Time Vs. Priorities

i_dont_have_time-960x675One day. 24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds.  Time. It’s something we all start off with the same amount of each day but that is where any similarities stop.

How we spend this daily valuable resource largely depends on our lives and what we choose to do with it.

There are some things that are non-negotiable in our days.

Work and travel time to and from. Sleep. Meals. Appointments to be kept are all things that automatically deduct from our daily bank account of time.

Then there could be everything from caring to our homes, raising kids, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, doing errands the list goes on.

Of course, there are important things ( priorities) in each of our days. You know, those things that are always at the top of the to-do list to get done and HAVE to be done. We may wish we could be doing something more fun but those priorities have to take place first.

In the ways of fitness and exercise, what I hear most is… “well, I just don’t have time to exercise”… which always confuses me ’cause an hour or so is such a small part of a 24 hour day that I’m not sure what keeps someone so busy they don’t have time for themselves.

Is it guilt? Or is it just a convenient way to dismiss working out? Or is it just letting other  things have precedence over the equally important task of taking care of our bodies.

The quote I’ve used today I’ve shared before on social media.

It’s often met with crickets in regards to exercise.

Why? Because I guess at a basic level all of us intellectually know we need to do activities that support us and encourage health and wellness in our lives.

However, those activities are often hard.  Learning to eat better or say no to things isn’t always easy. Teaching ourselves to eat less or make better food choices isn’t easy. We like our old comfortable ways and want to stay in them.

Getting out of our house and outdoors to walk or ride a bike takes effort. Driving to the gym means planning and making it work in our schedules. And let’s face it, when we’re out of shape, exercise is hard and it sometimes makes us ache! It might  not be the thing you wanna sign up for initially.

You don’t get it, I don’t have time…really.

Hey, I understand! Life does get busy. There are some days for me that I just don’t see anything else fitting into it. Literally, I’m up super early for an appointment or something equally important and the rest of the day seems like I’m running and not the kind of running I’d prefer to be doing. I’ve learned to not stress over those days because I know I’ll be at it the next day.

I’ve had days where I’ve been up earlier and restructured my workout to fit the time I had in the morning to still get ready and be on time for where I needed to go.  Do you know what you can pack into 20 minutes??  A lot.

As I’ve trained myself and built new habits, it’s become something I automatically do… structure my day to accommodate my exercise.

You can do it too. Trust me.

Will you have to be intentional? Yes. Will you have to get out of your comfort zone? Absolutely. Will you have to plan and make it a part of your new schedule? Yep.

The question that begs to be asked….

Is it worth it to you?

Simple and straightforward, right?

What’s it worth to you? If it’s a priority, you’ll make it one. If not, you’ll continue to talk or think about it but never be intentional at making it happen.

How do you spend your time?

Seriously. How do you spend your free time in your day? How much time is spent on your phone playing games or surfing the web? How much time is spent laying on the sofa or sitting in the chair watching tv?

More than you realize I’m sure.

Remember we’re only talking about an hour of your day to do something positive for yourself.

What if I want to start? How?

Awesome! Making a commitment and having that desire is the most important one to take. I’ve said so many times before, scheduling your time is key to success and making it happen.

. determine what you want to do. What sounds fun or interesting that will hold your attention?

. Once you decide that, you need to determine what time of day is best for you. Are you a morning person? evening? Your job might determine when you schedule your time. But figure it out.

. With an activity, and your best time determined, now write it down or put it in whatever digital device you choose to use.

. What other steps do you need to take to make your commitment happen? will you need shoes or any type of gear? Join a gym? Schedule a personal coach? Get up a half hour earlier?  Figure it out.

. The final thing would be making sure you keep your appointment with yourself. This honestly comes down to your own determination and not quitting on your commitment. This can take a little time as your build this new habit into your life, because it will be a new habit, hopefully a positive lifelong one.

Time vs. priority. What will it be?

Have you had to learn to make exercise a priority? How did you accomplish it?

.

 

 

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For The Love Of Coffee

As a writer/blogger/lover of words I spend time reading in a variety of formats. I love getting lost in a good book when I can but often I’m on the go so my phone offers opportunities to access many interesting things to read.

As in… I started reading an article one day by a local girl who has a blog. She was writing about local coffee shops.

Coffee. Well she had my attention. Tell me more.

love coffee

 

As she opened up her post about the local shops she then backhandedly said she left out Starbucks ’cause we all know what that’s about. ( big chain coffee shop, no explanation needed, I guess)

I’m not unfamiliar with all the small local places. In fact last year when our Starbucks ( you are welcome for all the free advertisement here 😉 ) was under renovation I did my own independent coffee shop field trips.

Some standard. Some cool. Some eclectic. Some had great coffee, others not so impressive.

Her article addressed not just the coffee but the people in the shops and the staff who worked there.

I thought the article interesting as she listed various places and shared about the coffee and food she had tried.

