Recapping my March Goals

That….could have gone better.

Another month has drawn to a close without my being able to lose any weight. But I actually do feel like I’m getting my head back in the game and that I’ll start to see some success in April. But in the meantime, here’s a recap of how I did in March.

Continue strength training four times a week. I actually made this goal thinking that it was an easy one, but I missed some of my workouts in March. The first miss was on a Friday morning, because I’d had terrible allergies the day before and actually took an antihistamine (something I rarely need to do) and woke up feeling beyond groggy. We did go for a long walk that morning, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do a strength-training workout. Then I missed three workouts last week, although technically I did still do a form of strength training for two of them in the form of packing and carrying heavy boxes. I ended up going into my former office to help box up the various books and binders in our library, which proved to be a pretty decent challenge physically. I finished Thursday night but was really sore on Friday and opted to sleep in. This week I’m back to a normal work-at-home schedule and my workouts are on track, but I can’t claim a win on this goal.

Stay under my allotted calories six days per week. I did not fare well on this at all. If I finish today under my calories, I’ll have done so for just 15 of the 31 days of March, or not quite 50% of the month. While that’s an improvement over February, it’s still not great and I really want to do better.

Average 7,500 steps per day. I’m happy to say that I absolutely crushed this one. Even without my final step count for today, I’m at an average of 8400 steps per day for March, which was an amazing improvement over January and February’s step counts. I’m really happy we’ve been getting out and walking more and I want to keep this up!

Cook dinner at least one weekend night and eat that meal at the table. This definitely did not happen. I did actually cook at home on some weekend days, but we dined in front of the TV as per our usual.

Pick one non-eating-related activity per weekend to do with Bill. We….sort of did this? Once or twice? We drove up to Edison one Saturday to go to a show at an art gallery, which was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. Other than that, I didn’t do the greatest job of thinking up non-eating things for us to do.

One Year in Quarantine

It’s been a year now since Washington state went into lockdown in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In some ways it feels like it was so very long ago since things felt remotely normal, and in others I can’t believe I’ve actually spent a year of my life working from home, barely seeing friends, and hardly ever wearing pants that aren’t largely made of stretchy.

I felt a little sad thinking of this anniversary, of the year of normalcy lost and the months stretching out ahead of us until Bill and I are eligible to receive the vaccine. We’re both healthy and we work from home, so we will likely be some of the last people who can get it, which I’m very grateful for even as I feel a growing impatience to regain some of our old life. It can be easy to feel like I’ve lost a year of my life, but I try not to think that way and instead think about what I’ve gained. Having so much stripped away made me realize what really matters to me and what things I want to include in my life going forward. And I can recognize that I definitely took things for granted, like being able to go out to eat in a restaurant, or going to a movie in a theater, or seeing a band live. There were times I had tickets to shows and didn’t end up going, not for any real reason other than that I was tired after a long day of work and decided I wasn’t up to going back out once I got home.

My hope is that we can find a new way to live, where we go back to the things we used to love doing with an even greater appreciation for them, and where our priorities reflect the lessons we learned in lockdown. Although I do miss some aspects of going to work in an office, my stress levels are a lot lower now that I get more sleep, regular exercise, and more time because I’m not sitting in traffic every day. I get to spend more time with Bill and with our cats Ernie and Saturday, and having more family time means the world to me.

Last Friday night, Bill and I went with two of our friends who are in our little quarantine bubble out to a winery. We were able to do a wine tasting while still following all COVID guidelines, outside in the fresh air. It was one of the few outings we’ve had in a year and it was the first time we’ve gone anywhere with friends since last March (although we do see these particular friends at least once a week now, either at our house or theirs). It was a simple thing, but it felt SO good to go and have fun doing something we enjoy and sharing an experience with people we love. I will never take things like that for granted again. I won’t allow myself to.

I’m not saying the past year hasn’t been one of the hardest years of my life. It definitely has been, for many different reasons. I have been reasonably unscathed in comparison to people who have lost their lives, their loved ones, their health, or their jobs – or a combination of these losses – because of COVID. Watching helplessly as so many people suffer has taken a toll on me. I want to help, but all I can really do is keep following guidelines and wearing my mask and keeping my butt at home when I can. It isn’t much but it’s what I have to offer. And when it’s my turn, I will get my vaccine, and I will keep following all guidelines as long as I need to. And hopefully by this time next year things will be a lot more like the world we remember, but with a lot of lessons learned.

We’re not done yet, although it feels like there is a lot to be hopeful about.

Reflecting on Four Years of Marriage

Today Bill and I are celebrating four years of marriage. Four years married to my best friend and the love of my life seems so unreal to me. I feel just as lucky to be with him as I felt on my wedding day four years ago, and if it’s possible I might actually be more in love with him.

Following our wedding, we spent a relaxing night at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle before heading off to Cabo for our honeymoon a few days later. We celebrated our first anniversary at the same hotel, and in 2019 we spent our second in Scotland. It was still one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken. Last year, our third anniversary coincided with Washington state beginning to lock down due to the pandemic, so we got creative and spent a day driving out to the Olympic Peninsula to visit Ruby Beach, the place we got engaged in 2015.

