Sunday, September 28, 2008


I've been the semi-lame-o sparker lately. I let my dh being home and then sinus issues get in the way of my pretty solid routine. I've spent the weekend getting my eating back on track because I knew if I didn't I'd hit the big brick wall tomorrow when I go back to the gym and do my HIIT workout.

The end of my first 12 weeks is coming up and I have goals that I want to reach, and one of them entails wearing a skirt that I have NEVER been able to wear for... I'm embarrassed to say I don't know how long it's been in my closet, but I do believe it's been with me almost a decade. I have never worn it because I have never been able to zip it up, and most of the time I haven't even been able to pull it up past my thighs.

Why do I keep it? Well, it's one of those elusive, yet hopeful items that I like well enough to keep, and I keep thinking 'one day... oh yes, one day it will be worn.' The tag says size 16, but even 8-10 years ago when I was wearing small 16's, and 16's were cut a bit smaller than today, it didn't fit.

The goal was to wear it for dinner where ever we go for my birthday in a couple of weeks. Since I've been feeling frumpy and flubbery, I figured I'd best suck it up and see how far I still have to go to get in it.

I have about ... oh, no further! It slid on easy, it ZIPPED easy. it fits!!! Ok, I'm afraid to sit down in it, but a couple of weeks of strength training and some focused cardio will take care of that easy peasy!

::does happy dance!!::

::eyes big white bag with The Wedding Dress:: you're next! And then off it goes to the nice Pink Envelope people.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

OK fine...

So, there's times when the universe gives you the gentle nudges to get you going in the right direction, there's times when the PTB smack you upside the head with a ClueX4(tm).

After an awesome talk with my co-worker (have my first pseudo client!) and an even awesome-er talk with the hubby (squee!) last night, I'd pretty much made up my mind to get started on my personal trainer certification. Then I took the SP quizzy thing for 'do you need a personal trainer?'... here was my results:

You Have all the Know-How You Need

You probably knew, even before you took this quiz, that you don't need a trainer. You are experienced, knowledgeable, and have no trouble sticking to a fitness program or teaching yourself new things. While a personal trainer isn't for everyone, remember that even elite exercisers can benefit from contacting a fitness professional. You probably don't need someone holding your hand during a workout, but getting advice during a long-lasting plateau or gaining access to fitness measurements and tests may help you along your fitness journey. Many gyms and trainers offer one-time assessments (which typically include body fat, flexibility, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, and blood pressure tests) for an affordable fee.

No matter how much you know, the world of fitness and health information is constantly changing. Keep educating yourself and striving to improve your fitness program. Maybe you'll be the person who trains others someday!

::schmack from the ClueX4(tm)::

Maybe that's why I'm having a splitting headache right now. :P

That and the fact that it's full blown sinus season in my little world, and I spent the last 2 mornings walking outside. erg. want to enjoy the great outdoors but it seems to hate me. A lot.

But this whole process brings to mind something I heard recently - about if you find something you're passionate about and you make the commitment to pursue it, the universe will conspire to keep you on that path and help you succeed.

So whatcha think: Steph's Supah-stahhh Studios?

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Wednesday...

and I'm not so cranky, aktsuly. I /am/ a bit ADHD/LOLbrained, though.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Kashi bar - not so good aktsuly.

See what I mean?!

Had a very nice walk this morning - not sticking too close to my plan, but have gotten up and out the last 2 days for a walk. The sunrises have been beautiful so that has made it worth while, not to mention the chance to play with puppies around the park. This morning I had the passing thought of "I need a dog" - at least I'd have the reason of taking said pup out for a walk in the morning to get me going, but yeah, overall not going to happen.

BUT had an awesome compliment this morning. I have a co-worker who's finally been given the go ahead from her doc to resume normal activity after she had surgery on her arm. She's been doing lots of walking and trying to get in shape and when she told me she's good to go, I jokingly said that I'd get her going on a super weight lifting routine. Well today she asked where her routine was. o_O umm... thought you were joking when you said you wanted it.


So I spent about 15 min talking to her about modifications for some exercises so she could build the strength back up in her arm and not hurt it or herself but still get a good work out. Then explained the whole 'can't spot reduce but building muscle all over is awesome' concept. She honestly hadn't heard of spot reducing... it's like she's a exercise virign! I love it!

