Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: November 2022

Temporarily reformed adventure junkie

This week I asked Joel, “is this what being boring feels like?”

I’m on an adventure diet: day trips only

And honestly, it’s not too bad for a change.

If you’ve met me, or at least my social media feed, you know that I’m an adventure junkie. If I have free time, I’m here to squeeze any sort of exciting, beautiful, awe-inspiring, picture-and/or-blog-worthy experience out of it. Uncharacteristically, I am currently amidst a week off where it took a hell of a lot of self-control to not just go for a little camping trip somewhere pretty (it’s FALLLLLL out there, you know), or hop a plane somewhere, and I’m actually not hating it. It may be that I’m still in deep picture-editing-ception (I have a whole cruise + fall hikes + ten full days of EU sightseeing left so I’m in ZERO danger of running out of material) so I know my adventure log has been very full this year already. I *am* missing a scuba diving focused trip something fierce, so that’s something I’ll have to address next year, but for now, I’m OKAY with being here instead of anywhere else.

I miss these times, but I miss the body I had at the time more

It’s been a long “2-4 weeks” since we all got sent home from work one Friday in March 2020, and when I let many of the plates I was spinning crash to the ground over the pandemic, I’ve just been walking around them (or just on top of them) ever since. Late 2022 has been about starting to pick up some of those shattered pieces, for real this time, not just pretending while sweeping them under the rug. Y’know, really trying to clean house (both literally and figuratively). Some plates are worth gluing back together. Some need to be thrown away and replaced. Some, maybe I can live without the spinning of this particular dishware in this new era. But it’s time to stop spending every free moment running away from my plates to go on adventures.

It’s just weird to take a Monday off and go to the gym, do errands, and clean. There was absolutely nothing adventurous about that – but I’m proud to say our office has carpet again (and I believe it will have EVEN MORE later today). I’m not going to have a super gorgeous modern minimalist house anytime soon – but I may at some point not be MORTIFIED if I forget to turn on my Zoom background in the office. We’re going to try to make incremental and time-boxed progress on the rest of the house as well – this week we’re trying for one hour a day, and weeks where we are working, we’re going to do two hours a week. Just that one change (time-boxing it) made an overwhelming task something that seems at least less intimidating to start and maybe even eventually achievable. I can give two hours a week to fix something that’s causing me strife. It’d be nice to not have to add “sorry there’s stuff everywhere” to the greeting “hello and welcome to our home”.

Had to go back to 2017 to find photographic evidence of the last time we fully cleaned the office

In the spirit of proactivity and not ignoring problems, I started with an executive coach this week. It sounds very fancy, but really, it’s just an outside voice with a non-disclosure agreement to talk through work challenges. I’m finding that I have fewer and fewer appropriate sounding boards these days for some of the things that come up. Instead of unloading on someone who shouldn’t have to be burdened with it, I now have her! I’ve found the space to just babble really useful, and while she’s given me some golden nuggets, the ability to talk things out loud instead of in my head was super helpful. I have a few things to try over the next month to see if they help my productivity and give me the ability to connect better.

And now, I shall end this missive with the normal things. This is my reward for being boring.

And I’m happy with my prize right now. The meal delivery services are very much helping this quest – especially this week. We could have easily said “eff it” week and go get takeout/go out even if we shunned the adventure. However, the food, it just keeps showing up. So, we keep eating it instead of being adventurous. And my trendweight, she keeps going down. It’s like methodical, boring, mundane magic!

Last week I ate 1469 calories per day on average and getting that average below 1500 is key. It’s not much lower, but I’m getting more activity to balance it out. It’s not jacking up my appetite yet, so that’s good, but this is abouuuuuut where I’m going to stay for a while.

Yep, that’s two runs AND a swim, as well as three trips to the gym to lift weights. My seven-day step average is at about 9k (which is a triumph in and of itself with this craptastic weather). I’m working my run up to 3 miles/30 mins (three more weeks to go if all goes well!) and would like to swim 1000m/20 mins, but that’s it. After that becomes easy, I’ll work on doing it faster (slowly) instead of continuing to add time.

