Don’t Break the Chain

I knew I loved Jerry Seinfeld for a reason. Despite the fact that I think his show was way funnier than Friends, he used this awesome productivity technique in order to write jokes. It’s called “Don’t Break the Chain”

He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

And that is it. Daily action builds habits and in order to make changes some not fun things need to get done. Job hunting, researching careers, networking and updating my Linkedin is not fun for an introvert like me. BUT some shit just needs to get done. I am attempting to move from medical office manager to public health professional so that will take some planning, researching and networking. It’s doable but it will take work.

Each day I will do a task that brings me closer to a new job. I don’t want to devote a whole evening to it, but I will need to do something each day. I watched some videos yesterday and updated my Linkedin profile today… 2 days down so far! My plan is to not break the chain on this until I have a new position. After 30 days, I will add another goal but as of right now, the job situation is pressing most on my soul. I would love to have a career that I am passionate about.

I’m already planning for the next “Don’t break the chain” item. Online dating would be a good one, right? Message a new guy everyday is an awesome challenge so I think I will probably do that next. For introverts, perhaps  start a conversation with a stranger.  For those trying to lose weight, reach 12,000 steps per day or food journal everyday. The reason why I like this is because there is no end and no fake reward. I am not the best at rewarding myself for things anyway and I’m pretty sure that I owe myself a massage for losing 30lbs. So I like the idea of the reward being a row of Xs and knowing that I can be consistent.

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Crossfit

I gained some weight over the holidays due to excessive eating and drinking. I went back to eating better but the weight wasn’t falling like it was before. At 5’3 I have found that the best way for me to lose weight consistently is to exercise but I couldn’t find the motivation to do it. I was instagram and came across this ad for a 6 week crossfit challenge at a gym that was close to my job. So I signed up.

I wanted to be somewhere for 6 weeks in order to get back into the exercise schedule. Even though I want to lose weight, I lack discipline and I often make excuses so this felt like a good solution. And boy was it a solution. Crossfit is the hardest and most challenging thing I’ve ever encountered in regards to exercise. Has anyone tried it? They focus on functional exercises where you are lifting your body weight, kettlebells and barbells. It’s tough. Mondays workout involved 4 rounds of running 400 km, 10 deadlifts and burpees until time. And it was 30 degrees outside. Studies show that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. But all the muscle in the world can’t counter a bad diet. I like crossfit because of the community aspect. I already made a friend and everyone that is a newbie like me is always in shock of the next f*ed up thing they are going to have us do. My goal is to make 1-2 more friends and exchange numbers.

After this challenge is done I think I might actually buy some classes from this gym. I like being challenged and I need to lose more weight. I’m going to set up an appointment to see a nutritionist again because if I’m going to be exercising, I want to make sure that I’m eating as clean as possible and getting proper nutrients on this plant based meal plan. I know that I will lose weight quickly if I:

  • exercise consistently
  • drink 8+cups of water per day
  • sleep 7+hours per night
  • limit processed foods and sugar
  • cut off alcohol

If I plan on reaching my goal weight in 6 months, I need to follow these steps. I plan to do a post on discipline in the near future. A lot of the advice is usually “just do it”, use the 5 second rule, or live like the person that you want to be.

 

Making Moves

On Saturday I taught my first cardio dance class and I can honestly say that it was the best day of my life. To think that I could create an hours worth of choreography and teach it to people in order for them to get in shape is amazing. It really put a lot of things in perspective, including my j-o-b. (I call it a j-o-b because it’s not my career and it finances my life)

My j-o-b eats at my core. The interactions that I have with patients affects me in such a way that it’s not healthy. The conversations stay with me, the complaints, the annoyances. No one is ever happy because they are in pain and I’m tired of dealing with them. All of the office managers in my practice feel the same way, but unlike others I no longer want to push down my emotions. That’s how I got to 234 lbs.  I’m taking some steps to go forward in my health professional journey, this job is bound to limit me by chipping away at my life force. I’m not going to share my plans with a lot of people because I don’t want anyone to talk me out of it. Sometimes when you tell coworkers that you want to leave, they try to convince you because they don’t want to be alone. In August I will have been there for 6 years at a job I dislike. Of course there are good aspects of it, mostly the money and coworkers, but it’s not worth it anymore.

