Archive | September, 2012

I’m tempted…

28 Sep

This morning I came to work to find this on the treat cart:

image

These treats appeared as a reward for the whole department completing a survey. Quite the reward huh?

For the first time in a long time I am tempted. Will it be the end of the world if I have a cookie? No. Will it be worth it? Probably not. Today will be the day of “what do you want more” and walking the long way around the office. To get something different, I need to do something different and that includes rewards. 6 months ago I would be all over these cookies. What do I want more? How can I get more?

Redefine rewards. A cookie is not a reward…it is an extra 15 minutes of running. I will like the sugar rush, but will soon have a sugar crash after…leading to more cookies. Mentally and physically, crap food is not rewarding. I will tell you what is rewarding…a killer workout, running my best time in a long time, sit ups, swinging a kettle ball… Exercise is the best choice. You may struggle and hate every minute of it, but it pays off. Physically your heart is pumping, you burn calories, and your brain releases all the feel good hormones. This helps take the urgency or the edge off of stress and you get to feel good for making a good decision for yourself.

Rewards are important to keep your motivation going. I buy myself a new pair of running shoes every 20 pounds. Today I will go shopping at lunch and treat myself to new under wear (real exciting, I know). I may be tempted to get some new workout clothes too. Even more, this might be the day for breaking 100 sit ups, getting me closer to a size 14 and more new clothes. Cookies are tempting but work and progress is rewarding. I chose the later. I choose me. I choose better. And somehow I’m no longer tempted.

Work in progress

28 Sep

I started my weight loss journey in May, got serious in June and have been committed to it every day since. It was an ending to the “old me” and a step in to completely unknown territory….the neutral zone…also known as chaos. What is life like when you actually manage your stress instead of eating it? What is life like eating tons of vegetables and no bread? What is it like to run because you want to? What is it like to sleep great and have energy all day? What if I don’t know how to…? What if I can’t…? What if I’m not strong enough?  All the unknowns and the doubt…lots to think about. So today I took some time to reflect on the last few months.

I did a side-by-side comparison of where I was and where I am now. HOLY COW. See what I mean?

I seriously cannot believe it.  Look at these pictures! I can’t believe I let myself get that big. I can’t believe I am where I am now. I can’t believe all that has happened in between.

I feel like I am back to my old self. I went out and did almost 4 miles today. My eating was clean, my energy was high. Things are looking good. Truth is, I am still a work in progress.  Sometimes it feels (and probably looks) easy. Other times it’s a battle. Life in this neutral zone is tough, but I’m getting used to it. I’m learning a new way to think, be, and do. I wouldn’t say this “new me” is established quite yet. For now this girl remains a work in progress, and that is good enough for me.

What do you want more?

21 Sep

I have a personal trainer. His name is Tony and he is awesome. There, I said it. I have been hesitant to share this information with the world for the two usual reactions I get from people.  “Wow, how much does that cost?”  I don’t know…compared to a heart attack I think I’m making out pretty good.  The other reaction is “well, if I had a trainer, I could lose weight too.”  Here’s the deal. It is not about the trainer. It is about what I want more.

 

Look at Oprah. This woman has an unlimited amount of resources at her disposal. A few years ago she challenged herself and ran a marathon. Being Oprah, she had the assistance of a personal trainer, a personal chef, and the rest of her staff to get her through. Every day she had to decide what she wanted and what she was going to do about it. You can have all the personal training you want, but the trainer cannot run the miles for you. Years later she has gained some weight back. Why? Her resources didn’t change…the woman has more money than God. I am willing to bet she changed her mind and her ways and went back to her pre-marathon self…she forgot what she wanted more.

 

This week has been killer for me with the workouts. Tuesday night I was on the treadmill for 6 minutes and I wanted to quit. What do I want more…to quit or to get something better? I want something better. I heard Tony’s voice in my head from my Monday night work out “What are you doing? You don’t quit.”  Dang it. What could I do to get at least 30 minutes in?  I called my best friend who is famous for her ability to talk. Ironically, she was not in a chatty mood. I said “Nicole, I need to you to talk to me. Come up with something” and it was listening to her that kept me moving. She could have read me the phone book for all I cared. I needed someone’s help and I asked for it. I want something better.

