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Monday, February 15, 2010

I know that I am making progress because...

...I am now taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
...I look for healthier options on the menu before ordering dinner.
...I simply don't want to miss my daily walk.
...I have begun to substitute unhealthy snacks with fruit, veggies and other low-calorie, low-fat alternatives.
...I don't feel stressed out about making these changes, but instead, I am taking things one day at a time.
...when I get a craving, I stop before I act on it. I try to figure out what caused the craving and if it's something emotional like boredom or stress, I'll deal with the emotion and skip the Snickers bar.
...I am learning to be kind to myself and treat myself as my own best friend. Not every day is perfect and we all make mistakes. My job is to encourage myself, not to beat myself up for every little mistake I make.
...I am beginning to find a balance between eating healthy and eating tasty. Not all delicious treats are unhealthy! And besides, if I decide to have a slice of pizza or a brownie, it's okay - as long as it's all in moderation and balance. If I know I'll have a high-calorie dinner, I'll eat a light lunch and walk 20 minutes longer to make up for it!
...I have finally realized that big changes don't happen overnight. It takes time, practice, and preparation. I don't want to rush it because I now know I WILL get there. I can already see it, it's right there, at my reach.

I could probably go on forever. I see myself making small changes and substitutions, and it makes me feel really hopeful and positive about what I'm doing. I am almost done with Fast Break, and I have to say I have really enjoyed it. It was truly worthwhile to take this time to get back to basics and remind myself what is important when making this lifestyle change. I am ready for tougher challenges now that I have a good, solid foundation to build lifelong habits on.

Motivational picture of the day:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 2/22/2010 2:17PM

    Pretty amazing list of accomplishments--you really have made a lot of positive changes! And like Maki34, reading your list helped me realize that I, too have made more progress than I had realized--which I really needed, because it's been a rollercoaster couple of weeks.

Way to go!

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MAKI34 2/15/2010 7:46PM

    Wow you know what? Thanks to your list I now realize how much progress I've made too! We really are starting to change for good! Good For Us!

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IUHRYTR 2/15/2010 1:07PM

    Quite an eye-opening revelation, isn't it, that things can change for the better without us feeling worse for it? Quite a motivating picture, too. Keep up the good attitude and effort and you'll get to your goal. -- Lou

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Making the most of Fast Break

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

So, as you may or may not know, last week I re-started my program and returned back to Stage 1, Fast Break. I feel like I need a fresh start and there is so much I need to learn about taking this journey one step at a time. I really think going back to basics and making the most of these first two weeks can help me to get a great head start with my new healthy lifestyle.

Focusing on just three small goals every day is perfect in the beginning. When I first started the Spark Diet I always used to try to do too much, too soon. This time I'm not making the same mistake though! I'm not in a hurry.

Today, I put up visual motivators everywhere I can see them: pictures and motivational quotes on the fridge, the mirror, my closet and all around the apartment. It's so important to keep your goals on top of mind at all times. I feel like seeing my goals in pictures and words every day actually helps me to work towards them by making small changes and finding more opportunities to become healthier.

Now it's time for dinner (thai chicken soup, yummmm)! Later!

Motivational picture of the day:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 2/9/2010 1:06PM

    Never hurts to start fresh. Sounds like you're off to a good start. Hang in there, one day at a time. You can do this. -- Lou

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ZANNACHAN 2/9/2010 12:50PM

    Good luck! I'm also going back to the roots--not really starting over so much as re-grounding myself, I guess. I think the 3 fast breaks are a great way to get re-focused when you're struggling. I'm working on gathering visual motivators, too.

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JRAY21 2/9/2010 12:32PM

    Good Luck! The visuals really help me as well, I put them all over my house. The pictures, along with finally getting rid of all the junk food in my house, really helped me move along.

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Friday, February 05, 2010

I stole this from ZANNACHAN's blog! Enjoy! emoticon

A is for Age: 21

B is for Booze: I drink very rarely, but when I do I mostly drink either white whine or champagne (when I can afford it!).

C is for Career: Since I was a child, I've always wanted to become a writer. That would be a dream career for me.

