Monday, August 11, 2008
That's the cocoon a caterpillar encloses itself in to protect itself while it transforms into a butterfly. I feel like I'm in a chrysalis myself.
There is very little movement in a chrysalis -- just as there often seems to be no changes along our weight loss journey -- but what emerges seems to be so much more than the caterpillar that created the chrysalis.
The chrysalis itself, to my eye at least, is not very beautiful. In fact, it can be downright ugly. We often don't feel beautiful along our weight loss journey. In fact, not feeling beautiful is often what helps to fuel our overeating. Yet what emerges at the end is definitely beautiful -- yet the truth is, it always was; it was just different.
I can see the changes I am working on my body. Yes, it's painfully slow. No, they don't show up in photos as much as I'd like. Yet I can see the me that will eventually emerge, and I like what I see.
You are a butterfly waiting to emerge. Believe it.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
. . . until you push yourself. That goes for every area of your life.
I'm still on my Olympic theme, so bear with me. I was watching the gymnastics this morning. Man, I totally suck at gymnastics. And I because I sucked, I hated being forced to do it and feared it. And they made us do everything -- uneven bars, horse, balance beam, tumbling. The only thing I enjoyed even the least little bit was tumbling, although I never did learn to do a cartwheel or a handspring.
I still remember, though, in high school -- when we were STILL forced to do balance beam -- the instructor once chose me to demonstrate. I don't know why -- maybe she wanted to show that even the worst kid in the class could do what she wanted her to do?
Anyway, she guided me through doing a rollover (a reverse tumble -- no idea what you really call it) on the balance beam. It didn't teach me to love that little bar, but it made me proud. And it still fills me with a warm glow when I think about it almost 30 years later. Maybe if more instructors had taken the time with us uncoordinated kids, we would have learned to enjoy gymnastics instead of it being our nemesis.
And 30 years later? When I was still working out with a trainer, she made me do man push-ups. It had never even occurred to me that I was capable of them. She showed me that I was strong. I always knew I was strong mentally, but I never, ever thought of myself as strong physically. My trainer showed me I was. At the time, I could bench press 95 pounds, and leg press probably around 200 -- since I no longer have gym equipment available to me, I probably can't quite do that. But I'm still strong, and I will always life weights to remain strong.
She's not the only one that showed me how strong I was, either. We had a great kickboxing instructor for a while. She was the real deal -- she competed. I'd done kickboxing with another instructor, but hated it when they made you kick or punch pads. This instructor taught us to really let go and go for it. I began to enjoy kicking those pads -- talk about therapeutic! I can still remember the anger I felt the day I got stuck in an unholy traffic mess and couldn't make it to class. I didn't want food, I wanted to kick something -- literally!
Of course, all this spills over into all areas of our lives. You don't know what you really like to eat until you try new things -- with an open mind -- and eat mindfully.
It doesn't matter how slow we lose weight, if we just stick it out and stick to our healthy habits, we will get there. And that feeling of accomplishment will help to keep us at our goal, if we remember to bask in it.
So go out and push yourself today. Be mindful, though -- don't push too hard. Find your balance. No injuries, please, just sweaty, tired, satisfied bodies.
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Nope, not a typo. How often have you looked around, wondering if this person is thinn-er than you, or fat-er than you? If they're losing weight fast-er than you? If they're eating bett-er than you?
Well, here's another Olympic insight: instead of concentrating on what their competition is doing, most elite athletes concentrate on how much better they can be than their best. How to improve.
I'm not saying they don't let the competition push them; of course they do. But they're more concerned about their own performance, and how they can improve it, than they are with their competitor's performance.
And that's a lesson for us on our weight loss journey. On one of my sparkteams someone was consoling someone else, saying they were the slowest los-er ever. That they'd only lost 20 pounds in 4 months. Me, I'd be over the moon to have lost that much weight in that much time -- in the same amount of time, I've lost about 12 pounds.
I know that it's useless to compare myself to someone else. They may be young-er than me. They may be heavi-er than me to start with, which means weight will come off them quick-er. They may have a fast-er metabolism. In the end, it doesn't matter the reasons. All that matters is that I know I have done the best that I can do.
That's all that matters for you, too. Forget your "competition". Be the best that you can be. Keep being the best, even when it's hard. I promise, if you be the best you can be, the weight will come off -- no matter how long it takes.
Friday, August 08, 2008
I have always loved the Olympics, despite not being much of an athlete myself. Most likely because my parents always watched it. The games are such a source for inspiration.
Here are just a few stories:
1. Here on SP, read about Wilma Rudolph, who overcame polio to win a gold medal in running -- www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivat
2. Melanie Roach, melanieroach.com/
She's a business owner, the mother of an autistic child (and other children), and a 5'1" weight lifter. She can lift more than twice her weight. She missed the 2000 Olympics due to a back injury, but is poised to make her Olympic debut in Beijing.
3. Lopez Lomong, lopezlomong.org/
Another runner with an amazing story. If you watch the opening ceremonies tonight, Lopez (who is now an American citizen), will be our flagbearer. He was kidnapped at age 6 in the Sudan, and forced to be a child soldier -- but he escaped by running away and has run all the way to the Olympics. I think the most heartwarming part of his story is that he has been reunited with his family, whom he assumed were all dead.
4. Laura Wilkinson, www.laurawilkinson.com/
Perhaps not quite as inspiring as some of the above stories, but she is one of my hometown gals. Or was, anyway. She stunned everyone with her Gold Medal performance at the 2000 Olympics, but had a disappointing showing in the 2004 Olympics. Yet here she is poised to try again.
So if there's a theme here, it's to never, ever give up. Some of these athletes have overcome incredible odds to get them where they are. They work incredibly hard to be the best they can be.
If they can do it, so can we. Watch the Olympics. I guarantee you will laugh, you will probably cry, and you will absolutely be inspired to be all that you can be.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Just when I start thinking I should stop subscribing to magazines as a cost-cutting method, I read something that makes it totally worthwhile.
Are you like me: do you hate having your picture taken? Do you look at vacation photos and all you see is how heavy you are & wonder how you got that way?
Why don't we see the truth: the fun we were having and the joy we got from spending time with loved ones?
That's what it's about. Being grateful for what we DO have, not what we haven't accomplished yet. It was a pertinent message for me. I get so wrapped up in how I look, what people will think of me, that I forget what the vacation is truly about: kickin' back, having a good time, and enjoying the company of loved ones.
It isn't just a message for vacation, of course, it's a message for how we live our lives. Of course I think being at a healthy weight is important. But it isn't the most important thing in life (although there are times it really does seem that way). When we get to the end of our lives, we probably won't regret the food we ate or what we weigh, but we will regret not going after the things that make us truly happy and telling our loved ones how much we care for them.
So go ahead, work your darndest to make it happen, but keep your eye on the prize: enjoying the ones you choose to share your journey with.
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