Monday, March 27, 2006

21 Days and Counting

Rhonna's 21 Day Challenge began today. The idea is to commit the next 21 days to creating a new habit or breaking an old one. I struggled all weekend trying to decide what my habit would be. I had two ideas in mind and because I couldn't decide between the two I combined them and I'm calling this my 21 Days to a Healthier Me. This goal includes making better food choices and pursuing some kind of exercise program. For the most part I'm a healthy eater. I don't eat many sweets, I've been meat free for almost 2 months, and I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. That being said, I do have a soft spot for fried foods (I love fried okra, fried cheese, fried mushrooms) and I have a terrible habit of eating too much. For the next 21 days I will focus on reducing the fried foods and the portion sizes. The exercising won't be as easy. I hate to exercise but I know it's something I need to do for my health. I know I wont' join a gym so that option's out. I don't have any home equipment and I'm only kidding myself if I commit to waking early and taking a morning walk. Right now it's still a little too chilly for early morning walks. So I'm committed to establishing a yoga practice--at least 21 minutes a day. I do fear that by choosing to pursue both of these habits I'm getting in a little over my head. One habit will be hard enough but two... Perhaps I should have chosen one and then, once the 21 days was over, start working on the other one. But I saw both as being extremely essential so I'm tackling them both at once.

Even before the challenge started I was encountering my first feelings of resistance. For most of yesterday I felt very panicky, restless, and a little depressed. It was as if I knew the challenge was upon me and I was dreading the change. I was fighting it before I even got off the ground. All change, even good change, requires a little letting go and yesterday I just wasn't sure I was up for it. At 10 o'clock last night I found myself standing in front of the pantry looking for something to eat, not because I was hungry but because there was something emotional stirring and I needed to stuff it down. That is how I deal with the most of my anxiety--I feed it. One tortilla later I realized the anxiety was about the changes that today will bring and the fear that I might fail. As much as I tell myself that this challenge is not about perfection but about growing and learning, I still want to succeed. I still want to complete the 21 days having not missed a day of yoga and having made great strides in reducing my portion sizes. Knowing there are others on this journey too is encouraging, but it also adds some pressure to perform. Being able to release that will be as much of a challenge over this next 21 days as the yoga and eating.

Another aspect of the challenge is recording the unfolding of the 21 days. I pulled out the moleskin tonight and made my first entry. I'll try to post pics throughout the challenge but I'm still working on today's entry. I've always kept a journal but have never really done a lot with art journals. I look forward to establishing this habit over the next 21 days and I'm hoping to find a style and process that works for me. I've already encountered some problems with curling pages and tomorrow I'll try my hand at gesso. In today's entry I focused on defining what I'm wanting to get from this challenge. I think it's easier to accomplish a goal if you have a very clear picture of what you're aiming for. Making my goals as specific as possible was my first step.

One day down...20 more to go...
Oh, and if you have any great vegan recipes--and I mean EASY vegan recipes--please pass them along. One area that can be a potential pitfall for me during this challenge is boredom and I need to prepare to counter that. I tend to eat the same ol' foods over and over again, eventually reaching the point where I don't feel satisfied and want more just to get that satisfied feeling.
Wish me luck...


Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

Good Luck Michelle! You have our support!

9:43 PM  
Blogger twistedsoda said...

I am feeling the same things you are!!! Panic, frustration and loss of vision really. I think I have to look further within to get at mine. I haven't really been that focused lately. Maybe we can push each other along...

10:31 PM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

Good Luck Girly! I have to get baCK to my fasting and exercising too!

10:51 PM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

OOOOOOOO! I forgot to include this, my friend Vicki's Blog, you might find something yummy here*******

10:55 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Girl said...

you go girl!!

there are some delish vegan (raw) recipies in the book Raw Food, Real World by Mathew Kenney & Sarma Melngailis.

so inspired by your choices.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Irene said...

I'm right there with you!!!!

1:51 AM  
Blogger telfair said...

Good luck! Those are great things to focus on...I'll be eager to hear your progress. I have "issues" with portion control, too, so maybe I'll be able to pick up some tips from your successes!

2:14 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Good luck. At one level I say 'well, I have worked hard for all my habits...' but at another level there is a wonderful release from actually settijng the agenda and being in control. It will be an interesting 21 days.

2:45 AM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

sounds like you have a great start
and a good plan...
i have been trying to be more active too
and yet know i am kidding myself
if i think i'm going to get out
of the house at 6 am for a walk...

so i tried the pilates dvd
my husband got me for christmas
last night and i like it...
its tough but you don't have
to be a major in dance to follow it
(i'm a little uncoordinated)
and i have a yoga one too
so i'm going to alternate...

good luck with all

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Tickled Pink said...

Sounds like you really want this. You can do it!

2:56 AM  
Anonymous Adrift At Sea said...

One thing you have to watch out for as a non-meat eater... although I notice you didn't say vegetarian or vegan... is iron or calcium deficiencies... I highly recommend that you take both iron and calcium supplements as a precaution. Good luck... :D

4:24 AM  
Blogger Living Part Deux said...

Remember, this is something you are doing FOR yourself, not TO yourself. I applaud you for taking up this challenge, but sometimes - for me - putting a timeframe around a change of behavior sets up an all-or-nothing, performance approach that fills me with trepidation and fear of failure (good grief, was that one sentence?) Be kind to yourself, sweet Michelle. Small steps are great victories!!! You have a loyal cheering section!

4:43 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

We're in this together girlfriend. I'm doing a re-organization of my life for the challenge which will include mindful eating and also, exercising with consistency. Like you, I feel resistant. I know I've planned a gym visit tonight after work and already I'm making excuses! It's good to know that you're doing this too, makes me feel better knowing that. BTW, I will email you linky's to 2 vegan blogs I found that are related to cooking, the recipes seem easy too!

