Saturday, May 24, 2008
Odd as that sounds, it's true.
There is a lot of technique to painting. It takes practice, doing the same thing over and over again, until it becomes part of you and natural. We may not notice any improvement for a long time, but one day we look at something we've painted and we think hey! I've got it. I've really improved.
It takes motivation. We're all so busy, whether it's with jobs, family, animals, volunteer work, or all of the above. We've got to be motivated to show up and do the work.
There will always be someone who is a better painter than you. Instead of wasting time envying that person, we need to learn from them. Ask them what worked for them; what didn't work.
There will always be someone who is a more of a novice than you are. Share your knowledge. Give them a hand up.
Above is two of my paintings. The one on the left is my own design; it's my cat Gizmo, and he's painted on my luggage. My husband won't use that bag anymore, but I find it very comforting to take him with me when I travel. Not to mention it makes my black bag stand out!
The one of the right is something I painted in a class.
I try a lot of different classes, different styles, different mediums. Just like I am constantly trying to learn about nutrition, figure out what works for me, and what doesn't.
Yes, losing weight really is like painting!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Everyone "cheats". Of course you should be making a lifestyle change, not following a diet, and that means there will be days you don't make good decisions.
One really poor decision, for most people anyway, is to have a cheat day where you eat anything you want. You probably won't gain weight from one cheat day, but it will hold you back. Because it's telling you that this isn't really a lifestyle change. That it's something you're just doing until the weight comes off, and most likely you're going to slip back into old habits when you get to your goal.
I like what Tosca Reno wrote about a planned cheat day in "Clean Eating":
The extra calories from one cheat meal or treat are a lot easier to burn off than several hundred -- or even thousand -- from an entire day of overindulgence.
Clean eating is a healthy lifestyle. Bingeing for an entire day isn't. Bingeing, cheating, over-indulging . . . none of these belong in the clean-eating lifestyle.
Which doesn't mean you'll never "cheat" or over-indulge. But you shouldn't plan to just throw all your good efforts to the winds. If you want something, plan for it. Eat healthier during the week. Figure out what you'll eat at the restaurant ahead of time. Learn a lower fat version of your favorite treats.
But don't go too far in the other direction, either, never letting a chip or cookie or ice cream touch your lips. That will only set you up for more over-indulging eventually. The trick is to figure out how to get your favorite treats in while eating healthy most of the time.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
It's rather funny that Oprah had Kathy Freston, author of Quantum Wellness, on the other day. When I was on vacation, I walked over to a strip mall one day, and I took a look at the book (before Oprah mentioned it!) in Target. It looked very interesting, but I already have about 20 unread books waiting for me, including one "diet" book, so I resisted. Books are a weakness for me; they're my latte factor (the little thing you spend too much money on).
Yesterday I went to Borders before my hair appointment, and read the first couple of chapters in the book. I figure I've certainly spent enough money there to just sit & read. I'll probably buy the book at some point anyway. But for now, my plan is to read a chapter at a time in the store.
Freston's conscious eating is a bit different than what you might think. She goes beyond being conscious of what you're eating, to how that food got to you in the first place.
And that is something I struggle with. I'm a flexatarian. I eat mostly vegetarian, sometimes vegan, sometimes raw; but I still eat meat, too. Generally only when my husband is home. He is a real meat and potatoes kind of guy. In some ways, living apart is good: I get to eat what I want, when I want, and I don't eat any beef when he's not here. The only meat I eat, generally, is a chicken sausage wrap I get at our local farmer's market.
It's not that I don't like meat; I do. But when you think about how beef (or pork, or any animal) is slaughtered . . . it's horrible. I believe in God, although I'm not a deeply religious person. And I often ponder the difference between humans and animals. With all the similarities, the differences are still palpable. And I wonder why.
I also don't think I could give up fish. I love sushi. But the way fish is caught is probably even more cruel than the way animals are slaughtered.
