No, I’m Not Eating My Emotions

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Food. I like that stuff.

Now days, my food choices are vastly different than those pictured above.

I’ll freely admit that I’ve had to get it in it’s proper perspective over the last few years. Growing up food was the “thing” that you celebrated with, gathered on Sundays for, had extra helpings of, and most importantly, you always, always cleaned your plate. It didn’t really matter you weren’t hungry anymore…  just ignore your bodies natural signals of being full and clean your plate.

Happy, sad, angry, depressed, bored, restless, frustrated, holidays, bad weather, stressed, whatever……. all opportunities to eat.

My grandmother and mom were great cooks, and it needs to be mentioned, bakers too. I freely admit to being a baked good snob and can often pass on  store bought goodies and cake mix cakes and bagged cookies. I mean, no offense, but when you’ve had a made from scratch 3 layer German Chocolate cake, anything else is simply an imposter.

They ruined me.

I mean, not totally, ’cause I’m a pretty good baker myself and can make cakes that grown men offer marriage 😉 and my sons friends immediately sought to raid my cookie jar because ( according to them) I was the “only” mom who baked real cookies haha

So yeah, food, it was a big deal…. used on many levels in a completely improper way.  I hadn’t come to the knowledge (yet)  that food was to primarily be fuel for my body.  Not a sporting event.

As I got older, I realized that my family definitely was a family of “emotional eaters”. My grandmother was very over weight as was my mom.  Actually, if I’m being honest with you, they were considered obese. My brother struggled with his weight most of his life. I had steadily gained weight for a few years when I finally got the kick in the butt to make some changes before I might too have to deal with health issues that plagued my mom, grandmother and brother.  I had watched my family use food for comfort and a distraction from boredom for years but was fortunate to have my eyes opened to that.

I often referred to it as mindless eating.

It might look like this: constant grazing while cooking, continuing to eat and pick food from bowls after the meal was long over (and large seconds had been had) eating during the clean up process, basically just consuming food without any thought of what was being done…. or an awareness you’re eating when you aren’t even hungry.

I knew I needed to make myself intentionally mindful of this process to avoid the downfall of a lifetime of emotional eating.

It wasn’t easy. I became aware of the weak part of my days/nights where I’d look for food and not be hungry or when I thought about grabbing something ’cause I might feel stressed, angry, or bored.

Over the past few years I’ll say I think I’m pretty on top of it now…. and I’m very conscious when I let myself do it.

I remember one night after a rather stressful day my husband walked into the kitchen… I had a bag of BBQ chips out on the counter (for the record… I LOVE BBQ chips… but I’m pretty sure they have crack in them) and I was standing there just munching them down… I looked at him and said….

“I want you to know that I’m fully aware I’m totally emotionally eating right now”

I was being kinda silly about it but I was serious too. I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t need to eat them.

It’s a huge step to identify things in your life that are a stumbling block to your health and fitness goals. Once you know your triggers you can make those slow steady changes to freedom.

To break free you must first:

Be real with yourself. Stop making excuses for eating what you don’t need.

Call it what it is… emotional, mindless eating. An unnecessary and unhealthy habit.

Remove yourself from temptation. And that means…get outta the kitchen.

When it was evening and I had eaten and wasn’t hungry, I just brushed my teeth. I knew I wouldn’t get anything after going through that process.

Write down times you feel most vulnerable, or things that drive you to eat when you aren’t truly hungry. Doing this for a week or two will show you patterns that you can then use as a defense strategy.

You love your family… but look at ways you may be influenced to participate in doing this just because it’s always “what you’ve known”. You can still be a part of the fam without engaging in this 😉

Finally, be kind to yourself as you move through this. Awareness is the first huge step to success. Press on and use each day to move forward to freedom =)

Runner IsShoes

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A colorful collection of my running shoes…..

Ok, you knew I couldn’t stay away from talking running for to long, right ?

Well, actually truth be told, this is more a post about the most important thing involved in running, shoes. Well at least I think so. Good shoes are a requirement to do what we do, keep us comfy, and protect from injury.

In fact, when new runners ask me what they need, I tell them they can run in just about anything but they need good quality shoes.

