2016 Goals

January 2016.

A new year. A new beginning.

A time to reflect on the past year’s successes, failures, highs, and lows.

A time to set goals for the year ahead.

This New Year’s Eve came and went without much of a celebration (besides Clemson winning the Orange Bowl – Go Tigers!). Living in a different country, away from our friends and family meant no New Year’s Eve festivities – no parties, no countdown, we even missed our midnight toast due to a stubborn cork and a broken wine opener. But, we did have FaceTime calls, a great football game, and the promise of this being the year we move home – not the worst New Year’s Eve ever!

The new year tends to stress me out a bit. After all of the alcohol is consumed, food eaten, fireworks finished, the topic of resolutions or goals is breached.

Although I know goals are important – they push us to better ourselves – the thought of setting a goal and not reaching it gives me anxiety.

I decided to ignore that anxiety this year, set multiple goals, and post them here to hold myself accountable for meeting them.

(In all honesty, I’ve already given up on one of the goals and decided I should probably post the rest before they went the same way!)

2016 Goals:

  • Read 50 books
  • Yoga 30 min/day
    • This is a lofty one for me. I HATE yoga. Or, I should say – I hated yoga. On Monday, I started Yoga Camp on Youtube by Yoga with Adriene and it’s been an incredible experience. I know my body is definitely going to benefit from the stretching and I hope I can learn how to quiet my mind and be present in the moment!
  • Read my Bible 5 days a week
    • I started this one late last year – just trying to keep it going!
  • Read 1 chapter of a business book 5 days a week
    • I just realized that a lot of my goals center around reading!
    • I would like to start some type of fitness related business within the next year or two, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can!
  • Increase bench max to 125 lbs
  • Increase deadlift max to 225 lbs
  • Increase squat max to 225 lbs
  • Run at least 1 5k
    • I need some motivation to continue including cardio in my routine of workouts
  • Reduce OCD symptoms
    • More to come on this in a later blog
  • Blog at least twice a month

There you have it – my 2016 goals!

2016 is going to be a big year for D and I! Between moving home, new jobs, and very soon, a new puppy sister for our soon to be 3 year old fur-child, we have a lot to look forward to! Here’s to a happy, healthy, much awaited 2016!

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” – Melody Beattie

All of the Feels

I think I have more feelings than I ever thought I had.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a rather closed off person – less attachment equals less of a chance to get hurt. My parents frequently described me as unaffectionate and uncaring. I never really thought that was true – shy, apprehensive, and anxious I could see, I just didn’t see how that translated to a lack of affection.

As I’ve matured, moved away, met new people, I’ve realized that while I’m not quick to get sappy with my family, if I am in environment where I feel safe to be myself, I have no problem opening up.

I can see that this rings truest when I am around D, C, or A. People who I know love me for who I am and have my back no matter what. People whose backs I have no matter what. People that I couldn’t imagine doing life without.

I’ve talked a lot about missing home and the people there before, but last night I realized that there are multiple ways to miss someone or somewhere or something. Ever since we moved, I’ve missed C and A every day. It’s a constant feeling, one I know is always there in the back of my mind, but also one that I can distract myself from. I like to tell myself that’s how they feel too! 🙂 When you get caught up in life – dog walks, work (if you’re working), schedules, appointments, etc. can work as distractions to keep your mind off of the fact that you miss something. I don’t constantly sit around thinking about how I miss C or A, even though I know that feeling is always there. (Side note – I also constantly miss Whole Foods, Chipotle, and Target).

But, there are different types of missing. The other kind happens when I let my guard down for a few minutes and it hits me hard. This type hurts – heartache, pit in my stomach hurts. It doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to. Actually, during our first few months here, I think I lived in a perpetual state of this type of missing – not healthy. But now, it happens at random times throughout my day or week. A memory, a story I want to tell but then I realize it’s 3am their time, a missed facetime call, a missed event due to distance, or something as simple as needing or knowing they need a hug. Little things (or big things) can trigger this type of miss. It leaves me wide awake at night, hugging myself a little tighter, reminding myself that I only have 5 more months until we are reunited for good. It also reminds me to stop for a second, say a quick prayer, and be thankful for having friendships that cause this type of missing. (Another side note – I have never had this type of miss for Whole Foods, Chipotle, or Target).