D is for Dad's name: Arto

E is for Essential items to bring to a party: It depends, I guess. A bottle of wine, some flowers or good food. And myself, of course! Haha.

F is for Favorite song or music: I adore Beyoncé and especially some of her earlier songs from the B'Day album (Naughty Girl, Freakum Dress and Upgrade U just to name a few). I guess you could say she's my favorite, but I listen to all kinds of music such as Shakira, Alejandro Sanz, Gregory and the Hawk, Jay-Z... the list goes on!

G is for Goof off thing to do: Well, I do watch a lot of TV and I'm trying to cut back. Honestly, I could spend hours watching Sex and the City or Grey's Anatomy. That Patrick Dempsey is HOT! :))

H is for Hometown: I was born in a town called Lappeenranta in eastern Finland, but I currently live on the west coast, in Turku.

I is for Instrument you play: Piano

J is for Jam or Jelly you like: Strawberry!

K is for Kids: One day! I feel like I'm way too young to have kids at my age, but in a few years, absolutely!

L is for Living arrangement: An apartment for now.

M is for Mom's name: Leena

N is for Name of best friend: Amanda

O is for Overnight Stay in a Hospital: Once when I was 11 and another time when I was 14 when I got my tonsils removed.

P is for Phobias: I can't stand insects of any kind but for some reason, butterflies freak me out. I have nightmares of being covered in butterflies and feeling their little wings flapping against my skin... Just the very thought makes me a little nauseous! I'm also a little scared of birds and clowns. Weird, I know.

Q is for Quote you like: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." I have so many quotes I like but this one just came to mind. Forrest Gump is an excellent movie.

R is for Relationship that lasted longest: I've been with my fiancé for six years and two months now. We've been engaged for almost three years now.

S is for Siblings: One sister

T is for Texas, ever been? No, but I'd like to go one day!

U is for Unique trait: I'm overly concerned with the freshness and quality of fruits and vegetables, and find it very difficult to eat a salad if I haven't made it myself.

V is for vegetable you love: I love bell peppers! And carrots are yummy, too.

W is for Worst traits: I have a black-and-white personality: life is either GREAT or ALL WRONG.

X- is for X-rays you've had: Gosh, I don't even remember. Lungs, ankle, foot... I used to always hurt myself as a child. I probably got all possible X-rays done by the time I was 13!

Y is for Yummy food you make: I had to ask my boyfriend's opinion for this question. He says I make yummy pizza, lasagna, thai soup and spaghetti carbonara.

Z is for Zodiac sign: Taurus

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZANNACHAN 2/6/2010 2:23AM

    Cool. I'm glad that you borrowed it! It was fun to read your answers.

PS: I love bell peppers too. And carrots! Yum.

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IUHRYTR 2/5/2010 8:00PM

    No butterflies for a present. Got it. Interesting list. -- Lou

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Focusing on the present

Thursday, February 04, 2010

I got to thinking of past, present and future today. People always say that there's no time like the present, but do they really practice what they preach? I for one know very well that I have a lot of work to do before really learning how to live in the moment.

I admit most of my thoughts have something to do with either the past or the future. Especially when it comes to losing weight. I find myself obsessing over a dinner next Saturday and whether or not I'll go over my calories. I go through old pictures and look at my thinner - much younger - self with agony and envy. I plan way ahead and worry about how I'll look in June when I'm going to Greece and if I'll be able to reach my goal weight by then. And you know what? It's EXHAUSTING. By spending so much time worrying about things that have either happened a long time ago or are yet to happen, I forget the most important thing of all: the choices I make today are what, eventually, build my future. And when it comes to things that are long gone and that can't be changed, sometimes it's best to let go.

All of that extra baggage and obsessing take up so much energy that I have none left to actually DO SOMETHING about my situation so that my future will become what I so much want it to be. So, today, I decided that from now on I'll do my best to really focus on the present and the choices I make today. Sure, it's always motivating to have goals and dreams, and it's healthy to look into the future every now and then. But when it starts to control your thinking too much, then it might be time for a reality check.

