Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Shouting into the Dark

There's no accountability if no one cares about your success.

Adam has gone to Japan for a work function. It will be almost a week before he returns. Aria and myself are despondent.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Late Start. Also, Paleo Chili Casserole

I was absolutely determined to exercise this morning before my daughter woke but I stayed up too late last night writing my blog. I woke to my alarm at 6:20am, but my daughter had crawled in bed with us sometime before 4am and she woke with the alarm clock. I soothed her and played asleep so that she would resume her slumber but, in the process, I slipped back into unconsciousness and was insensible until about 8:30 this morning.

 So... I'm having a hard time with the number of petit mal seizures that I am getting, today. Did I tell you that I am epileptic? Well I am. That's ok. I have the entire rest of the day to fit some exercise in. I have already been more productive lately than in recent weeks and I am counting on this new-found motivation to take me through until such a time as I can get some exercise done. Probably yoga before bed in addition to the walk that I plan to get assorted sundries. That means that I have to get all my biggest chores done today, with my daughter. Any ideas on how I get my 3-year-old to help with chores?

Or how I can make exercise the escape I seek instead of the chore it is, currently?

Before the extra toppings

I made chili casserole this morning. It is 100% Paleo, I guarantee it. My toddler loves it, too. The recipe approximately is:

Paleo Chili Casserole

  • 1-2 lbs beef
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 head (not clove) garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 mid-sized handful of chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 sweet potato (white), not yam (orange)
  • 2 Tbsp., approx., dried chives
  • high-heat or solid baking oil of choice- coconut, lard, etc.  
  • 1 giant summer squash or 2-3 medium summer squash
  • One can of pitted olives, drained
  • Avocado, diced sweet peppers, salsa, sriracha, etc.

Casserole cooks in an oven at 350 degrees. Grease large casserole pan, preferably glass.

Brown beef in large skillet over med. heat. Once browned, toss in onions and garlic, stir, then add chili powder, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Saute until onions are clear. Then, add tomato sauce and drained tomatoes. Mix thoroughly, then reduce a little bit to thicken. cover and put on med-low heat.

Dice up your sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. I wouldn't be so precise, but it helps with the cook times if they're this small or smaller. In medium-small skillet, add about 1.5 Tbsp of your oil, fat, etc. Saute sweet potatoes for about 5 minutes, add the dried chives, then saute 5 minutes more.

Slice summer squash in 1/4 in. rounds. Take your pretty little circles and lay a layer in the bottom of the greased pan, kind of like round lasagna noodles. Layer half of your meat/tomato mixture on top of the squash. Add another layer of squash, then meat, again. Now that you have two layers of squash and meat, spread the potatoes over the top. "Arrange" your entire can of olives on top. Press potatoes and olives gently into the juicy warmth of the meat mixture. Cover with foil (or not) and bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Be careful removing foil because the steam will be hot!

Scoop into bowls, add sweet peppers, avocado, salsa, sriracha, or whatever else you feel, and dig in with (emotional) relish!

Remember: I'm all about creativity and winging it, so make what substitutions you like. Have fun with it!

This is what my daughter thinks of the casserole:

See her sneaky little fingers?

 And when we went to the pumpkin patch with Grammy?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Holding Myself Accountable

I have come to the point that I know, without a doubt, that I need to change. I have no energy. I crave sugar all of the time, no matter how much sleep I have, I always want more. I look into the mirror and I don't see myself

I'm not just talking about weight. I need to open myself up and let the whole "me" come through. I am tense all of the time. Part of that is that I am a full-time stay-at-home mom. Yes, my almost-three-year-old is mostly good, intelligent, creative, and constantly surprises me. As I write, she explores a balloon with her mouth and *POP!* My life is filled with surprises right now. I was not a girl who liked surprises. Planned spontaneity? Is that a thing?

So, I just typed into the Google search bar, "I want to change my life. How do I start?" The first link was to this wonderful article in Forbes, called "Do You Want To Change Your Life For The Better? 7 Ways To Make It A Habit.*"

The first step is to identify my Keystone Habit- the one that I want to start/stop. The biggie. So, what am I most unhappy with?

Well, the answer obviously is "my size!" It isn't for social normality that I pine. I can feel my back fat. My breasts hurt when I run, even double-bra'd. My hip goes out more and more often. I have some really, really cute clothes that I would love to wear. Mostly, I want to see who I believe I am looking back at me in the bathroom mirror. Without makeup. 

Now that I have identified my problem, let's think about the one thing we could change to get the most effect. The thing that I'm doing least of. I don't exercise. I like yoga a lot. I enjoy walking. But I never do these things. I have sex occasionally. My husband and I have very little time alone together so we generally have sex once a week or so. Not bad for a couple who has been married 6- or is it 7- years now?

My Keystone Habit would be to exercise every day, one way or another. To make exercise a priority in my life. Suggested waking up at 6:30am-ish to exercise before babygirl wakes.

It is hard to think of the idea of adding another priority. I want to make my husband and his happiness a priority. I ache to see his smile. Yeah, corny, cheesy, awful. I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way. Unfortunately, I can't do as much of that as I want. My other priorities get in the way.

