Let’s start at the very beginning

I think I jumped into this blog backwards. But it’s never too late to flesh out the back-story!

Who, What, and When?

Here’s what you should know about me: I am a beginner at life. I know what healthy adults should do, and sometimes I do those things, but most of the time I take the easy way out. I would like to learn how to take care of myself and my family better. The two areas in which I need to build the most skill are exercise and cooking.

For most of my life I have not done any exercise regularly, let alone voluntarily. I hated, feared, dreaded P.E. in school and avoided sweat at all costs. Because I was smaller and less coordinated than others in my grade, I labeled myself as “bad” at exercise. I decided I didn’t need to be athletic because sports were for boys, and I focused all my energy on things that made me feel competent. Now, I am aiming for a complete lifestyle change. By the end of this year, I want to have an active lifestyle, exercising the recommended 150 minutes per week. I want to be able to teach my future children differently than I was taught: that exercise is an essential daily life habit, like brushing the teeth; that they are strong and physically able; that they can become more and more competent, even in areas that are hard for them, through small changes and frequent practice.

I am also aiming for a second identity change. I have always thought of myself as a terrible cook and have hated cooking. However I like eating, and I like eating healthy things. This contradiction has frequently left me feeling frustrated and stuck, resorting to “emergency food” (such take-out and pre-made foods) for half the week–or, worse yet, skipping meals because nothing good is in the fridge and I am too tired to cook. By the end of the year, I would like to have a healthier view of myself as a good-enough cook. I would like to have a better weekly rhythm, so that I cook enough healthy food to not run out by the end of the week. I would like decrease the number of “emergency food” meals to less than 2 per week, not including lunch.

The Why?

I am blogging because my guess is that there are other people out there like me, who want to grow as beginner cooks and exercisers. As I learn and grow, I want to create a directory of resources for others who want to make small, easy changes toward health.

I am blogging because I want to motivate myself through a little bit of public accountability.

I am blogging because I learn best by practicing, reflecting, and sharing what I am learning with others. As someone told me recently, you become an expert at something not by reading the book on a subject, but by writing the book on that subject! In writing, a person is forced not only to research and learn, but also to digest, synthesize, and integrate that new knowledge into the rest of who they are.

..and How?

As a mental health practitioner, I am well aware of my inner critic, which tries to help me by telling me all my faults. However, I have also learned that change comes more easily to me when I treat myself with kindness and grace. Likewise, as a Christian, I see God’s grace as one of the most powerful agents of change in my life. From my love of drama and improv, I am learning to see and celebrate failure as an essential part of the courage to take risks, without which one cannot create anything new. Accordingly, I hope to approach these goals for my life with gentleness toward myself, honesty at my progress, and the courage to try.