Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A day to be thoughtful

Today is Giving Tuesday. While Giving Tuesday is only 5 years old, I think it is an excellent antidote to the excesses of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And the entire holiday season, really. It is just as important, however, to be mindful of the organizations to whom you give.

I remember once, when I was at my grandparents' house for lunch, my grandmother received a phone call, and she went and got her purse and started pulling out her credit card. I asked her what she was doing, and she said the "Cerebral Palsy Foundation" needed donations, and they couldn't take them by check, only by credit card. I told her that was bull, and she needed to hang up the phone. She looked concerned, so I took the phone from her, told the woman on the phone that my grandmother only makes donations to organizations by mail, and hung up. The Cerebral Palsy Foundation may have been a legitimate organization for all I know, but anyone who tells you they can only take donations over the phone by credit card is trying to scam you.

We all know there are a lot of crap foundations out there, but there are a lot of amazing organizations doing amazing work, as well, and since I started working for a non-profit, and have become older and more cynical, I have become more mindful about the causes to which I will donate. If you invite me donate to "breast cancer," believe me, I will be asking to which organization you are donating. A lot of people don't know - or they'll figure out after they've raised the money. Breast cancer is by far the most exploited disease, as far as disreputable organizations are concerned, from what I've seen. You may remember in 2014, an organization calling themselves Breast Cancer Society, Inc. allegedly bilked donors out of $187 million in donations. The leader of the organization has since been banned from running a non-profit.

All of this is to say, I am selective about the organizations to which I will contribute, and I thought I would tell you some of those, just in case you were looking for a good cause.

International Rescue Committee: This has been my cause of choice this year. They respond to the worst humanitarian crises, around the world, and here at home. From Syrian refugees to homeless youth in Los Angeles, IRC is a well-run, reputable organization committed to helping with emergency relief and long-term support.

Wildlife Conservation Network: Works to save endangered species. When I'm donating in honor of children, I generally stick to this one. They do good work.

American Cancer Society: Yes, I donate to my own organization. We work hard to fight cancers of all kinds, and I believe in the work we are doing. All of our financials are public record, so nothing is being hidden; your donations are not buying anyone's private jets. I've met a lot of people who have benefitted from what we do here, so I feel good about donating.

Breast Cancer Research Foundation: A 4-star rated organization, they specialize in, you guessed it, breast cancer research.

Want something a little more local? I also donate to:

Friends of the Shelter/SPCA KY - opposes cruelty to animals, promotes humane treatment, promotes spay/neuter programs, supports shelters
Brighton Center - a local organization that provides everything from emergency assistance, to recovery programs, to children's aid, to senior services.
Rob's Kids - helps children suffering from mental illness, suicide prevention
And of course, this bleeding heart liberal donates to her local NPR station.

Giving Tuesday isn't only about donating money - your time is worth so much. Food banks, homeless shelters, Ronald McDonald House, preparing and serving meals, driving cancer patients to treatment (ask me about this one, if you're interested)...there are so many ways you can give your time to people who need it. Or donate supplies to an animal shelter or homeless shelter.

This is a day to remember the world beyond your small space. A good way to start a habit of giving that will hopefully continue throughout the year. Happy #GivingTuesday!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy...

I love reading about routines - I often read from MindBodyGreen.com and Greatist.com (both are health blogs,) and my favorite posts are different health and fitness professionals describing their routines. Perhaps I hope if I follow their routines, I too will become healthy and fabulous. Except - my very favorites are morning routines, and very few of these people seem to have realistic routines, at least not to me.

Look at this woman! Still in bed, and it's light outside! Get up, lazy!
Let's ask Tiffany Lester*, functional medicine practitioner, how she begins her day...

"My body is programmed to wake up around 6:30 a.m. no matter what time I went to sleep. I've always been an early bird and enjoy the stillness that morning brings. To get energized, I've recently begun jumping on a rebounder (mini trampoline) for 10 minutes while listening to my favorite cardio playlist. This gets my blood pumping and lymphatic system flowing for the perfect start to my day!"

First of all, "gets my lymphatic system flowing?" Ew.
Second, who considers a person who wakes up every day at 6:30 a.m. an "early bird?"

Ok, while I generally just enjoy these sorts of posts (it doesn't have to be a wellness professional, either, I love reading about anyone's routines,) sometimes I just like to judge a little. And feel really superior. Let's compare here:

Fern Olivia, Thyroid Expert
My alarm is set to wake me up at 7:00 a.m. to Oshuns of Love, a beautiful sound bath with vocals, shamanic healing, and didgeradoo by my dear friends Aya and Tyler.

