January 26, 2010

BABY STEP 26 - Hop to it! (Jan 26)

“I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man.” (Henry David Thoreau)
Why not just enjoy a cold glass of Coke or Pepsi instead of water? Or a hot cup of coffee? (I don’t drink coffee or tea, but I did--up until twenty-seven days ago--drink Pepsi. Diet Pepsi with cherry, to be exact.)
Why water?
Okay, okay, I get that my body is not composed of 60% Pepsi. (Most days, anyway.)
Don’t panic, I’m not going to tell you that you have to give up your soft drinks. I’m just going to point to a healthier way and let you come to your own decision. You’re a big girl (or boy).
I just want to point out some facts that I tended to overlook last year when I started drinking lots and lots of Pepsi.
Facts like ... Caffeine. The pick-me-up stuff. (But could it also be the keeps-me-from-sleeping-soundly stuff?)
Okay, here’s my scientific explanation.
There’s a neurotransmitter in your body (adenosine) that normally causes you to feel more calm. That’s good, right? We want to be calm. I could use more calm in my life.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, blocking adenosine’s calming effect. Instead of calming, caffeine causes a release of adrenaline, the "fight or flight" hormone. What does that do to your body? Your heart rate picks up, your pupils actually dilate, and your muscles tighten. Also, sugar (glucose) is released into your blood stream to give you extra energy.
So ... the caffeine buzz? Or calm? It’s a tougher choice than it sounds like.
And caffeine is addictive. It increases dopamine, which activates the pleasure response in the brain. Who wouldn’t want another shot of dopamine?
The up side? Caffeine perks us up, make us feel alert, gives us energy with adrenaline, and makes us feel good with dopamine.
But what does up does come down. Since caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, you get some unpleasant effects, like restlessness and headaches. How about irritability? It raises your heart rate and blood pressure. And, as you use it for a long period of time, you have to take more and more to get the same effect.
I know our lives are tough, but do we really have to be in a constant state of adrenalized emergency readiness? I’m thinking that’s not healthy. Plus you’re probably not sleeping as deeply because of the long-term effects.
And, since we’re talking ultimately about water, caffeine is a diuretic. That means a loss of fluid. That means dehydration.
So on the next hot day (months away), when you really want a caffeinated soft drink, think about how you’re actually dehydrating your body instead of hydrating it.
So today just think about the possibility of giving up soft drinks. But for sure drink your extra glass of water. Have you fancied it up yet?
What are you waiting for? Hop to it. And, if you’re still drinking caffeine, you can not only hop, but add the proverbial skip and a jump. (I don’t think it’s a valid exercise plan, though.)

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 25, 2010

BABY STEP 25 - Water, water, everywhere (Jan 25)

“It is wise to bring some water, when one goes out to look for water.” (Arabian proverb)
I lived in the Middle East during my jr. high and high school years and it was an interesting experience. You do not want to be caught without water.
My sister (September) and stepchildren live in Phoenix, and so I’ve had occasion to visit during the summer months. My sister always carries a water bottle with her, wherever she goes. And I do, as well, because I’m very aware of the danger of dehydration when I’m there. I also drink Gatorade while I’m there because sometimes the water alone doesn’t quench my thirst. Ah, good ole electrolytes.
When I return to Utah, however, I tend to not be as aware. I don’t carry water with me. I’m not in the habit.
But if I don’t have water with me, then I’m more apt to stop somewhere to get some other liquid refreshment, and that other drink is likely not to be water.
After all, water is so ... boring. Don’t you think?
I went with my good friend Kathleen for a Bear Lake retreat a few year ago. She fixed herself iced tea, which was a beautiful color. My glass was filled with ... water. Plain, clear, albeit sparkling water.
So I decided to fancy mine up. I went to the store and bought some red/purple grape juice (for the taste and the color) and started mixing it with a little Crystal Light lemonade. It makes a delicious drink. I feel like I’m drinking something delicious and satisfying, both as I drink it and visually. (If you’re interested, I now make up a 4-qt pitcher of punch with one-fourth grape juice, one packet of Crystal Light lemonade, and fill the pitcher with water and ice. It’s great.) Or experiment and create your own. Find something that satisfies you.
Now...I’m going upstairs to mix up some delicious water-filled punch. If you do the same, nobody will beat you to the punch (pun intended).

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 24 - How dry I am... (Jan 24)

“Keep your head above water.” (Proverb)
This proverb refers to a flood of water, but I don’t usually encounter floods. I live in Utah, a desert state, so I’m more likely to experience drought conditions.
In our personal lives, we can also experience drought conditions. The majority of us don’t get enough water.
Just for kicks, pay attention to your body right now. Are your lips or mouth dry? How about your hands? Do you (like me) use tons of moisturizer only to still have dry hands?
Up to 60% of our bodies are composed of water. Up to 60 percent of the human body is water. Our lungs are nearly 90% water. And our brain is nearly 70% water. That’s incredible.
So what happens if we don’t get enough water?
Let’s see. Does your brain ever get foggy or slow working? I wonder if a glass of water would help.
I read a book by a guy who called himself Dr. Batman (because his name was way too long to comprehend) titled Your Body’s Many Cries For Water. He explores how we drink far too little water, for many reasons. I’ll be exploring those reasons over the next few days.
Today, just think about adding a glass of water to your daily routine. Just one extra. (Unless you’re already drinking eight. You’re not? I didn’t think so.) Later we can work on adding more.
If you notice your mouth is dry, drink a glass of water. If you feel really hungry, drink a glass of water; apparently our body’s signal for thirst can mimic that for hunger.
Let’s get fully hydrated. Let’s begin, one drop at a time.
And soon, we will be swimming in health.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 23 - Financial Peace (Jan 23)

