Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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choice

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Seven words, one concept, discussed in many of my childhood classrooms. Today I am in the position to choose. To choose where I want to live my life. Where I can find my liberty and pursue my happiness. A country where equality is a priority. Where respect is a valued concept. 

I choose to live in a place that has free education. I choose to live in a country whose minimum wage provides a respectable standard of living. I choose somewhere in which affordable healthcare is a cornerstone. I choose a woman’s right to choose exactly what healthcare she requires. I choose legal marriage between whichever two people who together think they can beat the odds. I choose over one year of paid parental leave. I choose a border policy aimed in aiding and supporting those people who need it most. This is my pursuit of happiness.

Forever an American, I did make the choice over six years ago to move over seas. Tonight, my fellow Americans have also made their choice. “While progress isn’t guaranteed each of us has the power to choose our path. Not just on nights like this but every day in between,” as my main man Obama said. The ability to choose, to vote, is an amazing power, Obama phrased it well: it is a beautiful and fragile gift.  

Though tonight’s election results are not enticing me to a quick homecoming, I do hope that America can move forward with “respect, empathy and kinship” among all Americans. Because who says it better than Barack Obama?

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four. run a marathon

This is another item on my list that I, unfortunately, haven’t completed.

The incompletion of this item was a really difficult decision for me to make, but in the end I believe the right one. I signed up for the Stockholm Marathon, which occurred yesterday. I really enjoyed the training at first. My brother was here visiting, and it had been so long since I had run regularly, it was great getting into it again. Then, April and May rolled around. About mid April I started to get really busy. Guys, I’m saying R.E.A.L.L.Y. busy. I’m of the opinion that there’s exactly enough time for the important things in life. But, what it came down to for me, was that it was much more important for me to be happy than for me to complete my training.

A combination of international travel, getting a couple poorly timed colds, over use injuries in my ankles and hip, more intensive studying, and the busiest time of the year at work just made it unenjoyable to train on top of all that. What it really came down to in the end, as I wavered between resting until marathon day and trying to get in a few more runs, was the fact that my hip just wasn’t up to it. I couldn’t physically run for more than two hours. This made attempting to do so very unenjoyable. I took a long hard look at what I was prioritizing, and decided not to prioritize running. I needed to let my body heal and let my mind rest before I embarked on this task again.

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A part of me wanted to try it out. Especially come race weekend. Just go and see how it goes. But I know myself too well for that. If I had gone, and gotten my number, excitedly awaiting the start with thousands of other runners, I wouldn’t have been able to stop. Even if my body was telling me to. Even if my hip hurt more than I imagined possible, I would have continued. That would have been a poor choice, inevitably resulting in more severe injury.

I love running. Like really love it. I think it’s one of the best forms of exercise, and we as humans have been doing it for a long, long, looooong time. I still hope to complete a marathon during my time here on earth, I just had to make the difficult choice of not completing that goal before my 25th birthday. (30 before 30, anyone??)

To be honest, I’m satisfied with the choice I’ve made. upset that I lost that entry fee, and didn’t reach my personal goal. But satisfied none the less.

Onwards and upwards.

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not dieting/starting again/stopping/then starting again

This probably sounds like a cliché, or an all too often told story. About people who try different fad diets, only to eventually fail at them, to then try some other diet that’s big right now.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about. And, honestly, without sounding to preachy or as if I’m trying to sell you something, I think I’ve found a few things that work when it comes to dieting.

Side bar: I am seriously not going to try to sell you anything. Seriously. I have no money to gain here. It is also probably important to emphasize that I am not in the field of health and nutrition. I have no background education in the matter. I told you all about how I’m a pre-school teacher. What I can say is that if we listened to the pre-schoolers we’d eat a whole lot of candy and cookies. That stuff is tasty! But, I do try to limit the advice I take from 5 and 6 year olds. (Though at times they are truly inspiring.) I’m rambling, the point here is don’t by anything from me, and take my advice with a grain of salt. Do your own research, and find out what works for you.

PN plate

found here

That being said, I think I’ll say it again. I really do not think there is anything better when it comes to “dieting” than doing your own research and finding what works for you. I want to put dieting in bunny quotes because what I do I don’t actually feel is dieting. Yes I am changing my diet. But ideally I am changing my diet for good. For the forseeable future. My personal goal, when I say I want to get fit (and yes I believe a big part of that is through making conscious decisions about one’s diet), is to find a diet that works for me and the lifestyle I want to lead, forever.

THAT being said, I’m here today to tell you a little about what I have found works for me, and my own personal experience with changing the way I eat (more commonly known as dieting).

Start slowly. I’ve read a million articles online about diets that are guaranteed to work, and just follow these easy 10 steps to a healthier you! (It was a million, I counted.) The problem is, it is almost never that I find all the “steps” in all the different “processes” to be simple. I find the biggest problem with dieting is failing at it. That’s why I choose my own steps. In order for this post to stay at a readable length I’m going to list my top three pieces of advice, or first three steps I took when trying to change my diet.

  1. Make it easy for yourself. I believe that successfully completing your goals sets you up for future success. Therefore, when beginning a new project (any project really) I start as small as possible. Miniscule. I make that first step seem like the easiest thing in the world, that I can definitely accomplish. Then comes the important part, that once I do accomplish my easy first step, I go on and make another step in the right direction. (But again, a very, ridiculously, awesomely easy step.)
    For example: If I want to eat less sugar, first I’ll take a look at what my sugar in take is currently. Let’s say I eat a good amount of sugar every day and want to reduce that. So I’ll first just look at one meal. Every morning I put two tea spoons of sugar in my tea. My super easy step then could be to only add one teaspoon of sugar. I think I can manage that with 100% success, so that’s what I choose to change.
  2. Keep track of what you’re doing. There are a bunch of apps out there, or you can go the old write-it-down-with-pen-and-paper rout. Whatever you do, keep track of what you’re doing and how you feel. If you keep track you will be able to easier tell what is working, and what isn’t. (Hint: this can even be one of your first small changes – make it easy for yourself!)
  3. Be allowed to cheat. They say (by they I mean the internet) that your “diet” will be successful if you follow it 90% of the time. That’s pretty sweet I think. If you eat 6 meals a day for 7 days a week that means you eat 42 meals in a week. That means you only have to follow your diet for about 37 meals. That’s 5 meals/week that you get to eat whatever you want. (Within reason and portion size.) I’m fairly sure if you eat seven pizzas for four meals a week you won’t be getting any fitter, regardless of what you eat the other 37 times.

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How do I know that these steps work? Like I said, I’ve read approximately 1 million articles online regarding changing the way one eats. In the internet wonderland I have found these ideas, and I have tested them myself to see what works best for me.

yummy fruit

found here

To be honest, it hasn’t been a perfect run, as the title of this post would suggest. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Dropped the ball. Let it slide. Whichever idiom you like. That’s why I find it important to have my three steps. When it starts going less well, I can take it back to the basics. Back to what I know works. (And keep track of what hasn’t work, and maybe even ponder why it hasn’t worked.)

I tried to keep this short and sweet, but certainly have more to say on the topic.

Stay tuned.

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