Friday, August 21, 2009

Where's the motivation?

I've made it through my first week. I've also made it to a point in my routine where I'm beginning to run low on motivation. Remember when I said I suffer from "instant gratification syndrome"? Well, it's hitting me now. The scale has remained where it settled last Friday. Remember when I also said I was an obsessive-compulsive weight checker? I tried for the first few days not to weigh myself...after about day two, I couldn't stay away anymore! When I first got on the scale, I was down a couple of pounds! I couldn't have been happier. As I continued checking throughout the week, I kept seeing the numbers get smaller; not by much, mind you, but enough to make me thrilled. Then, at about day five, I started to tip the scales back up to where I had started. How disappointing. That's one of the consistent feelings I've found throughout my journey - disappointment with myself. The weight just does not come off fast enough for me! After all of this time, after all the effort, learning, working out and changing I've done, I still don't seem to get it. Or do I finally understand?

Am I finally reaching the point with all of my weight loss efforts where I realize it's not about numbers on a scale but about how you feel inside? That it's not about getting there quickly but just about getting there? As I first started to write this blog, I didn't think that I understood that. The more I'm writing, the more I'm changing my mind. As my frustrations are surfacing, I know that I already have a hold on the solutions to my disappointments.

1) Constant scale checking. The solution to this problem - put the scale in a place that I'd have to make an extra effort to get it out to weigh myself. Simple as that! The scale right now is right in the middle of my bathroom, just begging to be stepped on (well, maybe not, but it's definitely tempting me each time I look at it)! If it's not out in plain sight, I have a feeling that I'll be less likely to check it all the time.

2) Weight creeping back on closer to the weekends. The solution to this problem is partially solved with solution #1, but to take it further, I need to have a plan. Writing out menus is crucial to my weight loss efforts. When I write down what I'm going to eat each day, it not only helps me with my shopping list, but it also helps me to plan out my day and only take out what I've got on my schedule. Weekends are often my downfall. During the week, I have a lot of things I need to get done and only a certain amount of time to do it. I have to plan my time out accordingly. Planning is huge.

3) Keep on truckin'! I have a workout plan, and I just need to stick to it! Even if I don't want to get out of bed and go for a run at 5:30AM, I have to. If I want to run this marathon next year, I've gotta get my butt in gear! Slacking on this running program is not going to help me accomplish my long-term goals, so there's certainly no room for that!

4) Focus on one goal at a time. Instead of worrying about weight loss, running and all the other things I need to do to get to those points, focusing on one thing at a time, and perfecting that one thing, is essential to my success.

No one's perfect. Everyone slips at some point. It's all about how you get back up and keep going. The only way to get to where I need to be and want to be: determination, perserverance and perspiration.

"I run with my head, my heart and my guts, because physically, I don't think I've got a great deal of talent or ability. I started at the bottom and worked up."
--Steve Jones, former marathon world record holder

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And on the Fifth Day...

Deep breath in. Exhale. Stretch. Let go of the worries of the day. Inhale and fill your lungs with fresh air. Exhale and release the tension. Relax.

If you had asked me last week if I could do Yoga, I probably would have laughed in your face (not in a mean way of course!). I am one of the least flexible people on the planet, although I am able to touch my toes. Tonight, I got to open my horizons and try something I'd never really done before. It was fantastic! I stretched and balanced like I never had before. How refreshing to go out and try something and find that I really enjoyed it!

On my journey, I've found that it's essential to keep a workout routine not-so-routine. Trying new things and pushing on my boundaries and limits have been so worth it to me. I used to just go to the gym and do the same thing; eliptical, some weights and the stair climber. I'd push myself so hard and convince myself that I had to do the same thing every day in order to get anywhere. The only way to get in shape, in my mind, was to get stuck in a rut. Big mistake. That's how I set myself up for failure. Sure, the weight came off in the beginning. Then my body got used to everything I had been doing. It started saying, "Ok, I'm bored with this. I'm gonna stay the same since I'm working the same muscles over and over again." And it did. Plateau city!

Now, don't get me wrong - routine is good, especially in the beginning when you have to create a habit. I'm working on my routine right now. Each day, I'm adding onto my seven day routine. It's crucial. But don't think it ends there. Try something new and out of the ordinary. Yoga, pilates, strength training, running, anything! Never say that you could never do something. I used to say "I could never be a runner. I'm not built for that." And maybe I'm not, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to try! I want to see what my body can do. It's an amazing machine with all it's interworkings, and it can take a lot. I'm going to make sure it's around and healthy for a long time.

