Cheers To The Average Athlete

average-joe

 

So yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday here in the good old U.S.A.  to say the results  upset the applecart of many is putting it mildly.  Two big footballs teams battling it out for the top honor of being “the best of the best” in the league. It seemed like the game was in the bag until the Patriots (although not my choice to win 😉 did some pretty incredible athletic things on that field to not only pull from behind, but to take the game into the first overtime ever in Super Bowl history, winning the game and the title.

It’s hard for me to not observe all that goes on in a game from an athletic stand point. I am in awe that these guys can get slammed by 100’s of pounds of bodies on the ground, fly through the air, run at the speed of light, move with the agility of a deer being chased, bounce and land on their feet again. Their moves I often think of as strong male ballet. For such a rough sport I find beauty in the strong athletic movement of it. These are athletes in their prime.

Yes, I know and understand these men train as hard off the field to keep their bodies strong for the sport they play on the field. Nutrition and strength training are vital roles in their success on field.

Ok… so this post isn’t about the fact I may be getting more and more into football…. 😉 it is though, going to be a nod to the average, ordinary, hard working athlete.

To you. To me. To the normal people.

Those  who are disciplined and dedicated in training their bodies for tasks beyond the “usual”. We won’t be under stadium lights in front of a million screaming fans or earning coveted trophies.

No, our rewards will come from the dedication to our own sport ( or if you’re crazy like me…sports…) where we train hard against ourselves, setting new goals, working hard, returning home exhausted with maybe the only one happy to see us being our dog who is happy to wash the sweat from our grimy legs.

We alone know the mornings or evenings we will put ourselves through our sport, sometimes not feeling entirely like doing it. We know the mornings we are up early out getting it done while people still sleep. We understand the aches of a body worked hard and yet somehow, embrace it, preferring that over aches from doing nothing at all.

Our training teaches us more about nutrition and eating smarter to perform better. We learn how to set aside foods we don’t need and focus on foods that are fuel for our bodies to become stronger for our sports. It becomes a learning process that somehow our bodies teach us as we move along. How to eat enough, and eat enough of the right foods.

We set goals, lay out our own “game plan” and train like the world depended on how successful we are at it. We perhaps, have a few events we train for in a year. For some, it could be stepping stones to something bigger.

A 5k that starts off as a lark, leads to training for a 10k, and maybe ultimately a half marathon or more.   A cycling event or  maybe a mix of cycling and running. Perhaps there are loftier goals of full marathons or Ironman competitions or the desire to see just “how far” you can go doing something.

The things we can choose to pursue are limitless… sometimes only hindered by our minds and our thoughts of doubt that could hold us back.

So this post is to all of us, to you, the athletes who are inspiring to every day people who watch you. You may never get a “prize”, or have public accolades, or be famous. But what you do every day, what you work towards, the goals you set, the ambition you embody, the passion you have for your sport, could be inspiring someone else to get out and move. It could inspire them to try something new and different, to get beyond their comfort zone because they see you working it and doing it every day.

And that my friends, is certainly reward enough. To inspire and motivate others is one of the greatest gifts of all.

 

incredible-average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquering Your Mountains

Conquer: to successfully overcome, to climb ( a mountain successfully).

I had just returned recently from one of my long rides out on the bike when I got a message from my daughter in law. Actually, it was a photo of my new granddaughter, wrapped snuggly in a towel after her bath.

Her big eyes wide open and alert, her tiny nose peeking through, she looked quite content and comfy.

After responding with the usual… ” eek I love her, she’s so cute”… I tell her that’s what I need…

A shower.

I’m in desperate need of it as I’m now sweat dried and dirty from the road.  I told her I had finished up 32 miles to which I get this response…

“you crazy woman!” ( this is a high compliment indeed haha)

It was followed by… “I’m so proud of you for conquering the bike while you can’t run!”

I really don’t think she knew how much those words meant to me.

I had certainly been on a bike in the previous year, but it was a cheap little bike I had picked up from the local Wal-mart and certainly not designed for the things I had been doing to it. I thought the  guy at the first bike shop I went to was simply trying to sell me something pricier when I told him what my riding goals were. I was kind of ( ignorant) to some aspects of cycling at that time… now I know…

I should’ve caught on when during a longer ride the handlebars had come loose and I had to physically manhandle them into place to finish the last 5 miles of my ride.

