Is it October already?

Just looking at my calendar and realizing that September is almost over.  Where did the summer go?? Still a ton going on here. 90 days into the new job and still think it was the best decision we ever made though it isn’t getting any easier. The move was hard on all of us and there are days we look at each other and say “remind me why we did this?”

Those are the days we pack up a picnic and some towels and go to the lake. Something about seeing that lake, that huge expanse of water framed by gorgeous mountains soothes our souls and gets us back on track. This weekend I took my son camping and that was nice, though the park we went to was a bit too close to the highway and all the noise from the motorcycle rally going on in town.

But waking up to the sunrise, making hot chocolate for my son and scrambling eggs for the early risers was a great start to the day and the week.

I’m still struggling to get in enough exercise. Riding my bike to work a few times a week is not enough.

I’m also struggling with eating too much. I know that is a response to all the stress, but it’s not a good response. I thought I’d done the work I needed to do to change that.

I guess I can call it a success that at least I am aware of what I’m doing. Nothing mindless about it.

Heading to my 30 year high school reunion this weekend back in Atlanta. It will be fun to see my family and friends. I kept thinking it would motivate me to exercise more or eat better, but apparently not. Well, its not about my waistline, is it? (I’ll keep telling myself that as I climb into a girdle on Saturday night!)

Hope everyone is doing well and know that even if I don’t get around to calling anyone, I think about you all the time. Call me or email me so I remember to take time out of my crazy schedule for the important things.

Kismet

I’ve decided that it is an omen that my new place is precisely 3.2 miles from work. So I can do a 5k every day on the way to work. How cool is that?

Moved in (mostly) last night and this morning. I have to wait until later today to get the power turned on, but I was able to heat water on the gas stove and make myself a cup of tea and a bowl of oatmeal this morning.

It’s so nice to have a place to putter around and move the furniture! It’s a furnished three bedroom and the owner’s taste is beautiful, but a little more fussy than what I like. So I’m packing away a dozen throw pillows and some of the more ornate dust catchers until we leave.

I can’t wait for my husband son to join me out here. They will be here July 1st but I get to see them on Thursday morning THIS WEEK when I fly back to Atlanta. Got tons to do to sell the house, so will be slammed for the whole time, but I get to see my boys, so I’m happy.

If anyone is ever in the Minden, NV area  – drop me a line.! I have a spare bedroom and the kettle is hot for tea!

Affirmations

I’ve been meditating and feel like I’ve made real progress this second week. For one thing, I found some affirmations to read/repeat every day and I love them. I also started listening to some background music, which really helps me focus. Something about filtering out the outside world gets me more focused and I think for about five minutes today I was actually IN THE MOMENT.

This is big for me – I usually live in the past and the future: worrying about what I’ve done and worrying about what I need to do. So just being in the moment was pretty great. So here’s what I’ve been doing (courtesy of healing.about.com)

Before You Begin
Decide what area of your life you want to work on and then decide what you want.  (Naturally, I wanted it all, so I did them all…..) There are several important points to know about affirmations:

  • Use the present or past tense.  Do not use the future tense.  You want your mind to know it has already happened
  • Be POSITIVE.  Use the most positive terms you can.  Never use negatives in affirmations
  • Write them.  As you are learning to do affirmations, write them down so you will remember exactly what you want to say.  Keep them short and very specific.  Personalize them with your name.
  • Believe.  Always believe that what you are saying is happening.  The more you believe, the stronger the affirmation.
  • Repetition.  Being repetitive and persistent helps to set them in your head and in your unconscious being.
  • Time.  Always have a specific time daily set aside for your meditations, affirmations and visualizations.  This will help set a pattern for you so you will do them daily.

Affirmations for Daily Living

  • I am at peace with the Universe
  • I love and accept myself.
  • I am unique and loving, loved, and free.
  • I am safe and always feel protected.
  • I acknowledge all of my feelings because I am in touch with my feelings.
  • I am surrounded with loving, caring people in my life.
  • I am loving and accepting of others and this creates lasting friendships for me.
  • I trust my inner being to lead me in the right path.
  • I do all I can every day to make a loving environment for all those around me, including myself.
  • I am always connected with the Divine Love in the Universe.
  • My inner vision is always clear and focused.

