Dream Big, Plan Small

Sandwich with avocado and poached egg

Regardless of how you plan to get into shape, there is one psychological trick that I believe will be helpful to most.  You have to dream big, and you have to plan small. 

By dream big, I’m referring to your ultimate goal. Visualize it, taste it.  It can and will be yours, no matter how far away it seems right now.

You don’t have to write it down, you don’t have to meditate on it.  In fact, now it’s time to  (for the most part) throw it away. Because it doesn’t matter how big your dream is if you aren’t able to break it down into smaller parts.

By plan small, I don’t mean anything specific. But here is the general idea. Imagine that your “dream big” goal is to lose 50 pounds. Realistically, you think you can do that in 5-6 months. Assuming you’re starting in November, you should safely be able to hit that goal by May (losing 8 – 10 pounds a month).

Now – imagine yourself in the springtime, 50 pounds lighter and feeling so free. Wonderful! But in order to get there, realize that right now, 40 of those 50 pounds don’t matter. What matters is that you lost the first 10 pounds. The prospect of losing 10 pounds is much less daunting than the prospect of spending the next 5 months trying to lose a total of 50. So the last step is to forget the rest, and plan small.

Your “plan small” goal is now to lose 8 – 10 pounds in the month of November.  How are you going to do that? I don’t know. There are a million different ways. But here are a few tips that might be helpful:

It might be a good idea to plan even smaller. Forget 8-10 pounds this November, how about 2 pounds this week?  How about .3 pounds today?

One Small Caveat

Planning small is great, with one caveat.  The smaller you plan, the more you need to realize that fluctuations will happen while still losing fat. This is especially true for females as we go through our cycle.

If your goal is to lose two pounds a week, realize that you might do everything you can but still not lose those two pounds in any particular week. Assuming you are doing everything right, you might lose 1 pound one week, and 4 pounds in another.  This is the nature of attempting to measure fat by  using weight – it’s far from perfect. So you have to be sufficiently psychologically healthy that you will survive apparent disappointments (which really, are not disappointments at all).

My Method

When I first decided to lose weight, I printed out a blank calendar for a period of one month. I subtracted 10 pounds from my starting weight, and wrote in that new weight on the last day of the month. I knew I had 60+ pounds to lose, but unlike any of my previous efforts, I decided to just focus to the here and now.

In order to reach 10 pounds by the end of the month, I’d have to lose 2.5 pounds a week.  So I subtracted 2.5 pounds from my current weight, and wrote it in on the last day of the first week. I then subtracted 2.5 pounds from that weight, and wrote it in on the last day of the second week. I did this one more time, and voila – I now have 4 weeks and 4 goals.

I realize that 2.5 pounds is a lot of weight to lose consistently week after week, but because this was my first month – I figured I’d be losing a lot of water. I decided that even if I only lost 8 pounds by the end of the month, I’d consider it a huge success. In fact, any weight loss would put me in a better position than I’d been in at the beginning of the month.

In any event, I’d now start out on my first week, not thinking about the three weeks to come. My only goal this week is to lose 2.5 pounds.  When I reach the end of the first week, I’d write my new weight down.  If I lost exactly 2.5 pounds, I’d leave my goals as is. If I lost less, I’d adjust my goals to only 2 pounds per week. If I lost more, I would adjust my goals so that they reflect 2.5 pounds per week starting from my new weight (but still only until the end of the month).  Even if I gained weight, my new weekly goal is just to lose 2.5 from my new weight.

The effect is that no matter what, my goal is always “lose 2.5 pounds (or 2 pounds) this week.” The month is not important, and the goal re-sets each week.

Here is what I found. Three out of four times, I met or exceeded my weekly goal. Usually about once a month, I lost slightly less than my goal, and very rarely I gained.

Over time, this method worked for me.  My mind is overcrowded, and I’m sure yours is too. We want to fast forward to the future, but things just seem to work out better when we try our best to focus on the here and now.

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Crock pot comfort soup

I love stews, soups, and meat and potatoes… Guess that’s the Russian in me, huh?

It’s almost October and while the days are still warm the nights are getting cooler. I love fall weather, fall outfits, decorations, tea and coffee… Call me a Basic Bitch but I don’t care!

The crock pot gets used here and there throughout the warmer months but it really takes real estate on the kitchen table during the colder months. I am a huge fan of soup. I could eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s filling, easy to make, low cal/low carb and comforting. I made a huge batch Sunday night and having it for lunch every day this week.

