Day 108: Making Peace with Your Hair

Well, SBB. Another day, another post. And another post written late in the day. Oh well, I’ve needed the sleep. Writing is having to be done in the fringe time, but I’m proud of myself for catching up yesterday.

So hair. I have to say that I’m probably more practical than most about my hair. I generally like the color and texture. Sure, I’d love for it to be thicker. But what I have is what I know. I’m definitely not a hair fashionista. I tend to look better when it is longer than shorter. And best when it is a little bit below my shoulders. But there are definitely variations that also look good.

I’m never ever going to be someone that spends more than 5 minutes a day (if I can help it) on my hair. I’m good with blowdrying it putting in some finishing product and hitting the road. An hour or two after the blow dry I will hit my sweet spot. It is dry, straight, and looks good. If I’m working and particularly writing at work, I have to fight the urge to put my hair up, but I will concede if I am going to do yoga over lunch because it will go up anyway. I’m not one of those women who can do yoga with her hair down. Nope. Not me. I’m lucky if I get thorugh the class without sweating too much hand having my hands get slippery. Down dog is a total bitch when you have sweaty hands.

But hair. More is more. Less is not best. Simple is the way to go, and the more shampoo and conditioner the better.

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Day 107: Walking as Meditation

I’m so glad we got here, SBB.  I know that I have mentioned the theme of today’s post a number of times recently. Mostly how I was trying to connect my act of being outside, exercising, meditating, to my spiritual outlet. My place to recharge and renew.

I’m glad you are recognizing this outlet for serenity, for energy, for peace, for meditation. Being active outdoors – getting out and exercising – is one of the most pure outlets for physical activity and for truly celebrating the beauty of nature. 

I am so appreciative that I have a gym membership and that I have access to a swimming pool and workout equipment for the few times that I need to run inside because of time or extreme weather. But I’m a purist. I would much rather dress for the elements and head outside. If it’s really really cold, I’ll bundle up. If it is rainy, I’ll grab my raincoat. Regardless of the variability of the weather, I’d rather be out in the weather – the good, the bad, the ugly – and getting to be close to nature than the alternative  of being inside.

I like looking at houses, watching the clouds, seeing a beautiful sunset, observing the blooming of flowers and trees – taking it all in. The scenery is never dull, and having natural changes in scenery makes the time and miles go by pretty darn quickly. Even better is when I run for long enough that my mind turns off and I’m able to get to this meditative state. It’s rare that I come back mentally depleted. On the long runs, I come back physically tired…and sore…but that is offset in some way because I was outside and I enjoyed my 2+ hours in nature. And nothing can beat that.

Day 106: Discovering the Momentum of Creative Movement

SBB – it’s posts like this were I feel slightly ahead of the curve. To be honest, had I read this post when intended, I would have been a month and a half prior to my start to running….and my response would have been much different.

I know that I have touched on the profound way that exercise and running have changed my life. It cannot be overstated that regular exercise – running, core (omg. I just typed that), strength training (not nearly as much as I’d like), yoga (my goal is to do this every day), swimming, and biking – has literally changed my life. This regular movement – this dedication to myself – has helped me prosper and change in so many positive ways. Yes, there are ways that my friends and family can see – my mood, the way way look, and the way I approach activities – but the most important ways are the ones that only matter to me.

I have greatly struggled in the past with anxiety and depression and spiraled into a mess. One that I’m not proud of. But one that I had to experience and go through because it led me where I am today. Not only impacting where I am at in my life and the fact that I met my husband…but also the fact that I don’t take for granted how good I feel. Being able to function, and sleep, and have energy and enthusiasm. Amazing. Not always easy, but simple pleasures that make life so much better. And I can tell you 100% that this ease of transormation…this finding this plane of existence comes directly from regular exercise, running, yoga, and being relative healthy. It was exercise that helped me kick other destructive habits or bad habits…and helped me see the beauty that comes from going to sleep at 9:00 p.m. and getting up early with a clear mind and light spirit. It is finding the joy in a cup of coffee, the bright sunlight, and a wide open day.

It is getting outside to be physical…to walk and run…and get to truly experience the day. Not through the protection of windows but by being out there, being part of it.

Now that I’ve come to truly know this different, healthier state of existence, I will do whatever it takes to not move back to my old, destructive habits. I want to feel good, be productive, mentally sound, and happy….and the source of all of this is through exercise.

Day 105: When You Hunger and Thirst

So I’m part of a group…a movement called Fellow Flowers. And I’m part of Fellow Flowers Crew. Basically it is a group of women across the country who fully support Fellow Flowers and what it stands for and through our online forum support each other in our quests to run and tri and all of the life things that go along with that. Now, this is a gross oversimplification of the group, but I think you can get the gist.

The last month the group has been focusing on health and wellness and basically moving our asses! One of the leaders of this month long journey is Theresa. And she has a holistic health and integrative nutrition framework that she is trying to bring us…basically everything in this post. And SBB – here is the one quote that you’re missing. And what ties Day 103 to Day 105. It’s about the food. But it has nothing to do with the food.

We can have a good diet, we can run, we can live the way we are supposed to and check the boxes. But if something deep inside of us is undernourished, not being acknowledged and tended, then we can eat all the kale and drink all of the water that we want….and we still will be kept from full achievement of our goals.

It’s about the whole package – our mindset, our soul, living authentically, tending our body, exercising, eating well. It’s all of those things that contribute to honoring our authentic self and living our best life. (Living our best life always makes me giggle, because it makes me think of Oprah.)

SBB – these next couple of minds summed up so well and added to what Theresa was trying to teach us. I think I might not have paid attention during the month long challenge as much as I should have, because I couldn’t quite grasp what Theresa was trying to get across. You have provided the missing link.

