Saturday, March 28, 2009

Help Needed: Inquire Within

"I'm able to stay positive when I'm staring at difficulties ... because I don't believe dead ends exist. I may have to back up and turn around and take a different road. I may even be completely lost for a while. But I know I'll find my way. There is always another way." -- L'Tanya Gail Durante, Durham NC, from the Redbook article referenced below

At the risk of sounding like a bad film reviewer............. if you read no other article this year to help your weight-loss mindset (among other things in life), read Act Like An Optimist from the April 2009 Redbook. Buy the magazine & clip the article, print it out from the Redbook site, scan it -- do whatever you have to in order to keep it near you.

This morning, I began computer training on receptionist duties at our local WW center, and the leader asked me to say a few words to the group at the first meeting. I have been to this center on a few occasions when I've needed a catch-up meeting or an extra boost, and I really enjoy the people there. One of the questions that is always posed to me -- whether at a WW event or elsewhere, and phrased a million ways -- is "How do you get through bad times?"

My answer is usually that it has to come from within. I have been blessed a million times over with a strong will and an optimistic outlook, and those are gifts for which I cannot be thankful enough. I am just absolutely dead determined that I am not going back. I allow myself a window of forgiveness, but I refuse to stretch that window any further -- because even with a strong will, weakness is there to prey on me.

If I could pass those two qualities on to any person who deals with food addiction or weight loss struggles, I would. Oh, believe me, I would. Determination and outlook are not things that flip on and off like a switch, but they can be developed. The Redbook article mentions both a site called OptimismResearch.net, and a book by a professor at the University of Kentucky called Breaking Murphy's Law. I have just ordered my copy and am most definitely looking forward to reading it. And I went to the website, just to check my level of optimism..... as I suspected, it was "highly optimistic."

Being optimistic is not the same as being naive. A healthy realistic optimism is this: believing the best, and being prepared for less than the best. I expect the best of others, because I expect it of myself. I know when I am not living up to my best efforts. I know that if I had a good weigh-in on a slack week, I must be prepared to pay the piper the next week, and to work hard to stay on program anyway. It's also throwing away the calendar ("I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks"; well, honey, don't we all?) to truly focus on the end result ("I want to lose 10 pounds and I don't care how long it takes.")

Weight loss requires reality: there are going to be sucky weeks. There are going to be gains (whether it's 0.2 or 2.2). There are going to be weeks when you have to work extra hard to fit in exercise (like this past week here in the Western Carolinas, when it has rained for days on end -- no complaints, since we badly need the rain). There are days when the vending machine will call your name, again and again ("Hey, it's us, your friends the pork rinds. Yummy yummy!"). There are days when your perfectly planned day is shot to hell and back and the lunch you'd planned to take and relax and eat in a nice outside-the-office location suddenly becomes the Chick-Fil-A drive thru and wolfing it down at your desk because of some crisis (not that it's ever happened to me; ha......).

But it also requires an equal dose of optimism, of the belief that the best is yet to come, that good things will happen if you work the program as you should and you are patient ...... ah, patience. That's another must-have for this lifestyle, as is a good sense of humor and the ability to laugh at yourself.

But I digress....... So, why do I believe so strongly in being optimistic? Well, I have a close family member who is as pessimistic, fearful, and weak-willed as I am optimistic, brave, and strong-willed. It breaks my heart because in my childhood, this person didn't seem to be any of those things. If he/she was, he/she kept it well-hidden. It is only in my adult life that I have seen these traits in this person; quite honestly, his/her example keeps me in line. When I catch myself thinking negative thoughts, or slipping into a "woe is me" mode, thinking of this family member usually snaps me right out of it -- the idea that I could be like miserable Auntie Sue or whiny Uncle Ted is just more than I can bear! And it is no surprise to me at all that this relative constantly complains about feeling poorly, of being unable to lose weight, etc. etc. Bad attitude and a real lack of self-discipline play a big part in this person's life..... and I refuse to get sucked in.

Another key element for me is that I do believe in the power of faith in my journey as well -- not only in the sense of particular religious beliefs, but faith in myself. I believe that there is a higher purpose in my journey, to have gone through this now at this point in my life rather than earlier. I believe that I am worth more than whatever obstacle is coming my way, that the end result is far greater than whatever temptation is facing me. Am I stronger than a piece of cake, even devil's food with chocolate icing? You better believe it. Is that momentary relief I get from the bag of barbecue chips (because I am stressed) really worth the physical and emotional misery I will feel an hour later? No way, no how. Am *I* really worth giving up 30 minutes of my lunch time to squeeze in an aerobics DVD? Yes, without a doubt.

These are questions I ask myself. These are questions we must all ask of ourselves.
  • Am I worth it? (You better be answering yes.)
  • Is this action worth the later reaction? (Only you can know for sure - sometimes, the answer is yes, sometimes not).
  • Do I have it in me to be optimistic-yet-realistic; if not, how can I develop these resources?
Ah, grasshopper, that is the quest. Inquire within.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Victories all the way around!

Okay, I really was preparing to write a whole post about NSV's (non-scale victories) because those are not only important, but these days, they're what I cling to!

I stepped on the scale this morning and it wasn't looking all that faboo. I figured at best, I might maintain from last week. I exercised at lunch anyway because I feel better when I do -- right there, that's an NSV. If you'd told me three years ago that I would actually enjoy exercise, I would have laughed and laughed and laughed.

