Motivation Monday: Planning Ahead

Happy Monday and Happy Halloween! While it’s sort of a bummer that Halloween falls on a Monday this year, hopefully it will still be a fun day! I haven’t done a Motivation Monday post in a reeeeaaaaally long time, but since I’m trying to get myself back on track I thought I’d start it up again.

I was less in the spirit than usual this Halloween, I admit. Normally I like to come up with a cute costume to wear to work, and I have an entire bin of costumes to choose from. I vaguely thought about finding something for today, but I knew no one at work was very enthusiastic about dressing up and it’s just not as much fun if I’m the only one wearing a costume. So I opted to abstain from dressing up this year, much to the chagrin of one of my coworkers, who came dressed in full witch garb and armed with a plethora of extra costumes for those of us who failed to participate. I am now sporting a bright pink skirt speckled with musical notes and vinyl records that say ‘Rock’ and ‘Roll’, which I have paired with a tiara that I just happened to have on hand (shut up). When asked, I inform people that I am the Queen of Rock and Roll.

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Foreseeing that we would be a disappointment when it came to dressing up, my coworker planned ahead and brought extra outfits. Similarly, I planned ahead today with my food so I wouldn’t end up disappointed in myself. As is typical of Halloween, the office is full of junk food: fried chicken, candy, cookies, snack mix. It’s everywhere, and yet I’m surprisingly disinterested in it all. I packed my lunch today and filled it full of oranges, grapes, and apple slices to snack on. For lunch I made a sandwich with slices of turkey breast, shredded lettuce, and a bit of mustard on a Flatout Foldit artisan flatbread that I found at Safeway (here is the brand). Those flatbreads are only three points each! The points system is definitely making me more mindful of what I’m putting in my mouth.

I’m learning that it is FAR easier to stay under my daily WW points if I check point values on things BEFORE I buy them, hence the flatbread sandwich today. I went grocery shopping over the weekend armed with my app, and before I let anything into my cart I scanned its barcode to make sure it wasn’t going to put me over where I wanted to be. I’m also making good use of Pinterest and all the great recipes on there! Having lots of delicious food on hand to eat has helped me so much today – not only do I really not want to waste points on junk food, but I’m actually excited to eat what I brought for myself!

Recommitting to Health and Fitness

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I suppose the meme says it all, but the storm I was all geared up for in my last post never happened, at least in our area (sending love to Oregon and Canada, who really did experience the worst of it). All the storm hype had me pretty anxious, even though I was certainly prepared for it, and Sunday night I fell asleep early.

Even without having to work extra hours after a storm, the last couple of weeks have been extremely busy for me at work. I’m hoping things will be quieter this week, because I’m trying to make some healthy changes that are going to require me to do more than just go to work, come home, and sit on my couch.

Last week, I attended an informational Weight Watchers meeting at work. My office is trying to generate enough interest in the program to offer weekly lunchtime meetings, which would be fantastic for me. I know that I do better with eating healthy when I have support, and being able to attend a meeting right at my office instead of after work would be ideal. Work will cover half the cost of a WW membership, so I ultimately decided to go ahead and join the program. If we don’t end up having meetings at work, I have a friend who also belongs to WW who offered to go to an evening meeting with me.

To me, the appeal of WW is that there are no off-limits foods. I get a certain number of SMART points a day, and I can eat anything I like as long as I don’t go over my allotment. There are weekly points too, to give some cushion if need be. After I signed up last week, I downloaded the WW app on my phone so that I could track electronically. Once I had the hang of the app, I started entering all the things I had eaten so far that day….and was shocked at how many points I’d already consumed! While I had felt pretty good about my food choices from a calorie-counting standpoint, once I saw the more holistic view of what I’d eaten that the points offer, I realized that I could’ve made healthier choices.

The last few days have been a learning curve, as I try to modify my eating and select foods with lower point values. I created a Pinterest board for WW recipes and have been pinning like mad, because cooking meals at home seems to be the best way to keep my points low and my satisfaction with my food high. Last night I made a broccoli pasta dish, and tonight I’m planning on making a WW chicken chili recipe and baking a side of corn bread (the recipe I found is only 2 points per square!).

