Fitness Goals, Do What You Can With What You Have

2-Do-what-you-can-with-what-you-have-where-you-are_-Theodore-Roosevelt

 

So it’s that time of night I should be doing stuff to get ready for bed, instead I have ideas bouncing around my head and I’m sitting down to write with a few pieces of Easter candy that somehow landed next to me and coffee to go with them.

Have mercy, I may never sleep tonight 😛

But when ideas come, it’s hard not to let them out. They tend to swirl around like the dog under your feet when you’re cooking chicken.

Obnoxious. In the way. Won’t leave you alone till you acknowledge them.

Welcome to the brain of a writer.

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Often the truth of the matter….

 

I’ve come to accept this, the ideas that come at any given moment. They can wake me up, leaving me scurrying for a note pad to hastily scratch out the idea with beady eyes seeing it later wondering who the hell wrote something so illegibly, or as mentioned  it can keep me up till I get it out of my head.

I’m feeling a bit victorious today. I finished off another one of my furniture project pieces and it is the sweetest thing ever. I mean, I’ve got a few others under me but I’m pretty sure this is currently my favorite.

No… no photos right now. You’ll have to check back and see those soon 😉

I will just say I love having a vision in my head and then having it all play in life is so satisfying. And when I look back at photos from day 1 when I dragged something home I’m always a bit shocked to see how much it really has changed.

Ok.. on with the show….

As things go with me, my ideas for writing come from all directions at any given time. Ideas come in subtle and not so subtle ways. Sometimes, it’s conversations with people that trigger it. When a similar thought comes from several people within the week, if I’m paying attention, I see it as a possible idea for a post.

Really, if it’s the same idea from a few people, there are most likely others out there who have thought or dealt with similar things.

For example; I’ve been encouraged to talk to some of my friends who are getting started in a fitness program. As I listened to what they were doing and heard the excitement in their voices there was the usual….

“Well, I’m not doing what you do.” “or  “I’m not where you are” or ” I can’t do what other people in class are doing”

No, they probably aren’t doing what I do.  And no, they can’t keep up with me or someone else who’s been at it awhile.

Here’s the deal….

First, you should never, ever compare yourself to someone else. On any level. And especially on a physical level.

I would never start someone off working out where I am now. I wouldn’t have started in the place I am years ago.

Where I did start was at my level of physical abilities at the time.

I did what I could with where I was at.

Truthfully, I was a middle aged, sedentary, slightly overweight woman at the time who had no previous physical training or athletic abilities to fall back on. My best course of action was having a smart plan that allowed my body to adapt and change with my activities.

Of course at the time, I didn’t really see myself as a future athlete.

Nope… never even saw that coming, but I’m really glad it did. The athletic lifestyle is my niche and it comfortably suits me now.

However what did I learn that I believe is important to anyone getting started on a fitness program is this…..

Do what you can with where you are.

I know that sounds cliché but the reality of it is true. You can’t show up at the gym and think you’re going to just start lifting heavy things or grinding out miles on the treadmill if your only activity has previously been sprinting to the ‘fridge.

Trying to keep up with others in a class or at the gym or even your neighbor isn’t only not fair to you, but not healthy for you either.

Doing more than your body is used to is a recipe for injury that will quickly derail your budding fitness plans.

Even now, I know I’m stronger and more fit than I’ve ever been and I don’t back down from much. I do however, know when I hit my limit of what I can handle. There’s a fine line between pushing out of my comfort zone where continued growth occurs, and not overstepping into the arena where my body hasn’t gone yet and needs time to grow into.

For instance I shared recently that I had “upgraded” to being able to use 25lbs to do curls with.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/03/16/strength-training-and-every-day-life/

Now for some of you, that’s baby weight. For a lot of you, you’ll never see it happen.

For me it represented another step to getting stronger. Could I have done that several years ago when I was starting out?

No. Way.

It’s taken time and practice and work. Lots of work. And my body has done what yours will do as well. It responds and it grows, changes and gets stronger and you can keep a forward moving process of improved strength and endurance.

Don’t apologize

Seriously. Don’t apologize for not being where someone else is.  We are all on our own journeys. Some of us are going to be a bit more focused and intense about getting better and improving.

**** cough, cough who me??***

Some will be happy with slow progress being content to rock along in a comfortable place. Some will form specific intentional goals while others will just take each day as it comes.

The important thing is that you are starting. Making a choice to get physically fit will have lots of rewards for a healthier life.

