No Exercise Required

It was early morning and I was still bleary eyed, sipping on my first wonderful cup of hot coffee slowly coming to life.

For the record I’m not “anti” morning. I mean most weeks I’m out on the road running or cycling while people are still crawling outta bed. On the other hand, I may just prefer to cuddle and be alone with my coffee for a bit till the fog clears my head 😉

I am more of strong night owl if I had to label myself … anyway…

I’m waking up, laptop in front of me as I do a final read through and edit on my post before launching it into the world and blog land.  I do my level best to make sure you, my faithful readers, don’t stumble through to much of my ramblings haha

And can I take a moment to say thank you?

However, you follow me, whether through e-mail, Facebook, IG, Pinterest or on WordPress, thank you for taking your time to read what I write.  I know our time is valuable and I appreciate you taking yours to read my offerings.

I will always attempt to make it worth your while, to keep it sassy, and hopefully to educate, inspire, or challenge you.

Now, where was I?

Waking up, drinking coffee and proofing my post… yes that’s where I was. So while I’m doing that, the morning news is on and the morning commercials.

Sweet heavens.

It must be the cheapest time of day to advertise ’cause obnoxious car sale ads are on along with ads for medical clinics, lawyers and all kinds of other services I can do without hearing about that early in morning.

All of them are so… loud. So very, very loud.

Anyway, this weight loss commercial comes on advertising how you can lose weight with some miracle something or another and “no exercise required!!”

I guess that’s where my still sleepy, yet slowly coming alive brain kicked in.

I thought, how is that a good selling point ? But then I realized, to a lot of people, that IS a good selling point.

Lose weight and you don’t have to exercise? Heck yeah.

I get it. Exercise is work. If you do it right, it’s hard work.

Of course, if you’re out of shape it really feels like hard work. Your heart and lungs are screaming at you and you get all red and you are breathing way to hard so of course a weight loss offer of no exercise might seem like a good deal.

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It’s just not.

Let’s just forget losing weight here as we discuss this. Really, exercise shouldn’t be what you do to lose weight, it’s really what you put in your mouth and how much of it that matters more.  Exercise can just support those efforts.

Exercise offers so much more to us than being a weight loss tool. Think about how you feel when you leave your house on a nice evening to go for a short walk. Chances are it gives you time to think, clear your head from the day, brain storm ideas, and just unwind a bit. When you come back in you probably feel rejuvenated and refreshed, even if you may be sweaty 😉

In time, you most likely will want to walk a bit further as you start to really enjoy it and look forward to it.

Maybe going to a yoga class let’s you feel more connected to yourself, makes you more aware of your body.  For me, yoga definitely slows me down, but it also let’s me have some time that is a bit more quiet and reflective.

Whatever activity you may enjoy, if you get started in it, you will most likely enjoy many benefits that have nothing to do with losing weight.

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Remember, your heart is a muscle that needs work too 😉

 

 

So…get this…..

Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.  Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.

Jumping on the treadmill or cross trainer for 30 minutes can blow off tension by increasing levels of “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. What’s fascinating, though, is that exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on our aging process. according to a 2010 study from the University of California—San Francisco. The researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive. Working out also helps keep us from ruminating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again.

I wrote a post on exercise and aging… find it here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/24/exercise-and-aging/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/24/aging-and-the-fountain-of-youth/

It can help with depression. Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression.

Exercise can improve our learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost. You’re challenging your brain even more when you have to think about coordination. Like muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow.

It improves self-esteem and body image. You don’t need to radically change your body shape to get a confidence surge from exercise. Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

It may keep Alzheimers from setting in. The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.

Is that enough evidence for exercise?

Those are some pretty convicting reasons to exercise, right? Yet not a single one of them have to do with losing weight. The point being, exercise benefits all of our body, soul and spirit.

Exercise is a good tool to help with weight loss but as you’ve seen it offers so many more benefits to keep us healthy and whole.

It shouldn’t be viewed as something you don’t “need”. Our bodies are made for and are designed for, movement.  So many of our modern day illnesses and health issues could be helped and improved with regular consistent exercise.

What exercise has taught me

ok admittedly, a few years ago when I was an out of shape middle aged woman, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of vigorous daily exercise. As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s hard, and it’s really hard when you’ve been doing nothing and  then start doing “something”.

