Can’t Unsee It – The Downside of Social Media

medium_166216003Back in the day, just a decade or so ago, the video we saw was controlled by news media or corporations or some such entities. We saw what they showed us and it was relatively tame.

If your family had a video recorder, you used it to make fun family videos or document vacations and day-to-day happenings.

Fast forward and everyone has cameras, so we see all kinds of crazy stuff that they produce themselves from cat videos, people falling down and silly singing and dancing. That’s led to people recording politicians saying and doing stupid things, which began influencing our political system on a grass roots level. Awesome, right?

Fast forward a bit more and now anything and everything that can be recorded is put on social media. Over the last few weeks, I’ve inadvertently seen some extremely horrifying videos – including people being beaten and a person committing suicide in a subway station. Not purposefully, mind you, but by clicking on what others share. Things that cannot be unseen. Things that make me wish there really was such a thing as eye bleach. Not so awesome.

I have since decided that anyone who shares something that I wish I hadn’t seen will be immediately released from my social media sphere. Unfriend, unlike, unwhatever. If I don’t keep my own “bubble” from becoming toxic, I’m not looking out for myself and my psyche.

What about you? Have you noticed an influx of horrible videos and images on your social feeds? 

photo credit: SuperFantastic via photopin cc

Setting Incremental Goals – Aiming for a Five Pound Loss

Slave to the ScaleI’m tired. Tired of getting on the scale. Tired of seeing the same numbers every time I do. Tired of feeling fat. Tired of feeling pain when I exercise. Just plain fricking tired of this whole “fat” thing.

Now what? I started this blog a year and a half ago with the goal of losing forty pounds in six months, yet here I sit, so many months later, at the same weight, give or take a pound depending on what day it is and what I’ve eaten/drank/done/not done the day before. Ugh.

Soooo….now what? I’ve decided to start with five pounds. Just five pounds to see what it takes to do and so that it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. I’m consistently thinking about how to live healthier and I continue to address my body image concerns, though I’m obviously not giving weight loss enough consistent effort to make a dent in the number on the scale.

This week, the value of setting incremental goals has gotten my attention. Apparently, the feeling of success from losing a small amount of weight – like five pounds – can give you the inspiration you need to keep going. At my height (5′ 1″), even five pounds can make a difference in how my jeans fit. Plus it feels good, perhaps good enough to inspire me to continue to my end goal.

For this effort, I’m committing to the following:

  • Walk/do my prescribed physical therapy exercises every day this week
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day
  • Skip sugar-laden foods, focus on lean protein and veggies/fruits
  • Don’t eat anything after 7pm

That’s it. Easy-peasy, right? I’ll let you know how it goes.

photo credit: Christi Nielsen via photopin cc

Watching Out for Hidden Vipers

viperShe was a viper with a charming persona and a great big smile. And somehow I had no idea that she saw a target on my back.

I had been let go from a job I’d held for eleven years, due to “financial reasons.” (I actually believe that the decision was based on my political leanings, though that’s another blog post.) Within a few weeks, I’d been hired by the competitor and was feeling rather fortunate that I would be able to continue to support my family.

A few weeks after starting the new job, I was surprised to have my coworker, who also held a VP title, strike out at me about a client inquiry. We were a primary vendor for a few large corporations, which meant that our video materials were sometimes requested by the companies’ ad agencies to support their projects. I had gotten a call from a video producer that needed some video clips. “I called and left a message for (snake lady) yesterday, though no one has called me back.”

I went into (snake lady)’s office to see if she could help assist me with getting the needed materials together. “She said she’d left you a message,” I told her. “Did you get it?” As a newbie to the company, I was worried that perhaps messages were getting lost.

“I am very busy and I return client calls within 24 hours,” she snapped. (24 hours? In the video business, things move a whole lot quicker than that. A 2 hour turnaround on phone calls is considered TOOOO long.)

“Got it,” I told her. “If you need help, please feel free to pass those calls along to me. I’m always happy to take those kinds of things off your hands.”

She smiled her great big smile and brought out her insta-charm, which was magnetic and particularly appealing to the guys. “Thank you,” she beamed, before she filled me in on what I needed to do to meet the request.

Over time, there were several occasions like this one. I’d do something, she’d get angry and snipe at me. I’d fumble through it and we’d get things managed. I talked to the president and the owner of the company and asked if we could talk it over in a meeting. “Oh, no,” they’d respond. “Leave it alone. You’ll start World War III.”

