OMG, what if I don’t have a pretty face? Blog

January 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

Change spiral

At present, I am blogging in the lobby of the Crystal Pool.  The room is not busy as the early morning coffee-drinking-chatty-cathys have dispersed; however, there is a steady flow of people through the automatic doors.  I have been displaced by someone with their head down on the table in “my office” – several people have pointed this out, I have told them I like to mix it up.  Truth be told, I would rather have sat in my cosy corner tucked away in the darkened alcove.

Change is hard.

Having said that, change is also the only constant in life.  So why do we find it so difficult?  Shouldn’t we be used to it by now?  Shouldn’t we embrace new perspectives?  Meet challenges with open arms and courage?  Yes.  But do we?  No, not necessarily.  This is something a lot of people, including myself, have to work on.  I’m an archaeologist and a reminiscer going on futurist and forward thinker.  Oh, I still want to sit at “my table,” but I am content in the knowledge that all things happen for a reason.

Change.  Evolution.  Adaptation.

It’s a good thing I’m seated at another table, because the Heart and Stroke Foundation has surprised the front desk staff and started setting up a blood pressure checking station in the now brightly lit cranny.  Interesting.  Maybe I should get my blood pressure checked.  Last year, I was on the higher side of normal, I wonder what I’m at now?  First, I had to fill out a form.  Name, birthday, etc. etc. etc.  Then the quizzy part:

      Do you smoke? No, yes, how much?

      Do you drink? No, yes, how much?

      Do you eat at least 5 servings of fruit and veg a day? No, yes, sometimes.  More like 10!

      Do you exercise? No, yes, how much? Can I have an extra piece of paper? Or should I just write this response on the back?

After I filled out the form, the woman behind the table said, “I thought it might be you.”  Haha…recognition, I was in the TC again on Tuesday.  And, then she told me that I got all the questions right!  Oh goodie, I hadn’t realised I was getting graded, but I’m glad I got 100%, might not have had a GPA of 4.0 if it had been a year ago.  My blood pressure certainly wasn’t 103 over 65.  After I was done with my readings, I was told that I had the heart rate of a marathon runner.  WHAT?  Positive change.  Apparently, anyone who has a heart rate between 40-60 beats per minute is categorised as “adult athlete” – I’m at 45.  MIJO Sport athlete and ninja-in-training indeed!

Survival of the fittest.

Though the last year has not been “a walk in the park” (more like many, in fact, wind sprints in the park), I have survived…and have acquired a level of fitness that I never thought possible.

verb ˈchānj
: to become different
: to make (someone or something) different
: to become something else

noun ˈchānj
:  the act, process, or result of changing: as   
a :  alteration a change in the weather
b :  transformation a time of vast social change going through changes
c :  substitution a change of scenery

Over the last 51 weeks, I have become something different, I have transformed, and the scenery changed along the way.  Change became a good thing for me, despite the challenges it presented.  

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. – C. S. Lewis
Ready to take the stage…to change…to hatch and avoid being a bad egg?  

Apparently, there are 5 stages of change according to the transtheoretical model developed by James Rochaska and Carlo DiClemente.  At any given point in the process of change, individuals fall into 1 of the 5 stages.  Successful completion of each stage is dependent on implementation of various strategies.  Most of the research associated with this model has to do with addiction, though it is also applicable to substantial lifestyle changes…lucky for us!

Stage 1 – Precontemplation – At this point, individuals are oblivious to the necessity of change.  They are not cognisant that there is a problem.  This could be due to failed attempts at amending certain behaviours or just a lack of awareness altogether.  In order to push past this stage, individuals must come to the realisation that change is needed in order to accomplish a goal.

Big Mama Spitfyre – Stage 1 – Eating deep fried alligator and drinking frozen margaritas in New Orleans, Louisiana, Suzie embraces soul food and laid back southern culture.  

Stage 2 – Contemplation – Now, individuals are aware that change is required and/or desired, but lack conviction.  Unwanted consequences of unhealthy behaviour are weighed against the challenges of lifestyle change.  Contemplation phase is marked by the individuals recognition of the problem and an openness to change.  It is the “list of pros and cons stage.”  In order to graduate to the next level, rumination must turn into development.

