Monday, July 21, 2014
Last week I read a blog from Gretchen Rubin, "My New Book about Habit Formation, as Distilled in 21 Sentences." * and it lead me to reflect on habit formation...
Here is what she has to say and my thoughts on the section "Desire, Ease and Excuses" ...
"Abstaining: For some of us, moderation is too tough; itís easier to give up something altogether. (Works very well for some people, and not at all for others.)"
I think this works well for me... If I try moderation, in particular with food, it is very difficult to stop myself - for some trigger foods, it is almost impossible if I am eating alone!
Portion control helps: For instance, it is very difficult to have only one piece of a chocolate bar. It is easier to have one truffle! Also, put it in a bowl, you know how much you are getting... if you stop yourself once the bowl is empty! My problem, I have a tendency to go back for a second (that is true for dry peanuts in shell - it is a snack at the local pub we go ... just so hard to resist... I would be better off abstaining if I don't want to go over!)
"Convenience: Make it easy to do right and hard to go wrong." I love this one!!! To do it right, I keep healthy snacks with me at work... to make it hard, just don't have handy the junk/trigger food! That is so simple!!! I also prepare extra healthy food, that way I have left over that I take for lunch the next day... or easy quick week night dinner.
We hosted a BBQ yesterday, so I had extra pork loin... I turned it into a warm faux-fry with 200gr Bean sprout, 100gr zucchini and 100gr green beans and 3.5oz Pork per serving... For a total of 313 calories! And yummi!
"Inconvenience: Change your surroundings, not yourself." I think this one is almost the same as the previous one... I know my shortcomings so I use what is around to my advantageÖ For example, I know it is hard for me not to push myself when I go for a run, even if I want to do it slow or jogÖ sometimes, I need a slow run and to make sure I do, I chose a path where I just canít go fast, like the trailÖ
I then take the time to enjoy the surroundings and at time I get a little bonus!!!
"Safeguards: Plan to fail." That is a good one! I guess this is what many of my sparkfriends do - they have a cheat day... I prefer to literally plan to fail - or know that I will go out, I ration myself during the day... then even with an "off range" I can always catch back the day or so... That is what I am doing now, after the BBQ, cocktails and treats (goat cheese, smoked gouda and sheep cheese paired with wine... just to mention this part!)
"Loophole-Spotting: identify and reject loopholes. When we try to form and keep habits, we often search for loopholes, for justifications that will excuse us from keeping this particular habit in this particular situation." In my mind, that is the excuse part! I think I can write a blog on this one alone... so I will keep it for later!
"Distraction: Wait fifteen minutes." How do you do with this one? For me, waiting is difficult because it means it will happen in 15 minutes... Getting distracted and actively doing something helps! Especially cleaning, and I get something nice out of it!
"Reward: The reward for a good habit is the good habit, and thatís the reward to give yourself. " Yeah... ok, I get this one... but I think including self-care in my schedule and making it my reward is my way to achieve this one. For instance, practicing yoga is a good habit and it is my reward because it makes me feel really good. An other example is the fact that taking the time to enter my recipes into spark people recipe allows me to share it with my daughter (she lives in a different province because of college)... so I share my good habits... but the reward is when she shares a picture of her food she prepared following my recipes!
(like my Red-Yellow and Green Salad! - Her picture is actually nicer than mine!)
"Treat: Itís easier to ask more of yourself when youíre giving more to yourself."
I bought new running shows!!!!
"Pairing: Only do X when youíre doing Y." Is she talking about wine and cheese here!?! LOL!!!
So, what do you think of these strategies to form good habits and avoid excuses? Do you have suggestions? Let me know...
* Link to the blog: My New Book about Habit Formation, as Distilled in 21 Sentences.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Don't waste time looking back to uncover your mistakes; instead, look ahead and plan for your future success. Nevertheless, it's not wise to make changes too quickly. Overreacting is even less constructive than doing nothing at all. " ~ My horoscope of the day
I guess I will try to apply this one... I will "waste" time looking back only to capture the good stuff! I will use it as a reminder and part of my plan for my future success!!!
I am slowly increasing the miles and the number of runs per week; I took a break for about a month. At the moment my left IT band is still pretty stiff and weak (inflammation is persistent!) - it had to compensate for my usual weakness on my right foot during the marathon last May. My lower back is also sore, I had a bad fall before the Relay for Life resulting in bruises and locking my lower back... All together, yoga and walking is helping. My mobility is improving. So I am doing some changes... the big change is taking it SLOWLY! It is actually difficult for me not to push it and I have to use some strategies to trick my mind ... my goal at the moment is to do it ... AND fixing the little "injuries"...
