Sunday, September 09, 2012
Just because August is over doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying to learn how to draw. Of course, just because I drew 31 days in a row doesn't mean I'm an expert, either. I'm still drawing every day and mailing my picture to a girlfriend. We thought we'd like to try color and boy - is it HARD. Who knew something that feels so much like play was going to take so much work.
What else is hard is having a crisp cool day at home and NOT chewing my way through the kitchen. All I can think of is fresh baked goodies and maybe hot soup. Hmmm. Soup would probably be a good idea for tonight's dinner. At least goofing off here on SP is keeping me from snacking.
And tomorrow something wonderful will come into my life. something that should distract me from needless snacking. I'll write all about it on Wednesday.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Yes. A Brand New Month - and Birthday Month at that - and I'm still thinking I can add another good habit to my life. I've been trying to make small step improvements to an already good situation all year. Looking back, I remember it was hard to come up with 12 habits given the criteria they had to meet:
take little time
be done every day
make my life more fun, happier, better
Of course I'm always enthusiastic about New Years Resolutions. I simply adore the idea of things being better tomorrow - at Tara or at home or on the job. I love progress and movement and the joyful spiral of Better Things. Habits, the experts say, are formed when one does the same thing for 21 days in a row. The trick is ... if you miss a day, those same experts say, you have to start all over again with day 1. So perhaps I did not, in fact, create new habits in all cases. Truth is - I am not a metronome and can neither tick nor tock with perfect consistency. But since the real aim is improvement, progress and Better Things, (after all - should I achieve perfection, that would mean the end of Better Things, right?) I am okay with my B+ efforts Since the October board meeting is when I report on the status of the 5-year plan I think it behooves me to add this one to my life in September.
5. Read my 5-year play every morning - because it is so durn easy to forget what I'd planned to do until it's review time and then I have to confess to all the things I failed to do! (a corollary to this is - have each of my staff read it at least once a week too - but that's another list)
Wise readers might think I ought to have added this much earlier in the year - and perhaps I could have but there were Other Things I wanted more. Also - most of these habits were not things I had never done before - were not steps into entirely new directions - they were things I sort of did slap dash, hit or miss and now or then. The idea was that if I did them more consistently, made them daily habits, I'd make More Progress and have Fewer Moments of Horror when I realized I was late for something, missing something, about to crash and burn. In short - I already did all these things sometimes. I just wanted to do them more often.
Also, I put this one off so late in the year because I feared I would get bored with my plan. I needed to figure out how to go about reading it. It's actually a pretty lengthy document, full of definitions and explanations and ... well ... words.
Maybe too many words. Maybe it needs to be given a serious overhaul. Or maybe it's a really good plan. But whatever - I am going to focus on it with deep and concentrated thought from now on - not just because it is Good For Me, but because I'm moving into a late stage in my career and it's time to think about succession - and about what must be done in the next few years to make a smooth transition into retirement for me - and what I hope will be an exciting opportunity for someone friendly and creative.
This is not to say that I haven't looked at my 5-year plan since last January. It just means that now it gets daily attention, sharper focus and more time. And if September will be to study the 5-year plan, October will be when I begin making daily steps towards fulfillment of that plan. That was another of Good Habits on the original list. It all fits in with the Back-to-School feeling of autumn.
And should you be curious about how well I am doing with the Other Habits - well here's an update:
August - draw 20 minutes every day - which I did - and watched my skills improve.
A+ for me
July - Charles Schwab List - August grew very fractious and difficult and though I'd make the list every day ... I didn't always follow it the next day. I will just say, I did my best and got through a rough month as lightly as possible. A- for me
June - One Step Towards a Big Life Goal ah well - See August, because a BLG for me is to become a better artist. So that's a pro forma A for me.
May - Compliment someone at work each day - Why this is so hard to do I don't know. I believe I am kind and thoughtful - and I certainly DID compliment someone sometimes. But I always felt that little moment of "Ah Ha" whenever it happened. This is not a habit yet. But I am aware of it when I do it. I'd say ... D+
April - Exercise - well. I love me some exercise and I get in 4 days a week almost every week. On other days I am just active period, so I give myself an A on this one.
March - Water .... Yup. I'm good with this one too - perhaps not perfect - but certainly I deserve a B++
February - Prayer ... daily prayer. Here I have to admit that with a month as difficult as August was I am sure I prayed Every Day - if not many times a day. Of course - I believe the idea was to pray thankfully more often than I prayed supplicatingly. I can't give myself an A since I only acted in deed, not in spirit. I shall, instead, give myself a fat C+ and try a little harder this month.
January - Journal my food - another A for me here - I am, if not the perfect weight, at least aware of how I got where I am. And I'm close. And my dining is healthier and better and I feel better for it. In fact, I wonder how I would have made it through Awful August without being nutritionally strong.