But, I also wonder if I am alone in this phenomenon I’ve discovered about myself. D, or C, or A never talk about experiencing this shift in types of missing. It makes me worry that out of everyone this move and this year touched, I was the one who struggled the most to handle it appropriately. It makes me feel weak, anxious, and a little alone. It makes me worry that things might not be “normal” as I knew them before we moved, once we move back. I can’t shake it.

Missing someone is not about how long it has been since you have seen them or the amount of time since you have talked…it is about that very moment when you are doing something and wishing they were there with you. —Anonymous

Just Show Up

For the past few months, I’ve been obsessed with Glennon Doyle Melton. A few months ago, I went down a long rabbit hole of TED Talk YouTube videos and happened to stumble across hers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHHPNMIK-fY 

Since then, I’ve explored her website/blog, followed her on Instagram, and ordered her book (it’s next in my lineup of books I need to read). She’s just so damn inspirational – her story, her journey, her authenticity – it’s incredible.

Not only does her journey give hope to the messy people of the world (I consider myself a very messy person), but she is a living example that you really can come out of the other side of whatever situation you may be facing. Her story gives so many the “permission” to be vulnerable, to own up to the imperfections in life, and to admit that recovery (from any and everything) is an ongoing process.

Two important phrases that have stuck with me through reading Glennon’s blog are:

  1. Do The Next Right Thing
  2. Just Show Up

The first – Do The Next Right Thing – is one I’ve been using for a while in my own recovery. I’m not sure where I first heard it, but it has been crucial throughout my journey. I have found that for most people, taking recovery life day by day feels impossible. Many times, even hour by hour can seem out of reach. But, if you can focus on doing the next right thing, life becomes a little less complicated.

Let me explain. Throughout recovery, whenever I “slipped up,” I immediately labeled that day as a failure. If I skipped lunch, the day was shot, might as well skip dinner too. And while I’m at it, I should probably run a couple extra miles. And why not weigh myself? Then the next day, I could get back on track…until I slipped up again. It was a vicious cycle that I couldn’t get out of. I wasn’t giving myself any room to improve “bad” days or any room to be human and make a mistake on “good” days.

Insert “Do The Next Right Thing.” All of the sudden, it didn’t matter if I skipped lunch. The day wasn’t ruined because I had the power to recognize my slip up as a mistake and do the next right thing. The next right thing could have been reaching out for support, canceling my workout, or eating a snack. Whatever it was, it was positive and put me back on the right track.

By choosing to do the next right thing, I didn’t have to feel guilty or overwhelmed or shameful. I could stay in the moment and be proud of myself for making a positive and healthy decision. And, if a day is comprised of a bunch of next right things, it gives a lot less time for wrong things.

The second – Just Show Up – is a new one for me. This is one I wish I had heard early on in recovery! There are probably many ways to interpret “Just Show Up,” but for me it’s all about letting go of fear and perfection and putting myself out there.

In college, I was a part of an on campus ED recovery group. Not only was I TERRIFIED that my friends might find out, I was also in a constant battle with myself over if I actually NEEDED to be a part of this group or not. I saw everyone in the group as “sicker” than myself. They were skinnier, they ate less, they exercised more. Was this true? I honestly have no idea. But at the time, it’s what I perceived.

I spent each week worrying about going to this group. Would I pass anyone I knew on the way? What would I say? Could I get by with not saying anything? Then, I spent each group meeting worrying about what I would say next or what I already said or most importantly, trying to keep my stomach from growling by drinking tons of water. Needless to say, I was not mentally present very often.

