positive changes

Although the Gabriel Method didn’t “work” for me, the underlying principles are very sound and I don’t think it had anything to do with The Gabriel Method itself.  It was all me.  I had some serious emotional issues to deal with and large mental blocks standing in my way.  I couldn’t even see that it was possible for me, let alone dedicate myself to the process of actually losing the weight.

Jon taught me to look at more than just the food an exercise and I understand more clearly the mental sides of things.  It also led me in the right direction to find the information I needed.

I also learned that I need more structure.  At least when starting out, I need to be told what to do and when.   I need a plan that I can look at and see what is coming next and not think too many steps ahead.  I get overwhelmed by the big picture and then give up because it looks too daunting.

With that bit of knowledge I went to work on that stuff and just kept improving my diet and reading and reading about metabolism and the mind body connection.  I also concentrated on working out to feel good and improve my fitness level for my triathlon this summer.  I have been running (something I swore I would never be able to do again), biking and have just started swim classes.   The swim classes rock and I would totally recommend taking an adult swim class for anyone who is looking to get into swimming for fitness.  I have only been to two classes and my crawl and back stroke are already completely transformed.

I have also made major breakthroughs on the psychological side and am glad to say that I have finally made the mental shift.  I can see the thin and fit me and can’t wait to get there.  And let me just tell you, what I thought was standing in my way had nothing to do with it.  I dug deep and with the help of my therapist have cleared away some serious stuff.

I found this picture of myself from when I was 21.  I had just met my husband and was in the best shape of my life.  I had just come off of a summer as the horseback riding director at a girl scout camp where I had hiked about 8 miles a day and spent the majority of my day on horseback or running around an arena teaching others on there horses.  I lifted saddles and hay bales and swam across the lake and back twice a week.  I had never been so active, or so confident.  This is an image of myself that I can get behind.

That image is now taped to my head board so that I see her/me right before I go to sleep and first thing when I wake up.

I am very excited about this mental shift and what it means for me finally getting some results.  With that in mind, I am starting a brand new program next week that is going to really give my body an Xtreme shake up.  I think this is just what my body needs right now.  I have also chosen a long-term program that I am really happy with that I will continue with once the shake up is complete.

I look forward to sharing more information about both these programs with you.

Before I get started there are a couple of things I need to say about Landmark for preface and transparency.

  1. I have taken the first two Landmark curriculum classes.  The Forum and The Advanced Course.  I also signed up for and completed the first work day of the third and final course (Self Expression and Leadership Program – SELP) before ending my relationship with Landmark.
  2. I got it.  Landmark transformed me just as promised.
  3. I think that Landmark has a lot to offer just about everyone.

Ok, now that that is out of the way I also have to say that I strongly disagree with many of their practices.

The teachings are incredible and if you can give yourself over to the process then amazing things can happen in your life.

  • I have found and asked for forgiveness
  • I have released a ton of my baggage and see my past for what it was and not what I made it into.
  • I have new clarity on why I have acted the way I have, chosen the relationships I have chosen and made the choices I have made.
  • I can see what is holding me back and where my failures have come from.
  • I have learned how to express gratitude and ask for help.
  • I am more comfortable with discomfort.
  • My fear is subsiding.
  • I have joy in my life.
  • I have a new level of confidence  and know that I am fully prepared for whatever lies ahead and that what lies ahead is whatever I dream it could be.
  • So so much more.

You would think with all that and more I would be shouting from the rooftops that everyone should absolutely stop whatever they are doing right now and sign up to take these courses.  Unfortunately every time I speak of Landmark I have to add a ton of caveats about the downsides of this company.

Along side a very good curriculum is a very poor marketing plan.  They are constantly pushing you to bring people to the program.   And the further you get in the better the curriculum gets and the more they push bringing people in.   It is distracting and unnecessary and I have told them so.

