Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do you wish you had more time?

My husband is an avid golfer and on the weekends, spends much of his time on the golf course.  Well, when you live in New York City, you can’t just step outside and go down the street to play 18 holes.  It’s quite a commitment if you want to play golf when you live in a big city.  My husband drives 45 minutes to and from the course, not including traffic (and if you live in or anywhere near the city, you know there is always traffic).  Secretly I think golf is his sole reason for wanting to move out of the city (and what I consider the most perfect neighborhood in all of New York) and into the suburbs. 
I’ve always thought it would be fun to play golf but never really pursued it because, to be honest, I didn’t think I had the patience or the time.  I’m one of those people that always needs to be busy.  If I don’t have a long To Do list to guide me through the day, I’m lost.  It’s very hard for me to sit down on the couch and just watch TV or just read a magazine... I also have to be writing a blog post, packing my lunch, doing the laundry and checking my email at the same time.  There is always more that needs to be done than there are hours in the day.  If I spend 4 hours out on the golf course, how will I get everything else done?  I know myself, I would spend the whole time thinking about all of the other things that I could or should be doing instead or will have to do as soon as we get home.  However, since I'm not ready to move to the burbs just yet but I do want to spend more time with my husband on the weekends, I said “yes” when he offered to sign me up for a golf lesson.
On Sunday morning, I bought some shorts, a collared shirt and a pair of golf shoes.  This alone took more time than I thought (if you've ever shopped for women's golf apparel, you know it can be quite challenging if you aren’t into knee length plaid shorts and a shirt with a matching plaid collar) but after I was finally outfitted properly, off we went to the course. 
I learned quickly that golf is a very humbling and selfish sport.  It wants all of your attention.  You can’t think about anything else when you’re golfing.  You can’t think too far ahead and you certainly can’t multi-task… at least not successfully.  Golf forces you to live in the moment, to think only of the ball in front of you.  Sure, you have to take a look at what’s in front of you, locate the hole and pick a target but then you have to turn your attention first, to your stance, then to your grip, then to your backswing and then to your follow through.  If you lose sight of the task directly in front of you, if you’re thinking about the next hole or just your next shot, you will miss the ball completely.  You will be right back where you started and you will have to go through the motions all over again until your focus is just right, until you make contact and swing through the ball and then, and only then, do you dare pick up your head to see where it might land.   
Ask for what you want and the universe will give you what you need.  Basically, that’s what happened with me and golf.  We all have the same number of hours in the day, but if you’re anything like me, if you were given 24 more, you could easily fill those up too.  So, I'm constantly asking the universe for more time to get everything done and what I got was an introduction to a sport that takes 4 hours to play and demands singular focus and all of my attention. 
Golf made me realize that what I need isn’t MORE time, what I need is to slow down to enjoy the time I have, to live in the present moment without worrying about what comes next and to appreciate the time I can now spend with my husband on the weekends.   I think this is the first of many golf lessons to come.
Have a happy + healthy day!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting Back to the Basics.

Last month. my Dad celebrated his 74th birthday!  When I called to wish him a Happy Birthday, he asked about my Health Coaching business which led him to tell me a story about some changes that he made when he was younger and wanted to lose weight. I asked him if he would share his story with my readers and he agreed.  Here is my Dad's story...

It was 1960 and my friend and I decided to weigh ourselves on the scale in the bathroom at work.  My friend, 2 inches taller with wider shoulders, was 'overweight' in my mind and weighed in at 219 lbs.  Then I stepped on the scale and I weighed in at 214 lbs!  That's when I realized I was the overweight one. 
From then on, I reduced my food intake by quite a bit, not drastically but still a lot.  Instead of 2 sandwiches, soup, a piece of cake and 2 small whole milks, I had 1 sandwich, soup and 1 milk with occasional dessert.  After a night out, I would go to the diner with my friends and I would drink coffee instead of having the meal I would have normally consumed (2 eggs, ham or bacon, home fries, toast, coffee and a glass of whole milk).  
I started losing weight slowly, more so at first.  I also started playing more handball, basketball, softball, etc...  My habits regarding eating changed markedly, especially as to volume, but I knew I still had too much fat, sugar and salt in my diet. Gradually, from then on, I reduced my consumption of these items as well. 
I am not a health "nut" but I am still careful as to what I eat.  For ex. I would be happy (if only temporarily) eating Hagen Dazs ice cream every day but I know this isn't healthy for me so I have it every week or so and then only a small portion.  I have kept the weight off for all of these years and I am certain my overall health is surely better at age 74 than if I had not made some changes all those years ago.
After a year of reading lots of books, weekly classes, tests, and trainings + certifications to become a Health Coach, I learned that my Dad had already figured out the key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle... getting back to the basics:  motivation, moderation, smart choices and reason. I am sure my Dad has told this story before but I didn’t really hear it until now… when health + nutrition is always top of mind.
When I think about it, my Dad and Mom always knew that going back to the basics was the answer. Growing up, I remember my Dad working in the garden in our backyard where we grew corn and tomatoes and where my sister and I ate fresh peas on summer mornings.  We picked apples from the tree on the hill and also had fresh eggs from the chickens we kept in the coop by the garden.  My parents have recycled for as long as I can remember and have composted for even longer.  My Mom always packed our school lunches and they were gauranteed to include carrot sticks and a handwritten note wishing us a good day.   I literally grew up surrounded by these healthy habits.  I realize how lucky I am and I want to thank my parents for being such wonderful and healthy role models for me and for my sisters.
Happy Birthday, Dad!  Here's to many more healthy and happy years.  Cheers!
Have a healthy day!
Family Photo from my Dad's 70th Birthday Party