Stress Test

I found out some stressful news today. I have to travel to NYC for professional development. I thought it would involve a trip to Penn and an Uber to the school. Turns out, the school is an hour away from Penn, so taking the train would just add another hour to the commute! After some, vigorous texting back and forth with my friends, we decided to drive. After coming to terms with our new plan, she said: “I’m going to need lots of snacks.” So being a good friend I listened…

After buying snacks, I promptly went to Carvel with my husband and got a small Carvelite ice cream cone with chocolate sprinkles (15 points). This took me out of my healthy eating zone but it was a great cone. Stress comes and so many of us look for comfort in food.

Here is what I also did today – I completed my 45-minute training class on the Peloton. I tracked everything I ate (37 points later). I drank all my water, and I weighed and measured my portions. I prepared a healthy dinner and figured out the point values by calculating the nutritional information in the app. I ate mindfully. So, overall, I would say this was a good day on plan. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to weight loss. It requires us to be fully present in our actions pretty much all the time. If it’s worth it to me – I can make it happen.

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.

Tracking Transparency

How do you feel about writing down everything you eat? Have you ever done it? I have. When my healthy habits are ticking along under their own volition – it is somethingI do without even thinking about it. Meaning, it takes very little energy or thought to keep it going. Today’s WW meeting was all about how research says that people who track what they eat, lose weight.

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.”

Mother Teresa.

I believe that research because I lived it. On December 22, 2018, I reached “Lifetime!” (click here to read all about it) Faithful, honest tracking is a big reason I acheived this. If you are reading this (and are not a member of WW) “Lifetime” is a term meaning you have maintained your goal weight for 6 weeks and now you no longer have to pay to be a member.

So if you’re serious about reaching your weight loss goals, here are some tips that can help you started with tracking:

  • Write down the food or beverage as you eat. If you wait until the end of the day you may not be as accurate.
  • Be specific when tracking. For example, if you have a snack of pretzels, note the amount (a good kitchen scale helps with this).
  • Get ready, this can be a tough one, cocktails count – track the booze it adds up.
  • Writing in a journal or blogging works just fine, or a smartphone app like WW or My Fitness Pal can support your efforts. These apps also offer lots of helpful information.

So join me! Get on the right track but tracking. We can do it.

Victory

The word victory seems too big for turning down candy at professional development. It is hyperbole to use a word like that for such a small act. Victory is a special sort of word; one that sits high in the curio cabinet, bathed in the light waiting for “company” to arrive. To do something to earn such a word is to be admired. A rarified word that is meant for greatness, and not all meant for simply having some self-control during a work day.

Do you believe that? I really hope you don’t because weight loss is just plain old hard work for so many of us. And listen, if you turn down the candy bowl, or eat the lunch you pointed out and prepared instead of ordering out, and that makes you feel like a winner, I say, “Celebrate your victory!” It’s time to embrace these small acts because they add up and when you’re standing on the other side of “Goal!” with a big grin on your face it will certainly feel like VICTORY then.

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.

Count Your Blessings

Weight loss is not easy, and this is especially challenging during the holidays. Stress abounds all around us. For some, the holiday season is a magical time of year a backdrop for happy memories to unfold. For others, this time of year is a terrible struggle. As for the rest of us, the holidays are a mixed bag of highs and lows. Try to remember this, no matter where you are on that spectrum, kindness to each other helps to even our varied perspectives on this season of hope, peace, and joy.

I am not really tethered to my goals and I am reaching for what is convenient rather than what is a better choice on plan. I really want to get it together. Yesterday I wrote some goals that were not specific enough. So here is my redo:

  • I will track breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • I will use the Peloton 3 days a week for a minimum of 20 minutes each time
  • I will continue to write daily posts and I promise to tell the truth

I’m doing this, not to stress myself out. Instead, I am doing it to help myself to recover. I love myself, and I want to be healthy. I want to feel good. I want to look good too. I have to believe that I can do it because I have a lot of people who depend on me and I want to be the best version of myself.

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 Want…

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to get through that moment of, “I want..” It doesn’t matter what the “want” is, not really, the real problem is the feeling that comes with it. When the “want” comes on, it feels feels bigger and stronger than me. This happened to me tonight, I had that frustrating pull of “I want some candy.” I have candy in the house, and I kept thinking about it. I was able to keep it together until the moment passed.

Now that I am released from my desire to eat candy, really that sounds crazy, what is next? How do I learn from this experience? I think now that I fully lived in the moment of “want”, that I named it and let myself acknowledge its power – I can recognize it when it comes around again. This will happen again, and if I expect it maybe it will be easier next time. Maybe this is the thing I have to learn to get over my hump and make it back to goal.

So if you’re reading this post, and anything rings true with your own experiences, you know you are not alone. If you are feeling challenged, or if you are really struggling, it’s not your fault. This is hard, but your “why” is strong enough, you can do it.

17%…

Statistically speaking only 17% of people maintain weight loss after a year.

That is a staggering number. But I’ll tell you what readers, stories beat numbers every time. What’s your story? What do you believe when it comes to weight loss? The great news, we get to decide what we do with our lives, and if living your life in the body of your own design is something you want then it’s worth the fight.

Somedays, living on plan is going to be colored with struggle, like angry jagged red marks on a white piece of paper, Those days will come for all of us no matter what. In a way doesn’t naming that ahead of time help? If I know it’s coming, I wont be surprised when it arrives. So what do I do when struggle comes to call? As I would do with any unwelcome guest, I will show it to the door. Here are some things I can do to help myself:

  1. I can think it through using precise language. I can identify the source: I am hungry and that is creating this struggle right now. I am overtired and that is creating this struggle right now. Naming leads to knowing – that is always good.
  2. I can exercise control by provoking a physical response to struggle. I can stretch, breathe deeply, wash my face, get a drink of water. Actions matter so change the focus.
  3. I can accept that willpower has limits and requires training. Willpower is a muscle, so when it is overused and tired I will be weaker. In those moments I can use a kindness to way soothe negative self talk. Self-perception is king, so keep it kind.

Nothing is more powerful (even statistics) than personal belief. Are you going to hand over your power to a statistic? Or, are you going to invest your power within yourself? So join me by thumbing your nose at that 17% and prove em’ wrong. We got this.