Sunday, January 29, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 29

Happy Sunday!  I hope you are having a great weekend.  We have been enjoying time with friends, relaxing and just goofing off.  It has definitely been a great way to spend the weekend since this month has been so hectic for both of us.  We both believe that reducing stress and enjoying life are just as important as eating healthy and staying active. Don’t forget that getting adequate rest is also part of the health equation as is having good relationships.  J

Here is the recap of what we have accomplished so far to remind us all of how much we have covered during the first 28 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
Day 25 – Words Have Meaning
Day 26 – Lose All-Or-Nothing Thinking
Day 27 -  Decide to live as if ……
Day 28 – Two-Bite Test

What did you think of the two-bite test?  Did I explain it in a way that made sense?  I think the most important parts of that concept to remember are:  1) Life is too short, if you are going to indulge make it by eating the best example of whatever delight you are craving and, 2) It is important to remember that you need to burn everything you eat.  It also helps me to remember that dessert is always available. Just because it is there doesn’t mean that I “have to” eat it.  ;-)  If there is anything that you would like to me explain about this or anything else just let me know.

Vision Board:

Using the life you described two days ago now we are going to create a vision board. For those of you who are unfamiliar with vision boards I will explain what they are.  Basically a vision board is a pictorial representation of your goals.   It means that you need to take images that represent the life you described two days ago and create a collage.  Think of all those moment by moment decisions that will add up to your “perfect life” and find pictures which represent those activities.

You can create a vision board the old fashioned way but cutting images or phrases from magazines or you can do it electronically.  The purpose of putting your vision into pictures is to give you another way to embody and experience your goals.  People have very different ways of learning. Some people need to learn by doing. Others learn visually.  Still others need to develop habits instead of thinking about each decision.  The bottom line is that the more ways you can embody your goal the better your chance of succeeding. 

Items you will need to create your vision board:

·         Poster board, which I found at our local Rite Aid (drug store).  Alternately you can use a cork board which will allow you to change the images regularly and this is what I prefer.

·         A big stack of different magazines you are willing to cut up. You can get old magazines from libraries, hair salons, dentist offices, or your doctor’s office.  Another resource is online photographs.  I like to use Google Images.

·         Glue, rubber cement or a glue stick. Alternately if you are using a cork board you will need pins.

Before you begin your vision board:

The most important thing to remember when creating a vision board is the goal, your vision. The images on the board need to represent the image you are trying to create.   Before you start gathering images go back to the vision you created in the exercises on day 27.  Reread your responses to the questions on day 27.  Get a vivid mental image of how your life will be different when you embody this goal.  Now it is time to create your vision board.

The Steps to Create a Vision Board:

1.       Go through your magazines and cut out images that represent the actions you need to take to reach your goal.  With your clear desire in mind, search for images which portray your vision.   Go through magazines and pull out pictures, words or phrases that seem to fit your goal. Make a big pile of images, phrases and words.

2.       Sort the images by category.  My categories were: health, family, happiness and love but yours could be completely different.

3.       Go through the images and begin to lay your favorites on the board. Selection the images which best represent your goal and the leave the remainder for another board.  As you place the pictures on the board you may find yourself grouping them like love in one corner, health in the center, etc. or you may want the images to go all over the place. As you start to lay out the images you may decide that you want to create a vision book or journal and that is fine too.  Alternately you may want to do both a board and a journal.

4.       Glue everything onto the board. Add any of the phrases that you cut out.  Alternately if you can’t find the phrases you need you can print them out instead.

5.       Some people like to include pictures of themselves on their boards.  If you have a picture of yourself where you are happy or where life matched your current goal either of those pictures would be fantastic to include on your board.

6.       Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often.  I put mine in my family room since that is where I spend most of my time.

Make a Vision Journal

Another option is to use these same principles in a blank journal or an artist’s sketch book. By using a book you can keep an on-going vision journal. This is helpful if you are trying to make a lot of changes in your life.

Things to remember when creating your vision board:

1.       Choose images that represent what you want to feel, be, or accomplish.

2.       Allow yourself the freedom to select any image or phrase that feel right to you.

3.       Look online for examples of vision boards for ideas.

4.       Once it's finished set it up somewhere that you will see it daily.  You may want to photograph it or scan it and use it a screen saver or save the picture on your phone.

