Paying Down Debt

Today’s post will be pretty short as I don’t really have a whole lot to report… Last night I did have a little excitement because I found something on the menu at Olive Garden that is Whole30 compliant! Grilled salmon topped with herbs and olive oil and a side of steamed broccoli. I really hope there’s nothing else added to it besides the herbs and olive oil… I checked the nutrition and allergy guide before going, and none of the major no-nos were checked, so I believe I should be in the clear. (I know I probably should have asked at the restaurant just to be sure, but it was honestly the only thing on the menu I could have, so I didn’t really want to know at that point…) It was farm raised salmon, so not as healthy as it could be, but as an occasional meal, I am ok with it. The boyfriend’s family seems to really like Olive Garden, and I hate always having to make them choose someplace else because of me, so I’m glad I was able to find something.

I did restart the Blogilates Beginner Calendar today, and I can already feel the burn pretty much all over my body. It’s amazing how quickly you lose your conditioning when you move to being a couch potato! I’ve done the first workout probably 10 times now, and it had been getting much easier. I could actually almost keep up with her, but now, I have to keep resting again. It kind of sucks, but it’s definitely more motivation to get back in the game!

And my final (and probably most exciting!) news is that I worked the numbers today, and I’m going to be able to pay off my first student loan next month!!! I still have a way to go yet, but it’s so encouraging to actually feel like I’m making some progress. It sucks having to say no to vacations and going out all the time, but that high you get from paying off a debt is so worth it!

If you’re feeling like your finances are out of control, or you are just sick of making payments every month, I definitely recommend checking out Financial Peace University or at the very least reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. In it, he walks you through what he calls the Seven Baby Steps for getting out of debt and building wealth. It’s amazing how much money I was able to find every month just by paying attention to where I was spending it. I feel like I sound like a commercial right now, but really, I’ve just gained so much from the program that I’m just really excited to share! 🙂

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today… Anything exciting going on in your life? Feel free to share below!

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2 Weeks of Lazy

My days seem to be getting away from me lately. It has happened on more than one occasion where I’ll be talking about something that happened “just the other day” only to realize it was actually a couple months ago. I don’t know what it is… Maybe because nothing really exciting or out of the ordinary has been happening lately? Who knows… Anyway, I kept thinking it had only been a couple days since my last post, but when I logged in this morning, I realized it has actually been 2 weeks! How did that happen?!

For some reason for the last couple weeks, I have been feeling super lazy. Every day when I came home from work, I had a list of things I wanted to get done, but it was like I’d step foot in the door, and all my ambition would go away. I felt tired and bored, so I’d scrape something together for dinner, and then plop down on the couch for some TV and internet surfing. It’s been kind of frustrating because the Whole30 is supposed to be giving me boundless energy, isn’t it?

I’m guessing it’s probably something to do with laziness begets laziness. I allowed myself a couple days to just relax and do nothing because I was feeling exhausted, and then that became my routine. I was ok with it at first, but after a while, it felt like something I really didn’t want but couldn’t help. After almost 2 weeks, I finally told myself that enough was enough, and I made a goal of accomplishing only one thing on my to do list, and that was enough to get me back into gear. My one thing ended up being two things, and then the following night, I accomplished a few more things. Friday night was laundry night, so I did all of that and came home and put it all away instead of leaving it in the basket. Then yesterday morning before I left, I cleaned my house and finally put away all my Christmas decorations. I feel so much better now that I’ve actually accomplished something instead of wasting my time. Hopefully I’ll keep up the momentum!

Since I was feeling so lazy lately, I didn’t keep up with my moving at least 10 minutes a day goal. I haven’t really done any intentional exercise since Monday two weeks ago. I’m going to have to restart the Blogilates beginner calendar. That’s ok though. I realize that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I’m not a failure for not doing 10 minutes a day. I’m just going to pick it right back up and move on.

I have been keeping up with eating Whole30 though! I’m on day 25 and still going strong! I’ve had a couple moments where I ate something and then realized there was added sugar in it, but I decided in both of those instances that I wasn’t going to start over. It was an honest mistake, and I’m over my sugar cravings, so the tiny amount I had didn’t send me to the nearest candy aisle. If it was something else that could be an irritant, I might consider it, but because it was just sugar, I don’t think it really matters. If it happened earlier in my Whole30 when I was still beating my sugar dragon into remission, that might be another story… I just read a post on the Whole30 site that talked about starting over, and I think that for me not starting over is the right decision.

