Reenergized and Motivated

After eating really healthy and working out for over two months I felt so frustrated that I had hit a complete plateau. I was saying to myself, “How much less can I possibly eat?”. I already felt like I was barely eating anything, especially since my schedule means that I often don’t eat lunch at all. So once I had finished my last semester and went on a small vacation I started off good, but by the end of it I was so fed up and feeling burnt out that I started eating poorly. I have to admit there are times in my weight loss journey where I wonder what the difference is in eating clean and eating junk, because either way I wasn’t losing any weight! But after eating poorly for about two weeks now, I have the answer to that question. There is a huge difference. Since I have been eating complete rubbish again I have noticed that I feel foggy, unable to concentrate and more than anything, I just feel lazy and disappointed in myself. Even though I wasn’t losing weight as fast as I wanted to, I should have reevaluated my goals and readjusted what wasn’t working. That’s what you do with any plan. You observe your progress along the way, and anything that isn’t working you have to go in and figure out why. Then you implement a better approach to produce real results. When I look back there are a lot of things I could have improved upon. I recently found a really inspiring blogger called The DMMD Lifestyle Revolution http://dmmddiet.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/weekly-photo-update-week-7/ and he conducted an SWOT analysis on himself. I thought it was a really useful tool in analyzing the efficiency and progress of your goals. So I’m going to try it here myself and I actually found that some of my answers were the same as his.

Strengths

  • Past success with losing weight.
  • Determination to succeed.
  • Available resources to aid in exercise and a healthy diet (free gym, beautiful suburb to walk in, my juicer, steamer, e.t.c….)
  • A partner that often helps support me to succeed.

Weaknesses

  • Not having a set schedule.
  • Having a dog that doesn’t walk well.
  • Anxiety.

Opportunities

  • Make time to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Make exercise a priority.
  • Lead by example.
  • Eat lighter meals for dinner.

Threats

  • Living with someone who also has their own vices.
  • Anxiety
  • Work overload with school and work.

When I look at this I really realize that I have all the resources to achieve my goal, but I let little things hold me back. I don’t want to say that not living in a completely supportive environment is holding me back. The first time I lost the weight I absolutely did not have a supportive environment. My family and friends weren’t into fitness or healthy food and I actually lost a lot of my friends because they didn’t like that I was losing weight. But I was so dedicated that I focused on my goal and just did it. My mum actually said to me afterwards that she was really inspired by my dedication because I would not let anything get in my way. And now even though my husband isn’t totally into health and fitness like me, I shouldn’t let that hold me back. I think when you’re married or even living with your partner it’s easy to engage in mutually destructive behavior. You justify each other’s actions, and it becomes difficult to separate yourself from them and do your own thing. But I am the only one responsible for my actions and I need to do what I have to do. Even though life would be so much easier with a life coach and a fitness coach 24/7 that is not the reality for most people. We have to be our own life and fitness coach.

My brother shared this video on Facebook today and it really got me motivated to get back into this and turn it up. I must admit that I feel kind of lame for not being able to come on here and say, hey I lost all the weight now, and I’ve arrived. I think the reality with most goals and journey’s is that, it takes time, persistence and dedication. I like other bloggers and people losing weight have made significant progress. Katie Foley from Bringing my Sexy Back did her 5K marathon in Boston which was awesome (http://katiefoley11.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/5k-success/), Rebecca from Healthy Intentions is significantly building up her stamina (http://healthywithintent.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/still-trucking-along/), The DMMD Lifestyle Revolution continues to see weight loss and fitness progress (http://dmmddiet.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/day-52-sub-15-minute-mile/), and even I am able to do more weights and more squats than I ever have and lost 20lbs.  So I may not be where i wan’t to be yet, but I haven’t given up.

This is a short video about the beauty of hard work and dedication.

