The 6 Ps

It’s Tactics Thursday and sometimes I think of Thursdays as being a sort of calm before the storm.  The storm being the weekend.  I always welcome the weekends, but in the past, it was also wrought with tension and  stress because they are unpredictable.  No kids to hustle off to school, no waking to the droning of alarm clocks, etc. I kind of always felt that the weekends were a sort of battlefield for me whenever I was “on a diet”.  I don’t have quite the same feeling of anxiety that I had in the past about it, but still, I fear the way a weekend can sort of unfold and undo all my hard work during the week.

When I was growing up, my dad shared with me the idea of the 6 Ps, and said not to forget them.  Well, I do, on occasion, when I stomp my foot and refuse to take charge of my weekends. So, I’ve decided that I should put it to use in my little toolbox of knowledge and not let the weekends unpredicability get the better of me.  Perhaps in the future, I will lead a more regimented life, but right now, it’s a pirate’s life for me, ARRRR!

6 Ps I present to you, the 6 Ps, in all their simplistic glory.  May they serve you well!

One of my family’s greatest temptations over the weekends is fast food.  We get so busy doing things, and running around, and all of a sudden, we’re totally starving.  And, how convenient! There’s a Mickey D’s right over there!  But we already got chicken out or whatever! But by the time we cook it and sit down to eat, we could have already eaten our fat pills.  Hmmm….okay, let’s just get burgers.  See how that works?

And that’s usually how it is in this house.  I’m determined to change that though, by planning ahead and sticking to that plan.  I’ve been working on my extraordinary productivity exercises from last week, and I’m determined to stick with it through the weekend.  I will not worry about every little thing that crops up on my radar and worry about when I’m going to find time to take care of it.

I have my plan and my schedule of to-do’s, and I will write it down and do it when it pops on the schedule.  I’m big on planning and making lists, but I try to schedule too much, or I spend too much time on one thing, so then I run out of time.  You would think I would be much better about the time management, but I’m actually pretty terrible at it.

I have a friend that once told me that when I had to be somewhere by 2 p.m., I would arrive at precisely 1:59 and 59 seconds.  And sadly, I have to laugh, because it’s true.  I thrive on routine and schedules, and I admit I am a little disappointed I need to regiment my schedule like that.  However, I’m understanding myself a little better now and realize I need more than a list of things to do, I need to learn to schedule the time to do it within the time I have to do things.

For instance, I know I have pretty much from 9-3 every day to do what I need to do.  That may seem like an eternity to some, but I find I can’t use my time wisely: frittering away a morning to read, typing away on my blog, reading other people’s blogs, checking my celebrity gossip, taking care of my little one, or putting out unexpected fires.  Well, remember when I said I was done with being an ostrich?  That was about the time I had to fess up to myself that I was wasting too much time wasting time instead of doing what had to be done.  If everything is an emergency, and has to be done right away, where does that leave me?  I’ll tell you: it leaves me with a pile of mail that need to sorted and floors that still need to be cleaned.

And so, enter the Covey’s time management matrix, and now the 6 Ps.  I’m still struggling to learn to use the matrix, as I don’t have enough information about it just yet, but I can no longer wait till I have all the answers to start something.  I know how I’m doing things right now is not efficient, and I sincerely feel it would be a mistake to wait, so I’m really going to have to jump with both feet without testing the water first.  Maybe I’ll find the water is just fine.

Advertisements

My sad diet revelation

Good morning, folks.  It’s Whiny Wednesday and I have another whine for you.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy my misery!

My clothes are getting looser, and I can now wear a some of the smaller things in my closet without feeling like a slug caught in a straw.  I even wore a pair of old capri knit pants this weekend that I haven’t worn since before I got pregnant with my second.  But, as much as I loved that I fit into them, they have inexplicably become too big, even though I still weigh more now than I did when I last wore them.  I swear, I can pull the waist band up to my boobs and still not have a camel toe!

shoulder padsAnd, back to the underwear.  I am a fan of the “hip-hugger” style underwear.  Not too low, not too high, covers my butt, and don’t ride up.  My hubs has been poking fun of my undies, because apparently, they don’t fit.  I either have them pulled up to the small of my back (har har har), or they sag so it looks like I’m saving room for a-ahem-download.  After I feared my husband might die from the lack of air from laughing so hard, I decided I should probably dig out some better fitting ones.  So I did, and I’m glad I already had some brand new skivvies that didn’t fit when I bought them, but fit great now!