Cheap bikes aren’t meant to have the life ridden out of them 😛

It was June of this year when I got my first, real, professional road bike. A hot little black and red Cannondale. I found another bike shop where the guys there have taken me in and taught me essential things, and also challenged me on another level as well. It’s also kinda cool to have a place to land where you can talk about your athletic goals and they listen, offer encouragement and suggestions.

So, since June, I’ve been out on the road a lot more. I’ve added more miles, and learned to not be intimidated by crazy monster hills that make me think they’re gonna eat my lunch.

I’ve sharpened my mental muscle a lot more…and I thought it was pretty tough from all that marathon training…but like any muscle…. there’s always room for growth.

Cycling is work. Often hard and demanding work.  You learn to enjoy the downhill moments ’cause you know more hard stuff is coming at you.

Not only that, there is learning about your bike, all that shifting stuff (gah) and also learning how to push yourself more. It’s easy to sometimes stay in your comfort zone, it takes work to get out of it.

So I thought about that whole “conquering the bike” thing.

Being an endurance runner, I will admit, the move to cycling was rather seamless for me. I already had a lot of strength and discipline from distance running so physically it fit me well.

 But It’s not just that…it was learning to conquer:

perceived limitations, my assessment of my abilities, getting out of (yet) another comfort zone, mountains, hills, and more mountains to take on, conquering the mechanics of the bike and riding in a different way,  conquering self-doubt when the next step seems to taunt me that (what if) I don’t have what it takes? It’s also new skills and having an open mind to be taught and learn.

Conquering a new sport when running has been my “baby” for the past couple years.  Hey, at this point, why settle for one sport ? 😛

So I reflected on those simple words she spoke to me and soaked them in… they have come during rides to remind me what I’m capable of, what I’ve learned, and more importantly how I’ve grown and learned.

I’m not done yet. I have so much room to grow, learn, get stronger and better and what I’m doing. But I am confident, I will continue to conquer it.

So I’ll leave these words with you, my faithful readers.

What have you conquered? What seems bigger than you and you find yourself digging deeper to overcome and conquer something you previously didn’t think you could do ? It’s in the journey that we learn and grow but if we are strong and persevere we find we have everything we need in us to conquer and overcome, no matter what it is.

img_20161023_101435
On top of one of the mountains that challenge me 🙂

The Power To Inspire

Inspire-bright-colors-20524045-1148-864.jpg

 

Inspire:

fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Also, motivate, encourage, influence, move or stir.
There are many people in my life who inspire me, who encourage and motivate me.
My husband. My mom. Friends. Even strangers.
On an athletic level I admire so many athletes. Although I am far from the league they are in, there is a common thread ( I believe) no matter what our level of athleticism.
Determination. Focus. Perseverance. Tenacity. Intensity. Drive. Hunger. Passion. Goal driven. An unwillingness to stay the same but to constantly be improving on where we are.
A spirit that never quits and doesn’t know the meaning of it.
I see individuals who haven’t been willing to stay where they are but push to get better, to work harder, to know they won’t be the same months from now.
I want to be like that.
That inspires me. The “me” who is a kinda ordinary, middle-aged mom, grandmother, sassy wife, and late blooming athlete.
My husband often shoots me down when I used the word “ordinary”… ha… he says I’m anything but ordinary… I’ll take that for the compliment I know it is 😉
When I have people tell me I inspire them, well, that’s up there for me on the list of awesome things. If I can inspire people who know me and know what I’m up to with my physical antics, to get out and do something, I couldn’t ask for anything better. If sharing what I’m doing stirs them, makes them think, “Hey, if she can do that, I can try something”
inspire people
Yeah, amazing.
But you know who really inspires me?
You.
The one who is still in the process of getting yourself out there. It doesn’t come easy yet and you struggle with making yourself do it, but you do.
The one who is willing to try something new, knows nothing about it, but is game to learn.
The Mom out pushing a stroller.
The older people walking their neighborhoods.
The cyclists flying down the road for miles.
The new runner who is still figuring it out and learning to run more than walk.
The overweight person taking those first steps towards physical freedom.
I’m inspired by those of you who follow my blog, and I see the things you’re out in the world doing and it makes me want to press on. You run, cycle, teach, lead, and inspire in your own worlds. You’re on the road, in the gym, doing boot camps and other crazy things.
Sometimes, as I scroll through my Facebook page, I see posts of my friends who are sharing their activities. I love the posts and pictures. I love seeing them doing something positive and good for themselves.
Seriously, some mornings when I’m still sleepy and the idea of exercise seems…. really tremendous… I’ll see someone’s post and it … inspires me. It reminds me of what I’m working to do, to accomplish. And it motivates me to finish off my coffee, get my gear on, and get moving.
Maybe, just maybe, that inspiring thing goes in both directions.
Don’t ever forget, you have great influence within your own circle that surrounds you. Your passion and what you bring to the table can inspire someone around you, never forget that.
As for me, you’ll find me out on the road, doing something always pushing and working a little harder and wanting a little more and never quite settling for where I’m at.
In the end, if what I do has inspired you, that puts joy in my life knowing I’ve made an impact on others.
Do you ever consider the impact you have on your personal world to inspire others?
inspire-me

