Pay Attention!

Mindfulness has been a buzzword for some time now. My Google search produced just over 40 million hits in .35 seconds. Popular? I'd say.

Psychology Today defines mindfulness as:
a state of active, open attention on the present. When you're mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

What is mindfulness? It's simply paying attention. I have a bad habit of not paying attention. I'm really bad at grabbing a bag of almonds and just eating. Then the next thing I know, half the bag is gone. Even at meals, I'm guilty of charging right through whatever it is on the plate and not taking the time to savor the taste of the food.

Or how about rest days? It's a biblical concept, really-- the Sabbath. One day out of seven to take a complete rest from any kind of work. My rest days are mostly spent trying to occupy my brain by forgetting about the fact that I'm not working out. I should be enjoying the day and discovering something I'm passionate about-- maybe reading, or scrapbooking, playing games with my sons, or coloring.

And then there's the training. Too many times it's an item on my checklist. I'm just trying to get it done.

I think we need to stop just getting things done. Too often I find myself feeling like a rat on a hamster wheel. But that's a feeling. I need to assess-- are these things I have to do? If no, then I need to erase them from the list and move on.

Three weeks ago, I realized I was in a downward couch potato spiral. There have been a variety of factors that led to this, but I think one of them was a lack of paying attention. I had slipped into some unhealthy eating habits and lost my joy in training. I was feeling less like an athlete and more like a couch potato. So, then I acted more like a couch potato, which made me feel like a couch potato. My weight was creeping up. And I was more often making excuses than making progress. And I was beginning to live in a state of unhappiness.

I decided to tighten everything up. I started tracking on My Fitness Pal again-- just to hold myself accountable and get back on track. And it's worked. Cleaning up my diet again has given me more energy and balance. I've felt better, which has made me want to train again. And as a bonus-- I'm down 6 pounds.

*An word on My Fitness Pal: Remember, if you're using MFP, the daily activity level accounts calories burned for things like cooking and cleaning. I know it feels good to count daily chores as exercise, but if you add those, you may find yourself taking in too many calories. I've also found myself over estimating exercise-- I may be "training" for 90 minutes, but I'm not working that whole time. I do a slow warm up, take bathroom and water breaks. Stop to talk to people. So, just be aware that as exact as MFP seems, it's not a perfect representation of your life.

And if you've struggled with eating disorders ever, I do not recommend you use the app. It could trigger some unhealthy behaviors. 


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