Tuesday, April 22

Is it really willpower?

I get a lot of comments telling me I have great willpower. I am often confused by them. I don’t consider myself to have great willpower. In an effort to resolve my confusion, I looked up willpower, and came up with words like dedication, determination, commitment, tenacity.  
I guess I DO have this. I have committed to doing the work to make my life the best it can be and improve my health and well being. Is it rocket science? Nope.

I am striving to make good choices, especially in regard to food and my DDP Yoga workouts.
First, food. I am not a rockstar with food. Clearly, I’m not. If I were, I wouldn’t have weight to lose, and I’d be one of those people who just goes through life, eating to live. I love food. Really. Food is wonderfully enticing and fun and delicious. But, I have committed to a choice of health and well being, so I have to negotiate food with that thought in mind. Is it easy? Heck no. But it IS rewarding.  It is gratifying to, each and every day, at bedtime, look back on the day and recognize all of the good food choices I’ve made through the day. Do I make bad choices? Of course. I’m human.
But, in the spirit of “living life at 90%” I try to keep the majority of my food in the realm of REAL food. I don’t eat much processed food, I eat a ton of veggies, and I keep my focus on the things I CAN have, rather than the ones I can’t. I don’t find substitutes for my old way of eating. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I had continued to eat those foods, so it seems like it’s a smarter use of my ability to choose to find new foods and new good eating habits that serve my lifestyle, rather than bending my new lifestyle to fit my old way of eating. A great example of this is bread. I’m gluten free (for the most part, again 90%, still a work in progress.) Let’s be real, gluten free bread? Not tasty. Not worth it to me. Some people like it, find good brands, and continue to eat bread. Me? Not so much. I’m SO much happier having a nice burger with a lettuce wrap or even eating it with a knife and fork. Do I miss the bread? No, I think I actually enjoy the burger better without the bun, because I really taste all of the flavors. I will admit that I miss toast a bit once in a while, but I am thriving on whole grains, like steel cut oatmeal or oat groats, muesli, and homemade lowfat granola. I am loving my food, eating well, and not ingesting all kinds of ick.

Second, about my DDP Yoga workouts. I post and tweet them. I do it because it gives me accountability. It is a choice to do the workouts and put in the work, and I keep myself accountable by posting on Facebook and Twitter.  Sure, I have an accountability partner, and he’s awesome, but face it, he’s 6,000 miles away, what’s he going to do really do if I decide to go off the rails? He can’t control me, I have to do this for me, and I have to make a choice that I want to improve my health and quality of life. It’s all on me. He is merely there to guide me and try to remind me that I made a great choice and need to stick with it.
I get questions about working out alone, asking how I stay motivated. Have you seen my pictures? Yea, that. That’s how I stay motivated. In the shower, in the morning, soaping up my arm, seeing the muscles ripple and realizing that *I* am doing that, I’m shaping my body into something beautiful in about 30 minutes a day. Am I perfect with my workouts? Nope. There are days where I am lazy, days where I start and am too tired or too whatever, and I stop early. But, when I do that, I hold myself accountable and make sure that the next workout, I finish what I started.

The way I see it, I have THIS life, this ONE precious life. I have this limited time to do the best I can for my body and to thank it for all that it does for me, every day. I want to be that 80 year old woman, on the beach, doing yoga. When I was a kid, I spent my summers at the beach. The woman who took care of me disappeared at 5:30 am every day. One morning I snuck out and followed her. She went to the beach and it was the most beautiful thing ever. She did half an hour of yoga… and she did it every single day. At the time, I had no idea what it was.  I just knew that Olga was beautiful and what she was doing was important to her. She lived to be 97! She took care of herself.

So, yes, I guess I do have willpower. But it’s not magic. It’s just good, clean hard work, determination, and commitment. Like anything else, if you commit to do something, you will succeed. I had a friend who used to tell me “do what you say, say what you do”. I’ve never forgotten those words, and find that they are good guidance in almost every part of life.

Own your life!