Then the inevitable question…. “what brand do you wear?”

My response is this: go to a good shoe store, try on several pair, you’ll know them immediately when you slip them on.

I then tell them: I wear Asics.

I jokingly tell them I’m married to them. Other than a couple brief flings with Mizuno’s to see what the hype was about, I’ve been in Asics from the beginning of my running career (4ish years now). I’ve always loved the fact I can just go out and put miles on them straight outta the box with no “adjustment” period. They perform well, offer a variety of styles, colors etc and at decent prices.

Other than buying the Cumulus style… which almost destroyed me… the toe box was so small, the heel part was brutal… I was like a disappointed child at Christmas finding out Santa wasn’t real… don’t let me down now……

I was thick in marathon training last fall with those and one day for a shorter run pulled out an old pair of GT 2000 2’s.

Immediately… it was like… OMG…. I’m home…..that’s when I knew… I wasn’t just married to a brand, but a style in that brand.

Does that make me a real, serious, runner now ???

After the marathon, moving into the 50K training,  I knew I seriously needed shoes again. Being 6’0 and not small, I probably beat shoes up faster than someone smaller.

If you run, you know though when it’s time, don’t you?

This time, my mission was simply to get my hands on the GT 2000s. I wasn’t sure if the 2000 3’s were out being new, but figured I’d be ok with the 2’s. I got to the shoe store and after a swift assessment saw no 2000’s at all. I was rather crushed but they had a vast amount of other Asics so I figured I’d find a comfy pair between one of those.

After several pairs tried on, I’m back digging around on the shoe display, when, seriously, what to my wondering eyes should appear?

A single pair of Asics 2000 3’s…. in my size…. and in cool colors. I rubbed my eyes concerned it was a mirage. Nope, the box felt very real in my hands.

I eagerly pulled them out and slipped them on.

**Deep sigh**…. I was home.

I looked again through boxes and never saw another pair. I kid you not, it was all I could do not to squeal like a girl on a roller coaster.

Literally, the next day, I did 10 miles in them, and they felt like I had already been running in them. I think as a runner, that is THE most important thing. I don’t want to have to think about my feet.

Ah, but then, at the end of their running life cycle, what to do with them ? I have several pair that went to yard work before I finally threw them away. Some are still good for a few short miles. But as you can tell, I have many pair still taking up space in my closet.

Is it weird to not want to part with them?

Do I need… therapy? 😉

Ok…. share with me…. are you married to a brand ? What happens to your shoes after they’ve served their running time?

Pills, Shakes, and Other Magic Potions

I’m a pretty passionate person and that passion usually carries over into a lot of things I do… what I believe… ideas I support and embrace.

It’s no wonder then I feel passionate about wanting people to be successful on their health and fitness journeys, and  especially in the area of weight loss. I know half the battle is getting your mind on board and determining you’re gonna take those small baby steps to get it off.

When I began my journey I felt like this:

I want to be thin…now. I want the fat to go away…. tomorrow…. now… make it happen. Skinny jeans be on.

It’s unfortunate we live in an instant gratification society. We’re used to having things instantly. No waiting.

The reality is…. losing weight and keeping it off….. isn’t an overnight process. You didn’t put it on in 2-4 weeks it won’t come off like that either. I know it takes dedicated, consistent effort for it to be long lasting and sustainable.

That is how I encourage people to approach weight loss.

Sane. Balanced. Livable. Sustainable.

It allows the mind and body to work together doing what needs to be done.

Now saying that, here’s where my passion really spill over.

The plethora of products out there promising fast, quick, easy, weight loss in a matter of weeks. The modern day snake charmers.

I can’t tell you the times I’ve challenged down one current trending product with their hype of Lose 15 lbs in 21 days!!”

Now I’ll freely admit to not being a great math wizard in school… but I can tell you what they’re promoting is a loss of 5 lbs per week, given 21 days equals 3 weeks. I’ve had them come back and say “it depends on person” yet all the advertising continues to be boldly proclaimed that this will be the results you get.

Not. Realistic. Is there a show of hands that would agree to that ?

