Monday, December 21, 2009

Losing it

Sounds good right? This is a weight-loss Web site and I have been doing the whole weight-loss program thing, but let me just say. I've lost it.

The last time I ran was when I went home in early December for a family get together. Granted, I've done quite a bit of shoveling since then with a winter-wonderland ready to greet me outside the door, but other than that and a game of volleyball I've accomplished nothing in the way of exercise. My excuse? It's cold out. And Icy. And did I mention cold? Okay, it's really the icy part. I can't go and run when I don't have somewhere to run. My solution? I really want to get a gym membership so at least I'll have a treadmill to attack.

But guess what else? Running isn't the only form of exercise out there and I haven't done any of them. I love stair stepping. I have steps right in my basement (though, Christmas hint, I do want some wider/taller steps than what I have right now!) I have the 30 Day Shred, I have Booty Ballet DVD's and I think I may have some Tae Bo (sp?) DVD's somewhere too. I have a wii fit that, while it's not the hardest core exercise routine I've found does get me off my butt and that boxing challenge? That always makes me sweat. What's my deal?

My deal is me. My deal is that I have defeated myself. For the last two weeks I've told myself, I'll do it tomorrow. What have I said about people who say that? That they need a good kick in the butt. Well, I'm asking, please kick my butt.

Today I am heading for my basement again. Today those 'Friends' DVDs (thanks Blair!) will get watched again as I sweat my way through some laughter. TODAY I will work at digging out the weight-lifting machine the SO has from long ago that keeps calling my name saying 'Work those hamstrings' and 'think about the killer biceps I can give you!' Today is my day. Not tomorrow, not after Christmas, not for New Years. Today is my day. Tomorrow is probably going to be mine too, and oh yeah, all my days for the rest of my life. You know what? They're mine.

I'm so glad I've only lost two weeks sitting on my butt. I'm glad that I have gotten that sugary eating out of my system and that I can push myself again. I'm glad I've fallen because this time? This time I picked myself up. I am not waiting for that magic moment because it will never come. I'm not waiting for the perfect day, it's only there if you make it there. I'm not waiting until I can afford the right shoes, the right equipment or that gym membership that I want. I can't afford to wait any longer. Today is here. Today counts. I am going to make today matter.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wise Words

This blog is from I read this blog almost every day and have drawn great inspiration from it. I wanted to make sure everyone who can read this blog does.

Self Exam Time
And no, I don't mean breasts. (Although you should be doing that every month anyway).

Every so often, it is good to really stop and *look* at yourself and your life, how you feel and why, and whether you are reaching your goals. December is a good time for this. Most people, near the end of the month, are bemoaning yet another year gone by with dropped resolutions. New commitment comes magically on January first, but it always seems so fleeting. Wouldn't it be better to do a self exam more often? Like, maybe several times a year? Then you don't get quite so far off track.

So here's mine.

I am 40 years old, which sometimes feels very young and sometimes feels ancient. I weight 229 pounds, which sometimes feels quite thin and other times feels humongous. I have a life filled with children, a paused career, a dog, and various hobbies, and all of this feels sometimes like an incredible blessing and other times like a huge mess. Isn't that how life is?

I feel, often, that I am doing well, comparatively speaking. Yet somewhere inside me I long to do better. What is "doing better," anyway? Well, I think it is a gradual improvement in one's state, whether that be health, happiness, productivity, or whatever other thing you have set your sights on. But what if your sights are not really set on *anything*?

Answer this:
What do you want to accomplish today?
What would you like to have done by next week at this time?
What do you think will be the same/different in one month?
What would you like to have done/changed one year from now?
What would you like your life to look like in five years? Really think about it. Five years from now, how old will you be? What will your relationships look like? Your job? Your body? Your home? In five years, describe yourself and your life... what you WANT it to be.
And then, when you have done that, go back to question #1 and tell me how what you are doing today is leading you to what you want to see in your life in five years.

It is all inextricably connected... what you do today, next week, in a year, in five years. Because five years ago I decided to get up in the morning and go to my classes, today I have a college degree. Because five years ago I decided to get up, go to work, and use the paycheck to pay my mortgage, today I have a house to live in. Because five years ago I planted a small tree in my yard, today I have a large tree with lovely blossoms that gives me great joy (well, no blossoms in winter, but I look forward to spring!) Because I fed my dog five years ago, he is still alive and healthy today. Because I decided to have sex five years ago, I have a lovely daughter today. Get it? What you do today determines your tomorrow. And your next year. And your five years from now.

You can sit and eat pizza and Big Macs and cookies today and think, "Oh, I will do something better for myself tomorrow" but the fact is that today's actions are building a path to your future. If you pave that path with Ding Dongs, your future is *not* going to be the picture of health. Every step propels you in a particular direction. Every step counts.

