Thursday, April 12, 2012

What Have You Done for You Lately?

I going to give you a minute here because I know Janet Jackson is playing in your head right now, complete with uber choreographed moves and abs of steel.

Done singing? Feel free to hum along as you read, I'm humming as I write.

...And I am doing something for me. I've Challenged myself to some self improvement. I like self improvement, mostly because I can acknowledge that there is a lot of room for it and I like goals that carry a lot of interpretive room of success.

I began just around Christmas to seriously look at putting the brakes on a bad spiral. A spiral that began with the acceptance of a sedentary job. There was a time when my feet hit the floor at 5am and stayed there until 10pm, I was on the move, burning calories, keeping fit. Not through sport or exercise, but through constant activity. To be quite honest I have about as much love and competency for exercise and sport as I do for singing the national anthem buck naked at a hockey game. None the less I was fit, trim, full of energy. In the past 6 months however my activity level has dropped dramatically and the pounds are creeping in. My clothes are a little snugger, my mood is a little slugger and my feeling of "well" is not as healthy as it used to be. So I asked Mike to get me an elliptical, which he did (he even assembled it for me) and I began clocking time and distance in an effort to reverse the spiral. I began noticing slight improvements in my energy level but I was also noticing the old familiar "it's easier to" thoughts. Easier to get the dishes washed, easier to fold the laundry, easier to catch-up with friends. What I needed was a gentle push and motivation to help me focus on my goal.

So we have these friends who have been promoting something called "The 90 Day Challenge" and yes I will be the very first person to say that is not for me. I am the quintessential skeptic, I am a profound lover of food, I am a very strong proponent of farm to table living and real cooking. I also believe in research and understanding. So I or rather we have been watching our friends, and their friends and their friends and families for more than a year. We have professed all the way along that "this is not for me" or maybe it is. Familiarity and results breed understanding. In a matter of a year I have seen my friends transform not only their health but also their out look on life, and it's not just them, everyone who has committed themselves to the Challenge has improved some portion of their life - Call it personal development. Well, personal development was my goal remember, personal development is Michael's goal every morning when he wakes up. So let's give it a try...

I started my Challenge with this 90 day goal; lose 20lbs, engage in 20 minutes of cardio everyday, and drop 2 dress sizes. That is all my goal is or rather was. I thought if I could manage that in 90 days I would look better, feel better and walk a little taller. A little bigger issue was underlying that simple goal, an issue that I really was trying to glass over. My heart. I come from good stock with the exception of cardiovascular realm. Both sides of my lineage have heart reputations as steadfast as the Titanic. I won't go into the sordid details except to say that any person with my DNA past the age of 40 is the equivalent of a ticking time bomb. Over the past 6 months I have not only been watching the pounds creep on I have also been watching my blood pressure creep up; that makes me nervous. At last check I rang in at 147/85. So my Challenge to improve my health has gone from - This would be good for me to critical; There is no option but Do It!

Do it we are! In 14 days I have climbed on that elliptical for minimum 20 minutes, I have lost 6lbs, and I am feeling better. I am committed to tackling this climbing blood pressure to the ground and if a vitamin regiment and a healthy meal replacement can manage that I'm in. Pro athletes boost their nutrition with meal replacement shakes everyday, every pharmacy in the country has shelves full of nutritional beverages. The 'shake' was my hang up, it felt like I was taking the easy way out, like I was compromising my nutritional morals. But you know what I found out. The 90 Day Challenge is not so much about the meal replacement as it is about the goal setting, the exercise and health information and tools available to every person, it is about the community of people encouraging one another to get healthy, to reach for longevity, it is about challenging one another and making sure you reach better health together. It is about self improvement.

For me it is about being here 10 years from now and enjoying a vibrant life.

Huge Gratitude today to my Michael for taking on the Challenge of helping our family and so many other's get healthy, and thank you to our friends for loving us enough to not take our "not for me" as the answer and believing that a way of life can change a life.

So, What have you done for you lately?