Since I went to the gym yesterday and I have plans to go tomorrow, I thought I would engage in some non-gym exercise. I had the choice between going on a walk and staying in and working out on EA Active. Since it had stopped raining and the sun had actually decided to make an appearance, I decided to take the walk. And, I’m glad I did. Despite the fact that it was rainy and gray all morning, it actually turned out to be a nice day. The sun was shinning bright and there was a cool fall breeze lingering in the air. Usually, I’m not a big fan of the fall. It can be depressing to me to feel the summer slowly slipping away. But, I’m trying to learn to love fall, as it really can be a unique and fun season. I really enjoy talking walks by myself sometimes. It is a great way to escape from everything and just be alone with your thoughts. Long drives are good for this as well, but ever since I graduated, I haven’t been driving nearly as much. I had a lot to think about today. Lately, I’ve just been so negative about everything. I’ve always been a bit of a pessimist about life, but I feel like my complaining and negativity are really starting to have a negative effect on my life. I suppose it really started to get bad when I started working two jobs. I mean, yes, working more has been hard. I don’t have much hope of being off on weekends, I miss out on time with Patrick, I can’t go see my family as much, an it can simply be mentally and physically exhausting. However, I’m realizing,  it is not the end of the world. I graduated college in a really bad economy. I’ve tried to find better jobs, but I haven’t had any luck. This is my reality. With the jobs I have, I need to have two just to make ends meet. Not the most ideal circumstances, but it is what I have to do. Right now, Patrick is back in school, trying a new career path in order to try to build a better life for us. We are both making sacrifices in order to ensure that we have a better future. As I write this, I am already noticing I am looking working the two jobs in a more positive light. This is something that I have to do, for me and for Patrick. I just need to stay strong for right now and quit complaining so much! Life is hard right now, but I still believe the future is bright. There is a little bit of a silver lining to all of this as well. With me working so much, Patrick has a lot of time to focus on his studies, making sure he stays on the right track as he goes through an intense certification program. Plus, the time we do get to spend together is quality because we don’t get to see each other that much. See what I did there? Focused on the bright side, my new goal in life!

Remember when I said I felt like I was half-assing my wellness plan due to all of the stress of starting two jobs? What started as a one week break from exercising after starting my second job somehow swelled into a one month wellness plan break. All I really wanted to do was get myself used to working more, but I feel as though I’ve used my jobs as an excuse to be lazy. Yes, I did make a few appearances at the gym this month, but not nearly as many as I would have liked to. However, I did find I was pretty proud of my eating habits as I was able to stay on track with eating healthier and managed to keep portion sizes under control. Originally, I had planned on weighing myself today and even though I didn’t make much of an effort to shed pounds, I decided to jump on the scale anyway. While the results were not exactly thrilling, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief: my weight stayed about the same. I realize my saving grace was that I was able to maintain my healthy eating habits. I do however realize it is time to get my exercising on track. In order to get myself excited about exercising, I have decided to finally get started on Couch-to-5k. Tomorrow will be day three of week one and I’m feeling pretty good about it so far. I am realizing more and more that this whole wellness thing is about balance. I need to learn how to balance work, exercise, activity, and rest. I’ve seem to have found my balance between eating healthy, snacking, and eating out at restaurants. I just can’t seem to balance the eating well and the exercising at the same time, as I’m usually intense about one and lax about the other. My goal is to dig myself out of this funk in the month of October. While I realize I may never have the time to be the exercise fiend I was this summer, I am making it my new goal to hit the gym four times a week, while continuing to keep up with my current eating habits. I can do this, I know I can!

So, I’ve really gotten off of track lately when it comes to my wellness plan. When this happens, it can be so hard to gain that momentum back. I was doing so well before, but due to being busy, stressed, and a little depressed – I feel like I am “half-assing” my wellness plan. And just when I realize what I’m doing and resolve to get back on the right track, I get sick! Now, I’m not really bedridden or anything like that. I’m hoping that I just have a cold as that is the way the symptoms point, but feeling crappy while I work a 10 or 11 hour day does not exactly put me in the mood to exercise. But, I really, really want to get back on track soon. I have a feeling that I’m going to have to be a little bit strict with myself in order to get back into the routine. I’m thinking about keeping a food and exercise journal, as well as starting to make an exercise schedule again (I stopped when my schedule became erratic at the start of my new job). I am hoping that this, along with continuing to adapt to my new job will help me to slip back into healthy habits.

When I started this whole wellness plan thing, my life was pretty easy-going. I had just graduated college, and besides working at the grocery store, I didn’t really have a lot of other responsibilities. Since I worked nights, I had a lot of time to myself. This is when I got into the habit of long workouts. Sometimes, I’d spend about an hour and a half at the gym, doing almost an hour of cardio plus lots of strength training. However, now that I’m working two jobs, I know that this can’t persist. So, lately I’ve been brainstorming ways to streamline my workout. It was hard at first, it really was. Cutting down my gym time felt like I was being lazy and not working as hard as I know I could. But, I realize that if I ramp up the intensity, even though I’m cutting down the time, I can still get a good workout. This is where Couch-to-5k comes in. You see, I’ve been wanting to try this program for a while. However, with a full fitness schedule already, I didn’t quite know how to squeeze it in. Plus, I wanted to wait until the fall because I figured I wouldn’t fare well running in intense heat. However, since recently finally got over my feelings of unease about running on the treadmill (up to that point, I was a treadmill walker), I thought it would be the ideal time to start now instead of putting it off longer. So, the new plan is to go to the gym, complete the c25k workout of the day and then do a few strength training exercises and get out of there. I feel like the c25k workouts will give me a good cardio workout that can stand on its own. For most of my life, I have been vehemently anti-running. I would see people running in my college town all of the time and thought it looked like a miserable way to spend your time. But, hearing about c25k has actually has me kind of excited about running. I’ve been experimenting lately and I’m proud of my progress. I think the c25k will be a good way for me to streamline my workout while still getting an intense workout. I’m thinking about starting on Sunday or Monday. Wish me luck!

