Thursday, February 27, 2014
It's been over a month since I last blogged. During this month, I've been a bright example… to avoid at all costs!! My life has been "enhanced" with many kinds of worries and troubles, the "sanity-threatening" type. Consequently, I had little time for SP and I allowed myself all kinds of off-track behavior. I repetitively indulged in many temptations like sweets, pizza and wine, I habitually surrendered to emotional eating because it was simply the easiest way to deal with negative feelings and I even gave myself excuses – yes, I confess, I reached this level of self-destructive behavior – for overeating when my day was full of difficult situations.
And, of course, I would avoid the scale… But I had already signed up for the BLC24 with the panthers team, so a weekly weigh-in was necessary. So, every Wednesday morning, I would take a deep breath and face the ultimate judge of my eating habits…
"Oh, please, don't be very angry…"
"I shouldn't have eaten that pizza yesterday…"
"Please, show me the same number as last time and I promise I'll be a good girl from now on…"
And miraculously, it seemed to work! The scale would show almost the same number every time! It seemed too hard to believe and I even had to try a different scale to make sure mine wasn't lying!
But it was really happening. I was maintaining my weight through a period that was logged as "completely off-track" in my mind.
Now how did this happen? When I seriously think about it, there are two reasons that my body had switched to auto-pilot and was actually maintaining even though I wasn't trying at all – or at least I didn't feel that way and I'll explain the difference in a minute.
The first one was exercise. A habit I'm mostly proud and happy for having established. During this health journey I've had my ups and downs, like we all do, but I never allowed myself to go back to couch-potato mode. I have an amazing streak of 141 weeks of at least 3 workouts per week. It's usually 5 or 6. Being on the move constantly is my way of life. I don't have a car, I walk to wherever I want to go, I never use elevators and I grab any chance I get to keep my muscles active and my cardiovascular system in good health. This has nothing to do with how I eat. I've separated it in my mind and even on my overeating days, I still do my planned workout.
The second reason is vigilance. "What vigilance???" you’re going to ask. "Just minutes ago, you confessed having indulged in a great number of edible temptations!"
Indeed, I have.
But it seems that vigilance was always present. It's like indulging in a fully-controlled environment and state of mind. Yes, I will eat pizza tonight. If that was my weekly cheat meal, I would eat one slice. Now I'll eat two because I need to "swallow my disappointments and sorrows". But I will not allow myself to eat four like I would once do. (Not an acceptable behavior, I know. Not one I'm proud of. But still it's better than the eat-everything-in-sight mentality.)
I've managed to maintain a healthy weight through really difficult times that are not yet over. I may be at the highest end of my maintenance range but I'm still there. I can only imagine what would have happened if I had gone through this period in my life carrying my old way of thinking about eating when in crisis...
Constant vigilance is the free gift you get when fully committing to a lifelong healthy way of living. And with vigilance comes control. And moderation is part of this control. All these elements paired with an active lifestyle are keys to successful maintenance. Through good times as well as bad ones.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Thank you for all the meaningful responses to the question I posted yesterday. If you haven't already, and you would like to add your answer or your thoughts, here's the link:
When I found this picture on the internet, I was really curious about what most people would answer. And presented here on Sparkpeople, the question gets even more interesting. Because this is a weight loss and fitness site, and it makes you wonder "Would most people give an answer connected to healthy eating and fitness in some way?" It seems that's not the case. Only three answers were directly related. There were many which were vaguely relevant but were more general and a few that had nothing to do with weight loss or fitness.
I believe that this question is mostly about regrets. What would we like to have done when we were younger but we didn't? How would we like ourselves to have been like in a younger age? Also about lack of experience and wisdom. What do we know now that we didn't know then? What valuable hint about life could we give our younger self if we could?
I'd like to share with you a short video related to the subject. It's in Greek but it's got English subtitles.
It makes you wonder… How many young people who would have such a revealing dream, would actually think about it and make a few changes to their lives?
Here's another true story. A nurse, who had cared for people in the last days of their lives for many years, revealed their top five regrets and actually wrote a book about it. These were the top 5:
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
You can read the whole article here:
I'll finish this blog with my own answer to yesterday's question. So, if I could write a note to my younger self, what would I say in two words?
