Being hard on myself

3 10 2016

I have a really hard time when people tell me not to be so hard on myself. I know they mean well, but to me, it is akin to saying, “everything is just fine, accept the status quo, no need for improvement or change”. None of those things is alright with me. If I can’t push myself to be a better person, a better human, a better Mom or wife or homesteader or fill in the blank, then who will? Change is a good thing, and when I am being ‘hard’ on myself, to me, it is a sign that something needs to change. It usually means that I have not been pushing myself to be my best, and I have gotten into a spiral of bad habits, bad attitude and negative thoughts and behaviors. In this case, status quo is not a good spot to be in, and change is needed in order to move forward, improve who I am, and continue to strive to be the best human I can be.

I remember when I had my babies, and within a few months, I was feeling the need for change. To start moving more, to lose that baby fat, to move forward. I got comments over and over that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, it’s only been (fill in the blank) # of months. When does the number of months become enough that I ‘can’ want to see a change? Why does that number matter? Why do people have such a hard time accepting that I want to be the best person I can, and that means not necessarily accepting the status quo and ‘being hard’ on myself? Why are we afraid of other people improving their lives? Are we so afraid to look in the mirror and see that we are not our best selves, that we want to stop others from being their best selves?

When my babies grow up, I want them to look at their father and I and see someone they would love to be like. I want them to see that we have always strived to be the best people we could be – the best parents, the best humans, healthy, happy, active, involved. I want to be around for when they have babies, and maybe even when their babies have babies. And I want those years to be filled with laughter and joy and activity, not filled with hospital visits, and medications, and fear. This is why I am hard on myself. This is why I am striving to be a better me. This is why I am embracing discipline in my life.

Can you imagine if we all pushed ourselves to be the best versions of ourselves, continually changing, moving forward, growing, learning, loving? What an amazing world this would be.

A Rough Patch

2 10 2016

Since my last post, I’ve gone through a bit of a rough patch. This post will not be about sleep hygiene, like I was going to do. It will be about the ups and downs of life. My life, in particular.

I have been really struggling, for awhile now. Mentally, physically, emotionally. I have hit an all-time low. I feel drained all the time, I want to disappear and hide from my life. I drown my emotions in food (especially ice cream and chocolate) and binge a lot. I have gained a bunch of weight, and was surprised when I weighed myself and found that I am now heavier than I was when I gave birth to my first child. Yep – I weigh more now than I did when I was 9 months pregnant. That hurts!

I don’t have any particular health problems (thank goodness!), but I am fatigued, my joints ache (especially my elbows and wrists), and I can’t get motivated to do anything. I have lost my joy. This is not how I want to live my life.

I have always been a strong believer in finding the right motivation. If you have a strong enough reason, then you can stay motivated. I am having a hard time finding that motivation – even though I think I have great reasons, and they are damn important to me, it isn’t working to get my out of this funk!

Then, I was listening to a podcast today with Jocko Willink. If you don’t know who Jocko is, you are missing out.  He is an ex-Navy Seal, and a bit intimidating, even in podcast form. He talks a lot about extreme ownership and discipline and leadership abilities. But today, he said something that really got me. He talked about motivation being fickle… about it being very easy to lose motivation… that you can’t count on motivation. You have to count on discipline.

That really struck a nerve with me. I lose motivation very easily. Especially with 2 little ones running around and a husband who has a very demanding job. I need to understand that every decision I make, every little decision I make, impacts my day and my health and my future. I need to take ownership of the decisions I make and realize that I am making a decision, even by doing nothing and not ‘deciding’ on anything, I have made a decision. I need to own that, understand the consequences, and keep moving forward. It is up to me to be disciplined and accept responsibility for the life I am leading, and if I am dissatisfied with where I am at right now, it is my fault. It is my decisions that have lead me to this point, and it is only my decisions that will lead me out.

F*&^ motivation. Bring on the discipline!

Notes: If you are interested in hearing the podcast that I mentioned, check out Tim Ferriss’ podcast Episode #187 with Jocko Willink. There are some things in there that I definitely don’t agree with, but I find Jocko to be an amazing individual, and I respect his beliefs, and highly value his advice on leadership. Jocko also has his own podcast, which is pretty awesome, intimidating, and a bit heavy. If you are interested in learning more about his leadership concepts and the idea of extreme ownership, which I find fascinating, check out his book, Extreme Ownership, co-authored with Leif Babin. I listened to it on Audible, and am about to listen to it a second time.


All or Nothing?

18 09 2016

I have always been an over-achiever. I want to do everything, I want to be good at everything, and I over-tax myself constantly. In the last few years, I have noticed this getting even more honed. I’m not just an over-achiever anymore, I now am in the mode of ‘all or nothing’. I don’t like it. It isn’t healthy, and I’m really struggling to get out of it.

