Feel Good

Every time I feel myself falling from my goals, I take action. Every time a mini goal is achieved I create another! On Thursday I completed my latest body goal – the Shred 10. I feel great about my body and don’t want to fall back into old habits, as mentioned in my last post, so I decided that I would sign up for another Barre class today, on my first day off. I continue the habit of making a smoothie in the morning (although to the annoyance of my husband on the weekend – when he was trying to sleep), packing healthy lunches and keeping positive.

There are still many exercises I struggle through in these Barre classes. Even through the motivating chant of the instructor to “keep going, feel the shake and keep holding” I find myself taking a mini break before going back to whichever pose I was previously in. When I take these little breaks I feel like I’ve cheated when the other women in the class (I have yet to see a man join..) hold strong, legs (or arms) shaking until told to release. Each time I do a class though, I hold a little longer, I push my limits a little further, and I focus on the goal. I will continue to go to these classes because afterward I still FEEL GOOD. After the class I tell myself “Next time, I will push through the pain and hold it that extra 5 seconds” and when I get home, I sign up for another class on my Mind Body App, and am excited for another day. As soon as the Shred ended I drank coffee, ate pizza (just a piece) and had a chocolate from my advent calendar (that I didn’t finish before because I left it at home when going to visit family). In order to not feel defeated though, I have learned to push past the negative thoughts and see the end goal. I praise myself for the little accomplishments (“well I made a smoothie today and drank a bottle of water BEFORE I drank coffee, so that’s a change”). I continue to build my will power muscle and form change. I said “no thank you” to the sweets offered at work, instead of “oh I can’t because I’m on a detox”. I should always be on a detox. I am so much less bloated, have more energy, and instead of automatically reaching for an unhealthy snack when I am hungry I find something healthy and satisfying: lately it’s been apple and peanut butter (all natural, crunchy, yum!).

An unexpected positive side effect of doing the Shred, and not being able to drink coffee (or caffeinated drinks), was my budget! Since the new year I have only bought TWO coffees. Previously, it’s been about 2-3 a week (minimum). More when I’m working night shift. Another win. I have also refrained from eating out or buying fast food. It’s tempting, now, to continue my old habits. After all, 10 days is a short amount of time, so I’ll continue to post on here when I feel weak, make my smoothies in the morning, say no to unhealthy foods when I’ve had my share for the week, and sign up for exercises (or, you know, just go to the gym).

I am posting today, because I am continuing to feel good about this transformation. I don’t yet know the end goal. I know that I will be strong. I know that I will be successful. I know that I am living a life where every day I am saying “I am thankful to be here. I am so grateful to be living my life”. I feel so loved and supported by the people in my life, and so grateful to be constantly meeting new positive and inspiring personalities. Today I have focused on both a healthy mind and a healthy body (as the category indicates), because both are hurdles I have overcome today. Everything does connect, and the more good habits I form in one area, I am sure, the more that will naturally occur in others. The more exercise I do, the healthier I want to eat, the happier I am, the more friendships I form, the closer I get to financial freedom where I am achieving what I want AND making money doing what I love.

This is only the beginning. Keep feeling good.

Shift Work

It’s been difficult to keep motivated while on night shift. In the past, sometimes the only exercise I got what when I worked nights – there’s a gym at the hospital I work in and we get an hour and a half break so it’s easy to spend that time at the gym. However, some nights are too busy and I only get an hour…or 30 minutes. Sometimes it’s not that busy, but by the time everyone else takes their breaks and it’s time for mine, I’m busy, then suddenly it’s 5am and it feels too late. Another excuse I know. Last night was one of those nights. I actually didn’t go until 5:50, only for 40 minutes, and took a quick power nap. This is a habit I recognize and realize can change. I can’t always control how busy I am at work, but because I rely on work to get in my exercise I didn’t work out before shift and ended up missing a day.

