Friday, October 25, 2013

Changing my Wants, Changing my Life.

When I see that someone is struggling and struggling and struggling, fighting every minute and every day to "stay on plan", it makes me wonder how I can best communicate the concept of changing your wants.

You see, we are in control of our wants.  The things we focus on, the things we "feed", will grow.  If you are "feeding" your desire to eat unhealthy things which only cause obesity, then that desire to eat those things will grow and grow until the tension becomes unbearable in your brain and you succumb.  And then of course you have just reinforced that desire and it will be stronger next time too, causing you absolute misery and giving you a "white-knuckle" experience all the way to your goal, IF you ever get there.

You will feel like you are holding your breath.  Some people can hold their breath longer than others, but in the end, you have to breath oxygen in again.

If your oxygen is fattening foods, sweets, fried foods, pizza, ice cream and the like, then that is what you will gulp down when you need air again and can't hold your breath a moment longer.

But how can you change that?  Seriously?  How can you CHANGE your WANTS, so that eating healthfully and mindfully and in a life-giving (not life-sucking) way is actually what you PREFER to the sludge?

How indeed?

You decide to intentionally change your mind.  For me, I got Dr. A's Habits of Health and made a study out of it.  I decided to turn off the Food Network.  I gave away all of my cookbooks that related to fattening foods and baked goods, none of which I wanted to be a part of my life anymore.  I set about intentionally changing my wants.

I stopped acting like a martyr.  I stopped feeling sorry for myself.  My body began to change.  I saw the benefits of my hard work.  It became easier to "want" to maintain the new healthy body I was growing in to.  I felt less tense, less like I was holding my breath.  I focused on healthy Lean and Greens.  I focused on beautiful vegetables and different ways to prepare them.  I focused on moving my body more.  I decided I liked the way my body feels when I'm running.  I like to feel the muscles in my legs propelling me forward.  I love to ride my bike.  I love to take walks with my family.  I love being active, and feeding my family in a healthful way.  There just isn't room in my life to even DESIRE the stuff that will not assist me in living a healthy and vibrant life.

Do you see?

But what if I had continued to focus on the cake?  The candy?  Continuing to white-knuckle it?  Continue to plot ways and plan times that I could rationalize indulging in just a "little bit" of it? 

Then I would still be holding my breath.  Or I would be close to 300 pounds by now.

The choice is very simple.  At least from my perspective it is.  Change your wants, change your life.  Things don't change, people do.  Are you truly committed to CHANGE?  Or are you turning blue holding your breath?

Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Snapshots of Life....The Highlight Reel

Yesterday was my birthday and it was the most amazing day of my life.  Bar none.

Do you ever feel so happy that you wish you could just take a bottle and bottle up all the happiness, just incase you will need it when the hard times come (and they always do....)?

That is how I felt yesterday.  There is nothing in my life that I regret.  There is nothing in my life as I am currently living it that I am ashamed of, or wish was different.  My son is doing great with his health (he got a successful kidney transplant at age 3, and is now 9 and still doing awesome), my husband is in good health and I love him, I am in good health and I love me, and we are just in a wonderful place right now.

I attribute all of these things to God, and give thanks to Him for giving us the tools to be responsible with our health and our finances.

Things have not always been this way.  A few short years ago, I was squandering both my health AND our finances.  We were in credit card debt up to our eyeballs from the transplant and from poor spending decisions in general.

And I have two words for "how did you change?"

Baby.  Steps.  Of course the DECISION had to be made first to DO so.  But the implementation was done with baby steps.

We took control of our health by utilizing Take Shape For Life as a tool and making incremental changes in our daily routine TOWARDS health.  We made a FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE to BE healthy, then began acting like we meant it.  Our outsides caught up with our insides.

We took control of our finances by listening to Dave Ramsey, finding new ways to increase our income (thanks again TSFL!), and making incremental improvements in our daily decisions and daily routines TOWARDS the commitment to someday become DEBT FREE.

Working on becoming DEBT FREE is similar, I think, in the dynamics of the process, to working on becoming a healthy BMI.  Both are ideals that you commit to, and both require daily consistent action, action that includes a prescribed set of principles that if we DEVIATE from, will give us SET-BACKS and move us further from our goal instead of closer to it.