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Commit To Health, Wherever You Are

…persistent psychological and sensory stimuli lead to what Kessler terms “conditioned hypereating,” – David Kessler , The End of Overeating

I have read quite a number of books about health and nutrition, and also seen a few documentaries about veganism, vegetarianism, and the farming industry. All of these things tell you about how we have been pushed towards more artificial foods with various marketing tactics. Bright packaging and uniform products. But yesterday when my husband and I were doing our grocery shopping at Walmart, which we rarely do, I really saw the reality of this. Walmart is definitely a great example of a huge warehouse full of brightly packaged, uniform, artificial crap. But it’s affordable and convenient crap. It was just interesting to me because like I said, I don’t really crave junk food anymore and have really moved into a more healthy way of life. When I was in Walmart though, all that bright, colorful packaging was honestly getting to me. They sell so many different types of candy, ice cream, cookies, chips, and other rubbish food. I was seeing that my mind was going to that place that wanted to justify eating that stuff, “just for today” and I really had to stop it before it got too far. I read a really great book called “The End of Overeating” by David Kessler, and one tip he gives is to not let yourself even entertain the idea of eating rubbish. He says that once the thought is in your head, it is very difficult to stop. It is better to visualize a big STOP sign and think of something else. That entire book is amazing, and explains how restaurants come up with menu items that cause people to become literally addicted, and needing more. Places like Cheesecake Factory and other huge chains have scientists creating menus based off of the knowledge that the more sugar, fat and carbs you put in a meal, the more people become addicted and crave more.

 

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To be honest, just looking around at the usual clientele of Walmart was enough to deter me from filling our cart with artificial food. I know that sounds mean, but you really look around and see a lot of obese people and then look into their carts and see jumbo sized boxes of chips, and economy sized tubs of ice-cream, with numerous bottles of soda. I just thought to myself, this is just absolute crap. Why would you put this artificially made rubbish with created colors and flavors into your body? I will admit I am definitely not perfect and I don’t eat like a perfect healthy person 24/7, but I just have not eaten that stuff for so long now that now it just looks foreign. When you look around though, the produce and meat sections with fresh food are rubbery, old and wilting. But then they have isles and isles of frozen and prepackaged food. It’s almost like they are pushing you to eat rubbish, instead of real food. I wasn’t able to find fresh asparagus, zucchini or the herbs I needed because they were all wilted.

I just want to say though that when you are really committed to being healthy, you can find healthy options no matter where you are. I was surrounded by very visually appealing boxes of sugar and carb laden food. I was even intrigued by the boxes of Hostess products, and I’ve never even eaten their food! They have apparently brought back Twinkies and whatever else it is they sell, and I found myself wanting to eat it. But, I’ve found that it’s key to remain conscious of what it is your eating. You have to look at what you’re buying and think, “Is this food, or is this like me buying drugs to give myself a high?”

This is part of what my groceries ended up being from Walmart. I also bought tuna, shrimp and tuna.IMG_3122

It just shows that even though it can be more difficult and expensive, you can find real, healthy food wherever you are. I would rather eat cherries and peaches, than eat a cocktail of carbs, fat and sugar dyed with color #4. It just leads to a vicious cycle of addiction where you are either craving salt and carbs, or sugar, over and over again. IMG_3105IMG_3109Walmart did have a good selection of tuna though, and I made a pretty yummy tuna salad today. They had different kinds with jalapeño and curry, but then again I am all about spicy food. I have really been liking putting green onions in my salads lately too. IMG_3098

Don’t fall into the trap of stimulating and visually appealing food. Wherever you are you can find healthier options. When you are really committed to being healthy and achieving a goal, you seek out what you need and ignore distractions. Remain conscious of what you are actually eating, and pick food as though you are picking vitamins and nutrients for your body. I think it’s terrible to let the industrial food production methods of our time trap us into a cycle of being addicted to poisonous food that has led to heightened rates of obesity and related health disorders and deaths.

Even though it’s silly because I’m no one big, I want to mention that I am not being endorsed to push David Kessler’s book, The End of Overeating. I bought it about 4 years ago and it is one of the best books you can read about the food industry and the science behind addiction. I am always a big believer of science rather than simple opinion by any random author. So I definitely appreciate the science and studies described in his book. Check it out if you can! You will never look at those big food chains the same way ever again!

