Monday, June 28, 2010

Changes Take Time for Computers and Weight Loss Success

Gosh I haven't been here in almost 2 what has been going on that has kept me away? And has that affected my health routine?

First and foremost, I had a computer crash. Again. Bummer.

Restored it. Again. Lost internet access. Lost USB old laptop was dying a not-so-slow but certain death.

Before it entirely gave up the ghost I bought a new one and was able to salvage most of what I needed. Needless to say, (at least it should be needless to say...) this was not a quick process for me. I don't let go easily! It isn't that I don't like change...ok, maybe I don't like change all that much, especially when it comes to "tools" is like I expect them to work forever. I'm not technologically inept, at least not entirely, but getting your FIRST computer is much simpler than getting a NEW computer.

There is the new operating system. New peripherals. Rearranging the office because things just don't fit quite the same way. Then there is loading all the software. Getting all the updates. Making all the settings work the way you want them to, so it "looks" as much the same as possible. There is just an adjustment to doing things a new way.

Hmmm...this all sounds vaguely like adjusting to a new way of healthy living.

Let's see, new computer...the goals are to be more efficient, run faster, be long lasting. Healthy have a body that works efficiently, that moves more easily and quickly, and hopefully also is long lasting!

A lot of the challenges are the same, too. On our computers, we are used to things looking a certain way and finding them in a certain place. When we get a new computer suddenly things may be (temporarily) harder to find...just because they aren't where they always were. The good news is that because we have to now think about where things are, we can also take advantage of the thinking process and toss out some things that we no longer need, and we can develop new habits of finding and storing things that make our lives easier in the long run.

Same is true when we change our health routines. When we stop living on auto-pilot we can use that opportunity to get rid of old stuff that no longer serves us. And we can develop new habits of moving our bodies and preparing foods that will ultimately make us healthier, fitter, and make our lives easier. But in the mean-time we have to think about it!

Some of my old software programs don't work with my new computer...they are not compatible. But there is always something else available that will do the job...probably better. Sometimes it is even free, so it isn't necessarily a cost burden. The only thing is I have to learn the new system!

Some of my old food and exercise (or lack of) programming isn't compatible with my health goals and my new body. For example, I used to relax by watching TV and downing a pint (or two) or Ben & Jerry's. Definitely not something I can do and maintain 125 pound weight loss! I can have ice cream once in a while...but consistently trying to eat the way I used to is the equivalent of trying to make my computer run old software. At best, it can do it, but it will slow my fast machine down to a sluggish pace. Hardly the best choice for optimizing either my life or my computer.

So, my goal is to be open-minded and flexible in adjusting to my new computer. I know I could choose to look at this as a pain in the rear...that I am having to give up old favorites for things I don't like. On the other hand, I can choose to look at this as an adventure...recognizing that some days I won't feel very adventurous...but that if I am open to it, I will find new and exciting ways to do things and fun new tools that will make my life easier.

I'll adjust my thoughts about my new computer like I did my mindset for weight loss. My goals are attainable. I just have to take one step at a time. I won't learn it all overnight, but I will learn it! I'm not stupid...and if I remember that, and keep to the little steps then maybe I can relax and not revert to eating a ton of Ben & Jerry's out of frustration!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Excuses, Excuses, Opportunity to Stay Stuck

There are always a gazillion reasons to put off implementing changes that we KNOW will benefit us in the long run. The timing isn't right, it costs too much, we don't have time to learn something new, it is just a hassle, we're stressed and want life to be easy.

These can be accurate and very real, but they are also excuses that we can allow to sabotage our efforts to improve our lives.

I've been facing this regarding my old one (it is about 6 years old) is dying. Its speed has dropped to a crawl. Only some of my programs work--others are randomly disappearing. I can't turn it off because if I do it won't restart and then I have to restore it.

Seems like a lot of bother to stick with something that is supposed to be a tool to make my life easier. But I know it. I'm comfortable with it. New computers have a different operating system and I'll have to learn that. Plus, it costs a lot of money to buy a new computer. Not to mention the time to research what I need, and what I want, in a computer. In other words, getting a new computer means I will have to change, I will have to break out of my comfortable rut.

The final straw? I have to access the internet from someone else's computer because that functionality has been lost. So yesterday afternoon I went out and bought a new computer. After dragging my heels and limping along for a month now, I have a shiny new computer. Of course it is still in the box...but it is a start. It is a step in the direction. Next I'll take another step, then another.

We do the same thing about reaching weight loss goals...we make lots of excuses...because changing is HARD! Or at least we think it is.

Recognize any of these?

