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Tending List: January 2021

2020 is almost over!

Can we get an “Amen?!”

I’m currently writing to the squeak of my Cubii because I’d rather not be pacing my room at 10 pm tonight trying to get my steps in. I don’t have anywhere I need to go today, so I’m saving on gas and staying home. Unfortunately, without going shopping or running errands, getting my steps in is a challenge. I know the Cubii doesn’t replace a workout, but at least I’m moving.

Even though the new year is still a few days away, I’ve already started on my January 2021 Tending List. I debated starting my new year this week or next week. I like Monday starts. Ultimately, I decided to start yesterday because it coincided with the start date of my beautiful, new Erin Condren LifePlanner. 

This tending list is a little different than the few I filled out for 2020. For one thing, I hardly have any daily action items/habits. One of my 2021 goals is to create a habit blanket where I track my consistency in completing 20-26 daily habits. Since I have a habit tracker in my Erin Condren planner, I wanted to dedicate my Powersheets to things I want to work on short-term but don’t necessarily want to commit myself to do for the year or beyond. 

That being said, here are my January 2021 Powersheets Goals:

Monthly Action Items

Read This Year I Will by MJ Ryan

This is the Diva and the Divine Book Club book selection for January, so this is the one book I must read during the month. That being said, it’s not the only book I plan on reading. Do I have a specific reading list? No. I just pan on reading more than one book during the next five weeks. (We can overlook the fact that I still haven’t finished the December book, The Power of When. I’m slowly working my way through it, but I’ll be honest: I’m having the hardest time focusing. It’ll get done though.)

Switch all banking to Simple

I’m not 100% switching all of my banking to my Simple account, but this was the best phrasing I thought to use. One of my main 2021 goals is to get my finances in check. I paid off a lot of debt in 2020, but I still have a long way to go.

I have a Capital One savings and credit card account that I’ve become a little to dependent on. I have some automatic payments scheduled to come out of the savings account, and I’ve been a little too spend-crazy with the credit card. It’s made it increasingly difficult for me to keep track of where my money is going, so I’m in the process of transitioning everything over so I’m only using my Simple account. I’m utilizing Simple’s Expenses features and Good Budget to start somewhat of a “cash envelope” system. In the mean time, I’ve locked my credit card (so I can’t be billed for any more reoccurring charges while I transfer and cancel subscriptions). 

Return Amazon Packages

There’s really not much to say about this one. I have a few Amazon purchases that I need to return. I just need to go out and take care of them. Right now, the plan is to have the money refunded to my Amazon account balance to help cover my next Subscribe and Save order of supplements. 

Schedule a video call with a friend I haven’t seen in over a year

One of my closest friends moved away last year and the last time we spoke was in March on her eldest’s Birthday. I want to make sure I send a little more time interacting with people outside of my household. Obviously, COVID makes that difficult, but to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t very social pre-pandemic either. Having little to no social interaction outside of my household members, who can be toxic at times, has been rough. While I still can’t spend time with friends in person, I can find other ways to spend time cultivating relationships that matter. 

Create a new copy of my resume

I’ve been out of work since July and I’m having no luck finding work. One of my main goals for January is to fix up my resume. I’ve already reached out for some help in this area becasue,currently, my resume isn’t getting any kind of results. 

Get my flu shot

Prorastination at its finest. I know I should’ve gotten it done a couple months ago, but I just keep putting it off. Last year was the first year I even bothered getting one- after getting the flu twice in two months. I’ll get it done, and maybe it’ll be on a fall tending list in 2021 like it should be. 

Schedule an appointment for a physical

I currently don’t have a primary care physician. I’m one of those “go to the doctor only if sick” people- and even then, I only go because prescriptions are covered by insurance and I an’t always afford over the counter medicine. When sick, however, I generally just go to my local urgent care center. 

It’s been years since my last physical, and I’m not really sure my last physical really counted. It was mainly just getting a TB test for a daycare job. I don’t think I’ve had a proper physical since I was a child. 

Schedule an eye exam

My last eye exam was about three or four years ago, so I’m definitely overdue. I’ve felt, for the past year or so, that my glasses aren’t quite doing their job. Now, lot of that may be because some of the special coatings are chipping away, but I’m also wondering if I need a new prescription. I don’t plan on purchasing new glasses or contacts this month, but I know getting the prescription is the first step. 

Weekly Action Items

Stay in Daily and Weekly Points/Bites

If you read my last blog post, you’ll know that I am back to tracking SmartPoints through the iTrackBites app. My goal here is fairly simple. As long as the numbe of weekly bites I have left on Sunday after I brush my teeth is 0 or higher, I get a checkmark. 

Weekly Clean

While one of my daily habits is to tidy every night, once a week, I like to take a little extra time to clean. I’ll wipe down surfaces, sweep/mop my bedroom floor, and just take care of a few things that don’t necessarily get done during my nightly tidy. Every other week, my weekly clean also involves washing my bedding.

LIIFT 4 Workouts

While the plan is to do some kind of activity every single day, my main priority is doing LIIFT 4 Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I just restarted the program yesterday after a solid month and a half of being lazy and eating like a jerk and I’m feeling it. 

Attend Church (Online)

I haven’t been keeping up with church attendance during the pandemic. You’d think I’d love online church, but I don’t. I hate it. I don’t feel connected watching a pre-recorded sermon- especially when I’m watching a sermon at a church I’ve never atteneded. Unfortunately, that’s just the world I’m living in right now, so I’m going to have to suck it up and devote that time on Sundays. 

I may also be using this time as an opportunity to church shop, but we’ll see how that goes.

