When I was 18, I lived in Fort Lauderdale and was a weight trainer at a health club called “Bodyworks”. I remember, vividly, having perfect posture. I felt like it contributed to my positive attitude and overall happiness.
I realized late last year that my posture was awful. After 30 years, my posture had given way to rounded shoulders and forward head tilt. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look here. So this past June I began to try to be more conscious of my posture. Trying to correct my posture is kind of like meditating - I have to constantly and consciously bring my attention back to posture many, many times a day.
I try to stand up straight, pull my head back and, sometimes, even check my posture against a wall…but every time I do it, I feel better. I mean that I, physically, feel lighter, stronger, and more alive. By correcting my posture, my ribcage opens up, my lungs decompress, which allows me to take in more more oxygen. The crown of my head feels open which seems to qwell any anxiety I might be feeling.
I think cultivating a more positive attitude has keep me on track – it’s kept me from sabotaging my weightloss efforts. Even through a plateau…
And I have had at least two plateaus since mid-June. Pre “this-time” (instead of all the other times I tried to lose weight over the past 6+ years), I’d lose, like 3-5 pounds the first week and then over the next two weeks I would see the weight loss stop and I would get so frustrated and dejected that I’d just end up saying “screw it”. I’d start eating more and drinking more and moving less.
This is a photo of my MFP progress screen. I was hoping the resolution would be better but I think you can still see what my progress looked like over some 90+ days. I tried to weigh myself everyday – except for the second week in September when I was on the road. You can see that I had several plateaus – I had a long one in July (2 1/2 weeks) and just got over a long one (3 weeks).
But I find it really interesting to see this because there are lots and lots of spikes up (sometimes as much as 4-5 lbs). What’s great is that I learned a spike is almost always followed by a significant drop. But overall the trend is down. I can’t tell you how motivating this little screen is for me.
Sustaining that motivation/inspiration has been the key to my success. Because, to quote a lovely lady from the Facebook, this is not a diet, this is my life – the real trick is changing your perception of who you are. I do believe that thoughts become patterns and carve out actual neural pathways in our brains that keep us in that habitual mindset. I truly believe that it takes carving out new neural pathways to actually change our habits. So, for example, for the last 6 years I have been thinking of myself as getting old (i.e., a fumpy, middle-aged lady), and after many failures to take off the weight, I really began to believe that I would never be able to get into shape again. And besides, I had other things to deal with (life – work – family). After a while it just became my identity – to be that weak, middle-aged, out of shape and completely stressed out woman – it was an endless loop. I could not see my way out of it.
A few months ago, though, there was the tinest shift. I don’t know how to explain it or why it happened but I began to think that the only way I would ever be able to change my body would be to change my thinking. Oh yeah, I’ve posted that many times before – I’ve been saying, for years, “change your mind to change your life” but I guess I had become numb to it. But finally, there was a glimmer of comprehension and I thought, “I’ve got to approach this differently. I’ve got to begin seeing myself differently and I have to be open to trying strategies that I never would have considered before.”
These past 3 months – what I’ve been doing for myself – I should have begun years ago. But better late than never. I refuse to dwell on the past. We all come to our right path in good time. And sometimes there are other things that have to happen before we get there…before we find our map.
I am hopeful that I can stay the course – but I know, like everything else, there will be ups and downs and sometimes plateaus along the way. I’ll just pull my shoulders back, hold my head high and keep moving forward.