What does this have to do with Project Restore Me? Well – since I had my second baby (and probably before that, if I’m honest with myself), when I start to work on myself, I have to do it all, NOW! I start watching how I eat, I get going on exercising, I take my supplements, don’t forget about sleep, and meditation, and, and, and… If you can read between the lines, you see that it is really easy to get overwhelmed using an all or nothing approach. I do really well for a week or two, then I have a rough day, and it all goes out the window. Because… why? Because… I didn’t do everything one day, so obviously, I failed, right. I suck. I’m no good. I can’t do it. I’m a failure. Right?

Well, no. I’m not. And I need to see that. I need to own that. I need to accept that it happened, and move on. Move forward. And not only that. I need to be realistic. I am a stay at home Mom of 2 kids under 4 years of age. My husband travels a lot for work, I have a 2000 square foot garden, I have chickens, ducks and bees to take care of, along with a dog and cat. I run a homestead. I live off-grid. I can’t do it all. It isn’t possible. But I can do my best in that moment.

So – these last 5 days, since I have recommitted to Project Restore Me, have I done it all? Nope. And I started feeling like a failure. I haven’t been on top of my way of eating. I have taken my supplements about 1/2 the time. I have been horrible about sleep hygiene, and my self-care practice is laughable. But – I have gotten in 3 workouts. After not working out for months! So – I am calling that a success.

And this coming week. I have decided I am focusing on one thing. Yes, I will work on all aspects, but if I don’t fully succeed in all of them. That’s okay. My goal is to focus on one, do-able thing that will have a huge impact. And what is that, you may ask? Sleep hygiene! More on that in the next post.

Resurrecting Project Restore Me

13 09 2016

5 years ago, I was in a slump. I needed accountability to get myself back in gear. I started Project Restore Me. I posted on occasion about what I was doing to promote health within my own life, and how I was changing myself. It was awesome. It worked. I felt great, I felt healthy, I was loving life.

Fast forward to now.

September 13, 2016. A lot has changed since I last posted in this blog 5 years ago. I got pregnant, quit my job, had a baby, moved 13 hours away, bought a house, started an off-grid homestead, had another baby, became a beekeeper, and unfortunately, adopted some really bad habits along the way.

My baby turned 2 in July. I’m still holding on to 20+ pounds of the weight I gained during that pregnancy. I have been eating massive amounts of dairy and sugar, both of which are known trigger foods for me, and lead me down the path of food addiction and overeating. I have not been working out, and I have not even been moving as much as I would like. I have lost my motivation and zest for life. I have lost my laughter. And I want it back!

Enter Project Restore Me. I need accountability to keep myself on track. I need to take responsibility for how I feel, and how I treat my self. I need to get myself in to a self care regimen that is specific to me. So, I am resurrecting Project Restore Me. In the coming days, I will be sharing my plan, some ideas, some inspiration, and my progress.

Come join me on my journey.



Alena’s Measurements and Nutrition

6 05 2011

So – the last post of Project Restore Me has arrived… That doesn’t mean that Project Restore Me is over, it continues, but I feel like I am past the part where I needed so much accountability… and my goals, although not all reached, are well on their way to becoming reality.

I have been slacking a little bit over the last month or so, which is evident to me in how I have been feeling and in my measurements. They are all up a little bit from my lowest numbers, but I am okay with that, because I am back on track and figuring out the rest of what is going on in my body.

Over the last 11 months, I have figured out that I am gluten intolerant, and that I also react to dairy, soy, corn and sugar. I am 100% gluten free, and know that I will stay that way for the rest of my life. I feel too good, and too many of my symptoms have gone away to even contemplate going back to eating that way. The best part though, is that I don’t even crave or miss the typical gluten-ous foods anymore. It has become easy to cook and live gluten-free. Now – the other foods I struggle with – especially sugar, and dairy when I visit family.

So, along with the desire to once and for all get rid of the sugar and dairy cravings, and because of some other symptoms that have popped up, I started an anti-candida diet yesterday along with a full-on liver, bile, intestinal and lymph cleanse. Along with massive amounts of supplements and herbs that I am taking on a daily basis, it also means no sugars (up to one piece of fruit per day), no grains, minimal starchy vegetables, and no processed foods. For 4-6 weeks. Feeling great so far, but it has only been one day! I can already tell that some of the detox has started, and it is a great feeling to be freeing myself of food addictions and sensitivities!

So – on to the numbers… I am just posting my first and last… If you want to see any of the other numbers, there are some earlier postings that show most of the measurements.

  June 6, 2010 May 5, 2011 Difference
Height: 5’9”      
Weight 167 144 -23
BMI (body mass index) 24.7 21.3 -3.4
Waist (at belly button) 33” 27.75” -5.25”
Hips (at ASIS) 37.5” 32.75” -4.75”
Thighs (at widest point) 26.5” 23.5” -3”
Biceps (at widest point) 12.5” 11.5” -1”
Bust (nipple-line) 39” 35.25” -3.75”
Bra-line 33” 30.25” -2.75”
Hips/Thighs/Butt (at widest point) 44” 39.25” -4.75”

So – I’ve noticed that I trim up well in my middle, but my extremities take their time… My arms and legs are the last ones to react to the weight loss and fitness… They’ve improved, but there is still a long way to go until I am fully comfortable with myself. Hoping this happens a little more quickly now… it is what I am feeling most self-conscious about!

