Wednesday, October 29, 2014

That Post Vacation Feeling

You know what is hard? Getting back on track after a week off. Yep, this crap is hard. I miss naps. I miss sitting by a pool with my book. I miss not having deadlines and responsibilities to keep to. I miss waking up at 8:30 a.m. I miss all of that right now. Makes a career woman contemplate becoming a stay at home something. But alas, I love my job too much. But I am not joking when I say, I need a week off to recover from my week off. I am just not ready for all the errands and to do lists again. *sigh*

I knew this week was going to be hard. So I prepared in advance. I cleaned the whole house and did all the laundry, so all I had to do was maintain the house this week. I shopped in advance. I bought healthy choices for my lunches.

Every morning starts off with an apple. I love apples but I only like them when they are in season. They taste different to me when they come from a farm I have been to and are fresh. Thank you Apple Hill. I will need another visit as soon as possible. I have also ditched the coffee again and started back on Yerba Mate. I wrote a blogpost about why I ditched coffee and started choosing Yerba Mate last month, you can read about it by clicking here.

Almost every afternoon I can be found fighting for the microwave in the break room so I can heat up my homemade chicken soup (with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in) and toasting my rye bread slices. I discovered this week that I like rye bread and it doesn't have a huge amount of carbohydrates in it. Score!

My afternoon snack has been the amazing apple sauce that I bought at Apple Hill. I didn't think I would like chunky, but I really do and it has no added sugars at all. Tastes like an apple pie actually.

I plan on spending some time in the next couple of weeks experimenting with homemade applesauce without added sugar as well but for now I am really enjoying this stuff. It is the perfect afternoon treat for my sweet tooth.

In between I try to keep my water cup full and during breaks I run down to get ice. Is anyone else greatly motivated by cold water?? Just me?? 

Eating healthier has been easier than I thought it was going to be after a couple weeks of eating whatever. I am still not tracking but I am making healthier choices. Baby steps. One thing I am slacking on is my sleep schedule though. During vacation I went to bed around 11 p.m. and woke up between 8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m. It is funny how in one week you can get really used to just going to bed late. Sadly I have been really tired every single night around 8 p.m. but since I am terrible at listening to my body, I usually push my bed time and end up with a second wind at 10 p.m. I have to STOP doing that. This morning I almost slept right through my alarm clock and I have dark circles forming again. It does me no good to catch up on sleep last week just to exhaust myself again this week. The lack of sleep resulted in me ditching out on my brisk walk last night and crawling into PJ's instead the minute I got home. I spent most of the evening in bed reading and still didn't manage to get to bed on time. Oh vey! I will get it down soon.

Anyways, tonight I will be making up for it. Me and my mini side kick have a brisk walk to the fitness park area by our house planned where we can get our workout on. They have assisted squat things, balance boards, reverse pull up bars and all kinds of goodies. Then we will finish our 30 minute walk. That should catch me up with my beginners run training plan of three 30 minute brisk walks this week with rest days or cross training in between. Thinking of the mini side kick, Bella Rue is also adjusting to being left for almost an entire week and has spent each evening shadowing me around the house. 

A girl can't even wash her face in peace without Bella Rue getting underfoot. It was her first time dealing with us being gone and she has been clingy. Trust me, dogs can get clingy. Especially Bella Rue, the baby. But the old dog, she barely noticed we were gone. 

All in all, I feel good, well you know besides the lack of sleep. I am making healthy choices each day and slowly introducing myself back into a schedule. It helps that I am really enjoying all the cold weather and that there are only healthy choices in my house to eat. I am really glad I prepared in advance. Seriously. Without it, I probably would have eaten out a lot more this week already. I have been too tired to think about dinner each evening after spending all day catching up at work.

I am already thinking about next weeks dinners, I am thinking squash soup in a big batch, homemade french bread and maybe some apple sauce experiments. I am also thinking about making pumpkin soup for the first year ever. We are gearing up for a weekend of rain and thunderstorms starting on Halloween and my favorite thing to do is bake and create during storms. Plus it is really nice to have frozen soups in the freezer for the cold evenings, now that we are FINALLY having cold evenings.

