Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 39: Numbers

So, after a year and two months of step-counting fun with my FitBit, I managed to lose it earlier this week.  I look back on the moment when I realized that it really was gone, and I don’t like to think about the frantic panic that ensued.  It had strong echoes of an addict looking for her lost fix.  I had to force myself to settle down, to breathe, and recognize that it wasn’t the end of the world just because I wouldn’t have an exact count of my steps.  I would still be exercising, and even though there would be no visible record, it would still count.  And after a year of walking the same paths and trails, I have a pretty good idea how many steps I’d be taking, anyway.  

In fact, losing the FitBit might have been a blessing.  My reaction tells me that perhaps I was getting a little too wrapped up in the numbers and losing focus on the journey itself.  A month ago I made the conscious decision to stop militantly counting calories for that very reason, and perhaps the fates decided I needed to take it just one step further.  It will be interesting to see how my daily walks differ, now that I’ll be paying more attention to my surroundings rather than focusing on the numbers.  I’m betting my walks in the park will be a lot more enjoyable.

Now, I’m not saying that I won’t replace the FitBit eventually, because I probably will.  It’s an excellent tool, especially when it comes to motivation.  I’m going to wait a few weeks, though, and give myself time to relearn the importance of enjoying this journey.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 38: Change

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein


I've come across this Albert Einstein quote several times in my life, and I ran across it again earlier this week. However, this time it resonated with me in a way it never has before. And the more I thought about this quote, I began to realize that it goes beyond a definition of insanity. It is more about the importance of change. In any area of life things must change if a difference is expected.

And then I found myself thinking about my life before I started down this fitness path, and I realized just how insane it was. Outwardly I really wanted things to be different, but at a deep subconscious level I really wasn't willing to do what needed to be done. I wanted change, but I wasn't willing to make those changes. I would try the same diets over and over again, with the same mindset, and expect the results to be different. You see? Insanity.

Fortunately, somewhere along the way my want turned into will. I've been doing some serious goal setting this week. I've set some long term goals that revolve around several areas of my life. Those major goals gave birth to other short-term goals that will serve as stepping stones along the way. All of them are going to require a great deal of change, both physical and mental. I’m going to have to make further changes in my diet. I’m going to have to change my priorities and reorganize my daily activities accordingly.

And this time I will embrace that change, because it leads to a better place.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Week 37: Frustration

Two weeks ago I finished a 30 day crunch challenge and decided to keep doing those crunches, but at the same time start a 30 day squat challenge.  Squats, I’ve found, are not nearly as easy as crunches.  Two days in and I was REALLY feeling it and tossing around that old “I’ve got muscles I didn't know I had!” cliche.   But I was managing it okay and was taking it slowly and carefully, and the resulting ache in my thighs and calves was that “I've actually been working these muscles” kind of ache, so I counted that as a good thing.

And then Monday afternoon I was doing something as simple as levering myself out of the car when the unthinkable occurred.  I put my right foot down and was lifting myself out of the car when I felt excruciating pain radiate down the inside of my thigh.  I’d pulled a muscle.  Seriously, it was all I could do to not cry in that moment.  I realized that I was going to have to postpone the squat challenge, and that once again I was going to have to seriously cut back on my walking and running for a week or two and give it time to heal.  Not exactly the kind of revelation I wanted after having to take it easy for nearly a month after an ankle sprain.   Lately it feels like I’m taking more steps backwards than forwards on this journey, and that is extremely frustrating.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Week 36: Dairy

I used to think that there was no life without dairy.  In my head, cheese was a food group unto itself and I had at least two servings a day (and usually a lot more than that).  I mean, everything is better with cheese, right?  And how about a tall glass of cold milk with a cookie?  Or a three egg omelette?  Before I started this journey I was consuming a frightening amount of dairy.  Even after I started counting calories I found that I couldn’t quite let the cheese go.  Granted, I started buying cheeses that were made with 2% milk, but I was still consuming more of it than was probably healthy.  Honestly, the thought of giving up dairy would actually freak me out.  I used to tell people that I’d NEVER be vegan because I just couldn’t give up cheese.

I know now that it wasn’t a matter of couldn’t.  It was more like I wouldn’t.  

Looking back on the past year it amazes me how much my attitude towards dairy has changed.  I find that tofu scrambles are just as tasty as three egg omelettes.  I actually prefer almond milk over dairy milk.  And well, when it comes to cheese, there are plant-based alternatives that I find to be just as tasty as dairy cheese.   It seems there actually is life without dairy.

And suddenly the idea of being vegan isn’t quite so intimidating.  I still have a ways to go on my transition.  Now that I’ve made it a serious goal, I’m beginning to assess everything I eat and reading ingredients in the grocery store.  I’m discovering that dairy is in almost everything in some shape or form!  I’m going to have to give up my toaster waffles and start making my own.  Same with the muffin tops I used to buy.  

And honestly, this isn't a bad thing.  It just means I’ll be eating even less processed foods, and that’s actually a good thing.