Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happiness Project Update: How Am I Doing?

Note: You can find all earlier Happiness Project posts by clicking on "Happiness Project" in the list of labels in the left margin of this blog!
For the past month, I have been working on detoxifying my life by incorporating more exercise, drinking more water, and replacing toxic personal care products with safer, organic brands.

My greatest personal triumph has been making my way through the Couch to 5K running program; I am currently in week 5.  Each Monday and Friday, after dropping the girls off at their morning preschool programs, I head to the track and do the next assigned workout.  Either in the evening on Wednesdays, or on one of the weekend days, I fit in the third required workout.  So far, so good, on keeping the commitment.

It's all I can do to resist the urge to work on a craft project or take time for my art journaling, and head to the track instead!

The very first day, I had to alternate running for 60 seconds, then walking for 90 seconds, over a 20 minute period of time.  It took at least 40 minutes for my bright red face to return to its normal color! 

By the end of that first week, I was questioning whether I would be able to extend my jogging time, as required by the program's schedule.  So far, I have stuck with it, and at this point I am alternating 5 minutes of jogging with 3 minutes of walking.

The next workouts require a fast jump to 8 minutes, and then to 20 minutes.  I have decided to slow things down, and take a full week of workouts to make each of these time-increases.  I am trying to strengthen my legs and my cardio-vascular system, not kill myself!

I have made some interesting observations and learned some lessons over the past few weeks.  First, please do not wear heavy perfume when you go to walk around the local track; it makes those of us struggling to breathe evenly through a tough jog want to hurl! 

Likewise, please don't stand next to the track smoking a cigarette; it kind of defeats my healthy-lifestyle goals to breathe in your second-hand smoke. 

And, while I'm being a little crabby here, please don't walk three abreast, meandering around the track to share your gossip and memories of the good ol' days, forcing me to get around you by dodging bushes, benches, and American flag memorials as I must run off the track to do it.

I get myself through the jogging portions by writing blog posts in my head, planning displays for my upcoming craft show, and observing the other people sharing the track with me.  I've seen plenty of folks listening to iPods or talking on the phone, but I was particularly intrigued by the man, about my age, walking around the track while flipping through papers on a clipboard; now that's some strange multi-tasking!

As expected, incorporating all of this exercise into my life has made it super-easy to increase my water intake.  I easily fill my 24-ounce water bottle three times throughout the day, and usually have some additional water besides.  I've noticed that getting thirsty makes me a little irritable.  Not that I needed a new source of irritability, but at least it's as easy to remedy as drinking some water!

My third resolution had to do with finding safer and healthier alternatives to some of the products I use.  I am only at the beginning stages of this process.  I made a list of all the personal care items I use--soaps and lotions, dental care, hair, makeup, that sort of thing.  Then I found a website called GoodGuide.com where I could find a rating for most of the products I use. 

The site alerts me to ingredients in the products that put me at a greater risk for cancers or various forms of body toxicity.  I discovered for example, that my Skintimate Shave Gel was like slathering cancer on my legs, and my Colgate toothpaste scored a 0 on a 12-point rating scale!  I focused on the items that scored the lowest and seemed to pose the greatest health risk. 

So far, I am trying new brands of shave gel, shampoo, facial scrub, conditioner, body lotion, and toothpaste.  I don't like the organic shampoo and conditioner I am trying, so there will be some additional investigation there, and I need to look into new hair spray, powder, eyeliner, and blush. 

Once I started looking into the ingredients that are put into some of these personal care products, I was so amazed by what is allowed in our country!  Being aware of this issue, I am seeing more and more articles in the mainstream press (even seeing an article in Elle magazine while getting my hair cut) alerting people to be more conscious of what they are unwittingly putting into their bodies.

I've decided to extend this set of resolutions for one more month, since I have a long way to go to finish the Couch to 5K program, and I still have many products to consider and possibly replace, including laundry and dish detergent.  I am doing this Happiness Project to incorporate some important changes in my life, so it's not something I feel any need to rush.

Thank you for sharing this Happiness Project journey with me!


lee said...

I am very impressed with your committment keep up the good work

Carin Winkelman said...

Thanks for the update. I love that you're sharing your progress with us and I salute you for the training programme. Good job!

Andria said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Lee and Caatje!