Declaring My Why

This week I viewed a short video talking about the cycle of failure that often surrounds weight loss programs sent to me by Danette May.  I’ve talked a lot about that myself, so I am always curious to learn more.  We all truly want to be successful and sometimes we just need the tools to get there.  You know the hardest part isn’t losing the weight, right?  It’s the keeping it off and maintaining those healthy lifestyle changes you made to get there.  Hence, the cycle of failure surrounding lasting change.

Personally, I don’t do big swings up and down with my weight and health.  I have learned, after years of trying, to maintain where I am.  That is good and a celebration to be had.  Others are not so fortunate.  I know many who have huge swings in their weight.  What unfortunately happens is when you return to prior habits, you end up gaining it all back, plus a bit more.  It is so disheartening and sad and truly a phenomena I’d love to change.

Enter the clip I watched, with a simple easy addition to my healthy lifestyle journey.  This blog is actually all about what this person was saying, but I liked her explanation as to why it is so critical.  Basically, she said that one of the reasons people don’t hold on to the lifestyle changes and weight loss is because they lose sight of their WHY.  The reason they started the journey in the first place.  Once the weight is off and they feel better the WHY slips to the back of their thoughts and sure enough the old habits creep right back in.

This really makes sense to me and honestly it is true.  I have shared so many of my tips and strategies for maintaining this healthy lifestyle.  They are tools that helped me hold on.  I’ve shared my drive and motivation to keep going, even when injured, to move my body every day.   I’ve even shared that this month I added meditation to my morning routine, albeit short, to keep my mind free from stress.  Well, unfortunately not totally living stress free, but working toward it.  It’s very hard to keep stress out but I am building some walls around myself as we speak, yes walls!  That may be my next topic – People Who Care too Much or People Pleasers…

The short, simple idea the video I watched gave me is to not only Declare My Why, but to write it down and return to if often.  I definitely declared my why when I started this blog.  Read my first post here to refresh your memory if you missed it. Keeping My Memories        Taking my very personal journey public was a big step for me.  What I don’t yet do though, is return to my WHY, look at it, reflect on it.  I’m thinking a vision board may help me with that, but not the average one.  It’s truly never been about imagining myself in a sexy beautiful body, though that sure would be lovely.  Rather, it’s about seeing myself as a HEALTHY, HAPPY GRANDMOTHER surrounded by her beautiful family and KNOWING who they are!!  It’s about living my life to the last breath and living it to the fullest.

When I declare my why I say, “I REFUSE to allow Alzheimers rob me of my memories!  I REFUSE to suffer the fate of my grandmother and mother!  I REFUSE to lose!”  This is my motivation and my drive.  It pushes me out of bed when I don’t want to get up and exercise.  It pushes me to think about what I am putting in my mouth.  It helps me hold on to the gains I’ve made these past years and continuously pushes me forward. It helps me not stray too far off the path, even though there are bumps along the way.

Please take a moment this week and drill down to discover your why.  Why do you want to lose weight, or get healthy?  If it’s to look good for a special event, that may not bring about lasting change, for once the event is over old habits may creep back in.  Think beyond one event or moment in your life.  Think bigger.  Let’s all put on some armor as we attack this challenge, for this quest is truly a battle.  Let’s wage war on those old nasty habits and banish them once and for all.  Declare your why boldly!  Write it down, paste it visibly in your living space.  Look at it often, especially in those dark moments that will surely come.  Hold tight to your WHY and it will be the power that pushes you through this journey.


I love to share quick recipes I’ve discovered and enjoyed.

Recipes(Courtesy of Danette May)

Beet Wrap 

  • Organic Red beets (shredded)
  • Ezekiel Organic Sprouted Tortilla 6″
  • Grass fed, hormone free Feta cheese crumbled
  • Homemade Hummus
  • Organic arugula

Spread hummus on tortilla (1 tbsp), layer on red beets, small amount of feta and arugula.  Wrap and eat.  I used both raw and cooked beets.  I personally preferred cooked, but many prefer raw and the crunch.  P.S. – I’ve HATED beets my whole life and would never even put one in my mouth.  I tried and loved this wrap. A favorite lunch choice.

Homemade Hummus (courtesy of Danette May)

  • 1 1/2 c organic chickpea (cooked or canned)
  • 1/2 c of the bean liquid or water
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 c Sesame Tahini organic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp organic lemon juice, or juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Put all in Vitamix or blender, blend and serve.  DELICIOUS, simple and clean!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tools for Success

I’ve come to realize that the approach to healthy living runs parallel to education principles.  When thinking about educational principles, one realizes many of the concepts advocated are ones you’d need to be successful in healthy living.  This week I’d like to focus on a few of the changes I’ve made this month.

