Friday, March 22, 2019

A Forever Lifestyle

Here we are, another Friday….my work week is almost done.  I am so looking forward to the weekend (do I sound like a broken record?).   The week has flown by and the weekend promises to fly by even faster.  (Why do weekends disappear so quickly?).  Anyway, I figured that it was the perfect time to do a check in and to see where I am at.


First let me say that I have been a goddess in the kitchen this week.  Ok, well…maybe not a goddess….but I have experimented quite a bit.  We eat at home almost every night except Fridays.  Fridays the kitchen is CLOSED…it is delivery night!  But that means that I cook a fair amount.   But this week I turned up the burners and really exerted myself on some new recipes.  On Wednesday night I made a Hamburger Casserole.  It was Italian in nature with Italian seasonings, hamburger, cheese and egg noodles. (The recipe didn’t call for it but I added a hogs load of garlic and hot pepper flakes!).   It was a winner; however we have both discussed one or two tweaks that would make it over the top delicious.  Chalk up a win for me!   On Tuesday night  I made a Turkey Rice dish.  It sounded good on paper.  I even doubled the garlic (hey, we like garlic so I almost always double the garlic in a recipe).  Yet the dish was BLAND BLAND BLAND!   It was edible…but we resorted to various techniques to make it something that we wanted to eat (I utilized a bottle of honey mustard….Jason utilized a bottle of hot sauce.) fail!! On Monday night I finally used the spiralizer that my mom gave me a month or two ago.  I made zucchini noodles and served that with garlic steak bites.  This was DELICIOUS!  It will definitely be on the meal rotation again …and soon!




My eating has been pretty spot on.  I’ve been doing really well.  I’ve been down at the low end of my calorie goal range most days.  It’s been hard for sure and  the after work snack has been a problem spot for me. (This problem is not new.....as evidenced in this previous post !).   But I’m managing regardless! 


On Thursday I packed my lunch.  It was a typical lunch, mostly fruits and some protein.  All morning I debated with myself.  I debated the merit of not eating my lunch and going to the cafeteria instead.  I debated eating my fruit and going to the cafeteria anyway.  I went back and forth!  It was a brutal battle in my mind!    I didn’t go to the cafeteria.  However, I did pull out the Reece’s Pieces that I have in my desk drawer.  I have been SO good about them.  I literally count out a portion on my napkin and put the container away (out of sight, out of mind) and I nibble on my 10-16 pieces all afternoon.  (How many pieces have been dependent on how many calories I have available in my day’s food budget.)  I eat them one at a time….SLOWLY.  I have done this every day this week and have been victorious....until yesterday.  I was so victorious over the cafeteria debate that I decided to pull out the Reece’s for a few nibbles during my afternoon.  SOMEHOW, in my celebratory haze over my cafeteria victory I sat the open container in front of me instead of counting out my portion.  I BROKE MY OWN RULE!  I failed miserably! Yes, I ate every last one that was left!  I ate probably about 30-40 …..much more than I normally eat!  Oops….Still equal to or less than a full serving (51 pieces is apparently a serving size)…but too many for me!    What’s worse?  I have no more for Friday.  It was really working to ration them out and have a bit each day.  Oh well…today I suffer! I will NOT buy more!!!


I have been able to walk most days.  The rain held me up on Thursday.  There was also one day that I just felt chilled to the bone and couldn’t see myself going out into the cold blustery day and walking in 40 degrees temps.  But I’m doing it!

 

My weight is slowly dropping.  SOOOO slowly!  I want fast!  I want speedy!  But that’s not how it is working for me.  And you know what?  That’s ok.  I haven’t given up anything I love.  Afterall, I was nibbling on Reece’s Pieces all week long.   I’m managing.  I’m making this work and not feeling deprived.  I’m LIVING LIFE in a healthy way!  And slow is ok.  Slow will still get me where I want to go.  Slow will give me a chance to LEARN and the more I learn, the better the odds that I can make this a ‘forever’ lifestyle. 

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Perceptions: our warped ‘healthy outloook’ thinking

I have been thinking a lot recently about perceptions.   More specifically, I have been thinking a lot about my perception of myself.  My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years.  I have been as high as 320 pounds and as low as 175 and I have been everywhere in between. I have been fit.  I have been not fit.  I have been fat.  I have been thin.  I can see the whole lifecycle and all of these changes….NOW.  But when I look back, I have had a totally warped sense of who and what I am.

When I was 320 pounds, I didn’t see myself as a larger gal.  I was just me and I saw myself as a normal size.  I originally got swept into the weight loss race by friends at work…an accountability group.  I stayed in the race as an effort to make my then-spouse desire and love me. (STUPID move on my end!)  But I did not have any perception that I was overweight.  Looking back, how utterly crazy!  There I was  wearing size 22 and 24 (bursting at the seams) and I didn’t feel fat!  Looking back, I know that my perception of myself was WAY off.  I was severely overweight!

I worked my tail end off and made it to my goal weight and something  crazy happened.  While I never felt fat before, I at that point began to see myself as fat!  How insane is that?  I could not see my weight loss in the mirror.  I was now thin (I’m going to call size 10 thin) but I felt like I was fat.  My perception was WAY off again. 

As I have gained weight, I have felt the weight.  I can see myself as overweight.  But I can see how thin I was just a few  years ago.  My perception of myself is, I think;  pretty spot on at the moment.   (Surprising isn’t it?)

I just realized the other day that my perceptions about my fitness levels were pretty warped also. 

When I was severely overweight, I thought I was pretty fit and active.  I still rode a bike.  So I was fit right???  I thought so!! 

I didn’t really exercise TOO heavily when I was losing weight.  I was only sporadic with my exercise when I was at my lowest.  But the whole time, I thought that I was fit.  I thought I was fit when I was big and I thought that I was fit when I was small.  My perception was way off!

But, as I started to regain the weight I continued with the exercise and in fact, even picked up more and more activities. (Looking back, some were in an effort to lose weight but a lot were in an effort to drown the sorrow of a sad and pitiful relationship.)  I didn’t see myself as fit at that point.  But I remember weekend mornings where I would get up and go run 3-5 miles at the battlefield and when I got back to my car I would eat a banana to refuel while I waited for my friend to arrive for our weekly walk.  I would then walk at least 3 miles with that friend.  I would THEN go home and clean the house, work in the yard and maybe go out for a bike ride or some other activity later in the day.    Even when I met Jason.  I would go for a run in the morning go back and push mow the yards (an hour worth of activity) go inside and shower and then head out to go hiking with jason.  ACTIVE and fit!  But I didn’t see it in myself. I thought I was a slug. 
This active lifestyle was emphasized in a recent time hop picture that popped up on my facebook page.  It was originally posted on a Wednesday.  I had apparently only worked half a day (which happened every other Wednesday at that job).  So I went for a long walk…..went for a run….and then hit up Zumba.  (I wonder if it was a night where I did a double class…two hours….because I frequently did back to back classes on my half days!).      But I remember thinking that I was fat and unfit…because I didn’t weigh the ‘perfect weight’ and I didn’t look like a string bean.    But seriously.  That was an ACTIVE day!  I remember those days and they didn’t faze me….I rolled through them with a smile on my face!  My perception of my fit level was WAY off.  I was fit!
The time hop picture that made me see?   

