Saturday, March 08, 2014
Sometimes I wonder how it is I can become motivated to stick to something for a long time, when other times I can't no matter how hard I try.
For the whole of 2013 I could not get a handle on my bad eating behaviors and lack of activity. I felt stuck. I was unhappy and yet it seemed like I couldn't get started on any sort of plan to improve my situation. By the end of the year, I had worrisome physical problems. Namely, I had a pain in my right side that scared me. It came and went, but sometimes I'd even wake up with it. I suspected it might be a gall bladder problem that was caused by my food choices and excess weight.
When 2014 rang in, I'd finally had enough. I made a commitment on January 8 to get back on a healthy path and get rid of the pounds that were weighing my mind and soul down just as much as my body.
It was hard. After a long time of overeating, eating sugary high fat foods, and spending most of my time sitting, it was painful to change all that. I had food cravings often. My appetite had gotten so large it was hard to cut down my portions. I started doing indoor walking DVDs and struggled to get through 2 miles. I had to force myself to exercise, and I didn't start out doing it every day. I got anxious and depressed often. It seemed so unfair I had to have this weight problem and endure so much "suffering".
The only thing I can say about that time is I had decided that getting to a healthy weight and feeling better physically became just a little bit more important than soothing myself with food and getting distracted by sitting at the computer or watching TV shows. It was enough to push me over to the side that says just do it.
So, I just did what I had to. Every day that I did it made the next day that much easier. I'm not even sure exactly when the turning point was, but it eventually became less painful to eat less and exercise more. Then I started to see results. The pain in my side vanished after a couple of weeks. At first, the pounds were coming off each week, but I couldn't see it. Then, after I lost about 10 pounds, I noticed clothes fitting a little looser. I had gradually increased my walks and suddenly I was doing 5 miles. Instead of feeling exhausted, I was feeling energized afterwards. The pendulum swung completely over and my commitment grew.
Today, 8 weeks later, I'm feeling great. I have lost 15 lbs. I went shopping a few days ago and fit into the next size smaller. I liked how I looked in the mirror for the first time in over a year. Yesterday was slightly warmer (in the 40's....it's been a BRUTAL winter this year) and so I decided to go for an outdoor walk. I walked 6 miles in 1 hour, 20 minutes. I enjoyed it so much. I felt like me again. This is how I'm meant to feel.
I still don't know where motivation comes from and why it sometimes goes away. It's like the elusive butterfly that you can't chase after because once you try too hard to catch it, it quickly slips away. The only thing I can know for sure is that it's better to not think so much about it and just take action. Do it every day. Do your best. Even a tiny improvement will build over time. Never give up and never allow yourself to think negatively. Don't label yourself as someone with a slow metabolism or someone with too big a sweet tooth. Describe yourself as someone who likes healthy food and enjoys exercise. Then, just do those things. Just do it, then just do it again. Once you get past a relatively short time of discomfort, it really does get easier. Then, suddenly, you're on your way!
Friday, October 25, 2013
Today starts my most challenging time of the year. I'm thinking about it now so I can come up with some sort of strategy to not let it derail me.
First off, today is my birthday. My dearest husband made me a delicious veggie, ham and cheese omlette for breakfast, and for dinner he's broiling lobster tails and grilling steaks. It's a beautiful fall day and I plan to take a long walk this afternoon and then do some flowerbed clean-up. I have lunch plans with one friend tomorrow and lunch plans with another friend on Sunday. Eating out is a challenge for me most of the time, but especially on my birthday since I seem to always have a sense of entitlement to have whatever my heart desires. I always give myself a free pass. It's probably best to do so, because restricting to the point where I feel deprived tends to backfire later. So, maybe it's okay to restart on Monday the 28th (?)
P.S. I turn 62 today. Although I no longer relate to or find inspiration in pictures of young fitness models, one of my true inspirations is model Cindy Joseph who is now 63. It's proof that beauty has no age and there are definite things you can do to look your best in your older years.
