The 3 Keys to My Personal Transformation

From August 1, 2008 to August 1, 2009, I went from wearing a size 8 and running and working out regularly to busting out of size 14 pants and not working out at all.

After years of consistent exercise, I couldn’t believe I was starting over from scratch–again.

I was really struggling with getting back on track.

“Before” photo taken October 2009

While I hated where I was, I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to pull myself out of bed in the morning and move.

Three things were key to my turning around that situation.

  1. Accountability. Support is vital. Having a friend, coach, or group to turn to is huge!
  2. Progress not perfection. Counting every single thing you do during the day that could even be remotely considered part of a healthy lifestyle builds positive momentum.
  3. Mindset training. Shifting your thoughts from hating where you are to focusing on why you want to be fit, strong, and slim is the true secret to long-term weight-loss success. 

Here’s how I did it.

My friend, Julia, was my first accountability partner and we checked in with each other every day to cheer each tiny success and reframe any “stumble.” (Thank you, Julia! I couldn’t have done it without you!)

I set small, attainable goals for how much time I would move my body. Starting with a goal of just 10 minutes a day, I counted walking the dogs, vigorous vacuuming, and even a long walk across a parking lot to my car. I literally counted anything and everything that involved moving. A few weeks of meeting that minimal goal and I bumped it up to 20 minutes, and so on.

And I wrote out all the reasons I wanted to be fit, strong, and slim on index cards—and I read them everyday to retrain my brain while I was retraining my body.

Changing my mindset, focusing on my success, and having a supportive person to report my successes to made all the difference in the world.

Today, I love my body and life more than I thought possible!

I regularly work out vigorously for 25 to 60 minutes, six mornings a week. I eat healthy foods most of the time, and I wear between a size 4 and 6. And I’ve kept the weight off now for more than two years!

“After: photo taken November 10, 2012. Photo by Lindsay A. Miller

I didn’t get here overnight. But by slowly and steadily making those small decisions towards a healthier me, I built momentum and achieved my goals.

And you can do it, too.

If you are already working out regularly, awesome! How can you push yourself just a little bit further?

If you are changing your energetic momentum towards a healthier you:

  • What is the minimum you can do today that will make you feel like you are making progress?
  • What are the reasons you want to be fit, strong, and slim?
  • Who can you turn to get the necessary support and accountability?

Just consistently making those small decisions to move in the direction of who you want to be will help you achieve the body—and life—you want.

Together we can do it!

Tips for Providing Weight-Loss Support

In Monday’s blog, I wrote about the importance of reaching out for support, and suggested tapping a friend or family member to be a Wellness Partner.

But what does it take to be a successful supporter? How do you know that your good intentions won’t accidentally submarine someone’s self-confidence?

This can be an issue when you see someone you love who is discouraged by their weight-loss results. You’re pointing out to them that they shouldn’t be reaching for that second cupcake really isn’t helpful—unless they ask for that kind of input.

I promise your loved one knows that the cupcake isn’t moving them towards their goal and already has enough internal struggle going on. Your pointing out their obvious behavior will probably make them feel criticized and tip the emotional scale to resentment.

Here are some tips for being an effective Wellness Partner.

  • Ask for accountability ideas. Instead of suggesting that you keep your loved one from eating that second cupcake, ask what you can do to help support them in meeting their weight-loss goals. Let them come up with how you can best hold them accountable, and then follow through with their ideas.
  • Be a cheerleader. Count and celebrate all the things they are doing right—even the really small things—and help them ease up on their self-criticism if they have stumbled. The emphasis should be on progress not perfection.
  • Ask for permission to brainstorm solutions. In your strong desire to help, you may mistake the need to vent for the need to problem-solve. Before you start firing off solutions, explore the problem and then ask how they could overcome any obstacles. Sometimes the solution is just getting them to see a situation from a different perspective.
  • Remind them of all the reasons Why they are working towards their goal. Stay focused on their ultimate payback and help them see that the feeling of discouragement is not only temporary, but is worth moving through.
  • Love them and focus on all the wonderful things about them. The absolute best thing you can do is help them see their value no matter what, and to maintain your confidence in them that they can reach their goals, even if they are stumbling. Your love and confidence serves as a beacon to them during their dark times of struggle.

Being a positive Wellness Partner will not only dramatically increase your loved ones chances of success, but can also strengthen your relationship and give you an energy boost, too.

As you enable another to grow, evolve, and be authentic, you are enabled to grow, evolve, and be authentic.

Together we can do it!

Keeping Yourself on Track When You Have Been Less Than Perfect

My eating has been less than perfect this week. It hasn’t been horrible, but it hasn’t been spot on, either.

What I love reflecting on is that in the fairly recent past, not being perfect would have meant giving up altogether. My thinking would have been along the lines of, “I’ve blown it,” followed by a lot of really harsh self-criticism that would have resulted in regaining the weight I had just lost.

That old negative, catabolic assault on my mind, body, and spirit felt terrible! It truly was verbal abuse inflicted on myself. I’m so glad I don’t do that anymore!

