I posted a picture to Facebook today (yes, I'm back on the horrible thing known as FB, but I have valid reasons, and most of them have to do with the fact that FB is apparently the only way to communicate with people near and far nowadays. I'm using it very, very sparingly and trying hard to stay out of the "loop", but I am there. Expect another post about that....). Back to this post..
I posted a picture to Facebook today. It was really for my benefit, but it seems to have caught the eye of 50 or so of my friends. You see, I posted a picture of me. Nothing fancy - I snapped it in the few minutes before we left for Mass last night. Just a simple reflection of myself in the mirror.
Here's the picture:
I snapped it because I am a visual person. I learn best when I can see - or watch - something being done.
As most of you know, I'm trying really hard to live a more healthy lifestyle. That was my resolution last year (and one I'm proud to say that I kept!) - I resolved to treat my body as if it truly was the image of God. If my body is truly a temple of the Holy Spirit, I need to treat it as such.
Back in college, I was a "Ch-Urchin" at our campus parish. Basically, what that means is that the parish had refurbished an old wing of the church (I believe it used to be a rectory), and turned it into individual student apartments. In exchange for service hours around the church, four of us lived there with free room and board.
My "job" was to assist the sacristan. I spent hours that year, polishing wooden pews, cleaning out votive candle wax out of holders, making sure everything was ready for each of the weekend Masses. In other words, I spent countless hours that year making sure that our church was physically ready to receive our Lord every week, but yet I was doing nothing (physically) to make sure that my body was ready.
It took a very dear friend to point out just what being healthy really was: it was being a good steward of a gift I had been given - the gift of a physical body. Up until that time, I had fallen victim to the "I'm beautiful inside" or the "If you love yourself, it doesn't matter what weight you are" mentality that is so prevalent in our culture. I had completely bought the "don't judge a book by its cover" mantra and applied it to my own physical being. I did think I was a pretty cool person, inside, so what did it matter what I looked like on the outside?
While there IS some truth to the above catchphrases, I had let them become a "cop out" in my life. My intention was laziness. My true intention was not one of loving myself - it was one of giving up.
It took a pretty drastic wake up call to get my attention. The above realization had been rattling around in my brain for months before I even mentioned it out loud to my husband. It took a friend's health crisis for me to recognize that I was headed down the same path as my friend, unless I took action.
I realized, right then, that I was completely mistreating my body, which God has entrusted to me. No one else is going to prepare it for Him, like I used to do for the physical church. There's not some volunteer inside me who's going to clean out the junk I'd let built up and get everything shiny and new for Him. If I truly was a temple of the Holy Spirit - and made in the image and likeness of God - I surely was not acting like it.
So, about a year ago, I made a resolution to start making healthy choices - to start respecting my body and treating it as if it really were a temple. I looked like this when I made the resolution:
In my life, that translated to diet changes, exercises, taking better care of myself on a daily basis (silly things like flossing and actually making those routine doctor's appointments), and getting more sleep.
I was asked to post an update, so here it is. A year after making my resolution, I have:
- successfully changed my diet (and my family's) to about 70% vegetable/fruit, 10% starch, and 20% meat/protein. We did this gradually, and no one ever complained. In fact, my children ASKED for a green salad as a snack today.
- lost 35 pounds. I'm somewhat plateauing at the moment, but I'm not concerned, as I'm seeing other changes, and I didn't gain over the holidays, even though I did attend holiday dinners and eat out more often.
- dropped 3 dress sizes, and am close to dropping 1 more.
- regularly been working out. I started at 25 minutes a few times a week, walking at a pace of 3.0 mph. I gradually added intervals of jogging, and am now up to 40 minutes at least 4 times a week. During that 40 minutes, I complete 3.1 miles (5K - trying to get up to running it completely, to compete in my first 5K this summer).
- stuck to my routine of taking better care of myself. While I don't get 8 hours of sleep every night, I do get 8 at least 5 nights a week. I've kept to my promise of flossing daily, and regularly seeing a dentist and doctors.
- had normal lab results (glucose, TSH, cholesterol, etc) this past August, for the first time in a few years.
- have normalized my blood pressure, so that I am no longer on any medication. It has regularly been measured at 115/70 for the past few doctor's visits.
Overall, I've made incredible improvements (in my opinion) in one short year. I'm excited about what this next year has in store - and I'm incredibly motivated to keep on this path. I'm not changing my resolution for this year - just committing to it again for 2012.
How about you? What are you resolving this year?