Work On You Wednesday: Do What You Love

What Do You Love? For Me- Getting In a Good Sweat Is Just One Thing I LOVE to Do!

What Do You Love? For Me- Getting In a Good Sweat Is Just One Thing I LOVE to Do!

This week for, Work On You Wednesday, I want to take time to talk about doing the things that make you happy.  And not just a little happy, but truly happy in your life.

On my page, I started talking about this a little bit yesterday, but as I thought about it last night and this morning, I realized that this topic deserved an entire blog article.  Not just 50 to 100 words with a pretty picture on facebook.

Here is one of the things that I have learned about working on myself as a person and that is the fact that it makes me question what I really like about myself.  It makes me question things that I do and say because I am consciously focusing on spending my time to becoming the absolute best version of myself that I can be.  This introspection is good, but I have found that I sometimes as I go down a road of change, I forget about the things in my life that make me truly happy. How is this possible?  Well- I’m working to change me.  I am working to improve in the areas of life that I struggle in and while I am alright at multi-tasking, I sometimes forget to take sometime to not work on ‘change’ and to just enjoy what I like to do.

At this point in my life- there are three big things that I truly love to do: create, cook and exercise.  I do not love reading the books that I am required to read for my master’s courses and I certainly do not love spending hours writing papers.  That is not the sort of creative outlet that I need in my life and for the last several months- I have spent a lot of time on things that do not necessarily make me happy, but have to be done and I am starting to feel the imbalance.

So- I am consciously taking a step to work on this.  As much as I have said ‘take time each day to do what you love’- I have not necessarily been living that and I feel it (although that may also be a touch of S.A.D. coming into the mix since I average seeing 2.5 hours of daylight right now).  A huge part of writing these articles, is to remind myself of things that I need to do to work on me, to be a better me.

Sloppy, handwritten, masterpiece in the making...and pretty feel good therapy to boot

Sloppy, handwritten, masterpiece in the making…and pretty feel good therapy to boot

So last night- I pulled out my ‘work in progress’ of a book and I started writing.  I wrote for about thirty minutes last night and a couple of hours this morning.  I wrote a story that I will hopefully, someday, share with all of you.  Yes, it is fiction, and no- it does not have anything to do with weight loss, emotional health or any of the normal things on this blog- but it does have one thing to do with this blog- and that is that writing makes me emotionally healthy.  That writing cleanses my soul and makes me happy.  It makes me feel like a better person to be able to express myself in a creative way and not just write long papers that deal with the various consequences of a particular international intelligence snafu. Filling pages with thoughts and ideas makes me feel more like myself than almost anything else that I have done lately.

See- this whole journey is not always about finding new things- sometimes it is about re-discovering the things that once made me tick.  Sometimes it is about dusting off my old notebooks and reading through a few half-written stories.  Other days it is about moving all of the furniture out of the way and dancing like no one is watching.  It is through these things that I have been able to find contentment way down, deep, in my soul.  It is through connecting to the things that make me the person I am that I am able to share my story with all of you who read this.  It is how I share as much honesty as I possibly can and how I trust that those of you who read this will accept that honesty as me trying to show you that you can go out and build yourself into the best person you want to me as well.  And that, my friends, is what I truly want you to do today.  Go out and do something you love and find just a little bit more of who you are along the way.

Managing Weight Loss: Jenny’s Method: #2 YOU GOTTA EXERCISE

Exercise Is Key

Exercise Is Key

We’re on tip #2 this week and I am going to finally talk about exercise.  Most of the other things that I have talked about somehow have to do with nutrition (not a coincidence), but now I am going to take some time to talk about exercise.

Over the past 27 years I have watched my mom block off time to workout, pretty much every day.  Her favorite form of exercise is walking.  On a treadmill.  For her, it works, she gets her thirty minutes in while watching Oprah (or now Steve Harvey) and she is pretty much set for the day.  Recently, she has started adding in some strength exercises to her cardio, as she has realized this is another important part of being fit and maintaining weight loss.

