Tuesday, 17 July 2018

The Weight Loss Chronicles: 3

                                    Image result for vintage dieting books

Getting In My Own Way

The thing is, being a double Libran (Libra Sun and Moon), I really am a bit of a people pleaser and  this totally gets in my way. One of my kids keeps saying: "stop being someone's Mum, Mum". Meaning: stop worrying about others, and just do your own life. Phew! That's a hard one. Librans, and especially double Librans, really prefer to get on with others. It's like an affliction, really.

And most Librans whom I know, and I am generalising here, we are incredibly helpful. Yep. Instead of doing what we need to do for ourselves, we will be helpful, instead. Because, actually, we are (most of us, anyway) nice. And kind.

                         So, this is my next new routine: just get on with my own life

This is what I've been doing so far, and I've written about it in previous posts, including this oneherea bit about waterand this :
  • have a sense of excitement about losing weight
  • make food look nice
  • wait for meals (this actually means 'no snacking'), but of course, sometimes I do have a wee snack. But I do endeavour not to.
  • eat off smaller plate
  • have a glass of water with meals 
  • eat eggs and drink water or tea when I'm doing le cafe thing. All those lattes love to stick to my body, so I am seldom having them
  • I've, mostly, cut down on fats. They like to hug my body too much. Butter is my bete noir (black beast) of foods
  • as much as possible, I've been eating foods which are low on the glycemic index. This means foods which do not cause me blood sugar problems. And delicious peanut butter has been replaced with Vegemite
  • I avoid, as much as possible, foods which have chemicals added to them
I do some extras in my routines:

I've had a morning routine for most of my life. But I've also had long periods, when I didn't. This is the current one:
  • a glass of warm water as soon as I get up. I intend to get into making it two glasses, or, 500 mls. Plus more before lunch. Why? you may wonder. Well, two of the most naturally slender people whom I know, drink a lot of water each morning. I figure that if it works for them.......
  • I mostly do a small yoga routine. Small. But doable. I do this particular sequence, or variations of it, because it's like giving your organs a morning massage. And it really helps with my blood sugar. Which of course, helps with weight management.
  • specific yoga breathing. I vary this according to the seasons, and this year I started a routine in autumn to boost my resistance to flu and viruses. So far, it's been amazing, and although I did pick up a virus, twice, each time it was minimal and only lasted a few days. (I also am a yoga teacher, so I have some tools up my sleeve)
  • meditation most mornings
And I've added some bits and bobs to my evening routine: 
  • an earlier dinner. I go out for a meal at a friend's one night a week. I teach a class there for 5 people, then we all gather around the table for nice healthy food and lovely conversation. (How lucky am I?)
  • But otherwise, I try for dinner between 4 - 5pm. This is because it gives a long period between dinner and breakfast. Have a 12 hour break overnight, between those two meals, has been found to aid weight loss. Many people do a 16 hour break. But.... I am not being so extreme. I do eat a scone each Monday evening when I'm doing mahi (work) at a healing clinic. 
  • drink two full glasses of water between dinner and bed. I used to do that, but, stupidly, stopped. Jon Gabriel, a phenomenal man who last an incredible amount of weight, and has kept it off for years, used this method to help lose weight. As one of his tricks. It definitely fills me up and stops evening snacking
  • I've been getting lots more sleep, as it's a great stress management tool

Our diet is the means to losing weight. Who knew? This is according to 2017 - 2018 findings. I'm not sure what the next new findings will be, regarding the exercise - diet - weight connection. But, and these are important points:

  • when we diet, we can lose muscle instead of fat
  • when we tone our muscles, and thereby create muscle tone, as we diet, we are more likely to burn and lose fat rather than muscle
  • our muscles create shape, when they are toned. They also give us strength, and endurance
  • muscle burns more calories than does fat
  • there is a big connection between muscles and our body ticking over as we lose weight.
  • Muscle tone seems to have a big effect on our metabolism not slowing down as we reduce. If our metabolism slows too much, it is harder to lose weight.
So, I have been toning or light weight exercises, a couple of times a week. I haven't weighed myself lately, but, my trousers are getting quite baggy, so I know that the process is continuing. I look the same shape, but my clothes are telling a different story. And, for sure some squats, planks, and vigorous waving of arms with light weights, are having a subtle effect.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Having a Better Life

                                  Image result for vintage french woman in sarong                                                
Why write about a better life?

