Fit by 40

Taking A Deeper Look

September 30, 2010


I have committed to myself that I will work on one question a week from my Fit by 40 post last March. There is one question on the list that I don’t want to tackle. It makes me uncomfortable to even look at it. What I know for sure though, is that in order to go where I want to go….a WHOLE lot has “GOTTA GO” and being honest about what those things are and ACTING on them could be hard…even painful.

The question I am working on right now is: What has GOTTA GO in my life?

I am not going to answer this question on this blog, but instead in written form through a journal. There are two reasons for this. First, some of these issues pertain to people and current situations in my life…enough said. Second, by nature, I am an optimist and I believe that what you think about expands. I don’t want to EXPAND the negative for myself or for others who might read this. These are personal issues that only “I” can do something about.

I came across this picture as I am pondering and processing the truths about what has “GOTTA GO”. This flower reminds me a lot of how this process feels. In this flower there are soft edges and sharp edges and there is something beautiful in the middle (a perfect red petal). There are times right now when my heart might be too soft and times where it might be too sharp and spiky. If I balance those thoughts and feelings, I might be able to find something beautiful in the middle.

Breakdowns, Slowdowns, and HAPPINESS

September 23, 2010

“1.2.3. Spiritual Order” acrylic paint/collage by Shawn Stratmann

Sometimes it is hard to see the reasons behind life’s curve balls. Two weeks ago, in one day’s time, my computer broke down, my car broke down, we were rejected by a shelter for a new puppy because we live on a busy road, and I learned that my favorite web designer’s schedule is full until the end of the year just as I am ready to launch my next project.

On this one day, I experienced moments of frustration and probably performed more than one “poor me” speech to my friends and family. As I laid in bed that night, I started thinking about what I couldn’t do without a computer or a car. “I can’t check e-mail or write on my blog, I can’t go here or there…blah, blah, blah”. Just as I was about to close my eyes I looked over at my nightstand and caught a glimpse of the spine one of my favorite books by Byron Katie, “Loving What Is”.

Here is the thing about that moment. I don’t believe there are any accidents. I don’t think I have noticed that book in a year and there it was pulled out and calling me to “LOVE what is”. I spent a minute feeling guilty for my “poor me” attitude and not being grateful enough and then I took a deep breath, and said out loud….”Let it go!!!!” There was a reason I didn’t have a car, a puppy or a computer and I was ready to be open to why and went to sleep.

I woke up in the morning with a burst of energy that I hadn’t had in a LONG time. Wafting into my thoughts was this POST from March.

I haven’t MADE the time to ponder much of anything on this list. I think that subconsciously I have chosen not to tackle the “Fit by 40″ questions because I might FEAR the outcome of some of the answers.

The GIFT of not having a computer to sit at all day or a car to drive around or a brand new puppy nipping at my ankles was that I for the first time in months, had TIME. The list of questions popping into my head needed some attention and I now had the SPACE AND TIME to start answering and to perhaps ACT in accordance.

So here is where I started….

When do I feel the happiest?

I feel the happiest when I call myself an ARTIST. Whether that is through writing, photography, cooking, painting, or sewing….CREATING is when my heart pounds with excitement and time stands still. I am ready to embrace what it means to be an ARTIST. I will challenge myself to create and reflect my true thoughts, self, and vision through my work.

In the two weeks I was without a computer, I completed eight paintings/collage pieces. I patterned and designed two journal jackets and started a pillow set. I completed a Photoshop course at the community college (something I had wanted to do for two years since I got Photoshop) and I read three books on creativity. And finally, I dreamed. I DREAMED and sketched and mind mapped a plan for what is next. I gained some spiritual order for myself (and an inspiration for my art) and I am ready to fly!

Thank goodness for breakdowns and slowdowns. Isn’t it amazing how things happen as they should?

Fit by 40 - Expanded

March 16, 2010

Seeing myself in a whole new way, photo by and of Mama.

