Sunday, August 31, 2014

Yesterday: Pictures of Food; Today: Schedule It

Yesterday's goal was to take pictures of my food before eating it.  It's something that has been suggested by others, but not something I have ever tried.  I did succeed in following through on this goal, all for you, my loves.  I must say, I grew tired of doing this and definitely would not have stuck with it had it not been specifically tagged as my goal for the day.  So, I allowed a loophole - if it had no points, I didn't have to photograph it.  The no point foods in Weight Watchers are fruits, most vegetables, and diet soda or other items with zero calories.  The fact that I did not have to photograph something did have the effect of making it a more appealing choice to me.  If you are a fanatic facebooker or instagram person, I imagine you would not have found photos of food so cumbersome, but I think, whether you like pictures or not, this tactic does improve mindfulness.

In addition, this tactic reduces the tendency for "selective memory".  As an experiment, I attempted to remember the food I had eaten and to track it this morning.  I planned to splurge for this day, and splurge I did.  Even with attempts to eat healthy, such as picking chicken and salad for the main course, and dutifully removing the (delicious) skin, I had a staggering number of points.  I remembered these healthy choices, and a few of the less healthy ones, but I missed the smigde of bacon and pea pasta salad, a helping of chips, and one beer.  This totaled 13 points, about half my daily allowance in one day!

I will definitely have to focus on food this week.  Weight Watchers allows up to 49 points a week of splurges, and I have only 11 points remaining!

By the way, the purpose of this party was to reveal the gender of my (second to*) next family member.  My sister is having a GIRL!  I am so excited to be an Aunt to to meet my first niece in January!
* (My brother is getting married in November, so the next family member, technically, is another future aunt.)

I almost forgot TODAY's goal!  Today's challenge is that it is Sunday.  It seems to happen every week, and not that I am complaining, but, I spend many Sundays at home in my kitchen.  I work at my kitchen table, I buy food and put it in my kitchen, and I prepare food for the week in the kitchen.  As such, I eat. As soon as I think to myself, "What shall I do next?" and devilish little voice chimes in and says, "Eat something!"

So today's goal is to write out a little schedule for the day.  When I wonder what to do next, I'll look at my list, pick something, and do that thing.  I will eat, but not until it is time to eat, or I am truly and honestly hungry.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Yesterday: Eggplant; Today: Pictures of Food

Yesterday's goal was to find a recipe that uses eggplant that is easy, appealing, and not covered in cheese. I found a recipe that meets the criteria - a simple pasta sauce that doctors store bought sauce with ground chicken, peppers, and, of course, eggplant.  The recipe looks delicious and I fully intent to make it very soon.  But, I had to drive to a construction site 4.5 hours away today - and back.  It makes for a very long day and barely had the energy to whip up a Smart One TV dinner and a salad.

Today is a new day.  A new, challenging day.  I am attending a party at my sister's house, and I have yet to successfully master a party.  What can I say?  I like brownies.  I like beer.  I like to try every thing on the table.  I hover over or near the food.  I feel naked without a drink in hand.  If you can think of things that people should do when trying to stay healthy at a party, I can generally assure you, I do the opposite.

I've tried a few tactics with varied success.  I've read the (very good) advice of others.  These include things like eating the vegetables, drinking diet soda, being the helpful cleaner, offering to run or play the games, and staying away from the food table.  I've said with conviction that I would do these things, but I have yet to avoid reverting to my near frenzied state of brownie inhalation by party's end.

Today's tactic is to take a picture of each item I eat or drink.  I'm hoping this will increase mindfulness and decrease consumption.  But, we shall see.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Yesterday: Water; Today: Eggplant

Yesterday's goal went very well.  I dutifully drank my water (as I do every day) at breakfast and in the car on my way to work. These two times are habits I established years and years ago, and though I do sometimes forget my water bottle on my way out the door, I am pretty good with those two times. 

I have also worked re-filling the water bottle into my routine, though I almost always forget to drink it.  But not yesterday.  Because it was my goal of the day, I grabbed it at 12:39 when I realized I had missed most of lunch time, and went outside.  There was this weird glowing ball in a beautiful blue sky.  Fluffy white clouds drifted past the ball from time to time.  The air was balmy and 82 degrees.  Could it be sunshine?  My star(s)!  I drank my water and did not stay out for too long, but, it felt good.

I re-filled the bottle and drank it on my way home at 8:30 pm. (boo) I nearly forgot the drive home water as usual, but remembered when I was about 15 minutes into my drive and thinking about how I might manage to wait for some chicken tenders to cook without gorging myself on breakfast cereal.  (Answer: gum.)

