Mood

Hi, I’m Emily, and I’m a self-development junkie.

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Go make it a great weekend, kids!

So Done: Rewriting Unhelpful Patterns

So, I treadmilled last night.

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I didn’t really want to. I mean, who wants to run on a treadmill when there’s the whole outside to run in? But I really, really felt like moving my body in some way, and I had Buttercup with me so running outside wasn’t an option. I also didn’t really want to pay the $5 for childcare at the gym, and it was getting late in the evening and I knew we wouldn’t make it to CrossFit in time. So, I put on my run gear, handed Buttercup her tablet to keep her occupied, and did my run on the treadmill in the apartment gym. We got it done, and treated ourselves to sushi afterwords.

Honestly, I was sort of surprised at myself. Who is this woman?!? Normally I would look at the clock and say, “Whelp, I guess a workout isn’t happening tonight!” and go watch Netflix. But I’m sort of tired of being that person. To be clear, there’s certainly nothing wrong with foregoing a workout for downtime, and I do enjoy those nights where I spontaneously clear my calendar and turn my to-do list over so I can veg out and stop thinking about responsible things for awhile. But I found that “Ignore All the Things” has been becoming less about de-stressing and more about an unhealthy coping mechanism for me. And I don’t like it.

So I’ve been noticing all the reasons that inspire me to let my healthy habits slide – a late night, a grumpy mood, an unexpected engagement that throws my schedule off – and how I choose to respond to those stimuli. And so much of it is about just not being prepared. So I’m slowly figuring out what systems no longer serve me, and rewriting them. I mean, this is what I do for a living, guys – process engineering. And yesterday, the first thought system to be rewritten is “It’s too hard to work out when I have the kids home.” Because I totally figured out how to get a decent run in, spend time with my kiddo, and still have a great evening together.

What patterns in your behavior are you so done with? Any thought systems or other systems in your life you want to set out to rewrite?

Go make it a great day, friends!

Don’t Consume – Create!

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p/c Pinterest

The other morning I sat on my bed and scrolled through Instagram for an hour. Yes, an hour. An hour I didn’t really have to spare, of course. I know it was a whole hour because at one point I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 am and when I looked up again it was 6:30 am. And aren’t I the one always complaining how I never have enough time? And when I checked in with myself and how I felt, I found that while I intended to be inspired and energized by taking a peek at what my friends and social media girl crushes are up to, I found myself feeling behind the game and flat. This was not the way I had intended on tackling my day.

With everything happening with my life lately, I’ve tried to be hyper-conscious of my attempts to numb or hide from things, so I don’t start down that slow slide to depression and isolation I know I have a tendency to head towards. I cut back on alcohol, I try to stay checked in with family and friends, and I try to read instead of watch TV. But I am catching myself more and more picking up my phone and gravitating to my social media apps when I feel uncomfortable, anxious, or bored. And I end up feeling sort of icky with all of the media consumption this results in. Politics, scandals, and social unrest leave me feeling helpless and confused, and I’m forever in a state of processing what I just absorbed. Don’t I have enough going on mentally and emotionally to be voluntarily jumping in the game of “What Facebook Memes Will Piss Me Off Today?” roulette? There’s being informed, and then there’s bingeing on Buzzfeed articles from amusing Pinterest posts. Time to find where that line is.

So for this month, I decided to set my absorption of social media aside, and instead focus more on creating content instead of consuming it. I internally lament all the time that I never have time to blog and write. Well, with hours spent mindlessly scrolling Facebook every day, imagine how much I could get out there if I used that time to put out my own content instead? This is the season of giving, right? So for me, I’m going to use it to give my voice instead of lurking in the background of online connection. Don’t consume – create!

Go make it a great day!

I Spun, and Other Confessions

So the other day, I did something very strange. For me.

I went spinning. I spun. I’m not sure what the past tense of “Spinning” is as it relates to stationary bicycle classes. But yeah, I did that. It was totally last-minute. I was feeling beat up from lifting, and I wanted some yoga to help stretch out my hips. I had a couple of appointments that made finding the perfect yoga class a bit difficult, but one local studio offers a “Cycle in/Yoga out” class of 40 minutes of spinning followed by 30 minutes of yoga. Apparently I was that desperate for yoga, so I clicked the “Book” link on my MindBody app.

You guys, I have not ridden a bicycle for more than a mile in over five years. That was HARD. And I was sweaty. And I had a meeting after class, so I was sweaty and stinky all night. But it was pretty cool. I’m not a super-spinning fan, but the instructor was great and the music was phenomenal. They also did the thing where the lights were all turned off and little electric candles in all sorts of colors of red, blue, green, and yellow were peppered in between the bikes. It was like spinning on a space station with OK GO! blasting.

