Lifestyle Change And New Habits

Oh snap dragon.

Before I launch into todays thoughts, I’ll do a quick update on my recovery run I mentioned in yesterdays post.

I did my own little 5k with the goal to go slow and easy and just enjoy the absolute thrill and joy of running again… to see how the heel felt and not push for anything heroic.

Is there anything better than feeling the road under your feet? Having the wind in your face? Getting all sweaty? Or hearing nothing but the sound of your breathing as you let your body do what it’s trained to do ?

I think not.

The cool, groovy, and overall awesome thing? the heel felt no better or worse than before the run. My plan is to alternate some easy runs with strength training and ease back into where I want to be.

Now… on with todays new stuff…..

An overarching theme I hear from people who are starting/want to start a lifestyle change is this… “there are so many things to consider, so many things to change!”

Yeah, I get it. The task can seem daunting, so daunting in fact, many people will give up before they really get started trying.

Making changes means building new habits, new behaviors, an overall rewiring of your brain and how you do things. It doesn’t happen overnight.

How I wish it was so easy! But if you don’t start somewhere, how are you gonna start ? So what if you flop and fail the first couple times ? I certainly did. So do many others.

Think of learning to ride a bike with no training wheels…. remember those lurching, wobbling attempts to keep your balance and not go careening into the bushes ? Worse yet, remember when you did ?

What did you do? Dragged that bike out and with the help of mom or dad, you got back on that thing again and you started over… and you kept at it till you were successful… till you could sail down the street like a demon with no hands.

Building new habits in our lives is a lot like that. You gotta keep after it, if you fall off, you get back up, and start again until it begins to feel natural to you.

It’s hard to let go of comfortable habits, especially when they are not so good health habits, many of which have been in place in our lives for a long time!

Instead of being overwhelmed at the prospect of thinking you must change everything all at once, why not make a list of things you want to change?

Be specific and most of all be honest and real with yourself. If you eat in front of the TV at night and know it’s a bad habit, put it down.

Make a list of “new” habits you want to build in your life.

Once you list habits you have in place and you want to change or add you can then focus on one at a time.

Wouldn’t it be way easier to attempt say, one a week ? Of course, if you’re an over achiever, you can always focus on more 😉

The goal of course, is to make slow steady changes that evolve into a “lifestyle change”… something that is permanent and lasting.

Do you have any specific things you’ve done to build new habits in your life ?

Healthy Habits And Lifestyle Change

Hey boys and girls…. it’s Monday! Are you ready to take on a new week ? It’s sunny and beautiful here in south Texas this morning and a bit on the cooler side too… no worries… it won’t last long 😉

I felt it when I scampered outside in only my shorts and sports bra… brisk air slamming into me… the beauty of working out? You warm up fast and get over that ha

Today was a combo of boxing, weights, and core body moves. I like doing this because it’s just a progression of constant movement from one point to the next. Not only that, boxing always makes me feel like a beast 😉

I knew getting up this morning that this workout was on my agenda for my day. A part of my day. As non-negotiable as eating or brushing my teeth.

Why? My workouts are a habit now, and honestly, a habit I love.

On our pursuit of developing a lifestyle change ( not a diet, a permanent change you can live with) new habits and behaviors must be formed along the way to make that change.

Food habits :  learning to make better choices to support our goals, and setting aside other things that don’t support our goals.  How do you look at food? What is it to you? Comfort? Stress reliever? A friend ?  or is it fuel to support your life and activities? What kind of fuel do you put in it ? When you’re hungry, what are you reaching for ? To move forward requires making intentional, better choices for yourself. Know also that it will take time for your tastes to change. If your daily diet consists of fast food, processed foods, sugars and refined foods know it will take time for change to occur. When it does, you will honestly taste the difference..those foods will taste “off” to you.

Exercise habits: movement isn’t just good to help with weight loss, but it’s good for us mentally, spiritually, and emotionally too. Our bodies are MADE for movement.

We have to make intentional choices to exercise like anything else in our life.

