Sunday, October 19, 2008
Sometimes it takes a really, really long time. But patience and persistence pay off -- as do paying attention.
We got Chester as a tiny puppy almost 3 years ago. Simba is a very self assured, dominant cat, and he's been fine with him since day one. Gizmo (they are brothers, btw) is very skittish and high strung. He was not happy with the intruder.
Gizmo used to sleep with me every night. In fact, he'd come into my office when it was bedtime, and if I asked him if it was time to go to bed, he'd go running into my bedroom.
Gizmo stopped sleeping with me when we got Chester, even though Chester slept in his crate in our bedroom for the first year. Gizmo used to like to come in and hiss at Chester in his crate.
I was sad about this, of course, but other than to work with the both of them, there wasn't much I could do. I love them both. I get up early so that I can spend time with the cats without the dogs -- I might be able to go to bed later if the cats & dogs got along better.
And if Gizmo didn't like one dog, he certainly didn't like two. In some ways, Gizmo and Lola are much alike -- high strung, both apt to attack first and ask questions later. They're a bad match in many ways.
Still, Gizmo never hid, he never stopped eating, and he continued to come to me for loving when he felt safe. I felt sad that he didn't feel safe enough to be with me when the dogs are with me -- almost 24/7 -- but I did the best I could.
Lately, though, I've been noticing signs of a thaw. He rarely hisses at the dogs when they get too close to him anymore. He's begun to eye me, as if he wanted to lay on me, even when the dogs are by me. And he's begun coming to the back door to get his treats along with everyone else at last call.
Last night it happened. Chester likes to lay on my stomach as I watch tv at night. Lately, though, as the weather has gotten cooler, I put a small mat I knitted on my lap, make Chester lay between my legs, and Simba usually comes around at some point and lays on me.
Only last night, it wasn't Simba, it was Gizmo. He'd still be laying there, too, if Chester hadn't jumped off & run away barking at something after about 10 - 15 minutes.
This change in attitude has taken 3 YEARS!
By now you should know where I'm going with this. This lifestyle change isn't a simple fix. It doesn't happen overnight. It can take a lot of patience, truly paying attention, and just simple time. But it WILL happen. Never, ever give up.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Even though I live in a place with a mild winter, I'm not immune to the flagging motivation that comes along with shorter days and cooler temperatures.
It gets harder and harder to motivate myself to get up and moving when I'm covered in a furry blanket of a couple of animals that want nothing more than to snooze on me for hours at a time. It gets harder to get out of bed in the morning, when I'm all warm and snuggled with said furry animals, and the house is cool. The tv beckons in the early twilights. Cloudy, rainy days find me encamped on my chaise lounge, still snuggled with animals, working on the socks, or blanket, or gloves that will see me through colder walks.
If you belong to a gym, you probably find that your classes are growing smaller. I can remember more than one private class when I was the only one who showed up towards the end of the year.
Running the gauntlets of the holidays, with all the accompanying food, can be daunting, too. It starts soon, but it goes on for months: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's.
But here's what I know for sure: if I give up and tell myself I'll start anew in the new year, I know that I'll be packing along a few extra friends. Year to year those few extra friends turn into a crowd. I've already shed one crowd from myself, and I won't give up working on the next one.
It IS harder to motivate ourselves at this time of year, but we have a choice: keep up our healthy lifestyles and reap the rewards of more energy and better fitting clothes, or throw up our hands and say we'll start over again someday . . . knowing that every time we do, it gets just that much harder. I'm going to do my best to keep up my healthy lifestyle. I know I will stumble at times, and there will be times I succumb to the siren calls of snuggly animals, but I still have my eye on the prize: a more energized, more confident, happier me.
"We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn."
-- Mary Catherine Bateson
Friday, October 17, 2008
"Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing."
-- George Sheehan
I am getting close to my first goal: the first 10% gone. Only a pound and a half to go. I was so sure I was going to be there today, I was already scoping out cookbooks & exercise DVDs for a reward, trying to decide how much I could spend and what I wanted.
