Spinning requires good form. In order to get the most out of the workout, and to avoid injury, holding positions (correctly) on the bike really matter. When COVID hit, I moved away from my gym membership and bought a Peloton. I love my bike, it gives me as good a workout as I got at my local gym. Although, my gym offered a terrific community and I do miss the people. But that is a post for another time… I tend to select classes with explicit instructions for form, and I realized that I needed a mirror to help me make sure I was keeping my back flat, and my elbows bent. The mirror helped, and my form is much better these days. But now, I also get a full view of my profile sitting on the bike. There is a definite disconnect between how I am feeling on the inside, “Go me! I am keeping up, even though it’s really difficult!” and how I look on the outside, “Is that what I really look like?” Then I knew that today’s post had to be dedicated to beliefs about body image.
Ugh… Body image can be a challenge for most people at some point. The other day at work, some friends were talking about how hard weight loss is, the sentiment of the conversation went like this,
You know that you’re doing so good, and it doesn’t show for such a long time. It takes so much work before it starts to show. You feel so good inside but then you look the same. It’s so discouraging.
a lunchtime chat
I was thinking about what my friends said, as my internal critic was hammering my appearance. I put my hands on my abdomen and I actually started feeling sorry for my poor body. This is the body that carried three beautiful human beings into the world. This is the body that made it possible for me to get my degree. This is the body that gave my mother a shoulder to lean on when she was sick. It has served me so well, and I have neglected it so badly and allowed myself to gain back weight. Although I’m not starting completely over, I didn’t gain it all back, it’s difficult just the same.
This is hard, but hating on my body image isn’t helpful. Hating my body is an unforgivable, petty thing to do to myself. I am truly grateful for my strong, capable body. I am trying to be worthy of it by giving it the care and attention it needs so I can continue to live my life. No matter where you are on the journey, I encourage you to love your body and to allow yourself to flood it with gratitude for all that it is to sustain your life. Be patient, stay the course, and just be good to yourself every step of the way.
Do you ever blame yourself for not having enough self-control? You think, “If only I had enough willpower and resolve, I would be able to push through this and stay on track.” For those of us who are working to improve our health, it can be very confusing when it comes to willpower. Sometimes a challenging situation will arise, like bagels in the breakroom, and it is easy to navigate that situation. But then, there are other situations that completely deplete our reserves of willpower and bad habits take over. Driving us backward, and then comes the dreaded vortex of shame, “I can’t believe I did it again!”
Let’s start this post by saying, falling into the groove of a bad habit is normal, and should not be received as a source of shame. I hope that by the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of what is really going on when we (all) fall back into bad habits from time to time.
Sometimes habits become encoded in the brain, and they are activated by a situation. If I am attending a holiday with my extended family, I will eat and drink much more than I would at home. That response is an encoded habit for me. If I go to the movies, I’ll want popcorn – another encoded habit. Think about yourself, what situation would activate an encoded habit? You find yourself in a situation, and internal forces wake up to trigger a response. The situation and the habit work together and suck you in as if you were in a whirlpool on the ocean.
Top 5 Strategies for Breaking Bad Habits
Avoid the situation – if you don’t want to eat the bagels don’t go into the staff room.
If a situation can’t be avoided, make a detailed mental story – if I’m going to a wedding I will wear an outfit I feel great in, I will eat 3 hors d’oeuvres and my entree, and spend the rest of the time socializing and dancing.
Create a network of others to draw strength from, I am going to face a challenge next weekend like going to a winery, so I will talk about it with my weight watchers community to help me focus on what I really want.
Disrupt a situation by inserting a new cue – I come from work and sack out on the couch but no – my workout clothes are there waiting for me to put them on. I work out instead.
Find new rewards that will develop healthy habits – Instead of rewarding myself with a latte for a job well done, I put the money in a jar and let it collect there as a reminder of all I am accomplishing. Then spend it on something bigger and better.
