Saturday, February 07, 2009
Most of us can do anything for 12 or 16 weeks especially if there is a goal in sight. For example, let's say one of your New Year's wishes was to lose 10 pounds for a trip in 2 months. You start on a 'diet' and exercising faithfully. The eating and exercise plan are restrictive and intrusive to your lifestyle but you stay the course because the goal is in sight and only weeks away. There is no way you would do this forever or even for the rest of the year, but are willing to live this way to reach your goal. You go on the trip and have a great time while falling away from the 'diet' and exercise habits. You return home from the trip and return to your normal lifestyle which includes only a few of the things you did before the trip and only when you feel like it.
Several months later as swim suit season approaches you decide you need to start another 'diet' and exercise plan. Now you have 14 pounds to lose because of the 10 you lost and gained back plus 4 more. The cycle continues throughout the year. At the end of the year you complain because you have tried every 'diet' out there and exercised but nothing works. You end the year with a New Year's resolution of losing weight. Does this sound familiar?
Many of us follow this type of yearly routine by jumping in with New Year's routines that are restrictive. A few days or weeks into the routine it becomes too much and overwhelming and many of us quit. This is why New Year's resolutions are popular on December 31 and abandoned by January 31.
By adopting habits you are willing to carry out for the rest of your life, you are focusing on making lifestyle changes. The small changes allow you to learn and incorporate new behaviors and habits to reach short term goals along the way. Although you will likely have set backs or reach plateaus as you go they are less likely to derail you from your new lifestyle. You are better able to see these as normal and something you can work through with simple adjustments to eating or exercise patterns.
Most importantly, you are not in a yo-yo pattern going on and off restrictive diets or strenuous exercise routines. You are slowly moving forward in your daily choices and taking small steps toward healthy habits for life. This allows you to feel happy and pleased with the lifestyle you are creating and proud of your sustained commitment and accomplishments to managing your weight and health. By the end of the year, you have learned to make your life a healthy life for the long term instead of drastic short term changes that you can not continue day in and day out for the rest of your life. As you end the year you are able to celebrate maintaining your resolve all year long. Is this the scenario you would rather follow? Me, too!
I think it's important to understand that we need to stretch ourselves when it comes to deciding what we can do for the rest of your life. If not, you'll stay within your comfort zone believing that's all your capable of doing. When I first started I though about this alot. I decided not to lift weights and get "caught up" in the whole "gym thing" because I thought it was too much to ask of myself to keep that habit up forever. Thankfully, I realized that in order to achieve my goal I had to do more than walk/run it wasn't going to be enough to keep me losing weight. So, I began at the gym, almost reluctantly, but went in with an open mind and instead of "doing" it because I had to, I found that I really loved lifting and working out and it's become, as I've said before, a part of my daily routine. I took a while for it to become a habit, for sure, but once it did, I knew I had finally crossed that line into changing my lifestyle, instead of "dieting". This can't be a diet...diets always fail! Change your lifestyle and you'll change your life, forever, for good.
So, as you work on the 3 wishes you have resolved to make come true this year, be sure the new things you are doing are realistic. You want your new habits and routines to be things you can do day in and day out most days for the rest of your life (realizing that we all need breaks and vacation days throughout the year). If what you have started is too much and too overwhelming, see if it fits with the rule. If it isn't something that fits in with your lifestyle and can be sustained for the rest of your life, reset and restart with what does so you are still being consistent on January 31.
Friday, February 06, 2009
The longer I'm on this journey the more I understand that nothing is ever finite. We are always capable of making adjustments in order to get what we need done. This morning, after being out until after 10 pm last night, I slept through the 7:00 am alarm and allowed it to snooze. So, I ended up starting out 15 minutes behind. This really puts the crunch on my lifting schedule since I need to be finished by 9 am on Fridays, meaning I need to START lifting by 8 am. So, I lost 15 minutes, not to be regained, so how am I going to get my entire program finished? Simple, I made the exercises supersets and giant sets, and didn't rest between sets. Viola, got the lift done, and did some ab work and made it to class with 5 minutes to spare.
barbell bent over rows 4x12 65lbs
w/wide grip pulldowns 4x12 70lbs
seated rows 4x12 65lbs
w/close grip standing pulldowns 4x12 40lbs
w/dumbbell one arm rows 4x10 15lbs
incline dumbbell bicep curls 2x25 25lbs
w/hammer curls 4x12 20lbs
planks 3 x 60 seconds
supermans 3x30 seconds
60 minute spin class
Without forgiveness life is governed by...an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.
- Roberto Assagioli
The positive cycle of forgiveness
OK, be honest. Do you hold grudges? Do you allow old drama to determine your behavior? Is there someone you just can't seem to forgive? Grudges and a non-forgiving attitude do nothing but harm both parties. You might feel like you're "winning" by not letting someone off the hook, but you're only increasing your own worry and stress. Bitterness can lead to hate, which can sour a life. Today, write a letter explaining your point of view to the person you feel resentful towards. Clear the air; forgiving him. Even if you don't send it, it is an excellent way to relieve tension. Forgiving someone does not absolve them of the wrong that you experienced. It can simply free you to live a life that isn't anchored to the hurt and resentment of past events.
