Wednesday, January 14, 2009
One thing I learned: tell someone (or lots of someones) you intend to do something, and it makes you keep your promise to yourself...I did the spin classes back to back today, though I can't say I felt much like it when my alarm went off this morning at 6:15 am. So, I'm not sure I would have kept to my plan without having written here that I intended to do so. But, mission accomplished and I was surprised how much energy I had for the second class. I went into the class telling myself that if it became too hard, I would leave and that I wasn't going to push myself too hard. But, I went all out, for the entire class and ended up burning 956 calories in the process! Of course that doesn't include the calories burned during the lifting/ab portion of my workout.
So this led me to ponder some other things about my journey (I do a lot of pondering-still looking for that "key"). I figured a few more things out: The most important key to success is that "this" can't be a temporary fix. You know, when we all have dieted in the past, we all envisioned the process ending. While running and sweating our mind would drift to a thought about after we lost the weight and we would no longer run, or we could have that cookie/cake/pizza once we reached our goal weight. I vividly remember that very thought crossing my mind during the most recent previous time I attempted to lose weight. I also remember always "disliking" the exercise, but accepting it as a necessary evil as a means to my end(losing the weight). So, it's easy to see why I always gained the weight back(and gave up before ever losing it all in the first place). When talking about "lifestyle change" we have to accept that the things we need to do in order to lose the weight now, must be permanent habits that we continue to do forever. In order to make that happen it all starts in our head, and how we think. We must learn to like exercise. In order to do that we have to find the positives, the joys, in the exercise. By that I mean, when outdoors walking/running notice all the beauty around you, tune into your body and fell how you feel, enjoy the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground, how the cool air feels on your skin, in you lungs, envision your body getting stronger, healthier, more fit. When in the gym look at yourself in the mirror and watch your muscles work, and know how strong you are getting. On those days when your energy is down, don't let negative thoughts about the process of exercising creep into your head, instead banish them and replace them with the memories of the experiences I listed above. Remind yourself of you feel post workout and if necessary make little deals with yourself to only do a short workout or not push yourself, whatever it takes to get yourself into your workout clothes and started, because once you get started there's a good chance you won't quit until the workout is completed.
Other observations: Eating mindlessly and impulsively (without intention or awareness) and/or using food to manage your emotions and distract yourself from unpleasant thoughts—this is what really needs to change. The way you think of food needs to change. You need to see food for it's nutritional value, and how it will fuels your body. Don't tie feelings to food, this is hard since we all have memories that involve food, but it's absolutely necessary if you are to remove the power that food holds over you.This doesn't mean the surface level things don't matter. Clearly, controlling how much and what you eat is vital, and caring how you look is a great motivator. To make this work for the long term this time means you have to take personal responsibility for what you can control, and let go of everything else. The biggest tool to do that is how you think, make your thoughts about healthy food/exercise be positive ones. Allow yourself to enjoy the taste of "naked"(food without fattening sauces/creams etc) food concentrate on the flavor, texture, etc. while you are eating, and don't just mindlessly fill your mouth and gulp it down. Your thoughts are your best weapons in fighting this battle, use them to find the good in al that is needed in order to get healthy and fit.
Many factors that are out of your control—your genes, age, medical status and previous weight history— will affect your weight and appearance. These factors may determine how much weight you can lose, how quickly you’ll lose it, and how you’ll look and feel when you’ve gone as far as you can go. When you focus too narrowly on the numbers on the scale or what you see in the mirror, you are staking your happiness and satisfaction on things you really can’t control. That pretty much guarantees that you’ll be chronically worried, stressed, and uncomfortable—and more likely than ever to have problems with emotional eating.
My workout: super/giant sets
overhead press 1x12 40lbs 1x12 45lbs 2x10 50lbs
w/lat raises 4x12 20lbs
EZ Bar curls 4x12 35lbs
w/close grip bench press 4x12 60lbs
w/lying dumbbell tricep extensions 4x12 35lbs
Zottman curls 4x10 30lbs
w/dips 4x12 -
w/rope pressdowns 4x12 45lbs
leg ups 4x25
55 min spin class
55 min spin class
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Left for Boston at 5:00 am and just returned at 10:00 pm. No exercise!!! The only highlight is that we traipsed up and down the stairs of the brownstone for about 20 minutes moving my daughter back into her house.
Plan to make up for it tomorrow by taking 2 spin classes after I lift.