Missy K, Admin with Ridiculously Long Title
If I wake to an alarm, it's at 4:20 a.m. to whatever is playing on whatever station I've programmed. More commonly, however, I am awoken by my cat sitting on my face and meowing, or jerked awake by some jarring noise emitting from my husband, generally between 3:50 and 4:00 a.m.

Fern Olivia, Thyroid Expert
Once I rise, it's time for herbal tea, lemon water, my daily Thyroid Yoga Practice, and essential oil routine.

Missy K, Expert of Nothing, but Goddess of All
Stumble blearily into workout clothes, probably step on a cat or two. Fill up the water bottle, and if it's earlier than 4, make coffee. Drink some coffee and sit on couch, where cat cuddles up like a sleeping baby and makes me want to go back to sleep. Sometimes I do. This morning, however, I finally convinced my butt out the door, into the car, and to boot camp.

Fern, Crazy woman with more time on her hands than I do, apparently
This ritual is a habit made holy, and I look forward to waking up to luxurious self-care.

Missy, Crazy woman, in general
Get home around 6:10 a.m., wake up the girl, shower and dress, feed the cats, throw my food that I (hopefully) prepped last night into my lunchbox, refill the water bottle and coffee mug, and try to get out the door before 6:45 to beat the worst of the traffic. That short period of time is an insane sprint, but worth it if it means I got a good workout in.

Now you ask, gee, Missy, what does all this have to do with that uber-motivated post you wrote several weeks ago about losing weight and you were going to be posting honest weigh-ins, and really committing, etc...yeah, nothing. And I am aware that I said all that at the beginning of October, and then did not post again, because I didn't do a darn healthy thing, and I may have actually gained a little weight, and I was embarrassed. October is a stupid busy month. Not an excuse, but true. It's Breast Cancer Awareness month, and I work for a health organization, and we work a lot in October. Also, Halloween, and volleyball, and most importantly, my Girl's birthday. She likes scary things now, and it's fun. We went to a haunted house, and she had a lot of fun.

Anyway, no, this has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that routines and habits make weight loss doable, and we've discussed this before, certainly. I was just having some fun comparing my morning routines with these people. Reading Organize Yourself Skinny, where she discusses the importance of routines and habits. And perhaps considering ways to overhaul my own routines so getting healthy does not feel so freaking hard after a while.



The first change will be getting my butt to boot camp more often. I know, the best way to get myself back into a workout habit is to move every day. I can't boot camp every day, but I can most days. And the days I don't, I can move. I joined a mile a day challenge for November, so that's a start. And I actually have to be accountable to the group.

I've also been wanting to incorporate some mindfulness meditation into my days. A lot of these wellness people do this at the beginning of the day. So, I am going to start with 2 minutes of basic breathing meditation after I go downstairs and fill my water bottle. Perhaps these two steps will bring me a little closer to Fern, Angel of Luxury, and a little further from my current state of Oh Caffeinated Lady of the Eye Bags.

*Fern and Tiffany shared their routines in this post.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Ups and downs

I said a few years ago that I would like to use this space to help me lose weight by providing a virtual accountability partner, or several, as it were. Of course, I have described different things I have done, and it's been fun and all, but weight loss is an elusive bastard, and I'm pretty much starting over. This is going to be a rather long post, with lots of personal details (like numbers and whatnot,) so if you are uninterested, you may want to stop reading now. Also, don't make fun of me. I am fairly certain anyone who is taking the time to come here is not here to be mean, but just in case...I can delete with the best of them.

We're not going back all the way to the beginning; anyone who knows me knows I have struggled with my weight pretty much my entire life, except for a few brief years doing track in high school, and then the Army. It's really hard to be fat when you're at basic training. 

Anyway, we're going back 3 years, October of 2013. I hit my all time high weight of 295. It was one of those "holy crap!" moments - awfully close to a whole other century. I started walking more often - and I really noticed the extra weight...my shins would burn, like they were on fire, when I walked, the bottoms of my feet hurt terribly when I stood up after being sedentary, my knees were aching. But I walked, some. Then came the most effective weight loss strategy - my anxiety was ramping up again, and I started having panic attacks occasionally. That's 10 lbs gone in no time - it's amazing how intense anxiety destroys your appetite. 