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I got a little over zealous with the black pepper yesterday

1.5cup per serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 large onions-diced
  • 2 large celery stalks-diced
  • 2 large carrots-diced *In our house, the more carrots the better. Especially because our dog loves boiled carrots. Most of the time, I empty a small bag of baby carrots in the soup and scoop a bunch out for Mr.Marty Party Pants
  • 4 slices cooked bacon diced (do not get rid of bacon drippings)…If you prefer sausage, I bet some crumbled sausage would be good
  • 1 TSP Salt and pepper (or more to taste)
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I used College Inn)
  • 1 LB boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into itty bitty pieces
  • 2 Cups fresh spinach
  • *Red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  • Cook bacon
  • While bacon is cooking, chop up onions, carrots and celery
  • Chop up chicken and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning
  • Remove bacon from pan and cook chicken in drippings (add oil or butter if needed) until chicken is browned
  • Remove chicken and saute veggies for about 5-10 min then add one cup of the chicken broth and cook for another 5 minutes, scraping the pan to loosen browned bits
  • Add chicken, veggies, bacon and remaining broth to crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours
  • After 3 hours, add spinach and stir till wilted

The end!

XOXO,

Rachel

Cryo Therapy-Dog Therapy

Hi All,

Happy Tuesday aka 27 more hours of the work week left to go.  #Wompwompwomp

I’ve become somewhat of a gym fanatic over the past 2 years. I got two tickets to the gun show right here for ya. Due to my “hardcore” training, I’ve developed wrist pain, hip pain, and tendinitis in my right foot. The worst part of my weekend was when the Doc said “no more squats, zumba, stair-master” (the list goes on-basically anything that can irritate my foot). The best thing I heard all weekend was when the Doc said, “no burpees.” I texted my trainer immediately to let her know the severity of the situation and under no circumstance can we do burpees anymore.

In an effort to fix myself, I gave cryo therapy a shot and of course my Husband joined me because he is my biggest cheerleader. I understand that cryo is not a quick fix nor is it the end all be all but I’ve heard good things so #yolo. They place you in a big tank for 3 min and your skin reaches about -1F. I have a pretty high pain threshold but a very low tolerance for cold weather and to me, 75-80 is cold. I was a bit nervous hearing how cold it gets in that chamber but they assured me that it’s just the skin that gets cold and it really isn’t THAT bad.

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Bbbbrrrrr….

It was a strange sensation. I was so cold on the outside and shaking involuntarily but my insides were totally normal. Sometimes it’s so cold you feel it in your bones, you know? This wasn’t the case with cryo. I felt totally normal on the inside but so so-very cold on the outside. After the three minutes, you warm up in front of a bunch of heat lamps and it’s all good in da hood. My body felt as if I just got the best massage ever. I felt so relaxed and had zero tension in my neck and back.

I woke up the next day with ZERO pain in my ankle. I thought I was cured! So, to celebrate I did an intense hour of zumba (this instructor is no joke) and spent the rest of the weekend feeling like an idiot because my ankle was throbbing. Does cryo help- I think yes. Will I do it again- most definitely.

Feeling a bit down for a few weeks now. Nothing too serious but still making me feel bleh. Sometimes all you need is some dog therapy.

My dog is the best. Marty- part Chihuahua part Jack Russell total maniac total lush. I always wondered who loved me more; my dad, my mom or my husband but that’s such a silly question, it’s obviously Marty. Who else will share a pie of pizza and pint of ice cream with you and not pass judgement and since you’re lactose intolerant you’re experiencing your own Chernobyl-like consequences but that loyal dog will sit there quietly as if nothing is happening. That my friends is the ultimate #judgementfreezone. If you don’t have a dog, you should get one. They will melt the coldest of hearts and fill your every day mundane life with love, laughter, and kisses. As always, adopt don’t shop! I hope everyone experiences a Marty in their lives ❤

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Look- it’s my Marty

Stay tuned for a low carb comfort soup recipe…..

xoxo,

Rachel

Hump Day snackaroo

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This picture does the fudge no justice…just sayin’ …don’t judge a book by it’s cover

On Wednesday’s I usually post music to get us through the rest of the week but today I decided to share a no bake-6 ingredient fudge recipe.

Some strawberries, fudge and a little mid week lovin’, not a bad deal, huh?

Low carb mid week lovin’ fudge:

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Baker’s unsweetened chocolate (this can be purchased at any supermarket in the baking aisle) *one bar has eight servings = 90cal per serving 1g of NET carbs per serving
  • 4tbls butter
  • 1 tbls coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (or peanut butter of choice)
  • 1 tbsp sugar free syrup- I used Torani (Found mine at Home Goods)
  • 1/3 cup honey but I am sure agave or maple work

Directions:

  • Melt all ingredients in microwave or double broiler if you have the patience
  • Line a meatloaf pan with parchment paper
  • Pour mixture evenly throughout pan
  • Freeze for about 2 hours but longer the better

XOXO,

Rachel

 

Updates-Taco Tuesday Recipe-Music

Hi All,

Can’t believe it’s already September! Speaking of which….Why are Halloween decorations already for sale? No, wait, why are THANKSGIVING decorations already for sale?

