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My 2y SP anniversary: some Oliver-history, and the here and now

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

We have a thread in the Maintenance group about “Where did you come from and where are you now?”.
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As my response started to grow, and I decided to rather make blog post about it, to celebrate my 2nd anniversary here on SP, and to blog today.
I have inserted a few photos from the past year.

This one is in Singapore, during my Gestalt course, May 2012.



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YOUNG, ENERGETIC, AND NEVER THINKING ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS AND SUCH
I was in generally in good shape until the 3rd year at the university passed by. I was not particularly a sports man, but was in general good and healthy looking. In my childhood, I exercised a lot, playing soccer, biking, working in the fruit gardens, basketball with friends and at school team (primary, secondary, and at university), and later on also being a basketball referee. I think the peak was being a referee. Hard to imagine, but I experienced being a basketball referee as a hard endurance activity. It's like 4h of constant running (one match is 2h, and usually we were assigned for two consecutive matches), being faster than the players, and the constant focus. From the moment entering the gate, it's 'live', and when players rest, the referee is still ON, until everybody leaves after the event.

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CHANGES WITHOUT ADAPTATION
Then, when I quit being a referee, and when sports classes were not part anymore part of the weekly schedule at the university, suddenly there was no more organized exercise in my day anymore.
Looking back, a big issue for me was that nobody ever taught me how to integrate sports into my life by myself. Before that, some external "force" assured I have enough exercise, but now it was on me, and I didn't know what to do. Today, I know, I learned how to include exercise, but that time, it was lacking.
So, for ten years, I started to gain weight, from around 75kg up to 100kg. Some years, I joined some sports, like Judo, or Salsa, and I was less, other years I didn't, and was near 100kg. I didn't really understand how I could lose weight, it seemed light an impossible task to do.

In company of a Mexican hat. I go a lot by public transport.


Now, I know I had many false assumptions. Like today I'm aware white bread is very easy to overeat, and is dense in calories, and those times I was eating a lot of bread, without even knowing how much impact it can have on my weight.
Once, someone near me had a medical condition, and restrain from sugar, and limit carbs. I was interested to try how is to eat like that and followed this eating habit and I quickly lost a few kg. A few years came with low sugar and low carbs on my flag.
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Looking back, I understand that those times were "sad" times not just because life was hard, but now I'm aware that low sugar can trigger low mood. It was not a perfect solution to lose weight, but, it injected some energy into my quest on getting into shape. For example, I decided that time to follow "Norbi Update", a nutrition program in Hungary (similar to Weight Watchers) that time.
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BODY IN FOCUS
Then, in Sep 2010, when I arrived in Austria, I was thinking, what should I focus on this year systematically? I had two things in mind, learning German, or getting into shape. If I learn German first, it helps me integrate, and would help finding sports teams, communities, support for exercise. If I learn "exercise", it will boost my energy for learning languages, and project a healthier me. In the end, I decided to focus on fitness, as previously I already focused on languages almost all my life as a priority, and it looked fun to try something new.
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Summer exercise:


An article on the web encouraged me to start with planning instead of jumping into the cold water. It made sense, and I spent two month collecting information, planning, consulting people, reading articles and books. Most people around me were aware of my new focus, and criticized me that I am just “talking” and not “doing”, and were laughing at me, saying Oliver is planning so much and does no exercise or eat differently. Yet. On one hand, I had all the previous “jumpstart” attempts from my life “from today I do and I don’t do”, and the similar failed attempts with diets and exercise programs among friends. On the other hand, my reasoning was that starting 3 months earlier or later doesn’t really make a difference for me anyway, and why not try starting slow.
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Running competition with team mates in Vienna in 2012 (note the A - B -C) :-) :


During this period of data collection, I have read a science article that showed that groups that tracked calories lost 2x the weight vs. control groups on the same diet. I decided tracking is key a feature to implement, although I was not particularly motivated to track. I evaluated several options, paper, PDA/phone, internet. I thought because anyway I would surf the net, it's a good thing to channel that time and energy into my healthy living. Therefore I made a survey for myself on what website to choose for tracking food. I evaluated many. SP was mostly medium on almost every score, but it was at least medium on almost every score. While most other sites had one or two excellent features, but were lacking others. So I decided to use SP for tracking food. And since then, I'm on SP, and am happy with my choice, and use many other features beside the food tracker.
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I didn't follow any special diet, or exercise program, I just started to track how much I eat, then later on calculate calories, later on fit into a calorie budget, then start exercise, and then adding other things to my now long list of healthy habits. However, most of these things happen now unconsciously, see my blog here:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_pu
blic_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=52
70018


So, slowly I re-educated myself to live healthy.

