Thursday, August 14, 2008
The Olympics just holds so much for us to learn from. It's sort of funny, when you look at all those beautiful, toned bodies & realize that their struggles actually mirror our own.
Take the US Women's Gymnastics team. They had the opportunity to win the gold medal, but the Olympics Gods were not with them and they won the silver.
It's funny when you think about it -- the men won the Bronze, and were overjoyed to do so; the women won the silver -- meaning they are the second best team in the world -- and felt they fell short of their goals.
There were a lot of expectations and pressure laid on their shoulders. How often do you feel you fall short of your goals? Are your expectations of yourself too high?
I don't think the expectations for the women's team was too high, but it's a good lesson to all of us that no matter how hard we try, sometimes we just fall short; and we must still celebrate how far we have come and how much effort we have put into ourselves.
What do you think the gymnasts will do? They still have to compete in individual events; some of them, anyway. They will pick themselves up, again, and try their hardest. Maybe this time they will reach their goals; maybe they won't. But no matter what, they will keep trying. And there's a lesson for us in there.
I can't resist adding that the dogs are really enjoying the Olympics, too (the cats, self-absorbed animals that they are, could care less -- but then, they're already gymnasts -- when they want to be).
When I shout "alright!" they think they're going to get food and go running off. When I gasp, they turn around and look at me with concern. And they like the fact that I'm sitting down watching tv more than usual, so they get to snuggle with me more than usual.
I'm still getting my workouts in. Probably not the little extras I would sneak in if I weren't watching the Olympics, which is ironic, but exercise is just a given in my day. I tape the Olympics, fast forward through some of it, and definitely skip the commercials. I can boil down about 9 hours of taped coverage to maybe 2 hours of viewing (which is way more tv than I normally watch).
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
As great as vacations are -- and needed -- getting ready for them isn't easy, both physically and mentally.
You definitely need a vacation after you've done all the cleaning (which wouldn't be so hard if you were on top of it in the first place,of course), shopping, packing, preparing instructions for pet sitters, preparing food for the animals, etc. etc.
Then there's the mental prep, which is probably even more tiring. How will you handle your weight loss journey on vacation? What do you want -- to lose, maintain, or even allow a small gain? What will do you do stay on track during vacation?
And, of course, you want to look the best you can for vacation. That may mean pushing yourself harder beforehand (while you're busy with all that prep work, of course). Squeezing in that extra workout. Choosing the fruit smoothie over the protein bar.
It can be a difficult road to walk sometimes. I think I've done pretty well this time. I don't think I'll quite be where I wanted to be weight-wise, but I also know that I have done the best I can. I haven't pushed myself so hard that I made myself sick or injured myself, but I have squeezed in some extra workouts. Doing the 30 Day Shred twice a day, instead of once -- it's only a 20 minute workout, but it's intense. Doing some of the bootcamp videos in addition to my normal strength training.
I still worry a bit about how I'll eat. There's lots of temptation on a cruise, with food available 24/7 -- food you've already paid for. I worry about how motivated I will be to move. It's definitely tempting to quick back and relax more, and I have a feeling that the shore excursions we end up choosing may not be as active as I'd like, for one reason or another, not to mention trying to coordinate 7 people together -- which can take a lot of time just with the back & forth of what do you want to do?
I do know I will probably have my first couple of days without any exercise in a long, long time. We leave very early next Friday morning. Maybe we'll take a walk when we get there. Then the next day we're at the mercy of my husband's family -- but again, maybe we'll take a walk. Or maybe I'll take a walk.
The biggest way I've decided to walk the line between pushing to0 hard and not trying hard enough? By being mindful. Really taking the time to enjoy my food, every single bite. No tv, no reading (I've already made those a habit), and really being present, chewing slowly, and tasting what I eat. I've been practicing, too. I'm not always successful -- sometimes I still try to rush through what I eat -- but more often than not, I'm aware of it when I do and slow down -- it's actually somewhat like meditating: you don't stop thinking, but you do notice your thoughts and then send them on their way.
I also intend to try to be present and find the joy of being away from my responsibilities, being with loved ones, and relaxing.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Or never give up, take II.
Take the USA men's gymnastics team. Most counted them out -- with the withdrawal of Paul Hamm, and no previous Olympic athletes onboard, they just didn't think they could medal -- or maybe they could get the bronze.
Then they came out so strong . . . and then they wavered. Silver was once again out of their grasp. Most thought bronze was, as well. The first two up on the pommel horse, their last event, didn't fare well. Alexander Artemev, the last athlete to perform, could have shrugged his shoulders & thought why bother; it's just impossible. But he turned in a breathtaking performance to snag the bronze.
The US men's freestyle team was not favored to win, either. And with the third swimmer in the water, they didn't look like they had a prayer. Well, most of you already know what happened there. Jason Lezak brought us home for the gold in a stunning victory. Watching from my chaise lounge, I shouted "alright!", which is my dogs release word & they went running off.
Winners never quit & quitters never win. Weight loss isn't easy. There are times we just get tired of the work. But how many times have you given up in the past? Where did it get you? What does giving up ever get you but fat, tired, and disgusted with yourself?
The best things in life aren't easy. That's what makes them so sweet.
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.
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