See Jane Struggle

Case Study #1:  Jane Doe

Status: Married

Children: 1

Average Hours spent at Work: 12hours, 6 days a week

Average meal: On the go; rarely homemade; quick and convenient; poor quality

Average time spent working out: 0

Spare time spent: sleeping, hanging out with child and husband

Jane has come to me for help because she desires to get fit and healthy but literally has no idea how to make it work into her schedule.

It’s important to mention that SHE seeks the help and not the other way around. Why? Because whenever getting healthy is forced upon someone, either by a family member or their doctor, I find it rarely works. You need to find your “want to.” Let’s assume Jane has found her “want to” and see how I would go about helping her.

Jane has 1 day out of the week that she is off work. She has literally 2 hours free that day to make time for just herself.

We all know that baby steps are the way to go with any goal. We start super small with Jane.

Suggestions – In order of Priority:

1. FOOD.

Take the 2 hours to prepare meals for the week. Why? Because, technically, you don’t need exercise to be healthy. Nutrition is probably 80% of any physique goal (I’m guessing based on my own experience and my clients and discussions with RD’s and Nutritionists).  So that makes DIET or as I like to call it MEAL PLANNING Jane’s top priority. The meals will be as natural and whole as could be. This means limited processed foods like no Hamburger Helper, no Mac and Cheese, no Granola bars thrown into a brown bag and calling it lunch. Nope. This won’t be anything fancy, but they will not be sugar, fat loaded meals either. High in protein, a vegetable with each meal, and good carbs.

  • What kinds of carbs will Jane have?

Rice (could be instant), oats (could be old fashioned heated up in the microwave) and sweet potatoes (they make those microwaveable too, no excuses!). What about breads and pastas? Well, bread alone has like 20 ingredients. And it’s just bread! How about filling up on better foods instead of boring old bread? And if Jane was a sandwich lover, she could look for Ezekial Bread or Wraps to cut back on the carbs. What about bagels? I can’t remember the last time I had a bagel. All I know is when I would eat them (at my office job, of course) I felt like I was biting into a loaf of bread and I immediately felt like I should go run a marathon to burn it off. Gross. Sorry bagel lovers but these things are almost as bad as donuts. It’s just too much volume and not enough nutrients!  Pasta is fine but can you measure out half a cup cooked? Because that’s the portion you can have. And she will be TRYING to measure out her portions. Small changes go a long way when you’re just starting out like Jane.

  • What about protein?

The proteins have to be foods she will actually eat. Let’s assume Jane isn’t too picky. The crock pot will be her new best friend. Put a bunch of stuff in a pot, set it, and leave it. That’s easy. Take some chicken breasts, put a little marinade on them, broil them in bulk. That takes 20 minutes. How about ground turkey? Brown it in a skillet, add some spices, done in about 15 minutes. Beef isn’t bad for us so stop spreading that rumor. Eggs are good for us too. Paranoid? Get some egg whites. Jane isn’t vegan but she can mix it up by having protein shakes for a snack or beans in place of an animal once in a while.

  • How about veggies?

Steam them. Takes about 15 minutes. Don’t have a steamer? Put them in the microwave with a little bit of water. Takes…ummm 10 minutes? I don’t know, I have a steamer. Invest in a steamer Jane! And they make frozen veggies steam-able in the microwave nowadays. How about raw veggies? Eat them. Get some dip. Don’t worry about the calories in the dip. Just eat them. Got a blender? Blend them. Put some protein powder in there, voila! Instant breakfast in about 60 seconds.

  • Don’t forget the fats!

Jane is going to prepare snacks for herself so she avoids the vending machine or gets tempted to go out to lunch with her co-workers where they like to have liquid lunches and cheesecake for dessert. She’ll pack up trail mixes herself with items like almonds, cashews, raisins, sunflower seeds, dried fruit. She’ll cook her veggies with coconut oil or olive oil. But she won’t freak out if all she has access to is PAM cooking spray. Again, small changes.

