Work in Progress

Things need to change in order for me to move forward, and ensure that I am the healthiest that I can be.  I have been neglecting certain aspects of my well-being for quite some time now.

I have really been somewhere dark these past few months.  But I am starting over. Again.

I cannot go back, but I can work harder this time.

I’ve learned and it’s time to make things better than they are now.   I’m determined.

I started a new job at a yoga studio/juice bar/cafe.  I feel this is going to change so many things for the better.  My previous job was draining me of every bit of life.  I was almost miserable there.

I am starting a 30 day juice cleanse tomorrow.  My new job is also right next to the park, which will motivate me to begin a running routine before and after work shifts.  I also will be returning to the world of yoga.  When I was practicing yoga regularly, I felt the happiest I’ve ever been.  Oh how I miss it.

I am also focusing on confidence, now that it is warmer weather and I will be showing off more skin.  I am determined to feel comfortable in anything I chose to wear.  I’ve had enough of the feeling that I am not good enough, and I know that mindset is no one else’s fault but my own.  I’m making a change.  Right now.

So this is me now and I plan to document

Locker Rooms

I never used to change in the gym locker rooms, at least not the communal area. I would go in to that side room.  You know, the one with the door that locks.  Hiding away from everyone who I was absolutely certain was judging my body and all its imperfections…

There was one exception to this.  Last year when I did a 30-day hot yoga challenge, I was actually starting to feel that I was toning up my body and felt slightly more self-confidence.  So for the last couple weeks of my challenge, I changed my clothes with everyone else.  Guess what?  It wasn’t that bad.  I miss having the time to practice yoga in a class setting.  It was powerful, seeing women (and men) of all different body types completing amazing healing poses, supporting each other by breathing together.  It was undoubtedly the most positive space I’ve been in for as long as I can remember.  I felt genuinely happy and a definite sense of belonging.

Since I’ve returned to the world of the gym several weeks ago, I haven’t hidden once.  Although I’m more uncomfortable with my body than I have been in so long, I am working hard not to punish myself for that.  There are so many unhealthy thoughts that scream at me when I look in the mirror, but all I can do is work at improving myself and of course changing my harsh perception.

Physical confidence comes and goes for me.  Most of my self-assurance comes from knowing that I am really smart and kicking major ass in college.  My education is what pushes me forward, always.  I’m hopeful that someday I’ll look in the mirror and the positive thoughts will outweigh the negative ones.

Back to Reality

Today was my first day back to classes and it went well.  My professors are great and I feel like I really know what I’m doing this semester; perhaps more prepared and focused.  One of the classes I am taking is Stress Management and today we did about 45 minutes of yoga and meditation.  I have to say that was my absolute favorite moment of college thus far.  Earning college credits for reducing stress and practicing yoga??!?  It’s going to be an amazing semester.

I am also taking my second health class in which the focus is mainly nutrition; this is extra exciting because nutrition is my major and I am so ready to dive further into the topic.  I am taking a CPR course, Communications and Chemistry (terrifying but semi-thrilling) as well.

I’m ready for more challenges, more knowledge and more tools to advance myself and my career.

TGIF

It’s Friday.  I had a fun day at work (my co-workers were basically my therapy), I’m now headed to the gym to run my ass off, and coming home to make a big pot of three bean soup without an actual recipe.  I decided I’m not allowed to stay inside for long periods of time.  Too much thinking is dangerous, it feels better to just live life as it comes.  Pictures of my magical soup to follow…

Week One

So I didn’t exactly eat the healthiest this week.  Let’s just say that I’m not allowed to buy a jar of peanut butter every again…

With that being said, I didn’t eat horribly and I have kept my workout schedule quite steadily.  I went to the gym 5 out of the last 8 days, which isn’t bad considering.  I started the couch to 5k running program again. This was very successful for me a couple of years ago before I ran my first, and only, 5k.

Running is crazy painful when you haven’t done it for a long time.  My mind wants to give up often, but I know that my body is more than capable of amazing things.  I made a motivational running playlist for my iPad (music is the only thing that gets me running) and I plan to push on through.  Hopefully by March, I’ll be back up to 3 miles and am able to sign up for one of the many runs that are available here in the Spring/Summer.

Getting to the gym is the easy part mostly.  The minor obstacle is to motivate myself to bundle up in layers when it’s 15 degrees outside and walk those 5 freezing blocks.  The real challenge is sticking to a balanced diet.  I tend to over eat.  It’s mostly healthy things, but I eat too much of them.  So I’ve been recording calories again in the LoseIt app, something that was also very helpful for me a few years back.  Besides that, I’m trying to cook meals full of vegetables ahead of time so that when I’m hungry there is always something available to snack on.

I feel better than I did a week ago.  That is all that matters to me.  Progress is always progress, no matter how small.

Mirror Dancing

It’s only been a few days since I re-introduced exercise back into my life and already the difference I feel is so significant.  Two strong days at the gym and some yoga today at home.  While it’s important to get in a gym routine, I believe it’s just as important to be able to work out in some way in your home.  For me, it’s especially essential for when classes start again and my free time completely disappears.

On top of daily exercise, I am doing everything I can to feel good about myself every day.  I have started taking vitamins again (extra important for vegetarians), drinking 3L of water a day, cooking healthy whole food meals/eating less crap, documenting the days in my journal, recording my calories again, 10-minute meditations every morning, blasting music and dancing around the apartment when the roommates aren’t here (although I’m sure they wouldn’t mind), and making sure I focus on all the things that make me happy.  I even made a list so I can make sure I do these things!!!

Happiness List

The point of all of this?  Exercise is important!  Everything I’ve learned in school so far has verified that exercise fights disease, improves blood flow, reduces stress, etc etc etc.  Plus, endorphins are MAGICAL!  I already knew this, of course.  Sometimes though, I just need an extra kick in the ass.  Seriously.

I’m really looking forward to sharing the next steps of my journey here.  I hope there are people out there reading!  If you are, please comment so I can share in your adventures as well.

***The list is as follows:

  • Cooking
  • Exercise: yoga, running, hiking, dancing
  • Site seeing
  • Traveling/exploring new places
  • Meditation
  • Eating Healthy
  • Watching the sunrise/sunset
  • Writing
  • Laughing
  • Capturing moments through photography
  • Creating
  • Bonding
  • Dreaming
  • Learning
  • Getting A’s on my tests/papers/classes
  • Progress
  • Music
  • Affection
  • Nature
  • Sunlight
  • The Ocean
  • Mountains
  • Coffee
  • Cuddling

Just Like Old Times

As soon as I walked in the door, I felt at home.  It was in that moment, I realized what my life has been missing.  The sweat, the burn, the weight, the pain, the struggle, the challenge, making the impossible possible.  Goals.  Hard work.  Progress.

I ran on and off for thirty minutes on the treadmill.  In intervals, of course, because I am so far from where I used to be. I felt it though.  The power in that moment transported me right back to the day I ran 8 miles for the first time, an unbelievable milestone in my life.  Those endorphins brought me back to life.  Things have been dark, but there are always better things coming.  It’s up to me to make them happen.

I was glowing when I walked back out into the cold New York City air.

I’m back and I’m better.  There will be great things.