Weekends…

Need I say more? What is it about weekends and how one little slip causes all of your efforts during the week to unravel? I’ve been down that road way too many times, so I did my best to go into the one I just came out of with continued focus.

Friday night, as my husband and I sat down to watch a movie, I remembered the pint of B&J’s FroYo “Cherry Garcia” (my favorite flavor!) that I had left in the freezer, leftover from a couple of weeks ago when I had a large dinner and couldn’t eat it all. So, I asked him if he’d like to share it. What was left would be considered about two serving sizes (1/2 cup each). I know…hardy seems worth it, right?! Honestly, we usually watch movies with our own pint, to mindlessly chow down on, so asking him to share is a huge type of victory! And that little half-cup was delicious!

That said, going forward, I know that I will keep this type of temptation out of my home as I set up a healthier environment for us. 

But…Saturday morning, the scale was up by half a pound. Discouragement. Now, I know that could have been from all sorts of things. I don’t necessarily believe that what we eat the day before shows up the very next day. However, it was the start of my weekend and it did make me stop and take stock in how I started it out. I can often have a perfect week of focused-good eating, but then the weekend comes and I get into a mode of relaxing…even where my health is concerned.

A couple of journal entries ago, I shared that I’m going to what I now know is a weight support group. I grumbled about it after my first meeting, but now I am seeing more clearly what it is doing for me. I realized, after that first meeting, that I was remembering things discussed and so I’m really paying attention to my triggers, my environment, and what causes my chain reactions to venture down an unhealthy road.

Each week, our leader goes around the room and asks us, “What is your goal for the week?” Our goals are to be realistic, measurable, and achievable. My goal has been to track, at least 5-times during the week, and measure serving sizes. I’m serious, friends, this is truly a key to success!

So after weighing myself Saturday morning, I worked through the rest of my day. That is, setting out a plan of what I would eat for the remainder of the day and writing it into my tracker. It got me to thinking…when I go on vacation, I don’t want my time to be all willy-nilly, so I usually have some sort of plan as to how I want to spend my time (ie., things to do and places to see). When the checks come into our home, I don’t just spend however I’d like, I budget our expenses for the month (paying bills and setting a little bit aside for extras). So why not do that in THIS really important area of my life?! I know that I can’t go on living completely carefree, so I know I have to plan. And let me just share right here, I love to go out to eat. Any eating plan that I’m on must include me being allowed to live my life. So..I just have to plan if I want success.

Our weekend had its busyness, as always. My husband and I had errands to run on Saturday, so our plan was to grab lunch while we were out and about. On Sunday, we had family in town, so I knew we’d be having lunch out again. I didn’t do as I’ve done in the past, “Oh, I’ll just get back on track on Monday.” No way! I’ve worked way too hard to lose what I have and make some good habits. So, I logged into the restaurants websites and looked up their menus to see what would fit into MY life and MY plan. I already knew their portions would be larger than what I wanted, so I made a plan for that…before I even got there. I walked through the doors with a mindful focus on my health.

Well, long story short, I weighed point-4 LESS this morning than what I weighed on Friday. My friends, I haven’t had that happened in 4-EVER!! To be down after a busy weekend is the biggest self-confidence booster that I can give myself.  And what do you think this kind of success does for me?! At the starting gate of my new week, I already have this feeling of victory and so it sets a renewed focus on a brand new week ahead.

I’m not looking at that big number I need to lose, as that would overwhelm my mind and heart. Honestly, at this point in the game, I can say that I’m not really focused on any specific number. I mean, I do celebrate when the number is down, because it represents health inside of me. What I am really focused on is turning old and bad habits into new and good habits. I have a lot of undoing to do. My goals, right now, are to be mindful; to pay attention to what triggers me and causes the chain reaction to venture off the healthy road that keeps me doing, over and over again, the things that I keep on doing. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?! It really is a deepening of getting to know myself better. I like the girl who lives deep within my heart and I’ve allowed this shell to kind of fog my view of her – of me. I feel for the first time, in a long time, I’m being truly honest with myself…physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Honesty.
I think I’ll just leave that right there. 🙂

Thanks for walking this road with me.
May you find encouragement on yours this week.

Simply,
Cindy

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Creatures of Habit

The old adage goes, “It takes three weeks to break a habit.” This brings to mind negative things we do in our lives like, smoking, drinking, biting our nails, overeating…or any other bad habit.

