Monday, October 11, 2010
So, my parents are visiting me in Germany, from Washington. I've always had "daddy issues", but I really try to forgive and forget about past things.
But this visit is an absolute nightmare... Nightmare, I tell you. My poor husband... He's so stressed out, he's downing some Captain Morgan to help with the stress of it all....
Is it horrible that I can't wait until my dad leaves on Thursday morning? And is it horrible that he will most likely not be welcome to ever stay here in the future?
I will definitely be posting ALL of my frustrations AS SOON as I have a chance.... But this is all I can manage for now....
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
... with my GARMIN!!! Oh, yes, he is so good to me! My husband got me the Forerunner 405CX for my birthday in July 2009, and since then, we have been going strong, my GARMIN and me! I am NOT a big techy person, and I hate spending the money for high-dollar tech gadgets, but my husband surprised me with this, and I absolutely LOVE it. Ever since then, I try to make every Euro of the 300+ Euros he spent count!
I am sort of a stats feen. I love to see my numbers. I used to just get out, run on a track where I knew how far I was going (VERY monotonous and boring!), but I didn't track my time exactly. A few years back, I started timing myself with a stopwatch, and found it way more fun to see the actual numbers. Then along came GARMIN!
I use my GARMIN (obviously!) to go running. It has made my running so much more adventurous! Before I had my Garmin, I ran only on the main roads that were marked every 100 meters (since moving to Germany. In the US, I usually used a track or a loop that I drove with my car to judge the distance.) But I have long since left those main roads for back trails, and dirt roads through beautiful country fields! It's so refreshing to be running through forested areas between fields, and see the deer (that I have just spooked) dashing through the trees. It's so much fun to plot out a new route, I know which was I turn in, and I know where I will come out, but I don't know how long it will be, nor what kind of cool little places I will find along the way. And with my trusty Garmin, I ALWAYS know how far I have gone! Plus my model also tells me a calorie burn, which I love too!
I also use my GARMIN for my bike rides. I have actually found that I burn consistently more calories with biking than with running, oddly enough, because I feel like I am not working as hard. If I didn't have the Garmin, I don't think I would have as much fun biking either.
But on top of the obvious running and biking uses, I often turn off the GPS, and use the HRM and watch when I go out to do work in my garden or yard. And also for my workouts at the gym. (Obviously, I don't need the GPS for those things) Then I have an individualized calorie-burn, based on my own heart rate, that I can then add into my SP-fitness page.
I just love him. I don't know what I'd do without him. How could I have lived so long without him? I hope he never breaks! But then of course, there is probably always a new model out that has new spiffy extras to play with!
Monday, October 04, 2010
This week marks the anniversary of me reaching my ultimate weightloss goal. Since then, I have had some real struggles. In fact, I am sitting here today 5 pounds heavier than my ultimate goal. (Yes, I am absolutely already taking action to take care of those!) In some ways, I feel that maintaining is even HARDER than losing! These, of course, are just my own thoughts and assessments about the struggles I have had since last October. Thought I would share and hopefully be a help to someone else who might be able to identify!
1. I was "allowed" to eat more, and all too soon took it too far. Since I was not trying to lose anymore, I was able to eat 500+ more calories without gaining. All too quickly, the portions become TOO large to maintain the weight I want. This might be partially due to #2:
2. Tracking took a backseat. I mean, I have tracked for so long, I can just look at something and know how many calories are in it.... right? Snacking (and guesstimated tracking, if tracking at all) quickly became the norm. In an article I read, it said the biggest mistake that calorie-counters make is UNDERESTIMATING the calories they eat. When we are not accurately weighing and measuring our food, we are more than likely underestimating. The lack of accurate tracking, coupled with the idea that we can eat more, all too easily lead to overeating.
3. I stopped monitoring my weight as closely. Weighing myself became sparse. And when I DID weigh myself, I became complacent about the slightly, slowly climbing weight.
My tip: I weigh myself almost daily. As I change from my PJs into my running clothes in the morning, I hop on the scale. I know, I know, I have read from the experts that say weighing yourself too often is not good. But I am sorry, I disagree. I am significantly MORE motivated to stay on track and make good eating choices on a daily basis when I know I will be weighing myself in the morning. Plus, weighing myself weekly makes it all too easy for me to forget weighing myself altogether. In addition to those 2 reasons, I feel that weighing myself can be the first indicator that I am either moving in the right direction or not. Sure, I am fully aware that there are natural fluctuations in bodyweight, and I do not get discouraged. I just like to see a general, overall movement in the right direction. I can see 2 pounds on the scale long before I can feel it in my clothes or see it in the mirror. That to me is motivating.
