OOPS!

Well….. I have been doing this a LONG time…. 13 years now, not counting all my previous attempts.  So, you would think I would remember… that I would know better…. But…..

Yes, I have been struggling, but I decided to start again with tracking, something I have not been consistent about for quite some time.  Yesterday was pretty good.  And this morning I had EVERY intention of having a great, stick-to-my-points, day. 

And then this happened. 

It is small…..really small…. The smallest ice cream cup a person can buy.  Only 3.6 oz.   Can’t hurt, right?  I had a great on point breakfast and then decided to have a tiny treat….

I ate it all, which wasn’t much!  And then I went to track it and wanted to check the points.  It is less than a ½ cup serving, so it had to be less than the 12 smartpoints I usually track for a ½ cup of this ice cream. (note to self, this ice cream ranges from 11-15 points per ½ cup and this particular flavor is 14 smartpoints per serving). 

WHAT was I thinking??? I know to ALWAYS look up the point values BEFORE eating.  Oh. My. Gosh.  How many times over the last 13 years have I talked about or heard about checking points before eating?  Yet, I thought I knew the points without looking, it was smaller than a normal serving size after all.  HA! 

This little, less than ½ cup serving of ice cream was…. Wait for it….. 13 smartpoints!!  13!!!  WHAT!! 

So, here I am.  The experienced Weight Watcher member and former coach and I figured I KNEW what the points would be without double checking.  Oops!  A lesson learned.  A reminder to check BEFORE eating. 

And a lesson in slips.  They happen.  We all slip.  We all hit that bump in the road.  We all have those “Oh my gosh” detours.  And even the experienced have those moments. 

But that slip is NOT failure.  The bump does NOT derail everything.  It is a just a moment in time.  A moment on the journey that allows for feedback.  It is an opportunity to learn.  To realize what works and what doesn’t.  An opportunity to see that sometimes on this journey we slide a little, sometimes even a lot, but it doesn’t mean we have failed and cannot succeed.  We learn and we can get back on track.  We move on, rerouting the journey so that we keep moving forward…. One-slip-at-a-time….. One-step-at-a-time….

That slip is just another steppingstone on the path to success!! 

So, I tracked that little bit of ice cream.  And combined with my breakfast, I am almost out of points for the day.  The day is just starting.  Good thing I have those 0 point foods to rely on today!  And those extra points for the week.  I have my plan for the rest of the day and this slip WILL NOT derail my progress!

This is proof that I am really on a perfectly imperfect journey!  And all is still right with the world!

Advertisements

Body Image–Shifting Negative to Positve, part 2

Last week I wrote my thoughts on the WW weekly topic relating to Body Image.  A tough topic.  Not one most want to talk about.  And it doesn’t matter our age, our weight, or our gender.  Many have negative thoughts about our bodies or parts of our bodies.  And those thoughts are so ingrained in our psyches, influenced by people in our lives or the many media forms, print and online. 

I spent a lot of time this past week thinking about the body image topic and working on shifting my thoughts about my own body.  I even went to a second workshop. 

That second workshop made me think.  The coach asked questions of us that were meant to get us thinking.

And I asked those questions of myself too.

How do those negative thoughts/beliefs/words impact our day?  What would change if we said/thought/believed something positive?  What impact would focusing on just the positive have on our journey, our day? 

And why is it so important to shift from negative to positive? 

How does one shift a mindset or shift the negative beliefs to positive ones? 

THAT is the question.  THAT is the difficulty.  If it was easy to change our beliefs, our thoughts, our immediate reactions, then we would never have a negative thought.  But it is NOT easy! 

Yet, it is so important.  Changing those negatives changes how we see ourselves and how we treat ourselves.  Getting rid of negative thoughts and changing them to positive thoughts changes our relationship with us and changes our relationship with the world around us including our relationship with food.  Yes, shifting a negative mindset will change everything! 

