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I walk the line

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.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 8/14/2008 4:41AM

    "Being mindful" is an important lesson I'll have to remember. Have a wonderful trip!

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LSFBOOK 8/13/2008 10:08AM

    You have hit the nail on the head about vacations. Just remember--you can walk around the ship on the cruise--they always have a deck that people walk on. It's a lot of fun. Enjoy your family and the wonderful scenery. Have a wonderful time.

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MTER67 8/13/2008 8:55AM

    I need to chant your last 2 paragraphs in my head a few times every day. I have not been living in the present lately; nor have I been enjoying my loved ones very much. I think, like you've done, I need to learn to slow down a little and prioritize.

I bet you are SO excited about this cruise! How fun!

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Winners never quit

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.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTER67 8/12/2008 10:19PM

    Do you know I haven't watched any of the olympics? I was really looking forward to it, but I never turn on the TV. I am a little ashamed of myself b/c I have no idea who is winning what and I am missing out on all the excitement. Maybe today.

Nobody is more inspiring than an Olympic athlete in my book. The best at what they do, driven beyond anything the rest of us can even imagine. They epitomize what it takes to achieve greatness: perseverence, hope, self confidence, and an astounding amount of hard work! Great blog.

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STARTSPARKING 8/12/2008 7:42PM

    Another inspirational boost that I need right about now. Thank you, my friend!

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SQUIRTZIE 8/12/2008 7:15PM

    Your words are so true.

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Chrysalis

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.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 8/12/2008 1:30AM

    This is just the blog I need to read tonight as I am lacking motivation at the moment. Thank you for another brilliant post.

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LSFBOOK 8/11/2008 6:44PM

    We're all butterflies waiting to get out of the cocoon. Some of us just take a little longer!

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CRAZYMOM1574 8/11/2008 2:44PM

    i agree and love that , although it is hard to believe most days, it is hard to feel beautifal when ya feel like a big slug. I AM TRYING THOUGH.

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MTER67 8/11/2008 8:59AM

    Did you know that a caterpillar doesn't really "build" a chrysalis? After it sheds its skin the last time, the caterpillar's skin splits open and the chrysalis is underneath. To follow your butterfly metaphor--our chrysales are already within us; the impetus for change is there all along. We just need to act on it to get the changes started.

My profile image is of two chrysales--metallic gold and anything but plain. The monarch caterpillar has snazzy black and yellow stripes; its chrysalis is jade green with metallic gold spots; and of course, we all know how gorgeous the monarch butterfly is. My point is, in nature and in us, there is beauty all along, in all the different stages. The important thing is to appreciate ourselves no matter where we are on our journeys--it keeps us living in the present tense and also moving forward.
emoticon

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You don't know what you're capable of . . .

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.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 8/11/2008 5:07AM

    Our bodies are capable of so much if only given the chance and we TRULY believe in ourselves. My fitness level has improved, and I am able to exercise like I never thought possible especially at this age. I just need to apply the same determination in other areas, such as breaking some of my poor eating habits!

Thanks for another great blog post.

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MTER67 8/11/2008 3:40AM

    A friend of mine dragged me to her exercise class for "Bring a Friend Day" last week. We had to do 100 seated triceps dips and when we all groaned after it was over, her boot camp instructor yelled at everybody. His point was we had just finished doing 100 exercises that we didn't think we could do. Instead of groaning about how much it hurt, we should have been cheering b/c of what we had just accomplished. He ended up making us do a ridiculous 250+ more dips, but we learned to cheer at the end, just so we could stop! The point is, our bodies are capable of amazing things--we just need to test them out!

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SQUIRTZIE 8/10/2008 4:42PM

    How true what you say!

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To -er is human

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.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARTSPARKING 8/11/2008 4:54AM

    Checking out other people is a good thing only if it is used as motivation. Often it does more damage than good. Thank you for an important reminder.

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LSFBOOK 8/9/2008 10:27PM

    How true. How true. I agree with you--comparing ourselves to others is just a waste of time!

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CRAZYMOM1574 8/9/2008 10:57AM

    so easy to say, so hard to do. when you are getting nowhere it is hard not to compare, BUT, i am trying i am seeing it as getting me healthy and not trying to be like others.

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MTER67 8/9/2008 8:54AM

    I like this! Instead of worrying about others being "-er" than me, I will just be "-est" for me. Sage advice.

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1PHATTGURL 8/9/2008 8:25AM

    I'll definitely use this practice. One of the bett-er blogs I've read this morning. Thanks for sharing.

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