Don’t Wait For Next Year To Change

January

“Well, I’m just gonna get started in January, you know, once the holidays are over.”

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it, yeah, a lot.

The New Years Resolution.

The New Years promise to finally “get in shape”, to “lose weight”, and to “get healthier”.

What it might amount to is a fairly guiltless free for all of eating for weeks like a man condemned to the gallows never to see good food again.

Then with a rigid determination come the official first of the year and a stoic do or die approach, you set out to finally lose weight.

All the good foods are gone ( you might have helped eat them to “get them out of the house”) you’ve stocked up on celery and rice cakes and pulled out the Jillian Michaels workout video that you will overdo on and hurt like heck the next day ’cause your body is protesting all that activity. You will hop on the scale looking for it to show some “loss” to reward you for your first hard day of labor and suffering.

Ha.. ok.. I’m  messing with you, but maybe you see yourself in there somewhere.

I do. I used a lot of my past to kinda make fun of the predictable behaviors so many go through each year.

Sad thing is, those good intentions, almost never last past that first month.

I just want to encourage you to not wait for the New Year to start focusing on taking care of yourself. Each day is a new opportunity to eat well, and get in some good purposeful movement. I was talking with someone and again the conversation came up that exercise is something our bodies require for health and wellness, not just to be used as a tool to lose weight ( although it helps with that too).

Exercise is crucial to our overall well being! And needless to say, eating well, gives us good energy to move through our day.

I want to challenge you to not wait for 2016 to start making changes, but begin today.

Taking small steps each day will position you to continue forward movement after the holidays are over towards permanent healthy changes.

Can you think of a better way to start off your New Year ?

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The Habit Of Eating

In yesterdays blog I talked about will power vs. habits and their role in weight loss and building a healthy lifestyle pattern.

One habit we all have in common and I’d dare say we all enjoy, is eating.

Food is good. Food is also the source of fuel for our bodies to perform daily tasks and live life. Food is meant to be enjoyed and savored!

There are lots of things to eat, and hopefully, you are making choices to eat healthy and nutritious foods the majority of the time.

In the ways of developing habits I’m sure most of us have habits of eating at scheduled times during the day to keep our energy level up.

We have an amazing God given built in system that tells us when we need food.

Ever get that grumbly, growly, tummy ? That’s the signal you need to eat. Once we’ve eaten enough to be (comfortably) satisfied we stop…or we should.

Unfortunately, many can go to either extremes with this. Either the hunger signals are constantly and frequently ignored which can lead to possible eating disorders, or one can eat often and frequently enough to not even remember what natural hunger signals feel like.

I know when I do long runs, my appetite can sometimes hit the roof and I feel like I can’t get it in fast enough. It feels good when it hits bottom!

Why? Because I’m genuinely, truly, hungry. I always joke food tastes so amazing when you are really hungry.

What I want to ask is this… do you eat when you are really truly, hungry? Or do you eat as a habit ? Because it’s a scheduled meal time?

We do need to schedule and eat adequate meals, but we also need to learn when enough is enough to take care of our hunger but not send us into that “I ate to much” feeling.  Balance is what we’re seeking, balance in meeting our needs, but not over doing it.

Get this… you don’t have to eat if you aren’t hungry. Or if it’s a scheduled meal time and you aren’t hungry.

However, if you get balanced, adequate meals in your day you should be experiencing those natural signals before your next meal. Allow yourself to understand, feel, and act on those signals.

Developing a habit to eat, when hungry, and stop when your hunger is comfortably satisfied is a big step towards losing weight and moving into healthy lifestyle patterns.

Is this easy for you to do ? Or will you need some practice to make it a habit ?

Simple Blessings

thanksgiving

 

Brace yourselves. Thanksgiving week is upon us.  I’ve got a daily to-do list plotted out like a military commander preparing for battle.

Food to be prepared in various stages, cleaning and organizing to be done and any final trips to the store ( an adventure unto itself).