And it made me realize that, not only do I have the info to help people, there are people who actually want the help /and/ are willing to listen. This perfect timing since I was starting to doubt my choice of moving forward with the personal trainer certification.

Oh, speaking of that, Jillian Michaels scares me. A lot. Don't get me wrong, I totally admire her and have a teeny girl crush on her and her super hot bod (but come on! find some pants that go higher than your hip bone or get a tat on that spot... tired of seeing it! LOL!) but I did the first work out on her 30-day shred DVD last night and hated every minute of it. It was challenging and I'm feeling it today, so that's cool, but there was minimal talk of proper form, there was too much bouncing during the cardio part and OMG hate push ups! Especially 5 sets of different types of push ups. blech. I'm sure there's some people who love it, and it was really uncomfortable for me. As she says I get that you need to be uncomfortable to make changes, but there's discomfort that makes you want to push through it and grow, and theres discomfort that makes you want to run away screaming.

I had the latter.

I haven't had that in a long time. So I'm glad that I have NetFlix to help me try before buying, but I may try out her book for the pictures and weight routines.

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Monday, September 22, 2008


It's over?! I mean wasn't it just Friday? So how can it be Monday again? Ugh... the weekend was quite the doozy and wasn't very productive, and feel like poo this morning.

I did something this weekend that I haven't done in a loooonnnnggg time. I had soda. Correction: I had a LOT of soda. It started with a Rum & Coke on Friday night (hello?!?! Was International Talk LIke a Pirate Day! I had the hat and everything!). Saturday we were out and about and we decided to swing into Chick-fil-a to grab dinner (yeah, I know, drive thru = bad. get over it ;) and the DH ordered a root beer. I had a sip since my blood sugar was taking a serious nose dive and then promptly ordered my own. OMG did it taste good! It's so rare that something that you haven't had in a while actually tastes as good as you remember/want it to that I totally savored it, and so did the hubby. In fact, we were still in monster crave mode and walked to Circle K for more (hey, at least we walked the 3 blocks instead of driving ;) ... Headed home to promptly make a root beer float. N-U-M!

We then went to a "bridal" fair on Sunday (ugh, long story, trying to get over it) and not only did I have some cinnamon melts from McD's (they were so-so) cake (strawberry vanilla rum! NUM!) and some of the best darn baklavah I've had, but again, more root beer on the way home.

Total soda count for the weekend: 4

Ok, it's a LOT for ME. Especially since it's more that I've had in the last 3-4 months.

I was on such a sugar overload by the time we got home, all I wanted was veggies and protein. And I'm now paying for it today. I was seriously tempted to step on the scale this morning to see what damage had been done, but told myself that I could wait 8 more days and maybe see a bit more progress instead of a setback.

Although I can't totally blame the soda for feeling like crap today. Not only did I not get much sleep this weekend, I let my blood sugar get way wonky - really low, went too long without eating, then spiked it, then repeat - and that just messes with my energy levels and takes a day or two to recover from it.

The cool thing was that I talked with one of the other vendors who is a personal trainer and got some decent info on programs, how to proceed and the best part was how encouraging she was. Not that I /completely/ expected her to be otherwise, but I braced myself when I mentioned that I was looking into personal training programs. Again, the thought of 'helloo! fat! Can't be a fat trainer!' popped in, but she was VERY encouraging and excited for me. One thing she suggested was to start working with a trainer that I like and learning from them. Drat, costs money. But worth it in general. I have a feeling I need to branch out from Bally's for that, since I haven't been impressed with the folks there, but will ask if there's anyone one who isn't a super buff 20-something guy who's been an athlete all his life and no idea how to work with a, uh, more 'mature' woman. :)

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Going commando, getting more perspective and other Friday Fun

Ha! Not like /that/! Get your mind out of the gutter...

