68 Days of Me

68 days of commitment. I have worked out 68 days in a row and committed to improving my health and strength, and hopefully, as a by-product, my flabby hanging skin.

This week has been terrible for me. It’s the first week I just DON’T want to do it. It’s taken me nearly half the day to get off the couch. I even napped one day which I haven’t done in months (I try and avoid naps at all costs as I’m afraid one will lead to many). I found myself not doing anything in the mornings and then getting on a struggle bus to convince myself to do something on the afternoon.

Could it be because my son is on Spring Break and I’m out of the morning routine? Could something collapse so easily? Or is this just my psyche trying to win the war and push me back to lazy?

So far, the urge to shrug it off hasn’t succeeded.

I realize that anything, and I do mean anything, can screw up my day. I am so used to having allllll my time and a little schedule that I can manage. But as soon as you throw in any appointment or conflict, and my brain says: no workout today, woohoo!

But the fact is – I feel better after a workout. I have started running – which I really can’t believe – with a program called None 2 Run. I completed my second week and I actually enjoy it. It’s not easy for me, but I feel really good after my effort. I can only Run 45 seconds at a time right now, over 10-15 intervals, but that’s from nothing. I am thrilled with my progress.

I just wish my brain would stop sabotaging the one good thing I have accomplished for myself in many months. I need to create a pattern that I can find time and energy for a workout even when I’m working, I can’t continue to allow the sabotage to happen so easily. At some point I have to work again and before I do, I want the exercise routine to be ingrained and never to be replaced or erased.

I read the book Ann recommend called The Power of Habit and I notice that all of the health and fitness instructors I follow on social media also tout habit as the cornerstone to any healthy exercise regime. While everyone has different quotes on how long it take for a habit to stick, the book suggests (from their analysis) that its a minimum of 66 days to create a habit and potentially even longer.

I tend to agree with this because, at 68 days in, I THINK of exercise as something I WANT to fit in every day. No day passes without the conscious effort to exercise. However, my brain hasn’t programmed itself to say “this is a requirement, no day SHOULD pass without exercise.” If there is a way I can navigate around exercising, my brain is actively looking for it. For instance, last night I didn’t even start until post 8pm. That’s the latest yet. I was home all day. Just that one slip makes me nervous because it eeks in and then affects me the next day and the next. I still need to work on my self talk.

I want to form this habit. I am privileged that I CAN move the way I can and that I have my health back for the most part. I am getting stronger and I love it. I repeat to myself that it is no longer a negative – I can no longer say “I hate working out” – because that kind of negative self-talk is damaging. I reframe that thought into “I work out to feel good and become stronger.” I have to get the thought solid in my head that when I say “I don’t want to” or “I don’t have time” that I am really saying “I don’t care about myself”.

No one is going to care for me if I don’t start working on improving my physical, mental and emotional self. I need to keep reminding myself of that. I need to stop saying “it’s not important” and always say “I am very important” until it’s not a forced decision. Until it comes naturally to WANT to take care of myself, first. Sitting on the couch being some sort of vegetable isn’t caring for myself.

So, 68 days in, some days come easier than others. Some, like this past week, are still forced out of me. When I really feel like I “can’t” I tell myself just to do a light, active recovery day. If I still feel like I “can’t” after a light active recovery, then I don’t. But honestly, most times I find once I get past the initial hurdle of getting started, the energy comes with the sweat and I can go on to do a decent workout.

I need to set my intention to change. I have thought about making a vision board. I think they are kind of hokey, but I’m willing to give it a try.

68 days more than I’ve ever done before. That’s some accomplishment. I need to keep reminding myself every single day that I’m doing the best thing for myself.

I Just Realized Iā€™m Scared

Oh, I’ve just had a moment full of tears.

My tears don’t come easily these days. I know it’s the meds. I know those meds keep me pretty clamped down emotionally. I hate it but know it’s critical right now to keep me from any more Trixie antics.

