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Advice to me

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I am the queen of unsolicited advice.

Even if you didn't ask for my opinion, I will certainly share it. I once told a friend that I was thinking about giving up gossip and unsolicited advice as a New Year's resolution, to which she responded, "But what will we talk about?"

So as I think about my own weight loss journey, I think it's helpful to take a step back and honestly assess why I'm not where I want to be.

Dear Self:

First of all, I think you should be commended for wanting to take charge of your health. And it's okay to admit that while having a lower cholesterol number is a fine goal, it's also perfectly acceptable that you want to have a more shapely butt and wear a smaller size.

If I had to give you an overall assessment, I'd say that you struggle with consistency. According to your reward system, some days you'll earn $4, then nothing the next day. Wouldn't it be nice if you could turn in a little performance each day? As Bud Grant once said, "Durability beats ability." And this, my friend, is a marathon - not a sprint. (A fine phrase, courtesy of my division's CEO.)

I've noticed that you're not nearly eating as many sweets as you used to. That "60 Minutes" segment on sugar was alarming to me, too. You could probably cut back a little more, even, but if you make it a gradual transition, I'm guessing you will hardly notice it at all.

Now, for the tough parts.

I know you're pleased - no, slightly smug - about the fact that you don't eat fast food. But you do eat out quite a bit, and while it's not necessarily prepared "fast," it doesn't mean that you can eat whatever strikes your fancy. I realize that a lot of dining out is part of your job - and that's okay - but consider striving for a 90% goal of making healthy choices. Even though the restaurant calls them pommes frites, they're still french fries, you know?

And I know that you often taper off tracking your food when you're too tired to figure out exactly what was in it at the restaurant. Sorry, honey - that won't work. If you force yourself to journal your food, then you'll make sure that you order things that CAN be journaled easily, instead of wondering what exactly was in the mystery sauce.

Oh, and the exercise part.... I know your biggest challenge has been the chronic pain in your back, knee, and the variability of your energy due to, ahem, perimenopause. But didn't you feel great on Friday when you worked out even when you didn't feel like it? I know you hurt the next two days, but you CAN take pain medication and manage this - and the doctor said you could come back in a month or two if the back pain isn't improving. However, we both see a definite improvement so I think you'll be back to new in no time at all. Just do what you can and be good to yourself.

Speaking of being good to yourself - I see you struggle with stress eating particularly at work, but sometimes at home. Regardless of whether it's a snack or glass of wine, they do add up, so you may want to consider substituting other activities instead. All that reading we do on human behavior indicates that we're easily distracted, so take advantage of that.

On the subject of snacking, I've noticed that you're not doing that at night as much, so good job on that! Isn't it exciting to see that you CAN change your behavior? I guarantee that if you are consistent, you'll look back at yourself in a year and think, "What a nice butt."

That's all for now. We'll catch up later.

Love, Me

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUE42DOWN 4/16/2012 2:00PM

    Heehee, loved the idea of giving YOURSELF unsolicited advice. Very cute. And definitely a good way to review areas that you feel need some work.

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BELLE0308 4/15/2012 8:46PM

    Good idea to self assess in this way. Its a good way to keep it real. WAY TO GO!!! It sounds like you are doing great!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DANALMILLAN 4/15/2012 7:42PM

    I think this was an awesome idea...you have definitely "sparked" me with an idea! I am going to also write a letter to myself as a source of motivation! Thank you so much for sharing this with us and giving me an idea to help keep myself motivated!!!!

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Straw vs. Back of Camel

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ugh. I am SO not where I want to be.

On the plus side, I am pleased that my weight is a mere 2 lbs above where it was when I last tracked it on the site.

But.. I had hoped to be so much farther along.

Sure, I have excuses: my body has been quite disagreeable lately, between a chronic injury and a not-so-minor kitchen incident involving my index finger and a blender. Work is nuts. As a woman-of-a-certain-age, my hormones have a life of their own, and it seems that sometimes, I'm just along for the ride.

So I took a break.

But here's the frustrating part: a couple of work colleagues who didn't take said break in their weight loss journey keep pushing on. And They. Look. Great.

And I am happy for them - but frustrated for myself. Why didn't I keep it up?

Looking back, it was all that I could do to get myself presentable for work in the morning. Figuring out how to portion out my business lunch is just too much. Going to the gym when I can barely keep my eyes open due to the painkillers that I'm taking.

Simply put, needing to keep an eye on my diet was the proverbial straw that would have pushed me over the edge. Or so I thought.

So I left it off, and I'm not happy with what came to be as a result.

