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.