I've been on SP for a long time now. Over three years, going on four, to be exact. Once the "Ah ha!" moment has passed, and one "gets" it, the work really begins in earnest. OK, we "get" the point about portion control, more calories out than calories in. "Moving" more than sitting. And on and on it goes.
We start off with such enthusiasm and verve. We got it, right? So the rest should be easy. [Easier?] But the issue is this: When one has a "ginormous" amount of weight to lose, and anyone who has over 20 to 30 pounds to lose will understand this very well, one has to keep the motivation going because this is going to take a while. So we look at the SP guidelines and start planning the meals and staying as much as humanly possible, in the calorie range that has been assigned to us. We design a workout plan that we can live with, and tweak that: Five or six days for cardio [the weight loss ticket for the exercise part of the equation] and strength training for at least two days or even three, again as recommended.
We do great for about six months or so and see the results. We're pretty proud of what we have done, and we're heading in the right direction. Then it happens. Oh, no! "Plateau" time. We stall. We get frustrated. We tweak again. We look back over the last couple of months and try to determine what we are doing differently [thanks, SP, for keeping our data close by even after many, many months]. Did we really measure accurately? Are we really staying in portion control? Old habits don't give up easily. This is, after all, a lifetime [if you are old enough] of bad habits, and it's so much easier to fall back into bad patterns.
So, what to do, to keep our flagging interest from totally bottoming out, and how to keep our exercise habits interesting? We try new things and new activities. For my part, back in the summer, one of the Sparkers and I decided what we really needed, was to start applying our exercise to a virtual trek. Back in July, that sounded great. So, I researched some tracking websites, and finally found one that would work [for those interested: MapMyWalk.com worked well for this]. Then I went over to Yahoo maps, and plotted out our trip from Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, beginning on Sippewissett Road opposite Flume Lake (for no other reason than it sounded funky - got to keep the interest somehow), and picked the final destination on the Cape as Pilgrim's Monument, in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Why not? It was *only* a mere 79.1 miles total [it actually came to be slightly over 80 miles in the end, but why quibble?
]. We gave ourselves ample room to finish in time for Thanksgiving, starting in mid-August. It sounded reasonable: About five miles a week, taking into account other priorities and obligations. Hey, neither of us is a marathon runner, well, not me anyway. I have hopes for my partner in this trek though.
After a few months of planning this, and finding charts to convert ST to mileage, we were off and running. After a while I started to wonder whatever possessed me to embark on this challenge, with someone who is young enough to be my daughter. No matter, this wasn't about racing. It was about setting goals. And learning from them. So, what have I learned from these last 17 weeks, and one day?
I learned that even well into middle age (OK, 60 to be exact), there are still goals to conquer; after all, I'm not dead yet! All planned and plotted and figured within reason.
That it's grand to have someone push you and motivate you, but in the end, we need to be able to push and motivate ourselves. Our demons need to be addressed, and won over, once and for all.
That I am eternally in Chris Downie's debt, for creating a website, albeit similar to many others, that is absolutely FREE!
That this is an extraordinary community, with incredibly supportive people, who even across the miles, reach over to support others while working on their own self-improvement. That on days I did not want to exercise, or recommit to the task at hand, I felt impelled to do so, knowing that upwards of 70 people stop by my page daily to see how I am progressing. It makes the accountability extra strong knowing that.
That once accomplishing a goal, and feeling incredibly empowered, I am able now to turn my attention to other areas of my life that are crying out to be fixed. And knowing that, in time, with careful, realistic planning, I can accomplish those tasks as well. This is part of the "spill over" effect: Accomplishing one thing, cascading into every area of my life.
So, now it's your turn: What have you set your cap to accomplish for yourself? How are you planning to achieve that? Is your goal a realistic one? And how will you handle it if you falter?
I'm looking forward to meeting you at the top!