My Dog Sport

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This beautiful specimen is my dog sport.  He does not run or organize but he is the master at living.  He turns ten in a couple of weeks.  He is the best dog. EVER.  He is so nice and sweet.  He’s never met a person, cat, dog, horse, chicken, bird that he did not love and want to be around.  He has learned some hard lessons from his sweet nature especially from cats.  

A practice I work hard to cultivate is to live in the moment.  I read Eckhart Tolle, make stabs at meditation and remind myself that I only really have this moment.  What I probably need to do is just channel my dog.  He is without a doubt, fully present.  All he ever has is this moment and the belief that at any moment, you’ll walk to his food bowl and put food down.  

It’s heart breaking to think that he won’t live forever but then all you ever have is this moment.  Going to go make it count and take my sous chef, snuggle partner, vacuumer of floor, and current staring contest winner for a walk.  

Inspiration

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Alternate Day Fasting

About five months ago I listened to a podcast from The Nutrition Diva that talked about slowing metabolisms.  There’s a common thought that losing weight rapidly slows your metabolism but this was more observational science rather than numbers and physiological science.  With  the show, The Biggest Loser, scientists now had a large pool of people in which to look at metabolic rates.  The conclusion was not shocking, losing weight rapidly does indeed slow your normal metabolic rate.  Hence, the large numbers of people that gain the weight back, gain more than they had before.  

The bigger question was to determine if there was a way to reset a metabolism without harsh drugs.  The answered surprised me and sent me down a research rabbit hole.

Fasting.  Not a long juice cleanse but rather alternate day fasting.  

And by fasting, they did not mean 0 calories but about 20-25% of what you normally eat. So around 500 calories.  

I read this book:

And watched Michael Mosley’s documentary, Eat, Fast, Live Longer.  It’s available on Vimeo here.  

There is science to support this diet.  One of the most recent studies have found it’s as good as any standard calorie-restrictive diet with one major difference.  You only have to suffer for 2 days versus the rest of your life.

I think this is the most compelling part of the diet.  Suffer two days but reap the benefits.  Dieting is hard.  That’s why we don’t stick with it.  No one likes feeling hungry.  But don’t underestimate how hard those two days can be.  I really suffered on those days.  But on the other five, I didn’t really think about it.  The science was right for me, as I wasn’t eating more than normal on a day after 500 calories.  I woke up like it was just another day.  For week #1, I did Tuesday and Thursday. I think I’ll stick with that regime.  I drink some coffee with half-n-half in the morning and have a frozen 290 – 300 calorie dinner.  It’s easier than having to account for every portion size and morsel.  

After one week, I’m down 2 lbs.  Not earth shattering but still down 2 lbs even after up days.  

I don’t relish Tuesdays and Thursdays but feel that this is something I can sustain.  I’ll keep you posted.  

 

The Worst Quote

I love quotes.  I save them to Pinterest boards, I record them in journals, and post them around my house.  I.Hate.This.One.

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”

Seriously?  

It’s credited to Walt Disney but it’s a load of bull.  Dreaming and achieving and two very different things.  I don’t think Steve Jobs just dreamed of a Mac or that Walt Disney dreamed of domination the entire city of Orlando.  

They are doers.

It’s in the doing that dreams are made.  I’ve dreamed of many things in my life.  I spent a good part of my youth dreaming about a lot of things that never came true. I was not the next Debbie Gibson no matter how many times I sang her songs in the mirror.   Thank goodness for that.  It was in the doing/living/working in my life that I found my dreams, or at least the ones that did not involve me married to the boy in my history class and a multi-billionaire.  

This same train of thought was the premise of Shonda Rhimes’ Dartmouth Commencement Address.  If you haven’t read it. Go do it. Here.  It’s one of the best.  

I love planners and calendars.  I wondered how I could make this part of my work.  I sat down to create a shop on Etsy, a self-help website and have begun to build my calendar empire.  I’m not giving Franklin Covey a run for their money yet but I’ll keep doing.  I never know where the path will take me or what opportunity will present itself.  It will present itself in the doing.  It’s in the doing that you find your dreams.  

A lot of people want to be writers.  A lot of people.  But you have to write to be a writer.  A lot.  A lot of bad stuff and some good but you have to be a doer.  Whatever you want to be, you have to be.  Be busy doing that thing.  

So here is the new quote,

“If you can practice doing it every day, then you can achieve it.”

