Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Regrouping...

I'm going to get on the scale today for the first time in a long time. The reason???....... my weight is changing or at least I'm becoming more aware of it. It could be the latter because I'm always surprised by photos of myself. I seldom realize that I'm over weight until then. It's kind of like being sixty but feeling like I'm maybe twenty-four. Then a photo or mirror pops up and bursts my bubble. But lately, I feel heavier and admittedly, there are days I feel every one of my sixty years, too. Of course, becoming aware is not necessarily all depression and gloom. It means that I'm ready to change. I ordered myself a t-shirt for my upcoming sixty-first birthday. It has a changing leaf on the front of it and says, "Change is Good." Yes, it certainly can be. I think most importantly, I need a change in attitude. If I start acting younger, I will feel younger and I think all of those other things will just fall in line. It's about time, I've let them misbehave like naughty children for far too long. So, I'm going to embrace my age but I'm also going to start living as young as I feel in my head and heart. And I'm going to embrace my big beautiful, surprisingly healthy body but I'm going to work to get it in better shape, slimmer and healthier. Change is good.

I haven't been doing much in the way of exercise for the past few weeks. No excuses, I will start again but for now, I'm just fitting in extra steps and movement whenever I can. I'm mentally regrouping. I made this all too much like work, too regimented and too much like I was waging war against my own body. I've decided that the first thing that needs to be "fixed" is my attitude. I'm going to try a brand new approach to exercise. I want to enjoy it and have fun. I'm going back to that book I read months ago that started me on this journey of the many challenges. The book was all about habits, why we have them, how we change or establish them. So, to change a bad habit, you replace it with something that gives you the same reward. I don't know what I was thinking pushing myself like a demon because that certainly wasn't replacing my sedentary lifestyle with something pleasant. What was sitting in front of the TV for hours giving me?.......an excuse not to do an unpleasant task that I didn't really want to do.......a way to escape from not only what needed to be done but the pressures of life that are often overwhelming......a certain amount of pleasure and laughter even though there was no human interaction (although often there was feline and canine company.) So, the exercise can be an escape and certainly an excuse and it can be pleasant. Today, I have a chore to do that will offer at least movement if not a lot of exercise, I need to give my horses a long overdue grooming. Their manes and tales are so full of cockleburs it is disgraceful. This is not the most pleasant of tasks, it is painful to me (those darn sharp burrs) and tedious BUT I will be spending time with my beautiful horses and that is very pleasant. I will also not be sitting in the dark house lost in the TV but outside on a beautiful, surprisingly warm October day. I think that will be a win-win!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My most recent post to my Fit and Healthy after 55 (60,lol) FB page.
I'm so sorry for my long absence. I've found a lot of new health and fitness articles that I want to share with you all but I will try to spread them out over the next week so they aren't overwhelming.
Okay, where have I been and how is the challenge going? I've had a lot going on, work, illness, helping friends and making a few emotional breakthroughs and quite a few of those epiphanies that I often speak of.
As for the exercise, you know that I did what I always do: I start out with enthusiasm and then I over do again because the results aren't coming fast enough. When I overdo, I tend to burn out and crash at least for a few days. I am good about getting back up and starting again but it's hard to make progress with all of this fits, starts and crashes. Soooo, I talked to my health and fitness coach, Lee, yesterday. I've been talking to him for over a year now and I have to say that this was probably the most beneficial session we've ever had. Most of the things he told me are the same things he's been trying to tell me for months. The big difference, this time I heard him with both my ears and my brain. I think it's finally clicked, that little light that brightens up that big empty room in my head and lets me finally see the truth.
Truth number one: I make my workouts too much like work. I try to be ultra disciplined and follow a strict regime. Not only is that not any fun but it is the reason I keep making the same mistake over and over...the one I outlined above.
Truth number two: I have made progress and not just by learning what doesn't work but by being consistent. "What?" you say! I know, I've been trying for at least four months to finish one of my exercise challenges and establish a habit and I keep failing, missing days, over doing and quitting...for a while. That was Lee's point. Even though I miss days because of illness or obligations, I get right back on the horse so to speak. That metaphor serves me well. Ten years ago, nearly eleven now, I took a bad fall from my horse. I then became terrified of riding. I tried different instructors to try and gain my confidence again. One was super strict and concentrated on form, one had no structure at all and terrified me even more by turning me out in an arena with at least twenty other riders and it was a mad house, one only lasted one day because she nearly got me killed...long story that I won't go into. Then I chanced upon Brandy McDonnell(https://www.facebook.com/brandy.mcdonnell.5?fref=ts ) Her link will appear below and those of you in E.TN. who want to ride, should look her up. I highly recommend her. Anyway, Brandy just concentrated on getting me comfortable on a horse again and helping me to have fun riding again. She later told me that she saw so much fear in me during my first few lessons that she didn't know if she could help me but she and I kept going until the day that the light clicked on and I realized that I was enjoying riding again. Brandy told me how proud of me she was on that day. I would never be a highly skilled rider, one she could take to National Championships like she had so many, but I had kept pushing despite fear or pain or insecurity. So, I guess what Lee calls being consistent and what Brandy called courage was just me being stubborn and not letting fear or being discouraged stop me. I just keep getting back on the horse.
Truth number three: If I'm going to stick with the exercise, I need variety and I need to have fun. Not only did the walking and running become boring fast, I made it too hard by pushing too hard. I need to move but I need to take the time to smell those roses or the horse's mane. :) So, I will start working with my horses again. It's been too long since I've ridden them. I'll start out just grooming and then we'll start working on the ground and finally, I'll get back in the saddle and my horses back under saddle. During all of this, I'll be moving and getting exercise without realizing it. Also, I'm going to try to get my bike back in working condition. It probably will only take new tires and a little oil...I hope. And I plan to start trail riding on the bikes again. I always enjoyed that so much. Flying down a hillside on the bike or a mountainside always made me feel alive and free! In addition to those two things that will get my heart pumping again, I hope to start my hiking clue back up soon. The weather is cooling off and as soon as my weekend schedules lighten up a bit, it's off to the mountains. My husband is wanting to join me on the hikes so that will make it even more fun.
Truth number four: I met a woman close to my age who just in recent years became a fitness and nutrition coach. She gave me some great advice that I shared with Lee and he wholeheartedly agreed with her. I should visualize myself as having already achieved my fitness and weight loss goals. She said that what you imagine will eventually become the truth. That is so but also, those things that I've been putting off, like riding my horses again, hiking and biking again, until I'm fit enough or slim enough, I don't have to wait on those. I can start enjoying my life again now, today!
So, after another novella from me, lol, you know where I'm at. I've been working on a lot of emotional stuff, too. I've had quite a few breakthroughs in those areas. I know I've spoken before about my anger over letting certain individuals direct my life and how I feel about it, how I feel about myself. I thought about the fact that I probably gained a lot of my past successes by trying to prove them wrong. My therapist recently told me that I should continue to do that but, although I think she's great, this is one point I disagree on. I have a lot of people that believe in me and call me capable and talented. As with Lee's advice, I haven't really been listening to them. I just today realized though, instead of trying to prove the critics wrong, why don't I prove those who believe in me RIGHT? That is my new life goal and I think it is one that will make me a lot happier. My therapist has been trying to teach me how to deal with anger in a productive way...well, I think that's what I just did. Happy dance!

