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Live, Love, Give

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I was going to call this blog Belated February Assessment, March Update and Goals. Because that's what I was going to do. But I changed my mind. Given the stresses of the past weeks and in keeping with the reminder that life is truly and really quite short, I decided to go big! In the end, what do we really have? I am working on keeping things in perspective.

My younger son came home from a visit with his father a couple weeks and told me that his dad was pretty sick, and over the next couple weeks, the news just got worse and worse. It turns out he needs triple bypass heart surgery, an aortic aneurysm repaired and a lot of arterial blockage in his legs bypassed. We are all struggling with this. I feel so sad for him and for my two grown sons, who are scared they are going to lose their father. Iím trying to help as much as I can and be there for my sons. Itís not really a surprise, since he is such a heavy smoker, but just so sad that itís come to this. Hopefully he will make it through the surgeries and go on to live a healthier life. Both of our sons have been there for their dad and the younger one who lives with me has been amazing, going to doctorís appointments with him, asking the questions that need to be asked, scheduling appointments and the surgery and just being with him. His surgery is scheduled for Friday and weíll find out tomorrow what the recovery is.

Most important to me is to be there for my sons, give them the support and the love they need to make it through this as best they can, whatever happens. I also want to support their dad. Even though we haven't been married for a long time, I still care about him and hate that this is happening to him. However much it is self-inflicted.

While Iím trying to keep up with everything, I have not been as disciplined as I might have been otherwise. My girlfriends and I bagged our half marathon, partly because one of them got a concussion and couldnít run, partly because of everything going on here Ė I wasnít sure of the timing of everything and didnít want to be out of town for two days. So instead if the race, my girlfriends and I had a spa day yesterday (massages and dinner) and that was good. I am so blessed to have such good friends. Just so lucky.

And while I had been fairly good about staying with the program up until he week before last, this completely threw me. Iím ready to recommit now, though. Iím not going to do a blow by blow assessment of the past 6 weeks, but I will get back to that next month. For now, Iím going to work on the goals I laid out for February, working out, eating well. I want to be the strongest person I can be, so I can do the things I need to do. And always remember to be in the moment and take all the joy I can from this life Iíve been given.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMACLAIRE5 3/18/2014 3:16PM

    That situation must be very difficult and emotionally fraught. Taking care of yourself so you can be supportive for your sons is going to be so important! Friends, massages and dinner sounds like the perfect prescription for self-care emoticon

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LAURALITE 3/18/2014 12:26PM

    I'm sorry to hear that your ex is having such a health crisis, and for the deep angst it has created for you all. It sounds like you have raised wonderful boys, who are caring, smart and nurturing. There's nothing like a health scare, ours or in someone we love, to help us get our priorities straight. Sending love and prayers for a good outcome, and great health and many more wonderful years together for all.

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HIPPICHICK1 3/17/2014 10:06PM

    Sounds like you are dealing with a lot right now. I hope your children's father is okay.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 3/17/2014 9:13AM

    Sounds like an excellent plan for an incredibly stressful time.
Thoughts and prayers with you and yours.

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KELLIEBEAN 3/16/2014 10:42PM

    I'm sorry for the pain you are all experiencing! I will keep him in my prayers that he pulls through this.

BIG BIG emoticon

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Self Control

Saturday, February 22, 2014

This week was even better than last week with consumption Ė I was more consistent about staying in my range and I averaged around 1500 calories a day. Thatís been my general goal, and since I am burning around 2400 calories, I hope to see some results. Didnít hop on the scale like I usually do on Saturday morning, but I feel like my jeans fit better than they did last week. If I donít see any loss, Iíll adjust the calories down, but I have to say, I am feeling pretty good. And I think itís because I was able to control my consumption. And that self control felt really good.

I wasnít quite as disciplined about exercise. I did get all my training runs done Ė 21 miles in all Ė but I didnít do any strength training. I did yoga once.

Next week I will exert the same self control over my exercise and activity as I did with my consumption this week.