A NEW ATTITUDE ON HOW TO LIVE
Then I discovered that living healthy is really fun, and now I do it as a hobby. In parallel, friends and colleagues started to ask more and more often advice, on what and how to do things "The Oliver Way". I also discovered that a great way to keep myself motivated is to motivate others.

New shoes, which was a planned purchase based on distance run in the shoes. Although, later on I switched Inno-8 F195 Lite shoes, for the POSE-method.


I learned organizational development (OD) and coaching with Gestalt in the past years. Originally, this approach is aimed at business consultancy and therapy, and that was my plan. However, it made sense, to use this approach to support people who turn to me to improve on their healthy lifestyle, and it is very successful. It's still a hobby, but now I'm spending a large amount of my time to support others. Gradually, from free it became a business, and it’s close that my hobby becomes my full time job in the end.

Due to the weight loss, I had to dump ALL my previous clothes. Even my suits. Finally, I saved up enough to buy a new suit. I think I am like 15 models already past me on this picture...

There are many things what I love about this process. The learning about myself, from each other, that I can use many of my other skills and experience in the process. My past years of working as an R&D engineer in food development, working in different level of organizations and countries, speaking languages, project management, interest in innovation and new technologies, photography and writing, and just to connect with people from around the World. Even, living in this small town, Gleisdorf, looks as a great asset - it triggered me to regular running, walking, and cycling. I never planned for this, it came along the way, but it looks like all pieces fall into a place, to complete a bigger picture of a puzzle. The picture is not clear yet, and is still forming, but it is exciting.

Of course, not everything is easy. I was so encouraged to follow a triathlon exercise plan after my success in biking and running, but the closest all year open swimming pool is 2hs away. I went to swim regularly for a couple of months last year as an experiment, but in the end I decided to stop and keep swimming for the next step. For that, probably I have to move to a town with a 50m swimming pool, and rent an apartment that is walking or biking distance away from the pool.

POSE Triathlon training in Vienna with Dr. Romanov himself in 2012.



AND WHAT KEEPS ME BUSY TODAY?
The past two years, my focus was nutrition, then exercise. I got these to a "working level" already, and now I work on my recovery. This needs some courage to tackle, as benefits are harder to measure. A kg lost is a kg lost, but an energetic day is not seen from the distance. I started with sleeping regularly 8h (and deal with the resulting shorter days :-) ), plan rest times into my exercise regime, improve my sleep patterns, and just this Dec/Jan, I implemented daily meditation as a habit. Now, I am experimenting to fit a morning meditation into my daily schedule, and work with my dreams. When I finish this round on recovery in a couple of months, probably I will focus again on exercise, or nutrition, whichever has more energy around.

As for weight, I see it is a tricky question. The group is "Weight Maintenance", but for me, it's more "New Lifestyle Maintenance". When I started to loose weight, it was "something to reach". These days, it's more a parameter of my body, among many others. And if it's weight, I'm keeping more track of my fat% on the long term, and use the morning weigh-in to check my hydration level. I use an Omron BF511, as it measures body fat via both arms and legs, vs. only the legs, and I can clearly follow how my body changes from month to month. Spending money for a visit to a sports specialized physician sounded before as an "athelte's luxury". Now, it's on my plan every 6 months, and lactate levels, heart rate changes are the parameters that I look at to see how my body is doing.

In Gibraltar (some UK, in Spain), we walked all day and logged near 2000 kcal by being a tourist.


Here, on SP I am engaged in the 5% challenges community, and the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance community.
In the 5% challenge, this week we focus on blogging to collect points, so do I, and hence this blog today. The question for today: "What can you improve upon?" Think about how to automatize healthy actions more. I see if it is automatized, either by a gadget or a habit, it happens. If needs some thinking about, it can slip. For example, my meditation could have a fixed place in my morning routine. Then I wouldn't have to think about when to do it, or to do it, it would just happen.


So, I'm running-cycling-walking among these trees these days. Fresh air, beautiful surroundings, lots of varied paths to keep me entertained, all in 1000m walk from my door. I love here!


