Keto Reset – Day 4: Finding Time For Myself

stress

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and David Castillo Dominici.

I’m 4 days into my keto reset and I’d love to tell you I’ve been perfect. But because I’m Dot, you’d know that’s a crock! Two days in…2 days!…and I have a meltdown. The husband’s solution: Go out for dinner.

I ate as keto as possible — steak and steamed broccoli with butter. But el vino did flow. And how it flowed.

Stress. That’s my nemesis right now. I need a solution that doesn’t involve a corkscrew.

I used to have 3 sure fire ways to contend with stress: 5-mile walks, 5k training, and my spin class. Well only the spin class is an option right now and it ain’t available when I need it.

So now I’m determined to find time for myself. Any time. A minute here … 3 minutes there.

Letting Chores Go For Now
As I type this, mom is upstairs getting dressed and I’m looking at a sink that has 6 dirty dishes in it (yes I counted them … and I am lame). It has taken everything not to go and just load the dishwasher. After all, it takes minutes. I can come back to writing this blog post after…

But the truth is I wouldn’t. I know that once I do the dishes, I’m wiping down the counters, cleaning the stove, sweeping the floor… Then it’s time to make my mom’s lunch.

The dishes are gateway chores. They just lead to more cleaning.

They will get done like everything else … sometime. But focusing on my needs has to come first for now. And that will free up time for me to do…

What?!?

I Found The Time. Now What?
As sad as this sounds, my first thought is to do absolutely nothing. And when I mean nothing, I mean NOTHING. Just sitting. No tablet. No social media. No thinking.

Oh, sure, thoughts come to mine. Random feelings. Or noticing my leg is falling asleep. I did “nothing” first-thing this morning, and that’s then it hit me: this is what “Mindfulness” is about. After months of reading about mindfulness – and not getting past the mumbo jumbo – I finally achieved it by doing jack squat.

Hurray!

Doing nothing definitely de-stresses you. But I need a little more than nothing in my life.

Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of nothingness, the old idea hamster started spinning the wheel again. That idea hamster was loaded with ideas for me to do in my spare time. But that idea hamster is also an “ideal” hamster. Lots of ideas on what to do, but nada on when to do it.

Then it dawned on me – create a morning ritual! Plan activities that de-stresses and energizes me to start my day right.

I’m up before anyone else, and that gives me a good 30 to 90 minutes before the house stirs. Instead of wasting that time on Twitter (a major time suck!) or chores (there’s always time later), I’ll use that time for my own mental and physical health.

First up, nothing … ummm … I mean mindfulness ... I’m going to sit in my recliner (feet up) with the day’s first cup of coffee and do nothing, think about nothing, for 10 glorious minutes.

After that, 20 minutes of stretching. That’s more than enough time for my calf exercises and to work on the rest of my body. Plus, it always puts me in the cheerful mood. I’m all about cheer right now!

Lastly, I’ll spend a whopping 2 minutes on gratitude. I’m moaning a lot lately, but there’s an awful lot in my life I take for granted. I think a little appreciation every morning can turn my inner Eeyore into the more optimistic (and cuddly) Pooh Bear.

Yes, it’s only 30 minutes out of the day, but it’s my 30 minutes.

If I do this right, it’ll jumpstart my day, and keep me from dreading it and all the tasks lying ahead of me.


Celebrating 50 (Again) Without The Scale

cupcake

This beauty was waiting for me in our hotel room. I guess turning 50 isn’t that bad! And yes, I shared this with my sneaky husband.

I’m writing this as I soak in a huge marble tub at a luxurious 5-star hotel.

Now this is how you celebrate turning 50. Not the messed up way I did on my actual birthday.

Of course I made peace with hitting the half-century mark. And it was at this point where my husband pounced – a long weekend getaway.

His plan: fun, guilt-free days away from chores, pets, the gym and (most importantly) the scale.

