Transforming Your Whole Life

If you are like me, you’re catching up on posts from the holiday weekend.  My Google Reader was pretty full this morning.

First I’d like to say hello to new readers who have stumbled onto my website looking to start their New Year’s Resolutions. Many people set a resolution to “lose weight,” “get fit,” “get healthy.” Those are all great goals for the new year and I hope the new readers check out my website for tips and ideas.

If you are a new reader, take a moment to read how I lost 110 pounds. My “Best Of” Page will also help you navigate the website. This is also a great post to help you catch up on how I’ve been maintaining my weight loss.

I recently finished reading “I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago” by Hape Kerkeling.

The story is about 36 year old Hape–a pudgy couch potato who suffered from a lot of health problems–who decided to hike the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is a 500 mile route at the base of the Pyrenees to the shrine of St. James in Spain. The route is a sacred thing that Christian pilgrims have trekked for centuries.

There are nearly 40 stops along the way where Pilgrims can get their passport stamped at official hostels. His journey was really interesting to read. I’m not religious but I have always been fascinated by Pilgrimages of any religion. I was always interested in doing my own Pilgrimage or Vision Quest. Someday I will.

What I think is most interesting about this book is that he was ill-prepared for most of the things that happened on his pilgrimage. He started out on the path without enough water, quickly learned his lesson from that, and tried to walk too much in the beginning so that he got blisters and could barely walk for days. He had the wrong gear, the wrong boots…But in the end he conquered all of his fears and prejudices.

The book is pretty good. I think a bit is lost in translation (translated from German) but the gist is still the same: Self-Discovery. What struck me most was this statement:

“You have to expect a physical and emotional low here and there. Still, a pilgrimage has to be completed alone, or at least begun alone. Along the trail, I keep running into couples arguing loudly, or people who tell me they have separated from their partners on the Camino. Some people grouchily match their partner’s incompatible rhythms for miles until they brim over with resentment. In the end, nearly all pilgrims who are in it for the long haul walk alone. I virtually never see groups. Rhythm and pace are what separate more people on the trial. It is hard to find someone who dances to a similar beat. If you hike in a slow waltz, you can’t join up with a speedy flamenco pilgrim. The pilgrims’ walking styles reflect their feelings and thoughts and their very essence.” [pg.101]

This can apply to anything I believe. There are a lot of emotional and physical highs and lows with losing weight. It can be extremely discouraging to get stuck in plateaus. It can also be super uplifting to break out of those plateaus or reach a landmark in our journey!

If your Resolution was to lose weight in 2011, you’re probably currently in the “high.” You feel motivated, super enthusiastic, maybe you got new workout clothes or running shoes and you’re excited to try them out. Maybe you joined the local gym and forked over a lot of money to go. For the next month you’ll probably still have that “New Year’s Resolution Glow” about you.

Around February the glow might start to wear off. The idea of getting up early before work to hit the treadmill, or going in the evening when it’s dark and cold (and the gym is crowded) isn’t as appealing. My advice is this: STICK WITH IT.

Every year I see this happen. January 1st brings throngs of new people to the gym but by February or March the gym thins out and who remains? The committed regulars that work out as much as I do. It’s easy to get discouraged but don’t let that happen this year! 2011 can be the year you make a change in your life!

The book i’s also an observation on human relationships and how we deal with stress. How do you deal with stress? If you are in a relationship, how do you deal with it together? I don’t always deal with stress in positive ways. I used to eat in reaction to stress. I try not to anymore but there are slip-ups. Which leads me to the next quote. He makes this excellent observation:

“Actually I begin my pilgrimage anew each day. I don’t feel as though I’m on one continuous journey, but rather on a thousand short trips. Every day I have to fire myself up all over again. I’m convinced that the daily task of the pilgrim is this: Just be yourself, no more and no less!” [pg 102]

That really spoke to me because it’s a topic that can be related to just about anything in my life. Specifically, it applies to my weight loss journey. I had to decide every single day that I woke up that I was going to make GOOD choices. Each day is a different challenge, a different opportunity to make good or bad choices. Each day I have a choice if I want to live a healthy life, or slip back into my old ways.

