What I did right

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We just got back from 5 days in Florida. Away from routine it’s often hard for us to keep our weight loss journeys in mind. I can focus on what I did wrong but instead I’m choosing to focus on what I did right. 

We usually eat out every meal on these visits. This time we ate out plenty but chose to cook breakfast for ourselves 3 out of 5 days. It only took one quick trip to the supermarket to buy what was needed. By doing that I felt healthier and more in control. 

At the dinners out, I chose wisely. That doesn’t mean I always stayed within my points. But there were certain items I just tasted. The nights we got dessert I took about a tablespoon or two portion. It was enough. One night I opted for a fish entree (which was delicious) as opposed to a much higher point value meat. 

When I wanted something enough, I had it. One night my dish came with sweet potato fries that were amazing. I ate every scrumptious bit of them. Pointswise having half the serving might have been smarter but that was my indulgence of choice and I don’t regret it. 

We walked and were more active then I’ve been. Due to my (thankfully, relatively minor) injury from September, I’ve curtailed my activity greatly these past few weeks. It felt great to take my walks along the beach or nearby. I may have been slower, but I did them almost pain free! The top picture is me at the end of the jetty near where we stay. The second picture shows how my toes match the water! I even went swimming for a short time. The pool was empty and it was more  about the relaxation then the calories burned, but it felt good for mind and body.

We got home tonight and tomorrow I intend to weigh in at my meeting. Whatever it shows, it will help me rest my weight loss GPS to normal routine as opposed to vacation mode.

Here’s to being mindful of what we did right!

Miriam

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Posting the whole article referenced in my last blogpost …PLEASE READ!!!

One Simple Hack to Stop Screwing Yourself Over

The One Simple Hack part of the title either piqued your interest, or triggered your potential-bullshit alarm. Simply writing it induced a bit of nausea for me since most “hacks” are overused, regurgitated phrases filled with empty promises. Or they’re just stupid. This simple hack, I’m relieved to say, is neither.

When it comes to fat loss, or practically anything pertaining to body transforming, most proposed “hacks” are complete rubbish. They make promises like “fix trouble spots fast” or “build your dream body in only 30 days.” You’re tempted with tales of secret methods and shortcuts used by the pros. While these hacks sound incredible, they typically fall short in delivery.

But there is one simple hack that does work. One simple hack to stop screwing yourself over and, thereby, allowing you to achieve your goals: “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” declares the wisdom of what’s known as The Law of Holes.

Put another, less polite, way — don’t make things worse, ya dummy.

Sound advice we typically don’t follow. I don’t know about you, but I have, on more occasions than I’d like to admit, not only continued digging once I’ve found myself in a hole, but start digging faster and with a larger shovel.

How many times have you “found yourself in a hole” but kept shoveling away, thereby digging yourself progressively deeper?

If I was a betting woman, I’d double-down and say you’ve experienced at least one of the following scenarios. Let’s see how I do …

The “I’ll Start Over Monday” Hole Digger

You skipped today’s workout because you just didn’t feel like doing it. Rather than going home to eat a nourishing, protein-rich, minimally processed meal, you rationalized: It’s Friday, it’s been a long week, I already screwed up by skipping my workout, so I’m going to grab a burger, fries, and large shake on the way home (digging deeper). You proceed to spend the weekend eating whatever you want and not working out and vow to start over Monday because, I mean, who “gets back on track” on a Saturday or Sunday? (Digging even deeper — I guess that would be deeper-er.)

The “My Workout Sucked, Now I’m Pissed” Hole Digger

You enter the gym feeling great, ready to crush your workout. Things go bad starting with the warm-up — the weights feel heavier than usual, your form doesn’t feel smooth, and everything feels terrible. In short, the workout sucked. Appalled at your inability to improve your performance (digging deeper*) you stomp out of the gym and soothe your throbbing disgust with a brownie the size of your face (digging even deeper).

*How is being appalled at yourself digging the hole deeper? Responding emotionally to a bad workout, or a not-so-great food choice, is the first step to making less than ideal choices going forward. If you shrug off a bad workout as nothing more than a bad workout, you can put the event behind you, move forward and focus on what you can do that’s in your best interest. (E.g., My workout sucked, and that’s okay because it’s inevitable. I’ll go home, have a good meal, and take it easy the rest of the evening.)