  • "I don't have time."
  • "It is too hot to cook healthy foods."
  • "I'm too tired."
  • "I'm feet back hurts...I can't breathe..." (insert any of a myriad of physical ailments, real or perceived.)
  • "I don't know how to exercise" (or cook healthy, or shop for healthy foods...)
  • "It is too hard, I'd have to prepare different foods for my family..."
  • "It is too expensive to eat healthy and to work out"
  • "I don't belong to a gym/ I can't afford to join a gym"
  • "We are just so busy right now, I'll make time when ___" (fill in the blank)
  • "I don't want to be seen in public exercising because I'm ashamed of my body"
  • "I'm too fat to go to the gym"
  • "We're going on vacation (or to my parents) and I want to enjoy myself"
  • "I'm so busy at work and I'm so stressed...I just want to unwind when I get home"
  • "Food is the way I relax, it is how I socialize"
  • "I have given up so much, there isn't anything else I can give up"
  • "Summer is time for picnics, barbecues and beer"
Even when our justifications are accurate (which most of the time they aren't--at least not 100%) they are really just excuses to keep us from moving forward.

This is why it is helpful to look at the changes we make to achieve weight loss as small steps, not radical changes. It is so much easier to take one small step at a time. We can make all sorts of complex plans and set goals to lose 10 pounds a month, but if it is too big then it is such a challenge it seems overwhelming...and it is just easier to push it off and push it off, until finally the final straw happens that forces a change. Maybe that straw is that your body no longer functions and you have a serious illness (like my computer.) It is so much easier to make the changes when you can afford to take small steps, rather than forced complete overhaul.

When we make small changes the results aren't as fast and sexy...we may not have the shiny new computer appear on our desk in a day or a week...but they are much more likely to stick.

Think of the small changes like learning the new computer system so that we ultimately have this slick machine. Contrast that with a crash-course or crash diet, you may get some immediate results, but if I rebuild my computer and give it a fresh "coat of paint" it is still the same old machine that will need to be replaced soon.

Your body is an incredible, powerful, machine...just like a computer, only better! Don't wait until your computer crashes to take care of it! Start with the small maintenance items that you can do NOW and you will keep that machine running smoothly for years to come.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fat Feet

I've always had fat...ummm, "wide"...feet. My mom likes to blame it on herself. Not her genes mind you. She says it is her fault because she let me run around barefoot as a kid. Like every other child had her feet bound in the ancient, crippling, Chinese tradition!

I seriously doubt I ran around barefoot any longer or earlier than most American kids...earlier and longer than some, later and shorter than others. Certainly not as long as a lot of kids in Africa and I don't remember ever seeing a video that talked about their having extraordinarily wide feet.

Really the only reason having wide feet is an issue is when it comes to shoes. So maybe it isn't my fat feet that are a is just that somebody decided we should NOT run around barefoot and made us wear shoes. Of course my Nordic ancestors were tough...but they'd have to be to walk around in all that snow and ice without shoes, so I guess I get the point of footwear.

Becoming obese does not help our lots of ways. Of course there is the added pressure on them, so they hurt a lot. That alone is a good reason to drop a few pounds. But what a lot of people don't think about...mostly because the change is that our feet get fat, too. boards got wider simply because I was fat.

You may be wondering how wide could her feet be, and why is this an issue. If you are a typical American female your feet are somewhere in the A-C width range. C being considered "wide" by many shoe manufacturers. Kind of like a size 12 dress is considered "large".

At my peak weight my feet measured EEE in width. Well, actually they were poured into EEE shoes...but that was the widest I could get "off the shelf" and even then I could only find shoes at a specialty store...and if I found shoes for under $100 I was ecstatic. Looking down at my feet I noticed they closely resembled squares. I could literally get half the number of shoes in my closet or suitcase as anyone else I knew. I generally limited myself to 1 extra pair of shoes on trips...and they practically filled their own suitcase.

I used to really begrudge my feet. Like the rest of my body. I found fault with them--just because they were fat, **ahem**, wide. Truth is, my feet are built like the rest of me...strong, broad, stocky. My bones are bigger around than most people my height...and my muscles are, too. I don't think there is a single thing that is delicate about my body.

I'm not being critical when I say this now. God knows that wasn't always the case. I longed to have legs that rose to meet my armpits, dainty digits that looked good sporting rings, and muscles that were strong, long, and seemed to come from no where instead of my obvious bulk.

What made the difference? I had an adviser at one point who, upon hearing me regale him with my body woes for no doubt the millionth time told me my body gave me a "firm understanding" that was a blessing.

That really got me thinking...and it is true...this body has always been sturdy, solid and anything but an easy pushover.

That moment wasn't complete magic...I didn't start to love my body without reservation...but it was a start. It was the first time I began to accept that my body was okay, just as it was, and that being different was not the same as being bad.

Now that I have dropped over 125 pounds my feet are no longer fat. Sure, they are still ***wide*** but they are definitely not fat! In fact, my feet now measure E and EE width (one foot is significantly wider than the other...maybe I hopped barefoot too much. That darned hopscotch!) OK, it still isn't easy to get shoes for these least I never developed a shoe fetish or a love of high heels. And thank goodness there are asexual shoe styles, my saving grace.

My firm understanding is still there...more solid and strong than ever...and a lot less painful. My feet are a reminder of how far I've come...and I think, maybe I'm ready to bequeath my EEEs to someone who needs them. Any takers?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fat Rant

This video is about 8 minutes long...I found it provocative, humorous, enlightened...