“Financial peace isn't the acquisition of stuff. It's learning to live on less than you make, so you can give money back and have money to invest. You can't win until you do this.” (Dave Ramsey)
Three years go, my husband and I were struggling with finances. Then we met Dave Ramsey. Not personally, but in his books and a course we took. His book, Total Money Makeover, totally changed our lives. I highly recommend it.
The pivotal moment came when I said I was responsible for the financial place we were at. I know my husband contributed, of course he did. One of my good friends actually got angry on my behalf because I wouldn’t say my husband was responsible. And in one way, I agreed with her: We had both, together, made unwise choices, choices that the majority of Americans make. We were in debt, we lived paycheck to paycheck, we feared any kind of emergency situation.
But I had a major epiphany. I realized that, though it seemed backward, if I had the power to create financial lack, then I also had the power to create financial wealth. I’m not there yet, but we are out of debt except for our house, and it feels fantastic. Taking responsibility gave me the power to make the changes I needed to make.
So today I take responsibility for my body. It has its flaws, but overall it’s a good body, strong and healthy.
And, since I had the power to put some excess weight on my body, I also have the power to take it off.
Let’s pretend, today, that we’re actors and actresses preparing for another hit movie. For our last movie, we had to gain fifty pounds. Now, for our next starring role, we’re working to take those fifty pounds off. The payoff’s huge. Close your eyes. See yourself in that starring role. And smile. We’re going to find peace in our physical realm, just as I did on my financial realm.
Peace out.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 22 - Just ask (Jan 22)

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24)
I like that image. I would like my joy to be full, please. And thank you.
So today I’m going to ask. Again. In my Magic Prayer. What do I need to change about myself?
I can’t control others. I can only control myself. I began to say that perhaps I could control a two-year-old, but who am I kidding? We were all given agency by our creator. That agency means that we make our own choices and we are responsible for them.
But if that thought is discouraging, take heart. If we can come to a place where we accept that we’re not perfect (we’re not, you know) and stop beating ourselves up for not being perfect (we do), then we come to a place of peace. Peace and, unexpectedly, power.
Today, in addition to saying our prayer, and doing our breathing (go to the corner, ladies), let’s open ourselves up to the possibility that God is going to help us, just because He is our Heavenly Father and just because we are His beloved children.
If we’re discouraged, like I was a few days ago, ask for peace and calm.
If we’re hurting, ask for comfort.
If we’re struggling with a challenge, any challenge, ask for help, a divine idea even, in dealing with it.
Ask, and ye shall receive.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 21 - Lies and Half-Truths (Jan 21)

“You’re exactly where you want to be.” (Woman whose name I’ve long forgotten)
I don't remember the woman who said that or her name. But I remember how old I was (twenty-one), who I was with at the time (my mother), and my circumstances (divorced and broke and supporting two babies). I especially remember my reaction. I was angry! Incredibly indignantly angry. How dare she say that?!? I didn't want to be broke! I didn't want to be divorced! I didn't want to be a single mother supporting two children on my own!
It wasn't until years later that I discovered the rest of the story. I was so mad that day because I knew that on a conscious level I didn't want any of the things I had in my life, so the words were a lie. What the woman didn't give me was the last half of the statement:
I was exactly where my subconscious self felt I deserved to be.
Ahh. That's a lot different than me wanting to be there.
I've faced a lot of that subconscious, hidden-from-myself-for-years baggage, the baggage that held me back for years, in ways I didn't even imagine. But at some point we have to step out to grasp our my dreams.
If our subconscious finally believes we deserve our dreams, we’ll achieve them.
If our subconscious finally realizes it’s safe to let go of our protective layer of fat, it’ll melt away.
So if you don't like your life the way you're living it--change it. But just be aware that in order to do so, you might need some help.
I want it all--on both a conscious level and a subconscious level. I'm still working on aligning the two--but they've come much closer in the past few years. I’ve begun to reap the rewards for my years of writing, with three books out and others on their way.
This year, I want to become healthy. I want to lean over and be able to breathe at the same time. I want to look at myself in the mirror and not have to use qualifiers.
Let’s begin today to align our two selves, conscious desires and subconscious fears. It will bring you nothing but joy. (After the pain and fear of facing up to it, of course!)

