Nov 062013
 

I’m on a mission to get down to a SERIOUSLY healthy weight.  I’ve lost over 60 pounds in my healthy living journey, but I still weigh in a bit heavier than I, or my doctor, would like to see on the scale.  I’ve made HUGE CHANGES in my lifestyle over the past several years, but I’ve definitely been “stalled” for several months [and maybe years?] in a row now.  The good news is I’m feeling uber-inspired, determined and motivated to stop making excuses and put myself first.

I’m participating in a DietBet hosted by my dear friend Mindy.  Have you heard of DietBet?  I’ve been telling myself for YEARS, “if only someone would promise to pay me in order to lose weight.”  I’m unashamedly motivated by income [I have bills to pay, yo.] and know that if someone was PAYING me to shed pounds, I’d be much more likely to make nutrition, fitness, and other health focuses a priority. And with DietBet, if I lose 4% of my body weight during the 28 day challenge period, I get to split the pot with the other successful co-dietbetters in my game.  Considering the pot is over $2K at the moment, I’m finding a good amount of motivation in the program.  [I paid $20 into the pot to participate in Mindy’s game, so not losing out on that money is also helping the motivation ;) ]

Because of my prior weight loss, I already know what needs to happen if I’m going to be serious about weight loss.  I know it means sacrifice.  I know it means effort. I know it means shifting priorities.

I know I need to consider my health and weight loss as much of a priority as my HLB/HLS/THS work, and I’m SERIOUSLY trying to just DO IT.  No thinking, just say what I’m going to do and do it.

And along with all the SHITTY parts of the weight-loss and healthy decision making, I know there are some good parts, too.  I know that after a few weeks of consistent workouts, I’ll be sleeping better, have more energy, and FEEL better physically.  I know that after weeks of diligence, I will look in the mirror and not help but dance because I feel so wonderful about myself, my efforts, and the changes that are taking place in terms of my health.

I just keep telling myself to focus on the DietBet as the first block of “goal-time.” It’s only 28 days.  I can do ANYTHING for 28 days. I’m not going to think, I’m just going to do it.  I know it won’t ALWAYS feel easy, but I don’t care.  Those days will strengthen me like they did back 4 years ago when I was at the very start of my weight loss journey.

I’m going back to the BASIC things I did when I started my serious weight-loss journey.  Here’s an overview of some of the basics I’m devoted to this fall:

accountability

ACCOUNTABILITY
I’m keeping myself accountable in a handful of ways so that I am constantly surrounded by support, encouragement and motivation.

// Texting my “health hunter” friends when I need a push of motivation or am in need of an “atta girl!”  These friends are people who are also on a weight loss or health journey, and I am happy to support them with their own similar text needs, too.  Love technology for this!!

// A group of my best friends and I are participating in our own personal Awesome Autumn challenge.  We each wrote our own plan/goals based on systems we’ve seen work before, and are encouraging each other in a private facebook group, group text, and email chain.  I’m LOVING this new-to-my-life experience.  I highly recommend starting a group with your own good friends, too.

// At the Office, I’m working with a couple different accountability partners.  One friend and I have a health spreadsheet in which we are both tracking five individual health goals.  Another friend and I talk about our fitness tasks, and another has been asking me about healthy decision making over the past few weeks.  It’s great to have support and encouragement in the place I spend 45 – 50 hours each week.

// At Home, I’m learning how wonderful it is to include Nick in my health goal process.  I’ve talked to him about my goals, short term and long term, and have been sharing my plan for health to-do’s each week and day.  He’s been so supportive and helpful – bringing me HEALTHY treats and going for walks with me in the evening for extra activity points.

// On Instagram, I’m encouraged to continue in my weight loss efforts by the support I see in my #make1healthydecision sharing.  I love to see when other people use the hash tag in their daily streams, too!  It’s such a nice reminder that healthy choice making doesn’t have to be hard; just break it down to one decision at a time.

fitness

FITNESS
A variety of goals to keep things fresh

// 30 Minutes of Core Work a Week.  A goal I’m tracking in my spreadsheet shared with my co-worker.

// Run at least 10 Miles a Week.  I’m tracking this goal in a number of challenges and groups; with my co-worker, my awesome autumn points, and a visual tracker on my phone.  I’m feeling pretty good about my running since the last time I discussed my goal to simply RUN; to believe and feel that I am a runner. This past weekend I really felt good about my running, I felt so strong after running 6 miles on Friday evening.  I ran 2 miles, then recovered, three times through.  On Saturday I wanted to get at least a mile in to “shake out” my legs, and ended up completing a 3 mile jog.  I simply FELT like a runner. I enjoyed every step this weekend and I really want to continue running throughout the colder, winter months.

// Run OR walk daily.  On days I don’t go for a run, I go for a walk. No excuses – just go. Stretch the legs. Get some movement in.  Simple as that.

