Welcome to 2022, Dear Friend!
I’m not sure how it has been going for you, but this year is starting in a very mixed bag for me! I have SO much intention and passion and hope for this year, but at the same time, my engine is sputtering to a start, and even the days that it starts up smoothly, I’m doing the mental equivalent of sitting in the car texting instead of heading out toward my destination. Eek!
My wellness goals and intentions for this year are, in as concise a way as I am able to share them:
- Create consistent wellness rhythms and routines. This is not new. I have been struggling with this since mid 2018 when Scott changed jobs and I had to rely more on my own energy, because I couldn’t recharge with him working from home anymore. But, I’m just tired of it. I need these rhythms, and I’ve lost touch with how to make what I need happen, over the past…almost seven years. You’ve seen almost 2 years of my consistently inconsistent struggle, and it needs to be resolved. So that’s the big Wellness goal for 2022.
- Finally find a home in my body. I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly what this means or looks like lived out. Part of it feels like a commitment to myself to do the things necessary (see above) to change my body composition to one that allows me to truly thrive in my body; to love it and myself enough to make sacrifices for my greater well-being. Another part is accepting and embracing the body I have now, and the body that I find on the other side of these changes, and not trying to fit her into my own or anyone else’s standard of what she “should” look like or be able to do. This is scary. As of right now, my intention is to be done trying to accomplish fat loss before my 40th birthday. That’s 23 and a half weeks. I don’t have any clue what the “finish line” is, really, other than I’ll know it when I feel it in my body. The “deadline” of my birthday even, isn’t anything firm. It’s not “I’m giving myself 23.5 weeks to lose 50 lbs.” it’s more of a feeling that I don’t want to spend a moment of my forties hating my body. I don’t want to spend the dwindling months of my thirties doing so either, so I am having daily come to Jesus conversations with myself about what matters *today* and reminding myself that perfection isn’t necessary, and every little building block, every brick I lay, brings me closer to wellness. If I lay the same bricks in each row every day, my path becomes more solid, and that’s what I am working toward with my rhythms. I’m also not going to tell you how much weight I am nebulously hoping to lose. (whisper) stop asking. An action that I plan to take toward this end is, season by season, I am going to build a wardrobe of clothes that make me feel spectacular in the body that I have right then. I did this in 2013/2014 while my body changed, and it was instrumental. It was a way to celebrate the wins I was getting and the body I had in that moment.
- Exercise smarter, not harder. This one gets some attention, because it is one of the hardest mindset shifts I’ve ever fought for. I sit down to plan my workouts and I want to do allll of them, partly because I love moving my body in so many ways, and partly because of lingering diet mentality that says I need to burn ALL the calories. I have to choose. I’ve made a new workout calendar based on my cycle- probably the 5th iteration since starting this book- and it makes space for all the modalities I enjoy, timed and intensity graded for the ebbing and flowing needs of my body. I gotta say, in some ways, my almost complete lack of a cycle between pregnancies was a lot easier than this. I just worked out the same way all the time, and if my period happened, I scaled back for a day or two. This new cyclical calendar keeps me moving through my period- I have learned I need to keep momentum- but at a much lower intensity, and then lets me work out at my most intense during the part of my cycle that lends itself the most to that. *chef’s kiss* My period could start any moment now, so we are about to see how that looks in practice. Ultimately, I want to be stronger and have more energy.I want muscle definition, and yes, to be leaner, but the energy and strength are the parts that will really impact my life day to day.
So, let’s check in and see how the first couple weeks of the new year have been going!
Nutrition: this has been, as Larry David would say, pretty, pretty, pretty good. I have not been really tracking consistently, at least not yet, because I am not sure if it would set me back into diet mentality. I might track some days if I’m not sure what the reality is of my nutritional balance, and if, as I ramp up what I am asking of my body, I continue to not get results either in external measures or increased energy, to make sure I am getting enough of the things I personally need most, like essentially equal amounts of carbs and protein. We had pizza last weekend, and it struck me the difference in eating pizza without a shame or scarcity mindset. At times when I believed pizza was “bad”, I wouldn’t enjoy it as much and would feel panicked or ashamed after, like every good thing was undone by the meal I just had. It wasn’t. The times that I ate pizza, believing it was “bad”, while also telling myself I wouldn’t eat it again for a long time, I also found myself eating maybe more than I needed to in order to feel satisfied, because of that scarcity mindset. This time, I was waking from a nap, so hungry, realizing I’d not had lunch, and Scott had ordered my current favorite pie. I ate two (admittedly HUGE) slices, and was done. The next day I ate one for lunch, and one more the day after that. And that was that. I am here to tell you that the world did not end and nothing terrible happened to my body.
As I go forward, I want to put a little more intention into preparing as much as I can of my food for the week ahead. I had a meal plan this week, but I am struggling with transitional and hormonal exhaustion, and following through has been much harder. If I take one hour on Sunday to prep what I can for the week, and maybe add 2-3 minutes to my evening prep, I could be much more well equipped and successful at nourishing my body and my family each week.