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 20 - Just Eat Less--HA! (Jan 20)

Unfortunately, there is usually more of a reason for why we are overweight than just "eating more” and more losing it--and keeping it off- -than just “eating less.” Almost always there is some sort of a subconscious thing going on.
Mine has proven a protection for me. Not protection I wanted or would have chosen consciously--but it is a wonderful subconscious defense system.
It is vitally important to get your conscious and subconscious desires into line with each other. Otherwise, you might go to a great deal of effort to lose your excess weight and look great, only to regain it later. We don't want that to happen. Not ever again.
So we need to find something that will help. For me in my twenties, it was yoga; specifically, the yoga relaxation tape that had me visualize inhaling not only oxygen but love into my body. That's something I plan on starting again...soon. And I’ll pass it along when I do.
In my late twenties, when I was in a troubled marriage, traditional counseling gave me the tools to live in an emotionally healthier manner. In my forties, a Kinergetics practitioner helped me release many emotional issues I've needed “protection” from.
Is there something you need to release? Something you need protection from? If there’s something you need to look at, let’s ask God to help Him show you gently and lovingly.
As you’re praying the Magic Prayer (“What do I need to know and change about myself in order to lose my excess weight and keep it off, once and for all?”), keep yourself open to the answer coming. I may come today, or it may not come for weeks. But when it does, you want to be paying attention.
This is not a microwave year of weight loss; this is a crockpot approach. It takes time to figure things out, to make new decisions and make them habits.
Pray about what you need to do to take a step on this subconscious path, so different for everyone, because we're all at different places.
And this year? Well, I guess I’ll go pray and see what it is I need to do now, in my fifties.
Once and for all.
© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 19 - Or why bother? (Jan 19)

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isa. 41:10)
I'm still discouraged. I'm having to absolutely force myself to do much of anything. But I’m forcing myself through today, because I always feel better when I do than when I don't. I still feel discouraged--but I'm discouraged and I've done a load of dishes and laundry and gotten dinner in the crockpot. I’ve taken my medicine and fed the dog. I'm discouraged but I'm pushing ahead anyway.
And each push I make gives me what I need to do the next. To get past this discouragement. To make the changes I want to make in order to get the changes into my life that I want to have.
Step by step. Some days you take happy, dancing steps, other days you can barely lift your foot to shuffle along. But as long as you keep taking those steps--nothing can stop you.
In a few days, I'll be dancing again. But, until then--I'll keep doing it anyway.
Because this year I'm doing things differently. This time I’m not going to let Satan discourage me with his lies.
The truth is I am a child of God, who wants me to be healthy and is going to answer my magic prayer as I continue to take baby steps.
Because if we’re not moving our feet, it’s hard for God to guide our steps.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 18, 2010

BABY STEP 18 - Discouragement (Jan 18)

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.” (Dale Carnegie)
It's been two weeks since I started and I'm feeling a little discouraged. Is this what I’m supposed to be doing right now? I don’t mean the baby steps. I’m definitely taking those. But this blog feels so foreign to me, and I wonder about it.
But for now I’ll continue.
Why? Partially because I happen to believe that Satan wants us to fail. If we are making choices he approves of, he has no reason to discourage us. So--whether in losing weight or in other areas in life--if you feel discouragement, know that you are doing something right and that is why Satan is trying to discourage you.
I think I'm going to go pray for strength to continue in my chosen course. And I'll do some relaxing breathing.
And I'll read something, just for the fun of it. And polish another scene in my new mystery. That will make me feel better.
But first, I’m going to run a load of dishes and one load of laundry, because, although my kids and husband will survive, they won’t complain as much if they have clean underwear and can find a clean plate.
Maybe I’ll think about dinner now, too.
What can you do today to pamper yourself?
Well, what are you waiting for?

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 17 - 14,000 Steps (Jan 17)

“How many steps per day are enough to keep you trim and prevent obesity? A pedometer study of an Old Order Amish community showed that their average man logged 18,000 steps per day and their average woman logged 14,000 steps per day, and they had one of the lowest rates of overweight and obesity of any community in North America.” (About.com:Walking: Walk Like the Amish)
14,000 steps? That’s nearly triple the number the other study showed the rest of us log in a day. Wow. And they’re not overweight. Hmmmm. Let’s see if I understand this correctly.
The Amish don’t go to gyms and work out for three hours a day. They walk. And they’re not overweight.
Slender people walk about 1500 more steps a day than overweight people.
So you’re telling me that if I just get my body up and moving--walking, not some fancy workout--that I can get in better shape?
Hmmm. My little brain cells are starting to overheat here.
Last year, when my sciatic nerve went red-hot and I was in 8/10 pain that took months to resolve, I had been going to Curves for a year and doing other exercises, too. When my pain got too bad, I couldn’t go to Curves, but I decided to start walking an hour a day. (I was able to do that because I had already been working out.)
After several months of walking 45-60 minutes a day, my husband commented that my body looked better than it had on any other workout program.
Those baby steps really are important. Count ‘em. Who's with me on this one? Tell me when you have your pedometer.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 16 - 2000 Steps (Jan 16)

You may have to be sitting down for this. In Dr. James Hill’s study that indicates women ages 18-50 take an average of 5000 steps per day, there was another interesting statistic: The overweight people took 1500-2000 steps less than the more slender study participants.
Shocker, right? Did you fall off your chair in shock? (Nah, me, neither.)
“Think about that for a moment--only 2,000 extra steps a day can make the difference between being overweight and being slim!” (Paul McKenna, PhD, I Can Make You Thin)
And wait for tomorrow’s statistic. It’s even better. But, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
For today, just let it sink in that two thousand extra steps could make the difference between being overweight and losing your excess weight. Too simple? Why don’t we find out? This year is a sort of experiment, figuring out the best ways to lose weight the easiest.
My baby step for today was to order a pedometer online. I found the three top-rated pedometers at Consumer Search (http://www.consumersearch.com/pedometers) and chose the Omron HJ-112 Digital Pocket Pedometer.
I’m going to find out how many steps I actually physically take in a day. I think I may well be surprised at the number. That’ll be my ‘baseline’ number. I challenge each of you to go find a good deal on a pedometer, too. Let’s find out how we stack up against the average.
I know we are women who are far above average, but perhaps our steps won’t reflect that. Yet.
So step out in faith. We’re gonna get slender this year. We’re gonna lose excess weight (and keep it off). And this time, it’s for real.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 13, 2010

