The Body, pt. III (my body)

On this 22nd day of September, I'm about a month into the South Beach Diet.  In the first two body posts, I mentioned how great the body is and how I've taken mine more or less for granted.  I hit my lowest point when I was trying on clothes for a dream job interview, and nothing fit.  Buttons wouldn't cross, and my clothes were humorously ill-fitting.  My lovely girlfriend was helping me select clothes, and she witnessed my mood fluctuate from (semi)excited to frustrated, throwing clothes that used to be staples into the 'give away' pile.  Though we finally found something that fit, we vowed to make some changes.  Hence: The South Beach Diet.

The South Beach Diet works.  I've done it before, and if you stick to it, you will lose pounds.  The reason I like it and used it, is that it's forced me to think about what I eat and then seeing how it effects me.  The diet's comprised of three phases - phase I, Phase II, and Phase III.  As the phase increases, the strictness decreases.  

Phase I is strict.  You basically can't have sugar or carbs.  So any breads, fruits, or sweets are out.  It's hard to follow, but you can feel your body using it's natural supply of fat, and you see quick results.  I lost 10-lbs on this phase, and feel way better.  

Phase II is when you begin re-entering carbs into yoru diet.  First week, one carb p/day, second week, 2 carbs, ect.  Most people lose between 1-2lbs p/week in this phase.  And this is where I'm at.  

During the first phase, I decided to weigh myself everyday.  The motivation helped.  It also kept me accountable.  I have a google doc that has my weights on it, and I can see the loss.  Now, on the second phase, I'm weighing myself on Monday and Friday mornings; I wanna see how my weekend habits v. my weekday habits affect my weight.  I'm also making sure to put my gym clothes in car so that when I have extra time, I can make sure to work out.  I've also shifted what I consider a work out.  

It used to be that I'd really only count a run as a workout.  Running is a great thing for me, but if I only count running, I miss out on other forms of exercise and it becomes so obligatory that it stops working.  Plus, my legs, knees, and back started hurting.  I'm now thinking about working out as getting the heart rate up, and working on the core.  It's meant some fast-walking and cycling.  I feel better.  

The other big change I've made, which is where I think I've typically gained weight, is how I've been doing my lunches.  For years, I've brought a sandwich, chips, and an apple for lunch; if i didn't bring it, I'd go out and buy something like this.  The result was a net lose of $12, and weight gain.  (I have a job where I'm sitting a lot, or can be stationary.  I'm also using my mind more than my body, so I'll be mentally drained, forgo exercise, and loaded with food).  So I've been bringing South Beach style lunches: meat and cheese, tuna sans bread, and then having an afternoon snack of nuts.  It works.  I'm hungry for dinner, but not sluggish during the day.  I've been adding a cup of coffee, and finding that it works.  

I began the diet, officially, at 230.8 lbs.  Today, I stood on the scale at 217.0.  13.8 lbs in a month.  I'll take it.  

And I do feel better.  

Simplicity, pt. I

A few years ago, I was given (by my sister Sarah, who is very awesome, but that is beside the point) a book called Freedom of Simplicity.  I began reading it twice, but put it down.  This is atypical for me, but I began the book again, determined to finish it.  

Things that I value include accepting your current position in life, facing the day with dignity, respecting yourself and your neighbor.  I believe in contentment.  

I put money aside for retirement, but something about our whole American paradigm of working, saving, and planning of retirement goes against some fundamental part of my belief.  It seems to go against the importance of now.  This goes with many other things I believe, like a job should not define a person.  We should not be entitled.  Gratitude is chief.  But there's something off putting to me about maxing out things for the future, while ignoring the here and now.  

Some context for the thoughts - I moved cities recently (nearly two years ago) for a job that I felt was the right move.  I moved to have more of an impact, to do more with the skills I have, to hopefully better the world.  This included longer hours and a major pay cut.  The move was lateral, expenses speaking, so the cut in pay effects spending, entertainment, and savings.  

There are a few ways it must effect these things.  But I think that - recently - I've been more of a complainer about the lost pay and current situation, than I have been someone who deals with, accepts the moment, and lives according to the values I profess to believe.  In some ways, I've been very vaginal in how I process the cuts, being overcome with lack, rather than being filled with thanks for what I have.  

Or, perhaps more accurately, I feel entitled to have, which puts me right in the camp of feeling that I hate most.  It's the opposite of gratitude.

The thing I want to do, as in: act with regularity, is being content with less, and being more thankful for that less.  It's become apparent to me that I need to alter my thoughts of contentment.  To think of what's in front of me, rather than what's next.  I need to alter my perspective of what possessions are and how to spend/use my money.  I know the paradigm is necessary on some levels.  

But I intend to switch some goals.  To have x amount to give, x amount to save, and to be content with the rest.  It's needed.  It's where I'm at, and I think the book - Freedom of Simplicity, will be an aid in that.