Well, it has been a little over a month since I started on my dog-biscuit baking as well as my own personal journey to attain total wellness. I thought I would provide an update on both! The dog-biscuit baking has been going GREAT - I could not have asked for more support - it has been so rewarding to hear personal stories about rescuing dogs. I truly believe having an animal, especially a dog, can be one of the most therapeutic options out there!! I know Roadie has gotten me through (and continues to) a number of tough times in my life. Please continue to spread the word as I am in a bit of a "lull" right now as far as sales go. We are close to the $400 mark - the $500 mark will be AWESOME!
On the "total wellness" side of things - that has been more of a struggle. When I first clicked the "Publish post" on my first blog entry, I felt amazing. Refreshed. Ready to DO something. But unfortunately, life happens and it is easy to fall back into normal routines and habits. I have not been doing a good job attending church or my small group regularly. My biggest downfall is that I have not been managing my diet well at all. This will be the majority of this blog post as I need YOUR help and support to do exactly as the title says - conquer my fears and commit to change.
I have always struggled with food. Never actually diagnosed, I would say I went through a period of anorexia when I was a pre-teen as I extremely limited my calorie intake, and felt very guilty every time I put something in my mouth. Luckily, something in my brain "clicked" and this phase really did not last long - I think as I grew older and started to understand nutrition more, I was able to identify what I was doing was not healthy. Throughout college and high school I ate like a normal teenager but my weight fluctuated a lot. I would gain the typical 15-20 lbs a semester, and then over summer or winter break I'd go on a diet, exercise like crazy and lose it all. Probably not the most healthy thing, either.
Then.... one of the best moments of my life happened. I met the love of my life......
Roadie. KIDDING. Well, not really. Let's just say I met the TWO loves of my life..... Roadie and my boyfriend, Jake. We were both finishing up school and as we went through the "puppy-dog" stage of our relationship, we realized we both loved to EAT! So, we went out to eat ALL the time. I laugh when I think back on it - it was pretty typical to go out to breakfast at Perkins to cure our wine hangover, maybe go back and take a nap, grab Quizno's or Panchero's for lunch, then go out for a nice dinner at Olive Garden and then top it all off with some Coldstone! (In fact, I started to LOVE Coldstone SO much, I came up with what was at that time, an ingenious idea - buy the personalized GALLON of ice cream and take it home!) So.... I would literally eat a gallon of Coldstone every couple of days. YUM. OK, OK, so I bet you know where this story is going. One day I decided to buy a scale and step on it. The number read 140. When Jake and I first met, I was at about 110. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked. I won't say Jake's weight gain on here in case he cares, but he had gained a similar % of weight. It also didn't help that by this time we were both working Corporate jobs and not exercising whatsoever.
So. I decided to diet and exercise. Nothing psycho. Just stopped going out to eat. Stopped getting gallons of Coldstone. Got my Grandma's old exercise stationary bike and did that for 30 minutes a day. Within 10-12 months, the weight was gone. About the time I started work at Principal. I was back to about 110. We moved to Des Moines and of course wanted to try out all of the great new restaurants. I let myself, but there was a little voice in my heading telling me to "be careful" because I didn't want to end up where I was before. Because let's face it - dieting is NOT fun. The fact that I was now able to not really diet and eat out every once in awhile was AWESOME, but my biggest FEAR was that I would have to start dieting again. So I started wanting to lose a little more weight to have a "cushion." I started not eating much at work and saving all of my calories for dinner and nighttime snacking. I was getting nutrition and calories but NOT from healthy foods or in a healthy manner - I was literally eating about 500 calories during the day and then 1,000 calories from 5pm - 9pm. I have struggled with this ever since. Probably for the past year if I'm being honest with myself. I've tried various things but I've come to the realization that I am addicted to carbs and sugar. For dinner I crave five bowls of Fruit Loops instead of salmon or a "normal" dinner. I have gone through phases of making myself eat a "normal" dinner but still will eat a small dinner - like 200 - 300 calories so I still have calories left for my five bowls of Fruit Loops.
Food is controlling my life. I am gaining my happiness from food. I am also gaining unhappiness from food when I try to go a week without cereal or my other lovely carbohydrates.
Well. I'm finally going to CONQUER MY FEARS AND COMMIT TO CHANGE! My fear of gaining weight and having to diet again is NOT going to happen - if I am eating healthfully and mindfully, I won't gain weight and I could still stand to gain a few more pounds anyway. I will NEVER have to diet again - I really don't even believe in the word "diet" anymore. I just want to live a healthy LIFESTYLE.
I am going to COMMIT TO CHANGE - It's going to be rough. I'm going to be a bitch (sorry in advance) and I'm going to probably want to give up. But since I'm publishing this post to the world, it feels real to me now. More then when I've just been telling myself in my head that I should change.
