Plateaus.

This is often the point where discouragement sets in.  When I’ve been following the plan, logging everything, weighing and measuring every morsel that goes into my mouth, and exercising on a regular basis. Yet, I hop on the scale and there is stays….right on that same number…for days and days and days.

Plateaus.
Ugh.
Need I say more?!

I often allow moments like these to crush my spirit. I hear myself say, “See? You can’t do this. No matter how hard you try, it just doesn’t work.” Although my brain wanted to take me down that road, my heart stepped in and fought back, “Don’t go there! It’s okay. Your body is readjusting right now – working something out on the inside that you cannot see – and you’re standing firm. You keep your focus.”

This has been the benefit to looking deeper into my triggers, reactions, behaviors and habits. I read something the other day and kind of blew my mind.

“What causes you to slip is learned. It is a habit.
The way you react to slips is also a habit.”

I had to read that several times to let it sink in. I have actually taught myself how to react to all sorts of situations. The way I react is a habit. I always think of it all as food-related habits…but this is referring to a mind habit.

I have taught myself how to slip…by the words I say to myself and how I react to those words. In the past, I have allowed plateaus to take me down that slippery slope of discouragement, which leads me back to not working as hard as I have been.

Plateaus. They are a painful moment of waiting.

To regain my focus, I decided to sit down and look over the past month of tracking my food and exercise (this is a key benefit to writing it all down). Here’s what I found:

  • According to My Fitness Pal, I have consistently logged every meal for thirty-two days.
  • I have gone from drinking half a bottle of water a day, to easily drinking sixty-four ounces each day.
  • I have gone from hardly eating any vegetables, to including them in my lunch and dinner every day.
  • I have gone from a high carbohydrate diet to a high protein diet, reducing my carb intake by seventy percent.
  • I have gone from walking a little over a mile a couple of times a week, to walking two-plus miles almost every single day.
  • I have successfully lost twelve pounds since my doctor’s appointment on April 2nd, where I found myself at my very highest weight.
  • I have successfully stayed the same or lost after the past three weekends! That alone reminds me that I am doing well and on the right track.
  • My blood pressure readings have gone from 185/100 to 130/75. Wow!!

There’s also the things I can feel:

  • Bloating and puffiness is greatly reduced.
  • More energy out of bed because I’m sleeping better.
  • Waking up hungry, because I quit skipping breakfast.
  • Clothes that are beginning to feel loose on me. 🙂

So even though the scale is sitting still right now, I can clearly see my success.

This plateau…while it wanted to beat me down this morning, I’m fighting back and regaining my focus. This is going to take continued work and I’m not going to let that unmovable number undo my efforts.

Thanks for reading and walking this journey with me. I hope and pray you find encouragement here to stay your own course. You’re worth it.

Simply,
Cindy

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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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