01 January 2018

Happy New Year

So here it is. 2018. We had some friends over last night and it was fun. Thankfully, everyone left by 10 pm and we headed to bed by 11 pm.  Fireworks went off until 1:00 am but then it all got quiet. As I stated in a previous post, I haven't made any big resolutions or sweeping changes this year. I feel like  I've made a whole lot of changes this year and I don't really have the urgent need to make any more. There are still things I need to work on (as I step over books and backpacks on the floor by my desk) but I think I'm in a mental position to actually make those changes. So that is something that will happen this year, but it's not a resolution, it's a process.

I did weigh and measure myself this morning, I've been planning to do that for a week or so, and was happy with where I'm at. I've lost a significant amount of weight, enough that it would have been cause for huge celebration back in my weight watcher days. More important is that I've lost inches and am feeling amazing. Absolutely. Amazing. So for this year, I want to just keep on doing this.  No goals, or weight loss by a certain date, none of that type of stuff. Just keep on doing it. Actually, I want to get better at it this year. I have the meditation and sleep nailed. I need to master the steps and the food. Neither one will be that hard, I just need to be more consistent with them. These are my big plans for the new year. I also want to become a better teacher. That means planning and doing things that need to be done. For all of this, I need to use my mindfulness. I need to think sudden random decisions through and not just react. I'm getting so much better at that, I just need to keep working on it.

So here we are. No big resolutions, just continued improvement every day.

28 December 2017

Clean Slates

This is one of my favorite quotes. I love it. I was going to post about the new year and making a new beginning and all that stuff. But then I realized, that I made my new beginning back on September 11th when I started AltShift. At the time, I was somewhat desperate. I felt horrible. I was huge. And I had basically come to terms with the fact that I would be huge forever. Then I started AltShit and signed up for AltShift Activate, and the rest is history so to speak. So for the first time in I don't even know how many years, I'm not looking to start a healthy diet or activity plan this new year. However, that doesn't mean I'm perfect or that I don't have anything to work on. I love new beginnings, new starts, blank sheets, whatever you want to call them and I absolutely love, love, love that New Year's Day is on a Monday. How perfect is that? The thing is, I want to approach the things I wish to change like I did AltShift. I need to get my thinking right before lasting change will occur. So I think that's where I need to focus. But can I do that? I think I can.

You know what. As I was writing that, I realized the futility of what I was writing. I'm not going to change dramatically on January 1st. I can't set things up to work as well as AltShift did. I do want to change things up though and am going to use the 1st as a jumping off point. I must stop spending as much. That I can approach like I did AltShift. I spend mainly for the feelings it evokes. So using the mindfulness that I practice every morning with medication, I should be able to think myself out of the excessive spending. But that I've been working on for months, it's not something really new. The other thing is planning for school. I want to be more prepared and ahead of the game than I have been. Decision fatigue is real and I've experienced it. I know that by having to decide every day what I'm doing every class, I'm not being the best teacher I can be and I'm wearing myself out. When I have to decide every day what I'm doing for every class, by the end of the day I'm exhausted mentally. On the days when I am prepared and have everything ready to go, I not only teach better, but I end the day feeling good about what I did. So, my goals for the new year are to spend less and keep up with my planning. I can do that.

As much as I enjoy clean slates and new beginnings, I think I'm well on my way to achieving my goals.

22 December 2017

Mediation and memories

I meditate every day using the Calm app. All I do is 10 minutes of timed meditation with some soothing background noise. For the longest time, I had some mountain sounds; birds and running water; as my background sounds. But today I switched it up and had gentle ocean waves as my background noise. It's surprising how many memories it brought up. Memories of living on the beach at Kualoa. We lived there for 13 years and there are a whole lot of memories attached to that place. Big memories, like parties and days spent on the beach and in the ocean. Little memories, like the animals we had there and the good times. But what struck me so much was how we don't realize that we are making memories. I spent a lot of time hating living there, for a variety of reason, but still, it was a really good 13-year run. I did a lot of triathlon training there. I ran 2 marathons there. It was a good time. I guess as I'm getting older, I tend to look back a lot. I've had a pretty good life and have done some amazing things. I guess the sounds of the beach just brought up a whole lot of memories that I haven't thought about in quite a while. I've been very, very lucky in this life.