I have taken a bit of a different vein when it comes to exercise- I prefer home workout programs like: T25, Piyo and P90X3.  I can not stand a treadmill.  The idea of it just drives me crazy, but that is just me and for me I can not do it.  Ultimately though-  exercise and exercise is super important to helping your maintain your weight, especially on blah eating days.

All of us have had blah eating days or weeks or months and having exercise to fall back on definitely helps us maintain our weight loss when we are not focusing on our nutrition as much.  It also is essential for fitness as a whole.  It does most of us little good to weigh our goal weight, but not be able to keep up with our friends and family because we are not in shape.  It also does us women little good to not exercise as we get older, because it helps with our bone and heart health as we get older (my mom regularly reminds me about both).

So- if you are not exercising right now- I suggest that you start small.  You start with youtube. You start with 10 minute trainer.  You start with something that does not take you a lot of time, but will get you moving.  Something that will get you involved with working on that part of your health.  And then you move on and you move up.  You go to a longer program.  You start running.  You chose to do something different that keeps your interested in physical activity AND will help you maintain where you are or move to where you want to be.

If you are struggling to find some sort of exercise you like- let me know.  We can work on that and work on finding something that works just for you.

Work On You Wednesday: Single Ladies Edition

Look at who's still single!

Look at who’s still single!

Today- I wanted to take a bit and talk specifically to all of the other single ladies that may stumble across this blog and I hope I can give you some support.  Even if you are a strong, independent woman- there are time when you’d just like to have someone else be there.  Or if you’re like me- you want to find someone that respects that independence and also understands that even though you are independent- you still need others in your life.  You still want the family, 2.5 kids and the white picket fence.  What I really want to talk about is how to focus on this ‘Single Period’ of your life to make yourself the best that you can be for when you do move on to that next stage.

You’re STILL single, how can you talk about how to get to the next stage?  Because I’m living it- that’s why.

God blesses us all with who we are supposed to be with and the journey we are supposed to have in His time- not in on our time table.  I will not sit here and say that that is always comforting, but I do trust and have faith that there is a plan and while God is working on that plan and working on me- I need to do some work on me as well.

This is the one time in our lives where we truly get a chance to work on ourselves and get to know ourselves before we are someone’s mom and someone’s spouse.  Squandering this time that we are given on things that do not help us realize who we are and more fully become that person is not something us single ladies need to do.  And the journey to truly finding out who you are is different for every single woman out there.

So of us find that working on our total health- body, mind and soul is the best thing that we can do while we wait and while we trust. For other people- they look at different aspects of their live.  The worst thing that any single person can do is to give up trying, to give up on themselves and to give up on the journey that God has for them. It is not always easy and there are some of us that will be single forever- however, if that is our fate, shouldn’t be the best person that we can be for ourselves?

Managing Weight Loss- Jenny’s Method: #3 PORTION CONTROL IS KEY

Tip 3: Portion Control

Tip 3: Portion Control

If you ask my mom- she actually says that this is tip number 1.  I, personally, rank it a little further down the list (and you’ll see why over the next couple weeks).

There are extremes with portion control and lots of people think that you can only eat a tiny amount to lose weight.  NO.  NO. NO. You actually may need to eat MORE than you are eating to lose weight.  And a lot of that comes with portion control with the right kinds of foods.

My mom has done weight watchers for years to maintain and to lose weight.  With that being said, she learned that the portions that you eat are super important.  You can’t just have a whole cake every day and expect that because it was under your calorie range that you are going to lose weight.  With that kind of food you are missing out on vital nutrients that your body NEEDS.

My lesson about portion control came from Portion Fix.  It’s a slightly different method, but it is ultimately the same concept- you eat more of the good things and less of the high calorie fats.  When I’m following it- I get 8 cups of fruits and veggies a day.  8.  Eight.  Vosem. Ocho.  8. And then the other categories of food fall into various different amounts.  But it all comes down to portion control.