2. FITNESS.

Once she has established a routine where she takes those 2 hours on her one day off to prep her meals and make that her priority for at least a month (yes, a month if not longer), then I would suggest to Jane to start working out. Maybe not with me since she doesn’t seem to have the time to travel to the studio and back home/work. She would have to find ways to increase her activity on her own or with her son.

Is her son watching TV? Great. Pop in a workout DVD and make him do it too (he’s 8 years old so he’s mobile). But let’s say he’s way younger and just runs around the house like I hear 2 and 3 year-olds do all the time. Let’s say she has more than one child! What then? If they’re in diapers that means they take naps. If they take naps that means Jane can do something for 10 minutes, even if it’s just walking up and down the stairs until they wake up screaming (I hear this is what little kids do). If they are terrors, well…Jane calls a babysitter so she can get something done. Prioritize. This is important to Jane so she’s going to do whatever she can to keep going.

No workout DVD nearby? Jane makes up her own workout with her kid: She has a push up contest with him. She teaches  him how to squat (he’ll probably be able to get lower than her because kids have super human flexibility), jumping jacks, dance around the room. She asks him to show her what he did in gym class. She plays tag with him for 5 minutes. It really doesn’t matter. Jane is on her feet and that’s better than sitting at a desk like she just did for 12 hours.

3. FOCUS.

After Jane has increased her activity level, she is noticing a decrease in her stress level. She’s sleeping a little bit better, and she has more energy because she’s eating good food that’s helping her burn more fat. She’s lost a few pounds but nothing drastic. She wants to kick it up a notch. She still doesn’t have more time, still just 2 hours. But she has made small changes. She tries to get up 20 minutes earlier than normal to make herself a good breakfast. (This took her a long time to make a habit.)

She also spends this time alone before the kid gets up so she can focus. She has written down her goals and reads them in the morning, making a plan for how she’s going to accomplish them. It’s one thing to think them, it’s another thing to write them down and implement the changes. She writes down 3 things she wants to accomplish that day, none of which have anything to do with her job. Some days the list looks like this:

1. Drink 8 glasses of water

2. Walk 5,000 steps today

3. Make grocery list

Other days it looks like this:

1. Go for a walk during lunch break  Take a lunch break!!!

2. Skip Starbucks today; it’s not worth it!

3. Get in 20 walking lunges around the house while dinner is cooking

And some days it looks like this:

1. Throw out rotting lettuce in fridge!

2. Go to bed by 10pm tonight

3. Post fitness and health goals on Facebook today so I’ll be held accountable

When Jane is ready, maybe she comes to me one day a week for an hour to learn how to lift some weights. Or maybe I recommend some online training for her since time is limited for her. Or maybe she gets some free weights for her birthday from her family or trains for a 5K by running around her block when she is able.

She’ll do well. It might take longer than someone else. Maybe she’s only prepping her meals when she can but she tries. Maybe she goes through the drive-thru once a week but she’s making an effort. Maybe she ordered pizza for her and her family last night but her lunch is already packed up for the rest of the week.

She’s trying.

She’ll get there.

There’s hope for Jane.

 

Accountability for the Unaccountable

I bought myself an accountability partner today – A Jawbone UP.  It’s very similar to a Fitbit tracking device that you wear on your wrist.  This particular one was on sale and marked down significantly at Radio Shack, plus I had a coupon (that’s a sure fire way to get me to buy something, gotta have a coupon) for $10 off. A steal!

Today is day #1 with this little gadget. I bought the warranty too because I heard how easily these things can bend and break.

You would think since I’m somewhat anti-tracking when it comes to food that I would be against using this tool. But really, I’m anti-obsessive when it comes to tracking. I would hate for any of my clients to become a slave to numbers and tracking incessantly and worrying about each and every bite of food that they take.

So when I first started tracking my intake on this, I estimated for the most part. For example, I probably had more than a cup of greek yogurt. It was maybe more like 1 and a quarter. But I logged it as a cup. Big whoop.

I also put about a dozen craisins on my salad today. (Maybe it was more like 20, I have no idea). But I logged more than that. I also logged less cheese than I had on top of it. I would never sit there and measure each and every piece of food. Not unless I was planning on competing in the near future. For all intents and purposes, it’s fine to just estimate.

