Wednesday, February 02, 2011
"Thinking, eating, exercising -- in that order." Trainer Bob Harper, explaining the three most important elements of weight loss on last night's "The Biggest Loser."
I don't think I've ever heard it said better and more concisely. After the past two weeks, I am SOOO convinced that it is true. Let me explain...
I was really on track with my diet and exercise up until Thanksgiving. After losing over 40 pounds and doing a lot of emotional and mental work since I started SparkPeople last March, I felt like my head was really on straight; I was very proud of myself. Then stressors from various sources threw me off my new-found mental balance. I started emotional eating again. Next, my exercise took a fall. Finally, I just sort of gave up and ate whatever I wanted, without paying too much attention to portion control. Good thing I tended towards more nutritious foods as a result of my changed tastes. Even so, I ended up gaining eight pounds.
I struggled until a few weeks ago, when I realized that I did not want to finish this new year anywhere near where I started it. I was seriously ready to do something about my current circumstances.
So what did I do? I applied the tools I had learned since joining SparkPeople, namely focus, set goals, make a plan including small and do-able steps. My first baby step was to start tracking my food again, without worrying too much about changing what I ate. Within a few days I was wanting to eat better and stay within my calorie range. I was rewarded with a pound loss. Then, I decided to up my exercise. It felt good, making me want to continue. I was rewarded with a 1.5-lb loss this week. All this is great, but even more importantly is that I have not been compelled to eat for emotional reasons. A change in perspective or focus is sometimes all that is needed to allow everything else to fall into place.
I am thankful for the attitude adjustment--remembering what this is really all about (not diet or exercise, but being healthy and happy).
Did anyone see last night's "The Biggest Loser"? I thought it was chock full of lessons on what to do and what not to do in order to succeed. What inspired you?
Sunday, January 30, 2011
For as long as I can remember, I have struggled to overcome feelings of worthlessness. I strive to be, do, achieve so that I might one day feel like a person of worth. But recently I wondered if there might be another way.
After some searching and researching, I came to realize (at least intellectually) that the whole struggle is within a false dichotomy. By seeking worth, I was reinforcing that my position began from a position of non-worth. How could that be overcome? It can’t. A paradigm shift was the only answer.
A passage in “Feeling Good” by David D. Burns, M.D., summed up the conflict and possible resolution quite nicely, so I include excerpts below:
“[H]uman ‘worth’ is just an abstraction; it doesn’t exist. Hence, there is actually no such thing as human worth. Therefore, you cannot have it or fail to have it, and it cannot be measured. Worth is not a ‘thing,’ it is just a global concept. It is so generalized it has no concrete practical meaning. Nor is it a useful and enhancing concept. It is simply self-defeating. It doesn’t do you any good. It only causes suffering and misery. So rid yourself immediately of any claim to being ‘worthy,’ and you’ll never have to measure up again or fear being ‘worthless.’” Page 341.
“You might wonder—‘What is the purpose and meaning of life without the concept of worth?’ It’s simple. Rather than grasp for ‘worth,’ aim for satisfaction, pleasure, learning, master, personal growth and communication with others every day of your life. Set realistic goals for yourself and work toward them. I think you will find this so abundantly gratifying you’ll forget all about ‘worth,’ which in the last analysis has no more buying power than fool’s gold.” Page 343.
Now, one could argue that of course humans have worth! Assuming this is true, then everyone has worth and no one has more or less worth than anyone else, which brings us right back to where we started . . . human “worth” has no concrete practical meaning. If you can’t change your inherent worth, then the only way you can feel worth-less is by believing it to be true, which is entirely subjective and not based in reality. Instead of berating yourself for “being worthless,” treat yourself as you would treat others.
“Self-esteem can be viewed as your decision to treat yourself like a beloved friend. Imagine that some VIP you respect came unexpectedly to visit you one day. How might you treat that person? You would wear your best clothes and offer your finest wine and food, and you would do everything you could to make him feel comfortable and pleased with his visit. You would be sure to let him know how highly you valued him, and how honored you were that he chose to spend some time with you. Now—why not treat yourself like that? Do it all the time if you can! After all, in the final analysis, no matter how impressed you are with your favorite VIP, you are more important to you than he is. So why not treat yourself at least as well? Would you insult and harangue such a guest with vicious, distorted put-downs? Would you peck away at his weaknesses and imperfections? Then why do this to yourself?” Page 345.
Good question! I guess the answer is to remember that "worth" is an illusion and to have self-respect—respect the self by treating the self with respect.
Monday, January 17, 2011
According to the Dalai Lama the purpose of life is to seek happiness. Happiness is not the same thing as pleasure. When we are happy, we are more likely to be more loving and compassionate to ourselves and others.
Each day we face choices. We often choose things we know are not ultimately good for us, but that will give us pleasure. Unfortunately, what is good for us is often the more difficult choice, because we must give up all or some of our pleasure.
Satisfaction is also not the same as happiness. All non-virtuous actions may bring a sense of satisfaction to the person engaged in the act, but the ultimate consequences may be negative, detracting from happiness. By keeping this in mind, we can more easily give up things that may bring momentary pleasure or satisfaction, but ultimately harm us. Instead, if we ask, “will this bring me happiness?” we move in a positive direction. Instead of focusing on what we might be denying ourselves, we focus on what we really seek….to be happy.
So, if we continue to ask ourselves each time a choice is to be made, “will this bring me happiness?” and we answer and act honestly, then we will naturally move towards a healthier and more respectful lifestyle.
[Based on Chapters 1-2 of “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.]
Sunday, January 09, 2011
I joined the 28-Day Bootcamp Workout Challenge today because I thought some accountability would be good for me. Boy, did it get the ball rolling.
Today's challenge was to do a 10-minute cardio video. When I got dressed this morning, I dressed in my workout clothes to make it especially easy to get my workout in. I did the video and it was more challenging than I'd expected, but I felt energized when I finished. Why stop there? I got a new beginning belly dancing video for Christmas that I haven't looked at yet, so I popped it in the DVR player and practiced basic belly dancing moves for over 30 minutes. How challenging! Each exercise works a particular group of muscles in isolation. I can already tell that I'll be at least a little sore tomorrow, because I exercised muscles that haven't been used for a long time. But it was fun and challenging and I was sweating and I felt REALLY GOOD! I exercised, I completed my challenge for the day, and enjoyed it. What a sense of accomplishment. So, why stop there?
I tracked everything I ate today. That's saying something, because I haven't tracked consistently for a while. Two down, what else can I do?
This evening I was feeling munchy. I crocheted for a while, then I made some Good Earth tea, which I'm sipping right now. My craving have subsided.
All in all, today feels like a complete victory!
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