The thing is, for most people, in the beginning, it’s hard and uncomfortable! It’s also the point where you will quickly realize how out of shape you really are and get discouraged. Start small, start slow, stay consistent. Yes, you will be uncomfy but the more you continue to do it, the less you will feel that way. Trust me, you can move to a place where you embrace the challenge and look forward to the workout and will feel like something is missing if you don’t do it.

Mental habits: How often are you thinking of food ? What are your thoughts about food? Is it in a proper place in your life? How do you talk to yourself? Are you mentally preparing yourself for physical activity ?

Lifestyle habits: How we’re raised, how we learned to eat with our families impacts us forever. The spoken or unspoken rules that we grew up and lived by… good or bad…. we carry these habits with us into adulthood. If eating extra was encouraged, “clean your plate!” was the mantra or poor nutrition was modeled you will have to work intentionally to build new lifestyle habits. I think perhaps of all things, breaking free of family habits is the hardest thing but it can be done.

I also think it’s important to know what your triggers are, what have you “conditioned” yourself to that you need to rewire? Do you stop at a gas station and automatically think you need soda and a candy bar? Are you a little hungry and think you need to go through the drive thru before you get home for dinner? or to have a more nutritious lunch?

That was a serious revelation for me years ago…. I don’t need to run through and get something… I WILL NOT… starve to death before I get home… I won’t… neither will you. I try and keep small snacks with me if I do need something. I’m not saying you should ignore those natural body signals, just learn to plan wisely and have better snacks than the local fast foods value menu.

Like any habit we develop in life, our relationship with food (how we eat, what we eat, how much) are all driven by habits we’ve allowed to settle into our lives. With persistence and determination, you can build and develop new habits to support your lifestyle change. The most important thing is to be determined and make these changes each day to lead to permanency.

Crossing the (Diet) Bridge

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I have two special friends, male and female, who have been extremely successful in their quest to lose weight and get into living a healthy lifestyle.  Like myself, they have done it the plain old fashioned way of taking it slow and steady, losing weight and allowing their minds to be transformed along with their shrinking bodies. They have had good days and bad on their journeys to get where they are now. Nothing happened over night, but it did happen.

Now a much, much slimmer version of their former selves they have learned skills along their journey to stay successful. Eating better, eating less, building in their favorite “treats”, exercise and a positive attitude. These things all contribute to  permanent success.

As things go in life, all of our paths have intersected and I now have enjoyable relationships with each of these people.

I found it interesting that in totally separate conversations, they voiced to me what I’ve often pondered myself on this journey.

“Why do some people get started and quit? Why do some start, re-start and start again and then something happens and it “takes”?”

All three of us have used the illustration of crossing over the bridge. Funny, because we each had this same thought and shared it within our conversations.

Maybe, perhaps, because we get it.

I think most people would agree, it’s fairly easy to put weight on, but requires a lot more from us to remove it.

Discipline to say “no” to things we want to eat. Discipline to pass on seconds, or foods we know won’t best support our health and wellness goals. Sacrifice to make room in our schedules for exercise or to get up earlier. Dedication to a new way of living that at first feels unfamiliar, foreign, and down right uncomfortable.  Willingness to finally get real with who we are, where we are and how we got there. Not to mention a certain amount of tenaciousness to hold onto wanting to be successful like a bulldog with a favorite toy.

You see that ? All those things, they start in your head.

Discipline.

Sacrifice.

Dedication.

Willingness.

We tend to think of weight loss as just a body thing….” I’ll just stop eating to much and lose weight and it will all be fine”  without realizing the huge part our minds play in the process of truly becoming successful.

Why do you think people who are going to undergo major weight loss surgeries are encouraged to go to counseling classes to help them process not just weight loss but what will be required of them from a nutritional stand point? Sadly, so many of these will go back to gaining all that weight again because even though their bodies  are changing, their minds haven’t made a connection to a new way of living, they are still thinking about all the food that got them to that point in the first place and wanting to eat in the same ways.

Like many others, they will not have “crossed over the bridge”.