Think about it for a minute— if you started your day looking in the mirror and only seeing what you perceived as “wrong” with you, only saying negative things (“my hair is so frizzy and I hate that” or “ugh!  How disgusting!”  “I will never be pretty” “even sucking in my stomach doesn’t work” “my legs are to big so I cannot wear those shorts” or a host of other negative things!), how would those negative words impact your day?  How would you feel by starting your day that way?  What would your choices look like?  Would you choose the delicious healthy breakfast or go for the doughnuts?  Would you skip your workout?  Would you want to do anything to take care of you?  I wouldn’t….. 

Starting my day in a negative frame of mind, would set the tone for the entire day.  And it would not be a positive tone at all.  My choices reflect my thoughts.  They always have.  They always will.

But if you started your day looking in the mirror and seeing something beautiful, something positive, saying something that made you smile (“my eyes are shining today” “Hello beautiful” “Those stretchmarks, well they are proof of the miracle of life, those babies!” “Boy are my arms strong”  “Look at those strong legs that carry me everywhere I need to go” “Today I woke up and that is worth celebrating” or a myriad of other upbeat and positive things) how would those positives impact your mindset, your choices, your day?  Would you want that healthy meal?  Would you want to go for that walk with your friend or get in the pool for some activity?  Would you want to do things that take care of you?  I would……

So, with all of these questions and thoughts going through my head this past week after attending the second workshop, I set out to find a way to shift my mindset and my thoughts. 

How?  How do you stop negatives that have been with you for a lifetime?  How do you get rid of the voice in your head from long ago, telling you how ugly you are… telling you all that is wrong with you?  How do you let go of the images that are EVERYWHERE in our society that show us what a “perfect” body looks like (and an unrealistic body since most of those images are highly photoshopped/edited)?  I can tell you it is NOT easy.  It is hard!  But NOT IMPOSSIBLE! 

It starts with recognition.  It starts with HEARING your words and knowing they are not helping.  Only then can you begin to change those thoughts and shift your mindset.  Then it takes INTENTIONALLY saying something positive.  INTENTIONALLY focusing on the positive.  Every. Single. Day.  Making it a habit.  And that takes time, sometimes a lot of time.  And it requires COMMITMENT.  When we first say that positive thing in place of the negative, well we may not believe it….not that first time, maybe not the second time, maybe not until he 100th time.  Commitment to intentionally focusing on the positive means we keep doing it even when we don’t quite believe it, because eventually we will believe it.  Eventually we will automatically go to that positive place.  And that is when we know that we have shifted our mindset, we have made a habit change. 

To that end, I decided to do something I had started a while ago, but to take it up a notch.  I had gotten in the habit of writing positive affirmations on the mirror above my bathroom sink, using dry erase markers.  Those positive affirmations made me smile.  So, if they worked on my mind in a positive way, then maybe writing positive thoughts about the parts of my body I didn’t like would help too.  But the mirror above my sink wasn’t the best place to write those, because, it wasn’t across from the shower… I could avoid that mirror until I was clothed (I know TMI). 

But…. The mirror on the backside of the barn-door that covered the entry to my bathroom, THAT mirror I couldn’t avoid.  That mirror was the one that I hated.  That mirror was where I needed to write my positive thoughts.  And I did just that this week.  “Hello Beautiful” at the top.  Positives about my arms.  Positives about my abs/stomach.  Positives about me.  Yes, my arms are strong and can hug my loved ones.  Yes, my stretchmarks prove the miracle of life, that I had two beautiful boys.  Yes, I am strong. 

Seeing those words every morning and every night is changing something in my mind.  Changing my attitude.  Changing my view of the world around me and my view of me.  Those words start my day on the right note, a positive note.  And that positive start helps me to deal with stresses differently.  And the little things don’t seem to bother me as much as they had before.  My whole outlook is a little brighter and more positive (and I tend to be a pretty positive person anyway, except when it comes to critiques about myself).  And those positives at night, well it just ends the day in a brighter way for me.

