Happy Monday kids!Where oh where do I start in today’s Monday Musings edition?Let’s start with one of my fav topics…. snake oil offerings…. aka health and wellness companies looking for those desperate to lose weight, along with their cash.When it comes to health and nutrition there are some guaranteed buzz words that will send me head on into the other direction. If you come at me with words like “cleanses “, “detoxes”, “fat burners”, telling me I need to get toxins out of my body, and that I need to spend my days drinking shakes or mystery drinks, I’m gone.Like yesterday, gone.I like to eat my food, not drink it.I get it. With the weirdness of the last few months people are stuck at home alot more.Feeling emotionally strung out they reach for the ice cream cartons and chocolate.”Quarantine 15″ is a reality for many people. Well, hopefully not that much. Life has been crazy and food, for alot of us, can be entertainment, comfort, or simply boredom eating. Being home extra time gives more opportunities to graze when we usually wouldn’t.No matter what your current weight situation, you don’t need to be cleansed or detoxed from your affair with ice cream or fries.Just incase you don’t know, cleanse and detox are buzz words for “starvation and being miserable “. I’ve never met an honest person who wasn’t ready to finish and get back to normal life from being “cleansed”. And the weight loss from it? Nothing but water loss, not fat.And I’ll say it again for the kids on the back row…..there is no such thing as a fat burner! If that stuff actually worked, everyone would use it and we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic.So what would I recommend? I’ll put it as succinctly as possible.Eating! Eat good nutrionally dense foods with adequate protein that satisfies you.Feed and nourish your body with good foods, don’t deprive it or eliminate foods it needs.And don’t forget to allow treats because life is good and you shouldn’t live deprived.You don’t have to starve to lose weight or feel constantly hungry.Movement!If there is one thing under used for our wellness, mental and physical, it’s exercise. Exercise makes us feel strong and can clear our minds. I do my most creative thinking during exercise.Don’t get caught up in thinking you “have” to do it to lose weight. Take the weight loss out of the equation.You can build strength, gain energy, develop more muscle mass, develop your cardiovascular system, and flex your creative mental energy without actually losing weight. ( do it often and frequently with my suggestions on healthy eating and it will happen) you should exercise no matter your body size because it benefits you in so many waysBut please, don’t get on the cleanse and detox hype bus in a quest to get to lose weight.Speaking of building strength….I have been making strength training a part of my physical discipline for awhile. This week I tossed a little more weight on my bar moving from 155 to 185lbs on my dead lift. I did 3 sets of 3 for a starting place. I was pleasantly surprised when I did it again yesterday, it didn’t feel as hard as I was preparing for. I look back to several years ago when I got 8 lbs dumb bells and they were a little work for me ha it seems crazy now since I use 25lb for alot of my arm work. Consistency does pay off.You… no matter where you are… have a starting place for your health and fitness. You just need to find it.Speaking of all things health I’m excited to be reading this book, Give Yourself More. I’m also excited to finish so I can write a review on it. This book takes women past “just” losing weight to learning more of themselves to giving themselves “more” in life. I previously did a book review on Georgie’s “Lean Habits For Weight Loss” ( find both reviews in my posts) which focuses on building healthy, sustainable habits for life long weight loss. You’ll find my review here on my page when I finish this book .Oh…..and if you never had a black Nitro brew coffee, you need to. 😉No how about some fun stuff? I’ve shared with you before that I have a little vintage furniture business. Of the many positives I ponder in this weird time we are in, is how it has continued to grow. I moved into a larger space in the shop,and became a retailer for a well known chalk paint company. It took off so fast I made the move to become a premier retailer (lots of perks with it) all within a few months. I put together my website and launched it. I’ve gained alot of followers and picked up lots of custom orders with new customers.My little hobby, this fun little side gig, has turned more and more into a thriving business.All during a time things were closed and nothing was moving.I used that down time to be productive, to work and accomplish new things. I firmly believed that things would get moving again and I wanted to be heading that way, ready.Guess you can say I never let grass grow under my feet.I’d challenge you in this time to find something new to learn, build a hobby or craft. Take care of yourself and maybe get into some type of exercise. Use this time as an opportunity of personal growth. Read, write, reflect.Ok you wanna see some of the things I’ve dragged home recently, don’t you? I love showing you pieces from days gone by 😊Harp media holderI transformed this cute telephone bench. She sold this weekend 😊Just a little snap shot of some of my projects, my many, many projects 😱So I guess I’ll leave you with this thought. Are you using this time to be productive in new ways? A lot of our lives and schedules may feel perhaps, a bit disjointed right now. We can look at it all in a negative way, or a way of accomplishing new things we haven’t done before.Tell me…. have you used this time to try new things or to learn something new? Are you focusing on caring for yourself in how you eat and move ?
I did it again to myself. No one to blame but me.
It was a morning I was running at 90 doing a million things before I left the house for the day. Now it was lunch, I was hungry and I pulled out my less than stellar salad I’d hurriedly tossed together.
Hungry, with food that would feed my hunger, but not necessarily bring me joy.
My favorite goof up was tossing salad in my container one night thinking I’d add protein to it in the morning along with a few more veggies.
Imagine my delight when lunch came and I had forgotten to add that and all I had was mostly dark leafy greens.