No, I am not hoping I start having attacks again. I will stay happily fat.

Anywho, I started going to boot camp in April of 2014, lost some weight, gained some weight, lost some more. I've stayed mostly active since then, with a month here and there of lazy. All in all, I've only lost, in total, 25 lbs. 

And I've almost gained all of it back. Since March. Why is gaining so easy? They say, "You didn't put it on overnight..." They LIE! 

A few weeks ago, I realized my clothes were starting to fit kind of tightly, my knees were starting to ache again, my shins are burning when I walk. I stepped on the scale, which I actually hadn't done since June. I was up at 294.3 lbs. Well, crap!

Have I mentioned how much I hate my scale? It talks. And it is creepy. And sometimes, if we have lightening, or one of the cats jumps from the sink onto it, it will talk at night. "Hello. Are you ready?" Yeah, creepy as hell. 

That week, I started journaling my food intake again. I am following along with that Joyful Eating class, trying to really understand my hunger and fullness cues, because food is my downfall. And I refuse to treat it as an enemy. But I have a tendency to eat past fullness to stuffed, just because I'm bored, or I like the taste, or I am eating mindlessly. I've also stopped drinking pop, almost entirely. I'm not keeping it in the house, and I am not eating out often. I had some on Friday. It was good. I don't feel desperate to drink more. I may have kicked that particular addiction, so that's nice.  I've been working out 4 times a week, and trying to move more on the other days. 


Today, creepy scale chick told me I weigh 288.6. OK! That was motivating.

So. I know I've tried this before, but I am going to start again. I need to be accountable. So I'm going to start weighing in here again. I am going to keep up what I've started, and continue adding good habits. I am going to invite others to use me as an accountability partner, 'cuz I know I could use the kick in the butt. I am going to post this to Facebook, even though it is terribly uncomfortable, because more of you come here from there than anywhere else. 

That was awkward.

I know the scale is not the most important factor in health, and health is my foremost focus here, but here's the deal - I am more than twice the healthy weight for my height. There are simply too many problems that come from that much excess weight. I'm lucky - I'm still able to function and move and work out, but how much longer am I going to be able to keep that up? I already have problems with blood pressure and cholesterol, and I can only stave off the doctor for so long before he makes me start taking cholesterol meds. My allergies cause breathing issues, and those are much worse with the extra weight. And then there are the joints. Every so often they like to remind me that I am not getting any younger. Stupid joints. 

Anyway, I appreciate you cheering me on, and bearing with me as I do this. I promise, I will post other stuff, too, but I'm thinking Monday posts will be health stuff and weigh ins. 

A couple of years ago, I promised myself a new tattoo when I lose 100 lbs from my highest weight. (I allowed myself the semi-colon this year, even without the weight loss, because I felt strongly about the cause, but my next one has to be earned.) It's kind of a bummer, I was a lot closer earlier this year, but I guess I'm starting again. I want something involving a fairy reading a book under a tree. I can't draw to save my life, so someone else will have to help. So, once I hit 195, I get my tattoo. You guys should come with. It will be fantastic.

I may add in other rewards. I like presents. My first one will be when I hit 270, since that's where I climbed from. I don't know what. I'll ponder. Let me know if you have some good ideas - no food. 

Alrighty, thanks for hanging in there with me. We'll chat later. 




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ach...my head!

Monday night I was really tired and went to bed without taking my antidepressant. Yesterday did horrible things to my brain. Horrible. Starts with a feeling like your head is wrapped in something suffocating. Like that itchy insulation in the attic. Then come the icepick above the left eye headaches...for hours.  Then, and this is a blast, the brain zaps. Live wire, inside your brain. I felt a lot like this:

My point? This was after ONE missed dose. By accident. Do not go cold turkey, people.I went home last night, took my meds, and went to bed. I was asleep by 8PM, and slept until 4AM. I feel much better today, thank you.

What was good fun is that I spent the entire first half of the day running meetings with my head wrapped in insulation. I couldn't remember simple words, and my thoughts were like a bag of Scrabble tiles. I probably sounded like an idiot.

On to the good stuff...this is obviously me blogging, since one of my goals is to blog at least once a week during this 30 days. If you follow me on Instagram, I have posted a few of my checked off goals - got my mammogram on Friday. I put it off for over a year, basically out of fear - fear of pain, and fear of results. The pain was negligible, the results good. I did not take a picture, obvs, but I did take a pic of the certificate in the department, just so I had something to put on Instagram. I also walked with my friend Laura, who is lovely, and always an excellent person to chat with. Her dog is precious as well, and we got a great shot of ourselves with his tongue.