My blogging mentor, Sarah, pointed out that, although I had said on her facebook site, that this blog was about "Having a Better Life", I hadn't actually said in my blogs what a better life actually is. Nor had I put that on my heading, I might add. Sarah pointed this out twice, before her message finally sunk in. So, first I changed the Header on my blog site to point out that you-areunique is about having a better life, then I wrote this post.

I'm really grateful to Sarah, for pointing out what I had missed. It has completely changed my outlook on my blog, in such a positive way.

So I am really excited to be writing this, because having a better life was always what my blog was supposed to be about. But, somehow, I seem to have gotten a bit lost. How could I possibly have done This Big Mistake? Well typical me, I think about all angles of something, get writing about all of these subjects, then forget to actually state the obvious! So, here goes:

What is a better life?

I think that this is something that is so personal to oneself. And, I think that it has to do with:
  • what is a better life for you/me/whoever?
  • why aren't you/me/whoever doing it already?
  • what can we do, right now, towards our dream life?
So, lets ponder this:
  • again: what would be a better life for you, or me? (being a bit more specific, now)
  • better than what? 
For me, that would be: better than it is now. Why? Because I'm not really doing all of the things which I would love to do, in order to give myself the life that I would love. Hardly any of them, actually.

But I do know exactly what my Dream Better Life List would include:
  • travel each winter to a warm country during the coldest, wettest months in New Zealand (this has been a lifelong dream). I could go, say, to Bali, or a Polynesian island, and teach some specialist yoga courses there to pay my way.
  • take a large workshop at least four times a year on deep esoteric aspects of yoga. I taught such seminars for year, then stopped. I have resumed teaching these workshops, but would like to do more 
  • be more involved in the healing community which I'm part of
This is just a starter. For me, there is definitely more. And, all of it is achievable! So why on earth aren't I doing what I know that I need to do, to Have A better Life?

What is stopping me? Or you?
  • sometimes, I do think that it's all about having time to do things
  • not only having time, but also sometimes, for some things - it's just not the right time
  • and, sometimes we need to change a lot in our living environment just to be able to achieve our dream life
  • sometimes we simply need to make changes in other aspects of our life
Honestly, so many options to consider, before The Dream Life happens, especially on a big scale.

I am excitedly pondering the massive possibilities. 

And, I am definitely interested in anything that anyone else has to say about all of this. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Are you a planner, more spontaneous, or.....?

                             Image result for vintage french woman organised

Are you a planner? Or, do you "go with the flow?" Be more spontaneous. Or are you somewhere in between?

My guilty habit

I overplan. Yes, I do. With my youngest I would be staring her in confusion when she was a teenager, in the mornings just before school, when she was teenagering (you know what I mean....), instead of just fitting in with the plan. That list, in my head. That sequential plan of me getting a ridiculous amount of things done, before we both went on our way, for the day. The plan that she knew nothing about.

Nor did my eldest, a generation older, know that they were supposed to fit in with my list of the time, when they were young. Probably because I never told them. I just quickly did whatever, trying to get them to school, and me to work.

Why are we this way?

Why do I do these things? And why don't you, the people who don't? Is it insidious programming from early childhood, which makes us the way that we are? It actually could be, in my case. But I am quite sure that all of my many sisters and brother, are not that way. Nor all of my children.