It’s ok to feel good about eating
When I’m hungry, I shamelessly love my food. When my stomach is growling and let’s me know it’s time to eat I want to enjoy my meal.
In the diet obsessive,weight loss focused world we live in there is often an unspoken idea that really, you shouldn’t. You shouldn’t enjoy eating, you should obsess or feel guilt, you should eat food that is unexciting because ya know, gotta lose weight.
You should feel deprived and a bit miserable in the process.
Listen, whether you’re working on weight loss or not, you should feel good about eating. Hopefully, you’re making good food choices, but even if you aren’t at that meal I hope there aren’t feelings of guilt that go down with it.
Unfortunately many of us may have grown up with negative behaviors with food, not been shown good eating habits, or used food as a coping mechanism/drug as we grew up.
Working to develop good eating habits, even if it’s slowly, will help you learn to feel good about it.
So about that “joy” of eating
Back to my opening lines. I don’t have much joy when I’ve been haphazard or lazy about putting my food together. When my lunch is ok and basically takes up stomach space, it doesn’t give me joy.
It makes me annoyed I didn’t take the time to put together food I would appreciate more.
We should enjoy our food, we should have food that not only offers our bodies the nutrients it needs for good health, but it should be satisfying to our souls.
Think of things like Thanksgiving or if you were fortunate, amazing Sunday dinners your grandmother whipped up.
Those are often times we may think of that are joyful eating.
True, not every day is like that. Reality might be a sandwich on the run between meetings or whatever we can grab in a busy day.
I’m surrounded by a lot of men in my family. Men have this tendency to wolf food down. They love teasing me about my “little bites” and being the last one left eating.
I simply inform them I like tasting and savoring my food. 😉
I like taking my time and not rushing.. nothing wrong with that is there?
Some tips for joyful eating
* Be mindful. Really, be in the moment of what you’re eating. Lose the phone, don’t stare at the TV and really focus on enjoying your food.
* Be aware of textures and flavors, appreciate how it all tastes and smells.
* Take your time. Honestly you may have to practice slowing down if you’re used to eating fast. You’ll have a better appreciation if you do.
* Savor the meal and learn to savor the relationships with those you have around the table. Over good food I’ve learned much about my family.
*Prepare foods you really love. Double win if you prepare foods others love as much.
* Leave any guilt you have at the door. Food and guilt have no place together.
* Look for new recipes that give you joy in cooking for you and your family meals.
Tell me…how do you view eating? Is it a joyful thing or one that is mindlessly accomplished ?
Oh Happy Monday beautiful people! Seems like we were just here, right? Once again it’s late evening as I write this reflecting back on the week and all that’s gone on.
On a positive, exciting note for me, I’ve had a lot of sales with my furniture business! Just when I start thinking I may grow into an old furniture lady surrounded by beautiful relics, things sell.
I had sold several pieces last week, then a woman saw a chair I had done and was selling online, went crazy over my stuff and has bought up every finished chair I had, as well as every unfinished, and even one I had to go out and find to get her an even number of 8.
She also bought an unfinished telephone bench I had, and has custom ordered a 7ft antique buffet that I haven’t gotten to yet.
Funny thing about the chairs, I had finished several and was planning to take them into my shop. I stood there thinking ” I hope the people who love chairs show up soon”
Then the next day this lady comes into my life. She is off the chart crazy over my work and I’ll be busy finishing her order in the upcoming next week or two.
Now I’m realizing all my unfinished projects I’ve had waiting for me have dwindled down and I’m hunting for more things to do. I’m also realizing the holiday season will be here in a few months and I need to be thinking of things to keep my little shop area full of goodies for customers.
If you want to read more about my journey into this process, you can find it here
I’m still a working woman….
I mentioned last week I was helping my son out for awhile at his shop… that combined with my projects above is enough to keep me running right now. I try most days to assemble healthy foods to take with me.
Salads, as I’ve mentioned before are one of my favorite lunch meals because they are satisfying and nutritious as well as leave me feeling energetic and not lethargic from a big meal
When people ask me what I “take” to stay healthy and fit…. this… is more important than anything. Lots of colorful fruits and veggies are what I “take”. ** not shown or getting to make an appearance, my two hard boiled eggs on the sidelines. Gotta have that protein. ** 😉
On the topic of food… I tried a couple new recipes this week… maybe not so light on calories… but definitely tasty
( ok the recipes are being brat’s and not appearing to link properly… both the chicken casserole and philly sloppy joes were big hits )
In the ways of technical stuff….
I may have been whining… I mean…uh… sharing….. with you that my Garmin bit the dust. Well, I mean it was working , it just kinda lost it’s top. I could still hear it making various sounds I had become accustomed to but, well, it’s inside were hanging out and as you can imagine, that was a wee bit of a problem.
turns out according to Garmin, they had some issues with the adhesive that holds the face plate on. So after a bit of communication, I had signed up to get the new Vivoactive 3. (For the record, they are really awesome to work with on issues like this)
It’s just like the Vivoactive HR I’ve worn for two years, but more refined, enhanced and well. prettier looking.
I decided I needed the white and rose gold….
Of course one of it’s new features is that it looks more like a watch than the rectangular Vivoactive HR.