Better mental clarity, less body fat, an elevated mood, bright skin, a healthier more energetic body, improved lab results, or even learning a new activity all have big payoffs.

Learn from others

When I start into a new adventure, I am notorious for keying in on people who know more about it than I do. I then shamelessly pick their brains to gather useful information to add to my collection of growing education.

Thank goodness I’m not shy or socially awkward haha

Don’t be afraid to do that with people around you who have been on the journey longer. I love being able to offer advice and help to those seeking information on nutrition or who want to get physically active.

In both cases, I never suggest they start off with extremes.  A modest tweaking of the daily diet for awhile or encouraging them to get off the sofa for an evening walk is always a good place for anyone to start.

A few tips and tricks

Small steps are better than doing nothing. All of us have to start small.

Find something you want to do and will look forward to. This will help you stay committed.

Applaud your own efforts, really, it’s ok. You’re doing it!

Share your efforts or goals on social media. Really. You’ll find there will be a group who rises to the top who will cheer and encourage you. And you don’t know who you’ll be encouraging as well when you do.

Don’t.. don’t… over do. If walking 2 miles feels good, don’t think you’ll just do a few more. You don’t want to risk injury to a body that isn’t used to certain activities. Worse, when you are sore and can barely move the next day you’ll not want to do anything.

Small, slow, gradual increases will keep you moving and keep you from injury.

Focus just on you. Not the other girl or guy at the gym who appears to have it all together. Not the person who can do more reps in a class than you or the one who runs like lightening.

Focus on you.

Do what you can with where you are . Don’t be afraid to modify workouts if they are to hard. Don’t be afraid to walk if you can’t run. Don’t try and lift weight that could hurt you if lifting less can help you get stronger.

Be persistent and before you know it, you’ll be in a stronger, healthier, more fit place in your life.

Tell me… have you ever played the comparison game when it comes to exercise or fitness programs? What tips or tricks have worked to keep you on a fitness path?

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Monday Musings

Monday again. Wow. How did that HAPPEN??? I mean, I’m not “anti-Monday” or anything.  I sometimes just find myself thinking wasn’t I  just here starting a new week and now I’m off to another one.

Although my week felt a little “off” when we had some real winter weather show up down here in south Texas… as in ice.. and crazy, stupid cold.

No one drives and nothing happens when those roads ice over.  So it was definitely a stay home and warm day and I even managed to get a few little projects done since I was trapped….. all day long.  The negative to cold, grey days ? They make me want to eat! Carbs. All the carbs. My muscles soaked those goodies up haha

Anyway that cold stuff doesn’t last long down here so…..

I did a little weekend road trip to explore and hang out with hubby. Road trips always offer up some kind of adventure and we always have fun being together.

However, heading to my destination, there’s this super nice mega gas station/food mart/ buy weird stuff place to stop. Honestly, it’s like an oasis in the middle of god awful bathroom stops along the way. In fact they boast the cleanest restrooms anywhere and they are constantly staffed to ensure they stay that way. It’s worth waiting that extra 50 miles to stop when you really needed to stop 50 miles back 😛

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It’s a beaver… he’s the mascot of the place

 

Of course we ate breakfast out, which is always fun in new areas and we found this super cool, healthy breakfast place with a great vibe and amazing food. Farm fresh eggs, thick multi grain breads, and salad greens? I never had those with breakfast but liked it. Definitely want to go there again….

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What is wrong with this picture? My coffee cup is empty… again. No worries, they leave a carafe on your table.

 

OH. And I tried an elliptical for the first time…. ever. Now I’m not sure what the normal is for using them but tossing a runner/cyclist on it.. well.. I took off like a crazy girl. It’s like running on steroids! haha anyway I did a 10k in 31 minutes so I think that’s decent for a first attempt. However, I quickly learned if I didn’t stay focused that sucker could throw me. I really liked that it felt like running. I think I may need one for inside workout days, which are usually days that are to awful to be outside.

Alrighty, in big news this week :  evidently if you’re one of the cool kids, eating Tide clothes soap pods is the IN thing to do ( I’m being sarcastic here… please.. don’t do this) at first I thought it was just a joke of some kind.

I mean it had to be, right? After some more investigating it appeared to be rather true.  I can think of a lot of things to eat but that is no where on my list.

Soap.  Just…why ???

Speaking of actual food….

