Sunday, January 1, 2012

31 Days to Better Health - Day 1

I hope you are all ready for day 1 of the 31 days to better health. Today we will be day where we start to think about what we want and why we don’t have it yet with the operative word in that sentence being yet.  Please think carefully about what you want since that will be what guides your actions throughout the rest of the process. If after a few days of exercises you want to change your answers to day 1 you can do that too. Another idea would be repeating the exercises in the month of February with an entirely different facet of your life if that feels more manageable to you. I decided to start with more than one area of life at a time since I thought that might help you to see all the ways these exercises could be used. With all that in mind let’s get started. *woo hoo*

Defining Success and What is Holding You Back:

My father is very fond of saying that you have to know where you want to go or you will never get there. I heard this so often as a child that I grew to really hate that phrase. However the older I get the more I began to see the wisdom in his words. Since we all want to be successful in our endeavors I thought we should start with defining what success means to each of us. I am hoping that you will be willing to post your definition of success in the comments for a few reasons. First by outlining it publically you are committing to something in front of other people. Second your definition of success may give other people ideas which would be a wonderful gift. Third by thinking about success long enough to write it down I believe it makes things more real and therefore more likely to happen.

Since I am asking you publically define success I will go first so you aren’t alone. ;-) I really had to think about this one for a while. There are so many different ways that I could have defined success based on various factors in my life. Since I didn’t want to leave anything out I decided to define it this way:

Success for me would be:

a) the most happy, healthy and fulfilling marriage possible
b) doing something I love for a career
c) being the healthiest that I can be at my age
d) helping others to be their healthiest
e) being an inspiration

Gee, nothing like pressure right? ;-) It is a little scary to commit to this publically, but no pain no gain I assume. If you found that part tough I am sorry to tell you that you might like the next part of this post either.

What is holding you back from being more successful? Ouch! This is a tough question for me as I imagine it is for you. I don’t like to think of areas where I am less than perfect and I bet I am not alone. However if we don’t acknowledge what we need to fix/change we can’t improve. With that in mind really dig deep to figure out what is holding you back. In my opinion I would be more successful if I didn’t let the fear of failure stop me from taking risks. Having always been a bit of a perfectionist (major understatement BTW) failure, or even the fear of it, can be crippling to me. I have to really suck it up to attempt things where the outcome isn’t certain. What holds you back from being more successful? It can be more than one thing and if it is write them all down.

Now let’s think of something more pleasant. How would life be different if you could let go of what is holding you back and be true to yourself? This is another one of those multipart answers.

If I weren’t worried about the fear of failure then:

a) I would know that it is fine to make mistakes but that is how all of us learn and grow.
b) I wouldn’t care that people disagreed with me and thought my ideas about food and nutrition were extreme and/or over the top.
c) I would be happy and fulfilled because I would be contributing something important (better health) to others.

Okay, one more question and we are done for the day, thank goodness. Given your individual definition of success what are you willing to do today that will move you toward your goal. Since my definition of success had multiple parts here is what I will be working on today.

a) Today I am will spend an uninterrupted evening with my husband. Since we have both returned to our normal routines I feel like we need to spend more quality time together. I am going to stay off computer this evening and during the week when he is home. This will be tough but I think that I can do it. *fingers crossed*
b) In terms of doing something that I love as a career, I commit to spend at least an hour today working on my business plan
c) I will start off the year healthy with a good workout and nutritious and healthy food. Additionally I also do at least one thing that makes me happy and feeds my soul.
d) Today I am helping others to be the healthiest they can be with the blog.
e) I will make the best choices that I can make and I will share both my successes and challenges on the blog.

Now it is your turn, how will you work toward fulfilling what you outlined as your definition of success?

I hope you found these questions to be thought provoking. The one about what is holding you back was the toughest for me to admit to myself and to all of you. It is difficult for all of us to acknowledge our shortcomings but we all have them whether we admit them out loud or not. The most important thing is to admit them to ourselves.

Tomorrow we will work on our purpose and whether we have the passion to make our purpose a reality.

Saturday Update:

We started the morning with bowls of savory oatmeal. Yes I said we, as in both Dan and I had savory oatmeal. In the interest of honesty I have to tell you that it wasn’t his first choice as we all know he would prefer to have his oatmeal sweetened with fruit and topped with nuts and seeds. We had a long talk about the benefits of having vegetables in his breakfast and since he loves Italian flavors he agreed to try my Italian version this morning.

This oatmeal was flavored with: freshly grated garlic, nutritional yeast, Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds and black pepper. I stirred in diced tomatoes and cooked artichokes to the cooked oats. The oatmeal was topped with a little lemon dressed arugula and a few pine nuts. Even my finicky husband agreed that it was good. He told me he is willing to have savory oatmeal (versus sweet) 25% of the time. I would say we made huge progress. *woo hoo*

We slept in on Saturday so our breakfast was eaten later than usual. This meant that I opted to skip an actual lunch knowing that we were going out to dinner. I did have my usual 2 Brazil nuts (for the selenium), roasted seaweed and 2 prunes though.

However Dan had room for lunch so I made him his favorite smoothie, the chocolate and cherry one with kale. He loves this and asks for it often, very often in fact. It makes me happy when he requests food that is good for him.

We had a slight change of plans for the evening. Michael broke one of his molars and was in a lot of pain. He said the pain was bearable as long as he didn’t eat. Since we were going out to dinner Michael's broken tooth put a cramp in the plans. Aimee and Michael ended up staying home for the evening and having soup for dinner. *boo hoo* It was very weird not spending New Year’s Eve with them since we do it every year. Poor Michael has to wait until Monday to see the dentist because of the timing of his broken tooth.

