Thursday, May 23, 2013
Background: I watched this ... movie isn't exactly the right term, sort of a cross between movie and documentary, but not really either one... anyway. The point is, it was about positive thinking and how it affects our self perception, and how our self perception and thoughts affect our body.
One illustration they had of this was a woman looking at her body in a mirror and what she sees is grossly distorted from reality, but that doesn't change the fact that *that's what she sees* and it affects how she feels about herself and she calls herself fat and ugly and stupid and all sorts of horrible, horrible words.
The turning point is, of course, when she stops talking (and thinking!) negatively about herself when she has this epiphany, and we find her in the bathroom with an eye liner pencil drawing hearts and "I *heart* U"s and beautiful scrolly designs on her body.
Which of course appeals instantly to me being a henna addict. But that got me thinking...
What if we told ourselves every morning that we were beautiful, that we loved ourselves, that we deserve to be happy, what if we really told ourselves all those things we want to hear but always deny are true because our perceptions are so warped.
So this morning I grabbed my eyeliner pencil, the one I never use anyway, and I wrote happy messages to myself on my legs and did a little happy design-work. And that's it. They're there. They're covered by my jeans, obviously, but *I* know they're there, and when I think of it it makes me happy, not just because I'm a little crazy like that and like to draw on myself, but because of *what* I wrote.
Give it a try. Take whatever you have handy and write positive or encouraging things on your body. It's interesting how it can affect you even just thinking about the fact you have happy thoughts on!
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I'm going to play a game with myself. It's called "Let's walk to Mordor and back" and it's based on the calculations of people with far too much time on their hands and far too much geek cred for their own good.
This is a great site that has mileage and milestones all the way from Bag-End to Mordor and back, even including a side quest to the Gray Havens. And this is my new walking goal. My first stage is to get to Rivendel by September (in time to wish Bilbo a happy birthday, of course) which is calculated out at 458 miles. I am giving myself 15 weeks to do it, which averages out to just over 4 1/3 miles per day, or a little over 30 miles per week.
Because I'm lucky enough to both live in the beautiful state of Washington, and have access to marvelous trail systems both at work and at home, I'm also going to be doing a photo journal, one picture per day somewhere along my walking path, and document my own little "Middle-Earth" as I go. And, occasionally, I'll be taking a page from the milestones and doing something that fits in with the locations I've reached, such as enjoying some mushrooms at Farmer Maggots or having a pint of ale at the Prancing Pony. (Or maybe laying out naked on the grass in the sun? woo!)
I'll be updating my journal weekly with mileage, milestones, and (clean!) pictures. I'm already very excited for this, and planning new walks and hiking trails I can try!
The road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began...
Friday, March 15, 2013
Anyone who has ever been in moving water knows that a current is a very difficult thing to fight. Whether you're swimming, in a boat, or losing a toy to the sweep of water, currents are so much stronger than they look. Sometimes they can even look entirely still on the surface, and suck you under all the same.
For many of us, weight control is the same way. We are fighting against a sometimes invisible enemy which is threatening to wash away all our progress, or prevent us from making any in the first place.
Currents come in many forms; from our friends and family who may work against our goals, to society at large which pushes unhealthy options at every turn: commercials and ads, stores, food manufacturers, school lunches, and the dreaded vending machines all push the high-profit, highly processed, and junk foods.
Even our own bodies can work against us, giving us positive emotional feedback for poor choices, craving quick to digest carbs, and hanging on to fat for those 'lean times' that never come these days.
When we are literally in a sea pushing all the unhealthiest possible choices, it's no wonder we often feel as if we are drowning. When making good choices are the hardest choices, weight-related changes can seem almost insurmountable.
That's why it's important to recognize where these 'currents' come from and how to navigate their relentless pull.
The worst can come from our family and friends when they are less than supportive or even actively work against our efforts. From muttered comments to stocking our weakness foods, it can be hardest to fight against those closest to us who *should* be the ones giving us the greatest support.
A good support base can be the difference between success and being sucked under. Those who encourage rather than critique your healthy choices, those whose own weight issues don't make them work against your efforts, exercise buddies, and even emergency phone-call contacts can be the help we need to fight the currents of cravings and self-doubt.
Commercials and ads are another big current. They inundate us at every turn, from TV, to radio, to newspapers and magazines, billboards and even just driving past the stores, it can be difficult to avoid the push to consume the worst the food industry has to offer. It takes conscious effort to tune as much of it out as possible.
