Thursday, June 21, 2012

Look Back

One really neat thing about "transformation" blogs is that if you find one with years worth of archives and start at the beginning, you can really see the power of time. You can read through six months of posts in an evening and you can see amazing accomplishments and their positive consequences all at once without having to wait days for every post or slog through the daily grind.

I haven't posted in over a year, but I'm motivated now to look back at that year and see what I've accomplished, because it's actually pretty neat.

I maintained my weight loss.

I no longer sweeten my coffee.

I hired a financial advisor.

I moved in with my boyfriend and got rid of half my stuff.

I work from home AT LEAST two days out of every week.

I no longer drink caffeine.

I figured out what was causing the pit stains on my shirts (a demonic combination of antiperspirant and bacteria).

I figured out how to get rid of the pit stains on my shirts (soak 'em in OxyClean).

I've given up traditional deodorant/antiperspirant in favor of deodorant sticks (and my shirts are much happier).

I pitched my dream job to my company AND I GOT IT (along with a VP for a boss, a raise, and a promotion).

The point here isn't to brag (much). It's to demonstrate that it's worth keeping track of your accomplishments and reminding yourself of them later, because otherwise you might forget.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Health is selfish

It has been about a year since I decided to lose weight.  In that year I’ve lost ten pounds and kept it off.  I am a dedicated CrossFit disciple, I work out consistently five days per week, and if I spend a week or three away from the gym and a scale, I’m confident that I’ll get right back into the swing of things once I get back to my routine.  I know I won’t have gained any weight. This is an amazing achievement. I’m proud of my hard work and I’m proud of my accomplishments. But I’m more proud of what I learned along the way.

Personal health is selfish.

Firstly, personal health and wellbeing means making yourself more important in your mind. It means deciding that you won’t work extra hours because you need to go to the gym. It means the rest of the family eats more veggies than they’re used to because what you were all eating before was crap and you’re trying to change that. It means your house might not be spotless because you need more sleep. Being healthy means that on your list of priorities, you rank high. Not higher than family members, but definitely on equal footing. You are as important as everyone else in the household, and you make choices that reflect that.

Secondly, personal health is personal. In terms of methodology and approach, the only thing that matters is what works for you. Studies may well have shown that a certain eating pattern is most effective for 98 percent of the population, but if you aren’t seeing results or you can’t adhere to it then studies be damned. It is not always easy to take care of your physical self (or your mental or emotional selves, but I’m concentrating on physical now). Losing weight is hard. Exercising is hard. This is not a battle you’re going to win on brute force willpower because you’d need an endless supply.

The biggest thing I learned in this past year is that if I tool I’m using doesn’t work, the failure is with the tool, not with me. If I try on a pair of jeans and they’re too small, the fault is with the jeans. Similarly, if I try a diet and can’t stick to it, it’s the wrong diet. The secret to success with health is the complete devotion to the idea that if something doesn’t work, you should change it.

I wanted to wake up early and go to the gym before work. I’m a natural night owl but I thought I could force myself up a half hour earlier just through willpower alone. Hah. That lasted a week. So I took a bright light, put it on an automatic timer, and set it to turn on 20 minutes before my alarm every morning. It was like magic. I could get up easily and pump myself up for a gym workout and I haven’t looked back. The point here is not that light will help you get up. The point is that I tried to change something, it didn’t work, so I tried other things until I succeeded.

This sort of constant tweaking is the way to build a sustainable lifestyle. If I see some aspect of my life that dissatisfies me, I fix it. I don’t blame myself. I just find a better way.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last week's results and goals for this week

Last week my goals were 4 workouts and finding a better snack solution at work.

4 workouts: DONE.  I did 6, including one wicked day where I did CrossFit in the morning and tumbling at night.
fixing the snack situation: I forgot to even think about it.  It's definitely still a problem, especially now that I'm doing my workouts before I get into the office.  The first thing that happens when I arrive at work is a hunt for calories, and I usually end up with a Kudos bar or some other carb- and sugar-loaded snack.  This is not what I want.