And the saddest news of all: not only is my ass shrinking faster than the rest of me, but my meager amount of boob has decided to jump ship as well.  I was reminded of my grandmother, who has shoulder pads sewn in every shirt she owns.  She told me once how she used to use her spare shoulder pads as bra stuffing back in the day.  I briefly thought about following suit.  Briefly! I swear!

I haven’t tried one of my smaller bras yet as I’m not sure which box they might be in.  Mostly though, it makes me sad my boobs are going away.  Everyone loses weight differently, I know that.  I’m still trying to figure out the way I lose weight.  Apparently, it is slowly, and in immeasurable amounts as I can’t tell from the scale or the tape measure, but my clothes don’t lie-they are looser every day.

Right now, I’m just relishing the saggy seats of my pants, the baggy legs around my thighs, the way my shirts no longer cling to my gut.  “Soon, so very soon!” I croon to the totes of clothes.  My current wardrobe will be finding its way to Goodwill,  and by the time I move this summer, I will be wearing a “new” wardrobe of my old clothes.

 

 

 

 

Be Miserable

That’s right.  “Be miserable.  Or motivate yourself.  Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” (Wayne Dyer).

This is what I’ve been telling myself all day.  In fact, I tell myself this frequently, sort of in a “I think I can. I think I can.” kind of mantra.  When I first came across this quote, I fell in love with it.  It sort of became the seed that grew the whole “Quit Bitching, Get Fit” sapling.

 

gary the snailToday was a bit rough due to Murphy’s Law.  That bastard!  All my careful planning about trying to start my week using Covey’s matrix for extraordinary productivity, and my Monday has all but been a wash.  I was in such a fog for most of it!  I have resolved to love Mondays because it means a new beginnings and fresh effort.  Mornings, however, will still be on my shit list. I can’t help it.

You see poor Gary the Snail?  That’s how I felt this morning.  Sure, we all have those nights of tossing and turning.  And those of us with kids also know the sheer “ugh”-ness of one (or more) or your sweet dumplings having  a restless night.  And of course it has to be on the same night! Otherwise, it just wouldn’t be worth commenting on.  And of course, this is what my night was last night.

Usually, I’m down for the count within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.  Seriously.  And I sleep like the dead.  Last night, I don’t know what happened, but I tossed and turned and finally dozed off about 1 a.m., only to be awoken by my 3 year old who then crawled into our bed with a pillow, 2 stuffed dogs, and his woobie.  Then he got out of our bed, went and got his blanket and another pillow and got back in our bed.  Where he then played fish-out-of-water for about an hour until he decided to go back to his own bed.

An hour after that, I’m still lying there, wide awake, listening to my little bit talking to himself and making car noises across the hall.  Then he comes in and tells me he has to potty.  So, after a little trip to the bathroom for both of us, I lay down.  And hallelujah, my body finally gives the okay for some serious shut-eye.  But, before I did, I reset the alarms. (I hang my head in shame.)

I had figured out that I need to wake up super early if I want to have time to do what I need to do every day.  Super early being 5 a.m. I made up a little checklist of things I want to accomplish over the next three  days, along with some other odds and ends and notes for stuff.  Then, I tried to go to bed.  Maybe that was a mistake.  Maybe it was the equivalent of exam jitters, and my mind just couldn’t shut down because I was worried about sleeping through the alarm and thinking about all the stuff going on.

So, at any rate, I woke up at the usual time, had my shake, and eventually did my workout.  I also managed to get some of the other this-shit-can’t-wait-till-tomorrow off my list.  This morning, I could have just been miserable.  And in the past, in my old all-or-nothingness, I would have stayed that way, believing the whole day was lost because I couldn’t stick to my new schedule right out of the box.

I just kept repeating “Be miserable. Or get motivated” over and over again till I got the most important things done.  Even though I might have only been 20% motivated at first, it got me through the first tasks, so that by the time I finish this blog, I will have completed 4 of the six things I needed to complete today.

