August 31, 2020

6 Weeks on Plan! (and Jerry's comparison pictures)

Six weeks! It's been six weeks since I started 75 Hard. I sincerely cannot believe it's been that long. 

I've been working hard to develop the self-discipline that I used to have, feel the control over myself that I really miss, and pushing past my comfort zone--not too much, but definitely pushing it.

I mentioned before that I guess it's not "75 Hard" and that I am just doing it my own way for 90 days instead. But I'm still keeping the same "rules" of what I interpreted from 75 Hard.

Yesterday was Day 42. The weekly updates are actually pretty boring, because they all seem to be the same. But I'll continue to post them, because who knows what will happen? 

So, here is a recap of the week:

Drink a gallon of water every day.

I'm 99% sure that I did this every day this week. It's really easy to lose track sometimes, especially when I'm busy. I have a Nalgene bottle that I fill four times (it holds a quart, so drinking four of them is a gallon), but sometimes I even get more than that. By the end of the day, though, it's hard to say. I really should keep tabs with my checklist app.

Take a progress photo every day.

Done. This one is the easiest on the list! I wake up, get dressed in something comfortable to walk in, and then take a photo right before I put on my sunscreen to go out for a walk. I don't think the changes in my body are as visible now as they were in the beginning, but Jerry notices things. Just today, when he hugged me, he mentioned that my shoulders seem thinner. 

Here is a six week comparison in the same clothes:

The scale is so interesting. I will post numbers at the end of the 90 days, but I will say that my weight goes up and down by about 2-3 pounds every day. Yes, a daily fluctuation by 2-3 pounds! But that's very typical with intermittent fasting. And it doesn't bother me at all. The overall trend is downward, so I'm cool with that.

It's just interesting because when I counted calories or did Weight Watchers or things like that, I was used to a very minor fluctuation day to day, but unless I had a binge or some serious sodium one day, my weight stayed mostly the same or was down a bit each day. The intermittent fasting makes the fluctuations much more pronounced.

I had planned to take body measurements today, considering I'm six weeks in, but I completely forgot until later in the day. I'm going to try to remember to do it tomorrow morning.

Follow a diet of choice.

I'm still doing the 20:4 ratio of intermittent fasting. I still love it. One of the major things I've noticed is that I don't crave sweets as much--actually, it's very rare now. (Note: I am not cutting out carbs or sugar or anything else; but my cravings have changed.)

I find that when I'm hungry and ready to eat, I don't want something sweet; I want "real" food, a meal. I usually have in mind that I'll eat something sweet afterward, but a lot of times, I eat a very filling dinner and then dessert just doesn't sound good at all. 

Overall, though, I still really love intermittent fasting for lots of reasons: I don't think about food all the time; I can eat whatever I want; I can eat until I'm comfortably full; I don't have to count calories; I don't have to plan out breakfasts, lunches, and snacks; and I can eat high calorie foods (when I was counting calories, I always tried to make the calories in my meals lower, and now I make sure that I cook with higher calorie foods to ensure I'm getting enough in my eating window). 

Jerry came across a photo of himself from December of 2019, and he finally saw that he really HAS gotten smaller. He started intermittent fasting in June, and I noticed immediately that his stomach was getting smaller. He said the scale barely moved, but I knew I wasn't imagining things. 

To date, now, he's lost about 30 pounds. I think he looks as small, if not smaller, than he did when he was 165 pounds (he's now at 180). Here is a comparison:

Doesn't he look amazing?! He didn't believe me when I told him that I noticed a difference. Anyway, he loves the intermittent fasting, too. It works out really well for his lifestyle and work schedule.

Exercise 45 minutes twice a day (at least one must be outside).

As of today, I have exercised for 45 minutes at a time, twice a day, every single day for six weeks! I've never done this before. Sure, I've done a ton of running, especially while marathon training. But the discipline that it takes to do TWO workouts a day is is very tough. During marathon training, I could run in the morning and it would be done for the day. Now, I have to fit in a second, and most of the time, I really don't want to!

I've done a morning walk with Joey every day and he loves it. He gets so excited when I wake up because he knows it's time to go for walk. Even when it was pouring rain a few days ago, I took him out for his walk. 

A couple of times this week, I've tried to do a tougher walk for my second workout by picking up the pace. When I have Joey, we usually walk at about a 17:30-18:30/mile pace. He slows me down a bit, but I think of it as "his" walk, too. The afternoon walks are all mine, so I do my own thing. 

Yesterday, I really wanted to enjoy the weather and just listen to my audiobook, so I walked extremely slowly (my slowest pace to date). And then today, I decided to see just how fast I could walk for 45 minutes. I was shocked when I walked a sub-15:00 mile, and then even more shocked when my third mile was sub-14:00!

