What would Jesus Lift?

A Journey of Self Improvement

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Day 19

DON’T FREAK OUT! I’m not abandoning this blog or my quest. Things are just…uber crazy busy right now. But I can tell you that:

  • I’ve reorganized my workout to be more balanced through the week and focus more on abs and that general midsection :)
  • I’m still eating healthy!
  • I’ve been just as negligent about Fitocracy as I have been this blog!
  • I’m going to Comic Con on friday!!!
  • I’m ten sections behind in math class. Hence the lack of a real post.

God in heaven, grant me focus and motivation!!! Amen

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Day 11

Today I want to talk about body image. Throughout my nineteen years this has been something that has concerned me and received a great deal of my thoughts. Now, usually when i see writings on body acceptance, they’re written from the perspective of indivicuals who don’t fit the mainstream ideal; that is to say, they’re not Hollister or Victoria’s Secret models. More often than not these authors are “overweight” rather than “underweight” (note the use of quotation marks), since the physique of a malnourished, emaciated victim of social atrocity is more appealing than that of a Mesopotamian goddess of abundance and fertility. You should have a pretty clear mental picture of the point I’m making. I use the example of “goddess” because I have yet to see a body acceptance blog penned (or keyed, I should say) by a male. Patriarchy, objectification of women, blah-blah-feminism-stuff-that-isn’t-the-point-of-this-post. Onward…

This blog is a public diary of my journey towards an elevated state of physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. This is not about looks. It should never, ever, EVER, become about the way I look. Call me a hypocrite; I’ve put up pictures comparing my body’s changes over time, yes. The unfortunate fact is that the human mind is frequently a visual worker, and it’s easier to see progress than to read about it. I could lose weight and not get smaller; likewise I could drop a pants size and the scale would read the same. Or neither. This isn’t about weight or sizes or qualitative results. This is about how I feel about ME.

If you’re approaching fitness with an I’m-fat mentality, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. I’m 5’, 5” tall. My pants size is 9/10, but I’m more comfortable a size up. Drumroll. I weigh 170 lbs. Do I look like it? Didn’t think so. Would I like to lose weight? Yes, that’d be nice. Am I going to cry if I’m not 5 lbs lighter in a week? Nope. But according to the standards of modern medicine, I’m overweight. My thighs squash out when I sit, as does my tummy. The only parts of me that don’t jiggle are the ones furthest from my torso. But you know what? I LOVE my body! I’m totally satisfied with the way I look and who I am!

"Then why are you so involved in fitness?"

I have my own litmus test for this. I use these questions to determine overall wellness.

  • Can I climb a flight of stairs? Without getting short of breath?
  • Am I comfortable in the clothes I wear? In ones I bought three months ago? Six months ago? A year ago?
  • Am I totally physically able to participate in the activities I want to? (sports, dance, etc)
  • How do I feel after meals? What am I eating? How much and how often? Am I nourishing myself properly?
  • When are my sleeping hours? Am I sleeping enough? Can I get done what I want to during my waking hours?
  • Do I frequently have chapped lips? How much water do I drink each day?
  • Am I happy?

Lots of people work out for lots of reasons, people of all ages, gender identities, races, creeds and abilities.  Some people run marathons and still have jiggly bellies. Awesome. Some people have the metabolism of a garbage incinerator. Lucky you. Some people exercise because they need to lower their cholesterol and they want to see their grandkids grow up. Radical. Some people are extreme and work towards the goal of being able to cut diamonds on their muscles (yes Keith, I am thinking of you).

And some people just want to feel like a badass happy.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” - Hebrews 12:1

Fill me with your glory overflowing, O Lord. Amen.

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I don’t usually blog about extraneous stuff on here, but this is really important. Everyone should read this:
hawpskotchgrrlzine:

“A woman recently went to use a Kotex brand tampon and fortunately was a little clumsy getting it out of the packaging and discovered patches of mold growing all over the product that was seconds away from being inserted inside her. She wrote to the manufacturer and was horrified to discover that this is fairly common and received nothing more than a cookie cutter apology and some coupons to buy more of their products.”


