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Archive for August, 2022

Happy Hump Day, dear reader! I officially completed Clean & Lean yesterday. Overall, I am satisfied with the results of this month-long challenge. I like intermittent fasting, and the 14:10 TRF (time restricted feeding) schedule works well for me.

As I mentioned in my last post at the start of this program, I did not use the Workout Plans in the book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fitness portion of the plan. I knew I could not commit to the step count (walking) or the staircases (no access) during the month of August. As for the exercises, I used Beachbody on Demand (4-week program called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom) and walked most evenings after dinner (at least 20 minutes). Thankfully, I had started my BOD program in July because my life got a bit hectic between 19 August and 28 August (no workouts), and I was able to complete that fitness program which I enjoyed.

While I did not strictly follow the book’s eating plan, I followed the Clean & Lean guidelines as closely as possible. I drank plenty of water but no alcohol. I ate as many of the 30 clean foods as possible. I stayed away from fried foods, artificial sweetners, and MSG. I limited added sugar, soda, condiments, processed foods, and white flour. We celebrated Andrew’s birthday, so there was cake and ice cream. I have been eating fruits and veggies, but could be eating more of both on a daily basis. I am eating a moderate amount of dairy and taking my daily vitamins.

I weighed in this morning at 154 pounds. I have lost three additional pounds since 03 August with an overall weight loss of 8 pounds since 01 June. Considering how busy I have been lately, I am pleased with my results.

With all of that being said, I have PLENTY of room for improvement. I am the worst when it comes to time management. I am terrible at meal prepping even though I know it is effective. I overextend myself because I want to be involved in everything. And, I do not sleep well which I think is tied to menapause. I love a good routine if I can stick to one; however, throw one monkey wrench into my routine, and it all falls apart. Then, I get down on myself which causes me to shut down, and then I procrastinate like a rock star.

So, what’s the next step? At this moment, my plan is to not start any new fitness programs on BOD. A holiday weekend is approaching with Barry starting vacation this Friday. We have plans to do a bunch of tasks around the house. The weekend after, I go into dinner theatre mode for an entire week because I got a role in Murder! At the Disco at the Columbia Theatre. In addition, I have all my reading projects for the month, my weekly improv class, and I am supposed to be launching my YouTube channel in September. Presently, I do not want to start anything new or add anything more to my already overflowing plate. Therefore, my plan for the next 30 days is to continue following the Clean & Lean guidelines and exercising (walking and DVD workouts) daily.

Before bidding you farewell, dear reader, I want to share the results of my nerve test and update you on my hands and wrists. Good news! I have NO nerve damage. My right wrist is feeling much better; however, I am tentative with how I use it, especially with lifting things (or Tooty) and doing certain exercises. I think a combination of meds, exercising, and adjusting my sleep position has helped with the numbness in my fingers. Hopefully, I am turning a corner with this issue. I am ready to move on and jumped into September with both feet. Happiness!

“Regardless of what you accomplish, always consider yourself a work in progress, for this humility will allow you to accomplish even more.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M. D.

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July has come and gone while my reading life continues to thrive month after month. I was able to complete six books in the month of July which is AMAZING, considering one of them is a behemoth. IT by Stephen King is 1,138 pages long! Rereading it after so many years has been nostalgic and super satisfying. As of today, I am ten books ahead of schedule. At the rate I am going, I will reach my Goodreads goal of 50 books by the end of September. Awesomesauce!

Nonfiction Selection

My July nonfiction selection was The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins. I had been wanting to read a book by Mel Robbins for ages, so when the opportunity to read The High 5 Habit presented itself with my friend Kathryn and the members of her Live Healthy Team, I took it. Anyone struggling with self (self-worth, self-doubt, self-esteem, etc.) can benefit from reading this book. Giving a high 5 to someone else is easy, but when it comes time to high 5 ourselves, it becomes much harder. Why?

