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Thankful Calendar
November 3, 2009, 12:25 pm
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In the spirit of preparing for Thanksgiving, every year on the first of November my mother would hang up two blank calendars, one for my sister and one for me.  Each day we were encouraged to write down one thing we were grateful for.  Every year at the start of the month I found myself writing the obvious things, friends and family members, favorite food and toys.  As the month progressed I started to get to the more mundane things in life, things we don’t tend to express gratitude for like toilet paper.

Lately I’ve been stressed and rushing about with a negative attitude about a lot of things.  I decided I need to go back to that exercise my mom gave me as a child and make a Thankful Calendar this year.  But I’m going to do it with a little different focus.  When I find that negative attitude coming on, I’m going to figure out why I’m grateful for that experience.

Like this morning, I was sitting in traffic, aggravated because I felt like moving not sitting waiting.  I was thinking about “all the gas I was wasting” and how I was going to be late to work.  I caught myself in the negative attitude and changed it to, “I’m so grateful I have a car and don’t have to walk (ride a bike, take the bus, etc) 13 miles to work each day.”  I then turned the radio on and listed to the antics of morning radio.

With my Thankful Calendar as a tool, I believe I can sort of revolutionize my negative attitude and train myself to be positive and appreciative again.  Today maybe I’ll write down that I’m thankful for Thankful Calendars!


Lessons from Gandhi’s Grandson
October 30, 2009, 4:51 pm
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Last night I had the opportunity to attend a lecture presented by Arun Gandhi, grandson of Gandhi.  This was an experience that I know will alter the path of my life.  He related stories and lessons from his formative years living with Gandhi.  It was truly fascinating.

What struck me most was right at the beginning of the lecture, when he spoke of “grandfather and grandmother.”  Before I arrived, I had it in my head that I was going to listen to Gandhi’s grandson speak about Gandhi.  

But who Gandhi was didn’t really hit me until I heard him say “grandfather.”  It startled me.  Gandhi was a real person.  He had a family.  He’s no different than you or me.  He’s not a mythical character, or a god.  He didn’t have superhuman powers.  He was a man that took the opportunity to do great things with his life and inspire others.

As his grandson spoke, he told us how Gandhi was focused on climbing to be better.  Every day he tried to be a better person than he was the day before.  A wonderful message, today I am going to be better than I was yesterday, I don’t have to be the best human being, but I should strive to be better.  It’s about the climb.  Gandhi reached his level of dedication to a life of non-violence one day at a time.

As Gandhi said, and as his grandson reminded me, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  I know I am going to try.

October 29, 2009, 5:40 pm
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I hate to admit it, but I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately.  Compared to an average American, I’m probably not watching that much, but it feel like it’s a lot.  The combination of football season and having the TV on while sewing my excessively complicated Halloween costume has added what I feel is an unnecessary amount of extra TV into my life.

But I’m learning a lot.  Really – I know that Froot Loops have 3 grams of fiber and are made with whole grains.  Eating Cheerios is going to lower my cholesterol.  The fine folks at Fiber One have taught me that fiber is supposed to taste bad (unless you eat their products).

Ok – so that’s not really what I’m learning.  What I’m learning is that as a population, we are “learning“ about nutrition from commercials.  Commercials that are made by people who want us to buy their products. 

Fiber and whole grains are such a buzz words these days that of course the people at Kellogg’s are going to boast that Froot Loops have these miracle ingredients.  They are not going to bother to mention that the number one ingredient is sugar. 

Kelloggs isn’t all bad with their advertising.  They got it a little more accurate with Pop Tarts.  Their current campaign says, “Pop Tarts are made for fun.”  They certainly aren’t made for nutrition.

October 29, 2009, 12:19 pm
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I have been very remiss about posting blogs lately. It makes me sad, as I was so dedicated to it, and really enjoyed the experience of putting my thoughts into words.

It’s not that I haven’t written, I’ve had a lot of ideas for posts, and I start writing them, but they either feel like I’ve got a half baked idea, or I’ve already written about that same thing. (Maybe I don’t always have to write about wellness) I have 9 started posts. I am going to dedicate myself to finishing them… and if they’re not perfect, that’s ok to. It’s probably a good lesson for me to learn, that perfection is not important.

Another good lesson I am relearning is about habits. Missing one day writing makes it so easy to skip the next day, which makes it easy to miss a week, or two. I feel this is the same with exercise and eating healthy. Of course it’s the same when I do exercise and eat healthy. I crave more of it. I believe we are creatures of habit.

How fantastic is that? Doing something just once can put you on a whole new path. It has to start that way, it’s impossible for it not to. The scary thing is, it’s true for good habits and bad habits. And certainly my bad habit of not finishing things is creeping in. How did I let myself start 9 posts and never bother to finish them?