Shifting negative body image thoughts to positive ones, does not mean we are choosing to stay where we are at in this moment.  I still want to lose more weight.  That is a goal of mine.  I want to be healthier, stronger and live longer.  So, changing to a positive body image does not mean I am giving up on my goals and accepting this is where I am supposed to be.  No.  It is about being happy and finding the positives now, where I am at now and still working toward my goals. Happy people make healthier choices.  And I said above that my choices reflect my thoughts.  By being positive, thinking positive, loving me where I am at right now, I am helping myself to move forward toward my goals.  Because, when I am in a positive mindset, I make better choices when it comes to food, activity and taking care of me.  That is why this topic is so important right now.  Loving our bodies in every stage, finding something positive about us and our bodies, actually helps us get to our goals.  What do you think?  Do your choices reflect your thoughts, too?   

With all of that in mind, how can you start to change your views about you?  How can you start to change your thoughts and make them more positive?  What would that do for your day?  How would that impact your choices?  What one thing can you do today that will help you to take a step forward in changing your negative thoughts to positive?

You can do it!  I can do it!  We just have to take that first step….

Positive Body Image…. Getting There

This week’s topic in WW Workshops is on Body Image. A hard topic for many of us. And it does not matter if you are old or young. It does not matter if you are male or female. It does not matter if you are overweight or thin. Many of us struggle with those negative body images.  Some of those thoughts have been ingrained in our minds for years, said by others to us, or just said to us by us.  And it doesn’t help that we are bombarded, daily, by images on social media and on TV that show us the “perfect” bodies.  The struggle is real for so many of us. 

Do you struggle with finding positive things to say or think about your body? I do. 

Do you find yourself speaking negatively about your body?  I do. 

Maybe it is your arms, or your neck, or your legs or your stomach or ???

This week, WW helps us to identify the negative things we think and/or say about our bodies and then gives us tools to help us change the way we think. Techniques that help us turn the negative to a positive. A shift in mindset.  And one that is HARD.  It requires awareness and honesty with ourselves.  And it requires INTENTIONALLY focusing on something positive rather than ALLOWING the negative to define us. 

As I sat in a workshop yesterday morning, I heard the negative things I have said and what I still say about my body. I do not like my arms, those who attended my workshops knew that.  I have shared it in workshops when we had body image discussions.  And I have been working on changing that mindset.  I am finding it a little easier and sometimes even automatic to say a positive about my arms now, but it took me time to get to this place.  I look for the good my arms can do now, rather than focusing on the jiggling loose skin on my arms.  The more I have practiced saying the positives and focusing on the positives, the more it has become automatic.  I am starting to like my arms.  I am wearing sleeveless shirts at home now, but not yet ready to venture out into the world….. almost there. 

But yesterday morning in that workshop I heard other negative things about my body. Ugh! Too many.  When did this happen?  Have I always been so negative?  I never noticed before because it was ingrained in me and automatic…. Said and thought without noticing what was happening.  Like being on autopilot….it just happens. 

Hearing those thoughts hit me.  Hard!  I wasn’t aware before, but I am now aware.  And awareness is the first step in making a shift in my thoughts, the first step in changing. 

So, this week, thanks to the workshop, I am working on shifting how I see just one body part.  Just one.  That I CAN do.  I am focusing on how I see my stomach/abs. I do not like my stomach/abs. Period!  NEVER have!  Loose skin sucks— a negative thought.  Stretch marks are incredibly ugly—another negative thought.  Look at those rolls…. Ugh— another negative.  I look pregnant from the side in this shirt—negative!  And even more negatives run through my head, especially when I look in the mirror—with or without clothes, it really doesn’t matter.

The leader asked us to come up with something positive, something that part of our body can do for us.  Hmmm….. I struggled with this.  My first thought was- “Really?  What can this do?  Nothing.”  But then I really started to think.  And I came up with something—

-My stomach is strong enough to help hold my spine steady, keeping me from throwing my back out and landing in the hospital.  Okay—positive.

