Wellness Journey – Week 4

You can’t have growth without some failure and setbacks along the way.

found quote on Pinterest @mollyhostudio

This was an interesting week to say the least. I have continued to do my workouts, balancing between walking and strength training by high intensity workouts and I am feeling good. I can now hold plank for a minute, which is a big accomplishment for me!

However, when I weighed myself this past Wednesday as part of the 21 day challenge, I was disappointed I had not lost much of anything. In fact, I couldn’t resist looking at the scale later in the week, only to be met with higher numbers.

I have to admit I might have gone a bit overboard on the weekend by having a more than sufficient BBQ meal with friends on Saturday. I hadn’t eaten a lot that entire day, aside from one protein shake and half a protein muffin I shared with my husband. We had gone to watch our son play in his first high school game and we didn’t plan accordingly.

What is that saying, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” Perhaps that isn’t exactly what happened because I don’t consider this a failure, but a lesson and reminder to always carry provisions when out and about. Not having any healthy snacks and water was definitely not thinking ahead.

Both my husband and I were famished by the time we went out with our friends. I never want to be in that position where I don’t have something to tide me over until the next meal, including water!

I said to myself that I will have a case of water on hand for those “emergencies” and will keep on hand a few protein-enriched snacks, like a protein bar, almond butter, or something easy to carry that won’t perish for moments like I had on Saturday.

I may have had a bit of a setback in my progress of losing weight, but I have also gained some insight into my behaviors and how I can be better for the upcoming week.

My attitude and steadfast determination to be healthy and do right by my body is my primary focus at this time. The weight will come off. I need to stop fixating on that and keep my eyes on the bigger prize of being healthy, strong and feeling good.

Me after Saturday’s morning fit camp

Wellness Journey – Weekly Update

It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.

Since starting my health and wellness journey, I have made it my mission to remain determined and persistent in exercising and watching what I eat. I also have made my journey for the public so I remain accountable. It helps me to remain focused on my goals.

I have lost a total of 7 pounds so far in 3 1/2 weeks. Not too shabby. For the most part, I have been doing well, not missing the foods I know aren’t good for me. The key is to stop and think, “Is it worth it? Do I really need this?”

I posted a video on Tik Tok last week sharing a weak moment I had. I woke up feeling a bit sad and frustrated, but couldn’t pinpoint my feelings. It was St. Patrick’s Day and my mother-in-law brought over fresh loaf of Irish Soda bread the night before.

I usually have given into my feelings and emotions and convinced myself that it’s ok to treat myself. Of course, that is self-sabotage because that’s just the mind being weak and giving in to temptation. I remained strong and said to myself I did not need to eat the bread to console my feelings.

I was proud of myself and realized then and there, that I CAN do this. That I AM strong enough to fight those emotional feelings when it comes to eating. For me, this has to do with retraining my brain to understand the what’s and why’s of my behavior. Once I change my thinking and my attitude, then results will happen.

I am not saying I may slip, but I know I can get right back on track because I want it that badly. I don’t want to feel sore or in pain all the time. I want to be able to do activities without struggling. I may not be able to do some things like I did in my youth, but I know I can get stronger and build my stamina while losing weight.

And for today, that is enough.

Retrain Your Brain, Part 2

Your body achieves what the mind believes.

author unknown

As February comes to a close and March begins, there is the promise of spring arriving soon. Spring has been known to many as new beginnings or a fresh start. And that is where I am at right now…a fresh start.

If you have been following me or read my blog posts, you may have come across my post entitled ReTrain Your Brain. That post focused on changing our mindset into a more positive way and not focus on things out of our control, but on all the good things we can be grateful for each day.

Usually people set goals beginning of the new year. I did not because I don’t like to set myself up for failure. However, I’ve gotten over that pity party, so to speak. I am ready to make some changes and set goals that will benefit me not only mentally, but physically, too! I decided yesterday that I would begin my new health regimen by exercising and eating better…again.

I say “again” because this isn’t the first, second or even tenth time I’ve tried to be physically healthier, lose weight and get into shape. I have struggled most of my adult life going up and down the scale. I have changed my wardrobe several times, pledging to myself that I will never wear THAT size again! Yet, for whatever reason, I fall short of my ultimate goal. Then I just lose all interest or motivation to pick myself up and try again.

I am reminded of a song called “Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. The lyrics are simple and catchy, but the chorus is the part that I can relate: “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” To me, it means that even if I get knocked down, I will always get up again. No matter what, I will never give up. I may fall, but I pick myself up eventually, despite my frustrations, despite the obstacles in front of me.

Another song is “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. In the beginning of the song, Eminem says “ Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?” What a question! It really makes me think if I truly treated my health as if I only have ONE SHOT to improve, then of course I wouldn’t waste that opportunity, right?

