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Paying attention to my body

Sunday, January 06, 2013

It has been a very relaxing and easy holiday this year. DH and I have been working on being more accepting with each other and with events in our lives and the result has been a holiday where we have found ourselves doing very little, but loving every minute of it. We slept a lot. At first this was unnerving, but, seeing as our mantra was acceptance, we just went with it. We found ourselves thinking more carefully about what we actually wanted to do, so when we did go out it was always a pleasure - be it an easy walk, a visit to the cinema, or a trip to a restaurant. It has been an exercise in paying attention.

This got me thinking about exercise.

So often I want to push ahead with exercise because I have goals to meet, but sometimes our body starts getting sore - sore foot, IT band, aching back. I'm learning that rather than look at these things as something stopping me reaching my goals, that they are waking me up to consider something about my training plan. It seems to me that exercise is a constant learning process. I may think I understand my body and I'm doing everything right only to go an injure myself when I move to a new level of intensity. I think injuries are the only way our body can get us to pay attention to it. I'm also beginning to wonder if learning to pay attention is another part of maintaining my goal weight.

I got overweight because I didn't listen to my body telling me it was full. I enjoyed the feeling of eating too much to want to listen to what my body was telling me. Now I find myself sometimes enjoying my run too much to listen to that muscle that's beginning to twinge just a little bit too much and slow down and start walking. There's a similarity there. It's me thinking more about the feelings and the goals as opposed to thinking about what I really need.

So, paying attention. That's going to be my focus this year.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 1/7/2013 5:48AM

    Well said! It is so easy to get focused in our goals, we forget to listen to what our bodies are telling us. Rest is important too. What can be difficult, is getting back into the habit of exercise after resting, but it is better than injuring yourself and compounding the injury by pushing through.

Great blog.

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ANATASHIKI 1/6/2013 4:25PM

    lol, I slept a lot too and I'm glad I did that ,I was really tired. and you're right, sometimes we forget we do all this for being healthy

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COXBETH 1/6/2013 12:49PM

    I love I love I love this! I am also finally learning that it's about the journey not the destination. The most important tool to my happiness (and to my weight control) is curiosity - by listening to my body and figuring out what it's saying, not by pushing everything away to get to some specific goal no matter the consequences. I just wrote a blog post about this on Jan 4...it's amazing what a revelation it is.


Comment edited on: 1/6/2013 12:50:13 PM

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NANNYKAT 1/6/2013 12:00PM

    I like this idea of focusing on "paying attention"!!
I am not just learning to listen to my body telling me I'm getting full, I'm also having to listen when it's telling me it's hungry. I have a habit of not taking the time to eat properly when I am hungry so when I do finally stop to eat i'm starving. I wolf food down too fast, eating way too much before the "I'm full" signal is received. When I let that happen I'm uncomfortable afterwards... leading to being upset that I ate too much...which leads to feelings of failure and depression...which leads to comfort food eating. By learning to listen to my body telling me that it's time to eat and eating properly is helping to break this horrible cycle I have grown accustomed to.

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One year maintenance anniversary today!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

emoticon I'm overjoyed!!
I decided I needed to lose weight two days before this photo:



Every time I look at this photo I remember how awful I was feeling about myself. My desire to change was extremely strong - strong enough to join spark people!!

My first goal was to fit into my wedding dress again:


That was achieved about two months after I started sparkpeople. The dress looks better on me in that photo than it ever did on my wedding day!

Then I hit my goal weight just before Christmas:

And then became a serious runner (still surprises both me and my family!)


I have gone on to lose more weight and I think my body and my mind has finally settled at 54kg (119lbs):


I know there are those who feel maintenance begins when you stop losing weight, but I definitely went through a transition period, where I was figuring out just how many calories I needed to eat to maintain my weight and also, the more emotional acceptance that I had reached my goal and it was okay to eat more food. I did suffer with the worry that I would end up gaining all the weight I had lost back again. I'm feeling much more confident now about my ability to stick with it!! I feel that it is important for me to acknowledge achieving my initial goal weight because that had been my dream weight for my entire adult life. The fact that I have surpassed that, is simply the cherry on top!!

All I did was track my calories and exercise - every day! The trick is consistency with those two things. Using the options such as blogging, spark teams, and spark articles adds the external motivation when things are hard.