BABY STEP 15 - 100 Steps (Jan 15)

In her book French Women Don't Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano talks about gaining weight as an exchange student, and relearning the French way of eating and moving. One of the things I was most struck by is a comment she made about walking an extra hundred steps any time you have some extra time.
Become aware of those times, when you could walk extra steps. Again, she mentions one hundred steps, but start with whatever number you can comfortably add, and, over the course of days or weeks, work your way up to one hundred.
If you go to a movie with family or friends and have to wait, walk up the hallway and back and go in and enjoy your movie. Start parking farther and farther away from stores. If you’re watching a movie, get up and count off twenty (or one hundred) steps.
One of our friends rigged up his television to be powered by a stationary bicycle, so his family had to take turns bicycling in order to keep the TV or the game going. Quite ingenious. Hey, we’re ingenious. We can figure out ways to work in a few extra steps.
Just a few. Don’t overdo. Baby steps, always baby steps.
And they will lead us to where we want to go.
And maybe, just maybe, when we get thin, we’ll want to go to Paris, to show those slender French women that we’re not fat, either.
The Eiffel Tower. Next year. What do you think? We could all meet there. It’ll be a great party. We’ll call ourselves the Baby Steppers, and baby step our way around the tower. I can picture us now, slender, beautiful, talented women who have finally figured out who we really are.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 14 - One Small Step (Jan 14)

"That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind." (Astronaut Neil Armstrong's first words from the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969)
A single step. One small step. A laughably small baby step.
And yet, if you take a single, small, baby step each day, soon you will have made a giant leap in your health and weight. It’s the consistent small steps that add up to great things.
So today, again, take a look at the baby steps you can take. Stand in a corner and breath your chest muscles open. Take a few deep breaths at a stop light or during a commercial. Park a little farther away.
Today, look for more opportunities to take a few steps. Physical, actual steps.
And remember to start where you are. You’re not competing with anyone. If I suggest taking twenty steps, and you are physically unable, for whatever reason, to take more than three, than start with what you can do, and try to add just one more. Always modify for your own body.
For example, when I work, I always have to modify the movements because of an injury to my knee years ago. I went from a two-year nearly-brown-belt three-times-a-week karate student to someone who has to be careful of her knee. Sad, but true. So I modify. If everyone else does lunges, I can do a few, not very deep, and very carefully, and then I stop and do something else.
So please modify for your body. If you need to talk to your doctor, please do so. The baby steps we’re taking are so gradual and so small, that I don’t foresee any problems, but I’m not a doctor, remember? So please do ask your doctor next time you go in if there are an restrictions you should keep in mind.
And then, let’s fly. To the moon. With our one small step.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 13 -- A Single Step (Jan 13)

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” (Confucius)
We are in charge of our own lives, even though at times, between parents or spouses or children or bosses (or all of them), we may not feel like it. Somewhere it feels like we relinguished our power. And we’re going to take it back.
Instead of letting others step on us, we’re going to step out on our new journey.
A single step. You actually take quite a few steps every single day.
Author/researcher Dr. James Hill did an interesting study where he learned that women ages 18-50 take an average of five-thousand steps a day; men, six-thousand. So you already take at least three or four thousand steps a days.
Today, I’m asking you to take just a few extra steps. Baby steps, if you will. Find a parking spot--and then park just two stalls farther away and walk that much farther. I know it’s not much. It’s laughably, ridiculously not much. But it’s definitely a baby step.
If you won’t be leaving your home today and the weather is too darn cold for going outside (like it is at my home), walk around your house and count off twenty steps.
Ha, ha, ha, let’s laugh at our laughable baby steps.
Let’s find lots of joy in the journey.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 12 - A gift to yourself (Jan 12)

“Out with the bad air, in with the good.” (Inspector Closeau in one of the Pink Panther movies)
Let’s get aerobic. Get some oxygen into our cells.
Have you done your corner exercises yet? If not, go right now and put yourself in the corner, and do them.
If you drive somewhere today, get aerobic. When you’re sitting waiting for the light to turn red, do your breathing. (Breathe In / Hold your breathe / Breathe Out). And as you’re doing them, try to breathe deep in your stomach first and then higher, and when you exhale begin up high and move down until it seems you’re blowing the last of the air from your stomach.
Today try to do this at every stoplight.
Or if you don’t leave home, work it into your schedule. Just for today. If you’re watching television, do your breathing during the commercials. If you’re reading a book, breathe after the end of each chapter (of course, I suggest you breathe all the way through the chapter, too, but you know what I mean.)
Give yourself a gift of a good deep breath in these small, normally wasted moments. Start deciding you want to live your life more fit and happy and in charge.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 11, 2010

BABY STEP 11 - Putting 2 & 2 together (Jan 11)