Claim Unemployment

I’ve been pretty bad at logging in to claim my weekly unemployment benefits. I get to them eventually, but Iwant to make more of an effort to claim them during my first claim window instead of waiting until the weekend. Ideally, this will mean I’ll get my direct deposit on a consistent schedule which will, in turn, make budgeting either.

Daily Action Items

No Spend

I’m on a five week no spend challenge that will end no sooner than the first of February. Now, I’m not completely cutting out all spending. However, I’m limiting myself to groceries from Aldi or the Farmer’s Market. gas, pre-scheduled expenses (like my Subscribe and Save order), and a couple specific exceptions (if I run out of coffee, I can go to Starbucks and pick up a bag, but I can’t grab a frappcino or iced tea). This will give me an opportunity to fill my expense “envelopes.” 

Shapa Weigh-In (AM and PM)

This may be a permanent goal for 2021, but I didn’t want to put it on my habit tracker because there’s also a chance I’ll decide to take another scale break at some point. I recently got a new Shapa numberless scale that I’m using to track my progress now that I’m back trying to lose weight. (I’m still not ready to see the number; I just want to know if my weight is going in the right direction).  Since I haven’t been in the habit of weighing in, I’ve added both my morning and evening weigh ins to my Powersheets while I get into the routine. 

That’s it. It feels weird only having two daily items on here, but it makes sense with the extensive list of daily habits in my habit tracker already. Perhaps I’ll share those daily habits (and my Habit Blanket project) in another blog post. 

There’s no saying what 2021 has in store, but I know I’m getting myself off to the right start.

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Self-Sabotage

I’m self-destructing and part of me doesn’t even care.

My bedroom is a disaster. I haven’t worked out in days. I’ve been eating like a total jerk.

Should I stop? Probably. Will I? I don’t plan on it.

These last few days have been chaotic. What started as a simple project to replace some bathroom tiles and fix a loose toilet turned into an entire bathroom remodel. Turns out, there was a lot of neglected damage. It might not have been so bad if the issues were fixed sooner, but they were left to sit for years. There has to be some kind of lesson in that.

We’ve been without a toilet in our house since Friday. We may or may not have running water. Our living room and kitchen is piled up with stuff from the construction. I can’t cook, clean, work out, or anything. In fact, I basically can’t do anything except stay confined to my, very messy, bedroom when I’m home. Otherwise, I’ll just be in the way.

I stopped setting my alarm or trying to get to bed at a decent hour. Instead, at 9:30, I head to the local Target a mile away to make one last bathroom run for the night. Then, I stay up late in hopes that I’ll make it until 7am when the grocery store opens.

I’ve been spending most of my time at Starbucks these last few days. Fortunately, they’re open for indoor dining, but it is a little awkward. Unfortunately, my body isn’t quite used to drinking so much green tea. Plus, not being able to cook or clean isn’t exactly the best on my budget. If I had enough warning, I’d be able to at least pack lunches, but I wasn’t exactly prepared. So, I’ve been relying on fast food, meals at Starbucks, and grabbing packaged food from the grocery store. I haven’t been in my calorie goal since Thursday.

I honestly can’t say I’ve hit any one of my goals this week. I haven’t had water in days. I stopped doing my morning routine entirely. LIIFT4 is over. Who knows how many calories I’ve eaten today? I stopped tracking yesterday.

It’s self-sabotage. I know it is.

I’m being completely inflexible. I shouldn’t let something like not having access to a toilet, kitchen, or workout space slow me down.

But I am. I totally am.

And even though I am aware of what I’m doing, it’s not making much of a difference. I know I should at least do what I can do, but at this point, I just don’t care anymore.

Why am I like this?

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Down to the Last 10 Weeks of 2020

With my beautiful, new, pink 2021 Powersheets sitting in its bright yellow box, I’ve been finding myself a little less motivated to set goals. After all, we’re near the end of October. After this, we only have two months left for the year. It’s like pigging out on junk food before starting a diet; it’s easy to tell myself, “I’ll start that in the new year.” We’re less than 10 weeks away from the end of the year. Why not just take a break and start fresh in January?

However, this is also the start of my second third of #90DivineDays. While I have somewhat abandoned the concept of adding new goals in each of the goal areas we discussed: Food, Fitness, Personal Development, and Spiritual Growth, because I ended up changing and adding some new goals earlier in the month. I decided to make the changes when I saw a need instead of waiting for a specific date to try something new.

Personal Development

A few weeks ago, I decided to utilize a daily planner to schedule my to-do list and see if it would increase my productivity. I’ve been pretty inconsistent with using a planner this year. However, I’ve also taken the time to figure out what kind of planner system works best for me. I’ve learned that weekly planning isn’t efficient. I rarely know my schedule more than a day in advance. I have to plan things day by day. I never know what stickers to use or how much space to leave for each day when planning my week.

On the other hand, using a dashboard layout with a weekly to-do list also doesn’t work well. If I don’t decide on a specific day to do something, it doesn’t get done. So, I’ve been learning that using a combination of Google Calendar and a daily planner layout seems to work best for me. I use Google Calendar to record scheduled events and appointments, like job interviews, online meetings, and Holidays. Then, I look at any scheduled appointments, Powersheets goals, and any random-to-do list items I need to accomplish and fit them into my daily planner.

The system I’m using isn’t without its flaws. For one thing, I threw together a quick DIY daily planner using some Happy Planner daily refill pages, so it’s not a very polished system. It’s entirely composed of daily pages, so it lacks space to make generalized plans for the month or week. It would be nice to have a spot each week to add jot down a to-do list for the following week. 

