Going Back to Basics

You know when you’re going along and things are smooth sailing, but then you hit a big bump in the road and everything goes haywire? Yeah, we all know how that goes!

Going back to basics

Sometimes it is completely necessary to take a step back and view the big picture again. We continuously need to reevaluate our goals in order to move forward. Sometimes it is also necessary to go back to the beginning, or another time when we were more successful before we hit a bump. Those times are when you try to pick up where you left off and move forward at the same rate but your body and mind fight you every step of the way. You’re not going to be successful if your mind is standing in your way or if you go too hard, too fast.

This is why we take a step back, start over, or simply go back to basics by employing the strategies and habits that helped us in the beginning. When were you the most successful with your weight loss, fitness, or healthy eating? What were you doing then? Take what you were doing and start doing it again now. You may have way more knowledge and abilities now, but if you take a step back it can help tremendously!

It kind of goes along with that saying, “Never forget where you came from.” We have to remember where we started when we’re losing weight and improving our health. Sometimes we just get so caught up in what we’re doing that we forget. The struggle is so all-consuming that we have tunnel vision, or we’re so wrapped up in the results that we forget that we need to focus on the other important stuff as well.


Now I’m going to share with you a bit about my life lately, because I have come to the point where I need to heed this advice. It is a little disappointing but exciting at the same time because I know it worked for me in the past.

October was a bad month for me. Sure, it got off to a great start with my 27th birthday and an absolutely wonderful one at that, but it went downhill fast from there.

The night before my birthday I started feeling sick, like sneezy and congested sick. Still my birthday itself was awesome, I spoiled myself and let myself eat basically what I wanted, and I was also spoiled by others. I received quite a few gifts, more than I had on my birthday in a long time!

However, letting myself basically eat what I wanted on my birthday and being sick at the same time resulted in me having bad cravings for carbs in the following days. It took me quite a while to get back to normal. Then I kind of took a lax approach with my eating the week after that because I was still sick and stressed out, and I didn’t want worrying about my eating to add to my stress.

The following week, just when I was getting back on track and had 3 good days under my belt, my uncle died unexpectedly and that hit me really hard. I wasn’t super close but he had always been such a positive role model in my life and it hurt so bad that he was gone. I let myself eat more again because I still didn’t want to add to my stress. It took a good week as well as a visit with my therapist to return to some sort of normalcy, emotions wise.

Now it’s been about five days since I started feeling more positive again. I have had two days where I went over my calories, but not by much. I have had three days where I was within range. I’m doing my best to stay on track and refocus. I also need to baby step back into working out and building muscle consistently again… because due a whole month of no strength training, and not much cardio during that time either, I have lost a majority of the muscle I worked so hard to gain.

So my goals for November:

  • Go back to what worked for me in the beginning with my eating: When I first started out, I made it a goal to be in my calorie range 5 days a week minimum, with two days a week where I could go over my calories by 300-500. This time I will keep it to 300 or less over my calories on those two days but the principle is the same… if I have those days to look forward to, eating within my range the other five will be easier and less overwhelming. It worked well for me before so I know it will help me now.
  • Baby steps to exercise and build muscle again: My plan is to take it easy on the elliptical at the gym, start slow with my half marathon training plan that I set up for myself, and to continue walking or doing walking videos but taking it easy with those too.
  • Exercise sessions/time:
    • Strength training will be 2 times a week, with two rounds of each exercise. I am going back to 3lb dumbbells, which makes me feel like a wimp because I had been using 5lbs and doing well with those, but today’s strength training session made me sore even with the smallest dumbbells available at the gym so it’s definitely necessary!
    • Elliptical will be 20 minutes to start with and 3 times a week, focusing on changing the resistance levels and not pushing too hard because that has caused me bone/joint pain when I try. I will step back up to 30 minutes on the elliptical when I know my body is ready.
    • Half marathon training will be 2 times a week to start: 15 seconds maximum jogging at a time, walking to warm up a minimum of 1 mile before doing the first jogging interval because I feel that’s what my muscles and feet need to ease into this.
    • Walking/walking videos will be 2-3 times a week with a goal of 30-45 minutes outside maximum, or 30 minutes maximum indoors with videos.

So there you have it, I still need to go back to basics sometimes. This isn’t necessarily all “basics” for me but you get the idea!

What are your goals for November? It will be a busy month for a lot of us but we are strong and powerful, and we can stick to our goals!