So, score one for me!

Today's goal is to use up some eggplant from the farm share this week.  I struggle to find recipes that I actually feel like making and eating, other than ratatouille.  I'd like to have another go-to under my belt, and hopefully it won't be loaded in cheese or breaded and fried!  It is probably asking too much, but it would be really nice if my better half would eat it too...but I'll settle for something healthy and yummy (to me).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Yesterday: Something Active; Today: Water

Yesterday's goal was pretty non-specific for a reason.  I already missed one exercise goal this week, and I LIKE exercise.  The problem is my stupid job gets in my stupid way a lot.  I have several things to catch up on after vacation, and several things due on September 12.  It is not very far away. 

The pressure adds stress and I just can't seem to tear myself from my desk at lunch time.  In fact, I tend to smell the food of others or hear the microwave humming before I look up from my frenzy and see that it is 12:39.  I do the same thing in the evening and miss classes at the gym.  I have access to a treadmill - several in fact.  I also live on the border of a state park, own a mountain bike, have a Wii, and can pull any number of dusty workout DVD's from my shelf.  You'd think I could do SOMETHING.

That's what I thought too, so I made it my goal.  I DID get up and go to yoga in the morning.  That's something, right?  Well, I hoped to do more, but I guess I'll have to take it.  The real problem is stress, and yoga relieves it.  Mission accomplished...I guess.

Today's goal is to drink more water.  Specifically, to drink a full 24 oz re-usable bottle of water three times, plus water with each meal.  I have been very thirsty lately, and this causes me to eat.  Though I am technically thirsty, like many people, my brain is a little slow on the interpretation of the thirst requests.  Apparently, the body uses Greek for these requests, but the brain only speaks English.  One would think it could pick up a word here and there. 

This goal is inspired by one of the Weight Watchers members at a meeting I recently attended.  It was a "crash" meeting (one I do not normally attend), and little dings kept going off on her phone throughout the meeting. All the other members would say, "Water!" as she would sip from her bottle.  That's one method.  I'm not going to go to that extreme just yet,  but I do need to get rid of this thirst.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yesterday: Track Before Eating; Today: Something Active

Yesterday's goal was to track before eating, and I successfully met this goal!  Yay me!  I don't have much time for specifics as I am going to be late for work, but trust me, this is a good one and it will be used again.

Today's Goal:  Do Something!  Anything!
Wednesdays are tough for me because I usually get up early to do a great yoga session before work.  After work, I pick up fresh veggies from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share, and I like to get them prepped for use.  This takes at least an hour and sometimes two.  So I never go to the gym.  Top this off with added stress at work this week as I catch up from my time off, and its a no-exercise disaster.  I can't promise anything on this one folks.  But even if I go to my yoga class, I suppose I'll tally one for me. Hopefully I can do more...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yesterday:Workout Buddies; Today: Track Before Eating

Yesterday's goal was to workout at lunch with some co-workers, and, umm, well, by golly... I thought it would be at least a week before I had to fess up to coming up short.  It hasn't even been 24 hours!  But, one of the ground rules is NO LYING.  (More ground rules at the bottom of this post.)

So, honest to goodness, I didn't work out.  See, what happened was, I left my clothes in the car.  And then what happened was, my friend sent me an email at 10:30, suggesting we catch up on each other's vacations over lunch.  And... I hesitated.  I really did.  But, well, I went with her to Pei Wei.

Oh, it gets worse.  You know that workout at the gym that I always do on Mondays?  Well, see, what happened was, my cat is limping since we got back from vacation, and I called the vet.  They said I could bring her in for a 5pm appointment, and, well, I chose to get my kitty some medical attention rather than sweating at the gym. gets worse.  The cat did not limp at the vet.  She did not whimper when prodded, did not protest when poked, and only mildly flicked her ears when the vet tried to make her walk by using a laser pointer.  I left with some glucosamine supplements and a business card so I can take a video recording of the behavior, IF, in fact I am not delusional about the whole thing and just enjoy forking over $60 for kitty laser tag.

So, life got in the way of my plans.  This happens ALL THE TIME, and I promise, though I hadn't expected to address this aspect so quickly, I did expect to address this.  It brings me to another ground rule: THINK POSITIVE.  This was not a failure, but a conscious priority shift that I do not regret.  I will throw this goal into the rotation again soon, but I find it is better to pick a different goal rather than try one that didn't work right away.
TODAY'S GOAL:  Track Before Eating

On the Weight Watchers Plan, each food is assigned points, and members are assigned a certain number of points to eat each day.  Other plans require accountability in different ways, and, if you are weight watching on your own, you should probably count calories.  There are a TON of websites out there devoted to this, and you could probably try a different one each day.  But, the one I used before Weight Watchers was called Fit Day (Click here).  Others may have suggestions for this.  Please add to the comments section.