It’s that place where it all connects together and you understand exactly what has to be done, that it will be a process, and you simply settle in for the journey. You take a single day at a time. You strive to make the best choices (nutritionally) you can. You stop viewing eating good foods as a form of punishment. Exercise becomes just as valuable as brushing your teeth each day. You allow your body to slowly and steadily go through the losing part just like it did the gaining part. You get that there will be days that will bomb and you dust off and keep going.

You love yourself on the journey.

The journey, that crosses you over the bridge into freedom and into a new way of living.

A permanent lifestyle change. Welcome to the other side.

Cookie Cutter Diets Part 1

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As I shared with you in another post, one of the questions I get from seeking people is :

What do you eat?

They know I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and they are wondering what “formula” I use and would that be successful to help them achieve their fitness/health goals.

Overall, I think I eat fairly well, but will freely admit I haven’t “arrived” in a perfect nutritional way ( I still like my occasional treats 😉

I don’ t micro manage macros and micros and obsess over every single calorie. Personally, I find that really freeing, but it is a process I’ve learned for myself these past few years.

Now keep in mind, I certainly wouldn’t be offering them a horrible food plan. In fact, it would (overall)  probably be very beneficial to them. I have enough knowledge to help them figure out basic daily calorie needs and how to operate within that structure.

But here’s the deal. Just because what I’m doing works for me…. doesn’t mean it will work for every person who approaches me. I’ve really developed my own thing over time that allows me to live my life, and do my athletic(y) stuff too. I’ve gotten a pretty good balance of how much food I need to lose or maintain my weight and operate in those boundaries.

You know what that’s called? Sustainable.

I’ve worked out a healthier way of eating and living that is easy enough for me to keep at day in and day out. It allows me to eat overall healthy 90-95% of the time and still lets me have some of my fav treats when I want them ( like those Peanut M&M’s 😉 and I’ll tell you, the less you eat it, the less you want it. Your tastes really do start changing with a healthier diet.

As far as nutritionally from an athletic stand point, I’ve really had to teach/train myself more to take in adequate food for training because my needs really can vary day to day. Obviously, doing a 20+ mile run will require more than a 4 mile run. It really becomes a matter of learning to fine tune what each days needs are. And I’m pretty sure, you, my lovely reader, are no different.

So what would tips/suggestions or helpful advice would I offer up to someone asking ?

First, let’s start with this.  It’s important to really know and understand your goals. What are you wanting to achieve ? Have something clearly defined… write it down or post it where you can see it.

Is it primarily weight loss with the goal to improve your lab results? to lose fat, lower blood pressure, prevent disease, to have more energy, less aches and pains, and better quality of life ? To just… move better ?

Do you have a specific athletic goal in mind ? Training for a 5k, or maybe a longer race? Maybe you want to learn to run. It could be cycling or maybe a triathlon. It could be you’re wanting to get stronger, build some muscles.  Perhaps it’s just to get out and walk for a couple miles and not be out of breath doing it… or hurting and exhausted.

You might be at a place where your weight is managed but maybe you’re wanting to focus more on building and defining what you currently have. More aesthetics. You could be highly motivated and want to do figure competition.

Defining your goals are very important to help identify where you want to go before you just jump into a standard 1200 calorie per day diet ( please, please don’t do that.. we’ll talk more on that later)

There’s a reason I titled this  Cookie Cutter Diets our nutritional needs are not all alike! And depending on what our lives involve, those needs can change day to day.

I believe one of the keys to success is not just jumping into a horribly restrictive food plan, cutting out all things you love, and hoping to grind it out for maybe 2 weeks, getting frustrated you don’t see instant results, and then **with a sigh of relief** at the end of those weeks, you go back to what you know and what you’ve been comfortable in.

Once again you…. abandon your weight loss attempts and determine it’s to hard and you’ll never accomplish it.

BUT, if you make small gradual changes, and add slow and steady exercise that doesn’t kill you on day one, your chances of success greatly increase.

Now, you’re job is to determine what you want and how to go after it.

That’s your homework.

Think on it, and come back for the next part where we figure out what kind of calories you really DO need each day to reach your goals, and sustain them.

So Much Food. What To Eat ?

