Sunday, February 28, 2010

Family Traditions

I am a big fan of family traditions and family get togethers. Talmage is home from South Korea where he spent the last year teaching English, and it feels so good to have everyone here close. Tonight we had a family dinner with our complete family that also included our tradition of teasing and the candy bar game where we collectively chant "three in a row!"

It has been found that children that have a certain place at the dinner table to sit tend to have a better outcome than those that don't, and it is interesting to watch our children scrabble to sit in their regular spot with little regard for where their spouses sit. (I guess the table sitting habit didn't guarantee thoughtfulness and courtesy)

In family studies they have also found that men can typically duplicate all of woman's roles except for one, and that is the work done to establish extended family connections through traditions. I am grateful to be a woman and mother and have the privilege of creating and maintaining family traditions. I love my family and the traditions that we share!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


We have been watching the Olympics and I have been inspired by the thin and toned image of the athletes. Minus some of the bobsledders. A few of them look like they must be snacking while they are riding the sled down. Looks like my kind of sport.

Anyway, this reminds me of an experience I had years ago before I started to consistently exercise and had lost most of my muscle tone. One day I saw someone in the grocery store that had on tennis shoes with ankle socks and had toned legs and a small ankle. Since I was on my way to a cankle and all future suitors for my daughters would be scared away, I held on to the visual image and wanted to achieve that goal; and I believe that holding that visual image helped me become consistent at exercising.

Studies have been done with basketball players, for example, and they found that the athletes that just visualized themselves shooting foul shots performed better than the players that actually practiced making foul shots. The power of visualization is great. In the next few days I will identify the visual image that has inspired me in each point of the star.

Friday, February 26, 2010

My 10 Commandments for Eating

Boundaries are important for self-discipline, and that is why I have come up with my 10 commandments for eating. Please notice, however, that they are positive and what I will do instead of what I don't want to do.

1. Drink lemon water of just plain water at least every hour.
2. Take vitamins.
3. Eat sitting down with awareness and all food on a plate.
4. Eat every 2-3 hours at approximately 7 10 12 3 6 8.
5. Eat small portions, cut restaurant portions in half.
6. Eat colorful foods, lots of vegetables and fruits.
7. Eat whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts.
8. Eat lots of fish, and lean chicken and turkey.
9. Eat low fat cheeses, plain yogurt, sour cream, etc. Non fat milk or soy milk.
10. Stop eating at 8 pm.

Enjoy how good it feels to be so good to my body, mind, and spirit!!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hair Style Set Point

In positive psychology research there is believed to be a set point of happiness in which we return to whether we have positive or negative experiences. For example, when a usually unhappy person wins the lottery, they will be happy for a time but will eventually return to their unhappy set point. Conversely, a normally happy person who is suddenly paralyzed in an accident will tend to be depressed for a time but then also return to their happy set point.

That is what I experience when I try to change my hairstyle. I go in and ask for a different cut and style, only to return to the old hairdo before too long. When people from my childhood see me and say that I haven't changed a bit, I realize it is not so much a compliment; but just a declaration that the hair hasn't been updated. Thus I have a hair style set point.

Now, is there a cure for this and especially the happiness set point? The cure is to be focused on a systemic, step by step process in both self-discovery and stretching myself in making changes and improving because of the tendency to go back to my comfort zone even if that comfort zone isn't that happy of a place to be. Wishing to be happier and healthier is just not going to cut it. It takes awareness, work and long-term commitment. I guess I still have a lot of work to do with my hair.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Colorful Foods

I am committed to eating lots of colorful foods. The difference between the two pictures of food is that one has lasting goodness and the other one is only good while I am chewing it. Unless of course I count the delayed gratification I get when I discover some of that gummy candy lurking in between my teeth hours later.