We deserve to encourage ourselves just as easily as we encourage others.Through personal stories, science-based research, and examples of real-life results, Robbins shows readers how to incorporate this simple but effective tool in their everyday lives. This book will definitely be a resource I will refer back to again and again. I high 5 this book with 5 stars.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I went a different route this month and read an entire middle school series about the Gaither Sisters written by Rita Williams-Garcia. Marvelous series! All three historical fiction books are narrated by the spirited 11-year-old Delphine Gaither and are incredibly refreshing. I truly hope Rita Williams-Garcia will write more adventures about this delightful trio in the future.

One Crazy Summer is the first book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern live in Brooklyn with their father and grandmother. Pa decides it is finally time for his daughters to spend a month during the summer in Oakland, California with their estranged mother Cecile, who abandoned them shortly after Fern was born. Set in the middle of the Black Panther Movement in 1968, the girls learn a thing or two about their mother, the Black Panther Movement, and themselves. This well-written middle school historical novel is heartfelt, honest, humorous, and so deserving of being a Newbery Honor Book. I fell in love with the characters, especially the sisters and their mother. It was easily a 5-star read for me.

P.S. Be Eleven is the second book in the Gaither Sisters series, and it did not disappoint. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are back in Brooklyn after spending an eventful month during the summer with their mother Cecile. This novel follows the girls through their school year, Pa’s girlfriend news, the unexpected return of their Uncle Darnell from the Vietnam War, and the Jackson 5. Delphine, now in 6th grade, deals with fitting in, friendship turmoil, and her feelings about Ellis Carter. I continue to enjoy reading about Delphine and her experiences during this pivotal time in history. Another 5-star read!

Gone Crazy in Alabama is the third and final book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are sent to Alabama to visit Big Ma, their great grandmother, and Uncle Darnell for the summer. The girls quickly learn that the ways of the south are much different from their home back in Brooklyn or where their mother Cecile lives in Oakland. The girls discover a family feud, learn more about their family and cultural history, experience the power of forgiveness, and embrace the importance of family. 5 stars, ya’ll!

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

The atmospheric Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand is a wonderfully written novella with gothic horror vibes. The tale of the missing lead singer of Windhollow Faire, the summer he and his fellow band mates lived at Wylding Hall, is told in an interview style format with multiple viewpoints. The question on everyone’s mind is, what happened to shy, handsome Julian Blake? English folklore, musical elements, unreliable narrators, and the setting of an ancient country home and its mysterious surroundings create a delicious amalgamation of subtle horror. A bewitching 5-star read for me!

Year of King

For July, Kelsi and I tackled our most ambitious Stephen King selection to date. IT is one of my favorite King novels. It embodies horror elements that will frighten any reader because we are all afraid of something. Derry, Maine is the setting of this chilling tale about an evil entity that awakens every 27 years to wreak havoc on the residents of this small New England town. Seven children, who are viewed as losers among their peers, are drawn together and form an impenetrable bond which fuels their quest to seek out the murderous Pennywise and destroy it once and for all.

It should not come as a surprise that I gave this beautifully written coming-of-age story 5 stars. Well-developed characters, a terrifying clown, and a battle between good and evil make this a must-read for any Stephen King fan.

Additionally, IT translated remarkably well for both television and the big screen which is not always the case with King’s stories. Watching the screen adaptations of IT was a huge undertaking for Kelsi and me. We watched the 1990 television miniseries, the 2017 film, and the 2019 film. That calculates to roughly 500 minutes of screen time which I personally think was time well-spent. I thoroughly enjoyed all three adaptations.

