Monday, March 25, 2013

Results!

Last Saturday was my Final Testing at Farrell's and I just have to say, I've NEVER felt stronger in my life. Stronger and PROUD. That's kind-of a big deal for me.

The past 10 weeks have been a challenge in the best possible way. I'm coming away from this with a renewed sense of self-worth and the knowledge that I really CAN reach my goals if I commit myself to seeing things through.

One of the biggest surprises for me has been realizing that the more I push myself, and the more I just DO the work...the more I CAN do. Does that make sense? It might seem like such an obvious thing. But in the past I've let the mere THOUGHT that I probably couldn't do something hold me back from even trying. It really is amazing what you can achieve when you just TRY.

Here are some of the things I've accomplished over the past 10 weeks that I'm especially proud of:

1. I ran an entire MILE without stopping. Now let me say that my version of running is really a slow, slow jog...but still...I set a pace I could manage and maintained it the entire time. This was major. Even when I started I thought, I'll try to jog the first half and then if I have to walk, I will...but I didn't...I just pushed myself past what I thought I could do and no one was more surprised than me!

2. I had PERFECT attendance for my entire 10 week Bootcamp. Other than a few snowstorms and minor illnesses, I didn't have much preventing me from reaching this goal that wasn't MENTAL. Making the commitment to be at EVERY class and do the work was a big thing for me. Getting over myself when I just didn't want to go. Plus, my husband has his 10-wk perfect attendance card on display in our bathroom...as a little reminder (or challenge as I saw it). Silly as it sounds, it really did motivate me to get there...I couldn't have him holding THAT over my head for the rest of my life - lol!

3. Cranking out PUSH-UPS...even a few from my toes! Seriously NEVER thought I'd be able to do that.

4. Dedicating myself to continuing down this path to better health. I signed-up for an entire YEAR of Farrell's. So really, even though my 10wks are over, this is just the beginning for me.

5. I met my goal of listening to Eye of the Tiger...every...single...day. If you think I'm joking...just ask my kids what our theme song is and they'll tell you! It sounds silly (because it is) but it was one of those fun little things I could do to get myself pumped-up...and even the kiddos got in on the fun...so I guess sometimes silly is just what you need :)

Reaching these goals and milestones and making new commitments led to a LOT of self evaluation. I planned on blogging about it, but to be honest sometimes it was just easier to DO the work and not THINK about it too much. Besides the fact that I was so physically exhausted that I'd just fall into bed at night...emotionally I was dealing with a lot too. The battles we fight inside our head can make or break the resolve we have to change. In the end, I've learned a lot about myself and I like to think that I've changed a bit too.

One of the toughest obstacles for me has been shifting my focus from "weight-loss" to really getting healthy. I've weighed a lot less than I do right now, but I can honestly say I don't think I've ever been healthier. I feel STRONG. That being said, this will continue to be a tough area for me. Just like anyone else, I want to SEE results...not just feel the difference. I went into my 10 wks knowing that this would just be the start of a longer journey for me to get where I want to be. Retraining myself, teaching myself to stop focusing on the scale and the numbers and really listen to my body...that's hard after a lifetime of doing the opposite. Hard, but totally worth it.

Now for the nitty-gritty! Here are my Final Testing Results...and NO...I'm not posting pictures - lol!
- Increased my push-ups (knees) from 20 to 50.
-Increased my sit-ups from 12 to 26.
- Took almost 3 and a half minutes off my mile-run time.
-Lost 10.2 pounds.
-Lost 15.25" (combined) from my chest, arm, hips and waist (over 7 inches in my waist alone!)
-Decreased my body fat percentage by 4.5%.

So those are the numbers, but it's only a small part of what I really accomplished. My new motto: I'M JUST GETTING STARTED! Now...I have to set some NEW goals!

Thanks so much to those of you who have followed along and offered your support and encouragement. It really does mean so much :)

~Audrey


Monday, January 21, 2013

Lala-WHOOPSIE!

It's time to do some serious confessing...feel free to judge...I mean, I AM putting it all out there :)

I'm almost to the end of my one-month Compact Challenge and my resolve is in major disrepair. I've found myself looking for "loopholes"...reasons to purchase something new, even though I know (I KNOW) it's not something we need.

