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Week 2 Menus - Week 1 Recap and Thoughts

Monday, January 09, 2012

First of all, thank you for all the birthday wishes! I really appreciate the love, support, and encouragement! :)

Weight Last Week: 306.4
Weight this Sunday: 304.4
Loss/Gain: -2 pounds!

Total SP Loss: -111.8
Total Overall Loss: -162.2

emoticon 5 for 5 on my workouts last week!
I have yet to run again, but I did all my mileage this week - even dragging Hubs with me on Saturday for my 3.0 to end out my 30th. :) I did both of my Zumba routines at home this week for 2 reasons: 1) I didn't know how it would go and I didn't want to walk out of class crying again, and 2) I had early days this week (got off at 4:30pm instead of 6pm) because of the holiday, so I got to be home with the boys more. Everything went pretty well, actually. Still a little tight in my back and my hip can cause problems here and there, but I got through every workout well, so I have no problem thinking I can again this week.

emoticon I made healthy meals at home!
We tweaked the menu a little bit, but I still cooked healthy meals at home for the family. Granted, I did go over my "eat out no more than 2 times a week" rule, but only by one - Subway after my 3 miles with Hubs on Saturday. We didn't expect the alone time, so it was nice and I was good that day and was within my goals. :) Honestly, this one is already going to the crapper since all my friends have invited me out this week for my birthday. I ate out yesterday with the fam, I go out Wednesday night with an old friend from the paper, I go out Thursday night with the newest bestie, and then I'm going out of town this weekend with growing up bestie. So, yeah...this one's going to hell! I'm still trying to stick to cooking at home every other night and making sure there are healthy lunches packed for work.

emoticon I've been drinking my water and, other than Saturday, I remembered my supplements every single day! *proud*

emoticon I packed my lunch every single day but one, and that day I ordered a somewhat healthy sub from Jimmy John's and really enjoyed the "treat" that didn't break the calorie bank.

- I have yet to buy my supplies for my first craft project, but I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I want to get started on.

* Cassoulet - even without the Herbes de Provence it still turned out good
* Swedish Meatballs - needs something, but pretty darn good
* Brown Sugar Chicken - NASTY! Not making that again. Logan and Shane liked it, but they like everything.
* Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Casserole - It's pretty yummy, actually. I'm going to cut out a little bit of cabbage next time (I used almost 2 full heads), but it's pretty yummy and after a few tweaks I'll be adding it into rotation. It's filling and super healthy and 3 out of 4 of us like it and the other one refuses to try it.
* Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie - worked out better than I expected. Once I perfect the recipe, I'll share. Basically, it was a little too soupy, so I need to cut back on some of the liquids and then we should be good...and this time I will be adding peas, salt and pepper. (forgot last time - I think this is on the menu for tomorrow).


* Uhm, confession? I don't exactly have my menu together yet. This weekend was a little nutty and I've been gettng those calls from my friends that keep changing things for me. I even went grocery shopping without a list (*gasp!*), but I do have a bit of an idea of what we'll be doing.

- Chicken Pot Pie: going to perfect this recipe
- Pork Chops: probably will fry these up tonight

I also still have split chicken breast and ground turkey in the freezer, as well as more chicken breast and chicken breast tenders. I'm going to spend some time today figuring out a plan.

Sunday - OFF
Monday - 1.5 miles & 30DS (L1:D3)
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - OFF (STRETCH!)
Thursday - Zumba
Friday - Nike Training Camp*
Saturday - 3 miles

* Nike Training Camp - I've talked about this before (and am too lazy to go look through my blogs to find it), but it's an application on my iPhone, which provides prompts for circuit exercises for a circuit routine that is either 15, 30, or 45 minutes long. It's intense, but moves fast, and seems to be QUITE effective. Plus, it makes me feel that super woman feeling following a good workout. (I think there was a small fee for it, but not more than 10 bucks...probably not more than 5 bucks because, well, I'm cheap. *lol*)


Okay so, my birthday day kinda sucked. There, I said it. I suck without a plan and while I figured we'd just go to the movies after lunch, well, there wasn't crap playing that I 1) I wanted to see and 2) the boys could watch with us. So that was out. And there wasn't much else left. I didn't feel like hiking as my back was still tight from the 3 miles the day before. And most everything else was closed for the season or shut down or whatever. I got frustrated and stressed and considered just staying home. In hindsight, I probably should have. No, strike that. If I knew how it would turn out, I would have stayed home PERIOD.

We did go to lunch at Quaker Steak & Lube. I did order my cheeseburger. It wasn't that good. Dumb hookers overcooked the stupid thing so it was a dried out mess. Next year if I want a cheeseburger I'll make my own because I *hate* it when the restaurant overcooks it! (I've totally stopped ordering anything well, because even if you tell them medium, you will get it well done. Unless you go to a fancy place, the "cooks" in the back can't cook. I know that now.) My fries and onion rings were okay, but nothing great. It was a bust, a major bust. And the stomachache that followed? Didn't like that either. *pouts* Put that down as a lesson learned, mkaythnxbi!

After that? Well, after Hubs complained about the cost of lunch and I started to feel super guilty for making him pay for it, and with nothing really else to do...we ended up running errands. *bangs head on desk* I promise you, when I thought of all the things I might like to do on my birthday - running errands didn't make the top 100. *sigh* I stopped by Cato to check my pants size. I then walked down to Bath & Body Works because I needed new foaming soap (thank goodness I caught the clearance sale, though!). And then I headed to Petsmart, got the puppy a new collar once he grows out of the current one (it was on clearance), a harness, and then 2 engraved tags, one for each of our dogs with my information on the back. I've been meaning to do this for a while but never got the chance before. After that, I stopped at Kroger for my extra firm tofu and for a soda treat for everyone. And then off to the mall to get a watch battery replaced.

Yeah, not the best birthday, if you ask me. I went home pissed off that we wasted the day with this crap and I wasted calories on crap food and then I took a nap. Later, we did the whole cake thing, and I clipped coupons and did laundry and went to bed. I did finally get to watch some movies - One Day and I Don't Know How She Does It from the Redbox - but it just wasn't my ideal birthday celebration.

So, yeah. That was Sunday. There you go.

And about this high calorie day thing? OMFG I'm struggling with this one. Struggling with the guilt and fear that I just undid everything I did all week. I weighed in at 307.4 this morning, and even though I know I'm bloated and need to flush with some water today, well...I'm terrified. Yes, it's an experiment, but I'm scared, like always, of "wasting time" and that my body won't respond to this like it is supposed to. I'm trying to push those concerns away and just wait and see what happens. Either way, I doubt any other HCD will end up that crazy the rest of the month.

Anyhow, maybe this weekend will make up for it.

This weekend I'm going here:

Me and my friend Andrea will be checking in on Friday and checking out Sunday. It will be two blissful days of girl talk and drinks and whatever else. Almost everything is on site so if we want to gamble or bowl or watch a movie or swim or even play laser tag or ride a horse or play croquet, we just have to walk to where that is (and probably pay a huge fee) to do so. I'm a little worried about the cost of the "activities" but we found a special deal on the room and both of us really need this. (Andrea is the same friend I went to Vegas with for my birthday last year. We see each other about once a year so we try to make it special. And Hubs gives me a bunch of crap about spending too much money - which he did again yesterday, on my birthday...but anyhow...) So, yeah, I expect some laughter and maybe some tears and (if I can afford it) a friggin' massage or something! I need some downtime, honestly, so I'm hoping to have a great weekend.

Of course, that means that once again, my "don't eat out more than 2 times a week" rule is in the crapper, but I'm trying to be smart.

Wednesday - dinner with newspaper friend. I haven't seen her in over a year, so I'm super excited! I've suggested sushi, so that's healthy enough.

Thursday - dinner with bestie. She's suggested two local places which both offer the healthiest fare available around here - mostly organic, WV-grown, and lots of vegetarian options.

And then Friday and Saturday I'll be eating at expensive restaurants with my growing up bestie, so I have no friggin' clue there. *lol*

My goal? Control what I can, make the smart choices, and then let go. Plus, I need, more than before, to make sure I get every single workout in.

That being said - I doubt I'll have as much success as I did this week next week. *sigh* Makes me a little sad, but I won't let it keep me from enjoying my time with friends. This is life. I have to enjoy it - even if traveling leads to weight loss for me every single time.

Okay, y'all. That's all I got. Recovering from this weekend. Gotta get some work done, walk my 1.5 miles at lunch, and then go home and make dinner and do 30DS before bed. Gonna be a busy day. Also trying to spend the next few days catching up on laundry and getting it folded and put away because I'll have to pack and be ready to go after Ethan's eye doc appointment on Friday. Check-in is at 4pm.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWALKS 1/10/2012 9:02PM

    Happy belated birthday and this weekend will make up for last! Have a fabulous time! emoticon

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JEREMY723 1/9/2012 8:08PM

    I've read a few blogs in a row and you're the second to make Brown Sugar Chicken. Was it a featured recipe or something? Other SparkFriend liked it. I just mentioned it to my wife, she made a face. I'm fine to pass on it:)

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ERIN1128 1/9/2012 2:37PM

    Happy birthday, a little late! Your upcoming weekend plans sound fabulous, maybe you should consider that your bday celebration. :-) Hang in there!

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KKINNEA 1/9/2012 12:09PM

    Gah, I knew I forgot something on Sunday - happy belated birthday!!!

Man, it sucks when you use your calories on a special meal and then it isn't good.

I think you need to do virtual birthday this week - get your week 3 plan set up, then do everything in moderation like you have planned above. The place you and your friend are going to looks great - hope you have a lot of fun!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 1/9/2012 10:47AM

    emoticon emoticonYou are doing great.

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LILY_SPARK 1/9/2012 10:45AM

    You're doing so well, continuing planning. I need to plan better!

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Nearing the End of Week 1

Friday, January 06, 2012

So here it is, Friday (finally!) of Week 1. How are things going so far?

* I've made every meal on my list so far. I think tonight may end up being leftover night because my fridge is PACKED to the gills with good yummy foods!

* I've gotten in 3 out of 3 of my scheduled workouts. :) I can feel the motivation building. I'm actually excited to go to the gym tonight and knock out 30 minutes of my Nike Training Camp circuit program. (Added bonus? No machines required...just a mat, a medicine ball, dumbbells and a corner somewhere. :) )

* I've kickstarted my motivation again. I've been collecting gold stars for days doing what I say I'm going to do, and that always builds my confidence and motivation to continue. I no longer cringe when someone asks how much I've lost...I proudly tell them.

