New Year 2018! Resolutions?

Wow! I know I’m going to sound old here but it’s the year TWO-THOUSAND-EIGHTEEN! That just seems…so futuristic/sci-fi-ish! lol I always here around this time of year people ask where our flying cars are. Honestly, I’d much rather have the totally self-driving car than have to learn to fly a car. I could nap, watch TV, read, do whatever I like while I travel to wherever I need to go. Not to mention the cutbacks on car crashes.

But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about this post. Every year, around this time of year, we hear about New Year resolutions and people determined to get into better shape, lose weight, etc. Gym memberships soar in January and by March, are seldom used. I’m not knocking people who make these resolutions; getting into better shape is a good goal, as is losing weight if you need to. However, I personally think that New Year resolutions are a bunch of hogwash promoted by the media.

Don’t get me wrong, whenever there are milestones in our lives or change, it’s natural for us as human beings to reflect on where we are, where we’ve been and where we want to be in the future. Setting goals is a good thing. We need to grow and change, not just exist. Trying to better ourselves in any aspect is admirable. But this shouldn’t be a ‘oh-it’s-New-Year’s-so-I-have-to-make-resolutions-that-I-don’t-intend-to-keep’ kind of thing. If you see a need in your life to make changes, you should set goals to do it. Work on them a little at a time, celebrating each accomplishment and any progress. Pick yourself up, dust off and keep going when you fall down on the path to your goals. But make sure that you set goals that are reachable and do it for you…no one else. Because if you’re doing it for someone else or because you feel you have to but you really resent it or don’t want to, you are going to fail. You’re going to stop working towards that goal because it’s not what you really want.

So what do you do when you know you need to make changes but you really don’t want to? You have to make yourself want to. Yeah, that sounds easy right? lol Well, it starts with small changes in your thought pattern. Little changes in habits, realizations, research, meditation, self-searching. What am I rambling about, you may ask? Well, let’s look at an example.

Let’s say that a man smokes and he knows he needs to quit but he really doesn’t have the motivation or desire to. He enjoys smoking, it relaxes him and he resents people telling him what he should or shouldn’t do, even if it’s for his own good. So how does he start to want to make the changes, take the steps, to stop smoking? Maybe he loves his family and doesn’t want to endanger them so he starts smoking outside or away from home. That’s a start. Maybe mentally and consciously he knows that it can cause cancer but he doesn’t really know what all that involves and means or what other major health risks and dangers attributed to smoking. So he does research and talks to or reads about people’s lives who have had major issues because of their past smoking.

Maybe that’s not enough to motivate him, but it gets him thinking. When he has to choose between his cigarettes and something else that he’d like to buy and his ingrained habit starts to cause him to choose the cigarettes, maybe he stops for a moment and realizes that he never seems to have enough money for everything. So he starts saving receipts and keeping track of how much he’s spending on his smoking habit. Maybe the shock of that starts him thinking that he would like to change.

He knows that smoking is hard to quit. He’s tried it before but never was able to stop for long. But after thinking about it, he realizes that he never really wanted to quit. He was just going through the motions. But the motivation of the love of his family, the medical conditions and expenses, the cost of buying cigarettes…concentrating and thinking about these over and over makes him want to eventually change and so he tries harder. Will he relapse on occasion? Probably. But if he really wants it, he will eventually obtain his goal and be smoke-free.

Goals are like that. So make goals and resolutions because you have thought about it and really want to. Don’t do it because someone tells you it’s the right thing to do or the right time. The motivation to change and the drive to do it has to come from inside. Write the goals down. Write down all the details…what you want to change, why, how you plan to do it, how you plan to reward yourself when you reach the goal. Get a buddy or friend or family member to help you. Don’t resent them for reminding you of your goals. Take a deep breath and thank them. If you decide to give up for a while, think about why and when you plan to pick it back up, if ever. Try to live life and direct it, not just react to it and go through the motions.

If you are making resolutions this year, I’d like to know what you personally plan on working towards if you’d like to share.