This. This is outrageous and ridiculous. One of the healthy changes I’ve made is to stop using tampons, a decision I made before I even saw this photo. There are so many reasons to stop using them: 
Toxic shock syndrome. This happens when you leave a tampon in too long. It is "caused by a toxin produced by certain types of Staphylococcus bacteria.” It’s a freakin’ staph infection, guys. In your cooch. Symptoms include “Confusion, Diarrhea, General ill-feeling, Headaches, High fever, sometimes accompanied by chills, Low blood pressure, Muscle aches, Nausea and vomiting, Organ failure (usually kidneys and liver), Redness of eyes, mouth, throat, Seizures, Widespread red rash that looks like a sunburn — skin peeling occurs 1 or 2 weeks after the rash, particularly on the palms of the hand or bottom of the feet” Source.
They’re expensive. Women spend an average of $4.00 a month on hygienic supplies (this is including pads). That makes $1900 you’ll likely spend before menopause. If you’re buying organic, that price goes up to $2600, just for the convenience of keeping your hands a little cleaner. It’s a very American (and American-exported) mentality to use something once and then throw it away… Source.
They’re wasteful. As I just said, use it once throw it away. “7 billion tampons are dumped into landfills each year (plus another 13 billion sanitary pads!)” Enough said. Source.
They contain harmful chemicals and toxins. “Conventional tampons and pads contain chemicals, toxins, additives, and synthetic materials. They are often made from chlorine-bleached and pesticide-grown cotton blends. These chemicals are known carcinogens (substances directly involved in causing cancer) and are being directly absorbed by our vaginal walls.” Couldn’t have said it better myself (same source as above). 
So, what’s the solution?
The Diva Cup (or Mooncup).
These are safe and renewable alternatives to using tampons and pads. They’re made of flexible silicone without chemicals or toxins. You fold it to insert, and it’s actually more comfortable than a tampon. The cup catches your flow, making it 100% leak proof. It’s comfortable for exercise (trust me).
What are the downsides?
Oh, you’ll have to touch yourself. -_-You’ll have to actually handle your flow. Woooooo so horrifying. Sure, managing that in a public restroom is kind of embarrassing and I suppose against social folkways, but really, other women can get over it. If you don’t want to clean it in public, I’ve worn mine all day even on my heavier days. Because it doesn’t absorb, it doesn’t expand in size. And like I said, it never leaks.
So really, ladies, if you want to do your body a solid, get yourself a Mooncup or a Diva Cup. If there are any women you care about (this includes the fellas), reblog and have them read this.

I don’t usually blog about extraneous stuff on here, but this is really important. Everyone should read this:

hawpskotchgrrlzine:

“A woman recently went to use a Kotex brand tampon and fortunately was a little clumsy getting it out of the packaging and discovered patches of mold growing all over the product that was seconds away from being inserted inside her. She wrote to the manufacturer and was horrified to discover that this is fairly common and received nothing more than a cookie cutter apology and some coupons to buy more of their products.”


This. This is outrageous and ridiculous. One of the healthy changes I’ve made is to stop using tampons, a decision I made before I even saw this photo. There are so many reasons to stop using them:

  • Toxic shock syndrome. This happens when you leave a tampon in too long. It is "caused by a toxin produced by certain types of Staphylococcus bacteria.” It’s a freakin’ staph infection, guys. In your cooch. Symptoms include “Confusion, Diarrhea, General ill-feeling, Headaches, High fever, sometimes accompanied by chills, Low blood pressure, Muscle aches, Nausea and vomiting, Organ failure (usually kidneys and liver), Redness of eyes, mouth, throat, Seizures, Widespread red rash that looks like a sunburn — skin peeling occurs 1 or 2 weeks after the rash, particularly on the palms of the hand or bottom of the feet” Source.
  • They’re expensive. Women spend an average of $4.00 a month on hygienic supplies (this is including pads). That makes $1900 you’ll likely spend before menopause. If you’re buying organic, that price goes up to $2600, just for the convenience of keeping your hands a little cleaner. It’s a very American (and American-exported) mentality to use something once and then throw it away… Source.
  • They’re wasteful. As I just said, use it once throw it away. “7 billion tampons are dumped into landfills each year (plus another 13 billion sanitary pads!)” Enough said. Source.
  • They contain harmful chemicals and toxins. “Conventional tampons and pads contain chemicals, toxins, additives, and synthetic materials. They are often made from chlorine-bleached and pesticide-grown cotton blends. These chemicals are known carcinogens (substances directly involved in causing cancer) and are being directly absorbed by our vaginal walls.” Couldn’t have said it better myself (same source as above).

So, what’s the solution?

The Diva Cup (or Mooncup).