And…. Well….. nothing else comes to mind, just yet.  So, one positive right now.  And that one positive is better than none.

Now, to do an old activity from a WW Workshop in the past—this week, every day I will stand in front of my mirror and look at my stomach (THAT is going to be hard, but CHANGE is HARD!) and I am going to think about the positive, the one positive I have come up with (and I will try to come up with another).  By practicing saying and thinking about the positive, then it will become easier and eventually will replace the negative.  Eventually…..

What ONE body part are you negative about?  What ONE body part can you focus on this week?  What positive thing can your body part do for you, right now?  Once you pick the body part and find the positive(s), then practice saying them while looking in the mirror….or, if you cannot look in the mirror, then practice saying the positive while visualizing your body part.  The more you say it, the more you will believe it.  And that is how we shift our negative thoughts to positive!

Can you do this one thing this week?

Will you do this one thing this week?

I can and I will!  I am traveling this imperfect journey and changing my body image along the way! 

Swimsuit Shopping… Ugh!!

It finally happened.  My favorite swimsuit, died.  I have had that swimsuit for 10 years.  I wore it a lot!  And this week, I wore it for the last time.  When pool season started a couple of months ago, I noticed that my swimsuit was getting thin…REALLY thin.  Uh Oh! 

And this week I put it on to jump in my pool and the skirt hung down to my knees.  The material had separated.  It was done.  Time to throw it away and move on.

But THAT meant a trip to the store to buy another swimsuit. 

THAT was terrifying.  Trying on clothes in stores, looking at my reflection in the mirror, has never been my favorite thing to do.  Not when I was at my heaviest.  And not when I was at my thinnest.  Those mirrors are not flattering.  And looking at my flaws was discouraging. 

We are our worst critics and it is easier to see the flaws….. those things we don’t like about our bodies tend to stand out, making us notice them first.  I know…. It is a mindset thing…..  

So, the thought of trying on a swimsuit was just a bit stressful.  But I had to do it.  It would be far worse to buy the swimsuit that I had not tried on first and have it not fit or not cover certain parts of my body.  And I know that would be far worse, because I have purchased swimsuits, more than once or twice in my lifetime, that I did not try on first.  And those NEVER worked out!

I headed to the store and found a few suits to try on, in a size I thought would work and styles I felt would cover what I wanted covered and colors that would make me smile.  I was trying to see the positive. 

And then I stepped into the dressing room….. Ugh!  Those mirrors!  Swimsuit shopping is far worse than any clothes shopping trip.  At least with shirts, I could find layers to cover the parts I was ashamed of, the extra weight I was carrying….layers creating the illusion that it wasn’t there, that I was thinner than I thought.  Layers would hide the flaws.

A swimsuit though, hid nothing.  Yes, a skirted swimsuit would help to hide the hips, but the rest, well it was all there for anyone and everyone to see.  A swimsuit hid none of the flaws.

That is HARD to see.  REALLY HARD! Especially for a person who is hard on themselves.  There is so much body shaming in our world, so many faked and photo-shopped photos of how a woman’s body “should” look, that it is often difficult to see beyond those flaws, to see the positives, to love our bodies and celebrate what they can do.  And standing in that dressing room, reminded me just how hard it is and that I still have work to do, myself.

Because, if all I see or look for is the flaws or the negatives, well THAT is absolutely ALL I will see.  And I will NEVER see the positives or the beauty and strength.  I have worked long and hard on this.  I have struggled to change the mindset, sometimes successfully, sometimes failing.  I have done the exercises talked about in WW workshops, where I look in the mirror and find the things I love about my body, the strengths I have.

