Friday, July 31, 2009

Quote of the day...

Sometimes I'm just too good, I have to share. LOL!

Build the healthy habits and a healthy mind, and the body will follow.

Question of the day

Q: How do you know if you're using the right muscles to execute a pull-up?

A: If you wake up the next morning and the muscles of your back along your rib cage are seriously pi$$ed off at you, you're doin' it right.

While I didn't make my goal of an unassisted pull/chin-up this month, I _did_ use the assist machine to do several this week.

Now, I understand the mixed feelings folks have about using machines - there's generally more cons than pros - but honestly, I'm ok with using it right now.

I was shown how to use a band to help myself up. I was show how to do a jumping one. Tried them both and would do way more damage to myself doing 1-2 of those, over doing 10-15 of the assisted ones. My goal right now is to strengthen the muscles I need to ultimately support my body weight.

Either way... Holy Macaroni, Batman! I did pull-ups!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Captain Obvious Strikes Again!

For those who have been reading my ramblings, or have had the pleasure (?) of me stopping by your page/blog to sound my battle cry of "EAT MORE, silly!" will find great amusement at this story.

You see, I had a weekend away from my 'normal routine'... It was enjoyable and educational (and yes, I'll share on that eventually), but my eating was off the whole time. I did ok, but not near the quality that I usually strive for.

No big, I'm back on the normal track at home.

Except I'm not, apparently.

I mean, I've got my regular meals & snacks... and even added in a little extra to give my body a chance to recover... But here it is Thursday and I'm still pooped. No amount of coffee in the world is helping, either.

I've been battling with a foggy brain, headachiness, no energy, clumsiness, and, well, Teh Dumb in a big way.

I got to the point where I looked up the symptoms of the West Nile Virus and got a little worried. (It's monsoon/mosquito madness time in the SW)

So here it is Thursday. I JUST realized that, gee, I'm pooped, then I eat & I perk up. About 90 minutes later, my energy takes a nose dive.

HEY! I think I'm still hungry! I think I need to eat more!

Yay! Still feeling good...

::bangs head on keyboard::

Feel free to mock away. :)

Side note: I'm SO grateful for spell check so you didn't have to see the magnitude of Teh Dumb! LOL!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thanks that make you go grrr... and YAY.

I don't know if y'all know this about me or not (if you've read my SparkPage you probably saw it) but I have hypothyroidism - an under active thyroid that makes life interesting in so many ways. Oh yeah, and I have chronic fatigue and adrenal fatigue... and when the thyroid was way out of control, a touch of fibromyalgia. Oh, and lets not forget the PCOS and premenopausal stuff that was also triggered from the thyroid.

I was a barrel of fun.

I could regal you with all the symptoms and struggles I went through - weight gain, achey, tired, cold ALL the time, etc. - I won't, because if you're going through it, or have gone through it you know. Or if you want to go find a list of hypo symptoms just check off about 30-40% of them and that's how I was.


I am one of the lucky ones who found a doctor who was willing to diagnose it for me and get me started on medication. Then I was extra lucky to find another doctor who was REALLY willing to treat me for it and get me on the OPTIMAL medication and dosage. (Do you hear the angels singing? ::cues rays of light and a heavenly "Ahhhhh"::)

Thing is, during the 2-3 years that it took to really get stuff under control, I did a LOT of research, reading, and general fact finding. That means that I have a LOT of random hypothyroid info running through my brain at any given moment. So when I happen upon someone with questions, it's usually a quick brain dump of "here's what I've learned and what may help you" and go on my merry way.

Every so often I come across things that make me want to bang my head against the wall.

This article is one of those things:

At first I thought, "WOW! This is/was so ME!" Then I read further and got incredibly frustrated with it to the point I actually wrote a "get over it" response.

Out of all the articles I've read on SparkPeople or anywhere, this was the most disheartening one ever! Seriously?! Some people (barring medication issues) are destined to be fat so suck it up?!

I don't buy that, and I'm obviously willing to stake/base my career on that. (and to the author's credit - there is a decent follow-up article she wrote.)

You see, for a while *I* was stuck - couldn't lose to save my life and was getting frustrated. I was floundering and unfocused, feeling like I was missing something... that key that was going to solve all my problems and bring about world peace.

Well, I did find that key... you wanna know what it was?

You won't like it.

You still wanna know?

Ok... here it goes... actually there's 2 keys that have to work together: Patience and Awareness.

Yep... Told ya... it really sucks. When you're dealing with hormonal type issues, you're in for a slow, steady run, but as long as you're steady, it will happen.

Which is why I was THRILLED to come across this article today:

Leigh is a colleague of Tom Venuto's and has a lot of the same attitudes and approaches (aka no-nonsense, straight to the point, and solid info).

Some of high points of the article I wanted to share:

"It is exactly the same as it would be for anyone else except you have to be smarter, listen a little harder to your body, and the chance of having to take things a little slower." [AMEN! Patience and Awareness!]

-Watch training volume and keep it lower. Less is more. I would not recommend lots of HIIT mixed with even a moderate deficit (25% below daily caloric need).

-Schedule re-feeds a little more frequently. The harder you diet down, the more you need to break.

-Don't be overly carb restrictive for extended periods of time.


