Balanced Life | The Clean Sweep | Pt. 1: Environment

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I have recently dived back into health coaching head first and am participating in the IIN immersion program for the 3rd time. While today marks the official start of the program we were provided with a few tasks last week to help us in preparing for immersion. One of the tasks is called The Clean Sweep which was developed by Thomas Leonard. 

So what is the clean sweep? 

Basically the thought is that when you feel balanced/perfect alignment in the four major parts of our lives, environment, well-being, money, and relationships, that we can be more natural energy.  “The Clean Sweep Program, created by Thomas Leonard, consists of 100 items which, when completed, give you the vitality and strength that you want.” You are to answer each of the 100 questions, 25 per category, as truthfully as possible and only answer YES if the statement is virtually always true. The end goal being that you will confidently answer YES to each answer. 

I started this Clean Sweep process years ago but sort of forgot all about it until recently. As I went through the questions this past weekend I thought it would be interesting to actually share my answers with you and to follow up every three-to-six months on how things are going. I guess you could say that these are a bunch of mini goals I have for myself for the next few years. 

So we’ll start of with Environment and i’ll preface this with saying I am not surprised by how many NO’s are in this category. 

  1. My personal files, papers and receipts are neatly filled away. NO. This seems to be a constant struggle at our house and I really want to figure out away to get it under control. 
  2. My car is in excellent condition. NO. I had to laugh when I read this one. Seriously? Who with a toddler and a baby has a perfectly clean car? 
  3. My home is neat and clean. NO. Hangs head in shame. 
  4. My appliances, machinery and equipment work well. YES.
  5. My clothes are all pressed, clean and make me look great. NO. This is another struggle I have had for years, or rather since getting pregnant with Edith. I am working on restocking my wardrobe with clothes that fit and make me feel great. As for laundry – 2 adults + 2 kids + cloth diapering = non-stop laundry. So maybe I’ll be able to answer YES to this when the kids move out? 
  6. My plants and animals are healthy. N/A. One must have plants and animals to properly answer this question. 
  7. My bed/bedroom lets me have the best sleep possible. NO.This is one of those grey area statements so I decided to go with NO. Our sleeping is less than ideal but we have two young children. 
  8. I live in a home that I love. (Big Fat) NO.
  9. I surround myself with beautiful things. NO. I am so sad to say no to this answer and I really wish we had more beautiful things or at least things that I think are beautiful. 
  10. I live in the geographic area of my choice. NO. Yes and no. I love living in the PNW and Portland area but the keyword right now is area. We need to move (back) to the neighborhood we love or somewhere near it #2016. 
  11. There is ample and healthy lighting around me. NO.
  12. I consistently have adequate time, space and freedom in my life. HAHAHAHAHA. NO.
  13. I am not damaged by my environment. NO. So I said no to this one because not loving our home, neighborhood and just feeling blah makes me feel a bit damaged. 
  14. I am not tolerating anything about my home or work environment. NO. ALL I AM DOING IS TOLERATING.  
  15. My work environment is productive and inspiring. NO. We have failed at really putting our office area together #GOALS and right now it’s hard to be productive with babies hanging on you but instead of getting frustrated 90% of the time I embrace the time with them and try not to stress. 
  16. I recycle. YES.
  17. I use non-ozone depleting products. YES.
  18. My hair is the way I want it. YES. This took me years to actually say YES to but I finally am getting my hair done every six weeks! 
  19. I surround myself with music which makes my life more enjoyable. YES.This was one of my mini goals for March and whoot whoot I am succeeding. P.S. you can follow my March playlist over on Spotify
  20. My bed is made daily. NO. Umm….
  21. I don’t injure myself, fall or bump into things. NO. I found this statement strange but I guess I have to go with NO. 
  22. People feel comfortable in my home. NO. Ummm? I guess I would say NO just because I don’t always feel comfortable here? Would someone actually tell you? 
  23. I drink purified water. YES.
  24. I have nothing around the house or in storage that I do not need. NO. This is a huge goal of ours for 2015 – declutter and not just declutter but minimize our things. 
  25. I am consistently early or easily on time.  NO. I miss being able to answer YES to this statement. 

