Sunday, March 09, 2014
I have just started reading Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and yesterday came across the following: "If we are not careful, it is all too easy to fall into becoming a human DOING rather than a human BEING, and to forget WHO is doing all the doing, and why."
That really made me stop and think. Over the past few years of using Spark People to set and reach a variety of goals, I have learned to align my to do list better with my goals. I am more efficient with my time, and spend more time on things that are important to me, such as getting fit and eating healthy. But still, I spend a lot of my time planning and juggling my to do list. I am proud of being productive and getting a lot done each day.
Which isn't a bad thing, but I definitely can get caught up in thinking about my next to do and the one after, and forget to stop and BE in the moment where I am. There are times when I do find this focus, and love it. Jogging, especially longer distances, helps me clear my mind and concentrate on body, breath and the world I am traveling through. When I work with children and get caught up in their stories and their play, I can concentrate wholly on the activities around me for a time--as if being surrounded by children takes me back to my own childhood concentration (remember when the day seemed to last forever?) When reading, I can get totally caught up in a plot and its characters.
But usually? Usually, I am thinking about one thing, doing another, and sometimes talking with someone about a third. I amaze myself with my ability to multitask. Yet I know it isn't the best way to turn out anything of quality. I have to block out my day and save tasks that require concentration for the "slower" times.And all that multitasking wears me out. Sometimes my brain just shuts down. I feel like I can't think clearly or talk straight--I go immediately form ultra productive to burnt out and done.
And is this any way to enjoy life? Always thinking of the next thing coming up? How often do we say we can't wait for the weekend, can't wait for something to be done and over, can't wait to accomplish some goal. Doing this constantly makes you overlook the present moment, continuously. And life is too short to fast-forward through it.
I do enjoy my life. I'm not someone who wishes to be somewhere, someone or something else. But I think I am guilty of rushing life along.
I am just beginning this book, but am looking forward to getting some practice at slowing down and just BEING in the now.
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Sound like a fun time. Doing it with some friends and hope to enjoy the celebration afterwards. Music, food and environmentally friendly river greening. Gotta find something goofy and green to wear!
I really want to start doing some longer runs, and already have a 10k and 15k in mind, but I need some clearer paths and streets. We got a few more inches of snow today. Also, the runs I have in mind are trail runs. Not sure how different that is going to feel. Have done some trail running, but mostly pretty flat and easy in this area. I will have to go a little farther from home to find some good hills, rougher trails and wood walkways with stairs to get ready for the 15k that I'd like to do. I have always more enjoyed running on trails, but last summer and fall I did most of my long runs on bike paths. No traffic, pretty scenery, but generally good traction since they're not too wet or muddy. There is a large new network of trails in my area, so I was able to do quite a variety and really enjoyed it. But probably it is easier running than doing that same distance on a trail.
Looking forward to spring so I can explore some new areas. Although running in the cold and snow has been an adventure, too. Anything to stay outdoors!
Hope everyone is off to a great start for March!
Sunday, February 23, 2014
One of my SparkFriends recently posted a blog about time. How she has added so many healthy habits to her life that, at one point, she may have said she wouldn't have time for. But in fact, she has added them and still has plenty of time for work, home and family commitments.
I was thinking the same thing about calories. Throughout my Spark time, I have not been much of a calorie counter. I log my food to be mindful of what I'm eating, and to watch for trends (Yikes! Way over the target on that day! Better not do that again.) However, I know that I started out with 2,000 or so calories as my max target. And over time, rather than focusing on calories, I've done various healthy eating challenges. I did the Healthy Cooking challenge, bought the The Spark Cookbook and added many of those tips and recipes into my regular menus, and read Eat Real Essentials which focuses on getting away from processed foods. As I've focused on the quality of my food, I've watched my daily calories drop. Not focusing on QUANTITY of food, but QUALITY of food. In fact, I now eat full meals and still have room for snacks, even with a much lower daily calorie count (usually around 1,200).
The same is true of time. I am getting so much more accomplished every day than before I started Sparking. I was exercising before, but it tended to be in furious spurts rather than reliably and consistently. I spend less time on exercise, but I do something every day. Same with cleaning and organizing the house ... I changed from "give up the weekend to get this mess in shape" to designating a cleaning chore each day and keeping up so I no longer need to spend hoards of my free time on cleaning.
