chronic pain, fitness, goals, sugar-free

Sugar-free and Me

I have tried alot of methods to lose weight and some have worked. Actually, worked well. Of course, mixed with an active lifestyle. One that failed not once but twice was keto. Not me. But with my recent health setback and literally from active to a coach potato by necessity, I need some change. I needed some research both to keep me busy and my own convincing to take the plunge, well the second plunge. I did this once with success and just went off. No reason. It was easy and felt great. So here we go…sugar-free is me…is now born.

My reasoning is completely to decrease inflammation. Which is still present. The absence of sugar is key as the white stuff spikes inflammation. Bye. Now, I could bore you with data. But not my style. Just enjoy my meandering stories and real life messages. Saying ciao is hard. I had pizza last night and quietly chewed our breakup story. I am ready. My life in the absence of pain will win and be my constant reminder along with societies vast array of sugar free choices if a sauce or an ice cream is truly needed. As for bread hello, ezkiel…and I love it. In moderation. I am good but it will be tough. I began today and promptly ordered supplements for sauces and chips. Sauces from Primal and G Hughes, carrots, cottage cheese instead of flavored yogurt, and Rx bars instead of premier protein etc, etc, etc. Just a bit of shopping adds combined with some everyday needs will make this tasty life without misery. #goals

On any road taken no one is perfect and I will not be. Nope. I will travel, learn, explore, investigate, concoct recipies until I get this right.

And I will…

education, fitness, goals

In Training…

Yes, it begins. In education we call this time-period eternal damnation. It is a combination of the daily springbreak shuffle and the beginning of testing readiness for the state tests which grant us our precious 301 monies. As an aside, this never should have been the teachers carrot to success =money. It begets deranged teachers and students who have figured out (long, long ago) that they can pass to the next scholastic year even not on their best days. Even with failure. We cannot control their mindset on that day. I have created cheers, given out gum and mints (now banned), stretch yoga breaks. Prep talks, adnauseum and hyping the importance of the test. It is my only scripted moment of the year. Blah, blah, blah, blah. Other infamous Livingston end of testing activities are bubble parties, classroom bracelets with positive mindsets (doing this one, this year). But even with the review preparation that I begin this week. I cannot begin to guess the outcome. So, my money, hangs in balance and I NEED the funds. To end my aside. Let’s think and use these monies correctly, for the teachers, end the hoops as I can guarantee I am jumping. Enough of that.

To describe an average day, to anyone who is not in the trenches, from the Superbowl onward, is possible. However, no one believes me. Even my husband says I embellish. Nope. All real. Twenty-three years of stories locked up in my head. I have thousands of them which do not make for cocktail party dribble, unless you find another teacher, and frankly by the weekend we don’t do outside parties. We are in hiding. My stories range from the sweet to the disturbing. Currently, my kids are in the disturbing stage. This will pass. I hope.

Prior to the Superbowl, I had weekend outings and a life outside of my classroom. It was a focus. I was succeeding. But no more. I am tired, mentally exhausted, drained, and waiting for my life to resume the last week of May. This week did me in. So, this weekend while in my state of lucid hibernation I made a pact with myself. Instead of the wait and hide weekend system I have been using, I am going to go into intensive training for the final semester of school. Which in my mind compares to any long distance sport. Here we go!

*Note* obviously not based in science but then neither has the last few years. Take ideas, use, modify, but most importantly get ready for Spring in the way that it suits you. For example my goal is one evening out a week. That’s it. However, you may be introducing much more into your life outside of school. Bravo. Here are my tips to simplifying life and building the strength I will need to not dive into my currently weekly hibernation. Here we go:

1. Unless you love cooking don’t meal prep. Frozen dinners were created for teachers. Use them.

2. Stock your room with flavored water, soda etc as if you are a camel. Instead of schelping. Order and deliver to your school. Simplicity is everything as we near the end.

3. Order everything. It saves you approximately four hours a week. There is no reason to go into a grocery store. Ever. My extra four hours saved will be used to hang out with the hubs who is often left out my long work hours during the week and on the weekend.

