What I Have Learned..
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
As I approach the third anniversary of my Sparkpeople membership, I take pause to think about where I was, where I've been, where I am.
I have not lost any weight. However.. I have learned some things that I believe in my heart of hearts will lead me towards that elusive goal, in the baby steps that have become my mantra.
The first thing that I have learned is that although I know in my heart of hearts that you have to commit to daily exercise, I have to learn to OWN what that means. There is this mish-mash of stuff in my brain about the whole "10 minutes a day" thing. And here it is. I've been at this so long, and do exercise quite a bit, that to go "backwards" to committing to only 10 mintues a day seems like just that, going backwards. So I know that advice, but I don't OWN that advice. And I'm left to sit here and say to myself well, three years and many exercise minutes later, I'm still the same weight, and there have been long periods without any exercise at all, so perhaps what I really need to do is to stop thinking 10 minutes a day is beneath me and to promise that I will do at least, 10 minutes a day. Then perhaps, I won't fall into a 2 week or monthlong period when I don't exercise at all..
My pledge to me at this time is to stop being an exercise snob. I will commit to at least 10 minutes of exercise 6 days a week. My PLAN is bigger than that: 30 minutes of cardio on Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat, full-body ST on Tu and Thurs with another 15 minutes of cardio on those days. But at the VERY least, 10 minutes of activity Mon through Sat. I will do this from now through the month of March, and then will begin to try to expand my time a bit. I will go from 30 minute on my cardio days in March, to 35 in April, to 40 in May to 45 in June.. I hope to stay at 45 and see how that goes, if I begin to lose the weight at that rate, I will stay there until I need more. On my ST days, my goal is to get myself to 30 minutes a day of cardio. From 15 in March to 20 in April to 25 in May to 30 in June.
At some point, I want to try to add some yoga. I was thinking that perhaps I could do yoga on Sundays..sort of the relaxing "reward" for the hard work during the week. But you know what? I like the idea of a day of rest, and I'd rather try to fit the yoga in another way. I will explain that part of the plan later.
I have not at all given up on my mid-range goal of being in good enough shape to be able to play woman's softball in the fall. I don't know if this will ultimately happen, not the getting in shape part, but whether I will have the time to devote to actually doing this. And if I don't, I'm not going to whine about it, as it is not my style to whine. Time will tell whether I can make it happen, but no matter, it's a wonderful goal...
Oh, and one more thing I have learned about exercise. The grind it out part, the 30 or 45 minute part.. It has to happen in the morning. I am a morning person, I like to exercise in the morning, if I don't exercise in the morning, the likelihood of it getting done dimishes rapidly. So I have to make it happen in the morning. And the need to sometimes fall back on the "at least 10 minutes" is more about the time limits I have than the willingness to excercise. I have said for a long time and it is true, I like to exercise, my biggest obstacle is the time. So another commitment is to do as much as possible at night after dinner to prepare for the morning, like make lunches, etc..so that I have time to do what I must. This will become more and more important as I expand the amount of time I need to commit to exercise. And it will be done.
But as I have said, the exercise, even though sporatic at times, is not my biggest problem. Which leads me to the second thing I have learned, and I believe this to be far more problematic, far more my "issue" for not having success in losing weight than anything, is the eating. The eating. The eating. My God, it's the eating. I start just about every single day the same way: a good breakfast, a healthy snack, a good lunch...and from there it goes downhill. If I somehow manage to get through the afternoon munchie period with just a healthy snack and make it to dinner, I usually then have a good dinner and don't have to worry until the after dinner, mindless, closet eating begins. And the only one single weapon I have ever used against this night time eating monster is to go upstairs and stay upstairs. I cannot be trusted to come back down, period, period, period. The thinker in me keeps telling me I am avoiding my demons by just going upstairs (I keep hearing my dear friend Lynn saying just stay up the stairs already!), but ultmately, I have discovered that I don't really have demons, I just have a really, really bad habit of prowling around at night eating. My good friend Ramona explained to me that the only way to replace a bad habit is to create a new, good one, and I have been spending a lot of time trying to find the replacement. Here's where the yoga comes in. I am going to find a nice, gentle yoga routine, and do it at night, upstairs in my room, far away from the food. I'm thinking maybe 15-20 minutes..and I'm thinking some combination of yoga and meditation. Who among us hasn't about the wonderful benefits of yoga? And this week, I think the Daily Spark had an article about trying to use meditation to steer us away from mindless eating. So I"m going to try to marry the two, at the most vulnerable time of the day for me.
As I approach the third anniversary of my time on Spark, I am re-committing to most of the goals I set for myself back when I first joined Spark..there was nothing wrong with the goals, just in my approach.
I would be re-miss if I did not acknowledge the incredible friends I have made here on Spark in the last 3 years..good, dear friends who have at times hoisted my considerable heft upon their shoulders and carried me when I was down. I am not going to name names because I'll miss someone and I would never want to leave anyone out. So I will just say that you all know who you are, and thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your wisdom, your friendship, your support.
I look forward to continuing to share my journey with you all, and to all our successes in our goals..