This is Accountability Sunday where I look at the past week and how much work I did towards my goals and then set some goals for the coming week. Interested in joining me? You, too, can have some public accountability: just go to the accountability spreadsheet and put in your goals for the coming week. The goals can be fitness-related, health-related, work-related or anything else that you care to track. It’s not about competition, it’s just about putting your goals out there and then assessing how you did.

 


2000px-MW-Icon-CheckMark.svgOur second Accountability Sunday! If you put down some goals for this past week, go ahead and update the spreadsheet with how you did. If you’re just joining us, put in some goals for this coming week.

This week was a little hectic for me and I didn’t do quite as well as I thought I might, but on the other hand, I signed up for a half marathon which is going to shift my priorities a little bit.

What were my goals for last week and how did I do?

  • Run 13 miles — I ran 13.03 miles, the 0.03 miles to make up for the 0.02 miles that I was short last week for all those who were helpful enough to point that out to me. Also did a 5 mile long run which almost killed me, but I’m proud that I got it done.
  • Strength train twice — yea, this didn’t happen. My trainer/roommate is on vacation and without her goading me to do it, I just kind of ignored this one.
  • Eat only 3-4 meals per day and eat only once I’ve been hungry for 30-60 minutes — this went fairly well, actually. I had one day where I was tired and hormonal and kind of grazed all day, never really feeling hungry OR satisfied. And then another evening where me and a bag of pretzels became really good friends with one another. But otherwise? Again – mindfulness #FTW.
  • Track weight — gained .04 pounds … hormones suck, just sayin’.

Next week’s goals?

  • Run 11 miles — cutback week (this is the upside to starting a training plan a few weeks in) so fewer miles and only a 3 mile long run on the weekend.
  • Strength train twice — my trainer is back in town so I expect this will happen. See how I need that external accountability?
  • Mindful Eating — eating 3-4 meals per day, eat only once I’ve been hungry for 30-60 minutes and stop eating when satisfied. Not still hungry, not overfull, but just right (like Goldilocks, right?)
  • Track Weight
  • At least 4 blog posts — my month of blogging is over (I only missed 2 days! Go, me!) but I really want to stay on top of this, blogging every day if possible. Every single post might not be a work of art, but it really helps my writing and creativity to sit down and come up with something vaguely publishable on a daily basis.

And a new thing that I’m stealing from one of my favorite podcasts (Pop Culture Happy Hour) — they always end the program with What’s Making Us Happy this week. And so, my inaugural “What’s Making Me Happy”:

The playlist that I put together a few weeks ago to run to. It never fails to motivate me and keep me going. It’s probably close to 60% country music and the rest an eclectic mix of pop, electronic, 80’s and current stuff that I’m proud I know considering I’m well past the age of listening to what’s on the radio. Here’s a Spotify playlist that has most of the songs (there are a few songs in my private collection that aren’t available). Give it a listen to. Tell me what you’d add and what music is “must have” when you’re working out.

Have a great week, everyone!

 


For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 30 of 30.

 

Like I said yesterday when talking about the book Better Than Before, I’m an Obliger with just a smidgen of Upholder in me (here’s more information about all four tendencies). As Gretchen Rubin defines it,

Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves

That’s me. As long as I have external accountability, I’m a superstar without fail — I live to never let anyone else down. The promises I make to myself? Let’s just say that I’m not as concerned with how I’ll react to myself when I don’t fulfill my commitments; I’m pretty skilled at handling criticism I make about myself.

It’s pretty clear what that means in terms of my goals to get fit and lose some weight — I’ll do it better if I’m working with other people and have some sort of external accountability. This isn’t really news to me, I just now have a name for the type of person I am (well, that’s not true either, I’ve always had names for the type of person I am, but those weren’t nearly as nice as “Obliger”… ).

So I started looking around for a group to support my goals and commitments to myself and found One By One nutrition coaching. It’s another habits-based program (not unlike the Lean Eating program over at Precision Nutrition that I had gone through in years past) with a focus on simply getting the food part of it right. There are no weigh-ins, workout programs or meal plans, only habits that are designed to change how you relate to food and eating.

I signed up for the small group coaching and the bulk of it is through a Facebook group where we check in daily to assess how our day went while following the current habit. The coaches and mentors there are really great — quick to respond and always looking to both empathize with any issue you might be experiencing and then providing some ideas for how to deal with that issue in a more effective way. By asking us to account for our decisions every day, I have been more mindful and aware of what I’m doing and whether or not it fits with the habit.