So today’s post is coming from questions I sometimes get… and there can be some interesting ones 😉 one that has come up several times is this :

In regards to health and wellness, it’s the “what do you eat / do for meals ?” question

Let me say first, what works for me, might not be the “thing” that works for you.

Also, on any given day what I eat depends on the training I’m doing. Obviously, my needs are greater with a 20+ mile run, versus a strength training day so my caloric intake can be quite different.

And the other thing…. it will also depend on our likes and dislikes and overall personal tastes. I don’t follow any current “trends” of don’t eat this or that. Unless you have a food allergy/health reason, eat the food. It disturbs me how many people today follow a certain trend without even knowing the why’s of doing it….

There are some things that I do which, I believe, are beneficial to everyone….

I rarely eat fast food. I don’t do a lot of processed, refined or fatty foods. I keep sugar to a minimum. I don’t drink alcohol or sugary drinks or fake sugars. I skip creamy stuff like mayo, spreads, and those sort of items. I prefer whole grain/brown foods over “white”.

I do drink a ton of water (’cause I really do like it and it’s the best thing for your body)

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Side note…. I don’t use bottles… I really run around with a big glass full of ice water.. it travels everywhere with me.

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One of my fav healthy breakfasts….

Fruits and veggies make up a large part of my daily nutrition. Not shown here are sweet potatoes. Such tasty little suckers. I often roast them with some olive oil for dinner, and use the cold ones with my breakfast or toss them in with my lunch salad. These are a great nutritional super food.

I believe dairy is important (especially for women) so I try and get in a couple glasses of milk a day and my Greek yogurt snacks 🙂

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seriously, the best. I also add a few roasted coconut almonds into it for a tasty midafternoon snack

Protein is very important with my training to make sure my muscles have enough to grow on =) I know it’s not currently trendy, but I love real milk. No apologies.

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Eggs are a perfect breakfast food for me. I also keep them hard boiled for afternoon snacks.  I eat the whole egg… the most important nutrients are contained in the yolk. I find protein does a much better job to keep me feeling satisfied and “level”.

I have no issues with “grains” and enjoy multi whole grain breads/bagels, oatmeal and some cereals.

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Keeping foods that are easy to quickly grab in your ‘fridge is a first step to making good snack choices =)

Basically, I try and eat, the majority of the time healthy foods. I don’t believe in eliminating food groups unless you have a valid health reason to do so.

Oh, and some treats are allowed and completely enjoyed at times =)

And of course, this is always a part of my day. Isn’t coffee a food group ??

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I’ll tell you this, of myself and people I know who have it going on nutritionally, they have a strong foundation in their daily diet of lots of fruits and veggies. These not only fill you up with less calories, the nutrients they deliver to your body contribute to your overall health,wellness and appearance.

If you don’t currently eat a lot of these tasty food items do this:

Start by eating more of what you like.
Try something new every day or two.
Cook veggies in different ways. I love roasting or sautéing mine
Experiment with new recipes to get more veggies in.
Do fruit salads instead of veggie salads in your meals.
Reach for these things as snack items…understand you must train yourself to do so.
Stop treating these foods like they are the enemy…they are health and wellness for you.

Oh, and if you can’t STAND a certain veggie/fruit… then.. don’t eat it! There’s a lot more out there to choose from.

Making slow shifts in your daily diet and replacing not so good foods with better choices will get you on a healthy lifestyle path =)

Setting Realistic Fitness Goals

When I kicked started my little blog a few short weeks ago, it was to hopefully, share, encourage and motivate those who stumbled across me in the vast cyber world of blogville.

It’s a big place out there boys and girls. And wow, ya’ll have been so…. nice……

I wanted to take my voice into the world to do what I’ve been doing in real life and through my Facebook page, motivating and encouraging people to pursue a lifestyle of health and fitness.

As you know, and as I’ve shared in other posts, I’m a runner and love running and will talk a lot about it ( as in, I have a half marathon this weekend, so spoiler alert, you know what’s coming 😉 however, there’s a lot more to me,  a person, and much more to our lives we deal with so I will also venture into other topics and ideas to share with you as we move along.

