Time to up the ante on self-care & self-renewal
Spring: A time of new beginnings, fresh starts, and renewal. You in?
Many of us love Spring for what it represents in terms of new beginnings, rebirth and renewal. Spring brings longer days, warmer temperatures and sunshine; greening of the grass, trees and fields; fresh buds and blooms sprouting as if to say “hello” or “hey, pay attention to me;” animals awakening and birds and ‘peepers’ serenading us in song — in essence the earth seems to come to life again.
Spring is known as the season of new beginnings in part because of this rebirth and renewal, and in part because of the equinox. The Spring, or Vernal, Equinox occurs around March 20 in the Northern Hemisphere. (Though if you live in MN, Spring just arrived this past weekend.)
I love Spring for it’s reliability, if not predictability. But mostly, I love it for the symbolism of rebirth and renewal. A chance to start fresh, and with that comes hope, inspiration and anticipation — something I truly need this year.
Bye Bye Winter Blahs! Time to Refocus, Restart & Renew the Commitment Thy Self
I’m admitting here, today, that I’ve lost some serious mojo when it comes to my overall health and new Lori-in-the-equation lifestyle. I’ve inched up too high for comfort on the scale (at my highest weight since I lost and have maintained a -200 lb weight loss). I’ve slipped in almost all areas of healthy living that I deem important, including: 1) My personal intensity/focus and positive mindset, 2) Eating and nutrition, and 3) Exercise and physical pursuits.
YEP, I’m human! YES, I’ve got the doldrums. And, YES, I have all kinds of valid reasons and excuses for how I got here. In fact, I could surely dazzle you with the list. But it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that it’s NOT acceptable to me to stay stuck here. I don’t feel great — inside or out.
The good news: I know the way back to a healthier mojo, I know I can do it, and I know it’s time. That’s what matters. I no longer live as a victim, so the excuses don’t factor in when deciding what to do and how to move forward. But I’m also not beating myself up or shaming myself, just noting where I am, restarting and moving forward.
The signs that a serious RESTART is needed are plentiful…and I feel compelled to share my story here. I do so in the hopes that it helps me get back on track, and it helps others by realizing struggle happens to all of us.
Physically, I’m in bigger clothes and I’m not comfortable at this weight. I’m inching high enough in weight to be at risk again for some of the serious health factors that run in my family — and that is absolutely NOT acceptable, nor is it the Lori-in-the-equation way! To compound matters, at my current age, it’s becoming much harder to get the weight off and harder to maintain, so my window for error or slippage is a lot smaller.
Also, I don’t feel as physically fit as I did when I was living consistently in what I call the Lori-In-The-Equation Zone or my “Healthy, Happy & Whole Zone.” In fact, I feel much less fit than last Spring when I scaled (okay, hiked rigorously) mountains in celebration of my five-year anniversary of keeping the weight off. Physical strength and overall “fitness” matter to me because I have so much more to do in terms of physical pursuits and activities, and I don’t want my weight or fitness level to hold me back. Plus, and perhaps more importantly, I want to live a longer, healthier life — and, in spirit, I’m just getting started! There’s so much more to say YES! to. 🙂
Finally, emotionally I am moodier. I smile less and complain more. This is not ME!
As I describe my current reality and come clean on how much I’m struggling, I do so from a place of self-acceptance and compassion. Much of my struggle stems from processing loss and trying to make sense of grief, the kind of grief that shifts your world. What I’ve learned through my transformation journey thus far is to be much gentler and kinder with myself as I navigate uncharted territory — in this case, grief. And I’m learning to do so without becoming a victim to life circumstances I cannot control, and without old crutches I’ve relied on for years. This is tough stuff and I’m admitting I don’t have the answers.
So…it’s time to get real. This blog is the first step in that process.
For those of you who know me personally or who’ve read this blog over the past seven years, you know that, for me, keeping it real means going public. To start anew, I must stop living in secret and instead put my struggle out there for the world to see. In doing so, I help myself and perhaps others. I want others to know that everyone struggles — no matter how far down the road of recovery or healthy living we’ve come — slipping off track happens to ALL of us. In my view, what matters most during the tough times is what we do next.
Awareness is the first step. Once we become aware of what we’re doing that is no longer working for us — the real question is: What are we going to do about it? Are we going to complain, wallow and take ourselves deeper into the abyss (been there done that)? Or, are we going to pick ourselves up and restart? Perhaps we need to reach out and ask for help? The decisions we make when in the throws of truly tough times actually make all the difference in the outcome. This, I’ve learned the hard way – through years and years of practice. Still practicing!
So, now what?
Spring 2018 In-the-Equation Challenge
I’m issuing a NO EXCUSES Policy for myself, and that means getting back to clean and healthy living and going 100% ALL IN! I’m using Spring as the impetus to start anew, with the goal of feeling a lot better in mind, body and spirit by May 12 — my six-year anniversary of keeping 200+ lbs off. And certainly by this Summer when I ready for another big transition in my life… more on that later!