At least I know when the tears come, they are very deeply seated emotions rising to the surface.

For the first time in a long, long time I cried for myself and not for Tony.

I had a date yesterday, which was lovely, and I will write about him, but we hit on two subjects (thankfully very briefly) that struck me so hard that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.

The first was my own statement that I’m beginning to realize I am most likely undateable to the caliber of man I’m attracted to. That’s because I’ve been out of work for 7 months with no job opportunities in sight. I realize that’s very scary to a divorced man who may have had a family and wife who already took most of his livelihood

The second was his statement, that I come across as disinterested. He is right. I’m not only disinterest but detached. I’m sick of the dating game and all its nuance.

I had the gut feeling when we touched on these two subjects that I should be exploring this a bit more. That’s when I came to the realization that, at the core of these feelings is a feeling I am not accustomed to having: I’m scared to death.

I’m scared of so many things that the tears don’t stop as I write this.

I’m afraid I won’t find a job.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to find another “Tony”.

I’m afraid I will fail again at work and in relationship.

I’m afraid to leave home now that I’ve established routine for the boys.

I’m afraid my body is so ugly now that I can’t have sex.

I’m afraid of the continuous persistent feeling of being demotivated and absent.

I’m afraid of losing the material things I have gained.

I’m afraid I don’t want sex because maybe I’m in menopause. Im terrified of losing my sex drive but it’s gone for certain at the moment.

I’m afraid I’m going to give up the one healthy routine I have created because every day is still a battle of will to get moving. Even after 54 consecutive days.

I’m afraid of not being good enough – the core belief I have struggled with my entire life. I have failed at all my relationships and my recent job. I’m not what anyone wants because I am so broken.

Am I bitter and mean? Have my insides curdled? Have I dried up?

Exercise helps, but now I exercise to chase the boredom demons away and don’t do ANYTHING else. Sure it’s good for me, but it’s all I accomplish now. I joined all sorts of Peloton activity groups and cheer people on – a false attempt of motivation – are people really able to use these groups as springboards for motivators in lieu of having a real support community (physical people around you, not a virtual community) ? I try to immerse myself in their positivity, I put on the virtual game-face and join the challenges and activities, but I don’t FEEL anything.

I feel unhinged from everything. Floating.

I am still an empty, demotivated, decommissioned human.

I have been trying to move away from that place. Trying so very hard. But when I took a good look at myself from the outside, I realized that – even though I don’t spend all day on a couch – I am no different than I was back in November after coming home from the hospital.

All I’ve done is dress up an empty vessel – put on a game face – trying to fake it and hoping I make it.

The couch has now become replaced by exercise (ok thats positive ) but there is nothing else driving me. The deep abscess within me feels like an endless black hole of nothingness. I thought I found the edge and was pulling myself back over it, onto solid ground. But I’ve realized I haven’t. I don’t know that I’ve ever been truly scared before. Scared to move, scared to feel, scared to believe in anything ever again – myself included.

Exercise and Activity- STREAKING!

A note: I had been writing this post before I was hospitalized….so in the spirit of positivity and creating new habits, I kept the upbeat tone, even though we hit a pretty big wall šŸ˜«

………………………………….

I’m doing it!

I am crushing my exercise goal!

I’m obsessing over MYSELF! I try to focus on myself and my well being for a few hours every day. I have noticed that I have better endurance than I expected, I’m still very flexible, but my balance and strength are gone. So, I focus on something different every day and try to keep going.

I want to look in that mirror and love my body for once in my life….I am really unsure I can ever get there, but I can work to make it look even better clothed! And I have my sisters wedding in November to work towards!

I definitely achieved my goal to go from entirely sedentary to active!

I pay attention to the Peloton trainers and I can now better understand which muscles I should be using during floor exercises. They also have great bike mechanics rides to teach you better and stronger pedal strokes. I am definitely educating myself this time around so I can do well for the long haul and not a quick win. I also make sure to stretch every single day as well as learn a few yoga poses.