I got to the meeting tonight, stepped on the scale and WHOA!!!!! Down 1.4 -- which was even lower than this morning's home scale said. HOT DOG! That means 224.0 gone -- only 4 to go to hit my goal. I got my doctor's note, and turned that in, so that is now my actual real goal!

So this week, I was blessed with a scale victory and lots of non-scale ones! My favorite NSV's of the week:

a) walking "Stadium Hill" and "Machine Hill" -- lemme splain. There's a pretty good hill in my hometown, and two different parallel roads both have this huge dip. When I was younger and totally invincible, I purposely drove down those hills, not bothering to be at a somewhat lower rate of speed -- because it was like a roller coaster! The name "Machine Hill" is one that a cousin bestowed on it. His grandfather lived not far from that particular stretch and for whatever reason, he called it "Machine Hill" ..... as in "Pa-Pa, let's go down Machine Hill." Not sure why he referred to it that way but he was about 4. Anyway, it's pretty steep. Tuesday evening, Maddox had already been walked so I took advantage of some alone time to walk. I decided to go down "Machine Hill"..... knowing that I'd also have to tackle "Stadium Hill" (its counterpart) on the way back. I did it..... I did the entire 2.22 mile loop in 45 minutes. Not exactly the greatest time ever but I was pretty damn proud that I didn't have to stop even ONCE to gear up for the hills or stop to rest during them.

b) buying new pants at The GW Boutique (heh heh) -- a sweet pair of Ralph Lauren dress pants. They're the right size and still a little too loose in the waist. If that wasn't sweet enough, then consider that I haven't been this size since junior high, if not even earlier. Yeah, I was a chunky, chunky kid and while I'm not exactly bursting with pride at having been that big that young, it simply is fact. But now is a whole new era for me. The healthy frame of mind about my size and my life and how all this fits in at last.

c) Exercising 5 days this week and missing it on the 2 when I couldn't fit it in. And how many calories does singing burn? (111 in 40 minutes; I looked it up). Okay not great shakes, but not bad for doing what I love anyway.

There's so much to celebrate -- find some victory for yourself this week, whether it's a few pounds or ounces down. A new clothing size or a looser one. A good habit formed, or replacing a bad one with a good one.

SEIZE THE DAY! YOU CAN DO IT!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Joining "The Point Club"

Well, with a 0.2 pound loss this week, I am now a member of the Point Club ..... where you lose a zero-point-X each time. I know these last few pounds are going to be the most difficult, but GEE WHIZ!!!!!!!!!!

So, how to break this slump? I don't know. I'm using a few of my flex points each week, and I could do a "blowout" meal just to see. I need to shake up my exercise routine, and using the FitDeck cards is going to be a big help..... I used the Bodyweight Deck at the office today: warmed up for 5 minutes with a lap around the building, then pulled random cards for about another 10 minutes. Just ten minutes? Yeah. One, I was getting hungry; I had planned to start the routine around 12:30, but demands on my time pushed it back to 1:15. Even with my morning snack, I wasn't going to go much beyond 1:30 before needing to eat. Two, even though I walk and am in fairly good cardio shape, doing calisthenics is another story. The card on lunges alone nabbed me (my quads are SOOOO gonna be sore tomorrow). But it's a great change of pace, and I am really looking forward to alternating these with my walks. Walking around town after work is one thing, walking around a commercial building 5 or 6 times is quite another ........

But give up? NO. NO. NO. This little slump is all personal now. VERY personal. These last 5.4 pounds are NOT going to get the better of me. Oh no. I am going to kick their butts six ways to Wednesday and back again. They don't scare me.

So to everyone who's battling their membership in The Point Club -- HANG IN THERE! We can do it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ounce by ounce.....

I lost 0.2 this week...... I will take it! Right now, I will take every loss I can get, ounce by ounce! I am happy to have any loss at all. It seemed that the couple of times I weighed this week, there was going to be a gain. So I was prepared for whatever came my way.

This week's talk was on greater activity, and I do need a boost! A few weeks ago, I ordered some exercise cards from FitDeck -- the "travel" and "office" decks. I have decided to order the basic "bodyweight" set, where I use my own body weight for resistance. I need to change up some things, especially as I go into maintenance. I figure that's a great place to start!

So we'll see how that works! And I'll let you know, too!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It caught up with me....

The upper respiratory infection and all those antibiotics ..... the fun of a weekend getaway ...... the stress of the last few weeks at work ...... the little digestive problem I've had this week ...... the winter weather creating fewer opportunities for outside activity.

Yep, I had a slight gain: 0.4 pounds. I am actually rather pleased by that number. It could have been far worse!

Starting tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be utterly delightful the next few days --- in the 70s! Go figure, it was freezing cold and heavy wet snow last Sunday and this coming Sunday it is supposed to be at least 75. Frankly, I am so looking forward to being able to walk uptown again that I can hardly stand it. I've only walked outside once this week -- I did the treadmill and did some videos, but I love my outdoor walks best of all.

As far as the little digestive problem, I am thinking it's due to having the antibiotics wipe out all the good bacteria too. My body's trying to get back in sync and it's just not all worked out yet. Either that or -- God forbid -- I might have to cut out caffeine for a while. That will kill me. You might as well slit my wrists now.

So anyway, next week we will be back on track and going strong!!!!!