Wednesday, February 06, 2013
So true. Both of them.
Setting goals and trying to reach them. Challenging ourselves and trying to succeed. Creating healthy competition between ourselves andÖus. Key attitudes to success.
So, here I am, ready for a new challenge. Butterflies, daisies, teddy bears Ė or was it just bears? Ė are just a few of the team names Iíve come across at Sparkfriendsí feeds and blogs. At first, I thought they were private teams that you had to be invited over to join. And then it was the virtual trips! And all this team work that really helps with motivation and commitment. And Sparkers reporting results through those challenges. I had to find out what itís all about.
And I found myself joining the 2013 Winter 5% challenge. And being really excited about it!
There are many things I havenít quite understood yet Ė like the term ďLiving the Good life pointsĒ that Iíve come across (?) Ė but I bet Iíll figure it all out once the challenge begins.
Now, why did I join this challenge?
- First, for the reasons I mentioned above. I just like setting new goals.
- During December I gained 1.5 kilos and I just canít seem to get myself together and lose it. I know itís nothing compared to what I used to gain over the holidays in the past. But I just hate the number 7 on my scale!
- 5% of my weight is 3.5 kilos. Which would bring me exactly where I want to be.
- Iíve had cases of emotional eating since the beginning of the new year. I believe a challenge can help me fight this demon again.
So, my goals for those 8 weeks are:
- Healthy eating. For me, this means wise food choices, portion control, no bingeing and emotional eating control.
- At least 20 minutes of daily exercise. That includes three times a week cardio and three strength training sessions.
- Lose 3.5 kilograms. Thatís my 5%!
- Get my body fat percentage below 20%. Currently, itís 22.3.
- Support my Sparkfriends and my teammates any way I can.
I had updated my Sparkpage a few days ago and I just included my new 5% challenge commitment goals. So, I guess Iím ready to meet my team!
Are you ready? Have you written down your goals and planned your actions? It is said that goals without a plan are just wishes. So, will you let your goals remain wishes?
Or will you turn them into achievements?
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Letís admit it.
We all love food.
Because if we didnít, we would have never searched for ways to lose weight and we wouldnít have ended up here on SP. The reasons for making food a close friend are different for each one of us. So are our preferences. When we think ďcomfort foodĒ, some of us picture chocolate and cookies, others crave chips and fries. Our taste buds decide what kind of food is enjoyable, indifferent or not to our liking. And whether we like it or not, our taste buds can define the outcome of our weight loss attempts and our health journey.
One of the most important things I realized through my journey with SP - and something that I wish I had realized much earlier in my life Ė is that not every meal plan is suitable for everyone. Iím sure most of you have heard of Atkins diet. The early approach of this diet was called by some people the ďall-the-steak-you-can-eatĒ diet! Meat has never been in my list of favorite foods. Iím the kind of person who, presented with a choice between a just-broiled, juicy steak and a freshly-cut, crispy vegetable salad, will definitely choose the latter. Can you imagine my chances of losing weight if I ever tried the Atkins diet? My taste buds would start a revolution at the end of week one Ė if I could make it that far!
Those little things inside our mouth are the ones that tell our brain what weíre eating. Salty, sweet, bitter or spicy. And our brain knows what we like and responds accordingly. So, after a meal we can feel satisfied and content or we can feel deprived andÖ still hungry! Thatís why we have to respect our taste buds. We have to make them our good buddies in our weight loss efforts.
My point is simple. Youíre overweight or obese because you love food. If you want to lose weight and keep it lost forever, you have to keep on loving food! Yes, you read that right! Donít expect to lose weight by eating things you donít like. Even if this works for some time, sooner or later your taste buds will start screaming for something tasty. And youíll go back to your old habits andÖ you know what happens next. If you donít like leafy, green vegetables for example and you push yourself to eat them in your salad every day at lunchtime just because the diet says so, youíre bound to hate your lunch in the end. So you eventually go back to pizza. Arenít these too extreme to be your only choices? There must be something good in between!
Search, experiment, explore. Try new tastes, add variety, start enjoying cooking. Discover new, lighter versions of the foods you like. Substitute things you donít like with your favorite healthy ingredients. Believe me, the word food will find a new meaning in your mind and this, alone, is a big step towards changing your diet mentality and your whole attitude towards losing weight.
Rejoice! You can keep on loving food and still lose weight! There are many of us at the At Goal and Maintaining team who can reassure you it works. ďEatingĒ is how we lost the weight. We just put the word ďrightĒ after it. And thatís how we continue our healthy life journeys. Join us!
Make this promise to yourself. Today.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
So, how much did your ticker move backwards? 2, 5, 10 or more? Or you donít even want to know? Whatever the number, known or unknown, I bet you want the holiday weight to vanish overnight, right? Thatís what I want, too! But Iíve felt the panic before. Actually, it used to be the aftermath of every holiday season forÖ as long as I can remember! Thatís the reason I know how destructive this kind of panic can be. It always leads us to the wrong decisions and makes us fight a lost battle. Until the next holiday seasonÖ
So, what do we do? First of all we take a really deep breath and relax. Think about all the nice things that you did during the holidays that are not food-related. Decorating, shopping, exchanging gifts, meeting friends, gathering with the rest of the family, playing with your kids, anything that made you feel good.
Feeling better already?
Let's add a humorous note, to relax even more.
Now letís deal with everything one step at a time.
- First, the scale.
If you havenít weighed yourself after the holidays, you might want to think about it for a while. We all know when we have crossed our limits with food and have been too ďbusyĒ to work out. We all can feel it when the reading on the scale will most likely disappoint us. But there are people who need this kind of awakening to help them take action and then there are other people who get panicked by even the slightest gain and tend to make things worse by turning to emotional eating and binges. If you belong to the second category, you might want to wait a bit before you get on the scale.
