Things That F*ck with My Balance-Vol. 1

I’ve been out of commission for the last couple weeks, but I’m finally getting back to blogging.  The 2018 flu hit half of the members of my household, and as many mothers know the workload increases ten fold! This brings me to my 1st volume of Things that Fuck with My Balance.

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Before having children I did not realize the impact that illness would have on my life, my work, my money, etc.  When I was single and got sick, for the most part I would just suck it up and continue life.  I rarely called in sick or even got sick for that matter.

Now, I have to leave work at a moments notice if one of my kids spikes a fever or their poop is too runny.  I am a big planner so this really fucks with my balance to drop everything and leave. I obviously want to run to take care of my child, but I don’t like leaving things left undone.  Also, if you’re a teacher you know that getting work ready for a Substitute is more work than just being at school.

Illness also affects my paycheck.  Fortunately as a teacher I have a lot of time off compared to others, but I still end up using more personal days than what I have available.  This occasionally leaves my paycheck several hundred dollars short.

Enough bitching.  So, how do I find balance amongst the recurrent illness? A positive mindset.  I know that the children get sick in waves, so it will return to normal.  My son was sick often the first year he attended daycare, but now is rarely sick.  So, I know that my daughter will soon (hopefully) be in the same boat.  Now, a husband getting sick… there is no good advice for that.  Just grin and bear it!

These times that unexpected illness or other trauma come into your life, just survive! Don’t worry about getting a workout in everyday or cooking the perfect meal.  Just make it through without any damage, and know you can return to normal soon enough.

Me Time

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Once you become a parent, you read often about how you need to take care of yourself in order to take better care of others.  “You can’t fill from an empty cup” and all that.  Here are some ways that I take care of me.

Podcasts

I haven’t been able to find a lot of time to read anymore.  Mainly because I fall asleep if I sit down anytime after 8pm.  I have found my love for podcasts.  There are so many topics available, that I can use them for educational and/or entertainment purposes.  I also have the time to listen to them because I can play them in the car when my son is occupied (by DVD’s…. #momguilt).  Here are some of my favorites:

The Bobby Bones Show– I have listened to this morning radio show since 2004 when they were in Austin, TX.  The past several years they have been in Nashville, TN and are centered around Country music.  I don’t listen to Country music, but I love hearing about the host’s personal lives and experiences.

Half Size Me– Heather is the host that has lost an extreme amount of weight.  She shares her experiences, and has guests that share their weight loss experiences or health/fitness expertise.  I have learned quite a bit about fat loss, weight lifting, and mindset through her podcast.

True Crime Podcasts- Some great binge-worthy true crime stories that you probably have heard of are SerialS-Town, and Dirty John.  If you haven’t listened to these, run do not walk to download!

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Babysitters

I fortunately have a lot of family that live close to me that will take care of my kids for a few hours or occasionally overnight.  I am also a high school teacher, so I have access to several teenagers that I can ask to babysit.  I am a little bit of a control freak about my kids and their routines, so I don’t have other people watch them very often.  I have to remind myself that if I need “me time” or more time with my husband that I need to use the help that I can get.  It gives me a little refresher or time to relax in order to be better when I return to my mom role.

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Plan Ahead

I am a big planner and fan of to-do lists, so I will continually recommend finding ways to plan ahead.  Sundays are my days to meal prep, clean and organize my house, and plan for the week.  I have found that if I plan out my meals for the next week, prepare a grocery list, cook and clean in bulk that I can get more time during the week for my family and for ME.

How do you find ME time? And… please share any podcasts that you love.  I am always looking for new ones!

Ringing in the New Year-Part II

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Becoming more fit, healthy and/or losing weight are the more popular New Year’s resolutions.  Don’t fall victim to the many quick fix plans, even scams that will be prevalent.  Here are some tips on what you SHOULD do to make change towards these type of resolutions.

One Step at a Time

Don’t try to go from 0 to 60 starting January 1st! Start by making one change at a time.  This can be difficult because the gratification will not be instant, but you will be happier when the next New Year’s rolls around. If you eat fast food frequently, try to reduce the number of times you go each week.  If you are not doing any exercise currently, try to go walking a couple of times each week.  Once you achieve that goal, move the frequency or difficulty up.  If you try to be perfect and change all your habits at once, you may find yourself giving up soon.  Even with these small changes you may start to see progress, just keep moving up to the next step of more nutritious choices and more movement.