First strategy - I am going off the beaten path! Well - way of talking... I am trying some trails on base... and I carry my iPhone...so I allow myself to take a short pause to take a picture if I see something I like.
In this type of terrain, I can push it but I cannot sprint it. It is also very peaceful and quiet. This is getting the FUN back into RUNNING... This is my me time and this view has as much value as a great running pace! This is a training run not a race!
Second strategy - Improve the posture... I have a new chair at work and I like it. I don't use the back very often and my feet are grounded...
Third - as in my horoscope ... "Overreacting is even less constructive than doing nothing at all."... Well, I am not going to sweat the fact that I am not doing exactly what is on my training plan, as long as I am moving... Self-compassion is something I need to work on! So today I did not run because I have a stomach bug... (very crampy!)... however I went for a 5k walk at the lake with DH Jeff ... and I took my daughter and her girlfriend for a 3k walk in our neighborhood. It is good to get them out the door and away from her electronics - or her hobbies. I have to admit that she is very creative and artistic; she is very proud of her cosplay - I think she looks cute!
Finally - I am working on positive thinking. So here is a recap of a fun run - 15k around Diamond Head - Hawaii (May 2014).
That was my last "long" run before the marathon, so the intent was not to go fast but just to cover the distance - so I took my camera and I did a tourist run!
I started from the hotel and ran along Waikiki beach... very touristy area, many runners but this is not a very long stretch. About 3k. After that, I made my way onto Kalakaua Ave ... running by the Kapiolani Regional Park. Some historical houses and the shoreline are very picturesque. I proceeded on the right onto Diamond Head Rd...
This portion of the run was not flat... This is a slow climb. I went by the lighthouse and Fort Ruger Park. I stopped at the park and chatted with Johan, a friendly local lady in her late sixties, she was doing her daily walk training for her next marathon. She told me about the Hawaii marathon - she completed it in 6h24 min. I admired that. This is not fast but it takes a lot of commitment and determination to keep going. (after haft that time, I have enough!)
I continued my way around Diamond Head and went down Monsarrat Ave. I turned right onto Paki Ave and reached Ala Wai Canal. That portion is flat and fully exposed to the sun! I think I prefer hills and shade
I took a "short cut" toward the park - Ainahau Triangle and the Fort Debussy Beach Park. The last few meter were back on the beach sidewalk and the finish point was at Hilton Village (our hotel) by the pool! That run made my day!
Hope you did not mind looking back... Warning, more back flashes to come in my next few blogs, I have some catching up to do !
TGIF Tomorrow - Early shift at 5AM and BBQ in the afternoon.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
I had such a wonderful weekend, I am not ready to go back to work! Last night we went to Barrielicious. We made a reservation at the FarmHouse and tried their special 3 courses dinner (for 25$)! Everything is home cooked and grown...
I had the flatbread with chips and dip (with mushroom, sundried tomatoes and feta) as an appetizer - that was big! I chose the crispy local trout (grilled with herbs) and a salad. Jeff had the ribs and fries. We shared the fries! And, finally, I treat myself with the chocolate torte gluten free pecan crust - certainly not calorie free! Absolutely delicious!!!
I ended up over range by a bit .... beside the fries and desert, the culprits are my glass of red wine and the beer after dinner. I am ok with that - I don't really have cheat days, I know it will balance out in a few days!
It rained all night and the sky was still covered when I got up... but I was determined to go for my run regardless. I drove to the lake and drop my gear at the yoga studio. Who cares about rain when you get to sweat for 75 min in a hot yoga room after!
Running is hard now. My left IT band is still very still and causing me some discomfort. I can't go at my regular pace, but it is improving.
I really like running outside. The trail at the lake is flat and quiet in the morning. I saw a female blue jay and 2 tiny bright yellow finches! There was also a few snails... I ran 8k in 38 min. The yoga felt great after that.
I came back home, had lunch (wheat toast with cheddar, tomato and hard boiled pickled egg), vacuum and cleaned and went for a round of golf with Jeff. My play is improving... I even made it over the pond this time!
We had a nice dinner (chicken, baked potato and carrots) and I made a new salad.
I shared my recipe on spark - Zucchini and beet salad. (I pickle my own beets. ) recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai
I have lots of left over...
One serving is 56 cal! and that will be my lunch for tomorrow...
