Based on some enlightening conversations I’ve had this week…

I think people might have some wrong ideas about therapy.

https://workitouttogether.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/your-therapist-is-not-your-friend-and-4-other-things-you-need-to-know-about-ethically-sound-counseling/

What do you think?

xoxo

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Posted in Mental Health, Therapy, Work | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Website Wednesday: Eating what your body loves and loving what you eat

Check out my latest post, and below is an extra resource for my Five Minutes til Midnight followers.

https://workitouttogether.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/website-wednesday-eating-what-your-body-loves-and-loving-what-you-eat/

And just for you, my friends:

http://www.thugkitchen.com/

Happy Wednesday! xoxo

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It’s Website Wednesday over on my other site.

Check it out.

https://workitouttogether.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/new-website-wednesday/

What? No, reposting doesn’t mean I’m lazy, I’m just busy.*

Happy Wednesday!

*My story, and I’m sticking to it.

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On Rest Days and Rejecting the Life of a Hermit

lonely rest dayOne extremely unexpected phenomenon that began to occur a few months into my fitness journey was that I began to have a very uneasy relationship with rest days. I just published a short article about why they’re important, but it took a while for me to really wrap my head around it, and honestly, I still feel guilty. Hell, I feel guilty if, like today, I work out early in the day and then don’t work out AGAIN before bed. I manage to work through that guilt (rest through that guilt?) and don’t typically do two-a-days, but dammit, I kind of feel like I should. I can see how people get addicted to exercise. It’s the endorphins, y’all. And, now that I think about it, a feeling like I have a place to go on those long days when I wouldn’t otherwise encounter other human beings.

Now that I’ve started to venture away from the solo nature of the Arc Trainers and dumbbells at the gym, I’m starting to make eye contact with people. I know, right?! And those people are even talking to me. I KNOW, RIGHT??!! The other day it was a woman asking about where I got my lifting gloves (Dick’s) and today it was someone cheerfully singing along to the piped in music who demanded I guess how old he is (37? Nope! 41!). I spend a lot of sometimes intense time with other people at work and at home, and I’ve always thought of the gym as my little one-person cave where tunnel vision works just fine, thankyouverymuch. But after eight years of assiduously ignoring everyone there, I’m beginning to feel a little camaraderie with the regulars. We, you know, nod at each other, and whatnot. My Facebook fast is still firmly in place and may end up being permanent at this point, and that’s where I used to get so much of my connection needs met, especially around working out. It’s been a lonely couple of months, despite some thumbs up on My Fitness Pal check-ins, and “yays” on my Map My (Whatever) workouts. People were not meant to toil in eternal solitude, you guys! At least that’s what I’m beginning to believe.

And everything I’m doing fitness-wise, everything, is through the lens of my new health coaching business (the latest “if” being obtaining a zoning variance – this venture is a roller coaster I haven’t shared much about, but holy cow). I do think it’s important for people to have social connections and I want to foster that in my clients. My membership in the SDLHC on Facebook really is the answer to “How did you lose the weight?” Interestingly, it’s not necessarily the answer to “How are you keeping it off?” But having support in the maintenance phase is important too. Even if that support is sometimes just a knowing nod across the squat rack.

You know, I’m not even going to try to tie this up by bringing it back around to rest days. It’s sort of related. Go with it.

xoxo

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Hey, you guys!

defeat your limitations

For now, I’m going to be doing most of my posting over on my health and fitness/professional(ish) blog, so feel free to follow me over there. In the meantime, here’s the latest post. And thanks so much for your support! xoxo

https://workitouttogether.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/five-ways-to-embrace-or-adjust-your-imperfections/

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Patience, tiny grasshopper!

New blog post alert!

I changed “suggestions” to “tactics” because waiting is more like a battle than anything else. For me, anyway.

https://workitouttogether.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/waiting-it-out-five-suggestions-to-help-with-patience/

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Monday Night Quickie

Introducing my new professional(ish) blog, tailored for client consumption. I shamelessly stole the articles from myself (with a few revisions), but I’ll be adding more original content that focuses on health and wellness, and the exciting new direction of my practice. I’m grateful in advance for any subscribers!

https://workitouttogether.wordpress.com/

xoxo

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Wakie, wakie.

wakie

Yesterday, my teenager turned me on to an app called Wakie and it’s making me remember why I love people.

