Wednesday, January 25, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 25

Happy Wednesday everyone!  Our morning started off much more peaceful than yesterday.  There was no broken glass, smoothies on the floor or wet cat tails this morning.  After yesterday morning I appreciated the relative peace and calm of this morning much more. Gee, I wonder why.  LOL

When we got up this morning we knew that there was a lot to do today and the best approach to get it all accomplished was to divide and conquer. Dan and I had our “specific duties” today which made each of our respective days more manageable.  We are both planning to find a little time to relax tonight before the day is over.

For those of you who are just joining us here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how much we have covered during the first 24 days of January:

Day 1 – Defined Success and What is/was Holding Us Back
Day 2 – Determined our Purpose and Looked at Passion
Day 3 – Listed Our Goals for January
Day 4 – Listed the Things We Have Needed to Work on for a While
Day 5 – Looked at Optimism vs. Pessimism and Fear vs. Intuition
Day 6 – Practiced Conscious Eating
Day 7 – Hara Hachi Bu
Day 8 – Taking the Stress Out of Meal Time
Day 9 – Acknowledgments
Day 10 – No Excuses, Do it Anyway
Day 11 – Is it True?
Day 12 – Have You Really Connected With Someone Today?
Day 13 – Motivation is a Decision
Day 14 - Successfully Navigating Dinner at an Unfamiliar Restaurant
Day 15 - What Do You Want, Have You Asked?
Day 16 – Treating Others as You Wish to be Treated
Day 17 – Food as a Budget
Day 18 – Silence Your Inner Critic
Day 19 – Replace I Have to With I Want to
Day 20 – Identifying Your Rituals
Day 21 – Face Your Fears
Day 22 – Give Up the Diet Mentality
Day 23 – The Meaning and/or Purpose of Food
Day 24 – Trigger Foods/Situations/People

What did you think of yesterday’s post about trigger foods, situations and people?  Did you learn anything about yourself through the exercises?  Remember once you have identified your problem areas then you can develop strategies to manage them.  However none of us can change what we don’t know.  It is important for everyone to determine the areas that they need to be mindful of.

Words Have Meaning:

Today’s topic was inspired by a conversation that I had with a friend.  That interchange has been rolling around in my head for days and I think it is very important which is why I wanted to write about it in this post.   Have you ever talked to someone and knew immediately that they had a “black cloud” following them?  Frequently these people see everything as a battle or a struggle rather than a puzzle which is similar yet very different.  Everything we think and everything we say has meaning not just to others but more importantly to ourselves.  We each choose how we view the world. We can see life as an adventure, something to be enjoyed, or a fight.  There are many other options but I think you get the idea.

What we tell ourselves about the nature of life matters.  My friend sees most things in life as a hardship. Work is difficult, so and so is a jerk, the stylist is incompetent look at what she did to my hair.  When you look at the world and are waiting for a fight your attitude will be very different than if you see approach life as if it a challenge that you can and will overcome.

This same mindset applies to how you view your health.  We had a choice after the cancer diagnosis.  Most people allow the doctors to take control and they become passive in their care. We decided that we wanted to play an active role in the process.  When we make daily food and lifestyle choices it is with the idea in mind that what we do makes a difference in our overall health.  One way to look at it is to say our personal slogan is that “lifestyle matters and we will consistently make decisions that our in our best interest.”  Interestingly you can have cancer and be much happier than someone whose only “real complaint” is that they don’t like their job.  It boggles the mind what humans do these things to themselves doesn’t it?

This same attitudinal approach also works with how you view your weight. If you tell yourself that have always been overweight and there is nothing you can do to change that you are probably going to remain overweight.  Words have meaning for everyone. What we tell ourselves impacts what we do and how we behave.  Let me show you what I mean by this.  I am going to use weight loss as an example but this could apply to any change that someone is trying to make. I could have written about giving up alcohol, cigarettes or an abusive boyfriend just as easily.  Weight seems to be most pertinent to this blog given the food tie in.

We all know people you have difficulty losing or controlling their weight. When you listen to people who are struggling with their weight you will find that they similar attitudes about their situation.  Here are some of the common things I have heard or noticed.

·         They say things like “everyone in my family is overweight, or being heavy is genetic it runs in my family” are common phrases you will hear. 

·         The list of things/changes they can’t do (or aren’t willing to do) is longer than what they are willing to do.

·         More than a few people have told me that diabetes runs in their family and they are destined to get it eventually.