Looking back, things could have been so much different if I would have JUST SHOWN UP. Yes, I was there physically, but I needed to show up mentally. I needed to be aware of what was going on around me, aware of what others were saying, and less aware of perfecting what I was going to say. I needed to just be there, in the moment, taking part in something that could have had an even bigger impact on my life than it did (thankfully, I did make a great friend through this group).

I see this constantly play out in my life. From dinner dates with friends to conversations with coworkers or students – how many times have I been so overwhelmed with anxiety and NOT shown up? How could these moments be different if I decided to JUST SHOW UP?

This is something I plan to really work on in my life. I don’t want to miss opportunities because I am anxious and worried it might not work out. I want to be someone who SHOWS UP no matter what.

For now, that means calling a volunteer organization that I’ve been trying to reach by email because phone conversations cause a lot of anxiety.

It also means putting myself out there for an outdoor fitness boot camp business that I want to start when we move back to Virginia.

Both of these are way out of my comfort zone. And both require me to JUST SHOW UP!

I realize now that doing the next right thing and just showing up go hand in hand. The thing you show up for might just be your next right thing. So, be brave. Be strong. Believe in yourself. Do your next right thing and just show up!

Also, a big thanks to Glennon Doyle Melton for being the amazing human being that she is. 🙂

“Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real.” – Glennon Doyle Melton, Momastery.com  

Sara Bareilles

I should be studying. Instead, I am watching a Sara Bareilles concert that was live streamed on Yahoo last night.

I’ve mentioned before that music was, is, and will continue to be a huge part of my recovery and my journey through life in general. Sara Bareilles has played a huge role along the way. From “Gravity” to “Brave” and everything in between, I have found solace, strength, and hope in her authentic and transparent lyrics. Each song is a message and many feel like Sara is reaching out to say, “you are not alone,” “it’s okay to be you,” and “you are strong enough to face any situation head on.”

Last night, I finished reading her new book, “Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) In Song.” It was incredible! Each chapter gave a backstory to a particular song, giving it a personal meaning from Sara, alongside the meaning it holds for each listener. I wish it was longer! Each sentence was like an intimate conversation, showing Sara’s authenticity goes beyond her lyrics – she is the songs she writes.

One of my favorite paragraphs of the entire book is in the chapter, “Beautiful Girl.” This chapter is comprised of letters Sara wrote to herself throughout different phases of her life. One in particular reads,

“Things evolve into other things. Emotions do the same. Forever. Your best ally in all of these shifting seas is your faith in the fact that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Stay put. Stay soft. Stay gentle and kind. Listen to your instincts. Meditate. Pray. Laugh as much as humanly possible. Pain is okay too. Say thank you for all of it. Feel proud that you have spent most of your life’s energy on cultivating a strong connection to your own soul and the will of your heart. It is leading you somewhere deeply satisfying but never perfect. Observe what is painful right now and see if you can stay courageous enough to share it wholly and honestly. Invite it into your house and be a good student. You are a patchwork quilt of all of these past selves, all these wounded little girls, and they are all here too, listening in some form or another…”

The connection Sara is able to make with her words is incredible. These letters left me speechless. As did the entire book. Each chapter left me feeling a little more understood and a little less alone in the crazy, unpredictable journey of life.

The final chapter was about a song from Sara’s new musical, Waitress. The song, “She Used To Be Mine,” gave me chills and left me in tears the first time I heard it…and the second, and the third.

I think the chorus is a place where a lot of women can see themselves:

“She’s imperfect but she tries

She is good but she lies

She is hard on herself

She is broken and won’t ask for help

She is messy but she’s kind

She is lonely most of the time

She is all of this mixed up

And baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone but she used to be mine.”

Once again, Sara’s lyrics left me feeling seen, heard, and validated. I’m not sure how she manages to do this EVERY SINGLE TIME, but she does!

Music, especially Sara’s music, has taught me so much throughout my journey. Important lessons about myself, about others, about bravery and strength, about honesty, about love, and so much more. Lessons that have changed me, shaped me, and guided me through this journey.

