The Blessed Unrest

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Sara Bareilles.

Stay with me, kids. I promise this is a good one.

She’s smart and spectacular and funny and brilliant and has the most amazing voice and swears like a middle-school band director. (Er, wait…) I’ve always thought her music was amazing, and then she came out with this freaking great album called The Blessed Unrest.

For those of you who don’t know, “The Blessed Unrest” comes from an incredible quote courtesy of Martha Graham, a brilliant choreographer and overall badass. I’ll get to that in a moment.

After a 12-hour workday with barely any time for lunch or thinking or normalcy, I really wasn’t planning on doing anything this evening but going home and watching White Collar on Netflix. Or Veronica Mars on Amazon Prime. Or Grimm on Hulu Plus. Don’t worry, we have them all. But I walked outside, and it was BEAUTIFUL. My absolutely favorite kind of weather – 65 and clear as a mother effer. With a little bit of encouragement from a Walter, I went home, changed clothes, didn’t sit down for fear of never getting up again, and went to a neighborhood close to our apartment complex.

I made sure I had my Fitbit, hit “Start” on my Runkeeper app, and began playing The Blessed Unrest. (Seriously – if you haven’t checked it out, do it right now. Before you keep reading.

Did you check it out? Okay, awesome. Wait, are you lying to me? ……oh okay, good. You can keep reading now.)

Everything was going awesomely. I somehow found the energy to run a little bit. (Ralker tip: run when it’s downhill. Walk when it’s uphill. GENIUS, I KNOW.) I was jamming out to some rad tunes. Having a pretty decent time.

Then I ralked past this woman who was running uphill. I mean, she was GET. TING. IT. Total badassery. And when she looked up, she flashed me the biggest, most genuine smile in the world. It said – hey, good work, friend. Keep being awesome.

And I just burst into tears.

Like, smiling, freaking BEAMING, tears of joy and sunshine and happiness. Because you know what?

I am fucking ALIVE.

I have spent some serious time lately being frustrated and stressed and overwhelmed with everything that goes on in my life on a daily basis. But all I could think in that moment is that I’m alive and I am trying to be better. I’m alive, and I have amazing people surrounding me. I will go to work tomorrow, the same frustrations will exist, my kids will be totally wonderful idiots, I’ll wish I was a better teacher – but I’m alive.

Remember that quote from Martha Graham? Here it is. Read carefully.

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

As you might imagine, this resonates with me on a multitude of levels. As I walked this evening for 50 minutes and went 3 miles, I thought about being alive and keeping the channel open.

Will I be able to do this all day tomorrow? Probably not. But it’s a start.

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A Good Day

Sometimes, you just have a good day.

You’d think, since today was the first day back to school after 2 weeks off, this wouldn’t be that day. And I’ll be honest – some of my children forgot which end of the clarinet to blow into, and most of them walked around like zombies all day because they’ve been staying up until 4am playing video games for 2 straight weeks. But it was still a good day.

Today, I hung out with some kiddos, most of whom really like to be in my class. We made music together, we laughed about silly things, we high-fived a lot – it was great. I made a lunch that was absolutely delicious and healthy. I drank coffee that I made at home. I didn’t overexert myself, I just steadily kicked butt all day long.

Then I came home and made dinner with MY BOYFRIEND WHO LIVES WITH ME NOW.

That’s right – Walter’s back in Austin! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

It’s basically the best thing ever. He’s only been officially moved in for a few days, and we’ve already made dinner together twice. And they’ve been healthy and delicious. Tonight was tacos – ground beef, veggies, and guacamole in a corn tortilla. Walter also found HEB tortilla soup that was delicious and really low calorie. It was amazing on this chilly evening!

tacos.

I tracked everything I ate today, and I stayed under my points. Bam, bitches.

2 other exciting things in the past few days: I got my hurr did…

hair.

And I drank a beer that had glitter in it.

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(Austin Beerworks does it again.)

That’s all I’ve got for you right now. My dear friend Amanda just joined WW with me, and we are going to work super hard together to make this shit go down the way it’s supposed to.

Lots of love, friends. Lots of love.

Hey

Oh, hey guys. Remember me?

**crickets**

It’s been awhile, blah blah blah. Guess what? LIFE HAPPENS. Leave me alone. And stay offa my lawn!

Now that I’m done being crotchety, here’s what’s up: I moved to a new apartment last week, I’m in my second year of teaching, Walter lives in Dallas, that sucks, some days I’m kind of healthy, some days I’m not, mostly not healthy lately, and I feel like bleh. And more bleh. (WordPress kept autocorrecting that to “bleu”. I guess it’s fitting.)