New shoes, who fish?

For the first time in a while, my goal for this week is “another one like the last one”. That’s the opposite of what an adventure junkie would say. I’m weirdly excited to be temporarily reformed – at least for the next few months!

Permission to be boring

Another week and I have some words! And maybe some cheese.

Scuze the Quest shilling, but I will stand by the fact that these taste better than cheez-it to me!

First of all, folks, this is what progress looks like.

Would I like it to go faster? Yes. Am I a little sad that so far this progress is just taking off the weight I gained in Europe? Also, yes. However, I love me some inertia. I’m pretty good at CONTINUING habits, so I’ll take my wins at face value and keep moving on… down?

I’d like to say a hearty thank you to Snap Kitchen and Factor for keeping my cakehole on the straight and narrow. The subscription service adds one additional factor to pressure me (in a good way) – the meals keep coming whether I eat them or not. So far, it’s kept us from going out quite a few times simply because I will NOT let them expire (and I have only frozen ONE). I mean, it’s also just super convenient and the food is actually really good, so it’s not a hardship or anything, but the weekly food delivery is really helping things along.

Maybe it’s not the prettiest food but someone else made me pasta with chicken and broccoli for 500 calories and it tastes AMAZING.

My average calories consumed per day last week was 1554, which seems to be about my limit for calorie deficits while keeping my sanity intact. Most of the Snap/Factor meals are around 500 calories, so two of those + breakfast is about 1200. I try to skip breakfast every once in a while, if I’m not hungry (intermittent fasting?) and only snack when I absolutely must, but there’s been a few days lately where I just couldn’t THINK on 1200 calories and I kinda have to do that to work.

So, to balance the equation, I need to burn a bit more, which means a few things:

  1. Putting on muscle (it burns calories!)
  2. More low intensity cardio (10k steps per day)
  3. Remembering how to run again

The last one might be more for my sanity, but I do also love the efficiency of a run for the calories/minute burn. There’s a tipping point where it just makes me hungrier (thus why I’ve gained weight training for every full marathon I’ve ran), but my modest goal to be able to jog a 5k again by the end of the year shouldn’t cause problems.

Looking back at my last marathon finish, I *may* weigh less right now than I did then. Heck of a lot more in shape then, but still!

So, last week I had a few goals. I wanted to run twice, bike or elliptical 3 times, do strength 3 times, and get as close to 10k steps per day as possible.

  • Monday – 1 mile run, leg day, 11.1k steps
  • Tuesday – 30 min bike, 9.4k steps
  • Wednesday – chest and shoulders, 9.7k steps
  • Thursday – 1 mile run, 10.1k steps
  • Friday – 3.5k steps (day off)
  • Saturday – 12.5k steps
  • Sunday – we’ll see, but I’m off for an hour walk shortly, so I have high hopes

As you can see, I hit some goals and not others. I’m THRILLED to be able to say I ran twice (even though it was one mile and slow as eff) and did not have any calf/heel/back/body issues as my meatbag has officially remembered how to engage my inner thighs when I amble about. Lovely! I traded two bikes/ellipticals for more walks, and this is okay. It’s been gorgeous outside and while I should be doing both, I’ll take long walks after work over being cooped up in the pain cave on my trainer. I squeezed in an Oiselle Dozen today instead of normal strength work since I missed back/bicep day (since we visit the squat witch tomorrow and I am not sure which part of the body she is going to abuse, so core is safe since I can do that daily). All in all, pleased with my week and we’ll keep building.

I made another recovery habit breakthrough. I realized that I have put off stretching for weeks because my routine is LONG. Instead of the goal to stretch daily, I’m making my goal to stretch for 5 minutes daily. Who can say they don’t have time to do 5 minutes of something? After this hit me, I’ve stretched most days since. I’ve also rolled most days, and I think I get a gold star for using the massage boots and icing daily as well. Very happy with my recovery habits (and how they’re paying off!).

