Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sometimes I think about maintenance as being a walk on a balance beam. You can fall off either side! On the one hand is the slip-slide back into compulsive OVER eating. On the other is a dive off into exercise addiction and compulsive UNDER eating, another serious disorder, just in the other direction. The key is finding that middle path of balanced activity and eating and living.
Gymnasts practice, practice, practice to learn how to take leaps and turns and changes in where they place their body, but always coming back to place their center of gravity firmly on that beam. They may fall off a lot while learning. But they get back up and change something a little, and maybe the next time (or the tenth time) they try that stunt, they find the beam and do not fall, but keep on with the performance.
Even the most polished professionals fall at times. There is no shame in it. The really great ones come back from the fall and move on.
In the analogy, our efforts to learn healthy living is the practice and the performance. The leaps and twists and turns are the new things we try or the life events that get thrown at us. We come back to the center of gravity of the self-nurturing habits we have built through Sparking and all that practice. And it is good.
Spark on, my friends! This is for your life!
Monday, May 09, 2011
Most of us have heard of interval training. Many of us practice it regularly, in preparing ourselves for an event, or to increase our athletic abilities. In very simple terms, it is working at a level a bit beyond your comfort zone for a short period, and dropping back to your comfort level to "recover". By doing this, we increase the level of the "recovery" zone, over time. It makes it possible for me, for example, to shave those precious seconds off my time for the two miles.
After two relatively athletic weekends in a row, post-APFT yesterday, I became a slug... puttering around the house a little bit, laundry, grocery shopping, but a goodly chunk of sedentary pursuits as well: upgrading device drivers on the computer and watching streaming video of old TV shows.
I was definitely hiding indoors, though, as Saturday's outing I stayed out longer than I intended and "vile yellow-face", the sun, did a number on my exposed arms and neck. I'm a rather vibrant reddish color on those parts of the body. Nope, no sunscreen, and I know better, but as I said, it was unplanned activity which is what bites most of us. Truth to tell, I detest having creamy stuff on my skin. I am going to have to find a different sunscreen solution for this year if I have any aspirations to do things outdoors at all. Last Summer I hid indoors a lot, resulting in my horribly overgrown yard.
And I started looking for something about 4 p.m. Looking in the cupboards, looking in the fridge, trying things out... bad move. I went through about five times more snacks. It's that Sunday afternoon, weekend's almost over, don't want it to end... dissatisfaction. And I ate over it. Sheesh! I looked back at my trackers and saw calorie deficits the two days before... could be part of it. And the really hard run Sunday morning could also be part of it. Someone last week offered up the "drink more water" thing, and I did some of that, too... but still, this is a slippery disease, compulsive eating... that must be balanced against the real body needs. The good news about the bad behavior is that after going through a certain amount of this aimless eating, nothing looked good any more. I realized what I wanted wasn't in the kitchen, and I stopped.
Today, back to the normal eating plan. Which leads me to the title subject: perhaps some of what we do is, indeed, "normal". We are interval eating, as well as interval training. Exert energy, hungry drives nourishment. Isn't this the way it's supposed to be? I know I have to be careful about thinking too much this way, as I have led myself right down the garden path to regain too many times to think it's not the voice of the disease, the justification.
So... let's keep those rest intervals short... and get back on track!
Sunday, May 08, 2011
On November 7th last year, I set myself a goal: to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test for a female my age. Link to original goal set, with dates to test:
I put myself through it this morning, as I did New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day.
Well, as one might expect, focusing my training on the Half Marathon kind of undermined some of the target training for this one. In fact, I didn't train for it at all. And today my results were:
Push ups: 29
Sit ups: 19 - yes, I got worse. Sigh.
2 mile run: 19:02 - I gave it my all, and . I think some of my "grr" at the sit ups result went into extra effort in the run.
Next test on the 4th of July: I'm going to do a lot better on those sit ups!
