Category Archives: GIT

What would Buffy do?

“Watch out for the apocalypse!”

That’s what my daughter called out to me as she climbed on the school bus this morning. And as much as I was kind of weirded out by that, I still managed to reply, “If the apocalypse comes, beep me.”

Because culture is important.

The whole thing raises some concern about my parenting, I suppose. But we’ve come up with a fitness plan for Spring Break next week. I’ve been stalled out on Couch to 5k, waiting for running shoes to arrive (which are scheduled for delivery the day after tomorrow). Because starting such an endeavor without proper footwear was a Bad Idea. Anyway, our current plan is to do a ghetto version of Zombies, Run! in which she pretends to be a zombie and I run away. We practiced this a bit in the house this morning, with fairly good results, so I’m hoping this will translate into actual time on the track while she’s off school. We could both use it.

In other news, I’m supposed to be out walking right now and then on to the coffee shop to get some writing done. Pretty sure I’m stalling because Tim and Raine are supposed have words and I have no idea what those words are. So I’m using the excuse that my laptop needs a bit of charging before I head out for the morning.

In other other news, last night I finished reading the front end of Kait’s current WIP. It is absolutely full of win. You are going to love it.

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Not Served by Servings

So back to the Goddess in training weight management stuff, let me just say that I don’t think we’re at all served by servings. I mean, when we go to a restaurant, we can see that the portions are ridiculously large, and hopefully we can ask for a box and not have to eat it all. But here’s the thing that makes me kind of crazy, and my mom reminded me of this recently.

See, Mom’s doctor told her she should try to stay around 1200 calories. Which is what I try to do. We’re 5’2″–or at least, I am and she used to be. She’s a bit shorter these days. So my mom says that she’s trying, but by the time she adds up everything she’s supposed to have, it’s hard to keep it under 1200. Meaning that by the time she adds up the calories from all the servings of dairy, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and cereals she’s allegedly supposed to have, sometimes she’s over, and there’s certainly not anything left over for something she wants.

Okay, so here’s what makes me crazy. We’re on 1200 calories, right? A big, 6’2″ guy like my husband can easily take in 2000 calories. That’s what all the nutrition information is based on. His needs. So…why would I assume that a serving size for him is the same as a serving size for me? I’m absolutely not a nutritionist, but I’m just going, if we have different calorie needs, why should I assume we need the same nutrition? If he needs a cup of something to make a serving, maybe MY serving should be a little more than half of that.

Which is basically what I said to my mom and she was like, oh, I never thought of that.

So I’m just feeling like this whole nutrition info on the package that was supposed to be helpful could be a little more helpful. I mean, could they include another column for a 1200 or 1500 calorie diet? I don’t even really care which one, I just think it would be a huge service to all of us short women out here who deserve quick package reference as much as the men (who often don’t bother to look) do. I mean, 2000 calories? Really? In what world is that a reasonable average?

So here I am on 1200 calories. Anything I’m going to snack on I’m going to want to break down into 100 calorie portions. If all I ate all day was 100 calorie snack things, I could have 12 day. Ever notice how many things are 140-160 calories per serving? 12 x 150 = 1800.

Eating the whole portion on individually packaged items or going by the serving size printed on a larger package would have me over by 4200 calories at the end of the week. Which would gain me over a pound a week. Six pounds in 5 weeks. How easy would it be to put on an extra 10-15 pounds each year just by eating from a portion standard made for people several inches taller with much higher metabolisms? How many of us have done it?

Now, if you’re doing all your math, you can figure this out and not go over. The thing is, we don’t want to do the math. For many of us, measuring, journalling, and mathmatizing the food has us thinking about food all the time, which is not a recipe for not eating as much. What has worked for me has been learning to eyeball things better, learning to be satisfied with 100 calorie servings. Saving up what seems like just little bits of calories here and there matters when you’ve only got 1200 to start. (Note: I set a goal of 1200 so I have plenty of room for error and actually consume between 1200-1500 calories.)