5.       Start taking meaningful actions towards your goals daily based on the exercise we did on the 25th and 27th of January.  The board itself isn’t what creates change it is taking action.

6.       You can create additional vision boards about more specific goals if your desire.

Creating a vision board can take days. I have worked on vision board for more than a week in the past so don’t feel rushed to get yours done in a day.  Keep working on it until you like it.  I always start by laying images out and then move them around until I like the placement. If you are artistic you can also add art to your board.  The bottom line is to enjoy the process but come away with something that reminds you to take actions which will help you reach your goal.

Here are some close up shots of the board I put together today. This one is about eating healthy, enjoying loved ones and remembering that you can get healthy at any age (Valerie Bertinelli) and be a cancer thriver (Lance Armstrong).

Like everything that I have written if this isn’t clear I would like you to let me know. I am happy to explain in a different way if that will help it make more sense.

Progress on my goals:

1.       Newsletters – Saturday we were out of the house as much as we were home. This meant the newsletters didn’t get worked on.

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 had a quasi lunch date with Louis as our chaperone.  ;-)

4.        Measuring calorie dense food – I am making progress adding nuts and seeds to our food. I was proud of myself for asking for nuts on our lunch salad when we were out with Louis.

5.       Working on my business – My schedule got in the way of working on the business today. Saturday it seemed more important to relax. Once January is over and I have more free time I will jump on this again.  I remember that I promised you the link to my second website on February 10th and I really, really don’t want to miss that deadline.  *eek*  Nothing like self imposed pressure.  ;-)

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:

I read an article online yesterday (Time or NYT I think) about fraudulent online 5 star reviews.  All I could think of when I read this article was what is the world coming to?  For the life of me I don’t understand why someone would be willing to lie. The article explained that in many cases the items were given away in return for reviews. This is exactly why I don’t accept free products for reviews like most bloggers do. I never wanted to be in the position where I felt like I needed to be “nice” when it wasn’t deserved.

Dan, Louis and I were talking about the noticeable reduction in civility that seems to be commonplace these days. People allow their cell phones to ring loudly in restaurants, and worse yet they answer them in a louder than conversation tone of voice.  Why?  We also talked about the general trend of rudeness in email.  He was telling us how one of the people he works with (a woman, which shocked me) point blank told people not to thank her for finishing projects because she doesn’t want her email box filling up.  My first question was “is she young” and when he said no I admit I was a bit surprised.  What happened to treating other people the way you want to be treated?  Clearly I am living in another time.  However I find the entire situation to be more than a little disappointing.


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:

·         Since I had eaten lightly for breakfast and lunch I was hungry before dinner.  The old me would have grabbed something easy like a handful of nuts or maybe some dinner leftover for a snack. However yesterday I opted to have a healthy snack that was nutrition packed and it felt good knowing that I consistently make good decisions now.  Who said people at my age aren’t capable of change?  ;-)

·         Saturday night I broke out of my comfort zone and spent an hour working on an electronic vision board so that I could tell you about it.  In the end I wasn’t crazy about it, didn’t like the image selection and preferred to go back to the old-fashioned paper and scissors route. However at least I tried, and now I know what I like from experience.

·         Dan and I were talking about lunch and we both commented about how healthy it was from a nutrition perspective. We had beans (fiber and protein), leafy greens, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, kale and nuts on our salad so we were better able to absorb the fat soluble vitamins. We washed our lunch down with green tea.  It really is impressive how healthy you can eat when you are out if you want to.  Years ago I would not have thought this was possible but I hope you see that it is since we ate all this at a typical American restaurant where most of the dishes contain meat, cheese or butter.


Our food on Saturday was a little different because we were out part of the day. Knowing that we were meeting Louis for lunch I intentionally made us both less for breakfast.  Dan started his morning with half a serving of wild blueberry and goji berry oatmeal with raw sunflower, pumpkin and hempseeds.

Breakfast for me was one of the quinoa, oat and blueberry breakfast bars that I am working on.  The flavor and nutrition is good but I need to work on the texture.  I am sure I will get it right eventually.  Perfection takes time, and lots of recipe tweaking particularly when it comes to healthy baking.

