Sunday, December 04, 2011
I've been on SP for a long time now. Over three years, going on four, to be exact. Once the "Ah ha!" moment has passed, and one "gets" it, the work really begins in earnest. OK, we "get" the point about portion control, more calories out than calories in. "Moving" more than sitting. And on and on it goes.
We start off with such enthusiasm and verve. We got it, right? So the rest should be easy. [Easier?] But the issue is this: When one has a "ginormous" amount of weight to lose, and anyone who has over 20 to 30 pounds to lose will understand this very well, one has to keep the motivation going because this is going to take a while. So we look at the SP guidelines and start planning the meals and staying as much as humanly possible, in the calorie range that has been assigned to us. We design a workout plan that we can live with, and tweak that: Five or six days for cardio [the weight loss ticket for the exercise part of the equation] and strength training for at least two days or even three, again as recommended.
We do great for about six months or so and see the results. We're pretty proud of what we have done, and we're heading in the right direction. Then it happens. Oh, no! "Plateau" time. We stall. We get frustrated. We tweak again. We look back over the last couple of months and try to determine what we are doing differently [thanks, SP, for keeping our data close by even after many, many months]. Did we really measure accurately? Are we really staying in portion control? Old habits don't give up easily. This is, after all, a lifetime [if you are old enough] of bad habits, and it's so much easier to fall back into bad patterns.
So, what to do, to keep our flagging interest from totally bottoming out, and how to keep our exercise habits interesting? We try new things and new activities. For my part, back in the summer, one of the Sparkers and I decided what we really needed, was to start applying our exercise to a virtual trek. Back in July, that sounded great. So, I researched some tracking websites, and finally found one that would work [for those interested: MapMyWalk.com worked well for this]. Then I went over to Yahoo maps, and plotted out our trip from Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, beginning on Sippewissett Road opposite Flume Lake (for no other reason than it sounded funky - got to keep the interest somehow), and picked the final destination on the Cape as Pilgrim's Monument, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Why not? It was *only* a mere 79.1 miles total [it actually came to be slightly over 80 miles in the end, but why quibble? ]. We gave ourselves ample room to finish in time for Thanksgiving, starting in mid-August. It sounded reasonable: About five miles a week, taking into account other priorities and obligations. Hey, neither of us is a marathon runner, well, not me anyway. I have hopes for my partner in this trek though.
After a few months of planning this, and finding charts to convert ST to mileage, we were off and running. After a while I started to wonder whatever possessed me to embark on this challenge, with someone who is young enough to be my daughter. No matter, this wasn't about racing. It was about setting goals. And learning from them. So, what have I learned from these last 17 weeks, and one day?
I learned that even well into middle age (OK, 60 to be exact), there are still goals to conquer; after all, I'm not dead yet! All planned and plotted and figured within reason.
That it's grand to have someone push you and motivate you, but in the end, we need to be able to push and motivate ourselves. Our demons need to be addressed, and won over, once and for all.
That I am eternally in Chris Downie's debt, for creating a website, albeit similar to many others, that is absolutely FREE!
That this is an extraordinary community, with incredibly supportive people, who even across the miles, reach over to support others while working on their own self-improvement. That on days I did not want to exercise, or recommit to the task at hand, I felt impelled to do so, knowing that upwards of 70 people stop by my page daily to see how I am progressing. It makes the accountability extra strong knowing that.
That once accomplishing a goal, and feeling incredibly empowered, I am able now to turn my attention to other areas of my life that are crying out to be fixed. And knowing that, in time, with careful, realistic planning, I can accomplish those tasks as well. This is part of the "spill over" effect: Accomplishing one thing, cascading into every area of my life.
So, now it's your turn: What have you set your cap to accomplish for yourself? How are you planning to achieve that? Is your goal a realistic one? And how will you handle it if you falter?
I'm looking forward to meeting you at the top!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Those looking for weight loss encouragement or musings on that, keep looking. This blog is not going to address that. It's about something else entirely.
I have been thinking of how things can change, so capriciously, in an instant. About a week or so ago, I learned the fate, quite by accident, of someone I went to junior high school with. I found a page on Facebook, dedicated to her memory and was puzzled about that, wondering what illness befell her, dying so young. She would only be at the most a year older than I, and curiosity impelled me forward to investigate. Sadly, if you know how to search the net, much is pretty easily revealed.
