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Jumping into 2012 by looking back a bit. My New Years Day Ritual

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

That's what I do every January first, and that's how it felt yesterday, when I went back to work after days and days of sweet holiday vacation. Several people told me I looked so rested and fresh. I felt fresh too. Often when I come back after a vacation I'm groggy and stupid and wholly unproductive. Yesterday I was none of those - I was even mildly productive!

So. Any plans for the New Year? You betcha.

I have a special New Years Day routine I've followed for ... oh my ... decades! It's as warm and comforting as all the rest of the holiday rituals. It goes like this:

1st Take Down Tree and all other Christmas stuff - including putting away the huge Christmas CD collection we have

2nd Super clean the house including rearranging the pictures on the walls (and sweeping away the dust behind t hem.

3rd Take long soaky bubble bath

4th Get back in bed with last year's journal, this year's fresh empty one and a brand new pen.

5th. Look back over last year, check off my successes, see what I wanted a year ago. Did I get it? See if I still want it this year. What new things do I want? What steps should I take to get them?

The big change this year was that I am not dissatisfied with either my house or my organizational efforts. Often I am mad to get the clutter out of my life ... evidently, over the past few years I got it out of my life - at least to the point where I am not feeling disgusted with myself - and my surroundings. Oh don't get me wrong. There is a whole room upstairs that could use attention - but I believe I can give it that this year without feeling bad about myself for 'letting it get that way'.

My favorite author Martha Beck had a really good article in this month's Opera magazine - about pushing back, playing, picking a preference ...and the very example she used was making a part of your house you're unhappy with better!! I'm gonna do that with that upstairs room this winter. It'll be like a game.

Anyway - after years of trying to bring both organization and timeliness into my life (stop procrastinating) it seems I have at least added some of these skills to my bag of tools - better yet - it seems I am actually USING them.

This is the reason I like to do the look back with old journals part of my ritual. Seeing proof of my success gives me both courage and confidence to attempt New Things in the New Year

As for the looking ahead part - oh boy I have some fun stuff waiting up there for me.

"What?" you ask.

Well. First off - as my WW leader shared with us these wise KITP words from her husband ... "Are you going to pay them $10 a week for the rest of your life?"

Uh. No.

And that means it's time I quit pretending that I don't have to write down what I eat. I resented that a little - no - a lot, so I didn't do it. I did keep a daily numerical count using the little calculator WW sells but I know - I really do know - that at this point in my journey I need to write down every bite. And so I am.

I also played around with a pedometer last month and I found I really like it. I'm not quite sure I trust it. I don't think I really walked 3,000 steps per mile - but I will fiddle around with the one I have - or even buy a different one - till I have one I'm confident about. But I know this - if I walk 2 miles a day (something that is actually really easy for me to do) it's easy for me to get 10K steps in every day. And that, in WW terms, means 4 points of exercise.

Of course - I'm also back at the gym, because it's actually much easier to get there after work than it is to drive in to town all the way from home ... where Somebody is always asking me to join him in some activity or another.

I love the WW meetings. I'm very fond of the leader and I really love the people, who are mostly my friends and neighbors. I love doing this with them. But I hate paying WW $40 a month to go to the meetings. It's up to me to play by the rules and get back to goal so I can attend for free.

Experts say - and I will believe them this time - that it takes 21 days or 3 weeks to get a new habit going. I would love to add some great new habits to my life - many of them good health habits. I did some calculating and figured I could add 1 new habit a month in 2012 - a sort of 12 in 12 kind of thing - and just see where I ended up this time next year. So. I promise - my next post will be about my 12 in 12.

Happy New Year to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 1/4/2012 1:22PM

    Looking good for 2012, Bess
Happy New Year

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JLITT62 1/4/2012 8:15AM

    Oooh! So looking forward to that next post! Just the idea of it is exciting . . . and God, I'd soooo like to stop paying, too . . .

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New Year's Plans

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I love the New Year with it's opportunity to start afresh. I do it every year both symbolically and physically, spiritually and sometimes even successfully. Making lovely plans are a wonderful way to get to know yourself, to bring out your deepest longings, to understand what is going on in your life. It's not essential to follow through with every plan - these are plans - not commands. I make many many resolutions every New Year's Day - for me, my spirituality, my house, my job, my social life, my wardrobe, my creativity - and the first thing I do, once the holiday decorations are packed away, the house is clean and I have had my ritualistic bubble bath and am sitting in my lovely bed with last year's notebook and a Brand New Notebook on my lap is to read back over the past year and see what I did, what I decided to not do, what I might like to roll over into the new year.

