Goals Update – Week 6 – Lesson: Running from Zombies really does give you a little more motivation!

I am a day late in posting this weeks update. I didn’t think it was fair to write it yesterday when I was having such a blah day, you know the kind, where the motivation to wash the dishes is at absolute zero and the zombies on your running app were just not chasing you frequently enough to make you feel that you got a decent workout, you know what I mean? No? Maybe that one is just me.
It’s the day where you finally had to admit defeat over the lawns and call the local lawnmower man to do it for you and you woke up that morning and realised that, even though you had a lovely evening having dinner with your husband’s ex and their wonderful teenage daughter and the ex’s bubbly second daughter, that it was your wedding anniversary and that even though you have been together for 14 years and married for 4 you cannot recall a single time when you actually celebrated that fact together as husband and wife. It is supposed to be your husband and not his ex that you have dinner with on your anniversary surely? Or maybe that is just me too?

It has actually been a bit of a blah week all round, nothing going quite how I wanted it to and I don’t feel I have achieved anything really. It was the kind of week that had me second guessing myself and wondering if I shouldn’t just pack it all in and give up on the whole goal setting thing altogether.

Maybe my blah feeling stemmed from the fact that I have spent a lot of time crying this week. Not in sorrow mind you but in empathy. You see I was recently nominated by one of my readers for a versatile blogger’s award and part of the rules of the nomination are to thank the person who nominated you, which I have done but thank you again Elizabeth, and to pass it along to 15 other bloggers who have touched your life in some way. Well at the time of nomination I was only following half a dozen or so other blogs and so I figured I had better get reading if I was going to find 15 others to nominate. Wow. It is amazing how these small snapshots, these tiny windows into other people’s lives can have such an effect on you. I have read stories of beauty, redemption and discovery and so many of them have made me cry that I was beginning to wonder if I was becoming nothing more than a big blubbering sook! Pah, wondering nothing, I have always been a sook – I can (and have) cried over TV ads.

Anyway I didn’t want any negative feeling seeping into my post so I delayed.

Luckily today I am feeling a lot better which is surprising actually as I had a rather severe case of Pinsomnia last night. Here I was at 10pm, all the chores done, congratulating myself that I would be in bed by 10.30 tonight after a quick check of my emails… before I knew it the clock was reading 12.30am and I was in the midst of a pinning frenzy fantasising about all the fabulous places I want to travel to someday. Pinterest you will be the ruin of me I think.

So onto the achievements (or lack thereof) for the week. It hasn’t been a total write off, I just had more in mind is all.

I still have no idea if I have lost any weight. I now know what is wrong with my scales but am no closer to being able to fix them. I am officially admitting defeat in this area as well and will buy a new set. In the mean time I plan to take my measurements so I can see if I am getting any smaller as opposed to just weighing less. Of course I won’t know if I am until I measure again in a month but it is a start. I will not be sharing those measurements though, sorry if you were curious.
To my shame I have fallen off the 30 day challenge wagon. I don’t even have a good excuse, I got to day 17 and just stopped. I vow that today I will pick up where I left off. I have however been enjoying using the elliptical trainer and ‘running’ from zombies with the new Zombies, Run! app I downloaded onto A-Man’s phone. Hope he doesn’t mind, who knows he may even use it himself, he is a bit (lot) of a zombie fan too.
I have joined an online community called SparkPeople. It is a free program that allows you to count your daily calories, track your exercise and get tips and recipes from the site administrators and other community members. I have even followed along with one of their yoga videos which was interesting. I was a little more flexible than I thought but a lot less than I should be. I know a lot of people are steadfastly against counting calories but I have found success on Weight Watchers in the past and find that kind of system a lot more effective for me than anything else I have tried. I considered joining again but object to having to pay the $35 odd that WW charge for their online program and I sure as heck am not dragging my children to meetings for $15 or $20 a week! So far the 4 days I have completed on SparkPeople has been great and the exercise log means I can more accurately keep track of how much to pay myself.

