Alphabet Soup: K

Alphabet Soup is a series of posts in which readers and I explore the words, concepts, and ideas that help on the path to weight loss/maintenance. Please join in with your insights!

letter kRolling into the weekend, let’s continue the alphabetic exploration of words and ideas that help with weight maintenance/loss by playing with the letter ‘K’!

I don’t have many entries for the letter ‘K’, but the ones I do have are important for me.

Kindness – I’ve always been the sort of person who pokes fun at herself. It’s a fun way to diffuse the pressure when something doesn’t go so well, and it helps others see that I can laugh at myself when I do something laugh-worthy. And I do that a LOT. :)

There’s a point, though, that gentle humor crosses a line and becomes unkind, even when we ourselves are the recipients of the remarks or thoughts. I used to cross that line quite frequently, both before and after my weight loss. I captured one such instance in a post entitled, When Kindness Matters Most, in which I recommit to using kinder, gentler words when dealing with my emotions.

KISS – Most everyone is familiar with the acronym for “Keep It Simple, Stupid” (which I have kindly rebranded as “Keep It Simple, Silly”), right? Well, in the past, I apparently didn’t think it applied to weighty matters. I followed (or tried to) ridiculously complicated weight loss plans. You know the type. Eat from list A before noon, eat no more than 3 items from list B between 2 and 4 p.m., and so on and so on. And the exercise plans were no better. For me, keeping it simple by having a goal of lean meats, whole grains, 5-7 fresh veggies, and at 30 minutes of exercise each day seems to work better.

Kitchen – I can count on one hand the number of meals I cooked when I was losing weight. It worked for my lifestyle then, and it worked for my weight loss. (The trick was learning which restaurants to eat in.) Over time, though, my lifestyle changed and I was at home more often, so I began to play around in my kitchen. Fast forward a few years and I’m still no kitchen diva, but I find that I enjoy creating wholesome meals that are satisfying and energizing. I’ve also enjoyed giving up some of the convenience foods I was buying in favor of making my own versions. BBQ sauce, taco seasoning, and sandwich thins are just a few that come to mind. None of those are nutritionally awful in the brands I chose, but I like having control over the ingredients and the flavor. I’m just selfish that way.

Keep on Keepin’ On – That’s an old song title, I think. Something from the 70s? Anyway, it’s also a fun little reminder to maintain focus on the positive progress and keep on going.

Those are the ‘K’ words that have proven to be useful to me. I hope you’ll chime in with your contributions to the list!

Mantras I Have Known

Do I seem calmer to you? No? Well, it’s not from lack of trying.

I’ve installed a new app on my phone: Calm. It’s a meditation tool to help focus, calm, and relax the mind. Although I know how to meditate, I’m not doing it very well or consistently, so I’m currently going through the 7 Days of Calm program. It’s all good so far.

Sidenote: This company also has a great website if you just need a calming two minute break during the day. It’s called Do Nothing for 2 Minutes. If you touch your keyboard or mouse, the clock starts over. Ask me how I know that. :)

While my thoughts were drifting (calmly) along the meditative path yesterday morning, different mantras I’ve used from time to time kept popping into mind as the meditation coach did her smooth-voiced spiel.

Practice makes improvement.

I think this one came to mind just because the speaker kept reminding me that it was okay if my mind wandered, that meditation was a practice, yada-yada-yada. (Sometimes I want to tell her to hush, I just want to breathe. Which is a clear sign it’s working, I guess.)

Still, it was a good reminder to give myself a break when I don’t do something perfectly. Even when I don’t do it perfectly by my redefined version of perfection, which is “mostly right”. :)

We see it when we believe it.

which I always think of in tandem with

Something wonderful will happen.

I can’t remember most of Brian Tracy’s speech about the power of expectation, but these two phrases have stuck with me for over 20 years. I only wish I remembered to practice them every day. While I do believe that wonderful things are happening all around me, it’s difficult to remember to look for them when I’m pondering the future or reliving some past haunt.

My time is now.

When my friend Beth was struggling with Alzheimer’s, she couldn’t remember a lot of the past and knew she didn’t have an extended future (here on Earth, anyway.) All she had was Right Now, and she made the most of it. I sometimes (as in, frequently) have to remind myself that the most important time in my life is Now. The past is over, and I can’t predict the future. Other than that something wonderful will happen.

Own your choices.

After all these years (seven or eight now, I think), I realize that over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been blaming other peop–I mean, things for choices I’ve made. That needs to stop. Now. I’m in charge of me.

Because it’s the right thing to do.

The reward for doing the right thing is doing the right thing. It never ends, and I love it.

Break time is over.

I’m really feeling this one. I’ve not been far off track, but I haven’t been feeling entirely “me” lately, if you know what I mean. The morning meditation (and warmer weather, I’m sure) is definitely helping me straighten things out and focus on the here and now.

Do you meditate? What mantras have inspired you lately?

Alphabet Soup: Two Js That Work, One That Doesn’t

letter jIf I recall correctly, I have reached the letter J in my alphabetic explorations of words and concepts that help me effectively manage my weight. And it only took me a year. Good thing I wasn’t on a commission.

Only two helpful “J-words” come to mind, but they’re a big two, if you know what I mean. Together, they’re pretty foundational for my success.

While I’ve always been a fairly exuberant type of person (or as one friend termed it, annoyingly cheerful), I was pretty glum about the whole “diet-y” thing. That was back when I made elaborate plans and tried to overhaul my entire way of living in one day. Who wouldn’t feel bleh about that?

Approaching weight loss/management from a mindset of abundance turned everything around, and I found joy in focusing on what I had and what I could do.

I’ll confess that lately I’ve felt…well, not bleh, but not necessarily joyful either. I don’t know if it’s lingering stress over the ups and downs from 2014 or just a phase, but it’s certainly not how I want to live. I like bouncing out of bed in the mornings.

In thinking it over the past few days, I realized that what’s missing is that expectation that “something wonderful will happen.” Expecting good things to happen, believing good things will happen, will have me bouncing in no time. In fact, I feel better already. :)

empty jolt bottleJOLT
After years and years of trying to change everything, I finally found success in changing Just One Little Thing at at time. Some changes took place over a matter of days, some took longer, and others–well, I’m still working on those.

I keep this bottle on my office window sill as a reminder that change doesn’t happen overnight, but I can make a lot of progress with a simple JOLT here and there.

So those are two Js that help me. Here’s one that hasn’t been working so well for me: January. This one has been particularly gray and cold, with only a handful of sunny, mild days to keep me off the ledge. I suspect that’s a large part of my recent less-than-joyful temperament.

But it’s February now, and I made it through. With my recent contemplations in mind, I’m focusing not on the cold, but all the wonderful things that this month will bring. Like temps in the 60s on Saturday!

I’m also focusing on getting some early spring cleaning done, and I’d better get back to it. I’m having new internet service installed tomorrow, and I’d rather not subject the installer to what’s bound to be a mountain of dust bunnies behind my desk. :)

Okay, your turn! Anything come to mind with the letter ‘J’?