Tag Archives: fitness

2013 Copycat

I was completely geared up to do a lovely run down of 2013 a la All & Sundry  after enjoying posts by Jess and Jennie. But you know something? 2013 feels a bit more fluid than that for me so I’m just going to ramble and see what comes out.

2013

2013 was pretty sucky in so many ways but also I started to really find myself this year, so it ended pretty well.

This year, my heart hurt, my body hurt, my mind hurt. I feel like I suffered an awful lot, telling myself ‘at least you have a roof over your head, Sarah’. Not that that sort of self talk is helpful, but, I am nothing if not constantly working at being nicer to myself while reminding everyone else to do as I say, not as I do.

I was heavily depressed in 2013.  I struggled and some days just getting out of bed was something to celebrate – that is – if I had the energy to celebrate.  I drowned in a sea of fear and anger and instead of taking charge of my life, I let it wash me away.  I lost one of the best people I’ve ever known because I did not take my own life into my hands and let fear overrun me.  I was too afraid to take steps I needed to.

In my most self-compassionate moments I can look at 2013 and see exactly why I felt so heavy and burdened.  I felt heart ache and heart break. I lost close friends. I lived far from my family. I struggled financially. I almost left my marriage.  I worked out too much. I didn’t work out enough. I forced myself to restrict my diet. Then I let it all go and ate like crap. I left an apartment I’d lived in for almost 7 years. I left behind everything that wouldn’t fit in a Toyota echo and moved across the country. I got riled up by injustices and hateful words so easily spoken.   I moved to NYC…without first having a place to live. My Nana’s sister was diagnosed with dementia, moved out of her lifelong home and my Nana went to see her for the last time. I was jobless and rejected. Repeatedly.  I lost weight. I gained weight.   I laid awake nights worrying about a dwindling bank account. I had a sick pet. I felt lonely.  My Aunt was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer and was not expected to live through the year.  My Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma and did not heave health insurance.

I mean…I may have a reason or three to feel like I did. Maybe. 

I guess it really is the truth when they say you have to know the lows to appreciate the highs.  When I was at my worst, I reached out. Those of you that have suffered heavy depression and anxiety know just how hard it is to reach out in those moments. The fears of those judging you or thinking how annoying and ’emo’ you are can be so soul crushing.  You know? I really think that opening myself up and reaching out to friends both near and far – new and…well new, was one of the best things that I did in 2013.  I harbored a lot of hurt and resentment in 2013.  I laid a lot of heavy blame on myself and took a lot of damage points but…I reached out. I asked for help. I asked for understanding and love.

Boy, did you guys respond. Holy hannah.  So many of you just came out of the woodwork to support me, pouring praise and love in tidal waves and I cannot thank you enough for that. For all the energy you send me, for the time you spent thinking of me and being hopeful for me. For all the love you had to give and gave to me.  I feel so indebted so often to many of you and I don’t say thank you often enough. I have a running tally of people in my head that need to be thanked, told how much I appreciate them and that they are wonderful people.  Thank you. All of you.

The last bit of 2013…got better.

My Dad’s cancer responded to treatment. I got to spend Christmas with my family. I took a leap of faith and completed Birth Doula Training which changed me inside. I blogged more. I told friends I loved them.  I got a job that I love.  Friends visited.  I decorated a new apartment.  I found peace in running through the park.  I got a real Christmas tree.  I joined the Sisterhood of Avalon.  I read…a lot…of crap that felt great.  I began to love New York City.  My Aunt’s cancer has responded to treatment.  I participated in several CDP exchanges that made me happy.  I discovered there was a reason that I was so emotional – I’m a Highly Sensitive Person.  I read and found others like myself.  I opened up and was vulnerable.  I loved as much as I possibly could.  I discovered New York pizza.  I got an Edible Arrangement! I started finding some self confidence.

So, 2013. It’s gone.  Literally and figuratively.  I’d like to be different this year.

I plan on setting a few intentions quietly here at home, maybe making one of those cliched intention boards.  For now, here are a few things that I want for 2014.

-I want to be more compassionate and kind. I always try to be more of these things but I’d like to make a bigger effort. I want to stop judging and being crabby about people. I just want to love them for who they are even without knowing their story. We are all coming from somewhere.