This is a life lesson we all need to learn...it's still a work in progress for me...
Off to Boston for the weekend...not sure I'll be posting until Sunday...have a great one...
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Ok for over 6 months now, the spin instructors have been experiencing technical difficulties with the stereo system in the spin room. One week ago I ended up having to wear my iPod because the volume on the system kept cutting in and out and going loud then soft. There were other problems where it didn't work at all, and they keep making patch jobs on it. Well, they fixed it so that it was playing CD's fine, but one instructor used tape cassettes and when she tried to use the system this morning it wouldn't work and it took them around 15 minutes to get it going. So, our class got started late, and as I was waiting for it to get going, I seriously wanted to go home. It crossed my mind as a few people did, in fact, leave, and then my motivation was really lagging. But, thankfully, I stayed, and thanks to my HR monitor I pushed myself and burned 497 calories. I had a really great lift today for triceps and chest. I also tried a new core exercise (new for me anyway) that a fellow spin class member told me about. Since I've been reading a lot about core exercises being much more effective than crunches, I've been trying different ones instead of the crunches. This one required doing push ups while holding 10lb weights x 10 reps then doing one arm rows while balancing on the weight with one hand x 10, same for the other arm, then doing 10 more push-ups. I was surprised that I was able to do them, and they really do work.
bench press 4 x 12 65 lb
incline bench press 1 x 5 65 lb
incline bench press 3 x 10 55 lb
Incline chest flye 3 x 10 25 lb
Incline chest flye 1 x 10 20 lb
close grip push up on bench 3 x 8
tricep dips straight legs 3 x 15
lying tricep extensions EZ Bar 3 12 30 lb
tricep pulldowns/rope 3 x 15 40 lb
push-up/w one arm row 3 x 15 20 lb
Cardiovascular 55 minutes spin class
Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.
- Italian proverb
Reinforcing Healthy Competition
Competition is a natural part of life. We are faced with competition for jobs, a mate, and even the best parking spot at the store. Approaching these situations with grace is an important way to model good relationship skills--especially to our children. Often people get angry during competition, but try to be mindful of how this frustration is unleashed. No one wants to be on the receiving end of either a sore loser's lack of composure or a boastful winner's lack of grace. Don't gloat to your friend that your daughter can run faster or read at a higher level than her child. Remember, after the basketball game concludes she is still your friend and you don't want a moment of hot-headedness to interfere with what really matters--your relationship. Modesty can go a long way!
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
What a morning! For once the forecasters were somewhat right in that we certainly got snow. It was of course, more than they predicted, but indeed we did get blanketed with about 8 inches. When I went out this morning to start my car-no garage-I first had to shovel (actually sweep as I broke the shovel last Wednesday in that storm) a path to my car, then sweep the car and the surrounding area. I had driven last night and forgot to turn the wipers OFF so I had to carefully work around that, then the door was frozen shut and I had to yank on that a few times, but after about 30 minutes I got the car cleared of snow and started so that the ice would melt with the defrosters. That being done, I went back inside and had a quick, small breakfast gathered my gym stuff and started out. It took longer to get there, and so I was later than normal. Since my scheduled workout was going to take about an hour, I switched Friday's and today's workout. Legs didn't have the same number of exercises as bi's/tri's so I was able to finish in 40 minutes and make it on time to spinning class. I always feel very empowered when I overcome an obstacle and make adjustments in order to handle life's little bumps. It makes me realize that even though I'm very structured and organized, I'm flexible enough to take on whatever life throws my way and still stick to my program.
