Monday, August 30, 2010

Revisting the Fabric

Well, that was an unexpectedly long break from blogging!

Since last I wrote we had a 10 day family vacation, gloriously free of laptops (for me, at least). It was a needed break from technology. Our trip involved visiting with lots of wonderful friends all around Virginia and then heading to a beach house on Bethany Beach in Delaware. It was GREAT – but as usual never long enough.

Among tons of wonderful things I did, one of the most soul-enriching for me was a fantastic unplanned catching up with 2 of my favorite women in the world at the same time. One friend I was staying with – the other was living in the same town of Charlottesville, Virginia, but I’d been unable to reach her. The single night we were there staying with Martha, I got a call from Sarah, who I haven’t seen in ages. In fact, it’s been long enough that she has become a doctor since I saw her last. She was working the night shift at a hospital and it was slow, so Martha and I ran over to hang out with her. Amazingly, I got to spend over 2 hours of uninterrupted glorious conversation time with two women who I love. Martha and Sarah got to know each other, I got caught up with life and dreams and husbands and fears and joys and successes. It’s incredible when you can talk to people who you respect and love and find so much that you relate to in each other. Whether it’s good stuff or bad stuff or just boring stuff – connecting with those like-minded people and personalities make me feel like an important part of a much larger fabric. A feeling I sometimes need to be reminded of. That night, I hit the bed with a huge smile and a thrilled and contented heart.

I hope it won’t be that long before I see them again – but it warms me to know that no matter how much time passes, there are some people who you can just fall right back into the same lifelong and easy pattern with. And having that with more than one person – well, I have lot to be thankful for.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Under the Covers

I have a Crossfit class I go to Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:15am. I lay out my clothes the night before, set my alarm for 5:52, and for the most part I jump out of bed at the alarm and head out to my car, barely awake. Though I’m not a morning person, once I’m there I really like it. I like Crossfit and I LOVE the people I work out with. But this morning? With barely a thought I flipped off the alarm and snuggled back down under the covers. I wrestled with guilt for the next 10 minutes before I slid back into a fitful sleep. Why did I skip it? No idea. I just didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay in bed. I was tired.

You know, I want to be one of those women who is athletic and fit, who craves exercise and feels good only when I’m moving. I want to be that lean, strong woman in the Nike commercials, running easily and peacefully on an empty mountain trail. But in reality? I really only exercise because I feel like I have to. Because I like to eat, and because I feel guilty if I don’t exercise. Yes, I enjoy exercise when I’m doing it sometimes. I do like thinks like taking walks and going hiking, or leisurely swimming laps. But going to do something specifically as “exercise” just to stay in reasonable shape? The best part, honestly, is the sense of accomplishment when I’m done.

One reason for this lack of excitement over exercise, I’m guessing, is that no matter how much I’ve exercised (whether it’s Crossfit three times a week, or half-marathon training for 6 months, or swimming 3 miles a week – to name just a few kicks I’ve been on for months at a time) its never transformed my body into what I want it to look like. And since that has been my primary motivation – to look good and/or justify food intake – it’s kind of annoying when the smaller clothes continue to elude me despite the crazy amounts of pushups, squats, pull-ups and weight I move around the gym. Or the tons of miles I racked up a few years ago on my running kick. Yes, I know that diet has a ton to do with things, but even when I’ve had it all dialed in for months at a time, I still have seem limited results. At least compared to what I want to see. So this morning when that alarm clock went off, I couldn’t do it. I said PHTTTTTTTT, rolled over and went back to sleep. And I had a cinnamon scone for breakfast, just to rub it in.

I think I need some new motivation.

Health? Energy? Camaraderie? Yes. All those things are probably better sources of motivation than a size 8 pair of jeans, and I’m sure there are others. And I suppose somehow I need to make those the reason I jump out of bed at the crack of dawn.

So much easier said than done. Oh well. For the moment, I’m going to stop stressing about it and head out on vacation later this week – one that is very much needed. And I think a change of scenery and some head-clearing will do me good. Here’s to a good dose of rest, self-care, and quality time with people I love. Time for a recharge.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wondering and Wandering

One of my favorite magazines is Scientific American Mind. Each issue always has a theme and there are longer and shorter articles covering how the mind works, from a variety of angles. Check it out. Great plane reading and generally a good mag to keep around the house to pick up and put down.

Anyway, on a plane yesterday I read this article covering a study on willpower. My interest was piqued. Willpower is something that I always felt I didn’t have enough of. Case in point – my inability to say no to a cinnamon roll from Upper Crust Bakery. So this study had a group of people who were going to start an exercise regimen. One group was told to focus on the phrase “I will” before and during their trial of a few weeks or months or whatever. The other group was told to focus on the phrase “Will I?”. The results? The latter groups was markedly more successful.

Its pretty interesting to me that the group that was left with an open-ended mindset, one that left them the ability to make a choice, was the group that excelled. And the more I think about that, the more I’m down with it. In fact, I tried it last night – just repeating the phrase “Will I” over and over in my head. I think I actually felt my stress level drop. When thinking “I will”, I end up feeling pressured and guilty – all negative feelings. So this article definitely resonated with me.

So I’m going to give it a shot. Will I finish my book? Will I keep up with my 3x a week Crossfit workouts? Will I eat well? We’ll see, but this seems like a good (and much less stressful) starting point!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Dazed and Confused

I’ve gotten to the point where I hate thinking about food. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE food. But my whole life, I’ve been so overwhelmed by information and directives and contradictions about food that I’m just annoyed. Eat whole grains, we were told. Don’t eat grains, someone said later. Yogurt is good for you! Stay away from dairy! Restrict calories! But don’t deprive yourself! ACK! It is seriously enough to make a person crazy.

The result? For me it’s hard to even enjoy food anymore. I feel lacking if I eat something healthy, especially if I’m in the mood for something “unhealthy”. But I feel guilty if I’m eating something that someone said I shouldn’t (and given all the contradictory info out there, pretty much every food on the planet has an enemy somewhere). It’s also crazy to me that while we have more fitness and health magazines than ever, and such a huge emphasis on keeping fit and lean and exercising, I also see a huge movement in the foodie sector. I mean, how on earth are we supposed to find balance and keep sane in the midst of all this?

So I’m trying to disengage from some information and get back in touch with my own self about food. I’m not really sure how to go about this, but the last thing I want is to read another book or article that tells me how I’m supposed to eat or find balance with food or whatever. What I want is to just STOP getting information from someone else, and get in touch with what my body is telling me. If I want chocolate, then I want to eat it and enjoy it and savor it – without guilt!! And when I’m feeling bloated or gross, I want to choose to have a food that makes me feel better.

Sounds easier than I think it will be. It’s like trying not read celebrity news – even without seeking it out it’s in my face all over and I still seem to know what’s going on. But I’m going to try to put on some blinders and forge ahead – on MY food terms. Whatever they are!