Friday, January 29, 2010

Follow-up/Fill-in-the-Blank Friday

YAY! We made it through the week and what a week it was... Wanted to take a few moments to sip my coffee, chat with my peeps, and do a little follow-up/touch base/check in. So pull up a chair, grab a cuppa, and hang with me for a while, this is gonna be a long one...

I'm realizing that I blurt out a lot of things, make a lot of 'goal' type statements and then let them flop around in the blog-o-sphere/recesses of my brain and don't do much to actually be accountable for them, one way or another.

So here goes... First off, thank you to EVERYONE who 1) listened to my self serving rantings in my previous post about the dread of clothing shopping, and 2) offered suggestions, hints, tips, resources or the "OMG ME TOO!" Please keep 'em coming!!!

I'm feeling much more empowered to seek out professional help. Heck, it helped my brain (yes I just admitted that, and no, I have no problem talking about it.), why not my closet? It will be put slightly on hold for now due to 1) time to spend a day in Phoenix and 2) money to drive up there and either take a friend with me (Ohhh Juulleeeee...) and/or meet with some friends up there (::cough:: Michele, Abby, mOnkey ::cough::). No matter when I do it (I wrote on my 2010 to-do listy of love that I would go 4/15/10) I'll provide a full report! Promise!

In my angst, er, fear, I mean thinking about all this, I did come across a wonderful resource: You create a free account, take a mess of measurements, they determine your 'shape' and show you a whole mess of outfits that match your shape for purchase.

ALL of the outfits I saw were Ah-Mazing! Totally the styles I like and could see myself wearing. The measurements I put in were half-a$$ because I really need another person to help with a couple of them. I'm going to enlist some help this weekend to get proper measurements done not only for the site but for my own use...

Bringing me to my next goal update: my "goal" weight. I've been really, really, really struggling with this one. I committed to this first 12 week cycle to fat burning and getting through that "last" 10 pounds.

I will spare you all the internal turmoil that thinking about that goal has caused me [trust me, the Princesses & I were near all out rebellion and I almost completely ditched the goal].

The gist is that the Awesome Ramona, supplemented with Two Fit Chicks , helped me have a HUGE A-Ha moment, remove my fear of finishing, shift my thinking away from the scale again and reminded me that living the lifestyle and taking time to tighten the reigns short term to be extra focused on my goal can coexist peacefully in my mind.

So I've readjusted the short term goal a bit to reduce my body fat by 5% or more, and if the scale happens to show a 5-10# drop, all the better. I'll be doing measurements once a month with my Accumeasure callipers and using this website. I'm not looking for accuracy in measurements, just for a consistent measure.

I shall reserve the rant on body fat calculations for another day... till then, I shall let you chew on this for a while.

That brings me back to the article I shared in my previous post. The reason I *wanted* to share it got lost in the quagmire of my rantings, but I'm now reminded of it after re-reading the article from Mark's Daily Apple(an awesome resource, BTW, for a truly getting a grip on the lifestyle aspect of this journey. You may not adopt his way of eating - I haven't - but you can learn a LOT about developing a chilled out attitude.)

The whole point of both of these is this: The number really doesn't matter.

The size on your pants, the number on the scale, the notch on a calliper, a tick mark on the measuring tape, the results on a lab report* - all numbers, all measures of a single moment in time, all as accurate as the method used create it.

Do what you will with those results, the measurements, the numbers, but don't make them of supreme, singular importance. Use the numbers as tools and make informed decisions based on them of how you are going to proceed from that moment to the next.

Think of it this way: You could have 3 pairs of pants, each measures 18" across the top when laid flat, yet each one has a different number on the tag. If each pair fits you the same way, does the one with larger number make you 'fat' while the smaller number makes you 'thin'?


It means the people who made your clothes can't agree.

So stop making the numbers so important and focus on consistently doing something each day to get you closer to where you want to be, and soon you will see your numbers/measurements of each instance in time falling more in line with what you want them to be.

* Yes, I do realize that some numbers on the lab result are important, and need to be watched closely... I'm not trying to minimize a high glucose level, or out of control triglycerides, but we're not getting into that kind of detail. I'm talking conceptually, no specifically. K?


Speaking of food, weight and goals... remember these little goodies from a couple of weeks ago

Yeah... they're still there. Though I gotta say the Kinder egg's days are numbered. Not because I want the chocolate - because I want the toy inside! :)

As for other goals I'm working on, I've gotten about 30 miles into my Walk to Rivendell, I'm still plugging away on my test, and I'm still 'training' (aka looking forward to, and doing what I can to build my endurance) for the Race for the Cure (but need to pay the entrance fee still... oops!), and I'm so happy to report that the hubby & I have had dinner at the dining room table nearly every night this week (which means it's been consistently clear of clutter!



And /finally/ we come to the 'fill in the blank' portion of the blog! ::throws confetti::

If you made it this far, YOU are a trooper!

Today's fill in the blank is inspired by the awesome MizFit herself, Carla. I was listening to the podcast on goals (Go! Listen!) and she blew me away with how she applied the principle of the Zone to all aspects of her life... The concept of "you're only as far from the Zone as your next meal."

She took it a step further:
I'm only as far from being an awesome mom as my next interaction with my child.
I'm only as far from finishing my book as my next sentence.

Without further adieu, fill in the blank:

I'm only as far from ______________ as my next____________.

Remember: No wrong answer, answer as many times as you'd like, feel free to steal from others.
Have at!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday: The source of my frustration...

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you have heard me reference my feelings about going shopping for clothes.