~Bonnie~

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How to Beat the Motivation Slump

Everyone deals with that motivation slump from time to time. I know I personally deal with it at least once a week. It’s those days where nothing sounds appealing and you just can’t get motivated. It is especially tough when your bed is more appealing than going about your day. This type of day can be frustrating beyond words as you know that you have many things to do, and some of them are even desirable, but you can’t get yourself started with any of it.

motivation slump

Here are some ways I have found to beat that all compelling motivation slump:

  • Take a moment to drink coffee: Use your morning coffee as a chance to wake up and get motivated. Drink it a little slower to enjoy the moment and revive your mind after a night’s slumber. Read something you find motivational while you drink, such as a magazine, part of a book, uplifting news stories or articles, etc.
  • Fake it till you make it: Have you heard of this saying? Sometimes simply going through the motions of the day helps you find motivation to move forward again. Eventually something clicks and you feel better again, rejuvenated even!
  • Do something simple that brings you joy: A way to baby step your way into your day… find something simple and easy to do that also helps you move toward your goals. You can’t find the motivation to workout? Go on Pinterest and look at all the healthy living pins or read some blogs on the specific topic. You can’t find the motivation to work? Make a list of something related to your work that makes you happy.
  • Blog/Journal: Sometimes blogging or journaling helps as well, just working through your thoughts and emotions can help you process whatever has put up a “motivational roadblock” in your mind. Other times it brings to light a spark of interest in doing something you need to do because you thought of something completely new!
  • Listen to upbeat music: Listening to upbeat music, or simply your favorite music, is uplifting and inspirational! Try it sometime when your motivation is down the drain.
  • Go for a walk or exercise: Take a walk outside. The fresh air and sunshine will do you tons of good. All other types of exercise as well can help revitalize your body and mind at the same time.
  • Let loose: Act like a kid again, or simply let yourself be carefree. The release is amazing and can remind you why it’s worthwhile to just take action and live life!
  • Post on social media: The moment you post on social media that you don’t feel like doing something, you either get feedback that helps motivate you… or you feel motivated because you feel relieved, taking the pressure off. Sometimes even finding something positive to post on social media can help ignite a fire within you.

What do you personally do to get yourself motivated on a day where nothing seems appealing? I’m sure we could all use a whole arsenal of ideas to spur us to action on those days!

~Bonnie~

Celebrate Your Victories

It is so important to continuing our weight loss journeys to celebrate all of our victories.

celebrate your victories

Whether they be the big ones like weight loss milestones of 10 or 20 pounds, or running a whole mile… or the small ones such as eating three fruits or veggies in one day or completing a tough workout.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go out and spend money every time you experience a victory, but you should definitely give yourself a high-five or a pat on the back for a job well done!

Remember that every step you make in the right direction adds up as you go along. All of it is worth celebrating!

My personal philosophy is to focus mainly on non-scale victories because they are the ones we have most control over. However, it is fun to celebrate when you hit a new weight loss milestone.

Some victories to celebrate that have nothing to do with the scale:

  • Eating a certain amount of healthy foods each day.
  • Finishing a hard workout.
  • Eating within your calorie range for days at a time.
  • Starting a new exercise routine.
  • Pushing harder during a normal workout.
  • Trying a new healthy food.
  • Doing your workout when you don’t feel like it.
  • Drinking enough water for the day.
  • Simply feeling stronger or healthier!

I could go on and on, but you get the idea! Anything that is not related to the scale is a double victory, and the scale itself is a fun way to track trends in your weight and to celebrate when it goes the right way… but to take in stride and use as just a tool. You can only do your best and sometimes the scale may not reflect that, so that’s why it’s vital to depend on the other victories in your journey.

~Bonnie~

Virtual Weight Loss Support Group

virtual weight loss support group

I am taking a survey for a “service” I would like to provide to others on their weight loss journeys. Please leave me a comment or email answering the questions or simply stating if this would be of value to you. The online support group for weight loss would be either in video or chat form. I have to figure out where to host this service but already have two or three ideas, and will be keeping you up-to-date as I figure it out!

I would also provide healthy living tools and/or challenges each week to keep incentive and motivation as high as possible. Ideally I would provide at least two meeting times each week for this support group to meet up online, such as at least one morning and one evening time, but maybe even a weekend meeting.

All information will be used to best serve you! If you use the contact form below or the survey link, the information will also be kept completely confidential.

Here is the survey link: Weight Loss Support Group Survey. I tested it and it just takes a couple minutes with only six questions!

And here is the contact form if you want to email me directly!

Thank you in advance for any feedback! Here is my contact form so you can email me directly if you prefer that over leaving a comment with your answers.