As I approach June 3, 2010, my 40th birthday, I find myself pushing far beyond my physical “Fit by 40″ goals. In addition to physically fit, I desire to be “FIT” as it relates to finances, familial relationships, future goals, friendships, spirituality and general well-being. Getting fit wholly requires hard work…the kind of work that requires thinking, talking, dreaming and changing. This work demands that I am able to separate my truths from the truths of others and to be able to step outside of “the” box. It requires that I am willing to see things differently in an effort to be true to myself.

Over the past few months I have been working on answering a list of questions leading into my Mid-Life journey. Sometimes, the process of facing the answers is painful, real, and scary. Most of the time I am finding the experience exciting and exhilarating. Finding the time for this type of FITNESS regime gives me the power and strength to make my Mid-Life journey a spring board to a happy, fulfilling, and wonderful life adventure instead of the opposite, a self inflicted and very common “Mid-life crisis”.

FIT BY 40 Questions

  • Where and when do I feel the happiest?
  • What life experiences do my family and I want to have?
  • Where and how will I make a difference?
  • What are my god given gifts and talents?
  • Are my choices serving my family and our values?
  • What hard choices am I willing to make for “financial freedom”?
  • What does it mean to me to be “financially free”?
  • What type of work makes me excited?
  • Needs vs. wants?
  • Scratching below the surface for what constitutes a “want”.
  • How do I clear the clutter that keeps me from being my best self?
  • How do I balance security and status quo against what I dream for my whole of my life experience?
  • How do “sameness” and “acceptance” of “what is” play a part in my life?
  • Where am I allocating my time and does it adhere to my values?
  • How do I give my children an education and life experience that will encourage “thinking” as opposed to “test taking”.
  • How important is it to give children a long stint of an address vs. living in other places?
  • How much risk can I handle?
  • How do I grow my relationship with God?
  • How does community fit into my family values?
  • How do I make family relationships as meaningful as possible?
  • What has GOTTA go in my life?
  • How can I become a better citizen of my country in the second part of my life?


February 26, 2010

This morning I woke up and got on the scale. WAHOOO!!!!!! PROGRESS….I dropped into the 120’s. 129.5lbs to be exact. I saw a “2″ instead of a “3″.

Last Sunday, I was with my “Weight Loss” friends eating dinner and someone pulled up a website that I hadn’t visited before, - The Daily Plate. A weight loss questionnaire popped up and asked the following:

  • How much weight do you want to lose a week? ANSWER: 1.5 pounds
  • How tall are you? ANSWER: 5 feet 2.5 inches
  • How much do you weigh? ANSWER: 132
  • Daily Activity Level? ANSWER: Moderate

Based on those answers I am supposed to eat 1344 calories a day to lose 1.5 pounds a week. If you want to increase the calorie count, you need to exercise. The program lets you play around with all types of variables including exercise type and time and showed how those activities would increase calorie allowances.

Here is the best part! You can then use the - The Daily Plate website as a food and exercise diary (which I have) to track every single second of exercise and every single morsel of food. For the past 5 days, here is what I have learned:

  • I had no idea how much I was adding to my calorie count by taking a bite here and a bite there. I am an overeater. Never thought so, but I am. When I stopped taking those extra bites, my calories goals didn’t seem too difficult.
  • The more I exercised, the more I could eat! CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH???? I have walked 12 miles since Sunday and fit in a few exercise DVR’s with weights. I am amazed at how much more motivated I became when I connected…walk….eat more….walk… more.
  • I still had enough calories left over at the end of the day to have a glass of wine by not taking all of the extra bites of food throughout the day. Now seriously, this weight loss thing isn’t turning out to be that bad.
  • Writing it down DOES, I repeat, DOES make a difference. I really don’t want to type in “sleeve of chips ahoy” followed by hitting the button that says “I ATE THIS”.
  • Having a date with someone to work out at 5:45am doesn’t allow for excuses. I mean there is no way I would not show up knowing my friend was also up at 5:30 waiting for me.

Some of you may be rolling your eyes, or thinking, “DUH, pick up any magazine or book and they will tell you the same stuff. Yes, yes, I know. But boy did it feel good this morning. Good to see that number on the scale. Good to go downstairs and jump up and down with excitement with Hubby. Good to fit into a pair of pants that I haven’t fit into for a year without a “muffin top” spill over. Good to know that I do have control to do this thing right!


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