At Least That’s What They Tell Me

More pounds are coming off. Slowly, but surely. In the last month, I’ve lost 6.2 pounds. Not quite the 2 to 3 pounds a week that I want to lose, though I’m celebrating because

EVERY

POUND

COUNTS

Every single pound lost will eventually add up to my goal of 40 pounds lost by the end of May. Patience has never been my strong suit, though I’m reminding myself that it has incredible value, particularly when I’m on a long journey like this one. To keep myself going, I’ve watched an inspirational video about a man who suffered from obesity and  disabilities. He was extremely overweight and unable to walk unaided. That was before he started doing yoga. He ended up losing over 100 pounds and I’ll let you watch the video to see his results.

It was just the reminder I needed – big changes don’t happen quickly. In the past, I would have given up by now, because things weren’t happening quickly enough. This time, I’m doing this for good. If this gentleman can persist through his adversity, so can I. I believe I can do it. I know I can do it. I believe in myself. And I will be patient. After all, patience is a virtue. At least that’s what they tell me.

Habits Update:

Healthy Habit #15: I’m taking on a “be on time” commitment as my next healthy new habit. In the past, I’ve joked that my middle name is “ten minutes late.” That’s done. Gone. Over. Moving forward, my being late will be the exception, not the rule.

Slowly But Surely…And a Few More Pounds Come Off!

LJV with blue hairMy weekly weigh-ins are finally starting to show a bit of pay off. I saw a number on the scale this morning that I’d not seen in several months and it felt pretty darn good. Consistent effort to make healthier sustainable changes to my eating habits may mean it’s taking longer, though I’m feeling much more confident that, this way, the weight I lose won’t come back.

What was interesting about today was that I wanted to “celebrate” my progress with food. Whoa. Hard reset. No overeating. Just a big smile and a happy blog post to share my success. (I actually looked up “celebration without eating” and telling others about your success was number one on the first list I found.)

I think the meditation is helping, too, as it has me feeling calmer and more in control throughout the day. I also notice that I’m more in tune with my appetite and find myself leaving food on my plate, saying no to second helpings, and serving myself smaller portions at home.

I’ve not shared much about exercise here, since I’ve had to back-burner it while I heal from a piriformis muscle injury that happened back in mid-December. I’ve been in physical therapy and have been given permission to start walking and doing yoga, though no P90 for a bit. Here’s hoping I can get back to it by April, to make it easier to kick off the last few pounds before my 50th.

What about you? Do you have a success story to share? Let’s celebrate together!

It’s Time for That Meditation Practice…

Key with rocksI am constantly thinking, doing, creating, relating and my brain never rests unless I’m sleeping. (And with the crazy dreams I have, I’m not even sure it’s resting then. According to one of my recurring dreams, I have an overnight job in a college town, where I’m pursuing my master’s degree.) My poor brain must be exhausted!

That’s why I’m starting a meditation practice this week – healthy habit #14 – something I’ve been talking about for the last few years. (Not sure why I’ve not done it, beyond procrastination!) Why? I’ve been hearing about the benefits for years and I’ve decided that now’s the time to see how it can help me with my life/body transformation.

If you’d like to learn more about meditation, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Andrew Weil and found this article on his website: Self Healing Benefits of Meditation. The writer provides an excellent summary of what I hope to gain from my practice. My brain needs to rest and it’s up to me to give it a break. Plus – BONUS – there are several well-documented health benefits, including boosted immunity and lowered blood pressure.

The health benefits of meditation appeal to me. My journey to fitness was waylaid a bit by a  sciatic nerve issue that sprung up back in early December that had me hanging out in the Emergency Room on morphine twice. Ugh. It’s still with me, 7 weeks later, and I’m working on physical therapy to get back to 100%. No exercise, no P90. I’m slowly healing, though I’d like to see if I can speed things up by adding some brain power to the effort.