Frequent, Small Goals

When you crash diet, you may see change quickly.  It is hard to go from that to less frequent milestones.  If you start to implement these smaller changes, you may find it helpful to create small goals for yourself.  If you reach the small goals it could keep your interest for longer.  Small goals could be exercising 3x that week, not eating fast food for a certain period of time, going out to eat and not going off plan, fitting into a certain clothing item, etc.  It is best to not have scale related goals because so many factors can influence your body weight.  Once you have achieved these small goals you have set, find a reward that you look forward to but will also not derail your progress.

Consistently Consistent

This tip has made the most significant impact for myself in losing over 75 pounds after my first pregnancy, and now losing about 45 pounds (still in progress) after my second pregnancy.  If I made any mistakes in my “diet” in the past I would just give up by bingeing that day or week or who knows how long.  Being consistent in eating well and working out or getting right back on that horse is key.  Now if I go off plan, I get right back to it or I adjust the rest of the day to accommodate for what I ate.

What do you do to create habit change?

Ringing in the New Year-Part I

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The new year is approaching, and many quick fixes and fad diets will be coming along as well! Here are some tips on what to AVOID with the influx of quackery this New Year.

“Good” and “Bad” Foods

A red flag for many fad diets is to eliminate a certain food or an entire food group.  Others will market a certain food as a cure-all.  Many people will find that programs like this work for them, but the problem is how long will it work?  I do not think it is necessary to eliminate foods, but better to plan when you want to incorporate them.  Many Health and Fitness Professional will promote a 80/20 or 90/10 rule, where you eat “healthy” 80-90% of the time and fit in treats 10-20% of the time.  I have personally found this to be a concept I can stick to long-term, and it make those treats even more delicious!

“In (insert number) days you will…”

21 days, 30 days, 60 days, and so on…. If there is a time limit, what is it really telling you? Can you really lose all the fat you want in that amount of time? Is it fat that you’re losing? What will happen after the 30 days? Will you gain it all back? These are the things you need to ask yourself when a time limit is attached, and especially when a specific number of pounds is advertised.  I have had more success when I have implemented long-term habit changes consistently over time.

2018 and Beyond!

According to Business Insider, “80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February”.  Don’t fall into these quick fix traps! Use the above tips, and ask yourself  if it is something you can do long-term before you proceed.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Come back for Part II where I provide some tips on WHAT TO DO, since we have now identified what to AVOID.  Is there anything else you think others should avoid?

 

Luncheons and Parties and Banquets, Oh My!

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The holidays themselves pose a lot of problems for those on a weight loss journey.  Being a teacher this time of year serves even more difficulty.  My department had a luncheon last week, we have school-wide gatherings next week, and then the students will start to give treats to their teachers before they leave for the break.  I have come up with a few strategies for myself to implement this year…

Keep on Movin’

I am doing the Kelsey Byers’ Merry Fitness Challenge until December 24th.  My goal is to not miss a workout for the entire challenge, and then find another program to start December 26th.  I have found in the past that if I splurge, I will just write the day off and keep eating and stop exercising.  Even if I have a few extra treats, I still need to workout in the way that I set out to do.  I used to be of the mindset that if I messed up, I would just give up until the next week.  I’m not sure what I was thinking, because when you really think about it logically it makes absolutely no sense!

Be Prepared

When I indulge, I usually choose foods that are bready, fruity, chocolatey or cheesy.  This skyrockets my fat and sugar intake.  In order to combat this, I need to meal prep all of my meals outside of the parties.  These meals need to provide sufficient protein and more veggies.  My goal is to offset some of the holiday treats and not derail myself from any progress I have made.

Treat Yo’ Self

It is inevitable to avoid ALL treats (at least for me).  So, I will make a plan on how and when I will indulge.  I may allow myself one dessert, or eat whatever I want on one plate without seconds.  When I eat something sugary I rarely can just eat one serving, so I really have to watch myself.  Even when an unplanned goody comes across my desk, I need to stop and think about how I can include it.  The goal is to avoid mindless eating!

Stick To It

All of the above strategies will work for me, but only if I stick to them! Planning is key, but following through with those plans is what creates real change.  A way that I can help myself stick with a plan is by telling someone else.  This creates accountability, knowing that if I tell my husband then I can prove it to more than just myself.

What strategies do you use to keep yourself in check?