Beautifully Flawed

beautifully-flawed.jpg

I spotted them immediately. Actually, I know where their stalking spot is, but I still have to walk by it.

It makes me feel like a character in Three Billy Goats Gruff where the goats have to get over the bridge or get eaten by a troll.

These… are the modern day trolls.

Who, you might be wondering, do I speak of?

The “skin care” people staked out in kiosks at the mall eager to push on you all of their products. They can be unrelenting in pursuing “customers”.

To get to my favorite stores, I have to be able to successfully navigate through them, much like the goats crossing the bridge in Three Billy Goats Gruff….

It was a lovely day and I was out shopping with my daughter. We had successfully made it through but it was on the way back I got caught by the um… troll ?  All I can say is, I wasn’t fully on my game that day, perhaps I was distracted talking with my daughter but regardless….

He quickly handed a sample off to me and turned around telling me to wait.. and in my head  I’m yelling… “they always, and only, give you one sample… run!”

Yet, somehow, before I knew it, I was planted in his chair listening to him talk to me in some exotic accent as he applied some cream all under my eye proclaiming how it would “help me”

He then produced a picture of a woman, that I kid you not, was in her 80’s with deeply lined wrinkled skin and huge puffy bags under her eyes.. he waves it in my face…

“Do you see this? ” he proclaims…

I choke out.. “are you saying I look that BAD???”

He tells me “no” he’s only trying to show me a “results” picture for his product.

Like, why wouldn’t he show me something I could relate to better ?

Anyway, he keeps babbling on and on about his amazing product and how I’m going to love it…then he says… “Now, I’m going to let you look in the mirror. Please don’t scream.”

I ask him… ” Why? Am I going to look as bad as that woman you just showed me ?”

He tells me no, I will look much better… geez… I left the house that day thinking I looked pretty good….all the sudden I was wondering if there might be a bag I could drop over my head… like I was out in public looking like some gargoyle.

He shows me the mirror and honestly, I can’t tell a huge difference.

I didn’t scream. I did feel like I had someone constantly pulling at the edge of my eye, which was annoying.

He then says proudly, “AND you can use this and not have to use Botox!”

I looked at him and said… “never, in my life, have I considered doing that”

He looked stunned. He looked …well… shocked… he sputtered out… “Really? But don’t you want to look better?”

I told him I wanted to be me, and really, all I honestly wanted was to age gracefully.

No Botox. No surgeries to change my face. No weirdo stuff.

I listened for a bit as he went on … his whole speech really designed to make me ( or anyone ) in his chair feel bad about how they looked… and that using his product would fix me and make me “better” ( his words… “oh, you are a very lovely woman, but I can make you look so much better!”)

He asked me what product I wanted to buy… the one for my face or the one for my hands he had used.

I stood up and told him neither… I hadn’t gone out that day needing any of his products to make me “better”…. and I left.

So let’s get to this … this whole belief right now that seems to permeate so much of the world….all kinds of things from small to extreme in a quest to “stay” young or look it… the attitude that says age and maturity are not “good”, and that you aren’t good enough or you’re somehow “flawed” if you have signs of living life, or the things that make “you” who you are mean you’re “flawed” or you need surgeries  to fix all of the things that are somehow wrong with you…… seriously.

