On being tough…

000toughI joined an accountability group this month.

My goals for the month may be different from others, though. 

My focus during November is on personal toughness.

This month, I will practice personal toughness by being accountable to others.

This month, I will practice personal toughness by being open to others reflections on what toughness means to them.

This month, I will practice personal toughness with me, but be as gentle as I can with others.

I’ve already screwed up once, with an individual that felt I targeted her in expressing my opinion earlier today.  I guess I did, but it was more about principles than personalities. Still, she was offended.  That was my first misstep with toughness in November. Let’s hope there aren’t too many more of those to tick off during this month.

I don’t think being tough is wrong, or something women should shy away from just because others don’t understand how they apply this trait. In fact, I think women being tough is all right, but like many attributes pertaining to the fairer sex, personal toughness needs to be handled wisely!

For me, toughness is defined as tenacity, long-term focus that employs good management skills, and being consistent with my goals.

I can do this!!!

How do you define toughness?  What characteristics of toughness do you use to get you where you want to go in life?

Fostering Habit Every Day

000rogueThere are some days when I don’t want to do what I need to do to develop a habit. 

Some days I just want to skate freely through life.

Some days I want to change things up.

Some days I want to be inventive.

Some days I want to go rogue!

What I remind myself “some days” is that if I want to build a habit, I have to act in habitual ways. I have to keep doing the same thing, same thing, same thing until the behavior I seek is ingrained.

Habit is about firmly fixing my attention and my actions on doing that thing I want to become second nature.

Plan…Do…Repeat

Plan…Do…Repeat

Plan…Do…Repeat

Does this behavior get monotonous at times? Of course, it does, but if a habit is what I seek, then I have to perform the same actions again and again, and again, until they become rote.

10 minutes of exercise this morning-check.

oatmeal for breakfast this morning-check.

5 minutes of meditation this morning-check.

It’s gonna be a good day!  Check!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How will you make today a good day?  What teeny, tiny thing are you doing today to make your dream a reality?  Do tell.

Meatless Monday-Overnight Oatmeal

000oatsI love oatmeal!  I’ll eat it almost any way you fix it. I especially love it baked, as a breakfast cereal. Sadly, I don’t always have time to bake my oatmeal, and there are days when it isn’t prudent to warm the house with a hot oven. What then should I do? Make overnight oats.

Below, I have copied a recipe for overnight oats I found on the ISHA website.  I’ve seen similar recipes all over the web, but this is the one that hit my fancy today, so I wanted to share it as my Meatless Monday post. Enjoy!

Mixed Berry Overnight Oats Vegan Breakfast Recipe

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup almond milk (you can also use milk, yogurt, or non-dairy milk/yogurt of your choice)

2 tsp maple syrup or honey

Pinch of cinnamon

Few drops vanilla

Fresh berries

1 TBS chia seeds, optional

Directions:

In the evening, in a small bowl or jar, stir together oats, almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla, and chia seeds. Much of the liquid will be absorbed overnight, but if you desire a thinner or thicker consistency, you can add more or less almond milk. Cover the container and leave it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top with fresh berries and enjoy.

If you’d like to vary your oats to enjoy them a different way each day, try topping with raw nuts like walnuts or pecans, pomegranate seeds, sliced banana or apple, raisins, or whatever you like!

Relapse-where I’m at

Is it relapse, or is it a slip?  I’m not sure.

Recently I’ve been seeing the scale tip upward.  I’m not sure why.  One would think it was obviously because I’m eating too much, more than previously, but I’m not sure about that.  I did eat some carbs that I don’t usually eat when on vacation a week past, but I didn’t gain any weight on vacation.  I did visit my kiddos the weekend after I went on vacation and I attribute the weight gain to being there, with them.  I eat wayyyy too many carbs when I am with them, and I often obsess about foods when I am with them, but I also wonder if other things are in play here.

Maybe my sugar numbers are up?

Maybe the weight gain is from not getting as much exercise.  My back has been a problem lately, especially with the weather changes. I hurt, and when I hurt, I don’t want to get on the bike.

Today, though, I feel just plain defeated.

I’m beginning again.

First, the planning.

Then, the shopping.

Then, the cooking.

Then, the recording.

Next, the reporting.

Also, prayer.

I know there is an answer somewhere in all this confusion and excess calories or lack of exercise.

This is a constant battle for me.

I wish it weren’t.

That’s where I’m at today.  Just where I’m at…

Complex B

Note: This picture is only representative of the vitamin I am taking, and is not in fact that vitamin.