Standing in that dressing room, yesterday, trying on quite a few swimsuits, I realized that, yes I still have work to do.  I don’t know that I will ever fully switch my mindset, but I can be more aware and mindful of my thoughts and the words I say to myself.  And thanks to my journey with WW, I have the tools to help me change my mindset and the tools that help me to be mindful of what I am saying to myself and HOW those words affect me. 

Yes, I was stressed.  Yes, I was dreading the mirror.  Yes, I was dreading all the flaws that the swimsuit would highlight.  But I still went swimsuit shopping.  I faced the mirror.  I faced the criticism running through my mind.  I confronted the words of my dad, that I still hear, all these many years later.  And I tried on swimsuits.  Oh, some were awful!  Just awful.  But I found two swimsuits that didn’t make me completely cringe….. actually, they made me smile because they were filled with color, LOTS of bright colors rather than the solid black I usually picked. 

I faced my dread and shut down the negative thoughts as I stood there in that dressing room.  Okay, I may not be where I want to be.  I may not have that thin waste, and I may see too much loose skin.  But, there are positives and THAT is where my focus needs to be, something I have learned to look for and notice through my journey with WW (Weight Watchers).  And it is the lessons learned and aha moments  in workshops that helped me switch what I was thinking while standing in front of the dressing room mirror in a flaw-revealing swimsuit.  I could see some positives– I have legs I love.  My legs are strong.  I tan easily in the summer sun.  My smile brightens my eyes.  And my eyes come from my birth mom.  THOSE are the positives I will focus on for now.  Those are the images that will keep me going as I work toward my goals and toward becoming my best self. 

Changing my mindset.  Thinking differently.  Choosing differently.  THAT is a part of this journey I am on.  I may be my own worst critic.  I may not love everything about my outward appearance.  BUT if I stop looking for, purposely looking for, those negative flaws and instead CHOOSE to see the positives, well then I WILL reach my goals.  Because our choices reflect our thoughts. 

CHANGE YOUR THOUGHTS AND YOU WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD!

I am doing that now. I am refocusing on the positives, thanks to the death of my favorite swimsuit!

To Weigh or Not to Weigh

THAT is the question.

This has been on my mind a lot lately.  As someone on a losing—maintaining—losing–repeat journey, this question pops up a lot.  In Weight Watchers meetings one will hear the recommendation that we only weigh one time a week, at our meetings.  I have read recommendations that one should not get on the scale, but rather use how clothing fits as a guide instead.  There are a lot of different thoughts on the topic of how often to weigh, all aimed at making us less tied to the scale, giving the scale less power over us and how we view ourselves.

And I GET that!  I know people who get stressed when they step on the scale and seeing it go up, even just a little can send them reeling…. Giving the scale the power to tell us our worth. 

But that scale cannot tell us our worth. 

With this being said, I weigh myself every day.  Yes, you read that right!  I weigh Every. Single. Day. 

Oh, and I weigh not just every day, but twice a day.  WHAT??

Extreme?  Obsessive?  Maybe for some, but NOT for me.

I weigh in the morning before I eat.  And I weigh at night before I go to bed.

Why?

It keeps me on track and gives me feedback, information I need. 

Now our bodies fluctuate every day, up and down.  So many things can go into what that scale says our weight is.  I know that.  And it does not bother me to see those fluctuations.  It gives me information instead of stress.  I know that my body will be heavier at night than it was that morning.  It will be lighter in the morning than it was the previous night.  Salt, lack of water, weather, exercise, medications, how I am feeling, hormones…. Well they all play a roll in the normal fluctuations in my weight from day to day and moment to moment. 

So why then do I weigh every day, twice a day?  Because it gives me feedback.  It gives me information.  Knowledge about my body.  And knowledge IS power!

I began weighing twice a day during my fifth journey with weight watchers, on my way to my goal.  By stepping on the scale every day, I was able to see those normal fluctuations.  I learned that every 28 days my body weight went up, not a little but 5lbs or more.  Now if I had not been weighing every day THAT may have freaked me out, causing me to slip and eventually give up.  But because of the feedback I had been gathering, I knew it was normal for me and that the next week it would go right back down without me doing anything different.  It was a hormonal fluctuation.  I learned what salt did to my body and what happened if I didn’t drink enough water.  And it had to be water, because other fluids didn’t work like water did. 