One of the fun things I'll be rejoicing on 1/1/12 will be the fact that not only am I lighter than I was one year ago, I am lighter than I was on 12/1/11. Alas. I did not lose weight every week in December, but I did end up the month with a net loss and that is ALWAYS a gain. And the tiny bit of poundage (less than half a pound) the scale revealed on Tuesday's weigh in was surely as much salty food water retention as it was caloric excess. I was pleased.

Pleased? I was overjoyed. I'm still smiling.

In fact, as a reward, I went right to the store after Tuesday's weigh in and stocked up on all the health and fitness magazines on the rack. Not that I am dreaming of one of those airbrushed flat bellies on the covers - but because now and then, tucked into the folds of those glossy bits of eye candy - you'll find a nugget of useful information, the germ of an idea, or just a really cute pair of running shorts.

As I peruse those magazines the rest of this week I will be shaping my plans for 2012 but I've already made one plan that I'm tinkering with in my brain ... a way to make tiny steps fun this year. When I have my idea completely formulated I'll be back to share it with you. In the mean time - may you have joy filled days as this old year winds down.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEDDWT 12/30/2011 12:13AM

    The possibilities are endless for 2012. Glad you are looking forward to one big open book/journal/notebook.
emoticon emoticon emoticon
For you and DH!

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SHEILA1505 12/29/2011 3:08PM

    Big hugs, Bess and a fantastic 2012

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HARPERLADY 12/29/2011 9:28AM

    wonderful blog!!!! great points!!!!! you have done fantastic!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PKGRANDMA 12/29/2011 9:18AM

    Good for you and congratulations on your successes!!!


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Fail to plan? Plan to fail. Join me as I prepare for the big feast

Thursday, December 22, 2011

That old saw is so true it's sometimes irritating to hear it - but this week it's the one I'm clinging to because I know that on Sunday there will be a standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding on my dining room table. Our Christmas feast is second only to the big Thanksgiving one a short month ago. I love it - but I also dread it a little. Or ... I would ... only ...

I don't plan to fail.

This month I set a goal of loosing weight while enjoying seasonal treats. I set this goal to prove to my inner brat that you can have your cake and wear those skinny jeans too. It just has to be a small piece of cake.

Best of all, I've been successful all month with steady losses each week - AND with a rich full glass of eggnog after decorating the tree, and some desert at the staff lunch on Friday, and a little slice of my White Bourbon Fruitcake. The success came via planning and as I drove in to work yesterday I realized that if I want to savor and enjoy my Christmas dinner on Sunday and weigh in on Tuesday with another loss - I better plan out the whole rest of the week - which includes dinner out with friends and family tonight and company the next two days.

And when I plan - I like to start with the end result and work my way back to now - so that I can actually see just how many steps - and how big they'll have to be - to get where I want to be when I want to be there. To make the following understandable you need to know I'm also using Weight Watchers and their 'PointsPlus' system for calculating the nutritional facts. That means I get 26 points a day to fill up with as much nutrition as I can - and 49 points a week to use whever I want.

so - what's on the Christmas table? Standing rib roast first off - which will come in at 7 points for a 3 oz serving. Can I be satisfied with that? hmmm. yes. I can if I eat slowly. But if it's especially tasty I'll want seconds and I better plan for that too. Then there's Yorkshire pudding which comes in at a whopping 8 points - and is so delicious I will absolutely include it but ... here I'll have to keep it small. There will be peas for Himself and broccoli for me - the broccoli will be sprinkled with Parmesan cheese so that's another point. And yes. there will also be mashed potatoes and 1/2 a cup of that will equal 3 points. I have a magnificent Cote du Rhone wine and I promise you - I'll have a glass of that ... 4 more points. Fortunately - there is only one bottle and it will be split between 3 people. And there will be coffee and desert - the White Bourbon fruitcake. The cake is made in little loaves and it's easy to eat only 1/2 a loaf of this. It's very rich. I'm going to estimate the points value here because I am too lazy to go look up all the ingredients and then divide by whatever number of little cakes I made. Truth is - I've given so many away I don't remember how many I made. My guess is that half a little cake is 7 points. so - what's the total?

11 roast beef serving plus seconds
8 Yorkshire pudding
1 broccoli
3 potatoes
4 wine
7 cake
34 points




Not gonna skip any of this.

So. Since a typical dinner for me comes in around 10 points I'm going to go over my daily limit by 24 points.

Since I get 49 extra points per week and I've used 4 already I have 45 left. I can take 24 out of that chunk for the Christmas feast and still have 21 left.

Of course - I am not a calculator and probably underestimate how big my portions actually are so I think I need to shave another 5 points off store of extra points.

