Wednesday, July 04, 2012
In the last 24 hours I've done two things to rekindle my sagging motivation. I watched the movie Forks over Knives, which is now playing free on Hulu.com. I also printed a "Couch to 5K" workout plan.
The Forks over Knives movie intrigued me. It features the work of two renowned researchers, one a doctor and the other a scientist who wanted to learn more about how to prevent heart disease and cancer. Both researchers concluded that a meat-based diet created an environment in our bodies that's ideal for the growth of cancer cells, while a plant-based diet discouraged their growth. America wasn't ready for what they had to say. One researcher was marginalized by his peers, many of whom advocate a low-fat diet that includes meat, dairy and cheese as well as plant-based foods.
Like many Americans, I find their conclusions compelling, but I know that I won't ever become a total vegan. Eliminating meat, dairy, oils and all processed foods is a radical dietary change. Still, I'm open-minded enough to agree that part of the problem is that we're not ingesting enough of the foods that discourage the growth of cancer cells or plaque in our arteries. Instead of discouraging the intake of less healthy foods, I think we need to be encouraging healthier food choices.
The conclusion I drew from this movie? Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Minimize intake of fatty meats, salty and sugary snacks and processed foods containing partially hydrogenated corn syrup or whatever that stuff is. Exercise.
The movie did succeed in helping me regain my focus on WHY I'm doing this program. To reduce my BMI to 24.9 (I started at 34) and to get my blood sugar under control.
The second thing I did was go outside and walk/jog nearly 3 miles. I printed a couch to 5K workout schedule. I'm not crazy about running, but this plan seemed doable because today, most of my movement was walking dispersed with jogging for 60 seconds at a time. I realize that I can't just walk out my front door and jog 5K. I need to work up to it. I don't know if this is something I'll stick with or not, but it's perfect on a day like today where I'm off work, the community center I workout at is closed, and I have the time to do it.
One other thing I realized is that I haven't been cooking enough. I need to get in the kitchen and start bangin' my pots and pans around. So today, I'm going to get some menus together and go shopping for those ingredients this weekend.
In the meantime, I need to get dressed and get out of the house. I want to visit some really cool museums today before I go to the fireworks show this evening.
Enjoy your 4th of July!
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
About a week ago, I noticed a troubling trend. My motivation to continue my healthy choices feels like it's almost gone. I've tried all the usual ways to retain it: reading blogs, trying on outfits, trying new recipes, changing up my workouts. All of that stuff. That magical feeling I had about doing this program has left me.
But I'm still here. Tracking my food. Recording my workouts. Blogging.
What's so different this time?
After six months, some of this behavior is turning into habit. It's hard to get excited about habits. No one blogs about "Yay, I brushed my teeth today. And FLOSSED too!" No, because it's part of your day.
For me, I get up in the morning. Shower and get dressed. Fix a smoothie. walk the dog. Blog a little. Pack a lunch. Go to work. Go to the gym. Come home. Fix dinner. Watch tv. Go to bed. Occasionally, to break up the routine, I go out with friends. But my life as an empty nester is simple.
What I've discovered is that I found a way to inject my healthier habits into my daily routine. Now, there's nothing exceptional about doing this day in and day out. Hence, my boredom.
Do I feel like quitting? No, that's not it at all. I think I'd feel "funny" if I didn't keep up with my routine.
The question I have for myself is that it's easy to stay on program when things are going smoothly, but what happens when things are stressful? So far, I've faltered, sometimes fallen, but I keep getting up and just slip back into my routine.
My plan is to figure out a hobby or something to distract me during this journey. If I've got something else on my mind, then I won't get too preoccupied with feeling bored.
Onward and downward.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
Today, to shake up my exercise routine I went swimming at the local community center.
I loved the water as a child, so my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons. I made it all the way through the Red Cross' "Swimmers" class which was the last class you took before junior lifesaving.
As the final test I had to jump in the deep end of the pool fully clothed, remove my jeans, fashion them into a flotation device and tread water. During the test, I clearly remember thinking "This is for the birds." I quit swimming lessons afterwards and over the next 30 years, there were several summers where I never got in a pool.
But today, I didn't care about any of that. I didn't care what other people thought about how I looked in a swimsuit. I didn't care that I was out of shape. I just wanted to do a few laps in the pool. It was a tough workout! I could only swim the length of the pool once without having to stop at the edge to catch my breath. It was pitiful, but I was in the water and making it happen. I ended up doing laps for only about 20 minutes before I went on to other pool activities.
I am totally exhausted, but feel really good.
So if you are bored with your workout, think back to something you enjoyed as a kid and go do that. I've reclaimed my love of water. I won't be going every day or even every week, but I will go swimming again sometime soon, I know.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
There's a blog on the internet named the Drudge report. Although this blog is named after Matt Drudge, its politically conservative founder, for me the word drudge means the boring, menial, day-to-day mental and physical activity that goes into losing weight.
No one promised this was going to be a picnic. It's so easy to write about a pound that's disappeared, improving blood pressure, new clothes. But then there's the day-to-day routine that sometimes feels like watching paint dry, plants grow, or the carving of Crazy Horse into the Black Hills of South Dakota.
It just goes on and on. Sometimes it seems like nothing is happening. Other times you see a big loss on the scale, but when you look in the mirror, the same overweight image is staring back at you.
Spark people does an amazing job of trying to keep its members interested, motivated and engaged. But the truth is, you are not always going to be "motivated, dedicated--sir!" Sometimes, the "rah-rah" attitude is going to disappear and then what do you do?
You keep going.
Keep on keepin' on.
Just do it.
Ain't nuthin' to it but to do it.
That's all you CAN do. Keep dreaming about the body you want. Keep reminding yourself why you're doing this. Keep eating the healthy foods and trying new recipes. Keep rewarding yourself for every 5 or 10 pounds lost. Keep the focus. Keep that mustard seed of faith that what you are doing is working and that you WILL get there. Keep reading and trying new exercises. Keep supporting other members during their struggles and victories. Keep on movin'.
Intellectually, we KNOW this is a marathon, not a sprint. But sometimes, when the road ahead stretches on forever, its easy to look around and see nothing. But, eventually, you WILL get there. After months and months, maybe a year or more of drudgery, you will find yourself there and rejoice in your victory.
It took me six months to lose 34 pounds. I need to lose a total of 67. I still have work to do. But if I was able to make it this far, I know I can drudge my way to the finish line.
Keep on Movin'!
Crazy Horse Memorial
Friday, June 29, 2012
Yesterday afternoon, the Devil tried to steal my joy. At work, I thought we'd missed a critical deadline and it stressed out me AND my boss. Eventually, I found evidence that we didn't and all was well, but by the end of the workday, I had only eaten 500 calories which is unusual.
I arrived home physically anxious and mentally exhausted. Plus I was absolutely ravenous. I ended up consuming 1,200 calories at one sitting! Although my total intake was 1,700 for the day I learned a couple of things.
1) EAT your breakfast, lunch and snacks. I was going to leave for lunch, but couldn't because of the fire I was putting out. Thus, I only ate a few pistachios out of a package in my desk.
2) DON'T let yourself get too hungry. I was in a hurry to get to the doctor's office on time yesterday morning and only had time for 8 oz of juice for breakfast.
3) FIND something else to do with the stress. I should've eaten a light snack and, if I felt too tired for vigorous exercise before dinner, grabbed my headphones and gone mall walking. Or, I should've cleaned house.
Looking back, it was the perfect storm and I responded by returning to my old stress-eating patterns. Today, I'm doing much better with my eating plan. My appetite is normal and I'm feeling much more at ease. Lesson learned.
Onward and downward.
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