Wednesday, August 26, 2015

M is for Motivation

I put it out there on Facebook on what to write for an upcoming blog entry, and it was requested  to write on Motivation. I think it's something important to talk about, as in has implications in just about every facet of life. I wrote something earlier this week for the Challenge group I'm co-leading about goal setting, and I think that the two have a whole lot in common.

I'm a big ol' nerd, so when I want to figure out anything new, I open up a book to figure out what's going on. So let's go to the dictionary:

noun: motivation; plural noun: motivations
  1. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

    "escape can be a strong motivation for travel"

    synonyms:motive, motivating force, incentive, stimulus, stimulation, inspiration, inducement, incitement, spur, reason;

    "his motivation was financial"
late 19th century: from motive, reinforced by motivate.
I read that and distill it to one simple thing, "the why." I want to loose weight, but why? I want to become a nurse, but why? I want a million dollars, but why? I want a puppy/a second cat, but why? (These are all from my own life.) None of those things are ever, EVER going to come to a fruition if you can't come up with a real and relateable. Notice I say real and relateable. I say this because "because I want to," and "just 'cause." are cop-outs. If you can't think of anything any better than "because I want to" and "just 'cause," then you haven't put in enough time and energy into thinking about your potential life changes. I'm going to venture to guess, that at this stage, they just aren't going to work out. 

If motivation is the "why", then goals are the "how". Now I can, and pretty much have, written a whole post on setting goals, so I don't want to post too much about them. I will point out this: they are your road map. You will get nowhere very quickly. Make them specific and attainable and WRITE THEM DOWN. (Like with a pen or paper.)

You're motivated to start, you've got your goals and you're off to the races. Everything is going great, and then the breaks are quickly applied. SHIT! What just happened? Where'd my motivation go? Before you throw in the towel and quit realize this: anything worth attaining is not going to feel comfortable all the time, you're not always going to feel good and happy go lucky. That's just life. Life's tough. Changing yourself is even tougher. In this instance think of yourself as iron walking through the fire, it's only going to make you stronger, and that's where the real change takes place.

This is just the way it is. There's no panacea for loss of motivation and plateaus other than gritting your teeth and knowing that if you stick to your plan you WILL reach your goals, no matter how long it takes. Remember it's not magic. It's hard work. Also, there's this....I always, ALWAYS watch this any time I'm feeling suck:

There are also things that we can do to help us along there way. There are two that work for me. One is my weightloss rewards. (I like stuff. More specifically, I like pretty jewelry). Every 5 pounds I lose, I buy myself something that will work within my budget. For me this stems from ending the cycle of rewarding myself with food every time something went right in my life.

The second thing is music. It almost drives me to tears thinking about what a run would be like without my Running Playlist. Going every fifth song it contains: Eminem, Fort Minor, MIA, Kanye & Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Beyonce, RuPaul, Van Halen, Blackcherry, Macklemore, and Miranda Lambert. Pretty diverse. This taps into all the music that gets my brain, heart, and the athlete in me going. I also, honestly, listen to this type of music most of the time on my commute so I can come across as the best version of myself when I'm around the general public. Let's face it, the not so good versions of myself are no picnic. 

Big take away. Find your "why" and don't let it go. No matter what happens. That's going to get you going and keep you going. Also remember, that why is going to come from the deepest places of your soul. Don't be scared, that's where all the good stuff is kept!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Metaphorical Carrots...the 60 lb edition...yet again!

Let me review the rules! Every 5 pounds lost, I reward myself with a little something, and every 10 pounds lost I reward myself with something a little bigger. (Sometimes I do have to shift this a budgets dictate. Normally I've found that these rewards come in the way of jewelry and I can wear them as a constant reminder of what I've accomplished. That, and I really like jewelry...a lot!

As you may or may not know, I am back down to 60 pounds lost. This is a significant milestone as that puts me HALF WAY to my goal weight. We have been here before, however. Last time I bought a beautiful moonstone ring from Sikara.

Many times I have something in mind as to what I'm working for. I've got my eyes on these moccasins, but its just way too hot. Maybe at 70 pounds.

