Thursday, August 04, 2011
There is an education book out there called Punished By Rewards in which the author (Alfie Kohn) discusses the problems with giving out stickers and prizes for kids doing what they should be doing anyway (i.e. giving a sticker to a child because they raised their hand to answer a question). One of his arguments is that when people give stickers out, they are not necessarily changing the behavior of the child. In other words, if you give a child a sticker for raising their hand, it doesn't always mean that they are going to continue raising their hand after the sticker-giving has stopped. I find the whole idea very interesting.
But the whole thing got me thinking about my motivation, which has miraculously seemed to re-appear (knock on wood) for the month of August. For a long while, I wasn't giving myself any rewards - I was all high up thinking "I don't need rewards, I'm doing this for myself, blah blah blah." But the scale wasn't moving, and more importantly, my pants weren't fitting any better and my muscles weren't getting any more noticeable. So, a little sheepishly, I decided to restart my Spark program back at Stage One. I did the fast break thing, and... it didn't work. I thought it would be enough to just think about it. But really, I needed to go ALL THE WAY back to the beginning. What did I do when I started on Spark and saw awesome results? I did what any good elementary teacher would do.
I made a sticker chart.
My goals are simple. Eight hours of sleep, eight glasses of water, and ten minutes of exercise a day. I get a sticker for each goal met. So far, I have three stickers on each day in August. Yay!
So back to the opening paragraph in this blog. The argument against stickers is that I could theoretically stop drinking all my water or working out or sleeping when I don't get a sticker for them anymore. That most likely isn't going to happen, since I'm a little further along developmentally than an elementary age student. But the rewards don't go away, they just change. Already I'm seeing other "rewards." My posture is better, my self-esteem has gone up, my middle feels less jiggly... and that's only in four days! Imagine how it's going to feel in a few weeks!
I think the key (for me and for students) is to make the behavior worth doing even when the "sticker" goes away. I need to keep earning stickers until I see even better results. If I don't keep giving myself a sticker, I worry that I won't see results fast enough and will not keep doing what I'm doing. And besides, the whole water thing isn't second nature anymore. I used to drink tons of water, no problem. Not so much lately. I guess it doesn't hurt that I bought myself some awesome sparkly star stickers at the teacher store! My next set of star sticker goals will have a much more fun chart than the one I have now.
Tomorrow is a strength training day... one of my non-sticker goals is to get my gym time out of the way as early as possible. And it's funny - I really *like* to go to the gym, but I just have to go first thing!
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
I missed you, pizza. I used to have dough at the ready, cheese in the fridge, and lots of yummy toppings ready to go. I got back into it last night. Brad made a pizza that was pretty tasty, and I was re-hooked. I stopped for some mozzarella last night and this evening I made a Margherita pizza with basil and tomatoes from the farm. I was out this afternoon and thought about getting a Boboli, but I held out. I got home, had a little potato salad, and whipped together some dough. (We have a book about bread where you learn to make bread without kneading. So freakin' simple.) It's whole-wheat dough with olive oil - PERFECT for pizza.
My pizza was SOOOOOOO amazing. The crust was perfectly crisp, the cheese was melty and delicious, and the tomatoes and basil were amazingly sweet. I didn't want my pizza to end. I can't wait to make another one soon.
So here's how today went:
Lots of water and a super workout. Got my muscles workin' and my insides flushed out.
Ate not one, but two M&Ms ice cream cookie sandwiches. I just couldn't help myself. The good thing is that now they aren't in the house so I won't eat them. Ha!
Got lots done around the house. I bought some stuff for the bathroom today - a shower caddy and a shelf for behind the toilet - and I put both of them up when I came home. My new mantra "the only way to get it done is to do it" came in handy today. The bathroom isn't going to clean itself, the stuff isn't going to build itself, and library books won't magically appear in my house if I wish hard enough.
Bought some stuff at Borders - the going out of business sale. Everything was at least 20% off, and cards were 40% off. So I got some children's books for school, and the book Room for me. I have heard such wonderful things about it - I can't wait to read it. Don't give anything away!