First and foremost you need to plan.  Much like teachers plan out their weekly lessons, the weekend finds me menu planning.  If I don’t take time to do this planning, I find myself grabbing just anything with little regard to health.   I have a simple system I’m currently using to make this time spent planning more effective.

I plan my meals using healthier versions of recipes (I use cookbooks and online sites).  I focus my planning on dinner.  I list for each day the dinner I will eat.  I create my shopping list on a piece of paper as I choose a dinner.  I plan to eat leftover from dinner for lunch, but also build in two lunch salads or quick meals.  I add these to my shopping list.   For breakfast, I plan on a green smoothie two to three days a week, eggs twice and oatmeal the other days.  I keep organic frozen veggies and fruit on hand, but add fresh produce to my list each week.  I only buy what I plan to consume to avoid waste.  I also freeze what I don’t get to eat.  I cut it up and place in ziplock freezer bags and this has cut down on waste.

When making shopping lists, I list items by recipe.   I then check in my freezer and pantry and cross off any items I find I already have.   This avoids duplicate purchasing of spices and other items I don’t use often and again cuts down on waste.  I think it has also cut down on my grocery bills.  Time well spent.

I don’t precook and prep my meals, as I know many do, for two reasons.  First, I’m not a fan of reheated food.  I like my food fresh and truly believe it’s healthier that way.  Secondly, I’m not a fan of the microwave oven.  I prefer my food cooked and heated the old fashioned way.  I worry about the effect of the microwave on my health so I try to significantly limit using it.

The only thing I precook is chicken.  I like to buy and roast on Sunday a whole, fresh organic chicken.  I roast it, cut it up and place in the refrigerator for the week.  I use the breasts and thighs during the week for salads.  I also use it for quick skillet meals for dinner.  My husband likes to pick on it during the week as well.

Another change I’ve made this month is focusing on my ingredients.   As an educator I know that analyzing and focusing on one change can have a strong impact on my progress.   I realized that I was eating healthy, but there were some ingredients I could makeover to lighten things up a bit.   First, I like to eat chicken salad and tuna once a week for lunch.   I had justified using mayonnaise because I used it so infrequently.   I never use light versions of food as I believe them to be less healthy choices – read your ingredients!   I finally found a substitute that I like and feel tastes comparable.   I mix two tablespoons or organic Greek plain yogurt (I don’t use light or fat free).   I use Stonyfield and find it smooth and not bitter.  I mix in organic Dijon mustard.  It tastes like mayonnaise and is so much healthier!  Here’s my chicken salad recipe –

2 tbs organic Greek yogurt plain

1 tsp organic Dijon mustard

chopped celery and 1/4 cup halved organic grapes

4 oz chopped chicken

chopped fresh organic parsley

Mix the yogurt and Dijon. Add all ingredients together and mix to coat with yogurt/Dijon.   Serve on romaine leaves (I make into wraps).  Salt as needed.

This is such a delicious lunch.   I’ve used this mayonnaise replacement in egg salad as well.   I may never need mayonnaise again!

Another ingredient makeover was made this month.   No more chemical and sugar laden coffee creamer for me!   I’ve shared this recipe before, but here’s my bullet coffee recipe.   Filling, healthy and energizing!  I only drink one cup per day and count this as a snack when meal planning.

1 tsp org coconut oil and Kerry Gold unsalted butter

1 cup hot brewed org coffee

1 tsp org cinnamon and tumeric

Sprinkle of cayenne

1/2 tsp org honey and raw cacao powder

1 tbsp org collagen powder

1 tsp org vanilla extract

Combine all and blend to make yummy and frothy coffee.   If not a coffee drinker substitute the coffee with a cup of matcha tea.

This swap removed a ton of sugar from this girl’s diet.   I was a half coffee and half flavored creamer girl.   The first time you make the coffee you may not love it.   Play around with the ingredients and give your palate a bit to adjust to the taste.   I love it and don’t even drink it the other way anymore.