I think when people are setting out to do something as (big) as get on their health and fitness journey, they really need a cheerleader, a mentor, and someone who’s plowed the road in front of them to say “hey, I got through this, you can too!”

It can be hard…. frustrating… overwhelming. As one reader commented to me the other day on my post, they hadn’t “thrown in the towel yet”…..

That means a lot … if you can press on taking one day at a time and just focusing on it…. and not the rest of your life….or that you feel like you’ll be fat/out of shape/ unmotivated whatever… you WILL make progress.

Trust me.

There will be days you’ll look at yourself in the mirror in that self-loathing way (don’t… do … that… or I will…come beat you) and you think there’s no progress going on… but there is…. you must give your body time to adapt and adjust to what you are doing. Remember part of the process is knowing that there’s a lot of changes going on…. not just physically inside and out ……but mentally and emotionally as well….

Our bodies really are this cool science experiment.  Work them, feed them good foods, be consistent in that process and in this slow steady way…. stuff happens….

Honestly, I’ve been at this for 7 years now. I’ve kept my weight off, built muscle, gotten stronger, leaner,  have more energy and can physically do more than I did half my age ago. I realllllyy l that 😉

Did you notice something ?

 7….. years…..

I’ve made forward progress by being consistent and letting changes happen in the way they need to……over time.

Are my fitness goals different now, than when I started this process? You bet they are ( and that, boys and girls will be another post)

The important thing is this. I just lived my life each day…. purposefully and intentionally  with forward progress. This is not something you can manhandle out quickly. You’re living your life, settle back and enjoy  the journey.

I still have people who will see me and say “when did you get like that??” and my response is “I’ve just been working at it for awhile”.

May I offer some suggestions if you are thinking of starting your journey or maybe you’re on it and need encouragement.

Ready ? Take notes 😉

Be kind to yourself when you start the process. Firm, but kind.

Don’t tolerate excuses from yourself (you can read more on that in my “No Excuses” post)

Set reasonable goals.

Make a vision board of ideas or goals you want to achieve. My closet door is littered with ideas/quotes/goals.

If you’re serious… tell people! My Facebook page has been a place where I post what I will be doing and I know at least one person is going to ask about what I’m doing and if I did it. Not only that, you are also going to motivate someone else… win/win!

Educate yourself in what you are doing… read and learn.

Finally, make it fun! You are doing this as a “lifestyle” enjoy what you’re doing!

With consistent daily progress you will hit your goals.

But no matter what….. don’t you give up and throw in the towel. You will never reach your goals by doing that!

Have you thrown in the towel before? How many times before it “stuck”? What things  helped you ? Share =)

2007/2014 7 years into my journey
2007/2014 7 years into my journey

That Nutrition Thing

What came first? The chicken or the egg ?

I think it’s like asking in the health and fitness world, what came first?

The knowledge  your body needed movement and exercise for better health? Or that you needed to eat better and make intelligent food choices for better health ?

We all arrive in different ways. If you are gonna get out there and kick your butt in some hard physical activities , do you really wanna come back in and feed it garbage ?

Oh, in the beginning it might be like that. “I worked out today! I deserve this!” as the cheeseburger and fries go down… or the fancy sugary coffee drink or whatever your poison is. There’s a sense of entitlement.

It might take awhile, or not so long, for the shift to occur. To realize if you’re doing this hard work you don’t want to undermine your efforts. You start looking at things in a different light.

If your physical activities are really hard and demanding it doesn’t take long to understand that what you put in you IS fuel and you need a) enough fuel and b) the right kind of fuel to sustain your activity level.

Last year I picked up a sports nutrition book for endurance athletes to read and teach myself more of what I needed to do. Training for that 50K I knew I needed to really eat…. intentionally.

Let’s just say, there were a lot of days I wasn’t eating enough for what I was physically doing. It takes planning and forethought to consume foods to not only support your daily living and activities but also your purposeful exercise.

I’m learning. I’ve learned a lot and don’t think I’ve arrived at getting it right. It’s a constant work in progress.