But this morning, I became aware of a slight undercurrent of catabolic thoughts and feelings (guilt) resulting from a few higher calorie food choices.

Since I am aware of it, I’m going to address it right here and right now.

The main thing I want to remind myself is that optimal wellness is about taking care of me for the long-run.

While I have set some goals for an 18-week transformation challenge, my wellness goals will not end there. I do not have to be perfect to meet my short and long-term goals. What matters most is that I am making progress, and I am definitely doing that.

Yesterday is done. Forget about it. Focus on the choices I am making today. Yes, this weekend will be challenging being with my folks, traveling, and it being my husband’s birthday, but I have the skills and determination to make the best possible choices—and still allow myself to have a good time and truly appreciate what I am eating. As Tony Horton says, “I will do my best and forget the rest.”

And I am doing a great job of getting my workouts in, and my slight splurges have not been nutritionally out there. It’s important to give myself credit where credit is due.

I definitely have the ability to make good decisions about what, when, and how much I am eating—and can follow through with those decisions. One thing I know for sure is that consistently making those small decisions to eat healthy foods and move my body pays off so much. There is not much I love more than physically feeling good and being in alignment mind, body, and spirit.

After this little talk, I feel a huge surge of anabolic energy that I can use to help stay on track this weekend. If I am less than perfect, what’s important is to be aware of and minimize the catabolic self-talk.

Paying attention to my thoughts impacts my feelings, which absolutely results in actions that are either taking me towards my goals or away from them.

Has this example of my internal dialogue been helpful for you? What are the things you do to get yourself back on track when you have been less than perfect? How does that help you reach your goals?

Together we can do it!

 

 

Photo by Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Transformation Mastery

Aside

I am getting excited to start an 18-week challenge tomorrow for Transformation Mastery. During this challenge I am releasing 10 pounds of fat–as well as lingering fear or limiting beliefs about what I can and cannot do. I am also increasing my fitness and nutrition level, and lean muscle mass. I am continuing to strive to be the best that I can be–body, mind, and spirit! This is going to be fun!

Vacation Accountability

I’m sitting here drinking a green protein shake (spinach, banana, flax-seed, vanilla protein powder, cold water, cinnamon, and ice) feeling good about getting back on track nutrition-wise.

My husband and I in Labadee, Haiti

My husband and I just returned from our first cruise, which we took to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. And boy, people are not exaggerating about the food on cruises. Delicious food is everywhere in massive quantities!

Before I left, I blogged about my plan to deal with food and exercise during the trip and asked you fabulous readers to help keep me accountable.

My intention was to enjoy myself and to feel like I was having a vacation, but also to come back feeling good, balanced, and with my healthy habits intact.

While I didn’t write down what I ate every day (hey, I was on vacation!), knowing that I would be reporting to you all on how I did, I kept a running tab in my head and was planning to give myself a grade of “B” for how well I navigated the week.

But rereading my intention has me re-evaluating that grade. I actually met that intention spot on! I never felt deprived, kept my indulgences mostly in balance, and feel the momentum to resume my healthy habits. Good on me!

Here’s how I did.

Food—I avoided the bread basket all but the night of our anniversary and selected fairly healthy meals. I did eat a lot more beef than normal, but since I am allergic to fish or seafood, I would have been eating the same chicken dish over and over otherwise. Instead of my normal five to six  small meals it was definitely more like three larger meals with one snack, but for the most part I avoided empty calories and indulged in healthy fruit because it was so good and fresh.

Sweets—My wonderful husband, David, surprised me which a romance package that included two evenings where appetizers and desserts delivered to our room. The good news was most of the canapés had fish or seafood, so I couldn’t eat them. But the desserts definitely got eaten. Other than that, I ordered dessert every night, but limited myself to a few bites.

Alcohol—The plan was to stick to one cocktail or glass of wine a night. Here I did pretty well. I only had two glasses of champagne twice—the night we arrived when David had scheduled a bottle of champagne to be waiting on us in our room, and the actual day of our anniversary. If I was going to indulge, lower-calorie champagne was definitely the place to do it!

Zip-lining in Jamaica

Exercise—We only hit the gym twice, but were walking, swimming, and active the other days. My body was letting me know that it was pretty good idea to also take a slight vacation from the gym. As a result, a slight back injury is feeling much better and I should be able to get back to hitting the workouts hard in the next week or two. And as soon as I finish this blog, I’m going to head upstairs to exercise.

Sleep—We did a good job of balancing our activities with adequate sleep. I definitely felt relaxed and rested at the end of the cruise.

Healthy Thoughts—Making wellness a lifestyle means consistently practicing healthy thoughts, as well as actions. One thing I noticed is that I felt much less self-conscious in my swimsuit than I have in the past. That is definite progress!

Arriving at Labadee to go snorkeling

How I planned to evaluate my success at achieving balance over our vacation was that I would come home having maintained my weight and feeling good physically and mentally. While I didn’t weigh this morning, my jeans fit just fine and I do feel good. Mission accomplished!

Fun, rest, and relaxation are absolutely an important part of our wellness journeys. Maintaining balance is the key.