The “I Ate a Cupcake, So I’m Gonna Eat 14 More” Hole Digger

You breezed through your new diet the past couple weeks, but your resolve to avoid “bad foods” was tested by your favorite cupcakes someone brought to work. You rationalize: I’ve been good for so long, I deserve to be bad. Immediately after eating it, you’re struck with guilt. You proceed to eat two more cupcakes (digging deeper). Since you really screwed up, it’s time to dig even deeper, but a mere shovel won’t suffice. You go full-on excavator mode and continue making less than ideal food choices for every meal until you can “go all in” on the diet once again.

(Note: this is why you shouldn’t label foods “good” or “bad” — and why that diet didn’t work for you.)

How’d I do? Could you identify with at least one — or all three — of those scenarios? I can, because I’ve experienced each one, multiple times.

To be clear, I’m not saying that missing a workout, having a terrible workout, or eating a cupcake is bad. The problem is that we interpret these instances as something bad, or a “screw up.” Then we compound the negative experience with not-so-great choices going forward.

Skipping a workout won’t help you reach your strength goals, but it’s not detrimental either; it happens. Eating a humongous cupcake won’t help your fat loss efforts if it puts you in a caloric surplus, but it’s a single event that won’t have an immediate effect. Skipping a workout and eating a cupcake aren’t moral judgements — these things don’t make you a bad person (just like performing a workout and not eating a cupcake don’t make you a good person). The next logical step isn’t to skip another workout or devour four more cupcakes, because that would dig you in a hole.

If you skip a workout, perform the next one as soon as possible. If you eat a cupcake or overindulge, have a nourishing, real food meal next time you eat. These events don’t need to be a catalyst to frustration, guilt, or making less than ideal choices for a long period.

Just. Stop. Digging.

Funny how avoid this advice so naturally with things pertaining to health and fitness, but not in other areas of life. You don’t ding your car with the grocery cart and then take a sledgehammer to the windshield. You don’t stub your toe on the coffee table and then willingly head-butt the fridge. You don’t accidentally drop your dinner roll at a restaurant and then dump the bowl of soup on your head.

But when we “go off” our eating plan and overindulge? We use that as a valid reason to continue eating poorly for the rest of the day, or weekend. If we skip a workout because we were exhausted from a long day at work, we skip the remainder of the workouts for the entire week (and usual combine that with less than ideal foods choices, too). This is yet another uncomfortable truth about health and fitness.

Next time you find yourself in, or about to enter, a hole — recall this simple hack and don’t screw yourself over. Best of all, this is the simplest hack ever because it requires you to do absolutely nothing.

We don’t always need to be more disciplined or motivated, or even apologetic when we get off track or willingly make less than ideal choices. We just need to stop digging.

Stop the sledgehammer!

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https://www.niashanks.com/one-simple-hack-stop-screwing/
This article is worth reading. I showed it to a number of friends and we all agreed it was spot on. 

It gives us all an easy to follow way to stop sabotaging our weight loss efforts.

Read it. Then you will understand the title I gave this post. 

Let’s stop the sledgehammer!

Mindfully yours,

Miriam

One good salad…

This was my excellent point-friendly dinner tonight: Grilled chicken on a salad of lettuce, carrots, roasted peppers, carmelized onions, corn salsa and pickles. 

I’m proud of myself for this choice. I needed a good, on plan day today. Today is my fresh start, my day 1, my back to the drawing board day. 

Yesterday marked the end of a month long holiday season, which means lots and lots of big meals, lack of routine and minimal exercise. 

It was wonderful but not for my weight loss journey. Every year I go through some version of this same scenario. I hope and plan to be in control over this month. But typically I end up relatively out of control and not where I want to be. 

Since I’ve experienced this before, I know I can make a fresh start and get back on track. I always hope I can lose what I gained really quickly, too. But that is less realistic. I know that being in control and on plan today won’t erase a month of ‘less good’ decisions. But that’s ok. I’m going in the right direction. If it’s at a slow pace I’ll have to accept that. It’s still movement towards my goal. 

