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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's been awhile since I last posted--18 days, to be precise. Part of it is that I have been very busy this summer, and I had to cut back on things and unfortunately one of the things I cut back on was sparks (not healthy living--still struggling to do my best there--but the internet portion). But I also didn't write because I didn't have much to say, at least in terms of living a healthy lifestyle.

But today, as I first struggled to water my plants (wilting despite the fact that I just watered them because it's so hot) and then went for a refreshing swim in an overly crowded pool, I got to thinking some things.

First, I got to thinking about the number of pretty negative posts to message boards I've seen lately. I don't mean negative in the sense of being hostile or beliltting or anything like that, but posts that sound at least as if the person is tired, overwhelmed, and at a loss of how they can really make any effective changes in their life.

I'm not saying anything against any of these people--weight loss is not easy.. And in fact, part of the reason they got me thinking is that I've been finding it harder and harder to keep a positive attitude myself, though I hope at least that I have mostly successful. As many of you know I've been really struggling lately with the whole healthy lifestyle/weight loss thing--both because I can't seem to lose weight lately and because it's so hard to balance the demands of a healthy lifestyle against the rest of my life. For awhile there, I had gotten to a point where the healthy lifestyle was PART of my life--it was simply part of my routine. But I got thrown off my stride by being sick for the better part of 2 months, which also put me behind schedule on well everything, and then just as I was getting my feet back under me health wise I hit one of my busiest times of the year and it's been even more crazy than normal. I've been swamped, in everything, and one of the causalities of the process is that I've almost entirely lost my routine. And without that routine, once again it feels like my healthy lifestyle is in direct opposition of the other priorities in my life.

I won't say that July or even June was a complete wash--I haven't done much strength training, admittedly, but I've been fencing and gardening and going for walks etc., at least while the weather cooperates. I haven't been able to work out at home ((At the moment, we're cleaning up etc. the fencing gear, so what space we have is taken up by swords etc. Two fencing kits take up a lot of room!) because of various projects taking over the living room and it's not likely that I'll get it back for a least a couple of weeks..... but until this week at least I've been able to at least be moderately active away from home. Not as much as I would like (my goal is 12,000 fitness minutes for the year--1,000 per month--and I'm about 1500 fitness minutes behind schedule at the moment) but I haven't been a couch potato either (or more realistically glued to the computer all day).

But I've definitely not been... shining in the healthy lifestyle department, for lack of a better way to put it. I've been struggling to find time to even go for walks; I haven't been doing most of my more intense workouts (too hot, too humid, too busy, not home.... many things have been interfering). I haven't tracked food in months--I never liked tracking but I reached a point I just didn't want anything to do with it any more, it was too time consuming. Though I'm not too worried about calories; I've been eating pretty much the same diet I had been and after tracking for 2 years I have decent idea of what that means in terms of calories. I haven't been as good about eating breakfast, I haven't been sleeping well (too hot, even with air conditioning, too stressed, and too bad allergies) and at least occasionally even my pop consumption has crept up (cold fizzy Mello Yello is way more appealing than tea, even cold tea) though I've at least kept a lid on that.

I want to be that accomplished woman, you know, the one who juggles a dozen responsibilities, still has time to have a clean home, a healthy meal plan (ideally planned ahead of time so no surprises like coming home from a long exhausting day to no food in the house and no energy to go buy it and cook when pizza can be delivered), a consistent and thorough workout schedule.....

Instead, I'm a somewhat frazzled, tired, stuffed up woman with papers and, currently, fencing gear everywhere, trying to make good food decisions most of the time, squeezing in workouts somewhat haphazardly around a busy schedule and hoping that it will at least be good enough. And stressing on top of other stressors because I feel like I should be doing better, and struggling not to be angry with my body because I've "gained" back the weight I started with despite my efforts to the contrary (and I still don't entirely understand how I managed to gain 10 pounds practically over night, and it's hard not to resent gaining back in less than 2 weeks weight that took me almost a year to lose).

It would be very easy to feel frustrated and hopeless.

It would be easy to come here and say "I need motivation. Help me be motivated."

But, you know, you can't help me with motivation. You can encourage me, saying "You can do it!" Even better, you can (and have, in the past) given me suggestions on how to do it. You can remind me that it's normal to be frustrated at times. You can remind me that I'm not the only one who works and works and works at losing weight only to barely lose weight.... if I'm lucky.

But motivation comes from within.

Sure, there are things we can do to help us stay motivated--we can read blogs, read health news articles, revisit our list of reasons why we started this journey in the first place, update those reasons, etc. Sparks can help by providing tools to help us build and maintain our motivation. But ultimately, motivation comes from within.

So I have decided a few things.

I am living this healthy lifestyle because I want to live life for the fullest and to enjoy it. So, for the next... 4 weeks or so, at least, I'm going to do just that.

I'm not weighing myself. I'm not going to stress about whether or not I've lost weight. I'm not going to feel like a failure because of what the scale says.

I'm not going to stress out about food. YES, I will continue to try to make healthy eating choices; I'm not giving up and going out and binging on candy bars or something. I'm just not going to stress about it. I have lots of veggies and fruit in the house, and I eat them regularly. We have a number of healthy recipes we eat regularly. Even before sparks we ate mostly a healthy diet and we've tweaked it so that it's even better.

