Monday, June 2, 2014

AIM: The Organized (Or Not) Approach

This month, your AIM team takes on organization...or lack thereof.

I did my best with weight loss when I was organized.  From having a list when I went to the grocery store, to prepping as many of the fruit and vegetables as I could as soon as I got home, to having a meal plan, along with a list of favorite healthy meals (because I tend to forget things) - all of that made it so much simpler to eat right which in turn helped get the weight off. 

I find that when I'm organized in one area - say, I've got a handle on groceries/meal plans - it spills over into other areas as well.  My laundry is done, my bed gets made every day, I keep on top of the kitchen's mess (it doesn't take that long to clean up after dinner, yet there were times many years ago when I'd go to bed thinking "if I have to call 911 in the middle of the night, it's going to look like we're one of those slobs you see on COPS")...you get the picture.  The sense of urgency, of living like I'm flying by the seat of my pants, is not there.  I don't randomly grab just anything to eat because I'm hungry; rather, I've got enough options to keep me on a healthy path, or at least, a healthy path if that's the path I'm choosing to walk.

Being organized is also an important factor in my exercise routine, and I do that by making sure that I have clean clothes to wear for running, and keeping all of my gear in one area.  I put my my shoes, Garmin, Road ID, etc. back where they belong as soon as I get home as a favor to myself, because there's nothing worse than fumbling around at 5:30 am trying to find everything.  But it's not just the things that need to be organized, it's the schedule as well - I know which days I'm going to run, with whom, where and when...a quick text and boom, we're all on the same page.

I live by lists.  I usually have several going at once - things to do for today, stuff to buy next time I'm at the store, blog topics and schedule, running club things to do - this saves my sanity.  I can compartmentalize, get things done (and crossed off, which gives me great satisfaction...and yes, if I do something that isn't on the list I might write it down just to cross it off), and know that I'm not letting things slip through the cracks.  I like to feel in control of my days.

All that aside, and lest you think I'm a Stepford Wife/robot, there have been times in my life when stress has caused my organizational skills to malfunction.  Living in a state of discombobulation is not fun.  I couldn't focus enough to finish one simple task, which meant that I was constantly chasing after everything.  Back when the kids were younger and had a lot of extracurricular activities going on, I was lucky to be one step ahead of everything.  While I miss my kids, I don't miss the chaos of those years.  That said, I think I've developed better organizational skills over time (and as a result of going through all of that craziness), and I wonder if I'd be better at handling it now.  Time for a do-over?  Ha!  I think not.


AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you'd like us to address - here's the link to our Ask Us (almost) Anything form - click here and ask away!

33 comments:

  1. Okay: one of us is adopted when we were born! You are my sister, my twin. It is like I have written this post myself and that says enough! It's almost scary because everything you say here screams ME!

    Happy birthday sis! Enjoy your day.

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    1. How funny, but I'm not all that surprised to find these twin traits with us...I think similarities make people friends. :)

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  2. MORE THAN ANYTHING HAPPY BIRTHDAY.
    you are kicking a** and taking names and making 51 look awesome.

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  3. I most definitely am better off when I have a plan for eating. Actually it seems as I've gotten older, I find it harder and harder to fly by the seat of my pants most especially with dinner meals. If I don't have a plan to execute them, it's like things fall apart. As I'm married to someone who will eat potato chips and dip for dinner if I don't cook, it's not good for me to let things get to that point. I do love summer though, it's pretty easy to throw something on the grill and make a salad. Feels like a little break from all that planning.

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    1. I can't imagine life without the option of grilling...

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  4. Ah...lists. I do those, too. I never thought of them as an organizing tool before. More as a way to not forget. I like your approach better. And you're so right - when I'm organized in my eating, I have a cleaner kitchen, my house gets dusted and vacuumed more often. I feel better about myself overall. (Happy birthday!!)

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    1. Seriously, when I've got a lot of chaos going on, first thing I do is sit down and make a list of what needs to get done, and then I'll prioritize it. Helps me instantly calm down!