It made me laugh, because I'm pretty sure that would be about the same as my running pace right now ;) 

My heart rate was up near 160 at the end... when I normally walk, it's usually between 95 and 120. Today, I literally walked as fast I could manage (and be able to complete the walk without giving up the pace). 

Here are the cumulative details for the past week:

Read 10 pages of a non-fiction, inspirational or self-help type book.

I'm sorry to say that I dropped the ball on this one this week. If I was truly doing 75 Hard, I'd have to start over from Day 1 again. I was reading books, but they were fiction "fun" reading. Like I wrote about yesterday! That book was SO good and I finished it today. It's definitely one of my "Top 5 Favorite Books I've Ever Read". 

While I haven't done the self-help books this week, and therefore broke the "rule", I'm still happy about the fact that I'm reading. I know that sitting is sitting, but I still feel better about reading than I do about watching TV. Jerry was off work last night, and he watched wrestling while I read my book--we weren't really interacting other than sitting next to each other on the couch, but it was nice for each of us to be able to do what we wanted while still spending time "together".

I want to get back to the reading part of 75 Hard, though, so I am making it a point to do that this week.

Anyway, it was another good week, and I'm happy with my progress (physically and mentally) over the last six weeks. I'm almost halfway to my goal of 90 days :)

August 30, 2020

I Can't Put It Down

I can't even tell you the last time I was super obsessed with a book to the point where I just couldn't stop reading. One where I would rather read than do anything else. I think it was probably when I read 'The Hunger Games'...? That was so long ago!

Anyway, I'm reading 'Where the Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owens (Amazon affiliate link). The book isn't new; it was published two years ago. I remember my sister texting me and telling me I just "HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!" I read the synopsis and it wasn't very intriguing to me, but I requested the ebook from the library (there were something like 50+ holds on it, so I knew I wouldn't even get it for a long time).

Randomly one day, months or even a year later, it was automatically loaned to me from the library. I just wasn't in the reading mood then, so it was returned, unread. I decided to just buy it for my Kindle in order to avoid waiting again for the library. After buying it, however, I still just couldn't get in the mood to read it!

I even borrowed the audiobook but I couldn't concentrate on it. I tried listening several times and found myself daydreaming and not registering anything that I'd heard.

Why did I keep trying? I don't know. But after finishing the recent 'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' (Amazon affiliate link) from the Hunger Games series (a coincidence) I was in the mood to start a new book. I have several on my Kindle, so I was browsing through them when I came across 'Where the Crawdads Sing'. I decided I was going to finally just sit down and read it.

I couldn't even remember what it was about, and I'm kind of glad. From the synopsis, it doesn't sound like a typical book I'd be interested in, and going into it blindly this time, it grabbed my attention almost immediately. I have barely put it down since I started it. 

It's no wonder that it has 4.8 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon with over 72,000 ratings! I am not finished, so I can't give it 5 stars just yet. I hope that the ending is as good as the rest of it!

Going to go read some more. It could be a late night ;) 

August 29, 2020

Much Needed Rain

After not getting any rain for what felt like MONTHS (actually, it may have been months...) it finally rained here yesterday. And it definitely made up for the lack of rain. It was thunderstorming with crazy heavy rain when I woke up yesterday morning.

I immediately felt bad for Joey, who is used to going for a walk first thing when I wake up. I didn't want to walk on the treadmill because Jerry is working nights and the noise might wake him up. I checked out the weather forecast and it said that the rain would stop in 10 minutes and it wouldn't rain for at least 120 minutes after that. Sounded good!

I played Best Fiends for 10 minutes and sure enough, the rain stopped entirely. So, Joey and I headed out on a walk. 

I decided to go on a different route--it seemed kind of fun to turn it into a "game" by challenging myself to walk every single street in our neighborhood. This was a very spontaneous decision, so I didn't think about it beforehand and plan my "strategy". I ended up doing a very inefficient route, but in the end, I did walk every street.

About 10 minutes in, the sky just opened up and dumped on us--it wasn't just a drizzle, or even "light" rain. It was pouring. I was soaked through within seconds, and it actually felt really good. It's been super humid here lately, the air so thick it's hard to breathe, so the rain was welcome. Not to mention the grass needed it!

Joey stopped to shake off his coat every once in a while, but we were sopping wet the entire walk. The downpour stopped a couple of times, but it didn't matter. I really love to walk in the rain--I just prefer a light drizzle ;)

When I was about to go for my second walk yesterday, I went out to the driveway and while I was waiting for my Garmin to find satellites, I double-checked the weather. It said it was going to start raining in one minute--and the rain was "heavy". I heard thunder just then, so I decided to go back inside and walk on the treadmill.

