40 days and 40 nights

It all started where so many things start with me these days – in the flotsam and jetsam that mingle together randomly in my premenopausal brain.  It is a very dangerous situation for someone like me to even become more fragmented and random – there is virtually no telling what the mixture will create from moment to moment.  And so it was  in the first few days of January that some random items came together in the vortex of my mind and became a solid mass – something concrete that I could grab on to.

The thoughts were promulgated by random readings, images, observations, and comments I encountered over those few days in the beginning of January.

3,500 calories allegedly equals one pound of fat (even though I have learned that this factoid – which is regularly repeated – is not entirely true).

Habits really do not form in a mere 21 days, nor are they broken in 21 days, but one must start somewhere and 21 days are better than none or ten or 20.

Belly fat is bad fat and a menopot is one of the many door prizes one can receive from  menopause.

Reducing calories too dramatically will cause your body to actually retain fat as if it is in starvation mode.

The maximum caloric intake for someone my size not accounting for exercise and metabolism should probably be no more than 2,000 calories a day and probably more like 1,800.

Learn to be aware and conscious of your consciousness, and you will find who you really are.

How did Noah keep all those animals from cross-mating, eating each other, or jumping ship for 40 days and 40 nights?

Why did God assign such an important task like that to a man?

My scale is in proper working order.

My clothes are getting tighter and tighter.

Energy flows where attention goes.

Here is what came out of the blender that is my brain from all of this on January 5th:

I will focus my attention on keeping my daily caloric intake at 1,200-1,500 calories a day for 40 days and 40 nights.  I will find the zone wherein my body needs are met, but not exceeded.  I will allow the slight deficit in caloric intake to gradually eat away the pounds my scale delights in reminding me about.  I will keep this 40 day journey to myself – the commitment will be all internal.  The theme for these 40 days and 40 nights will be PERSEVERE.

A couple of days into my 40 days and 40 nights commitment I received a gift in the mail from my friend Tammy – a book titled The Happiness Project.  The book is about a woman who over the course of a year decides to pick a different focus each month to increase her overall happiness.  I took the fortuitous timing of the arrival of this book as a sign from the universe.  Tammy had no idea I was actively engaged in my 40 days and 40 nights commitment; but, it struck me that the universe was telling me something – something worth listening to.

Well, when the universe speaks to you, you are behooved to listen.  I thought, why not have a series of 40 days and 40 nights?  Why not link together nine phases of 40 days and 40 nights to fill out all of 2013?  I let that idea swirl around in my blender brain for awhile while I started to read The Happiness Project in small chunks here and there.

Every single day when I stepped on the scale – whatever the outcome (weight loss, no weight loss, a pound more than yesterday, etc.) – I said to myself and the universe PERSEVERE.  Just as I am sure Noah had to do with the ark and the 40 days and nights of rain…just PERSEVERE.  Slowly, but surely, I started to lose some of the pounds that perimenopause gifted me with.  I did not spend time worrying about perfection every day, I focused on consistent commitment.  At the end of the 40 days and 40 nights (January 5- February 14), I had lost 7 pounds.  Nothing too dramatic, but already noticeable in my body shape.

It was with that success that I decided to commit to eight more phases of 40 days and 40 nights.  With each new phase I would carry with me the objectives of the phases before it.  Once I finally settled into it, the whole idea resonated so clearly that I started walking about the house happily, but mindlessly, humming a familiar tune.  It took me awhile to focus on the song I was humming (The Twelve Days of Christmas) and a bit longer to figure out why.  But eventually it came to me – each phase should have a primary focus and the number of goals within it should equal the phase number.  Whoa – that means that in 2013 via 40 days and 40 nights I would end up focusing my attention on 45 distinct goals!  I had to take a step back at that point and reflect upon some of the goals I might include under each phase theme.  45 goals seemed like quite a lot initially, but upon reflection 45 seemed just right (and yes, I just channeled my inner Goldilocks there). ;-)

So here we are today – and I am in Phase 2 of 9 of 40 days and 40 nights.   I have not set all my goals yet but I have divided up the year as follows:

Phases 1-3 – Physical health (PERSEVERE, REMEMBER, COMMIT);

Phases 4-6 – The rest of me (SERENITY, HAPPINESS, BALANCE); and,

Phases 7-9 – Outside of me (CONNECTION, CONTRIBUTION, GRATITUDE).

Phase 1 (PERSEVERE)  ran from January 5th through February 14th.  In Phase 1 I successfully found and maintained my calorie zone and lost 7 pounds.

I am currently in Phase 2 (REMEMBER) which runs from February 15th through March 26th. My goals in Phase 2 are: 1) Increase my water intake by drinking at least 12 ounces at each meal; and 2) Get back to taking my vitamins regularly.  I used to be great about these two goals a couple of years back, but I got busy and forgot about their importance.

Phase 3 (COMMIT) will start March 27th and has three goals (in addition to continuing the previous goals): 1) Spend seven to ten minutes upright each hour (unless in a movie theater, church, school event, or meeting where it would be wholly inappropriate); 2) Exercise in some form or fashion at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes; and, 3) Get eight solid hours of sleep each night.

I have yet to delineate all the other goals.  I have an awful lot rattling around in my head still.  I am sure they will come to me in what appears to be a flash of inspiration, but which is really just my subconscious noting the opportunity to address all the things that linger there waiting for recognition. I do believe that my subconscious already has a pretty long list of goals.

So there you have it – my 2013 journey envisioned – not unlike Noah’s journey so long ago, but way better.  The primary difference between Noah and me – besides gender, age, an ark, and all those animals – is that my journey is less about the actual journey and more about the appreciation that I have the power to work and rework my reality.  I think I may have lost sight of that along the way…but it only took 40 days and 40 nights to get it back. ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and forty-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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One Response to 40 days and 40 nights

  1. PrairieWoman says:

    Seriously, we must stop thinking alike. :) I have been on this little journey, minus Noah, the animals, the ark, and the rain (I have snow). Things seem to be finding order and reason, and even some rationality to their existence through this system of self-discovery and re-creation.

    Glad to see all is working out well with you!

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