Saturday, November 5, 2011

Health and Whimsy: Finding motivation

Hello ladies,

There were a few days this past week wherein my motivation seemed to have been spirited away to that secret place, usually reserved for lost house keys or my misplaced cell phone. I was feeling fatigued from the wrap up of my busiest month of the year work wise and my body decided it was time to cramp my style, so to speak. I really wanted to hide out under my electric blanket with The Princess Bride novel and my owl teapot filled with Irish Breakfast tea.

In response to my feelings, I altered my goals for the week to simply adhere to my hour of walking, six days, and maintain my healthy eating plan and Twitter food diary. I decided not to worry about trying to walk early in the day or focus on speed/distance. All I asked of myself was to get to the path and move as quickly as my body was able that day.

I found once I was on the trail, the enthusiasm and strength of other walkers, joggers and professional athletes helped propel me forward when part of my self was still at home under the blanket. Even on low energy days, I was able to finish my walk within five minutes of my usual time. I felt proud of myself for staying committed when I could have easily abandoned the week to a series of good excuses.

Today, a jogger passed me in full marathon regalia including the printed number pinned on his shirt, front and back. I usually see this type of display with cyclists even weeks after the race has finished. As I approached mid-block, a little boy on his scooter asked his father what the jogger was doing. His dad said, "He's exercising." The boy pondered this for a moment and replied, "Well, I am not exercising!".

His father affirmed that he was even if he didn't realize it. I smiled at both of them as I walked by, doing my best to hold in my laughter. The little boy then inquired, pointing at me: "Is she exercising?".  He received confirmation that, yes, walking is also exercise. The little boy replied: "Okay, if she's exercising, then I can be exercising too."

This moment really made me think from a child's perspective that goals and acheievement have their place, but in the end being in the moment can make exercise fun. The only reason he would associate himself with exercise was because I was smiling.

This week, I lost two pounds. This brings the total to 16 pounds lost since September 1st. More exciting than the weight loss was evidence that my workout clothes are fitting loose enough that I will consider purchasing the next size down soon. I chose the Old Navy slim fit athletic pants because I figured the lycra would offer me added wear time before needing to shop again. My pants look acceptable, but they swish a bit too much for a proper fit.

Behaviors that helped this week:
  • Focusing on maintaining efforts during difficult days. There are times when it is best to keep goals simple.
  • Making exercise a priority. When I was feeling low on energy, I looked at my to do list and put off non-essential tasks in favor of a focus on health. 
  • Incorporating a fiber supplement into my regimen. Changes in diet can tax the digestive system. I feel better providing extra support in clearing toxins out of my body. Each morning, I mix Colonix Fiber powder with fruit juice. A few years ago, I employed this powder as part of a cleanse. It also works well as daily fiber supplement. With an herbal blend including slippery elm bark and licorice along with psyllium and flax, I find the formula gentle and effective. A fiber supplement can help reduce the plateau stage during a weight loss program if it is caused by sluggish digestion. 
  • Adding nuts as a snack. A handful of nuts will offer protein and iron, while staving off hunger. 

Goals for the next week:
  • Extend walking route distance three out of six days. I discovered by the mile marker that the Girard Avenue Bridge is two miles from my starting point on the path. I am covering close to that distance now, but I would like to make my walk on the trail officially four miles. 
  • Formulate a plan for alternate exercise on stormy days. 
  • Focus on positive thinking, an active meditation, during my walk. 
How has your week been going? What do you do on days when you struggle with motivation? 

*Health and Whimsy is designed to be a journal of my personal experience. Please consult with your doctor before making changes to your health plan. 

Happy painting, ladies!


  1. You had a wonderful week! Congrats. Just as long as you keep moving you'll do well. I had a horrible week. Only 7 kids for Halloween. That meant candy left over which I indulged in. Plus retaining fluid so I gained 7lbs. I'll lose it again. I've been going up and down. I still have a small bag of candy. The rest went to work with my girlfriend. The salt will really mess with my system. I'm salt sensitive. When you don't move the salt just doesn't get out of your body. I'm trying to drink more water but it's tough. When I have a week of bad pain I also eat my pain. Hopefully this coming week will be better.

  2. Wow! You are doing a great job! I should do the same but I only like to do that when I have company but usually no one wants to come along :( I know it's an health issue but I haven't been the better example for it. I'm always saying I will start tomorrow but I never do :( But I will gain the courage to start. It's just that Winter makes it a lot more difficult too :P

  3. Lucy: I am salt sensitive too. I never add salt when I cook (unless there is a tiny amount in a recipe). When I go out for meals, I have to be careful. I bet when you are gaining weight, some of it is fluid retention. I'm sorry you weren't feeling well this week. I hope next week is better for you. xoxo!

    Akuma Kanji: Thanks! I seem to be able to find a partner one day a week, but for the rest of the time I am on my own for fitness. One of my goals for the next week is to be planning indoor activities for bad weather days. I have some exercise videos, weights and body bars. I need to wrangle it all in one place.

    I empathize with the difficulties of getting started. I wish I had made the decision to begin this column a few weeks earlier to detail some of the initial obstacles. I can say that it does get much easier after a few weeks of regular exercise. :)

  4. I suppose I am the embodiment of the anti-colonic.
    Exercise really does give you energy and so do raw fruits and vegetables coupled with balsamic vinegar and coconut oil as a dressing.
    Keep on, keepin' on. The weather has been lovely.
    See you.

  5. I'm proud of you! Way to work through your struggle of finding your motivation (and by the way, did you find it? Did it fall behind the couch? Was Mermaid batting it around the house?! hehe) I also love the tale of the child who wanted to exercise because you were happy exercising :)

  6. Congrats on losing more girl! The only thing I do is walking. I don't like "working out" even though the doc said that I should do it cause everyone needs exercise. I will admit I'm lazy too. :( I'm so happy for you and what you're doing!

  7. Claire: I will admit to being balsamic impaired. I am so glad we are having a mild autumn so far. You would love the water views near Boathouse Row.

    BeautyJudy: Thank you! Mermaid encourages my walks by attacking my shoelaces. I'm glad this week was a little easier than last. My motivation came out of hiding. :)

    kittypolishnbags: Thanks! Walking is great exercise so you are on the right track. Making a schedule ahead of time helps me stay on target during those lazy days. You aren't alone. :)


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