“I wasn’t underfed but spiritually undernourished. I realized I could go within and ask my soul – my authentic self – what I needed.  Key questions – How can I care for you at this moment? How can I love you? What is it you truly need? The next time you reach to put something in your mouth, take one minute to focus your awareness on what you’re doing before you do it.”

Oh my gosh. This is it. This is one of those tangible connections to connecting eating and the motivations behind these autopilot, mindless activities and understanding our true intent with them. It is all clear. 

“Learn to create ceremonies of personal pleasure that can nourish your deeper longings. As you nurture your spirit with kindness, your physical cravings will loosen their grip.”

It’s about the food…but it is not about the food.

Day 104: The Only Weight-Loss Aid You’ll Ever Need

SBB – this week of posts is one of the best weeks so far. You are speaking to what I’ve learned the last two years…and identified the very things that are helping me live my best life…find the best version of myself.

Food. It’s pretty simple. Don’t eat crap. Sometimes that is way easier said than done. Especially for this gal…who between writing the first paragraph and this one went on an ill fated bike ride that ended with a car ride to Dairy Queen. I did limit myself to a small treat, a small twist cone dipped in butterscotch.

But here’s what I strive for. Fruit for breakfast, possibly a fruit parfait. A smoothie for lunch. My homemade smoothie with Raw Fit. Dinner will feature some sort of protein, and possibly a side, but the star is a large salad. My at-home salad bar.

If I’m out and about, snacks include apples and bananas. Possibly an energy ball. But my goal is fruit and veggies. And water. Lots of water.

It’s thorugh this diligence and refocusing my cravings and likes that I’ve been able to shift my tastebuds from processed sweets to fruit. Now, do I indulge in ice cream? Yep. But if a majority of what I eat is good for me, then I can’t see the harm in indulging. I’m trying to live a healthy lifestyle – one that will adapt to my situation – not a right time bounded diet that allows no enjoyment and indulgences.

SBB – I love the following two sentiments from your post. They are so perfect, so true, and are something to strive for. It’s about self-worth, beauty, and seeing ourselves for who we are. It’s always surprising to look at myself in the mirror sometimes and be startled by the beautiful woman who looks back.

“Every woman has a weight that’s deal for her as opposed to an ideal weight. This is the weight in which you feel the most comfortable, have the most energy, can stay well and feel good about how you look.” 

“Above all, trust the guidance of your authentic self. Self-love is the only weight-loss aid you’ll ever truly need, because it’s the only one that works.”

Day 103: Learning to Love and Honor Your Body

Yes! 

Sometimes we just need to be a little kinder to ourselves – and see ourselves through the rose colored glasses that our loved ones see us through. We need to afford ourself the ability to bask in our imperfect perfection – fall in love with ourselves just like we fall in love with our significant others. We need the grace to allow our extra plumpness – find the sexiness in those things – and to feel proud of them. To embrace them. To rock them.

It isn’t enough anymore to be apologetic for how we look. We need to throw aside apologies and strut into the room like the gods and goddesses that we are. Sure, I’d like to lose ~25 more pounds, but I look really great right now. Sure, I’d love for my butt to be a little bit smaller…or my thighs to be a little bit smaller. But you know what – they are larger than I’d like right now becuase of the muscle that I’ve built. I need this muscle to carry me 13+ miles. And eventually 26+ miles. When my default, my instinct is to see a large ass….I need to change that instinct to see one that is powerful, is strong, and can do things that most people don’t even fathom.

Life is way too short to be focused on an imperfect ideal – one that I will never attain…and one that I do not want to attain. So I’m over that. I want to celebrate my muscles, my stretch marks, my pale skin. They make me who I am. And I’m beautiful just the way I am. If I finally lose the ~25 lbs. That’s bonus…because it is taking me down a healthy path. But my self worth and my sense of self and beauty is not tied to that 25 lbs. I want to feel good no matter what, and I want to be proud of who I am and where I’m at today. Because if I’m not…I’m not going to be able to live in this moment. To have the ice cream cone if I want, to go out for a 10 mile run, to see food as fuel. Nope. Food isn’t my enemy. And my worth is not tied up in my food, in my weight, or in my ability to fit into a six 6. My worth is tied in how I feel. And I feel damn great.

Day 102: Finishing Touches: The Art of Fashion Accessories

 In the trove of daily dialogues on fashion, I know that I touched on my favorite accessories at least once. 

My dad’s mom passed her jewelery on to me. Nothing is very valuable – just sentimental – and some of the pieces are pretty tacky, but there are a number of true gems.

1. Art Deco mesh yellow flower. My absolute favorite pin to dress up a blazer. It adds an unexpected punch of color and the design is truly unique and beautiful.

2. The Art Deco silver rose clasp bracelet. Another beautiful piece – one that i mostly keep safe in my jewelery box because the spring/clasp doesn’t work well. I should probably take it to my favorite peeps at Middleton Jewelers to see if they may be able to fix it or restore it.

3. The simple yellow 5 strands of plastic necklaces. Gaudy…but delightful.

As I’m trying to think of my favorite accessories, it reminds me that I need to step up my accessory game. I need to probably switch out my purses more…and make sure that they are cleaned. I also need to find and acquire more accessories. I don’t necessarily like the mid-range department store pieces. They just aren’t me. I love my necklace from Middleton Jewelers…but I don’t have the money to spend there. But I also love my cheap costume vintage pieces – that’s where I need to focus my efforts and expand my collection.

I like the touches of the old with the new…of vintage with classic. These unexpected flourishes can certainly elevate my normal business casual and make the ordinary extraordinary.