Saturday, April 13, 2013
It might not feel like it right now, but SUMMER IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, and we MUST stay motivated if we’re going to enjoy it to its fullest. Wintry weather and gloomy skies might make us crave comfort foods, but we must keep our eye on the prize which, of course, is not hating ourselves when we try on that first pair of shorts of the summer.
My Top Ten Reasons to Lose Weight for Summer :
1) To create less shade. As a Christian, I am called to serve others, but I don’t know that creating shade for others in my vicinity is really what I am called to do. Perhaps they can wear sunscreen or accept the benefits of vitamin D rather than count on my wide girth to protect them from the strong midsummer sun.
2) To swiftly run from wild animals. Whether I’m hiking in the Northland, canoeing in the Boundary Waters, or walking across campus to harass some librarians, I could encounter a wild animal. I want to be in shape to run away and avoid attack (I find those little campus squirrels awfully threatening)!
3) To use less water. I want to protect our natural resources and model an eco-friendly lifestyle for my children. One way to do that is to use less water. The smaller I am, the less water I will need when I shower. Other benefits would include a lowered water bill, less time in the shower, and less time drying off. Don’t you value time, money, and our earth?
4) My bicycle seat will hurt less. As Minnesotans, I believe it is mandatory that we ride our bikes around the lakes, on the bike paths, and in our neighborhoods at dusk. If I weigh less, it will hurt less. I can imagine how much more enjoyable those rides will be if my seat is comfortable on my seat!
5) To stop aerating the lawn. I have been invited to a few lovely garden weddings this summer, and I will probably wear heels. If I am lighter, I am less likely to lose a high-heeled shoe in the lawn. I am quite certain my chiropractor will scold me that limping home in one high-heeled shoe is bad for my spine.
6) I don’t want to look like a half-opened can of biscuits when I wear my swimsuit. When I go to a friend’s cabin, visit the beach on Lake Johanna, or haul the kids to the pool, I want my swimsuit to fit as it was designed: as coverage, not as protective casing.
7) To sink. My kids like diving for those rubber torpedoes that sink to the bottom of the pool. To recover the torpedoes left behind at the end of the day, I count on my toe dexterity to pick them up. If I wasn’t so “buoyant”, I might be able to retrieve them the old fashioned way: with my snout like a porpoise.
8) Spanx don’t look good under bikinis. Since the invention of Lycra, I have worn it as a substitution for weight loss. I also have also counted on Spanx as an extra layer of warmth (much like long underwear) all winter. Unfortunately, girdles become sauna-like in the summer and, although I am not certain about the science behind it, I believe Spanx can cause hot flashes in 20-40 year olds in temperatures over 70 degrees.
9) I aspire to be the weight I have recorded on my driver’s license. As I fly down the street with the windows down and gospel music blaring, I may be pulled over for noise control. Wouldn’t it be nice if the officer could recognize me on my driver’s license and not ask if I borrowed the ID from a thinner sibling?
10) To honor our creator. I recently overheard one friend say to another friend, “You look so much more like YOU now that you’ve lost weight.” Excess weight distorts the way we are designed to look, to feel, to act, and to move through our world. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that beautiful creative design was purposeful. Moving toward a healthy, adaptive weight allows us to be restored to what we were originally designed to be: healthy and whole.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
In my favorite SP group, I posted that I've been hit with the winter blues, and it's really getting me down. My dearest sister-in-law has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and is refusing medical intervention (causing my big strong brother to call me at night and weep), and I received some very difficult news about work. Those things, along with short days, long nights, dirty snow, slippery roads, and bitterly cold weather, create a challenge for my mood that I have to tackle head on.
So, after I posted that, I got on the treadmill and started walking. I didn't feel like it. I didn't want to. But I also know that there's real truth that exercise releases endorphins that elevate mood.
It worked. It's worked ever morning this week, actually. I struggle out of bed, I force-feed myself a little protein, then I step on the treadmill against my will. Despite feeling like I'm carrying very heavy weights on my shoulders, I walk. I sweat out the crap that's weighing me down. I also take my mulitvitamin, my zinc, biotin, B-complex, and C supplements, and promise myself a reward for getting through the day (tonight it is playing scrabble). Yesterday it was a Law & Order marathon in my jammies. Tomorrow it might be knitting.
By the time I have to leave for work, my mood is at least stable to the point that I don't feel like crying. If (or when) this strategy stops working, I may have to get a full-spectrum light for 30 minutes of light therapy, but I'm going to wait on that.
All I know is that it feels wholly unpleasant to wake up with this, and I need to do whatever I can to lift it by the time I'm around my family because they deserve my true self, not this heavy, somewhat absent, replica.
Friday, January 04, 2013
I'm back to work after a long sabbatical. I've been away from my work desk since last June!!!
So, it's been a big adjustment to return and get back into a groove of waking at a certain time, showering, dressing in something other than yoga pants, and driving to an office for the majority of the day.
