Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Power of Focused Intention

I ran across a powerful example of the power of asking for exactly what you want today.  On January 31st, 2010 I wrote in my journal that no matter what, I would weigh ten pounds less on January 31st., 2011.  Today, after a week of clean committed eating and three energized fitness sessions, I stepped on the scale and weighed... exactly 121.0 pounds- precisely 10 pounds less than the 131 I weighed a year ago. That's all very well and good, but just over a month ago, I was at 117.  Could it be that I had subtly programmed my subconscious to insure that what I asked for so fervently a year ago would be just what I got?  This is not the first time that I got exactly what I asked for, and what I thought I deserved, instead of asking for what I truly deeply wanted.

This past year has been amazing with plenty of growth, accomplishment, new friends, and new adventures to be grateful for, but what if it could have been even better?  Sometimes I think we keep our fondest wishes secret from the very part of ourselves that could take the most effective action.  So what am I going to do about it now? Well, if saying "No matter what, I will weigh ten pounds less in a year" was so effective, why don't I use it on more things that I want to be, do, and create?  So tonight, before I go to steep, I am going to get out my journal (last years is filled but the beat goes on) and write down at least three things that I fervently want with the same powerful focused attention I had last year.  If you want to try this too I would only add, write it like you mean it, and mean what you write because there's a good chance that will be exactly what you get!

Now for a fun mini-challenge/goal test for the short term.  I will be meeting three of my sisters in Las Vegas on the 18th of February.  That's 19 days away, and just enough time to put some eating plus movement magic together, and bump up my fitness and vitality to make this weekend even more fun.  Hmmm, what can I accomplish that's desirable enough to be motivating, but reasonable enough to achieve?  I've got it!  I'm going to follow my own advice, and state what I truly want.  What I really want is to weigh 117 pounds and be at 21% or less body fat - just what I was at the end of the last Turbulence Training challenge.  There, a specific goal that I know how to reach.  Watch this space for results!

In other news, while I continue my quest for the holy grail of ongoing reliable motivation, I've been reading "Switch" How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, and here is quote from the book that fit the bill,
 "When you're at the beginning, don't obsess about the middle, because the middle is going to look different once you get there.  Just look for a strong beginning and   a strong ending, and get moving."

Now I've got to figure out exactly what that strong ending entails.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting Back on the Horse

The problem with an experiment is that it's not much of an experiment if you're already certain of the outcome.  As I inch closer and closer to the physical ideal I'm after the path gets narrower, but I still long for the freedom to eat anything I want, even if just for a day.  So lately, I've tried some new eating plans that promised to let me do just that.  How lovely to be allowed, no even required, to eat whatever you wanted for one day a week?  OK, so that didn't work.  All right then, how about carving up your weekly calories so than even though on some days you can only eat a little, on other days you get yo eat a lot more?  Sounds good right?  No, that didn't work either.  I experimented myself right into a pudgy funk.
So I had to turn to acceptance to get moving in the right direction again.  How many times do I have to learn the same lesson about bread, sugar, and natural peanut butter?  As many times as it takes to realize that they are practically guaranteed to halt my progress, no matter how many calories I've managed to save up before I eat them.  The other stunning revelation is that if I don't eat my vegetables in the amounts that I know will keep me satisfied, I will end up hungry for other less helpful foods.

So does accepting my dietary limitations add up to a major sacrifice?  On the day I give up peanut butter it seems like it, but give me just two days of sticking to the foods that satisfy me and don't set me off, and I feel so much better!  My chores are done, my meals for the day are planned, and I'm right on schedule with the blocking and choreography for Seussical.  I wouldn't be blogging otherwise.  So was the experiment just a failure and a waste of precious time?  No.  Every mistake I make brings me that much closer to the certainty I need to trust myself.  So what are the things you have become certain of lately?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Acceptance- The Key to Transformation

Be Careful What You Wish For.

Last week, I received some very good news.  As much as I like to write, I like to talk even better.  If you've spent any time around me in person you already know that.  Remember back in November when I gave the "You Can Transform Your Body" talk?  Well, I volunteered to speak and teach a dance fitness class at my 25th college reunion, and the reunion coordinator said yes.  The working title of this talk is,  "Acceptance- The Key to Transformation."  Needless to say I'm very excited to talk to my former classmates, along with all of the other alumni who will be attending.  The way our reunions work is that each class comes back every five years, so the youngest alumni in attendance will be from the class of 2006.  Maybe even better is the chance to teach my class which is a mash up of Turbulence Training bodyweight exercises, classic dance steps, balance training, a short dance combination, with a thorough stretch at the end.  We'll be using the dance studio in the basement of the dorm where I lived as a freshman.  Oh the memories!  Perfect right?  Certainly, if you don't count what I did right after I got the news.

