A Clean Slate

New Year’s offers us a clean slate, and is there anything more appealing than a clean slate? Just like that (as if in a snap) all of the mistakes of the past are discarded, and everything is brand-spanking-new. A well-constructed resolution is truly something to admire. As if it were frozen in time, or under glass like the constitution or something. Especially one that has to do with weight loss, it catches the imagination, a new year, and a new me. It invites the willing heart, “This year will be my year to reach goal.” I can hear myself whisper it as if it were a magic chant just as the ball drops. For that moment it is easy to believe that a resolution will remain potent long after the strike of twelve. It is a belief that is, in a word – unspoiled – it is perfect.

Here is a secret, perfection is an enemy to process. Losing weight is a process of letting go of unhealthy habits while embracing healthy ones. So, why romanticize perfection when it comes to weight loss? For one, the inner critic loves perfection because it is unattainable. The very idea of it offers up bountiful opportunities to pummel the fledgling habits that are, let’s face it, a lot of hard work to establish. Another reason for the allure of perfectionism is it requires no work on our part. It is a symptom of a fixed mindset if I can’t be perfect, then it can’t be done. Intellectually, it is easy to call this out as being irrational and dumb. Emotionally, it is another thing altogether. It is like wearing a scarlet WW across one’s chest. Yes, you failed and everyone knows it because you sure can’t hide weight gain.

Is it all that dreary as we approach our end to another orbit around the sun? Chin up buttercup. It’s going to be okay. The good news is, I’m not perfect, and neither are you. There have been some false starts, and sudden stops to my weight loss journey this year, but I still believe I can do this. And you know what else? I believe you can do it too. Just don’t expect it to be easy and you are halfway there. Surround yourself with some inspiration, and some positive people who can help you along the way. So cheers to 2023 and imperfection! We are better together, and together (with a lot of hard work and persistence) we can get this done.

Home for the Holidays

How have you set yourself up for continued weight loss during the holidays? It is no joke, it’s hard to get through this holiday obstacle course. There is always something to do, and it’s easy to just order in. Then there is cookie making, and it just goes on and on. But the big question that can help is to ask yourself, what do I really want? No matter what the answer, so long as you’re being completely honest with yourself, it is the right one.

Maybe this holiday season, you want to let go and start in earnest in the new year. Maybe you want to maintain your weight wherever you are right now. Maybe you want to lose. If you are clear about your intention the rest will become more manageable because you know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it.

I Did It

Today is the last day for my WW goal. I blogged every day for a week to reflect on my “why.” On one hand, I feel really good about keeping my promise – I set a goal and I achieved it. I tracked every day, I thought about my food choices, and I did not deprive myself. All of these things are a total win. On the other hand, I know I have a long way to go (again) and that can be extremely daunting. It is extremely daunting. This blog has always been a safe place for me to tell the truth and this success this week is a celebration, and it’s also a little bit sad.

I am doing this to improve my health, to have more energy, and to feel better about myself. I am worth this effort, and (if you want to lose weight) so are you. Come on, let’s do it together. This can be the best gift we give to ourselves.

Watching Love Actually tonight looking at the tree and thinking about all the gifts I have to wrap.

The Best Thing

The best thing about a person’s day can be so many things. What’s the best thing to me, may seem insignificant to someone else. It really doesn’t matter what the “thing” is it matters that it is acknowledged. For me, the best thing was that I got right back on plan. I didn’t spiral into a binge, and I didn’t make the decision to put this goal of weight loss away on a shelf until after the holidays. That’s the best thing for me today.

The First Snowfall

I woke up to snow, and it was beautiful. The first snowfall of the season was nothing more than a momentary skift. It was just enough to cover the rooftops and hide patches of brownish-green grass. By lunchtime, it had been erased as if it were never there at all. Reflecting on the morning from this side of the early evening has reminded me that appreciating the beauty of nature is an important part of my weight loss journey.

It’s a Monday, and I am still tending to my “why” I want more energy, and confidence, I know how it feels since I have gotten to goal in my past and it does feel amazing. But for now, I want to focus on being positive about where I am at this particular moment.

