Monday, August 15, 2011
I've been Sparking for about 7 months now, and I can't figure out if there's more whining taking place on the message boards, or if I'm just more aware of it. It seems like more and more Sparkers are stuck in the "I can't" vortex and want some magic bullet (in the form of message board advice) to pull them out of it.
(Disclaimer: I'm not a binge eater, nor have I ever suffered from a food addiction. I'm just a woman who had 10 lbs to lose, lost them and is now maintaining through exercise and a healthy diet.) I don't know what it's like to have a triple-digit number of pounds to lose, but I do know this: every day that passes makes it harder to find motivation. I also know that exercise hurts and that eating a healthy diet takes some effort. But, you know what? Writing a page-long litany of reasons why you'll never lose the weight, never be able to change your eating habits or get off of the couch, takes effort, too. I guarantee the ten minutes it takes to moan about it would be better spent taking a walk around the block, checking out a SparkRecipe or preparing your shopping list for the week. See the difference? Same time commitment, much greater return.
Newsflash: you have to be marathon runner (or even aspire to be one), or exercise 3 hours a day, 7 days per week, just MOVE! Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Treat yourself to a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood, or around your office park on your lunch break. (If nothing else, everyone needs at least that much "me" time per day.) It won't be comfortable at first, but guess what? It's not supposed to be. Exercise isn't comfortable for anyone. The more fit you get, the harder you have to push to see results. That's just the way it is.
No one's saying you to be a gourmet chef to be healthy - and don't tell me you don't like fruits and/or veggies, either. Have you tried all of them? I promise you haven't. Are you aware of all of the different ways they can be prepared? I'll bet you're not. Want an easy fix? Message me. I'll send you some of my favorite recipes to get you started - but I won't cook them for you. Again, if you want to see results, you have to do the work. No one can do it for you.
The excuses are old, they're tired, and they're just plain wrong. You CAN the weight, you CAN start an exercise program and you CAN eat a healthy diet. That doesn't mean you have to be 100% perfect. Everyone skips a day at the gym and eats an ice cream cone once in a while. (My personal favorite splurge is waffles and ice cream, Jersey boardwalk style. Healthy? Not even a little bit. Necessary? Sometimes. )
To conclude, I'm not knocking the SP message boards. They're there for a reason, and that's to help all of us. But, use them constructively. Next time you want to write "I caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnn'ttttttt (insert thing you "can't" do here)...), think about how you're spending your time, and how you're asking other Sparkers to spend theirs by responding, and write something constructive. Ask members to share their favorite affordable, easy-to-prepare recipe, or their favorite short-on-time workout, and then TRY IT. The results will follow, I promise.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Yesterday, I saw the quote "right now someone busier than you is running" on a Spark person's page. It pretty much sums up what my approach to fitness has been for a long time. I'm currently a third-year Ph.D. student, and prior to that, I worked full time while taking the prerequisite science courses I'd need for grad school. I think it would be safe to say that I don't really have a normal concept of busy anymore! However, it makes me wonder what, if anything, I'm doing wrong when my fellow students say things like "How do you have time to go to the gym? I wish I could go, but I'm always too busy..." I guess the fact of the matter is that everyone's busy, but it comes down to priorities. Without the "life" part of my work-life balance, I know I'd never finish school. Having some down time every day is important to me, and if that time is limited, I choose to spend it on exercise. That's not to say that I don't plop down and vegetate in front of the TV every now and again, but, at the end of the day, going for an hour-long run will be better for me that watching a re-run of 90210. (I have them all memorized anyway. :) )
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Like many SP members, I've been on the weight loss roller coaster for about 12 years now. It all started when I got my first job out of college, and suddenly, I had money AND was part of a group that went out for yummy lunches almost every day. Of course, I had no concept of portion control and figured as long as I kept going to the gym, I'd be okay. WRONG!!!!
When I started noticing that my clothes were too tight, I'd "be good" for a few months and then return to my old eating habits as soon as they started to fit again. Fast forward to a few years later, when I took a nutrition class as part of my grad work. One of our requirements was to do a food journal for 1 week. Man, was that an eye-opener! All the gym time in the world wouldn't have made up for my indiscretions! It was also the first time I realized that I was headed for an unhealthy weight, so off to Weight Watchers I went.
Now, to the "what I wish I'd known" part. My first experience with WW was almost too easy. 18 lbs came right off and, after the first week, I barely knew I was on a "diet." "This is a cinch," I thought, and once I reached my goal, I was confident that I could stop tracking and maintain. WRONG AGAIN!!!!! (Starting to see a pattern here? :) )
Now, hop in your DeLorean and rev it up to 88 one more time, cause we're fast-forwarding again. I rejoined WW this past September, only this time, I decided to do meetings instead of online. This time around, it's taken me 6 months to lose 11 of 15 lbs - and that's where the learning comes in. Things I now know:
1. Gains happen. I can do everything right, and the scale will still move in the wrong direction. It's a common saying on SP that weight loss is not a linear process, and that's really true.
2. Gains can hurt my progress, but only if I let them. In the not-so-distant past, a gain would have meant throwing up my hands and giving up. What's the point of all this hard work if I'm not losing weight? Now, they're just bumps in the road and I don't let them ruin my week.
3. Making healthy choices is important. Gone are the days when I could mainline soda and pizza and still be 110. I am no longer a 16 year-old competitive sprinter. (Sigh... :) )
4. Measure, measure, measure! My husband teases me about the measuring cups that fall out of every cabinet, but without them, portion distortion sets in.
5. The body - especially the female body - does what it wants at first, but eventually cooperates. I finally started weight training, and WHAM!, up 2 lbs. during my first weigh-in thereafter. A month later, my body has decided it's actually okay with the weight-training regime. Go figure.
6. Exercise counts, but not as much as healthy choices. I've never been a slacker when it comes to exercising. I enjoy it, it's my me time, and I've never really struggled with motivation to work out. But, for someone my size, a 45 minute spin class represents about 400 calories burned. My average breakfast is 470 calories.
7. Finally, don't give up! Honestly, I thought I'd be at goal by now, but I'm not. Conclusion: so what? That's no reason not to keep plugging away. I'm learning a lot more than I ever did when the lbs. just fell off and I feel confident that I'll make it to goal and stay there. Who cares how long it takes? I've got a good 70 years left on earth at this point. (Well, unless I get hit by a bus or drop dead during a marathon spin class. ;) )
Ok, that was long-winded enough. Thanks for reading!
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
So, today is a day of firsts. This is my first blog and it's about my first experience with BodyPump (TM). I've been hearing lots of good things about this workout, so I thought I'd give it a try. Now, here's something you should know about me: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my cardio, but would rather be tar 'n feathered that do any weight training. I know, I know...it's soooo necessary, especially for women, blah, blah, blah... :) But, seriously, YAWN!!
I work well with accountability, though, and if I sign up for an exercise class, I'll actually go to it, so off to BodyPump I went. I.AM.HOOKED. First thing you should know, though - it's not easy! It's exhausting, it burns, it made the tar 'n feathering look pleasant, but it was FUN!! The hour flew by, with each upbeat song being dedicated to a different muscle group. Plus it didn't hurt that our perky Australian instructor was really into it and so encouraging.
So, for all you weight lifting haters, if I can do it, so can you. I just hope I regain full use of my arms before I head back for Thursday's class!
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