Total: 18 NO.YES. 1 N/A.

This section of The Clean Sweep is pretty soul crushing actually. After completing it I was like so much to do to turn these NO’s into YES’ and I really would like to have 80% of them be YES’ by the end of the year. I would say there will be a few big and little goals for April that stem out of these results. 

Have you/are you participating in The Clean Sweep? What are your results to this first category? Any surprises? 

BODY AFTER BABY | THE REAL PLAN

I call this “the real plan” because back in June when I wrote my postpartum weight loss plan those were all just ideas of what I would like to do. Now here we are 7+ weeks postpartum, have dealt with my postpartum realities and I’m ready to take on the task of refocusing on my health.

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Photo from this weekend. 7weeks1day postpartum with Alder (baby #2).

I am currently 20 pounds away from my pre-baby #2 starting weight and I am 40 pounds away from my pre-baby #1 starting weight.  Add in another 15 pounds that I had hanging on me before my pregnancy with Edith bringing the grand total to 65 pounds away from my happy weight (I’d say I’m about 80 pounds from my idea weight but that’s a whole other plan).

Right now I have three goals based on the above considerations. Goal 1: Lose 20 pounds. Goal 2: Lose 40 pounds. Goal 3: Lose 65 pounds. Now I’m not setting a timeline but I will say that I’d like to accomplish goal #3 by December 2016.

August before my pregnancy with Alder.

August before my pregnancy with Alder.

So let me start off by saying my first priority is nourishing my baby boy and taking care of myself. I am nursing and it’s going great and here are no plans to stop anytime soon so I needed to take that into consideration when I created this plan. So here it goes (based on my original postpartum weight loss plan) …

I plan to get back to running at around 9-12 weeks postpartum. Based on my original plan I said 9-12 weeks postpartum and I’m actually feeling pretty great. I have days that are better than others when it comes to healing ie. I still have some light spotting and soreness when I am overly active but have been cleared to start run/walk at 8 weeks postpartum  That being said I am planning to start couch to 5k (or something similar) next weekend. I am terrified but also excited to get back at it. My plan is to slow (not like that will be hard) and just ease myself back into running.

I plan to incorporate 2 days of strength training into my workout routine and light cardio once I am cleared to get back to normal activity. I haven’t started strength training but my plan is to start this week.  What I have been doing is lots of walking and just this weekend a little bit of hiking. Oh and running up and down three flights of stairs many times per day is getting my ass in shape. So that all being said I’m keeping up with the walking and will be incorporating in strength.

I also plan to get back in a yoga routine. This starts this week! I signed up for my first postpartum class for this Monday night and I can’t wait to get back in the studio. I am starting back slowly with some restorative yoga and let me tell you I just can’t wait. I am going to be doing one class weekly or bi-weekly until my punch pass runs out.  I am also planning to do at least one at home sesh per week.

Keep my eating in check! Bah. This has seriously been the hardest. Nursing is no joke and my appetite is often off the charts. Combine that with a busy toddler, trying to keep house and limited time I haven’t been doing my best at eating well. I have been eating far too many sweets and not enough fruits and vegetables. The plan is to BUY more fruits and vegetables because if we have them in the house we will eat them. The second plan is to buy/make less desserts.  The third and probably most important thing is to menu plan so that #1 and #2 can be successful.

Drink lots of water! When I was pregnant with Alder I had no problem downing (reusable) bottle after (reusable) bottle of water. For some reason postpartum I have been struggling with this despite always being thirsty. My goal is to drink, drink, drink and drinks some more water. Cut back on the coffee and up the water intake.

