Sunday, January 30, 2011

30 Day Shred Results

UPDATE: I have since completed a second round of the Shred.  Check out my results (including before/after weight, photos and measurements) HERE! 

I began Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred on January 1, 2011, and did it for 30 consecutive days; 10 days per level.  Here are a few before and after photos . . .

My overall strength, especially upper body, has benefited greatly from this workout plan, and I'm excited about the changes to come in the next month, as I'm planning to include far more cardio in my schedule than I did throughout January.  Next progress photos will be posted sometime in March.

Stay tuned! :)

UPDATE: I have since completed a second round of the Shred.  Check out my results (including before/after weight, photos and measurements) HERE! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

The F Word

Just BE.  How often have you seen, read and/or heard this two-word phrase?  I understood the concept fairly readily.  However, putting it into practice continues to be quite the challenge for me.  Just BE in the moment, in the now; immersed in and fully focused on the task at hand, rather than dwelling on the past or the future while each fleeting NOW passes us by, never to be experienced again.  The incessant, runaway "chatter" of the mind -- if I could reign it in, master it, hold in check, use it as a tool rather than being used BY it, then... then peace would be mine, no matter what's happening around me.  Oh how lovely that sounds!

The way I understand this is not so much to STOP thinking altogether; rather, it's about focusing our energies on positive thinking, finding thoughts that align and agree with how we wish to shape our lives, rather than wasting time on worry, regret, shame, guilt, and that four-letter F word . . . F-E-A-R.

It's truly amazing when I look back on my life thus far and see just how much of it I've lived in the F word.  Not only had I lived in it, with it, but I also devot[ed] much time in attempts to escape it.  Wow.  And all because of the way I cho[o]se to perceive things around me.  I mean, I'm still here, alive and kickin'.  That's gotta mean something, right?  Uh huh, it means that my fears are all a product of my thinking, my perception, and once a fear is conquered, does our perception not change, usually for the better?

Now, this isn't to say that we all need to go around being absolutely fearless.  Nah, it's more along the lines of the following words by one lady I very much admire, none other than Jillian Michaels:

"There's so much propaganda out there touting fearlessness. It sounds cool doesn't it, conjuring images of humans defying the laws of nature. Well, you can forget it. Fear is experienced by ALL God's creatures. The trick is not escaping your fear, but confronting it & allowing it to drive & teach you. Only by getting to the bottom of your fears can you find their valuable lessons & move forward stronger than before."

In essence, we needn't avoid or escape the dreaded F word, or pretend to be fearless.  Instead, for a more peaceful, positive, stronger, more confident NOW, and in order for us to "Just BE", we are better served when we can bring ourselves to confront, face, deal with and conquer our fears as they arise.

As I'm fully aware of how fear affects my life to a greater or lesser degree each day, stay tuned to this blog if you're interested in sharing this F-word-conquering journey with me.  The plan is to occasionally share my struggles and triumphs with you, my dear readers, and possibly to do what I can to help you conquer your own F word.

Good day and namaste!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Four Questions to Make You Smile Again

Have you ever had "one of those days"?  Of course, we all have.  Children and adults alike.  Everything goes seemingly wrong, it seems that nobody wants to be around us and we end up feeling dejected, lonely, sad, distressed or depressed.  How do we break free from such feelings?  How do we teach our children to break free from negative feelings and to smile again?

These two questions led me to conduct some research on children's books while online Christmas shopping for my six-year-old son, Dalton, a few weeks ago.  I ended up purchasing a book that promised to provide a technique, in a format easy for children to understand, to question our negative, self-defeating thoughts and to turn them around.  This is the book:

Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?: Four Questions to Make You Smile Again

Tiger-Tiger, Is It True? is a story about a little tiger who thinks that his whole world is falling apart: his parents don’t love him, his friends have abandoned him, and life is unfair. But a wise turtle asks him four questions, and everything changes. He realizes that all his problems are not caused by things, but by his thoughts about things; and that when he questions his thoughts, life becomes wonderful again. This is a heartwarming story with a powerful message that can transform the lives of even very young children.

The book teaches the following four questions to apply to ANY thought:

1.  Is it true?
2.  Can you absolutely know that it's true?
3.  How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4.  Who would you be without the thought?

It also teaches children how to turn the thought around, then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how the turnaround is true in their lives.

I sat down with Dalton at bedtime on Saturday (New Year's Day) to read this book together for the first time, and at the end he and I discussed how he could use the same technique that Turtle taught to Tiger-Tiger in his own life.  I've since been working with him to apply this teaching whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Dalton has also picked up the book and read it on his own on at least one occasion since our first reading of it.  I'm sure he is beginning to understand the concept, and I'm very pleased to have found this book, not only for him, but also to help remind myself not to identify with my own thoughts without question.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, children and adults alike!