Not to mention I think you’d eat the diet of a gerbil to actually, really, lose that in such a short time. Yet, all I’m told is that there is more food than you can eat each day. Somehow that doesn’t all balance to me.

Then there’s the trendy pink drink, and the drink your meals plan ( honestly am I crazy for wanting to eat real food and not drink it?) I like to eat food……

Never mind… there are wayyyyy to many to talk about and I’m not interested in offering free advertising anyway….

People are desperate. They are willing to take their hard earned money and drop… a lot of it…. on these products.

All I can think is… why not go buy real food with that and get out and go power walking?

The diet industry is a mega business to put it mildly. There are so many things out there today promising to be the magic genie in the bottle for weight loss but if you want to be successful and keep some of  your money it comes down to this…. are you ready?

You have to expend on a daily basis more calories than you take in and create a deficit …. consistently doing that…will lead to weight loss.

Revolutionary, right? Maybe I’m on to something 😉

So, yeah, I am passionate about this. I want people to be successful on their journey and STAY on their journeys, not give up and go back to old ways when the “diet” ends…. or their money runs out.

Changes have to be made. New habits formed. Goals set and reset. Forward progress. Every day.

My suggestions? take it one day at a time, use your money to buy good food, and celebrate each victory and before you know it you’ll reach your goal =) and then, you can use that money to buy smaller clothes 😉

I Don’t Do Diets

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Hey boys and girls =)

How is life treating you today? It’s been (the usual) busy day for me and I’m catching a few moments to type out this post.

I see my title, and find myself ironically amused that I’m camped in Starbucks drinking coffee and nibbling M&M’s while I write this.

Haha…. blogging in a coffee shop. Have I arrived yet?  😉

The diet thing…. or as I think of it… the diet trap….. that often has no end in sight. Let me tell you, I have had my experience with “diets” over the years and what I remember most about them is counting down the days till it ended, much like someone waiting to finish their prison time.

Is it coincidental the first three letters of the word spell….. D…I…E ?

I’ve certainly been on a few that left me feeling so hungry I thought I might.   Worse yet, diets were often deprivation of the worst kind. You might as well have had a Scarlet Letter on your chest at family get togethers as you dutifully nibbled celery sticks and drank water enviously watching everyone else eating “the good stuff”. And having to watch them eat chocolate cake…while you had none… or worse yet you had some and then felt like a failure for doing so, or had the usual questions leveled at you…

“But aren’t you…. on a diet ??”

You counted off the weeks till things got back to “normal” again.  Food was the only thing you thought about. You were on the scale every single day looking for validation from the damn thing.

Oh let’s not forget when you made the decision that “tomorrow was the day”.  You got rid of the stuff you loved by eating it all the night before and prepared to never see it again.

You stocked up on celery. You pondered if you’d ever  get to really experience chocolate in the rest of your lifetime.

Then one day I changed the game up.

I realized after one diet venture, that food, has a lot of power. It speaks to us in many ways.

It feeds our bodies and our emotions. It often comforts us. But it can be a mean task master too, controlling and manipulating you to lose sight of your goals of good health and carrying a comfortable body weight.  I realized if I removed the power from food and quit playing “good food/bad food” games, and taking away everything I loved, and told myself it was there if I wanted it, that maybe I’d get the upper hand.

I decided to try my theory. I told myself nothing was off limit.

My goals were simple: begin to make overall better food choices each and every day. Eat enough to satisfy my hunger but not over eat. If I really, really  wanted ( fill in the blank here) I’d allow myself to have a little. Note, not go on a binge, just enough to satisfy the craving.

I remember about a month into my experiment the fam went out to get burgers. Did I order a salad and stare longingly at their fries ? No…. I had my own. And I just moved right on with my goals in sight. I didn’t have the attitude I ate fries I might as well throw the towel in. Oh, I certainly wasn’t perfect. There were days I felt like were a total bomb. I just picked up and kept moving forward.

Every single day.

Let me tell you….. there  was complete and total freedom of feeling…… in control…. of my food choices. I hadn’t gone off the wagon with my “nothing is off limits” approach.