These are safe and renewable alternatives to using tampons and pads. They’re made of flexible silicone without chemicals or toxins. You fold it to insert, and it’s actually more comfortable than a tampon. The cup catches your flow, making it 100% leak proof. It’s comfortable for exercise (trust me).

What are the downsides?

Oh, you’ll have to touch yourself. -_-
You’ll have to actually handle your flow. Woooooo so horrifying. Sure, managing that in a public restroom is kind of embarrassing and I suppose against social folkways, but really, other women can get over it. If you don’t want to clean it in public, I’ve worn mine all day even on my heavier days. Because it doesn’t absorb, it doesn’t expand in size. And like I said, it never leaks.

So really, ladies, if you want to do your body a solid, get yourself a Mooncup or a Diva Cup. If there are any women you care about (this includes the fellas), reblog and have them read this.

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Day 10

It’s pouring rain outside. My house is getting positively pumelled pummelled pummeled with rain. Here in Colorado, when the weather starts to get warmer and Mother Nature begins to PMS, it rains nearly every afternoon. It’s like the landscape is bathed, cleansed and made new. There’s nothing like the smell of air after rain paired with a distant rainbow.

Nothing, that is, except for working out for the first time in 9 months.

Today was the beginning of my weight training. Needless to say, I was inexplicably excited to get to the gym, but this morning I was scheduled to serve jury duty. And after getting myself excused from a 3-day trial (by means of having a biased opinion that may or may not have actually swayed my judgement… (; ) I went straight there.

First lesson: lifting all upper/lower body on one day isn’t the best plan. I don’t know how the folks at Athletic Republic did it. When I used to work out there, we’d come in twice a week, run treadmill and do plyometrics, and lift upper or lower body. Maybe it’s because I’m not as strong as I used to be (duh). So I scrambled upper and lower body together, and threw in sit ups and wall sits for every day. In addition to all the abs I’m gonna be doing on fridays, I’m adding swimming. Yay swimming! How I miss it…yeeeeeeey.

Doing the elliptical at the end was tough. I really had to encourage myself all the way along, telling myself that I’m a badass and saying the time remaining out loud. I was on for 35 minutes; I burned 206 calories and traveled 2.05 miles. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I stepped down from the machine was incredible. Forgetting my water bottle on the machine, however, kinda killed a little bit of the glory. Haha!

A post-workout shower is one of the most awesome things, ever. Kinda makes me draw a parallel between the shower and the rain; I’m washed clean, and I’m a new me.

Dear God, you’ve given me a new leaf. Now it’s just up to me to turn it over. Thank You for all Your blessings, you really give me more than I deserve.

Amen <3

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Day 9

No…I just….I can’t begin to express how embarrassed and ashamed I am. 

  • Haven’t posted since Thursday. Thursday???? Really!
  • Pigged out ALL DAY Saturday. Chowed down on chicken enchiladas and chocolate chip cookies at Sarah’s house. Bleggghghhhhhghghghgghg.
  • Haven’t done ANY exercise since Wednesday when I scoped out the gym. UGGGGGGGGH.
  • Don’t even get me started on my spiritual life.

Gosh. I just can’t seem to stay committed to anything, can I??? I might be OCD in the sense that I obsess over things, and then feel compelled to drop everything else to work on or do whatever it is.

Character traits I need to work on:

  • Self control
  • Self denial
  • Time management
  • Responsibility
  • Honesty
  • Accountability
  • Self motivation

I could really go on. But it’s 12:20 am. I need to stop. I need to make a change. Lord God help me, I’m lost!!!

Edit: I don’t wanna sound COMPLETELY Debbie-Downery. Finished my math and psych homework, starting with my weight training tomorrow (yus!) and probably gonna see my friend Axe!!!!! I AM SO EXCITE!! kay, na-night <3

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Day 6

Crimety! I just CAN’T get to bed early can I???? Super short today, I’ll only discuss one thing:

Fitocracy. It’s this really awesome website that Alex Keswick (holla!) told me about. You can track your workouts for points and discuss fitness-related business with likeminded individuals. Check it out and give it a try, it’s really working for me. http://www.fitocracy.com/

Lord, drop a meteor on my head or something, because I really need to get out of this late-bedtime habit. Love ya <3

Amen

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Day 5

And I’m up still up, at 1:43 am, because we ate dinner at 9:30 and there’s a scholarship app due tomorrow. This will be short and sweet, folks.

Woke up at 2pm, at me some meat on toast and took my vitamins, did math for two hours which isn’t as bad as I had thought it was, and then….part the heavens, I went to the gym.

