Negotiations With Myself; 10 Tactics to Stay the Course

It seems like the hardest negotiations I have to have are with myself. This realization came tonight while I was having a conversation with Adventure Sister, Emy. We are great at talking ourselves out of doing things, but talking ourselves into doing things is a whole nother story. What can we do to be successful in negotiations with ourselves?

I am a world champion justifier. If you are not good at justifying something let me take a swing at it. Maybe this gift is a part of my Susie Sunshine Personality, where I can find the good in anything. But like the grinch, it doesn’t matter if this is because my shoes are too tight or my head is not screwed on just right. Being able to justify my way out of everything down not help me embrace healthy habits. Right now I am busy justifying that I don’t need to get my 10,000 steps a day because it is cold outside.

I have negotiated things with others through out my life. Many of these negotiations have been quite successful. How can I use these techniques to negotiate healthy habits with myself?

1. Be firm and set the expectations. That inner couch potato will want to have it their own way. Having a firm line and setting the expectation with yourself will help when your mind starts making up excuses.

2. Have a prepared response. Since we are talking about negotiations with yourself, you probably have a pretty good idea what excuses you will come up with. Be prepared with reasons why these excuses are just not good enough to set your healthy habits aside

3. Keep the goal in mind. Having a clear picture of where you are heading makes it easier to stay the course. This is true no matter if the goal is weight, career, financial, romantic, or whatever.

4. Stay excited! Having a goal can be very exciting, especially when you see progress. Celebrate small successes along the way to help keep the excitement flowing.

5. Ask for a little bit more time. Your inner critic may try and tell you this isn’t working or that you aren’t benefitting from this initiative. Convince that inner critic to keep trying, just a little bit longer. A break through may be just around the corner.

6. Remind yourself that you are worth it. This is such an epidemic of people not feeling worthy. Remind yourself your are worthy have having what you are working toward. You are good enough, you are strong enough, and you deserve success.

7. Ask yourself for advise. When you start hearing the we don’t have to do this anymore voice in your head ask it what it needs to keep going. Sometime just acknowledging the voice will be enough to help you push on. Other times a little inner dialog about what inspiration is needed will give you the power to get over the hump.

8. Use logic. Remind yourself of all the good reasons why sticking with this will help you in the long run

9. Be aware of your emotions. Emotions can pop up when we least expect them. Especially when we are working toward a seemingly difficult goal. (Most goals are achievable with persistence). When those emotions pop up, acknowledge them. Do not try to minimize them. Once you have acknowledged them, allow them to move through you. Release them, do not hold onto them.

10. Push past objections. Sometimes there is no convincing the inner Negative Nelly. Sometimes you will just have to ignore that part of yourself and just keep going. You can do it!

Good luck winning those negotiations with yourself. I believe in you! You can achieve your goals and live the life of your dreams. Keep going.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you effortlessly continue to move in the direction of you dreams, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Zagreb, Croatia

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You Are Beautiful! Yes You!

I hear so many commercials on the radio and then see them in magazines for various ways to become beautiful. This magical weight loss pill or that amazing muscle building goo. Cool sculpting (I will be honest, I have no idea what that is or how it works) and laser hair removal. Why is it these types of products and services are so plentiful? Because we don’t feel like we’re good enough and those products cater to that. We are trying to win the favor of others and ourselves by how we look. I know that when my hair looks just right and I have on a snazzy outfit, I feel at the top of my game. But this is not what I am talking about. I am talking about how we try to change ourselves physically to feel better about ourselves.

I want you to know that you are beautiful just the way you are. You are! Beauty comes from the inside. I do not care if you have a scar on your face, a few extra pounds , or a unibrow. You are beautiful. Your radiance comes from inside. It has nothing to do with your outward appearance.

I can understand how easy it is to believe that loosing weight will make you feel happy. I was there once. I had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 100 pounds. I thought this would solve all my problems. It didn’t. I had to dig deep inside of myself and find the truth about me. That I am valuable as a person. That my beauty comes from the divine light that radiates from inside of me.  That loosing weight or another outward change would not make me any better of a person.