Sprained Suzie – Stage 2 – Spraining her ankle on a deceptively level looking slab of flagstone while on vacation, Suzie returns to Canada unable to walk.  Various doctors cite body habitus as a reason for the severity of the injury.  Suzie finally realises her unhealthy lifestyle has lead to some dire consequences.

Stage 3 – Preparation – This is the planning stage of things.  Individuals may research how to be successful in their attempt to change, small steps may be taken to decrease capitulating, and stimuli that trigger unhealthy behaviour will possibly be avoided.  Goals will be established during this phase – SMART goals, hopefully.       

TC Health Challenge participant Suzie Spitfyre – Stage 3 – Suzie amends her diet as a New Years resolution, applies for the Health Challenge and is chosen.  She has her first meeting with the ninja, and together they set some smart goals for the next 3 month period.     

Stage 4 – Action – Plans are followed at this stage of the game.  In order to affect the change desired, individuals apply strategies to ensure the successful cessation of unhealthy practices.  In order to maintain changed behaviour, temptations must be resisted and skills practiced in order to avoid slipping back into past habits.  Self generated and external reinforcement support systems put in place.

Ninja-in-training Sujira – Stage 4 – Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, going to the Crystal Pool Fitness Centre 6 days a week to work out, training twice a week with a ninja, practicing yoga twice a week with Anahata Moon Yoga, Suzie follows doctors’, trainers’, and dietitian’s orders and has no plans of stopping!  She loses 52 pounds during the health challenge and another 48 in the following 4 months.

Stage 5 – Maintenance – This stage begins 6 months after the termination of unhealthy behaviour when the individual’s new routine is stalwart and consistent.  New lifestyle has been fully embraced and energy is now focused on fortifying strategies to prevent relapse.  The individual has essentially re-invented themselves through positive change.

Iron Goddess Spitfyre – Stage 5 – From August to January, Spitfyre uses her steely resolve and iron will power to overcome her demons.  She continues her journey to health by eating a balanced diet and leading a very active lifestyle.  Suzie commences taekwondo classes with MIJO Sport and enrolls in the Eating Disorder’s Programme offered through HealthLink BC.  Group classes strengthen her commitment to a wholesome relationship with food, and taekwondo hones her physical health and fitness, while offering mental and spiritual development.  She continues to work on her blog, hoping that it may be the catalyst that readers need to start on their own journeys towards health.  (Yes, I’m talking directly to you guys.)

So, why the spiral diagram?  Well, don’t expect change to be a linear and straightforward process.  Though all these steps are neatly laid out to flow one into the other life is rarely so forthright – expect a bit of lateral movement, no movement at all, or even reverse movement.  It is important to remember that even if there is some regression, if something can be learned from the experience then it is not all negative.  Occasionally, it takes a slip-up to protect against future vulnerabilities.  And, what’s that cliché?  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!    

Suzie’s advice to those wanting to adopt a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise: tips on how to ride the merry-go-round of change without spiraling out of control.

  • Ensure that you are self-motivated because only you can change your world – make sure you are committed to the process.  Change is largely a mental game. Practice mindfulness.
  • Surround yourself with role models, friends, family, and people who are supportive of your new lifestyle – build positive experiences.
  • Set SMART goals – Aspirations should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely.
  • Stop behaviour that interferes with a healthy lifestyle, avoid situations that could lead to capitulation, and decrease apparently irrelevant actions.  Use wise mind and coping strategies.
  • Stay positive, remember that one step forward followed by one step back isn’t the end of the world, it’s the cha-cha!

The road to good health is a long and sometimes arduous journey, but if you have a destination in mind, a good map, are not afraid to ask for directions, fill the car with good peeps, play some cool tunes, pack some wholesome snacks, stay hydrated, and positive…you will arrive safe and sound right where you expected.  If you veer off track, there’s always GPS…and I assure you, it will not tell you:  “Stop, you’ve gone in the wrong direction.  All is lost, give up now.”  No, it’ll tell you to make a U-turn at the next available opportunity.  And, don’t be afraid to change direction, you never know where you’ll end up…and most of the time it’s a much better place than where you started.  Trust me.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. – Charles Darwin

Visit Suzie’s blog…with pictures (Ooohhh…pictures, yes!)
OMG…what if I don’t have a pretty face?

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