I'm going to go get my books from the library - I borrowed Women, Food and God (or whatever it's called) and enjoy some Greek yogurt and strawberries for my after-dinner sweet.
August is starting out with a bang!
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Brad had a day off from work - we had a really nice day together. It's nice to cook for two, instead of just me. We celebrated National Ice Cream Sandwich Day with M&M cookie ice cream sandwiches. Mmmm.
It's so hot and I think the heat is making me slightly sick. I have been so blah in this heat... even the AC was having trouble today.
Short one today... back to the couch!
Monday, August 01, 2011
Eight hours of sleep.
Ten minutes exercise. I did 30 minutes run/walk today. Yahoo!
(If you squint, kinda looks like a star) Eight glasses of water - which is really four really BIG glasses. I almost went through a whole pitcher! Yippee!
Yesterday i made some awesome zucchini bread and some really delicious potato salad. Neither of these foods are particularly healthy... sigh. I had them both for lunch. And there was a little part of me that thought "well, I'm not going to track them." I don't know why, I just thought "hey, I'm not going to track." But I did. I entered everything in, and I'm glad I did. Not so much to berate myself for eating the non-healthy stuff, but just to see what my daily calories are shaping up to be. It's very eye-opening, this tracking thing. I haven't done it consistently for a while... no wonder I wasn't losing any weight!
I read some motivational articles today, read some great blogs, and looked through my magazine with Brad to show him the muscles that inspire me. He's so nice - he told me how proud he is of me. He is really a wonderful husband.
Tonight I'm going to drop off my car (I have to get a sensor replaced), and I'm getting picked up by my bestie. We're going to have dinner at her house (her BF is grilling for us!) and then she's going to bring me home. I'm so excited! I love the grill.
Tomorrow is a day off for Brad - super excited about this. We get to go pick up our veggies together tomorrow evening! Yay!
Off to get ready to go!
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Bring it on, August.
By my calculations, there are four weeks left until the kiddos come back to school. The perfect amount of time to get good habits BURNED into my brain.
Yesterday I went shopping - I LOVE shopping. And yesterday, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I tried on some pants and there was a little roll hanging over the top. My face was SO sad in the fitting room. These were pants that should have fit no problem! Ugh.
Summer has a weird effect on me. Instead of being uber-careful about eating and exercising, I get lax. My shorts are a size too big so they don't ride up - this is not a good thing. I "grow into" my shorts and don't even know it. Tank tops? They are very forgiving. Arms get a little flabby? No problem. The tank top doesn't even *have* arms! Pants? What pants? Give me a good skirt any day over the summer.
So when fall rolls back around, I find myself not fitting into things I should fit into.
But I have been really making an effort to get back in the game. I've been spending more time on Spark, reading blogs and articles, and I've been more conscious about what I eat. Which means making real meals instead of just eating random food. And I know that you all know this, but it's funny how the snowball effect works in positive ways. Once I start sleeping better, I get up earlier to work out. When I work out, I eat better. When I eat better, I feel better. When I feel better, I stand up straighter. When I stand up straighter, I look slimmer. When I look slimmer, I want to work out more. Huh.
My new background picture is Beth Phoenix. She is absolutely beautiful and amazing and I would LOVE some arms like hers. I had her as my background before, and then I changed it for some reason. I think I am back to having a goal. I didn't really have any kind of goal in mind... but now it's to be strong and have some great muscle definition. Not to mention fitting into pants again.
The star stickers in the picture (see beginning of blog) are to mark on my calendar when I do my fast break goals. I decided I'm going to stick with my three Spark-suggested goals for August - a great way to get those habits in my brain.
1) Drink 8 glasses of water a day
2) Get 10 minutes of exercise a day
3) Get 8 hours of sleep each night - this one is a challenge in the summer. I don't set my alarm, so some days I get up before eight hours, and some days after eight hours.
I'm off to read my magazine! Yahoo!
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