Sunday, January 6, 2013

Energize: Be active, eat smart. Who knew?

I've written about the often-dreary month of November in Minnesota and how it saps my spirit and stamina. The days grow markedly shorter, the skies are leaden along with most of the landscape, and my seasonal affect disorder kicks in.

By December, days are even shorter but most days the sun shines brightly in a blue sky and reflects off a blanket of snow. The landscape glows softly with taupes and browns instead of gray. My spirits lift, and my attention turns to Christmas preparations.

This year, though I was enthusiastic about Christmas, and shopping, and decorating, my stamina didn't keep up with my inspiration. I had, in fact, become very sedentary over the past few months. Looking back, the trend was obvious. A broken leg last summer left me less active than usual. When Augie started kindergarten in September, ViMae and I settled into a routine of crafts, books, and role-playing. Occasionally we danced, ballet-style, but gone were most of the marching, running, climbing, crawling, rolling, high-energy activities instigated by our energetic boy. In November, my expectations are low, but that was masking something else.

In mid-December I realized I had little energy because I was sitting around too much.

So that was going to be my New Year's resolution: Move. Be Active. Energize. I was not going to use the term exercise, because it doesn't sound like fun and I knew it wouldn't motivate me. Fortunately, I had signed up for tap lessons, and I knew that not only would I practice but I would want to be toned and strong. Perfect!

Cinnamon rolls, potica, almond tea bread...yum!
Then on Christmas Eve I put myself into what I think of as a food coma. I started with a HoHo peppermint dark-chocolate mocha from Caribou Coffee (a regional chain coming soon to a neighborhood near you). While wrapping gifts I ate candied pecans, peppermint bark, Christmas cookies, chocolate. Peter and I began Christmas morning with holiday breads including Abby's to-die-for frosted cinnamon rolls, washed down with rich hot chocolate. Meals were not a her home Abby served up balanced, healthy, and delicious dinners both days. But at home I was indulging in too much Christmas cheer.

My simple New Year's initiative boils down to one word: Energize! But it has two components, movement and eating right. I've cut way down on the sweets and breads, and I've been getting a bit of exercise (shudder) by clearing snow from our sidewalks and driveway. Tap class was to start next week, and I've just learned it's canceled because I was the only student. But I'm going to take a few private lessons and look for another class, as well as schedule yoga and other activities instead of just leaving them to chance.

My motivators, leaving Santa a snack
It was all too easy to slip into bad habits without even noticing. I'm spelling it out (or spilling it) here to keep myself aware. Life is making precious few demands of me, but it offers wonderful opportunities, including two fabulous grandchildren. If I want to feel better, have more stamina, and just maybe stay active longer in life, I'd best make some demands of myself!


Daughter Number Three said...

Your post makes me think of two thing:

1. The story about how fructose (which makes up about half of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup) doesn't signal our brains that we've had enough, compared to sucrose, which does. I also think it can easily get into an upcycle of more an more that is hard to break without going cold turkey.

2. The story on NPR a few days ago about how we all think we won't change in the future, despite the fact that we know how much we have changed in the past.

So best of luck to you with getting in gear, the book, and the reassignment of dessert!

DJan said...

I think I have been very fortunate to have a distinct unpleasant reaction to eating something that has lots of sugar in it. My heart begins to pound and I break out in a sweat. So I hesitate before I do it (I still do it once in awhile) and most times the feeling passes.

But chocolate is in another complete universe. I have some every day, even if it is 85% cocoa and not even very sweet! :-)

Far Side of Fifty said...

I read where someone was doing a fruits and vegetables only diet..that sounded good to me. Too bad they canceled your tap class..I hope you find an acceptable substitute:)

Jeanie said...

It sounds like you have made some very positive decisions for yourself, and from what I know of you from reading here you will be very good on the follow-through.
I would love, love, love to take a tap dancing class. I have not seen one for adults around here, but I will have to look into that.
You have a couple of great, and very cute, motivators.

stephen Hayes said...

Socrates said the unexamined life wasn't worth living. We are wise to examine our lives from time to time to focus on what's important. I think you are doing that. Take care.

Grandmother Mary said...

Be active and eat smart sounds like a recipe for success. Good luck. Find something you love doing or keep at something until you love it and then you'll want to keep doing it. It's something we can do for ourselves when so much else is outside our control. Good for you to claim this goal.

Ms Sparrow said...

You might want to consider trying Curves. There's one at the corner of Snelling and Larpenteur. (I go to the one up on Rice Street.) Depending on your insurance, you can sign up for as little as $25 a year. It has helped me a lot.

Jayne Martin said...

Tap dancing sounds like a total blast! Good thinking. Happy New Year, my friend.

Linda Myers said...

Where we are wintering in Tucson, I have signed up for beginning line dancing. Looks like fun and a decent way to energize myself. I would much rather be reading a book or having a conversation, but I need the exercise too.

Miss Bea said...

I love that you want more energy in 2013! Here are my New year's Resolutions:

I refer to this post and put a link to it.
I'm in GA and we're getting 70's this weekend!! Bea

Teresa Evangeline said...

Love the new header photo! I'm trying to do more walking and cutting down on bread. That's the biggie. I love bread more than chocolate.

Jenn Jilks said...

Nice to visit another Gramma!
Good for you. You are right: eat less, be more active.
My grandkids keep me on my toes!
Cheers from Cottage Country!

Mommy Evolution said...

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Joyful said...

It can be so hard to fit everything into our busy lives. I've been wanting to take yoga for some time. I still haven't managed but somehow I will. I hope you do too. I think it is hands down one of the best overall exercise regimens. Best wishes on your new plans.

Sally Wessely said...

I'm with you on this. It seems hard for me to get out there and move it. My hubby and I are doing Pilates. I was really surprised when he agreed to take lessons. I'm proud of you for taking dance lessons. That sounds fun. I'm sorry the class didn't make, but you found a way to dance anyway.

Keep on moving.

Unknown said...

Oh I identify with this so much! We all eat too many sweets over the holidays and it really does zap energy. Here's to getting back on track!

Julie Magers Soulen Photography

Unknown said...


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