Since this is hardly a dieting site, I’ll take this time when I’m already babbling about weight loss stuff to add something else that’s helped me. I used to eat until I was “full” and call it “satisfied.” I retrained my brained to define satisfied as no longer hungry. If I’ve finished what I pretty much know I’m supposed to eat, I can take a moment to actually think and ask myself, am I hungry? Not, am I full? The answer is probably no, because I’ve already eaten what my body needs and what it can process. So I tell myself that I’m satisfied and can stop. That doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process. But it’s how I can be satisfied, genuinely, with less while I sit with others as they continue to eat more, like my husband who needs to eat more because he’s a big man who physically labors.

Meanwhile, “full” means something else to me now. In my head, the concept of being full is like being stuffed. Overeating has much more negative connotations in my head. It’s not something that’s like, Oops! I overate and now I’m ugh. It’s more like a, why would I do that to myself? Why would I put food in my mouth to the point where it causes me physical discomfort? Isn’t that kind of like getting falling down drunk in public? That’s not cool.

I mean, no, really. Because when people keep eating just because something is delicious, how is that really different from continuing to drink because you like the way it makes you feel? How is that bloated, overstuffed feeling you get from eating too much so different from the way you get sick from drinking too much? So when I’m out and there’s delicious food on my plate, it’s not really so hard for me to convince myself that I don’t want to engage in public food drunkenness.

So I hope I don’t have to say that none of this is intended to make anyone feel bad about the way they eat. I say this stuff because I used to eat as much as my much larger husband. Because I used to eat until I couldn’t hold anymore and think THAT was the signal to stop. I trained myself, in a lot of ways, to NEED way more food than I actually needed. So what I’m trying to share with you is changes I made in my thinking that helped me train myself back out of that.

I don’t consider myself a dieter. Like many people, I came out of my high metabolism teens and just kept eating, going into college with a lot more social eating, got married young and allowed my eating to habits grow more like my husband’s. This is the first time in my life I’ve stopped to really think about what I’ve been doing and to learn what I really need.

It is damned nice to be able to run across my house to attend to a disaster without danger of tripping over my own thighs rubbing together.

 

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Not so much with the rockin’

Okay, so I’m a downer. Sue me.

Things in my GIT life are better. I’ve been doing better with the housekeeping thing which is mostly a matter of keeping the dishes washed. That’s really the main stumbling block in my life. There have been times in the last two weeks where I’ve had unexpected stuff come up and come home late with no dinner plan and still whipped up something quick out of my pantry. Good to be veering away from that “let’s just get take-out” path I was headed down. (I really like take-out. A lot.)

My weight/size continues to be the same. So far I’m not having trouble keeping off what I’ve lost. Of course now that we’re going into the colder part of the year that will be more of a challenge as a) I like to eat when I’m cold, and b) it’s cool enough in my house that I can actually use the oven without roasting us. This may result in cookies.

To cope with that I’ve started Zumba. Let me just say that I’m glad it’s just me and the pets and that they can’t talk. I couldn’t be more stiff and out of step. These hip just don’t move like that, okay? Let’s face it: I am waaay too uptight to salsa.

Is Zumba the all that and a bag of chips that everyone says it is? So far it’s not. It honestly doesn’t seem different from any other aerobics video I’ve done in the past. I mean, yeah, I can see where the dance aspect is there, and maybe how the production is different, but those are things that don’t seem to affect my experience of it. I’m not saying I hate it or that I’m quitting, I’m just saying I’m not going to be going to Amazon and writing one of those reviews gushing about how it’s the funnest exercise evar and I’m, like, super-addicted.

I will say, though, that I’m not sore, and I’ve moved enough that I maybe should be. And maybe it’s somewhat motivating that I have this secret, Zumba-inspired fantasy that I will finally learn to loosen up and dance, and also attain the label “hot mom.”

So I guess my final verdict on that is that if you like to dance, you will probably like this, and if dancing makes you feel like a dork, then you may not like it as much as the Zumba-crazed reviewers imply you will.

ROW80

So today’s the big #ROW80 Twitter party. I’m gonna be standing over here in my corner watching, if you don’t mind.

I’m having a lot of trouble with Heroes Under Siege. And I remember going through this with the last book. I can’t seem to find a place to get started. I can’t craft the right scene for the beginning to show what I want to show.