I guess I understand how she might have not viewed Starbucks ( large mega coffee chain) as interesting, fun, or engaging as a local quaint spot. I have friends who frequently dismiss Starbucks as unworthy of patronage or attention.

I think she missed out not learning about our Starbucks. I think many local people miss the point too when they mock “big corporation coffee”.

Sometimes, it’s just not about the coffee.

Oh don’t misunderstand me here. I do love the coffee. Hot or cold I’ll take it.

Starbucks is mainly, convenient for me. But in the years I’ve been hanging out there the coffee is sometimes just an added bonus to the relationships that I’ve built with those who are there whether they are the baristas or the customers.

In a previous post I wrote for National Coffee Day https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/09/30/celebrating-coffee/  I talk about some of the people I’ve met and the encounters I’ve had.

Coffee and meeting people, engaging with other lives. It’s a rewarding experience.

The baristas I come to really care for and I hate it when they leave. I’m fortunate to keep up with so many of them after they head off to new adventures. I get to see them get married or start families, finish school or follow along with their life. Sometimes, my heart hurts for pain, struggles and loss they go through.

Then there are the familiar faces, the regulars, who are there. Ones you come to expect at certain times and who are there for various reasons. In the mornings it can be like a big family meeting with everyone hanging out for morning coffee.

Of course there are the random strangers that I get to have one time conversations with and that’s ok too. I often learn a lot about someone in a short time.. just a glimpse into another life.

One man that I wrote about in my last coffee post, an older man, who was old enough to be my dad, was one of the regulars I probably knew the longest there. He often asked me about my athletic shenanigans admiring me for what I did, challenging me when I needed challenged and wanting to see my medals after I had finished a race. He was one of the few people at the time who knew I was considering running a 50K.

I remember telling him ” it’s just such a long race. It scares me to think of doing it”  he simply told me ” you can do it. Think of all you’ve done. Now you just need to get signed up. I want you to tell me you did the next time I see you.”

And the next time I saw him, I had registered.

He would ask about me and my family and I would tease him about not chasing wild women to which he’d laugh. I’d ask him if he was sure he didn’t want to go for a ride in my Charger and see how many seconds it took to get it from 0-60 mph… for some reason he always passed on that offer haha

Over the past few years he’s been up and down with health issues and we’ve all celebrated when he’d be back in for coffee in “his” chair having his iced coffee and bagel with cream cheese.

He was like the Patriarch of the place.

I was leaving one Sunday the week before Christmas when one of the men who took turns bringing him stopped me in the parking lot and delivered the news to me.

He had passed away that morning in his home.

I was heart broken. I had just seen him the day before. The tears freely fell as I thought of him and the fact he would never be in his place there anymore. I cried at the loss of another older person I cared for now being gone.

I still see him sitting there in my mind when I go in for my coffee and feel that sharp pain in my chest. I guess in time, that will go away.  I will always cherish his sweet spirit and loving attitude to not just me, but everyone he encountered there.

So maybe that’s what I would say to not only the girl writing about coffee shops but to those who dismiss it as big corporate coffee.

It’s not “just” the coffee. It’s about the people who come there to drink it, whose lives begin to engage with yours who somehow make it richer in different ways and add to it from your ordinary world. People you might not have otherwise known who offer wisdom, friendship, encouragement, laughter, and most recently for many of us, grieving together over the loss of our friend.

The coffee is great, but the gift of relationships and a richer life is often, far more satisfying.

 

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Where I enjoy writing and having a cup ( or two!) of coffee at my home away from home 😉

Food Tips For A Healthier You

Pass Junk food

 

As we count down the last days of the year and head into 2018 many will be assessing their plans and goals for the new year ahead.

Trips, appointments, school activities, family gatherings, holidays etc will all take space on our planners.

Others will be factoring in goals of weight loss and moves towards eating better. My last post was tips on getting started with an exercise program… you can find it here….https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/19/tips-for-a-fit-2018/

I wanted to include some tips on eating and nutrition but for the sake of not turning it into another War and Peace novel I decided to make it more of a two part item 😛

Food can be such a struggle for so many.

How much to eat, what to eat, when to eat. Eat when you’re hungry, eat when you’re not. Eat for reasons unknown to you.

These behaviors left alone can lead to unwanted pounds and unwanted health problems associated with being over weight. So many people want to change and make improvements but aren’t sure where to start or what to do. They feel like they have to give up everything they love and everything that’s good and be in this restricted zone of deprivation and no fun.

Please. Don’t.

That mentality will certainly not lead to long term success in your weight loss endeavors. If you’ve followed me then you know I’m anti-diet mentality and anti-deprivation believing people will be far more successful knowing they can include foods they enjoy and still lose weight. I believe building new habits and behaviors with food is what leads to life long success and sustainability. Building new habits doesn’t happen over night, but with persistency and keeping at it, those habits will stick and become second nature to you.