I knew that my weekly weigh in would be down because during the week, the ups and downs and ups again showed that the ups were lower than the previous ups…. I WAS losing…. And learning how my body worked. 

One meeting during my journey to my goal, my leader talked about the scale and how we allow it to define us (she walked in with a “scale” tied to her leg, dragging it behind her…something I later did in my own meetings).  And that is when I shared that I weighed every day.  The gasps!  Oh my!  The others were quite shocked that I weighed other than at my weekly meeting.  My friend who attended with me only weighed at the meetings.  So, we all discussed what works and how to know if the scale was a stressor or an aide.  At that meeting my friend and I committed to doing the opposite of what we had been doing…. She would weigh every day for the week, and I would NOT step on the scale until the next meeting….. Oh man was that going to be hard!

And it WAS hard.  Turned out to be the most stressful week for both my friend and I.  Stepping on the scale for her was STRESS.  She didn’t like seeing the scale go up, even if it was normal part of the journey, a healthy weight fluctuation.  It made her want to eat.  And me, well NOT stepping on the scale was extremely stressful!  I had no idea how I was doing.  I had no idea if I needed to make adjustments.  I had no idea what was happening with my body weight and it really scared me, making me want to eat.  That stress showed up for both of us on the scale at our next meeting. 

And we both immediately went back to what worked for us.  I love that about Weight Watchers and meetings.  It is NOT a one-size-fits-all program.  In those meetings there are others on a similar journey, and we share ideas, successes, challenges, and what works for us.  We get ideas to try when things are not working for us.  And every single person gets to decide what works for them and what doesn’t. 

Knowing what works for us is a big part of making this journey a lifestyle and making it last.  What works for one person may not work for another.  And there in no ONE right way to do this. 

For me, weighing every morning and every night works.  It just does.  I get the feedback I need.  And when I stop stepping on the scale every day, it also gives me feedback.  When I stop stepping on the scale that is when I am struggling…. Things aren’t going well…..  And then when I wrap my head back around this journey and what I need to do, I step back on the scale, taking the feedback it gives me and using it to make adjustments or to continue doing what I am doing because it is working.

Ask yourself how the scale is affecting your journey.  Are you getting on it every day?  Or only once a week?  Or not at all?  If getting on the scale everyday stresses you out…. If stepping on that metal box makes you cringe….. if seeing the number go up after doing everything right makes you want to quit…. Then DO NOT step on the scale until that weekly meeting…. Or use non-scale ways to measure your success on your journey.

But if, like me, stepping on the scale is just another means of feedback and aids you on your journey…. if staying off the scale is your stressor… then step on the scale when you need too. 

Find what works for you!  We each need to ask the question “to weigh or not to weigh” and then find the answer that works for us.  We need to find what takes the power from the scale and gives it back to us!  As long as you do not let that scale define who you are or what your worth is, you have got this!  You will be successful!

I have found what works for me and I continue to do it most of the time.  I am NOT perfect at this…. But I am NEVER giving up! 

A Powerful Question

I was on Facebook this morning when I happened to see a post from a friend, she was sharing a post from a marathon runner website and my friend shared her thoughts as well.  And she asked a question.  A powerful question.  One that made me stop and think…. And think….

What am I doing today to get me closer to my goal?

Wow!  I have been asking myself this question all day. 

I have my goals —

  • To get back to my official WW goal weight
  • To then lose more to get to my personal goal (one I never reached) of losing 100 lbs. 
  • To finish my fastest 5k EVER in January 2020 at the She Power 5k
  • To be my healthiest and fittest self by my 55th birthday in January.