So. There you have it. 9 in 12 (so far)
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
It's true. I have been pushing the envelope lately, telling myself that so long as I ate within my calories I would lose weight - but knowing that if what I ate came out of a Cheeto bag or a pizza box (or worse - both) the salt, preservatives and grease would push my weight up, even if it was water retention. Eating this kind of food on a Sunday evening certainly will keep me bloated through Tuesday weigh-in and I was up .2 lbs yesterday.
Serves me right. I didn't even like the pizza that much. It was okay but ... it wasn't food that made me feel energetic and happy. The Cheetos, otoh, are more like crack cocaine. I should know better. I DO know better. I told Himself that the next time he sees me holding a bag of them, he's to smack my hand and take them away. We are taking a short trip this weekend and I have vowed there will be NO CELLOPHANE BAGS IN THE CAR!
So we have begun talking about what we would like to take and the first thing he asked for was a vegan pasta dish I make, chock full of vegetables and with either peanuts or cashews for the surprise protein. One serving of this (about a cup and a half) comes in at 6 WW points or about 300 calories, and it's loaded with nutrition, leaves me feeling strong, ready to get up and go.
What it doesn't do is make me feel full. Instead I'm left feeling No Longer Hungry. This largely plant based diet has never yet left me feeling full - feeling stuffed. It does leave me feeling satisfied, but that is different from feeling full - even from feeling replete. All of these adjectives carry slightly different nuances and for me - I'd rather feel energetic after I eat than stuffed (or worse - bloated).
I am so seriously close to goal - 4 lbs (yeah ... 2 weeks ago it was 3.5 lbs) - I just hate the thought of nibbling my way back up the scale. Yesterday at my WW meeting one of our at-goal members commented on how he'd gained 5 lbs and was determined to get back into his "free membership" range. He was serious and truthful about everything he ate and dropped 4 of those extra 5 lbs. He's a guy and he did it in a week. I'm not a guy but I can be as dedicated, truthful and serious as he can.
This week I plan to push my envelope below the line where I don't have to pay any more. I know I can do it. I can do it even if we are taking a weekend road trip. I have the tools. I just have to use them.
But enough about being serious. It's time for a laugh and I found this site via a friend on facebook. Thought you'd all get a chuckle:
Friday, August 24, 2012
I've had a love relationship with the elliptical machine for several years. It's my favorite, go-to cardio exercise machine and if I didn't know it's important to surprise my body by switching in different types of workouts, I'd use only that.
I remember the first time I got on one - I was good for about 3 minutes. It was so challenging I vowed I'd work up to half an hour. I added one minute each time I used it ... which was every time I went to the gym till - I'd worked up to half an hour - then 45 minutes - then 55 minutes.
Then I started exploring the different programs. My gym has several types of these stand-up bikes, some with built in heart monitors, some with more elaborate programs - but all of them with settings that let you punch in your weight and age and select different workouts.
Then I had a bad fall and injured two areas of my spin - one neck and one lumbar - and I really thought I'd never be able to use an elliptical again. There was always a little bouncing up and down as I cycled away on the machine and that frequently aggravated the two injuries. I'll admit it - I even sometimes sort of hunched over the handles just to keep going - even though I knew it was truly bad form and I know that form is 85% of exercise.
Eventually enough healing occurred, a better form developed, I did serious core strengthening with the help of a personal trainer and I could get back into action and I have worked up to going 45 minutes at level 9 on my favorite machine with only maybe 6 more levels available.
But there is an uber athlete who works out at my gym, frequently at the same time I do. She's very nice and now and then, in the nicest way, offers up a little advice. And I always notice her because she really is ripped. And I have noticed that when she uses the elliptical - her upper body is utterly still. Though her arms still pump the handles, her head and torso never go up and down. Nearly all of the work she does on that machine is from the waist down.
So yesterday, which is a weight training day for me, I did a little cardio to warm up and decided I'd try to use the elliptical the way she does.
This is an entirely different workout. I was sweating in 60 seconds. I was breathing heavily in 4. I did it for only 5 minutes.
But I now have a New Plan ... a New Relationship with that elliptical machine. And a New Goal.
I plan to use it that way from now on - adding, as I did once before, one minute each time, till I, too, can go 30 minutes working only from the waist down - I see I've just added a new workout to my week and it'll be a killer - but it will be MUCH safer for my back and my goodness - push me to a brand new level of fitness.
And no. I will never be an uber athlete. It's not a goal. It's not a desire. I was never a tomboy. I don't like to compete with anybody but me. But I sure love being fit.
And it's sure fun to fall in love again with an old friend.
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