Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Steadfast through the holidays

As you all know, I have been on a health/fitness kick for half the year now.  I am about to hit the 6 month mark of being healthy and fit as in....I haven't missed a workout for 6 months straight and continue to make smart food choices daily.  Just saying that blows my mind.  This is a first for me.  We are in the middle of holiday madness.  I made it through Thanksgiving with flying colors.  Christmas has been harder.  Lots of gifts came my way from students that involved sweets and lots of sugar.  I simply smile, give a giant hug to the little who gave it to me, and tell them how wonderful it is.  Then I take it home and offer it my husband or save it for a sweet treat for the kiddos on sweet Saturday.

Now, with that said, one can start to feel pretty deprived when those around you are enjoying all the yumminess that goes with the holidays.  It just doesn't feel right to deprive, deprive, deprive.  So what's a girl to do.  Here's how I cope.

1.  Find your HEALTHY pleasures and indulge.  I have looked up a lot of healthy sweet treats I can make that use wholesome, natural ingredients and no artificial ingredients or sugars. Only those that come from nature.  So far I have made a nice pumpkin spiced late, cafe coconut mocha, lots of kefir fruit smoothie concoctions, and a chocolate fruit dip made with garbanzo beans.  All of these are low calorie because of the natural ingredients that they are made of.  To the person who is indulging in all that the holidays has to offer, my sweet treats might taste bland, BUT to me they are wonderful.  I haven't had things laden with cane sugar in so long my taste buds have reset and even fruit can taste like a wonderful sweet treat.  My taste buds are so much more sensitive than they used to be.  I only need a hint of sweetness to make me feel like I am getting all the yumminess the holidays insist I have.

2.  Find healthy alternatives and don't feel badly about premaking them for yourself and eating them in front of others.  Haters can hate.  Your health is more important than their feelings.  For some one day of indulgence won't matter because you can get on track the next day.  They may think you are being ridiculous, but they aren't you.  For me, I 'm afraid one day would lead to another and another.  It's a slippery slope. I choose to to not find out if I will go down it.  On Thanksgiving I premade some baked sweet potatoes.  I actually LOVE them plain with just a little salt and pepper sprinkled on.  While everyone else had the sugar laden traditional sweet potatoes that go with turkey, I pulled out my plain baked one.  I enjoyed it just as much without all the guilt. I didn't feel deprived at all.  Healthy doesn't have to mean tasteless and boring as long as it works for you.

2.  Remain steadfast with your workouts.  I have hit a lull in my workouts.  What I mean is that I have done them so often that there is no longer any thinking involve even though I have a different workout for every day of the week except my one off day.  It's almost robotic.  What this means for me is boredome.  With boredome comes dread of working out.  SO.....I revamped my routine.  I added some new moves, took out a few, and kept a few of my favorites.  I no longer can trudge through a workout without thinking about what I'm doing and focusing on form.  All this thinking makes time go by fast.  I don't focus on how hard it is, I focus on doing it right.  Boredom has gone and I am back on track with motivation to keep going.

3. Schedules can get in the way of regular workouts.  How in the world have I managed to not miss one with staff parties, concerts to attend, friendly get togethers?  It's called staying committed, prioritizing, and preplanning for those interruptions.  Either, I book it out of work as fast as possible and squeeze in a workout before I have to be somewhere, OR I plan to do a double work out the day before my commitment so I can have the day of my commitment off.  There has even been two days where I brought my workout gear to school and worked out after school in my classroom.  It got done!

4.  Use your progress and results to keep you going.  One day I came home after a long drive home where I had been thinking about taking it easy for that day's workout rather than pushing myself to do the normal.  When I was changing into my workout clothes I glanced at my body in the mirror.  I admired what I saw.  This is so unusual for me.  My body isn't perfect, but I have a body that most would envy....a toned body.  I have never had a toned body, slender yes, but not toned....until now.  I don't cares if it this sounds conceited.  The way I figure, I have worked very hard to get to this point.  It hasn't come easily, so I have a right to feel this way.  Just seeing my reflection was the motivation I needed.  I hadn't worked this hard to give up now.  I started seeing my body as my gift to myself this Christmas.  I wasn't going to sabotage all the work I had done by taking it easy that day.  One day might lead to another, and another, and another.  You get my drift?  The only time I have given myself to take it easy in a workout is when I am not feeling quite right physically.  On those days, I still workout but I decrease the intensity of my workout and give my body permission to use the extra energy I reserved to heal.

5.  Keep your mantras close by.  They can be a life line on the hardest days.  You can't argue with them.  If they are good ones they will keep you going and hold you accountable when no one else will.

6.  Remember who've you've inspired and keep going for them.  If watching you keeps them going, who do they have if you quit?  For me, my husband has been on board and working on himself because of me.  My kids go through spurts of motivation to stay healthy and fit, but they are watching I know so I keep going for them.  Others have told me that I inspire them.  That alone inspires me in return.

7.  Remember your nice, cute,  new smaller clothes won't fit if you give into old ways.  Do you want to say goodbye to those?  Do you want to waste all the money you spent to get them by growing out of them?  NOPE!

