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Goal Reflection...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Near the beginning of this year, I created a list of goals for myself. Sadly, this has been a rough year, goal-wise. Here's a summary of my progress (or lack thereof in some cases):

• Cardio at least 4 times a week (DVDs, recumbent bike, walking, etc.)--I got a walking buddy earlier this fall, and we have been relatively consistent with approximately 3-mile walks 2-3 times a week with our dogs. We took a couple of weeks off after she was in a nasty car accident, and now we've got the problem of it being dark by the time we get home from work, and also the rapidly cooling temperatures.

• Incorporate strength training by middle of July (DVDs)--when I was at Lake Austin this summer, I got a strength training program. I've been very sporadic with it, but the exercises are very doable.

• Plan out week’s workout schedule each weekend--this is typically done in my head, but I really need to schedule it in my planner and/or on my phone.

• Do stretching/yoga 3 times a week (DVDs)--not happening often enough, which puzzles me because I know just how calming and centering it is for me to stretch or do some yoga poses.

• Track exercise in SparkPeople exercise tracker--Successful at this one--when I exercise, it gets tracked. (Granted, the key part is "when I exercise...")

• Wear pedometer daily, track steps on SparkPeople--I keep forgetting to put the stupid thing on my pants each day. This is pure laziness and forgetfulness.

• Eat breakfast at home--that involves getting up earlier. As a non-morning person, this is pretty much impossible. I am, however, making healthier choices to eat on the way to work or once I get to school. Working very hard to cut back on the Starbucks and McD's stops.

• Eat at the dining room table (meals, snacks)--this is hard because Matt and I typically have our table covered with junk.

• Eat away from my car--I've tried to do this the past few weeks since I had my car thoroughly cleaned.

• Carry a water bottle with me to drink from--I do this...but I rarely actually drink the water.

• Limit McAlister’s sweet tea to 1 time a week--pretty successful at this one, only going on the weekends. So some weeks, it's 2 times a week.

• Track food in SparkPeople nutrition counter--not as diligent at this as I should be, especially on days when I splurge or just eat total crap.

• Use smaller plates, bowls, glasses, silverware, etc.--I am definitely good at this one, when I have control of it--so mainly when I eat at home or pack my lunch for work.

• Listen to relaxing music--highly successful at this one! I have CDs that I play in my classroom and music on my iPod for relaxing at home and helping me fall asleep at night.

• Work on “zen book” (binder full of calming images and words)--I got a very nice binder to put my pages in. I worked on lots of pages over the summer, but haven't worked on it since the fall. Again, this is a calming activity for me, so I need to do this more often. Perhaps scheduling it in?

• Use neck pillow--I don't do this consistently, but it has definitely helped when my neck and/or shoulders are really bothering me. I started seeing a chiropractor, which has also helped.

• Do stretching/yoga DVDs 3 times a week--see above

• Eat dinner with Matt—at the table---see above

• Check planner daily—keep in purse---I'm really bad about this. I've got a great planner, and I know how valuable a written planner has been for me in the past--but I constantly forget to use it.

• Make the bed 4 times a week--this happens in spurts, despite knowing how happy this makes Matt.

• Go through Cooking Light, Clean Eating, and Healthy Cooking magazines to find recipes I'd be interested in making, and then recycle the issues---I worked really hard on this earlier this summer and got several good recipes from each. The issues are starting to pile up again, though.

SUMMARY: Some areas have been rather successful, but I still have a long way to go in several areas. As I looked over these goals tonight, I realize just how simple so many of them are—I’m just getting in my own way. This is my biggest problem—I know exactly what I need to do, I just don’t do it, or make excuses, or get busy and let it slide. Reposting these goals has helped to refocus me. I’m turning 30 in a little over a month and would love to drop below the 200s beforehand. I need to get into gear, and I definitely need some help. I’m going to set up some Outlook reminders to remind me to drink my water during the day and to get out of work early to do my exercising.


Four things....

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Four jobs I have had in my life:

1. First Grade teacher
2. Second grade teacher
3. Third Grade teacher (current)
4. Fourth Grade teacher

Four movies I have watched more than once:

1. Bull Durham
2. Wayne's World
3. the Major League Trilogy
4. My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding

Four places I have lived:

1. Independence, MO
2. Springfield, MO
3. Lee's Summit, MO
4. University City, MO (current)

Four Places I have been:

1. Oregon coast (gorgeous!)
2. Seattle
3. San Diego
4. Washington, DC

Four of my favorite foods:

1. broccoli
2. mashed potatoes
3. mac n' cheese
4. ice cream (can you see why I'm here? emoticon

Four TV shows I watch:
1. Criminal Minds (mmm....Dr. Reid...)
2. The Daily Show
3. The Colbert Report
4. The Big Bang Theory

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Oregon coast
2. Lexington, KY
3. Austin, TX
4. Canada

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

1. getting my act together
2. Thanksgiving Break
3. Winter Break
4. finishing the first 1/2 of the school year


My Trip to Lake Austin, aka How Stacy Got Her Groove Back

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I’m finishing up a week-long stay at the Lake Austin Spa Resort just outside of Austin, TX. I’m here thanks to my marvelous husband, who fronted me the money to go (I AM paying him back for about half of it—the rest is a 5th anniversary/finishing my Masters’ degree present). I signed up for Lake Austin’s “Power of 7” Program, which they describe as “a weeklong program of spa treatments, fitness classes, and special activities customized with your specific goals in mind.” I envisioned this program as a great opportunity to really jump-start a healthier lifestyle that would result in better nutrition, more physical activity, weight loss, and increased stress management.

