Day 31: Cutting Back

I’m having some good stuff happen re: energy levels, so want to document it here. On Sunday morning, I officially started to cut back on my coffee consumption. I’d been drinking A LOT – at least 48 oz. of coffee (black, no sugar) every day, but sometimes closer to 72 oz. I just sipped it all day long. So that was possibly adding to my weird energy levels and anxiety, where I was always tired all day but didn’t sleep well at night, either. From now on, I’m going to keep cutting back until I’m drinking maybe a typical 12 oz. coffee mug’s worth of black coffee first thing, end of story. As of today, I had a 16 oz. iced coffee this morning, then drank water the rest of the day.

I’ve also gotten more sleep than usual the last two nights – over 8 hours, both nights! I’m about to put my computer away and try for a third night in a row. Tomorrow I need to go to work an hour early, so I can try to get at least 6 hours of sleep immediately after work, then roll into my second job feeling somewhat rested. We’ll see what happens. I have a feeling I won’t sleep, and the whole next 24 hours will be crazy. But it might work out, who knows? Lol.

As for food, I’ve been eating very basic meals. For the past three nights, I’ve eaten plain old roasted chicken for dinner (not because of any diet rules, just because I’ve been dead tired and the roast chicken was just sitting there in the fridge already). Tonight I added in a baked sweet potato to really spice up my life. This weekend I need to remember to cook up a batch of greens so I’ll have veggies on hand when I get home from the gym. I’ve been getting GNC smoothies for the past two days at lunch. I can’t really afford that kind of splurge, but they’ve also been helping with the energy level. They’ve got this smoothie called the Lovers’ Lane, which has arginine in it. The supplement is touted as having sexual health benefits for women, since it increases blood flow, but I have been getting it because it perks me up and gives me enough energy to get through the rest of my day. Plus, peach smoothies are delicious!

Tomorrow I’m really hoping that I am back in the 180’s. I’m really tired of this weird plateau at the 190 – 192 mark. I knew it was going to happen, as it’s historically always the case that I get stuck at 190 and give up. But I feel like I’m doing a great job of just sticking in there. When it came time to leave work today, it was late, and I typically would have talked myself out of going if this were a couple of months ago. But today I had a little conversation in my head about how good it was going to feel to at least get in a little bitty workout, and I believed myself almost immediately. It wasn’t nearly the same struggle that it used to be.

I play the same mind trick they use all the time in Bikram class. Bikram teachers say that you just have to stay on the mat. Doesn’t matter if you do any of the poses, just don’t leave the room. Just being on the mat gets you all of the benefits. Even if you don’t believe it at first, the longer you work at telling it to yourself, the easier it is to understand that it’s true. I just have to go to the gym. Just make the effort, walk in the door, change into my gym clothes. After that, whatever I choose to do is just fine. The battle has already been won. Some days I’m genuinely too tired to do much but a little bit of weight machine work and gentle stretching. But that’s OK – it’s still more than I would have done at home on the couch. Other days, I surprise myself and end up really pushing it on the elliptical, or attending a class and getting super sweaty ūüôā

Anyway, I just need to have faith that eventually I will wake up and my new plateau will be 180. Won’t that be awesome? I’ll probably still be bitching about it, so you guys need to remind me when the time comes that I just need to stick it out, and I’ll get past that plateau soon enough, too.

Today’s Weight: 190.2 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 15,056 steps (including 35 minutes on the elliptical), and an 8Fit workout.

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Day 9: Period

NewGirlPeriod

I didn’t sleep well last night, and was tired all day today. A few irritating things happened prior to work and at the office that made my day a little more of a hassle than it needed to be, but overall I managed not to let it upset me too much. To be honest, I think I’ve just been too low in energy for anything to make that much of an impression, one way or the other. All day long, I kind of shuffled along, doing the things I needed to do, not thinking too deeply about much else. I just didn’t have it in me, and I didn’t even have the energy to think about why that might be, until I had a jolt of inspiration: oh yeah, my period started this morning.

I’m incredibly lucky to typically not suffer any terrible side effects from the monthly shedding of my uterine lining. When I was a teenager, I had two heavy periods a month, something that was eventually regulated in college with hormonal birth control (thank goodness it never came back). Other than that, I don’t have intense cramps or headaches or nausea. I bloat a little, but it’s not that noticeable (especially now that I’m naturally more plump). My period is so easy to deal with that I have the luxury of basically getting to ignore it, save for having to buy tampons from time to time. For years,¬†I mistakenly thought that I lacked period symptoms, but what I was actually lacking¬†was a connection to my body.

A couple of years back,¬†I was a member at a¬†weight lifting gym called Iron Tribe. Though I can no longer afford the membership fees, the lessons I learned there were vital to my growth as an athlete and a woman. I loved weight lifting. I still do, though I get to do much less of it. One of the things that I learned – even though apparently I keep forgetting it – is that I was physically weaker a few days before and during my period. It was noticeable. One day I’d be doing multiple reps of a¬†160¬†lbs. deadlift, and the next I could barely manage one rep at 150 lbs. A box jump that had been slightly difficult was now completely impossible. Simple kettlebell swings¬†would now have me sobbing in frustration. I’d suddenly get lightheaded, and was easily winded. Then I started to realize that it wasn’t just me. The other women who came in to work out on their periods complained of similar symptoms.

It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. It’s harder to see when I’m not exerting a lot of physical energy, but I’m weaker and more tired when I’m on my period. Our bodies are complex machines. There’s a lot going on in here, and during my period, I need to learn to give myself a break. I don’t have an excuse to not work out, but I do have permission to be kind to myself. Not being able to do as much doesn’t make me a lesser person. It’s just a measure of where I’m at that day. Some days I need to realize that I’m not being lazy – I’m genuinely tired, and need to take care of myself.

That being said, I ended up forcing myself to walk to the gym (I was so tired, it probably looked like the zombie shuffle). There I met my friend Theo for an invigorating¬†gab session on the ellipticals, followed by stretching and foam rolling. And I think I’m going to go ahead and hit the hay, and aim for a nourishing 9-hour sleep…yum.

Today’s Weight: 192.6 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise:¬†30 minutes on the elliptical, 13k steps, and some stretching