April 27, 2010

Nix These Bad Habits to Live Longer!

Check out this news article from the Yahoo homepage about several habits to quit to help you live a longer, healthier life!


Finding Fitness Inspiration

I read a lot of womens' health & fitness magazines, and I see tons of pictures of extremely fit women who are tight & toned and beautiful.

These pictures inspire me (and I'll admit, make me slightly jealous sometimes), but I've been realizing that I have to be realistic and realize that my body, no matter how toned I get, may NEVER look like those ladies.


Well, for starters, I am over 5 feet 6 inches, and most featured women are much shorter and petite than me! Most women are around 5 feet 3 inches!

So, my shoulders and hips will never be as small as theirs, so I will always naturally be taller and more "big-boned" than them.

So what I need to do is find pictures for inspiration of healthy, fit women who are closer to my height! Then I can reasonably expect my body to someday look similar to theirs! (Of course, my body may never look exactly like them, because fitness will probably never be my career, but at least they can still inspire me.

I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for inspirational pictures of fit gals who are closer to my height!

I Chopped My Hair Off!

So, after debating getting my hair cut short for an entire day (I was a little carried away with debating & anxiety), I finally decided to take the plunge and I got my hair cut short again on Saturday!
I don't have a picture of my new hair to post yet, so I'll post a similar haircut, shown on Jamie Eason, the fitness gal I featured in my last post.

This is very similar to what I have now (except of course I'm a brunette!)So, after spending the entire day fretting about this decision, I realized that I was caring way too much about this decision. It's only hair, for goodness sakes, right? It'll grow back!
I also realized that part of the reason I was terrified to cut it all off, was because I was afraid I would never be able to grow it long ever again.
This irrational fear comes from knowing that my mother & grandmother both have thinning hair. And my mother has cautioned me several times not to cut my hair short, because that's what she did when she was my age, and she was never able to grow it past her shoulders ever again.
So I decided that worrying about getting thinning hair at the ripe "old" age of 24 was simply ridiculous, and that I was placing too high a value on my hair.
So I chopped it! And I love how sporty it is, and how much body it has!
Having short hair will also save on shampoo & conditioner usage, and will cut down on my shower times.
So, for the time being, I have given up what I thought was my "dream" of having really long hair, for the benefits of having a short, sporty haircut just in time for summer!
And I'm not going to worry about someday losing my hair, because that's just plain a waste of energy! This is me, letting go!

April 23, 2010

The Great Hair Debate

To cut my hair or not cut my hair? This is the question that has been raging through my head all day today. The above picture is me last June in Seattle. I had gotten my hair cut a couple weeks before this trip, to the shortest it had ever been!

Growing up, my hair was always very long (I could almost sit on it), super-straight, and it just kinda hung there. I had no creativity and I loved my long hair, but had no idea what to do with it and didn't know any different ways to wear or style it, so I always just wore it straight down. Talk about boring!

So about 3 weeks before my wedding on Sep. 28, 2008, I cut it to about chin length for the first time ever. This is me on my wedding day, being walked down the aisle by my dad!

So first was the super-long hair, then came the just-above-the-shoulder cut for my wedding (above), then the even shorter chin-length in the first picture at the top.

I loved my short hair when I first got it, but as soon as it started growing out (which was noticeable about 2 short weeks later), I began hating it and terribly regretting the fact that I had gotten it cut so short. My "sporty" & "chic" haircut quickly turned into one of the worst mistakes I had made. (Or so it seemed).

So for the past almost year, I have been growing my hair back out. It has been such a painfully slow progression, and I've been wishing for my long hair back for a long time now.

But, this morning, my mom called me and wants to take us both to get hair cuts (she's paying!) with our favorite hairstylist, Millicent Larson, who works at a salon called The Wild Hare, in Loveland, OH. Here's their site: http://www.thewildharesalon.com/

So I thought, "Sounds great, Mom! I'll just get a trim!" But then I start thinking about "going all the way" and cutting my hair short again. Can you believe it? After all the pain and heartache and regrets I've had over the past several months, I'm actually considering cutting it short again! What the heck is wrong with me????

The thing is, I keep thinking about how cute my short hair was (until it started growing out and getting shabby), how much it cut down on my shower time and shampoo usage, how sporty & easy to style it was, and how, for the first time in my life, my hair actually had some body & bounce to it! I start thinking about all these things, and now I'm really torn.

So why the total dilemma? It's just hair, right? It'll grow back (eventually). If I hate it, I don't have to live with it forever. But I've seriously been going crazy thinking about the choice of cutting my hair short again or keep trying to grow it out.

