September 04, 2018

A Personal Check-In

I haven't written much about my personal life lately, mainly because I've been so busy the last few weeks. But also because there really isn't much to write! I'm not sure if that's fortunate or unfortunate, but I'll try to catch up with whatever comes to mind.

My kids started school today. Noah is now in ninth grade and Eli is in seventh. Can you believe it? Check out this post--their first day of school way back when my blog was brand new. Noah was going into second grade and Eli into kindergarten! Now, the boys are taller than I am. This past year, they shot up like rockets, and definitely look more like teenagers than kids.

As I wrote before, I didn't finish any of the challenges I made for myself this summer! I decided not to even start any more challenges for a while, mainly because it's embarrassing to announce that I'm going to do something and then not follow through.


At the beginning of the summer, I was very excited about doing the Runs for Cookies Summer Running Challenge--but then it got super hot and humid, and I just wasn't excited about running. So, I only lasted a few weeks. I am in awe of all of the people who are continuing to do it. It's inspiring to see their posts on social media.

Speaking of running, I haven't been. I HATE to sound whiny about it because it drives me crazy when other people rattle off excuses about why they don't do something. So, I'm not trying to whine or make excuses. I want to run--I genuinely want to get back to running regularly--but I am just having the hardest time getting myself back to that mental place where I didn't even think about whether or not I was going to run. I just did it.

I think part of the problem is that running feels so hard now that I'm basically starting from scratch again. I can't keep my heart rate where it should be unless I'm walking. My breathing is labored and my legs feel heavy. Just running two miles at a very slow pace is challenging for me!

I know that I need to keep in mind that it will get easier (I even wrote a post years ago about how it gets easier!) and that I need to just run consistently to get there. If I continue to do it, I can eventually get back to the fitness level where running three miles at a low heart rate is no big deal and running 5-6 miles for a "long run" once a week doesn't feel like a chore.

Just writing that out (and reading my previous post) makes me feel excited--like I want to do it! Now I just need to carry that excitement over to the morning ;)  Noah is going to the community college for school (a dual enrollment program) and it's much farther away than the high school.

There are several places that are great for running between the college and my house, so my hope is that I'll dress in running clothes before taking him to school, and then I'll stop somewhere on the way home for a short run.

Anyway, that's where I'm at as far as fitness/running goes right now. The desire is there! I just have to make it a habit again.


Again, this is something I've been struggling with lately. To get back down to my goal weight, or at least my "happy" weight, I know that the best way for me is to count calories. That has always worked in the past. And I honestly don't mind the calorie counting! I especially like the Fat Secret app for tracking my calories, and it really doesn't feel like a chore once I get some momentum.

I've been making attempts at getting back to it but because I haven't done it in so long, I'm having a hard time getting back in the habit. I enjoy cooking without measuring out ingredients, and I think that is the hardest part about getting used to calorie counting--measuring out ingredients.

I just have to be prepared to take a little extra time to plan things out. Also, I don't have to be super strict with it--if I have to guesstimate the calories, I'm okay with that. It worked out well before! (When I was first losing weight back in 2009-2010, I was very meticulous about weighing/measuring everything. The last time I counted calories (2015-2016), I did my best and I didn't fret about having to estimate things when needed.)

I hate to sound cliché, but now that the kids will be back in school, I feel like I can get myself into a good routine again--eating at particular times, cooking dinner for all of us to eat together, planning out meals for the week to fit around cross country (Renee and I are coaching again, and we have practice three times a week), etc. And, most importantly, a good sleeping schedule!

I have always felt best when I'm in a routine, so I'm hoping that I can redevelop some good habits this fall. There are several things that I'd like to make a habit again, so I'll work on those. Fall is my favorite time of year, and I'm looking forward to it!

Mental Health

I think that the medication change that my psychiatrist made the last time I saw him has been working really well. I don't feel depressed at all anymore; I still feel down sometimes, but I definitely wouldn't call it depression.

Unfortunately, my anxiety has still been a big problem. I think that a lot of it could be resolved by my diet and exercise, though. When my weight is up, and I'm not consciously eating the way my body responds to best, I just don't feel good about myself. And it causes me to constantly worry about what it's doing to me. So, I think that if I can get back in the good habits of diet and exercise, my anxiety level will be a lot lower.

In a nutshell, though, I'm feeling pretty good right now compared to how I felt a couple of months ago. I'd had mild depression for a long time, but I feel like that is under control. If not for the anxiety, I'd say I was feeling great!