In other news, this happened yesterday.

Yes, that would be a donut. Which I only ate like three bites of because I found the flavor was candied ginger, and after the second hunk of ginger I decided I was done and I miss The Jelly Donut in Grants Pass.

Which brings me to Confession Time: I gave up on my Whole30 a few days ago, and I feel pretty conflicted about it. On the one hand, I’m totally good with my choices. I feel neither bad nor good about my decision to go off-plan with a beer enjoyed with an old friend. I’ve stuck mostly Whole30 ever since, except for some nachos (worth it) and Monday night’s dinner of a few handfuls of popcorn and some stolen M&Ms (totally not worth it). I’m making deliberate decisions, owning the results, and I still feel pretty darn good.

But I feel this guilt – or really is it shame? – about bailing the program when I had been posting publicly about it. The new Whole30 Coaching program is due to come out later this year, and I so want to be selected. I would love to help others find the freedom from food guilt that I’ve come to discover with this program, to embrace the curious process of finding that sweet spot between enjoying life and feeling good at the same time. But who do I think I am, when I can’t even finish the program? Never mind that I’ve successfully completed 4 full Whole30s in 3 years. It’s the ones I didn’t finish that make me feel unworthy.

The Shame Monster is real. Comparison is still a trap. I look at people in my feed and think, “I can do that! I can totally do a better job promoting my enjoyment and passion for wellness.” And then popcorn and M&Ms for dinner. Because life. Because sometimes after early wake-up call to work, long commute, small human care squeezed between housework and gym time, and the Bedtime Parade of Futility to get two sleep-hyper children to stay in  their beds, it’s good enough for now, and I’ll just have a healthy breakfast tomorrow that doesn’t consist solely of a gallon of black coffee and deep breathing.

I’ve had well-intentioned people in my life tell me that my desire to promote wellness publicly is misplaced because they see the extra pounds on my short frame, the missed workouts, and the extra side of fries and sneaky handfuls from the M&Ms bag and that all makes me unqualified to speak to health. That I will not be taken seriously. Because you know, REAL heath and fitness personalities don’t eat McDonald’s or miss workouts. By god, the stain on their credibility, just imagine! But what these people don’t see is the internal journey, from self-loathing to self-love, where I make choices now because they feel good to me on a “soul-ullar” level, not because others say this is what I should be doing, not because I’m bullying myself into choices to punish myself for whatever my dark, twisted brain has decided I should be tried and sentenced for, which is usually existing in too much space. I’m not here to preach how one can achieve a size 0 or “lose that bra fat”. Because 1) I haven’t figured that out either and 2) that totally doesn’t interest me. I am here because I want to share what I’ve learned about taking care of myself, which I’m finally learning how to do at the ripe old age of 34. It’s only taken me two decades to figure out that I am worthy of caring for myself physically, emotionally, spiritually. Because if someone reading this is stuck where I’ve been stuck, or needs a fresh perspective or inspiration to try something new, I hope my stories might spark an idea.

I’m done with perfection. I’m done with feeling like my extra “padding” makes me unqualified to learn and talk about what I’m interested in. I will start Whole30s. Sometimes I finish them, and sometimes I won’t. I will go to the gym and work out hard with joy and gratitude that I have the privilege to move my body, and sometimes I’ll make a million excuses to skip my training plan so I can go sit on the couch and eat popcorn and M&Ms with my kids watching “Minions” for the eleventeenth time. The only qualification I need to enjoy and share my health journey experiences is to presently be continuing on my health journey.

You do you, kids. Go make it a great day!

What I’m Reading Lately

Hello, blog world!

Today I thought I would start up my weekly book review series again. A while back I was in the habit of sharing a book I’m into lately. Then I stopped reading so it was kind of hard to keep posting reviews. But this year I decided to start reading consistently again. I make time to read every day, but a few times a week I manage to carve out a few minutes at bedtime to snuggle down with a good book. Usually “book” means my Kindle reader, but I’ve been trying to go back to the paper book thing lately. While I like the convenience and instant gratification of the Kindle, there’s something about a paper book that has that sort of tactile satisfaction to it, you know?