I'm a big fan of body shapers. Anything to help smooth out the bumps and bulges till they smooth themselves out is fine thing in my book. Problem is, everytime I wear one, and then someone comments on how much weight I've lost I feel like a big ol' cheater. Yes, I've put in lots of work (except for this week, but more on that later) and yes, I've lost weight and inches, but still, it's like mis-representing myself when I'm wearing it. Then agian, it's probably only me that really cares. Either way, today, I decided to go without the shaper and I feel... nekkid. It really helps that I put my freshly washed size 14(!) jeans on and zipped them up with no issue and minimal muffin top. So I looked at myself and went 'eh, I can go without... my top hides the minimal muffin.' Not that I feel all super slim & trim, but I feel good about how I look and progress I've made. And no one has commented either way - no "WOW! you look GREAT!" but no "umm... eew" either. :P

Speaking of progress, I was getting really frustrated with it but was again reminded of the power of perspective. The scale has finally started to move in a downward trend which is wonderful, but the callipers are giving me issues. I mean, I know they measure milimeters, but OMG those are tiny! And 1/2 a % can be as frustrating as 1/2 a pound when you've been busting butt (again, except this week... I'm getting there). As I mentioned before, I'm approaching the end of the current 12 week cycle and trying to figure out if 1) what I'm doing actually worked and 2) what to do next. Then I checked my handy dandy spreadsheet to see if there really was any progress. Here's what I found:

Weight - 181.2
Body Fat - 36.8%
Body fat weight - 66.68
Lean Body Mass Weight - 114.52

Weight - 176.8
Body Fat - 33.55%
Body fat weight - 59.32
Lean Body Mass Weight - 117.48

WOW! Now I understand the using different ways to measure success.

So in roughly 2.5 months I only lost 4.4 pounds. If I just stuck with that, while it's great that it's a loss not a gain, it's soooo slooooowww and discouraging.

BUT! I really lost _7.36_ pounds of body fat and, more importantly, GAINED almost 3 pounds of metabolism boosting musckles!

::happy dance:: I already got myself a gift this week - a belt. I'm not quite in size 14 accross the board but my size 16's are way too huge so figured a belt is a mad stylin accessory that will help with this in between stuffs.

And as for my slacker-ish week. Yeah. Tuesday had a great workout, Wednesday had a great workout and was still sore from tuesday's ab & arm work. Yesterday, after a night of waking up about every hour or so, my alarm went off and the splitting pain in my head said, 'not just no, but he$$ no. You're staying in bed.' alarm was reset and a few more zzz's were caught. I spent the better part of the day doing pain management on my sinus migraine and felt well enough to do the strength portion of the biggest loser workout. (Oddly easy in a tough sort of way). I had every intention of getting back to the gym this morning but again was up a portion of the night and then discovered (too late) that I hadn't reset my alarm. So... apparently it wasn't my week to do lots of exercise. ::shrug::

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Decisions, decisions....

It's bad enough that we're faced with tons of decisions every day - what to eat, what to wear, which website to visit instead of I mean which project to start on first, who to vote for (I'm still thinking Mickey Mouse!), etc.

But next week will be the end of my first 12 week 'cycle' of fitness aka the attack on my body fat and am trying to figure out what to do next. I'm really proud of myself for all I've done and learned, and I'm surprised the time went so fast. I focused primarily on cardio and have done a lot of it, and I've even incorporated actual weight routines thanks to the SP workout generator. (OMG do my abs hurt today!)

What I learned is that my body has it's own cycle (aside from /that/ cycle) of about 1-1.5 weeks of good, productive energy, followed by .5 weeks of no energy, then another 1-1.5 weeks of decent energy, then .5-1 week of nothin'. And I've learned that it takes about 2-3 days for things to happen, like for a consistent fiber increase to 'kick in', or to feel the effects of a decrease. A big meal doesn't really 'show up' for about 2 days on the scale, and increased cardio/weights/consistently clean & healthy meals take about 3 days to have a positive impact as well. On the same note, it takes about 3 days to feel sleep deprived and takes about 3 days to get back to a normal sleep schedule.

So where does all that leave me? Well, a lot smarter about how my body works today than a few months ago. I still have about 20-25 pounds of fat to lose, and want to increase my lean body mass by about 5-10 pounds overall. I'm a month away from my first goal (aka The Birthday) and I'm thinking that instead of doing another 12 week cycle of focusing on fat burning, I need to break it down more. So for the next 4 weeks, I'm still going to focus on fat burning because I have my calories sort of figured out for now.

