19 March 2009

Not realistic? Really!?

This is a little late in coming, but this is one of the topics I wanted to write about - though I never got around to it! Being that the title of my blog is Abstinence and the City, this little story struck home... er... blog.

Not too long ago, the now household name of Bristol Palin made headlines yet again. Firstly, the background... During the presidential election, Governor Palin's teenaged, unwed and pregnant daughter Bristol was the source of horrible scrutiny, judgement and hideous speculation. Being that Governor Palin is a full fledged conservative Pro-Lifer, the liberal loving, Palin-hating media reported blatant untruths. I fully believe that it is ridiculous to condemn Governor Palin for her daughter's actions and decisions. To me, it looks like a mother who had taught her daughter certain principles and loved her through a difficult time even though she had chosen a different path, which is fine - that's her choice. However...

I bring this up because as I mentioned, there've been more recent headlines. In an interview given with FoxNews, Bristol was quoted as saying that teenagers should avoid having sex, but in the very next sentence it is reported that she acknowledged that "abstinence is not realistic at all." When I read that I was simply blown away. I was immediately disenchanted.

It would seem that we live in a society that makes abstinent living unpopular and even difficult, yes. But the truth of the matter is that parents need to teach their children to make the decision BEFOREhand. Before they are faced with the decision of, should I? Shouldn't I? We should already know where we stand on the matter and do our best to avoid potentially tempting situations. We live in a time that not only accepts pre-marital (and heck, extra-marital) "relations," but the world also seems to expect it. So much so that this young, single mother believes that it's not realistic to live a morally clean lifestyle. I also find it interesting to know that not too long after this story published, it was announced that the engagement between her and her baby daddy had been called off. Clearly exhibiting that giving in to physical passion will more than likely not lead to long-term happiness. I of course wish them both the best in their struggle to raise their child - raising a child with a partner to whom you're married is hard enough, let alone doing so separately and/or singly.

While being abstinent may not be realistic for Bristol Palin, she is now facing the reality of being a single mother at a young age (and all the sacrifices and hardships that will accompany it). There are no guarantees when the choice is made to be unchaste. There are more risks in our promiscuous world than ever before. The world would have us believe that we have no control over our "natural desires." Though, there is a Higher Power that has commanded that we learn self-mastery and bridle our passions. I would also like to point out that many of those who have chosen to live a life of giving in to their carnal passions don't seem any happier or better off than those of us who abstain. Just sayin'!

There are too many girls and women out there who have fooled themselves into believing that giving in to "what men want" will lead them to the love that they are seeking. No man that truly respects or loves a woman would require physical intimacy in order to give emotional intimacy. Our society has become desensitized to that which is immoral, and in fact celebrates it.

I think it's high time that the world realizes and celebrates the priceless value of virture. There is power, beauty and strength in a virtuous woman. Ezra Taft Benson, a prophet of God, once said, "Give me a young woman who is virtuous and has maintained her personal purity... and I will give you a young woman who will perform miracles for the Lord now and throughout eternity." Who wouldn't want that kind of power? When a woman loves and respects herself, she can and will rise above all that may stand in the way of her eternal happiness and progression. It might not be an easy task to be abstinent in a world that urges and expects you to define love and lust in the same way, but it can be realistic, and I am living proof that it is surely NOT impossible.

18 March 2009

Always and Forever... since I posted a BLOG!

BAA! You guys! I haven't written in forrreeever! Terribly sorry! I've thought about it... but haven't quite gotten to it. So here I am trying to make amends to the blogosphere. Crisis endured, yeah?

