the WHAT of tracking

You want to track. You intend to track. But, what do you track?

Don’t say everything. Unless you’re already tracking close to everything, everything might be too much.  Since tracking helps you focus your attention and energy on changing behavior and habits, consider what you want to change.  Then track that.

You could track…

individuals walking shoes

Your steps: If your goal is to get more steps, then tracking the number of steps you get each day is important.  If you don’t know how many you did yesterday, then how will you know you got more steps in today unless you track it. Check out how 100 more steps add up.

Cute parson russell terrier dog on lead on walk with his owner10 minutes of activity: If your goal is to move more, you could track your time in 10 minutes blocks of physical activity.  A walk around the block for your morning break could be one check-mark. Vacuuming the house could be another couple of marks. Walking the dog, yet another.  Soon you’ll want to mark off one more block then you did yesterday, or you’ll make the effort to get at least one in today. Change it up.

 

green and red healthy foodYour servings of fruits & veggies: If your goal is to eat 5 or more servings of fruits & vegetables each day, then give yourself a gold star for every serving.  Soon you might be planning your weekly menu around your veggies to ensure you get your gold stars. Increase your plant slant.

 

water with mint, cucumber, and limeYour water: If you’re trying to make water your go-to beverage choice, tracking the number of glasses or ounces you grab each day can help.  Celebrate and mark each time you choose water over soda.  Drink up.

 

use the remote control to change channels on TelevisionYour TV time:  Your tracking goal doesn’t just have to be about increasing the better choices. Sometimes tracking can help you decrease behaviors that you want to change.  With a goal of no more than two hours of recreational screen time each day, you could track your TV time to identify your baseline watching and then make changes from there.  Remember, I may have written TV, but this could include your computer, smartphone, and tablets too.  What’s in your day that shouldn’t be?

 

bigstock woman decision donut fruitYour emotions, feelings, level of satisfaction, or stress:  Tracking creates awareness about choices, situations, and behaviors.  If you track your emotions or stress level before you eat, you could identify a trend that when you feel bored, you reach for crunchy snacks.  After certain situations, you note that you’re feeling extremely stressed, and you go for chocolate.  If you track your satisfaction level during meals, you may find that you stop eating when you feel comfortable and not waiting until you feel full. Make each day delicious.

WHAT will you track this week?

you know you should, but you don’t

Are you struggling to do something about your weight or your health you know you should, But you just can’t seem to stick to it longer than the one day?  You’re not alone.  Here are some things you can do:

Turn the should into want toChange the words you use.  It can make a difference in your willingness to take the action.  Instead of sayingI should go for a long walk every day,” say “I want to go for a long walk every day.”

Prevent all-or-nothing thinking –
Add flexibility to your goal.  In addition to “I want to go for a long walk every day” tack on “or as often and for as long as I can.”

Get specific – Include the where, when and who.  “I want to go for a three-mile walk every morning before 8” or “I will walk at 4:30 pm on Tuesdays with Janet and we’ll meet at the park.”

two women walking

 

What will you change or add this week?

 

Stop living life for what’s around the corner & start enjoying the walk down the street. 

Grant L. Miller

take a break

Take a Break from…

relax on armchair in office - business woman in red dress  exercSo many times we think we can’t take a break because there is too much to do.  Well, there will always seem to be “too much to do”.  Your inbox will not stay empty, your papers will not stay sorted, your closet will not stay organized, and your teeth will not stay brushed (without ongoing effort).  So, Take a Break!

That project that you absolutely need to get done this week, will still be there if you take a ten minute stretch break from your computer.

You are more likely to accomplish all those errands and end the day with a smile if you take a break.  Even a 5 minute breathing meditation break in the car before you pull out of the parking spot on your way to the next errand will help.

Woman sitting on the beach looking away at oceanThink about taking a bigger break – a  vacation, a long weekend, or even just a day trip.  Take an afternoon to play or a day to relax.  Take a Break!

Here’s the bonus to taking a break – you gain insight, clarity and may even have a breakthrough.