Here’s what I did tonight: I went to the grocery store. WOW LIZ, people do that every day, shut up, you’re not that big of a deal. Oh yes I am, unknown italicized nay-sayer. Because I truly don’t remember the last time I went to the grocery store and actually purchased food with the intention of eating it sometime other than RIGHT THAT SECOND. Yep.

On the grocery store note – the HEB close to me is the. shit. Seriously. It’s an HEB Plus, which already makes it about 18 times more badass. (Just like Super Target. I’m sorry, what’s that? You made one of my favorite places in the world, “SUPER”? I’m effing THERE!) The aisles in this place are, like, the size of a street lane. That already helps one of my biggest annoyances with grocery stores: other freaking people. At this place they are just pushing their carts down the other side of the street. NBD.

So I bought food. And let’s be honest – not even THAT much. When you see these photos, you’re going to be like, “Good job, Liz. You improved your food situation by about 18%.” But guess what. 18% is better than nothing, bitches.

Fridge before:**

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Fridge after:

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“Woo hoo!” shouted no one. Oh well – it’s better than it was before. Now I have the following: grapes, apples, pears, bananas, carrots, lettuce wraps, bell pepper, turkey, cheese, yogurt, milk, frozen meals, ice cream bars, breakfast sandwiches, popcorn, and a salmon thing for dinner some night this week. (All the veggies and fruit are in that bottom drawer. It fogged up because I had the door open for so long. Save the earth!)

I guess I’m back. But don’t hold your breath. Here’s to…..being slightly better than I was yesterday.

**A note: do you see what my fridge looked like, post-move? Like, that’s friggin absurd. Gin, beer, tonic, leftover pizza, and an empty Brita pitcher. Livin’ the high life, my friends.

One Step Forward…

Well hey, everybody!

To say it’s been awhile would be an understatement, so let’s just say this – I’m not dead. Hooray! Much has happened over the last….ahem….almost 3 months (ew, gross), and most of it has absolutely nothing to do with me and my weight loss journey.

HOWEVER. I got up yesterday morning, after a glorious, relaxing, beautiful Spring Break, and I decided to go to Weight Watchers. It wasn’t even a decision to “get back on track”, honestly, my first step was just getting my ass out of bed on a Saturday and heading to the 9:30am meeting. (Trust me, that in itself was damn close to a miracle.)

Full disclosure here – when I went to WW yesterday morning, it had been at least 3 weeks since my last weigh-in. My expectations were low – in fact, I think I said to Walter, “I really hope that I haven’t gained 10 pounds.” But I hadn’t! I certainly hadn’t lost weight, but like I said – my expectations were low. All the world needs to know is my current weight, because this feels a little bit like starting over.

Current weight: 203.8 pounds

I’m still going to measure my success from the beginning of the journey, but today really feels like I’m starting over. And that’s okay. I mean, how many times did Thomas Edison have to start over? Or Sara Bareilles? (Yep, those are the only two famous, successful people who popped into my head. Get over it.)

Today, I’m taking one step forward. I’m not dwelling on all the steps I’ve taken back, I’m simply taking one step forward. Actually, it’s more like 2 or 3 steps forward. I weighed in at WW, I’m writing a blog post – I might even go to the grocery store today. **gasp**

One thing that has happened over the last few months will greatly impact my daily/weekly routine, so I thought I would let the blogging world know. In December, Walter was offered a totally fabulous and awesome new job – in Dallas. I am SO incredibly happy for him, because he deserves every bit of amazing success in his totally rockin’ career. However, this does mean that we are going to be long distance for awhile. He was able to work from home in Austin for the last two months, but just yesterday he moved all of his things to a totally killer apartment in downtown Dallas. I’ll be honest – it’s going to be really, really hard to be without him during the week, especially when it comes to cooking. (Over the past few months, the ONLY way we ate a home-cooked meal was because he so wonderfully made it for us.) A big reason why I’m blogging today is to get my mind back in the right mental place to start eating healthy ALL the time, with or without my cook of a boyfriend. I just didn’t want all six of you reading this blog to worry about me and WRG. He’s still as amazing as ever! :)

My mom always tells me, when I’m feeling down or in a rough spot, to write down 10 things for which I am grateful RIGHT NOW. Today I would like to take that advice, and share my findings with you.