I highly recommend not only her music, but her book, to anyone who feels alone, broken, or a little messy. I also recommend it to any and everyone else. 🙂

And thanks to Sara for being open and honest and for sharing your talent with the world.

You are a brave, beautiful, badass!

Love

I am frustrated.

I am frustrated because my younger sister, K, texted me this morning explaining that this week at church, her youth pastor is talking about “homosexuals and transgenders.”

I am frustrated because K felt the need to construct a list of “comebacks” to speak up with when she (inevitably and justifiably) gets offended.

I am frustrated that my 14 year old sister is having to stand up for other people’s rights and freedoms in her church (of all places).

But, I am also incredibly proud. I am proud that I have an open-minded, headstrong, loving sister who chooses to put the needs of others first, and stands up for those who are persecuted, judged, and put down.

I am proud that she realized, at such a young age, that she can be both a Christian AND an advocate for the LGBTQ community.

I am proud that she understands one of God’s greatest commandments to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

It pains me to see that church, a place that is supposed to be a safe haven, a place to feel loved, and accepted, a place of peace, has become a battleground against certain groups of people – in this case anyone with a different sexual orientation.

When did we, as followers of Jesus, step away from his greatest commandment? When did it become acceptable to start adding caveats to scripture? Love your neighbor as yourself – as long as your neighbor is exactly like you? Love your neighbor as yourself – as long as your neighbor isn’t gay…isn’t transgendered…isn’t Muslim…isn’t pro-choice…isn’t a Democrat. NO. The period comes after yourself – no caveats.

How are we to love our neighbors as ourselves if our neighbors don’t share the same rights and freedoms as us? How are we to love our neighbors as ourselves if we are busy judging our neighbors for their differences? The short answer – we can’t!

In order to love our neighbors as ourselves, we have to step back, stop judging, stop persecuting, and stop shaming. What we have to do is simple – LOVE. That’s it. Not love and tell how someone is wrong. Not love and tell someone to stop living a particular way. Just love – no strings attached.

For my sister (as well as the rest of my family), this is a personal issue. One that still sparks many arguments at holiday dinners with certain sides of our family. One that made us all feel pushed away by our church growing up. But also one that taught us to learn and grow into the individuals we are today. One that taught us that we can be Christians AND love our dads. One that taught us we can be Christians AND believe that homosexuality isn’t a sin. One that taught us we can be Christians AND believe that everyone – heterosexual, homosexual, asexual, transgendered, and everyone else in and out of the LGBTQ community – deserves the same rights, happiness, acceptance, love, and peace.

Day by Day. Hour by Hour. Minute by Minute.

This week has been interesting.

To start, D had a meeting with his boss on Monday. I had big hopes for this meeting. Big, misguided hopes. Hopes that were quickly shattered when D didn’t bring home any new information regarding when we could possibly move home.

This meeting set the tone for the week. A tone of frustration and disappointment, while trying to remember D is not to blame and shouldn’t be the target of anger.

I spent Monday on the couch, with Netflix and tears.

Tuesday and Wednesday were a little better. I refocused myself. As disappointed as I was, I felt okay after a long conversation with D. I was in a better mindset and I set about my week, finding as many tasks, chores, and distractions as possible to keep me busy. I blogged, I studied for two upcoming tests, I did some trip planning, I went for walks with S, I read, and finally, I got really desperate and cleaned the house.

I felt happy(ish), I felt like I was doing something (even if it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing), I felt okay body-image wise, I felt okay anxiety wise.

Thursday was just okay. I could feel the anxiety rising, but I continued to distract and refocus that energy. There were times I struggled, but overall, it was a success.

Then today. I knew when I couldn’t sleep last night that today would prove to be a little more difficult. It started at 8:30 when S woke me up to go out. Usually, I get up when she wakes me up and we start our day – routine has been key to most “good” days. But this morning, instead of starting my day, I decided to crawl back under the blankets and sleep the day away…never a good idea.

When I woke back up at 9:45, I felt even more shitty. The negative self-talk started right away – “you won’t walk as many miles today because you woke up later,” “your abs aren’t going to be as visible because you woke up later,” “maybe you shouldn’t eat as much breakfast because you woke up later.” It went on and on and on.

