A sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek look at work, life, dieting, losing weight, getting in shape, getting bent out of shape and getting over it with a dose of humor.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More On Rewards

I wish I could write in detail about all my workouts. I can't believe how much I like them. At the end of every workout, no matter how hard it was, no matter how long it was, I feel like it was over too soon. Yesterday I went to the gym 10 minutes early so I could get in a few more minutes of cardio before my trainer showed up. When I first started my legs were aching after 5 minutes. Yesterday, even at the end of 20 minutes I felt like they were light as feather. It is amazing what a difference only two weeks can make. I managed a total 1 hour of cardio and also learned some new core exercises on the balance ball. As I was leaving I still felt like I could have gone back in for another hr and a half.

Somewhere inside this sedentary pile of loose clothes is a spandex clad exercise nut waiting to burst forth.

It actually gave me an idea for another reward: Index cards. Yes, index cards. More specifically, pink index cards to write down the exercises I am learning so I can do them later. (Do they even make pink ones? I hope so).

On the drive home sipping my cold 20/20 shake (I almost don't hate it anymore) I came up with some guidelines.

#1 - The reward has to be something I will use but wasn't already going to buy.

#2 - It can't be food or even, and this is tempting for me right now, exercise. It has to be something tangible that I can touch or see, like the lip balm, so that every time I use it I am reminded how I earned it.

#3 - It doesn't have to cost a lot.

There is a rationale behind these guidelines. In the past when I have thought about rewards in the context of weightloss or fitness I always set the bar ridiculously high and the reward, proportionately extravagant. I was going to lose 40 lbs, run a half marathon and celebrate by going to Paris. And when it wasn't that, it was food. "Lose 5 lbs, get an ice cream." Only, I think we all know I didn't exactly stop at 1 ice cream and often spent the next few weeks recovering from the ravages of my so-called reward.

So, this time I want to consciously take advantage of my strengths. I like competition for the pure joy of competing. I don't need someone to compete against. All I need is a challenge to overcome, a test of my strengths. Putting manageable short-term goals out there and dangling tangible rewards at the end work for me at that level. I have a greater chance of succeeding with this approach than if I keep focusing too far into the future. It's good to reach for the sky as long as you realize you have to build a rocket first.

After I got home I sat down with pen and paper and revised and refined and fine tuned my list of rewards. I think I have got something pretty workable for now.

Lip Balm

I still don't have a picture of this but it's the one I bought this weekend to celebrate getting through last week.

Water bottle

The pink breast cancer awareness water bottle. I saw this in the Pro Club magazine and have been wanting it ever since. Jacque (that's my trainer) said we would focus on working the muscles hard Thursday which meant no cardio other than the video bike, which in turn meant getting my cardio in another day. I typically don't workout on Wednesdays because it's a long day starting with an early morning status meeting at 7 and ending with support group and mid-week grocery shopping at around 9 in the evening. By the time I get home and have prepared dinner I am wiped. After working out Tuesday I stopped by Pro Shop and spotted the bottles. I had one in my hand, was reaching into my purse for my credit card with the other when I decided no. I could have the bottle but only if I exercise tomorrow. I didn't know how I was going to fit it in but that's what made it a challenge.

I will post a picture of the new water bottle after I change the batteries in my digital camera. .. Yes, I got it. I worked out during lunch and not only that but beat my goal of 40 minutes by doing a full 65 minutes of cardio. I keep looking over at it. It's pure validation.

Exercise log book

A book to record all my workouts - reps, weights, time, type etc. I am not sure if there are such books in the market. If not, I will probably just buy a small notebook and partition out the pages for different types of workouts.

I don't think I have quite explained my goals yet. There are some in my Goals post but most of them are long-term. I deliberately haven't set any short-term goals. There will be challenges every day, some new, some old. Part of being able to do this for life will involve being able to deal with situations I can't control, events I can't plan for. In Microsoft terms this will be what we call "dealing with ambiguity." If I can't do that I will fail. So, for this and most of the smaller rewards that follows, I am not setting any specific goals. My overarching goal will be to stick to the plan, stay motivated and keep doing my best. On a weekly basis, I will evaluate situations as they come and decide if it warrants a reward or not.

Pink index cards

Standard 3x5 or 4x6 index cards - but in pink - to write down exercises, like the balance ball ones this week and the Pilates leg circles I learned Monday that I would like to remember how to do on my own.

Lululemon yoga pants

Like these below in a size 4 or 6 preferably which means this would probably be more of a long-term reward.

Pilates lessons

Pilates private lessons. I am already doing this so it's less of earning and more of justifying. I will be in Chicago for 3 days soon surrounded by family who I know would push things I shouldn't eat. My aunt's idea of affection the last time we got together was to try to ply me with alcohol. (Still a bit of confused about that one actually. Did she have a wager with someone to produce a drunk niece? Who knows.) If I can go three days without going "offplan" (or going mad) I think I would have earned at least 2 classes!

New hairstyle

This is not so much something I want as possibly something I need. I am kind of stuck in a hair/beauty rut. Still iffy about this so we'll see.

New perfume

Something heady and exotic.


Vixen red or French, I can't decide. But does it really matter as long as it's a manicure?

Paul & Joe powder brush

A big fluffy brush for my loose powder.

Gucci bag

I even have the bag picked out. How about that?

New shoes

Because Carrie was my shoe alter-ego. What more can I say. And because over the last few years I have neglected my appearance and wardrobe and I feel it's due. I need new shoes.

Trip to Rome

Last but not the least, Rome.
Rome evokes in me visions of romance and transports me to another time in history when the golden age of renaissance was unfolding through Europe bringing with it a new awakening and a new consciousness. I want to visit the Colosseum, look up at the big domes of Pantheon, sit quietly in the Sistine Chapel, enjoy the sunshine in the Baroque Squares, roam the gardens of the Villa Borghese, dip my hand in the Fontana di Trevi... I want to soak in the history, the culture and the sunshine. Go to the museaums and the main library and drink coffee by the roadside. Get lost in Roman splendor and discover the poetry in its rubble, away from the cadence and cacophony of everyday life. Bike through the Italian countryside and go for a dip in the ocean. And then stop into a spa for a luxurious rub down at the end of the day and finish my trip by window shopping the coveted designer labels lining the street of Via Condotti.

But the bag, shoes and the trip to Rome will have to wait. Not sure for what yet. Probably until I reach my goal weight, run a 5k or both or more. But it's motivation to keep keep working at it until I get there.


Blogger pc said...

Sam - The yoga pants are certainly an inspiration to me too. I think if I wear them now something might explode and hurt someone but some day.....I will have a cute butt and wear them all the time. Great reading about your experiences. It makes me feel inspired. I am bookmarking your blog!

3:25 PM

Blogger Sam said...

You're funny. Exploding yoga pants. Wouldn't that be a sight? I am glad you found something inspiring here. :)

1:19 PM


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