Ahhh...Thanksgiving. A day (or a weekend) of gorging and relaxing. It's over now. Or is it? As a dear friend said over this past weekend, it's not what you eat on Thanksgiving or Christmas that packs on the pounds: it's what you eat in between those holidays.
But this isn't so much about weight. It's about how you feel going into the last week of classes. So this week's task is to keep a food journal. You can write it into your calendar, use an online journal like this one, or you can use my favorite fitness and food app, My Fitness Pal. The nice thing about the last one is that it calculates the calorie count (and other nutritional information) of everything you eat, including restaurant food.
The key here is to note just how much you're taking in, and how you feel at key points in the day. Do certain foods make you feel especially clear-headed? Gassy? Fuzzy? Tired? Congested? You may have never thought about it before. Now take a week to take note how you feel after a meal, a snack, at the end of the day. You'll probably start to notice a pattern.
You might realize that you're dragging in the middle of the day because you tend to eat cereal or simple carbs in the morning. Then you might realize that by 3pm, you haven't had any protein. If you'll be taking a three hour test at noon, you don't want to go into that test riding a sugar high. You'll never make it through that test with a clear head.
Realize, too, that you need to enter everything you drink, too. Water, sweet tea, Coke, pumpkin latte, beer. Every little bit: drinks count, too. You might be surprised just how many [empty] calories you're drinking each day, and they can add up before you know it.
Your body is YOUR machine. What are you putting into your engine? That's the question this week.
We'll check in later and see how you're doing.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
It may seem ridiculous to suggest that you have time for anything other than upcoming finals, performances, juries, work, homework, and some semblance of a life, but you do.
Even if it's just 10 minutes a day, do something that gives you pleasure. Choose something that has nothing to do with your major, your work, your everyday life...just choose something you enjoy. Lose yourself in it. Notice how you feel afterward, and notice how your return to your work with a greater sense of purpose.
My hobby is calligraphy. I'm not as good as I used to be, but I've found coming back to it great fun. You could try painting, drawing, calligraphy, reading something not for school, or any number of things. Consider picking something you haven't done since you were a kid: you might find a special kind of joy in revisiting something that ignites your inner child. The point is to enjoy, not work at it.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Many of us rest only when we think we're done for the day. But have you consider making rest a constructive part of your day? Jim Brody walked many of us through this during his visit last week. Here's a short description of it from the AT web site:
At least once or twice a day, take 2-5 minutes (but no more than 20 minutes) to practice “Constructive Rest.” It will help to restore balance and ease throughout your body and also help you to recognize and prevent interference with that ease throughout the day. Constructive Rest is especially helpful when practiced when waking up in the morning, before going to bed, and at some point during the day, particularly when you’re busy and stressed.
Here's what it looks like:
Notice the book under his head. Depending on how you feel, you might need one or you might need three, and it may change from day to day. Bending the knees is crucial for taking stress off the low back. I like doing this midway through a practice session, or immediately proceeding one.
I've adopted this evaluative question during my constructive rest: "Is there anything I am doing, consciously or unconsciously, that is unneeded or unwanted?" Then listen for the answer.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
All at UAB--students, faculty, staff--are welcome to join this introduction to the Alexander Technique by Jim Brody, director of the Musicians' Wellness Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Professor Brody joins us as a Jemison Scholar and will be in residence November 4-5. His sessions are always lively and entertaining, as well as educational! Spread the word: while "AT" is especially useful for performing musicians, everyone can benefit. His Convocation in Hulsey Recital Hall on Wednesday at 12:20 is open to the public.
For more information on the Alexander Technique, visit this site.
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