Friday, August 29, 2014

Turning Over A New (Tea) Leaf

For those of you who have been following my posts the last couple of weeks and who also follow me on Instagram and Twitter, you may be interested to know how I have been going on my journey drinking Newport Skinny Tea and eating more healthily.  Who knows? You may have also been inspired to do this along with me!  

When I chose to re-set my sails and send myself into a healthier direction, I decided that if I did it, I would blog about it to track my progress.  Everything from what I ate, to how I felt, to numbers and photos.  One, it helps me remain accountable but secondly, and true to the theme of my whole blog is that nothing about this should be a secret.  Why keep it to myself?

I have been very mindful.  That is probably the biggest stand out for me.  I have been very deliberate in food choice.  I think about everything from what sort of food group it is, the time of day I am eating it and therefore the impact it will have on my body to portion size and being aware of how I am feeling.  I have cut right back on processed foods, I have not had any carbs at night with our evening meal, really switched up my snacks and drank more green tea and water than I ever have before.

When exploring healthy eating plans, I am always interested in snacks.  And by that I mean snacks I will like.  So for my snacks I have been choosing from any of the following:
  • Edamame Beans - not quite a handful (say, 3/4 cup)
  • Green Tea
  • Protein Shake
  • Smoothie
  • Juice
  • Nuts
  • Carrot
These don't sound like a lot of options but I am only one and a half weeks in to my 3 week program and so far these have worked for me.  

I have been trying to cut back on my daily coffee intake for quite some time now, having allowed it to increase over the last few years on an 'as needs' basis.  As needs being dependant upon the night's sleep I had had, with small children in the house!  I prefer my daily limit to be two but it had crept to (more often than not) three.  On this program, I am easily keeping it at two, no problems at all.

At the evening meal times, I have tended to replace any carbohydrate (pasta or potato) with greens.  My choices have been grated zucchini lightly stir fried (though I don't use any oil, just some pepper), rocket, kale or baby spinach.  Yes they are healthy options, but I think the mental impact it has is big too.  I just feel so much better mentally as well as physically.  I don't feel as weighed down.

What I can say so far about Newport Skinny Tea - Daytime Tea in particular - is it is an amazing appetite suppressant.  Of everything, this is the part that I am amazed at the most.  It is not a false appetite suppressant, such that I am ravenous by the time it is my next meal, but a true feeling of satisfaction.  I truly am stunned and in love with this product.  It is a natural tea and really damn delicious.  So it is not something I am taking that is just confusing my body into thinking it is not hungry.  I have not craved anything sweet - and for anyone who knows me, they know I love my lollies and don't mind the odd bit of chocolate either.  I haven't craved chips or biscuits.  I have honestly (and amazingly) been satisfied with the healthy food choices I have made.

I haven't weighed myself or taken my measurements this week.  I want to wait until the end of the program to do this.  I can say however that I can feel a gradual change physically.  My stomach is beginning to feel flatter.  My skin is looking a whole lot better in just a week!  I have been sleeping pretty good but to be honest, that is more to do with the kids not waking than anything else.  If they sleep, so do I.  As for energy, I have felt pretty good.  Normally I have that lag at about 3pm when I would have a sugar pick-me-up of some sort but I have not had the lag, or therefore needed the pick-me-up.

All in all, progress is going well.  I can certainly give the thumbs up to Newport Skinny Tea and a big thumbs up to my personal efforts that have aligned with that.  I'm pretty proud of how the two of us are going as travelling partners!

Stay tuned.  I'll be keeping you posted on how we're going over the next week.  

(I would like to just say that this is not a paid sponsored post.)


Friday, August 22, 2014

Hello Customer Service? Are You There?

Dare I say that I am old enough, but I can remember twenty years ago when good customer service was a regular occurrence.  Great customer service stood out, which would always prompt me to either mention it at the time or write a letter complimenting the staff member or company on their excellent standard of service. Likewise if service was appalling, I have a tendency to enlighten, shall we say, the business in question.

These days, I honestly don't know how to feel when I receive good customer service.  Am I happy to have received it? Or disappointed that it was noticeable?  And that is just good service, not great!

What is going on in society that customer service has deteriorated to almost nothing? What has happened to the notion of 'the customer is always right?'

Of course the customer isn't always right and so often we would love to tell them so.  The notion behind that saying though is that 'the customer is important enough to our business that they are worth doing the right thing by'.  After all, word of mouth can be a VERY powerful tool.  Isn't it what I am doing now?

Just this week, I (the customer) followed up on an issue that has stretched on for the past two months.  The issue has been addressed entirely on email.  With some of the content, I would have thought that the vendor in this instance would have tripped over themselves trying to work the issue out.  But, a big, fat no!  No-one was willing to take responsibility for resolving the issue.  Instead it got passed from one person to the next until finally yesterday I received an email that said:
"this department is not authorised to make decisions" (on my matter)
I pulled up just short of seeing complete red.  They mean to say I have wasted time liaising with them instead of being referred on to the correct party?  They have got to be kidding me.  The email I returned however highlighting their lack of customer service, customer importance and how appalled I was at their lack of action seemed to ring a bell with someone of note because within the next hour the matter, for the greater part, was resolved.  