Stop- slow down…smell the roses! Time is flying by so fast… everybody needs to relax.

My Husband and I completed our second mud run- Warrior Dash … what can I say, we love getting down and dirty.

We wanted to get one more trip in before the end of the year so we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in Prague!

This past weekend my two other blog-mates and I got to stand along side our friend and watched her marry the love of her life.

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I discovered a delicious taco bake recipe that I would like to share with all of you! I am in love with this recipe for several reasons: It’s versatile (can add/swap ingredients), make a big batch to last all week or to freeze, it’s low carb, easy and quick to cook.

Taco bake recipe found here *I did make some changes to fit my needs so check out the original if you do not wish to follow mine

Ingredients

Crust

  • 4oz of cream cheese softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 8oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used taco blend- that’s what I had on hand)

Topping

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I did not have this on hand so I used marinara and tasted just fine!)
  • 4oz chopped green chilies
  • 4oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used taco blend)

Directions 

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Beat cream cheese and eggs until smooth
  • Add whipping cream and seasoning- blend well
  • Grease a 9 x 13 pan
  • Spread shredded cheese evenly throughout the bottom of the pan and slowly and evenly pour egg/cream cheese mixture on top
  • Bake for approx 30 min
  • While your crust is baking, cook the beef until brown.
  • Drain fat
  • Stir in chilies, taco seasoning and tomato sauce
  • Once crust is cooked, remove from oven and let it sit for 5 min. Then spread meat mixture over crust, top with additional shredded cheese.
  • Lower oven temp to 350F
  • Bake for another 20 min or until bubbly. I like my cheese more burnt so I baked for approx 30 min.

Additional topping ideas:

  • Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, scallions.

I divided the pan into 8 squares- one square for lunch each day this week and some left over slices for Hubby to enjoy with a side of brown rice and salad.

Sooooo… some music for ya. I have to listen to people all day long and sometimes, I just love the silence. Don’t we all? But, I don’t like to work out in silence… that’s just boring. I have found a happy medium for anyone in the same predicament.

Instrumental music! Don’t sigh at me. Give it a chance… here is some of the music I’ve been listening to:

Lindsey Stirling- Swag

Lindsey Stirling- The Arena

Lindsey Stirling- First light

Audiomachine- Legions of Doom

Jorge Quintero- 300 Violin Orchestra

London Music Works- Requiem For a Tower

Roberto Concina Escala Chris Elliot- Children

I have some more recipes for you but I will be posting in the days to come. Let me know if you like this music, I can give you all some more ideas.

Xoxo,

Rachel

 

Indecisions of Greatness

 

I don’t think I’m alone in hating decisions. They’re hard. They suck up your life energy.  Before I make a decision, I feel like my stomach is going to fall through my asshole.  Immediately afterwards, I feel like a wet rag and my brain hurts.

I’m working on getting better at making decisions. I’m meditating, thinking, and trying my best to generally chill the fuck out.

But until then, I’ll be making indecisions. Specifically, indecisions of greatness.

Indecisions of greatness happen when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing, but at least you’re doing something that’s good for yourself. Or at least less bad for yourself than something you might otherwise do.

Example 1. I’m stressed about something that comes up with work.   I don’t know what to do. Normally, I might procrastinate and eat a delicious bagel filled with all of my favorite things. Today, I’ll procrastinate by going for 10 minute walk.

Why is this good?: I’m still procrastinating, so I suck. But maybe by channeling my procrastination in a slightly better way, I’ll feel slightly better about myself in general, therefore slightly less anxious, and therefore slightly less likely to continue procrastinating. I’ll probably continue to procrastinate, but at least I’ve improved my odds.

Example 2. I don’t know what’s going on with my life, and I’m sad. Sundays in particular make me sad.  I really want to light up a bowl and become one with my couch.  Instead, I will make an indecision of greatness. Maybe I’ll still light up a bowl, but I’ll tune into a Continuing Legal Education course instead of succumbing to another season of Hoarders.  And maybe I’ll take notes. And maybe I won’t light up that bowl after all.