Friday, October 7, 2016

A friend just respond to my post about writing your own script. She said that it shocked her that I felt that way about my life. She said that even back in high school, she'd thought I had it all together. She told me to move forward. That is what I'm trying to do now.

I wrote a response to her response saying that I appreciated her words but I was shocked because I would never have considered that my life would appear pulled together by anyone. It's funny how others see us versus how we think they see us and how we see ourselves. 

My doctor sent me to a therapist years ago, after my father's death, because I was having nightmares that kept me up most of the night. One day, the therapist asked what I'd done over the weekend. I told her that we'd gone to the mountains biking. I also told her about this couple we encountered on the bike trail. I saw them as perfect people. She asked what I meant by perfect people. I said, you know the kind of people that look like they have it all together. You just know by looking at them that their lives are ideal. The therapist started laughing. I asked why she was laughing and asked, "Surely you don't think I'm one of those people?!" She replied with a smile, "You might be surprised by how many people see you and your life that way." That not only shocked me, it stupefied me because I could in no way correlate my crazy, mixed up, messed up life in anyway to the word perfect. I've decided that I will aspire to the perfect life but not someone else's idea of what that is. I will start making me and my life my ideal or at least strive for that because I know perfect is not obtainable. But, if I'm trying my best and enjoying the ride, that's all that really matters. 

I've been struggling for a long time trying to get out of my rut. There are actually several ruts and they are filled with mud and yuck and I feel like I'm straddling them and holding myself up just by the tips of my fingers and toes.

