Things I think while running

I started running again. Or attempting to run. I’m really walk/running at this point. But it’s an effort, and honestly I had not been making much of an effort before mid-December. I went to the doctor, and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. It’s familial, and honestly it’s not even that high yet, but high enough for me to decide to get my butt in shape.

I’ve been running with a friend, who coincidentally moved to Charlotte from Montgomery a few years before me and lives in the neighborhood across the street from me. Life is random sometimes.

So what do I think while I’m running. Here’s a list:

  • The Very Beginning: This feels great! My body is strong!
  • About 5 Seconds Later: Well, now I feel like I’m running on my left leg wrong.
  • Telling myself to Settle and think: Why can’t I run on my toes?
  • Hyper-focusing on breathing, which makes me feel like I can’t breathe: Am I chest breathing? I need to belly breathe.
  • Questioning if my body is falling apart now that I’m over 40: What’s up with my left leg?
  • Almost to a mile and thinking about correct form and breathing techniques: Am I alternating each breath with each footstep?
  • One Mile In: Wow–done with mile 1 already. I’ll stop and walk for a few minutes
  • Start running 2nd mile: Why is this so hard? Have I been running forever? Everything hurts. I have 1,000 miles more to go to get to the 3rd mile.
  • Sail down a hill — Wow — I’m an awesome runner. I can go so fast. I’m a Gazelle! Look at me!
  • Struggle to run uphill — Why am I even doing this? Running is hard! I hate this. Hills are terrible. Who even made hills?
  • Hit the 3rd mile — yes! Almost done.
  • Run/walk/run/walk — why can’t I just run the whole time?
  • Finish 3rd Mile: 3 miles is so easy. I bet I could do 6!

Deep thoughts during a run. I try to get myself to settle, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Breathing has always been my problem. I guess this is because I have asthma, and therefore not being able to breathe can sometimes be a big deal for me.

I love the feeling after a run. It’s like I have just conquered so much, and it makes it all worth it. Sometimes on runs I come up with ideas for writing too. I need that right now, since I have had a writer’s block and really have not been producing much work. I had an idea during a run the other day, and I think I will start working on it. Not sure if it will be a short story or a novel, but here’s hoping I can get some words on paper.

Today, after my run, I saw this beautiful sight when I rounded the corner. The clouds pulling away and the moon shining bright like a beacon. A reminder that there is always something beautiful after the storm.

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Making Changes

Did you know there are people who have lost weight and gotten fit since Covid-19 started? I hate those people. Just kidding–sorta. I really do hate those people sometimes.

My whole life I have struggled with weight. I have never been a small person. In high school, I played tennis and had an athletic build. Of course, most of the time I looked bigger than I really was because of the clothes. I still can’t believe some of the things we wore in the 1990s.

My mantra this week is to do 5 things a day on my list. Since coming home in March, I’ve had a hard time with motivation. Blame this on my ADHD or something, but I find it hard to get off the bed, or stop binging Netflix. I have consistently walked with my neighbors. I’ve also consistently made excuses for why I packed on 15 pounds. I can tell you why I gained weight: I ate and drank too much and I didn’t move enough.

In that past, about 9 years ago, after my daughter was born I lost about 60 pounds. I did this by eating less and moving more. I know I can do that again. I am back to the same weight I weighed 9 years ago when I decided to lose that weight. It’s funny, because I consistently told myself I would never be that weight again, but here I am.

I know weight doesn’t make a person, but the truth is I feel better about myself when I weigh a certain amount. I can breathe better (I have asthma). I can keep up with the kids more. I’m happier with my body and my self image. Those are important things toward my overall happiness.

I’m sick of doing nothing, so instead I’ll do something.

Today my 5 goals:

  1. Ride my bike
  2. Clean the kids’ bathroom
  3. Write/Blog
  4. Spend Time Away from my phone and with My Husband
  5. Log my Food All Day

I think it’s important to recognize when changes are warranted and to start making them. As a person, we all grow and change as we move through life. I spent a lot of time at home once COVID-19 changed all of our lives. I am a homebody, and this is where I felt most comfortable. Unfortunately, it meant my life became more sedentary without me even realizing it. So I’m going to change for me!

Here’s to living life with purpose.

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Recommit

This weekend, I started recommitting. I go through up and down periods as I’m sure everyone else does too. I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been editing. I haven’t been running. I decided a week ago I needed to do all of the above.