-I want to take better care of my body -emotionally, physically and mentally.  I would like to exercise more and eat better. I know how – it just takes discipline and willpower. I’m coming out of the fog, I can do this.

-I want to attend a Sisterhood of Avalon Intensive, bonding with my sisters and the Goddess.

-I want to kick sugar.  It’s awful and has a hold on me like whoa. No good people. I would like to be able to eat a cookie, not the box.

-I would like to attend at least 4 births this year – completing my DONA certification.

-I’d like to take some coursework/certification in aromatherapy.

-I want to run some type of race this year. I’d LOVE to do a sprint triathlon in June. We shall see.

-I want to take a yoga class, an aerobics class and a dance class regularly.

-I want to be better at planning meals and snacks, to make sure I am fueled all day and can avoid sugar and caffeine to boost me.

-I want to learn more handicrafts. Knitting. Crocheting. Quilting. For peace of mind and spirit.

-I would like to volunteer in NYC – perhaps as a birth doula or elsewhere.

-I would like to budget better and save money to afford to help others and surprise friends with little things more often.

-I’d like to journal more often and keep on top of my thoughts and my heart, working on doing things to keep my self-confidence growing.

***

I think this year is set up to be far better than last and boy, am I ready.

Bring it 2014. 

Slip Sliding

I’m not very focused these days. I’m sure being jobless and watching the purse strings get tighter and tigher isn’t helping. I’m sure being in a new place isn’t helping. I’m sure feeling soley responsible for our survival isn’t really helping either. There’s most likely a lot contributing but regardless of what it is, I’m still more scattered than I’ve ever been.

I have slid, slid, sliiiiiid back in my health and fitness. I am SO frustrated yet clearly not committed to getting back on track. My eating is all good – minus sugar. I am a FIEND for sugar and we are possibly in the worst time of the year when it comes to treats and candy. Ugh. I have zero willpower around sugar. The SECOND dinner is over, I already start craving something sweet. I know I need to break this addiction but damn if it isn’t super tough.

Thank goodness I don’t have a scale right now because I would most likely break into tears. My body doesn’t FEEL good, inside OR out. I can FEEL flab where it wasn’t before and I am so uncomfortable. I was running when I first got here, but then a mystery ankle injury sidelined me as it tended to flare up even after a lot of walking around. The neighbours downstairs complained when I tried to work out in our livingroom. I can’t afford dance classes just yet and I am waiting until I have an income to join a gym so I can zone out on a treadmill. It sounds like so many excuses but I just…don’t know what to do right now. I can’t be the only one, can I?

When I was losing weight steadily, I was kind of work out and food crazy. I really don’t want to be like that again but fear I have to be. The small changes aren’t making the changes I want in my body. THey aren’t really getting me where I need to be.  What I need to be able to do, is jump and workout in my apartment. That’s so, so frustrating. My anxiety has me wound about the neighbours so I haven’t dared try in over a month. Running isn’t all that fun for me, I just do it because it’s cheap and ‘easy’. In other words, it doesn’t take any thought for me.  I do it because it helps my mind space out and give me the break that being anxious and highly sensitive will never, ever let me have.

I feel so awful about myself every day. I KNOW better. I KNOW what to eat. I KNOW that I have to move. Why is it so damn difficult? I feel like people look at me and frown, knowing how great I was looking before oh…the world felt like it was caving in on me.  If I’m honest, I barely made it through the summer so I know I should cut myself some slack.  I probably wasn’t that honest this summer with anyone, you, myself, my family. No one really knew how close I was to just…collapsing.

And then I moved across the country. Into another country. Where I’d be the sole earner. In an expensive, loud, busy new city. I guess there’s a bit of reason to be stressed, to have let myself fall by the wayside.

I’m just so frustrated guys. How the hell do I get out of this hole? How do I stop feeling sorry for myself, fearful, anxious and just..DO something?  I mean, I know it’ll get better and I’ll find a groove but for now, this sucks.

Big Goals

This past week, I went to hear Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete speak about his brand new book of the same name. I had already pre-ordered his book through Amazon and wasn’t sure if I’d attend the signing but on the day of, I signed up for the waitlist. I figured if I got a ticket, great. If I didn’t – I was still getting a signed bookplate thanks to pre-ordering! Well I did get an invitation to go and while I was all fluttery about it I am SO GLAD that I went.