Seriously? I was flummoxed. Why would this VP level staff member be allowed to act in any way she wanted, with impunity. Was it because she was prone to walk out of meetings in anger if things didn’t go her way? Or her magnetic charm, which she could turn on and off in seconds?

I began to understand that she wasn’t happy to have another strong woman on what she perceived as her turf. She’d been with the company for several years and I discovered that any other woman who held a position similar to mine had either quit or been fired within a year or so.

It wasn’t until several months later, as the relationship between us continued to deteriorate, that I found out she made fun of me to other people and complained to the owner about perceived weaknesses she thought I possessed. (And, yes, her complaints worked. The owner’s confidence in my abilities waned.) Within nine months of my hiring, I resigned, leaving that day.

“I thought you were a fighter,” the president of the company said, when I told him of my decision. “No, you misread me. I don’t like to fight. I like to collaborate,” I replied. I drove home crying tears of joy.

What was the key to snake lady’s success at this company? She was able to turn from full-on bitch mode to charming, magnetic warmth in seconds flat. It was truly amazing to watch. (Plus, she had an uncomfortably close relationship with the company owner, but again, that’s another blog post.)

What about you? Have you ever encountered a hidden viper? What happened?

photo credit: static416 via photopin cc

Feeling Grateful, In Spite of Myself

GratitudeSo, since I’ve started this blog, I’ve actually GAINED 10 pounds. Not sure why or how or what the hack’s going on, but geez. Apparently, whatever it is that I’m trying isn’t working. Not even close. As frustrating as it is, I’m simply going to stay focused on being and feeling healthy and not worry about numbers for now.

This past week – the week of Thanksgiving – is one of my favorite times of year. The focus on gratitude, really appreciating all that you have in your life, is a wonderful reminder of the simple miracle of being alive, not to mention having people (and pets) you love around you, a roof over your head, food in your pantry and so many other blessings.

Today, in spite of the extra weight I’m carrying, I feel grateful for my health. I have healed the injury I had last year, so I can take my 30 minute walks 5 or 6 times a week. I am slowly working on building my lower body and core muscles, making major progress after my injury a year ago.

This week, I’m focusing on eating less carbs and sugar, and in spite of the fact that it sometimes takes me a week to lose pound, I’m taking it one day at a time.

This week, I’m holding on to gratitude for all that is good, including my health.

What about you? How do you stay motivated when the weight just won’t come off? 
photo credit: shannonkringen via photopin cc

My Review of Diet-to-Go

 

 

Diet-to-Go Dinner - Chicken Marsala

Diet-to-Go Dinner – Chicken Marsala

Diet-to-Go is an online diet delivery meal plan. It’s similar to other plans, wherein you sign up for a menu style (vegetarian, low carb or traditional, and a styrofoam container arrives a few days later, loaded up with frozen meals for seven days.

I’d never tried anything like this and when I was offered a week of free meals, in return for an online review and some social posts, I was happy to give it a go.

The cooler showed up on the front porch about a week ago. It was packed with seven each of breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with some dry ice and packing material. I labeled each one according to whether it was breakfast (B), lunch (L) or dinner (D), then put half in the fridge and half in the freezer. (I had ordered the low-carb menu, since I’m trying to reduce my intake of sugar and white carbs like flour.)

What type of entrees did I receive? For breakfast, egg dishes like omelets with salsa and green beans; for lunch, a pork chop with two veggie sides; for dinner, chicken marsala with broccoli. The entrees, in spite of being frozen and microwaved, are always tasty. The veggies taste fresh and the portion sizes leave you feeling full all day.

Diet-to-Go Breakfast

Diet-to-Go Breakfast – Omelet with Salsa and Sausage

I’ve been trying all kinds of “reasonable” diet plans and have been less than pleased with my results. It seems like, the more control I give myself over choosing what I eat, the less weight I lose. On the Diet-to-Go plan, I get a choice over what meals I’ll have that day, though portion sizes and content are set for me.

As the week has gone on, I’ve been thrilled by the quality and taste of the meals, the ease of following the plan – you feel full constantly, so there’s no need to snack, and the fact that even though I’ve eaten out a few times and not completely followed the plan, I’ve lost 2.5 pounds. Easy-peasy.

The best part of the meals themselves is the amount of fresh and tasty vegetables they include. One morning, I had an omelet with cheese and salsa, with a large helping of green beans. It all felt fresh – the salsa and the beans – even though it had been frozen. I would never have known the veggies were frozen, had I not been aware of how the meals were packaged. (BTW – the photos I’ve posted here are my actual meals.)

