An Awakening

This morning, I came to a realization – I’m not happy. My marriage is good – better than it ever has been, I think, so that isn’t the problem. It’s my business. My weight. My house. I feel like it’s all pretty much spun out of control. When I look around me and see that my house is a wreck, my business isn’t where I want it to be, and as a result, I’ve gained weight … well, it’s time to change pretty much everything except the husband. Him I plan to keep for a very, very long time. I guess you could say he’s just stuck with me.

Before I took a shower this morning, I did the dreaded deed – I stepped on the scale. As I stood there staring at that horrible number, it dawned on me that I’m not happy with most aspects of my life. Only my marriage and family bring me any joy right now; the rest of it just drags on me and makes me feel depressed. I realized that if things don’t start to change, and soon, I’m going to be in some pretty serious trouble. And I also realized that not being accountable is not going to help, either. So, this is my confession, my new beginning, if you will, because today things have to start changing. Today, I have to take control of my life once again and stop screwing around.

I know I’ve said this before; we all have, haven’t we? At some point we hit a wall and we think, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! But this is seriously ridiculous. I am stunned and embarrassed by my weight right now. I would DIE if anyone walked in to my house at this point, and my business … well, yet another weekend of lackluster sales isn’t making me want to run out and sign up for more shows. So, here is my very basic beginning plan for each one in turn.

My weight – first of all, my biggest issue is night time snacking and eating the crappiest of foods. Before I sat down to write this, I threw a Lean Cuisine frozen meal in the microwave – not the best choice, I thought, but better than anything I could have pulled together for myself from a fridge full of left overs that need to be thrown out and a pantry full of things that I probably shouldn’t eat at all. When I took the meal out of the microwave, this is what it looked like …

Believe it or not, overall the taste wasn’t terrible. I added a little Tony Chacerie’s to give it a little more flavor, but after eating it, I was still hungry. I looked at the calorie count – 170 calories. Wait, what? Only 170 calories, and this is supposed to be a FULL meal?!?! Are you freakin’ KIDDING me?? I could eat TEN of these and not even get in the number of calories I can eat in an average day (according to the iPhone app Lose It!), but it would provide me with more than two days’ worth of sodium. And I’d probably still be hungry. So I added a Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt, and I will probably find myself digging around for something else after that, because according to the Lose It! app, I should be eating about 2,000 calories just to lose weight (yeah, I have quite a bit of weight to lose so I get more than the “standard” 1,200 calories that many diet plans seem to think women should live on).

Today’s weight loss goal – go grocery shopping and do some food prep for this week.

My house – Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Honestly, the downstairs isn’t so bad, but upstairs, my bedroom is the place where everything that otherwise doesn’t have a home lands. And it houses a good bit of my business inventory. It isn’t very peaceful or restful, but it IS big. It’s time to do some spring cleaning all over the house, though. I tried to do the FlyLady thing recently, but it was 12 or more emails a day, most of them trying to sell me something. It just about drove me insane. I do like the basic premise, however – focus on one area of the house each week, at first getting to the point where it’s presentable, then doing deeper cleaning as you go along, while maintaining the presentable part. This week, it’s going to be tricky, because we have a show mid-week (this is the first time I’ve ever had a show that wasn’t on a weekend), but my focus spot is going to be the studio. I chose the studio for two reasons – it’s the very first thing people see when they walk in to my house, and it will require the least amount of deep cleaning. Most of the focus will be on clutter, and that’s something I can handle easily. Also, as a “bonus” Chris and I will spend a fair amount of time on getting all the laundry caught up.

This week’s house goal – declutter the studio and get all the laundry caught up

My business – This is the one that’s most difficult for me, because I’m not sure what to do to fix the issue. I’m not sure I CAN fix the issue, because I’m not positive it’s my issue to fix. I’ve been in business for a year now, and sales are lackluster. I thought it was my product, but now I don’t think that’s it, because after talking to several vendors over the last few months, everyone seems to be experiencing the same results, even at shows that were once very good. I don’t know if the problem is that people are getting away from handcrafted items, or if it’s that people just aren’t spending money, but the only booths that seem to have a lot of people looking and buying are those who are selling clothing, jewelry and/or other accessories. I didn’t keep a blow by blow record of sales by the woman across from us this weekend, but I think her weekend was much better than mine (she was selling “boutique” clothing). The couple to the right of us were selling a variety of things – jewelry, purses, and other trinkets – and they seemed to stay fairly busy, though I’m not sure what kind of sales they saw. We did ok ourselves, but not, “I can live on this” ok. We did, “Well, this is nice extra pocket money if I don’t reinvest every penny” ok. And my online and Etsy stores aren’t exactly on fire, either. We also paid for a motel for one night for this show, further eating in to my profits.