·         The phrase I have heard more times that I can remember is “I have tried everything to lose weight and nothing ever works for me, I am a hopeless case.”

·         The idea that frightens me the most is when someone says “I know a person who had weight loss surgery and lost a lot of weight quickly, maybe I need to do that too.”  They say this as though surgery is less drastic than a strict diet.

When people are constantly telling themselves that they can’t do something (or that they are stuck with something) they are setting themselves up failure.  How can anyone expect to lose weight with defeatist thoughts ingrained into their brain?  Think of it this way, if you tell a child long enough that he can’t succeed he will eventually stop trying.  If you put up enough roadblocks (I won’t or can’t give up……) you make the problem impossible to solve.  Let’s flip that on its head and tell ourselves the opposite.  We can do anything that we set our mind to if we want it enough!

In order achieve lasting success you need two things:

1.       You have to believe (really believe) that you can and will improve your situation.
2.       Be willing to make long term changes if you want long term results.

Once we are willing to believe that we have some amount of control over a situation and that we are committed to making changes possibilities begin to open up.

The first thing to reflect on is what do you want?   What is your goal?  I want you to really think about this.  How do you want your life to be?  Picture everything about how you look, how you feel, what you will do.  Get as many details in your mind as you can.  What sort of things will do you when you are happy with your physical condition?  Maybe you want to be confident wearing a bathing suit and going on vacation to the tropics.  Possibly you will ask the person out who you have been afraid to approach.  Being happy with you appearance may give you the confidence to ask for a raise or put in for a promotion.  Whatever you have been avoiding due to your feelings of inadequacy now is the time to get those on paper.

Now let’s look at how we talk to ourselves about making changes.  I have a good friend who is “desperate” to lose weight.  He has been diligently working at it and has lost a lot of weight, at least 50 pounds and feels tons better. However his weight loss has stalled and he “doesn’t know why”.  He asked me what he could do and when I suggested eating more vegetables and few animal products the response was “I could never give up cheese or even a good steak every once in a while.”  Okay, I didn’t say you had to give up cheese or steak just because I have but since you brought it up do you think there might be a problem here?  He went on to tell me that he “couldn’t possibly cook without oil or give up salt”.  Then came the “you don’t understand my wife cooks junk because my kids will only eat pizza, fried chicken, burgers, etc.”  Now I realize you weren’t here for the conversation but I bet you already see the problem? While he wants to lose weight all I heard were all the reasons why he couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that.   Do you think he is going to continue to drop pounds with that attitude?

What happens when we want to make changes but we tell ourselves all the reasons why we can’t do this or we can’t do that?  Are we empowering ourselves to make the changes that we need?  NO!  We are giving ourselves excuses why we are going to fail.  I call this “evidence building” and it doesn’t do anyone any good. Sure all of us have reasons why something is difficult for us to do. If we rely on those reasons as our excuses we will never move forward.   Instead of coming up with all the things you can’t do why not focus on what you will do.  In my friends case I was trying to get him to eat more produce, beans and whole grains and less meat, dairy, oil and salt.  Instead of focusing on what he could do he focused on what he couldn’t do. 

I really hope that I am wrong about this, but I suspect that my friend isn’t as committed to losing weight and getting healthy as he says thinks.  I would say that he is more interested than committed.  He is still at the stage where he thinks that practicing “moderation” will get him where he wants to be.  Losing 50 pounds was enough to convince him that consuming smaller portions of pizza, burgers and steak works. However my friend still has more to lose and it isn’t coming off now.  Instead of being willing to try to make additional changes he is clinging to what has worked so far even though it has now stopped working.  I don’t know about you but when something I am doing stops working I look for something else to try.  I believe that life is too short to be stuck in a place (or physical condition) where you aren’t happy and don’t feel good.

Whenever we have a problem to resolve we need to approach it as if it has a solution. If we think something can’t be solved (my weight is genetic, I have tried everything, my husband or wife won’t go along with it, the house is full of junk food for the kids, etc.) then guess what, the problem can’t be solved.  I know that I keep talking about this in different ways but it is because I see or hear it every day. People seem to be desperate to improve their health or their weight but they don’t want to give up anything they “love” and they already know why their changes won’t work (their genetics, etc.).