If you “fix” whatever it is you think is “wrong” with you, you will still feel the same about yourself. It won’t magically fix what is hurting inside of you. My recommendation to you is to work on healing that pain inside you. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you love you! (I know it feels  and sounds funny – but it is worth it). Make a list about all of the things you really love about yourself. They can be physical but should also include your character as a person. If there are things in your character that you do not like,  work to change those. For example, I am on an adventure to stop complaining. It is a part of myself that could use a tune up. Other parts of your personality may not need to be changed but rather reframed. You just need to look at them in a different way. For example, many people might say I am pushy and bossy but I have come to understand this as being assertive and driven. I now love this aspect of myself.

Yes, I still diet. I am not, however, doing it because I think it will make me a better person or that people will like me more because of it. I am doing it because it is healthier for my body. Staying within a certain weight ensures that I can do the things I love to do, like kayaking, traveling, and riding roller coasters. Also having an awareness to when I eat and what I am eating, helps me tune into if I am eating to cover up some emotion that I do not want to deal with. It allows me to process that emotion rather than burying it under a pile of candy bar wrappers.

I really want you to understand that you are beautiful. You are worthy of a magical and  joyous life. You are enough just the way you are. You are capable of greatness. It matters not what you look like. Be proud of who you are. Embrace yourself and know that you deserve the best that life has to offer. If you feel the need to work on something, do so, but do it for the right reason and in the right way.  Because you are beautiful, exactly as you are.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you see your beauty as I see it, as if by magic.

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Keeping Up With Healthy Initiatives When the Seasons Change

Healthy initiatives can seem energizing when you first start them. They give you hope of a better tomorrow and the good feeling in your heart of really doing something important for yourself. When Mother Nature sees fit to make changes in the seasons, it can throw a curve in your plans. Also seasonal holidays can seem like an excuse to no longer stay the course. Having a plan to combat these changes is the best way to not let them derail your progress.

If you follow my blog you probably know I have a number of healthy initiative all going at once. Taking Care of Me; Step By Step, is the blog that lays them all out if you are interested. My husband and I have been doing an excellent job getting our 10,000 steps in a day. We’re getting up and walking before work, then after work and again before bed, if we still need some more steps. This week we got snow here in MN. I wasn’t expecting it and upon waking discovered 3 inches of the pristine white stuff covering everything. I found it hard to want to get out an walk. I did eventually bundle up and head to the grocery store. I could have driven and it would have been quicker and warmer, but why not take care of 2 things at once. It was a nice sunny day. The bright sun reflected off the snow and I reflected on how to keep up with all that we are working on, despite time marching on.

I am a wonderful “justifier” and snow seems like a great reason to justify skipping a walk. Having a plan in place helps keep you on task. Just like with the intermittent fasting that we are working on. There is always a justified reason to not stay the course; family in town, a special gathering, or an appointment that throws a kink in things. Recently, when my brother visited, we met him early each morning for breakfast. I always look forward to this annual visit and our early morning breakfast and conversation. As his visit neared, I started to fret about what to do about the intermittent fasting and the fact the fact that I wait until 10am before I break my fast. In the end I had a conversation with my brother, who was gracious and understanding. I still met him for breakfast and I enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea, while we had our usual time together and great conversation. Having a plan helped me stay the course. I have so far lost 15.4 pounds by sticking to the intermittent fasting.

Finances is another healthy initiative we are working on. The holiday season is fast approaching. This is the time of year when people often try to spend money to show someone how much they love them. Buying someone a gift, that they may not need or want, will not necessarily communicate your love and appreciation of them. I encourage you to come up with a plan on how to handle this time of year. Start a savings account that you add to throughout the year. Set a budget for gifts and holiday groceries and stick to it. Find innovated ways to show your love and appreciation for those you care so dearly about. Start a conversation with your friends and family about other ways to celebrate your love and appreciation like agreeing to volunteer together as a family. Make an understanding about gifts and a cost limit. Give homemade gifts infused with good intentions and lots of love. There are so many options.

As soon as you decide to focus on a healthy initiative, something will come up to throw you off course. Try to think about what these things may be. Make a plan for them. Remember that healthy initiates are not things we do just for today or tomorrow. These are things we incorporate into our life an become our new standard of living. To ensure success at improving our life, we need to think about how to remain faithful to ourselves. We need to make ourselves a priority by having a plan to keep our momentum moving forward.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May all your plans come easily, so that you stay the course, and reach the goals you set for yourself, as if by magic.