 
An organizing client of mine has been working hard on getting her papers sorted and her mail processed.  As part of her organizing homework, she was also assigned to set aside time for a reward; something creative, fun, and indulgent.  Here’s what she shared with me about her “break time” (dancing):

Bonus was that in the middle of the routine, I came up with the solution for something that I wasn’t trying to work on during the dance, but it just popped into my head – I get those kinds of breakthroughs sometimes when doing creative stuff.

Maria J.

When is your next break?

 

Organizing Tip for Weight Loss (and Health)

If you tend to forget to take your breaks, you could:

  • Set your alarm on your phone for a particular time every day
  • Get a kitchen timer and take a short break every 60 minutes
  • Use your computer software to remind you to take a break

Time TimerI use Time Timer on my phone and computer when I want to make time visible.

 

 

If you never seem to find the time to take a vacation or get that massage, take your calendar/planner out now, flip ahead a month or two and set a date.  Then take the next step to call and schedule that self-care or book your hotel.

Don’t wait to find the time, you will never do it — TAKE the time.

go for 15

What’s the value of 15 minutes?

 Would you like to live 3-years longer?  Reduce your risk of death by 14%?  Reduce your risk of dying of cancer by 10%?

… Then get 15 minutes of walking or other moderate intensity activity in every day.*

Want to live even longer and reduce your risks even more?  Add another 15 minutes to your day.

Is living longer not enough of an enticement?  After all, that’s the future.   How about improving your mood right now, improving your sleep tonight, improving your productivity and your focus tomorrow.

Tell me what your non-weight related goal is and I can find at least two ways (okay, maybe three) that getting 15 minutes of activity in your day can help. (If you want to share your goal and get my thoughts on how exercise could help you specifically, email me at dhucks@dhucks.com).

15 minutes is manageable if you aren’t active now.  15 minutes is better than nothing if you can’t get your “regular” work out in.  15 minutes can easily fit into your day.  Go for 15 and…

 

  • walk on your break (lunch, morning and/or afternoon);
  • dance to your favorite songs (4 songs should do it);
  • check out a yoga, cardio or strengthening YouTube video;
  • walk the perimeter of the store before you start shopping;
  • walk around the house or in-place during EVERY commercial on your favorite TV show;
  • spend 15 minutes of your next phone call or webinar walking in place;
  • wash the car (driving through the carwash doesn’t count) or vacuum the house;
  • do one of my strengthening routines each day – shoulders or legs; or
  • if walking isn’t an option go for 15 minutes of movement in your chair.  Yes, you can get your heart rate up and get stronger in a chair (or wheelchair).

 

What will you do for 15 minutes a day to live longer and stronger?

 

Check It Out

My YouTube Playlists:

Chair-Bound Exercise Workouts from [the nest]

* 15 Minutes of Exercise Every Day Reduces Risk of Death from WebMD

dress for success

You’ve heard about dressing for success in the business world, but how can dressing for success help you take those small steps toward a healthier weight?

If you want to walk but you never seem to get around to it, you could make the commitment this week to put on your walking shoes, regardless of how you feel about going for the walk.

If you want to exercise first thing in the morning, you could set out your clothes the night before and put them on in the morning, regardless of how you feel about exercising.

One friend dressed for the gym to increase the likelihood of her going to work out while running errands around town.  Could you?

Don’t let guilt about not exercising derail you.  Remember the small step this week is dressing for success.

Another way to dress for success is to wear only clothes that fit well, that are comfortable AND that make you feel great about you.  Which means, lose the baggies, let go of those items that just don’t feel quite right, and put on clothes that make you feel energized and confident.

Check out a previous edition of  Small Steps — what’s in your closet? to inspire you to let go or pack away those clothes that are too small.  22312968

What’s hiding in your closet?

If you would like The Great Closet Clean Out Quest (questions to help you create a closet you love), fill out the form below to download your copy
[email-download download_id=”1757″ contact_form_id=”1760″]

 

Since I am once again working from home most days, my commitment is to put my walking shoes on by 7:30 am  (Do you think they’ll go well with my pink, fuzzy bathrobe?)  Actually, I’ve set my alarm to remind me to get out of the pj’s and dress for success (both work and personal).

