A long way to go…

Here I was, celebrating losing 40lbs worth of fat-suit.  It’s a great feeling, in every sense. I feel like I have accomplished a goal, and physically I feel strong and healthy.

Then, I went clothes shopping to replace some clothes that are now too big/baggy.

There is nothing like harsh dressing room lighting (a/k/a “reality”) and trying on a particularly unflattering skirt to remind a gal that she doesn’t actually look like Cinderella. Going from 230lbs to 190lbs makes a big difference, yes.  However, there is a LOT more difference to be made.

Rather than dampening my commitment, this realization is a great motivator.  I’ve got a lot more accomplishing to do!

It has taken me 3 years to get here. (Note: That time frame contains long periods of time when I was at a frustrating plateau, eating just 1200 calories a day, exercising for an hour a day, and getting nowhere. Thanks to paleo, eating more and better foods, and working out differently, my progress has sped up considerably.)

What are some motivational tools I’ve used?

—I track my weight.  Lance Armstrong may be disgraced, but I will always be thankful to him for starting Livestrong.com, which I think is a wonderful tool for tracking food and weight. The site also contains all sorts of articles about food and exercise. It’s NOT a paleo site, and the articles come from all sorts of people, so there are plenty of articles with suggestions that don’t work for me, like touting multigrain bread spread with white bean hummus as being an awesome post-workout snack (I made that up, but you get the idea).  Anyway, Livestrong is free, but if you spring for the $40-something bucks a year, they keep your data for more than 30 days.  I have an excellent line graph showing my results since I joined. It’s a jagged up-and-down line, but it’s 40lbs lower now than when I started.

—I read/listen to other people’s success stories.  Hearing from people who already did what I want to do makes me happy, and gives me motivation.  Again, Livestrong.com has a good collection of success stories, where people discuss in their own words what they did to changes their lives. After realizing paleo was for me, I started seeking out paleo-specific success stories.  Seeking out those stories is a big reason behind this blog-and-twitter thing. Someone else did it, I can do it too!

—The Eartha Kitt philosophy.  Eartha Kitt was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning. The interviewer asked how she stays in shape or something like that. Eartha said that whenever she felt like she wanted to take a nap, she went out for a walk/jog instead. When I saw her in concert (it couldn’t have been very long before she died in 2008), she was stunning on stage. Her dress was split up the side like she was Angelina Jolie, and she stuck that leg out, and waved it all around, and she squatted, and did all kinds of hilarious, athletic, and sexy moves during her act.  Now, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a good nap when you need it, but I like her idea that maybe you really just need some fresh air and activity instead. At least try. You can always nap afterward.  Also, accomplishing “sexy” at 80 is something to aspire to. 🙂

—Just showing up.  There have been days when I SO did not want to go to the gym (usually I try to get there every workday). On those low motivation days, I sit at my desk and I can’t even imagine trying to lift a weight or stepping on the treadmill. So, I make a deal with myself. Just show up. I say to myself, “Self, just go change into your workout clothes. If all you want to do is walk at a 1.0 pace like a lazy turtle for 10 minutes, then that’s fine.”  Of course, once I’m actually at the gym, in my workout clothes, and have moped around for a few minutes, I start to feel motivated to do more. Sneaky, sneaky.

—Team effort. I have a workout buddy (co-worker). Usually when one of us feels unmotivated, the other one will be the cheerleader for the day. She is in excellent shape (I think) but even she has less motivated days.  Recruit a workout buddy. You can motivate each other!

—Music. For better workouts (and general mood), never underestimate the power of good music. I use my smartphone and my Pandora app to personalize radio stations (gosh, I love Pandora). That way, I don’t run out of songs and get bored with the same old playlist. When I don’t want to clean the house, I put on my headphones, dial up a station with good beats, and pretty soon I’m dancing around the house with a broom in my hand. True story.

—Photos. I look at my fattest fat pictures. My helpful husband took “before” bikini pictures from the front, side, and back. Whew. Let’s just say I hope my computer never gets hacked. 🙂

There must be more motivational tools I’ve used, but right now I want to go take advantage of the weekend daylight hours and get some work done. If you want to share, I’d love to hear other motivational stories, ideas, suggestions.

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