The shock and the cheese

I want you to think about what is rewarding to you. If you were going to treat yourself, what would it be with? Clothes, food, a night out, a vacation? If you had to describe your “happy place” – what would it be?

My happy place in 2013 was sitting on my couch, incredibly focused on whatever show I was binge-watching at the moment while I stuffed my face with a mountain of fast food I had run out to get myself. I was genuinely happy when I was doing that. I had trained my mind and body that those actions were rewarding. About 30 minutes after I finished my food and the credits started rolling on my show. I would feel absolutely sick. Maybe I’d just keep eating? Maybe I’d follow it up with a cigarette? Maybe I’d go take a nap. I didn’t care, my day was over when I put my butt on that couch.

My happy place now is my walk back from the gym, reflecting on my work out, thinking about my day, on my way to eat a big pile of food in my kitchen that usually consists of eggs, spinach, and hot sauce. I know that once I get back home, take a quick shower, make those eggs, and then start my day, I’m going to be unstoppable. I’m going to start checking things off of my to-do list, I’m going to clean out that pantry that has been daunting me with it’s pile of crap, I’m going to write, I’m going to be active and happy for the rest of the day. The difference in my daily habits then and now are night and day.

That change did not happen overnight, and unlike most things I ramble about, it did not come from mindfulness.

It came from switching the shock and the cheese.

I want you to picture a rat in one of those big white mazes. There are two pieces of cheese in this maze. One of them will shock him whenever he goes to grab it, the other one will fill his belly with cheddar goodness. If he runs this course enough times, he will find the path to the pain-free cheese. He will map that route in his little brain and he will reward himself with his golden prize at the end. Over and over and over.
Does this sound familiar?

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Even though you’re human, and your end goal might not be cheese. (I love cheese)
You have done the same exact thing in your life. You have created habits, thought patterns, behavioral patterns, and rewards in your life every single day. You are constantly running away from discomfort, pain, sadness and you’re falling into habits that keep you distracted, complacent, and even though they might feel good in the moment – They’re keeping you from what you want. In my life, obviously sitting on a couch, hating my choices and my body, getting further and further away from my goal wasn’t what I wanted but I didn’t know what to do? How do I stop doing the things I have done for years?

I had to take control of my thoughts, actions, and habits to get me to where I wanted to be and it all started with a simple question. Why? Why am I eating right now? Why am I crying right now? Why am I SO agitated right now? Why don’t I exercise? Why don’t I take more pride in how I look and feel?

I am challenging you to wake up every single day and start questioning your behaviors.
Are you doing things that make you happy?
Are you thinking thoughts that make you happy?
Are you surrounded by people who make you happy?
Do you feel proud with the choices you made and the interactions you had at the end of the day? If your answer is no. You can change that. You are in control.

I can tell you what I eat and what I did to lose 130lbs. I can tell you what music I listen to and how long I sleep at night. Those things might give you information about me and a healthy lifestyle but it’s not going to make you healthy unless you start reflecting on your own life. I will not be there to knock a box of mac and cheese out of your hands, I will not be there to stand in front of you and drag your butt to the gym.
You are going to have to make a choice to do those things. 

This does not just apply to weight loss. This applies to so much more. Maybe you have relationships you want to improve, maybe you want to get out of the 9-5 and try something new, maybe you just want to be a person that you’re proud of. It’s possible.

Among the pile of self-help and behavioral psychology books I’ve been reading this last year, I found an incredible gem. If I could, I would force every human being to read this book. I would make them go through it chapter by chapter and apply it to their own life. It’s an incredible read and it will change your life and daily habits (if you let it).

“Motivation is triggered by making choices
that demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control.”
– Charles Duhigg

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Charles Duhigg’s book isn’t like other books I’ve read about habit. It’s not just giving you the science side or the emotional side. It’s taking the information he’s learned from successful, motivated people and he’s giving it to you in a way that just makes sense.

Why do we continue to live these lives that upset us so much? Why do we make these poor choices that directly contradict our goals? It’s not because you’re some crappy person that has no control over their life. It’s because you’ve developed habits that are rewarding you in the moment and hurting you in the long haul. Guess what? You can stop doing that.

Once you stop thinking about living a better life as some overhaul or event that’s going to happen, you can start seeing what a slow and magnificent process it really is. Whenever you are presented with choices, take control. The only person who is in charge of your emotions, success, relationships, and life, is you. So why don’t we act like it? We have to start taking responsibility for our well being. Stop making excuses for why your life is the way it is.