Now as for my biggest vice, peanut butter.  Yeah I was accurate with that one. :/  I mean, one tablespoon is considerably different than 3 tablespoons (don’t judge me, you know you love PB as much as I do!!).

As for activity, I know these things don’t track heart rate so it’s not really possible to get a good idea of how many calories I’m burning when I’m lifting or doing cardio but again, it’s nothing to be obsessed about. I’ll enter in my stuff and see what it spits out at me.

So here’s the biggest update since the beginning of this month: My measurements aren’t too terrible.  I say “aren’t too terrible” because I’m not about to cry looking at them. I didn’t pick the best day of the month for a female to be measuring herself (sorry TMI) so I’m taking that little bit into account. But, although this isn’t indicative of someone who has been dieting, it’s okay. Because I haven’t been dieting! HA! If I’m being 100% honest I really haven’t been cutting too many calories at all, so this isn’t a huge surprise to see. This is basically my Bulk Phase 2.0.

I didn’t even flinch at 4 INCHES gained in the stomach. I have to laugh…I mean, what can ya do?

IMG_1050

Can you guess what I’m happiest about in this? The HIPS/BUTTOCKS! 1 more inch! YEAAAAHHH!!!! 🙂

NOW, with my little Jawbone UP tracking tool, and a new goal of another photo shoot in the FALL, I think I should be able to lose a few inches. I think maybe finally I will start taking this seriously. I have definitely enjoyed my summer haven’t I? Ph well…moving on…yet again. At least this time I have a little buddy holding me accountable. Jawbone_Up_35536649_05

Putting the fork down…and getting up off the couch. Moving on!

When All Else Fails, Stop Trying So Hard.

Three-feet-from-gold

You know how many times you have to fail at something in order to be successful? I don’t know the exact number, as I’m sure it’s different for everyone. But let’s just agree that it’s probably a very high number. Most people just stop and give up at whatever it is they are shooting for because of numerous failures.

But what would happen if you just “sorta tried?”  Like a half-ass attempt? You’d probably get half-ass results. But wouldn’t that be better than NO results?

Here’s where I’m going with this argument:  What if people just stopped trying SO hard to be perfect all of the time with reaching their goal?

For some (relevant to this blog and myself) it’s always about diet. And eating and maintaining perfectly 100% of the time. I know this isn’t possible so I usually shoot for 90% of the time. But for others it could be their mission to find the perfect mate. Or for others, they really want to get a promotion at work. So we try and we work really really hard and we might have a good week or a good month or just a good day and what happens? We get zero results. We don’t lose an inch. We go on a ton of dates and find no matches. Our boss doesn’t notice all the overtime we put in. No change, nothing.

Now most people give up completely. Throwing in the towel after just a few attempts. Others might try again and and again and come up short again and again. But what if we just stopped trying SO hard. And we tried just a little bit? I’m talking minimal effort.

For the dieters – we aim for for even lower – 80% adherence. For the workaholics, we don’t stay at work until the wee hours of the morning. We just stay long enough to what MUST be done and nothing more. For the serial daters, we cancel our online dating profiles and just hang out with friends.

So see, once the pressure is off to be 100% all of the time, you can relax and let the process happen organically. The point is, you can’t possibly aim to be 100% perfect all of the time because something else in your life with lose attention and will fall apart – lack of sleep due to staying at work late, less money in the bank by going out on all these dates looking for Mr/Mrs Right, no social life because you can’t stick to your diet when you’re out with your friends.

When your energy is focused solely on this one goal, the rest of your priorities get a little lost and put aside. But when you step aside and relax a little bit, the pieces fall into place. This isn’t about giving up – it’s about giving just a PART of you to your goal and not your entire self. Just a piece of you. And when you start to get on a roll (losing an inch or two here, getting kudos from the boss once in awhile, having a few nice dates) you’ll be glad you never gave up completely.

Sometimes, all it takes is just a little bit of effort to make a noticeable change. It doesn’t have to be full steam ahead the entire time.