So here's the plan that I have worked out:

This week - 2 HIIT workouts, 2 moderate cardio workouts, 2 days of strength training.
Next week (9/21-9/27) - 3 HIIT workouts, 2 moderate cardio workouts, 2 days of strength training

That finishes up the 1st 12 weeks. Now for the 1st part of the next one:

Week 1 (9/28-10/4)- I'm thinking this needs to be a lower intensity week as it falls in the 'low energy' zone. 2-3 moderate cardio workouts, 2 days of full body strength routines.
Week 2 (10/5-10/11)- 2 HIIT workouts, 1 moderate cardio workout, 2 days of full body strength routines
Week 3 (10/12-10/18) - [another low energy zone and around my birthday... depending on what plans we have this may or may not happen] 2-3 moderate cardio workouts, 2 days of full body strength routines.
Week 4 (10/19-10/25)- 2 HIIT workouts, 1 moderate cardio workout, 2 days of full body strength routines (increase weights)

Think I can live with that. And it gives me enough time to see how the weight thing will effect me over all.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's all about perspective

I was going through some photos that I had on my computer, trying to get some organization to them and also getting a collection to put on as a slideshow. These photos spanned the last 4-5 years and all I can say is that it's amazing to see the changes - good or bad - that take place to ones body over those years.

I picked out some to share and it's a nice comparison since it's the same dress in all but one. :)

I'll be adding a few more to it later and use it as a monthly progress 'report' since photos seem to do more for what is really going on than the mirror. The mirror is awesome but at the same time I can chose which angle to see myself at when I'm brushing my teeth. But the camera just takes the photo for better or worse. And since I don't have the luxury of a team of PhotoShop artists at my disposal, it's aaaaallll me.

I find it really interesting to look over things like this in a compressed fashion - like the timelapse films of a seed sprouting to a flower. The big turning point for me mentally was reading over the last year's blog entries and realizing that I didn't want to be that person any more. More important, I knew what type of person I wanted to be and made the appropriate changes. Looking at photos where I (and my DH!) don't even recognize the face looking back makes me realize that I'm doing something right.

And also make me realize it's time to cut my hair.

Now if I can just figure out a witty comeback to all the, "Gee, have you lost weight?!?!?" comments I'll be happy. I'm thinking something like, ::deep, lamenting sigh:: "No, actually, I just put on 40 pounds, but thanks for noticing."

Think that'll work? :)

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Letting Go

Weight loss is a lot like therapy.

I swear it feels like each fat cell holds a memory of the time, place, and frame of mind that it was created and until I'm ready to deal with it, it's not budging.

It's helped a lot that I've learned to deal with several of my motivational issues, and my nutrition issues, not to mention getting myself in a better frame of mind overall to accept the changes that are going on.

And then you're sitting there going, "yeah, yeah, that's great... what does a picture of old towels have to do with any of this?"

Well, a lot actually.

I've noticed that the changes that I've been going through have impacted more than my health - they've had a positive impact on my home. I've got more energy to do a little bit extra when I get home, and I'm a lot more able to release the clutter that's accumulated over the many years. It's like the more the mental and body clutter gets cleared away, the more that I'm able clear out the clutter in my home. Things that I've been holding on to just because are easier to let go of now because they are things. The memories are still there, but the things themselves don't have to be around for me to know that.

Like these towels.

I got these towels in the winter of 1989 in preparation for going off to Michigan State in January, 1990. I went to the community college for the my pre-req stuff and lived at home. This was the first time I was living on my own, *and* having to deal with dorm life - oooh was that a doozy! We went shopping, can't remember where I got these, but I picked out these nice oversize towels and matching wash cloths and hand towels to go with me on that journey. They were then packed up to move with me across country to Arizona. They've been with me through 3 apartments, a rental house and finally the home that I bought. They served as beds to my kitties when they would get in the cupboards and, sadly, kept my Patitas warm on the way her last vets visit. ::sniff::

When my honey moved in with all of his stuff, including a new set of towels, he commented 'why don't we get rid of these towels-they're looking kinda old.' I just said no, and kept them. When we were moving into this house, he brought it up again, and again I said no. I wasn't quite ready to get rid of them - there was no good reason to keep them other than sentimental reasons.