Speaking of tomorrow, I have to get back to reality - it is Sunday night so time to prep my lunch bag, my uniform, my gym bag and my 2 bottles of water! Then, bedtime - I am working on getting some zzz ...
Saturday, July 12, 2014
I read a spark article yesterday on stress, "Chronic Stress: Something to Worry About! How to Stop Stress in Its Tracks" -- By Ellen G. Goldman, Health and Wellness Coach, and will try to apply the 12 suggestions to manage my stress level.
I had a lot of stress over the last year, too much. I have to admit I had difficulties juggling it all and I got some help from the mental health team on the base. I told my therapist this week, now that I am better, reflecting back, that I feel that emotional stress and anxiety was worse than having to battle cancer! I feel so much better now that my working environment had change (new staff - I have more responsibilities, I just been nominated Deputy Commandant of the unit - but my team is fantastic!!!) there is just no comparison. BUT, I know I will have to face some big challenges again and I will try to remember the following when I will feel the pressure raising!
1. Elevate self-care to its highest priority at all times.
Focus on well-rested, nourished and fit body. That is my big 3! I struggle with sleep but it is improving! I have the once a day very early shift that does not really help to keep a regular sleep schedule but I get a lot done that morning when everything is quiet because I am the only one at the office!
And I get to see the sunrise...
I am back at tracking and I try not to go for food to help coping with the stress... binging does not make me feel better... my healthy dinners DO! Like this one - broiled basa filet with herbs and curried eggplant!
2. Identify the source of your stress.
The author suggest to keep a stress diary. I keep a training log and it is a great way to write down my feeling along with my training and mileage. My training log was full (one full year over!!!) so I printed a new one. I love doing this!
3. Make an appointment for some me time everyday
Try meditation... well I do active meditation : yoga!
4. Learn the skills of time management and practice them until they become habits.
With my new staff, I realized over the last 2 weeks that if I want to have time for fitness during the day, I have to include it in my calendar. And because it is very important to me and it is part of my job, I am making it a SERIOUS priority! (see the serious face on this selfie! lol)
5. Stop multi-tasking on important things.
Yeah... That is how I look like when I want to do too much at the time!
6. Use technology to your advantage, not your detriment.
I keep my iPhone with me... to capture the good side of the day... like this one! You never know what you are going to see on your way ...
7. Nurture your relationships.
With my mom, sister and my older daughter living in a different province, it can be difficult to keep in touch... but my family is my backbone, my support and they truly can make a difference in how I handle stress!
(this picture is how we celebrated Mother's Day together - via Facetime - and my daughter delivered the flowers I bought for my mom!)
8. Take a mini-vacation
I sign up for race that are a short distance away and make it a fun weekend get away. The last one was my marathon in Ottawa...
I am looking forward next week, my sister is coming over for a week. So no need to go away to enjoy the summer together. I have a few activities planned, certainly a walk at the lake ...
The treat is the ice cream after!
This August, Jeff and I will be taking a few days off and driving to Michigan! This will be fun...
9. Surround yourself with positive people.
I am thankful to have my family. My DH is the most positive person I know. He is such a good influence on me and my girls!!!
10. Stay in the present moment.
Stop and breathe...
11. Concentrate your energies on the things you can control and impact, and let the rest go.
My grandpa was giving that advice many years ago! I say the same thing to my daughter but I am still trying to perfect this one... I would certainly not consider this as "mastered"!
12. Try to find the humor in life's ironies.
I am not the best at this... but I get some help!
To read the spark article, go to:
Food: Tracking and allowing myself some treats - but planning helps to keep it in range! (I dropped 7lbs in one months ... so I am at minus 2 and I am still 4lbs to GW)
Monday: 5k Run (22 min 20 sec) and Golf
Tues: 14.5k Cycle and 60 min Power Yoga
Wed: 4k Run at the lake before 75 min Hot yoga
Thurs: 5k Trail Run (24 min 20 sec), golf and 4k walk
Friday: 3k Short walk (rest day...) - Yoga was cancelled :/
Sat (Today): 20k Cycle and 3k walk at the lake...
Tomorrow: I will go for a run (8k) and Hot Yoga. Golfing at 4PM!
This week average is 4h50 min... Not so good. However I think my sleep quality is better - I don't wake up as often.
Overall - My blood sugar is better now... The doc adjusted some of my meds and I think I am on the right track!
Gotta go, I have a date with my DH. We are going for dinner to Barrielicious - a local food festival with a couple of our friends.
Have a wonderful active and healthy weekend.
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