Easier said than done. There are so many of us who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight and eating the right foods on a daily basis. What keeps us on track? I had brought this topic up in a recent chat on Tik Tok and I received some input about how restarting again is ok. Some people say to Keep the WHY nearby; Why are you doing it? That’s a great point! Why am I working towards a better, healthy me? At this stage in my life, it has a lot to do with my actual health and not be in pain every time I move.

Other people said to start small, don’t take on more than you can chew. Set goals that motivate you to keep going to reach them. Someone said they make certain rules for themselves where they are allowed a cheat day, but only after a successful week. It’s setting boundaries. It’s building a structure to follow. All of this seems so simple when you put it on paper, but yet, I am fighting my inner voice that is saying, go ahead, you can have that piece of cake…you only live once! And that is my point. We Only Live ONCE. So we need to treat our bodies as the most precious possession we own. If it were to break, we’d never get another one.

image from Pinterest

Yes, there are temptations. There are times we just don’t feel like it. We start convincing ourselves this is too much work. Too much to think about and it is overwhelming. I’d rather just live my life, do what I want and not worry about any consequences. Wow. That seems a bit immature, doesn’t it? Time to put on my big girl pants and start making the changes NOW.

I have listed out a few things to help me (and you) stay focused and keep on course. I hope these help you if you are feeling like me and are ready to make changes this year.

  • DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Preferably, 1/2 of your body weight in ounces is the minimum.
  • REDUCE or better yet, ELIMINATE SUGAR. Sugar is a culprit of many ailments, including inflammation. It is addicting and there is no nutritional value to it all.
  • SET GOALS, but keep them small and achievable. Once you have accomplished those goals, you can work on making bigger or different ones.
  • JOURNAL. Keeping a food journal has been proven to keep people accountable. If you “lie” on what you ate, you’re only hurting yourself. Be honest, and keep track of your intake of food and beverages.
  • FIND A BUDDY. Speaking of accountability, having a person be your weight loss buddy can help you remain motivated, especially when you start losing interest or feel helpless.
  • GET PLENTY OF REST/SLEEP. The body needs to be able to rejuvenate, especially after a workout. Take the time to allow your body to rest and recover. Try to get enough sleep so you are well rested for the next day.
  • BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. We aren’t perfect and we may slip once in awhile. The key is to acknowledge that and then move on and not beat yourself up over your mistakes.
  • SWITCH THINGS UP once in awhile. Routines are great, but for some, you can become bored and eventually stop. If you walk, maybe try bike riding or even choose different locations to walk. Explore your local surroundings. Even changing the time you exercise can be helpful if you feel like things are getting stale.
  • HAVE FUN WITH IT! Make it a game. Listen to music that gets your feet moving. Music is powerful and it can help make the time pass by quicker than you thought.
  • BE PROUD OF YOURSELF! Reward your good behaviors! This doesn’t mean eating an ice cream Sunday. But, maybe do something you wouldn’t normally do as a reward. Also, you’re on this journey for a reason and taking the first step is a great start!

My hope is you can relate and want to follow me during this new venture of mine. I plan to have weekly updates and share my experiences along the way. I’d welcome your support!!!

Image from Pinterest

Is it Selfish or is it Self-Care?

I’ve been spending a lot of time helping my mom, who was recently hospitalized for her mental well being. It has been a stressful time for both of us. I am an only child, so all the burden falls on me. My parents are divorced and both remarried several years ago. Unfortunately, my mother’s husband died four years ago, and ever since, I have noticed my mom has struggled to find herself again and function properly. I’m sad to say, she has lived with bi-polar disorder the majority of her adult life. As a young teen, I witnessed her go through a couple nervous breakdowns and battled alcoholism. My father traveled a lot for his job. Early on, I assumed on the role of a co-dependent. As I got older, and finally moved out of my house at 26 years of age, I started to live my life and discover who and what I wanted to be. I had fantasies of moving out west or somewhere else to spread my wings, but I just didn’t take the chance on myself. I was too concerned about my parents and didn’t want to abandon them or be that far away. It was quite the challenge because no matter what, my focus circled back to my mom.

picture of mom and me a week after she was in the hospital. Look at her smile!

Fast forward 25 years and I am married, have 2 teenagers, work part-time as a caregiver and am learning to make more time for myself. I am finding it difficult to do it all. It isn’t in my nature to put myself completely first because I want to help others around me. However, I find I desperately need to take more and more time for myself and relish being alone, enjoying simple things like watching the sun rise, or taking a walk on a trail. I love taking pictures and enjoy crafting or making art. Most of those things have fallen by the wayside. I have gotten into a horrible routine that is most likely hindering my overall health, physically and emotionally. I try so hard to do simple things, like getting a good night’s sleep, breathing, stretching, eating well, etc. But, no matter how much I try, my desire for a healthy and self-caring lifestyle is trumped by outside factors I allow to disrupt my day.

picture taken of sunrise on December 11, 2020 Milford, CT

Is it so bad that I want to take care of myself before putting the needs of others right now? I was taught, especially through my Christian faith, that selfishness is wrong. That we must think of others before we think of ourselves. However, I have also learned we have to love ourselves before we can love others. We have to take care of our well being so that we can be there for our loved ones. My mind is confused. Putting myself ahead of everyone sort of goes against my giving nature. Yet, deep inside, I know that if I continue this path of caring for others and put myself at the back-burner, I will be a miserable person. I battle my own thoughts and feelings everyday. I am exhausted. I know I cannot keep up this pace much longer.

