Habits habits everywhere

I had a mystery on my hands the last few days: ever since Thanksgiving, I could not stop eating and I had no idea why. I mean, sure there were delicious leftovers, but once those were gone I still had the incredible urge to EAT ALL THE THINGS EVERYWHERE and it was really bugging me. My brain felt different, I was sliding back into behaviors that only days ago weren’t a big problem, and I just really wanted all the sugar and all the carbs the world had to offer and I wanted them in my face NOW.

And then this morning, something shifted. As I was eating my oatmeal, I actually said to myself “I feel better now…I feel like I’ve turned a corner and feel like eating well again…I wonder what that’s all about?” and then not ten minutes later, I’m not even kidding you, I felt that old familiar stab in my lower abdomen and then the light bulb went on over my head. “Oh…it’s THAT time of the month! No wonder I’ve felt like I couldn’t get enough food!!” I had totally forgotten that it was time for my cycle to begin – I just thought that I was seriously backsliding away from all the good habits I’ve cultivated throughout the last year. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know I’m back in my right mind now. 🙂

Then a friend of mine posted this article on FB and I thought it was a timely read. I do feel like my ultimate success will come down to whether or not I can let go of old habits and embrace new ones. I’m also working on some emotional eating concepts, but I believe that those things are tied in with habits as well. The subject of habits is really interesting to me – it just clicks with me regarding my weight loss (or lack thereof). I have to cultivate the habits that will lead to weight loss – I think I always sort of believed that once I lost weight it would be easier to have healthy habits, which when I type that out makes no sense whatsoever, but sometimes the brain just believes what it believes. As I said in my last post, sometimes my brain is a weird and confusing place.

One thing I know is key when changing habits is having patience. Losing weight at approximately one pound per month over the last 11 months has taught me loads about patience! Only in the last couple of months have I learned to be okay with the fact that it might take me 2 or 3 years to reach my goal weight – of course I wish it would go faster, and if I continue to work on changing some more habits, it probably will, but for now I realize that if I keep doing what I’m doing, I WILL lose weight, but it will be slow. And I’m okay with that.

Here’s a list of some of the habits I’ve adopted that seem to be coming pretty easy to me lately:

  • Having dinner early in the evening. I like getting dinner over and done with before 6:30 so I can have the rest of the evening to digest.
  • Going to Zumba twice a week. Zumba for me is less about working out and more about doing something I enjoy. I’ve found a class where the instructor and other participants are welcoming and a lot of fun. It’s a small class and I really enjoy it. Around here, I could find a Zumba class for every day of the week, but I think I’d get burned out if I went more than 2 or 3 times a week. So for now, twice a week is perfect.
  • My weekly calls with Amanda from Selvera. Knowing I’ll be talking with her keeps me accountable, even when I want to eat all the food in the world. I have no doubt that I’d be well over 200 pounds if I wasn’t working with her.
  •  Getting up 15 – 30 minutes earlier in the mornings. I got so tired of rushing around every morning trying to get myself and my family out the door for school and work that I decided to get up a few minutes earlier to give myself some breathing room. It just makes my day go so much more smoothly when I have time to actually drink my coffee instead of letting getting lukewarm on the kitchen counter. I’m really pleased with myself for developing this habit.
  • Getting plenty of sleep. I’ve been getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night and  I LOVE IT SO SO MUCH.
  • Blogging more often. It really does help when I come here and unload or share thoughts or just ramble incoherently for a little while. It’s such a release. 🙂

Some of things I’d like to work on cultivating in the next year are:

  • Daily workouts. I would really like to find something that I enjoy as much as Zumba for the days when I don’t go to Zumba. Right now I can’t think of anything that I would like to do for an hour that would also work up a sweat. The thought of getting on the treadmill in my cold dark garage is about as appealing as a root canal and I don’t want to mess up my sleeping mojo by having to get up at 4:30 am to do an hour long DVD. I’m beginning to think that I might be a social exerciser, meaning that group classes might be the way to go, but I still don’t know what I would like to do.
  • Eliminate grazing after work. This is my Achilles Heel. For as long as I can remember, as soon as I came home from school (or later on in my life, work) I would head to the kitchen and grab a snack or six. Eating was a way to unwind or celebrate being home. I could easily polish off 1,000 calories and then STILL eat dinner two hours later. This habit wasn’t a problem for me for a long time because I was so active throughout the day, but when I got this desk job and became sedentary…it caught up to me in a big way (pun fully intended). I am working on this habit now and have come a long way with it, but I still need to keep working on it.
  • Eliminate emotional eating behaviors. I eat mostly in response to emotional cues. Bored? Let’s eat. Sad? Let’s eat. Happy? Let’s eat. If there’s an emotion, there’s an appropriate food to match. This is another deeply ingrained habit that I learned at a young age, so it’s going to take some time and effort to replace it.
  • Finding things that I enjoy doing. If you asked me what my interests are, I would say Zumba and reading, and that’s about it. I don’t really have a hobby that I get excited about. I like getting together with friends, but sometimes it’s hard to coordinate schedules. Maybe I should find a book club? I don’t know, but this is one of those things I need to actively work on in the next year because enjoying my life will ultimately lead to my leaning less on food for entertainment.

