Posts tagged ‘motivation’

Love the body you’ve worked for

I have a confession to make.

I look at myself in the mirror a lot.  Every time I get dressed (or fine, undressed) I scrutinize my body.  I look at how I’ve changed shape. I look at what I consider my problem areas to be . I look at bits I’d like to change.  I identify parts I love.  I look  at the parts which I feel make me uniquely me.

This is not the self-hating scrutiny you might expect it to be.

Oh sure.  Plenty of times in years past I’d look at my body the same way.  Far less frequently (obviously) than now because I hid from mirrors and scales back then.  I’d look at myself and I’d hate my belly rolls.  I’d hate my chubby thighs.  I’d hate the way my arms looked.  I’d hate my body.  I sorta think it hated me back, too.

Not the best working relationship.

My scrutiny these days is different.  I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  I keep saying this and I’ll say it again:  I’m still overweight by the doctor’s charts.  I still have belly rolls (since 5th grade…it’s all permanent like a tattoo and stuff).  I still have dimples in places other than my face.

But you know something? I love my body. For perhaps the first time in my life… I love my body.  And I’ll tell you why.  Are you ready?  You’re not ready.  Get ready.

I love my body because this is the body I’ve worked for.

Read it again.  Feel it.  That body I used to have?  I didn’t work for it.  I did the opposite of work for it.  I let that body happen to me.  I let genetics, poor eating habits, poor (read: no) exercise habits and likely a million other things GIVE me that body.

But this body?  This body I have right now?  I’ve earned this body.  I’ve worked for this body.  I’m PROUD of this body.  It’s the first body I’ve worked for…. and it’s mine.  For the first time in I don’t know how long, I’m claiming ownership.

So everyone out there on a weight loss or fitness journey… anyone doing this for the first time or maybe even for the 100th…. Take a moment and go look in the mirror.

See that body you’ve worked for.  Be proud of it!  No matter how small of an improvement you’ve made (lose half a pound so far?), this is the body you’ve worked for.  You should be proud of it.  Love it.

Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes.  We get so focused on the body we WANT to have one day, we forget to appreciate what we have right now.

Do you see any changes in your body that you love?  Do you feel differently about yourself when you look in the mirror now?  Are you proud of the body you’ve worked for?

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I am not magic

Yesterday I had the privilege of having someone ask me what I’ve done to lose so much weight.  I admit the question brings a nice feeling as, not only has someone noticed I’ve lost weight, but they also want to know my “trick.”  You know, as if I’ve got some sort of secret which has escaped scientists for years.  My response to this question is the same these days “diet and exercise.”  The response of the individual yesterday differed incredibly little from that of most:  “Ugh.  I don’t like either of those.”

I get it people, I really do.  I can’t say I’ve loved every second of learning to eat differently, but I can say I enjoy what I’m eating and I’m not hungry.  I can’t say I’ve always had a love for exercise, hell, I can’t even say I have a love for exercise right now… but I can say I love doing things which were a challenge/impossible for me before.

I cannot help reduce the difficulty.  If it were easy, no one would have a weight problem.  If it were easy, people would be successful every day.  (And in truth, I don’t consider myself any more than just a bit successful.  I am, after all, still over weight.  I still eat too much sometimes.  I still eat too mindlessly sometimes.  I exercise half-heartedly sometimes.  The success is that I’ve lost weight and I’m (so far) maintaining this loss.)

What I can say is this:  Baby Steps.  No one is saying you have to jump into the deep end of the pool.  Feel free to test the water with your hand, sit down by the edge of the pool and dangle your feet in.  You may not be far, but you’re better off than you were.  No one is saying anyone needs to start jumping into daily exercise from a sedentary lifestyle.  All you have to do is start moving.  It sucks.  I’ll be the first to admit it sucks at first.  I practically threw up the first time I went ONCE around the Curves circuit.  What did I do that amounted to anything special?  I went back.  I kept going back.  I set goals, small but attainable goals.