Together we can do it!

Are You Tempted?

I’m packing today to go on my first cruise to celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary. To say I’m excited is an understatement!

But I’m also aware that I will be facing lots of temptations, and it might be easy to let my attention to health and wellness slip a little—or even a lot. I’m already feeling vacation’s siren song of rest, relaxation, and indulgence.

Making wellness a lifestyle means consistently practicing healthy thoughts and actions no matter where you are, even a cruise. To me, it also means finding balance and a little bit of freedom without undoing all the mental and physical momentum I generate on a daily basis.

My intention is to enjoy myself and to feel like I’m having a vacation, but also to come back feeling good, balanced, and with my healthy habits intact. To fulfill that, I’ve created a plan.

I will know my plan was a success if when I come back I have maintained my weight and feel good physically and mentally.

Select and Sample

One thing I know I will be facing is lots and lots of food options. It’s important to remember that there’s no way I am going to be able to eat everything I want, and trying to go there will mean paying for it later.

So I plan to use the plentiful food options to my advantage. What that means is that I will be able to select healthy food and portions most of the time.

My intention is that I will be selective and eat those treats that I truly want, but I am going to choose not to eat as much of them as I might want. A bite or two that I savor and enjoy is truly enough. I find that after that, the taste of what I’m eating becomes less intense and what I’m doing as I continue to eat is trying to regain that first taste-sensation.

Although I’m having visions of drinks with little umbrellas, celebratory champagne, and superb wine pairings, I am also going to be careful with alcohol, which is where empty calories can sneak in so easily.

What I’m going to do here is choose one each day. Once a day I will have either a Pina Colada, a glass of champagne, or a glass of wine with dinner. (And I will choose lower-calorie and better for me wine or champagne most often.) Since I normally don’t drink much, any one of those will be an indulgence. My head and body will thank me in the morning (and after the trip), if I maintain some moderation here. Drinking plenty of water during the day will also be key.

I’m bringing along protein bars and individual portion packs of almonds for quick and healthy snacks while on excursions. By not letting myself get too hungry between meals, I will be much more likely to stick to my plan.

Pack Workout Clothes

The ship we’re sailing on has a gym, outside track, climbing wall, surfing simulator, and even an ice rink! While I’m nursing a mild back injury, there should be plenty of fun ways for me to move my body every day.

A workout doesn’t have to be perfect to leave you feeling better and more energized. You just have to do it.

Catch Some Zs

One of the keys for making sure I stay on track while traveling is to get adequate rest, which can be a challenge in a strange bed hearing noises that I’m not used to, as well as having so many fun things to do that I’m not getting to bed until late.

I know what adequate rest means for me, so I intend have fun, but allow myself to get the sleep that I need.

Accountability

I would also like to ask you fabulous readers to hold me accountable when I get back. Knowing that I’ll have to report to you on how I did at following my plan will absolutely help me think twice before sticking my fork into some delicious dish.

And if I do find that I drank a second glass of wine, heeded the call of dessert, or chose having fun over sleep, I won’t beat myself up. To achieve optimal wellness, we only need to be consistent, not perfect.

What do you do to maintain your wellness while on vacation? Please share the travel and vacation tips that have worked for you. The best way to learn is from each other.

Together we can do it!

Photo by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Accountability

In yesterday’s blog, I set out a plan for dealing with the mega-munchfest that I was facing last night that included being accountable to you Fabulous Readers.

The Plan

  • Eat healthy throughout the day.
  • Get in a workout.
  • Have a filling and nutritious meal before we go.
  • Look over all the food and choose one thing that I will indulge in. (This will probably be the crust-less fudge pie that my husband is planning to make. It’s totally calorie-worthy!)
  • Take a tray of vegetables and healthy hummus to give myself some nutritious nibbles throughout the evening.
  • Take some sugar-free gum along to chew if I start fighting cravings.
  • Go in determined to succeed and feel guilt-free.
  • Hold myself accountable by reporting to you all how I did.

The Report

It worked!

I ate clean all day, got in a 30 minute run/walk on the treadmill, and ate a filling soup for dinner before we left. I also included a serving of whole grain crackers and a low-fat cheese stick so that I would feel like I’d some “party” food.

Once there, I had a rye cracker out of one of the bowls of snack mix before I remembered my plan. After that I did great! I stuck to the carrot and celery sticks and home-made hummus, and avoided the cheesy, fatty dips that everyone else brought. (Mine was the only healthy dish there, so bringing something I knew I could eat was a life saver!) I was also pleasantly full, so I was definitely less tempted to stray.

I did promise myself a treat, and since David ran out of time to make the pie, I had three ginger-snap cookies that I spread out over the evening and 1 small chocolate covered strawberry. Another win was that I drank sparkling water with a squirt of lime-juice instead of wine or beer, and I did turn to the gum once when my stomach definitely wasn’t hungry, but my mouth still was.

So I did it! First time in months that I’ve left Bunco feeling good—and feeling good about myself.

Thanks for all your help! Knowing I would be reporting to you definitely helped me stay on track.