But, what if we were to change this up? What if we wanted to begin habits? Wouldn’t the amount of time be about the same? I think, yes. So I’m putting my own little positive twist on this. I want to use the next three weeks to “change” or ever better, to “begin” a few habits…new and improved habits. I’ve done enough focusing on the negatives that I shouldn’t do, so I’m going to turn my focus to positives that I want to do.

This blog is about my little goals on this journey. It’s not all about just losing some weight. It’s about changing in many other positive ways to find victory in my health and wellness. I believe that by taking these little steps they will lead to big changes as they begin to piece their way together and that doesn’t seem so overwhelming for me. I am more than numbers on a scale. I need a health body, mind and spirit. So, I thought of three habits that I want to accomplish over the course of the next three weeks.

My first one:

Drink Water! I plan to drink it from the time I wake up until I go to bed at night. I don’t know what it is about water, but it’s something that I struggle getting enough of. It’s one of the most important things our body needs and something that is so easy to get, yet, I fight it. I’m probably dehydrated most of the time. Ten years ago, when I lost a lot of weight, it was the number one thing on my list then and it became something that I practically craved. I want to know my body well enough to be able to feel when I’m dehydrated. They say a lot of people eat when they are actually thirsty. That’s a theory I definitely want to test.

How will I do this? I’m a very visual person. I’m all about setting the scene and mood. For instance, a lot coffee/tea drinkers have an assortment of mugs in their cabinet. They don’t just grab the first mug they see. No, they usually find the one that feels right for that morning. So, that’s what I’m doing with my water…making it feel somewhat special. I have a certain glass and a pretty water pitcher (to aid me in getting my daily amount) that I’m going to use each day. I’m setting the scene and the mood for my personal success. And because water can feel a bit boring, I’m going to add flavor with fresh lemon, lime, cucumber and/or mint…and work on some other refreshing flavors using fresh fruits.

Which leads me to number two:

Eat Your Fruits & Veggies! This is the other area I struggle with; getting my fruits and veggies into my meals. Again, our bodies want and need the nutrients from these, yet, I fight it. Just like water, I know when I become better at eating these, I will begin to crave them instead of the sugary-carb-ridden options that I tend to go after.

How will I do this? For me, success comes from planning. I sit down every morning, log into My Fitness Pal, and write out my eating plan for the day. I have found this keeps me focused on my entire day and I actually look forward to each meal because it’s already planted in my thoughts and tends to keep me from straying. I’m going to make sure I have an assortment of vegetables and fruit options in the house. Because I know I’ll gravitate more towards the fruits (remember…I’m a sweet-eater), I need to have a plan. They do have their own source of sugars, so I need to make sure I’m getting my vegetables in there too. In my opinion, fruits always compliment breakfast…so I’m putting something there. And because I get an evening sweet-tooth, I’ll have some fruit as my evening snack. Vegetables will be included in my lunch and dinner plans.

And my third habit:

You’ve Got to Move It, Move It! Yep, exercise! I really do love to get outdoors and I enjoy a really good walk or ride on my bike – that is, once I’m out there doing it. But before I set out, my brain tends to think about the distance.

Here’s what usually takes place inside in my mind: I start out and I’m feeling pretty good, but at almost the half-way point I’m feeling ready to be done. All I can think about is, “Wow…I still have this far to go.” But then, as I pass that half-way point, I find myself digging in and pushing harder. My feelings of, “I don’t like this” turn to, “Wow, I’m feeling really good about what I’m doing!” Again, positive feedback.

How will I do this? Little Steps to Big Changes…that’s my focus. Honestly, the thought of exercising for an hour each day doesn’t sound all that appealing right now. I read somewhere that thirty minutes each day is good for your body. Thirty minutes? It sounds good and totally doable! I can do thirty minutes!

For me, that’s about a two-mile walk or a four-mile bike ride, depending on my speed that day. It burns the amount of calories I eat for breakfast. By the way, I rarely eat back exercise calorie credits. It doesn’t feel or sound overwhelming. I can easily give up thirty minutes of my morning. And you know what happens from there? It causes a mental switch to flip. I will feel so good about myself that I’ll want what’s healthy throughout my day. I will come back wanting water, wanting my fruits and veggies, and wanting to exercise more! Crazy how that works!!

