High Utility Habits

Do you have a junk drawer at your house? A drawer is a drawer that you allow yourself to just throw in whatever you want without any organization whatsoever. The only requirement is that the drawer can close. Out of sight out of mind. Until the tape is needed, or the little scale (don’t judge I do own two scales the little one is more precise with grams than the big one). The dog brush that untangles knots is there, right next to scented tartlets…

Some things are useless – like expired coupons or expo markers when there is no whiteboard in my kitchen. Some things are high utility objects, things I use every day like the tape, or pens you see in there. I think I have a condition that I always need office supplies on hand – but that’s a topic for another time.

In some ways, the habits I’m trying to cultivate are similar to this collection of stuff I hide away in my kitchen. Some habits are high utility – like tracking and movement goals. If I make those habits more accessible I am going to be more likely to lose weight. Others like meditation and bedtime routines are nice (and very good for me) but are not as likely to make or break my week when it comes to shedding weight.

So what habits are you trying to cultivate? As you think about it consider which ones are the most important – the ones you want to have on hand because they really make a difference.

Thanks for reading, and if you feel like it -leave a message, and let me know what you are thinking about.

A Little Imagination

I went for a walk today with my husband and our pup Sadie. It was cold and sunny, a welcome change from the soggy (unseasonably warm) grey weather of late. Along the way, we passed the telltale signs of post-holiday remains: condensed boxes tied neatly at the curb, a perfectly shaped Christmas tree rolled on its side, and houses stripped bare of their colorful lights. Then all of a sudden a splash of whimsy

Hello Mr. Narwhal

I just love a holdout. It sparked a little joy and optimism inside me like if you just look around you’ll find something special in the ordinary. Something that captures the imagination… I think it is very important to flex the imagination while trying to achieve any big goal. Especially when progress can be slow; as it sometimes is when it comes to weight loss. Think of it this way, imagination is the intellectual gift we give to ourselves. It is not something that is only reserved for artists, poets, and musicians. To imagine is to be human – it is innate to who we are and sustains us when the going gets tough.

Today has been a good day on plan. I hit my water goal, I am within my points, cooking dinner I planned out my meals for the week, and I had a very rigorous workout this morning followed by this leisurely walk that inspired this post. All of these tiny little goals knit together to form a strong foundation for my future success. No, I’m not perfect, as you can see by looking at my habit tracker… but the transformation to daily healthy habits is underway. I got this and if you believe it – so do you.

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.

Appreciative…

I read a blog post that made me think today, Running 4Meyer called Baby Steps Are Boring. It made me think about all the little things I have done to set up the strong habits that are helping me today.

Beginnings are hard because there are not any results yet – just the hope it will work. Hope is essential to the process of weight loss but so is discipline. Saying “No thank you…” to tempting foods (especially when I’m stressed) is not so easy. It has a lot to do with my “baby steps” that laid the foundation I rely on to make weight loss happen.

I say, celebrate it all. Celebrate the crawling it takes before you take that first step! Today I am rolling over 4 SmartPoints. Woo Hoo! I did not get into spin class for 5;15 am. I was Waitlisted so I withdrew my name. I’m going to try to go after work. I’m not sure if I can pull that off but I’m going to try. Step-by-step I can do this and so can you.

Productivity…

Sometimes I have to push myself to get past the barrier that separates productivity and procrastination. I’m a pro at both. However, today was good day. I accomplished my goals and that is a relief.

Another positive for today was that I kept my cool and got rid of some foods that were tempting me. It feels so good to just say, “No” sometimes and to make that “No” stick. Sometimes it feels like old habits and new habits are competing inside my head and that is when I have a choice to make. If I think about the cookies, I find, I choose the cookies. If I think about how healthy my body is now I choose health.

In many ways I think the key to weight loss is that we are what we think. It has become very important for me to reflect on what I want and why it’s important over the course of this journey. The more I reflect the great my resolve becomes.

I tell myself every day that I can do this. I can be the exception to the rule. I can beat the odds and be that person who loses a lot of weight and maintains that weight loss. I wonder what do you tell yourself? If you are looking for a tip, I find, it helps to write your reflections down. A journal, a scrapbook, a sketchbook, a blog are all ways to get your thoughts out of your head and make this process more visible.

Tomorrow is weigh-in I might be out of that two pound range. I will be disappointed if I am, but I don’t want to dwell on that. My last words for tonight, be proud of everything you’ve accomplished because you made those things happen. You. You are amazing.

Day Thirty-One…

There are times when I wish I could just start over and “do over” some of my choices. Today is one of those days. I started out strong, I went to spin at 5:15 am and that was awesome. I packed my breakfast and lunch and both were very good.  Then during professional development, I started thinking about having a piece of candy, but I decided not to eat one.

After that, it all went downhill. I made poor choices, and I picked on foods while I was making dinner. I ate late and then I had dessert. Now I feel sick to my stomach. I plan on drinking a glass of water, brushing my teeth and going to bed. Tomorrow is a new day to start over.  That’s the way it goes sometimes. I really don’t want to beat myself up, but I also don’t want to ignore the tendency to overdo it when it comes to food.

