A post I read earlier this week at Riley Quinn’s blog spoke to me big-time. Riley very candidly and bravely discussed putting herself out there and being accountable for her weight. I’m pear-shaped and, since childhood, have struggled with the yo-yo thing, too. My pattern includes losing weight and keeping it off until some inciting incident comes along that throws my routine off completely (i.e, my father getting sick, getting pregnant, a small house fire that led to 10 weeks of hotel living and eating out almost every night). Next thing I know, I’m well beyond where I started out. Age doesn’t help (even if I, just like my favorite Fran Fine–The Nanny–can’t seem to age past 29 :)), and every time it’s that much harder to start on the road to loss AGAIN.
So there I am leaving a comment at Riley’s blog. Of course, I got long-winded—me?—and realized I had a post of my own on hand. And since the subject matter ties in nicely with my last post, I figured, why not share what’s been working for me—barring any inciting incidents—ptooey, ptooey! Far from here! The best part is, my current mindset is part of a process that started as a coincidence.
Y’all know I like to get up early and of my obsession with tennis and my current favorite, Rafa Nadal (currently the world’s Number One, thank you very much). Well, last January (2009), I happened on early morning coverage of the Australian Open. Being the restless, multi-tasking sort that I am, I exercised as I watched and continued to do so as the next program started, Kiana Tom’s Flex Appeal.
What do you know? Kiana teaches easy weight-lifting/exercise routines targeted at being done home w/a minimum of equipment. I began watching at least three times/week and incorporating her moves into a routine of my own. I also made sure to include lunges—so incredibly effective when done right—and some abdominal work. With two sets of hand weights (3- and 4-lb each), four 1-lb wrist/ankle weights, an inclined surfaced (old aerobic stepper propped up at one end with 3-inch-high garden bricks) and regular walking (up to 4x/week, up and down hills while wearing shape-up type shoes) I have changed my body proportions enough to have created much more of a balance between my shoulders and my hips (i.e., I’ve the former are a bit bigger and the latter somewhat smaller). As I stated before, I’ll never be thin, but guess what? Those little efforts and short workouts added up! I’m still shy of my goal weight but figure I’m at least twenty pounds closer than I was before Kiana and I hooked up.
Let’s get one more confession out there: exercise is NOT my favorite thing. When I’m in the groove I don’t mind it and even enjoy it (among the reasons I try very hard to keep the routine). Having a background in anatomy helps; visualizing exactly how a given muscle works increases the effectiveness of the movement. I also look forward to a monthly five-day break, though I often think of female athletes and having to play regardless of where they are in their cycles. Another HUGE plus I recently realized (nothing new or earth-shattering to those who body-build or work out regularly): more muscle mass equals better metabolism equals I can eat those no-no foods (in moderation) more often and not worry about it (overmuch).
How do I stay (or get) motivated on any given day? Most of the time, I’m doomed if I don’t get my exercise out of the way first thing. Once the family is up or it’s time for kids to get ready for school, I get distracted and there goes that window of time, especially on a school day when I get to go to work for pay. I have found ways around that. Since I’m too restless anyway, if it’s during my favorite Dancing with the Stars season, I’ll work out while watching the show. (I’ll save my filing for that time too—aren’t I great at relaxing?)
I’ve also broken up my workout into shorter segments and spread them over two mornings instead of one. (A plus to that is getting your metabolism moving more often.) Last January I started out with about twenty minutes. As strength and endurance improved, I started adding some different moves to my routine but ended up doubling the amount of time I needed. Breaking up the workout has worked well so far.
I’ve had to find a way around setbacks. A recent fall has literally grounded me from my weight routine for close to three weeks now. (Those darn shape-up shoes can catch the concrete when one doesn’t lift the foot high enough to clear the ground—think I bruised a rib and even had trouble breathing for a week.) I consider that an ‘inciting incident’ that can mess with my dearly-protected routine. I’ve chosen to forego the weights until the pain is completely gone, but try to do two walks a day—even shorter ones—to compensate. (Hey! There’s that metabolism part again!)
Today’s final thought: everyone struggles with something. At some totally unexpected point though, expect to hear something that will stick with you and either get (or keep) you on your way.
Two quick point illustrations: my husband the heart patient smoked for most of his life, including close to six years after a six-bypass open-heart surgery and at least four follow-up procedures since then. The morning of his most recent procedure (March of this year), someone from the quit-smoking department showed. His line to hubby worked a miracle: “You’ve smoked every cigarette you’ve been allotted in your lifetime.” Don’t ask me why that worked. August 25 marks his FIFTH smoke-free month :)!
My magic line came outside the school doors while chatting with another mom, a runner. Her husband had to be out the door and off to work by 6:30 AM. “I put my sneakers next to the bed at night. My feet were in my shoes before my eyes were open.” Five years ago I heard that. I can still hear her say it and it still works! (Thanks, MC!)
Anyway, I have more to share but I’ll leave it at this for now and post the rest tomorrow. (See what you started, Riley?)
Thanks for reading my ramblings. What motivates or works for you? Open up a discussion of your own and we’ll pick it up tomorrow!
Have a great day,