So many of my goals on here are ongoing things - journal all 30 days, complete Joyful eating program, meal plan and prep each week, no pop all 30 days...I am working on a number of these. Pop free 6 days now, I've been journaling:
These are part of my Joyful eating, and I feel I shouldn't post a clearer picture of them, as they are proprietary. I don't know that the developers of the program would care, but I do. But I have been using them every day.
 Sunday I planned meals for the week, made two weeks of green smoothies, and roasted veggies for lunches.
These are the Beginner's Luck smoothie from Simple Green Smoothies. They are not enough calories or protein for a meal, but they are tasty, and get a good, hefty serving of spinach into my day. I have them for breakfast with a piece of bread with peanut butter, or a bowl of cheerios.
I have been at boot camp 3 days this week thus far, and I will go the next 3 to get my 6 in a row. I have planned an excellent day for my friend Alison and me. I have drunk 100 oz of water every day this week; I really just need to record it. I have more than one day with 10,000 steps, but I'll save that for later.

The two I'm having the most trouble with are planning a weekend away with my husband and read Daring Greatly. Every time I come up with something for a specific weekend, I something else comes up. And I really can't get into Daring Greatly. I feel like I have the gist of it, and I only started it on Monday. And there are so many good books to read. My desire to accomplish a goal I've written down is warring with my "Life is to short to read bad books" mindset. Not that it is a bad book, but I feel like vulnerability is not an issue for me. I mean, I come on here and blab about my issues to my thousands (heehee) of readers. What could be more vulnerable than that? Of course, as Ms. Brown posits, oversharing can actually be a camouflage for putting one's true self out there. Perhaps, if I was to continue reading this book, I would discover what it is I am keeping hidden. Who knows?

I have work to do, so I must get back to it. I will continue sharing this with you. I am enjoying my list, and although I had a rather shockingly disappointing weigh-in this morning, I am trying to remind myself that it is an initial weigh in. Again. Ah, the pleasure of being an obese woman, trying to get healthy. It's a struggle my friends, but luckily I have all of you along with me for the ride.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Another month and a new challenge

Well, hey there hot stuff!
Yeah, another month down. I have a bad habit of not liking to admit when I am failing at something, and so I don't post at all, which really kind of defeats the purpose of blogging for accountability, doesn't it? But, it has been a month of not being so well-behaved. And while we all know that the brilliant Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once said "Well-behaved women seldom make history," I don't think she was referring to health and wellness. And eating mass amounts of ice cream, and skipping boot camp classes, and drinking pop, and just being gross. These behaviors are less likely to help me make history, and more likely to give me a heart attack, or, at the very least, land me on cholesterol medication.
So, another month, another challenge - and this one is kind of fun as it combines a list and my favorite social media, Instagram - #TheGoal30


I think the original idea, by @ariellesays, was 30 days, 30 non-scale goals, 1 goal per day - since September has 30 days, at least that's what I assume, but I read about it at roninoone.com, and she is applying her whole What You Can, When You Can philosophy, and I have some goals I'd really like to be cumulative, so there we are. Particularly the no pop, the journaling, and the Joyful Eating class, which I still haven't completed, and I want to. A lot of people made pretty lists - my handwriting is not fabulous, but I still decided to add it to my bullet journal, which I'm still using and loving, since I carry it with me. The goofy doodling is what I do when I can't come up with another item for the list, and I wanted to intersperse some of the health related goals with some other things, like do something with my Girl but not shopping, since that's always what she wants to do. Which is funny, since all she wants to do when we shop is buy more black shirts. Occasionally maroon.
You'll notice I added blog more and take more pictures, and I'm supposed to document this whole thing on instagram, so if you'd like to follow along, I'm @_missy_koeppel
I love my Instagramming. Much more than then Twittering, which is way too loud for my sensitive brain.
Speaking of Twittering, I just read Felicia Day's book, You're Never Weird On the Internet (Almost), and she is truly adorable and fun, and her poor anxious brain makes me want to hug her and tell her she's not alone, although she seems anxious like a type A personality, perfectionist, smart person anxious, instead of my anxiety, which stems more from...I have no idea what, low self-esteem, I guess.
Apparently I had more babbling to do that I thought, but I have to start working now, so we'll chat later. Make sure to kick me in the butt and remind me to keep updating these goals. Phew, it's warm in here...