I believe that we are naturally drawn to colorful foods because they are healthy for us. But because of "conspiring men" (D & C 89:4), we are tricked into craving the colorful foods with artificial dye that are a substitution for the good stuff. I am committed to being an food artist and making sure that my plate of food has a variety of natural color.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I came home late tonight, watched a little American Idol with some of my kids, then had a late night talk with Taylee. I love what my friend Theresa said, "Blessed be the flexible because they won't be bent out of shape." Although it is good to have a routine and goals, it is even better to be there for my family when they need me.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Eating healthy isn't just about weight loss, it is about living a full life and preventing sickness and early death as much as I can. I plan to live to be at least 100 years old (sorry kids, that means your inheritance will be a long ways off) and so I know that I've got to do as much as I can to stay healthy and active. I love what Dr. Andrew Weil said before Congress about health prevention being the best health insurance. He emphasized the fact that, for example, a mammogram isn't really health prevention, it is just early detection. Health prevention is about living a healthy lifestyle every day not just something I do once a year. Does that mean if I live healthy I can skip the mammogram? Heaven knows how difficult that is. How would you like to try and stretch a mosquito bite under that machine? I'm sorry. Now you have a weird visual image.

Just a side note, my daughter Courtney has been studying natural health with a big emphasis on natural care and prevention. Check out her blog listed at the side of this posting.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Don't DIE-IT

I just started reading a book about the power of words, and it hit me that no wonder "diets" fail. The word DIE is in it so I am not surprised when I want to give up something that is death defying! So now I declare that I have just embraced a healthy way of eating that is rooted in my new belief that I am being good to myself. I know that it is important to not just change my behavior but I have changed my beliefs about food, my thoughts, and my feelings because all three components are necessary to fight the temptations that lurk at every corner. I now believe that Adam and Eve weren't tempted by an apple; it must of been a sweet roll because let's face it, apples aren't that tempting.

With that said, I realize how old habits and patterns hang on for dear life, and so it is important that I not depend on willpower alone. Because I believe that my physical health is important for my spiritual, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being then I know that my Heavenly Father cares about my success, and that He will help me if I ask.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Take time to nurture self

I am discovering that my lack of self care can create an indulgence in an unhealthy way such as chocolate because there is an emptiness that I am trying to fill. When I take good care of myself, spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially then I don't feel a need to overindulge in sugar because I am filled. I believe that the sweetest of sugar is only a poor substitute for a lack of "sweetness" in my life. Since I am the only person that I can control, it is important that I be "sweet" to myself and provide the same kind of nurture that I want to give to others.

Now I have got to be really honest with myself and change my belief. I am not REALLY being good to my whole self when I indulge in sugar. I am just being good to my taste buds, and I just can't let my taste buds be that selfish anymore.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yes to Fruit

On Dr. Oz the other day he talked about the effects that sugar has on our veins, and at that moment I realized that my painful and ugly veins might be a result of consuming too much sugar. That and the fact that I have put on extra weight and feel more muscle and joint pain than I know I should, have made me realize that the momentary pleasure of sugar isn't all that it's cracked up to be. (darn it!)

I already talked about how what we resist tends to persist, and so I don't want to just say no to sugar; but instead reprogram myself to say yes to fruit to satisfy my sweet tooth. I will also say yes to enjoying and filling up on other healthy foods. I will feel that new determination all over my body and repeat that declaration over and over again. I am saying yes to fruit. I am passionate about fruit. I enjoy eating fruit. I believe in fruit. If there is any fruit that is virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, I will seek after it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Keep Collecting-Don't Drop

Tonight I decided to go back and review all my posts to do a little inventory to see how well I am keeping the commitments that I have made thus far. My usual pattern is to decide to establish and practice some habit only to give it up when I decide to acquire another habit. (You know, like start the habit of wearing deodorant only to stop washing my hair) It is as if when I start gathering stuff in my arms, that the original items fall when I keep piling. I don't want to do that and so it is important to do a check to make sure that what I have collected so far, I am still carrying.

I am taking it slow and steady and focused on healthy balance. I am breathing better. I consistently drink water throughout the day and add lemon when possible. I say "I am willing" instead of "I should." I look for ways to feel gratitude instead of complain. I am much more aware of how I am feeling and my limiting beliefs and making changes where necessary. I have established morning and night routines that include each point of the star and that have made such a difference in my focus and motivation. I am planning my time and life is so much more eventful and meaningful. The side benefit is that some of my time wasters have just effortlessly been eliminated because the good has naturally crowded them out. Today I even went to a luncheon with an assortment of desserts and didn't even start shaking or feel tempted. I just focused on eating the healthy stuff and felt so much more energetic afterward. Maybe life will still be worth living.
I am not sure I like my new title for this blog. I am open to suggestions.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Changing a Limiting Belief

I am getting a general sense that it is hard to give up sugar. I have to wonder if giving up heroine and tobacco is easier because there isn't heroine and tobacco in almost everything we eat. (unless they have changed the names in the ingredients). Even other foods made with white flour turn to sugar as soon as we eat it. We can't seem to run or hide from sugar, and that is probably why the addiction is so powerful. It is also suggested that the sugar substitutes are difficult because they increase the craving for sugar, increase the amount of foods eaten, and make the natural sugars in fruit less appealing.