First, I created an exercise schedule to get my butt in gear to run. I’m signing up for a 5k to run at the end of October. I’m hoping this will help me stick to it again. After the half, I felt burnt out on running. I’m glad I took a break and focused on strength training. My body needed it. But it’s time to begin again. Plus, cooler weather will be coming in the next few months. I love running in the cooler weather much more than hot weather. The timing works out.

As far as writing, I just haven’t had the bug. Ideas haven’t been sticking. I’ve started a few works then dropped them. I’ve written a few shorter pieces. But nothing has seemed inspiring. This weekend, I went to a Creative Writer’s Group. I’d been once before, and it was something I had intended to commit myself to, but it just didn’t happen with our busy schedule. Well not, I’m going to start going. I need the accountability. I need to have a prompt. I need to set goals. Creativity is my purpose. I’m sure of that. Without it I often feel lost. When I’m writing, I’m my happiest. I know this. I’ve said it before. It’s just putting it into action and fitting everything into an already tight schedule.

I’m taking baby steps now.

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Weekly Goals June 10-17

Today is June 9th. Well, you’re reading this on Friday, June 10th, because I wrote this post yesterday. I’m literally speaking to you from the past. This week I have been making excuses. Back a long time ago, on this blog I checked in once a week with goals. I felt this helped me make changes in my life. I know this might be boring for some of you dear readers, but it might also inspire you to make your own goals and live by them.

Back at the end of April, I ran a half-marathon. I think some of you might remember that. And then I lost my exercise mojo. I hated running after that dang half. I didn’t want to take another step. I didn’t want to run another mile or two, but definitely not LONG runs. Thinking about running 8, 9, or 10 miles gave me anxiety. I threw myself back into yoga and Glide, and I went to a few other classes at the Y. Then I started cleaning out my closets. And eating…a lot. And I gained weight. Imagine that. But at first, I lost weight which was weird and confusing. Then I gained 5 lbs this week. In one week. Hopefully that’s water weight, but gees. It takes me so long to get it off that standing on the scale and looking at that number made me want to vomit in my mouth a little a lot.

So I decided today was the day to make goals. And I will do this every Friday for the upcoming week. Friday seems like a good day, because it’s the day I weigh myself and actually believe the scale (I weigh myself almost daily, because it helps with maintenance but Friday is the day of truth). Also, it allows me to set my goals for the week ahead and not fall off the wagon if I play around a little bit on the weekends. I was originally taking part in a weekly blog post on Fridays, but I lost that motivation too. Ugh—motivation can be a hard thing to grasp.

Here are my goals this week (and they are weight loss, lifestyle, and writing goals by the way).

Exercise

  • Run 4 miles on Friday, June 10th
  • Run 6 miles on Saturday, June 11th. Try to keep up with my running partner who has suddenly become a speed demon.
  • Sunday is a day of rest (I think this was duly noted somewhere thousands of years ago)
  • Glide on Monday, Yoga Tuesday, Glide Wednesday, Thursday short run, start over Friday

Food , Drink, Weight

  • No alcohol on weekdays.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies
  • Less chocolate
  • No chips from my chip-pusher James.
  • Strive to lose 1 lb per week until I hit my goal weight (12 lbs to lose)

Writing

  • Write every day – I’m done with setting word limits, because sometimes I do less and sometimes I do more, but I find creativity flows better when I write at least a little bit every day. Blogs count too.

Those are my goals for the upcoming week. What are yours?

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Achieving Your Goals

Maybe this is a funny post to write after all of the U.S.A. gorged themselves on too much food yesterday. But I always say there is no place like the present to make a positive change. I am a procrastinator, and I’ve always been hell bent on putting off until tomorrow what I can get done today. But all that changed when I decided to make some much-needed changes in my life.

Back, a few years ago, I lost all my hair to Alopecia Universalis. And I realized I was fat and unhappy. I’ve told you all about this before, so bear with me, this blog post might actually go somewhere.

I remember thinking it didn’t matter what I put in my mouth, because I thought that no matter what I’d always be fat. Watching my diet and exercise seemed exhausting on top of raising three kids, working, and being unhappy with most of where my life was heading. I focused on the negative and was in a real slump. I felt lost, and I wanted things to be different for me and for my family.