If you're new, let me sum it up:

You want me to floss your rabid pekinese? Consider it done!

You want me to take apart your car, detail it, wax it and give it back to you? No problem-o

You want to string me up by my toes & make me sing "Danny Boy" from the top of the Empire State Building in nothing but feathers & a tiara? I'm am so your gal!

You want me to go to a store to find clothes for myself? ::insert Steph shaped poof of dust as I bolt through the wall ala Wiley Coyote:: (And that's only a few seconds slower than I'd take off if you were mention bra shopping, but that's another story all together.)

I bring all this up because it's that time again... I made a deal with the hubby that I would go shopping when I could consistently take my pants off without unbuttoning or unzipping them.
He's been dropping hints that it's almost time. I deny it. He tugs at my pants. I poof out my belly and take a wide stance. He gets my pants to my hips with ease. I pout and say it's still not time. He tugs... you get the idea.

(I know, I know, it's TMI... and Dad, if you're reading this... just forget that last bit, k? k.)

If you have taken a look at my progress... seen recent photos... or have a hint at my 'before' weight/size, you're probably rolling your eyes, thinking, "Who wouldn't LOOOOVE to go shopping to slip on smaller sizes! The clothing world is your oyster! Go forth and shop your heart out!"

To which I reply, "Pffffff" (the blog equivalent of a raspberry ;)

I shall point to this article as the basis of why it's so bloody annoying to step into a store for me.

No two size (fill in blank) are the same... even by the same manufacturer! Try on everything!


Add to this that I'm curvy, I'm picky (read: perfectionist... see, that way I can avoid actually making a decision or a purchase, and can continue to complain about how I can't find anything that fits me well!), and honestly the styles right now are wholly unflattering!

Size 8 or 18... doesn't matter.

Pttui on shopping.

Hugs & Kisses,

Veruca & Stevie
Resident Princesses of Power


Ok, now that I've let the girls have their say, I shall now attempt to speak with a bit of reason, but will mostly be a brain dump/cry for help.

I realize I have a bad attitude about this. Every time I think about facing the prospect of shopping it fills me with angst and dread.

I've made steps to look at things more positively. I've worked on being kind to myself and feel worthy of having nice clothes that fit well and are flattering to the body I have right now.

And I think that last bit is a big part of it... And Stacy, Clinton & FlyLady would have a tough love field day with me about that.

See... I've been doing the "Get me by" shopping for... well... all my life. The clothing that, despite all it's potential, beauty, style, structure, grace and other attributes, has come into my life as "until" pieces.

You know those things... Not what I want/is ok/will hold me over UNTIL... I get into a smaller size/I find something I like better/I have more money/etc.

I have a closet full of Untils, and now that I am closing in on my goal body size and shape, it's really time to stop dwelling into valley of the Until, and start collecting clothes that flatter the body and enhance the spirit.

And this is where I pitch a fit and demand attention...


I mean, I throw myself upon the mercy of the kind and generous folks who happen upon these words, and ask for your assistance, suggestions and feedback.

Here's where I need help:

1) Style!
As in, I have none. My 'clothing personality' tends more towards Classic, with a touch of Romantic - structure with a bit of frill (think 40's, 50's & 60's clothing - ala Katherine, Jackie, Chanel, Marilyn, Dior, Elizabeth, etc.) I'm so not the 'trendy' kind of person. I like classic, enduring pieces that last from season to season, and are constant. You know, stuff that I don't have to constantly go out and buy the latest and greatest version of. ;)

I know, big shocker on all that. Think you'll have a heart attack and die of not surprise, right? I'm nothing if not transparent! LOL!

HELP! Where do I start?! Please recommend designers, stores, websites, resources, etc... I'm in Tucson, AZ, which has the usual department stores, and a few smaller 'boutiques', and can make the trip to Phoenix if need be.)

2) Shopping!
As in, How do you do it?! Divide & conquer? Go in for one thing at a time? Shop for 'capsules' (ie 4-5 pieces that can be mixed & matched for multiple outfits)?

HELP! I'm thinking the list of stores/designers to start with will help... but any other suggestions are encouraged. Anyone tried personal shoppers? Anyone know where to find one?

3) Fit!
I don't even know what my body shape really is, or what looks good on me right now... trendy clothes tell me that I'm supposed to have loooow rise pants and hiiiiigh rise tops that are loooow cut.

But I don't want to look like a ... yeah. I'll let you fill in that blank.

And the fun is if I find a pair of pants that fits well, sits in a happy place to not show all the stuff that God gave me at birth when I sit down, the next time I go to the store, they are no where to be found; replaced by 100 new styles that aren't. quite. right. Or tops that are too narrow in the shoulders but long in the sleeve...or just the opposite.

I know this one layers on the style and shopping/fling a lot of spaghetti and see what sticks, er, fits... but it's probably the most frustrating.

HELP!!! I'm so tempted to find a seamstress and plop a bunch of fabric on his/her lap and say "make it!" Ideas?!?!

Thank you all in advance for your help, encouragement and/or rantings/success stories!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A "Blueberry" kinda day... and linky type love.

A while back... I was in a mood.

OOOH was I in a mood and everyone around me was making it worse.

I sent my fabu friend Mon an email ranting and raving about [insert less than flattering adjective here] co-workers and [insert really nasty adjective here] computers and darnitall if the sky was just too stinkin' blue that day.

She responded that I should imagine the co-workers (and anything else that annoyed me for that matter) blowing up like Violet in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory - looking like a huuuuge blueberry and rolling it down a hill.