I also have come to realize that it is my beliefs about sugar that play a big role. Let's face it, if I truly believe that life isn't worth living without sugar (which, up until now I have believed), then no amount of will power will stop me because I will either give in, live a dull existence, or have to end my life. It is much easier to eat a cookie.

P.S. Just so you know, I figured out how to add this cute embellishment all on my own. And you didn't believe in miracles.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sugar addiction triggers

As in any addiction, it is important to identify and eliminate the triggers. As I tune in and am more aware of when I am craving sugar, I notice that both extremes of my eating habits are triggers. When my blood sugar gets too low from starving myself (this rarely happens as you can tell), and when my blood sugar raises too much after overeating, I am vulnerable to sugar temptations. Once again the principle of balance is key. The extreme in either direction makes me susceptible--under eating or overeating. That means, that instead of just saying no to sugar, I am saying yes to eating in moderation and eating often. I will keep that blood sugar in check.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cleanse the Star

So okay, I image Googled the word "cleanse" and it was pretty disgusting. So I will go with dejunking the star, which means that in each dimension of our lives, there is some cleaning out that needs to be done in order to make room for the good, new, and fresh.

Spiritual-get rid of sin.
Physical-cleanse the body with healthy foods and water (if you were curious, you have already image googled "cleanse" and know that it is pretty gross what might be lurking in your colon) Also dejunk my home, which is symbolic of hanging on to stuff I don't need in any dimension of my life.
Mental-get rid of negative, pessimistic thinking
Emotional-clearing out emotional baggage such as feeling sorry for myself "because I'm the only one that will, boo hoo!)
Social-Forgiving others and not holding on to grudges.

As I mentioned, I believe that what I do in the physical dimension becomes very symbolic of what I am doing in all the other areas. When I go through my house and clean out and get rid of stuff then it seems to affect the cleansing in other areas. I am going to do some more household purging at the same time that I let go of other negative things.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's about time

I've put it off long enough. Now that Valentine's Day is drawing to an end, and I have had my share of binging; it is time that I tackle my sugar addiction.

When I Googled sugar addictions, my picture came up. No actually, I found an article about sugar addiction being stronger than heroine or tobacco addictions. It must be true, because I do know people that have given up heroine and tobacco for good but I have yet to meet someone that is totally sugar free. I stop then I start again, stop then start, then stop and start. The difference between the addictions is that even at a church function we have somehow condoned the heavy consumption of sugar. There certainly isn't anyone blessing heroine and tobacco to "nourish and strengthen our bodies," but we continue to believe that if we bless the brownies, cookies, AND red punch, that somehow they will "do us the good that we need."

We are in such denial. Let's face it, sugar only gives me a temporary high, just like heroine and the only thing it is going to nourish and strengthen are my thigh fat cells. It is time to bring in the interventionist and do some rehabilitation. I declare, I am NOT going to be powerless over sugar anymore! (Where are those chocolate covered cinnamon bears?)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Journal Writing Lights up my Life

Journal writing is one of the best ways that I focus on each point of the star.
Spiritual-writing about what I learn from the scriptures helps me align with truth and I better see God's hand in my life.
Physical-It is very relaxing and peaceful and eliminates stress.
Mental-I get clarity and it helps me think at a deeper level.
Emotional-I clear a lot of negative emotions, and especially writing what I am grateful for helps me become more optimistic.
Social-I understand and focus on my responsibility in my relationships.

