Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So I was all set to blog about my lack of focus after being sick Saturday, splurging on Sunday, and being completely and utterly exhausted yesterday...

And then something clicked.  I don't know exactly what/when/why, but suddenly trying to talk myself into being back on track turned into actually being on track.  Doesn't hurt that I hit a new low weight today, and I'm only a pound-and-a-half away from being down 10 pounds (already)!

I've been pushing the water all day and got in a great workout this evening, which also helps.  One of these days, I'll start a basic strength-training program, but my focus for now has been jump-starting the cardio and starting to build up some endurance.  It's disheartening to see how out of shape I am as compared to I was six months ago even, but I'm confident that I'll continue to bounce back quickly.

Here's a recap of my week:

  • Got in 145 fitness minutes and burned almost 700 calories!
  • Averaged 80-100 ounces of water 5 out of 7 days!
  • Made overall healthy food choices 5 out of 7 days!
  • Stayed in my calorie range on 5 out of 7 days!
  • Practiced mindful eating every day!
  • Got plenty of sleep on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Averaged only 6.5 hours of sleep on week nights.
Not bad, considering.  My goals for this week are generally the same, although I'm going to amp up the challenge a bit.  I think I'm ready.

1 -- Perform 150+ minutes of exercise/physical activity.
2 -- Drink 64+ ounces of water every day.
3 -- Stay in my calorie range on at least 5 days.
4 -- Work on getting more sleep, particularly on week nights.
5 -- Continue to journal and self-reflect.

All in all, I'm really starting to feel like a new person.  I would love to elaborate, but if I write much more, I'm going to jeopardize my good night's sleep.  More tomorrow.

★ jenna

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What a Day!

Having Bipolar II Disorder, I'm no stranger to cycling moods... but that doesn't make them any easier to cope with.  Treatment has helped, but it's to be expected that the therapy will need some "tweaking."  Until then, I'm sometimes left to the mercy of my body and my Lithium.

And I'll be honest, I'm feeling down this evening.  I can't identify any concrete trigger except for the general stress of my situation, but this spell is threatening everything I've fought so hard to accomplish these past few weeks.

I've been beating myself up all night.  I'm fat, I can't do anything right, I'm a failure, I'm destined to be alone, and on and on.  I'm worlds away from the patient, forgiving self I was less than 12 hours ago.  For the first night in over a week, I moped around on the couch, watched crap T.V., and ate munchies right from the bag--I didn't even think about portion size.

I recognize the toxicity of these thought patterns.  I know I fall victim to them every time, except this time, I'm fighting back.  I'm holding on to the small victories I've won so far; trying to envision my life as evolving, unfurling like a flower into a blissful being.

Desperate, I Googled "fitness inspiration."  After a bit of surfing, I stumbled upon this image:

I cried.  Whether it was the image, or the message, or the music, or the day... I burst into tears.

Today IS a good day to be alive, and tomorrow will be, too.  I will allow myself to feel the depths and ranges of my moods, but I will NOT tolerate self-abuse any longer.  I need to love myself unconditionally--celebrate my accomplishments, learn from my mistakes, and move on.

One bite at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time.  And they're all beautiful.

★ jenna

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Progress is Success

My poor, neglected blog!

I'm trying not to beat myself up too much for not updating sooner.  "Bittersweet" is the only way to describe this past week.  I have accomplished many goals and made myself so incredibly proud, but life has a funny way of balancing itself out.  My uncle-by-choice passed away early yesterday morning after a 9-month battle against leukemia.  I'm processing this loss in other outlets (i.e., my private journal), but in sum, we all know how much death sucks.  I don't think it's hit me yet.

This past week, I met or exceeded most of my goals.  Here's an itemized re-cap of last week:
  • Got in 110 fitness minutes!
  • Averaged 80-100 ounces of water every day!
  • Made overall healthy food choices every day!
  • Practiced mindful eating with only one transgression -- Just one little doughnut!
  • Re-activated my Spark People account! -- Follow me here:  PALEPHOENIX
  • Only journaled once, but that's better than nothing.
  • Only got about 6-7 hours of sleep each night.
  • Didn't get in much mantra or meditation.
I'm digging the weekly breakdown!  Think I'll stick with it in coming weeks.