That leaves me 16 points to play with and only one dinner out to suck them up. Oh my! And that's tonight!!! Good thing I started this planning now.

It's always harder to estimate the points of restaurant meals but I know this place has a bang up salad bar. They aren't likely to have a clear soup (My memory is they have an awesome crab bisque which we all know means butter and cream) but I bet they have fruit and besides, I can take fresh fruit with me. Okay - so what will I do tonight? Salad first - and if there is a grilled or stewed meat I'll select that too. Whatever else I do I will stick with only 3 points worth of bread product - be it roll, crackers or whatever. And I know I will want a cup of hot chocolate or some other sweet treat after we get in from caroling. Allow 5 points for that.

Well. I can't tell you what dinner will be like tonight - I haven't been to this restaurant in a year. But I can calculate throughout the day and know I have those 16 extra points to play with if I need to. This meal isn't all about the food - it's all about the family and friends and fun - I don't have to overindulge at all if I choose not to.

Well. that's about all the plan I can come up with - but I think it will be enough. Thank you for coming along with me while I figured all this out.

And may your days be merry and bright.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 12/22/2011 7:20AM

    Now that's a plan! You are puting a lot of thought into this. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BD3269PM 12/22/2011 7:02AM

    What a great way to enjoy all of your favorites and keep to your plan. I know that with all the holiday foods, I will be looking everything over first and then makong some good choices. But it is sooooo hard sometimes. Enjoy your holiday emoticon

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The Truth Always Sounds Good - Over and Over Again

Friday, December 16, 2011

I was reading Mike Kramer's article about the 10 strategies for success this morning - for probably the third time, too, when the truth of his points struck me - in a brand new way, relevant for a brand new today.

It's way too easy to think that our lives are so linear that once we know something, like a nice little computer program, we will always do the same, even the 'right' thing. It's logical. You know the extra 3 chocolate kisses have no nutritional value and that you're close to the limit of your daily intake. You know already what they taste like, nice, but not so good they'll shoot you to the moon in extacy. You even know that once you eat 3 of them you are likely to eat more. Knowing doesn't always help.

Because our lives are not really like computer programs - unless it is in how they are
constantly bombarded by viruses that derail our predicted activities and responses.

This is why it's good to hear the truth again and again because we need those truths for each unique individual moment of our day. And today - when I was reading Mike Kramer the truth hit me KaPow!

I want to be successful this holiday season. I want to not just maintain but loose a little weight. I would like to lose 2 pounds between now and January 3 and I'd be happy to lose only 1. Also, I want to have all the fun a long sweet holiday can hold.

Which particular truths were so bright for me? Let's give them a look.

First - Start Small:

1 to 2 pounds. 17 days. I think that's a small goal. It's a little weight and a short time frame. Even if achieving this goal is strenuous, I need make this big effort only for 17 days.

Second - Get It On Paper

Okay - that's the one that made my skin flush when I read it. I need to set this all down on paper and I'm doing that right now. Even though this isn't my regular blogging day I'm posting about this.

Third - Focus on everyday habits

I actually started doing this a few nights ago after my weigh-in on tuesday. A weight loss last week encouraged me to think about some of my every day bad habits - like eating a second ice cream bar after dinner. One fits so neatly into my calorie range and the second one, while it may not always push me over, is always a bit of rebellious dishonesty on my part. It's not that I want the extra taste so much as I don't want to submit to my own regime!! what a goofI am - I wonder, do we ever grow up? Twice since then I've had the maturity to say "nope. Not gonna do that tonight" and gone into another room to do something else.

Fourth - Always See your Goal

Okay - now this is fun for me. Because while this is just a small goal, it's an enormous achievement, because of all the planned and unexpected foodie events that will sprinkle through those 17 days. I see in my mind's eye the utter triumphant stride I'll have when I walk in to my January 3 weigh-in knowing I am slightly lighter rather than slightly (or even grossly) heavier than I was in December. Just seeing that image feels tingly!

Fifth - be consistent

ahh well. Only time will see if I have been - but ... those 3 days a week working out at the gym that I started in November have already begun to feel, not just normal, but necessary.

Sixth - Never Stop Learning

Well - it will be interesting to see what I learn over the next 17 days - best of all - I have Cooks Illustrated's newest cookbook - a Light Cookbook. I have fallen in love with the whole America's Test Kitchen team - and to think that they've turned their eyes towards light cooking is a thrill. I know they won't sacrifice taste for calories and low fat - it will be an adventure.