// More Strength Training.  One of the ways I achieve “points” for my Awesome Autumn challenge is by completing certain fitness activities.  There are BUNCHES of ways for me to earn points via strength training.  Strength training REALLY helped me break through weight loss plateaus in the past, so I know that making a valiant effort to do some weight lifting or body weight movements each week will pay off.

nutrition

NUTRITION
Focusing on areas that can get away from me quickly

// 28 Days of no soda/no alcohol.  It’s simple as that.  I can do ANYTHING for 28 days, and skipping out on a soda, glass of wine, or cocktail isn’t going to kill me. As a matter of fact, it will probably make me stronger.

// Tracking via Awesome Autumn Points for reaching various daily goals.  I’ve been tracking my meals via SparkPeople.com and the SparkPeople App, and I give myself points on my Awesome Autumn spreadsheet when I reach certain goals such as being within my sodium level, and eating 5 servings [or 9!!] of freggies a day.

// 5 Meat-free Lunches/Dinners a Week.  Another goal I’m tracking with my co-worker, I find that when I focus on getting meat-free meals in, I can easily reach that 9-servings of freggies goal.

// Start to increase my fiber. It was a recommended value I wasn’t EVER meeting, so I did some reading and learned that I should gradually increase my intake over the next 2-3 weeks.

// Make it a treat thinking.  In my most-successful seasons of weight loss, I’ve held myself to one or two “treats” or “splurges” during the week, and tried to eat as clean as possible the rest of the week.  I find that if I know a “treat time” is coming [say, milk shakes on Thursday night] it’s easier for me to resist temptation for junk food I don’t REALLY want that badly, anyway.

Oct 162012
 

 

Fall is the perfect time to start making healthy, smart choices. Here are ten tips to get you started on a path towards staying healthy!

1. Make a plan for cold weather workouts. I know when I have a plan laid out in front of me, I’m more likely to get a workout in. Even if I end up doing a different workout instead, I’m much more likely to do SOMETHING, rather than nothing, if I have “workout today at X o’clock” already on the brain. Think about what you’d like to do with your time this winter. Something new or trendy? A DVD or class you have committed to in ages? Maybe something simple and general, like running a total of 50 miles a month, or keeping track of the number of minutes spent working out. Set yourself up for success.

2. Commit to a nutrition based swap for a season. If it sounds scary and like something you’d never stick with, remind yourself of this: it doesn’t have to be MAJOR and it doesn’t have to last forever. Replace your daily soda habit with water. Swap to banana soft serve over ice cream for the winter. Choose skim for your coffee instead of cream, or even try drinking it black!

3. Schedule an appointment for whatever appointment you’ve been putting off for far too long. After all, you are an ADULT, right? I know I’m not the only one who has put off appointments of one kind or another for a whole list of excuses. Appointments with a specialist, a therapist, a dentist – the list could go on and on and I bet every one of us has at least one appointment they haven’t gotten around to just yet. If not, may I recommend you take my friend Alyssa’s advice and get yourself to the dermatologist.

4. Start a new savings account of some type. It doesn’t matter how much you have to start one or how much you can regularly contribute. One dollar a week or $1,000 – it matters not. Even if you only have a nickel, get an empty jar and drop it in! Commit to adding SOMETHING each pay day, and not taking any money out of the jar no matter what for a period of time.

Another option is to add all of your change to a container at the end of each day. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up!

5. Make a pumpkin-rific meal. Beloved pumpkin – the blog world is all a flutter, right? Well, pumpkin has some health benefits, too. For starters, pumpkins are rich with zinc and vitamins A and C – talk about a high five to your immune system! I was happy to learn recently that pumpkin is a good source of fiber, too. I’m trying to focus on getting my recommended daily dose of fiber from whole foods rather than products.

For those of you working towards weight loss, like myself, you’ll be happy to hear pumpkin packs a lot of flavor for what little calories it contains. A two tablespoon serving of pumpkin puree has approximately 10 calories. My all-time favorite pumpkin meal is Emily’s chili baked and served in pumpkin bowls. The pumpkin “meat” is so tender and becomes part of the chili itself and really adds a unique, rich flavor to each bite. Other pumpkin recipes catching my eye lately: Shrimp and Pumpkin Curry, Curried Pumpkin Tofu Hash [apparently I’m also digging curry lately], Perfect Pumpkin Risotto, and Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes.

6. Join a group of likeminded people. A book club who reads your favorite genre, a dance or kickboxing class, a knitting club, a church small group or bible study, a cake decorating class, a run club – what do you like to do? who can you do it with? GET TO GOOGLING! Can’t find what you’re looking for? START what you’re looking for! You can do it!

7. Go through your medicine cabinets and first aid kits to remove and replace any expired products. Don’t think you can fit it into your busy schedule? Set a timer for 3 minutes each day to work on it until it’s completed! I find some daunting tasks are a lot easier handled if I break it up into really tiny segments.

8. Set up a holiday health guideline list for yourself before you find yourself face to face with a table full of pies. If you plan to enjoy each celebration 100% guilt free and not worry about the health factor, cool. But it’s better to know where you want to stand with your choices BEFORE you walk into your first party of the season and do something you’ll regret by Monday morning. Consider the choices you’ll make for eating, of course – but don’t forget to lay down some thoughts on your alcohol consumption, too. I think I may be setting some guidelines for fitness and mental health and wellness, too.