In fact, I was delighted to come across a book a few years ago that was pretty much what I had done to lose weight and keep it off. It was all about habits and behaviors and I literally devoured it.

When I talk with people the book Lean Habits For Weight Loss is what I always recommend.  It offers sane, practical and sustainable advice for life long weight loss.  I wrote a review on the book which you can find here…… https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/10/07/lean-habits-for-weight-loss-book-review/

on a side note, the author is releasing a paperback version on the 26th of this month and asked me if I’d write another review for her 🙂 I guess she thought I did a decent job  on the first to ask me to write one for the new book and I’m thrilled.

You can be watching for my review on it later on.

But I digress….

Like exercise, the decision to lose weight has to be yours and yours alone. Once you make the choice to do it then you need to become proactive in doing things to make it happen.

No one will do it for you. No one will control what goes in your mouth or how much you eat but you.

But you’ve got this.. you can do it.

ok, I’m ready to start. Now what?

Don’t start by eating all the junky food in your pantry to “get rid of it”.  Don’t start by cutting out everything you love or that is tasty to you and eating celery. I mean.. you CAN eat celery it’s really good for you and one of those “zero” calorie foods but.. well.. you get what I mean 😉

Don’t start by so severely restricting your calories that you are constantly hungry and thinking of your next meal.

These are frequent “techniques” I see to many people employee in their quest to lose weight, techniques that quickly fail them.

You can do this instead…

Practice listening to your body and learn to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you are feeling satisfied. This may take some practice as your eyes and mouth will want more and you’ve most likely trained yourself that way. Eat slowly and learn to savor your food this gives you time to realize that you are satisfied with most likely, less food.

At the start don’t focus so much on what you’re eating as when you eat and how much you eat.

As you move through those first few weeks you can consider your food choices and begin to think of what you might let go of, or opt to make a better healthier exchange on.

The food you eat.

Hey we’re all adults here, right?  That being said we all have that level of responsibility for what we eat and drink. If you toss down a dozen Christmas cookies in a sitting, well, you might reconsider that.  If you’ve learned to have a couple and savor them, you’re on a good track.

The foods we consume come down to what we find tasty and how we’ve trained ourselves to eat.

Yes. I said trained yourself.

We have all trained ourselves in our eating behaviors and food choices. That being said.. you can retrain yourself to eat better or eat less or make better choices.

Will it take time, yes. Will you get it down in a couple weeks? No. Can you be successful doing it? Absolutely.

Remember I told you at the beginning, it all comes down to you and what you want.

If you want to change, you will.

What do I eat?

I’m not going to tell you how to eat or what to eat. I will say making choices that involve healthy and nutritious foods will always be in your best interest. Foods that have minimal ingredients are best, the majority of the time, if you can.

If your daily diet consists of more processed, fast food or sugary/salty foods you might want to reconsider what you are eating.

You should work to building meals rich with veggies and fruits and healthy carbs with a good dose of protein.

Let’s face it… 400 calories of fast food vs. 400 calories of veggies and healthy food equals a lot more food to eat AND its better for your health. The more food choices you make that are nutrient dense means you can eat more and stay full longer.

Be aware.

Even though people largely believe they don’t over estimate food portions, they usually do. Be aware of what true serving sizes are and aim to stay in that perimeter.

Know what you’re eating. Look at labels and the contents of the product if you are unsure.

Make a list of what you eat to keep track of your food, at least for a few weeks. Be honest. No one will see it but you but and it can make you aware of what you eat, when you eat and how much. This could also give you some clues to behaviors with food you might need to deal with

Focus on small changes.

It’s those small daily things we do each day that add up. It’s easy to dismiss choices we make and think it doesn’t matter, but when we are attentive to our movement and what we eat those choices will lead to success.

Also, when you focus on small improvements it really doesn’t seem difficult to work on the goals that have been set. Eating a bit less, swapping a sugary drink for one with less or no sugar, passing by the fast food restaurant, having a small dessert over a full size, roasting instead of frying, learning to eat more fruits and veggies, are all examples of small ways to make changes.

green and red healthy food

One bad day isn’t the end of the world.

We’ve all done it. We’ve all had days where we know we ate more than we needed. Meh. It happens. The key to your success is not throwing in the towel from one bad day and reverting to your old habits and behaviors. Simply hit the reset button and get right back at it.

Stay positive in how you view yourself, and stay focused on what you are wanting to achieve.

Ask yourself the hard questions… is food more important than… ( whatever you are hoping to achieve)

There will be up’s and down’s in this process. The most important part to being successful is an unwillingness to quit or give up.

Stay the course and before you know it, you’ll be looking back at how far you’ve come.

Do you have any tips or tricks for weight loss that have worked for you ?

 

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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As the old Christmas song goes… “it’s the most wonderful time of the year….”