My ideal outcome for 6 months- By August 1

  • Get a new full time j-o-b to pay the bills (hopefully it will be in the health industry so it could be a step towards a career)
  • Continue to improve as a fitness instructor, have a booming class and get Zumba certified
  • Reach my goal weight
  • Get a boyfriend (I had to throw that in there. I can’t be too career focused)
  • Get paid as a health coach by at least 2 clients
  • Start a meetup group

I created a private group on Facebook where I’m going to post motivational posts, diet advice and vegan inspiration. Once I get more posts up I plan to start telling people in my class. I’m REALLY excited about the future and I haven’t felt this way in awhile.

I hope everyone is doing well.

 

 

Vegan Weight Loss and Smoothie Recipe

I’m back with a food prep blog. I went to the gym this morning and went hard. A little too hard and have some tightness in my back, either from a deadlift or clean/press. I work for a back doctor, so I know what is going on and tomorrow will be a rest day for sure. Which is great because I need to start goal setting for next year and figuring out what is next in life. Here is the gym pic…

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Too many weights…

Now I am not a perfect person, but one thing I have perfected, is my breakfast. It is easy to get overwhelmed by choices (and  sugar) so I try to have the same thing everyday. I really do and people think it’s weird, but SO many specialists recommend automating 1-2 meals per day for weight loss because it makes life a little easier. For breakfast, I make a simple smoothie.  Since I am in the process of losing weight, I try to intuitively keep my calories down, without actually counting calories.

For instance, my morning smoothie could easily become a calorie bomb. When I started plant-based eating, I would have 2-3 bananas, 4-6 dates and a cup of berries in my smoothie and believe me, it was DELICIOUS. As someone who loves sweets, dates and bananas are a godsend and as someone that loves caffeine, I was bouncing off the walls from the sugar rush. However, after I met with a nutritionist, I realized it was too much sugar and too many unnecessary calories. When you are trying to lose weight, every calorie counts, even as a vegan.

There is a great article in this month’s Women’s Health magazine titled, “Losing Their Veganity”. Many women become vegan to lose weight yet they end up gaining weight so return to eating meat. One nutritionist quoted in the article said that one of her clients was consuming a smoothie bowl for breakfast that was 700 calories after the calculations. Some of us, myself included, follow these folks that are eating 4-5 bananas in a smoothie, but we go to sedentary jobs while they run and bike all over the city. It doesn’t matter if you are eating meat or not, calories count and do not let anyone fool you. If you are gaining weight, you might want to count for a few days or see a nutritionist. And here is my breakfast smoothie!

Vee’s Breakfast Smoothie -~300 cals*

  • 1.5 cups lemon water (3-10 calories depending on where you look. I just juice a lemon and put it in a mason jar and keep adding filtered water so it maintains its lemony goodness. Discard the lemon at the end of the week.)
  • 1 large banana (120 cals, less if smaller)
  • 2 cups kale (66 cals)
  • ~1 cup mixed berries (70+ cals)

*The lemon water cuts the kale’s bitterness and makes it so I don’t need almond milk, peanut butter or any other calorie additive. I usually have an apple as a snack mid morning and am ready to go for lunch at 12pm. My lunch and dinners are usually substantial (rice bowls or pasta) so saving 200 cals in breakfast helps a lot because I sit most of the day. If your job is more active, you could add chia seeds, peanut butter, or even omit the lemon water and use a milk substitute.

I prepare the bags on the weekend. I take one out the night before and put it in the fridge that way it defrosts a little. (I find if I blend straight from freezing, the kale doesn’t blend all the way through). You can change up the berries or the fruit for variety (I added peaches and nectarines in the summer). You can even change up the greens. When I get bored of this, I have some oatmeal for a few days and return to this. Try it!

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Lemon Water
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Packing the bags
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Storing it in the freezer

Getting a Punching Bag

One of my goals next year is to deal with stress and frustration in a… healthier manner. One that doesn’t involve me gaining weight, feeling lethargic and having any regrets. So I’m buying a punching bag. Work is super stressful, and so is adulting. The first thing I realized when I became an adult, even before I knew how hard it would be to get a job, was that no one cared how much or how often you drank. As long as you fulfilled your duties, you could buy it at ANY TIME. Which I did! I went to work everyday, socialized, occasionally drank too much at happy hours yet most people liked me. But life isn’t supposed to be about surviving, it’s supposed to be about flourising. To be perfectly honest, and no one knows this, there were full YEARS, when I was still living with a roommate and miserable, that I would go to work, come home and drink beers and cranberry vodkas, get drunk, go to sleep and start over again the next day. Could you imagine?  I had weeks of abstinence, even got help including AA and outpatient rehab treatment, and I somehow got it under control, but I never stopped for longer than 30 days. I think if more people knew that about me, they would understand why I am the way I am… 34, single, introverted and all that jazz. I am probably not someone that should be drinking given my history and that is something that I am eliminating ASAP. But anyway…