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Update on Weight Loss/Healthier Goals

So I admit to having slowed down on the weight loss goal. I haven’t really gained anything back but I’m still not trying as hard as I was. I also quit Weight Watchers. Not because it doesn’t work but for a couple of other reasons. One of which is that I really wasn’t following the plan so why should I keep paying for it each month? When/if I’m ready to pick that particular plan back up again, I can always rejoin. Also, I am just starting to use a different app that kinda helps with the same things that the WW app does (at least it looks like it does so far) and it’s free!

It’s called the “My Fitness” app and I’m really digging it so far! It can track your steps, calories, weight loss goals and progress, and has a great added feature of tracking the actual nutrition in your foods. So you can see if you’re not getting enough of certain things (like potassium, for example) or are eating too much of something, such as sodium. I really love that feature because I like being able to see what cutting or adding certain foods does for my nutritional intake. For example, I decided to cut out most potatoes for a week, no matter how they were cooked. I just had no idea how much potassium is in potatoes and I had cut out a good source! Oops.

Like most things in life, balance is key in a good diet mostly. An occasional cookie or serving of ice cream won’t make or break you. However, I need to make sure that I’m eating enough variety that I get the nutrition I need while being careful not to overdo the saturated fats, sodium or empty carbohydrates. I’m finding the app such an awesome tool that I kind of think of it, right now anyways, as a toy. lol

But I am trying to add a couple of things I have read to be helpful in trying to be healthier and/or losing weight. If they don’t help, they most certainly won’t hurt. Here are a couple of things I’m trying:

  1. Drinking at least 8 oz of water when I wake up in the mornings, even before coffee.
  2. Absolutely no soda, even diet, for at least one week out of every month. (If I could kick the habit completely I’m sure I would do better but I occasionally need the caffeine boost and don’t want or have coffee available.)
  3. Get out in the sunshine for at least 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week for some needed Vitamin D. I read somewhere that if you think you’re getting the Vitamin D by driving in your car, you’re wrong. Glass apparently can block it from getting through. So unless your windows are down, you aren’t getting the Vitamin D like you thought you were.
  4. Don’t let myself do just cardio for exercise. I also need some kind of weight-lifting, push-ups, etc in my routine and stretching! Stretching I also want to try to do better at by doing some stretches while I watch TV.
  5. Wait about 15-20 minutes after eating before going back for seconds or even dessert. I want to make sure I’m actually hungry or just haven’t let my body catch up with my eyes yet. I’ve also found that even when I’m craving something sweet, like chocolate, if I just eat one or two small pieces I’m usually good. Any more and I start to feel icky.

So there ya go. Updates and some small goals I’m working on adding. Some might sound familiar but I know that I need reminders. And just because I haven’t been doing my best doesn’t mean I want to give up altogether. I want to be able to live a good quality life for as long as I can.

Updates on Relationships and Weight Loss

So I thought I would take today to simply catch you up on a couple of things. First, I will update you on my relationship(s) with my two boyfriends. If this doesn’t interest you, just drop down to the next section. So West-Coaster took another job where he is as he couldn’t find anything here near me that would pay what he wanted. That means that our “relationship” will stay long-distance and I’m not really ok with that. I can’t move there and honestly, I don’t want to. He says that his long-term goal is still to move somewhere on this side of the country but who knows when or if that will ever work out. While we will still chat, text and visit with each other, the future of our relationship has shifted significantly to the more friends zone instead of anything more.

It took me a bit to get over that and to be open with you, I admit to feeling like I was just not enough to him for him to keep looking or accept a lower salary. Now he works a job that has him working 60+ hours a week and with the time difference, we barely text during the week anymore. We want different things out of life and have different priorities and that’s fine. He wants to make a good amount so that he can save to possibly be able to retire significantly early. I want to enjoy life while being content with having what I need and saving at a reasonable rate for the future. If that means retiring at 65, then I’m ok with that. He wants kids and I’ve decided that children aren’t for me. I love kids but I really don’t want any of my own. Many times, it’s not about one person being right or wrong in a relationship. Sometimes it’s just that you are both too different or want too different a life for things to work out.

However, things with “Native” are so awesome that I can’t tell you in words. I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with him and we can talk about anything and everything. We’re in the same line of work and while that has never been something I looked for in a relationship, it’s awesome to be able to ‘talk shop’ at the end of the day. (Don’t worry! HIPPA/privacy stays completely in tact! lol) He’s got a great heart and he treats me like a queen. I don’t think I could possibly be happier. Our future looks bright and we’re talking about serious commitment in the future being a possibility.