The truth is, I'm getting impatient with growing it out. It has been this shapeless mass of hair since last July, and it just kinda hangs there with a couple very noticeable, sharp layers that don't seem to blend. My hair, in the longest portion (in the back), is just to my shoulders and maybe slightly past. I've had these bangs that I've been trying to grow out, and I've had to pin them back by my ear everyday because they are awkward and hang down right in my eye when they are loose.

If I do get my hair cut again, I think I want it to look somewhat like Jamie Eason's hair:
I really like this chin-length, rounded bob. It looks sorta sporty, modern, and pretty easy to style. This cut seems like a good compromise. Not too short, not too long.

Anyway, this mental debate has me thinking about all sorts of things. Why is my hair so important to me? Does it really matter how it looks? Am I caring too much about this?
Am I worrying too much about physical looks and beauty?

April 20, 2010

Exercise Doesn't Only Benefit Your Body!

So this may be a bit cliche, but regular exercise really does benefit more than just my body--it helps my self-esteem, my brain functions, gives me energy, and lifts my mood!
I've read studies proclaiming that regular exercise helps improve brain functions such as memory recall, attentiveness, problem-solving, and helps keep brain cells healthy, thus preventing dementia & Alzheimer's disease.
I've also read studies that describe how self-esteem rises simply by doing exercises. Mostly this happens because you are doing something positive for your body, and this effort makes you view yourself in a more positive light.
This is true for me. Even if I am not noticing or seeing any physical difference, I am still so proud of myself for doing something, anything, to take care of myself and get more physically fit. I automatically feel better about myself and my confidence rises, just because I am putting forth effort to improve myself.
Of course, do I even need to mention how regular physical activity helps prevent all kinds of maladies like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, depression, memory problems, and PMS symptoms?
Regular physical exercise truly is something you do for yourself now, and for a better future.
Today, I ran 3.5 miles, after taking a few non-running days. It was hard, but at around 3 miles I experienced the fabled "runner's high" euphoric feeling that many runners have experienced. For me, this feeling is a surge in energy, a strong "I can do it!" feeling, and a general sense of well-being and happiness. It wore off before the end of my run and I became tired again, but I finished extremely proud of myself and the healthy choice I had made to run.
Exercising is also a great de-stressor! Tiring out my body really helps all other worries or anxieties fade away. I think it's because my body is working so hard that I cannot waste energy stressing about something!
I've recently seen a magazine advertisement from some shoe company like Adidas or Saucony, and it shows a woman running mid-stride, running through a waterfall. The back half of her body is surrounded by negative words & thoughts like "stress", "anxiety"; and the front half of her body is exposed on the other side of the waterfall, with none of these words around her. She is in fact smiling a small, satisfied smile.
The tagline below the picture says something like "Running cleanses the body & soul".
Lately, I have been thinking about the positive affect on body and mind that exercise has, and this advertisement pictured exactly what I've been thinking about.
What about you? Are there any positive affects you notice about yourself when you exercise that I haven't mentioned here? Let me know about your experiences!

April 15, 2010

No More Food Diary!

So I have been keeping a food journal for the past several months. I was recording most every calorie I ingested, including coffee, candy, drinks, snacks, and all meals.

This helped me see my eating patterns and my areas of weakness, and foods I don't eat enough of.

I also used this journal to log my workouts and runs, and how I felt after each one.
That being said, seeing all those days in writing where I ate way too many calories, or completely skipped my workout.....ended up depressing me so much that it was almost better if I didn't write that stuff down!

So, instead of being a motivational & educational thing, it ended up being another "to-do" thing that I kept failing at.

So, I stopped keeping a food journal a few weeks ago, and I'm glad to be free of it!
Since I stopped writing in my food journal, I've been running more regularly and I've been incorporating more weight lifting into my workouts.

Since stopping my food journal I've actually lost about 4 pounds! Yippee!

So, I know enough about healthy foods now to know approximately how many calories I'm eating, so I don't need the food diary anymore!

Food journals work for a lot of people, especially those folks new to eating healthy, whole foods and watching their caloric intake. But after awhile the usefulness should wear off and you should be able to estimate your daily calories on your own. This is what I did!

So what I'm trying to say is that I enjoyed keeping my food diary and it helped educate me about what I'm eating, but I'm glad to be rid of it!

But I encourage those just starting out on an exercise and eating healthy lifestyle to give a food journal a try!