Note: This picture is only representative of the vitamin I am taking, and is not in fact that vitamin.

When my last bottle of B12 ran out, I replaced it with Complex B, but I’m not sure I’m liking the change. I feel like I’m getting the same protection/help from this vitamin combo that I got from the B12 alone, but I’m not sure if my body is processing it correctly.  It seems to me like a lot of it is just flushing through me.  I guess that is a problem with any vitamin.  You only retain a portion of it in your body. That’s why I don’t do many vitamins. I think they are a waste of time.  But I seem to have better control of my moods and attitudes with the B 12 and since I know my body can’t produce what I need in most instances, I am taking a supplement to help me out.

I also take Vitamin D and prescription drugs to address various medical conditions.

I came late to the party, as far a good nutrition and eating right is concerned, so I have a lot of history to try to erase and it may take me a while to work my way though it and get things in balance, medically and physically speaking.

I quit taking my calcium supplements because they were wreaking havoc with my digestion.  Anyone else have that problem?

Speaking of digestion…

I am back to eating baked oatmeal every morning.  I love bagels and I was eating bagel for breakfast, with a hard-boiled egg, but the scale was not moving and my digestion also was not moving, so a change needed to be made. I like my bagels better, but I like oatmeal too, and when it is baked with nuts and berries inside, yeah, I like it even better.  Berries are so good for me, and I put an array of them in to the oatmeal.  I’d like to add currents, but can’t find any that are fresh.  I wonder, can you buy canned currents, and where do you get them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in the store.

When I eat baked oatmeal in the morning with milk on it, its such a comforting feeling.  My tummy gets all warm and rosy, and I feel like the oatmeal start to my day helps me stay less hungry, longer.  I’m not eating as many eggs per week now, and finally the number on the scale is creeping down.

Speaking of the scales…

I’ve been doing something else to get it moving.  I’ve been fasting at lunch.  I’m trying to get to the place where I can eat just two meals a day, on two days of each week.  Tuesday went well as far as solid foods was concerned, but I had a flavored coffee about 4:00pm.  Today, today was a little rougher. I made it to 2pm without eating, then gave in as I felt the low blood sugar symptoms kicking in.

Note worthy, is the fact that I did not eat the baked oatmeal for breakfast today, deciding instead to have a pumpernickel bagel that I was supposed to eat yesterday. I’ve decided to follow Lori’s example over at Finding Radiance, and plan on having a bagel once a week.  This business of the oatmeal is worth remembering, because the day I did have the oatmeal and milk for breakfast, I didn’t feel like I had any symptoms of low blood sugar.  I caught it quickly enough today, and ate the oatmeal I had brought with me, just in case, but I do not want to have any nasty surprises at work, so will watch it in the future and act quickly to avoid any problems.

Speaking of problems…

I work for a bunch of geniuses, providing all kinds of support and encouragement for them while they build cutting edge equipment for sale in a global market.  Doing this job makes me feel useful in life.  As part of that job, I help customers from all over the world find accommodations in our area for over nights when they are meeting with the geniuses.  A couple of times we have had problems with one of the hotels in town.  Once they wouldn’t give the corporate rate to a customer because she wasn’t an employee of the company I work for.  Why hotel staff would think we need discounted rates for our employees at local hotels is beyond me. We live here.  We don’t need a room for the night.  We have dog houses out back for when our mates are angry. Sheesh.

Today, the problem was that Mr. X didn’t tell the hotel he was a customer of ours before he checked out this morning.  Then, when I called to ask them to adjust his billing, they told me that because we don’t bring them more business our corporate rate has terms applied that allows for only (2) rooms per day for our customers.  This party included (3) people.

What?

And to make matters more complicated, that restriction would always be in place during their busy season.  When is your busy season, asks I?  From now until 2016, says the manager.  Wow, then when is your un-busy season, hotel lady?  I wanted to ask that, but didn’t, because I work for a bunch of geniuses and I don’t want people thinking they depend on a saucy-mouthed dunce to help them out.

Really, though, why even offer a corporate rate to a company if the business they bring to you isn’t enough to warrant it?  The really crazy thing about all this is that when they were going to offer the discounted rate to our employees, they wanted us to issue a letter on company letterhead, stating that said person actually was our employee.

Again, our employees don’t need discounted hotel rates.

I have no idea who is coming up with the series of hoops we are being asked to jump through, but I can guess who won’t be appearing on our list of recommended hotels in the future.

