Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On Bed Rest...

So, i am noticing a pattern here: Of all my new healthy goals, getting to bed at a (semi)decent hour is the hardest one for me to reach. I have always been a night owl, but knowing that a good night's rest makes a huge difference in my productivity, energy and just overall enjoyment of the next day should be enough incentive for me to slide under those covers well before midnight. For some reason, it's not; I stay up until ridiculous hours doing who knows what, and then hate my nighttime self in the morning.

it started when i was very young. i had two teenage brothers and well after i was sent to bed, i could hear my brothers and my parents laughing and talking downstairs without me. my mom still has one of my kindergarten art projects where i drew a picture of the scene: downstairs- my family eating cookies and laughing at johnny carson; upstairs- a sad faced, pigtailed little old me tucked into bed.

i guess subconsciously i associate going to bed late with freedom and being grown. When i am relaxing, I savor the quiet, the solitude, the impression that i have all the time in the world because nothing needs to be done immediately. I also love the idea that i am getting ahead on certain tasks for the next day, so i often find myself very productive at night: cleaning, organizing, packing lunch, doing my hair or painting my toenails and the like.

It's very simple. I need a lot of rest. i function best on 8-10 hours of sleep. one of my favorite things to do is sleep late, but i rarely have that luxury. so i end up living my life sleep-deprived, frustrated and feeling rotten. I am way too young to feel like this. So i am determined to kick this unhealthy habit. No matter how long it takes, i will train my body to go to bed at a decent hour. For my health, for my beauty, for my overall well-being.

"Get some rest. If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything"----Count Rugen to the evil Prince Humperdink in The Princess Bride

Thursday, August 13, 2009

'Keeping it fresh'... and stressing nonetheless

So it's day 4 of my new lifestyle and i am already overwhelmed. i set my goals for the week on monday, and i am doing well so far. but as much as i try to tell myself not to focus on the scale, i can't help it. after about twenty years of dieting, i've been conditioned to rate the successfulness of a diet and exercise program by the number on the scale.

i have told the world (well, at least youtube's weight loss community) what my goals are. only one of them involved weight, and yet, as i continue to fulfill the others, the only thing going thru my mind is, "after all of this vlogging about what my new plan is and what my new approach is, i can't have a bad first weigh in". I want to focus more on gradual changes to a healthy lifestyle rather than rapid pound loss, and yet that little nagging voice in my head continues to stress about that giant digital number i'll see blaring up at me from between my pedicured toes come monday morning.

"don't stress, just keep it fresh", my new motto, is already being drowned out by the blaringly loud inner voice of self doubt and worry: "will i be able to practice what i preach?", "is what i preach even worth practicing?"

i am so happy to see the successes of my new online weight loss partners. i excitedly watch their update videos. i cheer them on. I learn from them. And yet, when i checked my diary today, i saw that 242 people had viewed my starting weight and goals video and my anxiety skyrocketed. ...what have i gotten myself into?

two of the ladies even gave me shout outs in their videos and links to my channel in the side bar. i was literally moved to tears to find out that i had been able to encourage or inspire someone, when i was just taking my first baby steps on my own journey. i love the encouragement, support and motivation that i receive from each of the people i am subscribed to. i appreciate each one of them in a different way.

i only hope that i can be as much help to them as they have already been to me.

.....yeah, no pressure or anything... ;0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Starting Fresh...

It's been a constant struggle since i was about ten. i gained 20 pounds that year... i guess puberty hit me with a vengeance. i never did shop in the juniors' section; i skipped straight from wearing the largest size in girls' clothing to shopping alongside my mom in the misses' department at 12 years old. i remember i would read fitness magazines and write out exercise plans. I would borrow workout tapes and low fat recipe books from the library. but i would always eventually grow tired of whatever "plan" had sparked my interest and it would eventually fall by the wayside...

what i need
- i would tell myself- is money. when i get old enough to work, i'm gonna buy this tape or that, join this gym or the other, eat on this program, or cook from that book... THEN i'll be able to lose weight and be fit.

So at age 16, with my first paycheck in hand, i started down a long road of the ups and downs of expensive yo-yo dieting. i bought exercise tapes from infomercials, got a gym membership, joined diet programs, got health and fitness magazine subscriptions, drank stuff in cans, ate stuff from packages... don't get me wrong, they all worked. but i continued my pattern of growing tired of the program and returning to my old habits until the next "new thing" came along. all the time i was growing less and less healthy. how is that possible? because i wasn't really eating a healthy diet. i knew my body, so i knew how to lose weight, but i really wasn't focused on how to be healthy.

Mom was right all along, of course. she never was a calorie counter. never really into fads. always more concerned about her overall health than her waistline. but she was always a healthy person, because she recognized that just because a grocery store label says "low fat" doesn't mean the product is healthful... it doesn't even mean it's food. she focuses on fresh fruits and veggies, whole foods; avoids things swimming in corn syrups, salt and hydrogenated oils. She eats fresh. sure, eating this way costs a little more than many less healthful alternatives, but it's worth the investment in your health. and when you save money by walking in the park instead of paying a personal trainer, it all balances out in the end. you can make healthy changes in your lifestyle without breaking the bank.

as for me, I am a foodie. always have been. i really enjoy food. i savor the smells, colors, flavors. but the strange thing is, i am also a very picky eater. there are a lot of foods i don't like and that makes eating right even more difficult. fresh fruits and veggies are really not my thing. i love restaurant food and it gets expensive. instead of ordering an entree, i'd rather have a fattening appetizer and a decadent dessert- the richer, the better... i would convince my self that if that was all i ate that day other than my nightly bowl of cereal with skim milk, i'd stay within my calories (and my budget). and if i did a 20 min. work out video, even better. i rationalized having an organic hemp protein smoothie made with pomegranate/acai kefir and almond milk for breakfast and then a Mickey D's combo ("hey, it may be fried, but at least it's a chicken breast" and "yes, please supersize those fries") for lunch.

in the past i have lost weight to the point that i could buy two items of clothing in a size 12 as an adult (i still have them- a dress and a pair of jeans i had at 21. the dress still has the tags on it...). But i felt my very best a couple of years ago when i started eating a mostly vegetarian diet (i still ate eggs and dairy products and the occasional seafood or chicken breast); i did it for about 6 months. of course, i gave up on it because having healthy foods on hand at all times took a lot of preparation and even though i felt better, i didn't lose much weight. but i had energy galore, i slept like a baby, my skin was amazing, my digestive problems all but disappeared...

i have never really minded eating right and exercising. my problem is getting bored or complacent and losing focus. i hate counting calories and writing down every morsel i place on my tongue, logging workout minutes and the exercises i did. so this time, i decided to take a fresh approach: the only rules are fresh foods, fitness and blogging. I am determined to make this time, the last time.

so here i am, starting over. Again. Or better said: Starting fresh.