How will you dress for success this week?

Check It Out

A client shared this 10-minute video that she tried and liked

I just downloaded Rochelle Rice’s Empowering Women Through Movement for $1.99 (Quicktime file – so it’s available on my iPhone when I’m traveling).  I like Rochelle Rice because her message is about being “Healthy not Skinny.”  Here’s a link to a YouTube sample from her video.

~~~~~
If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

gotta have a plan b

It’s raining in Hilo and 27°F in Butler, PA.  It’s expected to continue to rain in Hilo on Monday and likely on into Tuesday.  As for Butler, snow’s expected on Wednesday.

bigstock-A-metal-toggle-switch-flipped--34032557If your Plan A is walking outside and the weather is providing you an excuse to not get up and get out — you’ll need a Plan B.  Have a Plan B ready to counteract the opportunities for excuses.

You may need a Plan B because you don’t have the usual amount of time.  Remember, a 10 or 15 minute walk is better than nothing.  It will blow the cobwebs away and give you a shot of energy that will keep you going.

Maybe you have company and you don’t feel you can enjoy your normal exercise class.  Include your visitors in a sight seeing tour that has you moving.

If it’s the weather that’s getting you down, take your walk to the nearest mall.  Malls are usually open earlier than normal business hours for walkers and there are often discount programs offered as an incentive.  If  a mall isn’t an option, walk the perimeter of your grocery store or box store.  You don’t have to buy just walk.  The tail-end of the winter season is also a great opportunity to try an new exercise class or start using your gym membership again.

If you need an exercise buddy, let me know.  If you’re not in Hilo to walk with me or go to the gym,  I would love to be a virtual buddy.

For those of you in Cedar Falls, IA — it looks chilly at 40°F with a chance of snow on Tuesday.  What’s your Plan B?

For those of you in Homer, AK — I see it’s in the low 30s with snow forecasted for most of the week.  I’m thinking your Plan B may be for those days that are sunny and warm, but let me know what you’re doing when it snows.

For those of you in Pueblo, CO — grab the opportunity the day offers without the wind.

For those of you in Nebraska, North Carolina and elsewhere — share your challenge and your Plan B with me.

As for my Plan B today…I will be getting my steps in during my shopping trip.  I’ll park further away, carry an umbrella, and walk the perimeter of the stores.

Will you try out your Plan B this week?

Check It Out

Prince Kuhio Mall is just finishing up the 1st quarter 2014 Mall Walkers Program.  Check out www.princekuhioplaza.com/visit/programs for more information and watch for the second quarter start.

Check out the walking program at your local mall.

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

challenges, changes, and journeys

I’m still working on getting back to reasonable portion sizes this week.  After last week’s caloric excesses (see oops, I forgot to plan my vacation), my plan, goal, and intention was to get back to reasonable portion sizes, but….  Steve and I have been spending the last week eating his favorite foods and going to his favorite restaurants.  He’s leaving for a job in Pennsylvania and I’ll be staying here in Hilo for another year or so while I get the house on the market and wait for it to sell.

We are starting on our next adventure, and of course the change is a great excuse to eat and drink too much.  But I’m not going to let it take me any further down that path.

Here are the potential challenges I see ahead and, take action on your challenges, changes and journeysmore importantly, here are some strategies I’ll be using:

Emotional eating because I’m missing Steve — we are planning to Skype and enjoy a cooking date.  One or two Sundays a month, we’ll both make the same dishes and freeze the extras for quick and healthy meals.  Time together AND healthier choices!

Less exercise — Hey, anyone in East Hawaii want to meet for a walk on:

  • Friday afternoons & Saturday mornings TBD

Or, does anyone want to try being virtual exercise buddies?

Eating too much of the wrong things — I’m tracking again.  Tracking works. I know this.  We all know this.  The challenge is making it a habit again.  I could track every bite, I could start with tracking what I eat at dinner only, or  I could track all the in-between meal snacks.  I could track using an online tool like Weight Watchers eTools, or go my usual way — paper and pen (and gold stars).  I think this week I’ll try online and see how that works for me.  And, yes, I’m going to track everything.  I need to bring my awareness back to what and how much.

