Reading Challenges, Healthy Changes and More

I’m still actively working on the Reading Challenge for 2016.  I have 18 books completed.  Some were old favorites I knew I would love, others have become new favorites – The Martian and Saturn Run come to mind – and some . . .  Let’s just say I tried a new genre and leave it at that!  Currently working on the “A book and it’s prequel” – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew.

Today started week four of the Cize workout.  First day of the week = new workout video.  I am SO glad I’m doing these in my own home where no one else can see my lack of coordination early in the week!  As of yesterday, I was down 4 1/2 pounds and a total of about 13 inches from various critical places.  The food choices have been much healthier, the water consumption is at healthy levels and – as a consequence – much of the junk food craving has vanished.

The school year is winding up which means that preparations are already underway for next school year.  

I’m really starting to find joy in my strengths.   I might even dare to say that I’m starting to like myself.  And I’ve learned that this is a crucial step for continuing to work on my weaknesses.  After all, we don’t invest time and energy in those we don’t like.  

First, the Truth

Most human beings don’t like to admit that they need to make changes.  Sure, most of us can privately beat ourselves up about our flaws and shortcomings pretty well.  But publicly, many of us (most of us? all of us?) put on a brave front that says we have it all together and know just what to do with it.  And just to show that we are still slightly humble, we’ll mention some minor habit – biting our nails, chewing on pencils, etc. – that we know we should change.

But if there are BIG changes that need to happen, the very first thing we have to do is admit the truth to ourselves.

So I started with the truth – my weight was beginning to affect my health.  While I think that the current BMI standards are ridiculous (and should NEVER be shared with teenagers as many schools currently do!), carrying around an extra 100 pounds (more, at my heaviest) and being really inactive just wasn’t healthy.  For my health and energy level, I needed to radically change some habits – I needed to eat differently and get moving more.

I used every excuse in the book – can’t find a work out that I can do at my weight, can’t afford a personal trainer, too much conflicting nutritional information out there . . . I was REALLY good at giving you “reasons” for why I wasn’t doing anything different.   But they were not legitimate reasons.  They were excuses.  And I had to stop using them and get brutally honest with myself – I needed to start moving more and eating healthier.

I kept looking for a work out that would push me but that I could still complete.  And I found it!  If you’ve seen the infomercials for Cize, let me tell you this: those workouts are every bit as fun as they look and every bit as tough as you need!  I’m into week three of six and I’m still a little in shock that I can actually do these workouts.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a sweaty, out of breath mess at the end.  But I do it!  I love the increased energy, the ability to walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath, the muscles that are getting stronger . . . I’m already thinking about what workout I’m going to do next (I have the rest of this week then three more before I’m done with Cize).  I actually LOOK FORWARD to working out each day and that is SOOOOOO not like me.

And the nutrition piece?  I finally took the jump and dumped caffeinated soda for starters.  I also purchased a package of clean eating cookbooks and began choosing recipes that have allowed me to try new foods or old favorites prepared in healthier ways (ask me sometime about the ranch dressing substitute that uses pureed cashews as the base of the dressing!).  My eating habits still aren’t perfect but I’ve cut out virtually all junk food and have increased my intake of fruits and veggies for my snacks.

I don’t say this to brag.  I still eat more starches than I probably should and could stand to eat even more veggies but I’ve started making healthier choices and I’m liking the payoff.

But I would not have made ANY changes if I didn’t start by telling myself the truth.  It wasn’t pleasant to admit and it’s a truth that is still hard to say, but I can’t fix a problem if I won’t admit it exists.


One Step At a Time

Been away for awhile.  Nothing major . . . it’s just multiple shows back to back and all the craziness a schedule like that imposes on life.

And it’s partly because I’ve been learning so much abut myself and a new approach to life and I’m not sure how to share it all! But here goes nothing.

I’ve begun a new workout regimen.  I know, I know.  Working out, trying to lose weight, . . . everyone tries, everyone fails.  Here’s the thing – I am 4 days into the SECOND WEEK of a workout program that I got through Beach Body (it’s called CIZE and if you have seen the infomercials, it is just as fun as it looks.  Maybe more!) and I’m loving it!  I don’t think I’ve ever made it four days in a row with ANY work out plan before, much less being four days into the second week!  Nothing crazy with my eating habits; I’ve just been watching my portion sizes and making smarter choices (fruit instead of junk food when I want something sweet, for example) and being very intentional about my water consumption.  Since it’s a Beach Body program, I have access to a coach online and my coach happens to run an accountability group on that site plus a Facebook page.

I’m still working on the reading challenge that I started earlier.  Turns out that taking 10 minutes a day to read is a FABULOUS form of self-care for yours truly!  I’ve read genres I don’t usually venture into and found some of them rather enjoyable.  A friend of mine created a group on Facebook for others doing the same challenge so I even have a group of people to help keep me on track.

Accountability.  It’s kind of becoming a theme for me lately.  From an intellectual perspective, I’ve understood the value of having others partner with you for various activities.  But the true worth of accountability?  For some reason, I never appreciated it or valued it much until now.  I don’t mean someone pointing their finger saying, “You had better . . . ” or “Don’t you dare. . . .”  I mean a person – or small group – that will be there to say “woo hoo” when you get it right, reach a goal, or finish a task OR that will help you brush yourself off and get back at it if you stumble.

We weren’t meant to do life alone.  If we are wise, we will seek out others who will serve as accountability partners for us.  I don’t mean sycophants who will tell us what they think we want to hear.  I’m talking about individuals who will cheer us on when we get it right or help to redirect us when needed.  These people need to use authentic praise where it is appropriate, words of encouragement when we’ve stumbled, and words of honest correction when we are out of line.

As important as it is to find people like this, I also want to learn how to a person like this.  Here’s to being more intentional about both.