I really thought I would have all my lanterns done by now but I think some sticky 2½ year old fingers got hold of some of my supplies and I am missing some components necessary for completion. If he remembers what he did with them he is not letting on. If I don’t find what I need in the next few days I may have to make a strip to the store though I really don’t want to.

I have not paid any more off my credit card either as I never did list any more items to sell online. I really will make more of an effort in this area, especially now the travel bug is hitting hard (thanks to my aforementioned bout of pinsomnia) and I need to get saving rather than paying off.

As I promised to myself I have been trying plenty of new recipes lately though I am remarkably crap at remembering to photograph my creations. Although I try my meals never seem to look quite as beautiful as the ones in the book or magazine I copied from, so I don’t feel honest using their photo to show you, even if the recipe is the same (which it usually isn’t quite, I just can’t help myself but change it just a little).The one time I did remember (and even took photos of all of the steps) I forgot the dish in the oven so my final photo looks terrible and the food is about 6 shades darker than I intended. It is close to, but not quite, burnt beyond redemption so although it looked disgusting it actually tasted ok and the kids were happy to eat it too. I am still of two minds as to whether to share it though. I also had great intentions of trying some raw energy bars this week. It seems you can’t log onto facebook, pinterest or any food blog lately without it featuring some clean, raw or Paleo (or better yet – clean, raw AND Paleo) recipe. It seems to me that about 90% of them involve dates, almonds and coconut oil, maybe with one or two extra ingredients thrown in but the basics are always the same, and the other 10% require a juicer. Now I have all of those things but I don’t believe we are designed to live on dates, almonds, coconut oil and juice. I am not opposed to including them in my diet though so I got myself set up to make some of these miracle treats. Just before I started loading ingredients into the food processor though there was a wail from the bedroom announcing that Sunny was awake and kitchen playtime for mummy was over. On the way down the hall to collect her I shoved an almond inside a date and ate it. You know what? It was good, and that is good enough for me, I found a new snack and saved myself some extra dishwashing. Win!

Something that I am proud of this week is how I have thrown myself into the FlyLady system of home management. I am still not so hot on following all of the routines I have been trying to put in place for myself though when my dinner guests arrived on Tuesday I was not scurrying around the house frantically shoving clothes under beds and wiping bathroom sinks as I usually would be at the prospect of visitors. The house was already quite respectable and that felt good. I am still not caught up on all of the laundry folding that needs doing but I am getting there.

On that note I am off to fold another basket in front of the heater. The sun is shining but it is still rather chilly and my toes are cold.

Goals Update – Week 5 – Lesson: Happiness is a clothesline full of clean linen.

I don’t mean that literally. Although there is a certain pleasure in the acknowledgment of a job done , another tick on the ‘to do’ list, it is more what the line of washing represents. That despite the thunder storms and hail of the days previous or the need to sit huddled together in our fluffy socks and dressing gowns, sipping our morning cocoa or coffee while we wait for the heater to take the chill of the air, mother nature is giving us a break. The apple tree may be bare and the lawns over-long from neglect borne of wild weather but today the sun is shining, the cats are lounging and I am getting stuff done. That makes me happy.

I have thrown myself headlong into the housework this week, not exactly following the FlyLady principles but using them as a guide. I have done a lot more than she recommends but the satisfaction I have got from the extra tasks completed is my justification. I was about to write that I have nearly re-claimed my office due my my marathon folding effort last night until I turned around to find that my oh-so-helpful children have very kindly redistributed half of my folded laundry to the floor. Well I guess that serves me right for not putting it away this morning.

I have also been working hard at my 30 day challenge although I admit I only made it through half of my workout yesterday. To make up for it I am going to add some cardio today on the elliptical trainer. A couple of weeks ago I tried to download the “Zombies, Run!” app for my phone but although I have a smartphone it is apparently not compatible with my model. Today I think I will upload it to A-Man’s phone and use it on his. What better way to get zombie apocalypse ready than by getting fit while inuring myself to the sound of pursuit? Exercise savings to date $33 though I am not sure I am keeping account of my time very well. I think I will start an exercise log today to help me keep track. I am quite interested to see if I am doing more or less than I think. I have also discovered the step counter on my phone so I will start using that too. I once heard that you shouldn’t go to bed until you had done 10,000 steps for the day, I wonder what I do?