Many experts believe that one of the primary building blocks of strong motivation is self-efficacy, which in simple terms is the sense that you can do what you need to do to accomplish your goal. Self-efficacy is not the same thing as general self-esteem, self-confidence, or positive thinking. One way it’s different from these other things is that it is “goal specific”—self-efficacy is not about believing that you can do anything you set your mind to, it’s about believing that you can do the very specific things required to achieve a particular goal.
If you want to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy in connection with your healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss goals, you need to give yourself opportunities to be successful at the small, specific tasks required to meet your overall goal—like making good food choices and sticking to your exercise plans more often than not. You can’t build self-efficacy simply by telling yourself “I can do it” over and over again. You need to have a realistic idea of what actually needs to be done, and frequently demonstrate to yourself that you can actually do those things.
you need to “give yourself opportunities to be successful” at them. And that brings us back to the issue of mindfulness.
When you’re being mindful, you can build up your sense of self-efficacy just as easily by paying attention to your failures and difficulties as by being successful—and maybe end up more strongly motivated in the process.
You already know this, and you probably do it all the time—but maybe not in connection with eating and exercise. It’s really nothing more complicated than learning from your mistakes as well as your successes. But the ability to do this learning depends on taking charge of your own attitude. If you constantly feel guilty for not being perfect, or tell yourself you’re not motivated, or believe that there’s something fundamentally wrong with you, or blame other people/situations for your problems, the only thing you’re going to learn is that you really can’t do what you need to do—and that’s the kiss of death for your motivation.
If, on the other hand, you can kick those kinds of thoughts to the curb for a while, and practice the following five steps instead, you can build your self-efficacy whenever you make a conscious decision, act on it, and notice what happens, regardless of what that decision--or the outcome--is.
The 5 STEPS to Mindful Self-Motivation
Here are the five things you need to do to turn off your autopilot and keep yourself in decision-making mode:
Step One. STOP. Whenever you find yourself reaching for something to eat, putting something in your grocery cart, or talking to yourself about what to do with the next chunk of your time, just STOP for a minute—don’t do anything until you give yourself a chance to decide what you really want to do.
Step Two. THINK.What do you want/hope to accomplish with this choice you’re about to make? What’s the best thing you can do in this situation to help yourself accomplish that? How do you think you’ll feel after you’ve chosen any of the options you’re considering? Are you willing to choose the option you think will make you feel best afterwards, or is some other factor more important to you at the moment? Be honest and open with yourself—don’t just include the goals or intentions you think you should have. If what you really want right now is to do a little comfort eating, or give yourself a little treat that’s not on your menu, or take a nap instead of exercising, just say so—no rationalizations or excuses necessary or allowed.
Step Three. EXECUTE. Once you know what you want to accomplish with this particular choice, and have decided on the best way to make this happen, just do it. And recognize that it’s you making the decision and taking action—not the food, or the couch, or the situation, or the other people involved, or your genes.
Step Four. PAY attention to the results. Did your choice give you the results you expected? Did it make you feel the way you thought it would? Is this something you’d be happy to do again? If not, what can you change to get the results you’re hoping for?
Step Five. START over again at Step One. Take what you’ve learned and use it to help you figure out what to do next time you have a similar decision to make. Repeat this process as necessary—and it’s always necessary.
Motivating yourself is really an on-going process of learning what works for you from your own experience, and experimenting with different ways to accomplish that. The key to success is maintaining the same kind of attitude towards yourself that a good scientist needs to have towards an experiment: letting the results determine what you believe, instead of letting what you already think determine the results you see.
You already have everything you need to motivate yourself from the inside: your desires, your needs, your feelings and reactions, your imagination, your particular skills and talents, and your innate drive towards self-determination and self-development. When you learn how to observe and monitor yourself in action, without passing judgment in advance on how things “should” be, you set up a creative and powerful feedback mechanism that allows you to use both positive and negative experiences to keep adjusting your goals so they’re right for you, and keep yourself moving towards them. That’s where real motivation comes from, if you’re willing to trust yourself enough to give it a chance.
Do you trust yourself enough to give your internal feedback mechanism a chance to motivate you? Or do your own negative attitudes keep getting in the way?
