Something I lost…

Well it is almost halfway through my “6-weeks to a New Body” program and I was starting to feel a little discouraged. It is not so much the exercise that I despise. (Which is how I thought it would be). It is the careful selection of foods and the corresponding quantity, or lack thereof.

To be clear, it is not a diet. I am consuming fewer calories than I have done for the last 25 or 30 years of my life. My body has changed. My metabolism has slowed. I’m older and kinda out of shape. Considering everything, I’m actually amazed at how well I’ve been holding up. The neglect from the lack of exercise alone, should have left me in worse shape.

I’m drinking herbal teas and freshly made green juices and water. So, much, water. My Mom used to tell me to drink a glass of water when I complained of hunger, just before dinner. I could never understand that. I’ve spent years laughing at that advice. Now, I drink the water. And I tell my kids to as well.

Serves me right, a little. I’ve had so many years of “living it up!” Big dinners with lots of food and drink have been a favourite source of entertainment for the whole of my adult life. It has only been in the last few years where the “bloom has come off the rose”, so to speak. I’ve started to wonder if there was more to life? When I got serious about answering that question, I was forced to make some changes. If I wanted things to be different, then I had to act differently.

Realizing I was almost halfway through today, I decided it was time for one measurement. I’ve been cautioned that weight is not a good indicator of how things are changing. It’s all in the measurements. I was shocked to see that I have lost 3 inches on my waist!

These things happen so slowly, it was hard to notice. What a boost. I sure needed it tonight. An evening workout is so hard for me. It seemed to drag on forever. As I faltered, I thought about the measurement and kept going.

The Stages of Change

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Dr. James Prochaska of the University of Rhode Island identified 5 stages of change. Until I read about them in Maureen Hagan’s, “6 Weeks to a New Body”, I didn’t realize there are formal labels associated to some of the struggles I have been going through. As it relates to fitness, I have been stuck in stage one and two for an extremely long time. And feeling quite bad about myself.

Stage one: pre-contemplation, (not ready)
This was were I spent about 20 years, give or take. Here, you have little knowledge of the consequences of your behavior. As my fitness level declined, it happened slowly. So every year it got a bit worse. Then I spent many years being pregnant and recovering, (no small feat). Then I was in a kind of denial. Things were OK with my health in general and I hated exercise.

Stage two: contemplation, (getting ready)
I have been here for about 5 years. I was constantly evaluating the costs and benefits of changing. This produced profound ambivalence that caused me to remain in this stage. This phenomenon is often characterized as chronic contemplation or behavioral procrastination. Seems a little funny to look at this stage from where I am now. I was negotiating action or inaction with myself on both sides of the debate.

Stage three: preparation, (ready)
This is where I am now. I’ve selected a fitness program – “6 Weeks to a New Body”, with Maureen Hagan. The book is very detailed in goal setting, journal writing, exercises, eating plans, schedule planning, etc. I’ve picked a start day – February 21, 2015.

Stage four: action
In stage 3, everything will be sorted so that I’m ready to hit the ground running on my start date. Maureen has laid out excellent advise for each day of the entire 6 weeks. Nothing is really left to chance. Her words of encouragement are sprinkled throughout the pages of the book. I’m even excited to start! Which is more than I can say for any other program I have ever tried.

Stage five: maintenance
For about 5 years it is advised to remain on guard and to continuously monitor progress. Up until this time the chances of slipping back into old patterns are high. This will take me to age 50, which is a great milestone. A fantastic age to be set with a healthy way of living.

Stage six: termination
After 5 years, it is considered that a new habit is formed. There is very little chance of slipping back into old ways. This seems very exciting to me. A new stage of life, with a strong and healthy body at my core.

I have learned so much already, which has made this part of the journey very interesting. I’m not leaving things to chance anymore. I picked “brave” as my word this year. It is all falling into place. While I don’t anticipate this life changing program to be easy, I feel the strength to see it through. (At least from where I sit tonight!)

I’m going to post about this program regularly and maybe even include some before and after pics, (maybe just after). Will see how brave I feel about sharing that much detail!