It’s time for this column to evolve.
To make lasting changes from couch potato to an active lifestyle is a long process, and it involves a lot of repetition. That’s fine for making life changes but not so good for a weekly column—where the “new” in newspaper is important.
I’ll be continuing with that process, but I’m planning to expand the scope of what I’m writing about, to feature people in our community who are undertaking the same journey.
I have a cousin, for instance, who took a totally different approach when he learned he was diabetic, setting himself up with a rigorous exercise program, controlling his diet totally, and rapidly dropping whole human being’s worth of weight.
I know of another guy who took an extremely data-based approach, monitoring his weight daily, monitoring calories in and calories out—counting this, that and everything. It’s nothing like my approach but it worked great for him.
I’m also interested in the myriad ways people stay motivated. I had a weird experience recently where I found the success of a friend of mine to be weirdly de-motivating for me. It was like if she was doing great, I was suffering by comparison, or something. That’s a counterproductive point of view, and I’ve been working to just leave it sitting in the dust where it belongs. But the human mind is a complex thing and I’ve noticed through this process that the mental aspect is very much harder than any physical workout I have done. I’m interested in exploring this further with others.
I’d like to take a closer look at things like emotional eating, and how people grapple with that.
I had an interesting conversation recently with one of my aunts, who is diabetic. She was talking to my grandson about finishing the food on his plate. She was raised that way, and I was, too. When I pointed out to her that expecting him to eat when he was no longer hungry was perpetuating a bad eating pattern, she agreed. But it’s still a tough habit to break. Smaller portions can help there, but my best success has been through eating without distractions, and really paying attention to the signals my body sends about satiety.
In future columns, I’ll also be including information about resources that are out there in our area, like gyms. I’ll be providing information about more classes, too. In short, I’ll take a broader approach all the way around.
If you have a tale to share about getting fit, I’d love to hear it, and perhaps profile your story. If you offer a class, own a gym, or want to add your voice to the chorus, give me a call or shoot me an email.
I’ll also continue to chronicle my own journey. So here’s the update on that: After three or four months where I did not get on a scale, I learned last week that I’m down 10 pounds this summer. That’s pretty exciting.
What’s more exciting, though, is that I have built some new habits and I feel the changes. Meal preparation on Sundays for my work week is now my routine, which means I eat much better during the week, and I am saving a lot of money, too.
I now regularly exercise two or three times a week, and when I don’t get exercise, my muscles feel the lack and I look for a way to move my body. I’m finding the space in my schedule for making my health a priority. That is a huge change for me. My next step will be to increase this to five days a week.
I have slowly cut my portion sizes and learned to pay more attention when I eat, although compulsive eating, out-of-control eating and emotional eating remain issues for me. The good news is that this also seems to be changing.
I just got some new running shoes and I’m looking forward to pushing that aspect of my workouts harder. My daughter and son-in-law have been trail running, miles at a time, and I’m envious. I’ve joined them for a little bit of that and it’s fun! That will be my next hard push—running.
If you have an idea for a feature or a profile, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-286-1212. Or join the conversation in my Facebook group, “I’m Losing It!”
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at email@example.com.