I’ve been away from my blog for a while and I’ve missed it. Life has been a little crazy lately. On Monday, I officially started my new job which means I officially now have two jobs. This is a very exciting thing from a financial standpoint. Working more will allow us to get ahead on bills and hopefully save up more money. However, I have a feeling that my life is about to be turned upside-down. I’m going to be working a lot, which means a few things. First of all, I’ll have a lot less time to myself, to recharge and relax, which I will greatly miss as rest, as I have found out recently, can be so important! Second of all, I will have less time to work out. Everyday, I have the possibility of working as early as 7am and as late as 10pm. This week, I am lucky enough to have a three hour break in between the jobs, which will make it easy for me to squeeze a workout in while still having time to each lunch. However, this may not always be the case as I could end up working some days from 7am until 10pm with just a one hour break between shifts. Right now, job #1 (the lower paying one) has cut my hours, which is helping to prevent this kind of madness. I actually wouldn’t mind if the hour cuts become permanent, but we’ll see. A third way my life is about to really change is the fact that I’m about to start seeing Patrick a lot less, which makes me quite sad. Between me working two jobs and him working full-time and going to school part-time, we are about to really struggle to spend time together, which we are both quite upset about, but at the same time, we know it is for the best in the long run. So, for the past week, we have been trying to spend a lot of time together, which has been fun, but it has also resulted in some bad behavior. We’ve ended up eating out a lot at some not so healthy places. It has been fun, but I’ve noticed a change: I just haven’t had as much energy as I have been since I’ve been eating well. Eating all of that junk has been making me feel sluggish when I need to be on top of things. This has been a big motivator to get back to eating healthy! I just feel like adjusting to this new schedule has been quite the challenge for me. Right now I’m just trying to figure out where health and fitness fits into the whole things. I’m confident that I will get back on the right track soon. I just have to get back into the groove!

So, yesterday was weigh in day for me. In fact, it was my first weigh in since I decided to switch to weighing myself every month, as apposed to weekly. I have to admit, I had mixed emotions about this weigh in. Part of me was excited to see how much progress I’ve made. My body is starting to change, although just a bit, so I knew I was making progress. Part of me was nervous. What if I hadn’t lost as much weight as I wanted to lose? I didn’t want to get discouraged so early on. Yet another part of me felt nonchalant about the whole thing. I started weighing myself once a month in the first place to take the focus off of my weight a bit. I want to be happy and healthy, despite what the scale says. As of now, I still have a goal weight I’m working towards, but I realize I may never get there and that is okay. Why might I not get there? Well, I’ve been doing a fair amount of strength training, so I might start to gain muscle weight, even though I’m losing fat. I also might decide I’m content with my weight before I reach that number on the scale. The most important thing is that I’m a healthy weight. With all of that on my mind, I stepped on the scale. The number that stared back at me? 171.0. I looked at the scale in a state of disbelief. Just to make sure, I stepped off and stepped back on again but the numbers remained the same. This means that I lost 7 pounds in the month of August! This puts me 7 pounds away from my first mini-goal, 164 pounds. It is just good to know that all of this hard work is finally starting to pay off. I’m just so excited about what the future holds and all of the positive changes that are ahead.

During this journey, some days are relatively easy. I eat right, enjoy my food, exercise and feel really good afterwords. Some days are quite a challenge, where I struggle to control my cravings and I have to drag my ass to the gym. However, there is not a time I struggle more than during my period. Oh yes, it is that time of the month for me. And boy, can it suck. You see, in the past, I’ve used my period as an excuse to engage in some truly bad behavior. I had to have chocolate everyday, I was menstruating! Going to McDonalds was no big deal because Aunt Flo was in town! But I had to have Coca-Cola when I was surfing the crimson tide! However, I can no longer hide behind this excuse to eat a bunch of junk. If I’m ever going to make this a lifestyle change, I have to get rid of these excuses and be good all the time. As someone who craves chocolate all of the time, it really can test me. However, I feel like I am getting better at waiting out cravings and limiting myself when eating things that are less than great for me. There is one tradition that I have started which helps me get through this challenging time: I only have Starbucks once a month – during my period. When I was in high school, I came to love Starbucks when my best friend started working there. She was able to give me free drinks pretty much whenever I wanted and I was hooked for life quite early on. My poison is Java Chip Frappuccinos, which are both delicious and loaded with calories. But, I have to satisfy my craving sometimes, so why not when I need it the most? The way I see it, by only having Starbucks once a month, not only am I saving myself from a ton of empty calories, but also saving tons of money as everything there is quite expensive. Plus, whenever I do get them, they taste super delicious because I get them so rarely. I wouldn’t say my eating habits during my period are perfect, but I’m slowly making progress, which is what matters. I’m trying!