Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Years ago a friend was visiting and she had the cutest red polka dot bathingsuit. That she was a tiny, slender, delicately boned woman, in contrast to my (at the time) overweight, sturdily boned, much older woman, didn't phase me - I knew that one day I would own my own cute red polka dot bathingsuit. Eventually I joined Weight Watchers and lost nearly 40 lbs and also found that cute bathingsuit. I wore it with pride and delight for two summers.
Alas, I did not keep my focus and half those pounds took up residencce once again on my body - rendering the red polkadot bathingsuit way too small and relegating it to the far back corner of a bureau drawer. it did NOT get tossed out, though, because somewhere in my mind a picture of me in that cute thing lingered, a visual cue to remind me that there was a slender me beneath my softly padded flesh.
Since that last summer when I knew even polka dotted lycra wasn't going to stretch around me, I have bought quite a number of bathing suits. I live on a river and belong to a gym with a pool, so swimming is a large part of my summertime activity and it is always an option when the cold wind blows. I have chlorine proof suits and one very pricy thing I picked up at Nordstroms at one end-of-summer sale. But I still held on to that dotted red cutness.
I'm on a beach vacation right now with my sister's family. (Himself had to stay home, boo hoo, but at least it meant we didn't have to board the dogs) Just before I zipped my suitcase shut I thought about that red bathingsuit and wondered if, after the seriousness of my efforts this spring, I might be able to get into it. It took me a while to even find it but it was there, in the far corner of my bureau, just waiting to be loved once again - and what do you know. Yup. It fit!
I had hoped to be at my weight goal by the time I went to the beach. I had hoped to wear that size medium white dress here at the beach. I didn't reach either of these goals - but what I had not hoped for - had not even thought of - was that I could be decked in cute red polka dots - and what do you know - the reward for trying was just that - Me - in That Red Polka Dot Bathingsuit. I'll take it.
As a post script - I have learned how to use a boggie board.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
The transit of Venus now invites you to take a small, hopeful, idea and give it a chance to become something big and brilliant. That has to be worth a try.
"But, if I'm being honest with myself, I also know I slow myself down with my food choices."
" ...life is not an all or nothing situation. It is a series of small choices that, added together, define who we are. .."
This morning I feel like some sort of satellite radio receiver, getting messages from above - or afar - or at least from somewhere besides inside my own brain. The above quotes all appeared, welcome, if uninvited, on my computer screen this morning. All three touched me in the AhHa zone of my brain. They were the reins I needed to grab, to make this week as good as last week.
You see, all this past week little odd moments of clarity kept opening up, giving me the chance to pause and ask "Do I want to do that" before I actually did something - especially in the eating arena. Tired and hungry after work and gym - yet needing to go to the grocery store while in that danger-zone mode - I managed to capture that nano-second of time when I could choose - and I chose to wait till I got home to make myself my favorite chocolate ovaltine/skim milk/frozen cherries smoothie. I was still tired and hungry but so excited about the chocolate treat waiting for me, I neither bought inappropriate stuff nor snacked on the good stuff on the way home. Mind now - it's a 25 minute drive from the grocery store to my house. Plenty of time to slip up - but the holy chocolate grail up ahead was such a treat to look forward to I didn't even *want* to eat mindlessly.
Several other times this week I had that tiny window of choosing opportunity and could actually say "No. I think I'd rather have this/do that/eat these". The result was not only a nice weight loss but a new low weight on this downward journey.
I am not sure what made them start happening but I believe it was a promise I made myself a week ago to stop half way through whatever was on my plate, down tools, count to 60 and then ask myself "are you still hungry? Could you stop now? Is this enough?" 60 seconds of clarity. 60 seconds times 21 meals. 21 minutes a week. It's so little time nobody else even notices. It's so little time I hardly noticed - except - I did - because I was counting to 60 in my brain.
So how can I keep these moments of choice coming. Well - I certainly intend to continue doing what worked - that 60 second pause - but this week, for those 60 seconds I plan to visualize what it will be like to be at my goal. I'll imagine myself zipping up those tiny shorts or walking gracefully down the street with good posture and swinging arms. I'll see me buckling a belt around my waist or completing a step aerobics routine in my living room. 21 mini-meditations while I'm eating - That's the plan - because I really really want to get back to the slender healthy weight I know is so good for me.
It's June now and my 12 for 12 choice in June is to "Select a big life goal - a big personal thing - and take one step towards it ... every day. " I posted all about it on my personal blog - which you can find here;
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Yesterday I achieved 1000 fitness points for the month of May, which gives me pause to think about fitness in general as well as my personal goals in that arena. For years I've worked out in cycles from a peak of perfection, through an injury or crisis or period of hectic 'life' issues, to inactivity, across a period of doubt or sloth, back into a tentative effort, through a steady routine and on to a new peak of perfection. Every time I get back into exercise I ask myself .... "why did I ever stop doing this when it feels so good!"
Since sometimes I quit because of an injury - well duh - stoopid question. Since sometimes I quit because back to back budget crisis meetings that went on for weeks really sucked all my energy and time away - well duh - no budget, no paycheck - so duh. stoopid question. I come from a household where movement, exercise, activity, was deeply discouraged - and I am NOT blaming anybody at all about this. I wouldn't have missed the fabulously creative childhood I had for the world. I'm just explaining that my formative years were spent in a creative, interesting, busy household that, oh yeah, deeply encouraged sit down activities and brain activities and, while not forbidding physical activity, never made it easy to move. Normal to my body may mean getting up and moving, but normal to my brain means sitting down with pencil in hand ... or book, or paintbrush, or violin, or scissors.
