Tuesday, December 1, 2009


As a relatively new mother, motivation has sometimes been elusive. Motivation for what? Well, for exercising, eating healthy, finishing my work, hanging up and putting away the giant mountain of clothes in the bedroom, etc. But you can, in fact, bribe yourself into doing what you know is difficult. My husband (a clinical therapist) has talked about how important positive self-talk is, as in cognitive therapy and such. I'm not sure if this is what he meant, but it's sure working for me. For example, this week I've been out after work later. Yesterday it was the grocery store and the chiropractor, and today I started teaching an after school program. Reward? A daily afternoon latte. Nick's reward for being good? I gave him a sample of a chocolate cream puff at the Costco. Check out Nick being motivated by his leftover birthday balloons. :) I bought an elliptical trainer, and in order to make sure that it doesn't become a coat hanger, I need to bribe myself into a healthier lifestyle. Last night I was craving a slice of my freshly baked homemade wheat bread (I'll have to post my latest recipe--it's very good.), but I knew if I sat down to eat it, my day would be all over and I'd never get on the torture machine. So I promised myself that if I worked out for 1/2 hour, I could have a slice of warm bread. 30 minutes, 189 calories, and 1.6 miles later, I was happily sitting on the couch, bread in hand. I even kept my heart rate between 125 and 135 for the whole time, which is my goal. Here's the aforementioned torture machine; I can't remember if I posted its picture before. Elliptical trainers are amazing in the way they can elicit sweat in less than 2 minutes.

Today, I was really craving those tortilla chips. I love the authentic mexican ones that are really hard. mmmmm. So I had a conversation with myself. "Melissa," I said, because sometimes I am a dork and I talk to myself in the second person, "if you do a pilates bodyband workout for 30 minutes, you can have some tortilla chips." Of course, halfway through the pilates DVD I was whimpering and thinking, "No chips are worth this!"

Eating healthy is another challenge for me. I like healthy food, but in the winter my motivation disappears and I just want to eat simple, carb-heavy food like tortilla chips with american cheese (bad, I know). So I negotiate with myself. I have this cherry vinaigrette dressing that I love from http://www.sixlugs.com/, and I just bought a case (at no small expense) because it's the only way I can bring myself to eat salad lately. But if adding goat cheese and fancy dressing gets me to eat a healthy, filling salad, it is worth the cost.

Here's Nick showing me that he has my car keys and he's not giving them back. He's stashed them somewhere at least three or four times and I've had to go on a mad hunt before I leave the house. Check out our Christmas tree and the repurposed baby cage. We got motivated to decorate this Sunday. The tree was very easy for Greg to set up. . . we never took it down from last year, just took off the ornaments and put it in the basement. But the baby cage actually had to be anchored around the tree, because Nick would love to try to climb the tree and knock it over. This cage may not hold Nick anymore, but it holds the tree and protects it from the wrath of one persistant toddler. (Oh, and one cat who likes to chew on the plastic branches, for some odd reason.)
My wish is that my motivation will continue, at least for the immediate future. My goal for December is to work out at least 20 days, maybe more, and to eat fewer Christmas cookies than I usually do. If I manage to lose even two pounds, I think I'll treat myself to a full manicure and pedicure. Perhaps that will motivate me.

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