I have an amazing girlfriend, Mary Lore, who writes and speaks about how managing your thoughts can enhance your life and help you reach your dreams. (You can learn more about her work here: www.managingthought.com) She also teaches how your thoughts and the words you use can affect you physically. I asked her how I could meditate to heal my nerve pain and she recommended that I meditate on the statement: “I lovingly release whatever it is that is contributing to this condition. I’m going to add, “I lovingly release the extra weight I’m carrying – for my better health.”

There’s tons of research out there about how your thoughts create your world. I’m hoping meditation will be another useful tool as I change my body and my life.

What about you? Do you meditate? Why or why not? If you do, please share your meditation practice with us.  

(I started with a healing meditation from this lovely website, which offers several free guided mediations: Fragrant Heart Meditations. It was a fourteen-minute mediation that felt like it went by in three minutes. Fabulous!)

 

A Success Story: What if You’re Allergic to Exercise?

My lovely girlfriend, success coach and co-author of our book “Who’s Your Gladys: How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan”, Marilyn Suttle, has transformed over the last year. While she always looked great, about a year ago, she was feeling uncomfortable with her physical condition. She did something about it that worked and now she looks AMAZING. I’ve asked her to share her story here so we can all be inspired by her commitment and success. (Marilyn currently coaches women to help them make “suttle shifts” to help them reach their dreams. You can learn more about Marilyn’s coaching work at www.facebook.com/suttleshift.)

Every year I make New Year’s resolutions to eat right and exercise. Why then, after only three days into it, do I end up eating an entire box of candy in one sitting? Working out was no different. Any time I even thought about going to the gym, my body would rebel. Can a person be allergic to exercise?

I wanted to be fit. I’d tell myself to eat steamed vegetables, but somehow a slice of pizza would end up on my plate. It’s like my appetite had a mind of its own.

There’s a saying, “The thing you teach others is the very thing you need to learn most.” Yep! That applies to me. When coaching women, I encourage them to imagine what they’d rather be experiencing in life. I’d rather experience vitality and fitness in my fifties than weight gain. I wanted energy and stamina to travel, work and play more. But instead of experiencing my vision, I was slipping into the next size pants year after year — until last year.

I started last year with a confrontational conversation with a business coach who said, “To achieve everything you want to accomplish, you need to be in better shape.” He even recommended an exercise program.

“How rude,” I thought. “And true.”

I was face-to-face with the choice to start a structured exercise program. And I felt that sinking feeling set in.

“Me? Exercise? I don’t like dragging myself out of bed extra-early to work out. ”

“I don’t want to eat right and exercise. I want to watch TV and eat cookies.”

Ah ha! I identified the pain I was trying to avoid – getting up early on a cold winter’s morning. I also identified the temporary pleasure of keeping things the same – a warm bed in the early morning, no limits on junk food and zoning out in front of the TV. It’s so easy to languish in those temporary discomforts and short-lived pleasures.

I researched the exercise program. It appeared to be appropriate for my fitness level, it required discipline, and it scared me to death. At my yearly exam, I asked my doctor about it, and he gave it his stamp of approval. Still… I … just … didn’t … want … to.

There I was, slipping back into my routine, avoiding the discomforts of change. Plus, I didn’t really believe it was possible. Can a woman my age counteract midlife spread? My coach thought it was possible and painted a picture of what it would be like when I reached my goals. Seeing it through someone else’s eyes made an impact. I contacted a friend who is a fitness and nutrition coach. He talked me through the program in detail and said, “I promise you this is not too hard for you. You can do this.”

Other people believed I could succeed. What might happen if I believed it too? It was a small thought that created a big shift. In that moment, it became possible, and I said to myself, “I will do this.”

I used some of my own coaching tools on myself too. I pictured myself at the END of each workout, feeling proud of myself. I pictured myself at the end of each day, feeling good after having nourished my body with quality food choices. I imagined myself noticing my pants getting loose. What fun!

I pictured vivid images of fresh green broccoli, blueberries, and other nutritious foods to make them appear more appealing than my less-than-healthy favorites. Before I got out of bed in the morning, I’d let myself experience the vision of a fit and vital me. The result? I overcame the temporary yuck of getting started, and changed my routine.