 

 

 

The Beauty of Rejection

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In one of my previous posts I mentioned that I had a job interview with a bank. I have been wanting to work at a bank for a while because I thought it would be great experience to work for one of America’s largest bank’s. That job interview was with the bank I really wanted, and in the best location. After 3 interviews that I thought all went really well, I got a rejection email last week. I was pretty gutted because it was a blow to the ego. Everything seemed so perfect, and I thought I did so well. It was also my first mature, “grown-up” interview where I had to wear a suit. It felt very cutthroat as well, and I was the only girl there. I am always really friendly and smile at people, but let me tell you, none of the other guys were smiling back at me. The guys were pretty much sitting in the waiting area sizing each other up. Thankfully I was the second interviewee so that amazing muscle flexing experience was short lived. Anyhow, the rejection email was worded pretty poorly in my opinion, especially when I study business communication as part of my degree. The email pretty much read something like, “After having a look at you, we’ve decided we don’t want to see you here anymore.” Okay that’s obviously not what it said, but it’s what it felt like. It really said, “After carefully observing your performance during all interviews, we have decided to continue searching for other candidates.” Yeah…see where my sarcasm came from now? I feel that this is a time where I can use the abbreviation, WTF.

So, naturally I went through the various stages of acceptance. Denial. Anger. Bargaining; wondering how to convince them to hire me anyway. Then finally, acceptance. Coming from a family where depression is genetic, I do not allow myself to wallow in pity or feel like a victim…for very long. Basically, I just didn’t understand why this amazing, perfect opportunity came my way, only to blow up in my face. But, I didn’t want to see it like that, I wanted to understand why I would attract something like that, only for it to fall as quickly as it rose. It didn’t make sense. It seemed to be the next logical step into how my goals were unravelling in perfect succession.

While this was just an entry level position at a bank, it was a minor insight into the reality of the financial world. The interview process, the people I dealt with, the expectations, all of it really opened my eyes up to what this world was really like. I have worked most of my teen years helping my dad run his restaurant, and then I managed the Addiction’s restuarant in Australia. And now, seeing how I am in the retail world I really realized that I just don’t have that shark mentality. I’m expected to make sales and credit goals, but I don’t do it through pressuring or any other sales tactics. Thankfully in the retail world there are hoards of people who need to buy the latest designer this or that, especially in California. I actually quite often try to convince people that they don’t need that 50th Michael Kors watch or Kate Spade necklace made of metal that runs for $200. And yet, I still make my goals because I have product knowledge and people often respect my honesty and are also intrigued by my efforts to make them go away. I just know that anytime someone approaches me in Nordstrom’s going, “What are you here for today? Are you looking for something special? I saw you touched that purse, you want me to ring it up for you?” I am immediately going to that part of my brain that is establishing exit strategies.

Anyhow, good God I have gone off on a tangent. This back story is just necessary in what I’m trying to explain. Basically, long story short, this rejection made me look into my chosen major and what my future would actually entail in the financial world, and made me realize I don’t want it. I am about to start my Bachelor’s degree with my chosen major in a few months and so this rejection came at the perfect time for me to realize I don’t want to be a financial analyst/planner/advisor/trader/investor. While some people are really good at those jobs and make a lot of money, it just wouldn’t be me.

So to me this whole experience happened to open my eyes to the reality of the career I thought I wanted and was chasing. It forced me to really look at the major I had chosen and made me realize what I really want to study. I’m changing my major now and feel really excited about it.  Without this job offer and rejection I would have kept going down this road and gone into my BS degree doing Business Finance and gotten into a job I hate.

Sometimes rejection is necessary as a way of the universe, or God, or whatever it is you believe in, saying that this isn’t meant for you. Rejection can be a way of showing you the reality of the path you’re trying to follow, because often we have a very idealized view of what we think we want. Rejection is a way of showing you what is possible, and that there could be something even better for you. Rejection can be a redirecting tool to get you on your true path. Even if you do get rejected from an amazing opportunity, it still shows what you’re capable of, and the amazing possibilities that exist in the world. Even if it makes you reanalyze what you want, don’t ever let it stop you. After I was rejected from this bank I started applying at new places and got a call for an interview for another bank. But now, I don’t really want to work in a bank  and I actually like my job more. I get to interact with lots of people and have fun at work and that’s what I love.