I’ve been experimenting with a variety of recipes this week, namely in the veggie department that I have pinned to my boards on Pinterest.  Several have been good but the biggest surprise and unexpected delight was a cauliflower recipe used to make mock potato salad.  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/ARWljr6ZFFOvYUscYjTe9A7nbrhyjxkPAneCDUxOw3Ivn3gw6Jl8SRY/

 

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Cauliflower right now is the multi purpose veggie that seems to be able to be morphed into a lot of other things… rice, bread crust, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, stir fry rice, and of course, potato salad. I may have mentioned on last weeks Monday Musings (I’ve slept since then)  about my quest for experimenting with it in these various ways.

This turned out amazing and even passed my pickier eaters inspection so I think that’s a win. Next up I’m anticipating trying cheesy “breadsticks”.

Hubby’s take on this? “If I want bread, I’m going to eat bread” haha

Still…. I want to see if it will be a tasty replacement ( sometimes)

It has cheese. What’s there to lose, right? Cheese. It’s worth the effort.

Speaking of effort.

I hope your year is starting with you getting daily exercise in. I understand some times it’s just hard to make it happen, or maybe you have just a short amount of time to work with.  I’ve tried a few circuit bodyweight exercises that get your heart pumping and give you a solid workout but only take a small amount of time.

I’ll share a couple workout ideas that just require your mental energy and your body 🙂 This is something you can do anywhere.

( please note: I do not or am not endorsing this X-Slim product)

I just found the second one a couple days ago. I really like the idea of being able to “build” your own routine. This allows you to get creative and try new things. Not to mention it’s a great way to work all parts of your body.

No matter what you decide to do, make sure you keep good form to avoid injury and to get the most you can out of each move.

Now, here’s to a new week of adventures and shenanigans! Make it a good one.

Tell me… do you have a favorite quick workout plan? Do you use an elliptical machine? Do you like it? Do you have a new recipe you’ve tried?

Veggie Tales

I will admit this publicly. Maybe I shouldn’t.  You might be shocked.

But I’m semi-horrified when someone tells me they don’t eat veggies or don’t like them.

I’m like… “What did your mother DO to you??”

Oh, I get it. As parents we do try. I had one son who never really got into the veggie thing even though I fed him assortments of veggies as an infant (even then he wasn’t crazy over them) he has select ones he eats now, but at least he eats them.

As my kids grew up I made sure to present them with all varieties of food. I wanted them to at least try it before pronouncing they didn’t like it. I wasn’t a member of the “clean your plate” club like I grew up in but they did need to sample it.

My Mom used to delight in telling a story how I wanted scrambled eggs for breakfast but then changed my mind and didn’t want to eat them. When I stubbornly refused ( ah I was a bit head strong even then 😉 ) she evidently kept them around….

All. day. long.

They made an appearance at lunch… to which I refused to eat them… they were again brought out later.

Isn’t that child abuse or something ?! I had to take her word for it as I guess the trauma of having to see eggs that were becoming older and older by the moment was somehow blocked from my mind.

It’s a miracle I still eat eggs.

Needless to say, I didn’t grow up being allowed to be a picky eater and I was offered a wide variety of foods. It’s pretty much how my kids have been raised.

So when I’m confronted with the revelation someone doesn’t eat them ( more common than you may know)  I’m honestly floored.

Upon deeper probing sometimes that person reveals that the only veggies they may have known come from a can or they would be so steamed/overcooked by mom they turned into mush.

ok… well maybe then I’d be down on veggies too.  I’ve been in numerous buffet or banquet lines where the veggies in the pan were loose memories of what they used to be.

But beautiful, colorful, fresh produce?

Crisp green veggies perfectly steamed or better yet, roasted? There is no comparison in how delicious they are.

Roasting veggies has to be by far, my favorite way to cook and eat them.

I can eat my body weight in roasted veggies.  You think I’m joking….

Roasting is such a simple quick way to prepare them while not killing off the nutritional value. I usually use some olive oil, lots of cracked pepper and some sea salt. Roast at about 450 and stir occasionally to let them crisp up.

Pure. Heaven.

Ok I’m giving you a cheat sheet for common ones so you have no excuse to not try them 😉

roasted veggie

Ok maybe you like steamed. Some veggies are lovely when steamed till crisp tender. Steaming also helps retain all of the vitamins and minerals present in them.

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Some humor for you ’cause well.. it’s how I roll 😉

And to help you out… here’s a short list of steaming, boiling, and for the always handy micro 😉

veggie-cooking-cheat-sheet

And for the record, all of those will roast up quite nicely too.