Buy myself postpartum clothes in whatever size I have to buy. This is easier said than done but I did it. I bought myself (with some gifted from my parents): three bottoms (one of which is already too big), six tops and two pairs of shoes because my feet also grew. I was also sent a few nursing tops for review.  My follow-up to this plan is to continue to buy clothes in whatever size I am at the time aka as I lose weight. I have the next size down in a lot of clothes and as soon as I lose a little weight and my hips (hopefully) shrink a bit they will fit me and then after that I will have to buy all new clothes because I have nada.

Have Fun and Enjoy Life. Stop focusing solely on the number and focus on how I feel. I have two beautiful, healthy children and an amazing, supportive partner and they need met to happy and healthy and to enjoy life with them.

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Becoming My Own Client: Checking In

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So it’s been just over a month since I wrote about Becoming My Own Client so I figure it’s about time that I finally check in with how everything is going.  So lets check in on all of my goals.


Goal #1: Lose Weight. Well honestly I have no idea if I have lost weight because I haven’t weighed myself since November but I can tell you that physically I am noticing that my clothes are fitting a little better.  I am honestly not hung up on this one and I know that it will take time since I am nursing and that is my first priority.

Goal #2: Increase my Energy.  I am on my way to increasing my energy but to be honest the last 2.5 weeks have been the craziest that I have ever experienced.  I am hoping to be able to share why early next week. So I am feeling pretty worn down but I am hoping that after next Saturday I’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays.

Goal #3: Break my sugar craving.  This I have really made huge improvements especially considering this being the peak of the sweets season.  I enjoy a nice small piece of dark chocolate most days and about once per week I’ll have a cookie or share a cupcake with Neil.  I have to say that is a huge improvement over the 3-6 cookies that I could eat in one sitting right after Edith was born.

Goal #4 Sleep More. I have been doing much better about getting more rest.  Edith and I will lay down once or twice per day and nurse and nap/rest together in bed.  At night I have been going to bed by 10pm (most nights) and am up once or twice with Edith before finally getting up between 5-7am.

Goal #5: Eat less gluten.  I honestly kind of forgot about this goal but as I sit here racking my brain to review what I have eaten lately I have to say that I have reduced my gluten a good amount and the more I think about it the better my stomach has been feeling.


Goal #6: Increase the Intensity of my workouts.  I haven’t done as well with this one as I had planned.  I actually was right on track until about 2.5 weeks ago when…well I’ll tell you more about that later. I am have been getting light workouts in which right now is better than nothing.  After this week I am hoping to get back on track with this goal and start a new running plan; maybe I’ll do the Couch to 5k again to get back at it.

Goal #7: Eat more fresh fruits, vegetables and raw meals.  This is a work in progress but I have definitely increased my fresh fruits and veggies.  I now just need to work on eating more raw meals.  One of my favorite high raw meals lately is kale salad- kale, Tuscan olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast – so good!


How are you doing with your health goals? What is one health goal you have right now? How are you staying healthy this holiday season?

Goal #6 is to increase the intensity of my workouts

Cheers to an awesome month of running!  Now let's do this!

Goal #6 is one that I am finding to be the most challenging.

When I was making my plans for postpartum fitness (back before I actually had a baby) I had these grand plans of run/walking the half marathon that I had signed up for (before I knew I was pregnant).  I thought that around 4-6 weeks I would doing low intensity workouts and even start run/walking.  By eight weeks I would be back to consistent running and attending a weekly postpartum yoga class and of course getting out for daily 2-3 mile walks with Edith.  Here we are at almost 20 weeks postpartum and I have been on five runs and the only yoga classes I have attended are baby yoga and I don’t think taking three deep breaths and sounding ‘om’ once counts as yoga practice.

The only workout I was consistently doing were walks with Edith which occur 4-6 times per week and are usually 1-1.5 miles; so not exactly what I had hoped but it’s something. Then about four weeks ago I started Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp and although I feel like it has helped me to get back into a better routine I know that I haven’t been doing the workouts to the fullest.  I know I have a million excuses but it is really challenging to fit workouts in with a demanding 4.5 month old and a husband who works long hours.  At this point I am able to 10-20 minutes at a time and some days that’s all I can fit in.

