Monday, April 19, 2010

And then it was time


The shortest distance between two points is a line. True happiness is gained through perseverance and persistence. Confidence is gained from overcoming obstacles and achieving goals. Life is a game meant to be lived as a player, not a spectator; to be touched and experienced rough and real.

Sometimes I fear taking the wrong step or making the wrong decision. I worry about which path I should take or if the one I'm walking along will prove to be the right one in the end. But I've learned something- that any movement forward is better than none; and a "perfectionist" egotistical view of not doing anything because you might stumble or not do something well enough is a cop-out- and it just ain't true. It's a dang good way to hold yourself back and limit potential though...but then again that's not what I'm going for.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Traveling back from Mexico and arriving in Austin has left me in a weird haze. I'm half Gringa/ half Mexicana. It's great to see my family, but I long for my new friends. I haven't made it to bed before 3am for at least a week, more like two, and I feel hungover during the day. I made the error of partaking is some good ol' American food when I got to the States and it's left me feeling just plain yucky- and now I'm wadding through that wonderful detox phase.

Which brings me back to my point about the shortest distance being a direct line. I'm ready (or as we say in Mexico- "lista"). Lista? Lista for what.

Lista for the next stage. Recently I've been following Jimmie Moore on his Eggfest, and also a Primal Bluepring blogger over at Mark's Daily Apple. What's struck me about both of these men is they're walking the line- they're taking the shortest distance. I'm going to follow in their footsteps.

The time has come to hunker down and take myself to that next level of health. It's been a long time coming and frankly, I've kinda been sitting on my laurels for the last month or so.

So, here we go. It's eleven weeks until my favorite holiday, July 4th. My birthday is in September and I know what I want- Optimal Health.

My plan for the next 11 weeks?
30g or less of carbs (natural) a day
Workout 5 x a week (lift heavy things at least 2x, low level cardio 2x, sprint 1x)
No refined sugars
One scheduled deviation a week, within an hour time period where I can eat whatever I want (well- no dairy, gluten, wheat, or refined sugar- but fruit or corn tortillas, etc).

Get my body fat % down to 22%
Build Muscle
Increase Endurance
Lose body fat!
I have a scale goal- my goal is 150 lbs. The above are more important to me, but this will be a natural occurence if the others are in.

My game plan?
3-5 small meals a day
HFLC (High fat, low carb Paleo)
2 liters of H20/ day
Salad for one meal a day
Calories no more than 1900/ day

So, I'm ready- yes Lista.
You In?


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Buenas Noches,

Good evening from a land far away, but yet so close- Mexico City. It
is amazing I can be residing in a third world country and immersed in
a new way of life while only being three hours (by plane) away from
Los Estados Unidos. It's is like one of those distorting mirrors in a
fun house; technology makes the "impossible" true.

I have set into a routine here in Mexico and find myself increasingly
comfortable. I am starting to think like a Mexicana, act like one,
and yes- speak like one (yeah!). I've had more than one experience
where I've meant to use English and found myself accidentally typing
Spanish; and when I spend time with an English speaker it's pretty
normal to throw in both languages. I am looking for a school to take
some classes while I'm here; I've been told that is the best way to
get a hold on the grammar and fine tune my skills. I have the nouns
down- but future/ past/ tense and then the different forms of "be" are
still not perfected by a long shot. I'm a "toddler" in my speech- able
to communicate elementary concepts, but still limited. I know all I
need to do is practice more and be patient. Sometimes I forget it has
only been a few months (two and a half) and expect myself to be
fluent. One nice thing about being here is that I am picking up the
accent- well the Chilango accent (Mx City native). I prefer the
Northern Mex. accent and actually 99% of my friends are northern
Mexican and I sound like I am from Monterrey or Chihuahua.

