Expecto My Patronus

Real talk: It is dark times for me right now, y’all. Like dementors are sucking out all my body-loving ability, dark times. So I’m summoning my patronus (if you don’t get these references, then please crawl out from under a rock and read some Harry Potter) to help me find my way back to the light. I’m actually writing this while sitting in the waiting room of my gynecologist’s office (who is running very behind). The purpose of my appointment today is to find out how my IUD is affecting my weight. I can’t seem to lose weight and have gained 40 pounds since getting my IUD put in with 25 of that being in the last year. I’m really really frustrated, and I’ve been hating on myself lately. So I’m sure you’ve noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately. I just haven’t felt like a stellar role model and not very healthy. 

Monday night, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror of the gym and was filled with such shame and disgust. I haven’t felt that way about my body in a long time, and it filled me with such sadness. But I haven’t weighed this much in 10 years, and it’s scary. 
Update, I have been diagnosed with PCOS. Apparently, it was being kept in check with hormonal birth control pills, but once I got an IUD there was no more hormonal balance. So all the weight gain is more than likely caused by the PCOS. It’s really frustrating that my body has been working against me the past two years, and I feel like I’ve lost so much progress. But at least I know a little more than I did. Hopefully, I can begin to tackle this thing even though I know it will be an uphill battle. 

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Be Well, Be Happy, Be Balanced

Well hello there beautiful followers. Happy 2017! (I can hear you muttering to yourself, “She’s 27 days behind on that greeting.”) Yep, It’s January 28, and I am just now getting around to writing my first post of 2017.  I even missed the blog’s 2 year birthday – I’m a terribly blog mom. But, I am here now.  I’ve been struggling a lot lately with balance.  By the time I get home from work (which is kicking my ass again) and the gym at night, I have no energy to write. However, I dusted off my old 2015 vision board.  It served me well, and I hope to refocus those goals.  I was dreading this post because I’m ashamed to report that I’m the heaviest I’ve been in a long, long time, even with hitting the gym five times a week. So I’m renewing my goals from 2015.  Last year I got extremely off track because I was busy making a life in a new city.  I love my life here.  I’m happy here, but I reverted back to old eating habits.  Plus I’ve been more social, and I’m terrible about monitoring food and drink intake while socializing. So I’m pledging to you today that I am going to make 2017 a year of balance, wellness, and happiness. Those words are my focus words. My goals.

 

Anyway, after a very stressful week at work, I decided to get out into nature this morning even though it was cold and windy.  I’ve missed being able to hike after work since it gets dark so early in the winter. However, I needed some time with nature today.  I decided to try a new trail that I’ve never been on.  Once I parked, I took off walking without researching the trail beforehand. I decided to pick a path and see where it took me.  As I walked the trial and worked on clearing my mind, I focused on the beauty around me, on the wind, the sun hitting my face. I could feel the tension start to ease away.  I love hiking. I love the community you feel even when hiking alone. This morning so many people were quick to smile and say, “good morning” as we passed on the trail.  At one point, I slightly panicked because I realized that I couldn’t remember the name of the trailhead where I parked, but I continued, confident in the path I was on and that it would lead me to where I was supposed to be.  That feeling, that sureness, is something I wish I could bottle and take a dose of during my most stressful times. I’m glad that I reconnected with that feeling today.

 

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Memaw Betty

I am lucky to have a large and loving family on both branches of my family tree.  My dad’s side of the family lives in North Texas and for the past few years, we would come down every December to visit my Memaw Betty and see the rest of the family.  An easy five-hour drive from Arkansas. Last year, after moving back to Tennessee I wanted to make sure that I was able to make the trip. A week before Christmas last year, I flew to Texas and met my Dad, sister, brother, and the nephews to visit Memaw Betty and have “Aunt Barbara’s Christmas at Diane’s.” Yes, that is the proper name. Looking back almost a year later, I am so glad we made time to make that trip. Memaw was too sick to make the Christmas party, but we stopped by her room at the Rehab center before heading out to Diane’s house. We spent the morning opening gifts and talking with Memaw. She got to hold her newest great-grandson. We took a picture of four generations of Wolfs. Then it was time to go so we kissed her goodbye and wished her a Merry Christmas.  Just seven days later, she was gone.

