Unleashing My Inner Awesome

My "journey" through health, fitness and life in general

Archive for the tag “mindset”

Are Your Scales a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

ImageWhen you jump on the scales every Wednesday, or Monday, or whatever day of the week or month you choose, a number comes up. That number can either help or hinder your health and fitness goals depending on how your mind sees it.

Some people look at the number, which is a direct measurement of the effect of gravity on their physical mass, and objectively say “well, that’s interesting. It’s higher/lower/the same as last measurement. Let’s see what happens next time”. Sometimes the conversation continues with “I’m due for my period / I ate lots of salty foods this week / I didn’t drink enough water” or the like. This is like viewing your scales as a thermometer. It’s a measurement, one in the arsenal of measurements you can use to evaluate your health and fitness, and that’s all. It should NEVER be viewed in isolation and shouldn’t be used to make changes to your nutritional or workout program.

There are people who use the scales as a thermostat. You see, a thermostat measures something and then adjusts the function of the underlying machinery to keep the measurement the same. If you look at your scales as a thermostat your mindset around your weight is different. You look at the number (again, a direct indication of gravity on your particular body mass) and their head starts to spin. “Holy crap, the number is 500g bigger than last week! I know what it was, it was the extra 50g of icecream I ate! Oh god, oh god, I need to never eat icecream again, and I should cut out my carbs, especially after 6pm, and I need to use coconut water and take apple cider vinegar and I *NEED* to burn at least 1500 calories a day until I get back to where I was, and … and … and … ”

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What you REALLY need to do is just keep doing what you were doing. If you’re on a program that has worked for other people, and has worked for you, and will continue to work because it makes good sound nutritional sense and has a challenging but safe exercise program, maybe you just need to keep doing it? Use your scales and weigh in each week as a thermometer. It tells you where you are at that particular given moment in time. Look at the number, consider it, and then just keep doing what you need to do. If you readjust the mechanism too much you’ll end up making everything too hot or too cold, and then you’ll just get uncomfortable. It could even be dangerous.

Make a plan, stick to it, give it time to work. That’s all. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. It’s not for 12 weeks, it’s for life.

 

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Today I climbed a mountain.

Sunrise

I mean that literally. Today I climbed a fricking MOUNTAIN! That really should be in all CAPS and with underlines and flashing lights and a big neon sign around it. Today I CLIMBED A BIG FRICKING MOUNTAIN!

Ok, so what’s the big deal? Well this mountain has been on my to-do list for years. I mean 15 or 20 years probably, since I knew it existed. Mt Warning in NSW is the point at which mainland Australia first sees the sun in the winter. So it’s a bit of a pilgrimage to climb it in the early hours of the morning and sit on top to watch the sunrise.

When I started the 12WBT I decided that my goal weight milestone would be to climb this mountain and watch the sunrise. So when one of the other girls doing the challenge proposed a trip, of course I didn’t hesitate.

From the outset yesterday it seemed the universe was conspiring to make sure that if we DID do it, it would be memorable. And that we really wanted to do it. The day started with a 5.5 hour road trip to Mt Warning. Yes, I know from Brisbane it’s only 2.5 to 3 hours normally, and that’s Sunday driving. But that doesn’t account for a mini bus turning over on the highway, nor the 8 car pileup of nose-to-tail drivers who really weren’t paying attention to the fact that the person in front of them was stationary. And then there was the camping ground running out of firewood, and the firewood we ended up getting being damp, and … and … and …

Ok, so at 3am this morning we set off from the carpark at the foot of the mountain. On board were food supplies, water, and my ashes. Last night I spent some time writing down the stuff that I was, or I thought I was, but that I am no longer. It brought up some things I thought I had recovered from years ago, and was an enlightening exercise. I burned them and took the ashes with me to scatter on the mountain, as a symbolic release of what I will never go back to. What struck me most was after filling a bowl with screwed up pieces of paper and burning them, how little there actually was. How light the remains were.

The walk was challenging, in that whole “if there weren’t 6 other people doing this with me I’d probably turn around now” way. The last 400m (400m? Pretty sure they measured that wrong) was a rock climb. Not quite vertical, and with foot holds and a chain on the side of the path, but still a rock climb. We rounded a corner and I literally gasped as the first glimpse of the pre-dawn light was visible. Did I mention the blackest most moonless night in living history?

So there we were, on the top of a freezing cold wind swept mountain. Just me and a close bunch of about 50 complete strangers. I didn’t realise how many people made the trek in the middle of winter! Crazy bastards. We were there about an hour early, and we waited, and froze, and waited.

And then it happened. The first rays of the hugest most orange sun you’ve ever seen appeared over the horizon. The crowd hushed, and the chatter stopped, and everyone drank in the amazing sight before us. It was breathtaking. We were in a massive group, but at that moment I think we all realised that we are alone and responsible for ourselves. Nobody to blame when things go wrong, nobody to point the finger at. Just us.

There were photos, but the photos don’t do the event justice. There were numb hands and toes, and then dread as we all realised we had to go down the way we came. Only on our bottoms.

Today I realised, formally for the first time, I am NOT worthless. I am NOT last, I am NOT fat, or ugly, or hopeless, and I DO finish things. I left that mental image of myself on top of a mountain (well, kind of in my face as well when the wind sprung up at just the wrong moment!) and I am NEVER going back to that person. She served a purpose, she is who I was at the time, but she is not who I am now.

Today I climbed a mountain.

I can’t eat like that any more.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you had a wonderful day full of happiness and love.

We had no kids at home this year, they were all at their other parents’. So just The Man and I for Christmas lunch. He was having cheese kranskies, which used to be up there among my favourite foods. Lovely little German sausages, with pockets of warm, melted cheese. Yum!

So I had some too. On a fresh white bread roll. I followed it up with some grapes. I decided that today was going to be a No Calorie Counting day, and I’d go for a walk this afternoon.

The Man had the traditional post-Christmas lunch lie-down (even though we really didn’t eat that much!) and I decided I’d go for a quick 5k around the block instead of a walk. It wasn’t too hot, there was a nice cooling breeze, and I felt like going for a run up and down some hills. See how much this lifestyle has changed me? Anyway, I set off feeling fine.

About halfway round I started to get the worst stomach cramps and had to stop running. 3/4 of the way into my lap I was really struggling, sweating and shaking, and desperately trying to work out if I could make it home or if I’d have to knock on someone’s door. And then, I saw it. The public toilet, and the door was UNLOCKED! On Christmas Day! I couldn’t believe my luck.

Anyway, I made use of the facilities. And felt much better, and walked the rest of the way home.

I honestly couldn’t believe how bad I felt though. My body was totally rebelling against the food I’d fed it! I’ve been eating clean, unprocessed food for the last 4 months, and I could not tolerate the processed meat and cheese and white bread. It was actually a really interesting revelation.

So tomorrow it’s back to the good stuff. Actually tonight it was back to the good stuff. With the exception of a small glass of butterscotch schnapps. Hey, it is Christmas, after all!

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