One last tool I’d like to share is a balanced plate.   Again, like educators know well, balance is the key to success.   We can’t just teach something one way and expect to reach all learners.   Likewise, we can’t just eat one food group and expect to be healthy.   I find measuring, counting and complicated point systems annoying.   I like simplicity in my life and keeping it real.  Plating my food in a simple way helps keep me balanced.   First, I don’t use large plates.   My dinner plates are huge! I bought some super cute salad plates and use these for my meals.   Keeps the portion size appropriate and visually makes me feel I’m eating more. Next, I use the plate to help me portion my balanced meal.  Here’s my plating strategy, using simple fractional plan:

Divide your plate in half.  One half of the plate should be chock full of vegetables, or salad greens.  The other half, divide in half again.  One quarter should be devoted to your protein source, and the other quarter devoted to your carbs.  Simple, real and balanced.

I hope these tips help you stay on course to reclaiming your health. I’ve had a pretty solid January so far.   Let me know if you’ve any tools you’d like to share that have worked for you.

 

Me, Myself and I

It’s so hard not to play the comparison game, especially with social media.   I like to call Facebook – Fakebook.  When you look through the beautiful pages all you see is perfection, perfect families and relationships.  It’s no surprise that there are studies that now show that social media is causing increases in depression among some people.

Once I said to a friend, you photograph so beautifully.  I mean I’ve never seen you take a bad picture.   To which she replied, I’d never put it up if it wasn’t a good photo.  Oh, wow I hadn’t thought of it that way.  I had photos up that were less than perfect because I was keeping it real, capturing my journey.  If someone tagged me and I cringed, I left it as I felt it was a testament to our friendship and that moment.  I felt better hearing this though as I was beginning to hate photographs. Everyone takes a bad photograph but most were photoshopping their lives.

Another friend is struggling in her personal life.   Her marriage is in a rough patch and her relationship with her daughter is non existent.   She barely sees her.   Yet, in looking at her posts one sees a seemingly perfect marriage and close mother daughter relationship.   If you didn’t know the reality you’d think it was amazing.   Reality, it’s smoke and mirrors.   It’s rare photos of a smiling couple and shared photos of a grandchild sent to the mother who rarely sees her.   One doesn’t seem to notice the mother and daughter are never photographed together.   My friend is seeking to create on Facebook the life she’d much rather be living.  And, who could blame her for that.   Fantasy is far easier to live than the reality of a life in shambles.

I have another dear friend who is single.  She tells me Facebook and Instagram can be overwhelming because it’s often a constant streamed reminder of all she has yet to find.  Often she takes a time out from it.

For me, when I’m injured and not able to run, I find myself feeling left behind.  I feel pressure to get back out there before I lose it all.  I also admit to feeling some jealousy that others seem invincible and never get injured.  It’s not like I’m wishing harm to them as I’m surely not.  Rather, I’m self loathing the fact that my body failed me.

Currently I’m starting my third week of a healthy eating group.  We participate in discussions on a private Facebook page.  We share recipes and laughs.  But there is also sharing of successes and sometimes I read others comparing their experiences to these results.   For example, so far in two weeks I’ve lost five pounds.  Honestly, I haven’t taken measurements so I’ve no idea of loss there.  Others have posted losses of up to 14 pounds and many inches.   Some in the group have followed the recipes  to a t and lost nothing.  Once again social media, meant to be supportive, is causing these people massive amounts of stress.  There’s posts about leaving, giving up and just pure sadness.

All this stands as a reminder that reclaiming one’s health is a personal journey.  If we are sharing our story, as I am, we must be honest and truthful.  Life is not always a bed of roses and by not being open and honest, we miss the opportunity to connect and inspire many.   It’s easy to inspire when we are winning, but it’s equally important to inspire when failing.  Remember, it’s what we do when we fail that can serve as a true testament to the struggle.  Others who are struggling will thank God that they are not the only ones.  And, let’s never forget the struggle is real.

This week, I followed my menu and cooked clean and healthy.  Friday night after work I met friends for dinner.  I planned to make good choices on food and not to drink.  Well, I didn’t order any fries or pasta or potatoes with my meal.  I ordered a panini and planned to take half home for my hubby. I didn’t eat bread on the table as I was having a panini.  I decided to have just one drink and stayed away from wine.  I ordered vodka and tonic.  Hmmm.  Reality, I ate the whole panini and boy was it good.   I ordered a second drink too.  Oh well.  Saturday, I went to visit my son and his girlfriend.  My husband picked up a few bagels.   First thought, not having one of those.   Second thought, maybe just half.  Reality, that was one good bagel.