My encouragement to you: 1) Think of three things that you could do over the course of three weeks to change, replace or create a habit. 2) Write a short “love” letter (yes…I want you to be gentle and kind to yourself) as a reminder of why you want and need to take this journey. Go back to it as often as needed! I go back to mine all the time.


Friends, this really is a mental journey. To succeed at anything requires some learning, planning, research and commitment. I continually remind myself of why I want and need to do this. I want to live a healthy life. I want to enjoy my retirement years with my sweet husband. I want to be a good example to my kids and grandkids. More than anything, I want to feel good about me…on SO many levels.

Setting some Little Step Goals will bring Big Changes for a healthier future. So let’s do this and begin some habits!!

*lifting my glass of water to you* Cheers!

Simply,
Cindy

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We Danced

As I have put weight on, I know that there are parts of me that I have stuffed away. Self-esteem (or lack of it) can cause a person to not do and enjoy the things they once did. At least that’s the case for me. Even though I lean into introvert tendencies, there is this other side of me where I’m very sociable. That is the side of me that suffers the most when I don’t feel good about myself, so introversion can become worse.

I had a wonderful Saturday with my husband. We did work around our home in preparation for one of our granddaughter’s birthday parties, ran errands, went to see a good move (“Wonder Woman” – loved it!) and then we went to an evening concert in the park. I love summer nights and the weather that evening was perfect for music and dancing.

Yes, dancing. We had been there just a little under an hour, when I turned to my husband and asked him if he wanted to dance. He had a shocked deer-in-the-headlights expression at my request. I had been sitting there rocking away to their music and watching all of the other brave souls on the dance floor. A few made me giggle, but I more admired their unabashed courage to just have fun. I wanted to throw my own self-conscious anxieties out and have some fun of my own. I wanted to reclaim a little piece of myself.

I can keep a pretty good beat and was blessed with a bit of rhythm, so in my mind I pictured myself going out there and really showing some moves. HA! My first steps felt awkward, like I just couldn’t get my flip-flopped feet to move the graceful way I had envisioned. For a moment, I thought, “What the heck was I thinking?! What am I doing out here in front of ALL of these people?!” Red-faced, which fortunately people would have thought came from the warmth of the air, I looked at my husband who was also awkwardly trying to work out his moves. Once we got eye-contact we laughed out loud and something inside of me switched on. My relationship with my husband began on a dance floor and other than a few slow dances at weddings we’ve attended, we hadn’t been out on the dance floor, like this, in years. At that point, my awkwardness left and I allowed myself to just enjoy and embrace this piece of time with him. I’m sure we still looked awkward up there, but we didn’t care. The whole world went away and it was us…it was me. I felt like I pulled a big piece of the shell off, that I have covered myself in. It was freeing.

That piece of shell that I peeled off set the course for the remainder of my weekend. I didn’t go out and hit more dance floors but I took that moment with me into everything else I did. I felt like I stood a little bit taller and felt a lot braver. Oh, what a good feeling that is.

Life can be such a mental game…and for me, the extra physical weight causes the mental weight to become very heavy, as well. It’s so true that we are our own worst enemies. If someone said to me what my internal voice says, I’d throat-punch them. This weekend really reminded me of how unkind I can be to myself and that was my biggest take-away…I’m going to be kinder to me.

You know, some of us (usually people who journal like me) make notes of what our “Plan of Attack” will be as we step into the healthier living lifestyle. It often goes something like this:

1) Eat breakfast (stop skipping).
2) Exercise.
3) Drink more water, etc.

…a list of bullet points to begin our plan of attack. But over the weekend, mine has been re-written. My list looks like this now:

1) Remind myself of what is good in me.
2) Pay attention to the parts of me that I like.
3) Be gentle and kind to me.
4) Nourish me in a way that says, “I care about me.” etc.

Do you see the difference? Instead of starting my morning like a mental drill sergeant, I want to feed the deepest parts of me. I believe that as I do, the other things that I need for this journey (eating well, exercising, drinking my water…) won’t feel so much like chores, but will cause it all to begin to fall into its proper place. Caring for my physical heart health has to begin with caring for what’s in the depths of it.