Of course I will start each day with some kind of workout ’cause that keeps me balanced and sane in a busy week 😉 For the past few years I’ve headed out before the morning gets started for a quick run, no music, no distractions, just me on the road watching the sunrise and thinking about all the ways I’m blessed in my life. Basically, getting centered before the day takes off and gets busy.

Thanksgiving is a day to reflect and think on how much we have and how blessed we are. If you’re reading this post from another place in  our vast world and you are of course, not, celebrating Thanksgiving I hope you at least leave this post thinking in a new way about the good things you have each day in your own life =)

I got to thinking the other morning when I hopped in my car and started it how grateful I am for that… just having my car start. Pretty simple, right? You expect it, right ?

Years ago, in tighter times, we drove some really uh…classic… cars… haha a nice way of saying they weren’t super fancy but (usually) got us where we were going… actually some of them were horrible 😛  And there were many times I hopped in and the crazy thing didn’t start.

I remember one year, we were sooo poor, our car had died and a car dealership in town was “giving” away various cars. You showed up, put your name in a drawing for the chance to get it. If you won the “free” car you just had to pay tax, title and license on it. I was down there with a zillion other people.

They called my name. I squealed. I never win anything. I got evil eyed stares from others who were hoping to get the car.

I waited and wondered what our new wheels would look like.. something small? Sporty? It didn’t matter… we were gonna have a car.

Then they pulled it around. It had leaves all in the windshield. It was dirty.

It was huge. Massive.

It was a Plymouth Fury. Solid steel and could probably hold a football team. My brother was with me and checked it out under the hood and we took it for a test drive.

It handled with the efficiency of an army tank. The hood was probably 12 feet in front of me. It seemed unending.

And for 120.00 it was mine and we drove it home. I had never felt so grateful.

We christened it with the name White Fang… don’t even ask me …why ?? ’cause I don’t remember.  I just seemed deserving to have a name.

We fixed it up and used it for quite awhile before we sold it and blessed someone else with it 😉

So I just got to thinking besides being grateful for cars that start, all the simple, sometimes ordinary things, in my life I take for granted but really am grateful for. This is by no means an exhaustive list….

 

Waking up and being given another day at this thing called….life.

Feeling my heart beat.

My health, my strength, and physical abilities I’ve developed. My body can run, lift, ride a bike and do so many things. I never take that for granted.

Eyes to see, ears to hear, senses to explore the world around me.

My God and My Savior who has given me life.

My beautiful children and grandchildren.

My awesome husband who loves me, supports me, cheerleads me, tells me I can do anything I put my mind to, tells me I’m sexy and still means it 😉 spoils me rotten, challenges me, listens to me when I need to vent, let’s me be myself and overall has always taken amazing care of me… how did I get so blessed with an amazing man for 33 years ?? Seriously.

Then there’s all those other things in life (we) I take for granted…..

an abundance of good foods, the ability to shop and buy those foods, a closet of nice clothes and shoes, a beautiful home with things in it to make me comfy, air for when it’s hot or cold to make the house cozy, my bed! snuggling with my pillow, the feel of my husband against my body, hot showers, waking up to the smell of coffee ’cause I can set the timer to have it waiting for me in the morning (spoiled!)

Our country and all the blessings and good things we’re afforded here.

Music. Is there life without it ?

A variety of friends in all ages.

People who believe in you.

My church home and family I love there.

Chocolate. Fresh bread. Summer strawberries and watermelon. A perfect banana. The smell of homemade cookies coming out of the oven. Turkey cooking on Thanksgiving morning.

Soft, thick sweaters on cold days.

Blustery, crisp fall days.

An unexpected card or message from a friend.

Resources that meet my needs.

The sound of my husband sleeping next to me.

People who make me smile and laugh.

The ability to love and feel emotions.

Long talks with good friends.

The loud and sometimes crazy chaos when allll the family is gathered together.

Sloppy clothes, a fire, and a hot cup of coffee on a dreary day.

The sound of my husbands voice.

Laughter.

Seeing an old friend.

Unexpected gifts.

A perfect sunny day.

Long hugs. Soft kisses.

Random lazy days.

Bubble baths.

