Friday, November 04, 2011
My daughter talked me into joining SP the first part of June 2011. Even though our weight goals were at the opposite ends of the spectrum, our fitness goals were the same and it felt good to have the support and motivation of someone who loves you for who you are and not how you look. All through the summer, she encouraged me to stick to my workouts and was actually relieved, I think, to have someone eating the kinds of food she wanted to eat.
I loved the SP experience and the sense of community and dropped 25 pounds with " relative ease." Now, let me explain what those two words meant to me. It was summer and as a stay-at-home mom who homeschools, it meant that I was "off work" and had hours to exercise whenever I felt like it and plenty of time to cook healthy meals. Hey, I was feeling great and was positive that I could keep those two hours a of working out going when I started homeschooling in the fall. I even remember snickering at one of challenges in the SP book where you had to exercise in 10 minute chunks. Why do that and spend you whole day sweaty, when you can get it over in two hours (or more at one time and be done with it?
You all know where I am going with this, don't you?
School started in September and I unexpectedly had my middle child home for high school as well. The days were completely full, but not with workouts or healthy meals. Thankfully, I didn't inflict too much damage even when I returned briefly to that horrible habit of demolishing a bag of candy corn in one sitting. It will take me about another 1-2 weeks to return to the point I left off.
So, I am back. Humbler and hopefully, wiser. I no longer sneer at those ten minute workouts and I am grateful for days where I simply eat less and eat healthier. A person can get in some fairly serious strength training while watching a lecture on the Age of Exploration with one's 13 year-old.
My friends, take some time to be kind to yourselves and keep coming back. It is truly worth it. May you all be well in body and soul.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
For the nine months prior to starting SP, I would certainly have not considered myself an "outside" person. My days were primarily spent fueling myself with copious amounts of caffeine and sugar before, during and after homeschooling two of my three kids. My outings were the daily trips to the pool to deliver my youngest for practice. Hours passed by at a time as I sat hunched over history, science, and math texts making sure I thoroughly understood the material I was teaching. My knees, left hip and lower back ached. I grew heavier and heavier in body and in spirit. Once in a while, I would think about one of my favorite camping spots and how whenever we returned from a trip, I felt stifled in the house and actually considered sleeping on the deck. Most of the time, I was too tired to ponder the whys of that scenario.
Taking It Outside
Fast forward into my SP journey. My youngest had suggested hiking in our local city park with its 70 miles of trails. Our first outings were fun even if I was huffing and puffing. We had been visiting our local Audubon Society during the school year. If I take a kid out in nature, it's science! The third week into SP, the outdoor pool opened. I have always enjoyed swimming and that seemed like a natural place for my cardio. Now, I have joined the Rookie Running team and am planning on running in my first 5K in September.
You know what? I love taking it outside. It makes for a much better "me" regardless of the weather. I have one day off from cardio which is Wednesday and I could not figure out why I felt so sleepy and unaccomplished. Yes, it was the lack of outdoors time. So my plan is, even if I don't do cardio on Wednesday, it's time to resume my gardening which I had all but given up due to stiff knees which are getting stronger every day.
It's funny, I thought this journey would be all about giving things up. In reality, I have given up so very little in order to gain so much personal freedom.
For this, I am grateful.
May you all find that joy or your own equivalent of "taking it outdoors" that keeps you motivated and passionate about your healthy lifestyle adventure.
Friday, July 08, 2011
This morning I made the decision to remain comfortably curled up in my bed and to delay my swim until this afternoon. Since I couldn't go back to sleep, it only made sense to Spark for a while or it made sense until I began reading some entries from one of my favorite Spark Teams.
It took me 21 minutes to go from bed to the pool deck. After all, you can't be one of those wild women in wetsuits or a buff badass by staying in bed. I was rewarded for my, er, "self-discipline" with a completely empty pool. Such bliss! Or it would have been blissful if someone hadn't shown up shortly into my swim and insisted on swimming right beside me and chattering the whole time. Egads! It was that insidious little witch, my Inner Critic. She has been inexplicably absent for my first five weeks on Spark People. As a result I had been lulled into thinking that this whole eating healthy and exercising daily thing wasn't too hard and actually fairly fun.