40 degree leg press 4x12 90lbs
(single) leg extensions 3x12 30lbs
leg extensions 4x12 70lbs
leg curls 4x12 50lbs
hip abductor 4x12 110lbs
hip adductor 1x12 95 lbs 3x12 80lbs
seated calf raise 2x30 50lbs
60 minute spin class
Last night I wrote a blog dealing with my frustration over a discussion board topic. Many people commented in the positive and I'm glad to hear from them. There were a few who were less than pleased with what I wrote and essentially called me out. As I stated in the original blog. I get that we all are on our own journeys and perhaps we all have different goals. My goal has always been to get healthy and fit, the weight lost, has been the bonus for me and it's certainly "icing" on the cake. But I knew that in order to get healthy I had to change my life--reinvent myself-and discard all the old preconceived ideas I had about food and exercise. Yes, I read daily all the "experts" who insist we can't eat healthy 100% of the time, that we are all so weak and incapable that there must be times we eat what we crave. In fact, my husband's GP has told him that "it's ok" to eat "goodies" occasionally. (That infuriates me!), my father's cardiologist has told him that it's "ok to eat" beef, occasionally. WHY??? They are basically re-enforcing the idea that we are controlled by food, that we are incapable of finding other pleasures and other foods that take the place of unhealthy goodies. We aren't victims of food, we can be the ones in control, and part of that control is to change our mindset about what special events mean to us, is it the people or the food? Is it more important to profess to be indulging bye eating food we know is unhealthy in order to appease someone else. Why can't we choose to eat food to fuel our bodies instead of using it to give us some "feeling". We can't "love" food, we don't "love" inanimate objects, we love people/pets, not food. We "need" food to nourish us and allow our bodies to do the things we want/need it to do. For every food that I thought I "loved" and couldn't live without, I've found substitutes to replace them, and "enjoy" them just as much. I plan for special occasions and my family helps me, by offering healthy options for our gatherings. I don't use these times as excuses to skip exercise or eat differently than I do any other day. I DON'T FEEL DEPRIVED! I don't feel cheated...does that make me enlightened? You bet our A--! It's taken me over 30 years and numerous failed previous attempts to understand that if you don't let go of old bad habits, you'll gain the weight right back. These life changes can't be temporary, thy can't be sometimes habits, they have to be things you do, just as you brush your teeth.
I purposely didn't post my feelings on this issue to that discussion board, because I get that there are those who are still in denial and can't accept what they need to do in order to lose the weight and keep it off. If this sounds too "know it all" I'm sorry it offends, but I'm not sorry that I feel this way, or that I wrote it in my blog. Because if there ever comes a time that I forget, I'll be able to remind myself of what it takes...but I don't think I'll ever forget, because this life, my new life, is far too much fun and beyond all expectations for me to ever lose sight of how I got here.
One of the main reasons people gain weight in the first place, and find it hard to lose on their own, is that we live in an environment where calorie-dense food is TOO available, and eating it is often part of fitting in to the social groups were part of, including family, friends, and co-workers.
You've probably seen some of the magazine stories, about how your friends make you fat. Of course, no one literally forces you to overeat you're the one who puts the food in your own mouth. But if a spouse or significant other doesn't want to change how they eat, or friends get upset when you change the rules on them (which might have included excessive drinking, eating, or sitting around), or co-workers act offended when you decline the office doughnuts or fast food lunches, this can generate an awful lot of pressure to give up your new behaviors and go back to the way things used to be.
And a lot of this pressure comes from the inside, as well as the outside. It's our nature to need and want to fit in, and it's very hard to be the outsider who's playing by different rules and priorities.
The bottom line is that most of us do much better, and feel much better about it, when eating and exercising the way we need to is what helps us fit in, not when it means we have to resist pressures to conform or struggle constantly with temptations.
In the long run, we can all learn how to provide this kind of support for ourselves and for others. But that takes getting it from others first, learning how to use it well enough to pass it on in words and deeds, and finally, really digesting it and making it part of your own inner dialogue with yourself. When it comes to support, getting and giving it are all part of one process that makes everyone stronger.
I strongly believe it all starts with our inner dialogue and part of that has to be admitting we can't continue to kid ourselves into thinking we can't do what's right all the time. It took me a long time to understand this and I feel obligated to share that with others.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I made the mistake of posting to a discussion that asked "does anyone plan for high calorie meals in their plan?" Of course I do not. It's unrealistic to think that you can work high calorie foods into your healthy lifestyle! The majority of the respondents said they do because---"I'm not going to deprive myself"--If I don't I'll just go overboard--there's not reason I can't fit one into my calorie count---special occasions allow me to indulge...yada, yada, yada! All excuses that will lead to eventual failures. I never feel that my healthy nutritional plan deprives me of anything! I ENJOY healthy foods and never wish I was eating what other people are eating, instead I feel enlightened and special to be eating healthy instead of stuffing my face/body with high fat, high sugar, high calorie foods. Going out to eat, attending a party for birthdays or other events, or holiday meals don't have to lead to overeating or eating unhealthy foods with little to no nutritional value. Many of the posters statd that the way they "fit" these "high calorie meals" into their calorie count is by either eating light pre-meal/skip meals, "making up" for it by eating less the next day. Eating light prior to the special occasion almost guarantees you'll be too hungry to eat healthy and within your calorie range. Planning to workout more or eat less the next day, are also tickets to failure since starving yourself only leads to cravings. The working out idea may or not be accomplished, you never know how you'll feel the next day...another women stated she doesn't worry if she's under her calories for the next day.
I just can't believe that these women belong to this site and continue to harbor th bad habits that brought them here in the first place. The mindsets, and actions of these folks screams of their reluctance to make and maintain the necessary healthy habits that will ensure their success.
I really can't understand this, I know I sound pompous and full of myself to some people and also that we each have to find our own way down this path. But understanding what "making lifestyle changes" means is key.
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