I had my last weigh in on Saturday, with plans to go to the SoWa Market on Sunday. PERFECT! I'll find something there. I went with my friend Mike - I can't think of a clever nickname for him - plus, there are about eleventy billion Mike's in the it is. I was looking for a particular booth that belongs to a gentleman who sells jewelry from around the world, but he wasn't there. =( We did a lap, and I stopped and checked out just about all of the booths that sells jewelry. I cam back to, and settled on these....

I got them from from MPrint Jewelry out of Portland Maine. They are cast from vintage coins from The Netherlands. Very, very cool in my opinion! I enjoyed wearing them to work yesterday, and they for sure will make it into my earring rotation.

Stay tuned for the next "carrot update" in 5 pounds.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Not as Scary as You Think...

If I was going to subtitled this blog entry, it would be "Slow Runner", but the real point is "Not as Scary as You Think."

I am, in fact, a slow runner. There I said it. To be completely honest, sometimes it bothers me, sometimes it doesn't. I'm human. I have insecurities. Where the growth in life comes is what I chose to do with those insecurities. I choose to push through them, and not let them consume me. Again, one of those life keys....consumption. Not everything in life is going to feel all sunshine and rainbows. That's just not feasible, and quite honestly it reminds me of Stepford Wives, and THAT scares the everliving shit out of me.

When I started getting back into fitness and watching what I ate, and loosing weight again, I noticed that my run times were significantly slower. It was weighing on my mind a little, but I was doing a pretty good job of not letting it weigh on me. Then I realized WHY my running was slower: the last time I was REALLY running, I was 30 pounds lighter. I'm dragging an extra 30 pounds with me as I run. Now, I've made peace with the fact with I've gained thirty pounds back from my lowest weight and am still able to run up to 5k, and am ready to start running beyond on my way to 10k. While gaining 30 lbs back is a setback, there is a big triumph that is coming out of it that I can be very proud of. Success is not linear. Big life lesson in that one.

I never wanted to be a runner. I remember running the mile in elementary school and always being one of the LAST to finish. I was HUMILIATED. I HATED it. That hatred stuck with me. I thought running had to be the most absolutely STUPID way to achieve physical fitness. ZERO cells in my body got it, ZERO. I MOCKED runners. Then one morning I woke up and decided, "I'm going to become a runner." There was no real be conversation that I had with myself, or anything big that happened that made me decide that this was a good idea. If you know me really well, you know these "mighty pronouncements" are pretty much how I roll when it comes to these sorts of things, and a majority of the time, they always turn out well.

How does one become a runner? Duh! BY RUNNING! However I needed three things first 1) permission, 2) a goal and 3) a plan. By permission, I'm talking my physicians permission. I had already been swimming at that point, but I wanted to make sure that at my weight my joints could take it. Her answer was "good for you", and yes, just train smart. OK, goal....I found a 5k on Spectacle Island that would happen in enough time to train.  Now plan.....I had heard about Couch to 5k....downloaded it....checked it out....that looks reasonable. So I was all set. Time to start running....right?

Eh...not so fast. I was TERRIFIED going on that first run. TERRIFIED. I don't know what I was so concerned about. Was it that I physically unable to do it? That people would make fun of me? Probably a little bit of both. I very vividly remember telling my coworker that if I was not back in 40 minutes to come to the Public Garden and look for me. I was dead serious. But guess what? I did not die, and no one pointed and laughed at me. YES!!!! I concurred one thing that thought I would NEVER do, and I was SO PROUD of myself. It was not as scary as I thought. I was hooked.

Now I venture to guess that no matter how much weight I lose, I will never be a "fast" runner. (Whatever that means.) My time will improve with more running and weight lost...I've proven that before and look forward to that happening again. Maybe it just goes with my personality, but I can withstand just about anything for a specified period of time just as long as I know when it's going to end. To me, 10k is a MAJOR distance and I can't wait to get their again. According to my plan, it'll happen in 70 days. I doubt that I'll ever run a 1/2 of full marathon...but never say never.
As much as I love how running makes me feel, one little quirk about me is that initial mile. I BLOODY HATE IT!!!! It starts pretty much 30 seconds in, "what the f%ck are you doing? Why the hell are you doing this!?!?" It continues for an entire mile, and then it miraculously vanished. I've learned to laugh at it, because the negative chatter is so blatantly indignant...I just have to.