I have been making sure I get to that 10k steps a day. The ONLY way for me to do that in my current lifestyle is to get an active walk in. The good news is that this counts as exercise for me because I have to walk a minimum of 45 minutes on a normal day to get those 10k steps – if I was working, I would be closer to 10k without any exercise.

I can see progress!

Week 1: average of 3400 steps/day

Week 2: average of 8600 steps/day

Week 3: average of 10,535 steps/day

Week 4: average of 12,106 steps/day

Week 5: average of 11,636* steps/day

*colonoscopy this week so one day only had 3k steps so really not bad!

Week 6: average of 8200* steps/day

*Friday/Saturday of this week I was in the hospital so there were less than 500 steps each day. I also took off the Fitbit upon returning home Saturday so missed some steps. All in all, still better than where I was even 4 weeks ago!

I “agreed”‘with myself that every day must include a ride on that damn expensive Peloton bike. I bought the bike because Tony worked for Peloton and I (as crazy as I can be) thought it would remind me of him (yea it does and now that’s just another hurdle to overcome – talk about bad purchase decisions!).

Straight days of Peloton Bike:

– 19 days streak 1

– 19 days streak 2

Days where exercise is more than 60 minutes per day: 31 days

I have exercised every single day from 2/11 – today, minus the 2 hospital days where I meditated (which counts as mental and emotional exercise, right?!)

I’ve learned I still hate exercise, but am committed to starting every day. Once I start, I can keep going for some time. I should reframe that a little (very little) …. I hate getting started. And I hate working to exhaustion. I love the sense of accomplishment and energy after a work out. That’s the piece I want to get addicted to.

I am finally at a point where I can start pushing hard on the bike. I am literally dripping with sweat and my heart rate is peak zone. I can only do a push ride like this every other day. I think I have also, for the first time, discovered the “runners high”. At one point in two rides this past week I felt a surge of energy and push and don’t know where it came from and suddenly the pain in my legs disappeared and the struggle wasn’t as heavy. It was a pretty amazing feeling and I can see why people would chase it.

However -I still think I would rather take out my vibrator!!

As mentioned, I have to supplement my steps with a minimum of 30-60 minutes on the treadmill. I do some Peloton tread classes, but mostly just challenge myself to achieve more calories or a better time. I’m afraid of committing too much on the tread that my legs will be too weak for the bike. I like the tread so much better than the bike and wish I owned the Peloton tread but mine is doing its job and it’s probably over 15-18 years old. That Peloton tread is a very expensive proposition. I’ve told myself if I can really use the tread every day perhaps that can be my gift for myself when I get a full time job.

I work a small 10 minute body weight routine on my core every day. My core is weak and my form sloppy, but I persist. In the beginning I could not sit up from lying or lift my legs up off the floor while lying on my back. While I can’t see or feel the strength, I can see the difference in my capabilities for the core exercises.

I switch off light arms and legs. I purchased some nice light weights (up to 15 lbs) for various exercises, a floor mat, yoga blocks and kettlebells. Amazon Basics has a great series of inexpensive weight equipment for light home training. Since I really have no muscle tone, this should satisfy for some time.

I mean, I can’t even hold a plank for 30 seconds yet, never mind mountain climbers and burpees!!I’m sweating in a hollow hold. I have a long, long way to go!

But hey, now I even know what those exercises are and how to do them!

Here’s my favorite result, when I stretch (which I actively do after every ride and walk) I can feel form and muscle! 6 weeks and my very old muscle memory is working magic, especially in my legs. 6 weeks ago (this is no lie) the loose skin on my legs made noises from flapping around my bones. It was gross. It’s not all tight, but that ugly noise is gone. I had 20+ years of way too much weight on my body so chances are my skin never fully recovers even if I get decent muscle tone, but the same way I love to feel a mans strong muscles, I’m thrilled to finally be able to feel my own strength.