You (my journal) light up my life
You give me hope
To carry on
You light up my days
and fill my nights with song

Aren't you glad this isn't an audio post?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Journal Writing

I have been a faithful journal writer for years, and so I loved what my positive psychology professor wrote:

"Most psychologists believe that writing thoughts and feelings is very therapeutic. Recent studies have shown just that. One study in particular completed a functional MRI on individuals who were depressed and anxious. The MRI’s showed an amazing amount of activity in that neural pathways were being blocked causing confusion, memory loss, and anxiety and depression. The participants were then asked to write for five minutes a day about anything that they wanted. Most used this as a time to unload problems and negative feelings. MRI’s were redone 6 weeks later and the researchers found that most of the participant’s brains were completely normal.

"Why such drastic results? I believe the following. When a person gets physically ill from the flu or food poisoning a purging takes place to rid the body of toxins. The individual vomits, sneezes, coughs etc. If food is ingested before the toxins are completely removed, the food is purged again. The body can’t handle the good while there are still bad things in it. It is the same thing with the brain. We have brain toxins resulting from experiences, messages that we give to ourselves and others have given us, and beliefs accumulated through the years. Writing helps us purge these toxins. When we share our thoughts and feelings with others verbally, many times we aren’t honest because of the body language or facial expressions of the other person. We think, “Oh I shouldn’t say that” or “that’s stupid.” We can be honest on paper.
The paper doesn’t talk back or judge."

Journal writing is something you have to do before you can experience the benefits. I could talk and talk about how much it has done for me, but just try it you'll like it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Time not amount

Instead of reading a certain amount of pages or chapters in the scriptures each morning, I read for a certain amount of time. That way I give myself more time to really ponder something without hurrying to get through the allotted amount of chapters. Sometimes I will spend the entire time I have set aside to read on just one verse. I will look up the definitions of words, ask what that means for me, apply it to my life, and write about it in my journal. Even though I have read the scriptures several times through, I am continually surprised at the new material that seems to sneak in. But then you are hearing that from someone who can hide her own Easter eggs and wanders through the grocery store parking lot looking for her car but trying to do it in a way that seems natural.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Enduring to the End

I wanted to discuss each part of my morning routine. This is an actual candid shot of my oldest granddaughter, Kinzlee, reading the scriptures with her cat. Priceless.

I have to admit that when I first committed to reading the scriptures everyday years ago, I thought I was doing it to be "righteous" and that it was sort of an end in and of itself. Now I realize I need to do it to understand truth and how to align my life to that truth so that I can come to know my Heavenly Father, feel His love, and do His work. For me, when the scriptures say we must "endure to the end," it can mean even more than just enduring to the end of my life. I have come to see how scripture reading isn't the end but just the means to the most important end. Jesus Christ said that He is the beginning and the end. I feel like I am not just reading the scriptures for performance sake but so that I can come to know Christ and be more like Him. Man, I have a long, long, long ways to go!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Plan Ahead

Having a morning schedule and a nightly schedule makes for better focus and makes room for more excitement in the middle. That is, if you can believe a middle-age women can have excitement. I can. It is just a tad different than when I was younger. In my teen years, finding a date was pretty exciting (actually pretty miraculous). Now finding my glasses is high on the list. Anyway, I have rediscovered that I am happiest when I am a tad busy. Not too busy that I feel stressed, but busy enough because then I am productive in all areas. Interesting thing that when I don't have enough to do then I don't hardly do anything. But if I have a planned and full schedule then I get more done in between the scheduled events. Success and productivity begets more success and productivity. I am committed to planning ahead and writing my plan in my weekly planner. I have found that there is something magical in actually handwriting the plan versus just typing it in my iphone.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Self Awareness

For self-improvement, self-awareness is key. As I have mentioned before, tuning in and tuning up is vital. Tuning up is being close to our Heavenly Father and knowing His will for me and tuning in is being aware of my own needs,feelings, and beliefs. I want to be more aware of what is right for me, wrong for me, works, what doesn't work, what brings pain and stress, what brings joy and peace, etc. and then give myself permission to do that which brings joy and peace and less of that which brings pain. Even being aware of why I would gravitate to something that brings pain is important. Awareness is also important, just like in the joke, so that I know what I need to improve upon. Some of my best awareness is just to notice how uptight my body feels because it is a great indicator of my negative thoughts and feelings and that something just isn't right.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

At the end of the day

The success of a morning routine will depend on a a good nightly routine and so that is my next quest. After many years of having teenagers, I developed the habit of staying up late just killing time until they came home. I still find myself doing that same thing with no ending point because the little darlings don't come home now. (All except for our basement dwellers!) Anyway, I can now choose when I can go to bed so why do I stay up longer and just get tired and then continue eating to have more energy and ultimately not doing anything too productive? I am going to work on a nightly routine that works for me and keeps me from desperately scrounging in the kitchen in order to eat something for energy to stay up late for no real purpose. Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to bed I go.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reject a Belief

The other day in talking with a group of ladies that I usually only see once a year, we all agreed that it was hard to remember names and the statement was made by several of us, "I am not good at remembering names."

