Friday, March 15, 2013
I've recently gone indoor "rock" climbing for the first time. I've had a long-time (is forever a long time?) fear of heights and at 32, have done only a few things in the past to challenge it. I came to the wall with confidence that I didn't have before. My thoughts: I've been strength training - I know I'm strong enough; my partner is below - he's going to keep me safe; I'm just going to do it once and then it will be done; STOP THINKING - you'll talk yourself out of it. I ended up doing 4 different routes that day. At times I had to pause to rest or just reflect. I'm DOING this. I can finish what I've started. Each time felt a little less daunting, but still frightening.
Now that it's done, I am feeling relief (from the burden of my fear), energized and excited to get a new sense of my inner strength.
By no means is my fear gone, but I'm excited to say it controls me a little less than it did. Even though my wellness journey has been ongoing for the past 4 years, I would say that this is one of the bigger "breakthroughs" that I've experienced in that time.
Even though I regularly watch shows like the Biggest Loser, I'm still amazed what breaking out of the "comfort zone" can really do. I have no plans to sky-dive or bungee jump but right now, I can be proud of doing something that was on my "never" list.
In these moments, I feel a little more like myself. The self I've only started to be acquainted with in the past few years. The self I plan to get to know more intimately...
Saturday, February 02, 2013
I read a blog post recently that explained the authors opinion that being overweight isn't defined simply. It doesn't all come down to too much food, too little exercise and letting yourself go. Instead, it means something different to each person.
My reaction to this statement was immediate and two-sided. On one hand, yes, depression, mental health and physical circumstance does have some role to play in determining if we're overweight. But I like to think I have more control than many people give themselves credit for.
I've spent the last 5 years as living proof that my weight loss and gain throughout my life is directly attributable to what I eat, what I do and how I think. I've become a true believe that how I treat my mind and body day after day trumps my family history 8 out of 10 times.
I know in my heart that my family's maladies (heart trouble and strokes on one side, cancer on the other) are caused by the bad eating and fitness habits of generations before me.
My grandpa didn't have a stroke when he was 40 (that would be hereditary) he was 80. My overweight and under-active mom had a heart attack at 64, not 35. These are the effects of life choices, not pre-determined DNA.
Depression, anxiety and other mental disorders are inhibitors to healthy living - there's no doubt that living with these conditions makes living harder. But isn't exercise shown to be more effective than most medications for these illnesses? This is not to say that people don't need support and intervention and medication, but what it IS to say is that a very large part of our health lies in a very important place.
And I find it comforting that choices I make about my breakfast, my workout habits, organic produce, the role stress plays in my life, my sleeping habits or any of a multitude of choices I make every day boils down to make me healthier or not. Because if it didn't, I don't know if I would care so much.
Part of my decision to be healthier was the knowledge that no one would or COULD do it except me. This is a lot of responsibility for someone who is used to making excuses, being the victim or blaming something or someone for their weight or health problems. But it's also invigorating. It's the place where you start to see patterns and choices where there was just "being" or "doing" or "going through the motions" before. And in my opinion, it's where life begins.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
I call myself a pleasure delayer. Someone who notices that a book, a special treat, a sad "girlie movie" might be good for my soul. Then I deny myself. Not on purpose, or for the sole reason of not experiencing joy or happiness. But instead I come up with excuses. I don't "need" it. It's too expensive. I'll use it once and never look at it again. It won't *really* make me happier.
And I must say, I generally agree with my own sentiment. "Stuff" is not something that I always reject, but I can't argue that "things" make a life worth living. People, thoughts and emotions will always trump "stuff" any day in my book. But with that said, sometimes "stuff" opens us up to others experience, opinion and perspective... and no, I don't mean twitter.
I don't know what it was about yesterday in a local bookstore, but I threw my normal "denial" stuff out the window. I bought two lovely things that I will delight in for a long time. One - The Book Of Awesome by Neil Pasricha. How could my life NOT be made better by reading a collection of the simplest and most delightful things in the crazy place that we call the "modern world"? I love that it's a plainly easy idea - to start a blog or a book and enjoy the small joys in life.
To me, it proves that bigger (and grander) isn't always better. I've only read three so far and will continue to limit myself to three each day because that's how I roll. ;-)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
It's a beautiful, cool night in my town. The perfect night for a bike ride, but it almost didn't happen.
I had a plan to go for a ride with a new friend. She's had a *brand, spankin' new* bicycle in her basement for... oh, 2-3 years and she's never used it. She hasn't rode a bike since high school (10+ years). I'm not sure how we got on this topic last week, but I knew then that I was the girl who was going to help her get back on the "horse".
Like all "good" fears, it wasn't rational and she didn't really have a reason to be scared. It wasn't about falling or injuring herself. Maybe a bit apprehensive about riding with traffic (but who isn't?) but that was not where her fear was coming from. It was the monster on her back. I call it "the voice". I don't know where it comes from, and I don't know why it shows up in one situation, but not another, but it was telling her "this is scary... it's probably best just to stick to walking and yoga."
I hate that voice. Especially when it doesn't make sense. It just freezes up rational thought processes in a state of constant "NO"-ness. Nonsense, I say.
She sent me a text saying, and I quote: "Bahhhhhh, I don't know if I can do it. How about a solid grounded walk?"
That is how THE VOICE speaks... in the language of "I don't know" and "I'm not so sure". But as much as she "didn't know", I knew. I knew that if I can ride a bike then she can ride a bike.
So, I responded to her text: I'm getting on my bike right now and coming to your house. Thinking that she might reject my "straight talk" and feel too pressured, I followed up with a "you can do this, and I'll be right there with you!"
As I biked towards her house, I was feeling pumped, for her and for me.
Pumped for her because I knew that she was about to prove something to herself and something to the VOICE. I was excited for me because I was feeling lucky to be a part of it all... and proud to pass on my new confidence to others.
There was a time, not too long ago, when I didn't push my limits. But I started to push myself bit by bit... and with that grew confidence and a new awareness in how I talk to myself. "The voice" still happens -- even often. But I can hear it for what it is -- fear. I can listen to it and let it be. I don't have to believe "the voice" or give it power, but by hearing that fear deep inside and getting more comfortable with it (since it's probably not going anywhere) I empower myself. I get closer to that which makes me feel strong. I get closer to the root of who I am and who I want to be.
I was really happy to be by my friend's side tonight -- cruising down the streets at a leisurely Wednesday-evening pace. She had big smiles and laughs as she coasted down hills and experience new thrills that had been long forgotten. She said that she felt like she was 6 again. What a great feeling that is! To experience things as if it's the first time EVER -- the newness and the awe. I think that we all need to feel like we're 6 years old more often than we do! I think it would make being 30 or 50 or 80 that much more enjoyable.
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Ok... I've commented on a message board, I've changed my status and now I'm blogging about it. This is ONE GREAT BOOK. Sure, I'm not too far into it yet (I only bought it yesterday) but the plain, common sense talk that this book uses defies the "ah-hah" moment that you'll find on almost every page.
I don't know who you are, reading this post, but I encourage you, to read this book.
Basic premise (so far): The diets, the quick-fixes, the yo-yo back and forth is all an obsession. This obsession takes our attention away from our real fears, our vunerabilities, our weaknesses. How is this proven? How many people have lost weight, just to regain it (and then some)? Was the "problem" ever fixed? Was time ever taken to look deep inside at that feeling of loneliness, hurt or sadness that you feel when you're about to eat your feelings away?
I will keep posting as my reading continues. At this rate, I will probably be finished the book this weekend (well, I hope to find the time to read that much)....
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