4. Go to Mexico and stock up on ZPacks. Truly. Take vitamins daily and drink Emergency powder every single day.

5. I cook simply and from a frozen state. I do air fried shrimp, chicken, fish, and simple low calorie Chinese mixes and thus always have lunch remaining, if frozen is just too chilly. Take away. Cook, keep it clean and make healthy choices but don’t stress yourself out. Keep. It. Simple.

6. Log your foods and steps. I use My FitnessPal and it keeps me away from my recent over indulging through the holidays and an injury.

7. If like me and you have a few Covid-19 pounds. Work to get eating healthy and find your daily movement pl. Every Damn Day. I am now a morning spinner staring down the barrel of 200 rides. Another post.

8. Leave before 4pm.

9. Leave school at school. I still take school home on the weekend but not M-F.

10. Laugh. Enjoy. Love your kids. Your renewed bounce in your step from carving out your additional time, eating healthier, and moving might just cause you to retire after your official date. Or not. No judgment.

book, education, goals, life, non-fiction

I Got Nothing

I started my book.

Not a real beginning or ending, but a random start, that may just end up somewhere in the middle.

Writing must be a journey for the insane.

It must.

I got nothing but random thoughts. No streams of consciousness in grammatical correctness. Nope.

My outline looks as scarce as this blog. Yup.

But, I have one. That is a start.

At the end it will be a series of short vignettes all tied together with a thread of humour, as I tell the stories of my life.

But for now the book is held together by nothing more than a dream and has plenty of space for growth.

goals, granparent life, grey hair, life, retirement

Gave Up Influencing

My mid-life crisis seems to come and go depending on the day. It should be over. Technically. But mine has hunkered down to stay. I am either acting younger than my age (three instagrams and my flirting with influencer) keep laughing. I am back to one and grounded in the reality silver influencer is not happening. Or I am acting a bit over my age. A shopping at Chicos moment hit me right after devouring an Old Navy sale (love their stuff) for teaching. But truly the Chicos stuff is cute. Sigh. Or is it “the me” I am running from? Too many questions before coffee or my food that I consistently track to lose pounds that might have moved in forever. No Keep tracking. They will leave. Did I mention I spin? Yes, the cool girls exercise that blasts fat. Or in my case keeps it for the cold Arizona winters. Ah, 58. My new tread compounded with the bike will guide me through this mess. I think. Have to buy it first. Which brings me to Christmas. I overdid it. For everyone. It brought me true joy. The hubs not so much. It’s ok, on a teachers salary I will have this paid off by retirement. I got this. Screw the money. I made people happy. By people I mean the grandnugget. He was in heaven. His face. Every child should have his Christmas. The kid was thrilled as well, as he does not buy anything for himself, so I felt good. Like a magic elf bringing joy. While, not a fan of debt. This was worth it. Especially, for the hubs, as I brought him into 2022 with earbuds so he can retire the string hanging from his phone. The horror.

I digressed. Alot. Sorry. But the above frames my mid-life panic. Yesterday. I became a real-life tutor Mrs. L’s Tutoring and an Avon lady. Why? Oddly, not money. Ok. None of that would hurt, but a rich Avon lady is not my fantasy. Nope. Both digressions from the eventual retirement. As I can’t do this teaching thing forever. It is my calling, so to speak, without collar and celibacy. But everyear gets worse. I quit my weekly theater group, as $20 bucks a week is clearly not my scale. If you want the arts, I got you, but a real stipend please. Not babysitting. Just can’t. I am better than this. Sorry, if this offends those woke individuals worrying about the students feelings. I am too. But basically free ain’t working for me. Bring on the eyeliner.

I can picture retirement two ways on the cheaper end. Shoot me. Or with cushion. I want cushion and a full life of writing, tutoring, and possibly Avon. It’s fun. Why not. Now I need to try the product. Yesterday, in all my crazy stressful moments of overspending, I gained a true pause on what I want. That’s good. I want retirement, I want travel, I want the quiet of Neebish, the outlandish fun with the grandnugget and the ability to say no on my terms, not my bank accounts. This pushed me out of mid-life crisis into acceptance of my age and my desires to always be busy…busy…busy.

