Challenge is Fun
I'm sure you'll be happy to know that as of yesterday I have broken the 160 mark. I've lost over 16 pounds in the weeks since I got back from Juneau. There's been no magic bullet and no single solution, and it's been challenging to radically change what has been my lifestyle for years. But here's the thing- it's been fun. Not only am I hopefully healthier and better looking, but I also feel healthier, more clear-minded and lighter, not just in my footfalls but also stress-wise. It's just a plain positive feeling, even though I'm hungry quite a bit of the time- like right now. No food until dinner! My whole life I think I've been a pretty optimistic person, but this last year or so I've really been trying to bring out the positive in myself, and what I've done this summer has taken that to new levels. My new positivity pushes me to be friendlier and leaves me ever-wary of being judgmental, but with my newfound lifestyle I've found a lot more to be judgmental about. It's amazing how much people eat! Restaurants are especially disgusting; what I used to scarf down in an evening at Ocean View or the Galley I can now stretch out over two or three meals. Doggie bags are great things. Do not let yourself feel like you have to "clean your plate". You're doing yourself a disservice. Here's another tip: being hungry is not a bad thing! I am in no way starving myself -I feel better than I ever have, after all- but what I eat each day is probably less than what most Americans eat in a meal. When you make eating just a daily requirement and stop having it as a scheduled habit and activity, it's amazing to realize how little food you need. The most striking thing I notice at home is how much snacking my family members do. I did it too of course, but no longer. For my dad, I think he really needs to just cut portion sizes more than anything, but for my mom, brother and sister... There's no need to have food between meals! That returns us to the mantra: being hungry is not a bad thing. At least, not when you're trying to lose weight. I don't want to preach on diet too much; I'm sure I'll be doing enough of it at many school lunches to come. My new excersise and diet regimens this summer though are challenges that I've really enjoyed. Before my France trip it was the same as every summer. I don't remember doing much constructive at all. Then in the three days before I left I decided to take Keely to Carlanna every day. This was really just for her, since it was only the two of us in the house and she needed attention before she'd be left alone, but it foreshadowed what I'd be able to committ to in the future. A few times in France I thought about how my weight might be doing. I never checked it of course, but when I really started thinking about it near the end of the trip I knew there'd be no way I had lost weight. When I got back I had gained a few pounds, and this was the first real turning point for me. I decided to devote myself to doing Carlanna every day (which I have continued) and tried to limit myself on what I ate. Like all the times before, my attempt at dieting failed, but my daily walking stuck. Then I got another break from home life in going to Juneau. Just like in France, I did little to control what was given to me to eat, but as we were coming home I found myself a perfect goalset to focus on in my food consumption. This evolved slightly over the first couple days back home, but within the first week I found incredible success and I've been able to keep on going. In the last week or so I've been able to find some new enjoyable challenges. I'm finally tackling my college situation; I sorted though all the mail I've gotten and found 61 different colleges represented in the piles I had on the floor. I've done some more research and now have a solid set of five colleges that I know I'll apply to: Yale Harvard Georgetown Willammette Reed I got myself started on the Common App and I think I'll be ready to send out my applications by Christmas. In the last few days, I started learning Mandarin on livemocha.com and I plan to stick with it. It's a good experience for me to start learning a language that has nothing in common with the language I know. With French, there are connections galore to make with English and the mindset of the languages is the same. English is basically half French, if not more. With Mandarin though, everything is new, and I plan on sticking with it so I can learn more than just "ta shi nan hai" (he is a boy). I guess my examples seem to be gradually getting more and more lame, but as of last night I decided that I'd really like to work on playing the drums for the game Rock Band. No one I know can do them very well, and neither I or anyone else ever really wants to play them. I still have to play them at the "easy" level, but I think I'll keep working on the drums to enjoy the challenge of doing something new, something hard and something unique. That's what I've really discovered this summer: breaking out of the status quo, ceasing to be lazy and really challenging yourself with new goals and dreams doesn't take too much effort. After you get set and steady yourself, taking on new challenges isn't a burden; it's fun. And in the end, it might just set you free.