Turn off the TV. If you just *have* to watch your favorite shows, try recording them and skipping the commercials. Change radio stations when the commercials come on. Put down the beauty magazines that push unreal images of men and women, often digitally altered to be a person no one could achieve, not even the model! Stick to the outside of the grocery stores where the fresh, whole foods are kept. Make a grocery list and *stick to it* to help avoid impulse buys.
And, of course, ensuring that you have the proper foods on hand, both for meal times and for sudden cravings can mean the difference between achieving success and feeling defeated.
When we start to fuel our bodies with the right nutrition, our bodies will stop working against our efforts. More energy and less cravings means one less current trying to sweep us the wrong direction.
But it's going to take effort. You can't stop rowing or the current will take you backwards. But you can lessen the impact of those currents by how you move through the day, what you allow yourself to be exposed to, and the choices you make in food and the people you surround yourself with.
Learning to recognize the currents working against you can help you avoid them and even work against them instead.
Setting yourself up for success is hard work, but the effort will be worth it! Once you've made living healthy and making the right choices into a daily habit, you'll start getting currents running with you instead of against you, helping you on instead of pulling you back.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
I had to run into the store to get batteries. They had easter candies and such for 75% off. I managed not to pick up any of the chocolates or marshmallow peeps or anything, but I found myself headed to the check-out with one of those decadent sugar cookies that have like 400 calories a bite, the soft ones with that melt-in-your-mouth frosting on them...
I'm standing in line holding my batteries in one hand and staring at that cookie with this sense of inevitable defeat of "I could eat just 1/4th and that'd be a good snack I could work it, but I *know* that instead I'm going to eat the entire thing in the car on the way home and feel miserable."
I was absolutely defeated by that cookie. Even knowing - KNOWING - I was going to feel miserable, I was still standing there with that cookie.
And finally I realized something. I was worth more than that. I was worth more than the misery of eating a cookie. I realized no matter how good I knew that cookie was going to taste, it wasn't going to taste good enough to make me feel better about myself when I was done.
None of those were really conscious thoughts, I wasn't standing there philosophizing to myself. But I did something I had rarely been able to do before. I set the cookie down on the soda case. I didn't even bother walking back to put it away. I just set it down right where I was and took a step forward.
I beat the cookie. I didn't buy it, I didn't eat it on the way home, and I didn't feel miserable.
It will probably be the exact same battle the next time. I might lose next time. But I won this time. And sometimes it's the little victories you really have to hold on to.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
It's easy, right? Put a little bowl on your scale, press tare to zero it out, then add chips until it reads 1 oz. There isn't any kind of difficulty to this task.
Oh, except for staring at that 1 oz of chips and wondering "but where's the rest"? And of course, somehow resisting measuring out 2 oz instead.
Which, 2 oz is fine, if you have room for a double serving of something that already runs around 120-150 calories an ounce when you're already choosing the healthier, whole grain chips to begin with.
But not so much if you don't.
It's hard to look at 1 oz of chips and feel even the least bit satisfied when you're used to gobbling down maybe 6-8 servings without blinking.
BUT, I argue, I'm eating it with SALSA! Those are vegetables! Or refried beans, lots of healthy protein there. I mean, what kind of a snack is it if you're done almost before you start!?
I took that measly 1 oz of chips and went to pout in the living room with my salsa.
I confess, I still like the idea of just going to town on chips and salsa, or guacamole, or refried beans. It's the best part of going out to a Mexican restaurant, and it's the part they'll give you FOR FREE! How can you turn that down!? They bring you basket after basket and bowl after bowl of those delicious chips and salsa... and I'm suppose to be satisfied with one little ounce?
I'm not. At least, I shouldn't be treating it as a meal. It *is* just a snack. And that's what I need to learn sometimes. Snacks or treats are rare indulgences, not meals, and certainly not every-day occurrences.
When I'm willing to accept this, when I'm willing to make that choice to eat better not because I don't want the chips, but because they aren't the main attraction in a healthy daily diet, when I'm willing to put my health above my cravings, I see real change, real results and find that even my old habits really can change.
That 1 oz doesn't look quite so small as it used to anymore. I'm getting used to it. I'm getting used to snacking on an ounce of chips between meals instead of turning the chips into a meal. I'm finding that even if I do *want* more, that I'm also satisfied with a smaller amount.
1 oz still seems a little small, but I'm getting better at estimating it when I don't have a scale handy (eating out, for example).
Those chips don't taste good enough to be fat over.
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