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Every day I seem to have a revelation about what needs to happen for me to continue to succeed in this battle, as well as life's lessons. Today, I went for a Sunday run, in fact this week I didn't miss a single day of any kind of workout. I had been giving myself Sat & Sun off from working out. I realized that I was just being lazy and that was all to much like the old me. It left me feeling lethargic and sluggish for the entire weekend. So, I have been saying I need to get back outdoors and run, I miss the invigorating feeling of beating the elements. But, it just hasn't been happening. Last Sunday I did take my son's dog for an hour long walk, but I still wanted to get back out and run. So, Saturday evening I set my alarm to get up at 8:00(usually up before that though) and got dressed as soon as I brushed my teeth, in running gear. After eating breakfast, I went to the park and again realized something, I wasn't sure I could last for 45-60 minutes, but I wanted to burn at last 400 calories and do at least 3 miles. As I ran, I just kept saying to run for 5 more minutes, etc. at 45 minutes elapsed, I started power walking and did that for 15 minutes. Since I had set my iPod+ for 45 minutes, I exceeded that time by 15 minutes and burned 439 calories in the process. I can't tell you how much energy I had for the rest of the day. The point is that if I treat my exercise as an appointment (just as I do M-F) then I will follow through with that commitment. Secondly, I am competitive with even myself, to go further than my own expectations.
The other revelation that really isn't new to me, but is something that I seem to reflect about more and more often. My husband and I have been each others' best friend for over 35 years now, and during that time we've raised 5 wonderful children. There have been many struggles financially along the way (and we will finally be done with college costs as our youngest two-twins-the last of the five to graduate-are in their last semester of college) but the one thing that remained true through it all, was how much we loved each other and our kids. My mom said to me the other day, that my husband was such a smart man, that it was a shame that he didn't do more (than work on his family's farm) with that intelligence. I said, that I didn't agree at all, because if he had chosen a different path, than perhaps our children would have had more monetary things, but less of their father's time and attention. Since he was self-employed and worked near/next to our home, he was an ever-present partner in the rearing of our children, he was the person I depended on to help me when I needed it, and he never let me down. He was always there to watch our kids no matter what event they were participating in, often to the chagrin of his brothers/father(partners in the farm), but to him his family was always first. So, through it all, our kids always seemed to get whatever it was they needed and they, as adults, now thank us for all that we did in order to see that happened. They love the fact that they grew up on a farm and cherish the memories they have of growing up here, and having their cousins close by as well. But they would not be the people they are if our lives didn't follow this path. We may not always have had the biggest, most beautiful home, or possessions(not that what we have isn't comfortable)but we always had the love of each other and our kids always knew they were loved beyond belief.
To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, and to be given a chance to create, are the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy
- Bette Davis, actress
The greater price of financial security
Money makes us do crazy things we never thought we would do. A great example of this is staying at a job you dislike or working outside the home when your heart is at home with your family. While money does provide opportunities and liberation from certain stresses in life, unhappiness has a greater price. Let money enrich an already abundant life, not define or run it. Can you reprioritize your life in a way that you are achieving both financial goals and also fulfilling your dreams? Live the kind of life that excites you to get out of bed in the morning, one of color and joy. If money comes, great. If not, rest assured, knowing that your life is not defined by what you make but what you already have. The best things in life are free!
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I can't believe we're already at January 10! Once again the weather forcasters were totally wrong. No snow, no sleet, no freezing rain!!! I'm not complaining, but it's amazing these people still have jobs. I another worker in another field were to give so much misinformation, they would be unemployed! LOL But anyway, today I did a yoga class again, and realize how far I've come. I had previously tried the yoga about this time last year. I thought my core strength was good at the time, now I see that I'm much stronger everywhere than I was last year. That's very good to know, because it means my workouts are working and I'm still making gains. That gives me encouragement to work harder and keep at it.
I have always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I have to be more specific.
- Lily Tomlin, actress
Getting specific about your goals
Are your goals detailed enough for you to reach them? We all have aspirations and we are better off for having made them. But if your goals are too vague or unstructured, you'll find that attaining them is difficult. Wanting to lose 30 pounds is a wonderful goal, but you need a plan to get you on the right track. These things don't happen overnight. Today, think about your goals and form a plan to achieve them. Write them down, chart your progress, refer to them as often as you need to stay on track, and most importantly, hold yourself accountable.
3 years after the fact, I still chart my weight every Monday morning. As I said on my front page, when I began, my first step was to buy a small pocket notebook and write in all the Mondays from Jan 2, 2006 to December 2007. Once I passed that date I filled in the Mondays for the next year. I just finished adding al the Mondays in 2009 and plan to continue this process forever.
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