And dairy? Cheese and butter and milk; no animal harmed, right? But to get that dairy, of course the mommas have to be separated from their babies. I do drink soymilk. But I occasionally use butter, and I love cheese, although I do try to limit dairy in general, because I think beyond the ethical considerations, it's not really all that good for us. We're the only animals that drink other animal's milk; the milk that is produced to grown healthy babies, not keep adults healthy.
So at least I'm aware of my dilemma. I'm a work in progress.
And I still work on "regular" conscious eating. Eating mindfully. Being in the moment. No tv. No reading. Sitting down & taking my time. And I still must think about that with every meal, because even though I eat slowly, it's often not slowly enough. I find myself gobbling my food sometimes. Why? What am I in such a hurry to get to? When I realize it, and slow down, food tastes so much better.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Above is the design I'm working on. It's meant to go on a plain white tshirt, eventually, and is nowhere near finished. Noticed the bluebonnets without gold dots? Those won't be there; they're a mistake. But otherwise, I'm pleased with how it's turning out. They are all TX wildflowers.
I do mostly decorative painting, although I've done some landscapes and some oils, too. This particular design is rather stylized & freeform. I'm working on another one that's also stylized of a cat, but it's just in the drawing stages right now.
The flower design just started to emerge as I was playing around, painting for the first time in almost 3 years.
Ok, on to my next success. I had a sort-of weird encounter this morning. I was walking the dogs, about a mile or so away from our home. A guy who lives down the block from us, who's a handyman, happened to drive by and beeped at me.
I don't really know him all that well. He has a couple of dogs that were really annoying us when they were running free, but now they're fenced in. I see him occasionally as I'm walking the dogs. And he's been very nice to us, and helped us out in a jam a while back, even though we really don't him well.
So anyway, he beeps at me & I wave to him. Then he comes over to me & gives me a hug -- that's the weird part; we don't have the kind of relationship. And then he commented that I look like I'm losing weight. It was almost a come-0n, and I don't usually get come-0ns. I have to admit it made me slightly uncomfortable, despite the compliment.
Now, I was wearing my "skinny" jeans, the ones in my photo at the start of the swimsuit bootcamp. A few months ago I could technically get into them, even zip them up & breathe, but they weren't comfortable enough for me to wear all day. They're still just a tad tighter than I'd like, but I wear them to remind me to be mindful of what I'm eating.
My "normal" jeans are really getting too loose, but the next size down, aka my "skinny" jeans, are still just a tad too tight. I'm at that in-between phase. It's really annoying.
So I think it was more that I was wearing slightly tight jeans as opposed to my normal slightly baggy jeans.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
To keep on in my positive vein, I wanted to share a few successes I've had over the last few months:
1. I have a little post-it note on my computer, with three of the things I want to happen. One of them is to paint in my office. And after looking at that post-it note for the last three months, I've finally done it. I started painting again this week. It's not easy to carve out the time, but it feels good.
2. I have almost 100% stopped eating with the television on. I have always insisted that we eat dinner at the table when my husband was home, with rare exceptions. But I had a tendency to eat breakfast or sometimes lunch while watching tv. No more. Occasionally I'll have a late night snack (which for me is about 7:30 pm!) in front of the tv, but even that is quite rare, and mainly happens because I want to get to bed at a reasonable (for me) hour. Nightime eating isn't usually a problem for me, so even though I still try to avoid it then, I figure once in a while won't kill me.
3. I had the hardest time when I was flying home. The flights didn't really allow me time to get dinner, although I was able to eat dinner when I got home. But I was really craving something sweet (despite the two luna bars I ate!). I stood in line at a coffee shop at one point, but the line was long and time was short so I left. I did buy a package of peanut butter M&Ms when I bought my water, but they're still sitting in my bag 4 days later. I'll eat them at some point, but they aren't what I wanted then or now. I do love the taste of them, but hate all the junk in them. Wish I could learn to make an easy, healthy alternative.
A recent quote from a Healthy Reflections newsletter I enjoyed:
Stop living life for what's around the corner and start enjoying the walk down the street.
- Grant L. Miller, motivational guru
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