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Alive ---> THRIVE!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Rivulets running down the windows as I steam up my 50 degree workout room during my hour on the 'mill and a half hour with my dumb bells and resistance bands today. Been percolating thoughts for a New Year's blog for some time now...but somehow during my workout today everything seemed to come together. Seems to be ripe conditions for blog incubation!

2009 was one mighty fine year for me. It didn't really dawn on me until I finally paused to take stock while on my treadmill today, what a laundry list of accomplishments I made this year:

---Cross Country Skiing: No, I can't say I know what I'm doing, but for the first time in my LIFE this past winter I got out and TRIED! And am heading back out again THIS winter to try again and see if this is something I can get the hang of and enjoy.

---Kayaking: Another first! Had NEVER done this before jumping in with fellow members of SparkPeople and especially credit yakking enthusiast 4A-HEALTHY-BMI (her pics from our events shared below) for organizing my first kayaking outing with the Ithaca & Finger Lakes SparkTeam! I've since gotten out other times and thoroughly enjoyed myself and expect in time I'll probably buy one of my own to enjoy more regularly.



---Biking the Kal-Haven Trail: Did it! Biked 40+ miles from my son's apartment down the Kal-Haven Trail through the beautiful rural countryside of Michigan to the shore of Lake Michigan at South Haven.

---Maxed out the INCLINE on my treadmill! Using 10 or 12 (which is the highest) all the time on my 'mill...woo hoo!

---Traveling to San Diego to attend the very first SparkConvention

and for the first time in the 20+ years my sister has lived in San Diego to be able to visit and stay with she and her family and soak up all the wonderful things the San Diego area has to offer! Here's one of my favorite pics of my sister and I:

---SparkRally: American Cancer Society's Relay for Life! What a wonderful time our local Binghamton Area Losers had keeping someone on the tracks walking for 24 hours to raise money for such a great cause! Here's a pic of us in action:

---While in San Diego I had been interviewed for "possible" inclusion in Chris Downie's upcoming book "The SPARK"...and lo & behold I'm IN some of the videos shared from the Convention ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=
) AND I had the pleasure of being quoted in "The SPARK" on page 120-121! Woo hoo!

During the past year I've had some great "light bulb" experiences which have taken me further along the path of recovering my optimal health and wellness:

1) I "discovered" personally that I could REALLY RAMP UP my workouts, but yet not achieve much in the way of weight loss. Of course I felt great and could see better muscle definition, etc. which was SUPER. The corollary was that I could maintain my weight and physical condition with a less intensive workout regimen...I didn't HAVE to keep pushing the envelope.

2) The biggie was, after all my resistance and muss & fuss over rebelling against tracking my food due to past negative experiences I bit the bullet and jumped in yet again and finally, after a few years of "intuitive" eating, in which I struck out my trigger foods (mostly highly processed carbie sweet things), bumped up my veggies and ate what I wanted. I accomplished much with this, but after a year or so of plateau-ing @ 226# I decided this was the only tool left for me to use in trying to bust through my plateau. SUCCESS! I've since been setting my sights on ONEderland and actually achieving a statistically "healthy" BMI, which would begin once I reach 194.

However, for all of these insights and accomplishments which added up to a truly STUNNING and AMAZING year I managed to fizzle and limp my way through the final weeks of the year, allowing the holidays to de-rail me from the healthy choices in eating and working out.

Part of me feels like I've reverted and taken a crayon to scribble all over the masterwork that this year had previously been...argh!

But then another part of me is being more reasonable, stepping back and telling myself:

---I am a food addict. I can manage my addiction, but I can never vanquish it, and I must always be vigilant for this addiction to rear its ugly head and take steps to avoid conditions where this might happen and take action ASAP when I need to regain control.

---I have had these bumps in the road in the past...uh, yeah, a whole month ago when traveling over Thanksgiving...I've navigated holidays successfully in the past, but this year...? What a bust! But I HAVE bounced back and lost the weight, regained control and SPARKED ANEW!

---So I can and WILL do it yet again!

---Another thing learned: while there is much to be said for being "in the moment," I'm kicking myself in hindsight for not being more mindful, PRE-HOLIDAYS, of how momentous this year has been for myself. Instead of just living day-to-day, setting aside some time to gather my wits, take stock of my life, my accomplishments, give myself pats-on-the-back. Had I done this I suspect I would have been far less likely to slip as I did during the holidays.