Why do things need to escalate to such a level before anything is done?

Customer service is not a hard concept to understand nor is it a difficult skill to execute. It comes down to knowing, and respecting, who at the end of the day pays your wage (if you wish to get that technical) and plain old common decency towards your fellow citizens.

In this day and age of technology where so many transactions are faceless, it is easy to see why customer service levels have dropped. Why should it though? What needs to be remembered is that also in this day and age of technology, many similar companies are popping up and bad customer service will just make the consumer move on. And usually with a few words to others about their experience.  There is always another company willing to take your money and some of those will even treat their customers with respect, ensuring return business.  So whilst companies may not put the focus on customer service these days, they should also remind themselves that they too are disposable.

Where to from here?  Well, I can't change the world in one blog post...or can I?  However you have clearly seen how important it is to me.  Yes, I am a customer service based person to the core.  I can, and am, raising my boys to be respectful of others and will continue to instill in them the importance of extending that respect to their customers, obviously dependant upon their line of work.  They are both 4 at the moment, so we have a way to go!

Customer service should be 'not so secret' and I would dearly love to see a comeback of it. Even as the world advances, it is sometimes the good old fashioned things we miss the most.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it is time customer service made a comeback?

Image credit:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Upgrading My 'Normal'

The day of reckoning has arrived.  

I gave myself a gradual grace period up until my Newport Skinny Tea arrived, to eeeeease myself into my new self.

Now my Newport Skinny Tea has arrived along with my moment of truth.  I am super excited.

Tea Diffuser - check
Commitment - check
Discipline - check
"Before" measurements done - check
"Before" weight done - check
"Before" photo done - check

It will also take a consistent and conscious thought process in my food choices which will also mean regular planning.

It is so easy to fall back into old patterns.  Timely as it is, I re-read recently, a saying that was first said to me years ago:

You can't keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Seems logical doesn't it?  But I suffer from blindness to the obvious at times.

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.  Funnily enough, my Newport Skinny Tea supplies happen to be in an amount that will last me for 3 weeks.  Coincidence?  I think not!

I am looking forward to having more energy, to having clearer skin, better nutrient absorption, less brittle nails and fitting into the loads of clothes that I have waiting for me.                                                                Exhibit A here ->
(and they don't include the ones I have hanging!)

I have to create a 'new normal' for me.  Creating a 'new normal' has been a term that I have used several times, as required, over the past 7 years. It would have been relevant earlier than that, I just became aware of and coined the term then.  I wasn't thrilled with my 'new normal' at the time.  However, it is better if I am in control and create my 'new normal', than it be created for me.  It is when it is created for you that you tend to be less happy with it.  In the instance of living healthier, I would rather create a 'new normal' of health, than my health deteriorate and subsequently dictate a 'new normal' to me.  After all, my organs have been working for me for 44 years now and for them to last the distance, I need to do the right thing by them.  I am very aware that I am in the age bracket when 'things' can start to go wrong.  And no, I am not being paid for how many times I can mention 'new normal' in one paragraph!  But thank you for your tolerance anyway.  7 times.  It will save you going back and counting.  

The buck(wheat) stops with me.  Thankfully though I have all of you to help keep me on track and accounted for during this transition to my (say it with me) 'new normal'.

If you are doing your own journey towards a healthier you this summer, or fall for our northern hemisphere friends, feel free to share your progress, tips and stories with us in the comments below.  And good luck!  Let's re-define our "normal's" together.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Complete Hones-tea

Have you ever bought clothes in the size you would like to be with the plan that you will one day fit into them?  Or is it only me that has done that?

If I'm completely honest with myself though, and carrying on from last week's goal update, the whole "I'll do it later" theme has spilled over from my paperwork into my well-being.

On the one hand, life is short, why not treat myself?  On the other hand, life is short, I have two children I would like to be healthily here for and treating myself as often as I do has pitfalls now that I am in my 40's and the extra calories don't seem to remove themselves as easily as in my 20's.  So my whole thought process along the lines of "I'll train harder at the gym tomorrow", "tomorrow I will eat better", "I'll start on Monday", "I'll start on the 1st" etc etc, just aren't cutting it for me anymore.  

Really, what am I waiting for?

The truth is, I gave myself two years grace after baby number two was born.  I had been pregnant for two years consecutively so figured that I would take the same amount of time to undo the baby weight as it took to get it there.  Baby number two just turned 4!  