This coming week is going to be tricky.  I have a company conference Tuesday - Thursday and that means a lot of work parties with a lot of food and alcohol.  That sort of situation has the potential to be very unhealthy not only because of the freely available empty calories, but also because that sort of junk makes me feel generally crappy the next day, and that sets me up for a bad workout.

Additionally, I've got company coming Thursday night and staying in my apartment until Sunday.  I'm very excited to have this visitor, but the temptation to skip all my workouts while he's here will be strong.

Goals for this week:

4 workouts
Seriously think about snacks
Don't eat/drink/do anything at the work parties that I'll regret later
Get at least one workout in while company is in town

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Goals? We got goals

3 workouts - DONE.  I did 5, including one on Thanksgiving, and one the day after.
1 junk snack per day - DONE
Wednesday morning gym - DONE

My fifth workout was CrossFit's WOD today:

tabata sets of
pull ups
weighted squats
dead lifts

I have never before done 4 tabatas in a day.  I've never even done more than one.  Holy hell.

It wasn't just the workout that was rough.  It was the rest of the day.  I just couldn't get warm.  I'd burned through so many calories that I was cold all day, and I couldn't fix it.  This evening I got desperate, cranked the heater to 75, and took an extra hot shower.  I now feel human again.  I also wanted to sleep for the rest of the day.

That workout taught me a lot.  I've done tabatas before and I was terrified of tackling this one.  But I reminded myself that I just have to try.  And I did it!

Goals for this week:
4 workouts
Find a snack solution that does not involve crap.  I want something I can keep at my desk so that I don't get tempted to eat junk out of the kitchen.  It might end of up being a box of clif bars, but it'll be better than pita chips.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So, how'd that goal thing work out for you?

1 crappy snack per day max at the office - DONE.
3 workouts - DONE

Actually it's going to be 5 workouts.  I'm headed off to the gym as soon as I'm finished typing this.  Booyah.

Goals for next week:

1 crappy snack per day max*
3 workouts
Wednesday - get up early and hit the gym before work.

I started crossfit this week and I like it, but a lot of the circuit workouts require me to monopolize a few pieces of gym equipment at a time.  It seems to make the most sense for me to go to the gym early in the morning since there are fewer people around.  I'd like to test this out on Wednesday.  I would try this twice next week, but I have Thursday and Friday off.  I need to check the gym's hours to see if they'll be open.  I'd like to hit up the gym both days.

*small quantities of high quality chocolate does not count as a crappy snack.  Things like chips, granola bars, ice cream, etc are crappy snacks.  I'd like to get this down to something like 3 per week, if that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No food, no cash

Things to do after work besides eat and/or spend money:

  • movies
  • clean
  • art
  • sketches for holiday cards
  • create Post Secret entries
  • walk
  • push ups
  • pilates videos
  • find clothes to donate
  • clean out fridge
  • replace the rear fender on my motorcycle
  • read a book
  • meditate
  • listen to a CD all the way through
  • learn Spring
  • learn Roo
  • research the Semantic Web
  • organize photos
  • finish my taxes
  • give myself a mani/pedi
  • wax my legs
  • write a blog entry
  • invent a card game
  • build some Magic: The Gathering decks
  • play video games
  • read every free article on todays Wall Street Journal home page
  • learn Perl
  • complete 10 self portraits, 5 minutes each
  • find a dermatologist
  • find a financial adviser
  • practice bass
  • clean off the hard drive
  • repair busted clothes
  • make pillow cases
  • get rid of ripped clothes

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Mistress is Back

Am I going to say where I was or why I was gone for so long?  Hell no.

Am I going to list some goals for this week?  Hell yes.

Goal 1: Work out 3 times

Goal 2: No more than 1 crappy work snack per day.  Fruits and almonds are allowed in unlimited quantities.

If these look like wimpy goals, it's because they are.  I need to get back into the swing of things gradually, and I'm more motivated if I set the bar low initially and knock it out of the park.