**Please understand: I am not addicted or tied to a scale, nor do I encourage anyone else to be. I simply find the scale to be the best gauge of my progress. If you were to meet me in person, you'd soon find that I'm all about being healthy!
4. Not having a lot of weight to lose = less motivation. I no longer had 50 whopping ugly pounds staring me in the face every time I looked in the mirror, acting as my catapult into action. I mean, after losing 50 pounds, it's noticeable: you get compliments, you are in a different clothing size, your figure changes, your energy level changes.... but 5 pounds? Plus, 5 pounds that you already lost, and gained back? It is much easier to just excuse those little 5 pounds away, and not be motivated to really take action. But 5 pounds unattended can all too quickly turn into 10 pounds; 10 pounds to 20. Before we know it, we could find ourselves worse off than we started.
5. Too many hard hits against the healthy habits, those habits I had worked so hard and long to establish, quickly washed those good habits nearly away. For instant, I had, for months, trained myself not to snack mindlessly, and to make sure I was weighing or measuring everything. But thinking I could "afford" a little snacking, I started munching all the time. Soon, that became my habit, and I was having a very difficult time tracking my food. Habits are so important, and will make or break you, will help you succeed or hold you back. Try to make each choice you make help establish a good, healthy habit!! (For further thoughts on good habit building, read my blog: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_j
There are probably more obstacles than those, but those are the main ones I have identified in myself.
Weight maintanence after weightloss is NOT impossible. We are not all destined to simply slide back into an unhealthy lifestyle after losing weight (though that seems like what many dieters do after they reach their goal.) We simply have to stay on top of it, assess our own pitfalls and weaknesses, and find a solution that works for us.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
I read somewhere, years ago, that studies have shown that people who plan their exercise first thing in the morning, vs. those who plan their exercise at other times of the day, have considerably higher rates of consistency in their exercise lives.
I have not always been an early morning runner. In fact, the idea of getting my tired butt out of bed at 5 in the morning is SO NOT appealing. There have been times, I have really tried to establish a different running routine, but I have ALWAYS come back to doing it regularly in the early morning for the following reasons (and I'd like to share):
1. There is rarely, if ever, a scheduling conflict, or a last minute ...(whatever)... that can come up and get in the way at that time of day. No unexpected errands to run, no doctor's appointments that might need to be scheduled, no evening plans that have to be worked around, no unexpected phone calls. I can almost surely plan nearly everyday to do my exercise at that time without interruption. The only thing that can indirectly conflict is if I stay up too late the night before, but I have made it my practice to be in bed in a timely manner for that very reason. Actually, there were plenty of times that I stayed up until midnight or so on Friday night, and STILL (INSANELY enough) got up at 4:30 for my long run!! Yeah, I didn't say I was in my right mind, but I had put my long run at such a high importance, that I was going to do it no matter what.
2. And this goes hand-in-hand with #1 - Having virtually no conflicts means that it is easier to keep it regular, and regularity turns into a habit. When exercise becomes habitual, a routine that you just do, then you are in a good way. (See my last BLOG about the importance of habit-building...)
3. There is no time to talk myself out of it. I just get up and do it.
4. I never have a certain guiltiness that I am stealing time away from the kids or my sweet hubby (who is ever so supportive!). I have my "me" time, my personal maintanence time, when they are in bed asleep.
5. I never have to rely on or worry about a babysitter, nor do I have to worry about running with a stroller.
6. It's so invigorating - it's the perfect boost to my morning. There is such a DRASTIC difference in my energy and alertness on the mornings that I don't run. I need all the energy I can muster to keep up with my 4 kiddos!
7. On top of the boost effect, there is a HUGE sense of gratification that comes from already having my exercise finished and out of the way. I always feel this sense of uncertainty, almost anxiety, on the days I have tried to fit it in later, like I am HOPING to follow through, but not sure until it's over with.
8. I can shower, plan, and carry out the rest of my day as normal, without having to come back to my run, and whether I can fit it in or not. I always feel like it is a huge interruption to my day (and therefore requiring a LOT more determination and effort to follow through) to stop what I am doing during the day, get ready for my run, and get out the door.
9. My evenings are mine. Well, apart from the 2 evenings that I go to the gym for my strength training (in addition to my running routine). I love being able to sit and relax in the evenings with my family.
All of these reasons make it well worth the price I have to pay, the price of getting up so early in the morning. If I am ever too tired, I just catch a snooze in the afternoon with the kids, or go to bed a little earlier the next night...
What about you?
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Ok, after months of struggling for motivation to keep me consistent, I fully intentionally JUMPED off the motivation bandwagon, decided to forget about MOTIVATION all together, whether I had it or not, where I could find it once again, and, well, I decided that really, when it comes to dedicated, consistent exercise (or consistent anything else, for that matter), MOTIVATION has NOTHING to do with it.