Affirmations for Health

  • I have the power to control my health.
  • I am in control of my health and wellness.
  • I have abundant energy, vitality and well-being.
  • I am healthy in all aspects of my being.
  • I do not fear being unhealthy because I know that I control my own body.
  • I am always able to maintain my ideal weight.
  • I am filled with energy to do all the daily activities in my life.
  • My mind is at peace.
  • I love and care for my body and it cares for me.

Affirmations for Abundance

  • I am a success in all that I do.
  • Everything I touch returns riches to me.
  • I am always productive.
  • My work is always recognized positively.
  • I respect my abilities and always work to my full potential.
  • I am constantly adding to my income.
  • I always spend money wisely.
  • A always have enough money for all that I need.
  • I am rewarded for all the work I do.

Affirmations for Peace and Harmony in your Life

  • I am at peace with myself.
  • I am always in harmony with the Universe.
  • I am filled with the Love of the Universe (edited that one a bit – it was Universal Divine Truth).
  • I am at peace with all those around me.
  • I have provided a harmonious place for myself and those I love
  • The more honest I am with those around me, the more love is returned to me.
  • I express anger in appropriate ways so that peace and harmony are balanced at all times.
  • I am at one with the inner child in me.

Affirmations for My Spirituality

  • I am free to be myself.
  • I am a forgiving and loving person.
  • I am responsible for my own Spiritual Growth.
  • I have given myself permission to be at one with the Universe.
  • My strength comes from forgiveness of those who hurt me.
  • I am worthy of love.
  • The more I love, the more that love is returned to me.
  • Love is eternal and ever-lasting.
  • I nurture my inner child, love her and have allowed her to heal. (this one was particularly poignant for me)
  • I am responsible for my life and always maintain the power I need to be positive and have joy.

So after reading out all the affirmations, I just sat, looking at the waterfall (yes that is a picture of the gardens outside my office – is that cool or what?) and for almost 7 minutes – well definitely five of them – I was IN THE MOMENT. Peaceful. Serene. Content. I have to admit, I got a little teary eyed. It was a different feeling for me. Still kind of sticking with me in fact.  I guess that is the point, isn’t it?

My Unplugged Sunday

I took the day off from technology on Sunday. I didn’t start off that way, it just sort of happened. I got up early and discovered Fred working in the yard, which inspired me to go out and do some yard work. I mowed the grass, and clipped and cleaned up and felt much better about my front yard. Then the Georgia Power folks arrived to fix the electrical line into the house and turned off the power, which put paid to my plans to go in and blog. So I decided to hit the backyard. My backyard has been a bit of a nightmare for almost a year. Fred and his brother very nicely put in some new doors and windows in the basement last year while I was having my surgery. Unfortunately, they didn’t clean up afterward. Also, there was a lot of stuff stored under that wasn’t properly covered/stored and the dogs got into it. Add in a years worth of leaves and tree debris and it was a MESS!

I got some gloves, garbage bags and dug in. 5 hours later, my patio was clear and the stuff was stored in the shed. I hauled bags of trash down to the curb and unwanted stuff to the truck to take to the Goodwill.

After that I was so bushed I just had a shower and some lunch and snoozed on my hammock for a while. After a while I thought about checking email and blogging, but decided to have a nap upstairs instead.  Then Jacob and Fred came home from bowling and dragged me off to the pool and out to dinner. So I never answered email, Facebook, cell phone, home phone or any other technology ALL DAY.

I can’t remember the last time I did that. But I liked it. It was good for my stress level. I think I’ll start doing that once a week – either Saturday or Sunday.

Well – my oatmeal is made, my vitamins are packed and my lunch and snacks are loaded. Guess I’ve gotta get the boy to camp and then get to work. Have a great day!

Triathlon Thoughts

Didn’t really stick to my goal of getting out and exercising before writing today. Instead, I woke up early – too early to exercise, and wrote for an hour before getting out on the bike.

This morning I rode 9 miles, mostly hills in 57 minutes. This included 3 stops to repair my chain. Have to get that into the shop today. I also need to by a CPSC approved helmet as neither of mine are. Never knew I was riding around with an unapproved helmet. Also want to get both tubes changed, buy a race belt and some body glide, which is supposed to help my socks/shoes go on faster and cut down on chafing.

I was watching videos of transitions last night and reviewing various check lists. I found a few web sites that I liked:

http://ironmakeover.blogspot.com/2008/11/check-it-off-your-tri-race-day.html

http://ironmakeover.blogspot.com/2008/08/your-first-triathlon.html

Well – gotta run to drop off the boy and make it to work!