I’m not beating myself up for my weekend.  Life is made to be lived.  There will be good choices and life choices.   Life is far to short to pass up panini and bagels and enjoyment of food.  This is MY journey and there will be bumps along the way.  You don’t gain ten pounds back in a weekend.  It’s just water weight.  Eat clean the majority of the time and you’ll be fine.

It is my hope that we all remember that life on Facebook and other social media outlets is not always what it seems.  Everyone is facing their own struggles.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll be fine.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Compare yourself only to yourself and you’ll find strength there.  This journey is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

One Week at a Time

As I started my new 30 day mind and body challenge I was full of hope.  I had my meal ingredients purchased and organized.   I’d made human connections in my Facebook group and had all my tools loaded on my phone.  I downloaded Headspace and my ten day meditation plan to ensure I worked on my stress levels.  I downloaded Pilates workouts to supplement my workout plan since I still can’t get my broken toes in running shoes.  All set!

The first three days were considered a cleanse, or reset.  Lots of organic green veggies and fruit.  Tons of water.  The plan calls for a gallon of water a day, which I know is ridiculously dangerous.  Yes people, too much water can be dangerous.  It can mess with your electrolytes and put stress on your organs.  I drank as much as I could and shot for 60 ounces a day.

The first two days I had a mild headache, which I attributed to lack of my morning cup of coffee.  Day two I got to try quinoa.  That was a big mushy, messy fail.  I threw it out and tried again with less water. I ate quinoa and mangoes the next day and it went slightly better.

I told myself going in that I, the pickiest eater ever known, would at least taste every darn recipe I was given.  No preconceived opinions allowed if I’d never in my life tried the item.  This decision was tested on day 3 when I was called upon to eat red beets!!   Oh my gosh I have serious texture issues and those slimy red beets we’re going to be a huge challenge.  Here’s the lunch menu I was given –

1 6″ sprouted while grain tortilla

1 tbs homemade hummus (yum)

Shredded red beets

2 tbs feta cheese

arugula

Spread hummus on tortilla.  Add remaining ingredients.  Roll and enjoy.

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Excuse the foil as I was on the go.  Now, the red was a lot for me to deal with as was the first bite.  I wasn’t sure if I liked it or hated it but I thanked God for the feta and ate it.  Phew got through that hurdle.  Imagine my dismay when this darn wrap appeared on my lunch menu for the next day.  Ugh.  I put a little less red beets on the next day and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Day 4 I had to try Bok Choy.  Never ever would I have tried that!  But, I said I’d at least try everything.   I steamed it with carrots, added some turkey bacon. Actually it was a refreshing salad dinner that my daughter joined me in eating.  Not bad at all.

Week one is now in the books.  I’m down five pounds, which we all know is water weight.  I’ve done my meditations daily and my workouts.  I was true to the menu as I want to evaluate it.  In complete transparency, I attended a retirement party yesterday.  My food choices were good, but not the planned meals.  And, I did have a complete and utter love affair with a bowl of Lays.  Guess the saying is true, “Nobody can eat just one.”   I had some help, but definitely indulged.

I was feeling kind of bad about that when I got a text from my daughter.  She said, “Your skin looks great in that picture you shared.  I may have to do that cleanse.”   Those kind words bitch slapped me back on the plan.  Five pounds and noticeable glow were quite motivating.

Today, I’m prepping my shopping lists and previewing my meals.  I only see one test this week – Salmon.   Remember, I have color and texture issues big time.  Orange/pink fish are a double whammie.   There is a vegetarian option that is offered that I may have to take.  I have until I hit the market to decide.

Stepping outside that comfort zone is critical to success.  If we truly want different results, we have to do different things.   Hope your new year had gotten off to a healthy and happy start.  For me it has and now I’m off to drink more water.  Have an awesome week.

Temptations of Life

One of the best rewards I received from my running training was gaining a true knowledge of myself.  I now have a true handle on this body I have, what makes it tick and what “right” feels like.  Often times, we spend enormous amounts of energy wondering, “Is this normal?”, “Does this feel like it’s supposed to?”, “Am I injured or just sore from workouts?”.  Following my two serious injuries, I’ve gained a new perspective into what “normal” feels like.  I know when to hold them and when to push through.