And I think that is just outstanding!  I will still have time later on to work on the other 2 things later this evening.  Some people may say, what’s the BFD?  And it may not be a big deal to a lot of people.  And some may be saying, well, she didn’t do the other 2 tasks.  It’s a big deal to me, though, and it’s my opinion that matters.  It’s not about what I didn’t do today, it’s what I have done today that matters most.

 

 

 

Please, sir, I want some more

outrun your forkIt’s Food Friday, and instead of showcasing a specific food, I wanted to focus on the importance of eating healthy foods.  As I’ve talked about before, I didn’t grow up eating healthy foods. This made it especially hard for me as an adult to figure out how to feed myself.  As a college student, I was forever astounded by the seeming plethora of beautiful, fit people around me.  How did they eat?  What did they do?  Why couldn’t I look like that?

Because I didn’t know how to fuel my body, then, and even later, my primary method of weight loss was the deprivation method.  I just wouldn’t eat.  I was either too tired, too busy, too whatever.  And guess what, even though I lost weight, I eventually would gain it back when I would go back to eating regular meals.  On top of everything, my weight loss would always stall out around 15 lbs.  EVERY TIME!  Gah!  Then, of course, I would eventually go back to eating regular meals, and I would gain that weight back.

This cycle, perpetuated by my own ignorance, meant I would never reach that nebulous goal of single-digit sizes.  After all that, I’ve finally learned that the body does not like to be hungry.  Contrary to what I thought, I actually needed to eat to lose weight.  Who knew?  All I was doing was losing muscle, not fat.  It also explains the lethargy and the occasional unplanned food binges.  I know so much more about fitness and nutrition than I did then, and it shows.  My focus now is putting the right food, in the right amounts on the table.

For the most part, I actually enjoy eating healthy meals, and fueling my body with the nutrients it needs to build muscle and burn fat.  I’m a total foodie, so in the beginning, I felt I was struggling against my foodie nature.  But then I realized that enjoying food doesn’t mean eating three and four servings to prove how delicious it is.  Sounds like a no-brainer, but things like this aren’t always clear when you are trying to figure out why you can’t lose weight.  It’s easy to see overeating or not sticking to a diet as being weakminded, or even lazy and uncommitted.  But it’s so much more than that.

The takeaway from this is: the battle of the bulge is not happening only when you exercise.  The true battle for fitness is not in the gym, it starts in the kitchen, with the food you choose to fuel your body with, and the reasons you make those choices.  Since I’ve started making wiser eating choices, I feel like a new person. I’m more alert, I have more energy during the day. My skin is clearer, even though I sweat like crazy during my workouts. I can attribute these things to cleaning up my diet and eating mostly unprocessed foods.

Eating healthy gives you more energy because your giving your body the nutritients it needs.  These nutrients help maintain your immune system, maintain or build muscle, and reduces the risks for diseases like anemia and rickets.  Eating more fruits, veggies, fish, whole grains, and nuts do a better job at filling you up, so you aren’t going to be as prone to overindulging in less-nutrient dense foods.  Most importantly, eating healthy is one of the best ways to control your weight.

When we used to eat fast food 2-3 times a week, I look back and think how I seemed to be struck with some kind of malaise.  I didn’t have the energy to do much but sit around and watch TV.  I couldn’t make a commitment to myself then.  But since then, I feel like I have done a 180 regarding my relationship with food.  I like how I’m eating now, and I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer to change my life.

Have a good weekend, stay active, eat right.

 

And where-exactly-am I supposed to find that?!?

Hello, fans, it’s Whiny Wednesday and I’ve got a humdinger for you today!

I’ve mentioned before that I love to cook.  I enjoy finding new recipes and making them for my family.  I especially like finding recipes that are quick and easy to make.  I have a couple of cookbooks that are sort of my go-to books.  If the recipe isn’t “healthy”, I try to find ways to cut down on the fat or calories.  It’s not always easy, but if I can shave calories by skipping the butter, or make it healthier by using whole grain pasta or ground turkey, I do it.  What makes it harder is finding “special” ingredients.

One of my new favorite cookbooks is the Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook.  It’s where I got the lentil salad recipe from last Friday.  I enjoy the cookbook, I’ve tried several recipes and they all turned out great.  Even better, the kids actually ate them.  There are two reasons why I bought this particular cookbook, mostly having to do with “quick” and “easy”.  I liked reading about the eating plan, most of the recipes have a picture, and most of them sound like something I could serve my family. They also include serving sizes and calorie counts for each recipe, which I love.

