IF.IS.IT.

It’s been about 50 days since my last post on Life: from A to Z and I’m happy to be back and coming at you with some of my latest news…

“I” is for Intermittent Fasting

I’m happy, and almost reluctant, to report that I’ve been experimenting with Intermittent Fasting for just over a month and my weight is back down to what is was at the pre-COVID mark. While that number is still too large (see my old progress report here), it is TWELVE pounds lighter than I was when I started the 16 hour fasts in early March.

Bottom line: My weight is where it was on March 9th, 2020, right before the pandemic shut me down and binge eating and television watching became my new go-to sport.

That being said, I am SUPER jazzed about bringing back my New Lifestyle, New Me series because I’ve been making some life changing discoveries. First and foremost, when I spent my time and energy focusing on food—as in what I should eat, when I should eat, and how much I should eat (not to mention macronutrients and all of that other stuff!!)—then “food” became my primary focus, which made it almost impossible to NOT eat. Food, food, FOOD… THAT is what was ruling my mind this time last year.

I don’t want to get into any particulars on intermittent fasting because it’s so popular these days and all one has to do is Google search it or look for smart phone apps and all of the details and info are right there at your fingertips. What I WILL say is that fasting, unlike dieting, has allowed my brain to NOT think about food. With that little reprieve, I’ve been able to put my mind to better use by learning about cravings, habit loops and reward-based learning (Dr. Judson Brewer has some great stuff).

It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we DON’T put our minds to it. Ha!

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I’ll be back soon enough. I have 3 weeks left of classes and then I’ll be graduating with my Bachelor’s degree!! Yipeee!! Summer will be a time for fun, laughter and celebration and—God willing—a time to throw off the old masks and live life to the fullest.

About the Image

Speaking of masks, I created the featured image for this post because the mask is supposed to represent “fasting,” not COVID. That’s why my nose is exposed. To add to that, the image of me was taken quite a while ago, maybe 10 years or so, and when I found it I was thrilled at how thin and healthy I looked. I added the mask (obviously) with Photoshop, and then did a little manipulating with some of my cool iPhone apps to make it look like a sketch. I’m sure that at the time the photo was taken I probably hated the image. That’s just the way it always is (and I’m sure I speak for many women on that).

And I think I learned something when I found that old thing hiding in a soon to be deleted digital folder—I learned that we’re not always as “bad” as we believe we are. We think that we are too fat, too old, too skinny, too wrinkled, too young, too short, too tall… and the list goes on and on… but when we look back with fresh eyes we realize that all we’ve really been is WAY TOO hard on ourselves. So just stop.

“There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either.”

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Have a beautiful evening and I’ll see you all soon!

—Janet

Recalibrating

Would you believe that tomorrow marks the beginning of WEEK TWELVE of my New Lifestyle, New Me project? Wow! It feels as though I’ve lost part of my life somehow—like my wall calendar has this huge red “X” scratched across the month of April or something. And half of May too!

Not to worry. As of today, there are still 532 days for me to hit my first “weight loss” goal. So… I’m in the process of recalibrating. All of this “stay at home” time has given me an opportunity to think, and to get to know myself a little better. I’ve noticed that I still have this default mode that makes me want to emulate other people. I’m not talking about the desire to be fit, there is nothing wrong with that—what I’m talking about are the numerous methods one can use in order to “get” fit.

When you think of fitness, what comes to your mind? Running? Aerobics? Joining a gym? Actually, I do have a gym membership that’s on hold due to COVID, but that’s another story. What I’m trying to say is that most of these ideas are default answers. They’re the things that automatically come to mind when thinking about fitness (or just being “active”), but they’re not necessarily things that I enjoy doing. When I set this change in motion, I wanted my new lifestyle to be different, to be fun, and—last but not least—to be adventurous.

I’ve been reading a book about prayer (thank you Collette) and something the author said really stuck with me. A lot of people put off praying because they think that they need to have everything in order before they pray. But the truth of the matter is… it is “through” our prayers that we begin transformation, and start getting things in order. It’s like putting the cart before the horse. It’s not a huge surprise either. I know people who to do house “clean-ups” before the housekeeper comes to clean! That’s actually the perfect analogy.

I mentioned a while back that once I weighed a little less, and was more limber, I wanted to sign up for some dance lessons. After reading that little tidbit on prayer, I realized what I had actually said in my statement… I wanted to get in shape, before getting in shape! What a bunch of phooey.

We’re in the beginning phase of “re-entry” here, so things won’t be happening right away, but I’m feeling good. Mid-June looks like a good time to start my own new phase—a new adventure—giving me 30 days to do my research. The goal is to start with a simple stretch class. I LOVE to stretch!

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s time to “DO” the things I love—NOT to plan and prepare, and “get myself in order” so that one day I can do what I love. Life is too short for that.

It’s time to dance!


Thank you for reading… I hope you’re all doing what you love!!
—Janet

The featured image is something that I chose because it makes me feel calm. A beautiful rose, whose petals are slowly unfolding to form a wonderful pattern… like a beautiful dance.

Word of the Day Challenge: Dancing

Pier Ride

Buckle Up!

This image depicts a good chunk of my life: One Wild Ride. Full of ups and downs, spins and twists, hairpin turns— and (far too many) “hold onto your hat!” moments. Of course, the ride in the photograph is actually pretty tame—hence the bold colors and wild effects that I’ve added.