Following the half marathon, I decided not to take off the coach recommended two weeks.  Instead, I took off two days.  Yeah, yeah, I know not too smart a decision.  Following those runs that week I felt pain in my left hip adductor (inside area of leg near groin) and hamstring.  I ran the rest of that week and it didn’t improve so I took two weeks off.  Then I started back up and still had the pain.  The good news is I knew it was muscular because I know this body so well.  I knew the pain was different from the bone pain I felt when I had the stress fracture in my other leg.  I also knew how to work through it.  I needed to slow down and go easy.  This morning on my long run I thought about how different this felt from the last two times of uncertainty over injury.  Stressing and googling and not truly knowing if what I was doing was the right thing to do.  I also thought a lot about the things in life that seem to block my path of reclaiming my health.

First blocker is my ego.  You all know that darn part of you, right?  Yup, the ego is the voice that tells you, “Suck it up bitch.”, or “Push through the pain, you are tough.”  Whenever I listen to that voice I end up in trouble.  The ego has gotten the better of me more times than I’d like to admit.  Like who thinks at 55 years old it’s ok to not take off the two weeks your coach recommended after running a tough course half marathon.  The ego gets in your way in life often too.  Like when you can’t admit you’re wrong, or think it’s your way or the highway.  Or, how about when you eat unhealthy but blame your nutritionist, or latest diet because you refuse to admit you didn’t truly follow the plans.

Sometimes we need to kick our ego to the curb!  This week I forced myself to do just that.  I knew I needed a break from the hills and the hard road surface I run on.  My body needed a break from the pounding to recover.  So, I forced myself to run on the treadmill (aka – dreadmill).  I found the running on their so much easier on my adductor and joints.  I also needed to not push off and run slow, something my ego doesn’t truly like.  But I did it and learned to enjoy the absence of pain.  Today I did my long run outside and felt like my leg is finally on the road to healing.  Secondly, I finally admitted to myself that I need to give up drinking red wine.  It just truly doesn’t agree with my body, though I LOVE it.  I haven’t been drinking wine during training and when I purchased a bottle last weekend, I immediately noticed I had pain in my joints and my body.  So, I finally said it out loud and admitted what I already had been told – I need to stop drinking red wine, it doesn’t agree with my body.

The second blocker I’ve encountered often are those false advertisements and promises of restoration of health through – pills, diets, books, shakes, coaches, tests, etc.  I usually fall prey to those ads and Facebook seems to know it because they pop up constantly on my feed.  Three day detox, supplements to solve life’s problems, you name it – it’s out there.  The latest I almost fell victim to – a DNA test to help a nutritionist tell me what kind of food I should be eating and what supplements I should be taking.  All for the low price of 800.  The fact that I even considered it blows my mind.  But, I’m very proud that I wrote back to my dear friend and said – “Thanks so much for thinking of me.  Truly sounds interesting, but I can’t justify spending that kind of money to chase the holy grail of health.”  Been there, done that.

Next up, a colleague came by my office recently.  She has never been particularly friendly before but suddenly was very willing to chat.  I soon realized, in a round about way she was trying to sell me something to make me healthier.  She found the answer to all my problems.  Ugh, here we go again.  This was a strong sales pitch for Isogenix!  These shakes and detox, according to her would cure me.  Hmm, been there, done that.  No shake or detox holds the answer to all of life’s problems.

I know what I have to do.  I have to eat healthy, organically and move my body.  I’ve read tons of information on this subject and it all boils down to your body is your temple.  What you put into it greatly affects what happens.  The rest is genetics, pure and simple.  While I do agree you can’t possibly get by without any supplementation, I am determined to get as close to it as I possibly can.  I want to heal my body with food, pure delicious, clean food.  I know what I should eat, as well as what I shouldn’t.  I don’t need a DNA test to tell me what is good for my body.  I can feel that now.  I can feel how my body feels after I eat certain foods and drink certain drinks.  I can feel it when I exercise and when I merely go through my day.  I am in control of my destiny and these people who want to make living out of my quest can just move along.

I hope we all can get to a place where this multimillion dollar diet industry can move along to somewhere else.  There are so many desperate people in the world that they prey upon.  Read, learn and trust yourself.  You know what you have to do so, “Just do it.”

 

 

 

 

Goals

Today was my last long run prior to the race.  Now I begin two weeks of tapering down to resting a few days before the race.   It’s funny that a 90 minute run now seems like a short run and a gift.  There was a time that 90 minutes was a real stretch run for me.  I remember struggling in the summer to hit the 90 minute target on vacation.  I used to average 3 miles and under on my short runs, which took just over 30 minutes.  Now I average 60 minutes most days and about 5 miles.  I find those days to be easy runs.  It’s funny how things change when you put your mind to something and set some strong goals.  Honestly, without the goal of running this half marathon, I’m not sure I’d even be back to running after my stress fracture.