To piggy back on to this, I'll share some of the things that worked best for me is:

1) working with a doc that actually WORKED with me - I got on Armour about 18-24 months ago and it's made a world of difference for me. We had to play with the dosing for a while but once we hit it, I was finally _able_ to do the stuff I'd been wanting to do without having to pay for it for a week. With Armour's recent reformulation, I've switched to Westhroid and am hoping for similar or better results.

2) Eating real food. It was a chicken/egg thing because I started making the nutrition shift to cooking for myself, eliminating processed stuff, etc., at the same time I switched meds. Either way, the combo itself is awesome and I have to be sure that this happens 98-99% of the time.

3) Getting enough protein. Part of the hypo is that the nerve endings and the coating around them get damaged, hence the achy feelings you can get that's similar to fibromyalgia. They need protein to rebuild and repair themselves. So getting .8-1.0 gm per pound of lean body mass is key.

3a) Getting lots and lots of veggies.

4) Once I got my dose where it needed to be, I eased into doing 2-3 HIIT workouts and weight training. OMG this totally got it going. And it helped the protein really get to work. AND I finally experienced the 'good' sore! :) I have to say, my longest workouts of late haven't gone over 45 minutes, and aside from when I was going to the trainer for 1 hour each week, my workouts average 30 minutes.

I'm all for effective and efficient. I'm a firm believer in doing the minimum it takes to get the results you want, and that's sustainable for the long haul... I can do 30 minutes 4-5x a week for the next 20+ years. I personally am not willing or able to do 60-120 minutes A DAY 5-6 days a week for that long.

5) RESTING I tried plowing through 5 days of working out straight... soooo doesn't work that way. 2 days on, 1 day off... that works. Being Hypo (and a bit, uh... mature) makes us more susceptible to overtraining. Overtraining taxes the adrenal and the thyroid. Can you say vicious cycle? Rest periods are your friend.

6) Eating more. Honestly, once I I had all those other things in place, and stopped eating according to SP recommendation and figured out my own calorie range (which is at least 300-500 calories _more_ than SP), that's when I started losing.

7) LISTENING to my body. There's days I know I can push it, and when to not even try... There's days I get the signals wrong, but I listen and learn so I can make better choices next time.

So there you have it. You've got my "Code", my "secrets" to success: I pay attention, I push myself just 'enough' and am patient.

Wonderfully boring, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Twas the summer of our discon.. eh... whatever.

Nothing like AF's timely arrival and wicked monsoon heat/humidity/high pressure systems to sap all the creative life out of ya and compound normal, everyday stressy factors to new and exciting levels making a me a bit more on edge than usual.

Hence why I've been a bit quiet-I'll call it 'introspective'- this week.

And the fact that nothing much exciting has gone on, which can be a good thing.

Now that we're on the down hill side of the week, I'm making plans for my ISSA seminar this weekend. Once payday rolls around on Friday, I'll be signing up for my first aid/CPR/AED class for the following weekend, all the while plugging away at getting my PT final ready to for submission.


I have to admit that closing in on the end of this particular goal has been part of the "introspection" going on. It's like any goal you put effort and a decent amount of time towards - weight loss, getting out of debt, decluttering your house, getting a degree, starting a business, etc. You steadily plug along doing all the background work, seeing progress till all of a sudden you realize with excitement and trepidation: Holy Macaroni! You're almost at the 'end' - that place marker you set as your 'goal' is within sight and totally attainable! Usually there's just one or two final hurdles you need to leap and then, Bob's your uncle: You're done...

So now what?

Being the perpetual cart-before-the-horse gal that I am (Ok that's a lie... I'm a "cart's parked at the market 20 miles away before the horse has woken up to have it's morning coffee" type of a gal) I've already worked myself up into a frenzy of "what if's" and "why's" and have come inches away from deciding I'm going to stink at it anyway, so why bother? Just throw in the towel.

But I haven't...

I've pulled out the old 'code' and realized that this, like everything, is a 2-5 year process. Yes, I will stink at it a little... at the beginning, because everyone does at the beginning. But I'll get better.
I've also pulled out the good old EFT standby of "Even though I'm freaking out and am sure that I'll stink at it, I completely and totally accept myself now pull out that book and finish studying." (Ok, I added that last bit in there...but it's effective ;)

Sure it'd be easy to blame Stevie & Veruca for the trepidation and insecurity factors that are bubbling to the surface... but really, it's is all me this time. The grown up who's not use to being out in front of the crowd is getting uncomfortable with the possibility. The 6 & 15 year old are excited about it! Time to play, time to shine... me... I'm still learning to let my own light shine.

But I'm working on it.

Besides, I still need to write that book that will pi$$ Jillian off. ;)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Goals, silliness and Summer Lovin...

happened so fast....


Nothin like a John & Olivia duet to make ya wanna start skipping and singing... and draw weird looks in the weight area of the gym. It's ok, I just know they're mad jealous that they don't have cool music on /their/ iPods! LOL!

But really, the song reminded me of my dinner last night (seriously!) I have been blessed to have a friend with an amazing garden (that I regularly make compost contributions too :) and gifted me with a bag full of summer heaven in the form of zucchini, yellow squash, cukes & a few sprigs of herbs. Last night's dinner - Which I named Julee's Delight in honor of my bud - was a sensory delight that made use of that bounty.

