Sunday, June 27, 2010
Call it "pop", "Coke", "soda", whatever, depending on your region of the world, but I finally gave up the bubbles on December 27, 2009, having my last diet soda with my Christmas dinner. (For those of you who don't remember, Christmas dinner was delayed by snowstorm until the 27th.)
I knew yesterday that I would blog about this today, because it's a relevant factor of my motivational cycle. What I have noticed, is that getting closer to this milestone, and with hot weather in full force, the temptation to have one has been high. And just having this date staring me in the face gave me a little stop-gap strategy: "If I can just hold off 'til the 4th of July... I'll give myself permission to have ONE soda that day."
That got me through some difficult days, and now, I'm at the half-year mark, and facing decisions:
Is this really a permanent change? Have I become a non-soda drinker? For ever? Or... should I allow myself the possibility of becoming a "once or twice a year on special occasions" soda imbiber? As with 12-step programs, this is a decision that can be made one choice at a time... "for today".
To branch off in another direction: yesterday after my shower I became aware that my towel had worn out... it was developing a bare patch. This is a really, really old towel. I acquired it in high school, when my mom let me choose colors for my room. It's orange, a bright, sunny, cheerful color that spoke to my teen-aged self of energy and a future. Now, it's old, and thread-bare. It is destined for the trash (or to be a car-wash towel, rather). I think I've got my mom's money's worth out of this one!
But noticing the old towel and recognizing how long I've held on to it (we're talking 40 years here)... took the mind in the direction of "what else do I hang on to"? And that led to habits and coping strategies... sometimes we hang on to them beyond the point of threadbare, too. Or maybe that's just me.
When they stop being useful, what do YOU do with them? Do they hang around and get taken out from time to time? Or are they really, really gone?
The old towel and the soda habit. Will the towel be in the trash six months from now? And will I still be soda-free? To be continued... call me on it next Christmas, OK?
Saturday, June 26, 2010
It's Day 3 of my "blog for a month" challenge. What I am discovering is that the commitment to blog brings some other good habits with it. In an effort to have things to blog about, I find myself keeping those promises to myself... and also because I'm writing about motivation it makes it easier to keep those promises. Sounds like a win-win.
As for last weekend's little lapse with the emotional eating, looking to avoid it this weekend, partly BY blogging. Accountability comes in many forms.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Day 2 of the blog for a month challenge - my spark a day calendar tells me to journal about motivation today. Funny how the timing of things on a calendar can fit so perfectly at times!
Seriously, motivation is the key to everything, isn't it? WHY am I doing this? WHY do I care? Aren't those the little devil-voices that haunt our footsteps (and meal choices)...
I don't know how many of you are self-help junkies (like me), but there is this book that's been around for a while, so it's probably somewhat "out of fashion". It's called The Solution, written by Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D., the creator of the Shapedown Program at U of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. Copyright 1997. The purpose of the program was to help adolescents with weight issues.
This book was an eye-opener for me, back in that time frame, and some parts of it I wasn't ready for yet. But it identified six causes and six cures, divided into three areas: MIND, BODY, and LIFESTYLE.
In the section on MIND, were the causes Weak Nurturing and Ineffective Limits. Their corresponding cures? Strong Nurturing and Effective Limits.
BODY outlined causes of Body Shame and Poor Vitality, countered by cures Body Pride and Good Health (that's the part I wasn't ready for at the time).
Finally, LIFESTYLE causes were Unbalanced Eating and Stalled Living. Their cures were Balanced Eating and Mastery Living.
The interesting thing about this and many other books that address those of us who struggle with weight issues over and over again... they all boil down to some combination of these factors. Pick your favorite metaphor, your guru, your program (even down to our friendly experts here at SparkPeople.com). All preaching the same stuff: this is not a one-dimensional problem!
Motivation must be addressed first and foremost... because if you lack that, all the knowledge in the world of "how" won't help!
All that soap-boxing over, just what is my motivation, today? Yesterday, on the drive to work, it dawned on me that this boils down to a couple very simple questions:
1. Do you want to keep living? Well, yes, of course, duh! OK, so not depressed. Passed that test.
2. What do you want your quality of life to be like for the rest of your life?
I want to be functionally fit... just look at what I rejoiced about it blogs recently... being able to climb stairs without hyperventilating... being able to help someone move without suffering for a long time after the effort. I want to be ABLE. That's the bottom line for me. I want to be independent, physically and mentally... the helper, not the victim.
A simple motivation perhaps, but it is abundantly clear for those of us in our second-half century. Even if we got away with some not so healthy behaviors in the past... has it served us well? How did I feel when I behaved that way long-term? How have I felt while "on program" (in whichever incarnation that was, dating back to, say 1989)?
Bottom line, I am doing this because it makes me a happier, healthier person. And that's for my own benefit and the benefit of those around me!
What's keeping YOU going today?
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Confession: While I've been in this little motivational paralysis place, I've been hiding out in some of the Facebook based video games, and neglecting my Sparking.
Realization: I haven't been getting my e-mail notifications of my favorite message board updates. I have to be more proactive getting my daily Sparks! And I really NEED those daily sparks! This morning I got one by going to my friend feed and finding someone else's blog... and seeing her turn herself around and write about it. It's important to share. It's inspiring to see that not only CAN it be done, but lots of people just like me, with struggles and challenges and real lives ARE doing it... one foot in front of the other!
Resolution: So, since I'm not getting the e-mails to get me going, perhaps a personal challenge and resolution will do it. I resolve to come blog six out of seven days for the next month... good or bad, whine or cheer, how it's going and any random thoughts. This will probably turn into my little pep talk to myself.
To the present, and living in it!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
When I got to work this morning, the office building was dark. No lights in the hallway, no elevators working! Boy was I glad I worked on fitness the past year and a half... I could do the stairs, multiple times, and not hyperventilate upon reaching my floor.
Seriously, I'm fighting the battle of the motivational slump. Had three not so great days over the weekend and going in to Monday. In retrospect I see several elements at work...
One, that I'd had a really challenging weekend getting daughter in law moved and a lot of family... and I did my share of "bragging"... uh, rephrase, "taking credit for" my efforts. I rocked my niece's fitness wear while meeting her son for the first time. Then I worked a bunch of overtime last week. Then suddenly, it was the weekend and I was feeling lazy and rebellious. I had some "substitute" food in the house, not the best choices from the store, that I didn't read the labels and put back on the shelf but should have.
Long and little of it... I started on a tear Saturday afternoon, and it continued Sunday, and Monday evening, too. Back on track Tuesday... but... 'scuse me, it's scary. I've lost weight before. My problem is not losing, it's that motivational slump called maintenance.
Another element: chatting with my son over the weekend, and assimilating some of the things he sneaks in telling me in dribs and drabs. It dawned on me later, but I was partially conscious of it at the time... I didn't want to think about how I felt about what he said. Yeah, that's a twisty, turny, squishy way of saying... I might have been eating to stuff the emotions rather than face them.
I give great advice to others BECAUSE I'm oh, so human myself. I KNOW this cycle. And because I know it, I can stop it. Yeah! That's the ticket! I can do this... I can preserve this wonderful fitness that lets me take those steps when the power fails.
To life, ladies and gents... to living it!
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