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Goal Setting

A little over a year ago…September 7, 2015, to be exact…I took a BIG leap of faith and began taking control of my health.

That was the first day of my first Beachbody program.

It was ugly, y’all.  Although I didn’t look out of shape to most people, I felt so yucky.  I knew that I wasn’t where I needed to be.  I was getting very little exercise, except for a few weeks the summer prior, and my eating, although not terrible, was a bit random.

I followed the program pretty much to the letter, began using portion control as a nutritional help, and worked out five or six days a week (I can’t remember if I got one or two days off during that program).

The weight came off very quickly, as did the inches.  By the end of eight weeks, I’d lost fourteen pounds, and my measurements around all of my body parts had decreased.

I was hooked.  I was stronger physically and more confident emotionally.  Shopping was fun when I saw myself fitting into clothes the way I knew my petite body was supposed to.

I did TurboFire next.

This program was all about the cardio…so different from Piyo, which had focused on core strength and flexibilty.  I spent six months doing TurboFire and continued to chisel my body.

Next, I jumped into Hammer and Chisel.  Oh boy.  What a tough routine.  This was all about building muscle, with a healthy dose of cardio mixed in.  When the kids were younger, I had a gym membership and spent hours getting buff.  I knew it would be painful.

The Mr. bought me a set of weights, along with a workout bench, and I went to town…in my home.

I saw the changes I’d been looking for.  My abs finally decided to make an appearance.

Of course, I had to jump into a new routine when I finished, so I started 22 Minute Hard Corps.

The first day was no joke.  There wasn’t a day that went by when I wasn’t sweating and sore.

I am so happy to say that I FINISHED this program on Saturday!!!  I had gained a couple of pounds between the end of Hammer and Chisel and the middle of 22 Minute Hard Corps, so I did a gut check, literally, and reined myself back in, losing one of those pounds before Saturday.

As you can see, I lost some muscle definition in my abs and back.  I understand why, though.  This program didn’t use weights too often.  It was more about functional fitness, as Tony likes to say in his videos.

It was about building stamina and agility and body strength in a different way.  I definitely gained all of that.  I can do gorilla crawls and mountain climbers like there’s no tomorrow.  I’m pretty good at pumping out some push ups too.

During the time I did this program, I ran two or three virtual races and was able to do longer run intervals.  I have yet to run an entire race, but I’m not training exclusively for running, so I get it.

I have my next program ready to go, but first, I’m dedicating a couple of weeks to running some virtual races I’ve fallen behind on.

I think it’s important to take time out, though, to travel down memory lane.  It helps me remember what my goals were…to lose the flab and, originally, run a 5k…and to see what I’ve accomplished.

Although I still can’t run the entire 5k, I’ve done one in real life and will be doing another in a month.  I’ve done quite a few virtual races since last fall.  I’ve also accomplished every single other goal I set for myself.  I reached my target weight a few short months after I started exercising and have maintained it, with the exception of a pound gained and lost here and there.

With all of that said, I don’t necessarily advocate Beachbody, per se.  I don’t sell it.  I don’t want you to think that this is just a big pitch for it.  It just happens to be what fit into my life and personality (I love the calendars that come with the programs).

What I do challenge whoever I talk to about fitness…and I talk about it a lot…is to first decide what you want.  Then, create a plan.  Carve out time for it.  I’m all about the early-morning workout.  I know that I won’t have the energy in the afternoons to do it.  I also know that I need to do school stuff…lesson planning and grading…when I get home.  I make exercise a priority, which is a big reason why this has worked for me this past year.

Then, you have to watch what you eat.  That’s tough.  I keep up with my food log via the MyFitnessPal app.  I keep up with the calories I burn with my fitness watch.

Staying in shape is sooooooo much harder than it was when I was in my 20’s.  In a way, that’s not a bad thing, though.  I am so appreciative of what I’ve accomplished.  I know that blood (yes, there’s been blood…when I’ve fallen when out running), sweat, and tears have been a necessary part of the journey.

For so many years, I was that person who talked about doing something but didn’t stick with it.  I’m not that person any longer.

Weekend Shenanigans

Besides the wedding that I attended on Saturday night, I had other bits of fun this weekend.

Friday afternoon, I could not function.  After the horrible news of my school’s student losing his battle with a brief illness, it was all I could do to climb in my recliner and pull a blanket over myself.  I slept for an hour and a half.

I don’t think we even went out to dinner.  I’m pretty sure I ate leftovers.  That’s how heavy my heart was.

My nap, though, had given me a bit of energy, and because I needed to decompress from the day, I stayed up late watching college football and practicing my calligraphy skills.