The photo doesn't do justice to the fresh squashes and the OMG smells of the fresh basil & rosemary!

Can't wait to sample the Great Pumpkins this fall!

And on to goals... (Yeah, it's a random kind of day :)

I've had several questions/comments about where I am in relation to and what is my goal weight. One lady at work (the on again off again WW one) has been fixated on it... "You must be close to your goal weight... /Surely/ you can't have any more to lose!"

Um... yes I do, and don't call me Shirley. (LOL! I crack myself up)

I've also had people ask me if the goal weight on my SparkPeople Tracker is still what I'm aiming for, and here's the short answer: Sort of.

Here's the slightly longer answer: I initially set my goal weight at 145 because when I actually got to the 130-135 range ages ago, it was a bit *too* low for me - caused all sorts of fun with my blood sugar, energy levels, etc. Yes, I was pretty darn fit and ate really well, but my body just didn't like it... then college, moving to AZ, more school and life in general happened. So I figured that 145 was a good place to move toward.

Then I decided to pursue my Personal Trainer Certification (yep, still working on it - going to a seminar next weekend, scheduling my CPR/1st Aid class, and am trying to calm the testing/essay writing anxiety to just get it DONE!) And that's totally changed my physical/weight oriented goals.

The reason is probably plain to most people, but for the rest here's the truth of the matter: As much as life, and this journey in particular is, about learning to love yourself (who let Whitney in here?!) from the inside out, no matter what your pant size is, people want personal trainers to look like they practice what they preach. At my current weight, I'm not exactly a poster child for super fitness, nor do I look like I've never set foot in the gym.

MY mission/purpose is to help people accept themselves as they are, and give them confidence while guiding them toward /their/ fitness goals, but first, I have to look the part.

To that end, I've adjusted my goal weight, but made it like my "code": It's more a guideline and that involves several components.

One part of it is, as I mentioned to my WW co-worker, I'm waiting to see where my body settles. I have really solid eating/nutrition habits as well as solid fitness habits that are sustainable and make me happy. So I'm kind of waiting to see where that takes my weight.

Another part is my body fat level. About a year ago I shifted my focus from 'weight' loss at any cost (usually, muscle loss!) to 'fat' loss. That alone has helped to loosen the hold that the numbers on the scale had on my psyche because I incorporated other ways to measure my progress, including body fat %... If the scale stays the same but the Body Fat measurement goes down (like this week), a huge happy dance ensues (and it did)!

The final part is figuring out what body fat % is not only sustainable for my body, but also shows off my hard work.

Combining those parts, I'm working towards 18-20% body fat and seeing where that puts my physique as well as my weight. That may leave me at 145-150# on the scale, but with only 25-30# of fat.

That's something I can live with.

And now for something completely silly I got from my dad:

(it's the June 17 one)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pain... Courtesy of CrossFit

Today marks the completion of my 7th CrossFit Workout Of the Day - affectionately known as WOD - and it will be my first full week of at least 4 workouts (General plan is 4 a week... today was a 'bonus' for the abs... and I was awake... and I'm silly... really silly.).

My first thought this morning when I woke up: Holy Macaroni! My arms hurt!

Yesterday I had the general feeling that I worked my upper body, but no big... I have a rest-ish day.

Today: Ow.

Granted it's the awesome, "Good Sore", but still... Muscles are sore in places I didn't think I could even have muscles! Haven't hit some of them since I stopped working out with the trainer.

I'm totally digging the fact that the moves are simple in design - but in no way "easy" - and the WOD forum has the scaled down version of each workout so beginners can do the modified versions to build up endurance and strength to move to the "Big Dawg" workouts*.

There are CrossFit gyms popping up all over and I want to visit to see how they have things set up.

The beauty is everything has grown from the one website - it's grass roots, it's effective, it's functional, it's efficient (Most WOD will take 30 min max and leave you in a quivering puddle on the floor), and best of all it's FUN!

There's running and jumping and swinging things around! I was never one for gym calls or recess, but this is like gym recess for grown ups! There's even a section for 'training' with kids.

Ok, off to find more ibuprofen... and food (OMG turning into even more of a protein fiend!)... and see about buying stock in the makers of Motrin/Advil/Aleve. LOL!

*Note to self: Start learning how to do a handstand.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The one where I open a can of worms...

I have a confession: I'm a grocery store snob.

I know! Shocker, huh?! I mean, the hubby and I have already thrown down some of our food snobbery when picking out ice creams, or eggs, or a few other select food items.

But this weekend it really drove home the point that I have become a store snob.

I've commented about the beauty that is shopping at Sunflower Market and Trader Joes - I'm blessed to have 2 and 3 respectively within an 8 mile radius of my house and happily drive the distance to go there than the Albertson's less than a mile from my home.

I was using the reasoning that the produce selection and prices were better... Most times I only set foot into a big chain store it's to get chicken at a little better price and a few staples that are stoopid expensive at Sunflower... but this weekend I realized it was something more.

You see, I was feeling less than motivated to get out in the heat and drive around Tucson, so I opted to go to Albertson's instead... it was only for a few things so what did it matter?!

