Friday, September 07, 2012
Today's topic, from the list:
"How do you measure progress towards or maintenance? Scale weight? Body fat percentage? How your clothes fit? Other? "
My answer is a combination of the above. My "other" that I measure is my mental attitude and my physical behavior. Because actions follow thought. If I detect anger or resentment, in particular... I have to start examining what's going on. If I see slips in eating... i.e. purposeless indulgences... rationalization of extra treats... that's something to look at. This is truly the early warning system.
But if the early warning system should fail? Reality checks!
I do weigh daily. I do track the 7 day rolling average... that is a reality check of how I'm trending.
I do tape measure my body (monthly), and this is a HUGE check on my fitness, beyond the number on the scale. Am I in training? It shows in the tape measurements when I am.
How my clothes fit isn't quite as big a deal for me... it happens a little too late to make the adjustments I need to make.
Finally, the progress photos... if I'm not training and posting athletic event photos, I *do* take a fitness-posed snapshot of myself end of each month. I tend to skip them when I'm putting up a mud run or race picture... they would be overkill... but through the winter, they are a huge item in my reality check network.
We can do this, but only if we live in the present and SEE what's there! LIFE is good. Spark on!
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Since I haven't included it since day 2, I'll tuck it into a post every so often through the 30 days. This is the link to TanyaP71's initial Challenge to blog on the thirty defined topics: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Today's topic: "What has been most challenging about maintaining a weight loss (now or in the past)?"
I didn't figure this out for a while, but for me the most challenging thing about maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been dealing with what I will call the sea-changes of life.
I often would refer to my regain after having kept it off for most of five years as "life happened" or "life exploded on me" or whatever. But seriously, just about every time I have "lost" my maintenance it was because I became overwhelmed by changes in my life that messed with my then-routine self-care.
Sometimes it was HUGE... like my husband leaving me alone in a city with a dependent child and a demanding job. Sometimes it was less huge, like a change in my flexible work schedule that used to allow a good gym rotation, and "suddenly" did not. Once it was the demands of new motherhood. Once it was an injury... tripping over the dog injured my foot (don't laugh, it happens), and I didn't deal well with recovery.
What went wrong those times, and what has been different in the past few years (entering year 3 of maintenance at this point)? A few problems and a solution for dealing with them.
1. Failure to PLAN for change... because life WILL change, trust anybody who's lived more than 25 years! Look just a bit ahead (not so far that I'll freak out)... and draw that line in the sand (of the minimal self-care I will NOT give up) for the stressful busy times.
2. Losing the sense of priority for myself and my health. Thinking something else was more important than taking care of me. I have found the line in the sand method works well for this, too... there is a certain amount of self-care that has to become as automatic as brushing teeth or taking a shower. That line has MOVED in the past five years.
3. Saying "yes" to outside demands when I really needed to say "no". I have learned the power of "no". Is this going to disappoint some folks? Yep. Is it going to make me uncomfortable if it does? Yep. But it also gains the respect of those same folks, they will not take advantage of my people-pleasing nature if *I* respect my line in the sand and balance my life. As I started to practice this, the response surprised me. In a good way.
Another secret: when I make myself a priority, and manage my stress... it helps me remember (as does hanging out at Spark)... the most important thing: that I'm worth taking care of! I'm not going to "save the world" if I don't first take care of my health.
LIFE is good. But it can only be lived in the present. One day at a time. Spark on!
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Today's topic: "What is your weight history like? How old where you when you first 'went on a diet'? Have you lost and regained? How is this time different from others?"
Can we spell yo-yo? Not really, yo-yo's return too quickly. Roller coaster is more like it... precipitous rises and falls.
I was between high school and college when I first "went on a diet". It was unhealthy, and those fears from yesterday's blog kicked in big time, and of course I regained. I sort of tried, half-heartedly for a few years after that, but really didn't have the knowledge... that was the time of the crazy attempts. Feast/fast, cabbage soup, Ayds candy... remember those?
Have I lost and regained? Oh, yeah. No stranger to that. This took me several tries... BUT, I point back to 1989 and the old Weight Watchers exchange plan as teaching me what I needed to know. Granted, I was too stringent that time, learned some lessons with the eventual re-gain (kept it off nearly 5 years that time before life fell apart on me).
Then began the motivational wars with myself. Every time since then that I have committed to the process, I knew I could be successful, and I was... as long as I could keep up the motivation. I have had side-trips caused by not dealing well with transitions in life. I had a hard time with recovering from an injury (tripped over the dog)...
But what's different about this time? My heavens... I have discovered that it is the behaviors that make me happy: good nutrition, proper exercise, enough sleep, and being kind to myself when I slip up... dropping perfectionism for effort, instead. That's what's different.
Plus, the real secret weapon: the community of Spark People, supporting one another through the highs and the lows. Spark friends remind me every day that 1) we are all human, and 2) we are WORTH the effort, each and every one of us.
May you be blessed in this Wednesday! LIFE is good. Spark on.
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Topic of the day: "What are (or were) your fears about weight loss?"
I had some classics, mostly in denial about them through my earlier attempts.
1. Fear of unwanted attention and having to actually make choices that might hurt someone's feelings or heaven forbid not please somebody, rather than just letting my layers of fat push people away for me.
2. Fear of regaining.
3. Fear of loss of identity. If I'm not "the fat sister"... who am I? And with that, fear that once I got under the layers of what I thought other people expected me to be, there would be no "me" under there!
I have a secret about fears: once I face them and find out it doesn't kill me to face them, they lose a lot of their power. I'm not saying they disappear entirely, but they lose power, every time they are faced down.
Monday, September 03, 2012
Today's topic questions: "Who have you shared your weight loss goals with? What has been good about sharing your goals?"
Oh, my goodness... this is a classic. I share my mindset about weight loss / maintenance and even more about fitness with anybody who asks or will listen (when I'm in a Barb bubbling mode)! However, sharing the actual goal weight number? Ha-yell NO! That way leads to insanity and obsession! To competition and feelings of inadequacy!
That said, I did share my number with my daughter in law when we started the journey, because she and I signed on to this together. I wonder whether that was a good idea, in the end, as I'm maintaining a good 30 pounds under that, and it could be intimidating to her. She's still struggling a good deal higher than the original number, and has set her sights differently.
What's good about sharing goals? In terms of actual scale numbers, to my way of thinking, NOTHING! OK, I take that back: as a reality check, perhaps. "Is my goal appropriate to my height and age and gender?"
What's good about sharing fitness / nutrition goals? EVERYTHING! Support, accountability, mutual encouragement... I get all these things by talking about my lifestyle with family, friends, and of course a HUGE boost here on Spark.
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