I spent a lot of time during the Advanced course being angry about this, but I also try to remind myself that everything they do is orchestrated to bring up certain emotions and help you face your fears.  And the expectation of bringing people to the program definitely did that for me, ultimately helping me break my cycle with expectation and failure.  So, it’s not all bad.

But, I think all that could be accomplished without pressuring me to market the program for them.  I had serious work to do and all that bullshit was distracting from that.

The thing I don’t think they realize is that our stories are their best marketing tool and if they just gave us room to tell our stories to those we think might benefit from their program without any pressure or deception they might open up new space for themselves and be able to take their company to the next level.  Seems like they need to take some of their own advice.

If you are considering taking these classes please be aware of these tactics and just put them aside.  If you just let it go, give yourself over to the process and don’t take it too seriously there are tremendous benefits to be gained from taking this challenge on.

Always best to know what your getting into, I think.

If your interested…

With New Years here and resolutions on everyone’s mind and such, I thought this might be a good time to share how I quit smoking.  Why I think that it is important to share how I quit smoking is that it was easy, really easy.   It has also been a while now, so I know for sure that it worked and I am never going back. I never even had a moment of withdrawl and when I put the last one out I never looked back.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think about smoking or see someone smoking and wish I could have one, because I do.  I almost see this as a plus.  I know so many people who quit that can’t stand to be around anyone who smokes or smell cigarettes at all.  I actually enjoy the smell of cigarettes, like the comfort of an old friend and I can happily stand and talk with people smoking.  And, even though it smells good and sounds like a great idea, I have no problems just saying “No thanks, I don’t smoke”.

This didn’t happen exactly overnight, but almost.  There was a time or two at the very beginning where I was out and drinking with friends where I caved and had a smoke.  But, I regretted it and it didn’t even really do anything for me and I had no problem never having another.

If you are still a smoker then you are probably thinking right now that I must have been a casual smoker or just be one of those people that can just turn it off.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I became a smoker when I was fifteen years old.  This is not when I started experimenting or casualy smoking, this is when I became a smoker.  I would say that I smoked on average about 1/2 a pack a day when I started out and I peaked at about 1 1/2 packs a day, which I sustained for many years.  After college, I cut back down to a 1/2 pack a day and kept at that for many more years.   Overall, I was a smoker for close to 20 years.

I tried to quit many times and not once was successful for any significant period of time.  The only time I went more than a couple of weeks was when I was pregnant and that was only because it was for my child and not me.  I had a tremendous amount of shame associated with being a smoker and was really motivated to quit, but I also loved it and cherished the process and the time and the act of smoking.  I loved smoking and deep down I’m not sure I really wanted to quit, but I knew that I had to – for me and for my kids.  

But I had no idea how I was possibly going to make it happen.  I was scared that I would never be able to kick it for good and that every day for the rest of my life I would deal with wanting to have a smoke.

Then I heard about this book.  I had heard of people who had had success with it and then I read many of the gazillion reviews on Amazon and said why not try one more thing.  I really didn’t think it was going to work, nothing had before.

So I read it and then I read it again and that was it.  I was no longer a smoker.

Sounds crazy, I know.  But it works.

What book you ask?

The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

This book helped me to quit smoking for good without withdrawal or regret.  I am so happy to be free of such a huge burden.

Do understand that there is no method here or new information.  Don’t look for the magic pill.  Just read the book and do what it says.  That’s it.

I encourage anyone who wants to quit smoking to read this book.  Just click on the link above and check out the amazon reviews and then judge for yourself.

I am excited to say that I am finally officially “hanging out my shingle” and have launched karinreece.com.

karinreece

I am available for web design and development services on a freelance basis.  Please take a look at the site for all the details.

I have been on quite the journey over the last year and I feel really good that I am finally at a place that I feel I have the time, energy and enthusiasm to take on new clients and start to build my business and reach my goal of contributing to the monthly family budget by the end of the year.  