 

Last night was the same thing. On the treadmill for 10 minutes and my heart rate was not even past 130. Forget this, I’m done. What do you want more? Okay, another 5 minutes. Switch songs on Pandora. The heart rate is still too low….I’m not going to hit 150…forget this…what do you want more? Okay, I will do at least 30 so I don’t get yelled at. What do you want more? What do you want more? What do you want more? I must have asked myself the same question 100 times. Each time my answer is “something better”. And so I kept walking and eventually my heart rate was 150. I finished my 50 minute work and felt great because I didn’t quit. I want more.

 

This past weekend I ate bagel chips. I know…probably going straight to diet hell for that, right? Half of me says that if that is the worst thing I eat all week, oh well. This is a time to show myself grace. The other half knows full well what that is going to do to the scale this week and I’m not happy. The math will catch up and the pounds will come off next week…I have seen this pattern many times over the last 3 months. I know better. I want better. Again, harsh but honest words from Tony “One day this training thing is going to end and you are not going to have me to hold you accountable to not eating bagel chips. What are you going to do? You have to find something else to do other than eat.”  My first thought was “screw you dude…you don’t know what it’s like”. But here is the thing, he is 100% right. I can’t be mad at him for it. I need the honesty and the reminder…what do I want more?

 

If you have a trainer or not….decide now, and on the treadmill, and in the kitchen, and by the treat cart, and in the grocery store, and at dinner with friends… What do you want more?  If you want something different you will need to do something different. Choose more. Do more. You are worth it.

 

 

 

Like money in the bank

17 Sep

This year I am hitting a somewhat milestone birthday and I am not looking forward to it. So to give myself something to be excited about I decided Denver will buy his mom a nice piece of jewelry…$1000 worth of bling. (Yes, my dog is very generous!) I decided I would do this the responsible way and save up for it instead of putting it on a credit card. Here’s what I did.

 

I decided to save $1000. I paid my regular bills, took care of my car, went grocery shopping, and occasionally splurged on new running shoes or clothes. After all, I deserved the reward because of all the hard work I have been doing. Every week I would check my bank account balance and frown. No change…what the heck? I would start the next week hopeful. My “new plan” would be to take out some cash from the ATM and only spend that on food. That worked until Thursday when I ran out of cash and had to buy my lunch with my debit card for the rest of the week. Then I was invited to go to Wild Fire on Saturday night. Yum! It is kind of an expensive place, but figured it would be okay since I don’t eat there often. My bill was $75 but well worth it.  Mmmmmm….I love me some steak and cabernet! The next morning I logged on to check my bank account balance. Dang it! Not only have I not saved anything this month, I ended up a little in the red (a pair of running shoes somehow made it to the credit card).

 

New plan. Now I am going to check my bank balance every morning. That way I will know where I stand every day before I spend any money. The number went up and down and up and down, stayed the same a few days, then back down. The bills got paid, the groceries were purchased, the gas tank in the car was full. And here I am again…no $1000…not even $100. What the heck? I mean, look at all I have been doing…I think about saving money every day. I check my balances. It’s not like I can quit spending money. Mr Mortgage and Mr Electric are going to be knocking on the door. I have to buy clothes and food and gas for the car too. Why isn’t this working?

 

I am looking for change at the wrong level. “Money in the bank” is not what I am going to do to end up with $1000. Instead, it is my daily thoughts and actions that will determine whether or not I get that $1000 saved. First, I need to set a budget. Second, I need to stick to it. I need to believe that I am worth that new jewelry and decide I want it more than any other thing I can buy. I may decide to put $100 from every paycheck aside before I spend any more money that month. I may decide to start shopping the grocery sale papers a little smarter. I may decide to drop cable TV or cut back on what I will spend on entertainment. There will be times I am tempted to buy another pair of running shoes, how will I decide whether I really need them or not? I will be invited out to dinner, how am I going to plan for that? There will be times when “I just need to spend money”…what am I going to do to plan to be successful in those instances?