And I love how positive the coaches are: the other day my assessment was not so good — I was so tired by the time I got home that I sat down with a bag of pretzels and mindlessly ate with no goal other than to feel full. Not satisfied, mind you, just full. And when I posted that, the response included not only helpful advice but also reminded me that first off, this wasn’t the worst thing in the world and secondly, an evening of overeating didn’t make a day of mindful eating disappear. They were right — I ate to hunger and followed my body’s cues all day until around 7pm, and that’s a big positive.

Far too often it’s easy for me to dismiss the things I did right, thinking that one wrong move erases all the good. And that’s the kind of thinking that leads to binges and quitting because the hard work doesn’t seem worth it if only the mistakes are taken into account. I thrive on gold stars — there’s that external accountability again! — and it’s been so helpful to have coaches point out to me the things that I’m doing right as well as suggesting changes to fix the rest of the stuff.

And that’s something I’m working on for myself as well — the internal monologue of negative thoughts needs to be answered with a reckoning of all the good I’ve also accomplished in any given day, and the realization that most days the good outweighs the bad. My own head is tougher on me than anyone else could be, but that needs to change; I know it’s better than it used to be, but I always have room to improve.

In the meantime, I’ll listen to my coaches and keep doing the hard work that goes along with changing my brain, which is what this is all about, right?

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For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 28 of 30.

 

btb-pb_nospineRecently, I finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Better Than Before and while I expected the normal stuff on habits, Rubin went beyond the cliches and brought some original insights to the topic.

She starts out by introducing her theory on the Four Tendencies. Think of it like any of the personality-type quizzes out there, except this relates to habits and how you relate to yourself and others in regards to your habits. There are four main Tendencies (Upholder, Questioner, Rebel and Obliger) and while you can be more than one, most people will find that they are squarely in one category with hints of the others thrown in.

Curious what your tendency is? Go take the quiz. I’m pretty much an Obliger with a little bit of Upholder thrown in — which explains a lot about me and why habits can be hard for me to keep without some sort of external accountability.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you why this played into helping me make a decision to seek out some nutrition coaching. Until then, go find out what you are and then let me know. I’m curious to hear what other people are and how it impacts their habits and commitments.

(I’ve got a live Q&A session with Dr. Brene Brown this evening and so this post is a little hurried … I’d apologize but my best bed Dr. Brown is worth shorting the blog for a day)

 


 

For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 27 of 30.

 

Trick #1

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Belle, not begging

Belle isn’t exactly a beggar, but she will sit and very closely keep watch over your food for you. You know, just in case it tries to escape or something. She’s loyal like that. So, I usually eat in the family room (yes, in front of the TV, what of it?) with my food on the coffee table and on a placemat (I’m not a savage). Well, last week she figured something out — if she puts her paw on the placemat that has the food and pulls her paw towards her, the food magically gets closer to her as well. As if fate wanted her to have it. The best part is that she’ll stare at me the entire time she’s doing it, as if daring me to stop her (which I do, I’m still the alpha dog in the house … well, mostly…). Like if she gets it in front of her, it’s okay for her to take a lick or two. We’re sharing, right?

Trick #2

I get up early, I go to work, I work hard (or hardly work) and then I get home and I’m ready for a nap. My theory has always been that if I’m to train, I mustn’t sit down or get comfortable in any way because I’ll still be sitting there when bedtime comes around. And I’ve kept to that, plodding through training half asleep hoping that the sting of sweat in my eyes will force me awake. It sometimes works.

The other day I was beyond tired. I was that kind of tired where if people didn’t know better they might think I was drunk because of the stumbling and walking into walls. But I had a run on the schedule (and a half marathon that I had just signed up for). I fought a mental battle: run? sleep? eat? rest?  I finally decided that the run wasn’t going to happen without a little rest so I got comfortable on the couch and set my alarm for 30 minutes. I never fell fully asleep and when the alarm went off I was still kind of sludgey (that’s a word … well, it is now), but I got up and by the time I changed into my magic running tights, I felt a ton better.  What do you know — I got home from work, took a nap, felt at least somewhat rejuvenated and turned what would have been an awful get-through-it run into something almost pleasurable.

Old dogs. New tricks. Totally possible.


For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 26 of 30.

 

It seems that 2016 is my reintroduction to the racing scene in a big way; this morning I accidentally signed up for a half marathon. I wasn’t planning on doing anything this long until Fall, at the very earliest, but I couldn’t pass this up — I got a $5 entry. At that price, even if don’t race (WHICH I WILL), the shirt is a cheap buy. I really wasn’t going to sign up, figuring I’d never get one of the super special, very-few-available low entry rates but once I saw that it was there, it was like fate had started penciling in stuff on my calendar for me.

