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Better 'Burgh Living: Meeting Emily, and Becoming Mindful.


Normally, my personal references in the blog are limited to waxing poetic about my dogs, however the celebration of my 40th year (although a very cool, nice, round number), did give me some anxiety about my bad habits.  I started wondering when, exactly, all of this was supposed to catch up to me.

It was triggered by my increased awareness of the comments of friends and strangers on my downright childish eating habits.  You know, the ones that go something like, "Wow, if I ate like you I would weigh a million pounds".  Well, guess what?  The big fat zero at the end of my new age seems to be making an appearance in my figure as well.  The things I could get away with up until now (countless cans of sugary soda, dinners of Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups, and an absolute aversion to anything resembling exercise), are starting to produce some alarming results.  I realized that I didn't just need to tweak my lifestyle, I needed a complete overhaul.

Thankfully, my encounter with Health Coach Emily Levenson had perfect timing.  We both attended a Bricolage Theater event, and from that second I knew I must get her help in turning this bus around.
The first step prior to the initial consultation with Emily, was to put some thought into exactly what I wanted to accomplish at the end of the day.  It was easy to generalize what I wanted the outcome to be; more energy, maybe a little weight loss, getting my butt off of the desk chair, but getting specific proved to be a greater challenge than I anticipated, and had a side effect that was, in my world, revolutionary.

"You've discovered Mindfulness!", said Emily, looking at me as if I was the star pupil in class.  Really?

Here's how it went down:
To really get into the specifics of my bad habits, I started concentrating on how I interacted with my environment.  When did my body want to go to sleep? What food was I really in the mood for? Was I eating this because it was easy, or because my body wanted it?  I learned that sometimes I was just thirsty, and probably a little dehydrated for goodness sake, from my lack of water intake.  I learned that I thought grape tomatoes were manna from heaven.  I learned that I was sadly mistaken in my assumption I was a night person, and that my body loved having a full eight hours.  I started to feel and act healthier, just by thinking about being healthier 

It wasn't all unicorns and glitter though. My elliptical, a mere steps from the desk I am writing at now, started to take on mythical proportions as a representation of my many failed attempts at getting healthy.  Before, I would have demurely walked by it without a second glance.  Now, it shouted at me every time I sat down to work. "Lazy, lazy, lazy", it said.  Urgh.  This was clearly something Emily and I needed to work on. The realization that I polished off a gallon and a half of whole milk solo in one week was, to put it mildly, alarming.  Also, the acceptance that Emily's suggestion; my insanely disruptive allergies are likely aggravated by my intense dairy intake, slowly began to gain a reluctant acceptance.  Although the thought of quitting dairy entirely would truly push me over the edge, I actually bought a half gallon of almond milk in place of one of the whole milks I would usually buy.  I'm not saying I've opened it yet.  But it's there, whispering at me from the refrigerator, just audible over the bantering from the elliptical.

But you see, this is what it is all about.  We set ourselves up for failure by setting grand, impossible to achieve, goals.  I am the master of writing up a plan, and then beating myself up a week later for not sticking to it. Then, inevitably, just giving up since I clearly am a horrible, horrible person for failing in the first place.  Now, here was someone telling me it was the small changes.  Having a water instead of soda every once in a while, and then, if you still want a soda, HAVE IT.  At least you added a healthy option to the mix.  I would reach for a handful a fresh grape tomatoes before going for the chocolate.  Yes, I still sometimes ate the chocolate, but at least I got in a serving of, gasp, fruit.  And sometimes, just sometimes mind you, I didn't even want the chocolate.  Revolutionary I tell you.

Emily and I will be working together over the course of the next several months, to bring you a three part series entitled "Better 'Burgh Living".  Although there will be a focus in each (Food, Exercise and Mind), getting you healthy is a messy process, so you shall see some overlap from one to the other!  I am very much looking forward to the next post, when Emily and I go to the grocery store together! Stay tuned......

Are you interested in taking the steps now to "'Better 'Burgh Living"? Contact Health Coach Emily Levenson via email, or visit her Website.  You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter!



3 comments:

gewima'sbro said...

It is so hard to stick to a healthy diet and exercise regimen. I believe that rewarding desired behavior is an effective reinforcement. That's why I never fail to keep handy a supply of Munson's bridge mix and dark choc non-pareils. Our dog loved bridge mix and lived to be 20. That's 140 in human years. I aspire to the same diet and longevity.

Mel said...

This is awesome! I'm excited to track your progress.

I met Emily that same night, and I definitely need to get in touch with her.

Ron said...

Ok...so I read this entry as I was having my second Snicker's Peanut Butter Bar of the day and now I feel guilty. I generally don't eat the stuff, but it was calling me from the vending machine. LOL

One of my favorite snacks is frozen seedless grapes....AWESOME and tasty. little balls of frozen goodness that melt in your mouth! Now I have to go to the produce section and get me some!

Great posting Erin!