On the journey…the traveler is hit by a cold front and decides to see how others weather the storm.

So the ‘problem’ with starting a diet in the fall is that it gets colder in the fall. As the temperature drops so does my desire to do anything. Who wants to go for a jog outside with toes so cold they feel like they’ll fall off? Waking up early to go to the gym gets harder and harder as the temperature difference between my bed and my room gets higher and higher. The dreaded sensation of bare toes hitting cold floor is enough to make me snuggle down and hit snooze ad nauseam. What does that mean for me? I need to hurry up and embrace my winter lifestyle.

This year has been an odd one, each time I start to acclimate to the cooling temperatures there have been a stretch of ‘hot’ days. Now, at the end of October, I think that juxtaposition has come to an end. After this crazy week of adjusting to that fact I think I’ll be ready to embrace Winter Jamie with open arms. It’s good for me to get use to waking up at 5:30 to workout (which I have managed to do a handful of times since I initiated it last week). Especially since once the white stuff starts to fly that’s what time I’ll need to wake up to shovel my driveway.

To remind myself to not be lazy, I decided to give myself a little jolt of reality. While searching the web I stumbled upon this little nugget:

Hint, you want to be closer to the left on this spectrum. (I'm 'rocking' a C-)

Hint, you want to be closer to the left on this spectrum (below 25 is considered a healthy weight). (I’m ‘rocking’ a C-)

These are scans of what people look like the more weight they carry. There are several others you can check out that also shows the effects it has on your organs and overall health. The long and the short of it is that it’s not good to have so much yellow (fat). So any (healthy) way you can whittle that off you is good. For instance, a good weight range for my 5’7″ (or 8″ on a good day) frame would be between 121 and 153. My goal of 135 is a nice midpoint I think. Not to small but not too close to overweight either. Also, that way if I fall short of my goal I’ll still be in a healthy range. See? Always thinking ahead.

October 31Now, I am a visual person, however I also like relating to what I see. The above, being all clinical and precise, is hard to relate to. After all, that’s not what people actually look like. I’m finding that one tactic my brain likes to use as motivation is ‘If they can do it, I certainly can.’ In that vein in addition to looking at the medical motivators (see above) I’ll also searched out more human sources. I wanted to read about specific people’s weight loss experiences. As part of my binder I had a couple that were in a magazine article, but I wanted a more in-depth look. Using the Google machine it didn’t take long to find a list of “the most inspirational weight loss bloggers of last year” according to one site (too early for this year’s list).  I decided to break up the list and look at a few each week (That way I always a fresh supply of motivation). I’ll be sure to share the ones I enjoy the most (or are the most helpful).

Until next time
~ Q

Daily Reminders – Week 3

Daily Reminders – Week 3


The Journey Continues…with a 6 AM workout.

Let me tell you how much I like hearing my alarm go off at 5:10 in the morning. NOT. AT. ALL. Then again at 5:19 and again at 5:28 at which point I decided I couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer. Rolling out of bed the lights were far too far away so I decided to just fumble in the dark. I had already laid everything out the night before: workout clothes – check, post-workout bag – check. After getting dressed I grabbed a smoothie I had also made the night before and with a little toast I was out the door and on my way to the gym.

Wednesday, October 22

Today’s coincidental reminder. I CAN get up early to workout and I WILL.

I had been telling myself the entire time I was getting things situated the night before that it wasn’t going to be fun. That I would be too tired and it would hurt because my body wasn’t quite awake yet. Was I wrong? Of course I was. (Getting my mind on board to the notion will make it easier in the long run I’m guessing) Was it a cloud of rainbows and unicorns fun? Well, no, but what outside of Care Bears and Rainbow Brite is? It wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I was sad I didn’t have time for a full hour, limiting myself to just cycling. Tomorrow, dare I say it, I might get up a pinch earlier (or get out the door sooner) to ensure I have time to cycle and elliptical. My coordination wasn’t ready for the latter when I arrived at the gym this particular morning, but after the bike ‘warm-up’ it could work. We’ll certainly see. Now if my energy will hold throughout the day then I’ll have a well-made match.