This is a disclaimer before you proceed reading anymore :

I’m gonna get all kinds of nostalgic on you so either buckle up and grab a fresh cup of coffee or abandon your computer for higher ground .

You’ve been warned.

I’ve always loved Christmas but I’m pretty sure my mom and grandparents had a lot to do with making that impression on me.

My memories of childhood were of fun, festivities, and family. Of course there were always lots of delicious baked goods and candies, and everything was always beautifully decorated. Christmas music was on and I remember my mom and grandmother singing along with various songs. There were special table linens and candy/cookie trays that were brought out every year to be filled again.

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Speaking of childhood and vintage. How about a couple pics of yours truly age 17 mos. and 6 years. I look thrilled over that baby which I still have…somewhere.

 

Cookies. Can you say… cookies? Of all the ones to be chosen, the cut out cookies still have my heart. All of those fun Christmas shapes in sugar cookie form … is there anything better? That is one thing today my kids all still love doing. Piling in at the kitchen table and decorating trees, Santas, reindeer, angels, sleighs, snowflakes, gingerbread boys and girls. My mom had tons of cool cutters that I enjoy using as well along with the ones I already had.

The season was steeped in many traditions for me.

As a family we always went together and bought a fresh tree. I’m grateful no one had any issues that kept us from having one because to this day it’s one of my favorite things to go do… pick out the biggest tree I can get my paws on… thank goodness I have 12 ft ceilings now! As a child our ceilings were much shorter so we were limited in the height we could drag home.  This years specimen comes in right around 11 ft and it smells soooo amazing. Some years the fragrance isn’t as strong, this year, beautiful AND fragrant.

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The photo really doesn’t do it justice

 

No, I don’t mind a real tree, and no I don’t mind cleaning up at the end of the season. It’s all worth it to me.

My children are adults now ( good heavens… I can’t believe that sometimes) and they too continue to expect a real tree and the married ones plan to carry on the tradition.

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I love looking into the tree when it’s lights are the only thing on. It’s still magical to me.

 

So we had the tree covered in bright lights ( remember those big C7 lights you could line a run way with?? I do have those on my tree but they are the more modern ones that stay cool and wont burn the tree down) and family decorations, amazing homemade treats, beautifully wrapped packages, family, special meals, worship service and of course the celebration of Jesus birth.

I simply grew up immersed in the beauty of Christmas, and not just the beauty, the magic too. The magic of waiting expectantly for Santa on Christmas Eve and the inability to fall asleep from excitement. My family always worked to make sure that the magic was a part of Christmas.

My mom was such a child at heart about Christmas till the day she left this earth. I’m afraid I’m no different.  I still get excited at Christmas and I have a hard time sleeping sometimes.. only now I’m Santa and my kids and grandbabies get to experience it.

It was a sobering moment to me thinking this year that I’m the only one left to carry on all these traditions that have become precious to me. To pass them on to my children and their families.

Let me say I’m fully aware that Christmas isn’t fun for many, especially when they are acutely aware of loved ones that are missing from their lives.

Nothing brings that loss home more than Christmas time and I can fully speak to that.

In the last 5 years I’ve lost my brother, my mother, and this past year, my dad.  At this time of year there are moments that the pain and anguish strike my heart and spirit  so hard it almost takes my breath away.

I deeply miss my people.

I miss the ones who shared those long ago memories with me. I miss taking out certain decorations or ornaments and reminiscing about them. Oh, I still do on many items as I share stories of various treasures with my kids but they don’t have the memories associated with it.

In this last year I’ve also been busy cleaning out my parents entire house and going through years of….life. It has to be done but there have been so many days it’s been an agonizing road to walk.  There were times I went in with the intent to work and only found myself sobbing on the sofa longing for those I loved to be there again.

However, in the cleaning process I’ve found some beautiful treasures that I have brought home to enjoy and to share with my kids. One thing I finally felt emotionally strong to do was go through the various boxes of carefully wrapped ornaments that had been my mothers and my grandmothers. I tried last year but opening the box that she had last carefully packed away was a bit more than I could handle at the time.

This year, I brought everything out. I laid them all on the table smiling, laughing and sometimes crying looking at all of the years of Christmas treasures in front of me. I pulled precious old ones from the mix, ones of my grandmothers that date back to World War 2.  There were treasured delicate glass ornaments that have always gone at the top of tree to protect them, now in my care to treasure. There were silly ones that for some reason I always loved, like these colored glass balls that had big fake eyes and a foam mustache. When my brother and I moved out my mom gave me a blue one and my brother a red one. Two years ago mine fell from the tree and shattered in a million pieces. Yes, I cried.  Going through my brothers ornaments I came across the red one… somehow it was like an old friend was back as I settled it into a position on my tree.

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He’s old and not fancy, but I love him. As a child I named him Oscar.

 

 

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One of several from my grandmother that date back to World War 2.