Sitting in the hospital for 2 days messed with my head big time. It was like I fell backwards in time to when I was so completely broken and weak. I probably could have done some exercise the day I came home but chose to rest so that the next day I could really put in the work. I know I probably imagined this, but I thought I heard my things making the jiggly noises after missing just two days.

There you have it – 6 weeks in of full-on dedication. I have all the time in the world and I’m going to stop wasting it.

BANG! Shot through the Heart!

So here I am getting on my Peloton like I do every day and I choose one of my favorite instructors and some groovy Motown music.

I’m enjoying the ride, working up a decent sweat, and doing ok. I was a bit tired from pushing hard yesterday.

During a Peloton ride you follow along with the instructor in the studio. Some times the studio has live riders and other times the session is just filmed for their digital app. This was a live ride from February on demand.

The instructors will try to call out riders leaderboard names (handles) as well as milestones like 100 rides, birthdays, or such. They also can see the town you are in and any small note you make under your name. A class usually has upwards of 500 riders so there’s no guarantee you get noticed on the leaderboard.

If you’re slow and you’re at the bottom the only way to get noticed it a milestone ride as instructors have a separate section to be sure they try and acknowledge those riders. It’s a big deal and joy to the Peloton cult to have a shout out during a live ride.

The instructors are also so skilled with the cameras they somehow know how to look right into them and speak as though they are speaking directly to you! It makes home riders feel like they are part of the tribe. It’s a pretty amazing thing to feel that way and it’s very encouraging – which is part of the Peloton magic.

Towards the end of my ride the instructor looks directly at the camera and says something along the lines of “shout out to my man, Tony, I got you, you know who you are” and I knew in an instant it was my Tony.

Fucker.

I slipped sideways on the bike and since I was clipped in, ended at an awkward angle that I had to pull myself upright again.

Fucking ouch. That hurt.

Bastard. Why are you always there?

I know it was my Tony because he works with the instructors at Peloton. I just know.

I got off the bike. Text at least 5 friends and then got outside for a long walk.

I bought the bike because Tony worked there and I foolishly thought it would connect me to him somehow. Another dumb move on my part.

I haven’t really used it since I bought it at the height of my depression, but it’s an expensive bike and I’m committed to using it now to heal and be strong. I never considered he was riding the bike as well (he wasn’t as far as I knew last November). I certainly never thought about the random chance he gets a shout out by first name (it’s not his LB name, there was no Tony on the LB).

It sucked. Its over.

I can only wait for my own shout out one day.

Body Dysmorphia

Let’s just get this straight up front – I’m not griping. I’ve lost a ton of weight! But a couple things happened this week that pushed back on my ability to see the loss instead of the disfigurement.

We all have a little body dysmorphia, some are just worse than others. I have never been happy with my body. Scars from many years of surgery and most of my adult life spent obese, it’s a bit hard to see the rewards of major weight loss, but I have been focusing on the weight loss rather than the dysmorphia.

I started at 214 pounds pre-Mexico. Since 2013 I have swung between 185 (lowest weight in 2015 with blood clots) and 225 (highest weight in 2013 before deciding to divorce) and normally stick right around a range of 195-205 pounds. At 5’8″ the higher range is too heavy for me. I don’t look good and I don’t feel good. My eyes get small from too full a face and I can’t bend over or cross my legs. I know how to diet and lose weight but the problem was maintaining a weight loss once I achieved it. Over a period of 4+ years (where I logged weight very consistently) I had a 20-30 pound swing up and down every year. It was uncontrollable and unhealthy.

I’ve always said my weight is like and elevator, always up and down and never stationary for long.

My target for personal weight loss was always to achieve a stable 170 pounds. Never got there for all the years of trying post my mother’s death. For surgical weight loss my target was a firm 150 pounds with a potential for 140 depending how I looked at 150.

