Friday, January 24, 2014

Change Your Approach

    So… I have been wanting to make some changes recently. The onset of the new year is the perfect motivation, but the reality is that these changes have been long overdue.
    I read this devotional recently which really encouraged me and I would like to apply it to my own goals. It was about modifying one’s approach to things so that we can very well see the changes that we want.
    This entry is somehow related to my post about Resolutions vs. Goals and I am intent on improving a lot of things in my life. I am hoping that writing about these would help not just me but you as well.

Here are at least 2 things that I want to achieve and change, and how I plan to do it:
  1. Lose weight. Get fit.
Usual approach: Exercise when I can. Eat what I want.

New approach: Exercise regularly (3-4x a week). Cut out sugar. Lessen carbs at night. Eat more veggies!

     Before I had Audrey, I was a regular at the gym. I also did Yoga and Pilates, and swam at least 800m 3x a month to add to all my other physical activities. When Audrey came, I was still able to go swimming from time to time, but I cancelled my memberships because I couldn’t work out regularly. I was able to exercise a bit more by the time she was 5 months old but because I was preoccupied with her and also got busy with work, exercise didn’t become my priority. I would do it whenever I was free but it didn’t take its usual place in my schedule. I also lost weight and inches easily after my first pregnancy so this made me a bit complacent when it came to exercise.

     When I was pregnant with Natalie, I was forced to exercise to help relieve back pains due to my heavy tummy. I did Pilates again but took a break on my 34th week because of a spotting incident. I didn’t go back to working out until Natalie was about 6 months old. My exercise schedule wasn’t as regular as I wanted it to be mostly due to time constraints. I was now busy taking care of two girls and working on one of my biggest design projects. Of course exercise took a back seat once again.

     As for my diet… what diet? I love to eat! Haha. I would like to think that I’m a bottomless pit because no matter how much I ate, it just didn’t really show much (unless my friends are just lying to me to make me feel better hehe!) and most of my old clothes still fit somehow (save for a few tight jeans! Childbirth does give you wider hips afterwards, especially after the second baby :o). 

     After I gave birth to Natalie, weight loss was still quick in the first few months and then I would lose weight gradually over the next couple of months - until it plateaued (somehow the last few pounds are the most stubborn and they say it is difficult to lose if you're still breastfeeding, which I am - but I don't want to make that an excuse). It wasn’t so bad, except that it was just a bit too slow for my own standards and expectations hehe!… And even though breastfeeding helped reduce the size of my tummy and helped me lose weight, it sure didn’t tone my body! Plus it was harder to lose the belly because my tummy’s officially been stretched not just once but twice! And that really takes a toll on your abdominal muscles. What I also noticed was that it was a bit harder to get back on track in terms of strength as well. What were once easy exercises and moves for me back then now became a little harder. It required more effort on my part.

     Now back to eating… healthy eating is not a problem with me. Except I also love sweets. I actually started eating healthier when I started feeding my girls solids because I wanted them to have good eating habits and avoid sickness and disease. So I decided to apply the same thing to myself and my household. My only problem is the sugar in my life! Because I get stressed with work and lack sleep, I resort to eating sugary sweets in order to keep myself awake or to provide me energy (which is actually false energy!). So the change in approach here is to cut down and eventually cut out sugar in my diet – if not completely then at least 90 percent of the time (giving allowance to those days when I need to celebrate with family and friends with a piece of cake haha! Come on, let's be realistic here ;P).

     As for exercise, I just want to make it a point to prioritize it from now on for the sake of my health and my family. I want to avoid getting sick and be strong enough to take care of them and live long. After all, taking care of my body is something that is within my control and definitely a worthwhile goal. 

  1. Work Smart. Don’t over exert yourself. Sleep more.

Usual approach: Work whenever I find any free time. Work in the wee hours of the morning before the girls wake up. Work all night and sacrifice sleep if necessary.

New approach: Delegate more work to others. Learn to say no to projects that will go over my workload limit. 

     Now this one is tricky and is somehow related to Goal Number 1. When I work too much, sleep little or don’t sleep at all – my physical activity and food intake gets affected. So I know I need to make it a point to balance everything in my life and prioritize. As much as I love designing, planning and creating, I know I have to work smart. Before I had kids, I could handle up to 10 different projects at one time – but that is only because I have the time to do so. But my priorities have changed now. I’m a mom with two kids to take care of – and that is a choice that I willingly made. Architecture and Interior Design projects can take up so much time especially since I am very detail oriented and do not like submitting half baked drawings or designs (or you can translate that to obsessive compulsiveness – but in a good way! Hehe). Whether a project is big or small, they both require quite a number of details and the full attention of its designer. They pretty much take up the same amount of effort but vary only in size or completion time.

     So even if I do hire contractual draftsmen occasionally to help me with certain projects, this time around I would like to delegate more tasks and responsibilities to an Architectural Assistant (if by any chance you are an Architecture graduate and reading this, please email me if you are interested to freelance with me! J )

     I will still incorporate some of my usual approaches though – like waking up very early to plan and work on projects, as well as sneak in some work time during Natalie’s daytime naps, but I would definitely like to stop pulling off all-nighters in order to avoid sleeplessness which will lead to stress and burnout! 

     And of course, I can’t do all of this with just my own strength so I am going to couple my efforts with prayer and faith. I hope that I will be able to see some dramatic changes and results very soon ;)  

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