Goal #6 is going to take some time and dedication to accomplish.  It is also going to involve working out a better plan with my husband so that both of us have adequate time to workout 4-6 times per week.  Right now my fitness intensity is around a 2 and I’d really like it to be at more of a 6 while I am still breastfeeding.

Speaking of breastfeeding that is also a factor that is making fitness a challenge.  I have been having issues with my supply (that’s for another post over on Naturally Family) and so I have to be mindful of the intensity of my workouts as well as making sure I am eating adequate calories and staying hydrated.  As you can see this goal faces a number of obstacles, however these are all obstacles that I know I can work through to get myself to the fitness level that I once was, and who knows maybe even increase that level.

So now is the time when I talk about the action steps that I am going to take to actually accomplish Goal #6

  • Make time. I know that I could make more time to workout.  This means I need to sit down and compare schedules with Neil so that we both have time carved out for our own fitness activities.  I know that I could do earlier morning workouts or even late night but I don’t.  It’s so easy to sink into the couch after putting E to bed, especially after a particularly long day and/or night. On the other hand if I do my workout instead of sinking in I know that I will be able to help myself to have more energy to make it through those tough days, so as much as I dread an early or late workout it’s either that or some mediocre workout that I try to fit in between playing, feeding, and changing diapers.
  • Try out 24 Hour Fitness. Down the road from us is a 24 Hour Fitness gym and often you can get free trial memberships.  I think it’s time for me to try it out and see if I can make it work because getting out of the house, away from the baby, the computer and household chores may be just what I need to get back to my fit self. Why haven’t I done it yet? Well honestly it kind of frightens me.  It’s in a strip mall, I would have to go early in the morning or late at night and who knows who is at the gym at that time and I really hate going to the gym alone but I have no one to go with me (I know suck it up and do it).
  • TBD. More steps to be determined as I go along.

Do you struggle with balancing life and workouts? Do you have any suggestions?

Goal #5 eat less gluten.

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Goal #5 eat less gluten.

I have done elimination diets a number of times in the past and I have come to the conclusion that a small amount of gluten doesn’t bother me however large amounts cause me to fell bloated, have a hard time losing weight and am often exhausted.  As you can see from that list those are all things I DON’T want.  That being said it’s time to make a change and reduce my gluten intake.

What I will be doing: Eating more gluten-free foods

  • Potatoes
  • Whole Grains (buckwheat, gluten-free oats, corn, rice, quinoa, amaranth, teff or millet)
  • Beans
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Fresh fruit
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Herbs and spices

I will be replacing pasta with a gluten-free version, enjoying brown rice wraps instead of bread and enjoying more whole grains, vegetables and fruit.

What I won’t be doing:

  • Giving up gluten all together, especially things like Neil and I’s monthly homemade flatbreads and beer.

Do you have a gluten intolerance?

Have you eliminated or reduced your gluten intake? How has your mind and body changed?

Goal #4: Sleep More.

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As I said in my original post about Becoming My Own Client this is a challenge with a four month old. I imagine that it doesn’t get much better until she moves out, so what am I going to do for the next 18 or so years?

So why is sleep important?

  • When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy. These cravings are often a result of being sleep-deprived, going to bed late, waking up early, for months and years on end. So getting more sleep would help with goal #3.
  •  Sleep helps to improve memory, prevent weight gain, improve your mood, strengthen your immune system, and cardiovascular system.

Action Steps:

First off I need to go to bed when I am tired. Most nights I push myself to stay up later so that I can finish up freelance or coaching work, spend time with Neil, workout or just relax. Instead of pushing myself to stay up I need to go to bed when I am tired, even if that’s 8:30pm.

The second thing I can do is nap during the day when possible. E is getting to be a better napper which means that instead of running around doing 500 things while she sleeps I need to take a moment and sleep if I am tired.  It really is true you do need to sleep when the baby sleeps.

Are you getting enough sleep? Challenge yourself to go to bed 10 minutes earlier tonight and every night this week.