Daily Gratitude…

I was talking with a friend earlier today about making adjustments to my daily routine so that I can have more time to relax, while still feeling like I’ve accomplished the things that I’ve set out to do.  Over the course of our conversation, my friend asked me had I ever considered keeping a Gratitude Journal.  Surprisingly, I have never heard of such, but I was immediately intrigued by the idea of recording daily a few things for which I am grateful in the present moment.  Just think about how encouraging this can be, well at least in my current world I find it to be encouraging.  To be able to take on a positive attitude about even the negative things going on truly is looking at life from a new perspective.  How amazing is it that even on my seemingly worst day, I can be grateful for the small things like having a brief phone conversation with a friend whom I have not seen in a long time or being able to take a summer vacation with family members who I also consider friends?

We don’t live in a grateful society…people are quick to complain about everything – quality of service, the amount of time it takes to get things done, the cost of things, issues with our children, spouses, church folks, friends, coworkers, etc. – we have been conditioned to look at life through a negative lens…but, just as with film processing, the negative does not reflect what the actual picture looks like.  If we only look at the negative, but never look at the print, we miss out on the beauty of the image.  The same is true with our lives…if we only look at our lives through negative eyes, we never get to see the beauty of the world unfolding around us.    Despite how things may seem, there’s some good in everything!  So today, I’m digging a little deeper and searching for the things to be grateful for…

Until next time…

Yearly Reflections…

As another year comes to an end, I’m once again setting aside time for a bit of introspection.  As I get older, I find that reflecting on both the positive and negative aspects of myself helps me identify ways in which I’ll try to approach my life a bit differently in the future.  Whereas I once avoided this hard work, I now find that it helps to ensure I’m always moving in a positive direction.  So, tonight, I’m going to share part of this reflection process (I’m taking this one area at a time) as  I feel strongly that writing things out makes one more accountable, and more importantly, sharing my goals publicly surrounds me with individuals who can ensure I’m not slacking in working towards my personal goals.

I’ll start with what’s perhaps easiest area for me…fitness & nutrition!

What will I do?

What will I do?

The first things I shall acknowledge are:

1.  Innately I strongly dislike exercising,

2. I would prefer junk food over healthy food most days of the week, and,

3.  I’ve been an epic failure in the fitness and nutrition areas of my life over the past year!

The blessing is, despite my natural tendencies and failures, I recognize the importance of both exercising and healthy eating, and would sincerely like to live a healthier life in the coming weeks and year ahead.  For several months now, I’ve moaned and complained about gaining weight and additional soft layers, but feeling sorry for myself has gotten me nowhere.  As the picture so eloquently states, “The question isn’t can you, it’s WILL you?”  That said, I will do better in 2013 than I did in 2012.  I fully recognize that I MUST slow down and release the clutter that fills my mind, my life, and my space so I can focus on leading a healthier life.  I heard the question asked in a podcast this week, “What works better for you…finding an hour a day to exercise now or being dead 24 hours day a later?”  Ummm…I’ll take an hour of exercise for $100.

In 2013 (well, really I think I’ll get started now), I WILL be more intentional in planning my meals and snacks weekly, I WILL make preparing a variety fresh veggies every week a priority, and I WILL write protected gym time into my personal calendar.  I know I can become a bit obsessed with things of this nature, but I need to be obsessed…tomorrow is not promised, so I need to take care of the vessel that God gifted me with!

Until nest time…

A Year of Running…

A Year of Running

This week marks one year since I first took a chance at running.  On Monday morning, my Mom and I worked out at the gym in our hotel, much like we did this time last year.  However, the huge difference was that a year ago I could barely run on the treadmill for 5 minutes…this year, I’ve got a 5K under my belt, I can run longer an faster than ever before, and I’m in an amazing place physically.

This year of running has been nothing short of a journey though (is any part of life really?)…I went from working out regularly, running outside several times during the week, and being extremely conscience of my food choices to rarely working out, gaining back a lot of weight, and feeling like quitting.  There were knee issues along the way that forced me to not run my original 5K race, there were moments of anger, frustration, and self-hate, but I still managed to run in some way, shape or form for the entire year.  I eased back into a running routine, I accepted that my fitness level changed, and I persevered.

So, I’ve been running for a year…now what?

Things certainly don’t stop here.  I’m hoping to begin biking more frequently (if life would ever slow down!).  I want to incorporate more resistance training into my weekly workouts, and I want to keep running races!  Up next (perhaps?)…the 5K race at the Baltimore Running Festival or the 5K Komen Race for the Cure.  No matter what race I choose, I’m so excited about my progress and my commitment to a life of health and wellness.

Until next time…peace!

5K Ready…Right?

Runnin'

Over the past year, running has become a pseudo-hobby of mine.  I was originally planning to run the 5K race at the Baltimore Running Festival last year, but a knee injury crept up and sidelined me for the October event.  But, I’m a fighter, so that didn’t keep me down…I recently learned of a women’s 5K run/walk event in the city that seemed doable, so I got back on the training routine…running 3 days/week and 2-3 days of strength training.  And given that the race isn’t until the end of June, I figured I have more than enough time to prepare, right? After all, I’ve comfortably got 2.5 miles under my belt while running indoors most days…I’ve only got about another half mile to go to reach my race goal.

I got this…or so I thought.  I’m not sure I’m sure I’m really cut out for running!  I’ve been struggling (at best!) with my runs for the past week.  I’m not sure what’s going on..fatigue…lack of heart…generally feeling over this whole running thing…not real sure, but I’m going to keep at this thing until I conquer this challenge.  Why does running matter so much to me…

Running has proven to me that I’m truly capable of overcoming any challenge that lay before me.  Growing up, I didn’t believe I was capable of running long distances…I struggled to run a complete lap around the track (or perhaps I was just being lazy), and you could forget me making it the entire mile.  One could argue that this was embarrassing on some level, but since I wasn’t alone in my defeat and I was still rather athletic in my own right, the sting didn’t appear to penetrate me so deeply.  As an adult, being able to run beyond a mile, and actually finding joy and relief from life’s daily stress in the act of running is unexpected and definitely MAJOR.  It’s proof to me that no goal or dream, no matter how crazy, is unattainable.  When I first started going to the gym, I used the elliptical trainer for 20 minutes at a time with no hills, then I progressed to 25 minutes…30 minutes…added a hill workout, then some cross training, and eventually some more time.  Then, I stepped up to spin class, and I went from barely making it to looking forward to the challenge of the hills and all the calories I was going to burn.  Lastly, I dared to give running a try…I started out on the treadmill, slowly adding a few extra minutes to my workout, then some incline, and eventually making it to an outdoor run.  This process showed me that (as a friend said to me last week), “baby steps do work”.

So, as I get back into the running game, I have to constantly remind myself that I will get back to where I was, it won’t happen overnight, but if I’ll just keep taking baby steps, I’ll knock that 5K out…even if I have to limp across the finish line.  And with that…I shall head out for a short run!

Peace and blessings!

DMW

A Renewed Commitment?

Photo by Dawn M. Wayman

Without a doubt, my commitment to embracing a healthier way of living  has waxed and waned for quite some time now, but over this past year, with the help of an ironic gift and an awesome accountability partner (@ the Maryland Athletic Club/MAC…the subject of today’s picture), I have done a pretty good job of staying committed to working out and eating healthier.  I’ll admit that it was tough at the beginning and I’ve fallen off the bandwagon for a few months, but I’m feeling like I’m back in my groove. 
 
 The challenge is staying committed to living healthy in this society.  Our taste buds have literally been trained to love butter, sugar, salt and many other things that aren’t great for our physical body, while healthy foods (you know, organic foods, produce, and such) are so expensive that few people can afford to eat them on a daily basis.  It’s so easy to just swing by the fast food joint and pick up a burger at a low cost when you consider the time and cost of preparing a healthy meal.
 
In addition to the food challenges, our schedules are more hectic than ever before with work, social organizations, children (well, not for me, but generally speaking…), church, and a host of other things, all of which are quite important, but make exercising on “most days of the week” as encouraged virtually impossible.  That is, if one wants to get a reasonable amount of rest and maintain their sanity.  This makes healthy living tough for me…I know the experts say weight loss and healthy living is controlled mainly by our diet, but for me, it seems to be controlled by my exercise level.  Perhaps that’s because I eat better when I exercise…no need to burn 700 calories and then eat 2,000 calories in one meal!  Either way, I’ve decided that I’m going to carve out time and energy to focus on being committed to engaging in healthier behaviors.  The great thing for me is that I have some great friends who enjoy cooking healthy foods.  Because of them, I’ve expanded my palette and am much more open to eating foods that I didn’t grow up with, so that makes things interesting, fun and most of all, doable.
 
So, I guess it’s fitting to say, I’m fired up and ready to go!  My goal moving forward is to burn 3,500 calories each week through exercise alone, and then cut many of those unhealthy, yet ever so flavorful, calorie-packed, foods from my diet.  It has been tough and will continue to be tough…I love sweets, actually, I’m addicted to sugar…but I’m committed to a healthier way of living!
 
Until next time…
Dawn