Day Three Hundred-Nineteen…

I was walking down the hallway at school, and I felt so light in my step, that I caught myself thinking I’ve got my energy back. I am so grateful.  I believe we write our own narratives every day. I believe that there is power in story because they define us and shape our lives.  The stories we tell about ourselves to ourselves matter.  So be kind to yourself. Build up your reserves with kindness it helps.

Words of Wisdom

The strangest thing happened today. I had to run out to Stop & Shop (wait, that’s not the thing) and while I was paying for my items the cashier (a woman I didn’t I don’t know) said, “You lost a lot of weight. How’d you do it?”  My two-word answer, the one I’m so accustomed to saying, Weight Watchers.”

If this is something you want, believe that you can do it. Start small but just start. Don’t wait, because you are worth the effort. You are important. You matter.

 

 

Day Three Hundred Eighteen…

Wonder and curiosity were my intrepid passengers on my ride home from school today. Traveling west down the Southern State Parkway I watched the weather change before my eyes. The clouds rolled into view. Formidable, dark, and expansive they seemed to fill the entire sky.  Only a thin line of yellow horizon shown beneath their low hanging bellies as if they were pregnant.

I made it home before the heavy rains started. I ran up to my room changed into comfy clothes and jumped in bed and listened to rain pelt against the windows with the deep rumblings of thunder. Two of my children came into my room and climbed into bed with me and we just listened to the sounds of the world.

Words of Wisdom

Later the world changed again… Like pulling gossamer until it starts to unravel the sky came back home. It was a spectacular display:

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You may be wondering what this has to do with weight loss? It’s a fair question. I believe that beauty can fill us, in other words, finding beauty sustains us. Perhaps not in the same way a delicious meal might, but does satisfy a need. Finding beauty connects me and grounds me in ways that are surprising and familiar. Taking a moment to appreciate the world brings me back to childhood that was spent outside from morning till dusk. Beauty reminds me of freedom and it empowers me to persevere through difficult times.

If you feel like you need a boost, go to a beautiful spot. Give yourself permission to be a quiet observer of the world. What do you see? What do you hear? How do you feel? You won’t want to eat mindlessly after doing this because having an appreciation for beauty wakes us up to all kinds of possibilities.

Day Three Hundred-Seventeen…

It’s one of those days… Instead of rehashing what made today challenging, I would rather think about all the things I’ve done for myself that I am grateful for:

  1. I have put good habits in place (weighing measuring tracking food)
  2. I can distinguish the difference from internal hunger versus external hunger
  3. I  found physical activities that I enjoy doing that make me feel strong.
  4. I am generous with myself – I say yes to little indulgences like a manicure or something special.
  5. I find time to write every single day and reflect about my progress.

What is your list? How do you practice self-care? Thinking about what it is you do for yourself makes you stronger. I call this journey because a journey requires fortitude and perseverance if you are really going to see it through to the end. I can do this, I believe you can too.

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Day Three Hundred Sixteen…

I’m thinking about a question that my leader, Bonnie, asked us at yesterday’s Weight Watcher meeting: How are we going to handle the summer and our weight loss goals; were we going to be “full throttle” or “loosey goosey”? This is a very good question. I am dedicating myself to reaching my goal and I’m closer than I’ve ever been.  So engines revving, I’m ready to take that last turn to break away and make it across the finish line. What does that mean? It’s the everyday decisions that will get me to goal.

Words of Wisdom

We had pizza for dinner tonight. It had a thin crust which actually makes a big difference because when I weighed my slice, it came up at 11sp (as opposed to 17sp). So, for pizza, that’s a deal. It was really delicious, and it used up all of my remaining points for the day.  As I went into the kitchen to put my plate in the dishwasher, I thought about having another slice. I paused, and thought, I can have another slice… or, I can just stop and get to goal sooner.  I was not hungry anymore; if I had another slice, it would have been for  the taste of it, not the need to eat. These are the day-to-day decisions that are helping me to be successful.

Words of Wisdom

My search for beauty continues. Every season has something to hold dear and right now I am loving summer. For me, summer is all about fragrant breezes, color, and life and the more I look for beauty around me, the more I appreciate it in myself. I think it’s very important to show love and respect for ourselves as we continue on our own journeys.