10 (ish) Things For Which I’m Grateful TODAY: Sunday, March 17th

1. My family. No matter the situation, my mom and dad are ALWAYS there for me. Always.
2. This guy:
IMG_26403. Dark chocolate. Not a day goes by that I am NOT thankful for dark chocolate.
4. Dear, DEAR friends who understand me and put up with all my weirdness.
5. Starbucks. But only because I don’t have internet until Tuesday, and they have a 7-point yummy breakfast wrap.
IMG_49446. SPRING. FREAKING. BREAK.
7. Really, REALLY pink shoes. I can’t properly explain you how happy they make me.
photo 38. My incredibly demanding and TOTALLY rewarding job.
9. Playing music. Check out this amazing band I’ve been playing with: KP and the Boom Boom. We had a gig last night at SXSW. Amazing.
photo 410. FRUIT. Fruit is my weight-loss savior.
11. This blog!
12. Weight Watchers. I wouldn’t be where I am without it.
photo 1

That’s where we are today! To those of you still reading – thank you. Writing this blog helps more than you will ever know.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Anniversary

Me – after a year of being at Weight Watchers! (With really wonderful friends before a 5K!)

As of Monday, November 19, 2012, I have been an active member of Weight Watchers for exactly one year.  This being my one-year anniversary on this wonderful, difficult, up and down, exhausting, and amusing journey, I thought I would do a little bit of reflecting.

When I started this blog, I was angry.  I was feeling fat, in pain, pissed off, and ready to change something.  I hit the ground running, lost 25 pounds in the first 9 weeks, changed my eating and exercise habits, and totally rocked out.

Then things started to slow a little bit, because that’s what happens in any weight loss journey.  Your body goes, “Oh my god.  You’ve stopped putting terrible food in me!  I must drop all the pounds!” and then after a few months, “Ahhhhh, I see where this is going.  I’m going to crave things I shouldn’t and stop losing as quickly because the honeymoon’s over, lady.  Way, way over.”  (I’m not sure if your body talks to you, but mine does to me.  It’s really chatty.)

And then life happened.  I quit my job and spent almost 2 months being unemployed and with WAY too much free time on my hands.  My weight fluctuated up and down, every single week, because I just wasn’t as dedicated as I was at the beginning.  My focus was elsewhere – socializing, spending money I didn’t have, and building a wonderful life with my boyfriend.  I’m really glad that I had that time for myself – but it didn’t do great things for my weight-loss success.

When I started my teaching job, things turned around a bit.  I was on my feet all day long, eating healthy breakfasts and packing healthy lunches, and just being too busy and overwhelmed to really eat bad things.  I FINALLY got past my 35 pounds, and my body was kind of going through a second honeymoon.  (Greedy body, needing more than one honeymoon.)

Then we moved.  And my year got more stressful.  And I got really sick.  And once again, life happened.  BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT LIFE DOES.  These last few weeks are a perfect example of how much your weight can fluctuate from week to week.  Check it out.

STATS:

November 10, 2012
Weight loss that week: 2.4 pounds (AND I WAS SO EXCITED BECAUSE IT WAS 40 POUNDS TOTAL YAAYYYYY…..but wait for it.)

November 17, 2012
Weight gain that week: 4.8 pounds (are. you. kidding. me.)

THIS WEEK!
November 24, 2012
Weight loss this week: 1.6 pounds (thank HEAVENS for this)
TOTAL weight loss: 38.2 pounds

It wasn’t totally terrible, but in three weeks, my total was a gain of 0.8 pounds.  Not exactly going in the right direction.  But when I was sick, I didn’t eat much because I didn’t feel like eating much, got to a total of 40 pounds lost, and was preemptively overjoyed.  As I got healthier, I started craving all the food I didn’t eat while I was sick, retained a bunch of water, was PMSing, and gained FOUR POINT EIGHT pounds at my next weigh-in.  (I actually laughed when I got on the scale.  It was extra funny, because it was immediately following my completion of a 5K.  This is not an opportune time to weigh-in, friends.)

This week, my parents came into town.  (I had an amazing FULL week off from school.  It was incredibly necessary.  And wonderful.)  Austin is known for its ridiculous plethora of amazing restaurants, so naturally we went out to eat frequently during the week.  But my dear mother, who is also an incredibly successful WW member, was there to remind me that we didn’t have to overindulge every single time.  We ate a lot of incredible food, but we also made lunch/dinner at home a couple of times.

To add to our list of slightly more healthy decisions – Thanksgiving!