 I want that fit level back!  I don’t want the exact saying back….because I don’t want Todd back!!!!  But I DO want to be able to say “I hiked with Jason, then went for a run and just because I then went to Zumba” 

Maybe, just maybe I had to regain the weight to actually learn to see myself for exactly what I am.  I see the difference between where I am now.  I had to lose that fitness before I recognized it!  I had to regain the weight before I recognized it.   Maybe this was for me a vital step to truly becoming healthy and fit physically AND mentally/emotionally!!!





Saturday, March 16, 2019

It is all interconnected: this is not just about my food intake

The foot bones connected to the....I just want to sing that song as I wrote and edit this post!!!

Everything in life is interconnected.  I used to only write about food and exercise.  But I slowly started adding other stuff.  While it made my blog much more interesting  (probably) it also was done because I started to see how other aspects of my life were playing a role in my quest for health...it isn’t just a simple thing of food and exercise. 

Our romantic relationships play a part.  

Our work environments play a part.

Our families affect our quest for health.

Sooo many things affect our quest for a healthier lifestyle.

Now you may think I’m a slow learner, but it never before clicked in my head that it’s a two way street.  Those things affect my healthy living.   But did you know that my healthy living (or lack there of)  affects those things also??

I have for MONTHS been struggling with sleep.  I fall asleep just fine.  But come around 2 or 3 in the morning I find myself wide awake and I can’t get back to sleep!  On weekdays it’s annoying because I don’t have to wake up until between 5 and 5:30. (So am waking an average of two hours early). But it is infuriating on the weekends!  When it is 5 or 6 hours before I would probably normally wake up!  I tried it all the tricks in the book.  I had almost just accepted it as the new norm.  (Grudgingly so!). And I rejoiced on the occasional nights where I slept the whole way through!  But then this arthritis knee pain recommenced and the fear sparked me to get my butt moving.  All I have done is add a one or two mile walk or a short 5 mile bike ride.  (On weekdays and whatever comes up on the weekends.). But EVERY night since I have started, I have slept without that struggle.  Oh yeah, I may have had one or two nights where I woke up, but I fell back to sleep.  Even on the weekend...I didn’t awaken for good until 6am!  I count that as a victory!  The only change...exercise!

So the weekend is behind me.  (They go too fast). I actually did very well with my food!   I was careful and chose my foods wisely.   I stopped and made myself sit for a while before getting a second helping.   I really did good.  I am starting to see changes on the scale.  My knees, well they still hurt but it’s not the horrible ache!   Even after a four  plus mile walk on the canal!  Yes my leg was tired and achy but it wasn’t the horrible pain!  

The good news on the walk?  We saw signs of spring!   Frogs were chirping!   Turtles were sunning themselves!   Dare I hope spring is here to stay???



Friday, March 15, 2019

Mid month check in: it’s UGLY

 

I can hardly believe that we are midway through the month of March!  How crazy is that?  Time is just flying!   I am so happy to see spring arrive!  I get tired of the dark cold of winter!   So I figured that this week for my Friday post I will touch base on all that has happened in the month of March thus far  and see what I have been doing in terms of healthy living.


Before we go any further, let me say that I am in complete despair!  A few days ago I mentioned my knee hurting.  It was really bad last Friday and while I have had moments of if feeling ‘ok’, I have also had moments of constant horrible pain with it.   I know arthritis.  I know that I have two things that I need to do with all due haste.  I know that I need to lose weight!  I need to do this sooner rather than later.  I also know that I need to exercise.  It sounds counterintuitive to exercise and use the painful knee, but I KNOW that exercise will help in the long run.   I have taken some healthy steps toward those two things in the last few days, and I AM proud of myself.  HOWEVER, yesterday morning I was in the car on the way to work.  (Why do I have these deep thoughts in the car during my commute…..the other week it was during my commute and listening to Pink ..ohhh my, I was listening to Pink again today…maybe it’s not the commute, but rather the music of Pink!  I know I used to say that I had better runs when I listened to her music while running….maybe….)  I was driving and rubbing my aching knee and I had the most despairing fearful thought.  What if?  What if I had dodged the bullet with my arthritic knees the last time by losing the weight.  But what if that was only a one time ‘pass’.  What if the damage this time was permament?  What if losing weight would not fix the problem?  What if exercise had no bearing on managing the pain?   What if I was destined to live a life of pain in my knee for the rest of my life.   How would I survive that?   Was it too late?  How many free passes does one get in their life for something like this?   (And let me be clear….when I lost the weight it didn’t go away….it was just greatly reduced and quite a bit more manageable.)  By all things that are holy, these thoughts scared the living daylights out of me.  I’m NOT giving up!  I am going to try to fix this as soon as possible to try to minimize any long term damage that is currently happening.  I am going to push forward with the assumption that my efforts WILL be the change needed to get back to a more manageable level of arthritis.  I’ve got this!

 

So March.  In terms of my health it certainly came in like a lion!  I had set some monthly goals for myself for the month of March.

They are as follows:

1.        Track every bite of food

2.       Put money into the savings

3.       Weigh less 

4.       Do something active three times a week

5.       Keep my calories within my caloric range at least 6 days a week

6.       5000 steps a day.

A few days ago I sat down with my stats and I was APPALLED at my efforts for the month.  I’m telling you, the month came in like a Lion (now I just need to make it go out like a lamb).   I have always been brutally honest so here it is…the good (better look hard to find that), the bad (lots of that to see) and the ugly (oh yeah, it’s ugly).

1.        Tracking my food each and every day.  I THOUGHT that I had done this spectacularly.  But when I went to input my information onto my day planner (One place for all my information, so I transcribe the info from my various apps)  I found that on march 5 I failed to track anything at all.  I figured this out on Tuesday….a week later.  There was no way I remembered what I had eaten on Tuesday, so that is a total loss!    On the good side, I DID track every other day!

2.       Money into savings.  Ding ding ding.  I did this!

3.       Weigh less.  Uhhhh not happening.  I have fluctuated and have been most of the time at the high end of the fluctuation....so three pounds over my beginning of the month weight.  (It is starting to drop this week as I have really buckled down)

4.       Do something active.  My first 9 days of the month I did NOTHING!   I have done better this past week! (The fear about my knee spurred me forward.)

