October 28, 2010

I Need Balance

Fall seems to be an insanely busy time for lots of people! I've got it going on here too with a new business launch and taking my blog to the next level. I was really hoping that these two things would not collide as they have, but here they are walking hand in hand, competing and demanding time and attention. :-) Sigh.

That, to say that I haven't been spending the same amount of time riding my bike or watching my diet as I was a month ago. I haven't fallen off the wagon, nothing drastic, but my time has been totally consumed with learning so many new technical things and connecting with people who are on a similar journey. It's been a blast, and I wouldn't trade any of it away. But, my numbers on the scale are more than a little disappointing, so I think its time to take a step back and figure out how to bring some balance back in.

Does anyone else struggle, seemingly endlessly, over keeping a balance in life?

I was reading this morning over at Sean Wilson's blog and Ryan Sullivan's blog about how both these guys are busy and passionate about life and family and all the reasons they pursued a healthy lifestyle to begin with. Lack of hyper focus isn't a bad thing, it's actually a sign of a good thing. Good reads, check 'em out if you have time.

So, I see that I'm not alone, and I find myself able to cut myself some slack while being keenly aware that my health and fitness goals and passions, still ever present, need and deserve a bit more attention than I've given lately. The last thing I want is to find success in these other areas only to see that I don't have the energy to sustain them because my foundation fell apart.

Being both a participant and an encourager in the weight loss community, I've observed that incorporating real life into our weight loss journey is essential to long term success. We all think it might be nice to be on the Biggest Loser ranch and be able to totally devote ourselves to our weight loss goals, but I'm seriously beginning to question the wisdom in that.

Maybe a better way or another way to put it is that incorporating weight loss into our life journey is essential to long term success...point is, losing weight is not an end to itself. Gets back to the why....why is it that I do what I do every single day? Piercing question sometimes.

The truth is I do the healthy habit thing because I want and need to be healthy and strong to make a difference, to contribute to the lives of other people, to love well and give generously. I don't want to waste my life away in front of the television because I'm not strong enough to do anything else.

I read because there are just so many things to learn, so many perspectives I've never thought of before, so many beautiful thoughts and ideas to consider!

I write morning pages and blogs and books and in journals because it helps me be connected to myself, to see myself as I really am instead of who I wish I was or who anyone else says I am.

I do it all because this is how I want to live, and being physically, mentally and emotionally fit are just not negotiable.

But, balance....ahhh, its like a slip 'n slide for me.

So, how do you guys keep all the important things in your life in balance?  How do you keep all the balls up in the air without dropping any of them completely? And do you think it's okay to just take one ball, as important as it is, and include it in the rotation a bit less while spinning the other balls fast and furious?

thinking it through,

Photo courtesy of creative commons

October 21, 2010

Are You Serious?

You have brains in your head
and feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own
and you know what you know
And you are the one
who'll decide where to go.
-Dr. Seuss

If you could do just one simple 5-10 minute thing every day that would exponentially increase your chances of getting to where you are going, what would you say?

Umm, yes please!

I am personally involved in doing this, not just for my weight loss and fitness goals, but for my family relationships, my business and for my involvement in the community. And, it works!

It requires only three things:
  1. A pen
  2. A piece of paper (or computer)
  3. Commitment (i.e. being really, really serious)
So, nobody is left out here. I can do this. YOU can do this. Anyone can do this if they want it bad enough.

Here it is. Nothing extravagant or even terribly original, just very simple and extremely effective:

Every night before going to bed,
make a list of the 5 tasks
you will do tomorrow.

That's it. The guiding factor is that you will not go to bed the next night until those 5 things are done. Think of it as your priority list. It doesn't mean this is ALL you will do tomorrow...it's just what you MUST do tomorrow if you honestly, truly want what you say you want. Not that hard. It's the small, consistent actions that all add up to realizing your DREAM!

You will soon find, even if you are not a list maker, that the sense of accomplishment you get will provide the momentum you need to reach for bigger and better things! And, when the going gets tough, you will dig deeper and find a way to accomplish these things. The road to success is not easy, but it is simple . . . it's taking action every single day. Every. Single. Day.

There is something about getting up in the morning and knowing exactly what you are going to do that sets the wheels of success in motion! But, if you find that your 5 are easily set aside for an immediate or short-term pleasure, here's what you do next. Yes, it can be a little scary, but if you're serious about what you want, this works:

Examine your why.