* The scale is taking TEENY steps down. I know I'm hitting a good stride when it does this. For me, it means I'm being consistent. Now this morning I had a big downward plunge, but I know to probably expect another upward swing tomorrow back to right around 306 where I've been hovering (ticking off a couple ounces each day).

* I've been drinking my water consistently AND taking my supplements. I do think they might be helping. I feel better already and my back is hurting much less (even with some Zumba I've been doing at home with the Kinect!).

* I've been saying no to food when I'm not hungry, and am finding it easier to do so. It's amazing what the right mindset and some built up self-confidence from following through on your plans can do.

So, I'd say it's going pretty well.

Review of the meals for the week?

Brown Sugar Chicken? YUCK! TOO SWEET! (who would've thought I'd ever say that?)

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie? YUM! A few minor tweaks (less liquid, add peas and maybe onions, and a dash or two of salt and pepper) and we'll be set with this one. Ethan even asked for seconds!!

Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs? Pretty good. I'd make it again. It isn't the best ever, but it's pretty quick and easy. I'm thinking of making a bunch of meatballs in advance for these meals and freezing my own bags of them so I already have them on-hand. Then it's just toss in the crock and let it cook. (The boys have already requested another round of Spaghetti and Meatballs. I have a few minor tweaks to do on the meatballs because Ethan noticed the switch from Ground Chuck to Ground Turkey. It may be in the way I'm packing them as ground turkey tends to get more dense than ground chuck. Or maybe I'll just make them with ground sirloin and keep the beef texture that he likes.)

I doubt I'll get my fried tofu, honestly. Haven't made it to Kroger here in the city yet as I've had short lunches all week. I'll go next week though...there are a few other things I'd like to get there as well.

This weekend is my birthday weekend, so that means I'm planning on crazy-Esther-flavored fun. Tomorrow I run/walk (depending on how I feel) my 3.0 miles to end out my 30th year. (I would love to then to a 5k or 3.1 miles the next day *smirk* but I don't think it's wise since I'm just getting back into this again. Do NOT want to reinjure myself!) I'll be making Logan's requested "Unstuffed" Cabbage Rolls (found another recipe for it too - turned into a casserole! - which I might try. (Sorry, but getting the leaves off the cabbage whole was impossible so I created my own dish the last time I set out to make stuffed cabbage rolls. I'll leave the cabbage rolls to the experts - my BFF's family and church! :) ) I'll also need to pick up my cake by noon. I ordered a vegan chocolate cake with vegan buttercream icing. I hope it's good! (I seriously doubt she'd screw this up...everything she makes is AMAZING and this isn't her first vegan cake...her friend has a son who has dietary issues so she makes him vegan cakes and cupcakes.) We're toying with the idea of going to see some comedy tomorrow night, but I have to work that out with Hubs tonight when I get home.

Then Sunday is the big day...and I'll get my gifts and my big fat cheeseburger. Then? I don't know. Movie maybe. Hiking? Tennis or basketball at the park? If it ends up being nice like it's supposed to be, I want to spend the day outside. But I also kinda want to see a movie. *lol* (I have a Film minor for a reason! ;) )

You know, I thought I'd be super stressed about turning 31, but I don't feel that way at all. In fact, I'm stoked! Here's to another year of making myself better than I've ever been! I cannot wait! Watch out world, here comes a kick@$$, hardcore, take-no-prisoners, but loving and caring and thoughtful 31 year old woman! (Did anyone else feel like at 31 they finally "got" it? Like they finally understood that they didn't have to fit some ideal mold of who they should be and they could be both kick@$$ and hardcore AND loving and thoughtful? It's like I'm finally sorting out what I want from life, demanding that from those who claim to love me, and loving myself enough to let go of those that can't give that to me.) Whatever, I'm probably just babbling, but I can't say that I've ever been THIS excited about a birthday...except maybe like 16 or something. *shrug*

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WISHICOULDFLY 1/8/2012 10:26AM

    Hope your Birthday is filled with love, laughter and FUN! Happy Birthday! emoticon

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OVERHAULING-ME 1/7/2012 9:16PM

    Enjoy your Birthday weekend! emoticon
Wow, loved your post but now I want all your recipes and find out more about the Nike circuit.
Congrats to you for all you have accomplised! You should be proud!


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SEEHOLZ 1/7/2012 9:15PM

    Happy Birthday Esther!

This blog made me smile, because I can just feel your motivation jumping at me from the page!


Btw, something about being in my 30's made me feel more calm :-)

Comment edited on: 1/7/2012 9:16:46 PM

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35ANGELS 1/7/2012 11:06AM

    Happy Birthday! emoticon emoticon Hope you enjoy your burger more than I enjoyed mine....made me not worth it. lol

What is the Nike training camp? sounds good if you can do it from home.

Good luck and have fun on your bday!

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CHICAT63 1/7/2012 7:03AM

    Happy Birthday ! Have a great weekend, enjoy. You had a great week with your cooking and will look forward to the review of the vegan chocolate cake:).

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-POOKIE- 1/7/2012 3:01AM


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SHEILA1505 1/7/2012 12:35AM

    Happy birthday!
30s were great :)) but 40s were even better :D

Hugs - have a wonderful weekend!!

