As preparations began to get back into training this week for my next task, which likely will be a half marathon in January, the time came to suck it up and step on the scale.
Yep. I needed to see just how much damage my two weeks of relative inactivity and eating junk food cost me.
Wait. First, I need to reframe that. I did not do damage. I’m slow and a little heavy. That’s reason to celebrate. It means I have properly recovered. And while that can be difficult to grasp in a culture that tells us “more is better” and likes to see measurable results, even if they are just perceived.
So it is with joy that I return to training, developing new areas of emphasis and finding new ways to stretch my comfort zone.
And to start with, I returned to a favorite website: Livestrong.
I know, you hear “Livestrong” and you think “Lance Armstrong” or “noble group that raises money in the fight against cancer.”
Both are true. But the website has much more to offer about every day healthy living. Including a feature, I return to often: The Daily Plate.
The free application is in essence an on-line food journal and has an easy to use data base with a multitude of entries from a generic apple to the specific nutrients of Wegmans seven grain sourdough bread to just how much fat is in that Starbucks drink you had this morning.
What I love about using this food journal approach is that it serves as an honest guide. I don’t use it to deprive myself. (Case in point: Yesterday’s afternoon snack was a quarter cup of M&Ms.) Instead, it lets me keep track of what I am eating, how much or, yes some days, how little. It keeps me focused for a few weeks as I get back into healthier eating habits.
But in perusing the website, I came across one of the “tools” in My Plate — “Dares.”
Indeed My Daily Plate isn’t just about the food — it’s about your entire lifestyle.
Enter the concept of the dares, which are present to help prod you to “dare to change your life.” It includes the usual suspects — taking a daily multivitamin, drinking water, getting enough sleep, eating fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly — there are some more unusual suspects.
But dares also include topics of career, finance, relationships and mental health. Want to create a healthy lifestyle? You are dared to save money, eliminate debt, spend more time with your family, show gratitude, meditate.
Because our lives are not compartmentalized, no matter how much we might try. It’s all intertwined. Sometimes, it just takes us a while to connect the dots.
If part of living my most authentic life is embracing a healthy lifestyle, it means taking a few dares. It means pushing outside my comfort zone in different ways.
So maybe, just maybe, I’ll try that Jensen Stables Ultimate XC Challenge in a few weeks (no promises Best Boyfriend Mark) but that’s a big-step challenge.
There are plenty of daily and weekly dares to help me get to that point. This week, I’ll take the dare to reduce stress by practicing some simple yoga and listening to more classical music. My sense is that those acts will help put me in a better frame of mind (sometimes called a better “state of being” for the more esoteric among us) and hence allow me to make decisions from a place of peace and truth rather than fear and chaos.
Never underestimate the power of simple acts. They are the ones which lead you confidently to bigger challenges. And by the time you get to those bigger challenges, they don’t appear so daunting after all.