And, because I woke up in this mindset, the exact things I thought played out. My morning was a little worse than most mornings, but I set myself up for that.

Morning faded into afternoon, and it wasn’t until C text me that I was able to snap out of this downward spiral. Sometimes texting her is like talking things through with myself. I write the text (okay, more like novel) for her, but as I’m typing it, I’m realizing things about myself and the situation that I couldn’t see before. Maybe it’s having someone outside of my head’s input, or maybe it’s taking a second and really evaluating how I feel, or maybe it’s a little of everything, I’m not sure, but it helps.

So, as I’m texting her, I realize a couple of things.

First, I may be biased, but I have the strongest, bravest, most supportive best friend. In just the two years (it feels like so much longer) I’ve known her, there have been ups, downs, twists, and turns and she takes them all in stride. She’s a rockstar. I’m not sure how I “did life” before meeting her and I’m glad that now I don’t have to do life without her. Sappiness aside – she puts up with me and loves all the weird, awkward, unlovable parts, and I’m pretty damn grateful.

Second, I’ve put myself into another hole while living here. I don’t think it was intentional, but I realize now that I did it to myself. Granted, there were things that were out of my control that helped me pick up a shovel and dig a little deeper, but I was the one who initially jumped in and started digging. Every time I refused to meet people, the hole got deeper. Every time I chose to engage the negative thoughts about living here, the hole got deeper. Every time something out of my control happened while living here (not being able to work, frustrations with living abroad, no English-speaking volunteer opportunities, etc), the hole got deeper. But, knowing that I am the one who initially started digging that hole, and voluntarily jumped in helps me take responsibility for my unhappiness here. And taking responsibility for my unhappiness helps me to do the opposite – take responsibility for my happiness here. I’m working on ways to do just that!

Finally, I’ve started to see that all of the negative, unhealthy behaviors, thoughts, etc. are symptoms of something bigger – anxiety. It’s taken a long time for me to come to that realization. I’ve always seen my ED and body image issues, depression, anxiety, and more recently, any thoughts about self-harm as separate, individual things. But, they aren’t. When I feel anxious and I can’t breathe, that’s when I think, “I really need to skip lunch today,” or “I’ve gained weight,” or “cutting would make me feel better.” All of the behaviors, thoughts, etc. are all just negative coping skills that make me feel “better” when I’m anxious. Now that I have that information, it’s a lot easier to choose the opposite.

It’s going to take time to fully be on track with choosing only healthy coping skills – this is a day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute journey. But, eating when I want to restrict is a lot less guilt free when I remind myself that the whole reason I didn’t want to eat was because I was anxious.

Today has been hard. That wake-up call text from C wasn’t until 1pm (long-distance/time difference problems) – I had already skipped my normal 10:30 snack and lunch. But, I have the power to do the next right thing, and if that means lunch will be at 2:45 today, then so be it.

This is my journey. A journey to health, happiness, and positive coping skills when I am anxious. I will keep fighting, I will keep learning, I will keep pushing forward.

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

September: Month of Crossfit and Paleo

It has been a whirlwind of a summer (hence why I have been completely MIA). 7 visitors, 4 countries (including multiple trips to some countries), and 4 months later, we said goodbye to our last visitor yesterday (until my dad visits in November).

To say the past four months were “fun” would be an understatement. I had the opportunity to hang out with my cousin G and explore Amsterdam a bit more, travel to Paris with C and make memories that will last a lifetime, visit London, Dublin, and Paris with my sisters, explore London a bit more with A and J (as well as spend a day in Brussels), and finally show my grandma around both Paris and London. See a theme here? Everyone wanted to visit Paris and/or London! Both fine by me!

