Monthly Archives: April 2010

Wacky Wednesday

Well, we had veggie omelets for dinner last night instead of the fish. Bryan made them since I got home later than usual. Yummy! So, we’ll have the fish tonight.

Breakfast was OJ, banana, and an organic PB&J sandwich again. Yes, it’s a favorite!

Lunch is black beans and sweet potato with Mexican seasoning and some havarti cheese. Everyone I’ve talked to raves about sweet potato and black bean quesadillas. Honestly, it’s not my favorite. In fact, I can’t see trying that again. I’ll stick with plain sweet potatoes or my sweet potato edamame hash recipe.

Looking forward to strength training later today.

Hitting Close to Home – The Battle Against Perfectionism

Are you a classic overachiever?! I know I tend to be! There are so many self help books and articles out there to help. Ultimately, I know that the only One that has ever been perfect is Christ. And fortunately, my redemption and righteousness and wisdom and sanctification is not my own; it is completely based on the work of Christ on the cross (I Corinthians 1:30). That, in and of itself, takes a huge pressure off. My salvation is not based on my works or how I look or anything other than Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. That’s awesome!

Besides the spiritual aspect, there are some practical tips to battling perfectionism. I found this website the other day and was browsing around it tonight. I found an article I desperately need to hear before starting into a life change. It’s “How To Stop Being Perfect” on WholeLiving.com. I hope it’s as encouraging to you as it was to me. Here it is:

Is This Your Idea of Happiness?

How to Be Imperfect

Make peace with your inner overachiever: Your quest for the perfect job, the perfect family, and the perfect life may boost your satisfaction temporarily — but will you ever be truly happy?

So what should you do? Lower your standards? Not exactly. Here are three classic characteristics of the perfectionist personality trait, and 10 easy strategies for breaking out of the stickler mind-set.

The goal here is to empower your decisions so that you can free yourself from perfectionism and move your life forward — one healthy achievement at a time.

Type 1: Seeker of Excellence

If your idea of success is never making a mistake — ever — then this is you. However, striving for nothing short of success may cost you that success. Plus, if you’re paralyzed by a fear of making mistakes, you might not take as many risks. The workplace can be a minefield for anyone with these perfectionist tendencies. The following slides will help you break out of this mind-set.

Remove Your Mental Filter

Perfectionists make life harder on themselves by filtering out good news and zeroing in on the negative. So don’t dispense so readily with the good stuff — and realize, too, that without room for improvement, you have no goals to work toward. See your weaker areas not as indelible flaws but as opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Discover the Joys of Getting It Wrong

The ability to accept and learn from mistakes can set you free. Underestimated the cost of renovating your kitchen? Now you know. Got stumped at a meeting with your boss? You’ll be better prepared next time.

Compare Yourself with Others

Done the right way, comparing can help release your perfectionist grip. It’s easy to assume, for instance, that everyone is doing a stellar job. But take notice: Do your coworkers take longer lunches than you do, or send emails with the occasional typo? If they’re not perfect, why should you be?

Type 2: Master of Organization

If you could earn college credit for cleaning and organizing, you’d have a Ph.D. Sound like you? If so, your extreme level of neatness works as a benchmark of perfectionism. But it’s doubtful that a clean and ordered environment equals success.

People forget that tidying everything takes a lot of time. One study revealed that 66 percent of Americans making $35,000 or less per year described themselves as neat freaks, while only 11 percent of those earning $75,000 said the same.

So weigh the benefits before you put energy into organization. The following slides will give more tips on helping you through this.

Put People Before Things

Put the people in your life ahead of your stuff. While you don’t want to let your house sink into utter chaos, cutting back on the time you spend creating impeccable order may be worth it.

Prioritize Your Perfectionism

It’s impossible to achieve perfection in all areas of our lives simultaneously. Instead of trying to master everything, pick some things you want to excel in, and go for average in other areas. If teaching is your passion, then perhaps cooking a gourmet meal every night becomes optional.

Don’t Worry About Messes

If you pride yourself on keeping an orderly home, you might see even small-scale messes as a personal failure. This cognitive distortion can wreck your self-esteem. Catch yourself when you feel yourself falling into one of these downward spirals. Rather than react emotionally, see socks and dishes for what they are: everyday facts of life that need tending to, not evidence of your incompetence.

Type 3: Focused on Negatives

If looking in the mirror reminds you of what you wish you looked like, this perfectionist is you. The ruthless proliferation of perfect-seeming images, particularly of women’s bodies, is enough to make even the most confident among us turn a critical eye on ourselves.

