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I’m turning 30 in just over a month. *gulp*

For the last few months, I’ve been totally freaked out over the thought of turning 30. Why? I don’t really know.

There was always that next big milestone to look forward to – 16 & driving a car; 18 & graduation; 21 & drinking (legally).

What’s  to look forward to at 30? Being a grown up? I feel like I should have accomplished more. You know, those things that society tells you that you should have – husband, 2.5 kids, a house & a career on the up & up.

What do I have? A divorce (finalized a mere month before my birthday), two cats and a corporate job that seems more like quicksand than anything else.

But hold on a minute …. Focusing on those things is exactly why I’ve been freaking out. Negative thinking will get you nowhere. I realized last night it’s time to shift my focus and realize all the wonderful things I have accomplished.

Since the last big milestone birthday (21), I have:

  • Earned my bachelors degree – in 4 years.
  • Successfully moved 3 times. Once completely by myself and in a snowstorm. (Double points for that, right?)
  • Adopted the best cats ever.
  • Officially quit caffeine & soda. (After about 10 tries!)
  • Started running and am consistently logging 2-4 miles each run.
  • Followed a dream & am becoming certified as a holistic health counselor.
  • Started my own health counseling practice.
  • Lost 28 lbs (so far!) and am finally feeling healthy.

Plus, by my birthday, I will have:

  • Run 4 races – #4 is on May 22.
  • Completely paid off my student loan.
  • Be debt-free (other than my car).

I’d say that’s quite a bit to be proud of, right?

Now, I’m not so afraid of 30. In fact, I want to use this birthday as a reason to be my healthiest yet. Over the next month, I’m going to step up my workouts and really focus on being the healthiest me possible. (Plus, I’ve got to get ready for hanging on the beach and rockin’ a bikini!)

My 20’s weren’t that bad, but I’m determined to make my 30’s the best yet.

Ok, I have more than one pair, but I’m talking about a specific pair.

They’re cargo pants from Old Navy that I bought about 3-4 years ago. At the time, they were a little too big – as in, I could pull them on/off without unbuttoning them.

Then life happened and I seemed to balloon …. At my heaviest (158ish), I tossed the pants in the back corner of the closet, knowing I’d never get back into them.

Then, I changed my attitude, my eating habits, my activity level and kept thinking about those pants. I knew that if I ever got to the point where I could pull them on/off without unbuttoning them again, I’d be successful in this fitness endeavor.

Well, the day has come, and I’m happy to say those kahki cargos I love so much are falling off! Sweet success!!

Bonus: The scale this morning (and yesterday morning) said 135.6 … Officially 20+ pounds lighter than I was 10 months ago when I decided enough was enough.

Was it hard, yeah. Was it worth it, hell yeah! Not only do I feel great & think I look pretty darn good, I’m learning to love my body and nourish it in all the right ways – good food, exercise, & positive thoughts.

Can you do it too? HELL YES! And I’ll be here cheering you on as you do it. 🙂

WHEW! What a week! I’m damn proud of myself. This is definitely a good start to the year. Best part is, I’m almost 7 miles into my 150 mile goal for the year. If this keeps up, I may have to increase my goal.

Day 5: Abs + 30 minutes snow shoveling x2

  • Front plank: 60 seconds
  • Side plank:  30 seconds each side
  • Torso twists: 20 reps each side
  • Plank ups: 10 reps
  • Boat pose: 30 seconds
  • Bicycle: 40 reps
  • Side plank w/ twists:  8 reps each side

Day 6: 45 min snow shoveling, gave the abs a rest!

Day 7: 1.6 mile run + abs

  • Front plank: 1 min 15 seconds
  • Side plank:  45 seconds each side
  • Torso twists: 22 reps each side
  • Plank ups: 12 reps
  • Boat pose: 45 seconds
  • Bicycle: 40 reps
  • Side plank w/ twists:  8 reps each side

Quick update on how the Whittle My Middle challenge is going:

Day 2: Rest

Day 3:

  • Front plank: 60 seconds
  • Side plank:  30 seconds each side
  • Torso twists: 18 reps each side
  • Plank ups: 10 reps
  • Boat pose: 30 seconds
  • Bicycle: 40 reps
  • Side plank w/ twists:  8 reps each side

Day 4: Abs + run 2.32 miles

  • Front plank: 60 seconds
  • Side plank:  30 seconds each side
  • Torso twists: 20 reps each side
  • Plank ups: 10 reps
  • Boat pose: 30 seconds
  • Bicycle: 40 reps
  • Side plank w/ twists:  8 reps each side

I sure do feel MUCH better after that run & abs workout. I almost feel like I’m glowing 🙂

I only got through about a week of the first whittle my middle challenge by Angela at Oh She Glows. This time, I’m determined to go the distance. I’m going to be posting my workouts here in order to keep myself accountable and see my progress.

Here are my starting stats:

High waist (smallest point): 33 inches
Waist: 37 inches
Hips: 39.5 inches

Day 1:

  • Front plank: 60 seconds
  • Side plank:  30 seconds each side
  • Torso twists: 15 reps each side
  • Plank ups: 10 reps
  • Boat pose: 30 seconds
  • Bicycle: 30 reps
  • Side plank w/ twists:  8 reps each side

I did this last year and thought it’d be a good idea to see what has changed in the year since.

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

  • Traveled outside the country.
  • Ran. Even did two races – a 4-miler and a 2-miler.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I had some foodie resolutions that I kept, and I’ve got some resolutions for outside the kitchen this year:

  • Run 150 miles
  • finish my gram’s cookbook
  • start my health counseling practice

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My friend Laura had a little one on April 15. She’s so precious.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thank God, and hopefully no one will die this year.

5. What countries did you visit?

Spent a week in Ireland – it’s a beautiful country.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

Work/life/friends balance.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Several events will be etched in memory, but the specific dates elude me.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Losing almost 20 lbs and learning to have a healthy relationship with food. Making the choice to go back to school and get certified as a holistic health counselor.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Relationships.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Not personally, but family members continue to battle that evil monster called cancer.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Digital camera & a CSA share.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My mom – for battling breast cancer with a smile and a laugh; My dad – for taking care of my mom without too much complaining. All of my family – for being so supportive.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

The way corporate companies treat their employees.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Starting school at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I’m about a third of the way through the program and I am LOVING every second of it.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?

“If today were your last day” by Nickleback

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier – I’ve done a lot of soul-searching this last year.

b) thinner or fatter? Almost 20 lbs. lighter!!!

c) richer or poorer? Poorer when it comes to money, but richer in experience.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Called friends to see if they wanted to do something – even if it was just hang out and watch a movie.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Work 🙂

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Working – but I spent the week before in North Carolina with my family and it was fabulous.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?

Yes … with myself & I hope to help others learn to love themselves.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Hm, I really don’t know. Nothing new really jumped out at me and I’m quite behind on the shows I do like. I did spend a day engrossed in Nip/Tuck season 4, though 🙂

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I’m trying to eliminate the word “hate” from my vocabulary.

24. What was the best book you read?

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m so musically illiterate it’s not even funny.

26. What did you want and get?

  • My two beautiful cats love me unconditionally. One is even growing out of the awkward rebellious years and starting to like snuggling – on his terms, of course.
  • Got to visit my parents – twice! – and got to see my sister – twice!
  • Support from my family and friends in my somewhat crazy healthy living adventures.

27. What did you want and not get?

A new job.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Julie & Julia, though I’m sure Food, Inc. will be up there too once I see it.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29 and I honestly can’t even remember what I did on my birthday – probably worked 🙂

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Less stress.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Laid-back … and smaller 🙂

32. What kept you sane?

My cats, Zhena’s jasmine dragon tea, running and the light at the end of the tunnel.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

The clusterf*ck that is our Veterans Affairs Department and their inability to provide basic needs/treatment for soldiers returning from war with PTSD symptoms.

34. Who do you miss?

My parents and my sister. I wish they lived closer.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

I’ve met some of the most wonderful, encouraging, supportive people through my studies at IIN. I love being connected to like-minded people!

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

Listen to your heart. No one knows what’s best for you, but you. It’s never easy, but you will feel more at peace and balanced when you listen to yourself.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.” – “Waking up in Vegas” by Katy Perry

It’s been a really rough week or so, so I’m taking a page from Tina at Carrots & Cake and listing some things that make me happy.

my favorite tea from Fava - Red, white & blue

my favorite tea from Fava - Red, white & blue

farm-fresh heirloom tomatoes

farm-fresh heirloom tomatoes

And of course .. my boys

Lovie - *yawn*

Lovie - *yawn*

Loki - "Too tired to play anymore, mom"

Loki - "Too tired to play anymore, mom"

Snuggling with my boys

Snuggling with my boys

Yeah, bad hair, I know .. but snuggling with my boys is seriously the BEST thing ever.

Last week, I listened to a speaker talk about how important it is to take care of ourselves and have “me” time. It really resonated with me and I started thinking about all the things I used to do for myself but don’t do anymore.

Now, if you know me, you’re probably wondering what the hell I DO since it seems like I have oodles of time for myself. (Seriously, I ask myself the same question sometimes.) One of the exercises this speaker urged us to do was write down all the things that take up your time and energy and see where you can trim from. I noticed that I waste a lot of time on the internet just putzing around, looking at recipes, get sucked into Twitter, or just randomly checking Facebook or e-mail (I’m really not that popular, so there’s no need for me to check it every 10 minutes.)

So, today, I made a conscious decision to do what I really wanted to do – read – versus what I thought I should be doing – studying, cooking – or the reality of what I would be doing – putzing on the net and feeling like I should be doing something productive, but unmotivated to do it.

I spent 3 hours curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a book while the rain fell outside. It was perfect. And now, I feel much more renewed and prepared to be productive tonight.

So, what have I learned from this little experiment?

  • It’s SO important to do something nice for yourself. You don’t have to always be doing something productive. It’s OK to make time for a relaxing bath, or just an afternoon of reading, or whatever it is that will make YOU happy.
  • I must limit my time at home on the internet. It’s so easy to get sucked into things and end up wasting SO much time doing nothing. On my days off, I’m going to try to limit my collective time on the internet to 3 hours a day – and in between uses, I think I’ll actually turn OFF the computer so I’m not tempted to open it up just to check e-mail.

Tell me, what’s something you would do for yourself if you had time and NO ONE to criticize you?