Friday, October 19, 2012
I would like to encourage you to go to Kalioppe's blog and take a look because it raises a very important question. It inspired me to think some more about goals and success and how to make them happen.
This is asking a very important question. As my response was getting long I decided I need to write a blog about this myself.
For me goals, success, motivation and rewards are all linked together.
Once I have decided on goals I put them in different categories. One type of goal I can't really control, at least not in the short term: what the scales will say tomorrow or in a month from now, what my waist measurement will be, who will be the next president, whether California will require GMO labeling... I may have strong opinions about all these topics but that does not give me the power to make decisions on these issues. Now, admittedly, I have more control over where my weight is going than who is going to be our next president, but this control is not linked to a certain time frame that I may desire.
The other type of goal is about behavior. I have much more control over my behavior than about my weight, although even my behavior I can't control perfectly. The decisions I make every day and the way I act are influenced by other people, by hormones (and I'm not just talking to the ladies here) and by brain chemistry, in other words physiological changes that are the result of how I sleep, my stress level, my diet, my exposure to toxins etc.
Still, overall I have a better chance in the short-term to change my behavior than the results of my behavior and sometimes it is critical to change behavior in spite of the results that come from it.
Here is today's example from my life: My weight was up from 128 to 129.6 this morning. Looking at my behavior last night that caused this weight gain (or maybe didn't):
- I home-cooked dinner , that was one of my goals, to eat at home more
- I used healthy, mostly organic ingredients that were low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat
- I used a few more tomatoes from our garden than usual so they would not go bad, raising carb level a little (tomatoes are a fruit and slightly higher in carbs)
- I made a meat sauce with quite a bit of salt, which is what my body needs on low-carb
- I took time to eat rather than rushing through the meal and I had seconds and enjoyed every bite
- I involved the whole family in meal prep, reminding everyone of where food comes from (this is my favorite )
- I made a new ice cream recipe from scratch that has a high fat content (cocoa butter added)
- I ate some of this dessert, increasing my calories for the day with hardly increasing carbs
All these were good decisions and the weight gain was probably healthy as well, as I had been losing a little too quickly, maybe a result of too little salt in my diet or just too little food because I did not feel hungry.
Had my goal been weight loss I would have been disappointed this morning, beating myself up because of having seconds, eating dessert, adding too many tomatoes to the dish, spending too much time eating...
Instead I know that my energy level will likely be higher today, allowing me to start building muscle again. I'm now looking forward to a harder workout knowing that I fueled my body well last night, while yesterday I stayed with low-impact cardio, feeling still a little more tired.
To sum up, the number on the scale will likely go down in the long run, but any goals I set in areas I can't control very well I hold lightly, ready to change them any day or even any hour. I do invest myself in changing habits and I pull out all the stops to motivate myself. Yesterday afternoon my big reward was taking my horse for a walk. She has this incredibly calming and relaxing effect on me as she walks or jogs calmly but very alert next to me, occasionally lowering her head to have a bite of grass. She is a horse without issues and together with my dogs, keeps me emotionally healthy.
Everybody has their own rewards and it helps to find them in all sizes, from very little ones for minor achievements to jackpot rewards for really big things, just make sure that the big things were things that took a huge effort rather than the things that yielded big results. Results are rewards in themselves.
I personally don't care much about spark points, but for many people they seem to be a reward. Hearing positive comments from other sparkers can be really helpful for most people. Writing a blog about my experiences can be a reward for me in itself. Reading blogs and getting ideas is fun, too.
One of the most powerful rewards for me is to see people's lives changed and knowing that I was a part of it. I know that in the long run this will stay with me much longer than the fact that I reached my ideal weight, ideal body composition, ran a race well or even stayed healthy without medication.
Maybe I'm old enough, almost 50 now, to realize that I only have one chance to make a difference, one life to live, and I want to look back and say I made a difference, my goals were not just about me, but I helped to make this world a better place. At the same time I want to focus on what I can change, myself, not other people and if I focus on that others have the freedom to do the same.
I'm learning from my dogs, several of which are getting older far too quickly. As their physical ability declines, even with healthy food and exercise, their eye sight fades and their coat gets grey I notice a gentleness of spirit, a kind eye, a conviction that they have earned their right to speak to my heart, by being themselves.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
I ended up having breakfast at about 10:30 am. I had a nice fritata with zucchini, peppers and mushrooms.
I was able to get in a little jogging with the dogs but did not have quite my normal energy level for running yet. I had a few macadamia nuts as a snack 2 hours later.