As I sat on the plane waiting to take off from St. Louis, I saw it as an opportunity to leave the “Old Stacy” behind. However, as we got into the air, it became apparent that “Old Stacy” wasn’t going away that easily. There was some pretty intense turbulence—the worst I’ve ever experienced— as we climbed through some storm clouds for the first 10-15 minutes of the flight. The plane shook, lurched, and dropped several times. Babies cried, people gasped loudly, and the woman next to me grabbed onto me several times as a reflex. I pictured the spirit of “Old Stacy” trying to keep her grip on me, trying to keep me in my comfort zone of fast food, laziness, and emotional eating. Eventually, we rose above the clouds, and I felt a feeling of calm come over me. It was likely because the stress of the turbulence was behind me, but I also saw it as “Old Stacy” giving up.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, and I eventually arrived at the Lake Austin Spa Resort. I got settled in my spacious yet cozy room and set out to explore the rest of the campus. It is a very laid-back, calm place, which fit my personality perfectly. That being said, I had created a color-coded schedule to remind myself of what classes I wanted to attend and when I had scheduled fitness consultations and spa appointments.

The classes:
• I took several yoga and stretching classes. As I said, a key area of focus for me this week has been learning ways to manage stress and tension. As a yoga virgin, I took some gentle, beginner-type classes. They were all enjoyable, even if I did realize that my arms really are shorter in proportion to my legs, which made some poses difficult. The foam roller classes were somewhat challenging, as I don’t really have the upper-body strength needed to roll my junk in the trunk along the roller. However, it did feel good to massage my hips and legs on a deeper level.
• I attended several “Discovery Classes” on topics ranging from improving my posture to creating a sleep hygiene routine to doing a tapping routine on various places on my body to stop ruminating, anxiety-inducing thoughts. I know, that sounds weird, but it seemed to work the couple of times I tried it throughout the week.
• I took a beading class, in which I made a bracelet. It was a very girly, anti-Stacy thing for me to do, but it was actually pretty cool. I made a bracelet with peace symbols and little charms that said things like “Balance,” “Follow your Heart,” and “Be Yourself.” I may not actually wear the bracelet, but it really does look pretty cool, so I’ll probably display it somewhere prominent so I can see it on a regular basis.

The consultations:
• I began with an assessment of my Resting Metabolic Rate, or the number of calories my body burns when I’m doing absolutely nothing. I’ve often worried that, given the thyroid issues in my family, I could have a problem myself, contributing to a slower metabolism and weight gain. Luckily, though, my numbers appeared to be just fine. I was given a target calorie range for reasonable weight loss, and I was really happy to see that the range is actually doable. I won’t have to starve or deny myself!
• I also consulted with a nutritionist who gave me some quick and easy meal ideas, but more importantly, some guidance and strategies to help me with my tendency to eat when I’m stressed, angry, depressed, bored, etc.
• I met with a personal trainer, Katherine, who helped me develop a strength-training workout I can easily do at home with my weights and stability ball. We even came up with weekly schedules and daily routines. Katherine and I also discussed some stress management techniques. I really enjoyed working with Katherine and made a point to take her stretching and foam roller classes throughout the week. She was very supportive and inspiring, not to mention stunningly beautiful! She looked just like Rebecca Hall, who played Vicky in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

The food:
• I didn’t have a single meal that I didn’t enjoy! The first couple of meals involved some moments of shock as I looked at my plate and saw some small portions, but then I quickly realized that the portions were actually the nutritionally appropriate size. For instance, I actually had three ounces of steak, a cup of rice, etc. It really wasn’t that hard to adjust, especially since I had access to fruit whenever I wanted/needed it. I never really found myself hungry between meals or overly stuffed after eating. Each of my meals ranged between 300-400 calories.
• They served several yummy desserts, including two kinds of frozen yogurt that you could have after lunch and/or dinner. I enjoyed several different kinds of fro-yo, as well as some delicious banana-chocolate chip bread, chocolate cream pie, and lemon bars. Again, the portions were smaller than I may have served myself at home or than what I would expect at a “regular” restaurant,” but I was satisfied.