It doesn’t help that, if I could change something about Heroes ‘Til Curfew, I would change the beginning. I’m not sure what I would change it to, I just feel like the beginning was pretty weak with not enough happening and too much exposition. I was in that thing where I was trying to write something that could be easily understood by someone new to the series, and hopefully interesting enough to draw readers of the last book along. But I probably went like 1500 words before anything interesting actually happens. Which is not good.

So, learning experience for me. I’m very much with the thing that this book is done and over and I’m going to apply what I’ve learned to the next book. I’m not going to change what’s already out there (that would be weird and it’s not THAT bad).

Meanwhile, the whole experience doesn’t fill me with confidence about getting started on book 3. But I’ll figure it out eventually. It would be awesome to be able to get started in time for NaNoWriMo.

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GIT: Building a Control Journal

Here we are for another GIT (Goddess in Training) post, in which I try to figure out how to, you know, live.

I’m totally standing by what I said about how I was into the traditional publishing thing to learn stuff. And I was lured by the possibility of an advance. But something I didn’t talk about: it seemed easier.

Once I made the decision to go that way, I immediately felt less pressure. Sure, traditionally published writers absolutely have to work to market their books, but it seemed like I would at least have some help and guidance in that regard. More than that, it was the traditional publishing schedule that was appealing. In indie it’s definitely a good idea to put out as much work as fast as you can. So the idea of only being able to put out one book a year for a while, and being okay with doing only that if I wanted, was appealing. It was a relief to think that I might be able to write one manuscript a year and let other people deal with the details, and to feel like I wouldn’t be the sole person in charge of my own destiny with regard to marketing.

Now that I’ve gone back to indie, of course all that pressure’s back, along with more because I was such a slacker for months while I was finishing Heroes ‘Til Curfew. I spent the weekend redesigning my site here, revamping some of the static content. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for things I want to do and try, and mostly it’s just stuff I want to do better. Stuff I’m letting slide because I spend a lot of time worrying instead of just buckling down and taking care of things.

And the worst part of THAT? One of the things that doesn’t get done is writing the next book. Right now I am RIGHT where I was last year in terms of not writing consistently because I’m constantly doing this #HeadlessChicken act. My stats sickness is a little better this year. Which is good. Maybe I’m in recovery. On the other hand, I’m busier in my personal life. My daughter started a dance class this year, I’ve got four different social commitments which actually take me out of the house 6-12 times a month (this is a lot for me). Scariest of all, I’ve got a Girl Scout Brownie troop I’m going to be leading this year. We’re supposed to have our first meeting on Friday, stuff’s not in place for that yet, and I have about a million details to take care of.

I’m conscious of kind of freaking out here. So somewhere in the middle of being better about keeping house (which was destroyed by two seven-year-olds having a sleepover this weekend), being better about family meals, being better about fitness (my back is killing me and I think it’s because my muscles are too weak to hold me up properly because all I do is sit in front of this computer), being better about social media, figuring out the Girl Scout details, remembering dance class and the other stuff on my calendar, I have this vague recollection that I’m supposed to be writing a book–if I ever want to get anywhere in this career, and while I’m at it, there’s a short story and novella I need to write before that book comes out. Not to mention that idea I’m supposed to come up with for my agent for something different.

[At this point I’m reminding myself to breathe and thinking that it’s a shame I don’t have a moment to read more of that book about Zen so I can just be in this moment and not in all these other moments I really can’t affect from here or whatever.]

However, at some point in the past, I used to write more, I used to read more, and I had a baby who nursed hourly and then an insane toddler who had to be watched every moment and never napped. And somehow I also got housework done, served a lot more from-scratch food than I do lately (including homemade baby food), and somehow had time to maintain a personal blog and socialize on LJ all the time.

One thing that I had at that time was a control journal–a domestic’s day-planner. I had a page for every day of the week and all I had to do every morning was open it up. All my routines were written out so that I didn’t have to think, I just had to do and cross things off.

