Thursday, September 18, 2008
Not just mine, mind...
We all know it: "Eat less, exercise more."
Then why is it so hard?
According to a study among office employees in the Netherlands published in the September issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, there is a discrepancy between Snack Choice Intentions and Behavior.
Participants indicated their intentioned snack choice from a set of 4 snacks (2 healthful, 2 unhealthful) at the worksite cafeterias where they were interviewed. One week later, they actually chose a snack from the same set. Forty-nine percent of the participants (n = 285) intended to choose a healthful snack. Of this group, 27% (n = 78) chose an unhealthful snack instead. Ninety-two percent (n = 276) of the unhealthful intenders did indeed choose an unhealthful snack.
One of the reasons for this discrepancy is probably that the *intention* of eating healthily is based on thoughts, and the *act* of eating is impulsive and sometimes even done without being fully aware of what you're doing.
So how to train yourself to become fully aware when you need awareness? Tracking and logging on to Spark and being accountable helps, but I wonder about this motivational tool I stumbled across on my web surfing today - would a clicky thing be useful to break a bad habit or instill a new healthy one?
"There's a basic flaw in the way the human mind is designed," argues Levinson, a clinical psychologist based in Minnesota. "People get very excited about making improvements. They say, 'I've learned something that's going to change my life! All I need to do is A, B and C!' Then, two weeks later, they're not doing anything." Our brains have evolved to prioritise moment-to-moment claims on our attention, which is crucial if you're being attacked by a wild animal, but also helps explain why you get bogged down in urgent tasks no one will care about a year from now.
Levinson calls his grey box, the MotivAider, a "gentle tap on the shoulder"- a way to push back into present awareness the things you care about most. It vibrates at whatever time interval you choose and, when you feel it, you're supposed mentally to recite a reminder selected in advance. It might be an instruction ("Take a deep breath", "Focus on what's important"), or it might encapsulate your motivations: "If you smoke and you've got a daughter named Susan, you might just say 'Susan' as the reason for wanting to quit," Levinson says. (The boxes are available at motivaider.com , though he cheerily concedes you might be able to get your mobile to do something similar.)
So I've just set my mobile to remind me about doing my strength training every other day, I'll report back if this is working. It works on training dogs, so why not?
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Another real achievement to add to my list from yesterday:
Both my systolic and diastolic pressure is 5 mmHg lower than it was last time my doctor checked it in June and he was very pleased with me.
I’m making Real Progress!! What I do is Working!
My doctor and I chatted a bit before doing the actual check up, and I told him about the 10 kg less of me since June and 17 kgs less since I started the first baby steps of my journey. He asked me how I had done that, and I started to pontificate about tracking food and exercise, about finding SparkPeople, about starting to walk and count steps, then jog. He had to stop me, I had SO much to tell! But he did jot down the web address and seemed really interested in looking at it later.
We talked a bit about taking those first steps, and about motivation. I said that for a long, long time, everything just seemed too big for me to even START doing what I knew to be right. Too much effort to begin taking those first steps, too much struggle to get up from my couch and get moving. I felt hopelessness, it seemed so impossible to get to grips with everything, and I thought I had to do it all at once.
SparkPeople must have been JUST the right thing at JUST the right moment for me so I was able to stumble along and get moving. I feel so lucky to have come across this website when I did.
For me now? Now that the ball has started rollling and gained momentum…. Well, there’s no stopping me now! I’m going to be even fitter and slimmer next time I see him in December, and once more will get a chance to wax lyrical about Sparking.
But I don’t believe anyone can GIVE you YOUR own motivating spark by suggesting you join a website. The start of the journey has to come from within to be YOURS and be there at the right time for YOU.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
My Spark Adventure is far from over!!! but I am taking some time to summarize the changes I have seen so far.
I do it now partly because I'm home with a cold, and had time to sit and mess around with my excel spreadsheet, but mostly because my next doctor's appointment is tomorrow, and I am eager to see if he notices any health changes "inside" my body.
As you can see from the graph above, my measurements have changed on the outside, some rather dramatically!
1: My weight is down ~17 kg, and I weigh ten kg less than last time I saw my doctor.
2: I'm still an avocado but closing in on a pear shape! (My hip/waist ratio is 0.81) Btw: Why aren't there cute emoticons for apples, pears and avocado when we have grapes and whatnot?
3: My thighs are MELTING OR really really difficult to measure accurately... I'll go for a mix of the two...
4: I have exercised consistently (mostly) since last time I saw my doctor
5: My stamina and endurance is soaring, I don't get so winded when I walk up the stairs and I can go for a run without dying!
6: I am oh so much happier with myself
7. I'm not afraid of what he'll tell me about my weight, and I am not so overly vulnerable about this issue anymore as I know I have been! I am sure that is because I can see that what I do makes a difference (see above), and it isn't hopeless anymore. It is only a matter of time. And it isn't even difficult.
8. My eating is withing my calorie range, but I need to work on getting more calcium and fiber and less sodium most days - there are still plenty of red dots in my Spark reports when I look at my diet. That shall be remedied with time too. Babysteps.
Every time I go see my doctor, I hope my hypertension will have gone back a bit. But I tell myself it's early days yet and I don't expect any miracles. My next appointment after tomorrow will be just before Christmas, and by then those curves will have plunged further down, I'm certain.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I'm feeling ill today. Sore throat, a cough that's kept me awake, tired and aching all over.
So there will be a slight change of plans for the weekend and no week 6 day 1-run today. Instead it'll be bed and soup and gentleness for me.
I hope I'll be better tomorrow ... work is demanding this week and I look forward to to progress past week 5 in C25K.
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