Monday, August 31, 2009

Sharing a Health Goal With My Students.

I am a music teacher at an elementary school. I teach students Kindergarten to grade seven. My classes are usually around 30 students, and 30 minutes long. So every half hour I get a new group. Each day I teach nine classes which makes for a busy day.

My classes have always been active and full of life with movement, dance, singing, and playing instruments. I have always added extra movement in my day to liven things up. But this year, I want to change it up a bit.

I am going to offer a lunch time learn to run group. It's for students who want to improve their fitness, slowly, and have fun doing it. I was thinking of meeting twice a week, as well as planning some fitness related field trips.

I really love running, and have missed doing it. A torn meniscus in my left knee stopped it short last Spring, and a bulged disc in my back this Spring added to the torture. I have now eased my way back into it, and want to continue slowly getting stronger. After completing my Action Research on the health of our intermediate students at school, I believe there is a need to have such a club that focuses on making fitness fun while improving overall health.

I am really excited about it. It will bring my health passion along side my passion for music. The one thing I have learned in my Masters journey, is that you have to be the change you seek, and I'm really looking forward to sharing this journey with the students I teach.

Improving health one idea at a time.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back From Alberta

I had a wonderful trip to Alberta to visit a very dear friend. We were very good friends right at the end of high school and the first couple years of University, and then life happened. Time, distance, and a few misunderstandings, and we were out of each others lives for a long time. She tried to tell me the truth about something that I wasn't ready to hear. Anger instantly replaced the relationship, and over time feelings of regret and sadness replaced the anger. I missed her terribly.

About a year ago, she contacted me again through Facebook. It wasn't very long after that, that she hopped on a plane and came to visit. As soon as I opened the door the hugs, tears, and apologies flowed, and I vowed right then and there to never let something like that happen again. I wasted 8 years of my life not having her in my life, and I was going to spend the rest of my life building and strengthening all my relationships. Working on my masters degree has taught me how important relationships are.

As an educator I am always thinking about my students. Children do not remember every science project or math lesson taught. They remember the people, the relationships. The friends and teachers who cared enough to help them on their way, and gave them wings. They remember the bad ones too, and it is yet another reminder of how we carry ourselves, and how that, makes a lasting impact on the people around us.

I am very grateful to have my friend back in my life. When I was on her farm, we walked 6 miles everyday, talked, ate healthy home-cooked meals, laughed, and caught up on the last 8 years.

In this health journey I find myself on, I believe that physical health is truly important, but so is our emotional and spiritual health. Taking time to laugh and reconnect with friends is so good for the health of our soul. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity not only to work on my physical health while I was away, but also very glad that I took the time to reconnect with a great friend. My soul is so filled with love and goodness, my cup runneth over.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Forgotten Dress.

I went into town to go to Nan's today. My Nan (grandma) is turning 88 on Tuesday. She's an amazing woman, but she's is getting to the age, where some things are harder for her than they used to be. So when she calls and asks for a favour, I jump into action. She has supported and loved me all these years and it feels so good to love and support her back.

When my husband and I went to Nan's today to dig in a new shrub in her back yard, she handed me a bag. Inside the bag, was an old dress of mine from 8 years ago that I had asked her to mend, and that she had found in her spare room. It was one of my favourite Summer dresses, black cotton with brilliant yellow sunflowers on it. I loved that dress so much, and after all this time had forgotten all about it. When I pulled it out of the bag, I realized that after working so hard to lose all of this weight, I would probably fit into it.

So when I got home, I rushed into my room and tried it on. Sure enough after all these years, it fit like a glove, almost like it had never taken an 8 year hiatus.

I'm feeling really good these days. As I am increasing my exercise and getting stronger, I feel younger and more alive. Now, as I focus on losing the last 50 pounds, I am reminded of a life I left behind, and the life that lies ahead.

I am so glad I made the choice to become healthier, because I have so much more energy to live my present life, and enjoy what's happening now.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Goal Jeans

This past Christmas I was shopping for some clothes that fit. I was really at a stage where I was in between sizes, and nothing fit right. A size 20 was comfortable, but hung a little loose, and an 18 was tight and really emphasized my muffin top. It all depended on the cut and style of the jean.

After looking on the sales rack I found a pair of wide legged dark jeans and really fell in love with them. They looked roomy, and professional for work. I took the 20's and went to the fitting room, and tried them on, but they were too big. I was swimming in them. I walked to the rack, and they didn't have an 18, but had a 16. I sighed. I knew the 18 would have fit. For some reason, on that wintry day I picked up the 16's and took them to the dressing room. I put them on, and was surprised that I could do them up. They were tight. My muffin top looked more like a tire, but I wasn't sad. I looked at the price, and they were on sale for only 10 bucks. I told myself I would buy them, and with a little hard work, I would be able to fit into them.

Today as my husband told me I was really thinning out, I was reminded about those jeans that have been sitting in the back of my closet all these months. I searched for them, and today I tried them on.

They fit like a glove. No muffin top, no bagginess.

I walked out of the bedroom modelling the pants, and my husband whistled, and said, "you must be proud of yourself." And I really was. I have been working really hard on my dream of a healthier me.

I made a good investment at the time of buying the jeans at a great price, but an even better investment in myself. Even though the jeans were only a small goal, I feel very proud of my accomplishments so far, and even inspired my husband who today made a goal to lose 10 pounds.

What a triumphant day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Wisdom in Emerson

Quotes are wonderful things. Did you ever come across one that really resonated with you? This morning as I was looking for quotes for my final masters assignment I found this one:

"Don't waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the past I was the worst at sabotaging my own health. Eating everything in plain sight, exercising sporadically, and indulging on all the things that I wanted. It's funny, because I lost sight of my vision of what I truly wanted. To be healthy, and happy. These impulse indulgences drew me further and further away from my goal for myself. It was like I doubted or feared my ability to achieve it. Coupled by comments from others like "you'll never be thin because you are so big boned", or "you really don't have a runner's body" added doubt in my head, and I stopped believing in myself. It was like something in my head said, "If I can't be a runner, I'll eat Ben and Jerry's".

For the last month I have been wrestling with fear and doubt about completing my final masters assignment. When I read Emerson's quote, I laughed out loud, and the fear and doubt instantly dissipated. I had wasted a month not believing in my abilities to finish it, and fearing that when the program is all over I will have lost something I truly cherished. I've lost nothing. I'm standing at the gateway to an exciting new path.

I have come full circle. I have such belief in my abilities to achieve my goals, and the strength that runs through my veins every day helps me make positive choices to get to where I need to be. They are small steps in preparation for the hours and ages to come.

Thanks Emerson.