Exercise, Shmeckercise

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 in Articles | 0 comments

I love that I don’t really have to spend anytime here touting the benefits of exercise. Weight loss, reduced cholesterol, and elevated mood and energy—really, no infomercial needed at this point to market exercise as good thing to do, right? Yet, what’s one of the biggest areas of challenge clients want to address? Getting more exercise into their schedules. What’s the one of the first things to drop off the schedule when crunching against a deadline or parenting a sick child? You guessed it. The big ol’ E word. As I see it, there are two major issues that show up. If you have the first one solved, bear with me for a paragraph. Back in the olden days, exercise came with a level of practicality. You milked the cows, you plowed the fields, you washed the laundry in the river. If you didn’t exercise, you didn’t eat. The motivation to exercise was pretty high. These days, people find exercise BORING. What’s the motivator? Going round and round on an escalator belt? Thank you, no, I’d rather–fill in the blank: do laundry so I have clean underwear, make school lunches so my kids eat, work enough hours that I can pay my mortgage, and on it goes. To establish a consistent exercise routine, one needs to be extremely creative in tricking the brain into playing along. When I first started walking on the treadmill, television worked. Then I changed over to talking with my dad on the cell phone while he walked in a different state. When I picked up the pace and started running, I moved to music. Learning to swim was an unexpectedly good next step for me. I had no time to get bored while I was working hard not to drown. When I mastered the basics, I found I was having more fun than I figured was really permissible if I was going to call it “exercise.” Which leads me to my second point. Once we find a way to have fun and enjoy ourselves while exercising, the activity often gets ditched in deference to the things we think we should, ought to, better be doing instead. Lesson planning for tomorrow’s class? Essential. Enjoying myself for a half-hour in the pool? A luxury. Again, we are practical people by nature, and essential wins out over fun time and time again. What if, what if, what if, we took on that having fun is essential? What if we believed that half an hour of taking care of ourselves, having a great time, was actually the most important thing we could do to keep our bodies running well for everything else? Given all that we are asking...

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Chomp! Chomp!

Posted by on Oct 6, 2011 in Articles | 0 comments

I grew up in a house with a thirteen-inch black and white television that pulled in two and a half channels. Screen time was not a big part of my childhood. As a teen, though, I discovered via the local Laundromat and at my friend’s house that I had an affinity for a certain video game: Ms. Pac Man. The goal of the game was to eat up all the little dots before the ghosts ate you. In each of the four corners of the screen, there were larger dots. Once consumed, the ghosts turned blue and Ms. Pac Man was invincible, free to eat up all the ghosts and the dots, and even some bonus fruit on her way. I found myself thinking about Ms. Pac Man again today. When we grow into something new, take on a challenge that we’ve never done before, or push past the limits that we set for ourselves, a whole variety of ghosts show up in the process and threaten to eat us up. One, loud, “I’m not good enough to do this!” or “Nah, this idea will never work,” is enough to end many of the games we play in life. Ms. Pac Man headed to the corners of the screen to find her power pellets. We, too, can reach out for the support we need. One coach, mentor, or colleague saying, “You CAN do this and I’ll be here cheering you on while you do!” is enough to give us the extra steam we need to turn around, head back out of the corner, and start gobbling up the ghosts. Okay, sure, they may come back for the next game, but the more practice we have playing the game, the more skilled we are in turning the tides and chomping them to bits before they eat us up. The next time you find yourself starting to take action and getting stopped, indulge in a quick round of Ms. Pac Man online. Envision those ghosts being your barriers and blocks and limiting self-beliefs. Then get back to work. Chomp,...

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