I haven’t paid off any more of my credit card as I forgot to list any new items for auction so I am still at $206. I have a whole bunch photographed and ready to go though so I will make a focussed effort to list 25 tonight.

I am getting used to the taste of Agave nectar and I do recognise that it is starting to taste sweeter to me. This is a good thing. My sugar dependency seems to be lifting. I still add sugar to my coffee in the morning – or rather Agave to my coffee but am not adding it to anything else and my desire for lollies and biscuits is lessening too. I am now happy with a slice of apple 90% of the time if a sugar craving hits and I have so far resisted pinching any of my children’s snack bags of cookies. Last night for desert I had the frozen banana ‘ice-cream’ that is so raved about online and although I did not think it tasted like ice-cream, I did enjoy it.

I think that is all for now, happy days people xx.

Goals Update – Weeks 3 and 4 – Lesson: Sweetness is a matter of opinion

For the first time since starting these weekly updates I am not hesitant to write one. Maybe it is because I ran out of time to do last weeks one and so have had a fortnight off, so to speak, or the fact that although I was supposed to weigh myself this week I can’t, my scales are broken. Well not broken so much as they are showing an error message that I can’t get rid of and don’t know how to fix. Admittedly I could probably find instructions on how to correct it if I looked online but, well, I haven’t, so there you go, I have no idea if I have lost any weight but I don’t really care right now.

I have however been working hard on my 30 day challenge and I figure that has to being doing something good. I can feel a difference in the conditioning of my muscles, in that my recovery time is already getting shorter (I can walk the next day now where I could barely stand the day after I started) and I am doing each group of exercises in one go now, not having to split them up like I did at first. My neighbour who I haven’t seen in a few weeks also commented that I looked like I had lost weight and that my face looked thinner so I am going to take that as a win! Ok so she didn’t have much to go on as I was dressed in my baggiest pyjamas at the time but I think the face comment is still valid… I’m sticking with that.

After a comment on one of my posts I have purchased some Agave nectar to use as a sugar substitute. It is lower G.I. apparently and can help prevent blood sugar spikes. I am very keen to give this a go as I still struggle with the whole giving up sugar thing but am tired of the sugar rush/sugar hangover cycle I am in. I am trying and I am consuming less, but it is hard – way WAY harder than I found giving up smoking all those years ago. By comparison giving up cigarettes was a piece of cake and the rewards of improved health and more money in my pocket, sweet. There’s my problem right there, sugar is easy and rewarding and I even use it to describe how I feel about totally unrelated things. It is so hard to change that mindset of sugar being yummy and good to sugar being unnecessary and toxic in the quantities I sometimes eat. Baby steps.

I think I have done about as much “research” that I can on housekeeping systems, I doubt there is anyone alive who knows the content of FlyLady‘s website better than me right now, probably not even Marla (the actual FlyLady) herself as she is not the only one who writes for the site. Trouble is reading about cleaning my house doesn’t actually clean my house (darn it). I have almost finished compiling my home management binder and have filled it with free printables from this fabulous site run by Ginny at Organizing Homelife. I have most of them filled out with the relevant information for our family too so there really are no more excuses for doing no more than the bare minimum to keep the house livable. I had a great conversation a while back with a friend (the other significant participant in the wedding from a few weeks back) and he made the comment that making ‘to do’ lists to help fight procrastination is in itself a form of procrastination. This is absolutely true and I am absolutely guilty. I have now made all my ‘to do’ lists, however, so I no longer have the delaying tactic of sitting down to write the day’s plan, it is done. Hubby – who will be, from now on, referred to as Action Man or A-man for short – is heading off for a month long deployment this week so I won’t even have him as a distraction for a while. He is very distracting. It seems it is time to get my clean on.

