I feel like every time I publish a blog post it begins with the words, “It’s been awhile.” When I hit the publish button I always intend to keep up with the blog and post more on a regular basis, but then life happens and I find myself not looking or thinking about the blog for months. I am really going to try to change that.
As most of you know, my dad died unexpectedly on Father’s Day in 2015. It took my entire family and all of our friends by surprise and none of us were really equipped to handle it. I can only speak for myself, but I went through some definite dark times. It’s been 8 months and I still have days when I just don’t feel like myself. Days when crying is my natural response to nearly everything. I know it will get better with time, as it has already, but I long for the days when I can think back on my memories of him and smile without a tear immediately coming to my eye.
After dad’s death I got really down and didn’t really care about myself or anything else. I finally got out of that funk and began (and completed) the Couch to 5K program on my treadmill. I attempted to train outside, after finishing the program, but quickly became discouraged with my inability to run on pavement with the same ease I could on my treadmill. I am sure I will begin again in the Spring, but for now I have put running on the backburner.
So, what have I been up to since then? Well, I originally set out to have 2016 be the YEAR OF SERENITY. I vowed to be more calm, not quick to anger, and happy. Serenity lasted a month, which honestly was longer than I expected. Making that vow, however, did help in a lot of ways….I do still get angry and I am not perfectly happy all the time, but I am happy more than I was. Chris and I also decided we wanted to get healthier. In 2014, I ran my first 5K and lost 29 lbs, but the weight did not stay away. I made poor choices and did not keep up with my routine. Right before the new year, a friend posted on Facebook that he was going to have a Biggest Loser style completion in our small town. Chris and I decided to join even though we didn’t have high expectations (or at least I didn’t.) Chris immediately lost weight…it melted off him 🙂 My weight loss was a little bit slower, but I found that I got more and more excited and competitive as time went on.
For years, Chris had mentioned Intermittent Fasting. I pretty much ignored him because I know that I HAVE to eat. I need food in me or I get angry and lash out–the complete opposite of serenity 🙂 I told him I would give it a shot for a day or so just to see if I could manage it. I found that it was a lot easier to do and I was successful. There are numerous types of IF, but the kind we did was eating within a specific time window and not eating before 16 hours had surpassed. I am sure many of you are thinking that 16 hours sounds awful and that this is terrible for your body….TAKE A BREATH 🙂 First, 8 or more of those hours are when you are asleep and if you do a quick google search for Intermittent Fasting you will find tons of information about the health benefits. Many people do not use it for weight loss, specifically, but use it as a tool for their health in general.
After a few weeks of IF, I decided I wanted to try something different. I have been diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which causes stomach cramps and pain and many unwanted trips to the bathroom. IBS can mimic Celiac’s Disease. My doctor and Chris have been telling me to cut down on my carb intake, not only to lose weight, but also to try and manage the IBS symptoms. I have considered cutting down on carbs before, but only made it half a day before I got angry and ate every piece of bread in sight..ha! I thought I would give it a try since I was in a competition and wanted to have results. I ended up having GREAT results….on the scale and with my IBS. I kept my carbs under 25g daily for 3-4 weeks. I was probably consuming 250-300g prior to this change, so it was definitely a drastic measure. The first day was difficult, but I found it becoming easier and easier. I stopped eating pizza, pasta, and bread. My carbs came from starchy vegetables and milk. I did NOT have a single IBS occurrence during that 3-4 week time period whereas before I was having 3-4 a WEEK. Carbs were definitely part of the problem.
In the end, Chris won the competition losing a little over 23 pounds. I came in second losing 20.4 pounds. It was a team effort at our house and we were working on our health together. It was awesome to be able to cheer one another on and make positive changes as a couple. I definitely learned that I need to make some lifestyle changes to ensure I have a longer, more enjoyable life.
What are you doing to make your life more enjoyable?