- Knowing or imagining the gain, itís time to give it the correct proportions in your mind. Itís definitely not the end of the world and you didnít just miss your last chance to become a fit and healthy person! This number is just the result of how you changed your eating and exercise habits during the holidays. Either you couldnít resist the temptations or you just allowed yourself to indulge, which, to be honest, are more or less one and the same, but thatís irrelevant. What matters is that it happened. It canít be undone but luckily it can be fixed. If you want to fix it, you have to start eating right and exercise. If you donít want to fix it, you simply wouldnít waste your time reading this.
- Start eating right. That means filling your kitchen with healthy ingredients and emptying your house of sweets and holiday treats. Youíve had enough of them and you enjoyed them. But now itís time for change.
- Exercise. You donít need to become the local gym hero in a day! Start slowly. A longer walk today, a 20-minute workout tomorrow, anything that you enjoy doing will help. You just need to put yourself in the fitness frame of mind for a start.
- Be realistic. Donít expect yourself to be perfect right away. Imagine you return to work just after vacation. What happens on the first day? Can you easily forget about the fun and concentrate on your work or do you daydream of sunny beaches and crystal sea waters at every chance? Habits, even recently-acquired ones, can become second nature. Especially the ones that make us feel good and we enjoy them. Donít expect yourself to forget about them in a day. The first day, youíll mess up right after breakfast. The second day, youíll make it to lunch. The third, youíll only feel weak right before bedtime. In the end, youíll get it right. Just be patient with yourself.
- Try to set some non-scale goals. Iíve read in many Sparkersí blogs that they donít work for them. I know that the scale number is really important for all of us but Iím asking you to give it a second thought. Is it the only proof of our hard work and our progress? What about fitness achievements and smaller sizes? What about feeling healthier and full of energy? Do we have full control of the number on the scale? No, we donít. Our weight fluctuates for many reasons even during the same day. We shouldnít be obsessed with the number on the scale. Itís neither right nor healthy.
Above all, stay cool-headed. Panic never helped anyone achieve anything. Focus and take it one step at a time. And when you Ďre back in control of your eating habits, take a look at your rear-view mirror and inspect yourself, your feelings and your actions during the past holidays. Iím sure youíll have many valuable lessons to learn and practice until the next holiday season. And maybe you wonít ever need to read blog like this one again.
Monday, January 07, 2013
I havenít posted a blog here for more than a month! Too many ideas, so little timeÖ And even though I have many health, weight and fitness-themed blogs in mind, Iím going to start the year in a different way. This blog is about beauty. The beauty of winter, the way we saw it during our new yearís trip.
We had decided to start this year in a very different way. No big festive dinners, no guests, no fireworks. Just us and nature in the peace and quiet of our isolated village in the mountains. We were all hoping for snow. The kids were hoping for lots of snow, actually! But when we got there, the mountains around looked like this:
It was actually a beautiful sight. Looking at the evergreen fir trees, slightly touched by the white snow, mixed with the last remaining fall colors, awaiting the thick fog coming down from the mountains. Breathtaking!
But we wanted more snow. So, we set off to find it!
Soon, the green color of the trees became difficult to find.
And after we had driven for less than half an hour, the landscape had been covered in a white, fluffy blanket!
The forest had surrendered to the power of the snowflakes. Sticking together, they had transformed everything in sight! And in such a quiet way!
A small hotel in the middle of the forest was waiting for those who were looking for adventure.
A small cabin, half-buried in the snow, and a little white church, fighting to remain visible.
Soon, we reached the skiing center. The peace of the forest was disrupted by joy! Kids feeling free while playing in the snow and laughing, grown-ups finding the kids inside them and becoming even more playful than their children!
We stopped and made a snowman.
And my girls tried snow-sledding. But they soon realized that it was more fun without the sleds!!
I saved the best picture for last. Nature got jealous of humansí Christmas tree decorations and decided to create a star made of snow on top of this fir tree:
I hope you can make it out in the picture. It truly was amazing!!
Iíll end this blog with a wish. A wish for all of you to find the beauty around you this year. As my good Sparkfriend Claire pointed out in her last blog, there is beauty in everything around us.
I hope you all find it. Connect your eyes with your soul and everything will look different. Find the beauty in your surroundings. Find the beauty in the people of your life.
And above all, discover your own beauty.
You don't have to look in the mirror.
Itís always been inside you.
Monday, December 03, 2012
We're glad to have you here! You were a bit difficult to find this year. Things have been difficult and our minds have been preoccupied with many thoughts, most of them on the negative side. So, I guess Christmas spirit had a slight difficulty entering our hearts. But there's a blessing in being a parent. Actually, one of many blessings. Children have their own way of bringing the holiday spirit in a house. They carry it in their smiles and they generously spread it through the excitement in their eyes. That's what happened in my house this past weekend. My children made me realize that through difficult times, when there's struggling, when hope seems difficult to find and when uncertainty and fear about the future dominate our everyday lives, that's when we need the holiday spirit the most. That's when we need to liven up hope and remember the importance of giving.
So, we started by decorating our house. And I thought I'd share some pictures with my Sparkfriends. This is the holiday version of our house!
Our Christmas tree!
The nativity set!
The fireplace has been my favorite spot to decorate ever since my husband built it. It gets most of my attention all the time!
Our little village on the mantel. My little daughter wanted a family of four there so she added the doll on the right!
The little side table...
...and the center living-room table!
The fire was a "must" to make the place even warmer and cozier!
And the proud creator! The rest of the team were in their pyjamas, so they'll have their pictures taken some other day!
Thank you all for reading. I hope the Christmas spirit is alive in your hearts. I hope the true meaning of Christmas fills your hearts and minds with kindness and hope.
May we all have a blessed holiday season.
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