One of my favorite roasted combos is sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts.

Ok… stop turning up your nose and making gagging noises.  I hear you.

Seriously, I’ve turned my kids into brussel sprout eaters by roasting them. If the only memories you have are of Sunday dinner and grandma cooking the life out of them and watching them roll around your plate…well.. leave those memories behind and get in the here and now.

The sweetness of the potatoes blends so wonderfully with the sprouts… yummy. Let them cook long enough to get crispy with the potatoes.

I have some friends who chop up a little bacon and cook them together. Now if you go this route be mindful your also adding additional fat to otherwise healthy veggies…but it is really good 😉

Roasted cauliflower is another favorite. In fact, I have to watch myself ’cause I’ll just nibble at it while I’m finishing dinner then wonder.. “didn’t I make more of this?” haha

It’s another kid favorite too. I’ve now gone to making two heads when I do it to ensure everyone can have what they want. Not only that, leftovers make great additions to my salad lunch the next day.

Ok maybe now I should try and sell you on WHY you should be consuming vast quantities of these.

benefits-of-specific-foods

Keep in mind, this is no where near a comprehensive chart.

Veggies not only fill you up for minimal calories, they deliver incredible health benefits to your body in the way of vitamins and minerals.

They can help protect/prevent many diseases.  You can eat wheelbarrow loads of them and not worry about calories.

They do amazing things for your skin, hair, and many offer anti-aging benefits as well as help keep you lean.

A diet high in veggies/fruits also ensures that your internal systems all work regularly and properly.

Eating plenty of veggies also gives you energy and keeps you from that sluggish feeling of to many higher carb foods in a meal.

Listen to me. Just eat your veggies.

Your body wants them. Your health will improve with them. It will help you lose weight. It will help with the appearance of your skin and hair. Oh yeah, and remember me mentioning many have anti-aging properties?

How many reasons do you need to eat them? All you need to do is be willing to be open to try some new things and experiment. If you make a valiant effort with something you don’t like, move on to the next one.

Has it ever made you wonder why there are sooooo many veggies and fruits? It’s because we were made to eat a whole lot of them AND they are amazingly good for us!

veggie tales clip

Do you have favorite veggies? How do you cook them? Share your veggie tales with me 😉

Ordinary Kids

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So it’s getting to be that time of year again. Some years, I get to participate, other years I’ve been able to skip it. Those are the years we save our money and our sanity.

What you wonder am I talking about ?

Having the privilege to graduate another child out of school.

The culmination of years of homework, teacher meetings, open houses, class parties, field trips, school projects, peanut butter sandwich lunches, new clothes shopping, tons of school supplies, sleep overs, class birthday parties, band concerts, yearly school pictures, dances shows, football games, fun and unexpected calls from the Principal ( if you have boys you may understand this better 😉 ) early morning practice sessions, after school tutoring, school dances, boy friends, girl friends, college applications, college testing…

Ok.. I could go on… the list of things you do in a child’s school career is rather vast and endless. At times you wonder if you’ll ever get to the end of it.

I can say I’m there. My final one is exiting school and heading into the big world with college in her future.

We’ve ordered announcements, taken final pictures, and done the hundred and one things that seem to come crashing in the last few months of school.

I gotta admit this. She’s the last of my big brood.  By this time I’ve pretty well felt like I could lead parent/teacher night. Or that I could predict with certainty that when I showed up for another year starting in dance, it would be same lines, new year. Or that some things in school just never changed much and it was comforting already knowing the drill on it.

I was the older, smarter more seasoned mom. I figured that in a few years they’d get it too… it takes some moving through the ranks before you learn you can say “no” to things..  😉

By the time my daughter hit Senior status I was pretty much like… “just deliver me the necessary paperwork”.

I knew the drill for it all. Many of teachers through middle and high school had already had the rest of the crew… a new year was like old home week… meet and greet… just another new family face rolling through their room.

Although in all fairness to my daughter, one of my sons had made quite a um…mark… on several teachers going through various grades.. she’d get the “ohhhh… you’re so and so’s sister?”

If you have kids then you may have one of these… the high energy, high maintenance, social, outgoing never slow down, yet charming, kid.

Anyway, thankfully, the daughter child was probably a bit more quiet and laid back than previous brood members who went through.

No matter what the bottom line was this…

Get them through. Get them on that stage wrapping their hand around that cherished diploma.

I swear when middle son walked the stage it was ALL I could do not to stand and cheer and whoop like some wild woman. There were debatable days in his final year I wondered if we’d make it.

