Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting the Map Out Again

I have been very careful to try and not be redundant with these posts, but I feel that there is one route that I have to revisit and reiterate. In “Getting Lost”, I mentioned that the most common question I get asked is “what is different this time?” In the months since I wrote that original post, I have been asked that question numerous more times. I have decided that I better come up with an answer besides “I don’t know, it just is”…that response just doesn’t cut it as any type of inspirational sound bite.
I still maintain that motivation and inspiration must come from within and that success is easier to maintain once you decide to follow your own road map. However, if there are outside factors that help create an interest for you to start your own journey, then I am only happy to be that starting point. So, back to the question: “What is different and how do you keep going?” OK, so maybe that’s technically two questions!

What is different? Well, initially, when “The Intervention” occurred, I wanted to lose weight because I knew I wasn’t healthy and, of course, the looming prospect of hitting the big four-oh. As the pounds came off, I started feeling better and people started noticing subtle changes in my personality and my appearance. Now, I am not a vain person, but the complements I started receiving did serve as motivation to keep me on the road. But it wasn’t just the external comments that kept me moving forward, it was also the physical transformation and the fact that I just started feeling better! It was all just a snowball effect of epic proportions. Feeling better made me want to keep going and the fact that I kept going made me feel better!

How do I keep going? Well I think the most important piece of advice that I can impart here is to not look at the whole eight hour road trip at once! I have never thought about the fact that I needed to lose 150 lbs., I’ve approached it as little 25 lb. increments. This is where I would normally use the “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” adage, but since this is a weight-loss blog, I think I will shy away from the over-eating references! When you look at the big picture, you miss a lot of the fine details. As humans, we like to achieve goals as a mark of success. So, by starting small, setting little goals that are achievable, you will feel successful right out of the gate. Once you hit that goal, set a new one that stretches you out of your comfort zone. When you hit that one, find a way to celebrate and then set another new goal. I think you see where I am going with this.

Something that I think is important to note is that the changes I made were slow, which allowed my body to adjust accordingly. If I had immediately cut my food intake in half and doubled my exercise, I’m pretty sure I would have not been able to sustain the pace and quit a long time ago. So allow yourself the opportunity to make gradual changes rather than going for it all at once. If you recall, that is the very reason why I have chosen the “road trip” theme for this adventure.

It’s no secret that I know how to drive to Atlanta, and could do it with my eyes closed, but I decided to take a step back, get the road map out again and actually plan my journey. I had to prepare for any unexpected things along the way…road blocks, traffic, dog shows at rest stops, and any other external or internal obstructions thrown in my path. Having the map handy shows me alternate routes that are available to keep me headed toward my goal. As long as I keep a road map at my side, I know I will always get where I’m going.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Hanging at the Rest Stop

You know, there are times when I am on the road that I just know if I take a break at a gas station or a fast food restaurant (oh, how I love Chick-Fil-A, though!!), I’m just gonna get into trouble. There are so many ways to be bad at those places...candy bars, cheeseburgers, milk-shakes, ice cream, french fries, etc. If I am feeling particularly vulnerable—and I don’t need gas— I make sure that I stop at a rest stop. Usually, they are readily available and there is less opportunity to stray from my goal, which means, I am back on the road after stretching my legs for a few minutes. There are those times, however, where all good intentions are thrown out the window, and I end up hanging out at the rest stop. Maybe there is a dog caravan stopping at the same time and I stay to watch the dogs play or maybe I just don’t feel like getting back on the road, but whatever the case, I am only extending the length of my journey.
In the big scheme of things, adding a few minutes on to an eight hour drive is not that big of a deal, so I can’t chastise myself too much if I decide to hang out for a little while. What would be bad is to decide to take up residence at the rest stop. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to do, any time you stop moving forward, your goal keeps getting pushed back and before you realize it, you’ve abandoned your plan.

In the weight loss road trip, hanging out at the rest stop basically means hitting a plateau. I’ve recently done that and it was very difficult for me to find my way off that plateau (or get back in the car, as it were). For several weeks in a row, I weighed the exact same as the week prior, making me question my ability to keep going. Taking up residency at the rest stop seemed like a pretty good option!

Then something crazy happened... I went to Vegas!! Now, since what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, I can’t share too many details here!! ;) But, I can say this: I have never felt better after walking and being on my feet 21 hours/day for three days. Upon realizing how good I felt after that trip, I was motivated off the plateau and got my butt back in gear to come out of the comfortable confines of the rest stop. At yesterday’s weigh-in, I lost almost 5 lbs, bringing my total loss to an astounding 127 lbs. So yes, plateau busted!

Even though it may seem necessary to hang at a rest stop, don’t loiter too long. Find the motivation to jump back in the car and reach your destination. At the same time, you shouldn’t let a few extra minutes dampen your spirits, since nobody but you has imposed an imaginary clock on your “drive time”, you should be allowed to reset the clock when a break is needed. Just remember you have the rest of your life to reach your destination, so take as much time as you need and enjoy the ride.