I could beat myself up for overeating, indulging, slipping into old habits and eating too many treats…in fact I’ve beat myself up for those things more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve gotten better in this last year.

I realized somewhere along the line that I won’t gain back all my 100 pounds with one slip up! I do have anxiety once in awhile about gaining back my weight. I think that’s normal. But each day that goes by that I maintain shows me that I Can Do This.

My final thought: 3 weeks from now, 2 months from now, whenever you’re feeling like giving up on your New Year’s Resolution think about what you really want in life and KEEP TRYING!

Good Luck!

QUESTION: How are you going to transform your life?

Choosing the Right Gym

Last night’s run was a good one! I am really happy that I was able to increase my distance once again with no pain. I felt really good during my 2.75 mile run on the treadmill. In fact I REALLY really wanted to keep going to 3 miles. But I was a good girl and didn’t push it.

The gym madness has already begun. The gym was really crowded. Too many people trying to use too few machines. Not fun. January will not be my favorite time of year, that’s for sure.

I wasn’t able to use some of my favorite weight machines because they were always occupied. I made do with the other machines I like and focused on my triceps. While I’ve made a lot of progress I wish my triceps were stronger and toner.

Last night my focus was Chest, Back and Triceps. I finally gave up trying to use the weight machines and went over to the other side where the free weight machines were.

Hey Single Girls! Here’s a tip: if you want to meet a guy at the gym, just work out in the free weight/scary men’s weight area of the gym. So I headed over there to use the chest machines and whoever used the Bench Press last didn’t return their weights to the stack. I was about to remove them when some guy kindly hurried up to me and offered to remove them. I guess since I’m a GIRL and all I couldn’t lift 45 pound weights. 😉 I mock but he was just being chivalrous.

After the Bench Press I was able to do the Plie Squats again! Last week I tried them and had uncomfortable knee pain so I quit. Last night was a success all around.

Gym Stats:

Time: 1:33

Calories Burned: 686

Went home and ate leftovers from Star and since “I Run So I Can Eat”:

…I ate a piece of apple pie afterward:

🙂 It was excellent!

How to Choose the Right Gym

It’s that time of year…everyone is making New Year’s Resolutions and gym’s are doing everything they can to lure in new customers. So how do you know what’s right for you?

For me when it came time to buy a membership to a gym I knew there were only two factors I cared about (at that time):

1. Swimming Pool. Duh, my primary source of fitness has always been swimming. But you’d be surprised how many gyms do not have a pool.

2. Convenience. I hate commuting–period. If the gym is too far away from my house I just won’t go. Plus the hours need to be convenient for my schedule too.

Here are some tips to help you narrow down the list:

  • Good Equipment: Is everything working? Are there enough machines so you’re not fighting over a treadmill or elliptical every time you work out?
  • Variety of Machines: There should be a nice variety of machines. Different brands and types of treadmills, ellipticals, row machines, etc. Plus there should also be weight machines AND free weights. Variety will keep it interesting.
  • Classes: If classes are more your speed check the gym schedule for hours and variety of classes offered. If none of the classes will work with your schedule, keep looking at gyms.
  • Price: Check online for deals, specials and coupons (check Costco as well). I bought my 2 year membership to 24hr Fitness for $300 at Costco. Great deal!
  • Locker Rooms: Is everything clean? Hygiene is a biggie for me. If a gym looks dirty/moldy or gross I won’t go. Same with the pool–is the water clean?
  • Personal Training: Some people need a personal trainer to get them motivated, or give them tips. It’s really important to find the right trainer you can work with. Don’t settle for less! Also, the trainer should have some sort of degree or certification. Ask them!

Final Tip: When you sign up for a free week before signing any contracts be sure to workout at the SAME time you’ll use the gym if you belonged. That way you can accurately gauge how busy it will be.

QUESTION: What are your priorities for choosing a gym?