But once I just past of that I do some of my best thinking, enjoy spending time in nature while still being INSIDE the city, listen to the sound of my own breathing, and be proud of every single bead of sweat. Running is how I mediate. I've tried traditional meditation. I can't sit still that long. I really think running makes me a nicer person. Lord knows I work a good part of that aggression through the music I choose to listen to.

So what can this mean for you? Start running? Maybe. Only if it feel right for you. That's a gut thing. I totally believe in and trust my own gut feelings and think everyone should be more in touch with those things. I think you should, however, do something that scares you and you don't think you can do. You'll probably end up surprising yourself. Remember that success is not NOT linear. Real growth comes from dealing with your insecurities. While life is not always sunshine and rainbows, the Oracle that is Dolly Parton did impart on us that "The way [she sees] it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." That's a lot of wisdom that I've gained by putting one foot in front of the other and just keep running.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Back At It!

I'm back! (And wow, has it been awhile!) It honestly took me a little while to remember how to do a post in Blogger! I've been back on the weight loss train for about 3.5 weeks now, and in that 3.5 weeks I've been from running 1.5 miles to 5k and have lost right at 5 lbs. (I had a little gain this week). I have to tell you it feels great to be back at things and to be successful! I really did miss the accomplishment I felt by watching the lbs. tick away and watch myself achieve my fitness goals.

Speaking of my goals...what are they? Well, 1) I'm 65 lbs away from my goal weight (a number that is flexible) and 2) to FINALLY crush that competitive 10k. (Many thanks to Pretty Pretty Princess for agreeing to run that with me!)

Speaking of all know I do the weight loss reward thing: small things for stopping on a 5, bigger things for stopping on the 0. For this last 5 reward I got myself an Antique Kochi ring from Afghanistan at the SoWa Market. Pretty!

I should make a point of saying that getting back on track wasn't easy. I had been trying to for several months with zero success. (I did run that one time while I was in Texas for three weeks.) It took my boss having a 4 week fitness challenge that made ALL the difference for me, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I think the biggest takeaways I had from that was 1) follow the 80/20 rule - eat 80% of things that are good for you and you can have 20% of those things no so good for you, and 2) read 10 pages a day of a book that could benefit you as a person. Just 10 pages. That's easy, right?

No new super exciting narriative to report. Just that I'm back at it and really proud of myself. It would be easy for me to get wrapped up in why I didn't stay on the wagon, but I think that's just silly. Forward. That's the only way to go.

I had forgotten how much better eating well and working out made me feel. There's some pretty substantial change going on in my life, and I shudder to think how I'd be navigating it if I weren't taking care of myself.

More soon!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Is That A Canyon On My Forehead?

I'm back! Yay! I shouldn't have been gone for so long, but I was....aaaaaand enough with the pleasantries.

I'm in my mid 30's. There I said it. Later this year I will be in the front side of my later 30's. HOLY BLEEP!

I don't feel my age...whatever that means, I don't think I LOOK my age, whatever that means (more on that later).

I spend the majority of my time - like the rest of the world (you know what I mean) does at work. I work with a people who are mostly quite a bit younger than I. While I love their youthful exuberance, seemingly endless stores of collagen....wait, I'm starting to sound bitter, I don't mean that. I do truly like them...a lot. We're just in different places. I'm in the place where I have canyon's on my forehead. They're not

Let me explain.

I'm boycotting the mirrors at Sephora.

Let me explain more.

After I got off work today I had a perfectly beautiful and sunny Monday afternoon to myself. I took myself to get a slice..ok two...of pizza and a tasty fermented apple beverage and then to Sephora to pick up some new lip color said young friends had told me about. I haven't never met a red lipstick I don't like, and w/ the promise of being long lasting and shiny...I was IN!

While I was there, I decided to try on all the other colors this particular lip color came in. I've never liked makeup mirrors in retail stores. I feel like they make me look green and uneven. So, when I'm trying on makeup there, I take special care. I TOOK special care. Right up to the moment where I liked I color, backed up to see it in context and BOOM....






I'm sure the Griswold's are going to be coming by my forehead any second now....

So what do I do? I do the mature thing.... look at my forehead in EVERY SINGLE MIRROR in Sephora in the most nonchalant manner possible. Then when I get home...? Stare at myself in a mirror in the bath room for a REALLY LONG TIME.