Jerry texted me from Kroger (about four miles away) and said it was downpouring. I figured it was a good call to stay inside. I walked on the treadmill for 45 minutes--and it never ended up raining! There was not a single drop here.

But anyway, I'm so glad we got the rain yesterday because today the weather was absolutely amazing. It cooled off by about 25 degrees and the humidity was so much lower. The skies were cloudy in a good way and it felt like a perfect fall day (I love fall so much more than summer). 

I took Joey for our walk this morning and there was a really nice breeze. It felt perfect! Well, aside from all of the bullfrogs that had been run over by cars--they weren't so happy. I haven't seen so many frogs in years! With all the rain yesterday, they came out and I saw several that had been run over.

This cute little guy was crossing the road, so I picked him up and brought him to the dike to let him go. I see a lot of baby turtles that have gotten run over, so I always pick them up when I see them.

When I got home, I turned off the air conditioning and opened up all the windows in the house. I had planned to take the kids shopping for "back to school" clothes, but decided to take them tomorrow or Monday instead because of today's weather.

I just realized I've spent this entire post talking about the weather. Really?!

My dad sent me a text yesterday and said he and my mom were out riding their bikes when the rain just started coming down. They got totally soaked and my dad said he felt like a kid again--back when kids used to play in the rain after the thunder and lightening stopped. I remember those days very well! I have pictures of my kids playing in the rain when they were little, and it makes me feel nostalgic.

He sent me a couple of pictures from when they got home:

Speaking of my dad, I just have to share this...

A few days ago, my dad asked me if I had any yellow paint or poster board. I didn't have either one, and I didn't even ask what he needed it for. I promptly forgot about it. 

And later, I saw what he wanted it for. I was dying. What the--?! #dadquarantine ? #dadlife ? I have no idea what made him come up with this, but I think it's hilarious!

August 28, 2020

My COVID DIY Garage Makeover (Part 2- The Reveal)

I am SO happy to be done working on the garage! Now I can start working IN the garage :)

Noah had friends over yesterday, and he wanted to hang out in the "man cave" in the garage, so I definitely felt the pressure to get all the last touches completed. There are still a couple of minor things that I need to do (touch up paint, add a latch to the flood vent covers, attach heater to ceiling), but yesterday I was all about cleaning up the mess and putting everything into place.

I obviously didn't do anything to the floor. There are spots of drywall compound that I scraped off, but that can be wiped away with water. For the "man cave" section, I just threw down some leftover carpet we'd had from the bedrooms. It doesn't cover the whole section, but it helps a little.

I didn't want to buy new furniture or anything, so we still have the old hand-me down stuff. I painted the futon frame and the coffee table, and I am going to make a cover for the futon mattress using some canvas fabric I have. I did buy a mini-fridge for Jerry as an early birthday present, so we got rid of the big one. 

Anyway, here is my list of projects to get from "before" to "after":

  • install insulation and soffit vents
  • hang drywall on walls and ceiling
  • tape, mud, and sand the drywall joints
  • prime and paint the walls and ceiling
  • paint the concrete foundation wall
  • add trim to cover the sill on top of the foundation wall
  • frame the windows, add trim, and paint
  • install shades on windows
  • install ceiling fan over "man cave"
  • paint coffee table and futon frame
  • build and paint shelving across one wall
  • make covers for the flood vents (I also made a framed screen to go behind the covers)
I'm probably forgetting something, but that's what I can think of off the top of my head. It was so much more work than I had originally imagined, but as I saw what a difference each project made, I just wanted to keep improving things. I love DIY, so I really enjoyed working on this. And the "after" is so worth it!

Total cost from start to finish: roughly $2,000. (The biggest expenses were the drywall and insulation--$1500--and the paint--$250). I used up a lot of scrap wood that I had from previous projects!

And here are the before and after photos... the best part :) I tried to get them from the same angles where I could.

And there it is! I'm super proud of having done all of the work myself. Jerry kept asking if I wanted help, but I insisted that I wanted to do it all. I did need help lifting the ceiling drywall onto the drywall lift, so Jerry and/or the kids would help me do that. Drywall is SO heavy!

My favorite part is the man-cave, of course ;)

My brother gave me a heater and prepared the electrical work on the ceiling to hang it. So, this winter, I'll be able to work on projects out there without freezing to death.

After a little break from the DIY, I'm going to finish my brother's ceiling. And then I'm not sure what my next project will be!

August 27, 2020

My COVID DIY Garage Makeover (Part 1)

(I'm doing this in two parts because it's going to be long... but I finally finished the garage and I'm excited to post the before and after photos!)

Jerry always wanted a garage. When we first got our house (we bought a piece of property and had a manufactured home--a.k.a. trailer, double-wide, call it what you'd like! etc--put on it) we planned for it to be a temporary home. A couple of years, max.