Lunch was courtesy of Ian.  Dan started with a bowl of Ian’s new healthy soup and I had a cup.  The soup is white bean, sweet potato and kale with a broth that I am fairly sure has white miso.  Louis ordered a cup too and we all enjoyed it.  I need to remember to ask Ian if the base was veg stock plus white miso so I can make something similar for you.

Next Dan and I split one of the special sandwiches which Ian makes us to order. This one included hummus, spicy chickpeas, roasted artichokes, fresh arugula, crispy green beans, and roasted tomato. It came with roasted rosemary sweet potatoes on the side.  I don’t have to tell you that it was delicious do I?

We also shared a salad of mixed baby greens, roasted portabellas, sun-dried tomatoes and toasted almonds that was dressed with a little balsamic.  I am always surprised how easy it is for us to get vegan food when we are out.

Since Dan and I shared lunch around 5pm I was getting hungry but I didn’t want dinner that early. I knew that I had some of the spinach and artichokes soup in the refrigerator that I decided to use for salad dressing. I made myself a small salad of baby arugula, the leftover soup, pine nuts, sun-dried tomato bits and no-salt seasoning.  This was just enough to give my stomach something to work on but not too many calories. Not to mention it was nutritious and delicious so I was happy all the way around.

Dinner was a simple meal of quinoa that was topped with grilled veggies that were tossed in sherry vinegar and topped with the leftover spinach and artichoke soup (which is a great dressing BTW), hulled hempseeds (for omega 3s) sun-dried tomato bits and no-salt seasoning.

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:

·         We were greeted at the restaurant with two hugs from Aimee when we walked in the door.  We had no idea she was so worried about the trip to the hospital earlier this month.  We tried to make certain that she knew not to worry in the future and just to call or text.  Are you starting to see why we always say that we would adopt her in a minute? She is such a sweet girl and we are very lucky to have her in our lives.

·          It was great to see Louis for lunch and have a chance to catch up.  We did a lot of talking, some of it important but most of it just little things friends talk about it.  We have known Louis so long that he is practically a member of the family, only the type of family that you want to have (if you know what I mean).  ;-)

·         I noticed Saturday evening at 5:56pm we still had an orange horizon. The days are getting longer every day!  *woo hoo*  It is going to be spring before we know it.  *happy dance*

·         We had a very laid back Saturday and both took time to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Like always Dan and I spent a lot of time talking.  I am always a little surprised that we never run out of things to talk about given how long we have been together.

Signing Out:

Sunday was fairly laid-back and that was a good thing. Both Dan and I needed time to relax and recharge.  January has been a heck of a month with the trip to the hospital at the beginning.  It is very nice to be getting back to a more normal routine that is for sure.

Sunday morning I spent some time finishing this post and putting together a new vision board to show you. That is the one that you saw many pictures of today.  This one was all about food, health and life.  The next board I will be doing is on exercise since there wasn’t room for that on this board.  If you would like to see that one let me know and I will share it with you when it is finished.

We had planned to see Lauren for lunch but the city was doing some work that required shutting off the water Sunday morning and that meant the restaurant wasn’t going to be open for lunch, and even opening for dinner was iffy at best.  I had sent Lauren an email as soon as we got back from lunch on Saturday to let her know what was going on and fortunately she saw the email before lunch so we changed our plans to dinner instead.  This was great because it meant that I had time to get this post finished before going out which translated into being more relaxed. 

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and are ready to start your week relaxed and refreshed. Talk with you again tomorrow.  J


  1. Wow, I love you vision board. What a great idea!

  2. Alicia,
    Lovely post on vision board. I couldn't agree with you more: it is so easy to eat unhealthy.
    BTW, I especially liked it because it even had a picture of a cyclist :)

    Hope all is well.

    Take care.

    1. Good Morning Chandra,

      Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it and appreciate you letting me know.

      It is too easy to eat unhealthy in this country. Dan and I talk about that all the time. I am not sure how we got so messed as a nation. Hopefully there are enough of us who are focused on healthy eating that we are starting to make an impact on those around us. I just heard last night that we made an impression on one of the nurses at Hopkins earlier this month. *woo hoo* :-)

      I love Lance, he is such a wonderful role model for anyone who is battling cancer. He is definitely a cancer thriver. :-) I hope the weather is allowing you to ride as much as you want to. It is still far too cold here to be riding. But I am looking forward to spring so that I can get my bike out of winter storage.

      have a great week,


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