I started reading a book about will power and itís pretty interesting. The author maintains that while will power was a very popular concept in the Victorian era and thought to be a critical element of a healthy personality, the idea that we were actually in control of ourselves foundered in the 20th century in Western culture, with the advent of the behavioralists like B.F. Skinner who essentially believed that people could be trained to behave and perform in certain ways, regardless of their willingness to do so. This flew in the face of the idea of free will. Eventually, the idea of will power was replaced with the concept of self esteem and the culture readily accepted that idea. This fit in well with the 60ís ethos ďif it feels good, do itĒ and ďIím ok, youíre ok."

Iím not sure I am willing to accept all of this. But I do think that in our education system, teaching will power and self control do not seem to be emphasized as highly as the promotion of self esteem. Thatís always bothered me, since it seems backwards to me to promote self esteem as separate from accomplishments and values. You feel good about yourself because youíve mastered a skill, achieved a goal, developed good values (kindness, fairness, etc.), rather than the reverse. And accomplishing and achieving have everything to do with discipline, self control and will power. Essentially, delaying immediate gratification for future rewards.

And I think this is a part of what many of us on Spark are here to each other to develop self control and exercise our will power in order to achieve our goals. Definitely a running theme! This author believes that will power is like a muscle, which can be developed and strengthened, so I am looking forward to learning more.

Here's hoping all my Sparkling friends have a wonderful Sunday and a productive week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARINEVE 3/6/2014 7:29AM

    That is indeed a very good point you raise about achieving things having to do with will power. I know that is not the main point you are making in your blog, but it appeals to me.

I have read somewhere that the people that are successful in a sense that they are able to accomplish things like making healthy living a habit or reach certain goals, do not have more (or better trained) will power than others, but they are just better at implementing new behaviour, so it becomes a habit quickly.
And if it's a habit, you don't need to think about it anymore, so it doesn't require a lot of will power.

I kind of liked that idea, that is why since reading that I try not to think too much about or say out loud: how I don't feel like working out, or would prefer a bowl of chips to a bowl of cherry tomatoes and just do what needs to be done.
It seems to work for me, and afterwards I feel good about doing it, and think consciously about that.


Comment edited on: 3/6/2014 7:30:18 AM

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BUNNYCATS 3/3/2014 10:20AM

    I think some disadvantaged kids need to feel "good enough" to even start working on goals. I don't like the idea of some people feeling entitled to rewards without doing the work. Rewards are great, but sometimes you have to feel that the journey is the reward.

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LAURA7051 2/26/2014 5:13PM

    I'd love for that part of me that wants to eat fruits and veggies to be stronger and the part that wants potato chips and chocolate to get weaker. :D

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EMMACLAIRE5 2/26/2014 12:04PM

    It does feel really good to practice self-control, doesn't it? I think that's why I like doing short-term challenges to myself, both to try and break bad habits and to develop new ones. This week is a grain-free week again - I can do anything for a lousy week! And then at the end of the week, I'll feel the satisfaction of being successful at that. Then I can have a no-alcohol week/month, then something else after that. It gives me a goal to focus on, which keeps me on track! That will power book sounds interesting, but I don't count on my will power as much as my determination.

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TTHINAGAINN 2/23/2014 4:54PM

    I agree that self esteem is something that needs to be thoroughly taught and stressed in our society. If as parents we are not teaching our children that they are perfect as they are, good enough, etc... then we have to worry about the media and their peers making them feel inadequate. I also believe that self control is tied to self worth, self love and acceptance of all of one's emotions. Emotions stem from our experiences in life whether or not we had control over those experiences or not. This tie directly correlates our mental health to our physical health.
Great Blog!!

