Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Can't Stop Eating!!

This slump is starting to completely freak me out!  The Half-Marathon was a month and a half ago and I still haven't gotten myself moving.  Now, I feel as if I am eating everything in sight!  I can't stop eating!!  As I type, I have that I-ate-so-much-I feel-sick-to-my-stomach feeling from chowing on pizza.  The good news is that I feel this way after eating only three slices - I used to eat four before cutting myself back to two. 

It is time to put together a game plan:

1) I registered for Pittsburgh's Great Race - the 10K.  That's a little over 6 miles in less than three months.  I better get moving! I will run two miles three times in the next week.

2) I'm going to get back to drinking lots of water.  Remember my pink cup from last summer? 
I went out tonight and got myself a new one!  Starting tomorrow, I will fill my cup up before my daily morning meeting at work and then continue to fill it throughout the day.  I love that our Employee Fridge has an automatic ice and water dispenser in the door.
3) I'm going to eat at least two pieces of fruit a day for the next week.  Somehow I got back on a salty potato chip/pretzel kick.  I've been to the vending machine twice this week!  I know that I feel better when I eat healthier natural foods such as fruit so why aren't I doing that?  Tomorrow, I'm going to clear all of the change out of my desk so that there is less temptation and stop at the grocery store to fill up my fruit bowl.
Game plan in place - three simple goals that I can easily accomplish in the next seven days.  The first step in getting myself back on track.  It is so important that I take the time and energy to focus on me - I know that for a fact.  I will NOT grow weary!  I will NOT give up! 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Want to be Contagious!

I stood in the long check-out line of Bottom Dollar (one of our local grocery stores).
My cart was literally overflowing.  In front of me were two ladies - a middle-aged daughter taking her elderly mom to the grocery - both carrying a small armload of goods.  In front of them was a third lady - older than the other two - pushing a cart containinging a few items.  I observed the three ladies strike up a conversation and the lady with the cart offered to have the other two cut in front of her in line.  As the ladies shifted their positions, I made eye contact with the leader of this line dance.

"Me, too?"  I asked with a smile waving my arms across the top of my full cart.

She broke into a high pitched giggle, "Now that may be considered taking advantage of a little old lady!"  

The entire checkout line joined in her laughter.

For the next 30 minutes I enjoyed an amazing conversation with this 86 year-old stranger while we went through the checkout line, boxed up my groceries (She grabbed a box and started organizing my groceries before I could stop her!), and walked to our cars which just so happened to be parked side by side.  We talked about cooking, raising children, God, health and TV comedies. 

As I was driving home I realized that I was sitting there with the most ridiculous grin on my face.  Then I started to laugh.  How weird was this?  I never saw this lady before in my life, our paths cross for 30 minutes and now I'm sitting here with a crazy grin on my face.  I just felt so happy!  This complete stranger left me with such a sense of joy.  What was it about her? 

She was CONSIDERATE - after all, not too many people let others cut in front of them in the checkout line or help a complete stranger box up her groceries.  She was a great CONVERSATIONALIST.  I am a social worker, so you know I love a good conversation filled with active listening and lots of questions.  She had a CONTAGIOUS positive attitude that left me with this sense of joy.  That was it.  Her attitude.  It was contagious!

I started to think about myself.  Do I leave people with a sense of joy?  Lately I have been struggling with my attitude.  I have always considered myself to be a very positive person, but I have felt as if I've been letting life's stresses leave a lingering dark haze over me.  I'm quicker to point out the bad in the situation.  It's harder to get myself out of bed in the morning rather than anticipating a good day.  I catch myself complaining more.  This isn't me . . . at least it's not the me I want to be!  I want to exude happiness and positivity and JOY!  I want to be CONTAGIOUS!

Living a healthy life involves all aspects of health - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and attitudinal.  Am I living my life with a healthy attitude?  I have to admit that I don't think I am right now. That's something I know I need to work on.

As this stranger (We didn't even exchange names!) and I parted ways she shared this with me, "As I was having my time with God this morning He impressed upon my heart that I would touch someone's life today - give them a smile and some happiness.  I've been sitting in my house all day expecting someone to stop over, but as the day got later I thought maybe I'm supposed to go find that person so I decided to come to the grocery store." 

At the time I told her that I was pretty sure she had found her person.  She sure had made me smile and brightened my day!  The more I reflect on our interaction, I'd say she gave me a lot more than a smile! 

HUMOROUS SIDE NOTE: God did a great job of pointing her out to me.  She was hard to miss!  My stranger was dressed from head to toe in bright purple with purple eye shadow, purple bangle bracelets, a large purple flower ring and purple nail polish.  I LOVE purple!  That will SO be me when I'm 86!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I told you IT'S working, but exactly what is IT?

