Friday, January 08, 2010
Just a fun, bonus blog for today. :)
Like many of you, I read the Spark article going around encouraging people to change their Spark names to reflect their positive selves, rather than be self deprecating. Are our online aliases a reflection of ourselves? If so, what does mine say?!
Valkyries are from Norse Viking mythology. They were servants of Odin, king of the gods. The Vikings believed that when a warrior died valorously in battle, armored maidens called the Valkyries collected their souls to take them to Valhalla. There, they would basically be manly men doing the things manly Viking men did, like drinking ale and starting bar fights. The Valkyries served double duty as barmaids, bringing them endless ale and roast mutton in Valhalla. Presumably, the Valkyries were probably pretty hot blondes getting their bums pinched by such a rowdy lot.
Anyway, the Viking souls would drink ale served by Valkyries and start bar fights with each other until Ragnorak, the end of the world, where they would be called upon to battle again. Hopefully all that ale and mutton for eons wouldn't leave them too out of shape to fight!
So why did I pick this name? Mythology and fantasy stories have always been my preferred fiction. I've always been drawn to the image of a 'warrior maiden'. When I played pretend as a child, I never imagined myself as the adored princess in the ivory tower. I imagined myself as the princess in shining armor. I imagined myself as Eowyn rather than Arwen, if you're familiar with Lord of the Rings.
The true mythological depiction of a valkyrie is actually pretty chauvinistic. However, I've taken up the symbol for many years and rebranded it as part of my own mythology. I've always been a very independent person, preferring to forge my own path rather than following one laid for me. Many of my friends would indeed describe me as a fighter. I hold deeply to my convictions. Perhaps because of my short stature (5'0"), I've learned to speak with an affirmative voice so that I am heard.
So I guess in this particular Spark universe, maybe my name means I'm a warrior maiden battling evil cupcakes, siren call of cookies, looming muffin tops, empty calories, and the tyranny of couch potato-dom. :)
Friday, January 08, 2010
If I made a list of the "Top Easiest Things I've Ever Done in My Life", weight loss wouldn't make it to the top 5, 10 or 20. It might make it somewhere near the bottom of the top 50.
Way to start off a motivational speech, eh? It's the truth.
Losing weight (and keeping it off) will be one of the hardest things you'll ever do in your life.
The statistics are against us. Only 5% of overweight people will lose weight and keep it off.
Most people have a goal to lose weight. "I want to lose weight before my wedding." "I want to lose weight before the summer." "I want to look good in a bikini." "I need to lose weight before my 30th birthday." "I want to weigh 130 because that's what I weighed in college."
They exercise, diet, lose weight and meet their goal. They stop exercising and dieting. The weight loss is short lived.
What you do today to lose the weight is what you will have to do forever to keep it off.
I'm not saying that to discourage you or scare you. I'm saying it because if you want to be one of the 5%, you have to change how you think about losing weight.
If it takes you an hour of exercise 5 days a week to lose 30 pounds, then you will need an hour of exercise 5 days a week to keep from regaining 30 pounds. The difference between 'dieting' calories and 'maintenance' calories is only about 200-400 calories per day for me. If I went back to eating double quarter pounders for lunch every day, I will be right back where I started.
Learn to eat and exercise as though you were already at your goal weight. Figure out how many calories you need to eat, and how much exercise you need at your maintenance weight. If you can do that, then you've got a good chance of making it.
If you find it difficult to eat the right amount of veggies and fruit, eat too many cookies, or can't exercise enough, don't despair. None of us were able to do it the first time we tried.
I've kept off 30 pounds for five years. When I first started, it was impossible for me to avoid the potato chips, cookies and candy. It was hard to eat fruits and veggies - they just didn't taste good.
I wanted to lose the weight and keep it off forever. That was my ultimate goal. So I learned to love veggies, fruit and exercise.
To paraphrase a great motivational speech that launched humankind to the moon:
Don't do it because it is easy. Do it because it is hard.
Sometimes when I get the urge to skip the gym, I'll remind myself how hard it was to lose the weight. I think about the nights alone when I cried myself to sleep. I think about how miserable I was. I think about how much I hated how people treated me. I think about how impossible it was for me to ride my bike up a hill. I think about how embarrassing it was to sit in movie theaters and airplane seats. I fear being a prisoner in my mind and body again.
Sometimes, I do take a break. Getting restarted after holidays and vacations are the toughest. Once I get back into a rhythm, it's easier. However, these things push me to go back. I've regained and lost about 5 pounds several times over the years. I've never regained over 10. The earlier I catch myself, the easier it is to get back on track.
Now I'm trying to lose another 10. It's as hard as it ever was. I'm doing it because an extra 10 pounds will make riding my bike, skiing, hiking, backpack camping, kayaking, and more just that much more enjoyable and productive.
All the things I did to lose weight, I'm still doing to keep it off. Exercise and diet. No short cuts. No tricks. Just plain hard work.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Just goes to show that even though you may be good at one type of exercise, you can still find things to challenge you!
If there was an athletic event for the elliptical machine, I think I might be a medal contender. This afternoon, I'm working from home and thought I'd take 30 minutes to do some toning exercises during my lunch.