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HIPPICHICK1 2/23/2014 10:51AM

    I'm amazed that you run several miles almost every day and can actually survive on 1500 calories a day. I don't even understand how that is possible. Are you losing weight? Are you hungry all of the time? How many calories do you burn in a run? What is your BMR?
Signed, The Curious Cat

Comment edited on: 2/23/2014 10:52:05 AM

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KALIGIRL 2/23/2014 7:36AM

    Interesting how 'finding' and 'practicing' what works for each of us is so important. Love the idea of 'exercising' will power while BEing...

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Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This week has been much better in terms of staying on track with calories. Why? I set my mind to it. Stayed focus on my goals. If I want this, I canít have that. That simple.

Now, Iím not necessarily saying easy ... But still simple! And it helped that after gaining a couple pounds at the end of last week, it came back down and then some after my long run on the weekend. Success always gives me that little extra inspiration!

I have a nice dinner planned for tomorrow for my BF. Seafood risotto, molten chocolate cake and he is bringing a bottle of wine. Iím really looking forward to it! I donít enjoy going out for dinner on Valentineís day, having worked in many restaurants and owning one (no longer, thank God!) it gives me no pleasure to be in a restaurant on those big special occasion nights Ė too many expectations, too much stress. So I think tomorrow will be nice. A little less breakfast and lunch and a really nice dinner Ė it will be worth it!

So, happy Valentineís Day to all of my Sparkfriends! Enjoy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMACLAIRE5 2/19/2014 4:13PM

    Good for you, staying on track! And, as an ex-food server/bartender, I totally agree with avoiding restaurants on the big days. It just isn't relaxing, when you know the chaos behind the scenes! Glad you had a special Valentine's day in, instead!

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HIPPICHICK1 2/14/2014 9:17AM

    Simple, yet not easy!
We are staying in for dinner tonight as well. I have no idea what to cook though. Hmmmmmm...
Happy V-Day!

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KALIGIRL 2/14/2014 8:26AM

    Here's to your focus and success!
Sounds like a wonderful romantic dinner tonight - enjoy.

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SALGUOD2 2/13/2014 9:24PM

    Sounds like a real nice time

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TAICHIDANCER 2/13/2014 8:50PM

    Ohhh, dinner sounds nice.

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IMPERIODEE 2/13/2014 8:37PM

  spread the love and enjoy your special time with your bf. happy love day!

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Scales Don't Lie and Some Positive Outcomes

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Just a quick reminder to myself that I can find all kinds of loopholes and excuses for doing the things I know are not taking me in the direction I want to go, but at the end the day (or week, in this case) there are specific measures that will let me know whether I am achieving my goals. And what one of those measures - my trusty scale - told me this week was "sorry Kristin, I know you were under a lot of stress but the bottom line is that you can't eat 4 big tasty cookies and drink a glass or two of wine 4 nights out of 7 and expect to lose weight. Or even maintain."

Thank you, scale, for that reality check. I resolve to do better next week.

I commit to holding the calories down and eliminating or drastically reducing the empty calories in sweets and alcohol. I will eat healthy salads and vegetables and lean meats and other good sources of protein. I can do that.

I will find other ways of dealing with stress, like mediation, music and mindfulness.

But I have to say that even with this blip (and I do think itís a blip, even if it wiped out almost all the gains Iíve made this year), this week had some really good outcomes that give me hope for the future. Some long term work problems were resolved: I will have a new boss next week who will be a much better fit for me in terms of management style. I was able to navigate that without creating enemies (at least that is my true hope and belief!). The major project Iím working on is more solid footing, and our leadership made it clear to a number of naysayers and faultfinders this is my project and I have their full confidence.

I also got some good feedback on how to improve and do better, which is something that I am happy to say that I am able to seek out and accept. This hasnít always been the case. And I have great hopes that I will actually be able to follow it. (More on that later.)

So, now I am off for my long run/walk. 10 miles. I can do this!

Have a wonderful day, my friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMACLAIRE5 2/10/2014 2:39PM

    So glad to hear that you're going to get a new boss! Sounds like that should take care of at least some of the work stress. Which will lead to a better place from which to make good decisions. Win - win!! Have a great week!