The idea is that after you download the app, you make yourself available to wake up a fellow human somewhere in the world. The app is randomized so no phone numbers or identifying information gets exchanged other than the country where each person is located. It’s just you, a human being, waking up a fellow human being.

My first thought of course, was that it was yet another strange and barely useful social app. But when I watched my teenager make his first call, well…It became oddly…delightful. A sleepy young man answered, and my son’s voice was the first he heard in the morning of his day, far far away across the world. The app has the ability to record the call, if both people have permitted it to, so afterwards, he and I listened to the recording and giggled about how charmingly groggy his “sleepie” (as the app calls the snoozing person on the other end) was.

When it came time for me to make my first call, I felt a strange sense of trepidation – would I do it “right?” Would the other person be angry or unwelcoming of my call? Would it be better or worse than an alarm?

My first call was to a quiet, tired gentleman in India. I told him it was time to wake up and that I hoped he had a wonderful day. In English, he let me know he was awake and thanked me for the call. After I disconnected, I was beaming. I hoped my voice was a welcome wake up call. The app notifies you when a “sleepie” needs to be awakened, and I was bummed when I didn’t get any more assignments. After ten or fifteen minutes, I closed the app for the night.

I haven’t set up the app to receive my own wake up calls yet, and I’m not sure I will. I would need to leave my volume up all night to get the notification in the morning, and if I’m honest…I’m not sure I want to be the vulnerable one. Isn’t that interesting?

Tonight while my son and his girlfriend were watching a movie, I gave it another shot. One person never answered, another call went to voice mail (the app lets you know that’s the outcome, but you’re not connected to the person’s voice mailbox), but then I was connected twice in a row, both times to people in the U.S. The first call was to a guy who told me his name was Mike, and asked my name. When I told him, he said how wonderful it was to be woken up by my voice and that he thanked me sincerely. All smiles, I then connected to someone who said his name was Jeremy, and who also thanked me, and told me groggily that he had been digging graves lately. I laughed and said, “Is that so?” He laughed as well, and said it was a figure of speech – that what he meant was he was working the graveyard shift, which was why he needed to be woken up at 9pm. I laughed too, and said, “Well, that’s what I thought, but when it comes to digging graves, someone has to, right?” I told him I hoped he had a wonderful night, and he thanked me as well.

It’s just a silly app, right? Except it isn’t. It’s a real live human connection in this disconnected world. It’s reaching out to a stranger, when they’re their most vulnerable, and in that moment, being the very first person they speak to as they begin their day (or gravedigging night). It’s tender and real and strangely loving. In fact, I was telling my son tonight that I have a strange urge to end every call with “I love you.”

It’s not the intimate connection I crave, but it’s an approximation for the moment, and a sweet exchange that lingers long past the thirty seconds of groggy and slightly confused conversation. And it kind of makes me love people. That can’t be a bad thing, am I right?

So for now, good night! Or in the case of the sweet sleepies out there – good morning. 🙂

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Facebook Detox: How I’m saving myself from myself

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Twelve days ago, I decided to once again take a break from Facebook.

It coincided with a relationship break as well, which made it feel doubly risky. How could I ever get through my too-solitary life without my 300+ friends?

Turns out I can survive. And I bet you can too.

Why the break? I was using Facebook like a drug. Checking it before my eyes were fully open in the morning, sneaking peeks when I was driving, ignoring my teenager while I re-posted a funny meme or a shared a passing thought. I knew I was allowing it far too much control in my life, and it felt similar to being on a people mover at the aiport – one of those lateral escalators – the speed of which kept getting turned up incrementally. Sure, I was saying hello to everyone (“Hello! Hi! Great job on the workout! Congratulations on the job! Your baby is adorable!”), but with an increasingly frenetic, driven pace that was making me feel out of control, and in the end, terribly, terribly disconnected.

