The Reality of 45

I don’t often feel my age.  Yesterday, I did.  It was more a combination of age and a couple years of laziness–but 45 is hard.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with exercise, etc.  I love the way it makes me feel; but to be honest, I have not made it a priority.  There has always been an excuse or something else in the way–dissertation to write (DONE), papers to grade (Never Done), kids to run around (TAXI).

But, I have always been able to get back on the train pretty easily.  This past summer it hit me when I did a bike ride with my bestie–we had done lots of bike rides–and I struggled in ways I hadn’t before.  My hips are older (and I don’t stretch like I should) and my age is catching up with me.

My age and the difficulty of getting back in shape was never more apparent than yesterday when I did my first 5k training cycle.  My daughter is doing Girls on the Run this year for the first time and she needs someone to run with her.  I thought this was just the motivation I needed to get off my expanding ass and start the long (VERY LONG) road back to health.

It sucked.  I use to be able to run (a little)–but my knees and hips are a bit more combative (they like being lazy). It didn’t help that I am battling some lung congestion; but let’s be honest that was the least of my issues.  I was supposed to run for 1 min and walk for 1.5 min, alternating.  Well–I was able to run for 30 seconds.

It was humbling.

It was one of the first times that I have really felt old.

It was one of the first times that I have come face to face with the fact that I have really let myself go.  I will not give up–I might need more Advil.  I will keep pushing and if I have to do that first day 4-5 times before I get up to the 1 minute of running than I will.  I will do it for me.  It will be great to run with my 3rd grader–but it will be more than that.

I didn’t think I’d ever finish my dissertation and I did.

Yesterday, I didn’t think I could do the full 25 minutes of running/walking and while it was sucky and I didn’t do as much as I set out to do–I did it.  I will do it again tomorrow.  I’ll teach my kids that no matter how hard something is you cannot give up.

Here’s to hoping 45 gets better.  But it’s hard.



The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I  defend my dissertation on July 12th.  The culmination of nearly 8 years of work (some of that time was spend processing how research will do what it wants).  Eight years of thinking about my work.  Eight years of writing.  Eight years of missing time with my kids and family.  Eight years of wishing I had more time to focus on my academic work.  Eight  years of wishing I could do it all, so much more quickly.  Eight years.

But now it comes to an end.  As I work my way through some final revisions, I can see the light at the end.

I know the time was worth every moment of guilt, frustration, and discovery.  I have changed and I look forward to what this next phase brings.  But Dawn Finley, Ph.D.  sounds pretty good right now.

120 Months


120 Months.

That number doesn’t even seem possible.  I don’t know how so much time has passed already.  With each day, I feel you growing up and slipping away.  I know you won’t every “go away.”  But, you’ll need me less and while there are times I welcome that separation–the inevitable growing up that happens brings with it a bittersweet sadness.

These days have been a magical ride and I am so lucky to get to be your mom.  Watching you grow into the boy you are (almost a young man) has been humbling.  You are funny, kind, sensitive, loyal, honest, and determined.  You are respected by your friends parents and the kind of kid others hope to have.  You do all of this because it is who you are–hopefully it is who we have helped shape you to be.

Your smile gets me every time.  Your laugh is infectious.  You know what you like and what you don’t.  I hope this resolve stays with you as the world will offer you many things that I hope you are strong enough to say no to.  You have a good head on your shoulders and it will lead you in the right direction if you listen to it and not to the suggestions of your friends.

I know that we are moving into the time of your life, where I have to start being a bit more cautious about where and what I let you do.  I’m glad that you are small for your age–that makes your brown skin less scary.  There will be times that I don’t let you do simple things, and I hope you understand that is because I want to keep you safe.  Your friends won’t always understand why there are certain things you have to be more careful of than they are.  Trust your dad and I.