Although we had an amazing summer, D and I were both feeling a little “off” with our food choices and our workouts. With traveling so much, it’s difficult to always choose the healthiest option when eating (who wants to pass up Parisian food?) and even more difficult to stay on a specific workout routine. It was definitely easier some weeks than others – C and I enjoyed many fun workouts together and I can’t wait to continue that when I move back! But, overall, we felt like we could use a little refresher in both the exercise and nutrition realm.

And thus was born D’s idea of a month of Crossfit WODs and Paleo meals.

If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you will know that lifting is a HUGE part of my life. I love creating our workouts, lifting heavy, and pushing myself to new PR’s. Lifting also happens to play a huge role in my recovery. So, the idea of switching up our normal routine from heavy, strictly lifting workouts to more functional based Crossfit workouts scared me a bit. Honestly, I didn’t really understand Crossfit. D and I had been to a box before, but the workouts always felt a little thrown together, off the cuff, go do 40 deadlifts and call it a day type workouts. But, I committed to this and I was determined to learn as much as I could so that I could give it my best. I have learned so much!

After a lot of research, I created our workout schedule for the entire month. 3 days on, 1 day off. We start each 3 day cycle focusing on 1 modality (metabolic conditioning, gymnastics/body weight, or weightlifting/powerlifting) during our WOD, then increase to 2 on day 2, and finally 3 on day 3. Each day starts with a warm-up (in our case it’s usually a run with our pup who is full of energy and needs the exercise), then we move on to a specific skill (this is where my personal training/love of heavy lifting plays a role – these are usually pyramids of a core lift such as bench, squat, or deadlift, OR some bicep/tricep work), and finally we finish with the WOD and stretching.

The other part of this month’s changes was our diets. We generally eat very healthy/clean. Lots of fruits and veggies, high protein, low sugar, etc. But, we decided to go all in and give paleo a try. Full disclosure – I refused to give up my protein pancakes for breakfast, so we aren’t doing this 100%, but we are doing our best. I’ve really enjoyed trying many new paleo recipes and making sure we are eating nutritionally sound foods.

So, I say all of that to preface this:

9 Things I’ve Learned From A Month of Crossfit and Paleo

1 – It’s okay to not be “all or nothing.”

This has been huge in both our workouts and our diets. I enjoy doing the heavy lifts, so I still include them occasionally, alongside our WOD. But, this has mainly played out with nutrition. I’ve learned that we can still be committed to eating paleo AND I can still enjoy my protein pancake. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. We’ve had quinoa or brown rice with some of our meals, we’ve had some non-paleo foods when we are out and there is nothing else to eat, and that’s okay. After this month, we are taking a trip to Italy, and then taking a trip home to the states 2 weeks later. I’m sure we will eat whatever we want to on either trip, paleo or not. We want to do the best we can at eating whole and nutritious foods, but we also are going to keep a percentage available to just live. This is where we will fully rely on the 80/20 rule with paleo. 80% of the time we will try to eat foods that align with paleo, while the other 20% we will eat foods that wouldn’t necessarily fall into the paleo category. This helps alleviate that “all or nothing” mentality that I sometimes fall into. 🙂

2 – I’m hungry ALL of the time (and that’s okay).

I don’t know what happened, but I think something between switching up my workout routines and eating habits changed my metabolism. Going from restricting to eating while lifting was a huge change for me – I ate so much more than I thought possible, and it was what my body needed. And that amount has jumped up again. Sometimes I get a little freaked out that eating more will cause weight gain, but I try to just focus on eating when I’m hungry, stopping when I’m full, and knowing that my body knows what it is doing, while sometimes my brain (ED) might not.

3 – Rest days are important.

Before we started including Crossfit type workouts in our routine, I HATED rest days. I felt lazy, I felt like they were pointless, and I didn’t want to include them. But, now I see why they are so necessary. After 3 days on of running, lifting/accessory work, and a WOD, my body NEEDS a rest day. And rest days are just that – I don’t do anything (except my normal walks with the pup). So, appreciate your rest days – your body needs time to recover!

4 – So is stretching.