The ruts I'm trying to jump over:

 1) The mess our House is in. We decided to remodel over sixteen years ago. We tore down dated, dark paneling, we tore up worn carpet, we discovered water damage and had to repair the roof, I ordered new appliances and of them, the oven is still sitting boxed up in our garage and both fridge and dishwasher died long ago and haven't been replaced, Steve started tearing up the vinyl in the kitchen only to discover that it was very well glued down and also contained asbestos so we are left with a torn and patchy kitchen floor. Since that poor start, things seem to have gone from bad to worse. Steve's dad got very sick and ended up spending his last year in a nursing home. Steve was by his side constantly. The work we'd planned got put on hold and slowly but very surely, the house became piled up with boxes and draped furniture that became a cluttered mess over time. Other problems arose, some minor and some major. The minor include leaks under the kitchen and bath sink and in the shower that have turned into streams instead of drips. The major, first our porch fell in and I let the ivy cover it in hopes no one would try to walk on it. Because of that, we lost our home owners insurance and what we managed to get to replace it was three times more expensive! In the mean time, we did get rid of the ivy, painted the house trim and prepared the porch for pouring but we've never had the money to actually get it poured...and the ivy is coming back. We've also had three trees hit our house. One put a hole in the roof and the other actually knocked off one corner of our garage. Again, Steve has done nothing to fix this except throw a tarp on the roof that keeps blowing off. True, we don't have the money yet to pay for a new roof but any money Steve gets that's extra goes to the farm. sigh..... I love him but that is simply a truth of being married to someone with farming in their blood. But those major repairs are what brings me full circle to me getting back to work.

2) I want to get back to work with the wood sculpture and my other art. I want to do this for several reasons such as how it makes me feel to create and how it simply expands my heart and soul. But I also want to make some money to pay for these things around the house that need fixin'. Here is the catch....in order to get back into my studio and workshop, I have to clean up the mess in the house first. It's like dominos, there is an order and one thing is dependent on the other. So, it isn't just a matter of cleaning the room that will be my studio or the basement; I have to clean all of the house to get to those rooms because there is stuff scattered all over the house, packed away in boxes, that are essential to those rooms and there is stuff in those rooms that is essential to the others. So, I guess my best plan would be to change how I'm looking at this...instead of feeling overwhelmed by the mess, I could see this as a blessing since I will be killing two crows with one stone. Once my studio and workshop are finished and ready for me to get to work, the rest of our house will be ready to start all of the repairs, painting and building to get them back to working shape.

3) We have no social life. I do occasionally get together with my girlfriends for lunch but those could probably be easily counted on one hand for this year...and I still wouldn't use all of my fingers. I haven't allowed anyone to come to my house for years because of the shape it's in. It is embarrassing not just because of the mess and damage but because I've allowed it to get this way and I'm not taking any steps to change it.

4) Finally, my weight and fitness. I don't even know where to begin here. Is it the depression that keeps me sedentary or the sedentary lifestyle that makes me depressed? That's the question and I can't think of anything else to say. The main question I ask myself is why can't I stick with anything? I keep trying over and over to make exercise a habit and to keep track of what I eat but I keep stopping.

So, that is where I stand and writing it all down does make it easier to comprehend. I'm using a daily planner based on the theory that "you are what you think." Today, I hope to get the living room...or at least a corner of it...cleaned out. Today, I will think of myself as a doer. Maybe I will think of myself as someone I hired for this job. My pay may come down the line after I get back in my studio or my pay may just be the satisfaction at the end of the day knowing that I'm one step closer to my way across these ruts. I'll let you know how it goes but today....keep telling myself...I am a capable doer who gets things done!!!

Write Your Own Story

I get emails daily from a site called The Daily Om. I'll admit, I don't always take the time to read them but something about this mornings message spoke to me. I've been struggling with dealing with my past lately. I think rewriting my script is something I need to work on. I've talked, in the past on this page, about how I've directed TOO MUCH of my life based on the opinions of others. I know that I hold a lot of resentment because of that but maybe what I should be doing is thanking those folks for how they shaped who I am. I'm sure if I can wipe away the pain and anger, there is a valuable jewel beneath all of that grime and it is ready to shine!
Create a Supportive Life Story
Empowered Storytelling
by Madisyn Taylor
We all have a story to tell, but sometimes we get stuck in that story and become our story.
We all have our own life story. It is filled with relationships and events that help shape who we are and what we believe to be true about the world. Depending on our perspective and willingness to grow, our experiences can become fodder for negativity and patterns of playing the victim, or they can fuel a life of empowerment and continued self-development. It is the story we tell ourselves about what happens that makes all the difference.
Take a moment to look at the life story you create for yourself on an ongoing basis. If you generally feel peaceful about the past and trust in your ability to handle whatever comes your way, then you are framing circumstances in a manner that serves you well. On the other hand, if you retain a lot of guilt or resentment and often feel weighed down by life, you may want to start telling yourself a new version of past and present events. No matter who the characters are in your story or what they have done, you are the only one who can give their actions the meaning they will have for you. You are the only one who can define what role you will play in your own life. By taking responsibility for your story, you are able to learn and grow, forgive and find compassion, and most importantly, move on into a brighter future.
From now on, you can choose a life story that supports you. Let it be proof of your own resilience and creativity. Be kind with the roles you give yourself and generous with how many chances you get to learn what you need to know. When you remember that you are the author of your own story, you are free to create a masterpiece.