Thursday, May 5, 2016

Right now

- I am going 100% out of my mind because a mockingbird has decided to move in somewhere on our block. He has a pretty solid 3 hour repertoire of bird calls, with an astounding amount of variety, which I would find impressive except that he goes through it from 2 am - 5 am every damn morning. I love birdsong but it's an alarm clock for me, so as soon as I hear it I wake up for the day. This morning I was actually considering venturing out and wandering around the block in a sleep deprived haze, and if I had found that sucker I think I would have strangled him with my bare hands.

- I'm on a constant quest to eat more vegetables, but even though I love them I never seem to get enough in. It's just always easier to snack on cheese and crackers or hardboiled eggs, or anything, really. This week it finally occurred to me that I could make Ranch dip using full fat Greek yogurt and it has revolutionized my vegetable intake. When I get hungry in the afternoon I take out a big container of mixed veg (this week it's carrots, sliced cucumbers, snap peas and broccoli) and then dip away. Bam. Vegetables + protein + fat (and a touch of MSG, but so what?). I did look up a recipe for homemade Ranch mix but then realized I was going to have to track down a bunch of stuff and I gave up for the time being. I don't really want to buy 15 lbs of buttermilk powder, thanks. I'll find it in a bulk section somewhere at some point.

- Also health related - trying to get in long walks daily. I've always sworn by hardcore cardio, feeling like a workout isn't worth it unless I've nearly killed myself and burned as many calories as humanly possible. But I have this (completely unscientific) theory that I've been catching myself in a loop - working out hard because I'm stressed, and even though that seems to give me temporary relief, maybe it's just keeping my body stressed all the time? And not helping me lose weight? So I'm trying to commit to gentler workouts for the time being (with the occasional leisurely run thrown in if I really want one). It is surprisingly hard to overcome years of pushing myself, but I feel like I'm more peaceful on the days when I walk. I am not more peaceful on the days when I force myself to do ab workouts, but I'm trying to do that too, for the sake of my core, which is apparently woefully weak.

- Detracting from my health efforts - TV is soooo good right now. Broad City is back and it's the show I'm most excited about each week. I'm trying out The Family, which is creepy enough to keep me watching but I just don't understand how they can stretch this out for an entire season, much less multiple seasons. Loving The Americans this season and wish it would never end. And of course, HBO is currently in it's sweet spot - Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley and Veep. We are also "watching" House of Cards but I think I have some kind of Pavlovian response to the theme song, because I fall asleep almost as soon as each episode starts. It doesn't really matter, because at this point I slept through so much of last season that it didn't seem worth trying to catch up. Am I missing out?

35 comments:

  1. Do you have a sleep machine? I got one this year and it has CHANGED MY LIFE! I sleep so much better.

    Also, I really enjoy the 7 min work out app in my garage every week day morning. It gets my heart rate up but doesn't feel too intense!

    I am definitely going to try the veggie dip with greek yogurt! Brilliant!

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    1. We don't have one but we were just talking about it this week! (At 3am, as I complained about that stupid loud bird)

      Short and sweet works for me! I'm trying to do short strength sessions at home but it's so hard for me to motivate for strength stuff. This week I created a short series of exercises for each day of the week (only 10 minutes a day) and I'm hoping I can stick with that because my muscles need some help right now. : )

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  2. I plowed through House of Cards but you HAVE to skip that intro every time! It's way too long!

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    1. It's so weird - I like the intro and I like the show, but I consistently fall asleep in a way that I don't with any other show I watch. I think the music and their voices are too soothing for me.

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  3. This is just to say--it is always such a pleasure to see you on my feed. Hi, lady.

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  4. Hey there! Just a thought in terms of exercising - you're right about chronic cardio putting too much stress on your body. Lots of low level exercise like walking, yoga, or leisurely hiking and then (you'll hate me for saying this) weightlifting 2-3 times a week. I was on the cardio hamster wheel for YEARS but now that I've switched to weightlifting/walking, I feel 100x better. Less stress, hardly ever get sick, my weight stays at a good, stable level, etc. It may worth it to check out a non-hardcore lifting program online or work with an enlightened trainer for a couple weeks to show you the ropes and work out a program for you...May be worth thinking about..

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    1. I don't hate you for saying it, I hate me for knowing it and still refusing to get on board! I just hate weight lifting and I get no satisfaction from it, so it's so hard to force myself to do it. I'm trying to start with baby steps this week, doing 10 minutes of body weight strength stuff at home to get myself back into some kind of shape and then I'll figure out how to incorporate weights (I hope). I naturally gain muscle really easily (I know they always tell women that they won't bulk up when they lift weights, but they should have seen me when I was playing sports in high school - I *do* bulk up quickly) so it's a delicate balancing act for me to strengthen without adding so much muscle that I feel larger than when I started.

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  5. A mockingbird nested right outside my bedroom window a few springs ago, and it usually went wild around 11pm. Good news: yours will stop once it finds a mate... in the meantime foam earplugs from the drugstore are a cheap, easy solution. :)

    Your lower-level cardio sounds fulfilling!