On to the topic of meditation. I've been doing it now, every day, for 4 months. In that time, I have only missed a couple of days. Recently I've been on a streak where I haven't missed a day in 35 days. I've tried a lot of different things in my life, but I've never seriously given meditation a try. It is life changing. When I started, my thoughts during meditation were loud and took up lots of space in my head. It was kind of easy to get rid of them because they were so big and loud. As time has gone on, the thoughts have gotten smaller and smaller. Now, I get these little thoughts in the back of my mind. In a way, these are harder to get rid of because they are small and quiet and a lot of time I don't realize they are happening until they've been there a while. But I think that is kind of like the destructive thoughts we tell ourselves. They are small and insidious and can be extremely destructive. Now that I am aware of those little worms of thought, it's much easier to combat them. This has helped me to eliminate the negative self-talk that I would engage in. I don't say things that are bad about myself now. I'm not perfect, things still slip in, but I'm better able to beat them away. Also, I'm much more aware of those automatic thoughts that come completely unbidden. On Wednesday, a couple of parents brought in cinnamon rolls and fudge for the staff. When I first looked at them, I thought 'oh, that looks good!' Because of meditation, I was immediately aware of that thought and was able to squash it with 'No, that doesn't!' I was able to logically think through that it was just an old, built in reaction, and in no way represented my real feelings. I was not hungry. I do like the way sugar and wheat make me feel. I look at how I feel now - energy, overall happiness, etc - with how I felt before and there is no comparison. I want to continue to feel this way and cinnamon buns and fudge will not add to that. But, before meditation, I would have had a battle with myself over those things. I would have said, no, you don't need it. Countered by, why, it's just one. A small piece. A little bit. When there were no apparent reasons at all for eating them. Just because someone made them, doesn't mean I have to eat them. So meditation has changed my life and I wish I had made this discovery earlier.

17 December 2017

Doing new (old) things....

As I look back on all previous times I've lost a significant amount of weight, there is generally one common thread. Walking. Back around 1995, I lost a lot of weight training for the marathon and, you guessed it, I walked it. Around 2001 I lost a significant amount of weight again. You guessed it, I was leading hiking tours so I was walking a lot. This was the time I was in probably the best shape of my life. This is also when I started running and doing triathlons. I was in amazing shape and so freaking active. One of the things I loved doing then was hiking. I would park at the Pali lookout and hike through there. I would also go to Waimanalo and hike there a few days a week. It was awesome. I loved it. Then I started Crossfit and everything changed. I can't completely blame Crossfit for everything that happened to me, part of it is genetics and part is just basic biology. But when doing Crossfit I was constantly aching. Constantly tired. Constantly injured in one way or another. Also, I gained weight. Not just weight, but fat. I saw it happening and thought it was because I wasn't being faithful to paleo. When I reached a point that no matter what I ate or how hard I worked out I still kept gaining weight, I gave up. For a while, I tried to watch my macros with the help of a coach, but that didn't work either. It was difficult a freaking nightmare and I hated every second of it. Plus I felt like I had to eat so much food. I hated it a lot. Anyway, as you can imagine I was off 'dieting' and sick of the thought of having to live like that for the rest of my life. Then in September, I started AltShift. I've written about AltShift before so I'm going into it now, but I do want to talk about things that are happening because of it.