I am often spontaneous. Yes, I am, friends and family. But, in a more planned way. So if someone contacts me on the day, and says "coffee at Fiesta cafe?", (guess what I'm doing today.... spontaneous coffee coming up), I then drop everything and go for coffee, a chat and a laugh. Otherwise, I get up with a plan in my head and methodically set about doing everything. Do I do it all? Not always. But I mentally plan to. That is, I have it in mind to do everything that I have allocated to do, for that day. But I don't always get it all done. Of course, I don't.

But being a bit of a planner, makes me the sort of person who can be counted on to do this and that. For example, I almost always turn up at The Maori healing clinic that I work at, and go to meditation on another night. Unless I am sick, or am working.

In my early years I was the eldest of 5, and I was Mum's helper. Which is how it always is in a big family. (bonus = you learn pretty quickly how not to be selfish) And so when I became a young mum, myself, it was easy to quickly step into a routine. We first lived in a small flat in an old villa on a beautiful beach, where I wanted to be asap, each morning, with baby. But I learnt pretty quickly that wee one needed a routine in her early months, and I guess that I just automatically fell into a system, no doubt from hidden memories of being the eldest when I was younger.

But, I wanted my kids to have a freer life, and so, part of our routine each day, was, as much as I could manage it, was them playing with friends.

How can we change?

I guess, really, that we have to want to change, with anything, before we can even think about it. I have often thought of all the lazy days on the beach that I missed out on, because of that darned list that I had for the day. The movies, the plays, the being carefree. All of the things that I didn't do, but, in retrospect, I wish that I had (sigh)

I want that life. That more spontaneous, more full of laughter, life.

I think that I should make it a priority.

I have a new "rule". Or is it a plan? For spontaneous people whom I know, I shall quickly contact them and see if they are free to do this and that, on the day. As suggested by a spontaneous person.

What would be your choices? Plan? Be spontaneous? Or a bit of each? What suits you best?

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Le Evening Routine

                                        Image result for french chic women  boudoir

It's time. Time to sort out le evening routine, other than facebook, tv, and generally wasting time, when I actually could be doing something beneficial and nice, for myself.

Is this you? Or, are you organised?

I do have a (non-) routine. Of course I do:
  • I clean my face
  • do some dishes (usually)
  • get out my clothes for tomorrow (but I have been very tardy with this)
  • I have stopped drinking my evening 500 mls of water, due to not being organised, when I moved home. I loved that little evening water drinking routine! Why have I been so slack?!
  • put on hand lotion before hopping into bed 
Ggrr. How annoying that I stopped doing beneficial things. I am wondering if the cold has something to do with it. Padding down the hall into a cold room to fluff around? I think not. But the truth is that I would like to stop thinking and behaving like this.

I read of a process where you write things down (that again!). This is my write-it-down, and then sort it out, plan:
  • what you really do each evening 
  • what you have to do each evening
  • what you want to do each evening
  • what your ideal evening routine would actually look like
We always have habits

The thing is, in one way or another, generally we are creatures of habit. I can see that, just looking at my non-routine. If we watch ourselves, we do the same things in the same way, and for some it's at the same times. A habit is something that we repeatedly do, almost without thinking. So, I think that the difficulty with changing our habits for any reason, and in this case, it's to make new routines, we are going against automatic, unthinking, patterns of behaviour. 

Behaviour, because habits in this case are what we are doing. It's a tall order to change things which we do. But, it can be done. If we want to. 

So, perhaps the first step really, should be why we want to change things around. Before the above list, really. Why do I want to change my evening (non-) routine? Or, the slack evening habits that I now have?

