When you're headed into turn three on the final lap towards hitting the 40-year-old finish line, you best be armed with a strategy - and a good sense of humor.
With just three months to go until I blow out my candles, I recently started thinking about the same 15 pounds I gained over the course of a year or so, starting when I moved back to Oregon in Fall 2010 - and have been trying to lose for, oh, three years now. Not a daunting amount of weight to lose, and certainly not a goal that should take more than a few months at most. But it was just high enough of a number to annoy me, gnaw at me, beat me up, hold me back, knock me down, and hold me hostage.
Why? Because I let it.
I've also recently officially become the stepmother of a fabulous 13-year-old girl, and that changes the game. Significantly. I had to think about what kind of example I would be setting for her by obsessing over these 15 pounds. And not to sound like a Special K ad, but what was I really trying to lose. And gain.
I had to ask myself if this gnawing was truly about the physical weight. My acupuncturist told me a few months ago that weight, physical and emotional, is about protection and safety. So what exactly was I trying to protect myself from?
15 pounds also got me thinking about 15 minutes, and how so few of us even take that small slice of time every day to make sure we are doing something that makes us fit and well, versus sick and feeble (and thanks to On Your Feet for introducing me to this concept).
Which is what led to the "A-ha," and that is this: it's not about the 15 pounds. It's about the 15. It's about a starting point, a marker of time, a commitment to myself to do at least 15 minutes of something that supports the overall concept of wellness, daily. For myself, or for someone else (as the latter is just another way of taking care of myself).
I started listing the possibilities out into categories:
Movement: Something, anything, every day, for at least 15 minutes. Every damn day. 5K training run. Actual 5K (Starlight, I've got my eye on you). barre3 or Pound class at Pulse PDX. And those Hip Hop Abs and Brazilian Butt Lift DVDs I so eagerly ordered after watching the infomercials aren't going to do themselves.
Connection: Sitting at the dining room table to have my dinner, TV/laptops/smartphones OFF. Focus on actual conversation. Listening. Volunteering with Girls, Inc. of NW Oregon. Making a juice, tea, brunch, happy hour or dinner date with my friends, my chosen family, and my blood family. Going for a walk with my stepdaughter to hear about her day. Hitting the snooze button twice more in favor of extra spoon time.
Creating: Working on my new book. Reading. Going to a reading or book signing. Finding opportunities like the Writers Workshoppe weekend in Port Townsend to remind me of who I am.
Nourishing: Planning my meals. Sticking to the plan. Trying new recipes. Revisiting Foodtrainers LBT and 4-Hour Body for guidance, because they make the most sense without going to extremes. Indulging occasionally. And not feeling guilty about it. And maybe a facial, mani/pedi, and deep conditioning treatment or two.
So the goal is this: commit to seeing how many of these buckets I can hit every day from now until the birthday bash. Record and share my progress - the good, bad, and ugly. And most important, pay attention to what I'm learning, and have learned.
Today's #Project15 wins included a long overdue, follow up acupuncture appointment, making my first batch of antioxidant-fighting black rice as part of my dinner, and stringing together a series of barre3 online workouts as featured on Dr. Oz to hit that minimum minutes of movement I've promised myself daily.
Day one? Check. Now let's see where this goes.