And you know what?  It worked.

The food thing is the same way.  I started by finding what works for me.  I’m fine eating half my calories during the day and then the other half at dinner.  Why?  I’m busy during the day.  I’ve always been a big dinner kind of girl.  I LIKE eating a big meal.  It’s part of me… and organizing my calories this way works for me.  Want to eat small meals all day long?  Sure, you can do that.  Want to eat a big breakfast and then pace out the rest of your calories?  Sure!

The changing diet goes slowly.  I started by buying 100 Calorie packs.  Why?  I liked crunchy munchies and I wanted to make sure I didn’t fudge my portions.  I detest them now.  So little food for 100 calories!  I substituted ground turkey for ground beef.  I incorporated more salads, searched for lower calorie recipes.  I learned new ways of cooking.  I scoured the internet for variety. (And somehow I became pseudo-vegetarian, totally unexpected.)

Things take time.  Yes, I’ve been disheartened many times by slow progress or no progress at all.  But looking back over the past year, I can see the slow changes and the comparison between me now and me then is gigantic…. Nearly as gigantic as my stomach rolls were.

How do you motivate a quitter?

Things have been quiet around here lately and yeah, a bit of it is burnout on the whole blog arena.  The other bit is that I always avoid my blog when I’m not doing what I should be doing.  And this time at least it isn’t that I’m not doing anything at all, it’s just that I’m not working as hard as I should be.

I’m talking about the running, naturally.

I’m in awe of those people who can push themselves.  They’re panting and hurting and running and pushing it and they can’t wait until they’re done because they’re positively dying.  I’m in absolute awe of that ability.  I don’t have it.  I guess you could say that I’m more of a quitter.  I’m tired?  I should rest.  It’s getting hard?  I should slow down.

It’s as if I don’t know how to push through.

Oh I try.  I try to convince myself I can push through.  I try to convince myself I’m going to do it…but I usually don’t.  In my head I give myself permission to stop.  Is it a lack of faith in my abilities?  Could be, I’ve gone for nearly 32 years now thinking I really can’t do much of anything in the physical arena.

I’ve even tried the harsh talk game.

As I start to think about taking a rest I start telling myself “DON’T BE LAZY, LAZY IS WHAT GOT YOU FAT IN THE FIRST PLACE.”  It doesn’t really motivate me too much.

I try the pep talk.

“Look at what you’re doing!  This is awesome, you never thought you could do this much now keep on!”  Only, when I realize how far I’ve come and that I could do this stuff a year ago I think I’ve earned my right to stop.

Yes, I’m THAT ridiculous.

How do you do it?  You people.  You fantastic awe-inspiring people who can push yourselves until the end no matter how much it hurts.  What do you say to yourself?  How do you keep on trucking along?

Blast from the past – I’d Forgotten

Another day of looking back to the early days of Shrinking Girl.  What follows is my very first post on the blog in which you can find the original here. What really hits me (and actually made me cry a bit of happy tears) is the stuff I say in the third paragraph.  I’d forgotten I used to feel like that.  I’d forgotten those fears… I don’t have them anymore… and even as I’ve been working on a post about how my fears haven’t totally gone away, this does put them into perspective.  I’m so incredibly grateful I started – and stuck with – this journey.  It truly is changing my life.

Reaching My Limit

I can remember my mother, grandmother and aunt saying it countless times and I always regarded them as idiots: “You should appreciate what you’ve got right now, it’s better than you think it is.”  Naturally, they weren’t idiots and I should have listened.  If you’re thus far clueless, I’m talking about my body.  I’ve been overweight most of my life.  Growing up I found myself a good 20 pounds over most girls in my class by the time I hit 6th grade.  Ouch.  That number grew as I did.  Working at an ice cream parlor did nothing for my figure either.  I gained around 20 lbs a summer.  Every summer.

