bookmark_border5 Ways to Find a Little Peace When Things Get Crazy

Healthy for the Holidays

Well, here we are–right in the thick of one of the most stressful weeks of the entire holiday season–CHRISTMAS WEEK! With only 2 days left until Christmas, no doubt most of us are running around like a bunch of crazy people shopping, baking, cleaning, and traveling. We’re worried about everyone and everything except the most important person–ourselves.

It’s more important now than ever to remember to take care of yourself. When things get too crazy or you feel like you’re losing your mind and you just want to get away, take a few minutes to calm and center yourself.  Here are five ways to help you find a little peace in the midst of all the crazy this week.
 1. Take a brief walk and clear your head. If the walls are closing in and you just can’t take it anymore, excuse yourself and go for a walk. Five, ten minutes is enough to clear your mind and regroup; you’ll feel energized and ready to keep going! Try not to focus on anything that will make you more mad or anxious… instead, just clear your mind completely and practice some deep breathing. This walk is for your mental health, not physical exercise, so take it as slow as you need!
2. Meditate. Before I started going to therapy, I thought meditation was just some new-agey, hippie-dippie stuff. I was super skeptical when my therapist suggested it, but I figured “what the heck?” and went with it–and I’m so glad I did! I’ve mentioned meditation a couple of times on the blog (here and here). All you need a minute or 2, and just close your eyes and breathe deep, focusing on the sound of your breath; it doesn’t take much to feel centered and present again.
3. Pray. This one kind of goes hand-in-hand with meditation. I know it seems like a no-brainer, but when things are hectic and you’re feeling anxious, give it to God. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve prayed on the way to pick up the kids after I get off work just for patience, and peace, and for help maintaining my cool with them until they’re in bed. God grants me that peace every time I ask.
4. Take a coffee (or tea!) break. If you’re out and about shopping, or traveling a long distance, don’t forget to stop and get a coffee! Sit down for 10 minutes and enjoy it before you get back to it. DO IT, I’M NOT JOKING!!
5. Give yourself a nightly cutoff time and spend 30 minutes doing something just for you. Instead of cooking and cleaning and wrapping gifts until you collapse into bed, promise yourself (or set an alarm) that you’ll stop at a specific time, and allow yourself 30 minutes to take a bath, read, crochet–whatever you enjoy–before getting into bed. You’ll feel better and have a much better sleep as well.
To help you unwind and relax a little this week, Alissa and I are giving away a $25 gift card for Starbucks. Enter using the Rafflecopter below, and be sure to visit A Journey to Thin and comment on her post as well!

How do you plan to relax and be more present when things get crazy and hectic?

bookmark_borderWeigh in (12/19) + Christmas Travel

Wow, this Monday totally flew right by! Actually, the whole weekend seemed like it was over before it even started! Sorry to be posting so late, but I’m just glad I remembered 😉

Saturday’s weigh in…

Not bad! I basically lost what I gained last week, but it’s a loss, nonetheless. I know I can still lose 2.8 lbs by January to make my 50 pounds lost goal… though considering this is Christmas week, I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t quite make it.

Saturday’s WW meeting was good; lots of people are feeling the same about the new program as I am… we know it’s good for us in the long run, but it’s a lot of changes to have to make which leaves us feeling a little unsure about it all.

I’m feeling really good about kicking this frappuccino habit; there’s a good coffee place next to my WW meeting center, and usually after the meetings I go there and get a mochassippi (their frappe-type drink). On Saturday, I still went, but I got hot tea instead! I’m enjoying trying all different flavors; currently, I’m drinking a tea that’s supposed to taste like a sugar cookie… and believe it or not, it actually does!

Just making little changes each week will go a long way to helping me adjust to the new program. I’m definitely thinking twice now before I grab another cookie or piece of chocolate, and I feel better in general–probably because I’m not ingesting nearly as much sugar as I was!

On Sunday, we had an early Christmas–meaning we opened the gifts that already arrived at our house since we’re going to Texas (Marc’s parents) Tues-Sunday. Later, went caroling at the kids’ school. It was fun! We all sang for about 30 minutes, then they served us dinner and dessert–all the free food is definitely one of my favorite things about Catholic school (just kidding…or am I?)