First, I will straight up say, I do what I can to maintain my body and my health. Of course I want to look as good as I can “for my age”. Who shouldn’t or doesn’t want to ?

I have a young, energetic attitude and personality and don’t intend to give that up any time soon…

I’m also smack in the zone of “middle aged womanhood”.

I don’t need to look 20ish… I’m not. I’ve had lines on my forehead for my entire life that are genetic ( mom, grandmother, and I’m sure my great grandmother) probably had too. I don’t need a cream to make them go away… it’s a part of who I am….

Those small laugh and smile lines? Why would I want to hide the years in my life of laughing,  smiling, joy and happiness ?

Why was I listening to a total stranger try and convince me I’m not good enough as I am??

Why do we listen to society or let current beliefs try and convince us we aren’t good enough ? Worse yet, why are we left feeling like we need to apologize???

This is so prevalent in the world today.  You don’t have to look but as far as the nearest magazine or internet story to see all the ways you can get fixed or be made “better”.

I’m not talking about things like… if you need to lose weight to be healthy or do things to keep you well… those are health issues… not superficial issues….

Do the things you like that make you feel good about yourself, there is nothing at all wrong with that.

There’s a big difference in doing things for yourself that make you feel good, or doing things because someone has pointed out you have “flaws” that need fixed.

Take care of your body, maintain your health, physical, spiritual, and emotional. We get one body to use in this world so we need to care for all aspects of it.

Aging is a part of life. How we embrace it and approach it largely depends on each of us.

Yeah, I’m 50ish, yeah I’m perfectly good with it. I’ve lived life and I’m grateful for such a gift.

Whether or not some stranger thinks I have something that needs to be made “better” is totally irrelevant to me.

There’s a lot more to who I am … and besides…. I can still rock the heck out of a little pair of shorts and a tank top so I’m good with that 😉

The whole “you aren’t good enough the way you are” is nonsense. We aren’t flawed or lacking or inadequate.

Stop listening to lies.  Live empowered.

 

 

 

Learning To Embrace Yourself

Last week while I was being busy droning around the house doing those varied and multiple tasks that need to be tended to, I heard a story come on one of those entertainment shows that happened to be on, ( let it be noted my tv “viewing” is more often listening while I’m doing something else haha)

Anyway, it was a story about Kate Gosselin, and how she had this incredible bikini body. You may or may not remember her claim to fame was being pregnant with eight babies at once, which then turned into a reality show for awhile. Honestly, I have no idea what she’s up to now…other than rocking it on a beach somewhere in her bikini.

So I did watch with some fascination and agreed, yes, she looked awesome. But then, hey, couldn’t every mom who’s given birth if they had a team of plastic surgeons nipping, tucking, shaping, lifting and “enhancing”?

Please, hear me out.

I’m not being snarky. I’m not bashing. I firmly believe that women need to build each other up and not tear down based on insecurities. I admire women and my goal is always to be encouraging and supportive.

I just don’t know that it’s a real honest assessment… like she’s busted her butt forever and got that  body… to hold that out to the average woman as something she can achieve.

I’m sure she works out… I mean… I don’t know for a fact… but it’s a strong probability.  I just don’t know it’s fair to hold that image out to women like “hey, after all those babies she can look like this and you should/can too!”

I mean, that’s Hollywood and unrealistic expectations for the rest of the world, right ?

We don’t have 24 hour personal trainers.

We can’t afford plastic surgery even if we might want to.

We don’t have personal chefs or nutritionists that plan and cook our meals.

We don’t have time to devote half our day to our bodies.

We work, have kids to chase down, homes we have to take care of and all that goes with it,  projects to do, meals to cook, etc. etc.

And somewhere, in the midst of all that, we try and carve out a little time to take care of ourselves ( hopefully you do)

And I hope, you have a positive, loving attitude about that body of yours. It makes me sad when women ( and maybe guys do this too) are critical and harsh with themselves.

Supposed “flaws” are singled out. Comparisons made to other peoples bodies. Self-defeating talk. Magazines with airbrushed seemingly “flawless” bodies that can leave us feeling inadequate.

Why are we so critical with ourselves? And why do we often miss how self-defeating that is.