For some pictures about me trough my weight loss journey, see my blog from last year's 1y SP anniversary, here:
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_pu
blic_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=46
93826

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIRESML 5/27/2013 4:26PM

    Hi Oliver! I enjoyed reading your history of your journey to a wonderful and balanced life. You are very dedicated and your success shows. emoticon

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KRISKECK 3/27/2013 4:37PM

    Thanks for the story of your journey! I like a lot of things about it but I especially appreciate New Lifestyle Maintenance as opposed to weight maintenance!

How to improve, and automatize healthy habits: like you, I want to make meditation a part of my morning routine, followed by my exercise, which is already a part of my morning routine. This creates a time problem. I think I will have to wake up 15 minutes earlier!

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KRISZTA11 3/22/2013 5:34PM

    Congrats to your emoticon !
Thanks for sharing your healthy lifestyle story,
and for your earlier blog about focusing on one healthy habit at a time.
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DOINITRIGHT2012 3/13/2013 2:37PM

    emoticon

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KALISWALKER 3/10/2013 11:05PM

    Hi Oliver. I was catching up on some of your blogs. I always learn something new when I read your blogs. You've had another very successful year. All the best in year 3!

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DONNABRIGHT 3/9/2013 7:29AM

    Loved the pictures - thanks for sharing your story.

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KELLIEBEAN 3/7/2013 10:00PM

    Great blog. Great read and I loved the pics. Congratulations on your anniversary and all that you have accomplished! Thank you for sharing.

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MINDY502 3/7/2013 9:42AM

    Congratulations on your spark anniversary. You have done so great and have been a motivation to alot of people. Keep on sparking it is working!

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LEMONLYMAN1 3/7/2013 8:11AM

    I love your blog, especially the pictures. It's more fun to watch your journey through them. Congrats on the excellent progress!

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POPSY190 3/7/2013 1:55AM

    emoticon on your SP anniversary. You have written an interesting and informative blog and your planning and implementation of your strategies is wonderful. It's great that you take such pleasure in advising and helping others - that's truly what spreading the spark is all about!

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LESLIE_2B_LESS 3/7/2013 12:10AM

    Awesome blog Oliver and thank you so much for sharing it all with us. It's always so enjoyable and interesting to read your blogs and find out your strategies.

Keep on your recovery journey!

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GREENGENES 3/6/2013 11:25PM

    What a great story. It is amazing how we can find ourselves if we would only slow down and pay attention. A lesson I need to work on more. Well done.

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TRAVELLER3 3/6/2013 8:42PM

    What a wonder full journey you are travelling. Thanks for sharing the treasured moments.
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ANNIE1114 3/6/2013 6:54PM

  Thanks so much for sharing. You sound like you are very detail oriented. I enjoyed your blog. It sounds like you have an interesting life. emoticon

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TEQPEACH 3/6/2013 6:45PM

    Great history lesson ummm lessen LOL!

Terri

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KMICHA 3/6/2013 6:13PM

    AWESOME!!!!!! Thanks for taking us on the "Oliver History" journey!!!! What a testimony!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

HAPPY SPARKVERSARY TOO!!!!

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SLENDERELLA61 3/6/2013 5:14PM

    AWESOME blog!! What a great journey. Love that you checked out everything before diving in. That you are now helping others - either for free or pay - is admirable. Best wishes for continued success. Hope this blog gets a Popular Blog Award because it deserves it. Thanks.

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ANNIEONLI 3/6/2013 3:29PM

    Happy Anniversary!

I found the last paragraph interesting - "recovery" is a good term and mindset when things are on the quiet side in maintenance (at least, that is what I am perceiving word to mean)....I call them a "lull" myself! and the more you track them, the more pattern you will see forming, depending on times of the year.
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STRIVERONE 3/6/2013 3:18PM

    You are truly a motivator and it does not go unappreciated.

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TINAJANE76 3/6/2013 2:38PM

    Fantastic blog, Oliver. You've definitely come a long way! Happy anniversary!

Comment edited on: 3/6/2013 2:39:11 PM

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FITFOODIE806 3/6/2013 1:27PM

    great blog! Thanks for sharing your story.