Two days ago we practiced a breathing pattern. Remember?
Breathe ... In.
Hold ... Your ... Breath.
Breathe ... Out.
And yesterday we practiced a corner exercise where you move in for two counts, hold for three counts, and push out for two counts.
Today, we’re going to put the two together. Incredibly easy.
Today when you stand in the corner and put your hands on the wall, it’ll go like this:
Breathe ... In
(as you lean in toward the walls)
Hold ... Your ... Breath
(holding the stretch)
Breathe ... Out
(as you push back out)
Again, move your hands up and repeat, and down and repeat. It’s a simple combination move, but it’ll make you feel better to do it.
And, yes, eventually, you will be moving your body more. But we have all year to get to a healthier, more fit place, and this is no time to overdo, right when you’re gearing up. Let’s give our minds time get used to the new ‘view.’ Besides, what’s your hurry? Did you want to be sore so you can quit? It’s not gonna happen.
So just relax and enjoy the gentle journey, baby step by baby step. We’ll start adding more, but all we have to worry about today is today’s baby step.
You’re done, baby.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 10 - Cutting corners (Jan 10)

I don’t know if your parents ever made you stand in the corner as a punishment (mind didn’t), but I’m going to put a positive spin on the corner.
When I turned forty, I decided to get back into shape and start doing yoga again--and thus started a several-year visit to my chiropractor. Not that yoga is bad--it's just that my back had been out for a long time (you'd think fighting to walk upright would have been a clue for me long before the yoga-feather broke the camel’s back).
My chiropractor showed me an exercise that I incorporated into my daily routine (and am now re-incorporating). It not only keeps your upper back from going into spasm, it also helps prevent heart attacks. How? Well, we tend, as we grow older to not "open up" the muscles in the upper back. They become tight, and the heart has to start working harder to push against their unyielding tight wall. So by opening up the muscles, loosening them, and pulling them out to their full length, we help out the heart, as well. Anything that will help my upper back and my heart is welcome to me.
Lastly, it helps avoid the "dowager's hump" that women can get as they grow older. And who wants one of those--unless you're a female camel?
Choose a corner. Anywhere where two walls meet that you can get to. Stand facing the corner, as if you've been a good little girl, with your feet about twenty-four inches from the walls, shoulder-width apart. Place your right hand on the right-hand wall, and your left hand on the left-hand wall, about shoulder height. Now lean in for two counts, hold for three, and push back for another two. Move your hands higher on the wall and do it a second time. The lower your hands below where you started and do it a third time.
Eventually, we’ll work up to ten, which is one ‘set’ and you can do two sets a day. If your back spasms or goes out, my chiropractor recommended up to five sets a day, but no more, or you lose the benefits. Of course, I’m not a doctor, so if you need medical advice, seek it, from a physician or chiropractor.
Three corner exercises is the baby step for today. If you’ve done them, then you’re done for the day. If not, you could be less than two minutes away from being done. You’re awesome. You’re getting really good at this baby step stuff. And so am I.
Baby steps are awesome, too. I’ve begun exercise plans before where I’m all gung-ho, but by the second or third day I’m so sore I can barely move--and I don’t exercise again for a few days (or months). Baby steps eliminates that. This seems almost too easy, right?
Today it’s like we’re talking to the walls, and they’re talking back: “It’s a good beginning, baby. See you tomorrow, you good little girl.”
I second that. See you tomorrow, you good little girl. You deserve the best things in life. So go stand in the corner and start getting them.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 9, 2010

BABY STEP 09 - Count blessings & breaths (Jan 9)

Are you praying the Magic Prayer? Good. And breathing deeply? Today I want to teach you a simple breathing pattern that we will then use with some movements. It’s incredibl simple because, after all, that’s what this year is all about: simple and permanent.
Today as you take your deep breaths, count as slowly as you can. To begin with you may have to count more quickly, and that’s okay. You’ll be able to take deeper breaths very soon.
Today you’re going to breathe in, hold your breath, and then relax the air. All as slowly as you can.
As you do this, if you think these words in rhythm, as if you’re counting with them, think this:
IN: “Breathe ... In ... Love ... and”
HOLD: “Hold ... Your ... Breath ... and”
OUT: “Blow ... Out ... The ... Air.”
Try that three times, and see if you feel better at the end of it. Morning and night. Perhaps before or after the Magic Prayer.
Teeny baby steps. I love ‘em.
No one even needs to know what you’re doing, becuase you’re just thinking the words and not saying them out loud.
My main experience with the power of breathing came with the delivery of my second child. The delivery of my first child was so horribly painful and long that I made sure I took a Lamaze breathing class to prepare for my second. I delivered five babies using Lamaze, and it made a huge difference. Just by breathing. (Though after watching my daughter and daughter-in-law have a absence of pain with an epidural, I had to wonder why I didn’t just go that route.)
Use the power of the air around you. Breathe in love, breathe in power, breathe in peace.