So the past couple of weeks I have been doing my research of the various diets (oops I mean "lifestyles) that are out there - Paleo, Mediterranean, Atkins, 17 Day, etc. All of them have their pro's and con's. What I have tried to do is take the best out of all of them for my own personal plan. Here are the basics:
-Eat all of the vegetables I want. You really can't go wrong with veggies.
-Eat fruit, but not a ton. I'm thinking 3-4 servings per day max.
-Eat lots of lean protein
-Eat fat-free dairy - Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, etc.
-Limit carbs. Get carbs from things like quinoa, beans, other legumes.
-I know I have to let myself have SOME of my "trigger" foods. So, I'm going to let myself get TWO packages from the grocery store each week and limit servings to 2 per day.
-Don't eat unless you're hungry, but eat when you're hungry. Often times at work, I am REALLY hungry but didn't bring myself enough food to satisfy my hunger so when I get home from work, I will eat WELL past being full just because I do NEED the calories. Stopping both.
-Try to limit sodium intake. This will be tough, too and probably not as important for me, but am still going to monitor.
-Targeting about 1,700 - 1,800 calories per
Ready. Set. GO!!!!!!!!
A few disclaimers:
-I am writing this blog as an outlet for myself and personal reflection tool. It may sound arrogant, but I am really not writing this to change anyone's life or make a huge impact (I am, however, hoping to make an impact through my dog biscuit business.... so as a shameless plug, please buy a bag!)
-Content will be completely random and may include (but is not limited to): cooking disasters and successes, book reviews, updates on the aforementioned dog biscuit baking, sports commentary (most likely to be whining) and other various rants on whatever happens to be on my mind or bothering me.
-It may get personal. You may (probably won't) not agree with everything that I write. I always welcome differing views/comments/opinions so please feel free to comment. For the past couple of weeks I have been writing in an online personal journal/diary. I knew when I started this dog biscuit website, I also wanted to have a blog to write about my progress, share photos, etc. For those of you who know me well, I'm a pretty private person most of the time. I thought a lot about whether or not I should continue with my personal journal online or if I should just have one blog but have it be public. In the past few weeks I have been reading a number of "Gen Y" blogs and I have been shocked at not only how many people choose to publicly blog about pretty personal stuff, but more importantly, how much I have gained from being able to read them. It is pretty cool to be able to feel "connected" to someone you don't even know or to make a change in your own life based on reading someone's personal experience. I want this to be real. So. The decision has been made.
Now that we have that out of the way......
I did not make any resolutions this year. To be honest, I didn't even think about what they would be. What I have decided to focus on in 2012 is the concept of "Total Wellness" - living a healthy lifestyle, being financially comfortable, remembering to take time for myself and finally, growing a closer relationship to God. I thought a lot about how I want to grow/improve in all of those areas of wellness, and here is what I came up with:
Health Wellness Goals & Reminders (I started out with just "goals" but as I was writing, that didn't seem right. Not everything is about having a specific goal I need to meet, but a lot of it was just basic reminders
-Run at least one 5K and half-marathon. I forced myself to start running over Christmas break. I have NEVER been a runner even though I enjoy other forms of cardio like biking and the elliptical. But I have always hated running. It still takes a lot of convincing/pumping myself up before I actually set foot on the treadmill, but what I can tell you is that the feeling I get when I am done running is one of the best feelings I've EVER had.... in my entire life. I really can't explain it, but there definitely is truth to a "runner's high." What I have to always tell myself and remember when I'm dreading running is to always focus on the outcome. That is true not only for running, but something I tell myself in other facets of my life as well. Focus on the outcome.
-Focus on strength training as well as cardio. One of my other goals (that will appear below) is to get my golf game back into proper form! I really want to work on my core and arm/back muscles to hopefully add some distance to my game.
-Continue to experiment with cooking healthy and using new/different ingredients that I'm not used to. I really have come to love cooking and more importantly, cooking healthy! It is so much nicer to be able to control the amount of sodium, etc. by cooking at home and it really is a great feeling to eat something you created. Sometimes I can get a little uber-frugal and avoid cooking recipes that would require me to purchase more or expensive ingredients. I need to remind myself that it is OK every once in awhile to spend a few extra bucks to try a new dish.
-Eat three square meals a day. I'm SUCH a snacker! It is hard for me to sit and watch TV without eating. Thus, a lot of my calaoric intake is in the form of dry cereal, chips, 100 calorie pack whatevers, etc. I realize I need a more balanced diet so I make sure to get the proper nutrients. This will be a toughie for me though!
Financial Goals & Reminders
-Max out Roth 401K - This really won't be too difficult - I am already almost halfway there. Just need to make sure I transfer my tax return and bonus money directly into my account before thinking about what other "fun" things I could spend the money on.
-Continue to follow a budget - Budgeting can be a big pain, but I'm telling you it really works! The first couple months you will be shocked at where your money REALLY is going. I know everyone has heard this before, but making small changes (like brewing coffee at home rather than Starbucks) can turn into a long term impact!