I am amazed at how wonderful it has felt to make all of these changes. It is not just losing weight, it is changing my attitude and making my health a priority. Don’t get me wrong, the losing weight and looking good part is great, but to truly make those mental changes and attitude shifts has been the true reward.

Having said that… here’s the pictures.

Top photos are from 5/5/11, bottom photos are from Day 1 - 6/4/11. Sorry the quality is so bad, I had to take them with a timer in the bathroom! Oops:)

Thanks so much for following my progress over the last year and helping to hold me accountable, even if you didn’t know that is what you were doing. I really needed to have this vehicle to do that for me. Thank you for helping me figure out how to have a positive, healthy attitude, and to want to lead a healthy, productive, vibrant life!

Alena’s Fitness Progress

4 05 2011

Wow! I can’t believe that 11 months has gone by since I started Project Restore Me! It has been a whirlwind 11 months of ups and downs in all aspects of my life, mostly ups!!! Today I am going to give you my report on how I have progressed fitness-wise over the last 11 months. Tomorrow you’ll get some of the nutrition stuff, updated pictures and weight and measurements!

Over the course of the last 2 days I have been testing myself on all of my fitness goals and comparing to the first couple days of Project Restore Me. I am amazed. I am only disappointed by one of the numbers, and Jeremy likes to remind me that if I am being a little too hard on myself, but I wasn’t anywhere near my goal on that one, so… for me, it is disappointing, even though I did improve massively.

The best thing for me though, is that this has become a habit. Not only that, it has become a need. I need to exercise. I crave it. I took 6 days off this last week to give myself a break and to prepare myself for these couple days of testing, and I was going insane. I just wanted to exercise – to run, do burpees, anything! And those who know me well know that I hate to run even more than I hate burpees!

So – here are the numbers: (the first number is from June 6/7, 2010/the second number is from May 3/4 2011)

  • 1 mile run: 9:30/7:47 (my goal was sub-7 minutes… this is the one I am the most disappointed with, even though there was a great decrease in time, I was hoping for better!)
  • Push-ups: 8/30
  • pull-ups: 4 (with green band)/1 strict + 2 kipping (for explanation, I have 3 bands that have assisted me with pull-ups over the last year. The green band takes the most weight off, therefore assisting the most… I have slowly worked my way through the 3 different bands, and am proud to say that I can finally do a pull-up on my own!)
  • Handstand hold: 26 seconds/66 seconds
  • Thrusters (w/45 lb. bar): 7/23
  • CF Baseline (40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 push-ups, 10 pull-ups): 6:14/2:39
  • Deadlift – 1 rep max: 160 lbs./205 lbs.

Okay, so I am super proud of that last one! My goal was to be able to deadlift 1.5 times my body-weight, while I didn’t make it there, I am really proud that I made it over 200lbs! And, that puts me at about 1.4 times my bodyweight, which is damn close! I am so proud in fact, that I am going to show a lovely picture of the bar right after I lifted my 1RM!

May Day is here!

1 05 2011

Which also means it is my 32nd birthday, and the last day of Project Restore Me – kind-of…

As I am currently not at home, and won’t have a chance to start testing myself on my goals until the 3rd, the Project really isn’t over until I post my progress on the 4th! And, although I have reached the goal date that I had set, I also know that I am not just going to go back to the way I was before this project started. That just seems foolish to me. When I first started this, people kept asking me how long I was going to do it for, like it was a temporary diet, a quick fix. Well, let me tell you – if you are counting on having a quick fix and a temporary diet to “make things better” with the intention of continuing your life “as normal” afterwards, it will never work. You will go back to the way you were. It may take a year or two, or it may take a couple weeks, but you will gain back the weight, you will lose the fitness, and worst of all, you will lose that self-respect and love that you gained during the process.

I think we need to revolutionize the word diet, and change it from the current way of thinking of a temporary thing, to more of a lifestyle, because that is what it is! When you change your diet for good, you change your life for good, and usually that means that not only you get healthier, but your family does as well.  I know it has meant that for me and my family – and not just my husband, who is the only one I cook for, but my Mom, my sister, and lots of other friends that have learned right along with me and have decided to start slowly changing their diets as well.

It is so refreshing to see people taking control of their own lives, their eating, their health. In this whole 11 month process that I have been through, I think that is the biggest reward – to see those around me working to better themselves as well. I am so grateful to be able to work on myself and to serve as an example on how wonderful it is to make ourselves healthier, happier, sexier!

Although May Day has arrived, Project Restore Me will continue. I don’t know if I will keep posting (besides the final write-up on my goals in a couple days), but I will definitely continue working on improving my health, my life, my attitude, me! For it is truly a lifelong process, one that must change as I change, one that must  evolve!
Here’s to personal evolution!