Sagging skin… reality check

The life coach that I listen to, Corinne Crabtree, asked in one of her podcasts, “What would you rather have? Sagging skin or a fat ass?” My answer is unequivocally- sagging skin! I will live with any amount of sagging skin to be able to fit into cute, skinny clothes. I may not like the way it looks, but I love the way I look in the clothes I wear now.

This is a picture of the sagging skin I noticed on my arm today. But you know what? I was doing fucking push ups when I noticed it. Me… doing push-ups! That’s amazing! I will take the ability to do the push ups over non saggy skin every day of the week and twice on Sundays!

Loving this accountability

I haven’t gotten into having an accountability partner on my journey. There are a couple reasons for this. First, I tend not to be a people person most of the time, and want to be selfish and not have to talk to people except when I am in the mood. 😝 Second, I am pretty much a self starter/motivator. Like I have said previously, I 100% believe in taking personal responsibility for everything in my life. I don’t need someone else to tell me when I am fucking up. I am perfectly aware and accept when I make bad choices. And third, I don’t have patience for anyone that doesn’t have their own back and doesn’t take responsibility for themselves. So if it was someone who needed me to keep them accountable, they would probably piss me off.

Consequently, I have pretty much just stayed out of all the accountability groups. But one of the women in the Phit-n-Phat Groupies Facebook Group was asking for “friends” on an app called YouAte, that Corinne recommended. So I went and checked the app out.

It allows you to take pictures of what you eat and mark whether it was planned and how you felt before and after. Then it gives you percentages for those things over time. I love that it will calculate how often I eat off plan. Or if I am eating for a reason other than being hungry. I also just get a kick out of taking pretty pictures of my food.

But what I love the most IS the accountability of having friends on the App. They may never look at what I eat, but I know they can. Being honest, if I was to eat something off plan, I would feel honor-bound to report it as an overeat. And I can’t stand the thought of having that on my path for others to be able to see. So I think it is going to help with some random snacking that I have been giving in too.

So if you aren’t using the app, check it out. It might help you stay accountable too. And if you need an accountability partner on it, you can add me. I promise to TRY to be nice. Lol

Cravings

The things crave the most that I just don’t want to eat anymore is sweets. I plan them occasionally but always end up feeling sick to my stomach afterwards. I don’t crave them as often as before, but everyday at some point my brain thinks they would be a good idea.

These bad boys are how I make it easier for myself. They are frozen treats made from nonfat yogurt, powdered peanut butter and cocoa powder. They clock in at about 35 calories each. I put one on my plan everyday. Any time I have a craving for sweets during the day, I just tell myself I have it planned for that evening.

Here is the dilemma with it. I eat it every evening, whether I am hungry or not. That is because I use it to resist the cravings. I have to know I will be able to eat it, regardless of whether I am hungry, for it to work as an incentive for me. There is probably some fucked up thinking in there, but I don’t care. I don’t feel guilty because it is made from good ingredients and so low in calories. And it does help me say no to things that are not like that. Plus it is super yummy so I feel like I am indulging myself.

Being you…the best version

I used to think I was just one of those “natural” women who didn’t feel the need to paint my face or spend time doing my hair. That just wasn’t who I was. Even though I did feel better about myself if I did anything to tame my frizzy hair. Or if it was a special occasion, I would put on some make up. But everyday me didn’t need to do those things.

That was a lie. Everyday me was depressed and didn’t have any energy to spare to try to look good… especially when my brain was thinking “what is the point, nothing is going to make you look better.” So I just accepted that that was as good as it was going to get.

One of the things I learned on my way to Onederland though is that I am worth making an effort for. Spending 15 minutes straightening my hair is a major pain in my ass, but it makes me feel better about how I look. Because of my lupus, most beauty products cause horrible skin reactions, but highlighting my eyes makes me feel more beautiful and confident. And I am worth making that effort.

It isn’t that I look better because I have lost weight. It is because I have prioritized doing things that make me feel better.

Plan… its’ not that kind of four letter word.

I am a HUGE, HUGE fan of planning. And that is a super hilarious statement, because I am completely a go-with-the-flow kind of person. I find that I can easily change plans and fly by the seat of my pants, because I have planned the mundane parts of my life and I don’t have to think about them. I don’t have to think about what I am going to eat for dinner tonight, or stop at the grocery store to pick up something. And I never have to swing into the drive-thru because I am exhausted and just can’t deal with making those decisions or doing work for dinner. Plus, I absolutely hate to grocery shop, so I would do just about anything to avoid it as often as possible.

I have always been like this, not just since I decided to change my eating habits and lifestyle. Consequently, years ago I reduced my grocery shopping to two times a month. This takes planning though, because you have to know what you are going to eat for the next two weeks, in addition to when you will eat it so that you can plan to eat specific things before they go bad. Most things can be frozen – did you know you can even freeze milk? I ended up buying a small chest freezer to accommodate the majority of our food. I buy fresh ingredients and then prep them and freeze them. The point is that I plan everything we are going to eat well in advance.