One of my closest friends just told me my face was too skinny and I need to put weight back on in my face (can your even do that? Is that a thing?). My sister in law saw my scars and screamed out loud that I need to hide those away as they were scary and she was sorry I was gonna frighten anyone away with those when I start to have sex again. Those were not the only comments, just the worst ones.

At first I wanted to smack them both – after all I’ve been through and they know I’m an emotional wreck, they make negative body comments. I know they mean well. But, really?

Then another thing happened, as I was exercising I looked down the front of my shirt and couldn’t believe the ugliness of the excess skin hanging weirdly from my middle. This prompted me to get undressed and look at myself in the mirror – naked is very, very tough now. But I hadn’t been paying enough attention until right now. My skin hangs everywhere. I even got into some “positions” or angles a man would see my from if we were having sex, and I was horrified. I didn’t realize the way the skin was hanging in my midsection. Then my boobs and ass….they just lost all their luscious, round curves and hang flat. My poor ass has terrible cellulite. Compound some seriously ugly scars to this loose skin and it is, actually, frightening. Then I get upset and wonder who will take me as I am without grimacing?

I look really good in clothes. I feel better with more narrow hips and legs. I sit easily and cross my legs with no problem. I’m no longer out of breath for no reason. I went from an XXL to a Medium in most things. Overall, my confidence is raised because I look very close to the way I want to when I’m dressed. It’s the naked part that just hit me hard over the head.

I always weigh and measure on the 20th of the month, so today was a weigh in day. I weighed 152 today. A total of 62 pounds gone.

This month I dropped 1.5-2 pounds. My weight loss from surgery pretty much slowed in Jan/Feb so, while I was hoping to hit my goal in March, it doesn’t seem like I could drop those last 2 pounds this month. I will be damned I don’t get under 150 and stay there a bit. Not when I’m this close to my adult goal weight.

So I am *so close* to my goal I can taste it. I dropped to 149 pounds for my colonoscopy and it was a little thrill! Now that I’m on liquids again for a week, maybe I will drop it this week. I’m going to get there. BUT, now I’m looking at my wasted body and getting upset. I’m trying not to. I don’t know if the loose skin would bother me quite as much if I didn’t have such massive scars (partially which hold my stomach skin by adhesion to the muscle underneath so it’s a very weird look).

I am trying to remain body positive. Having to reveal myself during sex is going to be tough, much tougher than anticipated. I also realize that I’ve been actively disengaging from the dating scene because I’m getting in a funk over being sick (or even being down and out for a few days the last couple weeks) and not wanting to explain my medical marvel of a history to anyone.

Hello, Again? Back in Hospital

Well here I am again and not at all happy about it.

This week I started to have pain under my breastbone. It started Sunday night and may have been the cause of my poor sleeping more than the ring on Tony’s finger (which would be a good thing, right?). By Thursday evening the pain had intensified beyond what I could manage and I knew the ER was on the agenda for the evening.

I had been careful, watching what I eat, taking some gas x and seeing if anything was influencing the pain in any way. I couldn’t find anything.

By the time we got to the hospital Thursday night, I was bowled over in pain and out of breath. They took me in quickly administering fluids and morphine right away. Sent off for X-rays and cat scans pretty quickly.

Then the surgeon arrived and my hopes plummeted.

The ER doc (as well as myself) were thinking pancreatis or something along those lines. But the surgeon debunked the results by saying I had another bowel blockage.

I just.wanted.to.cry.

This meant we were going down a familiar path. I would be intubated with an NG tube, no food or liquids, no narcotics and a lot of patience. They did give me a strong opioid called Tramdol which worked for the time being and anti-inflammatory meds which helped.

I did cry once the tube was placed because I couldn’t believe I was back here again, in this horrible situation. I knew now they would admit me as well.

I was terrified that having the surgeon involved meant I was looking at being cut open again.