However, despite its shortcomings, it seems to be doing the job. I’ve been a lot more productive, knowing that I have a daily to-do list. I plan on making some changes in 2021 if things continue to go this well. I toyed with the idea of frankenplanning my own 2021 daily planner with Happy Planner refills and inserts. However, I am not a fan of some of the compromises I’d have to make with the design. It would also end up costing me about as much money to buy a brand new Erin Condren Life Planner. 

I haven’t officially decided on placing the order yet. I want to make sure this is something I am going to use. I figured, while not perfect, my DIY planner will be enough to show me at least if a daily planning system works for me. If I’m consistent in using it during the 56 days I have leading up to the date I decided to order a new planner, I’ll place the order. Ideally, I’m aiming for 100% consistency, but I know things happen. As long as I hit 90% consistency by December 7 (and I still like the daily planning, of course), I’ll place the order. [There’s also a chance that I’ll order it sooner if I hit that same number of days before the 7th, but I still won’t order before December.]

Food

I’m not making many changes for food since what I’ve been doing has been working. I’m just tweaking things here and there as I see fit. However, I recently changed my supplement routine. Instead of taking my beloved SmartyPants gummy vitamins, I’ve switched to a multivitamin pill. I’ve also added things like fish oil, B-vitamins, and a few supplements that may help with muscle recovery, anxiety, and focus. I am still experimenting with a few things with the vitamins, however. Today, I decided to take my multivitamin with lunch. This past week, I’ve noticed an overall feeling of blahness with some slight nausea sometime between 9 am and noon. I realized that the culprit could be my new multivitamin. Perhaps, the iron in the supplement is too harsh on my stomach. It’s also possible that my Fab4 smoothies aren’t quite enough food to take with the vitamin. I feel a lot better today than I have felt, which is a good sign that the multivitamin is the issue. I’ll see how I feel after lunch today, but there’s a chance I’ll have to find a new multivitamin. 

Fitness

My fitness goal is more or less the same. I’m still exercising six days a week with a minimum of three strength training sessions. However, I’m changing things up just a little. A few of us started LIIFT4 a couple of weeks ago. I finished day two of week three today, and my arms are killing me. (So is my chest, for that matter). This round has been so much different than my first attempt at the program back in May. In May, I only had access to 2 and 5-pound dumbbells, which were ok for some of the moves but were far too light for most. I was also working part-time as a bakery dishwasher. Since I only worked on Mondays and Tuesdays, which were also the arm-heavy days (triceps on Mondays and biceps on Tuesdays), I didn’t want to push myself too hard. Tuesdays, especially, felt like a race to see if I could finish my work before my arms quit. Now, I have access to a nice collection of dumbbells ranging from 2 to 12 pounds. I’m eating more and fueling my body well. For the first time, I’m pushing myself and working out in hopes of increasing my strength and endurance.

In addition to my Liift4 schedule, I’m also incorporating Walk at Home workouts. Typically, if a session is around 36-40 minutes long, I’ll follow LIIFT4 with a 1-mile walk. On shorter lifting days, I’ll do a 2-mile walk. Wednesdays and Saturdays, I’ll walk 3-5 miles. However, I’m also allowing myself some flexibility to take that walk outdoors if I want. 

Spiritual Growth

The only thing I haven’t changed anything with is my Spiritual Growth goals. I’m still reading the same devotionals, and I recently started a new scripture writing plan. Perhaps, as this month progresses, I’ll make changes in this area. For now, I’m focusing on consistency and maintaining the habits I’ve started to develop.

Despite not starting any new habits specifically for the second third of #90DivineDays, I did create my new tending list for the next five weeks. This was the first time I ever made a tending list without much struggle. I have tweaked it a few times since the month started. I added a monthly task or two- including one I wrote in after it was already complete. I also swapped out one of my daily tasks. Initially, I put in my afternoon quiet time as one of my daily items. Then, I realized that with the deadline for ordering my planner approaching in December, using my planner each day was a more important goal to track.

Monthly Goals:

  • Get My Car Inspected
  • Finish reading The Slight Edge
  • Read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  • Finish the Yes Fit Beauty and the Beast Race
  • Yes Fit Turkey Trot 10K
  • Finish my Christmas Wishlist
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving
  • Deep Clean Kitchen counter and stove/Spray Enzyme cleaner on spots that one of our cats frequently uses as a litterbox
  • Decorate bedroom for Christmas

Oh, and there’s one other item listed for this month, but I’m not ready to share it. I will say that I’ve already started working on it and I expect to finish it in a couple of weeks.

Weekly Action Items:

  • Workout 6 days per week (3x strength training)
  • Devote time to searching for a job Monday-Friday
  • Do a deeper clean of my bedroom (sweeping/dusting) once a week.
  • Wash my bedding on alternating weeks
  • Publish one blog post
  • Publish two Instagram posts

Daily Action Items:

  • Write for blog
  • Read
  • Nightly tidy
  • Stay in my calorie range and drink 1 gallon of water.
  • Use my planner 

I’m excited to see what these next five weeks have in store for me.

(And, don’t tell anyone, but I already put in a few monthly action items for next month!)

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Morning Routines and Priorities

When I started #90DivineDays nearly three weeks ago, I set my alarm for 5 am.

Unfortunately, I don’t always go to bed by 9 pm. I rarely go to bed that early. I was getting a lot done in the morning, but it came at a cost. I was not getting nearly enough sleep.

Now, I could argue that I got by just fine, not sleeping enough last year. After all, I didn’t even make an exception for a rest day on weekends. (Now, I’ll at least give myself an extra hour to sleep in on Sundays). However, that’s not entirely true. In fact, I think my refusal to rest more probably contributed to the fact that I got the flu twice during the last two months of 2019. 