I then thought about a guy we met years ago that had a remarkable memory of people's names. I learned that his first step in being good at remembering names was simply that he believed he was good at it and would say that to himself, "I am good at remembering names."

This is just such a simple little example that we become what we believe we can become and how powerful our "I am" statements are. I am working at being more aware of my beliefs and what I say I am because that is what I will become. I am challenging old beliefs that hold me back and embracing new beliefs that open the door to greater possibilities. I am what I think I am.

I am skinny. I am skinny. I am skinny.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Just say Yes!

My morning routine has made such a difference in the rest of my day. I am motivated and productive again and engaging in so many positive and fulfilling activities. I now realize that for quite awhile I was in quite the slump and then trying to get out of it by just saying "no" to the time-wasting activities that I no longer wanted to suck up my life. Now I can see that saying "YES" to not only a scheduled, early start each day, but I am now saying "YES" to a lot of other good stuff that naturally crowds out the bad stuff.

They (whoever "they" is) say that "what we resist, persists." I am committed to saying "yes" to what I want instead of saying "no" to what I don't want.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

At the crack of dawn

My goal is to "sharpen my saw" first thing in the morning and be ready for the rest of the day by 8:30 am. Ideally, I want to do some yoga, some kind of cardio exercise and then weights to take care of my physical self. I also want to spend some time scripture reading and journal writing for my spiritual, mental, and emotional self. Finally, it is important to spend some time talking with Kev before he leaves for my social self. Now this is where I really can get neurotic. I have written a specific time schedule that helps me stay focused and especially helps me know the time to stop in order to fit it all in. But so that I don't turn into some kind of robotic nut (too late, you say), I am committed to use the schedule as a guide and not as my master. I have noticed that when I get TOO focused on outside rules and schedules that a certain up tightness creeps in and then I have to take a minute and take a deep breath and "tune in and tune up" to make sure I am doing what feels right. It is important to be flexible enough to make adjustments to maintain my peace of mind while still moving forward. It's all about balance, baby!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Morning Routine

I mentioned my morning routine before but I really want to acknowledge what a difference it makes for my motivation for the rest of the day, not to mention the extra amount of time I have. Let me just acknowledge what a geek I really am. My geekness developed early because I remember when I was in high school and before day planners were cool, I kept this secret little daily and weekly schedule of what I wanted to get done. (At least I didn't have a pencil holder in my pocket) I must of intuitively knew I had ADD and needed a schedule to keep me on track. I later found that having a house full of children was easier to handle when I had a morning routine; but then when the little darlings grew up, I thought I could abandon the schedule and just have leisure mornings with no deadlines. UGGGGH! The ADD took over, I fell apart, and it got ugly. Now after routine rehabilitation, I am back on my game and it feels good to be a geek again. Life is just so much better for me with a little structure and routine. I know that the suspense is just too much, but tomorrow I will share my routine.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Resistence to Positive Change

I sometimes lack courage to change because I don't really feel worthy or able to be better than I am. I can sometimes get so comfortable with being less than I could be because it somehow feels "righteous" or humble to deny myself or sabbotage my efforts to improve. Weird belief, isn't it?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Courage to Change

I was reading the message by Pres. Monson in the February Ensign (yes, I am THAT righteous!) and he posed a question that is relevant to my self improvement quest. Pres. Monson said, "In the search for our best selves, several questions will guide our thinking. . . Do I have the courage to change for the better?"

That question jumped out at me, and I had to really think about what that means. The little dictionary on my computer tells me that courage is "to act on one's beliefs despite danger or disapproval." What that says to me is that in order to have courage to change for the better, I've got to believe I can change. I then ask myself and ask anyone reading this, what beliefs do I have that might hold me back from having the courage to change?

Do some self examination and share if you'd like to. I'll give you my answer tomorrow.