Day Three Hundred-Fifteeen…

I had a great week in terms of weight loss! I am anywhere from 10 – 15 pounds away from goal, dependent on my waist to hip ratio. I’m not there yet, my measurements were .86. My goal weight is going to be set on these measurements. Just doing that, is a huge victory right there because for my entire life the scale has been the ultimate ruler. Shifting the emphasis from an arbitrary number on a scale (what I thought I ought to weigh) as opposed to something rooted in science and fact is tremendous. Moving away from feelings to facts is a game changer:

A Spirited Meeting

Debate and discourse are becoming scarce in public spaces, and I think that is to the detriment of our society. It is critical thinking that pushes us forward, that is what challenges us to think.  I’m happy to report that debate and discourse are alive and well in my Weight Watchers meeting!

Words of Wisdom

Thank you to my sister, Virginia being that voice that says,  “I dissent!” Thank you to my leader, Bonnie who opened up the conversation and keep us talking and thinking! Obviously, anyone who is sitting in a Weight Watchers meeting has issues with food. Some of us have lots of weight to lose, while others have a few extra pounds to lose. Either way, we all share the desire to lose weight.

Words of Wisdom

I'm presenting both sides to help you think. There is no one right answer. There is only the answer that works for you. The point of this is to think about it and make a decision that you believe in. 

Keep it Steady! 

Weight Watchers has suggested using maintenance as another strategy for members to use on the journey.  The rationale for that maintenance can be a tool to allow members to still maintain control and to protect their weight loss. They are positioning this idea that there are times in life when a person needs a break from weight loss and this strategy allows members to do it within a controlled environment. We have a maintenance setting on the app, we can set it and stay there for as long as we need to.

It’s Permission To Fail

Weight Watchers is a business and it’s not in their best interest if everyone gets to goal. So what does it matter to them if it takes longer for people to lose weight?  It’s just ridiculous because you would have to be counting your points already.  Why would you ever want to go on maintenance if you are not at goal. That really isn’t going to help you in the end. Ninety-nine percent of us are here to lose weight. This is a weight loss program and that’s why we are all here. We are here to lose weight that’s the focus.

I am not sharing what I think because I want to know what you think. So, what do you think? Feel free to use the comments box to express your thoughts. No pressure though. Honestly, I’d really love to read what you have to say.

Day Three Hundred-Fourteen…

Summertime and the Avett Brothers make perfect sense to me. They were as good as I thought they’d be – just all inspiring, good times were had by all, and it was nothing but fun. These brothers and their bandmates are all so talented and the crowd responded in kind.  Everyone seemed elated, people were dancing, and everywhere I looked I saw smiling happy faces, there were families and friends embracing, and singing along. It’s the lyrics that draw me to this band. A common theme that I take from their music is one that underscores gratitude, love, and an appreciation for the beauty of life.

I sang along and danced and let go and that’s a good thing for me. I tend to be more conservative.  I am grateful for such a fun time – and for the (medium) concert shirt!

Why do I write? I think it’s being a writer that makes me more aware of life and how it’s being lived. Taking a moment to be an observer is a real gift. It makes me connect to a moment that makes me feel alive.  Finding the right words is honoring life – to what end? I don’t know it just feels right. Maybe it’s trying to reach out and be part of it all to share our humanity. I think I am better when I  understand the connected nature of my life to others. Life is temporary, it is beautiful, and it is meant to be lived. I know deep stuff for Friday morning… this blog is a place for the truth and that’s what I’m thinking about.

I’m also thinking about my weigh-in day. I’d be lying (and I did say this blog is a place for the truth) if I said I didn’t care what the scale says. I’m going to buy a measuring tape today to find out my waist to hip ratio.  I did it using my husband’s measuring tape (the kind construction workers use) and I don’t think I did it right. Why bother with this? My health is a driving force for this journey, and while I can stop aging I can make choices that promote a better sense of wellbeing. Typically, health is the kind of thing I don’t think about until it’s a problem. I’m trying to change that mindset by taking positive steps whenever I can. I wonder, why are you interested in making this change?

I’m closing out this week thinking about goals and how they change over time and what that means. I went straight to Google (because who doesn’t these days?) and found an interesting blog post by Chris Guillebeau, @chrisguillebeau How Goals Change Over Time and What to do About it.  He makes a great point about goals and intention in his piece. If a goal is really important to you, nothing can deter you from achieving it. If you find yourself losing interest maybe it’s not the right goal for your right now. Great point!