Follow your dreams.  Leave it all out on the soccer field at every practice and game.  If you want to have a chance at your soccer dream–you have to be the hardest worker at every practice and in every game.  Listen.  Taking criticism is hard–but it is necessary. You have to trust that the coaches know more than you do.  Listen to what they are saying and think about how you can get better. Having someone give you a suggestion doesn’t mean what you did was wrong or bad–it just means there is maybe a better/different way.  Be open.  Understand it’s okay to not be perfect and not know everything.  You cannot get better if you don’t make mistakes.

Thank you for being an amazing son.  I can’t imagine what our life would be like without you.  Raising you is a privilege and I have loved every minute of it.

Happy 10th Birthday Noah.

Getting Back to Whole30

I have been off of Whole30 for about 6 weeks and it’s amazing how fast we (I) fall back on old habits.  I have learned that I cannot be less than fully committed or I will make awful choices.  You know, those choices that taste good for .3 seconds and then make you feel bad for days.  I’ve made lots of those.

I’ve been back to making excuses and I don’t feel good about it at all.  I’m tired, achy, bloated–all of the things I was not while being 100% committed to Whole30.  I’m starting a 3rd round on April 2nd–don’t want the pressure to stick to it on my anniversary (April 1).  I plan to do a Whole80.  That will take me to our next big vacation to San Diego at the end of June.  I need to rules and the commitment.  I am not ready to make healthy choices without the rules and structure.  I’ll then pick up and do 1 more round of Whole30 before my husband and I drop the kids at camp for 2 weeks and head to Belize.  I should feel amazing by then.

I’m looking forward to committing and keeping on the right path.  I had to really force myself off the path after I finished my first Whole60 and then another Whole30.  I didn’t listen to my body–I listened to my feeling and my old habits.  I know that I can break them and stay the course.

I am so happy to have found Whole30 and that I was able to really commit and know I can be successful.


Whole 30-Lessons Learned

Today is day 28.  I have gone 28 days without eating sugar, processed food, pre-packaged meals, dairy, beans, grains, and most impressively alcohol.

I can’t believe it.  When I started this experiment (what else do you call it), I was not sure how it would go.  I have tried eating and being healthy 19,840,785,321 times before and have only stuck with something once before (that was way back in mid-90’s when I wasn’t so busy and when I look back–it also wasn’t so healthy).

I have used my busy life as an excuse for so long.  I’m too tired to cook. I’m too tired to workout.  I have too many papers to grade.  The kids have too many activities to get to.  I just want a pint of ice cream.  I could go on for days with the excuses I have allowed to dictate my behavior.

Food addiction is real.  Sugar addiction is real.  Sugar is in everything.  I have to shop at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) just to find bacon and sausage that don’t have added sugar.  Eating healthy and whole is easy.  Finding the paying for the food is not easy.  Last weekend, I went to 3 different stores to get our week’s groceries and spend over $200 to feed the four of us for the week.

But, I did it.  I am going to do it again and again and again.  At this point, eating isn’t about losing weight (that would be awesome) but that can’t be my focus.  My focus is on being healthy and getting my PCOS under control–I have too long ignored it.  Eating is also about how I feel.  and I feel great–I’m still exhausted at the end of the day (but that is life).

I have learned so much during this almost 30 days.  I don’t need food to feel good.  And by food, I mean cookies, cakes, ice cream, fries, bread, cheese, etc.  So many of the cravings I was giving into were mental cravings as opposed to physical cravings.  Not be allowed to have trigger foods and figuring out what those are has been so eye-opening for me. I don’t eat when I am bored anymore.  I drink water.  I don’t snack on the kids food.  I have not even  licked non-compliant food off my finger.

We had a trivia night on Friday and I only ate the food I brought.  I didn’t touch the pizza, the cheese, salami or crackers, the alcohol, or the dessert.  And it was easy.  I wasn’t temped by any of the food.  I feel as though I have made real progress with my addiction to food (specifically processed food).  I don’t miss anything.

I have kicked my old habits.
I have lost 11lbs (only changing what I eat–I’m adding exercise in for the next round).
I don’t miss any foods.
I feel good about doing it and accomplishing it.

Here is to the next 30 days.