Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 New Year/New Passion

Continuing in true New Year's traditional fashion, this blog will contain goals/resolutions for the coming year.

My hope for each of you is that the start of a new year will bring excitement for all that you hope to accomplish, encouragement to start fresh, and a desire for new and better living choices in your life!

While I have already previously stated my goals for 2010 in regards to running and yoga, I want to take this time to focus on my resolution towards diet and healthy living.

I started gradually eliminating meat from my diet many months ago, and for the past two months I have been eating completely vegetarian. My goal for 2010 is to continue this eating habit but to take it to the next level. My body just responds so much better to a vegetarian diet and I feel a huge difference. I have been trying so many new recipes and enjoying the experiment of new grains/legumes and I want to continue down that path. I have given up sugar and chocolate and caffeine (with the exception of my tiny soy flat white which I have once a week.) My next phase is to give up all processed food. Right now the only real processed food that I eat is bread and salad dressing, but I want to eliminate even that. I want to eat more raw foods and focus on learning more about the various health benefits from vitamins/minerals that I eat. As I begin my nursing program, my study of nutrition will no doubt make me a better nurse as well.

Through yoga, I hope to gain a sense of balance and peace to carry with me each day and to embrace the present moment and the challenges that will come in those moments. Through running, I hope to gain strength and confidence within myself to accomplish that which I hope to achieve. Through diet, I hope to become healthier within my own body so that I can reach my goals for physical fitness and better focus for my studies. My desire is that together all of these will work towards creating a healthier/happier lifestyle.

I am so excited as I look towards this next year and all that it will bring. There will be so many challenges along the way, and yet I look forward to facing those challenges with a calm mind and with acceptance in that moment.

May each of your desires for 2010 come to pass, and may you embrace each moment with peace and calmness of mind! ~ Namaste

Friday, December 18, 2009

See It Done

I read this great book recently - which I have mentioned before...The 5 Rules of Thought - In that book it says that once you have set a goal for yourself you should spend some time each day meditating on the end result of that goal in order for it to become a reality. You should, in all ways, "See It Done".

In my mind I have a picture of the healthy body that I want to have and of myself running races and crossing the finish line. Every day I spend time meditating on this image and seeing the inside of my body healthy and whole. I think about this as I walk into the gym, as I warm up and get ready for my run etc.....

Secondly he also talks about once you have that goal in your mind and are meditating on it then you must do everything in your power to see it become a reality. It will not just happen on it's own. You must put forth the effort to see it completed. Taking that into consideration I have increased my mileage every week and the intensity at which I work out. I have been faithful to eating healthy and de-stressing every day.

As a result the weight is finally starting to drop off. I'm confident that it's a combination of everything, but either way I am very excited that I may actually stand a chance of meeting my goals to get back to the "healthy me" that I was at one time. This week I hit 145lbs and since October I have lost 14.5 inches in combination! I am overwhelmed by how strong my body feels and how great I feel in general. I don't have the headaches that I used to, and my other health problems have not been bothering me at all!

Just wanted to share that as I come upon the end of the year I'm excited that my goals are close at hand. I still have 13 lbs that I would like to lose between now and February, and I definitely have big goals for my running in 2010. But I must say that it is encouraging to finally start seeing results.

Set a goal, then "See It Done"!!! ~ Namaste

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cultivating a Healthy Life

Many of you know that my grandfather had triple bi-pass surgery a few weeks ago. Heart disease, obesity, and Alzheimer disease, among other health problems runs on both sides of my family. These are not things I want to ever deal with in my life, and I am determined to break the chains and create my own destiny. (I honestly believe that healthy living has the power to do this!)

I'm sure you have heard the saying, "You are what you eat". I really believe this is a statement of truth and that you can change your own health by dedicating yourself to major lifestyle changes. It's not something that is easy to adjust to (especially in the American culture.) but it is definitely worth the effort. Over the past few months my diet has changed drastically and I am continuing to make adjustments. Since arriving in New Zealand our access to fresh produce and organic food has been totally amazing. I am so grateful for this change. (Access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the remote areas of Alaska is virtually unheard of. - unless, of course, you have a green house in the few short summer months.)

The reason I bring up this topic is because of how different I feel. Today as I was walking home from the gym I was amazed by just how great I felt. It's hard to put into words, but my body feels "whole" In comparison to what I felt before. I do not know exactly what to attribute this to (Not sure if it's a certain food I have given up, or a combination of things), but I am here to say that eating healthy is definitely life changing.

I have been reading a lot of books lately on our toxic environment and cancer and health related issues. I am shocked, really, by the things that we willingly consume and surround ourselves with on a daily basis that we KNOW are killing us! How often do we eat something because it's so good in the here and now; but deep down we know that we will suffer from it later? I know I have done this many times in my past - never again! - For example, I am lactose sensitive and I KNOW that drinking milk, eating ice cream, eating a lot of cheesy food etc. is bad for me. I KNOW what it makes me feel like. Yet, somehow I eat it anyway - what is up with that? At what point do we wake up and realize that our long-term health is so much more important than our short-term pleasure?

After saying all of that, I also make note of the fact that once you kick the habit of something (which I have heard takes 40 consecutive days) you seriously do not crave it in the same way that you used to. I was so addicted to coffee that when I was in highschool I had a coffee pot in my room! No joke....I would drink tons of coffee all day long, every day! Kicking that habit was really hard, but gradually I did and I cannot tell you how much better I feel! The same thing goes for Dt. Coke - wow, what a difference this one made! - Giving up meat also helped me in turn to give up sugar. (When I eat meat it tends to trigger some kind of need for sugary desserts.) These are just a few examples. They were hard adjustments at first, but now I don't crave them or notice their absence at all.

These are just some observations that I have made in my own life this week. I am determined to carry these healthy lifestyle changes with me throughout my life and I hope that you will make some changes in your own diet as well. It will change your life forever! Cancer and disease are so prominent in our culture that it sometimes feels like people have given up the fight and are just willing to accept that it is just part of life - I am NOT willing to accept this for my future and I want to take whatever preventative measures that I can NOW. Hope you feel the same and will make the needed adjustments in your own lives. It's time we took responsibility for our own health and our future! No one can make these changes for us.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Finding Focus

This week I have been doing a lot of "focused" work outs and have been thinking a lot about the goals and ambitions that I have for my future. It has been a great week, and I feel that I have been renewed with the energy needed to meet my desired goals.

Last night I planned out my 2010 training plan and that was really motivational for me. I found several races - 7K, 10K, 13K, and Half Marathon - that I want to compete in throughout the year. My training will be towards the goal of 10K, but eventually I will train for a Half Marathon in August. I feel like in 9 months I should be ready for the big race.

More than just working out a plan, I have been focusing on the biggest challenge of all - The Mind - I read a wonderful book this week called, The 5 Rules of Thought, and it was very enlightening. Just to remind me to focus on what I want to accomplish and "see it done". To think positively about my goals, because you will indefinitely become that which you think you will be. It is amazing what the mind can do...

Also, I have been reading a lot of yoga books and taking my yoga practice to a new level. I feel like my life is really balanced right now and that is bringing healing to my life. My desire is for this "balance" to continue even in the midst of the more stressful moments once I start school. It is easy to get caught up in the challenges of the moment, and my desire is to stay non-reactive during those times.

It has been a great week - technically I still have one more day before week 3 is finished, but I wanted to blog tonight...

"You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week 3 of 14

The challenge continues - This week my real struggle was my silly hip that keeps bothering me. My right hip seems to be fighting against my desire to improve and increase my running distance. I believe this pain is from over training, and therefore this week I took a break from running and did the stationary bike every day instead. My hip seems to be healing from that, but still is weak.

My focus this whole week has been on strengthening exercises for all the muscles which support my hip. I have incorporated this into my daily yoga practice as well as my work outs. Hopefully it will make a difference.

Yesterday we did a 7 hour tramp up a steep mountain. (It was up hill most of the way with an occasional area of slight incline.) I was really worried about overdoing it on my hip so I tried really hard not to put too much pressure on it. I think by this focus I was able to accomplish that because my hip is feeling fine today. - Although as a consequence my knees are sore! I guess you just can't win until your body's muscles are ready to handle what you give them...

I feel great and felt like this past week was a good one despite my setbacks. This week I am continuing with my focus on healing and strengthening for my hip, but I will also try gradually bringing running back into the picture. (I still REALLY want to make a 5 miler by the end of December, and I'm getting so much closer!)