I purposefully made myself go walk each day. I dutifully walked 2 miles. I did it no matter what was going on, some days I had to fit it in at different times, but I did it.

I did it enough it turned into a new habit.  One day I got brave and actually went farther. One mile turned into another, before I knew it I was running some, and then, well the rest is history…

Exercise was certainly a good discipline tool. Those scheduled daily times on the road disciplined me to getting up and making a commitment to something.

That discipline eventually carried over into other areas of my life.

When I trained for my first marathon I learned a lot more about discipline, sacrifice, and some serious hard work. Honestly, once you run a marathon ( I actually went on to do more and eventually in 2014, a 50k) you develop the feeling and attitude you can take on the world.

I learned more about concrete goal setting, short and long term.

Exercise has built my confidence in what I can do and what I’m capable of doing.  This translates far beyond what I do on  the road.

The more I’ve grown athletically, the more I’ve seen that transfer into my daily life.

Becoming mentally strong dealing with physically activity has given me a tough mind in dealing with life.

I shared in a recent post about my yearly check up with my doctor.  My HDL ( good cholesterol ) was 75 on the lab report. It should be mentioned the highest number they had as “good” was 39. My doctor just gave me a level look and said… “it’s from all that exercise you do”.   So exercise is good for stuff like that 😉

I’ve also learned I can do some of my most creative thinking out on the road. It’s a time to process, discard, think and get clarity.

It’s taught me to get out of my head, get out of my way, so I can see what I’m made of.  I’ve learned I have strength I didn’t know I possessed, mentally and physically

Oh yeah. and somehow along the way of learning that, I lost weight and got decently fit.

So yeah, you do need to exercise

So if you’re one of the “anti-exercisers” 😉 I hope I’ve given you something different to think on.  Find something you enjoy and want to do, then commit to getting good at it. DO it often enough and frequently enough and it will turn into a habit, a good one at that.

And then, before you know it, you too will have lost some weight and be getting decently fit too.

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I love and anticipate my workouts now, physically and mentally.

 

Your turn… tell me… do you wish you didn’t “have” to exercise? Do you wish you could lose weight and get all the benefits without doing it, or are you at a place where you love it and would miss it? Have you ever considered exercise as beneficial to you in ways besides helping with weight loss?

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Monday Musings

Hello boys and girls. Monday again. Time to let the random collections outta my head from this past week. I appreciate your encouragement and appreciation of these posts. They are fun for me in the sense I can just literally write on anything and everything. It gives you a little insight into other areas of my life that aren’t “just” health and fitness.

But health and fitness is really important to me

it’s pretty much why I started this blog. I found in my sharing on social media people were uh… hungry… for encouragement and sane, sensible ways to live a healthy lifestyle.  I love sharing my personal athletic shenanigans and  love sharing simple tips that can help and work to get fit and healthy. I also like being able to direct people in ways to get exercise into their lives.

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A morning ride, the road behind me and more miles in front of me

But I was thinking as I often do when I was out on the road the other morning. I was thinking about how grateful I was to be doing what I was doing. You see I never take it for granted or believe that I’m entitled to do it.

It’s a privilege to exercise and use my body.

It kinda makes me sad when people make jokes about not exercising or being lazy or choosing not to do it.  I guess I want them to “get it”. That once they push past a point where they have to make themselves get out, or have to set their alarm earlier (or whatever they need to do) that they will actually begin to look forward to it.

Crave it even.

It becomes a key part of the day. Not only that, it begins to build energy in me and clears and centers me for my day.

I mean really you only have one body. Shouldn’t you do things to take care of it? To keep it strong and healthy?

Exercise has multiple health benefits and yet, is the most unused activity to help our bodies not only physically, but mentally too.

If you don’t do anything yet, at least make a commitment to yourself to begin walking. Everyone can do it, it’s easy, and you don’t have to go anywhere except out your front door.

After exercise, we eat

Ok ideally food is good after a workout. I am sometimes bad about coming in and jumping to my to do list and not getting food ( bad girl I know)

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Most mornings my breakfast starts like this… a healthy dose of spinach

I try and make a breakfast that is really heavy in veggies with a side of fruit to start my day and nourish my body post workout.  Spinach always makes an appearance. If you missed my post on spinach and why you should eat it, find it here……https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/01/19/spinach-benefits-and-great-hair/

Starting your day with a good breakfast helps give you energy, keeps your blood sugar levels steady and keeps you from over eating later in the day.

