Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Very Own "Six Cents"

Been 5 weeks since I've posted and it's been a difficult struggle to break away from those bad habits I mentioned in my last post. 

At the start of March I began a new approach to eating and losing weight. I'm going to try this new approach for a few weeks before I let you in on whether it's effective. Keep checking back for more on this later this month. 

Now on to some news I'm rather proud to report. In the first full week of my new approach I have lost 6 pounds. That means I've moved 6 pennies from the left jar to the right jar on my dresser. This is a symbolic testimony to the fact that I have lost six pounds in the "right" way and can look and see those I have "left" to lose. 

Going forward Thursdays will be my "results" day. I will be reporting my success from the previous week. 

There are a couple of things about to happen that will help me in getting to my goal. 

First, this weekend is the start of daylight savings time. It will last until the first week of November. This means when I take my evening walk it won't be in the dark. That's a huge difference for me. I really hate walking in the dark all the time. The extended daylight also means I'll also be able to get out my bike and ride. I'm really excited about that. 

The second thing is that at the end of this month the new Christian family life center will open at my church. This new $2 million facility will basically be a gym where I can go to exercise. There's a walking track on the second floor, above the gym floor, and an exercise room. There will also be pick up basketball games (not too excited about this but I will participate just for the exercise) and volleyball games.

I'm also hoping to be able to donate a ping pong table so I can go and play whenever I want to play. I love ping pong. 

So things are looking up in the weight loss area of my life. So far this year has been tough for me and not very successful. But now I'm back in the game and ready to race for the finish line. I'll let you know next Thursday how many pennies I am able to move.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Alternative Activity

I’ve been thinking about writing about this subject but have put it off because I wasn’t sure I would be able to practice what I preach. But a line from my daughter in law’s blog, about her own personal weight loss journey has convinced me that it’s time to “put up or shut up”.

In referring to her reaction to another person’s inconsiderate behavior she wrote:

 “Last year I would have reached for a pint of ice cream, today I went shopping for nail polish”

The line was written in a post about making good choices to control emotional overeating. She has in one sentence summed up an essential psychological principal that will prove vital to her success. I’m talking about recognizing alternatives.

Although I really didn’t find much help in the handful of Over Eaters Anonymous I attended back in the 90’s I do remember them saying something I’d never considered before. Non-action is as much of a choice as taking action.

The application of that in regard to over eaters, like me, is this. Choosing NOT to do something can have a positive effect on my weight loss effort. These decisions of dietary abstinence occur in two situations. One comes at the moments of temptation that will pass with the change of circumstances or location.

I’m talking about deciding to pass up the Krispy Kreme donut shop, avoiding the break room at work that’s filled with “potluck” desserts, or not buying a candy bar in a convenience store. 
Those are relatively quick decisions and should be considered positive actions.

I don’t know about you but those types of decisions always make me feel deprived not victorious. But making the “wrong choice” in any of those scenarios keeps me from getting to my goal.

Okay so let’s say I leave the Minit Mart without a pack of Reese’s peanut butter cups or stay away from the vending machine at work during my 15 minute break. That’s what’s commonly known as an “act of omission.”  In an effort to lose weight that’s a very positive thing

But the mind, like nature and my dogs, abhors a vacuum. If you decide not to do something you create a psychological vacancy that sucks the air out of your though pattern until it’s replaced.

The other situation is when there is a lingering temptation. If I sit home fighting the urge to make the short drive to any of the local fast food or convenience stores for a sugary and/ or carb loaded snack  the decision not to go is a good thing.

But if I don’t do something to get my mind off of that temptation I’m going to give into it. I need to do something to fill that psychological gap; aka an alternate activity.

I’ve got to link overeating temptations to alternative activities. I won’t bore you by giving specific examples. But my goal is to get myself into this thought pattern:

“I’m really feeling (add overeating trigger emotion here) and I really want a (insert name of unhealthy food). I know consuming it has not helped me be healthy and has contributed to my past weight gain. Instead of snacking I could (insert alternate activity here).”

