Walking Log Compilation

I’ve recently saved up enough extra discretionary cash to buy myself a FitBit Flex.   So far, it has proven to be a good motivator.  In the past week, I have increased my daily activity and actually used the online site to track what I eat–well, mostly.   Hey, baby steps, right?

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Not in my budget. Ever.

So, I thought I’d share with you a few of the pictures I’ve taken during my recent walks.  Now, keep in mind that I take them with my phone, so the quality is sketchy, but all in all, I rather like them.  Enjoy!

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Astounded to Learn that Walking Soothes My Soul

Let me begin with the assertion that I am not an outdoorsy kind of person.  Unless of course, the “outdoors” to which you’re referring involves a beach in Hawaii, a good book and an unimpeded view of the hot local hanging ten on a gnarly wave.  Nor am I, by any stretch of the imagination, an active kind of person.  In high school, I opted to take Air Force J.R.O.T.C. instead of gym to avoid the certainty that my grade in gym would affect my G.P.A. in much the same way that the iceberg affected the Titanic.  More recently, when consulting with my doctor on my quest to lose weight, he suggested that I walk for exercise.  When I told him that I don’t like walking, he said, “Trust me.  You’ll learn to like it.”  Jerk.  I hate it when he’s right.

So, I bought decent shoes and began walking.  At first it was just up the street and back.  That’s all I could handle.  But ever so slowly, I began to walk faster and for a longer period of time.  It was fantastic.  No children.  No housework.  No deadlines.  No stress.  Just me and the outdoors.

Then I got this crazy thought – maybe I could get better results in less time by sprinkling an easy jog here and there in my walk.  I bought cheap running shoes and gave the Couch to 5K plan a try only to discover that I can run for a minute or so without dying.  I also learned the importance of a really good jogging bra, but that’s another story.

Now, when I go for a walk or a run, it has almost become of form of meditation for me.  It is impossible for me to not be in the moment and while my body does it’s thing, my mind is free to wander where it will.  Inspiration has quietly become my companion on many occasions and I’ve started to truly notice my surroundings in a completely new way.

I want to share with you a few of the things I’ve seen just in my own neighborhood.

 

If you are suffering from the same “Ziggy Syndrome” (too short for your weight) as I was, take my doctor’s advice: “Trust me.  You’ll learn to like it.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going for a walk.

Hell Hath No Fury…

…like that of a spiteful woman.

All right, all right.  I know that’s not the way the quote is supposed to go, but that doesn’t make it any less true.  In fact, spite can be a fantastic motivator.

This is when you say, “Really?  How can that be?” to which I would respond, “Yes, and I’m glad you asked.”  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have much of a reason to continue with this post.  Except, of course, simply out of spite.

In order to answer your most excellent and felicitous question, I will provide the following two examples from my own personal scrapbook of activities driven purely by spite.  First, I contend that I am now flossing my teeth every single freaking day completely, totally and utterly in order to spite my dentist.  He thinks he’s so smart.  Well, we’ll see how smart he really is the next time he checks my teeth and he has to come up with something to say other than his customary (and extremely tedious) “you really aught to floss your teeth more than once a millennium” speech.  Blah blah blah, whatever.  I’ll show him.

My second example of spiteful self improvement involves exercise, but before I get into that, I need you to understand how much I truly hate mornings.  My post M is for Morning didn’t even scratch the surface of my eternal, deep-seated, smoldering hatred of mornings.  I would rather eat cockroach Étouffée than emerge from my nice, cozy, warm bed anytime before noon.  However, three times this week, I have forced myself to forsake my beloved cocoon of blissful warmth and get a in workout at 6:00 a.m. as a show of blatant animosity directed at the cartoon avatar of my Wii Fit balance board, Kevin.

Kevin has plagued my existence from day 1 with his snarky little comments like “you really should check in every day,” “that really isn’t your strong suit, is it?” and “that’s obese.”  Well, Kevin, it’s on now.  And if the only time I can get in an uninterrupted 30 minutes of Crunch Fitness Fat Burning Pilates is at the butt crack of dawn, so be it.  I will let spite be my muse in order to get you to shut your animated piehole.  Just watch me, mister.

So, the next time you find yourself a little short in the motivation department, give spite a try.  If it’s potent enough to get me out of bed and moving in the morning, than it wouldn’t surprise me if someone figured out how to accomplish faster than light travel simply to spite Einstein.

A’Sledding We Will Go

Why I live anywhere other than Hawai’i, I’ll never understand.  There’s no snow in Hawai’i.  Well, except every once in a while up on Mauna Kea, but that doesn’t really count because it wouldn’t be my job to shovel it.  I hate snow.  Snow has about the same chance of me suddenly taking a liking to it as a mackerel in a barrel with Annie Oakley lining up a shot with her lucky bazooka.  Which is the reason I magically transformed into a whiny little girl today when my family brought up the subject of going sledding.

Me: (whining pathetically) “But it’s too cold.  There’s not enough snow.  The sled hill is probably closed.  My gloves are too thin.  My snow boots are too old.  I’m too old.  I have to wait for the mail.  I stubbed my big toe last week and am still too injured to go sledding.  Doctor’s orders.”

My family:  (sighing in exasperation – yes, even the 2-year-old) “Whatever.  Get your coat and let’s go.”

I didn’t exactly cry on the way out to our community’s sled hill.  Not really.  You can’t prove anything.

At one point during the short drive, my husband glanced over at me and asked, “Didn’t you ever go sledding as a kid?”  To which I replied, “Either I did and the event was somehow so horribly traumatic that my subconscious purged it from my memory as a defense mechanism, or no, I’ve never been sledding.  I hate snow.”

After giving me a brief look which communicated a smidgen of sympathy and a whole lot more of something along the lines of  “Pffft – what a weirdo,” my husband parked our car and began the arduous task of extracting our children and sleds.  I still wasn’t crying.

My husband, 7-year-old son, and 2-year-old daughter excitedly gamboled toward the smaller of the two hills, while I trudged behind desperately seeking a legitimate excuse to wait in the car.  Upon reaching the summit, I was shocked to discover that I wasn’t even slightly out of breath, unlike 2 years and 50 additional pounds ago which was the last time I was forced to endure the torture of sledding.

At that moment, I experienced an unexpected shift in my perspective.  Almost overwhelmed by the rush of sudden comprehension, I was finally able to truly see the unbridled elation and delight sledding brought to my family.  Their joyous laughter and excited screeches infused me with a lighthearted and childlike contentment and reduced my entire universe to that moment on that hill with the sudden knowledge that I was physically able to be a participant in their sledding adventure for the very first time.

After sledding for almost two hours down every hill available to us a seemingly infinite number of times, we were finally exhausted enough to head for home as fog began to silently creep over the sled hill and surrounding area.  I still hate snow and want to live in Hawai’i, but now maybe I won’t whine quite so much the next time my family wants to hit the snow hill.  I might not even cry.  Well, unless I have a hangnail or something.  Then all bets are off.

E is for Everything

Sounds rather ambitious, doesn’t it? “E is for Everything.”

I thought about “E is for Embrace,” but that’s a little too touchy-feely for me. That’s why “E is for Emotion” wasn’t even a possibility. I’m just not that kind of girl.

Then I considered “E is for Elevation.” Not only did this truly appeal to my aviation background but it reminded me of my favorite story EVER, Dr. Seuss’ Yertle the Turtle, about a megalomaniacal tyrant of a reptile bent on ruling all of Sala-ma-sond by building his seat of power literally upon the backs of his miserable serfs. Using this reference, I wanted to point out that the higher you are, the further you can see. When we’re on the runway waiting for takeoff, we can only see the end of the runway. Once we’re in the air, our next checkpoint becomes visible and once we’ve reached our cruising altitude it may still be possible to look back and pick out that tiny speck that our departure point has become. In fact, once we attain the heights, it’s hard to believe that we were once content with our previous existence (hmmm…now there’s an “E” I didn’t consider…). However, as Yertle’s rise to power doesn’t end well for him, I thought it best to avoid depressing anyone with this metaphor. I knew “E” could be more.

That’s where “Everything” comes in. I had tried EVERYTHING in the past to get healthy. That stupid soup diet, joining a health club, Jenny Craig, diet pills, you name it. It always felt like I was trying to build a sandcastle with the tide coming in. I discovered that I simply cannot do this successfully piece by piece. I can’t add one little change at a time and hope to accomplish anything. I had to change EVERYTHING. Only by letting go of EVERY one of my bad habits and simultaneously replacing them with a healthy alternative was I able to make any progress. Instead of making myself crazy trying to build up the portions of my castle that the tide washes away bit by bit, I dumped a truckload of new sand on the beach further from shore and am now sculpting my castle exactly (that’s a good “E,” too) the way I want at my own pace. In that way, I was able to give up EVERYTHING in order to gain EVERYTHING. And I will never be ashamed to admit that I want it all.