Thursday, December 10, 2009

Let Your Personality Show!

I went to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, FL last weekend. I met some beautiful beings with lots of character there!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

INGHC - Step 3: Because I said so!

The fire of desire burns bright! Step 3 of the strategy is Reasons for Desired Change. When I quit smoking, I realized just how important it was to have clear (written down) reasons of why I wanted to quit smoking. Having been a smoker for 8 years, I had tried to quit 5 times previously and failed, but this last time was really different. Even though I'm not completely out of the woods (I've only been a non-smoker for about 2.5 months,) I feel solid and strong in my new non-smoking status. Why am I feeling so smug this time around? Here's why: Each time I'm tempted to have a cigarette I choose to gain the list of reasons why instead.

The key with modifying a behavior lies not with deprivation (or the lack of something), but rather with that which you have to gain, benefit from or conquer.

When making your list, make sure to word it as you would in a moment of temptation. For example here's what I wrote:

I choose not to have a cigarette because
  • It makes my muscles feel easier to move (I noticed that physical activity became more difficult after a cigarette)
  • I prefer to sing in the car (There had been plenty of times I'd have to skip a few lines in a song because I was puffing away.)
  • It pushes me to find new ways to treat myself (Now I spoil myself in ways that won't give me cancer. :0)
  • It is my next step in personal growth
  • I appreciate my throat feeling good (My throat had begun to be sore in the mornings.)
  • I love myself (Respecting my body is fairly new to me. In the past I've only fixated on mind, with little to no regard for my body.)
  • Only awe will take my breath away

I posted this list on a large board in my bedroom and read it over daily. (Another good tip is to have a copy on you at all times - in your wallet, pocket, purse, etc.) Then, each time an urge would arise, I would think about it and decide to choose all those things on the list over the cigarrette. Whenever that didn't seem like enough, I would count my money and consider someone (god forbid multiple people) catching me and having to pay up!
Failure is not a bad thing. It really teaches us what we need in order to succeed. By failing 5 times, I learned the right formula for myself, which involved having various backup plans, should the first fail.

So, now to apply all that to my current challenge. Why do I want to become a physically strong and fit individual with well established eating and exercising habits?

I choose to become this because
  • It will give me more energy on a daily basis to do crazy projects.
  • I want my body to house my soul on this earth for a long time.
  • I want to not jiggle when I run.
  • I want to climb a flight of stairs and feel invigorated by it (not drained.)
  • Doing so will raise my confidence level.
  • I will be able to fit into clothes which I have stored at the back of my closet.
  • It will make me strong enough to take a dance class.
  • I want to rid myself of emotional eating.
  • It's my next step in personal growth.
  • It's the next sign of respect for my body.
  • I'm in control of choosing the life I want to have and the person I want to be.

There's my list of reasons, (YOUR TURN) make your own and make sure to post it somewhere where you'll see it every day! Don't forget to share a few or all of them with friends and family in person, on facebook, twitter, or wherever!

Next up in our strategy is The Detailed Game Plan!

Monday, December 7, 2009

INGHC - Step 2: Visualize, Set, Go!

(INGHC - I'm Not a Gopher Health Challenge)

Step 2 of the strategy is Specific Goal Setting. With goal setting it is important to keep the following in mind:
- Determine the appropriate length of time to attain your goal. Goals without a time frame easily get lost into the land of procrastination or Never-Never land.
- Make goals as specific as possible. Being able to measure where you're at along the way will help keep you on track and focused.
- With that said, it's also important not to get too absorbed in those measurements obsessively and check them too often. Goals are about fine tuning your life, not about taking over your life.

Here are my set goals:

Time frame - 6 months (First day 12/5/09 - Last day 6/5/10)

At the moment, my BMI is at the low end of the obesity range. My goal is to get it to the top end of the healthy range. To do so, I need to loose 30 lbs and an over all of 15 inches.
Target: 150lbs. and 200 inches measured (starting points listed in previous step)

Using the 1 to 10 scale from the previous step, my goal is to shift my responses to:
Energy level - 8
Great mood - 9
Amount of daily exercise - 7
My goals regarding activity related habits are:
- Do a full 1 hour workout (cardio and strength) a minimum of 3 times per week
- Walk for a minimum of 30 minutes daily, without fail. (Not to be counted as part of the above workout.)

I am happy remaining vegetarian for now, so the main changes in this area will be with general time management habits.
- Plan 1 week ahead for most meals
- Eat nothing within 3 hours before bedtime
- Have meals at approximately the same time daily
- Maintain satiety levels at 3/4 full throughout the day

I make healthy choices already with the foods I eat for the most part, so I don't feel a need to cover that area. However, continuous nutritional education is always a good idea. Having said that, here are some nutritional pointers I try to keep in mind:
- Avoid corn syrup like the plague
- Never eat or drink any thing labeled "diet"
- Don't add additional salt or sugar to any prepared food or drinks
- Only consume foods whose ingredients are items you'd find in a normal kitchen not a science lab (If I can't pronounce it, I won't eat it!)

Progress Check-ins: Once a month (Next check-in January 5, 2010)

That's it! Next up in our strategy is Reasons for Desired Change (the why, oh, why!)