I can’t worry about the last few weeks. I have today. Today I am going to rededicate myself to this blog. Also I am going to give myself permission to write, and not have it be perfect.

And if you don’t see a post for a few days, a reminder from my friends to get back on track would be helpful too!

Lessons from babies
October 20, 2009, 1:04 pm
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My sister reported that last night after eating two helpings of chili my 21 month old nephew refused to eat apple crisp for dessert.  Incidentally my sister and her husband both had the dessert.  And I would have too, apple crisp is delicious!  The point here is, the little guy knew he was full, and stopped eating.  Why should he cram more food into his belly? He probably realizes that will make him feel uncomfortable and tired.

To play devil’s advocate, maybe my sister and her husband ate their dinner reserving some room because they knew that apple crisp was on its way.  But then again, maybe not, I’m sure the chili was delicious too.

I think we can learn a lot from babies (I should say toddlers, he’s growing up so quickly).  Eat when you’re hungry.  I’m not claiming that it’s easy, with dessert staring you in the eye, but the apple crisp will wait.  It’s a lot easier for my nephew as he doesn’t know what he’s missing out on when he refuses dessert.  Unfortunately as he has more experiences with food, he’ll learn that desserts are fantastically delicious treats and be in the same boat as the rest of us.

It’s amazing how his instincts guide him in healthy eating habits.  Of course he doesn’t have it all figured out… he tried to eat paper on Sunday.

A time and a place
October 12, 2009, 1:58 pm
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On Thursday last week I got sick.  It was frustrating, because I’m so focused on wellness and I became unwell.  My frustration was coupled by the fact that I had already committed to a yoga workshop for the weekend.  3 hours Friday night and 5 hours on Saturday and Sunday.  How was I going to manage that if I was sick?

Friday I woke up feeling worse, and ended up leaving work at noon because I was in desperate need of a nap.  My body ached, my head felt like it was in a vice, and I couldn’t stop coughing.  In short I was miserable.  Once home, I headed straight for bed, but couldn’t fall asleep because of the pounding headache.

As I’ve learned more about nutrition, I’ve become convinced that we can restore our bodies naturally, and modern medicine is not always the answer.  So there I was with a raging headache, agonizing with the thought of putting chemicals in my body.  With only a few hours before the expensive workshop I wavered on what my best option was for about a half hour.  Chemicals?  No chemicals?

Finally I decided that I was never going to fall asleep if I didn’t take some medicine.  As soon as the Advil took effect I fell asleep, slept for nearly 4 hours and woke up feeling significantly better.  I was still sick, coughing and stuffed up, but the improvement over such a short time was remarkable.  I still feel a little bit like I failed myself by taking the Advil, but at the same time had I not taken it, I would have had to sacrifice the yoga workshop.

I had a great time at the workshop, I learned a lot, used muscles I’m not aware I had and improved my yoga practice.  In this case the benefits of one small dose of Advil clearly outweighed any negative side effects.

Simple, not easy
October 7, 2009, 8:23 am
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Weeks ago while discussing my breakthrough in understanding that hunger is the body’s signal for nutrients not calories, I said to my wellness coach, “I’m almost embarrassed to admit it.  It’s so obvious.  Eating fruits and vegetables, it’s so easy.”

Without missing a beat she corrected me.  “It’s simple.  It’s not easy.” 

She’s right, but I don’t like it.  I want easy.  I’m ready for easy.

I have the knowledge.  I have the desire.  Why am  I still battling myself when I have to make a food choice?  It’s not every time.  Some things are really easy.  Breakfast is easy for me, I wake up hungry and waiting to eat until after I’ve left home is not an option.  I’m much more interested in fruit for breakfast rather than sugar cereal or donut anyway.

But as soon as I walk out the door, choices are everywhere.  When I bring my lunch to work there are still coworkers that invite me to go to lunch with them.  I know what I brought for myself is better.  It’s so simple, and still I make bad choices.  Maybe I’m interested in the company.

When the afternoon cravings hit, I can eat the apple I brought, or opt for the tasteless banana mini muffins my coworker brought in.  (At least when I made that bad choice I threw it away after one bite.)

On my way home from work I start thinking about dinner, what I’m going to have for dinner, and how long it’s going to take to cook that dinner.  And quickly stopping and picking something up sounds so much faster.  So much easier.

It gets tiring some days, thinking of food choices.  And it’s scary, because I have worked really hard to get where I am, and I know if I’m not careful all my strides could go away.  I just want it to be natural.  I just want it to be second nature.   And maybe one day it will be easy.  For now, it’s an awful lot of work.