After an exhausting “Holiday Week” here in Lake Placid, I am left tired but probably a bit thinner. Looking in the mirror, I feel like my clothing is fitting looser, and my hips and butt look “tighter”. Like many other women, the first place weight gain shows up on me is on my lower body, so I am happy when speed skating season starts and I can work off the extra fat. There are few activities that are better for toning the lower body than speed skating, even if you don’t “race”. Right now, I am slowly working back up to fitness, and trying to catch the “fast guys” on the track–like Patrick Kelly, our resident Olympian, who is almost always the best skater on the track. The other day I “drafted” (as in, skated close behind to reduce wind resistance), a whole chain of Canadian and US speed skaters, all of whom I consider to be faster than me. But I could keep up! This was a huge accomplishment for me, and gave me the confidence to think that maybe it WAS possible to get back in shape. Yay for self-realization!!
My only slip up was one of Mrs. Lysek’s Famous Brownies. To those who don’t know Lake Placid, Mrs. Lysek operates Lysek’s Hillcrest Inn (click link for more about them) and her husband’s cooking is legendary. Seriously, there are paragraphs in books by figure skaters about the food he made for guests, especially pancakes. 😉 So when Mrs. Lysek presented a huge platter of brownies for my Skate into 2013 event and urged me to “try one” I couldn’t resist. They were small, but I am allergic to sugar/dairy/wheat gluten, and my body responded as it usually does–by puffing up so I look like the Michelin man. Will I never learn? Still, I have been doing better the past few weeks than before, and have noticed some results. The trick will be not throwing myself at sugar the first chance I get.
I tend to not make “New Year’s Resolutions”–one, they are a cliche practice, second, they rarely ever hold past the first few days of the New Year, and third, they encourage looking towards the future instead of focusing on the moment. The most popular resolutions tend to be a) lose weight, b) give up smoking/drinking/some unhealthy type of food, c) exercise more, or d) improve quality of life in some way, (more time with family, etc). Strong-Fit Beautiful had a great infographic about Resolutions:
Of course, I try to lose weight every year. Since the age of 14, I have always wanted to look leaner/skinnier/prettier. But every year, without fail, I fell back on my old eating habits. Why? Because I didn’t think I could achieve the results I wanted anyway. So I gave up, got back in line at Starbucks or Candyman (our local chocolate shop) and drowned my sorrows in lattes and truffles.
But this year, I am trying to change. For good. I have been exercising more, eating less (sometimes because I simply don’t have time), and trying to reduce my attachment to food in general. I love my chocolate and my roasted, salted cashews, but I also realize they might help keep me fat and bloated. So without further ado, here is my list of resolutions:
1) Exercise more effectively
Skating slowly in circles while listening to Lana Del Rey on my ipod? Not really training to tone up or increase fitness. Speed skating with a pack of skaters or racing to catch up with the superstar bionic speed skaters? Now that’s a workout.
I have to fight my inner old lady (because most of my friends know that I am secretly a 90-year old in a 22 year old body) and actually SWEAT. And STRIVE. And perhaps even feel the lactic burn after exercise. Then I know I actually accomplished something and didn’t just “show up”. So maybe this heading should be STOP BEING LAZY.
2) Reduce Inflammatory Foods
One of the few “vices” I have left are roasted, salted organic cashews. I think this stems from my childhood, when my dad would bring home these gigantic tub of Planters Mixed Nuts. That was when I discovered that cashews, pecans, almonds, and even those pesky peanuts are quite delicious. So now, I make a “trail mix” of sorts with roasted salted cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, and dried cranberries. These are all organic, but still not the best for me–especially when I eat a cup at a time! Same with black tea–they make me bloat and feel less than energetic, so I have to cut down and/or eventually stop eating/drinking them.
3) Read more
When I was younger, I used to read a lot. Most of my childhood was constructed around books–I finished the “Little House on the Prairie” Series by first grade (then re-read them), finished Nancy Drew by age 11 (didn’t really understand how Nancy didn’t end up dead after the first few books) and the Harry Potter series until the binding was worn and pages fell out.
As a teen/young adult, I became interested in nutrition, spirituality, and psychology, so started reading what are commonly referred to as “self help books”. When I was 12 I diagnosed myself as a “sugar addict”, (not kidding–a book exists out there) and that helped prompt my new, healthier lifestyle. I lost 30 pounds by age 13, which was my first significant weight-loss.