Why is this good?: I’m still self-medicating and sloppy, but at least I’m not watching Hoarders. I’ll become a better lawyer (and arguably BETTER at being lazy).  Maybe that course will help me get better at helping someone else someday. Maybe I’ll forget the whole thing.  But if I’m using my sloppy Sunday for even .001% self-improvement, I’m making an indecision of greatness. And that is OK.

Indecisions are not good. But indecisions of greatness are better than indecisions of sorrow. They might not be a step forward, but at least they are not a step backward.

You can’t always be on the ball. Because the ball is round, legs are not good at standing on balls, and learning balance takes practice.

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Getting Back on the Horse

Well, well, well. I may have fallen off the horse a little bit with my writing, but I am back again with a vengeance and an appropriate theme for the occasion!

As the famous saying goes: “Let he who has not fallen off the horse cast the first stone.” SOMETIMES, we all fall off the horse. I feel off pretty hard.

Let’s start at the very beginning, shall we?

In elementary, I was the chubby girl. I have plenty of hilarious anecdotes I can share with you on what it was like being the fat kid at day camp or what it’s like going through those awkward puberty years as a girl who knew what chub rub was before she was in her first training bra. But, for another time…

High school hit and I worked my butt off. You know, you start liking guys and then there goes every sensible thought in your head. My friends and I would have sleepovers where we would do laps in the pool or hold each other’s feet while we did crunches rather than pigging out and binge watching horror movies like normal teens did. Then, of course, we all know how college goes, but all keggers considered, I stayed pretty thin.

It was when “real life” started that everything fell apart. You know, the time when you’re supposed to be self reliant and paying taxes and doing other adult things? Yeah, it was right about then that no more shits were given. I was living in NYC and poor. I ate dollar slice and other cheap meals. I got beer and shot specials at the bar because it was way more cost effective than slowly sipping away at a $12 cabernet. Basically, I embraced the “fuck it” school of thought. Unfortunately, when you start treating your body like crap, you start feeling like crap. Then your life becomes like those things people have on their desks where the bead on one end hits all the others and makes the bead on the other end swing and hit them again and repeat.

You know….

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Those things!

Anyway, then you are gaining weight, getting depressed, feeling unmotivated and it seems to happen overnight because you are unraveling so slowly that you don’t notice it.

I wasn’t even falling off the horse, I was subconsciously dismounting in slow motion and before I knew it the horse was running off without me. Into the sunset…

I was always the adventuring type: always looking for something to do, people to meet, new things to see and experience. I had energy, I was eager: if I could, I would be 100 places at any given time to make sure I didn’t miss out on anything! But, that wasn’t me anymore. I was embarrassed of my body so I didn’t like to go out. Because I never went out, I felt like I didn’t have anything of value to add to conversations anymore, no new stories of interesting places I’d been or amazing people I’d met. Boooooring! 

It took the humbling experience of moving back in with my mom for personal reasons to set me straight. I’m not sure why, because until that moment, I thought I was too far gone to ever be able to repair all the damage done. Somehow, instead of allowing myself to feel like a loser for taking a step backwards in my life, I saw it as a new beginning!

Here is where I came up with a motto I’m determined to stick with: “If things suck, fix them.”

I started walking. And walking. And walking. Then I walked some more. I started walking because I still wasn’t totally comfortable in a gym. Everyone walks, but it was hard for me to be the bigger girl in a fitness class. Here is where I am going to throw in that cliche: “If I can do it, anyone can!” I was SO out of shape. Like, seriously, so very supremely, disturbingly out of shape. 

After I walked a bunch, I did some kickboxing. After that, I tried running. After that, I did yoga and went hiking. I used to get winded climbing the subway stairs and now here I am, hiking up mountains! I’ve tried aerial yoga, trampoline aerobics, hip hop dancing, plilates, rowing and spin. I used to never want to leave the apartment, since I’ve been to a ton of new places like Barcelona, London, Panama, Mexico, California and road trips to awesome cities all over the country.

There is still so much else I want to try and so many new things I want to experience. I’m back to my old self!

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Left: March 2014 (220 lbs). Right: September 2015 (125 lbs).

The cause and effect of taking care of yourself is huge, and isn’t just limited to how you look – it impacts how you feel which impacts everything else in your life: your relationships, your performance at work, your confidence and your motivation. But you knew all of that!

While I hope I never fall off the horse quite as hard again, I am sure life will have its setbacks occasionally. I’ll stop writing for a few months, maybe I’ll slow down on exercise at some point, maybe this holiday season I’ll eat the entire fruitcake. Falling off is ok, but it’s always so important to get back on, don’t ever feel like you’ve fallen off so hard that you can’t catch back up. You always can and you always should! Make yourself a priority because you are SO worth it!

Happy to be back!

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