 

Now it has almost been a year.  There are times that I still can’t believe that she is gone. This year, we came down a weekend earlier and went to the Wolf family Christmas party at the KC Hall.  Flying into Dallas and pointing my rental car north to Gainesville, Texas, I couldn’t help but reflect on the last time I flew to town – for Memaw’s funeral.  This was the first year, I would be coming to Texas to celebrate Christmas and see family without Memaw here – bittersweet. I tried to focus more on the good memories and not on the sadness of knowing that she is gone. I know that she is looking down on us all and proud of the people we have become.  There were a few times that I teared up while thinking of years past or finding pictures of Christmas as kids.  I know I’m biased, but having Memaw Betty as a grandmother was a pretty special experience. When I was seven, my parents moved us twelve hours away to Tennessee.  My brother, sister, and I would come down every summer for two months and live with Memaw Betty (and Pepaw Lee until he passed).  Memaw would drive us around and make sure we had plenty to do. She put up with a lot from us grandkids, but you just knew she thought we hung the moon. She gave so much of herself to everyone, an example that I hope to live up to.  So as I sit at my gate waiting to board my flight home to Nashville, I couldn’t let the weekend close without paying a small tribute to her memory.

Memaw you are missed, but your love lives on in each one of us, and we could definitely feel that this weekend.

 

2 pics from this year’s celebration. 

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Travel Fitness and Then the Plague

I finally mastered keeping up with my workouts while on the road. Huzzah! I returned home two weekends ago after being gone from home for 11 days. I know that I’ve written about my struggle to workout while traveling, but I did it this time. I’m pretty proud. Now, I still ate terribly (like a gluttonous pig, actually. Thanksgiving took a toll on my waistline), but I did get in workouts five days a week.  A huge win for me.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I worked out in a hotel fitness center for the first time in my life.  As much as I travel, that’s inexcusable.  I didn’t realize that hotel gyms were havens for middle-aged white men killing the elliptical game and macho younger men who make sex noises while slinging weights around. Oh? Not your experience? Good to know.  However, I did not let that deter me and got in my requisite workout.  After I left the conference, I flew to Arkansas to spend the week with my family for Thanksgiving.  I asked my trainer to send body-weight workouts to complete during that week as I wouldn’t have access to the gym.  I ended up watching my baby nephew two of the days I had workouts. Man, I give big props to all you moms who try to workout at home.  It’s tough.  Hats off to you! My nephew did think that squats were hilarious though. So there’s that.  Once I made it back home in one piece, I immediately dove back into work.  Last week was a busy week (I have a theory that the work universe punishes me for taking any time off). I was trucking along and getting in my workouts.  I even got up early on Tuesday morning to lift weights because I got the opportunity to go see Tony Bennett (PS: He’s amazing! Even at 90!).

 

Then Thursday night, BAM! I got hit with the plague.  Not really.  But I did get really sick Thursday night (and I will spare you the gory details… you’re welcome).  Friday morning I woke up and just didn’t feel right. I felt like my skin was too heavy for my bones.  I was just so so tired. I drug myself out of bed and made it to work.  I lasted four hours and then had to take myself home.  I immediately crawled into bed and slept for two hours straight (I can never nap and rarely do.  This was a sign to me that I was definitely sick).  I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly what was wrong, but I definitely knew something was up.  I stayed in bed the rest of Friday and then slept until 11:30 Saturday (again a very rare thing – especially since I went to bed at 11 pm).  I pretty much stayed in bed all of Saturday.  Finally Sunday, I visited a convenient care clinic.  I had a staph infection and upper respiratory infection.  I got my meds filled and immediately crawled back in bed. I tried to go into work on Monday. I made it to my desk and then immediately ran to the bathroom and got sick. I quickly took myself back home and crawled back into bed.  Luckily, yesterday I finally returned to work and made it the full day (even after dumping coffee all down my sweater upon walking in the building – I can’t make this stuff up).

I know in my head that my body needed rest, but I felt so guilty missing my workouts.  I’ve worked so hard and stayed on track. I was scared that this illness was going to derail me from all my handwork. Crazy, I know. Luckily my trainer talked me down (thanks Dave!) and assured me that my body deserved the rest and that I needed to take it easy.

 

This morning, I got up and did my first workout since last Wednesday night. Whew. It was ugly.  I sweated a ton and struggled with balance, but I got it done. It felt really good to push my body again. Hell, it felt great to be no longer lying in bed. I flew into Atlanta this afternoon and walked around some, but I am definitely tired now. I hope that I keep my energy up and continue to workout on this trip. I’m flying from here to Dallas on Friday to see my dad’s side of the family.  I’ve already looked up gyms near my aunt’s house and hope to buy a one-day pass to get in my workout for Saturday morning. We’ll see.