How exactly does the right goal help?  It’s been my target for what I am trying to accomplish.  It’s what I’m shooting for and aiming to accomplish.  It provides me a strong layer of motivation and focus.

Today my determination was put to the test.  Yesterday, I ran close to 6 miles in the pouring, cold rain.  I was drenched and cold.  I didn’t have enough time to properly stretch and foam roll because I had to get to work.  Today, I was facing 12-13 miles and knew my legs would be tired.  I wasn’t expecting the pain to hit my bad leg before mile one was even complete.  I actually had a moment of panic and thought of calling for a pick up or turning around and walking home.  The pain was eerily familiar and in that same spot.  But, I knew this was my last long run prior to tapering and I really had wanted to get it done.  I kept going a bit, but the pain was getting worse. I was almost in a total panic at this point.  I couldn’t have come this far only to have this hit me two weeks out from my race.  Finally, I had to stop and walk.  I decided to stretch right there on the road and see if it helped.  I stretched out my quad and hip and then decided to try again.  I vowed to go super slow and easy and see if it loosened up.  Thankfully it did and I got the run done!  I was super proud and happy to have completed the run and not be in any pain.  Honestly, without the GOAL of my race in two weeks and the GOAL of the last long run, I truly don’t believe I would have continued.  I would definitely have turned right back around and gone home.

The goal was my motivation today and it made me try to do something that would allow me to get the run in.  The training plan also provided me strong motivation as I knew this was it, the last long run prior to tapering.  There was something so exciting about knowing I was in the home stretch.  This made me realize why I have failed so many times before to reclaim my health.  I’ve never set a goal other than one based on the total number of pounds I would lose.  Today I finally realized I’ve been setting the wrong kind of goals for myself.  My goals were actually too narrow and based on the wrong thing.  You see, I just set a goal to be a certain weight and when I didn’t reach it I felt like a failure.  There really was nothing to celebrate along the way because I never was able to hit my unrealistic target weight.  Had I set a broader goal, like being able to run a half marathon, followed by a full marathon, I would likely have had more success.

At this point, I don’t even really get on the scale much.  I weigh in just once a week now just to be sure I’m around the same weight with no major fluctuation up.  I used to weigh myself every single day, sometimes twice and then fret about it all day.  I don’t measure myself more than once a month, if at all.  I can generally tell by how my clothes fit how I am doing.  My broader goals have freed me from the confines of the minutia of weighing, measuring and fretting.  I measure my success now by how I meet the requirements of my training plan.  Did I get all the runs in and meet time targets?  Did I meet my heart rate targets?  This is something I struggle with.  I am averaging above the 140 target for most runs, but have given myself a pass on that.  I am running comfortable at 146-150 bpm and decided it’s just not worth stressing over.

My broader goal also motivated me to connect with a great nutritionist who has helped me learn how to fuel my longer runs.  I’ve tried my whole life to avoid vegetables at all costs.  Now that I know it is the fuel I need to meet my goals for running, I’ve been slowly learning to add vegetables to my diet.  I’m eating things I thought I’d never eat.  I even finally tried salmon.  I’m noticing how I feel on runs and track it directly back to my nutrition.  Isn’t it amazing what the right goal can do!

Once this race is behind me, I plan to start shooting for my next goal.  I will spend the rest of the winter running in heart rate zones trying to build some speed.  Then in the spring, I will begin to get ready for the full marathon distance.  I will continue to add more vegetables into my daily diet and learn new and exciting ways to cook them.  I think I’m finally on the path to wellness.  Hope you are too!

 

 

 

 

Fall Back

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the song associated with September and back to school time.  As a school Principal, I am blessed that in September my empty building once again is filled with the joyful sounds of children.  Those empty halls will be bustling again with the business of learning.

Unfortunately, another change to come is the amount of daylight I’ll have.  Soon my morning runs will be devoid of light and drowning in darkness.  Not much that can be done to change that.  In the past  I would very shortly begin skipping my workouts and huddling under those warm covers promising to workout after work.    But, alas that workout never seemed to happen.  Just because summer is over doesn’t mean my active lifestyle has to end.  It truly doesn’t have to be that way.

Make a pact today with yourself that you will continue on this journey.  I have already done so.  Don’t let those excuses creep back in and sidetrack you.   You know the excuses well, as do I.  Let’s take a look at the biggest ones and set up a plan to offset them.

