Sunshine and beaches and swimsuits and shorts are in my future. My little family and I are going to leave the farm this summer for a few days and spend some quality time together. That is so exciting, but I'm not ready.
If you have been listening for a while, you know that I’ve been struggling to prioritize my exercise this spring. Things have been busy and that after-school time is full of a lot of chores and needs of my daughters. I could still find time…but I especially need to now.
About this time of year a lot of women start to talk about getting their bodies “Beach-Ready”. They might start to do some really restrictive eating and take on intensive workouts just so they could feel great when they struggle into the synthetic squeeze of a swimsuit and walk out into the bright sunshine.
But, besides wanting to look good, I also want the energy and endurance that comes from being in shape. When you are looking at hours and days of walking and helping a girl with multiple disabilities in the hot sun, some physical strength plays a huge role in maintaining patience as well. To be honest, I’m not going to worry about changing my diet at all. I already love the way I eat and it fits well with my lifestyle and weight maintenance. What I am going to do is concentrate on exercising.
Why? Well-if you are wanting to get beach ready, hear me out.
Exercise creates muscles, which help you carry your body around.
Exercise increases energy and stamina.
Exercise helps tone and slim your body from a position of strength.
Besides, I’m at a really healthy place with my eating right now and it isn’t worth trying to shuck off a couple pounds and risk going back to some unhealthy eating patterns.
So, today I’m going to share with you why I’m struggling with exercising. If you have ideas or advice for me, please comment on the episode. Your advice might totally help other women in my position as well.
So, here are my two major issues.
#1 My work out equipment is in the bunkhouse so to use it I need to leave my children. They are 8 and 10 years old. It isn’t that 15 minutes to half-an-hour of no supervision would injure them, it is literally that my 8-year-old has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. If she falls or has a seizure, it is nice to know that someone can respond quickly and help her. What I need to do is move at least one piece of equipment into the home or coordinate with my 10 year-old (Adela) and husband to keep an eye on Micaela. I could also leave the house before Micaela wakes up or after she goes to bed to do that work out. However, right now, I can tell you that coordinating all that has felt like too much and I’ve been throwing in the towel pretty quickly.
#2 Working full time makes me feel like there isn’t time for working out. Even as I say that out loud I hear the fallacy in it. It’s been a lot here lately with tax season, lambing season, state testing, and the weird funky feelings that come when you get this close to the end of the school year. For those of my listeners that don’t know, I’m an elementary teacher with a husband going through veterinary medical school and I live on a farm with sheep and cattle. Right now when I come home, my older daughter and I are responsible for feeding fifteen orphaned lambs. But, even with the girls’ homework and house chores, I know that I could make time to work out. It’s just prioritizing it and motivating myself to do it. Perhaps the idea of working out before the girls get up is the winning idea after all.
So, there you go. Both time and work out location feel like walls. And this is where I have to push through that idea of being victimized by circumstances and decide to make a choice. I am going to get ready to make memories at the beach at the family where I have the energy and strength to keep up and enjoy the experience. And, for this coming up week, I’m making the choice to get up and work out BEFORE the girls get up. I might even sleep in my workout clothes. We’ll see.
Parenting special needs kids comes with some interesting challenges. If you are one of those sweet ladies out there that God honored your life with the care of someone with disabilities or medical complications, I pray that my honesty here helps your journey, too. And, with that honesty I’m doing another episode next week on why emotional eating issues are so prevalent among parents with special needs children. Go ahead and share this episode with a parent you know that could use some encouragement today. I’ll catch you next week. Bye for now.
What I want for you is an easy, seamless, powerful weigh-in routine. I want you to be able to use that data without getting lost in the weeds of mind drama. Most of all, I want you to be able to keep taking strong healthy action in your journey. In order to do this, I am going to go over some aspects of a powerful weigh-in routine that will keep you positive and focused on your weight loss and committed to moving forward.
The Weigh-in Routine
1. Decide When
As we discussed in last week’s episode, pick a time of day for your daily weigh-ins and a time of day plus a day of the week if you do a weekly weigh-in.
If you need help making this decision, go back to last week’s episode where I break down the pros and cons of daily and weekly weigh-ins.
2. Fix Your Mindset
Decide what you will think before you see the number. This is so important. Look back on the past day or week and consider your food choices, exercise experiences, and your amount of water drank and hours of sleep. Remember all the things you did to support your weight loss. List 10 things you are proud of yourself for. List 1 or 2 things you know you would like to work on (without even knowing what the number on the scale is).