Control Journal a la Flylady

And of course, after some time of doing these routines, they actually became routines. But having it written down allowed me to be on autopilot before I actually learned the route. You can see on one side were some of the things I was supposed to daily. There as a place to write in stuff specific to that day–like sending my brother a birthday card–and a place for writing in tasks which weren’t daily or weekly. This page’s notes tell me to finish one of the slipcovers I was making and to declutter the entertainment center.  I’d write all those things in when I organized for the week on Sunday. On the other side of the notebook is my dinner menu for the day with recipes, in the order they had to be started. So the crockpot recipe was first, bread recipe for the bread machine next, and quick fix vegetable sides at the end.

I realize that I spend a lot of time spinning my wheels because I’m so stressed about not having stuff done that I can’t think what to do next. So I don’t actually DO anything, so I get more stressed. And I think I can really point to things falling apart when I moved from that last house to this one. My routines were upset because things were different and I stopped using the journal.

Flylady imageSo I’m going to be working on building a new control journal for myself. Or perhaps a few of them. I need to keep track of stuff for the house, stuff for the writing job, stuff for Girl Scouts. I’m not going to stop everything to try to make the perfect journal all at once. I’m just going to start writing things down, collecting data, putting it together a little a time.

If you’d like to read more about control journals, click here.

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Some Musings on Motivation and #ROW80

And when I say musings, I mean that I’m looking at some things that I’ve done right, and trying to figure out how the hell that happened.

There are three big things I’ve done in the last several years that I can easily point to and say: these are things which required a lot of motivation and I made them happen.

  1. Got my house together– When my daughter was finally done nursing and I was once again free to move about the cabin, I really did a lot of work to get my home in order. It was the first time in our marriage (about 15 years at that time, I guess) that we lived without any cardboard boxes in view. I decluttered, I cleaned up, I got routines together, and when disasters happened (as they did daily as I had a toddler around) I was able to take care of them and get things back to order.
  2. Wrote a book– Meaning I finished it. I started at the beginning and I wrote until the end. And it was even good. I made an outline, I had a list of scenes, and I tried to write at least one every day. I didn’t write every day, but I averaged more than one and I finished 30 days after I started. No putting it aside 2/3 in and starting something else, no putting writing aside to pick up another activity.
  3. Lost weight– I got married while I was still in college. Between the weight everyone gains in college and the weight everyone gains when first married, I was kinda screwed. My senior year I made a big effort at diet and exercise and lost half of what I’d gained those four years. But after that it was a slow but steady increase until I got pregnant almost a decade later. After losing enough of the baby weight to get out of maternity clothes and back to a size 14, I pretty much maintained 160-165 for a number of years. Today I weighed in at 127.5, a weight I haven’t seen this century.

So if I went through this period where I was good a keeping up my house, why is my house a wreck? Why am I always struggling with this? What am I doing wrong?

Why did it take me a month to write the first draft of Hush Money and close to ten months for Heroes ‘Til Curfew?

If I have the self-discipline to just say no to binges, over-eating, stress-eating, etc., why can’t I seem to apply that in other areas?

This is stuff I’ve been thinking. Reading about motivation can be confusing. A lot of it seems to come down to this concept: You just have to really want it. I can’t make you want it.

Well, um, I think I do want it. That’s why I’m here. I don’t know how to make myself want it anymore than this. I’m not even sure I’m comfortable with the notion of a greater level of want. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to help with my crazy level.

I mean, did I not want to write Heroes ‘Til Curfew? Of course I did. Did I want it enough? I think so.

It’s hard to talk about this stuff because nothing happens in a vacuum. I was better at housekeeping when I wasn’t also trying to run an Etsy shop or a writing career. I was better and just writing when I wasn’t in the throes of second book syndrome. There are definitely other factors at work.

But other people manage do more than one thing at a time, and I’d like to as well, so I’m looking at these three successes and trying to figure out what they had in common.