No. Most of us will never be shaped, enhanced, or lifted to fix our “flaws”.

But hey listen up, there’s nothing wrong with you and it’s ok to embrace yourself as you are.

Working to lose weight? Be kind and patient with yourself as you move through the process of becoming a stronger, healthier, more fit you.

Maybe you’re at the weight you want to be but you’ve been working on that “thing” ( seriously will that loose skin EVER tighten up ??)

Perhaps you look in the mirror and hate your ( fill in the blank).

Stop it.

Learn to embrace you and love yourself. Understand some things will never change.. be ok with that. Know that many things CAN change… you need to determine if you want to work for it to make it happen.

My body has changed dramatically from my mid20’s when I was having babies, to my 30-40’s, to now.

Physically, I’m in better shape now than I’ve ever been. I’m stronger, pack more muscle, and can do more athletically than when I was younger. I love that.

I’ve also carried to term, three beautiful sons.  My body miraculously housed and then delivered big, strong, healthy boys. No matter what exercise I do, I will still have marks from carrying them and skin that isn’t perfectly tight.

My turning point was a few years ago when I just decided to own every aspect of myself, and that meant not worrying so much about my perceived “flaws” and focusing overall on having a strong, healthy and fit body.

I did rock a bikini at the beach. I was more confident and proud of those muscles in my tummy that I had built than skin that wasn’t entirely “perfect”…. but even now I’d have to say…by whose standards would that be determined… “perfect”?

I simply learned to embrace myself… no excuses or pardon needed for anything.

There is a tremendous amount of freedom when you do that, learn to embrace yourself, and be truly comfy in your own skin.

Now I’m not saying you should dive into a bikini if you’re not comfortable with that… be you…  always be who you are…. but don’t hide behind something because you think you have to.

Don’t make apologies for yourself. Don’t look at yourself as flawed.

Embrace the beauty of who you uniquely are…. and hey…. we might not look as reshaped as Kate… but if you wanna rock that bikini…. go for it 😉

 

 

 

Getting Serious About Weight Loss

weeks of fitness

 

Goals. Resolutions. Plans. Ideas.

Where are you with yours a few weeks into the New Year ? Are you one of the many who has determined  that weight loss and fitness will be what you finally achieve this year?

Sadly, many will start with the best intentions but quickly give up when their  plans are a bit lofty and to restrictive, determining it’s to hard and give up.

Please don’t quit. Isn’t it more productive to have small forward movement than none ?

When I chat with people I often hear some… denial ? About how they eat ,what they eat, and  how much they eat.

Trust me, it’s easy to disillusion yourself. Or there is some joking about it… about not eating well…. as if poor eating is a fun game.

Can I say this ? If you’re serious about weight loss, you need to be serious about what you eat.

Kinda just let that breathe over you for a second.

What kind of body have you built? What kind of body do you want to build ? And I don’t mean like… building a competition body or anything like that… although if that’s what you want you need to set goals to get there.

I mean do you want to lose some fat? Do you want to build muscle? Strengthen your cardio system to be able to do daily tasks without getting out of breath ? Do you want energy to keep up with your family and do things with them ? To achieve those goals means getting serious about what goes in your mouth, and how much of it.

Getting serious means taking a hard look at your eating habits and patterns. A study of your eating habits as it were.  What triggers you to eat when you aren’t hungry?  What foods do you reach for ?  Do you know how to stop once your hunger has been satisfied or do you keep eating because it’s there or it tastes good ?

How do you nourish your body ? Is it with junk type foods? High fat? Sugar? Alcohol ? Fast food ?  Over eating?

Or is it with healthy, colorful, flavorful life giving food to build you up in the best way possible ?  Foods that will give you energy and vitality?

veggies

Listen, you won’t just snap into changes overnight. You will struggle and rebel against changes you want to make, know you need to make, it won’t come easy.

But…. you are more than capable of doing it.

One day, one moment at a time.

I guess it might sound pretty basic but if you’re gonna make changes you need to assess what you’ve got to do to start making that happen.

May I suggest a long heart to heart with yourself ?

Look at how you eat, when, how much etc. if it’s not a meal time look at snacking or eating when you aren’t truly hungry.

What or how do you feel that makes you reach for food ?

What foods do you reach for ?

