27 July 2012

getting out of a slump

Yesterday, within the span of about two hours, I had two different people contact me looking for advice on getting out of a slump and staying motivated. No joke. First came at 3:25 pm, second at 5:14. Stars aligned or something, I don't know, but after giving each of them some tips, I thought why should they have all the fun? So here are some of my suggestions on getting motivated when you're struggling.

Weigh In, No Excuses
I have been on Weight Watchers for 18 months and I have weighed in every.single.week. Didn't matter if I was on vacation or knew I had gained, I have always gotten on that scale. I understand that things happen, schedules change, your vacation doesn't allow the luxury of weighing in, but the problem is that skipping one week sometimes turns into two, which turns into three.... The longer you go without weighing in, the harder it becomes to go back. 

I'm not an idiot. I know when I've had an off week and am going to see a gain. And, yes, it can sometimes be scary, especially if you've skipped multiple weeks or fell so far off the wagon you're running behind it trying to catch up, all out of breath. But by stepping on that scale and facing the music number, you know where you are and can formulate a plan of attack for the new week. Emphasis on new, because each week, each day, even each meal is a chance to start over, so take advantage of those opportunities when you can.

Experiment With Exercise
There is a reason I am happy to wake up at 6:30am two or three times a week and go for a run. Because I love doing it. I love the way my body feels during and the endorphin rush after. There is also a reason why my normal route goes past the CrossFit box near my apartment and not into the CrossFit box near my apartment. Because as much as I know that it would be a super intense workout, that is so not something I want to put myself through. Just glancing in as I run past is enough to give me flashbacks of high-school gym class and noooothankyou. 

Exercise isn't exactly fun. You get hot and sweaty and feel all gross and nasty. Sometimes you have to forgo sleep or other activities in order to fit it in. It's a necessary evil, so if you're going to torture yourself you might as well do it with an activity you actually enjoy. 


Remember how I fully embraced last place in my first 5K? That's what ol' George there is talking about. Thing is, never in a million, gazillion, googleplex years would I have ever imagined that I, of all people, would be a runner. And I wouldn't be if I hadn't decided one day in February to at least give it a try. Finding the right exercise(s) for you might take some trial and error, but just because you don't like one doesn't mean you won't love another. Plus, if nothing else, at least you're getting a work out while you're trialing and erroring.

If you have an exercise that you love but are still in a slump, then maybe trying something completely new and different is just what you need to get out of it. Remember, there's your comfort zone, and then there's where all the magic happens.

Create Non-Scale Goals
Sometimes the scale is not on our side. It's a fact of life, my friends, and one we all must deal with. This means that if your only focus is losing weight and The Number, then you leave yourself vulnerable to becoming, well, the scale's bitch. This is why non-scale goals are so important, because it's too easy to let that not-nice number become an excuse to quit.

For me, it's making sure I run at least three times a week and I have a whole arsenal of yoga poses I am still working on. These are goals that mentally and physically challenge me and keep me motivated to be healthy and eat right without having anything, whatsoever, to do with my weight. This is important for those Monday mornings when I hop on feeling all confident and I look down and see a number that makes absolutely no sense and I want to just pick my scale up and throw it against the wall. Instead of acting on my instinct, I think over the past week and am able to say that despite what the scale says, I ran 8 miles or finally conquered headstand and that's enough to keep me going. You are not the number, so don't treat yourself as if you are. 

Stop Using the Word "Diet"
Strike it. Erase it. Blow it up. I don't care, just don't call whatever it is that you are doing a "diet." A diet signifies work and deprivation. It signifies hunger pains and sacrifice. Oh, sure, you're going to have to sacrifice food or sleep (or both) and this takes work, but a diet is short term. It is a means to an end. But what happens when you reach goal weight? 

Exactly. 

To succeed at the physical part of weight loss you first have to tackle the mental part, and that means embracing the fact that this is a lifestyle change. Which means it is for the rest of your life. Yes, that can be overwhelming and scary and a bit depressing. Or it can be exciting and hopeful and optimistic. Because, really, how many of us are given the opportunity to rise from the ashes of our former selves and completely change our lives? 

Do you have your own suggestions for how to get out of a slump?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

9 comments:

  1. read my two most recent blogs. They should encourage anyone to get out of a slump. www.weightlossjase.blogspot.com

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    1. The post where you mention drinking water throughout the day is good advice. I always make sure to have lots of water bottles full of water so I always have some. Plus, a lot of the time when we think we're hungry we're really dehydrated.

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  2. These are great ideas, especially making goals that do not include the scale. Sometimes we focus too much on the number we see on the scale when we should be measuring how good we feel, how much further we can run, how we went from lifiting 5 pounds to 10 pounds, etc.

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    1. I think it happens because in the beginning it starts with a desire to lose weight, but the healthy living and fitness goals are just as important. Maybe more so, since those are things that will continue once we've hit goal and stop trying to lose weight and only maintain.

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  3. This post came at just the right time for me. I called my sister, who recently lost 60 pounds, crying the other day telling her I have had enough and need to know how to care about myself. I call her Violet Watchers. I have lost weight in the past, gained it back over time and now I just plain feel uncomfortable and like I am teaching my kids its ok to not care. I see 3 of my daughters on the same track as me and I vow to myself that once I get myself going I will implement things for them too. I never want them to feel the way I do. Thank you Jill for your blog it is wonderful good job!!

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    1. You are so very welcome and it makes me happy knowing it can be a help to people!

      Getting to that breaking point where you've had enough is one of the hardest steps, because some of us (myself included) live in denial for a really long time. Admitting our current situation takes a lot of courage and is the first step in making the changes.

      With your daughters, the 4 of you already have a built-in support system for helping each other along the way!

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  4. Good tips. I'm currently working on switching up my exercise routine/ pushing myself not to blow it off.

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