3. Make a plan.
At this point you already have enough information to make a plan. It is so important to do this before weighing in because you don’t have any emotional input at this point. You are making all your decisions with your prefrontal cortex without anxiety from that lower brain. If you don’t do this before, you will either be too harsh if the number is up or too lax if the number is going down.
Write down what you will think if the scale goes up and what your plan will be for the following day or week.
Write down what you will think if the scale goes down and what your plan will be for the following day or week.
Please note: if you are weighing in daily then your plan might be making little or no change to your eating and self-care plan. Your plan for going up or down is simply to stay the course with your habits for the week. However, you will want to tweak your game-plan if it has been a week or so and you are not getting the results you want.
4. Post an Affirmation
Post or have in hand an affirming message or verse that is true about you no matter what the number on the scale says.
Weigh Yourself and write down the number.
Repeat your affirming message and circle the plan you will follow that you made in advance (scale up or scale down).
Pray a prayer of gratitude to God for all the ways He is strengthening you and teaching you in this journey.
6. Commit to Your Plan
Write down your thoughts or your commitment to your plan for eating and caring for yourself the following day or week.
Let me rehash those steps by walking you through my own daily weigh-in:
Don’t worry, that whole thing takes a couple minutes at most. And, I have found it incredibly valuable. I have so much more peace as I eat and take care of myself. I don’t have this spirit of fear hanging around, wondering if the number will be up or down tomorrow based on what I’m eating. It is a much better space to be living in, I promise.
I sure hope this was helpful. For the women I work with, I encourage them to look at their weight loss journey through the eyes of a scientist not a judge. My hope for them is that they will be filled with curiosity, using the scale to figure out their body’s rhythms and cycles and how it reacts and interacts with their eating, drinking, and movement.
Because I truly value your time, I’m breaking this episode up into two parts so that it in easy-to-listen-to chunks. Today we are going to discuss how to use the numbers on the scale and next week I’ll be diving into the mental process to stick to your plans and protocols after you weigh yourself.
First of all, you have to stop thinking of the scale as a judge.
There is NO moral value of that number. That number says nothing about you or who you are, it is only a measurement of the force of gravity pulling down your body mass. The scale is an inanimate object with no awareness of you or your journey. So, if you hear all the thoughts, good or bad, they come only from you. If you feel all those feelings, they only came from you. The good news is, there is a very practical way to approach the scale so that it becomes a powerful weight loss tool and has no control over what you think or feel.
The first step to using the numbers on the scale in a practical way is to decide when to weigh yourself
When to Weigh
There are two ways to use the scale that are the most common and helpful: Daily and weekly. Each has their own blessings and drawbacks so you will have to choose what to do based on your life and experience.
Daily weigh-ins are a daily hop on the scale at the same time. This is a great strategy because it allows you to get real-time information about how your body is reacting to your diet choices, exercise, and other choices. When you weigh daily you can begin to note:
Daily weigh-in can allow you to make day-to-day decisions about your food based on real-time information instead of having to wait for your weekly weigh-in to make changes.
However, Daily weigh-ins can be very stressful for women who have a lot of mind drama about the number on the scale. For them, going to a weekly weigh-in and focusing on mindset is probably a good choice. Especially if the number on the scale is a trigger for eating behavior that does not support your goals such as severe restriction and/or binging.
Weigh-ins done weekly is the perfect strategy to use, especially when you have a lot of drama around the number on the scale. A weekly weigh-in allows you to focus on:
Weekly weigh-ins give you a snapshot of your weekly average and should be taken with a grain of salt, understanding that there might be fluctuations caused by fluid retention and inflammation influencing the number on the scale. It is also a great strategy for women who want to focus on consistency with their habits and don’t want their decisions to be swayed by daily weigh-ins
If the scale goes up:
So, as you can hear, that bathroom scale can become one of the most powerful weight loss tools you have access to. Now, if you are still skeptical and feel like there is tons of fear and drama in this process, I hear you, sister. In the next episode we are going to break down how to have a drama-free weigh in routine that is empowering and makes a ton of sense.
Before I sign off, can I share a goal with you? This podcast is one of my favorite things to do. I love it. I love sharing really important, life-giving information with women. But, I need help to grow my audience. Right now my podcast is lacking both ratings and reviews which help it be found by others. So, if you wouldn’t mind, I would love it if you would rate and review it today. Sometimes the easiest way to do this is on a mobile app but any way you do it, I am so very grateful.