In a day, write out foods that are healthy, good for you foods and then the “other” foods. Make a list… which list is longer at the end of the day. You might track this for several days.  Make sure you also add in all sugary drinks, alcohol etc

Determine ( on the not so great category) where you can begin to make small gradual changes.  For instance, if you’re a big soda drinker and have maybe 3?  a day you might try cutting it back to two for a week, then down to one until you’re weaned off or save them for really special treats. Although by that time you might find them to be to sweet for you once your body has adjusted to not having them.

In the healthy section look at how you can continue to improve and build on healthier foods.

Where can you add more veggies ? Choose a healthier snack? Pass on vending machine “treats” ?

To move forward you must be serious with yourself on your eating. Understand your food triggers.

Take a critical look at the foods you eat. Can you make healthier substitutions for some things ?

Asking yourself some hard questions and making small gradual changes will begin to move you forward on your health and fitness journey.

start today

Keeping Your Cup Full

full coffee

 

I glanced down at my coffee cup as I picked it up. Ugh. It was half empty. Not only that, what remained was in that creepy neutral zone of “almost tepid and guaranteed to make me gag” at an unsuspecting moment…. mostly likely when I’m in my zone writing 😛

I got up to empty it out and replace it with now, hot coffee, filling it to the brim, and return to what I was doing. But not before thoughts began to form in my mind.

A quote I had seen recently bouncing  around…. “when your cup is empty, you can’t give anyone else a drink”.

This can apply to us on several levels… spiritually and physically.

To often I hear things like ” I just don’t have time to exercise”, ” I haven’t been to the doctor for my yearly checkups”, ” Eating well is to costly”, “I have (kids, job, obligations etc) I don’t really have time for myself “, “My family is more important”

Sometimes, I think there’s a certain level of being a martyr involved, like it’s something to be proud of, putting yourself on the backburner to care for everything else.

Oh… I mean… if I can say that… did that just jump out of my head ?

Here’s the deal. When your cup is empty, not only do you have nothing to offer others, you don’t have a lot to offer yourself.

I believe a spiritual life is important, and that is an entire different post. I’m coming at this from a physical perspective.

Not taking…. and I’m using that word here… “taking” the time for yourself in your day is doing no one any favors.

Setting aside time for exercise, feeding your body in  a healthy way, making regular doctor appointments, and nourishing your soul in what way you might choose is key to keeping your cup full!

Yes, these are habits you might have to work at building if it’s unfamiliar to you. It will take some time and focused determination to make it become something that feels like “routine”.

I really understood the value of this several years ago when my husband had very unexpected, serious back surgery. He was in the hospital for weeks and in ICU for a week after surgery.

Those days were long, tough, and mentally taxing. If you’ve spent extended time with a loved one, you know what I mean.

Getting up and working out before I began my day there left me clear headed and feeling, well, strong, for a long day. It mentally put me in a good place. It gave my body the outlet for stress, worry and anxiety over an unexpected situation in our lives. Running let me think and process and clear my mind.

Over these past few years there have been many other things in my life, and I’ve continued to place my workouts as a part of my own health and maintenance for the benefit of those I love and serve.

I will tell you… it’s not shallow… or vain… or selfish… or taking time away when you should be doing something “more important”.

You… are important. You are important to the people in your life who love you and care for you.  Investing in yourself to keep your cup full is not a waste or something you should put off or that you aren’t worthy enough to deserve.

What can you implement in your life to go towards keeping your cup full ? What steps do you need to take daily to make it happen ?

Diets And Your Relationship With Food

Oh boy. Here we go.

New Year and the diet industry is gearing up to guilt you into needing their products. You are being bombarded with all the reasons you need to get on their wagon.

Oprah now basically owns Weight Watchers and her commercials have been going like crazy. Her mantra is to make “2016 the year of your best body”.

I’m certainly not against that mantra… I mean… I want to be better this year than last year. I’m down for another year of my best body.

I can still be stronger, leaner, more fit. I just don’t plan to go about it with all the hype and diet products to achieve it.

Coming up this  week is a new TV show called “My Diet Is Better Than Your Diet”. I’m wondering if it will be the awful train wreck that “The Biggest Loser” is which also had it’s season premier this week.