It’s got lots of other cool stuff too, but that will have to wait for my review on it in a few weeks.
For now, I am a happy camper to have it tracking me and using it for my training again.
I’m finding that the heart rate tracker ( which was pretty accurate before) is really even more fine tuned now as it captures more data than previously. My resting heart rate can bounce between the 40’s and 50’s beats per minute (bpm)
remember boys and girls, when we do cardio training, our heart is a muscle that gets strong too. A lower resting rate is a good indicator that your cardio work is paying off and your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
The watch has so many awesome features. One of the best improvements is the all touch screen and it’s high level of responsiveness. It has good back light and a large, easy to read screen.
Gosh. I’m sounding like a commercial here.
Ok, let’s just say it’s impressed me and I’ve only had it a few days. I love figuring all the techie stuff out on it ( well, mostly) and I know I still have a lot to learn ( I think I’ll catch on)
Oh, and it comes in black on black to which I almost got as black is one of my signature colors, but gosh, ya know the white and rose gold just won out.
I do promise a better review and not just a tease on my Monday Musings about it.
Oh, speaking of writing.
I’m working on some fun posts and (hopefully) a relevant series for women on menopause ( OMG did I just use that word in public?!) partly, I’m educating myself as I know some day it will happen and I just like to know and understand things. The other part is I want to educate women better on this topic. In todays day of anything goes and everything is talked about, I’m constantly shocked at how this is still whispered behind a hand or met with some shocked silence. Why?
So I am wanting to do a little series on the topic examining varies things about it, how to deal with it and some self care ideas as well. I know I have a large readership of you, men, out there. You can read along too as I’m sure you have women in your life as this topic will affect them at some point too.
I did write an article called Menopause, Muscles and Middle Age, you can find here while you wait for me to get my act together on that series. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/10/menopause-muscles-and-middle-age/
That’s a wrap for now. Make it a good week, smile and remember to make time for yourself.
Now tell me… do you use a sports watch? If so, what is it and what do you love most about it?
Comfort….. a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint.
Zone…. this has many definitions but the one that may be suitable here is a region or area set off as distinct from surrounding or adjoining parts.
Welcome to todays word dialog and discussion boys and girls. Today we are talking about that invisible boundary in our life often referred to as our comfort zone.
If we combine our above definitions for the purpose of this post we could say our comfort zone is a area or distinct part of our life where we maintain a state of physical ease and discomfort. It is a zone where we can comfortably abide in our daily lives and activities without feeling pain or constraint.
I hope that’s a good working definition for this post…
I did find an example that calls it like this: A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.
So with those thoughts firmly in hand let’s begin our discussion of this invisible place we all know and have in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong. There are lots of ways I love my comfort zone.
Normal daily life activities that can be boring, yet are also comforting and familiar.
The consistency of daily tasks that need done.
The routine and rhythm of daily life. The things we know and understand need to be done.
All those things that make up life, when they are rolling along , keep us in that zone, right?
Let some rough times and bumps come along and we get jostled out of it. we don’t like it. We want that soothing and comfortable place back.
That level of our comfort zone is security and safety and we all need that.
As we move through our lives we have things like jobs, education, skills, hobbies and other activities we do that challenge us and if we’re willing to learn and grow we can be pressed out of our comfort zone.
Remember, that state of physical ease I mentioned a bit ago? If we are going to grow and become more we must be willing to be pressed out of that zone of ease.
That idea was strong in my mind yesterday morning as I geared up to get on my bike. As I clicked and locked my cycling shoes into place it gave me that “all business” feeling. It’s knowing and understanding what I was about to do, slipping into my mental mindset as much as I was slipping into my cycling shoes.
Out on the road, as the miles went by, I made intentional choices in things I did. To push a little more, to turn those pedals a little faster, to know and understand that I needed to get to the point where I started to feel it, where the work felt harder, to more effort.
You see in running or cycling or really anything physical I have my own comfort zone. These are areas I can operate in easily. I know what it takes to maintain that level and it’s not really “hard”.
On the other hand I also know that if I want to continue to grow, get faster, stronger and more powerful at what I do I have to be willing to get out of my comfort zone, that area of ease. I need to get into that place that makes me work harder, that makes my lungs burn and keeps my heart rate in the red zone for awhile. I need to get comfortable being uncomfortable if I want growth and improvement as an athlete.
Pushing outside our comfort zone isn’t always easy, and really, it shouldn’t be. And the weird thing about pushing out of our comfort zone, you begin to get comfortable eventually in that new place that once seemed hard and then, well, you gotta push out of it again.
I’ve talked before about the mental aspect of our comfort zone. Your mind is a very formidable opponent and you need to be able to overcome the self defeating thoughts it can churn out. And believe me, when you are pushing yourself and your body is in a place that it’s not used to, those thoughts can come.
Your mental muscle needs to be as strong as your body, if not more so I believe. when you push out of your zone of “ease and lack of pain.”
I’ve learned so much as an athlete what it means to get out of my comfort zone. I’ve done more than I would’ve ever *intellectually* thought I could do.
Of course this applies to anything in our lives that challenges us. I’ve taught myself new things that seemed a bit out of my range. Sometimes it’s kinda that “sink or swim” mentality in doing stuff.