I know that we are only one week into summer vacation, but I am so incredibly proud of my kids and all that they accomplished over the past seven days.  Ellie completed her first 5k, conquered her fear of the pool slide AND roller coasters, started tennis lessons and joined the Westmoreland Youth Strings Summer Symphony without knowing another member of the group.  JJ started tennis lessons, joined a weight lifting class, helped my dad with the lawn and installing a new mailbox without complaining (Watching your 14 year-old son handle power tools is pretty scary!) and stayed within his food/game budget during two trips to Kennywood.  This would have never happened a year ago!

I wrote a couple months ago about being excited that "It's working," but I never gave you the answer as to WHAT is working.  So what is WHAT?  WHAT has changed in the past year that has made such a difference for my kids?  A year ago I made the decision that it was time to change my family's sedentary frozen food focused electronic device driven lifestyle.  I chose four areas of our everyday lives to make simple yet specific changes and dove right in.  Those four areas are physical activity, food portion, trying new things and ME!

1) Physical Activity. I used to consider sitting in front of the TV spending quality time with JJ and Ellie.  Then I thought about all of the activities we had equipment for that we rarely used: cornhole, Wii, Frisbee golf, Bocce, paddle ball, YMCA membership . . . the list could on.  It was time to play!  I didn't ASK my family if they wanted to play.  I TOLD them that we were all heading out after dinner to play.  They complained about this at first.  I expected that - they are tweenagers!  But fun is contagious.  The more fun we had, the more they wanted to play.  Eventually THEY started asking ME if I wanted to go outside!

2) Food Portion.  I simply started serving less food to my family.  I used to fill large serving platters and bowls with food and place them in the center of the table for dinner.  Now when I cook dinner, I make enough for each of us to have one serving (plus one more portion for me to take for lunch the next day) and plate the food directly from the stove.  When I order pizza, I only order one pizza instead of two.  When I grill hamburgers, I only make enough for one per person.  That way when the question comes up of wanting more to eat the available options are something healthy like fruit or simply a NO.  While I am trying new healthier recipes more often than before, for the most part we eat the same foods -- just less!  By eliminating the I'm-so-stuffed-I can't-move- post-meal-stupor, we're all ready to get up and get moving in the evening rather than collapsing on the couch.  (Don't worry - my kids are far from starved!  They still get plenty to eat.)

3) Trying New Things.  I'm making a conscious effort to introduce new things more often.  Whether it is trying a new food, a new game or a new trail at the park, I want my children to see that it is fun to try something new.  I want them to learn that you won't know if you like something unless you try it and that it is ok to try something and not like it.  Throughout the year I have gotten a LOT of complaining about this, but the fact that my kids have both been willing to try new activities this summer (granted with a little prodding - ok begging - on my part) proves to me that it's working.

4) ME!  Over the past several years I have made many changes in my life.  I expected for it to be enough for my family to observe those changes in me and want to follow along.  That wasn't working.  I had to be more intentional in pointing out the changes and including them in what I was doing.  I also had to embrace what worked best for them.  Just as I had kept trying fit my lifestyle into an exercise routine rather than fitting an exercise routine into my life, I had to figure out what activities worked best for my kids rather than always wanting them to do what I was doing.  I also had to make their exercise a priority.  So if that meant going on a walk or playing ball with them after dinner instead of doing the dishes right away or getting my full run in - so be it!  What's more important?  I learned that the more excited I got about what they were interested in doing, the more excited they got about doing it.

For example, JJ loves basketball.  So I began making a point of taking him to the Y so he could play basketball.  Eventually JJ and I started going to the Y or outside to play basketball around 9PM.  Often my gut reaction would be that it was too late or I was too tired.  I literally had to teach myself to pause when he asked me to play because my initial reaction was to sigh before saying yes.  That turned him off completely.  I learned that by being intentionally enthusiastic in my response I felt more energetic and excited to play.  Besides getting a workout in, we created great memories playing HORSE under a full moon, during a snowstorm and in a deep freeze.  Plus, we've had some pretty meaningful conversations under that hoop! 

Ellie, on the other hand, has fallen in love with riding her bike.  So I dusted off my bike, bought a new helmet (Ellie found the bright white round one we got for free at a health fair to be WAY to embarressing!) and hopped on!  I was beyond thrilled when she asked me if they had 5k's for bike riders.  You know I was on the computer in seconds and found one for her!

I'm aware that we are only seven days into the summer.  Is it too early to tell if the changes we've made over the past year have had a lasting impact on my family?  Some might say yes.  But you know what . . . I don't care!  Today I am celebrating the GREAT summer kick-off we've had and am gearing up to maintain this momentum.  I am determined that my family's sedentary frozen food focused electronic device driven lifestyle will be no more.  Will it be smooth sailing - absolutely not.  Life doesn't work that way.  But I'm ready.  Bring on the challenges, the struggles, the complaining . . . this is another mission I WILL accomplish!

This first week has obviously exhausted my children.  They are still sleeping!  So I'm lacing up my sneakers and hitting the road.  I'll be sure to leave them a note for when they wake up to remind them that . . . Mom Went Running!