The Revolution Has Begun!

As I near the end of my first day of Self Improvement Revolution, I’m feeling pretty great. I wanted to quickly share a site I found that is helping me with the weight loss end of this. I was looking for a way to find the calorie content of common foods and produce that don’t have nutrition facts on the package. I found this free, very user-friendly, all in one diet journal that is pretty awesome. I’m able to type in a food and the serving size, nutrition info, and  calorie content can be found for just about anything you can imagine, even brand names. You can keep track of calories you consume, exercise (did you know common household chores can be counted as exercise? You can type in gardening or vacuuming and get the count on how many calories you burn.) water intake, even vitamin supplements, all on one sweet page. There is also a place to make notes. Your calorie intake is added up and adjusted as you add food items or exercise for the day and your total calories remaining in your budget show up green, the number is red if you go over.

The site has support forums, and a place to blog about your progress. While using this system today I was amazed by two things. First, measuring my portions precisely as opposed to just “winging it” made me realize how much I really eat. Second, even when my portions were reduced to fit into the caloric guidelines, I realized I was still filled and satisfied, I just wasn’t stuffed. Do it for one day and weigh the differences for yourself, you’ll probably be amazed. I was actually able to have seconds for dinner by adjusting the ratio of vegetables to starch and protein and I’m still allowed to consume another 500 calories before I call it a day. (Don’t know if I will.)

As for the housekeeping side of things, I have yet to make out a schedule, but I stayed steadily productive all day, catching up on laundry, tidying up, doing things as they needed to be done instead of procrastinating. It felt pretty good. I think I might just pick a chore each hour and make a point to get it done, instead of making out a set schedule. I find flexibility is my friend since Josh’s schedule changes so much and the baby is still young. Besides the usual chores, I’ll pick a task each day that is more of a periodic thing, like organizing my crazy art space/kitchen table (tomorrow’s designated task).

Self Improvement

I haven’t posted for a while, mostly due to the fanfare preparations of my first art fair where I sold my first piece to somebody I have never met or known previously. I consider this my first “real” sale, but this is not to say I am ungrateful for the support and business of my friends and family and friends of family. I just feel I have reached an exciting mile stone in my journey to becoming a “real artist”.

However, I haven’t forgotten my series on thinking for yourself. I plan to revisit this subject before too long, but I would like to write on a somewhat related, but more personal subject: Self Improvement.

We all have room for improvement in many aspects of our life, especially me. It is part of being human, we aren’t perfect. I could probably conjure up a list several pages long on all the things I would like to improve in my life, but I will narrow it down to the issues most important to me and further refine it to things within my immediate control. I want to say from the get go that this post is not a “how to” or an “I have the best idea”, it is simply a way for me to organize my thoughts and priorities while making myself accountable. I have found the best way for me to make the desired changes is to be organized and accountable. This may not work for everybody, so I encourage you to certainly join me in the journey to self-improvement, but find the method best suited to your lifestyle and success. If I can help inspire some one along the way then this is an even sweeter endeavor, but my foremost goal is rather selfish, I must admit.

The most pressing areas in need of improvement for me are 1.) my weight. One year after the birth of my second child (virtually 2 straight years of pregnancy) my body has long since gotten the memo that I am no longer eating for two but my appetite has not. Sure, I’ve been exercising at the gym as much as possible with a now one-car household, and I’ve begun to tone up a little, but sadly the numbers on the scale are holding stubbornly between “you need to cut back on portions” and “lay off the bad carbs”. Don’t get me wrong, I have a very healthy ideal weight in mind and I’m not even pushing myself for my pre-marriage perfection of halters and daisy dukes (those just don’t fit into my age and role as a mom anymore) but I would love to drop 2 or 3 sizes and be toned and fit. I plan to write about my progress here once a week, recording the things I try and the things that work as well as the things that don’t. Feed back will be welcomed. With gritted teeth I will post a picture once a month.

My body is not the only thing I want to improve. 2.) my house keeping. Yes, I’m a busy, full-time mom and wife, and my husband’s profession usually has him keeping odd hours. He gets home late, starts his day in the middle sometimes instead of the beginning and is usually too tired or too busy to pick up after himself (some might say this is debatable, but if I’m home all day and not working, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to pick up the slack for him). I have to be completely honest, I spend way too much time on this computer. I’m not even talking about this blog or keeping up with people on Facebook, I’m talking about games and aimless meanderings around the Facebook realm, hitting the refresh button every 5 minutes to see if there is something new to see even when I know there is not. Yes, I know, it’s pathetic. My excuse has been that when the baby is napping and I get some “me time”, I don’t want to spend it  cleaning or doing chores, but let’s get real, that is the only time I can really get something done. My plan in this department is to make out a schedule, to designate regular tasks to each day of the week and I am not allowed to even turn this computer on until they are done. I’ve had this approach before and it worked great, but I got lax. I will also update this department once a week along with my weight progress.

These are the two most important areas in my life that are driving me crazy. I’m a firm believer in setting realistic goals, so I will start with these. There are others, but I want to make these improvements a lifestyle, not just a fad. My readers could help me by periodically asking how I’m doing with these changes, especially if you suspect I’m not being as diligent as I could. I have a healthy conscience, sometimes it just needs an outside force to push it into gear.

Setting up for the Fountain Square Artworks Festival, July 24, 2010

In the spirit of making now the moment of choice, I am posting the most recent picture of myself and my first idea on how to combat my problem. I’m committed to eating tiny portions stretched throughout the day and I’m going to write down everything I ate for the day. I need that list to be heavy on wholesome ingredients and vegetables and light on processed items and fatty foods. I am going to resist eating just because I’m bored by not being bored. Instead of popping something in my mouth just because, I’ll take a big drink of water and walk my stairs five times. I don’t care if the temptation hits me every five minutes, I’ll drink water and walk the stairs every five minutes until my appetite gets the clue. My new house cleaning schedule should help keep me busy though. I’ll be writing that out tomorrow.

Ok, I guess this is a pretty good start. I’ll let you know how it goes.