A relapse in either area looks the same, it is deciding that what I want which is right in front of me (instant gratification) is more important to HAVE or to CONSUME (they don't call us "consumers" for nothing!) than our goal to be DEBT FREE or a HEALTHY BMI is at that moment.

And we succumb to the temptation.  That is what a relapse in either area looks like.

For ONCE in my life I have BOTH of these areas under proper control and management.  I am controlling both my body AND my money, instead of allowing my body or my money to control me, or to be out of control is more like it!

Chaos reigns in my life in BOTH of these areas when I'm not mindfully holding the reigns and THINKING about the direction I'm headed and WHY with every eating/drinking decision AND every spending decision.

SO!  Baby steps.  Am I a healthy BMI?  YES! 

Am I DEBT FREE?  Can I get on Dave Ramsey's show and scream "I'm Debt Free!" at the top of my lungs?  No.  But we have a plan to become so, and that plan is in motion.  And LIKE the plan to become healthy, if we set our sights on something and move a little bit closer to that something every day due to purposeful ACTION and yes, some sacrifice and deprivation NOW, we WILL be.  It is just a matter of time.

There is nothing wrong with deprivation and sacrifice when you are working on a goal that is greater than that THING or FOOD you are choosing NOT to have NOW.  Like Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else now, so that someday you can live like no else." 

And this is true in health AND in finances.  I don't want to be "normal" in either of these areas.  I want to be exceptional. 

Rinse and Repeat!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Anatomy of Recovering After a Slip

Have you slipped this month, this week, or today?  Is that weighing heavy on you, is that affecting your decision making process today in a negative way?  Is it killing your self esteem or your hope that you CAN do this?

I know that about now those donuts someone brought in this morning are sitting in the break room, and you have been avoiding the break room for the last 2 hours.  I know that someone may have JUST made microwave popcorn and the smell is wafting down the hall.  And that person, who EVERY FREAKING YEAR brings that bowl of candy miniatures and sets it on the reception desk a full MONTH before Halloween is up to their old tricks again....and your day really boils down to charting not the quickest path from the parking lot to your desk, but the path of "least resistance", meaning that you won't have to use up ALL of your self-control energy before 8:00 am on weekdays just getting to your cubicle/office.

Oh, I know.  The perils of Halloween month are many.  And sometimes we even engage in forms of what turn out to be self-sabotage although we went about it innocently enough.  You know those conversations you have with yourself from the day after Labor day through October 31st when the big box stores put out the bulk bags of Halloween candy and you think to yourself  "I oughta get that now, because the price is pretty good and it would be good to have that taken care of in advance" you do.

Do you know WHY they put those bags out the day after Labor Day?  Because they know that if you bring one or two of those big bags home you or your family will eat it in 2 weeks and you'll need to buy another one.  The psychology of marketing is NOT in the favor of those of us trying to get healthy.
Remember this truth:

YOU can turn that around in the blink of an eye, with one DECISION to make your next meal a Medifast One. This plan starts working RIGHT AWAY when you open up a packet, you don't have to wait until midnight or "tomorrow" because we don't have "diet clocks" that reset at midnight. Our bodies consistently respond to what we put into them NEXT.

If your NEXT decision is not a healthy one, your body will respond in kind by getting bigger. TODAY.

If your NEXT decision is to follow the 5&1 as written in the Quick Start Guide, if you open up a Medifast Meal right NOW you ARE ON PLAN today.  Then finish out TODAY on plan. Not tomorrow. Not next Monday.

Lastly, be KIND to yourself. We didn't get here overnight, nor is the solution an instant one in terms of results, but it IS an instant one in terms of action.  We are SO hard on ourselves and we beat ourselves up beyond recognition when we "fail" (our words).

See your entire journey is defined by your VERY NEXT DECISION.  The one that you are ABOUT to make.

This program is a powerful tool in the life of the person who utilizes it per manufacturer's direction.  The MOMENT you have your next Medifast Meal is the MOMENT you change your life.  Then, add time and water.

You ARE worth it.  As am I.

Rinse and Repeat!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Et Tu, New Year's Resolutions?

I posted a similar sentiment on my Facebook Status today about New Year's Resolutions, but wouldn't it be AWESOME if THIS YEAR you could set something for your New Year's Resolutions that ISN'T "To Lose Weight"?