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ROCKINFOX 1/6/2012 5:21PM

    Happy early 31st birthday!!! Sounds like you conquered this week.

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BLACK-PRINCESS 1/6/2012 5:07PM

    emoticon happy birthday

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    Happy Happy Birthday!! emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Gold stars for you!!

Vegan cake sounds yummy! I've been wanting to attempt one of these myself =)

and to answer your question,
Did anyone else feel like at 31 they finally "got" it? Like they finally understood that they didn't have to fit some ideal mold of who they should be and they could be both kick@$$ and hardcore AND loving and thoughtful?
YES, I'm about to turn 35 and it wasnt until I reached 31 that I even started figuring anything out and each year since I've learned a little more truths about myself and who I am or who I'm wanting to be. (not quite how I wanted to say that but its the way it came out lol)

Happy Birthday and enjoy every minute of it!!

Comment edited on: 1/6/2012 5:02:56 PM

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ATROTTIER 1/6/2012 4:51PM

    Happy Birthday!!! Enjoy your funtastic weekend, you are doing great and you are seriously motivating me to get ready for my big day back on Monday - my big "restart" day back into Spark and my life!

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ERIN1128 1/6/2012 4:25PM

    Ah, you're so young! (I'll turn 45 this year). Enjoy your 30s, they're great. Glad you've had a good week!

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HEALTH-E-CLARE 1/6/2012 3:54PM

    Congrats on sticking to the plan, and glad it showing up on the scale (or leaving it). Those ounces will lead to pounds lost.

Enjoy your 3.0 miles... Love that idea. I might have to steal that on my birthday

Happy Pre-Birthday

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BECKYB73 1/6/2012 2:49PM

    It makes me so very happy to see that you are NOT wasting your 30s!!! (I did and I'm trying to make these last 2 years of them count!!!)

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HARMONYBLUE 1/6/2012 2:48PM

    Happy Birthday! Can't wait to hear how it turns out (especially that vegan chocolate cake). I love vegan baking but haven't quite nailed a perfect vegan icing yet.

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KKINNEA 1/6/2012 2:41PM

    Yes, the 30s seem to be the time of figuring things out for sure. Glad to hear the pain is subsiding - it would be cool if you were able to do your 3 miles with running! You are just rocking 2012 already!

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ERINBEAR1876 1/6/2012 2:40PM

    I love your attitude and your positivity about your birthday and with all you are doing :o} You are doing amazing!!! And you make my tummy growl with your slow cooker magic!

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Become a Skilled Motivation Farmer

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I've been thinking a lot about motivation lately, mostly because mine is finally increasing again. We've all heard it before - motivation is not magic. Motivation must be built or grown. I was thinking about this today, and about how much growing motivation is like growing crops.

Analogies using farming have been used in so many ways (just pick up any version of the bible), because it's something most people understand. We understand that you must plant the seed, water it regularly, weed it, and then, and only then, can we collect (harvest) the fruits (or veggies) of our labor. Motivation is a lot like that.

I stumbled upon a Thinkquest article which discusses the growing of crops, which resonated with me. (Source link at the end of this blog.)

"People have been growing crops all through history. As people traveled from one continent to another, they took seeds with them so that they could grow food in their new country. Early settlers knew that they needed to be able to grow their own food if they wanted to live."

Like settlers knowing they need to grow their own food to survive, all of us Healthy Lifestyle Farmers need to realize that we have to grow our own motivation if we hope to stick it out past those first "resolution" stages of wanting to lose weight, get toned, or just get healthy. Very rarely do we stumble upon a random tree with fruit already planted, and never does it continue to bloom and blossom into a fruit that provides us with healthy fruit unless we nurture it properly.

I also realized after my move to WV that I had to take my "seeds" of motivation with me when I move. Even if it's just a small move - a new job, a new child, a change of plans. Every time something changes, from small changes to big ones, from work hours to gym hours, even the weather, we have to learn to take those seeds of motivation with us. Keep them in your pocket so you can carry them with you wherever you go.

"Today, farmers know much more about growing crops than they did then. Different crops are grown so that the farmer will get larger fruit or larger seeds. There is a lot of science in agriculture today."

There's also a lot of science behind weight loss today. The diet and health and fitness industry is one of the largest (if not the largest) mostly because they believe they can sell their magic beans to the unsuspecting. But we have to know the science of the thing to understand what really works. Calories in - calories burned; create a deficit and you'll lose weight. Most times it's just as simple as that. It doesn't matter if you're burning calories in a gym, with workout DVDs, running, walking, dancing. It really doesn't matter how it's done, as long as there is a calorie burn that helps create a deficit. And we also know that weight loss can happen without exercise if we simply create a calorie deficit. It's a science. We have to understand the science of the thing to make it work. And the more we understand, the better crops we can grow. Add in ST and you'll get a toner body than with just diet alone = bigger crop (sorta). Work in regular bursts of motivation like surfing the web for motivational pictures, doing motivational exercises, trying new things that boost your self-confidence and you'll be building a larger seed for the next time you need to plant that crop.

"Growing a better grain, fruit or vegetable means that the farmer needs to know: 1. What kind of plant will grow well in their soil, 2. How to get the soil ready for planting, 3. How to grow, harvest and store the crop, 4. How to get rid of weeds and crop pests, and 5. How to sell it once it's been grown."