First, I don’t have time anymore now that I’m back in a full schedule.  Well, there are 168 hours in a week.  You work 40 and sleep an average of 56, if you’re lucky.    That leaves about 72 hours.  Now, is it really true you have no time to keep exercising?   I work out at least one hour a day six days a week.  That’s only 6 hours a week minimum, which leaves me with 66 glorious hours to do whatever I want or need to do.

The second and probably the most common excuse is, I don’t have the energy to workout.   Well, first of all working out increases your energy levels so please don’t quit or you’ll have even less!

The absolute best way to offset both of these excuses is to do your workouts first thing in the morning.  This truly works, trust me.  Your energy levels are at their highest in the morning, especially if you’ve slept well (I wish).  You’ll feel energized to face your day and you won’t be drained from a full day of work.  Anytime I tried to workout after work it just didn’t happen.  I was way too tired and just wanted to get home to eat and relax.   Put your workout on your calendar and set that alarm.   After the first three weeks it will be your new habit.

I workout every morning by myself.  It’s a habit I will not give up.  I’m not going to lie and say it’s always easy.  It’s a commitment to myself that I’ve made.  With the dark mornings and possible bad weather coming I will double down my efforts to stay on track.   I hope you’ll do the same.

 

 

I Got This

Everybody wants a best friend, someone to talk them through the challenges life throws at them.  On my early run today, I found myself wishing there was someone there beside me to talk to,  especially  when my foot started to hurt.  Then I realized there was someone and  in fact there always is.  I was there.  I realized I could be my own best friend and face this challenge.

Now, if I’m being honest, I’m not always very kind to myself.  In fact, I’m often my own worst critic.  I’m very self-deprecating and can be very mean to myself at times.  I’m sure I’m not alone in that.  How many times have you chided yourself for being too fat, too pale, too slow or any other put down that came to mind in the moment?

I’ve spent a lot of time these past weeks watching the Olympic Games in Rio.  I’ve noticed many of those athletes deep in thought prior to their performances.  Some were even talking to themselves.  I’m sure they weren’t telling themselves everything that was wrong at that critical moment.  Rather than putting themselves down, they were lifting themselves up.   There’s that mind shift again! These athletes were behaving as if they were their own best friend.  They were using positive self talk to mentally prepare themselves for the challenge ahead.

Lauren Hernandez was observed many times saying, I’ve got this before performing.   And she surely did!  Lauren did not stand there and say I’m not better than Simone.  Nope, she used positive self talk and worked her way to winning medals.  In fact, she was amazing.   I also saw many runners preparing for the start of their race using self talk.

Research has proven that positive self talk can build one’s confidence and motivation.   With so many others in this world seeking to put us down, why do we do it to ourselves?   We need to shift or self talk and move away from the negative.  It’s time to become our own best friend.  I’m going to practice this strategy starting now.  No more putting myself down, or filling my head with all the things I feel I’m lacking in.  From now on,  I’m going to use positive self talk and support myself on my journey to health.   Next time I lace up those running shoes, which is tomorrow; rather than worry about it, I’m simply going to say, I’ve got this!  Then, I’ll take several deep breaths and go get it done.

 

Progress Check

Sometimes we need to give ourselves a break.  We are always so hard on ourselves when it comes to health and beauty.  So many people rely only on the scale to gauge success. I believe we need to find others ways to check in, especially if you’re feeling less than satisfied.  Don’t give up, just change your perspective and your measuring stick.

They say absence helps you to better see the changes in people.  Aging, weight loss and other life changes are more noticeable when you don’t see someone everyday.  This same principle applies to our own reflection in the mirror.

It’s always good to document your journey to health.  Weighing in is just one way to do this.   Measurements are another.   But the one which gives the most visual support is documenting your journey with photographs.

My friend mentioned to me the other day that she sees a difference in me from June to now.   I decided to look at some photographs and see if I too see a difference.

This first pair shows me in May and August of this year.  I actually do think I look healthier in August than I did in May.

The dreaded bathing suit photographs.   The green suit was taken last July and the pink suit is from this July.   I definitely see the progress here and even feel I’m walking more confidently in this year’s picture.  Who knows, maybe next year I’ll rock a bikini.

