Thursday, January 31, 2013
So, today is Day 31 of my self-imposed Saint Patrick's Day Challenge ... the one that started accidentally when I realized I had a four-day tracking streak going. I thought, "Why not see if I can make it to Saint Patrick's Day?" We have friends coming from the east coast that day, so that seemed like a good goal.
Well, my streak is now 31 days old ... and I've lost 13 pounds! I know. I'm shocked too. I guess everything they've been telling us about tracking is true. But, oh, how I doubted them.
I used to absolutely hate that tracker. Every bite, every nibble, every "oops." And once you put it down, it was permanent. A forever reminder that you could not say no to that decadent chocolate cake, or that you had the equivalent of a fourth meal at midnight. For the past however many years I've been on SparkPeople (Four? Five?) I have treated the tracker like a frenemy. I loved it when I was doing well, and I hated it when I messed up. And my attitude on those inevitable mess-ups was, "Ew. Let's be done tracking."
But all that has changed. I put the SparkPeople app on my phone, and since I'm on the thing all the time anyway, it's not at all hard to track. It's now a habit. A good, healthy, working-for-me habit. If I crave dilly asparagus spears at midnight, and I have ten, I write it down. If I think I'm going to eat a whole plate of veggie Mongolian Grill, I write it down. And then, when I only eat half, I go back and re-track.
And lo and behold, the weight is coming off. I've been motivated to get on the treadmill a bunch more. I feel energized and excited and ... confident. That's the word. I feel confident that if I keep this up, and I let each day count that little bit more toward my goal, I'll get there.
I know I've told her before, but I have to thank Sallie, a.k.a MEXGAL1, for being such an inspiration to me. I stumbled on her page one day, saw that she tracked every last thing she ate or drank, and noticed that the occasional indulgence didn't knock her off track. I was just amazed by her honesty, and mystified as to how she didn't get discouraged those days, but I learned from her. I tried it. It works. :) So thank you SO much, Sallie. We may never meet, but you have made a very big difference in my life.
I think I'll be buying a much smaller "something green" to wear this Saint Patrick's Day ...
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Day ten of my tracking streak! I really can't believe how quickly it's become a habit. And I've discovered that the food actually tastes better if I write it down before taking a bite. :D
Monday was an interesting day, tracking-wise. We popped into the clinic to get our flu shots in the morning, and afterward Dave suggested that we go to Chang's Mongolian Grill for lunch. That's one of my most favorite places, primarily because I could put my plate together with my eyes closed. I've got it down to a science. The problem is, that science includes two ladles of hot chili oil and one of sesame oil. Have you ever tried to track three ladles of oil? It just wasn't going to happen.
But I thought, "I can't avoid Chang's forever." So rather than give in and make my plate the usual way, I planned it out on the drive over and made some healthy swaps. By the time I had replaced the beef with chicken, added more vegetables, took out a little spaghetti, and swapped jalapenos and sriracha sauce for all that oil, I'd budgeted a 750 calorie meal. But guess what? Not only was it delicious, I filled up so quickly I left half of it on my plate. Success!
But the thing that spurred me to write this post wasn't tracking ... it was something I saw at the clinic.
While we were at the desk talking to the receptionist, an older couple got in line behind us. I could hear snatches of their conversation while we were filling out our paperwork, and without seeing her, I could hear that her voice was tired. As we left the desk, I glanced back at them, and saw that they were about 25 years older than we are. She was overweight, confined to a wheelchair, and wore an expression that said her zest for life and all her energy had drained away long ago.
I couldn't shake her from my thoughts. I felt like I was looking at myself in the future, if I don't keep tracking, and trying, and jumping on the treadmill more days than not, and chasing my grandson around the house, and loving every new day, and the God who gave it to me. If I don't keep making all those little changes that eventually add up to health and strength.
Sometimes the wheelchair comes and it had nothing to do with you or your choices—it’s just life. But I don't have to end up there because I couldn’t put the fork down or get off the couch. I don't have to sabotage the years that are left to me. And I won’t.