Recipes

Woke up at 4:30 this morning. What’s THAT about? Oh – right! I said I would exercise before I write. Of course, it’s too dark to run or bike and the gym isn’t open until 5:30, so of course I HAD to write for an hour. Then I got carried away and now it’s 6:15. But I’m dressed for the gym, the recipes I was going to post are done and I’m heading out!

Quinoa “Fried Rice”

https://getsmartgetstrong.com/the-melting-point/eat/recipes/quinoa-fried-rice/

Mexican Crockpot Chicken

https://getsmartgetstrong.com/the-melting-point/eat/recipes/mexican-crockpot-chicken/

Accountability

Accountability is the most important thing I can do. Not just to lose the weight, but to keep it off forever. Heisenberg wrote about the impact of observation on quantum physics in his work on the uncertainty principal. Countless weight loss studies provide evidence that just noticing what you are doing and writing it down, has a big impact on success. On one of my favorite sites Livestrong.com is a great article with info on how to get started tracking. Here’s the important part in this quote:

… the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found in a study that those who kept daily food diaries consumed less calories and lost twice as much weight over time as those who did not. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/87406-keep-daily-diary-caloric-intake/#ixzz0qdOzR141

Twice as much. Now that’s a percentage that makes me sit up and take notice.

But are we all thinking: how boring? I know I am. And how tedious! How time consuming! Tell me about it! For years I have kept trying and starting. I used this form or that form. I tried this web site or downloaded this application. I used computers or a small notebook in my pocket. I just couldn’t get consistent. (I’m still not consistent). So I started to think about how I could make this a life long habit.These were my requirements:

  1. Must be easy – something with a database so I didn’t have to look up the nutritional info.
  2. It has to be fast.
  3. I need to be able to do it from wherever I am.
  4. Needs to be incorporated with planning so that I’m not surprised by my (Weight Watchers) points
  5. Need to be able to track my protein and carbs in addition to calories

Eureka! After buying several useless applications or downloading annoying freeware for months, I finally found a solution that works for me: the Livestrong app for the blackberry. It works and it works great – when I use it. The problem is that I get lazy and complacent and start to think I don’t need it. Then my weight loss slows down and I try to retroactively track a day. I know this doesn’t work because nobody remembers EVERYTHING they ate. Even what I can remember is usually a shock. If I eat just 300 extra calories a day, in a month, that’s two and a half pounds I could have lost that I didn’t.  Or in the maintenance phase, that’s GAINING 2.5 pounds a month, which is 30 pounds a year.

My Plan: So I am recommitting myself to journaling. The timing is right: I have a meeting with my nutritionist scheduled for July 7th. So I am going to track every bite I’m eating and post my numbers on my new Accountability Page. I will add more visibility into that equation by posting daily calories in and calories out (exercise) on Facebook.

Here’s how I made it even easier: I created saved meals online from my laptop that I can just pick from a list on the blackberry. Since I eat the same things for breakfast and snacks all week, then I can save those meals online by entering them into a past date (for example, go to yesterday’s page which I didn’t fill out) and enter the meals I’m going to have this week. Save that and now in the blackberry app, they appear as recent meals I can choose. So I don’t have to enter yogurt, almonds and blueberries, just pick Yogurt Fruit & Nuts from my list of meals. Same for my Protein Power Oatmeal, the Syntax Nectar protein drinks that I make. They are mostly with water, but I do one a day with milk, peanut butter and an inch of banana after my workout so I save it as PostWorkout Shake and can pick it from the list.

Criteria for Level 3 in the Melting Point Maturity Model. Consistent tracking is one of the things that separates the losers from the maintainers. In the past I have lost weight and lost a lot of it. But I know that if I don’t begin to track consistently, that I’m not going to keep it off this time. And failure is not an option.

You Gotta Think to Melt! So today was all about me looking at my list of habits, my plan for success and thinking about where I am on plan and where I need to refocus my efforts. Because I have a plan, I can check my actual activities and see where the variance is. Without a plan, you can’t do that. Do you have a plan? If not, maybe I can help. Leave me a comment with the following information and I’ll use some of those to create sample plans for getting started.

