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Steps

Outside of the morning routine habit changes I’ve made, I can finally say that working out has become a new real change for me. Even though I have generally rejected resistance training in the past unless with a trainer, Hubby has gotten me to embrace it, 2-3 times a week.  In the past at one time or another, I have been a running, walking, belly dancing, Zumba and Afro-Caribbean dancing, Bikram yoga attending, water aerobics taking, treadmill/elliptical machine addicted exercise person. I am still some of those things depending on which day or month you are talking to me. As more weight comes off (.6 lbs this week even in the midst of water retention!), I am anticipating what I will open myself up to next or be more willing to go back to again.

As I my weight crept up before starting my wellness journey again, it was becoming easier to retreat from high intensity activity and that can manifest as isolation. At least it did for me. Choosing to consciously take better care of myself taught me how to see when I was going down that road. Choosing to be alone is great when it’s truly a choice rather than avoidance. I have always enjoyed my life but it takes more effort and clarity to see how much I enjoy it in the company of people outside of my home and in new environments. It can be hard at first but 9 times out of 10, it’s worth it.

Every step I take towards wellness, towards the power of being complete and whole, is worth it.

 

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All or Nothing

You ever get to the end of the day and feel like you made a lot of good decisions? Decisions that were just right for you?

Today was that day for me. I talked more openly about my writing with people. I spent an hour outside, just walking and talking. Even though there was a chill in the air, I cherished every moment I had outside and not cooped up indoors.

Now I am here, writing this post and preparing to work more on the first draft of my book and another writing project. I am thanking God I asked one of my writing group members to check on me this Saturday to see where I am with my pages.

Which is leading me to another thought: Please don’t underestimate the power of accountability. I sorely need it! One of my goals during #bloglikecrazy in November was to finish my first draft. I know why I set two lofty goals but I also know they were not completely grounded in reality. When I set unrealistic goals, I set a trap for myself. And I fall for it every. single. time.

The “All or Nothing” mentality has never served me well and it only guarantees that something on the list will not get done. In November, it was my first draft. I looked at it but that was about as far as it got. I did not anticipate the everyday stressors, activities, work, and of course I couldn’t have known to factor in hubby’s short hospital stay. However, there is something about me that wants to keep reaching. I think there is a little devil on my shoulder that whispers “This time it will be different. This time you can push yourself to do it all.”

I can at least promise not listen to the lies and do what I know I can do and if sometimes I surprise myself with more, then I will welcome it. For right now, I am happy to dedicate the rest of 2017 to staying consistent with my blogging schedule, working out a few times a week and continuing to work on my first draft with the support of my accountability partners.

I can’t think of a better way to start to say good-bye to 2017 and hello to 2018.

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Day 20

Almost there!

It included a lot of walking, work and trying to stave off coughing fits. I even went shopping, trying on a few things that made me feel pretty. I am not one for shopping. Any one of my friends, family or husband can attest to that. I like fashion but I just like to buy what I need and hightail it out of there. It is completely different shopping for books. I enjoy settling in and burying my face in several books before deciding which ones get to take the trip home with me.

This evening it’s just been cooking. I am trying something new, a quinoa and sweet potato chili from Whole Foods along with vegan mac and cheese and green beans. Later, I am going to outline post-challenge goals. My birthday is November 16th and I return from the Summit of Greatness on September 16th. I am thinking my writing and wellness goals will have something to do with those 60 days. Off to eat dinner but excited to share more of my takeaways and the next leg of my journey tomorrow.

Stay tuned for Day 21!!!

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Day 19

There was a turn of events this morning. My husband didn’t feel well so I sent him back to bed instead of going to church. So, while he slept the day away, I drank my green smoothie and read more of The Hollywood Commandments by DeVon Franklin. You know that feeling when you are reading a book and you can’t grab the highlighter fast enough. That was me this morning. I am all about his “Pray and Prepare” motto. I spent so many years wishing and praying for things to change, not fully realizing God is not going to help me do the things I am perfectly capable of doing myself. I can lean on Him for inspiration, guidance and comfort but the work? That starts with me. I view every blog post, pitch email, query, sentence written in my book, fellowship application, poem, short story and published piece as preparation for what is to come.