A couple of weeks ago, I was going through my closet and decided it was time for them to go. It was one of those moments, similar to the decisions one makes when it's really time to start eating right, or start exercising, you just know it and do it rather than thinking about it. I dropped this set off at the vets office this morning and am happy they will have a new life - cleaning and keeping kitties and puppies warm and dry, and I have a slightly emptier cupboard. It's a win-win. :)

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Thursday, September 11, 2008


I had it in my mind what musings to write about today, including a great reason for not getting out of bed to go for a walk or the gym this morning (it was the kittens' fault I swear!)

Then I remembered.

I remembered what happend 7 years ago.

I remembered my alarm not going of and franticly getting ready for work, worried I as going to be late when the phone started ringing off the hook. When I finally answered it, all I heard was, "Have you seen?! Go turn on the TV!"

I remembered our whole world changing. Something fragile and beautiful being shattered. Hope? Dreams? Gone.

I then remembered strength. Strength to go on when most would give up. Strength of spirit, strength of will, strength of the people. When hope was gone, that strength brought courage to just keep going. It didn't matter if it meant moving one more brick, or just moving one foot in front of the other. Just keep going.

And we did. We made it through and we each realized that we're stronger than we think.

Then our country continued to be attacked. Names like Katrina, Houssain, Gustav, and words like tsunami, and taliban also became part of our vocabulary and markers of time, like Dallas and Kennedy. They reminded us over and over again of hardships and strength. They made us remember to not take life for granted, to keep the friends and family we have close to our hearts, to stand for what we belive in, know that we have a strength beyond measure, and not let anyone take it away.

It makes us remember, so we don't forget.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Testy Tuesday

Well, it is if you wake up /convinced/ it's Friday... only to realize that it is only Tuesday. *sigh* Pretty much set the tone for my day, and has left me in a slightly wiggy mood.

Had a great dinner last night and really good night's sleep, so that's helped a lot overall, and after the work out this morning, I feel like I'm the washed up rockstar in my 2nd, maybe 3rd week of rehab. Guess that's improvement?! ROFL! :P It was rough going, though - my heart rate monitor kept getting 'stuck' on one rate even though the treadmill was registering a lot higher, my headphone cord kept getting in the way, the ipod kept flopping around, and I kept feeling a random hair brushing against my leg (finally got it after about 20 minutes.) But again, I pushed through it and had a pretty darn decent sweat going by the end. :) And then came the weights - stoopid other gym members wanting to use the same machines I wanted to use. grrr. But finished my exercises and looked at the clock to exclaim, "Crap!" Yeah, way late.

So then I get to work finally, only to see my boss man get rushed out to go to the ER. He fell off his horse & broke 2 ribs over the holiday weekend and the silly man came back to work this week. Noble and all, but he was hurting alot yesterday, and even more today. So we're waiting to hear a status report from him. Eeks.

After a frustrating morning, I decide to top it all off with a trip to the bank to get my name changed there. Apparently it's easier to be from outer space and get info in the system than it is for someone to simply change their name on record. Gah. If I wasn't so hungry and cranky at the time it would have been funny, but come on! Asking me _5_ times why I'm changing my name, and at least 2 of those times your HOLDING my marriage license, then ask what my husband's name is while looking at his bank account AND the license, doesn't instill me with the greatest confidence. ::flop::

Ok, this is me breathing and getting back to work... and resisting the urge to go get ice cream... or beer. mmm.. beeeerrrr.... :P

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Oy and Ow

So far today is very rough going all around. After taking last week off of exercise and easing up in the nutrition end of things, I really paid the toll this weekend and then this morning. The weekend was semi-productive but for the most part I was feeling very blah and mopey. I had no get up and go - beyond a walk on Saturday morning and some strength stuff that left my legs mad at me, especially when I went up and down the stairs - but didn't sleep very well either. Think part of it is a snuffy head from allergies. ::shrug::

The really sad part was this morning's workout: sheer torture. Did my interval work out and about 1/2 way through I seriously considered stopping. It was like trudging through mud, and haven't had that difficult of a time in months. Challenging yes, miserable no. But I pushed through. I've done the workout before, I know I can do it, and I made it through. I felt like a rock star at the end...

A washed up rockstar during the first week in rehab. :P

But I know it's part of the re-building endurance process. And I did my menu planning and grocery shopping for the week, and even did all my food logging for the week, not to mention quite a bit of prep work so I have all my snackies at work. I brought in a great lunch for today and then was reminded of a birthday lunch we're having for a co-worker. Oops. I had to fight every urge to cancel, and if I could figure out how to go and not eat there, I would... and it just occurred to me - I'm just going to have soup (going to Olive Garden) and eat my lunch when I get back. I'm there for the social aspect, and I don't have to spend the money/calories if I don't want to.