I took my second boxing class this week and I realized I love the punching bag. I imagine it’s my boss (I really don’t hate him). I imagine it’s my fears. I imagine it’s all my self-anger and my frustrations and I beat it until I’ m done. Unfortunately in classes they only let you go for 2 sets of 3 mins… so I’m getting my own. That way after work, instead of the occasional, or not so occasional drink that I was having towards the end of this year, I will beat the crap out of it.  And also tone my upper body while I do it. I have some rage in me and I’m tired of complaining all day to coworkers and myself. I don’t want to hear it so I will just beat the bag and call it a night. I really want to be myself and authentic. I feel like alcohol and depression pushes everything down to where you are drinking your sorrows and  pretending everything is OK and then repeating it the next day. I don’t want to bite my tongue anymore. I want to be proud of myself and help others. So here is the bag I bought:

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Fitness Midterms

I found this post in my drafts.  I never hit submit but just reading it, I’m brought back to this night and I can feel the happiness that I felt. It was like the feeling I felt the night of my midterms when I realized I did really well and people liked what I did. It was euphoric.

Old post—

My (“free”) fitness instructor training is mixed with people that want to teach bootcamp, strength training, chair fitness, yoga and dance cardio. Over the past 4 weeks we have been learning only about strength exercises and teaching exercise modifications. So I was shocked to learn that I have a midterm on Tuesday in my genre which is dance fitness! I have been waking up at 5am for the past 2 days,  doing choreography and I have 2 songs finished. The midterm involves teaching our class of 30 for no more than 15 mins, including a warm-up. I plan to create my warm up tonight before I go to a Zumba master class (I’m sleepy), and to create one more routine tomorrow morning. Then over the next 5 days I will work on cueing (saying right instead of left),  making sure that the choreography for the three songs is not repetitive and that I smile and say positive things. I’m also going to do a dress rehearsal on a coworker on Tuesday.

I must say that when I came home last night I was happy. Like truly happy. We broke up into small groups last night and I taught 2 women the dance I created yesterday morning and they were sweating a lot. They said it was good and I felt it was great, of course there were issues with direction, but it wasn’t that bad. I know it’s not brain surgery, but for once in my life I can say, my medical office manager job is not who I am. There is more to me than that and for once, I am starting to see that I have potential apart from working for a doctor and ordering his lunch. I am creative and I am a vault of fitness knowledge, correcting people that were doing the grapevine or squats incorrectly and making suggestions on updating their warmups for better transitions… I literally don’t know what is coming together, but universe, I AM READY!

 

Lunch Food Prep

I try to keep my food prep as simple as possible. I used to do intricate meals for lunch and dinner and automate my breakfast, but now I just focus on making dinner delicious. According to THE Dr Oz, we should automate as many meals as possible if we are trying to lose weight. That is the entire point of food prep, however so many people that I meet can’t imagine eating the same meal 2 days in a row. I was never like that thankfully, but the quality of my meals have improved from blueberry muffins and bagels daily to kale smoothies.

Lunch

My kitchen is small. Did I say small. It’s tiny, but I will take it since it’s my first solo space. To start my prep, I separate a large can of beans into 5 small containers. Then I divide a tomato, avocado, cucumber and red pepper, I add 1 Tsp of balsamic vinegar and 2 TBSP of Hummus. In the evening, or morning if I am too lazy the night before, I clean about 3 cups of lettuce and throw one of these bowls on top. That is it!

It is a super easy way to stay healthy during the week, you can change the ingredients to whatever you prefer or is local to you, and you can save a lot of money from not ordering takeout at lunch because salads can be really expensive . To make it special, you can throw a TBSP of dried cranberries or candied walnuts and be in salad heaven. I used to add half an avocado to my salads, but now that it’s $3 for one, I just divide it up. I might add some olives next week for some added healthy fat.

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is safe and is in good spirits. It’s hard to stay positive all the time with the state of the world and with challenges, but all we ever really have is this moment. Stay healthy!