~Bonnie~

Goals E-Course to Set You Up for Success

My Goals to Become the Best You e-course is LIVE!

Goals to Become the Best You course cover

If you’re having trouble setting goals that help you move forward, or are getting discouraged very easily, this is the course for you! We all have times where something just doesn’t click and a little help and guidance goes a long way!

The course is geared towards weight loss and healthy living goals, but the process can be applied to any type of goal as well: career, home, life, etc.

There is a 16 page workbook + guide inside the course itself that will guide you through a step-by-step process to make and pursue goals in a way that works for you! Not to mention, many separate resources as well! You will also get a community section to post questions and ask for help, which I will be checking on a regular basis to help give you even more personal guidance!

All this for the low introductory price of $30!

Check it out here: Goals to Become the Best You Course.

~Bonnie~

My Half Marathon Training Plan

A couple days ago I got the okay from a doctor to start running again, slowly and listening to my feet. I’m not fully convinced my feet are completely ready but there’s only one way to find out, right?

Some preliminary information on my half marathon is located at this blog post: Tinker Bell Half Marathon where I posted pictures of some gear I would like to bring with me and/or wear. The half marathon is at the beginning of May. I was inspired by a friend who did this year’s Tinker Bell Half and also seeing a runDisney race on an Extreme Weight Loss episode shortly after starting my weight loss journey. I did an web search right away, where I found the Tinker Bell race and instantly fell in love. However, if it weren’t for my friend (let’s call her A), I would never have dreamt of doing a half marathon! I’m so thankful for her inspiration because it opened up so many avenues and possibilities for me that I never would have dreamed possible for myself.

half marathon training plan

My plan is to start by following Jeff Galloway’s beginner’s training plan from Beginners Plan. It starts with 5 second running and 55 seconds walking for a run/walk program, however I might start at 15 seconds. I will try the 5 seconds first, and then move up faster than is in the plan he has there. The eight week program would only get me to running 15 seconds at once and I think even with my feet issue I can get up to running 60-90 seconds minimum by the end of week eight if I’m careful.

That will take me to the end of December, at which point I hope to start the half marathon training just to make sure I have enough time worked in for my personal needs. It will be the first plan (for runners and walkers) on this page: Half Marathon Training. If I start from wherever I left off with the eight week beginner’s training, working at my own pace and needs, then I can work my way up in the seventeen weeks with that.

The week before the half marathon I know I need to do some kind of tapering to prepare. I’m really not sure how to go about this, and unless I’m missing something I can’t find specific information about it on Jeff Galloway’s website. After some preliminary searches on other running websites, it seems like this is a topic that’s based on personal needs/preference so I’m going to do more research on this and find what works best for me.

I just find some more detailed information here: Top Tips for a Successful Taper from the Chicago Half Marathon website. It says two weeks is good before a half and describes exactly what the tapering means. Now looking back on the Jeff Galloway plan, I will already be doing this tapering method with his training plan. So if I follow the half marathon training plan from Jeff Galloway’s website, and the tapering tips from the Chicago Half Marathon website, then I should be golden! (Anyone with experience with tapering for a long race that would care to chime in, suggestions are welcome!)

Now with my feet still being an ongoing issue, I know I might not be able to run the full half marathon, or even run as much as I would like to. However, as long as I am moving fast enough for the race guidelines, which is 16 minutes or less per mile average, I will be fine. This means if I can average a 15 minute mile or faster with walking breaks then I won’t be pulled out, and I have no doubt that I can at least do that. Some people can walk at that fast of a pace, surely with some walking breaks I can “run” at that pace. I have to keep reminding myself of this part because sometimes I wonder if I will get pulled out for moving too slowly due to my feet or other factors.

So there you have it, my training plan now that I have the okay from a medical professional. I do believe I still need to see a podiatrist to make sure everything is truly okay, but that can wait for now. I know I have supportive shoes that fit my feet well, which are the Brooks Ravenna 5’s and if I really listen to my feet, resting when needed and training on days my feet feel better, I will do well.

I’m excited to finally embark on this training stage after four months of foot pain and being in limbo so to speak. It’s finally happening! I hope it goes well!

~Bonnie~

Inside Look at the Goals E-Course

It’s time!

I promised you all a sneak peak for the e-course I have coming up for setting effective goals and the time has come. I have decided to share a bit of the outline with you all:

goals e-course 2

goals e-course edited

Ignore the title in my pic, the official course title is: “Goals to Become the Best You.” This e-course will cover goals, starting with how to make fitting goals for yourself, how to deal with disappointment, how to move on and set new goals, and how to empower yourself to follow through with your goals.