Going back to the 9th floor in the room directly across where I spent my 4 weeks in Sept/Oct was like a horrible horror story. But all the nurses remembered me and were so kind. They couldn’t believe how much better I looked as compared to my first stay. I suppose there’s some compensation there – that even with the damn tube coming out of my nose that they thought I looked good! šŸ˜‚

I didn’t get to the room until 6am or so, and then rounds start soon after, so I was feeling really crappy after a night full of pain and testing with no sleep.

As it turned out, the pain began to disappear once I was settled and I didn’t need any further pain killers. They had me on simple fluids to see if my body could recover on its own.

Another cat scan and X-ray followed during the day and they could see that the initial contrast was making its way through the bowel. I told them all they needed to do was give me a cup of coffee and I would be pooping in no time! No one bought that.

By evening I pooped on my own. I did a little poop dance of joy šŸ’© because I knew that meant my body was doing its job.

Early the next morning the surgeon agreed and the tube came out. The doctor arrived some time later and said if I stick to liquids and soft foods for a week they would allow me to go home that day. He knew I knew the bariatric surgery ropes so he was willing to be lenient. I wasn’t too happy to have to go back to a liquid diet, but it’s better than being in the hospital and monitored here.

Ultimately they believe it was a bowel blockage that I caught super early. The NG tube allowed my bowels to rest for 36 hours without doing any work. The diet allows for further rest from whatever the blockage or inflammation was from. There is no real “reason” it happened or any way to prevent it from happening again. It’s just because I have had so many abdominal surgeries and bowel resections.

I’m waiting now for my son to pick me up so I can rest at home.

I’m bummed this happened in the middle of my exercise streak, but I will exercise lightly for the next week so the habit continues to form. I already felt myself falling into a hole lying on the hospital room for 2 nights. I couldn’t even focus enough to watch TV or even read.

Let’s hope, like the surgeon hopes, that this doesn’t happen again and I continue on my merry way.

Colonoscopy

Seems I need to find at least one body part each month that wants to screw with me.

This month was my colon.

When you turn 50 you should have a colonoscopy as a routine part of your yearly (that year). If all goes well, they put you on a 3-5 year repeat schedule.

I had several colonoscopies many years back and had the most violent reactions to the prep and the anesthesia. I had zero desire to do it ever again, polyps be damned. But then I started bleeding bright red blood from my back side and knew I was going in for one.

They scheduled me quickly as there were no obvious exterior signs that I had a hemorrhoid or something like. I negotiated with the doctor to take the easiest possible prep since I can’t manage more than 4 oz at any time.

This prep was truly simple and I was also sure to fast the day before based on my experience. I swallowed 20 pills over the course of about an hour, then spent the next couple hours cleaning out the colon. The next morning you take another 12 pills. The anesthesia was light and easy and had no post procedure effects other than tiredness. I got a polyp removed (what they think caused the blood) and a clean bill of health otherwise.

For once, I came through a procedure unscathed! Hurrah for me!

I didn’t do much the day of the procedure, laid low, napped and did the absolute minimum about of exercise. I was still tired a day later, but was back on track.

Wondering what my next ailment will be. I’m sure there’s one around the corner waiting for me.

Follow Through

Did I follow through on the most important goal I set for myself Tuesday?

Yes!

I wrote out 4 SMART stories before my call with the outplacement consultant. Her job is to help me finesse those stories into compelling statements that will say ” this is why you hire me and not someone else.” I actually asked a respected work friend if they agreed on those stories as my strongest in her memory – because I want to be sure this is how others view me as well.

I even sent out one resume and 2 emails for networking. It really isn’t a back-breaker but this morning made me realize it’s something I have to schedule in as a must do.

I was very distracted so it took me a period of 3.5 hours to do this task. The stories are not easy and required a bit of thinking, but I was avoiding them. The emails and networking was a no-brainer. I have firmly decided I am going to be sure to include a FOCUSED half hour each day to be done before 11am.

In my own crazy, cracked way – this upset my flow a little, my mind started thinking “how can we get out of exercise today?” Almost like “we’ve accomplished enough already!” Ummmm, no. That’s become a non-negotiable.