I needed to make a change. I have some occasional evening commitments that prevent me from getting to bed before 9 pm. Therefore, I decided the first approach would be to wake up an hour later every morning. So, I set my alarm for 6 with plans to get in bed by 10 pm most nights. I also started making an effort to eat dinner closer to 6 pm instead of 7. (I’ve been getting to bed before 9 most nights this week). 

That meant switching things up with my morning routine. I loved how I structured my mornings with my workout sandwiched between my morning coffee/journaling time and time reading. I also really loved finishing my workout around 7 am.

Unfortunately, I can’t do it all. I can’t set a later alarm, follow the same routine I want to follow, and do my workout when I want. It’s just not possible.

On Sunday, I woke up and discovered that the single-serve coffee machine (a Clio) I had been using for the last two weeks decided to stop working. I decided to use this to my advantage and try something different. Last year, when I started working out, I did my workout immediately after waking up. So, I decided to give that a try. After all, as much as I loved the structure of my morning routine, I wanted to finish my workout earlier. 

My workouts this week have been pretty terrible. Last week, I killed it. For some devices, Fitbit now measures active time in terms of “Active Zone Minutes.” Activity that gets your heart rate into Fat Burn Zone gives you one Active Zone Minute per minute of activity. Cardio and Peak zone give you two Zone minutes per minute of activity. Last week, I had several workouts where my Active Zone Minutes met or exceeded the time spent working out.

This week? Not even close. Yesterday, I even picked a workout I know I love because the HIIT component drives up my heart rate. For some reason, that didn’t happen. I could not get my heart rate up. Despite my best efforts to focus on why I was working out, I was too unfocused. 

Something needed to change. Yesterday, I spent a good 40 minutes scrubbing an old Mr. Coffee coffeemaker. I purchased an inexpensive bag of whole bean coffee at Aldi. 

This morning, I woke up, got dressed, and started my morning with a cup of coffee. I did my journaling and devotionals while drinking my coffee. Then, I started my workout just before 7 am.

It was the best workout all week. I decided to skip my scheduled Tone Every Zone workout and do the sample workout from LIIFT4, followed by a two-mile Miracle Miles walk. I was focused and energized. For the first time all week, I finished my workout feeling good.

Now, the morning wasn’t without some setbacks. The coffeemaker I scrubbed yesterday decided it didn’t want to work this morning, so I had to spend time cleaning our second machine. I’m new to making coffee, so I took a few minutes to figure out how the coffee grinder works. Still, I’m convinced that my morning will go more smoothly in time. 

Most importantly, I had a good morning. 

Was it everything I wanted from my morning? No, of course not. However, I need to accept that I need to decide what’s most important to me. I thought it was finishing my workout early. While I still love the idea, I think I would rather exercise an hour later in the morning if it means I get that hour to wake up, caffeinate, and set myself up for a workout that feels good. 

This is what progress looks like at times. It’s always not about sticking to rigid goals. Right now, it’s about experimenting with routines until I find something that works for me. It’s about learning to prioritize- even if it means making some difficult decisions. 

Am I going to stick to this routine of having coffee before my workout? I can’t say for sure. I am going to do it for a few days before I make any final decisions. However, I’m pretty sure that I will continue for a while. 

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#90DivineDays

I’d say 2020 has been a hot mess of a year, but that would be a gross understatement. 

On the bright side, 2020 is nearly over. I think there is a hope that things will return to normal at the start of 2021. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Despite the year being a disaster, I’m determined to keep moving forward. 

Last year, Brianna introduced me to the Hollis Company’s concept of Last 90 Days. I’m not the best about commitment to my New Year’s Resolutions, but I have a knack for end-of-year goals. I tend to lose weight around Thanksgiving and Christmas than at any other time of year! So, despite never really getting “into” Rachel Hollis, I fell in love with the idea of finishing the year out strong.

In the last 100 days of 2019, I went from despising exercise to working out most days and learning to love it. I lost about 20 pounds switching from PointsPlus to SmartPoints (MyWW Green). Despite a few set-backs (like getting the flu twice in those 100 days), it was, by far, the most productive few months of my life.

This year Brianna’s community is making Last 90 Days our own with #90DivineDays. As a group, we decided to spend the next few months focusing on cultivating habits in four different areas: Food, Fitness, Spiritual Growth, and Personal Development/Self-Care. 

The idea is to add one new habit each month for each of the four categories. By January, we’ll have 12 new habits to bring into 2021. Some people are habit stacking by adding one new habit a week. Others, myself included, are adding on all four at once.

Food:

This month, I will stay within my calorie range and drink a Fab 4ish Smoothie for breakfast every day. It’s a pretty simple goal. Usually, staying within a calorie or points target shouldn’t count here since I’ve been doing that for most of 2020. However, my goals are a little different right now.

I have taken the rest of 2020 off from weight loss. I stepped on the scale on September 21, 2020, and will not weigh myself again until January 4, 2021, at the absolute earliest.  I’m spending the next 15 weeks trying to stay in a calorie range that should result, not in me losing weight, but maintaining it. (Though, I won’t be mad if I lose weight).

I’ve never tracked for maintenance before. Eating over 2,000 calories a day is easy. However, it’s never been my target when tracking. It’s been a learning experience: figuring out how to enjoy foods I once restricted when eating a calorie deficit without taking this newfound freedom and losing control. I’m also realizing that having permission to eat more doesn’t mean I need to take advantage of every calorie.

The smoothie goal is secondary, but I figured it would be an excellent way to keep me grounded. The Fab 4 is a term coined by nutritionist Kelly LeVeque in her book, Body Love. Without going into too much detail, it involves incorporating four things into your meals: fat, protein, fiber, and greens. One of the easiest ways to do this is by blending these into a smoothie. My smoothies generally have a base of unsweetened protein powder, acacia fiber, collagen peptides, leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce), nut butter (usually almond), and a secondary vegetable (cauliflower rice, beets, zucchini). Occasionally, I’ll add things like pumpkin spice mix, cinnamon, or cocoa powder.