"The more I run, the more I want to run, and the more I live a life conditioned and influenced and fashioned by my running. And the more I run, the more certain I am that I am heading for my real goal: to become the person I am." --George Sheehan, M.D.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Yesterday was my day off. It wasn't supposed to be, but life showed up. After my failed attempt at getting up before the sun on a Sunday morning for my run, I slept until I had to get out of bed and get on with my day. Fortunately, I'm following a running plan that allows for two days without any physical activity. So yesterday was my day of rest. I did manage to get up before the sun this morning and get a run in to start the day. It's the best way I've found to start my day.

As I was driving home last night, I had an epiphany. It's an epiphany I've had several times before, but there was something about the revelation this time that seems to have struck me as special. This time, my outlook has changed. This time, it's going to stick.

As I've tried countless times before to lose weight and get into running, I realize now that it was my attitude and thought process that was holding me back. If I didn't see the scale go down one day (that's right - obsessive-compulsive weight checking), I would freak out and feel like I had failed. I was disappointed, annoyed, but most of all angry at myself for screwing it up one more time. With that kind of attitude, how could I ever be happy with myself? I couldn't. I wasn't. My self-esteem was next to nothing. I looked in the mirror and loathed what I saw. Every flabby part screamed out to me with a resounding "You're fat!" It was hopeless.

Last night was different. I heard those words coming from someone else; not directed towards me, but pointed inward at himself. I couldn't stand to hear the disappointment in his voice, the unhappiness that was drowning every word. He was as angry as I had been in the past. I couldn't take it. Now I was understanding how my friends and family felt when I would talk about my struggle and how disgusted I was with myself. Beating yourself up is not going to help you reach your goals. It will only slow you down.

If I've learned anything from this journey so far, it's that you can have a bad day. One bad day doesn't have to turn into two. Recognize it. Embrace it. Assess what you've done and could do better and choose that moment to get back on track. You can't go back and change what's been done. Everyone has a bad day (even the skinny people). It's what you learn from that day that helps you to move forward.

"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win. "
--Sir Roger Bannister

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day Two

My legs hurt. My quads burn everytime I sit down or climb the stairs. I have missed this feeling, oddly enough. I've missed the sense of accomplishment that I associate with this kind of pain; the sense that my body was pushed to a limit that it hasn't been pushed to in too long. My body has worked and it's starting to feel stronger already - Yes, even after just one day.

Today was a lazy Saturday for me. Although I got up early, I didn't do much as far as being productive. I did, however, manage to keep up with day two of my exercise plan! Day two consisted simply of walking for 30 minutes. With Keira in the stroller, I walked around the neighborhood in the ninety degree heat. I have to admit, I love perspiring! (I'd say "sweating", but then you might think I'm strange...) When I sweat a lot, it makes me feel like I'm cleansing my body of things that shouldn't be there. I'd almost prefer if I had been jogging in the heat!

"Taking it easy." This is what my plan tells me to do every other day. I know in my head that it's the smart thing to do, but, like so many other people out there, I suffer from "instant gratification" syndrome. I want results and I want them now! I have a hard time with the off days of any workout plan. I often feel that if I take a day off or slow it down one day that I won't pick it back up the next day (and I have valid reasons for feeling this way too - it's happened so many times in my life). It's one of my biggest challenges. These slower paced days or off days are so important though! It gives my body a chance to catch up and recover. I've read so many books on nutrition and working out that I should be a professional at this by now. But I've realized that until one gets into the mindset of "I will" instead of "I should", success is out of reach. Reading may teach the skill sets, but the old adage remains true: practice makes perfect.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Beginning

"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."
--William Faulkner

After years of being overweight and unhappy with the reflection in the mirror, I've decided to take up blogging about the trek I'm on to change that self-image. I've created this blog to keep me accountable to my friends and family in taking up this journey. My reasons for taking up this challenge: to better myself; to set an example for my daughter; to lead a healthy and active life; to run a marathon.

I recently read an article in Runner's World magazine in which it stated that it's more dangerous to sit in front of the TV. The author was discussing one of the excuses people (me, included) use to stave off running, which pertains to all exercise. The excuse was that it's too painful to run and you could get hurt from exercising. When I thought about it that way, it really hit me that, duh!, exercise will help me feel better all around. While I haven't minded exercising, the motivation to do it, which I need to pull from within, has been lacking.

Today was my first day of my new running plan. I woke up this morning and walked for 10 minutes, ran for 15 minutes, and walked for 5 minutes. While it might not seem like much, going from nothing to something is a big step in and of itself. My plan is to take this venture one day at a time. If I need to, I'll take it one step at a time to keep my pace going strong. Like the Little Engine That Could, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can"...and I will.

Here's to tomorrow...