And then one day, I was walking up the stairs at work and I could barely catch my breath. I flipped through some pictures from my wedding, and I saw how healthy I looked. I looked at how I always sat on the couch and didn’t even really want to play with my three little kids. And it was enough for me to make a change. I started going to Tae Kwon Do. I made friends. I focused on myself and my needs. I changed my attitude to others. I started being nicer to people in my life and worked on controlling my anger, which had spiraled out of control at that point. I worked on both my physical and mental health (they go hand-in-hand folks).

I found the value in having goals, achieving goals, and not putting those goals off. Today, I’m more physically healthy and more emotionally healthy than I’ve been in a long time. I’m thankful for all I have: family, friends, health, work, and for my writing successes. I realized in order to make a positive change in your life, you have to be willing to do it and stop making excuses that allow you to fail. I also realized that happiness comes from within, not from external forces, not from your friends and your family. If you’re not happy with yourself, then everyone will disappoint you because you’re disappointed with yourself.

And slowly but surely, I lost 60 pounds. I struggled. I still struggle to get off the couch, but now I exercise about six days a week. I watch what I put in my mouth. And when I’m feeling sad, I let myself wallow for a few days, and then I think about what I can change to bring myself out of the funk, instead of blaming others.

LaurenBefore Picture

Lauren – Thanksgiving 2011. Someone tell me to get a new wig please! I didn’t allow anyone to take full body shots of me then!

Lauren 2015 Thanksgiving

Lauren 2015 – 60 pounds later – Sorry for the quality folks, I’m in between cameras!

If I can do it then anyone can. Set your mind to something and you can achieve it. Accountability matters, even if the person you’re accountable to is yourself.

What are your goals? Weight loss or otherwise?


 

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Top 10 Tuesday Goals

I’m in the full throes of NaNoWriMo this week. I meant to blog yesterday, but even waking up at 4:15 (thanks to Fall Back), it took me the whole morning before work to get in my 1649 words.

Excuse any typos. I’m going to try to re-read this to make sure I pluck them all out but it’s hard with this dang splint.

Broken metacarpal

I’m feeling behind the eight-ball this week, which could be due to how crazy my day job felt last week. Or the fact that I feel like I’ll never finish editing Little Birdhouses. Plus I’ve been binge-watching Scandal, which isn’t good for me. But, damn, that show is so good. I mean who doesn’t love the chemistry between Olivia and the President? And that’s some good writing, although some of the shows have become more predictable to me lately. No spoilers please. I’m watching it on Netflix.

So today, I thought I’d list some goals so I don’t get sucked into Netflix-land. These are goals just for today:

  1. Smile: Yep. I put this on mt goal list. Maybe I’m suffering from SAD, but my overbooked, overwhelming schedule is driving me nuts. I’m about ready to escape to anywhere but here (but preferably a place where there’s a beach and a cocktail in my hand). Smiling helps me feel better and it makes other people feel good too.
  2. Edit Chapter Four of Little Birdhouses: I’m on the 4th revision now, and for some reason whenever my schedule fills up, I forget I ought to be revising this. I need to edit it and send it onto my readers.
  3. Write 1650 words on The Cape: At least that’s what I think the story will be called. I shared the beginning of the story here last week. It’s taking off, and now I’m writing two novels at the same time. Tell me when I’ll fit all that in?
  4. Run: It’s 3 mile Tuesday. I’ll try to get in 3 miles this AM or 30 minutes. Running makes me feel sane. Plus, I can listen to All The Light We Cannot See while I’m hitting the pavement, which is more productive than watching Scandal.
  5. Clean Out My Desk: At work. I’m on an organizational kick, which only happens to me about once a year, so I need to take advantage of it while I can.
  6. Write a newsletter: For PTA. Due this week.
  7. Talk to a friend: Friends are so great to keep us motivated and grounded. Tonight is gymnastics/TKD night, which means I’ll be sitting on a bench for about four hours. I love the gym moms. It’s so nice to have friends who understand the craziness of gym life! I love all my friends. You guys rock!
  8. Breath: I can’t do yoga with my broken hand, but I can practice my deep breathing when I’m overwhelmed.
  9. Laugh: Laughter is the best antidote when I feel down. It feels us with endorphins. Sometimes laughing at the disaster of living makes you realize how small your problems are in the big scheme of things.
  10. Have Fun: I started writing because I enjoyed it. Writing’s my dream job, and so it’s important to me that I still have fun when I do it. Creating worlds, characters, analogies is amazing and makes me in awe of what the human brain is capable of.