Now, back to my book (on chapter 2) and the moral of this chaotic dribble. Know your age, accept your age, do anything that makes you smile, spend too much, save, do you…and enjoy everyday. We are not guaranteed a tomorrow and my many tomorrow’s ahead will be readying for a lifetime of Chicos. And that’s ok! Good-bye midlife confusion. With my new acceptance and creation of a plan for the after-life of teaching, which includes, my writing, my forever tutoring, spinning, treading, Neebish, and my Avon…If throw in Paris and the hubs and this is a winning combination!

BTW here is my store. If you use the product. Please order. My top picks: eyeliner, and waterproof mascara. Give it a go or please share.

https://www.avon.com/repstore/TLivingston?rep=TLivingston

echelon, fitness, goals, life, Peloton

Tread on The Cheap

I feel like a giddy schoolgirl waiting for the cutest boy in school to walk by my locker. Or something like that. Feelings of long-ago now compared to a piece of equipment. About right. My Echelon tread is heading my way. I can’t wait. Currently, a proud owner of the Ecehelon Sport, which has turned my exercise experience upside down and made me a true believer and one who needs my daily dose of the benefits of fitness. This, alone was my ah ha of the year.

I learned to exercise and like it, enjoy it, or at least tolerate it. Nevertheless, of the category of delight or not. It is a daily habit. Most of the time.

To push myself I found virtual races. Yes, you pay. But that medal and your group keep you going. You ride, walk, run whatever and log your results. Currently, I have wandered through Colorado and next up Ireland. Never in my life did I think I would ride 118 miles. If I can do this anyone can. During this time, I lost weight, felt fitter, and slept better. Not miracles, just work with my Peloton App (Bless these instructors) and my gear. Lesser than my bougie friends and riding partners…butmaybe someday. If not that is OK as the ride is the same. It is. I tried the real enchilada and the only thing I want is the screen. That’s it. I can wait.

To up my game, enter the tread, my new baby. Still enroute. My goal is a mile or two every morning on the tread and my daily 5-9 miles on my bike in the afternoon. Picture fabulousness in my goals of slimming. I am.

So, wherever you are in your fitness journey. Hang-in there. Challenge yourself and enjoy! It worked for me and one year later I am still at it with a vengeance!

echelon, fitness, goals, grey hair, keto, life, Peloton

Upping My Game

This year has been, well sloppy, casual. A bit eh. We all know that. I thought I was doing it ok. Working out, eating ok, but I decided to look in the mirror. Really look. Take stock. Someone should have warned me. While, this moment had to happen. It hurt. But it should have been, just a day of reckoning, as opposed to a pulling the covers over my head moment. I did this to myself. I knew. I was just hiding under well lit filters.

Ok, my hair has been grey since thirty and hidden under a myriad of colors. I just got tired of changing my reality. But no matter, how great your hair is, and mine qualifies for true silver greatness. Thanks dad. The color ages you. Truth. Moving on. Eyes filled with laugh lines. Check, and I like my sweet mappings of my soul. A forehead line that is beyond Botox. Obviously, I must walk around with a quizzical look 24/7. My ship is now S.S. Nip and Tuck Land. I am waving that on, as I am cheap, and afraid of pain. So, to combat further drooping. The technical term used. Lovely. Insert ugly emoting and eye-rolling. My facialist suggested this gadget that works on the neck and eyes. It might be working. But truthfully, I have my doubts, but going to keep up with this electrode skimming routine. You never know. The hubs has seen this process only once. He stood and stared. I stared back and said, “Do you really want to know? Because I can tell you the science behind this thing if you have an extra twenty minutes?” He ran. Good. The whole process of tightening my face is rather horrifying. So, until they make a lift that is budget friendly and pain free. It is the natural aging look for me. Now, my mom has zero big lines, my grandmother zero big lines, me, I got my dad’s Irish face. Can’t hide a thing. So, I am assuming this eye-lid discoloration and thinning lashes is also an Irish trait. Why hurt one group with such vengeance? Is it because we know how to have fun in life? Anyway, one day my lids were this odd reddish-blue color and lashes invisible. This was horrifying. No getting rid of this disaster. Just more creams, covers, prescription lash growth serum, makeup, but not too much, or it will age me. Or so they say. Yikes. So, after many bottles, brands, skin care lines. I have settled to what works. For now. Next year. Who knows. Since, I do not get paid…but would welcome any product. I use Bare Essentials, everything and Armani for more coverage. Please, contact. Because we all need a 58 year old influencer in life. Hah. My facial products live in a constant level of retinol. Day and night. Some prescription, some from French Pharmacies, oh the heaven. Some drugstore. Yes, they work. But not on my forehead.