I know you have your challenges, changes, and journeys too.  What do you want to have happen?  How do you want to handle them?

Will you track with me this week?

Check It Out

I needed some new pans and found these – GreenPan.  Cooking and clean up are easy.  They’re a great choice for cooking low fat.  In fact, use only a little oil for taste, as a little goes a looooong way.

Check out Steve’s latest book.  It’s a short story, a fun read and only $0.99

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

oops, I forgot to plan my vacation

Wow!  I really exceeded my caloric needs bigstock-Couple-In-Beach-Chairs-2218885this last week.  My husband and I went on a mini vacation (rather, a stay-cation at a local resort), and since I hadn’t planned what I was going to say yes to and what I was going to pass on, I said “yes, I’ll take one of those” every time.  No regrets and no guilt, but I also set my intention of getting back to reasonable portion sizes and healthier choices immediately on my return.  No waiting until next week.

Throughout the vacation I was able to maintain my goal of having a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.  Sometimes I stretched it (eating the pineapple slices from my husband’s Mai Tai still counts,doesn’t it?). At least I was actively searching for these options.

Speaking of active.  We kept our step count high by taking the long way to breakfast, walking everywhere and enjoying a stroll after dinner.

There is one thing that I would have done differently the next time.  I wouldn’t wait so long to have a vacation.  My husband and I are planning to have smaller vacations more often so that eating out in new places is more a business as usual thing rather than an excuse to go wild.

When is your next vacation or week-end get-a-way?  What’s your plan for eating and staying active?  Remember to take some time when you come back to evaluate what worked, what didn’t and what you would change the next time.  It’s not about guilt, it’s about doing something different so you get different results.  Results that are in line with your priorities.

Do you have a plan this week?
What didn’t work last week?

Check It Out

One way to count your steps — I haven’t tried this but I keep thinking about it, even though I really like my fitbit.

Wondering how long the walk around the block is?
Check out www.mapmyrun.com.  You can measure your walking route and check out other possible routes that others have shared.  The route I take on my breaks is 0.65 miles.

I highly recommend the book, Small Move, Big Change.  It’s all about small steps (or rather micro-resolutions).  Whether it’s weight loss or de-cluttering this is a great book.

 

 

If you found this post useful, supportive, interesting or fun, please share it with a friend.

walkin’ the dog

Amazon yo yo Do you ever feel like a yo-yo exerciser?  No, I’m not asking if you take your yo-yo for a walk (though walking the dog in real life is good for you both).

Are you the type that has gone from the couch to the 5k finish line and back to the couch?  Maybe more than once?  Have you gotten into an exercise routine, enjoyed it so much you even thought about becoming a certified instructor only to be distracted by life and found yourself on the couch again?

I don’t think I’m the only one that is a yo-yo exerciser, so I’m sharing my intention for this week.  I know that I need to get moving in order to be healthy, but that isn’t motivating me.  Knowing that the extra pounds I’m carrying around will come off a bit faster if I get off the couch doesn’t change my behavior.  Even using the incentive of having that treat totally guilt free if only I got my activity together isn’t working to getting me on my feet and out the door on a routine basis.

So…what am I going to do this week?  Back to taking small steps.  The only step I’m taking this week is to track my steps each day.  I have my pedometer Amazon fitbit(Fitbit) and I actually wear it every day.  It’s a normal part of my dressing.  Wake up, get dressed, clip on Fitbit, sit down and write Small Steps.  Brush teeth, change clothes, clip on Fitbit, go to work, type on my computer.  Come home, change clothes, clip on Fitbit, lay on couch (or sit at computer).  I’m wearing it.  Now I’m going to record it.

Dug is a Catahoula Leopard Dog
Dug is a Catahoula Leopard Dog