I guess I could go on and if you’re with me to this point, thanks for reading this far. Hopefully, I’ve made you think a little bit about the things in life that might seem common or ordinary or maybe that we think we’re “entitled” to when really, everything we have is a blessing.

What are you thankful for ?

Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

 

 

Making An Impact

I love new reading material almost as much as I love getting my hands on new music. There’s something about diving into an untouched book or magazine that I love.

Geez. I’m a nerd.

That being said, the only magazine I subscribe to ( no surprise) is Runners World. It’s always loaded with info I find useful as well as amusing. I love reading about elite runners and soaking up what they do and implementing whatever might work for me.  Of course there’s always some inspirational runners story that makes me feel proud to be a part of the running community.

This month I’ve been reading with avid interest as it features “every day, ordinary” runners.  They had a big contest you could throw your name in the hat to be the cover person for this months edition.

I contemplated it. And didn’t.

Oh I have in the past, and was blown away when I was selected to be a part of the Dec 2012 “Runners Body” feature ( you can read that in another post) it was an amazing experience to work with a professional photographer and be photographed in such a way that showed the strength, power, and athleticism of my body.

Some of the winners selected for this months feature included cover winner who lost over 100 lbs. running and how her life has been changed, others who have overcome great odds, some run crazy numbers of races and miles, they have battled through diseases, abuse, and emotional trauma.  They train, teach, inspire and are these beautiful shining examples to the people they are around.

Running has been a sanctuary, a place of healing, hope, and strength for them. I read these stories and cry. I get inspired. I dream bigger.

That’s when I think…. “yeah, now I know why I don’t toss my name in to those competitions. I’m just so… ordinary.”

I haven’t done or experienced the things these people have gone through.

I mean, yeah, running let me drop the weight of a hefty toddler and I do relate to it being a place I go to for thinking, stress release, peace, and my personal escape.

But the thought came again… I’m just…so… ordinary.

However, as I thought on that and reflected on those stories, things started coming to my mind…

All the times people have messaged me, responded to this blog, or talked to me in person to tell me that I inspire them. To keep doing what I do because it motivates them to DO something…. to make changes, to get moving, to be strong, to make better food choices, to be the best “me” they can be etc.

When my crazy running posts have people wanting to go and try running. They ask about shoes, gear, and how to start. I share from my meager education on being a runner. I rejoice when they really start embracing it.

When someone tells me they finally signed up for  a race. Best feeling ever.

Or comments that if I can be out ( running, cycling, or whatever craziness) they too, can get out and do what they need to do. I remember a friend messaging me to tell me how she was struggling through her workout and she remembered seeing my post that I was doing 28 miles that morning. She said  “remembering you were out running, I told myself if you could do that, I could get my workout done!”

When I counsel/mentor/encourage someone and they “get it” and start on their health and fitness journey… and start walking that road of freedom…nothing feels better.

Like… nothing.

That’s when I realized…. I might not ever make it in a magazine by doing something “spectacular”  but I am making a difference in my personal world that I live in.

Being me… in all my odd, fun, weird, non-conforming, quirkiness doing what I do….does touch and impact lives. I don’t have to be anyone else or do what they’re doing.

I just need to be me and use the talents, gifts, and abilities that God has given me and that can make an impact in the world I operate in.

You too, my faithful 1.5 readers, never underestimate, the impact you have in your world.

You can inspire, encourage, build up, and challenge those around you =)

Tell me…. how do you inspire or encourage in your personal world ?

inspire

 

You Can’t Buy Health And Wellness

So I did it yesterday.  I hopped on the proverbial “Christmas bus”.

Yes, once on, please be seated, fasten your seat belts and hold on for dear life. The ride will soon be over boys and girls.

No, no, no this isn’t anything anti-Christmas it’s just an awareness that things are going to be picking up for the festive holiday season and by that I mean, I jumped into doing a little Christmas shopping. It seems like once you start it all seems to be, well, if you will, a snowball effect 😉

I was actually a good girl and didn’t even buy anything for myself.