Now each class has it own “cream of the crop” the “crème de’ le crème” right? You  know the ones who’ve been marked since first grade to be the Validictorian ? Every kid in the class knows it. They simply accept it as what’s going to be and move on.

Then there’s the whole “class ranking” thing which was making my daughter get all twitchy one day till I reminded her…

“they don’t hang a number around your neck when you walk the stage. No one will know, and honestly, no one cares..”

I reminded her when she’s out in the real world it will be completely irrelevant as well.

Then there’s the whole college thing. The angst of wondering if one will want her… if she will “make the cut” or be found acceptable. It doesn’t help when her friends are collecting admin letters like candy at a parade.

I reminded her that she could only go to one school and she will still get her degree to do what she wants.

In a community that’s big on pushing college it’s a lot of pressure on kids ( and parents) to feel like they need to perform up to some lofty expectations.. who’s.. I’m not sure…

’cause you see I have ordinary kids and it’s ok.

I’ve never tried to make them do things they didn’t want to do.

Support them in their goals and plans, yes. Push my agendas and desires on them, no.

We learned the hard way when we registered my oldest son for a semester of college, paying cash for it so he wouldn’t have any debt. He went like… three times? and then he said something that really paved the way for the rest of the brood yet to come down the college path way…

He said “you never asked me what I wanted to do. IF this was what I wanted”

Ouch. Point made.

Did I consider him any less successful for not jumping on the college boat? Not at all. My son has always had an artistic bend and was in a band. He traveled around the country for months with them. He lived every 19 year old young mans dream… being in a band in a new town every night, living for those moments on stage.  Living in new places and eating off value menus and sleeping folded up in a van driving down highways in the dark of night. He didn’t do that forever. He settled down and works with his brother now in a family business.

Two of my other sons have wanted to pursue college. One went for awhile and then quit to take on a floundering business that he has turned into a success over the past few years.   One is in college right now working on his degree.

But through these years of raising kids and wanting them to find and embrace what their own passion is I realized it’s ok, really ok, for them to be ordinary.

And I don’t mean that in  a plain vanilla way or that they lack value, substance and intelligence because they are all very bright, funny, and clever. They know how to learn and teach themselves things and they are always actively learning.

I mean they don’t have to live someone else’s ideals or expectations or get caught up in the hype with friends and feel like they are somehow “less than” ’cause they perceive the friends are somehow more successful. I don’t need to have them do things to feel validated as a parent.

I saw a T-shirt recently that made me laugh ’cause it’s how I feel so often. It said:

“Worlds okayest Mom”

Maybe I need to buy it. It reminds me I can be me, can be the best mom I can without having to “do it all” or be at every meeting or every event, or get my kids into Harvard.

At the end of the day its about my kids being happy, successful, productive  adults and maybe even a bit, ordinary.

However, if they make an impact in their personal worlds and are decent human beings, I will consider them, and myself, quite successful indeed.

 

 

 

I Eat Ice Cream Don’t Judge Me

It had been one of those days. My morning started as usual, workout, then the life stuff I had to attend to.

After that, it was off to town to do errands and finally, landing in my favorite coffee cave to chill, socialize, and write.

Oh yeah. That’s what I’m here for.

Writing 😉

Believe it or not, I am way more productive being out than being at home where things pull at me.

I had been writing for awhile and was wrestling with the feeling of needing something sweet. This is sometimes for me, normal, after a morning with a hard workout.

Sugar is nothing but pure, raw fuel for the body. I’ve learned to not fight against it when it hits, but get something to quiet that need.

Last year after a particularly long run, by midafternoon, I was craving jelly beans in the worst way. ( Can you say sugar?)  I went and bought some and chowed down on a handful without blinking.

jelly beans

The next day, I had a couple and was overwhelmed with how sweet they were. I didn’t touch them after that.

Fast forward to the other afternoon with a similar feeling creeping in. I kept writing but that need was still there.

I finally decided I wanted ice cream. Actually, where I got it, it’s a fancier version with other goodies added into it. This one happened to be Salted Caramel.

As I’m prone to do posting fun, random, or whatever pics on my social media sites, I posted a pic of the ice cream.

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It’s drool worthy, right ? 😉

 

As I expected several of my friends teased me about being “normal” and  they were happy to see I ate stuff  like, ice cream.

Of course I do.  Don’t judge me 😛

I’m not just some perpetual veggie eating machine 😉  I mean I am… but… I still like some treats too.