So what went well today? I tracked all day and I am in that healthy eating zone (in WW speak blue dot days). I packed my lunch, and prepared a healthy dinner, which I did enjoy. My WW leader, Lisa, says it’s important to eat “happy” That phrase has found a home in my inner thoughts, and I find it to be helpful.

Writing these posts feels a lot like I’m telling myself a story about how I want this journey to go – like helping me to remember why I want to be on the journey for starters. Is it hard that I’ve allowed myself to gain weight? Yes, it is disappointing. But I do have faith that it is as it should be, and I can look back and feel bad about it or I can look to the future and take action. Onward I go, and I know I am in good company.

Check out this skit from SNL so funny (silly but funny)…

https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/the-holiday-train/NBCE028421932

Seriously Sunday

There is a hashtag that trends on all forms of social media #teacherslife! that tags pictures of beaches, cocktails, and elaborate holiday vacations I don’t know who those teachers are, I suspect those teachers are married to the people financing all that fun. My featured image depicts my version of #teacherslife! Yeah… Sunday nights are for shoring up all the work that I took home from last week.

Aside from the massive amount of planning work I have to do, you’ll also notice that I have a healthy 2-point snack that I am munching before dinner. This is the resulting action when a “why” is aligned with one’s intentions. You might be thinking, “Well, DUH, Jenn.” I am writing this more as a callout to myself. I need reminding. I need to pause and think, “This is a good choice, this is something you are doing to help yourself feel better.” Or… “You are doing yourself a kindness right now.”

The good news, today was easier than yesterday. I tracked everything I ate, and I’m ok with estimating the foods that are harder to know the points values of. I am doing my part over here. But before I sign off, I just have to say, if you are on a weight loss journey like me, I have hands-down respect for you. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of time and effort to do this. Your brain will want to take shortcuts, and check out because the brain does its best to be efficient and conserve energy. But the heart will give all that it has to keep it going. This is dedicated to you readers, and as my WW leader, Lisa would recommend, you should dance when you hear it…

Going Back to Why

When your why and your intentions are lined up the rest of a weight loss journey becomes grounded and centered. Losing weight is so hard for some of us, and this is especially true for me. For a long time now, my “why” has been absent from my thoughts, and my weight loss efforts have suffered. I’ve gained weight and that makes me very unhappy.

So, I can keep doing what I’m doing, and continue on this path of steady weight gain, or I can make a change. So, I am opting to make a change. I made a goal in front of my WW group that I would blog every day this week as a way to reflect on my why. If I think about why I want to lose weight, I can list out three big reasons:

I want more energy

I want to feel lighter in my movements

I want be more confident

So today, was a win. I tracked all day, and I am posting this blog. One day at a time.

What! How? Why…

The truth is so many things in life are complicated. I think happiness is significantly decreased when the world is viewed through an oversimplified lens. Most times events in life are not only “good’ or “bad” they are deeply nuanced. So while a number on a scale is definitely gives the viewer concrete feedback; down one pound, or up one pound, that is just one small piece of a bigger story. To really appreciate the concrete feedback, in this case, the number on the scale and to help it to happen again, think on it a little more.

What happened this week that generated that result? Go through it point-by-point, this is the “how”. Then push yourself to think even higher, consider the “why”. Why motivates the actions taken (the how) and will generate a result, (the what). This is not to say that that knowing why you want to lose weight will guarantee weight loss each and every week! Sorry… it definitely will not. Our bodies do not work that way. We are not like Mystique who can transform into the shape she wants. I wish!

What I am telling you is that knowing why you want to lose weight lessens the importance of the stark glowing numbers on the scale good or bad. Why gives us power to motivate change, it is the reason to believe in ourselves even when weight loss is a challenge. Weight loss is certainly not limited to food. Weight loss begins in our minds.

The Right Tools Go a Long Way to Help

So I want to get better at cooking healthy meals and I want some added motivation to cook after a long day at work. For Christmas, Dave bought me these beautiful Caraway pots and pans! They finally arrived the other day, and I am shocked at how well they work. I knew it would be a better cooking experience but I did know how much better it would be! They offer “clean” cooking, need very little oil, medium to low heat on the stovetop, and are super easy to clean. The can go in and out the oven and can withstand up to 500 degrees. Trust me I did the research, check them out: https://www.carawayhome.com/

Don’t Give Up…

How are you all doing? Are you feeling ok? How’s it going with your weight loss/ health goals? You may be thinking, “Wait, who are you again?” or maybe, “Well, where has she been?” If you are feeling abandoned, or if you are thinking I’m a fraud because of this long absence, all I can say is I’m sorry.