I listened to an episode of Coffeetalk with Liquidshano1973 recently and the topic was Self-Care. It really hit home and I have to admit, I was in tears after listening to the 31 minute segment. I realized then that I haven’t fully invested in MYSELF. I always say I do things to enjoy the little things in life. I pause and breathe. I try to soak in those rays. I do try to smile and be grateful. Yet, all of these things I do is not enough! It is very hard to admit I am my worst enemy and do not completely follow my own advice. In the episode, Shane mentions some tips he found while researching the topic of self-care. He chose to highlight 7 of them, and when I reflect on these tips, I know this is something I can incorporate into my daily routine, provided that I am intentional.

I found the original website and read a total of 27 ideas of self-care. In a similar manner, I am listing a combination of what Shane highlighted in his podcast, as well as others that the author mentioned on how we can take just 5 minutes to practice self-care. Before I list these tips, I have something to share that brings this all home.

My job can be stressful at times. My client has specific needs and over the few years I have worked for her, I have slowly changed how I manage my outside life. I stopped using my favorite scents in laundry, or in the shower because of her chemical sensitivity. I also stopped wearing makeup when I go to her home, including facial lotions because I was afraid she would get ill from any scents she might pick up. For a long time, I wouldn’t dye my hair. These simple things, these ways of taking care of myself or doing things that brought a little joy, were almost completely abandoned because I wanted to do the right thing and please my client.

I realize now, I was neglecting myself. I needed to stop. I needed to put my needs ahead for a change or else I think I would explode. The other night, I decided I was going to pamper myself and enjoy a little in-home spa treatment. Wow! Can I just say, this was a much needed mini “getaway” in my home. I took the time to dye my hair, give myself a facial and even put makeup on so I could feel good! By no means was this a selfish act. It was an act of self-care! I needed to do this so that my spirits were lifted and so that I can continue to be there for everyone else, while feeling happy with me! It may seem obvious to do these kind of things, but I have been so consumed with being a caregiver, that I have forgotten to take time for me.

this is me after my little “spa” treatment

Below are a total of 10 tips that you can do to practice self-care. These are inspired or paraphrased from the website linked above. I discovered within these ideas, is something to think about, too. In order to get a full experience of self-care, we need to address each of our Five senses of Sight, Touch, Hearing, Speech and Taste! I put the sense in parenthesis.

  1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for in your life (touch)
    • By writing down things you are grateful for, you are putting those thoughts directly in front of you and from pen to paper, it will resonate into your mind.
  2. Breathe deeply
    • You’d be surprised how much we hold our breath throughout the day. By doing that, we are depriving ourselves of much needed oxygen and the release of toxic carbon dioxide. Plus, intentionally taking deep breaths can help relieve stress and can be calming.
  3. Get outside (seeing)
    • Going on the same lines of taking deep breaths, going outside to breathe the fresh air really can be an uplifting experience. Also, observing bits of nature can relax you and even make you smile.
  4. Drink a glass of water (taste)
    • Water is essential to a healthy body. We tend to not get enough water on a daily basis. Make it a habit to have a glass of water first thing in the morning so that you can awaken our body after a night’s sleep.
  5. Eat something you enjoy (taste)
    • Eating something we enjoy doesn’t mean binge eating. It can be as simple of having a piece of fresh fruit or one small piece of chocolate. Even drinking a hot beverage can be very satisfying.
  6. Walk Around
    • Moving our bodies helps to lubricate our joints and circulates our blood throughout our body. Walking also gets the heart pumping and doing the job it is meant to do.
  7. Stretch
    • Sometimes a nice, long stretch is all we need to feel rejuvenated. Taking time to stretch our backs, legs, neck, shoulders, etc. also helps relieve stress and tension. Go on YouTube and find a 5-10 minute yoga routine that focuses on stretching.
  8. Listen to a favorite song (hearing)
    • A friend of mine said that music soothes the savage soul. I couldn’t agree more. And when we listen to a favorite song, we immediately feel good. It can be uplifting, calming, and spark good memories!
  9. Put on some Aromatherapy (smell)
    • I mentioned about scents earlier. I love the smell of citrus or fresh scents. They make me happy. Aromatherapy is another way to touch our senses and can make us feel good.
  10. Apply face or body lotion (touch)
    • Don’t neglect your biggest organ of your body…the skin! Treat it well. Put lotion all over, especially the face. You will feel better and look good, too!

How are you going to start taking more time for yourself and practice self-care?

Please drop a comment and share your ideas! I’d love to hear what you do to be a better version of yourself!