By the time I got home, I really 'got' the difference between the two stores - it's all in the focus.

You see, going through any regular grocery store, I'm struck by the proliferation of 'meals' over ingredients (and the small produce selection to boot!). The huge freezer sections hold the promise a quick and easy (usually nutritionally deficient) meals for whole family, shoving the frozen veggies and fruit to 2-3 sections in the corner... the aisles are filled with boxes, cans and bags that are pre-packaged for your convenience.

Oh sure, Sunflower and TJ's have sections of open-and-eat meals as well... but I can identify all the ingredients on the label... but primarily, there's ingredients. Wonderfully fresh ones that generally didn't travel more than a state or two to get to the store.

Going to a store like Sunflower - There's just more of a sense of purpose and awareness... The checkouts are lined still lined with magazines, only there's a smaller number trying to pitch the latest "Lose 20 pounds by tomorrow" diet plan.

Thing is, I was starting to feel guilty for my feelings. I /used/ to shop exclusively at Albertson's and would defend it to my dying breath... I felt bad for my betrayal, for, well, outgrowing it. Yes, I still have the occasional need to visit, it's just that, a quick visit.

Through my wanderings in the health and wellness blogosphere, my guilt has been absolved. There's been a series of folks writing about the recent pro-food movies such as "Food, Inc." and it drove home why I, as a singular buying unit have more impact than I realize.

(For the record: No, I haven't seen the movies and no, I'm not becoming a vegetarian, and no I don't want to get into a debate of the horrors of food processing.)

Thing is, the megamart (dang have I been watching WAY too much Alton Brown!) of today started as a wonderful way to bring a wide variety of food to the everyday person for a reasonable price. (Reasonable as in you don't have to drive to Florida or California when you have a hankerin' for fresh oranges in the middle of winter.) But it has since devolved into the food marketing guru's fighting for your hard earned dollars (and eventual insurance deductible.)

The brightly colored boxes on the shelves of any random megamart were placed there for one purpose: to get your money... if they don't sell/turn a profit, they go away. Even a slight decrease can trigger it to be dropped from the shelves. If it sells, it stays and/or the store stocks more of the same.

When I frequent a store, and insist on certain things, it sends a message - if my cart is full of produce, a couple of cans of no-salt added tomatoes, and an Amy's frozen entrée, the store Powers That Be get a clue that people with health oriented lives shop there... If my cart is full of soda, chips, and banquet dinners, it signals those same PTB to up the additives!

It's also as impact if you DON'T frequent a store. Choosing to spend my meager food dollars at one place over another, trickles down and can (hopefully) be a catalyst for change.

So, instead of feeling guilty about my preference, I shall continue to be grateful for the choice I have in the grocery arena. Instead of complaining about the sad state of nutrition and food choices available, I'll do my part to vote with my dollars to obliterate the use of food additives, trans fats, HFCS, preservatives, etc., and move back to real food!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Do the points make the person?

I just realized today is my first 100 point day on SparkPeople.

What does that really mean in the grand scheme of things?

Well, it either means a lot or not much, depending on your perspective and goals.

Let me back up a bit... several months ago, one of the ladies on my team finished a couple of months in the top 25 of the SparkPeople Leaderboards... after figuring it out, it meant she averaged over 125 points a day.

I took that as a bit of a challenge. My goal was to see if I could consistently earn 50-75 sparkpoints and see where that put me in the 'ranking'... over the last 2 months, it's put me at or near the top 1,000 members.

Again, what does that mean? Does it mean that I'm at my goal? No. It means that I am one of the top 1-2% utilizers of the site. It means that I'm not going crazy with exercise to earn extra points, or posting on 50 billion message boards a day... I'm just being consistent, and the consistency of keeping in touch with people, reading articles, answering the trivia questions, etc., helps keep me focused on my overall goals.

The more I get involved in the happenings (and helping) of others, the more my resolve is tested and ultimately strengthened. I may not be making super glamorous losses or a super fast physical transformation, but I'm consistently seeing progress in all areas of my life.

Over and above all of that, to me, it means that I'm earning my 3% worthiness. To paraphrase my hubby's coach John Di Lemme, the committee of "They" have determined that 97% of the people who start on this journey don't last, or don't reach their goal, or when they do, they backslide.

The 3% who do reach their goal and maintain that lifestyle for good have laid the foundation to withstand the storms of life, and built habits that constantly propel them to the next level.

My overall goal is to be one of the 3% who helps turn the tide. My dream is to read statistics that say that 97% of people who start out on this journey REACH their goals, MAINTAIN their lifestyle and are a SUCCESS at everything they set out for.

It's high and lofty, but it's my dream and I believe every single person out there is worthy of achieving the deepest desires of their heart.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mac Arthur Park

Ok, thing have been waaaay too introspective around here, so time to bring in a bit of levity.

While I was out on my walkies this morning, the song Mac Arthur Park by Donna Summer was thrown into the iPod mix... It's one of those songs that, from the moment it was released, it made people across the globe exclaim, "... Huh?!" ::head tilt::

Looking at the lyrics, some of them are really inspiring, but honestly, I can't get past the cake thing...

Who would leave a cake in the rain?! I mean, it's cake! That's... that's... pastry abuse!