Oh, and it keeps you from being grumpy with people ’cause you are starving 😉

Breakfast is often the most skipped meal because people (mistakenly) think it will help them lose weight by doing so. Yet really it can have the opposite effect. Eating a good breakfast helps fire up your metabolism and will keep you from grabbing a donut in the break room later.

Speaking of sweets….

you may have read my most recent post on adoption and celebrating our daughters 20th birthday. If you missed it, you can read it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/26/the-beauty-of-adoption/

Anyway, we kinda had celebrations through out the week for her with Saturday culminating with one of my delicious 3 layer homemade cakes.

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I have mad cake baking skills

The frosting is so decadent, an entire package of cream cheese and lots of real, creamy butter.

Are you drooling yet ?

Because I’m nice, I’ll give you the recipe here. I have tons of tried and true cake recipes at home. However the day I was out running around and going to store I didn’t have a recipe so I reverted over to my go to place now days, Pinterest.

Ah… it didn’t fail me. I found this great cake which was proclaimed by the fam as “the best one ever” ( they kinda say that about every cake which is nice 😉 )

 

So here you go… the recipe if you wanna whip up something oh so good and earn some points with those you love 😉

In my other obsessions… uh…hobbies..

I’ve been sharing with you some of my adventures in flipping vintage and antique furniture.  I’ve finished two pieces this week and I’ve got a couple getting close.  I find a crazy satisfaction in doing this. The more horrible the piece, the happier I am. Because it means a cool transformation.

Check out this little Drexel side table. Like most of the things I scoop up, it had been someone’s ” better idea” project. They had applied some kind of goop to lift the varnish leaving it thick and bubbly. I took a strong arm and hand to it( having a strong upper body really pays off when you’ve got to hand sand forever!)  knocking all of that crusty finish off to do my own magic….

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This Is what I started with…

 

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And here it is looking fresh in cream and black with a little light distressing.

My other project I finished off I will admit I’m a tad bit obsessed with. I caught the vision for it quick and it was so exciting watching it seamlessly come together. I shared last week some color ideas I had picked up but didn’t tell you how I was using them…

 

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A vintage telephone bench

 

 

 

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I kinda used the colors like this….
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Eek… tell me how cute it is!

This is one of those pieces I love but it’s meant for someone else. It’s fun transforming bland, tired furniture into something fresh and a bit more modern.

I’m excited over how that 1930’s tea/beverage trolley is turning out. I got that a couple weeks ago for a total steal.  You can see it’s first day home pic here from last weeks post….. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/04/23/monday-musings-10/

I have so many ideas bouncing in my head with projects. Add to it writing and other creative things…. my head is full of constant busyness…

Tell me I’m not the only one, right??

Ok your turn! Tell me about your week. Do you have any interesting or fun hobbies? More important , do you like chocolate cake? If so, do you need milk or coffee with it? 

Optimal Health

Optimal health. What comes to your mind when you hear those words? A certain image? Lifestyle? A look? Perhaps it’s what happens inside of you that you can’t see… like all systems working great. Is it the “perfect” picture of health? Energetic and vibrant looking? Rosy skin? Clear bright eyes? A lack of illness or disease? Strong with the ability to do all your daily tasks with energy?

As I’ve noted before there are a lot of buzz words out there today that “health” companies use to make their product sound more appealing to potential customers, to sell you on it.  Usually the words are descriptive and designed to make you think that by taking/using their product this very thing will be given to you.

Magically. No effort.

The marketing of these products is nothing less than impressive, but the times I’m choking and rolling my eyes over some of the claims….

Keep in mind these company claims are in turn, regurgitated by the sales people who largely don’t really know what they are talking about either. It has been interesting to note the fine print showing up on many labels now that these products aren’t FDA approved or endorsed.

Ok  I digress… but my current thought was generated from the catch phrase on some products promising this ….

Optimal health

First of all, what does optimal mean ? Webster defines it as most desirable or satisfactory.

Health is defined as the condition of being well and free from disease.

So optimal health could be defined as a desirable and satisfactory state of being well physically ( and mentally) and free from disease or illness.

Sounds good, right ?

