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Getting unstuck

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The warmer weather is helping me overall--my spirits are much better than they were in the winter, & my exercise has increased lately--but the scales aren't budging & I look a little pudgy in my summer clothes. I want to get serious this week about taking care of myself.

Right now I want to think a little about the "solution-focused approach" advocated in the SP article highlighted today in our right-hand column. Let's see if this gets me anywhere . . .

"1. Look for the exception that proves the rule.
There are always times when you do better than others, and it’s usually not an accident—there’s something about these positive times that makes your work much easier. The trick is to figure out what that something is, and how you can make it happen more often."

* It was easier to get up to exercise on the back porch when (1) I had gotten a reasonable amount of sleep & (2) I set a reward for myself (wearing new gauchos that day).

* Bedtime is crucial! I'm going to try to be in bed between 10:30 & 11 all this week.

* Rewards--hmm. Of course I can't promise myself a new article of clothing for every day that I exercise! But I think I'll try planning out some small reward for each day this week that I do. I'll post my list at the end of this blog entry.

"2. Activate your imagination with the Miracle Question.
Imagine that tonight while you’re sleeping, a miracle is going to happen that will completely solve the problem . . . once and for all. How will you know, when you wake up, that the miracle has happened and the problem is solved? What will be different for you—how will you think, act, or feel differently once the problem has been solved? What will be different about the day ahead of you? Are these questions already helping you think or feel differently now, at least a little bit? How can you make this happen more often?"

Let's see: a miracle solution would mean my weight on the scale would be 142, my belly would be trimmer, & I'd look good in that one little denim skirt & that one size 7 dress. emoticon I would feel light & energetic & stride through the city with big steps that day. In exercise, I'd have longer endurance--being able to run 45 mins. or even an hour without slowing to a walk. I might even sign up for a 5K race for the fun of it.

I do think it would be good to think more often about the anticipated RESULTS of losing weight & getting stronger. It's fun & motivating!

"3. Find the good intention behind the 'bad' behavior.
You do the 'wrong' thing . . . because there is some payoff. . . . Your best bet will probably involve finding a way to get the payoff without those undesirable side-effects. Ask yourself what the payoff really is. Is it simple pleasure, emotional comfort, or relief from boredom or other unwanted feelings? Then ask yourself what you can do that would give you that same payoff, without the extra calories."

Behaviors/payoffs
* eating 3 chocolate squares instead of 1 or 2 -- the pleasure of sweetness & flavor, a bit of stress relief at work
* beer &/or dessert with my husband -- camaraderie, relaxing & enjoying something together, reward for a hard day's work
* extra sleep instead of exercising -- the rest my body needs!

Solutions?
* eat ONE chocolate square as slowly as possible, savoring every nibble
* half a beer instead of a whole one (this is probably necessary anyway to help regulate my sleep)
* just fruit, or fruit & yogurt, for a yummy dessert
* eating out in the garden as often as possible
* exercising together! just today my husband showed me the map of a bike trail through a linked set of forest preserves not far from us--we would toss his bike in the back of our car on a Sun. afternoon, drive to the trail beginning & park, then he would bike while I ran/walked, & we'd meet back at the car at a set time; this sounds SO lovely to me
* continue setting rewards & giving them to myself when I get to bed at a decent time & can get up to exercise
* continue to watch for & cut out behaviors/substances that my body can't handle anymore (lately it's been black tea & high-alcohol beer) so as to diminish the chances of insomnia

"4. Predict your way to success.
Before you get out of bed in the morning, take a minute to predict how you’re going to handle the potential problems you may encounter that day. What specific events, thoughts or feelings might make it more likely that you’ll face (or avoid) the problem? When and where are these events likely to happen? Who else is going to be involved? What can you do to influence this course of events and increase the odds in favor of not having the problem today?"

This is WAY more thinking than I am capable of doing first thing in the morning! emoticon But I think being aware of these alternative strategies is going to help me deal with the recurring problems & make good changes.