Something I hated even more than rest days – stretching. And I never did it. I am a certified personal trainer, I include stretching in ALL of the plans I write, but I refused to actually do it myself. After almost a month of struggling through overhead squats, snatches, and cleans due to lack of flexibility, I clearly see why stretching is VERY important, and I am starting to incorporate it after every workout.

5 – I can stick to a specific way of eating and NOT feel like I’m restricting.

This has been HUGE for me! Going into this month, I was concerned that removing certain foods might push on that restricting trigger and lead to more and more foods being cut out. But, I am happy to say that it hasn’t! I credit a large part of that to the 80/20 rule and staying away from the “all or nothing” thinking.

It was a little difficult in the beginning. I don’t think that I realized that my appetite might change and I may need to give my body more fuel. But, once I started relying on hunger cues, and not focusing on how much I was eating, but eating when my body said to, it became a lot easier to not feel like I was restricting. Which, leads me to my next point.

6 – Listen to your body.

This has always been one I struggled with, and I’m sure it will almost always be something I struggle with. But, it has gotten easier, with time. My body knows what it needs. It knows when it needs rest. It knows when it needs fuel. It knows when it needs sleep. On the other hand, sometimes my brain (ED) doesn’t care what my body needs – it only cares about what it wants. So, in those moments, it’s become very important to step back, separate the two, and choose to listen to my body over my brain. I’m still learning and every day is a chance to practice and choose my body and in turn, recovery.

7 – Functional lifts are just as important as main lift PR’s.

Another difficult one for me to grasp. I have always been focused on numbers. And lifting was no different – I wanted higher numbers, I wanted to be the best. So, to step back and not give those numbers power for a little while has been a little scary. I am worried that I will lose some of my strength gains. But, I also have seen improvements in so many areas. It’s awesome to PR bench press, but I also want to be able to do a snatch, and at this point, I don’t care what that PR weight is! After this month, I am looking forward to returning to the world of heavy lifting and maxing, but I am also excited to combine the best of both worlds and continue to include functional lifts alongside the big PR lifts!

8 – I am scared of handstands.

I don’t know when this happened. As a child, I loved to do cartwheels, handstands, etc. But, after trying to do handstand pushups, I realized that handstands actually terrify me and I need to find a substitute exercise (or get over my fear…).

9 – I am strong, but I will always have room to grow.

This one encompasses all aspects of my life, from physical to mental. I have shown myself my strength, and I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was. But, I always have room to grow and push myself to new and better things!

Crossfit has kicked my ass. Going from a plateau in my normal lifting routine to a Crossfit workout everyday has been a tremendous change. I am always sore after a workout. I look forward to pushing myself in new ways. Changing my diet (even though it wasn’t a huge change) has also been a wonderful experience. I can’t wait to incorporate and combine everything that I’ve learned through this past month in with my “normal” routines starting in October.

To end, I want to share Greg Glassman’s Crossfit in 100 words – this isn’t a diet, this isn’t about being skinny or looking a certain way…this is about training for life.

“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.” ~Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit Founder and CEO

Food for Thought

The past couple of months have been hard, to say the least.

I haven’t had much of an opportunity to post, nor have I really felt like writing. But, I want to break that streak today by posting, even if it’s just a short one!

C and I share motivational, uplifting, and encouraging quotes/posts/thoughts we find each day. Today I want to share one of these that I found really helpful! Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments!

“Your light is seen, your heart is known, your soul is cherished by more people than you might imagine. If you knew how many others have been touched in wonderful ways by you, you would be astonished. If you knew how many people feel so much for you, you would be shocked. You are far more wonderful than you think you are. Rest with that. Rest easy with that. Breathe again. You are doing fine. More than fine. Better than fine. You’re doin’ great. So relax. And love yourself today.” – Neale Donald Walsch

Identities

High School Special Education Teacher.

Case Manager.

Cohort Group Member.

Certified Personal Trainer.

Summer Camp Leader.

Babysitter.

Wife.

Best Friend.

Dog Mom.

These were my identities before we moved. These were my life. My purpose. My motivation to get up each morning and kick ass.