  • Age
  • Height
  • Current weight
  • Goal weight
  • Resting Heart rate in beats per minute
  • Fitness level: 1:invalid, 2:just starting, 3:moving consistently, 4:exercise maniac
  • Food restrictions: diabetic, vegetarian, kosher (Sorry – can’t do specific allergies)
  • Your schedule: Wake up at: get to work, school, etc by: get home by: go to bed by:

The Power of the Mind

The Power of the Mind I know how powerful my mind can be, but it is only in the last couple of years I have used my power for good rather than evil. For too many years my internal dialogue was along the lines of “You big fat loser” rather than “I can do anything”. I think that, more than any other change has really been the “switch that flipped”. I CAN do this. I’m smart, good at research and can put together a plan, plus the resources necessary to deliver on my plan. I am so much stronger than I thought I was. I can swim and bike and run and walk and lift weights and do kickboxing and yoga. I can build muscle. I can become lean and strong and healthy. This is so much more powerful than the negative voice. Try it and see.

The Truth About Abs is probably one of the most annoying programs I’ve ever paid money for, simply because of the volume of emails and info they dump on you. But I guess I did get my money’s worth and they do have interesting information. Some that I’ve used to good effect since today’s message was the inspiration for my post. You can read about  a fairly informal study that was done that I found interesting. It talks about how focusing and thinking about what you are doing harnesses the power of your mind. This increases the impact of the physical effort you are making. Good stuff.

Forgiveness was another area where I really needed to focus. I will probably always slip to some extent. But I am finished with beating myself up over a bite of cake or a sip of beer or three french fries. I slipped, I noted it down in my journal and I moved on. I did a day of protein drinks to compensate for the extra calories and fat and to ward off any munchie attacks. I know that when I eat simple carbs without a balance of protein and fat IN THE SAME MEAL, then I can have serious cravings that can sabotage me. The only solution I’ve found is to do a Lean Protein Train or LPT as it’s called on the beforeandafterhelp.com board. After a couple of days, the danger passes.

Perfect is the Enemy I bet you could guess that I have a perfectionist flaw? Yep, I want to be perfect. For years I thought, if I can’t be perfect, why bother? This applied to my work, my life, my health and even my writing. In some areas, I learned to be what I call a non-practicing perfectionist. At work I would have to deliver and though I would nearly kill myself with long hours and tweaking, it really wasn’t ever PERFECT. I had to learn to let it go and was always surprised that no one else saw all the flaws I could see. As far as my health is concerned, it took a long time to learn that there is no perfect. There is only the best you can do and learning from your mistakes.

To the Moon, Alice! I heard a story a few years ago about the first shuttle flight to the moon. When they later analyzed the flight path, they found that they were only on course 10% of the time. The rest of the time they were constantly correcting their course. Whenever I feel like I’m falling off track, I try to remember that as long as I keep making course corrections, I can make it to my goals.

Talking Yourself Thin I am a big fan of guided imagery. I love Bella Ruth Naperstak and her Health Journeys site. I’ve used the pain, surgery, fertility, grief, depression and weight loss products. I love them. When I was first getting started, I listened to them every night. I would fall asleep thinking about myself letting go of the fat that I was using to insulate and protect myself. I don’t need that barrier anymore. I am safe. I can let go of the extra 150 pounds that was no longer protective, but killing me. This is powerful stuff. You can write or mentally rehearse a script of your own that gently talks to your body and lets it know that things have changed. There’s no longer a reason to be fat. Embrace strength and health. Your body wants to do what your mind tells it, but its a slow learner. So if I told it for years that being fat was the answer to my problem, then it may take me years of retraining before that mindset changes for good and my body is willing to let go of the fat.

Set Point Theory One of the oldest cookbooks in my vast collection of cookbooks is called “Recipes to Lower your Fat Thermostat”. It came with a kit, I think, about changing your set point. The idea is that your body gets used to being at a particular weight and you have to make changes in order to get it to move and find a new set point. At the time, way back in 1985, I didn’t pay enough attention, the switch hadn’t flipped back then. But there are some amazing recipes for really healthy eating and as I flip through it, I’m pleased to see that the way I’m eating now, is the way the book guides. The reason I dug it out is because of an interesting post on the beforeandafter.com site yesterday. It was all about how when we lose a lot of weight, we tend to get stuck or plateau at set points we were at for years. I think that has been true for me. As I’ve approached each of these previous set points, I can see that it was really difficult to get the weight loss going again. Each time I had to crank up either my exercise routine or my focus on nutrition. Now I think that part of my success was that my mind was busy convincing my body that it was okay to move past that comfortable weight.