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The view from Aussichtsturm Kleeberg (1min)

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Running is a habit I developed 2 years ago. I never was a runner before, and still, my body is better at other types of exercises. However, it's a practical exercise, only needs my shoes, no big money investment needed, can be done all day long in all weather conditions, wo commute.
I stopped for a moment to climb up to this tower to enjoy the view. Had some hard time to catch my breath during talking. Elevation: from 390m to 556m, 10K, 60 min, 800 kcal. Plus running up the tower in the middle!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEATLETOT 3/15/2013 5:43PM

    How did I miss this one? Beautiful blog, Oliver!

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EFFRAYECHILDE 3/8/2013 11:33AM

    emoticon

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PCASEY7 3/7/2013 8:25PM

    Woo hoo

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ALIDOSHA 3/7/2013 4:42PM

    emoticon

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LISA_FRAME 3/7/2013 10:51AM

  Thanks for sharing

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HEARTS116 3/7/2013 10:31AM

    emoticon emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 3/7/2013 9:12AM

    THank you so much for sharing. Beautiful

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GRAMPIAN 3/7/2013 6:33AM

  Sehr schön - danke! emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 3/7/2013 1:53AM

    emoticon emoticon

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JAMER123 3/6/2013 11:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Thank you so much for sharing!!

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SJKENT1 3/6/2013 9:43PM

    So beautiful! thanks for showing us your part of the world

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CLAYARTIST 3/6/2013 9:25PM

  emoticon m emoticon

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KAYYAK1 3/6/2013 9:19PM

  Fantastic. Thanks.

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PATRICIAANN46 3/6/2013 8:24PM

  Beautiful............... emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 3/6/2013 8:02PM

  Lovely view! That must have been a great run.

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SANDYLH1 3/6/2013 7:06PM

  emoticon

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LIFETIMER54 3/6/2013 5:39PM

  emoticon FOR SHARING.... emoticon

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KARRENLYNN 3/6/2013 5:25PM

    Thanks for sharing a beautiful view!

Karen emoticon

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LIVELYGIRL2 3/6/2013 3:06PM

  That is remarkable!!! Awesome, so neat. Good for you. Thanks for showing us. emoticon emoticon

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IAMAGEMLOVER 3/6/2013 2:23PM

    Beautiful. Great video. Thank you for sharing.

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REGILIEH 3/6/2013 2:19PM

    BEAUTIFUL!!!! BREATHTAKING!!!! GORGEOUS!!!! INCREDIBLE!!!

FABULOUS!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon



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JANEMARIE77 3/6/2013 2:19PM

    Thank you for sharing

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JACKIE542 3/6/2013 2:08PM

    emoticon Thank you for sharing.

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LHEFFERN 3/6/2013 1:00PM

    Great video. Great message. Thanks!

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GUBITNIK 3/6/2013 12:31PM

    What lovely nature emoticon

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DIANNEMT 3/6/2013 12:07PM

    I am not a runner either but you are right about the ease of doing--so I do it, too!


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GRIZ1GIRL 3/6/2013 11:18AM

    Amazingly beautiful! Awesome! THANKS!

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NILLAPEPSI 3/6/2013 10:56AM

    Such a beautiful view. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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JOANNHUNT 3/6/2013 10:40AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DJSHIP46 3/6/2013 10:37AM

    Loved the view. Thanks for sharing :)

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CHRISBEM 3/6/2013 10:12AM

    it's beautiful

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TINY67 3/6/2013 10:05AM

    emoticon

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NEPTUNE1939 3/6/2013 9:20AM

    emoticon

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WORKNPROGRESS49 3/6/2013 9:17AM

    emoticon

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SHOAPIE 3/6/2013 8:50AM

    emoticon

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OFGREENGABLES 3/6/2013 8:35AM

    this is also why i run!

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MIMIDOT 3/6/2013 8:12AM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed the view.

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PENNYPACKER3 3/6/2013 7:53AM

    emoticon

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MOMMY445 3/6/2013 7:46AM

    what a wonderful view! that is amazing! have an awesome day!

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CHERYLHURT 3/6/2013 7:14AM

  Wow!

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BURNEDEVE 3/6/2013 6:58AM

    What an amazing view! This has totally inspired me to get out and run today!

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PENOWOK 3/6/2013 6:42AM

    Beautiful!!