What do I want to do each evening?
And why?
  • resume my water drinking. Because it's so cold, I might just Suck It Up and do warm water. Cold water when it's cold? Not if I can help it. I found that I just look better, and feel better when I wake up, the following morning, after my 500 mls of water between dinner and bed. A couple of winters ago, I was having hot water, lemon, and honey, in a giant soup mug each evening and that was nice. So, there are options other than the cold water thing.
  • I am moving my main shower to before bed, after I used up most of the hot water recently, and left a mostly cold shower for the next person. I really didn't feel good about myself being so thoughtless.
  • I want to go back to have a quick (very quick) face massage before bed. Mostly because I want to practice the facial pressure points which I have learnt and can use in healing. But also because, well, it's a nice thing to do.
  • I'd like to do a few classical floor poses before bed. Release the days tensions, keep myself supple, and yes, the feel-good factor.
  • I want to resume evening meditation. Why did I ever stop? I don't feel the need to "have to" do it. But I'd like to get back into it again. The ole stress release thing again. I prefer the "Short and Sweet" and "Just Do It" style, rather than making a production of it.
Is this too much? Is it doable? We shall see. I might tweek it, but I'll give it a go. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The Weight Loss Chronicles 2

                                          Image result for french woman eating drawing

Not Great News

I am not a happy punter. Back came 500 grams of the six kilos that I had mysteriously lost. And my weight loss stalled. How had this happened?

How, I ask you, how?
  • I moved and eating was a tad chaotic, to say the least.
  • Then someone moved in with me. Someone who loves a full, slightly messy, and very decorative home: think masses of furniture, household plants, knick knacks...etc, whereas I like a lot of space, and order, in the home. For some reason, this made me a bit disorientated.
  • We were sharing food. Food which I do not, as a habit, nor as a treat, usually eat. 
  • All of this meant that I was totally out of my routines.
My Routines

I am a great believer in routine, as a daily way of life:
  • It seems to make our body rhythms work more harmoniously. 
  • And our massive hormonal system gets into the daily swing of things, working with our body, not against it.
  • My new lack of routine, was, I am convinced, a major factor in those 500 grams deciding to return to my body.
It has been many years since I last flatted with anyone. I did have an adult child return for a few years, to go to University, but that of course, is totally different. We fitted in with each other, and it was so special for me.

Why Have A Routine:

I know that I sound really boring, rabbiting on about habits, routines, blah, blah. However, I now only actually have a few routines. I'm really flexible with my time and life when something else comes up. And I think that I can be flexible, because I have worked out a couple of routines and generally stick to them. However, none of my routines are actually set in stone.

And I deliberately do them for a reason. My main one is my morning routine, and these are my reasons for doing it: 
  • I like to be ready if someone in my family, or a friend, contacts me for an unscheduled catch-up
  • I also like not to be disturbed by any mess awaiting me in the house when I get up each morning, so it's my habit to have a quick whip around before bed, putting stuff away
  • I like to have clean clothes, so I keep on top of washing
  • My routine stops me mucking around wasting my morning, which, if I am sloppy, mysteriously morphs into wasting my whole day
  • My routine makes me feel good (very important)
So, I've re-looked at my routines: food, habits, etc, to fit into my new living situation.

The New Food habit

To reboot the weight loss, I have gone back to mostly eating the foods which agree with me, on small plates, which naturally means in small amounts. I was reading about a recipe of 100 years ago which was for four people. But the person who was using it, said that nowadays she would expect it to feed 2-3. Point taken. Our portions are just too big.

A naturally slender person whom I know quite well, once said to me: 'you can eat anything, Mum, just not too much at a time'. Point also taken here. This is The New Habit. Enforced as of a couple of days ago.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


                                   Image result for vintage french woman writing                                    

Practical Purpose

I don't know about everyone else, but talk to me about purpose & I get all high falluting. I think in grand terms on The Meaning of Life .... & so on.

But actually that's not how I'm thinking about purpose today. I'm thinking more along the lines of
Getting Things Done.

Being Impractical Didn't Work For Me.....

I used to buy into the "visualise and it will happen" scenario. Meaning that if we visualise something, it will come to us, or happen. As if! It seldom ever happened for me. Why? I wonder. And I used to do affirmations with the visualisations, too.

