Summer Solstice Reflections

Novel Attitude: How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Weekly Goals: Try some rodeo fun at the dude ranch, begin The Whole30, keep on punning

I went to the Sunday Flow and Yin class at Dragonfly Hot Yoga this evening, my favorite class of the week.  It is the perfect set-up for relaxation, calmness, and focus going into a fresh week. The instructor Will does a great job of guiding the class through poses and asking us to follow our breath, a constant reminder that yoga is your practice and your time. He began class with eleven sun salutations in respect to the Summer Solstice, which I had completely forgotten about.  When we revisited our intention throughout class, he asked us to think about what we had accomplished in the past half year and what we want to accomplish in the latter half.

For me, this brings mixed feelings. I have always struggled with eating healthy and staying active. I’ve been pretty good in the past with finding activities to keep me active, but I lost sight of that after my first year in Madison. Trips to the gym became less and less, and it demotivated me from wanting to try other intensive activities. I’ve had spurts of motivation such as running a few races last summer or joining a flag football team three years ago, but they don’t last long enough to make a true difference.

Recognizing this poor trend, I tried to switch it up this year. I wanted to try group activities and personal weight training because these hold me more accountable to show. Surprisingly enough, my boyfriend introduced me to hot yoga in January, and in March I decided to become a full member. I’ve been averaging about one to two classes a week since March, which for me is actually a huge accomplishment. No, it’s not enough to make a difference in my weight, but it does reinforce the habit of consistency with a fitness activity. Now that I have the basics down, I’m bumping up my goal to three times a week.

Usually, I get really discouraged by going to a new activity only once a week and would have quit after the first month. I don’t want to punish myself for not doing something enough, especially something I enjoy. I have a tendency to stop doing things altogether when I think I’m going to be bad at it the next time I do it.  All of these new activities and goals I’ve set this summer are an attempt to train myself out of this mentality. The only one judging me for “not being good enough” is me. And that’s okay. It’s an attitude adjustment to continue working to be my best rather than getting discouraged because I’m not the best now. Let’s think of it this way – if I work as hard as possible in each class, then I truly am being my best. This seems like a much healthier approach to fitness goals than simply giving up because I feel weak, out of shape, and embarrassed. I can’t promise that I will always feel positive going into the class, but I can guarantee that I will always feel better coming out.

When I focus on fitness only, I feel pretty good about what I’ve done the past six months. I cannot say the same about food. I love food, and it does not love me. The problem is that while I absolutely love vegetables and fish and healthy things, I also love oil and bacon and processed snacks (okay, maybe a touch more love). Processed snacks are so much easier and mindless to eat than “healthy” stuff. And then there’s the portion control issue. Even with healthy food, I have a tendency to overeat. From a weight loss and health perspective, that’s probably not too big of an issue, honestly. I seriously doubt it’s humanly possible to eat too much broccoli. The true problem, that I’m realizing as I write this, is that overeating the healthy stuff is reinforcing the behavior with unhealthy stuff. With this in mind, portion control and healthy eating need to by my focus over the next six months, and hopefully this will translate into a learned behavior for the rest of my life, a behavior that I will continue to struggle with but be better adapted to control.

A year ago one of my sisters introduced me to a lifestyle called the Whole30 that begins with a 30 day experiment on yourself. I really like this concept because during the 30 days of clean eating, you learn how your body reacts to healthy and non-healthy foods. My skin cleared up; my mood brightened, and my waist slimmed! After the 30 days, your begin the lifestyle phase by reintroducing food groups into your diet. This is the challenge because I never really tackle portion control during the first 30 days and end up gaining some of the weight back. Tomorrow, I am going to restart The Whole30 with a focus on portion control. The point of the Whole30 is not to lose weight, though that is a benefit. The point is to develop a healthy relationship with food. I plan on conquering both.*

*A few folks reached out to me with similar weight loss goals. If you want to have a health buddy this summer, let me know! 🙂

One thought on “Summer Solstice Reflections”

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