Ok, truth be known, I had two things I was searching out and I had no success… so that doesn’t count, right ?

So while I’m at the mall, I have to walk by these various kiosks that are set up like small little hamster houses along the walk way. Most of the vendors mind their business and let you come shop with them if that’s your desire.

Except one particular one… I know it… I see it each time I’m there…. I look for an escape route like a fox in a chicken coop… but there’s NO WAY around them to get to my favorite stores.

I try the “being busy with my phone and I’m not making eye contact with you” approach. I try the “I’m intently window shopping” angle. I even try the brisk walking and pointedly ignoring them as they call and lure me in with their beauty products they’re hawking.

One caught me and handed me a sample and I thanked him and kept walking… and he kept almost chasing me trying to get me back to his little nook to sell me products. Honestly, I ignored him as he wasn’t taking my “thanks but no thanks” response.

On my way back… there he was… again… and coming after me… till I finally said… “I’m not interested in your product” and kept walking. ( Poor guy, he doesn’t know who he’s come up against) ugh. so. pushy.

The products he sells are skin and face cream and other such stuff.

Dude, I’m a middle aged woman carrying an AARP card.   Your creams and stuff aren’t gonna fix me up or change me 😉 Sorry.

Hang with me here….

it got me to thinking about other products people have tried to sell me on recently.. He was pedaling creams and such that were supposed to help you look younger etc. etc.

Yet because of my interest in health and fitness I am constantly asked to try and use products to “help” me since I’m well, into health and fitness. I mean, I must certainly need their product to help me, right?

No…  I don’t.

I don’t need your pills, potions, videos, portion cups, shakes, patches, enhancements, supplements, special drinks or anything else. I don’t need to spend money to lose weight, sleep better, lower my blood pressure or improve my lab work. I don’t  need “health” products to feel more energetic.

Why ? Because for the last 8 years I’ve worked hard and busted my tail to lose weight, learn to eat more healthy foods than not, exercise, and enjoy side effects of it, getting fit. It’s been a project that has been very satisfying…..satisfying ’cause I’ve done it.

Because I’ve lost the weight, my blood pressure is great, my lab work is (crazy good according to my doctor), my blood sugar level is even and steady, I sleep well, and have tons of energy. I’m stronger, leaner and in better shape than I’ve ever been. It always disturbs me when people brag on a product that supposedly does that when I never used products but had all the same results.

It’s the WEIGHT LOSS boys and girls that triggers all these things in our bodies….weight loss.

It’s really weird how losing weight and moving your body will reap some amazing good health benefits and it didn’t cost me a thing. On top of that, eating healthy foods, less processed foods and sugar has good benefits for your skin too.

Maybe I don’t need the stuff Mr. Kiosk dude is selling after all 😉

You don’t need products either to be strong, fit, healthy and energetic. Be patient, treat yourself kindly, take one day at a time, practice good habits, eat well, and move your body with your favorite activity.  You will be so satisfied with what you achieve on your own.

Then go and use that money to buy some smaller clothes….. or buy Christmas gifts….. 😉

Happy Halloween

Happy halloween

Happy Halloween =)  Time for ghosts and goblins and all things cute… and candy… free candy….as much as you want depending on your endurance and patience to hike house to house getting single or sometimes, double pieces at a time.

Let’s face it… the best and coolest places give out real chocolate 😉

Oh wait… hold on… I’m like… an adult now…. do I get to participate ??

Haha I still love having a costume and heading out with my kids… and they are all pretty much grown but I can still tag along ’cause now I’m in grandparent status.

I will shamelessly admit I still love dressing up. I love costumes and all things fun. I figure there are enough people in the world holding down the “sane, sensible adult category” I don’t need to  take up space there 😉

So yeah… costume ready… and I do get to fish some good prizes outta the kids treat bags so it’s a win/win.

But I got to thinking…. hang with me if you will….  I was getting a little nostalgic thinking of Halloweens past and trick or treating when I honestly WAS a kid.