Wouldn't it be cool to actually be able to think about some of the OTHER dreams that you have swimming up there in your brain, dreams that have all been on the backburner because you have yet to accomplish the "losing weight" bit?

I said "How about THIS year you become 30 pounds lighter between now and January 1st so that you can set a DIFFERENT resolution to accomplish in 2014?  Because the "lose weight" resolution was already HANDLED in 2013?"

How freeing would that be?  Tell me, what WOULD your New Year's Resolution BE if you were already down 30 pounds from now to then?

So many people use Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve as an absolute EXCUSE to getting healthy NOW.

Here's what I say:

If nothing changes, nothing changes.

As you are NOW, SO SHALL YOU BE.

Meaning, you are only going to make the same decisions tomorrow that you are willing to make TODAY.  NOW.  THIS INSTANT.  YOUR NEXT CHOICE.

Your next choice, your next action, is a solid predictor of where you WILL be with the passage of time.  The actual passage of time, based on a Calendar, with January 1st being the start of the New Year.  You want to "get healthy" in the "New Year?"  Well, this year, today, was part of LAST year's "New Year".  Are you making solid progress?  Are you excited about creating health in your life? 

What's your plan TODAY to get healthy?  Are you implementing it habitually, day in and day out?  Or will you wait until 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time on December 31st to make yet ANOTHER resolution "to get healthy.......someday."

The choice is yours.  Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

We WERE Emotional Eaters

Ever wake up and just not feel it?  Not be "in" to it?  Not be "excited" to do it?  Not be "jazzed" about it? 

Ever wake up and feel...ambivalent about what you will eat today, ambivalent about your Lean and Green?


Why do I say that?  Because you are now beginning to understand that this process does NOT have to be an emotional roller coaster in order to work.  We don't HAVE to feel all gung-ho and motivated and rah-rah every single day or risk crashing in to the gutter.

We CAN continue to decide, on a rational basis not an emotional one, that we will go about our 5&1 day anyway, no matter whether we "feel" like it or not.

And it is imperative that we do exactly that.  Because we were emotional eaters, we don't have to be emotional dieters.

What is an emotional dieter?  Someone who only sticks to the plan if they are feeling like it.  Tell me, do you consult your feelings when you fill up your car with gas?  Do you consult your feelings every morning when you wake up, to determine whether you feel like staying married to your spouse today or not?  Do you consult your feelings when you go to brush your teeth?  No?  Then don't consult your feelings every day regarding whether you will stay on plan.  Just stay.  On.  Plan.

"But my motivation, my resolve, what do I do when it isn't there?"  Or,
"I'm worried because I'm not super excited about doing this anymore, my meals are getting boring and I'm kinda tired with the process".

Simple.  You do the plan.  Just like any other day.  That is, if you desire to achieve your goal of attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.  Quit relying on your emotions all the time to determine your action.  Emotion actually FOLLOWS action, and sometimes it doesn't.  But either way, your fat doesn't care how you feel.  Your fat responds to what you do or don't put in to your body.  Simple. 

So determine with your MIND that this is a commitment, whether or not you are "feeling" it, you chose this.  YOU chose this, it wasn't foisted upon you by someone else.  So stick with your commitment and do this thing.

Rinse and Repeat!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Projecting Today's Choices on to Tomorrows Landscape

I used to not be so good at this.  I'm still not great at it in some areas of my life, like when the running clothes from yesterday stay in a heap on the floor where I stepped out of them, only to be rediscovered about 15 minutes before I wanted to go running TODAY.....

Consequences.  Long term consequences for today's decisions. 

What decisions?  Well you can take ANY decision and draw it out to its long-term conclusion. 


Many of us a quite responsible individuals in most other areas of our lives, but when it comes to the EATING decisions, we have blinder on. 

Part of developing a fit and healthy mind is honing our projections skills regarding the eating and drinking decisions we make this INSTANT. 

We teach our kids to THINK about the long-term consequences of our actions, yet many of us who have struggled with our weight our whole lives truly struggle with grasping this concept.

It is as easy as this:

"If I eat off plan TODAY I won't reach my HEALTH GOALS.

First, we have to actually define what it is we are after, our health goals, so that we HAVE something to tie our daily decisions in to.

What do you want to create with this process?  I asked myself that 3 years ago.  And I created it.  Through daily staying on plan.  Through setting goals, managing projections, curbing unhealthy habits and adopting Habits of Health.