1. What kind of plant will grow well in your soil?
This is different for everyone. What gets you motivated? For some people, it's hours in the gym and the feeling of sweat dripping from their forehead and down their backs. For others, it's the success stories of others who have similar experiences. Still others find theirs in motivational blogs, posters, pictures, etc. Some people even get a surge or rush of motivation from trying new things. Know what your trigger motivation is. What kind of motivation grows well for you and how can you make sure you have an unlimited supply of the seed or know where to get it.

2. How do you get the soil ready for planting?
Of course, like farming, this will depend on the type of seed you're planting. You might need to research articles for how to do the new thing you're trying out. You might need to sign up for lessons or a class. You might need group exercise classes or a new home workout DVD. You might need to create a vision wall or collect a virtual folder of all the motivational posters and pictures you've collected (my background on my computer at work changes every 30 minutes with a new motivational picture from my folder). You might need to set out a plan, create a workout calendar and buy some glittery stickers. Know what tools you'll need to get yourself ready to develop this new batch of motivation you're going to grow.

3. Know how to grow, harvest and store your crop.
Again, it will depend on what you're using. Use folders on your computer, create a Pinterest pinboard with all the motivational pictures, write a blog that journals your goals for the month, sign up for a race that's a few months off, sign up for a group class or personal instruction and keep the numbers/sites for where you found the information for that class/group/race so you can go back and do it again whenever you need to.

You also need to know how to grow your crop. Keep going to classes? Take one class and then practice at home once or twice a week before scheduling another? Keep collecting those motivational posters? How is your motivation going to grow. Here's a little hint - it grows from continual attention. Just like crops, you have to continually water your motivation. Some studies have even suggested that talking nicely to your plants can help them grow - why not try talking motivationally to yourself? Continual attention to your crop, your motivation, and continual action that backs it up helps your motivation grow. Create a streak of workouts, of healthy eating days, of days taking supplements and getting all your water in. Continual action, continual attention = growth. Every day you'll feel stronger, more motivated to do it again. Your motivation will grow.

And then you have to know how to harvest your crop. This one's a toughy. PRed your race? Now what? How many blogs have I seen like this over the past year plus? First of all - celebrate!! Throw a party! Do a dance! Write a WHOO-HOO blog! Collect pictures from that day and tape them up on the fridge. Tell everyone you know. Wear your medal around town and get those silly questions on purpose, just so you can answer them. It's time to celebrate what you've done. Whether it was a PR, or the reaching of a goal, know how to celebrate that - even have rewards in mind for when you reach that point. Even if your crop didn't grow as large as you wanted it to, you got some nourishment from it, so celebrate it somehow.

The key is knowing how to celebrate that victory...and then plant another seed. Whether it's signing up for another race or doing something different, you should have already stored those seeds up so you should know by now how to get back to them and plant another. Don't wait. Motivation doesn't grow on it's own! Get another seed in the soil, quick!

4. How do we get rid of weed and crop pests?
That negative comment. That sidelong judgmental look. Those nasty words we feed ourselves about "can't" and "don't want to". Those are weeds. They're the crop pests that kill our motivation - strangle it and destroy all the hard work and time and energy we put into it. Know what your pests and weeds are, and pluck them or spritz them with your own variety of pest-be-gone as soon as you see them! Give yourself a pep talk. Rewater your plant with more motivational juice and show it some love. Don't let your motivation be strangled by a single "bad move". Your crop can overcome a bad storm if you just know how to take care of it. Cover it when it frosts, water it at the right times so as to not burn it in the sun, and get rid of all the nay-sayers so they can nay-ruin your motivation!

5. How do you sell it once it's been grown?
How do we pass our motivation on to others once we've harvested it? Spark is great for this! Post an "I DID IT!" blog about your harvesting experience. A goal met, an obstacle overcome, a PR - whatever it is, sell it to the masses. You won't get any money back, but they might just provide you with the seeds you need to grow your next batch of motivation. Kind words, support and encouragement - all great tools for growing a great motivational crop! Soak it up, till the soil and get ready for the next planting.

Finally, and most importantly:
"Crops depend on water. A good farmer grows crops that use the water that is available. Crops might use a combination of rainfall and irrigation. A farmer wouldn’t grow a crop that needed tons of water in a place where it never rains. He wouldn’t plant a crop that needs to be drier on land that is marshy or doesn’t drain rainwater well."

It's all right there. Don't depend on what others do - do what you do, what you can do with the resources you're provided. A farmer in a dry climate wouldn't continually plant a crop that needed tons of water every single day 15 miles from his house with no car and then wonder why it doesn't grow and just keep planting it again. A crop like that is going to require an extreme amount of attention. Countless trips with the watering can. Who could ever keep up that kind of attention without falling apart (or at least having the rest of their lives crumble)? It's just silly! Plant the best crop for your area!