Isn’t that something we all desire and should seek to keep? Or if we have health issues shouldn’t they ( if possible) be something we strive to improve or reverse? There are many conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, blood sugar issues etc that can be changed or reversed with improved health.

But here’s where I get tripped up… every. single. time.

Why am I going to take a man made product to help me achieve optimal health? Why am I going to spend my money on a product when I could buy healthy food with it?

It does amaze me that people are willing to do so many things other than what they really should be doing which is focusing on eating real, whole foods and making changes in their nutrition and exercise program.

A focus on better food quality will go a long way to achieving optimal health.  That will show up inside and out on you.

So how does one achieve optimal health?

First, it has to be something we desire and intentionally pursue. It will require consciously choosing a different lifestyle. You will have to be purposeful in your choices and decisions.

Learn to move more. Our bodies need exercise and are made to move. Active, vigorous movement allows our blood and lymphatic system to flow the way it’s designed to.  Not only that exercise benefits our mental well being as much as our physical. Exercise is good for lots of reasons but that’s not my focus today 😉

Food. Obviously, your diet should be loaded with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. They should be present at all your meals.  I don’t think I can stress enough the huge benefits of adequate fresh produce. To me, optimal health is achieved with good quantities of  produce.  Your daily food intake should also include whole grains, lean meats and dairy products.

It should be light on empty calorie foods that offer not a lot in the nutritional category. This includes of course, sugary drinks, alcohol, refined processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, sweet breads, fast foods, salted foods etc.

Water. Our bodies are made up of a lot of water. Water transports waste from our bodies and hydrates us. Water is essential for our health. It helps our skin do it’s job of regulating body temperature through sweating, water is essential for circulation of nutrients through the body, it aids in digestion and creates saliva. Drink your water.

Your mind. Read. Learn to play an instrument. Take up a new hobby. Go back to school or take a class on something that interests you. Be willing to learn and grow your mind.  Find something that interests you and become an expert on it.

Your soul.  Whatever nourishes your soul, find time for it. Prayer, meditation, scripture reading, devotionals, whatever your personal preference is, find something that feeds your inner being.

Optimal health has the potential to be achieved with a balanced lifestyle that feeds the body, soul and mind. It will also vary from person to person as to what needs to be addressed to reach that goal. It requires us to be intentional in the pursuing and maintaining of it but it will be well worth our efforts.

 

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The Benefits Of New Habits

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So I got to my fav coffee cave before a crazy storm broke loose. I love sitting and watching the clouds gather and hear the thunder rolling in.  I love watching people come running in, even with the skies emptying around them.

It definitely makes for interesting people watching.

I sipped my hot coffee watching the dark sky,  thinking about what on earth I wanted to talk to you about in this post… shocking … I know…as I’m never at a loss for words 😉

I mean, really, there are so many topics I could discuss with you.

I thought I might discuss the topic of habits with you and how important those are in your quest to lose weight and get fit.

Let’s just review the definition …

Habit: is a routine or behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously .

Habit formation is the process by which the behavior, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual.

Now let’s think about that in terms of how you eat, what you eat, when you eat. Let’s think about it in terms of exercise and if you get it done.

Your life is smack full of habits.

The time you get up for work. The things you do in the exact way getting ready in the morning.  How you brush your teeth. How you take your coffee. The things you do in your day, many are habits. What you eat. What you don’t eat.

So many of the things you do in your life are driven by habits. Things you’ve done over and over until you do them mindlessly without thinking about it.

This… is where you want to get with the disciplines of exercise and eating well.

If it’s not something you’ve done then you will have to practice at doing it. It means if your “habit” is walking into a convenience store and buying chips and a coke, you’re going to have to intentionally, purposefully, restructure a new habit to replace that negative one.

And trust me, you will have to be completely intentional to make it happen.  And it will take time. But each time you make a better choice you get further along building that habit in you.

If your habit is to go through a drive thru for fast foods, you will have to intentionally keep your car driving on by.

You can remind yourself, you won’t be dead from hunger before you get home. You can remind yourself that you won’t accomplish your health goals if you feed yourself that.  You can also be proactive and maybe keep some healthy snacks in your car if you feel you need something .

This will be an action you are proactive at doing.

When it comes to exercise, again, it’s not a natural thing for you to go out and do activities that make you sweat or breath hard. Most people want to avoid it.