I don't think I'm going to force eight goals upon myself this week... in retrospect, that's probably a lot to take on at once.  I have to remember -- baby steps, baby steps.  Here are my goals for this week:

1 -- Perform 100+ minutes of exercise/physical activity.
2 -- Drink 64+ ounces of water every day.
3 -- Stay in my calorie range on at least 5 days.
4 -- Make a genuine effort to get 8 hours of sleep on at least 5 days.
5 -- Continue to journal and work on blog pages.

As always, I'm eager to push myself, but I also need to be cautious of burnout and injury.  Unfortunately, I've been having some problems with my right knee  and both shins--I think these are exercise-related "injuries."  I've self-diagnosed my shin problems as shin splints (thank you, WebMD) but I still need to look into home care for the pain.

I've never been a runner before, and I imagine that I probably have horrible form.  It doesn't help that I'm carrying around so much extra weight, and that I'm a huge klutz anyways.  This weekend I'm going to look into arch support insoles for my running shoes to see if that helps.  I also plan on incorporating a warm up/cool down segment to my workouts.  It's something I should have been doing all along, really.

Most importantly, this week, I'm going to be kind to myself.  If I'm in a lot of pain, I might not get in all of my fitness minutes... or it might be a steady walk instead of a walk/run.  I'm going to be okay with whatever I'm capable of, and know that I continue to make progress in the right direction.

★ jenna

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I wanted to take a minute to check in about my week and my progress...

This week has been interesting, but I've achieved a higher level of focus than ever before.  Despite some obstacles and setbacks, I am forging ahead and making myself truly proud.

I'm on track to meet my fitness minutes this week; it helps that the weather has been so gorgeous!  I did my walk/jog loop on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, while I did some strenuous yard work and some basic resistance training on Wednesday.  I surprised myself this afternoon with a burst of energy at the end of my walk, and I sprinted the half-block home.  Although this doesn't sound like a huge accomplishment, it really is a big deal for me.  I don't think I've moved so fast in years--I felt so free!

One hidden benefit to my afternoon cardio sessions is that it gives me some much needed time alone.  For those 20-30 minutes, I allow myself the luxury of thinking about myself for a change.  I process the day's events and center myself; I think about goals, ambitions, and wants.  I'm not sure if it's the exercise, the self-care, or both... but I have felt very centered all week long.

If I haven't eaten perfectly, at least I've eaten well all week.  The first couple days were difficult, but now I find myself craving less junk food.  I was also pleased to find that my hunger levels have been significantly lower.  This may because of the small, frequent "meals" or my increase in water consumption.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten enough sleep all week, but I haven't been beating myself up about it.  At least the sleep I have gotten is deeper, more restful, and I actually feel refreshed (once I've had my coffee, mind).  Likewise, I have yet to start up a Spark People account, but I do plan on tackling that goal this weekend.

I've been practicing two mantras this week.  One is an old standby that aids in the removal of obstacles.  The  other is a new favorite--"I can and I will!"  Love.

Finally, I have two major victories to share.  I have officially lost 5 pounds since around Wednesday of last week (although I suspect much of this is water weight, it's motivating nonetheless!)  Also, today when I stepped on the scale, I clocked in at 249.8.  Instead of seeing the long way I have to go, I'm seeing the progress I've made already--this is the first time I have weighed in in the 240's in probably at least six months!

A great weekend awaits ~

★ jenna

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Dream, My Way

Just a quick note before bed; I wanted to make sure I touched in with the goals I have developed for myself this week.

1 -- Perform 100 minutes of exercise/physical activity.
2 -- Drink 64 ounces of water on at least 5 days.
3 -- Make overall healthy food choices on at least 5 days.
4 -- Practice being aware while eating; no more mindless snacking.
5 -- Create a Spark People account.
6 -- Journal and/or blog on at least 4 days.
7 -- Mediate and/or mantra on at least 3 days.
8 -- Get a full 8 hours of sleep each day.