So there you have it…I’m working on shifting some beliefs and actions so that I can live a healthier, happier life. Do you have any habits that you have changed or are in the process of changing? I’d love to hear all about it – you can comment below or you can email me at sassypearblog@gmail.com if you don’t want share them here. 🙂

Early mornings with Liz Lemon

Most of my working out (and when I say working out, know that I mean walking on the treadmill) has been done in the evenings during this long cold dark cold winter, because who wants to climb out of a warm snuggly bed to workout in a cold gray garage at 5 in the morning? Certainly not me. So it only seemed natural to workout in the evenings, but I found that I spent most of my evening dreading my walk.

I would procrastinate.

I would complain.

I would purposely make myself so comfy on the couch that getting up to walk seemed absurd. “Sorry, I can’t walk tonight. I’m completely submerged in blankets and my Kindle needs me right now.”

But eventually, guilt would get the best of me and I would begrudgingly head to the garage where my treadmill waited unenthusiastically. Some days, I would do a slow 2mph walk for only 20 minutes while watching an episode of 30 Rock on Netflix. Then I realized that I could watch TWO episodes if I increased my walk to 40 minutes. Liz Lemon FTW! Sometimes this strategy worked at getting me to look forward to my walk and sometimes it didn’t. But no matter what, I knew that at the end of each evening, the big question would have to be answered: Will I Walk Tonight?

After several days in a row of that answer being Heck No I’m Not Going to Walk Tonight, I decided that I probably need to just get up early and get it over with while I’m still half asleep and before my brain knows what I am doing. Today I got up early and it was so much easier to get up and do it this morning versus waiting until tonight. Here are the obstacles I have to contend with when I work out in the evenings:

  • Do I have to go to the store after work? If so, that means I’m going to be late getting home which pushes everything back an hour
  • I have to cook dinner
  • I have to eat dinner
  • I have to clean up dinner or make my kids do it (usually it ends being a hybrid of the two)
  • I have to help with homework
  • I have to start laundry
  • There’s a riveting episode of Counting Cars on tv
  • There’s a riveting episode of Downton Abbey on tv
  • There’s a riveting episode of something I have no interest in whatsoever, but it’s the most riveting thing I’ve ever seen
  • I MUST read the next 4 chapters of my book
  • Etc etc etc

And here are the obstacles I have to deal with when I work out in the mornings:

  • I have to get out of bed

See? Forty obstacles vs one obstacle – it’s a no brainer. Granted, that one obstacle is huge, but it’s easier to dodge one big bullet than 10 small ones.

So for now I’m back to being the early bird. As long as I can get to bed at a reasonable hour, all should be well. Spring has come back to Oklahoma (finally!!) and the warm breezes alone are motivation to start working out regularly again. I may throw in a few outdoor walks in the evenings once the weather warms up (and once the winds aren’t blowing at hurricane force. There’s a reason the line “where the winds come sweeping down the plain” exists in our state song). But for now you can find me in my garage at approximately 5:15 in the morning, just me and Liz Lemon,  walking it out.

 

June recap

Wow guys, where did the time go? It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post and I certainly did not intend to go this long between posts.

Lots to catch up on! 

First, a No Junk June recap: the first 2 weeks of June went really, really well. The last 2 weeks didn’t go quite as well, but it was still okay. What I took away from this little experiment is that I enjoy eating healthy and the reason I ever usually turn to junk food is because it is easy. It’s easier and faster to grab a cookie out of the package or to cook a meal from a box than it is to plan and prepare whole foods. But I found that I was less satisfied with the packaged stuff anyway and I really do prefer the taste of fruits/veggies and wholesome meals made from scratch. I also learned that I do like a little indulgence now and then. Indulgences and treats taste so much better when you eat them only 20% of the time vs the 80% I was eating before June. I felt no guilt when I ate the cake pops that my daughter made because I knew that it was a one time treat. I think that is where my balance is going to lie – knowing that as long as I am eating healthy most of the time, there will still be room for treats and sweets occasionally. I’m going to keep this trend going because it makes me feel good AND it makes me happy. It’s a win-win! 

Part of the reason I lost focus at the end of June is because one of my friends discovered a new eating plan that she was super excited about and she wanted me to look into it too. Instead of keeping with what I knew was working, I ventured into this new eating style and it completely screwed up my momentum. The gist of the plan is that you work out and lift heavy and eat a ton of calories. Which is all well and good if you are actually working out and lifting HEAVY, because you need those calories to fuel your badass workouts. The problem is that neither my friend nor myself work out that hard nor do we lift super heavy. My friend has already gained 12 pounds in the last month. I gained one in the last week and I’m already face-palming myself because I liked what I was doing before and I was having some success with it – why mess with that? There’s a lot more to her plan than what I’m describing here, but I realized that it just wasn’t the plan for me. So now I’m back to plain ol’ eating healthy well and working out. 

I will say however, that even though my eating got off track, my workouts are still going strong! I completed one whole month of working out 6 days a week – a freaking miracle if you know me. What’s even weirder is that I really like it! It’s a circuit-type training where you do 30 seconds of strength training then 30 seconds of cardio, and there are about 6 circuits in a typical workout. I started out with 3 pound weights, then moved up to 5 pounds, but I think I’m ready to move up again to either 8 or 10 pounds. I can feel myself getting stronger each week and I’m finally starting to get some more energy, although I will say that going to bed earlier has helped with that too. I’m doing the JNL Fusion DVDs, if you’re interested you can get them here. (in full disclosure, that is a link to my niece’s site. She is a BodyFX coach)

I also have cancelled my Weight Watchers account. I wasn’t losing enough to justify paying $40 a month for the meetings and I intended to just do WW Online, but I haven’t signed up for that yet. Since counting points this time around didn’t make me a crazy person (as per usual), I decided to sign up for My Fitness Pal and just keep track of my calories there. I’m only doing it as a way to observe what I’m eating, not to restrict myself, if that makes sense. Just like the number on the scale, I’m using it as information, not a compass to measure whether or not I’ve been good or bad. If I feel like it isn’t working for me, I’ll sign up for WW Online, but for now I’m doing okay with it. 

I wonder though, why I did so well on WW for the first month, but couldn’t seem to keep it going after that? I lost 6 pounds that first month and it felt so easy, so effortless. After that I just felt like trying to stay within my points was like running through mud – I just couldn’t get my mojo going for the next 4 months. It’s a mystery to me. 

I’m off work tomorrow (Happy Independence Day America!) and Friday (Happy Vacation Day Me!!) and I plan on keeping up with my workouts and my healthy eating. There will probably be a dessert at some point, but I don’t plan on making the entire 4 days an excuse to gorge myself. I have no desire to do that anymore. (Whaaat????)

It’s like I don’t even know who I am anymore!! But that’s okay, I kinda like this new girl who is starting to emerge. 🙂

Happy 4th of July tomorrow to those of you in America, and to those of you outside of the U.S., um…happy Thursday!! 

 

Old Mother Hupboard

Before I get started with today’s post, can I just take a moment to give a big shout out to coffee?  I love coffee and it loves me.  We’re thinking of taking our relationship to the next level  – freshly ground from the whole bean.  J’adore le cafe. 

Anyway, today I am blogging from home ( I took a vacation day to take care of things like dentist appts and veterinary appts, etc).  I’ll probably be doing more of this (blogging from home that is) in the future because the microscope is increasing its magnification at work, and I don’t want to get fired for something as stupid as abusing the internet policy.  I mean if I’m going to lose my job, I would prefer a layoff as to have to admit to my friends and family that my blogging addiction got so out of hand that they had to fire me.  So if you find that I’m posting and commenting on your blogs at random times of the day – that’s why.   Just trying to keep all under control – I can quit anytime I want to, I just don’t want to.   😉 

I have to say, this cooking thing is getting easier and funner!  Last night I made the best meatloaf and it was chock full of yummy veggies and my family had no idea!  Mwahahahahah.  I felt so sneaky!!  Today I was seaching the cupboards* for something to eat for lunch when I realized that I was going to have to actually cook something if I wanted to eat.  So I thawed some chicken and sauteed it in a wee bit of olive oil along with some green onion and green pepper, then I added it to some brown rice mixed with salsa and a small dollop of sour cream.  It was goo-ood!  Tonight I am making lasagna in the slow cooker, and I have added lots of veggies to it too.   I may turn into a for really reals cook yet!

So I went to the WalMarts today and bought some protein powder.   Now what do I do with it?  I know I can make shakes, but I’m guessing ice cream is probably  not one of the ingredients in a protein shake.  So what is your favorite use for protein powder? 

The treadmill is dead.  For real.  Let’s observe a moment of silence for my friend of 8 years, shall we?

 

 

Thank you.  Since the treadmill took a header six feet under, I’ve had to break out some of the dvds.  I have also decided that Denise Austin is not my friend.  Kickboxing for Dummies however is my new BFF.  And Gilad is still my boyfriend when it comes to working my abs and other general toning parts.  I miss the treadmill though because that’s when I could just escape my little family for a while and be inside my own head and not have to worry about 4 other people and their IMMEDIATE needs.  I will most likely get another treadmill for my birthday but that’s still a couple of months away, so I’m going to have to get used to working out with four pairs of eyes watching me because I have to do something.  Not working out is not an option.

Oh, and I think I have solved my snack attack dilemna:  I’m going to have a portable snack that I can eat on the way home.  Also I have decided to eat a small snack every couple of hours instead of every four hours – we’ll see if that helps.  Mary Lou said this morning I was 2 pounds below my starting weight, so that’s a start.   I think I should have mentioned also that this week is TOM, so that had a lot to do with my angst and malaise on Monday.  Funny how those hormones can take a perfectly optimistic woman and turn her into moody, pathetic pile of goo.  Glad they’re under control now.

I should probably clean up around here a little bit before everyone gets home – just to make it look like I did something besides spend all day on the internet…not that I did that, because like I said, I can quit anytime I want to.  Really. 

 

*did you know that for a long time I thought cupboards was spelled cubbards?  I blame Mother Hubbard for that one.  Just a bit of trivia for ya.