In closing, I have to say I would recommend Diet-to-Go to any midlife woman seeking to lose some pounds, while eating nutritious, filling and appetizing meals. The experience has been so good that I’m planning to keep going for a few months, to see how much weight I can lose with something more structured than what I had been doing. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

By the way, if you’d like to give it a try, for a limited time only, Diet-to-Go is offering readers a 25% discount on their first week of meals. Simply plug in the coupon code “summer25″ at check-out for 25% off your first order!

 

 

 

In a Rut Rut Rut and Trying Something New

First meal on my first week of Diet to Go plan - Low Carb Option

First meal on my first week of Diet to Go plan? Breakfast – Low Carb Option. Great tasting, huge portion and visually appealing, too.

I love getting inspiration from people who do the cha-cha. Of course, I’m not the only one trying to lose weight and get fit that’s sharing my story on a blog. I came across “The Weight is Over” a few months ago on Facebook and she’s doing something similar. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following Wendy, the blogger, because she’s authentic and fun and HONEST.

Her post this week resonated deeply with me. She’s braver than I am and posts her true struggles and fallbacks (and actual weight!) on her blog. Yikes. AND she’s lost 35 pounds in her effort so far!

This week, Wendy posted about her “one step forward, two steps back” journey and made a commitment to get back on track. I’m going to follow her lead and own that what I’m doing hasn’t resulted in much weight loss. A few pounds, sure, though that’s it.

Yes, I’ve been exercising, drinking water, eating better, avoiding most carbs most of the time, though it’s not working. I’m eating better and exercising more. And the weight’s not coming off.

Fortunately, today I’ve gotten a gift that will help me jump-start my efforts. I’ve been selected to be a Diet to Go ambassador and my week of meals came yesterday! I’ve always wanted to try one of the meal services, figuring that perhaps I’m not gauging my portion sizes or selecting the right foods that work for me, and if I take those decisions out of my hands, I might be able to lose some poundage.

This week, I’ll be posting photos of my meals and information about the plan and hopefully, dropping at least a few pounds.

PLUS, I’m considering asking for a FitBit for Mother’s Day. I keep hearing that one of the keys to weight loss is tracking your intake and physical activity, though I’m SOOO resistant to it!

What about you? What are you trying that’s new? How’s it working?

Continuous Effort and Continuous Learning

It’s so easy to let my attention wander and turn my focus to the myriad of things I do for “work.” I’ve always got five or six projects going on and they take up a lot of my free time. Fortunately, since none of them really feel like “work,” I can’t say I don’t enjoy it.

The challenge is to keep my focus on this effort, so I’m making it a habit to review my efforts and what I’ve learned every week. Here’s what’s happening:

I’ve lost some pounds, though not as many as I’d hoped. Fortunately, the next few months should be more productive.

Check your thyroid. In a routine medical exam in November, my doctor discovered that my thyroid was significantly low. It was ridiculous and because I’m one of those people that just chugs along, too busy to notice subtleties, like dry skin or a puffy face, I didn’t catch it until it had been going on for months. It’s finally back to the appropriate levels and

When we reach our forties, both men and women have declining hormones and they affect several of your body’s symptoms. If you notice any symptoms of an underactive thyroid, even one, get it checked. (You can learn more about the condition here: What is hypothyroidism?)

Rest when you need to rest. I had a muscle injury (piriformis syndrome) that took me out of physical activity from mid-December to mid-February. Exercise is key to any weight loss effort and I just couldn’t do it. I’m sure my calorie burn was way down, since I was pretty much on the couch or in my chair every waking moment. When I was told I could get back to exercise, I did. Taking it easy was what I needed to do at the time, now I’m back to my P90 program and only having minimal issues with nerve pain.

Make a list, then knock out the tasks. One of the best habits I’ve create so far is to better organize my task lists. I’m doing more in a more organized fashion, as I’d committed to doing at the beginning of this effort. And, I’m seeing more results in business because of it.

And, here’s Healthy Habit #16 – Get all of my health maintenance appointments like mammograms, physicals and pap smears done in a timely fashion. No more skipping years!

What have you accomplished in the last few months? How can you improve  moving forward?

 

Pushing Through the Pain and Getting Back in Action

I have a girlfriend that’s about twenty years older than me that’s served as an incredible role model since I met her when I was eighteen. These days, at 49, I often think of something she told me years ago.

“When I get up in the morning, I have a choice,” she explained. “I can either get out of bed with my aches and pains and go sit on the couch, or I can get on the treadmill and get a good workout in, after which I’ll feel much better.”

