Start Saying Yes

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This is a quick and invaluable sound-bite of advice. If you’re stuck in any sort of rut, start saying “yes.” To offers made by friends, acquaintances, yourself. Whether you really want to do something or not. Say yes. Push yourself, challenge yourself, get yourself out there…yes, you’ll experience moments of discomfort and sometimes you’ll wish you had said no, but trust me…in the end, saying yes will get you where you want to be, surrounded by like-minded supportive people.

Ready. Set? Say yes!

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Stick To It. You Got This.

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Once again, I read something that triggered a flood of things.

I’m not saying that I agree with everything in the article. I am saying that I agree with some of it, and I’m also saying that the mindfulness it triggered is invaluable. At some point I will carry on about the value of reading and educating oneself on the topics of focus and interest, but for now I’ll stick to my point:

What do you do when you feel like you have a to-do list that is a mile long, and no way to attack it?

Would you believe that sometimes making the list longer actually makes you feel less overwhelmed and more productive?

Break things down into manageable blocks that you can tackle in blocks of time that you have available. As you start tackling small blocks in small blocks, you’ll soon see that what you’re doing is creating an inventory of useful blocks—materials you can use to build the life you want. While, volume-wise, you might be inclined to shy away from your extended to-do list, after examining the tasks you’ll realize (and be motivated by) how completely manageable they are. Start getting things done, start checking items off, and before you know it, you’ll have fueled yourself and generated momentum and enthusiasm that will keep you going.

And if you skip items, or check them off without doing them, remember to be gentle with yourself. But don’t forget, the more you do, the more results you’ll see, the more you’ll want to do, the more you’ll believe in yourself and before you know it, you’ll have the life you want. And you won’t be scared of losing it either!

It’s The Little Things…

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Last night, the healthy-living unthinkable happened. My food scale went kaflooey. The display was possessed. It wouldn’t shut off. Wouldn’t weigh my ingredients. The horror. The result was a sticky bread that needed several flour rescue attempts. (Which were successful.)

Then I got to thinking…what would I do without my food scale? I realized how reliant I am on it, how useful it is for me, and how ingrained it is in my routine.

It’s second-nature now. And that got me to thinking about how easy it is to overlook the little things, and not to be conscious of little things that matter, and how important it is to stick to the basics.

I’ve talked about best-selling business or self-help books and how they often are a re-packaging of the most straightforward and basic concepts. And I know what I’m talking about isn’t breakthrough. What I am trying to do is share what I did, successfully, in the hope that it can help you build your own program to help you be successful in achieving your health and fitness goals. I’m repackaging and grouping things in a new and unique way to help you meet your unique needs and goals while accounting for your unique constraints.

And then in conversation with a friend I found myself reminding her to take note of one good thing that happens each day. Small steps, huge differences.

My food scale worked fine this morning. “Crisis” averted. But a malfunctioning food scale served as a valuable reminder that I have the power and ability to make lasting, sustainable change and to develop new healthy habits…I’m reminded that I have created a new normal, and I’m reminded of the importance of mindfulness.

Sometimes it takes more dedication and mental toughness than others. Sometimes we have more perceived success than failure. But as long as we’ve started and are moving and are doing things mindfully–even the “bad” things, we will move toward our goals. And nothing will stop us, unless we let it.

Remember, be good to yourself.

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Slow is A State of Mind

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I’ve noted in some past posts that if you want to get healthy, the first thing to do is to “just” start. Do something. Anything. Don’t sweat the details. Pay attention to some basic math. Stay positive.

It’s not always easy but it doesn’t have to be hard either. And the more you look for them, the more signs you see that the uniqueness of your experience isn’t a unique experience in general. And there’s power in that reinforcement, strength in numbers. This article that I read this morning gave me a little boost, which reminded me that sometimes a boost feels good, even when you think you don’t need one. A boost can fight agains a downward trend or propel and upward one…in any case, take everything you get to add to your positive momentum!

So, how are you doing with developing new habits? Are you being attentive to what you eat, counting and measuring? Are you moving, steadily? Do you feel like you’re starting to understand your body and what it will respond best to? Mare you honestly assessing what your life and lifestyle will accommodate in terms of sustainable change?

I was at my sister’s this weekend skimming old Cooking Light magazines and in one of them they published some reader tips on what has helped them be successful…and one of them was, essentially, that it’s about you and you can’t rely on someone else’s plan. I tried to find the exact quote to put here but I can’t find it. The point is the same one I have been trying to hammer home.

But the issue that I am trying to tackle here is the how. How, when you’re busy and overwhelmed and unsure and scared, do you make dramatic and sustainable change? I’m trying to help you with that. Is it working? What else can I do for you?

