My success with 21 Day Fix: Round 2

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1/18/16 Little black college dress

January 18, 2016.  161.4 lbs.  Day 1 of Round 2.  Instead of giving myself a week off I jumped straight into round 2.  I mean, I was already prepping my meals and found ways to fit exercise into my schedule so why stop?  Plus, I was so excited by my results that I felt I had to keep going while the motivation was there!  I made some gourmet meals this time around, stuffed bell peppers, bun-less bison burgers, a big batch of caramelized onions…yum!  Being on the 21 Day Fix is about eating the right foods in the right amount, not about starving yourself or eating plain food.  If you’re going to make a lifestyle change, you need to find healthy recipes you want to make over and over again and create “new backups,” those easy recipes you can whip out when you don’t feel like cooking anything fancy.  Baked chicken (With lemons and balsamic vinegar) and steamed veggies; poached eggs on zoodles (zucchini noodles), stir fry bowls, Mexican bowls, etc.  Those have become my new backup meals.

I also started getting stronger.  My 6 lb weights were feeling easy.  I could do 14 burpees in a minute.  I could do more pushups and my flexibility was improving.  I also knew that February was around the corner, and I was motivated to wear a dress from high school that *almost* fit again for a fancy party the week after Valentine’s day.  Though I had healthy cookies on week 2 and a big container of lasagna as my cheat meal on week 3, I kept up the regimen of container portions and my exercise.  On days when I had time I’d throw in the extra ten minute ab workout and sometimes do double workouts- when my schedule permitted.  Overall however, I did find myself more active, even if it was just shoveling snow during our crazy blizzard.

 

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Another change this round was that I started drinking Shakeology.  I got the variety pack of chocolate, vanilla and cafe latte so I could vary the flavors.  My favorite way to drink it still is to blend it with blueberries and almond milk.  I add other things and sometimes just shake with water and go, but to me it is nice when it reminds me of a Starbucks frappuccino.  I would highly recommend checking it out and purchasing it here.  Because I had been leaving a red protein container empty several times a week and all of a sudden started adding in a nutrient dense drink, I gained half a pound that week, though one my body adjusted I started losing again rather quickly. (I went from gaining half a pound in a week to losing 2 pounds in half a week- bodies are interesting that way.)  My energy levels did keep increasing with the Shakeology addition, and I can tell my concentration is better on the days I drink it.

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Round 2 before and after results

Though my results were not as dramatic this time around scale wise, I lost 5 pounds and made it into the 150 range!  This was as low scale-wise as I had made it post children before bouncing back up the scale, but this time I was fitter, had a better routine, and a motivational coach and accountability group to keep my fire to succeed alive.  I also decided to take the plunge and become a coach myself so others could benefit from my journey and I could use my effervescent personality to inspire others.  There was no turning back now.  My clothes fit better, I had lost so many inches that people were starting to notice my change and I was getting a nice endorphin release of happiness everyday.  Life was changing for the better now that I was taking care of me.

(To be continued…on to Round 3!)

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Road trip to health

We’ve all heard the cliché, “Patience is a virtue,” but when it comes to reaching a goal, all I want to do is get there NOW.  In an instantly gratified society I’m tempted to reach for the new “best new product” or “quick fix” when it comes to weight loss.  I spent years indulging myself and ignoring the advice of my body, why should I spend time and effort to fix the problem when I can just take care of it with the latest fad?  What is the catch?  The catch is: you won’t learn your lesson with a quick fix and the cycle will continue.