That made me giggle. It broke some stress. No one got hurt.

Now anytime we have a frustrating kind of day or situation, the battle cry to tackle it is "BLUEEEEBERRRIEEESSSS!"

Today... is sort of one of those days. Not really in a "OMG I'm cranky, get out of my way" kind of day - mind and heart are feeling clear... just having lots going on and being kept extra busy at work but feel like everything is an uphill battle.

Speaking of up hill battles... I read about this, this morning... HOLY MACARONI!!!

Though there's a part of me that says, "Hmmm... if I start training now... and convince some of my awesome running/marathon trainee/veterans to come out to Tucson and celebrate my b-day by doing a hard climb with me... could be intriguing."

And more of the linky type love to share... I lubs me the MizFit for so many reasons, and found out today she started life as a counselor like the Awesome Ramona (I dub thee Awesome, darlin'!) and that sort of prompting for being your best self comes through in all she does... Her personal motto and mantra for all is to be "unapologetically myself", something that I keep aspiring to in my own life, and release the fear of just being "Me", but that's a whooole different story for a different day.

I shared this entry with the Amazing Julee (yes, that's my name for her... no, she doesn't have a cape. Yet. ;).

It prompted a really good discussion of how each of us 'licks our forearms' (or rather, don't)... and realized we both have a long way to go in the healthy, self-soothing practice.

Please, go read and let me know how YOU lick YOUR forearms.

And to continue the MizFit love, I listened to the premier podcast of Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone

OMG LOVE LOVE LOVE! (I don't even hold it against DietGirl that she hearts Jillian Michaels. LOL!) Get thyself to the site and subscribe! And listen. Now!

And on that note, I shall leave you with one last thought in the spirit of Vince Lombardi... instead of getting caught up in the minutiae of details that don't matter... All it's doing is giving you an excuse not to get started or reach your goals. Focus instead on being brilliant with the basics. (yep, it's my theme for the day and yep it's something that I'm taking my own advice on. ;)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The latest view from here...

Since we don't get much variance in the weather here in S. AZ, it's always exciting when something different happens... and last night we had a milder repeat of what happened on Thursday evening. Lots of rain, a little wind, a whole lotta snuggling under the blankets with the kitten pile!

And this is why it's all worth it...


(as of 10:30 am)

I've always said that if the beauty of the mountains ever stopped taking my breath away, I was either dead or it was time to move...

Glad to say I'm still alive and happy to stay. :)

And just for kicks, here's the view from the Mt Lemmon web cam just a bit ago...


(from )

The good news is that it means the power has most likely been restored... the "bad" is that it's buried under an inch or 2 of snow. :)

From the beautiful, big, dark floofy clouds forming to the east and south of us, I'd say we're in for a bit more fun this afternoon...

I do so love to see the snow lining the Catalinas like that... and so love that it stays up there. ;)

Friday, January 22, 2010

The view from here...

Apparently I missed a LOT last night.

We don't have cable and didn't want to deal with the whole converter/antenna thing... so that means no TV! (Yes, I'm serious... No I'm not totally crazy, and really, it's not that bad.)

That means I missed out on the fun of the tornado watch, the hail storms and various other sorts of havoc unleashed by Mother Nature last night in Tucson.

This was the sky yesterday at 4:00...

(Images courtesy of )

(love the wall of dust and cloud blocking the mountains... that normally look like this:)

Pretty, no?

This is what I saw driving into work this morning...

And this is how it looks right now (at 11-ish).

Yes it's clearing, and behind those clouds is a bunch of snow... oooh, the mountains are so pretty with a white blanket... but there's more crud on it's way.

The poor folks living in the midst of those clouds on Mt Lemmon are without power and all roads in and out are closed. Period. The end.

People living in Phoenix had their own fun with the airport closing down, the wash filling up so fast that it overflowed the banks and shut down a highway for the afternoon. (Michele - how'd you fare yesterday?! You get effected by any of that?)

Flagstaff & Sedona are buried under many inches of snow.

Cats & dogs... living together. Mass hysteria!

I know, all the peeps in the Northern climes are wondering what the big deal is. It's winter, it snows, get over it.

It's SOUTHERN ARIZONA! That's what's the big deal! We're practically Mexico - land of fun and sun, and more sun... and then there's the sun! And miles and miles of kitty litter, er, sand, as far as the eye can see.

We don't deal well with rain and snow. And this is a lot, even for the areas that are used to it.

The good news is that it may help cut down on fires later on this year, and heck, it's something different besides the amazingly georgous weather we normally have... And my house didn't get blown away to Oz last night and the only little people I saw this morning were my kittens. Though one of them kept changing a rainbow of colors...

and was tugging at the curtain... I'm sure that was all perfectly normal... right?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

::pokes nose out::

Yep... still here.

I know... I go and post about my huge goals and then not a peep.

I appreciate all of you who have checked in to see if I'm still breathing. I am... breathing heavy but still breathing.

Worked picked up a LOT last week (always a good thing to be wanted, needed and busy.) Home life was busy in different ways, and by the weekend I was just pooped. I did get some rest, but still feel like I could use more... I'm blaming that on the weird but wonderful rainy weather we've been having... But it's been cold (for me anyway) it puts me into hibernation mode and makes me feel even more hypo than usual with the cold creeping deep into my bones. My love to all of you in colder climates, especially in Canada - there's a reason I moved to southern AZ from Michigan; I'm glad there's some that really enjoy that weather... or at least can tolerate it.