I know that when I am fixed on a goal, I think about it all the time. That thinking clarifies my intention, it makes me strategic and grounded. Growth is a process, and changing a goal is part of it. I really like this quote:

“Life being short, you might as well spend your time working toward something you truly believe in.” –  Chris Guillebeau

What I believe is the foundation for my goals and future goals:

  1. I believe in the transformative power of writing.
  2. I believe that happiness is intertwined with learning.
  3. I believe that it’s important to always be open to love.
  4. I believe life obliges us to find and celebrate beauty.

When I think about it, I have tapped into all of these beliefs when I embarked on this journey. Maybe, these core beliefs and a springboard for other goals once I achieve my weight loss goals. My next goal (when it comes to health and wellbeing) will be “maintenance”.  How will these beliefs inform that goal? I’m not sure, but it’s exciting to think about. I’ll let you know.

Day Three Hundred-Thirteen…

Sometimes I feel like my life is a long, long, long “to-do” list…

I woke up at 4:30 am and went to 5:15 Spin. Check! I lingered a while after class to chat with my friend Jen, who is a real gift to me. She is one of those people who is kind, encouraging, inclusive and generous. She is just the person I needed to help me get a jump start on my day.

I came home and made two eggs, toasted one Joseph’s pita, and 2 ounces of Boars Head Ham (fried with a spray of Canola oil in the pan with the eggs), 1/2 cup cherries, and 1 medium banana ( 3sp ). Check! Amazing, right? That’s a lot of food. After breakfast, I went on to hit my next “to do” on my list. I  am a creator and moderator of a weekly Twitter Chat, #G2Great. That means every Thursday night for an hour I host an educational chat. Check! 

Notwithstanding, tonight will be different, I pre-tweeted my answers to the questions that I wrote with our team about Homework.  Check! I won’t be able to be there in person as I have another engagement…

  I am going to see the Avett Brothers tonight! WOO HOO!

It’d be too easy to fool around all day and just have some fun ahead of this show that I’ve been looking forward to for quite a long time.

However, I have a full day of work ahead of me. I’ll be going to the library to check out some new book titles that my good friend and book guru extraordinaire, Jennifer Sniadecki @jdsniadecki  recommended (if you’re a teacher, follow Jen on Twitter, she’s amazing). Then I”m back home to write more lessons. Future Check! 

 

Obligations. There are so many and maybe that’s why weight loss efforts get pushed to the backburner. There is just so much to check off the list! How in the world do I take the time and energy required to focus on weight loss? To that I say, how do I not? How can I possibly be my best self if I don’t value my health? How do I compete if I don’t feel confident in my body? Gratitude begins with the most basic of things, like the body I live in.

For every “check” there needs to be some “balance”.  Being inspired by friends, creating something new, appreciating art (yes I think the Avett brothers are real artists), heck eating a good homecooked meal, all of this is as important as anything else. After all, it was really never a list – it’s my life. A life well lived begins by looking around and trying to get a sense of it all.

I’ve said, that I turned it all around when I began to write every day. I believe I’m rewriting my life’s story right here on this blog. Writing pushes reflection. So why do so many of us try to avoid it?

When I got serious about changing my life and taking on my issues with weight, I began learning how to self-reflect. I read this great article by Jennifer Porter, Why You Should Make Time for Self-Reflection (Even If You Hate Doing It. Everything I read, rang so true with my experiences. This is a powerful quote to think (and reflect) on:

“Reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions.” Porter.  I write this blog to think about my journey, make sense of it, and make a plan of action. This is all true!

She goes on to examine all the things that get in our way when it comes to reflection. Then she suggests some open-ended questions that are a great way to get started. I plan to revisit this article because it inspires me. Check it out.

 

 

Day Three Hundred-Twelve…

If you do one thing for yourself today be happy with your progress. Even if today was not a great day on plan, the very fact that you are reading this post, and thinking about your weight loss goals, that is a small victory.  Weight loss is an intimate kind of thing and it’s nuanced. Even when it’s going well and people start to notice and then remark on physical changes it can be uncomfortable. Then there are other days when people notice and that feels amazing. It’s complicated…  know I can do this and so can you.

Day Three Hundred-Eleven…

I am glad I like non-fat Greek yogurt and fruit for breakfast. I really enjoy eating it and this is a zero points breakfast option. I do weigh the yogurt because I would probably underestimate what a serving is. Sometimes, I will deliberately take a half serving depending on how hungry I am. Doing this is a huge victory because when that happens, that means I am in touch with my internal hunger cues. Another reason it’s important for me to weigh things like non-fat Greek yogurt is that I am learning what a “standard” portion size is supposed to be. My food scale is one of those tools I use every day.  If you want to embrace this lifestyle I recommend getting a scale.

