One Fourth.

I am currently in shock that it is April. Not only just because we have an inch of snow on the ground and my teaching-stamina seems exceptionally low for having almost three more months of school, but also because so far, 2018 has flown by. To think we are already a quarter of the way through the year is just bonkers to me. It feels like time has sped up, and I am worried about all the things I am probably missing.

On Friday night, I stayed in, and in between eating Stromboli in bed and watching a Casey Anthony true crime documentary, I reflected on everything I have done so far this year. I started this blog in January and set out all these lofty goals about living a healthier, more fulfilled life, where my priority is me and my own self-care. Though it has not felt like it at times, and I’ve been downright cranky over some of the year’s setbacks, I realized that I have totally been keeping up with my goals this year so far. It feels really wonderful to sit down and think about everything that has happened so far this year. Let’s recap:

January

In January, I went to the Wisconsin Dells with Kurt’s family for a belated Christmas celebration. I am fairly obsessed with Kurt’s family: some of the nicest people I have ever encountered. It is also incredibly healing and reparative to spend time with his newest nephew, who was four months old at the time of the trip. Since the loss of my own nephew, I have been wary around babies. Yet, spending time with O has made me feel calmer, more comfortable, and more confident about the idea of babies again. It’s given me hope.

Now, Wisconsin Dells DID offer my own personal hell when I was weighed in a bathing suit in front of a line of people (including Kurt’s family). However, that instance also inspired me to change my eating habits and become healthier. Through that evil, evil water slide scale, I discovered Keto and am already down 8 pounds. So, yes. Water slide scales might be from the devil himself, but also inspired me.

Capping off January was my trip to Orlando with my best friend and his fiance. I cannot even begin to describe the joy I felt on this trip. I got to be a kid again, let my imagination explore, and just laugh with two wonderful people all weekend. Disney has upped its game, and the latest rides and attractions were so wonderful. We went to Universal Studios as well (Casey Anthony’s former employer…guys, that documentary was good…) and I had never visited that park before. I loved it, to put it simply, and want to spend way more time there next time I am in Orlando.

The family I have been babysitting for for 7 years or so happened to be in Orlando at the same time I was, and we got to meet up while at Universal Studios. The older boy just started reading Harry Potter, and I had been reading it out loud to both of the boys in the weeks leading up to the trip. It was incredibly special to share my love for the wizarding world with them, and also to experience the park with them for the first time. The older boy even went on his first roller coaster with me! I have a LOT of love for this family, and was so glad they got to be a part of my trip.

All in all, January was a pretty baller month.

February

February did not start off so great. I was very pumped at the start of the month. I was starting the Keto diet, had started taking Collagen Peptides for my skin, and was on the cusp of starting my half marathon training and rehearsals for The Chicago Red Line, a cabaret group I had been invited to join. Some new socks and a wooden staircase later, I ended up in the ER with a sprained back. I could not put any weight on my right side for almost four days, which led to Kurt dragging me around and waiting on me hand and foot.

It was frustrating as hell, but thank goodness I know so many kind people. Coworkers who drove me to school and offered to move my kids around the building. Friends who offered me kind words and kept me patient while I was laid out resting. Then I got impatient and started running again…which led to further injury. Mid-February found me with not only the sprained back, but also a sprained quad. This stress injury almost killed my spirit, as I then had doctor’s orders to take an additional two weeks off from any physical activity at all.

I am incredibly lucky to have such amazing people in my life who kept me going. Serena offered to run the half marathon with me no matter what pace I had to do it at. She sent me daily texts counting down how many more days til I could run again. My mom bolstered my confidence by saying she thinks of me as a runner, and knows I will succeed even without perfect training. Kurt packed me down with ice and heat every night, and took on all the household chores.

February could have been a total downer, but it just wasn’t. February proved to me how many incredible people I know, and how lucky I am for their support. Also, I finally did get to start rehearsals with Red Line, and it has been such a positive addition to my week. This group has invited me in with no questions asked, and is accepting of my quirks and talents. There is so much room for creativity and personality, and the show we are creating is the exact kind of artistic outlet I had been sorely missing over the past couple of years. It’s been truly an uplifting experience working with them.

March

March was an incredibly positive month. In March, I received clearance to run again once my quad sprain had properly healed. Despite the cold, it has been awesome running pain free. I have to make sure I take two days off between runs, and ice fairly regularly, but I seem to be (knock on wood) officially back on the mend. I am still doing physical therapy twice a week for my back, but it’s getting stronger and stronger!

The biggest event of March was getting Lasik done on my eyes. I have been legally blind since first or second grade, and had always assumed my astigmatism was so severe that my eyes were inoperable. Not so, said LasikPlus in Lincoln Park. Let me start by saying I was extremely nervous morning-of, and had zero sedatives. They did offer me Tylonel PM, which I took, but I was not NEARLY as relaxed as the guy in front of me who was high as a kite on Valium.

The procedure took less than 10 minutes (Kurt timed it) and then I was on my merry way. Though I did not feel any pain, the overall experience is a little alarming. You can feel pressure, there is a lot of noise, and it smells. There are a dozen people in the room, rushing about, muttering to each other, ushering you to different tables with different lasers, taking professional photos of you (??? see above), and it can feel overwhelming. An hour after we left, I wanted to be put out of my misery. My eyes burned so badly, and I couldn’t touch them or do anything to make myself comfortable. I mostly just cried until I eventually slept. Once I woke up though, I could see. I could just see. It’s pretty incredible.

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” – Ralph Marston

So, the first quarter of the year is down, and I am feeling pretty accomplished. Obviously, I don’t always share the day to day on here, but let me just say, my job is still amazing. Spring Break was necessary, but I am feeling very positive about my kids and their growth right now. I love my school, and am just feeling like a strong team member right now at work.

