Ever notice how many people will say crazy things like, “It’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone.” This is said without any real regard for the experiences that come about from having done the thing that pushed you out of your comfort zone. Sometimes those are rough experiences! I don’t think the “good” actually comes from the experience, To me, it only does good if I reflect following the experience.
I went to Manhattan for work, and all of it was out of my comfort zone. Now that it’s over, I can honestly say, I’m glad I went, but I’m really tired. Was it worth it? Did it help me grow? I’m not sure yet, it depends on how much the experience impacts my practice. So time will tell.
Speaking of challenges, is cutting sugar out of your comfort zone? My answer would be, no cutting out sugar is pretty easy. It’s easy because I have already put in the sweat equity into my habits. I don’t eat a lot of sugar these days, and I don’t really miss it. Without any real evidence; my gut, thinks limiting sugar/added sugar has been very helpful. The weight is coming off, I have more energy, and I am a happy traveler (for now) on my journey.
In the early days of video games, my mom used to like to play Super Mario Bros. I remember I used to sit with her in my younger brother’s room, and we would talk while she played the game. I didn’t really enjoy the game, but I thought it was funny that she did. So, I would watch her make Mario jump up to hit the floating box until the mushroom popped out and be absorbed by Mario turning him into Super Mario!
If we were in a video game, water would be the mysterious super nutrient that would endow magical powers to empower weight loss. It does a bunch of interesting things, but for this post, I am going to share 5 big ones;
Drinking water curtails drinking high-calorie drinks.
Drinking water prior to meals may help decrease appetite.
Drinking water after meals can help with digestion.
Drinking water boosts energy during workouts.
Drinking water may boost your metabolic rate.
One thing I like about having a daily water goal is that it’s not complicated. All I have to do is to just drink water throughout the day and keep moving forward. “Let’s a-go!”
When was the last time you felt inspired? I know so many people who inspire me. In many ways, this post is dedicated to all of them. But specifically this post is about just one. Inspiration is something to be let into the heart, It is pure positive energy that lifts us up as though we were riding in a hot air balloon into a cerulean sky. Knowing someone else’s story and seeing how that person overcame obstacles, or maybe was selfless, or is someone who despite hardships still just doesn’t give up. These are the people who give us the drive to be more than we are today.
Today was one of the top ten weather days of the year. Long Island is really a special place when the sun is shining. Sometimes, like today, there is a light cool breeze that teases the air, kissing your cheeks like an old friend who is so happy to see you again. My husband and I wanted to make the most of this beautiful day, so we went to Eaton’s Neck, to walk along Hobart Beach.
During out walk we talked about many things. It was intimate and lovely. I told him all the ways he inspires me, and I’m so glad I did. It wouldn’t have happened this way had it not been for this May Challenge.
Successful weight loss depends on habits. We know this. The problem with habits is that (the successful ones) are repetitive. Wake up, record my weight, put on my Apple Watch, fill my water jug, and get my lunch… did I lose you yet? Wait, don’t stop reading, this post will get better, hang in there with me.
This is all the good news… I do appreciate my habits, they are in synch and doing what I need them to do – I am losing weight. I am down 5.5 pounds just from April 1st. The “number” is feedback just one part of the process. The thing I’m even happier about is how I am feeling. I have good energy, and I am doing something to take care of myself.
This is the downside… it takes time to figure out the process. Then sometimes, you figure it out, and then something out of your control forces a change that causes a setback. So sometimes (while you’re doing all the work to get the process in gear) you need a little distraction to keep your spirits high. I work with young children, and I can tell you that there is no substitution for a little novelty to get kids to do things that are hard for them. To that end, I have created a little gift of sorts for you in the May Challenge! Take a look, feel free to download it, and come do this with me. It will be fun.
After finishing a challenging thirty-minute Peloton class, I was not looking forward to cooking dinner. After washing my face and changing my clothes, I checked my fitness app to see if I closed my “rings” and right at that moment a DoorDash notification banner popped up. Shaking my head, and giving a big sigh I headed down the stairs with as much enthusiasm as a kid diving into homework after school.
So much of weight loss success relies on determination and engagement. After cooking dinner, everyone at my house was surprised to see how tasty it was. Then it felt great (after) just as it is with so many different things. Working out feels great (mostly after). I’m never sorry I do these things but having the fortitude to actually get it done is sometimes REALLY hard to do.
Anything worth having takes care and consideration if weight loss is the thing you REALLY want – I hope you have the fortitude to see it through because you are worth every ounce of effort. You can do this, just don’t give in.