One thing that came up...birthday presents for people outside of our home. To me, this was an obvious exception to the challenge. If the idea was to not purchase things for OUR home...what we bought for other people didn't really matter. I don't want to go imposing our choice onto other people.

That all sounds fine...maybe even justifiable....BUT (and this is a BIG butt ya'll)...I found that it really just gave me an excuse to get in the toy aisle and go a little loopy!

My major violation started with the purchase of a Lalaloopsy doll for Harper. Exactly one month after Christmas....after I said that these kids do not need ANY more toys...what am I doing? Buying her a flippin' doll! Here's the thing...we're invited to a Lalaloopsy themed Birthday Party in a couple of weeks...and the guests were told they could bring their loopsy doll along for the fun!


It was a very casual mention on the invite...it's not like having your own doll is going to be required to get in the door...clearly, no-pressure. Yet all I could think was, "Well obviously Harper needs one of these dolls!" Needs? Really, I just wanted her to have one to take along because it seemed so cute and fun.

My first plan was to try to find a 2nd hand one. Nothing came up. Then I thought I'd just look at the store. This, of course, immediately turned into me purchasing one for her. Then...I found some others on Clearance! I thought I'd get one as a gift to give the Birthday Girl at the party...but then...it was SUCH a sweet deal...I had to buy TWO (thinking I'd set one back for Harper's birthday in March too).

If you're counting...that makes 3 Lalaloopsy dolls purchased in one day. Yup. That's the sound of me falling OFF the wagon...HARD!

I really WAS trying to talk myself OUT of them...but I have YEARS of experience talking myself INTO purchases...and that side won this round.

I know this is a lot of space to dedicate to a seemingly unimportant purchase. I really do want to figure out the "WHYS" of these behaviors and I feel like ignoring this mistake would be a missed opportunity to do a little soul-searching. I can honestly say that I've felt pretty proud of my commitment to The Compact until this point. I'm even planning on continuing past our original one-month goal. I know that mistakes are bound to happen...and that I should learn from them and move forward.

So what can I learn from this? Clearly...I have impulsive shopping tendencies that left unchecked can spiral out of control! (I won't even mention the etsy searching I was doing for handmade Lalaloopsy clothing and accessories....sheesh...I was in spiral-mode people!)

In the end...I think it really is as simple as the basic concept of NEED vs.WANT. I've noticed that the only times I've been enticed to cheat...including the two times that I actually did...were when it came to purchasing things for the kids. I want to give them everything, and sometimes that makes it hard for me to see that they don't really need it.

I think this will continue to be an area I'll have to work on...but...I'm DETERMINED to make change and I realize that this is a process.

For now, I'm recommitting to moving on and making better choices! Wish me luck :)

Audrey

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Effort & Attitude

You know when you start a new workout program and there's that "Honeymoon Phase" at the beginning? When you're all JACKED-UP to be there...to put in the HARD work...to see your results?

That's where I'm at, four days into Farrell's! I feel totally committed to this. I've been tracking every meal...and hey...I know it's only been four days...but 6 meals per day...that's a lot of tracking!

The only problem is, I still have that nagging doubt in the back of my head. I've been here before. I'm totally dedicated, until I'm just not. Then I fall, and fall hard ya'll.

So why is this time different? I read a quote the other day that really stuck with me:

"It's not about perfect. It's about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that's where transformation happens. That's how change occurs."

I really think that this is a BIG part of my problem. The idea of being "perfect". Clearly...I'm not...who is? The issue is that I always seem to turn any little mistake into a snowball of bad choices. Why? If I'm being honest, it's because I never really BELIEVE that I can stick with it, that I can make lasting change, that I can be that person...the one I want to be, the one I get little glimpses of sometimes.

I've let self-doubt rule my life for FAR too long. So now, instead of focusing on being perfect, I'm going to concentrate on putting ALL my effort in...every day...to every workout...every meal preparation...to the 8 million other things I do in the course of a day. Effort and attitude. I know I have complete control over those two things.

