Category Archives: wellness

Emptying yourself and balancing energy

It’s been a rough six weeks personally. Major things have happened in life, either one after another, or overlapping. Family (especially sweet Ava’s surgery and recovery), Pretty Momma Honda, the apartment…almost no stone has been left unturned, except maybe the awesome health news I received that another thyroid module resolved, and I’m making progress on my gum health (which is important as it is linked to heart disease). For someone who tries to find the positive in everything, it’s been fairly trying.

So it’s fitting that something the Archbishop said during the ordination Mass last Saturday has stuck with me. He encouraged the ordinands to empty themselves so God may fill them with the Holy Spirit (paraphrasing here as I don’t recall the exact words). As I continue to develop my spiritual health, this was a reminder to keep giving it over to Jesus…to empty myself of worry and doubt and let Him fill me with what was meant to be in my life at this time.

And this also brought me back to a heightened awareness of energy. A friend shared this article a few months back about masculine/feminine energy in our lives. You have to get past it being posted on a dating site, but it is some awesome advice, especially if you are a Type A like me … a doer and achiever. Basically, when we feel WIPED out, it is because we are spending too much time on that achiever end of the scale, and not as much on the creative side.

The more I work to include creativity, movement, and fun opportunities in my life, the more painfully aware I have become that my two sides often battle! But I’m glad I’m making space for the other side. I loved to craft and dance as a kid, and putting these and other things like regular yoga practice into my world have made me feel more whole lately. They even gave me the confidence to work on my nutrition this month … and after a week of being gluten and dairy free, I’m down a good 3 lbs! (Again it’s balance. I’m not giving up po boys forever, but I can see doing this for weeks at a time to balance out the amazing life and food we have access to here in New Orleans.)

What do you do to balance your energies? How do you empty yourself out so you can be filled by good?


Starting the journey back to healthy with self-care

It’s been a good 18 months since I’ve posted here. Much has happened in my life since then! Ava and I are now NOLA girls (though I’ll always be a Houdat at heart since most of my life has been spent in Houston). It’s been great to be in a city where living life to the fullest is a value, but jumping from one fundraising capital campaign to another, and everything that goes along with a major life change, have been rough on my health routine.

The facts: I’m at my highest weight ever, and my measurements are up there, too. Nearly 10 of those pounds have been since I moved here, but honestly, it’s been a steady climb the last 3 years with about 30 new pounds (middle age is cruel!). It’s to the point where I don’t feel the same in my body, or my clothes, and that needs to do a 180.

So that’s why I’m here, because the first step is to realize a challenge, and the next is to ask for help. Friends, I’m asking for your support as I make the baby steps back to the healthier me.

Today’s baby step was to focus on self-care. I read somewhere recently about “self-care Sundays”…and with today being the first day without plans in 10+ days, I went for it. I slept in, and took a nap! I’ve been hydrating, because I’ve been horrible about that lately. I used two of my favorite Beautycounter products: my sugar scrub and plumping facial mask. And of course, Ava was by my side all day.

My goal will be to add good habits back in over this next week, so I can enjoy fun days like Jazz Fest without guilt. My focuses:

  • 7+ hours of sleep a night
  • Activity every day…I plan to start with 30 mins and increase from there
  • Clean eating: smoothies for breakfast, lean proteins, fruits and veggies for other meals and snacks, at least 64 oz of water

It sounds simple, but I know it will take mindfulness. And encouragement. Feel free to join me in this adventure, or simply encourage me to do the best I can. I’m especially interested to learn what health hacks work for you, especially those of you who also travel or are in jobs where there’s often entertaining involved (and no input on menu offerings).

Rah rah for routines

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about routines. Or more accurately, the lack of one my life seems to have had in the area of nutrition and exercise.

Sure I’ve celebrated my wins in these areas, but it’s just as easy to let life get in the way and get them off track as anyone else.

As a summer approaches life for me tends to get a little more routine, and I’m okay with that. As much as I enjoy being a busybee and on the go, I also like the sense of some structure in my day-to-day life.

I have a list taped to the inside of my medicine cabinet which lists morning and evening routines. This list was created along time ago, before I had a dog and when I still had a fish. Needless to say, for those reasons alone it needs a little revising!

I’ve spent some time pondering which routines have worked for me in the past, and which ones have not, trying to figure out where to go from here. One routine that I revisited yesterday was my Sunday ritual: make sure to get a full night’s sleep, read the paper in the morning, workout at the gym, grocery shop and cook, and of course attend Mass. It was the first time in weeks I had executed all this, and it felt great!