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  5. I couldn't agree with you more. On the days when I organize my to do list I feel much better mentally and physically. Sounds crazy bit it's true. I guess I feel like I accomplish something. When I got to the store with out an actual list, I seriously get a headache. I thought I was one of those people who could just use a mental list, not so much!

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    1. Oh, I lose my mind the second I enter the grocery store without a list...I'll end up leaving with an onion, a bag of coffee and some strawberries.

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    2. 'k, I'm a doofus, but when I read this it reminded me that I need to add onion to my store list. Haha
      I use the Grocery Gadget app on my phone for my many store lists (does anyone shop just one store?)
      Chrissy

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    3. *I mean stores like grocery, Lowes, Target, Costco, etc. All at the ready in my phone. Ahh [not necessarily zillions of grocery stores!]

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    4. Glad I could help with that onion!

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  6. Lists! Love!! Yep,I write stuff on there just so I can cross them off. It feels great doesn't it?

    Stepford Wives ref-- :))

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    1. I wondered if Stepford Wives was too long ago...good to see someone appreciated it! :)

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  7. I've noticed the organizational carryover from one life area to another, too! And the opposite. :) I lovelovelove my daily planner for keeping it all together. (And I love sometimes shutting the book and just doing what I want.)

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    1. Doing what you want?? Yeah, I like that too - but I can usually only take a day or two before I need to get back to my regularly-scheduled life. ;)

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  8. Another "write-it-on-the-list-afterwards-so-you-can-cross-it-off"-er here :-) I need to make a list of go-to meals like you, though. I was reading back in my fitness/nutrition journal from last year, and was reminded of this cabbage/kale thing I was really loving. Why am I not still fixing that? A list would come in very handy - thanks for the idea.

    Happy birthday, Shelley!

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    1. I swear, having that food list is awesome. I'll put it aside sometimes and when I finally realize I'm in a rut, pull it out and be amazed at the options! :)

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  9. You give me hope that one day I'll get the art of maintenance. Thank you for that. I think you are right that different stages in life allow for different degrees of organization. Now that I have one child out of the house and living on her own, I am realizing that life changes and so does the time free to be organized. Hope - yeap, that's what I got from this post.

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    1. It does get easier...hang in there! :)

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  10. I SO admire this! Because I find if I finally suck it up and get organized in one area of my life, all the others go straight down the toilet. I'd love to have that "spillover" effect! In my case, the only spillover is from the piled up laundry, trash, and recycling. :)

    But you're so right, healthy eating and exercise do NOT happen without preparation and planning!

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    1. Interesting that you get a different result from organizing. It's like your mind can only take so much, and then something's gotta give!

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  11. I couldn't agree more Shelley - I agree when one area is super organized, it makes sense to organize everything around you as well - I find that if I meal plan, I exercise, I balance my checkbook routinely, etc.

    Now if I could just bring my organizational skills at work to home, that would be great!

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    1. I check my bank account online every day, but I haven't balanced a checkbook (nor kept a register) in years. Weird, eh?

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  12. Happy birthday again!! Heehee!

    I have a love/hate things with lists. I only make lists when I start to feel overwhelmed, which makes me not want to do the lists because that means acknowledging I am really stressed out LOL!

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    1. Sounds like you can keep more straight in your head, thus not needing the lists on a daily basis. I have too much random chatter going on (p2tog, ssk, give Paco a bath, running routes, SQUIRREL) in my brain - it has to be written down or it's gone, lol!

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  13. I do much better being organized. I am pretty anal about a lot of things but for some reason it just doesn't stick all the time with the weight loss. I am always a work in progress.
    Happy Birthday Shelley!

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    1. I think we are all works in progress - as long as we're trying, right?

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  14. Are you the Queen of post it's for lists, or do you have an app you like? I'm using Do! right now. It does let me 'cross off' an item, which it appears is important to more than just me. :) There are some things that I wish were different tho, so I thought I'd ask which one you use.
    Happy Tuesday.
    Chrissy

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    1. I don't use any apps! But now you've got me curious...because my grocery lists do me no good when I leave them at home.

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