Sometimes I'm such a dork and can't see beyond my eyelids. Other times I can see way beyond the horizon. Here's to hopin that this is the first of many pushes beyond my eyelids for today. :) But first, I'm hitting the bottle of ibuprofen. Body still very sore.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Where are you?

Came across this, that's a great reminder that it's all a cycle, and everyone goes through the same thing, but at their own time. I've realized that I've been in stages 1-3 for about, oh, 5-7 years. It's just been recently that I've moved into stage 4. I'm really looking forward to stage 5, and hopefully soon, Ascension... oh wait, that's only for Stargate... Transcendence. LOL! But I also understand that relapse is part of the cycle, and I can quickly move to where I need to be to get out of it.

Stage One: Precontemplation

In the precontemplation stage, people are not thinking seriously about changing and are not interested in any kind of help. People in this stage tend to defend their current bad habit(s) and do not feel it is a problem. They may be defensive in the face of other people's efforts to pressure them to quit.

They do not focus their attention on quitting and tend not to discuss their bad habit with others. In AA, this stage is called "denial," but at Addiction Alternatives, we do not like to use that term. Rather, we like to think that in this stage people just do not yet see themselves as having a problem.

Are you in the precontemplation stage? No, because the fact that you are reading this shows that you are already ready to consider that you may have a problem with one or more bad habits.

(Of course, you may be reading this because you have a loved one who is still in the pre-contemplation stage. If this is the case, keep reading for suggestions about how you can help others progress through their stages of change)

Stage Two: Contemplation

In the contemplation stage people are more aware of the personal consequences of their bad habit and they spend time thinking about their problem. Although they are able to consider the possibility of changing, they tend to be ambivalent about it.

In this stage, people are on a teeter-totter, weighing the pros and cons of quitting or modifying their behavior. Although they think about the negative aspects of their bad habit and the positives associated with giving it up (or reducing), they may doubt that the long-term benefits associated with quitting will outweigh the short-term costs.

It might take as little as a couple weeks or as long as a lifetime to get through the contemplation stage. (In fact, some people think and think and think about giving up their bad habit and may die never having gotten beyond this stage)

On the plus side, people are more open to receiving information about their bad habit, and more likely to actually use educational interventions and reflect on their own feelings and thoughts concerning their bad habit.

Stage Three: Preparation/Determination

In the preparation/determination stage, people have made a commitment to make a change. Their motivation for changing is reflected by statements such as: "I've got to do something about this - this is serious. Something has to change. What can I do?"

This is sort of a research phase: people are now taking small steps toward cessation. They are trying to gather information (sometimes by reading things like this) about what they will need to do to change their behavior.

Or they will call a lot of clinics, trying to find out what strategies and resources are available to help them in their attempt. Too often, people skip this stage: they try to move directly from contemplation into action and fall flat on their faces because they haven't adequately researched or accepted what it is going to take to make this major lifestyle change.

Stage Four: Action/Willpower

This is the stage where people believe they have the ability to change their behavior and are actively involved in taking steps to change their bad behavior by using a variety of different techniques.

This is the shortest of all the stages. The amount of time people spend in action varies. It generally lasts about 6 months, but it can literally be as short as one hour! This is a stage when people most depend on their own willpower. They are making overt efforts to quit or change the behavior and are at greatest risk for relapse.

Mentally, they review their commitment to themselves and develop plans to deal with both personal and external pressures that may lead to slips. They may use short-term rewards to sustain their motivation, and analyze their behavior change efforts in a way that enhances their self-confidence. People in this stage also tend to be open to receiving help and are also likely to seek support from others (a very important element).

Hopefully, people will then move to:

Stage Five: Maintenance

Maintenance involves being able to successfully avoid any temptations to return to the bad habit. The goal of the maintenance stage is to maintain the new status quo. People in this stage tend to remind themselves of how much progress they have made.

People in maintenance constantly reformulate the rules of their lives and are acquiring new skills to deal with life and avoid relapse. They are able to anticipate the situations in which a relapse could occur and prepare coping strategies in advance.