I’m not sure, but maybe being a bit fearless sometimes helps too haha
Our comfort zone can cripple our dreams..
Anytime we prefer to stay within our comfort zone, we risk not growing . We risk not learning new things or taking on new adventures. We potentially let our dreams go if we can’t or are unwillingly to get out of our level of comfort and ease and sameness that we know.
Any of my major athletic events I took on, initially scared me. Not in the sense of being frightened but more that healthy respectful fear of knowing I was going up against something I had no previous experience in. It does seem daunting when I’m considering a 50k race ( 31.7 miles) or a multi sport event as in the duathlon I did last year.
What scared me more was backing off because then I’d always wonder if I could’ve done it or if I had what it took. Or worse yet, hating myself for not having the strength to stand up and do it, for quitting before I started.
All of those things seemed worse than just jumping off the deep end and doing it.
And I did. I’ll never be the fastest or most impressive runner or cyclist or monkey juggler.
What will set me apart is that I didn’t make excuses, I was willing to get uncomfortable and in doing so, I accomplished things I never thought I’d do.
There is nothing.. that feels better… nothing.
What about you?
Are you more comfortable staying in your comfort zone? Are you comfortable staying where you feel safe?
Maybe you are a risk taker and know what it takes to reach new goals or see dreams realized and you know getting out of your comfort zone is how it happens.
No matter what goals or dreams you have, there will be continual times you are pressing out of your comfort zone, and then you’ll be pressing out of it again.
It’s an ongoing cycle if we want continued growth and want to achieve our goals and dreams.
Don’t be afraid of leaving your comfort zone behind, there’s only new adventures in front of you and those can be exciting places to go to.
Tell me, are there specific times you’ve left your comfort zone? What did you accomplish doing so? How did that change future new ideas/ adventures you encountered?
So it’s that time of night I should be doing stuff to get ready for bed, instead I have ideas bouncing around my head and I’m sitting down to write with a few pieces of Easter candy that somehow landed next to me and coffee to go with them.
Have mercy, I may never sleep tonight 😛
But when ideas come, it’s hard not to let them out. They tend to swirl around like the dog under your feet when you’re cooking chicken.
Obnoxious. In the way. Won’t leave you alone till you acknowledge them.
Welcome to the brain of a writer.
I’ve come to accept this, the ideas that come at any given moment. They can wake me up, leaving me scurrying for a note pad to hastily scratch out the idea with beady eyes seeing it later wondering who the hell wrote something so illegibly, or as mentioned it can keep me up till I get it out of my head.
I’m feeling a bit victorious today. I finished off another one of my furniture project pieces and it is the sweetest thing ever. I mean, I’ve got a few others under me but I’m pretty sure this is currently my favorite.
No… no photos right now. You’ll have to check back and see those soon 😉
I will just say I love having a vision in my head and then having it all play in life is so satisfying. And when I look back at photos from day 1 when I dragged something home I’m always a bit shocked to see how much it really has changed.
Ok.. on with the show….
As things go with me, my ideas for writing come from all directions at any given time. Ideas come in subtle and not so subtle ways. Sometimes, it’s conversations with people that trigger it. When a similar thought comes from several people within the week, if I’m paying attention, I see it as a possible idea for a post.
Really, if it’s the same idea from a few people, there are most likely others out there who have thought or dealt with similar things.
For example; I’ve been encouraged to talk to some of my friends who are getting started in a fitness program. As I listened to what they were doing and heard the excitement in their voices there was the usual….
“Well, I’m not doing what you do.” “or “I’m not where you are” or ” I can’t do what other people in class are doing”
No, they probably aren’t doing what I do. And no, they can’t keep up with me or someone else who’s been at it awhile.
Here’s the deal….
First, you should never, ever compare yourself to someone else. On any level. And especially on a physical level.
I would never start someone off working out where I am now. I wouldn’t have started in the place I am years ago.
Where I did start was at my level of physical abilities at the time.
I did what I could with where I was at.
Truthfully, I was a middle aged, sedentary, slightly overweight woman at the time who had no previous physical training or athletic abilities to fall back on. My best course of action was having a smart plan that allowed my body to adapt and change with my activities.
Of course at the time, I didn’t really see myself as a future athlete.
Nope… never even saw that coming, but I’m really glad it did. The athletic lifestyle is my niche and it comfortably suits me now.
However what did I learn that I believe is important to anyone getting started on a fitness program is this…..
Do what you can with where you are.
I know that sounds cliché but the reality of it is true. You can’t show up at the gym and think you’re going to just start lifting heavy things or grinding out miles on the treadmill if your only activity has previously been sprinting to the ‘fridge.
Trying to keep up with others in a class or at the gym or even your neighbor isn’t only not fair to you, but not healthy for you either.
Doing more than your body is used to is a recipe for injury that will quickly derail your budding fitness plans.
Even now, I know I’m stronger and more fit than I’ve ever been and I don’t back down from much. I do however, know when I hit my limit of what I can handle. There’s a fine line between pushing out of my comfort zone where continued growth occurs, and not overstepping into the arena where my body hasn’t gone yet and needs time to grow into.
For instance I shared recently that I had “upgraded” to being able to use 25lbs to do curls with. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/16/strength-training-and-every-day-life/
Now for some of you, that’s baby weight. For a lot of you, you’ll never see it happen.