These are my goals.  They have been my goals for a long time.  And I have struggled.  But I am determined to get myself there.  I am determined to NOT give up.  I am determined to see what that version of “me” looks and feels like!

There are a lot of things I can do to get myself to those goals.  I can…. Yes, a lot I can.  But will I do them?  Will I do the work necessary?  Will I create the habits needed?  Will I make the healthy choices?  Will I shift my mindset?  Will I change how I think about exercise and sweat?  Will I believe in my abilities? 

Every WW workshop has an activity to work on for the week, relating to activity, food and/or mindset.  As a coach I would present the weekly topic and then lead members in a discussion about the weekly topic.  At the end of the workshop I would present to them the thing to work on for that week and I would end the workshop with two questions to my members-  Can you?  Will you? 

Yes, we can.  Yes, I can.  But the real question is Will I?  Will You? 

“Will you?” has always been a powerful question.  One that made me think and made me commit. 

But this question my friend posted today, for me, is even more powerful. 

What am I doing today to get me closer to my goals?

Well, it was NOT the small packet of mini-doughnuts or the bag of Doritos that I had for breakfast.  I didn’t plan to eat those.  I didn’t plan to buy them.  I had my plan in place for a healthy breakfast of eggs and bacon.  I could have had that healthy breakfast.  I was willing to have that healthy breakfast….But sometimes life happens. I was awake extra early this morning, taking my husband to work (before 6am) and running my son to an early clinic appointment with a stop after for something he needed. And the plan went out the window!  I picked up the mini-doughnuts and the bag of Doritos.  And I ate them when I got home.  UGH!

No, that definitely was not getting me closer to my goals!

I know what I am doing that is keeping me from reaching my goals. 

So, what am I doing today to get me closer to my goals?

Forgiving myself.  Being kind to myself.  Not letting the slip derail my plans.  I tracked my breakfast (40 smartpoints!  Oh my!  Good thing I have all those weekly extras!  They were needed today!) And then I moved on.  A healthy lunch and a healthy dinner planned and prepped.  That is what I am doing today that is getting me closer to my goals. 

This journey is not perfect.  I am human.  I slip up.  But being kind to me is one of the things that gets me back on track.  No more beating myself up…. That would defeat my efforts. 

The question posed by my friend got me back on track today.  The question kept me from throwing in the towel and going down that hole. 

That question is powerful. 

What am I doing today that will get me closer to my goals? 

Not what I will to do tomorrow?  Not what can I do next week?  Not what happened yesterday? 

That question puts the focus on TODAY.  This moment.  Right now.  It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday or earlier in the day and it doesn’t matter what tomorrow will bring or what my plans are.  It is all about THIS MOMENT.  And the ONE thing I am doing right NOW, today, that will get me just a step closer to my goal.  And if each day, I do one more thing, just one, that gets me another step closer, then before I know it I will reach my goals! 

One-step-at-a-time.  One-day-at-a-time.  One-moment-at-a-time.

I am going to ask myself this powerful question.  Every. Single. Day.  What am I doing today to get me closer to my goals? 

What are you doing today that is getting you just a step closer to your goals? 

That “E” Word

That “E” word.

 Exercise.

 I am not big on exercise.  I lost my weight originally without exercise.  Which kept me from developing a habit of exercising.  I just watched my food, tracked it all and really paid attention to portions and I lost the weight.  I was proof that exercise was NOT necessary to lose weight.  But I wish I had developed the exercise habit while losing weight.  It would be much easier to keep the weight off and to get back on track if I exercised, regularly. 

But I DON’T like to sweat!  So, therefore I don’t like to exercise.  I find exercise mundane, at times boring, difficult and mostly a chore.  It is hard to get going and hard to stick with it.  Though I have found ways to partake in some sort of exercise over the years and even found some I enjoyed… for a bit, I still have not been consistent.  And I need to be.