We put it up for sale in 2005 (we bought it in 2003) but shortly afterward, I found out I was pregnant with Eli. I just didn't feel like it was a good time to sell our home, so we decided to stay here. And eventually, I kind of fell in love with it. Not the home itself, but the property. I love where we live! And Jerry and I slowly made the decision over the years that we'd like it to be permanent. 

Look at this view! This is what we see from our front yard in the fall:

We live across the street from a marsh (state land). I love that we can walk Joey on a trail back there and we see lots of wildlife. The fact that our home was a "starter home" didn't matter anymore. We really liked it.

We didn't own the lot next door to us, however, and it went up for auction in 2008-ish? We ended up buying it for $2,500 from the bank. It was kind of sickening because we'd spent $25,000 on our lot (both were listed for the same price in 2003). The housing market crashed right after we bought ours, so we were just shit-outta-luck. But being able to buy the lot next door was exciting for us!

I wanted Jerry to have his garage, and since we had the property for it, we had that built in 2014. I literally had nothing to do with it--I didn't care for a garage, didn't have a need for one, and just let Jerry do his thing. My ONLY input was that since he wanted a three-car garage, we should put a single car door at the rear of the garage (with a two-car door in front).

I can remember when I was a kid and we had thunderstorms, my dad would open the garage door and we'd sit on lawn chairs just inside the garage to watch the storms. When Jerry was figuring out the plans for our garage, that's what I had in mind for the single-car door.

Fast-forward six years, and we had a three-car garage filled with random STUFF, including an enormous zero-turn lawn mower to take up the entire back door. (The lawn mower was kind of inherited from a family friend--they are crazy-expensive to buy, otherwise we wouldn't have it.)

The garage wasn't finished inside--meaning you could see all the studs and joists--and I never thought much about it. Until I got into woodworking.

I started remodeling our house in August 2018, and somewhere along the way, I discovered that I loved power tools and building things. Since then, Lowe's has become my home away from home and I spend way too much time working in the garage. (It's become my "happy place". And if I won the lottery, I'd likely spend all my money at Lowe's!)

When I was trying to do things in the garage in the winter, it was super challenging. My hands were frozen and paint wouldn't dry and it just wasn't "fun" to work on projects. I decided that I wanted to insulate and drywall the garage, even if I did it over a long period of time (buying a little insulation and a couple sheets of drywall here and there).

Then COVID happened, and I had a lot of spare time on my hands. Jerry was still working (thank God he didn't lose his job) so we had extra money. The kids' schools were canceled for the rest of the school year and my brother didn't want me to continue working on his ceiling at the time (I had been removing his popcorn ceiling, and when COVID became an issue, I stayed home. As of now, I still have to go over there to sand and paint the ceiling!)

Since I was going to be home for a while, I decided I was going to make the garage my "quarantine project"--installing soffit vents, insulation on the walls and ceiling, and finally, drywall. (Including finishing the drywall with tape and mud, sanding, priming, and painting.)

I had done a lot of taping and mudding of the drywall in the house, I didn't think doing the garage would be a huge deal. And I was insistent that I wanted this to be MY project--no help from anybody else! I started spending the majority of my time out in the garage, working and listening to podcasts. I loved it.

My first big delivery from Lowe's--the insulation and drywall:

It was much harder (more work) than I expected it to be, but so satisfying! I loved seeing the progress as I moved along. I got to use some new tools (I always borrow stuff from my brother--but then I end up buying my own because I like using it so much.) And I learned more about electrical work (my brother worked for an electrician for several years and helped me through a lot of stuff).

When we first built the garage, Jerry wanted a "man cave". The kids loved that idea--a place to hang out with friends--so we made a little corner of the garage the designated space to chill. We put some hand-me-down furniture out there along with an old TV, and that became the "man cave". 

The only time I really sat out there was Halloween night, because I'd watch a scary movie and hand out candy. Occasionally, we'd have friends over and spend time out there, but mostly the garage was just for storage.

Halloween, 2015 (watching Scream). I only got about five(?) trick-or-treaters! 

As a female, I probably turned the "man cave" into something a little nicer than Jerry was thinking, but I couldn't help it. I finished the windows and casings and I painted everything--it looks SO much better. And honestly, the kids are very excited about it. Noah invited a couple of friends to come over today, and he planned to hang out in the garage.

So, I made the garage my main focus today, and I spent nearly seven hours putting things into place, cleaning and dusting. There are still just a couple of tiny things I want to do, but for the most part, the she-shed garage/man cave is done.

I took a trillion pictures today to set up against "before" photos, but I still have to sort through those. So I'll post them in a "Part 2" tomorrow... sorry! I just felt like I should explain our garage situation before jumping into the remodel. To be continued... :)

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