So how do you get back on track after vacation??

The Hump Day Blog Hop

Monday, October 27, 2014

I'm Back

I meant to post something last Friday regarding not posting for a week. I had also meant to write a few posts and put them on schedules to post periodically while I was gone. But best laid plans and all that, my week before my vacation was downright HECTIC. Between work and home, the stress, the mishaps and everything else, I was pretty sure I was going to have a major melt down before we could even get on the plane last Saturday. But I survived with the help of some pretty awesome people, I had a great time and I promise to do a blog post of a review of my cruise today or tomorrow. In the mean time, life is settling down again. Luckily I had a 3 day weekend so I could get ALL the loads of laundry done (and there was a LOT), I cleaned up the whole house, spent lots of time cuddling with my loves, responded to personal emails and just got some down time before heading back to work. I still need to sort through about 300 vacation photos and order some prints to make a scrapbook, but that will happen in due time.

I was pretty shocked when I stepped on the scale on Friday and didn't gain any vacation weight. I didn't lose but I didn't gain. It was a relief. Especially since I ate deserts, didn't count calories and just enjoyed myself thoroughly without any worries about clean eating. But I also ate fresh fruit for breakfast, stuck to mostly low carb foods and was very active during our cruise as well. I just naturally gravitated towards things that normally make me feel good. It was nice not coming home to having 10 pounds of vacation weight to worry about.

Before the cruise I had burnt out. I was exhausted with constantly over obsessing about calories and carbohydrates. The more research I did on how to eat, the more contradicting information I came up with. I was over worried about how many calories I was taking in, did I eat enough or not enough, did I work out enough. It was becoming a constant burden for me and losing weight was no longer fun. So I stopped even trying. I didn't do anything for weeks. Now I know I am repeating myself if you read my Motivation blog I posted recently. So bear with me. Anyways, before I left for vacation, while I was packing, I stumbled upon two pairs of adorable jeans I had bought a few months ago in the midst of losing weight. I had finally fit back into a size 18 and I was so excited. I bought a pair of boyfriend jeans and a pair of skinny jeans. Neither one fit anymore. I was back down to 2 pairs of jeans that fit mostly comfortably without a massive muffin top. That was a shocker and definitely a wake up to the fact that I had to find a way to NOT feel so burnt out anymore.

During the cruise I got away from my phone, from social media, from counting calories, from constant daily worries about workouts and I got some time to myself. I spent some time with my cousin and got a different view point. I got to read next to a pool on a sunny afternoon (in the middle of the day, WHAT?!). I got to sit on our balcony while the sun was setting and just think. I took naps in the middle of the afternoon. I snuggled with the husband. I stared up at a sky full of stars while sitting in a warm hot tub. I laughed till I almost peed myself at comedy shows.With all of this, eventually my thoughts were able to gather together and I came to some pretty clear decisions about this journey of mine. I knew I couldn't continue to feel burnt out but I also knew I couldn't continue down the obsessive path I had been on. I was ready to start kicking PCOS's booty again. BUT I was going to do it MY WAY.

The weather is cooler again and I have been missing my evening run/walks. It felt GREAT to see how much stronger I got each time I got out there and there is just something about exercising in fresh air that I love. But the heat eventually drove me in as it normally does and I took up swimming instead. We had a LONG summer last year and not much cold weather. But FINALLY we are having a cooler fall. So I suspended my gym membership and decided to get back outside. I will miss swimming but I really loved training for The Color Run last year. So I specifically chose a program as a guideline that started off with a week of walking first. I know that I need to build my endurance slowly back up. I will be tweaking the program as I need to, I just wanted something as a basis to at least work from.

I have a list of events I want to do. Mud runs and fun 5k's all happening next year. I plan on printing the list and hanging it on my wall as motivation. 

As for food. I have begun to have a different relationship with it recently. I have been content with eating for survival instead of constantly letting food be my therapy. I am not 100% better but I am working on it each day. 