Recast your perspective and rethink what standards you’re holding yourself to, and you can begin to feel beautiful and lovable — without squeezing into a size 0. The following slides will help.

Counter the Negative

The next time you fire off a punishing thought about your derriere, list three positive things in its place. When your inner voice comes down on you, counter it with the three positive thoughts.

Focus on Wellness, Not Weight

Rather than pick on what you don’t like about your arms or thighs or belly, think about ways to improve your health, whether that’s eating better or biking a few times a week. When your health, not your looks, is the motivating factor, you’re more likely to see the results you want.

Age Gracefully, Not Kicking and Screaming

Expecting to defy the passage of time by looking decades younger is another way we set up impossible goals. What makes you attractive has more to do with your carriage, your confidence, and your hard-won wisdom than how much you resemble a designer-jeans model.

Fade Out Black-and-White Thinking

Do you view your physical worth in the strictest of terms, thinking that one bad-hair day or an extra five pounds renders you unattractive? The challenge is not to let a single factor derail your efforts. If you had a moment of weakness, just skip dessert that night and you’re on track again.

Happy Tuesday!

I am back on the wagon and more determined than ever to get rid of these last few pounds.

Breakfast was 2 pieces of my homemade sourdough wheat bread with organic peanut butter and organic strawberry conserves and coffee with some Bolthouse Vanilla Chai Protein drink for creamer.

Morning snack was 2 small apples with 1 Tablespoon of almond butter, and a cup of green tea.

At about 2:00, someone brought out a cake for the 3rd birthday of a computer program that was developed here at work. Yes, folks, my life is literally an ongoing episode of The Office! I had one small bite because it looked amazing, but the sugar was overwhelming even in that little bit. So, I had a Zone Protein Bar (double dark chocolate) instead. I couldn’t believe how hungry I was until I went onto SparkPeople to add the protein bar in my calorie count and realized what I had typed in for lunch was still sitting in the fridge! So, I am now eating lunch: leftover Colorful Whole Wheat Pasta Salad (recipe in this past weekend’s posts).

It’s Tuesday, so I’m looking forward to girls on the run tonight! Then I think I’ll do fish, salad, and quinoa for dinner (and maybe some squash if I have time).

Tonight will be more preparation for getting ready to go back to school (classes start May 17!!), and then I think I’ll take a break and read a little. I’ve got 2 books I want to finish before school starts and all mayhem breaks loose.

Happy Tuesday! Enjoy the journey!
Melissa

Five Factor Diet by Harley Pasternak

Harley was a scientist who developed exercise plans for the military; more recently, he is known for his training of Hollywood elites. He’s also written three books on diet.

The Five Factor Concepts: Five 5-minute exercise bursts each day and Five Meals a day that take 5 minutes to prepare and only have 5 ingredients.

If you look around the world, most countries are healthier than ours, and they don’t have the access to gyms and nutritionists. What’s the difference? Learning from the world:

Italy: “passeggiata”- after dinner walk; olive oil, beans, fiber, proteins, tomatoes, whole wheat pastas

Japan: gold medal for healthiest country; “Hara hachi bunme” – stop eating when 80% full; very little beef, seafood, healthy fats, whole soy, green tea, seaweed (vegetables from the ocean)

Sweden: fresh milk and dairy products (low fat, high quality), berries, smoked fish; deep, dark rye breads

More Resources for Fitness

I’ve been catching up on more ABC Good Morning America Health clips and got some really great resources from it. Here goes:

PumpOne.com: iPhone app for exercises

Authentic Yoga and Stress Free by Deepak Chopra: iPhone app for yoga and stress relief.

GoFit.net: fitness equipment, including kettlebells.

Hoopnotica.com: weighted, collapsible hula hoops for exercise and exercise DVDs.

G2Lifestyles.com: workout mats and exercise balls with exercises printed on the mat (select from yoga, pilates, golf, maternity, stretching, etc.). They also have mousepads with exercises printed for the office on them.

Calorie Counting

I was catching up on The Biggest Loser on Hulu.com last night and one of the keys that last year’s winner shared was the importance of calorie counting. It’s time to get serious again. I have 9 lbs. to lose for the Pound for Pound Challenge, and I want it gone by my birthday in August!