My goal is a Fab 4ish smoothie, not a Fab 4 smoothie because I am giving myself a bit of grace in one area: sugar. I prefer unsweetened, plain protein powder because I can’t handle 0 calorie sweeteners well, so I rely on fruit for flavor. I try to keep my portions moderate, but I probably use fruit more than recommended. If I don’t put fruit in my smoothie, I’ll use date-sweetened RX nut butter, honey, or maple syrup.

Fitness

I work out Monday through Saturday. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I do a cardio workout. I do a mix of both cardio and strength training on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 

Now I’m still figuring this one out. I love the Walk at Home digital library, but unlike Beachbody on Demand, it doesn’t come with scheduled workout programs. I often struggle to decide which video to do when I’m not strength training. I added a little structure to my strength training routine by alternating between Walk it Off in 30 Days and Tone Every Zone walks.

Walk it Off in 30 Days consists of two 30 minute workouts: Burn 30, a 30-minute cardio walk, and Firm 30, a short walk to warm-up followed by dedicated full-body weight lifting.

Tone Every Zone consists of three 20-minute workouts. There’s a 20-minute fast walk and both upper and lower body circuits. The two circuit workouts, at 20 minutes each, alternate walks with lifting.

I switch things up when I do these workouts by doing the segments in a different order. I’m also starting to swap out the cardio sessions for other walks. Instead of Burn 30, I’ll do any walk that’s at two miles or 30 minutes. I will exchange the 20-minute fast walk from Tone Every Zone for any 20-minute or one-mile walk. 

On non-strength days, I aim for a minimum of three miles. This ends up being anywhere from 36 to 60 minutes, depending on the mile’s pace. If there’s no mileage listed anywhere, I assume three miles is roughly 45 minutes. I’ll go for a four or five-mile walk if I want, but I’m under no obligation to go more than three miles for now.

Spiritual Growth 

This one was hard. When it comes to my faith, I’ve been struggling.

I can’t even blame 2020, social distancing, and churches closing for this struggle. For years, I’ve felt like I’m just going through the motions when it comes to my faith.

Even my goals feel that way. I started reasonably small, with scripture writing and devotionals.

Every morning, I write out a verse from whatever “scripture writing” challenge I’m following. (Right now, I’m doing a 31 day one focusing on goal setting). After I copy out the verse, I use the rest of the page in my journal to write any commentary that comes to mind.

Initially, I read four different daily devotionals, but I wasn’t absorbing any of the information. So, I decided to narrow it down to only two for now. If that’s still too much, I’ll drop one more and focus on 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs. As an Obliger, I like that a couple of us are reading it together.

Perhaps, in the coming months, I’ll find a more structured Bible study to add to my routine. 

Personal Development/Self-Care 

My personal development goals are the foundation for everything I’m doing. Therefore, they’re the most important ones. If these slip, everything else is likely to follow suit.

I’ve made keeping my physical space organized a priority. While it’s not entirely spotless 100% of the time, I have stopped letting piles of clothing, dishes, and trash accumulate. I make my bed every morning, tidy up before bed, and do a more thorough cleaning weekly.

In the afternoons, I try to take some time to unplug from social media and enjoy myself. This “Quiet Time” is usually around an hour, but I don’t have any timers set. I’ll read, listen to music or an audiobook, knit, play Bananagrams or Solitare, soak in the tub, work on my diamond painting, or pet my cat. The only “rule” is that I need to stay off my phone and computer.

The final, and probably most important, thing I’m focusing on is my morning routine.

I wake up between 4:30 and 5 AM, depending on where I am in my sleep cycle. Then, I make my bed, get dressed in workout clothes, and make a cup of coffee.

Once I sit down with my coffee, I do my morning journaling, scripture writing, and devotional readings. Then, around 6 AM, I work out, followed by a bedroom “shower” (I can’t always get into the shower before getting changed out of my sweaty clothes), and curling up in bed with a book.

Except for using it to control my bedroom lights or as an emergency hotspot for my workout videos when the internet is down, my phone stays off until at least 8 AM.

I’m still refining my morning routine. These last few mornings, I have been slow-moving. My first thought was to set an earlier alarm to give me more time to wake up, but the real issue is sleep deprivation. I usually go to bed between 9:30 and 10 PM, but it’s not without some difficulty. It seems unrealistic to go to bed earlier, so I might need to accept a later wake-up time. Unfortunately, I may have to switch things in my routine to make up for the time lost. 

Flexing my goals as I figure out what works and what doesn’t work for me is a new concept. I’ve always acted like whatever rules I’ve set for myself are written in stone. However, I’m learning that some of the habits I’m working on instilling may not be sustainable. Rather than force myself to do them as written, I’m giving myself the grace I need to modify them as needed. This could be having a non-smoothie Fab 4 breakfast, taking a shorter walk once a week, reading fewer devotionals, or setting my alarm later. I think my biggest fear is that I’ll become too lenient with myself.

Fortunately, I am confident that if I start to veer down that path, I’ll have a much-needed dose of tough love to knock a little sense into me.

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I Quit WW

Well, I think my title says it all.

Shortest blog post ever?

In all seriousness, this isn’t just about me stepping away from SmartPoints. I talked about that decision before. This is about me stepping away from WW officially.

January 2021 (a date we are all desperately clinging to right now!) will be my 12th anniversary of joining WW. Now, I wasn’t always a consistent, paying member of WW. I’ve left and come back and left again over and over and over.