For me it represented another step to getting stronger. Could I have done that several years ago when I was starting out?
It’s taken time and practice and work. Lots of work. And my body has done what yours will do as well. It responds and it grows, changes and gets stronger and you can keep a forward moving process of improved strength and endurance.
Seriously. Don’t apologize for not being where someone else is. We are all on our own journeys. Some of us are going to be a bit more focused and intense about getting better and improving.
**** cough, cough who me??***
Some will be happy with slow progress being content to rock along in a comfortable place. Some will form specific intentional goals while others will just take each day as it comes.
The important thing is that you are starting. Making a choice to get physically fit will have lots of rewards for a healthier life.
Better mental clarity, less body fat, an elevated mood, bright skin, a healthier more energetic body, improved lab results, or even learning a new activity all have big payoffs.
Learn from others
When I start into a new adventure, I am notorious for keying in on people who know more about it than I do. I then shamelessly pick their brains to gather useful information to add to my collection of growing education.
Thank goodness I’m not shy or socially awkward haha
Don’t be afraid to do that with people around you who have been on the journey longer. I love being able to offer advice and help to those seeking information on nutrition or who want to get physically active.
In both cases, I never suggest they start off with extremes. A modest tweaking of the daily diet for awhile or encouraging them to get off the sofa for an evening walk is always a good place for anyone to start.
A few tips and tricks
Small steps are better than doing nothing. All of us have to start small.
Find something you want to do and will look forward to. This will help you stay committed.
Applaud your own efforts, really, it’s ok. You’re doing it!
Share your efforts or goals on social media. Really. You’ll find there will be a group who rises to the top who will cheer and encourage you. And you don’t know who you’ll be encouraging as well when you do.
Don’t.. don’t… over do. If walking 2 miles feels good, don’t think you’ll just do a few more. You don’t want to risk injury to a body that isn’t used to certain activities. Worse, when you are sore and can barely move the next day you’ll not want to do anything.
Small, slow, gradual increases will keep you moving and keep you from injury.
Focus just on you. Not the other girl or guy at the gym who appears to have it all together. Not the person who can do more reps in a class than you or the one who runs like lightening.
Focus on you.
Do what you can with where you are . Don’t be afraid to modify workouts if they are to hard. Don’t be afraid to walk if you can’t run. Don’t try and lift weight that could hurt you if lifting less can help you get stronger.
Be persistent and before you know it, you’ll be in a stronger, healthier, more fit place in your life.
Tell me… have you ever played the comparison game when it comes to exercise or fitness programs? What tips or tricks have worked to keep you on a fitness path?
It was the typical usual morning. Wake up, do some stretching before stumbling out of bed and heading to kitchen for the first of my coffee fix.
Let dogs out, let dogs in, feed dogs, let dogs out.
Grab second cup of coffee and check in to social media world. Scrolling through I can see who’s been up all night if there are a zillion posts from them ( sleep people, sleep) I keep on scrolling squinting with one eye pasts the political posts and cheesy memes, blandly go through all the advertisements and for sale ads (unless some cute furniture item catches my eye) smile at the usual real life, real people photos, giggle over some posts that make my day already at the still dark thirty hour, and then, sometimes, something comes along that makes me pause and think… like this one..
I read it, then read it again. I kinda just let it breathe over me. There are some posts that strike me like that. They make me pause, reflect, look inside and examine it and then consider it’s impact on me.
The person posting it asked what it meant to the reader and was encouraging feedback. Although it was still early in the morning I let my mind engage and began thinking of what it meant to me, how I perceived it and what my take was on that thought.
I am not the only one I pondered, who has had great ambitions or currently has them.
Of course I believe those are largely dependent on the individual too. I mean, my ambitions might not be as big as someone else’s, but then, mine are quite a bit bigger than others.
If we get lost in the pursuit of our ambitions it might be easy to dismiss the small successes that lead us there, right? We could be so single minded and focused on the “big” thing we are pursuing we could stomp right over small successes and never give them a thought, perhaps even not seeing them as relevant.
In general, I think people can be so focused on hitting the goal, they may miss the important things learned on the journey getting there.
Those small things are what grow us, build us, and shape where we go and who we are along the way. If we are moldable, we learn and that shapes us on our way to the bigger things we pursue.
As I pondered those ideas in the early morning hour I started thinking about how learning to run one mile had led to me running more miles until ultimately, several years later I did a race that had 31.6 miles in it.
It took lots of small successes for me to step out and do a 50K. It took time building my mileage little by little.
I never took it for granted, the privilege and ability of my body to run.
Small success to me meant overcoming things like a desire to stay in bed when it was dark out and I was getting up to go for my long run. Or leaving when it was cold or wet. Overcoming myself to do bigger things kept me on the path to those bigger ambitions I had.
Similarly, I thought about last year when I made the commitment and signed up for my first duathlon. There were so many small successes that led to me ultimately not only doing it, but placing first in my age group too.
After my very first training session that was a bike ride, immediately followed by a run, I wondered what I was doing.
It felt awkward. My legs felt like spaghetti noodles the first half mile. I wondered if I was really going to be able to get this thing down.