My definition of motivation: The feeling of wanting to do something, or become something, or accomplish something, that you get after hearing an inspiration speech or story, that gives you a high for the rest of the day, but, when you wake up the next morning, you are faced with real life, obstacles and challenges, and that feeling of "wanting to" is gone. Then what?
I have seen and heard so many people talk about how "motivated" they are, people that I have personally tried to be an inspiration to. And you know how long it lasted? LESS THAN A WEEK! Why? Because the FEELING of being motivated is just that - a FEELING! If you EVER want to be truly dedicated to an active lifestyle, you CANNOT base your exercise life/ diet choices on how you FEEL. If you are doing so, you are destined to failure. Even the motivation that comes from losing weight will abate, and, unless you have established good habits and are determined to keep those good habits, you will find yourself moving in the wrong direction.
Which brings me to the point that has made all the difference for me in the last couple of weeks (and I plan to keep this going.):
HABITS!! After I got really sick this summer (and was hospitalized), I have struggled so much with getting back fully into my exercise. I was breaking all my own rules, taking off days at a time from exercise, yet eating like I was training for a marathon. I kept asking myself, "How could I have been so hard core, so consistent, so dedicated for more than a year and a half (not to mention that it even felt EASY), and now , I struggle just do keep myself going? Is my body working against me? Do I really, deep inside, not care, and don't mind gaining the weight back? Is that what I am destined for?" .... and other long, drawn out, detailed monologues of such nature....
UUUUGGGHH! I was so frustrated with my own lack of.... well, whatever it was that made me so dedicated before.
And then I read a smidgen of a SP article about slip-ups (regrettably, I did not read the whole thing, but wish I had). All I read was a sentence or two, that read something of the nature - "Studies are showing that on-going slip-ups do a lot more damage to good habits than has been thought in the past." That was all I read. And I really got to thinking that it was the HABITS that had changed. Not me. Not my motivation. I still had the same goals, the same motivating factors (to stay lookin' good, healthy, full of energy, achieve the personal gratification of finishing races... and so on), but my HABITS had changed.
I had gotten into the HABIT of talking myself out of my scheduled exercise. Yes, I say scheduled. Some people shy away from locking themselves into a schedule, but in my personal, humble opinion, if you want it to be a lasting change in your life, you HAVE to make it consistent, and a schedule is the best way to make it consistent.
I had gotten into the HABIT of staying up later at night.
I had gotten into the HABIT of basing whether I exercised on whether I FELT like it or not... (BAD MISTAKE)
I got into the HABIT if munching and snacking ALL the time, without tracking.
In fact, I got into the HABIT of not tracking my eating at all.
I got in the HABIT of not weighing myself regularly, and when I did, becoming complacent with my ever-so-slowly climbing weight.
So, how do I get back those good habits I once had? How do I make the good habits stick once again? BY STICKING to them, without excuse, without wavering, as much as possible, working around obstacles, for an extended time... until it seems like no big deal, and I am in a routine. An acquaintance (and avid runner) of mine once told me, when I first started out running about 10 years ago, "If you wanna make something stick (like a new exercise schedule), you need to do it really consistently for 3 weeks. After that, it becomes a habit." This little tip has stuck with me all these years! And I have really found it to be true - seriously, after the first 3 weeks of sticking to something really strongly, it really does get easier!
So, I have decided to abandon the whole "MOTIVATION" bandwagon, and instead, trade it for the "GOOD-HABIT-BUILDING" bandwagon. I am in the process of building those good habits back that I once had. No more excuses. No more deviations. No more blaming the weather, or the fact that I was sick, or the fact that I don't have a consistent exercise buddy in my area. It is on me. And you know what I have found? EVERY DECISION we make will either help us BUILD a GOOD HABIT, or will hinder the good habit. And if you chip away at the good habit too often, too much, you will lose it altogether! So build those good habits, stick to them like glue, and hold on tight! Do not let them slide!
Two solid weeks now, I have been full-force, right back on my game. Out of the last 15 days, I have done cardio on 13 of those days. I have had to settle for MUCH shorter distances, and MUCH slower times, but I am ok with that. I know that, in time, the endurance and speed capacity will return.... BUT ONLY with consistent practice. I have also been rebuilding the habit of tracking my food, and weighing myself regularly. But 2 weeks is really nothing, and the important thing is that I keep moving forward, and keep making the right choices.
How about you? Have you been struggling with slip-ups, and getting back on track? Were you once on fire, and now struggle sometime to keep getting out there to exercise?
***Sorry, my blogs are long and wordy! I just can't help it!! I need to express all of these thoughts and contemplations that are burning inside of me, and want so badly to come out, and this is the best place I guess I can do that... Thanks for reading. =)
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