I am learning how much it doesn’t matter whether or not each attempt ends in a positive result. The process is worth it.

I mentioned yesterday I had a guest post to write and submit. I wrote it and sent it off! It was one of those pieces that I felt some frustration with when I started but once I put earphones in with classical music, the words poured out of me. Regardless of the outcome, I am proud of the work.

I felt ready to take on one workout today. I did a walking video. There was some coughing, so I slowed down. Afterwards, I stood outside on my balcony. I needed to spend time in the sun, taking in fresh air. It was a good day.

Stay tuned for Day 20 tomorrow!

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Day 13

Labor Day was a good one for rest. I spent my time relaxing with my hubby, reading and gleaning wisdom from The Hollywood Commandments by DeVon Franklin, catching up on email and applying for a writer’s group that may take me in the direction that I need. I have been feeling this self-imposed pressure to narrow my focus and become more goal-oriented to grow my career. This is the kind of pressure that I welcome. Earlier this week, I sent a pitch email with some ideas for a guest blog and today, I got a positive response for one of my ideas. I will definitely share more about that in time.

As I was completing the application for the writing group, I became emotional. I do not like to dwell on the past but it occurred to me how stuck I used to be and how willing I was to step in and stay in my own way. I will be eternally grateful for the decision I made to take action over the last year and for leaving the stressful job I was in 4 years ago. I would have never had the mental space to even try to write. As I was walking with a friend at the park today, it occurred to me that although neither of our lives our perfect, our conversation was mostly centered on doing something about the situations we are in. Not just complaining and venting (though we all have our moments). This is the spirit of the Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge. The spirit of Doing. Moving. Trying.

I am behind on my water intake but the night isn’t over and I will continue to sip and chug if I have to. And if I have to grab my 5lb weights again to do some semblance of a second workout, I will do that, too. I just won’t talk or write about it. I will do it.

Stay tuned for Day 14 tomorrow!

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Day 7

Definitely better than Day 6 but once I heard the rain against the window, I knew walking was out for this morning. After work, I was exhausted but I ate, drank water, relaxed by watching a movie and as it came to a close, I was determined to get right up and do a video. And that’s just what I did. I had a slight panic about getting a second workout in before my meeting with my writing group but I am knocking down excuses. I decided to leave early for the library where we were meeting. The grounds have a path and a small lake with water fountains. And then suddenly I didn’t care that it was raining. That’s why people make jackets and umbrellas. Besides it was not storming and a few raindrops never hurt anybody, did they?

I walked around, still a little sore from the video but excited to make my way into our writing group meeting. Meeting with these ladies (and one gentleman at times) rejuvenates me. It reminds me why I love the written word-whether I’m writing it or reading it. It also reminds me that I have so much to learn about the craft of writing. As I am writing this, I am hit with the memories of where I was last year-no blog, no writing group, no writing classes taken and no community of writers to count as friends. It almost makes me sad for the woman who stood in her own way. All I had to do was reach out despite the fear and the hesitation and be confident that someone would reach back.

But it wasn’t time because I didn’t make it time. I know now is the time for writing, connecting and committing to my craft, my community and my health. It is a time for being truly well.

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Day 5

This has been the hardest by far. If I had a word for today, it would be resistance. I am not sure it is worth trying to figure out why. My husband and I went to a late movie last night and didn’t wind down until almost 2:00am. I had a great time and I don’t regret it. However, I am sure in the deep recesses of my mind, I am sure I told myself the lie that I would get up before church and walk. I slept until the very last minute and then some.

My husband and I stopped by a juice bar which was refreshing but I knew I needed to drink some water. I got home and still didn’t do it. I ate and ended up passing out on the couch without a drop to drink. When I woke up, I was determined to make up for my laziness earlier. I felt achy and tired and my mind was screaming for this to be the day that I blog about the one day I failed and I would just wake up tomorrow and try again. But that is something I am used to telling myself.

I went out and walked twice as long and have finished about half of my water intake. And I will workout with my 5lb weights in a couple of hours. I just don’t want to slip up unless there is an absolute real emergency. And as I write this, I am reminded of how much I have been given. I have breath, arms and legs, presence of mind and I am safe.

