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So who’s with me?
But that reluctance also means that I’m not falling in love with new things either. Playing it safe is definitely something I don’t advocate, and I’ve been telling you guys to choose your dreams over security. I don’t think good health should be a dream – it should be a natural state of existence for all of us. Yet we’re one of the fattest nations in the world, and since we’re a ‘developed’ country we should know better.
One Foot In Front Of The OtherI am in no way saying that I’ve fully transformed my habits of eating after just one week. What I am saying is that, after putting forth effort, I am pleasantly surprised that making healthy choices not only feels good, but tastes much better than I expected.
The catalyst for this blog post was today’s mini-epiphany. I’ve been following a meal plan I got from Oxygen Magazine, and honestly I wasn’t thrilled by some of the suggestions. I’m a mac & cheese, cheeseburgers and fast food kinda gal, so you can understand why couscous, frozen berry smoothies, pita bread and mixed greens didn’t appeal to me. This extra weight doesn’t appeal to me either, so I was willing to give their way a shot.
I told myself that I’d just try each new suggestion and if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t eat it again. Let me tell you how surprised I was that I’d like peanut butter, banana and honey on whole grain bread; melted cheese and tomato in a pita; key lime and strawberry cheesecake yogurt; and friggin’ couscous… yes I’m still surprised but I had a very yummy day today. When I had couscous with my dinner I just knew I had to blog about it. Yes its that serious (lol).
But that’s how change happens. You accept one change, then another, and once it sinks in that change is not always bad, then making big changes isn’t so daunting. It also helps to be open to new suggestions and to stick to your resolve when you know that old ways of doing things are no longer working for you.
Another important aspect of saying yes to change is recognizing that change takes time. You’re making a conscious effort to allow changes into your life, but your mind is not with the program. Your mind likes routine, craves familiarity even at the detriment of your body, career and even self-esteem. So also allow for the time it takes your changes to become habitual to your mind. Your mind will probably fight you at every turn, reminding you how comfortable your old routines are. Just stick with it and before you know it, your changes will be an integral part of your life.
Speaking for myself, my mind flashed on alot of my old habits – taking the elevator when the stairs are available, skipping workouts, and flashbacks of the cookies n’ cream ice cream in the freezer keep popping up. During those times, I just think about how good a new discovery tastes, or that my mind is out to get me and the ice cream (or whatever inappropriate suggestion) will not be as good to me as my memory is leading me to believe.
Have you implemented some new changes lately? What were some of the ways you said yes and accepted them into your life? What changes are you anticipating in the future?
My personal progressI had several intentions at the beginning of the year – namely to lose weight and incorporate healthy eating habits into my life, take my business and blog to the next level – become my own boss, write an ebook for Motivated Sista, start a committed relationship, and improve my cooking skills. I was supposed to focus on weight loss first, but that was the goal that fell by the wayside. I feel that I’m in a good place with growing my blog audience and learning effective ways to generate enough income from other online ventures to become my own boss. I made several Sunday dinners to improve my cooking skills. And I’ve been slowly and surely working on my ebook.
But I didn’t make much headway with regard to changing my eating habits, working out more or dating. It was easy to make excuses for not going to the gym, blaming my lack of progress on having issues with my car, or not knowing what to eat to be healthy, on and on. The excuses don’t really matter, its how I react to the realization that I’ve been making them that’s important.
One huge setback I had was during the snow storm we had back in February. I indulged myself in vacation-mode thinking during that time, to my detriment. The difference between a vacation and those days we had off is that when you’re planning a vacation, you plan for your absence and know the precise duration that you’ll be away from your tasks. What I did, however, was immerse myself with unproductive habits for an indefinite period of time. As a result, I derailed my fitness and healthy eating habits, my sleep pattern and even my writing flow for Motivated Sista. Even though it was only a week and a half, that mindset definitely wreaked havoc on my goals. Now it’s time to get back on track.
Faith, Focus, Persistence and Determination.
Since I felt uninspired to change my eating habits, I relied on meal plans from Oxygen Magazine. There is a 3-month series that promises to change your body and the way you eat. This is the end of my first week on the plan, and so far I’ve been doing great. This shows me the importance of not only relying on the expertise of others, being open to ideas that don’t sound appealing, but also to make things easier for myself – in essence, ‘work smarter not harder’.
Multi-tasking doesn’t work for me. I need to fully focus on one goal at a time. Because what ends up happening is distraction – the goals that are not currently in front of me get forgotten as I’m fully absorbed in the tasks that are before me. And I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with that, I just need to work with my unique personality and habits to get to where I’m trying to go.
As far as dating, that’s a goal that has a few layers for me. I’m not timid about going out by myself, but I feel anxiety when among a group of people. It doesn’t matter if I know the people around me or not, group settings rattle my nerves. But I have to get over it if I’m going to succeed in meeting new people. The advice I constantly hear is “do what you love and you’ll meet people that way”, so I’m planning to attend new events to not only participate in activities that I’ve been dying to participate in, but also to meet new people outside of the circles I’m already in.
So how is 2010 shaping up for you? Take an opportunity to review your progress on your goals, improve the areas that need improvement, and pat yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made so far. How will you revise your approach to reach your goals, based on your self-reflection?
A Motivated CEO writes: I’ve been trying to take better care of my body; working out, drinking more water, more sleep, eating better and more often. However, I’ve fallen way short of my goal. I just need to get a good start and develop a lasting routine, but it’s so hard. I have a hard time believing I can actually make that change for the better. I feel hopeless about my physical health and body image.