Anyway on my journey of the foods I eat, salad has always been a standard for me. Not as a “diet” food. Not because I “had to”… I’m a weirdo… I just enjoy them.

Before I became somewhat knowledgeable of foods and nutritional content one of the food groups I enjoyed in my salad was…… Ranch… yes, Ranch dressing.

It is a food group, isn’t it ? 😉

Then I started getting smarter and realized I was killing and totally negating any positive effects of salad by the dressing on it. Now I was horrible about it, not like some salads I’ve seen where the lettuce is buried under a sea of white dressing, almost no longer visible….

Over time, I slowly weaned myself away from it. Oh, I have it occasionally ( I like it with my salad and pizza 😉 but this is rare for me.

Let me say this. I often eat salads. Most days of the week they are my lunch staple, because I really, honesty, enjoy them. And, you can seriously get all your daily servings of veggies in with it….. double win.

My salads are not just the standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber kind of salads. I throw all kinds of colorful veggies in, sometimes a fruit of some type, some nuts, seeds or other crunch along with some protein. I’ve learned to use spinach as my “lettuce”. It’s a creative venture for me each time 😛

Seriously, spinach is like a powerhouse of amazing, good for your nutrient rich stuff for almost zero calories. You wanna eat that stuff. Our store has been carrying locally grown and it’s spoiling me!

So I learned, if you add enough texture and variety of tastes and flavors to your salads, dressings are only needed in very minimal amounts.

But, as mentioned, when you are on a health and fitness journey, you do begin to look critically at how and what you eat to support and sustain those goals.

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A sample of a lunch salad…lots of fresh spinach!

One of the main “suggestions” I offer to people who are wanting to lose weight, is to keep a record of what you eat for about a week, and really consider all the little “extras” you might consume but don’t consider empty calories piling into your days.

Things like an over abundance of salad dressing, mayo, and other creamy sauces and the like really do add up. When you can see from your food journal what your consumption of certain items are, you can then begin to examine what you don’t need or could eliminate to help you on your journey to shed weight and get healthier.

Small steps can lead to big, long term changes!

Who Me ? A Runner ?

It’s the question that can come without fail.

“Did you play basketball in school?” after my 6’0 frame has been assessed. “Why, no, I didn’t…”

“Oh, then you must have been in track”

Again, no, sorry.

I smile and tell them I was in band, and a twirler, my claim to fame and athletic prowess.

But… you run now… and you didn’t run in school…  is the next part of conversation…. ( well I did, chasing boys 😉

Then as it does, the conversation shifts to how I, somehow, without any youthful skill or pursuit of running, am doing it now.

Seriously.

How at the crossroads of “middle-aged womanhood” when I’m supposed to be getting soft and fluffy and settling into sensible shoes and clothes,  do I turn into a running junky who now sports the hard and lean look?

What possesses a woman to dive into a sport that people half her age scoff at doing ?

I’d like to claim pure insanity, but I kinda just almost, casually stumbled into it. I didn’t wake up one morning, jumping from bed, proclaiming……………..

“Today, I become a runner!”

I’d always viewed running as a sport requiring a lot of…effort… and one I wasn’t willing to dial up that kinda energy for.

If you’ve read my personal page you might already know that I started off as a happy disgruntled walker.  My doctor had encouraged me to get back to some kind of exercise, so since I used to walk, I just picked that back up again. Rather grudgingly in the beginning I will admit.

As time went on ( and I mean probably a couple years) I found it almost easier to do light jogging for short times. My legs are long and I walk fast ( my sons accuse me of “power walking” at all times, anywhere haha) when I realized the wheels didn’t fall off with that activity, I kept trying to go a little farther.

I still didn’t die.

Then at some point I thought I’d try pushing up my pace a little and attempt to go farther.

Then it happened. I got to a point where I was running more than walking. I kept at that process challenging myself to run to the next tree, or driveway, or mailbox, whatever was a short attainable goal. I usually got to that spot and set my sights on a new one.

And one day someone called me…. a runner. I was flattered and startled all at the same time.