What can learn from today? I still need strategies when I find myself reaching for food. I am underestimating how stress affects me because I had a couple of stressful moments today and clearly the food was an attempt to elevate some of that negativity.  So tomorrow, if I I feel this same tug of wanting to eat when I’m not hungry – I will engage the internal/external hunger exercise that has been so helpful in the past. I will also eat more mindfully.

I’ll let you know how it goes. I hope you had a good day on the journey. If you didn’t don’t give up!

Day Five…

There is no doubt that we are living in a stressful world.  There is always plenty of bad news, hurt feelings, and depressing images. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed at each flip of a page, turn of a channel, or click on a screen because we are innodated with constant unyielding information. Know what I mean?

Mindful

It turns out, the antidote to this crazed harried existence, we all seem to be living, is within the auspice of our own control.  Practicing mindfulness is where it’s at. When I started to read a little more about this practice I realized that I have stumbled onto these practices in my effort to get to goal.

The following list names the markers of practicing mindfulness and how they were revealed through my weight loss journey.

  1. Kindness counts: If it’s true that you write your own story in this life. The narrator of that story needs to have a kind voice. My daily reflections for my progress, throughout my weight loss journey is colored by kindness.
  2. Drop the judgment: Acknowledge and accept things for what they are. I was talking to a friend just tonight about how it’s exhausting to think about people who zap your energy. I feel as though I’m surrendering my energy and to what end? The judgment doesn’t change a thing, it just lets negativity linger.
  3. Practicing patience: I’ve had to learn how to wait. There were points in this journey where I’ve felt totally transformed on the inside but it wasn’t showing on the outside. Those were challenging times and I totally understand why so many people give up on the way to goal. Being patience conserves personal power because there is a belief that things will change eventually.
  4. Beginning with a beginner’s mind: I kept that honeymoon phase of #WW going throughout the journey. It is toxic to assume a point of view that there is nothing new to learn. I opened myself up to the possibility of doing things differently this time around.
  5. It’s a matter of trust: I believe in me. I have learned to trust my own personal wisdom. There is no magic book, or program, or pill there is only me and I am enough.
  6. Non-striving: I have always been driven by goals. Getting through graduate school, getting a job, buying a house… It turns out it’s very different when it comes to weight loss. Sometimes being driven by a purpose is not so helpful. If it’s all about the “goal” itself, I would have missed all the good stuff that was happening at the moment.
  7. Acceptance, the ultimate reality check: once I learned to accept wherever I was on the road to getting to goal I was able to be more responsive to what I needed in order to be successful. There were and are lots of challenges, for example being tempted by candy. I love candy and I accept that fact. I can eat it but then I have to track it.  To my way of thinking, this is a form of acceptance.
  8. Get ready, get set, let go: Being at peace with myself and not fighting the process is life changing. I now understand that things will unfold as they are meant to and in doing so I have made room for change.

I share these thoughts because I want to help others achieve their goals.  I do believe that we all have the power to transform ourselves. However, there is not one right path, it’s understanding your path because you are the path.

Day Three…

Professional learning and election day go hand-in-hand when you are a teacher. Today, I facilitated training for our district’s Teacher’s Assistants.  It was a full house! It is very gratifying to work so hard and be rewarded with the collective wisdom and compassion of dedicated others. Our support staff is an amazing group of caring people who really want to get it right.

One of the topics I presented today was about empathy…

Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 11.28.09 PM

I guess I bring this up here because I really do understand the struggles and the joys that come with a weight loss journey I can tell you every time a member at one of my #WW workshop sessions shares a success I feel real happiness. When a member shares that times are rough, I can connect with those darker feelings too. It just helps knowing I don’t have to do this all by myself. Neither do you. Some days are more difficult than others but you don’t have to go it alone. We can help each other along the way. Let’s do this! We are stronger together. Make tomorrow a great day.

Day Four Hundred-Seventeen…

I am .4 pounds away from goal!

PROGRESS 10 27 18

I am so close. During the workshop, many members shared how our time and support system is what is helping them to stay on track. I completely agree. This is a challenge but it can be done.

The other day a colleague told me that when she saw me in the hallway she didn’t recognize me. She looked at me with astonishment because I have been so transformed.  In many ways I am different but on the other hand, in some important ways, I’m exactly the same. I had a piece of lemon pound cake after lunch today, and I immediately wanted another slice. I actually stood with my hand on the refrigerator and told myself, “No. No more, you’re done. You already know what it tastes like, and you don’t need anymore.” This worked today. I walked away from the refrigerator.

So even after all these weeks of care and attention, I am still vulnerable to overeating. It’s ok because knowing that about myself actually helps me. Honest reflection makes this possible. I am in this for life and I am grateful that I am learning more about myself.

 

Day Three Hundred Eighty-Nine…

I began the day at spin class and spent the rest of it working.

spin class

I went to the library and worked for hours. When I came home, I wanted to do something before making dinner. So I took Sadie for a walk. She loved it…

For dinner, we made Birdballs homemade tomato sauce and pasta. I had two slices of bread, it was really delicious ciabatta bread from my favorite bakery. Well worth the extra points. Also, the birdballs are very satisfying and are a nice change. I’m glad I took the time to make and enjoy dinner. It helps.

Anyway, that’s it for today. Tomorrow will be challenging because I did not get to go food shopping (too busy working). So, I’ll have to get up a little earlier to make a plan. Making a plan is the thing that keeps me on plan.