Here are a few things I'm going to do to help keep me motivated:
1. I'm going to listen to Eye of the Tiger once...every single day. I'm serious - lol! This song seriously gets me PUMPED...it doesn't matter what I'm doing when I hear it...I do it better...with more intensity when that song comes on (that includes folding laundry or just driving the car). It also makes me laugh...and who doesn't need MORE laughter in their life?
2. I'm going to start involving the kids more! My 2 and 4 year old have seemingly limitless stores of energy and they can get unreasonably excited about anything. My plan is to harness some of that unbridled JOY and happiness and use it to propel me forward!
3. I've committed to a 10wk Bootcamp...and my goal is to go to each and every class. I want perfect attendance...partly because my husband had perfect attendance during his 10wk session (and if I don't I'll never hear the end of it!) I know this directly conflicts with the whole not focusing on perfection thing...but part of really putting in the effort IS just going! Showing up...and making my workout matter.
4. I'll continue to improve my nutrition...AND bring my ENTIRE family along with me! I've been bad this week about letting the kiddos eat something different, just because it's easier. They have a lot of really great eating habits...but there are also some not-so-great ones that we need to deal with...pronto.
5. I'm going to be as forgiving with myself as I am with others. I don't expect anyone else to be perfect...so why do I hold a grudge against myself when I don't "measure up" or if I make a less than stellar call? I'm going to just be NICER to myself.

I feel really optimistic! I'm proud of the work I'm putting in. Even if I look like I'm going to croak any minute during my workouts...I'm still there...and my ATTITUDE and EFFORT are going to push me through!

Now...let's see how long this honeymoon lasts :)
~Audrey

Sunday, January 13, 2013

DETERMINED

I'm gonna cover a lot here....going forward my plan is to make more frequent posts (but much shorter!) It seems like if I let a couple of days go by it turns into a week without me even noticing....anyone else?!?!

MY ONE WORD
First thing I want to talk about is my ONE-WORD for 2013. I thought I was the last person on earth to hear about this idea, but when I posted it there were a lot of people who were with me in my ignorance :) Here's the idea, instead of making New Years' Resolutions you think of one word. One word that inspires you, represents the change you want to make or the person you want to become; one word that will motivate and keep you on track as you try to reach your goals.

My word: DETERMINED.

I have SO many goals that I've set for myself this year. I have big picture goals and LOTS of small ones along the way. One of the main things I really want to accomplish this year is to be more forgiving with myself. Usually, I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. This is a serious disadvantage when I take-on something new or when it comes to things I want to achieve. What happens is any little slip-up and I throw in the towel. That's it...I failed! What I need to do is accept that there are going to be challenges and that I'm going to mess-up and make mistakes. I need to forgive myself, really THINK about why the mistake happened and what I can do to prevent it in the future...and then....MOVE ON....MOVE FORWARD.

Duh right? But that's always been a problem for me. No more. I'm DETERMINED to meet the goals I've set for myself. That pursuit and constant effort toward improvement will be an on-going process. I'm in-it to win-it...so this year...I'm seeing things through.

THE COMPACT
The goal and commitment we made to do The Compact (for one month) is in full swing. I am really proud of the work I've been doing to declutter and STOP mindlessly purchasing "stuff" we really don't need.

Here are some things I've done:

-Unsubscribed from over 30 store email lists and flash sale groups. Seriously, it's no wonder that every time I got online I'd end-up shopping. My inbox was flooded with emails ALL DAY LONG. This simple step has made a huge difference. If I don't SEE the ads and the specials I'm not tempted to even look. KEEPIN' IT REAL CONFESSION: I haven't unsubscribed from zulily or Livingsocial...just...yet....LOL.

-Donating unused items! I've been going through different rooms and piles, a little at a time so it's not too overwhelming. I've made several trips to Goodwill, The Catholic Worker House and a couple of other local charitable organizations. It's embarrassing to me to think of how much we have in our home, that is just sitting...when there people with REAL needs. It was a good feeling knowing that I was giving things to people who really needed them.

-I've been really serious about sticking to lists when shopping for groceries and staying in the GROCERY section of the store. As soon as I vary from that path and head toward my usual "lap" around Target...things get tricky. KEEPIN' IT REAL CONFESSION: Yesterday I made my first non-essential NEW purchase that was in direct violation of our commitment....I got my daughter a pair of shoes....50% off...BUT...I'm keepin 'em. Sorry...they go with her special Birthday dress perfectly. In reality she didn't need a new pair of shoes...she could have wore a different pair that didn't match...but that just won't work with my OCD nature.