  1. When I was good at housekeeping, my goal was not to have a perfect or even beautiful home. I did not own the house I lived in, I knew I couldn’t afford to make the improvements it needed. It was never going to beautiful, but I was going maintain it and keep it as clean and comfortable as I could. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of making it better and maintaining the progress.
  2. When I was good at getting a book written, my goal was not to produce the greatest book ever. I had no standard I was going for, except for it to be finished and as good as I could make it. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of writing a book from beginning to end.
  3. When I was good at losing weight, I never had a goal weight. I might have said, I’d like to lose x amount, or I’d like to be x by the end of the summer, but those were just things I would throw out in conversation, like wishes. They were never subgoals of some greater endgame I was trying to achieve. In fact, when I did really start to lose weight, it wasn’t about losing weight, it was about changing my eating habit. The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process of learning to be mindful about eating and making better choices.

The goal was not on the end result, it was on the process.

That’s what I’ve pulled out of this. I’m not sure what it means, what to do with it, how to apply it. Not yet. Plenty of people do great by focusing on an end result and breaking that down into smaller tasks. I don’t think I’m that person. Some people make the decision to change their actions and they follow through. I don’t. When I tell myself to do stuff, most of the time I just don’t.

Maybe because it’s always easier to just stay where I am.

I’ve already determined that I need to change my thoughts before I can change my actions. Now I’ve determined that thinking about my goals as big end result things, or even smaller, successive results, doesn’t really work for me either.

What is going to work for me? Still don’t know. But if I figure it out, I’ll pass it on.

#ROW80: I have 10 threads for Heroes Under Siege. My goal for the week is to make sure I understand what happens in each one from beginning to end and how they interweave. That’s going well so far as I’m at 7/10 mostly done. I’d like to start brainstorming specific events and jotting down scenes next week.

Meanwhile, I should have a guest post up over at Book Lovers, Inc. today. The post is about taking something often considered boyish–superheroes–and taking it for Team Girl. And there’s a giveaway. Go, read, comment, make it look like people like me.

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My Husband Says I Can’t Spell Discipline or How I Have Been Failure’s Bitch

This is a running joke at our house, and the joke’s on me because I did just reference a tab along the top of my screen to check my spelling as I typed this post’s title. Every time the word discipline comes out of my mouth in his presence, he puts on his best Marine Corps voice and says, “Discipline? You can’t even spell discipline.”

Maybe the problem here is that I’ve learned to laugh at myself in this respect and it’s really not funny. Maybe it’s really fucking up my shit.

So it’s GIT Tuesday and my Goddess in Training stuff has been about changing my thoughts and creating better habits. That’s why Kristen Lamb’s post: Self-Discipline- The Key to Success really got me thinking. If you haven’t read it, you should, and if you do it now then this post will make more sense.

Kristen proves her point about self-discipline being necessary by showing us a list of highly successful authors who went to top schools, were highly successful in other fields– were in freaking Congress. Immediately I feel hopeless. Well crap. Let’s hope you can be moderately successful if you’re just moderately intelligent and far less awesome. That would be one of those thinking habits I need to work on. Kristen says,

“Successful people are willing to get up earlier, stay up later, work harder and never stop. They will outpace their competition every time. Why? Because self-discipline isn’t a once in a while thing, “Oh, I was so good today.” Self-discipline is the foundation of the successful life….not an accessory worn when we feel particularly inspired.”

Know who embodies that? Kait Nolan. And now I get why Kait and Kristen click so well together. So I read on.

The post goes on to give some do’s and don’ts for this, and they’re a lot like the weight loss stuff. Don’t jump into some crazy exercise thing and hurt yourself, start small and build. Don’t set goals that set you up for failure.

And then she talks about failure, about changing your relationship with failure. Man, I am failure’s bitch. I wrote a book last year I actually let other people read. HUGE step. You get that. I’m almost forty years old and I’m just getting to this point in my life where I’m actually finishing things. Because for most of my life I’ve been caught up in this perfectionism where I don’t finish anything. Because once something’s finished, it’s time to put it out there for other people to judge. But if you never finish anything, you never have to face having it rejected.

Tangent: Remember Pitfall for Atari 2600? With twenty minutes on the clock, you’re moving this guy across the screen, trying to pick up treasure. And when you fail to clear an obstacle, it loses you a little bit of time (and points). There were only a few different kinds of screens and obstacles that would keep repeating and every once in a while there’d be a treasure. I thought (and I’ve no idea if it’s true, probly not), that you could have a perfect game where you’d go to the right at full speed, never hit an obstacle, and eventually circle back to the start of the game–come out on the left side of the first screen.