5.       Keep my calories within my caloric range at least 6 days a week.  In the first 9 days of the month, I was within my goal range only 3 times (maybe 4 since I didn’t track…but I better just say 3 times).  So a colossal failure!  That should have been 7 or 8 days of being within goal! (Once again this week I was scared...and I’ve been MUCH better)

6.       5000 steps a day.  Yup…I was failing this one too.  However, I have managed to pull it back around this last week with my evening walks with Jason.

As you can see.  The first week and a half was HORRIBLE!   The arthritis scare has brought about some changes!   The weather changing has brought about some of those changes!   (It’s easier to get out and walk /ride my bike when the weather is pleasant!).  I even got a lunch time walk in at work this week!!! 


So there you have it, my first half of March.  I told you it was ugly!   But I am slowly turning the ship around!   It is amazing how the fear of a life spent in arthritic pain really does make one see things differently.  And while the fear and despair about not being able to turn the tide on the arthritis is very real and very present, maybe I needed to think about the fact that I am SOON going to be out of free passes to abuse my body.  Eventually the damage will be non-manageable.    So if I can get it back under control again, I need to really focus on maintaining......no more chances taken with my body!

 

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Surely I can do this: weight loss at its....worst

I keep telling myself that I have this! I keep saying that this is my year.  I keep starting afresh!

Yet I keep failing!

How many failures does it take to get to victory?

Surely I can pull this together and lose weight!   

The only good thing?  I remain highly motivated to be healthy.   The disconnect is NOT with my motivation to do it.  The disconnect happens when it comes to actually carrying through with my plans!

I guess you could say that I am just kinda depressed about the whole process right now.  I’m down about my lack of ‘stick to it’ when it comes to reigning in my food.   I am utterly despondent about the aches and pains in my legs.  Seriously, a mile walk shouldn’t hurt!  And let’s not even start talking about the flair up of arthritis!  I am just disgusted with myself and where I have let myself get to!  I swore I would never get back here...yet here I sit!

I am walking daily.  (Gotta start somewhere and with my knee/arthritis I have to be careful).  I HAVE reigned in my eating...I’m at the top end of the range that I want to be within...but that is only 1450 calories so still pretty good.  So I’m not totally messed up.  Just messed up enough to NOT be losing!  This just blows!!

As a side note.  This past weekend I saw these little gems at the store!

Why yes...that is a THIN version of a Reece’s Cup.  They are individually packaged and thinner than the normal one!   And they are 57 calories versus the 110 calories for ONE of the normal cups. (Or 220 calories for one package of the normal sized cups).  For me...I can’t just eat half the package so when I eat a Reece’s cup I eat the whole package at 220 calories.   So this thin version is a great boon for me.  I can typically have room for a 57 calorie  treat...220 kinda not!   And yes I usually CAN stop at one package! Furthermore  I bought a bag of them at the store on Saturday and I have only eaten one!  So this is a good product for me!!!

Monday, March 11, 2019

The cost of obesity

I started to write a post for last Friday...but due to a commute, a passenger in the car (I gave a ride to a coworker), exhaustion and just life, I was unable to complete it.   It WAS going to be about getting my life in line before I have to deal with the cost of medications due to illnesses that could be managed by weight.  This was sparked by a conversation I had with my good friend Donna, who appeared in a motivational post last year.   She has continued to do amazing with her weight loss and is actually at goal, but she continues to work to eliminate each of her medications (you’ve got this Donna!)!    But she made the comment to me, ‘get it under control soon before you have to deal with the astronomical costs of medications.  And THAT was what the post was going to be about but then I experienced Friday and while the rest of this post is going to be ‘similar’ the cost of obesity hit much harder in my life and well...I’m freaked out!

Years ago I was diagnosed with arthritis in my knees. When I was overweight they ached sooo horribly!  But as I lost weight the pain settled down to a random twinge here and there.  However, as I have gained the twinges began to increase.  I knew it and even talked to people about the fact that I had an idea of the breaking point weight that when I reach  my knees issues would really  kick into high gear.   I have even made the comment that I was getting close to that weight!  But I didn’t pay attention to it.  It hadn’t computed in my head.  Afterall, actions and words are two different things!

Last week was a normal week.   Everything was normal.   I wasn’t off the rails with my quest for health...but I wasn’t totally  on target with the actions needed for this quest.  The memorable thing about my week was climbing stairs.  We live on the third floor and I noticed in passing that my knee was strong as I went up or down the stairs....strong for the first flight.  By th second flight I was feeling the old familiar ache of arthritis. Luckily, it cleared up as soon as I got on flat terrain and was only a small blip on the radar of my daily life.   Until Friday.  Friday morning came and I went down the steps in the morning and managed to contain my groan of pain confident that it would subside within minutes.  However, it didn’t subside.  It aches throughout the day and by the time I got home Friday evening I was truly suffering!   

My knee had not ached that bad since before I lost all the weight years ago!  And Leta be honest.  I e gained about half of it back!  I had known that I was teetering on the edge of the number on the scale where my knees typically really start to hurt really badly.   I had been feeling more and more twinges and hearing my knees creak and crack a whole lot more, but I had paid it no mind!  But Friday night I could not ignore it any longer.   Ohhh no I couldn’t!  I would move my leg and the pain would become more dull and I would breathe a sigh of relief...but within moments the pain intensified and I just ached!   Lovely.....not!

On Saturday morning I knew we were going grocery shopping/errand running.  My knee already hurt so I went to the closet and pulled out my bin of ‘supplies’.  I opened it and selected a knee brace.  As I was making my selection my thought was that the bin was truly my personal current cost of obesity. 

I have ankle braces, knee braces, ace bandages, devices for planters fasciitis, kt tape and wrist braces.   With the exception of the wrist braces.....it is all due to the excess weight on my body damaging my joints!!!   That bin is my current high price of obesity!

The price is high....honestly, higher than the price to lose weight.   You see.  I can restrict and manage my weight and eliminate SOME of the issues that I have created (some of the damage is done, but in my experience it is more easily managed and more easy to live with at a lower weight).  I can then live!   The cost of I continue is most assuredly knee replacements, wheel chairs, walkers and living a life where there is no mobility...or at least greatly reduced mobility.   Which cost is higher???

So, knowing that I am teetering (and crossing) the line where my knees really bother me has made me realize that it’s not so or die time in terms of my health.  There is no more fiddling around!  It’s time!

There are two things I can do:
1.  Lose weight (the biggie)
2.  Exercise:  arthritis can be managed through exercise!  A personal trainer once told me that I need to build up the muscles around my knees in order to take up the slack for the lack of cartiledge.