Rest: This is the area I feel has improved the most over time, but I also feel like I have a long way to go. Physical rest is where I have seen the big changes. I am sleeping more solidly than I have in years, but I do still wake up in terror and find I’ve been clenching my jaw. I am slowly building consistency on nightly restorative yoga, and I am going to begin doing (10 min to start) of legs up the wall before I sleep, and see if that levels me up a little on relaxation. I feel a lot of tension still about the “pancetta” out there, and Scott going to work in it, and I think that’s a big part of this.
I am also recommitting to afternoon down time. This is hard, especially when I am staying in bed as long as I can in the morning to try to fill my sleep bank. Every day I find myself almost completely unable to stop DOING and just rest. I feel shame about it, I feel like I’m falling behind, or I’m so fried mentally that I just cannot rest my mind or body. I am mentally exhausted from my anxiety disorders, from trying to solve my physical challenges, from being lonely (due to pan-dulce and my mental disorders) from just wanting to be better and WELL in all the ways.
I have found that when I am in this state I have muscle memory that defaults to scrolling my phone, so I have recently adjusted my screentime settings to only allow me 30 min a day of social media. I’m hoping to whittle this down even more, and get to 10 min of social use a day, none on the weekends, and work use as needed. My intention is to use the hours of 2:30-5 PM to read, create art, watch a movie, or whatever sounds like fun. No shame, no “should”, only refilling my cup. Eventually, I might also use this time a few days a week to write, or plan or teach yoga, but only when I have the resources to spare.
Exercise: I already shared some on this, but I am really hopeful about where this part of my life is going. I did my first bike boot camp last Saturday, and that was both brutal and invigorating. I truly cannot wait to see how my performance improves going forward. I have practiced yoga most days of the year so far, mostly in short classes, but I’m rebuilding a foundation after many months of no dedicated exercise due to moving and transition. Tomorrow I intend to do some targeted yoga and an endurance ride, and Friday, my first strength training classes of the year. My period will come any moment now (tomorrow is day 33 of my cycle) and, with that in mind, my biggest focus over the next week is to keep moving, doing a low impact ride to warm up and at least 20 min of yoga each day. I hope to strength train MWF until my period comes, but no boot camp Saturdays until I am past the first few days of my new cycle.
Self care: Such a mixed bag here. I was doing so great at skincare and showers last week, but this week has been a total disaster. I did take a bath today, but it was just a resting bath, no beauty treatments. Tomorrow I will take a bath again and get all buffed and polished for my date night (at home) with Scott. I also intend to recommit to my morning and evening showers and skincare time and build rhythms around other aspects of self care that boost me and remind me I’m worth the time and effort, like doing my nails and eyebrows at least weekly.
Soul care: one of my recent hard talks with myself was on this topic. You likely already know that this is the number one area I struggle with consistently following through on, and that is going to change. I retooled my whole daily routine as I had it mapped out, to make more time for soul care and gardening. It will take time to train my mind that it is okay to spend this time, but it will be worth it because it is where so much of the healing of my mental health is going to stem from. So far, the change has been so good, and I am so very thankful.
Body image: So, I’m not really sure where to start. Part of me wants to play things cool, and the other part wants to be all Michael Scott and yell “IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S REALLY HAPPENING!” Y’all, somehow, over the holiday season, I lost eight pounds. I don’t know how, really, and I think that’s kind of a good thing? See, if I were able to look at it and say “oh I was eating consistently like this” or “I was doing this workout plan”, then I might be tempted to LOCK myself into those things and restrict and push and yuck yuck yuck. No. But, sorta thankfully for me, absolutely nothing was consistent during those times, other than I was doing what I could to listen to my body. I worked out for a week near thanksgiving and I think the week before Christmas too, but… nothing consistent otherwise or with food. I’m going to take all that as a good thing, and just move forward with curiosity, observation, and intention to focus on quality in all these areas, not quantity- of food or exercise, specifically.
My body has not really changed yet, in any way I can detect externally, and definitely not dramatically. Sometimes some shirts feel like they may fit better, but not always, and I think maybe my jeans are a little more comfortable? This isn’t surprising, because I wear leggings and workout clothes most of the time, so there’s not a lot of opportunities to notice. I share this because it is consistent with the truth that I have come to know that the scale is not the best measure of anything, and also because I am SO excited to share with you what I DO notice as this trend hopefully continues for me. Will I find correlation between the scale and how my clothes fit and how my body feels? What will it look like as I build muscle? I am excited to see changes, YES for myself, but also to finally share with you, my friends, what progress toward wellness can look like, and how different the journey can be from what we expect and what diet culture tells us. Finally, after almost two years of chronicling this journey (with ebbing and flowing consistency), I begin to see some spark of change- and it comes NOT from working hard or restricting my food, but from doing what I can, where I am, with what I have, each day, to love my body. Body love: This week I love my body because she is showing me that I DO NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT. My best, whatever it looks like today, is enough