As for my weight loss program/routine, I admit that I seem to have stalled. It was supposed to be temporary but I haven’t been able to get motivated to try as hard again. I have not gained anything back so that is a relief. But I also haven’t lost any more.

I have a plan, however, to start with adding more exercise into my routine. This weekend is the time change where we fall back an hour and I plan on using this to get my butt out of bed earlier (as it will feel like the same time) and walk either outside or on the treadmill for half an hour Monday thru Thursday. I’m not sure about Friday as I have to get up earlier for a different work shift anyways. I hope this will get me pumped about working on my eating habits again and going back to being a bit more strict. If not, at least I will get in better physical shape.

So there you have it! An update on what’s happening with my relationships with the men in my life and also with food! lol On a side note, my birthday is next Wednesday. I plan on trying to do at least a short post on how it went. Don’t have anything exciting planned but who knows! 😀

Rethinking/Revamping the Blog

I started writing this blog in an attempt to organize my life into writing. I got discouraged because I didn’t hear from many people, and I haven’t really had a huge direction of where to go with this blog. I admit that I thought about giving it up. However, a…mentor or coach, for lack of better labels, encouraged me to rethink this blog. Even if no one else reads it, I do want some to know that it’s out there. I want people to see that I’m a flawed human being like everyone else. And maybe, someday, others won’t be scared to come out and share with me.

That said, I do plan on having more purpose to this blog. I want to share my struggles with everyday life, my own insecurities and dealing with the (in the words of the band “Stealers Wheel”) “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” in this world around me. Because I want to inspire more connection with people. Maybe the entries I write won’t appeal to you. That’s okay. Maybe we can find some common ground, even if it’s a funny joke or story. Maybe it’s just that we both like ice cream! Either way, I want to connect with you people out there and I figure (yes, that’s a Southernism as far as I can tell) that I have to start with being vulnerable and out there myself. Give a little to earn a little right?

So I will be around. I will be writing at least, hopefully, once a week. I would love to hear that you are out there reading it too. Tell me what you want to read about or maybe you have a question or just want a sounding board about a topic. Maybe you need a Southern interpretation or opinion or just a different perspective. I’m here. Dang. Now I feel like Frasier Crane. “I’m listening.” lol

Have a great night everyone!

Independent vs Stubborn to a Fault

So today’s topic is a little bit off from my usual stuff but I want to put this out there. I’m in my mid 30’s with a birthday this fall that puts me closer to the 40 side than the 30 one. I’m not much for numbers and for the most part, other than wondering where the heck my life seems to have gone, I don’t mind getting older. I’m young at heart and I have a lot of fun without being stupid…most of the time. lol

However, while I enjoy my life and independence, I really hope that as I get even older, I won’t be like a couple of my grandparents or many of the patients I have. I hope I will remember the lessons that they are teaching me now that a younger person does not offer assistance to say that they can’t do some things or to make them feel bad but because the younger person sincerely wants to help and sometimes…well, we can’t do things without help.

Case in point: when my family talked and decided that it was no longer safe for my grandparents to drive anymore and took the keys to their car, they had a fit. They tried begging, threatening, wheedling, pulled the ‘I’m-your-parent-and-you-do-as-I-say’ routine, tried the ‘it’s-my-car-so-give-me-the-damn-keys’ so many times it stopped being surprising…everything they could think of to be allowed to drive. But here’s the thing, the last time my grandfather drove he almost hit somebody who was walking on the side of the road! And my grandmother was driving on the wrong side at least part of the way before she realized it! It just wasn’t safe for them to be behind the wheel anymore…not for them or anybody else. So we stood firm and even got almost mean about it when we told them no. I hated doing that to them but it was the responsible thing to do for society and them.

I hope that when I’m old and I really need assistance I will be humble enough to accept my limitations and accept that help. That could come in the form of another person or a walker or cane or wheelchair or whatever! I’m trying to take good care of myself now so that I’m not a burden on others in the future but the truth is, when we use these things, it keeps our independence. If an older person falls and breaks a hip, that makes them even more reliant on others for help. If they had used the tools and people they needed to begin with, so many things might have been prevented. Those who offer to help, genuinely want to and don’t mind.