Sunday, May 08, 2011
The theme from Mr. Ed drifts through the mind. Yesterday after my maintenance consultation I took a drive up the road to a State Park, and bought my sticker for the year. Now I can get back in any time I like, at least this year... bike, walk, jog, skate, sled, swim, see the plays... or, sign up and go on a trail ride.
When I got to the stables, I read the sign: purchase tickets at park office. So I walked back to the park office, leaving the car in one spot the whole visit. I asked about the trail rides and found out you can only reserve for the actual day! And you can only reserve by phone at ten a.m. for the spots left among the horses they are taking out that day. So, pretty tight deal.
And... they had a spot available on the 1:30 p.m. trail ride. Two hours away, I thought, checking my watch. I hadn't intended on staying out too long, but... why not? If the work team thing doesn't come together, I'd actually have achieved my "get on a horse" wish, if I just signed up right then. So, I did!
I walked the loop around the park, figuring out where the various venues were. Pretty cool place, really. You know, for all that I live less than 25 miles from this park, I'd only been there once before. I have no idea why not... perhaps because the park was developed during the 15 years I lived in other states? Perhaps because I don't get out enough.
I got to the stables early, and one of the wranglers beckoned me to come on up to the fence and stroke the horses that were tied on that side as they got ready. I did so, talking softly and petting them. They had their names on their halters and they were all beautiful. Palomino, Paint, Appaloosa, roan, grey, bay... stockings, stars... lovely, patient, some frisky, a couple liked the attention, a couple shied away.
A little later a happy and somewhat noisy group of foreign "kids", I'll call them, arrived, the bulk of the riders. And a family with a couple of little girls. And me. We listened to the safety speech, were offered safety helmets, and then they chose who would go on which of the horses.
The head guy had asked me when I came up and was petting horses if I was riding out with them today and which time. I'd told him. He put me on Toby, one of the more "independent" minded of the string. Apparently Toby used to work as a wrangler's horse, and therefore wasn't quite as accustomed to being just a horse following the horse in front of him. He needed to be "reminded" from time to time not to sneak up on the lead wrangler's horse and nip. I was kind of flattered to be given a mount that required some level of interaction. Otherwise, have you really been on a horseback ride?
We got to see a wild turkey in the woods. Lots of birds singing, great views. And when we got back and dismounted, I kind of floated back to the car and drove home with an incredible sense of peace in my soul.
Oh, and those of you who gripe about doing hip abductor exercises? If you ever go riding, you'll be glad you did them!
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Every so often, I have to preach to myself about rewards. Why is that? Because I tend to forget to give myself the little rewards and savor them. And I sometimes neglect to follow through on the long-promised bigger rewards, "because something more important came up."
Rewards come in all sizes, of course. Those of us with food issues historically think of rewards in terms of banana splits or whatever our favorite high-calorie indulgence might be... and since food is cheap and available, fast to grab... guess what happens if we don't give consideration to appropriate rewards, large and small?
So... part of the learning process of "acting as if" we were fit and healthy people (on the road to actually becoming the same)... is learning to choose rewards that are meaningful and appropriate to the victories.
Meaningful is a very personal thing... it should be something that gives YOU joy, not something someone else thinks of as a reward. It should be something that you actually label as "I did XYZ, and this is my reward!" "I stayed on my food plan for three weeks... I am buying this scented candle and lighting it to recognize I'm worth it!"
The big ones? I have been promising myself a massage ever since I hit my half-way point... what, 18 months ago? I never booked it! Even now! And until just now when I wrote this, I had kind of forgot I promised that to me... let's put that on the to-do list: schedule that massage.
But right now, the big focal point of the reward scale is the trail riding thing. Today, after my maintenance consultation, I intend to drive out to a nearby state park and investigate scheduling and rates. My work team (several of them, anyway) have said they will go with me... it's just one of those day trips, for those of you who asked, but it's something that's been on my list for a while.
And I even voiced it in front of other people... after I finish the half marathon... I'm going to get on a horse again! It's been 30 years. It's time. So... that's today: reward planning and the next steps to implementation.
What's on YOUR list of rewards you owe yourself?
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