I am excited about the opportunities that lie before me and look forward to helping small business owners take advantage of all that the internet has to offer.

A while back a dear friend of mine from my former life reached out to me on facebook.  After reading my blog, he mentioned how much I had changed and how somehow I was still that girl he used to know.  I have to admit I am curious what exactly he meant by that.  

What a unique perspective he has.  To have known me so well at a time when I was so young, so broken, so sad.  I hope that the things he remembers about me are the good things and that those might not have changed and that he can forgive me.  

Seeing all these people on facebook from a time in my life I now refer to as the dark years has brought up a bit of stuff for me.  It reminds me from time to time of the mistakes I made, the people I hurt and the pain I felt.  But, the vast majority of the memories are of small moments, kindness, good times, adventures, lessons learned and love.  It makes me nervous to reach out to those who may only remember my transgressions or worse, not remember at all.

Thank you for influencing me and helping  me and loving me and leaving me.  Each one of you contributed to my ability to come out the other side, prepared me for all the joys and challenges that lay before me.  I learned so much from you and the glimmers of light find a warm home in my memory and heart.

  • A rescued eyelash
  • A mixed tape from a foreign land
  • A safe place when I needed one
  • A back rub, bubble bath and talks into the wee hours of the night
  • A hero in my darkest place
  • A car dance and a sing along
  • A fit of giggles to rival no others
  • A strong and kind voice when I really needed one.

To each of you who crossed my path, entered my life, spent time with me, held my hand and left or were left behind.  Thank-you and I’m Sorry.

One of the biggest parts of my new years resolutions is to be healthier and finally lose this damn baby weight.  I can not tell you how sick and tired I am carrying around this extra 30 pounds.  There is no more time for excuses and although the weight isn’t flying off as quickly as I would like, I am dedicated to integrating exercise into my daily life, if for no other reason than it makes me feel really good and gets me out of the house by myself most days.

There is definitely something to be said for the peaceful, all consuming loudness of being alone with my mp3 player.  It’s almost as good as the silence below the bath water.  Very restorative and the sweat and chemical release is great too.

I am also counting and logging my daily food and exercise, but I will cover all that in another post.

For me, saying things out loud helps me to keep myself accountable.  With that, here is my exercise routine.

Finding the right environment

The first thing I did was change what gym I went to, or really changed gyms so that I would start going.  My old gym was one of those neighborhood jobbies and although the equipment was really nice and it was never busy, it also wasn’t very inspiring and they didn’t offer any classes.

I was also paying an extreme amount for two yoga classes a week at an Iyengar studio near my house.    Although I really enjoyed these classes, I just wasn’t sure that Iyengar was the style of yoga I wanted to pursue long term.  Also, although challenging I didn’t feel like it was really contributing to my weight loss, which at some point just needed to take priority.

So, I joined a gym very close to my house (one of the major chains) that offered  yoga and other classes included in the price.  In the end we are paying a little more for the gym but a lot less for yoga and in this economy and with my weight loss goals for the year, I think this is the best fit.

I do miss taking yoga classes at a studio.  It is a totally different experience and much more serious and I fully plan on finding a studio to join after I have reached my weight loss goals that is more aligned with the style of yoga I would like to pursue going forward.

Vinyasa Yoga Classes

I attend 2 Vinyasa power yoga classes a week and would like to add in one more on Sunday mornings, but realistically this will most likely be an on and off thing as weekends are really family time and that needs to take priority.  But, if we are just sitting around doing nothing on a Sunday morning, then I will try to hit this class once in a while.

I have done a bunch of research about how many calories are burned during a vinyasa yoga class.  I found varying numbers from 300 to 500 calories and hour.   It would be significantly more if this were a hot class, but alas it is not.   The class I take is 90 minutes and so I usually log 500 calories for the class.

Cardio 

My cardio machine of choice is the treadmill, but I would really like to add in some biking as well.  Maybe even a spinning class one morning a week if I can ever get Ian to stay in the child care room there.  