Have a great day and check out the Melting Point on the page link at the top. I would love comments, questions or any other feedback so I know what’s missing and what I need to add.

Melting Point Model

started work on the Melting Point Model tonight. Let me know what you think!

Finding Your Melting Point is all about moving from where you are now, to where you want to be. You may be familiar with the Capability Maturity Model, or CMM, used to assess the level at which a project, program or organization operates. Similarly, the Melting Point Model or MPM, can help you assess where you are in your development of key skills needed to lose weight and keep it off. Once you know where you are, then you can make some decisions about what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.

It’s all about choice. Organizations decide at what CMM level they need or desire to operate and you need to decide if your goal is to advance your MPM level or stay where you are. Do you need to move from MPM Level 0 to MPM Level 1 because you aren’t making progress? Or have you reached your goals and want to move to MPM Level 3 to increase your chances of sustaining that success?

There is no time line associated with moving from one level to the next. It’s not about how fast you get there, it’s about the journey. If you are successful at Level 0, congratulations! If not, then your first goal should be to move to MPM Level 1. Stay at MPM Level 1 until you master it and want to move on to MPM Level 2 to speed up your progress. If you stop being successful, then you may need to increase your MPM level to continue your weight loss journey. Personally, I am at MPM Level 2 now, and my ultimate goal is MPM Level 3 so that when I reach my goals, I will have learned the skills I need to stay at my goal weight. I’m not there yet, but that’s my plan.

Assessing Your MPM Level

Let’s start with where you are now:

MPM Level Characterized By: Description
Zero (0) Chaos May be unaware of need for a plan or process. Exercise and nutrition are not planned. Probably not losing; possibly gaining.
One (1) Change May be exercising or eating well, but neither is consistent and success is not always repeatable. Losing, but weight fluctuates up and down.
Two (2) Control You have a plan for incorporating exercise and nutrition into your life. You work your plan. Weight loss and improvements in fitness level are consistent and success is repeatable. Weight loss occurs at a healthy rate.
Three (3) Mastery In the maintenance phase, you monitor, assess and refine your processes and plan to maintain your fitness level and keep your weight within a five pound range.

Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do!

Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do! 6:43 am The problem with a fun weekend where you LIVE, but don’t stick to plan and Move and Eat right, is that moment on Monday when you step on the scale. I know my life and happiness should not be dictated by the number on the scale and it really isn’t. But when I step on and I’ve gained a pound I have to THINK of all the parts of the plan I might have ignored:

Move: Didn’t make it to the gym on Friday – cleaned house all day -apparently, not as aerobic as one thinks; walked all day Saturday, but nothing else; Sunday had the dizziness thing so didn’t get out for my bike ride. Uh oh!

Eat: Ate off plan at the Ren Fest: few french fries; a few sips of beer; half a hamburger with bun and with cheese and with ketchup; ate bbq pork two nights in a row instead of the roast chicken we forgot to take out of the freezer on Saturday morning; laid around and ate salty peanuts and drank water yesterday afternoon; ate dessert last night (pound cake with berries) which is supposed to be only for days when I eat on plan and the dessert is part of the plan. YIKES!

Live: In this area, I rocked: Lots of family time, time with my son in particular; a cousin to stay for the weekend; Ren Fest, a great new book to read in my bubble bath after the Ren Fest; lots of writing, which I love. Happy sigh.

Think: So I did some things right, some things that I need to work on so that I continue to Melt! I have to remember that this is not a pattern, and I can easily stop it being a trend by getting right back on plan today. Right now I need to get my power protein oatmeal, then get dressed and get out for a power walk. Still having a bit of dizziness, so  I will skip the bike until I can get to my doctor. Given my elevated tendency towards hypochondria, now I’m wondering if I’ve gotten some inner ear infection? A doctor’s visit. Hmm. Need to get my A1C done again, so that works out.

Progress I like this process of constantly re-evaluating my progress and tweaking my plan immediately. When I was a teenager, I would start a new diet on January 1st and when I gave up, I wouldn’t start again until the following New Year. When I was in high school, I would start over every season – I thought of it as the Winter Diet or the Spring Diet and so on. When I was in college, it was really once a month. Two years ago it started being every week that I really looked at what I’d done the week before and thought about what I was going to do this week. In the nine months since the surgery, I first learned to start over every day and now, finally, I’m beginning to start over with every meal.

Okay, gotta Move, Eat, Live and Think so I can Melt!