I started playing the game to have a perfect game. And any time I hit an obstacle, I’d reset and start over. I never got very far and I don’t think I got any better at the game. And I started playing other games that way, too. Lose a man too early? Well, I’ll never make high score now. Reset.

Reset. Reset. Reset. How many unfinished games? How many unfinished stories?

Yeah, I was failure’s bitch. I’ve got a degree in Psychology, never looked at grad schools or applied for a job in that field. I’ve got a degree in Fashion Design. Completed my course work for that and went RIGHT BACK to full time at the sweat shop I’d been sewing in. But you know, I think that might be changing. The last few years I’ve forced myself into a willingness to try, to expose myself to the possibility of failure. And a lot of good things have happened.

Some of the habits that worked in conjunction with the perfectionism thing and never finishing anything are things Kristen brings up in her post under the heading: Don’t Let The Feelings Vote. I’m reading:

Guilty…

Guilty…

Guilty…

Okay, so I can see the problem. Now what? Once I started gaining weight, 20 years of resets of the next week I’m going to start this awesome diet and exercise program variety didn’t work for me. I weighed in the other day saw and have been at the same healthy weight for the last few months.

Kristen says not to wait until your feelings change to change your actions. I’m not disagreeing with her at all. I’m just looking at me and I’m thinking maybe the reason this stuff never seems to work for me is just because I need to change my thinking before I can change my actions consistently. When I changed my thoughts about a lot of the eating stuff, I started refusing some of the overeating and bad foods more consistently, and started shedding weight.

So maybe this is why that thing of just saying I’m going to write X words every day (even just 250), or sit down for X amount of time doesn’t seem to work for me. Because discipline? I no haz it.

Only I do. Yesterday I knew I was going out to dinner and I told Kait I was going to go eat a whole burger. Calorie-wise I was probably within my rights. So I went out and ordered a burger with a side of apples. Burger came and I cut it in half–a great habit which also makes it easier for my little mouth and little hands. Picked up the second half of the burger, actually said, “I’m going to eat the second half of this burger,” and then stopped. Thought, I’m not hungry right now. Why am I doing this? and asked the waiter for a box.

So I do have self-discipline, like Kristen said I do. I am capable of that. I can now do many reps of curls with 1/3lb cheeseburgers without pain. I just have to figure out what works for me for the rest of it. All this stuff that I read, all these “secrets of motivation,” it all seems to skip a step. They all say, “if you want it badly enough.” Well, I don’t know about that. I at least want to want to be better.

I can’t seem to just say to myself, “I’m going to do the dishes every day.” Because myself says, “Fuck you. I’m tired. I’m going to watch TV and see if Andrew’s on IM.” (Even though, please note, I know Andrew does his dishes because he says this on IM and yet I’m not inspired by his example.) I can’t seem to say to myself, “I’m going to work on my outline every day this week,” because myself says, “Eh, I can’t really think of anything that would be good today. I’ll make it up on a day I’m really on. I have a lot of other things I need to do anyway.” And then I’m all, “But we said were gonna–” “Um, fuck you I said not right now, okay?”

Okay, geez. Bite my head off, myself. Damn, she’s bitchy.

So anyway, this can’t be just me. Anyone else have this missing link thing going on? I’m going to cogitate on where my thought process is going wrong while I go wash some dishes.

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I have too much crap

It’s GIT Tuesday. Things are going okay. School starts tomorrow and while I haven’t gotten everything done I wanted to do, things are better.

You know how you get Netflix in the little red envelopes and then you put them back in there and send them back. But you can also send two back in the same mailer. So the other day my husband asked me about all the Netflix mailers I have in the basket. And I explained how every once in a while I send two back in the same one, blah blah. “So you’re just saving the extra ones for emergencies?”

Um, I guess so. I mean, that’s dumb, right? Why am I holding on to these things?

Holding on to things is a problem. I hold on to so much stuff just in case I’m going to need it again. I have a drawer with jeans in every size from 4 to 16. What the hell?