I ended 2012 fit, vital, and three pants sizes down. But then my husband gave me a box of my favorite candy for Christmas – milk chocolate coconut clusters. I ate the whole box, the same way I started the year.

That’s great news! Why? In the past, I’d use that retreat as an excuse to spiral back down the tunnel of temporary pleasures that kept me stuck. This time, I got myself up the next morning (out of a nice warm bed) and exercised. It’s not about being perfect. And I’ve stopped waiting for my fitness goals to conveniently fit in my schedule. It’s never going to be convenient. It’s about returning my thoughts back in the direction of that vision of health and vitality. Then, the actions automatically follow. It gives me a life-line to hold on to when riding the waves of temptations, demands, and distractions in life.

There are many benefits that come from keeping your fitness goals. Keeping them clearly in mind helps get you out of bed in the morning and snacking on crunchy vegetables in place of potato chips in the evening. Here are a few:

(This is where you’d typically find a list of things like, “you’ll live longer,” “be healthier,” blah, blah, blah… but you and I both know those things don’t have the emotional Velcro-like grab that keeps you inspired, so here’s a more feelings- based list.)

  • You get a pat on your back at your next doctor appointment when the doctor asks YOU for advice in staying fit, firm, and vibrant.
  • You get to live out that cereal commercial moment of admiring yourself in the mirror while thinking, “Is that really me?”
  • You get to feel hot! (without it being related to night sweats or hot flashes.)
  • You get new clothes!!!

Women live longer these days. My grandmother lived to be 104. My mom is currently 91. The way you treat your body will determine the quality of those golden years. I’d like to be feisty, fun and full of energy then, which means taking really good care of me now.

How about you? Have you made the “I WILL do this,” commitment to your fitness goals?

Another Healthy Habit: Getting Back to Being a Good Friend

I’m not what’s known as a “good friend” in my opinion. I used to be, then I got married and had a kid and got involved in two careers – I have a full-time “day job” and I always have an independent project or two in the works.

What does “not being a good friend” look like? I don’t remember birthdays. I don’t call back for a few days sometimes, or if I’m terribly distracted, I may forget to call back at all. I haven’t sent Christmas cards in the last few years. And while I have a lot of friends, I wish I was closer to them. The odd thing is that I don’t always do what I should to keep in touch.

When I did a bit of research on the topic, I discovered that what I’m going through isn’t unusual. In fact, Lissa Rankin, M.D., who is a regular contributor to Psychology Today must have been reading my mind when she wrote this:

“When my friends need something, I’ll drop everything for them. But when they don’t write or call, I have to admit that sometimes I get so busy they slip my mind, and months – sometimes even years – can go by without any communication.”

You can read the rest of the article, and how she created a “friendship practice” here: The Health Benefits of True Friendship

I’ve decided that between now and 50, I’m going to get back to being a good friend. I’ve already started, by adding a “call” line item to my to-do list. I’ve added names of my girlfriends that I’ve not talked to n a bit and am ringing them up whenever I have a free moment.

This week already, I’ve set up a dinner date with one friend and her husband AND I had coffee this morning with another friend whom I’ve not seen in over a year.

While it may sound strange to have to track calls to friends, whatever works to help me go back to being a better friend is what I’m going to do. Friendships feed my soul and maybe if I pay more attention to my soul, I’ll feed my face a little less.

What about you? Do you need to put a bit more effort into your friendships?

This Year’s Themes: Do More and Love Yourself

As I look at all of the things that I want to accomplish in 2013, I’m struck by two overarching themes that I know will help me stay on track:

Love Yourself

Do More

Here’s what I’m thinking…

If I love myself, I’ll take better care of myself. I’ll eat better, exercise more, drink more water, stop chastising myself for my weight or my (real or perceived) failures, and generally consider my physical and emotion well-being when I’m making my moment-by-moment decisions.

If I do more, I’ll stop procrastinating, organize my personal tasks and focus on what’s important to me. I’ll spend more time doing (rather than not doing) and I’ll be more productive.