This all takes a lot of focus and attention. If I add up the 5 minutes here and 15 minutes there I’m spending on my health and fitness goals, it’s about 2 1/2 hours per day. Sure, some of this happens while doing other things (icing, massage boots), but it still takes DOING. It’s important for this to be high priority right now and push other things below the “suck” line to stay undone – I love the incremental progress I’ve made and want to continue. My body just FEELS different – I’m not as much of a constantly in pain sloshy meat sack right now, I feel… pretty good. Like maybe I can remember how to be me again someday.

I kinda feel like, “thanks I hate it” on my new one, but Joel disagrees, and I’m sure it will look less out of place when I have three more done!

Balancing this with some hobby time and social time (which are both also sorely needed to make me a happy human) has been doable as well. Work has, after about three years of being a ball of nonstop overwhelm, calmed down just a bit. I’m wearing the hat I’m supposed to, I’ve handed off the other ones to the right people, and I don’t want to jinx it, but most days I can work a normal number of hours during normal hours! It’s amazing! I picked up my guitar yesterday and also finished and started a new painting. I would like to do both of these more often, but again, they can fall below the “suck” line if I need the time for my health. I’m working diligently through my backlog of photos as that’s my most efficient hobby (one I can do on the couch while the TV is on) where I can still be moderately social. I actually even picked up a dumb game called Shop Titans that I’ve played a few times. It’s like things are really coming together.

It’s nice to see this view from the office and think “welp, I’m done for the day’, not “welp, guess I’ll eat dinner and work for another 3 hours from home”!

However, I also feel like I’ve hit the finish line of a marathon. I am so, so, so very mentally tired. After a race, I don’t question why I’m exhausted even though I’m not currently running. I’ve had to have that conversation with myself a few times to remind myself that after years of 120-200% almost nonstop, 70% is FINE right now even if gosh I feel like a failure if I’m operating at less than 100%. Because I would like to be back to capacity as soon as I can, I’m going to take the week of Thanksgiving off and do something uncharacteristic of me – nothing. Sure, I’ve got a few house projects I’d like to do. I plan to hike and bike some pretty places. I’m sure I’ll hobby it up and get to the gym and stuff too. But we’re not going camping or hopping on a plane anywhere. These are my nine days to slow down a little and gather my strength.

I also am resisting the urge to go anywhere, to bring it around to the beginning, because I have a good routine going here, and I still feel my grasp on it is tentative. And this is what I need right now to grapple this feeling and this progress and keep it going. Routine. Normalcy. Permission to be a bit boring. Adventure is exciting, and I am an unrepentant adventure junkie, but Europe and the events right before and after were a little TOO exciting (mentally and physically). I need to slow down and be okay with just chopping the wood and carrying the water for a while. I won’t go complete cold turkey, but we’ll keep the adventure to day hikes and bikes instead of things that are going to throw my carefully crafted routine off kilter.

Here we are

Here we are, we are here. Let’s catch up, shall we?

There may have been some painkillers involved in the making of this selfie.

Have minor surgery, they said. You’ll feel back to normal in a few days, they said. Not quite. I’d say it took about a week. My energy was just REAL low, and I just didn’t feel mentally or physically right (and I was actually nicely called out on it, so I know I wasn’t hiding it well). We met friends three days later for dinner and a Blue Man Group show on Friday after work, and I was half of a human, maybe. All in all, even with some extra unplanned recovery time, all went well and the thing they needed to biopsy came back all clear, so I’m thankful my complaints were simply around having to take it easier than I’d like for longer than I’d like.

It may be weird to say, but after I got home from the procedure, it was one of the most relaxing days I’ve had in months. Maybe I need to schedule “surgery” days (day off, just reading, napping, and eating snacks with no goals/chores/to dos) every so often. Pretty proud of my eating habits, I didn’t go overboard in terms of calories that day and tracked everything. I spent the rest of the week off lifting heavy things (or light things, even), and just took a bunch of walks for exercise. We hiked Bull creek last weekend (and went back again today) and am really enjoying seeing fall start to descend on the ATX.