I acknowledge that my mind plays a game of trade-offs “If you do this Mads, then maybe you don’t have to do that other thing you don’t really want to do anyway.” It was fine to start that way when I was tired and broken. It’s not fine to stay there anymore. It’s March and I’ve got to get up off the floor. I’ve lost, I’ve hit rock bottom, I gave up and I gave in. I quit the game as close as possible. But, something (call it a greater power or my own willfulness) kept me around. I’m here. So I can continue to be a wasteful slug, or I can get going.

This is a psychological battle for me that I need to change. Because, seated somewhere deep within is my drive, my desire, to do more.

I can’t quite dig it out from under, my drive, but it’s like digging that never-ending hole in the sand st the beach ….. you know eventually you are going to hit water…. just a little further because you know in your gut it’s there – you can sense it.

As I’m sitting here having my second cup of coffee I realize I have the privilege of time at the moment – a luxury I’ve never had. I’ve already squandered a bunch of precious time in my healing and debilitating obsession and depression, but now that I am almost fully physically healed, I need to strengthen myself both emotionally, intellectually and physically. The only way I can continue to do this is by small changes each day or week.

I’ve committed to adding the half hour work focus at least 3 times a week (I don’t even need 5 days) and believe it’s totally doable to add in before I start my exercise routine.

In order to convince myself, I did find a trade-off I can make, temporarily. If I want a break, a time-out, a pity party or whatever we want to call it – I’m going to take it. But I can’t do it more than once a week. Consider it like looking towards a weekend food or drink binge after a hard weeks work. My brain and body still feel like I’m pushing them too far and too hard and they like to revolt every chance they get – so I’m gonna let them revolt, on a sort of schedule. I’m in the midst of analyzing my last 4 full weeks of effort (I am 26 straight days and refuse to do less than a 30 day streak) and come up with a plan of attack of how I can exercise, work, be lazy, and do life stuff (like any normally human does – but I’m not quite back to normal). I think getting a schedule together after this month is a good idea to begin thinking about how I spend my time and use that time more wisely.

I’ve agreed with myself that a pity party cannot include eliminating the gains I’ve made in exercise. I’ve studied up on active recovery days and that’s how I can use my “lazy day”. I get to shut off my mind and veg if I want, but I’ve got to get in a minimum amount of activity.

I got this.

How to Become a Morning Person?

How many of you are Morning people?

God knows, I’m not and never have been. I remember when my kids were small fighting through the cries to sleep a little longer, then ignoring the tugging at the side of the bed and making them crawl in with me. I created another generation of late sleepers and these boys of mine can sleep later than anyone I know!

My kids literally do not want to speak in the mornings. They want zero attention and need to be left alone. If they are awake at the same time, they will eat in different rooms with varying light patterns. One likes it dark and warm, the other likes the morning light from a soft couch and a bit cooler. When I say “Good Morning!” I get grunts of acknowledgement and I’ve learned not to push.

I hate waking up early. Anything before 8 am feels like death to me. And most years of my life I have had to be up somewhere between 530am – 630am. My favorite work years were when I could sleep til 730am and take an 830am commute. Yes, I was late every day but my industry gets a late start.

730am feels like a magic number for me, not too early and manageable. I’ve been taking my youngest to school every day just to get this habit going again. I’ve been tracking along my sleep cycles on Fitbit.

I’ve been reading a lot about habits and how the most effective people in this world have very specific patterns. One of them is the 5am wake up call. The thought of that literally makes me gag. But, no matter how many articles I read, one of the core foundations of successful people is early rising.

Ugh.

I’m just starting to work on healthy habits – any healthy habit that I feel I can build and STICK with.