And I don't mean the chances that we can create ourselves. We get this opportunity every second. I mean those tiny and shiny shooting stars that fall on our path in life and we have to be really careful to see them and grab them before we step on them and lose them. And we have to use them wisely. For two reasons…
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
newphoria: the feeling of euphoria and excitement caused by something new
I don't think it's an official word of the English language – not yet at least! I recently came across it in an electronics store, used as the key word on the advertizing campaign of a computer software company. And it looked really eye-catching and clever. Because we all experience this enthusiasm over anything new, not necessarily material. We never really outgrow the child inside us. And if you've seen the excitement in a kid's eyes when they hold a new toy in their hands, you know what I'm talking about.
But this feeling of "newphoria" could actually be the answer to the problems that many of us could be facing right after the holidays. Whether you allowed yourself a full indulgement in all the edible temptations or you just enjoyed a few more unhealthy breaks to your nutrition than you should have, the scale is here to show you the extent of the damage, bluntly honest as always. But sometimes, especially if you've been on this health journey for too long, it becomes too difficult to just switch to your old habits in a day and undo the damage. That's when a generous dose of "newphoria" in your getting-back-on-track strategy can really do the trick.
Just a few ideas:
- New recipes, new meal ideas or a completely new meal plan. I got back to food tracking yesterday and I made a weekly meal plan borrowing ideas from a fitness magazine. Believe it or not, I had never tried adding raisins and cinnamon to my oatmeal! Delicious!
- A new food you've never tried before. Quinoa is on my to-try list.
- Join a gym or try a new fitness class. I tried spinning on my stationary bike this week. I loved it but I don't think my old bike agrees with me… It must have suffered during the standing pedaling…
- Start a new challenge, here on Sparkpeople. I can't wait for BLC24 to start next week.
- Join a new, active sparkteam. I'm still looking into this one. So, if you have any good suggestions, let me know.
- Go fitness shopping! A new pair of workout shoes, new yoga pants, or even a fitness gadget could help light the spark again.
- Renew your motivation. Remind yourself of why you started all this in the first place. Read blogs, look at older pictures, imagine the future ones in your head. Make new goals and dream new dreams!
Reigniting the spark and keeping it fresh.
It takes effort.
But it’s so worth it!
Thursday, December 05, 2013
"My past does not define me."
I'm sure you've all come across this quote at least once. I, personally, loved it the first time I read it on an inspirational poster and made it my motto back then. But while on this life-changing journey towards a healthier life, I started to change my mind. We are all too eager to forget about our past actions sometimes. But do we really want to "renounce" our past so easily and pretend that all the things that we feel sorry for, disappointed or ashamed by actually never happened? We might want to reconsider...
Our past is inhabited by mistakes and failures. Of course there are successful and happy moments in it, too, but they tend to be overshadowed by the most powerful memories, of the things that keep on nagging us and we still strive to hide from ourselves and forget. Promises to ourselves that we never kept, goals that we failed to reach even though we could swear we did our best, dreams we left unfulfilled without even trying to realize them and mistakes that we didn't try to correct because we couldn't even admit to ourselves that we actually made them. These are some of the things because of which we'd want our past to disappear. But if we just rename all these things that make us feel bad, we could see them from an entirely different point of view. And our perspective on our past would be completely new and much more positive.
Broken promises, forgotten dreams, uncorrected mistakes and failures?
No. They were just lessons.
So, let's start over with this.
Our past is inhabited by lessons. Valuable information on understanding ourselves better and useful tips on how to work towards fixing things we don't like about us, our character, the way we handle things and the way we live. Forgetting about the actual facts that led us to a mistake or a failure is the easiest way to repeat the same mistake or failure again and again. In school, we revise lessons once in a while to ensure we have learned everything we need to know. In life, things work in the same way. Past actions - our valuable teachers - have to be revisited from time to time to ensure we've learned our lessons.
My past does not define me. But it defines who I can be. I may not be the same person who failed or made mistakes that I'm not too proud of. But I can be much better and much more successful because of these past mistakes.
Now give a name to all those things in your past that you'd like to erase and "undo". What was it? 100+ unsuccessful attempts to lose weight? No! 100+ lessons on what works for you and what doesn't. Revise them, learn more about yourself and use your knowledge on your next attempt. You're wiser and with much more chances of success.
As the famous inventor once said:
He succeeded in the end.
You can, too.
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