I actually think I did lose the baby weight to a large degree what with pushing a double pram and running around like a mad chook after two babies.  I burnt a lot of calories and often ate on the run.  Since I've stopped pushing a pram and walking everywhere with the kids, the kilos have crept on.  I could add in a thousand excuses as to why and how this has occurred but I would only be kidding myself.

It is time!  Time to sort myself out!

And speaking of timing, two things.  Fate really is a funny little character! The gym I was attending closed, so I have joined a new gym. This in itself gives the body a bit of a much needed wake up call and I am loving it so far - 4 workouts in, my fifth in forty minutes! 

Secondly, the fun and wonders of Instagram have lead me to discover Newport Skinny Tea.  As you now know, I love natural remedies. I am constantly intrigued at how the body works and how particular foods, herbs, oils and natural therapies will assist the body back on track.

The tea at Newport Skinny Tea is all natural so I am really looking forward to receiving my package of tea, eating a whole lot more healthily than I have been and preparing for summer!  It is fast approaching and so is my brother's wedding in December! 

I want to feel like I can approach my wardrobe and choose what I want to wear rather than what I currently do: what doesn't need ironing, what will fit and what hides the multitude of sins?  I want to feel happy within myself and within my skin.  I want to feel proud of myself for what I have achieved.  I want to feel energized.  Every year one of my goals is to tone up.  I have no idea why I keep it as an elusive goal and why I don't just achieve it? I guess it is something to do with having a 'to do' list, but it is time to switch up the items on that list and tick 'tone up' as done.

My reward goes without saying.  How I feel in all aspects will be my number one reward. But I will mention two others.  I have a pair of jeans that I just love. They're sitting patiently on my shelf waiting for me and I plan to rock those champs before the end of the year.  I also saw a leather wrist wrap bracelet about two years ago at one of those pop-up stands in a shopping centre.  It was stunning and a unique piece that in hindsight, I should have bought there and then.  So I am presently looking for another piece just like it and when I find it, I'm going to reward myself with that purchase when I have achieved my goal!

To keep myself accountable, I plan to track my progress here, so stay tuned.  Or join me? After all, summer is approaching for everyone, not just me!

Photo credit

Friday, August 1, 2014

Goal Update - Something's Missing...

August!  We are now fairly well entrenched into the second half of the year.

Whilst I must say I am proud of my goal-awareness efforts this year (I have continually thought of and about them which is more than I can say for prior years) I have fallen a little off the bandwagon of having my finger on my goal-pulse.

I pride myself on being organised.  I am sure I appear it mostly!  But behind the scenes, in fact, just in our back room where my office is, would tell a completely different story.  I am hoping that by later this afternoon, it will tell a different story again.

I am a putter-offerer.  Someone who often says or thinks "I'll do that later."  

There, I have said it.  Out loud.  Ok, it's on paper, but it is the same thing really.  It's out there!

But where is 'later'?  You can see from the photo, 'later' failed to turn up.

I am someone who will deal with what must be done because I naturally gravitate towards deadlines.  

I plan, sometimes.  I wish it were more often.  In fact, daily. And that I worked towards it, daily.  I admire organised and planned people.  Oh to be so disciplined.

I on the other hand, am someone with a free spirit when it comes to planning and schedules.  I love the idea of it, but I fail to stick to it.  My naturally "oh that would be fun" trait tends to kick in.  It wouldn't be such a problem if I wasn't trying to achieve anything, but I have lots on my 'to do' list that I would like to tick off, and quite a few big goals I would like to achieve.  I'm also busy with kids, working, household duties etc, the list goes on and tend to fall prey to dancing to the beat of other people's drums.  

At the end of the day, I realise it all comes down to planning.  And discipline.  Cue Chicago's song, Something's Missing, In My Life, Maybe It's You (planning and discipline).

As I said in my last post, honed skills of the successful include planning and discipline. I have also learned that I tend to find goals easier to get my head around when I think about other smaller tasks, backwards.  It sounds weird to me too, however, to give you an example:-

This weekend we have two birthday parties for my son who just turned 4 - a family one and a friends from kindy one.

My usual way: float through the week aware that it is on, doing what I usually busy myself doing and then freak out at what I need to buy and prepare on each of the weekend's mornings.

My backwards way: think about the parties on the weekend and what times they are on, make a list of what needs to happen for them, and what other commitments we have on as well all week.  Work out when each item can happen and what its deadline is. 

In doing this, it allows me to plan in the best time to do the things that need to be done, in a timeframe that keeps things orderly and stress free.

To sum up my goal update, when I think of years gone by, I have achieved more this year than previously purely because of the thought processes I have had.  I've previously listed the goal early in the year and then hoped for the best.  This year I have deliberately thought about my demeanour towards goals.  What I find challenging and why, and how to turn that around. I have ticked a few things on the list but business-wise I am not as far as I would liked to have been by now.  Still, I have 4 months of the year left.  With discipline and planning, my end of year goal update should be an interesting one!

What are your secrets for achieving your goals?  Details please....