I have been in the weight loss/healthy lifestyle dungeon. Held there by shackles of my own design, constructed by my fears, my loss of control, and self-doubt.

My fears…

Don’t underestimate the fear factor. It’s rooted in biology, and there are other blogs that are far more capable than I to explain it. See: AJMC What is important here is to understand that fear is not just in the mind it is in our bodies, our hormones and it can shape perspectives from the inside out. I have been afraid since March, and I am still afraid. The result of this is that there have been so many starts and stops with my efforts to maintain my healthy lifestyle. I’m ready to try again. Here are the big three actions I’m taking to deal with my fear:

  • Increase foods with Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Exercise daily at least for 20 minutes
  • Practice nighttime rituals to get more rest

Loss of Control…

When I look back on my success with weight loss, the common feature was my ability to take control over the situation. I could wake up at 4:30 am to go to early morning Spin. I packed my meals, I prepped my foods with (relatively) little distraction. I could reward myself with a trip to TJMaxx for a new outfit, a nice dinner out, or a manicure. Now, I realize just feeling safe inside a food store or a gym class was a luxury. My sense of control, and the kinds of rewards I get from weight loss are stripped down to just this:

  • I can control my actions to better my health, and my reward for that is a healthy body and mind to get me through these difficult times.

Self-Doubt…

The struggle is real, and I have felt like an imposter more times than I can count since the pandemic began. Self-doubt has clouded my sense of accomplishment and has diminished my resolve to keep going. I have imagined waking up with all the weight back. That has not happened, but I have gained weight since March. Now, is the time to believe in me and I am very grateful that I am the kind of person who has the resilience to fight off the self-doubt and keep going.

Finding My Way…

I made some changes. I am following the #purple plan on WW. This plan offers the most zero SmartPoint foods. I need to feed my body nutrient rich foods right now, and this plan is designed to help people eat more whole foods. Since I started following the Purple Plan I am finding that I am not hungry at all. Another change, I am riding my bicycle, and walking my dog. The reward I get is not the same as Spin, I don’t feel that mellow muscle burn that I really loved after doing these activities.My reward is knowing that I got to be in the sunshine, I breathed fresh air, and was present in my neighborhood. The last change, I am being very honest and open with my friends and family about how I’m feeling. If it is not a good day, I don’t pretend that it is. I am letting myself experience all my feelings and this is helping me.

If you are reading this and find yourself identifying with anything I have written today, at least you know you are not alone. Weight loss is difficult under the best of circumstances, so if it is not going so well, please be kind to yourself. Don’t give up.

Day One…

If you are reading this and are like, “Oh no, day one again? I feel so bad for her, she is really struggling.” then I promise you – you are missing the point. Even though it is a struggle right now, this is not about the struggle. It is about the deep need to get back to goal. I am doing the work to to get my healthy lifestyle back in balance. Losing weight, committing to a healthy lifestyle is something that requires ongoing dedication and care. On its surface it doesn’t seem like it should be such a big deal. The truth is for many people it isn’t, they are able to manage this part of their lives with ease. Not me, I am still have a lot to learn.

In the spirit of learning, I participated in Oprah’s Your Life in Focus: A Vision Forward this morning. It was helpful, and I took quite a lot with me, Here are some of the words of wisdom I plan on keeping in my back pocket as I get back on track:

  1. “In this moment, I am well.”
  2. “Commitment is a daily thing.”
  3. “To act with consistency. and intentionality is the way.”
  4. “I will give to myself then give to others.”
  5. “Will this choice move me forward?”
  6. “I have decided to make a change.”
  7. “Name it (your goals) be specific.”
  8. “When somebody who has loved you, given birth to you, seeded you passes, their spirit abides with your spirit. If you allow yourself to stay open you have an angel you call by name.”