This week I’m hoping to focus not only on getting better at eating according to my WW points, but also on getting back into exercising regularly. My work life has been so busy lately that I’m waking up at 5am to go into the office early, and then I’m staying late so that I can stay caught up. This week, the workload will hopefully be lighter (a coworker of mine has been on vacation so I’ve been covering her work and mine, but she comes back tomorrow) and my plan is to take advantage of being able to leave at a reasonable time by working out in the evenings. I don’t currently have a gym membership anywhere, and while I’d like to do my workouts from home to save money I’m beginning to seriously doubt that I’m disciplined enough to keep myself motivated. If I can’t step it up on my own, I’ll be on the hunt for a new gym to join.

Over the last few years I’ve made multiple attempts at re-losing the weight I’ve gained, and every one of those attempts has been a failure. I think that I’ve been going wrong by trying to follow fad diets like Dukan and Medifast. While the quick results I can get from those diets definitely make them appealing, I’m miserable when I’m on them and any success is short-lived once I go back to eating normally. I don’t want to do that again. I’ve lost seven pounds since August just by trying to be a little more mindful of what I’m eating, and for the first time I feel like it might actually be possible to lose some of this extra weight for good. I don’t have a set “goal weight”; rather, I just want my wedding dress to zip up and fit comfortably (it’s currently a bit more snug than I would like). Hopefully a combination of following WW and getting back to an exercise routine will get me there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for Stormageddon

It’s Saturday, and like a lot of people in the Northwest I’m spending the day prepping for Stormageddon, A huge weather front is supposed to be hitting the Seattle area any time now, bringing with it a good amount of rain and high winds. Rain is kind of our jam here, but heavy wind is a big problem as it has a tendency to knock down trees, making them fall down on power lines and take out the electricity. According to the forecast, tonight’s storm has the makings of the biggest in over a decade in our area, with the biggest saving grace being that it is supposed to move through fairly quickly.

I’ve spent the day doing all the power-dependent stuff that makes our household function: doing laundry, charging phones, cooking up food so it won’t go bad if our electricity goes out and stays out. Bill ran the vacuum and cleaned up the apartment so we won’t inadvertently trip over something and kill ourselves if we’re reduced to using flashlights and candles to see in the dark. I bought a bunch of non-perishable food so that we won’t starve if we can’t use our stove or microwave (I’m hoping we don’t need it and I can just donate it all to the food bank next week).  Since I work for the power company, I’m on call, and am really hoping we don’t lose our power here because as long as my lights (and my Internet) stay on I can remain in my cozy home and not venture out into the storm to help out at work. Depending on the severity of the power outages, the next few days could be long ones as we all band together and try to keep our customers in the know about our restoration efforts.

It makes me so happy to see all the nice comments on social media from people who thank the linemen for the work they do, and all the well-wishes as they encourage all employees to stay safe. I definitely know that going without power can be a huge inconvenience, and it’s reassuring to see so many people who are more concerned with the safety of their fellow humans than put out that they may not be able to watch Netflix for a day or so.

The good news is that so far, it’s relatively quiet outside and I’m feeling good about our level of preparedness in this situation. I’ll be happy to get through tonight so that one way or another, I know what the next few days are going to look like.

 

Good Choices on a Tough Day

I don’t say things like this too often on my blog, but yesterday was rough. I’m usually pretty good at shaking off a difficult day at the office, but after I left work last night it took phone calls to both Bill and my mom and an hour of Zumba to get me out of the negative head-space I left in. When I went to bed, I still felt very anxious about the day’s events, and even this morning I had a hard time motivating myself to get ready and come into work (it doesn’t help that it’s the time of year when it’s still dark outside as I’m driving into the office, making me feel like the day really hasn’t begun yet and I ought to be snuggled warm and cozy in my bed).

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Luckily, once I actually got to work the day has been a huge improvement over my bad Monday. I came in early so that I could get a jump start on the day’s work and have been pretty productive. Last night I made plans to go to a hot yoga class with a friend after work, which I think will be a huge help with any lingering anxiety. And I’m beyond proud of myself for getting through a hard day without turning to junk food. Instead, I talked about my feelings, exercised, and made plans with a friend to follow up with more self-care. I know that it was just one day, but I feel good about the choices I made. Hopefully I won’t have any more super-stressful days for awhile, but if I do, I feel more confident that I will be able to handle them in healthy ways.

Habits

One of my favorite things about being a blogger is the network of fellow writers that I’ve gained over the years. We read each other’s posts, offer support to one another, and make each other stronger. I adore you, my blog buddies, and I love how inspiring and thought-provoking all of your posts are!