This feels a little different. Perhaps because when I rejoined in December 2018, I actually stuck to it until only a couple weeks ago. I didn’t always follow the current plan (or any plan) during that time. Still, I was consistent in weighing in (save for the Whole 35), attending meetings (“workshops”), and trying to be a part of the community (kinda) for over 550 days before I canceled my membership.

However, I think this feels different because I canceled for a different reason than I have in the past.

In the past, I’ve canceled because of life changes (like starting college on campus or a new job), finances, or simply because it felt like a waste to pay when I wasn’t losing weight because I wasn’t following the plan or because I was dealing with medication side-effects.

This time, I canceled to let go of a dream I’ve had for over 11 years.

Lifetime Membership.

On WW, if you hit your goal weight (within your healthy BMI range unless you have a doctor’s note for a higher weight goal) and maintain it for 6 weeks (within 2 pounds), you can achieve something called “Lifetime” status. As long as you weigh in no more than 2 pounds over your goal weight, you get free WW. 

Even with switching to PointsPlus, I was still holding onto this idea of getting Lifetime. I love the WW meetings. There’s a reason I went to 2-3 a week pre-COVID and 6 a week when WW went virtual. Getting Lifetime and going for free just makes financial sense- especially after all the time and money I’ve invested into WW over the years.

However, a few weeks ago, I was doing some serious reflection over how COVID has changed things for me and my weight loss journey, and I realized that I really love weighing in at home. The idea of switching things up and going from weighing in at home in the same outfit I wore to weigh in at WW every single week to weighing in wearing shoes and a mask just overwhelmed me. Now, if WW would allow me to continue with home weigh-ins indefinitely, things would be different, but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to be the case (based on a conversation I had with 24/7 chat about reaching Lifetime from home).

It made me realize that I don’t want to be a slave to the scale. Right now, if I have a rough week food-wise, I don’t care if I have a gain on the scale. PMS, special events, a change in a workout routine, illness, family issues. It doesn’t phase me. It’s just weight.

But what if my monthly weigh in to determine whether or not I have to pay happens to fall during the worst part of PMS? What about the fact that lifetime members need to weigh in at the beginning of the month? That makes the first weigh-in of the new year a challenge for everyone, but I’m also dealing with a late-June Birthday, which means it could impact my July weigh-in. Right now, seeing a gain on the scale at the beginning of July doesn’t phase me. It’s pretty normal for me.

But I’m pretty sure I’d feel differently if I weighed in for the purpose of Lifetime.

So, I’ve decided to step away from WW and give myself a break from having that pressure on me to hit goal weight by a certain time. Will I ever return to WW? Honestly, I’m not sure. There is a part of me that’s considering coming back when I’m a little closer to goal so I can get Lifetime and enjoy free meetings, but seeing as part of why I left was the realization that I don’t want the scale to hold so much power over me, this might be it.

In the meantime, I’m switching things up a little. I took a week off of the scale. In fact, tomorrow will be the second Sunday I’ve skipped weighing in since March 17, 2019 (last week was the first). Since I don’t have the pressure to stay consistent with Sunday weigh-ins and scheduling weigh-in day based on the best WW meeting for me, I’ve decided to change things up and start something new on a Monday instead of Sunday.

I think my main focus for the next four weeks is going to be tracking. I’ve been pretty inconsistent at that for a while and that definitely needs to change. I decided to sign up for a few “track bets” over the next few weeks as an added “push.” I was going to commit to 4 solid weeks of tracking anyway, but if I can get some extra cash for doing it, I might as well.

I also have a virtual race I’m working on. I still have 25.9 miles to go (out of 31.9), but that shouldn’t take too long. Currently, my “rule” is that I count any outdoor walk that’s at least 1 mile. If I walk to the store and back, that counts (but the shopping or going from store to store in the shopping center does not). Eventually, I may start biking some races (but I need a bike first). I haven’t quite set a goal for when I want to complete this race, but I think I can get this one done in 2 weeks and then knock out another one by the end of this 4-week experiment. I could possibly finish my current race in about a week, but we’re looking at excessive temperatures over the next few days, so I’m not sure I’ll be up for super long walks this week. I’ve already earned two race medals since starting these virtual races in June and there are a few more I’m hoping to collect from this one site alone.

Overall, I think my theme for the next month is going to be “consistency.” Consistency with tracking, drinking my water, getting in my steps, etc. I don’t have a specific workout plan set yet (working on that one) and I’m still tweaking some goals for the diet aspect of things, but at the end of the day, my main focus is just being consistent with what I know I need to do to reach my goals.

I am also doing a little self-reflection and experimenting with some things over the next 4 weeks related to my diet/health goals, but I’m not quite ready to share those details with anyone. Chances are, I’ll decide whether or not to say anything near the end of the 4 weeks.

Tomorrow, I have some grocery shopping to do to get myself prepped for Monday. In the spirit of giving myself a fresh start, I’m charging up my Fitbit (after not wearing it for a week) and creating a brand new Fitbit account. My weight history from my fancy new Bluetooth scale is being wiped clean. Sometimes, I think I just need a fresh start, so that’s what I’m doing.

So, here’s to the end of my time with WW and the start of my month of consistency.

Let’s see how this goes.

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Seasons and Grace

Summer has always been a struggle for me when it comes to losing weight. I don’t handle heat well and my dad is too cheap to air condition the house, so summer is generally a miserable time for me. Most of the time, my survival strategy is to stay out of my house as much as possible. I’ll sit at Starbucks for most of the day (not eating much of anything) and pick up fast food on my way home around 10pm (because, at that point, I’ve gone from having zero appetite to being starving).