9. Get your cold weather wear ready for winter. Does your coat need dry cleaning? Don’t forget to round up your gloves, ear warmers, hats and the like – make sure none of your wind-protection needs replacing. Those of us in snowy climate areas need to check on our boots, too. Make sure you have your ice scraper and brush in the car and your shovel out of the shed so you don’t need to trudge down there in the frigid temps!

10. Justify a budget-friendly splurge to motivate yourself in whatever health goal you choose. A clearance running jacket to wear on cold weather runs or fancy multivitamins that you’ll actually take are two great examples [not that I know anything about either of those example purchases or anything] .

Here’s a fun new way to find those budget-friendly splurges if you’re a member of a participating Blue Company: Blue365®, a national program offered by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association to members of participating Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Companies.

Blue365 is a Groupon-type program encouraging healthy decisions by offering discounts and opportunities for members of participating Blue Companies; you know, basically my dream program. My life changed when I started living with a philosophy of making one healthy decision at a time. I removed all perception that going from where I was to where I wanted to be had to be difficult. Instead I focused on doing what I could do right now, in this moment of time, to make a healthy choice. Blue365 sets you up with savings in all topics of health and has some awesome deals going on across the board – discounts on Polar heart rate monitors, hand sanitizer, and vision products, and at the Reebok online store, too!

If Blue365 sounds good to you sign up for it by clicking here. Though I have health insurance through a Blue Company, mine doesn’t yet offer the Blue365 Program. [womp! womp!] But you bet your bippy I visited the website and signed up to be notified when my Blue Company joins the Blue365 movement.

There’s also this awesome sweepstakes, courtesy of BlogHer. To be entered for a chance to win one of two $500 Visa gift cards to use towards your health, answer this question in the comments section to enter: How are you planning to stay healthy through the Fall and holiday season?


Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive two (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: #SweepstakesEntry; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the Official Rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

Entries from all participating blogs will be pooled for winner selection; only two (2) entries per household. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This Blue365® Program Sweepstakes runs from 10/16/12-11/12/12.

Be sure to visit the Blue365® page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is an association of independent, locally operated Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield Companies. BlogHer is an independent and/or separate company providing marketing/promotional services and does not provide Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield products or services.

Six Weeks of Charting

 Posted by at 6:00 am  Weight Loss
Oct 042012
 

Six weeks ago I made a chart for myself with boxes representing health goals. Sixteen little boxes to fill in if completed

THE WEEKLY GOALS:

  • Run twice.
  • Do at least 10 minutes of core work.
  • Complete two strength training workouts.
  • Eat 4 meat-free dinners.
  • Drink 70+ oz of water a day.

DSCF7514

I’m on my last week of the tracking on the poster [my weeks “start” on Saturday] and I’m happy with what I see. Of course, not every box has been filled in, but this chart definitely helped me stay motivated to make healthy choices over the past six weeks.  I really wanted to focus on some simple healthy priority setting after Summit weekend and I truly feel so much better about my choices these days than back in early August. 

I’ve also noticed some patterns. First off, the second part of the forth week was a VERY stressful time for me at work.  I notice that I didn’t meet four of the five goals for that week, and I know I lost steam to stay focused on healthy choices because I was wasting energy being anxious and frustrated about things I couldn’t control.*

Also, though I found it really easy to eat meat free early on in this tracking project, I seem to have neglected that goal in the past several weeks.  I know a big part of this has to do with my desire to eat any leftovers that are in the fridge rather than make something new, and lately we’ve had lots of meat-dished left overs.  I refuse to allow that excuse to keep me from trying to up the number of vegetarian-friendly dinners in my life, though. 

Instead I am going to plan better.  Step one, when I make meals with meat, I am going to cut the recipe in half, so that we have less leftovers in general.  Step two, order out less; because most of those left overs I’ve been refusing to waste have come from a kitchen other than mine.  I’ve already started to cut back, and my friend Kristine and I are having a “No Take Out November” to save money, eat healthier, and encourage us to get creative in the kitchen! 

The goal I’ve had the least trouble meeting is two runs a week, especially lately.  The sub 30 5K training plan I’m currently working with has me running 4 times a week.  I have already registered for the race I want to PR at the end of the month** and I’m feel more motivated than ever to stick to my plan. 

Even though several of my schedule runs are interval focused [lots of 80-100m sprints and 800 x 400 swaps] I’ve been impressed with how well I’ve adjusted to the idea of an “easy” pace. 

It wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t know how to slow down enough to carry me through to more than a mile or so without taking a short walking break.  Yesterday I ran 2.5 miles without stopping, something I haven’t done in don’t know how long.  I can’t wait to try and run 3 without stopping this weekend!!

*since then, I’ve had MAJOR revelations and lesson learned at work and feel so much better! My boss is SUCH a good manager and really helped me to understand some areas of my new role I was struggling with.  So thankful for my work environment!!

**Alicia is running with me, too!  This is the fifth race we will have run together  – she’s probably my favorite road race partner ever!