Seventh - Come Out of Seclusion

Ha! Anyone who knows me knows I will tell you all about myself - so that's a given. But just in case you're reading me for the first time, here's a little story that illustrates just what Miss Loquacity is really like.

When my husband and I were talking about where we wanted to live after he finished college I said I wanted to move to the little rural town he grew up in. He gasped in horror and said, in shocked tones "We can't move there. Everyone will talk about us!!"

"Of course! I'm interesting" was my answer. "If they don't talk about me, I will probably talk about me to them"

so you see - seclusion is not really an issue

Eighth - Allow for Setbacks

Okay - I know this can happen. In fact, I know I am going to have a laced egg nog on Saturday - the calorie count of which is probably forty levendy hundred - but I am going to figure it out ahead of time and by golly - I am going to exercise it off before my next weigh in. And while I won't beat myself up if there is a setback in the next 17 days - I think I will make a plan to ameliorate it.

Ninth - Trust Your Plan

See above

Tenth - Have Fun

Well, my partners on this journey - this post certainly was fun to write. I hope it was fun for you to read.

Happy FridayFridayFridayFridayFriday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 12/16/2011 8:15AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHEILA1505 12/16/2011 8:03AM

    17 days is fairly manageable I suppose - and once you get thru those, you'll be plotting and planning a goal for the next 17!
Big hugs - and enjoy!

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JLITT62 12/16/2011 7:55AM

    Would you believe I've never had eggnog? Probably a good thing. My naughty drink of choice is hot chocolate. Because treats must be chocolate!

But one tip I've heard is to "water" down that eggnog with more milk, so I thought I'd just pass that one along.

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JUGE300000 12/16/2011 7:40AM


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Pushing through the doldrums

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Several months ago I made a promise to myself that I would blog here once a week - and on the day after weigh-in - as a sort of progress monitor. Today is the day and I am singularly uninspired - so that it's difficult to put words down that actually share what is inside me and also makes for, at least, acceptable prose.

Physically I'm doing well. I've crossed over the tipping point into a weight where I actually like how my face looks - one of the markers that tick off true progress. I'm keeping up with exercise so that things like muffin tops and back fat, lie flatter beneath my clothes. I even zipped up those gold brocade trousers I bought a few years ago because they were a size 12 and ought to fit - but did not - which is probably why they were marked down 90%. A real size 12 couldn't wear them and someone smaller than a size 12 wouldn't bother to try them on. They are so festive and would be the perfect thing to go to the sort of holiday party I'm likely to be invited to - casual, country, but still party. (it's not a shiny brocade but a subtle textured weave). And while 2 weeks ago I could technically zip them - I sure wouldn't wear them. Now they zip smoothly and are just begging for me to top them with a cream colored sweater so they can look all snowy New Year's Eavish.

So yes. There is progress and success and there are the kind of non scale victories that are the real reason for bothering to make the weight loss effort. You'd think I'd be longing to post about all this (and of course, you would notice that I just have!)

But 10 minutes ago I couldn't seem to get started. 10 minutes ago I'd written and deleted half a dozen sentences and a different title and finally thought "Oh. Why bother. Who cares if I stick to some arbitrary schedule? It's just this once."

And then it struck me - fully - square on - kaPow!

That attitude is exactly what has kept me from losing these last 12 lbs I really want to drop. It's what makes me drift away from good eating habits. It's what makes me slide into the right turn home instead of the left turn towards the gym after a long day at work. It's choosing to get close but not bothering to go all the way.

I know that once I actually do put down the second ice cream bar - once I even turn left out of the library parking lot after work - I'll go the rest of the way. I'll walk out of the kitchen or into the gym. It will not be miserable. I'll get busy with something in another room of the house. The exercise will feel good. All that's needed is to refuse to cave to the voice of sloth and take the next good step.

and what do you know - I've made that blog post after all - and no. It wasn't so hard. Maybe next time I feel like getting close but not going all the way - I'll remember this. It's really not that hard.

Hope your Hump Day is not hard at all! Ta.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AEBROWNSON 12/14/2011 1:54PM

    Thanks, Bess...I needed that.

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STARL_73 12/14/2011 12:59PM

    Owtch. That hit close to home.. but I guess I needed the wake up call. I think I've been living: It's choosing to get close but not bothering to go all the way.
Something to think about.. and time to do something about it!

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MSLZZY 12/14/2011 11:45AM

    I call this time of year the "hibernation mode". It seems like it is just a trial to want to do what I know I should. I have to shake it off and once I get started, yes, it goes good. Keep an upbeat attitude and keep on SParking! HUGS!

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JLITT62 12/14/2011 9:07AM

    It's strange how things we KNOW make us feel better seem so hard to do.

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