Let’s Talk Motivation

2015/04/img_2125.jpgdoing arm fart noises

I am in the middle of texting with my friend Keely, who is on day 8 of Whole30. She said she feels good (“damn good”), and I am a little jealous of that feeling.

Not jealous enough to do another Whole30, but maybe jealous enough to clear the junk out of our house and go sugar-free for a while. I feel the effects of Easter sugarfest and am ready to recalibrate my eating a little bit. And exercise- gah. Exercise. Exercise would feel great- and does feel great- but I just can’t rally for it.

Before anyone graciously reminds me that I have four kids and no time- that’s just not true. I have 20 minutes a day to jump around my living room or do leg lifts or something. I just choose not to. I mentally write off the 20 minute opportunity to exercise because if I can’t commit to doing it every day, 20 minutes here and there seems like a waste of a clean sports bra. And I cannot commit to doing it every day. Because…I’m not motivated enough. See that repetitive loop?

2015/04/pict0537.jpgbefore the start of his race, at some ungodly early hour.

My husband stays on track with his exercise by signing up for races. He has another ultramarathon coming up in a few weeks, and that gets him out the door to run. He cranks out 17 or 21 mile training runs with a friend, knowing the race is getting closer. He has figured out that he does better by committing to a race and by training with someone else. Two motivators, to keep himself on track.

2015/04/pict0539.jpgthere are people who started the 50K the evening before so they could run all night and rejoin this crew to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. i mean…

I haven’t exactly figured my motivators out yet. I did Whole30, and learned a lot from that. I did a dietbet at the beginning of the year. That was helpful because it motivated me to track my food, which is always enlightening. (I like tracking things to learn more about myself). I was recently gifted a FitBit, which I love for the aforementioned tracking– but I am not competitive enough to make sure I get my recommended 10,000 steps a day. My husband always encourages me to sign up for a race, but my last experience didn’t exactly leave me feeling triumphant and ready for more.

So I hear about Keely… and see my husband trot out his 21 mile training runs… and sort of have this third-person curiosity about what will (finally) get me moving and help me focus well on my eating CONSISTENTLY. Not in little spurts- but over the long haul.

2015/04/pict0572.jpgabout 8 miles to go. i think this was the one where he had pretty much lost all the skin on the back of his heels at this point, coming up the mountain.

I suppose it is just like anything else. Good stretches and hard stretches. Lots of motivation and no motivation. Seasons.

I am curious- if anyone wants to chime in, I would love to know what motivates you and keeps you working toward good health. Does it feel like fits and starts for other people (like it often does for me)? For the more consistent exercisers out there- how did that even happen? I’m sort of in awe of people who just…exercise. Consistently. Just like that.



Whole30: Halfway


Poor fish was probably freaked out by all the staring. Chicken set the nativity scene up so Purpley-the-fish would have company.

Here’s something you should know about Whole30: It costs a lot, both in money and in time. Meaning, you will shell out more money at the grocery store than ever before, and you will spend more time in the kitchen than ever before.

I mean- we are moving through Sam’s Club megabags of onions, sweet potatoes, and avocados at lightening speed. And those babies don’t peel and dice themselves.

I did a time log once, so I know about how much time I used to spend in the kitchen. This is waaaaaay beyond what I am used to. So if you love to cook- great! Sharpen those knives and go to town! If, however, you could take it or leave it, this part will be a stretch. (I’m in the latter category.)

Here’s the upside, though: I have more consistent energy throughout my day than before. This is something I heard from people who did Whole30 and was one of the things I wanted to see for myself. People raved about their energy level, but I didn’t understand why that would be so great and so worth swearing off sugar and bread for a month.

But now I’m experiencing it, and I really like this consistent energy thing. It’s not a caffeine-like feeling of energy, where I’m sort of buzzing around. It’s more that I wake up and get moving and then have a steady energy level all day long. It feels like when you haven’t slept well for a few weeks (newborn baby stage, for example), and then you get a full night of sleep. It’s like “Oh. This is more how I’m supposed to feel.” I even get bursts of energy in the early afternoons, which is usually when I am really struggling to scrape myself off the couch.