 

Catching on?  Weight loss is like money in the bank. “I am going to lose weight” is not where the change takes place. “I am going to eat a certain number of calories a day” or “I am going to increase the number of vegetables I eat” or “I am going to get 45 minutes of exercise every day” is the right level of change to focus on. Eventually, all the work you are doing in these areas will add up to weight loss.

 

To get something different, you need to do something different. Whether you are just starting and you pick one thing, or you are well on your way and are doing several things differently, change needs to happen in what you think, do, and believe. Start small and build up the differences. They will eventually add up to success….math doesn’t lie. How do I know? This girl has focused on doing something different in how I think, eat, and move…and it has paid off in a total loss of 50 pounds. And that my friends, is worth more than money in the bank.

Assemble your team

13 Sep

Losing weight is hard work. Even the most determined will need help at one point or another. Here are some people to consider adding to your support team. Someone in your life might play the role of one or more of these “characters”. For example, my food police and fitness coach is the same person. You may talk to these characters every once in a while or every day.

Medical team: depending on where you start your journey, it may be important to involve your doctor from the start. Ask about what medicine you are on, what type of exercise you are allowed to do, what you need to look out for as you get started. Your doctor is also a great resource to learn more about how your body will change during weight loss and what you can expect. Other medical people that may be part of your team over time include a nutritionist, physical therapist, or counselor/social worker.

Hard core fans: these are the people that love you no matter what. They don’t care what you look like, or that you had a bad day. They give you unconditional love and support. They are there for your highs and lows and everything in between.

Food police: somebody to hold you accountable to your eating goals. Read more about that here.

Fitness Coach: somebody who knows about exercise and will help you safely ease in to the active life. This could be a personal trainer, an exercise class instructor, a former athlete…anybody who will help you set realistic goals, give you guidance, and correct your form. This person should push you to do more than you ever have before and take no excuses from you.

Shoe specialist: Go to Dick Pond Athletics or another running store and get yourself fitted for running shoes. This is the best investment you can make. If you do only one thing, let this be it. Your feet, back and knees will thank you for it. Talk to the sales person about how long running shoes last, what kind of socks you need, etc.

Brat face: this is the person who is going to challenge your thinking. You will know this person when after describing something that just happened to you, they ask “where you really going to die from not eating a cookie? Die? Really? REALLY?” and you walk away thinking “what a brat face”. Okay, it may not look exactly like that, but just as you need someone to challenge what you can do physically, you need someone to challenge what you think about yourself. (This one will probably get its own blog soon)

Fellow soldiers: these are the friends, family, and co-workers that are also working on a change of eating or physical activity. They feel your pain and understand the encouragement you need and when you need it the most.

Logistical support: these are the people that will help you manage your time. It may be a babysitter, a carpool for your kid’s soccer team, a grocery shopping assistant…anybody, who by doing what they do, helps free up time for you to take care of you.

Inspiring stories:  these are the people you may know personally, see on TV, or read about in magazines. They are the ones with a story similar to yours and just happen to be much further along in their journey. Some of my favorites are the people featured on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition.

Well-wishers: these are the people that will cheer you on. Some will be close to you, others may be strangers. You will find your well-wishers seem to compliment you when you need it the most.

Fashion advisers: these people don’t need to be trendy, but they are willing to be honest with you and tell you when it is time to buy new clothes. As the weight started coming off I just kept wearing what I had until I had 3 people in the same week tell me I was drowning in my clothes. (Of course I came home with some of my usual “ugly” shirts, but at least they were the right size!)

Newbies: these are the people that see a change in you and want it too. They want to know what you are eating and doing to lose weight. You have piqued their interest like others have done for you. Share what you have learned and encourage, encourage, encourage them.

