Take stock Tuesday

Three months ago I started to read 52 Weeks of Conscious Contact,  a book by Melody Beattie which takes you through daily exercises to help the reader be in the moment and live mindfully.  As usual, I lost focus and allowed myself to be distracted by life…so typical.  I don’t know why, but I grabbed the book as I was running out of the house yesterday.  Three months since I started and I’m only on week 4, but what a good week to pick up where I left off.

Week 4 is about challenges, the ones we set for ourselves and the ones that are thrust upon us.  Lately I find I’m a teeny bit overwhelmed by both kinds.  So after reading week 4 this is what I know and my immediate action plan:

  1. Make a list of what challenges me
  2. Examine the value of each challenge
  3. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
  4. Leave a little room for the unexpected
  5. Always remember there is a fine line between challenging yourself enough to grow and putting so much pressure on yourself that you cave to the pressure

My Challenges…..The BIG Picture

  1. My weight, eating habits and overall health:  I’ve been slacking on all fronts because I keep making excuses.  I need to get down to a healthier weight and I need to STOP putting junk into my body.  Doing both these will improve my overall health and that is my number one priority.
  2. Work/Life Balance:  I started a new job last month and I’m still learning my way through a whole new set of rules and standards.  I know I can do it and I’m just slightly frustrated because it’s taking me a little longer to get these done.  I have to accept that the first six months will probably mean more hours in the office so I have to make the time at home worth every minute.
  3. My marriage – I won’t get to personal on this front, but I want everyone to know that I love my husband very much.  We’ve been through quite a bit together and are working our way back to trust.  I have trust issues in general and I know that if I don’t learn how to trust people, my life will be much more complicated than it needs to be.

All the other stuff is background chatter that, quite frankly, just isn’t worth freaking out over.  What are your challenges and how do prioritize?

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Seven days + 251 miles = Fitbloggin’11

Is anyone else having a problem with time going too fast?  It feels like only yesterday when I arrived in Baltimore for Fitbloggin’10.  I was extremely nervous and had no idea what to expect, but luckily I had Vicki with me and we conquered our anxiety together.  I met so many interesting women and I have no doubt I will meet many more this year. 

As I left Baltimore last year I vowed to be at my goal weight when I returned in 2011, but that was not meant to be.  No worries though.  I haven’t given up.  I’m still making better choices than I was 2 years ago and that is progress.  I haven’t gained any weight back in almost 18 months which is a major accomplishment for me.  My entire adult life has been an up and down battle with my weight, but I finally understand that food is fuel and not a reward.  I know that if I want to have a beer and a slice of pizza I can, but I can’t make that a daily habit. 

So what have I done since Fitbloggin’10?  Here’s what…

  1. I joined a gym and have logged at least three days a week in the gym.
  2. I hired a personal trainer and have actual muscle definition and strength.
  3. I ran my first official 5k in 41 minutes and crossed the home plate finish line at PNC Park .
  4. I went on a cruise and wore a swimsuit in public.  I even hiked through the rain forest in Belize and went 4 wheeling in Mexico.

I may not be at my goal weight YET, but I’m getting there and I’m not letting my weight prevent me from doing things anymore! 

Welcome Back

I feel like a bit of an imposter.  I haven’t written in so long and Fitbloggin is less than a month from now.  I want to write more, but I just haven’t felt like I had anything worthy to write about.  The past three months have been a rollercoaster ride for me, personally and professionally.  Mentally I am all over the place.  Bottom line…I lost faith in myself and I stopped believing I could reach my goals.  None of those things make for a very inspirational read.

I have to start over.  I don’t mean that I’ve gained all 40 lbs back and I don’t mean that I’ve stopped exercising, but I need to look at this differently.  This was supposed to be a healthy lifestyle change and it became a constant battle with the scale and I when I didn’t see the results I wanted I sank back into eating to make myself feel better which just made matters worse.  I pulled away from my friends and just wanted to stay home and feel sorry for myself.  Pathetic, I know.

So I need to pick myself up and dust myself off.  I need to focus on making better choices and not letting my inner critic rule my life.  I had a very successful week with my weight watchers and the gym.  I logged every bite and made it to the gym four times.  The results….a three pound weight loss and a much needed ego boost. 

So let’s consider this week #1 back on the plan.  These are my 4 goals this week:

1.  Log food each day
2.  Exercise on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
3.  Wake at 6:30 each day and eat breakfast at home…no rushing out the door
4.  I have two dinners this week so I need to make good healthy choices

Oh, I almost forgot ….I ran my first official 5k.  I completed it in just under 41 minutes.   Yay me!

Troublesome Tuesday Tips – PMS Cravings

Yes, I really am posting about PMS cravings.  I’ve noticed as I get older the hormonal balances, or imbalances, are more severe and my symptoms are much more severe.   A bad PMS week could ruin an entire month of working out and eating right if I’m not careful.  I have a strategy for next month….plan ahead!