I have much to learn.  Rebecca and I chatted via Instagram, and she said that she’d been watching YouTube videos.  Her beginner work looks like what my advanced skills will be like.  She’s amazing!

Still, it was good to focus on something besides being sad.

Saturday morning, I got up and worked out…finishing Week 7 of 22 Minute Hard Corps.  I have one week left!

After a nap early that afternoon, I got ready for the wedding that I posted about yesterday.  I wound up going to bed around 10:30.  I had not slept much the night before and was just exhausted.

Sunday morning, I slept in a little.  Sundays are my rest days…as in exercise rest…so I don’t have to be up early.  I felt so much better.

We attended church, ate lunch with friends (love them!), and headed home.

I immediately went back out and did a bit of shopping.

Our Office Max is going out of business, so I picked up a bag of goodies…glue sticks, erasers, and paper to indulge in my new calligraphy hobby…

I had Bath and Body Works coupons and really wanted more Pink Chiffon shower gel.  I love their B3G3F deals!  They’ve got their holiday scents out, and oh word!  I had a hard time deciding on something!  I have to be very careful with scents because they can lead to migraines.  I’m very sensitive and can’t do anything too strong.  That’s why I like the Pink Chiffon.  It’s a soft smell that is just right.  I also snagged a bottle of Warm Vanilla shower gel because I still have lotion leftover, and, well, I just have to be matchy-matchy.

OCD anyone?

I took another nap when I got home.

Teachers just cannot get enough sleep, y’all.

And that, in a nutshell, was my weekend.  The Mr. and I didn’t go out Sunday night for dinner, and yes, I really needed to be working on figuring out why my refrigerator isn’t making ice…again.  This happened a few months ago before Rooster left for basic training.  I either fixed it or got lucky that time.  I suspect that all I need to do is make a call to Sears for a repair guy, and the problem will suddenly resolve itself.  That’s what happened the last time…before the guy came…and I canceled my appointment and saved a whole lot of money.

This is going to be another challenging week, I suspect, as students continue to grieve for their friend.  I believe that the funeral will be held on Saturday at my church.  Please keep us in your prayers.

A Month Later…

Well crap.

I blinked.

Longest blink ever.

As in one month and six days.

Sheesh.

It’s hard to believe that the first grading period will be over in eleven days.

Even though this is my seventh year teaching, I feel as busy as I did my first two years.  Having an extra prep is wayyyyy more work than most people realize.

Every Monday finds me like this…

We’ve been incredibly busy.  My Intensive Reading classes are doing their thing.  We spent the first two weeks on my Brain Gardening unit.  This is where they study the science of positive affirmations on the brain.  I added in a Brainology article, assessment, and worksheet that my friend, Cinda, pointed me to.  The kids loved the lesson, as did I.

Kahoot made an appearance when I used it to review Text Features with my Intensive Reading students.  They loved it, as I knew they would.

My Honors classes are doing some seriously hard work.  They’re writing a huge essay about suicide prevention.  The ultimate purpose is to evaluate what our school is doing in this regard.  I brought in a few speakers, and my kids interviewed them.

I was very surprised when I read the following entry in one of my girl’s reading responses…

This made getting those speakers so worth the effort!!

My students just finished typing their rough drafts.  I’m taking the kids through the entire writing process.  They didn’t exactly enjoy the planning part, but one of my girls actually went above and beyond by typing her outline…

They typed their papers in Google Drive.  A friend, Ryan, who is also a tech employee with my district, came in and trained my kids on it and Canvas, an online classroom setting that we use.  I had my kids link their Google Drive essays with Canvas, and then they peer reviewed a computer-generated partner’s work.

It was some good stuff!  Yes, I am a teacher nerd.  🙂

Their papers are due on Friday.  I cannot wait to read their final drafts!!!

The second week of school found our routine interrupted when Hurricane Hermine came to the Panhandle.  We had two extra days off of school.  I’m not going to lie.  They were wonderful and provided a much-needed rest that allowed me to catch my breath.  The first few weeks are extremely tiring when you’re a teacher.

Notice my alarms…turned off?

I was able to work out…in daylight…on those mornings.

With extra classes comes extra grading.  I’m forever behind, although I did make serious headway last week.

I really take my time reading responses to my students’ books and providing feedback of their essays.  I want each student to feel like I care about them individually.

I’m also trying to evolve in my teaching practices by working on the use of progression scales.  These are measuring tools by which students assess their learning.  I used Plickers to have students answer the following question.  It was our first time using the cards.  There was a small learning curve, but eventually, I think it will be a quick way to get feedback from them.

I also adopted a new football player since the one I’d had for the past three years graduated in May.  These were some of the goodies I purchased to add to his bags over the next few weeks…

As a way to keep up with the latest hot reads, I’ve been listening to The Nerdy Bookcast podcast.  It.  Is.  Fabulous.  I think I’ve cried during every episode.  The impact that books have children is impressive.