Why am I doing the morning workouts? I think I need to do it before my brain has really put together what it’s doing (since it’s being slow on the healthy lifestyle uptake). If I wait until after work I have too much time to give myself reasons not to go. (I really need to start the laundry, there is a lot of detail painting left to do in the basement, I need to stay late to get a couple more projects done, etc etc). By taking the bull by the horns and just doing it I feel pretty good. It will start to feel even better as I push myself to meet my potential (despite not feeling ready in the morning). After all, I am a morning person, just need to recalibrate my days to start a pinch earlier.

Until next time
~ Q

Daily Reminders - Week 2

Daily Reminders – Week 2

Departing on a magical journey to the land of good health

Something I don’t write about is health. Probably because I’ve never been too focused or concerned about it. I’m not the healthiest person in the world, but I’m not the worse either. That being said, two years ago I started a health initiative for myself. I wanted to get healthy and stay that way. For about a year I was well on that road. Then something happened and I decided to take a break (honestly don’t remember what, I think I just got busy and allowed some of my old habits to creep back in and make me lazy). Seeing as how I started in October last time, I’m going to go ahead and do that again and lose the rest of the weight I wanted to lose back in 2012. I lost about half of my goal the first time around, so now it is beyond time to lose the other half.

All choicesWhat steps am I taking? For starters, actual steps. Working out is obviously a big key to weight loss and overall health, but as many will tell you that is only a part of the equation. Another is adopting a healthier diet, or at least one that doesn’t include eating everything in sight. Another factor, one talked about less often, is how important mental health is to overall health. The mind is the pilot, if it’s not ‘on-board’ how can it deliver the body to where it needs to be?

I gave myself a ‘soft’ start (not unlike a soft opening businesses do) last week. Weighed in, developed a plan (like any FCCLA-er would), and started implementing what I could. To conquer the physical I found some 30-day fitness challenges I could do (one for each month) as well as got my work out clothes ready (found and washed) for going to the fitness center. For the diet I organized a couple weeks of meal plans to get me started. To improve and maintain my mental state I made some cards to keep me motivated, valuable things to remember in general and made my health binder. Overkill? Perhaps, but what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working, so things needed to change.

October 15

Bi-monthly weigh-in progress

Monday was my real kick off. What does that look like? Everyday eating the right kind of foods at sensible portions, tick off one day’s worth of fitness challenge, go to the gym 3 times a week (for starters, will work my way up to the recommended 5) and keeping a good head on my shoulders. Hopefully, with some dedication and patience I’ll make my goal by my birthday. It’s a long way off (seven and a half months) but I have a long way to go.

We’ll see how this experiment goes. Maybe by writing about it/needing something to write I’ll be inspired to stay on track. Fingers crossed.

Until next time
~ Q


Daily Reminders – Week 1

The Road So Far or Some Things I’ve Discovered Along The Way.

With a few hours until my twenty-seventh birthday I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned so far. True, it may not be profound, original, deep, nor necessarily the most important lessons I’ve learned so far, but it is what comes to mind this evening.

  1. FamilyNever take your family for granted. They will be with you in good times, share in your triumphs, laugh with you and love you; but just as importantly they will stand with you in the bad times, lift you when you fall, counsel you and respect your decisions. There is no force on earth quite like that of family. You never know what tomorrow will bring, don’t take those in your life for granted.
  2. Do what makes you happy. Find a job you love and do it, no matter the cost. Fame, wealth and prestige can fade but a foundation of happiness…well, that’s another kettle of fish. What is riskier? Working at a job for a third of your day doing something you love to do or spending a third of your day at a job that you hate all so you can make a few extra dollars. You’ll spend more of your weekdays working then you will being awake with your family, don’t waste it.

    Don’t find a job with good vacation time,
    find a job you don’t need to escape from.

  3. Believe in something. Walking through this world faithless would be so lonely. I can’t tell you what to believe in, but if I can advise you on anything it is this: believe.
  4. TravelTravel. If for no other reason so you can return with a renewed appreciation for home. There are, of course, countless other reasons to travel. Such as taking photos with inanimate objects. However travel with care, you never know how it will change you. Although it’s important that you let it effect you in whatever way it will.

