Who hides cookies in a swimsuit drawer? Apparently, I do. I’m on the second day of my sugar fast. My sister-in-law encouraged me to try a water aerobics class at my local recreation center. When I pulled out my swim suit, I found cookies. I was on the fence about whether or not a swimsuit in January was a good idea. When I uncovered the cookies, I realized that water aerobics was a MUST DO.
At the pool there was a moment of awkwardness when the lifeguard turned out to be one of my former kindergarten students. She is in college now. Early in my teaching career a fellow teacher told me she’d been at the gym when one of her students saw her and gave her a big hug. This happens all the time with teachers. What was unusual about this story was that this time, the teacher had been standing naked in the changing room. The image stuck with me. It’s possible that my aversion to exercise is directly linked to this teacher’s mishap in 1988. I will never be naked in public–unless I lose 100 pounds. When I lose 100 pounds, I won’t care.
Today, during the hour long class, I discovered muscles I didn’t know existed. As muscles made themselves known, I felt compelled to honor their work with a healthy breakfast. When I came home from the pool, I had a big bowl of spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and hard boiled eggs with cashews.
One of the benefits of an exercise class is the structure it provides. There was a clear beginning, middle and end time. Not only would my former student/lifeguard know if I stopped exercising before time was up, so would all of my classmates and the teacher. Typically when I exercise I think of things that need to be done and I quickly move on to other things. Today, trapped in a class my mind was on my kitchen.
Some kitchens are the heart of a home where people create, nourish, and gather. My kitchen has seldom felt that way to me. For years, my kitchen has been a place I’ve avoided! A sticky floor, messy counters and an endless stream of dishes make me sad. When I’m sad, I crave sugar then I make dishes while trying to fill this craving and the cycle continues. Just in the past 18 months have I started developing habits and routines that make my kitchen more inviting.
My strategy for living a more organized life consists of two simple steps.
Step 1. Declutter-According to Kathi Lipp, you can’t organize clutter. Lipp suggests setting a timer and decluttering one spot for that period of time. I am most likely to stick with it if I listen to a book while I’m decluttering. Today, 30 minutes of The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo held me captive as I cleaned my kitchen. When all my chores and tasks were done, I continued reading this book as I listened to the rain during the afternoon.
Step 2. Clean as I go.–Before we sit down for dinner, we clean up all of the dishes used for preparing the meal. This leaves just a plate and utensil to to rinse after dinner. My sweet husband is getting very good at this.At the pool today, I was thinking of my kitchen. For so long, clutter has been the norm in my life. Now that I have clear steps for dealing with it, my kitchen is not longer an anxiety inducing space.
I’m excited about new habits I’m build and I wonder how long it will take to change my eating an exercise habits Today was just the first day of aerobics. It was fun and I bought a 3 month pass so either today’s class cost $154 or I’ll go back and continue having fun. With my kitchen as proof, I can learn new habits and change behaviors.