I’ve also been looking for a job, with no results. I don’t want to abandon the business, but I thought if I could find a job, I could continue the business on the side. So far, no luck finding a job, and many of the jobs I do see are part time. It’s crazy; I really don’t understand it. At this point, I’m ready to apply for part time bookkeeper jobs and try to get clients to hire me on a 1099 basis, so I can have several at once. I was looking through jobs last weekend and there wasn’t a ton of stuff out there, and then it hit me – I don’t recall seeing any jobs listed with any of the O&G majors, and only a few with the indies. There are a lot of medical jobs – for which I am not trained. There are retail jobs – which don’t pay much, are part time, and would interfere with my show schedule. And there were some accounting jobs, which require an accounting degree, preferably a master’s degree and a CPA (even when it’s clear the job doesn’t need a CPA; they’re doing that because these companies know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of young people out there with a CPA who are desperate to find a job and will work for enough to pay back the crushing student loan debt they accumulated over those years).

I went to a business seminar last year, but frankly I’ve forgotten a fair amount of what I learned, so …

This week’s business goal – Go to the show on Wednesday, and read through the course materials from last year’s seminar. Continue to look for a job.

And there you have it – a week’s plan in writing. I am also making notes in my calendar to help me stay the course for the week. I will try to remember to report back here periodically, because I want to keep track of how things are going. If I were more disciplined, I would do a daily post to keep track of what’s going on and how things are going, because that’s really the only way to remain accountable to myself. Maybe I’ll try doing that … but it probably won’t happen (I may be trying to turn over some new leaves, but I’m also realistic).

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There are two primary choices in life …

To accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. ~Dr. Denis Waitley

We have become a nation of the “status quo” … in other words, we may complain about the things we don’t like – our political system, the homeless problem, the economy, our ever expanding waistlines – but most people don’t take responsibility for changing the things that they don’t like. I know that there are many people who think that they can make no impact to many of these situations, as they are “only one person.” But I think that people lose sight, myself included, of the fact that they absolutely have the ability to change themselves. Or maybe it’s that we don’t like to take responsibility for making changes, or that we’re unwilling to commit ourselves to making changes. Of course, you must know that I’m talking about weight loss and fitness.

I’ve heard people say that getting started is the most difficult part, but I disagree. I think starting is easy – I’ve started to make life-altering health changes 894,732 times. No, the most difficult part is sticking with the program you choose, and not letting yourself buy into the negative self-talk (as well as the negativity from others around you). And when you don’t see results immediately, it’s really easy to start taking on the “bro-science” advice on the internet – you know, all those meatheads out there who are more than willing to tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you can “fix” it. It isn’t that everybody is special and needs their own plan to make progress, but there really is not a one size fits all way to lose weight. The only constant is that the calories you burn must exceed the calories you take into your body. Beyond that, there are many ways to lose weight, exercise, and reach your fitness goals.

As of this morning, I am officially down 20 pounds from my original starting weight. But it took me far longer to get here than it strictly should have, because I lost sight of what I was doing, and the reasons why I was doing them. If I had stayed the course back in February when I went to the UK, I could possibly be 30 or even 40 pounds down from my original starting weight. For some people a simple calorie restriction is the key to weight loss. Personally, I have to have at least four days a week of moderate exercise – five is even better. I joined the gym eight days ago and I’ve been four times – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday (I took Thursday and Friday off because I could barely move after my personal training foray on Tuesday). I’ve kept an eye on the calories I’ve eaten and dropped four pounds in that time. I probably had a little help from a water pill the doctor prescribed for me during my physical on Thursday, but a lot of the loss is from the changes I’m making to my lifestyle.

I know a lot of people think that in order to lose weight, they need to seriously restrict their calorie intake but for me that’s not true. In fact, I eat a fairly good deal of calories (around 2200-2300 on days I work out; about 1950 on days I don’t), keeping my body fueled so that I can continue to do the work outs without crashing. No 1200 calorie days here! I really don’t know how people manage on that small an amount, and it absolutely kills me to see folks on the fitness boards who claim they can’t possibly eat 1200 calories  a day because it’s just too much and they aren’t hungry! /whine whine whimper whimper  I’m sorry but I call BS because it’s highly unlikely they gained 40, 50, 60 or 100+ pounds by eating 900 calories a day for an extended period. In order to keep the body going, you have to fuel it. Do you expect to drive 500 miles on a quarter of a tank of gas? No? Then why do you expect to work out, run a home, raise a family, and work on 900 calories a day??

I know that for some people with medical issues, it isn’t quite this easy, but I think that the number of legitimate medical issues that prevent weight loss are probably pretty small. I would be willing to bet that the biggest issue is that people aren’t honest with themselves. I know I wasn’t, because I was probably drinking half my calories in the form of Dr Pepper. Once I kicked the regular soda habit, the weight started coming off, and I wasn’t really hungry anymore because I could eat a pretty good amount of food. It was during the time that I wasn’t controlling my soda intake that I gained most of my weight, and it was during that time that I was at my most resistant to change. Once I dropped 150 calorie a can drinks, I saw that I could actually lose weight. I do still drink diet sodas, which have issues of their own, and I am working to drink fewer of them, but the reality is, without the empty calories, losing weight is easier, and I’m able to maintain a course of action.

So, now it’s time to ask yourself – what choice are you going to make? The one that will bring change to your life, where ever you need it, be that weight loss, difficult relationships, financial, etc? Or the one that will maintain the status quo, where you are never really happy but loathe to do something about it? I know which one I choose …