Let’s hope day 2 is full of good choices too!

Mindfully yours,

Miriam 

Old Habits and New

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Lately when I’ve tried to create some new, heathy habits, I find I’m stuck thinking: you can’t teach an old dog ( in this case me) a new trick. After years of doing something one way, I get stuck thinking it’ll be impossible for me to make a lasting change.  This is a bad way to think and to view myself. Change and establishing new habits at any age is possible but it takes time and patience.

If you’ve been reading my blog you know I took a tumble a few weeks ago and bruised my hip area. I’ll be fine but it’s been a slow recovery. Thankfully, I’m hobbling less and getting more secure with my steps. Still I need to take it easy so these past few weeks I’ve reverted to taking the elevator to my third floor office. I’ve noted in previous blogs that I almost always take the stairs as a way to easily incorporate more steps into my day. I’ve been doing this for about five years now since my son sublet a sixth floor apartment in NYC and the elevator was under repair most of his stay. I figured if he could climb  up 6 flights daily then I could manage 3. Before that summer I used the elevator almost exclusively.

Well I must have created a strong habit as today I entered the office building and went straight towards the stairs instead of the elevator. It was a knee jerk reaction because it has become my new norm! It hit me that over the last five years I created a new, healthy habit and it is ingrained in me at this point. Years ago I was an elevator person now I’m a stairs person! 

So the moral of the story is never give up on ourselves. We can establish new habits . We can make changes and improve who we are over time. It may be slow going but doing the right thing then repeating it each day will slowly become who you are. It will be a good habit that you have developed and can be proud to call your own!

Mindfully yours,

Miriam 

Healing

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Slowly, my bruised hip is healing. I’m impatient and want to be back to myself. I’m used to clocking in 6000 steps on an inactive day and over 10000 when I have a scheduled walking date. So my recent Fitbit numbers of 1400 or 975 tell the story of my current state of inertia. Professionals have told me it may take a few weeks. I hear it but I’m still impatient. I’m trying to be more mindful of what I eat to compensate for lack of exercise though I’m sure I’m hardly making a dent!

But the bottom line is just like when we are impatient to lose weight a quick fix usually doesn’t get us to our goals, I need to take a slow approach. When I try to do too much, I feel it. My body needs time to heal. I do have a newfound great appreciation for simple things like walking. It’s amazing how many muscles need to work in a choreographed ‘dance’ just to get us from point a to point b. 

So, how about each of you take a few extra steps in my honor! Thanks!

Mindfully yours,

Miriam

Gratitude 

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I was planning to blog about a food related event I attended with my son this week. It was a ‘Chopped’ style food competition held in NYC to benefit an organization named Masbia. They have a number of soup  kitchens and basically provide nourishing meals to the needy. It was a fun event for a worthy cause. It included a buffet dinner which was yummy and not exactly on plan.     I put the hashtag #pointlesstocountpoints when I posted it on Facebook. In truth I still was somewhat mindful even amidst the overeating! But, it felt good to be on the ‘giving end’ of the charity. It reminds me how grateful we need to be for the food and other basic necessities we are blessed with each day! 

So that was what I planned to write about… then while exercising on Thursday AM, I tripped and landed hard on my hip! As much as it’s one of my more padded areas, I banged myself pretty hard and have been hobbling ever since. Thankfully I didn’t hurt myself more, but I need to be sitting a lot and am uncomfortable. I have a gazillion things to do with the Jewish holidays coming up so this is not exactly a convenient time to be on the ‘disabled’ list. (Is there ever a good time?) I’m already better than yesterday so don’t worry about me! I’ll hopefully get better each day. But, this has made me mindful of how many steps I take on a random day even without exercise! It also makes me grateful that I normally am mobile and not dependent on others. It feels so out of sorts to ask family members to do small tasks for me as much as they are happy to do them and help me. I look forward to fully mending soon! I love walking as my main source of exercise so I hope I’ll be back to myself soon. 