What are your goals today?


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Top Ten Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

by Lulumon Athletica Wikicommons

by Lulumon Athletica Wikicommons

I promised you a few weeks ago I would start writing a post on weight loss, healthy living, and healthy eating. Well because I’m a slacker, or extremely busy, or both, I’m just now getting to that! And today, I thought it would be fun to start with a Top 10 list! So here are the Top Ten Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight.

  1. You’re Making Excuses: I put this as number one, because it’s true. Any time people say they’re too busy to exercise, or they can’t afford healthy food, they’re just thinking of an excuse to fail before they’ve even started trying. STOP MAKING EXCUSES! If I can fit exercise into my life five days a week, with three kids, a day job, writing as a secondary job, and taking an online class, then you certainly can.
  2. Portion Size: There’s a simple formula to losing weight (More calories out than in–with a few caveats). Portion size in the U.S. is out of control. When you go to a restaurant, immediately ask that half of your food be boxed up. Then you’ll be eating a more normal portion size. At home, eat off of smaller plates like salad plates. The plate will look full and you will eat less.
  3. You’re On A Fad Diet: Low Carbs, The Cabbage Soup Diet, Atkins diet. None of these will lead to long-term sustainable weight loss. Why? Because once you reintroduce the food you’re going to crave it so much you’ll overeat it again and be back where you started. Instead, replace unhealthy carbs with healthy carbs like multigrain bread instead of wheat. And reduce portion size to limit the amount you’re eating.
  4. You Don’t Eat Enough: Seems like not eating enough wouldn’t be the problem, right? Wrong. If you don’t eat enough you’re messing up your metabolism. Plus, if you don’t eat enough at meals then you’ll be more likely to snack and choose unhealthy snacks.
  5. You don’t know the difference between good fats and bad fats: Fat’s fat right? WRONG. The fat in an Oreo is not comparable to the fat in nuts or an avocado. While nuts and avocados tend to be higher in calories, they have good fats which help in weight loss and provide important nutrients for your body. Nuts are also protein-based and will help you stay full. Have a handful of nuts in between meals instead of reaching for that chocolate bar. Your waist line will thank you!
  6. You Don’t Drink Water: Anyone who knows me will tell you I drink three things: water, milk, and beer. Okay, maybe four, I occasionally have a glass of orange juice with a snack of popcorn. Drink a glass of water before a meal, and you’ll eat less. Plus, staying hydrated can reduce your urge to eat as sometimes when you’re thirsty your mind thinks you’re hungry. Get rid of sugary drinks like soda and juice, which provide no nutritional benefit and are a calorie bomb! Plus, sugar causes you to feel hungry. (Your body treats the chemicals in diet sodas the same as sugar in a regular soda, so don’t think you’re doing yourself favors by only drinking diet).
  7. You’re Only Doing Cardio: I am guilty of this one. I love cardio, and I dread weight training and strength training sessions. Strength training helps you build muscle and your body must burn more calories to maintain one pound of muscle vs. one pound of fat. Strength training can come in different forms: exercise machines at a gym, high-intensity interval trainings with weights, yoga, and you can even strength train at home by doing sit-ups, push-ups, and basic hand-weights. (Check out YouTube for some basic and quick strength-training exercises).
  8. You Don’t Sleep Enough: It’s a fact, when you don’t sleep enough you’re apt to reach for a bad food. Snooze 6-8 hours a night (for adults) and reach for the veggies!
  9. You Don’t Eat Your Veggies: Your Mom was right when she said to eat your veggies. Eat 5-7 servings of veggies a day (I like to get this in homemade smoothies or have a salad at work). Veggies offer vital nutrients to your body, and a plant-based diet full of fiber lets your body feel fuller longer.
  10. You’re Surrounded By Unhealthy People: It’s hard to lose weight if your husband is eating an ice cream sundae every night. You need your family and friends to be on the same page with you and to encourage your weight loss goals. If you’re married, turn it into a friendly competition even if it ticks you off that your husband can lose ten pounds by just giving up soda. Talk to your kids about healthy eating habits, so it’s easier for them to establish a healthy lifestyle as adults. They’ll thank you in the future.

What are some ways you’ve found to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle? What derails you from your weight-loss goals?


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