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WOMANATWORK1 3/6/2013 6:19AM

    Das ist schön! Als Teenager reiste ich Österreich und dies bringt wieder viele schöne Erinnerungen. Vielen Dank! Kim

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AMANDACOETZER 3/6/2013 6:09AM

    emoticon

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NCSUE0514 3/6/2013 5:28AM

    Beautiful!

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CYDNEYLEECH 3/6/2013 4:31AM

    Great job!

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BECKYANNE1 3/6/2013 2:38AM

    Beautiful view. Thanks for sharing.

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STRIVERONE 3/5/2013 11:44PM

    Great scenery and run stats.

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ALDEBARANIAN 3/5/2013 6:55PM

    What a beautiful place.

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LEMONLYMAN1 3/5/2013 5:35PM

    Amazing view. Wish mine was as good as that! emoticon

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Good Habit = ZERO willpower

Monday, March 04, 2013

Sometimes, when I talk about my habits to people, on what I have developed over time, and how is my day looking like today, I often get a comment on my strong willpower.
And about my discipline.
And how much attention I give during the day to live healthy.

And as I listen to these compliments, resistance builds up in me more and more... and I just don't know what to do with a compliment on my willpower. Or on my discipline. As I don't do any of these on an average healthy day!

In the contrary.

I do these activities completely in brainwashed, unconscious, auto-pilot, non-thinking way.

Do you think I could focus to do a list of 20+ healthy things on a day?!
I could lift a spaceship like a Jedi knight with all that willpower...

And that's the whole point of it:
It's a habit, because it doesn't need willpower, or discipline, or focus.
HABITS HAPPEN AUTOMATICALLY.

Of course, it needs energy, time, commitment to develop actions to happen habitually, without thinking. However, it's not that much, and habit development itself is already an automated process for me.

When I develop a new habit, I only focus on ONE single thing.
Usually it less then many people do around me, as they love to multitask and focus on many things to change at a time. This process didn't prove to be successful for me - when I focused on several things at a time, I had to focus on those things ALL the time.

Now, I just focus on ONE thing at a time. Then it becomes a habit.
Then I don't focus on it anymore. And I focus on the next ONE.


My practical advice:
Try this experiment.
If you have 5 new actions you wish to do (... I know it takes courage to wish only 1 thing, so I assume you have five), and you have one month; instead of focusing on all 5 things during the whole month, just focus on 1 thing, for 1 week. Then the next week, the next one. Yes, it's 4 weeks in a month, so you probably need to drop one of the 5. :-) If you decide to try it, let me know, I'm curious about your feedback!


Monday = New week, new possibilities!

This week my focus is BLOGGING, everyday!
And that's the only focus I have! :-)

I'm inspired a lot about your comments on my blog, thank you a lot!
And happy habit development for everybody!



Let's get moving!

What do you focus on this week?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMONEKP 3/6/2013 10:53AM

    great tips

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JEFEIST 3/4/2013 10:57PM

    So, you asked what I meant about comparing to starting a new habit as compared to setting a goal SMART.

My leadership classes a couple of years ago told us this - "Goals need to be
S - specific
M- measurable
A - attainable
R - realistic
T- Timely or Time Measured

So what do you think?


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WIZKEY 3/4/2013 6:33PM

    Love to read your blogs, Oliver. I like the idea of adding in new habits one at a time.

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KMICHA 3/4/2013 6:19PM

    Oliver, you are so right. These things become automatic; they become habits. We I first began exercising in the mornings, it was a killer ( about 15 years ago)! But forcing myself to get up and do it everyday soon became a habit, but the really great thing was when it was so much a habit that I began to wake up before the alarm went off and I was excited to get up and get moving! Now, if don't exercise in the mornings, my whole day is off. You are doing great Oliver! Congratulation on your many successful changes in lifestyle!!! emoticon

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POPSY190 3/4/2013 5:33PM

    There's a lot to be said for cumulative methods. Good advice here.

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ALDEBARANIAN 3/4/2013 2:33PM

    *Sigh* Discipline seems like such a nasty word these days. It carries so much emotional baggage with it. I think maybe people who say a person has a lot of discipline are accusing them of abusing themselves in some way, and also excusing themselves for living a less healthy lifestyle.

I think maybe it's really just about making choices. After all, if I'm feeling down for a day or two, and I exercise because it makes me feel better, I'm not really disciplining myself, I'm picking a non-drug, non invasive, healthy way to feel better. And maybe having a little fun, too, depending on what I do for exercise, and who I do it with. After all, it's my life I'm living, not someone else's.