I am not going to stress about working out. If it's 100 and we continue to have this heat advisory (and for awhile an air quality warning), or if my allergies continue to plague me so that I can't breathe, I may not work out. I will not be fencing because I won't be able to handle the heat well and passing out or getting heat sick is NOT a healthy lifestyle. And I won't feel guilty about it. I'll try to do some moderate exercise--swimming if the weather permits, maybe some strength training at home if I can find the space. So I'm not going to sit on my butt for a month--but I'm not going to stress about it. I won't feel guilty if it's too hot or my allergies mean that I end up not working out, or work out less than normal.

I will not let my weight get me down.

Yes, the scale said, last time I weighed myself, that I am back at the weight I started sparks at. I don't know if it's water weight, inflammation weight, or what (my clothes still fit, so at least I haven't blown up like a balloon even if the scales says I did.)

Today I went to the pool and when I got there I was 1) the only overweight (or even slightly overweight) person there, and 2) I was the only one over 30 (there are lots of college students where I live, and they tend to dominate the pool and the fitness center both). But you know what? I was the only one there who was actually swimming. The rest were either sunbathing or basically floating in the water. It was pretty crowded because it was so hot, so it was hard to swim (especially when some guys decided to throw a football around) but I swam.

AND I hit a personal best for me today--I managed to hit 6 laps of the pool before I had to go back to pool walking. At the beginning of the summer, after being sick a lot this winter, I had only managed 4. When I first started swimming to rehabilitate my bad hip, I wasn't able to do even one, and that at a much smaller pool. So go me!

Also, a friend of mine who is a seamstress and makes a lot of my SCA garb measured me for my fencing gear and she says that I may not have lost weight (as far as the scale is concerned) but I *HAVE* lost inches from the last time she measured me. So take that scale! Who needs you? I really don't care what the scale says as much as my body content--I want to be healthy and fit; I want to lose the unhealthy padding in the hips and thighs and stomach. And apparently I am. Painfully slowly, but I am.

So I'm giving myself a break. I figure with our plans that I will be (hopefully at least) pretty physically active for the rest of the summer, at least enough that I should maintain what I have accomplished if not push the envelope a little. I hope still to play tennis (maybe when it's a little cooler), fence more, shoot some archery, swim more, walk more, roller blade (again, when it's cooler), and maybe even get to go canoeing with friends--we've talked about it but none of us have had time. I will make healthy choices but focus on enjoying the summer.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    A headline in my newspaper says, "Scales Don't Lie But They Do Tell Some Interesting Stories". It lists reasons why the scale may register a gain when you believe you have been true to your healthy lifestyle plan. For instance, that well-known water weight, the food you have eaten recently, and the clothes you are wearing. Best way to weigh - first thing in the morning, unclothed. And it reminds us that there are better ways to measure progress than the scale. You know what those are - measurements and stamina, for instance.


    Here's some motherly advice I gave my daughter - Take it easy. Which means, do what you need to do but don't stres out about it.
    3470 days ago
    Brilliant, lady. :) One of the main ways I've approached this whole journey is to make fitness and healthier choices fit my life, not fit my life around calories and fitness minutes.
    3470 days ago
    Not stressing out about the whole *what the scale says*, or even about the whole *healthy lifestyle* thing, sounds like a great plan to me. Sometimes, we have to just take life as it comes at us. There are a lot of things you can't control or get out of right now-school, SCA, etc. If that means you have to work in exercise where you can, then that's what you do. Do what you CAN, and don't focus on what you CAN'T do. Personally, I hate the scale, so your NSV are proof positive to me that there are more ways to measure success than the scale. You have lost inches-built muscle-have greater aerobic endurance, and all of these are proof that you are healthier, no matter what the scale says.

    Yes, take THAT emoticon , scale!
    3470 days ago
  • BANAN2
    How awesome to find that you have lost inches! That means the weight must be a higher percentage of muscle and a lower percentage of fat than it was. Being an active woman and a fencer (that sounds wrong... a swordswoman?), gaining strength and being able to do the things you want to more effectively is so much more valuable than losing pounds. Tracking is easier for me because I don't eat a huge variety of foods...most of what I usually eat is entered into "My Favorites", so it isn't too time consuming. We're in the midst of a heat advisory here in Illinois, too. I had been getting up at 6 to walk because otherwise it was too hot for me and Abby. But this week i am sticking with the treadmill. I am lucky to have that option. Hope you'll get a break in the heat soon so you can do the summer things you enjoy outdoors.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3470 days ago
  • KOMAL53
    Very Wise!!!The Problem is that we push ourselves to overachieve in our enthusiasm to achieve our Goals----and end up tired and frustrated!!!I've been there and done that---was very proud of the way I multi tasked the entire day---and I'm paying for it today with a Body that keeps it's own pace these days!!I'm so glad that you've decided to do as much as you can----the best part is that once you stop thinking about it and stick to your healthy eating and a routine that encompasses the more important issues you'll be happier both physically and mentally---and because you're not tense anymore you may even lose some weight in the process!!Take Care and God Bless!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3470 days ago
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