Friday, December 11, 2009

Five Healthy Writer Discoveries

By Sally Kilpatrick

First and foremost, I want to thank Trish for having me here at the Healthy Writer. I have been healthier than I am right now, but I did lose thirty pounds in 2008, and I’ve kept almost all of it off. No, really—almost all of it. At any rate, I’m going to start pumping iron again in 2010, and I’m going to undo the damage and take off a little more. In the meantime, here are the top five things I’ve learned about weight loss for writers.

5. Nonni biscotti. This stuff rocks, and I go into withdrawal when I run out. It’s less than one hundred calories per biscotti and goes well with coffee for those who need a little joe to get words on the page. It’s also endorsed by the Best Life people as a healthy treat. I can personally vouch that Nonni tastes far more decadent than the side of the box suggests. Did I mention that they come in various varieties that involve chocolate?

4. Discipline. Losing weight and putting words to the page both require discipline. When I originally set out to lose weight, I was afraid my writing would suffer. I soon discovered that the opposite was true because setting fitness goals strengthened my discipline to create and execute writing goals. To accomplish both, I was forced to think ahead and create a schedule: gym on Monday nights, writing on Tuesday mornings, writing on Wednesday while the kids are in choir, gym on Wednesdays after choir—you get the idea. When you have a lot to do, you have to think about when you can do certain things. Even though I thought my writing would suffer from working out, the opposite was true because I set aside smaller chunks of time that I would have wasted with the forethought necessary to put lots of activities into a finite amount of time.

3. Idea development. Who knew that running on the treadmill would be a great time to think about snags in my story? I learned to take my mind off my physical pain by thinking about my mental pain. Unfortunately, thinking about fitness while sitting at the laptop has yielded little results.

2. Souped up vitamins. I’ve been in really, really great shape a couple of times in my life, and I’m working my way back there after having two children. After two different fitness programs that required some serious vitamins, I’ve been at a loss to replicate the results on my own. I found a vitamin at a fancy supplement place that seems to be working, but I was excited to see that Centrum has a One-a-Day vitamin geared to women’s healthy metabolism. Not only does it includes some of the same elements of the proprietary blends that have worked in the past: green tea extract, guarana, cayenne pepper, but it also has the added advantage of a) being in Wal-Mart and b) being significantly cheaper than some of the other vitamins I’ve tried. Of course, you must consult your physician before taking any supplement, and you take any supplement at your own risk. (My lawyer made me add that.)

1. Keep on keeping on. I’ve never been an athlete. Working my body into submission takes a far greater effort than it does for all of those former swimmers and former cross country runners out there. Still, the frailty of my body has taught me a great deal about the limitations of my mind. When I can’t run my full three miles, I can forgive myself. So why do I always browbeat myself if I can’t get my ten daily pages written? Browbeating is counterproductive and makes me more likely to give up entirely. Getting physically fit has taught me to be realistic in all of my goals and that, when push comes to shove, the most important thing is to try, try again. We’re all humans whether we blow off writing to watch television or we eat chocolate cupcakes that we know we don’t need. We must remember that losing one tiny battle is no need to concede the war. To quote Churchill, “Never give up. Never surrender.”

What are some of your greatest discoveries along the way to both physical fitness and literary fame?


Michelle Butler on December 11, 2009 at 9:34 AM said...

Thanks, Sally. I loved this.

One of the things I've learned through the years is that I can accomplish so much more when I work out regularly. It gives me more energy and makes me feel better mentally and physically and that helps me achieve my other goals.

Another big lesson is that the first 10 minutes is the hardest for both - you just have to motivate to start and get through the first 10 minutes - after that it's gets easier - you get lost in what you are doing - it no longer feels like work.

Re: #3
I have read/heard in stuff about creativity that lots of creative people can get great ideas/make break throughs when their body is focused on repetitive behavior: exercise, knitting, even washing dishes. I've experienced it which makes it easier for me to believe. :)

Sally Kilpatrick on December 11, 2009 at 9:44 AM said...

Thanks, Michelle! That's great advice about the first ten minutes. That's a trick I have used while running on many occasions.

Energy cannot be underestimated, either. I haven't been able to work out this week thanks to a rough sinus infection, and my energy level is seriously suffering.

Thanks for the great advice!

Michelle Butler on December 11, 2009 at 11:43 AM said...

Sally, I hope you feel better soon!

One thing a good, fit for a long time friend told me when I got over the flu this fall and complained so much about how hard my workouts suddenly were was that working out always is very hard when you are recovering from being sick - and so much more than it would be if you had just taken a week or two off for any other reason. Even if you feel better, your body is still recovering in some ways and you'll feel it at the gym. You do get back to normal in your workouts in a week or so. Anyway, knowing that is helpful bc I was so discouraged over how hard it suddenly was to do my normal workout routine. I hated how much progress I had lost - and I really hadn't lost any.

Sally Kilpatrick on December 11, 2009 at 3:06 PM said...

Thanks, Michelle. I'm pretty sure I've lost momentum, but it's time for a wholesale schedule adjustment. : )

Tami Brothers on December 11, 2009 at 9:12 PM said...

Hey Girl! You probably got sick because you were wiped out from all the stuff you have going on!!! I hope you are feeling better soon.

I am definitely going to try the Nonni biscotti. I saw it at the store the other day but didn't grab it. I drooled as I walked by, but had I known it didn't have 1,000 calories....

Thanks for a great post. As always, you leave me thinking....

Tami Brothers

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on December 12, 2009 at 10:47 PM said...

Hey, Sally, sorry I missed getting by here yesterday. I was gone a good chunk of the day and then the rest of it got sucked up with things that seemingly had to be done the day before. Sigh.

Great post though. Thanks so much for guesting with us. Hope you feel better soon. I get 2-3 sinus infections a year, so I feel your pain.

Sally Kilpatrick on December 14, 2009 at 6:02 PM said...

Thanks, Trish, for having me. I'll have to bring some Nonni biscotti to say thanks the next time I see you.

I so feel your pain about the things that should have been done yesterday.

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