Bad things happen. The things you love and cherish will leave or change.
That’s reality. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to let every bad thing that has ever happened to you define you and keep you as a person you don’t want to be – or just maybe you give all of those things you’re not in control of the middle finger, and you push yourself to be something unexpected. It’s your choice.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Stay cheerful, stay strong, stay consistent

Dev

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Snooze AM Eatery, Boulder, CO

It’s been about a year since David & I have moved to Boulder and we have found some amazing places to eat. I always love going out to breakfast with my husband and one of my absolute favorites is Snooze AM Eatery. They have a few locations in a couple states and I am telling you that if you have one near you DO NOT walk to it, RUN. Or maybe drive.

Does anyone else hate waiting in restaurants as much as I do? Especially when it’s crowded. Ugh. I hate it. Lol I’m a suck, I know. I don’t have to deal with that here! I walk in, give them my name and number and then they text me when my table is ready. That means my husband I get to walk up and down Pearl St. until we are summoned back via text to hot coffee and and the most delicious eggs Benedict you will ever consume. The service is always above and beyond and the atmosphere is exactly what I love about living in Colorado. A little loud, a little quirky and always a lot of fun. Let me know if you will be anywhere near Boulder for any reason and I would love to give you about 3242344 recommendations on the best food in town. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Stay Cheerful! 

-Dev

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Be careful when you book a flight with United.

 

Earlier today I had to contact United Airlines about an unaccompanied minor situation. My husband and I purchased a direct flight from Tulsa to Denver for my 15 year old nephew to come visit in a couple weeks. I purchased them like I would any other tickets, got the confirmation, and went forward with my week excited about seeing him.

Well I received an email about 3 days after I booked his ticket saying that any children ages 5-15 are unaccompanied minors and we have to pay an additional fee of $300 round-trip to even allow him to get on the plane. It’s funny that I received the email 3 days later, well after the 24 hour grace period for canceling a ticket.

The fee is to make sure he gets on the plane safely, has help putting away his bags, give him snacks, and basically keep any eye on him. Why is it a 15 year old can get his learner’s permit and drive a car but he can’t be an unattended passenger on a plane?  Now I appreciate this service for younger children and I appreciate it for any parents that feel like their child might need some help during travel. Especially during flights that are not non-stop. However, my nephew is fully capable of traveling alone and has done so before. How is this service not optional?

Now when I called United to figure out what was going on and how we could fix this, I got to talk to two people who were about as helpful and kind as an agitated grizzly. Immediately defensive they callously informed me that it was my mistake that I put 1 adult instead of using the drop down menu to select 1 child. A drop down menu that is pre-selected to 1 adult. In my past experience of booking 100+ flights I’ve never had to select anything else. I don’t have children and I’ve never booked for one before. Instead of waiting 3 days to tell me you think they could’ve let me know that the birthdate I entered on his passenger information was invalid and that there would an additional $300 fee for a 15 year old to travel alone. I really want to be clear about this, the fee to supervise my nephew costs MORE than his round-trip flight.

They were not willing to work with us in any way, shape, or form. They said if I did not pay the additional $300 my nephew would not be allowed on the flight. They told me I could apply for a refund, that sounded great. Oh except the refunds aren’t guaranteed and he informed me that their policy is clear and they don’t bend the rules for any customer. Essentially telling me to get stuffed. I was pretty much in tears after this exchange.

$300 is a lot of money for any family. It’s not enough that I give you my money willingly when I want to use your services?  You have to charge me for a service that I don’t want and wasn’t even aware of?  The airline with the most complaints per customer and an annual income of 4.5 BILLION dollars. A company that could’ve easily let me pay a fee to change the ticket, let me use it as a credit, or possibly understand that my 15 year old nephew does not need a babysitter on a non-stop flight. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around this whole thing. I hate confrontation, I hate being at someone else’s mercy. I hate being bullied. It seems like that is exactly what America stands for now. Stomp on the little people and cash in on your extra million. I’m just so tired of it. I know I made a mistake but I can’t believe how much United is actually making me pay for it.