So this year, I’d like to keep learning and improving. I will read both non-fiction and fiction, but try to set aside time to read instead of just working on the computer, or watching television. I also want to finish the Stephen King book that I started last year!!
4) Knit more
When I was 16, I fell into the knitting craze. My grandmother had attempted to teach me to crochet, but I found the whole process irritating instead of stress relieving. So I learned knitting from a friend, and quickly became proficient at scarf-making. So I think I’m going to start knitting again….it’s a great way to keep my hands busy (less stress-eating!) and will produce something beautiful. Plus, I have been selling the scarves in our business, and they have sold out!
5) Write more
I realize that I already write A LOT, with three blogs and counting, websites, and articles for the local publications–but I don’t really write for pleasure. With the exception of this blog, most of my work is for a deadline, and non-fiction. I’d like to start writing fiction more, as I already have several ideas percolating.
6) Work towards greater self acceptance
Around age 18, I quickly fell out of love with my face, body, and self. Before then, I loved my “new body” post weight loss, and even liked my face. I was training hard, was in great shape, and even had the outlines of a six-pack beginning to form. But at 18, I stopped training so hard, (my competition days ended that fall after skating the best I ever had at Regionals) went to school, and placed more emphasis on education and career. In the meantime, I neglected myself and my own personal development. As a friend says to me, “once an athlete, always an athlete”. I realize I can never be truly happy and love myself unless I live up to who I used to be. And to reach my goals I need to be healthy, lean, and disciplined. I’ve been working towards this the last few years, and now I feel ready.
7) Stop being angry at my circumstances
2012 has been a rough year for me. My family and I have lost almost everything, and we continue to struggle with finances. I know this is nothing new in the world, that greater suffering occurs around me. But it is still quite an adjustment, and it seems like just when everything gets better, it gets 10 times worse. I find myself becoming angry at God, the Universe, whomever because I wonder, “why is this suffering constantly happening TO ME!?”. But continuously focusing on my “suffering” just intensifies it. So I’m trying to be more “positive” and “can-do” than being miserable and over-reacting all the time.
8) Be less attached to “stuff”
As I mentioned previously, 2012 has included many adjustments and problems. I’ve lost a large amount of “stuff” in the process. This wasn’t by choice, but as a result of one of the big “changes” that occurred. I’m not going to go into it here, but I had a lot of my favorite “things” ruined, and it was quite heartbreaking. I never realized how much emphasis we place on inanimate objects, nor the feelings that are transferred throughout our usage of them. But after having to throw out a lot of stuff, I started to feel surprisingly light and RELIEVED. No longer was I drowning in stuff. I used to have dreams of being entrapped in a very small space, and now I realize that claustrophobic feeling was probably induced by my overabundance of stuff that I had no room for. Now I have much less, and I’m actually happier. Go figure.
Don’t get me wrong–I still love clothing, fashion, and beauty. I’m just not as ADDICTED or ATTACHED to material things as I was before.
So that experience was the best thing that ever happened to me–I am not as attached to objects, not a shopaholic anymore, and don’t place my worth on what I own or what brand I choose to wear. I am who I am; besides, I was always wearing the same clothing anyway.
9) Set aside time for spirituality
I have always considered myself a moderately spiritual person–I grew up in Catholicism, and even attended Catholic schools for most of my life, but found myself questioning the faith even while taking “religion” classes every day. I started to feel drawn towards Buddhism, and even New-Agey belief systems like Wicca, Taoism, and Spiritualism. I even learned how to read Tarot Cards and use a pendulum as divination techniques–also, I wanted to find out whether the “Death” card actually meant death or not, (it didn’t).
Around age 13, I started to feel pulled towards these belief systems and ideas, for the first time. They all seem to incorporate the belief of ENERGY–as in, positive energy will bring in good things, negative energy will attract bad stuff. This is called “the Law of Attraction” in a lot of New Age type books and belief systems, but to me it makes sense. Karma is a pretty well-accepted belief now, and that fits in well with the energy idea. We are all energy, and that energy has to be manifested somehow. Also, the work of Mishio Kaku and Masaru Emoto helped me look at this “energy” stuff in a scientific way, and it makes logical sense that energy can be applied positively or negatively, and that there are more possibilities available to our singular existence than we even know about. And the idea of time travel and parallel universes isn’t bad either….but I digress…
Anyway, I haven’t made much time to cultivate my spirituality, and I would like to do that this year. Eventually I want to make time to meditate, which I feel would be beneficial. One step at a time.
So that’s my list….what’s yours?