I'm No Gopher Health Challenge - Step 1: It's true, I'm not perfect.

Step 1 of my strategy outline is: Self Evaluation of Current State. Before we head out on a journey, no matter what the destination, we first have to know where we are starting from. It's not always pretty and usually there's a reason we intend to travel elsewhere, but in order to lay down a brick road, it's just as important to know where to place the first brick as it is where to place the last. It is best to be brutally honest with ourselves at this stage, while at the same time, making sure we don't fall prey to shame or guilt! What matters is the present decision to make a change. Even if you're not ready to take action on that change immediately, the realization that you're not where you want to be matters a lot.

I've broken down the self evaluation to include current height/weight, bmi, body measurements, energy level, exercise/eating habits, mood and photos to visually document my current state. Before I list all of my details, I invite you, once again, to join in if you feel you could benefit from developing healthier habits by participating in the interactive parts of this challenge! Make sure to look out for the highlighted labels: YOUR TURN for the interactive bits.

Okay, (deep breath) here's my breakdown:

Levels: (1 is the least & 10 is the most)
Energy level - 6
Great mood - 7
Amount of daily exercise - 4

Eating Habits:
The number of meals and the times at which I have them vary daily.
I am a late night eater.
I get caught up with my activities and remember to eat only once I'm famished.
I do not plan my meals ahead of time.

Height - 5'5"
Weight - 180 lbs.
BMI - 37.64%

Measurements: (in inches)
Neck - 13.5
Upper Arm - 13.5
Chest - 41
Waist - 37
Belly - 41
Hips - 44
Upper Thigh - 25
Total inches measured:  215

Check it out! I created this form for you to fill out and be able to track your own progress. It can be done anonymously if you so wish.

My turn and YOUR TURN:
I placed my photos on a web page where you could upload yours too. Just click on add files to add your own. Time to let it all hang out shamelessly!

Next, it'll be on to Step 2 of the strategy - Specific Goal Setting.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dare to Go Public! - How broadcasting your flaws can help you commit to change

Within the last four months I have been focusing on obtaining healthier habits regarding my physical body through self evaluation, motivation, learning and goal setting. I'm happy and proud to say I am now vegetarian (3 months) and a non-smoker (2.5 months). Physically, mentally and emotionally I'm feeling great with these changes!

To make these changes a reality, I pushed myself to try out a suggestion I had read about... make your challenge public. At first, even the thought of this scared the hell out of me! The voice inside my head immediately whispered, "But what if you fail?" In the past, I've been the type of person who would say nothing to anyone until I had been able to achieve what I wanted. As scary as it was, I found the strength to make myself do it anyway. I let everyone around me know that I was quitting smoking and then took it a step further. I posted a notice on my facebook and twitter letting everyone know that if they ever caught me smoking, I would pay them $20 on the spot. I got some laughs and some replies from friends who were low on cash letting me know they'd be watching! While the main commitment I made to quit was to myself, this tool really helped during my tough times, especially because I was so accustomed to smoking in social settings.

Now it is time to face my next health challenge and I've decided to make it public once again. (It's still scary, but that's half the point.) I'll be sharing updates, tips on staying focused and motivated, and the tools I use along the way. I hope those of you who desire a similar change will consider joining forces with me!

So, here it is:

I absolutely love the gophers in the above photo. They're adorable. However, while their shape (round) is right for them, I know it's not healthy nor what I desire for myself. :0)

The General Goal:
To become a physically strong and fit individual with well established eating and exercising habits.
- This is not about going on a diet. This challenge is about changing my attitude, perceptions and daily habits towards food and exercise for life. -

The Strategy Outline:
1) Self Evaluation of Current State
2) Specific Goal Setting
3) Reasons for Desired Change
4) The Detailed Game Plan

Seriously consider joining me if you've been thinking about a happier, healthier body! I'll be setting up different ways for us to participate and benefit together! There's power in numbers!

Tomorrow I'll break down the strategy in it's full form. I love the beginning of new projects!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Photographer Takes A Photo of a Sketcher Doing a Sketch of an Art Event

When I look back at photos I have taken in the past, what amuses me most is the sense of witnessing my own curiosity frozen in frames. Yesterday, I was going through some photo files on my computer and came across these. No doubt, that what Tom was up to definitely caught my eye. The photo of him sketching which was taken through branches proves that point, no doubt! Blender Bungle (May 6, 2009), which was where these photos where taken, was the first time I saw Thomas Thorspecken sketching an event. He had been sketching events for quite some time before then, but somehow we hadn't crossed paths. Since then, it seems I see him everywhere! He posts stories along with his sketches daily on his blog, entitled Analog Artist Digital World. It's one of my favorite blogs to check out, not only for the captivating artwork, but also to keep up to date on the goings on of our area, to obtain a grounded, observational perspective of what goes on, and an insight into a fellow artist's curiosities frozen in ink and paint.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brian Feldman's Vegan McDonald's Performance

Here are some photos from yesterday's Vegan McDonald's performance by Brian Feldman. Along with some event documenting photos, I also played around with some long exposure shots in the arcade area. Clicking on image will take you to the gallery where you can view each photo individually.