Did you know that achieving your health goals is entirely possible, and can be boiled down at present to drinking that bottle of water you have on your desk which you haven't touched for 2 hours?  Go ahead...take a moment...unscrew the cap...drink the water in the next 5 minutes, then go fill it up again.

And the long-term consequences of this seemingly small, seemingly inconsequential act are that you are promoting your health goals.  You are in the process of BECOMING WHO YOU WANT TO BE, who you KNEW YOU COULD BE, one sip of water at a time, one intentional, mindful act of program compliance at a time.

Did you measure your half and half this morning for your coffee?  I did, because I am in the habit of doing that which promotes my long term health goals.

What are my long-term health goals?  Not a number on the scale.  My long term health goals when I began this program 3 years ago were "To attain and maintain a healthy weight".  That turned in to "To attain and maintain optimal health" which has turned in to "To attain and maintain Ultra-health.

=)  And I am doing just that. 

What are YOUR long-term health goals? 

Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What we Think, we Become.

Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your words for they become actions.  Watch your actions for they become habits.  Watch your habits for they become your character.  And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.  What we think, we become." - Margaret Thatcher's Father

“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”- Mahatma Gandhi

Proverbs 4:23, ESV Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
There is quite a bit of wisdom contained in the above quotes.  Much more wisdom than I will ever have, but I can borrow wisdom from others just fine!  =) 

I think one of the reasons that I can remain so focused is that I have developed the ability to see the connection between the first and last sentences of both of those long quotes.  Your thoughts become your destiny.  You BECOME your thoughts.

You see, when we develop certain habits, certain routines, and practice them over time, the result is an accumulation of that habit, which started as a thought.

Are you, am I, reigning in our thoughts?  Are we practicing discipline in our MINDS?  Or are we watching food network, pinning ummy-nummy recipes on Pinterest, browsing the candy aisle at Walmart "just for fun", buying our Halloween candy 4 weeks in advance knowing in the back of our minds that we'll probably get into it ourselves this week?

Honesty with ourselves, guarding our minds, guarding our thoughts, guarding our hearts, how many of us are really doing this?

When I began to really take a look at this in my own life, I was confronted with some attitudes and behaviors that, frankly, I didn't want to give up.  But then I began to see the connection between what I was spending my time thinking about, and what I was DOING.  Then what I was DOING on a regular basis became my HABITS and ROUTINES.  And as a morbidly obese 40 year old woman walking with a cane and needing a seatbelt extender on the airplane, getting stuck in the turnstiles at Disneyworld and having to be let through the stroller gate....with no yeah, it is safe to say that my habits of disease were KILLING me slowly, and sometimes not so slowly if I'm 100% honest and if I remember the chest pains I was beginning to experience but was in absolute denial over.  The huffing and puffing and getting out of breath walking in with the groceries from my car....and I had no stairs.

Yes.  I took a good look at my thoughts.  And my heart.  And the absolute concrete connection between those and my state of health stared back at me from the mirror every day when I weighed 272.  Which is why I had stopped intentionally looking in to mirrors.

The stark contrast between my state of mind THEN, what I chose to focus on THEN as opposed to my state of mind NOW, and what I CHOOSE to focus on and think about now is as clear to me as the contrast between my before and after picture.

Immense.  Stunning.  Unbelievable. 

And it is because I intentionally began to reign in my thought life, reign in my heart, and I began to incorporate habits of HEALTH into my life. 

It doesn't happen by accident.  If I can impart a word of experience here, from someone who lost and gained 140 pounds, then lost it again and am keeping it off now, it is to MEMORIZE the quotes and scripture above.  They are SO true.  Borrow my borrowed wisdom.  Don't make my mistakes.  Guard your heart.  Guard your mind.  Guard your thoughts. 

Rinse and Repeat!

Whatever We Tell Ourselves is Possible, That is What We Will Do.

If I tell myself that I cannot follow this plan, I won't.

If I tell myself that I CAN follow this plan, then I will.

It is literally up to me.  I am not a victim of my own actions, I am in CHARGE of my own actions.

I am not a victim of my own thoughts, I am in CHARGE of my own thoughts.

When we get past the limitations we have placed on ourselves is when we move from "not doing it" to "doing it".

So what are you telling yourself today?  Because whatever it is, it is true.Rinse and Repeat!