(Isn’t our little table so cute??)  One of the things we talked about at our WW meeting yesterday was how to deal with the things that you really feel you cannot live without on Thanksgiving.  For me, that involves mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Solution? I ate small portions of stuffing and pumpkin pie, and made this killer mashed potato/cauliflower recipe.  Everything was delicious.

Doesn’t that look yummy?  And kind of healthy?  And Thanksgiving-y?  We’re not super into cooking for Thanksgiving, so we picked up our delicious turkey from Rudy’s.  That was possibly the best decision ever.  (Not pictured: scrumptious pumpkin pie.)

When I weighed in yesterday, I was very glad to see that I was back down 1.6 pounds. (Doesn’t exactly offset that giant gain the week before, but I’ll take it.)  I started thinking about this blog post and how I would feel so stupid coming back AGAIN to say – “I really need to get back on track.  Now is the time for me to get amped up again.  This is going to be a great week!  I will NEVER STRAY AGAIN!”  It feels stupid because I’ve said it so many times before on this blog.  Where, you might ask?  Oh, how about here.  Or here.  Also here.  Oh wait – here, too.  (I forgot about that one!  That one was angry….)

But as I read through old posts from this blog, I noticed a trend.  Almost every time that I vowed to get better, channeled my self-loathing into healthy decisions, wrote about all the changes I would make – my next weigh-in was pretty awesome.  So I DON’T feel stupid writing about this.  I don’t feel stupid saying that this week WILL be better.  I don’t feel stupid saying that WRG and I are going to the store today, with a comprehensive grocery list, informed by a detailed food plan for the week.  I feel great saying that I am going to try to take my workout clothes to work so I can go straight to the gym.  I feel proud that I didn’t completely overindulge this last week and that I’m now looking forward to 40 pounds lost without using my sickness to get there.

Now I’m amped.  Are you?

Honesty

My dear, sweet, kind, loving, amazing readers.  (And I am not at ALL saying that because I haven’t posted in forever and I’m a terrible person and possibly the worst weight loss blogger ever.)

An update:

October 20, 2012
Weight gain that week: 1.0 pounds

October 27, 2012
Weight loss that week: 2.2 pounds!!
TOTAL weight loss: 39.0 pounds

THIS WEEK!
I didn’t weigh-in.  Yep.  Terrible person.

Saturday was a long day, and that’s why I didn’t weigh-in.  I judged region band all day long, thought I might be able to weigh-in afterwards, but couldn’t because I WAS THERE FOREVER.  But let’s be TOTALLY honest here.  I could have figured that out before and weighed-in earlier in the week.  I chose to be lazy.  I chose to wait until the last minute and only really have one possible weighing-in option and I blew it.  And this week, I was determined to get this posted by the next time I weighed in – so naturally I waited until the last possible day.

Part of that is because I am sick.  So sick that I’ve been home from school since Wednesday, and I haven’t been inspired to do anything except sit and sleep and watch TV.  It’s SO annoying.  But at least I haven’t been that hungry!  It’s the little things, right?? Ugh.  Whatever.  I caught up on my soaps.  (And by “soaps” I mean “fairy-tale related shows”.  You know, Once Upon a Time and Grimm.  Soaps is just more fun to say.)

These last few weeks have been hard, and not really for any good reason.  Yes, we moved, and yes, I’m sick, and yes, teaching is hard – but there’s always going to be something, isn’t there?  Some of you are probably wondering why in the world I’m complaining, being that I was down 2.2 pounds two weeks ago, but I’m just being honest. I know that I have not been making the best decisions.  And I will tell you that.  Even though I could lie and you’d never know (never know, never know, never know **fading out**…..you know, like an echo?  Ugh, internet is hard.)

And I certainly haven’t been exercising.  I have figured out, however, that if I come home and sit on the couch, I don’t intend to move again unless it involves food or sleeping. Unless there is a meal or a bed coming my way, I’m probably not going to vacate our amazing and wonderful couch.  Solution?  Work out before I get home.  Hooray!  Of course, the first time I tried that, I got sick.  Literally.  The FIRST day I packed a bag of work-out clothes to take to work, I started feeling yucky and now I’ve been out for 3 days straight.  I do believe that means I’m allergic to working out.  (That’s the only logical explanation, here.)

