Day 7: Lighting the Fuse

December left me drained.  Emotionally, physically, and socially drained. So where do you find a spark when you lack motivation? I know the easiest way to create motivation is routine.  I need to get back into a routine fast. Routines lead to habits, and habits lead to lifestyle changes.  Maybe this month I will only get back into a routine in a few areas of my life, but at least that’s lighting the fuse.

1. Get more sleep. With kids, heading back to school automatically lends itself to regular sleep, and for the most part, mealtime schedules.

2. Clean up our meals & snacks.  The saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”, and the dietitian in me knows it’s true.

Check out the Out of Milk App – load reusable shopping lists on to your phone, stick to them, and you are well on your way to cleaner eating.  Just having food in the fridge at home decreases the chance of stopping for fast food or pizza when mealtime comes calling (or in the case of kids, whining). Cook Eat Paleo has one of the better unprocessed lists I’ve come across, albeit too restrictive for some (side note: I have tried and cannot stand egg white powders). If you aren’t interested in buying all organic, look up the dirty dozen+ and clean fifteen at EWG.

3. Get more water. Start your day with a glass of water. Find a water bottle/jug/cup and carry it with you everywhere.  Refill it. Refill it again.  

4. Start the day on the right side. Find some quiet time (which may mean waking a little earlier – cringe).  Hide in the shower, read with a cup of coffee, meditate, or play music while you get everyone awake and ready.  Mommas, we set the tone of our home whether we want to or not.

I love Good Morning Girls, and they happen to be starting a study this week.  No materials or homework required!

The Bottle Rocket Effect

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Image courtesy of Teerapun/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Flash & Sparkle — makes me think of fireworks.  Which reminds me, bathing suit season is quickly approaching.  30 days to drop a jeans size! 90 DAYS to TOTALLY TRANSFORM YOUR BODY!,  6 Weeks to Bikini Ready, 8 Weeks to Your Best Body Ever! It seems like every gym membership trial, workout DVD series or crash exercise plan has an expiration date.  Change your body by _________ or BUST!

I think that’s why so many of us get discouraged, frustrated, or just give up.  If we can’t achieve the results we want in a short amount of time, we burn out.  We go like great guns, and then fizzle out.  We’re like bottle rockets.  By July 4th, we’re looking for the security of those bulky winter sweaters and writing off another summer of not having the best body ever.

What if we looked at it differently?  Like a whole 4th of July display. I didn’t get in this shape overnight, and I’m not going to change back into something else overnight.  One day at a time, one short term goal at time.  Start today with a walk, tomorrow a swim, or a bike ride.  Who knows?  In a couple of weeks, a weight lifting program, gym trial, or jog.  We can’t all magically walk into a gym or buy some plan and poof transform into He-Man or He-Woman.  Sometimes the most profound change is the gradual one.  It sneaks up on you, you become absorbed in the small changes, and just like the firework display on the 4th, end up with one awesome grand finale.

We need to build up.  Start with one healthy step and add on.  Start with some exercise, try a healthier way to cook a favorite recipe, a new activity you want to try.  One push up, a few more seconds holding a plank, getting off the couch at the end of one of those work days.  It won’t be magical.  It may not even be fun.  It will take time.  Find something that sparks your interest and light the fuse.  It won’t bring awe that first day, but stick with it and you might just find yourself inspiring. 

the Grocery Dilemma

I usually have the children and the iPad with me when grocery shopping. Kiddo keeps busy by taking pictures in the Photo Booth app while I shop. His work is featured today.

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I’m a foodie. I enjoy the process of putting together a meal. Rarely do I have the time to plan and shop for elaborate menus. Usually I rush to make a list, check local specials, and plan meals for the week. When Man is sweet and squeezes in a supermarket run while I herd kids and tackle the mountain of laundry formerly known as our couch, he returns fuming. Like the kind of fuming that is, “thank you Lord he didn’t punch someone in the parking lot”. Then we spend the rest of the day madder than two wet hens and we barely accumulate enough food to last us a week or two. I inevitably forget to put something on the list, have to go to several stores to finish my list, or reach for an ingredient mid-week only to find it had already molded.

The whole process is giving me a nervous twitch.

I started doing a little research. The class I was teaching was knee-deep in a study over Omnivore’s Dilemma any way. I became more exhausted, frustrated, and annoyed — every eat on a budget article, post or pin was full of processed foods, cheap foods laced with God knows what, or hours of labor.

I do not have patience or time for hours of labor.

I am not naïve, Wal-Mart is not going anywhere any time soon, and a quick run to the mega store does have its place.

But, I want more than settling for whatever Wal-Mart or Target has on its shelves most days.

Can I split the difference between the supermarket and alternatives?

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My aspiration is to feed my family based on the following:

  1. Be sure of what is in my family’s food.
  2. Know where our food comes from – preferably Texas, if not – then the good ole’ USA.
  3. Buy seasonal produce.
  4. Limit the amount of preservatives, chemicals, antibiotics, etc in our family’s food.
  5. Find high quality product on my shrinking budget.
  6. Avoid product that is overly processed or not on the up and up (enter Monsanto, chickens in the chicken feed, HFCS, etc)

I’m not unrealistic. Man is not giving up his Dr. Pepper. Kids should have cake and ice cream at a friend’s birthday party. I’m not giving up my chocolate. I like pizza dough made with white flour. I don’t see me baking or making iced tea without sugar. However, I am a dietitian, former personal trainer, and newly retired culinary arts teacher…if anyone ought to feed their family decent food it’s me.

That got me to brainstorming.

Of course I will still have to go to the “grocery store” for household items, but how long could I get eggs, milk, meat, produce and bread without it? Could I forgo Wal-Mart & Target (where customer service usually sucks) for neighborhood stores that give me a bag refund, offer to help me out with the groceries, and actually answer questions I need to ask while shopping? Could I find everything we needed at the farmer’s market in town? Would it cost me an arm and a leg to eat well?

I only have a foot.

Then I thought…in the words of Barney Stinson…challenge accepted!

I seek advice! Have you found any great blogs or websites that help you plan? Please share any thoughts or tips!