Anyway, here’s the latest from my library (note, links are non-affiliate Amazon links, just in case you were curious and wanted to check something out):

Self Improvement stuff:

Better than Before” by Gretchen Rubin

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My unauthoritative rating: 3.5 out of 5

In “Better than Before,” Rubin sets out to figure out how people make or break habits. Why is it so hard to start a habit you really want to do, or break one that is detrimental to you? Why is it sometimes so easy to wake up one day and say, “I’m going to do this now” and actually DO it, whereas other habits take forever to take hold and eventually drop off? While this book was a good, fun read, it wasn’t one that I would call well-researched. The book was mostly Rubin’s self musings about how she sees the world based on her “research,” which from what I could tell, was mostly gathered from talking to friends and crowdsourcing from her blog. It’s interesting, but not really scientific. However I did get a lot from it by reflecting on my own tendencies and habits, which was helpful. I would recommend it if you’re curious about how others think and take to habits, but if you are more of the “show me the data” science-y type you might want to pass.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo

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My unauthoritative rating: 3.5 out of 5

This book is exactly what you think it is. And then again it’s not. I mean, it’s definitely a book about how to clean and organize your home. But in a distinct Japanese style and form, Kondo goes beyond “here is how you should organize your sock drawer” to encouraging you to treat your possessions with respect, almost in an anthropomorphized way. While I sort of have a difficult time saying to my purse “thank you for working hard and serving me today” when I put it away in the closet, I do agree and adore the attitude that you honor your things by taking care of them, and that your things should bring you joy so you should not keep things that do not bring joy into your life. This book will help that spark of a cleaning revolution within and make you super motivated to have a clutter-free and peaceful home.

Health stuff:

Fit2Fat2Fit: The Unexpected Lessons from Gaining and Losing 75 lbs on Purpose” by Drew Manning

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My unauthoritative rating: 4 out of 5

Drew Manning was sort of a big deal when this book came out a few years ago. He was the super fit personal trainer that wanted to take an honest look at what his overweight clients go through via a drastic method – to purposely gain a significant amount of weight then lose it all. This book was a bit more musings than storytelling in my opinion, but I loved Manning’s vulnerability and honest observations in his journey. If you’re a sucker for a good “transformation” story, this one is great since it goes through not only the physical transformation of Manning getting his body “back,” but the emotional transformation of viewing life from the other side and never being able to think the same way again. Plus, he just seems like a likable guy. I follow him on Instagram, too. His handle is @fit2fat2fit, and he posts some pretty inspiring/introspective stuff.

The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom” by Melissa Hartwig and Dallas Hartwig

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My unauthoritative rating: 5 out of 5

So, you guys probably know by now that I’ve totally drank the Whole30 (real-food, no added sugars) kool-aid and have an unrequited girl crush on Melissa Hartwig. So it’s a no brainer that I’m all about this book. However, in the interest of at least attempting to appear slightly unbiased, I’ll pretend that I just picked this book up and am totally not sold on the Whole30 thing. Which is impossible so why don’t I just talk about what I like about it.

Having done a couple Whole30s, this book is a great resource even if you’ve done it before. It goes through the program rules, timeline of what you can expect, lots and lots of Q and A, and even suggestions for common pitfalls and special circumstances (how to navigate a party or social event, doing a Whole30 vegetarian-style, etc.). My absolute favorite part is the kitchen basics section. Most intro level cookbooks feature a “here’s what you need for a decent kitchen” section, but they go beyond what brand of cutting board to use in how to make simple, basic food. Like fried eggs. And grilled chicken. And homemade mayo. Okay, except for the mayo I thought I knew how to do all this. But do you? DO you? All I have to say is my confidence in the kitchen (when I choose to be in the kitchen) has totally improved since I brushed up on these basic cooking skills and I thought I was a pretty good cook before. Oh, and there are also recipes and suggested meal plans. Tons of them. Even though I don’t always eat Whole30 (hey, it’s not a Whole365), I am a superfan and totally would push this harder on people if it wasn’t so annoying to have someone push unwelcome diet recommendations.

Indulgent Young Adult Fiction stuff, sorely needed before my brain exploded with all of that other “serious” stuff:

Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard

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My unauthoritative rating: 3 out of 5

I stumbled across this book in a search for another dystopian young romance novel that is the hallmark of Young Adult fiction these days. In this story, a girl lives in a world where humans are separated into classes based on their blood: “red” bloods are normal humans, and “silver” bloods have magical powers. And their blood is actually silver-colored. I think like liquid mercury. Anyway, the protagonist red-blooded Mare is forced into the elite Silver society through an unfortunate chain of events and must play the part of a lost Silver princess. Rebellion, espionage, battles, romance, and political power plays all in one story. While I found the dialogue to be rather dry and unimaginative, the story itself is quite gripping. I am eager for the sequel to come out next year (darn it! Such a long time …).

The Selection” by Kiera Cass

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My unauthoritative rating (so far): 4 out of 5

I just started this one, and I’m already hooked. If “The Hunger Games” took place on the set of “The Bachelor”, then this story would probably happen. I’ll probably plow through this book next weekend.

That’s what’s been in my library for the past few months. Maybe you’ll be inspired for your next good book!

Go make it a great day (of reading)!