Let’s look at a different situation to see if that helps this to make more sense.  Imagine that you are looking for a new job.  You have been diligently sending out resumes but you aren’t feeling very hopeful.  When you do get an interview you tell yourself that this will be like all the other interviews and that you won’t get the job. Do you think you will do your best in the interview with that thought in your mind?  Our thoughts are powerful, they can help us or they can hurt us.  Now imagine the same interview but the person goes in knowing that they have all the skills and experience required to do the job.  Can you see how that interview will go very differently?   Since thoughts are powerful doesn’t it make more sense to use our thoughts to help us to attain our goals?

Now you should have an image in your mind of what you want your health and weight to look like.  You can see yourself living life as that new person. If you can stop and spend some time thinking about it so that it becomes real for you.  We will use this imagine next weekend when we work on our vision boards.  I want you to come up with a personal slogan that you can use to direct your behavior.  This slogan can be anything the only requirement is that it is positive and makes you feel good.  I will give you more ideas in the exercises below.

I hope that you now see how you view the world and your ability to make a difference in your life is very important.  I have found that by focusing on what I can do gives me hope and pushes me to be the best that I can every day.

Today’s exercises are:

1.       As you go about your day pay attention to your inner thoughts.  Each day are you upbeat, optimistic and ready to conquer the world? If you are CONGRATULATIONS!  However if you have an inner voice that is undermining you write down the negative thoughts as you have them.

The negative thought that always comes up for me is “what if I fail?”  Being perfect was drilled into me as a child.  Even though I know being perfect isn’t possible it is still my knee jerk reaction to any new situation or problem.  But we all know that demanding perfection causes fear and pushes people not to try.  However now I also know this about myself so I have built in responses for my inner voice that go like this:  What if I do fail?  Failure isn’t the end of the world. Failure is a learning experience and it will teach me what to do differently in the future.  Ultimately I will only fail when I stop trying.

Do you see how I try to turn the negative voice into a positive reaction? Can you do the same thing with your negative thoughts?  Try to turn your negative thoughts around. Write down your answers in your journal and refer to them when you need to. 

As more negative thoughts come up for you write those down in your journal and find responses to turn them into positives too.  After you have done this for a while it becomes automatic and you don’t even think about doing it, it seems to happen without any conscious action on your part.  Love that!

2.       Visualize your life as you want it to be.  You can stay with the weight example that we talked about today or you can focus on any other aspect of life.  The important thing is that you picture all the details of your new life.  Below are a series of question to help you see the details:

·         What do you look like in your perfect life? Are you slimmer or maybe you are more fit? Do you dress the same? Do you carry yourself differently with this new confidence?

·         How do you feel in your new life?  What is your attitude toward challenges now?

·         What type of things do you do now?  Have your leisure time activities changed?  Are you home less often?  Maybe you are going to the Caribbean for a winter vacation since you are comfortable showing ore skin.  Really think about how life would change if you were truly happy with whom you were.

·         Do you have the same job or career?  Maybe you don’t like your current job but don’t feel confident to change it.  What would you be doing if you loved yourself?

·         What do your relationships look like now?  With this new confidence is your love life better?

3.       This is the fun part; we get to write our personal slogan.  This can be anything positive the sky is the limit.  Here are some examples of empowering personal slogans:

·         I can do anything that I set my mind to.

·         I will make good choices for my health every day.

·         Life is a learning experience and I plan to absorb everything that comes my way.

·         Every day brings a new opportunity to grow and change.

I hope that you were able to identify the thoughts that have been holding you back.  Once you see them clearly then you can turn them around and use them to your advantage.  Picturing how you want your life to be is very helpful.  I call this “living as if” and we will have a day devoted to that before the month is over.  Did you come up with a great personal slogan? If you came up with a great slogan and want to share it I would love to read it.  J

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters - Tuesday was a little hectic with appointments that had to be rescheduled so I didn’t work on the newsletters today.

2.       Body Bugg – I continue to wear my bugg and I have gotten back into using it the way I had intended when I purchased it.  Go me!  J

3.       Date with Dan – Dan and I have been going for a walk each night after dinner. We are using this time to get away and talk as well as to add some movement and fresh air to our day.  Dan wants to get a little caught up at work but then we will be getting back to our date plan during the week.

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – I am making a little progress on this but I really need to focus on it with every veggie meal to help my body absorb the fat soluble vitamins.