© Copyright 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 8, 2010

BABY STEP 08 - Take A Deep Breath (Jan 8)

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7)
We have been blessed with the gift of breath. Of life. And how deeply we breathe has a great deal to do with how healthy we are.
Years ago, I took a yoga class where I was taught to breathe using my stomach muscles instead of just my chest muscles. Most of us breathe shallow breaths, which probably has to do with the face that we’re always sucking in our stomachs. But at least twice a day, morning and night, let’s draw in three deep breaths. Starting today. Breath in slowly, filling your stomach and watching it move out, drawing air up, up, up into your chest, and letting it out. Again. A third time.
When I figure out how to post videos, I’ll have one of the breathing and of a very effective relaxation technique, but that will be a few weeks away (if I’m lucky!).
In the meantime, when you wake up in the morning, breathe deeply of air, of oxygen, of love, of life. You have another day ahead of you. Rejoice in that.
Tonight, when you climb in bed, take another three deep breaths, and thank your Maker for the day He’s given you.
Sometimes when we get so busy with our families that we stop exercising and get out of shape, just a few deep breaths will help give us some perspective.
God gave us our bodies as temples. Breathe in the breath of life into your temple and let it fill you with the love of your Heavenly Father, who wants you to regain your health, your energy, your joy in your appearance.
Breathe in peace. Breathe out disharmony.
Breathe in joy. Breathe out unhappiness.
Breathe in love. Breathe out anger.
Do it right now, just for kicks.
There. Don’t you feel better now?

© 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 7, 2010

BABY STEP 07 - All or Nothing? (Jan 7)

If you've dieted even once, I'm sure you've already experienced the all-or-nothing phenomenon. You start the day (whether it's Day One or Day Thirty-One) with good intentions. Good breakfast. Healthy light snack. Good lunch. And then, around 2:00 in the afternoon, you can't take it any more, and you go grab a candy bar.
So far you're still okay. A candy bar is not a great choice, but if you shrugged and finished off the rest of the day as you did the first half, you'd be all right. But you don't shrug. You say something to the effect of "I've ruined my diet anyway, so it doesn't matter if I eat anything else. It's already ruined. I'll start back on my diet tomorrow.”
Then, for the rest of the day, you binge.
And it's really hard to start again "tomorrow.”
So this time through, whether it's exercise or water or eating or whatever, we need to learn to shrug and pick back up where you were. Don't try to overdo in an attempt to "make up" your mistake. We can’t make it up. We can just shrug it off and get back on our path. Just start again, right that very minute--don't wait for "tomorrow" because today is the only day we have.
The truth is that if we won't do it today, we likely won't do it tomorrow, either.
That "tomorrow" fib is as bad as the "I'll just set this here for now" that clutters up my house.
Let's lose the clutter of our fibs. Let's get down to the truth. We're humans. We make mistakes.
Shrug and let your mistake go.

© 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 6, 2010

BABY STEP 06 - Just Numbers (Jan 6)

"I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.” (Mae West)
Whoever invented bathroom scales should be shot. And doctor scales? That person should be boiled in oil and then shot.
During the first eighteen years of my life, I watched my mother step on the scales three or four times a day--and her mood for the next few hours depended on the most recent number and how it related to the number from a few hours before.
I got caught up in this craziness for a brief period, but now I am totally liberated. I rarely weigh. I don't need to. I can tell because of the size clothes I wear and I have a pretty good idea of the weight on my body without a reminder.
It felt weird the first time a nurse asked me to step on the scales--and I said "No, thanks, I'd rather not.” She was flustered and confused (I guess not many people decline) but I've done it ever since and it's great. What are they going to do--force me on? I realized I didn't feel like being depressed that day--and those numbers still had the power to depress me. And if I happen to be overweight (which I still am at this moment), I'd much rather be overweight and happy than overweight and depressed.
So set aside your scales for awhile. If you absolutely need to weigh in, do it now so you can see where you're at, your “before” weight. Then don't weight more often than once a week. Later we’ll start weighing more often, but with a purpose, and it will be a positive thing. But for now, why depress yourself?
There are more important numbers to focus on--your child's test score, your husband's blood pressure, the number of people you need to feed for dinner tonight, a child’s fever, how many days you’ve persevered toward a dream and haven’t reached it--yet!
Your days are numbered. From now on, if you feel the need to count something, forget the numbers on your scale--and go straight to your blessings.

© 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 5, 2010

BABY STEP 05 - A Picture = 1000 words (Jan 5)

“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” (Arthur Brisbane, Syracuse Advertising Men’s Club editor, March 1911, in an instructional talk)
And, when I see some pictures of mine, those words are all variations of “Ouch!” and some form of revulsion or shock. When I had my first pictures taken for the back of my first book which was due out a few months later (and which deal fell through, probably adding to the subsequent weight gain I had!), I cried. I couldn't believe how bad I looked. Well, now I'm still just as "pleasingly plump" but I've found a woman who takes many pictures and finds the personality of the person she's taking pictures of. That's more like it. Because I'm still having my picture taken, whether I've lost the weight or not. Because I'm not going to put off living even one more minute.
So picture this--we can be happy today, regardless of what the scales say or don't say, regardless of what the mirror says. Regardless.
So today, picture yourself as the beautiful child of God that you are. Because everything is going to fall into place this year, and your outside will begin to mirror your beautiful inside.
And you'll be the pretty picture you always wanted to be.
Once we start to make progress, we often hit plateaus. Today I'm going to give you a plateau-buster. A tool that will keep us going even when we can't tell by looking in the mirror that there has been any change.
We're going to take a picture of ourselves. That famous “before” picture. I chose a skirt that zips (or doesn't zip, should I say?) in the back and a blouse that's tight. I figure that, as I lose weight, I'll be able to show the progress by finally zipping the skirt and having the skirt and blouse fit and then be too large.
So this week is the week to take the first picture, and we'll take another one every three to four weeks (Caution for women--be sure to time taking your pictures so that they do not fall during that particular time of month, when you are most bloated; it will only depress you).
This trick, which I read about a Hollywood trainer using with his clients, really works. You'll be amazed during those periods when your anti-body voices are loud and depressing how much seeing a picture can show you what is really going on--especially when you compare it with the last picture.
I’ll give an example of how it can change your viewpoint. A few years ago, when I lost about twenty pounds (which I have, luckily, kept off), I took my fourth picture. That afternoon I went shopping for clothes. I found a dress that was the coolest material. It reminded me almost of snake skin, and was kind of clingy, so I decided I’d lost some weight, so I’d give it a try. When I pulled it over my head, I looked like a snake all right--one that had just eaten a huge pig. But, because I knew I was still moving in the right direction, I was able to laugh instead of cry.
And that's the whole point. Staying motivated with a smile. Click away.