My husband says that I need to be kinder to myself, and while I agree that's true, I also see that we don't always have the benefit of living with the results of our decisions.

And mine is that if left unchecked, I may need to be on cholesterol medication in six months.

And I still hate my dress size.

Now that I've gotten THAT out of my system, let's take an inventory of what's good:

1) I'm still here.
2) I wrote down what I ate this morning and commit to doing it for the rest of today.
3) I have a hot date with my kickboxing class tonight.

And for now, those are the only decisions that I will make.

Tomorrow, new decisions.

Results? Not gonna worry. Just focusing on today.


Are you interested, or committed?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's been a crazy (in a good way) month with a number of social obligations, and while I haven't been as diligent as I would like, I have managed to keep my weight stable.

However, I have reached the danger point: after two months, this is the time where boredom sets in. And in the past, I have cut corners, smiling at the scale when it behaves (in spite of my efforts) and raging when it doesn't (even though deep down, I know it was a result of MY behavior).

Some time ago, I read a great weight loss book (and I apologize for the lack of attribution) that asked a vital question:


I put that in caps because it's pretty important if you stop and think about it.

INTERESTED means that I read other people's SP stories.
COMMITTED means that I plan on what I can do to ensure that I write my own.

INTERESTED means that I eat whatever is in the house.
COMMITTED means that I plan and shop accordingly.

INTERESTED means that I believe that I can surround myself with any food I want. COMMITTED means that I know certain foods are triggers; and I don't give myself the option of eating it by keeping it away from me.

INTERESTED means I go to the gym when I feel like it.
COMMITTED means that I go to the gym, even when I don't wanna, and at the risk of having a short and/or lousy workout anyway.

INTERESTED means that I put my comfort first.
COMMITTED means that I put my goals first, and acknowledge that in some instances, I will go without foods I like.

INTERESTED means that I hope for success.
COMMITTED means that I take small steps each day to make my own success happen.

Tomorrow, I'm off for a work trip, which is traditionally a difficult time for me. However, I'm bringing my iPad and am COMMITTED to writing down what I eat. Oh, and I'll be at the hotel fitness center, too!

Have a COMMITTED week, y'all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IGSBETH 10/27/2011 12:44PM

    Way to go!

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ADVENTURESEEKER 10/26/2011 10:21PM

    Awesome view to have!

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TEENY_BIKINI 10/26/2011 10:18PM


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OMSOME 9/14/2011 2:10PM

    Good luck! You can do this. emoticon

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PAMMY222 9/13/2011 9:35PM

    Good blog! Thank you for sharing the Interested or Committed quotes. Makes me think about my own journey.

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BLUESPYDER41 9/13/2011 9:28PM

    Right on the money. Have a good business trip!

Keep on, keeping on!


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FITFABJENN 9/13/2011 8:33PM

    I love this blog! So profound. Thanks for sharing.,

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Seeing the future - in my closet

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Yesterday morning, while standing in the upstairs bathroom, I made a big decision:

This was the day I would tackle my upstairs closet.

Not that the closet is particularly big (thank you, older home!) nor is it my only closet, either. But this one has silently vexed me and I have chosen to simply ignore it.

As a result, I've used either the six inches of space directly in front of me, or - shameful confession time - a shower rod in the (generally unused) upstairs bathroom.

Given that I am neither a "stuff" person (no definition needed - you know who you are if this applies to you) nor do I like clutter in any way, shape, or form, this has been particularly distasteful.

So, I went to it. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with clothing. Love it because as a corporate type, I get to wear nice clothing, and I love, love, love shoes and handbags. Hate because I'm a mix between misses and plus sizes and finding flattering clothing that fits can be a challenge.

But I discovered a few things:

1) I'm covered for the next two sizes. No more using that stupid excuse, "But if I lose weight, think of all the extra money I wil have to spend for clothing!"

2) Thank goodness for buying the classics. Some of these items are ten (!) years old, but they still appear to be in style.

3) There is a fair amount of liberation in throwing out (in my case, donating) perfectly good, smaller clothes that you never liked even when you were able to wear them.

But as I was happily sorting away, I paused and wondered: what made today different? After all, this closet has been relatively untouched for, oh, eight years. And I'm only ten pounds and one size into my weight loss progress.

I realized that this was the first time that I could see a future me - someone who is successful in her weight loss journey. For all the times I've tried dieting before, this is the first time that I fully, honestly expect to reach my goal at the end.

Even if I spend Friday night celebrating with hubby for his birthday.
Even if I discover - the hard way - why having See's Bridge Mix in the house is not a good choice right now.
Even if I miss a workout.