It’s the Naperville Women’s Half Marathon and it’s at the end of April. I’ve set up a training plan and without knowing it, I apparently started it two weeks ago. I’ll have about 14 weeks to become reacquainted with the weekend long run. Those haven’t been on my schedule since I was marathon training in 2011 and I can’t say that I remember them all that fondly. Luckily, the half marathon long runs are nothing compared to marathon long running. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.

After signing up I started checking out the race details and this should be a nice, gentle slide back into things. Not only is it a women’s race (which are always very “you go, girl!” kind of events), but there’s a 4 hour maximum time limit which eases my mind. Not that I plan on it, but I could walk most of it and finish in 4 hours, so there’s lots of room for not being in as good of shape as I want to be.

That said, I’m going to do everything I can to prepare as well as I can for this. I don’t mind going slow; I do mind going slow because I didn’t do the work before getting to the start line.

Bring it on, Naperville. I can handle it. And really, for just over $0.38 per mile, give me all 13.1 of them. Can’t pass up a deal like that.

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For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 25 of 30.

 

It’s Monday and not much is going on around my house. Belle, after having been at daycare all day playing in the Puppy Bowl, is out cold and I’m taking a rest day after running for 3 days straight.

I’ll say this much, though — for doing more running than I have in a long time, I’m feeling pretty good. Sure, there are the little aches and pains, but overall I don’t feel nearly as beat up as I have in the past when I’ve tried to start running again. I feel like I’m making progress, that it’s starting to feel like it used to.

And that’s the best feeling in the world. And it’s self-perpetuating, too; I know a rest day is the smart thing to do, but there’s a part of my brain that’s ready to go and hit the treadmill again today (of course, the rest of me is beat up from a tiring work day, so there’s that).

In other words, life’s good. And I’m looking forward to getting back to things tomorrow.

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Belle intently waiting for the ball to be thrown… or maybe she’s listening to the play call, thinking, “Go deep!”


For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 24 of 30.

 

2000px-MW-Icon-CheckMark.svgThis post is the fault of my Ironman friend Mary. I blame her entirely for putting the idea of public accountability in my head — there was a Facebook post and she told me she’d be my virtual run buddy and it all arose from that. So direct all of your hate email her way, m’kay? Of course, any accolades, you know, I’m the one that really fleshed out the idea.

So, here’s the gist of it: every Sunday, instead of a funny, entertaining post, you’ll get me recounting the past week, talking about what my goals were, whether I hit them or not, obstacles or successes along the way and then my goals for the upcoming week. Sounds fascinating, I know, but you’ll have to bear with me. Or ignore my posts. Either way, I’m cool.

And another idea: anyone want to join me? I’m keeping a public spreadsheet so that you can track your week-to-week’s online with me, if you like. You can track whatever you’d like, whether it be workouts or nutrition or weight or anything else you want. It’s not a competition, it’s only about public accountability. Let’s all do what we say we’re going to do!

My goals for last week?

  • Run 12 miles
  • Strength train twice
  • Eat mindfully, only 3-4 meals per day and be hungry for 30-60 minutes before eating

And how did I do?

  • Ran 11.98 miles. And since I’m not, nor have I ever been, a Type A kind of athlete, this totally counts. Today I needed to run 2.49 miles and the workout of the day was a beautiful run along the Hudson River that was only 2.47 miles. Good enough for me.
  • Done — strength trained on Tuesday and Thursday. And I’m sore! I don’t always work as hard as I ought to when I strength train, but I did a good job this week.
  • I’ll say I was mindful and did what I planned on doing 6/7 days. Friday wasn’t so good, but a lethal combination tired + headache + hormones did me in. I’m always chasing my hunger when those hit like that. And I did better than I normally would, so I’m counting it as a win.
  • Lost 0.6 pounds. I’m not making weight loss a goal — I only have so much control over what the scale says — but I’m tracking it. This week was a normal uptick due to hormones. And actually, this was better than usual — usually I’m looking at a 3-4 pound gain — so I’m pleased. Let me put it this way: if I can run the way I want to weighing what I do now, that’s totally fine with me. It’s just that I know that if I’m doing everything else right, the weight should start going down.

So, who’s with me? Who wants to join me?

Here’s a link to the spreadsheet I have set up at the moment. We can add/subtract/modify things as suggestions come in. I’d love to make this a community effort!

 

 

 

 

 


For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 23 of 30.

… not really too bad, considering it’s January in Chicago and the entire mid-Atlantic region and East Coast are buried in an avalanche of snow. So, look what I did:

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See, very little snow out there. This has been a pretty good winter so far. At least as far as “winter” has the ability to be termed “good” at all.