That was just the face. But while I was there I noticed my cheeks puffed. I look like a chipmunk when I smile, so I am giving up on my usual happy look, and I love to smile, and going with that RBF a la nose up high to slim the neck. It works, looking younger and kinda feeling myself for this age defying trick that works, only if you seated or posed against a wall. But, it works. Life gets in the way, however. Walking, working, bending, and trying not to smile are all too much. Back to the facial map of 58. Eh.

If my cheeks were my only puffed area, I would be fine. Nope the blinders are truly off, and I looked below my neck. The effects of 2020 are now obvious and while not alone. I have to step up my game. Not only for a “look” but a true realization that my puffy cheeks and other areas came from a love affair with carbs and sugar. I am addicted. I do not just enjoy the foods but think about them, plan meals around them, sneak extra, and feel guilt. Great. Rehabilitation, here I come. The difference in this addiction from others, is that we are all addicted to the hidden goodies, at some level. I am just extreme.

I am tackling this hurdle in steps. As cupcakes are akin to life, as is champagne, and the combo is heavenly. You can see this will be a challenge. Today, I gave up just bread. All. Good-bye. Now, a potato can still pass my lips. As well as higher carbohydrate fruit. The list of low carb fruit is truly depressing. Think berry and only berry. Good-bye orange, grapefruit, watermelon, grapes. Insert berries and only berries. Not happening now, I need time. On the 29th of June major groceries are entering our home, along with the word I cannot stand, cooking. Worse yet, with fresh ingredients that must be chopped. This is a whole different world and one that is necessary for success. If others can do this, I can as well. It can’t be that hard and I am choosing easy recipes. Really easy. On this date, good-bye all white flour, bread, and potatoes. But keeping fruit. My fruit. Great fruit. Sweet fruit. This is however only lasting a week. The next week. July 5th I will be between 20-30 grams of carbs and little to no sugar and learn to love strawberries. It can happen.

My goals are simple. First, not to kill anyone in my house during these first few weeks. Secondly, to lose weight. How much? Twenty would be great, twenty-five to thirty would take me into a look I have not seen in awhile. So, while the number is not carved in stone, eating in a healthy manner without the yo-yo gain/loss metric that is tied to carbs and sugar. My new life. A healthier life for the long-term that will give me the daily energy to chase 6th graders and head into the weekend and not collapse. It would feel great. As the fatigue and FOMO has got to go!

This bravery, to truly take stock, came from far too much eating on a road-trip, and the over absorption of true quiet and cooler temperatures. I thank and blame the quiet for this introspection and setting course a plan of action. Now, planning is simple, actually exciting and with every passing day I get a bit more nervous. Not about the plan, but the slip, fall, deep dive into a bottle of champs and a box of cupcakes. That is horrifying. There are no 12-step programs for loving carbs and sugar, it is left up to each of us, to find the inner strength and say goodbye. I am finding answers in books, facebook groups, and following keto lifestylers on Instagram. No answers. Just a bond. I have to find my own way on this journey. I will. If I can do my century ride. I can do anything! And besides, I do need to up my game! 😉

A Frame, goals, grey hair, life, retirement, travel

Tiffany’s is Always a Good Idea…

Today is our 33rd anniversary. I thought it was our 35th. Probably, because I wanted a big gift. But it is our 33rd. No big gift. I can’t even think of something that is worth this mountain of years. That’s good? Right? Or is it? Have we forgotten the art of celebration, become ho-hum or just understand it is not about the bling. It is the latter, but a trip to Tiffany’s is still in order on any given day. I have my gift picked out as of three years ago. Truly. No anniversary is ever needed just turn to page 27 of the catalog and we have it, can’t miss it! Really. We arrive at this moment with more questions than answers. The life of a politico has its moments which makes the ride a wild one and my little teaching life has been a thing this year. A real thing. So with time, more questions than answers, and the constant moving goalpost of retirement life, we have decided just to follow our hearts. Sounds sappy. Number 33 is our gift to follow our hearts and support our ever-changing dreams. I almost just threw up. Seriously. To know me is to understand gushy I am not. A gift with store wrapping and possibly a card is my thing. That is me in a nutshell. But I do give great gifts. Always. Just this year, there are no objects to be wrapped, just gushiness and heartfelt talks celebrating the years. This is our time to sort out our everlasting future, and treasure our present, as we approach those golden years. Tiffany’s sounds easier. Much.