So I've been wanting to start posting a little bit about my new health regime. Even though I'm far from perfect and continue to struggle. So, in January - man alive that was two months ago - my brother finally laid down the law with me. And gave me the encouragement (and fear lol) to get whipped into shape. I've had a gym membership at Snap Fitness (one finally opened closer by my house in November) since last July and like many gym membership holders, I was NOT getting my money's worth. So, my brother (who's also a member at this gym) text me and had me meet him at the gym on the evening of January 9. I was surprised that he had in hand a new diet (our society has screwed that word over, because really it's a matter of making more permanent healthy choices on a regular basis), and he guided me in my workout, too. That first week I lost 7 lbs! I've sucked lately at staying as strict to the eating plan as I was that first month, but I've continued to progress! I'm down about 23 lbs or so now. So that's exciting! Although, I did lose some weight in the year preceding, too. So, from the most I weighed til now, I've lost along the lines of 45 lbs.

Essentially, what I'm doing is trying to stay around 1300 calories a day - no sugar (harder than it sounds, right). I'm keeping healthier snacks on hand to try to avert the office cravings (some days are harder than others to abstain from the donuts or other treats strewn about the place!) and of course to stay my hunger. Also gotta make sure to get ample protein (I usually have 4 ounces of chicken in a salad for lunch as well as 2 eggs for breakfast). I'm also trying to get more fiber for heart health - fiber one and fiber plus bars are delish, though the fiber plus bars are more calorie friendly. And for dinners I usually have Lean Cuisines or Smart Ones, dinners around those lines.

So I'm also supposed to go to the gym 6 days a week. I don't always make it 6 days but usually at least 4 or 5. When I first started, I was doing like 21 minutes on the treadmill, then 21 on the bike and then 8 min on the elliptical. On the treadmill, I would vary the incline in intervals of 3 minutes. When I do it now, I'm up to varying between 4.5 incline to 7 or so. Which, for a girl who's always been so anti-incline on the treadmill, it's amazing! I also sometimes try to do intervals of walking and jogging (using a running program called Couch to 5K as a model). I won't lie, though, I've recently become a major convert to the elliptical. It's just such a better and seemingly more effective workout than the boring old treadmill and bike! Sometimes I simply skip the treadmill and bike and just do the elliptical for 30 min (+2 min cool down) straight. The gym has a set that has varying degrees of resistance and elevation, which seems to give a better workout than just the ones with resistance only. Tonight, for example I had it set on a level of 20 for the first 10 min and then put it up to 22 and then the last 10 minutes at 25, which is the max level. I had the elevation on 40. My quads feel it like crazy and sometimes I don't think I'm gonna make it, but I persevere and make through the entire time! And the end result of 30 minutes on the elliptical, for me, is burning around 800 calories! So that's why I'm like screw the treadmill and bike, the calories are on FIRE (literally apparently) on the elliptical!

While cardio is mandatory and oh, so important, it's also important to build muscle. So I've also been doing some of the weight machines (chest press, biceps, triceps, abs, etc.). I don't want to get all gross and muscley of course, so I try to keep it real on the weights, i.e. i don't strain myself to soredom everytime, but keep the challenge fresh and the reps aplenty.

So, my dear friends, that's one of the things that I've been doing since I last updated you via my bloggy bloggeroo. I've begun taking some "before" pics and when I've lost a more significant amount, I may consider posting some. But it's exciting for me to see progress and to have come to the conclusion that there is no fad diet out there that will miraculously cure a person. The tried and true way for weight-loss is simply cutting calories and exercising. Interestingly, there was a study done recently about this and it was determined that the type of diet (low carb, low fat, whatever the fad) isn't as important as the portions/decrease in cals and exercise. So, there ya have it. I've also talked about it with the people I am around a lot (at work, church, etc.), and it's so rewarding when people NOTICE the loss and ask about it, and encourage me, too. I've been told that I've inspired others to try to get at it and have had people ask for my advice! It's wild, yet again, rewarding. So, I've just got to keep it up and work harder right now at getting the eating under control again. It really is unbelievably helpful to keep a food diary. I made a spreadsheet to keep track, though since my laptop battery fried I've slacked at it, so that's been a hardship in my personal accountability. ANYWAY. I feel like I'm just blabbing now. So, that's my story for the moment and I'm gonna try as I might to use my blog to check in with my progress to encourage more personal accountability, I guess. Anyway. There ya have it :)