Walking is an important, basic component of AltShift. You are supposed to walk as much as you possibly can every single day. The goal is 10,000 steps a day. That is not a hard and fast rule, but a goal to work towards. The idea is to walk as much as humanly possible in a day. I started walking to and from work and that is awesome for work days. The weekends were killing me. Absolutely killing me. Then I realized HIKING!! I live 10 minutes from a great mountain that has some awesome hiking trails. So I started hiking. Okay, I did it yesterday and today, but I have every intention of keeping it up. Over Christmas, I plan on hiking some different places. I love it. Yesterday I took Lola with me:

Today I went again, but I didn't take Lola. I knew that it would need to be quick due to other engagements and I wanted to stop at Big 5 and get a hydration pack. They were on sale. I plan on going every day next weekend and on into the future. I love hiking and seeing things and exploring new areas.

So, yeah, that's where I'm at now.

01 December 2017

Keeping moving forward

I've been at this AltShift lifestyle now for 4 months - or close to it. A few weeks back, I stepped on the scale. It was down 15lbs and I was over the moon. I mean insanely happy, ecstatic, nothing could bring me down happy. And that was bad. As I explained in another post, I felt that happy, almost invincible, and the deviations started coming fast and furious. I think I went one weekend where I had alcohol and ate off plan every single day. Actions like that are not going to keep things going. I understand why I did it. I haven't lost 15 lbs in years. Years!!! So the fact that I did in 2 months is just crazy. And the fact that I'm really not doing anything, walking, meditating, sleeping, and watching what I eat. So after that high, I did some mental work and got myself back in check. I've been following the protocol with a few deviations here and there, nothing major except possibly Thanksgiving, and I'm feeling amazing. Stepped on the scale again today and I'm down another 5 lbs. That is awesome, but it is not the defining moment of my day. I'm happy, but not over the moon about it. I like that I've continued to make progress even though I almost derailed myself. More importantly, I like how this way of eating is becoming easier and easier. I just naturally tend towards the things that are appropriate for this shift. I find that I just feel so much better physically and mentally that I want to do this. I like not feeling so stuffed after eating that I can't move. That happened on Thanksgiving and I felt just awful. I get full, but it's not that stuffed, can't move, can't breathe feeling. I have also lost my taste for sweets and I absolutely love that. A student offered me a KitKat, one of my favorites, and all I could think of was how it would make me feel. Yuck...

It's afternoon now. I just got back from a staff meeting (so fun). They served lunch, chicken salad sandwiches. I had some salad and some lettuce but no bread, no chips, and no cookies. I'm very proud of myself but not just for not eating them. I didn't even want to consider them. It was like they had liver out there, I just completely ignored that stuff without a second thought. That right there is progress.

I wanted to take a minute and lay out some good things that have happened as a result of this process. First, I'm fitting into clothes I haven't worn in over 2 years. Not only do they fit, but they fit good. That is amazing. Second, my energy level has gone through the roof. I have tons of energy. I rarely take naps and I just feel like moving. Third, I've rekindled my love of walking. I love to walk. Love it!!! And now I'm back to it. Fourth, my feet don't hurt as much. I know that I have the orthotics and those help, but it's not just that. My feet don't hurt when I walk. The bottom of my feet used to ache when I would walk for any length of time. Now they don't and that feels great. Things are not perfect. Not by a long shot. But the good definitely outweighs the bad and that is all I can ask out of life.

Okay, enough for now. I did take new pictures today to document my journey and here they are.

19 November 2017

Why am I doing this?

It's been a while, almost a month. Lots have happened in that time. I'm still on AltShift and I'm doing the 2nd round of Activate. Initially, I thought that the momentum would carry me, but I quickly discovered that was not the case. I needed the reminding every day of what needed to be done, plus the pep talks that come with the program. So I started off really good. I did not post anywhere, but I had lost 15 lbs and a number of inches. Once I found that out, the deviations started coming fast and furious. I didn't meditate. I stopped getting my 10,000 steps or even really trying. I ate more food off shift. Etc. So I signed up for another round of Activate and then I didn't follow through. I wasn't listening to the videos in the morning. I wasn't doing my steps. And I was letting the shifts slip. And there was no good reason for any of it. So I need to stop deviating but I need to understand why I'm doing things. So this is my new mantra.