Letting go of things is good. I’ve done it before and I know this. It’s just one of those things that doesn’t come naturally. But when I declutter, when I have less stuff, things are much better. There’s more space to, you know, live and stuff. I don’t know why the decision to give up stuff is so hard when the actually giving it up and living without it really isn’t.

So back to the weight loss thing, here are some things I gave up:

  • Drinking calories. The only exception is that I try to drink a glass of milk at dinner most days. Otherwise it’s water and diet stuff.
  • Diet Coke. I didn’t give it up, but late this winter I kicked at 5-6 per day habit down to a 0-2 per day habit. I think the loss of all that sodium from my diet has made my weight more stable, not ever-changing due to water retention.
  • Ordering french fries. We go out to eat every Sunday with my parents, plus my mom and I go out a few times a month, plus I have a child who likes the fast food playgrounds. I have plenty of fries with that opportunities in my life. At fast food I just say no. At a sit-down restaurant I ask to substitute something green. It’s never a problem. If someone else has fries and they look particularly good, I’ll snag one, but I don’t need fries with that. I think this has actually made a big difference. I’m a big fan of the carbs and fries are definitely one of the good things in life. But good enough to carry around on my person for years to come? No.
  • Being full. I never eat until I can’t eat anymore. I mean, I used to, and now I can’t even figure out why I used to. For some people, that feeling equates in their mind to “satisfied.” I decided to think of it as “stuffed.” And I don’t want to stuff. I eat because I’m hungry. To get unhungry. So when I find myself thinking about a second helping at home or eating much more than half of what’s on my plate at a restaurant, I try to pause and think about whether or not I’m still hungry. Since my goal is just unhungry, if I don’t feel hungry anymore, it’s time to put the fork down.

I tell you this because, as I said before, changing the way I think and actually being mindful about the eating has really helped me get back to healthy weight. Don’t know if it’ll be helpful for anyone else. Hope so. Meanwhile, I should go declutter and let go of some stuff.

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GIT Tuesday

I decided to move Goddess in Training to Tuesday since I’m often running around on Thursday. Of course, it shouldn’t matter. One of my many GIT goals is to write blog posts at least one day in advance and schedule them. That’s a baby step as my original plan was to have things scheduled a week in advance. So I’m writing to you from Monday, I wrote today’s post yesterday, and Sunday’s post on Saturday. So far, so good, on that one, anyway.

Other than trying to keep up with the blog, Kait made me make massive lists this weekend. I’m having company in about six weeks. Very important company. I’m having multiple houseguests over multiple nights. I NEVER have anyone over at my house, so this is a Big Deal. I’m not freaking out because the people coming know who I am and it probably won’t a surprise to them if everything’s a shambles, and they’ll still love me. Still, I’d like to make an effort to not have my guests live in squalor. So I’ve got this massive list of housekeeping tasks that need to be done anyway and would get me solidly on track if I could maintain it.

Other lists are maintenance tasks, some health and fitness stuff (like going back to meal planning and doing yoga every day), and the steps I need to take to get back into the social media stuff like I’m supposed to.

I’m actually kind of excited about it. Maybe that’s a strong word. But I put a bunch of stuff in Cozi yesterday, and it’s looking doable.

Already I hit a snag where my husband called and got my out of bed, sending me on a series of errands that took up the whole morning. During the errands I ran into another mom and since we’re supposed to have a heat index of 110 today, we made tentative plans to meet up at the pool this afternoon. So I haven’t done anything on my list today, except laundry and this post I’m typing. But I think that’s okay.

Weight Loss Tip

Big heading! Rather than just babble at you about how I’m trying to get my shit together, I thought I’d try to come up with some of the things that helped me lose weight this year.

My tip of the week is a thought process. Recurring thoughts are habits. Habits don’t automatically start happening just because we decide we should do something differently. Once you start something, it takes time to catch on. But once you’ve repeated the behavior enough times, it becomes something you do rather naturally.

I mean, you all know that right? And that the concept works with things you say to yourself in the same way it works with making you bed when you get out of it or putting your keys in the same place when you walk in the door. (I marvel that there are people in the world with made beds who always know where they keys are. Baby steps.)