Anyway, yeah, so the ice cream was delicious. But my tummy also let me know a bit later it wasn’t to crazy about that heavy treat during the day when it’s not used to it.

 

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Did I eat it all ?!

 

When you eat healthy most of the time, that other stuff really begins to not set well in your tummy.

So why am I telling you this? Because I want to share with you what I shared with those who follow me on social media.

The main thing that has led to me being successful in my weight loss and fitness has been a healthy dose of balance and moderation.

I knew I’d never be successful if I developed my own plan and it was restrictive and rigid. Somehow, knowing I could have my favorite things took away the focus from them. It’s a huge mental game and it was one I wanted to be in control over.

As I bounced through those first couple years losing weight, chocolate and occasional French fries were a part of my success. So was birthday cake and Christmas cookies.

Note I used the word occasional. As time went on, the pull became less and less.  Mainly in part because your tastes begin to change and those foods start to taste “off” and that also helps to stay away from it. The other part is, knowing it was available in some ways, made me not think about it.

This is what I want to bring to you.

I believe successful weight loss comes with balance. We need to get rid of the all or nothing mentality. Have lots or have none. Do without or eat it all.

These thoughts and attitudes do not lead to success. They can contribute to guilt and more self indulgence. When we believe we’ve “failed” it turns into a brutal cycle we can battle.

The only time you fail is when you quit. Staying with it no matter how bad you think you might’ve done in a day is more successful than quitting.

Life is going on and it has fun things like celebrations, and sometimes, it even has random just for the hell of it ice cream afternoons.

Did eating ice cream change anything for me? Did it change my fitness level? Make me gain 5 lbs? Turn me into a crazy “I can eat anything now” monster because I had ice cream?

No.

Nothing changed for me.

I eat well 95% of the time and the other is for whatever floats my boat.

Balance. Moderation. What is sustainable for the rest of my life.

That stuff works.

If you make it your goal to eat well and eat well the majority of the time, you are on your way to a life time of success. Throw in some solid exercise you’re doing even better.

I firmly believe that when you know you can have everything ( not that you are going to) and that foods aren’t forbidden or good or bad,  it removes a lot of the power from them.

It protects you from the “Last Supper” mentality.

You know… eat it ALL now ’cause tomorrow I diet and I will never, ever have it again.

**raise your hand if you’ve done that** 😉

If you know you can have it, you don’t have to act like the garbage can and clean it all up in a night. No one will take it away so you can’t have it again. Really, your favorite foods will still be around.

Do you see how so much of our thinking can be disordered when it comes to food and weight loss ?

This might take some practice. It might take a failed attempt or two to nail this practice. Maybe you’ll slip up and eat a half bag of cookies.

It’s ok… keep on with it… not the eating cookies part, the practice part 😉

With practice and some balance and moderation, you can have your ice cream and lose weight too.

 

The Joys Of Raising Boys

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For the record… these aren’t mine 😉

 

 

I perched on the metal bleacher shielding my eyes from the sun, my gaze fixed out on the field.  I listened to the random chatter of parents and children around me. It was a typical spring night and I was watching an…exciting…. or should I say… amusing… game of T-Ball.

However, it was the tall. good looking, lean man I watched prowling the field actively talking to the small creatures at his knees.

It wasn’t my son I was watching play ball, but my grandson, and my son was the Coach.

I got lost in thought wondering where time had gone and wasn’t it only yesterday I was the mom at the games with Goldfish crackers and juice boxes, with my other children running around with me ?

Actually, I was quite comfy being there in my “grandmother” role. It was nice to not have to juggle children, sloppy juice boxes or deal with crying babies.  It is true what they say about being a grandparent… it is fun in a very different way 😉

However, before I got to be a grandmother, I had to do my duties as a mom.

I was blessed, privileged and I guess special, to be able to have not one boy, but three.

Yes. Three.

By the time the third came along, I felt like a total pro with the whole boy thing. I didn’t know if I’d even be able to raise a girl ( side note, we did get some later from foster care, but that is for another post)

Anyway, son number one was a quiet, easy going, laid back kid. He just rolled with everything. He knew how to play and was easy to entertain. He was creative and smart. He wasn’t complicated or difficult.  He was my little buddy for 3 1/2 years before son number 2 came along.

Culture shock.

Why aren’t parents told this secret.. this dark truth…. ???

Perhaps if they knew families would only have one child.

