Sunday, April 24, 2011

30 minutes

It's amazing how effective just 30 minutes of exercise is...30 MINUTES! That is nothing. Some days, I'm not going to lie, I have to drag myself off my rear end to go workout. But seriously - lets put 30 minutes in perspective. I need to be reminded...often.

It takes LONGER than 30 minutes...
  • for me to get ready in the morning
  • for me to fall asleep at night
  • to wash a load of laundry
  • for the average person to get to work
  • to watch an episode of American Idol
  • to prepare most meals
  • to stand in line at the DMV
  • for me to write a blog post
  • for me to check email & play on facebook
  • to read the newspaper
  • to play a game of scrabble
  • to watch a movie
  • to go grocery shopping
  • to clean house
The list could go on and on. 30 minutes really is nothing and when I'm done I feel amazing! It puts me in a better mood, I feel more energized, I usually sleep better that night, it relieves stress, it gives me confidence, it BURNS calories. I mean think about you sometimes wish you could delete that milkshake you ate or that extra helping of dinner? You can! I'm beginning to feel like I'm writing an infomercial. You get my point. I know exactly what it feels like to go through the day thinking...I need to exercise, I need to exercise, I need to exercise...but never go do it. It's that horrible DREAD feeling that just sits in the pit of your stomach and doesn't seem to go away. It's miserable. The time you spend in that feeling of DREAD is probably longer than that 30 minutes of exercise!!! I think I've said before but if you have a hard time convincing yourself to go workout for 30 minutes, do it for 15 minutes. More than likely you'll end up doing more than 15 min or you'll at least start getting in the habit of exercising and will work your way up to 30 (or more!) eventually.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

losing face

The picture on the left was the first one I took at the beginning of this journey (1.29.11). I look completely miserable! I 'm not even really looking at the camera and my face just looks sad! (I think the sun was in my that was part of it). I wanted to take a close up of my face again today (4.18.11) and compare the two to see if there is any noticeable change. I tried my best to recreate that same wonderful look so I could get a more accurate comparison! Not perfect but close! :) And ya know I think there is some noticeable change! My chin is a little more defined and my face looks a bit less round, my neck looks thinner, and my glasses even look a little bigger on my face now. Now if I can just get my bottom half to shrink more! Oh - the joys of a pear shaped bod!

Monday, April 18, 2011

how I celebrated 20lbs

For those of you trying to think of ideas on how to celebrate weight loss, here are some that came my way via twitter/facebook friends:
  • New jeans, shirt, or dress
  • Go thrift store shopping
  • Buy/download some tunes
  • Take a day trip
  • Picnic/hike at the park
  • Frozen yogurt or other low cal dessert
Thanks everyone for your ideas!

I ended up doing three small things... I've been wanting to slowly fix up my bike. (It's a craigslist find - probably from the 80s, white & purple, not so pretty, with some rusted parts.) I recently purchased a new seat, so this time I decided to buy some new handle bar grips because the ones I have make my hands sore and raw. Michael and I also went to Jason's Deli, got the salad bar but splurged on a small cup of their delicious ice cream. I also thought about buying a new shirt or jeans but I usually end up upset when I shop. I start trying things on and am not happy with what I see or the size I have to get. I'd rather wait until I shed some more pounds so I can really experience the difference of my size and such. The whole point is to celebrate and I wasn't sure if trying on clothes would lead to celebration or frustration. So instead...I bought some new underwears! Maybe I'll do some new clothes at 30lbs. :)

Small things but happy things! And it was fun spending the afternoon with my hubby!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

20lbs - check!

I've lost 5 more lbs which brings me to the 20lb marker. Wahoo! That sounds like a big number but when I look in the mirror it's hard for me to tell. Maybe because I see myself everyday?? Maybe the gradual change has made it harder to notice day to day. Clothes are definitely fitting looser and I'm able to wear some things that were a bit too snug before but I thought my jeans would be falling off my waist by now....but they aren't. I guess when you have a larger amount to lose it takes longer to see drastic changes.

Anybody have some insight on all this?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

michael scott & the spiritual wilderness

I've been re-reading The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen. (A must read!) In the first section of this book he explores the discipline of solitude. He comments that many of us see solitude as a time and space separated for rejuvenation. Spa time. Therapy. Rest time. Me time. But actually the discipline of solitude isn't this at all. Experiencing solitude means being completely vulnerable. It means being without comfort, support, distractions, busyness. And Nouwen adds...

It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something.

It is in solitude that we are confronted with the hidden and neglected pockets of our souls. The areas we work so hard to avoid. I think many of us neglect this discipline because it often brings us to a very undesirable place...the wilderness. There is an episode of The Office in which Michael Scott, the quirky insecure manager of a paper supply company, is determined to spend a couple days in the wilderness after discovering that several guys from the office went on a camping trip and neglected to invite him. So, Michael sets out on a trip of his own, Man vs. Wild style, to prove to his peers that he doesn't need them.