This is where you will have to be absolutely intentional about getting up and getting out.

Perhaps, in the beginning, you might just get yourself to the store and get some good shoes and some athletic clothes to do your thing in. For me, the very act of getting in my athletic clothes and slipping my shoes on puts me in the mental place of what I’m about to do.

Maybe, it’s looking at your week and planning it out and determining what you are going to do and when. What are your days like? What times are best for you?

Then you make a commitment to it. And you will have to be intentional. Purposeful.  No excuses.

New habits don’t happen.  Remember our definition ….

“Habit formation is the process by which the behavior, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual.”

If you want to build new habits ( like exercising and eating better) you will have to practice and keep repeating until it becomes automatic for you. You won’t think about it.

You will do it. You will want to do it.

I often get asked how I do it? I’ll tell you.

It’s been several years of constant repetition that has built new habits in me.

I can’t IMAGINE not exercising now. I feel worse when I don’t, than when I do.

It has been days of making myself get geared up…get out.. and do it. It has been overcoming any goofy excuses that would distract me.  It’s knowing I’ll feel better if I do follow through, mentally and physically.

When it comes to food, I know how much better I feel, how much energy I have and how good I feel about myself when I nurture my body and feed it good food.

It makes passing on junky food or not so healthy food lots easier.  I feel more “off” now if I do eat foods I’m not used to.

It’s a good place to be.

It’s taken time. It’s taken practice. Lots of practice building new habits. But they are habits I’m glad to have now.

I wish I could tell you there’s just this “quick fix” that shapes up years of negative behaviors in you.

There isn’t.

But I’ll tell you this, if you are persistent and make intentional choices to do positive things, you WILL build new habits, and that is something that will make a huge difference in your life. Just like you’ve built negative habits, you can rebuild new positive ones.

Tell me, have you built a new habit in your life that’s good? How has that impacted you?  What habits would you like to change or improve on ? Remember, having a plan and intentionally following through puts you on the road to new habits.

 

The Right Diet For You

diet-over

 

Say what? Did I just use the word “diet” in my title? Maybe you’re thinking… “you don’t do diets… what’s up? And what do you mean the right diet??”

And you’re correct, I don’t subscribe to any particular diet or current trendy food movement that’s going around.

8 years ago I decided when I was going to finally do it ( lose weight) and be done with it this time (for good)  that I needed to figure out what worked for me.

I had to first acknowledge what DIDN’T work for me.

I knew that I didn’t like having to follow some set daily food plan telling me what I could eat and how much. I didn’t want to be locked into something ridged that kept me from living my life and enjoying it.

I didn’t wanna be miserable. I didn’t wanna be deprived. Basically, I wasn’t interested in suffering.

Isn’t that what diets are about? You jump into something for 6-8 weeks, hope for the best, and count down the days till you can return to “normal” life and eating. You just get through it.

And well, I’m honestly a bit of a rebel at heart and just  don’t like having to follow the rules of a set diet. Like… don’t tell me what to eat and when….. everything in me rebelled against that.

That’s when I decided… I’ll just do my own thing…. and you know what? it’s worked for me.

I wanted to lose weight, not be hungry, and eat what I enjoyed while I did it.

Let me give you 3 tips or suggestions on building your own daily “diet” ( and I use that term to describe what you consume in your day)

 

Safe.  Whatever you decide to do, it needs to be safe in a health way. Don’t overly restrict your calories or live off nothing but bananas or some crazy stunt. Understand what your basic daily caloric needs are and operate within that zone.  If you actively exercise don’t forget to adjust your needs for higher active days. If you need help understanding your calorie needs, consult with your doctor for a good base line starting place. It also needs to have all food groups included.

 

Simple. For me that meant being able to eat foods I enjoyed and could easily prepare. It also meant having a working plan that I could stick to and follow. It also had to be flexible. If the family went out for a burger, I certainly didn’t want to sit there picking at a salad while they had fries!  ( although, now days, a salad is almost always my preference simply because I like them and feel better eating them over a heavier meal) If I had a burger, it was an intentional choice that I enjoyed and then just moved on with life.