So, I’m determined to be more consistent with logging my calories on SparkPeople.com and choosing only healthful choices. I haven’t decided to eliminate sugar entirely, but I’m definitely limiting sweet treats.

Breakfast: homemade sourdough wheat bread with organic peanut butter and organic strawberry conserves with a mango and coffee.

Morning Break: green tea with lemon.

Lunch: Tossed salad with smoked bbq chicken and honey mustard dressing (we’re having lunch catered in, so I’m trying to plan ahead so I don’t just grab some of everything).

Dinner: Sushi Hana and Chuck double date night! Planning on 6 pcs. of California Roll and 1 c. of brown rice and some green tea.

Movie snack: decaf coffee with some Vanilla Chai Protein Shake for creamer.

It’ll be a busy day, but I’m determined to get a good workout in after lunch.

Have a great day!

More Progress: Down Another Size!

Only one more size to go! I fit into two pairs of shorts and a pair of pants that I haven’t fit into in 3 years! So exciting! To celebrate, I bought a size 8 pair of jeans! Size 6, here I come!

I also signed up to participate in the Pound for Pound Challenge. My pledge: 9 lbs.! An organization has pledged to donate $0.14 per pound pledged to local food banks, up to a certain amount. It’s nationwide and it’s local. So, pledge today. Make a commitment to yourself to lose weight and help people in your community get some healthful food.

http://pfpchallenge.com/

Colorful Whole Wheat Pasta Salad Recipe

I was asked to bring a pasta salad to a friend’s birthday party tonight and didn’t have time to stop by the store for Italian dressing, so I just threw together what I had on hand. Everyone seemed to like it. A couple people asked for the recipe, and the hostess even asked if she could keep some for tomorrow. 🙂 So, here’s the recipe:

Dressing Ingredients:
1 c. mayonnaise (we use Duke’s)
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard (we use Emeril’s)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. capers

Ingredients

Salad:

1 box whole wheat rotini pasta noodles
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 summer squash, chopped into bite size pieces
1 carrot, peeled into thin strips and cut in bite size pieces.
1 1/2 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese (reserve about 1 Tbsp. for topping)

Prepared Ingredients

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, mix together dressing ingredients in small bowl.
3. Chop vegetables (Note: I peeled the carrots, then kept using the vegetable peeler to make thin strips of carrot; this worked much better than chopping it into hard to chew chunks. Then I roughly chopped the long strips into bite size strips.)
4. Drain and cool pasta with cold running water.
5. Toss cooled pasta with vegetables.
6. Fold in dressing.
7. Top with 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese.

Completed Product (the little bowl to the side is sans onion and squash for Bryan)

8. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.

Remember to refrigerate mayonnaise-based dishes. Do not let them sit out for more than 2 hours to avoid salmonella poisoning.

Struggling with Time-Debt by Sierra Black

This article is from GetRichSlowly.org’s staff writer Sierra Black. See this link for original. Great info and perfect for a Time Management Resource! Here it is:

“I recently found myself, late one night, staring at my computer screen with a sinking, hard feeling in my stomach and a bad taste in my mouth. A familiar bad taste. The taste of debt. But I wasn’t looking at my bank statement — I was looking at my calendar.

“I’d borrowed a few hours from my normal work routine to do something special with my kids, and then cancelled a date with my husband to make up the work hours, and then tried to reschedule with him but ran into a doctor’s appointment I’d forgotten about.

“Time-management coach Thekla Richter says I’m not alone. “Everybody has that problem,” she says. “No matter how good we are at time managment. We want to do more things than we have time to do. It just means that we have lots of desire and lots of imagination.”

“Once I’d had that rock-bottom moment of insight, the pattern that led to it was clear.

“Running out of time
Looking back, I could see how over the past six months I’ve taken on more and more freelance work without letting any of my other commitments go. To make it all work, I started borrowing. It was just a few hours here and there at first: saying I’d do the laundry tomorrow instead of right now, asking my husband to drive for gymnastics this week and promising to do it next time.

“Pretty soon, I needed to start repaying some of that borrowed time. Deadlines I’d gotten extensions on came due like dreaded tax bills, chores I’d postponed piled up around the house. I ran into the same problems I’m familiar with from money-based debt: I owed more than I could pay. There were simply not enough hours in the day for all the commitments I had.

“Richter says the biggest consequence for perennial time borrowers is losing joy in life. You’re constantly rushing around, and even the things you love become no fun anymore. I’ll add health problems, sleep deprivation, short-tempered fights with my family and making expensive mistakes to that list.