"Someday" is today. It is right now. It's what we do today that matters. Living in the moment is a huge challenge for me, but it really is something I want to become better at. No more stress about what the future holds: it's today that counts.

As Annie Lennox put it:

“The future hasn't happened yet and the past is gone. So I think the only moment we have is right here and now, and I try to make the best of those moments, the moments that I'm in.”

Motivating picture of the day:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANSASC 2/5/2010 7:53AM

    Great blog! emoticon

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ZANNACHAN 2/4/2010 9:10PM

    I think it's a question of balance. Living too much in the present can be a problem because you can (or at least this has been the case for me) too easily loose focus on your long term goals in the day to day business. For example, I want to graduate, and to graduate I have to finish and then defend my thesis. But it's really easy to be so busy taking care of other things--exercise, cooking, laundry, gardening, visiting friends or talking to family on the phone, whatever--that I don't get much work done on my dissertation. So I have to work to keep that goal in focus.

But you are right--you can get so absorbed into the past or obsessed with the future that it just wipes you out for little gain. In fact, if you are so stressed out about something that you freeze up, unable to do anything, than it's counter productive. So there are definitely times when you need to let the past and future go and focus on the little bit in the present that you can do something about.

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IUHRYTR 2/4/2010 5:05PM

    My continuing mantra lately is one meal, one exercise, one positive day at a time and you'll be successful in reaching your goal. Think "Present Moment Happiness" when your thoughts wander to the past or the future and ask, "What can i do right now to help get me closer to my goal? Maybe it's taking a walk or reading to get the mind focused. You can do this. -- Lou

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Starting small

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Time and time again, I have read about the importance of starting small and making small adjustments rather than drastic changes when starting to create a healthy lifestyle. And every single time I've thought that I understood what that means only to find myself taking giant leaps that leave me feeling winded and exhausted. I always go for too much, too soon - and that sets me up for failure.

Now that I look back at all the previous times I have tried to change my lifestyle and lose weight, I realize what I've been doing wrong. I expect too much from myself. It's completely unrealistic - and unfair, too, for that matter - to expect that I have the capacity to change over night and somehow magically become a different person when I wake up the next morning. I get tired because I try to change too much at once. That's my problem, and I realize that now.

This time, I'm really trying to ease my way into this lifestyle change as I really do want to make it a permanent one. I'm focusing on small goals: eating at least 2 fruits or veggies a day, going for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, replacing my old snacks with some healthy alternatives. After all, I'm not in a hurry. What I really want is to make some changes that will become a part of my permanent lifestyle.

I know that by starting small, I'll end up getting further than ever before.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 2/3/2010 4:46PM

    Good attitude. One meal, one exercise, one positive day at a time and you'll get there. -- Lou

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ZANNACHAN 2/3/2010 4:44PM

    That sounds like a really good plan. Your goals are all doable, reasonable, positive changes, and little steps lead to bigger ones.

Starting small and making gradual changes is not something I'm very good at, either--I tend to want to do too much, too quickly (I read a blog recently that referred to this as the terrible toos--too much, too soon, too quickly). I also struggle when I am making small, positive steps with not berating myself for not doing enough--not working out enough (even if my current regimen is eating up all the time I have to spare and leaving me utterly exhausted), not enough enough of the right kinds of foods or too much of the wrong kinds, or whatever.

But it's something I'm working on, because everything I have read says that in order to be successful with making real lifelong changes, you have to start small. Statistically, people who jump in and try to do too much burn out and fall back onto old habits. I want to be in this for a very long haul, and that means taking it slowly. I've decided to take on the spark 28 day challenge in order to remind myself to take slow, but positive, steps.

In the Spark, Chris Downey talks about sparks members who got started on what eventually would be some pretty major lifestyle changes by only a few fast break goals. They did a survey on sparks and those who had successfully lost over 100 lbs or had met their weight loss goals tended to be people who started small, with just the fast breaks, and slowly added to them, while those who made radical changes were more likely to stall out or burn out.

It's a good lesson to keep in mind. Slow and steady wins the race!

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