The amount of what we eat is super important when we are losing weight and when we are trying to maintain a certain weight.  Even when we reach our goal weight- we cannot forget that we still need to keep some sort of control on our portions.  There is this tendency to try to go back to eating what we ate before we lost the weight, in the amounts that we used to eat it in.  Can that happen every once in awhile?  Absolutely.  But it cannot happen every day and that is what portion control is ultimately about.  And that is why it is ranked so highly by my mom, but slightly less highly by me.

Work on You Wednesday: Own Your Emotions

OWN your emotions

Hi everyone!  I’ve moved my feature Work On You Wednesday over to my blog.  Mainly because me and writing are good friends.  Me and public speaking are okay friends.  If you are interested in the broadcasts you can check them out here.

Now that, that is said and over- let’s get into learning more about how to own who you really are.  Today, I want to talk about owning your emotions.  You know, those scary things that sometimes come out of left field and leave you wandering what the heck just happened?  Or when you cry at the end of a particularly sad episode of Doctor Who?  Or when you shout at the tv when the Alabama defense needs to make a stop?  What?  Am I the only one that does that?

Our emotions are an essential part of who we are.  While our jobs may require that we keep some sort of poker face about how we feel about things- the rest of our lives do not require that.  The PEOPLE in our lives do not want that.  So how do we own our emotions?  And how does owning our emotions make us a better person?

Owning our emotions is crucial to owning who we are.  Our reactions to things are part of us and denying those reactions to things that make us mad or make us feel passion takes away from who we are as people.  I am not trying to encourage people to walk around with no filter and tell everyone, absolutely everything you feel.  What I am encouraging you to do is to feel the emotions.  Do not just push stuff down because it is an ‘inconvenient’ time to feel that way. Feel how you feel- when you feel it. That’s a good thing for your life.  It is a good thing for you as a person.

So how does owning your emotions make you a better person?  It is simple- by owning your emotions, you are owning more of who you are.  And by doing that- it allows you to express and show who you are to the outside world.  We all live in our own little worlds- but our little worlds are part of a bigger world and we all have to find some way to relate to the people around us.

If you take one thing away from this post- I hope it is this- owning your emotions makes you relatable. Being relatable makes other people in your life trust that you are not going to just turn into some grinch one day- that you show who you are every day, through how you act and how you show what you feel.  So own it.  Be real.  Be comfortable in your own skin.  You just may be surprised the people that come in to your life because of it!

Managing Weight Loss- Jenny’s Method: #4 EAT THE CAKE

Sometimes- you should just eat the cake.

Sometimes- you should just eat the cake.

The idea of maintaining weight loss means that you will eat some of the foods that you probably avoided while you were losing weight.  If there is one thing I have learned from my mom about that- you shouldn’t be guilty or start spiraling into eat cans and cans of cheese dip when you do this.  You need to give yourself permission to enjoy these food on occasion.  You need to give yourself permission to EAT THE CAKE.

Why is this an important part of maintaining weight loss?  Well- you are putting into practice something that you worked on a great deal while you were losing waiting and that is self control.  In this instance you are trusting YOURSELF enough that you can have that piece of cake and know that it will not turn in to three pieces of cake, a chocolate fudge sundae and any junk food like thing that you can get your hands on.  This is not an easy tip to follow, but it is a tip that we all need to think about- because no one wants to feel deprived in their lives.

Some of you might be saying ‘But it’s a lifestyle change’ and that is true- a true fitness and nutrition journey changes so many things in your life, things that most of us can’t even comprehend when we start the journey.  That being said, there are still many times our lives when we’ll want that piece of cake and it is alright to give yourself permission to have the cake some days.  It is alright to go out with the plan that you are going to only have dessert as your meal, once a month.  None of this is ‘alright’ every day and that is what we have to teach ourselves.  We have to think about the fact that, in moderation, allowing ourselves to have a piece of cake is not the problem.