What has been the biggest adjustment for me, and will continue to be a challenge for a few weeks (I imagine) is the change in my eating habits. On sabbatical, I ate small, cleverly selected foods at regular intervals because I could walk from my home office into the kitchen and reheat something or whip up something pretty easily. My time was really centered around my health needs and only secondarily professional concerns.
Now my priority each day is heavily professional and "me time" has to be wedged in around meetings, classes, and more meetings. I have to plan, pack, carry, store, mark my containers, plan around others' use of the microwave, resist the goodies others bring, and stare down the vending machines and coffee shops that litter my paths.
Past victories in weight loss have all come to naught when I returned to work because it was easier for me to skip breakfasts and lunches than to plan foods into my schedule. I just couldn't be bothered. So far I have effectively maintained a healthy pattern of eating both breakfast and lunch, and packed some back-up entrees into the freezer in the employee kitchen so I can fall back on a smart option rather than buy junk or skip it altogether.
Organization and planning are the keys to maintenance, I know. I guess I just need some common sense tips on how to make this a habit. What are healthy, high-protein choices that don't even need re-heating? Yogurt, check. What else?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
I am married to a wonderful man, but I am also in a very complicated relationship.
In my favorite SP community, a few friends were posting statements about foods they'd had recently and placed value judgments on themselves with "I've been bad" or "I messed up." Another, wiser friend who has successfully maintained a 100+ pound weight loss for a few years spoke wisdom into the group and stated that she enjoys treats occasionally -- just like her naturally thin friends do. What an idea!!!! To enjoy foods in moderation and walk away satisfied and not guilt-ridden? WOW!!!!
I think that's the balance that we all seek, isn't it? To be able to enjoy something without binging, and to maintain a healthy relationship with food instead of a distorted one where food is either the punishment or the reward for something else entirely.
I had two double-stuff Oreo's this afternoon. I didn't love them, and didn't go back for the rest of the row. That's new. I've never really liked them, but that didn't stop me from diving into a whole bag (and a giant glass of milk), usually when everyone else was out of the house and I had a back-up to put in its place so nobody would miss it. Anyone with me on this one?
So, the eating-two-cookies-and-being-done was a new habit that I want to cultivate. On the other hand, I am noticing that I am slipping into an the old habit that I was successful at stopping and now it has re-emerged: a habit of eating something at the end of the day as I watch TV or read, when everyone has gone to bed. I do it out of habit and not for hunger. The portions are controlled, but they are still unnecessary and usually not even tasted and enjoyed.
When I think about the reasons behind this habit, it's very likely a combination of entitlement (I worked hard and deserve this), reward (I did something good today and need a treat), boredom (self-explanatory), and maybe even a little abandonment (everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet and a little lonely).
So this is something that I am resolving to overcome this new year: to eat for survival and not for emotional reasons. To enjoy television without involving my mouth and stomach.
I'm sure the solution to re-breaking this habit is simple, but not necessary easy. Any tips?
Blessings on your New Year!!
Saturday, December 29, 2012
I have been very fortunate in that I've had very few (and short-lived stalls). The weight loss has been fairly steady and sometimes even dramatic.
But now I've been in a stall for two weeks. It's frustrating to see the scale fluctuate between a few pounds when I feel I've been doing all the right things (small portions, protein and fiber rich diet, lots of water, daily exercise). Yesterday the scale dipped down a whole five pounds and I felt celebratory! But this morning it's back up where it's been for weeks. As a result of that little display on that little blue screen between my toes, yesterday was a "good" day and today is a "bad" day.
So what do I need to do about this? Clearly, the work has to be internal, because the external habits are there. This plateau provides me with a necessary point to reflect and work through some things that I didn't conquer prior to weight loss. I need to ask myself a few questions:
1) Will I let the scale dictate my moods, my self-image, my esteem of my self?
2) If the scale never moves again, does my personal value change from what it was when the scale was moving over the past year?
3) In the scope of eternal life, does the weight I am, or was, (or will be) matter in the least?
4) When I reach the point when the scale stops moving for good (and maybe that's today), what other ways can I celebrate my successes and measure my worth?
5) Ultimately, how can I release myself from this burden of tethering my emotional and even psychological health to physical measures?
I've set a weight-loss goal, and I would like to reach it. Aside from that single, somewhat arbitrary goal, however, I have accomplished a few other victories that are, in fact, much more valuable to me:
I am significantly healthier than I was when I started.
I can race my children (even though I rarely win).
I can walk for hours and not feel anything but joy.
I climb stairs without becoming winded.
I no longer need a cane just to walk at the end of the day.
I don't hobble or waddle or limp.
I don't gorge on candies, cakes, pies, fried foods, or chips.
My portions are measured and healthy and appropriate.
I don't think about food all day long.
There is no longer a gravitational pull to the kitchen many times a day.
I sleep well.
I don't wake up in the middle night from aches and pains.
My joints aren't stiff when I wake up.
I am hydrated.
I feel light.
I am energetic.
The discouragement from this plateau is real, but I needed perspective, and to remind myself of it over and over. This isn't the end of the world, it isn't the end of my weight-loss journey. It is simply a stall on my scale.
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