Anywho, amid my busy, sleepy, hot herbal tea fill days & nights, my brain's been whirring away - my poor hubby (bless his heart!) has had to put up with me yakking on and on and on about stuff that I'd normally write out.

I've been thinking about everyone and will be posting proper blogs any day now... till then, I shall leave you with this little drive by thought:

I've seen more instances of emotional eating issues on people's status of late and it worries & saddens me... It took me a long time to get past it, it wasn't easy and it wasn't very fun some times, but it ultimately freed me from

Being able to identify that you're doing it is HUGE and you need to give yourself credit for it!

Just because you don't dive head first into a bag of chips or pint of ice cream doesn't mean you don't have emotional eating issues (that was me... I didn't see me reaching for a Reeses mini when I hit panic/overload as emotional eating... but it was.)

First and foremost, remember that hunger is _never_ urgent (ok, it is if you've gone 12+ hours without eating... but that's not what I'm talking about here) and rarely specific. Your body's signal for chocolate/cookies/chips/fries STAT is _N O T_ hunger related.

Secondly, recognize it for what it is: a coping mechanism, and an unhealthy one to boot. It doesn't matter if you to consume an extra 50 or 500 calories of healthy or unhealthy foods, you're basically avoiding dealing with the true issue - your emotions, your feelings, your reality - by turning to food instead of turning towards the truth.

Third - You don't have to take the time right that second to break down all the emotional stuff... but what you can do is to start developing new coping strategies.

My favorite is to procrastinate! We all do it, so don't act like it's something you would never do... this time use procrastination to your benefit! If you're starting to become aware of your emotions triggering a craving, acknowledge it head on - denial only makes it stronger.

Say to your self, "Self, I understand that we feel like we want that cookie/chips/candy/fries/etc. right now, and that's fine... we're just going to wait 15 minutes first."

_Most_ times, by the end of the 15 minutes you don't remember that you were craving something. Or the craving has lessened. If the craving is gone, CONGRATS! If you still have it, that's ok - indulge the craving with the control you gained by giving yourself some time and allowing the feelings to de-escalate.

This is a learning process and sometimes you win, sometimes you have another chance to learn.

Finally, make a commitment to yourself to do some regular soul searching, navel gazing, praying or meditating on each situation that comes along that triggers emotional eating. Ask yourself some pointed questions: what happened? why did it happen? why did I want to turn to food? What food did I crave? What memories do I have tied to that food?

Keep digging until you can see your early connections - sometimes it will be easy, sometimes it will be buried under new issues that aren't so plesant to deal with... keep some tissues handy - and work on forgiving yourself and letting go of those connections.

Just remember: It's _never_ about the cookie, it's about why the cookie is so darn important.

YOU are worth finding out what that reason is!


And as luck would have it, the Weekly Spark highlighted an article on hunger vs. cravings.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An update of sorts...

So here we are... it's the 12th day of January already! What's up with that? The month nearly half gone and I'm still stuck on creating my goals, and getting my body to catch up with where my head is in this whole game! :)

First off, they say confession is good for the soul and it certainly was the case here - I am continually amazed and humbled at the support the SparkPeople members provide! Not just in the 'there there it's ok' way, but genuine insight into my journey, and their own lives. L-O-V-E it! After the brain dump on Friday and the therapeutic/tiring time with the hubby and out of town this weekend, I'm feeling a lot better mentally and physically.

Next I've been thinking about the general goals that I put out there and wanted to update and firm up some of them.

The Test! I put out there that my A. #1 goal: Get that *#$& test DONE! January 15th! That's it!

I've got 2 assessments and one essay DONE!, Have 2 training plans and 5 more essays to write between now and Friday. I have a schedule, I have accountability, I consider it DONE!

Movin' on...

I also threw out the idea of doing 2-3 competitive, endurance activities... well, if you say my status update, I'm considering doing 2 of them within a month of each other. One is a definite going to do - April 11, 2010, I'm joining my friend Alyssa (and possibly a few others) in the Race for the Cure 5K. I decided to join in mostly to support Alyssa because it will be her first 5K, but also because so many people I know have been touched by this disease. It will be an privilege to run in their memories/honor.

The second one, which will actually be before the Race for the Cure, is undecided... Not that I don't think I am capable, but because it would mean $70 in race fees. (Hey, part of my goal is to be more financially responsible!) I am giving myself until 1/30 do decide on that one since the entrance fee goes up on 2/1.

As for how that impacts my short term goals - it can only help because I'm committed to focusing on fat burning for the next 11 weeks. I'm not really changing up my exercise routine much - the shift will be to doing the more metabolic CrossFit workouts and minimising the straight weight lifting workouts.

It also means getting in at least one extra cardio session this week, every other week starting in Feb... then every week in March (baby steps, remember! ;). Weekend cardio is TBD, but will most likely be the same plan.

My goal is to not only be able to _run_ the whole 5K in April, but also be carrying at least 10 pounds less fat on my frame.

Other stuff:

Still clarifying those, but here's a general idea:

Financially, I will pay down my debt by 20%, donate $1,000 to a combo of my church and charities, and build my savings to $1,000.

Personally, I will read 12 books this year (including the last 3 Camolud books, and the first Templar book, Facing Your Giants, Think and Grow Rich, and Power of Positive thinking... the rest of the list TBD.)

Home wise, I will continue to clear through the clutter so I can have a home that brings me peace of mind and that I am happy to open my doors to hosting small dinners, movie nights and game nights with friends (new and old) without worry or stress.

