Wednesday, January 08, 2014
So I fell off the Spark wagon a few months back from what was, in retrospect, fairly haphazardly committed plan anyways. Now with the New Year here, I've of course renewed my interest in losing weight and getting in better fitness shape. No matter how many times you fall down, none of it matters so long as you keep getting back up, right? Well that's me. I started here a little over a year ago, and had some initial very encouraging success, then well, not so much. The last 6 months have been quite stressful with life, work, etc., which didn't help and really just provided some additional excuses to use. But I recognize that, and I recognize that now I'm even worse shape than when I started last year (don't get me started on how I let that happen).
So, I've been poking around the Spark website more, and reading articles, and focusing first on my nutritional goals, and slowly working up back to the level of exercise that I used to be at (and loved). As part of this renewal, I was reading my Spark Start Page, and found the new members guide (for 500 pts when you finish!), so I thought I'd see what that had to offer.
Interestingly, I came across this passage in the first section that really intrigued me and made me think about my own program.
" The SparkPeople program originated from our realization many years ago that two main types of expertise could be combined into a revolutionary program to help people reach goals:
The first type is expertise on any health and fitness areas that can help your body improve, such as: nutrition, fitness, and sleep
The second type of expertise comes from areas that help you mentally, including: motivation, goal setting, stress management, and leadership."
So the first one I've definitely spent a lot of time thinking about. What caught my attention was the second type of expertise that helps you mentally here. Things like motivation, goal setting and stress management and leadership. I mean yeah, I get it. Making goals and being motivated is part of the larger picture, as well as stress management and sharing your ideas with others. I've made goals and I've made an effort to recognize factors which derail me, but I haven't thought a whole lot about motivation, in and of itself, and that maybe I ought to make a "motivation" plan in addition to my nutrition and fitness plans.
So here I go. One thing I've done in the past, is to put a small sticker on my calendar in my office for everyday that I get exercise in. I think for this month, I am going to restart this visual motivator, except for this month, I will add stickers for days that I've stayed within my nutritional goals. Maybe next month I'll switch back to using it to label exercise days.
Another idea to help keep up my motivation, is to focus on smaller weight loss goals. So my ticker is set at 10 lb intervals, and I'm aiming for 5 pounds/month goal. Once I reach my next 5 pound marker, I'm going to go shopping for a small little fun item, like earrings or crazy socks, etc.
My third idea to help keep my motivation, is to be more active in posting on my blog, and interacting with the community here -- as I already know, it's a great place to help keep you excited about your goals.
Okay, so I'm starting off with some little steps, but at least I'm going in the right direction. I've got 3.2 more pounds to go until my next "mini-goal"!
Saturday, November 09, 2013
So this morning while I was vacuuming, I realized that my vacuum wasn't sucking up stuff very well, compared to when I first bought it. (I have one of those uber fancy vacuums specific for pet hair that I swore was one of the best things on the planet when I bought it.) I had cleaned the filter recently, so I was a bit concerned that my big investment wasn't all that I thought it was.
Did you know you can learn just about anything on google/youtube? Yeah. Some of it isn't necessarily stuff that I ever wanted to know, like for example, how to give yourself "cat eyes" using makeup. But whatever, maybe someone wants to know that. Today though, I learned that my awesome pet vacuum has not one, but TWO filters. AND I found a youtube video from the manufacturer that demonstrates how to find and clean both filters. The second filter I had no idea about, and apparently have been neglecting it since I bought it, which might explain why it was so yuck when I took it out of the vacuum this morning. Aha.
So I sat back for a moment and pondered just how wonderful the age of computers really is. I remember heading off to college and my dad helping me set up the college email account before I left. I distinctly remember thinking, "What the heck am I ever going to use 'email' for? If I want to talk to someone, I'll just call them." lol. If only I had any idea.
My favorite internet thingie is definitely Google. During this thoughtful trip down memory lane this morning with my vacuum filters, I got to wondering what else I could learn on Google and specifically what google might have to say about weight loss as a random search string.
After walking back to the computer, I sat down and promptly typed in, "How to lose weight" and then pressed the search button.
Interestingly, the first box that came up had several references from reputable sources whose common theme was basically "burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis, and you will lose weight." Yay Google. But what really caught my attention was everything listed underneath that.
Pretty much all of the website titles were along the themes of, "lose weight fast", "How to lose x pounds in x amount of time", "the *secret* weight loss formula", "how to lose weight without exercising", and basically "how to lose weight without doing anything different".
Well duh, no wonder this country has a weight loss problem. Pretty much everything being marketed on the internet (and elsewhere), sums up weight loss as easy, fast and effortless. Furthermore, there are absolutely tons of youtube videos about weight loss that show bright cheery individuals claiming they have lost incredible amounts of weight in very short times and you could too if you just bought x. In fact, they ALL were trying to sell you something. The latest and greatest diet book, health food supplements, exercise videos, nutrition counseling services, diet shakes, where to buy tapeworms (ok eww), etc.etc.
Thankfully when I reached the point of deciding that I wanted to lose weight, I didn't do an internet search -- I was fortunate enough to have someone clue me into SparkPeople.com.
And I'll tell you that I think SP is really one of the best resources on the internet for not only weight loss, but so much more. Plus, it's FREE.