She died as a result of a horrific car accident, literally in her own driveway, as a result of a has-been actress making the decision to drive drunk. Oddly, I had heard about this actress' vehicular manslaughter the summer before, but I never knew it involved someone I went to school with. The actress had already been involved in an earlier accident with another vehicle, and when that victim started to call the police, the actress took off, and ultimately crashed into my classmate's car. Tailing the actress' car to make certain the police would catch her, the first victim actually saw the ensuing drama of the second accident. My classmate died at the scene moments after the crash, and her husband, the driver, had to be helicoptered to the nearby medical center, suffering multiple broken bones and serious injury. Being in a residential neighborhood, it struck me as curious that the force of the collision was so great. Later, the police calculated that the actress was traveling at 52-53 miles an hour when the impact occurred, pummeling into the passenger side of the car. My classmate's husband, as I said, was driving, and he literally had just pulled into the driveway of their NJ summer retreat, when the crash occurred. Two more minutes they would have been in the house, where their two young sons were. Had they stopped somewhere on the way home, just a minute or two of delay, would have avoided the ensuing tragedy altogether.
With all the storms that the east coast has been having lately, and since last winter with several blizzards, many trees have been weakened or uprooted. A friend of mine told me that her husband had stopped off to get a slice of pizza on his way home, a few months ago, and when he finally got home, saw that the tree that stood next to their driveway had been suddenly uprooted and had fallen clear across where his car usually is parked. My friend told me that had he not stopped, most likely he would have been in the driveway as the tree came down. For once, she said, she was happy that his hunger won out. It probably saved his life.
Today being the tenth anniversary of when the world changed for us New Yorkers, and for all Americans as well, we do have to set aside a moment, even if brief, to remember that tragic day. Even ten years later, it still stuns me how 3,000 people could be having their morning coffee at their desk at work in the Twin Towers, going over business e-mails, and beginning to set the day that horrible Tuesday, and moments later be annihilated, with no trace of them at all. And ten years later, we still do not know why they had to die. And how many lives were altered as a result.
It is still painful to see the interviews with some of the survivors, and some of the widows. Even now as they retell their own personal version of that day's events, the memory for them is still searing.
Be mindful, especially today, of all that you have, and all your loved ones that you hold dear. Make sure that they know. It all can change in an instant.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Remember when you were in kindergarten some years back, and how you took pride in first deepening the outlines of the page you were about to color, so that you would take extra care when coloring in the page?
I got to thinking about that, when I remembered a little known feature that Spark provides: On the Start page, there is a monthly calendar (called my SparkSummary Calendar) where you can see at a glance how you are progressing for that month. There is a gold star awarded if you stay in calorie range, and there are icons to monitor your fitness minutes, calories burned as you record it for exercise done, and weight, as well. The gold stars made me smile: Seems silly, no? We're back in kindergarten again. But when a buddy of mine at work and I were plotting out weight loss goals right before Thanksgiving last, those gold stars became awfully important.
If you follow the 80/20 rule, that amounts to 24 "gold star" days out of 30 on average for each month. That's all we have to do to see results, and to keep on point. It allows us a few days (six approximately) to "mess up". Not that one should use that to consciously fall off the wagon, but it does help to know that even not perfect, success for the month can be obtained.
I promised a SparkBuddy that we would start a virtual trek this week beginning tomorrow, Sunday. We're starting in Falmouth, MA and are going to "walk" to Provincetown, MA on Cape Cod. It's a "mere" 80 miles, and at the rate of about five miles of exercise a week, if we keep each other on point, and Spark minds my gold stars for me, I think we should be in Provincetown on the Cape, virtually, by Thanksgiving. I think having a buddy work along side you with similar goals is a very useful tool.
We'll update our progress on our feed. Feel free to join us if you like. Just print out a map of the Cape Cod streets (easily found on the web) or plot it on MapMyWalk.com. I made the directions simple and you can find them on my SP page in summary form. We are walking from Sippewissett Road opposite Flume Lake in Falmouth (I just loved that name!) to Pilgrim's Monument on One High Pole Hill Road in Provincetown, MA.
Care to join us? Bring water and snacks. It's a long walk!
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
No time to write a proper blog, but if you're really feeling down, this should do the trick. And if it doesn't, whatsamatta with you?
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