Monday, February 27, 2012
As I sit here looking at the scale, I see that I'm up, compared to a year ago. I also see, looking at the broader picture, beyond the scale, that I'm back into a pattern. My patterns run really long, as I tried explaining to my doctor about three years ago.
He had asked me if I tended to gain in the Winter and lose when it got nicer out. I said to him, no, when I gain, I gain for a long time, and when I lose I take a long time doing it. What's hard is the maintenance of a loss... I'm usually doing one or the other. Losing or gaining.
Here's one of the problems with the beginning of the great slip and slide back into gaining: you HAVE been successful. You have met your goal (or got real close to it). And maybe even gone beyond it, which caused you to lower your concept of what the goal is. In my case, the original goal was 150. Then I found I was not ready to stop, kept eating at the same range and being active, and my body found 135. I said "it's time to stop", but it didn't stop. As I continued to be active, I got to 125, and even a little lower, to where my training weight was 122.
I was being quite the active athlete last year: 10 miles, half marathon, 5K, Mud Run, 5 miles, another 5K. Then I did something I can in retrospect recognise: I raised the expectations bar for activity.
I signed on for a half marathon this year, and have had my sights on a triathlon for this Summer. I hired a personal trainer, AND worked out a blended training plan to cover the two major events. Again, in retrospect, I can see this was a bit much for me.
Why? Because OTHER things in life make demands on the most scarce resource we all have: time. Work demands, body caving to the stress with illness... you know the drill. My activity dropped to give my body recovery time. And now? It's hard to start back. I know I have to drop the intensity and ease back in... but I recognize the patterns from years back.
Weight has crept up... back to the 130 range. Ouch. The urge to binge eat comes with the work stress. I know what I have to do, but I have a hard time making myself do it.
Then the little intervenes and tries to call itself "kind" when it says: your original goal, even your second original goal, are still here. Don't be so hard on yourself... maybe this is normal. Remember after you dropped all that weight in '89? You gained ten pounds the year after that... and dropped another dress size while you were at it!
But that didn't stay with me... and eventually it all came back. What I'm trying to do now is stop that regain. I think I have to do it better... I've been through this phase at least 3 times, where I over-extended, then gave up. I started "phoning in" the workouts, still did the events, but was truly wearing myself out.
Time to stop deceiving myself about several things: what the goal really is, for one. I am not out to be a top athlete. I am in this for a HEALTHY level of fit. I am in this for self-nurturing, not competition. Slow down. Draw that line in the sand. But don't cross it.
Let the body decide what the scale shall say... by eating within range, and keeping that moderate activity level. Thus we shall weather the storms of life.
Which, as I keep saying, is Good! Spark on!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Brother MobyCarp gave me the springboard for today's reverie, when he included these wise words in his response to yesterday's blog: "we all learn when we're ready to learn".
Yep. True words. So what can we do to prepare ourselves for learning those lessons that we might want to resist? How do we encourage open-mindedness in ourselves?
Well, for one thing, we allow ourselves the time to do so. Ever see the recommendations that you take half an hour a day for yourself? To center on what it is you want/need? Whether that is prayer or meditation or just plain "me time"... it's a vital part of being ready to face what life throws at us and being ready to learn those lessons. It's the time when we figure out what we HAVE learned, or start to put together the answers.
I don't know what everyone else's church services are like, but one of the parts of a service I'm fond of going to is "preparation for prayer". It reminds me of the starting steps of meditation, as well... quieting what's around us, so we can truly listen to what one's higher power or the universe or however YOU define the answering voice to be.
Truth emerges from this quietness. Even if I fear the answers, I need to hear them. But most of the time? The answers are kind!
Here is to quiet time... and to being prepared to learn.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Kaligirl speculated yesterday in her response to my blog over whether we have to repeat lessons until we learn them. Interesting aspect of human life.
I work as a programmer (short version... I could get specific, but who would care?). One of the biggest challenges in programming and analysis is getting the requirements right. Why? Because often they are unstated, or implied, and the hearer "doesn't get" them, because the hearer can't read the mind of the person stating the requirement... only hear or read the words he or she is given. This can lead to bad programs and unhappy users! We've all seen that funny picture of "What the user wanted"... a tire swing hung off a tree by a single rope... going through progressive warps before it becomes three boards linked too closely together for anyone to sit on them, suspended by multiple ropes. What happened?