My second priority- which is actually my first priority- is my daughter. She's the one that I'm with almost 24/7. She's the one that needs me the most. She's the little, drunk, adult foreign-exchange student that I am teaching our language and customs, while trying to instill values and principle in her tiny, almost 3-year-old noggin- all via co-mom anecdotes and trial and error. Hopefully, I am doing ok. I'm trying my best and that's all anyone can do, right?

My third priority- people keep telling me that this should be my first priority- is allegedly me. I don't know what to do about that. I don't know in which order this should all really go. I feel guilty about making myself a priority at all. Unfortunately, after several days of selflessness, this little introvert needs to bury herself in a book. Or a blog. Right now, I should be upstairs doing the dishes and bathroom, at least one load of laundry. It's getting late. I would normally do things during the day. But this last week or so, I'm just exhausted. Not really physically, but emotionally. Because of that, I'm shirking all of my responsibilities. I'm not being the best me. I want to be the best me. 

What do I do about this? I'm totally confused. 

So, let's push that all away for now. Let's focus on some exercise habits that I would like to enact. The second step is to identify my current routine and the reward I get from it. My current routine: wake up, make coffee, breakfast for babygirl, do whatever she wants to do until noon so that she stays quiet and my husband can get at least 6 hours of sleep before I lose myself to impatience and wake him if he isn't already awake- usually about noon:15. After that, I try and cram in as much "in the same room" time, cuddle time, or quality time as second breakfast and my darling daughter will allow. I'm supposed to make food for second breakfast (breakfast for him), and lunch/dinner. OK. 

After 3, I try and fill the time with more of whatever my daughter wants to do until 7pm. Hopefully, in that time, I will have launched at least one load of laundry and done some random household chores. If not, I'll have to cram as much in between 8pm and midnight as I can. And that's if I'm lucky enough to get her to sleep by 8. No nap. *sigh*

So, looking at that, I see some problems with my grab-bag day. Again, a mental tangle. But do I have to tackle it now? I think that I'm just going to focus on one thing- THE thing that I want to change the most. Creating healthy exercise habits. Let's say this again, with emphasis: Creating Healthy Exercise Habits. 

Identifying the rewards of my current behavior. 

  • I don't have to get up earlier than my daughter, so more sleep. 
  • I am flexible with my daughter's schedule, so fewer meltdowns. 
  • Aaaand... that's all I can think of right now.
Identifying the rewards of enacting this new behavior:

  • More energy for every day.
  • Fitting into my "cute" clothes.
  • Feeling better. Feeling much better.
  • Seeing my self in my reflection. Without makeup. 
  • Re-regulating my hormones. 
  • Better sleep at night.
I'm sure there are a lot more but I think that I have enough for now. 

The third step is to identify the challenges. 
  • My biggest challenge is actually being awake at 6:30am without waking my honey-bunny and my little girl. I know that I will shortly get used to waking that early, but sometimes (a lot of the time) my daughter co-sleeps. I have to shave hours off of my evening time and try to be more productive during the day in order to get up earlier. And I need some sort of gentle alarm. Out-of-commission cell phone so that I don't get calls during the night?
  • So, I guess that my daughter waking up early,
  • an unobtrusive alarm, 
  • and finishing chores early are among the rest of my challenges. 
Now that they are listed, they don't seem so bad. Not too hard. Sometimes, all you need to do is list them, I guess. Cathartic. Soothing, after a fashion.

Next, I plan my new routine and claim my reward. OK, so new routine:
  1. Be in bed by 10pm.
  2. Use alarm to wake me at 6:30. OK, realistically 6:15am. Or maybe even 6. I need time to wake up before I exercise. 
  3. Exercise of my choice: yoga, pilates, HIIT, etc. 
  4. Greet babygirl with a smile on my face as she stumbles bleary-eyed, yet smiling, into my workout space. 
  5. Make coffee.
  6. Proceed almost as per usual, for now. Rescheduling day for more optimum living to follow as I see how this works. 
And to pinpoint the reward...? "Yes" to being comfortable in my really cute clothes from pre-aimless me. "Yes" to seeing me when I look in the mirror. "Yes" to having energy. "Yes" to blah, blah, blah... Etc. 

Next step: Set up a 30-day challenge. 
OK. Starting tomorrow, 30-day challenge. I can't guarantee that I'll blog about it every day, but I might. I should. I need some encouragement. I need someone to hold me accountable. 

Maybe that someone should be me.

Number 6 is to power through setbacks. Don't let things get in the way. Easy to say. Harder to remember. I will remember.

Finally, I need to hold myself publicly accountable. I'm starting here. I could post it on facebook but people rarely care what others' weight goals are. I also don't want every convo with my female friends to involve the cliche, "You look good! Have you lost weight?" You have no idea how much I loathe that. That, and the unnecessary high-pitched squealing that accompanies the perfectly expressive hugs. Hugs are fantastic. Why accompany them with annoying sounds? And false compliments have to go. They do more harm than good. Promise. 

I love you, baby. Kisses. 
So, Adam. I know that it is a hard thing to hang all your accountability on one person, but he is the only person that I can guarantee will care enough about and remember to support me. I just hope that I haven't burned him with the lack of follow-through in the last few appointments. 

So... 30 day challenge. Do I just decide what I want for exercise in the morning? Yeah. I think that is what I will have to do. 

Sayonara for tonight. I'll see you in the morning. :)