Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Leaves


"Sunlight Through Leaves" by Aflo courtesy of allposters.com

Do you ever go through periods in your life where your actual circumstances aren't changing that much, but you know that you are changing? I'm sure you have. I have read too many times of people talking about the changes they are feeling on the inside, while appearances seem to remain the same.

I began to go through this a few weeks ago and was in a bit of a slump about it. The usual things that had peaked my interest for the longest time, did not have their same appeal. For example, as I was revamping the blog page here last night and creating a new blog list, I saw how very many blogs I had bookmarked and realized I really need to go through some of them and clear out a bit of space!! It's not just that I had so many, though, but also that some were not things I was still interested in reading about.

It reminded me of something I read by Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book, Simple Abundance. (I looked for the quote, really I did, but it has alluded me!) In this part of the book she is talking about fashion and style and was talking about how, at one point, she found herself wearing things that didn't really fit her personality anymore. She found that she was still dressing the way she had been inspired to dress when she wrote the book, Mrs. Sharp's Traditions (a wonderful, wonderful book by the way). That book is based on Victorian customs and traditions that can be applied to families today. Because of all of her research and time spent on the book and then the time spent promoting the book on tour and portraying a certain "Mrs. Sharp", her look had become quite romantic. But then she notes, after a number of years beyond the success of that book, she found herself still in those clothes, but feeling quite a different person underneath them.

This is kind of how I have been feeling lately.

I had been in a bit of a negative place with everything that had been happening with our family and the uncertainty of our finances and our future. More than that though, were the homesick feelings I continued to have and frustration with my own social circle here. But I am not a person to wallow for long. I get tired of listening to myself whine about things - either out loud or in my head - and knew I wanted to make some changes. But what kind of changes?

For a while, things seemed to be out of my hands. The truth is, of course, that there is very little that we actually control (and I can sincerely thank God for that; I'd rather trust Him with the world than myself!), except for our perceptions and the way we respond to situations.

The night before we started school on the 25th of August, I pulled out a book (another Ban Breathnach) that always inspires me, called Romancing the Ordinary. I just wanted to start thinking positively again. I wanted an energetic optimism to come from me, not a downtrodden energy. I felt this feeling of change beginning to grow in me - that feeling of turning over a new leaf - but I wasn't exactly sure what it looked like.

Part of me wanted it to look like this:


Dara Torres - photo by Ronald Cadiz


Ha, ha! I bet you weren't expecting that! :) But, did you watch the Olympics?! The summer Olympics are my favorite! I'm always so inspired by the athletes. Now, I do not have the time or inclination to devote the time and resources to getting into the amazing shape Dara Torres is in, but I can tell you that after seeing a photo of myself from the beginning of May last year, I could see that I was beginning to resemble the slug I was feeling like!

Eating well has always been a given with me, but exercise comes and goes. I feel like I'm an active person overall. I love to bike places and I'm always moving around my house with one chore or errand or the next. But I had given up my regular brisk walking and my resistance training a while back. It's not that I didn't take the occasional morning walk on my own - maybe once a week or that I didn't look at the weights sitting there on the floor and pick them of once in a while, but I was really kidding myself if I thought that kind of "commitment" was going to do any good.

I was also eating handfuls of chocolate chips here and there and helping myself to seconds - even after I'd had a large portion of dinner to begin with. I've never been a sweets person, but a good meal is my downfall. I have to consciously sit and wait for my stomach to get the message to my brain that it's been fed, because my taste buds definitely want more!

I'm not overweight, that's not it. It was more those extra 5 or 8 pounds that you just know are keeping you from your, "fighting weight." And I definitely wanted more muscle tone. I want strong muscles - not big muscles, mind you, but strong ones - so I can continue to do all the things I want to do. But I also want strong muscles, because strong muscles give you strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

I kept seeing those Olympic athletes like Dara Torres and Lolo Jones and thought there was so much to admire in these women. I've never been into sports, not being competitive at all in my nature. But I have been into being fit and healthy since as long as I can remember. So that was one of the new things I decided to do.

I was already starting a regular workout routine for myself, when I came across Marilu Henner's newest book, Wear Your Life Well. What perfect timing for me. That is exactly the thing I had been wanting to do! I had read her book, Total Health Makeover a number of years ago, and though I don't follow her food combining practices, I gained a great deal from that book and from this new one. Now she is a woman who exudes energy and positivity! If you remember her only from her Taxi days, then you really ought to be reintroduced, because she is simply a dynamo!

So. Where does this bring me? Well, I have slowly been discovering some of the changes I have wanted to be making and I'll be talking about them over the next few days. Fitness is obviously one of them. I am currently waiting to find out if I will receive a scholarship to be able to join the YMCA with my family. Whether or not we do, though, will not get in my way from the things I want to do.

Currently, I am doing brisk walking for about 20 minutes or so every other day and alternating that with resistance training and yoga. I have a video from the library on Pilates too, so I'll be trying that out soon. The one thing I have noticed - and my husband noticed too - is that my energy had noticeably increased. He's commented on it twice! Today he said, "Do you think your walking has given you more energy, because you used to sleep in longer than me and now I'm always sleeping longer than you?" He has later hours now and doesn't get home til late, but I've been staying up some nights to spend time with him and I still manage to get up early to get to my workout. The getting up part has never been that hard for me, since I've always been a morning person, but it's the sustained energy throughout my day that I am thoroughly enjoying so much! The exercise, combined with my vegan, whole food diet is key, I'm certain, to the way I feel.

I have more new things to share, but I'm sure this post is plenty long enough. I've missed talking with all of you. I feel a bit like a champagne cork that's been popped. :) Um... someone stop her... please... :)
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