Most years, I end up gaining weight during the summer because I’m generally sedentary or I eat like a total jerk. Last year, I managed to get through the summer only gaining a couple of pounds. That’s huge for me.

This year is going to be different. This is going to be the second year that I actually lose weight during the summer months. (I lost about 15 pounds during the summer of 2010- most of that time, I was living in Tucson).

So, I’m going to give myself some grace this summer. In a few weeks, I’ll be finished with LIIFT4. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do after the program is over. Realistically, I’m not going to physically be able to do a workout program that’s too intense. This is not the time for me to do super heavy lifting (as much as I’m aching to get heavier weights) or give C25K a try- especially since going to the gym isn’t likely to happen for a couple more months.

However, during these last three weeks of LIIFT4, I’ve realized that one of my biggest issues with my workouts (other than a lack of equipment) is a lack of flexibility. So, maybe in July, August, and even into September, I’m going to focus more on yoga-type workouts where I can work more on increasing my flexibility, balance, and strength. I’m sure there will also be some Leslie Sansone walks or outdoor walks during the cooler hours of the morning/night, but it’s also likely that many of my steps will be earned using my Cubii.

I may order out a bit more on hotter days when I don’t have the energy to cook, but I’m going to go for options like Panera salads and grain bowls over a large #10 combo with a frosty at Wendy’s. I’m also going to give myself a little more grace with my produce choices. Maybe I won’t be roasting vegetables every day. In fact, I might not even be eating vegetables with every meal. I may have the occasional meal where I decide to take advantage of the abundance of seasonal fruit. After all, I keep seeing Brianna and Meg post photos of yogurt bowls with fruit and granola that just look amazing and I think I want in on that. I’ll go back to eating less fruit in the fall and winter (which, seems right).

One of the biggest things I’m going to do to help me get through the summer is allow myself permission to make coconut water a zero point food. Now, to be perfectly honest, I think coconut water is gross. I don’t like the stuff. However, when it’s pushing 90° in my bedroom, sometimes, water alone isn’t enough. Since I dislike Gatorade as well, I’ve learned to just deal with coconut water on days when I’m feeling lightheaded due to the heat. I’m not likely to abuse a drink I dislike, so as long as I also stick to my goals of drinking a gallon of pure water a day among other 0 point beverages (unsweetened tea, seltzer) I see no issue with allowing myself to not count the points for any coconut water I need to drink.

It’s all about giving myself a little grace to make it through the summer. If that means eating more fruit, not doing as much intense cardio, and occasionally drinking coconut water without counting a single point for it, then that’s what it’ll take.

Because this will be the summer that I’m not afraid to wear shorts or sleeveless shirts.

This will be the summer that I set goals to improve my physical fitness in very specific and measurable ways.

This will be the summer that I break my food rules and learn to love food instead of fearing it.

This will be the summer where I enjoy my Birthday without using it as an excuse to eat like a jerk for a month or even a week. I will take the day off from tracking (possibly enjoying some Birthday freebies throughout the day), but stick to my Wendie Plan points the rest of the week. (I’m sure I’ll fit in a few freebies throughout the rest of the month as well- no need to pig out on everything in one day).

And maybe this will be the summer I lose weight and reach my goal.

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When Everything Goes Right, but Turns Out Wrong

I meant to write this update yesterday, but after an incident waiting in line to get into Target that involved a call to the police and a 2 hour wait before I was allowed into the store (for my safety), blogging wasn’t exactly a priority.

Week 1 on the Wendie Plan was great. I’ve been really embracing some leaner options lately- especially grilled chicken breast. That, combined with days where I need to eat 5, 6, or even 7 points over my 30 daily points gave me freedom I haven’t experienced in months. I’ve eaten snack mix, popcorn, peanut butter puffs, brownies, and cake during the past week and it’s been wonderful.

The fact that I ended up gaining this week? Less wonderful.

Now, I’m not going to jump to the conclusion that the Wendie Plan didn’t work for me because I had a gain this week. In fact, my first thought was to continue with the same schedule and give it another week.

One week of an experiment isn’t enough to say if it’s going to work or not. After all, I’ve had great losses eating all of my weekly points (and and then some). I’ve also had losses after eating at all-you-can-eat buffets the day before weigh-in.

I started a new workout program last week. I absolutely suck at it. Yet, aside from Friday’s workout, I absolutely loved it. (What can I say? I hate leg days with a burning passion.) In fact, my biggest complaint was that you can’t find dumbbells anywhere and I really need to get heavier weights for some of the moves. There is a very real possibility I will go through another 8 week round when I’m done with this one- especially if I can get new dumbbells within the next 6 weeks.

I stayed within my points, drank a gallon of water, took my vitamins, hit my step goal every day, and worked out 6 days a week (not including going for walks outside). It was a fantastic week.

Yet, I still gained.

And that’s ok.

When I look back at this week, there’s not much I’d go back and change. Sure, there was the one night I basically skipped dinner because family drama prevented me from getting into the kitchen. Yet, even that wasn’t too bad. Instead of skipping dinner entirely or using it as an excuse to eat like a jerk, I grabbed an apple and a Healthy Eating All the Time and Go Bar for the remaining 7sp I had in the day. I still consider that to be a win.

I lost over 5 pounds last week (true, I gained those 5 pounds the week before that).Perhaps my body is just regulating itself.

Maybe my gain was water weight because I’ve recently changed my workout routine and I’m lifting weights 4 times a week.

Perhaps it was just hormones and where I was in my cycle yesterday.

Maybe the Wendie Plan on SmartPoints isn’t right for me- at least not in this season of my life.

Or maybe it’s just one of those weeks where the scale just decides to be a jerk.

