Friday, May 10, 2013

13 Steps to a Better Me

The thing Husband and I forgot when it comes to working with and rehabilitating a dog with behavioral fear issues is how hard and frustrating it can be in the beginning!



We love Lacey and our committed to helping with her issues but we are empathizing with all of those second time around parents who also forget that as wonderful and sweet newborns are, there are times when they drive you crazy!

Parental sleep deprivation when the baby refuses to go to sleep night after night after night anyone?

Thankfully, Lacey sleeps through the night. However, her fears gives her the attention span of a gnat. That can be frustrating when we are trying to work on something or after an evening of barking jags because the neighbors are having a BBQ.


I wrote on my DIY blog Condo Blues about the light bulb moment I experienced when I realized why Lacey didn't always do as I said and how my frustration feed into her frustration to boomerang back at me. Of course the first instinct is to blame the dog but to be honest,  a big chunk of the problem is me (you can read about it here.)

I need to get my head back in the game. I can’t expect Lacey to consistently confident if I don’t give her a good example to follow.

I've spent the last year putting everything but me first that I haven't even been on my own list.

Sound familiar to anyone?



Welcome to Project Me! That's what I'm calling my self-improvement plan, program, whatever you want to call it.

Our silly getaway to Frankenmuth (read about it here) and stuffing our faces with yummy food helped me move forward after Blitzkrieg's passing and to be ready to adopt Lacey. It looks like I have a little more way to go in the consistent confidence department before I can truly help Lacey (read about it here.) This is the path I'm going to use to get back to my consistently confident, and quirky, fun self.

13 Ways to Rediscover My Self Confidence  


I'm breaking this up into three sections: mind and attitude, food and diet, and body and beauty.

 4 Mind and Attitude Makeover Goals 


 1. Put myself on a cleaning schedule. Lacey can’t handle a half day or so of me cleaning the house. I’d like to say it means I shouldn't clean, but clutter makes me cranky!
Action plan: I signed up for Fly lady coaching. FlyLady is a free site that puts you on a house cleaning and task organizing schedule. They send you a daily email (use the digest option because they send a lot of emails during the day) with reminder on that day’s task. The tasks take about 15 minutes to do so you don’t get overwhelmed. This way I get a clean house and am not cranky. I can also work with Lacey on her fear of the sweeper more often and in short spurts so she won’t get overwhelmed either. As it stands, I spend a weekend morning cleaning house and deep cleaning potty accident spots followed by cleaning up more potty accident spots because Lacey freaked out after I spent the morning cleaning the house. Hopefully this will help.

2. Leave the house. I'm not talking about running off and abandoning the family or anything. But I've been feeling chained to the house lately because I know Lacey will have an accident because she is so afraid of being abandonedShe has an accident if she and I are in separate rooms! So I stay because Husband isn't used to keep an eagle eye on her like I am and there aren't more accidents to clean. This isn't doing any of us any good because:
  • I'm cranky because I've cut out a lot of activities.
  • My creativity is in the dumper because see above.
  • Husband isn't going to learn Lacey's cues if I am always here to interpret them
  • I noticed a slight change in Lacey's behavior for the better the day after when I have color guard practice.
  • In other words, I am going to try not to feel guilty that Lacey is panicking because I left the house for two seconds to wheel the recycling bin to the curb. She's never going to learn that I will always come back if I don't periodically leave the house for a little bit and come back.
Action plan: Keep going to color guard and band practice, go to the summer festivals and dog rescue events we have almost every weekend in the summer and take Lacey if it is appropriate (and be prepared to leave early if Lacey can’t handle it.) Go on dates with Husband. Spend more time with friends and consider taking that woodworking or dance class I’ve been talking about taking.