So, it's important to check your steps frequently to make sure you are not just going in circles, or walking to China when you wanted to go to Ireland.

My vision of five years includes: well adjusted (mostly grown) children who are still in my life, financial stability, a normal BMI, a strong body, an organized and decorated home.

My *concrete steps* for today (because making a list of to do's but never doing them is a step in the *wrong* direction) are: connect with my children in conversation this evening, stick to a budget, eat under 1700 calories of healthy foods, bike for 30 minutes, sort some stuff, and get glass for a broken frame so I can hang a picture.

If instead, my Today Steps were: be too tired to talk to my kids, spend extra money on some goofy thing I see in the store that I want, splurge on some donuts, be too tired to bike, lay around and let the clutter pile up, and forget to get the glass fixed... then, I am walking a different path that is leading away from my chosen destination. You might think that *lack* of doing something is neutral, but it isn't. A 30 minute workout is a step towards your goal, but *not* doing the 30 minute workout is *not* standing still. Lack of action is STILL A STEP. A step in the opposite direction. And goallessness is like being adrift at sea: you may not be *trying* to get anyplace specific, but you're still going to end up somewhere... and you may not like it.

So take a little time today to reflect on your steps. And make sure you're headed in the direction you really want to go.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas time is coming

Christmas. Stores and all marketing campaigns all over the country have made this out to be a holiday of excess. Extra presents no one needs, extra food no one other than those in starving countries need, extra time spent with family some don't have, and extra money spent that, in this economy, many don't have. Why do we keep coming back to a holiday that every year becomes more about excess and not about friends, family and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ?

Don't worry, I'm not a grinch or a saint. I want Christmas gifts, I love Christmas gifts. I love giving gifts in general. When I have spent time making a present or earning money to buy someone a present and when I have put time and thought into what I may give someone, I enjoy the look on their face when they enjoy and happy with what they've been given. That being said, that might be ten dollars, or even one dollar, spend on a book I know they'll enjoy. Christmas doesn't have to be a race to be bigger and better. If thought has gone into a gift, that should be all that matters. It does NOT matter what amount of money has been spend on a gift.

The same thing goes for food. I love to bake and cook and give people treats. Baking something wonderful and seeing the look on someone's face when they truly enjoy a treat I've made makes me feel wonderful. I love to please people. I can please people year-round with food. I don't need a special occasion to make chocolate chip cookies or to bake a cheesecake to try out a new recipe. I just can. That being said, I tend to go a little overboard on Christmas. Christmas reminds me of my grandma's sugar star cookies. Of sugar cookies cut into the shape of trees. Of Cherry pies and hams and all the wonderful things I can smell from Christmases past.

Then there's family. We get to see family we've been missing for days, weeks, months and sometimes even years. Family for most of us means love, for other it means love and stress and for still others it just means stress. But family is blood, like it or not and most years it's a pleasure to spend time in their company over the holidays. We celebrate in order to have joy with one another.

But Christmas also is about taking care of ourselves.

Taking care of ourselves? You may ask. But yes, you need to take care of yourself for many reasons. One of which is that after the holidays, after the buoying affect of Halloween, followed by the food, football and family of Thanksgiving and the giving, gifting and gratifying of Christmas you may feel like the love just ends. Put added weight on top of that and some people get depressed. Others just get down-in-the-dumps and they don't quite know why. By taking care of yourself through this holiday season you may help control the post-seasonal blues and be better able to reach out and help others.

For those of us who, like me, celebrate Christmas more for religious reason that for material ones, we are called to be stewards. We are called to take care of this planet. We also are called to be financial stewards. While we're at it, we're called to be stewards of our spirits, our minds and our bodies. We go to church and read our Bible to nourish our spirits. We read books, engage in conversation and go to school to nourish our minds. Most people are good at taking care of themselves mentally and spiritually. If we feel we've dropped the ball spiritually we talk to a pastor or a friend. If mentally we feel fried, or if we just can't get through life day by day all the time, we find help. We talk to someone, take some medicine or find a way to make it better and to get through it.

We find ways to fix or help along other areas in our life, we need to also concentrate on the physical. If you're like me, you've dropped the ball more than once on taking care of your body. I used to smoke, I indulge in beer (though honestly, I seldom overindulge) and I don't give my body the care it requires to be "A temple of God."

Health is important. Health for anyone, religious or not, can ensure a long and happy life. But if you believe in God, if you follow the practices that God sets out before you, you have a calling to be a steward for God. That means that while you attend church, you also have a calling to make sure you are all right mentally and physically. So this Christmas, please take care of yourself. Making it a priority is not selfish, it's not wrong and it may be necessary.