They remain aware that what they are striving for is personally worthwhile and meaningful. They are patient with themselves and recognize that it often takes a while to let go of old behavior patterns and practice new ones until they are second nature to them. Even though they may have thoughts of returning to their old bad habits, they resist the temptation and stay on track.

As you progress through your own stages of change, it can be helpful to re-evaluate your progress in moving up and down through these stages.

(Even in the course of one day, you may go through several different stages of change).

And remember: it is normal and natural to regress, to attain one stage only to fall back to a previous stage. This is just a normal part of making changes in your behavior.


Along the way to permanent cessation or stable reduction of a bad habit, most people experience relapse. In fact, it is much more common to have at least one relapse than not. Relapse is often accompanied by feelings of discouragement and seeing oneself as a failure.

While relapse can be discouraging, the majority of people who successfully quit do not follow a straight path to a life time free of self-destructive bad habits. Rather, they cycle through the five stages several times before achieving a stable life style change. Consequently, the Stages of Change Model considers relapse to be normal.

There is a real risk that people who relapse will experience an immediate sense of failure that can seriously undermine their self-confidence. The important thing is that if they do slip and say, have a cigarette or a drink, they shouldn't see themselves as having failed.

Rather, they should analyze how the slip happened and use it as an opportunity to learn how to cope differently. In fact, relapses can be important opportunities for learning and becoming stronger.

Relapsing is like falling off a horse - the best thing you can do is get right back on again. However, if you do "fall off the horse" and relapse, it is important that you do not fall back to the precontemplation or contemplation stages. Rather, restart the process again at preparation, action or even the maintenance stages.

People who have relapsed may need to learn to anticipate high-risk situations (such as being with their family) more effectively, control environmental cues that tempt them to engage in their bad habits (such as being around drinking buddies), and learn how to handle unexpected episodes of stress without returning to the bad habit. This gives them a stronger sense of self control and the ability to get back on track.

In addition, there is one more stage, Dr. Kern has added which is not part of the Prochaska-DiClemente Stages of Change model:


Eventually, if you "maintain maintenance" long enough, you will reach a point where you will be able to work with your emotions and understand your own behavior and view it in a new light. This is the stage of "transcendence," a transcendence to a new life. In this stage, not only is your bad habit no longer an integral part of your life but to return to it would seem atypical, abnormal, even weird to you.

When you reach this point in your process of change, you will know that you have transcended the old bad habits and that you are truly becoming a new "you", who no longer needs the old behaviors to sustain yourself.

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Frustrating Friday

It's Friday. And it's Payday. Normally either of those things are great, and when combined, make me do the Happy Happy Joy Joy dance. For today... notsomuch. The Hubby (squee!) is at the airport on his way to Spokane, and really not ready for him to leave, especially after the spat we had last night. He got into an accident on the way out of town (he's fine, car is mostly fine - will need a bit of repair but nothing serious) which has left me feeling a bit wiggy in general worrying about him and, of course, any possible financial issues that can arise from it.

Today's been ADHD day, too - can't focus, can't seem to get any sort of work done, having to redo things 2-3 times, and most everyone is annoying me. Makes for a special fun kind of day.

And I'm feeling the toll of my 'easy does it' week. I figure I can push myself for 3 weeks, then when the low energy mid-girlie cycle comes around (luckily it coincided with the holiday and the Hubby being home) I will either take it easy that week or take it off. Well, this week was pretty much off. I went walking on Wednesday morning - felt fabu! But that was it. Not that it's overly acceptable, but not stressing about it. I'm feeling a bit fluffy and very much looking forward to either a bike ride or walk tomorrow because I have a feeling I'll be sitting for a good long while at the DMV. (Took the plunge on Tuesday and got my name changed with the Social Security folks, now I have to do my car stuffs. Whee. 1 document down 34 to go. ::grumble:: Good thing he's cute. ;) It's weird that I miss not exercising, and that my body gets grumpy with me when it's not moving or doing something. cool, but weird. :P

But the way upside is that made arrangements with a friend of mine who we're 'hiring' to do the housecleaning stuffs! She comes over next Saturday which gives me the week to clean before she cleans. No, I'm not going to be one of 'those' people who do a deep clean before the maid gets there. But it's helping give me a timeline for the decluttering efforts - she needs uncluttered surfaces to clean efficiently. If she has to spend more time moving my stuff around, it's not very cost effective for me, is it?

