Let Go Of The Excuses
“While you are still waiting to find an easy way or a perfect time, someone else is already getting results because they decided making progress is more important than making excuses.” – Zero Dean
I was wholesale dangerous the first few couple of days of this week with excuses and had to pull myself up on Wednesday before I allowed the week to nosedive into complete disaster. I lost the run of myself with my justifications mounting up. I was becoming complacent and was adding up my calorie “guesstimates” in my head instead of filling in my food diary and had a myriad of excuses as to why I wasn’t getting out to exercise. I fed myself reasons like ” But my fingers are freezing so I can’t go out for a run!” or “I’m too contrary now and busy to commit to doing Hannah’s workout DVD!” and more besides. I’ve been staying in my sister’s house for the week looking after my niece and nephew and within 2 hours of arriving I was up to my elbows in the “Treat Press” and gleefully scanning through Netflix with not even a casual thought to calories, to my planning, to my goals. “Sure it’s only a tiny bar of chocolate, only 125 calories! Sure what harm, eh!” was running through my mind as I inhaled one from it’s wrapper. It was past ridiculous after the fifth tiny bar though. Television and food are a lethal combination for me. I have also developed an unmerciful grà (love) for half fat crème fraîche. On more than one occasion I have found myself swanning romantically to the fridge to snaffle a few sneaky spoons of it and sometimes adding a few strawberries and all the while still standing in the fridge with the door swinging! The decadence had to stop so come Wednesday I had to acknowledge I’d been making excuses for myself for willfully neglecting to fill in my food diary, for not meal planning and for mindlessly munching on chocolate and biscuits instead of making a tasty nutritious meal. My mind was in holiday mode and I was way too happy mindlessly grazing.
“Excuses are a time-thief. Have a goal, accept responsibility and take action!” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
So, I had to sit down and come up with a plan to get back on track this week, to recalibrate my attitude, refocus on my goals and my actions to get there. Neglecting my simple daily disciplines for much longer could mean spiralling out of control so I needed to protect my healthy lifestyle campaign and weight loss so far or I’d be on the far side of Christmas with a few stone up! When you veer off track and your focus on your goal has become fuzzy there are ways that you can refocus and concentrate on what you do want instead of making excuses as to why you are stalling or thinking you may never get there. A positive move needs to be made to reclarify your goals and to acknowledge the actions you need to take to make them a reality. What do you want? Why do you want it? Start by writing it down. Be clear and specific. Do you want to lose weight, build up your fitness levels, live with more energy, get more sleep, make healthier meals, drink more water? What actions do you need to take to make progress and gift to yourself the results you want? What is stopping you? Write them down and take ACTION!
I read back over my notebook I had started back in May where I had written down my weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals. I have a specific stone bracket I want to reach so had 133lbs to lose to reach the target. I acknowledged how far I’ve come in losing just over 52lbs and banked that feeling of accomplishment and started to feel more upbeat already 🙂 There are just under 7 weeks left until the New Year, a great time-frame to raise standards and make substantial progress. There is no one stopping me but me. There is no one stopping you but you. My exercise was pitiful this week, only making the effort on 2 out of 7 days so for the week ahead I have penciled in 2 workouts in Hannah’s studio, 4 runs and one walk. There’s no point is saying I’m determined unless I actually DO something about it and TAKE ACTION. Another thing I have let slip is sending a weekly update to Hannah on how I am getting on. Having to write down how I am getting on and how I’m feeling strengthens my resolve to continue and receiving back a very supportive and motivational reply from Hannah is always a great boost so have decided to commit to sending a weekly update again. Weekly updates also offer accountability which is crucial to help avoid making excuses or at least to owning up to them and to regroup for a positive week ahead.
To be honest, the last few weeks I’ve done my weekly shop willy-nilly without a menu plan determined and have made meals as they came up. When I make an actual food plan for the week, writing out seven breakfasts, seven lunches, seven dinners and shop according to the menu plan recipes I find it so much easier to stick to healthier food choices, fill in my food diary religiously and watch the pounds just fall off me. So this week it is back to basics now with writing out a menu plan for the week and actually following it! My water intake has dropped the last couple of weeks so now it is back to always having a 500ml bottle on me and ensuring I get my required 2 litres in every day. This one is a toughie but may give it my best shot. Late nights have crept back in over the last week (my excuse is that Netflix and Sky Movies are addictive!) so I need to hop into bed early with a book and stay away from the telly this coming week. Giving my body the sleep that it needs will contribute to higher energy levels for me and from experience know that I will be less liable to mindlessly munch on food when I have been getting enough sleep.