    ‘And you promise that I will come back?’ asked Bilbo.
    ‘No, ‘ Gandalf replied, ‘and if you do, you will not be the same.’
    – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

  5. Never EverDo something you never ever thought you would. Last fall I went to a comic convention in New York. Did I ever think I would do something like that? No, I didn’t consider myself outgoing enough for that. But I opened myself up to the possibility and actually had a marvelous time.
  6. Go on random trips. Similar to the top two, take trips that have little pre-planning or intention. I have taken a handful of these trips and each one has turned out to be exactly what I needed when I needed it. GreeceWhile studying abroad I whisked away to Athens for the weekend which served as a haven of calm from the stress that was end of term. Then there was a four cities in six days whirlwind road trip with an old friend. There is a lot you can learn on one-on-one trips with friends. Since she and I took that trip three summers ago (counting this summer) we’ve taken one trip together a year. Since that first trip we’ve planned a bit more, but always allow for plenty of spontaneity.
  7. Try New ThingsTry new things. You’ll never know if you like something or not until you try. Anyone can say I don’t like… but you never know until you do it. Sure, it might be scary, or you might make a fool of yourself…but you just might have fun too. I don’t like solo singing in front of people, so karaoke is not something you’d think I would enjoy (despite being in chorus all the years I was in school). However, the occasional night of singing is fun. Sure, I still am terrified to go up and sing in front of people, but sometimes you just have to suck it up if you want to have the experience.
  8. People will judge you. Sometimes it will be favorable sometime unfavorable but you can’t let it stop you. Don’t hold yourself back based on the secret (or not so secret) thoughts of others. You can waste your time trying to please everyone or you can invest your time in being the best version of yourself and that will bring the right people to you.

    Be who you are and say what you feel,
    because those who mind don’t matter,
    and those who matter don’t mind.
    – Bernard Baruch

  9. Be willing to retry things. As a child I hated mustard, now, twenty years later, you’ll find honey mustard on my burgers. Let my mustard serve as a metaphor for whatever.
  10. InnerChildLet your inner child out. There is a time and place for everything, that includes being a little kid again. Don’t get me wrong, being a “grown-up” is awesome. But sometimes you need a break from all the ties that come with the perks. At these times it’s best to indulge in whatever you’re inner-self is saying.
  11. TimeEnjoy the time you have with your friends while you have it. In a world of more, more, more it’s easy to want/expect that there will always be more of everything, more time with people is no different. However as I’ve gotten older, and the time I get with my friends lessens, I’ve learned to cherish the time we carve out for one another and not to waste it. Although, at times with our antics, it may seem as a waste but each laugh and each story is special. As we move further away, as our lives change (whether it be to marriage, family or career) time together is rare.
  12. Read. Reading allows you to travel to far off places, fight impossible battles, or live a hundred different lives all from the comfort of your home.
  13. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s easy to expect or want everyone to see things our way, but unless you’re willing to do the same, you’ll never deserve it in return. Remember, although we are all the protagonist of our own story, you might just be the antagonist of someone else’s story.
  14. Make goals. Whether it is to roller blade 50 miles in a month, to write a book, or to learn russian – make a goal. Don’t stagnate, continue to grow even after you enter you leave school.
  15. Don’t live in the past. There will be great things in your past, and although remembering the good times is fine, don’t let past glories dim the wonderful things happening in your present. Likewise, there will be things in your past that you may regret or don’t like. Do not dwell on these. Make them life lessons but don’t let the memory of them haunt you and pull you down. Things that happened over a decade ago can only effect you negatively if you let them. Learn from your past, both the bad and the good, let it advise your present, not dictate it.
  16. Embrace your failures. Failure is a part of life. If you wish to avoid it then acclimate yourself with the reality of living a very dull life indeed.

    Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
    – Henry Ford

  17. LaughLaugh. A day without laughter is truly a terrible day. Even if it is something as simple as taking amusement at a clumsy moment, find at least one thing to laugh about each day. They say laughter is the best medicine for a reason. I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to my parents house being a bit run down from the day, and a half hour there with them is a better tonic to happiness than anything you could try and buy in a store.
  18. Always have something to do. I usually travel with either a book or a notebook with me. And I don’t mean travel like vacation, I mean in my purse there is always a book or notebook. That way when I get places early or unexpectedly have to wait I’m not bored. Not that boredom is bad, I’d just rather be doodling or reading.
  19. AcceptAccept Yourself. You will be spending a lot of time with yourself in your life. It will be long and arduous if you spend it at war. This isn’t to say you can’t evolve through out your life, just make sure you accept and embrace yourself. You may be an athlete, a nerd, a philosopher, a song-writer or an analyst, but above all you are you.
  20. Make time for others. No man is an island, and even introverts need people.
  21. Go off-line. This is one I have a lot of troubles with, but when I do accomplish it I always appreciate it. In the technological age it’s difficult to not be connected to the internet 24/7. Sure, in theory, we are able to stay connected with one another more efficiently. However, if being connected to the world interferes with the time you are actually with people then that’s no good. So, next time you are out with friends try to spend less time instagraming your food at the restaurant or tweeting or whatever and more time talking to the people you are with. Like I said, I struggle with this one a lot, I go through phases, but over all I’m happier with the time I’m with people if I leave my phone in my purse more.
  22. Journal. Sometimes it helps clear thoughts, other times it helps purge thoughts. Sometimes I don’t want to write anything and sometimes I just write the same thing over and over again. But I find the periods of time when I am journaling to be a little less chaotic to those times when I am not journaling and it maybe as simple as taking that time to reflect everyday. Even if it is as simple as writing down ‘Today was _____‘ at least you’ve been able to think about the day and put it to bed.
  23. Sleep. So often things seem so difficult or hard and then I slip off for the night or a nap and things are so much clearer. Pretty much the equivalent of ‘have you tried turning it off and on?
  24. Exercise. I’m far from the picture of health, but even if it is as simple as going for a walk around the park I always feel better after some fresh air or elevating my heart rate, sometimes exhausted if it was a hard work out, but still better.
  25. Listen to others. You never know exactly what insight others can offer. No two people have the same exact experiences, listen to what others have to say (especially if you are asking for advice) and learn to take their criticism (but don’t let it weigh you down) or praise (but don’t let it give you an ego).
  26. Forgive people (including yourself). No one is perfect: not you, not your parents, not your siblings, not your heroes. The sooner you realized that people are human and imperfect the happier you will be. People may let you down, you may let others down, forgive them and forgive yourself. Resentment and anger will get you no where, so don’t bother with it. All it can do is weigh you down.
  27. Give to Others. Whether it is your time or your talents do something for someone else without expectation. Volunteer for an organization, donate blood, make a meal for a sick friend – do whatever you can for someone else every once and a while. Just this spring I was getting an ice cream at Dairy Queen and when I went to the window I was informed that the car in front of me had paid for it. I had had a rough day (hence the ice cream) and that random act of kindness put a smile back on my face.

    Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.
    – Frank A. Clark

There you have it, 27 thoughts for 27 years.

Until next time
~ Q

Walking the Talk

My mouth get’s me in trouble a lot. Perhaps you’ve heard the expression “My mouth wrote a check that my body can’t cash”. There are several derivations to this (you’ve talked the talk but can you walk the walk?). Well all this happened to me last Wednesday. I was at supper with my friends when one of them asked me if I wanted to do the Gladiator Assault Challenge with him and his team this coming May. Before I could stop myself I heard myself saying yes. When I got home I decided to look up the event to see what I had agreed to. In my head it was a 5k with a few obstacles thrown in for fun. Oh no, it’s a 5-7 mile run with around 30 obstacles. Yeah….

Skip to Friday, exactly 4 months before the race, I decide to change up my newly started (at the beginning of the year) workout plan from using the elliptical to the treadmill. I really don’t like to run. I especially don’t like to run in front of other people. When I ran last summer I did it at 5:30 in the morning on a gravel road so there would be no witnesses. I do not have that luxury this year. (Needless to say I don’t run outside when it’s cold. Getting me to run is difficult enough, I’m not going to do it when it’s so miserable out.) So back to the old ‘Couch to 5k’ plan. Obviously I’ll need to be able to go further than a 5k, but the plan takes 9 weeks and it’s about 17 to the race. I think it will work out just fine. I’m going to be keeping tabs of how far I run (so far it’s 8 miles in 3 workouts) because I’m guessing it’s going to be a ridiculous amount. Well, ridiculous for me.