And then the first bit about the iron and striped pair of pants?!

So can some please, please explain what the heck that's all about?!

For those of you wracking your brains and trying to hum the tune, here's the full lyrics to go along with it. I apologize in advance for this song getting stuck in your head for the rest of the weekend... welcome to my world. ;)

Spring was never waiting for us, girl

it ran one step ahead

as we followed in the dance.

Between the parted pages

we were pressed,

in love's hot, fevered iron

like a striped pair of pants.

Mac Arthur's Park is melting in the dark

all the sweet green icing flowing down

someone left the cake out in the rain

I don't think that I can take it

'cause it took so long to bake it

and I'll never have that recipe again

Oh, nooo!

I recall the yellow cotton dress

foaming like a wave

on the ground beneath your knees

birds like tender babies in your hands

and the old men playing

Chinese checkers

by the trees

Mac Arthur's Park is melting in the dark

all the sweet green icing flowing down

someone left the cake out in the rain

I don't think that I can take it

'cause it took so long to bake it

and I'll never have that recipe again

Oh, nooo!

There'll be another song for me

and I will sing it

there'll be another dream for me

someone will bring it

I will drink the wine while it is warm

and never let you catch me

looking at the sun, oh yeah

and after all the loves of my life

after all loves in my life

you'll be the one

I will take my life into my hands

and I will use it

I will win the worship in their eyes

and I will lose it

I will have the things that I desire

and my passion flow

like rivers through the sky

oh and after all the loves in my life

after all the loves in my life

you'll still be the one

and I'll ask myself why.

Mac Arthur's Park is melting in the dark

all the sweet green icing flowing down

someone left the cake out in the rain

I don't think that I can take it

'cause it took so long to bake it

and I'll never have that recipe again

Oh, nooo!

Watch your language

I was chatting online with my friend Ramona recently, and one of the fantastic things about her is, not only can I completely be myself, but I always learn something about myself when we talk. Today was no different, only it was better. Online chats are a nice way to keep in touch with people real-time without the long distance charges (or are those a thing of the past, now? LOL!) Chatting is also a great way to edit the things you say before you say them.

As I was typing away about some of the things going on in my life, I realized that I was hiding behind my words. I would start to type things like "Maybe it's because..." or "I think I'm", or "probably it's..."

I was trying to lessen what I was saying to one of my best friends! Why? Because I didn't want to come out and say something to myself let alone someone else. Because I was hiding from myself and some of my feelings.

That's the joy of editing before you hit 'send' - I knew that everything after the doubting words maybe/probably/think/etc was true, so I deleted the what was unnecessary.

A lot of this has come about because I've been facing a lot of challenges in my life we were talking about how much I've been working on becoming/discovering who *I* really am. I've done a lot to challenge and overcome my limiting beliefs - the 'But' factor, if you will - and now I feel like I've hit a sort of a wall. Everything was going along so smooth, I'd hit that sweet spot, and then *wham*.

I'm realizing now that what's really going on is the fact that I have an issue - serious "But's" - that I'm still holding on to, but it needs to be dealt with before I can move on to the next level. Like the doubting words, these are things that I'm hiding behind, keeping me comfortable by keeping me from changing and growing.

At least I know what I'm up against and the rewards that are waiting for me on the other side.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What I know for sure...

I've mentioned several times now that I know what works for me, and I have the bits and pieces that I track in a few places, but I figured that it was time to put it all in one place since I get the occasional question about 'what I do'.

I have a 5 pronged approach that I've really honed down over the last 6-9 months that, when I do all 5 consistently, it's all green flags all the time. I may not see the actual results on the scale or my body, but those things matter less because I know I'm doing what I need to do for me to feel my best, keep myself on track, keep myself sane(-ish) and moving forward.

Keep in mind it's taken about 3 years to really get these things nailed down and habits built... I would implement small changes here and there when I saw the value in them, and got rid of things that weren't working.

The awesome thing is, that since success is a 2-5 year process, so I'm over 1/2 way there! Whoo hoo!

So here you have the LadyRose/Firecracker Plan For Success...

1) Mental training
This one was added a little later in the game but has moved to the forefront because I honestly believe that, if you work on developing your SELF, your BODY will follow. And like eating: good things in = good things out.

I regularly listen to motivating podcasts - usually relating to fitness (like Tom Venuto interviews/success stories, Jonathon Roche's No Excuse Workout radio show and occasionally Jillian Michaels', when I'm in a good enough mood ;) - but also CD's by my hubby's Coach John Di Lemme.

I also have been reading a lot more motivating books - most of them business oriented but it's easy to see the application in all aspects of my life.

It includes journalling to work through various issues that crop up in my life, and help me work through them so they're only speed bumps instead of roadblocks.

AND I read my affirmations and goals sometimes several times a day. Remember that picture of my mirror? Yep, still have them up, some of them are revised, but I have them in plain sight so I am constantly reminded to keep myself focused on the bigger prize!

2) Nutrition Training
This is what I started with a few years back. I knew that I wasn't ready to exercise at that point, and if I didn't eat well, I wouldn't be able to do much exercise wise anyway. Once I did start exercising, it really drove home Tom V's point of: You can't out train a bad diet.

