Yesterday I posted about the nine behaviors that actually worked in aiding me to lose thirty pounds and keep it off, and turn me into an honest-to-goodness athlete at the age of 46. You can find that post here. Back to Basics: 9 Things That Worked.
Rededicating myself to those nine behaviors was clarifying for me, and gave me hope that I could stop my gears from slipping before it was too late and I tumbled down the mountain into the abyss of torpor and self-hatred and jalapeno poppers.
Day 1 report card so far?
No carbs other than maple syrup, and sugar in my coffee. Check. Thirty day meditation challenge in progress. Check. Post-shoveling PWS posted in the SDLHC. Check. One serving of the good stuff (banana) ingested, and a kale/tomato/sausage soup on the stove for later. Check (sort of). Posting supportive messages on SDLHC. I’ve done a few. So…not too bad so far. It feels good to have a framework again rather than just milling about in my own self-doubt and frustration.
At the risk of tinkering with what works and breaking the machine, here are five additional ideas I’m implementing beginning this week. I’m a bit more apprehensive to list these, because they have no truly proven track record with me really, though I’ve tried many of them before, and because I want to avoid taking on too much and ending up doing too little…or nothing at all. But they seem important enough to at least make the effort. If they’re good for me, then wonderful, I’ll keep at it. If not, I’m okay with letting them go.
1. Yoga. I’ve practiced yoga in the past – at a studio, using YouTube videos, and as part of an invigorating 30-day challenge that I recommend. I stopped the studio yoga after having a couple of episodes of pretty nasty vertigo which required me to leave class, but have always known it’s good for me and wanted to return to it. A friend of mine gave me a heads up that the studio I like in town is offering unlimited Yoga for 30-days for $40. Yes! Sign me up! I immediately bought the Groupon, then started the eyebrow-furrowing task of figuring out where to fit it in. The clock starts ticking when I go in for my first class, so I’m trying to be smart about scheduling. It’s good for my achy body, and for my attention-challenged mind. I’m doing it in February.
2. Meditation. This is a lovely kind of cheat, because it’s both a 30-day challenge I’m running and a new tactic I’m trying. In fact, I’m taking a break right now to do Day 2. Join me! It’s not too late. Back in ten minutes… Ahhh. What I’m noticing now is not the hamster in my head, but the quiet hum of the forced hot air, and the faint whine of the laptop motor. I hear distantly a plane overhead and send a little thought to anyone flying through the swirling blizzard that’s currently happening in my part of the world. The delicious aroma of the kale sausage soup I made fills my house with the promise of a dinner that will be nourishing, healthy, and delicious. Rather than feeling like my teeth are rattling from the crazy internal off-center steampunk engine in my head, I feel a sense of quiet gratitude for where I am exactly at this moment. After only ten minutes, my life feels different to me. Beginning a meditation practice was not optional. My soul cries out for it.
3. Swimming lessons and swimming for fitness. I kept trying to visualize myself at the Tough Mudder, poised to jump off a 12-foot platform into a pool of dirty water, and having to make my way to safety…and I couldn’t let that be the first time in years that I experienced deep water. I’ve had two legitimate panic attacks in my life – one was at Walmart (and since then, Walmart has been my joy to avoid/boycott for the past five years) and the other was in deep water when I was “swimming” at our local reservoir. I’ve never had a lesson, but figured out how to avoid drowning by doing a pseudoswim flail thing that would generally get me to the edge of whatever water I happened to find myself in. My goal for swimming lessons was to just familiarize myself with the feeling of being in water, but after a few weeks, I’ve grown to love how it feels to learn the skill of swimming – to feel strong and even sometimes sleek in the water, and to trust it to hold me while I figure out how to not breathe in a gallon of it. I have three lessons left, but will plan to sign up for more when I can make my schedule work.
4. Gratitude. I’ve “cultivated a gratitude practice” in the past (which for me meant writing down five things for which I’m grateful every day) and the practice can be transformative. I think the magic lies in training your brain to look for what makes you happy in order to be able to record it. My brain was pleasantly obedient. I’m not doing anything so formal this time, but am trying to remember to notice when I’m feeling grateful. Outside earlier, doing snow removal, I shook off a fearsome dark mood by noticing how grateful I was for my new electric snow thrower (my first ever!), my winter gear (warm snow pants, high tech boots and a ninja snow mask), the fact that my extension cord was long enough to do the whole job, and my neighbor, for bringing over a bolt that my machine was missing – making it so it stopped blowing snow into my face. Noticing what you notice, and turning toward joy. It’s so important.
5. My business. This is very much a work in progress. I am turning my psychotherapy practice toward a focus on health and fitness, and am developing a vision that includes being active with my clients, rather than sitting stiffly in an office talking about being active. I also plan to make some changes in how I do the “work at home” part of my business, and just today realized that I could take my son’s room and convert it into an office, now that he’s out on his own. It’s astonishing to me that the thought had never crossed my mind. My creativity with my practice was like a wire that had become disconnected, and I didn’t even know it. I’m plugged back in, and the light bulb of my creative self is slowly building power, perceptibly brightening by degrees.
Tomorrow (or whenever I get to it!), I’ll be posting about some other possibilities I’m thinking of – not for now, but for a later time when I have this other stuff down. Just allowing the existence of possibilities is something I had forgotten to do. Feels good to be waking up again.
Feel free to tell me about your endeavors in the comments.
Stay warm, friends! xo