As I stare, I start to realize....they're not canyons. They're "worry lines". FUCK. I worried my way through my teens and twenties, and then I hit my 30's and am FINALLY living my life free from stifling worry, and what to I get? WORRY LINES, like some screwed up tattoo I got with magical delayed ink. Guess all sins are never absolved. Personal evolution can only take you so far. I would find all of this "ha ha ironic" IF IT WEREN'T ON MY FACE!


To acompany the canyons - worry lines...whatever, are boulders. The boulders are my makeup that get in the canyons and makes them look 10x worse than they already are. So what? Quit wearing makeup? Not going to happen. So we must build a better mouse trap.

I do the logical thing, google "makeup tips for women in their 30's". Really interwebs!?!??! Really!??! Give me some tips better than not to be fushia lipstick or bright blue eyeliner.

I'm kinda set in my ways when I comes to makeup. I've been using the same types of products for a very long time now, but just tweaking the colors.

Perhaps I should go to someone that get PAID to do this. Maybe all I need is a primer. Just to fill in the canyons, but not color them. I don't know....

Now I'm self conscious.

I pride myself that I don't act old or boring or old and boring. This is the first real signs of aging I've noticed. OK, that's a was the grey hairs, but that's so easy to cover up.

All the other people my age that I'm regularly around are men. They get better looking with age. It's not like women get uglier, but I feel that societally we devalue a little. I hate myself a little for even typing that, but it's true. At least that's what the world at large tells us.

I'm in a better version of my body than I was in my 20's. Hell probably since I was since I was 19. I want to feel fetching and sexy and youthful. I know it's all in my mind. But right now all that's on my mind are these damned canyons.

I want to age gracefully. But if I do, when why are lines on my forehead sending me into a little mental free fall.

Maybe I need a complete mental overhaul about how I view aging.

Or maybe I just need a tube of primer.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Time for Healthy(ier) Food Choices

I know, I know...this is craziness. It's the 7th of the month and this is pretty much my third post for the year. In all seriousness, I've got some time on my hands between days off, snow days, and having a 24 hour lucky y'all...y'all get a lot of me. Please try and keep your cheering to a minimum.

If 2013 was all about getting my exercise groove on, 2014 shall be about making healthy(ier) food choices. What brought this on, you ask? I think that it was a over dose of rich holiday foods, coupled with stress eating while preparing for my final. (I didn't go hog wild, I still managed to loose a little bit.) I just went into 2014 feeling sluggish, bloated, weighed down, a bit emotionally down, and more anxiety than normally experience.

Time to cut out some of the crap. Notice I said SOME of the crap? It goes right back into my previous post. Now not only will I be eating less, I'll be eating MORE quality. I look at it this way: I'm not making this adjustment with the PRIMARY thought of losing weight - I've already proven that I can lose weight the way I was doing things - but to be healthier; and if you look at my reasons for wanting to lose weight, not dying unnecessarily young was one of the big two. I'm going to go ahead and draw a correlation between eating healthier and not dying. Makes sense, right?

How do I plan to go about doing this? First big one: continue the moderation thing. If I try to cut out everything, I WILL BINGE AND FALL TO PIECES. Know thyself.

I have to be mindful as not to go whole hog and make all these healthy food chances. My husband should be allowed to eat what he wants to eat. Just because I'm doing this doesn't mean he has to do this. This is not how our marriage works.

Here's my plan. It's my goal to focus on two major elements: cut back on caffeine and healthy snacks (that can also be mini meals for work and class days). Thus leaving dinner time for more wiggle room. GENIUS!!!!

Caffeine, particularly cokes is my Achilles heal. I figured it was playing into three health issues I'd been having recently and was told to cut back on: 1) heartburn, 2) digestive issues as a result of having my gall bladder removed and 3) anxiety. I won't cut out all caffeine, but I will cut WAY back. Yesterday I brewed some iced green tea - I know there's still caffeine in there, but there's a lot less than what I normally you can't ignore the health benefits - tomorrow I plan on taking a trip to David's Tea to get some nice fruity herbal options, and also reacquaint myself with the Polar Seltzers. That's my caffeine cut back plan.

As for healthy snacks, I was very inspired by this list. My plan is to go down the list from top to bottom, three a week. I'll skip anything that is too complicated to make easily and quickly, as well as those that I know I just won't like. These snacks can also double as small meals for me to eat at work or something quick and portable that I can eat right before my class. I'm taking A&P this semester, BTW.

