Friday, December 06, 2013
I had ONE MORE SKILL I wanted to learn from this set of lessons. Care to guess?
*shifts eyes* I could not do a flip turn up until last night. Every time I've ever tried, I ended up doing a straight somersault, facing the same way I started. It's embarrassing. I think it may be related to my problems with dance and choreography.
But I got to the pool a little early, and ... there was a free lap lane! So for ten minutes before my lesson, I warmed up and... screwed my courage to the sticking point... and embarrassment notwithstanding, gave it a shot. I missed completely on the first one. I missed completely on several more, but got some kind of approximation of one by about the third or fourth try, even though I didn't have it "down".
So as the instructor came over (April, she's great)... I told her I wanted to learn this skill. It was somewhat hilarious because here she is on the pool deck trying to describe a skill that is so natural to HER, without being able to demonstrate. Hand gestures ... lots of laughs. There was another swim instructor in the lane next to me giving additional advice. And... most of the workout turned out to be swimming and practicing those turns. But the last couple of laps, I put in a few solids.
I've tried it. I've got some good ones done. I know the principles... now it's just a matter of practice, practice, practice. And as I told April... this is one of the BEST fitness investments I've ever made. If you are really motivated to get better at something... nothing beats private lessons from a pro... provided your budget allows for it.
As for the sweeteners? I've been at 3 a day for the past 3 days. I'm finding I don't crave the sweet as much because it's a special treat, and using mental discipline to remind myself, "if you feel like it, you can have one after work". Then after work I can decide whether or not to have it.
The non-dairy creamer: measuring spoon has become my best friend.
The gum: it's become a competition with myself to reduce the number of pieces each day. I'm down to a dozen, yesterday.
Spark on, my friends, because LIFE is good.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Any of you out there reluctant to buy stuff for yourself? Let your old clothes go totally ragged before replacing them? Yep, that's me!
Anyway, two years ago when I said the last item I bought in my "new" smaller size was my new p.j.'s? That was true then. I had this old coat from a prior time when I was small, though, and I did not replace it. Until now.
Now when the pockets are practically stripped off. When the sweat / bleach stains are beyond refreshing... I think I've had that old coat since 2003. It's done its time. Think I'm kidding about the nature?
Yep, I probably looked like I was either going hunting or homeless. Anyway, last year I dithered and decided to keep wearing it "one more season". This year, it's time has come. It's probably too far gone to even give to a clothing drive. And here, just in time for Winter, is its replacement. Size small. And it fits.
And because my running togs profile always makes me feel cold this time of year... putting it out as my profile pic until I warm up!
Spark a great Thursday my friends... LIFE is good, and we are worth it!
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
This is about the artificial sweeteners and the sugar free gum. I'm going to add observation/measuring my non-dairy creamers to the experiment here. I started the experiment on Monday, so only been doing it for a couple of days so far, but I am beginning where one always does: with awareness.
Part of what started this going was the unspoken awareness that this is one collection of "unlimited free" things on my "official" program, and I was really taking that "unlimited" to extremes. I knew it in my bones but I was not really ready and willing to give them up.
Let's talk "empty calories". Even though there are "less than 5" calories per piece of sugar free gum, if you pop one into your mouth 20 times in a day, there's one of your 100 calorie snack packs right there! And if it's more than 20? It adds up.
Now about the non-dairy fat free creamer. It says it's 10 calories per teaspoon on the canister. But was I measuring a teaspoon when I added it? Nope. Judging from the color of my coffee this morning when I did, I was probably really adding at least 2, or if it "happened" to pour and overflow the spoon I was sprinkling it into... 3?
So if you take 20 calories times the number of coffees I was drinking in a day... there's another couple of hundred. (Don't gasp, those of you who don't do 10 or more cups, mugs, or travel mugs full of coffee in a day, some of us haven't reformed in this area yet... we all take our journeys in different orders.)