This was about celebrating my 50th by rejuvenating my soul with some pampering tossed in to the mix.

No scale! It was scary but it was exactly what I needed. So I agreed to letting any guilt go. Of course I was challenged as soon as we checked in. Awaiting me in our room – a birthday cupcake with cream and a fancy piece of dark chocolate (my fave) on top.

Yep…freakin’ fancy dark chocolate.

It seemed like a lifetime to decided if I was going to indulge or not. In reality it was more like 5 seconds. Yes, I quickly debated what to do. Then I looked up from the cupcake, saw my reflection in a mirror and noticed the huge smile on my face.

No guilt!

I didn’t eat the whole thing. Just a few bites. I indulged but stayed in control. After all guilt-free doesn’t mean I toss LCHF/Keto out the window. And it’s not like I do this everyday.

So we’re having a blast. No cooking, working out, cleaning, running errands or any cares for a few days.

Oh, and yes, our little excursion means I’m skipping my weekly weigh in this time around.  And after an awesome massage (the ultimate pampering), any guilt over that melted away.

It’s glorious.

Sometimes you gotta’ live a little.

 


Time To Get Back To Blogging

blog

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles.

I’ve been away for a bit. I do love blogging. It’s just that the old, bad habit of being lazy really took hold for many months. Sure, I’m doing cooking videos and vlogging about “My Final 50.” However the idea was to keep a daily written “confessional” about how I’m doing. You know, the accountability thing.

Sigh.

But my beloved lazy mouse kicked in.

“Hey, I’m doing videos. It’s a lot of work and something has to give.”

B.S!

The truth is it’s easy to let things slide. And when I let something I love doing – writing – go by the wayside, then it makes it easy for other things to slide. Things like:

  • Taking a morning walk.
  • Passing on that 3rd glass of wine.
  • Grabbing a handful of nuts when I’m not hungry.

So I’m happy to report that I’m tired of being lazy. This blog is my touchstone. It’s what keeps me honest…accountable…focused when it comes to my health and waistline.

I’m not shooting for daily posts…initially. My plan is to start with 3 weekly posts about my quests for optimal health, fitness, and finally kicking lazy mouse to the curb.

Video: Industrious Mouse Vs. Lazy Mouse

 


Celebrating The Good News

fireworks

Photo courtesy of Freedigitalphoto.net and Praisaneng.

Every 3 months I have to go in for a check up to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. Nearly a year post surgery and I just got the latest lab work back: All clear.

My oncologist told me I’ve got another year of this “aggressive” testing. Then for the next 2 years I get checked just twice a year. Then the 5th (and final year) I’m tested just once. If all is clear after that, then I’ve officially kicked cancer’s sorry ass.

So how do I celebrate the good news?

I’m lifting weights today. And if the weather holds, a bike ride. Finally I’ll cap the day by grilling a burger to top my tasty, big-ass salad.


Meditation Explained

Ugh! I never knew it was so stressful trying to destress.  I downloaded an app to help me with practicing mindfulness (a.k.a. meditation). The app – Insight Timer — is good, but I’m spending a lot of time searching for “guided” sessions to help me release anxiety and with sleep.

I think the skeptic in me has a hard time buying into the concept of fighting stress by just “being in the moment” and focusing on my “breath.”  So I’m not giving the recordings a fair shot.

With all my frustration with mindfulness, I turned to the only source I could think of to help me let go of my resistance to meditation: Ultra Spiritualist JP Sears.

I met with a new doctor last week (I’ll post about that meeting tomorrow) and she suggested a few recordings to check out. Of course I didn’t…until now. With my insomnia, I just don’t have the energy to be overly critical anymore. So this morning I’m checking out the doc’s recommendations. Hopefully the search ends soon and I can start relaxing and sleeping again.


New Challenges, New Goals, Better Attitude

new life

My life has changed and I’ve set me sights on some new health goals to work towards.   FreeDigitalPhotos.net and mrpuen.