Other than my laziness, I’ve been feeling pretty great! I can tell I’m not losing weight as quickly as I did on my first Whole30, and that’s kind of frustrating, but I have still lost quite a bit already. I am sure it’s due to the fact that I have been eating way more fruit than I did last time. That’s going to be a new goal for me going forward… well it is more like a new conviction to a goal I already set for myself. I’m going to only eat one serving of fruit a day and make sure I eat at least two servings of vegetables with every meal, one of which will be green.

On an unrelated note… I’ve been getting the urge again lately to go through and get rid of a ton of stuff. I did that last summer, and it felt awesome. I was really good at not bringing anything new into the house for a while, but then the junk started to creep its way back in. After I cleaned yesterday morning, I felt kind of frustrated because, while it looked better than it did before I started, it still didn’t look truly clean because of all the clutter. I think I might make that a project. Every night I’m going to go through one room and get rid of everything I don’t truly need.

So that’s what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks… nothing too exciting. Anyone else feeling lazy lately? How do you kick yourself out of a lazy slump?

Little Wins

I had planned on posting a little something every day, but the last couple days have been pretty hectic. Even though I was really busy, I don’t have much exciting to write about them. Friday I worked, went grocery shopping, and then stopped by my parents’ house to do some laundry. Super exciting… Then Saturday I got up, worked out, met up with some friends for coffee, and then went to my boyfriend’s house. Again, it was a good time, but doesn’t really leave time for writing, and really there wasn’t a ton to write about. I did have fun catching up with my friends though. I only get to see them about once a month, sometimes longer, but it’s always really fun to see them and share our stories. 🙂

I will heartily admit that up to this point, I haven’t been using the Whole30 exactly as intended. My intention when I first started it was to do the 30 days and then slowly reintroduce the foods that were eliminated as a way to really figure out what does and does not work for my body. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve had some digestive issues among other things, and I wanted to use the Whole30 as a way to really figure out what was causing it. Anyway, I wanted to do the slow reintroduction, but with my last two attempts, I always had something going on right as I was ending them (actually it was the reason I was ending them), that made me just jump right back into my old ways. This really hasn’t helped me figure out what it is that I can’t eat because I started eating everything right away.

Even though as a whole, I haven’t been fine tuning what I should and shouldn’t eat, I have discovered a couple of life-changing things.

  1.  I can’t eat eggs. I’m not sure what it is about eggs, but every time I eat them, within probably 15-30 minutes, I am in serious pain. I get terrible stomach cramps and nausea. It gets so bad that all I can do is curl up in a ball and wait it out. The last time it happened, I was at work, and I couldn’t function. I just curled up in my chair clutching my stomach, nearly in tears. My coworkers around me said I looked like I was in pain, and I was ghostly white. I don’t seem to have issue with foods that contain egg, but maybe that’s just because it’s not in a high enough dose? I used to get terrible stomach pains like that all the time, and I could never figure out what was causing it. Ever since I gave up eggs, I haven’t had an issue with it even once.
  2. I’m pretty sure I’m lactose intolerant. After I would eat certain dairy containing foods, I would always get stomach aches. I never really put two and two together until doing the Whole30. I think for me it’s pretty mild unless I eat dairy products in conjunction with high levels of other sugars-think ice cream or cookies and milk, etc. Again, when the dairy products are in other things, it doesn’t seem to be an issue. What really cements the idea for me is that since starting the Whole30, I’ve had a couple of days where I didn’t get much sleep the previous night, and I was just dragging the next day. I needed a little boost of energy, so I decided to have coffee. I was really worried about it because coffee almost always gives me a stomach ache after I drink it, and I was worried that without the cream and sugar it would be that much worse. I decided to just give it a go and deal with the consequences, but they never came. Not even a little. So I’m pretty sure it’s the cream and sugar added to the coffee that upsets my stomach and not the coffee itself.

So anyway, that knowledge is one of the preliminary benefits I’ve gained from the Whole30 thus far. If you’re on the Whole30, have you had any aha moments like mine?


Wins:

  • I went out for coffee with my friends, and they all had yummy looking treats and fancy coffees, but I stuck with my black coffee and was totally ok with it. 🙂
  • I have gotten my 10+ minutes of activity in every day this week.

Tomorrow’s mini goal:

  • As I have failed up to this point… not hitting snooze more than once. 😉

Gratitude:

  • I am thankful to have such great friends that even though we don’t get together as much as we all would like, when we do, it’s always a great time and feels like no time at all has passed.

