Why I’ve Given Up On The Scale

scale

The scale. I’ve written about this little¬†tool before.¬† I talk about it ’cause it makes me sad and crazy to see people under some burden of feeling their worth and value is somehow connected to what those numbers say.

Those numbers don’t make you a better or worse person… say that to yourself if you fall in that grouping.

I’ve come a long way in my relationship with it. From a love/hate to…¬† ” I don’t need you anymore scale… I can ignore you and life is splendid without you”

Our relationship went to another level this week as I again reminded myself, in the overall context of my health, lean muscle mass, how I look, how I feel, and my athletic abilities, it’s irrelevant.

Like…totally…irrelevant.

I don’t use it often… sometimes it’s a few times a year…

then there are just those times that I’m thinking I feel leaner and look it and there’s better definition to my muscles and so I hop on to just check it out…

that’s where I was this week… and that’s when it told me… nope… you’re still rocking along right where you’ve been almost forever….

What. Ever.

Now that’s not a bad thing. Not a bad thing at all. What I constantly drill through my head is the fact if I’m putting on muscle the scale might not change at all, even though my body does. ( note…you really have to workout¬† for a while before you start claiming muscle weight. This won’t happen in 6-8 weeks) Compared to fat, muscle is much more compact and dense and contrary to things I hear people say, muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound.

fat

But geeez…. you’d think with all I put myself through it would offer up something different.

Like hey here’s a consolation prize for busting your butt all the time!

I joke… but I don’t care anymore…

well.. I do…. but I don’t…

I’m smart enough to know and understand¬† a healthy perameter I need to stay in. Beyond that… yeah.. I don’t care.

And I’ll speak this disclaimer here as well: we ALL have a healthy weight zone we need to be in for good health and an energetic lifestyle. ¬† You know if you have extra fat. You know it needs to go. In your journey to lose it, the scale is a tool, to show progress of less fat.¬† Record your numbers and move on. Use it wisely then leave it alone.

I guess I can say that now 8 years into my health and fitness journey. I’ve learned a lot in these past few years about weight, the scale, my body, and the fact it’s an ongoing science experiment.

I’ve gone from having weight to lose, which I did in a slow, steady manner, almost 50 pounds to be exact. At that time, the scale definitely helped keep me moving towards my goals.

Fat had to go. I weighed in once a week. I accepted the results and didn’t let it define me or make me feel like a loser who needed to give up and quit. I didn’t expect instant results.

The fat did go. The goal had been to get “thin” (whatever that means )

I started running.. it was easy to keep pretty lean logging miles. Add to that training for marathons and logging 50-60 miles a week… I had the lowest body fat percentage I’d ever had in my life.

The scale tipped to a low point that was easy to maintain based on all those miles.

I just accepted those numbers for where I was at athletically.

I guess the thing I learned being new to athletic¬†life is that when you train hard all the time, and come off¬† it, your body adapts and settles back to a weight I believe, everyone has “pre-programmed” in them. It’s the place you can stay and not have to obsessively diet or watch every crumb that goes in your mouth.

You can easily maintain where you are.

I’ve learned that when I’m not in heavy training, I’ll carry about 5-¬†10 more pounds on me.

It’s been a revelation that I’m ok with…. mostly. ¬†I understand athletically there are seasons and my body will change based on what I’m doing.

Not burning up the road with so many miles¬†has allowed my muscles to grow more and so there are parts of me that are more developed now and take up space…my body has responded to weight training by building muscle.

Other reasons why I’ve given up on the scale:

it doesn’t tell me I’m getting stronger.

it doesn’t reflect the creativity or thought processes that come from miles on the road.

it doesn’t reflect my overall health and well being.

It doesn’t define me as a person by whatever numbers roll up for that day.

it doesn’t take into account I’m a woman or where I’m at in my cycle.

it won’t reflect how well I perform on the bike or running.

it’s not going to applaud my good lab reports

it doesn’t define my worth or value.

The total number certainly doesn’t reflect I’m more lean muscle now than fat.

And finally, it definitely won’t tell me my jeans look good¬† or offer me coffee ūüėČ

What can you do or focus on besides the scale?  Try some of these things:

How do you look in mirror?
Are your clothes fitting better?

