Wednesday, August 26, 2015

M is for Motivation

I put it out there on Facebook on what to write for an upcoming blog entry, and it was requested  to write on Motivation. I think it's something important to talk about, as in has implications in just about every facet of life. I wrote something earlier this week for the Challenge group I'm co-leading about goal setting, and I think that the two have a whole lot in common.

I'm a big ol' nerd, so when I want to figure out anything new, I open up a book to figure out what's going on. So let's go to the dictionary:

noun: motivation; plural noun: motivations
  1. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

    "escape can be a strong motivation for travel"

    synonyms:motive, motivating force, incentive, stimulus, stimulation, inspiration, inducement, incitement, spur, reason;

    "his motivation was financial"
late 19th century: from motive, reinforced by motivate.
I read that and distill it to one simple thing, "the why." I want to loose weight, but why? I want to become a nurse, but why? I want a million dollars, but why? I want a puppy/a second cat, but why? (These are all from my own life.) None of those things are ever, EVER going to come to a fruition if you can't come up with a real and relateable. Notice I say real and relateable. I say this because "because I want to," and "just 'cause." are cop-outs. If you can't think of anything any better than "because I want to" and "just 'cause," then you haven't put in enough time and energy into thinking about your potential life changes. I'm going to venture to guess, that at this stage, they just aren't going to work out. 

If motivation is the "why", then goals are the "how". Now I can, and pretty much have, written a whole post on setting goals, so I don't want to post too much about them. I will point out this: they are your road map. You will get nowhere very quickly. Make them specific and attainable and WRITE THEM DOWN. (Like with a pen or paper.)

You're motivated to start, you've got your goals and you're off to the races. Everything is going great, and then the breaks are quickly applied. SHIT! What just happened? Where'd my motivation go? Before you throw in the towel and quit realize this: anything worth attaining is not going to feel comfortable all the time, you're not always going to feel good and happy go lucky. That's just life. Life's tough. Changing yourself is even tougher. In this instance think of yourself as iron walking through the fire, it's only going to make you stronger, and that's where the real change takes place.

This is just the way it is. There's no panacea for loss of motivation and plateaus other than gritting your teeth and knowing that if you stick to your plan you WILL reach your goals, no matter how long it takes. Remember it's not magic. It's hard work. Also, there's this....I always, ALWAYS watch this any time I'm feeling suck:

There are also things that we can do to help us along there way. There are two that work for me. One is my weightloss rewards. (I like stuff. More specifically, I like pretty jewelry). Every 5 pounds I lose, I buy myself something that will work within my budget. For me this stems from ending the cycle of rewarding myself with food every time something went right in my life.

The second thing is music. It almost drives me to tears thinking about what a run would be like without my Running Playlist. Going every fifth song it contains: Eminem, Fort Minor, MIA, Kanye & Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, Beyonce, RuPaul, Van Halen, Blackcherry, Macklemore, and Miranda Lambert. Pretty diverse. This taps into all the music that gets my brain, heart, and the athlete in me going. I also, honestly, listen to this type of music most of the time on my commute so I can come across as the best version of myself when I'm around the general public. Let's face it, the not so good versions of myself are no picnic. 

Big take away. Find your "why" and don't let it go. No matter what happens. That's going to get you going and keep you going. Also remember, that why is going to come from the deepest places of your soul. Don't be scared, that's where all the good stuff is kept!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Metaphorical Carrots...the 60 lb edition...yet again!

Let me review the rules! Every 5 pounds lost, I reward myself with a little something, and every 10 pounds lost I reward myself with something a little bigger. (Sometimes I do have to shift this a budgets dictate. Normally I've found that these rewards come in the way of jewelry and I can wear them as a constant reminder of what I've accomplished. That, and I really like jewelry...a lot!

As you may or may not know, I am back down to 60 pounds lost. This is a significant milestone as that puts me HALF WAY to my goal weight. We have been here before, however. Last time I bought a beautiful moonstone ring from Sikara.

Many times I have something in mind as to what I'm working for. I've got my eyes on these moccasins, but its just way too hot. Maybe at 70 pounds.

I had my last weigh in on Saturday, with plans to go to the SoWa Market on Sunday. PERFECT! I'll find something there. I went with my friend Mike - I can't think of a clever nickname for him - plus, there are about eleventy billion Mike's in the it is. I was looking for a particular booth that belongs to a gentleman who sells jewelry from around the world, but he wasn't there. =( We did a lap, and I stopped and checked out just about all of the booths that sells jewelry. I cam back to, and settled on these....

I got them from from MPrint Jewelry out of Portland Maine. They are cast from vintage coins from The Netherlands. Very, very cool in my opinion! I enjoyed wearing them to work yesterday, and they for sure will make it into my earring rotation.

Stay tuned for the next "carrot update" in 5 pounds.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Not as Scary as You Think...

If I was going to subtitled this blog entry, it would be "Slow Runner", but the real point is "Not as Scary as You Think."

I am, in fact, a slow runner. There I said it. To be completely honest, sometimes it bothers me, sometimes it doesn't. I'm human. I have insecurities. Where the growth in life comes is what I chose to do with those insecurities. I choose to push through them, and not let them consume me. Again, one of those life keys....consumption. Not everything in life is going to feel all sunshine and rainbows. That's just not feasible, and quite honestly it reminds me of Stepford Wives, and THAT scares the everliving shit out of me.