That said, I also want to note that if you are a caregiver of someone with health issues or who is older, you need to remember to ask for help yourself. One person can’t do it all and you will burn out quickly if you try. Find resources to help you…friends, family, programs, whatever you need. But make sure you take care of you so you can also take care of those dependent on you. That’s one thing I am learning. I have to stop and take care of myself sometimes and that’s ok. I used to feel guilty but not as much anymore because I know I need that just like everyone else. We’re all human and we need rest and food and fun like everyone else.

Feel free to share your stories and advice with me! I’d love to hear from you.

Shout Out to My Weight Loss Aids/Tools

Ok, so this week I admit I had a small problem figuring out what to write about, but then I thought about what all I needed to do this weekend and one of them includes getting groceries and it led to the idea of this entry. I run into a lot of posts in various places (and have written my own) about the stumbling blocks for people to weight loss. So I wanted to talk about the tools and other aids I’ve found for myself in my weight loss journey so far. Here is just a quick list of 10:

  1. WW’s phone app – First and foremost, I love the WW app as I am doing Weight Watchers all online. The app has some issues and some features I wish were a little more smooth but overall, I love it. I did WW years ago and had to do it all on paper. What a pain in the…hand? 😉 lol Anyways, now tracking my food, fitness and weight has become so easy! The barcode scanner has become my favorite feature simply because it’s so handy when I go to the grocery store!
  2. Smaller containers, plates, etc – I am very much a visual learner and portioning out my food is one battle but as I was of the ‘clean-your-plate’ family, I have learned that eating out of smaller dishes and containers makes me feel less guilty about leaving food behind. I didn’t take as much so I’m not wasting as much if I don’t finish but also it helps me keep my portions under control.
  3. My WW’s digital food scale – Any food scale will do so I admit I’m not bragging just because of WW’s because mine is an older version anyway but I love that it comes with a bowl to put on top to keep the scale itself clean and is so easy to use. Measuring your food is essential when you don’t have the feel for portion sizes so my scale definitely helps.
  4. My digital person scale – I love my own scale that I use at home and I can’t remember who makes it but I’ve had it for a while. It’s one that gives you your weight with one decimal place, can track 2 people’s weight for you, and gives you the difference between weighing times so I don’t have to do math first thing in the morning when I don’t even have the lights fully on yet. lol With mine, for example, I step on the corner and hold it down until ” – 1 – ” pops up and it reminds me of my last weight. Then it goes to 0.0, I step on and it gives me my current weight and then the difference. So something like, “183.8”…”-1.2″. It’s easy, fast and seems to be fairly accurate.
  5. Kroger’s clicklist – Many grocery stores are doing something like this now but I personally love Kroger. Their online shopping feature is awesome! I shop from work or home and at all hours day or night in any way I’m dressed (or not) and when I’ve got the whole list down…Voila! I choose my pick up time and submit my order. The great things about this is: I can shop anywhere and anytime as long as I have access to a computer or my phone, I only buy what I need, Kroger saves what I’ve bought in the past so I can just add it quickly to my cart, I only buy what’s on my diet or what I choose to cheat with instead of impulse buying, no lines, no roaming aisles aimlessly, and I save time just showing up, picking it up and going home. I can plan meals and use the online sales add or digital coupons. I’m not perfect at it and it has a few glitches but overall I love this!
  6. Supportive friends/family – You will always have those people in your life who will tell you when you’re doing something wrong. I don’t let it bother me that much when it comes to losing weight and I truly appreciate the support I get from those who are closest to me. My boyfriends are super supportive of my goals and even though they aren’t on the plan with me, they keep me motivated while reassuring me that they love me no matter what size I am. That’s a hard balance to keep but they seem to do a pretty good job! lol
  7. Convenient locations – I had a super hard time with losing weight when I lived out in the middle of nowhere. I had to drive so much of my time away. Stores weren’t convenient nor was access to good food. So where I am now with so many good choices of places to get food, living closer to work, access to lots of public parks…it’s all conducive to living healthier and I’m learning how to take advantage of that.
  8. Low cal water flavor packets – I’m not a huge fan of water. I drink it and a lot of it but I miss flavor sometimes! So this is where those little flavor packets save my bacon! I get flavor without the empty calories and it’s helped me cut way back on the Dr Pepper especially!
  9. Exercises that I fit in through the day – I love hearing little tips on how to move more throughout the day instead of doing one big exercise routine. Yeah I take the stairs more often like a lot of people suggest. I don’t park as far from the door as I could but I don’t look for the first spot either. But I read an article that suggested doing like 10 squats and 10 push-ups every time you go to the bathroom. I can do that! That’s a good reminder for me and when I drink my water, I go to the bathroom at least 8 times a day I’m sure! lol That’s a lot of squats and push-ups!
  10. A love of food – This might sound like a weird thing to list but I’m so thankful that I really love a variety of foods and I’m not scared to try new things. I would go insane eating the exact same things all the time or if I only liked to eat a handful of things. It makes keeping my weight loss journey from feeling like I’m on a circular track! I love to try new varieties of foods or foods I already like/love in a new way. I think it’s so much fun and I have discovered new favorites!