© 2010 Heather Horrocks

BABY STEP 04 - As a man thinketh (Jan 4)

“All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.” James Allen (As A Man Thinketh)
I’ve pondered this for a couple of years now, as I’ve lost twenty-five pounds and put half of that back on, and here is the result of my mental rambling (this also will prove to be the skeleton of what I plan to do this year).
When people talk about losing weight, they usually focus on two things: exercising more and eating less. And we can live for longer without exercise than without food, so I’m putting them in this order of importance: Food. Exercise.
And, yes, these two things are very important. But the more I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized there are some other things that are even more important.
We can go without food for weeks, but only a few days without water. Water. Food. Exercise.
We can survive for just scant moments without oxygen. And, since I’m interpreting oxygen as breathing deeply, either with a yoga-type relaxation or with exercise, I’ll switch the positions again: Oxygen / Exercise (or moving our bodies). Water. Food.
As I pondered this, I had the quote come into my mind: “As a man thinketh, so is he.” (Apparently it’s a oft-misquoted verse, Proverbs 23:7.) I do believe everything is conceived in thought or spirit first, and then manifests in our outward lives. So our thoughts are more important than, or at least come first before, our actions.
Thoughts. Oxygen. Water/Moving our bodies. Food.
And then I realized that I have tons of baggage that keeps me “safely” in the overweight zone. Just like when my son brought to my attention that I was being effective with my weight loss and toning up program, and my subconscious took over and “helped” me regain the weight and lose the toned ab muscles. So our subconscious thoughts--the ones we’re not even aware of--have ultimate control.
Subconscious thoughts. Thoughts. Oxygen/Moving our bodies. Water. Food.
Well, that “thought” is enough to make us want to quit right there. If our subconscious thoughts, the ones we aren’t even aware of, are in charge, what’s the point? Okay, that’s where our prayer comes in, because God does know and can help us become aware of them, can guide us to healing. Christ’s Atonement isn’t just for allowing us to repent, it’s to provide for our healing. So, all year long, let’s pray our magic prayer: “Please help me know what I need to KNOW AND CHANGE ABOUT MYSELF in order for me to lose my excess weight, once and for all, and get ever more vibrant health.”
This year is about healing. Healing our relationship with food. Seeking healing for ourselves, which we can’t do without heavenly help. Healing our bodies so they are the perfect weight (which may not be the weight of a Hollywood actress or anorexic supermodel).
Subconscious thoughts.
Oxygen / Moving our bodies.
And, now that I’ve given you this overview, all you have to do is think about it. As Scarlett O’Hara said: “Tomorrow’s another day.” And tomorrow we will think about it a little more.
Little tiny baby steps. We’re actually taking them right now, though it may not feel like it, because we’re shifting our thoughts. So say your prayer and open your mind to the possibilities.

© 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 3, 2010

BABY STEP 03 - Magic Prayer (Jan 3)

Today I want to share my ‘magic prayer’ with you and invite you to join me in praying for our success.
In The You That Could Be, Dr. Fitzhugh Dobson has a great insight into why we haven’t already reached our goals: “First you write down your goal; your second job is to break your goal into a series of steps, beginning with steps that are absurdly easy...Some of these early steps may sound so slow that they don’t make sense, and you may feel “nothing is happening.” Wrong! Something *is* happening, but it isn’t particularly obvious. What is taking place is that your Potential Self is getting into gear for the eventual achievement of your goal. Often your goal is something you would have accomplished already, if some repressive mechanism inside you had not interfered.”
Two years ago, I worked out nearly every day. I lost fifteen pounds and was doing ab work until, one day, I was lying on my bed reading, and my teenaged son came in and, excitedly, motioned with his hand above my stomach, and called out to his brother, “Look! Mom’s stomach is flat when she’s lying down!”
That’s pretty cool. For me. But apparently not for my subconsious, where that news caused a warning bell. A couple of weeks later, I realized I had not exercised for two weeks and I’d been eating more than usual, resulting in the beginning of weight gain. That was my repressive mechanism at work.
You’ve probably tried to lose your weight before, too, and may have experienced something similar.
This year, once and for all, I’d like to lose my excess weight--without triggering this defense mechanism. I do believe fat is a defense, a “protection” in some way. And I’d like to get to the bottom of it all. The only problem is, we don’t know what our subconscious triggers are, we just know they work. But there is someone who does know, and who is willing to help, if we but ask. It will work for anything (I prayed last year for help in getting my housework under control *and* writing three to four books a year--and was led to Flylady.net for guidance in uncluttering and setting up routines hat work for me), but today’s prayer regards the fat we are weary of carrying with us everywhere.
I’d love to share my Magic Prayer with you. All you have to do today is pray and ask our Heavenly Father to help you.
“Please help me know what I need to KNOW AND CHANGE ABOUT MYSELF in order for me to lose my excess weight, once and for all, and get ever more vibrant health.”
That’s it. Ask and ye shall receive. God loves me, and He loves you. If we ask, He’ll help us.
It may take months to get the full answer, it may take all year, but bits and pieces of the answer will begin to come to you, as you continue to pray and ask for this self-knowledge. Everyone’s answer will be different, but the answer will come.
So when you say your prayers tonight--and in the morning, and each day this year--pray this way.
What’s that saying? The truth will set you free. This prayer will bring us truth as nothing else will. And once we know the truth, we can deal with it.
Do you agree?