This year, we wanted to do something special but between the pandemic and our anniversary falling in the middle of the work week, we decided to celebrate early by spending a night in Mukilteo at the Silver Cloud Hotel. We’ve spent the night there a few times in the last several months and we adore it. The hotel offers a room with a Jacuzzi tub, overlooking the waterfront and the ferry terminal. We like to take our firestick so we can watch movies, and we can get room service from Ivar’s next door and enjoy fresh, delicious seafood without ever having to leave the comfort of our room.

Because it was our anniversary, I was excited to find out that the hotel offered an upgraded package with the Jacuzzi room that came with a bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate truffles. I thought it gave our getaway a little extra romantic touch.

On our way to Mukilteo, we took a little detour to Snohomish to pick out cupcakes from Simply Sweet, the same place that we got our wedding cake and cupcakes from. They’re still my favorite cupcake place ever! I chose a pink champagne cupcake and Bill got a vanilla coconut.

We loved our anniversary getaway and enjoyed the chance to have a mini-vacation, even a local one.

For our actual anniversary today, we exchanged cards (Bill always hand-draws my cards which I love, he is an amazing artist) and Bill bought me a gorgeous bouquet of two dozen roses.

I am so grateful for our relationship and marriage. Bill shows me every day what it’s like to be truly and unconditionally loved and that feeling can still take my breath away. Sometimes I have no idea how this kind, smart, funny man could have ever fallen in love with me and he definitely has the patience of a saint, but the two of us fit together perfectly. The last year in particular came with some incredibly difficult times, but having Bill by my side helped get me through and I feel like we’re stronger than ever.

Monthly Goals for March

I woke up this morning sort of in shock that it’s already March. In addition to feeling like this year is absolutely racing by, realizing it’s March also means it’s been a year now since COVID-19 completely changed our lives. My last day working in an office was March 5th; now I don’t even have a desk in that office anymore and my company is in the process of moving out of that building and I likely won’t have a new location assigned until the end of the year.

February was largely a throw-away month for me with regard to my goals. I didn’t make any progress at all with losing weight, and my eating habits were far more indulgent than I’d allowed myself to be in January. It made me see that I really do need a monthly goal for my calorie intake; when I set a goal to stay under my allotted calories in January, I did much better than I did without any sort of goal like that in February. I’m in this weird place mentally where I really do want to lose weight and eat healthier, but I have a hard time making myself follow through with any sort of lasting change. During the week I have a pretty easy time following my healthy eating plan and doing my workouts, but once Friday night hits I lose my damn mind and don’t seem to recover myself until Monday morning (and a wave of regret) hits. I have to figure out how to be healthier on weekends or I’m never going to break this cycle.

With all that in mind, I’ve designed goals for March to hopefully support the habits I’ve formed that I’m proud of, while putting me in a position to (hopefully) finally start losing some weight.

Continue strength training four times a week. Last week, Bill and I finished the eight-week LIIFT4 program that we began at the start of 2021. I definitely feel stronger and proud of my progress, but I don’t want to let this good habit fall away now that we’ve finished the program. This morning, we started a new workout program on Beachbody on Demand called The Prep. Unlike LIIFT4, which is a four-day-per-week program, The Prep is designed to be six days a week – but since I don’t really want to have to commit to doing six days a week of workouts, our plan is to just modify it and do four of the workouts per week. It’ll take us longer to complete, but that’s okay, and I’ve talked to other people who have modified programs similarly and still gotten great results. The first workout this morning was killer, which is probably a sign that switching it up was a good idea.

Stay under my allotted calories six days per week. This goal worked well for me in January so I’m bringing it back. Currently my goal is to stay under 1,600 calories a day, knowing that if I can keep myself a little below that goal every day during the week that it’ll help offset having more food on weekends.

Average 7,500 steps per day. I didn’t do a step goal in February, mostly because the weather was wet, cold, and at times snowy, and it was hard to get outside. I’m not exactly a fair-weather walker but trudging through slippery ice and snow is not my idea of a fun time. Now that it’s nearly spring, I’m hoping that the weather will be a bit milder and it’ll be possible to get out and walk more.

Cook dinner at least one weekend night and eat that meal at the table. Growing up, my family always had dinner together, sitting at the dining room table. This did not carry into my adult life, and most nights Bill and I eat on the couch while we watch tv. We enjoy our ritual of watching different shows together, so I don’t want to stop doing it, but my intent with this goal is to not only make sure that we limit our takeout a bit on weekends but also that we eat more mindfully on at least one weekend night.

Pick one non-eating-related activity per weekend to do with Bill. Whether we go for a walk, a bike ride, a hike, a drive, or do an additional workout, I want to focus on non-food entertainment on weekends. When the weather’s nice, we like to walk into downtown Edmonds and wander along the waterfront. Whatever we decide to do, I want to incorporate this into our lives so that nice meals aren’t our only way to relax and connect with each other after a long week of work.