Anyway, I have been good about getting two additional hour long cardio workouts per week, but this really needs to be three.  Maybe as the weather gets nicer, I can take this one outside –  A long walk with the dog or a heavy duty landscaping work day or a bike ride on the Burke.

I do interval workouts alternating between running, walking, hills and sprints.   An hour gets me about 450 calories, but this should increase as my abilities increase and I can up the intensity.

10 minute mini workouts

My next step is to add a quick 10 minute mini workout at some point each day.  This is an opportunity for me to target a certain area or get in an extra strength builder or do some of the yoga poses that I no longer get to do taking an all levels gym based yoga class (mostly inversions).

Some of my options for this are….

Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer –  I have these videos but I haven’t really used them much.  They do seem like a great way to get pretty intense 10 minute workouts that cover a diverse spectrum of exercise.  I like how Tony Horton doesn’t use the same old same old techniques, but incorporates yoga, pilates and multi-dimentional exercises into his workouts.    It may just be time to pull these videos out.

Bosu Ball Daily Dose – I really like the Bosu ball and am looking for more ways to use it.  The Daily Dose is a set of three exercises repeated in circuit and can be modified to increase or decrease the intensity.  It’s pretty fun and a good workout.

Core Workout – I really like the Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer Core workout.   There is also a bosu ball core workout that looks interesting.   And although I am really not into the design on this site – it makes me a little dizzy, they do seem to have lots of core exercise examples.

Quick Yoga Series – I am really missing head stand (Salamba Sirsasana), shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana) and plow pose (halasana).  These were some of my favorites, but in the gym class environment it just isn’t possible to do these poses, so I am going to try and incorporate them often, hopefully daily at some point.

Just a note, my old yoga instructor said that it is very important to do shoulder stand after you have done headstand – something about balancing things out and such.  They go hand in hand I guess.

Combining these with a forward bend, a mild back bend and a twist would make a lovely little restorative sequence.

So to get down and dirty with my year long resolutions, by the end of the year I would like to be consistently taking 2 yoga classes a week and a spinning class.  Ian starts preschool in the fall so that will open up a morning a week to take a spinning class.  I would also like to be doing 2 additional cardio workouts and 5 mini workouts a week.  

With all that said,  I also want to keep in mind this years overall goal of not getting overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand.  I will push myself strongly, but also be forgiving.  If I get overwhelmed or start feeling bad about my results or not going to the gym some night, I will give it up and that just simply can not happen.  So as I have been telling myself over and over and over and over again lately “remain calm and think positively” and hopefully I will learn that it is ok to give myself a break sometimes.

This is my favorite Bosu Ball Workout I have found.  I also like to sit on it in boat pose while watching TV and it provides good additional support for roll ups as my abs have a serious case of the baby makers.

Note:  The titles and wording that I use may be different than the official video.  Please don’t hold it against me.

Daily Dose – 10 min Total Body Bosu Workout

Sit Down/Get Ups

  • Stand in front of the ball. Tighten your abs, square your legs, arms out in front of you.
  • Sit down on the ball and lean back until just before you would tip over
  • Use your hands on the ball by your hips for support if you need it, otherwise arms stay out in front
  • Using your abs and hips pull yourself up to a squat and then use your legs to lift you to standing. Be careful of your knee position to avoid injury.

Open Down Dog to Push Up

  • Stand behind the ball with your legs spread wide. Place your feet on the ball in front of you. A down dog with an open stance.
  • Stretch your tailbone toward the sky and support yourself strongly with your arms, shoulder moving towars your waste and into the shoulder blades.
  • Move one knee to the ball walking your hands out in front of the ball and do a push up.
  • Return to open down dog then alternate with the other knee.