When I started getting back into fitness and watching what I ate, and loosing weight again, I noticed that my run times were significantly slower. It was weighing on my mind a little, but I was doing a pretty good job of not letting it weigh on me. Then I realized WHY my running was slower: the last time I was REALLY running, I was 30 pounds lighter. I'm dragging an extra 30 pounds with me as I run. Now, I've made peace with the fact with I've gained thirty pounds back from my lowest weight and am still able to run up to 5k, and am ready to start running beyond on my way to 10k. While gaining 30 lbs back is a setback, there is a big triumph that is coming out of it that I can be very proud of. Success is not linear. Big life lesson in that one.

I never wanted to be a runner. I remember running the mile in elementary school and always being one of the LAST to finish. I was HUMILIATED. I HATED it. That hatred stuck with me. I thought running had to be the most absolutely STUPID way to achieve physical fitness. ZERO cells in my body got it, ZERO. I MOCKED runners. Then one morning I woke up and decided, "I'm going to become a runner." There was no real be conversation that I had with myself, or anything big that happened that made me decide that this was a good idea. If you know me really well, you know these "mighty pronouncements" are pretty much how I roll when it comes to these sorts of things, and a majority of the time, they always turn out well.

How does one become a runner? Duh! BY RUNNING! However I needed three things first 1) permission, 2) a goal and 3) a plan. By permission, I'm talking my physicians permission. I had already been swimming at that point, but I wanted to make sure that at my weight my joints could take it. Her answer was "good for you", and yes, just train smart. OK, goal....I found a 5k on Spectacle Island that would happen in enough time to train.  Now plan.....I had heard about Couch to 5k....downloaded it....checked it out....that looks reasonable. So I was all set. Time to start running....right?

Eh...not so fast. I was TERRIFIED going on that first run. TERRIFIED. I don't know what I was so concerned about. Was it that I physically unable to do it? That people would make fun of me? Probably a little bit of both. I very vividly remember telling my coworker that if I was not back in 40 minutes to come to the Public Garden and look for me. I was dead serious. But guess what? I did not die, and no one pointed and laughed at me. YES!!!! I concurred one thing that thought I would NEVER do, and I was SO PROUD of myself. It was not as scary as I thought. I was hooked.

Now I venture to guess that no matter how much weight I lose, I will never be a "fast" runner. (Whatever that means.) My time will improve with more running and weight lost...I've proven that before and look forward to that happening again. Maybe it just goes with my personality, but I can withstand just about anything for a specified period of time just as long as I know when it's going to end. To me, 10k is a MAJOR distance and I can't wait to get their again. According to my plan, it'll happen in 70 days. I doubt that I'll ever run a 1/2 of full marathon...but never say never.
As much as I love how running makes me feel, one little quirk about me is that initial mile. I BLOODY HATE IT!!!! It starts pretty much 30 seconds in, "what the f%ck are you doing? Why the hell are you doing this!?!?" It continues for an entire mile, and then it miraculously vanished. I've learned to laugh at it, because the negative chatter is so blatantly indignant...I just have to.

But once I just past of that I do some of my best thinking, enjoy spending time in nature while still being INSIDE the city, listen to the sound of my own breathing, and be proud of every single bead of sweat. Running is how I mediate. I've tried traditional meditation. I can't sit still that long. I really think running makes me a nicer person. Lord knows I work a good part of that aggression through the music I choose to listen to.

So what can this mean for you? Start running? Maybe. Only if it feel right for you. That's a gut thing. I totally believe in and trust my own gut feelings and think everyone should be more in touch with those things. I think you should, however, do something that scares you and you don't think you can do. You'll probably end up surprising yourself. Remember that success is not NOT linear. Real growth comes from dealing with your insecurities. While life is not always sunshine and rainbows, the Oracle that is Dolly Parton did impart on us that "The way [she sees] it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." That's a lot of wisdom that I've gained by putting one foot in front of the other and just keep running.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Back At It!

I'm back! (And wow, has it been awhile!) It honestly took me a little while to remember how to do a post in Blogger! I've been back on the weight loss train for about 3.5 weeks now, and in that 3.5 weeks I've been from running 1.5 miles to 5k and have lost right at 5 lbs. (I had a little gain this week). I have to tell you it feels great to be back at things and to be successful! I really did miss the accomplishment I felt by watching the lbs. tick away and watch myself achieve my fitness goals.

Speaking of my goals...what are they? Well, 1) I'm 65 lbs away from my goal weight (a number that is flexible) and 2) to FINALLY crush that competitive 10k. (Many thanks to Pretty Pretty Princess for agreeing to run that with me!)

Speaking of all know I do the weight loss reward thing: small things for stopping on a 5, bigger things for stopping on the 0. For this last 5 reward I got myself an Antique Kochi ring from Afghanistan at the SoWa Market. Pretty!

I should make a point of saying that getting back on track wasn't easy. I had been trying to for several months with zero success. (I did run that one time while I was in Texas for three weeks.) It took my boss having a 4 week fitness challenge that made ALL the difference for me, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I think the biggest takeaways I had from that was 1) follow the 80/20 rule - eat 80% of things that are good for you and you can have 20% of those things no so good for you, and 2) read 10 pages a day of a book that could benefit you as a person. Just 10 pages. That's easy, right?

No new super exciting narriative to report. Just that I'm back at it and really proud of myself. It would be easy for me to get wrapped up in why I didn't stay on the wagon, but I think that's just silly. Forward. That's the only way to go.

I had forgotten how much better eating well and working out made me feel. There's some pretty substantial change going on in my life, and I shudder to think how I'd be navigating it if I weren't taking care of myself.

More soon!