Sometimes we want things for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons. Only you can determine that for yourself, and it takes raw honesty with yourself. If you want to get past all your false starts toward changing something or reaching a goal, you have to get brutally honest about where you are now, where you want to be and why.

Because if your why isn't strong enough,
it just ain't gonna happen.
No if's, and's or but's about it.

Have a little fun with this by making yourself a vision board!  Gather pictures from books, magazines, photos, etc., little representations of your goals. There are tons of helps for this online and you can get very creative or just go really simple. Here are a couple of links to get you started:

Dream Board: Envision Your Best Life

How to Create Your First Dream Board

When your dream board is done, place it in a prominent place where you will see it . . . above your desk, in the bathroom, by the fridge, you decide.

With a daily visual of why you do what you do every day, and your list of 5 things to do today, you will rock your day....day after day after day!!

Are you a list maker? Do you have a dream/vision board? How have these things helped you to stay in touch with your goals and even better, reach them!? Do tell!

Dreaming with you,

P.S. The links provided above are not an endorsement of those websites nor any philosophies represented there. The links are included to give examples of and help for creating your own dream or vision board only.

October 14, 2010

Counting Calories the Bodybugg Way

Calories can be burned by the hundreds 
by engaging in strenuous activities
that do not require physical exercise.

Beating around the bush.................75
Jumping to conclusions.................100
Climbing the walls.....................150
Swallowing your pride...................50
Passing the buck........................25
Throwing your weight around (depending on your weight)...50-300
Dragging your heels....................100
Pushing your luck......................250
Making mountains out of molehills......500
Hitting the nail on the head............50
Wading through paperwork...............300
Bending over backwards..................75
Jumping on the bandwagon...............200
Balancing the books.....................25
Running around in circles..............350
Eating crow............................225
Tooting your own horn...................25
Climbing the ladder of success.........750
Pulling out the stops...................75
Adding fuel to the fire................160
Wrapping it up at the day's end.........12
Opening a can of worms .................50
Putting your foot in your mouth........300
Starting the ball rolling...............90
Going over the edge.....................25
Picking up the pieces after............350

Funny how topics seem to naturally circulate in the blog world...lately I've been seeing a lot about the value VS. the insanity of being a calorie counter as a means to lose and maintain weight. Turns out I've got a little something to add to the chatter.

I'm a proud owner and wearer of the Bodybugg, the armband device that got its fame from the very popular reality TV show, The Biggest Loser. The thing is, I never used to count calories before the year 2010....NEVER. For periods of time I counted points through Weight Watchers, I counted fat grams through Susan Powter's program, and also counted carbs through programs such as Atkins and South Beach. But, never calories.

So, why did I spend the money on a Bodybugg?

Here's why. This year I slammed up against a very big wall when my stubborn body refused to do what it had always done when I attempted weight loss. . . lose weight! For 8 months I was patient and consistent, but I got the feeling that I just didn't have the data I needed to make wise choices with my food. How many calories was I really burning?  It doesn't really matter what diet you follow or how intuitively you eat, calories in and calories out need to be understood and respected so that wise choices can be made.

So, I invested in a Bodybugg, and as soon as it came, I programmed it, got my account set up, and strapped it on my left arm.

And, something seemed to magically happen. No, I didn't lose 10 pounds in a week or anything crazy like that. But, I now had an awareness, the feeling that a set of objective, nonjudgmental eyes were watching me, what I ate, how much I ate, and how much I moved my booty. Not like in a food nazi sort of way....just this keen awareness, ever present reminder of the goals I put in front of me on 1/1/10. From the first day, I LOVED it!

Since that first day on August 15, I have lost a total 19.1#, which is an average of about 2.5# a week! It works, and I happily recommend it to you guys. 

To be clear . . . I am NOT recommending obsessive calorie counting or addictive scale dependence. If you are tied to a number on the scale or constantly thinking about calories all day long, well, that's like trading one addiction (food) for another.

I don't know about you, but I want to be free of all that, live my life pursuing my goals, living my dreams and not take up brain space or spend valuable energy being anally retentive over a measurement of energy!

I don't mean to offend anyone who is being successful losing weight counting calories. Yes, counting those little buggers and controlling how many you put in your body may help you lose. But, eventually, I think we all want to just be free, to have the knowledge and tools we need internalized, and get on with our lives.