Well, I still fell a pound and a half short. The reason I thought I would get there was because my jeans felt so loose. I really thought I'd lost a couple of pounds, which would be reasonable, considering it's been a couple of weeks since I weighed in.
I may have another week . . . or two . . . or more til I get to that goal. I do know I'll get there.
"Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be."
-- Raymond Charles Barker
Would weight loss be so sweet if it weren't so hard? The hard truth is probably no, it wouldn't be. If everyone could do it, it would be just a little bit less satisfying.
I was talking with a couple of friends I've made at my WW meeting after the meeting ended. One was trying to decide whether or not she wanted to weigh in (you only *have* to weigh in once a month, but you can still attend meetings). I was saying that I find that when I haven't done as well as I think I should have, like this week, then that motivates me to examine what I did do -- and how I might change.
I ate more than usual this week. No binges or anything like that, but I made myself buttered popcorn a couple of times. That could very well be the culprit right there. I still did lose weight, just not as much as I expected or wanted. Plus I used all of my 35 flex points, which I normally don't do.
I don't truly know what made the difference, but a life unexamined isn't much worth living. Every weigh in is an opportunity to reevaluate what I'm doing, what's working, and more importantly -- what isn't working.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I sometimes bemoan how slowly I lose weight. It can be hard to look around at the people my age who seem to effortlessly take off the pounds. I also know if I was willing to foreswear sweets, I might be one of those people effortlessly shedding pounds, too.
As hard as it seems sometimes, this time still feels easier. Most of the time I'm really satisfied. Sure, there are days here and there when I'm inexplicably hungry, but they're few and far between -- and they usually happen when I'm not eating so well. It's not surprising that you're hungry if you're not filling up on fruits and veggies the way you usually do.
I really do feel that I've made lifestyle changes. Exercise was already a habit, but I had to admit and commit to the fact that I needed to do a little more. Good eating was also mostly a habit, but I was still eating way too many processed "healthy" foods. Cooking most of my own meals, even though there are days -- like yesterday -- when I really don't feel like it, is also mostly a habit.
I don't know what the future brings. I believe that I will eventually reach my goal weight (NOT the weight on my ticker right now), and that I will mostly keep up my healthy habits. I believe that I will stay on SP to keep motivating others and to gather motivation for myself. I hope someday, maybe, to go back to work at WW.
Some of the people who take off weight really quickly are still mired in the diet mentality. They either don't really get to the heart of what was making them overeat or they don't make changes they can sustain for the rest of their lives.
BTW, I had popcorn again last night. Only this time I was really hungry, and I didn't eat it watching tv (okay, I was talking to my husband, but there are only so many hours in the day, after all).
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I've written about HALT before. When you're hungry, check whether you're angry, lonely, or tired -- if you're eating for those reasons, you're eating for the wrong reasons.
This serves me well most days. Yesterday wasn't my best eating day, though. It wasn't terrible, and I'm okay with it, but I could have made better choices. I didn't have any fruit at all. I had some veggies, but not enough. I was really hungry for some reason most of the day, maybe because I missed my mid-morning snack, although I had a nice, filling lunch.
I decided to have popcorn after dinner. We'd just had popcorn, but I felt like it. By the time I actually got to sit down and make it, I wasn't really all that hungry anymore, but I ate it all anyway. If you can't eat just one chip, you certainly can't leave popcorn in the bowl!
As I was eating it, I realized I was angry, lonely, AND tired. I suppose the good news was that I was at least aware of my feelings.
And I broke my other cardinal rule: I ate it while watching tv.
Sometimes it's better to give into cravings than to eat around them, and I think last night was that case. I didn't eat anything more after the popcorn, and I'm back on track this morning.
Life happens sometimes. I'm not perfect, and that's something I need to be okay with, although sometimes it's hard. Not that I'll ever be perfect (how boring would that be?), but I have to reign in my perfectionist tendencies. Funny, I have no problem letting my house go to pot, but when it comes to eating and exercise, it's a different story.
Here's a reminder to take our baby steps:
"Many things which cannot be overcome when they are together yield themselves up when taken little by little."
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