My Top 10 Fitness and Nutrition Tips

I thought I’d put together a list (thanks to my client Heidi for the idea) of the best advice I’ve ever given as well as gotten as part of trying to be healthier, and live an active lifestyle.  Some of these I’ve stolen borrowed from my own coach or my first PT, others I’ve heard along the way, and some just from learning on my own.  Feel free to share with others who may need to hear this advice too!

In no particular order:

Be honest with yourself.  Write out what you’re going to eat the day before.  Even if you know you’re going to have a fast food breakfast, it’s better to be honest and have that reflection.  It works in reverse as well: Writing down that you plan to have a balanced, healthy dinner and then following through with it, gives you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.  It’s also a small level of accountability you can have with yourself at the end of the day – looking over what you wrote down what you WANTED to eat versus what you ACTUALLY ate.  Do they match?  Why not?

 

Workout when you are least motivated.  Sounds strange, but when you absolutely have zero desire to get on your running shoes or get in your car to head to the gym, THAT is the time you should.  Many people experience a huge sense of satisfaction when they are DONE working out.  “I really didn’t feel like it at all but by the time I was done, I felt BETTER!”  Sooner or later, you’ll get into the habit of going, even when your body might be saying, “Let’s just stay home.”

 

Sleep trumps exercise everyday of the week.  If I was ever approached by a client who suffered from insomnia and was trying to lose weight, I would turn them down for PT until they got into a habitual sleep pattern that included a minimum of 7 hours of sleep.  Why? Because chances are they are not losing weight because they can’t sleep.  Until that is corrected, I’d be stealing their money and they would show zero results.  If you have a choice between going to bed early or going to the gym late for a workout, always always always opt for sleep.

 

Mentality.  If you start to view your food as fuel, you are much less likely to hit the drive thru or eat out at the chain restaurants.  When you’re first thought of when you hear the word or think the word “food” is “FEAR” or “WEIGHT GAIN”, or “DEPRIVATION” then you have the wrong mentality.  When your first thought is “FUEL” and “NOURISHMENT” and “HEALTH” you will never be tempted to have crappy, greasy, and garbage food ever again.  It’s a relationship that might take years to get to a good place.  It takes time to learn how to cook good food too.  Learning to cook even something as basic as steaming vegetables and baking chicken gets you one step closer to feeling good and looking good.

 

Shop the perimeter. There is no reason to go down the middle aisles of a supermarket when the majority of what you should eat is on the perimeter.  Granted, there are exceptions:  Whole grains, oils, nuts, and some baking needs are in the aisles.  But 90% of what goes in your cart is available in the perimeter.  Load up on veggies, fruits, lean proteins and fats, and you are good go.  Plus, you’re cart will be so full of the good stuff, there won’t be much room for the junk.

Goals should be something you can control.  I stole this one from my coach although I had learned it many years ago.  Don’t focus on having a goal of losing X amount of pounds in X amount of time.  How can you control that?  If we knew exactly how to lose fat, we’d all look exactly the same because no one would have a weight problem.  You cannot control your metabolism to the degree that you tell it exactly how many pounds you want to lose. Your goals should be simpler yet a challenge.  Examples:

I will drink 4L of water today.

I will not have alcohol with dinner this week.

I will have protein with all my meals today.

I will get up 15 minutes early to make breakfast tomorrow.

You cannot spot reduce.  If we could choose where the fat on our body could disappear from, that would be like discovering the fountain of youth.  Alas, it doesn’t work that way.  And speaking from experience, you cannot choose where the fat COMES on your body either.  You think I want the fat to go directly to my stomach?!  Yeah it’s irritating but the difference is, I know the endgame:  More muscle.  I know it’s temporary to have this layer of fat on me right now.  Same goes for when I’ll diet down, I know I might lose it in places that are not ideal (ummm Chest?) but, this is the way the body works.  So enough with the “Can we just do exercises that get rid of the extra fat on my inner thighs?  And can we just do abs and crunches so I can get rid of this belly fat?”  Sure! Let me just get my magic wand…

Your behavior should match your goals. Stole this one from Precision Nutrition. This goes back to being honest with yourself.  If you have a goal of losing fat and weeks go by with little to no success in that area, you most likely give up, right?  But if you take a look at what your behavior was those weeks, what would you see?  Someone who worked out 5 days a week?  Someone who ate 5 balanced meals a day?  Someone who got 7 hours+ of sleep?   Someone who did everything you’re supposed to when you’re dieting?  If you only have yourself to hold you accountable, you have to be honest with yourself and evaluate where you went wrong. You might see that you only worked out twice a week and you ended a few sessions early because you weren’t feeling it.  Or you skipped lunch a few days because you got busy at work.  And you never did prep your food for the weekend so you binged on junk.  Adjust your behavior before you set your goals because that is a huge reason why many people fail.

Bloodwork tells a big story.  I think people hear “I have a thyroid problem” and automatically assume someone must be lying or using an excuse for their stagnant progress.  As much as I hate to hear “Ever since I hit menopause I just can’t lose this weight,” or “Ever since I had babies, I can’t lose this weight,” many times, it’s a contributing factor to someone’s progress.  Yes, specifically women but men as well if they have cortisol or testosterone imbalances.  I won’t use this blog as a shameless plug but if you are interested in learning more about how hormones affect your weight loss, email me at fromfittofigure@gmail.com and we can discuss.  In the meantime, ask your doc to run a panel of tests on your thyroid, cortisol, and hormone levels to see what’s going on.  Adrenal fatigue, stress, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism are all contributors to why SOME people cannot lose weight.

The scale doesn’t tell the story.  If you’re frustrated by the lack of movement in the direction the scale might be going, first, you need to read this story from my friend Leslie who contributed to my blog last year.  Secondly, you don’t have to throw it out, but consider weighing yourself once a week and then maybe once a month.  Lastly, stop thinking of that number and start measuring inches.  Yes, that’s yet another number but almost everyone who reaches a plateau (and it WILL happen) notice that although the scale didn’t budge, the measurements did.  That’s called Progress. 🙂  You went down a dress size yet the scale only moved 3 pounds?  Oh gee, I guess you gained something called muscle.  If you’re still disgruntled, check out the following visuals.

5-pounds-of-fat-5-pounds-of-musclefat-vs-muscleWeight-Loss-VS-Fat-Loss3

I hope these tips were helpful and informative for you.  If you liked what you just read, please share and comment!

 

 

 

 

Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

 Did I really try my hardest today?

Maybe it’s the cold weather causing me to hibernate more than I’d like.  Maybe it’s seeing too many people on social media doing more than myself, who knows.  But I thought, in order to hold myself accountable, why not finish the day with a question?  I try to start my day with a statement such as,  I WILL do __________.  I AM going to ____________.  I CAN ____________.   It seems appropriate to end the day with a question – almost like a Review of Your Day.

Sidenote:  Although I’m speaking from a fitness perspective, this can still be applied to career or relationship or pretty much any goal you have.  Especially those New Year Resolutions.

Looking back at the past week, asking myself this questions, I was ON point with my meal plan from my coach.  I didn’t miss any workouts either.  So how can I repeat this?  How can anyone keep this train moving in the right direction?  I suppose it’s a combination of motivation and willpower and accountability from others.  But above all, it started with a plan.

I hear from many of my clients that although they have every intention of doing A, B and C in a given day, there are diversions and things that just get in the way and before you know it, they didn’t accomplish A B or C.  They haven’t even gotten the train out of the station and it’s already derailed.  And now they feel like crap and feel guilty and feel like giving up.

Here are some examples:

A meeting at work that went long, there goes your workout for the day!

Your car needs to be fixed so there goes your money that you wanted to spend on the new gym membership!

You oversleep so now you have to stop by the drive-thru or the cafeteria at work, there goes having a good home cooked meal!

Noticing a common theme in the above examples?  They all could have been prevented with a PLAN.  If you have a plan, you’re so much more likely to succeed.

Here’s some ideas on how to implement one:

  • How do we solve the meeting problem? How can we know when our boss wants us to stay late and work? We don’t.  So we have a plan to workout at a time when your boss has no control of your schedule – usually first thing in the morning.  Or a weekend.  There’s got to be some ME time in your life.  Several of my clients insert “Meeting with Jim” into their work calendar so they don’t miss a workout.  (Jim, like gym…get it?)  Even if you have to work late 5 days a week, if you have a plan to workout at a different time, it’s already done and you won’t feel rushed to squeeze it in.  Even if you only workout one day in a week, that’s something.  That’s an accomplishment.
  • How can you prevent a car that breaks down?  Or your child falls down and gets injured? (Think BIG expenses). Usually not preventable.  But your plan for this is your budget.   I’m a firm believer everyone/family needs a health budget.  This would be different or in addition to a savings account.  Coming from someone who knows what it’s like to scrape by, I know this is easier said than done.  The number one declaration I hear from ALL of my clients is “I wish I would have started this sooner.”  It starts with a health budget.  Save those dollars!  Saving up for a treadmill or a trainer or a good pair of running shoes or gym membership is a good first step.
  • What’s the plan for accidentally oversleeping?  This is probably the easiest one to do but also the one I hear the MOST excuses for:  Prep your food.  Prep your food.  Prep your food.  Prep your DAMN FOOD!!!!

🙂

Can you tell I’m slightly irritated passionate about this one?  It’s seriously the easiest thing to do EVER.  What’s the most common objection to it?

I know what to eat, I just don’t have time to make it.

Nope, not good enough.  You do have the time, you just don’t make it a priority in your life.  Goes back to the health budget.  If it’s a priority, you make the effort to get it done.

Stick “Food prep” in your calendar.  Literally write it down for a block of time for about 2 hours.

Go to bed earlier so you can wake up earlier and get it done in that time frame if you want.

Get off Facebook.  Take a social media BREAK.  Like a legit day or two break.

Make it a family affair and have the kids help out in the kitchen.  They’re going to eat the food anyways, right? Might as well start them young and get them learning some basic cooking skills like just chopping up veggies. If they are too young for that, how about mixing or just throwing stuff in a crock pot?  Or if you have OCD kids that love to be organized, how about getting them to weigh and measure out the food into zip lock baggies?  Seems like a mundane task but most kids I know are entertained by the smallest things.  Turn it into a lesson.  Teach them math or something, I don’t know.   Tell them:  “I need 6 ounces of chicken, in each of these bags.  If I need 6 ounces for everyday this week, how many ounces is that?”

Okay so I’m clearly not a parent nor a teacher but, I think you get my point.

If you have family that doesn’t eat the same foods you then yes, this will require some extra effort.   In my opinion, the easier option is just making stuff that everyone can enjoy, just decreasing/increasing the portions for them.

Picky eaters?  Try the “just try a bite” method.  Worked for me for about 15 some years since I was the pickiest child ever.  PB and J was the only thing I really ate but I would always have “at least a bite” of greens and meats that Mom made for me.  I got wise around age 25 by cooking food, the same time that I invested in a Personal Trainer I might add.

One of my clients recommended a couple books for those picky eaters so I’m passing on the information to my Mommy readers:  Bringing up Bebe:  One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

I just love this review of the book: “Bringing Up Bébé is a must-read for parents who would like their children to eat more than white pasta and chicken fingers.”

Another one is called: Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five

Check them out and let me know what you think – and if you’ve read them let us know so my readers/followers can hear what you think too!

Speaking of babies, this all comes back to baby steps – small steps to accomplish a large goal.  One day at a time was made for goals such as these.  They can seem overwhelming, they can seem like you’re starting at square one but with just some effort, you can get there.  It might even take months or even years before your PLAN is in full effect.

But before you know it, you’ll get into that rhythm.  You’ll be THAT person that’s always prepared.  THAT person that always seems to have his/her stuff together.  THAT person that you look at or read about and think “Oh I’m sure that would never work for ME.”  Guess what?  It can.

You will be that person that ends your day with “Did I try my hardest today?  HELL YES!” 

And it will show!  You’ll be happier because you’ll be closer to your goals; you’ll be calmer because your stress will be lowered due to all the workouts you’re doing and all the good food you’ve been eating;  you’ll be happier because you’ve been spending your money from your health budget; you’ll be more confident because you put your health first.

As always, if you have any other ideas or suggestions for my readers who struggle with this same problem, feel free to comment and share this post with others who could use the boost!

