Consistency = Less Work

[Day 23 – 100 Days 2016-1]

First of the month is my check-in time to assess just about everything.  The saddest news I have is that the scale went up 2 lbs.  Before I get upset about it, I know that it is due to the yummy Mexican lunch we had at work on Friday and also because I ate a substantial portion of the dessert table at my niece’s baby shower over the weekend.  It’s a temporary spike.

Today starts my Zero to 5K to Half Marathon program.  I just had my oatmeal (fuel) and my treadmill date is scheduled just before the lunch hour.  I’m anxious to get back out onto the road – the weather has been nice enough (for a change, thanks El Nino!) but I’m not road worthy yet.  That’s one of my biggest goals for the year – road worthy!

I can also report that I’ve stuck to my household goal of keeping the house cleaned and neat in 2016.  One month in and still going strong, even amidst renovations.  I’ve struggleddownload with housework most of my life.  But, the progress on this seemingly insignificant goal has taught me a lesson.

The more consistent I am, the less work it is.

Let me explain.  I do my chores on the weekends. I like to reserve whatever weekday free time I have to my dogs, music, writing and workouts.  This past weekend was a major busy one – Saturday was consumed with grocery shopping, a baby shower, a friend’s birthday party and a visit with the in-laws.  Yet, I still able to get the chores done without a whole lot of time and effort.  It wasn’t a struggle!

I remember from my last marathon-ready fitness level 10 years ago running was like that for me then.  Now, it feels like a struggle.  I’m a lot heavier now than I was then – worried that I won’t be able to keep up with the training plan, worried about knees and shins, worried about nutrition.  I just have to keep my mind in the game.  And, that with some consistency, the runs will just fit into my life schedule – no more struggle.  It happened before, it will happen again!

In addition to the running plan that starts today is a “Don’t Break the Chain” challenge, where I will write a minimum number of words per day.  Every Day.  I’m starting off small and the goal is to not miss a day.  See, if I miss a day, I have to go back to Day 1.  My plan is to get where consistency takes over and writing is as natural a part of my routine as breathing.

After all, Aristotle says that we are what we repeatedly do.

 

If not NOW, then WHEN?

Seems like every time I turn on the TV I hear Oprah saying this in one of her new Weight Watchers ads.

If not NOW, then WHEN?if not now

Not a big fan of Oprah, am I.  But those words are starting to haunt me.  I see them everywhere.  I hear them all the time.

As I close in on the first year of my 50’s, I am seriously taking notice.  Compose my own piano music. Run another marathon.  Write that novel.  Become a yogi master.

If not NOW, then just the hell WHEN will I accomplish these things?

It’s not like I’ve done nothing in my first 50 years on this Earth.  I’ve accomplished plenty.  Just about every single little thing I’ve ever wanted to do, I’ve done.

So, why is it now that I struggle?

Perhaps it’s because these are the really BIG life goals.  An perhaps I’m afraid – too old, too late, too …. whatever.

There’s an old saying, the only regrets we have in are for the things we did not do, or at least try.

What is my NOW?

  • New digital piano with headphones so I can rock out to my heart’s content without an audience, until I want one
  • Couch to 5K to Half Marathon program, Jillian Michaels and weight training program
  • On target to submit at least one of my novel drafts to the Maggie’s in April.
  • Yoga – that’s another story.

Maybe I just answered my own question!  I stopped doing my yoga about a year ago – for reasons I can’t seem to remember.  Bring Yoga and maybe the rest will follow.  The mind will quiet.  The passion will grow.  The fears will disappear.

Time to do what I know is true.

Namaste

 

 

Miracles Take Time

Day 15 – 100 Days 2016-1

While check-ins have been sparse (okay, non-existent), I have been working hard at my goals.  I’ve lost almost 5 lbs in 2 weeks.  I’m sleeping better.  My muscles are sore (the good kind) and I’ve got some work done on my manuscript for the Maggie’s.

What I’ve learned in these last two weeks is that it’s not that hard to eat well.  The first week was a little stressful, habits had to change.  I was hungry a lot of the time.  I missed the flavors and textures of processed foods and sweets. But, I got through it.

Then, last Thursday someone offered me a cookie and I wasn’t the slightest bit interested.  Since the hell when have I ever passed up a cookie without feeling deprived or sad?  Major breakthrough for me!

I’m doing my Jillian Michaels most days and eating well.  I’ve already started to see changes.  I guess I’m just being impatient.  I want the numbers to drop on the scale, I want to fit into my smaller dress sizes, and I want to be able to run a full mile without stopping so I can get to training for that marathon!

miracle

While I don’t have a Fairy Godmother of my own, no magic coach, no glass slipper — there is no reason I can’t have what I want.