Me? A runner? How had that happened ?

It was a slow gradual process of challenging and training myself. I never set out intentionally to do it. And you know something ? I’m so glad I did.

Physically, mentally and emotionally it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done on many levels.

The other thing? I’ve never met a community like those within the running community who are so encouraging, supportive and helpful to each other. Oh, and let’s not forget, we relate to so many things our non-running family and friends don’t…. so again… it’s awesome to have a huge group of  insane   committed runners to learn from and share victories with.

They understand when you gleefully post “I did negative splits on my run today!!!”” on your Facebook page. They get the crushing blow of defeat and frustration when injury hits or goals get missed. They understand the total euphoria of crossing that finish line…. again….. and what that means…and why you want to do it all again.

So yeah.

I’m a runner.

At this point now, I comfortably call myself that.

I don’t fully understand how it all unfolded, I’ll just say, that I’m glad it did.

Moments after the finish of my second marathon Dec 7, 2014
Moments after the finish of my second marathon Dec 7, 2014

That Stupid Scale

20150311_170859-1Let’s face it…. truth time…..

In our lives we’ve all had relationships with scales… and it’s usually a love/hate relationship.

THE SCALE – our judge, jury, condemner, slammer of our self-esteem and worth. The “thing” that has the ability to take our good, happy day and turn it to crap based on what numbers dial up like a slot machine in Vegas. Those numbers can make us feel like a million bucks or a huge failure.

If the numbers are “good” we allow it to stroke our self-esteem… like our personal value is hinging on those numbers.  If we determine they are “bad” then it can single handedly take us down, making us feel instantly bad about ourselves. Might as well paint a big loser symbol on our chest and send us out into the world.

Let’s establish this right now… you are not “just” a set of numbers… ok ?? There is far more to you than a set of numbers.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The scale does have a value, but it’s a tool, and there are times we need to use that tool, but use it wisely.

When I started my fitness journey, I needed to lose weight, and my weekly weigh in’s were important to my progress.

Did you note the key word here?  Weekly.  Not many times in a week, a day, or several times a day, weekly… once.

I won’t lie. I was in the same boat.

Some weeks,  I loved the damn thing. Other weeks, I had to resist throwing it out the window. I understood for my progress to be successful it needed to be slow and steady, which it was. Some weeks there was more, some less, but it was forward movement.

You know what that scale didn’t tell me ? What it doesn’t tell you?

How awesome you are no matter your size, even as you are seeking to be less of you. It doesn’t take away that amazing feeling you have finishing a workout. Before I’d lost any weight worth mentioning, I mentally felt great after coming in from my walks (that’s where I started in the beginning before, the sickness started, you know, the sickness that is making me run a  50K 😉

The scale also doesn’t show all the cool stuff that is going on INSIDE you. It doesn’t show your lab tests improving, your heart and lung health getting stronger, your resting heart rate getting lower (and a whole lot of other scientific stuff)  or the way you think of yourself, your growing confidence and stronger self-esteem, or the way those workouts help you feel less stressed.

Nor does it show how empowered you are becoming with each workout and positive step forward.

No. It won’t show you any of that.

Being a certain number doesn’t make you “healthy”…. nor does striving to just be “thin”….. it can make you skinny fat which basically means you have more body fat percentage than lean muscle mass. Ah, the benefits of building lean muscle mass… another topic to be pursued….

The goal shouldn’t be to get “thin”.  Oh, years ago when I was starting to lose weight that WAS my mentality.

“I just want to be thin and fit in size 10 jeans again!” at that point that’s all I knew….all I wanted.  Make the scale say less… life would be good.

I didn’t realize it could be so much better than just a quest to be “thin” and trying to achieve some perceived number of “perfection.”

But then…. things happened along the way. Yeah, I was losing fat. But other cool stuff was happening too.

Losing fat let my muscles start showing up. Lifting weights wasn’t just giving me some muscles but making me stronger for ALL  of my daily living. I went from cute 5lb weights to the 35lb I currently use.