The benefits of Facebook can’t be denied. My membership in the Single Dad Laughing Health Club helped me lose and keep off 20 pounds, and netted me a zillion new friends, some of whom I love like sisters and brothers. It made possible one of the peak experiences of my life in the form of the Tough Mudder last month. And it allowed my boyfriend and I to find each other, against all odds, 18 months ago.

But the dark side was too much. For a while, I used it to keep connected to my adult kids, but they use it less than I do now. My relationship insecurities were magnified by presumably innocent comments and “likes.” I tell my clients that you can’t prove innocence and you can drive yourself crazy trying, and far too many hours were spent trying to do just that when I was feeling jealous or out of touch with the man I love.

Like with any addiction, though, I couldn’t quit until I was truly ready. I’ve done Facebook detoxes before, with varying degrees of success. One friend even gently mocked me, saying I’d be back sooner than I planned. Not this time. Here’s how I’m doing it, and I have no plan to return. You see, my detox is working. Yes, I feel lonely and at odds with myself, and confused about how to spend my time. But on the other hand, I feel less driven, more settled (potentially), and am becoming more aware of what my life really is about, and what my needs are. And though I’m only 12 days in, and I have a lot to figure out, I finally feel like I’m creating the mental space I need to do just that.

So, in case it’s helpful, here’s how I’m doing it.

1. I announced my plans hours in advance. On Facebook. This allowed people to comment, say goodbyes, etc. Not everyone would want or need to do this, but my presence on Facebook was large, and I knew people would wonder where I went. I also didn’t want to dramatically disappear. This detox wasn’t about drama. It was about self-care.

2. I included my phone number in that last post. And I asked people in those final hours to private message me their numbers if they wanted to, and I wrote them down in a notebook, old school style. I didn’t know how hard/easy the detox would be, and I wanted ready support if I needed it. I’ve heard from a dozen people since I’ve been off Facebook – friends and acquaintances who are kindly checking in with me to see how the detox is going.

3. I had my teenager change my password and told him to not allow me the new password before May 1, no matter what. Yes, this gives him access to my account, but I honestly don’t think he thinks I’m interesting enough to go poking around. I trust him. And it adds a powerful layer of accountability. I also deleted my mostly dormant activist account, so I couldn’t use it to “cheat.”

4. In my mind, I tagged certain people as specific supports – who to talk to if I was feeling insecure about my relationship separation, who I knew could lift me up, make me laugh, or have a meaningful conversation about life, and so on.

5. I committed to continuing to do what I found Facebook most useful for – what this meant for me is having regular conversations with friends (I started a group text with a four of my girlfriends when I was at the salon the other day and occasionally we check in with each other), and taking selfies after I exercise (I’m saving them all up for a collage at the end of the month that maybe only I will see). I also decided to stay connected with the Map My Fitness and My Fitness Pal apps which gives me opportunities to report my fitness goals and accomplishments – something that’s very important to me.

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6. When I notice that I’m jonesing for Facebook, I instead send a message to one of my kids or my friends, or I make an encouraging comment on one of my friends’ fitness app entries. I’m currently evaluating and attempting to limit my time spent on the social parts of the fitness apps, as they have the same addictive qualities as Facebook, though they are more manageable for sure.

7. I’m staying busy. I ran/hiked/biked 50+ miles last week and have been religious about meeting with my trainer, working out, and logging my food. I’ve read two books and listened to a lot of music. I binged watched House of Cards and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I took myself out for a martini and made small talk with a fellow mom of young adults. I went geocaching with the teenager. I have work to do in this area – who am I without Facebook? My fitness is obviously a major focus, but I’m feeling a bit one-dimensional. The important thing is, that without Facebook, maybe I’ll finally have a chance to figure it out.

8. I just started journaling again last night. I was fortunate on Facebook to have a couple of “secret” places I could share my feelings with my best friends, and it’s hard to not have that readily available. But at the same time, it’s been good for me to not be talking as much, often in circles, about the things that I often cannot control. Instead, I find myself more action-oriented.