Matt spoke about setting BIG goals. This was in reference to running and sports, but as he was talking, I was thinking.  What was it that I really wanted to do with myself? Was there something athletically I wanted? What about the rest of life? He suggested that we probably already knew what this goal was and that it most likely felt or seemed impossible. He gave a few examples and spoke about creating goals that may seem impossible now but that are EXCITING to you or you won’t stay on track. He also suggested that you tell everyone you know. That blogging, calling it out on Facebook, telling family and friends, tweeting about it – are all ways to help you stay accountable. To help push you toward that exciting goal.

I’ve been tossing around a few ‘goals’ here and there lately. I’ve been meaning to really focus myself, nail some things down. I even got a new notebook and pen to write about my goals! To put them out there and think about them. Manifest your destiny, Sarah! I haven’t exactly done it yet. Womp, womp.

As Matt went on, I couldn’t help be inspired by his story. A normal, average, everyday guy that decided to run a marathon. After years of struggle (and many marathons later), he finally qualified for the Boston Marathon and now he has completed his first 100 Mile Ultramarathon. You heard that correctly. ONE HUNDRED MILES people! I can only imagine how impossible that must have seemed way back when, but now? It’s a reality of his.

Two things came out of this talk for me. Two goals. Two seemingly BIG goals to me. One I’ve tossed about on here, on twitter and with family friends but have yet to solidly commit to it. The other, I’ve spoken to absolutely NO ONE about. Hell, I’m still even hesitant to admit to myself that I want this. I also thought about you guys here, how supportive you all are and how maybe, you would be a motivation for me to keep on track.

Are you ready?

1. I want to be a midwife. 
2. I want to complete a triathlon.  

Sure the first seems so simple. Like of course Sarah – go do it. The fact is, it hasn’t been that easy for me. Back in July, I loosely made a plan in my head of how I would become a midwife.  I would use my time in New York constructively. I would become a Doula while here, using the vast resources of such a big city to help me gain experience and certification, making me a desirable candidate for UBC Midwifery School when we returned to Vancouver. I even downloaded several books from the Dona International certification reading list to my brand new kindle. Seems easy right? Well – since then I’ve had the dates of the course I wanted to take in my head. November 9th, 10th & 11th. Over and over, the dates rumbled in my head. I figured, if we had a little left over from our move and could spare it, maybe I’d take the course and get started. Then, some family gave me money to help us get settled here in NYC and I quietly earmarked it for this course. If I signed up before October 9th, I’d even get a discount.

Well, it’s October 5th. After hemming and hawing. After being scared and thinking of all the failures I could. After worrying about our financial state and my lack of employment. I took the leap. I registered.  I am registered for a Birth Doula Workshop in early November that counts as 2 out of 3 course requirements for certification as a Birth Doula.  I did it.

Goal #1 – started.

As far as Goal #2, it’s a bit more complicated. The day after Matt’s talk, I was reading Caitlin’s post about her triathlon. I read through the links she provided on training, what, where, how etc. I thought about it quietly to myself before even admitting it to Andrew. Then? I went to TriFind.com and started a search. Just a hypothetical ‘what if’ kind of search, I told myself.

I mean, I’m struggling to get back into fitness as it is, how could I do this? I don’t even LOVE running. Sure, I used to be a competitive swimmer, but I haven’t in YEARS. I don’t even have a bike!

All sorts of things ran through my head as to why I couldn’t possibly do it but as a sprint triathlon showed up in my search, for June 15th, the one thought that kept ringing true was – I really want to do this. So while I haven’t registered for this one yet, I’m going to work on it. It’s far enough in the future that I can prepare myself. This fall and winter, I’m going to work on my running. I’m going to talk to my Stepdad who is a cyclist and see if he can help me with that part. I’m going to find a pool and squeeze into my racing suit again. I’m going to spend the winter working on things and see where I’m at. I’ll be sure to tell you guys when I make this one a reality. I can do this, I know I can. It might be in a beat up bike and some spandex shorts instead of a svelte racing bike and trisuit, but I’m going to do this.