Scrolling on Facebook, I happened upon a post: Collective Nouns of Humans in the Wild by Kathy Fish, for the Jellyfish Review. It immediately captured my imagination right away. Here is a few of them:
A group of grandmothers is a tapestry.
A group of toddlers, a jubilance.
A resplendence of poets.
A beacon of scientists.
A group of first responders is a valiance.
A group of special education teachers is a transcendence.
A group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity.
Perhaps the one that was the most meaningful to my husband and me, was that a group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity. As parents of premature babies, we understood how aptly named that group is and the significance of the name. Fate is a mystery, and it just so happened that one of those brilliant and compassionate neonatal nurses that cared for our twins some twenty-five years ago happens to be our neighbor. She lives three houses down from us. We saw her today while walking our sweet pup Sadie, and I shared what I had learned, and she was taken aback: “Really, is that true? I can’t wait to tell my friends.”
How we think about ourselves, and what we call ourselves really does matter. Since this is my blog and I get to make the rules here (wink wink) I want to make a contribution to this list of collective nouns:
A group of weight watchers is called a transformation.
You don’t have to be a member of Weight Watchers to be part of this group. You just have to be like-minded in the belief that you have the power and fortitude to make positive changes to your life for the betterment of your health.
What kind of person are you? It’s the habits you keep that will give you away every time. If you identify as a person who lives a healthy lifestyle; but don’t work out, drinks too much, and eats mostly fast food – you are not living a healthy lifestyle, are you? Habits dictate how we live, they are the workhorses of everyday life. The goal for intentionally setting up personal habits is to simplify life. When it comes to deciding which habits to keep, is a deeply personal affair. Before you can decide which habits are serving you well depends on who you are now and your end goal.
There are five steps that anyone can use at any time to establish productive habits:
Identity Work: Who are you? Who do you want to be?
Lifestyle Choices: How do you want to live your life?
Name the Goal: What do you want to achieve?
Developing Systems: What habits need to be set?
Momentum & Joy Are habits building momentum? Do they bring you joy?
There is no reason to wait any longer to grow into the person you want to become. This is your one beautiful life, live it the way you want. Allow yourself to be inspired and be inspiring to those around you. Believe you can do this and you’re already there…
On April 4th I wrote a post, What Do You Think? I asked for some reader feedback for future blog topics. If you didn’t participate (but would like to) please feel free to follow the above link. If you did participate, thank you for sharing. I like to imagine we are having a conversation and when you answer prompts or leave comments I feel the connection, and that means so much. So it begins, with a series of posts that are inspired by readers, and the first topic is keeping a positive mindset.
To be completely transparent, I have been called, “Too positive.” (by one of my best friends) when it comes to weight loss. I’ve also been told that my attitude about it makes it hard to relate to me. While it is true that I have a positive disposition about most things, including weight loss, it’s not because it isn’t challenging. Weight loss can be a difficult goal to keep because it takes so long to lose weight. Another reason is that it requires a lot of effort. Maybe the hardest reason of all is that while it takes time and effort, it is also so easy to get down on yourself during the process. In a weight-obsessed society, it’s easy to feel judged. Why are we so focused on weight loss? To put it simply, it’s because so many of us need to lose weight; according to the CDC, 4 out of 10 Americants are obese.
So what can we do to help ourselves make our weight loss journeys a little nicer? I’ve been doing this long enough to have some tricks up my sleeve! These are my top five strategies to reframe negativity:
When negative thoughts start to creep in: “Talk back to negativity!” The “voice” that answers back is the one that would be used with someone you really love. I use my first name and it would go like this: “What?! Is that what I really look like? I thought I looked way better than this, I thought that shirt looked nice in the store.” then… “Come on, Jennifer, you have already lost so much weight. You are feeling better and your clothes are looser. I am very proud of you.”
When weight loss feels like it takes too long: Know that this is an emotional response, employ analytical thinking, and get grounded in reality. I go to the data. I know numbers can be triggering to many of us but if you’re able to just take them as raw data they can really help. I weigh in daily, and because I do that I can see trends over time. Seeing the trend can inform future goals.
When weight loss becomes overwhelming: First, write a list to organize the process. Then establish habits and rituals that will make the process manageable. I used a habit tracker because habits not only help with weight loss but also bring with them a sense of control by diminishing decision-making fatigue.
When the end goal for weight loss is too big: Set smaller goals to build momentum. It’s so important to experience success because success builds stamina to keep going. My last small goal was to plan a week of dinners using WW recipes. Something I have to watch is not getting to fixed on the goals I set like I don’t always accomplish them, but that’s ok. Sometimes my goals are not always as helpful as I thought.