5.       Working on my business – Monday spent some time working on my other website.  Knowing that I will be sharing it with you on February 10th has definitely moved it up on my priority list.  Accountability works for all of us, including me.  ;-)

How are you feeling about your progress so far?  I hope you feel like you have made a few lasting changes this month.  J

Random Thoughts:

Dan and I are still going for our evening walks after dinner which is a great way to connect after being apart all day.  The benefit of walking is there is no television, phones or felines to distract us.  While we walked we talked about my new business and what I need to work on in the next 30 days. Dan is a fantastic support system and I have no idea what I would do without him.  He is great at calling me out when I need to alter my focus and sometimes I need that and appreciate his insight since I know it comes from a loving place.

Is ongoing learning something that is important to you?  As you have probably noticed I am a big believer in lifelong learning.  If you have any books, courses or webinars that you would enjoyed I would love to hear about them.  Please feel free to share either by commenting or emailing.


Have you made any progress writing acknowledgements?  I hope you are working on this exercise and enjoying it. I find that it helps me stay positive and recognize the things that I do every day.  Here are my acknowledgements:

·         Tuesday I was not in the mood to work on the blog.  It was very difficult to stay focused and get it done. I used every excuse in the book to avoid the computer.  However I managed to get it written and it felt good to live up to my commitments. Some days I just need to push through and not let my “excuses” get the better of me. 

·         Even though I was extremely busy I still managed to accomplish all my critical tasks today and that was an accomplishment.

·         I love that as busy as our Tuesday was that Dan and I still made time to go for a walk and to talk about our day and our plans for the following day. I know so many couples who come home and turn on the television and don’t talk.  I love that even after more than two decades Dan and I still want to connection with each other every day.  Go us!  J

·         It was tough for me earlier this week when Dan went back to work. I was worried that something would happen and that I wouldn’t be there to help.  I tend worry about my hubby a little more than I need to.  However I am happy to report that everything has been fine and that I was concerned for no reason.  I love to be wrong in situations like this. 


My food on Tuesday was not the least bit exciting.  Everything that I ate you have seen before and most of it was leftovers. Given my time constraints I recycled pictures to save myself some time.

Breakfast for me was savory oatmeal.

 Lunch was leftover French market bean soup.

Dinner was tofu lasagna.

Happy thoughts:

Have you gotten into the habit of writing your happy thoughts?  I find it helpful to remind myself how often things go well and that I shouldn’t take these things for granted.   As always there are so many things to be thankful for that I almost don’t know where to start. Here are my happy thoughts:

·         Sometimes I love being busy and other times I want to be a slug.  I was so busy on Tuesday that I didn’t have time to think about much of anything.  However once I sat down to reflect on my day I realized that being busy means that I was productive and that is a very good thing.

·         The weather was gorgeous on Tuesday and we actually reached 59 degrees.  Who would believe this is January weather?  Spring really is starting to feel like it is just around the corner.

·         I spent a few hours on the Robbins-Madanes Training so far and it is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone but in a good way.  I am definitely enjoying the challenge of looking at life differently.

·         I think it is so cute that my cats come to tell me when the electric blanket in the bedroom turns itself off.  My fur children really are little geniuses.  As Dan would say they really have me trained don’t they?  LOL

·         Speaking of fur children it was nice of mine don’t to create morning chaos two days in a row.  Also one of the benefits of experiencing chaos is that when there is peace you appreciate it so much more.  Gee, I wonder why?  ;-)

Signing Out:

Wednesday was another busy day. I think I spent about 5 hours learning/studying which was in addition to my normal activities.  I love to learn so this was a great day for me.  However it does mean that quite a few tasks moved to the back burner. Clearly I will need to work on my time management skills soon so that I don’t burn out.

As soon as I get this posted I must get into the kitchen and do some cooking. The closest I have come to cooking today is reheating and making tea.  Clearly that is not going to work for dinner. I hope you spent a little more time in the kitchen today than I did.

Wow can you believe the week is already more than half way over?  Time really flies when you are busy doesn’t it?  I hope your week is going well and that you are finding some time to relax and enjoy yourself.  J  Talk with you again soon!


  1. I admit I was skeptical about savoury oatmeal, but I just had a bowl of it for lunch with mushroom, fennel, spinach, pine nuts and paprika. Absolutely delicious! I am convinced.

    1. Emily,

      *Yay* I was skeptical about savory oatmeal too and was shocked when I loved it. Good for you for being willing to give it a try. The flavor combination you added sounds delicious. :-)



Related Posts with Thumbnails