 

Relinquishing Control

I’ll just start off by saying yesterday’s mini goal (hitting snooze no more than once) definitely didn’t happen. Lol. I could not sleep at all last night and ended up getting only about 3.5-4 hours total of very fitful sleep. The reason I couldn’t sleep is because for the last couple of days I have just been a big ball of anxiety. I can’t really say what I’ve been anxious about right now, but it’s not even something I can control. I’ve been worrying about all the little what-ifs and going straight to the worst possible outcome, and it’s just been driving me crazy.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night, and it was lights out by 9:45. I then laid awake in bed tossing and turning for about an hour until I decided to get up and do some research to try and put my mind at ease. I did that for about 15-20 minutes and then it was lights out again. About 15 minutes later, I thought of a couple other things I wanted to look up, so I did that quick, and it was lights out again. I still couldn’t sleep, so I got up and made a checklist of all the things I wanted to do to help ease my anxiety toward this situation. That helped quite a bit, and I felt a little of the anxiety slip away because I felt like I had a solid plan. Finally around 2 a.m., I was able to lay down with my mind somewhat calm.

How often do you find yourself in that situation? For me, this was the first time in quite a while that I’ve had a sleepless night like that due to anxiety. What really finally calmed me down was honestly kind of having a heart to heart with myself. I just thought about it and was like why are you freaking out over these things that you can’t control? YOU CAN’T CONTROL THEM! Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen, and all you can control is yourself and your thoughts, feelings, and actions, so figure out a way to get those in check, and you’ll be fine.

That was when I sat down and made the checklist. I thought about exactly what it was that was getting me so upset and figured out what about the situation was in my control. From there I came up with a list of things that I could do to make sure that I really take care of everything I have control over. Then whatever happens, happens, and even if the worst case scenario happens, I’ll have peace because I’ll know I did everything I could do.

This was an exceptional scenario for me as usually I’m pretty well able to keep my anxiety in check. When I start to feel anxious about something, I usually go through a process. Depending on how anxious or stressed out I am, I may only need to do a couple of the steps below. I don’t always do them in order either, but almost always, once I’ve gotten to the exercise step, I can think a lot more clearly and feel much more calm.

  1. Deep breathing-just what it sounds like. When I start to feel anxiety coming on, I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. Often this is plenty to avoid the anxiety.
  2. Putting things into perspective-Similar to what I described above, I tend to think about what exactly it is that I’m getting upset/stressed/anxious about and try to think about why I’m getting upset/stressed/anxious about it. Sometimes just the simple act of thinking about it makes it seem a lot smaller.
  3. Making lists/doing research-I’m a very analytical person, so when I get upset, after I’ve figured out what it is that is causing my anxiety and put it into perspective, I research everything I can about the situation or ways I can alleviate it, fix it, or work through it. I like to make lists-checklists, pro/con lists, detailed plans… you name it. This usually helps me because I feel like I need to be in control a lot, so when I am faced with a situation I can’t control, I get nervous. Figuring out all the ways I can take control of or influence a situation really helps me.
  4. Progressive relaxation/meditation-I learned this in college, and it is probably the biggest thing that has stuck with me since I graduated sadly. I took a relaxation class where we learned about progressive relaxation and meditation as ways to alleviate stress. Meditation is just quiet focusing to help make you more mindful and calm. There are many, many different types, but basically they all tell you to focus on something-often your breathing. This helps get your mind off of the 90 million things you need to deal with for just a moment and calm yourself. Progressive relaxation is a type of meditation where you focus on different parts of your body and slowly relax every muscle until your whole body is soft and relaxed. Then you breathe deeply and focus on your breathing. I do progressive relaxation on nights when I’m having trouble sleeping and it usually works to put me right to sleep.
  5. Yoga or any kind of exercise-This one’s pretty self explanatory.

Anyway, that’s my process. How do you deal with stress?


 

Today’s wins:

  • I felt really focused at work today despite only functioning on a couple hours of sleep.
  • I successfully completed my first week of Whole30!

Tomorrow’s mini goal:

  • Hitting snooze no more than once. (Hopefully tonight I’ll be able to sleep!)

Gratitude:

  • I am thankful I live in an age where information is easily accessible. It comes in so handy. 🙂

Going Overboard

The last couple days I’ve been getting pretty frustrated with a group that I follow on Facebook. Well, I should take that back; I’ve been getting frustrated with some of the people in the group. The group is a Whole30 recipe group where people are supposed to share recipes and cooking tips pertaining to Whole30, and I really like that part of it. My biggest frustration is the sheer number of people posting pictures of the ingredients for a particular food item and asking, “Can I have this?”