Now, I know statistically, I have a while to go before I can feel totally secure in my weight loss, which is why I'm still on sparkpeople. The need for support doubles after maintenance because 'living skinny' was definitely a mental adjustment for me (still is, sometimes!). But, the joy at reaching my goal is indescribable!! I'm very glad I made the change a year ago, and extremely grateful to be where I am now.






  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEDE_SU 12/16/2012 6:11AM

    emoticon emoticon on one year of maintenance! what a fantastic feeling and wonderful accomplishment!

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DALID414 12/16/2012 12:27AM

    emoticon

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_LINDA 12/15/2012 9:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
That is fantastic, you have done so very well! I too used Sparks only for tracking food and fitness, but gradually, ending up 'meeting' people through comments on their blogs, and made too many friends now to leave Sparks.
Happy Maintaining!

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TINAJANE76 12/15/2012 8:44PM

    I know EXACTLY how you feel! I'm nine months into maintenance and am still adjusting to "living skinny". Staying active here on SparkPeople as a maintainer has been even more important to me than when I was losing weight and it's paying off. I'm holding steady for the first time ever!

Many, many congratulations on all your success and on one year of maintenance. I look forward to congratulating you again this time next year when you reach year two!
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KEEP_GOING247 12/15/2012 8:21PM

    Congratulations! Maintenance, in my opinion, is so much harder than losing! Going one year is emoticon emoticon

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MERRYMARY42 12/15/2012 8:17PM

    Congratulations and Thank You for the explanations I reached my goal weight, anf could not maintain, I gained 10 pound back in a heart beat, so, I am slowly working on it again, and it is not coming off as easy as it did the first time, I am sure I was more dedicated the first time around, so it will happen this year, and then I will have learned how to do it.

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DLDMIL 12/15/2012 6:42PM

    emoticon

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LILLEAN 12/15/2012 5:51PM

    emoticon on both losing weight and maintaining emoticon

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MARYELLEN301 12/15/2012 5:19PM

    I could not agree with you more...tracking is still the thing that keeps me honest! When I don't track, like when I'm on vacation, I find myself creeping up. I have always been successful in getting back down to goal, but it still scares me. So far I'm at 20 months but it is something that I will always have to do if I am to be successful. Good luck to both of us!

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KRISZTA11 12/15/2012 5:15PM

    Congrats to your first year of maintenance,
may there be many more!
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CELIAMINER 12/15/2012 4:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

Thanks for telling your story, especially about the worry of gaining the weight back. I still wake up in a panic sometimes convinced I've gained back every one of the 80 pounds I worked so hard to lose. Congratulations on your continued success!

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JACKIE542 12/15/2012 3:27PM

    Congratulations! Yay! emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 12/15/2012 3:17PM

    emoticon

What a fantastic blog !! Being in maintenance really is all about finding the right balance of exercise and nutrition. Good health really does come in many different shapes and sizes.

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KAYOTIC 12/15/2012 2:40PM

    One year down! A lifetime to go! emoticon

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Sometimes maintaining is just not giving up!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

I've been unable to jog for about a month now. A year ago, this would have been the signal for me to completely give up on the habit, but I've now learned that a setback doesn't mean the end. It just means a brief pause before starting again, and doing a bit more yoga in the meantime!!

It's the same with food. Eating too much chocolate on Friday (yes, I did that) doesn't mean I have to eat too much chocolate on Saturday and Sunday too. It was a little setback, not the end of the road. That happens once in a while, and it's okay.

In a way, maintenance is learning that being healthy does not mean being perfect. It is just learning to accept the bumps in the road and to keep going in spite of them.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JACKIE542 12/9/2012 3:44PM

    emoticon

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KANDOLAKER 12/9/2012 3:26PM

    Such a great perspective and a good lesson for me! Thanks for sharing!! Kathy

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ARCHIMEDESII 12/9/2012 3:06PM

    emoticon

Many people think they have to deprive themselves to lose weight and be healthy. Nope, as long as a person is mindful of their portions, chocolate CAN be a part of a healthy lifestyle. You're spot on. Even if you ate a little more than you wanted, that doesn't mean you derailed any of your long term efforts at good health.