I took it easy on Saturday and wore the brace a lot.  But on Sunday it was in the upper 40°’s and lower 50°’s.  So we headed to the mountains near us.  We headed for a trail to hike! I knew it wasn’t going to be a fabulously long hike.  Not was it a fabulously difficult hike.  My knee couldn’t handle it.  But I know that to fix the problem I have to be active.  

We weren’t counting on there being snow...a couple inches.   But it was fun!!

I was careful and we only went a few miles.  But I have started to take back my life!!!!

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

I can’t be broken: nothing but victory

When someone talks about living a healthy lifestyle the first thought is always diet and what foods to eat.   Immediately following the thoughts of diet is exercise.  While those two aspects are indeed huge components of a healthy lifestyle there is so much more involved in a healthy lifestyle.  One of the biggest and most overlooked components is our emotions and mental state, which I touched on in one of my most recent posts when I talked about daily life stress    But beyond daily stress, what baggage do we have in our life that is hindering us in regards to achieving a healthy lifestyle?


A few weeks ago I was listening to the song ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ by Pink.   (Lyrics and link to the song at the end of the post). I was thinking in terms of weight loss.  This weight loss journey may beat me down...it may make me bleed and cry but it was not going to win...I would not be broken!  In the back of my mind I planned to write some (I am sure it would have been most decidedly amazing) post about the song and how it was my battle cry...and I would have victory!   The words for the post were forming in my head.  But then something happened to change my mind about the direction that I wanted this post to take!


I was driving to work a while back and the song ‘Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken’ started to play.   Naturally, I started to sing along. I knew that the song would be sticking in my head and I would probably be humming it all day long and into the weekend (as this took place on a Friday.)  I laughed a bit and knew immediately what Jason would say when he caught me singing.  What would he say?  ‘I love to hear you sing, you have such a pretty voice.’ I smiled as I thought this...simply because how lucky am I to have such an incredible man love me!    But followed upon those happy thoughts were the unpleasant memories of my previous relationship.  They were memories of the ridicule I faced when I sang and the derision I heard about my voice which could never be as good as the ‘so called professionals’ he worked with.    Wow!  Where did those memories come from was my thought!   Regardless, I kept listening to the song and woah....the words took on a whole new meaning for me!


I felt the emotions and pain of my previous relationship even as I felt the power surge through me with the thought that those experiences did not break me!  Nothing held me back!  But then all of a sudden I was sobbing.  I knew in that one clear instance on a snowy morning commute that the baggage of my ex marriage really was holding me back!   Emotionally AND with my quest for a healthy lifestyle!  Emotionally?   I DON’T sing out loud as often as I do in my head.  It is just a trained response.  ‘Don’t sing in order to to avoid ridicule’, my mind screams.  I know that there will be NO ridicule in my relationship with Jason, but the baggage is there...the damage was done.  I started singing years ago (when I left my ex) and my voice is coming back....but it’s a slow process as my mind slowly rights itself.  There are other hang-ups, some more personal, some silly and some serious, but they are there and through the love of an amazing man, I am working through them.  The baggage created in a very unhealthy relationship took up residence in my mind years ago and now I am working evict those thoughts!

 

That revelation was deep enough right?  Apparently not.  My mind just kept swirling and I had a startlingly clear epiphany about my weight loss efforts.  Yes, I desperately want to lose weight.  I want to be healthy.  I want to be happy.  I want to be thin. I want to wear amazing ‘thin’ clothes. (Because let’s face it, thin clothes are usually prettier and more stylish than ‘fat’ clothes.)  I want this.  BADLY.    So why am I not working my butt off (figuratively AND literally) to attain it?  The answer was clear that morning while I listened to the song.   Why not?   The answer was simple…all of this baggage creates a fear within me to change the status quo.   It’s plain and simple fear.

 

I lost my weight the last time to MAKE a man love me. (Which didn’t work…..and looking at what I have now….thank heavens it didn’t, I’m in a much better place and way happier than I would have EVER been in that previous relationship.)   But for so many years my head was wrapped around the idea that weight loss would ‘help’ my relationship.  Because of that thrust to lose weight to save the marriage, the weight loss and weight gains in my mind became  the reason he cheated on me.  (No matter what I was, my ex always made it clear that the ‘other way’ was better…and I DO know that he cheated because he was a scoundrel...it just took me a while to realize that!) So that day it became clear that I fear making the changes…because if I do, I am upsetting the balance of  my current relationship and putting it at risk!   How utterly stupid am I?  


So let me think for a minute about this.  Jason has made it clear that he loves me right where I am and any weight loss/weight gain does not change who I am.  He tells me all the time that I am gorgeous to him now. He has also seen pictures of me at my lower weights and he likes what he sees there….in terms of my body.  But honestly, what he notices about the ‘thin’ pictures is NOT my weight difference.  What he notices in the old pictures is the sadness in my eyes.  Weight is NOT an issue with him.   I should have NO FEAR…he just wants to see the sparkle of happiness  in my eyes!

 So if I heed the baggage in my head I lose no weight and gain nothing.  But what happens if I banish that emotional baggage?   I gain a more healthy body.  I can have a   body that can more easily  ride the mountain bike trails on my trusty bike.  I can have a body that can more easily hike up and down mountains.   I can a body that can allow me to live a healthy and active life…with the man that only wants to make my eyes sparkle with happiness.  


Yeah, it’s time to start living to my fullest…….because Wild hearts Can’t be Broken. (Click for link to the song)

 

Lyrics:

I will have to die for this I fear
There's rage and terror and there's sickness here
I fight because I have to
I fight for us to know the truth

There's not enough rope to tie me down
There's not enough tape to shut this mouth
The stones you throw can make me bleed
But I won't stop until we're free
Wild hearts can't be broken
No, wild hearts can't be broken

This is my rally cry
I know it's hard, we have to try
This is a battle I must win
To want my share is not a sin

There's not enough rope to tie me down
There's not enough tape to shut this mouth
The stones you throw can make me bleed
But I won't stop until we're free
Wild hearts can't be broken
No, wild hearts can't be broken

You beat me, betray me
You're losing, we're winning
My spirit above me
You cannot deny me
My freedom is burning
This broken world keeps turning
I'll never surrender
There's nothing, but a victory

There's not enough rope to tie me down
There's not enough tape to shut this mouth
The stones you throw can make me bleed
But I won't stop until we're free
Wild hearts can't be broken
Wild hearts can't be broken
This wild heart can't be broken

Monday, March 04, 2019

Could it be: reasons for the lack of success

Here we are again.  It’s Monday and the beginning of the week.  I can’t say that the weekend was anything spectacular in terms of healthy living.  But the weekend was exactly what I needed....a whole lot of simple pleasures and relaxation.  I did have a revelation that may or may not be what had been affecting me in my weight loss journey.   What was it? It’s all about stress and the affect that has on a body!

