Swimming

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I’m back in a bathing suit and swimming again!  I was that kid at swimming lessons who had already completed Jr. Lifesaving at the age of 9, but had to re-take all the other class due to the age restrictions.  While I was never a super-fast swimmer (I was a “pretty” swimmer with little to no splashing), I did a mean dive and was on the local swim team for a few seasons.  If it was summer, I was at the local pool.  My mother had us riding our bikes the mile-and-a-half to the pool from the time I was 6.  This was another time, when kids were much “safer”, or if they weren’t, no one actually heard about it.

So, for years I haven’t gone to the lake that’s just about a mile from my house due to my feeling I was “too fat” to get into a bathing suit.  Yes, I know, vanity captures us all at some point or another.  But, now that I’ve lost weight, I went out and bought myself a black one-piece, and the rest is history.

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I’ve been going early in the morning and swimming laps between the two decks.  The other day I was the only one there at 6 am.  It was quiet, meditative and nice.  And, the lake is too crowded to swim laps at any other time of day.  There is a pair of eagles living at our lake this summer, and I’ve been hoping to catch sight of them.  No luck yet.

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I really missed this and can’t believe that it’s been so long since I went swimming.  I think that in another life I may have been a mermaid; either that, or a narwhal (the unicorn of the sea).  I hope to improve by the end of the summer, and be able to complete more laps.  For the moment though, I’m just loving it!

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This is one of my favorite quotes. Love Dory!

 

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Summer Plans

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Well, summer has finally shown up!  It brought along all its heat and humidity, which I for one could do without.  Since it’s here, I’ve decided to set some goals for the next few months, and see how many of them I can accomplish.  While I am still battling depression and all-over hopelessness, I’m expecting that positive action will help counter-act my depression.

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So, here are my goals for the summer:  get my children’s book finished (this includes the illustrations); make curtains for my house; start throwing “stuff” away/give away; finish my home-study program; work on my novel; write stories and exercise.

Just a little set of goals.  Now, I’ve got to set-up weekly steps to take so that I can actually get some progress on these.  Do you have goals for the summer?  Let me know how you plan on accomplishing them, and how you’re doing with them.  Let’s encourage each other.

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Food and Exercise

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I’ve been on the Engine 2 Rescue Diet now for almost three weeks.  This diet is a no oil, no preservatives plant -based one.  How is it going?  Well, at times all I really want to do is to eat all the chips in the bag!  However, I haven’t done that, and it’s going pretty good.  I haven’t fallen “off the wagon” at all, and when I do get chip cravings, I tend to eat either some grapes – which are totally delicious, by the way, or an orange.

Learning how to make stir-fry without oil was a little hard to get used to, but I’ve got that down, now.  Tonight, is Chinese night, so I’m really looking forward to the steamed veggies with white rice.  A meal that I don’t have to cook is always a source of excitement.

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I’ve been having Quaker Quick Oats for breakfast with some maple syrup, cinnamon, banana and blueberries.  At first I thought yuck! I hate oatmeal, but when I have it like this, it’s really good!  If I get hungry later in the morning (sometimes I’ve already eaten by 6:30, I’ll have an orange.

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Here’s a lunch that I love.  I just cut-up some onion, mushroom, squash and peppers, then I stir-fried them in a little water.  I put them on a Sandwich Thin (again, no oil), added a little no-oil homemade hummus and dug in.  I also ate the leftovers.  Good lunch!  Next week I’ll give you some dinner recipes.  I have to take pictures, since I haven’t gotten around to that, yet.

I’ll also eat a salad with extra veggies and chickpeas. If I still feel hungry I’ll throw a small red potato in the microwave and cook it up.  I’ll then eat it with some garlic powder.  No vegan butter for me.  This was actually a little strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and now like the potato with only some herbs on it.

I’ve added some more exercise to my routine also.  I now work-out in the morning, then go for a walk with my dog around eleven, then come home and work-out some more.  In the afternoon, I’ll do so again.  So, this is what I do:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll do my Soloflex machine (yes, I’ve had one for more years than I want to admit), then a Denise Austin DVD with weights in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a Denise Austin Pilates DVD.  I hate Pilates!  Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll do a Fitness Blender video in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a bunch of Sun Salutations very slowly.  On the weekend, I usually mix it up with some Denise Austin workouts and different Fitness Blender videos.

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The whole process has been a major time-commitment, what with the meal planning, making things that I usually don’t from scratch and working out.  However, I’ve finally seen a positive change in my body.  Have you changed anything about your diet or exercise routine?  Let me know how that’s going for you.

 

It’s a Lifestyle not a Diet

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When I decided to change my life, I started with what I thought would be a small change.  I went from eating a Vegetarian diet to eating a plant-based one.  I already “knew” the cruelty involved in eating dairy and meat, but the longer I’ve been Vegan (someone who tries to live as cruelty-free as is possible), I’ve found out more and more about the animal industry that I truly wish I didn’t know.  However, learning new recipes has actually taught me to be a better cook.  When you can’t just throw cheese on something to improve the taste, you’ve really got to know what you’re doing.  I use many more spices than I ever did before, and also spices from different parts of the world.  My cooking has most definitely improved, but most of my meals take longer to prepare.  So, there is the good along with the “bad”.