Since I plan on beginning my weight training on monday I wanted to scope out the gym, record my starting weights, and try an elliptical. My lower body lifting is significantly less weighted than the top, opposite of how I was in high school. My legs need to ease back into actually doing work, so I any exercises involving bending of the knees. I based it on the exercises I did in physical therapy, which I’ll share with you all tomorrow.

I tried an elliptical for the first time since…wow, early October. It was great. I worked harder than on a bike (and my butt was thankful for being spared the bruising). And man, dem calves, they worked HARD!

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Give me the strength to be strong; fill up my heart till I overflow in Your glory.

Amen.

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Day 4

Oh my GOSH, WOW. I mean, what a day. A really freaking long day. Where do I even start? Oh, at the beginning.

I went to bed at 3am. Are you surprised?

But, I was kept awake with ideas for my fitness binder. A while ago I was on a diet program called Ideal Protein, and one of the successes of it was the literature that came with it, helping one keep track of water intake, vitamins, and what foods I ate. The reason the diet turned sour for me is that I didn’t have the self control to stick the heck to it and follow the strict guidelines (remind me to touch on those later). It became a guilt-laden experience for me. But enough about that depressing crap. Last night I had a breakthrough.

I need CONSTANT motivation and support, not from other people, but from myself. This is my thing; I need to cheer myself on at EVERY opportunity. Every time I get to the end of my exercises, every time I turn down the opportunity for crappy food, is a small victory, a tiny triumph. And they add up. So, replace guilt with celebration, stir in one of my favorite cartoons, and you have one of the sheets to my fitness binder:

Dude!! Seriously, nothing is more encouraging than that! First of all, having to keep a written record of the food you eat is incentive enough to eat better (rather, deterrent from eating poorly). But I don’t want to be discouraged from filling out the sheet, due to having snacked unwisely or eaten something unhealthy. That’s why I reminded myself, “Just be honest, dude, nobody’s gonna kill ya.” People make mistakes. The best people can move past them.

You may have noticed my awwwwwesome water bottle decimator count? Aw yeeuh. I have this totally mathematical water bottle, with another form of encouragement on it: 

Yes. That is a Dalek. Yes, it IS ordering me to hydrate. (And yes, I am obsessed with Doctor Who, thanks for asking, now make me a scarf.) You wanna know how much water I drank today? Three bottles. THREE. Three 20 oz bottles of water, brother. That’s 60oz of pure goodness, cleanin’ out my pipes homie. Hood. I’m white, I need to stop.

But that’s not the only victory! Took all my vitamins, (check!), did yoga first thing after dressing, (check!), rode my bicycle, (check, and Freddie Mercury is so proud!).

Anyways. I got up at 6am cuz I was expecting to go to an 8:30am Astrology class; when I looked it up online, it wasn’t on my schedule! After freaking out and THEN heading to campus to check it out, I found out that I was one of two students who signed up for this thing and they cancelled it. Just my luck.

I replaced the opening with Psychology, which I’m really looking forward to taking this summer. I’m also taking a course in American History, and Algebra for Dumbf**ks (I usually try not to curse on this blog, but there’s no other way to describe the class). I hate it. The teacher moves so fast and I can’t keep up with the notes and there’s so much being covered that I haven’t seen for over two years. Not to mention I’m one of the youngest people in the class…and the cleanliest. But, I’m actually learning, that I can’t complain about. We persevere.

I’m also fed up about headphones. Above, we see me showing off any semblance of muscle I have left on my arm, and you can observe the big ol’ chunky Hamburger headphones my brother got me for Christmas a few years back. These are literally the only (decent) working headphones I have left. They’re getting sweaty. I accept gifts. A caring gift of your spare iPod headphones would be delightful. But I’m not a beggar.

Anyways, I end my day tonight with the prayer I wrote for my fitness binder; this is officially my mantra for the duration of my journey (which should be for life):

Lord,

Each step I take is one step closer to you,

and with each pound I lift your name on high.

Each nourishing meal fills me with your glory overflowing.

and each good decision made is a battle won in your name.

Give me the strength to be strong.

Amen.