Exercise has many benefits.  There are health benefits, especially for my heart.  There is the mood boosting benefit.  If every time I was angry, hurt, worried, anxious, bored or lonely, I exercised… what a big impact that would have on my health and my journey to lose and keep weight off.  Not to mention my mood.  I would be a very happy person…. Maybe….. but I don’t like to sweat.

One way to begin to change how I view exercise is to approach it with a different mindset.  Instead of saying “exercise”, I am now saying “activity”.  Activity doesn’t sound as boring or difficult as exercise does and it elicits more positive feelings.  By changing just that one word, then I will change how I look at it.  The mind is a powerful thing.

But, I still don’t like to sweat…. have I mentioned this?  And that means that my activity is not as consistent as I would like it to be or as I need it to be.  I have spent some time this week thinking about the times when I have stuck with activity, the times when I have enjoyed it and I found that there was a “reward” associated with the activity, one that made it enjoyable and made the activity feel less like a chore.  A reward that made me ignore the sweat!

I know that to create a habit and make it stick, I need to get something from it, some sort of reward.  And I don’t mean a reward that is food related or monetary.  No, the reward for me needs to be impactful, meaningful and fun.  So, I started looking at my activity and how I can get something out of it that would motivate me.  And I found that there are a few rewards that keep me wanting to move and to be active–

–Bling!  Why do I do 5k’s or 10k’s?  The bling of course!  I love the bling!  So, yes, I will sign up for and walk (sometimes adding in a little jog) for a 5k race or a 10k race for the bling.  It makes it worth it!

–A goal!  I have set a few goals related to activity the past few years and those goals give me something to strive for.  A goal makes me focus and makes me get out and exercise.  The goal didn’t always get me to really commit to the training, but it did get me to go do that race or to keep swimming.  And achieving the goal, that is the REAL reward!  The PRIDE I feel when I realize that I DID IT is invaluable!  I set out to do something and I DID IT!  Yes, that pride in myself is a GREAT reward.  And so is seeing the pride in my husbands’ eyes when I finish my race.  THAT is PRICELESS!

–Companionship!  For me this one is HUGE!  What got me to go to spin classes regularly for a period of time?  A friend to go with.  What got me to do my first 5k’s?  My husband doing them with me and my friend doing my first big 5k with me at Disney World.  What got me out walking, even on hot, muggy Louisiana days?  A friend to walk with.  That time was therapy!  What gets me out hiking?  My husband and friends that I hike with (and my camera.. I do love photography!)  And what has got me signing up for and completing 5k’s and greater distances this past year?  Friends!  A group of ladies who make walking fun and keep me accountable.  Better together could not be truer when it comes to being active!  Any activity is better with others and being with others makes me tolerate the sweat!

–Inner peace!  This one is why I swim.  It is my “me” time.  It is a time when I can shut out the world around me and just be.  The water is calming.  The solitude is calming.  The inner peace is necessary.

Now, realizing what rewards motivate me and keep me going, I can find ways to keep moving.  I have always said that awareness is the first step to change.  Being aware of what works for me to get me moving is the first step in making real change, in creating new habits.  Knowing the rewards means I can find ways to be active and find things I enjoy. And enjoying activity is important.  If I don’t enjoy it, then no reward will work. 

To get me going and to help me stay motivated I created this board— My activity motivation board.

On this board are quotes that help motivate me.  The bling from my races hang on the board as reminders of what I can do and have done.  The map from the Amerithon Virtual challenge is on this board because I am continuing, on my own, after my team of 8 finished the race—3521 miles across the USA.  And I have a goal to finish all 3521 miles no matter how long it take me!

All of this will help to motivate me as I prepare for my next activity goal—to finish the She Power 5k in January with my fastest 5k time, EVER!  My goal is to beat my Disney World 5k time of 40:26 from 2009.  I have a goal to strive for…. a reminder to keep me focus.  And with my bling, my family and friends, and a change in mindset, I WILL reach my goal and be more active while doing it.

All while not liking to sweat!  I will work on that another day!