There are so many others who cannot say the same. I am thinking of those trying to escape flooding in Texas, those who struggle with debilitating physical and mental health issues, those children who live in food insecurity and so much more. I am taking all that I have and making it into something good. Something worthwhile. I owe it to myself. I cannot even give more of myself, to my husband, family, writing and the community in which I live until I do that, live up to all that has been given to me.

I am releasing this spirit of resistance. It certainly does not serve me well.

Stay tuned for Day 6!

Comment below on how you combat resistant thoughts.

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Day 4

The first day in this challenge with a schedule change. It was really Sleep-In Saturday for me. I didn’t want to leave the bed. Getting out of it was a struggle and as beautiful as it was outside today, I chose to let my body rest. I eventually got up and did another Afrifitness video. My husband and I had a signing we planned to go to for Arvat McClaine’s new book, When Black Women Speak the Universe Listens. I decided to wait until after the signing to get another workout in. In the meantime, I was able to fit in about half of my water intake for the day. As I am writing this, I still have the other half to go.

We thoroughly enjoyed the signing. It is always inspiring to watch a new author stand up and talk about his/her work, observe their nervous energy and then watch it fall away as they answer questions about their baby they’ve just birthed and are finally sharing with the world. I know my turn is coming. This challenge is teaching me I can build the discipline muscle to finish the works I have been writing and outlining for some time now. The fears I harbor about rejection don’t seem as daunting anymore.

After the signing, we walked downtown. I have been walking alone lately which I love but I always appreciate my husband’s company. Today taught me that I have to be ready for any schedule changes in completing this challenge. Adapt.

Stay tuned for Day 5!

 

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Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge-Day 3

 

I was wiped out last night but I was able to throw back the covers a lot easier this morning. My body knew what it had to do. I knew if I seriously contemplated saving my first workout for later on that a second workout might never happen. As for my water intake, that is going a lot better than I anticipated. Immediately jumping up for more water took the how I am going to drink enough question right out of the equation. I feel so much cleaner and a little less foggy. The only feeling I can compare it to is when I cut meat and dairy from my diet. After a couple of days of grogginess and fatigue, it is like I am breathing a different air and although I may not look like it, I am light as the air I am breathing.

As I was walking, I rounded the laps a little faster. It was all Mos Def, Kendrick and Jidenna in my ears today. No big aha moments. I just felt like I was right at home, feet crunching the gravel and soreness in my legs. After a green smoothie and hours at work, I came home and uploaded another Afrifitness video. This time it was two short videos, one with weights. I realized as much as I do not love strength training, I must do it. I can do cardio on my own but ask me to look at a weight lifting machine and something inside just shuts off and powers down. So, I will start with videos like these and see where the journey takes me.

I thought when I started to write about Day 3 nothing would come out. I would write a simple checklist. But a challenge is just more than just that. It is an unfolding, an unveiling, a test of character, even if it is drinking water, moving myself twice a day and writing about it every day.

Stay tuned for Day 4!

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Again

I was on the track walking and then I began to pick it up and jog. I heard myself breathe. Hard. Nothing polite about it. I always realize how much I miss this feeling when I start over again. And again.

To give you some background, in the early 2000’s I lost 70lbs. I ran 3-4 miles a day and I eventually became a vegetarian for two years. After a period of loneliness and depression post-undergrad, I gained all the weight back plus more. I have been fighting this battle ever since then. I have been on tons of diets, adopted a myriad of short-term lifestyle changes, only to let the old habits slide back in again. One thing I have never done or even allowed myself to think is this:

I am just going to give up. This is how I am suppose to be.

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In 2004 with my Mom.
Outside on the track
2017-Outside on the track

And when my face and body started to flake, peel and scar and the dreaded fibroids were found in my body, I began to pay less attention to numbers on a scale and more to the quality of what I was eating and imbibing. It has been an imperfect journey to say the least but I know one thing for sure. I am never giving up. I am saying yes to the whole foods, the sun, the joy that writing brings me, and hearing myself breathe hard.

Again.

And without a doubt, I hold dear the memories I have of myself in my early twenties. But that Kristina had her moment in the sun.

It’s my turn now.