-Dev

 

 

Image courtesy of Bloomberg.com

Weight loss transformation –

the 1st weight loss vlog

I am not a doctor or a health care professional.
I lost over 100 pounds over about 20 months. My start weight was about 278

 

1) Do not take it day by day, take it meal by meal. Just because you wake up and eat a crap breakfast. Don’t call it a day! I was a huge fan of the “I’ll start Monday” camp. It didn’t do me any good. It kept me from making progress, and honestly it made me feel like a failure. Try to make every meal count towards your goal, but if you mess up. Whatever. Just make the next one better. Don’t give up.

 

2) Write down everything you put in your mouth. Yes EVERYTHING. This does not work if you cheat yourself on it. Write down the good, the bad, and the absolutely horrific. I use the internet or an app on my phone to not only calculate the calories, but the fat, protein, and carbs. I write that down next to it. This not only keeps me accountable, but it gave me so much knowledge about food. Just because it says “low fat” or “low carb” it can still be NO BUENO. Don’t be afraid to look! It could inspire you to pick a better option for your meal! I always look back at it to see how I failed, what triggered it, and what I can do next time to make sure I don’t do it again. It also helps me keep track of tasty recipes!

 

3) Healthy food does not have to be disgusting. You do not have to eat what everyone else does. Build your own menu! Do you like fried chicken? There’s a healthy recipe for that. What about pizza? That too! And with my diet, I can even indulge from time to time without planning ahead of time. I really like to eat Jello with a low cal whipped topping at night. Is that the healthiest option? No! But it keeps my butt away from my husband’s Oreos in the snack cabinet.

 

4) Telling other people about my plans was causing me to fail. Have you ever heard about that crazy thing where humans actually get satisfaction from telling someone they’re going to “go work out” or “pick up a salad”. I was doing that 100%. I would tell my husband about my big health plans for the day, get his praise, and then I would TOTALLY FLAKE. I finally had to stop doing that. I kept my mouth shut, worked out, ate my kale salad (I can only do it with a fatty poppyseed dressing) and then come home and cook us a nutritious meal. THEN I would brag about it! To him, to facebook, to instagram. Wherever! I just had to stop counting my chicken breasts before I ate them.

 

5) Exercise is not punishment I remember stepping on the treadmill at 278 pounds. I can actually make myself cry if i think about it long enough. I couldn’t breath, I felt sick and hopeless. But more than that. I hated myself. I had been an athlete in my teens and sometimes at night I could still dream about what my body had been capable of when I was healthy. I started walking for 30 minutes on a treadmill or working on a stationary bike for 30 minutes. Then my husband introduced some light weights into the mix. After about 50 pounds I was brave enough to try yoga and I found out that I LOVED it. It was exactly what I needed. A little peaceful moment in my day to make me feel centered. You have to find your own groove and what works for you. Like dancing? Do it in your living room. Like to run? Put on some music and run somewhere beautiful. Just find what doesn’t make you miserable. Find what brings you peace. Don’t let anyone tell you the right way or wrong way (unless you’re hurting yourself). You’re an individual! Try a thousand different things and hate 999 of them. But you’ll find something. – – I hope this helps somebody, anybody else. Because I felt really alone when I was doing it. If it wasn’t for my husband’s support. I’d still be binge eating and hating what I was doing to myself. It took me a really long time, too long actually to understand that this journey isn’t about getting skinny, or being able to wear that bikini, or even making people like me more. It’s about being the strongest version of yourself inside and out so you can face whatever life throws at you.

 

EDIT:

1) – Portion control is such a huge part, I actually bought small side plates about 1/2 the size of our normal ones to help eat smaller portions of things. It worked for me!

 

2) – I never used shakes or herbalife just because I wanted to have a diet that I could follow anywhere. Scratch that, not even a diet. Anything like those shakes 3x a day or pills or wraps will stop working once you’re off of them. You will gain weight back. Try to do something that doesn’t feel like a diet, do something that feels like a lifestyle. I’m not saying those things don’t work – I’m just saying you don’t need to spend money or spend more money to eat healthy and work out. Don’t let people tell you that you need to pay for programs or shakes or whatever the hot new trend is! I love you guys!!! Send me questions, stories, whatever!

 

If you’re feeling like you need some support, encouragement, or a daily dose of butt kicking to hit a goal, please reach out to me. Either on here or on FB. Find the weight loss group I created, Fight Chub. It’s a group of really great people posting their failures, success, and daily grind for health and fitness.