Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’

Challenge Goals

As indicated in my previous post, I am participating in a transformation challenge on the membership site.  Here are my goals:

Full Challenge Goals:

  • Lose between 15 and 30 pounds.  I will be satisfied with 15, and thrilled with more.
  • Get a feel for true maintenance.  Know what my body feels like at maintenance and approximately how many calories are my maintenance (right now).
  • Improve my sleep, both in quantity and quality.  Incorporate effective strategies to help me wind down at the end of the night.
  • Become more aware of the emotional attachments I have to food (and eventually eliminate them).
  • Devote 30-45 minutes each night to self-care.


Objectives to Meet Goals:

  • Focus on following cycling program accurately to ensure compliance.
  • Aim for 100% compliance on training.  This will give me an emotional boost to help me – I always feel better when I train.  Plus, I will gain more confidence knowing I am sticking to the program.
  • Identify and prepare at least one new healthy recipe each week and blog about it to avoid diet boredom.
  • Identify one fun activity to do with Jeb each weekend that is NOT food related.


Here we are again at the New Year!  I’m not normally one to come up with New Year’s Resolutions, but this year is different.  I’ve been doing this “weight loss thing” for a couple years now, and it is TIME to be done.  Starting today, I am participating in Leigh Peele’s Resolution Solution challenge.  I will be following a calorie cycling program with a new training program, but won’t get into the diet details during the course of the challenge (due to copyright rules).  A big portion of the challenge is a focus on the mental aspect of fat loss.  I am embracing the full challenge and, for the first time, making my goals concrete.  So far in this journey, I’ve simply wanted to lose weight.  I’ve never really bothered to set concrete goals or figure out my true motivations.


What do I want? I want my body to be healthier, and to convey the amount of work I have already put into living a healthier lifestyle.  I need to lose more fat (though I’m not sure how much – maybe 40-50 pounds), and I want to maintain the muscle that I have now.  I also want my body to be stronger and more able to handle any challenge that comes along. External rewards are also important to me – I want the people around me to assume I live a healthy lifestyle, rather than the opposite.


Why do I want these things? Aside from the obvious health benefits,  I want to feel completely confident for the first time in my life.  I want to be able to shop in more than one or two stores for clothes – and I want to ROCK whatever styles I choose.  I don’t want to feel like a hypocrite anymore – I have to encourage healthy lifestyle choices to the kids I work with, and it doesn’t feel right encouraging them to be mindful of their food choices when it is obvious that I have not done the same.  I really want to have more adventure in my life.  Sometimes, though less often than a few years ago, I shy away from things that I could really enjoy because I am embarrassed or worried that I am not capable.  This needs to stop.  Today.


What will it mean to finally have the body I want? It will mean that I have succeeded.  At that point, I will be 100% in control.  My past trauma and fear will be in the past forever, and I will have learned to separate the emotional issues I have from my physical needs.  It also means that I have persevered and kept the promise I made to myself – that I would live the lifestyle of a healthy person and not give in to momentary pleasures at the expense of my greater goals.


What does it mean to train on a regular basis? This is the easy part for me.  I love to train.  It helps with my general energy level, my self esteem, and my general happiness.  I love seeing progress in the gym and knowing I am getting stronger, fitter, and healthier.  Choosing to train is choosing to be happy.


What is the hardest part of losing fat? I struggle with the diet.  When life gets stressful, it is hard to remember that food is fuel, not a reward or comfort.  I’ve been working on eating more intuitively and stopping when I get full.  I’m not always successful, but I’m glad I recognize that I struggle in this area.  Removing the emotional attachments I have to food is one of my primary objectives during this challenge.  Additionally, I have PCOS, and struggle with losing weight anyway.  It’s hard for me to trust the process and know I am getting results even if the scale doesn’t always say so.


Who am I trying to please? Myself, of course, but probably not as much as I should be!  Right now, I’m more focused on pleasing others – my husband, my family, my coworkers, etc.  I want the people in my life to look at me and think of me as a fit and healthy person.  Once others see me that way, it will be easier for me to see it too.  I’ve never had a ton of encouragement in my physical appearance or body composition, so even when I see results, it’s hard to truly embrace them and be satisfied.  This self-esteem aspect will also be huge for me over the next 3 months.  I need to be satisfied without the external support.


How will attaining physical goals change my life? Moving toward my physical goals has already changed my life.  I’m amazed at the improvement in my energy levels and my confidence.  Attaining my goals will allow me to push my body in athletic ways – competing in local events, trying new sports, or just plain feeling normal when I’m out jogging or playing with my niece.  I look forward to hiking in the summer without worrying that I might not be able to handle the trek, and wearing a bathing suit without feeling embarrassed.


Final thoughts:

I’m doing this challenge through the membership site.  I’m taking a completely different approach than I have in the past and am hoping to see some big and lasting results.  My husband is also trying to lose fat, and I am helping him.  I hope that helping him will also help me stay on track.  Our lives can only get better by us both doing the work now and being successful!  For me, though, self-identity is playing a big part in this.  I am training myself to stop thinking of myself as the “fat friend” or the “lazy one” and instead start thinking of myself as an athlete or at least a fit woman.  This will be an even bigger part of the picture for my husband, but I’m not sure he knows this yet.  I’m going to help him, but I also need to not let helping him reach his goals affect me reaching mine (he would never want this, but I have tendency to get into a “caretaker” role that sacrifices my own needs).  This is the year that we lose our excess weight and embrace our real identities!

Intuitive Eating

I think I’ve alluded to this in the past, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about intuitive eating.  First of all, it’s strange to me that so few people are able to eat intuitively – but it’s something that should come naturally, right??  Hard to say…but it seems to me that a vast majority of the American public struggles to eat healthy foods intuitively.  We tend to undereat or overeat, obsessively eat “clean” foods or completely disregard the relative healthiness of foods, and our collective bodies and health seem to be paying the price.  Why?


There’s no simple answer to this.  The definition of intuition is:

The direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process.


So, basically, we should just know how to fuel our bodies according to this concept of “Intuitive Eating.”  I think, in a way, we do.  Unfortunately, our parents, our society, and our own personal biases affect every decision we make, and it takes some sort of breakthrough for many of us to realize how often we eat the wrong foods for the wrong reasons.


Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a time and a place for less healthy foods (Apple Pie on Thanksgiving – yes, please!), and I allow myself treats regularly.  However, I have to be careful or I will automatically overindulge.  That being said, I am trying to eat more intuitively, being mindful of what my body is actually telling me about what it really needs.  It’s a work in progress, probably a struggle I will have for the rest of my life.


Katie, over at “Health for the Whole Self” recently met the author of a popular book on intuitive eating (Evelyn Tribole) and is having a fantastic giveaway!  Head on over to her blog for some great information and a chance to win!

Winning the Day

As I’ve mentioned, I’m currently working on Todd Durkin’s Impact Body Plan. The workouts are fun (but TOUGH – see previous posts), and I’m already feeling changes in my body.  However, the part of the book that is helping me the most is the chapters devoted to the psychological aspects of dieting/body composition.  Or, as Durkin says, “Getting your mind right.”  This video, aside from the silly halloween costume, has some great tips for making change –


He says to “Win the Day.”  This is something I need to keep in mind.  I need to avoid impulse and be mindful with my eating (there’s that word again!).  As I mentioned yesterday, I’m having trouble keeping my eating habits particularly effective.  I don’t want to have to count calories all the time again, but it may come to that.  In the meantime, however, I need to focus on whether I WANT something or if I actually NEED it (as Durkin says).  There’s no need to work so hard at the gym and then waste some of the benefits by eating junk.  I’ve definitely slipped up some today, but I’m going to switch gears and try to Win the REST of the day! 🙂

My plan for this –

  • Cook a healthy dinner.  I’m thinking pistachio-crusted chicken with butternut squash.
  • Drink a LOT of water – and make sure I’m not thirsty when I think I’m hungry.
  • Only eat the food I brought with me to work – not allow myself to be tempted by the baked goods and halloween treats around at work.

Wish me luck!

Training log

I took a much-needed rest day yesterday, but got up early today to get in my 3rd lift from the new program.  I’m definitely feeling more comfortable with the routine and have been improving each workout – both with increasing the weights used and decreasing the rest times.  At the end of each workout, though, my muscles are burning!  For my “Grand Finale Conditioning” I did kettlebell snatches for my first set (intending to repeat for the other sets), but was so smoked that I switched to single-arm swings.


We’ve been having some really warm, muggy weather here in New England.  Today, the high temperature was 73°F!  Plus, the gym isn’t using the air conditioning anymore, so the humidity was even higher inside and I was REALLY sweaty.  When I left, it looked like I had been working out in the peak summer weather!


These workouts are challenging, but fun.  I don’t stop moving for more than a minute at a time, which is a dramatic change from 5/3/1.  Plus, even though my muscles are tired, my energy level is MUCH higher than normal.  I’m also quickly improving my cardio fitness, which is a plus.  I was worried that these workouts would seem less fun (and like more WORK – haha, I don’t want that!), and in a way, that is true.  My motivation remains high, though, and I feel really committed to finishing every rep of every set.


