Thursday, June 26, 2014

Daily Affirmations

Almost every day the VP of my department sends us an affirmation and words of encouragement. Today's was worthy of a share.

This particular affirmation was especially meaningful when I saw it come across.  Today is the 45th day of a personal 90-day challenge to clean up my diet & build my self-control around all things cake and potato (and also for some research).

Whether you are working on a new fitness program, a better diet or a promotion, you can't allow one set back to negatively affect your plans, your journey or your goal. We should never strive for perfection - it doesn't exist!

I am officially halfway & feeling great! But it hasn't been easy - I've had a number of hiccups along the way. Bad choices, whether by lack of willpower or lack of planning, have surfaced. But I have not - CAN NOT - allow those bad choices to slow me down.

Wasn't it Thomas Edison who said "I failed my way to success."?

So, how do I keep going despite the setbacks?

Be prepared.  For EVERYTHING.
I've stumbled and fallen more times that I'd like to admit -- 6 times to be exact. And I can tell you about each one -- the unhealthy item, the date, and the circumstance.   And the reason.

5 of the 6 times I wasn't prepared for my day.  Plain and simple.  The 6th time, well, I just wanted potato salad at Jack's BBQ.

Being healthy isn't easy, but you can be prepared for both the unexpected and the expected (see #5) by doing the following:
  1. Carry a small snack (raw almonds, a nutrition bar) with you at all times.
    1. Meetings run over, "snacks provided" sometimes mean candy bars and hershey kisses.
  2. Pack a water bottle for long car rides. 
  3. Don't forget your pre-workout snack/post-workout recovery meal if you go straight from the gym to work or work to gym. 
    1. Or buy a week's worth of snacks on your weekend grocery trip and stock your desk Monday morning.
  4. Look at your calendar the night before and plan for the next day accordingly.
    1. Lunch meeting? Browse the restaurant menu online before heading out. 
    2. Working late? Plan a crock pot meal or make arrangements for someone else to take over the cooking tonight. 
  5. Offer to bring dessert. Banana "Ice Cream" anyone? 
    1. 3 frozen bananas, 1/2 cup 2% organic milk - blend together in high-powered blender or food processor. Bring along fresh fruit, raw nuts or seeds and honey for toppings. 
Remember how GREAT the great days feel. 
When I felt myself reaching for that 2nd helping of chips and queso at Chuy's (on June 3rd, at a birthday dinner) I thought of how great I'd been feeling all week....

Was that 2nd basket of chips really worth giving up this feeling? I decided no, it certainly was not - and have continued to say no by using that same thought process almost daily.

Channel your healthier self before you sabotage your entire day or give up entirely.

My goal is not to reach a certain number on a scale or minimize inches on my waist - though I am certainly excited to see these changes along the way - I just want to feel better, be stronger, have more energy and be (generally) less cranky and lethargic feeling.

So far the effects are better than what I've hoped for - and I felt them almost immediately. No upset belly at the end of the day (or when I get out of bed), I no longer get that 2:30 feeling in the afternoon, my workouts rock and other people have noticed my good mood.

I will NOT ruin all those accomplishments by continuing on a downward spiral spiked by a minor misjudgment.  That's my mantra and it works.

Change your thinking -- and shake the guilt.
Women especially get into a "well, I blew that plan by eating that cupcake, so I might as well just eat bad the rest of the day/week/month!" mentality. STOP THAT IMMEDIATELY.  Feast or famine is not how healthy choices are made.

We tend to internalize and dwell on small one-off choices that don't mean much in the grand scheme of things. This happens with our home lives as well as our diets. Do I think you should eat a cupcake every day? Well, no, of course I don't. (That's an example of a small choice that can have disastrous results).

Do I think that if you are at a retirement party it's ok to treat yourself during that one-time celebration? Of course I do. And I think you should stop feeling so bad about it.

REWARD your bad behavior by doing something good for your body. 
When you do eat a cupcake (or a side of fries), apologize to your body through your actions.  Grandma always told me "Actions speak louder than words."

Nosh on raw veggies and hummus for your afternoon snack. Better yet, log an extra 30 minutes on the treadmill. Your body, and your brain, will appreciate the extra surge of endorphins - that "feel good" chemical we all hear about so often.

When our bodies move into an anaerobic state we get a rush of endorphins to make up for oxygen depletion to our muscles and that's when the "high" kicks in - I know it, I've felt it and if you haven't I encourage you to ASAP!

Realize there is a healthier option...and make it.  
It might not be your ideal option, but it's there waiting for you. Remember my post about Grief Eating -- cold cuts might not be high on my healthy list, but choosing a turkey and mozzarella roll up instead of salami on white bread let me stay within my challenge rules and still enjoy lunch.

Sometime you just can't convince the family that it's not a good idea to order pizza for a quick and easy meal for 10....what you can do is ask them to tack a salad onto that order or make yourself your own fun dinner with what's left in the fridge.

Write down your mistakes...and then forget them and move on.
I've tracked each "oops" along the way. This gets it out of my brain and serves as a tiny reminder that "Hey - I wasn't perfect on this journey, but that's OK".

I refuse to let those tiny little minuscule setbacks let me lose focus of the end result - a healthy, happier me!

Stop Making Excuses
And just do it.  There is no ideal time, things happen, unexpected things.  The trick is that when I hear an excuse coming on I know that I am getting ready to cave and I fight it with every ounce of my being.  Is summer an ideal time to cut out sweets and desserts and (gulp, 30 days of alcohol)?  NO!  But I had to start some time!  

Your body (your life) will thank you for your dedication and stress-free approach to a healthier lifestyle!

And in case you are's the challenge
  • NO white bread/white pasta 
  • NO milk chocolate (70%+ pure dark is allowed) 
  • NO donuts/muffins/danishes/pastries 
  • NO cupcakes/pies/cake/desserts 
  • NO candy 
  • NO soda or black tea 
  • NO chips/pretzels 
  • NO fast food 
  • NO ice cream/frozen yogurt 
  • Days 60-90 only - NO alcohol 
The results (pictures, weight, measurements) will all be shared after I am done!

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