What I would love to do as a career in the future is follow in my dad’s footsteps and open my own café back in Australia. It is really my dream to run my own business, and I want it to be an environmentally conscious business that supports local farmers and also serves Vegan desserts. I also just love interacting with people and meeting new people, so maybe one day I’ll be serving and meeting you!

So, I really do believe in the quote I put in my other post:

And, when you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Paulo Coelho

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Everything in life is relative, and it’s up to us to see it as good or bad, right or wrong. Like the Buddhists say, life is in a constant state of flux but it’s exciting and unpredictable.

Questa bella vita.

There is also a quote in my culture that basically translates as,

To appreciate a rose, you must also appreciate it’s thorns.

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I hope you enjoyed this post and the beautiful flowers I had to photograph 🙂

Reality of Success

It’s funny how scary success can be when it finally comes. All we strive for is success, and we keep visualizing how amazing it will be and how everything will change. But, when it comes around often we don’t even feel ready for it. I actually think success can be just as scary as failure. I think it’s scary because success doesn’t really mean you’ve arrived, it means that now you have to step it up. It’s probably why a lot of people, including myself, put off doing things for so long. When you’re working on a goal you have to realize that achieving that goal isn’t the end, it just sparks off a new path; more opportunities. Success means having to now maintain that new lifestyle. It’s the same way with good things happening in your life, it can make you anxious. When too many good things start coming into your life you start getting worried that something is wrong and that something terrible is sure to follow. I know this isn’t the case for everybody but it seems fairly common.

Since I decided to live  more purposefully and consciously, my life has been going really well. I finally feel like I’m on the right path and that I’m not wasting my time and watching life go by. When you start following all the things you believe in and are consistently working towards your goals everything seems to fall into place.

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I still have a ways to go before I achieve most of my goals, but certain little successes have been coming my way. Today I saw that I have lost a total of 15lbs so far, which is really awesome. I also recently have been applying for other jobs, namely at banks because my major at Uni is business finance. I haven’t had luck for a while, but after applying for the 3rd time to the same bank I finally got a call back for an interview yesterday. I initially missed the call and listened to the voicemail, and I actually asked myself whether I even wanted to call the staffing agency back! It scared me that I would actually have the chance to change jobs and get into something that was more in line with my goal. I have worked at the same department store for 4 years and gotten into a comfort zone there. I don’t really like my job but it’s predictable and doesn’t involve much effort from me. It was just scary to think that I’d have to start all over and learn new things and meet new people. It could also be related to the fact that I suffer from anxiety and used to have a much worse anxiety disorder. Nevertheless, it just surprised me that I was more scared than excited at first, and whats more, hesitant to even accept it. I did of course call back and now I’m set up for a second interview. I’m still very anxious and it’s funny to think that being in an unsatisfactory situation is easier than a good one. But the fact is, there is an element of fear when you put yourself out there and actually participate in life. When I was most overweight or depressed even, the number one thing I did was hide and use every excuse possible for why I didn’t have to participate in reality. I think weight and depression, or anxiety are all just types of protective layers than allow you to make excuses for why you won’t apply for a job, or go to a party, or do the things you really want. You wish you could do certain things but you also know that the reality of it is scary, and it’s much easier and more comforting to live in the dark.

One of the many things I’m working on is trying to say ‘yes‘ to more things. If you know anything about anxiety you know it’s all about avoidance. So, I am attempting to go against that. Even if you don’t have anxiety, and the saying ‘yes’ thing is kind of corny now, there is a profound reality in it. When you do say yes to more things and accept that good things in life are abundant, then you can let go more and just be grateful when they come. Whenever I feel really anxious now and I don’t want to do something, I just make myself say yes anyway and then force myself to sit back and wait for the consequences (positive or not!). I have a minor panic attack and imagine things blowing up in my face (catastrophic thinking at it’s finest), but it usually ends up being amazing. It usually ends up in me having a new opportunity I could not even have comprehended with my best imagination. You always hear cliche terms but when you live it, you realize how true they are. I think it’s important to do the things that scare the hell out of you and make you feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest and your stomach is going to turn into one big knot. That’s how I feel now waiting for my second interview but I’m going for it because it can mean a lot of great opportunities.

