Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Oh yes, you can count me among those who act like the dad in the Staples commercial who is so happy that his kids are going back to school. After a solid month of hearing, "Mom, I'm bored!" from my son, he began 8th grade today and I couldn't be more thrilled.

It's not that I didn't enjoy his company during the summer...we went swimming and did other fun things, thoroughly enjoying ourselves. But there were days that were trying, that even when we had done a lot and I settled down to my computer or housecleaning that he claimed that he didn't know what to do with himself and I needed to "entertain" him. He did not count my bursting into show tunes entertainment, nor did he like most of my jokes. It must be that he's almost 13 and everything mom does is "lame". I also suggested he help me clean, which was met with the dirtiest of looks. So I tried to get work done while he completed his summer reading or played video games.

Now that school has started, I can get back to a regular routine. It will be easier to schedule writing, cleaning, and workouts now that my son is occupied for most of the day. He was also happy to start school, as he loves to learn and is excited to gain more knowledge. (Funny how that happens even when you claim to know everything!) He also gets to see the friends that weren't around for the summer and catch up on things - while I catch up on stuff around here.

So although I may not be riding a shopping cart with a giddy look on my face, I am doing my own little happy dance. Here's to a successful school year...not only for my son, but for all of your kids as well!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Loving Yourself MEANS Taking Care of Your Health!

I've been thinking about something lately. Actually, I've been thinking about it for quite a long time, but during the last couple of weeks the subject has taken center stage because a well-known size advocate has lost some weight.

Jessica Weiner has lost 25 pounds. For most people this wouldn't be front page news, but because Jess has long been a recognized body image expert who has written books and appeared on television promoting loving yourself at any size, suddenly it is. She has come forward in a national magazine to talk about her health crisis and why she has lost weight. A visit to her doctor showed that the numbers were not good - and this doesn't mean the numbers on the scale. Issues like high blood pressure and high cholesterol were affecting her health and well-being. The doctor suggested that she eat better and exercise...and lose at least a little bit of weight to get those numbers under control. She wanted to come out and explain all of this so people would know that she's doing this for her health... and not pass her on the street thinking that she's doing this just to be thin.

Since this came out, several other body image/size acceptance people have attacked her. They say she is selling out and even have gone so far as to say she is promoting certain weight loss products or companies. The only thing she has promoted is that she is eating whole grains and other healthy foods now, and that she is exercising regularly. It took her six months to lose those 25 pounds, and she still weighs over 200. It's not as if she starved herself skinny and worked out until she dropped. She is losing weight in a healthy and sane manner and not selling anybody anything. All she wants is for people to love themselves AND be healthy. And her blood pressure and cholesterol are starting to get under control now.

I've often been at odds with these two ends of the spectrum...at the one end wanting to love myself at whatever size I am and at the other needing to take better care of myself and get in shape. After a lot of back and forth, I've discovered that the two are not mutually exclusive. We are all amazing and beautiful people no matter what the scale says, and that does not determine our self-worth. Nobody should be sitting at home not living life because they don't think they look good enough yet. But part of loving ourselves is taking care of ourselves. Eating good foods instead of chemicals and junk, getting exercise on a regular basis and doctor checkups are all essential to being a healthy human being. No matter where the number on the scale ends up, the other numbers on our medical charts must be taken into consideration. It doesn't need to be one extreme or the other!

It's a complete shame that some people think that Jess should just have ignored her health concerns and continued the way she had been because it suited THEM. I'm sure it took a lot for her, after finding herself in this situation, to come forward and explain...knowing she would be scrutinized the whole time. Would these people have been happy if she had done nothing about her health and something had happened to her because of it? They are thinking only of themselves and not her well-being. What they SHOULD be doing is thinking about their own health, realizing that taking care of yourself is not selling out - it's actually a form of self-LOVE.

So remember...this is not all or nothing. Live your life while you start taking care of yourself. You will live a longer and higher quality life if you take care of your health!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Forgive Me Blogger, For I Have Sinned...

It has been 15 days since my last post. I know God understands even if Blogger doesn't. Besides, Blogger has been acting weird lately - it won't let me sign in like I should so I can add comments to other blogs like a normal person. I wind up having to go the name/URL route just so I can write something. So maybe they should be asking for MY forgiveness!

Anyway, the last two weeks have been busy with writing assignments, dentist appointments, getting ready for the new school year and more. I kept telling myself "I will blog tomorrow"...but then I didn't. Now that's what got me in trouble in the past with putting off exercise and eating right, so I don't want to go the "tomorrow" route anymore.

The good news in all of this is that I have a writing assignment I'm extra excited about. I discovered a great place to spin only 20 minutes from my house, and I get to write about it for Westlake Patch. This will be an ongoing, first person series of my adventures at Psycle. You can read my first article in the series here: "Start Spinning Your Wheels at Psycle". If you have a chance check out my other articles as well.

I'm thrilled to share my journey on the bike with you...and I promise I WILL post more often here! :o)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Planking The Proper Way

If you've been following me the last few months, you know that I love my Pilates. My entire body feels so much better after a session, and I've been doing some of the floor exercises at home as well to keep getting more strength and flexibility. I'm amazed at what Pilates is doing for me and so many other people who have been looking for ways to deal with chronic pain...it's doing what so many other things I've tried couldn't do - lessen the pain without meds.

Yesterday my instructor, Janice, had me try a few new moves. One of these is the plank position...and I don't mean the "planking" that's so popular (and somewhat dangerous) to do anywhere and everywhere nowadays. This is planking on the Reformer - which is pictured above demonstrated by Janice. Now, she's been doing this for a long time so she makes it look "easy". In this plank position, you don't lay with your stomach flat on a surface. It takes a lot of balance and strength to achieve this pose.

My first thought was, "You've got to be kidding me...I can't do that yet!" Thankfully that thought only lasted for a few seconds...because I fully trust Janice and she never steers me wrong. I also want to strike the words "I can't" from my vocabulary, so there was no way I wasn't going to try it. I actually did better than I thought. Each time I was only able to hold the position for a few seconds, but I was DOING it! Janice told me that everyone has to build up to being able to do the pose for a longer time and that I did well for the first time out.

I guess I can truly say that I didn't know my own strength...but I'm sure finding out about it now. I felt a real sense of accomplishment doing something I thought wasn't possible for me. Thank you to Janice at BodyWave Pilates for believing in me...I will now be "planking" more often!