I am not going to lie, turning 30 was hard. I had a reality slap of sorts on my 30th birthday. I had to wrap my head around the fact that I was letting a lot of toxic relationships over rule my life a bit this year and it was negatively effecting me. But I can't change others, I can change me. So I made the decision to pull away a bit from the people who haven't been great at being supportive and concentrate fully on me. I can love them but I don't need to focus my attention on them all the time. I have some healing to do of my own. I have some soul searching to do of my own. I need to find a more productive way of dealing with the daily stresses that pop up because life can be stressful. Food can not be my anti-anxiety pill anymore because what I eat really effects my PCOS. I am going back to what worked for me, low carbs and high proteins. Simple foods, meats and vegetables and fruits. Very little sugars, processed foods and dairy. Simple eating. Eating for nutrition not for stress. I am not counting calories. I am not counting carbohydrates. I am simply working on just making smarter choices with food.

I started off this week with that in mind. I spent Sunday preparing a huge batch of chicken soup with basically ALL THE VEGETABLES thrown into it. It should last me a week and it tastes AMAZING. Mindless dinners for busy work weeks are always the best. I don't have a lot of time in the evenings to cook up big healthy dinners, so food prep is sort of essential and I like simple things, like big batches of soup in the cooler months.

I feel good. I feel steady. I know that I am in control and I make the decisions on how to get healthy. Life is going to have ups and downs no matter what, but I control how I deal with all of it. With my vacation behind me, I now look forward to the new changes, I look forward to the new challenges and I especially look forward to sharing them on here!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is This How Normal People Breath?

This is the question I woke my husband up at 1 a.m. to ask him. Yes, I do crazy things like that and yes for the most part he tolerates the crazy questions. He is amazingly patient with me when I am acting a bit crazy (as he puts it).

Remember how I was struggling really badly with anxiety and panic attacks when I first quit smoking a year ago? (You can read it about here, here, here and here.) It was bad. I had been struggling with anxiety for awhile, I recognize that now that I am a non smoker before I always blamed it on cigarette withdrawals. The thing about anxiety is it is so hard to explain it to people who don't have it. Just picture that every stressful event basically triggers your fight or flight response, so instead of being able to calmly decipher between serious threats vs. smaller threats, you take every threat (even something like we ran out of milk.. not that I drink milk) as a big deal, a really big deal. Eventually all this stimulating your fight or flight response for small things, adds up and you overflow. Which results in a panic attack. It isn't scientific, but hell, that is how I basically see it.


I struggled with those panic attacks for 6 months. I was having sometimes 2 panic attacks a night. I was afraid of eating. I was either constantly starving myself afraid to eat or suffering from sleep deprivation because I kept waking up in panic mode. I felt the worst I had ever felt in my life (and that is saying something because PCOS has knocked me on my ass one too many times as well) and I was in a constant state of fear. I hated leaving the house. I hated eating. I was missing work. I was falling apart and unraveling at the seams. A panic attack is fierce. It can leave you shaky, convinced you are dying and wondering when the next one will hit. But it took me 6 months, several doctor appointments, a new prescription and a whole bunch of relaxation techniques taught to me by yoga, but eventually I settled into having anxiety but not panic attacks. I never really thought about it, I had assumed I was feeling better due to hard work on my part but when I started taking the Propranolol, I did start to feel a lot better.