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OKAYSOHERE’SWHATI’MGONNADO

  • Go to choir practice, like, NOW.
  • Hit the store afterwards, pick up some carrots for Ma.
  • When I get home, ride the bike and do my PT
  • Study for an hour: Read/notate Psych prologue (email teacher for syllabus); Read what you can of first History chapter; SO SOME KIND OF MATH.
  • Blog ^_^
  • TF2!!!
  • Sreep, before midnight
  • Rise at 8…or 9 :)

OKAYHEREWEGONOWBYEEEEE

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Day 3

Today I got up at 2pm. Great. I really need to start going to bed earlier. I didn’t get to sleep until 4am or later last night! I need to learn to tell myself enough is enough and just go to sleep already. Since it’s Memorial Day my mom and I went to a friend’s house for a barbecue of sorts. Of course, getting out of the house is always a feat for me and mom. I won’t get into that though, it’s irrelevant. We had eggs (with cream, cheese, and salami), avocado and tomato slices, and half a toast for breakfast. My mom always makes that meal for her breakfast, without fail.

Yesterday I forgot to take my vitamins, but I remembered this afternoon. I take a teen multivitamin, an Omega-3, a Gingko Biloba, and 5-HTP which helps with stress management and emotional freakouts. I’m sure I won’t notice any great difference in my health until I’ve been taking them for at least a week without fail, but I consider it a little victory when I remember to do something good for me like that.

We brought a veggie tray to the party; broccoli, celery, carrots and cucumbers with onion dip. I helped myself to a chicken breast, salad and celery sticks with ranch dressing. I had a few potato skins, and that plus the soda and little piece of pie I had probably made up more carbs than I should have had in one evening. I’ll count that as one of my free meals for the week.

Which reminds me, I should explain my decided method of diet. My best friend’s dad (who I also consider my dad) told me of a friend who was a body builder. At least I’m pretty sure he was a body builder, or some athlete or healthy-person. I digress. That guy told my dad of his dieting method: burn more calories than you eat, and eat healthy 90% of the time (there was another step but I can’t remember. I should ask. But I think even just those two steps should be of benefit to my current state of being). So what constitutes eating well 90% of the time? Three meals a day makes 27 meals a week, right? 10% of those meals make three meals a week where you’re allowed to go hog-wild (verbatim what Papa Mike said). I think that’s manageable for me; just like quitting smoking, it’s hard to do it cold turkey. I need to have my treats. Hehe!

I’ve also decided on a workout schedule! Since my mom is retired Air Force, we have access to the USAFA gym, which even though it’s a bit more of a drive, it’s more economical than a YMCA membership. So, here’s my plan: starting next week, I plan - nope, I PROMISE - to go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before noon! I’ll start out with 30 minutes on the elliptical, then move to weight. On Mondays I’ll lift upper body, Wednesdays I’ll lift legs, and Fridays I’ll focus on my abs. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish my workouts with some laps in the pool; I swam for three years in high school, ending up as team captain in the end, and I loved every minute of it. I really miss swimming. The AFA pool costs extra to use, though. Hopefully I can find the funds to swim laps.

Tuesdays and Thursdays? This is when I have my classes until 3:10. So I’ll just hit the stationary bike and do me some Wii yoga.
Like most anybody who is serious about fitness, I love music for my workouts. My usual is Breaking Benjamin. The heavy sound, the heavy-hearted lyrics, and the growl of the vocals are really motivating. Another great group to exercise to is Bomb the Music Industry!, out of New Jersey I think. They’re kind of a punk/ska melange, with really clever lyrics about not growing up, excessive drinking, and self loathing set to a peppy, major-keyed instrumentation. Makes working out (or anything, really) super fun.

I got new shoes last week, and it turns out that not only were they $20 less than we were expecting (ka-chingggg), but this pair of Nike’s came with built in Nike + technology. Basically, if you’ve got an iPod you can track your mileage and steps and all kinds of other cool junk. This is reason number two for me conforming; Zunes aren’t compatible with Apple computers. I’m currently saving up for the new Nano, the little touch screen one? Or maybe not. It’s an excess, I don’t really neeeeeeeed an iPod. It’d just be cool to be able to connect the shoes and whatever. What do you guys think? Learn saving and money management for the iPod, or practice self denial?

Note to self: find copy of and read the Tao Te Ching…

To end my day I hit the bike for 30 minutes, did my PT, showered, called my best friend ever, Alex Axford (shameless shout out: holla!), and now it’s off to bed.

Lord, I think I did pretty well today. I wanna ask you to be with me tomorrow during my classes and my travels; keep me safe, help me focus and never let me forget that I’m challenging myself to exceed my usual standards. Fill up my heart till I overflow in Your glory.