 

Speaking of balance, you guys know that I have trouble with my ears and therefore, my balance is not the greatest.  When I landed in Atlanta, I took the escalator up to baggage claim from the train between terminals. Well, I got off-balance with my luggage and fell down the escalator! How embarrassing.  Of course I screamed as I was falling, and EVERYONE across four rows of escalators turned around to stare. One really nice man leapt up three stairs to try to save me and scooped my bags up for me after making sure I was okay.  Thanks airport stranger, I really appreciate you and your help. 🙂 Okay. Enough rambling.  Peace out y’all!

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Ugly cry gym face 

I got in a fight with someone tonight on the way to the gym. My feelings were so hurt. I was literally sobbing and ugly crying while driving to the gym. It was terrible. I had to sit in the parking lot for a few minutes and calm down. Lord, I walked into the gym with my mascara running and all blotchy-faced. The silver lining is that I put all that emotion into my workout. It physically hurts to type this post out right now. I pushed all my weights up to heavier and crushed it. So I’m going to consider this night a win. 

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Holy November Batman!

First of all, it hit 86 degrees here today. It does not feel like fall! I got my cardio in today. Last night I started a new month of workouts with my small group.  Last night’s workout was called “Leg Endurance Challenge” and boy was it! My legs felt okay all day so I decided to hit up my hip hop cardio class. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t gone in ages but have been running in the mornings instead. Man oh man! This class was all legs tonight. So many “drop-it-low” songs. My legs were screaming for sure after yesterday’s workout. So if y’all need me, I’ll be crying in a bubble bath. Wearing heels tomorrow is not going to be fun.

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Priorities 

I joined a small fitness group. Two Americans and two Canadians who commit to doing the same workouts for four weeks. We check in with each other almost daily and work with a virtual personal trainer. Pretty cool. Today was my total body strength training day. Total body complete! Confession: I live downtown, and I completely wasn’t thinking about the city closing down roads for a race this morning. The roads around my apartment are all closed off. Normally, I’d let this deter me. I’d say I’ll work out later and then get busy and never get it done. In the small group, we recently talked about prioritizing our fitness. Prioritize my fitness, right? Right!  So I brainstormed a way to get in the row exercise without the machine (my apartment gym is all dumbbells and cardio machines). I decided to do my row with resistance bands and got my workout done this morning. I honestly felt like I worked just as hard with the bands than with the machine. Just ask my hair! 😂 I wanted to share this small victory because it highlights how much a small fitness group I’m in has helped me focus and prioritize my fitness. I hope y’all have a great weekend.

Stretching is oh so important!

Recovery cashew butter and banana chocolate protein shake.

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Good Morning, morning

I’m going to see The Revivalists tonight, and I’m super pumped! Last night I kicked ass in the gym. Upped my weights on walking lunges, and just generally pushed myself harder. Since I’m going to the concert tonight, I got up early and got in a run before work. It was hot and humid here, but still a pretty morning.

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10-in-4 Good buddy

On September 19, I started the 10-in-4 challenge with Dave Smith and some Fit Bottomed Girls.  I love the Fit Bottomed Girls site and (shameless plug) I actually wrote a guest-blog piece for them last August and was featured as one of the 5 Real FBGs in April 2015. Yeah, they totally rule! But, fast forward to September 2016, and I am embarrassed to say that I have let my healthy living take a back seat and no longer be a priority. Although I’ve never been happier since moving to Nashville, I constantly choose convenience over healthy. It is so easy to do with so many processed foods readily at our fingertips. Plus, I indulge in way-more happy hours (there is so much good beer here!) than I my waist-line will allow.

 

Fast forward to four weeks later. I am proud to say that I lost 10.5 pounds and 1.25 inches from my waist, 1 inch from my hips, and 3 inches from my belly bulge that was making me look pregnant! The plan was about being mindful of portion sizes and really planing out your meals for the week. Being prepared helped me tremendously when days got busy. I already had a meal plan in place and my exercise mapped out. I felt like I was letting myself down if I didn’t stick to it. Plus, I had some amazing accountability in the group.  I think I learned some takeaways from the four weeks, and I am interested in seeing how I apply them on my own.

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Morning Run

We all know that I’m not a morning person. I set three alarms and hit snooze on all three more than once. I’m terrible about waking up with an alarm, and I calaculate a bare minimum morning routine so I can maximize my snoozing. However, tonight I’m going to my first Predators hockey game so I knew I needed to get my cardio over this morning. Ugh. So I threw on my spirit animal tee for extra motivation and laced up my sneaks. And! I had a great morning run, and the city was pretty. Word up! Happy Tuesday my friends. 

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