And remember…when you’re doing anything you’re beating the person on the couch! The biggest risk you take is in doing nothing. Make your attitude a supportive friend and not a self-sabotaging enemy. Positive thinking. Affirm yourself!

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Burn To Earn. Don’t Forget.

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Simple math, burn to earn, expend more than you eat. Sounds implies right?

Great reminder in my inbox this morning that prompts this post, coupled with the fact that today I’m sweating my total intake and I’ve already been to the gym AND haven’t even had lunch yet. Ouch.

Some days it happens. But this email stated that being off by 100 calories a day can lead you straight to 6-10 pounds overweight. So if you’re trying to lose weight, or think y’re trying, you have got to avoid self-sabotage. I am telling you, it’s very rare that I underestimate portion size, and I’ve been weighing and measuring my food for about a year now. And this is why I still do. I work too hard to inadvertently undermine my own efforts.

Yesterday, on Facebook, a friend was mocking Kelly Ripa’s admission that she counts out 8 pistachios and adds them to her yogurt. Whether or not she is too skinny has no bearing…if you want to measure accurately, you have to measure.

So, if you’re just starting it and don’t want to commit to a food scale, count, measure, whatever it takes…just right-size your portions. Keep track of what you’re eating and what you’re expending. Tell the truth. Overestimate food and underestimate exercise. But you do need to count or measure. And I can’t stress enough that you need to write it down. I use MyFitnessPal. Check it out. But you can use whatever works for you. Find out how many calories you should be taking in to achieve your weight loss/maintenance/gain goals and stop taking in more than that. See? Simple. 😉

Running: Getting Started

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I’ve been promising (threatening) to talk about getting started with running if that’s what you want to do. I can’t say enough about the sport. Despite that, I’m not sure I can say that I love running. I can, however, say I over what running has done for me, I love what it is doing for me, and I look forward to every future running challenge I face, including heading out for the 4-miler I am scheduled for today, despite the fact that even on March 18th, temperatures are still below freezing. (Time to let go of the death grip you’ve got on us, Old Man Winter. And Mother Nature, whatever grudge it is you’ve got? Build a bridge and get over it already!)

I’ve talked a lot about getting started and how the most important thing you need to do if you want to make a change is to just start doing whatever. You can’t worry too much about the details, about what’s right or wrong, about what other people will think, etc. Think a little about what’s right and wrong…be smart…see a doctor first…start small…blah blah blah…obvious things like that, address them. But if you want to start running, start running!

And if you didn’t notice it in my time-lapse self-portrait above, no matter what changes, one thing is a constant. The smile. Because that’s how the sense of accomplishment I get makes me feel.

I followed this C25K program. It works! Read about it, educate yourself, get the app…whatever sounds good to you about what you read, go for it. Get started. There are a lot of great tools and gadgets that can make it easier. But if you don’t have access to them, that’s fine. Read the program and adapt it to what you do have. No timing device? Count to yourself, in one one thousands. It’s close enough. Need distances measured? Drive it in your car and rough it out.

What matters about this is that it’s a gentle progression, easing you in to running, allowing you repeats if you need them…it’s accommodating and flexible. You can find a lot of online support as you start out too.

At some point, I’ll start posting about that and giving more specifics. But for now, if you are like I was a few years ago, you want this. So go for it!

And let me know how you make out!

I’ll talk about next steps later!

UPDATE:I didn’t really want to do it but I had to and so I did. “4 slow miles are the same distance as 4 fast miles,” I tell myself. Coming home and seeing this reinforced it.

Another UPDATE: Knowledge is power. Another great read. Attitude is everything. Keep reading.

St. Patrick’s Day: March Musings

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Another great quote by Jim Rohn:

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  • Made my first corned beef and cabbage dinner yesterday. Slow cooker. It was awesome. It was a flat cut and not too fatty. With tons of carrots and cabbage and a few potatoes, it wasn’t even unhealthy. (Of course going out after dinner and drinking too much beer while bowling is another story…)
  • I’m officially training for my third half marathon. It’s on June 8. The weather here is still so cold, it’s killing me. But I’m doing it. One of these days I’ll give you details on how I got to this point with my running. Until then, keep moving. Or google “couch to 5k.” If I can do it, anyone can.
  • I made a bread last night to go with dinner. I added 1T of sugar and used almond milk with 2.5T of white vinegar (which sat for 5 minutes first) in place of the buttermilk. It was so good. I can’t wait for leftovers tonight!
  • Cottage cheese is a great snack.
  • And so are graham crackers with almond butter.
  • The whole Jenna Wolfe 30 day thing isn’t doing it for me.
  • I’m glad I went to the gym this morning even though I was tired.
  • You can do it!