Now I understand asking about trickier ingredients that you may not know or generalized ingredients such as “spices” or “natural flavor,” but I’ve seen people posting items that have zero questionable ingredients-both compliant and non-compliant. All this says to me is that you really don’t understand the program and need to go back to the source. Seriously. There is an exhaustive list on the Whole30 website that says what you can and can’t have, but even without that, they tell you exactly which groups you shouldn’t be eating during your Whole30.

Additionally, I have become really frustrated with the conspiracy theorists who keep telling people that you can’t have anything with “spices” or “natural flavor” because you don’t know what exactly is in it. I’m going to let you in on a little secret… It doesn’t matter! Why doesn’t it matter? Because of the FDA regulations on food labeling. According to the regulations, all ingredients must be listed on the package by weight unless they are one of a couple exempt items such as the aforementioned “spices” and “natural flavors.” Further digging provides the regulations on what exactly can be labeled under these umbrella names, and they are all Whole30 compliant. (With the exception of dairy possibly used as a natural flavor, but according to Melissa at Whole30, it won’t negatively affect your Whole30.)

After getting so frustrated with all the false information floating around on this group, I crafted a well thought out post about FDA regulations and food labeling linking back to my sources (mostly the FDA website). After posting, someone commented “practice as opposed to law,” which I think meant just because it’s law doesn’t mean companies will follow it. Which, to be honest, irritated me even further. In all fairness, yes, a company could slide something into a product and not list it on the ingredients list, and we’d be none the wiser, but they could do that regardless of whether or not “spices” is on the label.

Here’s where I take the biggest issue. We’re all adults here and we make our own decisions, so it’s totally up to you not to eat something because you are worried about hidden ingredients, but propagating paranoia and misinformation is really unfair. I know there are people in the group who are new to Whole30 and don’t have a full grasp on the rules yet, and telling them they can’t eat things that they actually can will likely make them really frustrated with the whole thing. We have to draw the line somewhere otherwise there won’t be anything left to eat!

There is no way to say with 100% certainty that what you are eating is the absolute most wholesome nutritious thing you could possibly be eating or that there isn’t something hidden in your food. At some point we just have to learn to trust. Are there companies out there unscrupulous enough to hide something in your food? Without a doubt, but you’ll go crazy worrying about it. All you can do is go by the information you’re given and make the best possible choices based on that.

*Deep breath out* …and rant over… 🙂


Wins:

  • Stuck to my food goals all day. I’ve been eating too much fruit this past week, so I decided to limit my intake to one serving a day, and I did it today. 🙂 I’ve also made it a personal rule that I have to eat one green veggie with every meal, and I haven’t been following that until today. 🙂
  • I got my workout in right away after work even though I ended up staying longer than I wanted to.

Tomorrow’s mini goal: (I decided to change this part to make it something more relevant and actionable. It’s now going to be something that I can do tomorrow to improve my life.)

  • I will hit snooze no more than one time.

Gratitude:

  • I am thankful that even though my house is as cold as a refrigerator right now, I have a place to keep warm and sheltered from the real cold outside.

Wins and Losses

I really don’t have a whole lot to say today, but I want to get into the habit of writing something every day, so bear with me. Today was really pretty uneventful. I tried to get up at 5 again this morning, but as soon as my alarm went off, my brain was like nope… I said ok, I’ll just snooze it once, and then once more, and just one last time… until it was 45 minutes later. 🙂

I’m beginning to think this whole morning exercise thing just isn’t for me. I would just give it up, but I have less excuse first thing in the morning. When I get home from work oftentimes I feel exhausted, and the last thing I really want to do is work out. I’ve been pretty good with making sure to get my workout in after work the last couple days, but I’m usually pretty good in the beginning.

Diet wise, I did pretty well today. I cooked up a Whole30 compliant sausage, some green beans, and some carrots for breakfast, and I had the last of my leftover lazy pot roast with some carrots and potatoes and a green salad with oil and vinegar for lunch. I was feeling a little snacky in the morning, so I had an apple. For dinner I am making Paleo Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. 🙂 I’m excited! I found the recipe earlier this afternoon, and I had all the ingredients on hand… That never happens!

Ok now to explain the title of this post… I decided that I want to be more mindful every day, and I came up with a plan that every day I’m going to write down some wins, things I can learn from, and something I am grateful for every day. I really think writing down the day’s wins and things I can learn from/work on will help me focus on my goals. The gratitude piece comes from an article I read a while back about how people who express gratitude are more satisfied and happy with their lives. Not that I’m unhappy with my life, but I have my off days like everyone else.