Over the last 5 years I’ve learned to focused on health and not weight loss. The results have been awesome. My doctor pronounced me healthy. After achieving my goal  I did the expected.

I coasted.

For 18 months I maintained my weight of 185 pounds. Sure I still wanted to drop about 25-30 “vanity” pounds because I knew the extra weight would eventually cause havoc as I got older. Knowing that didn’t propel me to take action. Oh, I came up with some new goals…and promptly started coasting again.

Why? No fire in the belly.

Five years ago I was staring at a bleak, unhealthy future of diabetes and heart disease. Fear drove me to act. But once I reclaimed my health, I thought the fight was over.

Boy was I wrong. Read More


Saddest Words: Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve.

I’m not big on memes, but dang it, this one clicked (see image below)! Just before shuffling off this mortal coil I don’t want anything on my bucket list (which I’m still adding too!) left undone. I didn’t stop  working the 17 hour days for ‘The Man’ just to not live the life I want because I was too afraid, hesitant or doubtful.

quote

The words ‘would’ve,’ could’ve,’ and ‘should’ve‘ just mean ‘DIDN’T!‘ Screw that! You want true happiness, then banish those 3 words from your lexicon.

It’s time to stop planning and start living.


Wanna Lose Weight? Break Your ‘Groundhog Day’ Loop

poster

You want to lose weight? Then stop your own Groundhog Day loop!

My favorite film? Hands down Groundhog Day. It’s the closest thing to a perfect movie. What’s not to love? Bill Murray plays pompous TV weatherman Phil Connors sent to Pennsylvania to cover Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast, but gets caught up in an endless time loop living Groundhog Day over and over again. It’s anyone’s guess how many times he lived that day repeatedly (I say decades!), but after indulging in further destructive behavior, he final starts to re-examine his life and figure out what’s really important.

Besides being an awesomely funny movie, it hits home with me because I saw a little of myself in Phil Connors’ situation.

I was caught in my own seemingly endless Groundhog Day loop: Read More


Mornings With Purpose

fight

Second fight of the day, the first happening at 5:17 in the morning. But the fighting got me out of bed and snapped me out of a nearly year long funk of rolling with the punches. Now everyday needs purpose.

The last year I’ve really gone off the rails when it comes to my health and weight loss. Going out to each way too often. Indulging in too much wine. Not pushing myself self on the fitness front. Wasting time online. Going to bed late and getting up late.

Let’s face it, my motivation took a nose dive. Ugh!

Time to get my mojo back.

So last night, before bed, I decided to start my mornings with purpose. This is all part of my Living On Purpose resolution. That meant waking up early and not lying in bed for an hour each morning. Time for some bright eyed and bushy tail action!

But the desire to wake up at the crack of noon is strong with me…and I “forgot” to set my alarm clock.

Cue Spider, my evil overlord cat. At precisely 5:17 a.m. Spider started hissing, snarling and growling very loudly. He chose this time to start a fight with Peekabu, the sleeping Old English sheep dog. Read More


Living On Purpose

Nearly two years ago I read a book that I didn’t like that much, but it really stuck with me: Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the concept of adding happiness into my life. I’m all for that. I just found the author a bit off putting. She just seemed a tad too self-absorbed and didn’t think enough about the people around her. Also, she focused too much on perfection.

That being said, the book stuck with me, or at least the idea of trying to add more happiness into one’s life. So after the suckiness of last 7 months, I decided to get off of my duff and do a little more than just think about happiness.

It’s funny how a brush with one’s own mortality can light a fire under your butt.

Pursuit of Happiness
Don’t get me wrong: I’m perfectly content with my life. But where’s the fun in life if I settle for being comfortable? Whether it’s improving myself (physically, mentally or spiritually), trying new things, or getting out of my comfort zone, aiming for happiness is a good thing.