One of the best parts about this course… You get access to each lesson a certain amount of time after you personally enroll in the course, so no playing catch up on all the information. The whole course is designed to serve YOU and help you be your “best you.” I will be there every step of the way, answering questions and guiding you as you go along.

Follow my blog or one of my social media pages (by clicking on the icons to the right) to be the first to hear when this course will debut! Stay tuned for more sneak peaks in the coming days!

I can’t wait to give you all the tools that have helped me set and reach goals myself!

This course includes a 15+ page Goals workbook/guide, additional resources, and a BONUS lesson all for the introductory price of $30!

~Bonnie~

UPDATE: Here it is, the goals e-course is live: Goals to Become the Best You. It is a step-by-step guide with my help and assistance to make and pursue goals in a way that works for you! We have all felt discouraged or unmotivated to meet our goals. The trick is knowing how to go about your goals in a manner that can fuel you to move forward! Included is a 16 page workbook + guide, separate resources, and personal help through the community in the course. All this for the low introductory price of $30!

30 Before 30 List

On my birthday I came upon a blog post of someone mentioning a “30 before 30 list.” It intrigued me because I had just turned 27 and I knew I could accomplish so much in a few years. I realize most people must be a year away from their thirtieth birthday to do this list but it seemed like I was meant to make one just for fun since I’d found the post on my actual birthday.

30 before 30 list

So here is my list:
1. Complete a 5K run!
2. Complete a 10K run.
3. Tinker Bell half marathon in May 2016 (already signed up now the goal is to finish!)
4. Two Cities Marathon in my hometown in November 2016.
5. Participate in a Color Run.
6. Participate in a Glow Run.
7. Boston Marathon (maybe) in 2017 or 2018.
8. Move back to California!
9. Run for a charity.
10. Adopt a dog.
11. Make a full time income with my business so that I can be financially independent.
12. Go on a vacation just to work on my writing, particularly the books I want to write.
13. Publish my first eBook or printed book.
14. Travel to another country.
15. Visit at least one of the following for the first time: New York, Florida, Washington DC, and/or South Carolina.
16. Read through the whole Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz.
17. Wear a sundress for the first time as an adult.
18. Get my driver’s license.
19. Buy my first car.
20. Travel in a superliner room on an Amtrak train (been a dream of mine for quite a while now).
21. Go up to the sky deck of the Willis (Sears) Tower.
22. Visit where the World Trade Centers were.
23. Reach a 80% healthy eating percentage steadily!
24. Pay off my debts to improve my credit score.
25. Build up credit otherwise.
26. Make a livable income from my new business.
27. Reach a 10 or less minute mile while running.
28. Work up to 10lb dumbbells for my strength training.
29. Do a book tour, probably self funded.
30. Buy my own house (really dreaming here lol).

Some of these are mere dreams. Some will almost definitely happen, others may be exceeded, and the rest may never happen… but it was fun constructing this list! It helps me to look forward to the future with my current goals and what is important to me!

~Bonnie~

Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Walking

Why I love walking as a form of exercise… It may not be an intense workout, but it gives me a whole lot of mental benefits!

#1: I’m FREE! Free, free as a bird! Quite simply, it gives me a break from my crazy, chaotic house. Sometimes it is too overwhelming and noisy to be at home and I need a serious breather!

#2: I can finally… think! If you have small children in your house, you know how truly hard it is to have any coherent thoughts! My walking (or any exercise where I don’t have a child interrupting me every other second), is a chance to have clear thoughts, what I call my “profound” thoughts. Now if I retain whatever profound thoughts I had by the time I finish and return to the craziness is a discussion for another day!

#3: Nature, beautiful nature. I love admiring the trees, grass, and other plants. Not to mention the ever entertaining creatures. Squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies, and birds can certainly be really entertaining and just plain beautiful to look at sometimes!

#4: Fresh air and sunshine. Sure this actually falls under the “nature” category, however I think it deserves its very own listing. I love the fresh air and sunshine. As long as the heat or humidity is not suffocating me, these two things are refreshing and invigorating!

#5: Variety in routes and length. Never a dull moment if you can change your routes day-to-day, and also challenge yourself to hit certain distances.

There you have it, a simple list as to why walking is still one of my favorite forms of exercise after almost a year and a half of healthy living.

What is your favorite form of exercise and why?

