My Vision Board

Over the past eight weeks, I’ve worked hard to recommit myself to a healthy lifestyle, and my new vision board has been a key to my success. What is a vision board? A collage of words and images that helps you visualize your goals and dreams so you can move closer to making them reality.

I actually consider mine more of an “inspiration” or “motivation” board, as the pictures and graphics provide a daily reminder of the reasons I am rededicating myself to a healthy lifestyle, including clean eating and regular exercise. Mine consists of a large Post-It cork board placed on the wall at the foot of my bed, a place that I can’t help but see it every morning and every night. I especially love the bold graphics that grab me from a distance.

Vision Board

I happened to love the large self-stick cork board, but your vision board doesn’t have to be as fancy; you can create it on any size bulletin board, poster paper or even online. The important thing is that you use images that motivate you and accurately picture your goals and/or dreams.

Here are a few great online resources to help you create a vision board:

Vision Board Basics

Using Online Tools to Create a Vision Board (I used Picasa to create a vision board screen saver!)

Ten Steps to Creating an Inspiring Vision Board

 Do you have a vision board? If so, how has it helped you? Describe your vision board, and please share any helpful links about creating one. If you don’t have a vision board, is it something you’d like to do?

House of Cards Fitness Program

You read it right! I’ve had two great weeks in a row at the gym, and I have Frank Underwood to thank for it.

(If you’ve lived under a rock the past year, House of Cards is an American political drama television series that is available via Netflix. Set in present-day Washington, D.C., House of Cards is the story of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District and House Majority Whip who, after getting passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, decides to exact his revenge on those who betrayed him. And it is phenomenal.)

House of Cards Board

A recent House of Cards challenge, which I met by the way. (I haven’t missed one yet; Frank Underwood is a strong motivation!)

I was late coming to House of Cards, but finally jumped in a few weeks ago. One episode in the doctor’s waiting room, and I was hooked. I binge-watched nine episodes the following weekend  and decided to use my obsession with the show to my advantage. That Sunday night, I wrote a challenge on my closet white board: Make Monday morning’s strength training to watch the next episode of House of Cards Monday night. And for the first time in several weeks, I made Monday morning’s training!

For the past two weeks now, I’ve used watching the next House of Cards episode as my incentive for completing a weekday fitness goal. The first week, it was simply to make it to the gym every morning. The next week, I upped the ante by also adding an additional challenge, such as eating breakfast at the kitchen table instead of back in bed or not turning on my iPhone until after my morning workout.

Not only has the incentive of watching helped motivate me, but watching an episode at night has also helped me settle down a little earlier, which is key to a 4:17 a.m. wake up call. After getting home, I do the usual things around the house, then start getting ready for bed around 7:30 a.m. I crawl in and watch House of Cards in bed on my laptop, and when it’s over, I’m ready to settle in for the night. If I don’t get on my iPhone or start playing on my laptop, I’m usually asleep by 9 p.m.

The trouble with this House of Cards fitness plan is that I only have six more episodes to watch before I finish Season Two. (And Season Three doesn’t start until February, 2015.) Hopefully by the time I finish Season Two, I’ll be back in the habit of full-on early morning fitness.

Since this has worked so well, I am hoping to find another series that catches my attention like House of Cards and use it in a similar manner. I’m thinking perhaps Downton Abbey or Scandal, but I’m still looking. Any suggestions?


Ready, Set, Lose Weight

This week, I start focusing on my goal to lose a total of 100 lbs. from my highest documented weight of 232 lbs. (The weight on my driver’s license.) So depending on which day I weigh, the real goal, I suppose, would be to lose another 6-7 lbs. I want to do this by my 46th birthday – September 24 – so it’s a pretty realistic goal.

To that end, I share with you an article that I read today from Everyday Health: 10 Ways to Get Psyched to Lose Weight. I think for me, the best tip is #5: Be realistic. I’ve already lost 90-something lbs., and it’s not going to be easy to get off another 6-8 lbs. There will be weeks when I may not lose any – or even be up a tad – but it’s not a race; I’m giving myself over five months.

Do you have a special secret to getting psyched up to lose weight? Any incentives or words of wisdom for staying the course?

Thinking About Skipping Your Next Workout?

Think again! From the Seattle Times, eight tangible brain-boosting perks you can reap from regular exercise:

  1. Be more productive at work.
  2. Stay more focused in class.
  3. Control ADHD w/out meds.
  4. Improve academic performance.
  5. Learn faster, remember more.
  6. Protect your brain cells and stay sharp late in life.
  7. Improve blood flow to stay alert.
  8. Ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. (My father has dementia, and trust me, do what you can to ward it off!)

Check out the full article here.

And It All Hits Home This Morning

I just stopped by my dry cleaners, and the woman who works there – the one I’ve given some of my old size 20 and 22s to – told me that she’d been diagnosed with diabetes.

Make Over Your Motivation

I loved today’s post from Fitness magazine, a 30-day plan to make over your motivation! The article features four weekly plans to help you cruise toward your fitness and diet goals.

The tips that especially resonated with me include:

Write down  your goals. I do this every week on the blog, and it helps cement them in my mind and gives me a group of people to whom I’m accountable.

Get fitter with Twitter. I follow a bunch of like-minded people on Twitter, and they provide an incredible amount of support and encouragement.

Tech yourself out. My iPhone is one of my best healthy living tools! I record my meals on it, use it to motivate me and use it to research menus, recipes and exercises.

Believe in yourself. In today’s society, it’s almost easier to be unhealthy. There are plenty of people waiting for you to fail or to console you with a milkshake. Don’t let them get the best of you. Keeping your head right is one of the most important things you can do!

Do any of the steps ring true to you? Is there one on the list that you want to try? Read the article and post a comment with your thoughts. We’re all in this together!


HealthMonth: Motivation Online

After getting hooked on Foursquare, I commented to someone that if there were a similar game that would give you points for healthy behaviors, I would love to play. I’m excited to say that I’ve found that game: HealthMonth!

From the website, here is the quick and dirty:

Health Month is all about making small improvements to your health, one month at a time. Players  can choose 1 or more rules to try to stick to for a month from the many different dietary, fitness, relationship, mental health, and financial health behaviors that are currently in the game.

For first time players, 1-5 rules is a nice way to start. Choose rules that you want to work on, and try to make small improvements to your current behavior rather than going cold-turkey, whole-hog, or crazy-wombat. You can always ratchet up the difficulty next month, once you get the hang of it.

After you commit to your rules, you start each month with 10 shiny new life points. The goal is to end the month with at least 1 life point. You lose a life point whenever you don’t stick to one of your rules, but don’t worry if you lose all of your life points — that’s what friends are for!

Friends and other players of Health Month have your back when you need to be healed (this is a big part of why Health Month totally rocks compared to other health plans and services). This game is NOT about making you feel guilty. It’s about helping you discover what works for your current lifestyle (do more of that) and what doesn’t (skip it).

I’m playing with a group of folks from #fitblog chats, an online group of people interested in health and fitness, most of whom have a blog, like me.

My goals are simple:

  1. Drink at least 84 oz. of water per day.
  2. Limit makeup and beauty purchases. (Spend SO much $ on makeup, money I could spend more wisely elsewhere!)
  3. Eat something green at least five days a week.

I’m excited about playing HealthMonth and will be sure to post updates on how the game is going!