The views expressed in the video are not necessarily shared by this blogger...but heck, enough of them are that it is worth a watch. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Honest Self-Appraisal or Self-Loathing?

I'm moved to write today in response to a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers, Karen Anderson. Like so many of us, she struggles with self-image and has been working on loving herself and her body...and then was shocked when seeing a recent photo of herself. Karen was also responding to another blogpost where a gal was reflecting back on her body and honestly appraising her physical situation, at least theoretically, without self-loathing.

You can read Karen's post here, and the other post here. Both are thought provoking and it is great to have all sorts of different perspectives. As I've often said, there is no one right answer that fits every body...

With that in mind, here are some of my thoughts from reading these provocative posts.

I agree that being honest about where you are is not the same as hating oneself, however using the word "fat" tends to come with so much emotional baggage that it can tip the scale into disgust or loathing even if it is also accurate. For that reason alone it may be appropriate to come up with new terminology without the existing connotations.

On the other hand, in our effort to reflect the "truth" or to be "honest" we can be hurtful to ourselves or to others.

If we find that we are larger than we “should” be, that we are eating more than our body needs in order to survive then it is possible that there is some reason behind eating more than you burn that is emotionally based. Once we figure that out and break those habits (physical and mindset patterns) it is much easier and natural to drop the excess weight. This doesn't mean some big traumatic event happened in your just means that we are eating for some reason other than actual physical hunger. We deserve to figure out what that is so we can move on to the healthy, energetic, slender bodies we deserve. Until we do, we are destined to ride the diet roller coaster, which is not a fun that literally can make you sick!

In the mean time we definitely deserve to look at our bodies and ourselves in a more loving way. Rather than looking at our saddlebags or acknowledging that our boobs are too big or parts of our bodies jiggle, we deserve to focus on our strengths and how well our bodies serve us.

Does that mean we might have moments when we are captured on film/tape/or in the mirror where we do not recognize our bodies? Sure...but do you recognize your voice when you hear it on the tape recorder or answering machine? Most of us do not because as our voices resonate around in our own heads we literally sound different. But people around us hear our voice and accept it as us without the criticism that we often place on it--even if our perception is "honest". The same is true for our bodies.

We may be shocked when we "objectively" see a photo of ourselves, but part of the reason we are surprised is we are used to seeing ourselves from specific angles, doing specific movements and in the mirror which reverses us. People around us see us for the animate, loving, moving, fully 3 dimensional people we are...and can accept us that way. Remember, photos are merely a snapshot of one split second. The unattractive shot of us sweating and grimacing is no more an accurate representation of what we look like and who we are than the perfectly coiffed and poised "glamour shot."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Mixing Up How I Move It to Lose It

This week has been hectic...but then if I'm being honest it seems like every week is hectic!

That means I have to make a conscious decision to move my body more and to set that as a priority...

In the past, it was easy for me to say I was "too busy" to exercise...or I was "too tired" because it had been a long day.

Because I have shifted my mindset for weight loss and now look at this as a health journey and that I deserve to have a healthy, energetic, slender body I know that I must make being more active a priority.

Really, this turns out to be a selfish thing...I just feel better when I move every day. Sure, some days I'm tired or it doesn't seem like I can fit it in...that is when a little creativity and determination come in. It is easy to get out of the habit if we don't make our health a priority.

So this week I committed to walking every night and doing at least 15 minutes in the morning. Every night I've gone for a nice long walk. By going with a friend who has a naturally quicker pace than I do it is easier for me to push this to a brisker, slightly-hard-to-breathe pace than my usual casual stroll! And one day this week I actually pushed her, which was a fun turn around!

Every night we drove to a different location for our walk. This gave us variety in the terrain and also in the views. One night we saw this incredibly beautiful, vibrantly colored bird that neither of us recognized. (Well, I recognize things like robins, herons, pelicans and not a whole lot more!) This inspired me to do a little research online...I found it...we say an Oriole...and since birding isn't my thing I have already forgotten which type of oriole it was! Oh well...I didn't know we had orioles here in Colorado, so I learned something and I am definitely on the lookout for it again!

Today I will be working in the yard most of the day, so my morning routine was just to stretch and get prepared. Tonight I might just have a casual stroll...again, to stretch out a bit...since I will have been digging and hauling for many hours during the day.

By having this variety...and even more...I keep it interesting and keep myself motivated. I make moving my body fun and therefore I keep at it! I love walking in the cool evening air and enjoying the sunset or dusk falling over the mountains. It is just one of my favorite times of the day. It also has the added benefit of getting me up off my chair (where I am most days since I work at a computer)...instead of moving from computer to couch and watching television, I am outdoors!

Pick a couple different places where you can walk (or ride your bike or whatever) can you get more variety into your activity? What fills you with awe or wonder or joy? What inspires you so you want to do it again? Those are the sorts of activities that, even if they aren't officially "exercise" can count...they get you moving your body, exchanging oxygen, and break you out of the rut of being at home or indoors.

I think I'm ready to tune up my bike and try that next week--how about you?