The “menu” of alternate activities will depend on where I am at the time. At home they may include, cleaning or organizing the house (not my first choice but the one that first comes to mind), practicing ventriloquism, studying the Bible, writing a blog post, doing something with my music collection, reading a book, organizing our finances, taking the dogs for a walk or exercising.

You get the idea. Like everyone else in this world, I have plenty of things I want or need to do. The key is to link doing those things, a positive action, to the “dark side” of dieting as a means of countering the overpowering temptation to overeat. Doing this could not be anything but a win/win situation.   

Have you ever seen or heard of someone doing something stupid or “disastrous” then using as their excuse “There was nothing else to do”? It is my goal, going forward, not to use that as my excuse for giving into eating temptations. I want to look to other choices.

I am not a theology expert and this blog is not the place to discuss such things. But I do have to make this statement. I believe God ultimately directs my life toward the fulfillment of His will for me. Within the context of that providence I also believe He allows me to make choices. Those choices make the path of my life either easier or harder. But my desire is to make the choices that take me down the right path.

One of the keys to achieving that goal is to weave into the fabric of my heart and mind the habit of following alternative activities. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

In For A Penny; Out For A Pound

With the beginning of the 2nd month of 2012 comes a renewed determination to focus more on eating right and exercising to get to my goal by the end of the year.

For the first 6 months of last year, as a way visual reminder and to motivate me to keep saving for our 10th anniversary cruise aboard the Disney Dream (we have since decided to postpone the trip) I began filling up a plastic tumbler with Mickey Mouse drawn on it with golden US dollar coins. It worked rather effectively I had it almost full to the top before we changed our plans.

The other day Paula was looking at weight loss tips on the Internet and she saw one that reminded me of my Disney savings plan. It works on the same principal but in the opposite way.

This picture represents the number of pounds I want to lose to get to my goal weight. This set up reminds me of the one of the counting segments that used to be on Sesame Street when I was a kid. You can and count them if you’d like. 

I've placed those pennies in a small glass mug and set it on the top of my dresser. From now on every time I lose a pound I’m going to take a penny out and put it in my change bank.  My goal by the end of 2012 is to have all the “Lincoln heads” transferred into the change bank, the mug emptied, and the scale show me the number I want to see for the rest of my life.

This is really going to help keep my goal literally in front of me. As each morning, I go into my top dresser drawer to grab my keys and my wallet and when I put them back every night. I’m excited about how effective this is going to be for me.

If something like this would work for you I encourage you to try and come up with your own unique version. What object other than pennies would serve as something more symbolic to your goal? Buttons, marbles, beads. Use your imagination to come up with a symbol that's going to mean something to you. 

I strongly discourage using chocolate kisses, skittles, or any other type of candy or snack. Because if you’re like me they’d never make it past the first week and that would defeat the purpose.

So based on the amount of weight I want to lose and the time frame I’ve set for myself for the next 11 months each week there's one thing I’m really looking forward to; removing my “two cents.”  Once again I am making the commitment to getting to my goal.

In for a penny…out for a pound. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Taking That “First Step”

A commercial for the anti-inflammatory drug, Celebrix, that’s currently running on TV uses the phrase “a body at rest stays at rest but a body in motion stays in motion.” While mainly considered a principal of physics, this also applies to exercise. 

The key to having more “get up and go” is to get up off the couch and go for a walk or some other kind of physical activity. I have learned that over the last 2 ½ years since my surgery. I feel better physically and can handle things better mentally when I make walking, bike riding or, some other kind of exercise part of my weekly routine.

But over the last 6 months I have for all intents and purposes cut exercise out of my life. Not really enjoying walking with my dogs in the dark and being unable to ride my bike in the cold winter weather are two of the main reasons. I have a stationary bike in the house but I haven’t used it in nearly 9 months.