True, lasting change comes from growth.  I’ve spent years knowing what is good for me.  I knew the foods I should eat and why.  I knew I should eat them in smaller portions.  I knew I should be getting exercise on a daily basis and get a routine going.  I knew I needed to reign in my stomach and my wallet because what I was doing was not good for me.  Knowing and doing are two very different things.  Sometimes I would do.  I’d eat right some of the time and exercise a little bit.  I’d start a program and like it until something distracted me, or I got sick/injured, or it was someone’s birthday and I HAD to eat a piece of cake…and that brownie…and that latte the next morning…and the week after that.  (You see where this leads.)  I could have used a pill or a crash diet or surgery-some people have great results with those things- however my understanding from the people with whom I’ve spoken use those things to avoid the change, skipping the growth.  The people I know who have had the most success are the people who start small, one step at a time, until that one action becomes a habit, and those habits link together to form a routine, and whose routines continue to expand until they create the fabric of their lifestyle.  These are a few of the nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned and am trying to implement into my own life and daily choices:

  1.  Create a road map to your goal.  When you’re taking a trip, you don’t just click your heels and go from Maryland to California.  You look at a map, figure out which route your going to take, pick the cities you’re going to stop in, and plan how long it is going to take to get there.  For example, don’t just say, “I’m going to lose 60 pounds.”  Say, I’m going to lose 60 pounds by this date next year.  That gives me 2 months to lose each 10 lbs, so I plan to be x weight by one month,  x weight by two months, etc.
  2. Pick the best mode of transportation.  Everyone has a different preference when it comes to, well, everything.  Eating well and exercising is no exception.  I am not a runner.  I want to like it, but it is just not my thing.  (One day I WILL complete a 5k, but that is a different mountain I need to climb.)  I like zumba, I LOVE yoga (when I can afford to go to a studio), and I love my Beachbody workouts (like the 21 Day Fix) from the convenience of my home. Find what works for you and do it.  Which way will get you to your destination the best?  Would you rather take a scenic drive or a nonstop flight?  Which one can you see yourself sticking with for the duration of the journey?
  3. Find people who will travel with you.  One of the reasons I am doing so well right now on my fitness journey is because my Beachbody coach and support group is amazing.  Having the right amount of accountability-and let’s be honest, someone to bitch to every once in awhile- can be the difference between sticking with a program and falling off the wagon.  Sometimes I’ve been too scared to share my goals and struggles in the past because of how I thought people would perceive me.  Lately I’ve realized that we need to share, because so many people out there are going through the same things and need to know that they are not alone.  Sometimes we need people to engage on our trip instead of just sleeping beside us in the car the whole way.
  4. Stop and appreciate the surroundings every once in awhile.  There are some people who like to go nonstop from point A to point B with tunnel vision on and are disciplined enough to stay focused the whole time.  I am not that person.  I love spontaneity, hate routines, and get bored with monotony.  Though planes get me places faster, I love car trips.  I love seeing the landscape change and getting to intimately know the road I’m traveling.  On my weight loss journey, I’ve been keeping a list of the positive changes I see daily to remind myself that progress is being made-even when I can’t tell from a mirror or a scale.  Those minor victories may be stops on the way to my destination, but by acknowledging them, by embracing the change instead of just seeing how far I still have left to go, I learn to keep moving forward so I can see how far I’ve come.

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    I’m finally able to bind a side angle pose!
  5. Learn how to navigate detours.  For me this is the hardest step, but the most important.  There will always be a reason to quit-and excuse to hinder my progress.  I have a weight chart from the last couple of years that looks like a mountain range with gradual drops and steep inclines.  There was always something that got in my way and caused me to backslide.  If you’re traveling and make it a quarter of the way across country and hit a traffic jam or get a flat tire are you just going to turn around and head home?  No!  Learning how to accept the obstacle, find a way around it, and keep going is paramount.  Knowing that a detour is not a road closure means you can still get there, even if you have to do some creative problem solving to make it.

 

     Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination.  Though my goal right now is to lose weight, my journey to health will last me a lifetime.  With the right tools and support, I look forward to enjoying that path, leading me toward new goals I haven’t even dreamed yet.  Don’t limit yourself when you can explore new possibilities every day.

 

 

All great changes are preceded by chaos

Silence.

Stillness.

Sleep.

As I look around the quiet room I gaze upon the slumbering faces of my dog flopped down on the floor, my cat curled up on the chair and my baby laying next to my lap and wonder how I became so lucky that they would all be asleep at the same time during the day.   What a miracle!  The cause must be the slow and constant pattering of rain on the roof and the dark, dreary clouds looming out in the chilly winter air.

