August 25, 2010

Stats Don't Lie

The year of 2010 has been all about fine tuning sooo many different parts, BIG parts of my life!

MY TIME ~ I want to be both productive AND to be enjoying myself, because life is just too short to merely endure, and because there is so much beauty that I don't want to miss. Finding that balance between doing and being without guilt, whoa, its been harder than I thought it would be!

MY WORK ~ embarking on the writer life and sharing a vitamin supplement that has literally turned my health around has been so stimulating, stretching and satisfying! With no place to go and no time I have to be there, this new life is both freeing and revealing. Talk about looking in the mirror.

MY MARRIAGE ~ just 3 years old last month, a gift to me that I never expected after my first marriage went south is something I'll always be fine tuning. I'm learning all over again what love is and what it isn't, what commitment really looks like and that when two people work together it's a beautiful thing!

And, of course MY BODY. There was a time when I could lose weight pretty easily. I'd just cut back and the pounds would melt off, but evidently those days are gone. My hormones aren't quite sure what they're doing right now, and everything is in a state of flux. The hypothyroidism plays tricks on me too, and there isn't much I can do about that I guess.

If you've been following this blog, you've heard me talk about my frustrations with my weight loss, everything from hiring a dietitian to following The Zone Diet to the latest two-a-day regimen (still working this one!). It isn't that I haven't put the work in, I have. But with my changing body and health challenges, its been a real balancing act to figure out how much is enough.

To say I've been disappointed in my investments and attempts would be an understatement. Probably the understatement of the year.

I don't blame the nutritionist nor The Zone, and not even my own once-thought-brilliant two-a-day attempt. They were/are all good pieces of the puzzle I can take with me as I keep moving forward. I also don't blame myself because, HONESTLY, I put the work in.

In fact, I stopped blaming anything or anyone for this predicament, and accepted that my body is in a very different place than it was even 10 years ago. It won't do the same things right now that it used to. I am not in the same body as I was in my 20's or 30's. This acceptance was actually a pretty giant step forward.

I don't know how many of my beautiful and brilliant readers are under or over the age of 40, but regardless, this post really is for everyone. If you are under, please know that your body will change as you age and it will be harder to take the same pounds off. Let that motivate you to stick with your plan while your metabolism is on your side.

And, if you are over, you already know this. To say we women over 40 are fine tuning our bodies and our weight loss programs would be another one of those massive understatements.

What is needed most, I think, is just the truth. Data. Personal data. What is MY body doing, what does MY body need?

So, in my quest for truth, I bit the bullet and bought the Bodybugg, one of those armband thingys, ya know the same device that the contestants on the Biggest Loser wear on their arm? With a more than 90% accurate rating for tracking an individuals calorie expenditure through the day, and a web program that offers everything a would-be successful weight-loser needs from tracking software to goal setting to helpful health information, it seemed like the truth I was looking for.

And so far it's working! Last week I lost 4.1 pounds, I'm more active and eating better, and the pounds are coming off. We'll see how it goes . . . we'll see if this is the thing that will work for me. So much of this battle is finding what works for us, isn't it?

I know that a lot of you don't use a device like this. I'm curious, how do you keep going when your body isn't cooperating? Do you ever feel like you're doing all the right things and yet the results are disappointing? What do you do when that happens? And have you ever hit a brick wall, knowing that you simply cannot give up but are also not sure what to do next? Please share. Your comments are always so helpful to me!

your stat-lovin' blogger/friend,

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

August 12, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

Did you know that song was The Beatles last #1 song in the U.S., and their real last single? Yep. I would love nothing more than for this 2010 journey to be my last trip to the Permanent Weight Loss Club, too.

Big SIGH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . But, this whole process of figuring out what works for my body and what doesn't really does have me maneuvering down a twisty, winding path this time around. Getting motivated to get started was a very large part of this fat battle, but staying motivated when my body doesn't work the way I expect or want it to is a pretty big part too.

My two-a day workout plan has not quite worked out how I hoped it would. :-/ I really thought it was realistic, and that's why I committed myself to it and posted it for all to see. Now I see that some adjustments are needed, but I know it's not the end of the world. There was a time when I'd just feel so defeated at this point that I'd give up and go into hiding. THAT'S not going to happen this time.

I will confess that prior to starting this two-a-day plan (as seen on the right sidebar), I was NOT  working out every day or even 5 times a week. But, as I often say to myself when making my new goals:

"How hard could it be?" 

That attitude has pushed me out of my comfort zone many times with some pretty great results, but it wasn't to be this time. For two weeks I did meet my goal of 5 days a week, twice a day with time increasing incrementally. So, yay for that!

The other great thing was that I dropped some weight, about 4 pounds! So, I think this old girl's metabolism was forced to do more, and that's a very good thing. Another yay for that!

