Monday, June 09, 2008
We had originally planned to go to the end of Chicago's Blues Festival in Grant Park last night, because it's free & B. B. King was going to be closing out the festival. On Sunday afternoon my husband said we shouldn't risk it because the weather was so volatile (storms & tornado warnings--a tornado had touched down just south of the city). So I made my reward plan based on the assumption that we wouldn't go.
At 6:15 he suddenly proposed going after all--the weather had cleared up & it would be good for his spirits to get out of the house. So we pulled together a quick supper, ate & went. There were lots of folks carrying their compact lawn chairs on the train, as we were, & Grant Park proved to be just packed. We found a spot, & despite the loud guys smoking weed & drinking beer around us, we enjoyed the show. King is 82 years old! He sat throughout his performance; he kept his singing short & talked a lot, sometimes even getting his band going on a few bars of a song & then stopping them & grabbing the mike to talk some more.
As my husband said afterward, the good thing was just to have seen him, since he likely won't be around much longer. To actually listen to the blues, it makes more sense to go to a blues bar (which we do on occasion) or just play CDs at home.
After we got home, I needed to take clothes & sheets & blankets out of the dryer & fold them, then put in the last two loads to dry.. It was about midnight when I got to bed--so no way was I able to get up to exercise this morning. That's OK--seeing B. B. King was special, & I can get my little reward plan going tonight/tomorrow. Now I'm aiming to wear my new outfit on Tuesday, after a good night's sleep & a nice run around the neighborhood in the cool morning air!
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. 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."
* 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!
* 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! 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!
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. 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.
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.
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