While jumping up and down with excitement and nerves at my eldest boy’s soccer match on Saturday I made a deal that I would give up eating chocolate until Christmas if the team won. The Mammy beside me chipped in with “I’ll give up biscuits until Christmas if they win Mary!!!!” so we could hardly breathe between us with each goal scored by each team and every few minutes the score being levelled and then one team moving ahead with another goal. Our team is near the bottom of the league table, hadn’t won any games yet this season and were playing the unbeaten number one team! Up to the final few minutes it was anyone’s game, it was so close, the playing and skills were magnificent from both teams but in the end WE WON!!!! WHOOP!! So now, I will stick to my sacred vow and not eat any chocolate from now until Christmas which will help immensely in keeping me on track. My brother handed me a bar of chocolate last night and I calmly handed it back and virtuously replied “Nope! Not until Christmas!” NO EXCUSES!
I am looking forward already to a more committed and disciplined week ahead now that I have acknowledged my escalating excuses, have written down my goals again and the actions I need to commit to this week to help me progress. What excuses are you making that are slowing you down? What actions do you need to take to help you progress? It is very easy to believe the excuses we keep feeding ourselves as to why we can’t or indeed won’t work on our goals or give it 100% but when we focus on our weak excuses we are robbing ourselves of how gloriously alive we can feel when we apply ourselves, make progress and reach towards our wishes and dreams. There is incredible learning and growth to be experienced and cherished by letting go of the excuses and instead choosing to gift to ourselves the best version of ourselves we can be.
“When you really want something, nothing will stand in your way of getting it, no matter how far out of reach it may appear at the start. Giving yourself good quality reasons will get you there far quicker and with a greater degree of certainty than if you gave yourself bad quality excuses. Which one are you living by?” – Hannah Nolan, founder of Why Weight Ireland
My Weight Loss Update
The last few weeks I have been hoping to hit the 4 stone weight loss mark and feared this week that my excuses were going to keep me from reaching that target again or worse, having a massive gain. This week I have thankfully maintained my weight so have averted a disastrous gain which means I have lost 52.5lbs over 25 weeks. I need to cop on to myself now this week and follow through on my daily disciplines of exercise, healthy food, filling in my food diary and staying within my calorie allowance. When I behave myself I know I can make great progress so it’s time to stop faffing around and get back in gear and lose this weight!
Please find below a couple of favoured meals in our home.
Orange & Maple Glazed Chicken
After pulling myself together on Wednesday after my trance-like stupor from the “Treat Press” I rustled up this family favourite chicken dish. This recipe is one I’ve been using for over 10 years and is from an old BBC Good Food magazine. It’s so quick and easy to make and scrumptious altogether. This chicken is lovely served with homemade oven chips but seeing as I was behaving myself I had mine with a tasty nutritious salad. The Orange & Maple Glazed Chicken itself is about 192 calories, depending on the size of your chicken breast. The plated serving above with the salad was only 253 calories. Sometimes I make up an extra smaller portion of the marinade and use it as the dressing for the salad. Enjoy!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- grated zest of one large orange
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
Ingredients used for salad above are mixed leaves, cucumber, cherry tomato, red grapes, blueberries, Good4U Super Sprouts.
- Make a few diagonal slashes into the top of each chicken breast. Place the maple syrup, wholegrain mustard, orange zest and soy sauce into a shallow dish and mix together well. Add the chicken breasts and turn them over and back in the mixture until both sides are well coated. The dish can be covered with cling film and chilled in the fridge for up to 24 hours but it’s also grand to cook them immediately too, which is what I do as I just can’t wait!
- Preheat your grill. Cook the chicken breasts for 5 or 6 minutes on each side, turning only once and spooning over the delicious marinade several times on each side until the chicken has browned and looks glossy.
- Serve with your favourite salad (or homemade oven chips!)
Coconut Chicken Soup with Coriander
The flavours of this soup are beautiful and well worth making. The recipe is adapted from one I found in Eat In magazine. One lemon can be used instead of the two limes and you can use leftover cooked chicken to save time, adding it to the soup when you are adding the carrots and asparagus. This recipe serves 4 and is 190 calories per serving. Enjoy!
- 800ml hot chicken stock
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced thinly
- 400g can light coconut milk
- 2 carrots, sliced and quartered
- 8 asparagus spears, chopped
- Juice of two limes
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 3 tsp ground coriander
- fresh coriander leaves for garnish, chopped
- Place the hot chicken stock in a large saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and coconut milk. I would stir the coconut milk in the can first before adding to the stock. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes uncovered over the low heat.
- Add the carrots and asparagus to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the ground cumin, ground coriander and lime juice. Simmer for about 2 minutes until the soup is aromatic.
- Divide the soup between four warmed soup bowls and sprinkle with the fresh coriander leaves.