 3. Work on my 2013 DIY Goals List. Doing projects makes me happy but Lacey panics when I do projects that make noise. Although Lacey is getting used to the idea of sewing machine because it can make toys for her. Lacey is also perfectly fine with any project that involves me making food - of course.
Action plan: We need to put together a rehab plan for Lacey with the behaviorist to help her when she hears scary DIY noises when I am not in the room or house with her. I have exercises I do when I use the sweeper and washing machine. I want to check in with our pro to see how they will work for DIY noises or how to adapt them.

4. Read some fun brain candy books in addition to the dog behavior books I've been reading.
Action plan: I finally read The Hunger Games trilogy and I’m probably the last person on the planet to do so. Do you have any book recommendations?

4 Food and Diet Makeover Goals


Husband and I cook from scratch.  I already avoid the big no nos of processed food, no high fructose corn syrup, no hydrogenated oils or trans fats, and follow a heart healthy low refined sugar diet. This part of the plan is a check in, tweak, and find new recipes that will keep me keeping on when I'm super busy.

1. Cut down on the constant whole wheat pasta and bread and introduce a variety of starches and grains to my diet. I noticed when I eat rice or rice noodles I don’t feel as sluggish the next day like I do when I chow down on whole wheat pasta for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m not saying whole wheat or gluten is bad for me.

What I am saying is when Husband cooks dinner it is usually high in carbs because he is a runner, which means I’m unintentionally carbo loading too. Since I am not as athletic, I’m not burning through those carbs or need them in large amounts like Husband does. Besides a little more variety in my diet on the grain side can’t hurt. If you have any recommendations or recipes, I can use them!

 2.Keep a food diary. I went to the doctor for a physical physical (everything medically AOK as usual!) Last year I cancelled my appointments with her nutritionist for what I called a food physical when Blitzkrieg got sick. Keeping a food diary helped my doctor diagnose my lactose intolerance. Now that I’m actually following a lactose free diet, I should check in to make sure I’m still getting all of the nutrients I need.

3. Find new lunch ideas and recipes. Leafy green (and lactose free) salads are leaving me hangry by mid afternoon  (Hangry = so hungry you are angry.) We don’t always have leftovers to reheat. I should take Husband’s lead and make a few lunch entrees ahead of time I can eat when I stare into the cupboards and fridge and decide there isn’t anything in there I want to eat today – or have time to prepare.

4. Have more quick meal dinner options on hand.  On the nights I have color guard practice, I swing through a drive through for dinner since I am rushing in the evenings to marching band practice. It would be much better (and guaranteed lactose free) if I had something homemade in the freezer to heat up and go.

5 Body and Beauty Makeover Goals


1. Make the appointments I’ve been putting off.  I need a new eye doctor since mine retired and I just updated a bunch of typos I didn't catch when I originally posted this post. I can't remember the last time I went to the dentist so I guess that means I'm due for an exam and cleaning.

2. Get active. I lost 15 of the 25 extra pounds I gained! I till need to lose 10 more to return to the normal range of my Body Mass Index (BMI.)
Action plan: Fortunately Lacey is a high energy girl who needs exercise to burn off her nervous energy. I will buy a good pair of walking shoes and a pedometer and hit the bike trail with Lacey in addition to our regular walks around the neighborhood.

3. Give myself a beauty and style makeover. A lot of my jeans and shorts are too big to wear. Yay! It’s time to celebrate my success with some new clothes.
Action plan: I subscribed to Elle and got a haircut. I’m toying with dying my hair blue again. Thoughts? Oh, and shopping for cute clothes in my new size is in the plan too.

 4. Make an effort to look cute. I do the jeans and slubby t shirt thing way too much since I work at home. Yes I know we are all special snowflakes and as self actualized women do not need to conform to the establishment's version of beauty but I'm also the first to admit when I look good, I feel good.
Action Plan: Donate the size 12 baggy shorts and pants. Take in some of the size 10 pants. Make more of an effort to wear jewelry and put together a cute look instead of tossing on slubby clothes before I walk Lacey. I also need to go through my makeup drawer and discard or replace as needed and consider wearing it from time to time too.

This is my plan. What do you think?

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