Propranolol is a beta blocker. I have had issues with high blood pressure (thank you genetics and PCOS) for a long time and I didn't want an anti-anxiety drug because the LAST time I took one of those I had some interesting side effects (think insomnia, weird thoughts and itching from head to toe). It also helps with irregular heart rate (thank you PCOS again for those beautiful heart palpitations) and also helps calm down my fight or flight responses. Which thanks to my anxiety were on super super sensitive alert mode ALL.THE.TIME. It was a great compromise between my doctor and I, she was lowering my blood pressure and I was getting a non anxiety drug to help with my anxiety. Win win.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago. I ran out. Now normally I am on top of refilling my prescriptions like a responsible adult buuuuuuut I have been super busy and I kept forgetting and I kept procrastinating and the pharmacy is never open when I am ready to pick it up and and and [insert another great excuse here]. I honestly didn't think anything of it. I really didn't put much thought into the fact that again I was getting heart palpitations, that I was struggling to breath, that my intercostal muscles (those lovely muscles between your ribs) were sore and that I was having anxiety creep up on me again. I yawned nearly constantly not because I needed to but to prove I could take deep breaths. The thing about anxiety is, it is always there once you have it and I wasn't looking at the smaller warning signs. I could feel the small symptoms first, crankiness, snappish, not wanting to hang out with anyone, wanting to read in bed all night, poor sleeping habits again. Don't get me wrong, I can always feel it rolling and burning under the surface. Like a volcano. But also like a volcano, if I don't let pressure off in some way, it will erupt. And it did. Monday night. I found myself sitting straight up in bed at 2 a.m., woke up out of a dead sleep, convinced I wasn't breathing correctly.

I tried to lay down. I thought, "I will go back to bed" and that is the LAST rational thought I had for about 25 minutes. Panic attacks are not rational. Not at all. I kept breathing (because it is an automatic response) but it felt forced, it felt shallow, my heart was racing, I was dizzy, I was light headed, my stomach hurt, I felt so panicked. I ended up doing what I had always done before, crawled into a hot shower and hummed to myself. Now that might sound crazy but I hum because it reminds me that I am breathing, see you can't sing or hum if you aren't breathing and that calms me down eventually. I ended up letting the water run cold. Eventually the husband came in and sat down with me, rubbing my back and then convinced me to head back to bed. I was done with the panic attack but the fear of waking up like that again was strong. The next day, my very worried husband went and got my subscription filled for my propranolol.

Last night was my second night back on them. I have been seriously stressed at work and home. Lot's going on. So sleeping hasn't been a great place for me and one of the problems with panic attacks is, you are always looking for the next one. So I took my pills, settled into bed and woke myself up at 1 a.m. Why? Well because I was breathing normal. What?? I know, bear with me. I had gotten so used to not breathing normally, as in having it feel forced and using my chest to breath, that I didn't recognize deep diaphragm breathing. The only reason I knew I was doing it was because I had succeeded in doing it in yoga a few times. For once I wasn't thinking about breathing or struggling to breath. It was happening all on its own. Wait, DOES THIS REALLY HAPPEN TO NORMAL PEOPLE?? I also couldn't feel my heart beat. Since the anxiety I have always been hyper aware that I could hear and feel my heart beat loudly. And suddenly I couldn't anymore. I was scared. Like really scared. Since I wasn't anxious (actually I felt pretty relaxed), I had a little bit of a mental panic attack. Which resulted in waking my husband up at 1 a.m. After I Googled suddenly relaxed breathing and why can't I hear my heartbeat anymore, of course, duh.

You know what he did? He laughed at me. Yep. My own husband laughed at me, at 1 a.m. Then he showed me how he breaths and wow, he was breathing how I was breathing. Turns out normal people don't think about breathing, they don't force themselves to take in deep chest breaths to prove that they are breathing, they don't have a constant weight on their chest and they don't hear their heartbeat (unless you are exercising or freaked out of course). Turns out those are signs of anxiety and possibly other issues. Hence the intercostal muscle aches I had been experiencing. So when did feeling good get to making me feel so anxious? Did I really get THAT accustomed to struggling? Was I really freaking out over being relaxed?

It took me a bit to fall asleep but eventually I did. And guess what, I woke up this morning. I am still breathing. I can feel a bit of my old chest breathing sneaking back in now that I am working and stressed a bit, but for the most part I feel fine. I feel relaxed. I don't feel out of control or crazy anxious. It will take some getting used to. I am used to being tense. Even if it was just for those few weeks I ran out of my prescription. But at least I can feel my sanity returning again, something I really relish and love. I can feel my smile and reasonableness and the want to have lunch with my coworkers again returning. Even if this morning I had to promise to not wake up the husband when I was feeling good and only to wake him up for true emergencies, you know like midnight snack runs or when I remember something I need him to do tomorrow.

Do you have anxiety?