I'm glad there are so many positive, thinking people like you here on Spark People to travel with. :)

Comment edited on: 3/4/2013 2:36:55 PM

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MELBBART 3/4/2013 10:44AM

    I'm glad you're focusing on blogging, because I like reading them! emoticon

I think focusing on one thing REALLY helps. Thus, why these 5% challenges are so helpful for me. Even the water challenge, which I'm always really consistent about, is always helpful.

I think I'll try your strategy for tracking my food on the weekends. I'll give it a month and see how I feel about it at the end. Thanks for the motivation! :)

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KAYOTIC 3/4/2013 10:12AM

    I totally agree, I started a challenge on one of my teams last month to "do just one thing". And we got some good results! The multi-tasking, and multiple goal setting is tempting, because I think we all have lots of things we may want to improve on, but focusing on one thing really helps ingrain the habit, and that is what will carry on when the next goal is underway!

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JACKIE542 3/4/2013 10:11AM

    Great advise, that is pretty much the way I did it. Made things habits, good things, now I don't think too much about it anymore. emoticon

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CAROLLEE57 3/4/2013 9:37AM

    Thanks for the great pics and the mindset

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MISSUSRIVERRAT 3/4/2013 7:44AM

    The following is a comment I made yesterday in response to someone else's blog:

"The process of changing habits seems to me the most difficult part.
It also seems to me that the thing to do is to try to make the new, healthy habits as easy, accessible, and pleasurable as possible. Example: choose exercise that you really like (and see the potential of loving), choose healthy food that you like in quantities that your body can comfortably assimilate, add self-care/activites to your routine that makes you feel relaxed and happy. Also helps to speak kindly to yourself during the process. Once the healthy activites become a habit, then they are the new comfort zone, automatic, routine, .....the "new you."

I agree that you don't have to be what people consider perfect with new habits.
A rest day can be therapeutic. A food treat (under control and in reasonable quantities) keeps a person from feeling deprived. Changing at a slower pace sometimes is better because then you don't shock your system with new expectations. Shock to the system causes internal stress......and we all know that we don't want any more of that because that can lead to overload when things get out of control!"

It seems appropriate to add here.




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PMRUNNER 3/4/2013 7:43AM

    It can be daunting to overhaul everything at once. Taking it in small steps makes each step doable. You don't get up and decide to run a marathon, or sit down to eat a whole elephant, you do it one step or one bite at a time!

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MISSUSRIVERRAT 3/4/2013 7:37AM

    I agree with you completely. I have made a lot of progress this past month by doing the things you suggest. The effort is in repeating the behavior. That behavior becomes the "new normal" and then it just becomes the new routine that one does automatically without thinking about it. One change at a time for about a week seems to be a good plan and then one is off to a good start.

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DONNABRIGHT 3/4/2013 7:31AM

    Excellent blog!

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NUOVAELLE 3/4/2013 6:33AM

    That's an excellent advice! One step at a time will get you to your goals. Multiple steps simultaneously? You just stumble and fall! No accomplishment.
Thank you for this great blog!
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CLAIREINPARIS 3/4/2013 6:26AM

    This is so true! Each one of my new healthy habits these last 2 years I developed that way, one at a time (hiking, posting blogs, walking during the week, and more recently mindful eating). Then they indeed become habits and you don't think about them. My focus this week is nordic walking. I took a lesson before I left for meetings 10 days ago and I need to practice to reacquaint myself with it.

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WATCHMEGO! 3/4/2013 5:54AM

    Excellent post! Someone asked me recently how to get back on track and that is exactly what I told them....focus on one thing.

I also totally agree that commitment is the real "secret" to success. Motivation and willpower come and go. Commitment....well, it's there all the time!

Congratulations on your successes!

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3 tips for habit development

Sunday, March 03, 2013

As we blog about habits this week, and I have read already many blogs about habit development, I thought to share some experience I gathered in the past two years.


1. A SMALL ACTION goes a long way
Think about a small action to form a new habit. Instead of 1h exercise, just stick to a 10 minutes. Instead of eating healthy meals, stick to eat an apple every day. Once the small action is established in your daily routine, you can scale it up.