So here’s the concept: Extra crap you put into your body becomes extra crap that lives on your body. Yeah, it takes a lot of extra calories to make a whole pound, but a) a pound is nothing to sneeze at, and b) it’s not like it only happens if you eat that many calories in one sitting–it’s cumulative. So when you walk by the cookie jar and grab one–or three–cookies just because they look good, not because you’re even hungry…how much extra you does that add up to in a whole year? Everything that goes in counts.

What I learned to ask myself is: Do I really want to carry that around?

I mean, seriously. If I’m looking at dessert, knowing I’ve already hit the limit of what I need to eat, that stuff is going right to my butt. And forget what it looks like, I have to carry that. Maybe for years! Yeah, maybe it’s looks delicious, but delicious enough to carry for years? On my ass where it no longer looks quite so enticing?

No. Way. I am way too lazy for that.

Yeah, it’s not always easy, but this habit of stopping to think about whether or not I want to make a lifetime commitment with this brownie is sort of a cold shower for me.

I’m not on a diet. I don’t write down what I eat and I only sort of generally estimate calorie intake. It’s not a horrible, regimented thing. This habit is part of a change I went through that means I don’t HAVE to do the hardcore diet thing.

So that’s my tip. Hope it helps.

PS. Today’s my brother’s birthday. If you happen to read, Happy Birthday, Dave!

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GIT Thursday

Not like I need to add another day to a blog schedule I’m already not really keeping, but I’ve been wanting to start talking about some stuff that doesn’t really fit in with the rest of it. Like, in yesterday’s post I mentioned that I’ve dropped several sizes over the course of the year. Kait talks about her commitment to weight loss and getting fit on her blog a lot, calls it Goddess in Training (GIT). And trust me, Kait’s commitment is inspiring. Mine…not so much.

But then, hey, I lost over 15 pounds this year and, like, 35 over the last 7 (my daughter just turned seven so there’s a good marker for when I was the biggest). And I need to give myself credit. I’ve made real changes that made a real difference.

Somehow I’m just figuring that out– that whole idea that the loss, which I’ve kept off all summer, despite ice cream and vacation, is a result of changes I made and applied consistently and not somehow that I’ve been lucky with my weight or it just kind of happened. (If you’ve ever heard that thing where depressed people tend to believe their lives are ruled by outside forces…yeah.)

I live in chaos. In FlyLady land, CHAOS stands for Can’t Have Anybody Over Syndrome, a condition where your home is such a wreck you have to block the door with your body just to sign for a package. Because it’s just that bad, you don’t know where to start, and even if you do blow through and clean it up, everything’s a wreck the next week because you don’t have the habits to keep it up.

So much of “having it together,” it seems to me, is about these habits.

So this morning I was thinking about how I couldn’t have actually worried away 15 pounds. I forget to eat, but I’ve been forgetting to eat for years. I just used to make up for it and then some. So what was the change? Well, there were a bunch, and some of them were changes in how I think about food. More accurately, they were me getting into the habit of THINKING about food rather than just acting on hunger and cravings. About making what I eat a thoughtful decision rather than a whim. Which is less tiresome than it sounds.

So I took control of the eating and it was good. Now if I go back a bit in the blog, I should come to a post in which I think I said that I need to work on changing the way I approach writing. I can’t be depending on things to just come to me, I need to learn to work consistently and believe that the words will come, even when I’m not in the mood. Which sounds a lot like I need to work by thoughtful decision rather than whim.

Hmmm….

The chaos is not just in my house. It’s not just about the amount of pet hair that’s on my floor right now or the dishes I’m pretending aren’t in my sink. It’s in my head. It’s in the fact that I’m so mood dependent that I seem to wait for inspiration to dictate everything I do. When and what I write, if I pick up my house, what I eat…

And hey, it’s non-optimal to say the least.

So maybe what becoming a goddess means to me is taking control over my shit. Which is scary because it feels like planning to become someone entirely different. Kait would tell me to break it down and work on one thing at a time. So I think that’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to try not to think too much on that big picture.

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