She must have been resting and saving it all up since she went right for the jugular. She began to make me impatient with myself. Inner Critic must have known I was pleased with my rate of weight loss, so she went after my swimming instead.
"Wow. So you are still only doing 50s? Come on, you have been in the water 3 weeks now."
I try to ignore her.
"You know darn well that if the flats of your feet are out of the water, that is most definitely NOT a breast stroke kick."
Then she snickers. The really irritating part is that I am sucking wind and slurping pool water and her tirade hasn't even left her breathless.
"Do you really think that you will ever swim in a swim meet, especially one that is long course? You know how you feel about swimming long course - a wee bit panicked, perhaps?"
"What you really need to do is suck it up and go join Masters this week. Swim every day, do their workout, bust your over-sized backside, and maybe, just maybe you can swim in that meet."
At this point, the pool begins to get crowded because my Inner Child decides to put in an appearance. I am surprised the lifeguards didn't notice, as she was quite vocal:
"But I don't want to! Don't make me swim inside. There is all winter for that. Come on, don't you want a tan?" The appeal to my vanity is another low blow.
Thankfully, it was time to tread water and the" ladies", and I use that term loosely decide to go hog all the hot water in the showers. With a parting shot, Inner Critic reminds me that it is only treading water if I am doing eggbeater. With a sigh of relief, I move my arms and legs with ease and gratitude. This ten minute ritual has almost become a meditation for me at the end of my practice. I genuinely try to empty my mind for that small window of time.
I try not to do any thinking until I get back in the car. Five weeks ago, I barely left the house and engaged in a minimum of physical activity. Now, I am moving my body and sweating profusely nearly every day. I am happier than I have been in a long time even if my swimming does need a fair amount of coaching. The point is that when I started Spark People, I tried to make thoughtful choices. I chose activities like hiking, swimming and weight training because I do enjoy them. I swim outside because there is almost a sensual pleasure in the experience. I will be ready for drills and longer distances in the fall, because I also enjoy mastering new skills.
I really think it is time for Inner Critic and Inner Child to take a hike, just preferably not on the path I am on.
Peace, joy, and contentment to my fellow Sparks,
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Three weeks have passed since I made my way onto the SaprkPeople site thanks to the encouragement of my daughter, who is a fitness fan and almost half my size.
"Try it , Mom. There is a lot of good resources and encouraging people on there."
" Look, the tracker thingies I can do, but there are silly little trophies...and...oh ack...so not me."
So I guess the discovery I need to start with is:
1. Actually, I like "silly, little trophies." I like celebrating every step I take forward on the path to good health.
2. I do know what to do when it comes to eating right and exercising and I don't mind doing either of those things. What is difficult is how to manage my mind, because it actually dawned on me that it wasn't my body that wanted the pound of Jelly Bellies. It was my brain. It was a bit disturbing to discover that my body is far more reasonable than my brain. Shouldn't it be the other way around?
3. I am learning to listen to that body instead of the brain. It rocks! It's like having your own personal nutritionist. Some days I feel like eating early, sometimes not. Some days, I panic a little because my body says it wants a lot of its calories earlier in the day. My palms sweat. What if my body is wrong, I get hungry and don't have enough calories left for the day? It hasn't happened yet.
My body is pretty cool about the workouts too. At the pool other day, brain and body got into it a bit. Brain said, "This is your second day in the pool, in your shape you CANT swim longer than 25 yds without rest." Body just ran through the checklist, "Lungs? Feeling good. Muscles? Ready for more." Body and I decided to leave the Brain behind and keep on swimming.
4. Everyone needs a mentor-find a mentor. Your mentor doesn't even have to know they are mentoring you. I am fairly sure my mentor doesn't have a clue. Her SparkPage motivates the heck out of me. I love the fact that "can't" is not in her vocabulary. When I am feeling edgy, I read a few of her old blogs. They are way better than those dratted Jelly Bellies and calorie-free.
5. There is no "perfect" time to write the "perfect" blog post. I dreaded writing this, but remembered that my "mentor" mentioned how writing it out made it "real." Or something like that.
Keep it Real.
Get An Email Alert Each Time SWIMMERM0M3 Posts