8.  And one of the all time most important things....remember how good you feel since you'e done what's right for you and your body. Remember how you used to feel. Remember the health problems you had before and and how those felt and ask yourself, "Is it worth it to go back to that?"  For me it's a resounding NO!  I have more energy than I know what to do with.  I don't come home and feel like a truck hit me any more.  I just keep going and going from the moment I get up to the moment I sit down and I get so much done!

I can't wait until the New Year's is done and I can officially say, I made it through the holidays.  If I can remain steadfast with my commitment to health through the holidays, the next 6 months should be a breeze.  I'm actually doing it!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eerily Similar

One morning on my drive to work I was thinking about my new exercise routine.  I was thinking about the feeling I get when I go downstairs into my workout zone.  I've been at this now for 5 months.  The newness has worn off.  It is now all very familiar.  The best way to describe the feeling, is to compare it to a friendship.  Read the following twice and the second time replace the word friendship with exercise.

1.  Friendships make us better people.
2.  Friendships keep us healthy.
3.  Friendships requires work
4.  Friendships are not always easy.
5.  Friendships sometimes hurt, but the hurt can make your friendship stronger if you stick it out
6.  Friendships will give back when you give to them
7.  Friendships can bring healing
8.  Friendships supports you
9.  Friendships require time and commitment

Wierd huh how similar those two things are?  So, lately when I go downstairs and step on that treadmill or grab that dumbell, I feel like I'm returning to an old friend.  A friend whose given me some good times and hard times, but has made me a better, happier, healthier person.  Just like a friendship it requires time and effort, but it just reaffirms my favorite exercise mantra,

"1 hour of hard work, to look and feel good 24 hours a day!"

It is totally worth it!

God isn't fixing this....pah-lease

I am home on a sick day.  Lost my voice a couple days back and I am pretty much useless at work.  This is my second day off.  I suspect that tomorrow I will be able to be back because my talking voice should be good enough to go.  My singing voice is a different matter, but at least I have CD's with lovely singing voices to help me out.

Anyhoo, having the house to myself without having to care for anyone, but myself is quite a treat.  Sad I have to be sick to get this treat, but none the less.  These last two days have been a restorative in more ways than one.  This morning I was sitting on the couch listening to the Today show.  The talk of the hour is another shooting that took place at a holiday party in CA.  The show hosts were lamenting how Americans are saying that prayers aren't working in regards to terrorism and local shootings.  The title on the screen was, "God isn't fixing this."

I hope I'm not opening a can of worms here.

All I could do is roll my eyes.  It actually irritated me.  Do people really think God doesn't hear them? Do people really think God isn't doing anything?  This angers me and saddens me.  Yes, he hears us. Yes, he's working on our behalf.  Here's the deal, just because we want something, doesn't mean he's going to override free will and take all the sin out of the world.  Just because our desires for a safe and peaceful society are just and right doesn't mean that God will take our rights to choose. Let's face it, the people that walk into public places and open fire have free will.  God can put people in their path to help them make better choices, but ultimately the choice is still their choice and Satan still has the freedom to tempt and entice man into sin.

Does it suck!  Absolutely.  Is it fair to the good people of America who don't deserve acts of violence.  Absolutely not!   BUT...can any good come out of it?  I know God will get the glory.  I believe that God works all things to his glory.  For every horrible and unfathomable act of violence there are probably just as many stories, or acts of kindness, love, and compassion.  In fact, out of some of the most incorrigible sinful acts of man, comes some of the most inspiring and moving evidences of God.  I've heard many stories of people coming to Christ because of the most dire of circumstances.  They actually see and experience God through the storm.  If you don't know any, talk to any pastor, they'll have a bounty to share with you. You see, even in the sadness of death of innocent people God is glorified.  Through the sadness and death, God is glorified.  Because of the sadness and death, God is glorified.

And then there's the notion that God isn't doing anything even though we are praying.  I am certain God is working on our behalf everyday and much of his work goes unnoticed because we haven't opened our eyes to his work in our lives.  Again I think of stories, stories of people who's regular routine was disrupted the day of 911 and for whatever reason they didn't end up in the building that day.  Stories of trials of others that seemed impossible to recover from, yet these people come out of them stronger and better before.  Stories of miraculous healings.  Stories of sinners who, in our human eyes, do not deserve forgiveness for their crimes of hate, but because of the grace and mercy of our God they come to Christ and commit their lives to serving him and making this world a better place.  Ever heard of Paul?

You see, God is working.  Everyday God is working in small ways and big ways.  Every day God is good.  When you stop for a second and take off the negative lens our media casts on our society you might actually see that God is glorified.  God is alive.  God is  But most of all, God is listening to us, loving us, and quite possibly crying with us when the world hurts us so.

Personally, I am so incredibly thankful for free will even though it comes with a big price that affects so many innocent people.  I do not think I would want to live in a world where I didn't have the choice to choose God.  How can being forced to worship and follow God be love at all?  It's not, folks.  The sheer fact that we have free will to choose God is one of his biggest acts of love towards us.  I think he offers us this freedom to choose because when we choose him, we are in fact, choosing real love towards him.  Love that is forced is not real love.  Living a world without free choice and where a God controls every aspect of our lives would mean we are....robots.  You see?

So there's my soap box for the day.  Have I ever been directly affected by acts of terror and violence?  No, and I hope I never do.  There is a possibility that some day it will rock my world.  I really hope if it does happen, that God will help me remember he is there, he loves me, he is working, and he will be glorified.