It's a journey, not a destination!

This is a minor rant, so be warned! 🙂

I’ve had enough of people looking at health & fitness the wrong way.

Fitness (and that dreaded hanger-on “Diet” and his ugly sister “Weight Loss”) are not one-off things you ‘do’!

  • Right now your fitness level is your fitness level. It can be better and it can be worse – it’s not fixed
  • Your diet is your diet – whatever you eat today is your diet. if you eat differently tomorrow that becomes your diet – it’s not fixed
  • Weight Loss is the result of taking other courses of action (such as increasing your exercise and changing your diet)

Many people see fitness/diet/weight loss as a one-off, thinking “once it’s done I’ll be awesome”, and then they can stop. I’m the bearer of a wake-up call to let people know that all of these are part of a journey, not a destination! Here’s the simplest way I can put this: Focus on becoming fitter. Do this through:

  1. More exercise and
  2. Eating better (note I did not say eat less…there’s a difference)

Focus on the act of becoming fitter! With this, you will need to change your diet; weight loss will happen.

Cycling does something great for me, and when I miss out, I feel bad (not for missing the cycling, BUT for missing out on the benefits – It relieves stress and makes me clearer in my thoughts and more resilient when things go wrong). It’s winter time here and getting out on the bike is hard(er) to do. I know I need the exercise in my week to keep me balanced! Make Fitness your focus through exercise and changing your diet and your journey will be more successful (I know, because this is what I have done!) 🙂

What are your thoughts on Fitness, Diet and Weight Loss?

Freaky Stuff Happens

As some of you will know, my planned trip to New Zealand to celebrate my 10th Wedding Anniversary was thrown into chaos due to the Apocalyptic elements of Sydney weather early this morning (SMH article, Flickr photostream, BOM warning).

Whilst at the airport, the Air New Zealand staff did the best they could to explain the situation (in essence, no planes landed in Sydney to take passengers to NZ…simple really) due to limited visibility over Sydney. Our first flight (7am) was cancelled due to engineering issues so were provided a meal voucher to the food court (awesome!) and put on later flight (9:30am). At 7:30am it was apparent nothing was coming into or out of Sydney; the 9:30am was cancelled (due to weather) + the best we could do was call Reservations and make changes. I had confirmed seats on the same flight on the 24th, so decided to go home and make alternate arrangements for the rest of the trip.

Whilst on the phone with United (as the flights were booked through United, not Air New Zealand), I got to speaking to a lady by the name of “Chen” who helped me change my flights, and she was so lovely asking if it was OK to put me on hold many times. (Of course it was OK, I have worked in Customer Service and know how things work), to which I joked “sure it’s OK, I’m not going anywhere yet!” We got to chatting and I said to take her time as I understood there are delays in making changes and I didn’t mind waiting, at which point I asked her “how are other passengers/callers handling things?”

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference”

She said it’d been quite a tough morning as the majority of the callers were screaming, mad, angry and frustrated that their plans were thrown into chaos as well. I explained to her that Freaky Stuff Happens beyond our control, and getting mad at others over stuff you can’t control is stupid. I explained that I had time and wasn’t going to get mad, and wonder why others would get in such a way over something they can’t control. She replied “thanks very much for sharing that with me, it helps to get through the day to hear such kind words”

I believe I helped change the way her day will pan out, But wonder where other peoples’ heads are? When the Freaky Stuff Happens, knowing what you can control and what’s beyond your control should help you best direct your energies to achieve a resolution. Screaming at customer service people over the phone for no Freaky good reason is pointless, damaging and unproductive.

To anyone out there in a customer service role ‘affected’ by today’s Freaky Stuff, I wish you all the best to get through the tough day ♥☺♥.  To all people inconvenienced by today’s Freaky Stuff, revel in the different day this is turning out to be, and don’t turn into an ugly zombie!

Changing Habits – 3rd update

As you may recall, I have been on a mission to try and change some habits, starting with a greater use of my left hand. I’ve had a few more days of catching myself doing something automatically and changing something of my behaviour to help reprogram my brain. The teeth brusing, breakfast eating and mouse usage are all coming along nicely, with my left-hand use increasing and becoming easier (teeth brushing now only feels ‘partly’ weird, as opposed to freakingly weird!)

