Sunday, March 29, 2015

Last On First Off Frustration

badge image 

Before I start right in on the frustration, I'll share some great news! A penguin has nothing on me! I just earned my PENGUIN MARCH BADGE for walking 70 miles since starting my Fitbit trek on March 12th! Just another love note from my new B.F.F.  At first I wondered if it was really a celebration of the distance or if the fitbit had been sending covert aerial views of my walking style and I was being taunted for waddling 10,000 steps daily - turns out my fears were for naught. It was a pat on the flipper for a job well done!

10,000 step days is the new normal for me with under being the exception. Yesterday, I was once again denied the happy dance by a mere 20 steps. I was visiting another time zone and the day changed an hour earlier than my home time. It was disappointing but sanely disappointing this time. (I knew I went well over 10,000 steps and this time I didn't whine about not getting my light show. (We penguins have evolved past such superficiality!)

SO - about this last on first off situation - it is an unfortunate truth that weight comes off first from the places we last gained it. Therefore, even though I'm starting to see the results of my efforts, instead of the much anticipated relief for my jeans, I'm sporting some super trim earlobes and my fingers, toes, wrists and ankles are showing signs of progress. And this is why I usually get frustrated and give up. I mean come on, do earrings or socks really appreciate the difference? No! And when the places you most want to see improvements lag behind the ones that matter least, it does get discouraging - thus the give it up and soothe myself in the silky arms of chocolate. THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT!

I can't explain how I know this - but I do. It's time. I'm ready, and doggone this accountability and encouragement of my effort is making a huge difference in my attitude. I know that no matter what the scale or jeans indicate from one day to the next, each step is making a difference that will contribute to the final outcome. It's happening. Every day takes me closer than I was the day before to my final destination - as long as I take the steps (literally and figuratively) that lead in the direction I want to go.

Progress not perfection people! One axe strike at at time will fall the tallest tree eventually. One foot in front of the other will see me growing fitter day by day.

When I love myself, I change. I'm changing. It works! Try it. You'll love it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mirror Mirror On The Wall...

 ...What the heck happened?

Yes, I actually had that sign above my bathroom mirror for a few months. Then one day, I decided it was NOT helpful and chucked it into the closet with the skinny jeans that were also not helpful! However -

Inertia has shifted! Instead of an object at rest that stays at rest, I've become an object in motion that's staying in motion. Who knew all I needed to drastically alter my behavior was constant accountability? ME! That's why I avoided it at all costs. Here's the part I HATE to admit: IT'S WORKING! I'm down 2.5 pounds so far (in under 2 weeks) and except for needing WD-40 injections (picture tin man here) into my complaining joints, it's becoming easier each day to clock more activity.

Still not tracking my sleep. A friend told me that when she started tracking her sleep and found out how lousy her sleep quality was that she felt more tired instantly. Knowing myself as I do, I dare not give my mind that kind of food for fodder. It'll have me walking into walls!

Lot's of strange things are afoot since falling in love with my fitbit. In the past week my television watching has dropped to dangerously low levels, I've clocked 25,000 steps in the last 2 days, (more steps than I'd guess I clocked in all of 2014,) my water consumption is at peak volume, (even though I forget to record it) and I'm eating "real" food instead of the imitation stuff that's marketed as the genuine article.

I haven't tried to give up TV. I've just been busy moving and doing moving things. Just plopping down to sit mindlessly isn't as appealing as it was when I was a stalactite.

A few of the other reunion goers have hopped on board and we're keeping each other honest. (As in, I "honestly" think it would be easier to make a "let"s all stay fat pact" than a "let"s all get fit pact" -  and why didn't I think of that sooner?)

I finally had to admit to myself today that this is about so much more than getting gorgeous for this reunion. (I could clock a million miles a day, be completely fit and STILL not look like I did in my teens. How horrible is THAT?) This is actually more about being around and able to attend the next reunion 10 years from now and still feel well enough to enjoy it.

So, all in all, coming up to the end of the first two weeks of this "loving myself" experiment, I have to say if feels pretty doggone good! Anyone else want to jump in the water with us? I promise not to post swimsuit pics online!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

You Win Some, You Lose Some...

 Science Finds Nothing Manlier Than Chopping Wood

...And some you sit out!

It's been 10 days of behaving myself and I'm still not sleek! What gives with that?

That may sound silly, but that really is my usual approach to weight loss and fitness. Patience is not on my short list of virtues when giving up brownies is involved. I diet for a day, check the results, find none to speak of and say "Well that was useless!"

This time I'm trying to take a different approach. I'm remembering the "tree chopping" analogy. When chopping down a tree, in the beginning each blow with the axe seems futile and little progress is visible. It would be easy to believe it's useless and give up. If that were true nary a tree would ever have fallen! (Leave chain saws out of this! It's my story and I'm telling it my way!)

Anyway, it's easy to think the last blow with the axe before the tree falls was THE ONE that made the difference. Truth is, it started with the first and every blow after it was just as important as the last one.