Stress?  What kind of stress am I under?  Seriously, I am deliriously happy in my relationship, what could be the issue?  Well let me backtrack a few months.  In Early December my employer took me off of one team and put me in training for a different team.  It was the same computer systems, which was nice. But it involves totally different procedures and rules.  No problem.  I learn easily and quickly so training has been a breeze.  Three months of training which brings us to the here and now.  It is time to launch this new product and go ‘live’.    As I mentioned before, I learn easily so ‘no problem’.  Except that there is a problem.  I still have many unanswered questions.  When asked the answer is ‘we still haven’t been informed’ or ‘we haven’t figured that out yet’.  What???  My ease of my job and the level of my job performance and the quality of my work (meaning the happiness of our the clientele I work with) is dependent upon these questions!  As if that is not stressful enough.  One week we are told the way to do a procedure, but it is very possible that within a week or two that the information will be changed to something totally different.  (As evidenced by a huge change..in a 42 page document that we were given minutes before we left on Friday...when we go live first thing on Monday). I’m not blaming anyone...it is just the nature of the beast when launching a new product and the support that accompanies the said product.  But...it leaves the nerves frayed a bit!  Regardless, I thought I was doing great.  I learn easily so quickly I became the voice that answered questions and the one  that coworkers have looked to.   For quite a few weeks I have been spending a portion of my days talking coworkers off the ledge in terms of stress and frustration.   I have reminded them that it WILL be chaotic and stressful but give it a few weeks and we will feel like pros. My pep talks have happened frequently and more and more often as the launch grew closer.  I was the strong one.....or so I thought.

I left work on Friday and could tell I felt jittery and off balance.  But it wasn’t until I got home and saw the welcoming smile and felt the warmth of Jason’s embrace that it came crashing down.  I had a complete  meltdown and all of MY pent up stress came pouring out.  It was somewhat surprising as I had no idea that this was all burning a hole inside me!   

The weekend has been a lot of me worrying and/or me trying to avoid thinking about what very well may happen today (we are supposed to launch...but there is a slight chance we won’t...at this point though I almost just want to do it and get this over with!).  Poor Mertz senses my unrest and spent the weekend watching me and trying to be as near me as possible....to offer comfort.  And of course Jason has been a trooper in his support and love.  Ready or not, here we go!!

I had this revelation about the stress and realized that the stress had most likely been burning a hole within me for a while.  Early Saturday morning (awake super early unable to sleep...darn stress) I realized that quite possible the silent ravages of stress had been affecting my weight loss efforts in February.....in case you didn’t know, the results were a bit dismal  I’m not using the stress as an excuse...I am the one in control. I’m just saying that stress probably drove some of my actions within the month of February.  Stress most likely drove my though processes and actions.   I would like to say that knowing this changed my behaviors this weekend.  It wasn’t awful, but my calories were high!  

The weekend was just what I needed. A time to decompress and just enjoy time.   We isn’t so much of anything note worthy, just enjoyed time together.   The two things I will mention:
* If you haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody...the movie about Queen, do it!!!!   We rented it (5.99 on Amazon) and it was well worth the money!
* How connected are you with your partner when you get the exact same fortune in your cookie that he gets???!  Yup...it happened on Friday night!!

So, here I am at the cusp of a new week!  I’m still filled with trepidation at what lies ahead.  But it’s life and therefore I have no choice but to face it head on!   The stress is here.  Now that it had raised its ugly head I am hyper aware of it lurking within and doing its damage in my thoughts and physical being.  I know that the stress will have an affect upon my weight loss efforts not just in the physical aspect of how my body works internally, but also with how my mind and emotions react with food.  I am going to have to guard against the stress eating and poor choices until these new job tasks become second nature!  

Friday, March 01, 2019

Out with the old, in with the New

Welcome March!  I for one am happy to pay February to rest for lots of different reasons.  I am more than happy to get one step closer to spring and summer.  March means a time change so we can get away from the infernal darkness (seriously...all week long in the winter...I barely see the sun because I am sequestered in a building...aka working, and the evenings are...dark!).  The other reason I’m ready for March?  Well, February wasn’t a great month for weight loss!  There was effort for sure!   But there was not a whole lot of success!

Let’s start with the goals for the month!  I had some monthly goals....let’s see how I did!!!

1. Track every bite of food. Victory!!!!!  I managed to continue tracking every bite!
2.  Put money into my savings. Success!!!  I managed this AND managed to also pay for my name to be removed from the property that I continue to co-own with my ex!  (The process is still in the works...but getting closer to completion!)
3.  Weigh less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!   Failure!  Big time failure!  I not only do not weight less, but I weight more!   My only positive is that I remained within the ‘three pound range’ of fluctuation that I am ok with!  I actually somehowmanacrd ONLY a 0.6 pound Gail for the month...so a half pound gain. Grrrr!

4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week. Not a total failure!  I did manage to get a bit more exercise this past month.   I managed to start running ....on the weekends.  I also managed to get a few lunchtime walks in (amidst the snow and cold).  But a consistent three times a week?  Yeah that didn’t happen!  Failure!

5.  Keep my calories within my caloric range at least six days a week....with and emphasis on getting the calories to the lower end of that range as often as possible!  I didnt do too badly with this...surprisingly!  But I didn’t nail it.  The first week of the month I did great!  The second week of the month I did horrible due to a holiday and a planned splurge on a weekend trip.  The last two weeks of the month weren’t horrible.  

So where does that leave me?  For one, I am Disgusted  with myself for wasting a month of effort with nothing to show for it!  But it leaves me with an idea of what I need to do in March.  I have my goals for March.  (The same goals as February actually...I need to totally nail these goals before moving on and adding new ones!). But I also have some ideas of changes that I need to enact.  So I guess it’s time to get into the goals and changes!

Goals for March:
1.  Track every bite of food
2.  Put money into my savings
3.  Weight less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week.
5.  Keep my calories within my caloric range at least six days a week....with and emphasis on getting the calories to the lower end of that range as often as possible!  
6.  Step goal on my Fitbit.  150,000 steps for the month.  

As you can see it is the same as February except that I added a sixth goal.  150,000 steps for the MONTH scares me. (Much to my shame)  My job is very sedentary and if I don’t do anything but get up, go to work, go home and make dinner  I end up only getting about 3 thousand steps a day.   This is a pitiful number of steps!  I SHOULD  be getting 10K steps!    But for the sake of doing these changes in baby steps, I am aiming for 5k steps a day.  (And I’m even giving myself a total free day...150k steps is 5k steps for 30 days...March as 31 days!).  This goal scares me...even though I know it had the potential of being VERY easily obtained!