Same with money. If you pay attention to how you spend money, and be sure you are spending it on the things that are most important to you rather than wasting it on trivial items, I find I have enough after all.
My ongoing goal is to work smarter, not harder. To pay attention to the things that are important to me and to focus on those things first. To appreciate what I have, and know that it is enough. Or if it isn't, to skip the time wasting step of complaining and instead focus on how I can change it. It's a tough goal in a busy world, but worth it. It's not about how MUCH I have (time, energy, money) but on how I use it. And that part is totally up to me.
By spending my time, my energy, my money wisely, I CAN buy my own happiness. And it's totally worth it.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Yesterday was cold and the roads still snow covered, but it was sunny and such a beautiful day that I decided it was time to start adding distance back to my runs. I've only been doing 3-4 miles through the winter, because I haven't been able to get out consistently.
So I decided to go for 5 miles. But my phone rang early on (a misdial, it only rang once) and caused my running app to stop. Only problem was that I was enjoying the run so much that it took me a while to realize I was no longer getting my half-mile beeps that signal my short walk break. Tried to reset the program but hadn't reset the screen brightness so I couldn't see a thing in the bright sunshine glinting off the snow. So I continued without the running app, doing the walk breaks, but couldn't recall whether my 5 mile route required 2 loops around the neighborhood lake or 3. So I did three since it was such a great day and I figured (hoped?) among the last of my snowy runs for the year.
Well my knee started aching a little on the way home from my lake loops, but I just tried to be more careful with my form as I finished it out. Decided not to walk it out because in this cold weather a "cool down" when I'm sweaty turns to chilled and too cold after about 10 minutes, and I didn't think getting cold too fast would help, so I just did my usual walk breaks and short cool down walk at the end. I stretched and put some ice on when I got home, took a warm shower to clean up. But then hopped in the car to go grocery shopping, and when I got out at the store that knee was all stiff and ached to step down on!
Measured the running route in my car later and realized I had done 6.5 miles instead of 5. I was running well over that in the summer and fall, but that was too big a jump for this winter when I haven't been doing longer runs. Especially for doing in cold (20 degrees) when I know I'm more likely to get stiff and my joints take more of a beating in the uneven snow.
Just been doing stretching and alternating rest and light moving since, but ARGH! I'm annoyed that I overdid it. I can tell that it's not really injured but just achy from overuse and stiffens up whenever I get off it for a bit. However, I'll have to be careful with it for a bit because I know from experience it's easy to injure a joint that is fatigued. Grrrr! But I'm hoping just a couple days of stretching and light exercise will do the trick to loosen it up.
Hope so, because I'm really excited to start running longer again as the weather warms up. Supposed to hit 40 this week!!!
Sunday, February 09, 2014
I shouldn't really get too excited about seeing 158.2 on my scale this morning, because I'm not logging it in yet. I tend to jump around by 3 or so pounds during the week, so until I see something under 160 a few times in a row, I won't really believe it. But STILL, I have been hovering just over 160 for so long that I couldn't help starting at that number for a moment with a smile on my face.
And it isn't really a fluke. Although I haven't changed anything in a major way, I am in a stretch where I have been able to pay more attention to all the little things lately. I have logged on to SparkPeople for 47 days in a row. I'm sure that's a record for me. And I have tracked my nutrition and exercise every one of those days. Also, a few weeks ago I had a week off to stay home and catch up on a lot of things. I spent some time reading a book on eating whole foods, and I tried out a lot of new recipes, especially vegetables. That HAS made a bid difference , I think. Not that I wasn't already trying to eat fruit or vege with every meal, but having that new focus moved vegetables to the center of my plate. And I feel the difference of cutting out some of the processed foods I was relying on when making quick meals--probably the reduction in salt, I think.
Exercise has been challenging with all the snow and cold temps. I love to be outdoors! But I started a yoga class and have fallen back to some videos that I hadn't used in a long time. Still getting out as much as I can (and burning plenty of calories with snow shoveling!). Yesterday I ran The Fanny Freezer 5k. That was fun!
Me on the left. Gotta love the fashion statement of all those layers! Did pretty well, too. The same pace as I was running in the fall, even though I haven't been running very consistently for the past several weeks. The surface varied from bare pavement to slush, snow and ice, but I wore my snow cleats, and was glad I had them for the icy downhill spots. 18 degrees!
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