What lies ahead...?

What must be UPPERMOST in the minds of EVERYONE who has lost the kind of weight we have lost is as 4A-HEALTHY-BMI pointed out: MAINTENANCE! If you haven't been following her blogs, I HIGHLY recommend everyone keep an eye on her thoughts, suggestions & "enabling food technologies" ...she is an AMAZING example of what SP is all about and MAINTENANCE is one of her top priorities these days. I suspect she will be helping to beef up the offerings SparkPeople has to help those of us who NEVER, EVER want to "go there" again and regain what we've worked so hard to lose!

Having backslid and skidded my way into 2010 I know I have my work cut out just restoring what I have accomplished, but there is no question MAINTENANCE will be my TOP PRIORITY!

The tough questions, goals, etc. come after maintenance...life beyond the numbers: what's next? There's nothing like nailing a goal that really SPARKS and REVS a body up!

Numbers are the easy part: ONEderland...here I come...along with a "healthy" BMI which arrives at 194#. More numbers: planning to buy a new bicycle this winter and to get ready to bike back and forth to work 2-3 times a week in better weather, racking up 20 miles each round trip. Would like to solidify and build upon my 40+ bike rides. There is another town to our north that is around 30 miles away, which would be approx. 60 miles round trip.

Beyond the numbers: A fellow member of SparkPeople recently blogged about working toward being able to be like her sadly departed friend...a person who was able to be so genuine, spontaneous, to bring joy to others and to find and celebrate joy "in the moment" when with others.

During the past few years I've learned to find joy by "being in the moment" with MYSELF during workouts and physical accomplishments. I've learned that 'yes, I have a pulse, I am truly ALIVE!' It's been wonderful, for instance, to finally climb that hill on my bike which previously forced me to walk up it and SWOOP down the other side WOO HOO-ING all the way!

But moments of joy shared with others...I need more of that! I see this as shifting from being ALIVE to becoming able to THRIVE in the world!

After being so focused on numbers and concrete, specific goals working toward something like this feels like I'm in a foreign country grasping for intangibles that are so tricky to measure and break down into baby steps...!

But here are a few ideas:

---Get the darned hearing aid! My old hard rock days have taken their toll. Several weeks ago I had a condition with one of my ears which was taken care of, but along the way I had a hearing test which confirmed what I already knew. My hearing is atrocious. How can I be more social, spontaneous and find joy within my contacts with others if I'm figuratively reaching for my hearing trumpet shouting "eh? wazzat sonny?" I have the prescription, must return to the audiologist and get this done!

---What could I do that might pull together my love of music, the thrill of being able to extend my physical capabilities yet even further and this new focus of being able to THRIVE socially? To find joy through my relationships with others? A shy, closet-dancing voice inside has nudged the idea of taking dancing lessons or classes from the back burner towards, but not yet ON the front burner. My recent encounters with the Wii has shown me just how stiff and imbalanced I am...coupled with my HIGH degree of self-consciousness, it will take a LOT for me to actually stop talking about this and DO SOMETHING! Stay tuned...

---My new Nordic Walking Poles are gathering dust...looking forward to USING them...wonder if I could rally some interest in others doing the same so that we could perhaps turn Nordic Walking into a social outing as well...?

That's as far as I can take it for now...don't know if you all could hang in there to the very end of this *novel"...lol!

I have found it SO helpful to read everyone's thoughts and ponderings for the New Year and have been SPARKED in so many ways by all that we share together here at SparkPeople. I can't thank you all enough!

Let's move forward to the very BEST of years ahead in 2010!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post

    What an amazing list of accomplishments! And yet you feel like you didn't do the year justice. You have reminded me over and over again that as long as we keep trying we have won. You are a great and wonderful example and I am proud to know you.

    I hope that 2010 brings you all you want and especially that coveted onderland that I know would mean the world to you. You deserve the world. You can do it...one step at a time!
    3062 days ago
    OOOH I MADE YOUR BLOG! :D hehehee. It was so great to meet you, most especially because it turned us into SparkFriends, which we weren't before, but now I definitely value being your SparkFriend!!!!!! Anyway -- I feel you on the backslide into 2010, the busting the holiday's, but hey -- we're here now and time to make the most of another year. :D You did so many awesome things in 2009 as well! :D WOOHOO! I want to take dancing lessons, too -- like latin ballroom classes in particular... :D haha. Maybe later in the year?
    3063 days ago

    What a great blog with all of your goals and accomplishments outlined. You have certainly had a busy year and one filled with many happy firsts! Nice job!