Losing weight is about
not our food.
We can't make the food behave, 
but we can change the way 
we behave around it.

And, it's work! It takes courage to face why we behave so badly! But, if you are ready to:
  1. Do the work;
  2. Journey through the ebb and flow of motivation and discouragement;
  3. Learn how to plow through plateaus;
  4. And know all the while & BE HAPPY with the fact that you are being good to yourself & kind to your body;
 ...and you need access to the hard data like I did, the Bodybugg might just be for you.

If you wanna learn more about the Bodybugg, just click on the link. Warning: its a bit pricey, going for $175 which includes the armband and a 6 month subscription to the web-based program that you need to use it. But, the device is state-of-the-art and considered to be THE most accurate calorie management technology available other than what you'd get from a medical facility.

That's it for this week...and, oh, I wasn't paid nor did I receive any other kind of compensation for this review. I don't work for Apex Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness. I just own a Bodybugg, use it, and want to pass on what I've learned. The views expressed here are my own, and cannot be bought or sold.

love you guys,

October 7, 2010

Morning Pages

Dreams. Goals. Plans. I sat on my couch this morning, holding my coffee cup, thinking about my life and how utterly happy I am right now. Ever have those moments of reflection when it seems that everything is just as it should be....and even get a little misty eyed as the thoughts pervade?  That was me this morning.

I've also experienced just the opposite sort of days...clutching my coffee cup, feeling like I cannot muddle my way out of my own head enough to make any progress toward my goals. Confusion leads to frustration which leads to fragmented thinking until a good ole' dose of overwhelm begins to set in. And, I don't know about you, but I don't do too well when the overwhelm switch is thrown...I tend to just shut down, withdraw, freeze. And, horrors, sometimes eat.

I want more of the first kind of day, don't you?

A few years ago I did find something that helps every single time when the ugly scenario above begins to play out. It's called "Morning Pages," the brainchild of Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, The Right to Write and many, many more excellent books.

Julia Cameron knows what she's talking about. She's been helping creative types discover and sometimes rediscover their creativity through her classes, and one of the primary tools that she employs is morning pages.

So, what's morning pages? Here's the jist: every morning write three pages long-hand. Just write. No form required, punctuation is optional, spelling never an issue. No outlines, paragraphs, Strunk & White not welcome at this early morning party. Stream of consciousness if you will. And, nobody has to see it but you.

Write what you're thinking, feeling, struggling with, what you want to do, what you have to do, how you feel about it, your weight loss journey, your progress, lack of progress. It could be a prayer to God, words you wanna say to your SO, words you wanna have with your DH. Point is, you write....anything in the world. Just write. Three. Pages.

That shouldn't be hard for us bloggers. Seriously. So easy. But, I warn you...it requires a brutal honesty with yourself if you want it to work.

I learned of this beautiful practice a few years ago in a creative writing class, and in a very Cherylish sort of way (I didn't say childish), questioned the how of it. With all due respect, I told the instructor that I simply could NOT do this long hand, would have to be on the 'puter. She just smiled. I was looking for a debate, wanted her to defend this archaic notion of long-handedness. What I got, tho was just a gentle nudge, suggesting I should just try it. So Julia Cameronish. Sigh.

Anyway, I picked back up my Morning Pages a few days ago. Gotta say . . . it works. Every. Time. No. Kidding.

After writing my three pages, I somehow could think more clearly to make my to-do list. My mind was naturally able to prioritize my day. Ideas started popping like popcorn, confusion faded into clarity, dreams sparkled in the morning light, and plans on how to realize those dreams came floating right on into my brain. Was I ready for the day? You bet I was. And this only took like 20 minutes.

Is there anything else you can do for 20 minutes that offers you that? I can't tell you the science behind why it works. I just know that it does.

I encourage you to try Morning Pages for yourself. If you wanna learn more about it, check out Julia Cameron's website The Artist's Way. I promise you will not be sorry. Because, face it, the weight loss journey can be really really tough and overwhelming sometimes. I think this little, simple tool will help a lot of us keep on keeping on.

Are you familiar with morning pages? If not, are you willing to give it a try, say for a week? If you are familiar, have you practiced it and what were your personal results?

Keep moving forward,

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons