I’ve been struggling over the past couple of days with anxiety. It’s so silly, thoughts will grab ahold of my brain and just hold me hostage. Something will happen- a conversation or interaction of some kind and I can’t get it out of my head. I once saw a meme that said something like:
“Remember that stupid thing you did? Yeah? How about we remember it over and over to make sure you feel terrible and never forget!”

That is me. Like, I have, what I think, is a reasonable conversation with someone and then, later, I start ruminating over it until I find a little kernel of something I said which, in the right (or wrong) context could mean something offensive and terrible. I then consider a million different possibilities in the other person’s perspective which all end with me worrying that this person will end up hating me (or, really, thinking I’m a bad character)because of whatever I said. The next step is always for me to send an uncomfortable text, email or approach someone awkwardly to offer up and explanation or apology. Despite the fact that, without exception, no one has ever taken the crazy version of our conversation, my apologies usually end with me blushing apologetically for looking like a weirdo while also feeling an immense sense of relief at having cleared the air in my headspace.
It doesn’t help that I like to laugh a lot and am not too fearful of many topics of conversation.
I’ve been working a lot on being intentionally mindful about how I’m processing information these days. There is a lot of awkwardness among my working community right now as we are collectively working on becoming a stronger staff. We are being vulnerable and open with one another, and that is so hard for me, especially with my tendency to overthink and over process everything. Being mindful means that I am trying to compartmentalized my thinking and give actual credence only to thoughts that are relevant to the greater picture. To living where I am and not over processing what has happened. I shouldn’t focus more on a small issue that happened at work over something my kids or husband are doing right now. I don’t live at my job- I work to support my family, my life is not all about my job. My job shouldn’t be allowed to infect my nights and time away from work with worries about my students, my parent community or my colleagues. I’m working to look at things with a perspective of common sense and what is normal. I’m working to keep things in perspective. I’m working on mindfulness.

To that end, I’ve been having a hard time of that lately. I had another sleepless night on Monday night that resulted in a half day absence on Tuesday. I can’t do insomnia. I’m way too busy for that, so I came home and thought about how I could solve this problem and came up with a couple of things.
First: I think that exercise is directly related to my anxiety and depression. When I go a day without getting my heart rate up, I find that I have trouble sleeping at night and I often get sad/depressed/sensitive or I get anxious. Or a combination of the two. If I skip two days, the issues compound and, while I may be more tired the next night, I still repeat the pattern. No matter how sore I am, I have to get some exercise in daily. It is tremendously preventative when considering my mental well being.
Second: I found some meditations* on mindfulness, on sleeping and on weightloss. I know, it might seem a little new age-y and crystals around my neck and you might want to ask when I check into the ashram, but I find that having someone guide me through a meditation gets me relaxed and focused elsewhere. While I have my own strategies in place for when my mind runs away with itself, I found these tremendously calming and very helpful at redirecting my thinking when I felt incapable.

Today was a better day. It was good to step back into my routine, even though I yawned a lot today and felt extra grateful for caffeine. Tonight I dragged my buns home, ate dinner, played with my kids then rode the elliptical for 32 minutes. Yep, 32. That’s significant because I meant to only do 30 and accidentally went over. Ha ha! Anyhow, I feel accomplished that I have planned so well. Tonight should be a good night’s sleep and, hopefully, I can put this cycle of insanity behind me.

*I found this as the easiest link online, but I got the freebie through the iTunes as an app. Now I’m trying to decide if I want to buy more. They are expensive but I like them!
I feel frustrated because wordpress published this draft and deleted my final publish copy. If this version seems like a lame article, let me assure you it was way better before that annoying-ness happened. Grrrrr.

Jillian Michaels Kicked My Booty

I don’t know about you, but when I work out on stationary exercise machines, I like to allow myself to watch pretty much anything I might like through netflix, amazon or hulu. And I mean anything. I’m talking the extreme guilty pleasure stuff stuff that I would hate to watch with anyone else, like American Horror Story, Ghost hunters, Weeds, New Girl and any, cheesy romantic comedy that might catch my fancy. I’m presently trying out Bates Motel and some Cake boss cooking competition, but finding nothing that really is interesting to me.
However, while I was reviewing a variety of titles, I ran across the Jillian Michaels workout series. I put a couple of them in my watchlist with the intention of trying them out ‘sometime’. Sometime means never, quite often with things like this and me, so after 40 minutes on the elliptical I decided to just take a peek at the fat burn and boost metabolism routine.

I usually avoid videos because the fitness level usually far exceeds my ability level. With that in mind, I started the video with the expectation that I wasn’t truly invested and if it got too hard I could quit. Turns out, it was the perfect fitness level! It was fun! And it kicked my booty!
Jillian relies on a lot of boxing moves and lunge kinds of moves to guide the workout. I was crouching, jumping, punching and even doing burpees! They were my first ever burpees, and I thought at first I wouldn’t be able to do it. But I could. I could do it all and I was pretty amazed. After 20 minutes of Jillian fun, I turned it off. After the 40 minutes of elliptical, my legs were already a little tired and I was having a hard time with all the jumping. Now the backs of my thighs have that excellent, super-sore feeling that let’s you know you’ve really got a good workout in, and I can’t wait to try the whole 57 minute workout or one of the others that are available on Amazon prime! Who would have thought that if be using exercise videos off of my video subscriptions?! Not me.
Non-Scale victory of the day- my BMI is less than one percentage point away from being out of the ‘obese’ category. I’m almost ‘overweight’ instead of ‘obese’! Isn’t that cool?! I think so!

210 Again

I’m so happy to report that this morning I awoke to find myself weighing in at 210.8! I’m finally back at the weight I saw on December 24th. You would think I would have learned my lesson in 2012 when I gained 20-something pounds and had to spend the next several weeks burning it off. Then I did it again this year too- when I went from 210-227 in two days over Christmas. I spent almost six weeks getting rid of that 17 pounds! I hope I never see them again. Here’s hoping I can sail on past 210 and have an excellent warrior week, starting today!

I celebrated the return to 210 with 40 minutes on the elliptical followed by a solid altitude rich walk that is about 1.8 miles and the last .8 climbs 350 feet. With my goal to gain some footing on the virtual Grand Canyon I very intentionally chose that walk. It’s a pretty awesome workout. I love the way it works out my thighs- the backs of them have that delicious sore/achy feeling that implies a good workout. I also was able to get enough steps that I beat my Hawaii race! My mii is now the proud owner of a Hawaiian shirt. H ha! While I hoped to get to my weights today, I decided to forgo them. I’m tired from a lack of sleep last night. I’ll hit them had tomorrow since it looks like any working out will be indoors. Why, you ask?

It started snowing tonight!

I Love it When This Happens

What is ‘this?’ When the scale starts to trend in the right direction. A few days ago I was freaking out because I weighed 217- a full two pounds higher than my diet bet weigh in!

Back at 212 though. Phew. That feels better!
Now to continue the trend…
Maybe this time I can make it under 210!


I am staying within my goals. I have worked out every day this week and I’ve been making smart food choices. Guess who weighed in at 213 today? Uh huh! Oh yeah! Tam-ah-RAH! That’s four pounds gone since I started diet bet. Sigh… It feels so nice to work hard and see results like that. Moments like these teach me that I really can make a change if I put my mind to it. That determination again, popping up, popping in, reminding me to enjoy the smell of the brownies in the staff room, to spend time with them, to study them, but then to walk away from them. Brownies are sweeter, tonight in memory, having never had tasted them during the day. 🙂
Tonight I got home and received a comment from Leisa about how she binge read my entire blog in the past few days from beginning to end (totally flattered!). I have totally crushed out on a blog in the same way before- hello, runsforcookies and brittanyherself! Leisa unknowingly prompted me to do the same, so I started at the beginning, right here at Tamara Shazam, and started reading my articles, one by one. Presently, I’ve made it to April and I’m pretty amazed at the ridiculously positive, can-do attitude I had back then. Frankly, I’m pretty amazed just that I managed to come this far in a year… It makes me feel pretty proud of who I am and the chutzpah I have.

It’s strange to toot my own horn like this, but I keep reminding myself that I’m allowed to do that here. 🙂
Bradley and I went and bought some of that fancy schmancy dessert tea that I’ve been reading all about. I end my nights with chai, lately. I have a huge mug and in it goes 1 cup of hot skim milk, 1 cup of hot water, 1 tablespoon of half n half, 2 tablespoons sugar free vanilla syrup and a India chai spice packet. I sip on it all evening until it’s lukewarm, and even drain the dredges in the morning, cold. I love it and it costs me right around 100 calories. I don’t get my new teas until Valentine’s Day, but I’m stoked to sip on my Slimful Chocolate Decadence and cococaramel sea salt from Teavana very very soon. I think it was good to go buy them early so I can truly look forward to when I finally get to enjoy my liquid chocolate!

New Month, New Day…

Whoa. Talk about hitting the brakes abruptly.
Number one:
Diet bet ended. It was a big brouhaha that, at the very end, I barely made it by the skin of my teeth. Seriously, the second bet needed to have a weigh in of 214.3 or less. I weighed in at 214.2. The next day, I didn’t have a diet bet going, so I worked out hard, but I followed that up with some Olympic style eating. I ate at least six cookies worth of cookie dough (BRADLEY!) and there were also some smuggled nachos on game day, even though there was no game on TV in our house. (We still gots the snacks, yo! {my inner 17 year old just died of embarrassment for my children}). I’m amazed at the havoc that is wreaked through the horrid nature of PMS and some crappy food choices! My final number, before I weighed in, was 215.

However, I still have managed to get higher…
217. Yep, that’s my current number. I know that PMS has a lot to do with it, but I’m not feeling super proud. I’m feeling SUPER ANNOYED! Ack! So now I’m two pounds higher than the diet bet. Not off to a real great start.

Goal number one for this month: don’t worry so much about the bet. Just eat right and exercise and it will work like it should.

This is the graph for my WiiFit meter. As I locomote around it records my altitude, distance and speed. Because it is for the Wii, the data gets recorded fun-style! I’m presently trying to hike out of the Grand Canyon, and have been working on that goal since early December. Altitude is difficult to come by when I spend so much time traversing around a classroom, for the most part, so I’m pretty far behind Bradley, who gets most of his steps outside.
I’ve also been running around Hawaii forever. Every step I take in real life is recorded, and for about every 2000 steps I get a mile! I started the Hawaii challenge (there are a variety of courses all over the world) so that I would be the first to get the Hawaii shirt (as you complete different tasks, you get different shirts to dress your character in. C’mon, any carrot is better than no carrot.) but it turns out to be taking forever! My family has completed all kinds of marathons through Tokyo, Australia and New York, but I’m still running around Hawaii!

Goals two and three for this month are to finish Hawaii and make solid progress or finish another marathon, and to get to Cedar Ridge on the altitude challenge. This means a few hikes and walks through the woods. I’m totally up for it!
This week my goal is to simply keep my food in check. I am wanting to eat EVERYTHING in sight. In these moments, I always assume the worst of myself. Everything I see wants to get in meh belly. Seriously. Today, all day, I was STARVING. Tummy growling, like, what gives?! I’ve been working out hard, yes, but this is ridiculous. I have to tell myself ‘no’ so often, that I feel guilty like I’m eating it too. Thought crime! Food is so present in my mind that I’m accusing myself of imbibing when I’m not. It’s weird. In the past, I wouldn’t have refused the craving, I would have nibbled a little bit here and and little bit there till there was no little bit left. I’m not saying I was perfect today. I ate 22 plain m+m’s, had one brownie bar and two tablespoons of half and half in my respective coffee and tea today. I was pretty good and stayed within my allowances- barely. Especially considering I wanted to play those old favorite classroom games, like: ‘How Many M+M’s Can Mrs. L Fit Into Her mouth’ and ‘Lets Eat Double or Triple Snacks Today!’
Keeping in check is where I’m at.
Also, a little exercise every day. Amiright? I won’t specify what or how long, but I just need to keep moving.
Yesterday it was a family walk and weights.
Today it was 20 aerobic minutes on the stationary bike and 20 of weights.
Just keep moving
Just keep… In control.
My favorite thing to say to my students at the end of a hard day or the beginning of the day after a tough day where we may have had a hard moment is,
Every day is a new day.
It’s trite, but true. Every day is a fresh start.
I need to remember that for myself too. Except I also need to remember that every minute is fresh, every hour, and every moment is an opportunity to start fresh and jump anew.
And every moment doesn’t need to be about losing or maintaining weight either. 217 is ok. It will go away when my PMS does, and when that happens it will be warrior week.
A new moment.
A new opportunity.
New day.
New month.