The spa:
• The spa had a really nice “wet area” (hot tub, sauna, and steam room) that I utilized several times during the week.
• The “Blue Room” was the perfect place to relax while waiting for a treatment, and I even hung out there after treatments. I got some quality reading and napping done there.
• I had a massage that involved smearing Moor mud all over my back. Pretty awesome.
• During one massage, I told my therapist that she could practically beat me up to release some knots and areas of tension. Boy, did she! She found knots in my hands, feet, hamstrings, and glutes that I didn’t know I had. It felt amazing as she applied intense pressure—I could feel the knots dissolve. It was also somewhat emotional, as I knew exactly why those knots were there—work stress, grad school stress, and general stress from not taking good care of myself. The following day, I was quite sore, but more notably, I was in a funk. I think releasing some of the physical tension also released the emotional baggage enmeshed inside. I took it really easy that day—after some time in the steam room and after taking a long, luxurious shower, I felt my mood lift.
• I had an amazing foot and scalp massage. Those two areas tend to get overlooked in most other massages I’ve gotten, so it was nice to have time devoted to just those spots.
• I had my first facial as well. I was hesitant to have one, given the utter girliness of it, but it ended up being one of my favorite treatments. It was really relaxing to have someone massage my face, apply all sorts of different creams and cleansers, and then cover my face and neck with warm towels. This may be something I have to look into at home.
• I had a massage tailored in to my dosha (from Ayurveda) and my chakras. It sounds new-agey, but I thought I’d try it for funsies. It was all very soothing, to the point that afterward, I retreated to the Blue Room and napped for about an hour.

All in all, this has been an absolutely amazing experience, one that has set me on a path of better choices. It has felt good this week to eat healthy, exercise, pamper myself, and simply listen to my body (especially when it told me it was naptime). I have learned so many things about improving my life physically, emotionally, nutritionally, and even spiritually. I’m fairly certain that I won’t be seeing “Old Stacy” any time soon. In her place is a new and improved version. She’s still not “perfect,” but she’s making progress and knows what she wants.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHELLYK972 7/25/2010 1:48AM

    Wow! What an awesome vacation! I'm definitely going to look into doing that! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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Summer Goals...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This is basically a revised version of my 2010 goals...I haven't made much progress on them up to this point in the year. The work/grad school combination was pretty brutal this semester, including a reading practicum that was like student teaching on steroids. The great news is that I will be done with my Master's degree in July!

Anyway, on with the goals...

• Cardio at least 4 times a week (DVDs, recumbent bike, walking, etc.)
~ Ride stationery bike while watching TV
• Incorporate strength training by middle of July (DVDs)
• Plan out week’s workout schedule each weekend
• Do stretching/yoga 3 times a week (DVDs)
• Track exercise in SparkPeople exercise tracker
• Wear pedometer daily, track steps on SparkPeople

• Eat breakfast at home
• Eat at the dining room table (meals, snacks)
• Eat away from my car
• Carry a water bottle with me to drink from
• Limit McAlister’s sweet tea to 1 time a week
• Track food in SparkPeople nutrition counter
• Use smaller plates, bowls, glasses, silverware, etc.

• Listen to relaxing music
• Work on “zen book” (binder full of calming images and words)
• Use neck pillow
• Do stretching/yoga DVDs 3 times a week

• Eat dinner with Matt—at the table
• Check planner daily—keep in purse
• Make the bed 4 times a week
• Go through Cooking Light, Clean Eating, and Healthy Cooking magazines to find recipes I'd be interested in making, and then recycle the issues

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPKM45 5/27/2010 9:18PM

    Great Goals! emoticon

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SPKM45 5/27/2010 9:18PM

    Great Goals! emoticon

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WENCHMAID 5/27/2010 9:09PM

    Great goals! McAllister's has the best sweet tea! I don't know what they do to it, but it is soooo good. I love my recumbent. I find a good show and start pedaling. Congrats on your degree. I'm hoping to start grad school next year, when I figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Keep up the good work!

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Being sick...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

is miserable. I've had a cold since Wednesday. I've noticed that as I get older, my colds are shorter in duration but are more intense. I took a 1/2 day from work on Wednesday, and came home and slept. Went back to work Thursday---quite possibly one of the most miserable days of my life. I wish I was kidding. So, I took a sick day today as well, and slept until about 1:00.

The worst part of all this is that I haven't been able to exercise. I've heard that if your symptoms are above the neck, you should be able to exercise, just less intensely than normal. But given that my nose is flowing like Niagara Falls, my throat is sore and dry from excessive mouth breathing, and I've had a headache the size of Saskatchewan, there was no way that even the most gentle of walking, stretching, or yoga was going to be possible.

I have, however, enjoyed just being able to relax, sleep, and drink copious amounts of water. It's been a stressful few weeks (which should continue through the end of the school year), so it admittedly has been nice to be unable to devote any energy to school/work (with the exception of a couple of hours tonight submitting an assignment). It has been wonderful to snuggle into my blankets, put a nice warm compress over my eyes, and listen to music. Why don't I do things like that when I'm NOT sick?


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