So thanks, Matt, for the inspiration and motivation.

I’m excited guys. I’ve got November 9-11 and June 15th on the brain.

*And as a side note, I would highly recommend Matt’s book, “No Meat Athlete” if you’re interested in fitness on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Or even just on becoming a better runner.

Get In Mah Belly!

Guys. I apologize. There has been entirely too little food up in here! Those that know me must be wondering who I am and where I’ve put Sarah. Well, with all the struggling, moving, settling in and what not I’ve been doing in the last few months I’ll be honest and say there hasn’t been a ton of cooking. What there has been, is a whole lot of slipping up, eating crap and laying around bemoaning my state of affairs. I think for a while it was okay, (Can we say STRESS much?) but now that I have a kitchen I am growing happy with I am ready to settle back in and buckle down.

I HAVE been reading food blogs and following all of you friends who have given recommendations for recipes this whole time though! I figured I’d share a bit of what I’ve been anxious to try, some articles that have been thought provoking for me and a few staples I am looking forward to putting back in rotation. Firstly, let’s go for the recipes I am eager to try.

The New

Double Greens & Orzo Soup – Everyday Maven
Orzo Soup from www.everydaymaven.com
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A friend sent me this recipe and while I’m not quite ready for a hot soup, I can’t wait to try it this fall.  It’s a hearty, nutritious and vegan soup to boot!

Miso Butter – Food52

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I realize this isn’t really a recipe, but the link does give you six meals that use miso butter in them. For some reason I can’t get over the thought of salty, flavorful butter melting into veggies or on pasta. YUM. I need to source some miso and get blending. Seems like a pretty nice ‘condiment’ to have in the fridge that would add so much flavor to a simple dish.

Palak Paneer – Pinch of Yum
Homemade Healthy Palak Paneer - Pinch of Yum
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There are not words to describe how much I love Indian food. The combinations of spices, the depth and richness, the complexity of flavors. All of it. It also doesn’t hurt that it is quite easy to find vegetarian and even vegan dishes at Indian restaurants. I’ve made plenty of Indian recipes, but I am looking forward to trying this recipe for spinach and cheese.

Note: Paneer is actually really easy to make if you have a bit of extra time. I use a recipe from my Vij’s cookbook, but it’s all over and barely takes extra work.

 

Food for Thought

11 Trillion Reasons – Mark Bittman, NYTimes
Eating more fruits and vegetables could save the country money and reshape our policy.

Should We Eat Meat? – Karen Weintraub, Boston Globe
Evidence shows that cutting down on meat could be good for us.

I Tried Mark Bittman’s VB6 and Here’s How It Went – The Kitchn
I loved this honest look at Bittman’s new book and eating plan. I’ve been interested in VB6 and was happy to see this review. I feel like I’m similar to the author and am ordering my copy soon. This just furthers my love of Mark Bittman.

Old Favorites

Bal’s No-Butter, Butter Chicken

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Guys. I LOVE this recipe. Honestly. I have passed this link on to so many friends and make it many times a year. It’s really the perfect recipe, even for those that don’t love ‘curry’. I increase the spices and I blend/puree the onion/tomato/garlic before tossing in my chickpeas or tofu chunks. I often double up the sauce ingredients too because I’ll keep the extra for a quick dinner later. If you try it – let me know what you think!

Stir-Fried Chickpeas & Asparagus with Brown Rice and Lemon Tahini – Dinner with Julie
Chick+peas+%26+asparagus Stir Fried Chickpeas and Asparagus with Brown Rice and Lemon Tahini Dressing
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This is another old favorite that gets passed around a lot. It’s a great way to use up leftover brown rice and is super quick and easy. I double up on the veg and chickpeas to make it less about the rice. Leftovers are even better, I promise.

Mac & Cheese Style Cauliflower – Vegetarian Times
Mac-and-Cheese-Style Cauliflower
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Every year I forget about this one, then get SO EXCITED when I find it again. It is so satisfying and I think even cauliflower haters might like it if you cut up the florets small enough.  There is never enough in the casserole dish for us because we keep picking at it. Maybe some day I’ll double and see if it freezes.

So what are YOU eating or thinking about eating? Have you read anything interesting lately? Please – share! I’m always looking for new recipes and great info!