How do you feel? Strong, confident, healthy? Do you have more energy?  Can you move through your day strong and able to do daily tasks with ease?

Focus on action. Are you eating well? Do you have a consistent exercise or training program?

Do you have more self confidence and an  overall better body image?

These are all good things to focus on other than the fickle and always changing numbers of a scale. Learning to do these things will give you a new mindset on viewing yourself and your relationship with the scale.

Ok, well this probably won’t be my last rant on the scale.¬† If this made you laugh or smile a bit, good.

If you want to read more, check out my post, The Scale Experiment, where I literally charted my weight at various times through an entire 12 hours to show how much it fluctuates and changes in the day.

On your own journey of health and wellness¬†I want you to embrace and love who you are…all along the journey. Yes, you might be on a course to lose some weight or you might be at your goal weight now and working on getting stronger and more fit. No matter where you are..love and embrace yourself on the journey… because that is where we really get to know ourselves… and don’t forget to celebrate all your victories along the way that have nothing to do with the scale.

 

 

 

Do What You Can’t

You-must-do-the-thing-you-think-you-cant-do

 

“Do what you can’t”

It was a clip off of a commercial that was on. The tag line jumped out at me.

I let the words breathe over me for a few moments.

“Do what you can’t”

It left no room for considering something as impossible… unattainable… or out of reach .

Like.. just do it.

I considered those words a bit longer. I remembered an acrostic I had seen on “I can’t” years ago.

I

C- certainly

A-  Am

N- Not

T-  Trying

I thought of the times in my life those words had crossed my lips. I’ve entertained those less and less as I get older. I’ve done enough crazy things to realize that really, I can.¬† I just need to train my mind to get out of my way and do it.

I thought of the times I’ve heard people say that. Sometimes in regards to things that they want to do or sometimes it’s in regards to what I’ve done ( oh¬† I cant run…can’t lift weights… can’t….)

Listen, I couldn’t either a few years ago. Once my mind got out of the way and I let my body do things it’s¬† naturally made to do, It was crazy how it turned into…

watch me.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the things I’m considering scare me. They scare me ’cause I start thinking those thoughts…can I do this? Am I able?

Those thoughts of self doubt scare me a bit more than the thing I’m considering taking on, if¬† I’m being honest.

Why? Because I let doubts creep in about my abilities… but I’ve learned .. I can really train myself into anything.

How I think. How I approach life. My attitude towards things. How I take on new physical activities .

So as I considered that little phrase it just made me think of the times I’ve¬† taken on the things “I can’t”.

Fear has no place there. Insecurities have no place there. Self doubt has no place there.

You know what happens when you push through and take on the idea  that you can do anything?

It’s empowering. It builds confidence .You feel you can take on the world.

What big thing do you want to do ?

Go back to school? Lose weight? Take on a new project? Pursue a new fitness goal?

What do you need to remove from your thinking to accomplish something you think you can’t do?

You are only limited by your mind and the self imposed limits you put on yourself.

Go do what you can’t.

 

 

The Joy Of Your Health Journey

Find-joy-in-the-journey

 

It’s afternoon and I’m perched at the bar in my fav coffee cave with the hopeful expectation if I just start typing words, thoughts will form, and then¬†magically¬†my blog post¬†will be¬†born.

Actually, I have tons of thoughts that clamor to get out. Sometimes, they are all over each other and won’t let me separate them. I came in with a topic on my mind and realized awhile back I had written something almost exact on it ( I guess I feel kinda passionate about the topic. If you’re curious¬† it’s about.. fat… and the post is called “The Ugly Truth About Fat” you can read it too when you’re done here ūüėČ )

Anyway, I scraped that idea and was pulling down another long drink of my steaming coffee when hubby started messaging me. Now as much as I love hearing from the guy, sometimes, he can break my artistic and creative thinking.

However, today he actually stirred up some thoughts in my head with his teasing.

He threw out at me “didn’t I have a pill or shake or something to just magically make him lose weight and to help him get in shape?”¬† he says things like that cause he knows those over hyped products make me crazy… totally crazy.

I laughed and told him he was out of luck. He had to do it the old fashioned, not fancy, but get the job done way:  exercise and eat sensible healthy foods.

