From a health perspective, I would say that the vacation was a solid performance on the personal responsibility front. As planned, I ate a pretty healthy breakfast every day, even on the flights to and from Utah. I was fairly responsible for lunch, and as planned, I lightened up for dinner. I didn't really eat much, if any, junk during non-meal time. I also kept it pretty reasonable in terms of being non-obsessive and even allowing myself indulgences such as dessert and (horrors!) non-light beer. I know, what a wild and crazy guy! I had fun, and I'm not returning feeling like a horribly nasty person.
Wait. This was a ski trip, right? Yes it was. Utah got absolutely dumped with snow last week, putting on roughly four feet over an eight day period. For the powder freaks (not me), it was manna. For my part, I got on the slopes five of the six available days. I spent one day off nursing a head cold and cranking out some accumulated procrastination work. It was good exercise, and it was great to be outdoors, head cold or not.
As I noted on my earlier post, I am still a pretty inexperienced skier with this being my sixth year out on a mountain for any appreciable time. It's not easy to pick up this sport at my older age (my rationalization, anyway), and I only get in one week per year. As a result, I am not what anyone would call an effortless and proficient slope god.
In an effort to try to elevate to a higher level of competency, I did what I always do. I looked for professional help, and I secured the services of a ski instructor. I told him my goal and wish was to simply be able to cruise down the blues and double blus without a care in the world. It was through the process of trying to improve my skiing game that I learned a little more about myself.
I was pretty envious as I watched men and women of all ages effortlessly swooping down the mountain, barely moving their bodies. It was as if they were born with skis attached to their limbs. They were able to ski the way I was able to ride a bike -- without even thinking about it. Me? I approached skiing with the intensity of an astronaut attempting to land on the moon for the very frist time. Every muscle was tensed and on high alert. I was always fully aware of the exact instructions being sent to my left and my right ankles. Each new turn was a completely new thought process. I would wrench my skis each time thinking that there was no possible way that they would respond and I would be sent barreling off a cliff into an endless abyss. As far as my stance goes, I was tightly hunched over my skis, convinced that if I pulled myself up, I would fall over backwards.
My instructor watched me and said, "you must get really tired when you ski." It's true, my quads would have a nice burn on every steep(ish) run. He tried to convince me that I was relying too much on my muscles rather than my skeletal structure resulting in a massively inefficient and energy intensive process. Sadly, my first reaction was: awesome, more Activity Points! Regardless of my obsessive want for calorie burn, I was there to learn. I reluctantly started to stand up more and started using more of my ankles and knees to keep my torso pointed down the hill. It was easier and it worked. Go figure.
Next came the skis. My default approach to turning was to treat each turn like a hockey stop, literally pulling my skis up so I could swing the tails out. My instructor's next course of business was to get me to start using the tips of my skis to turn rather than the tails (it seems so obviously to write it, less so to do it). He encouraged me to relax and to take more patient turns, letting the skis do the the work. What do you know? That worked too! I'm not going to say that I was graceful by the end, but I looked less like a broken erector set snow plowing down the mountain.
I have to admit that I was pretty hard on myself for not being a better skier. My instructor then reminded me that he had been skiing since he was 18 months old. It was natural to him. Me? I was firmly stuck in my head and was completely over-thinking the entire process. My natural instinct was to dig in harder, edge more aggressively, and use every possible muscle I could find to overpower the process. Therein lies the story of me.
|I don't even want to think about |
what my K is ...
I will admit to the fact that I have taken the same kind of intensity and anxiety into my effort to become a healthier person on the Weight Watchers program. I will admit to treating each meal selection process to the same kind of hyper-intense thinking that I put into each turn of my skis. This approach was helpful to helping me avoid from wiping out on the mountain as well as from wiping out on the dinner table. However, it's frankly exhausting and not really necessary anymore. Eating healthily and exercising regularly need not be an olympic sporting event. For me, I always run the risk of getting too much into my own head in staying on program.
I am now entering my third year of maintenance. My goal for myself is for this process to become increasingly effortless and natural, not a high wire act. With this in mind, I will seek to enter this new week with a calm resolve to simply track my PointsPlus values and to hit the gym. I will simply make common sense and healthy food choices, and I will try to be mindful of mindless eating. Simple. Easy. Common sense. Exhale.
Of course, I second guess myself in healthy life for the same reason I second guess myself in skiing. I have only been living this way for the past five to ten years just as I have only been skiing for the past six. I didn't put on my first pair of skis at 18 months, nor have I lived healthily since leaving the nest. Therefore, my tendency has been to assume a spectacular wipeout in both eating and in skiing, even though deep down I knew that I could calmly avoid it in either.
My ski instructors last words to me were this: "You know how to ski and you know what to do. Get out of your head, and start enjoying yourself." Good advice for skiing. Good advice for living.