The biggest changes I’ve had over the past few days is my reaction to things that don’t go my way. There are oftentimes (when I am deep in my thoughts) that I ‘snap’ at someone or something around the house, almost always for something trivial and small. Well, I vowed to reduce the number of ‘snapping’ incidents this week, and so far I think I’m doing OK. There are still times where my subconscious (or as Steve Levinson mentioned in the comments section of the “When Is A Habit Not A Habit?” blog post, “what we do automatically“) simply takes over and before I can catch it, the snap has occured. I know this is part of the Fight vs. Flight response governed by the amygdala, but taming this and consciously making decisions more and more can only benefit my life in lots of ways, such as:

  • Keeping me motivated to stay on my current ‘fitness’ path instead of simply doing something easy like sitting in front of a ‘screen’
  • Helping reduce the amount of stress I cause in my family (by snapping less and thinking more) – this will also help me get rid of thoughts as quickly as they come
  • Helping me make better decisions in times of crisis, bad news, unexpected news, etc.

I am sure there will be other habits I can change, and the key to this seems to be ‘attention’, more-so than time. Steve mentioned:

When it comes to changing habits, I’m convinced that attention is a far more important factor than time is.

In a way, I came to this conclusion myself a couple of days ago BUT Steve put it into words. I’ll be trying to pay more attention to these things over the coming days and letting you know how successful I am. In what ways are you attempting (& succeeding?) in changing your habits? Leave your comments and let me know 🙂

Changing Habits – Days 2-4

This is an ongoing experiement to change some of my habits, initially through relying more on my left hand to perform many tasks I’d usually do with my right hand. You can catch the first part (+ some great comments) in my Changing Habits – Day 1 post.

I have not had much trouble switching to my left hand, but am having to fight the compulsion for the right hand to take control – I’m finding when I don’t focus on the task (i.e. let my mind wander onto one of the many other things I think about), the right hand creeps in like a burglar just lying in wait to steal your goodies!

My exercise in eating is not a problem, breakfast is slower now (which is a good thing as I was gobbling down my cereal too quickly), teeth brushing is still awkward, I have yet to try writing/painting with my left hand (or either foot, for that matter – refer to the comments here for more info)

One thing I can do very very well is use my knife in my left hand – because I always have! When we were growing up, my brothers and I realised that the fork was the most powerful weapon to fend off other people stealing food from your plate – you’d want to arm your strongest hand with the fork to perform the task of defence, should a stray hand wander across your plate. I will endeavour to switch this behaviour around and use my knife/fork the ‘correct’ way to help break some habits and form new neural pathways!

This long weekend will provide some non-work activities for me to continue the experiment and broaden my habit-changing experiences!

Oh and the zucchini seeds I popped into the ground are starting to sprout! 🙂

Changing Habits – Day 1

Spurred on by a comment from Tim Brownson on his blog topic When is a habit not a habit, I decided to document & share my thoughts on reprogramming my brain through the focused, deliberate changing of some of my everyday ‘habits’. Notably, my efforts will initially be to use my left hand more than my right (yes, I am right-handed).

There are some things which cannot be changed due to the nature of some of our technology/society (by way of example, the throttle on a motorcycle is controlled by the right hand; for efficiency, it’s easier to use my right hand to open the car door (for those that drive on the left-hand side of the road).

I initially started a few weeks back sporadically brushing my teeth using my left hand, as awkward as it was. Then I started to think about other areas of my daily life where I could do the same task, only in a different way. Here are my findings so far:

  • Teeth Brushing – with my left hand, it seems far more awkward to go side-to-side than up & down. I can brush my teeth to my satisfaction. I am more engaged with the task and often have to consciously think which way to brush next. Everything seems automatic when I use my right hand
  • Computer Mouse usage – I had toyed with using my left hand for the mouse a month or so ago but gave up after a few mins as it was just way too awkward, and I wasn’t getting much work done – my fine motor skills had deserted my left hand and taken a holiday to the Bahamas. Today, I stuck it out and began to work more efficiently than before. For those who are interested, I have only moved my mouse to the left and kept the button assignments as-is for a normal right-hand-side mouse.
  • Getting dressed – You may not realise it but most people get dressed in the same order ever day. I now consciously stop myself and ‘switch’ around the order, most easily seen when getting into/out of a pair of pants/shorts, as well as putting on socks & shoes (sub your clothing items where appropriate). (I caught myself in a habit that I had picked up more than 15 years ago – when I had a foot injury, it was easier to get my foot into/out of pants by supporting my left leg with my right hand).
  • General observations – My right hand feels like a hanger-on. It’s awkward, not really knowing what to do. Some other things I have on my list: Any kitchen-related task (pouring milk, stirring tea, chopping, etc), Opening doors (using keys). I’m also vowing to be more positive/less negative and letting little things slide, but this is a whole other topic in itself! 🙂

I’ll be trying everything in a different way for the next few days. What other things do you think I can try doing differently over the next few days?