Making Better Choices

It’s hard committing fully to a healthier lifestyle. There are always opportunities to slip up. Peer pressure is truly a biatch!  However, I am learning to make better choices. Regarding eating out, most of the time we just don’t do it! The thought of a chained restaurant or fast food joint makes me want to vomit in my mouth. Granted, we have a few mom and pop restaurants that we like to go to, but besides that we love making our own fresh foods at home. Today, we visited my cousin and her husband in Baltimore and they wanted to treat us to breakfast. I hate imposing my will on others and I didn’t want to sound like a prick so we decided to head over to Mrs. Shirley’s for a great early-morning breakfast. I have been eating clean, but as soon as I smelled those pancakes, I had the urge to order them. Yikes! What to do, what to do? 

I decided I was going to make a better choice. Here’s what I did:

1) I ordered an egg white-omelet and I replaced the swiss cheese with spinach. Good move!  My treat for the omelet was jumbo lump crabmeat. Yum. I grew up in Baltimore, so how could I resist the opportunity to indulge in a little lump crabmeat. 

2) Instead of grits or hash browns, I opted for the fresh fruit. 

3) I didn’t anticipate any other items included, but they surprised me with a biscuit. Uh oh! I couldn’t resist, so I took one bite and passed the rest of it to my beau. Not a bad idea. If you’re going to get off the beaten path, don’t overindulge. 

Although I feel slightly guilty (yes, it’s THAT serious–any little thing will throw my thyroid and my metabolism into a tizzy!), I’m not going to beat myself up for the small bite of biscuit that I had. It was mediocre–not great–and I realized that the next time, I don’t even need to taste it! My breakfast was great. I made a good selection and we had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my cousin and her husband. Even better. Cheers to making better choices! 

Time to Get Moving at Work

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I must admit that I love working for myself. I’ve been a full-time educational consultant/freelance writer for the past four years. Just like any profession, there are certainly ups and downs with this career. I’ve contemplated getting a “normal job” and returning to the dreaded 9-5, but every time I write down the pros vs. cons of working from home, the positives always outweigh the negatives. What I miss most about teaching is the steady paycheck, health insurance, and retirement options. Well, I’m kidding. That was the politically correct response. I don’t really give a crap about those things, but in this society I guess they’re just good to have, right? What I truly miss is the social interaction–mostly with the students and other like-minded teachers because there were some adults that drove me bonkers! I am the quintessential social butterfly. However, working from home has transformed me into an extreme introvert.

Those are things about this line of work that I can get over. What I can’t get over is the lack of physical activity involved with working from home. My income depends on how many contracts I can reel in. Although I love the work that I do–writing, education, multicultural literature, and curriculum alignment are my strengths and passions–I am really confined to a computer for most of the day, especially when things get busy. Maybe it’s my lack of time management skills in this area, but there are days when I am glued to the computer for more than 16 hours! This can not be healthy. And I repeat, cannot. I workout almost everyday, so that’s not the problem. Quite frankly, there are days when I workout twice (right now I’m doing P90X and a 10K training program). However, sitting at the computer for long stretches may in fact be defeating the purpose of working out.

I think I may know how to fix this. First, I have a part-time–excuse me, full-time–website moderator job that I keep in order to keep that “steady income” while I get contracts (anyone who is self-employed knows that payments can sometimes be few and far between). Although this provides some stability, it’s just not good for my physical health. Staring at the computer all the time is ruining my eyesight, worsening my carpal tunnel, and contributing to my fatness! In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even need a job like this. But alas, these omnipresent student loans have my hands handcuffed to the keyboard.

In the meantime, since ditching my gigs are not a feasible option right now, I have to make adjustments. Starting yesterday. Here are some tips that I’ve picked up along the way that will become a mandatory part of my work-from-home routine:

  • Use a work calendar and project timeline–oh, and stick to it! Maybe if I spread my projects out better, I’d have time to do more active things during the day.  Sitting on my rear for 16 hours to work and finish projects is getting old fast.
  • Upon every hour of the work day, get up and walk briskly outside for 15 minutes. No exceptions. I was in the best shape of my life when I was in undergrad. Why? Because I had to walk all over campus! After each hour-long class, I’d have to trek 15-30 minutes to my next class. I was constantly moving and I think I need to emulate the good ‘ole college days again.
  • Meditate and stretch before and after walk. Sometimes, the deadlines, endless phone meetings, tireless trainings, and constant emails can be quite stressful. If I’m relaxed, maybe I’ll remember to incorporate some of these new habits.
  • Prioritize activity. I’m faithful to sticking to a workout plan. I can lift weights and do cardio with the best of them. But when it comes to being active at work, I am always the person that passes on a walking lunch break to “get more work done.” I need to start putting ME first, which means logging off the computer and hitting the pavement.
  • Write posts for my blog as often as I can. This one really has nothing to do with being physically active, it’s just a personal reminder. 🙂