Of course having a clean and tidy house will allow me to spend more time doing some crafty creative things and as I have so many projects that I am ready to start and a fair few that need finishing too the incentive is well and truly there. I have been asked by a friend to give her some feedback on the work she is doing towards her masters too so I am really looking forward to using my brain for something other than figuring out where that smell is coming from or how many carrots I will need for the weeks meals. I am also looking forward to reclaiming the office for it’s intended purpose instead of the laundry/wardrobe extension it has become.

I have managed to pay off a further $46 of my credit card debt! Yay! Total paid $206. It would have been more but I needed supplies for my latest project and I also paid myself for the workouts I have done recently – Total saved $28.

I have now found out who I need to speak to about getting a notice put in our Partner’s Post (the newsletter we are supposed to get from the army once a month that actually comes about once every 3 months and usually informs of supposed upcoming social events that have actually been and gone) so I can see if there are any other local mothers interested in joining a music and movement playgroup for their preschoolers. I have also done a lot of research on this and have a ton of ideas for the kids if there is enough interest.

I will leave you with some observations I have made recently, most of them are common sense and I already knew all of them yet have been inclined to ignore them. Maybe if I admit to some of these I will get them done/stop doing them:
1. if I write something down, especially here where anyone can see it, I am more likely to do it,
2. having a workout buddy really helps, even if they are in another country, you still feel less alone,
3. having a workout buddy in the same room is even better and makes you work harder,
4. almond butter is a great healthy snack when spread on apples, not when spread on chocolate,
5. it doesn’t matter that I choose to have my fish with spinach if I eat the left over chips from my son’s plate, the calories do not magically fall out in transit from his plate to my mouth,
6. the person who wrote the label for the agave nectar I bought has a really vivid imagination – 25% sweeter than sugar? Not in my cup of coffee it ain’t!

That is all for now but with A-man away soon I will have a catch up session and add the recipes for the new things I have tried over the last couple of weeks and add the photos of my binder and Mum’s mother’s day card.

The Challenge

No-one who knows me would ever call me a slave to fashion. I have my own style, not quirky enough to be cool, not Nana enough to be naff, just me. Ok I wear black, just black generally but if I am feeling adventurous I will brighten up my look with a pop of colour… like grey. My best friend got married about 6 weeks ago and as her Matron of Honour she requested I wear white to match the rest of the bridal party. I don’t wear white – ever – so it is a huge testament to how much I love her that not only did I do it, I didn’t complain (much). I didn’t even wear white to my own wedding, but that was mine and I got to choose the colour scheme, this was hers so she got to choose but it illustrates how following fashion is not really high on my list of priorities. Every so often however a trend shows up that I want to follow and this time it came in the form of the 30 day challenge! They are all over the internet at the moment and it seems every body is either creating one, doing one or has just completed one. I even took part in one a few weeks back, inspired by some great girls whose page I follow on Facebook, you can check them out here (they are funny, real and very inspiring). Actually “took part” is not completely true – I started to take part in one, got about 12 days in, hubby got deployed, babies got sick and I forgot all about it. While I was doing it though I enjoyed the challenge and would like to try again. I was doing the 30 Day Squat Challenge but was also adding in some core and upper body work each day too. This time around I am going to incorporate a wider range of exercises and have devised my own 30 Day Challenge with the view to getting into the habit of working out on a regular basis. Most originally I have called it Toni’s 30 Day Challenge because, you know, it is really important to have a catchy title!

Here it is…

Toni’s 30 Day Challenge

Ok so I wrote it after a couple of drinks last night (my first in about 3½ years), I was celebrating (mourning is more accurate) Miss R having weaned herself and got inspired. Reading back over it in the cold light of morning I am feeling more than a little intimidated by the figures on day 30 however full of trite inspirational quotes thanks to a Facebook conversation with friends this morning (I even attached some to the bottom of the challenge sheet as you can see) and flush with Mother’s-Day-overindulgence-remorse I am going to attempt it as is, I may even surprise myself! So to hype myself up, some more over-used inspirational quotes… No time like the present, seize the day, believe you can and you’re half way there and my favourite at the moment, suck it up and some day you won’t have to suck it in… and all that. I start today!