I did it again the following week and the week after that. Not always fast, not always the most skilled, but I did it. It then turned into a run/bike/run training session.
And I got stronger, not that the training was easier, I was adapting to it.
Small baby steps all the while I was keeping my eye on the prize, that big thing my overachieving self was pursuing. An ambitious goal for a average middle aged female athlete, competing in the race listed as the toughest in the state.
If there’s anything athletics has taught me, ( well, it’s taught me a lot but….) it’s taught me to appreciate all those small things that get me to my final goal, the big thing I’m pursuing. Because it takes week after week of those small things to nail the lofty ambitious goals I tend to set for myself.
As I continued to sip from my almost empty coffee cup, I thought of so many other things in my life that if looked at in a separate way, might seem inconsequential, yet again they had a specific place in my life for getting me to that “bigger” thing.
I always want to be pursuing something ambitious, something bigger than life that scares me a little. I don’t want to get so comfortable being “comfortable” that I lose the rush of a new dream or vision or opportunity to challenge myself some more.
But I never want to become complacent and unaware of the small steps, the small victories, and sometimes not noticed successes that lead me to the top, for those things pave the road to my accomplishments.
So I’ll leave the same thought with you, that my friend left with me….
How do you personally define this? Do you relate? Do you ever think of the small things as being important to the “big” thing you pursue? Or do they seem unimportant?
As I’ve meandered along these past years on what I refer to as my “journey” in fitness and nutrition, I’ve had opportunity to talk to a lot of people who are on the same path, or trying to stay on it.
Some are successful and have found the right “blend” that works for them, the thing that is sustainable allowing them to keep after it day after day and still live their life.
Others are still struggling, battling against various issues that push them back from staying on that road to success.
I’ve seen people excitedly get started and then I’ve watched the excuses start creeping in. Excuses for eating poorly or not getting exercise. Excuses for why there isn’t a loss on the scale. These reasons seem justifiable to them.
And I know as well as anyone how you have to battle back against excuses that creep in and try to side track you. Because in the beginning, they always do. And it’s easy to give into them because you haven’t been grinding it out long enough to make these things a habit.
You haven’t been doing enough purposeful exercise so it’s easy to tell yourself that missing today won’t matter… until it bleeds into the next day… and the next… and then you aren’t doing it at all.
You haven’t trained yourself to turn a blind eye to the box of donuts in the office break room or pass on eating seconds because you mentally know and understand these practices won’t support your current health goals.
So many things go into our success ( or lack thereof) when it comes to our health and fitness goals.
So many things must be done and built into new habits to contribute to our success. Without building these skills, we will keep sliding back to where we’ve always been.
It takes a measure of discipline, hard work, and the ability to have days we fall and get back at it.
It’s all those small things we do consistently that lead us to where we want to be.
If there’s one thing that stands out working with people ( and those who get discouraged and give up) it’s this….
No matter what you tell someone, those small things, done daily, add up.
Unfortunately, they have thoughts that all their weight will magically go away in a week or two, forgetting they’ve been adding it on for months or years.
They start exercising and get frustrated that their body is reminding them it hasn’t done work like this in a long time, if ever. And trust me, if you don’t think you’re “out of shape” before you start an exercise program, you do when you’re body is gasping for air or aches the day after you’ve done something.
It is enough to make you want to quit before you even get started.
Raise your hand if you’ve been there. Yeah, I have too.
But when you decide you’re in it for the long haul, and you settle in to just living life, and then you just do those things that need to be done as a part of your life, changes will happen.
It’s the small things.
Yeah, I know in the world we live in today it’s all about instant gratification, quick results, no discomfort, and easy results.
Sorry. It just doesn’t play out like that in regards to health and fitness.
Small choices we make, small moves we make, small daily consistencies, add up.
I was thinking the other day, plowing up hill after hill doing a 5k run for the duathlon how doing it was hard work, but work my body has adapted to and learned to respond to. My heart and breathing are strong but not in that horrible way when I was out of shape. I also have a fast recovery heart rate now as well so when I finish, it doesn’t take long at all to be breathing normal again or have my heart rate back in a much lower zone.
Of course it wasn’t always like that. When I first started taking on hills, depending on size, I’d maybe do part way up, and then reverse my route. As I got stronger I walked strongly all the way up. As my cardio system got stronger too, I could walk them and not have my heart pounding so fiercely or be breathing as hard like a fish out of water.
Eventually, I was just all out running them. It’s such a cool feeling when my body just kicks in and does what it’s been trained to do.
The steep grade of the hill and how my legs feel pushing up it. How my body position shifts. How my breathing changes to a deep even rhythm to push on.
Small choices and activities led me to that point. Small choices also led to weight loss, getting stronger and doing more athletically.
I cant stress enough to you… if you’re on a mission to get fit, to get healthier, to lose weight. to train for an Ironman, whatever your goals are… those small choices you make each day will get you to where you’re going.
You might feel like what you do today doesn’t matter or it’s not “changing” anything. You might feel like that longer morning walk wont result in anything or skipping on that extra treat won’t matter, but it does. Do that in a week, you’ve made progress.
And don’t forget, there is SO much going on inside you that you don’t see. Changes, growth, energy being built from what you’re doing, fat leaving, muscles growing. Your body beautifully adapting to the new changes you are putting it through.
