I am traveling for work this week. This will be a true test to my ability to maintain my Vegan dietary choices in the wild. For lunch today, in the Denver airport, I found a sweet potato curry and a green salad with sun dried tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette. It was decent. I added a protein bar as well since that meal is pretty light on nutrients. I did bring some ‘healthy’ packaged snack foods on the trip. I was concerned about being hungry and reducing willpower.
I have dinner to go and I will be heading out soon. The conference meet and greet will be in a bar with, well, bar food. I really hope I can find something to eat there! So far I have been pretty good [despite watching a co-worker eat a crepe with Nutella and whipped cream!]. I am proud of me.
I’m assuming there will be a phase three, but if so I haven’t tackled it yet. I already make sure I get enough sleep. I think that would be a phase 3 for most people. I have a regular bedtime and wake up time. I may sleep in an extra twenty minutes on the weekend, but that’s about it. Others probably find it boring but I am a huge fan of routine. It’s what helps me to remember each of these new healthy habits and get them done.
This morning, for example, I got up to my alarm [I use one that uses light before sound], did a little yoga [I mean like 5 minutes of stretches], took my shower, dressed, and headed out to work. I could do that because I had packed my lunch the day before and picked my clothes.
I know some like to work out first thing in the morning, and honestly I do too, but I don’t want to add to my commute to and from work by leaving later, and getting up earlier would mean I have less time with my family. This way I can train after work and them make dinner so that when the family does get home we have a few hours of time to spend together. So to make sure I get in everything that is important to me, I think it all through, make a schedule and stick with it. That removes the will power component. I know just what I am going to do.
After a month of eating well with the new diet, I had some energy to burn. I have been doing yoga for decades and I still had/have a daily yoga practice. I had been doing 35 minutes a day on a high beginner level. Since I am getting older, I figured I should start doing some strength training so I joined the local community center. They have free weights, weight machines, an outdoor fitness center, pools and group classes. Since it was strength I was after, my first stop was the weight machines.
I opted to train Mondays and Thursdays on arms and Tuesdays and Fridays on legs. The first week I was pretty worn out after the workouts. I biked to and from the location [it’s about a mile and a half from my house] so leg days could be a bit of torture. I did my best to conscientiously add weight when it got easier. Even with that, I felt like I hit a plateau. I don’t want to be cut. I was more aiming for endurance and to maintain. I did it religiously from the first week of June until the last week in August. By mid-August I knew that I needed to find a better way to train. I was having to spend over an hour at the center four days a week in order to feel like I was getting a good work out, and I really didn’t feel like I was making much progress. That said, I was able to go up to intermediate yoga practices.
Then I found NerdFitness and started their training program. It’s a strength training community, but it’s also a motivational life focus group. I have been doing that program now for three weeks and I feel so much stronger and healthier. I can really see the difference in my body already. Mind you I am older, so it’s not always pretty, and I’m just loving it! One of the reasons I was drawn to it was Steve’s assertion that weight machines are not healthy because they make your body fragile. Because you don’t use all the muscles when you’re building strength, you build in fragility. Makes so much sense! And I can feel every one of those muscles. Once again I will speak to how it impacted my yoga. I have had some grueling practices but I have moved up to 40+ minutes daily, and while it’s still tough, I have done it! I can complete it.
So I have never been a huge exercise/gym/organized sports person. I opted out in school. Being an introvert, team sports didn’t work for me. I don’t like gyms for all the same reasons, and exercise…wow…it doesn’t sound fun, does it? I also know from my extensive reading on health related science that the largest part of being healthy is what you put into your system. So. I started with diet.*
I had what I considered a relatively healthy diet. I was generally vegetarian. I ate my vegetables. I ate fruit. I very rarely ate meat [even I can’t pass up Thanksgiving turkey]. I felt that there was room for improvement though, so I started looking. I had been following Kris Carr for about a year. I love her attitude and I had been using her smoothie recipes. It turns out that I was in luck. It was time for her 21 day Crazy, Sexy You program. I took the leap.
Now, I’m not usually one to leap. I generally read, plan, and think rather than doing. This time though I did it. I bought the program and jumped in. The recipes were great, the directions were wonderful, and the program was worth every penny. She had full shopping lists for each week, complete lists of substitutions, ideas on where to get more obscure ingredients, things you can expect, and much more.
Thank goodness the program is vegan because at about that same time I took an intolerance test where I sent in a few strands of hair and got a report on what foods might cause some intolerance in my system. A week into the program I found out that I needed to remove soy and dairy. The program already had adjustments to remove those items, so I was set.
Twenty-one days later, I felt amazing. I had so much energy, and my body felt whole and ready to move for the first time in decades! The combination of the vegan diet and avoiding my food intolerances was eye opening. I had a moment of ‘how much different would my life be if only I had found this 20 years ago’, but it was short lived in my excitement at sleeping so well, and having so much energy.
*By diet I mean what you eat, not a fancy system of how to eat to lose weight.
This particular health journey began, if I’m being honest, because I needed a change in my life. I was about the weight I wanted to be. I felt pretty good health-wise. I know that studies say that as you get older if you don’t work to maintain your muscle, you will lose it, and I am getting older. And…it is American Ninja Warrior season. That is always an inspiration for me. I have so often looked at these amazing athletes and told myself I could never do that.
This time, instead of saying I could never do that, my inner voice said, okay, maybe I don’t want to do that, but I can work towards it and improve my health. Wow. That was super positive inner voice!
This year has been all about my quest for health. I started in May with a 21-day vegan diet, which surprised me by how delicious it was once I figured out the new ingredients. Then I moved to an intolerance testing for food and further refined my diet [and by diet I mean food I eat, not trying to lose weight]. I also joined a fitness center and started with the weight machines. Two weeks ago I signed up for NerdFitness and started their training program. Wow. It’s a tough training routine, but I am loving it. I am not one for exercise, or for weight training, but this has been simple and effective. I feel great! I feel stronger and I definitely have more energy after all these changes. I am going to work to get more about the changes I have made written here to share with those who might want to make a similar change in their life, and to chronicle my experiences.
something odd happened today.
i woke up happy in my skin.
there was no inner critic,
no judge or jury, no bubbling
plan for self-improvement, no
thoughts of what needs to happen
for me to find joy.
how odd to be happy being me.
floating in the now
i see your green slitted gaze
asking me for love
we are all complete
part of the entirety
of being here now
i am here now
like a thousand before me
and a thousand yet to come
one among the many
many in my one
sitting with myself
contemplating my breathing
the world drops away
this moment in time
when the breeze blows warmly by