I understand that these goals are vague.  At this point, I want them to be.  I have a tendency to be too hard on myself.  Historically, one goal violation sends me flying off the bandwagon, and I wind up worse than I was before.  I realize that I have many bad habits that need to be changed, and I'd be setting myself up for failure if I expected perfection.  One breath at a time, one bite at a time, one day at a time.

I went for another walk/jog today.  I pushed myself a little harder this time, doing four or five shorter jogging intervals (about 30-60 seconds each) instead of one longer interval (about 90 seconds).  I didn't experience as much cardiovascular fatigue as I did last time--no burning breaths, no aching teeth.  This time around, my muscles and joint are particularly sore, and especially around the ankle.  It's hard to tell if I'm sore because I'm overweight and pushing my physical limitations or if it's because I have poor running form, but this is something I'll need to look into if I intend to become a more serious "runner."

Time to recharge for tomorrow... I'm off to work on #8!

★ jenna

Friday, August 10, 2012

Baby Steps

Just got home from the most amazing power walk/jog.

My loop is just over a mile long and winds next to scenic marshland, a nice park, and quiet residences.  Although I'm incredibly self-conscious of all my huffing and puffing, I feel comfortable with this route.  It's safe, it's convenient, and it's doable.

I didn't time myself, but I think I took about 20 minutes.  To warm up, I started off with a power walk, then jogged for a block and a half.  Honestly, I was winded and ready to quit by the end of that first block, but I wanted to push myself a little bit further.  I set my sights on a fire hydrant up ahead and slowed to a walk again once I reached it.

I alternated between a relaxing pace and a power walk for the rest of the route.  I was definitely feeling it--it's amazing how much endurance I've lost, even these few short months.  My nasal passage burned with every breath and my teeth throbbed.  For awhile, all I could focus on was getting home again.  I forced myself to push through it.

I was so out of it that I surprised myself when I reached the corner of my block.  I jogged the last half-block home, but how could I not with the sun beating down and "Mr. Brightside" in my ear buds?

The success of this walk feels so different from other workouts I've put in.  Instead of bullying myself for not jogging more and for being so out of shape, I'm celebrating the fact that I took the time for some real cardio. I pushed myself through the pain, and I feel amazing now.  The lingering burn in my calves and thighs is a constant reminder of this little victory!

Now for a delicious, nutritious dinner and a relaxing evening with my daughter.  What more could I ask for?

★ jenna

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reality Check

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being my best friend's maid of honor.  Pictures from the wedding have been slowly making their way onto Facebook, and (I hate to admit) I've been un-tagging myself from most of them.  I'm too embarrassed to have them appearing on my timeline for everyone and their brother to see, because holy shit, I've gotten a lot bigger than I realized!

It's one thing to see the numbers on the scale slowly rising.  What's a pound here, three pounds there?  But those pounds add up, and it's evident when you look at me now.

I've seen myself in mirrors, sure.  I know my face is rounder, I have the double chin going on, and stretchmarks are spreading along my arms, stomach, and thighs.  Still, I guess it didn't really register.  The camera is a non-biased observer; it documents the reality.  I had to see it from the outside before I could believe it.

The hardest part of all this is that it's making me crave a miracle fix that simply doesn't exist.  I'm ashamed by what I've let myself become--the physical and the mental, everything--and I want to hide myself away until I'm well again.  Until I'm ME again.  Since that's not possible, my next impulse is to hide in seclusion and "heal" myself with junk food and trashy television.  I won't let that be an option this time, although I know I have a long journey ahead of me.  Progress will be slow, it will be difficult, and it will be disheartening.  I already want to give up, except...

...I can't.  Not this time.  I've had my moment of basking in self-pity, but I know that won't get me anywhere but down.

Instead, my plan for tonight is to have a mini-workout, a few cold glasses of water, and a good night's sleep. I need to allow myself to feel my feelings, and I need to energize for tomorrow.

Mark the calendar--this is me, embracing the journey.

★ jenna

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Today is the day.

And why not?  It's as good as any other, and I can't go on the way I've been.

I don't pretend that this will be a quick fix; I have way too much going on for that.  I have my work cut out for me, but it's time to reclaim myself.

Today's the day I begin pulling myself up from ashes.

★ jenna