I thought it was a fun thing to do today. This is from my Santa Monica Pier archives, from several years back. I’m beginning to think that my recent obsession with bright colors has something to do with feeling pent up. I don’t react well to being caged. Ha-ha! True story.

New Lifestyle Update

I’m still on hiatus from my walking, but I’m buckling down and putting a (semi) routine together: Walks on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I think that’s about all I can handle right now but it’s my minimum. If I do more than that, then how awesome is that!? And I do notice that walking day after day doesn’t necessarily work for me. I feel weak the day after a long walk, so I like the idea of resting days in between.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve actually done a lifestyle change before (altering my diet and adding exercise) and I lost 50 pounds doing it. I’d say that, all in all, it took about a year. I was in my 30’s (from what I remember) and the method was simple: eating healthier, unprocessed foods, and walking 3 miles, 3 times per week. And honestly, I’m pretty sure it was the walking routine that did the trick.

Anyway, I like the idea of a routine like this because I won’t guilt myself out on the days I rest and I’ll really “look forward” to the days that I do walk. Like tomorrow, for example! I’m really jazzed knowing that tomorrow is THE DAY. I’ll get up early, pack up my bag (which just arrived) and be out the door. I like that plan!

That’s about all for now. Thanks for reading!


The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
—Mike Murdock

Strawberries

A Good Harvest

Today was a beautiful day.

It felt like summer this morning so I took my walk early. I wanted my energy level to be high. Exercise seems to be the “in” thing right now because there were people everywhere. Walking, jogging, cycling… I was constantly zigzagging across streets, making sure to stay 6 feet away. How weird that feels! I try to acknowledge everyone—offering a smile, a wave, or a friendly “hello”—just to let them know I’m not trying to be avoidant. Or rude.

Still no photographs from the streets. I ordered a super lightweight backpack to carry my water, camera, and music… so after Saturday I’m ready to rock and roll. Now let’s hope for some good photo-ops!

And if not, that’s alright too. On my walk… I realized that I’ve got to stop building these expectations. That’s what the problem has been.

I need to Just BE. Just ENJOY.
Stop thinking and worrying about plans… and Just DO.


Things are as they are, we suffer because we imagined different.

That’s about all for now, thanks for reading!

Walk Stats: 3.46 Miles / 1 Hour, 19 Minutes / 8,484 Steps


About the Image: My mood was so elevated after soaking in all of that sunshine that I roamed the backyard to see what I could share. I’ve been watching these hanging strawberries and this afternoon they were begging for a selfie.

Artwork

The Quarantine Project

Resurrecting Gratitude

When the (unofficial) quarantine began, I was on a mission. Two if you count the New Lifestyle New, New Me project—but that actually started before “everything changed.” What I’m referring to, and what I totally lost sight of, were my Daily Gratitude posts. It completely slipped my mind.

How easy it is to forget gratitude. For me anyway. I was reminded of this by Rebekah at forty-one-ten (who I just discovered and started following because she’s a wonderful writer). Rebekah proposed a new idea,

The Quarantine Writing Project

And here are her words on the project:


“Write about the ways in which you and your family fill the long hours of each day. Or write about your hopes and fears. Write about the things you’ve witnessed (good or bad). Write something funny. Or write about the things for which you’ve learned to be grateful during this difficult time.”

I’ve been hemming and hawing over this for a few days. To be honest, and please don’t hold this against me, it’s hard to come up with “quality” content right now. Benjamin Franklin sure got it right…


“Either Write Things Worth Reading or Do Things Worth the Writing.”

It’s hard to find new material while sitting in my living room. BUT, I can always find something to be grateful for—which would include the fact that I even HAVE a living room to sit in.

So, without further ado… Today I am EXTREMELY grateful that the rain has stopped and the sun is shining. I think the rain has been harder (on those of us in my household) than any fears or restrictions imposed on us due to the virus. I’m grateful that I’m healthy and strong, and able to walk… so I’m off to do just that; I’m going to take a walk.

I pray that my body and soul are nourished and energized by the exercise and the sunshine, and that new ideas will fill my heart and mind so that I’ve something of value to share with you all upon my return.

I may just take my camera… still debating.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Bird with Pickle

Who’s Got my Pickle?

I thought I’d wrap up the night with another Food Fun Fact.

One thing I’ve noticed about “healthy” food is that… sometimes… it’s just plain awful. It tastes so BLAND. Would you like some seasoning with your cardboard?

Every time I go out for groceries it feels like I’m on a scavenger hunt. Of course, this applies even more so right now—with COVID-19—because it’s hard to find many foods PERIOD.

Several years back I had the pleasure of tasting Boar’s Head Horseradish Bread & Butter Pickles, and I’ve never forgotten those tasty chips. They’ve been pretty hard to find, but I scored a jar recently on one of my excursions.

According to numerous sources, pickles have been considered a health food for centuries. Julius Caesar is said to have fed them to his troops to boost strength, and Cleopatra favored them as a beauty aid. Go figure!

Personally, jazzing up my “healthy” food with spices, citrus, and condiments (like horseradish or these awesome bold pickles) helps keep me on track because it makes those otherwise boring meals fun and exciting.

The Good news here is that 3 pickle chips have just 40 calories and a low glycemic load. The not so good news, for those watching their salt, is the 200 mg of sodium.

Anyway… another fun thing about pickles is that I found a use for this old (upcycled) photograph from the beach. I did NOT feed the bird… I simply caught him in the act after he raided a nearby beach blanket picnic.

That’s about all for now. Thank you for reading!