 

Sustainable.  I think this is the most important point. Whatever you set up for yourself has to be what works for you. That is the only way you will stick with it and be successful long term, and for the rest of your life.  It doesn’t have to be what your co-worker is doing or your neighbor. They aren’t you… you aren’t them. It’s time to set aside cookie cutter diets and not try to fit into molds that aren’t designed for us.  I think that’s why so many fail in this process of losing weight.  Trying to fit into something that is designed to fail from the beginning .

 

Other suggestions to this would be:

Make sure you include all food groups in your plan. If you aren’t crazy about something ( like veggies) then just start taking small steps to incorporate them.

Eat enough food to satisfy your appetite, but don’t stuff yourself.

Listen to your bodies natural signals… eat when hungry…don’t eat when you aren’t.

Don’t restrict foods. I think that was a huge thing to my success. I basically told myself that I could have anything, nothing was off limits, and it really takes the power out it knowing you can have it…if you realllllyyy need it…  but it gives you the freedom to leave it alone too. It puts a huge level of control on your side.  Understand.. this wasn’t open season for me to just eat crappy food. I knew that was stuff that needed to be limited for my success. It just removed its power over me by mentally by not restricting it from my life. We always…want…what we cannot have.

Structure your meals to where you eat larger ones early on in day…tapering to lighter at the end of day.  Really, think about when you need the most calories and energy…it’s not before you go to bed in the evening with a huge meal.

Get to know your body! Know what foods make you feel good and energetic and which make you feel like crap. Don’t shun foods groups just because it’s the latest trend. If you have a valid allergy issue or if you don’t feel great when you eat it, fine. Otherwise aim for balance of all foods.

By developing and building your own plan, you will be able to stay on it for a life time and not just a few weeks.  Making your own rules will keep it sustainable and doable for you which will lead to your success.

 

Parades, Small Towns, And County Fairs

So this past weekend we celebrated Labor Day weekend in the good ‘ol  U.S. of A.  This holiday weekend typically signals the end of summer, the start of fall and school activities, and a general wind down of simple, lazy summer days.

The town I’ve lived and grown up in has its county fair all weekend long and on Saturday the streets are literally closed off for the fair parade. This was the 111th year for all the shenanigans.

The parade, like the fair, has definitely changed a lot over the years, but then so has the town. It’s not so small anymore and some of the small town things have given way to a bigger town growth and ideas.

One thing that remains with the Saturday morning parade is the gathering of families, a relaxed fun morning and an opportunity to run into friends you might not see all the time.

Oh, not to mention hanging out at the local bakery, drinking coffee and indulging in a rare pastry 😉

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Hey! I’ve got coffee and that’s most important 😉 and don’t miss that I caught a kid in the act of shooting a basket, quite by chance haha

 

The parade has it’s usual variety of local business advertisements, some actual and real parade floats, bands, dance teams, military representation, and of course a plethora of clowns.

I’ve found over time people fall into two camps with clowns.

They love them… or hate them.

 

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They look harmless enough, right ???

 

Then you have grown men that speed around on things like this…. this is what scares me… well not really… not anymore as they’ve made them kinda tame down their crazy speed circles they used to do…. right at the crowds…

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This is what happens when dads are left unattended on weekends. Their version of a sports car 😉

Ok and you only see a few pictured here… there  really are like… thousands of them… in their loud lil cars, doing donuts and stuff…

Of course it’s not really a country parade without… you know….tractors….

 

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Old school tractors.. complete with the farmer….

 

 

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Why yes, that is a life size fake elephant on a little trailer 😛

 

 

 

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Reppin’ old military

 

It is worth mentioning, we actually roll up the streets like, three times a year, for parades. June is a German heritage celebration, then in December of course it’s a Christmas parade.

I will freely admit the Christmas is my most favorite. Our town is full of white lights and is so beautiful. Every entry in the parade is light covered and there’s just a fun spirit in the air.

Well, wait. Maybe that’s the kettlecorn I’m smelling. And oh my gosh, if you’ve never had it… I’m sorry…. really I am.

It’s this amazing combo of sweet and salty and I always want them to bag it for me right after it’s finished. Truthfully though, it’s always fresh as there’s a line waiting for it.

Some years the weather is the right amount of crisp, cold. Other years, you can wear shorts 😛

Gosh, hard to imagine we’ll be at that parade in a few shorts months…

Ah yes. Small town USA. Even though we’re not so really small anymore, during parades and town celebrations it still has that wonderful vibe.