Today I start anew. Well, since it’s Friday and I have a business meeting in NY, I’ll slop the day away again and start fresh on Monday. So there you have it. Monday begins my journey to incorporate a more active lifestyle into my work-from-home career. I said it. It’s a promise. And one thing I hate to do is break promises…


The only time you really …

The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits. – Hervey Allen

On the eve of my birthday, I’ve been thinking a great deal about what the past year has meant. Last year, I thought I was celebrating a momentous occasion. At least in my mind, turning 30 ranks high on the list of life achievements. It is a new chapter and it marks the beginning of a wondrous journey. At first, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know what to expect and who to expect it from. I wish there was a eBook, a manual, or a tutorial of sorts on “how a person should turn 30.” Of course I learned the hard way. Almost a year has passed–364 days to be exact–and I have learned great life lessons on turning 30–well, turning any age.

When I turned 25, I wrote an exhaustive list of things that I wanted to accomplish before the age of 30–travel to five different countries, publish a manuscript, continue building upon my brand, downgrade my LLC to a smaller boutique consultancy, start a blog, create a line of organic hair and skin products, quit my part-time job, and have a baby. Last year, I reexamined the “list” a week before my birthday and realized that I hadn’t done any of those things yet. I was mad at myself, but what was lost in those feelings of disappointment was my ability to be proud of what I had accomplished instead of what was on the list. I was invited to participate in the Toni Morrison biennial conference in Paris, but lack of resources prevented me from going. I kept dwelling on not going as opposed to being thankful for just having the opportunity to go. My writing/editing consulting business folded due to…you guessed it! Lack of resources. Again, my emotions got the best of me. I focused too heavily on losing my LLC instead of championing my efforts to start my own business. I took a risk that not many people are willing to take. I stepped out on faith to start my own business and even if it collapsed, that is certainly something to be proud of. The manuscript that I’ve been working on hasn’t been finished and I hit all kinds of brick walls trying to simply get information on how to get it published. So I did what I did best. Gave up on it and spent countless hours sulking and wondering if I’d ever get it published. Instead, I should have been proud that I even had the energy to start the process of becoming a published author. Grateful to have the gift of expressing myself through the written word. I get it now. Nothing is stopping me from accomplishing those things on my list. Don’t get lost thinking about shortcomings. Get lost in your successes and anticipate greater triumphs in future.

Another great lesson that I learned on my 30th–lowering my expectations of other people. Yes, I was feeling down about not having accomplished all on my list. Yes, I was not in a financial situation to celebrate my special occasion. However, I somehow had a glimmer of hope that the people around me would have realized this and helped me to celebrate something so near and dear to my heart. If a person could earn their rights to being celebrated, I was 100% sure that I had earned that. I wasn’t keeping count by any means, but I recalled putting lots of good energy and love into celebrating other people. Last year, on my 30th birthday, I was devastated when I didn’t receive that love back. I am not a materialistic person, so a party or lavish gifts is not what I desired. Just a small showing of gratitude that  symbolized “we appreciate you and want to celebrate your 30 years on earth.” Things in my world were a little turbulent, but I thought I could count on others for a quick pick-me-up. When nothing happened (missed phone calls, no cards in the mail, no cake, no celebration), that was God’s way of letting me know that a lesson needed to be learned. STOP DEPENDING ON OTHERS TO CARE ABOUT YOU. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF OTHERS WHO CLEARLY AREN’T THINKING OF YOU–NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE. I spent so much time dwelling on those who didn’t come through for me in my time of need (I’m good at dwelling–should’ve majored in it!) that I didn’t even appreciate the one person that tried to make my day special. Although my husband didn’t have any money, he found a way to take me to a nice restaurant and walking tour of Boston. At first, I cringed at that idea. It was hot outside and I was upset, but I had a great time. Also, my in-laws gave my husband a gift card to my favorite store just so that I could have something to open on my actual birthday. I was too lost in my emotions to appreciate all of those blessings.

Fast forward to 2012. I have learned the art of forgiveness–still learning–and I have moved on–still moving. My acupuncturist sent me a card with a free treatment. Hooray! I’m going zip lining for the first time with my husband today. Hooray! I just saw Spiderman in the movies and it was truly amazing (ha). Hooray! I’m off this Sunday which happens to be my birthday. Double hooray! We’re going to church, then to have a nice breakfast, and then to enjoy walking in the heat. Hooray! My friend, Mary, has a birthday brunch planned for me in Manhattan on Tuesday. And guess what? I am grateful for it all. God is good. Happy 31st Birthday to me!

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This entry was posted on May 6, 2012. 1 Comment