The good thing about ‘training’ is that I’ve started lifting too. My upper-body strength is very disproportionate to my leg strength. (I wont even start on my abdomen strength, that’s next on the list.) I’m pretty sure my body was not meant for running and I’m a bit uncoordinated to boot. Hopefully over the next four months that will change but change or not I’m committed to seeing this through. I’m oddly excited to face the challenge. Weird, for me, I was never the athlete, perhaps that’s why I’m excited. A new challenge.

Even if you stumble, you’re still moving forward.

Until next time
~ Q

Ch-ch-ch-check it out, I’m making changes

You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally?

For me it depends on the change. I usually have more success if I do it in stages. Last fall I decided to lose some weight, or to be more specific become healthier (which to be healthier I needed to lose weight). What made this attempt different then previous attempts was I recognized that for this specific goal cold turkey style did not work. I had (previously) worked out for an hour five days a week and after weeks of no results would lose heart in the attempt and fall back into poor habits.

This time around though I went into it telling myself repeatedly that
A) it would take time. It took me years to become this way it may take a few years to undo it and
B) every little bit helps.

My first step was to start controlling what I put into my body. I never fully realized what harm mindless snacking was doing. If you look at it solely by calories alone (forgetting the terrible nutrition side of it) I could easily ‘snack’ on 500 + calories worth of chips and dip. That’s now my ‘limit’ for meals, WAY to high for a snack. Simply changing portions started helping me towards my goal. Then I focused on building a better diet. Less mysteriously processed foods, more veggies and fruits. Then I added exercise. Nothing crazy, just doing simple aerobics or taking walks. Just something to both get me moving and make it so I just don’t sit on the couch all night. Like I said, it will take time but since I’m seeing gradual results I’m sticking with it. I even have the courage now to attempt a 5k (something I would have scoffed at this time last year). I still have a long way to go before I can make it through a 5k obstacle course, but it gives me a tangible goal to work towards. Since the 5k isn’t until October I have high hopes that I’ll make it through.

Condition Blue…

Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?

I don’t do well under pressure. I freeze up and then over react emotionally. I have vague imprints of reacting well when in a jam but I can’t call them to the front of my mind to evaluate them. Readily available are times where I reacted disproportionately poorly with a given stimulus.

Honestly, I can’t recall any real crises I’ve endured. Oh, unless you count accidents, I’ve been in a couple of those. In that given set of circumstances I was able to keep calm until I had an appropriate moment in which I was able to break down. Then I cried and after a few moments of self pity (or shock or whatever) I moved on. I get’s that’s my M.O. Repress/suppress emotions until a time that they can be drudged up and dealt with properly. Until that time I have things to do.

Obviously given my knee-jerk reaction I don’t put pressure and crisis in the same category. Given enough pressure I do not do nearly so well. I think the difference is that a crisis is an isolated incident where as pressure can build up over time, unnoticed, until it just gets to be too much and then there is a volcano of emotion. Obviously volcanoes are rarely good (I can’t think of an instance when an eruption was good but I’m sure there’s been one instance, right?).

All in all I think my crisis reactions are satisfactory for now, I don’t plan on improving them since to do that I’d have to go through them. However if the instances arise I hope I can preform better than I have in the best, there is always room for improvement. I am not happy with my reaction to everyday pressure though, usually I’m able to shrug it off, I just need to find constructive outlets to de-stress at night to ensure residual pressure from the day isn’t carried over into the next day. That way there should be no pressures right?

Maybe I’ve acknowledged this on a subconscious level and that’s why I decided to pick up volleyball and music. Exercise always releases endorphins and is a good release in and of itself. Even playing my piddly chords the last few nights has chilled me right out for bed. It unwinds me more than anything else, especially reading since I get so caught up in what is happening to the character(s) (WHY DID SHE JUST JUMP OFF A BUILDING?!).

So long answer summed up: Yes, I’m happy with how I react in a real crisis. I’m working on being happier for my reaction to everyday ‘crises’.