Times seemed simpler. The day seemed longer. There weren’t so many of the worries and concerns there are today. There weren’t crazy stigmas tied to it. You got to make tissue ghosts and spiders and have real Halloween parties in school before it became generically “fall” themed.  It was just a fun time to dress up in cool costumes and roam the neighborhood hoping to get enough candy to carry you over till Christmas.

My younger childhood was spent in a classic low key typical neighborhood where all the kids roamed and hung out at various houses all year long. Even as a kid I got that it was a pretty comfy thing. On Halloween though it was always fun because the neighbors went all out to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. There was an older lady down the street who made real, honest super sweet popcorn balls. They were awesome. There was never even a hint we shouldn’t eat them. She was like the resident grandmother of the group. My Mom of course, cookie baker, as well as making those crazy red candy apples that threatened to break your teeth. Honestly, I never did like them. I love caramel ones though.

Costumes of course were simple affairs crafted by whatever you could pull together laying around the house. My brother and I were skilled at coming up with stuff…. and of course our Mom had to be dragged into it also. My poor brother, bless his heart, would pretty much go along with whatever hair brained ideas I came up with.

We would head out at dusk, orange plastic pumpkins with happy smiley faces in tow. The plan? Have them full before we returned home for the evening… or until our mom made us stop 😉

I don’t know why those evenings took on that “spooky” kinda feeling, but they did. You know…. where you spent time looking over your shoulder ? worried something might pop out and grab you ?  Mom always said we shouldn’t worry ’cause whatever grabbed us would soon return us haha

kids halloween

One year we had hit up a small one floor apartment complex. It was perfect….just seamless moving from one door to another collecting our sugar high.

Until…. this small, evil, yapping Chihuahua came outta nowhere and started chasing us. ( seriously I think they have “little dog” syndrome. Must they all be so nasty?) My brothers pumpkin went flying, I bolted, that dog seemed like it was everywhere….candy flying…some screaming… the owner running after it yelling… “Frito! Come here!”  ( yes. Frito)

We managed to get his pumpkin and then made a quick exit out of there. Thanks dog for ruining a good thing… but we weren’t up to wrestling with that demon anymore.

Those nights were a time of laughter and fun and high expectations. My brother and I would head home, dump out all the candy, set aside the ” not so desirable” fare and re-bucket the “good stuff”. There was the inevitable trading off for our favorites from each other.

Simple times that go by to fast. Actually, simple times that are lost and gone in todays world.

Maybe it’s just fun to me to still appreciate it on some level…. “Adult” or not. Actually in some ways, it’s more fun as an adult…. although…. the neighbors kinda frown when you show up on their door step looking for free chocolate 😉

What fun Halloween memories do you have ? Do you still like dressing up for it ?

trick or treat

Life Is Beautiful

life is beautiful

Life is beautiful. It’s really pretty amazing, isn’t it ? For a brief moment in time we’re given this glorious gift by our Creator to live out to our fullest.

New days. New moments. New opportunities.

Life can be glorious and beautiful and also full of struggles, hardships and down right overwhelming moments that leave us on our faces wondering if we will have the strength to stand for another day, and another shot, at this thing called life.

None of us move through this world immune to the difficulties that are a part of it. As much as we have good times and are blessed like crazy the hard stuff goes along with it.

Kinda like a painful ying/yang thing.

I was chatting with my childhood friend not so long ago ( ok, that is one of life’s blessings isn’t it? To still have a wonderful friendship with someone you’ve known since 5th grade??) and we were discussing lots of different things

When she tells me this…..

With you, I know you have all this energy and you’re always bouncing around, but I don’t get that kind of stressed-out, nose-to-the-grindstone kinda thing . Your vibe is so HAPPY, like even though you have a million things going it feels like you’re having a good time at the same time, you know?

Wow. I won’t lie … that meant a lot to me.

It meant a lot that in some ways as I moved through stuff in my life I’m able to still maintain a positive kinda attitude. When I share stuff on my personal Facebook page I try and maintain a positive vibe, even when I’m going through rough stuff. I will share things that are going on in my life that are hard, but I (over all) feel like those taking time to read my stuff have their own issues and don’t need me being down in my posts. It’s a choice I make.