So I hope that those points help you a little. Even if it doesn’t, I hope it at least helps you be a little more positive in looking for things to help you like it did me! Let me know what helps you in achieving your goals. I’d love to hear about it.

Challenges to My Weight Loss Goals

So this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend and I went off on vacation with West Coaster. We had a fun time, getting there Wednesday evening and I got home Monday night. The problem was that where I was there weren’t a lot of healthy food options in spite of the fact that there were so many dang restaurants and places to eat! Everything was fried, wrapped in or topped with bacon/cheese/creamy sauce, etc. Even the buffet where we stayed, there were almost no vegetables to choose from and those that were there were cooked in such ways that it took most of the nutritional value out of it or made it almost void because of all the stuff they added to them.

Now there’s a reason I gained weight to begin with. I was way too tiny in high school and shortly thereafter but, like a lot of Southern women I know (and I’m not trying to exclude people here but just using my own self-categorizing), I eat my emotions…happy, sad, angry or whatever. I absolutely love food and trying new things. I love the fats, cheese, creams, sauces, breads, sweets…you name it and I love it. Even in small doses this can be hard for me because of the number of terrible things out there for you. If you eat 1 piece of each kind of candy and there are 10 different candies, that’s still 10 pieces. So I have to fight and pick and choose what I eat if I want to keep going down on the scale and clothes.

So let me briefly look at some of the sabotages to my weight loss goal. 1. My own background. 2. No refrigerator/microwave + expensive restaurant = Feelings of having to finish all of my food no matter what. 3. Portion sizes everywhere! 4. Limited healthy options that also taste good when out and about, especially when on vacation when you want to enjoy everything. 5. (And this is a big one) Eating only until I’m full but still enough food to last me until I get the chance to eat again and can make good choices! My job and life rarely allow me to eat those small snacks during the day that can be healthy and stave off hunger so that I don’t get to the point that I’m so ravenous, I’ll eat whatever is right in front of me and until I’m stuffed!

So how do I combat this big problem I seem to have? Well, first I should admit that sometimes I lose that battle and just end up eating badly. However, I’m getting better at planning ahead. I try so hard to have snacks that are good choices within easy reach that are easy to eat and that I really love. I love chocolate. I’m not going to give it up unless it becomes a serious health allergy or something. BUT! I am going to try to have the sugar free chocolate pudding cup handy vs eating a huge slice of chocolate cake. So I’m trying to be realistic when I plan ahead. If I’m going to be in the car, I can’t eat a salad. That’s just not safe driving! But I can look up fast food choices on the Weight Watchers app so that when I go through the drive thru, I don’t need the menu and know exactly what I’m going to eat.

I really do try to plan ahead and I don’t beat myself up when I kinda mess it up for the meal, the day or even a week. I’m human. I will eventually get it mostly right or lose the battle because I gave up. But I can do this and I’m not going to drop into a deep depression because after vacation the scale says I’m 3 pounds higher. It happens. I’m not striving for perfection. I’m striving for different than the really unhealthy patterns that I’ve had in the past.