August was our first debt-free month after paying off our credit card in July, and it felt so good! I adjusted our budget a little to meet new goals (pay off our Jeep and save money for doing projects around the house).

We stuck to our budget for August, and we put the leftover money (what normally would have gone toward our debt) in a savings account for our house projects. Since we're working on the house, we want to be able to pay for things as we go as opposed to racking up debt again. We are going to pay cash for everything, even if it means saving up for months to get enough money.

Needless to say, being credit card debt free feels amazing, and I love that we are continuing with our new spending habits.

Other Stuff

Renee and I began coaching cross country a couple of weeks ago, and I'm really enjoying it! It's different for me this year because neither of my kids are on my team (they are both too old for our team now). Renee's kids are too old, also, so neither of us has a kid on the team.

I came up with a fun incentive for the kids this year, but I'll write about that in another post. I'd like the kids to really work on setting and reaching for goals, so I hope that this new incentive will work to motivate them.

I'm still working on the ceilings and kitchen in my house. We removed all of the texture (similar to a popcorn ceiling) from the ceilings in the living room, kitchen, dining room, and hallway. Now, it's just drywall. It would look great as it is if you couldn't see the drywall seams, but now we have to go over the seams with drywall compound. Once we do that, we have to sand it to smooth it out, before finally getting to prime and paint it.

In addition to the ceilings, we took out three cupboards and two small walls in the kitchen. Here is a before and after with the small wall we took out (the only purpose of the wall was to hold the cupboard up). I didn't take a photo of the cupboards before we took them down, but you can kind of see them in this photo of Jerry and me right when we were moving into the house (in 2003!)

This is after removing the cupboards:

And this is after removing the wall:

My kitchen is pretty big as it is, but taking out that wall and cupboard made a huge difference in opening it up. I like it so much more!

We had another cupboard with a small wall that was kind of useless, so we took that out as well:

Just taking out that little wall really made some space in the kitchen, and we were able to move the dining table over quite a bit so it doesn't feel like it's in the way all the time.

We also took off the strips that covered the drywall seams in the kitchen (you can see them in the photos above), so I had to use fiberglass tape and drywall compound to fill those in. It's a lot of work!

And the mess. Oh, the mess. It was awful when we were scraping the ceilings! There was dust/drywall compound everywhere. It's going to be messy until we are done sanding and we can finally clean up well and paint.

When we were working on scraping the ceiling in the living room, I was laying out some sheets to try to contain the mess (haha!) and Estelle was sitting on the coffee table. I draped the sheet right over her, expecting her give me a pissed off look, jump up, and run away. Instead, she just got comfy under the sheet and stayed there! She was there for about 25 minutes, even as I scraped the ceiling right over her and the shavings were falling on her.

Estelle is so funny. Jerry and I were cracking up.

Even though this project has been a lot of work, it's been fun--and I love the way the ceilings are looking now that we removed the texture. I had no idea what a difference it would make in the lighting of the room, too. The texture made a lot of little shadows, which made the room appear darker. Without that, the rooms look bigger and brighter.

(We obviously aren't going to leave the ceilings like this... we have to add a little more drywall compound; then sand, prime, and paint.)

After working on the house non-stop for five days, I took a break for the last couple of days to recharge. I really didn't want to get burnt out before I finished (like I did with the bathroom, haha!). I'll start tackling it again this week.

Yesterday, I finished transferring my knitting/crochet patterns to this blog (I realized that if I backdate them, they won't show up in my feed--I didn't want to bombard you all with patterns that have nothing to do with my blog).

However, since I do love crafts and I'm usually working on something, I am going to make a separate "Crafts" tab on my blog to organize that stuff there. So, I may occasionally post about something I'm working on. Over the last couple of years, I've really branched out my blog to include topics other than weight loss and running, so this is just another topic that is a part of my life.

After posting the patterns yesterday, I really got the urge to knit something. I used to love knitting when I first started losing weight! I would knit in the evenings while watching TV instead of eating, and it really helped to control my binge eating. I would get so involved in a project that I didn't want to stop. My blog usually keeps me busy in the evenings now, but it would be nice to start knitting a little again.

So, that's what's been going on with me lately. I expect that things will change quite a bit now that school started and I'm coaching cross country. Overall, I feel like things are going good!