Physically, I'm sticking with the goal of getting to the point where I can support/lift my body weight consistently so I can do Handstand Pushup & Unassisted Pull ups & dips. Once I can do 15-20 of those, start working on Ring dips, Muscle ups and Rope Climb.

Not to mention... Body weight deadlift, back and front squat. I'll work on the body weight chest press next year. ;)

I think that's enough to work on for now. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

You're the next contestant on the dating game!

For those of you who have read my blogs for a while, you know I'm very fond of saying, "It's all the same," meaning the process of getting/growing from Point A to Point B is fundamentally the same. This weekend was yet another reminder of that.

See, I had a fantastic weekend with my hubby - we worked the 2 day Bridal Fair in Phoenix (yes, I was in Phx, no I didn't call anyone, yes I'm a horrible friend, no we didn't do anything fun aside from beg snacks off of other vendors. ;)

Working at a bridal fair gives me an interesting perspective on things (not to mention getting to see just how out of touch I am with "fashion" trends. OY! When did bobby pins become hair accessories and not things you need to hide? Seriously!) It's so fun to see the ladies being giddy about planning their wedding; I feel the pain of the ones that are overwhelmed by the choices or the costs or the pressure to put on a party that meets someone else's standards impossibly high standards (ie have the "Perfect" wedding); I do a happy dance when I see guys as excited (and sometimes more excited!) about the planning process and the event as their beautiful bride to be.

The best part overall about being there, especially with my hubby, is it gives me a chance to relive those moments, rekindle the giddy happy feeling of dating, getting engaged and knowing I was getting to spend the rest of my life with my awesome hubby. When we work a show together, we get lots of comments like, "Awww... did you /just/ get married/engaged?" as we tend to get a bit sappy and smoochy.

I also rediscovered that little twinkle my hubby gets in his eyes once in a while this weekend. It got me thinking - did it go away or did I stop looking?

It struck me how the relationship journey - dating, building a relationship, and marriage - and the journey to achieving a healthy weight, lifestyle changes and healthy habit building are really the same thing.

And ya'll are staring at the screen thinking, "She's finally completely lost it this time."

LOL! Probably... but I do have a point... and connections to be made... work with me. (and keep in mind I'm going to speak in generalities... Don't bog me down with specifics, k? ;)

The "Dating" phase

You're lonely, you want companionship, you go out and find someone, or they find you, to hang out with, go to a movie with... "date". You don't like them, you move on to the next person and repeat... you sorta like them but it doesn't work out for whatever reason so you keep repeating the process.

Or maybe you're into serial monogamy where you date one person exclusively for a while, get bored, break up and find the next person... then get bored, break up, find the next person.

Either way, you're focused on putting up the best image possible, looking at possibilities, taking a bit of extra effort to look good, be on good behavior, etc.

How often have you done that with eating and exercise plans? You get excited about the potential, you have fun with it for a while, you try extra hard for a while, only to get bored, get side tracked, or find a new, shiny, big promises plan to move on to.

Thing is, you're stuck in a cycle... it may be fun, but it's not very fulfilling.

You start to think, "What am I doing wrong? Why can't I stick with someone/a diet?! Why can't I find a person/plan that makes me happy?"

Then maybe, just maybe, the thought occurs to you no one and no thing can _make_ you happy, that possibly happy comes from _inside_ of you, not from an external source.

So you take a bit of time, get your feet under you, start becoming comfortable in your own skin and head back out into the "dating" realm... but not to look for someone/a plan that YOU fit with, but someone that fits WITH you. Lets say that *poof* you find them/it and you move into...

The "Relationship" phase

This phase is similar to the dating phase with the wining and dining and excitement and getting all dolled & looking to go that extra step for the other person, with a minor difference: You're looking at this for the long haul.

You pace yourself. You start to reveal your true self more and more, bracing yourself for them to accept you or run screaming from the room (which I have /yet/ to hear of anyone having that happen to them, by the way!)

You're still excited when they call, but elements of comfort and complacency start to sneak in. When you recognize it, you do something to shake things up, keep things interesting. You're focused on growing as a couple, working out your differences, and moving toward that one goal: the alter; or building the foundation for a healthy marriage, not just a pretty wedding.

This is the the "lifestyle" change part of the health journey. You're working towards a goal: a certain number on the scale or pant size. It keeps you motivated, it allows you to get past the small disruptions and get back on track toward your end goal.

The "marriage" phase

Either way you look at this - be it interpersonal relationships or weight loss - the marriage phase is the maintenance phase.

It's the time when you've done all this workworkwork and /finally/ you cross the finish line. It's the time when one is inclined to think, "I've done so much, I've gotten this far, time to throw it into auto pilot and keep on coasting," right?


Yes, it's time to celebrate your achievements, maybe take a little bit of a break, but it's also the time to stay in the game, or at least practice "Constant Vigilance!"

Going back to the hubby's sparkly eyes... there's been some stress in our lives of late, and we both admit that it's been wearing on us. We started getting a little snippy at each other, being less than patient... things that could be also be considered part of the 'honeymoon stage' wearing off. It also meant we both stopped really paying attention to each other.

Not ignoring each other, just more mindful of our own personal space rather than the other person occupying it with us.

Situations improve, as they do, and we had a good laugh this weekend -a REALLY good laugh, one like I haven't had in a long time where you just keep giggling long after the moment has passed and the giggles are more contagious then the piggy flu!

Thing is, it would be so easy to keep along that personal space trail until a few years later you think, "Who is this person living in the house with me?! Where is the person I married?" It doesn't matter if the eyes are sparkling 24-7 if I don't take the time to look.