JUNE 8-14 REWARD PLAN
(for getting to bed 10:30-11 AND getting up to exercise)

SUNDAY (if I go out running this afternoon, now that it's cooler) spend 30 mins. reading my current novel
MONDAY wear other new outfit
TUESDAY call old friend in PA right after supper
WEDNESDAY put on some inspiring instrumental music while I work at my computer in the evening
THURSDAY make a smoothie for breakfast
FRIDAY wear my coral top & the handmade tropical necklace
SATURDAY eat breakfast at the backyard picnic table

Let's see if this works! If it does, I'm going to have an incredibly lovely week!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPHANIEDIAN 6/9/2008 11:14AM

    Ruth!!!! This is great information...and I think it touches on what we all struggle with...this weight loss thing is tough to figure out, and I wish it just came to me after one night's good sleep. I really like that you posted this, it gives us great reference tools....plus it sounds like you've really thought about how you want to proceed... great place to start

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PJBOKC 6/8/2008 8:44PM

    Ruth, This is awesome information - to really think about the BIG DREAM like it's truly reality and what it will really mean to our lives to be healthier. It can be a reality. I know it can. I'm going to cut/paste your blog, save it, and read it again and again........ and set some plans for reward.

YOU DO GOOD WORK!!!

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SHANSHE 6/8/2008 6:19PM

    Ruth this sounds like an awesome plan!!! Maybe you should print this blog out and keep it somehwere handy to remind you from time to time, LOL! I like your rewards too.

Maybe when life calms down more, I can go through some goal-setting steps for my health... that is the plan anyway.

Shannon

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I did it!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Last night I got to bed at a decent hour, & this morning I got up in time to warm up & then do 7 strength-training exercises on the back porch. emoticon The flowers & herbs in my planters seem none the worse for their recent brush with disaster. It had been raining hard in the wee hours, so the roof workmen were not yet on the premises, fortunately. It was nice to be out there in the peacefully humid morning, listening to news & doing my reps & feeling accompanied by the potted plants.

And today I'm wearing the new gauchos; they are indeed super-comfortable. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 6/6/2008 8:16PM

    I can just picture you exercising on your nice peaceful porch. Glad you like the gauchos. emoticon with getting to bed early, and exercising. I'm going to bed real early tonight - like about 9:00 pm.

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SHANSHE 6/5/2008 1:26PM

    Woo Hoo Ruth! I just knew you would od it! Congrats!
Shannon

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Setbacks

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I hadn't known that the guys doing a complete tear-off & replacement of the roof of our condo building would lower huge heavy tarps off the sides of the balconies to protect them. They didn't warn us ahead of time, so one of my windowboxes got knocked off & the others nearly fell too--I ran out to rescue them just in time. Argh.

All my plants are on the floor of my porch now. There's still room to exercise, but the other setback is my busyness & lack of focus. I just haven't gotten to bed this week in time to get up & exercise as I "want" to. In quotes because obviously I haven't wanted it badly enough so far. It's not as if my evenings have all been super-productive either.

I will be going to church directly after work tonight, but that shouldn't keep me out past 9:00. Goal: In bed by 10:15. Reward: wearing new clothes tomorrow--ONLY if I get up to run or do strength training. (Yesterday some size 10 clothes that I had ordered arrived--a vest & long skirt, & a pair of gauchos. I'm really looking forward to wearing them--they're really cute & comfortable.)

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 6/6/2008 8:15PM

    Sorry about your plants, Ruth. I remember you just putting those out recently, and planning to exercise on your newly redecorated porch. I know it'll be nice to get the roof completed, and get things put back together. I'm sure the new roof will really make the building look nice and fresh. WOO HOO for you getting some new clothes - and a size 10. Enjoy!

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SHANSHE 6/4/2008 11:43PM

    Well, those clothes sound ice and i just know you will get up in the morning and do those exercises so you can wear your new comfy clothes!
Shannon

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Just had an idea

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I was looking at my fitness reports, both cardio & strength training, & it struck me that just as the better weather has helped me get back into running recently, I should harness that enjoyment of fresh air for reviving my strength training. Which has languished quite pitifully for a number of months.