And no matter what, it’s home, and everything always feels good when you’re home.

Go Big Or Go Home

go-big-or-go-home-red-bull-king

 

Go big or go home. It’s an expression the speaker says to the listener to encourage the listener to be extravagant, to go all the way, and do whatever you are doing to its fullest – and not flake out. 

It’s an expression used on many different occasions. Sometimes, it’s in a funny context, other times, it’s thrown down as the challenge it’s meant to be.

I’m kinda wired in that way. If you give dangle the carrot in front of me… I will be going after it.

Example, when I was in a yoga class ( my first to be exact) she neatly showed several ways for a move all designed to be modified for the individuals level of ability.

Then, the final move, was the hardest way to do it. Yeah, you know which one I went for.

Or the fact my first race was a half marathon. I found out later…most people… just start with a 5K.

Go big or go home.

As a competitive person I don’t find this bad. It challenges me, motivates me, makes me not be content sitting where I’m currently at knowing there’s always room to improve, grow, get stronger.

There’s one area that I don’t think it works well. Weight loss.

Yet, it seems to be how people often take it on.

Do or die. I’m gonna lose weight. All or nothing.

Go big or go home. No. Just…. no.

This isn’t a time to apply this approach.

Why? Because I know of no one who dives into altering their food/nutrition and turns into an athletic junky overnight.

Or, if they decided to go all out, they burn out within a week, maybe two.

Unfortunately, what is fed to us today are quick fixes and schemes to convince the average person they can be fit and strong in 12 weeks and all their problems are fixed.

It’s just not true. Well, I mean if you’re working out for 12 weeks I know you’re gonna be stronger, heck you might even be feeling a bit fierce about yourself. But it’s gonna take some time to get to where you’re going. It takes time to build new habits and behaviors in your life.

Slow and steady becomes the game plan that works. I firmly believe doing small things, every day, leads to bigger things.

I know… it’s not glamorous or instant gratification like so many programs offer… but I tell you it will be way more sustainable for you.

Here’s what I mean. People don’t want to be told or hear that small things add up. We are to used to the modern day hocus pocus on weight loss. We’re told small isn’t enough…doesn’t matter or have as much benefit for us.

But what if you began a practice of parking further out at the store to walk a bit more? or taking the stairs instead of elevator? standing more and sitting less? being active outside? Cleaning house or doing more of your own yard work? What if you just looked for ways to move your body more?

Then what if you added in some sensible and sane eating? Practicing moderation and balance while learning to eat healthy and more nutritious foods?

What if each day you slowly, and steadily lived a life that was active, balanced and powered by mostly wholesome foods ( hey, I still like chocolate cake too!)

Because of the huge weight loss industry we are (sadly) wired to think if we don’t have a go big or go home mentality we might as well give up before we start.

Beginning in a slow steady way, allowing your body to lose 1-2 pounds a week is a healthy and long term approach to being successful. It also allows you to build your confidence as you move from day to day being successful in your achievements.

There will be good days, and there will be not so good days.

The point is …pay attention to this boys and girls… continuous forward movement.

As you gain confidence and see that you have everything in you to be successful, you might begin to look at more specific goals for yourself. That’s when you might have to consider what physical activities you need to add to your plate as well as how  your nutrition might need to be balanced towards that as well.

On my own health and fitness journey, it has been a constant, forward movement. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’ve taken a huge step all at once, other times, I feel like I’m in a holding pattern.

Right now, I’m excited to be in a new activity that’s pushing me more out of my comfort zone and definitely making me take new and bigger steps. But you see, all of this fits into my personal goals. None of what I’ve done has been accomplished quickly.

It has been small steps, small goals, that quickly became fueled by loftier goals. My athletic goals challenged my nutrition ( it is really hard to be a good athlete and eat garbage) see how it all kind of fits together?

You may have some big goals for yourself athletically. Or you may have big goals for yourself to lose 20 pounds. Maybe it’s to be able to walk up stairs without being winded or chase your kids around without feeling like you’re dying.

No matter what your personal vision is, remember slow and steady is the name of the game.

Save the go big or go home ideal for those crazy things that kinda scare you 😉

Tell me.. have you ever taken the idea of go big or go home with weight loss or fitness? Did that work for you? What thing helped you be most successful?