It's like that with health/weight/fitness. It's great that you got yourself to a place where you have a healthy weight, good level of fitness, etc., but what happens when you stop paying attention and slip into auto pilot? You get comfy where you are, you have 'just a bit more' of this or that, portions start to creep up, exercise time starts to creep down... in a few years you look in the mirror and think, "Who is that person and why are they wearing my clothes?!"

But you have a choice, and it doesn't mean you have to go aaaaalll the way back to the dating phase, it means hanging out in the relationship phase more often than not. Doing those little extra things you used to do: Parking a little further away, keeping the cookies and wine for special occasions, saying thank you, sitting at the table & talking instead of eating dinner in silence in front of the TV.

And if you think you're off the hook because you're single, you're not... you deserve to treat yourself just as well as you would a partner. ;) And it doesn't matter where you are on your journey - still dating or moving into the marriage phase, you still deserve to continue to treat yourself as if you're on your own personal honeymoon!

ps... for those still wondering, the candy is still in the dish... ;)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Routines, Slippage, Treats and other randomness

Yeah, that's how my brain has been operating for the better part of this week, especially today! There's been a lot that's been rattling around by brain and what is the bestest way to release it?!

A blog of course!

The biggest thing is I feel like I've been slipping. I joined Tom Venuto's 50 day holiday challenge on Thanksgiving day. The goal of this challenge was to stay focused on healthy habits and to be in better shape at the end than you were at the beginning.

Did great at the beginning and up until my little over training issue before Christmas I was totally kickin' butt.

Then I hit wall of tired.

Then the oddness that is Christmas/New Years hit with the wonky schedule, little events thrown in here and there, leftovers galore but no set menu or food plan to speak of.

Oh then this week happened. I was soooo looking forward to re-embracing my routine.

The the not-so-great-but-not-so-bad-feeling hit (you know that feeling where you /could/ get sick, but you're not, but you don't feel great, but you're not feeling crappity either?)

Monday's workout was ok, Tuesday's ... M-E-H!, Wednesday was cruddy & sore feeling rest day, Thursday was work and body imposed rest day, Today ROCKED.

Ok, the workout rocked, body wise I still am in mediocre feeling land.

The last 2 week+ weeks I've been feeling "it" slip away... but not sure what "it" was... not my desire to get fit, to eat well, to move more, to be better...

Then it hit me: "it" was my mindset. My forward thinking, proactive not reactive, go get'em tiger attitude.

Re-reading my accountability and updates the past few days I was shocked... I... _I_ was giving excuses and (ugh) WHINING! I was falling into the indecisive, "can't schedule" trap.

This realization came when I was talking about things that were coming up - all the "special challenges". Working a bridal fair all weekend, parents coming for a visit. If I /really/ wanted to stretch, MLK day & Valentines day are around the corner too.

It occurred to me that it's a case of 'be careful what you wish for' - I commented not too long ago that maybe I'm *too* scheduled & regimented, that I need to be more flexible and learn to work my plan into any situation rather than feeling annoyed when the schedule changes and my routine doesn't.

Instead of looking at it like a crisis, time to shift back to the positive and see it as _getting_ a lot of opportunities to practice being flexible.

It's all an excuse - there's order in the most chaotic situation... the question is: do you have the energy to find it and embrace it, or do you just go with the flow?

Then this morning I got hit with another choice/reminder...

I had a total girl crush moment - a lady working out next to me was doing 135# bench presses... near as I could figure, that was at or over her body weight.


Told her she was a rockstar and my hero... she laughed.

I decided that it's my goal by the end of the year is to be able to do bodyweight lifts like that. It's sort of worked in there, but it was solidified in my mind this morning.

I was excited! That's the thing with making that shift from "must. lose. weight." to "improving fitness/strength" When you focus on fitness goals, the weight can fluctuate up and down and while I may not be thrilled it's not that important. It's all about doing a little better each time, improving bit by bit, not being a slave to the scale.

But then I remembered... I made my decision to have the next 11.2 weeks be about fat burning and I need to get back into that mindset.


I'm also realizing that I'm at that "last 10-15 pounds" stage... and to blast that last bit of fat from my body is going to require even more dedication than in the past.

There's a part of me that says, "Bah! I'm good where I am! Who cares about the scale?!" The other part that sees the squishy belly bits and knows it's time.

I've so happily embraced the rather intuitive lifestyle, even with incorporating the Zone 'rules', but it's time.

Time to go back to consistent* tracking of food. Time to increase the cardio driven workouts. Time to reduce the days I put that wee scoop of hot cocoa, and to measure the honey I put in my coffee because it all adds up.

And that leads me to the treats...

These beauties have been sitting on my desk since before halloween. Anyone who's been around me for any length of time knows that I luuuubs me my peanut butter... and the KinderSurprise egg... well, they just rock in their own German/Italian/French fusion way (got these in Edmonton cuz the US is the only place you can't get them easily.)!

I mean it's light and milk (real milk!) chocolate (really, it's like they spray nummy white milk type layer on the inside part) That surrounds a plastic capsule containing a wonky silly prize. (and those of you in other areas of the world now know what to get me for by b-day. ;)

Who else but the German/Italian/French fusion folks would put silly cartoon kissy fishes over real kissy hippo's?!

Ok, I digress...

Before you think that I totally dove into the treat stash after snappin the pic, let me assure you, I didn't.

And no, I didn't toss them in the trash either.

Instead, they're sitting on my desk, much like they have for the past 90+ days. They stay there mostly as a reminder and a little bit of security. If things get really, really, /really/ rough and I truly am desperate for chocolate (or a new toy ;) it's there.