Stand on the ball

  • Stand with both feet on the ball, hip width apart. Hands at your side.
  • If this is difficult, stay here and move on when you feel ready
  • Lift your hands and arms slowly out and over your head then bring you hands down through the center of your body, breathing in on the way up and breathing out on the way down.
  • When you have mastered this try looking up at your hands at the top of the movement.
  • When you have mastered this, try the whole thing with your eyes closed

The goal is to do four sets of 15 reps of each exercise in curcuit.

Watch the full video for detailed instructions, form essentials and beginner and advanced variations and modifications.

Over the last few weeks I have been finding it hard to write.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, it is just that I have been in a pretty negative space and I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was sharing that, nor how much anyone would want to hear about it.  

Writing a personal blog like this gets a little tricky sometimes.   When you write about such personal things, you can’t help but feel a little vulnerable knowing that someone else is actually reading it let alone that people you know may be reading it as well.  I don’t want to limit my voice because I feel that being honest about the joys and struggles of my situation may help someone out there not to feel so isolated, and that means a lot to me.  But at the same time, I can’t help but worry about how my thoughts and statements might affect how others think of me.

I have been struggling with this, but when it comes down to it, this is my voice and my blog and mostly for my own personal use and growth anyway, so I need to get over that and if someone doesn’t like what they are reading then they can stop reading.

With that said, I’m moving on and continue reading at your own risk.

You may have noticed that this blog has been a little dormant lately.  This has a little to do with the holidays and the continuous stream of family visits, but I think I have been feeling a little blocked up because I have been avoiding writing this post, which I sketched out several weeks ago, but has been sitting unattended in my notebook since then.  It’s amazing the things you will do while avoiding.  The house is clean and I am getting really good at Zen Gems. 

Why avoid it though?  Maybe because if I actually say it out loud, I will finally have to follow through and hold myself accountable?  That’s a tough one, you see I tend to talk big and fail to follow through.  I want this to stop and that is why I am sucking it up, taking a deep breath and writing it all down for the world to see and hold me accountable for.

This is going to get a little lengthy and I apologize for that ahead of time.  You can stop reading now if you want because this post is really for me anyway.

A few notes before I get into the nitty gritty.  The goals on this list are intended to be year long goals not to be implemented immediately but taken one step at a time and built upon as the year progresses.  This is a year of change and forward movement for me though and I fully intend on working on each and every one of the items on this list.

This really isn’t a post about my new year’s resolution as much as laying out my goals for this year, but if I had to sum it up into one resolution, I would say that it is to not get overwhelmed and paralyzed by the enormity of it all.  I think I tend to look at the big picture too much and it just freaks me out and keeps me from being effective at the step by step, day by day stuff.  So, my goal is to get organized, get motivated and tackle one thing at a time.

Ok, so here we go.

In my old book club, I had the pleasure of knowing a well known hypnotherapist and a really great woman Diane Sewell. A few weeks ago, she sent out an email (I assume to her mailing list) that really inspired me to take this year’s goal setting seriously.  Here is her list of 10 things you can do to be successful and get off on the right foot in 2009.

  1. How You Think is Everything:  Always be positive.  Think success and not failure.   Also beware of negative environments.
  2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals:  Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
  3. Take Action:   Goals are nothing without action.  Don’t be afraid to get started.  Just do it.
  4. Never Stop Learning:   Go back to school or read books.  Get training and acquire skills.
  5. Be Persistent and Work Hard:   Success is a marathon, not a sprint.  Never give up.
  6. Learn to Analyze Details:   Get all the facts, all the input.  Learn from your mistakes.
  7. Focus Your Time and Money:   Don’t let other people or things distract you.
  8. Don’t be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different:   Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
  9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively:   No person is an island.  Learn to understand and motivate others.
  10. Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility:   Otherwise, #’s 1-9 don’t matter.

Diane Sewell, Master Hypnotist and Weight Loss Expert

In the past year I have struggled and worked very hard to improve my mental and emotional states as well as remove the negative environments that were contributing to my depression and life paralysis.  Now, I look at my future as a clean slate, a place to start and it is time for me to take control, set goals and direct my own future.

