Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I reread The Spark last week and it kind of helped to set me straight. After reading the book and looking over the goals I had initially set and then writing in my journal, I realized something. I was doing this entirely wrong. I thought I was following the advice of SparkPeople and doing everything right and for the right reasons, but I really wasn't.
For example, it is made clear that you need to start small, but I thought I was an exception to that rule for some reason. I thought, "10 minutes of exercise is below me, I can start at 30 and move even farther up." But just like SparkGuy's brother who did the same thing as I did, I fell into the trap of thinking that when it comes to exercise, it's all or nothing. I would think: 10 minutes is nowhere near as good as 30 minutes or an hour, so when life gets crazy and busy, I give it up all together. When in reality, something is always better than nothing.
In addition to this wrong mindset about fitness, I was also working towards superficial goals. I have it written down that I wanted to lose weight to feel better about getting dressed everyday and looking in the mirror, to look better in pictures, to not worry what I look like while I'm sitting down, to be able to share clothes with my friends, to be able to shop at "skinny" stores, to feel more comfortable in jeans, to be able to wear bikinis, and to have fewer stomach aches. The only substantial goal on that list I think is about reducing my stomach aches, and that's not even about who I am or what I want in life. Later on in my journal I began to talk about how I want to travel after I graduate and be a respected leader. I don't know why I didn't put that at the top of the list or why that wasn't made my primary motivation, because that is what I want. After going to school for the past 3 1/2 years, I've finally slowly figured out that I want to be a social worker. There is something very specific I want to do after I graduate in May: I want to participate in the Peace Corps' Masters International program where you go to grad school and do your time abroad at the same time. I'm applying to the University of Maryland School of Social Work, so I would do a year there, do my 2 years of Peace Corps, and then come back for another year of school, and I would get my MSW. The biggest roadblock to living abroad for 2 years, however, is my depression and my health. I have to learn to deal with my depression, preferably without pills so that I can live independently in an unfamiliar place and an uncomfortable circumstance. I have to be fit and at a healthy weight so that my body can be resilient to the different bacteria and diseases it will be exposed to. I think having this goal in mind will really help me to stay on track and really make this a lifestyle change.
I guess I didn't really know what "lifestyle change" meant exactly. It really means changing your relationship with food and looking at food differently. I just bought the SparkPeople Cookbook, and I recommend that for anyone with emotional eating issues. It's not about avoiding things at all costs and eating bland food. Food can taste good and be healthy and help you lose weight too. I wrote in my last blog that: "When I look back on the changes I made in my life, I kind of dread going back to it." That's because I was eating the same things everyday and was craving new and exciting foods. And you can have them, which is what will be different this time. I really want to thank Chef Meg for taking the time to not just throw a bunch of recipes together in a book, but also writing those first few chapters explaining why you can make this change and why you should do it and why you should want to do it. And she doesn't leave you in the dark about how to cook, which is something I am struggling with. But the book is so easy to use and perfectly laid out. I'm really glad I bought it.
I know I can do this. I know I am a strong person. Now that I know what I want and I am working towards something that is the reason for my existence, I will be able to stay on track. It was just not a concept that I grasped before. I was so oblivious; I even thought I was doing it right and for the right reasons. But I'm glad that stage happened, because I learned so much. If I knew what I wanted right from the start, I don't think I would have learned all I have learned about myself. I am a stronger, more competent person for it. I thank God for this opportunity not to start over, but to continue to pursue my journey to a healthier, better me.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Hey everyone! I got back from Costa Rica Saturday night and boy, has it been a rush. I am going to miss it and my host family so much, and it has been really sad. But being home has felt pretty good too.
While I was there, I made an effort to not over eat, but I didn't have many options as to what I ate because my host family made my meals for me. So I tried to focus on portion control but that didn't really work out all the time. So I tried to keep myself moving, which wasn't difficult. It was a 30 minute walk to and from school every day, which was perfect to burn some calories. Also, whenever we went on trips, they were usually pretty athletic and had things like hiking, swimming, white water rafting, etc. So I gained a grand total of 6 pounds. Not too bad at all.
