Thursday, January 01, 2009
I really hate hearing people say things like "I never make resolutions, I can never keep them", or "What's the point?".
I hate hearing things like that because it's a conscious decision to fail.
Just because you didn't succeed at something in the past makes no difference. Think about it- when you were born, you couldn't do much of ANYTHING. You had to try many times to master skills such as walking and riding a bicycle. It took real effort to learn how to read.
Imagine if you were a baby... if you're like most people, your mother stood you up, leaned over you, took your hands in hers, and encouraged you to take a few steps. She encouraged you to try putting one foot in front of the other. Chances are, your legs were like noodles and you fell on your rear as soon as she let go. What did your mother do then?
She no doubt lovingly insisted you try again, and stood you up before you could protest. She knew that there would be many failures before you got the hang of it. She knew that it was only a matter of time before something inside you clicked- and your legs stiffened and you made the effort it took to walk across the room unassisted.
Why not believe in yourself this time? Why not resolve to go after everything that you want out of life? Why not make real plans, and devote serious effort into making your dreams a reality?
I was walking through the neighborhood recently, and witnessed what I assumed was a young father trying to teach his little son how to hit a ball with a bat. He tossed the ball repeatedly to the little boy, who swung the bat and missed every time. Although I never saw the success of the efforts, I have no doubt that one day that effort WILL be rewarded with success, and that child will hit that ball squarely. Never would I assume that I'd seen the end of that story.
Every man playing major league ball today probably has a story similar to that one, and looks back fondly at the memory. Imagine how different their lives might be if nobody believed that the effort would eventually be successful, fun, and rewarding. What if that dad in the park had only given his child a few attempts, or five minutes, and told the boy that there was NO POINT in trying anymore, that he'd NEVER be able to hit the ball?
What if the kid believed him?
The effort that you put into your health and fitness will always be rewarded. Believe in that! The time spent will be worth it. Your life will be more fun, and statistics indicate that you will also be more successful financially (both were true in my case).
This year, I resolve to hit it out of the park.
Monday, December 29, 2008
I recently finished what *may* be my last professional conference of 2008.
I only say that because, due to unforseen snafus, the trip ended up costing me over $800 more than I anticipated. In fact, my airport experiences left me with such a bad taste in my mouth, I crossed off the next two conferences. Just hearing the news stories about snowed-in jets and stranded passengers was enough to dissuade me from another midwestern excursion until after the spring thaw.
I can't say anything bad about the conference, however. The speakers and the seminars were great, and the resort was beautiful. I saw a couple of people I know from previous conferences, and met several more... only one of whom had more than a professional interest: I sat next to him during the morning session, and he came to sit beside me at lunch, after which he passed me a note that read "Wood love to have dinner with you" [sic]. Either that's a suggestive pun by a creative arborist, or a misspelling by an illiterate.
He seemed annoyed that I waited until after dinner to tell him about my spouse, but in my defense, he's the one who waited until after dinner to offer me a "sensual foot massage".
Oh, the weather outside is frightful....
...but at least the price of heating oil has dropped considerably. It's a good thing too, because I have yet to see any signs of progress on my kitchen remodeling. Clearly, my husband is NOT going to take ownership of this household task (or any other kind of routine maintenance). :::sigh::: I suppose the cash flow is better than nothing.
It could be worse
Like Oprah, I have laid on a winter coat, and I'm back in to the 200 pound range. My tracking has fallen by the wayside, as I focus in on marketing my business and furthering my education. While I haven't quite gained a size, I can definitely feel a difference in the way my clothes fit. Same thing happened last year, and really, every year I can recall; but I take comfort in the fact that history is on my side here, and winter is over on March 1st.
Once I can tackle these overwhelming health problems (more on that later) I should be good to go for goal... and my next conference.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Does it really get easier over time?
Some people say yes- healthy habits, such as eating right and exercising, become easier over time. I have even agreed with this statement myself, from time to time... but when it comes to lifelong habits- inertia, if you will- does it really ever get easier to get up early every morning and go running, as opposed to resting comfortably in your bed a little longer? Does it really get easier to get up off the sofa, and onto the treadmill? Does it really become easier, over time, to jump on the elliptical after a long day at work, when what you really want to do is eat macaroni and cheese and collapse in front of the TV? Really?
It's my opinion that most people have an enormous amount of difficulty with these choices.
Being healthy IS a choice- in fact, it's a daily struggle. We face many lifestyle choices each day, and the reality of the matter is, that fitness requires effort. It's more work to maintain fitness than it is to maintain obesity. So, how do we square this away in our minds, to push ourselves toward the CORRECT choice, knowing full well that it will require so much more of us than just slacking off and falling back into our old habits?
Looks like math
Easy, comfortable, convenient choice:
Relax on the sofa, eat mac & cheese, watch Americas Funniest Videos
Tough, uncomfortable, difficult option:
Change into workout clothes, bust my butt, sweat profusely, shower again... then have something light before bed
Consider the end result: where will your choice get you, over time?
