Fat Fridays Return

So, I just checked, and the last time I posted a Fat Friday was in September of 2019. It’s been a while. I’m pretty sure that it’s been that long since I’ve done anything concrete to tackle my weight problems. (For those of you that have joined since September of 2019, Fat Friday is my once-a-week blog devoted to all things “weight loss”.) A lot has happened during that time. I’m not going to beat myself up for putting weight loss on the back burner. But, I will celebrate that it is finally taking Center Stage again. 

Right now my main motivation for losing weight is health. I am prediabetic and my blood sugar hasn’t been great. I haven’t been sleeping well. I’ve been tired all the time. No energy. And I really want to be healthy so I can do things with my family, especially hiking and camping, which our family enjoys doing. 

January of course is THE TIME to start a new diet or exercise program. I did not WANT to start a new diet or exercise progam, but I knew it was time. So, I got on the internet and started doing searches, and quite by accident found the KickOff App. You pay a monthly fee and are assigned a personal trainer/health coach. You get the app and then every day you log either by writing or by photo, all the food that you eat. Every day you are given a new workout to do that comes with detailed instructions, pictures, videos to show you how to do it. They also give you a daily menu of recipes you can make, but you don’t have to follow those. Your personal trainer texts you at least twice a day to talk about your food choices and see how things are going etc. 

They ask you a bunch of questions at the beginning to see what you are looking for as far as exercise and diet are concerned. They have different levels you can pay for (I’m doing the basic level which is $95/month) and they can help you with different goals besides weight loss. 

I am almost at the end of week three and I feel like it’s a great fit for me. I asked to do five workouts a week, and while each workout has been challenging, it has not been SO challenging that I’ve been overly sore or hurt myself. But, this week she upped how much I am doing and I can tell that I’m getting stronger. This is a new thing for me to be doing so much exercise, and I am enjoying it. It is helping with dealing with stress and I’m sleeping better, feeling a little more energy. 

The diet part has also been really good. I decided at the beginning that since I’m paying for this, I’m not going to cheat. I’m going to record EVERYTHING that I eat. If I feel like not being honest, then I might as well stop doing the program. So, imagine having to take a picture of everything that you eat and show it to someone everyday. Yeah. It’s a great motivator to not grab a handful of chips, or eat that One chocolate, or just eat that One package of cheese crackers. And over three weeks my food choices have gotten better and better and my serving sizes are slowly going down as well. 

Now, if you are looking for someone to dictate what you eat, and how much, and what kind, this probably is not a good fit for you. While they do offer a menu plan, my trainer has been willing to just offer daily suggestions based off of what I’m eating, like, maybe try brown rice or a sweet potato instead of white rice, or maybe next time, try to fill your plate half full of vegetables…This is a good fit for me because I’ve already spent years researching diet and nutrition. I already know what my body likes. Lots of lean protein. Lots of vegetables. Lots of berries. Whole grain carbs in small servings. Some fat, but not a ton. That works for me. (When I am actually trying to be healthy that is!) And having to keep track of everything I eat has really helped me get back to what my body likes and wants. 

I think the number one reason this program is a good fit for me is because it tells me what to do every day and then keeps me accountable. I thrive on that kind of system. Just give me a list, I love checking things off, and the knowledge that someone is looking at what I’m doing with some encouragement thrown in, I’m all set. 

Well, I’ll let you know how it’s going next week. 

Here’s a link to their website www.trainwithkickoff.com if you just want some info.

If you’re really interested in signing up you can click on this one to get to my trainer and give me a discount on my plan. 🙂

https://www.trainwithkickoff.com/coaches/ChelseaDenlinger?ref=5vfjoplbefx

The Art of Mental Health

I’ve been thinking some about mental health. Our family has been going through a lot of big transitions these last couple weeks as my kids have all started back to school. My oldest son is getting ready to head off to Montana for a year, my oldest daughter is home for a quick visit after her summer in Alaska and then she heads back to Alaska for another year. 

Trying to adjust to a new schedule, new routines, new family dynamics, has been exhausting. My body’s response to lots of stress and change is to kick in the insomnia. So, lately, somewhere around 3am, I wake up and can’t go back to sleep for hours. I think I probably could go back to sleep easier if my thoughts would just stop. Racing thoughts. Anxious thoughts. Little worries that quickly turn into life-threatening tragedies. And I’m laying there just wishing my brain would shut up and go to sleep. 

I have been fighting anxiety and panic attacks since I was nineteen years old. I’ve learned some things over the years. When I’m in a full-blown panic attack I find that reciting my Creed of Beliefs out loud helps things to calm down. Writing down all the things I’m afraid of and then writing on top of those things scriptures where God has promised to take care of these particular worries is also a big thing I can do. But usually my anxiety doesn’t reach those levels. Usually I can keep it under control. 

It was only this week that I connected some dots with my behavior. I suddenly realized that some of my life-long habits are actually ways of controlling anxiety. This week I have been carrying around a book of Sudoku puzzles (very fun math puzzles!). When I’m sitting in a room with all my kids clamoring around me, telling me about their days at school, playing with each other, asking for me to watch them do a trick or look at this picture they colored, I sit there and work on my Sudoku puzzles. Whenever they want my attention I look up and give it to them, but as soon as they’ve moved on, I go back to my puzzle. So, this week, I suddenly realized that when I’m doing Sudoku all my racing thoughts go on pause. It’s like, somehow, doing Sudoku uses enough brain power that it distracts those thoughts, but I can still listen to the conversations around me. 

After this major AH-HAH moment, I started wondering what else I do that has the same effect. Playing the piano definitely does that, though it takes too much brain power to be able to still listen to other people in the room. But playing Bach is kind of like pouring soothing oil on a raw wound. It creates order out of chaos. 

Reading books is also a huge one. I have been a bookworm since I was in Second Grade. But, I can read a book in the room with my family and still hear what’s going on around me, and stop reading and engage and then go back to reading. 

Then there are the times when I can’t do these activities because I’m driving or in a meeting or some other place where those things would be frowned upon. Well, then I usually have some story that I’m creating in my head and I run the story in my mind, kind of like a movie, making it up as I go along. 

I’ve always thought I was a little weird. Why do I do these things? I have to admit, realizing that these habits are actually ways that I manage anxiety is actually a bit of a relief. I feel like instead of being a bit weird and anti-social, I have actually just stumbled on ways of being a bit more mentally healthy. And it didn’t involve any illegal substances or harmful practices. Yay! 

Of course, it would be nice if those racing thoughts would just stop. And I find that I engage less in my Habits when I’m doing well spiritually, physically, mentally. But, I’ve also discovered that I can’t control everything that happens in life. Sometimes I have lots of time and energy to focus on being healthy. But other times life starts throwing a bunch of curve balls and instead of “living victoriously” it’s more like holding on to the roller coaster with an icy grip and just waiting for those big flips and turns to be over before you hit another straight stretch. 

I thank God for his mercy and grace that helps me to soar high, living the Great Life. And I thank God for his mercy and grace that helps me to just hang on and survive when life is hard. And I’m thankful for the coping mechanisms he’s helped me to find without my even realizing it.