Optimistic

I don’t know if it’s the dawning of a New Year or gracefully making it through 2008 – a year where I was grossly challenged in every area of my life. I don’t know if it’s the sense of completeness I feel when I look into the eyes of my boys and truly believe it when I tell them “you can be anything you want as long as you work hard.” I don’t know why but I am optimistic.

amerflags

I live in an America where the challenges of the past are culminating into an era of forgiveness, togetherness, and massive patriotism – the inauguration of the first African American President, Barak Obama, is just hours away. It’s sweet, almost aromatic.

Although we have much work ahead of us, my boys are growing up in an America where there will be fewer African American firsts (their dad was the first African American to get a degree from Springfield College’s graduate strength and conditioning school) and, prayerfully, an environment where their personal accomplishments will stretch far beyond the color of their skin into the entire community we call America.

Personally, I have never been this optimistic. The fear of failing has always hidden in the shadows of every goal I’ve set and in between the lines of each sentence I’ve written. But, today I dream and write under a limitless sky. I am grateful to God for keeping his promises in my life.

I enter week two of my “lifestyle change” with an optimistic determination to reach a healthy weight. I will not fail. I can only carry out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ and the call to service from our next President if I am healthy. I know that my cravings and reliance on food for comfort may grow as I continue on this journey. Nonetheless, I will “keep under my body, and bring it into subjection” (I Corinthians 9:27, KJV) so that I can withdraw from poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle to good, wholesome nutrition and a physically active lifestyle. I will serve others with energy and expectancy for great results.

Today, I am optimistic.

2 Things You Can Do To Combat Holiday Loneliness

For many, the holiday season can be a time of turmoil, a constant reminder of the lack of family, friends, and finances. It can also be a time of brokenness as we ponder over failed love and the desire for that perfect mate. Many people feel lonely.

lonely

According to Miriam Webster, loneliness is when one is sad from being alone. Sadness is an emotion, a feeling. There are people whose lives are filled with family and close friends yet they still feel lonely around the holidays. These feelings can creep into any persons mind.

This holiday season, I encourage you to embrace your current situation by doing the following:

ONE: Pray
Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

If you are in a lonely place, do what Jesus did. Do more than contemplate your past relationships and hurts; take the time to evaluate the impact you had in those relationships. How can you become a better friend, parent or spouse? Do you have goals that you’ve pushed off due to procrastination or fear?

Although Jesus made the choice to seek out a lonely place and you didn’t, take advantage of it.
Get ahead of everyone caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, start praying for guidance on how you can be your absolute best next year.

TWO: Be a Blessing

The single most important thing you can do for others is to send up fervent prayers of blessings. Refer to task one.

The next thing you can do is to be kind. This year, make it a point not to get lost in your own business. Be aware of what’s going on around you and in your community. When you meet someone on the street, say “hello.” Find the time to help that elderly neighbor take the trash out on one of these cold winter mornings. If you have a few extra bucks, help a less fortunate family celebrate Christmas with toys for their kids and a nice spread for dinner.

Whatever you can do for someone, do it; it may stop the loneliness bug in you and prevent it in others.

The Importance and Benefits of Exercise

courtesty getty images As the wife of a collegiate level strength and conditioning coach I am constantly informed of the importance of living an active lifestyle. However, I did not realize how being sedentary could adversely effect my life until I read The Toll of Sedentary Living in chapter 5 of "An Invitation to Health" (Hales, 2009).

“Sedentary living claims some 250,000 lives, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths in America every year, and contributes to four of the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.” (p. 110)

Three of these risk factors cause poor health in my family or my husband’s family. While my husband’s biological risks do not directly impact my personal health, we are the parents of two boys, ages 17 months and 4 years. Hence, I am spiritually and intellectually motivated to change my fitness habits in order to promote a lifestyle of wellness to my children.

One of the dimensions of health is spiritual health. For me, good parenting goes beyond moral issues it’s a matter of faith. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he shall not depart from it.” (NASB) From my understanding of this scripture “train” means “to teach”. In most of my classes my teachers lead by example: most health and physical education teachers are physically fit; most English teachers use proper grammar; and most home economics teacher can sew. If I desire to raise good children as my faith instructs me, the insurance that they lead healthy, active lives comes from me leading one. My goal is to eliminate some of the predisposing factors of unhealthy behavior in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, values, and perceptions (p. 15).

The intellectual side of my wants to be certain that as I live my life I take into consideration the information provided to me. As an African American my race alone predisposes me to certain risks. However, applying what I have learned will most likely increase my life expectancy.

Being physically fit should be more than a goal of aesthetic appeal, although it can be a mitigating factor. Fitness for a healthy lifestyle should be forefront in ones motivation for change as a continuous commitment unlike reaching a milestone of 20 pounds. In project management, once a milestone is reached resources are rallied around the next task at hand. However, in athletic performance – a lifestyle in itself – once a race is won training for the next begins.

Participating in a planned, deliberate exercise regimen promotes cardio respiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, healthy body composition, and functional fitness (p. 108). Exercise improves your mood, reduces psychological symptoms, and sharpens your thinking (p. 111). As a college student and a mother, I need all the extra brain capacity I can get.

Making the change from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one benefits me physically, spiritually, intellectually, and socially.

Momma So Fine: Expand My Territory, Not My Weight

This morning I started reading "The Prayer of Jabez" by Bruce Wilkinson.  Its not my first time reading it.  I just need a refresher on how to increase something besides my ever-growing waste line.

My baby boy is 17 months old so the "baby fat" excuse no longer works.  I’m 5’6" and I weigh – I am so embarrassed to admit this – 176 pounds.  Fortunately, I’ve lost a whole pound since last week.  My other measurements are too embarrassing to post.  But, I will – later.

What I found this morning during my devotion time is my lack of accountability in the weight-loss arena.  For writing, I am in forums, writers groups, and social networks.  For my spiritual development, I attend church, participate in forums, and read my bible.  However, many of the people I deal with accept their current weight so they don’t struggle with shedding a few pounds like I am.

I’ve decided to start a weight loss group called Momma So Fine.  Before I was married, I was a diva.  Now, with 2 kids under 5 in tow it seems I have lost all of my diva-ish qualities.  I’ve traded 3 inch heels for flip-flops; designer purses for backpacks and diaper bags; and, it seems, my body for motherhood.  I’ve got to get it back.

This brings me back to my title.  In the book, Bruce talks about appointments that help you help others.  I truly believe this could be our appointment to help each other.  Let’s be accountability partners.  I’ll make the first step.

My Current Measurements

Weight Chest Right Arm Left Arm Waist Hips Right Thigh Left Thigh
176 38 13 13 35 1/4 43 24 1/2 25 1/8

 

My Current Goal

I figure if I can lose a pound a week, it will only take me about 41 weeks to lose 41 pounds.  Who knows, I may lose it quicker.  But my short term goal is to lose 10 pounds by October 8, 2008.  I know its only 8 weeks but with your help, I know I can lose 10 pounds.  So, how about it?

An Invitation for You

Earlier, I wrote that I had started a group called Momma So Fine. Its true and I would love for you to join me in my quest to get healthier.  If you join the group, you will receive weekly journal topics and customized journal pages.  You will also receive a weekly food log that you can print, fold, and place in your wallet to keep track of what you are consuming.  But most of all, you will get someone – maybe even a group of other women, who can encourage you to stay the course in reaching your desired goal.

You can start by using the box below to join Momma So Fine.  After you join, you will be able to download the 1st weeks Journal Pages.  So, hopefully, soon I’ll see you in a smaller pair of jeans.

If you look into the sidebar, you will see a place to join Momma So Fine.