© 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 2, 2010

BABY STEP 02 - Dreams your heart makes (Jan 2)

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” (Song from Disney’s Cinderella)
My dreams are so big that I wonder sometimes if I’ll reach them all. And my tummy is so big that sometimes I wonder if I’ll reach my toes. Sometimes it’s hard to see how wonderful we are and how high we can reach because of the spare tire, or the extra-large behind, or the thunder thighs. Sometimes it’s easy to hate ourselves for letting ourselves look like this.
That’s why we’re going to stop asking how we got here, and make preparations for getting back to the land of Vibrant Health.
Today is the next baby step on our journey. Why today? Because today is the only day we have to work with to make any kind of changes. Yesterday we already made our mistakes. Tomorrow we'll watch those choices play out in our lives in the form of natural consequences and results, whether good or bad.
But, today. Ahh, today. Today is ours for the taking. Twenty-four hours. Eight to sleep (speaking of wishes).
Millions of people have just made their New Year's resolutions--which will be left by the wayside in another week or two. After all, we don't really mean it. It's just something that we wish would happen this year.
Only today we can begin to make it all come true, just by taking the next tiny step. But, first, let’s pack some food for thought to get us through the day ahead.
Close your eyes and, just for a few moments, picture yourself thin in a situation that would bring you great pleasure--and just enjoy the scene that plays out in your mind. Feel how good it feels. Then open your eyes, and know that this can be your reality. No matter where we’re starting, we will be better at the end of the year than we are right now. We’ll be making positive changes all year and they will bring us joy.
Take a deep breath. This is it. The once-and-for-all, I’m-really-gonna-do-it-this-time journey to vibrant health. There’s no going back, and why would you want to anyway? You’ve just experienced, in your mind, how good it can be to be slender and healthy. Now treasure up in your heart that feeling, because that’s where we’re headed.
Put on your pith helmet. We’re going vibrant health hunting.

© 2010 Heather Horrocks

January 1, 2010

BABY STEP 01 - Wishing upon stars (Jan 1)

“Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight...I wish I may, I wish I might...”
If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be? What
does your soul long for...but you can't ever quite seem to achieve?
My wishes include a happy family, a good relationship with my husband, and a desire to write--and sell--more books. But the one thing I’ve wished for longest, the one that would make me feel the best, physically and emotionally, is to lose my excess weight. Once and for all. I want to be able to bend over in my chair and breathe at the same time. I want to find a cute dress and take it into a store’s dressing room, try it on--and like what I see. I want to be skinny.
Is that too much to ask? Do I get a turn to look good?
So I went looking for a book that would lead me from where I am over a year-long path to my end result of having lost at least little weight. Not only that but I wanted to be healthier in many ways--getting enough sleep, limbering and toning my body, and feeling younger. I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the morning and have to go downstairs first thing I can barely move my creaking knees and ankles in that direction. I stumble through the house. And I never fully limber up.
I’ve searched for a book with such a path. And I haven’t been able to find one. I took last year to search and seek and ponder, to read all sorts of books--and will be referencing many of them here and sharing what I found to be valuable for me.
This year, I’m ready to take that one-year path. I have only my instincts, my beliefs, and maps by hundreds of other path-setters (maps which say jump on my bandwagon whole-heartedly and change everything in your life right this minute), many of which contradict each other.
This year, I’ve given up waiting for someone to write the book to lead me on the path. This year I’m going to step out on the path myself. And I invite you to join me in taking 365 baby steps toward vibrant health.
I plan taking full year because I’ve learned, in my writing career and in taking care of my household, the value of taking teeny tiny baby steps each and every day. That’s how great things happen. For example, if you write and revise just one new double-spaced page a day (doesn't seem like much, does it?) you can write and revise at least one novel a year.
I also believe that enough wonderful things are going to happen along the way that I can safely write this blog of what happens, because I feel that it might benefit others of you who are at the point where I am.
So now--my journey begins. I invite you to come along, if you'd like. Feel free to change anything that doesn't work for you and add other things that do.
It's New Year's Day. Write down what you really want, what you long for. Don’t worry about completing the list. Today’s teeny tiny baby step is just to start a list of changes you’d like to make. If you come back tomorrow, I’ll have another teeny tiny step for you.
Together we can do it.

© 2010 Heather Horrocks