In fact, the question might rather be "Coming from such a sedentary childhood, how did you ever start exercising at all?" Looking back I see that I LOVED gym class, so long as we didn't have to play some competitive game. I could never care if one cluster of kids could kick a ball further than another and would have happily done jumping jacks for an hour. I do not have the type of hand/eye coordination that connects a ball with a bat, hoop, or racket. The only competitor I've ever been interested in is my former self. I started walking - then running in the early 1980's. I joined my gym the first day it opened back in 1998 - and have willingly paid the monthly fee even through months of non-attendance because, deep down I knew I'd be back. In fact - something deep inside me has always told me that movement is a good idea. It's good for me. But most important - it's fun!
Right now I'm on the rising curve heading towards a new Peak of Perfection and loving every minute of it. The intention is to keep at this forever. The past history tells me maybe I will and maybe I won't. I'm not sure if it matters because over the long haul I will be active much more than I will be sedentary. The view right now, from this 1K Point Mountain, looking back over decades of life, is of a person who loves movement and no matter what pulls her back into the big sofa in the den, sooner or later she'll be drawn back into a gym, a dance class, a swimming pool.
I'll leave you with this one clever mantra a co=worker tossed in my lap last January when I was dithering about going to the gym. "The more you don't feel like going, the more you probably need to go" he called out to me. The fundamental truth of that felt so good I have used it ever since. Maybe it will help you too.
Happy Hump Day.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
That's right. I've been lifting weights now for 5 weeks. In a perfect week I get in 3 sessions, two of them about an hour long and one leisurely Saturday session where I can take as long as I like, working every muscle group. That day, plus two other days during the week I get in some long cardio exercise. Of course, not every week is perfect, but I know what an optimal week for me looks like. I also know this is not a static thing. A month from now - a couple of months - that 'perfect' week will look some different. I will get stronger. I may get bitten by the Zumba bug or perhaps I'll fall in love with a boot camp class. I will get smaller. I will hit my goal weight. Good health, in spite of looking like a Place to Get To is actually a long ride down a dynamic flowing river. Every day some new outside influence will prod me along and while some of those nudges might be Not So Great, many - nay - most of them are fun and interesting and all of them offer me the chance to learn something new.
While I'm really happy to be where I am, I look forward to where I will be - tomorrow - next week - next month. But at this half way point of this particular stretch of TheRiverMe - it's interesting to stop and assess. I call this a half way point because I paid for 10 weekly sessions with the personal trainer. I will probably buy 10 more sessions when week 10 rolls around, but I'll have to stretch those out to every other week or even every 3rd week. The budget won't stretch to buy them every other month, but I believe I'll have enough form and skill to continue on my own and I can check in with the trainer on a regular basis to check any bad habits I may have picked up and, more importantly, to push me harder.
So. Where am I right now? Here are some things I've noticed:
I have more stamina than when I started. I can get on the eliptical machine or a stationary bike, set at a medium-high resistance - and go 45-50 minutes. When I'm done, I'm breathing hard, but not so hard I can't talk and I always transition into a nice long cool down - which is not included in the 45-50 minutes. This is up from 15 minutes in January at a much lower level of resistance.
I have fabulous balance now - Love that!
I can squat and stand again like I did 10 years ago. Putting away books is not a big part of my job at work but I always like to be able to help little library users find cool stuff - and I can get down on the floor to search those easy book shelves and pop back up with ease, while still carrying on a conversation. And without groaning. This is not just stronger thighs, but a stronger back as well!
I have way more nights when I drop off to sleep and wake up hopping out of bed like Jack Rabbit. Long, steady, nourishing nights of sound sleep.
On my Sunday day off from exercising, when Himself says "Let's walk over to White Oak Swamp" (5 miles round trip) I always feel like joining him. No more "I'm tired" responses. Sweet. and yes - 5 miles of walking is the day off - we stroll.
My appetite has been all over the place - with a corresponding fluctuation in weight. I'm hungry for more juicy wet stuff, like watermelon or grapes, but also more protein. I believe some of the weight gain has been stressed muscles filling with fluids. This gyration in my weight has not been frightening - it's circled around about 2 lbs. But it's made me more conscious of the actual nutrition of what I am eating - so much so that I've adopted, for this week at least, my old mantra of
Eat when your hungry /
Eat what you want /
Savor every bite /
Stop when you're full.
Yes. I know. I should be doing this all the time but it is NOT the natural behavior of my past so to do this I really have to concentrate on it. It's okay. I like concentrating on different things at different times. I'll still journal everything I eat - but I plan to add this little extra attention to it.
I've saved the best for last though. On Sunday I began to wonder if my clothes really have begun to fit better or if they're getting old and stretching out. Never mind that a good number of them are new this year. The secret fear is always lurking. I haven't measured myself in a long time - in fact, not in 2 years. I pulled out the tape measure and wrapped it around me - and what do you know - my waist is down an inch and my bust (which includes the dreaded back fat) is 2 inches smaller. Oddly enough, my hips are an inch bigger - but I've always been a top heavy sort of person so those upper measurements are the exciting bonus of weeks of effort.
And that is where I am, 5 weeks into strength training. Who knew it would show results so quickly? What a nice reward.
Oh - and for the curious - I bought the size Medium dress. It's a goal to strive towards.
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