In two days we are off to go to create a dream. A gift to ourselves. A week together in a car. Seriously. Stop laughing. I promised one cross-country trip in our marriage. Just one. Our final stop is property where we are starting the process of the building of an A-frame home on the water, in solitude, and embracing small town life. Seriously small. Ferry to the property small. Since we are in charge of the design, my request of my own peloton room and writing nook have been granted. The rest we oddly agree on. The home will be primarily used for the summers to just chill and for my writing and to enjoy the grandparent stuff. Swimming, rock collecting, fort building, raspberry hunting etc. Oh, yes and fishing. All so me. I am in charge of small town shopping. Moccasins, drums, bows and arrows, and cap guns. You know, outdoor crap. But shopping is still shopping. I am ready. It is time to enjoy the simplicities that life offers instead of constantly muddling through the mess. A special treasure is that all of this will be passed onto our son and his son for a lifetime of memories and traditions. So, this year our anniversary gift is listening to our hearts and making life decisions that fit not only our years in marriage but our future years of happiness. This has no wrapping. Just pure love and perhaps even testing our own levels of patience and commitment to what lies ahead. We got this.

So here’s to 33 Senator Hubs and to many, many more but please take a look at the Tiffany’s catalog page twenty-seven bottom right corner. If not this year, perhaps coming soon. While bling is not important it certainly makes me smile!

education, fitness, goals, life, Peloton

Carbs

I fell. Hard. Off my relative clean ways into the abyss of food happiness, otherwise known as the mexican donut. There is nothing like the lard laden happiness that drips in true sugary sweetness. It is perfect. Enough said. You get it, we all have our weaknesses. Mine our carbs and the country of Mexico has perfected that art.

The saddest part about the fall is climbing out of the long slide down. Truth be told, it did not start or end with one donut. There were mini-slips that led me to the sweetness mountain of delight this early morning. As I watch the clammers gather the goods for the day, I had choices but my heart went straight to the lard. It is probably also now sitting in a rear area of my body, as well…or at least very soon…

The donut takes me to a carb laden drink. Adult style. With thoughts of chips and salsa in my future. I used to eat this way with no cares in my south of the border home life. But now every carb has guilt and future weight in every bite. It feels like culinary abandon but leave it does not and with the added years it tends to leave unwanted memories. My struggle for taste, freedom, a younger self all wrapped up neatly in a fabulous food group.

With every sip and bite I am stuffing my feelings of stress and a body which in a week’s time has gained three infections and run out of steam. My abandon is a major middle finger to the clean ways that broke me to this place. Kinda clean ways. So where am I going with this dribble. Ah, the epiphany, of course, that surrounds me in the quiet of our Mexico getaway. Of course.

So as mentioned, my body broke this week and broke hard. It will recover once the promotion reel is played, our readers theater link is sent to the critical teaching masses, and my last shift for laptop turn in is complete. Gaining my former self is around the corner with the help of a doctor appointment in the mix…it is the keeping it that way. There is no secret I struggle with balance, healthy ways, etc. But my new riding ways have taught me that the secret to health is not x amount of minutes each day…it is just getting on and doing it every single day coupled with food that fuels instead of food that stays around past its expiration date. Sounds easy, it is not for those of us trying to create habits we never had. One or two slips equate the starting gate again filled with self-doubt and anger at being at the beginner stages over and over again.

My pride at my 100 was real, earned, and then I slipped not having a clear direction. With that moment came the eating slips as they go hand in hand. Who knew I work out for accolades other than body fit and functionality. So, I have made them. Here we go. In print.