Since I’m not so motivational with the whole weight losing thing, let’s talk about other things.  We moved!  WRG and I are now in a 2 bed 2 bath in a beautiful neighborhood in an apartment that we love – but MOST IMPORTANTLY I DON’T HAVE TO DRIVE ALL DAY TO GET TO WORK.  (I’M NOT EXAGGERATING THAT WAS MY LIFE.  BUT YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT IF I’M TALKING IN ALL CAPS I AM MOST LIKELY BLOWING THINGS OUT OF PROPORTION.)  We’ve spent the last few weeks spending way too much money and trying to make it feel like home.  Our epic bookcases are up – and the chalkboard has a new place in the dining room (with Bach and Beethoven prominently displayed):

I stuck placemats to the wall.  I love them.

(I promise our walls aren’t as green as our lighting/my iPhone makes them look.  But they are just a little greener than one might like…we’re working with it.)

And our porch is so pretty (AND WALTER IS OFFICIALLY A MAC CONVERT!!!!).

We love it here.  And I don’t feel nearly as stressed when I get home, because I haven’t driven for ELEVENTY HOURS.

That’s the update.  I absolutely WILL weigh-in tomorrow, and then I will tell you all about it. I really hope this sickness leaves soon, because I was just getting motivated to get back on track with exercising.  Here’s to a healthy weekend!

Ketchup

I owe this blog, like, the most epic post in the history of posts – with pictures and videos and statistical graphs and glitter cannons and everything awesome and interesting. Naturally, that means I’m just going to babble and babble some more and maybe throw in a photo here and there.  Even WordPress was mad when I went to their website to write this post – it was all “You have to sign in because you haven’t been here in forever.  Oh, and we got new fonts.  SUCK IT.”

WordPress is so rude.

Oh, and remember when I said this whole not blogging thing wasn’t a trend?  Yeah, apparently I suck a little bit lately.

Let’s start off with this – the last three weeks have gone as follows:

September 29, 2012
Weight gain that week: 1.8 pounds

October 6, 2012
Weight that week: MAINTAINED!

THIS WEEK!
Weight loss this week: 0.8 pounds
Current weight: 198.0 pounds
TOTAL weight loss: 37.8 pounds

(If you’re as confused as I am, just check out the Weight Tracking page.)

I’m kind of waffling around (haha, waffling, get it?  Because this is a weight loss blog?  I’m so funny…) with this whole losing weight thing, and it’s because I like to eat food that’s bad for me in the evenings and on weekends.  Truly.  That’s it.  During the week, I wake up in the morning, I eat Fiber One cereal with almond milk or a Smart Ones breakfast sandwich, I bring my lunch to school (because I really have no other choice) consisting of a sandwich/chips/fruit/string cheese/Fiber One bar or a Lean Cuisine.  That’s my daily routine Monday-Friday.

Evenings are hard, because this is my normal school day: wake up friggin early, drive 40 minutes to school, spend 11 hours there teaching the children how to play music and be slightly less weird, and drive an hour back home.  By the time I walk in the door, it’s usually close to or past 7:00pm, and I want indian food.  Or pizza.  And ice cream.  Loooooots of ice cream.  And wine!  I want wine, too!

Sometimes, I’m really good at saying no to all of that stuff.  And then sometimes I eat indian food pizza with wine-flavored ice cream.  You never know how the night is going to go.

I know I’m making excuses for my misdeeds, but that’s just my life right now.  It’s hard to be good when it just feels sooooo good (for about 10 minutes) to be bad.  And Austin needs to stop having such amazing restaurants.  Bastards.

This most recent week was a little better – we cooked and worked out one night!  Yaayyy!

(This is me, proving that I worked out.  I guess it really only proves that I put on work-out pants and tennis shoes and stood on gravel/greenery, but I promise I went on a 3-mile ralk outside.  Although, it was more walking than running.)  I even had my first band concert this week!  (It was a little stressful, but also incredibly awesome.)

On top of all that, we’re moving this week!  SUPER excited about this because 1) the new place is 2-bed-2-bath and totally rad, and 2) MY DRIVE TO SCHOOL WILL BE SO MUCH SHORTER NOW.  Less excited, because our lives are currently in a state of total chaos. The new place looks a little like this right now:

His and hers seating.  We classy.  (Also, do you see our wood-like material flooring??  I am way too excited about it.)

This week is going to be a little crazy with moving and cleaning and trying not to go completely insane.  However, we went to the grocery store yesterday and bought a bunch of easy lunch/dinner meals for the week, plus fruit and pop chips and all of our other usual snacky-type foods.

And if moving a million heavy boxes down 2 flights of stairs and then up 1 flight of stairs isn’t working out, I don’t know what is.