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KALIGIRL 2/10/2014 9:07AM

    Sounds to me like emoticon
Here's to a new emoticon

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SALGUOD2 2/9/2014 8:59PM

    10 mile jogs should take care of a cookie!!! I'm sure it was just a blip. we all have them.

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CARINEVE 2/9/2014 11:50AM

    Very good blog!
I think it is great that you can see it for what it was, learn from it and just move on. While we are trying to find habits that we can stick with for life, we have to be aware of the fact that we are not perfect and we sometimes slip up.
So good luck, I know you will do better next week!
emoticon emoticon

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TAICHIDANCER 2/9/2014 11:25AM

    I think it is a blip, too. I mess up all the time (but not so far today!!!!) so I try to focus on the long haul.

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SCOOTER4263 2/9/2014 11:16AM

    Sounds like you and I had the same kind of week. We can turn this around, though, and do better next week. I know we can. We've got this.

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Tough week!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Itís been a challenging week and I am having a hard time sticking to my plan. Exercise is almost on track but food not so much. Kind of a maintenance mode of eating so hopefully will not gain but definitely not losing this week.

I had a pretty stressful day on Tuesday at work Ė a big meeting with lots of conflict and frankly most of it unnecessary. My boss was fantastic and totally backed me up, which was excellent. It turned out pretty well, but I wasnít able to stay away from the cookies. Which I provided! If youíre going to force people to sit through a 3 hour meeting, you have to give them something, and I donít think fruit is an option from our cafeteria/caterer. But if it happens again, I'll try to make that happen. I also went out three days this week after work, 2 of them half social, half work. Not the best formula for success during a stressful week.

BF is helpful in terms of encouraging healthy eating and we are both focusing on cutting back on alcohol, but we both like a nice glass of wine. So, still room for improvement.

Iím going to redouble my efforts tomorrow and over the weekend. Exercise wasnít bad, only missed one morning. Iím planning to do the run tomorrow that I should have done tonight, and yoga and a long run over the weekend. And shopping with my best friend! Not planning to buy any clothes, but trying them on always inspires me to work a little harder on my plan.

Iím also planning to get my little studio space in order and drawing or painting just a little bit on Sunday. I was doing a lot of painting last year and I want to get back to it. I have a few paintings I need to finish but I donít think Iíll start with those. I need to get back into the mood. I gave my favorite painting to my BF for his birthday and he loved it. Made me very happy.

I got a book about willpower and will let you all know what I learn!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMACLAIRE5 2/7/2014 10:40AM

    Wow - I think you did a great job dealing with a busy and stressful week! Maintenance is good - I'll be happy to get back down to where maintenance is the focus again. And I hear you on the wine. I was going to make February alcohol-free, but we have several functions coming up where I know I'll want to partake. So I'm targeting March for that, see if it helps. I hope you have some time to paint - feeding the spirit is important, too! Have a great weekend :-)

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HIPPICHICK1 2/7/2014 9:32AM

    Glad to hear that you are going to get your studio in order on Sunday.
Being creative can lead to many amazing things!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 2/7/2014 8:18AM

    Hope next week is better but glad you have a 'partner in crime'
I didn't drink while losing weight, but find one glass of emoticon with a piece of very dark chocolate works as my evening snack after dinner.
Love your sources of inspiration including shopping with your BF!
Sounds like you are on your way and I know emoticon

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SALGUOD2 2/7/2014 4:36AM

    Nothing wrong with a week of maintaining, plus it looks like you are getting ready to kick it up a gear

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    Despite you saying you had a tough week - I think you are doing amazing and have great plans in place to emoticon emoticon

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KELLIEBEAN 2/6/2014 10:44PM

    Sounds like you did great with the demands on you! I'm glad you have supportive people around you. I hope it's a great weekend!

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TAICHIDANCER 2/6/2014 9:38PM

    I'm glad the boss was supportive and that you have a supportive BF too! Spark on!

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