So back to that morning thing…it’s been about just about 2 months that I’ve woken up with the kid and got him to school on time. I feel less internal argument with myself to rise now that I’ve convinced myself it’s a “mom at home” requirement. My older son appreciates that he doesn’t need to drive his brother to school anymore (he did it for 3 months while I was sick) and will do it as a favor for me when I can’t without any arguments. This habit has clicked over to automatic thinking. I read something that said adjust habits slowly, so now I set the alarm clock back 10 minutes. I don’t need the 10 minutes BUT my goal is to eventually train myself for a normal work routine again so I don’t find it overwhelming when the time comes (because EVERYTHING still feels overwhelming to me). So far, so good. The small adjustment hasn’t affected me and the same article mentioned I shouldn’t change my go-to-sleep time, only my wake-time.

I fear I may never be a morning person, but I do believe if I were just to grab an hour or two more in the morning, I could develop a better work/life balance once work kicks back into gear. I’m afraid that the good habits I’m developing now would disappear as I have the ability to basically craft my entire day around my exercise.

Let’s see how the small steps go!

Morning Coffee

How many of you drink a morning coffee or 10?

I was addicted to Starbucks every morning, for how many years I don’t even know. The habit cost me a minimum of $10/day in the city. Add in the occasional raspberry scone and it was at least $15. When you’re making good money, you don’t pay much attention to the massive financial drain that actually is. Never mind lunch in my city and then drinks out a couple nights a week.

This little capsule is about my morning coffee routine, so back to that.

I have a very specific Starbucks call for my drink, one of those long ones you don’t want to be behind. Luckily I now have the app and wherever I go it’s waiting for me upon arrival. But when a friend buys my coffee they roll their eyes. I was able to buy the Starbucks flavoring and recreate the coffee at home. So, for years now, I have been drinking two Venti Lattes every morning. Bad days required 3.

I started to pay attention to how many calories I was consuming last summer and found my 2 lattes pretty much equate to a breakfast. That was fine, I am not a morning person and I’m not hungry after coffee (or more aptly put: milk with a splash of espresso). But seriously, I was consuming way too many carbs in one sitting. Look at this:

Now that I’m watching my macros I realize how insane that is when I am not burning off anything.

Although I’m making a point about nutrition, it wasn’t actually my intention for this post.

What I REALLY wanted to get at was flavor. And how we become addicted to sugar etc within our coffee. Switching up a favorite coffee is akin to removing a leg.

In some ways, the fact that I couldn’t drink any coffee or milk for over 3 months post surgery helped me break a habit. I didn’t want to kick my coffee habit itself, I really enjoy a morning coffee, but I wanted to change to a healthier way of drinking all that milk. In Keto diets when you can only have 20-30 grams of carbs a day, my coffee is an absolute no-go at 48 grams of carbs.

Everyone I speak to about their coffee says the same thing “There is no way I can change…(insert whatever they believe they have to have) because that’s everything to me.” I thought the same thing. Then I decided I was going to try.

I switched skim milk out for almond milk. I mixed in various sweeteners. I googled like crazy to try different things. And I finally landed on a mix that felt satisfying in taste as well as on my tongue.

That was about a month ago.

Since then, the first sip has never had the same impact of sheer coffee bliss. I’ve adjusted to the taste and lightness of the coffee, but it’s not the same.

Until today!

Today I took a sip and the coffee was perfect! I now LIKED the taste. I adjust to the different feeling of he milk (it’s thinner, less creamy). I had the moment of pure coffee happiness when I took the first sip and sat down and really enjoyed my coffee. I had the feeling I was looking forward to drinking MY coffee instead of feeling like I was drinking a subpar impostor that would never bring true coffee bliss.

There is no exact Starbucks replica of my home coffee, but that’s ok as I can get close enough by simply replacing milk with almond milk and upping the sugar free vanilla. Because Starbucks steams it comes out a bit frothier anyway. At home I can use Almond Milk Creamer (omg I’m in love with this stuff).

I get 130 calories, 4/5 net carbs! And I can drink two medium sized drinks which make me happy.

I didn’t think I could write a whole post about coffee, but there you have it. If I can change my coffee habit, maybe I can change the world?! šŸ¤£šŸ™„