The only thing scarier than success or failure is regret, because you can’t do anything about regret. Regret is done, but fear is happening now.

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Staying motivated

At the beginning of this week I was feeling very frustrated with all the goals I’m working on. When you’re in the middle of your journey/progress I think it’s just natural to have those times where you’re just over it. I was just feeling very unmotivated and more so I was just wishing that I could just skip ahead to the finish line. I was thinking that, I don’t want to be in the “working-in-progress” stage, I want to be in the “I’ve-Arrived” stage. Maybe it’s the age we’re in, where we are so used to getting everything instantly. Hard work honestly isn’t as emphasized anymore, and in fact a problem I have living here is the entitled attitude. Why are we rewarding the “underdog”? Why are we rewarding the person who didn’t really try that hard, or who doesn’t really have the skill or talent, but has the saddest back story? Maybe I just sound like an awful, cynical person, but I always thought the one who tried the hardest, who had the most talent, the most skill, the most strength usually won.

I have just met so many people at work who roll their eyes at me going to school, and say there’s no point in wasting money on an education because they’re going to be famous one day. I don’t blame them. Why work hard and devote 4+ years to school, with all those student loans when you could become a reality star, or a musician? The reality is, no matter how hard I work at school or my job, Snooki and Kim Kardashian will always be making 10x more than me.

But back to the point, I am half way to many of my goals and yet I was still looking up how to stay motivated and deal with frustration online. I honestly didn’t read anything that helped me. Being an ex-psych major reading about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs did nothing for me. I’m sorry but a lot of those well-packaged descriptions of ALL people don’t explain the complexity of both individuals and a constant state of flux.

I realized on my own that my frustration was from comparing myself to others. This is one of the worst things you can do to yourself, period.

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I was comparing myself to people who are already living their best life; people who are traveling all around the world and having fun with friends and family. I was comparing myself to people who have lost 2x more weight than me and whats more, looking at fitness models on Pinterest. I swear women look at half-naked women more than men. My husband probably thinks I’m a lesbian that will run off with another women pretty soon. I was also comparing myself with people who have already graduated and working in good jobs and those people who always seem to fall into dream jobs with no degrees. But the quote I have above sums it up perfectly. Comparison is a killer of motivation and happiness.

If you stop and think about where you are now, compared to where you were 6 months ago, or even 1 month ago, how far have you come? How different is your life now? You may not be at your goal, but could you imagine if you never started your journey and were still living the way you used to? Feeling unsatisfied, tired, depressed, anxious, even hopeless. When I compare myself to myself, I see that my lifestyle is very different. Exercise is a priority to me that I really enjoy. I don’t eat all the crap I used to eat. I can’t believe how I used to eat. Now I see food as fuel, not therapy. I see food as natural medicine. I’m pretty sure my body now has choirs singing in celebration. I also can do more physically, carry heavier weights, walk longer, and now I’m trying to build up resistance to running longer. And having lost about 14lbs now I am halfway to my goal. If I hadn’t started, I’d be 14lbs heavier.

If I hadn’t committed to school a year and half ago, I wouldn’t be about to graduate from my Associates degree in 4 months. I wouldn’t be halfway to getting my Bachelors and being able to return to Australia to start my new career. I am a lot more productive now because I don’t waste time on useless things. When people around me are eating poorly I don’t participate anymore. I’ve even gotten to a stage where I finally don’t care what they think. I’m not going to let people bring me down because they are unhappy in themselves. My martyr days are over. And even though I threw out my back this week (probably from over-exertion doing weights), and I have to take a break from working out, I still feel reenergized to keep going.

So, don’t ever compare yourself to anybody else. There is absolutely no point in it. Comparing yourself to your own progress is the best  source of motivation to be persistent and dedicated to your goals.