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    1. I'm thinking about signing him up for a dating service ....

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  6. Bob's Red Mill brand sells buttermilk powder, it's only a 12 oz? or 16oz bag. I actually find it comes in super handy - hello buttermilk pancakes! (I can never use up an entire container of buttermilk) And it does last forever. :)

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    1. Oooh - thanks for the tip! I'd be willing to buy a bag that size and they probably have it at Whole Foods.

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  7. Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird ;-)

    Dog-walking several times a day is excellent and so much more beneficial for the body & mind than the gym. Since starting that line of work I no longer feel that 'didn't go to the gym/zumba class' guilt and my overall health has improved.

    I love your blog, though I rarely comment. Thank you for keeping it going all these years!

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    1. I know, and I also shouldn't be surprised that there is a mockingbird singing in the dead of night, right? : )

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  8. I never thought about using Greek yogurt for a Ranch veggie dip, but now I'm going to have to give it a try. I, too, am on a mission to eat more veggies but it just seems so much easier to grab a cheese stick or yogurt from the fridge when I'm feeling snacky.

    Birds always wake me up in the morning and it drives me crazy. Sorry about your mockingbird nuisance. :(

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    1. The dip is really working for me this week! Although I'll have to switch it up week to week or I'll get bored. Maybe do hummus one week and tzatziki another and just rotate?

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  9. No way I could sleep without a sound machine. But I travel a lot and hated packing it all the time so I discovered a sound machine app. I love it! I keep my phone plugged in and it goes on all night. I personally like the oscillating fan sound :)

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    1. Do you wear headphones at night or just have it on your nightstand? I have a really hard time with ear plugs or headphones at night, so I'm wondering if the noise machine would be better for me.

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    2. No it just plays through the phone. A sound machine is probably better but the app would be a good thing to remember for camping :)

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  10. Rachel, I'm working on a pub cheese dip made of cashews, I'll let you know once I'm happy with the recipe! :)

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  11. You should check out the tv show "the catch" I think kate atkinsons created is. Also, check out the blog paleoomg she discuss lifting for the body you want.

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    1. Thank you! I had no idea Kate Atkinson was involved in that! I saw the previews and thought they were sooo cheesy, but it's so hard to tell from previews! I'll check it out.

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  12. The Greek yogurt ranch dip is the only think that gets me eating vegetables at any time other than dinner.

    Also, try a Dohm white noise machine. I live in the city and that thing blocks out pounding garbage trucks and emergency vehicle sirens. It's great.

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  13. I just signed up for Amazon prime 30 day free trial just so I could watch The Americans.....binge watching does not even begin to describe my behavior....it may be just a tad unhealthy how much I've watched over the weekend!
    Anon in Massachusetts

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    1. But it's such good binge watching! I also joke that I'd watch for the wigs alone - they crack me up. But the show itself is amazing.

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  14. Hey Rachel, you sound stressed Waking up after four hours is pretty sypmtomatic of too much stress. I wish I had some magic wand to wave over your distress and make it disappear, because you do bring beauty and fun into my life. Wishing you health and relaxation.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I do think the insomnia relates to stress and it is driving me crazy because I don't really have a good reason to be stressed out right now! I'm not balancing as many things as I have been in the past and I have more free time than I have for years. Maybe it's just habit? My focus right now is on reducing stress, so hopefully it'll pay off and I'll get into some better habits.

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    2. Well, I did have a lot of bad times in my mid to late forties related to perimenopause. I don't know how old you are, but the hormones do start changing in the mid-thirties, actually. It could be that. I recently started using Rhodiola, and it makes me sleep so much better than I ever have, my friend was bugging me to try it for ages, and I finally did, and it's da bomb!

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    3. Oh, and check your blood iron levels.

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    4. Oh, and check your blood iron levels.

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    5. Unfortunately I think my problem is life long! I've always had periodic (and incredibly frustrating) insomnia, and so does everyone in my family. Major bummer! But it's a good reminder to get my iron levels checked. I tend to run low and normally monitor it when I give blood, but I haven't been able to donate for a while so I have no idea where I'm at. Thanks!

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  15. Rachel - also trying to de-stress (from no apparent cause), although not having much success. My crummy research to date has me drinking less coffee, trying out yoga (works temporarily), and trying to go to sleep earlier. Good luck with this, and I'll be eagerly checking in for updates!

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    1. Good luck to you! I've been off coffee for several years (although I will treat myself to one every few weeks and that seems to be okay) and it made a huge difference. Right now I'm focusing on going to bed earlier, walking (almost) daily, using a coconut oil and sugar scrub in the shower (sounds weird, but I hate lotion and dry skin in almost equal measure, so this makes me feel better about myself without having to use lotion much) and just reminding myself to breathe more. Oh, and I even got one of those fancy adult coloring books, which is a pretty enjoyable way to zone out sometimes. My instinct is to feel guilty about doing anything non-productive, so it's a nice exercise to give myself permission to do something satisfying and yet utterly useless for a while.

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