Changing My Stripes

I have been thinking a lot lately about change and who I am and what I want. I have been reading Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. I have not finished the book, but one of the concepts I have been employing in my health journey is the idea of being a “scientist,” which really just means that I am observing my life from a place of curiosity and non-judgement. I am looking at the influences that encourage me to make bad choices and stray from my goals. I am also looking at the attempts to correct my behavior and analyze if they really work for me. The process takes the pressure off of being perfect. I will make mistakes. But when I make a mistake, my journey is not over. I have the ability to learn from my mistakes and then try something new. The key is not giving up.

For the last two weeks, I have successfully lost about four pounds (2 pounds per week). This achievement is not a random fluke. I have been working hard to employ change tactics in my life. I am cooking more and eating out less (I take Sunday to prep all of my food for the week and package the meals so I can grab and go, which takes pressure out of having to cook during the busy week, which allows me to exercise more after work). I am going to a weekly in-person Weight Watchers meeting, which adds an element of accountability that I did not have with the online app, which is encouraging me to not give up. I have also been trying to combine the food from Betty Rocker‘s meal plan system to fit with my Weight Watchers points so that each week I can end in the positive, which will lead to weight loss (having positive points means I have leftover calories I could consume and still lose weight; being in the negative means I have consumed too many calories for the week and will most likely maintain or gain weight). Using Betty Rocker’s plan means I am eating more nutritious food, which helps me feel full and satisfied, but since I am sticking within my Weight Watchers points, I have the ability to add in treats and alcohol and still stay on target to lose weight (I do not have to give up everything I love forever, which keeps me on track).

Having said all of that, I am not out of the woods yet. Two weeks of sticking on plan does not mean I am healed. Last weekend, my sister and I went to 6 Flags New England. We packed food to save money and calories. I thought I was prepared emotionally to make healthy choices for the day, but then I walked into the park and was immediately hit with the delicious smells of fried dough, ice cream waffle cones and images of nachos, candy, and treats at every turn. I started to obsess about all the treats I wanted to consume: funnel cake, a caramel apple, nachos fully loaded, cheese fries, Cold Stone cake batter ice cream with ALL the toppings, and so much more. I tried tracking all the treats to see how many points they would set me back: funnel cake was over 33 points (I only get 30 points a day for food). A small Cold Stone ice cream with no toppings was about 17 points. A caramel apple was the least disastrous at about 11 points. At some point, I found myself not caring: I like food so why do I want to be thinner?! Thankfully my sister was there and offered support. She did not encourage me to eat the junk food but helped remind me of what I was trying hard to achieve: better health and fitness for a more enjoyable life. I settled on a plate of nachos and requested less cheese and way more lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and jalapenos (all 0 point items). I got a treat but still kept within my points for the week.

I celebrate the 6 Flags experience because I know that the influence of food and treats is stronger than my desire to be healthy, but I am not, nor did I give up. The change process is not immediate but it is also not impossible. We can all change. I can change. I AM changing.



Break Habits to Become Happier

I wanted to share this great article on some common habits we have that are preventing us from being happy.

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

May this Independence Day also help you find independence from a few bad habits that will help you lead a more fulfilling life. We only have one shot at this life, so might as well try to be our best selves and experience as much joy as we can.