I have been trying to lose the same 8 to 10 pounds for 2 years. I’ve had plateaus before, but nothing like this — and I was truly getting frustrated. I tried blaming it on my thyroid (it’s fine), my potassium (it’s fine), lack of Vitamin D (it’s okay, too), and getting old (that’s true, I’m older than I used to be!).
But these last few weeks I’ve gotten through this tough spot, and actually feel better and more motivated about working out and eating properly than I have in a good 6 years.
I am certainly not an expert, and am only going to share what has begun to work (FINALLY!) for me. I got motivated after reading through Sandy’s Fitness Friday posts last month, and decided that once and for all March was going to be the month to finally lose the 8 pound blanket so I can be more comfortable and confident this summer.
There are many different reasons to lose weight, and I know that my 8 to 10 pounds is nothing for those who need to lose more. I find weight loss and working out to be somewhat personal, but really had an AHA! moment when I read what Sandy wrote about needing to be held accountable for my diet and exercise. I have pretty good habits already, but found that I was mindlessly eating throughout the day when I wasn’t even hungry. I’d finish the end of a kid sandwich, or pop a few too many tatertots in my mouth while I was preparing lunch.
Since I write cookbooks, I’d justify my large portions and crazy taste-testing — it’s for work! I’ve got to keep making sure it’s perfect!
But I do believe the largest culprit these last two years has been alcohol. I began having a glass of wine or beer every night. I’d again justify that “I worked hard! I deserve this!” and mindlessly fill my glass or say yes to another drink. And that’s not good for me. It might be okay for you, but for me it means that I am no longer in total control of my snacking and am more likely to down a bag of tortilla chips or talk Adam into a late-night icecream run. And each beer is about 250 calories, each glass of wine is about 125 calories, and each shot of whatever is about 100 calories (and when it’s mixed with margarita mix? a LOT more!)
The stuff that was okay for me at age 22 isn’t okay at 36. I remember fondly eating and eating and eating. And then washing it down. And washing it down again. But if I’m going to have MORE “good ol’ days” in the years to come, I needed to stop and take charge of my health.
And I need to be a proper role model to these three girls I’m raising.
Anyway. I’m getting sidetracked. I do that a lot.
So! My non-stop reading of personal development books has led me to read a lot of diet and fitness books. I usually take bits and pieces of what makes sense to me and leave the rest. These are the favorites that I keep returning to:
8 Minutes a Day by Jorge Cruise
Body For Life by Bill Phillips
The Dukan Diet by Pierre Dukan
I do the best when I eat whole foods that are low in sugar and high in protein. I feel the best when my carbs come from vegetables and fruit. I bet you probably do, too.
I wish there was more of a revolutionary secret. There really isn’t. I am intrigued by Dr. Dukan’s protein-only days — they seem to really do a good job of getting you back on track when you have a free-for-all day. I think the Body for Life workout is a very good one, and I feel the strongest and most healthy when I workout that way. I like the food and flax recommendation from 8 Minutes a Day and like the basic exercises and photo descriptions.
I have been tracking (loosely) my eating and working out since January– it’s taken 3 months of me writing it out to realize that if I just stopped eating crap the plateau would finally break. It’s annoying to me that even though I KNOW what to do, I just don’t sometimes.
I’ve been eating a lot of 1 minute muffins, have been drinking tons of water, choosing to fill my plate with lean protein and leafy greens, and have limited my eating between 7 am and 7 pm. That’s about it.
The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is that the successful people do the things the unsuccessful do not. — Brian Tracy
I’ve found a few quick workout videos on You Tube. I’ve been trying to pick 2 or 3 a day to do, and really like the following:
3 Minute Mini Walk
5 Minute Ab and Obliques
10 Minute Muffin Top and Quick Cardio
10 Minute Tank Top Arms and Shoulders
10 Minute Bikini Abs (planks, no crunches)
10 Minute Tank Top Arms (different than other video; I like to switch them up)
What about you? Have you found that you have needed to increase your protein, or your workouts after a certain age, or after having children? Have you needed to change your mindset about food and exercise?
Why is it that we *know* what the answer is, but continuously talk ourselves out of it?
For the last week or so, I’ve been using an ironing board as a desk. I wish I was smart enough to have thought of this as a DIY alternative to a standing desk — but I’m not. It just sort of happened.