Beware, bad habits. Steer your ship away from those insidious whirlpools. For they have no choice but to suck you back into the old lifestyle you are trying to escape. This journey is all about making the most of the situations you find yourself in, avoiding unhelpful situations, and building momentum for the good. You are the one who decides how this will go – never doubt that you are powerful! We got this.
Just for fun
Remember when we were all watching videos of sea chanties?
If you’d like to learn more about Whirlpools, this is a great video:
Pretend you were able to walk into the home of someone you didn’t know. Once inside, you decide to look around. You walk into the living room and there on a chair in the foyer were some workout clothes folded neatly. You looked down at the coffee table and you see a half-filled habit tracker and some colored pens. In the kitchen, you see a food scale, and a bowl of grapes cleaned and trimmed into little bunches. Down the hallway off the kitchen and to right there is a small alcove and scale. A 64-ounce (pink) water bottle sits on a table, and it is almost empty. All of these objects tell a story about the person who lives here – this person is living a healthy lifestyle.
Environment is the invisble hand that shapes human behaviour.
James Clear Atonmic Habits
Are you making it easier or harder to achieve your weight loss goals?
Last night was a total “fail: for the implementation intention I set to work out. I wasn’t home by 8:15 pm and then it felt like permission not to do it by the time I did get home. Maybe that’s a dark side to the technique or maybe I was just too tired by then to do it. I have been thinking about it today, and it is possible that I might sneak in a workout tonight, but I’m not willing to commit to it because I want to keep my options open.
Now is the time when I need to fully dedicate myself to the weight loss goals I have set for myself. I say that because I need to hear the message. My weight is fluctuating and it feels like I’m spinning my wheels. When I look back at my data I see that there is a pattern: I have a loss followed by two days of slight gains. Right now is an important moment in my journey. It’s time to be consistent and maintain my resolve. Here is my mantra:
I am strong! I am smart! I have the skills I need to be successful! I can do this but only if, I don’t give up. I will not give up on me.
March 10, 2023
If you had to write a mantra for yourself, what would it be? Let’s inspire each other to keep going. We don’t even fully realize how amazing we truly are yet. That day is coming.
I am part of the Weight Watchers community, and lots of members are talking about the company’s decision to partner with another company called Sequence. Now members will have the option to use pharmaceuticals to help them lose weight. Some members are having a hard time with this decision because they feel it is contradictory to the beliefs of the organization.
Dealing with obesity takes a tremendous toll on the health and well-being of many people. It’s not for me to judge anyone’s choices. I just want to support my friends who are on the journey. As for me, right now, I think I am learning a lot about myself on this journey. My plan is to keep working the program and to reflect on my process. So far today has been a good one on plan. I made time to sit and eat breakfast in the morning. I packed a low-point lunch and snacks that I ate during the workday. I did not eat any candy, even though I spent the day with that candy bowl. Instead, I ate a clementine, it was quite refreshing and sweet. And, I’m going to set an Implementation Intention to work out later this evening here goes;
I will use the Peloton for 20 minutes at 8:15 pm in my bedroom.
Jenn Hayhurst 3/9/23
The only thing I feel a bit discouraged about (not always but sometimes) is that on the inside, I know I’m making big progress but it’s not showing on the outside. It’s not rational for me to get upset about something I can’t control. The weight will come off because I am making all these smart choices. Every choice I made that gets me closer to my goal brings me joy, and that is what I am choosing to focus on.
Today we celebrate women! March 8th is a global holiday called, International Women’s Day. It is a day we set aside to honor women. If you’d like to read more about how this holiday came to be: click here. As for me, I celebrated by taking a 20-minute Peloton ride this morning before going to work. I loved the idea of earning this badge in my Apple Fitness App because it was a nod to empowerment.
So find what motivates you. Find what makes you feel accomplished and good about the journey. There are so many parts to this process that have the potential to not only transform your physical self but also define the core of who you are in the world.