It’s about progress and doing a little bit more each day than the day before.  More minutes on the stationery bike, more reps on the harder Body Revolution moves, more words per day toward the novel.

With some time and a lot of effort, my wishes will come true!

 

2016 = THREE 100-day challenges

Round 1 of 100 days starts TODAY.

100-day challenges are tough.  No matter what it is you are trying to add, subtract or edit from your daily routine, doing that consistently 100 days in a row is not something for the faint of heart.

It takes a great deal of grit and determination to make 100 days of something new stick.  I did a couple 100-day challenges last year with marginal success.  I moved the needle a bit closer to many of my big dreams and goals.

This year I will cover more ground and accomplish more than ever before.

On my other blog, Out of Our Comfort Zone, my writing partner and I are on a quest to become published authors.  I recently went public with my biggest goal for the year – submitting my fiction writing to a contest.  Big hairy scary goal – no doubt about it.

Knowing myself and my greatest nemesis (sugar in any form) is my go-to comfort when facing a challenge or dealing with stress, I need to balance out my quest with an equally difficult goal to meet – getting healthy.

Getting healthy for me means feeling better, sleeping better with less aches and pains.  The excess weight will come off as a byproduct.  The reward will be the ability to run again.

How will I do this?  Tracking steps, counting food (points, carbs, macros, etc.), P90X, Body Revolution, Insanity, Cize, Daily Burn, Weight Watchers – whatever gimmick it takes to keep me focused on being healthier, until it becomes automatic.

This is a major life change.  I’m not 20- or 30-something anymore where a week of salads and water will get me back into a sexy LBD for a hot date night.

I seriously thought I was too old and too far gone to get it back.  Then I stumbled upon a blog called Lifting My Spirits that is owned by someone who has already one what I want to do.  I read her story, followed her posts for a couple of months and realized that the only thing holding me back is ME!

I’m married to a pretty bad ass former bodybuilding enthusiast who still has a 6-pack in his mid 50s and runs half marathons.  What’s in my way?  Big hairy scary fear.  The alternative?  Not going there.  My health is way too important!

So, today starts Day 1 of my first of three 100 days.  I took my measurements and plotted the story for the Maggie contest due in April.  One hour of cardio and the week’s meal planning are up next.  I don’t expect these next 100 days to be perfect and they will certainly not be easy.  It’s an exciting adventure I’m about to explore!

 

 

 

 

 

One Stop For Writers: An Online Library Unlike Any Other

Every once in a while, something comes along that changes things for the better.

And in the world of writers, this is especially welcoming, because we all know just how much sweat, courage and persistence it takes to write a book and then release it into the world.

Today I’m pointing you toward a new website which I hope will help writers brainstorm stronger characters, craft deeper, more compelling plots, and teach us how to be more effective with our description so we draw readers in.

One Stop For Writers is a collaboration between Becca Puglisi and Angela Ackerman, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, and Lee Powell, creator of Scrivener for Windows. This powerhouse online library is filled with one-of-a-kind descriptive thesaurus collections, tools, tutorials and much more, all geared to provide the resources you need to strengthen your prose and write more efficiently.

Want to check One Stop For Writers out?

Hop on over to Writers Helping Writers for their Launch Week festivities (October 7-14th)! If you know Angela, Lee and Becca already, you probably can guess there will be some great prizes, and probably a bit of paying-it-forward too.

Caffeine Free! (and Day 33 of 100 days)

I drank soda pop like water when I was young.  Pepsi was my favorite.  The 1992 Pepsi commercial with Cindy Crawford in the denim shorts and white tank top – that was so me back then.

Too bad nobody tells you what all that sugar and caffeine on a daily basis does to your body 20 years later.  Still, a sign with the vintage Pepsi logo grabs my attention as I absolutely adore Pepsi Throwback made with real sugar.

Going caffeine and sugar free is not an easy road – headaches, body aches, moodiness, and oh – the fatigue!  Thank God I am off from the day job this week.  The aches and pains have been less and less each day.   And, I can now say with confidence that I am 100% caffeine free.

Sugar cravings, particularly chocolate, seem to have disappeared with the caffeine.  It’s not that I’ll never have another Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks or enjoy a chocolate dessert again, and I might even have a Pepsi someday.   I just don’t intend to return to that being my daily diet regimen.

Breaking Up is HARD to do! (Day 28 of 100)

At the one quarter mark of my current 100 day challenge, it’s been slow going on all fronts.  The Day Job has been quite the stress machine.  Old habits die hard when time is short and anxiety levels are high.  For every bit of ground I gain, I fall backwards and start over.  It’s frustrating, to say the least.  Something’s got to give!  Time to make some big changes.