And then, we were back at it. Last Monday at 7am (never going this early again, simply for the Joel-complaining-factor!), the squat witch tortured our legs. We now have a standing appointment at 830am Mondays (much more reasonable), and the goal is to find a time later in the week to do training and go once on our own as well (Monday/Wed/Fri or Sat?). On gym days, we’re doing the elliptical before or after for cardio, at home, we’re biking on the trainer or walking. It’s not nothing, but I really do aim to figure out how to make swimming work and try some short runs soon, maybe even tomorrow. I’d like to remember how to triathlete, at least a little bit.

Silver lining, we’ve taken October to do a bunch of Spookywalks.

But hey, it wasn’t nothing. This is what I did:

Week of October 24th:

  • Monday – 1h15 min walk
  • Tuesday – off
  • Wednesday – 30 min walk
  • Thursday – off
  • Friday – 50 min walk
  • Saturday – 2-hour hike (with LOTS of picture stops!)
  • Sunday – 1 hour walk

Week of Oct 31:

  • Monday – 30 min legs, 30 min elliptical, 12 min walk
  • Tuesday – 30 min bike
  • Wednesday – 1 hour walk
  • Thursday – off
  • Friday – 30 min back and biceps, 30 min elliptical
  • Saturday – off
  • Sunday – 1.5h hike

Monday, we also realized our Iguana wasn’t acting like herself and made a vet appointment… which cascaded into multiple vet appointments during the week when she started going downhill very quickly. We ended up saying goodbye yesterday, which was very sad, but also very much the right thing to do. We decided that it was okay to have a small pity party, so we ordered some pizza and zoned out on TV and played video games the rest of the day. At around 2000 calories, it was the most I’ve tracked in a while, but I think it’s okay to make the exception.

From back in the day when she was fat, happy, and always climbing on our bikes

By the numbers:

  • Week of Oct 24 – 1503 calories/average per day
  • Week of Oct 31 – 1574 calories/average per day

I could have done better, but considering the circumstances of the last two weeks, I certainly could have done way worse (and absolutely would have, would I not be tracking my food).

So how did this play out in the results? It’s really not worth sharing October’s trend line, as most of the month it was just trendweight adjusting to what I gained in Europe, but November is showing a bit of progress so far. This makes me happy, as long as I ignore the feeling that I’m Sisyphus, rolling the same damn boulder up the hill yet again, losing the same weight I lost before, but the other option is to give up and that’s not an option.

So, here we are, we are here. If you know me, you know the question that follows – what’s next?

I’m finding it pretty easy to stick around 1500 calories/day on average as long as I mind what’s going into my mouth and track my food. I’m finding it quite difficult to reduce much further. I think the answer now is to up my activity just a little bit (the moderate to vigorous bits like biking/running/weights/elliptical). So, I’m going to try this next week:

  • 2-1-mile runs
  • 3-30 min bikes or ellipticals with effort
  • 3 strength sessions
  • 10k steps per day*

10k steps is a lofty goal right now, sadly, but I’m hoping this will get me outside even if I don’t feel like it some days for some extra calorie burn (and extra sanity points).

Since I’m aiming to up my calorie BURN this week, I’m going to keep my eating habits at the status quo. We are fully on the meal delivery cycle train. However, we’re a bit backlogged because of social events, pity parties, and just a few times I skipped a meal. I suppose, if there’s anything to change, it’s to 100% eat the food that’s being delivered or we’re going to waste some expensive meals.

I’ve painted ten of these since the pandemic started and have another in progress.

My other habits are going… okay. I’m still meditating daily, and doing some recovery, but rolling has definitely fallen off from daily to a few times a week. Back to it this week! I have other things I’d like to do but I need to make sure I don’t go into overwhelm. I’m not doing GREAT on hobbies – we have our dateboxes piling up, my guitar has been untouched for a while, and there’s no writing going on besides these journals. However, I’m voraciously editing photos, and I managed to put the finishing touches on my 16th painting and work on my 17th. I suppose all these things ebb and flow.

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