-Be frugal, but not a psycho - I can be quite the penny pincher and I realize that (admitting you have a problem is the first step, right?!?!) It is hard for me to ever feel GOOD after buying myself something. I usually feel regret and guilt even though I have money in my budget designated for "fun" stuff like new clothes or a nice bottle of wine. I rarely end up using it.
Personal Goals & Reminders
-Pass the Level II CFA Exam. I have been slacking so far with my studying. This is another example of a time I need to focus on the outcome and think about how disappointed I will be if I don't pass.
-Breathe more.....Stress Less. I like to be busy. Like uber-busy. If I'm unproductive for more than five minutes, I beat myself up. This can be great at times, but ultimately wears my body down. Just taking a few minutes out of every day to simply focus on my breathing can be extremely helpful to keeping me focused and charged. Stress is inevitable, and there was actually a great article in the WSJ about how stress can be a good thing. It's just a matter of making sure your stress level is in the "good" zone and recognizing when it moves over into the "danger" zone. My goal is to manage my stress and keep it in the "good" zone!
-Build relationships outside of work. Inside the walls of PFG, I have become a pretty good networker. Not only that, but I truly enjoy it. Meeting new people and learning about different areas of the business is fascinating. I love it. But for some reason, that doesn't translate over to my personal life. I will never be the person to have a large circle of friends - that has never been my style. But, I often find myself turning down opportunities to strengthen existing my friendships outside of work because I feel like it will be a hassle or I'm too tired. I have identified this lack of "closeness" with friends outside of work as one of the reasons I've felt unhappy in the past few months.
-Make time for personal hobbies. I have been so focused on my professional work, someone asked me the other day what my hobbies were and I couldn't come up with anything. How SAD is that?!?! It is truly a blessing I am thankful for every day that I can derive so much happiness from my every day job, but at the same time.... I really don't want to look back at my life 20 years from now and still not be able to answer the question "what are my hobbies?" I mean.... I would like to retire someday and if I don't have any hobbies, that will make for a pretty boring retirement. As previously mentioned, I definitely plan on getting back into golf this season. I also want to keep up with personal reading and volunteer more in the community.
-Develop and expand hobbies. This is kind of an "add on" to the above, but I think it's important to constantly grow and develop as a person. I want to try new things. Maybe there is a passion out there that I haven't even realized is a passion because I've let fear step in the way or just made the excuse of "I'm too busy." I really want to focus on thinking about WHY I am NOT doing things! I have always thought about small business ideas or ways to give back to the community and never let them get much further than a dream. That is one of the reasons I made this website and blog in the first place. It is a risk. I'm scared no one will buy anything. It's tough to write about yourself in a public forum. But I'm no longer going to let that get in the way of trying. The other dream I've always had is to write a book. I've tried and failed at NaNoWriMo too many times. This is the year to make it happen!
Spiritual Goals & Reminders
-Continue to develop my relationship with God and what that means. I've never been a religious person. Never really thought about it to be honest. Always have been too busy (I use that excuse a lot apparently) and focused on myself. A couple of months ago I really was soul searching and in a bad place. Just wasn't feeling motivated outside of work and questioned if I had a larger purpose other than working 50+ hrs/week. A friend of mine recommended the book, "The Purpose Driven Life." From Page 1, I was skeptical. It was also intimidating. It was also written, or at least it seemed, for people who already had a relationship with God and in general, at least were believers. But....by the end of the book I can honestly say it was one of the most impactful books I have ever read. It really changed a lot of my perspective. It made me realize that a spirtual aspect of my life was a gaping hole that needed to be filled. Since finishing the book, I have thought about the questions posed over and over. I plan on reading the book again at least once. I have also since read, "What's the Least I Can Believe & Be A Christian?" and I would recommend that to anyone who wasn't raised in a Church and has some doubts. Bottom line to me..... being a Christian is ultimately about being a better person and helping make the world a better place on a daily basis - as small (or big) as that may be.
-Go to Church. I believe in the importance of a community when it comes to religion. I have been looking into churches in Des Moines and recently attended The Gateway downtown. It was an awesome experience. I couldn't even believe THAT could be called "church" - it was so relaxed yet meaningful. Everyone was so nice and open. I plan to go back and become involved in their small groups this session. I'm really excited!
PHEW. That is a lot. But, looking back, a lot of it is intertwined and dependent on one another. From where I was a few months ago I can honestly say I am miles from that place. I'm excited and re-energized about life again. I'm focused. I'm ready to take on whatever the world throws at me. Most importantly - I'm blessed with the opportunity to from here on out, make a difference and work on being a better person every single day. Because in the end, that is what matters.
Hi! I am a young professional in Des Moines, IA still learning how to survive in the "real world." Luckily, I have an awesome dog, Roadie, to keep me grounded. I enjoy red wine, fine dining, Atlanta Braves baseball, running, cooking, and reading - not necessarily in that order!