Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | January 9, 2009

New Year’s Redux

The first full work week of the New Year has gone by.  You know what’s so great about January?  It’s the month when everyone is so bright-eyed about change and sticking to it…well you know where that goes?  Oh, in the bag by March if you’re lucky.  Why?  Because most of the changes that we say we are going to make require a change of lifestyle as well as stopping the incessant negotiation in your mind saying “blah!  You don’t want to get out of bed for a run?  It’s bloody 50 degrees out there and DARK!  Stay in bed.”  You know the drill.

And by now you are wondering why my image, fashion, lifestyle blog is being dedicated to this topic.  Well, it has everything to do with your image and lifestyle.  Image isn’t just the clothes that you wear or your general appearance. Image is who you are in every sense of the word.  It’s the brand that you promote to the world and as such, any changes that you incorporate into your lifestyle (negative or positive) are part of your image.

So, I’m throwing out a challenge, mostly for me, but you are welcome to join me.  You see, I’m inundated by fashion mags with these fabulously chic women living in fabulously chic places (apparently L.A. has become chic?  When did that happen?) and talking about how they are incorporating changes for  the “new them” for 2009.  So I myself have been inspired to incorporate a few of these changes.

One woman in particular inspired me.  Living in soggy England she has committed to changing the following for the New Year (she started early, naturally, or it wouldn’t have been ready for the January issue), and I’m committing to mirroring her, sort of.  For the next 30 days (the plan being much longer but starting with baby steps):
1. Eating a balanced diet.  Okay.  This woman literally weighed her food for a month.  Those of you who have seen me cook know that I’ve trouble with a measuring cup, I mean hell, who needs to have a consistent recipe as long as it tastes delicious?  In all seriousness this may be the easiest for me to do because now that I’ve imposed a draconian budget on myself, then there’s no eating out which equates great control over my food.
2. Dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing every day but I’m throwing in going to the Dentist.  Sounds easy to you but I believe there must be a phobia of going to the Dentist and I’ve a full dose of it.  To paint a picture…I should have gone in September (really much earlier than that, but we are sticking with this date).  Going to the Dentist for me is like throwing a cat into a cold bucket of water.  There’s screeching, yowling, and I come out of the Dentist looking like a wet cat.  Verrry unhappy.

What I look like coming out of the Dentist

What I look like coming out of the Dentist

3. Exercise.  This woman committed to a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio 7 days per week plus 3-4 days of strength training.  She actually found the running easy even with living in consistently soggy England, and you’d think that I would too given that I was an athlete for most of my life except that I gave up working out along with my gym membership in 2008.  UGH.  Even though construction starts at 5 am. right outside my window I can’t seem to pull my lazy butt out of bed for a run (reference the earlier mind conversation).  So my goal is running 5 days per week to get to a point that I can realistically run a ½ marathon in the first half of this year.
4. Quitting smoking.  Easy!  I don’t smoke.  Okay, very rarely…When my New Yorker and Danish smoker friends are around (bad friends!  That’s right, it’s all their fault).  This is what was REALLY hard for her and this will be a non-issue for me.  Et voila.
5. Sex.  Stop snickering.  She really did add it to her list.  Apparently her poor husband hasn’t had a good night of sleep since the market went ape…go figure…that actually kills sex drive.  You may be asking why this is important for your health?  Apparently the release of oxytocin is beneficial and sex reduces stress.  Well halleluiah, why didn’t tell me that!  If that’s the case, maybe I’ll take up the world’s oldest profession (just kidding Honey).  This woman committed to 3 days per week and more than achieved her goal because her husband took it on as a contest.  Ah…and me.  Well I’m testing to see if my fiancée reads my blog because he’d kill me if he were to realize that I’m speaking of this publicly.  Suffice it to say that for the sake of this experiment…there will a goal. Enough said.
6. Sleep.  Oh Lord Almighty.   This is going to kill me.  Did you know that you are supposed to sleep 7 to 9 hours per day.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I used to be one of you people who would say “I only need 4 hours of sleep per day.”  Uhm.  Yah.  And you’ll age like a prune too not to mention what you are doing to rest of your system.  But I’m the pot calling kettle black because I can’t sleep to save my life.  So, for this experiment I’m committing to 8 hours per day and getting to bed by 10 p.m.  Since I’m downtown’s lightest sleeper I don’t know how well I’ll stay asleep but I will commit to going back to my doctor prescribed diet which helps me sleep.  But I’m starting slowly so for the 1st 30 days, I’m cutting out all caffeine and all refined sugar, only eating bread once per week and indulging in alcohol only on the weekends.  The woman in England cut down her drinking to a glass and a half of wine per night (this lady is my kind of lush) so I’m thinking I’m making a difference (work with me here even if I’m not).

Okay.  That’s more than enough change for me in 30 days.  She took on wearing sunscreen every day (I already do that), getting rid of all red meat (surprisingly easy when you’re on a budget), and getting rid of salt.  If I get rid of salt in my house my fiancé will look slightly like I will when I emerge from the Dentist’s office.

This is my New Year’s Redux my dear readers and I challenge you to try something for yourself – Go realistic…deciding to run a marathon next month when you don’t run more than 2 miles now…bad idea unless you like throwing out your hip and walking like a Rottweiler with hip dysplasia for a month.  Been there…Done it…Don’t suggest it.    Try balancing your diet by having an orange a day.  Incorporate a couple of snacks (uhm healthy) into your diet so that you are eating 5 meals a day instead of slogging through 2 or 3 huge meals.  Wake up a little earlier every day and take a bath, incorporate a meditation routine which for some could be going for a walk by yourself, or actual sitting meditation.  Go to bed 30 minutes early and catch up on your reading.  Start small.  Success for most of us requires baby steps.

I wish you luck and wish me luck, although I must say that with a wedding looming at the end of this year I’ve a goal to shoot for which usually makes these things much easier for me to incorporate.   But it’s a new year and we’ll see how it goes!

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin

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