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9. I removed all the other distracting apps from my phone and my life. No more Words with Friends, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. It’s not just about Facebook, it’s just mostly about Facebook.

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10. I’m beginning to think about my future in a meaningful way. What do I want it to look like? Where do I want to be? How do I want to be living my life?

I can tell you this – I honestly don’t know that I will ever return to Facebook. The cost was so much more than the benefit. I might not be living my life exactly as I want, but I feel like I’ve started to reclaim it. And like other addicts, I might not be able to practice Facebook in moderation. I’ve given myself until May 1 before I re-evaluate. I expect the next ten days to be as illuminating as the last twelve have been.

I’m wondering…have you ever considered or completed a Facebook detox? How did you do?

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Posted in Addiction, Facebook, Sex and Relationships | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

All I want:

Is normality. I think.

I picked up a book today from the library today…a book about how to write a memoir. When I got home, I opened it, and one of the first exercises was about writing a short summary of what your life has really been about,  you know, summarized. So (naturally) I closed the book and put it back on my shelf.

You see, whenever I tell my story, it’s full of pathos. And it wears even me out. The bipolar, abusive mother. The absent father. The controlling, abusive boyfriends. The controlling, abusive husbands. The emotionally devastating but ultimately cordial divorces. Then the controlling, abusive boyfriends again. Who would even want to read this predictable story full of repetition? And I’m too exhausted by my own life at the moment to try to give it some cute little twist. Plus, I’m 46 and am about ready to give up on “cute” altogether.

Not for nothing, I did a monumental bike ride today. Beginning the ride, I only knew it needed to be a fairly “long one,” to fit into my overall fitness plan, which lately seems to be mostly “do as much as you can all the time forever, without ceasing.” I’m tired. Anyway, as I traversed down the familiar path, I began to wonder how far I could go. My boyfriend (one of the non-abusive ones, yay! but still basically unavailable, boo!) had conquered a 20-mile ride this past summer and that seemed like such a feat to me. I fight this constant internal struggle that I’ve written about before, about needing to be Awesome. It’s been a while since I’ve done something I could classify that way – one month almost exactly, as a matter of fact – the Tough Mudder was my most recent Awesome Experience. So today, I decided I could go for 20 miles. And I did. I knew I really only needed to go for ten, because then I’d be committed to getting myself home, no matter what. And you know what? I did it.

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20 miles, yo.

So, pulling into the parking lot after this epic ride…naturally, that’s when I began to question all my important decisions ever. There’s something about Being Awesome for a moment (or for two hours) that makes me question every moment I haven’t been Awesome. And there have been many. And there are always, always more to come

I’m kind of tired of all that, actually. I feel like at my age, maybe I could stop with the growth opportunities already, at least just for a little while. Because what I really want? Normality. A soft place to land. A predictable outcome. Smiles at normal times. Celebrations that aren’t made weird by false distances created by the demands and edicts of people who shouldn’t be involved (you know who you are).

My life feels sometimes as if it is not my own. Shouldn’t it be, by now? And I’m more than aware that I only have myself to blame for the current state of affairs. The flip side of that old helpless album of course is that I’m the only one really in charge of me. Get it together, Rebecca. If you can ride 20 miles, surely you can take a stab at figuring the rest of it out. Can I? After 46 years, is there hope? How can I be Eating, Praying, or Loving differently? Better? Is there a Pinterest board for this? Or could I maybe just skip ahead to the Bali loving part of that manual/memoir where the author is swept away by some spiritual dude on a beach to have tantric sex that suddenly clears it ALL up (I may be remembering this wrong).

I’d like to say I’m figuring it out, but I’m losing faith. But hey, in the meantime, want me to pour you a glass of wine? Another? How important is clarity, anyway?

P.S. Tomorrow I’m probably going to get purple highlights in my hair. That will either solve a) Nothing or b) Everything. I’ll let you know.

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Posted in Miscellaneous musings, Sex and Relationships | Tagged , | 2 Comments