    And now, as we all move into the new year we carry those aspirations another mile, another level...and continue to take care of "us."

    Keep it up! And enjoy the snow! I canceled my trip to Syracuse today (we were going to leave at 3 a.m. to drive up today) because of the lousy weather. Disappointing but I will get it in soon...

    3063 days ago
    You had an amazing year and I'm so glad that I've had a chance to follow a bit of it. So many new activities! It's so cool. I am looking forward to seeing how the dancing lessons go. I'm going to be waiting for the updates on this!!!!
    3064 days ago
    Thank you for another amazing blog...err Novel...I love how you are really able to describe and dissect all of last year for yourself. I find it very helpful to read about how others have overcome their struggles. I am just beginning to admit that I am addicted to food. It is affecting my life. While I am successful in the other areas of my life, I am missing out on so much of what I want to do because of my weight. I really hope to participate in a triathlon or the Tevis cup ( a horse riding event) but how can this happen when I currently struggle to walk a mile. I know I can get through and beyond this too. Thanks for sharing your struggles and successes, I have been greatly influenced and motivated by them.
    I think that maybe part of your ability to maintain will come from the same place that your amazing ability to encourage and motivate others comes. Paying it forward, as you said in response to my blog, is what SP is all about.
    Thanks Kristi
    emoticon emoticon

    I guess this was the second chapter of that previously mentioned Novel. lol
    3064 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/3/2010 9:22:18 PM
    What a great blog, Don! All the way to the end! And I finally found out where your quote is and read it! emoticon Thanks for the blog and book tips!! You're doing emoticon and your enthusiasm is contagious!!

    emoticon Cindy
    3064 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    such great reminders ............what an inspiration you are to us all..............what a privledge it is to know you too................thanks for sharing your year in review...........blessings and hugs...................lita
    3064 days ago
    You are an inspiration to me!!!

    3064 days ago
    You rock! I am so envious of your local support group. I've been unsuccessful rallying up a group in my vicinity. I think that makes such a huge difference to ongoing maintenance success. Who else but Sparkers are willing to me moan and groan about the same old challenges year after year. My a-ha moment was realizing that the addiction is lifelong and I will always need to be vigilant. Thanks for your thoughts.
    3064 days ago
    Don, I love this blog and reliving all the ups and downs of the past year. You are such a great example of what Spark is all about. Thanks for the reminders, the sharing and all the hope your story gives your readers!

    Blessings in the New Year!

    P.S. Take your next vacation to Florida and you can go Nordic walking with a great group of folks on the beach in Naples every Wednesday and Saturday. Tell them I sent you! ;)
    3064 days ago
  • FRECKS96
    Don, great job in 2009! With the tools and knowledge that we continue to gather, we can only get stronger as each year goes on. I wish you all the best in your goals and I look forward to hearing how you're progressing. Particularly with the (maybe) dancing lessons. That's something I have been mulling over as well. Maybe this will be the year!
    3064 days ago
    WTG Don and maintaining is hard work
    3064 days ago
    Re: Refuse to Regain by Barbara Berkeley...have loved her blogs @ http://refusetoregain.com/ !

    3064 days ago
    Wow - when you list all you have achieved, you really should be proud of yourself.

    Remember, you are a human being and you will backslide sometimes. It's just a fact of life. However, you can & will take control once again.

    I've been maintaining for 4+ years now and I certainly do backslide sometimes, too. I am learning not to beat myself up about it anymore. I just put it behind me (sorta literally if ya know what I mean! emoticon ) and start all over again!
    3064 days ago
  • MAZUR157
    Wow! Looks like you had something to say...
    Good for you!!!
    It was an inspiration.

    Hang in there. You're going to to just fine.
    I wish you success in all your endeavors.
    3064 days ago
    Thanx for the shout out.

    I've started reading Refuse to Regain by Barbara Berkeley and it looks like it will be interesting.
    3064 days ago
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