Returning Refreshed and Refined

It has been   quite some time since my last post.  My “break” wasn’t planned and was not because of any horribly tragic life event.  I just needed a break.  Being a teacher in my “real” life means that I have the privilege of the months of July and August as break time.  I value this time and really take advantage of it.  I use it as a time to recharge my batteries, sleep in past 5 a.m., cook and bake without worrying about time constraints, savor the daylight hours doing activities outside in the sunshine, read as much as I can for MY pleasure, and just catch up on life.  I had no real plans to take time off from the blog, but that happened too.  Since I’m a firm believer in the idea of things happening for a reason, I can only guess that perhaps the break from blogging was necessary as well.

So…what have I been up to?  Well…a list seems like the best way to give you the short version, so here goes

  • a vacation to Cape Cod
  • kayaking
  • Zumba classes
  • cooking dinner nearly every night with fresh ingredients from our garden
  • baking everything from cookies to a every flavor and variety of zucchini bread I can come up with
  • seeking out healthy foods and recipes to support my new fitness commitment
  • a commitment to quality exercise  nearly every day
  • browsing and being obsessed with Pinterest
  • cooking, baking, and crafting because of ideas I’ve found on Pinterest
  • enjoying time with my hubby and our doggies
  • reading voraciously
  • spending quality time with friends

One of the things I’ve been most focused on is health and fitness.  During the school year, I often feel like I get so caught up in my schedule that these two very important things go by the wayside.  So, one of my major goals for this summer was to recommit to a fitness regimen, and as much as possible, take control of my diet (not diet in the conventional  dieting to lose weight, diet in the overall intake of food and drink in the grand scheme of things…eating and drinking healthfully as a way to fuel my body).

One of my biggest vices is diet soda.  In my head, I know diet soda is not good for me, and that’s putting it lightly.  Diet soda is full of chemicals that really are not healthful or beneficial.  I think I’ve become a bit addicted to it, actually.  So, one of my goals was to seek out beverages that I can substitute for the diet soda.  Flavored waters have been my answer so far.  In the battle to give up the diet soda, I’m doing pretty well.  I go on a bender here and there, but I’m not drinking it all day every day, and I decided, just last night, that I’m not going to buy it anymore to have at home.  We’ll see how that goes…

I have been making my own flavored water.  So much of the flavored water that you can purchase has many of the same chemicals that the diet sodas have.  My solution has been my Brita pitcher (I like the clean flavor I get when I use water from the filter pitcher), a few good quality ingredients, and a pitcher I keep in my refrigerator with the finished product.

The first water I have to share is one I found on Pinterest.  It is refreshing and delicious.  You need three ingredients:  an apple, a small cinnamon stick (do not used ground cinnamon here…you need cinnamon sticks), and water (I prefer filtered, see above).

First, pick your favorite apple…I’ve been using sweeter apples, but use whatever you like to eat…and slice thinly  and toss in your pitcher with your cinnamon stick (the bigger the stick, the more intense the cinnamon flavor…be careful.  At first you may want to break the stick in half and add from there.)

Next, fill your pitcher with water.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes, and enjoy.  When I found this on pinterest, it was billed as a metabolism booster…it may be, which would be awesome.  Cinnamon is often said to boost the metabolism, and apples are, well, apples.  Can it get better than apples?  You can also refill the pitcher several times, so you can get 2-3 pitchers out of one apple and cinnamon stick.  This is, definitely, helping me conquer my diet soda addiction!

The other part of this journey, for me, is establishing and committing to a fitness regimen.  As much as a commitment to exercise nearly every day seems like it would be a lot, it hasn’t been difficult at all.  I’ve been doing yoga, kayaking, walking/hiking, biking (both out and indoors), going to Zumba classes, doing strength exercises, and starting to go through my vast collection of fitness dvds.  I’m also a progress chart kind of girl, so I used the July calendar in  my planner as a progress chart, so I could see how well I’ve been doing.

I’ve only had FOUR…that’s right, FOUR days in July that I didn’t do official exercise.  Even on those days, I was active around the house, so it wasn’t just sitting around and basking in the sunshine…although that would be perfectly acceptable if I had chosen to do that!  The results?  So far, I feel so much better.  I’m more motivated and less stressed.  I have definitely lost inches on my body, but because I don’t weigh myself (I get too obsessed), I don’t know that I’ve lost weight, but I’m pretty darn sure that I have.  The reality, though, is that I didn’t commit to this with a first goal of losing weight.  Sure, the weight/inch loss is a nice by-product, but my first goal was to feel better…and I do.

Have a great Tuesday!



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