I am struggling a bit with my eating now.  I don’t feel any more hungry in between meals, but when I start eating, I just want to FEED.  Not sure what’s up with that, but I have to be careful!  My mindful approach to eating is still working, but I am worried that I will start to gradually slip.


Tomorrow, I’m planning a nice, slow run – should be gorgeous with the leaves changing!

This Post is Brilliant

I don’t think a lot of commentary is needed, but Leigh Peele could not have said it better than she did in this post.  How many times have I made excuses, thought something wasn’t realistic or (worse) thought my goals weren’t worth the sacrifice?  Take a moment and check it out…

I Can’t (Updated) by Leigh Peele

I Need Some Rest

I’ve had some fantastic workouts over the last couple of days.  I hit PRs in every lift, felt phenomenal doing it, and even got some compliments!  Riding this wave of positive emotion, I got myself to the gym bright and early this morning and decided to do a circuit.  I’ve done it several times in the past, but not for awhile, so I thought it would be a good way to get my blood pumping and my body warm so I can do some mobility work before Deadlift Day tomorrow.


The workout goes like this:

20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest – as many reps as possible of:

Heavy KB Swings

KB Front Squats

Reverse Lunges

Supine Hip Thrusts

KB Push Press

KB Power Rows

Push Ups

KB Tricep Extensions (overhead – like a standing Skull Crusher)


Boy did it hurt!  I ended up only doing one round of the workout, a couple planks, and calling it a day.  I started thinking about my recovery lately.  Strangely enough, I have actually been focusing on it more than ever (which is probably why I’ve been having such great workouts).  I’ve made sleep more of a priority, although my sleep QUALITY still isn’t great, and I foam roll every morning after I get out of bed.  I also try to eat extra carbs and protein on my lifting days so I have enough calories to support the demand on my muscles.  I have some new rest/recovery goals – or at least more concrete goals:

  • Lie in bed for at least 8 hours every night
  • Continue to Foam Roll every morning
  • Plan light, restorative workouts or steady state cardio for non-lifting days
  • Get up from my desk at least once every 30 minutes to stretch if I’m doing a lot of paperwork
  • Complete my core work every time I work out, rather than “running out of time”
  • Plan meals so I can have a carb/protein meal in the afternoon after lifting.  Adjust calories accordingly.

I think that’s all.  It’s sometimes tough for me to remember to take it easy sometimes, especially since exercising has such a strong impact on my mental health.  Any workout seems to do the trick though, so I don’t need to “get after it” every day!

Only One Workout Away from a Good Mood

I don’t remember where I originally heard that, but I think it’s becoming one of my mantras.  Right now, my focus is all about mindfulness and balancing the hard work in my life with the fulfillment that comes from doing something exciting.  Sometimes, though, we all have to put our noses to the grindstone and get some stuff done.  It’s part of life, right?  I’m in a phase like that right now, and each morning I wake up with a to-do list already started.  I was feeling a little frustrated this morning, but I dragged myself to the gym.  It’s deadlift day, after all.  In the parking lot, I sat and listened to just a little bit more of my audiobook – and then I caught myself.  I went into the gym, and began my warm-up.

I felt GREAT!

I was definitely moving better than I have in awhile.  I pushed myself and hit a PR in the deadlift.  After a tough kettlebell workout yesterday, my shoulders were tired, but I got through it.  Today’s workout:


5 x 95#

5 x 110#

15 x 125#

One-Arm Row

3 x 10 @45#

Kettlebell Swings

3 x 10 @24kg (53#)

Single Arm/Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts

3 x 8 @12kg (26#)

Not so bad.  I’m particularly excited about my deadlift numbers.  Deadlifting is normally my least favorite “big” lift, but I’m growing to love it.  Some recent tweaks on my form courtesy of some excellent resources from Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore have definitely helped.  I’m making steady progress in this lift and am looking forward to later in this training cycle when I can hit a PR with weight rather than number of reps.

During my Thursday workouts, there is normally another woman working out with a trainer.  She works hard, and I’ve always been impressed and motivated by her.  Today, she told me that SHE was impressed by ME!  Wow – that felt pretty good.  Between my post-workout happiness, and the compliment, I feel ready to face whatever life throws at me.

I really try to always remember how great I feel post-workout, both mentally and physically.  It really helps me find the motivation to hit the gym when everything else feels overwhelming.  Plus, it’s not safe (or even really possible) to NOT be mindful while moving some heavy iron, so I get those benefits too.