So what did I do after I told my husband and son we were going to Indiana this June?  I started to get ready to run some errands, and I went through my purse.  At the bottom I discovered a significant amount of loose Reese's pieces.  What the heck were they doing at the bottom of my purse you may ask?  Simple, I had taken Colin to see Jack Black in "Gulliver's Travels" the day before and he (Colin, not Jack Black) had asked me to bring back his leftover candy in my purse.  So there I was, brimming over with nervous excitement, and staring at two good sized hands full of candy on my desk, right next to the keyboard I'm using to write this blog entry.  Did I eat them?  Of course I did, and then I went straight to the local big box store to get supplies for the musical I'm directing.  Did I get more than supplies?  Oh yes indeed.  Was chocolate involved?  Take a wild guess.  As a result, my body went into an ecstatic frenzy of carb craving and water holding, and as of today I am right back up to...wait for it...123lbs.  Exactly where I was at the start of the last TT Transformation Challenge.

So what does it all mean, and what do I do next?  I practice Acceptance- The Key to Transformation.  Between now and June I will study, learn, and do everything I can to give the best speech and the best class possible at the reunion.  What an opportunity.  I have six months to see where the very best of everything I've learned over the last three years can take me.  The theme is acceptance, so I will accept who I am and what I look like completely right now in this moment.  The past is gone, and the future will take care of itself, but every day I resolve to use the best tools at my disposal to be my very best, whatever that looks like, and wherever that happens to register on the scale.

One thing I can absolutely commit to right now.  This is going to be FUN!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

That's it. I'm never going to work out again.

     I was in a hurry on Thursday.  I got to the gym at 2:05, and I needed to get back to the house before Colin got home.  It was packed, probably the busiest I've ever seen it.  Fortunately the people who come to this part of the gym aren't there to mess around, and everyone works around each other pretty well.  I moved through the warm up, sets, and intervals quickly, doing my best not to short change anything.  Then I did six rounds of jump rope intervals, stretched on the Smith machine (it's just like an adjustable barre!), and headed for the door.  As I left the trainer behind the desk said, "Catherine, you work so hard."  I just smiled and kept walking, but in my mind I was protesting loudly.  "I'm not working!  I don't know what it looked like, but that was not work!"  I felt upset, misunderstood, but why?  Why should it bother me that someone thought I was working hard?

     Today during my stretch I figured it out.  I was stretching and thinking and thinking and stretching, and it came to me.  The only way this is ever going to work (i.e. inspiring people to exercise) is if we make exercising as much fun as eating.  What?  How can we possibly do that?  Then I remembered, there was a time when, as a rule,  I just naturally wanted to move more than I wanted to eat.  It was back when I was a kid, riding a bike, or a horse, or a sled.  Walking to a friend's house, building a fort, sliding down the staircase in a cardboard box. Who wants to stop and eat when you can slide down the stairs in a cardboard box while Mom and Dad are out of the house?  I suddenly realized that what I've been doing in the gym for at least the past year isn't working out.  It isn't hard work.  Honestly it isn't work at all.  It's practice, and it's playing.  I only do it because I want to, it makes me feel good, and it makes me happy.  What does any of that have to do with work, and when and how did it become work?  Forgive me if a hint of bitterness creeps in, but for me it started around the time we stopped having recess and we started having P.E.  It was also around the time my parents put me on the swim team because my sister could swim fast, and they thought I was too chubby.  It started when I stopped moving for the sheer pleasure of it, and I started working out because I was told to, and because it was supposed to be good for me.

     At the age of 46 I am resolving never to work out ever again.  From now on when I go to the gym I will be either practicing a skill or playing a game.  This is our precious free time that I'm talking about here, and it seems to me that we shouldn't be spending it working.  When I earn my certification, I may not even call that working.  It won't even be that big of a deal as I can simply call it training or coaching or teaching.  No longer will I work a muscle just because I should, or because it's the next thing on the list.  I will connect each movement to what it can help me do out in the world, and I will continue to lift heavier or reach farther or jump faster for the sheer pleasure of it.  When I do a close grip push up, I will lower my chest all the way to the floor because it's satisfying to do it that way.

     In the end does it really matter if I call it work, or play, or practice, or rehearsal?  It probably doesn't, but I have started to pay close attention to the people around me who love to move, whether they're walkers or swimmers, dancers or lifters, and somehow, when they practice it doesn't look like work.