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Charmaine said...

Wishing you good luck. I've been thinking a lot about the whole 21 day challenge too. Mine would be to get back into the exercise routine that I established the month before we bought our house -- as soon as we closed and could get working, that really went out the window!

6:20 AM  
Blogger lovegreendog said...

my best wishes for you during your challlenge

there is some helpful info on experimenting with the moleskine here

have fun

6:56 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Good Luck!! how exciting for you!! You can do it, and if you stumble a little remember it's not the end of the world, just go on. I admire you for taking on the challenge of really changing yourself.

7:36 AM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

i'll send you two of my asian noodle salad recipes once i get home... they're so easy and mouth wateringly delicious that its ridiculous. be well. enjoy day 21.

8:13 AM  
Blogger melba said...

I hate exercise too. Before I had children I would at least do yoga and sometimes walk. I run after them, but not "regular exercise"
So I understand the struggle and wish you well.

I am not a vegitarian, nut I really like beans. There is this store called Trader Joe's - I don't know if you have one by you- But they have great prepared bean salads that aren't too expensive and last quite a few days. I often have some for lunch...a handful of toasted pita chips, hummus and a slice of cheese. It is very yummy and healthy and not high in fat.

8:37 AM  
Blogger melba said...

That was suppose to be a BUT
It sounds like I am calling vegetarian's nuts..which I am not.
Perhaps my topic for the 21 day challenge should have been to improve my spelling!

8:40 AM  
Blogger megg said...

I am with you - every day of exercise is a challenge, but I hear if you can do it 3-4 times a week for 21 days you'll stick with it! Good luck, and pass on any marvellous foods you come across!! xo

9:01 AM  
Blogger M said...

Good Luck!! I'm finding the less I focus on my attempt to exercise more, the more I do it...does that makes sense? Not thinking it to death takes some of the pressure off, I guess. You can do it!! We're all here for support and yoga is such a great way to exercise, you'll love it. Maybe find a class, then you're committed to something outside of yourself, of your house. Not as easy to find something else to do when you are on someone else's turf! I'll see if I can find any good vegan recipe sites for you too. Well done, one day at a time!

9:21 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Good luck with the challenge, Michelle - I think the two habits are closely intertwined and will go hand in hand, and meld together into one healthy mindset. You'll do great! I've been doing pretty good with healthy food, but I'm trying to get my butt exercising again. I've really let that fall of in the past 6 months or so. I'm going to start back up... any day now...

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Donna Maria said...

I'll walk today if you will. One trip around the block. We can do this.
It's not going to rain in Kentucky until later today-don't know the weather in TX today. Talk with you later.
Hang in there.

9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh oh oh I FEEL it when you say the depression and panic sets in now as you try to start the new-- I'm so with you-- sounds like your food is REALLY good so all you're doing is a little fine tuning-- as for the exercise-- be gentle-- I think yoga is a fabulous entree--- and I would remind you that sitting, with a favorite candle burning, and favorite quiet music playing, and closing your eyes and focusing on your breath IS yoga-- and to start there-- and build from that-- do that for 15 minutes each day and then on the 3rd or 4th day add ONE stretch and so on--

Sorry to have hijacked your comments-- I am just so with you on this and sending all my support--- choose to think about these next 21 days not as arduous, but as a JOYOUS EXPERIENCE that you are creating!


10:20 AM  
Blogger Letha Sandison said...

Good luck with yor challenge! These two habits are a great pairing as they support eachother. It is always the hardest at the beginning but is wiil get easier and even addictive!

Good luck and I'll keep my eyes out for easy recipies!

11:28 AM  
Anonymous beansprout said...

Best of luck! I think half the battle is recognizing where you're resistant and you've already done that. These 21 days are going to fly by and I'm sure you'll do magnificiently.

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Shannon (Sentimental) said...

Good luck sweetie, I am rooting for you. I am almost 2 months into my change. I have lost 25 lbs and have been exercising. It is hard at times, like right now, I am in a real slump. But I am sticking with it.

On a side note, I too gave up meat. I haven't struggled so much but have as of late really struggled with fatigue and dizziness. Is this something you had trouble with? Or have trouble with? It is probably the thing that is weighing my down the most. I am almost three months meat free.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous Dina said...

From reading your blog I can tell you're strong & open to change...I'm sure you'll be successful in your 21-day challenge.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Cee said...

I'm also on a kick to be more healthy and active - this time, it actually seems to be sticking. It's been two and a half weeks. (I know that doesn't seem like all that long, but my previous attempts at these life changes were very short lived. I'm just too lazy.)

After about three or four days of daily exercise (using pilates and aerobics DVDS), I found I had more energy, and was therefore more motivated to do exercise, and then I had more energy, and it was a happy little habit circle. I think sticking with it for the first few days is the key, because it'll make you feel good, and that in itself will motivate you to keep going.

Good luck!

6:10 PM  
Blogger dani said...

excellent challenge and i'm sure you'll cruise it in! remember you're the winner!

2:49 AM  
Blogger Wenda said...

In the category of giving credit where credit is due, I think it was your mention of the 21 day challenge that got me thinking about a month ago about the new good habits I want to develop and the old less good habits I want to release. So, here I am at day 29 of my sugar reduction plan and day 3 of my daily walks. I haven't started on my art journal yet, but I can feel it pushing up under the surface. Thanks.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I like the idea of a 21 day challenge. If I did one it would be 21 days of exercise and 21 days of drawing...

12:55 PM  

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