Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dueling Turtle Doves & Strong Women

Now that's a title: "Dueling Turtle Doves & Strong Women". Yes, I made that up myself. Here's what happened. I've been thinking about strong women all week. Women I know that, at young ages, have very mature, motivated attitudes and outlooks. And older strong women who are wise, patient and diligent. All week, I've had this on my mind as it relates to "the last 5 pounds" - or, rather, the 4 pounds that crept up on me over the course of a month of not getting on the scale and being hit or miss with physical activity. Strong women may let that get them down for a few minutes, or a day, but then they figure out all is not lost, get back on track, and within a week or so...viola! Off it comes! But my thinking was along the lines of the fact that there are so many women out there that can't make that succinct determination, and that 4 pounds becomes 8, which becomes 15, an so on. Before they know it, it's unmanageable. Men, on the other hand, or at least the one's I'm associated with, don't have that problem. Most men I know just commit, quit eating (not the right strategy) and viola! Off it comes. Besides the fact that men have a slightly easier time losing weight than women, they also don't have all the emotionally charged hormones that come with being a woman and dealing with excess weight, among other brain-infesting demons! Our hormones give us that emotion, as well as the resistance, at times, to weight loss.

And now, enter the Turtle Doves. This is the connection that spawned the blog. I walked my husband to his car this morning to help pack it up and load his bike so he could go off road biking with friends. There were two Turtle Doves perched about 20 yards apart - one in the parking garage and one by the pool - and they were dueling! I'd not been that close to two of them before, and never had I had the luxury of seeing, as well as hearing them call to each other. It took my breath away. And while my husband was absorbed in other things, even had he been paying attention to them, it wouldn't have affected him the same way. Being a woman gives us the ability to appreciate some truly simple, God-given things! So there's my crazy connection - the fact that I was so taken by those birds brought to mind the innate difference between men and women - our hormones and emotionally capacities and differences - and how this allows women to be strong in the same ways as men, yet in different ways than men.

So, back to strong women. My appreciation for them is equal to that of the Turtle Dove's coo - I'm constantly in awe. I see women's strength in three distinct areas: emotional, mental and physical - yes, physical, too. You can be the toughest, most organized and sensitive woman, but if you don't pay attention to your body, I do lose some respect for you. We were given a brain with which to do things, learn things and care for things emotionally, and which we are responsible to ensure it's maintenance and continued development. And we were given a body with which to do things, and which we are responsible to ensure it's maintenance and continued development. And on this body our bones and muscles must be kept strong and able through exercise and movement, as well our organs and other parts must be maintained through the foods we feed it. These seem like primal needs that should be intuitively fulfilled just because of the gift of life. But so many women I know neglect one or more of the things required to keep our "organism" functioning optimally. And it's the women who don't see the need or don't have the desire to maintain one or more of these things, that I have trouble respecting.

The women in my life currently are either all already strong (but of course, looking to be stronger) in all three areas I mentioned earlier, or they want to be strong, and are seeking the means or pathway. I'll admit, I've had a few ladies who I've "cut loose" because they were either toxic, or they just didn't respect themselves enough to try to make a change to move in the right direction. I struggled with the decision to move them to arms length for months, but once I did, it was weight I no longer carried, because if I consider you a friend, I feel a responsibility to you and to your goals as well. So, to all you ladies:

  • If you're not eating right, get to it! And use your head - no fads! If you don't know what to do, hire someone to show you!
  • If you're not exercising, get to it! Get outside and run, hit the gym, and if you don't know what to do, again hire someone to show you!
  • If you're not accomplishing your personal or professional goals, get to it! Write things down, make a list, confide in a friend for support, ditch the things in life that are blocking you from your goals...and if it's still happening...hire someone to help you!

And to all the strong women in my life, thank you for your ongoing and continued inspiration and support. Whether you know it or not, you're inspiring just by being who you are. At any moment of weakness I may have (e.g., that 4 pounds about a week ago), I simply think of one of you and all that you accomplish and it's that strength I draw on to push myself through. I think of my mom-friends that juggle husbands, kids, homes and activities! Talk about overload! I think of my professional friends that make quick, complicated decisions all day and function at levels equivalent to their male peers, all the while also keeping their home lives in order and working smoothly. And these women also take care of their bodies - whether marathoners, Pilate's-nuts, gym rats or my fellow Crossfitters - they leave nothing behind and love to sweat! I draw from the strength of all you! Thanks!


Anonymous said...

Hey Sam!

Loved the blog! So true!! I have the last "8 pds" to lose so you are ahead of me:)

I try to take everyday as it comes and always remember the saying, "forgiveness is a gift you give yourself". Whether it is forgiving the people that have hurt us in our lives, or simply forgiving ourselves when we make bad decisions.

I would love to see the day where instead of always hearing that we are our own worst critic, we would hear and tell ourselves that we are our own BEST critic. After all....if we don't tell ourselves that we are great or did a good job every now and then, who will???

Love the site and I'm looking forward to more!


swissalpmom said...

Je t'adore cherié! Bisou bisou- Michèle

Barbara said...

Hi Sam

Love your writing on the health front, and the menus you are posting for us Xfitters, but this one really was really personally meaningful.