Kesli and I had a stirring conversation about IT on August 7th, discussing the novel and all three movie adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

August is already in full swing, and I have some terrific selections picked out to read throughout this month. I am currently reading The Haunting of the Old Yellow House on Millard Road by D.A.L. for #Read21in21. My book club selection for August is What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher. Cujo is the novel Kelsi and I will be reading for Year of King. I think it is going to be a tough read because of content. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 28 August at 2:00 PM CT. I have chosen two nonfiction selections this month, Clean & Lean by Ian K. Smith, M.D. and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. My sister Rachel and I are both planning to read it which makes it our first buddy read together. It should be a fun experience, and I am looking forward to discussing it with her. Of course, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in August. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~ Paul Sweeney

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Happy Wednesday, dear reader! It is time for me to finally lean into Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian K. Smith. I actually started the 30-day plan on Monday of this week, and it is going well so far. My health and fitness journey actually started back in June; however, I am taking small but intentional steps to ultimately reclaim a healthier version of myself once and for all. As I told Simon, mon frere, “I have a date with Europe.” I want to be healthy and physically in shape to acquire the most out of traveling to all of the places included on my List of 100 Dreams. I experienced a taste of exploration when Andrew and I visited New York City in June. We walked everywhere, and it was exhilarating for me. Of course, I love walking! Honestly, it is not only just about traveling, but also being healthier in general and feeling good about myself. When I am eating healthy and exercising regularly, I have more confidence and energy which benefit me in every area of my life.

The foundation of this program is based on the Clean 20 eating plan with 10 additional clean and lean foods along with intermittent fasting and exercise. For intermittent fasting, I have chosen the 14:10 TRF (time restricted feeding) schedule. Some of the components I really like that Smith provides in his programs are the daily meal and snack suggestions, health-related information, encouragement, recipes, and a great deal of flexibility. Planning and preparation are the key to success on any program. As with his other plans, there are clean eating guidelines.

Clean Eating Guidelines

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Drink only freshly squeezed juice.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  • Eat dairy foods.
  • Try canned and frozen options (packaged in water/natural juices).
  • Focus on the 30 clean foods.
  • No alcohol
  • No soda (regular of diet)
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No MSG
  • No fried foods
  • No white flour
  • No mayo, ketchup, salsa – unless homemade (there are clean versions in the grocery store)
  • No salad dressings loaded with sugar

Regarding the fitness element of the plan, I am not using the exercises in the book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fitness portion of the plan; however, I will be using Beachbody on Demand (subscribed for one year) or my own fitness DVDs for workouts. In addition, I am walking every evening after dinner (at least 20 minutes). I am currently on the second week of a 4-week program called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom. It is a low-impact beginner program that focuses on cardio and strength training. It is fantastic, and I love the instructor!

I mentioned in my last post that I am having an issue with my right wrist (tendonitis) and both my hands. I saw my orthopedic last Friday, and opted to get another cortisone shot in my wrist (last shot – 02 November). It has given me some relief. My hands are a different matter and started bothering me at the end of May. Many mornings, I wake up with numb hands. Once I get out of bed and flex them, the numbness goes away pretty quickly. It is annoying and a bit concerning. I think it is related to the position of my hands/arms while sleeping. Somehow, I am pressing on a nerve and cutting off circulation to my hands. What the heck! Truthfully, I really do not know the cause; it is just my theory. I have been trying to sleep with my arms by my side which seems to help; however, it is not the most comfortable. Needless to say, I am scheduled to have an unpleasant nerve test done next Wednesday. I appreciate any prayers and positive thoughts that you can send my way, dear reader, that it is not anything more serious than “at 53 years old, I cannot sleep correctly.”

Before wrapping up, I have to share that I weighed in this morning at 157 pounds. I have lost two pounds since Monday with an overall weight loss of 5 pounds since 01 June. I know the workouts are helping because my balance is improving, and I am feeling more elongated when walking which means my core is getting stronger. I still need to drink more water. I want to develop a better schedule for my workouts. Time tracking is in my near future. HA! In the meantime, I need to keep high 5ing myself and showing up. Happiness!

“While tangible goals such as weight loss, muscle strengthening, and body sculpting are important, so is the goal of making sustainable lifestyle changes that will keep you feeling healthy and fit.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M. D.

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