Finally, below are close ups of my bottom half.   I’ve always carried my weight here like many women do.  The first shot is from a race I ran in May of this year.   The second shot is from this July.   Only two months between these pictures and I see a big difference.   That slow heart rate running is sure helping tone up my legs.  Thanks Coach MK. #winningatlife

It is important to measure your progress on more than just the scale.   The scale often leaves me sad and frustrated.   These photograph comparisons leave me hopeful and motivated.

How about you?   How do you measure your progress?  If you’ve been stuck in a rut, dig out some photographs and hopefully find something to smile about.

 

Weeds

image Somewhere along the line these little Dandelions were classified as weeds. Perhaps they didn’t live up to the beauty standards of flowers.  They are often pulled, poisoned and much effort is put forth trying to rid lawns and gardens of them.  But I pass these particular Dandelions every morning on my run.  I’m always touched by their beauty and personally I love yellow flowers.  There’s just something about yellow.  Many people also eat Dandelion greens and marvel in their taste.  My horses always loved eating Dandelions and I love how they looked out in the pasture.

All this got me wondering who decides that something is not beautiful and therefore banished from the flower world.  And who decides if we fit in the beautiful category?  In my opinion, there shouldn’t be a standard we have to live up to.  Beauty should, as they say, be in the eyes of the beholder.  But we all know this is not the case.  We all know there are standards for us, just as there are for the Dandelion.  We have to be a certain weight, or we are considered fat.  We have to have a certain look to us, or we are considered plain, or ugly.  It’s so sad that someone else gets to decide for us what represents beauty.  Me, I’ve decided to take back that power and make my own decisions about my beauty.  Only I get to decide how I look and feel and I do not have to please anyone but myself.

My whole life I have always blown out my hair whenever I washed it.  I have very fine, straight hair and I believed the only way to get any body to it was to blow it out.  When I was a teen, I remember my mom telling me I was going to be bald because I would wash and dry my hair three times a day.  My daughter has similar hair to me and she never blow dries her hair.  We had a conversation about this during our week at the beach.  I never blow out my hair when we are down at the beach.  Funny thing is it either looks the same, or better.  Imagine that.  Why in the world am I spending an extra half hour a day on this hair when it looks the same without that effort.  Probably because I was trying to live up to some beauty standard I set that said I needed to have lots of body in my hair.  It’s been a life long struggle trying to make my hair something it’s not.  Countless perms and body waves and tons of hair spray used in the process.  Well, since we’ve returned from the beach, I’ve only blown out my hair twice.  Once to go out to dinner and once to go to a meeting.  I’ve decided that I really do not need to put the effort in because my hair looks just the same even if I don’t.

Another area to think about is makeup.  My mom was a very vain woman who believed you never went anywhere without putting on your “face”.  When she had eye surgery, I remember her putting on her one eye “face”.  Now she’s in a nursing home and never has on her “face” and guess what.  Her face looks just as beautiful as it did with the make up.  Perhaps it looks better at times because it’s her beautiful, natural face.  I was never a big make up person.  I’m truly not a girly, girl but I did put on mascara every day.  I have such light eyelashes that without it it looks like I have none.  But I’ve begun to even cut back on that. The only person who notices that I have mascara on is me.  I’ve been going out without it and nobody notices any difference.  Again, I had set this beauty standard based on society’s expectations and was a slave to ensuring I had long, visible lashes.

How wonderful it is to have this new routine.  I’m no longer sweating, drying my hair and feeling my skin all sticky from makeup.  The only comments I’ve received are, you look like a teenager and you have great skin.  The reality is when we look in the mirror we see what we think is looking back at us.  That is not the reflection the rest of the world sees.  If you asked three people to describe one person, you’d see what I mean.  Everyone brings their perspective of us to the description.  Their perspective of us, the entire being, forms their perspective of how beautiful we are.  You know this is true.  Think about it.  Haven’t you ever in your life thought of someone as attractive, then gotten to know them and realized they weren’t as attractive as you thought.  Especially, if they are lacking in personality or kindness.

The point I’m trying to make is we have to be comfortable with who we are.  God made us just the way he wanted us to be.  We are created in his image and likeness – beautiful.  I believe there is nothing more beautiful than someone who is comfortable in their own skin.  They seem to radiate beauty and confidence.  It’s time to get out of our heads.  Do not let society’s standards be your standards.  Set your own standard for how you want to look and feel and then be confident and comfortable in that skin.  Stop living your life for someone else’s expectations.  Dare to be beautiful in your own right, just like the beautiful Dandelions you see everywhere.  Embrace your beauty and you will surely be beautiful.

 

 

 

 

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