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SUSHENO 12/9/2012 2:50PM

    True in all aspects of life. We are not giving up. We are allowing space for failures / setbacks / readjusting. This is the attitude needed for enduring success. emoticon

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-AMANDA79- 12/9/2012 2:40PM

    Great blog!
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JENAE954 12/9/2012 2:35PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAYOTIC 12/9/2012 2:34PM

    I think this concept finally really clicked for me when I read the "downward/upward spiral" part of "The Spark". A temporary event doesn't have to be the end of the course, it's really just a blip, and should be taken as such. Just take it in stride and continue on course! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 12/9/2012 2:07PM

    This is exactly what makes the difference!
Keep going and enjoy active life in all possible ways!
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CAROL494 12/9/2012 1:57PM

  emoticon emoticon

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Calling all gym instructors: fat bellies work differently to thin ones!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Since injuring my foot, I have been revisiting some old exercise DVDs, one of which is a power yoga DVD that I've been using for years and years.
This instructor frequently says 'hollow your belly' and it has always been a bit of a mystery to me. How do you do that?
For the most part I would just tighten my belly and hope for the best, but this week as I was tightening my belly, I noticed something: As I tightened my belly, and my belly moved itself closer to my spine, it curved in on itself and suddenly I understood! This is what he means by hollowing your belly!!
Sometimes I don't think gym instructors quite grasp how different a fat belly is from a skinny belly. There is no way I could ever have created that hollow belly with a 90cm/ 35 inch waist. It was a balloon in front of me that would never have curved in on itself! Never! Now that I live with a 70cm/27 inch waist I'm only beginning to understand some of the concepts involved with using stomach muscles.
My frustration is that this 'hollow belly' has been such a mystery to me for so long. Is there any way gym instructors could describe using our stomach muscles in such a way that it makes sense to larger body?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIDROAD 11/30/2012 5:46PM

    Denise Austin says. Try to make your belly button touch your spine

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PLANTAGO 11/30/2012 1:37PM

    You are absolutely right! There are of course some fatbellied gym instructors out there, and they probably know how to say "hollow your bellies" in better words.
Too bad there's more of them in real life gym then on DVD!
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MAGGIEVAN 11/30/2012 12:43PM

    Good point. Thanks for sharing and I agree with you.

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When everything falls in place

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tomorrow is my birthday. I remember my birthday last year so clearly because the challenge was not too eat too much food! It's funny how a year later eating only one cupcake to celebrate my birthday feels perfectly reasonable, when last year I was freaking out because it seemed like too little. How perceptions change.

This week I had an exciting interview for a phd scholarship. It has been a dream of mine to be able to go back to school to complete a Phd, but the practicalities of doing this keeps well in the 'dream' category as opposed to the 'goal' category. It was about the same time that I started with sparkpeople that I decided to take a bit more interest in applying for Phd studentships. Not many have come along and of the few that I have applied for, this is the first that has led to an interview. Now that the interview is done, I'm busy waiting to hear back and the longer I wait, the more nervous I get!

Bizarrely, life is quite good at the moment. I know I'll be able to carry on with my current work without being too upset if I don't get offered the scholarship, so I think I'm in a good place.

I hurt my foot a few weeks ago (from running) so I've had to adapt my exercise schedule to accomodate that. Fortunately, I haven't gained any weight, and yoga is helping me stay a little bit toned. I miss running, but I know how important it is to wait until my foot is completely healed before I start again. I've now learned, that everything will be ok if I take a bit of time off because of an injury. It's another learning curve, understanding that there needs to be flexibility in an exercise programme for it to become a constant part of life.

So, I suppose for this birthday I feel quite calm about life. I'm happy with the goals I have achieved, I have dreams that I can now imagine moving into my 'goals' list and, I know that birthdays are far from ruined by having a cupcake instead of the whole cake!! They are made so much better.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PUDLECRAZY 11/23/2012 7:07AM

    emoticon

Happy birthday ~You have made such excellent progress this year!

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DRPOOH63 11/23/2012 7:05AM

    emoticon happy birthday and congrats on your journey so far.

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ANATASHIKI 11/23/2012 7:01AM

    Happy Birthday! enjoy your cupcake ! get well soon ! emoticon

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GHOSTFLAMES 11/23/2012 4:52AM

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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