My hope was to have my first 10-pound loss by this morning. It didn’t happen. Had my Saturday played out some other way, it’s possible I’d feel a little discouraged this morning. But I’m not. I’ve made good headway and I am holding steady at my 8-pound loss (in spite of allowing myself a yummy coconut cupcake at my granddaughter’s birthday party yesterday). But…as I reflect on my weekend, I’m reminded of the great time I had with family and friends…and that moment, of reclaiming a bit of our youth, as my sweet husband and I danced our awkward legs off. I think that’s a little…or actually, a really big, victory!

~~~~~~~~

No matter what the weekend held for you, keep your focus my friends. Be reminded of what is good in you. And hey, dance!

Simply,
Cindy

couple dancing

The Journey Begins…

Welcome Friends! This is my first day of blogging my health journey, however, my story began on June 1st. (See more on my About Me page.) It just took me this long to decide to blog about it.

My name is Cynthia (my friends and family call me Cindy) and I look forward to sharing the road ahead with you. Here you’ll find the realness, and often rawness, of setting out to make Big Changes with Little Steps. Years ago, I successfully lost a lot weight, coming within 20 lbs. of my goal weight. I did it by focusing on little goals. Instead of looking at that gigantic number I needed to lose, I only looked at 5 lbs. at-a-time. That was seven years ago and I have since put all of that weight back on, plus some. I’ve struggled in finding my focus and motivation again, the way I once had it. I allowed myself to believe that it had just slipped away, but I know those are the lies I listen to when the battle just seems so difficult – and so far away.

But as I said, my journey began on June 1st, 2017 and I’ve been on a focused road to claiming my life – my healthy life, that is, once again. When I stepped on the scale that morning, I just couldn’t believe my eyes. “How did I get here?!” But I knew the answer to that. Somewhere I had just stopped caring for myself. I mean, I really like who I am. But, I can somehow look in a mirror and see something different from the reality. I somehow see myself much thinner than I really am, and then I walk past a mirror in a department store, or I see my reflection in a window and I’m dumbfounded, “Who the heck is that?!”

That first morning in June, I immediately logged into my old My Fitness Pal account and updated everything. Ouch! But, it began something else in me. I saw “Hope.” It was a beginning to the journey and I truly felt ready.

I used to walk five to six miles a day with a close friend. I don’t really know what happened, but we no longer walk together. She has found others to continue on her journey. I guess I just needed to walk another path for a while. My walking decreased to the point where it became non-existent. I no longer woke up feeling passionate about what I was doing. It felt depressing and like a big chore.

But earlier this month, a light began to flicker again and I began walking, just a little bit, each day. There are many people out there who love to walk in big groups. They say it makes the time go by so much faster and they love the accountability. While this is true, I am someone who likes to do a lot of things alone. I’m a deep thinker and when I’m alone, I can sort out my thoughts, my dreams, my struggles, my life. It’s free therapy for me. And I guess I’m not good in the accountability part of it all. I like being accountable to myself. I feel like when I’m in a group, comparisons begin to happen and this begins to feed my feelings of doubt and self-esteem. I hate competition in this area of my life. Plus, I’m someone who leans in the direction of introvert (probably why I love to write) and my time is a great treasure to me. I struggle with schedules and routines. I like my days to flow. I exercise in some fashion almost every day now, but it’s not always at the same time. I fit it into my life, and my life is often a moving target. Let’s just say, the wheels are always turning in my head, the dialogue is always in motion, and I beat myself up internally more than anyone even knows.

So as I began doing little walks again, my mind began to think about my super cute beach cruiser bike that was just collecting dust in the garage. Back in the day, I road a mountain bike and would even hit the trails with my husband. I have since gotten rid of that bike; trading it in for my cruiser.  When my husband came home that night, I asked him if he would help me get it down from where it was hanging. We cleaned it off, he made sure the tires were full, and I was on my way. It has rekindled an old, but new, passion of mine. Taking my morning rides is the highlight of my day.

Since stepping on that scale, I’ve been diligent about visiting my Fitness Pal (Cynthia_Sunshine) account, logging my bike rides (and any other exercises I do), and inputting all that I eat and drink. This was key for me seven years ago, so I know it is key for me today. If I don’t write it down, I will lose track of what I put into my body.

I’m happy to say that the scale is already moving in my favor. In 23 days, I’ve had a couple of slip ups (and I’ll admit, they discouraged me) but, to date, I have lost 8 lbs. 🙂

Oh, dear friends, I have so much more to share with you…but for the sake of not writing a book right here, I’ll save it for tomorrow.

Thanks for reading. I wish you the very best on your own journey! Don’t listen to the negative talk going on inside of you. We can – and WILL – earn our champion belts as we take Little Steps to Big Changes!

Simply,
Cindy

 

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