 

Speaking of trees….

I realized that one poor tree, no matter how big, reaches a point of holding all the memories of Christmas past.  However, I can have several other trees that are fun or have a theme. Of course my kids might secretly be wondering if I’m turning into a crazy old tree lady… 😉

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I love this little pink tree. It’s fun, whimsical and is my gingerbread/candy tree in my kitchen. I add real colored candy canes to it as well.

 

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The tinsel tree is a new acquisition this year. The tree is new but it’s covered in vintage glass ornaments. The little house in front is actually an old light bulb that my great grandmother used on her tree
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I love the rustic look of all of this. The trunk was a great yard sale find years ago for 15.00. It’s an 1800’s steamer trunk.

 

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I won’t lie. I’m seriously in love with this. I picked up the tiny white tree this year and it’s covered in more vintage glass ornaments. The old wooden coke crate contains many more that were on my grandmothers tree.

 

So many treasures are vintage collectibles now. Not just that, it’s the history they hold as well that means so much to me.

AH! I’m vintage.

Ha well in the life of Christmas decorations when they are up and over 50plus years that’s pretty old. I’m fascinated with the Christmases they have seen and sometimes wonder how they’ve survived so long.

My cardboard Christmas houses, so delicate and fragile and originally only pennies in a dime store are now worth hundreds of dollars depending on the era it came from, style etc.

I am completely enthralled with them. However, my love again, was started as a child when my grandmother would place her little village out with the Barclay skater people. It was one of my most favorite parts of Christmas. I was thrilled when my mother let me have the beat up old village when I found it in the back of the loft long forgotten. I took them home and carefully restored them. It was only when I began digging into their history that I found the ones I grew up with were actually the end of an era of these unique houses. The first ones had been produced in the late 1920’s -early 30’s into the 40’s and 50’s and were last made in the mid 60’s a far cry for the original grandeur they had been crafted in.

Today, I have my grandmothers original set I still put out for that is where my childhood memories are.

But I’ve also carefully collected some beautiful, unique houses by shopping carefully and skillfully on Ebay. There are some I have to look wistfully at and let go as they soar in price zones I won’t participate in.

All of the houses in my collection are  70-80 years old. How they have withstood the test of so many Christmases gone by always amazes me. Some I’ve purchased and carefully done some restoration on. Others, I’ve purchased knowing they will stay “as is” in my collection mainly because the coloring or materials would be impossible to find and replicate now.

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Shhh step into my quiet winter wonderland…

 

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Churches are my favorite pieces. The red windowed one is from the early 1930’s.  The one on end hales from the same era. I’ve collected seven unique ones.

 

I wrote a post on them last Christmas, you can learn more reading “Favorite Things Of Christmas”  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2015/12/22/favorite-things-of-christmas/

I guess I should say for a more modern, trendy girl, I absolutely love and adore vintage Christmas. The new cheap modern day stuff doesn’t have the same appeal to me. I think though, it’s more because my heart is connected to the times gone by with the old items from the past.

But life moves forward, and memories are sweet and dear and keep us connected to those we’ve loved and have been privileged to share the journey of life with. As I’ve decorated this year it has been a sweet treat to incorporate so many things from the past that are old and beautiful with newer things I’ve collected with my family over these past years.

I love being able to create a magical, special season for my family like I knew growing up. It blesses me that they appreciate it so much and enjoy being there. I want them to have memories of special times and special things that they can share with their children.

Traditions. Simple or elaborate I want them to have the history of traditions.

But Christmas is so much more. It’s a time in the year when we should be more mindful than ever of peace, love, and joy. To be mindful of those we hold dear and the treasure that they are to us.  To give those gifts freely and generously back to them.  To embrace some of the simplicity of the season and not be swooped up in the commercial money train it has become.  To enjoy the presence of each other because that isn’t always granted to us.

I hope that you make your own traditions with those you love. I hope you value and embrace the simple things that make Christmas so beautiful and magical. I pray you know the peace and joy that this season is about and that it stays with you all year long.

As I’m concluding this post, and thinking of peace, I can’t help but mention it has been snowing here now for over an hour. I’ve watched big white fluffy flakes tumble from the sky and blow through the air, silently beautiful, peaceful.

It’s kind of a big deal for a girl who lives in south Texas… we rarely ever see snow.

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Do you wanna build a snowman? My adult sons crafted this big guy.

 

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Oh my! Did we get some snow! How beautiful is this?? Our first real snow since 1985. What an exciting day and night it turned into! A bit of a white Christmas for us.

 

 

It’s peaceful and quiet… it’s been reflective for me. I pray you know and experience all of the things that matter most in this Christmas season and that you have eyes of a child to still appreciate the magic and a spirit that receives the peace and hope of the Christ child.

Do you have special traditions or things that make Christmas magical to you? What are your favorite childhood memories?