Maybe some of you can relate to me as a shift worker. Some people call me “crazy” for going to the gym on my break (most people nap), others have joined me (as I changed my thinking to join others when I first started). Even if you don’t have a gym at your work I think it’s a great opportunity to take to get a little exercise in. Do a set of stairs, challenge yourself and do 2. Bring an extra set of clothes to work if you feel you can’t because you’d be too sweaty. Working shift work has reminded me also not to pay attention to the real time but to “my time”. For example, whenever I wake up I am now making sure I start my day the same – make bed, change into real clothing, drink at least one large glass of water, take Juice Plus, make breakfast (lately a smoothie). One thing I’m going to try and add to this routine is exercise. I need to keep reminding myself NO EXCUSES. I could have gone down and up the stairs a few times on my break last night. I could have exercise before work even though I felt I had “no time” because I got up at 4:30 and immediately started making dinner instead of taking 10 minutes first to do a quick home workout video. Right now I’m sitting in bed, writing this blog, trying to plan when to do my workout – I have a vet appointment for my cat (just a checkup), I haven’t started my routine, and I planned on going to a dance class but was also invited to a motivational talk about healthy living. Life is about priorities. Right now, I’ll keep focusing on mine, and envisioning my goal – those strong arms, flat abs, and strong legs. I’ll keep picturing myself being able to do those push-ups and pulling myself up on a chin-up bar with ease. I’ll keep imagining myself as I age, able to continue to show my strength.

Wish me luck. Until next time.

Setting goals

The hardest part of this transformation so far is giving up old thought patterns and actions that follow. I don’t even notice these thoughts until after I’ve succumbed to them and I look back at the day and realize why I wasn’t so productive. Yesterday was one of those days that helped me realize how hard I will have to work to fully achieve my goals.

I woke up, not particularly motivated, after my night shift. I told myself that because I exercised during my night shift, and it was around 4:30am when I got to the gym, that I didn’t need to exercise today. I still had my healthy smoothie and breakfast – though it was such a blah day I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast.. perhaps a boiled egg and a smoothie was all. I putzed around the house putting together lists of tasks I wanted to accomplish: clean, make a vision board, make appointment for the cat (just a check-up). I cleaned a bit, made snacks, cleaned up the mess I made to have the snacks, went on the computer and looked at motivational pictures on Pinterest, went downstairs and watched a movie with my laptop – that died about 10 minutes into it – then went back on the computer to create my vision board, before deciding it was a satisfying time to go to bed. I did manage to make the appointment in the morning when I was still fresh with the day but then found no motivation to do anything beyond that one task.

This mindset I’m talking about, is the voice in my head that convinced me (almost subconsciously) that old habits were fine. This voice said things like: “you worked nights, it’s okay to be lazy”, “you deserve a rest day, you’ve worked hard all week”, “you still ate healthy so that’s enough”, and “the house looks good just the way it is, there’s no point in sweeping when it’s just you at home”. At the end of the day, while getting back motivation near midnight as I finished my vision board on the computer, I replayed these voices and realized that this is the hardest part of change. I said “NO EXCUSES” is my mantra this year, and I’ve already had so many excuses, but I can’t be so hard on myself either. Recognizing these negative thoughts and these compelling voices is the first step to changing them. Dissecting these excuses will help me overcome them. I realized that part of the reason I felt unmotivated was because I didn’t have any concrete goals for this transformation. First, I need to trust and believe in the universe that if I can think it I will have it, but secondly (and to the point of this entry) I need to be specific about these desires in order to not lose my way. Even if I start by setting a tiny goal for every day and a big goal for every month, I needed a more clear vision in order to ignore the voices and get up and get moving. From now on, I will make very clear goals, as I use in my profession often: SMART goals. This is an acronym to describe how I will be able to clearly see my desires and transform them into a plan: S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic, and T – Timely.

One thing that I have realized is that I am not as good at taking photos of my journey as I thought I would be. I planned on having a photo for every blog post, every day on Instagram, and every step of my journey. Then, I get to the gym or finish a class and drive home and then realize: darn, I didn’t get a photo. Sure, it is important to just enjoy the process and not worry about capturing moments sometimes but for the purpose of motivating and inspiring others this is something I feel is important to reach one of my many desires: to have freedom to do what I desire while making money helping others. So, I’ll start with this goal: S – I will take at least one photo a day of my healthy changes, M – I will post at least one photo for each blog post, A – This is attainable if I have my cellphone on my and set a reminder every time I have a workout or event, R – This is realistic because I always have my cell phone on me, T – I will be doing this consistently by the end of January.

To begin, Here’s a photo of my vision board, and my post-workout feels (as seen on my Instagram):

vision board

strength

I also want to point out that my journey will never truly be over. Once I achieve strength I will continue to work on that strength every day and make it a habit. Once I achieve a financial freedom I will continue to appreciate money and use it wisely and use it to achieve even more greatness for the world. Once I do a long distance bicycle ride I will continue to cycle and plan more rides. Life is a journey, and the point of this is not to end, but to be IN the life that I know I should be living. So, now that I’ve shown you some of my visions (I’m sure I will continue to adapt them as I grow and change), I’d like to make one more goal – a little bigger and more long-term than the one above:

S – I will feel and look stronger than I currently am

M – I will show my strength by doing 10 chin-ups and 30 push-ups

A – I can attain this goal because I will continue to do strength exercises to work out these muscles a minimum of 4 times a week

R – This is realistic because I have the access to gyms and classes that will help me stay accountable to my body and strength, I have equipment at home, and I know that I was once strong enough to lift my own body and will be again.