I'm also making an appointment with my doctor to discuss going off my blood pressure meds! Yes, that's right, my blood pressure over these last two weeks has dropped dramatically. This is really big and wonderful news! Have to see what he says, but I am very hopeful.

What I didn't count on, tho, with my two-a-day schedule was being totally exhausted. I was so wiped out. I couldn't decide if it was the heat or if I was pushing too hard or if maybe I wasn't eating enough, but I was not waking up in the morning fact, my mornings ended being a total waste because I just could not get moving. I didn't increase my calorie intake, so if my metabolism was indeed fired up, I may need to eat some of my exercise calories to make it through.

So anyway, I listened to my body and gave it what it was screaming for: REST. I took several days off, and now I'm feeling back to normal. I hopped back on the bike today and the 25 minute workout felt fabulous...all sweaty just like it should be! I'm still not sure how to adjust the two-a-day plan except to say that I may need to get some longer, more consistent workouts under my belt before I move to two-a-days. My 25 minute week just didn't happen. :(

So, for this week, I'm playing it by ear. Will attempt a couple of two-a-days and see how it goes and report back to you next week. Feel free to ask me about it if you don't see a post about it soon, ok? How's that for accountability?

I'm wondering, what happens to you when you set a goal and miss the mark? Is it easy for you to evaluate, adjust and move forward or do you get stuck, stall out or quit?


August 2, 2010

Four Easy Steps To A New Life!

The morning after I got my You-Are-Officially-Laid-Off notice from my job, I will admit I felt a little lost. For 5 1/2 years I had gotten up and done the same thing every morning and now, now not only did I not have a job to do, I also didn't have a place to go . . . except my dining room table to eat a slow breakfast, linger over my coffee and meander on over to my computer in my jammies.

Sounds like a dream come true, right? A 2-minute commute in your pajamas? Well, yes and no.

Yes, because who doesn't dream about working in their pajamas? And no, because I hadn't had any time to prepare, really prepare for this moment.

So, I didn't know what to do. And, every day for the next several months I asked myself "How do I do this, what's next, just how do I go about reinventing myself this time?"

This isn't the first time I found myself in this predicament. Like a lot of women who move through the phases of their life, I had several little new beginnings, i.e. having a baby, going back to work after the baby, graduations, etc.

The biggest, most significant start-over I faced, however, was right after my divorce . . . learning all over again how to support myself and now my kids, going it alone in a very couple-oriented place, creating a new normal for me and the kids and eventually moving on with my own personal life...pretty momentous.

And, this lay off, well, it was kind of the same way as the divorce in how life-changing it would become. But, this time instead of facing the next few years with an I-wonder-if-I-can-do-this feeling, I saw a real adventure coming around the corner.

The adventure didn't start that first day at my computer in my pajamas, tho. I had spent time over several years asking myself some questions.

Cheryl, do you love going to work?

Do you truly enjoy what you do with your evenings?

Are you moving closer to your life goals?

Are you living your values?

When you lay your head on the pillow at night, 
do you feel full and satisfied with life?

For most of life, we often just do what we have to do and I was no different. I didn't want to work full time and leave the kids in daycare or to fend for themselves after school, but the budget demanded it.

But now, here I was, at a place in my life where I could do just about anything I wanted to do. Funny thing, tho, what exactly did I want?! It wasn't until I was laid off that I realized I . . .

Here's what I did. It's very simple, but it worked for me.

Step one:  Think of just one thing in your life that you want to change/do. Your one thing can't be to change someone else, it has to be something you have some measure of control over. And, it should be something challenging, something you haven't been able to accomplish yet.

Step two:  Write your one thing down on a piece of paper. Use a sheet of paper that is big enough to add to.

Step three:  Tape up your piece of paper in a place where you will see it regularly.

Step four:  Make it your goal every week to add an idea under your goal of something simple you can do to move closer to what you want, and do it!

You don't have to wait til you are laid off like I did to start this. It's doable no matter what your circumstance. Its all about baby steps. :)

Once I had this simple structure in place, the ideas started to flow. But, something else interesting also began to happen. I noticed that as I disciplined myself to think about my one thing every week, to do something to move toward it on a consistent basis, my life was not only changing in baby steps, but so was I! While I wasn't looking, I was becoming a new woman, inside AND out. I really hadn't counted on that.

So, what one thing would you like to change in your life? Maybe it has to do with your body and/or health, like me. Whatever it is, commit to sharing your one thing with someone significant in your life, and if you are comfortable doing so, share in the comments or via an email to me at {cherylwrites at gmail dot com}.

Whomever you share with just telling another person is often enough to set some things in motion in your heart to spur you on and get the ball rolling!


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons: