Woke to a beautiful second day of my favorite month. July. Made it. The sunshine. The evening storms. Shakespeare in the park. Mum and my birthdays. The sun moving from the constellation of Cancer into the royal domain of Leo. The best produce of the year. Hot days, and cool showers before bed. July: the heart of summertime.
Halfway through the year. Halfway through #reboot2014. So far, so good in body, mind, and spirit.
The weight loss continues at a good pace. June was a plateau month for me. The scale hovered around 270 all month, but at 268 yesterday and today, I feel like I've finally broken through that barrier. Another 25 pounds to go to reach my goal, and I'm counting on the July sun to help me burn some extra calories. The aching knee has slowed me down for sure, but I'm encouraged that the pounds haven't piled back on. Walking and low impact aerobic exercise are doing the trick. I'm seeing the orthopedic guru in two weeks. At my friend Christy's suggestion, I intend to add some strength training with the kettlebell to my routine this month. A little more muscle mass can only help burn fat, and swinging the bell puts almost no strain on the knee.
I still need better discipline about my nutrition, so I'm stealing an idea from another friend: one major change per week. Every day this week, at the top of my Outlook calender, in big red letters it says: "NO DAIRY QUEEN THIS WEEK!" I've managed to stay away from the siren song of the drive through window so far. Next week? Get rid of the diet soda that has snuck back into my fridge. Clean fuel and quality replacement parts: learning to treat my body as well as I treat my car.
Mentally, I am so very encouraged. June was a synthesis month for me. It felt like years of therapy started coming together in a sensible body of understanding. After a rough spring, I resolved to get through the month of June without missing any work or scheduled appointments because of depression. And I made it! With the help of my friends, my shrink, and a splendid book by Russ Harris called The Happiness Trap, I'm learning techniques for managing the unpleasant thoughts that have tripped me and dragged me down so often in the past. I've read a lot in the "self-improvement" genre over the years, but this one seems to have come along at just the right time for me. I intend to post a review sometime, but for now I am reading through slowly, letting the ideas and exercises sink in.
I'm also writing more, and keeping a lot more of it to myself. I've been trying to post less on Facebook and trying to limit my public sharing to inspiration, laughter, and unapologetic promotion of the YMCA. I'm way too much of a ham to live life without an audience altogether, but it feels good to have a part of my life that stays in the house. It turns out all my laundry really doesn't have to dry on a line in the front yard.
I've been praying again, a private, personal practice that I really have missed. My Creator and I have had a rocky love affair over the past few years, but I'm coming to believe that what felt like abandonment was really a chance to find the strength of the wings God gave me. Every time I go to the Y and look into the eyes of a studio or pool full of people fighting for their lives; every time I stand in the light of courageous cancer warriors who refuse to let tumors, tests, chemo, or radiation keep them from staying as strong and active as they can be; every second I spend in that holy place reminds me that God is alive and at work all around me. They may think I'm training them, but the truth is, the members I work with are helping to make my faith stronger every day. For most of my life, I have wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. God is showing me that I am already much bigger than I though I was. For a while, I wondered if my spirit had died, or if I even ever really had one at all. I am learning that I do have a soul, one that I share with all of Creation... and with the One who created it all.
The bottom line is that I'm starting the second half of 2014 feeling as healthy as I have in a long time. I know there will be good days and bad days ahead, and I don't know how those days will go, but right now, the Bluegrass is gorgeous, sunny, and cool morning air is starting to heat up. Time to get ready to head downtown to teach a class called "Fit for Life."
I don't know when that title has ever felt more appropriate for me.