This is a piece of cake…said no one ever.

Mmmmmm cake….I could go for some of that right about now.

Oh wait, I did.   A few days ago I DID have a piece of cake!  

It looked something like this: Irish-Cheese-and-Bacon-Cheesecake-With-Walnut-Crust-3461

My first dessert since Memorial Day and my last for the next 14 weeks.  The occasion?  A wedding.  Worth every bite?  You betcha. 🙂

Would I do it again? No.  Although the damage was minimal (although it’s hard to say ANY damage occurred since it’s only been 48 hours since that lovely piece of cheesecake went into my belly) I would not indulge again while training for this competition.

So how do I do it?  How do I say no to “cheats” and “extras” for 14 weeks?

I have no idea to be honest.

I suppose, as my coach put it today, “it’s building momentum.”  I have to harness this momentum I’ve created to keep going.  I hate using the phrase “stay the course” because it sounds so lame and all I can think of is former Prez George Bush (or was it his dad?) that kept saying that in his speeches…but that’s pretty much what it is. 

How do I stay on track when all I really want to do is head to the drive thru and order the juiciest burger and the largest order of fries and stuff my face and turn into this person?  

That looks delicious, by the way.
That looks delicious, by the way.

How does anyone stick to any goal?

Well, I will tell you what doesn’t work for me:

  • Fitspiration or Fitspo or Fitness Inspiration or whatever you want to call it.  It’s this:

3 and this tumblr_mgg9p4feIM1s2vdxlo1_500 and this c2b4f03567874cb48becd0de49d2e5f6_2 and all of these photo

I can read and post and share all of those pics all damn day (and trust me, I HAVE) and you know what?  I still want that cheeseburger.

  • Selfies of  Figure Pro’s.

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<Sigh>

I admit in the beginning I would follow and FB stalk and ReTweet and comment on many of my favorite ladies in the biz.  And I continue to follow some of them but the frequency of selfies of my ladies from their car on the way to the grocery store is just a little too much for me some days.  Still luv ’em but….yeah, I need a little break.

You know who I do follow lately?  REAL WOMEN.  Like Jenn and Cori and Jonie.

These are real women, some with figure aspirations, some just wanting to get healthy.  These ladies are not professionals, yet their posts and pics motivate me to do better.  And sometimes I get a message back about how I inspire others, and that’s when I walk away from the fridge.  I know it’s not worth the disappointment I would feel afterwards.

  • Anti-Social Activity

I was definitely under the impression I had to stay indoors and hibernate in order to avoid cravings/cheats.   Several months later I realize that is entirely unnecessary.  You can’t stop living, you can’t avoid birthday parties, celebrations, cookouts, holidays.  They will always be there.  I avoided them like the plague in the beginning or did my best to attend for just a short period of time and escape unscathed.  But the more you actually put yourself in those situations, the more likely you are to learn how to use them to your advantage. 

Example:  Attending a party by bringing something most guests will enjoy but you also can have without going over the limit.  Mothers Day is my best example:  Talk about a holiday I wished didn’t exist this year for obvious reasons – this was something I was dreading.  The plan was to have brunch at my sister’s house.  Normally I would just head over there and eat whatever she was making.  In this case, my aunt decided to make chocolate chip pancakes from scratch.  Oy! 

Knowing this had “Carb Overload” written all over it, I purposely searched for a low-carb pancake to make for myself.   I brought all the ingredients, made it, and it was a huge success!

Did I want those sweet delicious looking chocolate chip pancakes?  HELL YES!

What kept me from reaching over and eating “just one?” 

Honestly, I was genuinely full.  I planned and counted and weighed and measured those ingredients to a T.  And the feeling of empowerment afterwards when you know you’ve avoided eating something off plan is probably the best feeling of accomplishment and WELL worth it. 

The cravings will never go away.   They linger.   They just aren’t staring me in the face anymore.   As long as I don’t feed them, they stay silent.

I posted pic below on FB yesterday and thought it worth sharing again to conclude today’s post. 

Thanks for reading!