I just have to wonder why it’s still around. I read a story on it the other day that the contestants workout 6-8 hours a day on about 1,000 calories or less.  A gerbil eats more.

I’d say all of that is insane but I don’t even know it that’s the best word to describe it. People will tune in and watch as a form of “entertainment” forgetting these are hurting, desperate and needy people who have been brought to this point. They have vast amounts of weight to lose.

The fail rate (that they don’t tell you about) is tremendously high.

Why? Because there haven’t been key important changes made.

Namely this… and it’s true for those on a reality TV show, or you my readers, and true of myself before I figured it out a few years ago.

There is this missing piece… and it’s crucial for permanent, life changing success.

If you don’t get your relationship with food right, and in the right place in your life, you will forever battle it. It will control you.

If food is more important to you than losing weight to be healthy and energetic then it’s time to look at it’s role in your life.

I firmly believe that food is not the biggest issue as is the reasons behind what drives someone to eat beyond what they need to support their lives and feed their hunger.

Sometimes ( and often) there are hungers and needs deeper than our appetites.

Loneliness. Boredom. Pain. Feelings of failure. Loss. Need. Lack of love. Acceptance. Routine. Emotional needs.

Mindless, empty eating, we use to try and fill aches, pains, and other issues in our lives.

It’s why I don’t think these shows will ever really work. It’s why I’m troubled over the “quick fix” surgeries that can rapidly drop pounds, but it’s not addressing the real reasons a person eats so much food to be in that place to start with.  If that person doesn’t make a mental shift and get food in it’s proper place, they will continue with the same behaviors and attitudes that made them fat.

The underlying issues need to be recognized to turn it around, to make food be what it is, enjoyable, life giving, but also controlled and managed appropriately. Food is much of a dangerous  drug for someone as cocaine is to another.

This is why 6-8 week diet plans will fail. And good intentions will go down the drain and you’ll console yourself with food again. It’s why patients who have weight loss surgery will regain weight they lost and be able to eat as much later on after surgery as before.

Years ago I figured out some of my triggers. I realized I had grown up in a family of emotional eaters. It was weird how I clearly saw it one day and called it for what it was in my life.

It wasn’t overly controlling for me ? But in my mom and grandmother it was very easy to see. They were both considered morbidly obese. I could look back at times and see how food was used for more than nourishment. It was often used as a form of comfort. The more you ate, the better you would feel, right ?

My brother had struggled with it too.

Now I am able to identify it in myself when I see it going on. Only now I ask myself questions and question why I’m eating? Why am I doing what I’m doing? How am I feeling ? What emotions are propelling me to go to food ?

Trust me… this was a huge step in my health and fitness journey.

So yeah. Let’s make 2016 “the year of our best body” but let’s decide first to get real with some things in ourselves that hinder us from moving forward to that goal.

If I offer any humble suggestions to you in this it would be….

*Pay attention to why and when you eat ( beyond meal time)

*Question yourself. Really, you can. Ask those hard questions. What is making you eat at that moment? Are you truly hungry? How are you feeling?

*Look at your family. Your childhood one and the one you have as a grown adult ( married etc) what are the eating patterns and habits? How is food used ? For more than nourishment?

*Do you eat when you are out by yourself ? In the car? Drive thru’s? Is it a habit ?

*Do you eat alone at night? In front of Tv? How much “mindless” eating do you participate in?

*What hurts you inside?  Do you use food to soothe your emotions ?

This is a place you can start. Understanding your relationship with food and taking a hard look at things like this can really help you move forward in your health journey…mentally and physically =)

 

Will Power Or Habit ?

Why hello December! November certainly was a whirlwind, wasn’t it ? Here in the States we just wrapped up Thanksgiving last week… which is always an amazing overload to the senses.

A day full of delicious food and tasty treats… how can you go wrong with that ??

Thanksgiving is like this seque into Christmas with it’s plethora of delights.

Candy. Cookies. Rich meals. Cakes and treats.

I grew up with a grandmother and mom who were baking queens during the Christmas season.  I will share more on that in another post, but it’s safe to say, I learned all my tricks from them. What a wonderful heritage to be given.

I love baking and I love giving it away. The week of Thanksgiving I took a variety of treats to my local Starbucks ( ’cause I love all my little baristas there 😉 and I want them to know I appreciate them. One of the comments I got was…

“How do you stay in the shape you’re in, and bake like that??”