Mostly, though, I regard them the same as when I put them on my desk... Goodnight, treats. I'll most likely eat you in the morning.

*Consistent meaning tracking a few days a week, not daily. I've learned that it's a very, very good tool at the beginning, but it can trigger all sorts of bad crazy in my brain if I do it for too long.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I see your paradigm...

...and shift you, ever so slightly...

A Paradigm Shift: a change from one way of thinking to another. It's a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.

I was going to share all these fun statistics I found about how X% of people have given up on their New Years Resolutions and why "diets" fail...

Yeah, how positive and encouraging is that? You know where you are on your journey, your goals, your dreams... I don't need to point out either the obvious or opposite of where you are.

Besides it so not what I'm about.

Anywho, back to the paradigm thingy. Ever have those days where you have a feeling that the universe is trying to tell you something?

Well, for me, the last couple of days, it's been more than a feeling - it's been like a big 'ol ClueX4(tm) smack upside the head. LOL!!!

Over all the message is: Get a different perspective.

And the interesting thing is that I got it from lots of different sources: different email newsletters, a link to the Mayo Clinic's "diet" (I love their "are you ready?" article by the way.) but I think my pastor presented it best as part of his sermon: Do you have a "have to" or a "get to" attitude.

Think about it... There's always stuff we know we should be doing...and some of that stuff we actually /are/ doing. But what's your attitude towards it? Are you doing it grudgingly or gratefully?

Do you lay in bed in the morning when your alarm goes off and think, "Ugh! I /have/ to go to the gym and do my workout."

Or is there a bit of excitement at the privilege of _getting_ to workout?

It's 5:30 pm, do you groan at the thought of _having_ to make dinner?

Or are you happy that you have wholesome food that you _get_ to prepare for yourself and your family?

One of the things that I struggle with is being grateful. When you're faced with things you'd rather not do, you're heart just isn't into it right this moment, or it feels like life dumped a whole pile of karmic poo in your lap, it's hard to see that silver lining.

But every so often, it's good to shift your thinking, ever so slightly... looking at things as a privilege, something you GET to do, like some great service or gift you're bestowing on someone... only that someone is YOU!

What do you say? Ready to set off a revolution in your life with a slight change in thinking?
Ready to challenge yourself the next time your energy is faltering and you feel like everyting is a "have to"? Give the "get to's" a try! You might like it. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Steph's 5-S approach to Success!

Happy New Year!!

It's January 1st! It's the first day of not only an new year, but a new decade!!

It's also the day that a lot of people are quickly regretting the announcements and resolutions they made last night in a champagne loaded stupor. I know for me, I was much more inclined to stay snuggled in my bed, enjoying the start of a 3 day weekend than I was to hop up, go out for a walk run, get started putting away decorations, start decluttering the living room and balance my check book (all part of my goals for the coming 12 months.)

But I did eventually haul myself up, tie on the trainers and head out for a very nice walk with the hubby.

For those of you who are coming across this blog either for the first time or 100th time, and you may be in the exact place you were one year ago, or you've been fine getting started on your resolutions/goals/dreams, but can't seem to hold the course, or maybe you've enjoyed the 2-3 month break at the end of the year and are now scratching your head at where to begin... this is for you.

A few humble hints on how to get and keep yourself going on whatever it is you want to accomplish. Doesn't matter if it's get out of debt/save money, lose weight/get healthy, clear the clutter out of your home so next year you have a place to host the New Years party, the steps are all the same.

It's what I'm coining the 5 "S" approach. It's 5 things that really helped me and, while some of them may come across as tough love, they helped me to love myself a lot more along the way than anything else - and heck, my name is Stephanie so it's a fun coinkidink. :)

The rest of you - you can enjoy time off from reading... or if you have hints or tips to add, please chime in! :)

[by the way, this is gonna be long... might want to grab a cup of water and/or coffee & get comfy ;) ]

1. Slow

This is number one for a lot of reasons, but the biggest is that most people find themselves in a situation where they are desperate to make changes and throw themselves into a project, only to find themselves burnt out in a matter of days, giving up and never looking back. Instead of rushing headlong into an all-or-nothing induced failure, do something radically different: take the slow road to success!

Instead of trying to do everything NOW, start the process slow - rather than paying off $10K in credit cards, digging out your overstuffed home and losing 50 pounds in January (the biggest changes people want to make in their lives on January 1), pick one thing you want to accomplish in the next 30 days - tracking your spending/eating, spending 5 minutes tackling the pile at the end of the couch where your mail ends up, etc.

Be patient. Don’t expect miracles overnight. If your goal is to shed excess pounds, focus on being healthy and feeling good rather than how much weight you’ve lost. Most people don’t see results for 6-8 weeks.

2. Steady

This is the fun one! This is the everyday/consistent one that I know I struggled with for soooooo long. It's that "Motivation" thing that baffles so many - how can you keep going so long after you've started?!?!

Easy peasy!

(Ok, I'll wait for the laughter to die down before I continue... better now? Ok... lets get back to it ;)

I refer you back to #1 - start slow. When you make changes out of desperation (must. lose. weight. NOW!) you usually say "I'm going to exercise for 2 hours every. single. day!" Well, that's hardly slow... and not very easy to keep up on. But if you broke it down, and opted for the slow road of, say 15 minutes of movement each day, it's a whoooole lot easier to find that stretch of 15 minutes than it is to find 120. And you're not so wiped out afterward that you can't function.