And another awesome thing is that I was looking around for local people who are doing what I want to do and what sort of certifications they have I found a place that is doing /exactly/ what I want to do (funny how that happens!). <link> </link> It's a life and wellness coaching place - how perfect!?!?!? Now I need to figure out how to approach them and find out how they got started and how I can either work with them, or do the same thing. Squee! Any ideas?!

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Attitude adjustments, Weekend wrap-ups and epiphanies, Oh My!

Yeah, yeah, I know it's Thursday, and on the cusp of another weekend, but I had an awesome weekend that I'm still processing through. It made me realize how far I've come emotionally in the last few months and it's really a cool feeling.

The Hubby (squee!) and I have both gone through serious attitude adjustments, and it's been fabulous! During my MK years, working with my director and having her be sooo patient with me while pouring into me all the positive reinforcement and tools that I needed to succeed. I collected and printed out all these things on the power and purpose behind goals, affirmation, finding that inner flame and passion that drives you, makes you a force to be reckoned with, and keeps you going no matter what.

I heard it all, could spout it back to people, I understood and absorbed it, but never... "got" it. It was always for someone else. I was a great support for people, a great motivator, but not motivated myself.

_Now_, I GET it. (note to self: call Gigi to apologize & thank her!) I'm not sure exactly what happened, what caused the switch to flip from 'plan' to 'do', but it did, and I'm glad. I feel like I've created a great foundation, and have retrained my brain enough where I can focus on my top goals. There's clarity and purpose in my life that I haven't had before and it's scary but cool.

So, this weekend. Had a great conversation with the Hubby (Squee!) on the way to the event about what I want to be when I grow up. :) I have a picture in my brain of what I want to be: Essentially a fitness-nutrition-life coach who helps people get to the same place mentally where I am, and will spill over into their fitness and nutrition to help them be the healthiest person they can be for life. I have been looking at several paths that may get me there, but I'm a bit stuck: one path is to do a Nutrition Science degree (lots of schooling, time and money) and become a Registered Dietitian. Another is to become a Certified Nutrition Counselor (again, lots of schooling, time and money, but not as much, and not as strictly regulated), then there's the Personal Trainer and Nutrition certification (less of all the above, but really not regulated).

I'm really leaning towards the latter, but don't see myself being the drill sergeant trainer that one typically thinks of - I see myself working with clients to create a sustainable fitness and nutrition program. And I had the whole insecure moment of "I'm fat and want to do be a personal trainer?! WTF?! No one would want to work with me!" I really think that, as soon as that thought crossed my brain, Stevie or Veruca gave me a b**ch-slap that basically said, "do what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place."

Alrighty then.

Then we got to the event. I wasn't going to miss it, but wasn't looking forward to it either. I've been very apprehensive of the SCA of late, getting burned by too many people. But this weekend had a couple of purposes. To be there for my Laurel/SCA Ma, as she & her Hubby (SCA Da) were elevated to Baron & Baroness. And I also had the chance to really hang with my apprentice sisters. In the back of my mind, during the conversations about what direction to go career wise, I was mulling over what I wanted to get out of this weekend. And I got it... and more.

I had spent a lot of time thinking, "No one ever helps me. People always want to help so-and-so, and go out of their way to offer help to her. No one pays attention to me." Well, the Universe, in it's cosmic/comic wisdom said, "You're right!"


Ok, lets do this a bit different, shall we? "Universe, this is what I want, K? thxbai!"

Universe says, "Cool! Thanks for asking, here ya go."

I ended up having several great conversations, getting a lot of encouragement and ideas from folks that I respect and admire for their talents and sheer involvement and production. It rocked! It also made me realize that attitude really IS everything.

I was also happy - but not really surprised - that I didn't gain weight over the weekend. Events in general are difficult because there's yummy drinks and snackies to be had, and this one had someone else in charge of food all together. I made my peace with it all, enjoyed the company and had what I needed and moved on.

Oh, and my fabulously wonderful Hubby (squee!) said those 4 little words that made my heart get all fluttery: Let's get a maid!


All in all, very satisfying and has given me a lot to think about