Inspired by Titania’s thoughts on time and priorities, I have decided to turn this month into an experiment. Since my life gets more and more stressful, I think it is time to start prioritizing the right things. Since I came home from Italy, I have been exercising twice a week, and I notice such a tremendous change in my energy and motivation that it would be stupid not to take time to exercise. It simply gives me so much time in return.
One thing that doesn’t give me energy, however, is sugar. This easter weekend has been crazy, with two family dinners and lots of desserts and candy. I don’t need to lose weight, but stomachaches and tiredness is something I could definitely do without. I’m curious to see how it would affect my body and mind to stay away from sweet things for a whole month. I don’t think I have managed more than a week before, but I think that this perspective will help me. Instead of viewing it as a ban, I will prioritize eating healthy because it makes me feel much better and gives me much more energy.
Finally, because of my stress I almost feel guilty when I spend half an hour reading before I go to bed. I haven’t touched my guitar for months, and sometimes I would like to draw or take some photos or bake bread or meet a friend, but I usually end up studying instead. This is not okay! I have to squeeze in some free time and fun activities to be able to cope with the stressful days, and I think that if I can make my days more effective by gaining more energy, I will find time for this as well.
So, my goals for April are:
1. Do some kind of physical exercise every day.
2. Eat no candy or cookies.
3. Take time to do something I really enjoy every day.
Filed under Body, Challenge, Diet, Food, Goals, Health, Miranda, Physical exercise, Priorities, Productivity, Stress, Wellbeing
My last month was devoted to music, and – as usual – I didn’t manage to do all the things on my list, but I’m very satisfied anyway. I felt that my December was full of music: Christmas songs on my Spotify list, Music Aid on the radio, guitar playing (finally!) to prepare for the New Year’s Eve party, where I played and sang with my two younger daughters. Unfortunately, Miranda had such throat problems for her great grandmother’s funeral that she couldn’t sing the songs that we had planned to sing in parts, but we sorted it out anyway. She played the piano, while her father (my ex husband), his brother and I sang one of the songs, and the other song all the funeral guests sang together.
Now it’s a 2013, and time for my sixth focus month. I’m not very fond of New Year Resolutions, but instead I usually make a wish list (very much like the type children make for Christmas) for every new year: things that I hope to do more (or less) of. I had other plans, but since my body focus earlier in the project didn’t turn out quite as I had expected, I will give it another go. After studying a university course last autumn, I now know more about change processes and – particularly – have been much more inspired to make a real, well-planned effort this time.
Just as Miranda’s January focus is simplicity, I will make my focus simple: more healthy food (e.g. fruit, vegetables), less unhealthy food (e.g. chocolate, ice-cream, cookies) and more physical exercise (body combat, yoga, running, power walks). As opposed to my last try in September, however, I will go back to my good old tradition of making notes of what I do, since that seems to be the only way for me to actually manage. And this time my most important goal is to make my change into a healthier lifestyle sustainable! Not only do I want to put on those nice black jeans in June, but (unless they are completely worn out) I want to be able to put them on next June as well!
Gosh, how the months pass quickly! Time to summarize again. This month I decided to focus on eating less meat and finding new dishes that both I and my family would appreciate. In retrospect, part one has worked excellently, better than I had expected. I have chosen cheese instead of ham on my sandwiches, chosen vegetarian food (and sometimes fish or seafood) every time I’ve eaten at a restaurant, and also made a vegetarian alternative for myself whenever the rest of the family has had meat. Sometimes I have also had my family members try out my vegetarian food, and especially my eleven-year-old daughter has generally liked it. Another way of having my family eat less meat has been to mix small pieces of chicken with small pieces of qorn or to mix minced meat with soy meat. No protests from the family when this has happened!
The second part of the project goals was about finding and trying out new recipes, for myself and my family alike, and I can honestly say that I’ve been lousy at doing this. Several years ago I stopped saying that “I don’t have the time” to do this or that. Everyone has 24 hours a day, so I decide how I fill my days, and the only thing I can say is that I haven’t prioritized this particular activity. There have simply been other things that have felt more important.
A central of my part of the Memento Vivere project is to set goals that I don’t have to feel guilty about if I don’t reach, and it actually works very well. I don’t feel bad at all about not prioritizing finding a lot of new vegetarian dishes this month. I have discovered one new recipe: beefs made from chickpea and nuts. And I made a lot, so every time I haven’t found the time (oh dear, now I said it anyway!) or energy to come up with some other ideas for my veggie lunch or supper, I have picked out some chickpea beefs from the freezer. I have also made some really nice vegetarian lasagna, cannelloni, enchiladas and pizza. And that’s perfectly fine! I’m really satisfied anyway. Just as I am about my body, although I haven’t done as much physical exercise as I had hoped and definitely not lost the weight I had planned to lose (Month 2). There will be a time for everything, and focusing on new things every month introduces me to new ideas and makes me come at least some way with new and nice habits.
