Thursday, June 21, 2012
Most of you probably remember learning to ride a two-wheeled bicycle. When you first got your "big bike" it had training wheels and those early miles were slightly off-center riding along balanced on one side or the other. As time wore on you would begin to find your center and eventually Mom or Dad would get the screwdriver out and take off your training wheels so you could ride unaided.
Even though you had found your center with the training wheels still ON the bike, their removal took with it a "security". Mentally you had to find your center again. Perhaps Mom or Dad ran behind your bike holding onto the tote seat or the back of your shirt. Soon you regained your center and were riding without aid.
Did that mean you didn't fall down? I have many scars from skinned knees to prove otherwise. I've even fallen off the bicycle as an adult some decades after those training wheels disappeared.
There is a great lesson in this for our weight loss journey. Many thousands of people join Sparkpeople (and other weight loss sites/groups) weekly. They all come with a desire to be thin. That's NOT the same as "wanting to lose weight" because the latter implies a willingness to do what it takes to achieve the goal. VERY different things but I digress.
The training wheels on your "sparkcycle" are things like Fast Break Goals, Meal Plan Suggestions, Strength Training suggestions, your Spark Class Team, the helpful articles in the Daily Spark and Health news. Blogs written by those that have journeyed before you (like this one) give you lots of tips and encouragement. All of these things are your training wheels. You need to lean on them heavily in the early days to find your center.
Some, using these tools and applying them daily, soon find their center and the weight starts coming off. They take off the training wheels (quit tracking, stop exercising, distance themselves from their support team, skip logging into the site, etc.) and they FALL DOWN (start gaining).
What keeps the person on balance - MOMENTUM. Once up and going if they keep their momentum they won't fall unless they hit a major obstacle (big rock, hole, etc.). This is how it is with OUR journey too. Once we get that balance of nutrition, tracking, exercise, water, sleep, etc. we make forward progress AS LONG AS we steer clear of the obstacles.
Now some of us will ride RIGHT into a hole knowing full well we are going to fall (going on a cruise, buying the bag of double stuff cookies, skipping our workouts because we just don't "wanna". ) Others will turn a corner and be blindsided by an obstacle (illness, family crisis, loss of job, etc.) We WILL fall. So if we do how do we regain our balance? We have to go back to those training wheels!
We need to lean heavily on our training wheels (tracking, teams, exercise, meal plans, articles, blogs, etc) to find our initial balance.
We need to gain momentum to keep us from falling OFF the bike.
When we fail to steer around an obstacle we need to return to our "training wheels" to regain our balance.
We need to MAINTAIN momentum. This is my favorite saying of PRESS ON! Keep those wheels turning so you don't fall off!
Don't be too proud to strap on those training wheels to learn how to find your center. They have helped MANY people find balance and gain momentum on the journey!
Monday, June 18, 2012
I love reading the "success stories" 50, 75, 100, 150 pounds lost. They inspire me and help me know that the goal is achievable. They sometimes even give me new ideas and helpful tips. Sometimes they even make me cry! A life restored, relationships healed, health improved... the stories are numerous.
I want to talk about the part many DON'T mention.
BAD choices - Yep, I still make them - not as often as I did. My bad choices now are actually better than they were. Instead of doughnuts, ice cream, nachos etc. they tend to be "too large" of a serving of something or choosing a chicken entree with a topping rather than plain. The "quantity and quality" of my bad choices have less of an impact now but they are still BAD choices.
EXERCISE BURNOUT - yep - it happens. That's why you must have alternative methods for getting your cardio. When you think you can't pedal another mile on the bike or walk another 10 steps on the treadmill time to mix it up! Get out a DVD, your Wii, go swimming, try a sport, or do something DIFFERENT but don't QUIT exercising. You WILL tire of things but that's when you have to be creative.
DOUBT - Oh yes! I still have doubts that I will keep losing and keep it off. That's normal too! I just have to remember that the destination is NOT optional and that perseverance pays off. It helps to keep lots of visual reminders around (my paper clip chain - see my photos), charts, post-its etc.
MIRROR DISAPPOINTMENT - So I've lost 75 pounds and I look at myself in the mirror and I think - look how FAT I still am. When one has such a large amount of weight to lose as I did no matter how far I've come I have a long way yet to go. It's easy to forget where I "was" and only see where I "am" and think my efforts are not paying off. This is why I keep some of those BEFORE pictures around and that one pair of HUGE pants so that I can have a reality check that indeed I have made huge progress.
UN-SUPPORTIVE FRIENDS/FAMILY - You know what I'm talking about! Here are some of the things they say: Oh you have lost enough let's go get pizza. -- You are only going to gain it back why bother. -- You can diet tomorrow. -- You aren't really fat just big. There are dozens more but they don't help. They are just obstacles in your path.
CHAFFING - Exercise with FAT causes thighs to rub and it HURTS!. I have learned to use lots of lotion followed by powder and wear a pant/short long enough to cover the thighs. Don't let it keep you from exercising.
TRACKING - Yep - I must still track. If I don't I always overeat... ALWAYS. It's a pain, it takes time but it works. I am sure there are people that can adequately count in their head and stay in range but I'm not one of them. That's how I got to be 300 lbs plus!
ACCOUNTABILITY - Are you truly accountable to someone/group/team? It's essential for success. You need someone that is sharing your weight loss journey with you so that you have a REASON to push to the scale each week. Without that it is easy to get into the ANNIE game (tomorrow I'll eat right/exercise/start my diet). Get a weekly weigh-in established with SOMEONE expecting it!
So why did I tell you all this? I am all about being open and honest. If I only told you the "good parts" you would feel a failure if you couldn't produce the same but if I show you that I TOO struggle DAILY to stay on this path... maybe, just maybe it will give you hope and show you that persevering through it will produce results!
Don't be afraid to fail - just make sure if/when you do that you get up and keep PRESSING ON!
See you at "Health & Fitness"
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