Lunch was around 3:30 pm, a mix of various lettuces and spinach, walnuts, cheese, a little bacon, radishes with vinaigrette and lots of olive oil.
After having another cup of coffee with cream I'm going to use the next hour to go for another little run with my horse.
Back from the run. It was beautiful outside, with everything being in fall colors. Blue Eagle loved to stop occasionally to munch on some green grass that is sprouting up again after the first big rain.
Now it's getting dark and time to make dinner.
I'm cooking up some ground beef with a lot of tomatoes from our garden and some garlic. It still feels funny to not have any beans, pasta, or bread with this. I realize that when I first started low-carb eating it was already spring and I've never done all my winter dishes the low-carb way. I will probably serve this with kelp noodles which only needed to be heated and some kale stir-fried in coconut oil on the side.
I'm very excited about a little dessert experiment I made earlier today: low-carb chocolate ice cream. Since I was a little short on cream and had raw milk to use up I used raw milk and melted some cocoa butter into it which I had originally bought to make chocolate. Then I mixed cocoa powder and Xylitol together and stirred it in the milk cocoa butter mix. Cocoa butter has a wonderful smell that comes through in the ice cream. I'm curious how my family is going to like it.
Dinner ended up being a little simpler. We put parsley on top of the kelp noodles and meat sauce instead of cooking up kale. All the fresh garlic made it really yummy. My daughter added a bunch of herbs like thyme and basil and some seasalt.
Total carbs may have been closer to 30 grams today.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
The scales were at 128 lbs. today, my lowest weight since I was 14. Amazingly there is still a significant amount of body fat left on my belly and my butt, LOL.
I know now that I can easily go down to 124 and not be too skinny, although once muscle mass increases significantly those pounds would have to come back on.
Overall I'm amazed how fast this is going. I may switch to slightly higher carbs in about a week if the progress continues as it has been.
I forgot to record one food item yesterday, about 4 oz. of brie cheese, in case anyone was wondering if my calories were low yesterday.
My energy level was good yesterday, with brief moments of a mild head ache. I also figured out that I need to use slow-mag for magnesium on days I don't have time to eat breakfast because my stomach complains otherwise.
To answer some questions:
At this point I may shoot for a body fat percentage of 18% rather than 20%, but will judge more by how I look and feel and how my glucose and insulin levels are long-term. The reason for taking this step was improved function and being able to easily fit into size 4 jeans is an added benefit, not the goal.
Increasing protein may have the same effect as increasing carbs, but given the benefit it has for being able to build muscle I may increase it a little before the carbs (if I manage to do more exercise).
Concerning being able to tell the difference between organic vs. non-organic, no, I honestly can't tell the difference, at least with meat. But given my cancer history I should not take too many chances of eating food that has more pesticides in it.
The reason that it's harder to tell the difference with Mc Donald's is that the food is fairly heavily salted, which is fine when on low-carb, but it makes the lack of other flavors less noticable. They may also add other flavors, I haven't taken the time to look, hoping that going there will be a very rare occasion.
I can easily tell the difference between homegrown vegetables (organic) and even organic produce from the grocery store. Some locally grown (non-organic, but non-spray) veggies are just as good.
Now I'm heading out without breakfast again, but with coffee with lots of cream. I'm taking my daughter to an appointment with my new doctor who treats with nutrition before anything else. I'm thrilled that I found her and that my daughter will be able to prevent so many diseases that I had to be treated for, including cancer, pre-diabetes, thyroid issues and obesity.
Eating breakfast and packing lunch will start tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
My weight was 129.2 pounds this morning.
I managed to get two walks with the dogs in but no time for anything else.
I did not have time for breakfast, only a cup of coffee with cream and my supplements. Being away from home for most of the day we had lunch at Mc Donald's again, another double quarter pounder with cheese minus bun and ketchup. I know this is less than ideal, the meat is not from grass-fed animals nor organic so I'm hoping not to repeat this too often.
After that we went to the mall and while there I had another cup of coffee at Starbucks and discovered their chocolate-covered almonds. I ate about 6 of those for about 8 grams of carbs.
The next meal in the late afternoon was at the Safeway salad bar, a big pile of mixed lettuce with some chicken breast, cheese and vinaigrette with olive oil, followed by another cup of coffee with cream. It's 5:30pm and I don't think I'll need anything else to eat today. If I feel like it I might have a little more homemade, sugar-free ice cream.
3 cups of coffee today was a little more than normal for me.
My hope is to eat most meals at home for the rest of this week, cut down on the caffeine and get more exercise in. I think given the circumstances I made decent choices today.
Tomorrow we'll go ice skating for the first time this season. I'm really looking forward to it.
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