What would you say to motivate someone like me?
My answer: Stop Being So Hard On Yourself!!
I know you’re being hard on yourself, because I am the Queen of Being Hard On Oneself. And in this perfectionist country that I rule over, my subjects and I don’t recognize the progress that we’ve already made, are impatient for results and don’t enjoy ourselves along the way. You’re doing well and you’re getting better and better.
Pat Yourself On The BackThe best thing you did for yourself was decide that you wanted to make changes to the way you care for your body. That’s huge! And not only did you make that decision, you’ve stuck to it by implementing changes to your habits. So the first thing I say is recognize how far you’ve come in your mind. Because mindset is the key to reaching any goal.
One thing that you said that stuck out to me: I have a hard time believing I can actually make that change for the better. Do you see that you’ve already made that change, by deciding to change? And then you followed up that decision with action to make those changes permanent? Now why is it that you don’t believe you can change your habits permanently? Is it that you’ve tried in the past and weren’t successful? So then I ask, what do those previous efforts have to do with this effort (Could it be more of you beating yourself up, for the last time and this time?)?
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My earliest memories of Christmas are of my grandma and mom cooking tons of food early Christmas morning. They would always begin the night before, and in between the yummy smells that teased me and the anticipation of presents, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Our family had the tradition of letting me (I was the only child for 9 years) open one present at midnight and the rest the next morning. Then, we’d all sit down to one huge Christmas feast, usually served mid-day, and later on come back for seconds after our stomachs went down.
Granny passed away in 1996 and Christmas hasn’t really been the same since. My mom is pretty anti-holidays and I don’t really blame her, she has her reasons. I like to celebrate Christmas by either being in Florida with my mom (she cooks a few of her baby girl’s favorite dishes) or when I can’t get away, my extended family here in the DC area. The only thing better than Christmas dinner with people who love you, are multiple Christmas dinners with people who love you! And who can forget the gifts that keep on giving – bringing home plates that last you a day or two after Christmas!
What are your memories of Christmas?
I just want to encourage you, like I did at Thanksgiving, not to overdo your holiday munching so that you bounce back after the holidays and stay on track for your fitness goals. It was a pleasant feeling not to be stuffed after Thanksgiving and I’m looking forward to leaving some room in my stomach to enjoy my friends. For me, Christmas isn’t about decorations, music or food so much as it is a celebration of family, friends, and all the blessings I’ve experienced over the year.
Whatever you do, wherever you are, I hope you have a joyous and loving holiday season!
For the last few weeks, the gym has been your second home. You’ve been sticking to your eating plan, making healthy choices and turning away from old habits with no sweat. Friends and coworkers comment on the changes your body has made. Crystal Light is your new best friend. You’ve even found hairstyles that will allow you to be cute and a gym rat at the same time. Then something unexpected happens. You pull a hamstring; a friend visits from out of town; you go out of town on business; or, the dreaded round of holiday parties wreaks havoc on your eating habits. Before you know it, you’re off the wagon and struggling to get back on. It seems impossible to do sometimes, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of your progress.
Start from where you are
You don’t have to start from the beginning, from square one. Whenever we fall off the wagon, our minds repeat the message that starting back means starting over. This is a trick our minds play on us to keep up the status quo. You see, you may want to fit into your favorite jeans from college, but your mind does not. Your mind wants your body to digest the same foods its been digesting, perform the same actions its been performing, and basically not make any big changes to your pattern of habits. The mind is a thing of habit and its been firmly entrenched in your current habits. It makes it hard for you to consciously make changes to those habits. So when an opportunity comes for your mind to resume previous, comfortable habits, it will do so. Whenever your thoughts drift into ones that discourage you from going back into the gym, from throwing out the junk food thats mysteriously appears in your cabinets, or any other way in which your mind plays tricks on you, don’t despair. Just continue moving forward from the exact place where you are.
When you get back into the gym, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is for you to resume your regimen. Your mind may convince you that reconditioning your muscles and rebuilding your endurance will be mentally and physically painful. I’m urging you to start from where you are because your bodies and muscles have an internal memory – you’re not actually reconditioning from the ground level. You’ll probably be close to the level of fitness that you stopped at.
Really, the biggest struggle here, is with mindset.
Because your mind has lapsed into old patterns of thought, your work is really to bring your mind back around to the place you left off. The problem is, its generally harder to get back on the wagon because your mind is prepared for this assault – you’ve been here before – so it takes more convincing to do the same things with ease that you previous did. One way to combat this struggle with your mind is to introduce a new aspect to the habit you’re working to reestablish.
Add something new to the mix
I personally struggle with the quest to get fit. While currently climbing back on the wagon, I added time on the elliptical machine to my cardio routine. This has not only given me a new challenge to complete, but it also gives me something new to look forward to during my gym sessions. Adding this new component also gives my mind a new aspect to grapple with, and its more difficult for my mind to come up with excuses for this new thing. It can’t highlight the things that are difficult or unpleasant about it, because I haven’t experienced it before. And it can’t irrationally tell me that this new aspect won’t work or that I’m not good at it either, because its something I had never tried.
We all fall off the wagon sometimes. Its not the failure thats important, but your willingness to get back up and keep working at your goal until you succeed.
What are some of the methods you incorporate to get back on the wagon?