My Scale
Weighing food in grams makes a difference. It’s more precise and you get a little more food for your SmartPoints. Click here if you want to buy one:.

Weighing out my portions is one of the behavioral changes that is helping me to be successful. If you are just starting this journey this is a very helpful habit to develop. One surprise is how satisfying a serving can be even when it looks as though it won’t be. Try it!

I really enjoy Seth Godin’s blog @ThisIsSethsBlog he writes these short posts that offer a big intellectual punch. He makes me think, and this post, The Thing About Goals, is no exception:

  1. Seth says, “If you don’t have a goal (a corporate goal, a market share goal, a personal career goal, an athletic goal…) then you can just do your best.”
  2. Seth says, “Not having a goal lets you make a ruckus, or have more fun, or spend time doing what matters right now,”
  3. Seth says, “The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run.”

Revealing what the absence of having goals underscores their importance! You know what comes next, Seth says… “It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.”  This makes me go back to a question I ask myself throughout my journey, “What do I really want?” 

  1. I say, “I want to live a lifestyle. I want to transform my body so I can be the healthiest version of myself.”
  2. I say, “I want my goal more than immediate gratification at the moment because achieving this goal will have long-lasting positive impacts on the rest of my life.” 
  3. I say, “I want the sense of control and power that my goal affords me. I am finally beginning to realize who it is I want to be.”

Get yourself a goal because it changes everything. A healthy body, confidence, and a sense of empowerment are better than eating mindlessly.  When I write that it makes it so obvious it’s hard to believe I hadn’t looked at that way before.

 

Day Three Hundred-Ten…

I had turned off my computer and was heading up to bed when I realized I didn’t write my post. Today was a big work day. I spent a lot of time writing lesson plans. Taking on this additional work is a great opportunity because it is pushing me right out of my comfort zone.

Words of Wisdom

I did find time to go to spin and I was on point with my food choices. So far this week I have stayed in my points range every day. I have rolled over 33 points and I feel good about that.  I have found time to engage in other activities like walking my dog and bicycling. I am definitely shaking it up and no matter what happens on the scale I can feel good about my effort. Part of me really believes this, I am proud of my efforts and my commitment to this lifestyle change. Yet, another part of me just wants to get to goal already.  That part of me wonders why it has to take so long. This blog is a place, to tell the truth, and the truth is I feel both proud of the systems I’ve put in place, and restless at the same time.

I read an article from Forbs by Jeff Boxx, @JeffBoss9 5 Reasons Why Goal Setting Will Improve Your Focus it’s a great read because it focuses on the research as to why goal setting works. Also, there is a compelling video that explores how writing goals in your own handwriting will make them more tangible and actionable. If you want to watch it go to the link it is fascinating.   So… why do goals keep us focused? 

  1. “Goals trigger behavior” This rings true for me. My personal experience with this blog (after all, it is called Getting to Goal) was not just to pay homage to Weight Watchers but it was a nod to the bigger goal of changing my life. When it comes to eating and activity my behaviors have been radically changed.  That happened because I set a goal.
  2. “Goals guide your focus” Yes, I can say this has been my experience too. Once this goal became fixed in my mind it all became very clear as to what steps I needed to take to make it happen.
  3. “Goals sustain momentum” This refers to the optimal state of mental performance or Csíkszentmihályi’s  “flow” For me, I experience this when I teach or when I write. It is this sense that everything is clicking and I get that beautiful combination of movement and fulfillment. It’s like a rush of being fully present and in the moment. It’s an amazing feeling. There is also a physical reason for this sensation. It has to do with dopamine.
  4. “Goals align your focus” Feedback is an important part of this process. That’s why when I see progress on the scale I get a sense of momentum. Not seeing that progress is a signal to change things up. It doesn’t define my worth it just informs next steps.
  5. “Goal setting promotes self-mastery”  As I get closer to achieving this goal I do feel better about myself. I feel more in touch with my inner power. I have the power to physically change myself and this is sort of extraordinary.

There is no secret to goal setting – there is just commitment and stamina to keep going.  It’s my “why” that has made this lifestyle change possible. So, if you are thinking about making a lifestyle change- ask yourself why you want this? What is it worth to you? Once you have those answers you’ll be ready to begin.