I thanked her and shared with her several things I was currently dealing with… the real hard stuff.

No. My life isn’t perfect. I’m not, nor my family, often not daily circumstances, or situations I can’t control or other things that can come along.

Actually, nothing in life is “perfect” is it ? We do learn to appreciate the good times and blessings we receive, but hopefully, we learn how to stand, learn, and grow in the tough times.

Therefore, even when I’ve been in some of the thickest parts of the most painful experiences of my life, I try and keep in mind, life… beautiful, glorious life…. is still going on. I can take the good with the bad, the pain with the joy and embrace it or I can become hardened and bitter in the process.

My life has been blessed in more ways than I can count.  Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such blessings. Really, I’ve done nothing. To me, God has blessed me, beyond measure.

In the past few years though, I’ve gone through many sorrows, difficulties, and much pain.

For example:

Child issues… it can be a rocky journey getting them to adulthood. There were many sleepless nights and a lot of tears with my kids.

My brother unexpectedly dying a few years ago. Holding my sobbing mother as we stood over his lifeless body, somewhere inside, I was screaming but it never seemed to make it’s way out. I drew on the strength that has always seemed to live in me as I helped her through those days. Yet as we moved through those days and months, I tried to find the beauty of life, and more importantly the beauty of what he saw in life. It was a surreal process we moved through.

My moms gradual declining health and struggle with various illnesses eventually led to her death last year. The sorrow of losing her and dealing with her affairs has been challenging at times. There are days I’m still wondering… how does one live in this world without a Mom ? And then I remember, I live in the ways she taught me. To be a strong woman and to handle what needs to be dealt with. When I do these things I honor her and her memory lives on.

Taking over care of my dad who has Alzheimers. He has declined a lot since her passing last year.  It’s a horrible disease that is awful to watch taking over. When a grown man shows up on your door step wanting to know where he lives and how long he’s lived there, it breaks your heart in fresh new ways, mainly because there’s nothing you can do to change things. He’s I tears. I’m in tears.

Trying to decide what things will be best for him and how to help him leave me sleepless at night because I feel so inadequate.

My husband went through a career change last year after 22 years of the same work. There are many new adventures with that, but those are areas that are private to us, therefore I won’t share much on the topic. Again, something new and challenging in life.

Of course then, this past summer, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which was an interesting speed bump in our lives. He is doing great and the prognosis is very good but we are still taking the necessary medical steps needed to make sure he is totally cancer free. We are beyond grateful for how everything seamlessly came together for rapid surgery, doctor appointments etc. Grateful that he has been able to return to work and that he is getting stronger.

Then let’s not forget just other things that can show up like an unexpected house guest on any day.

In all of that…in all of LIFE…. I had a choice. I could keep embracing each day as good that held blessings ( even in the midst of hardship, sorrow or difficulties) or I could curl up and become bitter, ask the “why” question and miss out on all the fun, good, lovely and beautiful things that were still happening.

It really is a choice, isn’t it ? Oh, don’t get me wrong. There were days I wondered if I could stand. There were nights I’d creep into the shower, let the water wash over me, and sob in the corner  praying for strength to keep moving forward.  I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I hit those struggles like anyone else. I didn’t feel strong…. or courageous then… I felt weak and helpless.

Maybe it’s how we are individually wired? Maybe it’s the faith each one of us may possess?

Perhaps, it’s a stubbornness in me that chooses to see the beauty of life, even as it has the nerve to keep moving forward while I’m in my pain, difficulties and struggles… life keeps moving on…

In my loss. In my grief. In my sleepless nights. In my struggles.

Life is beautiful people.

In the midst of all that makes up life, the good, the bad, the joy, the sorrow, don’t allow moments to be stolen from you that can be embraced.

We might not have a choice over the things that happen in our lives but we definitely have a choice in how we respond and how we embrace life in it.

cry or dance

You my friend… have a choice.

In the words of one of my favorite Sixx A.M.  songs called Life is Beautiful……….

 Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.

Always.