Because every time I deviate off course, my first response is to seek the path and get back to it - gladly. And I don't think I've ever been so happy to do that.

But I think it's mostly to the words I read from other SPers - seeing your troubles, your celebrations, your success. For every person who's posted about reaching their goals, I think, I CAN TOO.

So, thank you! Because of you all, I can see the future, and she's wearing smaller pants.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAMMY222 9/4/2011 1:56PM

    Loved your post! Good for you for tackling that closet, so many of us have. I also have the next 2 sizes waiting for me to lose the weight! My challenge is to box up and donate the clothes I am growing out of, getting too big.
Even though my resolutions are stronger this time, I'm making every effort to make this the last time, I still .... well, you know.
What I really need to do is box them up as they get too big and let my DH just take them away. That way I don't have an opportunity to wait (wait for what--I don't know).
emoticon emoticon

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Newton's First Law, and why it applies to exercise

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First, a brief nerdy part. For those of you who tried to avoid physics class, it reads like this:

"Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. "

A more scientific type would be able to interpret this correctly, but this MBA-type will state it this way:


So what does it mean? For me, I am forcing (pushing) myself to go to the gym today, even though I'm in the middle of a visit from my Aunt Peri...Menopause, and my mood is about as sour as month-old milk. (An aside: when I was younger, I couldn't figure out why my mother would go from zero to you-know-what in the blink of an eye; why she insisted in living in the frigid tundra...in our living room; and why the tweezers became her best friend. It was all one big joke to me, for which I am certain God is now enjoying a good laugh at my expense. But I digress...)

I love to exercise, but getting to it can be a challenge, when mood/lack of time/general well-being override the act of getting there. On days when it's particularly challenging, I will sometimes make a pact to just GO to the gym. Whatever we end up doing is okay by me. Often, I will have my best workouts on those days when I never intended to go in the first place.

I'm always amazed when I hear that someone hates exercise. That's like saying, "I hate breathing." My feeling is, you may be going about it the wrong way. Consider the following:

- Don't let anyone put you in a box as to what you can or cannot do. Growing up, my mom would always tell everyone that I was a klutz just like she was. I know she meant well, but seriously?! Fortunately, I discovered aerobics in high school and the rest, they say, is history. Eventually, I ended up teaching and I believe the following: if you can stand in a room of people viewing your back end for an hour, I say you have courage.

You want to eventually run a marathon but you currently need to lose 150 lbs? You CAN get there, my friend. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

- Just like there's someone for everyone out there, there's an activity for everyone as well. And you may need to date around to find it. For me, I love yoga but dislike pilates; hated spinning until about seven years ago - and now I can't imagine life without it; love to run even though I'm not the fastest in the pack, and so on.

- Environment matters. For some folks (like me) the group setting is helpful. Others prefer being alone. This, too, may vary by your mood. And speaking as a former group exercise instructor, if yours isn't supportive and helpful, then find one who is. Believe me, they are out there. You don't need to be a size zero to hit the gym. If you think otherwise, then find a different one.

- What's with the music?? My Mp3 player is for one thing, and one thing only: working out. I'm always amazed when I hear people claim that certain songs are good for working out - they sound like a snoozefest!

People - get some good music, the kind you might not listen to normally but has a higher beat per minute count and will make you move. (Scientific studies support this, too.)

- Sweating is okay. In fact, you may have already paid good money to do it in a spa, so why not sweat for free? Ditto for breathing heavily (assuming your doctor has signed off on this).

- Bonus points: get a heart rate monitor, and have yourself tested to find your anaerobic threshold. Then you'll know how hard (or perhaps not as hard) you'll need to work out.

- Variety, as in many things, is the spice of life. I have a friend who's frustrated that she isn't seeing results, but the truth is, she's been doing the same thing over and over again. You don't need to exercise for two hours per day to see changes in your body. Consider changing 1) what you do; 2) how hard you do it; 3) how long you do it. I see a trainer 1x/month for a new weight routine - but you can use the FREE resources here to make your own.

- Weights rock. So do plyometrics (that's activities involving impact). Definitely do the first, and consider adding the second at some point. Oh, and the weights should be HARD for you. If you can lift the same weight all the live long day, go up a size or three. And make sure that someone has viewed your form so you minimize the chance of hurting yourself by using other muscles to compensate.

- Need a push? Just DO IT. Turn on the exercise video. Grab the weights. Go outside. Hit the gym. Whatever works. If you need an extra shove, visit SP and find an inspiring story from your amazing, awesome fellow SPers.

Rock on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATS_MEOW_0911 8/21/2011 9:36PM

    Great blog, and great analogy!

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