Think about this: You eat 3-6 times a day, every day. YOu generally work out 1x a day, maybe 3-5 days a week. So you have 3-5 workouts/week vs. 21-42 meals/week... Which one should you be giving the most thought and attention to?

Food wise, here's what works best for me:
A-1) 80-90% compliance to the way of eating that works best for me. That allows for 'life' to happen or pizza & beer nights to be enjoyed, or eating out with friends/family/holidays so they can be celebrations, not occasions for stress. (Ok, the family gatherings _might_ still be stressful. LOL!)

A-2) Eat REAL food. There's very little processed anything in my diet these days. If I don't prepare it myself, I do my darndest to make sure I can identify all the ingredients in it. I cook at home nearly every night (some weeks it is every night) and take leftovers for lunch. I enjoy cooking, even if it's just for me

B) Get 6-8 servings of fruit/veggies a day, with 2-4 of those being raw/whole food. This keeps my fiber intake up which is a good thing. ;)

C) I don't pay attention as much to my macronutrient ratios anymore but I keep my protein up, and I keep my grain intake down to 2-3 servings a day. The rest of my carbs come from veggie sources. As long as I keep my animal protein from lean sources, and my fats are usually from plant based sources, all is right with the world. :)

D) Planning!!! I subscribe to the Menu Mailer from <link> </link> and love it - LeAnne does all the planning an list making for me. I just need to make sure that I set myself up for success at the beginning of the week by shopping and doing what prep I can to make the rest of the week easy-peasy.

3) Cardio Training
This used to be my fun one, my go to exercise, but lately it's slipped down the scale. I've recently discovered that I enjoy jogging, which has helped keep things interesting. My body responds really well to HIIT workouts and I get a good rush from the sweat therapy it gives me. Of late, however, my just cardio workouts have dropped to 1-2 a week.

4) Strength Training
THIS has been my new love! I love the feeling that strength training gives me, not to mention the results! Once I really focused on this, I started getting the results I wanted.

I also got the biggest complement from my Trainer during one of my last workouts with him. After looking over my 'chart' of exercises & weights used, he smirked and said, "Wow! You're my strongest female client. I love it!" I understand the value of lifting as heavy as possible and am constantly working to overcome my self imposed strength limitations.

My weekly workout (planned out at least a week in advance ;) includes 3-4 days of strength training, and generally incorporates cardio into it. Talk about serious sweat therapy! :)

5) Daily Accountability
Again, this is a relatively new addition. I've been taking the principles of Tom V's real time transformation contest and tracking my daily action steps, including taking a photograph of myself every day. It's a pain, but it's interesting to see the real-time effects of eating 'off' my nutrition plan, and how quickly those effects can disappear. :)

On one of my groups I'm setting weekly goals for fitness and nutrition, tracking those daily. It's great to see the weeks that I hit it 90-100% of the time, and usually those are the weeks that I feel best overall.

Thing is, even if I don't do well, I still post it. There's something about having to be accountable to myself and to other people (even if they don't really care ;) that helps me stay just a little bit more on track, and take that extra little step to get me a little closer to my goals. I may not always hit my target, but at least I'm aiming at it.

And there you have it! Basically, it's a pretty simple plan... and looking at it, *I* am amazed at it... Making the decision to do it was simple.

Making it happen every day was more challenging. I have to say the biggest turning point for me was having a compelling goal to work towards, and continually finding the Next Great Thing to grow into.

Is it easy now that I've gotten going? I'll leave you with this quote from my awesomely amazing friend's page to answer that :

"When you act without thinking, you don't make the decision, the decision makes you.

Being fat is hard.
Losing weight is hard.
Maintaining weight is hard.

The more you invest of yourself, the harder it is to surrender. In which of the above are you most invested?


Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Pirate Code

The code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules...

Sorry, I'm still recovering from a Pirates of the Caribbean fest this weekend... but after reading 2 of the DailySpark articles, it really got me thinking about the general rules and regulations I've set up for myself for success... They go along with the Green/Yellow/Red Flag days that, when I'm doing what *I* know works for *me* (aka Green Flag days), success will come, and it's not a surprise. When I'm not, or I let a few of those habits slip, that's when I get into the Yellow & Red Flag Days... I also know that I'm never more than one decision away from Green.

That's why I really loved this article.

Reposted from "Nancy's Bill of Rights" for ease of reference:

1. Thou shall release thyself from thy scale. Thou cannot and should not allow a machine to measure thy self-worth and value.

2. Thou shalt accept the obstacles that are inevitable on this journey we call life.

3. Thou shalt accept help and guidance from others more knowledgeable and experienced than thyself.

4. Thou shalt never give up learning. Education is essential in order for us to change and grow. Don't ever stop learning and don't acquiesce to accepting anything as fact. Learn for yourself.

5. Thou shalt not allow one off-track day to undo all the positives we have made in our lives. That one extra hot dog, the All-American food, is not going to undo all your hard work to date.

6. Thou shalt accept the challenges in life in order to grow.

7. Thou shalt never take for granted the health one has now.

8. Thou shalt never underestimate the power of small changes.

9. Thou shalt appreciate the freedom to live a life of joy and happiness, not one based on the size we wear or the number on the scale.