What is it you may be wondering ?

Well when you’re inexperienced you have this weird, but unspoken idea,  the next child you create will be, well, like the first.

It somehow, never crosses your mind that the next one will be different.

Vastly. Different. Earth shakingly different.

When my second son didn’t waste any time getting into this world, I joked that he arrived with an attitude that was like…

“WHERE’S THE PARTY??!”

High octane, high energy, always with a thought or opinion, head strong, stubborn, driven to be successful, not settling for something when he knows he can do better. Social and out going, he doesn’t meet a stranger.  The two of us went through the fire and back many times as he grew up. I think because we are wired so much alike has something to do with it.  He is my male counterpart. There were tears and angst and some sleepless nights as we grew up.  (he is the one who is the Coach)

He was as different from my first as oil is from water.

He was the shopping cart in the store you had to always keep a firm hand on or it would go wildly careening off to the left into a display of Twinkies.

My parenting game just got challenged.

When we decided to plan our third and last child it was with the idea it was the last one regardless of what we were given. Since I was old school and like surprises, we never knew what we were having till they were born.

When our third entered the world, I realized I was now mom of three boys.  He was the exact image of his dad, my smallest baby, and adored by all of us. As the third in line, I guess he just adapted to life and learned to just roll along with whatever was going on. He was quiet, but engaging. He loved books ( I read to all of my boys)  I’d often find him in his room, with his fav books,  “reading” which was more like telling the story he remembered from the pictures.  He too, was fairly easy going but I’m not sure if child three just learns to be like that to keep up with everyone else.

Raising boys, in some ways, is a fairly easy task.

At a point, they refuse to let you put them in cute little clothes and opt for just jeans and t shirts. They typically don’t turn their nose up at what you might bring home, and they don’t have any sense of a fashion style.

They are simply, dressed.

Well, they are dressed most of the time. Hopefully, when they are outside they have clothes on, although at times, that was sketchy

There were those times… thank goodness we live in the country and didn’t have neighbors to really worry about 😛

As we moved through the early years of childhood, which seem now, to have been very, very simple times, we approached  the teenage years.. it wasn’t all bad… but there were times that were definitely a bit on the heart stopping edge.

I think what I loved about the teen years is the friends they brought home. Some came and went, others, I would often tease and ask if we were adopting them and were their papers in the mail yet ? Some literally moved in for periods of time.

They all knew how to eat 😉

My cookies never seemed to last long and dinner would need to be doubled up on.

They came in all types of dress and attire. When my oldest joined a band, I had more black leather, metal, chains, make up and boots in my house than a Hot Topic store.

My son taught me through that experience to never judge a book by it’s cover. Under those make up, leather and chain clad young men, were fun, entertaining and sweet souls.   Maybe that’s why today I’m attracted to, and enjoy people who are obviously different and push the envelope from the norm.

Raising boys not only meant plenty of food and treats, but experimenting in different sports along the way.

All three toyed in them. Only one I believe had a deep passion for it. My oldest ( in the band) leaned more into arts and didn’t just play music but was also a clever and creative artist.

We let them pursue what they found interesting, and hopefully find themselves in it.

We went through seasons of sports, skateboarding, all types of music, all styles of dressing as they matured, band concerts, game days etc…

Yet, in the mix of ball games, school, activities, friends, and daily life my sons grew up.

Sometimes I find myself marveling when they walk in a room… like…

“I made those beautiful creatures!”

As grown men now, I find myself in the same role, but different as well. I’m still mom. Still the one that will call them out on things or offer up my advice.

But I enjoy the friendships with them too. The talks over the table after dinner, the silliness they still deliver up or at times, the random off beat things they can say that make me laugh, the stories that are revealed to me from childhood ( you know…stuff that you don’t want your mom to know at that time? but now that you’re an adult you can share with her? )

Oh…some of that stuff that has been revealed… has chilled my blood… and I’ve had to remind myself that they are sitting there with me, safe.

Or things that they know among themselves but in some way, sought to protect me from.

Having sons means you have all of these “protectors”.  Which isn’t a bad thing.. and is often a sweet gesture.

Or when they come in and hug me… I’m tall… but they are a lot taller… there is something precious about those huge man hugs that I get now.

So I sit at times, lost in thought at the T Ball game, reflecting on life and raising boys and pondering how time seems to have moved oh so swiftly through those years.  I sit and watch, amused, often giggling at the antics of the kids on the field who are there to just have fun and enjoy life. They aren’t hung up on winning yet or overly competitive, they are mostly there for fun. They run and jump and play.  They have to be directed in what to do. My grandson is often happily skipping to the next base.