-A few things have come up that kinda felt like "cheats" but I don't think they were. I figure I'll put them out there and you can all judge for yourselves. I had some things that I ordered online (prior to taking-on The Compact challenge). Part of me thought that if I were really committed, I'd return them...but I'm not...so sue me. One package had some dresses I ordered for Harper before Christmas...and they came all the way from Australia....and they're GORGEOUS. One is for her Birthday. Not going back. Another was a Christmas gift I ordered for her that didn't come in time...so I decided to keep it and set it back for her Birthday. Another thing...a big purchase...we got NEW mattresses for each of the kids' beds. They needed them...and it just wasn't something I was willing to buy used. So there...I've confessed. But really...part of the nice thing about The Compact is you can make your own rules. I don't plan on bending them so I can just go out shopping all the time, but clearly...there are some situations that I didn't really think about before.

Overall I feel really proud of how we've been doing. I'm going to keep doing better...and I really (REALLY) like how much it makes me THINK about the crap we buy. Really...crap...stuff we don't need.

FARRELL'S
One of my BIG goals this year is to get HEALTHY. I know there will be plenty of posts on this topic...so I'm just going to touch on the surface here. Bottom line, I am in terrible shape and feel awful....every...single...day.

I had joined Weight Watchers over the summer and was doing great. When I followed the program, it worked. But then, the holidays came...I got off-track and never went back. Story of my life ya'll. The problem for me has always been making time and really committing to doing something like this for myself...FOREVER. Not just for a few months.

I felt like I needed to do something drastic and really just get after it. So....I signed-up for the 10 Week Bootcamp at Farrell's Extreme Body Shaping.

Let me just say...YIKES! I know what I'm in for...I did the program before (between pregnancies). I know it works and I am DETERMINED to push myself and really commit to this program.

We had orientation on Saturday. After sit-ups, push-ups, a 4 minute step-test, measurements and horrifying "before" pics...we ran the mile. I seriously almost DIED. I have a cold...and I inhaled a cough drop about a quarter mile in. So...that was awesome - LOL! I looked like a flippin' lunatic. After I hacked up the coughdrop and stopped hyperventilating I finished (walking) the rest...I can't lie...I felt GOOD. Out of shape...yeah...but it felt GOOD that I was there doing something about it....finally.

Tonight I made a TON of food for the week...diced chicken, broiled tilapia filets, roasted asparagus, whole wheat penne pasta. Lots to grab and go.

Tomorrow is my first "real" day. I can't lie...I'm nervous...I know what to expect, but still. Plus...I'm frickin' SORE from all that testing stuff. I mean seriously....every time I cough my ribs and stomach hurt and my legs have been killing me all day.

I just keep telling myself that every day I'm getting stronger than the day before...even if I don't FEEL that way - lol!

Okay...PHEW...I warned ya...it was gonna be a long one!

AND...I promise to start checking in more frequently...it helps me remember more of the details of what I'm doing if I track it right away anyways :)

~Audrey


Saturday, January 5, 2013

My "New" Phone!

I had my first real "nothing new" challenge earlier this week.

Approximately 36 hours after we committed to The Compact...I lost my frickin' cell phone.

USCC Cellby
Like really lost it. I knew I was in trouble when I tried my "fail proof" method of calling from another phone and listening for the ring. When we called my number it went straight to voicemail. Then, I looked in all the usual places...couch cushions, under furniture, counter tops, cupboards, in the kids' rooms/closets/playroom...upstairs, downstairs...in the cars...outside...even drove downtown to where I had eaten dinner the night before to look at the freshly plowed curb.

Finally my husband looked, and if HE can't find it, then we get to declare the item "officially" lost.

So I had a bit of a dilemma. My phone is my lifeline. I run my business through it....and after having gone 24 hours with no phone, something had to be done.

To make the situation even more fun, it was less than 3 months old, so to repurchase the same one I would have to spend over $400. Ridiculous. Plus...since I had JUST made the declaration that I'd be buying nothing new for the next month, buying new wasn't really an option...this was my first real BIG test. If I didn't want to look like a back-pedaling, uncommitted JERK I was going to have to figure it out...creatively.