As a result, I have more patience for my kids, particularly in those afternoon hours when the clock is moving slooooowly. And by now I’m well out of the irrational-anger stage, which is really great for everyone in a 20-foot radius of me. My clothes fit better. And I feel better overall. And having more energy means that cooking isn’t this big drain on my already-depleted-reserves. I can get up off the couch and enjoy cooking more, because I’m not so tired. (Does that make sense?)

We’ve already started talking about what happens next, because I don’t think the paleo diet is for us long term. (That’s what a lot of people transition to after doing Whole30.) I think any diet that shuns legumes and lentils is iffy. (And Michael Pollan doesn’t sound like a fan, either.) But I can feel the benefits of this sort of detox, and I don’t want to just jump right back into lots of sugar right away.

As far as the money invested so far- that is a very real consideration. We have saved some money by not eating out much this month, but not enough to offset the dramatic spike in our usual grocery bill. Offhand, I’d say we’ve easily spent twice what we’re used to. We usually don’t eat much meat but Whole30 really changes that. And meat costs more than black beans. So it feels worth it for the short-term, but not financially sustainable for the long-term.

There you have it: some thoughts on Whole30, as of day 19.


On a totally unrelated note, I added a new page at the top of my blog. Click around if you are looking for a great photographer (or two), a place to get your yoga on, or if you have a spare benjamin in your pocket and want to support a local non-profit. It’s all there, folks.

Can you guess what word this is, that Chicken spelled for me?

Brain Dump

Obligatory cute kid pic.  He is one!

Obligatory cute kid pic. He is one!

I just started and scrapped two posts. I have too many thoughts to be coherent, so I’m ignoring smooth transitions between paragraphs and just dumping it out there.

I am planning on doing this triathlon in the fall. I have done two sprints before, once in college and once a few years’ after.

The second tri was at Hilton Head and was in the ocean. The race officials gauged the water current several hours before race time, but it shifted by the time we all lined up to start. We all swam slightly against the current for our half a mile and- no joke- it was like the Titanic went down out there. People were flailing around, the rescue boats were full, and there was panic in the air. I am just as happy to flail around in the lake and not deal with ocean currents again.

I am almost finished with 168 Hours. You should read it. Yes, you. Vanderkam speaks my language- maximize what you love and are good at (your “core competencies”) and minimize or outsource the rest. For me, I read it as such: “Don’t waste the majority of your time and energy on crap you don’t love to do and isn’t important. Like mopping your floor all the time, or making elaborate meals. You don’t love that, it doesn’t bring out your best, and isn’t that big of a deal to you. Instead, streamline the stuff you have to do to live in a clean-enough house, and make more room for the things you love. Like your job, playing with your kids, and hanging out with your husband.”

Here’s an interesting tidbit from the book: In dual-career families, men spend less time on housework than women, but slightly more time playing with the kids. I can hear the collective cry of “If I don’t do it, no one will!” but I see that cry and raise you a “Figure out a better way than doing it all yourself while your husband plays outside with the kids.”

Acknowledgement: I sound like a real know-it-all.

This is a learning curve we’ve been in, here at our house. About money, housework, time with kids, etc. Now that I’ve been tasting freedom from the tyranny of keeping it all clean/in the allotted budget/right on time, I see that my husband has been on to something with his occasional “just ignore all of that” mentality. As Vanderkam says: “Ideally, the fact that dads don’t do much housework should inspire, not infuriate, moms. It should lead us to figure out ways to spend more of our 168 hours on the things we do best.” Yes. Agreed.

What do you think? Do you agree? Think that is unrealistic?

It is hard to see how we could both perpetually ignore housework in favor of hanging out with each other and the kids, but we’ve ignored it a lot lately and the house is still standing, so… Maybe I should update in a few months and let you know if we’ve been condemned for filth or not. Proof in the pudding, and all of that.

There’s my brain dump. Anyone else have something to share?