One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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My Daily Bookends

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In the What You Can When You Can book we have a chapter called Bookend Your Day. It’s one of my favorite tips in the book and I was so happy when Carla came up with the term because I’ve been bookending for some time now. I just never had an easy way to describe it.

The idea is simple: start and end your day with simple, healthy habits. This way, even if you have a bad day at work or if you veered off your eating plan at lunch you can still fall back on your “bookends” to keep your momentum going.

Regardless of how your day went, you can say…

Well, everything didn’t go as planned but at least I {insert your bookend here}. 

I’m a big believer in guilt free, positive lifestyle changes. That’s how I got to where I am today. Feeling bad about myself or a decision I made never got me anywhere. However, celebrating success, regardless of how small, sets a tone. It builds your confidence and allows you to see all the good you did instead of focusing on one small misstep.

I thought I’d share my current personal bookends in hopes to inspire you to come up with your own. These are now habits that I do almost on autopilot. Of course, at first they took more effort but that’s the cool thing about habits. Once you create one it becomes easier to maintain.

(I’m going to start at night because that’s how my brain works.)

Evening Bookends

Freeze a few inches of water in my water bottle.

Every night after dinner I put 2-3 inches of water in my water bottle and plop it in the freezer. This solves a few problems for me:

  1. We are always running out of ice so now I don’t drain the ice maker first thing in the morning for my trip to the gym.
  2. I’m always losing my water bottle. Now I keep tabs on it so I can put it in the freezer.
  3. I have cold water at the gym and continue to fill it up throughout the day. I always drink more water when I have a bottle on me.

In case you’re wondering, I use this one and actually have two of them in rotation. So there’s always one in the freezer for me just in case I forget, which I rarely do anymore!

Lay out my workout clothes on the dresser

Every night for at least the past 2 years I’ve laid out my workout clothes on the dresser. I’ve gotten so good at this that sometimes I lay out tomorrow’s while I’m getting dressed for today! As someone who used to sleep in her running clothes to start a morning workout habit, I’ve come a long way.

Make lunches

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The 10-year-old usually buys but I’m still making school lunches for the preschooler. If I don’t make it the night before, the next morning I’m scrambling. So this is another after-dinner habit. While cleaning up I plop things in his lunch box.

This also helps me give him leftovers more!

Clean island

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This is the latest bookend habit I’m working on. I have a “famous” saying some of my friends make fun of me for:

“When the island is clean, the kitchen is clean.”

And it’s true! Our island is a dumping ground, and regardless of how clean the rest of the house is if there’s a pile of crap on the island the whole house seems messy, even if it’s not.

There’s just something mentally exhausting about a pile of junk on the center surface of the house. It makes me feel disheveled and unorganized. So the past few weeks I’ve been making sure it’s clean before going to bed. When I wake up and walk downstairs at the crack of dawn I’m not immediately disgusted by the mess — I actually breathe a sigh of relief.

Morning Bookends

Morning workout

For the past 2 and a half years I’ve started my day at the gym. It’s so engrained in my routine now I feel out of sorts when I don’t break a sweat first thing in the morning. It’s truly become a habit and I can’t stress enough how this was not a natural thing for me. It took years to get to this point but now I can honestly say I love it. It’s the only way I know how to start my day now.

Oh! and of course I grab my bottle from the freezer and fill it up on my way out the door!

Leave a note

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This is a more recent bookend. I started leaving notes for the 10-Year-Old who’s sleeping when I leave for the gym but awake when I get home. When I forget he asks about them so I know he likes them. It helps set the tone of his day and I come home to an empty dishwasher and a kid totally ready for school.

Plan dinner

I’m not a weekly planner. I tried but it just doesn’t work for me. I’m more of a fly-by-night person when it comes to meal planning. I like to stock my pantry and react to what I have on hand. So every morning I decide what we’re having that day and plan accordingly.

Lately, I have a little more prep to do for Wednesday meals because the 10-Year-Old helps that day. So I ask him what he wants to make on the weekends so we can make sure we have it available for him. Tomorrow it’s tuna steaks and I can’t wait — we’ve made it before (click here to check out the video).

Those are my bookends! Writing them out they seem overwhelming but I’ve built them slowly over the years and of course they evolve over time (like the notes to Ryan), but having a handful of morning and evening habits really helps me keep a positive momentum for me.

I’m sure if you think about it you have bookends, too. Introducing a new one or two that will help you get closer to your goals is an easy baby step to take without overhauling your entire routine.

It’s that upheaval (tomorrow I’ll be perfect and do X, Y, Z and A, B, C!!) that never worked for me.

It was always too hard to maintain.

Bookends are doable and easy to integrate into your routine without the overwhelming “do-it-all” feeling that sometimes comes when you want to make positive changes towards your goals.

More tips about doing What You Can When You Can are in the book — healthy Living on YOUR Terms is possible. Click here to check out my book on Amazon. 

*Bookend Image from Amazon



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Discussion

There are 5 comments so far.

    Marília

    October 13, 2015

    Great! I like this post
    Simple and it motivates me to own the little efforts we make every single day…

    Staci

    October 13, 2015

    I can totally relate to the clean island, clean kitchen thing! We don’t have an island, but we also don’t have a dishwasher. If I can just force myself to do the dishes sometime before bed, then I wake up feeling like the kitchen is clean. We homeschool, so the clean kitchen is even more important because a lot of our schooling goes on in there. If I don’t wash the dishes the night before, I seriously sometimes decide to “sleep in” just so I don’t have to face that mess!!! Lol

    Sarah

    October 14, 2015

    I love this idea! And I also love how you used the word “plop” multiple times! lol

    Sabz

    October 15, 2015

    Hi Roni,
    This article really spoke to me. I usually start out with a bang and then fizzle out soon thereafter. This is a much better way to start and hopefully keep some good habits.
    I’m glad you’re enjoying the new gig. I look fwd to the IG posts.
    My nighttime bookend should be to switch off at 10! That’s my first one.

    Agnes

    October 21, 2015

    I love this idea! I’m still working on my bookends but I have a couple. Every morning (rain or shine or snow) I walk my dog. We usually do at least 20 minutes unless it’s super cold. On the weekends we go longer. Sometimes even an hour! It gets me moving and it’s our time. Plus I think it starts off his day right too. ;) My evening bookends are making lunches (mine and my daughter’s) and then ending my evening with a 30 minute workout. I just plop in the DVD and I’m set. Some people do not like to work out late but it works for me.