Thursday, September 25, 2014
Yeah, it's been a while (insert standard "I should blog more" apologia).
Nevertheless, I'm still on track - figuring out how to maintain my weightloss and exercise habits even though I'm busier than I've ever been (and I feel a little anxious and explodey about that, to tell the truth), and I've never been this far behind in my work, this early in the year. YIKES.
But, as I think back to another time, when I was also busier than ever before and managing similar types of stress (new and more demands, unpredictable and unrealistic expectations, fears about failure and quality of work...the usual anxieties of an overachiever in an impossible position) - I say to myself, Hmmmmm. LAST time this happened, I *gained* weight. LAST time this happened, I developed an ulcer (and no, not the bacterial kind). LAST time this happened, my mood was either low, or angry, or just plain volatile.
And this time, not. My weight is where I want it to be (for now). I'm exercising regularly, and eating well - not consoling myself with junk or going into the "I deserve this" cycle of reward eating. Though I'm anxious, I'm managing the stress and setting limits - saying "no, I can't do that" and "that deadline will need to be extended" and so on.
None of this happened overnight, and none of it happened by chance - it all took work. Last time, I thought the path to feeling better was to cut myself some slack and eat whatever I wanted and skip exercise and avoid hard discussions with my superiors about my workload. Now I know the path to managing this is to continue to eat well, continue to exercise, and to have those hard discussions.
Another item for the "if it were easy, I would have figured this out long ago" pile o' knowledge.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
I find myself looking at the calendar and wondering where the time went. I'm happy to say that I quite enjoyed the season - camping, hiking, biking, running, walking at the dog park, lounging in the hammock. Not quite enough gardening to keep the weeds at bay (oh well), and loads of projects unfinished (oh well)...but a good summer, overall.
If time is flying, I'm enjoying the ride.
And as I'm looking ahead, I'm thinking about how to have a good Fall and Winter - how to continue with my good habits, and not slip into the easy slide of putting off til tomorrow the healthy things I need to do today. Maintaining the dailiness of the habit is still a challenge - not because it's a dull slog, but because habit takes time to become second nature. And that sort of habit is what I'm aiming for - the mindful accumulation of good practices will have the best long-term effect for me.
In all the years that I've been working toward building healthy habits, I've learned that I'm not a grand-gesture sort of person. It doesn't work for me to resolve that "TODAY is the time to CHANGE EVERYTHING!" That sort of disruptive change may be exciting and interesting, but I've always found those gestures too difficult to sustain, and I don't like starting over and over and over when the grand gestures fail. I have more confidence in incremental change, in building good habits slowly, with practice and learning and correction along the way.
Similarly, when I slide back into old ways, I see that those shifts start with small choices. I "forget" to do my exercises, or I "give myself a break" and sleep in, or I start eating the cookies and treats that are always on offer at the office. Once in a while isn't a problem...but when I realize, one day, that I haven't exercised in a week, or that I've eaten out a lot and 'treated' myself to desserts each time...yeah. That erosion of discipline is what gets me, far more effectively than suddenly stopping some dramatic plan I've made.
So. Looking ahead to Fall and Winter, I'm not thinking about how I should make a big change. I'm not finally joining a gym so I can work out five days a week. Instead, I'm thinking about how best to adapt my habit of bike commuting to the Fall (how long can I ride? are my bike lights strong enough? do I need more reflectors? should I get mud guards for the wet bike?) and how to keep my running going in bad weather on dark streets. My biggest "grand gesture" may be to find a weight bench, so I don't have to do my exercises using a coffee table. Adapting the good habits to different circumstances - that's my goal. Nothing big.
We'll see how it goes.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Yes, I've been ruminating about Fall and Winter. Not just because the semester is around the corner (less than a month 'til school starts! YIKES!) but because I know I'm going to hit my annual "low weight" soon. What else to expect after a summer of eating veggies fresh from the farm (yay, CSA!) and most meals grilled with minimal saucing and fuss, combined with regular bike commuting and running during the week, and long hikes on the weekend? Ah, the joys of having lovely weather (even when it's grey, like today), a less-stressed pace at work, and the sense that there's time to seize the day.
In less than a month, it will soon be so busy that it will be hard to justify biking in - the ride is as long as the drive, but leaving early enough to account for time lost changing clothes and getting into the uniform (yes, one does have to wait until sweating is complete before putting on makeup) means starting the ride earlier, when the school busses are out and people drive like idiots. And there are more morning meetings, so I can't work quietly at my desk while I'm still in my gear - I generally have to get in and be presentable.
So, less biking, more running...but if it's easy to convince myself that I can't bike, it's even easier to talk myself into staying snuggled in bed rather than go for a run.
This is why I need to plan ahead - I can see these patterns, and if I can see them, I can change them. I can: find places on campus where I could shower, block out "no meetings before X time" on my calendar, shift my work hours so I can take long bike rides after work on days when I drive. I can get out of bed and go for a run. I am thinking ahead.
Because I really don't want to regain the pounds I've lost, or fitness level I've earned.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Unlike some of my more inspired Sparky friends (you know who you are) who have the amazing notion that someone can run, then bike (and then SWIM!) in one go of it, I'm still at a stage where I'm trying to figure out if I can run on Sunday, bike on Monday, run on Tuesday, etc. etc.
My knees - and a strange numbness on the outsides of my legs - seem to think this may be a bit much. So, it's been PT, time off, and gradually figuring out which four days of the week will hold either a run or biking to work and back. Much of the selection is driven by weather (so happy for our cool-ish Summer).
I'll figure it out - it's how we get through this journey, after all: we set a goal, recognize the obstacles, deal with them, and continue along the path. Dealing may mean taking a detour, taking it more slowly, or reassessing the goal so it aligns better with what may be possible...but we deal.
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