Wins:

  • I stayed compliant with my Whole30 even though there has been even more candy and baked goods in the office lately.
  • I got home and immediately did my workout.

Work On:

  • Getting up earlier or at least not hitting snooze so much

Thankful for:

  • I am thankful for the fact that I have access to wholesome, nutritious foods.

New Year’s Goals

I always say that I hate New Year’s Resolutions, but yet every year I find myself setting goals for the new year. Sometimes I feel like I’m being hypocritical because what’s the difference really? But to me, I think New Year’s resolutions are the lofty goals people set for themselves without a real action plan to back it up. Oftentimes they come as a whole list of things someone wants to change about themselves, but they just aren’t realistic.

When I was younger (probably teen years), I used to make these long lists of everything that I wanted to achieve in the new year, and it often looked something like this:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Be more outgoing
  3. Do more nice things for people
  4. Save money

And while these are all good goals, they’re all very lofty, and they’re not SMART. (SMART goals, if you are unfamiliar, are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely-or have a set time constraint.) When I would try and do all the things on my list, I’d follow the path that most people tend to follow, and I’d only make it a few weeks before I became burned out! I was always trying to do too much, and my heart just really wasn’t in it. Making a real change in habit takes a lot of work and a game plan. That’s where goals come in…

I started to realize that I just couldn’t do all the things I wanted to do all at once and be successful, so at the end of every year, I start to look back on the year that’s coming to a close and think about all the things I did that I was proud of, and what things I could really work on. I come up with a big list, and then I think about what I would have to do to make each one happen. Oftentimes, the work I’d have to do just doesn’t seem worth it for what I’d be gaining-at least not at this moment. In this way, I whittle away all the wishful goals and get down into the things I really want to and am able to make happen.

This year I had several ideas float around like getting back into running, getting back into photography, learning a new language, etc. but I decided to focus on eating better and moving more. Obviously those aren’t very SMART goals, so what does each one look like written as a SMART goal?

Eating Better-I am going to follow the Whole30 eating plan for 60 days followed by a slow reintroduction of the foods eliminated to determine how certain foods affect my body. After the 60 days are up, I am going to follow a mostly Paleo diet consisting of whole, unprocessed foods. I will allow myself to indulge in “worth it” foods on occasion as long as they are completely worth it and/or for a special occasion and don’t happen too often (probably more than once a week).

Moving More-I am going to make sure to get at least 10 minutes of activity every day. It doesn’t matter what the activity is as long as it gets me moving for at least 10 minutes a day. My activity focus is going to be on more of the things I already know I enjoy like dancing, Pilates, and yoga instead of trying to make myself do things I know I don’t like such as running and lifting. I am starting by completing the Blogilates beginners’ workout calendar and then moving on to her more challenging workouts.

So far I have been doing pretty well with my goals… sort of… I am on day 5 of my Whole60, and my energy is starting to go up. My cravings are starting to fade away too. Every once in a while I’ll get a huge craving for something very specific (like the Diet Pepsi I was dying to have on my ride home from work tonight!), but I just distract myself or drink some water, and it usually goes away within a couple minutes. I have been pretty sick since December 30, so I had some medicine that wasn’t technically compliant, and I had been sucking on cough drops for the past 3 days. I really tried to hold out as long as I could, but the remedies I’ve seen out there that are compliant didn’t really do much. I was feeling so crappy that I just decided it was worth it to me to have a few cough drops. Technically compliant? No, but I honestly don’t care when I’m that sick.

As far as the workouts are going? Well, that’s another story… Again because I was so sick, I had zero energy. I took a shower on Saturday morning, and I was so exhausted by the end of my 15 minute shower that I had to lay on the floor for a few minutes before I could towel off. Then when I finally managed to get enough energy to get my towel and get out of the bathroom, I had to lay down on my bed for about 20 minutes to fully recover. Needless to say, a workout wasn’t going to happen! I did manage to get one in today, and I’m already feeling it!

The biggest thing that is going to help me achieve my goals is planning ahead. I am most successful with sticking to my goals when I think them through ahead of time. I have been scheduling my workouts and sitting down every week to create a meal plan. For the meal plans, I make sure to incorporate dishes I can make more easily as well as backup dinners in case something comes up and I can’t stick to my plan.

So anyway, those are my goals for the new year, and I plan to make them happen. What are some of yours? How are you making sure you are successful?