What I don’t mean is that I’ll run around trying to overachieve, ignoring the need for downtime, beating myself up for not doing “enough” or stressing myself out. Instead, I’m tuning in to that extra degree of effort that makes the difference. A great example of what I’m intending is the book/video/premise of 212 degrees, created by Sam Parker of Give More Media.  He says, “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train. Just one extra degree makes all the difference.” (You can learn more about Sam’s 212 degree work here: 212 The Extra Degree)

So, those are my two slogans for 2013.

Love Yourself. 

Do More.

These two overarching themes will live on my bathroom mirror, where I’ll see them every morning, to keep me on track!

What about you? What overarching themes could you use to help you create the best 2013?

Do I Have To? Moving from Plans to Commitments

I’m the queen of productivity planning. Unfortunately, that’s usually as far as it goes – planning. I have the books, the apps, the idea, the plans, the goals. I’ve got big dreams and am taking steps toward them. My biggest issue is the lack of follow-through.

I know what I need to do, I just get overwhelmed with the details. There are so many little things I could/should be doing that it’s hard to keep track of the next step. So many distractions – from social media (my favorite!) to making dinner for the family – I sometimes feel like I flit from one thing to another so quickly that I don’t ever stay on task long enough to get anything accomplished.

The biggest problem – which regularly detracts from any progress I’m making – is that I typically let any “systems” that I create for myself fade out and then I stop doing the basics. I let go of adult thinking and give up responsibility for keeping track of what needs to be done, even though I know it will reduce my stress level and enhance my productivity. That less than mature attitude stops today. Now.

I purchased the two books you see in the photo in 2011 – Getting Things Done and What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do. Both present specific approaches to managing all of the tasks that are thrown at us every day, from the small to-do’s to the steps you need to take to reach your big dreams. Over the next few weeks, I will be re-reading both of these books and putting the advice that works for me to use.

The piece of advice that’s stuck with me from my first read of “Getting Things Done” is the weekly review of your lists and priorities. So, starting this week, I’ll be spending an hour or so on Sunday reviewing the past week and planning for the next one.

I also purchased a few (more) file boxes and manila folders this past weekend, so that I can get moving on the physical system for keeping track. It’s soooo annoying how, every day, 20 or 30 pieces of paper come into the house that need to be managed. Putting them into piles on the kitchen counter just isn’t a workable system for keeping track without causing undue stress and a crazy mess. This week, I’ll be setting up my little spot in my husband’s home office to manage this problem. (Next week – I promise that I’ll post my before and after pics of the kitchen counter. This accountability is priceless!)

What about you? What are you doing to get ready for a fantastic 2013? 

Inspire Yourself with Positive People and Positive Messages

One of the ways that I stay inspired to move toward living my best life is to follow people that provide positive advice and sign up for their emails and RSS feeds.

One of my favorite websites, which sends me daily emails, is “Notes from the Universe.” (You can check them out here: www.tut.com.) I received one this week that I had to share:

Finally, Lori Jo, the Official Top Ten Spiritual Ways to Defeat Boredom, Make Friends, Find Love, Trim Down, Shape Up, Discover Your Purpose, Make a Fortune, and Shine Your Light, are…

1. Take action.
2. Show up.
3. Lean into it.
4. Start anywhere.
5. Keep busy.
6. Get out more.
7. Ask for help.
8. Shake more hands.
9. Give more hugs.
10. Don’t stop.

You were already visualizing, right?

Today,
The Universe

What regular positive messages have you set up for yourself? 

Are You Letting You Stop You?

‎”Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you.”
- Jeffrey Gitomer, sales author, speaker and trainer

Part of this journey of dropping 40 pounds and 40 bad habits before I turn 50 is discovering where I’ve been less than responsible with my one and only life on this planet. I know that I’m capable of so much. I’m a strong woman who has gotten through some incredible challenges, yet I struggle with my weight and some habits that don’t serve me in living the life I really, really want. I’ve probably got 30 to 40 more years on the planet – if I’m really lucky – so the exploration is a bit overdue.

In the three weeks that I’ve been doing this, I’ve been energized by the accountability that putting all my foibles out there for all to see is providing. Here’s how it’s going so far.