I'm thinking that some of these life lessons are similar. We actually have multiple forces at work in our psyches!
Let's take the obvious: we set out to lose weight. We succeed. What did we learn?
1. We learned that we CAN change our body size and shape through changing what we do.
2. We may have learned that we felt pretty good throughout the process.
But we may have learned some unstated things that may lead us to be unhappy users of the product (healthy habits). For example:
3. We may have learned that losing weight and changing our body size did not solve ALL our problems. We may have learned that we still had an unhappy marriage. Or an unhealthy job situation. Or ... fill in the blank.
This can be a discouraging lesson to learn, and sometimes it leads us to "give up" for a while, because we had unrealistic expectations of weight loss / fitness.
Lesson from regaining:
4. We may have NEEDED to learn that you have to keep up the behaviors to keep the weight off. Losing doesn't teach that lesson. Regaining does. But sometimes it is hard to convince yourself to start again because during loss you learned:
5. It takes hard work and determination and constant vigilence to lose. It takes those same things to maintain.
6. Maintaining a healthy weight depends on behaviors. For some people those behaviors are natural. For others of us, not so much... and we have to be "obsessive" about the habits to get the results.
Lessons learned during loss/maintenance:
7. We may have learned that we HAVE emotions we didn't want to acknowledge.
8. We NEEDED to learn and practice healthier ways of dealing with those emotions. For some people, those healthier ways are natural. For others of us... again, not so much... we need to keep ourselves fit in more ways than the physical to feel whole.
In short, we learned some lessons that support being healthy, and some that can discourage us... and until we're ready to accept the discouraging ones, and "do it anyway"... we will repeat the experiences.
Life is good... we are learning... and as long as we never give up... long term success is ours.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
When it comes to significant turning points in life, do we recognize them at the time, or only YEARS, nay, in my case, DECADES later? The anniversary of one of those turning points is coming up for me.
Monday, February 27, 1989. That makes it 23 years, coming up. It was the day that I went to my first Weight Watchers at Work meeting. I was miserable. My husband did not want me to go, and in fact locked me out of the room where my winter coat was. I was angry and determined, swiped HIS coat out of a closet, and went, anyway.
The scale said something very discouraging: 224.5. During the next week, I was very strict in following the plan, the old one with exchanges, and limited eggs and cheese. When I went back the next week, I had dropped 10.5 pounds! Of course the losses were less over the following weeks and months, but by October, people I had worked with and not seen in a few months did not recognize me.
I never did reach my "goal" weight that time, and in fact, struggled with maintenance and regained, lost and regained, many times since. But today I look back on that date as the start of my journey of putting health higher on my list of priorities. It was in that year that I learned I could do it, and how. What I've struggled with since has been the maintenance of motivation.
Now, I examine carefully my slips and slides, seeking to learn whatever lesson is there for me. The motto of "Never give up" is a strong one. The motto of "it feels so good to be fit" is also strong. But sometimes it helps to look back at where one came from: from the days of not being able to take five steps across a room without becoming out of breath. From the days of knees hurting, back hurting, because of the excess burden I had put on them.
When tempted to give up, after a time of success... it is good to remember... that this journey is WORTH IT! Feel good about taking each step, even the ones that slip and slide... and go forward... into health. Into feeling good. Into the YOU that you were made to be.
LIFE is good. Choose LIFE. And Spark on!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
What gets your healthy motivation pumping? Seriously, what trips your trigger and makes you start really getting into taking good care of you?
Two things happened today: One, I got an e-mail from someone asking for some help. Two, my new swimsuit got delivered.
Which of these items would spur you to do well? Which would throw you into a tailspin?
It's all a matter of attitude. There have been days in my life when either one would have either a good or a bad effect, driving me further into bad behavior or rejoicing in good behavior.
So... where is the attitude today? I'm hoping it's in the good lean, toward health. Because I'm worth it. Bootstraps, Barb, bootstraps. Grab your motivation wherever you can... it surrounds you!
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