Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Christmas in Florida

Christmas in Florida is always an interesting experience. Two days before Christmas and it is sunny and warm – a perfect day for pleasant outdoor experiences. Now is the time of year when we all stop hibernating and start doing. Of course, the highways are totally crowded and the stores beyond description. We are going visiting today and taking our bicycles for some extra fun. Our eating – well, we are planning on using up some of our margin. But the extra activity will deposit into our margin account. So, it all balances out. And that is how we manage to have a life and truly enjoy it. We have become doers, not talkers. We don’t search for the illusive magic pill, fairy wand or pixie dust. Being healthy is truly a lifestyle, not something that happens to you when you take a pill, drink a particular juice or hope for health. It is an active, lifelong experience made up of choices that we make everyday and every hour of everyday. There is no fountain of youth which provides rejuvenation with a dip or a drink. And if we spend all of our time searching for it, we will fail to have the life we hope it would provide. And to be honest, we all know that. But moving from talking to doing can seem impossible when our easy chair seems so comfortable and relaxing. What do we do and how do we do it? The first thing we must do is look in the mirror and see who we are. Not who we want to be, not who we hope to be, but who we really are. When nobody is looking who are we? We can’t get anywhere if we don’t start where we are. The best navigational system in the world cannot take you to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are starting from. Next, set a long term goal – a picture of where you want to be. It’s a long term goal, so unlike others, I am prone to say it doesn’t have to be specific. I think a mental picture of the life you want to have is as good as specific biometrics. If need be, find some pictures for the internet or magazines of people who look like they are living the life you want to have. Post them on your fridge, your computer, your Treo or your phone. When tempted to go back to old lifestyle choices, look at the picture and think of what your life will be like.

Now that you know where you are and where you want to go, you need to allot time for the journey. How much time depends on you and the vehicle you are using. Traveling from Florida to Alaska can take anywhere from months to hours, depending on the mode of transportation you are taking. It would be silly to plan on being in Alaska in a day if you are planning on walking and it would be just as silly to think you can compete in your first triathlon next month if you not willing to make a major commitment to training and eating habits. My journey from a couch potato eating the standard American diet to an athlete eating primarily high nutrient-to-calorie ratio foods has taken years. I have greatly enjoyed the journey and am reveling in the beauty of my destination. Notice, it has taken me years to get here, and I still have a ways to go. I keep thinking about scheduling my first triathlon, but I’m not sure I’m willing to make that commitment, yet. It’s all part of realistic goal setting and life choices. But at least I’m making my own choices rather than letting ill health take over and dictate my style.

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