How quickly things change.

Since moving, my identities went from many to few. Here I am known for 1 thing – I am D’s wife.

I am still a best friend. I am still a dog mom. I can still be a teacher or a trainer or a camp leader when we move back. But here, surrounded by strangers, I am 1 thing. My identity is solely through my husband.

Don’t get me wrong, I love D. And I wouldn’t want to spend my life with anyone else.

But, 7 months into this assignment, and I’m not sure how much longer I can go without my own identity. I want to work. I want to help people. I want a purpose to get up before 11:30 am each day. I want MY life outside of just being a wife.

Maybe I am selfish. Who gets upset about a year and a half off of work to live in Europe?

I have experienced so many unbelievable adventures. Visited places I never would be able to otherwise. Countless trips with D. An amazing trip to Paris with my best friend. These are things that never would have happened if we didn’t move here. And I am incredibly grateful for these things.

But, I also just want normalcy.

I try to ignore these thoughts and feelings. I know that me being upset about living here upsets D. I know he feels responsible for my lack of happiness here. And, that’s not fair to him.

This past week, C came to visit. Not only did I laugh and smile more than I have in 7 months, but I was also just genuinely happier than I have been in 7 months. Life felt normal. I was able to briefly forget that this week long “normal” was temporary. It felt like a summer vacation, especially since D was able to take some days off and hang out with us.

But, C left yesterday, and those thoughts and feelings came flooding back. Not only because I realized how much I miss my best friend, but because I realized how much I missed my “normal” life.

I realized that living here causes me to forfeit another ENTIRE school year of teaching.

I realized that living here means another year of my only identify being D’s wife.

I realized that in living here, I have no real purpose. No motivation for each day.

It’s so much deeper than missing just one thing about home. It’s missing my entire life there. And I don’t know how to survive another possible 8-12 months here while feeling this way.

I guess it’s time to fake it til I make it!

HIIT workout

It finally feels like summer here! Or, at least it did for a week…

After a week of temperatures in the 80’s and no air conditioning, I can safely say that I am okay with average summer days in being in the low to mid 60’s. I would rather be cold outside than sweat when I am inside!

The start of summer is bringing many visitors, trips, and outings! With the less than consistent schedule of the next few months, D and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to mix up our lifting routine a bit.

Instead of jumping right back into another 4 week mesocycle of heavy lifting, we decided to go a little more high intensity, met-con type with our workouts. This gives us more flexibility with our workouts so that we can focus on enjoying our company, while they are here!

I’ve come up with a lot of different workouts over the past few months, but our most recent dedicated HIIT workout is by far my favorite! We’ve combined some of our favorite lifts with some cardio and timed it to create a fast-paced, killer workout!

As always, be careful when trying a new workout. Take your time, pace yourself, and don’t go past your limits!

HIIT Lifting Workout

Warm-up: 1 mile run (not too fast – just focus on warming up your body)

Complete all 5 of the lifts below (at prescribed reps) without a break (you can time yourself during these rounds)

  • Hang Cleans x 6
  • Deadlift x 12
  • Push Press x 10
  • High Pulls x 10
  • Front Squats x 12

After all 5 lifts, rest 60-90 seconds before the next round.

Complete 3 rounds total.

This workout is designed to be fast-paced, but not easy. Choose a weight that you can lift the prescribed amount. Don’t go too heavy! Work on speed and quality of the lifts over lifting heavy sets!

After round 3, 2 minute cool down.

Finish with alternated jump rope/crunches (for time).

  • 50 jump rope
  • 50 crunches
  • 40 jump rope
  • 40 crunches
  • 30 jump rope
  • 30 crunches
  • 20 jump rope
  • 20 crunches
  • 10 jump rope
  • 10 crunches

Cool down by stretching…you will need it!

This workout has kicked our asses more than once in the past few weeks! It’s great because you can set yourself to go a pace that works for you at a weight that also works for you, and still have a great workout!

More workouts to come! If you have any questions, just ask!

Happy lifting!