Tuesday, January 31, 2012

But The Biggest Throbbing Question Of Alls

Another gem by Garfunkel & Oates

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Working Out Is The Best Form Of Therapy

Things have definitely changed for the better. I have more energy, more clarity and it finally feels like I am "getting my shit together", in all areas of my life. I have found my innermost self, buried beneath the rubble. She is fierce and powerful. I have begun digging her out. It is a slow process. There are heavy stones to unearth, twisted amongst the roots but I am making progress and progress is key.

Some "Aha!" moments and things I've grasped lately have made a huge impact on my commitment and motivation to a healthy life:

1. Create a vision. What do you want to achieve? Dig deep and figure it out. Only you know what that is. It has nothing to do with anyone else, you are doing this for you. It might not even be clear at first, but that's where the digging comes in. Search that soul and come up with an answer. This is the starting place to which everything else aligns.

2. Find a mantra for when the going gets tough. Because it will get tough! Mentally and physically. And you will want to quit! When your muscles are a blazing inferno, your lungs are about to burst, and you think you can do no more, remember it is your mind who runs the ship. The mind and body are a strong beast together. Remind it. Don't stop reminding it! "No pain, no gain!"

3. Figure out what or who inspires you and put them up where you can see it as a constant reminder. I've turned my fridge into a canvas of motivation with Erin Stern and Monica Brant, and of course Arnold Schwarzenegger... my top three, along with my fitness schedule. Not only does seeing this everyday remind me of my goals and make me want to workout, it also makes me think twice about what I am fueling my body with. It really does work!

4. Make yourself a schedule and stick to it! No excuses. There's 24 hours in each day and you will find a way to make the time, if it is something that you really want. My plan is a 3-day split, which I repeat so I'm working every muscle group twice a week. Sundays are my day off and I take another day off of cardio as well, usually Friday. I found I have been able to do it by easing into it. You do what you can and build upon it. Start with 1 set instead of 3. Do 8 reps instead of 12. Do two exercises for each body part, or five. Whatever works for that day, do it. The main point is to stick to your schedule and build up the intensity at your own pace.

4. Arnold's New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. This book is a huge source of inspiration, motivation and really, really good information with personal insights and tips from the Austrian Oak himself. Not to mention some really sweet bodybuilding pictures! Holy crap, I couldn't put it down. Read this book cover to cover, over and over.

5. Everything I can do at the gym, I can do at home. I can work all my muscle groups with dumbells, a Body Bar, an exercise ball and my own body weight. Reasons working out at home rocks:
  • Save money every month on a gym pass
  • Workout when you want for as long as you want
  • No waiting for equipment
  • No going out in the freezing cold (cold=big time demotivator!)
  • Use the time you would use to commute to the gym for something productive
  • Listen to the tunes you want without having to blast your iPod over the music and risk going deaf
  • No chance of forgetting your panties or shampoo and lugging around giant gym bags
6. Jillian Michaels. These workout dvds kick ass! You know you're getting a good workout when every single inch of your body feels like it is about to explode.
7. Fitness is a way of life. Yes I have goals, but when I reach them it's not like I can just stop working out and eat whatever I want and that's it. I am going to have to commit to this for life. I'm either in or out, all or nothing.

8. Burpees. I have learned to love them! They are genius. "Burpees, guys", as Funk Roberts says so himself.

9. Connect with like-minded people. Having someone to share progress with is an awesome source of encouragement! My sister and uncle are my biggest motivators. Both of them are committed to the same lifestyle and goals. True, we have our own vision of where we'd like to be, but ultimately we are working toward a healthy life - both in mind and in body.

10. Listen to your body. There's no way I could have kept going with this, had I not figured this one out. I've tried and failed so many times, starting and stopping and never achieving my goals. I finally realized that the reason I kept failing is because I wasn't listening. Once I started listening and allowing myself to do this in the way I need to do it, my entire approach changed. Rather than punishing myself, I am embracing myself. If I just don't have the energy that day to do the entire workout, I do half. If I need a rest day, I take it and make up for it the next day. If I want a coffee in the morning, I have it. If I want chocolate, I have that too. All within reason of course. If I am eating clean the majority of the time, the "treats" are not going to matter. If I am eating compulsively, I start to explore my emotions, what is really going on and try to find healthier solutions. Doing it this way, I'm finding my cravings have nearly diminished and I don't have any negativity surrounding my progress. There's no room for it! There's no guilt. There's no beating myself up over small indulgences or failing to meet unrealistic expectations I've created for myself...and getting frustrated with my "lack of control" or "lack of commitment". I am committed and it is an amazing shift in perspective.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Know Your Rights

