Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Brother's Wisdom

This past year, my brother Danny lost thirty pounds through (yes) diet and exercise, but also recognizing that anything done in isolation ultimately fails. We are not islands. When I remove myself from my family to write, I get writer's block almost instantaneously.  I need the interruptions to fight against in order to think. 

Likewise, my brother figured out that alone, he could not do this; so he volunteered to raise money for his high school's scholarship fund via pledges based on how much weight he lost and earned the school over 800 dollars in the process.   Talking to him yesterday, I asked for tips for those of us who like myself, have fallen off the weight band wagon and need to climb back on.   So without further adieu:

10) Set a goal.  You know this. I know this.  Make it public.  (That's the hard part).  Post it.  Proclaim it. Write it down and make sure everyone you know that loves you and can stop that Boston Creme donut from even being bought, knows.  

9) Tie your goal with something bigger than becoming smaller.  My brother did a scholarship, now he's working on running a marathon to raise funds for an Alzheimers cure.  I have a friend that does the 60 mile Susan Koemen walk.  Another family I know does the walk for MS, and my other brother does the March for Dimes every year.  My sister is in the March for Dimes this year too.  (So I'm the black sheep right now).   It helps with 1) remembering the goal 2) having a finish date and 3) bringing you another reward for hanging in there and 4) makes it communal.

8) Communal work outs work best.  In tip 9, you saw that this was a family affair for some.  By joining a group that runs, it kept Danny at it when he didn't want to.  Having a friend say, "Hey, join me at the gym?" helps, or a walking buddy and I don't mean the kids trapped and strapped in the stroller. My sister does stroller moms and having all those other ladies around to keep you going, and the smiling faces to get you started, man that helps. 

7) Don't sabotage yourself.  Shop for snacks before you start, make them all 100 cal shots and have them salty and sweet and in the closet for when you parallel eat. (I have to have this because the kids always want a snack in the afternoon and it's hard to watch others eating).  Having a lean cuisine pizza when everyone else is having pizza hut will make it less miserable to be on said diet. 

6) Prayer.  You knew I was going to say it, but ifyou are going to be fasting, you ought to reap the benefits of the double bonus.   Running for my brother is a good stress releaser, it allows him to unpack the day of teaching and to pray.

5) Don't sabotage yourself by putting it off.  We're moms. We make lists and thus things get done.  On the days we don't make lists, what happens?  For me at least, not nearly as much and man is it stressful.  Put exercise on the list. Put the time and treat it like an orthodontist appointment that will cost you 50$ if you miss it. (Why that example? Guess what happens today!)  

Bonus Hint: do early rather than later because we all know later means not ever.

4) Don't sabotage yourself by being boring.  Exercise is not easy so it darn well better be something we don't loathe.  Don't jog if you hate running.  Dance, wii yoga, swim or hit the gym but do something that you won't have to force yourself to endure (I don't spin or run....ever).  

Doing a dutiful exercise is rather like giving a kid a book to read and saying, "I loved this as a child."  Are they going to read it? NO!  So leave the book out there on top of their dresser with the casual, "I remember that book.  It was kinda cool." and leave it at that, then go put on kickboxing and pretend you're batgirl or use your exercise as an excuse to get an ipod and load it with all the tunes your kids won't let you listen to on the radio.  The kids will pick up those books if you don't act too interested in their reading them.  They they'll say, "Hey Mom, Guess what?  I read this cool book. Wait until after they glow about it before you mention you liked it then too."  When I exercise, I want the same credit as the kid,s "Hey guys, I exercised." and I want them not to deflate me too quickly by pointing out how I could have done this sooner, better or more. 

3) Food diary.  It is annoying but true.  If you write down what you eat, you'll eat less and the choices will be better.  If you record every check and pulse and charge, you spend less and spend more wisely.  Vigilance is the enemy of sloth and indifferent eating is a form of sloth towards long term health and daily  maintenance. 

2) Weigh yourself daily and record the number.  It goes with the diary.  You'll know when you've sabotaged yourself and why, you won't want to face that little stupid annoying square in your bathroom and you'll say, "I'll be extra good today so I can enjoy getting on that damn thing tomorrow." Won't happen.  Remember writing that goal down?  Post it in the bathroom near scale.  The scale is your honest friend, even when you don't want to be.  

1) Don't sabotage yourself by being unwilling to start today because you don't have everything in place.  And Don't sabotage yourself tomorrow if you didn't do as well today.  Despair of success, despair of failure, despair of not having the discipline needed, despair of all one has to do in a day, these are all enemies of any type of success, including in the arena of becoming more fit and healthy. 

So I salute my younger brother's hard work and wise words and today, I'm putting said kiddos in the stroller, grabbing my old CD player and we're going for a walk.   It will be only one mile in all probability, but it's a start. 

My goal?  144 by the family Reunion July 10th.  I'll keep you posted.   Good luck everyone.


Anonymous said...

Well done, Sherry. And - a great reminder. Stressed from being with my mom and not enough to do, I'm stuffing my face.

MightyMom said...

my goal is to be able to pedal as far as my friend Jill can run...which is to say 26 miles. So far I can go 9 miles in <56 min. Finding the 2 hours to do it is hard though. and yes, it's on the todo list. and my previous, current, and future weights are all posted at the top of my blog, it don't get any more PUBLIC than that sister.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!