T – This goal will be achieved within 3 years.

Strength is something I have always had a desire and a love-hate relationship with. At my strongest I could easily do 30 push-ups (okay, not easy, but attainable). I would deliver newspapers in high-school at 5am, come home and do 25 push-ups and 25 sit-ups, have a shower, eat a healthy breakfast, go to school, come home and go to dance where I might do another 25 push-ups or so plus a number of other strength exercises I completely took for granted. Many people (including myself) would tell themselves “yeah, well that was high-school! You can never have the same body as you did in high-school!” – well, I aim to prove that little voice wrong! I have seen and read many stories of transformations. I have also met people who have made the decision to be strong, and then gone ahead and done it! I know I will be one of those people – I AM one of those people, and I look forward to the change, even the pain and the struggle in between.

 

A Healthy Start

A Healthy Body:

As I was thinking about my transformation, I began getting a little overwhelmed with the amount of change I’ll need to do so to prevent myself from throwing my hands in the air and saying “it’s too much, it’s impossible”, I’ve decided to work on one thing at a time. Conveniently, I’ve already committed to a 10 day detox with healthy eating and increased exercise, called “Shred10”, by Juice Plus – a community I have recently been introduced to and am beginning to feel benefits from, in many different ways. As you may notice, I have posted my daily smoothies (I’ve actually had 2 a day, but don’t always post the second), and some healthy foods I’ve tried, which are a part of this detox. So, being on this detox is the first step to my healthy body and provided me with an easy place to start my new healthier life.

When I tell people I want to change, a lot of them ask me “why would you want to change? Your thin. You eat healthy”. True, I consider myself a fairly healthy individual. I try to limit my treats and exercise often. This change is not about being thin or eating well “most of the time”, it’s the beginning of living a life without guilt, without regrets. I am committing to better myself so that I can look back when I’m 80 and I’m still doing the hikes I love, still travelling by bicycle and being able to lift heavy things I need to in life (such as moving or shovelling the driveway, or picking up my grandchildren), and I can say “yes, I worked for this, and I’m happy”. It’s about looking myself in the mirror every day and being happy with my body, not because I just “look good” but because I know that I have worked hard and not given up.

With change will come challenges and I am human so I want to share some with you. I started this detox on Jan 2. I planned on eating healthy on the 1 also, though I still had my morning coffee, but failed because I had a late shift, missed my last break and was really craving pizza. Instead of ordering healthy fastfood or going to the grocery store to pickup a quick, healthy, frozen meal, I convinced myself I had one more day of indulging and ate all but one piece of a medium takeout pizza. I then proceeded to eat some of the remaining Christmas chocolate, and go to bed immediately after. I woke up the next day more than ready for a detox. The first two days were tough also. I accidentally ate some gluten the first day, and put cream in my decaf coffee the second (2 things I’m meant to cut out for these 10 days). I felt so bloated and tired, and will spare the details but my digestive system was not what it normally is. I came home from a 12 hour day shift (which is about 13&1/2 hours from leaving the house to coming home) and really didn’t want to exercise. Still, I put on my workout clothes, and blasted dance music to get in the mood while I prepared for my home workout. In the end, I felt good about it. The second day was a day off and I planned on going to a HIIT class at 1pm then joining my accountability buddy (aka Juice Plus representative) for “beer” yoga. I felt motivated when I woke up, cleaned the house, sat down at the computer and made this blog, saw 12:00 pass, then 12:30, then as it was getting to the last minutes I could leave and still make the HIIT class, decided “I’ll get my 30 min in yoga” and didn’t go. It’s this kind of thought that I am working toward eliminating. I am happy I went to yoga, and I did accomplish other things that day but I convinced myself to not be the person I am working toward, and will be more accountable next time.

As this entry is now getting a little lengthy I’d like to end with a positive note. I have exercised at least 30 minutes a day for the last 4 days. I have eaten healthy – plant only, no processed food, no caffeine, no processed sugar – the last 4 days, and I am feeling a lot better on day 4. I am so grateful to be in this journey to wellness and for the healthy body I have. I am so grateful for the many people in my life who love and support me and I am so grateful to have the means and accessibility to make a positive change in my life and live my one life the best I can.