The 10 Assertive Rights of an Individual

1. I have the right to judge my own behavior, thoughts, and emotions and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequence. The behavior of others may have an impact upon me, but I determine how I choose to react and/or deal with each situation. I alone have the power to judge and modify my thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Others may influence my decision, but the final choice is mine.

2. I have the right to offer neither reason nor excuse to justify my behavior. I need not rely upon others to judge whether my actions are proper or correct. Others may state disagreement or disapproval, but I have the option to disregard their preferences or to work out a compromise. I may choose to respect their preferences and consequently modify my behavior. What is important is that it is my choice. Others may try to manipulate my behavior and feelings by demanding to know my reasons and by trying to persuade me that I am wrong, but I know that I am the ultimate judge.

3. I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to others' problems.
I am ultimately responsible for my own psychological wellBbeing and happiness. I may feel concern and compassion and good will for others, but I am neither responsible for nor do I have the ability to create mental stability and happiness for others. My actions may have caused others' problems indirectly; however, it is still their responsibility to come to terms with the problems and to learn to cope on their own. If I fail to recognize this assertive right, others may choose to manipulate my thoughts and feelings by placing the blame for their problems on me.

4. I have the right to change my mind. As a human being, nothing in my life is necessarily constant or rigid. My interests and needs may well change with the passage of time. The possibility of changing my mind is normal, healthy, and conducive to self growth. Others may try to manipulate my choice by asking that I admit error or by stating that I am irresponsible; it is nevertheless unnecessary for me to justify my decision.

5. I have the right to say, "I don't know." I have the right to make decisions without being 100% certain of all the answers regarding these choices. If I were to evaluate every possible outcome of all decisions I made, chances are I would accomplish very little in my lifetime. No one can be expected to know all the possibilities of any particular behavior; therefore, I must make personal judgments as I see fit.

6. I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. To make a mistake is part of the human condition. Others may try to manipulate me, having me believe that my errors are unforgivable, that I must make amends for my wrongdoing by engaging in proper behavior. If I allow this, my future behavior will be influenced by my past mistakes, and my decisions will be controlled by the opinions of others.

7. I have the right to be independent of the good will of others before coping with them. It would be unrealistic for me to expect others to approve of all my actions, regardless of their merit. If I were to assume that I required others' goodwill before being able to cope with them effectively, I would leave myself open to manipulation. It is unlikely that I require the goodwill and/or cooperation of others in order to survive. A relationship does not require 100% agreement. It is inevitable that others will be hurt or offended by my behavior at times. I am responsible only to myself, and I can deal with periodic disapproval from others.

8. I have the right to be illogical in making decisions. I sometimes employ logic as a reasoning process to assist me in making judgments. However, logic cannot predict what will happen in every situation. Logic is not much help in dealing with wants, motivations, and feelings. Logic generally deals with "black or white,'' "all or none,'' and "yes or no'' issues. Logic and reasoning don't always work well when dealing with the gray areas of the human condition.

9. I have the right to say, "I don't understand.'' One aspect of being human is being unable to fully understand all that occurs around me. I learn through experience, but experience also teaches that I cannot always understand what others mean or want. I cannot read minds, although others may try to manipulate me by providing hints or making subtle implications. I cannot anticipate and be sensitive to the unstated feelings, needs, and wants of others.

10. I have the right to say, "I don't care.'' Being human, I am imperfect. It is a fallacy to assume that I must strive to improve myself. Others may use this to manipulate me, saying that I am obliged to alter my behavior in a more positive direction; otherwise, I would be lazy, worthless, a degenerate, and unworthy of respect. If I erect goals of perfection, I undoubtedly will be frustrated and disappointed. Therefore, I have the right to say that I don't care to be perfect. The only sure way to prevent manipulation is to ask myself whether I am satisfied with myself or my performance, then, I can make an objective judgment as to whether I wish to change my behavior.

By James J Messina