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Early Christmas… bikes, stockings (I couldn’t find the stockings
with their names on them!), and a few gifts from my oldest brother’s family.
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Karinne and I at the school caroling party
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They called all the kids up to the front to help sing “Rudolph…”
and Karinne wouldn’t go up by herself 😉 She sang it with her class on Friday, so
she knows it really well!

Tomorrow, Marc and I both are just working half days at work, then picking up the kids and getting on the road to Texas as soon as humanly possible. Marc and I will come back on Sunday, and the kids will stay with their grandparents until New Years Day, when they’ll meet us halfway to give them back. Hopefully the trip won’t take more than 7 hours tomorrow, but you never know with kids!

How was your weekend? Any plans this week?

bookmark_borderReflection after 1 week of “Beyond the Scale”

Well, here I am, Day 7 of Weight Watchers’ new program, “Beyond the Scale.” (Read about my initial reaction here.) I’m still not entirely certain how I feel about it–it’ll probably take a couple more weeks for me to decide whether I love it or hate it.

In any case, here are a few observations I’ve made regarding tracking SmartPoints, calories in My Fitness Pal, and my habits.

I still can’t believe that a tall Frappuccino is 18 points. Really not worth it! However, get it without the whipped cream, and it’s “only” 13 points. I feel like that’s more reasonable, and I can handle that; I could really take or leave the whipped cream anyway. Now, a tall Mocha Frappuccino Light is only 6 points–still double from its PointsPlus value, but definitely easier to fit into my diet. Now, that being said, I actually went 2 days this week without a Frap… talk about progress! And I didn’t die 🙂

I enjoy drinking hot tea. I’m not a fan of black teas, or most green teas, but give me some fruity, flowery, or pepperminty tea and I’m down. I still went to Starbucks on the days I didn’t get fraps, but I just drank hot tea instead. They have one called Peach Tranquility that’s just the bees knees. Drinking more tea also helps with the water intake, so it’s a win-win!

Be sure to calculate recipes on the WW website AND in MFP. Since I track in both MFP and WW, I was calculating recipes in MFP, then just entering the nutrition facts into my SmartPoints calculator to get the points–well, it dawned on me today that veggies are 0 points in WW, so I need to actually enter the recipes into both apps! Turns out that my 6sp mushroom soup is only 5, and my honey garlic chicken went from 12sp to 10! This is great news, because I wasn’t pleased with the high points values of some of my recipes.

I still have a hard time with the “I already blew it, so may as well go all out” mentality. Not as bad as it once was, but it’s still there. Since I promptly went into negative weekly points my first 2 days on the new program, it’s been difficult to quiet those voices. However, I am fighting them, and the longer I fight them, the easier it becomes. I feel much better today than I did Monday morning 🙂

So, there you have it–my Day 7 take on Beyond the Scale. Now, I’m still having a real hard time staying with in my points; I’ve gone over, way over, pretty much every day this week. However, I’m still learning and tweaking and it’s a process that’s going to take a little time.
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I also wanted to share a couple of good things that happened this week:

I chatted with an old friend. We worked together at my old job in Birmingham, and we’ve managed to keep in touch over the years. She reads the blog and we’re friends on My Fitness Pal, so she knows I’ve been struggling a bit with the WW change–she texted me to see how I was doing, and was so encouraging and uplifting–after our conversation, I felt much better about actually being able to make some of the harder changes that I know need to be made.

I received a very special Christmas gift. My dad and stepmom sent me a Fitbit for Christmas! It’s the first gift I’ve received from them in a very long time; I don’t talk about it much on here, but our relationship is somewhat strained and we don’t speak very often. Last week, I was chatting with my stepmom on FB–she was letting me know to expect a package for the kids–and she was telling me how she and my dad both got Fitbits. I told her I needed to get one, and then we could connect and have competitions and stuff. Well, one showed up on my doorstep yesterday! Just know that it’s one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever received–not because it’s a Fitbit, but just for what it represents about our relationship. I literally can’t stop smiling about it. It’s a Christmas miracle!

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Sorry for the cheesy photo, but I couldn’t help myself. Looking at my wrists now remind me of both of my parents; my dad on the left, and on the right, the tattoo I got to remind me of my mom after she died . Though she was Christian, her family was Jewish; it says “believe” in Hebrew.

 

Don’t forget to enter our Healthy for the Holidays giveaway this week for a $25 giftcard to Target or Walmart–check out this post to enter!