Step 1 – Eliminate temptation
I know that I have very poor willpower when it comes to sweets, so I’m going to do my best to rid the ice box and pantry of all processed sweets. 

Step 2 – Don’t skimp on main meals
If I plan it right, I won’t allow my body to get hungry and hopefully avoid the cravings.  I’ll be diligent in pairing protein with good carbs at every meal and add lots of veggies.

Step 3 – Be prepared
I will make sure that I am stocked with alternative snacks that will satisfy my sweet tooth if I give in.  I love greek yogurt, so I’ll have plenty on hand in the front of the ice box.  I will keep a bar of dark chocolate in the pantry broken up into one ounce portions.  If it’s ice cream I’m after, I will blend a fat free greek yogurt with some frozen berries and poof…instant frozen yogurt.  Perhaps I’ll even shave a tiny bit of dark chocolate on top.

Ladies…we’ve got this, but just in case we need some help I would love to hear how you take care of your PMS cravings.

Follow Up Friday – 2/25/2011

TGIF!  I weighed in on Monday after 2 weeks on Weight Watchers and dropped 2.4 lbs.  Good for me.  I am hopeful I’ll have another loss this week of at least 1 pound.  I’m remembering to log my food and count points 75% of the time.  I need to work on that. 

I’ve finished two full weeks of the Couch to 5k program and after my run today I will have completed the third week.  I love the way this program is set up.  It breaks the run into walking and running sessions of different time intervals.  I’m up to running 3 minutes at a time, which might not seem like a lot, but considering I haven’t really run in a year…it’s a lot.  The first week was 60 seconds running, 90 seconds walking for a total of 30 minutes.  The second week was 90 seconds running, 2 minutes walking for a total of 30 minutes.  This week it’s 90 seconds running/90 seconds walking followed by 3 minutes running/3 minutes walking for a total of 28 minutes.  Next week will be challenging.  The routine is 3 minute run, 90 second walk, 5 minute run, 2.5 minute walk, 3 minute run, 90 second walk, 5 minute run for a total of 32 minutes.  It’s going to be a struggle the first day, but I haven’t quit yet!  I’ll be crossing that finish line on April 9th no worries!  In addition to my 3 days of running, I’ve been strength training with Leigh twice a week and getting in an elliptical workout on Saturdays.

I finally got to participate in our long distance book group this week too.  A group of us are reading Bring on the Joy by Jen Yost, MS ED.  It’s a great book.  We read a section before each call and then discuss how the exercises are helping us find our joy.  It’s so inspiring to hear how the group is experiencing the book.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the author will call in for one of our sessions.  I am so thankful that my friend Jen sent me this book.

I hope everyone has been well and more than anything I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Bend and Stretch

I don’t stretch enough, do you?  I workout 4-5 times a week and really only remember to stretch maybe once a week.  I keep saying I want to take a weekly gentle yoga class, but I never seem to put that plan into action.  I think, like most things, I need to gently get myself into this practice.  

I recently read that short bouts of stretching 3 times a week can maintain flexibility as well as a longer session just once a week.  This I can do and so can you.  Daniel Cipriani, PhD, of San Diego State University suggests this program twice a day, 3 days a week:   Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times.

Doorway Chest Opener:  Stand facing a doorway and stretch arms out to the sides, elbows bent, forearms and palms pressing into the door jam.  Walk forward to feel the stretch in chest and arms. 

Desk-Chair Hip Stretch:  Stand about 2 feet in front of a sturdy chair that won’t move and place your right foot on the seat, hands on hips.  Shift weight forward to feel a stretch in front of left hip.  Hold for 10 seconds and switch sides. 

Computer Neck De-Kinker:  Place right hand on top of head, gently pulling to right and lowering right ear toward shoulder.  Hold for 10 seconds and switch sides. 

This is a quick and easy stretch routine that can be done first thing in the morning and then again before bed.  I have 5 minutes to spare.   What are some of your favorite stretches?

The Future’s So Bright….

It’s been an interesting week to say the least.  I got some less than desirable news at work which I thought would make my emotional eating even worse, but it did just the opposite.  I realize that what is happening at work is out of my control, but how I react is completely within my control.  Then I realized that I’ve been allowing things I can’t control to totally mess with my head for the past six months.  I’ve been making some really poor food choices lately and that is something I can completely control. 

 I’ve said it before, but I hate restricting myself to “diet food”, so I won’t.  I’ve spent the past two years logging my food with various online diaries and, as of late, not had much success.  Counting every calorie is boring and I’ve found myself eating the wrong kinds of foods too often as a result.  I joined Weight Watchers yesterday.  I know it’s still logging food, but it’s forcing me to really consider what types of foods I am eating.  The points plus system doesn’t factor in calories, it factors in protein, fiber, carbs and fat.  I’m still reading into the science of this, but I feel like I need to give it a try.  It’s something I can begin to control.  I clearly have a problematic relationship with food and I’m hopeful this tool will give me the skills I need to establish healthier eating habits.

