone in the house. My resolution for 2019 was to stop online shopping and I’m happy to report: So far, so good! I used online browsing/shopping to fill a void and occupy my mind when suffering from severe anxiety. I’ve not had any desire to shop online this year and the few things I’ve ordered for the house (things we need, which I do not count), I feel inconvenienced. This has been a pleasant turn around for me.

I’m in the city a few days a week, which gives me easy access to restaurants and shops. I miss living in the fray of thugs. When I first moved to the ‘burbs, I was miserable. We’ve since sold that house and moved to a beach town, which I love. We do a weekly date night but are typically only gone for an hour or two, so it’s not like we are in the city much otherwise. It’s nice to get to walk around and pop into stores or restaurants at my leisure. This is a favorite benefit of yoga thus far.

Of course, the last benefit I’ve found through yoga is that I’ve started to set weekly intentions. I grab my planner on Sundays and set my intentions for the week; these include self-care, family activities, yoga schedule, and other things that are important to my family and myself. A goal I want to get to is setting daily intentions but for now, this works.

What are some benefits you’ve found through your routines?