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GOALS:
 I look at this every morning now as a reminder of how far I have to go and the hard work that I must put forth everyday to get there. No time for slip ups unless I want to take a few steps backwards.

There’s no better feeling than crossing something off the list when it’s ACCOMPLISHED, but there’s no WORSE feeling than erasing it completely because you failed to even try.

-Michelle

All About Mom

May 22nd, 1948 - March 10th, 2013
May 22nd, 1948 – March 10th, 2013

My Mom was my biggest fan. You can see how she commented on quite a few of my posts and was my photographer for my progress pics. She was very supportive of my endeavors and always found an opportunity to say “I’m so proud of you honey!”

Although I know she probably cringed as I became the Tupperware queen as I would leave some of my empty containers all around the kitchen, she did express to me many times how she loved that I cooked and prepared all my meals. “There’s my cooking daughter, cooking up a storm in there!” she would say.

These last few weeks of my mother’s life were especially difficult. She knew her health was deteriorating and although she said she was trying to remain positive, I think she knew something was terribly wrong. Instead of focusing on the negative feelings and the horrible things that happened, I’m trying to remind myself of all the good things that took place, especially these last three months. I can’t help but smile a little as I reflect on them today:

– I was able to make my Mom some delicious smoothies every morning, some of which she said “This is the BEST one yet!”

– When I would come home from the grocery store with food from my meal plan from my nutrition coach, she actually asked if she could eat some of it too.  It was such a joy to be able to cook for my Mom! The orange roughy I baked was her favorite by far.

– Wednesday night, just two days before she asked for hospice, she looked over at me and said “I’m tasting for something but I don’t know what…maybe some oatmeal. Do you have any oatmeal?”  DO I HAVE OATMEAL?!  I have a membership to Costco and stocked up on the stuff, I HAVE Oatmeal Mom! 🙂  She wanted butter, milk and some sugar in it.  I brought it over to her and apologized for not making it very “mushy” and instead it came out “watery.”  But she gobbled it up anyways.

-Thursday night she asked for oatmeal again.  “This time could you make it less watery?”  I whipped up the butteriest, milkiest, sugariest oatmeal anyone could ask for.  It was the last thing she ate.  I was honored to do it.

-She was able to celebrate Fat Tuesday and have a paczki with my Aunt just a couple weeks ago. She told my aunt it was “The best time I’ve ever had!”

Fat Tuesday with a Paczki!
Fat Tuesday with a Paczki!

-I drove her to my nephews basketball game a few days later which would be the last time she was out of the house.  And what a game! Triple Overtime and they won! 

– The last thing I said to her before she passed was reading to her from her own book, “A Grandma’s Book” that was given to my nephews.  It’s all about her.  I read an excerpt from her “Favorite Things.”  For those that didn’t know her, here are a few of them:

“I love my friends, I love my family, I love them more than life itself.  I love hummingbirds, I love CHOCOLATE.  Especially Lindt Truffles.  I love Tote Bags, I have about 20 of them!  …I love baking bread and giving it to my friends at holidays.  I love the smell of freshly cut grass.  I love when it’s thunderstorming outside and I’m safe and sound in my house.”

I know I’ve said it before but my Mom was simply the best that there ever was.  Her smile was the biggest, her heart was the largest, her love was the greatest.

October 17th 2012 - 42 Years of Marriage
October 17th 2012 – 42 Years of Marriage

I had toyed with the idea of throwing in the towel on this competition.  I even thought about giving up on eating healthy, on working out in general.  But after talking to my sister and a few other folks, it’s pretty obvious Mom would be PISSED if I gave up.  She’d especially feel guilty for being the REASON to give up. 

So I’m back on it today.  I started back on my meal plan a couple of days ago but today is the first full day of getting my habits back in line.  It’s rough…but it’s not nearly as rough as she had it.  I have to remind myself my Mom had quite a tumultuous 6 months.  I try to live each day for her now. I only hope I can be a reflection of what she was like.  I definitely have some big shoes to fill, I’m sure I will never fill them.  But I will try to live each day with that bright smile on my face. 

Love You Mom!

"Light The Night" Fundraiser for LLS
“Light The Night” Fundraiser for LLS