Am I the only one who likes to stay indoors, curled up on the couch, pensively reflecting with a mug of steaming hot cocoa on a rainy day?

I didn’t think so.

The dark, quiet, peaceful atmosphere of a rainy day almost beckons deep thinking and creative pondering.

So what am I pondering today?  My latest project: my house, or more specifically, feng shui.  With the new year has come new actions and my spring cleaning has started early.  Before I can get to the principles of beautifying and rearranging my home I have to first de-clutter and clean it thoroughly.  (A big job for a big house.)  Be proud of me; it’s day 10 of 2013 and I’m still persevering in my cleaning campaign!  I’m tired of being a pack rat, keeping junk for sentimentality when I ave better items to maintain the same sentiments.  I’m tired of keeping broken items that I have been meaning to fix for years.  I’m also tired of the choke hold clutter has on me.  Clutter hides in every room of my house waiting to ninja chop me as soon as I walk in the door.  How can I start new projects when there is no space in which to work on them or my mind is filled with a never ending to do list?  How can I have a simple life when I have too much Stuff to create simplicity?

Though I’ve tried many organizational books in the past to help me create a plan to clean house, this time I’m working on removing the clutter from my mind and spirit as well.  This combination seems to be working well.  Beginning by answering questions about what I love/hate about my home and how I feel in different spaces, I had a few revelations:

 Firstly, there are rooms in my home in which I love everything in that space yet spend little time in that room.  At first glance that seems to make no sense.  Why would I not spend time in a room that looks nice and contains pleasant things?  The answer: the atmosphere.  The room is cold or the room is dark or the room has a gloomy aura, etc.  Like many other things in life, the outside or first appearance of something can be good yet need fixing when a deeper inquiry is made.  The vice versa is also true.  I tend to spend lots of time in rooms that I don’t love or that feel dysfunctional.  Is it because the room projects some aspect about myself that needs work?  Or is it just that I’m glued to the TV to escape reality and the couch to escape action?

Secondly, I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve beautiful things.  Am I afraid that I won’t preserve the beauty or that I will ruin or lose such things?  Or do I feel unworthy?  I’m not sure.  I took this picture of a room in Chatsworth on my choir tour to England many years ago.  This is my fantasy drawing room:

Chatsworth The beautiful rug, the walls lined with books, the treasured antiques and the grand piano… Exquisite!

Obviously, I don’t have the money for this type of splendor.  But what if my home looked like this:

Peek Crescent, Wimbledon SW19 ref328

No, I don’t have the money to own an elegant London mansion either, but I could make my space this beautiful if I chose to.  I could even be 125 lbs if I chose to be.  Why do I not work for what I want?  Why don’t I deserve beauty?

Lastly, I have a hard time separating objects from memories.  Some people can pick up a plate and only see a plate.  I pick up that same plate and feel happy because the plate brings back the memory of my roommate in college who helped me pick out that plate set.  Some people get rid of that same plate when they buy a new one to replace it, but I keep the plate to preserve the memory of that friend.  I am learning (albeit slowly) that the object does not make the memory, nor does getting rid of the object devalue the memory.  I’m also discovering that getting rid of the old makes space to bring in the new and that this type of change is refreshing, revitalizing.

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There is no magic in feng shui, except the magic that we bring to it. Your house changes when you do as you incorporate new principles and habits into your style of living. As you rearrange your furniture you are rearranging yourself, and the world reacts to your inner revelations. Ripples do not just belong to water but to energy, to life.

I have been a student of feng shui for a week, a student of psychology for seven years and a student of life for twenty six years so I’m no expert on anything. I do know for a certainty however, that change is as inevitable as death and taxes. How a person responds to change, whether wonderfully or horribly, quickly or slowly, is vacillating.  My change is taking much longer than I would like, but hopefully this type of minuscule movement will lead to lasting change.

Hello, my name is Virginia.

I love feelings and hate change.

I am afraid to work for what I want because I am afraid of the unknown.

But now is the time for something new.

Something beautiful.

Because I deserve it.

Deepak Chopra