You Know You're a Fitness Junkie When...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

...You spend over $100 on Amazon in one fell swoop. All on workout DVDs and Yoga decks. No sweat though (well, for the cost anyway). This was my attempt to spend my hard-earned Christmas money (I've been a pretty good girl this year) and capitalize on some wellness moola at work. Score!

On the menu are Ellen Barrett's Barefoot Cardio, some good ole Quick Fix and 10 Minute Solution DVDs, a Bollywood dance workout, Shape Magazine's bikini body workout, a ballet-inspired Reach workout, some Iron Yoga, a small bit of capoeira, and some Shiva Rae. Ooooh. Aaaaaah. Endorphins, my drug of choice.

And as you can tell, I despise workout monotony. I have to refresh every once in awhile or my motivation wanes. I love trying all different types of movements, as you can tell. And if I can multitask while working out, all the better (i.e. learning new dance moves, practicing meditation while I move, getting strength and cardio done in one shot).

Now, I eagerly wait by the mailbox...

Resolutions Smesolutions

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I may have mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of New Year's resolutions. I think that it's important to recognize that you are fully capable of making a resolution right this second, this very day of the year, this singular moment before the next bite reaches your mouth. I think that the "I'll start on Monday" mentality is, please forgive me, lazy. It's a giant excuse not to take control of your own habits, bodies, responsibilities and health that you have full authority over. I like to keep in the practice of making resolutions the second I think of them. I don't wait until Monday, I begin with my next meal or transaction.

However, I do appreciate the freshness that the New Year offers. The feeling of vitality all around you, the fresh outlook, that sense of starting over. Plus every business everywhere capitalizes on the New Year, so you might as well take advantage of those gym fee waivers and exercise equipment sales if you're going that route.

I would like to offer a few tips from my own experience at forming New Year's resolutions every year since I've understood the concept. Hey, just because I don't agree with waiting until the New Year to tackle your ambitions doesn't mean that I don't like to use the date as a great time to re-evaluate where I'm going. So, my advice is to try to:

1. Practice your New Year's resolutions a week or more in advance. This gives you a chance to work out the kinks, rework your schedule, and adjust the picture before you even start. If you plunge ahead on Jan 1 without any practice, it's all too easy to fall for the all-or-nothing cop-out. My resolution for 2011 is to read through the Bible and I started in November so that I have plenty of "padding" for those days I know I'll miss. Given enough time, I was able to find this Bible podcast and these complementary sermons that I can listen to while I'm working. Through this early trial, I also figured out that reading two Bible companions in tandem with the Bible readings is overkill and I know I cannot dedicate myself to that much cross-referencing and reading right now.

2. Jot down every obstacle you can foresee on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side, brainstorm solutions for overcoming those obstacles. Without a Plan B, failure will be that much easier. On the other hand, if you know exactly what your action plan will be, you won't hesitate to keep going. There WILL be obstacles.

3. Write about your efforts, vocalize your goals, and gather your cheerleaders. If you keep your resolutions inside your head, you have only yourself to hold you accountable. When you put your plan in print, you are solidifying it and making it real. You are reminded of your efforts with every glance where memory may have failed you. Start a blog centered around your resolutions like her, write a few goals on a Post-it® attached to your computer screen, or enlist a friend to check in on you. The more you talk about it, the more concrete the idea will be in your mind.

4. Visualize yourself successfully completely your goals with every inch of your being. Taste the sweat, hear the crowd cheering and those compliments, touch the rope at the finish line, see yourself in your new fitted clothes and experience the entire thing down to the sensory details. If in your mind you've already succeeded, then you know for sure that success is not impossible. And once you immerse yourself in that feeling of accomplishment, nothing will stop you from getting there. It feels too good.

5. Do some research. It's a whole lot easier to jump into something on Jan 1 when you know what will be expected of you. Print off that 5k training plan, read others' success stories, track your spending for a month or two before implementing a budget, and become familiar with the terms and equipment at the gym so you can nail your resolutions head-on, without hesitation. Know exactly what you're getting yourself into--or out of!

6. But don't over-plan! You are not likely to be successful at losing weight if you immediately plan to track every morsel down to the almond, subscribe to three magazines, join every online weight loss community you come across, buy piles of complicated equipment, join a gym and forgo entire food groups unless you have some sort of rare iron-clad dedication. You're setting yourself up for failure if you plan to form a million new habits at once. The most successful dieters use baby steps to achieve their goals. Implement one new measurable strategy per week such as drinking two extra glasses of water, walking 2,000 extra steps, putting away 25 extra dollars, sending out three extra resumes, or using a smaller dinner plate. Continue with what works, chuck what doesn't. I can practically guarantee that by December, or maybe even July, you will reap the rewards of all those baby steps put together.

7. Don't let your imperfections or shortcomings derail your entire plan. Who says you can't change or rewrite your goals in February to better suit your lifestyle? Certainly not me!

The Writing Structure and its Builders

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great writers know that reading is one of the most important things that they can do to improve their craft. And here's another reason why. It's not always the content itself that inspires writing, but the form the writing takes. I remember reading a book in high school and the teacher asked us to write about one thing we learned from the book. I wrote about how the book opened me up to a completely different style of writing.

The book in question was written completely in vignettes. It didn't read like a regular book with a build-up, climax, and falling action. The vignettes were sort of scattered, but still contributed to the overall story. I remember thinking: "this is truly brilliant." I can do that! That's how my mind works anyhow, in bits and scattered chunks.

In college, we read poems and then copied their forms or subjects in our own way. Recently, I read a book that I've mentioned before called Wear More Cashmere. The style of that book and its celebration of womanhood has spawned some amazing writing ideas inside of me, but that I would like to express in my own way.

I can't wait to get started!

Sugar Sugar Everywhere

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm so excited for Christmas. My home has been decked out for weeks, the sugar cookies have come and gone, about half of the gifts have been wrapped and placed under the tree. Every evening I come home and turn on a Christmas CD while I try to figure out what's for dinner. I love showing people how much thought I've put into celebrating them as a person by choosing gifts with meaning. I've taken my son to see many-a-Santa (but he's two, so he hasn't quite caught on that he looks different each time). The snow is falling in pure white blankets. The goodwill is so thick in the air you can almost taste it. But instead of taste it, you stop to check the calories...

I'm here to petition that we do not take the cheer out of the holiday treats. Everywhere around me, I keep hearing people grumbling and then taking fistfuls of treats almost reluctantly. At my lunch break exercise class, there was moaning during the walking lunges about how we'd better treat ourselves to extra pecan pie for this. There's something just so wrong with this picture. We shouldn't be lamenting these bountiful gifts from friends, family, business vendors, etc.

Please, by all means, have fun with the outpouring of Christmas suga'. Grab a few chocolate-covered pretzels and really enjoy each roll across the tongue. This is a rare once-a-year treat. Take an extra lap around the building before grabbing a cookie if you must, but please grab a cookie! Maybe not ten, but at least one or two. The more you fight it, the worse off you're going to be anyway. This is a time to celebrate, to enjoy, to indulge. What's to celebrate if you're too busy worrying about that monster chocolate cake you just bit into?