 I was talking to a co-worker today who is also affected by this upcoming change.  He too has chosen to embrace this as an opportunity rather than a set back.  At some point you just have to let go of what you can’t control and focus on the positive things in your life.  My weight and fitness is something that is on the way to becoming a positive thing for me and something I am going to control.  I really believe if we seek out happiness and find gratitude that we will be healthier for that….and who doesn’t want to be healthier?

 How do you deal with set backs at work and home?  Is there someone or something that inspires you to be a better you?

Winter Blues

Here we are in February and I’m way off track again.  Luckily there was no weight gain in January, but there wasn’t any weight loss either.  I don’t know what is wrong with me.  It’s been almost two years since I started my weight loss and I’m still only at my half way goal.  BOO! 

For the past six months I’ve been struggling with bouts of depression and high stress at work and home.  I’ve lost all drive to focus on the positive aspects of life and healthy living.  I’ve sought comfort with my food choices only to end up being more depressed after eating.  It’s a vicious cycle.  I will admit that at times I have said “Who cares if I’m overweight and unhealthy?” I know that’s just me feeling sorry for myself and I know that I care.  I don’t want to be obese again and I don’t want to develop heart disease.  I deserve better than that.

I’ve stuck to my personal training routine, but I’ve gotten off track with my cardio.  I’m not running at all anymore.   Maybe a fitness goal would help get me going.  I dread the scale, but perhaps if I try this whole 5k thing again I’ll find the motivation I am lacking.  I just know I have to do something.

I want this to be my last “pity me” blog post! Scratch that, this will be my last pity me blog post.  Today I am taking back control of my life and I will not let stress or anxiety rule my choices.  Life is too short to waste it feeling sorry for myself.  I sorta miss the healthy and happy Carrie.

Recovery

Lately it feels like I’m sick all the time.  I keep getting this nasty stomach virus that is going around.  I was down for the past two days again.  At first I thought I was having a gallbladder attack, but once again it was the stomach bug.  You feel like crap for 24-48 hours and then you feel like a new person.  It was not at all how I was hoping to jump-start my 2011 weight loss, but it worked.  I actually listened to my body this time and just rested.  I think I must have laid in bed for 24 hours and that is not like me at all.  I was going stir crazy by dinner time last night.

I decided to make the best of my down time and read my new copy of Vegetarian Times.  Wow did they have some great recipes.  I’m going to try the Goat Cheese Asparagus Crustless Quiche tonight…I hope.  You blend the goat cheese with shallots and garlic and then blend in 2 eggs and 5 egg whites.  You pour this all over grilled asparagus and bake.  I’m not a big Quiche person, but I love goat cheese and love asparagus.  I’ll have a full report for you later in the week..with pictures.

What do you do when you are sick and trapped at home?

Happy 2011?

Hell yeah it’s going to be a happy 2011, not to mention a productive 2011.  I keep a fairly detailed daily calendar and the first week of every year I take a look back and reflect on the prior year.  It’s interesting to see how I change focus so frequently.  At the beginning of the year I was writing my exercise goals for the week and logging my daily caloric intake.  By May I was just tracking my weight and miles per week.  By August I was just charting my personal training appointments.  It was very eye-opening to see that my weight on 1/1/2010 was exactly the same as 1/1/2011.  Some people might read this and say “Congrats on maintaining”, but I’m not at my goal weight yet.  I need to lose, not maintain.  I guess what I need to take from the past year is that I have learned how to maintain.  In the past, I have lost weight and after about six months I have gained it all back and then some.  I am pledging to myself and to all of you that next year at this time I will be 40 pounds lighter!

2010 was a good year for me in many ways.  I reconnected with two childhood friends, I made a great new friend, I got over my fear of sweating and making a fool of myself and I made a big lifestyle change in becoming a vegetarian.   It was a year of healing in many respects and I could not have gotten through it without the strength of my family and friends.   I was able to put a lot of baggage away…permantly in 2010. 

What are my goals for 2011? 

1.  Most importantly I want to reach my fitness and weight goals.  I’m starting the year off right with 3 training sessions this week and tomorrow I weigh in with Leigh and take all my measurements.  We are wiping the slate clean and starting fresh.   I feel myself getting stronger with each session and I’m starting to see and feel muscle development.  This is really exciting to me.

2.  I want to start doing more outside.  Explore my home state and see all that PA has to offer. 

3.  LOG MY FOOD.  I did so much better with my weight loss when I did this. 

4.  Bring on the  joy!  Jen and I are going to do a long distance book club with a book her friend just published called Bring on the Joy.  I can’t wait to get started.

5.  Blog more!  I know this one makes all of you happy.  Hehehehe

What are your goals, intentions or resolutions?

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