When weight loss is all or nothing: Weight loss is a process and a process is seldom a this or that scenario. When I find myself engaging in fixed thinking, I’m only doing “good” or “bad” with this, I remind myself that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet. It is not prescriptive, it is not a “how to” it is a complex process where many things can be true (or false) at the same time. Reflecting on the many parts that make weight loss successful or not – is what helps me break this pattern of thinking.
Being a realist about weight loss does not have to mean being miserable. Sure it’s difficult, but I bet you’ve done “difficult” before. Being kind to yourself is not living in a delusion either – it’s being humane. If you believe in yourself you are halfway there. Help someone else to believe in themselves, and then you’re golden.
Has this ever happened to you on your weight loss journey? Things are going so well, the habits you’ve working to cultivate have become very sustainable. You’re working out on a regular basis and your energy levels are good. You are feeling fit and then, you catch yourself in a picture… You don’t look the same on the outside as you’re feeling on the inside. Then comes a huge disappointment. It’s true my weight loss journey is about wanting to live a healthy lifestyle, I want more energy and that is happening. It’s just that I also want to look physically fit. That takes a long time to show up. I’m not feeling defeated, I’m not going to quit, and I’m not even surprised. This blog is a place for my own honest reflections on how my journey is going. So just for tonight, I am feeling a bit down on myself. Tomorrow is a new day, and I am not deterred from my goal.
The habits that I have put in place, are now the systems that are keeping my weight loss journey on track. In so many ways, these habits are setting me free. For one, there is no tortuous internal dialogue about what to do next because I already know. Another reason is that I feel in control, and that is probably my biggest motivation for keeping my habits.
So what happens to these systems when circumstances change? Things happen that are out of control and I think (that when that happens) I am entering the danger zone (or maybe it’s just my personal danger zone). I think I might be entering the on-ramp to my danger zone now. Here is what’s happening, yesterday was the start of my spring break. YAY! What could be wrong with that? I was so happy until I realized I left my phone on my desk at school. There was a lot of yelling in the car… so I had to turn around and go back to school. On my second trip home… when traffic was at standstill I had LOTS of time to think. Maybe the better word is to perseverate on the workout clothes that were waiting for me at home. All I could see was the chair in my entryway with neatly folded clothes sitting with expectations.
I changed the subject, after all it’s spring break, and I’m going to visit my son who lives in New Hampshire. I miss him so much and I really can’t wait to go. But then, I started thinking about my huge 64-ounce water bottle sitting next to the work out clothes. New Hampshire is a ferry ride and hours of highway driving away. Drinking all that water on a long car ride is going to be problematic. When I realized what was happening, I actually said, “What the heck?” Well that’s the polite version of what I said…
Habits naturally bring expectations because they are tied to rewards. Plus, when you have systems that are working, time becomes the enforcer. Time is the pressure that keeps habits moving along in a nice controlled environment. Remember how important environment is for setting up habits? The chair in my entry way is not just a wooden chair it’s an object with a relationship to my workout clothes. I think, I’m entering a new phase in the journey, but first look back before proceeding forward:
I re-engaged my weight loss journey – go me!
I read books to learn more about habits – go me!
I allowed myself to be vulnerable with my WW community – go me!
I actually figured out habits that are working – (WOW) go me!
What’s next for me?
The best way I can say it, life is giving me a “BOOP”
Even though mine are not destructive habits- they are changing my life for the better and I’m so grateful for them – life is making me take a step back. This boop is like a combo of affectionate greeting to your pet, and an intentional step back. It’s like, “You’re doing great! Boop!” My life forcing a little break. But why is it important to take a little break? The thing is, I want to be fully present when I go away. I don’t want to be distracted from my feelings or the experiences I have. I also want to be able to come back home and resume them again. If I can do that, then I am on solid ground. It would mean I am in charge of my habits, and not the other way around.
Fun Fact: Habits are linked to environment
I learned about this fact from my WW leader, and in the books: The Power of Habit and Atomic Habits. Basically, people can drop habits in a new environment and resume their habits when they return home. This doesn’t mean that when I go to New Hampshire, I want to go overboard I plan on tracking food, and I know I will be active. I just want to be present and I can’t be present if I am worrying about losing my habits that are sustaining my weight loss success. This is just want’s next, am I nervous? Yep, a little. But, I believe in me, this was all meant to happen, and now I get to learn even more about myself as I continue on the journey.