Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Renewed Commitment

Well hello you! Long time no see.

I'm writing this blog post in advance of the start of a new and exciting challenge, and this time I have my husband on board. That's right! I've got him on the health and fitness bandwagon - ha ha- I win!

My husband and I both need to lose a little weight and improve our fitness. Neither of us has a huge problem but we've both noticed a little extra weight creeping on and we want to nip it in the bud.

So what we have decided to do is embark on a two month health and fitness crusade. Starting tomorrow, we will spend the months of July and August in a full on commitment to shedding the extra pounds and improving our fitness levels.

Two months is not a huge commitment of time, but I feel confident that it's all either of us will need to whip ourselves into shape. It will also take us to September, when the cooler weather will make it easier to exercise and our son will start school which should allow the two of us time to go out and run or bike together for a change.

I feel really good about this and I'm excited to get started. Feel free to join us. We will start with the program tomorrow but our initial weigh in will be Friday.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Big Picture

"Once you get the blanket thing, you can relax because everything you could ever want or be, you already have and are." I Heart Huckabees

It's time to look at health and fitness as part of the big picture.

Like all good bloggers, I cruise the blogosphere being nosey and seeing what everybody else is up to. I have to say, a lot of people aren't up to much.

However, I have recently stumbled upon a genre of blog that really interests me. A number of bloggers are writing their way through their experiences and experiments in deliberate living, minimalism and the simplicity movement.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, think Walden Pond. We're conjuring the spirit of Thoreau here.

Now some people seem to take these ideas and spin them into an experiment in self-deprivation, "let's see if I can survive with only 25 personal items." That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the idea that you can actively choose your life rather than letting life happen to you.

The idea is that you examine your values and goals and then direct your time, energy and money toward those things and direct your resources away from the pursuit of pointless material things and time sinks that have no value to you. You stop chasing after trends and 'keeping up with the Jones' and start paying attention to the things you'll care about when you're looking back on your life.

You rolled your eyes. Ya, I saw that. Just hang on for a second, before you write this off as a hippie movement (which, admittedly, in some cases it is) hear me out.

Nobody ever says, "if only I'd spent more time at the office," or, "that pair of red pumps would have changed everything for me."

But they might say, "I wish I'd spent more time with my kids when they were young," or, "we should have taken that trip while we had the chance."

Here's a health related example. If you value your health, you would choose to protect it. So, an hour of your time would be better spent exercising instead of watching TV and your money would be better spent on cooking lessons than on Quarter Pounders.

Yet how often we cave - myself included...I'm certainly no better.

I want to live my life deliberately. I think we all do and all try to, with varying degrees of success. I think it's something that takes a great deal of focus. There are a lot of tempting distractions out there.

A lot of proponents of deliberate living suggest making a 'life list' - & no those aren't sarcastic quotation marks. It's an individual list of values and goals that acts as a touchstone to return to when you need to refocus your priorities.

A lot of people seem to be hung up on having 100 bullets on their list. This seems problematic, however, because many people can't come up with 100 things and end up with stuff like, #42 match up all my socks, #78 finish my life list.

That's really lame. I think a list of values and priorities should be as long or as short as it needs to be AND I think it should be open to revision from time to time. Life isn't static and the list shouldn't be stagnant.

I'm going to work on my life list over the next few days and see what comes of it. I should have some time for soul searching while I'm camping this weekend. If anybody else is interested in completing this exercise, by all means feel free. It seems like a worthwhile first step toward constructing an extraordinary life.

P.S. as I mentioned, I'll be camping this weekend so there won't be a post on Friday. I'll check in with everybody on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul

We're sick.

First my husband caught it, then he gave it to our son and then somebody shared their germs with me. It's just a cold, but we're all feeling crummy.

What's the centuries old cure for crummy? Answer: Mom's homemade chicken noodle soup, of course.

I am the Mom in this scenario, so guess who got put on soup-making duty. That's OK, I was ready. A couple of years ago, I concocted a chicken noodle soup that is a comfort food extravaganza.

I love soup but I will confess that lunch at our house usually involves cranking open a can of Campbell's. But, commercially prepared soups are skimpy...can we all agree on that? When you make a soup from scratch, do you not always put in way more veggies than you'd ever get in a can? Not to mention more noodles, more chicken and more flavour. Homemade soup is a proper meal that can fill you up after a long day, as opposed to a brothy lunch that necessitates the eating of a snack two hours later.

As I said, my soup is just a concoction, it's not really a recipe and it can certainly be altered to taste. I usually just use what I have on hand, so even the quantities vary. Make it to suit you and your family.

I loaded the pot up with garlic, onion, carrots and celery. I like to add some sliced green onion just before serving but, on this occasion, my green onion had become self-aware and wouldn't let me put it in the pot.

You need chicken, of course. I use chicken breast cut into big rustic chunks. For noodles, I usually choose German egg noodles, since they go over well with everybody.

Now, here's the part that makes my soup different. Toward the end of the cooking I add a can of coconut milk, roughly half a cup of peanut butter and a good palm full of curry powder. I finish the soup with a healthy glug of Red Sweet and Spicy Thai sauce.

It's hearty, yummy, a little exotic and not particularly low calorie - so watch your serving size. With a soup like this we should be on the mend in no time.

P.S. Last night I had a dream that I was eating doughnuts. How sad am I?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Update

It's time to give a progress or regress report.

This week was a total waste, at my end. I couldn't get my act together. My motivation was down the toilet and I did very little of value. No exercise, little house work, very little writing and I ate like I just didn't care anymore.

You know what I think the problem is? I think I'm sick of it. I'm sick of dieting. I'm sick of having "workout 'til you feel like puking" on my to-do list every day. More than anything, I'm sick of shopping around the perimeter of the grocery store, looking for fresh, healthy foods that never satisfy a single craving.

So I rebelled.

But, in juxtaposition to my rebellion, I am DESPIRATE to NEVER be fat again. I hate that I've gained back some of the weight I lost. I hate that I feel less elegant than I did a year ago. I hate that I'm currently stuffing myself into cloths that should fit properly.

I went for a run today. It didn't go well. I started out too aggressively and about two thirds of the way through I was defeated by the heat and had to walk home. Never-the-less, I feel better now than I would have if I'd done nothing...vanquished as I am.

I'm going to take it one day at a time this week and get my head back on straight. My inner foodzilla may have won the battle, but she will not win the war.

I hope you guys did better than me...I have a funny feeling you did.