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!
Friday, November 04, 2011
Since I didn't use my M for meditation nor my P for prayer, I'm using my Q for quiet, because to be successful in maintaining a whole and healthy lifestyle, there is a requirement for the inward-looking, upward-looking, listening element. This is what helps one identify the deepest desires of the heart.
Because only the deepest desires of the heart, regularly examined, can bring the level of acceptance of who we are and that it's OK. It's OK to reach for goals. It's OK not to be perfect. It's OK to be *more* than we ever thought we could be... I may have been a "geeky brain" in school, but it's OK to be the best athletic me I can be. And it's OK to be *less* than I might at one time have thought I was. It's OK, in short, to be human. Who'd have thought that was a key element to maintenance? But for me, it is!
The past couple of years have brought surprises to me: they have been mostly "good" surprises, but some not so much. They are all part of the journey. All part of who I am becoming, and who I am revealing myself to have been all along.
The quiet, without resorting to numbing through either excessive food OR excessive exercise... adds balance and acceptance and awareness to this wonderful LIFE!
Which, as I keep reminding myself and others, is GOOD! Spark on!
Thursday, November 03, 2011
I was tempted to say P is for "pool" in honor of my recent gift to myself of a gym membership to get access to one, but one doesn't really *need* a pool to successfully maintain. However, one *does* need patience!
Neither attitudes nor physical attributes change overnight. I read somewhere, and have quoted here before that it takes a year to mentally adjust to each 25 pound change in weight. So, I've been "down" 75 pounds for a year and three months... figure I have a year and nine months staying at this point before this theory says I'll have successfully adjusted to being where I am now.
Patience is required when our all so human natures show... in dealing with other people, whose attitudes we cannot control... in life in general.
And what is maintenance but living our lives with health as a priority - another great P for maintenance, no?
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