Time marched on. There were holidays. Family birthdays. Events. And I enjoyed each one. I learned to sample. I learned to be very selective and eat only what I truly enjoyed and that it didn’t take lots of food to manage my hunger. I paid attention to my natural body signals and started obeying them.

I learned there was freedom in saying “no”  to things.

And something crazy started happening…… I was losing weight! How could that be? No suffering? No doing without good foods I loved ? Yet somehow, steadily, week by  week I was diminishing.

I’ll tell you what I’ve learned these past few years:

I  now WANT to eat “healthy” foods. I often have salads simply because I love them. I love veggies and don’t think of them as something I have to eat. I actually crave that stuff.

The more I ventured into running the more aware I became that food is “fuel” for my body to perform and that it was important what I put into it. Endurance running has definitely made me understand the necessity of it.

So yeah….. I don’t “do” diets… and neither should you.  Embrace life. Trust you are smart enough to make good choices for yourself and you will lose weight.

Slow and steady, the way you should, while you live life.

Oh and those M&M’s I mentioned in the beginning?

I didn’t even eat them all…

Tell me your success stories…. or the diet traps you escaped from…. in the comments section =)

Bigger. Stronger. Faster.

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How do you get bigger, stronger, faster?

You do one more rep. You keep pushing yourself farther each mile… pushing your pace. You don’t back off when you think you can’t do anymore… because you can always do a little more… you can…it’s in you. Sometimes you’ve gotta dig deeper than ever…. but it’s there.

Do that enough… and in time… things happen.

I was reminded of that on my last “long” run (before my 50K). I had 15 miles set to do which kinda turned into 15.73 😛

I realized I was almost at 13 miles and still felt really strong.

That is a half marathon distance.

I thought of my first half I did Nov 2011. I had trained through 10 miles. All training plans assured me I’d be able to pull off 3 more miles even though it would be my first time doing it.

And I did. I remember thinking after the 10 mile marker…. “ok Toto, we’re totally in new territory now” but I did those miles and crossed the finish line, tired, but feeling victorious.

And then the other day…. pounding out those miles… feeling strong and like I was just getting warmed up… yet running my own personal half (and a little more) but understanding it’s taken some time, work, and not settling and being comfortable remaining where I was in my first half marathon to get where I was today. If I hadn’t continued to push and challenge myself ( 4 more half marathons, and 2 full marathons) I wouldn’t be heading into the biggest endurance race I will have ever done this upcoming weekend.

And you, my friend, if you take on what you’re doing, press on, and don’t allow yourself to settle and stay where you are, will continue to improve and hit new goals for yourself. You’ll reach new heights. Do things you never thought possible before.

Bigger. Stronger. Faster.

You have everything you need deep within you to do it…. trust me…. you do.

No Excuses

20150224_120352-1If you’ve spent any time on the internet, or follow any fitness pages, you most likely saw a post with a young woman in extremely good shape, with her kids, and the title “No excuses” posted over it. Besides her age, it’s also evident she took care of herself before, during, and after pregnancy. And let’s not forget this too…. she’s also blessed with some really good genetics.

It got a lot of attention in good and bad ways. I’m not naming names here ’cause I think there’s been enough advertisement on that particular person. It made some people mad. It “inspired” others. There was LOTS of conversation in both directions.

Don’t get me wrong. I really understood what she meant. I did. It was simply meant to say (now this is my opinion here) I have a life, family, work, and stuff going on but I make time for my workouts as well.

See, I get it, ’cause several years ago when I started my own health and fitness journey, I had to remind myself…. “No Excuses”. As you can see in my pic, I made a simple Post-It note that was in my bathroom staring me down. .. reminding me… every morning…..to do it.  As my journey progressed and I lost weight, I added my labels from my diminishing pant sizes to remind me why I wasn’t making excuses to not put my workout into my day. Those were victory moments for me at that time. I cheered myself every time I finished… sometimes… I still do.

You see, in the beginning, it wasn’t easy. Some mornings when it was cold and grey it was tempting to say…. “not today, but tomorrow”…. and I realized if I succumbed to that thought…. day after day…… could potentially go by with me finding an excuse to not make time to take care of my body.