The lovely Nancy had her own #10, but I had to add my own based on another article:

10. If you are living by these guidelines/commandments/rights, especially #2, 5 & 6, thou shalt banish any and ALL "How to survive (insert holiday/gathering name here)" articles from your reading list!

[Rant Mode Activated]

If you have taken the time to really work on developing a positive attitude and building healthy habits behind the scenes... You've written out your goals and refer to them every day. You've taken the time to learn what works for you to get the results you want...

Or maybe you're still in the process of establishing those habits, but (yes, I know, I used the 'B' word. ;) you've made the decision and are committed to do what ever it takes to reach your goals... what does one meal, one party, one holiday REALLY matter?!

When you hyper focus on the BIG stuff - BIG Thanksgiving dinner, BIG Christmas party, BIG Birthday Celebration - you block out the energy and focus on the little things, like the 20-30 meals/snacks that you'll eat the week before and the week after that ONE singular event.

Most times we get so stressed and worked up over the ONE event, we feel defeated before it's even happened. The "Why Bother" attitude slips in and we throw in the towel for the week/month/year because of ONE thing.

BUT (I know! Twice!) you CAN stop that runaway train before it's left the station.

It's all part of #8.

Making small changes to your attitude is the key: Looking at the day in front of you instead of what is behind you. Planning and being proactive instead of reactive. Choosing to take a baby step instead of being defeated with an all or nothing attitude. Looking for what you CAN do instead of all the things you can't.

Take a moment to breathe, and look for those small changes you can make today that will add up to big changes tomorrow.

And when it boils down to it, to we REALLY need ANOTHER unreasonable "How to survive..." article that says to substitute carrot sticks for cake?!

[Rant Mode Deactivated]

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

That's Gratitude for ya!

The Powers That Be have decreed that today and is Gratitude Day!

I know it to be true because I've been hit over the head with it several times today, and it's not even noon!

I was reading my friend MOCOHOLO's blog today and she was talking about attitude and it really reinforced that attitude really is everything.

Yesterday I was having a really Testy Tuesday, and it seemed to get worse as the day went on... I learned today that I was being a SNIOP: Someone who is Susceptible to the Negative Influence Of Other People. (gotta love Zig Ziglar!)

You see, I was reluctant to get out of bed because I was missing out on hubby & kitten snuggles... then when I got to work after having 4 days off in a row, I discovered that the water was off for a few hours... which turned into all day. It meant no bathrooms, no ice, no coffee, no happy filtered water... nothin'. I had to seriously limit my liquid intake to avoid several trips to a nearby store to use their facilities. When I got home, I was greeted with a pile of laundry waiting to be folded, and a funky error message on my home computer that was going to take an hour to fix... so I went downstairs to find the super messy kitchen that I had left the day before, and the day before that, while my hubby was going between working on the computer and packing/unpacking/repacking his bag to leave.

Basically, it was shaping up to be one. big. M-E-H! kind of day.

It was all I could do not to raise holy heck and pitch a huge fit about the situation. While most people would have said it would be fine to do so, I just couldn't do it, so I went for a short walk, realizing that I needed to have A Talk with Veruca & Stevie... we were tired, we were sore, but that was no reason to take it out on other people.

I forced myself to focus on positive: My hubby has a job that he mostly enjoys and allows us to enjoy a nice home, and some quality time together. I am grateful I have healthy food to cook for myself and my hubby. I am grateful I am able to cook and have the luxury of abundance (even when it doesn't feel like it!) so I _can_ wait a few days to do the dishes. I have a job that allows me to complain about things outside of my control and the ability to leave for 15 min at a time to take care of 'business' ;). I have a super awesome hubby who did all the laundry, scooped the cat box, and doted on me, even though I was being a little more than cranky at him.

And today, I'm feeling much better. I got the reminder that life isn't about what happens to us, but how we react to it... I will focus on what I have, where I am going, what I am grateful for and that I always have the choice not to be a SNOIP!

So, by Royal Decree of their Royal Highness's Veruca & Stevie, and the Queen Mum, we declare all days Gratitude Days!

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain."
Vivian Greene

"When we choose not to focus on what's missing from our lives
but are grateful for the abundance that's present...
we experience heaven on earth."

Sarah Breathnach

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Of paint, snipe and free rein

Wow... It's only been a couple of days since I've even been on the computer, but it feels like weeks!

Basically we had a whirlwind weekend - did a lot of work and lot of play. It was partial home improvement time - took off all the molding/baseboards in the bedroom, sanded, scraped, etc., the walls and painted the base coat... Only people silly enough to get married outside in June in Tucson would be silly enough to move furniture and paint an upstairs bedroom in July in Tucson. Luckily(?) it was mostly cloudy/rainy so we weren't missing much outside, but there was still the humidity factor to deal with. After my workouts on Thursday & Friday morning, and adding heavy duty moving/painting to the mix, I was one sore puppy by Saturday night. We were totally pooped and asleep by 9:30-ish which meant no fireworks for us.

During the painting planning, the hubby & I had been talking about having a getaway as well this weekend. It was up in the air due to the weather and some cost issues, but we woke up on Sunday morning to a beautiful, clear blue sky and the hubby declared it perfect weather for a Snipe Hunt*!