~Bonnie~

Exercise on a Budget

exercise on a budget

Let’s face it… money is tight for so many of us. We don’t have the money to spend on a gym membership, especially when we’re just starting out with our healthy lifestyles. The good news is that there are an abundance of ways to get exercise in virtually for free or low cost.

It is important to have good comfortable workout shoes. Invest in a good pair from a running store if you can, or make sure a cheaper pair fits you well. I know I started out with a $13 pair of shoes my mom got me, then bought a pair from Payless for half price for $10 after that. I bought the ones that supported my feet best, and Champion brand because they had treated me well before.

However, the cheap shoes only last six weeks or maybe eight if you’re lucky, simply using them a moderate amount. So I only recommend doing that if you need to in order to get started. After those Champion shoes I got some Brooks Ravenna 5’s and they ended up being the perfect shoes for me, although a bit pricey of course. Those lasted me eight months, walking quite a lot and even dipping into running with a Couch to 5K program.

Other than that, comfortable and supportive workout clothes are a must, but that could mean a simple tee shirt and some comfortable pants, made for exercise or not. I started out wearing what I had. Thankfully most of what I had were exercise capris/pants already, and I had plenty of tee shirts because they’re my main shirt-wear!

So here is a list of free or low cost ways to get in exercise:

  • Walking or running. You can find good Couch to 5K programs on Pinterest or other places like Jeff Galloway’s website that don’t cost a thing. Walking is such a great way to get started in an exercise routine too because you can go at your own pace, make it interesting by varying your routes, and easily work your way up.
  • Body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, sit-ups, kicks and punches, walking in place, etc.
  • Local playgrounds or parks. Go climb on the playground equipment or run around the grassy areas with or without your children.
  • Sports. If you have sports balls, Frisbees, etc. around your house or yard, play some with family members or friends! This is such a fun way to get active and also interact with other people!
  • YouTube or Spark People videos. There are so many you can find on those places. Although, I have to warn you that YouTube videos get deleted quite often, and you can find more of the same stuff but it requires searching through periodically… at least in my experience.
  • Pinterest. There are so many workouts and exercise routines posted to Pinterest all the time. I advise caution with these though, I have seen some that don’t look too safe. So be careful and be realistic about what your body can do so that you don’t injure yourself, but really that’s true of any exercise routine anywhere!
  • On Demand videos from your cable provider. I used the walking videos on mine because they were something I was comfortable with and could do, and also tried some of the kickboxing videos, but there are so many others that are free too!
  • Exercise DVDs to workout from home. If you use Amazon or eBay you can get these relatively cheap, like $5-10 apiece for older videos. My favorites are Leslie Sansone’s walking videos and Biggest Loser Cardio Max.
  • Equipment such as dumbbells, jump ropes, and hula hoops are low cost as well.
  • Local community centers sometimes offer low cots for monthly access to exercise equipment/rooms.
  • Parks and Recreation programs are sometimes a good way to go, although some of their programs can be pricey depending on where you live. Some have walking groups for low cost though, so you can get that group atmosphere and socialize. Most offer some sports leagues or other exercise groups as well.
  • Gym memberships are still an option if you have places like Planet Fitness near you that offer low cost monthly memberships. These are definitely viable options if you don’t have childcare to factor in or have someone to help with childcare.
  • Relay racing, yourself or others racing yourself or others certain distances to see how far you can run. Possibly setting up checkpoints or even timing yourself to see improvements.
  • Obstacle course in your yard using what you have: boxes, metal/plastic or other durable boxes, ropes or jump ropes, mini trampoline if you have one, hula hoops, etc. Anything you can jump on or around or over. If you can’t jump, step on, in, around, or over.
  • Exercise video “channels” such as Daily Burn (free 30 day trial then $12.95/month), Blogilates is free on YouTube, Jessica Smith on her website and YouTube channel, or Fitness Blender (individual workouts are free while downloadable ones are $4-8).

So get cracking on that exercise! No or low cost options are all around you if you just take a look! You don’t need any fancy equipment or clothes to get started. That stuff can be fun, but it’s definitely not necessary, especially at first. Bust through the excuses and go enjoy yourself.

~Bonnie~

P.S. Check out my goals e-course: Goals to Become the Best You. It is a step-by-step guide with my help and assistance to make and pursue goals in a way that works for you! We have all felt discouraged or unmotivated to meet our goals. The trick is knowing how to go about your goals in a manner that can fuel you to move forward! Included is a 16 page workbook + guide, separate resources, and personal help through the community in the course. All this for the low introductory price of $30!