Thank you for spending this time with me today. I’ll catch you next week for part 2!
You should have heard the giggles in my house when I sat my three nephews and daughters at the table over Spring Break and conducted the Marshmallow experiment on them. Replicating, more or less, an experiment from the 1960s. I placed a large marshmallow in front of them and promised a second one if they could keep themselves from eating it. Then they had to sit and wait. After fifteen minutes they had all made it through and got to eat two marshmallows.
There is a great explanation of this experiment and what it means on Youtube by Practical Psycology called “The Marshmallow Test” https://youtu.be/2xMgHKxukr0 . Pretty much, back in the 1960s they got a group of preschoolers togethers and one by one they put them alone, in a room, with a single marshmallow. They promised a second marshmallow if they didn’t eat the first. Some were able to wait, others weren’t. Then they tracked those individuals over time. It turned out that the preschoolers who demonstrated self-control with the marshmallows were more successful adults. In other words, self-control is positively correlated with success.
However, they repeated this same experiment just a few years ago and tracked socioeconomic status and education of parents as variables. Guess what? Kids in low socioeconomic homes demonstrated severely less self-control. Psychologist confirmed that this made sense. Children from low economic homes are more impulsive. Psychologist explained that children from low socioeconomic homes often have parents who lack the time and resources to follow through with promises. Their kids are then very impulsive, more likely to take advantage of the opportunities even when the consequences long-term are negative. Essentially, kids that grow up with consistency and follow through in their homes then innately have more self-control.
Isn’t that crazy?! And, while the kids and I were talking about it, I had a light-bulb moment. It is exactly the same when it comes to dieting.
We break confidence in ourselves with our restrictive eating and inconsistent habits. We teach our brain and body that we often operate on low resources and are incredibly unreliable with how we eat, hydrate, and care for ourselves.
Then, guess what? Our lower brain becomes more impulsive than ever. It sees opportunities and needs to take advantage of it because it has learned from past experiences that tomorrow might be very different.
Isn’t that awful? But it makes sense right?
I see this process play out in my classroom all the time. Students who have consistency at home, parents or guardians who follow through, and believe that adults will keep promises…those kids are much less impulsive, they can wait with more patience, and they make better choices overall.
So, I have good good news for you…you can really change things in your own self-care abilities. It isn’t complicated. I want you to consider making these three simple changes in your weight loss or health journey.
First, become the queen on consistency. Establish habits that you follow through with come rain or shine. This means you have to start small. It is so much better to start with one or two habits and start building up that evidence than to be all “gun-ho” and take on all the habits just to have yourself give up again and again. Then your brain will just say: “There she goes again. She always quits eventually.” Well, not this time. Make consistency your goal. Do what is doable and build it up from there.
Second, follow through with promises. This might mean that you have to start making some nice promises to yourself such as rewarding yourself for reaching weekly goals or having a planned exception treat once in a while. Promises to yourself might also be that you take the dog out for a walk like you said you would or go to bed on time. I would start to really notice what you plan and promise yourself and even write it down. Work on imprinting the concept that you follow through. Then, when temptation arises you can tell yourself something like, “We’ll do that tomorrow.” and your lower brain will calm down, becoming less reactive and impulsive, because it knows you follow through.
Third, focus on care not restriction. Going back to that comparison of impulsive children and our impulsive brains, I’ve also seen that children who only get consequences and little to no positive reinforcement, tend to have impulse issues. If kids feel like the people around them don’t have their back, they’ll take matters into their own hands. Once again, begin to build evidence that you truly love and care for your body and the health of your mind and heart. Then it is so much easier not to become reactive and impulsive with your eating.
Alright, I know you hear me and are totally ready to start building up your self-control. Give yourself grace. This will take time. However, the beauty is that if you lose weight or work on habit change and with consistency and caring, you’ll not only lose your weight, but you’ll be building up that self-control.
So, lets review the three ways to bring self-control back into your weight loss journey:
First, become the queen on consistency.
Second, follow through with promises.
Third, focus on care not restriction.
You can do this! I know it will make a world of change in the process.
Ok, next week we are going to talk about making the bathroom scale one of your best friends. If that sounds impossible, then you definitely need to listen to this one. Until then, all my love and blessings to you. Goodbye for now!
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.