I so relate to what she told me, since I’ve been making my way back to a full workout schedule after my piriformis muscle issue back in December. I’ve been moaning and groaning with ongoing nerve pain since then, though it’s gotten significantly better. With  nerve pain, once the cause is relieved, you just have to wait for the inflammation to heal and it can take several months. The upside is that if you can manage it, you can exercise through the discomfort. I’ve been amazed at how, once I decided not to let it stop me, my body adjusted to regular daily activities and now, increased activity toward my fitness goal. And – even better – I’ve gotten back to my P90 workouts.

Starting back after a 90 day hiatus had me thinking about whether you can ever be “too old” or “too flabby” to start an exercise program. The answer is a resounding NO. My neighbor, who is over 80 years old now, started going to Curves and walking after she had a heart attack when she was in her late 60s. She’s unbelievable, “borrowing” her girlfriend’s dog and walking him for miles, and always on the go. (Another great role model!)

I also came across an excellent article from fitness expert Marta Montenegro here: Never Too Old to Rebuild Your Body Marta shares some research on fitness after 40, plus some great suggestions for keeping your new workout plan on track.

What about you? What are you doing to get, and keep, your fitness plan going strong? 

 

 

 

http://www.poise.com/experts-and-education/articles-and-qa/article?id=1749

Back in Action After a Major Pain in the Butt – Starting Now!

Procrastination is not my friend. Unfortunately, it’s hanging on to my leg and seemingly won’t let go. Today, I kick it off and recommit to exercising at least five days a week after an unfortunate two month hiaitus.

Back in November and December, my husband and I started P90 (a home workout that gets great results) with much enthusiasm. After four weeks, I was feeling stronger and thoroughly enjoying the feeling of accomplishment. I was doing more sit-ups and push-ups than I’d ever done before. Each workout was a big sweat-fest and I was feeling the early results of my efforts.

Then, one morning, I got out of the shower and put my leg up to dry it and was taken down by a misbehaving butt muscle. The muscle is called the piriformis and it runs right in the middle of your butt cheek and connects to your hip bone. When it goes into full-on cramp mode, it usually affects your sciatic nerve, too, so there’s this way-fun nerve pain that runs down your leg and can take several months to heal. Nice, right?

That day, I was off to the ER in an ambulance – yes, it did indeed hurt that much – and spent the day on morphine. Two months and lots of painkillers and muscle relaxants later and I’m still hurting, though I have been given the go-ahead to do some yoga and walking. That was a few weeks ago.

Since then, I’ve been putting it off. “My leg still hurts, so maybe I’ll do it tomorrow,” I tell myself. Then tomorrow happens and I get “too busy.” While I’ve lost 5 pounds in the last few weeks, it’s time to kick it up a notch again and get some added calories burned off.

Today, I’m back at it. Slowly, with yoga and walking. Five days a week. Onward.

 What about you? How do you stay on track with a regular exercise program? 

 

Appreciating the Journey

Learning lessons every single day…this is what this week brought me. I posted this whine on my FB page yesterday:

Ugh. So far, the eat smaller portions, less bread and drink lots of water isn’t working. Time to start tracking my food to see what my missteps may be. I’m going to use the myfitnesspal app and see how that works. Thank you so much for your support!!! The accountability of sharing this journey with so many people is awesome.

I was stuck in my usual thought pattern of “Crap! This isn’t working.” I’ve only lost 3 pounds and darn it, I don’t want to “diet.” Sure, there has been a setback in my exercise routine, though shouldn’t the reduced food be enough? As I spent yesterday morning feeling sorry for myself that I “just can’t lose weight,” I got this wonderful little note from one of my FB pals who’s been supportive of my journey and who makes me laugh when she posts about her own fitness challenges.

Think of all the basic things we were taught to do. They have become habit. We don’t brush our teeth “because” they might fall out. We don’t put on pants “because” it would be inappropriate. We don’t wipe our butts “because” it’s sanitary. WE JUST DO. We do them every day. Without thinking of the reasons why. This is what your healthy new habits have (or should) become. Non thinkers. New habits. You ARE healthier. It may not translate to weight loss, but you have been dealt a HUGE setback in not working out. Keep doing the right things, because it’s the right thing to do. Not because there is some payoff. Because then you’re always waiting for the payoff and when it doesn’t come, you’re disappointed. I am not losing weight, but I AM HEALTHIER.

It was exactly what I needed to hear. I will not go back to my typical “this is too hard, I’m giving up” mentality. The path to better health might not always be smooth, though with support like this, it’s a lot more manageable.