My fourth month in the project will be devoted entirely to food. I love food, have always loved food and will probably go on loving food until I draw my last breath. I try to eat fairly healthy food, especially in the weeks – try to avoid sugar and too much fat, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Then I tend to slip into fairly bad eating habits in the weekend…
I have never been a vegetarian, and I doubt that I will ever become one, but in recent years I have eaten less meat than before. Miranda, my daughter, has been a vegetarian for some periods, and (especially when she as still living with us), her food style has influenced me to some extent. I remember when she was around 17 and we experimented with recipes and invented new dishes all by ourselves, having a lot of fun in the process.
I’m not very fond of beans, lenses, soy meet and such things – which many people associate with vegetarianism – but I have realized that there are such a lot of other things you can include in your meals when you’re a vegetarian: all kinds of cheese, mushrooms, vegetables (raw and cooked). And one thing I would like to devote my November project to is to find out new dishes, both by experimenting more myself and by looking for recipes in websites and cooking books.
As I mentioned, I have no intention of becoming a full-time vegetarian, neither this month or later, but I have two goals:
- Every time I have a choice, I will try to go for the vegetarian alternative, which may mean putting cheese rather than ham on my morning sandwich, eating vegetarian food myself for lunch and dinner when I eat at home (even if my family have something which includes meat), and choosing a vegetarian dish when I go to a restaurant. This means that I will eat meat for instance when I’m invited for dinner with friends. I will also sometimes eat fish and seafood.
- I will also try to get my family to eat less meat. I have already started to introduce some new ideas to them, such as haloumi cheese in our pitas rather than chicken (or at least half haloumi, half chicken for them, just haloumi for me), soy ground meat instead of regular minced meat in our lasagna and for our tortillas (or at least half soy, half meat). I hope to be able to convince them at least to try some other new things from this month and onward. This will also be a good way of preparing them for going to India in a few years (more about this in a later project month), where I’m sure we’ll be eating a lot of vegetarian food.
By cutting down on our intake of meat, I hope both to reduce our ecological footprints at least a tiny bit, and also to spare a few more animals every year. Besides, I’m quite convinced that it will be good for our bodies.
A photo taken at yesterday’s evening walk, BEFORE it grew really dark.
Almost two thirds of my body month have passed. Some things have worked out well, others less well. As for physical exercise I have tried, but not succeeded entirely. First of all, it’s quite difficult to find time in the midst of a heavy workload and a lot of family activities. I know it’s all about priorities, but an extremely strong focus on my latest writing project the last few weeks has – unfortunately – made me sometimes forget about my exercise plans. Furthermore, since we live in the countryside and autumn is coming, taking a walk once all three kids are in bed, is simply not doable – as it was in summertime, when I often took a walk after nine in the evening and it was still not dark outside. Finally, my thigh started protesting last week, so I couldn’t work out in the same way as I usually can in my body combat class on Friday. After some stretching advice from my husband – who has had the same problem before – my body seems to be on my side again, and tomorrow I’ll introduce Miranda to a body combat class. I wonder what she’ll think about it.
Food-wise, things are going quite OK, although I haven’t been as strict to myself as perhaps I should if I want to get into that pair of black jeans before Christmas… I have, however, thought more about my daily intake, eaten less than before and more healthily too – and that’s something I feel happy about. I’m certainly on the right track. Getting into bed is still a problem, however. I simply love my book writing so much that I don’t want to sleep at all. And of course I feel that I’m very fortunate to have a job that I enjoy so much. So far, staying up late hasn’t been a big problem either; I haven’t been that tired in day-time. And the other day, when I was particularly engulfed in my writing and put out the light FAR too late, I did what I had promised myself to do – I gave myself a reiki session, slept well and woke up without problems in the morning.