Until then, I’m learning to be grateful for what I have! For those celebrating the Jewish New Year next week, I wish you a sweet New Year. To everyone I wish only good health, happiness and gratitude for all the blessings we have!

Mindfully yours,

Miriam

Staples and related musings

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The other day I needed something from Staples and ran in. As I’m in the empty nester stage I actually forgot for a moment that it’s the time of year of school supply frenzy. Believe me, having four kids close together in age, I paid my dues of school supply shopping and my family can attest to my lack of being able to handle the frenzy involved! 

On one hand, I never thought I’d get to the place of ‘forgetting’ to avoid Staples! On the other hand my oldest grandchild is becoming a student for the first time as he begins a preschool program. Wow. Double Wow! 

I’m sure next week when I see younger neighbors’ waiting at bus stops for new school year pickups I will feel wistful. Not sorry, but thoughtful and mindful of a phase that is over. 

Every stage has its good and bad. We often only remember the good and that leads to the nostalgia.

Stages come and go. We change. We stay the same. Some struggles shift while others linger. Time moves on whether we admit it or not.  Our weight loss journey and related struggles change and stay the same and need to be re-analyzed as time moves on. Are our goals the same? Is that realistic? Is what worked in the past going to work at this time? What can I learn from what worked or didn’t work in previous attempts?

A phase may be over for me but now I get to experience it in a different way, through a different lens.

We need to embrace the stages and related changes and use our experiences to guide our moving forward!

Mindfully yours,

Miriam 

Am I a fraud?

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Sometimes I feel like a fraud. As a retired ww leader I am often asked questions about the plan or my  journey. I enjoy sharing and giving tips of what helped me lose weight and continues to help me maintain.

But I’m just returning from an amazing 10 days away. We went to Israel for a wedding and a few related festivities. We ate out pretty much every meal. We enjoyed some amazing food while reconnecting with old friends and family. There were many overeating opportunities. Yes I made some choices but I also put the ww part of me on the back burner, choosing to indulge and ‘deal with the repercussions’ when I get home.

Even while mindfully over doing it I still walked a ton, most days had ample breakfast and dinner but no lunch, and shared certain items (such as desserts) instead of having my own.  I tracked as best as I could, guesstimating often. Yes, I likely underestimated but at least by writing it down I owned my food choices.  Also I fully intend to attend my Friday meeting.  That should help reset my weight loss GPS. And right about now my body is practically demanding that I get back on track, craving simpler on plan portions and food.

So, am I a fraud? Or just a real person living a real life with real challenges?

Mindfully yours,

Miriam

Having your cookie dough and eating it too!

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I recently heard about two sisters I know who had their cookie dough and ate it too! Let me explain.  Hannah and Sophie (the names have been changed to protect the innocent!) try to follow the ww program along with their mom.  Hannah is in high school and Sophie in college.  Recently they spent the day in NYC on a ‘staycation’ sort of day.  They had heard about a place in the Village called Cookie Do Confections https://www.cookiedonyc.com/cookie-dough-confections that they decided they would like to visit.  They wanted the ‘experience’ but didn’t want to go too far off plan.  They googled and researched and figured out that a cup of the most standard confection would work out to 23 points! (Full disclosure: I didn’t check their math!) They put their heads together to try to create a plan where they could still partake but not blow the whole day or week in this case!! Realizing it would be quite rich, they planned to share one serving.  The day of their outing they also planned out their other meals to be on the lighter end.  They ended up finding that they didn’t even finish the half portion each and they each tracked for 9 points.  They had fun and enjoyed.

In my opinion this was a win.  They were mindful.  They planned it out so they could partake and enjoy while being on program.  They tracked it. Planning it in advance really helps.  How many times do we indulge and THEN look up and find out what we consumed counts as 23 points! Often, having a smaller portion really does the trick of getting the experience.  Realistically, we aren’t going to eat something like this on a daily or even weekly basis.  It’s a special, rare occurrence.

We need to figure out how to live life, have fun, have tastes WHILE on plan, while being mindful.

Bravo to Hannah and Sophie for doing just that!

Mindfully yours,

Miriam