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Taking Care of Me; Step By Step

I keep plodding along trying to get to a better version of me. What can I do to improve myself a little more each day? I recently wrote a blog inspired by a friend called; How Do You Eat an Elephant or (in this case) a Dinosaur? It was all about doing things step by step to improve yourself.

Well, I put that into practice and started working towards the best me I can be, step by step.

  • I have been a Pescatarian since April 2012 – This was the first major health improvement I made. (What is healthy for me may not be healthy for you.)
  • 5 plus years of avoiding processed sugar – It does not make me feel good when I eat processed sugar because of my gastric bypass. Even more than that though, I have realized it causes me joint pain as well.
  • 4 months of intermittent fasting – I have been doing intermittent fasting since the beginning of July. There have been some weeks when I have not been focused on this or even stayed the course, but I am back solidly in the seat of intermittent fasting now and learning so much more about my eating and emotions and how they are connected. I have lost 14 pounds in that time.
  • 2.5 months of decreasing complaining Wellness is about mind, body, and soul improvements. Working towards 21 days complaint free is a way to improve my mind and soul. I did make it to day #2 once and I believe that if today keeps going well, I will make day #2 for a second time.
  • 27 days without Alcohol – Originally I only wanted to go 28 days without alcohol. I can almost taste the success of accomplishing that. Do you know what it has taught me? I do not need it and look at all the money I am saving by not having my nightly glass or two of wine.
  • 2 weeks of increased activity – 10,000 steps a day is my goal. I have made it 8 of the last 14 days. My September step average was about 5,500 steps but the last 2 weeks the average has been over 9,000.
  • 11 days without diet soda – Oddly, this has been much harder for me to give up than wine. I am making it though. Sparkling water gives me the same bubbly sensation and tea helps make up for the caffeine.
  • 7 days since refocusing on awareness of finances – Financial health is also an important part of wellness. How can we have peace of mind if our finances are giving us stress. I read Dave Ramseys book, The Total Money Makeover. I found myself inspired to refocus on getting to a place of financial freedom. I do not want money worries to rule my life.
  • 4 days of daily meditation – I was making great headway on resuming a daily meditation practice. I did four consecutive days and then a missed the next 3 days. Today I started again!

These are 9 great initiatives I took towards being the best me, I can be. If I had added them all to my routine at one time it would have been to overwhelming. Step by step additions of each of the various initiatives seems reasonable and it gives me time to get one under control before the next one is added.

What are you doing to take care of you? How are you improving your wellness? What would you like to do to be the best version of you?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your wellness initiative(s) be successful, as if by magic.

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Moving Toward a Healthier Diet Through Understanding Myself

It seems like the up and down (often more up than down) of my weight has been a life long journey for me. I had gastric bypass surgery in 2008. It worked like a charm for me. I lost 113.5 lbs. I had a little initial rebound weight gain, which is normal but very scary when it is happening. After that initial rebound I maintained my weight loss effortlessly for 8 years. Then the weight started to slowly creep back on. I am now in the process of learning about myself, why I eat, what is causing the weight gain and how can I most naturally, once again, release the weight.

Those of you who follow the daily meditation adventure know that I started 90 days of daily meditation to see if reducing stress and cortisone, would help stop my insidious weight gain and hopefully even help me lose some weight. Last Friday I decided to try something that was recommended to me by a friend, intermittent fasting. I read some articles and saw that studies have been done on this concept. The idea is that you fast for a specific number of hours each day. Of course most of us do fast, for a specific number of hours each day, while we are sleeping. This stretches that out a bit longer. One study I read proposed a 16/8 split. People would eat only between 10am and 6pm and then fast the rest of the time. I have decided to try a 18/6 split.

I am eating only between noon and 6pm. I feel hungry but my “wanting to eat” is more instinct or habitual than an actual need. I am really liking the fasting. I feel I am making healthier choices about what I put in my body instead of mindless noshing. I feel that I am again appreciating food (like I used to do after my surgery). It was 8 years of my weight being maintained before I started gaining. When I look back at what changed, it occurred to me I started eating just because I needed to eat instead of making good choices for tasty food. I was just filling a hole instead of selecting something I would enjoy and nourish my body.