The first one is “breaking up” with Sugar and Caffeine.  As a child in the 70s, breakfast was a sugar-filled cereal, chased down with an orange-colored sugar-filled powdered breakfast drink.  Snack cakes of endless varieties accompanied the obligatory sandwich made, of course, with squishy sweet white bread. After school was another snack cake or two with another neon-colored drink made from powder and sugar.  Looking back at old school photos, it’s no wonder I had dark circles and bags under my eyes in 5th grade.

In my 20s, I had one of those high-speed metabolisms.  My body shape was a stick easily fitting into a very low single-digit dress size.  My daily diet started off with sugar-filled soda pop and candy for breakfast, followed by lunch from a fast food chain and continued on from there.  I actually fought to gain weight so I could have some curves. Those were the days!

Now, no longer a stick and far from it, quite frankly, I’m now a lot older and that much wiser. (One would hope, anyway.)  Excess sugar is known to be unhealthy.  It not only fuels the metabolism slow down leading to weight gain, but it heightens anxiety, increases bouts of insomnia, produces a “foggy brain” and basically leads me to feeling like crap most of the time.

I’ve been doing my Jillian Michaels’ Body Revolution consistently, and I’ve been trying to follow the BR eating plan, which is brutal for someone like me to do on days where there is Day Job stress.  So, it’s time to turn the tables and go NO SUGAR.

——–

Dear Sugar:

Sorry pal, but it’s time for you to pack your things and go!  We can visit together again once in a great while, in limited quantities.  But for now, you and I cannot occupy the same space.  It’s not you, it’s me.  This relationship is just not working for me anymore and I need to go my own way.  So, don’t take it personally when I say “no thank-you” to the cookies and candy at the Day Job.   Don’t be offended when I pass on the birthday cake and ice cream at parties.  And, don’t be jealous of my new friend, Water.  You’ll get over it, and you’ll find someone new.

Oh, and your buddy Caffeine is joining you.  It’s a package deal.

A Virtual Creative Cluster

[cross-posted]

The Artist’s Way is an amazing program that helps liberate creativity, even in those who swear they are NOT creative.  😉

I’ve been following this program for many years, off and on.  When I’m “on”, I find that almost every aspect of my life improves. The program didn’t just help me make time to pursue my creative hobbies and improve my crafts.  It had unexpected added benefits:

  • I am calmer at the day job.
  • Personal relationships become deeper, richer and more fulfilling.
  • I sleep better.
  • Everyday mundane chores are no longer a burden.
  • I have more time for fun and relaxation.

There’s a small group forming a “Creative Cluster” to share our experiences with The Artist’s Way journey.  The benefits of this program magnify when shared with others who are traveling a similar path.  If you’d like to join us, just send an email to the address below:

taw_creativecluster-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

We’d love to hear from you!

Day 7 of 100

One week in on my 100 days.  It’s going well, but not great.  I find that I struggle with stress eating.  It was a very stressful week on the day job.  When stressed, I reach for sweets.  For example, even though I had carrots and hummus with me, I had several packages of Nutter Butters for lunch.  I’m replacing the “sweet” with fruit, either whole fruit or frozen in my morning smoothie.

The workouts are going great.  I love, love, love my Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution.  I decided to repeat weeks 1 & 2 so I could strengthen my knees and get into the habit before it got too crazy.  I made that mistake when trying to do Beachbody’s Insanity program last year.  I wasn’t ready and it shredded my knees.  I’m not as young as I used to be and I’m carrying an extra 30-40 lbs.  Jillian’s program is much more realistic for me.

It’s only been a week, but my shorts are a tad loose around the waist.  Yay!

Tomorrow is weigh-in day.  Wish me luck!

Day 2 – Sore as can be

Jillian Michaels is kicking my ass.

I was just ending week two of Body Revolution, but I decided to start over because I wasn’t following a good eating plan and I was going cheap on the cardio.

My schedule is like this – I get up around 4:30 a.m. and drink a cup of black tea.  I have never been one of “those people” who can spring out of bed and go do stuff.  I hit the basement gym between 5 and 5:30 (depending on doggie trips outside and how well my score is on Angry Birds).

After I my workout, the dogs and I take their exercise walk of just under 2 miles.  I then go to work where I pretty much sit at a desk all day, stare at a computer screen and talk on the phone.

By 2 pm, I’m toast.  Seriously cashed in.  I’m so tired I become seriously stupid.

I’m hoping that with a little time, bolstered by proper hydration and nutrition I will be ENERGIZED instead of PULVERIZED.  Here’s hoping!