“Being out of time is not unlike living under clutter in that sense. When you always need to be in two places at once, you can’t be your best at anything. You make mistakes, lose things, miss deadlines. That can start costing you real money, as well as lowering your quality of life.

“Time wasn’t always in such short supply for me. As a stay-at-home mom managing a household of five people on one salary, I’d adopted the adage, “I have more time than money” as my personal motto.

“For years, the best solution to any problem I faced was the time-intensive DIY approach. I learned a lot of money-saving skills during that period, and spent many hours gardening, baking, mending, doing bike repair and bartering goods and services.

“But when I didn’t drop my DIY ways after I started working for money again, it quickly became apparent that I no longer had more time than money.

“I was sleeping four or five hours a night trying to make my temporal ends meet, and still falling further behind. It seemed like I was working every waking hour to keep a commitment for someone else. My kids were feeling it, too. They wanted more downtime, and were showing it through frequent tantrums and poor sleep.

“Something had to give.

“Finding time
First, I did the time equivalent of declaring bankruptcy: I quit everything. No more writer’s group, no more swim lessons, no more gymnastics classes, no more weekly library story hour.

“I turned my suddenly-much-happier kids loose to play with their neighborhood friends, watch Sesame Street and bake cookies with me in the afternoons. I spent my evenings at home, not running around town trying to keep up with a social life that suited my 25-year-old self better than my mom-self.

“After quitting (almost) everything, here are a few techniques I used to bring my time debt under control:

  • I prioritized. Just as the first step with money management is to know where your money is going, you need to know where your time is going. “You need some kind of system where you know big picture what are your priorities and values and what are all the projects that are on your plate,” Thekla says. “That’s really like a budget.”
  • I paid myself first. To get out of debt, you need to pay yourself first. Just like saving money, I needed to put time for myself ahead of the time I give to others if I wanted to make any headway on my ‘time debt’. I started insisting on ten minutes alone in the bathroom each morning to take a quick shower. That ten minutes of private time has grown into hours of personal time each week as my whole family gets used to the idea that Mommy needs time to herself.
  • I practiced saying “no”. Richter told me that the key to time management is being willing to say ‘no’ to yourself and other people. “It all comes down to having to make some really tough and really proactive choices,” she said. Just as you can’t spend the same dollar twice, each minutes can only be lived once. Whatever you choose to do with it means not doing something else.

“Unlike money, you can’t get more time. Sure, you can become more efficient up to a point, but eventually you just have to say no to something you really want to do, because you want something else more. Time management is all about tough choices.

“Richter suggests asking yourself these questions when choosing to make a time commitment:

  • “What am I giving up to do this?”
  • “How am I going to feel about this decision later?”
  • “How will I feel about this in a month, in a year, in ten years?”

“She also suggests making time commitments for now instead of later. Like money, time we commit to spend in the future seems easier to handle than time we have to spend right now. But like money, it really isn’t. You won’t have 20 free hours in six months that you don’t have now.

“Take time for yourself
Speaking of free hours, be sure to leave yourself some as you plan your time. Keep a bank of unscheduled time in your day is like having an emergency fund. Things will crop up unexpectedly that demand your time. Having resources to put towards them will save you from breaking other commitments or stressing yourself out.

“I’m still far from perfect at this. The great time management tips Thekla gave me I got during a phone interview at 1 a.m. But I took a break while writing this article to have a romantic dinner with my husband. I’m bringing things back into balance.

“That doesn’t mean I’ll never be busy again, just like managing my finances doesn’t mean I’ll never have a broke week again. But the overall picture is healthier and more joyful.”

Review: XStretch

My friend Jan and I did this video together tonight. It’s about one hour of just good ol’ fashioned stretching…from head to toe! It’s exactly what we both needed this week! I’ve convinced we all need a good dose of stretching on a regular basis! Flexibility is one of the main keys to health & wellness in my book. You can find this DVD as part of the P90X series on BeachBody.com. I got my set on eBay for about $50.

P90X® 07 X Stretch

“Stretching is the one thing that will help you achieve a higher level of athleticism over a longer period of time. The X Stretch routine is an integral part of the program that will help prevent injuries and avoid plateaus. The extensive full-body stretches that make up this routine use disciplines from Kenpo karate, hatha yoga, and various sports to ensure that your body is fully prepared to meet all P90X challenges head-on” (http://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/p90x.do?code=P90XDOTCOM).