But as of today the time for staying “at rest” has come to an end. I have lofty physical goals for myself this year. I want to take a long bike trip (20 miles or more) come spring time. One of my goals for this year is to run a 5K. I plan on playing Ping Pong on a regular basis once our new church family life center gym is opened. Also (don’t tell my wife this) I’m still haunted by the idea of trying to roller skate again.

Now I know these goals are not things I’m going to be doing just as soon as the warm weather returns the end of February or early March. It’s going to take me a while to build up to them. But today, much to my dogs’ delight, I took my first mile walk of 2012.

Knowing that I am going to have to start sooner or later I chose to try a little bit of running (or what passes for running for me right now) during the walk. It wasn’t very far maybe 20 yards at the most; and it was more of a slow jog rather than a run. It wasn’t even enough to even get winded.

The “sprint” of the test was to see if I could actually go faster than a walk without dragging and tripping over my left foot. The first test proved “successful” I will try again for a longer distance in a few days.

So there’s my first step. I’m on my way to achieving my goals: Losing the rest of the weight I want to lose and succeeding in the physical challenges set before me.
Have you taken your first step? If so what was it? If not what could it be? When are you going to take it?

Now that I’ve started my exercise journey again I’m not going to stop until I cross my personal finish line. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

It’s 2012. Time To Move Forward

Have you noticed some things are missing? That’s right,  the posts I wrote last year when I started this blog are gone. I have decided to clean the slate and start again.

I have been inspired by my daughter in law’s new blog. She’s made a list of her goals for 2012 and is holding herself accountable for working toward achieving them by blogging about them.

Finding myself identifying with her effort and having the time to gain perspective on my 16 posts from last year has led me to the decision to “reboot” the purpose and content of “Getting To My Goal”.

One of the my favorite Walt Disney quotes is “Keep Moving Forward”. I know that may seem contradictory for me to claim, considering that I am always reminiscing about the past in all my blogs.

However I do believe that it is time to move forward on this blog. I am going to make it a forum for a positive attitude and a vehicle for success. While my previous approach was intended as a “cleansing” exercise, the lamenting confessional it became really had a negative effect on me.

So starting today I will trumpet my successes and mention my downfalls; but only as a means of learning from them. I will still need your support and welcome any positive feedback you have to offer. I will use it to encourage me.

With that explained let’s get to establishing once again where I want to go.

I still want to reach the goal weight I have set for myself, 175 pounds. If I stay on the “straight and narrow” I can reach that goal by the end of the year. As of today there are 50 weeks before New Year’s Eve 2012 and 34 weeks before my 52nd birthday. I have weight loss goals for each of those dates; but they are too far away to focus on right now. So I’m going to start by concentrating on one week at a time. My weekly goal is to lose 2 pounds. That’s very reachable goal but it will take effort to be consistent.

I am going to go back to eating a lot of the foods and applying the same behaviors that helped me lose successfully for the first year after my surgery.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about expanding my exercise horizons as well. I haven’t done anything about that yet but once I do I’ll post about it.

I can’t dismiss the importance of including my wife as my partner in this new start. We are both looking to getting aboard on the “losing weight and being healthy” train again. This time we are not going to get off until we reach our destination.

That’s the way we have achieved the success we have had up until now. We’ve done it as a team and that’s how we are going to continue to be successful.

So to paraphrase an adage that was popular several years ago (read that “decades”) today is the first day of the rest of the year.  

So thanks for coming back and reading my new and improved “Getting To My Goal” blog. If you are someone who wrote to me and told me that you identify with a lot of the things I wrote about when I started posting back in November of last year. Don’t worry I’m sure I’ll continue to write about things that you see in yourself. 

After all if there’s one thing I’ve found over the last couple of years. The battle to lose weight is a very common one. All we have to do is be willing to admit it and support each other on our way to our goals. I hope you’ll help me with mine.

Now let’s restart this journey of “Getting To My Goal” with a first step. I’ll write about that next time.