I’ve greatly reduced some former time wasters, freeing up time for more productive action. I had been in a rut of spending too much time on social media and playing my favorite video game, and since I’ve given it up, I’ve been able to get more work done on my own business activities. (I’m an author, consultant and speaker – you can learn more here: www.whosyourgladys.com and here: www.lorijovest.com)

I can feel the strength that I’m building with the P90 workout that my husband and I are following. It’s getting easier and I’m doing more sit-ups than ever. (Last night, I made it up to 86!!!)

I’ve given up my compulsive weighing habit, though I have to give credit to my husband for that one. He hid the scale and said he’ll bring it out sometime in the next few weeks. One of my readers suggested that I weigh myself once a month and use the fit of my clothes as a guide, so that’s going to be the plan moving forward.

I’m drinking a lot more water and tea. I keep a glass of water at my desk after the first two cups of coffee and that’s that. It’s not been challenging at all.

This week, I’m adding a few more habits to the mix. Here’s the next round:

Healthy Habit #8: Organize my personal paperwork so that it’s easier to manage and doesn’t take up one of my kitchen counters with a bunch of big crazy piles. Isn’t it obnoxious how much paper comes into the house every day? While I sort it a few times a week, I have a desk in my husband’s office that could easily be repurposed to hold the incoming paperwork. This eyesore in my kitchen is a visual and mental burden, as I sometimes worry about what’s in the piles that needs to be managed. The deadline for this one is going to be January 1.

Healthy Habit #9: Put the “Getting Things Done” system in place for my personal task management. There’s an excellent article on this approach here: 43 Folders. The deadline on this one is also January 1. True productivity requires organization, which is something I’ve not been very focused on in the past. This system is touted as being a stellar approach to both physical tasks and mental focus, as you don’t have a bunch of to-do’s floating around in your head distracting you. (And yes, I read the book – two years ago – and did nothing with it at the time. I’m a stellar procrastinator!)

Healthy Habit #10: Cut out my nightly cookie. This is a tough one to admit. My husband and I have developed a ritual in the evening over the last few years. After my son goes to bed, the hubby makes tea and we drink it with a cookie as we watch television and wind down for the night. I told him last night, no more evening cookies for me. The tea is enough and the cookie is too much. Not sure I really need a blast of sugar right before I go to bed, even if it is an organic, oatmeal cookie. Nope. Done with that.

In closing, I’ve decided that I’m done getting in my own way and I’m so grateful to those of you who are following me on this quest.  Accountability is a pretty amazing motivator.

What about you? What healthy new habits are you creating? 

 

 

 

It’s Never too Late and Today, I Start Over Again

“Never too old, never too bad, never too late, never too sick to start from scratch once again.” -Bikram Choudhury

Well, that first week sure didn’t go so well. I actually gained a half a pound, instead of losing anything at all. Now this could be due to hormones, water weight, carbs, too much salt, inflammation…any number of things that plague those of us whose fluctuating hormones make us batty.

So I start again. This week, I will focus on reducing my carbs, as they seem to make me expand like a blowfish whenever I eat them, as well as renewing my focus on portion control. I’m determined not to “diet” as I want to ensure I’m doing something sustainable, not something that lasts for a short while, then has me feeling deprived and gaining back all that I’ve lost.

I also weighed myself three times, instead of the one that I was planning. So, here we go….starting over with more emphasis on changing what I eat and weighing myself once a week.

Having gained a half a pound, it’s a good time to add healthy habit #7 – Stop beating myself up for my weight. It’s a tough one and so many of us do it. I’ve been working this one for a bit. Size doesn’t dictate character. Size doesn’t decide how “likable” you are. Size doesn’t determine if you’re loved or not. Size doesn’t determine your value as a human being.

Plus, when you aren’t treating yourself in a loving way, you won’t be compelled to treat your body well and be responsible with how you care for it. I’ve been working this one for a few months now, and it’s getting easier, though when I get dressed in the morning and the clothes I want to wear don’t fit, it’s a major struggle not to rant about how “fat” I am and how “ridiculous” I look. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting there, though.

What about you? How do you feel when your plans don’t give you the results you want?