Some other routines I’ve contemplated revisiting include everything from time outdoors on Saturdays, to the really basic concept of putting on workout clothes the minute I get home so I have no excuse but to do something active before I go to bed.

I know I’m more successful the more I can stick to basic routines. Things like making sure I pack snacks for the office, or booking time on my calendar for a workout, make me more successful in putting my health as a priority.

So, which routines work for you, and which would you like to add into your life that you aren’t doing now? I want to hear from you!

I Was So Afraid of Failing That I Wasn’t Really Living. Here’s How I Took My Sanity Back

Great article from a fellow recovering perfectionist (I hope I am not this extreme!) and how an injury forced her to chill out 🙂

I Was So Afraid of Failing That I Wasn’t Really Living. Here’s How I Took My Sanity Back

Getting back on track

So my break pretty much went as expected. I ate foods I rarely do (mmm Twizzlers!). I enjoyed my share of adult beverages. I rested and did some light workouts (probably good for my injury). And I gained 5 lbs.

BUT…I enjoyed myself. And I remember why I’ve classified such things as “treats”…if enjoyed regularly, they will get in the way of my healthy lifestyle. Vacations are special occasions, and now I’ve associated these things that way. I’m happy with that 🙂

It also renewed my craving for the structure I’ve created for myself the past 3+ months. So what am I doing to get back on track?

1. Sunday, I started tracking what I eat again. It wasn’t perfect…still a few too many calories as I was still in vacation mindset. But it was a start.

2. I’m making sure I get active again. I did a walk/run Sunday, hit the gym for weights yesterday, and plan to bike tonight. I’m still not 100% on intensity yet since I’m still healing, but getting moving again feels good.

3. Once I started tracking what I was eating again, it was easier on Monday to get back to a more reasonable calorie intake. That means getting active if eating something a little indulgent. And with my Fitbit back online (yeah, another bump…my Fitbit died Saturday. But now I have a pretty new violet one!), I can see how active (or not) I am during the day at work.

4. Next up will be keeping my sleep schedule on track. I fully caught up on any sleep debt on vacation, but I fudged that a little last night with chores and having to be up today for jury duty (meaning, a longer commute). I’ll get my arms back around that tonight.

5. I’m also paying more attention to my hydration. Got 68 oz. of water yesterday! I did a decent job on vacation, but I know this is key to success moving forward (and maybe why I only gained 5 instead of 7 or 10 pounds).

Overall, I’m still glad I took the break. After being so mindful for so long (nearly 100 days straight), I needed a pause. But I wouldn’t recommend doing the same without a plan to get back to it soon after!

I’ll keep you posted as I reboot.

I deserve a break…

Thanks Elizabeth for snapping this fun photo at our reunion 🙂

I’ve pretty much stuck to my healthy lifestyle plan for 13 weeks. That’s a quarter of the year, y’all! In that time, I’ve dropped about 10 pounds, my clothes are fitting better (including some I haven’t worn in 10 years!) and overall, I feel just plain better on a day to day basis. Maybe that’s because the conscious eating, exercising and supplements are allowing me to rest better, too.

So in the spirit of rest, I’m on an official “break” from my plan. I just wrapped up one trip (see the photo above from my 20th reunion…how did we get that old already?!?) and I am in the middle of a week off from work, which I’ll spend relaxing and retreating. After tracking what I eat for nearly 100 days straight, I’ve decided to put that on pause. 

This article sums up why I’m doing this. Basically, it’s good to have an off-season, mentally and physically. Athletes do it, so why not me? After all, I’ll be officially starting training for the half marathon soon (at today’s therapy session, I got clearance to try some very light running this week!).

I believe that this time off will allow me to get back to my healthy ways with an renewed enthusiasm and appreciation. And I’ll have a chance to enjoy some foods that are squarely in the “occasional treat” category now.

This is a lifestyle for me, not just a quick diet to follow until I reach a weight goal. I need to learn how to make it livable, and for me, that includes short, scheduled breaks. With a plan to get back to it afterwards (which I will do with another 24 Day Challenge in about 10 days).

I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Until then, you’ll probably be seeing a few photos like the one above of me enjoying my break!

When you are going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

This showed up in my Buffer account today. I thought it was fitting as yesterday wasn’t an easy challenge day. I passed up wine, French fries and cookies to stay on track! But I’m glad I did as I’m seeing great results.

Just remember that when things seem tough, they do get better 🙂