That being said, I’ve been on a journey that has stopped at more than a few rest areas along the way.  And, being stuck in too many rest areas, I’ve come to the realization that there is really only one way to look at the rather large goals that I have.  I’ve been changing my thoughts on these goals, and thinking of them as a lifestyle, not a diet, and not “just” goals and steps, but as a deliberate way to live my life.  So, every time the alarm goes off and I know that I’ve got to get up and work out, I tell myself it’s a lifestyle.  So far, this has worked, and I’ve gotten up and done what I’ve planned on.

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Part of what has helped me, and might help you too, is that I’ve been making goals for each week and working daily to achieve them.  Some of these goals deal with house-work, and some deal with my goal of finishing the book I’m working on.  I find that if I break them down into smaller steps, I’ve been hitting more goals than not.  This is helping with my confidence, since I’ve been tracking everything and seeing more successes than failures.

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So, how have you been doing with your goals for the year, and what has been helping you achieve them?  Let me know.  You may have great ideas for the rest of us.

The Benefits of a Cold Shower

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I know, I know!  The weather is getting colder, and hopping into a nice warm (if not hot) shower in the morning seems like a right.  After all, we leave a nice warm bed and it’s only reasonable that we should be able to enjoy a nice hot shower before the indignities of the day assault us.  However, as a person who actually gets up and works out in the morning, I’m here to make the case for colder, if not cold showers.

Many people enjoy extremely hot showers in the morning, but that’s not really of any benefit to your health.  My son takes such a hot and steamy shower that I can’t even go into the bathroom for about half-an-hour after he leaves.  We don’t have a venting system in there – I wish we did, but we don’t.  There is scientific evidence about the benefits of a cold shower to your health.  The shock of the cold water increases your oxygen intake because the shock brings about deep breathing which in turn increases your oxygen intake.  This also helps in increasing your energy level.

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Cold water helps to prevent the skin and hair being stripped of natural oils like hot water tends to do.  Also, the cold water helps in the appearance of skin, helps it not get dried out, and keeps it looking younger.  Not too shabby if you’re worried about looking older.  Another benefit is that the cold water increases our blood circulation, which increases the amount of blood that goes to organs, which of course is a rather important benefit.  Another benefit is that it stimulates weight loss by shocking our systems.  Cold water also has a benefit that for someone who suffers from pain is wonderful.  It relieves muscle soreness and promotes recovery after exercise.

Jumping into a cold shower also relieves stress by decreasing the level of uric acid (too much uric acid is known as hyperuricemia) and can cause gout along with liver and kidney disease and cell death. http://www.healthline.com/health/uric-acid-blood#Overview1

Another benefit of cold water showers is that it helps to alleviate depression.  The cold water sends electrical impulses to the brain which translates that into a mood stimulant.  Of course, this is not a “cure” for depression, just another benefit to cold showers.  And, who can’t agree that a mood boost first thing in the morning is a good thing?

http://www.medicaldaily.com/benefits-cold-showers-7-reasons-why-taking-cool-showers-good-your-health-289524

My own showers tend to start out slightly warm and then gradually get colder and colder until at the end I’ve got it as cold as it goes.  Of course I understand if you don’t want to subject yourself to such cold water, however, think of all the benefits.

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Did I Achieve My Goals?

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This is a good question.  Did I indeed achieve the goals that I set out?  Well, so far this week I’ve done my best.  I did workout every day this week so far.  Yesterday I slept about an hour later than I usually do, but I went for a walk and stretched out afterwards, thus achieving my workout.  I’ve gotten one chapter written and the next one figured out.  So, by the end of the day on Saturday, I should have gotten both written.  As far as the illustration is concerned I may have to wait on that.  I haven’t gotten my scenes written, either, but again I still have this afternoon and Saturday to finish.

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I’ve scoured the Internet in search of more summer salads, and have found some that look really tasty.  The wood has been stacked.  I’m happy to report that we’re almost finished.  I’m sure that my husband will finish the cutting, this weekend, and hopefully we’ll get the rest of the stacking done also.  We won’t be finishing all the logs, but we’ll have two full rows done, and get the logs covered for next year.  Yeah!

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My floors have not been washed, but I’ll probably get that one done on Saturday morning.  I have dusted (not my favorite job), but it’s done!  So, I think that I did pretty well this week.  How have you done with your goals?  Every step counts, so just keep at it!

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Weekly Goals and Motivation

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When my children were young, I spent a long time without goals of my own.  Everything related to them.  Over the summers I would have a fairly lengthy list of things that I wanted us to accomplish; not that we did all of them, but we did do a lot of them.  However, these were the years that my writing took a back-seat to my family.  Not that I regret any of it, but I haven’t accomplished nearly what I thought I would.  I realize that other people have attained their goals while having a family.  For a long time I compared myself to them until I realized that that behavior was not helpful.  I am me, and the only thing that counts is that I improve myself.  If just focus on myself and not beat myself up about what I haven’t done compared to others, I find that I can set and accomplish my goals much easier.

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So, here’s my list of goals to accomplish this week.  Write two chapters for my children’s chapter book.  Finish at least one illustration to go with the chapters.  Dust the house and wash the floors, (yes, I do need to list housework – wish I didn’t, but I am the maid).  Write down in my writing notebook drafts of scenes for other writings.  Workout every day.  Finish stacking all wood – get this done.  Find more summer salad recipes.

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Okay that’s it.  My goals for the week.  Have you written down your goals?  Sometimes just getting through the week can be a goal!