But now I am ready to get back into things and into real life. In the past couple of days, it hasn't even felt like I have gone anywhere at all, and I think it's because of how naturally I am fitting right back into my old life. I have gone crazy these past few days with food because I have been on major withdrawal, but it's not the "last supper" mentality. I know I will be able to have these foods again at some point. Just not all the time. And that's perfect.
If anyone has any tips for getting back into the routine, please fill me in!
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I just can't believe I was able to pull this off. When I reflect on all that I have accomplished, it makes me want to cry. All that hard work really paid off. I pushed through plateaus, didn't give up after falling off track, and remained consistent with my eating and exercising habits. I can run 3 miles in less than 30 minutes. I can actually see the muscles in my calves. I don't get winded when walking up and down stairs. I can keep up with my fast walker friends. I was able to be very active with the athletes at Special Olympics. I have much more energy to get through the day than I used to. My flexibility and balance is making life easier in general.
I think the biggest thing though that makes me feel truly accomplished is the recognition I get from other people, and not just the compliments about how much weight I've lost. I have friends coming up to me and asking me to help them get into an exercise routine because they can't seem to keep up with one. They're asking me to help them get more fit. I never thought I'd be such an inspiration to people in this way.
Most of all, I thank God everyday for giving me the strength to be able to do this, and for blessing me with SparkPeople. It has really changed my life. He has also blessed me with an amazing family to live with in Costa Rica. I just found out from a girl that lived with the same family last spring that I'm going to be living with this spring that the mom is VERY active. She gets up early in the morning to go to the gym or the swimming pool. In the afternoons, she'll take me to exercise classes taught by her friend. She will also make pretty healthy meals. Every time I think about it now, I get all the more excited and more grateful to God for blessing me with all that I have.
Just 20 more pounds to go! I can do this!!!
Sunday, January 16, 2011
So I went a little longer with the second week than just a week, but I think it's fine. I have taken some significant steps to developing healthier habits. I was already doing a good job with me exercise, but in the past week and a half I've really started making some serious strides to healthier eating and incorporating more fruits and vegetables.
Continue with SparkTime:
This is one of my favorite things to do everyday. Every morning either during or after breakfast, I get on SparkPeople and get my log in points, do some trivia questions, read my emails, read some articles, track my food, review my goals, and read some motivational and inspirational stories. It's so great to have that time to myself everyday.
Review Your Goals:
I have my vision collage hanging up and look at it everyday. I absolutely LOVE having it there. It really does help, especially in these past couple of days when I've been feeling kind of down. I do need to start looking at my written goals everyday though. I don't really do it now but when I do do it, it really helps me. So why not do it everyday? I love visualizing myself in a bikini and running a marathon and hanging out with my friends being super confident and not worrying about how I look.
Incorporate a Motivational Technique:
I think I already sort of give myself pep talks, because I've really started to embrace what Chris said in the book: "You can change who you are by changing what you say to yourself." I think I'm just going to try to be more conscious about it this week. I'm also going to watch at least one motivational movie this week. And I really liked what I read one member did for rewards - she gave a few of her friends $5 each and told them to go buy something for her and wrap it up. She put all the presents in a bag and when she reached a goal, she would reach in and pick one. Sounds like a fantastic idea! You get a surprise each time!
Draw Support from Positive People:
I hate asking for help. But I've gotten better at it through this journey and since coming to college. My favorite support group I have right now is my group exercise buddy. It's so great to be able to text five different people saying, "Kickboxing today at 6:00! Be there!" and especially do get a text saying "YOGA AT 5! NO EXCUSES!" For motivation with this lifestyle change in general, I always turn to my sparkfriends. It's so great to be able to post that you need support and you get a flood of comments and messages and goodies. It makes me feel so great.
Learn How to Overcome Hurdles:
It's interesting that I'm writing about this today because I just overcame a huge hurdle today. I've been on a plateau for about 2 months. Stuck fluctuating between 167 and 172. But I consistently stuck with it. I stayed within my nutrition goals, kept up my fitness, and focused on other things besides the scale. I'm not saying it wasn't discouraging, but I stayed strong. And today, I stepped on the scale and it read a number I've never seen before: 164.5. I nearly cried. It felt so great to see it go down after such a long period of time of it staying the same. I'm so incredibly proud of myself. Time for a reward!
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