The problem is when that is what we turn to as a routine habit to help us with other issues in our lives. Having a piece of cake or any meal, should not be able about pulling you out of the dumps or making your day better- it should be able fueling our bodies. Personally, I find that this kind of fuel just doesn’t taste as good as it once did and that when I want dessert now, there are very specific items that I want. Items that aren’t super sugar filled, but that is me and that is where I am in my journey with learning how to ‘eat the cake’ in an acceptable, non-weight loss crippling manner.

So- no matter where you are in your journey- always remember to cut yourself a bit of slack.  Remember that one hiccup or one ‘cheat’ meal does not end all of the progress that you have made during all the weeks and months that you were on track.  We are all human and beating ourselves up over a piece of cake is just not going to help.  What helps me the most is thinking of it this way- I’ll do better tomorrow.  Tomorrow I will work harder on managing my cravings.  I’ll do better with my meal prep.  I’ll cook at home.  Whatever it is I faltered on- I will do better and I will conquer it.  This isn’t a one or two day process- it is weeks, months even of work, some of which might not be easy. And YOU are worth every bit of the effort that you put in to it.

Did you miss out on the first tip?  Take a look at it here. Be sure to check back next week for Tip #3!

Managing Weight Loss: Jenny’s Method- #5 NO FAD DIETS

Jenny

This is Jenny.  She’s my mom and she’s pretty awesome.

She is also the woman that has taught me A LOT about weight loss and most importantly, weight management.  Over the next 5 weeks, I am going to be taking the best nuggets of advice that she has ever given me and putting those nuggets to good use. Some of these are not things she has told me- but things that she just does that make this whole weight management thing make sense.  So today- we start with #5.  The least important of the most important things to do and that is: NO FAD DIETS.

Over the 25+ years of my life- I have watched this woman eat and be merry on more occasions than I can count.  I have also watched her carefully choose what she is going to eat and make sure that her portions are right on track.  Throughout all of that- I can say one thing- she has NEVER done a fad diet (or if she has…it didn’t last long enough for me to notice).  What she has always focused on in the lifestyle changes that are necessary for continued weight management success.

While I have a few diets in mind that just scream ‘fad diet’ to me- that is not how I wish to define a fad diet.  Here I wish to define a fad diet as follows: A fad diet is ANY diet that is used for the sole purpose of losing weight quickly, but does not provide the necessary tools to continue a healthy lifestyle after the initial weight loss is over.  Sadly, there are plenty of diets out there that can fall into this frame.  When I began this lifestyle change it was just that- a lifestyle change.  I knew that every thing that I chose had to be something I could live with for the rest of my life.  I learned this important lesson- from mom. Mom’s method for weight management starts with the fact that how she lost the weight was not in some way that was unattainable in the long term.

Some times people mess up the weight loss management before they even get to that point.  We mess it up when we start off with something that we are completely unable to maintain in the long term.  So take a look at what you are doing now.  Is it something you can do forever?  Or is it something that you can only do for a few weeks or months?  If the answer to question number two is yes- then you are in FAD DIET land and you need to get out of there.  You need to find something that works for you, something that you can reliably do.

That is where things truly get tricky.  No other person can tell you what is right for you. You may have to go out and try a lot of things to find the path that works for you.  What works for me, may not work for you.  People can give you advice and can help you with your journey, but ultimately you have to sit down and figure out what is actually feasible in your life.  Is it weight watchers?  Is it 21 day fix and beachbody programs?  Is it paleo?  Is it Whole30?  Is it being a vegetarian? For each person out there- one of these lifestyles might work and another may seem unattainable.  For some people- none of these work and something else does.  What you have to do is go find the eating habits and exercise that is not a fad for YOU.  Once you’ve done that a lot of the other stuff falls into place.

If you’re interested in finding your path and want to talk- let me know.  You can reach me here.  Let’s find something that works for YOU together!