Friday, January 04, 2013
So today is January 4th, and for some reason, I have an accidental streak going. I've tracked four days in a row. It wasn't like I set out to do it every day, I just sort of fell into doing it. And when I realized that this morning, I though, "Maybe I should set some sort of goal."
At first, I thought, "I'll track every day this year!" (Why do we always start with the gigantic goals?) But then I got a little more realistic, and I set a shorter goal for myself. I'm aiming for St. Patrick's Day, because my life gets very busy right at that point, and I'd like to have more energy when it all hits. We have friends from the east coast coming to stay with us that week, I'm teaching at a retreat, and then at another one a few weeks later ... and a trip back east ... etc, etc, etc.
So here it is. I am officially declaring a challenge to myself: track every bite and nibble between now and March 17th. It will be interesting to see how that changes things, weight-loss-wise. Everyone says it's the single most important thing you can do, but I have never liked doing it (except for the past four days). Want to hear how much I dislike it? So much so that in order to earn SparkPoints, I would sit and scan the list of activities on the SparkPeople home page and pick anything and everything on the list rather than keep track of what I've eaten. I'd say, "What's the deal?" except that I know. I didn't like the accountability. I didn't like evidence that I'd blown it, or that I didn't care, or that I wasn't taking care of my body. But I'm coming to terms with the fact that there's no other way to take control of my eating. It has to be there in black and white.
And maybe, by the time everything is green, I'll like what I'm seeing in black and white. :)
Thursday, June 28, 2012
We once owned $22,000. It was a long time ago, and the debt wasn't frivolous. Part of that money went for an adoption; part built a well on our new property; some of it went into the power pole we had to put up, and the septic tank we had to dig. We borrowed it believing that once our bank loan came in--consolidating our land and our mobile home--we'd have plenty of equity to pay off those credit cards.
But it didn't happen. The bank told us at the last minute that they couldn't give us much equity because our land was worth more than our home. So the debt sat there.
We were pretty stunned--for about five minutes. And then we decided that no matter what, we were paying off that debt. And so we did. We did it this way:
--We didn't try to ignore or pretend the debt away; we made it our #1 priority.
--We accepted the fact that it was going to take awhile to pay the debt down.
--We accepted the fact that it wouldn't happen without some self-denial.
--We quit adding to the debt. No more charges on the credit card. Zero indulgences.
--We made different choices. Instead of renting a movie, we borrowed from the library. Instead of eating out, we ate at home. Instead of going on vacation, we stayed home and planted a garden.
--We didn't wait until we had a windfall, but chipped away at the debt a dime and a quarter at a time. We believed that every penny made a difference.
--We kept track of the debt and rejoiced every month that it went down.
And two and a half years later, we had eliminated that daunting $22,000 bill. I can't even describe the freedom we felt the day we made that last payment.
Looking back at that experience, I see all sorts of similarities between debt and weight:
--I can't ignore my weight away, or pretend it isn't an issue. I have to face what I have done to myself.
--I can't expect it to drop off overnight. It took awhile to put it on and it's going to take awhile to work it off. It's going to be a journey.
--I won't lose weight without some self-denial. It's not possible to maintain today's habits and expect to healthy a year from now.
--If I want to lose, I can't keep gaining. That means no more over-indulgences--no more adding to the "debt" I've accumulated.
--To change my weight, I have to swap damaging choices for healing choices. I have to learn what my body needs instead of what it thinks it wants.
--I can't wait till I have time for a six-hour walk ... that's never going to happen. Instead, I have to park farther from the store and be glad I'm chipping away at the weight.
--I need to write down my journey--the bites, the walks, the weigh-ins. One day, I want to be able to look back and rejoice as I watch the record of how I gained my health back.
Even a very large mountain can be crossed. But you have to stand up first, and lace-up your shoes. After that, it's just one step after the other ... and no looking back.
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