I have an affirmation that I say all the time.  I say it when I am feeling overwhelmed or sad or stressed, during Savasana, before I go to sleep – really any time that it seems appropriate to do so.  It calms and focuses me.    It goes something like this.

I am whole, I am happy, I am healthy, I am beautiful

With all this in mind, I have laid out this years goals into those four categories and listed them out below.  Some of the items are pretty simple and straight forward, but many will required detailed plans to accomplish.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting these plans as well and will link to them from the appropriate items below.

These lists are not in any particular order.  Just as they came to me.

I Am Whole

Things that are healing and contribute to my overall mental health and fulfillment

  • What are my true dreams?
  • Work hard and accomplish enough that by the end of the year I am attending therapy once a month rather than every week.
  • Complete and full 21 day manifestation. 
  • Read my tarot cards once a week for insight, guidance and awareness.
  • Be contributing $500 per month to the family budget by the end of the year.  
  • Find or create a mommy support network.
  • Create and maintain a comforting and manageable home environment
  • Be the best mom that I can that day, every day.
  • Start writing my book.

I Am Happy

Things that are simply for my and my family’s pleasure.  The things that just make life more fun.

  • Have one great family adventure every month.
  • Take time for fun just for me – book club, girls nights etc.
  • Find a babysitter
  • Have more sex
  • Kiss my husband passionately every day
  • Give myself a break sometimes
  • Laugh out loud with my kids every day

I Am Healthy 

Things to improve both my body and mind

  • Achieve a slim, fit and healthy body – this means to me…  Look and feel great naked and goal weight of 135.
  • Experiment and incorporate more healthy foods into diet
  • Sleep better
  • Walk the dog more
  • Garden and landscaping projects
  • Generally by more active and productive – just get up and do it, when you think about doing it.
  • Reduce TV watching by 1 hour per day
  • Be reasonable with the puzzles and online games – have a picture and a crossword puzzle printed out to work on during downtime.  Online games only during designated relax time.  Get a grip.
  • Complete PHP certification

I Am Beautiful

This is as much mental as physical for me.  I want to feel beautiful in my own personal and distinct way.

I am terrible at  forming good habits and have neglected much of the womanly maintenance over the years.  As many moms can probably relate – I have let myself go a little.

Now, I am not really into a lot of the girly stuff and looking perfect all the time doesn’t even reach my radar, but it is important that I begin to feel good about myself again and keeping up with some physical improvements will generally lead to that I think.  You’ll notice, this is pretty basic stuff here.

  • Wash my face every night
  • Shave my legs once a week (I have very blond fine hair so this is all I need to do), even in the winter.
  • buy some quality makeup
  • Get a haircut regularly
  • Lotion all over, every day
  • Figure out my own personal style
  • Buy new clothes that fit well and make me feel good about myself.  Don’t just buy what’s cheapest.
  • Look in the mirror and say you are beautiful inside and out, every day

With one cutting canine teeth and the other finally realizing that her little brother is sticking around and will continue to take attention away from her, I find myself relishing the cute things they do.  If I didn’t, the whining and complaining and acting out might drive me into some deep dark level of madness.

But, they are just the cutest damn thing you have ever seen.  How he snuggles into my lap and takes my hand and rubs his head just how he likes it.  How she looks at me with those big blue eye and demands milk and then catches herself  “Can I please have some milk mama?”, she says with a sly smile.  How he spins around until he falls down and jumps up and down with the imagination movers.  How she is so proud of her extraordinary coloring skills.  How he curls up with Pella in the giant new dog bed.  How she scrunches up on the couch in the morning, her little bum sticking right up in the air.

I could go on and on and on and on.  They have this very special way of driving you crazy and melting your heart at the same time.  These are the times when I realize how much I love this job.