I’ve wanted a standing desk for a while – I’ve scoured pinterest and DIY sites for ideas, have looked at websites advertising these type of desks (WAY expensive), and even have sent Adam links to how to make them at home using cheap wood and laminate.
So I put this idea on hold.
But then last week happened, and we each had different work trips to go on, and we had unexpected company, and the ironing board that I set up in the corner of the master bedroom got left up. And the computer armoire where I plug everything in at night (my current work desk is the kitchen table, but we have a computer cabinet where we hide everything at night so the “work day” is over by dinner time) got a bit cluttered so I needed another flat surface for charging the laptop.
And I used the ironing board.
And then left it on the ironing board while I was answering email in the morning, and even used it as a table for the last slow cooker recipe I photographed —- and although it’s not the prettiest thing in the world to keep up in the master bedroom, it might very well might be the most practical thing I’ve ever come up with.
What I like about standing versus sitting:
* I’m burning calories — there are studies that prove that standing exerts more energy than sitting
* I’m naturally stepping or swaying while I work — my pedometer (this is the one that I LOVE, and it’s cheap!) is showing that I’ve added a good 2000-3000 steps to my day with very little effort on my part
* I am now finally ergonomic. Since I’ve never owned a desk chair, my table to chair to floor ratio (don’t even know if that’s the actual terminology, but I’m going to assume you know what I’m talking about…) hasn’t ever been proper. I’m exactly 5 feet, so there are very few chairs that allow my feet to sit flat on the floor the way they are supposed to. And our dining chairs are a bit large in the seat, so my knees are at a funny angle if I lean all the way back, which causes me to perch on the edge of the chair while I write, causing my shoulders to slump. With the ironing board, it’s adjustable, so I can raise the keyboard to the actual right spot for my eyeline and shoulders/wrists.
* BUT. My wrists aren’t supported, I know. Honestly, I’ve never had supported wrists or elbows, so that’s not an issue for me, but I can see how it would be for others.
* The other really big benefit is that I’m not spending as much time on the computer. It’s just not as comfortable to stand at an ironing board and read gossip sites, or twitter, or online news as it is to curl up with the laptop on the bed or couch. But that is something I need to work on, personally, anyway. I waste a lot of time on frivolous Internet surfing, and my time could honestly be better spent sticking to my to-do list and goals.
(this might actually be the biggest benefit)
So there you go! Super simple (and actually kind of stupid) brilliant idea!
I haven’t been taking the best care of myself the past few weeks. I’m on a deadline for a new cookbook and the dirty little secret of cookbook writers is that while you’re recipe testing you eat really, really well, but when you’re actually writing? You eat lots of fast food and consume litters of chocolate bunnies.
I guess I should clarify that by saying that You means Me. I’m sure there are some better disciplined people who would never eat a chocolate bunny.
I seem to not be that person.
Anyway, I’ve begun to emerge from my sugar coma and have fallen in love with the One Minute Muffin. It’s not a crockpot recipe.
Instead, it’s healthy, inexpensive (after you buy the flax meal), packed with fiber, and low-carb. My kids will tolerate them, but aren’t falling over themselves to eat one. They still prefer chocolate to One Minute Muffins. They also still have ridiculously high metabolisms…
1/4 cup flax meal
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (not pictured, sometimes I use pumpkin pie seasoning)
1 1/2 teaspoons sweetener, I use honey
1 tablespoon fresh or frozen blueberries (or smashed banana, shredded apple, etc)
hearty coffee mug sprayed with cooking oil
Put the first 6 ingredients in a large glass measuring cup or bowl, and whisk to combine. No need to melt the butter or get it to dissolve–if it’s still in a clump, it’s okay. Mostly try to get the baking powder evenly dispersed. Now stir in the blueberries or whatever fruit you’re using. Pour into a greased coffee mug and microwave on high for 1 minute. Let it sit for a bit, then pour onto a plate; or you can just eat it out of the mug with a spoon. The butter will have melted and made a tiny bit of a “sauce” with the melted blueberries. YUM.
This is a pretty customizable recipe; feel free to swap out the honey with splenda, agave, brown sugar, etc. There isn’t a drop of flour, making this a naturally gluten free muffin, and if you use non dairy butter it could certainly be dairy-free and I’m imagining an egg-replacer would work okay. If you change up the ingredients and it works, let me know!