What I wasn’t counting on was the amount of “special” ingredients that several recipes call for.  Now, some of these things aren’t too bad, and I could justify buying something a little pricey because I knew I would use all of it, or whatever.  But there are a quite a few ingredients that the recipes call for that are simply not going to happen.  And it’s not just because this bottle of Meyer lemon infused olive oil costs $20.  Yes, that’s right.  $20 for a bottle of lemon flavored olive oil.

meyer lemon EVOOOne recipe calls for “all-natural marinara (preferably low-fat,  low salt, no sugar added)”.  Another calls for all natural barbecue sauce sweetened with agave or honey.  Nitrate free lunch meats.  Salt-free seasoning blends-and we’re not talking Mrs. Dash either, but exotic flavors like a curry blend.  All natural 100% fruit spreads in weird flavors.  Tamarind flavored brown rice crackers.  You get the idea.

My annoyance comes from the fact I can’t find most of that shit in this little town I live in, and I’m not driving an hour-plus one way to try to find it.  I have to make do with what I can find right here, in my own town, at my local store.  Do you know I went to 3 stores looking for all-natural plum jam?  3!!  That’s when I decided to just settle and buy the only plum jam I could find-Smuckers.

I hate feeling like I have to settle for things, but if you live in a small town like me, or in a rural area, you may feel a little despair when trying to plan interesting and nutritional menus.  I know, not everyone is into “fancy” cooking like me, and maybe it is just me.  But I LOVE food.  I like to eat-haha that’s how I got here.  But just because I’m not eating a bunch of junk everyday and trying to eat clean doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice my taste buds.  Just because I’m eating healthy doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy food that’s delicious and packed with flavor.

I can’t help but feel a bit defeated when I want to try a recipe and it asks for stuff that I just can’t find around here.  But as I’ve come to try more recipes from this particular book, I’ve realized I have already  ditched the “all or nothing” about the food.  It’s weird to realize that, because in the past, I would have been completely hung up on the fact that “The Spice Hunter” seasonings are unknown in these parts.  Or that I couldn’t find all natural barbecue sauce sweetened with agave, or tamarind flavored crackers.   I buy and use what I can find. If it’s Heinz Chili sauce, then by golly, that’s what’s going on the meatloaf. If it’s Smuckers plum jam, then so be it. It messes with the calorie count, sure, but I’m not going to let it stop me from making the recipe and trying something new.

The lesson here is that there are always going to be things you may think keep you from trying something new or different.  The answer is that there is always a substitute.  Can’t find that special ingredient?  Find something similar, use less.  Too easy.  Can’t do full squats because your knees feel hurt like the devil? Try a demi-squat.  Can’t keep up with a challenging workout? Slow down, focus on your form, and do what you can.

See?  There is always something you can do, so you don’t have an excuse to do nothing.

 

On the path to Greatness

Happy Motivational Monday!  Yes, yes, we all hate Mondays.  I usually lament the passing of too short weekends, and the inevitable return to the daily grind. Too often, it feels like there just simply isn’t enough time to get everything done.  But, one thing I have discovered, is that I secretly love Mondays because it means the start of a new week and new opportunities to reaffirm that I am on the right path to health and fitness.

Today, I’d like to share a few wonderful quotes from master motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar. He died just last year at the ripe old age of 86, but his legacy remains.  Every time I see one of his quotes, I’m astounded by the simplicity and the veracity of his statements.  In short, his words remind us that our dreams of success, whether it’s work or personally motivated, are determined by us.  You and me, we are the masters of our own destinies, whatever they may be, and we can achieve greatness when we believe in ourselves.

prepare to winWe all have times when we falter because life keeps throwing us obstacles, but we have to keep moving forward. Since I decided to make a full commitment to losing weight and getting strong, there are definitely times my motivation level has been pretty low.  But I made a decision to not let go this time.  I’m going to play the bulldog on this one and even when my spirits flag, I will not quit until I win!  As Zig would say, “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.”