I know that I will naturally begin to add more steps just because I want to get to the next 1000 (or 100) steps.  I’ll begin to take steps just to beat yesterday’s record.  Steve and I will race to put the shopping carts away and count those steps.  I’ll take one more lap around the driveway with Dug (walkin’ the dog!).  It will become more of a game then exercise.

 

 

What small step will you take this week to get off the couch?

energy and persistence _ ben franklinCheck It Out  

 My blog on pedometers and a link to a Consumer Reports review of pedometers.

I know I share stories and pictures of my dogs more than my husband so here is a chance to see a picture of him and read his Dug story (big dog, big dreams).

2013.18

 

what’s in your day, part 3

Where are your tools?

By now you have a short list of things youThere are no short cuts to any place worth going.  Unknown want to bring into your day and activities you feel are taking up too much of your time. So what tools will help you make the transition from doing what you’re doing now to accomplishing what you want?

Activity Specific Tools:  In part 1, you chose one or two activities you want to add into your life.  What do you need to do it and where will you put these items?  If you want to go to your Zumba class after work then can you get your jazzy outfit and sneakers together in a bag by the front door the night before, ready to grab on the way out no matter how rushed you are in the morning?  If you want to journal every morning, do you have your journal,  pens, and a comfy spot to go to?  What do you need and where will you put it so that it’s ready when you are?

Alarm:  Use the alarms on your cell phone to remind you to start your chosen activity. If you want to go walking in the morning, set your alarm.  If you want to do your meal planning on Tuesday nights, set your alarm.  If you want to leave the office on time so you can make your yoga class, set your alarm.  I often set two alarms to help me transition from one activity to the next. The first is a reminder to wrap up and the second is to get going.  Will you use an alarm to remind you to start?

Timer:  Timers can keep you focused and get you started.  Use a timer to help get you started by giving yourself permission to ‘just do 15 minutes’.  Use a timer to limit the time you spend on the activities you identified in part 2 (activities in your day that shouldn’t be).  I also use a timer to make progress on a project I’ve put off doing. I give myself 23 minutes of work and 23 minutes of play and repeat until the project is done.  Will a timer help you?

Planner / Calendar / Schedule:  You most likely will never find the time to do what you want, so you need to set the time, make it a priority and schedule it first. You want to meditate or exercise, when will you do it? Put it on your schedule. If you want to do meal planning each week, when will you do it? Block out that time in your planner. I have to admit all the books tell you if you want to exercise, schedule it and treat it like any other appointment you’ve made, but I still find myself slipping the activity to “later” or to “tomorrow”.  So, though the advice is sound, I can’t tell you how to keep the appointment with yourself; it’s an area I’m still working on myself.  However, by putting it on my calendar I am more likely to plan my day and have a better chance of doing it.  Of course, if I’ve scheduled that activity with a buddy, I rarely cancel.  Will you put yourself on your own priority list?  Can you schedule an appointment with you?

Tracking Tools:  Tracking can be as simple as a piece of paper and pen by the TV remote control marking hours of screen time. Tracking can be colorful stickers on a calendar showing the days you got your walk in.  In can also be a computer/smartphone app that sends you reminders and kudos as you track your progress. What you focus on expands, continues and supports your desired change.  That’s all that tracking is – a tool to help you focus. By the way, tracking should be a tool not an activity in itself, so keep it as simple as you can to keep you coming back.

Acceptance:  Acceptance is a tool, a skill, and an invaluable asset to your health and happiness.  Acceptance that change takes time, that new behaviors and activities take effort, and that less-than-perfect adherence to your plan is still progress towards where you want to go.  Keep going!

Where are your tools this week?

Last week’s what’s in your day, part 2 — what’s there that shouldn’t be?

Previous week’s what’s in your day, part 1 — what’s not there that should be?

What’s in your Easter Basket?
Check out the PointsPlus® Values for a few common Easter candies on my blog, www.smallsteps.us/2013/03/30/weight-watchers-pointsplus-values-for-easter-candy

(2013.13)