Shifting

Two weeks of Shift Shop done. I feel stronger and somewhat leaner but slightly irritable. I suppose weeks of no carbs (except small amounts of starchy veggies) can do that to a person. This last week of the program cuts out the starchy veggies, so I’m trying to mentally prepare for that nonsense. I’ve been dedicated and on-point (not even sneaking a bite of mac-n-cheese from Maya’s plate) except for eating one mini-cupcake with no frosting today. So freaking good. Anywho, I’ll post a light run-down of the program and meal plan along with my (hopeful) weight loss and inches lost sometime next week in case anyone is interested. I have zero plans to post my before/after pics. Trust me, you don’t want that until I look like this again:

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Summer 2015 and soon-to-be Winter 2017

I can already tell you right now that my next round will have a modified eating plan that allows for some carbs. My kid doesn’t need Ms. Grumpy Pants for a mom.

Three weeks of zero alcohol as well. A few weeks ago, right before my bbq/pool party for some Portland friends, I decided that after said pool party I would cut alcohol out of my life until 1) I lost all the weight I gained while living in Portland and 2) I finished writing the first draft of my novel, Stupid Cupid.

Why did I decide on the alcohol exclusion, you ask?

Well, here’s a tidbit about myself: I love IPA. I mean, I like red wine as well (and that’s it for me for alcohol), but IPA is my thang.

me swami ipa
yum yum Pizza Port’s Swami’s IPA 

Hoppy, cold, high-calorie IPA. I’ve enjoyed it for a long time, but the past few years of the IPA explosion have been like Christmas to me. Couple that with moving to the craft brewery heaven of the US (breweries within walking distance of my old apartment) and an extended period of outright laziness thanks to the calm comfort of cool, rainy PNW weather (and perhaps a slight bout of depression) and you have a significant weight gain.

Ugh.

The weight gain not only made me physically unhealthy, it murdered my mojo. I am simply not comfortable with my body at this size, even if a potential partner is cool with my ample curves. I feel like a gelatinous blob. I don’t need to have rock-hard abs and a backside you can bounce a quarter off of, but I need to feel like myself again. I’m the only one who can change it, so change it is. I can already feel a shift in the way I carry myself again, so I know I’m s-l-o-w-l-y on my way.

The second part of my alcohol-free period is because I am not a spectacular or profound writer during/after drinking. I can brainstorm while kicking back a cold one, but the actual process of writing is different beast altogether. There are many writers who can pound out fantastic literature while intoxicated. I do not fall into that category. My drunken scribbles are disjointed and only moderately humorous at best. When I can understand them.

My brain has a tendency to wander far too much if I partake in adult beverages. I muse on life and love and what my life will be like five years from now, browse animal shelters looking for a dog to adopt, watch some Grey’s, post stupid stuff to FB, get lost in the Pinterest black hole and imagine all the cool stuff I’m *going* to create, and basically waste a buttload of time. My journaling is pretty damn interesting, I must admit. But journaling won’t pay the bills unless you’re Sedaris.

This may come as a shock to you, but I am not Sedaris.

So, I needed a huge reset, and that’s exactly what I have right now.

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Here’s the thing: I don’t miss it much at all. I don’t have a special someone around who also loves IPA, so it wasn’t difficult to drop. It’s not something I need and my life runs perfectly fine without it. It was all about breaking a not-so-great habit and (re)creating a few old good habits. Thus, I’m writing more, exercising, and working toward the future I want.

Cheers to that.

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Entrance Into Magnificent Zion? Yes, Please.

I’ve traveled about and visited National Parks all over this great country, but I’ve yet to find a place that captures my spirit quite like Zion National Park. From the breathtaking scenery as you drive into the charming town of Springdale to the magnificent views at the summit of Observation Point, nearly every sight is stunning throughout all four seasons. You can safely bet I’ll try to get anyone within earshot to take advantage of the National Park Service Free Days this year and visit this Southwest jewel or any other National Park close to you, for that matter.

 

I first visited Zion when I moved from Iowa to St. George, UT twenty years ago, and I still have yet to hit every trail in the park, such as canyoneering through The Subway and Mystery Canyon or backpacking overnight on the West Rim Trail. My first experience was in the Zion Canyon area, where I would snap photo after grainy photo on ancient 35mm or disposable cameras, hundreds of photos tucked neatly into boxes in my bedroom closet.

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Me and Zion, ages ago

The beauty of Zion is that it’s truly a park for everyone of all ages and shapes and sizes. I started my son on the Emerald Pools trails when he was four years old and sporting his CatDog trucker cap and kid fanny pack, and now I take my daughter along with me. Whether we wander down the easy, paved Pa’rus Trail and the Riverside Walk to the canyons of the Narrows or test her limits and hit the Upper Emerald Pool and Kayenta Trails, there is always something for the little ones to do. Plus, from the spring through the fall there is a shuttle system that takes you throughout the Zion Canyon. No trying to find parking spaces at each trailhead. Word to the wise: arrive early to find a parking space near the Visitor’s Center. This is one busy park.

For those more conditioned (and not afraid of heights), the views from Angel’s Landing and Observation Point are spectacular. Pack snacks and fill your water bottles at the free water filling stations in the park, then hit the canyons. Be sure to take a picture of the switchback system named Walter’s Wiggles as you make your way up to Angel’s Landing.

I could go on for hours about the activities available within the park. Biking, climbing, backpacking, canyoneering, river trips, wilderness hikes down the Narrows (which is phenomenal), Ranger-led activities for kids and adults, the list goes on. Instead, I’ll keep this short and sweet and leave you with some my pictures through different seasons in Zion.

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Go grab your gear, stuff it into your backpack, and get outside! While you’re at it, check out Cotopaxi, an outdoor company doing good for people and our environment

 

 

Week 1: Fail. Kind of.

First week of the year down. Let’s see how I’m doing on my goals because there’s nothing like sharing your failures with the world to hold yourself accountable.

1) Writing: I didn’t write as much as I planned, *however* I am writing every day. Still plotting a bit as well. Something is better than nothing. Or so I’ve heard. I started to revise “Deacon” and stopped because I couldn’t see the pages through my tears. It’s pretty bad.

Just kidding. It’s horrendous.

2) Health: I’ve been adjusting my eating habits over the past few weeks, so this past week was cake. And by cake, I mean easy. I didn’t eat cake. I did eat some chocolate. But that shit’s good for you, right? My workouts weren’t spot on, but I did walk 4x (plus being on my feet constantly at work) and nailed 1 strength session. Baby steps, because baby steps still burn calories. Meditation: good.

3) I don’t really have a third right now, aside from don’t lose my marbles at my new job. And I didn’t, so I suppose I succeeded there. Yay, me!

I did realize that I might have set my expectations for myself too high this past week. This is going to be an adjustment and I need to cut myself a wee bit of slack for another week or two until my mind/body is used to this sort of nonstop clinic action again. I altered my goals for the next two weeks, which doesn’t mess up my quarterly or yearly goals, so I’m good.

It’s all good, people.

Except Henry died yesterday.

 

Peace out, our happy, friendly, weird little fish. We’ll miss you.

Did you already fail at some of your goals/resolutions for the New Year as well? (Please say yes so I don’t feel alone. So, so alone…)