For example, I would *love* to be able to swim all the time. I love swimming. I'm good at it. And it burns great calories and I can do it for long periods of time without even realizing I've been at it so long. If I could, I'd swim every day. But I live in an area that doesn't have the resources for that. We have one indoor pool that I know of nearby, at the senior center, and my work hours and the pool hours don't mesh. Now I could sign up to do it and take off a lot of time from work, but then my work life would suffer. Or I could sign up in a different town, but then my family life will suffer because I'll be spending so much time driving to the pool so far away that I'd never be home to see them. I have to work with what I have. I have countless hills I can climb, wide open roads, a gym with just enough to get me by - so I'm going to grow a motivational crop that works well in THAT climate. (And then get to the lake as much as possible in the summer! *lol*)

I'm not saying it couldn't be done to devote yourself to something that requires that kind of commitment, but that it has a tendancy to burn out (or you do) because it's hard to keep that up for so long. Rely, instead, on something that can be more easily adapted and grown in your environment. Can't afford the gym? Buy a bunch of workout DVDs at home or find a great walking/running trail nearby. Adapt workouts to the privacy of your yard, your living room. Find great state parks with hiking trails - they're free! Go to your kids' school in the off hours and play on the equipment there - basketball hoops, tennis courts. Do what works for you, for your lifestyle, where you live, and with what you like to do and what keeps your crop growing.

So now that it's January 4th, and many of us are already starting to reconsider our New Year's Resolutions we promised we wouldn't make this year, but did anyhow, I have to ask you -- How are you growing your crop? Did you plant it well? Did you plant the right type? Are you watering it daily? Do you know what kind of "plant food" it needs? What temperature/type of water it needs? How about pests? Do you know what to expect? What are your negative triggers? How do you plan on shooing them away when they arrive? And have you begun thinking about how you will store your seeds for the next crop? Motivation doesn't last forever. It can burn fast and bright, but it has to be harvested and then replanted. Sow and reap, sow and reap constantly. Don't rely upon moldy seeds. Invest in new ones! Start getting to know your soil. Try new things - figure out the science of how your crop works in the soil you've got, and then continually attend to it to help it grow and be ready for the next sowing season.

I'm building my motivational quotes and pictures folder. I'm sticking to each workout because it helps grow my confidence and, thus, my motivation. And when this crop is ready to harvest, I'm going to have to be ready to plant again. The better I get at this cycle (and I do firmly believe it is a cycle), the easier it will be to keep this up for life. Constantly trying to improve myself, do better, be better, and go after what I want.

How's your motivational crop doing today?
*hands you the water pail* Time to water it?

(Farming Source:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4EVERADONEGIRL 1/9/2012 4:31PM

    This is such an awesome analogy!!!! I'm ready to be a farmer! :-) Whoohooo!!!

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ALOFA0509 1/6/2012 2:19PM

This is probaly the best thing I've ever read here on Spark!!! Rock On Sista emoticon

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BAYBELIEVER 1/4/2012 6:50PM

    Very good analogies! Magic beans. I love it!

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BLACK-PRINCESS 1/4/2012 1:57PM

    emoticon blog

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    Great blog! I have to surround myself in motivation 24/7 or it will slowly dwindle and its best to keep the motivation high when you're already motivated. I really like how you incorporated the garden theme in growing your motivation and everything you pointed out is right on target!
Success in 2012! emoticon

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MIQUEY73 1/4/2012 12:50PM

    LOVE this! Thank you for putting it in a way that really clicks with me. emoticon

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ERIN1128 1/4/2012 12:06PM

    Love this! I had to laugh at the "Jan. 4th and already starting to reconsider," because it was soooo hard to get up and exercise this morning!

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ALYSSA40 1/4/2012 11:55AM

    I like it. If it works for you, run with it. For me, I found motivation in vlogs. I had never been one to put my face on anything but lately, I've been having a blast with recording me and not just my thoughts. It's actually helping me to stay focused on what I want- allowing me to see what I'm doing for myself. Good luck to you and keep up the great job. I like reading your work.

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Day 3: Commitment

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

No, that's not that I should be committed. *snort*

Yesterday's Goals Update:
emoticon Drink Water. *gulp*
emoticon Take supplements. (Nearly forgot. Thank goodness!)
emoticon Make meatballs and freeze. Yep! Popped 'em in the crockpot this morning, and other than the sidetracking I'll have to do for more egg noodles (don't ask...let's just say I put it on that counter without thinking about our current pesky mice -- we think there are two and they fight constantly with each other. Rather annoying, actually. What I get for living in the "rural" area.)
emoticon Organize coupons again. Proud to say I got it done. Not proud to say I was up until 1:30am doing it, causing me to oversleep this AM. Thankfully the boys were on a 2-hour delay due to the snow/ice, so I took the oldest to the bus stop and was at work only an hour behind schedule. (It was WAY too icy to make him walk that 1/2 a mile. I know because I tried it last night!)
emoticon Do 1.5 miles. This is one of my proudest moments from last night.

I planned on doing it after lunch - hoping to walk off the Chinese sodium blast, I guess (didn't work *lol*). Problem was, when fam and I got up to leave the Chinese place, we realized that what had just been a few flakes falling had turned into almost white-out conditions (and later did!). It was coming down so hard it stung my face as I walked to the car. "Great!" I say to Hubs (you can hear the sarcasm from across the net, right?) "And I'm supposed to do 1 and a half miles in THIS?!" (insert growl or proper expletive here) Hubs shrugged and said, "I don't think you can. Sometimes you just can't do it. It's a force of nature."

HA! Force of nature stop me?! I'll be friggin' ....I don't know, something... if I let a stupid snow storm keep me from doing one and a half lousy miles!