All from those small, daily, consistent things you do.
Don’t give up. Don’t quit.
The reward is big when you don’t.
It’s no secret I’m a little passionate about health and fitness.
Ok, well maybe a lot.
I’m passionate about it ’cause I know how it can change lives.
I’m by no means what I consider an “expert” but through observation of the world around me and interacting with people I’ve learned that I know a lot.
I’ve learned from others who are knowledgeable ( and sane) I read and learn from reliable intelligent sources, and most of all, I’ve learned to put it all to practice on myself. I keep what works, toss what doesn’t.
I’ve learned to implement a lifestyle that’s sane, sensible, and sustainable in regards to food and exercise. ( I know.. some of you are reading this believing I am insane with some of my athletic shenanigans, but that’s ok 😉
If anyone asks, it’s what I preach to them. Why? because it’s what will stick as a lifestyle.
We are not made alike, nor are our activities alike, therefore our needs each day are going to be different. Finding the right balance is key to success for all of us to live energetic and healthy lives.
Of course if you follow me you know one of biggest pet peeves is the overwhelming amount of “health” companies vying for peoples money with grandiose promises when the buyer uses their product.
One that has shown up more frequently that I’m not familiar with promised an astounding 10lb weight loss in one week ( I want to know, the long term of that, did the weight stay gone? I seriously doubt it)
Anyway, it was sad to me to see so many people jumping at the product like a frog after flies.
“More info please!”, ” Interested!”, “Please send me info!” “How do I get it?”
On and on it went.
I was torn between feeling sorry for them that they were desperate enough to believe it and were willing to part with their money over the “two pills” a day that were supposed to work wonders, (no diet or exercise!) or feeling like they deserved what they got for buying into such utter nonsense.
A quick bit of homework on my end revealed this company had received a warning letter from the FDA regarding an ingredient in their product.
Yet people were blindly begging for it.
This always bothers me so much. People begging for help from crazy things yet unwilling to do what really needs to be done.
So I’ll keep promoting sanity. Balance. Moderation. Building new habits.
All these in turn lead to a lifestyle of health and wellness.
So I will continue to use my voice…..
I’ll keep posting about food and good nutrition and sharing reasons why you don’t need to participate in the new modern day snake oil.
I’ll share tips and sane ideas for the normal person plugging along in a consistent manner to make permanent changes. I’ll keep posting about my crazy athletic shenanigans and exercise ideas.
Because for every “Oh brother” and rolled eye behind the computer screen, there’s someone else getting motivated, getting up off the sofa, and heading out the door.
There’s someone making better food choices and learning how to eat better for good health.
Someone else is making a choice to change their life. They’re getting fit and gaining energy and that is giving them a better quality of life. Their health is improving and they are seeing results in a multitude of ways.
If one person is motivated by what I share, it’s totally worth it. If only one person decides that athletic stuff looks fun or they want a challenge and then the bug bites them, it’s worth it.
Motivation tends to breed motivation.
I still feed off of it from others. I am highly motivated but seeing how others are doing and what they are doing reminds me to keep pressing on, to stay the course, and focus on my goals.
Remember in your own life, you can be a source of motivation and encouragement to others with what you do. Your determination to get your workouts done. Your choices to eat better food. Your positive and energetic attitude. Verbally encouraging and supporting the efforts of others around you.
It makes an impact.
Use your voice. Use your life. Make a difference.
I’m writing late tonight. Actually, I wasn’t going to write at all today and give my mind a rest.
But I got to thinking… always… thinking….
Thinking about how blessed and fortunate I am on so many levels in so many ways. A family who loves me warts and all, an amazing, supportive, encouraging husband who loves me and my free spirit, beautiful kids, grandkids, and friends. I have all of my needs more than adequately met, and I’m healthy.
It’s hard to not feel thankful with so many blessings.
I thought about this out on the road this morning… thankfulness.
Today was my run/cycle/run day. It was a warm humid morning … my reminder that I will be training in it daily pretty soon…
I’ve mentioned in previous posts I have my eyes set on tackling a duathlon so acclimating my body to the change of movement from running to cycling will take some training. It’s been about a month now and its getting easier on the second run.
Anyway, back to being thankful…
it was on my last, final leg of my workout those thoughts crossed my mind. I had about a mile left on my 5k, sweating was running into my eyes so I had to pull my glasses off to clear them to see and I was battling some nausea which came out of nowhere ( maybe it was the lone banana bouncing around in my stomach 😛 )
I was hungry. I was beyond sweaty. The sun was beating down on me. My legs were letting me know they had been moving for close to 2 hours….
And I realized (again) how thankful I am that I can do what I do. What a glorious, beautiful privilege.
I have a strong healthy body that can exercise.
What an amazing gift.
I can run.. and move fairly fast for a middle aged grandmother 😉
I can ride a bike like a demon and I can lift heavy things.
Moving our bodies in exercise is such a gift and blessing. Perhaps it’s why my heart hurts for people who make jokes about exercising and have not ever let themselves fully embrace the joy of it. Who choose to remain sedentary and not do the very thing they are made to do.
Yeah I get it. In the beginning, it’s hard. You sweat. You realize how out of shape you are as you gasp for air. You may hurt and ache for a few days. You’ve got to be intentional about making it happen. You have to find an activity you want to do. Then you do it… no excuses.