I got out my 'Gliding' DVD. If you haven't heard of gliding, it's these frisbie looking discs that slide on your carpet. I bought them because it simulates the motion of in line skating that I thought I could use to tone up indoors when 'blading outdoors isn't really practical. I like lower impact exercises like the elliptical and these gliding discs because my knees won't complain. Old age, I think my knee has an expired warranty!
Anyway, the Gliding program totally kicked my butt! I originally intended to do 30 minutes, but after 15, my legs and buns were a burnin'!
Hope this doesn't happen at my skiing lesson...!
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Hurray! This morning I got a hold of the ski club secretary and was able to get enrolled for ski lessons starting this Saturday! She apologized for the registration troubles, said I can send the payment by mail with no late fees, and to consider myself enrolled! So I now have 6 weeks of ski lessons!
Goal: Sign up for skiing lessons - done!
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
It's a harsh reality that I had to come to terms with before I could successfully lose weight and keep it off. When I was overweight, I made excuses. "I'm still the same wonderful person inside, it shouldn't matter what I look like on the outside." While true, there was something undeniably wrong about this.
I was unhealthy. No matter how beautiful I was inside or out, I had 42% body fat. That placed me at increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. I was sedentary, which also placed me at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as osteoporosis and bone fractures. This was not an issue of whether I was beautiful or not. It was a matter of whether I wanted to live a long life, with reduced risk of pain and disease or not.
Five years later from the real change that I made in my life, I've lost most of the weight. It's not my ideal. I'm not finished yet, but I have accomplished something major, that sad to say, most people fail at. I lost 30 pounds and kept it off for more than two years.
Each of us have to find our own way. The exact details of what worked for me may not work for you. However, there are things in common that everyone who found success was able to do:
1. EXERCISE. They keep trying, but no one has been able to make a fat loss pill that is safe and actually works. There is no "Get out of exercise" free card. You *have* to exercise.
When first starting out, you're going to hate it. You're out of shape. It's hard. Your body can't handle the demands you're asking. It has to build up your heart, muscle tissue, and lung capacity. Your body has to rebuild itself to do what you want.
Not all of us are going to be able to workout an hour 4-5 days a week, especially when first starting out. It took me a long time to work up to that, and be able to do it routinely. I started off doing maybe 30 minutes 2-3 times per week. I could only handle walking and low impact aerobics. I had to work up to riding a bike and the elliptical machine at the gym. If 15 minutes one day a week walking beats your record of 0 minutes seven days a week, then do it. If you do 15 minutes one day a week for 4 weeks, congratulations - you've made it a habit. Now break your record again. Do 15 minutes twice a week. Or 30 minutes one day a week. Do what works for you.
2. DIET. Again, they still haven't made that darn fat loss pill. So in addition to exercise, you have to diet. The way you eat is a habit. Habits can be learned, and relearned. Eat fruits and vegetables. Eat your spark recommended calorie ranges. Eat the appropriate ratios of carbs/protein/fats. Make this a new habit. It will work.
If you don't like fruits and vegetables, I don't have good news for you here. It is impossible to have a healthy diet made up entirely of fat, protein, and starches like bread and potatoes. Those are all things we like to eat, right? Learn to love veggies and fruit.
I've never turned my nose up completely at veggies and fruit, but I did have to learn how to eat them regularly. I did this by keeping them around, and incorporating them into every meal. At the beginning, I threw away a lot of uneaten fruit and veggies. I kept at it, though. It got better. Now the lack of fruit and veggies is alarming to me.
3. SETBACKS ARE INEVITABLE. Get back up from trying something that didn't work, and try again. I've never met someone who lost weight that didn't fall off the wagon more than a dozen times. The difference between success and failure? Get back on that wagon.
4. JUST DO IT. Sometimes I hated doing exercise. I made excuses about how I was too tired to go. I got dressed in my gym clothes and forced myself to go anyway. I forced myself onto the machines, despite the child inside me throwing a tantrum that I didn't want to. For the first 5-10 minutes, I would think about how I just wanted to stop and go home. I ignored myself and kept doing it. Who's in control here? Me, or my inner brat?
This is one of those areas that most people would say, don't force yourself. Well, for me, this is what I had to do. Again, do what works for you. I had to do this in order to break years of bad habits where I would promise myself I would 'start going to the gym tomorrow' or 'I'll start eating right tomorrow'.
Today, or never. I rode my bike whether I 'felt like it' or not. I rode my bike whether I was 'tired' or not. Every time I eventually got on my bike, I was glad I did. Eventually, I realized that's what success felt like. I liked it a lot more than failure. When I failed, I was determined to get it right. In time, getting on my bike wasn't a chore; it was just a daily part of life that I loved more and more.
Two of my favorite quotes from Thomas Edison:
- "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that didn't work".
- "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up".
So many of us have New Years "goals" or "resolutions". Do better than you did last time. That's success. Keep doing it, and improve on it. That's progress. If you fall short, keep going. You have to know where you are now, in order to know how to get where you want to be.
Good luck to all of you in the New Year!
Get An Email Alert Each Time VHALKYRIE Posts