But there is definitely a catch. Switching to a healthy lifestyle from a not-so-healthy one does require work. A lot of work. And it's not usually a fast process. Plus sometimes not only is it not easy and not effortless, it's downright hard.
BUT, it is worth it. AND, the difference between our collective journey here at SparkPeople, is that when we do achieve our goals, we will be well-armed with knowledge and healthy habits, AND our results are going to last a whole lot longer than whatever fad diet is currently in vogue.
Have a great day!
Thursday, November 07, 2013
I have been on vacation from work this week, doing a stay-cation, which has been really great. Furthermore, I have been able to go the gym in the middle of the day, when less people are there, and really get nice long workouts in which also has been super great. (Usually I have to workout at the end of the day, after I finish working -- and oftentimes by then, my motivation really starts to drop off, especially now that it's getting dark earlier.)
So this has been great. But there's been one little oddity that I've begun to notice at my gym that seems to happen during the day, that isn't really such an issue after work or in the early evening...
Every single time that I walk into the women's changing room -- there are naked people (women) everywhere. All different shapes and sizes and seemingly no modesty issues whatsoever. I feel like I'm in some twilight zone episode where I am seemingly the only person in the women's changing room actually wearing any clothes.
Now I don't really think of myself as a full-on prude, or overly conservative, but the last thing that I really want to see before or after a workout, is full frontal nudity while said individual is brushing their hair, or checking their email on their smart phone. Is it too much to ask that you just turn around and face the lockers? This way I'm only assaulted with some pale buttocks which isn't quite as shocking. And as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if you are a "good-looking" naked person, or a "not-so-good-looking" naked person. You are still NAKED.
Whenever I need to change at the gym, and I always need to change there when I am normally working during the week and heading there afterwards. After checking in and finding an open locker to use, and lugging my giant pink (fun!) workout gym bag with me stuffed full of my workout clothes, I opt for the partial nudity technique. Unfamiliar with this technique? Let me explain:
1) Get gym clothes ready for easy grab.
2) Remove shoes, earrings, any odd hair things going on.
3) Place hair in pony tail (now I use a barrette as I chopped it all off).
4) Remove clothes from lower body and grab lower body workout clothes. Put on.
(this is why it's called partial nudity technique -- only half of you is naked at any given time)
5) Fold and place work clothes into gym bag on top of work shoes.
6) Remove upper body clothes and get sports bra in easy grabbing distance.
7) Do the quick switcheroo, and remove underthings on the top half of body, and replace with sportsbra (all while facing locker is a good choice).
8) Put on sports top.
9) Fold remaining work clothes and place into bag.
Now granted, SOME of the naked people I see in the locker room in the middle of the day might be coming back from getting showered. And the gym towels aren't especially generous. So, to help those suffering from complete and total lack of body modesty issues, you CAN keep the towel partly on your shoulders while you quickly get dressed. Starting with the bottom half and working upwards works pretty well. Just saying.
Hopefully I haven't terribly offended anyone, as this is mostly in just good fun -- but do you really need to be fully unclothed to then decide to check your email or text messages?
Have a sparky-day!
Friday, November 01, 2013
I just want to hug this mouse for sticking with it!
Just keep trying!
Sunday, October 20, 2013
So it's mid-October already. Hard for me to believe that the holidays are peeping around the calendar corner. Well, according to all of my calculations earlier in the year, I'm supposed to be totally skinny by now and in the best shape of my life. lol. Well okay maybe not, but I did have high hopes much earlier this year to be further along than I am now. This last year has included a lot of trial and error and quite a few false starts before I realized how damaging my old habits could be when left to run amok on their own.
The thing is, I love being an active, healthy and fit person. I've been an active, healthy and fit person before and it was great. No worrying about what in my closet is going to fit on any given occasion, no worrying about not being able to keep up without outside adventures, no worrying about feeling self-conscious among my many very petite friends. And wow, my body feels great when I feed it the right types of foods and cut out the not so healthy stuff.
So it's always a bit mystifying how I end up wandering off that path. If it's so great being active and healthy, then why do I stop doing it? I certainly don't feel my best when I'm carrying around extra weight. And I certainly don't feel "healthy" after chowing down on junk food.
I've learned that for me, STRESS is one of the culprits. When I'm stressed, the stress often just seems to take over everything else. I don't make it to the gym to exercise as often as I would like (when I'm stressed, I feel like I can't indulge in that sort of luxury because I have so many other things that need my attention). When I'm stressed, I don't make the time to plan out healthy meals/snacks and go shopping and be organized about food for the week. But when I am stressed -- I now recognize that is when I need to focus on these things the most! Working off that stress at the gym, and getting a good healthy meal in my body that makes me feel healthy, fit and good -- these are all great for reducing stress!
This last year has been quite stressful for me (and its toll has become evident on my bathroom scale) but I'm trying to focus only on the things that I have the power to change (and trying not to stress about things that I have no control over). And now we are heading into the holidays, which often end up being somewhat crazy and hectic. But this year I am going to be armed. I'm making slow and steady progress with my goals, and I intend to keep it up. I am scheduling my workout classes onto my calendar and doing my best to stick with them if they are scheduled (or do a 'make-up' session if I miss them). I am working on 'mini-goals', and scheduling rewards when I achieve them.
So while I might not be at my 'ultimate goal', I am going to continue making steady progress through this season, and I am not going to let stress (holidays or anything else) derail my efforts.
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