Steady doing something every day, rain or shine, tired or bouncing off the walls, rich or poor, until it becomes a habit. Once you build that habit, go back to #1 and find the next thing to add on to your plate and apply #2 to it.

3. Sustainable

sus-tain-a-ble: adj. Capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment

This is a 'define it for yourself' approach. For me, it means not doing anything now that I'm not willing keep doing for the long haul. When you get started on a goal that seems insurmountable - shedding yourself of 50+ pounds, clearing out tons of clutter or digging out of a lot of debt (to continue with the examples given at the beginning) - you usually are inclined to take BIG action at the beginning so you can see immediate results. That's all fine and dandy...

Thing is, the results, and the effort needed to achieve it, is something most people can't maintain for a long period of time. Restricting your eating/spending, over extending yourself with exercise or putting money out towards bills, doing a marathon 3-day cleaning session - all those things will give you a result you can SEE, but you're too pooped and/or stress to keep it up and end up falling into old patterns.

To use the marathon as a metaphor - ask anyone who's ever run one, thought about running one, heard of running one, or, on a dare, looked at a training and race plan (heck, forget a marathon, lets dial it back and do a 5k!): You never, ever sprint at the beginning. Ok, you might off the starting line because of the excitement, but you learn early on that if you don't pace yourself, you'll be completely spent before you hit mile 2, let alone mile 26.2!

When you go #1 Slow, and #2 steady, you'll achieve small successes along the way that will propel you forward so you can keep the habit up, build on it, and finish the race strong. Then maybe, just maybe you'll be ready to take on something new when you're "done".

4. Support

This is the second biggest gift you can give yourself when you embark on any sort of life and/or behavior changing journey. (The biggest is #5)

Find someone who encourages you, inspires you, has gone through what you are going through now... here's the kicker, though: find someone who is where you _want_ to be, or at least is a few steps ahead of where you are now.

Let me explain - One thing I loved when first joined was the abundance of people who were going through _exactly_ what I was: They had a similar amount of weight to lose as I did! They were single with cats too! They had desk jobs! They had hypothyroid! They had PCOS! All LIKE ME!!!

We bonded, we commiserated, we planned... and we all stayed exactly the same.

Then one day on a whim I did a bit of searching and came across a few people who had very similar stories to my own. I saw their struggles reflected in my life. I experienced their challenges because they were my own.

The only difference was that they over came them. In the smiling faces I saw myself and I saw something that I lacked - Confidence! Victory! Achievement! At that moment I dared to think, no... I dared to believe: If they can do it, why can't I?!

Go forth and find that person or person's that inspires you to move just a bit past where you are now, to set you on the road to where you can be. There is only one difference between them and you - they dared to believe they could do it.

And so can you!

5. Self

This is a cheater one because it wraps up 3 "S's" that are separate, yet very connected, into one:

The connection is best drawn by Peggy over at (the name will be changing soon by the way) in her email today:

"Webster says that self-discipline is "the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement." Getting to know, love and ultimately guide my inner child Nelly has been the key to my self-discipline and improvement in several areas of my life. Until I met Nelly, I didn’t realize how much of an affect I could have on myself for the sake of improvement.

"Playing with your inner kiddy puts a playful spin on self-discipline! Today, pick one action you will take to correct or regulate yourself. It could be to announce that you will not be eating any sugar today, or you are going to walk for 15 minutes or limit computer time or act out of kindness. You decide and then stay awake to what your inner kiddy has to say about it."

I'm sure you read that all and thought, "You said #5 was THE most important gift I could give myself... I still don't get it."

Here's the thing that I discovered - In the relm of weight loss/health improvement, we go about things in a very backwards way. All the information, the media, etc., tell us that all we have to do is buy this book, follow this plan, use this piece of equipment, and we'll be slim, trim, toned and awesome in no time.

We give it a whirl over and over again, and are still frustrated by the starts, stops, derailments and disappointments. "I'm eating and exercising the way they say, why am I not able to stick to it and/or gain it back when I lose it?!"

Because, while diet & exercise are key, they aren't THE key.

You want to know what it is? It's YOU!

Ok, it's a little broader than that - it's your past. All those things that have happened to you, the habits you've developed, the attitudes you have towards food, the comfort you associated with chocolate chip cookies that developed as the one happy moment you spent with your mom in 4th grade, the hurt you felt when someone you respected spoke harshly to you that caused you turned your emotions inward, the elation you feel when you go out on the town and enjoy your favorite celebratory food.

All of those things have brought you to this moment.

All of those things have created an environment in your mind that is content to keep things just as they are.

And all of those things need to be addressed before you can make long term, lasting changes in your life.

I'm not saying you have to go through any sort of therapy, unless you choose to. I'm merely suggesting that while you're on your slow, steady, sustainable path to success, and you have found someone to model your own success after, you take a bit of time to do a bit of navel gazing and look at what /really/ makes you tick.

You see, you can choose any sensible eating and exercise plan you want... it's you, your goals, your attitudes and habits that will help you either stick to that plan for the long haul, or pull you from it at the first sign of trouble.


*whew* Finally! I'm done!!!

If you made it this far, KUDOS to you!!!

There you have it.

While the approach may be simple, it won't always be easy.

When was the last time you accomplished something great without being scared? Honestly, think about this. Being scared about your goals means that you are challenging yourself and are setting yourself up to do something beautiful and amazing - like discovering your true passion, your gifts and finding out just how amazing YOU really are!

I believe in you! I believe that you are worth the effort... Are you ready to believe it for yourself?