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.

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.

True Stories…

This not an earth shattering statement, but I need to say it just the same, losing weight and maintaining weight loss is hard. There are a trio of negative feelings that linger over me as I write this post. Disappointment, gaining weight during the pandemic and losing my focus on my health goals is the first. Sadness, is the second, I am mourning the loss of the WW community. I canceled my membership because they are closing all the centers in my area. It is the community, that was the thing made WW special. I can’t imagine why they would give that up. Anxiety, will I be able to do this again? It takes so much energy to accomplish this, do I have it in me to do it again?

I am taking it one meal at a time.

Yes. For starters, there are a few things I need to remind myself about. I am not starting over, I have slid backwards but I’m still better off than I was when I began my journey the first time. I know what I need to do make this work for me, and having this knowledge is a huge asset. I have people who love me and who will support me as I go through this, and that is priceless. I still believe in me, I believe I can get to goal. I dowloaded Noom to keep me balanced and engaged. So far, I like it. I like the small goals I am setting. I know that goal setting is a friend to me in this process. I like the idea that all foods have a value and need to be counted. I think I want to establish a habit of a daily weigh in. The platform is sleek and easy to use, I can log my meals in advance so that will be helpful once spring break is over.

Springtime 2021

Are you with me? Whether you’ve been on a weight loss journey for a long time, or if you are just thinking about starting you are welcome here. Any step towards better health is s step in the right direction. We can do this together.

Like Butter…

My husband did a beautiful thing for me today. He painted our bedroom. Of course my favorite paint color is called (wait for it) Butter. That just makes perfect sense to me. Anyway, he was so sweet to do it, because it really was a lot of work. Now I can just sit back and enjoy how lovely it looks.

My view into the hallway

I wish I could report that today was a great day on plan. It was for the most part until this evening. Then I just snacked mindlessly. I’m am still getting over being sick, I am feeling sore, and just a little bit sorry for myself. I also think I’m also worried. The holidays are coming and while I do love this time of year, it adds additional stress that isn’t always so easy to cope with. I’m not trying to make excuses, I’m trying to understand why I made such poor choices this evening. The bad combination of feeling sick, stress, and worry are not a winning combination. So while yesterday was a battle I won – today was a battle I lost.

All I want for Christmas is to fully appreciate my weight loss journey. Getting to goal was difficult and now I find myself working to get back to Lifetime status. My weight loss journey is the gift I gave to myself, and that’s how I want to honor it – it is something I did just for me. I never want to lose sight of that. If I lose sight of that then it would be like I’m giving up on me. I am grateful that I found myself again on this journey. I know I can do this because I’ve done it before.

Self imposed 14 Day Sugar-Free Challenge

For the next 14 days, I will not eat any sweetened foods. For each day I forego desserts or sweetened foods I will do something “sweet” for myself. I think this is a good way to kickstart my plan again because it is something I can control. If you want to join me, I hope you’ll let me know. More tomorrow readers, remember we got this.

On Track…

It’s late, this is going to be a brief post because it’s been a busy day. Here are some things I can celebrate:

A pretty sky after spin class. It felt great to know I had a good workout this morning.
I weighed and measured 1/2 serving of these for breakfast at 3 SmartPoints
I ate breakfast at home. I was mindful.
We have PD tomorrow and I made these cute little bags and didn’t eat any candy.

Tomorrow ends the first full week back at school. I am getting used to my new routine. I am rolling over 4 SmartPoints and that feels pretty great.

Sleep On It…

WW’s focus this week was about sleep, and now I’m thinking about how important getting quality sleep is to my weight loss journey. I think the reason I gained weight in the first place was because I would stay up late to work and wouldn’t get enough sleep. I would eat when I should have been sleeping. Here are some reasons to consider:

  1. Studies suggest that poor sleep leads to obesity.
  2. Sleep depravation increases appetite.
  3. Well rested people can stave off cravings and make healthier choices.
  4. Late night snacking can becomes a very unhealthy habit
  5. Muscle loss results in poor sleep.
  6. Sleep improves physical performance.
  7. Poor sleep over a few days may result in insulin resistance

If you want to read more about sleep, click here it’s a good read, and very informative.

