Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Up For Change?

As I mentioned in last Tuesday's "What's On My Nightstand" post, the first of the year found me deeply engrossed in Cathy Alter's book Up For Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex And Starting Over. It was an interesting read, to say the least.

The following is the book's description from the back cover:

"By age thirty-seven, Cathy Alter had made a mess of her life. With a failed marriage under her belt, she was continuing down a path of poor decisions paved with a steady stream of junk food, unpaid bills, and highly inappropriate men. So what did she truly want? A decent guy. A nicer home. More protein. Her list could easily be transformed into the cover lines on every women's magazine: Find the love you deserve! Paint to the rescue! Eggs-actly perfect meals!

"Cathy gave over her life to the glossies for the next twelve months, resolving to follow their advice without question. By the end of her subscriptions, she would get rid of upper-arm jiggle, crawl out of debt, host the perfect dinner part, engage in better bathtub booty, ask for a raise, and rehaul her apartment. What actually happened was much less about cosmetic change and much more about internal transformation. Singular in its voice and yet completely universal, Up for Renewal will appeal to all who have ever wondered if they could actually make their life over."

Each month, for one year, the author chose an area of her life to work on. She read women's magazines and found two things to concentrate on for the month she was in. Whether the information came from Cosmo, Real Simple or Allure...she was determined to follow their counsel.

I recorded more quotes in my reading journal from this book than any other. My favorite was, "Anything can change a life that's ready to be changed."

Another that made me stop and think was, "This was not the life I wanted. So I sat down and asked myself what I did want. It proved to be a surprisingly difficult question, a Riddle of the Sphinx..." Hmmm.

A few days before I started the book, I read an article in "O" magazine titled "How I (Finally) Got in Shape" by Michelle Burford. In the article, Michelle talks about how on January 1st for 15 years she would make a commitment to lose weight only to be 'uncommitted' by the first week of February. That is until last year, when her doctor gave her a wake-up call. So, she decided to set small, doable goals she called her If-I-do-just-two-things-this-year list. Her two things were to do fifteen jumping jacks every day and to take one tablespoon of flax seed every 24 hours. By June she added power walking to her list...and by the end of the year she had lost 40 pounds and her blood pressure and cholesterol were both back to normal.

With twenty-one days left in January, (the time they say it takes to establish a habit) I made my list of two things.

#1 - Pay attention to what I eat. Not just is it healthy or not, or is it the right portion size...but also, enjoy it as you eat. No more lunch in front of my computer, snacks while driving or dinner in front of the television. If I was going to take the time to eat something, then I was going to enjoy it. Otherwise, why eat?

#2 - Exercise for at least 15 minutes every day. I even went out and bought a Wii Fit Plus to help make it more fun than walking in this rainy, overcast, cold weather we have been experiencing lately.

I would like to say that yesterday, February 1st found me well on my way to success. But alas, my good intentions only lasted for two weeks. It is that third week that kills me every time. I have a lot of things that I could blame it on...but really, I just get tired of the self-discipline.

It is now time to get back on the wagon again. My doctor has been telling me for over a year now that I am at a cross roads of sorts with my health. Prehypertension is slowly sliding toward the real thing. I have to make some lifestyle changes or medicine will be my only recourse. I guess it is time to 'get real' with myself.

I am so glad that Michelle ended her article with an old Japanese proverb, "Fall down seven times - get up eight."

I need to get to my Wii now!

After I posted, I noticed that it was "I Read It!" Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Books. This isn't really a book review, but I did hear about this book from their website.


Anonymous said...

Allen has been working out on the Wii since January. He is using a system called Advocare. He lost 15 pounds in 1 month. He works out for about 1 hour, eats better, not perfect but better and still loses weight. If you are interested give me a call.


Jennifer, Snapshot said...

It doesn't have to be a book "review." Inspired change as good as well!!

morninglight mama said...

I found there to be a lot of striking quotes in this book, too! I'm terrible with self-discipline (I say as I sit in front of my netbook while the lunch dishes and mess sit waiting to be cleaned up...), and I was intrigued by Alter's technique to go about bringing change to her life.

Thanks for linking up!

Amy said...

Thanks for the review/your thoughts. I find this inspiring, too--if I can just make a FEW small changes, I might actually lose weight, etc.

Thanks again!

Brenda said...

Was talkig to an old friend the Sat. when he told us how he lost his weight. He had to wanted health in years to come and the dr. said body is like a car need the food when hungry...eat small eals 5-6 not three hrs. before bed. He said chaning he bowl of ice cream at 9 to a spoon... Now thats determination but he lost 50 in 6 months

Anonymous said...

I bought a DVD on line dancing to loose weight, much cheaper than a WII, which I will get. The only thing wrong with the DVD is that I left it at Brandi's and haven't opened it yet!!!!!! I MUST loose at least 10 pounds by my next drs. appointment in April. Doing 15 jumping jack a day I might could work into my schedule, but the flax seeds......I don't know. Love ya' Aunt Fran