They all look forward to the treats that will come at the end of the game. They come flying into the dugout area, with their sweaty little faces eagerly looking up at the appointed mom who delivers them for the game. Treats in hand, they go scampering off to eat, run, and play with their friends.

Even with all the up’s and down’s that can come with raising  boys, the trials and difficulties,  laughter and tears, joys and frustrations, there is a beauty in all of it.

The beauty now of watching my grown son, with his son, and all of these pint sized creatures following him around as he works with them is priceless.

So I sit and I watch. I laugh and smile.

And I think…

I think how blessed I am to have been given such precious gifts in my sons and how fortunate I am to be able to watch my grandson… even if he is skipping and chasing butterflies out on the field as he heads to the next base.

 

You Can’t Buy Health And Wellness

So I did it yesterday.  I hopped on the proverbial “Christmas bus”.

Yes, once on, please be seated, fasten your seat belts and hold on for dear life. The ride will soon be over boys and girls.

No, no, no this isn’t anything anti-Christmas it’s just an awareness that things are going to be picking up for the festive holiday season and by that I mean, I jumped into doing a little Christmas shopping. It seems like once you start it all seems to be, well, if you will, a snowball effect 😉

I was actually a good girl and didn’t even buy anything for myself.

Ok, truth be known, I had two things I was searching out and I had no success… so that doesn’t count, right ?

So while I’m at the mall, I have to walk by these various kiosks that are set up like small little hamster houses along the walk way. Most of the vendors mind their business and let you come shop with them if that’s your desire.

Except one particular one… I know it… I see it each time I’m there…. I look for an escape route like a fox in a chicken coop… but there’s NO WAY around them to get to my favorite stores.

I try the “being busy with my phone and I’m not making eye contact with you” approach. I try the “I’m intently window shopping” angle. I even try the brisk walking and pointedly ignoring them as they call and lure me in with their beauty products they’re hawking.

One caught me and handed me a sample and I thanked him and kept walking… and he kept almost chasing me trying to get me back to his little nook to sell me products. Honestly, I ignored him as he wasn’t taking my “thanks but no thanks” response.

On my way back… there he was… again… and coming after me… till I finally said… “I’m not interested in your product” and kept walking. ( Poor guy, he doesn’t know who he’s come up against) ugh. so. pushy.

The products he sells are skin and face cream and other such stuff.

Dude, I’m a middle aged woman carrying an AARP card.   Your creams and stuff aren’t gonna fix me up or change me 😉 Sorry.

Hang with me here….

it got me to thinking about other products people have tried to sell me on recently.. He was pedaling creams and such that were supposed to help you look younger etc. etc.

Yet because of my interest in health and fitness I am constantly asked to try and use products to “help” me since I’m well, into health and fitness. I mean, I must certainly need their product to help me, right?

No…  I don’t.

I don’t need your pills, potions, videos, portion cups, shakes, patches, enhancements, supplements, special drinks or anything else. I don’t need to spend money to lose weight, sleep better, lower my blood pressure or improve my lab work. I don’t  need “health” products to feel more energetic.

Why ? Because for the last 8 years I’ve worked hard and busted my tail to lose weight, learn to eat more healthy foods than not, exercise, and enjoy side effects of it, getting fit. It’s been a project that has been very satisfying…..satisfying ’cause I’ve done it.

Because I’ve lost the weight, my blood pressure is great, my lab work is (crazy good according to my doctor), my blood sugar level is even and steady, I sleep well, and have tons of energy. I’m stronger, leaner and in better shape than I’ve ever been. It always disturbs me when people brag on a product that supposedly does that when I never used products but had all the same results.

It’s the WEIGHT LOSS boys and girls that triggers all these things in our bodies….weight loss.

It’s really weird how losing weight and moving your body will reap some amazing good health benefits and it didn’t cost me a thing. On top of that, eating healthy foods, less processed foods and sugar has good benefits for your skin too.

Maybe I don’t need the stuff Mr. Kiosk dude is selling after all 😉

You don’t need products either to be strong, fit, healthy and energetic. Be patient, treat yourself kindly, take one day at a time, practice good habits, eat well, and move your body with your favorite activity.  You will be so satisfied with what you achieve on your own.

Then go and use that money to buy some smaller clothes….. or buy Christmas gifts….. 😉