Yes, that would be a run. An OUTSIDE run. I decided that since we had a nice weekend on tap (meaning: no snow, over 25 degrees outside and very little wind), I would get out and hit the pavement instead of the super cushy treadmill that I usually spend quality time with. And you know what? It wasn’t too bad. It also wasn’t nearly as comfortable as running on my treadmill, but still, not too bad.

What did I learn?

  1. I need new winter running clothes because I have very few that fit and are serviceable. I wore a pair of winter tights today that, frankly, had anyone looked to closely would notice that they’re looking a little see-through. I used them anyway; figured anyone else who might be out braving the winter might appreciate a little entertainment.
  2. My lungs don’t like running the cold as much as they used to. This was never an issue back in the good ol’ days (you know, when I was tough and always ran outside), but now I find that once I’m done I spend the rest of the day coughing and not being able to breathe too deeply.
  3. Running outside during the winter makes me feel badass, even though it really wasn’t too awful out.
  4. Even with little to now snow on the ground apparently ice still exists. Not that my butt hitting the ground is any indication of this.
  5. In a case of obvious overkill, I had FOUR different devices tracking my run. I was wearing my Garmin, I had my Fitbit in my pocket, I had on a Withings Activite watch and I started Runkeeper on my phone. It’s the belt-and-suspenders method to making sure I have a record of the run? I’m such a nerd.
  6. I really don’t sweat any less when it’s 25 degrees out than when it’s 75 degrees out. I think I’m getting to that age, ya know?

Regardless – I got out and felt proud that I did. I’m still not the gung-ho, go outside in any weather runner I used to be, but I think it’s good for me to brave the elements more often than, say, the once a year that I had been doing it. Builds character and all that. Plus, it feels like a more accurate way to measure my progress.

Anyway, I have two potential cold weather races coming up — one at the end of February, the other at the end of March — and so I might as well find an outfit that works (and doesn’t accidentally violate public decency laws).


For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 22 of 30.

I’m in week 2 of Brene Brown’s Living Brave semester and today’s lesson revolved around vulnerability and finding your anthem. Brene talks about going into the arena, but instead of gearing up to be ready to fight, it’s about gearing down and walking into the arena to be seen, open and vulnerable. And this arena anthem is the song that you want to hear as you’re readying yourself to walk up those stairs and into the glaring light of day.

I loved how she brought music into the lesson and figuring out my anthem took no more than about 5 minutes — I didn’t think it would be that easy, but this song popped into my head and I immediately knew it was a perfect fit.

My anthem? Well, y’all know I’ve got a bit of a country twang hidden deep inside and my anthem leans that way as well: Follow Your Arrow by Kacey Musgraves. And Kacey delivers these words of wisdom with a wink and a smile, her dry humor and wit enveloping the song and making it just really fun to listen to.


Follow Your Arrow is all about not worrying what other people think — because no matter what you do, they’ll be able to find something bad to say about you if they wish — and being yourself instead. Be the person you want to be, follow your arrow without letting other people’s opinions get in the way.

And it can be so hard to be unapologetically yourself! But putting on the armor of being the person you think someone wants to see doesn’t allow you to live in an authentic and wholehearted way.

I love the bridge of the song … it always gives me chills:

Say what you think
Love who you love
‘Cause you just get so many
Trips ’round the sun
Yea, you only
Only live once.

What would your anthem be?

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For the month of January, I’ve committed to posting every day, having accepted the 30-day challenge.
This is day 21 of 30.

It’s been one of those days. In total, I got about 3.5 hours of sleep last night; I was startled awake about an hour after I fell asleep, and the zzz’s were pretty elusive after that. You know things are bad when you’re watching the Meredith Viera show at 2am (nothing against Meredith, of course).

Which meant that this morning was kickstarted with a healthy dose of caffeine that put me in that paradoxical state where I could barely keep my eyes open but there was a thrum of vibration from the caffeine keeping me weirdly anxious and stressed. Luck was with me, though, since I was kept busy all day — a means to both keep me distracted from the overwhelming desire to nap and a way to work off the nervous caffeinated energy.

And now, finally home, post-workout. Hoping that the caffeine has worked its way through my system so I can sleep tonight because another night like last night … well, let’s just say that my co-workers won’t be very happy to see me, that’s for sure. Though perhaps if I bought donuts in? I’ll have to keep that in mind…

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Someone’s got the sleeping thing down pat

All this to say sleep is so important! I love sleep. It’s one of my most favorite things and much like when I indulge in a few adult beverages, people say I’m much more fun to be around when I have some good sleep under my belt.

Time to stop rambling. If I go take a long enough shower, it’ll be 7pm which is a totally appropriate bedtime.

Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere. Goodnight Moon.