Anything that I do that is not part of my stated goals; meditating, eating on shift, walking 10,000 steps daily, and sleeping 8 hours; must be examined and understood BEFORE it happens. So instead of grabbing that donut, I must ask why am I doing that? Why would I want to put a donut in my mouth when I know that it cannot change anything that is going on around me? Why wouldn't I get my 10,000 steps when I know that doing so will make my back and hips hurt less. Why? So I need to examine every single deviation before it happens and understand it completely. Now, I may find that the deviation is worth it and then that's okay, but only if I understand it completely first. These 'conversations' with myself should not take but a couple of seconds.

Me: why are you doing this?
Me: because I want on
Me: how will this help?
Me; well, it will make me feel better.
Me; why do you feel bad?
Me; weill, I don't feel bad.
Me: then house can this make you feel better if you don't feel bad?
Me: well, I'm tired?
Me: and this will make you not tired?
Me: well, no but it will make me feel better while I'm tired
Me: how can this make you feel better while you're tired? This is a piece of food! The only thing it can do is provide nutrients to your body, but that particular piece of food contains just sugar and fat which will provide nothing of any substantial use to your body and could, in fact, make you feel worse.
Me: ugh, I hate logic!!!
Me: you love logic and you know it!!! Food makes you lie.

I realize now that I was not allowing the conversation to complete itself. I would think, oh, this will make me feel better. Which it doesn't. Or, it's just a small deviation. Which may well be true, but many small deviations lead to a large deviation. So that's it. Anything off shift will not be consumed or considered without a serious conversation with myself as to my true motivations.

28 October 2017

Making progress

Well, I've been on AltShift almost 6 weeks now and things are going well. I have finally completely accepted the fact that I can't rush this. I have to take it slow and I must, must, must have a good base from which to work. That is what I'm working on now - my base. I'm am working on making 10,000 steps, meditation, 8 hours sleep, and eating the right foods everyday iron clad habits. I'm doing really well on that front, but they are still not rock solid and I want them to be. But I'm getting there. I have devoted the last few weeks to getting all this behavior locked in and I'm really close to doing just that. It has been a huge help having the AltShift Activate group and I think I'm going to do another round. I've made huge strides towards getting this nailed down and I really do not want to lose my momentum. I'm afraid if I end now, I will lose the momentum I have gained and slip back into old habits. I'm feeling too damn good to let that happen.

So I am feeling amazing. I have been walking back and forth to school and that is so awesome. I have lost some inches because clothes fit me better then they did a couple of weeks ago. I'm really feeling amazing. Happy. Mostly energetic. Much more positive outlook and I don't beat myself up anymore. That is so amazing. I could beat myself up for not doing this sooner, but I don't beat myself up anymore. No emotions. I do something that doesn't work and I learn from it, I do not get upset. So things are going well and I'm feeling better than I have in a long, long time. Can't ask for more than that.

It is now Saturday morning, I'm not sure when I started this, but it's been awhile. I did something completely amazing yesterday. I not only meditated in the morning but I got my 10,000 steps in. Woo hoo!!! This morning I have already meditated and am going to get my 10,000 steps in today too. Yesterday I didn't start trying until 4 pm. Today I'm going to start earlier. I don't want to cram them in before bed, I want to have them done by dinnertime.

Yesterday a friend, well I say friend but she's really an acquaintance, arrived from Hawaii and brought me this:

Is this not gorgeous? Right now, you can only get these at one store in Hawaii. She was nice enough to pick one up before she left and carry it with her to me yesterday. So we met her in Tempe, bought her lunch and talked trash about Hawaii. It was fun. She's moving to Boise but her son lives here in Phoenix.

That was my amazing day yesterday. Today is also going to be awesome. I'll check back later.

Happy New Year

So here it is. 2018. We had some friends over last night and it was fun. Thankfully, everyone left by 10 pm and we headed to bed by 11 pm...