It takes effort.
I know. I’ve been there. Done that. Felt that way.
But when you do get moving….. and it starts getting in your blood.. and you look forward to it..
that’s when you feel so alive, so grateful, so appreciative.
That my friend, is when you realize how thankful you are for the pure gift of being able to do what you do and you never take that beautiful gift for granted again.
It’s afternoon and I’m perched at the bar in my fav coffee cave with the hopeful expectation if I just start typing words, thoughts will form, and then magically my blog post will be born.
Actually, I have tons of thoughts that clamor to get out. Sometimes, they are all over each other and won’t let me separate them. I came in with a topic on my mind and realized awhile back I had written something almost exact on it ( I guess I feel kinda passionate about the topic. If you’re curious it’s about.. fat… and the post is called “The Ugly Truth About Fat” you can read it too when you’re done here 😉 )
Anyway, I scraped that idea and was pulling down another long drink of my steaming coffee when hubby started messaging me. Now as much as I love hearing from the guy, sometimes, he can break my artistic and creative thinking.
However, today he actually stirred up some thoughts in my head with his teasing.
He threw out at me “didn’t I have a pill or shake or something to just magically make him lose weight and to help him get in shape?” he says things like that cause he knows those over hyped products make me crazy… totally crazy.
I laughed and told him he was out of luck. He had to do it the old fashioned, not fancy, but get the job done way: exercise and eat sensible healthy foods.
I jokingly said…” but if I gave you a pill or shake you’d miss out on all the fun of achy muscles and sweating”.
And then it hit me… it’s what I want to talk about…
Weight loss. Exercise. Committing to living a healthier lifestyle.
It takes work.
Actually, it takes a lot of crazy hard work and discipline. Oh yeah, and an unwillingness to give up or quit. It takes a tenacity to get up each day and to keep going after it. You buckle into it as a life long commitment and not just a brief dating experience.
It takes a new mental focus to pass by the local fast food dollar menu that you wanna load up on and stuff in your face driving down the road, to pass on the chocolate bars checking out at the grocery store, or to scale down the big bowl of ice cream etc.
It takes intentional determination to choose healthier foods over junk foods.
To eat less when your mouth and eyes just want to eat more but your tummy has said… “HEY! we’ve got enough down here!”
It takes a serious amount of mental work in the beginning to get in your workout gear and get after it. I never wear exercise clothes to just wear exercise clothes. Those for me, mean work. They aren’t play clothes. My mind knows exactly what’s coming when I’m in my work gear… it’s time to get serious.
Then of course there’s the physical out put you invest into your chosen activity. You already know what comes from it. If you do it right you’re breathing hard, sweating, and your heart is beating strongly in your chest.
How much I love those feelings now! How much I anticipate it!
So when I fired back at hubby he’d miss out on sweating and aching muscles I realized how much I’ve learned in the course of training and disciplining myself on this journey I call a healthy lifestyle.
How much we would miss out on if there were …really.. some secret magic pill or potion to help us get rid of the weight we had put on from a lazy lifestyle and never have to exert any energy or invest anything of ourselves into the process!
Over the course of the past few years I’ve been at it I’ve learned to embrace some things…to look forward to them.. to see the fruits of my labor present themselves in my life.
I love a body that is tired from hard work of my physical labor! I don’t mind my muscles being tight when I know its from running or cycling or lifting heavy weights. I don’t mind days I’ve done a 20 mile run and I’m ready for bed at 9 pm like some old person ( forget that I was on the road at 5:30 that morning getting after it)
I DID A 20 MILE RUN THAT DAY!
Did I ever think, years, or the year or even months before I could do that?
You don’t do things like that without investing a lot to get there. I didn’t pop a pill or drink a magic potion. I busted my butt to get to that point…involving hours and hours of training and sacrifice…
I think if I had a short cut I would’ve missed out on all the discipline it’s taught me. I would not have the incredible fierce mental toughness I have that only miles and miles out on a road will teach you. I wouldn’t have learned about sacrifice to make things happen or the work needed to accomplish huge goals. I wouldn’t have experienced the joys and pains of pursuing goals bigger than I am.
I think back to my beginning days when a 2 mile walk was enough.
I realize how much I’ve grown and learned. How much stronger and more powerful my body is now. How much energy I have. How I’ve learned to eat better and how to eat to fuel not just my day but my athletic activities.
It’s been a birthing process. A journey. An adventure that can only be limited by my mind.
Taking short cuts would not grow us. It wouldn’t teach us. We wouldn’t value what we were given if we didn’t have to invest and work hard for it. We wouldn’t have the satisfaction of reaching goals that have challenged us.
I know now that the process is ongoing. It will require consistent effort, discipline and hard work.
I know its worth it. The labors I go through make the end results all that much sweeter.
I for one, am grateful, there wasn’t a pill or magic potion to do it for me.
I would’ve missed out on so much on my journey. I would’ve certainly missed out on learning exactly what I’m made of and what I’m capable of doing.
Wherever you are learn to enjoy the journey. Embrace the process. Learn from your experiences and celebrate how fierce and strong you are.
You don’t need pills or potions.
You just need your indomitable spirit to do it.