I graduated high school a size 16 and somehow managed to drop an insane amount of weight that summer being a telemarketer and eating McDonald’s happy meals and pretzels every day.  Don’t ask me how, it’s likely a result of ice cream withdrawal.  I skated through college yo-yoing between a size 12 and a size 14.  Not too shabby.  Once I graduated from college I lost weight as a struggling first year teacher and found myself fitting into my tight size 12’s with ease.  Yay!

Then came the bad times.  I found those 20 lb a year weight gains and here I am, eight years later.  I weigh 226 lbs.  I’m a size 20.  I hate exercise.  I’ve never been in shape and now I’m in the kind of shape where I need to worry about things, things I never had to worry about before.  Will I be able to keep up when I walk down the hall with someone?  Will people notice if I huff and puff while I go up the stairs?  Will that seatbelt fit me?  Will the lifejacket actually support me?  I’m tired of shopping in the plus sizes paying stupid prices for cheap stuff that fits poorly and makes me look like a slob.  I’m tired of wondering if my arms jiggle when I write on the chalkboard.

So what do I do?

What’s your mission?

Lately I’ve been mentally trying to see myself as a fit/active person.  It’s difficult.  I’ve never been one.  Even in my earliest memories I couldn’t run as fast as my friends, as far as my friends or even enjoy tag as much as my friends.  So essentially, my entire memory is of me not being as fit as others.

Over the years I learned to sort of gauge how “far from normal” I am by judging myself against others.  Am I as out of shape as so-and-so?  Am I as socially awkward as so-and-so?  Can I run faster than slow girl at least?  Why can I throw like so-and-so?  Oh I’ll never be as fit as fity-mcfit.

You know what I sort of just realized?  Using this sort or scale – I’m always going to be a loser.  Why?  Someone out there will always be more fit than I am.  Why?  I highly doubt I’ll ever be the most fit woman in the world.  Again, you might wonder why (really?) and I’ll tell you; because I have no desire to be.  That’s pretty much a full time job and I’ve no desire to have a second one of those, thanks.

So, as I begin to battle my inner self who is afraid to push too hard – lest I quit because it’s hard.  Begin to battle my inner self who is afraid to believe too much – lest I fail.  Begin to battle my inner self who is afraid to dream too big – just in case I really can’t.  I’ve realized I need a vision.  Where am I going with all this?

Oh, good question.

So, I sat down and brainstormed a few things in a remarkably organized manner.  Seems my brain has done most of the work already.  I’m sure I’ve missed something incredibly obvious though, no one ever brainstorms in such an organized fashion.  Anyway, this is what my brainstorm page looked like when I finished.

if you can't read it, I can't help you, sorry

So now I know what I’m working toward:  Being a fit, active, healthy person.  Nearly sounds like a mission statement.  (Oh!  I’m on a MISSION!  Sweet!)

Anyway, all the thinking about what I want to be got me thinking about other things; namely things I want to do someday but I’m either too scared, too unprepared or just plain not ready to make that someday now.  So, I decided to make another list.

i'm obviously insane

And wow was I surprised.  What do I want to do?  Oh… just everything.  I don’t even know how to swim.  How crazy is that lap swimming thing?  Or, the tri?  Please.  Am I nuts?  Has the health food made me go insane?  I’m not even running much right now!  And a bike RACE; is this a thinly veiled excuse to HAVE to buy a Trek bike?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

At any rate, I’ve now armed myself with a mission statement and some activities my inner athlete (apparently I’ve got one – and she’s crazy) is apparently dying to try.  I guess it’s on to goal setting, yes?

What about you?  What’s your mission statement?  What are the crazy things you want to do but which scare you just a little?

Now Imagine That

ignore anything bad....like the messy table...

Who is this freak and why is she geeking out?

This is me and I’m geeking out because I had just gone for a run for two reasons.  One, I wanted to.  Two, I think my body missed it.

See?  It wasn’t because I needed a work out.  Sunday is my day off.  It’s my day to lounge about and be lazy.