Cheat Days Vs. Healthy Eating Habits

The question came at me again. Often there are similar ones that arise in conversations  in regards to health and wellness.

“Do you allow yourself a cheat day/meal?”

If you don’t know what that means, in the fitness world it’s a day set aside where you eat whatever suits your fancy. Anything you’ve been craving or put off limits from yourself. It could be a meal or an all day eating frenzy depending on how deprived you feel.

The answer is a big “no”.

No, I don’t. Never have and don’t have any intention of starting.

I’ll tell you why. October marked my 8th year on my health and wellness journey.

8 years people. I’ve lost the weight of a hefty toddler child and about 5 pant sizes. In those years I not only lost fat but have built muscle and a strong physique that allows me to enjoy all my outdoor athletic sports and gives me a good deal of energy and strength for living life.

I’ve not gained it back or played yo yo dieting games.

As I’ve gotten deeper into endurances sports I’ve come to accept that my body will go through times of being leaner when I’m doing a lot of training and a bit softer when I’m not heavy training. I can fluctuate within 5-7 pounds and I’m ok with that.

Losing weight and keeping it off for a lifetime involves small, consistent, changes that turn into new habits. It’s really the only thing that works and you have to intentionally build on it every day.

The cheat day/meal thing

if you’ve followed me for awhile you know I’m “anti” diet and diet hype nonsense. I consider my take on things practical, livable and sustainable. When I started my journey one thing I set out for myself was that nothing was off limits or to be considered “Bad or good”.

For me, it took a ton of power away from food. Mentally, if I knew I could have “whatever” then I was less likely to think about it or “wish” I could have it.

cheat meal days

It’s amazing how that works.

Allowing myself a fun meal with my family and then resuming my normal eating took away feelings of “deprivation”.

Admit it, haven’t you at some point been dieting and everyone is eating and living the good life and you feel freaking miserable, left out, disgusted with yourself and well…fat?

Me too and enough of that already.

Having a fun meal or some birthday cake at a party didn’t undo all my efforts. I had mentally taken on living healthier and I loved being in control of my choices.

If I didn’t want cake, I didn’t eat it. If I did I was smart enough to know a small piece wouldn’t end my efforts.

On the other side, saving a day to eat all the things you’ve withheld from yourself or over eating can lead to you feeling bad (physically) and bad (mentally ) for over doing it.

Binge eating only feels good in that moment.

The power of your choices

Learning to change my lifestyle I also learned there was a tremendous amount of power I had in my choices of food I made.

It was rather freeing.

Making healthier choices began to get easier and the other foods that used to have a pull on me began to have less.

But sometimes… chocolate. Or French fries.

Let’s face it when you are trying to lose weight those cravings or desires don’t come in at your scheduled cheat day do they? And what if it’s cheat day and you don’t really feel like having it?

I found allowing myself a small amount of whatever I wanted set the craving aside and took it out of my mind.  I’m still like that. If there is a strong pull, almost a physical need, I listen to my body.

I can tell you if I want something particular the need is quenched and I’m on with life again.

It is powerful making choices for yourself. Choices that involve thinking and listening to your body.

Think of how mindlessly you can eat. Eek. Tell me you’ve had those moments, that I’m not alone!

You know.. maybe you aren’t truly hungry but you are stuffing food in ’cause it’s there? or you’re in the pantry at 10 at night trolling but you know you aren’t needing food? Or when you eat past what you need to feed your appetite?

Making smaller more mindful choices on a daily basis will lead to weight loss that lasts long term and not just a few weeks until you’re eager to get back to “normal”.

Practice makes perfect…er… perfect “ish”.

Ok so no one is perfect or nails the eating thing perfectly.  With time, consistency and practice the cool thing is it will start to become second nature.  As you teach yourself to balance all food groups and eat in a healthy manner with room for those treats and celebratory moments you will find yourself automatically making those good choices and passing on things that don’t support your health and fitness goals.

You won’t need a cheat day to enjoy life or the things you love. You won’t feel deprived as you work on building new habits and skills in your life. You will feel empowered by trusting yourself and making mindful choices.

cheat days

Just Don’t Quit

dont quit

I stumbled across this quote one morning looking for something on not quitting for one of my social media posts.

I liked it because it wasn’t one of the zillion cliché quotes about not quitting or giving up… and well.. it was honestly quirky enough to completely suit me.

I recently asked for thoughts from people on why they believe people quit what they start.  Why do some hold on to what they set out to do with all they have, working hard and refusing to give up and others, with the slightest discomfort, lack of reward, or immediate gain, throw in the towel and quit ?

I had my own opinions/thoughts on it, but wanted some feedback.

I got responses like “it’s a part of our individual personality”, ” it’s how we were raised”, “it’s something learned”,  to my favorite, “it’s pure stubbornness and a refusal to give in”. I think that’s my favorite ’cause it’s how I’m wired 😉

But I was also raised to finish what I started. I was raised by strong women who didn’t give in when things got rough.