Frequently it is commented on that I look like a northern Mexican
woman. I think "my people" are there. I find I am more drawn to that
culture for whatever reason....the lines of demarcation within
cultures are much more distinct here than in the US. In other words, we
can tell when someone is from Louisiana and of course they have a
different culture in some ways- but we are also very similar. Here, of
course they are all Mexican, but vary greatly from State to to State
in morals, accent, work ethic, political ideals, and physical
appearance. The people I meet from N. Mexico do look more like me-
they are tall, often have lighter complexions, and hazel or even green
eyes. Some of them are quite striking and really fit the bill of a
handsome Latino! Northern Mexicans are known for being straight
shooters who look you in the eye when they speak to you. Their accent
is melodious and generally they speak slower. Chiuahians are
especially friendly and out going, Monterrey people are savvy
businessmen and known for finding the best deals and being somewhat
cheap, and Guadalajara produces some real beauties. I often say I am
from N. Mexico- and if said with the proper accent I am believed. I
have only had a handful of people guess I'm American; European yes-
but not American. Sometimes I'm told I look Brazilian, Argentinian,
North Mexican... I take this as a real compliment.

Here in Mexico City the people are so short! I hear the N. Mexicans
talking about it all the time- it's incredible. I mean, really, really
short. They are darker skinned and I rarely see anything but dark eyes
and hair (although some of the girls do dye their hair this terrible
blonde color). Their facial bone structure can be exquisite,
especially the more indigenous looking ones. Strong cheek bones
sloping down to small flat chins with thin lips chiseled out and dark
back beads of eyes. Then, of course, thick rich dark hair tops it all
off. I am the tallest person in Mexico City. Really I am.

This city never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday I went to the
President's Palace in Zocala. What other downtown hosts authentic
Aztec ruins? Where else can you take a coffee (as they say here) and
cruise through a 500 year old cathedral, have your soul cleansed in an
Indian rite, and then enjoy Diego Rivera's murals? When I go downtown
and walk among these amazing historical buildings I have to pinch
myself. The buildings are amazing, the history positively ancient,
and culture is so so so alive.

My friend took me to a traditional Spanish restaurant yesterday. Most
of the patrons were actually from Spain themselves or had some
connection with Spain. The bottom floor was an art museum full of
dramatic oil paintings and an accompanying Spanish cultural center.
We didn't eat at the restaurant as we were on our way to another
museum, but I plan to go back later and try some of that exotic food-
from what I saw it looked like nothing I've ever had.

There is a huge photography exhibit in the downtown area I've been
dying to see. A Mex. photographer traveled the country capturing
humanistic shots of his land. The line to get in was immense though,
several hundred people- so I will try and sneak in during the week
when there's less people.

After Zocala we jumped the metro, oh yes, here's a story. I got caught
in the metro door. This is a big difference in Mexico. The US is so
safety oriented- special touch sensitive doors everywhere, bars
keeping people away from the edges of tall buildings, bus doors that
close securely, etc. Mexico is different. It was like when an
elevator door closes and you're trying to walk through so it touches
you and then regresses....except the door never regressed. I was
trying to run into the metro and just about missed it but thought I
could slip within the closing doors. Well, I could slip in alright -
but then they closed on me and proceeded to squeeze relentlessly. I
couldn't move- forward or backwards! The metro was absolutely packed-
I mean we were like sardines. No one even batted an eye at the gringa
being compressed; apparently this is the norm. I on the other hand was
quite alarmed, and uncomfortable, and let out a little shriek. I was
able to forcefully jar the doors open thankfully before the metro left
off and join my fellow passengers in our sardine can.

The afternoon played out like a dream. I went on a date with a
Chilago, Icauti. He knows the city like the back of his hand- which
always makes for a good time. Frida Kohda's "Casa Azul" (blue house),
really amazing. Strange woman, great artist, interesting life. I am
so drawn to art, it is one of my "elements". I find a strange
invigorating sense of peace peering into the world of others; and art
is nothing if not a communication from someone else. It's a key to
their world, offering limitless fascination...

A stroll through a crowded market where I found hand-made earrings for
my sister's birthday (can't wait to see her reaction- they are
beautiful, made by indigenous Indians here), a walk to the "smallest
house in Mexico", the most famous music school in Mexico (a french
chateau of sorts), through quaint streets lined with heinda trees
which produce the most amazing violet flowers which litter the ground
and make you feel like you're in a Lewis Carol novel, a trip to one of
the oldest cathedrals in Mexico, lunch at a small hole-in-the-wall
cafe, and people watching with guabana (one of my new favorite Mexican
fruits) popsicle. They make great popsicles here, no milk- just fruit
and water frozen- yum. Add in some crazy taxi driving which is always
amusing and elicits laughter from me and you have the best date I've
ever been on.

Alas that is the life I lived today. :-0)