  1. Your kitchen looks amazing already! Definitely so much more open looking. I love that look! And wow are your boys grown up!! Thanks for the life update! Sounds like things are going good! <3

    1. Thank you, Amanda! The kitchen is such an overwhelming mess right now, but I am focusing on the end result and I'm sure I'll be much happier with it when it's done ;)

  2. Long-time reader, first-time commenter here! This is just a humble opinion and by no means am I an expert, but I read somewhere recently something like, just because we were successful with something in the past, doesn’t mean that’s the only way we can succeed going forward — there’s more than one way to reach the mountaintop. So with regard to your diet, maybe it’s just a new “season” in life as to the way you approach balance/nutrition and what works for you, fits with your lifestyle, and makes you happy? :) Or set goals re: your diet like “today I’m going to eat 5 servings of fruit/veggies” and make that an opportunity for positive affirmation? I’ve been trying to do this as I work to re-lose a few pounds I’ve picked up in the past few years following a significant weight loss.

    Also, wanted to say (and this is not an original sentiment), that your journey is SO inspiring and the challenges and struggles you face are helpful to readers like myself who are encouraged knowing it’s not always sunshine and rainbows and that it’s OK to go through dark phases. Thank you for continuing to share your story!

    1. Thank you for commenting, Esther! You are very right about having different needs/variety in ways of reaching our goals over time. In a way, I discovered that myself in my journey--I started out counting Weight Watchers Points, but later realized that it just wasn't working for me anymore because I'd learned how to "work" the system and ended up eating too much. So, I switched to counting calories, and that worked really well! Eventually, I stopped doing that because I was doing very well at listening to my body (i.e. intuitive eating). Maybe it's time to change things up... it's scary to try something new, but I need to do SOMEthing! Thanks for the kind words! xo

  3. My kids are older now, but I know that feeling of both freedom and structure that comes with them being in school again. I think it will be easier to find a healthy, satisfying routine that puts anxiety on the back burner.

    And from Indiana, I agree the weather has been miserable! I can't wait for cooler drier days!!

    1. It seems like this summer has been extra humid, right?! Yesterday was the most humid day we'd had all summer--we even had a heat advisory. I'm really hoping for nice fall weather soon.

      I'm definitely looking forward to falling into a good routine. I especially need to work on getting more sleep, and I think having the kids back in school with help me get to bed at a decent hour!

  4. I have a question for you- you said that you're having a hard time keeping your heart rate where it should be when you run- maybe you could just ignore that aspect until you get used to running again. As long as you're healthy there's really no reason so worry about your heart rate. I know when I take running breaks and then start up again it takes a month or more of running to get my heart rate back down to where it was before. If you ignored that aspect for awhile then it would be one less thing to be frustrated with.

    Your kitchen and non-textered ceilings are looking great! I'm impressed you and Jerry did (are doing) all of the work yourselves!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! That's pretty much what I've been doing--running, even though my heart rate is high, and hoping it'll eventually lower again. So, I'm ignoring it in that way; I just like to look at it to compare it to past periods of time. I really should stop thinking about the past, though--I'm a different person now, and my body has changed a lot! I should focus on the here and now, and just work on becoming the best "me" I can be.

      The work Jerry and I are doing is more than we anticipated (haha!) but I think we'll be pretty proud of ourselves when we're done. Thank you!

    2. Just focus on the now! Living in "should" will steal any joy from today. :)

  5. I am 100% with you on the running. I just cant do it when the weather is miserable hot and humid. Cold and wet are both fine but hot and humid are a no go. I have actually gotten to the point where I have been contemplating stopping running all together. I have been doing a lot of yoga, I still have kickboxing classes and I did my summer 8 week crossfit thing that I love every year. I am trying to hold out until the weather gets better and running is not horrible to make any decisions.

    I didn't finish the challenge either, but I am not surprised. I have never one finished a challenge when left on my own to do them. It is a mental block, as soon as there is a plan I fall apart.

  6. Love, love, love this! Virginia has been so hot this year. I am longing for fall weather. I am so glad that the change in your meds is working for you.

    Question: If you need the cabinet space, could you turn the uppers that you took down from over the bar and lay them flat against the wall? Where your red wall and yellow wall meet? My kitchen has such limited cabinet space I would hate to lose those, but I know you said in an earlier post that your kitchen is quite large. I am loving hearing about your DIY stuff too!

  7. Estelle is hilarious! My mom's cat actually loves to burrow himself under her bed covers and can sleep there all day. You've also motivated me to try and budget more! My debt has gotten a little out of control, and I don't ever seem to make much progress on it, so I'm trying your method. First I have to build up some savings so I can do the Zero Sum Budgeting, but in the mean time I'm still trying to budget my money!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

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