It happens. Sometimes, we can’t explain why the scale is behaving the way it does. We have gains when the numbers all point towards a loss. Other times, we’re surprised that we weren’t punished for poor choices. It goes both ways.

I would love to see the scale start to move in the right direction. I’ve been stuck fighting these same few pounds for months. It’s frustrating, and (to be perfectly honest) this is the first time I’ve really dealt with my weight stalling without a clear explanation (usually involving me eating like a jerk). Of course, that could be because this is the longest I’ve ever actually stuck to WW consistently.

At the same time, weight loss was just a desired outcome for the plans I put into place. I was a realistic hope for my experiment, but it wasn’t the only one. I also wanted to find the spark I had when I started back on SmartPoints in September. I wanted to find freedom to enjoy the foods I like so that I don’t go through these binge and restrict cycles. I wanted to learn to love exercise again.

I am making progress towards all of those goals. Those are the ones that really matter at the end of the day. Those are the ones that are going to help me establish lifelong habits and routines so I eventually do hit my goal weight- and stay there.

Maybe the scale will be a little nicer this week. In the meantime, I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing- with one minor adjustment. I’m not officially going to get into intermittent fasting (my work schedule doesn’t really allow for that), but I am working on finishing my food for the day a little earlier. I’m aiming for at least a 12 hour fasting window (which I missed yesterday and will miss again tomorrow), but my main goal is to try to avoid the 9pm dinners. Do I think it’s a miracle cure? No, but it certainly can’t hurt.

Now to start my bedroom light wind-down and curl up in bed with the next chapter of my book before I settle down for the night. 5AM comes way too early- especially when you don’t want to get up.

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Four Weeks of Getting my Crap Together

I don’t like setting monthly goals.

I know. It’s strange, but I’ve never worked well with setting goals that start on the 1st and end on the last day of the month. Rather than set monthly goals based on the calendar month, I prefer to set mine based on any 4 week period that starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday.

I did this back in the fall and it worked pretty well for me- until a double dose of the flu, work, a Stepbet, and the holidays brought me down. I was absolutely on fire. I was working out 7 days a week, taking my vitamins, going on walks before sunrise. In comparison, I’ve been dragging lately. My workouts have been virtually non-existent and I seem to only go about two weeks before I stop tracking and start stuffing my face.

So, I’m kicking it into high gear.

Now, I’m not going to share every single one of my goals on here. For one thing, I’m still not sure what all of them are myself. However, I do have some plans in place for the next few weeks.

Getting out of this Weight Decade

I have been playing around in the same weight decade for weeks. Every time I get close, I end up self-sabotaging. That. Needs. To. Stop. Now. Now, my ultimate dream would be to lose about 17 pounds in the next 7-8 weeks, but for now, I’m just hoping for 7 pounds in 4 weeks. Ambitious? Eh. Not really. To be honest, those numbers are based on last week’s weigh in where I was up almost 6 pounds. It’s likely I’ll only have 1-3 pounds to worry about losing over the next 4 weeks.

So, I have a plan in place to help me reach that goal:

  1. Stick to my Wendie Plan Points Target every day
  2. Drink 1 gallon of water daily
  3. Exercise 6 days a week
  4. 10,000 steps daily
  5. Use my Cubii during scheduled virtual WW workshops and Livestreams when I’m usually tied to my desk for 30 minutes to 2 hours
  6. Prepare and drink a Fab 4 smoothie for lunch on work days
  7. Go back to taking my multivitamin and collagen daily
  8. Finish eating before 9pm. (I’m trying to see if I can realistically make this earlier- I probably can, but I’m not sure what a realistic “kitchen close” time for me is quite yet).
  9. Early morning walk (around 5:30-6am start) most days. (This one is also being tweaked a little. I would love to get ahead on my step goal first thing in the morning, but I also want to make sure I’m not sacrificing sleep for the sake of an early morning wake up time.)

Now, for exercise, I actually have a plan in place beyond just “I’ll probably do some kind of Leslie Sansone video.” A few days ago, I made the impulsive decision to try the Liift 4 sample workout after I found it on Vimeo. I needed to see what Brianna has been raving about. I pretty much loved it immediately. Now, I wasn’t super thrilled with the HIIT part of the workout. I found that I wasn’t getting an effective workout there because I was too focused on trying to do the moves. Eventually, I decided to pretty much just do my own thing. I figured, as long as I was moving, that’s really all that mattered.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about that workout since. So, I decided that I might as well try doing the program- or at least a very slightly modified version of it. On the days that are interval training or pure circuit training, I’ll do the full workout to the best of my ability. On the 50/50 days, I’m giving myself permission to opt out of the HIIT section. On those days, if I decide not to go with the HIIT, I’ll do a Leslie Sansone workout in its place. I’ll also do a Walk at Home workout Wednesday and Saturday. Sundays, for now, I’m just going to do my walk outside and hit my step goal. I may decide to add in some kind of stretching/yoga type workout in as well, but “officially” Sunday is rest day.

Other Goals:

Now, I’m not going to go into as much detail about these today, but I may do so in the future.

  1. Read Everything is Figueoutable for the Diva and the Divine Book Club.
  2. Finish my rainbow kitten diamond painting
  3. Strip wash my bedding
  4. Keep my bedroom organized
  5. Grow this site
  6. Select colors for my Golden Birthday Temperature Blanket project (and decide on a pattern/temperature scale)
  7. Read at least 1 chapter of a book of my choice every day
  8. Spend some intentional screen-free time each day (and use some of that time to work on personal journaling and/or devotionals)

Now, some of these things are still being tweaked, but this is at least a pretty solid start towards getting my crap together.