Do you have problems you speak of with anyone in particular?  What do you deal with that gets your goat, makes your skin crawl, or in other ways drives you to the food?

Some days it’s not what I’m eating that is the problem, but what’s eating me.  Today, whats eating me is a mish mash of craziness I am being forced to navigate with only half a sense of why the hurdles have been put up in the first place.  Ugh.  I’m not overeating over it, though.  Praise God–change is possible!

 

Light Bulb Moment

Dealing with food…

While I was driving on Wednesday, I had a light bulb moment.

000lightbulbHere’s what I realized: Eliminating those things in life that bring me comfort in an inappropriate way leads me away from the ultimate source of comfort for me, my God.

Makes sense.

People serve all kinds of Gods in their lives.

I don’t want food to be mine.

As of today, I’m applying this new understanding to my meal plan, and I’m taking action to eliminate certain “comfort” foods.  Note: these are current comfort foods for ME, and may not represent a problem for everyone or anyone else.

Coffee: bye-bye.

Dark chocolate covered almonds: see ya around.

Artificial sweeteners: we are going to have to part ways.

I’m on a quest, and about to perform an experiment. I’m eliminating comfort foods from my diet for one week. At the end of that time I’m going to reevaluate where I’m at and apply what I have learned to a new meal plan, new exercise routine, and a new, hopefully more fulfilling relationship with the One that oversees all I do.  We’ll see how it goes and if I can do it without lopping someone’s head off.

Jim, beware.

Jack, take cover.

Joe, it may get brutal on this end, so be careful. 😉

Friends and family: PRAY!!!

Of course, I’ve known for a long time that I like comforting things. Who doesn’t?  But I’m done being satisfied with the scale teetering up and down within a three pound range.  Plus, I think I’m ready to “feel” a little discomfort in order to lose the weight.  If I plan to keep this weight off once I hit my goal (I do, I really, really do!), then I have to learn how to run my life, and not let food run it for me.

Concentrating on exercise…

I’m also thinking about working with others to organize a 5K fun run this summer.

Huge undertaking.

No experience.

Think it is a wonderful “idea”, but can it be done?

What goes into such an event?  Said while trembling just a little.

I’ve wanted to participate in one for a long time, but never did. I have a friend who used to run 5 and 10 K’s all the time. I’m reaching out to her for some advice.

Feeling not so good…

I went to the walk in clinic yesterday and got some meds for a sinus infection. While there the doctor warned me that this coming weekend in NEPA is going to be a bad one for allergy sufferers.  The combination of wind, warmer temps, and the trees in bud make for a trifecta of allergy horror that all of us are just going to have to deal with; such is spring in the great northeast.

I hope that the weather is nice where you are, and that your weekend won’t be ruined by allergens or anything else.  Enjoy the next two days, if you don’t have to work. If you do have to work, thank you for your service to the rest of us on the weekends.  I have worked the weekends a few times in my career, but not many.  I didn’t like it much.

Have you ever had a food or exercise epiphany? 

What are you having for lunch?

000bald eagle

As I was heading out for lunch yesterday, I spied a bald eagle on the river, circling, circling, circling a group of geese who had stopped by in PA to refresh themselves on their journey north.

First impression upon seeing the birds: Spring is here, yay!

Second impression: That Eagle is HUGE!

Third impression: Those geese look tiny in comparison.

Fourth impression: I wonder what Baldy is hoping to catch for lunch?

I will tell you, I was scared for those seemingly little geese. Have you ever seen the wingspan of a male Bald Eagle. They are seriously big birds, and their beak and talons are formidable.  I would not have wanted to be those geese swimming in the cold river yesterday.  The mere shadow of Baldy’s wingspan on the surface of the icy waters was enough to put fear in my heart.  Not for me, mind you, but for them.

000bald eagle 2

Watching nature in motion yesterday made me think about my own eating habits.

Am I attacking my food like I might never eat again?

Am I targeting food that is good for me and will give me the strength I need to fly high?

Am I being picky about which food items I toy with and then eat?

How hard is it for me to get the grub I want today, and once it’s gotten, will it make me strong or sick?

I’m thankful I don’t have to live in the wild and hunt on the river for my food.  I’m grateful for easy access to what I need. But I also appreciate what Baldy has to do each day to get what he needs, and how that affects everyone around him.  I may not have a beak and talons like him–powerful, masterful, and dripping with blood–but I have my own way of finding the food I need to survive.  I just hope I’m eating as well as he is (and that the geese are not his dinner).

What are you eating today?  What’s eating you?