It tastes good. Not oh-my-gosh-this-is-the-best-muffin-ever, but actually pretty good considering it’s made completely out of flax meal and has just a tiny bit of sweetener. You can certainly junk it up by adding lots of sugar and more oil, but it’s really actually pretty good just like this. I like that the flax has so much fiber and the egg has a nice shot of protein so if I eat this along with my morning coffee I’m pretty sustained until lunch time.
have a great day, and enjoy your muffin!
I’m kind of fascinated by time management. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve read or listened to on tape/cd about this subject— probably well over a hundred. Whenever I have a moment or two in the library and I’m not stuck in the toddler corral, I wander into the business books and gather anything from the 658 or 332 shelves that I haven’t already read.
Most business books focus around time management and productivity. Productivity=money in business.
If you take a random poll while walking the streets, I’d venture to bet that most people wish they had more of 2 things: time and money.
I can’t really help with the money, but I can help free up some more time in your day.
Change Your Mindset.
This is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome–myself, included. If you have already decided that you don’t have enough time in the day to get it all done, you’ve defeated yourself before you’ve even begun. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Remember when we talked about changing your vocabulary? This is the same thing. Decide that each day is a blank slate and schedule out what you want to accomplish.
Learn How to Say No.
Don’t agree to anything that doesn’t directly benefit your family. I know. It sounds callous, but if you don’t want to go to the class bowling party, don’t. RSVP no. Don’t lie– just say it’s not going to work out for you and leave it at that. If you don’t want to help organize the Church rummage sale, or arrive early to set up the chairs for the PTA meeting, don’t do it. It’s not healthy to say yes then run yourself ragged living up to a commitment you didn’t want to make in the first place.
Take back your time. Once you feel as if you’re in control of your time instead of outside influences being in charge, you can begin volunteering again.
Get Up Early.
When I suggest getting up early people sometimes freak out. In all the case studies I’ve read of successful people or people who “make it happen” they each have the same characteristic: they get up early. Usually at 5.
I know. I’m sorry.
I’ve done all the acronyms: SAH, WOH, WFH (stay at home, work out of the home, work from home) and I can absolutely-without-a-doubt credit getting up early as the key to a successful day. When I’m up in a quiet house, I feel peaceful. I love watching the sun rise while I sip my coffee, doing yoga without an audience, or going for an early morning walk or run. When I’m on a deadline, I use that hour or two to work.
In 2008 when I did the crockpot year, I got up at 4am most days. I was working from home doing 2 part time jobs, doing the crockpot stuff, and writing the first manuscript for the Totally Together Book. It was nuts, but I knew I needed to keep going. Once or twice a week I also did what I call the “split shift”: I went to bed at 8pm, then got up from midnight to 4am to work. I then slept till 7am when the kids woke me up.
The first week is the hardest, but it gets easier. I’d highly recommend putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room so you need to get all the way out of bed to turn it off. Once you’re out of bed it’s harder to climb back in (which every single day you’ll want to).
You Don’t Work 9 to 5, You Work 5 to 9
When my oldest was about 6 months, I listened to a time management book on tape which is what gave me the idea to make a day planner for moms. I emailed the Franklin Covey company and we corresponded a few times before they blew me off (they did send a 15% off coupon, though!) and I decided to create my own.
One of the lightbulb-moments I had while I was playing around with the project was the realization that I was trying to cram everything I needed/thought I needed to do between the hours of 9am to 5pm. I wanted EVERYTHING done for the day before dinner. I was under the misguided impression that the laundry, etc. should be completely finished before I watched TV or relaxed a bit. Once I started folding laundry during my tv goof-off hour (or whatever) I felt better; more whole.
This doesn’t mean that YOU, personally, need to do everything around the house—I’m a big fan of delegation and whole-heartedly believe that all of the chores should be divvied out among the children and the sexes.
Cut Yourself Some (lots of) Slack.
There are times in your life that will always be crazier than others. When you’re pregnant, nursing, not sleeping, sick, the kids are sick, on a huge work deadline stuff just isn’t going to run as smoothly as it does when everyone is on their A-Game. Know this and accept it. Life is not a contest, nor is it a picture-perfect spread in a design magazine.
You’re doing an awesome job. You really are.