You know what’s way cool ? You do something long enough it turns into a habit.

Something you can’t imagine NOT doing. Like the “OMG I forgot to brush my teeth!” kinda feeling.

And as time went on, it got easier. I got up in the morning and landed in my running gear prepared and ready to do it as soon as everyone was launched for the day. I got over the “it’s cold, grey, wet” whatever feelings and just did it.

Now days the only thing I won’t run in is 1) lightening 2) icy conditions… both are obvious safety issues. On those days, the plan I developed years back, was to start strength training or boxing when I absolutely couldn’t run. I’m glad I did because the strength training has also made me a stronger, more fit, and healthier runner.

That Post- It is still in my bathroom.

I really don’t need that reminder anymore. I’ve landed in a comfortable, slim size pant so those numbers really don’t drive me so much either. I moved to a point of viewing exercise as a gift to my body and to my mind as well. Now I schedule appointments around my training!

Maybe, you’re somewhere in that zone. Perhaps you need “no excuses” to be a challenge to you…. that you are worth that small investment of time in your day to be a better person, parent, spouse, worker. I realized after my workouts even being tired, I felt better prepared to deal with the rest of life… and I don’t know about yours…. but mine can get crazy at times! It might be cliché but running really is good therapy for me, on a lot of  levels 😉

Don’t let the words “no excuses” be a form of condemnation, but rather, allow it to challenge you, to move you onward to your goals and overall health and wellness =)

Why Hello World

I feel like I’ve given birth today.

True, it’s been a lot easier than the delivery of a small person from your body, but it’s been a birth process none the less. It’s how I always feel when an idea finally gets launched out of my mind and into action.

Something creative is born. Future plans are made. Vision and goals are set.

In this instance, finally having the ” idea” of a blog, to actually moving forward to making it happen. Getting out of my personal world of Facebook, Instagram, and small town writing, to flinging myself into the vast world to share my version of life and all it entails.

Given that this is my first post, and you don’t know me from your third cousin twice removed, there’s a lot I can tell you. However, if I don’t tell you ….. you’ll have to keep coming back to find out… more 😉

I’ll tell you this though…. I do love life, people  the weirder  um… more interesting… the better, running, health and nutrition, being strong and fit and helping others get on their own journey of  health and fitness. Actually, nothing delights me more than seeing someone “get it” and the confidence and strength they gain as they learn to make better life choices. I love sharing my fitness journey with others so they know I can relate to where they are, that I’ve experienced the same struggles, feelings, and frustrations.

BUT….. in the sharing of that I want them to know if I can take daily steps and get where I am, they can too. I haven’t always been a running girl (you’re gonna hear lots more on this topic) nor have I always been concerned about what foods I eat or how they make me feel or the impact they have on my body. It has been a process and I’ve taken it one day at a time.

I believe in a practical, realistic approach to losing weight and getting fit. I don’t “do” diets. I believe life is to be lived and enjoyed and food is a gift. We just need to handle it in an appropriate manner. The old school way of moving more, eating better and in moderation led me to a 55 lb weight loss, as well as dropping about 5 pants sizes.

Now days I’m more interested in how my body performs for me when I run, or do strength training than I am about numbers on the scale.  I eat well because I know it fuels my body for activities I love. I don’t view exercise as something I “have” to do, but more as a gift  to my body.

And other random things…. I’m a free spirit. I’m not interested in being kept in a box where someone else defines the rules. I’m not interested in conforming to “the norm”. I love black coffee, Peanut M&M’s, reading, laughing, and unexpected treats. Pink and black are the perfect combination of colors. I love clothes and the more unique and fun, the better. I’m 6’0 tall but love to wear crazy high heels… because I can… and because I don’t care what someone might think about a tall chick wearing them. I love piercings and tattoos..no apologies there…see previous sentence.  I love finding adventures in every day life and I have an off the wall sense of humor.

Ah well…. enough of me… and you already got that in my opening blog line.

Older. Smarter. Stronger.

Come back again… and in the meantime…. welcome to my world.

Share. Let me hear from you 🙂