As a grown woman who has lived a lot of life I realize I have that same grit and strength I was exposed to growing up.

It serves me well.

But then there is also who I am as a person. By nature, strong willed and a wee bit stubborn.

I believe all those traits meld together to push me to take on things that make me feel like they can eat my lunch… like my fast upcoming duathlon.

I did my most likely, next to last training session on the course this morning.

It was grey, cold, windy, and some on and off again misty stuff thrown in for good measure. Rain mingled with my sweat is always an interesting feeling.

The wind seemed to delight in coming from angles that weren’t helpful crawling big hills on the bike. It was my suckiest time ever since I started. On a good side, I also did my fastest 5k time, dropping it again from last week.

The good and bad.  I mean I was out there doing it so it’s all a win, right? But that quitting quote rolled through my head.

Not mind you, that I was pondering quitting. Not when I’ve come so far and worked so hard.

Not a fat chance.

But let’s look at a few reasons why people might throw in the towel, or you know, quit.

~ People usually give up or quit when the going gets rough or it takes to long. They fail a few times, don’t know that the struggle is part of the game and walk away from it.  Obstacles are a part of pursuing our goals or dreams and as we get more proficient in what we are doing the obstacles get a bit easier to get over.

~ There’s a lack of ownership. Is it your goal? Your dream? It’s difficult to stay motivated if it’s not yours. You must buy into your goals and dreams. Own them. It totally changes the game. Once you own them, you can begin the steps of practicing to get where you are going.

~ Not willing to put in time required. Training for a duathlon, I knew what I was up against if I was going to do it. I knew the time and training that would be required to get me to the starting line. If you decide to set a lofty goal for yourself, understand what the time investment will be. Reaching our goals takes hard work and a lot of practice. If we don’t excel in something it will take both of those to get there.  Being a multi sport athlete is certainly nothing that was in my back round or skill level. It has required hard work and a lot of practice.

~ Limit distractions that get in your way. So many things clamor for our attention now days and if you let them get in your way you may find yourself getting side tracked from what you are pursuing. You may have to set things aside to make time for your goals and to ensure you don’t quit.

~ People often quit when there is insufficient reward or as I refer to it, instant gratification.  They feel like they’ve invested a little time of a few weeks or a month and expect results. Everything from weight loss, to a new career or hobby or getting fit. It takes time. I didn’t wake up one morning and go run a marathon. I didn’t just sign up for a duathlon and go do it. Little things at a time have built on the other leading me to bigger successes. This goes for anyone. If you want to do more, you’ve gotta invest the time and energy and not expect instant results.

~  A lack of belief in themselves. Simply put, you’ve gotta believe you can do it or you’re out of the game from the beginning.  The first time I realized I was really committing to running a full marathon the thought danced through  my head…. ” That’s 26.2 miles. That’s so long. How will I do it?”  I immediately stomped those thoughts down, never let them back in, an proceeded to not only train for my marathon but go on and do more too.  Those thoughts had no place in my head if I was going to be successful.

~ And a final thought that I think is perhaps the biggest reason to why people quit or give up or whatever you wanna call it.

They simply lack the discipline to see their goal or idea through to the end.

They can’t get themselves to see the end result of what they are pursuing.  They haven’t developed the habits required to work on the days they not only feel like it, but more importantly, days they don’t feel like it.  Trust me, heading out into a cold, wet morning to train isn’t necessarily my idea of a great time. Staying in warm and drinking coffee is definitely more appealing but it’s on those days I have to rely on my discipline to get me out the door and get the job done.

There has to be a willingness to take on the good days and the bad days to get where you’re going.  You have to push forward no matter what the challenges are that come at you IF you are determined and stubborn to reach your goals or dreams that you have.

If you struggle with quitting when things get rough or don’t produce fast enough results, consider some of these points and determine where you can change things in yourself.

With some intentional choices and a willingness to fail and make mistakes, along with some stubbornness and purposeful dedication, you will be able to achieve your goals.

Do you struggle with following through? Have you before but have you overcome obstacles to get to your goals? What did you find worked best for you?

The ABC’s Of Building A Healthy Diet

Healthy eating 2

 

So it’s early afternoon and I’ve finally managed to escape to my fav coffee cave and write. WHY is it so hard to get it done sometimes? Not for lack of ideas or clever creativeness but some days are just hard to make it happen.

I’m making it happen today… doing it before you decide I’ve given up on this idea of writing.

I’m glaringly aware that my computer informs me today is November 2 and there are a few thoughts that accompany that awareness.

First, wow, October sailed by. Of course I ended the month like many playing dress up for Halloween and hanging with my kids getting free candy from people who had nothing better to do than sit in their driveways all evening 😉

Then of course, with the arrival of November there are thoughts of Thanksgiving now dancing in my head. There will be plotting and planning for all of the goodies that go with that day.