SO, I'd been plugging along - reaching my 10,000 steps each day, enjoying the party on my wrist and feeling pretty darned good about myself then BAM!  - I ran smack into a brick wall yesterday. (Lets pretend the brick wall wasn't sleep deprivation because I'd stayed up till 2:30 in the morning. That way we can also pretend I was blameless.) 

I dragged myself through the day and by evening I'd only racked up a small percentage of my goal steps.

Enter evil idea. At a farewell get together for some moving friends, I noticed the enviable energy of a certain 4 year old girl. Suddenly it struck me that if I had her wear a certain cute little "ankle bracelet" while she was running around, and asked her to return it to me when it lit up, my dashboard would be none the wiser!  

My legs and feet loved the idea. My hips and thighs jiggled with joy. My heart, however, was having none of it . Bewildered, I headed home to do what I could on my own (cursing my party pooping heart the whole way.)

I danced, walked laps around my house, ran in place, and finally managed to get over 8000 steps before collapsing in a heap. Sad news - I didn't get the light show. (And we all know how much THAT means to me!) The happy news is that my new "fail" is 8000 steps instead of the maybe 16 steps a day I took before the fitbit.

MORAL OF THE STORY: SLEEP Even the woodcutter has to stop to sharpen his axe. Also, keep things in perspective. I'll take a 8000 step fail once in awhile. It wasn't my biggest axe swing, but it still counts.

MORAL OF THE STORY PART 2: Buy a chainsaw already!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Didn't Want To Love You!

Oh Fitbit! Why did you make me love you?

If you've been following along, you know that I've embarked on a new relationship. A love/hate relationship as many relationships are wont to be.

This affair however is with a device! You can see how reluctant I've been. How my trust issues and past experience have colored my ability to really invest my heart quickly and easily and how easy it is to squash that trust by following these links.

Now I'm afraid, despite my best efforts, I've fallen - fallen head over heels (especially heels). 

Dear Fitbit,

I fought a good fight. I pushed you away. I really really didn't want to like you - and never wanted to LOVE you but you've chiseled away at my resolve and finally, you've prevailed.

Maybe asking for my weight and being pushy up front really was because you cared and not because you were assessing my worthiness. Perhaps setting ridiculous standards (10,000 steps for a couch potato? Come ON!)  was actually for my benefit and not because you were setting me up to fail.

Could it be that you knew how important it was for me to change? What was your first clue? Was it the fact that I considered typing an aerobic activity or that I'd come to believe that chocolate was honesty the best and only true source of Omega 3's? 

Never mind all that. Let me tell you how you won my heart. You were there. Boy were you there! Every second of every day - except at bedtime because I'm still not convinced you won't post drooling pics online whilst I sleep. You paid attention. You tracked my steps one by one (except that time you cheated me mercilessly at the grocery store just for pushing a cart! No bitterness here.) You encouraged me. You sent me love letters as goals were met supporting my progress.

Most of all you recognized me. Not in that "drag me up in front of a crowd and embarrass me" kind of way that you know makes me uncomfortable, but by throwing a private little celebration just between the two of us on my wrist - complete with rhythm and a light show!

It's become impossible to resist your charm. You'll find I'm a loyal companion. I probably won't even be able to upgrade to a better model of you without wearing both of you because it would seem like cheating after all you've done for me already.

I'd love to go on and on but I'm only at 6000 miles for the day and I don't want to risk missing our 10,000 step celebration later this evening so I'll close for now but thank you for helping me move - even if it's still a bit out of guilt and perfectionism. I'm sure my heart and waistline aren't concerned so much with why as long as I just do it!



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why You Little...


Where I live we have grocery stores called Meijers that are the size of a small town. When the first one opened near where I lived years ago I called it Meijers, IL. I used to joke that to shop there required a compass, hiking gear and a packed lunch. Meijers took care of the packed lunch issue by opening a SubWay inside the store to keep shoppers from fainting from want of food.

SO! Yesterday, Fitbit strapped on, I planned to really crank some serious step totals and get bonus points for doing the loathsome job of hunting food to bring back to the cave. I walked from one end to the other basking in the glorious boost I was racking up in steps  - but nooooo!  Fitbit decided that since my arms weren't moving (pushing a cart) none of those steps counted!

My husband tried his best to console me with "Well, you know you've added at least xxx steps so it doesn't really matter what the registered count is." 


It matters because now I have to do all those steps over again because if I don't, the little gizmo won't do it's celebratory light show and vibratory dance! It matters because somewhere deep in my psyche I need that validation. (Something horrible must have happened to me during the birthing process or potty training!)

It matters because I'M NUTS! The perfectionist in me just can't let it go. All of my newly proclaimed self compassion and understanding got thrown completely under a bus and run over by a perfectionism. Mind you - this all happened the very day I wrote a note to a friend telling her to stop being so hard on herself that she was already perfect and getting better. AGH!


Yes, it's sick, but redid those steps. I had my happy dance light show and yes I did get my much needed satisfaction from it. The deeper question for me is WHY on earth do I need that?

Anyone know a good shrink?

Monday, March 16, 2015

When I Love Myself I Change


My friend Jim has lost a multitude of pounds and made a lot of positive changes in his life this past year. I was so impressed that on our last visit I wanted to hear ALL about it. It turns out it was simple. Jim started loving himself.

Simply by having compassion and loving himself after trial, fail and retrial, Jim was able to change his whole life! WHAT A CONCEPT! Imagine what could happen if we gave ourselves the same courtesy that we extend to others. (At least to their faces!) 

After much deliberations, I've decided that (reunion or not,) I want what Jim's found! 

I want to learn to love myself. That is not something I've ever done before. I've spent a lifetime loving other people and hope to spend the rest of my life in the same way, but it's about time I add myself to the list .

To that end, I strapped on the fitbit gadget. (More about my adventures with that here!) I thought I'd just go about my normal activities and establish a baseline from which to move ahead. Reasonable - right? (NO! I was NOT procrastinating getting started! Why would you even think that?)

Immediately I ran into problems. I found the accountability too much and actually found myself doing MORE than usual to earn my first "badge."  The normal goal is 10,000 steps a day but like a Pavlovian pooch I decided I had to at least get to 5000 in order to earn the initial "gimme" credit. 

What does it say about me that I need to impress a rubber wristband with a chip inside it that's probably spying on me? I'll leave that to greater minds.

I did meet the 5000 step requirement, but not because I'd usually walk 5000 steps in a day. It was the pressure! That constant nagging of wanting that darned reward just wouldn't leave me alone!

Did I take the gadget to bed with me to monitor my sleep? NOPE. We'll see if that ever happens. If my mirror ever gives me reason to doubt how well I did or didn't sleep, I may reconsider.

I'm actually on day 4 today. I've beaten the 5000 each day and even passed 10,000 once and here's what I've found:

This LOVING MYSELF STUFF FEELS GOOD! Not getting fit to impress the reunion crowd turned out to be a great relief. Getting fit because I love myself to some degree now and want to expand that love is a much better place to come from.

AND: It's amazing how many steps a person can take in a day by just going about their daily activities and not being a slacker. (Slacker = "Honey, as long as you're headed out to the garage, will you take these recyclables with you?") 

I'm also finding that I'm sleeping better (according to the mirror at least.) I generally feel better about the fact that I'm doing something for myself. Looks like other people are having the same results! I came across an article today titled: 10,000 Steps A Day Changed My Life. 

No matter what the reason, getting fit just makes sense. It opens up everything to more enjoyment because of the expanded energy available.

Come On! Join me. It's always more fun doing it with someone who actually breathes! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It Knows When You Are Sleeping...


After everything I've been through, the last thing I'm going to apologize for is my paranoia. - Richard Finney

My ??th reunion is coming up in August. (No way I'm dishing on that number! I might as well just tell you how much I weigh!) Time is getting short and I have to at least resemble my Facebook photos by then. AGH!! 

I recently read an article that rates activity level based on the number of steps taken each day. Since I registered somewhere between a sloth and a stalactite I knew if I was to get in shape it meant more activity. Since they don't count key strokes or aerobic snacking it looked like changes were inevitable.

To that end I decided I needed the one thing I hate more than anything else in the world - accountability!  Enter the fitbit.

As you may or may not be aware, there are a lot of varieties of these gadgets and they increase in features as the price goes up. After checking them out and discovering that even the high end one still does not do windows or laundry I opted for the basic model (the flex).

I brought it home one day but waited till the end of the next to set it up. (I told you I hate accountability so I procrastinated.) Besides, it asks such intimate questions as your weight! I felt that was pretty forward for a device I'd just met.

During our "get to know each other" phase it came to my attention that this little critter can monitor my sleep patterns and report each morning how much rest I'm actually getting for my hours in the sack. Funny - I thought my mirror was doing a fine job of letting me know but this is the electronic age.

Now MOST people might think - that's AWESOME! Just a little more bang for their buck. I am not most people so of course I instantly became suspicious. I think it's creepy enough that an overweight guy in a red suit knows when I am sleeping and when I'm awake and that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy both have open access to my private sleeping space and also seem to have the goods on my sleep patterns - now this??

At least the other three don't also connect to the internet! After watching the first few episodes of CSI Cyber and finding out that even my toaster could be spilling its guts to some backroom hacker about how I like my bagels, how can I trust this new device not to green light burglars when it's lights out at my house?

On top of that I'm sure one day insurance companies will gain the rights to have the entire population tagged with these things so they can monitor our activity levels and use them to deny claims or coverage. Are they listening to me even as I type? Did I just give them an idea they might not have thought of yet?

Yes, I have my "concerns" about inviting yet another potential spy device into my life. It gives me the heebie jeebies, but heebie jeebies can't hold a candle to reunion anxiety so I decided to throw caution to the wind and fire this puppy up! Stay tuned for the continuing adventures!