And I’m inviting anyone reading this who can relate to the struggle to join me in the Spring 2018 In the Equation Challenge. Are you in?
Here’s how. The Spring In-the-Equation Challenge has four steps:
1) Get ‘Real’ With Yourself…Be Honest About What You Want/Need. This means looking internally to process what is going on, what you want/need, and WHY the change is important to you. It’s important to bring to your conscious awareness, your clarified goal(s) and uncover what’s blocking you. As the excuses come up, and they most likely will, adopt a “No Excuses Allowed” Policy — dig deep and note what’s behind the excuses. This is important, necessary and not always easy work.
2) Declare It — To Yourself & Another. This could be writing it down in a journal or posting it on your frig, and telling someone close to you — perhaps your spouse/partner, a friend, or a colleague who can support you. Or, as in my case, it might mean going public to hold yourself accountable. You decide what works best for you. But don’t hide the fact you are struggling or that you are taking on this Challenge — put it out there for accountability and support. With a firm commitment to yourself and others, you’re far more likely to succeed.
3) Do It – Take Action! Yep, you can’t just think it, write about it, and talk about it. Nope, that won’t get you there. Sorry! Too often we think about something we want, we might even develop a plan of action, we talk about it, and then we wait. We don’t actually DO! The act of doing, and doing your best, is what it means to be 100% all in. Action is the only way to make progress. It doesn’t matter how tiny the steps, just that you are moving. Start small and gain some wins, some momentum, and then watch what happens. I think you’ll find that you soar.
4) Do It for 30 Days — Just do “it.” Whatever the “it” is for you, do it for 30 days and then check back in — with yourself and your tribe, and/or with me! Tell me, tell others, hold yourself accountable in a supportive and compassionate way. Don’t beat yourself up for missed goals. Rather, acknowledge the wins and note the areas for improvement as your next challenge. Checking your progress and noting how it makes you feel is key to long-term success and sticking with it.
There it is — four steps to the Spring Challenge. All self-directed. It’s that simple…and yes, that hard.
The final step for me today is to “go public” with my personal commitments in the Spring Challenge Restart. So here you go:
1) Back to Basics = Mind, Body & Spirit & 100% ALL-IN: For me this is three parts.
- Nutrition: Get back to the basic meal plan I used to lose my weight in the first place = self-defined as “clean” eating (whole not processed foods, no refined sugar); counting macros (healthy fat, protein and carbs); and tracking all meals. In addition, this time I’m committing to more plant-based meals, thus reducing my reliance on meat protein per the Blue Zones approach. And, I’m inserting intermittent fasting in a way that works for me.
- Exercise according to plan, aimed at getting stronger and leaner by summer: Includes daily walking & natural movement like yard work + 3x strength and High Intensity Training workout via Metabolic Effect. In addition, I’ll be adding 5K and 10K races for fun, and hiking adventures at least 2x in 30 days. These last two items bring a social element to help me keep it interesting and fun.
- Daily mindfulness practice = min 10 min to 1 hour per day: Including a gratitude practice, joy practice, guided meditation, prayer, journaling — I change it and mix it up, but make sure I’m actively addressing mindset to start/end my day. This steady and consistent focus on the internal game is what matters most to my overall success.
2) No alcohol for two weeks, then 3-4 ounces of red wine allowed per day, according to Blue Zones recommendations. I seem to have zero tolerance for alcohol right now as I continually get off track on my nutritional plan when I allow alcohol in my diet. This, of course, makes #1 on my commitment list — back to basics — more challenging. So, I’m implementing a two-week total elimination and then testing the Blue Zones approach of 3-4 ounces of red wine each day for health. If that works, great. If not, I’ll adjust accordingly. No excuses!
3) Social connection/time with the tribe. I’ve been struggling with lack of social connectivity and I know this is critical to my overall happiness. So again it’s back to basics with a weekly goal to have weekend social plans and to continue to make good, healthy, and fun connections outside of my inner circle. I know what this means for me. 🙂
4) Accountability — Tell it here, tell 3 friends and invite them to join me in the challenge. I will be practicing what I preach in terms of engaging the tribe and asking for ongoing support. And I will be blogging about the process as I go to ensure public accountability. So look for me to stay accountable and authentic on the blog, as well as my In the Equation Facebook page here. Follow me, join me, and post updates on how you’re doing — use the tools of social to help stay connected and on track.
P.S., We’ve totally got this.
Read some of my other related blogs on the ability to RESTART in a positive and affirming way:
- Launch into action — right now. Start! Restart! Go! (July 2017)
- Solstice: A time to restart & let go of what no longer serves us (June 2016)
- Time to restart! (Aug. 2015)
- Finding my strong on the mountaintop (Oct. 2017)
- Five lessons of five years living in the equation (sans -200 lbs) (May 2017)