The Finale to my Birthday Speech

Obviously, I am in better shape now than I was at 40 (see previous two posts.) But, what about that weight I was intending to lose?

I may have lost 5 pounds, and I still have 6 weeks to work on a few more. What I realize, now, is I set myself up to do an almost impossible task. Terry Small, Canada’s #1 Learning Expert (says his tagline), writes about having a willpower budget, If we set ourselves a task, say, of writing 100 consecutive days of blog posts, and healing our sciatica, and losing 20 pounds our brains don’t have sufficient capacity for self-regulation. We can increase our ability with practice, and let me tell you, I’ve practised over the years, which might explain why, until a particularly youthful squat-jumping move in my hip hop dance class put me over the edge a couple of weeks ago, I had pretty much eliminated 10 years of chronic sciatic pain AND posted 100 consecutive missives. There wasn’t any left for weight loss.

Check this out:

“The brain’s store of willpower is depleted when people control their thoughts, feelings or impulses, or when they modify their behavior in pursuit of goals. Psychologist Roy Baumeister and others have found that people who successfully accomplish one task requiring self-control are less persistent on a second, seemingly unrelated task.

In one pioneering study, some people were asked to eat radishes while others received freshly baked chocolate chip cookies before trying to solve an impossible puzzle. The radish-eaters abandoned the puzzle in eight minutes on average, working less than half as long as people who got cookies or those who were excused from eating radishes. Similarly, people who were asked to circle every “e” on a page of text then showed less persistence in watching a video of an unchanging table and wall.”

Now that I have accomplished the goal of 100 posts I can return to re-eliminating the sciatic pain, get my website sufficiently organized to invite you all over soon, AND work on some weight loss.

Vancouver Art Gallery decked out for the Olympics - a high school band is playing on the steps

Last week, I had an amazing day off. I got my hair cut at an uber cool salon, window-shopped, and took in the Olympic air in Vancouver. In all, I walked for 8 hours minus a 15 minute cup of soup and numerous quickie shoe tryings-on. At one time, my back would have mutinied long before I’d walked over the Granville Street Bridge a second time; and, it would have mutinied the next day. Nope. All was well … except my feet did ask for a little soak in epsom salts and were appreciative and quiet after they got it.

If my back is well, my ability to burn the calories necessary for weight loss increases.

The other thing I’ve been doing as much for my back as for my waistline is sit-ups. I roll out of bed and do 100 of the things. I have a whole repertoire of sit-ups and I have missed one day in the past 5 weeks. Strengthening my core gives better bounce to the whole day.

This morning, and many other mornings, I spent half an hour visualizing some crazy micro-camera going carefully through my parts that give me pain: occasional migraine in the eye, neck & shoulder (too much laptop among other things), mid-back, lower back, numb thigh right above the knee. Perhaps not too alarming a list for half a century of wear and tear, but more than I’m willing to accept at the moment. In this visualization I had the camera check out all these areas. The information was uncanny. Not especially easy to put into words, but an awareness of how I hold the stress in certain areas, and an indication of inflammation that I hadn’t noticed but is clearly there – now that I’m noticing.

Along with the micro-camera, I send joy and happiness flooding through my body. The initial reluctance to allow such positive feelings surprised and concerned me, but the resistance was fairly easy to overcome.

I’m still feeling pain, tiredness, and tension in various back parts & neck/shoulder, but the impulse is to get up and move, not sit and push through. Ultimately, this impulse will be my ally not only in relieving pain, but in losing weight.

I haven’t given up the goal, but I don’t know that I will lose 15 pounds in 6 weeks. Maybe. I mean, I’m not opposed to the idea – as long as I don’t have to be sick to do it. Given that there is a week of Spring Break in there where I might do some marathon walking… who knows?!

However, if I all my focus and shame had gone toward those 15 pounds I may have lost the very encouraging knowledge that I am, without a doubt, in better shape now than I was at 40!