Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lesson 271: Better Than I Used to Be

Hello, Readers!
Snow is expected throughout the country this week.
We've already started with our Thanksgiving blast tonight.
Early season snow is always beautiful.

I returned to the Lamp Post from work today to find snow on the branches.

I had just enough time to change clothes and dig out my snow stuff.
Eloise had a workout to attend. 
It was the last of the, 

If you've been following my blog, you will know that I have been participating in a Wellness Challenge developed by Erie chiropractor, Dr. Steven Krauza.  Dr. Steve, whom I refer to as Doc, challenged his patients, clients, Team Adrenaline members, and anyone in the community to join a pre-holiday season challenge.  Participants pledged to refrain from eating any foods with sugar in the first three ingredients, dairy products, and breads.  The challenge took place from October first through the day before Thanksgiving.  That is 58 calendar days.  Fifty.  Eight.

Participants were also encouraged to add fitness to their lifestyle by attending Team Adrenaline workouts.  Stretching and relaxation were also key elements incorporated daily to combat stress.  

Many showed up tonight for their 

We ran despite the snow.

Some of us tried to outrun it.  

No luck.
So we decided to play in it instead.
Supine jumping jacks,

created a beautiful array of heavenly hosts across the field.

In between sets, we even had time to build a snowman.

We all agreed that the night, which hovered around 30 degrees with a fine snow, was beautiful.  Sitting in your living room, looking out at the cold, dark night, one may wonder how any pleasure can be found in it.  The faces below are the proof that outdoor fitness is very rewarding.  Downright addicting, if you ask any member of this crowd.

My post-workout photographs always turn out the best.
The smiles are genuine.

The look of accomplishment in the eyes is unmistakable.

There is no better high one can feel, 

than the lift you get from group adrenaline.

Working out as a group was just one advantage of the program.  If you attend just one workout (the first one is always free), you can be added to the Team Adrenaline Facebook page.  There Doc, my teammates, and I share information, stories, inspiration, and recipes with one another.  

One computer savvy group member started a page to share recipes:

Jen K created the group.

We posted everything from what was on our dinner plate

to what was in our shopping carts.

We even posted some great ideas for Thanksgiving.
This Veggie Turkey is making an appearance at Eloise's Annual Thanksgiving Night Poker Party.

In 58 days I've learned to love vegetables.
My body doesn't feel like it works right if I don't have some with every meal.

I also was going to include some healthier versions of pie on Thanksgiving.
Eloise speaks in the past tense because the full pies are already half gone.

This is Leslie, my friend the pastry chef.
She figured out a way to make healthy versions of pumpkin pie and chocolate pie.
Her pies are so good, they probably aren't going to see Thanksgiving.
I'm delivering some to the neighbors now.
(Grandma and Grandpa, turn on the back porch light).

Let me know if you'd like some.  I know just where to get them.

We asked questions of one another:

Help!!! What can I drink besides water?? I don't like coffee or tea (hot or iced)!?

AND from our resident photographer.....

On a serious note... how does a dry red wine fit into this diet? it has 0% residual sugar. Editing and a glass or two of wine go REALLY well together..

We posted our temptations.

Wanted THIS but bought organic grapes instead.....

Again from Matt--

I started my 58 day challenge with a glass of wine... I'm doomed.

Members responded immediately with reminders to stay strong.

You got this!

My very favorite part of the challenge was watching how FAMILIES were included in the wellness formula.

Kiddos cooked with Mom and Dad,

and worked out along side of them, too.

Our workout group is diverse.  
We took Jean's advice from her Challenge Erie 4 Summary:

Anyone can join the group.  If you are interested, contact Eloise and I will connect you with the right people if you are willing to give wellness a shot.  Wellness is more than just good health habits practiced for 58 days.  It is the the blend of physical, mental, and social well-being.   When all are in sync, balance is achieved.

                                                                            Join us!

So how did you do, Eloise?  
Did you win the big money?
I can hear you asking through this computer screen.

My answer to you is YES.  I did win.
I won the biggest battle anyone faces:
the one that rages in their own mind.

I didn't want to give up my morning toast and peanut butter, but I did.
Life without cheese?  Didn't think it was possible, but I did that, too.

Did I win the money?
No, I did not.
I was the first to be measured late last week. 
My personal stats were not enough to take the top spot.

But in my own personal assessment, 
I was better than I used to be.

Better than I used to be

My gauge of how far I have come since working with Dr. Krauza for over a year, comes in a non-conventional way.  That is fine because I tend to be a non-conventional kind of person.  I behaved appropriately at the dentist during some recent, unexpected dental work.

My dentists and I have had strained relationships in the past.  Cleaning Eloise's teeth has been a chore because of my nervousness and anxiety ridden behaviors.  

Fear of the dentist continues

In an odd way, my needless dentist phobia has left Eloise with a fine set of choppers. Always clean and flossed, with few cavities.  

I found a great dentist a few years ago that found me more humorous than annoying.  She is a patient, Polish woman, with a gentle hand and heart as big as her accent.  "Zew are different when I work on your toofs today.  Zew are not so jumpy and nervous," so said the dentist.

Dr. Wilczanski was right.  I wasn't nervous while strapped in a chair.  I even asked for a hand mirror to hold up so I could watch what she was doing.  Repaired tooth and mended relationship with my dentist.  An odd way to show progress, but it is progress just the same.  And I didn't even need one hit of Polish potato vodka to survive the appointment.

We all are on a journey of wellness.  Each of the 58 Day Challengers began at a different point along that path, and moved along as far as they were able to.  I may have not decreased my body fat by the greatest percentage, but I was able to sit in a dentists chair without fear.  I also learned that I could replace my morning white bread toast with a nutritious orange, and traded cheese and crackers for lunch for a nutrient packed avocado and some almonds.  

58 days to make huge remarkable changes?  Doubtful for me when you compare 58 days in relation to how many days I've been alive.  Check out the Date Duration Calendar (google it)  if you haven't yet.

Here are Eloise's stats:

From and including: Wednesday, March 3, 1971
To and including: Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Result: 15,610 days

It is 15,610 days from the start date to the end date, end date included
Or 42 years, 8 months, 24 days including the end date

I figured (after hiring a math tutor) that 58 days has just been this much of a percent of my life:

0.00371556694 %

 Did I really expect to see a huge, measurable change in just that small fraction of focus?  Not really, and not enough to be crowned the winner of the challenge.  But I changed enough.  How do I know?  Because I'm better than I used to be.  

Just ask Dr. Wilczanski.  She'll vouch for me.

I have a great collection of photos from the workouts over the past 58 days.  I set them to Tim McGraw's song Better Than I Used to Be.  It is from his 2011 Emotional Traffic album, also a fitting description of Eloise.  Now that I am the crossing guard to my own emotional traffic, my life is better and fuller and richer.  

Tim McGraw- better than I used to be..

Sure, I got a few more dances with the devil (sweet potato casserole come Thursday).  I am cleaning up my act little by little, one day at a time.  I'm getting there.  I like the person looking back at me in the mirror.  I'm not as good as I'm going to get.  There is more in store for Eloise.  But I am better than I used to be.

I speak for all of the participants in this 58 Day Challenge:  

Enjoy the video recap.  Participants, thank you once again for allowing me to photograph you on your journey towards better health.  It was an honor to be part of such a great movement.

With many thanks,

1 comment:

Miss Friedclams said...

Hi - I'm Bet, Mary B's Mom. LOVE the video. Love your writing. Most inspirational! I can almost feel that metal spatula starting to scrape me off my cast iron skillet ass. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!