So what are my plans?  

1.  I am going to focus on foods.  The sweet treats, even though they are calculated and entered into my food tracker are weighing me down.  I also knowfrom past  experience that if I eat too many carbs that I do not lose weight.  So I need to work on limiting that!  I just need to clean up my eating!

2. Exercise is another area.  I have promised myself so many times only to break that promise and vow ‘tomorrow’.  Well I am making the promise of three times a week.  When I wrote about this in a recent blog post, Sarah from 3purplethings.blogspot.com commented about promises.  She commented that she makes a promise to her husband or family members and she keeps it.  So I need to start thinking of these ‘tomorrow I will start’ comments as promises to myself.  I respect other people and therefore keep my promises to them...now it’s time to respect myself and keep my promises to myself.  This will involve actually scheduling exercise into my daily routine.  But I’m going to do my best!!!

I think that is enough planning and plotting for the moment!  I KNOW that I have what it takes to make this happen!  I know that I have it into me to lose weight and lie a healthy lifestyle!!!!  Now is the time to do it!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tomorrow never Comes

Tomorrow….doesn’t that sound like a wonderful promise?  Tomorrow is the day!  Tomorrow is the time!  I will start it tomorrow!  Just a little bit right now…but tomorrow I’ll be good!    I can go on and on and on with how many ‘tomorrow promises’ I have vowed through the years on this quest to be healthy.   Over and over and over!   But tomorrow will NEVER come with that mentality.  I will never with the war against my weight and my flagging fitness levels if I always vow that ‘tomorrow’ is the time. 


I have been doing the ‘tomorrow’ thing an awful lot over the last few days.  I have been doing it WAY too much actually.  “I will just eat one strawberry Twinkie tonight because tomorrow there will be no strawberry Twinkie to pass my lips!” I said that on Sunday night and I really meant it!    I also said something very similar on Monday night!   I meant it on Monday night too!   Tuesday night?   I said it with a bit more confidence!  Oh don’t get too excited.  I only had more confidence because of the fact that the box of Twinkies was getting more and more empty!  I knew that there was a chance that there wouldn’t be any more the next night!   But even so…..On Tuesday night I vowed, “No splurges on Wednesday….or for the rest of the week!”


(As a side note...I have tracked every Twinkie though and with the exception of a splurge day here and there remain within my caloric goals!)


Tomorrow……I have been vowing to start my fitness regime…. I’ll just start it tomorrow!    I have made some efforts on the weekend….when it’s easy!   But the hard part of actually going out to do something after an 11 hour work day (when I add in the commute I am gone from my house almost exactly 11 hours).  I vow that tomorrow…or next week, things are going to change.  But tomorrow never comes.

This has to change.  Tomorrow has to arrive.  All of those promises that I make in earnest have to become reality.    If I want to change, I have to make the changes in my thinking…..I need to keep my promises that I make to myself.  I need to simply DO IT!


So ironically, I started to write this post and literally when I completed the first paragraph, I received the daily quote from my manager.   It couldn’t have come at a better time…because it talks about the yesterday’s and todays.   It is perfect for me…..I can’t worry about the false promises I have made in the past.  I can’t even dwell on the victories I had this weekend…or last week.  I have to focus on TODAY.  Not yesterday….not tomorrow!   So,  are you ready for the quote?




Monday, February 25, 2019

A dead horse: repetitive cycle in weight loss efforts

How many times have I said this is it, things are changing?  How often have I said, enough is enough?  How many restarts?  I feel as if I’m a broken record as I stumble through this weight loss journey!  Seriously...I’m beating a dead horse with the same lines. The same words.  The same approach.  I want to lose weight.  That had never changed!  But when it comes time to put in the effort I begin to struggle.  I struggle with giving up my favorite foods.  I struggle with starting a consistent exercise routine. I struggle with consistency!  And therefore, I struggle with losing weight.

Seriously...how many restarts/fresh starts have I written about on this blog? Here is one where I made a plan, a vow, a fresh start!  I can garauntee that there are many many many more!  But you know what? That’s just fine!  It’s ok if I have 100, 1000 or even 10,000  fresh starts during the last 14 years that this site has been in existence. Why?  Because it shows that the desire is still there!  It does however also give me a very good idea of my weak spot....longevity!  But it shows that I’m still in the game!

So yes, fresh start!   February has not been a stellar month for me.  How so??   Exercise had been practically non existent.   Eating had been  spotty...some good days, some mediocre days all interspersed with some bad days.  And the worst part of the month???  I am perilously close to ending the month and showing a gain on the scales!  I am still within my three pound range that I’m ok within, but there is NO loss for the month!  I told you it’s bad!

Can I pull aome magic out of the hat and somehow show a loss for February?  It’s possible!  Honestly I have my fingers crossed....but likely?  Probably not!  In the meantime I’m going to knuckle down and really focus on staying committed to being healthy!  That includes nutritional eating (eating for nutritional value and what the food does to fuel my body) and adding good exercise into my life.  

This weekend I made a good effort on the activity front (I did eat some nutritional food also...not 100% on target but not off the rails bad either!)

On Friday I walked on my lunch break!  It was colder but still a nice break from the day!

On Saturday morning I made it out for a run!  

And on Sunday we walked for about an hour or so AND got a 20 minute bike ride in through our neighborhood!   (Sorry no pics!)

So I have made an effort!!!!!!  No I need to work on consistency!!!  I’ve got this!  I CAN change my life!  I can live healthy!!!!


Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday!!!

I know I know!  I took a day off work on Wednesday due to snow...so I shouldn’t be so anxious and ready for the weekend to get here.  But I am!  I can’t help it!

This week was NOT a stellar week in terms of my health and the healthy lifestyle that I want to live.   Let me recap!

Ok eating.  My weekend was super high in calories.  Higher than I’ve been in a while.  I knew it was going to be that way going into the weekend. But it still left me feeling...well...guilty!  Guilt is not something I want to feel should I chose to indulge for a single day...or a single weekend!  I will be having to think and ponder on  this a bit deeper in the future. Honestly, I didn’t realize what I was feeling about the weekend was guilt until just right now.     Before I go on.  Let me say...my weekend wasn’t horrible.  I was right at 2000 calories. Both days.  Theoretically that should still have me lose a half pound a week!  But be that as I may.   I came back and got myself under control...with my eating in terms of calories!   (With the exception of Wednesday, the snow day!  And even then I was only at the top top of my ‘acceptable’ range.)

Exercise....well I started out strong on the weekend with an outdoor run!  I promised myself that I was running after work on Monday and Tuesday (as a starter and any further days would be decided based on the weather as they were forecasting a ‘significant snow storm’).    I had great intentions.  I got in my car after work and knew I was running....within a half hour I was waffling...back and forth.  ‘I’m running...no I’m not running, I’ll start tomorrow...no I’m doing it’.  Back and forth for the whole hour drive!  I didn’t run on Monday.   On Tuesday I was determined!  I was running!   Yeah...I had the same argument in my head on the way home on Tuesday also!   My fat mini me won!  (My mini me is that voice in my head that tells me I’m fat.  It’s the voice that tells me to eat the cake and cookies...to not exercise and that when I am exercising that I can’t do it!!! Mini me had made many appearances in posts within this blog.) On Wednesday it was snowy and Jason and I were both home from work.   We got out and walked for about an hour in the snow! Walking through 6 inches of unplowed snow is a workout!!!  

So because of that the week wasn’t a total bust in terms of exercise.   (Oh Thursday I gave up and didn’t even plan on running...shame on me!)

So I guess when out that way, the week hasn’t been a total waste.  I did do something exercise (a run on Saturday, a short walk on Sunday and a long walk on Wednesday). And while I was over  goal on calories for the weekend it wasn’t insane AND I went right back to normal eating when we got home.   My weight is not budging....but I plan on tightening my belt and making that move!   I’m tired of wasting time...not being focused and not seeing results.   It will be hard today...I was halfway down the road when I realized that I had left my breakfast and lunch at home....and tonight is always order food for deliver for dinner which is typically my splurge meal for the week.   So I have to be careful my options that I chose in the cafeteria today!!!!


Thursday, February 21, 2019

I want:

I want......  Really.  Stop and think about how to finish off the beginning of the sentence!  There is no wrong answer.  There is no way to get this pop quiz wrong.  Simply, what do you want out of life.   What are those dreams, goals, visions of the future???  What do you want?

I want...ok, I keep wanting to break into song......’I want money, lots and lots of money’.    (Why yes I did just age myself by referencing a song that came out in 1989.). But I keep saying to myself...I want....and while money does seem like a really good answer, that is NOT the driving force behind my dreams and hopes.  We have recently been talking a lot about our goals and dreams for our future...lots of little things...like renting versus buying....working for someone else versus setting up shop for ourselves (ok for him, replacing my car that had 253k miles on it, etc . Lots of things for the future...and in that regard we are working on cleaning up some loose ends from our lives ...things that we have both procrastinated doing...things that just need to be done.  (My name off of the property that I owned with my ex is one of them!).   But as we have talked we have set up plans On how to reach these goals and steps we need to take to get where we would like to be at some point in the future.   We have declared 2019 the year to clean it up and seriously work toward the future.  But that made me think...what do I want in terms of my health and fitness?

I want......

I want to live a healthy life and be able to hike mountains, ride a wicked bike trail, go on some crazy adventure, do anything I want to and NOT be held back by my weight and lack of physical fitness.

I want to feel good in clothes.  I want to be able to shop anywhere and not have to say ‘I can’t fit in the clothes at this store...maybe someday’.

I want to be as physically fit (or better) as I was a few years ago!  I was still overweight, but I was pretty active and pretty fit!!!

I want to live.  I didn’t find the love of my life until I was in my 40’s (and he really is the love of my life).  I want to be with him for many many more years to come.  Can we make it to 50 years together?  If I take care of myself I can live into my 90’s!!  So yes it’s possible...and we are aiming to celebrate 50 years together!  46 more to go!  (And we are so happy together...even if just taking a walk in a snowstorm!)


So what is the plan I need to follow???   What do I need to do to attain these goals???  Change my lifestyle!   Continue tracking...religiously watching calories and get out and move!!!  That’s what spurred me to run on Saturday before we left for our weekend adventure!   The actual goal with a definitive plan!!



Monday, February 18, 2019

Missing in Action in weight loss land

I know, I know, I know!  I have been mysteriously quiet in my blog.  Last week I did manage to post two times...but while I was proud of the content, they were seriously lacking in personal details about my healthy lifestyle/weight loss life.  That is because they were things that I had written a week or two earlier....I wrote nothing last week.  I know...that is typically a bad sign in any weight loss blog/website!  I don’t know what happened to me.  I just really was not feeling the journey last week!  REALLY not feeling it!

So did I go off the rails with my eating?   Absolutely not!!!   Through my lackluster attitude I continued to track each and every day!   I actually managed to keep my calories within my goal range except for two days. The first day was Friday  and I WOULD have been ok except for one thing....Girl Scout Cookies.  I’ll get there in a moment.   But for the week I didn’t do too badly.  I didn’t get any formal exercise through the workweek and while I had fleeting moments of thought about it, I just didn’t ‘feel’ it.  So I didn’t.   Bad choice....sometimes we have to do things we don’t particularly want to do!  Saturday was just plain and simple a planned indulgence as we were away for a weekend getaway (more on that later also!).  Friday’s calories were 1900...Saturday’s?? 2200!  Yikes!!!  I haven’t even put in yesterday’s calories yet...that’s coming up as soon as I hit the publish button on this post. I don’t expect it to be super high...but it’s not 1200 I bet!!  I rarely go over 1500...that’s my normal ‘high’!

Something clicked at the very end of the week last week and I knew that I wanted to be thin.  I knew that I wanted to be healthy.  I knew that I was willing to make the changes necessary.  So on Saturday morning while I laid in bed in my cozy warm cocoon,  I knew what I had to do.   I had to leave that warmth and go out for a run.   Out in the cold!  I scowled.  I moaned.  I delayed it as long as I could...but I knew I had to go!  So I crawled out of bed and went for a run before we left for our weekend adventure!
Short but brutal run is done!
I did it!  And I took a picture as proof!!!  They say the first step is the hardest...we shall see!!!  It may have been negated by the planned indulgence in my food when while we were away...but I at least took the steps to try to even and balance things out!!

Sooo Girl Scout Cookies?   On Thursday, the owners of the building that my company is located within had one of their giveaway/events in the lobby.  (Sometimes it’s a dessert bar, sometimes it’s free popcorn...any number of things) They do this particular one every year about this time.  What is this one?  They give out Girl Scout Cookies!   Not a cookie, they give everyone a box of Girl Scout Cookies.   Last year I got my box of Tagalongs and immediately went home and packaged them up in ziplock snack bags... two in each bag.  It worked splendidly!   This year I wasn’t so smart! I opened the box on Thursday night and extracted the amount of cookies I wanted to eat (aka what my calorie count had room for).  I carried those cookies into the living room and savored them!    Friday nights I made a fatal flaw.   I grabbed the box and took the box into the living room.  I extracted 4 cookies (two servings which is bad to begin with...but at least still somewhat limited!). I ate them and continued to watch tv.   That box stared me in the face.  Do I really have to go into detail about what went down?suffice it to say that the EMPTY box went into the garbage can when I got up to go to bed!   700 calories of Girl Scout Cookies....the Tagalongs!!!  Well that was a stupid move!!!