After arriving, he attempts an assortment of "wilderness" activities. He uses his pant legs to fashion a hat and build a tent, his suit jacket to make a backpack of some sort, and searches for nourishment...only to eat poisonous mushrooms. At this, he gives up after only a couple hours. He ends up back at the office and tells the camera he doesn't need the wilderness. He has everything he needs right there....a wood desk, fresh air from AC, wide open spaces on his desktop picture of the grand canyon. He says that "man became civilized for a reason...he didn't want to struggle to survive." If you are a frequent viewer of The Office you know two important facts about Michael Scott (which this episode perfectly displays) - 1) his greatest fear is loneliness and 2) Dunder Mifflin is his home, where he feels a sense of belonging. So it is not a surprise that his wilderness venture fails. This humorous picture reveals some great truths. I think a lot of us are like Michael Scott. When we enter the wilderness we are pressed to COPE. We look for shelter and protection, search for nourishment that might end up poisoning us, and if possible we find our way out and back to civilization and comfort as fast as we can. We don't want to struggle to survive. We run from loneliness and toward belonging.

My time in seminary and this past year, following graduation, has probably been the most difficult and darkest season in my spiritual life. In seminary I was faced with an overload of information about theology. Everyone and their mom has an opinion about every detail of theology and there are about a million ways to interpret Scripture. I felt completely overwhelmed and lost in the crowd of voices. I was faced with questions I had never considered. And Fuller did a pretty awesome thing (that was very frustrating at the time). They didn't provide a ton of answers. My professors taught us, gave us resources, posed the questions, but left it up to us to discover and learn (through an enormous amount of reading and writing). I thought I'd find answers in seminary! But in reality I left with more questions.

Have you ever been there? Lots of questions and no answers? This is not an easy place to be. It's scary, frustrating, and lonely. And I'm not sure I'm out of the wilderness yet. Sometimes I feel like this weightloss journey might be GOD LEADING ME OUT. It's amazing how much our physical lives intertwine with our spiritual ones. I think overeating and laziness has been a way I have coped in the wilderness. I didn't want to face my nothingness, the hidden and neglected pockets of my soul. My struggles, fears, questions. I wanted to find that protection, comfort, and nourishment. Eating became something I could depend on. Three times a day I have to eat. When I eat I get to be occupied with that activity. I don't have to do anything else. I don't have to answer any questions, face my fears, make plans, stress about the unknown. I just get to sit and eat. It's an escape. So, why not make the most of that...and eat more. But this pursuit for nourishment wasn't nourishment at all - it was poisonous.

For the past three months I've been paying more attention to how I feel as I eat. Am I eating because I'm hungry or because I feel lost? And if it's not because I'm hungry then what do I need to work through? What am I avoiding? I think one of the most important things I took away from seminary is the value of asking meaningful questions. Sometimes it stinks. I KNOW. But questions move us into the deeper hidden places of our hearts and minds. So I leave you with a few...

What are you avoiding?

What do you depend on?

When is the last time you spent some serious time in solitude, not at the spa or by taking a nap,

but uninterrupted, facing your nothingness kind of solitude?

What questions do you need to ask yourself?

Monday, April 11, 2011

did you know: red bell pepper

While all bell peppers contain nutrients, red peppers provide the most! Here are a few reasons you should add them to your meals or eat them for a snack. (My 3 yr old nephew likes to dip sliced peppers in ranch dressing. Who knew a 3 yr old would eat and enjoy peppers!)

A few benefits of red peppers:

Rich in VITAMIN C. Contains 253% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, protecting healthy cells from toxins.

Contains 10% of the recommended daily value of FIBER. Fiber helps your body remove waste.

Is 92% WATER. Water flushes you out and keeps your blood pressure in check.

Provides 75% of the recommended daily value of VITAMIN A. Vitamin A supports good vision and skin health.

Increases your metabolism, which promotes weight loss. Studies also show that it relieves hunger pangs.

Contains lycopene, which helps protect against cancer and heart disease.

Contains 22% of Vitamin B6, which promotes healthy brain function and helps convert protein into energy.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

chasing butterflies

I'm spending the week in Tennessee with my sister and her fam. Yesterday my nephew and I went out into the field adjacent to my sister's house and chased butterflies. There were about 3 or 4 of them. We'd go after one, lose track of it, but find another and start chasing it. Then we'd lose it and go after another. Then another. We were basically running in circles. And at the end we didn't catch one. None. But what was even better than catching a butterfly was the memory we made. We could not stop laughing. It was the best laugh I've had in awhile and was one of the most fun things I've done with Asher. (And I probably burned quite a few calories along the way!)

Since I've been here I haven't had my usual workout. I've been fairly active riding bikes, playing ball, jumping the trampoline and chasing butterflies, BUT I am a checklist person. When I'm unable to log a certain amount of time and don't have an idea of how many calories I burned, I start to feel a bit off track or somewhat defeated. But I'm learning (and have been my whole life) to let go. Again (like I've shared before), it's about the journey, the process. Not about a number or list. It's about staying active, enjoying life, and being healthy. It's about chasing uncatchable butterflies. Asher and I didn't chase them to add to a collection, or in hopes to find a new species, or to even keep one. We did because it was fun! Because it was a beautiful Spring day. And because Asher loves anything insect related. So, the moral is let go and enjoy the journey. You will burn out and fail indeed if you make it about a checklist. Take a day off from the elliptical machine and go chase some butterflies!