The good news is, there are lots of ways to track and lots of apps, spreadsheets, plans, and websites devoted to this.  I have even heard pen and paper works.  The bad news is, you've got to track.  I wish it were not true, but it is.  Tracking makes one mindful and accountable, and is the best way to commit to a weight loss or weight management goal.

I've been out of control with snacking lately, and by the time I am done shoveling it all in, I can't remember what I had.  I can tell you, its too embarrassing to list, and any attempt at a list would most certainly have omissions.  So, I'm going to track BEFORE I shovel it in.  But, for today, I have no goal with regards to the number of points I consume.  If I'm hungry, I'll look up the points value, measure out what I want, and commence shoveling.  Wish me luck!


I'm picking a goal, small or large, easy or challenging, to help me keep my health in the foreground of my consciousness.  I have been most successful in my overall goals when I focus on the small things.  When I am successful with JUST ONE THING, I find joy, because, at least I did one thing well that day.  When I come up short on the one small thing, I find forgiveness, because, it was just a tiny task and only one aspect of my day.

Here are a few guidelines for this little scheme o mine.

1.  The Goal Must BE POSITIVE.  For instance, suppose my goal is not to eat one of the Klondike bars in my freezer that day.  AAANCH (how do you type the sound of a buzzer?) This means of stating said goal is in violation of rule number one.  A goal of eating a lovely peach for dessert instead of a Klondike bar is much better.

2.  NO LYING.  I don't think explanation is needed for this one, but it is a rule because it is really hard to follow!  Its amazing how many times you will manipulate reality in your own mind before you will suck it up and admit you fell short.

3.  THINK POSITIVE.  Again, no explanation needed, but its also hard to follow if you are really and truly following Rule Number Two.  When life prevents you from meeting your goal, follow the three A's: Assess; Accept or Adjust.  Think about it for a second.  Why didn't you meet your goal?  Was it a one time event?  Was your goal silly, stupid, or just plain boring?  Was it unrealistic?  Can it be broken into a smaller step?  These are all things I will walk you through when I fall short on my goals.  (For instance, today:  It was a lack of commitment to the goal, and a conscious decision to do something else.  I accept that this happened, and I plan to adjust by emailing my workout buddies first thing in the morning, so I will be more committed to following through next time.)

4.  BE ACCOUNTABLE.  Without writing down my goal, I am only kind of maybe gonna meet it.  Or maybe I'll change my goal six or seven times, and then sort of kind of forget what it was.  Blogging, of course, is an option for holding yourself accountable, but I've had success emailing someone, emailing myself, and writing it down on a post it note and putting the note where I can see it.  Heck, post your goal in the comments - even if you want to do the same goal as me.  But, you've got to make it yours by writing (or typing) it.

5.  BE REALISTIC.  Look at the day ahead and what it has in store for you.  Do you have a picnic or party to attend?  A lunch meeting? Visiting a friend or relative or airport or grocery store?  Look for any and all challenges associated with these events.  Many times, there are many challenges to choose from, such as an after work dinner meeting that keeps you out of the gym and in the open bar line before eating a meal complete with pre-served dessert.  Some times, its just a boring old day.  OK, so you know the challenges and then you freak for a second, and then you pick one thing that you CAN do.  I CAN drink diet soda instead of three beers and a glass of wine.  I CAN skip the dinner roll.  I cannot skip the dessert.  I cannot leave half my plate uneaten.  I cannot get up super early and burn the calories before work.  These things I know.  The goal should be something you are motivated to do, and you will do it.  If you're not up for skipping the drinks and the dinner roll and the dessert, skip one, enjoy the others, and be proud that you were able to do that ONE THING.

6.  CHANGE THE GOAL DAILY.  This is really more of a guideline than a rule.  However, I personally find that doing the same goal for two whole days in a row, even if I enjoy the results, is boring.  I have a short attention span.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Today: Workout Buddies

Today is a Monday.  I will go to work as usual, with a packed lunch.  I will go to the gym as usual.  Mondays are Biking Days, and I'm pretty darn good at showin' up to that class regularly, if I do say so myself (thanks, for the most part, to my Biking Buddy.)  No special challenges today, but I am coming back to work after a much needed vacation. Read:  I'll probably have a lot of catching up to do, and I'll be tempted to skip my lunch time workout.

Today's goal:  Join my workout buddies for a lunchtime session in the basement of our building.