Since the kids weren’t coming out to eat we cancelled our original dinner reservations and went to see Ian and the gang instead. We knew that downtown was going to be a mess because of the festivities so we opted for an early dinner so that we could get to the marina earlier in hope that this would secure a parking space.

Dinner started with an amuse buse of mushrooms and onions on crispy flat bread.

The next course was a lentil and shitake mushroom soup that Ian had flavored with miso. I would have never thought to add miso to a lentil soup but it was delicious. He was serving it topped with duck for the omnivores, but I thought it had great flavor and didn’t need the duck. We both enjoyed this soup a lot and I will be adding miso the next time I make a lentil soup. The miso added a wonderful depth of flavor. Ian is brilliant with flavor combinations even though he claims that he can’t do vegan food…. he is very wrong about that.

The next course was flavorful salad which included: sweet potatoes, mango, jicama and herbs over arugula. I could have eaten a vat of this stuff. It was delicious!

The last dish was also phenomenal. Ian topped a quinoa pilaf with red cabbage, carrots and potatoes and a peanut and lime sauce. I told him the peanut sauce was amazing and that he should keep some of that on hand in the freezer to make quick veggie dishes for us anytime. I really loved the sauce in case it wasn’t obvious. In spite of Ian’s classical French training his Asian and Latin food is the bomb. I need to get him to tell me exactly what was in that sauce so I can share it with you because it was amazing.

During dinner we were chatting with everyone at the restaurant as well as each other. It was a laid back evening filled good people and great food.

After dinner there were lots of holiday hugs and Happy New Year wishes and we were off to the marina. We decided to stop at home first and pick up the Boodles (it is a British gin) to have a gin and tonic since it was a national holiday. I haven’t had a gin and tonic in literally years and I just thought that it sounded good so that is what we did.

Downtown was a little bit of mess but other than taking longer to get through traffic we arrived at the marina, got a parking space and made out way to the boat. It was a little cool on the boat (52.5 degrees inside) but by the time we left the temperature was in the mid-60s so I wasn’t too cold.

While we waited for the midnight fireworks we chatted with some of our boat neighbors while sipping a gin and tonic. Chris told us that she has been sharing roasted seaweed with others at the marina and so far they have all really liked it. *woo hoo*

When we got a little chilly we went below deck, turned on some jazz (Jeff Kashiwa to be specific) and danced a little while we talked. Dan and I spend a lot of time talking. Sometimes it is serious but most of the time we are just catching up and sharing what we are thinking. I believe that the reason our relationship is so strong is that we are both willing to bare our soul to the other.

I took my camera with the new lens to the boat since it has a much lower f-stop (1.4) I knew it would be good in low light. Here is a shot of Jim’s boat decorated for Christmas which I took to test out the settings I was going to use for the fireworks. I am really enjoying my new lens since this shot would have been impossible with my other lenses.

When the fireworks went off the sky literally filled with light. From the back of our boat we actually had a front row seat. If anything we were almost too close. The photos were taken without a telephoto lens which shows you how close the light show was to us. The fireworks were gorgeous and we enjoyed them. It was wonderful to be able to wait in the comfort of the boat for the show to start and to go right back below deck when it was over. I have been so intolerant of the cold weather it is almost funny. It is hard to believe that I grew up on Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana right in the heart of the snow belt. Thirty years in the Mid-Atlantic has turned me into a cold weather wimp.

We waited a little while on the boat for traffic to reduce and headed for home. For those of you who are local we took Key Hwy to 95 going by the Wine Market and then jumped on 395 to Martin Luther King to head north and that worked like a charm. We didn’t get stuck in any traffic. Love that!

Happy Thoughts:

• We had a nice relaxing New Year’s Eve. Dinner was delicious and it was fantastic to see Ian and the gang. Each time I stop in for dinner I am reminded how lucky we are to have such a welcoming place in our neighborhood. Not many classically trained chefs are willing to make vegan food and love Ian for doing that for us. Getting so many hugs when we arrived and left was also nice. Everyone at the restaurant treats us like we are family. I have mentioned many times how great it is to have “our place”. If you don’t have somewhere that you go all the time where they know your name and what you like I highly recommend that you find one.

• Dan made me happy by agreeing to have savory oatmeal for breakfast. I know that sounds like a little thing but it was a big deal here. Dan is not as open to “different” food as I am so it meant a lot that he was willing to break out of his comfort zone for me. Of course it also helped that he enjoyed it even though he didn’t want to admit it. ;-)

• The fireworks display was great last night. It was quite the light show and we couldn’t have gotten much closer. I got so many good pictures it was difficult to decide on the few to include. We had such a great view I can’t wait for the 4th of July Fireworks now.

• I woke up this morning with an uncomfortable dull sensation in the front of my head. I was immediately reminded that I had a gin and tonic last night. It is amazing that my tolerance for gin is basically non-existent now. To think a dry gin martini used to be my “poison” of choice. The uncomfortable feeling (which wasn’t intense enough to call pain) was a very good reminder that alcohol is a toxin that it is best for me to stay away from. I am happy that I was able to recognize a gentle reminder rather than a hard knock up the side of the head (like a real hangover). ;-)

• Our 2012 is starting off well with an uncharacteristic warm weather. Who would expect temperatures in the 60s in January? What a nice way to welcome in the New Year. *happy dance*

Signing out:

We need to head out soon and get to the marina. The refrigerator on the boat needs to be emptied out for the season and defrosted. Given our gorgeous weather both of us thought today would be a great day to take care of that little task which we have been avoiding.

Talk with you again tomorrow. I hope you had a great New Year’s Eve and that the New Year started off well for you. :-)

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