"The Secret", and other such books decreed that visualising what we wanted, worked. Ha! I am proof that this isn't always the best method.

But Here Is How To Be Practical With Purpose

I do know that writing things down does produce results. And, (this is just me) I think that it is because there is purpose involved. According to the Oxford Dictionary, purpose is the reason for doing something. So I am thinking that, along with writing something down, we need to know why we want to do, or be, or have, something. It would help to know why. Know the reason why, the purpose.

And then, I feel that it would help to hold onto that reason why, and do things with focus to achieve that reason, that purpose. When we focus on what matters most, according to The Powers That Be (meaning: I forgot where I read the studies on this!), we use less energy than just daydreaming. Yes!

                           Doing is less tiring than just daydreaming about things.

Who would have thought?

So, it looks as though just writing things down, is not going to be enough for me. Actually, I do write what I want to achieve, on a list, then promptly forget about it ...... that has been my pattern, so far. But I want to be more effective, so I feel as though I need to work out reasons why, alongside each Thing. And read it often, as part of The Doing Process. To keep my attention on what I'm supposed to be doing, even though the Write It Down, Then Promptly Forget It, method, has worked, it isn't the best way to have a momentum towards doing and completing something. I do know this.

The Satisfaction Of Achieving

And when I just wrote things down, then forgot, of course the surprise at achieving was quite fun. However, the resulting feelings of satisfaction from actually doing something, with awareness on what I'm doing, then completing it, with purpose, I do love that. It gives such a good feeling.

I am also thinking that I shall have to purposely write things down, plus the reasons why, and read it, hopefully, every day, for this process to become a habit. For it to become ingrained, so that I quite naturally Just Do It.

What do you do? Think about it, then just go ahead? Plan? Put up post-its to remind you? There are so many ways .......

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Chic and Colour

                        Image result for Coco Chanel wearing black and white

Chic colour suggestions

I was reading a French chic thing, where the writer said that to use only two colours at a time, in one's dressing. Others say, up to three colours. Both hints definitely suit my minimalist and economical tendencies. The truth is that I find it just too much visually, to wear lots of different colours, and that also applies to wearing too much jewellry, for me.

I do understand that colour can be an extension & expression of our personality. Some people are very good at this. I do not think that I am. The French chic colour suggestions which I've found, are:

  • a neutral colour with a small pop of colour
  • 2 neutrals with a splash of a colour such as with accessories
  • use up to 3 hues of 1 colour, if you want to only wear variations of one colour at a time

I do like black

One of my colours would always be black. Browns, for some reason, depress me, so black as my basic neutral, it must be. Coco Chanel who seems to have epitomised the expression "chic" all through her career, had black and cream as basic colours. I have been toying with the idea of adding some cream to my wardrobe, as it does suit me. 

Angelina Jolie does the chic colour well

I also really like Anjelina Jolie's basic wardrobe colours of black, navy, white and grey. I think that if a strong accent colour, like red, my favourite actually is purple, is used too - ohh-la-a-la! And I have seen that she does sometimes do that. I also love the simplicity of the clothes that Angelina wears. Very chic.....

                                            Image result for angelina jolie chic clothes

But it wouldn't suit all

I cannot imagine someone with lighter coloured hair suiting Angelina's clothes palette. But I can imagine such a woman looking wonderful in browns, and camels, and all colours in between. That to me, is just so elegant.

                                              Image result for french chic wearing browns

Colours also represent eras

The other thing, is that it seems to me that the way colour is used, does change. In the 1970s, there were hippie looks which ranged from very earthy (drab, really) through to bright with a multitude of colours, and in the 1980s, there were those awful overly bright colours that were all the rage. In other eras, it has been black, black, black.

So, I am wondering about this: with colour does it also represent The Times? Or, are some colours timeless?

The Weight Loss Chronicles: 3

                                     Getting In My Own Way The thing is, being a double Libran (Libra Sun  and  Moon), I really am a bit ...