Below is a list of new habits to create (or break), hobbies to try, and skills to cultivate. Stuff I wanted to try but didn’t because of my own inertia. My goal is to work on each of them.

1. Make More Time for Play with the Hubby.
All work and no play makes Dot very uncreative, stressed out, and grumpy. I’ve forgotten how to have fun. I don’t know when this happened, but I’ve stopped playing. If my husband suggests bowling, playing pool or a date night, I’m more content to sit in my recliner with an iPad. Ugh! When did I become an old fogey?

There is nothing remotely rejuvenating about sitting for hours looking at my Facebook feed. To this I say: “No more!”

I’m setting aside time each day to goof around with the hubby. It can be something as simple as playing with the dogs, throwing a Frisbee, flying a kite, or bowling with friends.

2. Stop Mindlessly Web Surfing And Get Stuff Done
I know exactly where I can find an hour in my “busy” schedule for more fun. Facebook. Twitter. Texting. Web surfing. Email.

Every day, as soon as I wake up in the morning, I pick up my damned phone, and it never leaves my side. There is nothing earth-shattering happening on social media. Also, I don’t have a job, so it’s not like I’m getting an urgent email. Being connected is one huge time suck. Time to turn it off and join the real world.

3. Revisit My Inner Shutterbug
I’ve started the low carb cooking channel on YouTube with the help of my hubby. But between his job and work on his novels, I need to pick up more of the slack. It’s time for me to dive in and play with the camcorders, lights, and editing software. I also plan to dust off my old digital SLR so I can take way better food pictures.

4. Save, Baby, Save!
Both the hubby and I have made a decision to start saving and cutting down on expenses. We want to do some traveling and want to pay for the trips before we even pick our destinations. We’ve done this before with lots of success when we hunkered down and became debt free. Recently, we’ve slacked off on our saving efforts. We restart saving this week by working on a budget and sticking to it. I’m also thinking about savings milestones, competitions on who can save the most, and little celebrations as we move towards our financial goals.

5. Organize My Life
The older I get, the more I want to declutter and go all minimalist. Twenty years ago, letting go of “things” was so hard. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have much stuff. Last week the husband and I cleared out a corner in our basement and it felt awesome. Having too much junk in my life makes it hard to feel organized and focused on what matters to me. First up to feel my wrath: that spare bedroom that’s turned into storage. Time to finally turn it into that craft room I’ve always wanted.

6. Learn A Language
I took four years of Latin in high school and four semesters of German in college. I didn’t use either, and hardly remember them. But I’ve always wanted to learn a language and use it. The hubby suggested I try Spanish. I certainly have neighbors I could practice with and, while he’s a bit rusty, the husband also knows enough to carry on a conversation with a 3-year-old. (He can do that in English, too).

7. Try Something New Each Month
I’m in a bit of a rut, and I think it’s time to expand my horizons. So once a month I’m going to try something new. It can be anything from trying a new food to zip lining. Some ideas may come from my recently updated healthy bucket list. Others as they strike my fancy.

8. Add Music To My Life
Learning to play an instrument helps with stress by making you feel more relaxed. I’d also imagine it must feel pretty dang good to master a difficult tune. I always wanted to learn to play the piano. Yet another reason to work on that craft room!

9. Travel More
I know I’m saving up for future trips, but day trips are pretty cheap. My area is loaded with tons of cool things to see and visit that are just a short drive away: the ocean, Gettysburg, Jamestown, Appalachian Trail, the swimming wild ponies, and lots of rivers and lakes to fish in.

10. Learn to sew
My husband gave me a sewing machine for Christmas two years ago and I’m embarrassed to say it is still in the dang box. Ugh! I found a local fabric shop that offers sewing lessons. Time to sign up.

To track my progress, I’m posting a daily log with the above list, with the first post hitting tomorrow. It’s one thing to have a list of things you want to do. But it’s another to take action. I have to hold my feet to the fire on this one (any help appreciated!).