A couple of things…

I couple of things I did today that in the moment was hard to do but afterward made me feel great. I bought good options when I went to the food store including: cotton candy grapes, cauliflower, snap peas, lean pork tenderloin, and chicken. Later, I wanted a snack, and I put it into my tracker first, when I saw that it would take me out of my “Blue Dot” zone, I decided to pass on it. Then I selected a lower point snack that was satisfying and I am still on track.

#Dailyjournalchallenge

It was my turn to submit a journal challenge to the group. I named it, “On Fire! Tools Spark Weight Loss & Wellness” I found reflecting on my tools to be very useful and I thought other people might too. If you would like to do the challenge… here it is::

Thank you, everyone!

Banning Boomerangs Down 4.6…

In my past, when I was not so self-aware I’d let superstition keep me from celebrating weight loss success. Like if I allowed myself to be present and experience the joy of my accomplishment I would be inviting trouble. I would hear that little voice say, “Don’t be too enthusiastic,” it would say “because maybe next week won’t be so kind and the weight will just boomerang back.” That voice was me abdicating my own sense of power I can’t really describe it but it was like I let something else take over and I was left feeling out of control.

The truth is, I am not powerless (neither are you) I am very powerful (so are you). Figuring out how to be honest and claim that power is a big part of what helped to made the difference this week.

I am going to use my WW Recovery Checklist again this week because it was so helpful. It’s a light tool that is a place to remind me of what habits are most helpful and a place to capture my reflections for how it’s going.

We are celebrating my husband’s birthday today and it could have been a recipe for disaster as far as my weight loss journey goes. He asked for his favorite lasagna, garlic bread, and sautéed spinach. That, plus birthday cake would send me over my SmartPoints balance and into my Weeklies. It is true that is why they are there to be used for such occasions – but I wanted to try to do it another way. This is what I did instead:

  • I tracked a slice of cake for 14 SmartPoints first thing in the morning after my WW workshop.
  • I kept my points low for the whole day. Yogurt & berries 0 sp. for breakfast, Homemade chicken burger made with 98% lean chicken 0 sp. on a low carb tortilla 2 sp. and a slice of Velvetta cheese 1 sp. and tomato. I also had some vegetable sticks, Mini Baby Bell Light 1 sp. and grapes 0 sp.
  • When I prepared lasagna for the family, I also made a zucchini lasagna for me 5 SmartPoints Per slice.
  • I will forgo the bread in favor of the cake.

It comes down to an important question, what do you really want? I really want to take care of my husband and make sure he has a happy birthday, and I want to lose weight this week. My actions today are making that possible.

Day Eighteen…

I did great today. Tracking, making good choices, getting activity. It was a very busy day, and I find myself feeling exhausted. I thought about going to bed and skipping my post, but I decided I could do better. So here I am writing and reflecting.

I was extremely hungry by the time I ate dinner, but I kept it together and kept myself to a portion size. Later, I had a cup of Half Naked popcorn and a frozen banana. Frozen fruit is a great alternative to a high SmartPoint dessert.

I’m good. I hope you are as well. Keep going, keep believing. Remember, most times, believing comes before achieving.

Day Twenty-One…

It’s funny how the days worked out, but Day 21 is also the day that we celebrated our daughter’s 21st Birthday. Their official birthday is really June 24th but we are close enough. The party went over as a complete success. They had a great time, our families and neighbors all came to help us celebrate. It was a good day.

Lately, I’ve been watching the TV show, This is Us, on Hulu. I think the appeal for this show is that at its heart, it is all about longing and belonging and a search for clarity. Every character is able to be fully articulate in the important moments. I wish I could do that, maybe that’s why I enjoy writing, I can reread my words in the attempt to capture my important moments. In the show, they use flashbacks to revisit the characters’ past in perfect detail. I wish I could do that too. I wish I could remember my daughters’ first birthday, with that kind of clarity, when my, and my husband’s parents were there. My dad was so sick, and I was just so grateful to have him there. We were on borrowed time, and he didn’t stay long but he was there.

Family events are emotional – whether it’s happiness or sadness it’s all still emotion. It’s so easy to overdo it with the food at these kinds of events. I used 30 SmartPoints for the day, and I feel good about that. I’m working my program, and no matter what my results on the scale are, I will know I did my best. Keep believing and eventually success will catch up.