New Year, New Attitude

January 1, 2012

 

A few major things happened to me in 2011.

1. I lost my Dad.

2. I lost a significant amount of weight.

3. I became a columnist.

I’m not quite sure how all three things happened at once, but they did.

 

I will forever miss my Dad, he was a beacon of strength in my life. And he was the ultimate believer in my writing.  He struggled with his own weight issues, and he would have been so proud to see me slim down and find the answer I have been searching for.

I miss him terribly, but I had to keep going, he made me promise.

Maybe watching my Dad slip away reminded me that time goes by all too fast.  And now being middle-aged and all, it seems to slip by faster than ever.  Many days of my last decade were not used to their fullest potential.  Many of those days I wallowed, I wasted, I wept through. Now I feel like I can no longer sit idly by and watch my life as the years pass.  I have been forced, if not willed, to engage in it.

So I found my drive again.  I found purpose and hope for brighter days.  And I feel really good.  I never realized just how crappy I felt until I really started to feel good again.  Funny how that happens.

I now understand what the food I eat does to me, how it makes me feel.  How it reacts in my body.  That is quite a discovery.  I know that when I over-carb I’m listless and bloated.  I know that salads packed with anti-oxidents like peppers give me energy.  I know that I can handle sugar if it’s in small doses like a square of dark chocolate;  but anything more than that feeds the sweet monster inside and makes me crave it all the more.  I know that lean proteins like fish, chicken and steak give me power and energy to make it through the day and if I skip them at a meal I start to lose strength.  And I know that combinations of alcohol, fat and carbs make me gain inflammatory weight immediately and it takes me a good week to undo the over-indugence of just one night. Not to mention it makes me feel kind of crappy.

My diet now consists of many more healthy, clean options.  Many more whole foods, herbs, vegetables and fruit, lean proteins and very little carbs and processed foods.  And, you know what?  I truly like it. I feel much more energized this way and I don’t feel deprived at all. I think the things that we in society think of as “treats” really aren’t treats to our bodies.  Those carbs we think of as comfort food, really drag you down.  The bad fats in fried and fast foods and sugar-y desserts we may covet cause inflammation in our bodies and lower our resistance to disease.

I wish it hadn’t taken me so many years to figure all this out, but now that I know this, I feel armed and ready to take on the rest of my life with good health on my side.

I’ve written before how I was living about 80% natural, that I had good habits for the most part but how there was still 20% of my diet that was questionable.  I think now I’ve increased that percentage to 93%, but I have a little work to do yet; it’s really hard to get past some of those life-long habits. But losing weight, eating healthy and making the connection between what I was eating and how it made me feel was a huge discovery.  In 2012, I plan on making that next leap to 100%.

My career path has been my other big attitude obstacle.  I have been so complacent in the last decade, figuring that most any job doing similar things would be nothing more than a lateral move, so why bother?  I have a decent job, ok pay, acceptable benefits…but what it lacks is room for growth.  And this year I discovered just how much “growing” really energizes me.

By going back to school and learning something new and challenging I felt my world open up again.  The ideas and energy started to flow back into my brain.  I no longer just thought about doing things, I actually did them and made accomplishments.  “Wanting” and “hoping” became a thing of the past and “doing” and “completing” have become my new norm. I’m proud to say that I have completed 3 semesters of classes, and have nearly a 4.0 GPA.

I also learned that by putting myself out there and trying, sometimes you get the answer you want.  Writing a column has been a long time dream of mine.  I submitted many articles to many papers and one paper decided to give me a shot. And 10 months later I pitched another idea, and they gave me a shot at that.  And then most recently, they asked me if I’d like to add another column, and now I’m writing a column at least once a month if not more.  That is pretty dang cool if you ask me.  And all I really had to do was ask.

Mostly I think I figured out that life doesn’t have to be all or nothing, we can do things in moderation – even to excess at times – but if we stay generally in the middle and persevere, we can handle the extremes.  Maybe it shouldn’t have taken me so long to figure that out, but it has finally, finally sunk in.

I think I must have a little angel sitting on my shoulder now.  When I feel stuck, he gives me a little shove to keep me going.  He dries the tears and wipes away the cloudy thoughts.  Maybe he gives me the strength to persevere, I don’t know.

But I do know one thing, attitude is everything.

 


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    It's not the destination, it's the Journey.

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