Running was shaping me in crazy ways. My legs are not only wildly strong but have awesome muscles. I can’t tell you the times total strangers stop me to comment my legs. My abs leaned out.  Actually I can’t tell you a single area that running hasn’t improved on me.

I got faster. I could lift more. I tackled projects in life without needing someone “stronger” to help me.

I got mentally stronger….tougher.  My confidence grew. I was empowered and didn’t ( and don’t)  consider that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do.

Oh wait…… hold on ……. do you see my numbers at work here ? Defining me ?  No, I don’t either.

You see now days I’m more concerned about what my body can do, and how it can perform doing the things I ask of it, rather than if my numbers are bouncing around on any given day. Today I can’t think of a better compliment than when someone tells me I look strong.

I honestly get on a scale maybe twice a year and it’s at the doctors office. Total freedom.

You see the scale was a “tool” to get me moving. I used it for it’s purpose. It allowed me to see my efforts of eating better and moving more were having results.

Today, all my clothes  are single digit sizes. Remember me mentioning all I wanted was to get back into my size 10’s? I never thought a day would come they’d be two sizes to big. As long as my clothes fit well, I don’t concern myself over numbers hopping around on any given day.

I mean, why ?  Don’t we have enough in our days to trouble us ? Enough negative to potentially bring us down? Do we need to give something like …a scale… that kind of power ??

Ok…. the take away for you my lovely 1.5 readers….

The scale is a tool. Use it as one ( wisely) on your weight loss journey.

It is not your moral judgment.

If you are at the weight you desire to be, how your clothes fit should be a good indicator of your weight, however, if you check in with it, once every week or two is probably enough.

Remember, you are not defined by a number! It’s doesn’t give you value or take away your value.

Focus on all the cool things that make you feel strong, empowered, and confident.

Celebrate your body and what it can do. There’s only one of you in all your awesomeness.

Most of all, love yourself, on the journey to your destination =)

Approval Not Needed

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So with the big hoopla in the media this week about Kelly Clarkson and her (gasp) weight (is it anyone one else’s business but hers?) it really stirred up a topic that’s been rolling around in my head for awhile to write on and this was just the catalyst to let it out.

No, not her weight. Not yours or mine or the family dogs. Actually, this has nothing to do with that topic.

I was more impressed and high fiving her for her ” I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks, I’m awesome” attitude and comment over that issue.

Approval. She pretty much thumbed her nose at the idea she needed someone else’s approval to be happy and be herself. Kudos to you Kelly.

Approval.

We come into this world almost wired for it. In the beginning it’s our parents/ family, we get in school it becomes our peers, later it becomes our boss, co-workers, friends, still family, sometimes even perfect strangers.

If we’re fortunate as we grow up and mature becoming more comfy in our own skin and who we are, we become less concerned over the need for approval of others.

I mean really, at the end of the day, approval given is based on personal opinions, values, beliefs, how we were raised, and even what our personalities are.

I was recently chatting with a young friend who was expressing to me the idea of doing something and I said… “well, just do it”.

His response was… “yeah, but I just worry about what other people are gonna think”… I laughed and told him I didn’t care anymore….

He responded with… ” yes, but you’ve had more life experience to get to that point” and he’s right. I have lived enough life to get to that point. I’m grateful for that ’cause honestly, it’s total freedom.

My “approval needed” list is tiny, one digit, small now days.

I reminded him that approval can be subjective, or it can be a “control” thing with some people. Withholding approval, not giving it, can often be a silent way of expressing personal displeasure, which is then projected onto the person.
Basically, their way of saying they don’t like what you’re doing or have done or that they wouldn’t do it . As stated above, that would be based on personal feelings, beliefs, values, etc.
I reminded him that it can be those closest to us who might withhold it but if he wanted to grow and move forward, he’d need to live his own life and pursue his own dreams.

It can be a hard step to move into. But it’s also seriously freeing. You have your own life to live….. to be yourself.

You don’t need approval to embrace your life and live it to the fullest being who you are.

So hat’s off again to Ms. Clarkson for reminding the rest of the world to smile and say “I don’t care what you think, I’m awesome”

You…. go be awesome.