I prayed it would simply stop. It did, for a second, then got worse. Approaching 5pm, I realized it was going to be pitch black soon. Snow or not, if I was going to do this, it was going to be now. (Damn the gym for being closed!! *shakes fist in the air*) So I put on my shoes, my gloves, my coat, my scarf, my penguin hat (*big grin*) and grabbed my headphones so I could track my distance. 1/8 of a mile. That's how far I made it on the road before I realized this was NOT a good idea. It was icy and slick and there were cars... just not a good idea. I turned toward home.

I could've given up. I probably would have a couple weeks ago. But something in me said, "There is NO WAY we're going to wimp out on JANUARY 2ND! NO FRIGGIN' WAY!!" So I did what any normal? sane? okay, a little whack-a-doodle person would do - I carved a path in the snow in my front yard and did laps in the small space there. 8 laps, or thereabouts. That's how many laps I had to do for each 1/4 of a mile. That means I walked 40 times around my own yard, just because I wanted to be able to say that I did it.

Guess what?


emoticon Do 30 Day Shred. And how did I follow all of that? I went inside, changed into my workout gear (read: not wet, snow covered socks, jeans, sweater, etc.) and then cooked tacos for the kids, let them play video games for a bit before bed, sent them to bed, and THEN I pulled out my 30 Day Shred DVD and did it all while Hubs ate the leftovers I'd set aside for him.

Know what happened? I felt a tiny bit like that Wonder Woman feeling I had in the past. No, not because I "cooked for my man" or catered to my children's every demand. Because I set out to do A, B, C and D...and I did every single one. CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!

(Okay, confession? I missed one. I didn't get the decorations back out to the garage. It's blocked off right now and while my youngest can squeeze in there to put things away, I can't right now...I wasn't sending him out there in that. ....though he came out anyhow while I was walking and played with the puppy in the yard... but I digress...)

So, what's in store for day 3? Well, after I pee (doing the pee-pee dance right now *lol*)...

* Already scheduled Ethan's eye appointment for next Friday. (This is kinda cheating, adding something to the to-do list you already did, but I did do it, so it counts right! *lol*)

* Drink water. (Halfway through my 8 cup goal already but after Chinese day yesterday, I'm shooting for closer to 12 as a flush of sorts.)

* Do ST tonight. Already picked out some exercises. 1-2 for each major muscle group.

* ZumbaLite. Now, I'm likely not sticking around the gym until 7pm (I get off at 4:30pm every day this week because of the holiday yesterday), so I'll be doing this at home with the Kinect probably. (Probably for the best, as I'll be able to cry, kick and scream my way through it without feeling totally embarassed.)

* Pick up the egg noodles for the Swedish Meatballs.

* Prep the chicken for tomorrow's Brown Sugar "Candy" Chicken. Think I'll either make rice with it or some potatoes. (Did you know you can make baked potatoes in a crockpot? Too bad I don't have 2. ...yet!)

* Scan ads/coupons for deals, especially stockpile deals that are "50 Cents or Less, But Free is Always Best!" And start thinking about menu ideas for next week.

Tomorrow is my "rest" night, where I'll be sure to stretch but otherwise rest these tired abs and legs! *lol* It's funny how switching up your routine can make muscles ache you thought were done aching. Just glad it aches for all the right reasons now!

I know my blogs have been kinda dull lately. Nothing thought provoking. More "yay me, I did something really simple!" kinda things, but I need this accountability so much right now. I've got my sights set on that full makeover and I really don't want to let myself down. Going to do the best I can every day to keep myself checking things off the list and pushing aside the excuses. I'm ready to see changes again. I feel like I can finally see what Thin Me might look like, and I don't think it's half bad, actually. *wink wink* I just have some work to do...and it will be hard...but I have to do it consistently before I can say "It's not working!" It's like that whole, "You can't complain if you don't vote" thing. I can't whine and say it's not working if I'm not doing my best to work it and stick it out. Example? Today I've been super hungry. I ate my lunch earlier...and within an hour I was already eating both my snacks. BUT - everything I ate was healthy and fit within my calorie goals. Even factoring in dinner, I'll still have room for another snack if I want (more room when/if I workout!...more on that later). So, I ate them without shame. And I feel better now. Guess my body just needed what it needed and it wasn't shy to tell me that.

BTW - 30 Day Shred is killing me (in the best ways...)! I've been working on putting more at-home workout DVDs on my wishlist for friends and family to shop from, because these are great "fall-back" exercises when I just don't want to go to the gym or I want to work out but I can't until 11pm (when the gym is closed). Hey, I might one day even workout on a Sunday with one of these!! *shock* *awe!* (my gym is closed Sundays so it's just always just been a rest day for me most of the time. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I think having more choices at home will give me the freedom to switch it up now and again.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KKINNEA 1/5/2012 9:49PM

    Love the front yard laps!!

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KAYOTIC 1/4/2012 11:05AM

    Way to rock your goals! Very creative!

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SPARKLISE 1/3/2012 9:12PM

    emoticon And I was complaining that it was cold when i went walking! emoticon

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ANEWBETHSTL 1/3/2012 7:01PM

    You are doing awesome!! Good job!

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RUSSELLORAMA 1/3/2012 6:57PM

    That's how you make it work. So proud of you!

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ERIN1128 1/3/2012 5:13PM

    I LOVE that you found a way to make your walk work in the snow! Way to get creative!