And yes, I know how "bad for me" those artificial sweeteners are supposed to be, and my desire to eliminate them is less about the empty calories (because even the "0" on the label doesn't mean "0" if you are at volume)... more about the cravings and other bad things they can lead to.
Oh, I know they won't be completely gone from my eating... they are pervasive in "diet" foods of various sorts, and even that sugar free gum has sorbitol. BUT... this is low hanging fruit, and something that I can do. One day at a time.
So... Monday, I made it under 10 artificial sweeteners, and I tracked my sugar free gum. Tuesday, I was down to only 3 artificial sweeteners (1 in the thermos, one after work, and one at work), and I tracked my sugar free gum, reducing the count by a couple of pieces. The goal here wasn't to restrict the sugar free gum yet, just track it. But the competitor in me is working on reducing it anyway.
Today, I'll try to stick with that 3 artificial sweeteners again. I'm finding I'm OK with the coffee with just the non-dairy creamer most of the time. Today I will try to shave another couple of pieces off the count. And I am adding that I will MEASURE the non-dairy creamer when I add it... make sure it's really just a teaspoon in each coffee.
On the activity front: swim lesson last night worked on breath control. She had me at one point seeing if I could swim the length of the pool only taking two breaths. I did it three times (she lets me rest and recover between such attempts)... that's hard, and takes a distinct effort of will to stretch those extra 2-3 strokes into the third segment (after the second breath). But I can feel myself getting stronger.
I think I have learned what I needed from this set of lessons, now the trick will be to practice, practice, practice, and increase the distance gradually until I can say "1500 meters? Piece of cake!"
LIFE is good. Spark on!
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
There is a peace that starts washing over me about this time of year. November has been spent with reminders of gratitude, the whole month long. I do that Facebook thing every year, as do many of my family... one thing a day, no repeats. OK, sometimes we cheat and are thankful for more than one thing, especially as the month progresses. Because gratitude, once you start adopting the attitude becomes additive and even geometrically progressive.
It satisfies in a way that food cannot. It calms in a way that exercise and meditation and prayer all build upon.
Today I will nurture my soul with uplifting music, periods of silence and mental breaks that have some physical movement with them. And I will savor the LIFE I have been given. Because it is good. And because we are worth it, friends... Spark on!
Monday, December 02, 2013
For many people, December is the month of advent and it's very, very busy with Holiday preparations and execution. For other's it's a depressing time of seeing themselves as missing out on all that is expected of the season. For me? Somewhere in between.
At this point (December 2nd already) I don't even know if we'll have a small family dinner! Last year with my son deployed, my daughter in law decided we'd skip it. Last year, I didn't do the Christmas eve for the Jewish contingent (who were all the remaining family in town). Just slipped into church for a quiet observance of my own, surrounded by others who had their own groups. It suited the mood of the year. It seems that every year, Christmas comes regardless of where I am or who I'm with.
BUT... regardless of one's personal situation relative to celebrations, one cannot escape the "food challenges" that come out of the woodwork this time of year. Or the temptation of a busy schedule to cut exercise as the thing that "gives" when something has to.
Over time, I have observed that I do better when I have a plan... even if I don't completely FOLLOW that plan, I do better for having one.
So, here's my December plan:
1) Experiment with cutting down on the artificial sweeteners and the non-dairy creamer in the coffee. I shall set myself a Spark "other goal" to track this. I'm thinking if I cut back to "no more than"... a number, it will be a head start on eventually lowering that number, and eventually eliminating them entirely.
2) Don't attempt to cut down on the sugar-free gum, but *do* try to track how many times I pop a piece into my mouth each day. It's good for many reasons (dental, mainly), but it shouldn't be used as candy.
For activity, I shall:
3) Remember to go to recess at work - those ten minute break walks are vital to sanity.
4) Two swim lessons this week ends the ones I've paid for... continue to swim twice a week for the month of December.
That should about do it!
* Eat what's in the bag... it's all ready for you! What's on the treat table? Not for me.
LIFE is good, my friends. Spark on!
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