Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Life Isn't Always Going to Be On The Up-and-Up (and I don't think it is supposed to be!)

So, time for a bit of my own recipe. It's been a crappy few days. Yes, I said crappy (oh no!) but I promise, it will probably be the worst word you will hear from me.

So yea, life is really disappointing right now. I can't get anything done. Nothing stays done. I have a huge mess at my house (a lot of it IS from going though things and weeding out junk we don't need, but a lot of it isn't, and it's just clutter, that never goes away). And mostly, I am just down of late. And to top it all off, I had a bit of a tiff with a loved one today, and I just feel all kinds of out of sorts.

So, what does my *Happy List* say? well, a whole lot of ideas, so I chose one of them (write on my blog) and here we are.

What I want to talk about today is GRATITUDE. You know, there is a whole lot of joy found in being grateful. So, what I am going to do today is write down some of the things I am thankful to have in my life.

* my husband
* my children: Warrior, Butterfly, J-Dog, Rambo, and Missy
* our pets
* the gospel of Jesus Christ
* forever families
* my friends
* our home
* my husband's job
* my musical talent
* this blog
* our vehicles

Why is gratitude so important? What can it do for me? Well, a quick internet search, revealed a study ( at the University of California Davis. In their study, they found that:

* In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported  fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

* A related benefit was observed in the realm of personal goal attainment: Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal, and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subject in the other experimental conditions.

* A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others). There was no difference in levels of unpleasant emotions reported in the three groups.

* Participants in the daily gratitude condition were more likely to report having helped someone with a personal problem or having offered emotional support to another, relative to the hassles or social comparison condition.

* In a sample of adults with neuromuscular disease, a 21-day gratitude intervention resulted in greater amounts of high energy positive moods, a greater sense of feeling connected to others, more optimistic ratings of one's life, and better sleep duration and sleep quality, relative to the control group.

* Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008).


What does that mean? Well, those who maintained daily or weekly gratitude journals had healthier eating and exercising habits. They had fewer physical complaints, they felt more confident and relaxed about upcoming events. They had more energy, were able to stay away, determined and attentive, were more enthusiastic about their various goals, and they also made greater strides in reaching than goals than those who did not keep gratitude journals.  They were also more likely to have offered assistance to others. Those with neuromuscular diseases (which is a broad range of issues which affect the muscles, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) found their pain lessened, and their energy, mood, sleep duration and connectedness with others improved, within only 21 days! Not only that, children who are grateful view their families and school more positively. 

Therefore, being grateful improves your mood, your energy, your health, your happiness. and those who value what they have, will always have enough. Knowing that, I hope that I will be able to maintain a grateful attitude, even when life gets rough. If you notice, the study above did NOT say that people did not experience sadness, grief, or trouble, nothing in this world can remove those things. However, grateful people feel better equipped to handle those stresses and hassles and problems when they arise.

Time to be more thankful for what I have, and to be more gracious of what I am given, compliments included.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My thoughts on CHEATING

I got your attention, didn't I?

Cheating is wrong. Cheating won't make you happy. Cheating won't make you stay happy. Cheating won't make your life better, longer, etc. cheating hurts people.

I saw a post on Facebook the other day, a woman asking others to give her advice on cheating. She wasn't happy with herself, she wanted change, and lasting happiness. Other cheaters were glad to offer their insight, how they cheated, even WHO they cheated with. I was saddened that so few people wanted to work it out, with honesty, effort, and time. People don't get desperate after one day. One bad evening doesn't ruin your life (most of them time). And instant gratification doesn't last. Lasting change, lasting happiness takes hard work and dedication.

Because you didn't get fat and unhealthy off of one meal, you can't expect to get fit and healthy after one small grilled chicken and dressing-less salad either. And cheating with pills, protein shakes, wraps, etc won't create the lifetime of health and  happiness either. And while we are on the subject, being skinny wont make you happy either. Happiness is a choice and an action. We choose happiness, and we act happy (grateful). Happiness does not happen to us, it's not luck or anything else. It is a virtue, we should to cultivate it, or not.

Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle, NOT a stroke of luck, genetics, nor a fancy-shmancy pill or shake wrapped up in a slew of marketing and pyramid-style "team members."  These shortcuts, fads, etc do not create lasting change. Sure, they might work for a few weeks, or months, but once you stop taking them, and continue on with your poor food choices and lack of physical activity, here comes the pounds once again. And when you choose to get all fat and depressed again, who comes slinking back around the corner, begging you to come back? None but your cheating partner in crime. It is a nasty cycle, and one that is perfectly preventable. As hard as it is, as much as you don't want to have to work to get and stay healthy, it is the only way to do it. And by the way, those crazy-cool shakes, pills and wraps won't make you happy either. Shoot, no health and no happiness? Why even bother taking/doing them?

And that is the point, isn't it? You want happiness, you want to look good, well sister, cheating, trying to take shortcuts, won't give you either of those things. Sure, it will make you lighter, but really, only from the loss of money that used to be in your back pocket. If you just want to look good for some vacation, or your high school reunion, fine. But if you want to look good forever, then do it right. Put forth the effort, exercise some determinations and perseverance. Don't fall prey to clever packaging and marketing gimmicks. Be honest, be true, be real. You got this.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Photos: Bear With Me

So, I promised some photos. Some are more clear than others, so just go with me on this! I promise, I HAVE lost 69.4 lbs!

Before: at my brother's wedding, this was actually after I had lost about 20 or so pounds. I am in the purple on the far left ;)

And after, wearing a dress I made:

And, second set of comparison shots. The first one was taken when I was about 17 weeks pregnant with my 5th baby, so I did eventually gain more weight, but it's the nly one I could find!

and the after, same pants and shirt, oddly enough:

So, I think it is fair to say, I want new pants. Not just want, NEED new pants! Anybody wishing to donate to the cause, message me, and I will send you a link ;)

New Theme/Topics/Thingy

I have decided that I am going to be adding more topics to this blog. I have a lot to say, and it isn't just about weight loss. And (as I saw a meme on Facebook), my opinions are like farts. Once one slips out, everybody will know it, and at least one person will leave the room.

Now, having said that, some stats! I am .4 lbs away from having lost 70 pounds. And overall, I am feeling fabulous! I am a bit tired, and I feel pretty stiff in the mornings, but other than that, I feel great! 70 lbs is a lot, unfortunately, it is still 30 lbs less than I want to lose. I've gone from a BMI of 38.4 to 28.1. And a size 26 pant to a 16. My ribcage has dropped from 38 inches to 33 inches. 

Yay for me!

(pictures to follow soon, I hope)