Moving on or moving forward?

12 Sep

Today is the 11th anniversary of one of the worst days in American history. I remember where I was and what I felt when I heard the news. I remember going to class and being totally distracted. I remember the appearance of American flags all over town. Today, I remember and I will never forget.

As I was getting dressed this morning I was listening to the radio. The regular morning dj’s were interviewing a national news person and were asking about how the media will cover the events of 11 years ago.  The national news person said something that really caught my attention. She said “it is not that we are moving on, it is that we are moving forward”. She went on to explain how this allows us to remember but not be held captive by the past; to celebrate the lives of the ones that were lost and honor their memory; to live life the way they would want us to in their absence. I think this is the perfect sentiment for today.

Moving forward is also a great way to describe how to change your thinking. For so long I have held on to my past with white knuckles…there was no way I was letting go of any of it. If I let go of the bad, would I also let go of the good? What if I didn’t remember the good things? What if there were no good things to remember? Why was I holding on to all the negative stuff?  It just gave me heart ache and got me no where. From the “she said…” to the “well, he didn’t…” to the “i never…” to the “what if, just once…” All these thoughts held me captive for so long. I want something different, so I have to do something different. I started letting go. I started forgiving. I changed what I believed to be true about myself. I am moving forward. Believe me, of all the change that has been happening in my life, this is one of the hardest things to date….changing the way I view my past. (I would rather eat broccoli every day…blech!)

There is a quote from a book I was reading recently that says it perfectly: “It’s time to let your bags off the bus. Let go of the past. Stop being disappointed about where you are and start being optimistic about where you are going. Focus on the future. Move beyond yourself. What we need the most we resist the most.” (Jon Gordon, “The No Complaining Rule“)

Do something different. Forgive. Let go of the past. Focus on the future. Move forward. You deserve it.

Damn it feels good to be a gangster

11 Sep

Even as I write that title, I have to giggle. “Gangster” is not the usual way I would describe myself. But today…man, I gotta tell you, it feels good to be a gangster (or is it gangsta???).

As I was recovering from shin splints, I happened to pull a muscle in my back. Ouch. I wasn’t very worried because I have been far worse off when it comes to injury. A few days and I’d be back in action…no problem.  So I was slow to stand, walked funny, and occasionally gritted my teeth from the pain. Whatever.  What bothered me was being behind on working out. Here I was, just back in to running and the stupid muscle in my back says “oh, no…not yet Miss Anne”. ggrrrrrr

Well if you know me at all, you know I can be stubborn, and in this situation I was no different. When my friends and family advised “take it easy” I responded with “I don’t like to be reminded of my limitations”. Yep, I’m that girl. I will do it my way, when I want and how I want…especially because this is my goal.

I wanted to run so badly Sunday morning. Instead, I winced as I had to stand up and sit down through a Catholic mass. This was not part of my plan. I was super frustrated. Since I am now used to the active life, I really, really missed it.  I missed it sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much. Yes, that much…. 35 o’s worth. This feeling completely took me by surprise. I never thought I would miss working out, especially since there are days when I would resent the entire workout. Now it is a part of my life that I truly enjoy and I don’t want to give it up.

Well, all that to say that today I finally had a real workout. I felt a little pinch for some of what I was doing so I had to adjust. The heart rate was in the 150’s and man, did it feel good to sweat. I probably have a few more days before I will be back to 100%, and yes, I will take it slow. Until then, I am grateful for the workout today. I am grateful for the progress I have made. I am grateful for the fact that I have stuck it out this long. And even more, I am “great-full” because of all my family and friends who support and encourage me in all of this.

This is one area of my life where I have truly worked to do something different, and I am certainly getting something different. It feels INCREDIBLE. I can’t even tell you how worth every drop of sweat has been…every stupid burpie, every squat or kick (I’m not going to say kettle ball swings are worth it yet). I am in a good place right now with the work outs….killin’ it in the gym 6 days a week….damn it feels good to be a gangster.