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BLACK-PRINCESS 1/3/2012 5:02PM


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HEALTH-E-CLARE 1/3/2012 4:34PM

    What amazing dedication to walk in 40 circles. I honestly don't think I could do it. Loving your gameplans and your ability to stick with it.

Keeping rocking it girl! Love the way 2012 is starting... minus the horrible weather.

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JEREMY723 1/3/2012 3:28PM

    I did a couple days of 30 Day Shred a couple of years ago and had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder! I've been running as cold as 23 with no snow and calm winds, but now it's 18 degrees, 2 inches of snow and 30 mile an hour winds for the second day straight. I haven't excercised either day but will be sure to tomorrow, one way or the other. Hope that you have a good rest of the day!

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Day 2: Doin' Good

Monday, January 02, 2012

Day 1 Recap:
emoticon Cassoulet for dinner.
emoticon Stayed around 1900 calories.
emoticon Drank at least 8 glasses of water.
emoticon Took my supplements.
emoticon Stretched before going to sleep.

So far so good. :)

Today's day 2. Plans/goals for the day:
* Do 1.5 miles. The gym is closed for the day so I'll be doing it outside in the snow! *lol*
* Do 30 Day Shred. I did this on NYE and had DOMS last night from it. Have to say, felt good to be sore for the right reasons again (finally!).
* Take supplements.
* Drink Water.
* Organize all my coupons again. Time to get back on track with my couponing and save us a bunch of money (haven't been able to see the coupons + Hubs' discount yet, but the last time I went shopping I didn't use one coupon (except a couple digital ones) and with his discount and mark-downs I still saved 25%! Can't wait to see what kind of savings I can accomplish this year! (Time to regrow my stock pile too!)
* Put away decorations (I took them down but now they need to go back in the garage.)
* Make tacos for dinner.
* Make the meatballs for tomorrow's dinner and freeze them. (recipe calls for them to be frozen for at least an hour before plopping them in the crockpot) I may also prep the chicken for Wednesday's meal, but if I don't get to that, I'll just do it tomorrow night or Wednesday before work.

Today is my high calorie day so I was thinking of taking my boys out to eat somewhere. Maybe Chinese because it's a calorie-killer any other day. I still go there every once in a while, so if I can manage to plan my trips (rarely) on my HCD, maybe I won't feel so awful about it. I've been working on Asian recipes a lot this past year, trying to make the Chinese place unnecessary, but I haven't found suitable subs for my sesame chicken and chicken and broccoli and moo shu chicken yet. That's my goal for this year. I hope to eventually make it so that I can eat my favorites whenever I want because I have homemade versions that are just as good as the original!

My driving force this week: This is my birthday week! I want to give myself the present of a first successful week that I actually earned in a LONG time.

My only gripe so far this year is that I have yet to get my first kiss of the New Year. Hubs explained yesterday that he was getting a scratchy throat and a bunch of the guys at work are sick so, in an effort to not get ME sick, he's holding off until he feels better. *sigh* I guess I can wait, since I know I've got him for life. ;)

How was your NYE and NY day?

I spent NYE grocery shopping. I picked up Mr. Popper's Penguins for the boys and I to watch. Then I came home, put groceries away, dropped the boys off at my in laws, then came home, took down the tree and decorations, did 30 Day Shred, then went to pick up the boys and played Apples to Apples with the in laws before heading home around 11pm to wake Hubs up for work. Boys and I stayed up to say "Happy New Years!" and then we went to bed.

Yesterday I spent much of the day playing Fable III. *lol* I am THIS close to finishing the game (probably will today) so I can start Skyrim with the rest of the family (Hubs is playing it now). I'm strange. I refuse to start a new game until I finish the old one, especially since it has been a LONG time since I've played, let alone finished, a game. I think the last game I finished was Luigi's Mansion and that was back when the GameCube was the system to have. It has been a fresh distraction, but if it thwarts my efforts in any way, I have no problem giving it up again. :) The kids helped with the Cassoulet last night, so it was fun cooking with them.

Hope you all had a great New Year! Off to start my day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLACK-PRINCESS 1/3/2012 9:14AM

    emoticon start

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BAYBELIEVER 1/2/2012 10:21PM

    Sounds like you are starting things off right this month. Keep up the great work! Love that your kids cooked with you even if just a little so they can learn another skill along with the nutrition you are teaching them!

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HEALTH-E-CLARE 1/2/2012 4:44PM

    Love the plan. Sorry about the NY Kiss, mine will hopefully come on Friday, so I'm right there with you.

NYE was GCL (gym, clean, laundry) and then dinner out with the friends. New Years Day was lounging around, light ST at home, and then tailgating at the game, and then watching the game at my brothers house. That means I ate way to much garbage and am flushing my system full of water.

Happy New Year!

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ERIN1128 1/2/2012 11:30AM

    Glad you're getting down time! Sounds like you're doing great. I think the high calorie day is a great idea.

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GREENEYES2020 1/2/2012 11:20AM

    I like the detailed re-cap! That's a good way to stay on track!

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LILY_SPARK 1/2/2012 11:09AM

    That's busy and sounds like you're doing great with food planning!

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COCOMAC7 1/2/2012 11:04AM

    Good job on yesterday! You are on your way to rockin phase III. Sounds like you had a great new years eve too! Happy new year!!!


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