Rachel Lutz

 

Planning Out Your Perfect Day – Free Printable Attached

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It’s Sunday afternoon and this is where successful weeks are made.  This is where clothes are chosen, meals planned out and calendars posted on the refrigerator.  This prep work sets the intention for the week and makes sure everyone in the household knows what’s going on. Children have their last opportunity to request rides home from school, inform me about practices and meetings.  I’ve trained them well, if it’s not on the calendar Sunday night, you can’t go.  For a while , there were some heated battles and resentment about last minute changes until I simply said enough.  If it’s important enough to you, you’ll write it down and get it on the Sunday night calendar.  Poof, conflict nearly evaporated.  Only had to stand my ground once.

So the same should be true for everyone.  We can all benefit from sitting down and planning out the week.  For me, I created a daily schedule/task list.  It includes meal planning and things I’m working on for my health.  If it’s on the calendar, I will get it done.  I did reign in the task list though.  I used to have tons of spaces for tasks and realized completing that many tasks in a day was reserved for my fantasy self.  I also have a couple of spaces for focus.  These are those intentional items you must get done in order to further your goals, have a successful day at work or just keep you out of prison.

I hole punch them into my Filofax and I’m off.

Here is the FREE PRINTABLE if you’re interested in a PDF.  Here’s hoping you have a productive and intentional week.

Enough but Better

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A new year on the academic calendar.  The years slip by so quickly as an adult.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish this year.  I was talking with a friend about my goals and she asked me if I ever just sit back and say enough.  She shared with me about a book about being “enough.”  “Enough” has become a bit of a battlecry for the over-worked mother.  It’s a platform that Brene Brown writes her books from.  

 

It’s not that I’m not enough.  I think I describe my penchant for self-improvement badly.  It’s not that I’m doing a bad job or scolding myself, but I need the pursuit of better in my life to feel fulfilled.  It’s the purpose driven life.  My purpose has never been to sit back but rather to take the wheel and drive it down Self Help Lane.  I love reading about new ideas and new theories for making my life better.  My life is good but the pursuit of greatness makes it great.  

 

I want to run faster.  Not farther this year but faster.  Tick some minutes off my mile.  I read an interesting science-based book on the benefits of alternate day fasting so I want to see if this can rev up the old metabolism.  I’m currently reading the book How to Have a Good Day by Caroline Webb.  Yes!  I want to know how to have a good or at least a better day. I want to start a morning practice of meditation to see if it’s as helpful as the research says.   I want to form the habit of taking my multivitamin every day.   
I’ll never stop pursuing.  I’m enough but I can always be better.   

The Living Part

The Living Part.  

So we are off on another summer adventure.  We are headed to another corner of the world we haven’t seen.  Having traveled to 49 states (sorry Hawaii, another year) we are going back to Europe to see Portugal and Spain with a 5 day excursion to Morocco.  

Morocco seemed so exotic and adventurous to us until we learned that Tom Cruise will be in the same town we are staying to film the remake of The Mummy.  I loved that movie and just can’t see Tom Cruise in the role.  #TeamBrendan

Traveling gives me perspective and changes all my no’s to yes’s.  I embrace weird food, late bedtimes and slightly dangerous agendas.  A routine that would never sit well in the rest of my life.  Being away brings me back to work and schedule with a fresh eye and a new zest for printed checkboxes  on a calendar.  

For those of us on an academic calendar, it’s the end of our year.  August brings new goals and benchmarks to achieve.  For now, I’ll focus on overpacking, holding mail, passport counting, euro exchange rates and simple arabic phrases.  

The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page. {Saint Augustine}

 

Learned Optimism

I’m potentially running out of self-help books to read.  Resorting to looking up oldies but goodies at my local library.  Finished Learned Optimism this week.  Didn’t love it but came away with two good points about optimism.  The first being that kids that are optimistic as a result of achievement are much more likely to be happier and productive in the long run rather than just inherently optimism.  Meaning children need to work hard to achieve something.  In other words, no trophies for sitting on the bench.

I also read this paragraph in one of the final pages of the book about running.  You’d be amazed at how many self-help books mention running.

” Consider jogging.  Many of us now choose to jog.  We slog along in all sorts of weather, waking up at ungodly hours to do so. The activity in itself gives us little or no pleasure. (me – amen brother!) It is sometimes annoying and not infrequently painful. We do it because it appeals to our long-term self interest. We believe that in the long run we will be better off, that we will live longer and healthier lives and be more attractive if we engage in this daily self flagellation.  A little daily self denial is exchanged for long-term self enhancement.  Once we became convinced that lack of exercise would likely be costly to our health and well-being , the alternative of jogging became attractive. ”

Not 100% on board with that but well said.  There are many days that I know lack of exercise is costing me my health and fitness level but sometimes the couch and Blue Bell win. The key is making sure that it doesn’t win too many times.