The first choice has an uncomfortable payoff: Poor health. Pain. Disease.
Option two has a wonderful benefit: A strong, healthy, lean body, free of pain and disease.
Of course, this is a broad generalization; but the odds are overwhelming.
Having said all that, I still find it appallingly easy to "fall back" into those old, comfortable, EASY ways. Like most people, I tend to live in the moment, and have a mental block against long-term thinking.
This time of year, what with the short days, grey skies, and the cold, dreary weather (not to mention a huge increase in calories), it takes even more effort to spring forward toward fitness. Let's not lose sight of the big picture. And when I say that, I'm not just talking about an old photo of me wearing a size 28 party dress. I'm talking about a GOAL of health and fitness.
Join me, as I spring forward.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Yesterday was my annual mammogram.
No news is good news when it comes to mammograms, and they found nothing.
I'm always worried, not because breast cancer runs in my family (it doesn't), but because I have fibrocystic breasts. That means they are lumpy.
Aside from that, there is the fun process of getting naked at the doctors office, and showing private stuff to strangers. I reassure myself that they see dozens of patients a day, and they've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly; nothing will stand out about ME... I'm just another patient. Yet, I find myself wondering how I compare to all those other women. Where do I sit on the scale of... personal parts?
It's not just about health... I also become slightly preoccupied with appearances. Do I look alright? After the big weight loss, is my already heavy bosom a pathetic sight, sagging pendulously lower than the previous patients that day/week/month?
They are compassionate. They are professionals. They would never say anything less than clinical or reassuring. Still, I babble away, full of questions about the latest breast cancer research (thanks for the articles, SparkPeople) and the latest radiographic technology. Since I myself am so talkative, they become talkative in response. Most people love to talk about what they do. In fact, they seem glad that I am so interested.
I learned a lot about mammograms, and a lot about my breasts. And, I was glad to learn that my breasts are probably not exceptionally saggy. The feedback I got, although totally clinical, pleased my ears to a large degree: my mammograms are tough to read because my breasts are "firm and quite dense" and they are glad they have better diagnostic machines this year than they did last year (for patients like me).
I'm secretly cheering inside.
After my mammogram (and breast ultrasound) I hurried to the local Walgreens for the flu shot clinic. I get a flu shot every year. I figure it's better than getting flu.
Since our insurance changed this year, I was delayed while the pharmacy checked to see if flu shots, or any protion of them, would be covered. Well, THAT was a waste of thirty minutes. OF COURSE preventive measures are NEVER covered by our crappy health care system in this country... but that's another rant.
Well, now I'm off to the voting precinct, to make history. Hope you are too!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Q: How do you cut thirty minutes off of your ninety minute daily walk?
I'm DOING it. After a lifetime of not being able to run, and envying those who can... after almost two years trying, two years of frustration, two years wondering when I would break through to the other side...
I have become a jogger.
THIS IS JOY.
I hardly have the words to express my feelings of pride and elation at this achievement. It is, to me, far bigger than losing almost 140 pounds... because, while I have lost weight before, I have never done THIS.
Q: How do you avoid the flab common with significant weight loss? How do you completely reshape your body? How do you flatten your stomach after middle age?
A: Work harder.
It's a simple fact: slacking off gets you NOWHERE.
I don't care if you've always had flabby arms or a thick waist. These are not incurable diseases.
No matter WHAT genetic package you were stuck with, you can, to a large degree, overcome it; including bat-wings, muffin-tops, thunder-thighs, and trunk junk.
Exercise is the great equalizer. If you still find yourself plagued by these maladies, try working harder. Try new things. Push yourself to exhaustion and beyond. Hear every muscle scream for mercy, and collapse into a tingly, sweaty heap after the gruelling workout.
Q: How do I fit in exercise, when I just don't have time to?
A: You have time to sit in front of the television every night....
So, maybe you read somewhere that you should be getting ten or fifteen minutes of exercise, three or four times a week. Maybe you believe 20 is your number. Perhaps your more ambitious than that, and you go for thirty.
Well, go longer.
Before I did the harder part, and before I did the faster part, I did the longer part.
If Sparkpoints are any incentive, shouldn't you be trying to earn the maximum 24 points every day? Why wouldn't you strive to reach that TWO HOUR goal for daily cardio exercise?
Before you complain again about how precious little time you have, think seriously about blocking out your day, hour by hour, and taking account of exactly where your time is going.
Just like any other account you keep, you can learn to budget your time.
Just the way most people are shocked by how many calories they are actually eating the first time they use a nutrition tracker, and how eye-opening keeping a written spending log can be, keeping track of how you occupy your time can be equally enlightening. Learn to schedule, and stay on track.
Yes, you can do this.
And you can do it faster, harder, and longer.
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