My first thought was to put a post on Facebook that I was looking for a used cell phone...preferably a slider (since I'm set in my ways and HATE learning new phones...I'm techno-challenged...no joke!)

Here's what I posted:
So...throwing in the towel on the phone-hunt :(
Next step...find a "new" phone...but since I just committed to a COMPACT challenge for 30 days, this could be interesting :)
If anyone has a US Cellular Android FOR SALE please let me know ASAP...I'd really like to get a slide-out keypad...if you want to SHARE this post to help me out I'd be UBER appreciative!

Within LESS than a half an hour I had around 6 different fb friends offering up their used cell phones! Some of my fabulous friends even said I could just HAVE their old phones...but I was being a little picky and holding out for the "right" one...and as luck would have it, someone had the EXACT same phone I'd lost that she was willing to part with!
I ended-up paying $25 for a used phone in excellent condition. BONUS: when I went to switch the service over the consultant looked up my points...and I had enough to get a FREE SD card too :)
So now, when the "lost" phone magically reappears...probably in a week or so, after we've stopped looking for it...I won't have to feel as bad because I didn't waste HUNDREDS of dollars on a "new" phone.
I'm gonna go ahead and give myself a big ole GOLD STAR for this one! The biggest question I'm left with is WHY I ever paid that much for my phones in the first place?!?! It's safe to say I won't be doing that again any time soon!   
~Audrey 

Friday, January 4, 2013

New Years Resolutions...or...Things I Should Already Be Doing


I have a lot of BIG plans for 2013. Mostly, it all boils down to me really getting it together and doing the things I should ALREADY be doing.

Sounds simple right? Yet every year I make resolutions, set goals and they always (ALWAYS) seem to revolve around the things that other people just DO as part of their day-to-day existence. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of myself and keeping the family happy and content. Most days I can manage one or two of those things...but never ALL of them...especially not on the same day!

So I'm taking a different approach this year. I'm going to really KEEP TRACK of what I'm doing (or more often not-doing), on a daily basis. See what works, what motivates me, what "sticks" and just keep plugging away. This blog is going to be a big part of that process. I'm putting it all out there. It's not going to be pretty (literally and figuratively...I have no design talents so this is going to be bare bones ya'll!)

One thing it WILL be...honest. If I'm going to make meaningful and lasting change I know that I have to stop kidding myself and making excuses. People ask me all the time how I have time to do everything...really I don't...I only do certain things...the things that are gratifying and bring me enjoyment. Folding laundry, organizing, vacuuming...all that jazz...has just never been at the top of my list. We don't live in a hovel by any means...but I'm constantly overwhelmed by the chaos involved with all of our "stuff".

Which brings me to my first challenge! After really taking-in the mound of Christmas gifts that came into our house this year, I was shocked! There is absolutely NO way my two little kiddos NEED all of that "stuff". I'm a big part of the blame. I never feel like enough is really enough. Why is that? I know as parents we want to give our kids everything we can, but I really want to focus on making LESS mean MORE this year. I want my kids to value experiences over "things" and, at the end of the day, I'd rather be giving them my time than my money.

I came across the concept of The Compact here. Basically, you make a commitment to not buy anything NEW for one whole year. You can make your own rules so it works for your family, but the idea is to really evaluate what you're buying and why. Try to relearn the difference between what you want and what you really need. We've lost sight of this, me especially. I've always been a collector and my husband is constantly shaking his head at the stuff I bring home. It's all too much.

photo: editrrix
The Goals of the Compact (reposted from The Family Sponge)

  • to go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socio-economic impacts of U.S. consumer culture, to resist global corporatism, and to support local businesses, farms, etc.
  • to reduce clutter and waste in our homes
  • to simplify our lives
 Exceptions (these are our personal exceptions...you can modify it to work for your family)
-Food
-Health and Safety Items
-Household and Automotive Expenses/Repairs
-Undergarments
-Cleaning Supplies
-Services such as movies, entertainment, museums, haircuts.

We're committing to ONE MONTH of The Compact challenge. It's a start, and I'm hoping that once we get to the month-mark we'll keep going...maybe re-up for a few more?

I know this is going to be an interesting little journey and I'm hoping we learn a lot. I hope some of you will follow us and maybe find a little inspiration (or at least comic relief)!

~Audrey