BUT before Thanksgiving or anything else…. gulp.. this is the month of my duathlon. Actually 17 days out from this point. It’s hard to not see it staring me down but ready or not… it’s coming.

Ok.. more on that later….

November definitely makes me think about food. It makes me think of the seasonal tasty treats we get to enjoy and the traditions that go with them.

But today I’m thinking about food more along the lines of a healthy diet. What does that mean, exactly? And how do you build one if you don’t know much about it? Maybe you’ve been wanting to eat better but just aren’t sure what goes into a “healthier” daily diet.

Realistically, there’s no one way to eat that’s right for everyone. What works for you, might not work for me.

We’re individual and our likes and needs are varied and different.  Our likes can be based on not just our needs but cultural preferences too.  A person with health issues, like diabetes, may have to eat differently from someone who doesn’t.  So it’s rather broad to say there’s a standard healthy diet that fits everyone.

However, there are some definite building blocks that apply to all of us. With these building blocks you can shape and build your own nutritional plan that works for you.

What is a healthful diet?

it provides the proper combination of energy and nutrients to you each day. It has four characteristics.

It’s adequate, moderate, balanced, and varied.

No matter your age, health, fitness level or weight, if you keep these thoughts in mind you will be able to select foods that give you energy and provide good nutrition to you each day.

A healthy diet is adequate

An adequate diet provides enough of the energy, nutrients, fiber and crucial vitamins and minerals to maintain a persons health. A diet can be inadequate in one area or many areas of a persons daily needs.  For example, many people don’t eat enough vegetables and not consuming enough of the fiber and nutrients vegetables provide. Their intake of protein, carbs and fats may be more than adequate, often to many of these calories are consumed and the person is overweight because they eat more than exceeds their energy needs.

Under nutrition can also occur if there are several nutrients ignored for long periods of time.

Also a diet that is adequate for one person may not be adequate for another. As an athletic woman, my caloric needs on many days during the week are vastly different from a woman my age who is sedentary or lightly active. As individuals we would differ greatly in our activity level and our body fat and lean muscle mass making our requirements for fat, carbs, proteins and other nutrients very different.

A healthy diet is one of moderation

Moderation is one of the keys to a healthful diet and I believe one of the most important. Moderation refers to eating any food in moderate amounts, not to much or to little.  Eating to much or to little of any foods we cannot reach our health goals.

One example would be people who consume soft drinks. Loaded with empty, non-nutritious calories, it’s an easy way to pack on the pounds if many are consumed each day. Often I’ve seen individuals stop drinking soda and easily drop pounds.

Enjoy a variety of foods and treats, in moderation.

A healthy diet is balanced.

A balanced diet contains foods that provide the proper proportions of nutrients.  The body needs many types in varying amounts to maintain health.

A healthy diet is varied

Variety of course refers to eating many foods from all food groups on a regular basis. Often I have people say… “well, I don’t really like to eat….. ( some food)” and I remind them there are lots, and lots of other foods they can choose from that are healthy and provide good nutrients to their body.  When you eat a variety of foods it will increase the chance that you are consuming all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.   Also, when you eat a varied diet it keeps boredom from setting in which often cause many people to give up because they are tired of the same foods.  Enjoy so variety in your daily diet!

In summary…

A healthy daily diet provides adequate nutrients and it includes sweets, fats, salts, and alcohol in moderate amounts only. A healthy diet includes an appropriate balance of nutrients and a wide variety of foods.

Foods to include in your day would be:

Whole grains, a variety of veggies, fruits, dairy products and protein foods. It’s important to remember protein goes a long way in keeping you satisfied and preventing hunger as well as keeping your blood sugar stable through the day. Make sure you get adequate portions at each meal to feel full and avoid those feelings of “crashing”.

When it comes to vegetables, many people do not come close to getting enough in their daily diet. Learn to experiment with a few new ones each week. Learn different ways to cook them and be willing to explore new options for your health.

Filling your meals with whole foods (  foods as close to being real and not processed as possible) you will be able to meet the majority of your nutritional needs.

The extra stuff.

You need to limit the amount of empty calories you consume. empty calories refer to foods that provide few or no nutrients.  You should limit the number of empty calories you consume to a small amount that fits in with your daily requirements. all of which depend on your age, gender and level of activity.

Foods that contain the most empty calories are :

Cakes, cookies, pastries, doughnuts, soft drinks, fruit drinks, pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, fast foods etc. High sugar foods such as candies, desserts, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are all referred to as empty calorie. ( I know, you’re thinking, that’s all the fun stuff!)

These foods don’t have to be banned, they just shouldn’t be what your daily diet mainly consists of.

Building a healthy and nutritious food plan might take a little work and discipline but with time you will find you can not only eat well, but have some cake too 😉

Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl.
This is a great visual on how to structure your meals.