Within a couple of hours, the car was loaded with camp gear, made a quick stop at the grocery store and headed up the mountain to a campground on Mt. Lemmon. The hubby had been needing some serious nature time and it was a fantastic time to escape the heat. We had a lovely time doing a bit of walking in the woods, hanging out by the lake, and just sitting around the camp fire doing nothing.

The fun of the weekend was added to and detracted from by the fact that it was an unofficial free rein fest in the eating and drinking area. It was nice because we kind of did as we wanted, and of course a camping requires the consumption of much "Snake Bite Repellent" - at least that's what my dad always told me... and there never were any snakes to be found when we went camping! It was nice to not really worry about the specifics - though I did keep with having some veggies/fruit during the day.

I did learn that I really can't 'graze' all day - I could never quite get my energy level/blood sugar level under control, and I never felt like I had eaten anything despite the nibbles here and there. By yesterday, I was seriously wanting for a 'real' meal and antsy to have my meals/snacks planned out and on my usual schedule.

But I have to say that the time away did wonders - being able to see the woodland creatures first hand instead of watching it on Animal Planet is fantastic. We had a couple of "camp" chipmunks, squirrels and a hummingbird that kept us company... stuff you can't get living in the city.

* (We managed to catch a few but decided to release them back into the wild. Gotta preserve the population, ya know. ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Operation: 'But' Buster

After getting great feedback yesterday on the article by Rachel Cosgrove, I would love to start a movement like that helps banish negative self talk/fat talk! Though I think my idea may not be as popular or as 'pretty', it would be equally as empowering and would raise awareness of our deepest fears and motivations.

I would call it Operation: "But" buster to put an end to all the "But" talk that goes on every day.

Case in point, I was talking with a co-worker yesterday:

Her: "You look so great! How much have you lost?"

Me: [sorta lying] "I'm not really sure because I sent the scale on a vacation for a while"

Her: "Oh! I could _never_ do that! I _have_ to weigh myself every day because I'm so afraid I would gain it back!"

Me: "Good habits help... [trying to be encouraging] You've been going to WW for a while now, I'm _sure_ you have built some solid habits that would keep you on track."

Her: [hesitating] "Weeellll... I do have some habits built up BUT there's weeks like..."

Me: [totally cutting her off] "So you _haven't_ worked on your habits... [her looking sheepish] you just said "but", which tells me you're not confident in the action your taking... I know you're worth the effort - you just need to believe it yourself and make it happen."

Her: [catching on] "And I need to stop saying "but""

Me: "You got it!"

Who's with me in putting an end to the senseless "But" talk and empowering ourselves toward success?!?!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tough love and "But" breaking

Today marks the first day of a new month, and also the first day of the second half of 2009 (and it's also Canada Day for all my SparkPeeps in the Great White North. ::waves a maple leaf:: ;) There's lots of reflecting and goal setting going on and I'm certainly not exempt from it.

My scale returned from it's vacation and I proved to myself that I wasn't quite ready for it. I stepped on it this morning and saw a number I wasn't thrilled with. I did my body and body fat measurements, all of which dropped significantly from the measurements I did in May, but that stoopid number from the scale stuck with me.

Immediately the rationalization game started in my head - maybe I was retaining water... my carbs have been a /little/ high...I've been under a _lot_ of stress the past few days... maybe the batteries are low and it's not registering right.

It took a lot to stop that runaway train - I had to pull out all the stops and practice a bit of tough love on myself: When it boils down to it, I've done about a 75% effort exercise wise and about a 50% effort food wise of late, so based on that, my results were phenomenal!

When I looked back at where I was in January, I've had a LOT of measurable progress, and I know that where I am mentally is light years ahead of where I used to be. So the scale will be used as a unit of measurement one a week, I have my road map plotted to get to my destination and I'm ready for the road trip!

In the vein of 'tough love', I had to share this article about breaking your 'but':

I always find it interesting that, no matter what improvements or changes you are making in your life, the process is still the same. I was reading a blog about money management and it said exactly the same thing - you say that you want to do something BUT unless you are willing to do what it takes to make that happen, you'll stay stuck in the same place you are right now.

I want to get out of debt BUT I don't want to have a budget.
I want to be healthy and fit into my skinny jeans BUT I don't have time to go to the gym/go shopping/prepare food on my own
I want a decluttered home BUT I don't want to let go of anything.

Those aren't arbitrary either: all of those were my personal 'buts' that I've gotten over. I've still got a lot of 'buts' I'm holding on to as well, and the closer I get to my goals, or the more I start working on them, the more they pop up.

Your BUT is really a resistance to change. It's based in fear of the unknown. It usually comes up after you've gotten so sick of your current situation that you declare loudly to the world that you are willing to do /whatever it takes/ to change. Then you create a list of the things you know you need to do to succeed, BUT come up with a list of excuses why you couldn't possibly make it happen.

Today let's try to catch a but. To catch a but, set your awareness button on "alert" and see if you can catch yourself thinking, saying or writing a "but" scenario. Once you catch the but, see if it is standing in the way of your happiness.

Once you shift your awareness, and slowly shift the language you use, you'll notice that your 'but' (and maybe even your butt! LOL!) will start to shrink.