Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1-4-11 Tools

I need all the help I can get.

This thought reoccurred to me as I was finishing my last lap on the track this morning and realized I had no idea how many laps I actually did. Since I spent the larger portion of the time on weight training, I was guessing, maybe I'd done a mile ? There's just too many people to watch and thoughts to think to keep up with counting laps, dagnabit. I'm thinking the pedometer might help, if I can keep focused long enough to see exactly how many steps I'm taking on the first lap. Really, at 5:00 in the morning I am that scattered and dreamy that it will take a lot of effort to just look down at the one lap mark. But I have found the a cheap but reliable pedometer is a pretty handy tool to use just to remind me to keep moving.

One of my favorite, almost can't do without it, tools is my iPod. Nothing keeps me going like my own workout playlist. And I love guessing just what other people are listening to as we lap one another, sometimes with an occasional nod, but mostly just lost in our own little worlds. At the moment my hour-long, admittedly schizophrenic, list includes, among others, Stevie Wonder's "Superstition", Carlos Santana's "Corazon Espinado" , Heart's "Crazy on You" , the Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" , Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" and Marc Broussard's "Save Me." Part of the fun is changing it up every week. It keeps the boring old track from being entirely maddening.

For tracking progress, I can't recommend Sparkpeople.com enough. It's an endless resource for all things healthy. I log all of my food and water intake daily and let it generate a report at the end of the day to see where I can improve. I can also log my exercise to calculate calories burned. And on those rare days where the roads to the gym are too icy, there are literally hundreds of 10 minute workout videos to choose from. The discussion and message boards are an area I never got into, but some people find a fantastic support system there and join teams to set goals and track progress. Want recipes? They've got you covered. There are blogs and articles published daily on every kind of health topic and motivational focus you can imagine. And it's entirely, completely, 100% free. Check them out when you have the chance.

I'll admit, I'm entranced by the current glut of commercials capitalizing on everyone's current wish fantasy of losing weight without work (or with a short finite period of ridiculous work). Don't fall for it. Yes, the before and after pictures of people who got on an expensive food program and "never had to work out!" are impressive. So are the contestants at the end of the Biggest Loser, who exercise 8 hours a day. But it doesn't last. You aren't going to live at the Biggest Loser Ranch the rest of your life sweating all day with a personal trainer telling you exactly what to do , or pay for prepackaged meals until you're in the nursing home, and that's the only way any of these things will stand the test of time. Same with eating only protein, or only grapefruit, or zero sugar. If you can't make the changes for the rest of your life, it's not going to stand the test of time.

Nothing but a daily commitment (recommitted every morning in the mirror, aloud if need be) to be balanced, healthy, and happy is going to get me where I want to be and help me stay there. Find the tools that help you work out what the balance means to you. They don't have to be expensive or onerous (and the good ones never will).

Today, I resolve to remember this simple fact: I (and YOU) are worth fighting for.


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