Part of learning to motivate myself has included a big heaping serving of STFU-I had to stop bitching about the past and my past failings, put on my big girl panties and MOVE ON! I’m not saying forget the past. The past is important, but learn from it, don’t dwell on it.  Part of this learning process has been learning to love Mondays, not just because I get a chance to “atone” for my weekend transgressions, but because it’s my reminder that backsliding is forgivable, not a deal breaker.

We had our first dinner out in a long long time, where we enjoyed ourselves and ate like kings.  Then birthday cake (not mine) the next day, along with some homemade fresh French bread, but it’s not the end of the world.  I don’t have to explain myself or justify it or make excuses about not eating healthy 100% of the time.  It is what it is, and now it’s done. Today is a new day, and instead of throwing in the towel because I “blew my diet” over the weekend,  I’m back at it.

I made my plan, I’m prepared to win this fight, and end the trend of obesity in my life, and I’m committed to changing my life for the better.  We all deserve greatness in our lives, regardless of how humble that greatness may be.  One of my biggest goals this summer is not being able to look hot in a bikini (maybe next year), but being able to wear my wedding rings again.  That’s right.  My rings.  I took them off when I was about 7 months pregnant, over 3 years ago, and only now am I doing something about it. But my focus is not on those 3 years lost; my focus is on now.  For so long, I didn’t even let myself try to lose weight, even though I was desperately unhappy with myself.  And yes, ol’ Zig would have told me: “The greatest of all mistakes is to do nothing because you think you can only do a little.”

We all have the potential to achieve great things in our lives, but you have to start doing to start achieving. Here is another great quote from Mr. Ziglar to send you on your way to a great week:   “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” -Zig Ziglar.

 

 

 

Mirror, Mirror

I’m trying to be a good little blogger and post more regular-like because it helps me stay focused on my own goals of improving my fitness and building my business.  Today is Whiny Wednesday, not necessarily for bitching, but we all have those times when we just need to unload-we can’t all live in a Disney movie!

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection lately.  I didn’t have a particular question in mind, I just wanted to figure out more about the “why” of me.  You know, actions, reactions, processes.  That sort of thing.  I don’t have anything definitive, but I’ve gotten a better sense of myself.  I’m the kind of person that inwardly seeks perfection, yet on the outside, I give off a “I don’t give a shit” vibe.  I think that dichotomy has made me continuously miserable, so I’m trying to change that by trying to make the outside match the inside.

011Part of changing my outlook was to see myself as I really am, not how I want to be, or how I should be, but me.  Just me.  I’ve known for a long time that I have really low self-esteem.  There.  I said it.  I don’t know how it started, or why, but here I am, and I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see.  I think about my day, and I don’t like what I did.  Not good enough, because inside, I’m striving for this almost unattainable level of perfection that is just not humanly possible.

Back in the day when I lived in Fairytale Land, I used to cut out pictures from Victoria’s Secret catalogs and post them on my mirror so I could “be inspired”.  What a crock of shit!  All it did was make me depressed because I think I knew I could never look like that.  Too skinny.  Too tall.  Too busty.  No matter how much weight I lose, I won’t look like that.  I’m short, and I’m stocky.  I have hips, for crying out loud!

But you know, back in high school, that kind of thing didn’t bother me.  I was comfortable with myself, and I knew I wasn’t Helen of Troy, but I didn’t think I was ugly, either.  But, somewhere along the line, I must have decided I wasn’t worth it, and just gave up on myself.

I think a lot of women-and men, too-can relate to that.  As a woman, who became a wife, and then a mother, I forgot where I fit in the grand scheme of my life.  Work, family, friends, all that took precedence over ME.  ME!  The most important part of MY life!  I forgot to make time for myself, and then when I realized it, thought, “oh, I’ll fix it later.”  And then later became tomorrow, became next week, and before I knew it, here I am, on my way to 40 (!), and I still haven’t put myself first.

Guess what? Later’s here, right now.  I’m done not liking the person in the mirror.  I’m done feeling sorry for myself and making excuses about not exercising or eating crap.  I’m determined to put myself first for once and see how the chips fall.  I have a plan, I have support, I have everything I need to change my life and my mindset.  I’ve discovered “perfect” is just perception, and I’m done trying to be perfect for other people.  I’m going to be perfect for me.

A.H.