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Two sides of the same coin....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Part of our Spark Fit Club challenge this week is to write a 'Naughty or Nice' blog about the things we do to help or hinder ourselves in working towards our goal of better health and fitness.

Of course thise is the last day of the challenge! But when I thought about it earlier in the week I realized that frequently actions can sometimes be a help and other times be a hindrance.

For example, food tracking. Consistent, careful tracking has been an incredible tool for my success. It helps me learn the nutritional consequences of my food choices (calories, nutrients). Without knowing that information how could I possibly ever hope to make 'good' choices. Or even know what I was choosing? It would be nice if I could rely upon my body's reaction to food (like hunger, feeling full), but in the past that hasn't worked so well and I've lost confidence in my ability to understand what my body is telling me. So tracking has been a way to make sure I'm eating enough of what my body needs. And within its' framework I gained months of experience in how my body feels when I eat healthy.

But clinging to tracking is also a hindrance. Because I can't always do it. When I eat at a restaurant, for example. Or at someone else's home. In the beginning, because I couldn't track, I felt totally off, felt like I just wasn't sure what to do. I'd do my best & generally didn't eat enough. It's gotten better the more I've done it. Using other types of tools (like how much on the plate, trying to pay attention to sensations of fullness, etc). But I still don't REALLY know whether I've eaten too much or too little. Not like the confidence I have thru tracking. So getting accustomed to the relative certainty that comes thru tracking, creates a hindrance in situations where tracking doesn't work. I guess the trick is to gain enough experience with other criteria so that I have confidence with them as well.

I experience the same thing with exercise. Because I do all my exercise at a fitness center, when I can't go, I do very, very little. Especially when I'm not at home or in a social situation where I have to take time for myself. So, while it was GREAT that I realized that I needed a pool to get moving and I found one. And it is great that I make time to go. But I need to feel comfortable with more options for differing circumstances. Perhaps this is more of a goal than a hindrance.

But what I'm sensing in myself is that the very things I do that help me so much, also dominate my time and energy and don't leave much room for branching out to other circumstances.

Perhaps this is just a reflection of my need to do one thing at a time and life doesn't generally go that way. I can see that I am very gradually developing several tools for eating, so that when I can't track I feel OK with it. Part of that is because I'm feeling better about listening to my body, because since exercising regularly the signals seem clearer and more reliable. I don't know what would happen if I stopped exercising. I don't want to find out, either. So I think my next major goal is to find ways to enjoy exercise outside the fitness center.
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