As previously mentioned, we planned  to go away for the weekend!  We were both so utterly excited!!!!  We went to our favorite hotel...and just enjoyed stepping away from the normal hum drum aspect of life.  It was a good weekend.   We relaxed.  We hit up some stores and did a little bit of outdoor activities.  (It was cold and breezy so not too much).  It was just what we needed.   I may have even needed a weekend of ‘planned aplurge’ To step away from the constant onslaught of emotions and thoughts that are constantly forefront in my mind in regards to my choices about food.  And now it’s monday and I am ready to rock this healthy living!!!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Ruler of my Weight: What rules my healthy lifestyle choices

I am in the midst of trying to change my lifestyle to one that is more solidly based on healthy principles.  This is an awesome and wise shift in thinking.  But along with that I think it is important to figure out how this unhealthy lifestyle came about. Or in other words....what rules my lifestyle choices.

Now there could be a multitude of reasons why someone finds themselves overweight and why the maintain that higher unhealthier weight.   It can be different for each and every person who is battling this journey.  It can be simply that a person is a social eater and happens to be very social.  It could be a hormonal problem or based on a side affect from medication.  (Just to name a few).  But for me?  Food is my addiction.

An addiction is the ruler of my life...and the mastermind behind my weight problem.  I’m lucky...I’m not addicted to some illegal substance.  I’m not addicted to nicotine.  I’m not even addicted to caffeine.  (Not anymore).  I’m addicted to the power of food and how it makes me feel.  But I’m unlucky because a food addiction is so frequently overlooked as a valid and real addiction in today’s society.

I eat for happiness.  I eat through sadness.  I eat because I am addicted to the ‘high’ or feeling of contentment that food fills me with.  

I recognize this.  I have talked about it quite a few times over the years   But talking about it doesn’t make it easier.  It’s not an excuse. But it IS a stepping stone for understanding why I am the way I am.  The knowledge IS a tool that I can use to overcome my battles with my weight and healthy lifestyle journey.

Luckily, a food addiction is one that is not based on a physical addiction...so when I deny myself I won’t be physically ill.   But rather....it’s a mental addiction....an addiction in the mind.  It’s just as hard to overcome...but with the knowledge of what my ‘ruler’ is, I have a better chance at overcoming!  

With this knowledge I can remind myself that I handing a second helping will not make me feel better....even though my addiction tells me that it will! I have to tell myself that the indulgence in the dessert when I’m not really hungry may make me feel better emotionally...but only for a few moments! And addiction based emotional response is only temporary. I have to retrain my mind to not listen to the voices of the addiction that tell me to eat!  Knowledge is power!

So what is your Ruler?  What was the catalyst to your current weight?  What is the internal reason that brought you to this point?   Once you have that figured out, you can make a plan to really fight whatever demon caused the excess weight!



Monday, February 11, 2019

Stars stars everywhere: a plan for staying on track

Over the multitude of years on this healthy lifestyle journey I have changed my operating procedure quite a few times.  I have tried all sorts of things.  I have counted points with weight watchers and calculated calories with a variety of different websites and apps on my phone.  I have monitored exercise with stickers in 
my day planner and kept track of my running in a running journal.  I have swung wildly through various different means of organization as I work on this lifestyle. 

 There is no right way.  Something that works for someone may not work for someone else.  One of my friends shuts down if it becomes competitive….yet I thrive on competition.  Just look at   me a few years ago when Jason and I had a competition going with running. I worked to match him mile for mile because I was NOT going to let him get ahead.  I didn’t want to lose and I DEFINITELY wanted to gloat!   So competition works for me!   Sometimes though, what worked for me last month or last year  might no longer work for me.  It really is a constant adjustment to match our tactics and efforts to stay the course on this healthy lifestyle with up to date and current ideas, plans and goals.
A while back I was using a streak tracker.  I liked it, but it was hard to ‘live’ because if I fell off track one day it messed up my streak.   I stopped using it because it didn’t allow me to live and be healthy....it was too restrictive. 

So that brings me to my current thought.  I don’t know how well it will work and it may be gone by the end of the month,  but I’m going to give it a go.  I have seen something similar over the years and I have done versions of the same thing over the years, usually just for one aspect of my healthy living.  It just seemed like it was the right thing to do at this point in my life.  I quickly decided that I wanted simplicity.  I didn’t want an extra notebook or extra anything, it had to fit into my life…and any tracking had to fit into my current day planner.  So without further ado, I announce my star plan.
This is a very simple plan.  Every day in my day planner I will be giving myself a star for certain activities.  I am giving myself some ‘freebie’ activities that are easy to earn the star and some stars require more work.   So what can I do to earn a star?
1.        Track my food every day. (an easy star)
2.       Weigh myself every day .  (another easy star)
3.       Exercise at least 20 minutes, 4 days a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s walking, running, crawling or whatnot….exercise 20 minutes!  (not so easy star……well it’s easy to do….hard to get going to do it!)
4.       Keep my food level in my appropriate predetermined range….for me this is between 1200 calories and 1530 calories.  (why those calories?   1530 is the amount that myfitnesspal says I can eat and still lose 1.5 pounds a week….which is still a respectable figure).  I figure that this needs to be done 6 days a week.  (Ok, it should be 7… and most weeks I can manage that just fine, but I need to account for ‘life’ happening and embrace the fact that there will be failures!)
5.       Stay on the low end of my calorie goal 2 days a week.  This is 1300 calories or under.  Realistically, I would like this to be lower also….but once again….I’m embracing life and saying “I would rather lose slowly but in a healthy sustainable manner”
So what does this mean?  35 stars per week would be an absolutely perfect week.  It would mean that I tracked and kept my food at 1200-1300 each day, I weighted every day AND I exercised each day for 20 minutes.   Absolutely perfect!  But I’m not aiming for perfect.  I am aiming for   living life and making this work for me and allowing myself to have days where I stumble.  SO to have a win?  I am aiming for 26 stars each week!

26 stars each week.  
For the month of February (28 days) I need to accumulate 104 stars
For a month with 30 days, I need 108 stars
For a month with 31 days I need 110 stars.

Easy peasy!  It is a silly mind game….it is a stilly method to keep myself on track.  But guess what…every time I open my day planner, I’ll see those stars and know what I need to do!   It may be silly, but if it works….that’s all that that matters.