Today my friend Kate over at All Things Kate wrote just such a post, in which she pledges to give up sugar for thirty days to get her sweet tooth under control. So much of what she says really hit home for me – especially about how she rarely understood after the fact just why she accepted offers of food that she knew she didn’t really want to eat. She talks about how she’s realized that her love of chocolate and sweet treats is more of an eating habit than just having a sweet in moderation. As I read her honest words, the little metaphorical light bulb didn’t just flick gently on above my head; rather, it lit up brighter than the Griswold house at Christmas time. I am SO guilty of this very behavior, of eating a dessert one day, having a couple of beers the next, popcorn at the movies the day after that…you get the idea. This isn’t eating in moderation, this is a habit.

I’ve been telling myself that I’ve really improved my eating habits and that I’m making healthy choices most of the time, but now that I’m looking back, I don’t think that’s actually true. Rather, I think that I was eating healthier meals, but then using that as justification to supplement those meals with desserts and treats. I’ve been deluding myself, but I don’t want to anymore. I want to be honest with myself about what I’m putting in my body, and I want to break this junk food habit and move back to a standard of healthier eating.

By myself, I can do pretty well. I can plan what I’m going to eat and make healthy meals for myself. I can pack my lunches for work. But I have a hard time resisting invitations to go out for food/drinks with friends, because I love my friends and I want to spend time with them so I always hate to say no. Office food is a struggle too – it seems like someone’s always bringing in donuts or cookies or other such fare. The craziest part of the whole thing is that I know I feel so much better when I resist these things, and yet I still want to eat them.

So what does all this mean? I think that each person approaches their eating differently, and different things work for different people. For me right now, this newfound awareness of how I’m REALLY eating is pretty strong motivation to make changes. It also doesn’t hurt that I have a fast-approaching wedding and a beautiful wedding dress that I want to feel fabulous wearing. I am going to do my best to be healthier, because I can’t keep up this junk food habit and maintain the active lifestyle that I want to live in the long run.

 

A Mushy Kind of Post

In my post yesterday I mentioned that October holds a couple of very special anniversaries for me. Today is one of those – it’s the one-year anniversary of Bill and I’s engagement!

A year ago it was a beautiful October today, sunny and unseasonably warm, perfect for a long drive around the Olympic Peninsula. I was expecting to spend the afternoon enjoying a relaxing drive and taking in beautiful scenery, and I was not disappointed. What I was definitely NOT expecting was a proposal!

My very favorite place on the Peninsula (and in all of Washington) is Ruby Beach. I hadn’t been there in years, so of course I wanted to stop there and walk around. Bill and I had a wonderful time taking in the scenery and building cairns on top of pieces of driftwood.

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Ruby Beach on the day we got engaged

I always loved this beautiful place, and now that it’s also the spot Bill picked to ask me to marry him, it is even more special. I will never again visit that beach without remembering the perfect afternoon we spent there, and the moment when he asked me to share the rest of our lives together.

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Sharing a just-engaged kiss

Our wedding is planned for March, just five months away. Although it seems like a long time, the last year has flown by so fast that I know the next five months will pass in the blink of an eye. I am so excited to marry this man who is everything I ever dreamed of and more.

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October Love

I unintentionally went MIA there for a couple of weeks…things have been rather unremarkable lately, and so anytime I would pull up a new page to start a post, I’d stare at that blinking little cursor and sort of draw a blank. But I’m back now, because the cure for writer’s block is to write, yes?

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It’s October now and I couldn’t be happier for it. Autumn in the Pacific Northwest is simply glorious. I love the crisp, cold air in the mornings, the changing colors of the leaves, the way I’m now craving hot tea instead of iced. Although I do love summer, I think fall is my very favorite season.

Last weekend I pulled my sweaters out of storage and rehung them in my closet. Time to pack away the summer clothes, I won’t be needing THOSE for awhile! I’m happy to be able to wear leggings and oversize sweaters, scarves and cozy vests. I packed away some of my lighter sundresses, but kept out a few because I can wear them with boots and cardigans in the fall.

Although October seems to have morphed into the season for All Things Pumpkin Spice, I’m really not a pumpkin spice fan (I do like pumpkin pie, and the pumpkin-scented Yankee candle, but not pumpkin SPICE), so my go-to “fall” drink at Starbucks is a chai tea latte made with almond milk. It’s SO good! I definitely recommend it over the high-calorie Pumpkin Spice Latte.

October is also the month in which I celebrate two very special anniversaries – more on those later!

And of course, Halloween is in October, and I absolutely adore Halloween. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow my love of dressing up in a great costume. I also really like scary movies, and during the month of October I can re-watch my favorites!

I think it’s going to be a great month!