I had a thought this morning: I have known some truly shitty people, and now I do not. And now, after a long reflection, allow me to add: I have known some truly shitty times, and now I do not. Things are just good right now. It frightens me to type that out, because historically, when things go well for me, they get taken away in some kind of large, traumatic fashion. However, living in fear of acknowledging what I have is disrespectful, for I want the world to know how thankful and content I am. So, with a deep exhale and crossed fingers, let me just say: 2018 is my year.

The /k/ Sound.

The /k/ sound is a consonant sound that is spelled with a ‘c,’ ‘k,’ ‘cc,’ ‘ck,’ and very rarely, ‘ch.’

I teach this to my first graders pretty early on in our school year. Now let’s analyze the /k/ sound outside of my classroom and in my personal life. It might be fairly easy to look at 2018 so far and say it’s been…well, rather /k/rappy.

But I wouldn’t say it’s all been crappy. Okay, laying it out, I caught a flu bug, fell down a staircase, and now have some kind of new cold that feels like strep throat. These physical challenges have threatened my training for the half marathon I’m running at the end of April, has messed up my work schedule, and even gotten in the way of starting rehearsals for a new theatre project for me. They’ve been annoying, and frustrating, and I’ve certainly spent a lot of nights so far this year think about how “crappy” 2018 has been.

However. Per my last post, I have an innate, almost obnoxiously unavoidable positive attitude, and I tend to find the good despite the bad. So, allow me to focus on the GOOD /k/ sounds so far this year.

Collagen Peptides

I had brunch a couple weeks ago with fellow blogger and all-around delightful and perfect angel person, Gurl Jonez. And guys…she was GLOWING. I found out she had discovered Collagen Peptides and was putting them in her coffee each morning. So, on her recommendation, I followed suit and ordered Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.

I’ve been adding two scoops to my morning coffee for a couple weeks now, and let me just say: YASSS. My skin is currently glowing, and also clearing up! My nails appear to be growing and healthier than usual in the winter. And my skin feels soft and smooth. You could say it’s the placebo effect, but regardless, I’m super into this supplement, and totally recommend!!

Keto Diet

I’ve been trying out the Keto Diet for about two and a half weeks, and so far, I’m really enjoying it! For research, I picked up Leanne Vogel’s book:

I love her “real talk” attitude, because it is really scary to think of food in terms of “high fat.” Yeah, it’s awesome eating bacon and eggs for breakfast every day, and I remarked last week that “sour cream is my favorite food,” but it’s still scary and feels very counterintuitive to everything I thought I knew about dieting and weight loss. Her book has really helped me make sense of how your body works in ketosis, and though I haven’t dropped the 20 pounds everyone says you lose on Keto yet, I have noticed an overall feeling of clarity, like a cloud lifted from my mind. I am not hungry in between meals and feel zero cravings. My skin is clearer, either due to the new diet or the collagen, I’m not sure. But, overall, I’m feeling good and excited to continue trying this out! The recipes in this book are also really delicious.

A warning though: the “Keto flu” is real and completely sucks. I thought my head was going to split open one morning. Also, MEAL PREP and PLAN. You go through WAY more meat and veggies than I normally buy in a week’s worth of groceries, and my fridge emptied out rather quickly. Unless you enjoy going to the grocery 3 times a week, follow a Keto shopping plan!!

Not all is crappy. Not all is lost. Training has actually been going really well! My back gets sore, and I still have nights on the heating pad. Yoga feels amazing, and strength training my abs has really improved my running form so that my back isn’t hurting while running. So far, I’m technically a week off from my plan because of the accident, but I’m not worried at all. I’m feeling strong and very capable. Between running and singing, I definitely feel like I have things going on outside of the stress of my job, and it has given me a much more upbeat outlook at life. This was my goal for this year, and so, despite my crappiness, I feel successful.

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Not a runner? I am currently in an ad for a run! Better keep at that training!

Successes

Well, I’m now a few weeks into my commitment to be healthier. I was not feeling great last weekend, when, at my routine annual, I had somehow gained two pounds.

I was also on my period. I’m thinking bloating is real and not all in my head, but am welcoming any concrete evidence anyone has on the matter.

As I have stated, I am by no means fat. The only time I could possibly be described as “chunky” was when I was a baby.

However, at my doctor’s office, they did give me my BMI, which was a true wake up call. I am only one number away from being medically classified as “overweight.” This leads me back to my health initiative.

This journey is not about me being stick-thin, but about me setting myself up for a healthy lifestyle as I age. I am an active, healthy 31-year-old woman. I refuse to fall under a category of medically overweight.

This week was wrought with some kind of flu or virus, and so I was highly inactive. The gym was swapped for long periods in bed and on the couch. I still attempted to eat, but take-out replaced home-cooking once or twice. I did my best, and continued to track my water and calorie intake.

Thursday morning, I weighed in and discovered I’ve lost four pounds. I don’t know if I should attribute this to illness, lack of alcohol consumption, loss of muscle, or my period ending, but it happened. And it was inspirational AF.

Per my last post, frustration comes from lack of seeing quick results. I am actively training my brain to understand that weight loss will not happen overnight. And it hasn’t. I’m on week 3 of really committing myself to change.

That four pounds made me feel incredible, and inspired me to keep working at this.

My Friday night was spent chugging water on my couch instead of beer at the brewery, and that was needed and felt completely okay. And tomorrow, my training schedule for my first half marathon this year begins. I am hoping to take all these positive changes, as well as the changes that occur when training, and keep that four pounds going.

I’d love to hear some comments from anyone who understands weight loss and can speak to the highs and lows of commitments such as mine.

Also, any runners out there – talk to me about your cross-training! I want to make sure I am really utilizing my two days of cross each week!