Wednesday, November 09, 2011
"Be Ever Vigilant - don't get too complacent" is the motto of one of my Spark fellow travelers... Marenamoo. She hasn't been around the Spark for a while and I miss her wisdom and contributions.
Another friend I miss is WalkingAnnie. She was among those who pointed me to the At Goal and Maintaining team, way back when. She, too, started posting less frequently, and hasn't been around in quite some time.
These people have been such an inspiration to me... and I always wonder about Sparkers that I see, then don't see. I sincerely hope they are doing well, still healthy, and just moved on from Spark.
Vigilence is such a key to maintaining. I know, because I lost that vigilence after big losses... several times over a lifetime. I got into a rebellious or discouraged mind - emotional frame, tossed in the towel and let myself eat whatever my little disease (compulsive overeater here) pushed at me! I managed to regain the 30 pounds I lost between high school and college, and they brought friends with them when they came back. I managed to regain the hard-fought pounds I dropped over the course of eating / exercising healthily for the sake of my baby while pregnant (after his birth, I was 24 pounds less than when he was conceived). I managed to regain 60 of the 80 I dropped on my first serious effort with Weight Watchers, after a rolling maintenance of nearly five years.
Since then, I managed to regain a drop of 70 pounds I did "on my own" with books and other resources. And here I sit at maintenance of a weight that I didn't even reach with that first pre-college unhealthy diet, and I did it "right", i.e. balanced diet, exercise, SLOWLY, and working on my mental / emotional issues as I went. In some ways it was the mindset of "maintaining" my way to where my body truly wanted to be.
I know I need to be ever vigilent. I know I am at risk, every day. I live one bite away from a binge. I know this. Knowing it does not always protect me from eating for comfort anyway. Being vigilent about motivation, being honest with myself, and seeking balance in my life might get me to my ultimate goal: staying healthy as long as I can and ENJOYING the life I have been blessed with.
If you are one who has repeatedly lost, regained, lost, regained... take heart. The only failure is giving up. As I said to someone I worked with on those emotional things: "I am happiest when I am *working* on nutrition and fitness." Note: working on, not succeeding, or being at a specific weight or achievement level. This should tell me something: doing these things, eating right, moving, breathing, and giving myself the pep talks... makes me HAPPY!
And what was it I always used to say when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up? Oh, yeah, "HAPPY"!
Life's good. Be ever vigilent. Spark on!
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
I have had a hard time with U. Most U-words are just... utility players? Useful but unimpressive? Understanding this, I was tempted to put my U in the middle of a word... like fUn.
But I chose "undoing", as in a melodramatic way, one might say, "this cookie will be (or was) the undoing of my diet". Or more practically, once we have slipped and slid a bit, we have to go about "undoing" the damages, by getting back on track. In that sense undoing is a lot like my R word, recovery.
Seriously, the only thing that is truly the undoing of a healthy living initiative is giving up on it! And it is easier to undo damages if we catch it earlier, by being observant of what's going on, or mindful of our own actions, day by day.
Nothing unique about that!
Have a great tUesday! Spark on!
Monday, November 07, 2011
When I was a kid, I could only pass beginner's swimming lessons by employing a nose clip. Getting water up my nose, especially during certain strokes, so distracted me as to be unable to keep going the required distance!
Fast forward to being a parent to a young kid in swimming lessons, and I read some alarmist article about the evils of such devices, I don't remember all the whys it gave, but I was determined to give up the clip.
And I did. I started swimming slower and with my head always out of the water. In my most recent outings though, I found myself getting annoyed by the water in my ears (side stroke), and not being able to increase my turnover and kicks in the back stroke due to my old nemisis, the distraction of water up my nose. Especially when there are other swimmers churning up the water. I have over time learned to deal with those annoyances... BUT it slows me down!
Yesterday, I tried ear plugs for the first time. While I was at it, I purchased a nose clip. What I found was that I could swim harder and faster when I wasn't either trying to avoid the annoyance or being distracted by it.
It dawns on me that some race horses perform better when they put blinders on... so they can only see in one direction: forward. In a fire, they cover horses' eyes, so that they will allow themselves to be led to safety. I regard these little tools as something like that... a way to keep my focus on the goal at hand, and not be distracted.
The same can be said of many of the tools we use in weight loss and maintenance as can be said of those I am now adding to my kit for sports performance. The food tracker, the exercise tracker... ways to keep focus on the task at hand. Sometimes we might go a day or two without, but we come back to the tools that work.
Here's to whatever tools work - to keep on living, and Sparking! Because we're worth it. Spark on!
Sunday, November 06, 2011
There are so many good S words I am suffering from over-stimulation and an excess of sibilence! There is my son, who is a big part of my motivation. There is the sunshine that is essential to get our vitamin D, that leads to good feelings, and overcoming seasonal affective disorder. There are sunrises and sunsets that bring beauty and meaning to each arriving day or night.
Today I choose "service" which is an element of the 12-step programs: service draws one out of self. For some of us, service has to be used very, very carefully. If your particular character lends to OVER-service, substituting sacrifice and martyrdom for a healthy self-care, it can undermine the maintenance of your own health. However, service to others can bring one out of an inward-looking self-pity, too. So, finding the right balance of service to others is vital to a successful maintenance. Only YOU can identify just what that balance is for you.
I also chose "satisfaction" becauses it is closely tied to the concept of "enough". I'm not talking smug (another S), self-satisfaction. I'm talking about the acceptance of being satisfied with whatever life, body, and circumstance I have been handed... today. Not feeling satisfied with myself, my work, my life... leads to feelings of emptiness and temptation to eat to fill that emptiness. So to nurture the sense of satisfaction that "it's OK" to have the life I have right now is to support the maintenance of healthy habits.
On to what's happening in my own little corner of the world - I had that session called a "jump start" with a personal trainer at the gym yesterday morning. I let her sell me a six-pack of training sessions, that I can use over the Winter to help me be prepared for a triathlon next year. I'll not doubt keep you up on that, too. And how close it comes to what Spark advises (I suspect very close).
One interesting aspect of this jump start was the assessment of where my fitness / body fat sits right now. This really highlights how lacking the measurements are, and the importance of looking to other means than numbers to measure. By caliper measurement (3 places), she said I was 18%. My bathroom scale (electrical pulse measure) gave 25% that morning. The little hand-held electrical impulse one she gave me to try read 30%! So when you *do* look at your body fat composition, as when you measure weight on a scale, beware of differences ... they are NOT consistent, and they claim they can be "off" by up to 10%. 18% to 30% is more than 10% different, people!
Enough of that. As with everything else... take with a grain of salt (another great S word?)
Have a wonderful Sunday, serving with satisfaction... and succeeding in meeting your personal mission in life.
Which is good. Spark on!
Saturday, November 05, 2011
Not every day is a "peak performance" day. That's OK. "Continuous Improvement" is to some degree a myth. There are plateaus and peaks and dips along the way. It's the long-term trend that's important.
Every training plan that works has periods of recovery built into it. Interval training is built around periods of intense effort and periods of recovery.
Life itself has setbacks that require adjustment, i.e. recovery. If you have an injury or get ill, it takes time for your body to recover. If heaven forbid a storm damages your home, you have to recover. If you suffer a financial loss it takes time to recover. In short, recovery is a normal, natural part of life.
Taking it in stride leads to another important R, resilience, the ability to bounce back into shape.
May we all take the time to recover, recognizing its importance to our health and the balance in our lives! Life is good... Spark on!
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