So that's the healthy eating plan for 2014. Have any of you made changes like this, lovely readers? If did it work out for you? Anyone with these changes on the horizon? If can we help keep one another motivated?

Friday, January 3, 2014

There Is No Right, Only What Works

Two days off blissfully doing nothing but sleep, eat, watch TV and run (OK, maybe drink champagne), added to two days of snow days, equals quite the case of cabin fever....this particular brand of cabin fever has me feeling a bit preachy.

It's the beginning of the year, and I'd venture to guess that close to 90% of the public's New Year's Resolution is to lose-weight-get-healthier-exercise-more or something of the like. Listen to me and listen to me closely: THERE IS NO ONE RIGHT WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT, and if they insist upon it....THEY ARE FULL OF CRAP!!!!!

Find what the motivation for what makes you want to lose weight and then tailor your approach around that. For ME it was to not die unnecessarily young and fit into designer clothes. Those two things together have given me this meta game plan...well, part 1.....

For me, it really is that simple. Now...there's some other things that come into play like: find an exercise that you really love (swimming), how about tackling something that scares you (running), setting in public fitness events (5ks and Swim Across America), reward yourself (I'm super good at that! Here's what I've picked out for my 80lb. reward, come on pay day!), and make yourself accountable (I choose to use the LoseIt app and log all my food - yes, it does get exhausting and tedious, but it works for me.)

Also, there is no super food that's going to cure all your health problems...conversely, there is no one demon food that's going to kill you just for eating it (given you don't have some wicked allergies). So this I say...meta part 2...

Some days you just need to eat the steak, and the cake, and drink the champagne. Life's meant to be lived, not to be deprived. OK, my life. I can't say this will work for you, maybe it will...maybe it won't. Give it a try.  I believe this type of control can be exercises in OTHER areas of our life...and we enjoy being a bit out there, but there are consequences that will later be paid.

Let me add one more thing in there.....

Yes, I know that I have the ability to lose 5 pounds in a week, but I also know that that's a REALLY GOOD WEEK! It won't happen every week, and the more you lose...the harder it gets. That's been my truth. I spent the entire month of December yo-yoing up and down 5 pounds and then losing an addition three, but more on that later.

Realize that your way is not the only way. I would venture to guess that if someone who was my weight and height ate the same exact things I did and did the same workouts I did over a set period of time, we'd still lose different amounts of weight. Why? Simple. We're different people. Our metabolisms, our body chemistry, our jobs, our lifestyles....all different. We are all unique snowflakes.

That in mind, when talking about weight loss, be kind. You never know who is reading, and how it may being affecting them. Kindness. Totally under-rated human trait.

Don't be a door mat though, and sell yourself short. Be proud of what you've done. Be fucking proud. It's HARD work....both physically, and (what a LOT of people don't realize) mentally as well as emotionally. Shout your successes from the rooftop. Just do so mindfully.

I hope this blog entry serves some good to you if you're on a weight loss journey, just thinking about starting one or simply observing/cheering on someone who is. More than anything, I needed to write this entry for myself. As I said before, December was HARD. Between the EXTREME stress of a final exam in FOREVER (yes, the extreme needed to be in all caps - if you know me, know knew how stressed I was), working retail at Christmastime, and holiday food...swimming 5 times and running I think 3....I somehow, SOME WAY ended up with a net loss. It was my smallest net loss since November 2012, but it was a net loss nonetheless.

I'm 20 pounds from losing 100 pounds (already got a great celebratory bauble picked out) and 40 pounds from reaching my initial weight loss goal. I'm feeling a great bit of not disbelief, more like awe that I'm a mere 20 pounds away from losing 100. I want to make a list of 100 things that happened/didn't happen because I was so over weight and post them on the day I loose 100 pounds, and then have a list of 100 new opportunities that I have FROM losing the weight the next day.

Each pound isn't simply a pound, they MEAN something.

New year = new goals. (I hate resolutions.) Here are my new goals....
1) Swim two miles continually
2) Compete in a 10k
3) Compete in some sort of Triathlon (indoors counts)
4) Curb my anxiety

So, lovely readers, what weight loss adages have worked for you? What are your health/life goals for the new year? Share for me in the comments..