>Last year I decided to brush teeth immediately after breakfast, to clean away the food taste from my mouth, and reduce hunger. It sounds like a very silly, and small step towards a healthy lifestyle. However, it had great benefits - it closes the meal, prevents further hunger, encourages me to stay away from food for longer (instead I drink). And, it's great for my teeth!


2. TRACKING is key
I experienced that if I track daily whether I did my new action or not, it increases my success rate to double. It can be different ways of tracking, in a paper diary, on an A4 sheet on the wall, in a smartphone app, or here in SP.

>I have friends, who's natural tendency is to play with Excel sheets in their free time. I don't have this built-in data eating desire, but I realized that tracking improves my success rate, so I do it. Usually I stick a paper on the wall, so I can see it every day.


3. Use a DEFINED PERIOD to form the habit
I see that I need approx. 1 month to arrive to a level when I have almost zero resistance to do my new action, so I usually do 30 day periods. During this period, I do the action no matter what. After this period, if I don't like it in the end, I abandon it, but during this period, I contract myself to do it anyway.

>When I started with running, I decided to get out to run every day for 10 minutes, no matter what. Now, I don't run every day, I think it's healthier for me to run every other day, or to make 5 day strikes and then 2 days off. However, to get into the habit of running, for 30 days, I ran every day. I remember I was on a business trip in Germany during that 30 days. Our meetings finished very late, and by the time I had time for myself, it was already 1 am. I was the only single person in the dark streets, and I only ran 10 minutes exactly, not a second more, but I did it.


Today we went to Lassnitzhöhe, and made a 2h walk in the neighbourhood. The sun was strong, it was fresh, and the air was amazingly clear!



Do you have some tips for habit development from your experience?
Please share it here, I would be happy to hear about it!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLLEE57 3/4/2013 9:35AM

    Thank you for the Tips!

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NUOVAELLE 3/4/2013 2:50AM

    Great advice on new habits establishment! Experts say it takes 21 days to really establish a new habit. I believe this is too simplified and it depends on how many old habits you have to fight in order to practice your new one!
Thank you for the tips!


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LESLIE_2B_LESS 3/4/2013 12:09AM

    Good ideas - for 1 I always brush my teeth when I first wake up... so that after breakfast thing doesn't work. I can't eat if I don't brush first. Are you talking about doing it a 2nd time?

Tracking is of course a very good thing - I find I do so much better when I commit to tracking.

Good idea to put a time period on the goal!



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NOTSPEEDY 3/3/2013 11:08PM

    Great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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DOINITRIGHT2012 3/3/2013 7:28PM

    Excellent Blog, and thanks for stopping by mine. I use the desktop to track on SP, but I have a "Body Minder" journal that I have been handwriting things in so I can take them with me to my medical appointments. I do have a tablet, and I love to get on it while I'm on the treadmill, but it does a horrible job with searching foods. Time wise, the desktop is more efficient.

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TPETRIE 3/3/2013 6:18PM

  Thankyou for sharing.You had some great tips. Also I hope you enjoyed the spotlight yesterday.

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FITFOODIE806 3/3/2013 5:49PM

    Great blog! I love the thought of you running at 1am. That's dedication!
My advice is to be specific. Set a measurable goal. I will drink more water. Or, I will exercise more. They are too vague. But, I'm also a numbers girl, so this has worked well for me.

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MELBBART 3/3/2013 5:22PM

    Great advice!!

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JEFEIST 3/3/2013 5:16PM

    I appreciate your insight. Would you compare new habit forming to goal setting - at least in the area of being SMART?


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BLUEROSE73 3/3/2013 5:01PM

    It looks so beautiful there. I am glad you were able to get out and enjoy it.

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EMMACORY 3/3/2013 4:41PM

    Thanks for sharing your tips. They contain much wisdom. I'll be using them.

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2014ISTHEYEAR 3/3/2013 4:28PM

    Great blog with some great tips. Thanks for sharing with us!

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ALDEBARANIAN 3/3/2013 4:26PM

    Thanks. Very helpful.

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PRAIRIECROCUS 3/3/2013 4:26PM

    emoticon blog !

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LYNNIERN 3/3/2013 4:13PM

    Excellent blog and some really great, practical and easy to initiate tips. The picture is beautiful also! emoticon

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POPSY190 3/3/2013 4:12PM

    This is a terrific blog. The steps you take to form a habit and then to decide whether or not to continue are practical and useful. emoticon emoticon

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Saturday's habit check-ins

Saturday, March 02, 2013

This week we write about habits every day in the Winter to Spring 5% challenge.
So here it is about Saturday! Some of my habits that I formed in the past to years, and I follow now, and how I did today.