That doesn’t mean that my plan happens perfectly. Remember, I am a go-with-the-flow kind of person, so meals get rearranged or the ingredients will be used in a different way than originally planned. What isn’t happening though is this – I am not tempted to eat unhealthy foods on a regular basis because they are easier or because I have to walk past them in the grocery store and they “sound” good in the moment. I save myself from having to fight that internal battle with myself on a daily basis because I have my house stocked with healthy foods that are ready to be eaten. (Disclaimer: My husband and kids still eat plenty of junk food, so I do purchase it and have it in my house. But it is so much easier to ignore if I have healthy options right there and available to eat instead.)

Here is the other planning trick that I love. I do all my grocery shopping online. As soon as that option became available (and free) in our area, I was the first to jump aboard. Remember, I really hate grocery shopping anyway, so this was a natural fit for me. I get to order the food on my phone, they pick it out and bring it to my car and load it for me. Hell yeah! Sign me up for that shit.

The other benefit is that I can meal plan on the fly. So if I am craving a burger today, I just open my app and throw some veggie burgers in my cart to have during the next two week period. This allows me to ignore those cravings more easily. I may not be getting what I want at that very moment, but my brain knows that eventually I am planning on having it, so it makes it just a little bit easier.

Another reason I love online grocery shopping is because if I run out of something that doesn’t get bought on a regular basis, like spices, I can just add them to my cart as I am throwing the bottle away. This saves me from having to remember to add things to a list, or remember to buy them once I get to the store. Additionally, our grocery bill went down significantly when I had a running total available the entire time I was shopping. I don’t have to worry about what I am spending, because I know at all times. It allows me to make decisions about what I need verses want with the financial consequences of that decision completely obvious BEFORE I get to check out.

And the final reason that online shopping helps with a healthier lifestyle… there are no impulse buys because you walked past a box of doughnuts and just couldn’t resist them. Unless you are purposely searching those items on the grocery app, you don’t have to see them. Why make it harder on yourself by having to look (and smell) the foods that you don’t want to eat on a regular basis any more? I love that there aren’t any impulse buys anymore. Heck, sometimes I do add something to my cart impulsively, but then by the time I get around to actually placing the order (days later normally), I have come to my senses and take it out of my cart.

Final disclaimer: I use Walmart Pickup, but this isn’t an endorsement of them. I have friends that use other stores and love them just as much. Walmart is just the easiest and least expensive in the rural area that we live in. The point is not who you use, the point is to make your life as easy as possible to be healthy.

Goal… Joy

I set goals for myself for the first time this year. They weren’t New Year’s Resolutions, they were just things I am determined to accomplish this year to live my life the way I want. The main theme of all my goals is that in the end they have to increase the joy in my life. No one can be happy all the time. That is an impossible goal, but you can work toward increasing the things that bring you joy in your life.

I am decluttering my house and getting rid of all the possession that don’t bring me joy (just like that show on TV teaches.) I am making an effort to get to home improvement projects that I have been putting off for years. I want to live in an environment that brings me joy.

One of my biggest goals is to improve my marriage. I don’t want you to read that and think my marriage is bad, because it isn’t. I am married to my best friend and favorite person in the world. We love each other and enjoy spending time together. We have had a very good marriage. I want to have an extraordinary marriage though. So my goal this year is to prioritize our marriage, just like we did when we first started dating. We are working on setting aside time every week that is just for us, without our kids. We are working on consciously making the extra effort to do kind things for each other. We are prioritizing putting away our electronic devices and spending time just talking on a regular basis.

Last weekend, for our anniversary, we went on a weekend getaway for the first time in probably eight years. This trip wasn’t about spending a lot of money because we don’t have it. It was about the quality time together. We drove to a civil war battle field about 3 hours away, we toured the battlefield, went out to dinner, stayed the night in an inexpensive hotel and then came home the next day. We packed all of our meals except dinner. The total cost for the weekend was $160, but the time together was priceless.

Mini Habits

Five foot section of my flower bed after pulling the weeds and laying down mulch.

Have you heard about the Mini Habits book by Stephen Guise? It has some great practical advice for weight loss. He talks about setting tiny goals for yourself, like doing one push up per day. These turn into habits and often you will do more than just your goal since you are already in the action. For example, since you are already on the floor doing the single push up, it is easier to talk your brain into doing just a couple more. It works and it can help you create sustainable habits because you aren’t pushing yourself into trying to make sweeping changes all at once.

I apply this to every area of my life. My new project is cleaning up my flower beds. I haven’t tended them in two summers because I was too overweight to do much work as well as too tired to do it. The beds are an overgrown mess and I mentally can’t deal with the overwhelming thought of getting rid of all the weeds, laying down weed blocker and mulching. It is just too big a task.

Before area of the flower bed overgrown with weeds… like my life before.

I realized that I can deal with the thought of doing five foot sections though. So I have set a goal to clean one five foot section every weekend. Broken down like this, it is completely doable and I get the feeling of accomplishment seeing my progress. It may take me a couple of months to get it all done, but it will get there, one little step at a time…. just like my weight loss.

It is amazing how getting your mental game on point to deal with your weight will help “clean up” all the areas of your life.