Another "hero" of mine is Kathy Smith, who will turn 62 on December 11:
Then there's Christy Brinkley who will turn 60 on February 2 next year. What's her secret? She still looks like she's in her 30's!
Next after my birthday comes Halloween candy. We bought a huge bag at Sam's Club and there's sure to be leftovers. Those tiny treats are actually a good once-in-a-while snack if I could stop at ONE (which history shows, I can't). I think it's best to get the leftover candy out of the house.
The following 3 weeks don't pose any big challenges, and I could ultimately get a good positive start to motivate me through the holidays.
Thanksgiving is always a meal loaded with carbs and fat: mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, sweet potato casserole, rolls w/ butter, misc. other fat-laden casseroles, cranberry sauce loaded with sugar, apple pie, pumpkin pie, oh my! (Then I have all those leftovers to contend with the following week). Even taking a small portion of everything is way too much food. That is never good - I end up feeling too full and regretful afterwards. It's not realistic to say I'll only have turkey and veggies; however, I do have to look at the rest and negotiate with myself as to what I am willing to give up. So, here goes........I can do without the mashed potatoes, rolls, & cranberry sauce and have a moderate amount of dressing, gravy, broccoli casserole, and one piece of pumpkin pie. I enjoy a tossed salad which we rarely have on Thanksgiving because of all the other dishes. Even if I'm the only one to eat it, I think I'll be sure to make a green salad with a big variety of veggies. I'll eat the leftover salad & turkey during the week and DH can enjoy all the other leftovers.
I've eliminated a lot of the pre-Christmas stress by keeping things simple and minimal. Last year, I had what I called a Zen Christmas and I intend to do the same this year. We don't exchange gifts with anyone, and all the grandkids are at the ages that they'd rather get money. I stopped sending cards and opt to give distant relatives a call. I no longer bake dozens of cookies.
The one big temptation is that on Christmas Eve I make pierogie. It's a family tradition that I'm not willing to give up. It's tough to limit my portion because they are a favorite dish that I only have once or twice a year. If that's my ONLY splurge day, it shouldn't cause too much damage.
We always stay at home and cook a special New Year's Eve dinner. One year, I broiled salmon and had salad, roasted sweet potatoes, and a couple of cooked veggies. It was satisfying and healthy.
I think the key for me will be to plan ahead and keep an image of how I want to look on my mind. Imagine how I want to feel. Keep focusing on the end result and not the immediate gratification. Think to myself, "how will I feel tomorrow if I eat all that today?" "will this choice bring me closer or further away from my goal?"
Worth giving up feeling like this:
How will you stay on track over the holiday season?
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
After a long absence that was preceded by sporadic activity, I find myself back here again. Using SP helped me to take off 40 lbs. back in 2007. I've tried a few alternate routes since then and have come full circle.
I like the new Spark START page. I like the look of it, and everything is organized well. I set up my motivation board, set some goals, read a bunch of articles. I'm still not going to jump onto any teams at this point. I don't want to end up spending a lot of time on the site when I should be up and moving.
The week's been good so far. I went outside walking yesterday and today. I used the tracker today. I'm not sure how long that will last because it's not something I like to do. What I did find was that by eating lots of veggies and preparing healthy meals today, I am at the very low end of my calorie range. I may track for a few weeks just to create awareness of calories. My main focus is on eating nutritious foods and I don't want to be tied to measuring things out and tracking it every day. That becomes tedious for me. I do need awareness, though, so I think I'll always keep a written log of what foods I'm eating.
This has to be a lifelong habit-changing process. No more crazy plans for me. Nothing to go off of. If my food is satisfying as well as nutritious, and my exercise is something I enjoy, there's never any reason to ever do anything differently.
This is one of the pics on my motivation board -
It says it all. It's time to permanently change old habits by replacing them with ones that will make me feel good and proud at the end of the day.
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