This spring I am fixing up my back porch with flowers & herbs in windowboxes & pots. The porch has become very inviting--so I'm going to make use of it! It's reasonably private, & there's a mixture of sun & shade at any time of day there. This week I will aim to get up early at least a couple of mornings & take my dumbbells, mat, & chair out onto the porch, along with a radio so I can listen to the news while I do my workout. Better yet, I think I'll start keeping the dumbbells out there--I think there's shelf space.

Doesn't that just sound lovely? I'm totally inspired.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STEPHANIEDIAN 6/9/2008 11:16AM

    That does sound lovely.........it's nice to be able to enjoy the warmer weather.....now if it would just stop raining!!!!!!!!!

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PJBOKC 6/2/2008 9:56PM

    I'm still hearing that energy. Sounds like a wonderful idea to do your strength training on the porch. I can picture working out with resistance bands, sitting in an Adirondack Chair with the scent of your flowers and herbs in the air.

You are inspired, and you're inspiring me. emoticon

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MINEGA 6/2/2008 2:20PM

    Great idea, Ruth!!! I will picture you out there - meeting your goals!! :)

My strength training is where I lack the most, as well. We can always find an excuse OR a solution - if we are but willing, right?! RIGHT! Thanks for reminding me of that!!

And thanks for dropping my by SPage, too - and posting your pretty face and kind words on my last blog.

You also reminded me I think I want to blog today. Thanks!!

Hugs,
Robin

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SHANSHE 6/1/2008 11:56PM

    OOH, Ruth, it DOES sound just lovely, and relaxing. However, I would be more prone to listen to pretty classical music or praise and worship music which would be more soothing to my soul than the news LOL! But Hey! Whatever works!

Shan

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YAHTZEELOU 6/1/2008 8:45PM

    That sounds like fun! Fresh spring air, chirping birds and the sun rising....what a wonderful way to workout,definetly. Have a great week, Ruth!

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Best Saturday ever

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Well, ONE of the best, anyway. I went running to do errands this morning. Had made muesli last night, so breakfast after running was just wonderful--oats & toasted nuts & cinnamon & a bit of brown sugar & banana & blueberries & milk. Then I made a yummy dessert for the baby shower I'd be helping to host in the afternoon. While it was baking I worked on my back-porch planters, which I had started the other day. All the remaining flowers got ensconced in windowboxes or pots, & the windowboxes are now mounted on porch railings & look lovely. Meanwhile green tea with jasmine was brewing in a big jug in the sun for the shower.

I got some real exercise before & after the shower too, since it was in my neighbor's backyard & (with help from friends) I carried outdoor chairs there & back, as well as the jug of tea & the dessert & paper goods & a number of other things. We had a fabulous time at the shower--which was coed, so even my husband was there. It may have been his first baby shower ever, I'm not sure. (He's a fairly recent immigrant.)

After the shower, while he went on a bike ride I put stuff away & then made a run to the grocery store (got nearly all fresh produce) & CVS (where I got one more potted plant to hang on the porch). Back home, I made salad, grilled chicken, & heated up beans. Supper was another of those "every bite is amazing" meals.

And I'm full of oxygen & SO happy it's finally warm here in Chicago (spring is so late that the lilacs on the north side of our building are just blooming now!) & looking forward to singing on worship team tomorrow at church & then taking a big bowl of bing cherries to the potluck at the lake afterward (a church tradition throughout the summer, since our building is just 6 blocks from a nice Lake Michigan beach).

Oh yes, & two of those extra pounds were off already this morning. And I'm planning to go running just as often as I can in the coming days, to enjoy this gorgeous weather. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJBOKC 6/2/2008 9:52PM

    Ruth, I can feel the energy in your blog. You had a wonderful weekend. The change in weather is always so refreshing. I enjoy all of them except the change from fall to winter.

Congrats on losing the 2 pounds. You'll be back to your goal weight in a short time.

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SHANSHE 6/1/2008 1:13AM

    Your food sounded so woderful today!!!

I think you are right, the summer and sunshine is defintiely what you need and needed this past winter.

Hooray on the 2 pounds already taken off, you are awesome!
Shannon

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