Check out the book I ordered after listening to a book talk about it during one episode.  I already have a waiting list for it after doing my own book talk in my classroom!

Another book I heard on the podcast was The Twinkie Bin.  I ordered it immediately, book-talked it, and read the first three chapters to my Honors classes.  It was snatched up by a young lady.  Another student wrote down the title so her mom could order it for her.  It’s riveting.

Speaking of books…one of my favorite things about teaching is watching as my students develop a love for literature.  One young lady is reading Beautiful Creatures.  She looked up the lyrics for “Sixteen Moons,” the song that keeps playing over and over in the book.

I used my teacher lead money to purchase twenty five new books.  The first batch arrived early last week.

Here’s the second batch that came in…

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to maintain the boundaries between home and work.  So, I work super hard Monday through Thursday…into the evenings…and give myself the weekends to be me…no schoolwork allowed.

My life continues to revolve around my workouts.  I really like the 22 Minute Hard Corps program.  Tony Horton often refers to it as “functional fitness.”  It’s not so much lifting weights as it is building core strength and endurance, which you need for living.

I am not going to lie.  This program is deceptively hard.  I thought it was going to be easier.  I needed easier after Hammer and Chisel.

Boy, was I fooled.  I burn anywhere between 175-250 calories with each workout.

I found some worksheets online, and I love them!  They help me see which exercises are coming up, and I like seeing the blanks fill up during the week.

I did have a mishap one day when door I had the bands hanging over popped open.  The bands flew back and hit me in the head and hands.

My right hand got the worst of it, though.  My knuckle still hasn’t healed completely.

Yes, I am a klutz.

I’ve been mixing workouts with yard work.  I like to keep my heart rate monitor on while I’m outside out of simple curiosity.  Apparently, mowing, edging, and sweeping debris burns a crap-ton of calories.

The Hard Corps program is eight weeks long.  I just started Week 7.  The workouts have gotten progressively difficult.  There’s one workout every other day and two workouts every other day.  Although there are only a total of seven workouts, not counting the bonus ones, the combos vary according to the week and day.

There are still days when I dread getting out of bed…knowing what’s ahead of me in my workout…but I do get up, and I do push through.

As the weeks have gone by, I’ve started doing the workouts without the videos.  My friend, Rebecca, wrote an honest review of the program.  Her post explains how fast the videos go, and this was something I had a problem with too.  After I found the worksheets and got comfortable doing the exercises, I stopped watching the videos.  I was having to pause them frequently, because I was determined to do all of the reps.  Doing them at my own pace has allowed me to focus on my form.

I have needed a distraction while working out, though, so on Saturdays, I watch the ESPN College Gameday program.  I love the human interest stories and the picks of the commentators.

During one story, which left me in tears, I sketched out lesson plans that I hope to use some time this year.

I just couldn’t help myself.  I get ideas from so many places.

I’m seeing the fruits of my workouts…not just in my body but my endurance.  I completed the Hogwarts Running Club’s Platform 9 3/4k with, what my friend, LeAnne, said was a good time.  I was just happy to get through it!  I did walk/jog intervals.

With all of the exercising and calorie burning, I’ve been more motivated to cook.  I bought two cookbooks from Oh She Glows, a vegan cook.

I also recently downloaded her app…well worth the $4.99!

I have liked every single recipe I’ve made so far.

The 6 Vegetable and “Cheese” Soup was pretty good.  Next time I make it, I’ll leave out the cayenne pepper.

Peanut Better Balls (no typo)…so very delicious and super duper easy!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothy Bowl…oh word!!  This recipe is in the app.

Healthy Potato Soup for the Soul (in the app)…the BEST potato soup I’ve ever had!  I couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers each day at school!!!

This past weekend, I made the Spiced Red Lentil Tomato and Kale Soup.  I didn’t take pictures…shocker, I know…but this soup is seriously flavorful.  The broth is to die for!

Another thing that’s kept me busy is a new hobby…calligraphy!  I recently started following Scarlet and Gold on Instagram because this shop is based out of Auburn.  I saw that they would be offering a free online class and signed up.  I ordered my supplies and eagerly awaited.

What a wonderful job they did with the video!  It was easy to follow and very polished.  I learned a lot and had so much fun!

Not bad for a first attempt, eh?

I enjoyed it so much that I ordered more resources.

Although that’s not everything that I’ve been up to, it’s quite a lot of it.  As always, I continue to crave more writing time but find it almost impossible to carve out.

I’ll keep trying, though, and hopefully will get back on the train more frequently.

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