I used to be really good about being selective about what I would put in my body. I knew I could only eat so much and so I made really good tasting and healthy choices. That has changed over the past couple of years. I still am a vegetarian (truly pescatarian) and I avoid highly processed foods with lots of preservatives, as well as processed sugar.  I often eat just because it is meal time and I just need to fill myself with something. I eat, but not what I really want or need and then eat more later to compensate. Some of that is being a part of a family, I got married 2 years ago (the same time the weight started to reappear). When I was single it was easy to eat what I wanted when I wanted. Now as a part of a family, it not just about me. Compromises have to be made about when, where, and how meals occur. My boss told me once my weight gain was because I was married now. I could not at first understand how that would contribute to weight gain. This experiment in fasting has given me the opportunity to step back and study my eating and see what really did change. IMG_6045

The other thing that has affected my eating is being busier. It seems I am always on the run. Instead of making a good choice that will satisfy me, I just grab something quick to get by and then eat more later.  It has started a vicious cycle of eating second breakfast and snacking or grazing.

I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening, sometimes two. I know that my wine intake is also a part of my weight gain but not the whole story. I have had other times, when I was maintaining my weight, where my wine intake was about what it is now. One of the rules of post gastric bypass surgery is no fluids with calories. Wine should be off the menu. Beverages with calories are also a sneaky way for your body to slowly gain weight, because it is easy to intake more calories than you realize you are ingesting, without feeling full.

I have noticed, since starting the intermittent fasting, that I am chasing more and more veggies. I really crave them. I am limiting the amount of carbs I eat and when I do eat them, trying to choose complex carbs like sweet potatoes and brown rice. One of the side effects I have from my gastric bypass is if I eat to many carbs, my blood sugar drops and I feel horrible, so I focus on getting protein with my meals. With the decreased carbohydrates I have not had problems with the usual fluctuations in my blood sugar that I had prior to starting to eat in this way.

I have not even been doing the intermittent fasting for a week yet, but it has given me some very interesting insight into myself and my eating behavior. I hope to continue to learn about myself in order to make healthier and healthier choices.

Thank you for Reading my blog today. May you learn how to eat nutritious, healthy food, that makes you feel happy, healthy and nourished, as if by magic.

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What Is Healthy Eating?

What is healthy changes from age to age and time to time. At times it seems more about what is popular culturally. Look at the poor egg. It is healthy; then it isn’t. Then it is again. People have been eating them since the beginning of time, but the information out there about them has been confusing. There are so many diet options available: Gluten Free, Paleo, Vegan, Raw, Clean, etc. How can a person know if they are truly eating healthy?
I have a friend who is a Chef. She also happens to have celiac disease. She must eat gluten free for her health. She makes wonderful, nutritious, and flavorful meals. Someone asked once if she makes everything gluten free. She replied yes. That the people who ate her cooking are eating healthy even if they don’t know it. This got me thinking about the idea of eating healthy. Certainly for her and many other people eating gluten free is very healthy. Their bodies do not handle or are not able to process the gluten in the food. However, I have a similar food allergy to rice flour. Many gluten free products substitute the wheat flour with rice flour. My body reacts and I get very sick from even a small amount of rice flour. Eating gluten free (when rice flour is used) is not healthy for me.
My brother is Vegan. He chose to become vegan after reading a book called the China Study. It is a very interesting read and makes a great argument for the health benefits of not eating animal products. I have been pescatarian (a vegetarian who eats fish occasionally) for a number of years. I attempted to live the vegan lifestyle due to my brothers influence and after reading about the benefits in the China Study. It did not work for me as a part of my lifestyle. I travel for work and am on the road at least 4 days almost every week. Some of the places I visit do not have great options for plant based protein in restaurants. My blood sugar drops low if I do not have a significant amount of protein with my meals. Eating Vegan, while on the road, is not a healthy diet for me.
I know people who have tried to be vegetarian or vegan, but ended up going back to meat because they became weak and did not get the nourishment that their bodies required. Their vitality just seemed to be lacking. Once they added some meat back into their lives, their energy improved. I also have had friends that the stress of making a second meal for family members who eat a different diet made it to difficult. The toll, stress was taking in their life, made it worse for their health than eating the same diet as others in their life.
Certainly there are things we can agree that are not healthy to ingest in our bodies. Much of what we consider a healthy diet is really about personal choice and listening to our bodies. Get to know your body. What foods make you feel good and which ones do not. Healthy eating is as individualized as we are.
What kinds of food make you feel best? Have you tried a diet that others felt was healthy and wasn’t a good fit for you? What did you learn about yourself through that process?