My response, ” I bake, but I don’t eat much of it” 😉

Then comes something I’ve gotten used to hearing from people.

” I just don’t have that kind of will power”

Ah yes, the illusive “will power”.  It’s defined as control of ones impulses and actions, self-control.

Often when I’m talking with people that subject comes up. They are struggling, wanting to lose weight and move into a positive lifestyle change yet feel their willpower is lacking.

Can I say at best, it can fail us ? Oh we will be “good”. We will decline treats and special foods and maybe for awhile feel successful. We will drastically alter all of our eating and feel like we are finally getting somewhere.  After attempting to keep rein on our willpower we can even begin to feel angry with it.

“Why can’t we have that treat?”

“Why can’t we enjoy the things we really love?”

And then… one day..  we snap.

Everything that’s been off limits, is now far game. If it can run, it better get outta the way. You’ve held on to your willpower for as long as you can and now it’s anything goes. You deserve to enjoy things too, right ?

And then… you’re back at square one. You might have feelings of failure, discouragement and frustration that once again, you just don’t have the willpower to control things and you’ll never get your goals.

May I offer an alternate suggestion ? One that you slowly, simply, build into your life?

Habits. You begin to build new habits, day in and day out until it’s seamlessly a part of your life and willpower doesn’t really have to do with what you eat. You begin to develop comfortable boundaries with what you eat and when.

I shared on my Facebook page this past Monday that I was ready to get back to “normal” and by that I meant I was ready for some serious exercise and lighter eating. You see, I was able to enjoy my Thanksgiving celebrations, but I’ve built habits into my life that I naturally want to return to.

For me, getting back on the road for a run and having a big colorful salad for lunch was normal for me. Over the past few years I’ve made exercise and eating well, in moderation, habits for myself. Once these things are ingrained in you, it’s not hard to return to them.

When I talk with people I try and stress the importance of building new habits to make the journey to a lifestyle change. I believe it’s ultimately, the only thing that will stick.

Understand this: habits aren’t built over night. They are built from a purposeful and intentional desire to do things differently. So many things we do in our lives are habit, good and bad.

Know you will bomb some days. You’ll feel frustrated and wonder if it will ever stick. It will. Get up and start at it again.

When I first started out walking I was so worried if I missed a single day I’d fall off the proverbial wagon. If I didn’t get my walk in the morning due to scheduling, when I got home, the first thing I did was grab my shoes and hit the road. ( this was before days where I was all super athletically haha) I wore what I had on, changed my shoes, and got it done.

You know what that was doing ? Building a habit in me that said “purposeful, daily exercise is important and necessary. You make time for it. ”

Food. In slow, daily, and steady changes I taught my body to appreciate eating healthy food. I also allowed it Peanut M&M’s if it wanted  a few. When you KNOW you can have something, it really removes the power from it, because you know it’s there… if you really need it. In time, certain foods and treats honestly began to have less of a draw. I recognized how good I felt eating well, eating appropriate amounts and feeding my body in a healthy way.

Again, I had days I bombed, and days I felt like super woman. No matter what, I kept a forward moving mentality. Each day gained, got me that much closer to making those things permanent habits for me.

Not my amazing willpower. Not my superior strength of being able to say “no”.

New habits that were leading to a lifestyle change.

I’ve heard it can take 21 days for a new habit to be set in place. Depending on what it is, some things might take more or less time based on our personalities.

My suggestions if you want to build new positive, life changing habits?
Don’t try and change everything all at once. Pick one or maybe two things.

Slow and steady is best.

Do have a journal to write down your progress in the beginning to hold yourself accountable. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to ask you how you’re doing.

Focus on the day your in. Move through it making good choices. Allow yourself a measure of grace if you fall, but get up and get back at it.

No throwing in the towel!

Do not allow yourself to make excuses to not do what you’ve set out to do. You are more than capable of success.

Make a realistic goal sheet of habits you want to form.

Understand you have to practice your new habit daily to make it a um…. habit 😉

Seeking to build habits instead of having “willpower” will lead you to a new freedom and your healthier lifestyle.

What good habits do you have in place already? What habits do you need to work on and build to live a healthier lifestyle ?

 

 

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?