You wanna know something crazy though?  Over the past week or so I’ve been catching myself thinking strange things.  Things like… “Would it be weird if I just sorta jogged down to the office?  I feel like jogging.”   OR  “Is it bad form to jog through the grocery store if I’m careful not to hit anyone with my cart?  I feel like jogging”

Strange, eh?

So yesterday I was minding my own business laying on the couch.  I’d just finished watching a movie and I thought “Gosh, if it weren’t raining I’d go for a run/jog.”  And then I thought about how many times I’ve thought about doing just that over the last couple of weeks and I said to myself “Self?  You have a treadmill.”  So I went downstairs and churned out a mile.

Yes, it was only a mile.  But I haven’t done that in a while AND I did it without going below my “faster” slow pace that I’d gotten myself up to before I had to take a break from it all.

So, I got done and snapped the above picture because it’s truly a photographic moment.  Less than a year ago I nearly turned down a vacation because I would have been the largest person in the group.  (Depressing thought… I’d still likely be the largest person in the group only now I don’t care and it wouldn’t be by soooo much.)  Less than a year ago I never exercised and running a mile was impossible given my state of fitness.  Less than a year ago I would never have exercised on a day off (did I have any days on? – no).

Less than a year ago, I was a whole different person.

Am I skinny?  Nope.

Am I new and improved?  Yep.

Now pardon me while I do a little happy dance again… I just ran for fun.

Saturday Sunshine

not very motivating

As the sun is not actually shining outside (see photo), I thought I’d force myself to focus on something positive.  I know I can get into a nasty habit of complaining or focusing only on the negative and quite frankly, I need a good dose of  sunshine.

First:  Yesterday after work, it was raining and when I got home I really really just wanted to take a nap and relax as my week has been pretty busy.  It took every ounce of willpower I had to do it, but I went ahead and went in to Curves to work out.

Second:  Same thing today.  Yucky outside = me not wanting to leave the house.  I went in though and now I’m done with work outs for the weekend!  I do love Sunday days off!

Third (and the real meat of the post):  It seems I’ve started a bit of a chain reaction.  In the past few months I’ve had five different people come talk to me one-on-one about how I lost weight.  What did each person say to me?  The very first words out of their mouth?  “You’re doing so well and you’ve really inspired me to want to do something for myself too.”

Yes, you read that properly.  I inspired people.  Me.  I did it.  I’ve inspired people to make an attempt at changing their lives or their habits.  It’s really a very fantastic feeling to know people are watching me and feeling like “man, she’s really doing awesome, I wish I could do that.”  How cool is that?

Naturally they all ask “what I’m doing.”  We are so in the mentality of what diet will you be having today? (Oh right, positive positive!)  I explain it’s just diet and exercise and their faces fall.  I know that look though and so I go on to explain HOW.  I don’t just leave them at the curb wondering how to cross the busy highway, I explain how to get their numbers (BMR mostly, how many calories to a pound, etc) and I also explain that exercise is a scary thing and it’s OK to take baby steps.  I tell them the baby steps I took.  I tell them about Curves.  I tell them about finding the eating pattern that works for them and give them a couple of examples.  I tell them that eating healthier won’t come all at once and it’s OK to take baby steps but that once they start counting calories they’ll WANT to incorporate more veggies anyway since it means they can eat more.  At the very end I tell them that knowing the numbers is the first step, they now have the knowledge which enables them to take CONTROL of their weight.

Do they come back and ask questions?  Three have.  Those are the three who are also losing weight and feeling fantastic about themselves.  The other two didn’t want to count calories but they’re exercising now and still feeling really inspired.

Now again, to toot my own horn….

I did this.  I lost 50 lbs.  I inspired people to change their own lives.  They lost weight.  They changed their lifestyle.  They will also motivate people.

It’s like passing the buck of positivity and inspiration!

Go me!

Have you guys/girls motivated anyone?