Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27: a good, good swim

  What a great swim this morning!  First of all, I was wearing my brand new swimsuit, a smaller size than my previous one.  I suspected when I first put it on that it might be too big, and as I was swimming I found that indeed it was too big!  Hooray!  I get to exchange it for a smaller size!  And I love the suit too, the style and the color – I can hardly wait to have it in my smaller size.


  The swim was also excellent because I had the sense of finishing: today was the last leg of the swimming portion of my triathlon.  With the end in sight, I swam hard and fast.  It was awesome and so different from Wednesday's swim.  Wednesday's swim was a super challenge: I started late; my muscles were exhausted from Tuesday's weightlifting; the doctor-prescribed ear plug didn't work at all; you get the idea.  Today I started on time; my muscles were fine (I reminded my trainer yesterday that I'd be swimming today, so he worked me out differently yesterday: more ab/core work than arm/leg work); I wore my drug store ear plug that works perfectly; and I felt strong and upbeat during the entire swim.


  It felt good to swim with a finish line in sight.  Once again, thanks to the philosophy of this year's Biggest Loser contestants, I remember that I'm working towards a finish line in my weight loss, and today as I swam toward the completion of my swimming, I felt that I was making progress and completing something. 


  So today's swim was very symbolic for me.  Propelling myself through the water was a metaphor for propelling myself towards my weight loss and health goals.  The swim has been long and challenging, and I've used different strokes and motivations to get there; the same can be said of my journey to health.  It's long and challenging, but I've got it in me to get me there.



Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26: Grrrrr

During my first few months of weightlifting, my routine was pretty silent;  I jokingly asked a more vocal classmate to make all appropriate sound effects for my lifting.  Lately I find that all by myself I'm growling aloud when working as hard as I can.  Today I even had to mindfully clamp my mouth shut so that I wouldn't sully the air with the words I was thinking.


I'm also surprised at how much more I sweat now than I did a few months ago.  When I asked around about it, I learned that it means my body is working more effectively at cooling itself.  Whereas I thought that out-of-shape = more sweat, the opposite appears to be true.  The head mopping and clothes de-sticking I do during my workouts now attest to that fact.


Lately I've been receiving many compliments and hearing the question, "Are you losing weight?"  My reply: "No, but I'm losing inches."  All the compliments have been very motivating, and I thank each of you who has said something positive to me.  J


Looking forward to trying out my new smaller size swimsuit tomorrow morning!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25: More self-reliance; or Good-bye Jillian, Hello Anna

(See?  When I wrote in my homework assignment about learning that I'm strong, I wasn't kidding!)


Where do I start?  I watched the Biggest Loser finale last night, and marveled at how much progress the contestants made.  Losing 100 pounds in just a couple months sure does make for good TV!  There were no long workout segments to inspire me, but I did come away inspired by seeing people reach their goals through hard work.


I also came away with a sick feeling in my stomach, wondering if next season can possibly provide motivation.  Anne Kournikova has been brought in to replace the departing Jillian Michaels.  This worries me.  Thanks to Jillian, I learned how to challenge myself and not let myself hide behind excuses.  Whether she was screaming in contestants' faces, threatening to tear their arms off and beat them, or listening compassionately with tears streaming down her face, Jillian has been about strength and helping us all to find our strength.  {Further, both Jillian and Bob have hugged people no matter how fat their bodies were.  They showed me that despite my fat, I am also worthy of love and respect.}


It got me thinking about how I'm going to have to rely on myself even more.  Television shows – or any other motivating force – don't last forever.  I'm the only one who will always be with me. When it comes right down to it, no matter how much my family and friends love and support me, that's all they can do: love and support me.  Fixing my health and living my life are entirely up to me.


So this morning when I awoke late after an alarm clock malfunction (I set it for pm rather than am), it was me who got me to the pool to swim laps to keep me on track for my triathlon.  I did it. I took Jillian's instructions in strength and Bob's instruction in self-reliance, and I got myself to the pool.  I didn't give into the old habit of "Well, I'm late, I'm not perfect, so why bother going at all?"  I got to the pool a little later than usual, but I swam what I needed to swim.  This is especially amazing given the extreme fatigue in my shoulders from yesterday's weightlifting.  I did it.


I'll give The Biggest Loser a chance next year, and will likely still find motivation from the workouts and from Bob.  Whether there's more to Anna than meets the eye (and plenty meets the eye!), remains to be seen.  But my success will be mine, not hers.



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24: muscle & sweat

Ugh.  Today's was the kind of workout that's made of nothing but muscle and sweat.  No upside-down, no ball to catch, no bosu to balance on: just muscles and sweat.  It's the kind of workout that makes me dig real deep in order to keep going.  My husband tells me I'm happy that I did it, but all I feel are sweaty & tired.

That said, I'm extremely grateful to my trainer who isn't giving up on me.  Week after week he challenges me one way or another, often with helpful comments like "I think you can lift more" or "You did great."  His counting is coming along – only minor bumps along the road from 1 to 12.  J

I'm really happy with eating according to my body rather than a system.  I like taking ownership for my life, feeling like I've graduated to understanding myself better.


Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.  It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23: Self-reliance and Food

Near the start of Lighten Up, I was reading The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid.  It's her autobiographical account of losing more than 175 pounds.  For the most part, it was a good read - funny and motivational - though there was one part which unnerved me.  Having attended Weight Watchers meetings for years, she reached a point where she decided that she could do it on her own.

Now, if you've ever attended a Weight Watchers meeting, you know that the staff (rightly) preaches the importance of attending meetings.  How many times have I heard that if I've had a bad week, I need them, and if I've had a good week, they need us?  Commonly quoted are statistics describing how members who stay for the meetings are far more successful than those who weigh and leave.  And I can see why.  Over the years, I've found attending meetings to be inspirational and motivational.  I've gained support, made friendships, learned tips and more.

And yet this weekend I made a change.  I switched my membership from the meeting model to the online one.  There were a host of reasons, but the most significant one relates to what I wrote here on May 21: I've learned to depend on me.

Just like I've learned to depend on myself to get myself to the gym and to challenge myself there ,and just  like I have taken my knowledge from spin class and used it on my own on the recumbent bike, I feel knowledgeable enough and emotionally strong enough to give this a whirl on my own two feet.  I need to try.

And yet I can't let go of WW entirely just yet, so I'm sticking with the online program for now.  I like the resource of support and information.  And really, the kicker is the online weight tracker.  As I move forward without weekly meetings, though, I'm doing so in the security that I still have an excellent support system in the form of my family and friends.

Do I still think Weight Watchers meetings are beneficial?  Just like anything else in life: they're as beneficial as we make them.  There's no way I could have lost more than 50 pounds so far without them.  I had neither the knowledge, the belief in myself, nor the resilience to persevere.  And who knows – maybe I'll find myself back in meetings again within a few months.  But for now I've got to try.

If you read the rest of Shauna Reid's journey at her website, you'll see that since the book, she's regained a significant amount of weight.  I realize that's a possibility for me too, if I don't stick to what I've learned.  I think that one thing I have going for me is that, opposed to earlier times in my life, this time I'm not cocky enough to say "I know all this - I don't need WW" and walk away.  Rather, I'm testing myself.  I'm seeing whether I can actually live what I've been learning.

I've got to see whether I can depend on myself in this part of my life, too. I want to prove to myself that I can.