EXERCISE
Daily exercise - 30 min running, speedrope, warm-up
Track exercise - the run in Endomondo
Learn POSE method of running - did POSE exercise before the run
Exercise together - we did together with my fiancée

NUTRITION
Shopping healthy - in the shop it was "the thing to do". If I look back how I was 2 years ago, it is amazing - we returned home with a big pile of salads, vegetables, portion controlled, and low cal food.
Eat salad/veggies every day - I made a big salad for us with Ruccola, bell peppers, corn, apples, lean ham, cheese
Healthy snacks - granola bars, banana, dark chocolate
Track calories - I tracked first part of the day in SP, the rest maybe tomorrow.
Keep calories in budget - I can only see tomorrow, I think it will be only "just-in"
Weigh myself in the morning - done
Wash teeth after breakfast - skipped :-(

RECOVERY
Daily meditation - just comes now
Eat 8 cups of water a day - done, but includes 2 cups of Roiboos tea, and 2 cups of Twinnings tea, not pure water
Sleep 8 hours - done
Drink tea, coke, coffee only in the morning - done

OTHERS
Blogging - I didn't blog weekly or daily lately. This week is the time to come back!
Weekly weigh-in for 5% challenge - done
Check-in to 5% challenge forum - done
Comment on blogs - still to do

Funny thing is, for most, I really have to think about them. Which means, they are truly habits!

The most recent habit is daily meditation, which I formed in December/January this year. It's still in the phase when it needs some attention. Today, it is again the last thing I do. I prefer to do it first thing in the morning, then it's for sure in, and I don't have this struggle against my tiredness, late evening, or just "how long this day was". However, doing it in the evening makes a wonderful closure for the day, and makes my sleep better.

This is a pic from today! Here in Austria, it's spring, but the snow holds on strong from last week. A little snow just makes it more exciting, doesn't it?


How was your Saturday habits wise?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLLEE57 3/4/2013 9:34AM

    Great Blog Very inspiring! emoticon

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-AMANDA79- 3/3/2013 12:22AM

    What a beautiful scene! Glad to hear you are exercising with your fiance. I am trying to make exercising with my kids a habit!

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LESLIE_2B_LESS 3/2/2013 11:57PM

    Great blog - thanks for sharing! emoticon

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LYNNIERN 3/2/2013 11:22PM

    Excellent blog, I really liked the comment "I really have to think about them. Which means, they are truly habits!" and your daily meditations. emoticon

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GREENGENES 3/2/2013 9:35PM

    Great set of habits. I love the picture. I sure miss my time in Germany and walking through the woods to work during the winter.

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KMICHA 3/2/2013 9:21PM

    You've got the plan, Oliver . . .And you are disciplined enough to follow it!


PS Congrats on the Engagement . . . . recent?

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MISSLORI5 3/2/2013 8:56PM

    Oliver, that is a great blog! You are such an inspiration for the rest of us! I have been at this for 3 years and I'm still not as disciplined as you are-it's just great that you have allowed so much to become rote in your life! I also applaud your desire for daily meditation, as it is what keeps us healthy on the inside as well as the outside, so go for it, and may you and your fiancee continue to be good examples for each other! emoticon

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GETSTRONGRRR 3/2/2013 8:43PM

    Good job Oliver....lots of good habits!

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POPSY190 3/2/2013 7:45PM

    Your blog made me think about healthy habits that I had forgotten about, like the shopping, because they truly are habits! Thank you for that! And it has given me ideas for tomorrow's blog!

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DNRAE1 3/2/2013 7:27PM

    What wonderful habits! Great job, Oliver! I really enjoyed Austria when I visited this past November. It is a beautiful country!

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JOYFULSPIRIT920 3/2/2013 6:53PM

    Great habits!
Hmmm... I ate well & within my calorie range. I got my run in - 3 miles of intervals.
Working on my healthy habits too :)

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BEATLETOT 3/2/2013 5:40PM

    Oliver, you're so cool!

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ALDEBARANIAN 3/2/2013 5:19PM

    Looks beautiful.
Great habits. Very inspiring.

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