Meditation is still a daily routine, which I practice even those days when I get to bed late. Speaking of meditation, last week, Miranda and I had a really nice experience when visiting a local sculptor, whose private garden – which is full of flowers, trees, bushes, birds, butterflies, works of art and places to sit down and rest or meditate – is also open to the public by appointment. There is even a meditation tipi, where you can light a candle and stay for as long as you like. I meditated in the tent, and I also had a very nice moment sitting on an old tree stump watching a beautiful piece of art – a number of small round mirrors flickering in the wind casting glitter all around them when reflecting the sun. I felt very strongly that they symbolized how I feel about my working life right now, after I left the safety of my permanent position for a much less secure but oh so much more enjoyable situation as self-employed: happily dancing, lighthearted, free in spirit. Let it be, let it be…
I’ve been on the Weightwatchers’ diet twice before in my life – with very good results. The problem is that I tend to slip back – slowly but steadily – into bad eating habits: too much food, too much sugar and so on. Perhaps the problem is that I put such a lot of effort into all the counting and weighing when I’m on the diet, and once I don’t need to count and weigh any longer, I just relax and lose control again.
What if I skip all the counting and weighing and just focus on that pair of black jeans that I would really really love to wear again. Try to eat less and do more physical exercise, and make it a lifestyle that I can go on keeping once I’ve reached my goal. If the goal is not a figure any longer, just that pair of jeans… Will it work?
PS. Biggest food challenge ever? A freezer full of leftovers from the party on Saturday: home-made ice-cream and cookies. If I can stay away from them at least Monday to Friday, I will be very proud of myself…
At the moment when I start writing, there are eleven minutes left of my first project month. Tomorrow is 1 September and it’s time to shift focus from mind and soul to body. This does not mean that I will suddenly leave all my mental and spiritual activities aside. I will certainly go on meditating every night, doing reiki as often as I can and want to, and go on living as mindfully as possible, in every aspect of my life. The yoga part didn’t get much attention in my first month, and I actually just wanted to get a little taste of it, and then do more of this in my second, body-focused month. Just like Miranda writes, goals can sometimes destroy more than they help and I often prefer to talk about dreams and visions rather than goals. However, when it comes to this particular months I have actually set my mind to a few rather specified goals.
Doing physical exercise
I get so very much out of working with my body. Having a job where I mainly sit by my computer, I really enjoy doing something physical for a change, and I particularly love the dose of endorphins that fill my body afterwards, making me relaxed and happy. Some five years ago, I discovered what I like most of all: body combat, a high-energy workout class inspired by various martial arts, but where your combatant is not another person but just yourself in the mirror. I also enjoy running and taking power walks with a good radio program in my earphones. This month I will change gyms and the money I save in this process (since the new gym is cheaper) I plan to spend on taking a yoga class every now and then. My goal is to do some more demanding form of physical exercise three times a week when possible – be it body combat, running or yoga (which means bringing my running shoes when I’m away from home). I also plan to take an evening walk or lunch walk as often as possible.
Minding my feet
I have two problematic feet. No matter how much foot cream I rub into my heals – they are still constantly dry, cracked and often soar. From now on I hope to get better at doing a foot bath every now and then. That certainly helps a lot.
Getting enough sleep
I find it very difficult to get into bed at night – I simply have to many things I enjoy doing, such as blogging, reading and meditating. Almost every night I end up surprised at how late it is, and how little sleep there will be in store for me, tonight again. It’s not that I always walk around like a zombie in daytime, but since I have a job where I sit down reading and writing a lot, I sometimes fall asleep in the middle of something important. Then of course I know that getting enough sleep is good for a lot of different things, one of which is staying fit and not putting on too much weight, the next item on my list. I will also try to remember to always do a short round of reiki whenever I get to bed later than I should have.
Going on a diet
Finally, I plan to go on my own modified version of the Weightwatchers’ diet for a while. Being on a diet sounds extremely boring, but I know from experience that once I get started I even enjoy it. I have gained a lot of unnecessary weight over the last year or so, indulging myself far to much with unhealthy food and too much food. The main reason why I want to lose weight is that I have a lot of nice clothes in my wardrobe that I can’t use nowadays. I hate diets where there are a lot of stuff you’re not allowed to eat (such as GI), which is why the Weightwatchers’ diet suits me so well. I can eat whatever I want, as long as I do physical exercises and don’t eat too much. I have already done it a few times, and it has worked excellently. I particularly remember the nice feeling of taking control of your body from one of my previous rounds. Just wish I could keep my weight, but perhaps this time? I will not start tomorrow, however, since it’s the day of my husband’s big birthday party (he will turn 40 soon). So, the message for my body the first day of my new project: Enjoy all the good food tomorrow! Then you can go on the diet on Sunday.
Filed under Body, Body combat, Challenge, Diet, Food, Goals, Health, Meditation, Physical exercise, Reiki, Running, Titania, Yoga