1. Ride number 200 by the end of August.

2. July Pelofundo Goal 30 miles

3. 100 strength, 100 cardio, 100 yoga, 100 meditation by the end of August.

4. No carbs. Bye-bye. Not Keto but no processed carbs.

5. Meal plan, prep and make the in-person school transistion not dependent on eating out.

6. This is the toughie. Biking in the AM. We shall see. Not a morning gal. This is a maybe.

7. Stop kicking myself and accept my 58 and all its glory with refining changes happening daily, note the good and learn from the rest without a guilt trip.

All of these goals wrapped up in the goals of goals…not killing the hubs in our upcoming road trip or eating my frustration along the way. We leave in June and yes, the chaos will be shared as I have never spent more than 8 hours in a car, ever in my life. This will be the journey of a lifetime and hopefully will make you laugh.

Until then…here is our hastag. #thetravellinglivingstons

goals, grey hair, life, retirement

The Talk

Nope, not that one. The talk that happens long after the children go out of the house, you get used to the quiet, for awhile, and finally you wonder what is next after the peace is not enough to satisfy the happiness and pride of surviving crying through the night, toddler tantrums, the school and sports years, braces, graduation and more until they find their way and move on and out. If you wondered, peace sucks. I like chaos. I like loud. I liked all that went with raising a family. So to say that this transition has been difficult is beyond explanation and my son is 30. Or almost. A tad embarrassing? Yes. True. Most definitely. Now, real retirement is about ten years away. I shudder at the thought of not going to work. It is a hobby, passion, necessity, all of the above plus more. What would any of us do without being needed or fulfilled in our everyday life. What will I do? What will we do?

As I round another birthday, I finally feel we have a plan. Now, not a dream I am willing to share at this moment But we have one, a true dream, plan, and a time-frame. Something we both want and after so many years (thirty-three years on May 28th) many couples aka most of my friends drift away…instead we are growing closer. Not all castles, travels, and diamonds, but one that is real, loving, and on the same page. We have both changed for the better. His wishes have become mine and my wishes are supported at every turn.

So, our recent “talk” was good. Actually it was great, surprising, and a relief. At the end of it we were both amazed that we are on the same planet as we begin to explore our eventual golden years. For now, we start our newest dreams, just as we did long ago at the alter, again at Stanford Hospital for the birth of our son, and many years later upon the birth of our grandson. Our nugget. Dreams make lives golden, it is not the years, and thank goodness we have plenty of dreams that with work will come true.

echelon, fitness, goals, granparent life, Peloton

Progress Not Perfection

About a year ago I went on a hike. A short hike. Barely an incline. I almost died. I had to sit about five times, I cursed like a sailor, and requested that my car be brought up the hill (as my friend called it). To me it was akin to Mount Everest. My embarrassing moments were just that embarrassing. Staring at the finish line aka parking lot while just feet away seemed like miles.

Fast tracking to the end of this terror I made it to the car and cried all the way home. Not out of pain but the reality of how I let myself become a blob with no ability to walk a few miles upward.

Once upon a time I was in shape. The wedding. Check. After the wedding. Check. Pregnancy. Check. After pregnancy. Check. My son’s first eighteen years due to the country club life and the machines I had at my disposal. Check. Then real life hit. A few life issues mixed in with mid-life. Everytime I started the walk down the block, the online barre or pilates classes. I stopped. Made excuses and felt pure guilt at not being able to cross the line of consistency.

Covid-19 brought many of us to our fitness, social, emotional, or financial needs. For me I knew if I did not do something I would look like a parades floating balloon. Perhaps it was the social media perfection pictures that flashed at me during the daily boredom and scrolling hours or all the blogs of fifty somethings that look thirty. Whatever it was. It clicked. Onward to my echelon/peloton life.

The first seventy-three rides were of the twenty minute variety mixed with HITT, Tabata, pop and the low key variety. Today, I made a move. I went to thirty minutes. I did it. I survived and I will continue until I can go to forty-five minutes with the weekly goal of an hour. My goal is lofty but it will be achieved.

So, my shape is improving for me and my family, especially my grand-nugget who will never see his grandmother poop out at a park. Any park. Even one with great big mouse ears. Does my shape represent thirty at fifty-seven, no. But I am getting closer and feeling great about it!