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Almost a month later, and I'm feeling a bit better

Hi. It's been a busy three weeks, as summers often are. When my kids were smaller, and I was home with them, we used to have lists of fun things to do, and days where we didn't leave the house, and I really miss those days. I also had bucket lists - hikes I wanted to take them on and camping trips, and day trips...and now they are teenagers and have very little interest in waking up before noon, let alone going on a hike with me. I feel like I really missed the ball on that one, and uh-oh, here comes the mommy-guilt.

Anyway, busy, so I will condense the past 3 weeks into a brief list of of snippets to catch you all up. Far be it for me to allow you to miss out on even an instant of my life - that would be cruel!

1. Family - Reds games with A (don't get the hat o' nachos! They taste like sweaty socks!), family reunion in Columbus (so sweaty), birthday party for my twinlets, snuggles, visit with my dad and stepmom, shopping with my girl, and my boy is becoming a very decent cook!

2. Softball. Lots of it. Also volleyball. This is the last softball tournament of the season, and tryouts for next year are next week. Volleyball started 2 weeks ago, and she's happy to be back.

Here's a picture of the girl pitching. I didn't take it. 
3. Work. My boss left. This was heartbreaking, as she was the best boss I've ever had. I interviewed for her job, but only because I felt that was the next logical step. They did not hire me for the position, and I am...uncertain...about their selection.

4. With softball tournaments comes lots of reading...I have finished a lot of books this summer. Hey! I watch when she is up! Anyway, check my Goodreads page if you're interested. I am currently listening to 10% Happier by Dan Harris in the car, and I'm really liking it. (Reading other stuff, but I felt like this deserved an extra mention.)

5. Health - Started the August challenge this week. Boot camp twice, and I mowed the lawn yesterday. I also started over with the mindful eating class - the material is good, but I lost my focus the first time through - luckily, the material is mine to keep, and so is the Facebook group. I have had good days and bad days this past week, but I'm working it. I'm planning for boot camp 3 days next week, plus a walk. Also, my biceps are killing me today.

I think that sums it up nicely. It doesn't look like much, but between work and softball, that was a lot of time. Throw in a few book clubs...




Gotta get dressed. Softball tournament...Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hello anxiety. It's been awhile.

Can't say I've missed you.
The anxiety, not you, dear readers.
It has been, what, 2 1/2 years since I felt this bad. So, let's examine...

I know my worst triggers - the people I love the most and who live with me, my family, and my thoughts on how I have failed them. I don't want to be more specific, as they would probably not appreciate it. I don't believe I can actually fix this, but my first, and most desired response is to run away and hide, which is not my most mature way to respond.

Ok, this has not exactly changed, but I've dealt with it more effectively over the past 2 years than I am right now.

I haven't been working out this summer. Barely at all. Like, 4 times since June 1. Maybe 5.
My caffeine intake has been astronomical.
I've been eating junk, and not sleeping well, at all.

That's not to say "I haven't been focusing on me." I certainly have. Probably more so than I should - book clubs and nights out, and fun with friends. Mayhaps I need to focus less on my fun and more on my health? The two certainly need not be exclusive - but perhaps a few less ice cream cones and a few more early morning workouts would be helpful.

this morning I woke up full fledge anxiety attack, shaking and nauseous. My ensuing conversation with one of my family members did not help that. I cut back the coffee to one cup to try to take the edge off the shake (cold turkey hurts too much.) Kept the breakfast small.

I still have this desperate desire to bolt out the door and run for the next two months.

I will work on it.

Sorry to be such a downer. Lots going on the past month - family in town, and lots of twin snuggles make me happy. Softball tournaments most weekends, and the girl is pretty awesome at it. Renn Faire last weekend, which is always fun, and I threw knives. New tattoo last week - it's a semi-colon, with style. I'm pleased with how it came out.



I got it with my book club. We told our server at the bar we went to after, and she was like, "oh, are they literary tattoos?" No, we just got them together. As my friend J says, the book club who gets tattooed together, stays together.

Alright, I need to get back to work. There is a lot going on here, too, but nothing concrete, so nothing to share. Although, the mourning doves are nesting again in the light fixture outside my door. Baby birds are exciting.

Wish me luck with the whole freaking out thing.