Monday, September 26, 2011

Blessings or Stressings?

Life has been on the hectic side lately.  We are smack-dab in the middle of the kitchen project I mentioned a few weeks ago, living with half a kitchen—and not the essential half in my opinion.  There are beautiful cabinets up, but no counters or running water.  The past week has been bustling with strangers coming and going from our house at all hours of the workday and weekend.  After months of waiting, it’s a bit overwhelming to have so much happen so fast.

We have been eating frozen meals via a microwave in the garage and occasionally going out to eat.  My favorite place to go has been Jamba Juice, where they have all-fruit and vegetable smoothies and that kids and I like.  I even have a coupon I got through email for a buy-one-get-one free.  (Ask me to send you one and I will!)

There have been twists and turns in this project to be sure.  You reach a point, though, when you’re almost ready to say, “I don’t care if it’s not perfect.  Just be done with this mess!”

The cabinets were installed over a Saturday while Jay was at work.  I ran around town trying to keep the kids entertained.  When I got home, I looked about, pleased at the progress, but also puzzled because they looked nothing like the sample I had.  It turned out the wrong cabinets had been ordered for us.

Not the best news to be told when I’m without a kitchen, longing for this project to be done.

Now, for the good news.  We love the cabinets we got, even though they are wrong!  Furthermore, we get new paint inside our house, courtesy of a very apologetic contractor.  Still, this whole fiasco has been, to say the least, stressful.

Another thing that has me stressing (I mean blessing) is a sudden increase in my teaching schedule.  As the opening of the school season came, I was contacted by a slew of potential piano students who had happened to find me on the internet.  Without planning it, I have gone from one to nine students in a matter of weeks.  It’s great for the fundage, not so great for my sanity!  It is wonderful to be teaching again, though, and outside of being slightly overwhelmed by my new schedule, I’m truly loving it.

There are other stressors.  My husband has been working long hours, often six days a week.  I recently began teaching a Sunday school class for toddlers.  Not least on the list, both my kids have been demanding a lot of attention lately, with Eden begging me to teach her to read and Lance doing what all 2-year-olds do.

In short, my life has been demanding.  But, everything that provides stress also provides blessings, and I find that I really have a wonderfully full life.  How can I complain when the things that give me the most stress, also give me the most joy?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Don’t Count Calories

Lately I’ve been participating in an invigorating diet competition.  My rivals are a load of fun and think they can beat me.  But we all know better, right?

Now that we’re nearing the end of the competition, I’d like to share a few secrets of my success during this competition.  (If I lose the competition, I’m going to be sufficiently humbled, but for now, let’s just assume that I’m going to win!)

My biggest cause for success during this eight-week competition has been not counting any numbers.  I haven’t counted calories, carbs, fiber, fat, or any combination thereof.  What has resulted?  Weightloss and a genuine interest in keeping it up long after the competition is over.

So if I haven’t tracked what I’ve eaten, what have I done? 

I have simplified everything down to a yes or no question.  Is it healthy?  Is it more than I should eat?  Will it make me feel good in two hours?  Is it worth the splurge?

When my focus is on reaching a particular number (of calories, points, etc.), I lose my motivation when I see that I am not going to reach my goal that day.  Let’s say it is noon and I’ve already eaten 1000 calories.  Well it’s nearly impossible to meet my 1500 goal with lunch and dinner still ahead of me!  I may as well give up for the day!

And I usually do.

When my focus is on being healthy instead of reaching a number, my effort goes from all or nothing to a much more moderate way of eating.  I ate more for breakfast, so likely I won’t be as hungry for the rest of the day.  I won’t condemn myself or stress.  I’ll just try to be sensible, and don’t eat when I’m not hungry.

Getting started on a healthy diet is a challenge, and it helps to count calories in order to learn what a sensible diet feels like.  After a while, though, let common sense be the guide.  It will work for a lifetime, and I’m not sure anybody wants to count numbers for the rest of their life.