Sunday, January 07, 2007

Peace with Purpose

"We need to be at peace with our past, content with our present, and sure about our future, knowing they are all in God's hands." Joyce Meyer

January always brings several things for me: evaluation of the old year, plans for the new year, weight and workout angst, diet evaluation, what can I do better questions, relationship evaluations. How ‘bout you? I’m a naturally introspective person, so this is nothing new, but we should look at where we have been and where we are going. The one thing I haven't had in the past is "peace" with myself. Over and over again this word keeps coming up, so I know it is something that will be a theme for me for 2007.

Which leads me to discuss my less-than-peaceful existence with myself.
I guess you can call me an expert in diet, foods, exercise and health. Not that I practice or am the picture of health. Oh, no. But I qualify in that I have read everything in that area. I have over 200 books on the subject and subscribe to several magazines about it. And yes, I actually read them, study them. I was a P.E. teacher for two years and coached some, too. I completed a boot camp course—3 times. I have been in topnotch shape—and not so topnotch shape (like now.)

That is why when I saw a link to Prevention magazine’s article/quiz, “What Is Your Exercise Personality?” (the link is at the end of this--hang with me)that I had to follow it. I took the quiz. After years and years of trying every diet, every exercise regimen, being an athlete, and searching for how I work best, one little less-than-five-minute quiz actually nailed my personality. I sat there thinking, “where were you, oh, Little Quiz, all these years?”

I joined a gym last year. For six months I went several times a week and did my weights program, used the elliptical trainer, and ran/walked on the indoor track. People were unfriendly. It was boring. But I stuck it out because I had a goal—to play golf, hike the dunes and eat whatever I wanted on our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Upper Michigan. And it was a blast. We had fun. I had lost weight, too. (I was following a planned eating regimen, too.) Then, it all fell apart. I was bored and no longer had an overriding goal. It’s just not enough for me to “be in shape.” Plus, I don’t enjoy working out for working out’s sake.

So, my results on this quiz says that I need “dual-purpose” exercise. Working out is only engaging when it’s more than just about my health or body. (True!) My personality type, according to Prevention’s quiz, is INSPIRATIONAL.

Here’s what it said:
“It’s about being part of a community or about exploring your inner self. To enhance your spiritual side, try listening to music to set the mood for a peaceful workout.

Best choices:
Dance classes
Water aerobics
Martial arts
Trail running
Tai chi

Leisure Activities:
Your first priority is to work regular exercise into your week. But also think about using your leisure time to burn off a few extra calories. Here are some extracurricular activities for your personality type:
Nature walks
(end of my evaluation results)

It also reports what my obstacles will be—and again nailed it exactly according to my personality. Not stopping there, the report also gave me solutions for overcoming my obstacles. I’m telling you, I was amazed.

So, now I have to match up what is available to me and doable. There lies the problem. Several of the things listed are “group” things or require me to find someone who teaches these classes and which accepts more than senior citizens or only children. Sheesh. The only thing that might be readily available to me is trail running. I live along a river and we own a few acres of woods. However, this isn’t the safest thing. I would have to take steps (har har) to find security for my person. Or find a partner. (Not likely to find a partner in this area. Sigh. No one wants to commit to working out with me, I've found.)

But I can get a DVD to do dance and/or yoga. Maybe I will. As an expert health book reviewer for a magazine, I sometimes get these DVDs to review. Maybe something will come across my desk. Or maybe I will aggressively find one. (Or maybe you all have suggestions.)

Next is to find an eating program that will work for me. Let me tell you—I’ve tried them all(and have stacks of books, papers, diaries to prove it! Ask me anything!) This is one of my biggest weaknesses and also, my strength. And this IS the Chat ‘n’ Chew CAFÉ’, isn’t it? Eventually, I knew I would get to this—talking about food and maybe some of my hangups about it. Food is not one of those things you can just go cold turkey on quitting. Which makes it a “Catch-22” (a literary term.)

One of my friends just found out that she can control some health symptoms she is experiencing by controlling her diet intake. This is tough. She actually has been experiencing mourning over what “she can’t have,” because it changes the dynamics in her family, her cooking schedules/menus (making it more complicated) and her social atmosphere. This is a legitimate experience because not only is food used for nutrition, but it also can provide comfort, pleasure, social experience and spiritual fulfillment. We tend to focus more in diets on what NOT is there, than what we can have.

Go take the quiz. I’ll be talking about my food hang-ups and my quest for what to eat to stay healthy in the coming days, along with goals I am working on making. In this year I want to find a good stride for me. I am not Spartan. I cannot live like that. So, the key may be in my exercise routine and to find peace with myself.


Terry Whalin said...

What a good word, Crystal. Each of us need to find an exercise routine that we can live with --and consistently achieve. Interesting.

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Sheryl said...

I took the quiz and guess what I am ... yep, the same as you, Inspirational :-) It's too bad we don't live closer Crystal, we could take a dance class together. :-)Now that I think of it, one of my favorite times in PE was when we learned square dancing. That was fun!

Thanks for your great post, and I loved the Joyce Meyer quote. I copied it into my favorite quotes list.


Camy Tang said...

Thanks for the quiz link. It said I was spontaneous, which I didn't think was me, but oh well. But they were right in that I get bored easily when I exercise.


LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

I'm inspirational too! What a fun quiz--if only exercise could be as fun. Oh, that's right: now I know how to make it fun for me. :)

Thanks for the link. I wish we lived close to each other. I couldn't handle a boot camp but definitely softball, volleyball, etc., especially if you were on my team.


Anonymous said...

Of course, self-acceptance is always best. But in the interim, if it's a possiblity for you, I recommend working out with a personal trainer. S/he can give you the moral, technical and nutritional support that might help you maintain your motivation past the initial burst of inspiration. I've been working out with Tony the trainer ( for a couple of years and am now the strongest middle aged mother of two in my community! If it weren't for Tony, I'd be in the same cyle of starting and stopping the exercise program. Sometimes you can find a low cost trainer or someone who will barter services. . .Good luck.