I jokingly said…” but if I gave you a pill or shake you’d miss out on all the fun of achy muscles and sweating”.

And then it hit me… it’s what I want to talk about…

Weight loss. Exercise. Committing to living a healthier lifestyle.

The journey.

It takes work.

Actually, it takes a lot of crazy hard work and discipline. Oh yeah, and an unwillingness to give up or quit. It takes a tenacity to get up each day and to keep going after it. You buckle into it as a life long commitment and not just a brief dating experience.

It takes a new mental focus to pass by the local fast food dollar menu that you wanna load up on and stuff in your face driving down the road, to pass on the chocolate bars checking out at the grocery store, or to scale down the big bowl of ice cream etc.

It takes intentional determination to  choose healthier foods over junk foods.

To eat less when your mouth and eyes just want to eat more but your tummy has said… “HEY! we’ve got enough down here!”

It takes a serious amount of mental work in the beginning to get in your workout gear and get after it. I never wear exercise clothes to just¬†wear exercise clothes. Those for me, mean work. They aren’t play clothes. My mind knows exactly what’s coming when I’m in my work gear… it’s time to get serious.

Then of course¬†there’s ¬†the physical out put¬†you invest into your chosen activity.¬† You already know what comes from it. If you do it right you’re breathing hard, sweating, and your heart is beating strongly in your chest.

How much I love those feelings now! How much I anticipate it!

So when I fired back at hubby he’d miss out on sweating and aching muscles I realized how much I’ve learned in the course of training and disciplining myself on this¬†journey I call a healthy lifestyle.

How much we would miss out on if there were …really.. some secret magic pill or¬†potion to help us¬† get rid of the weight we had put on from a lazy lifestyle and never have to exert any energy or invest anything of ourselves into the process!

Over the course of the past few years I’ve been at it I’ve learned to embrace some things…to look forward to them.. to see the fruits of my labor present themselves in my life.

I love a body that is tired from hard work of my physical labor! I don’t mind my muscles being tight when I know its from running or cycling or lifting heavy weights.¬† I don’t mind days I’ve done a 20 mile run and I’m ready for bed at 9 pm like some old person ( forget that I was on the road at 5:30 that morning getting after it)

I DID A 20 MILE RUN THAT DAY!

Did I ever think, years, or the year or even months before I could do that?

You don’t do things like that without investing a lot to get there.¬† I didn’t pop a pill or drink a magic potion.¬† I busted my butt to get to that point…involving hours and hours of training and sacrifice…

I think if I had a short cut I would’ve missed out on all the discipline it’s taught me.¬† I would not have the incredible fierce mental toughness I have that only miles and miles out on a road will teach you. I wouldn’t have learned about sacrifice to make things happen or the work needed to accomplish huge goals. I wouldn’t have experienced the joys and pains of pursuing goals bigger than I am.

I think back to my beginning days when a 2 mile walk was enough.

I realize how much I’ve grown and learned. How much stronger and more powerful my body is now. How much energy I have. How I’ve learned to eat better and how to eat to fuel not just my day but my athletic activities.

It’s been a birthing process. A journey. An adventure that can only be limited by¬†my mind.

Taking short cuts would not grow us. It wouldn’t teach us. We wouldn’t value what we were given if we didn’t have to invest and work hard for it. We wouldn’t have the satisfaction of reaching goals that have challenged us.

I know now that the process is ongoing. It will require consistent effort, discipline and hard work.

I know its worth it. The labors I go through make the end results all that much sweeter.

I for one, am grateful, there wasn’t a pill or magic potion to do it for me.

I would’ve missed out on so¬† much on my¬†journey. I would’ve certainly missed out on learning exactly what I’m made of and what I’m capable of doing.

journey arm pic

Wherever you are learn to enjoy the journey. Embrace the process. Learn from your experiences and celebrate how fierce and strong you are.

You don’t need pills or potions.

You just need your indomitable spirit to do it.

 

Cheers To The Average Athlete

average-joe

 

So yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday here in the good old U.S.A.¬† to say the results¬† upset the applecart of many is putting it mildly.¬† Two big footballs teams battling it out for the top honor of being “the best of the best” in the league. It seemed like the game was in the bag until the Patriots (although not my choice to win ūüėČ did some pretty incredible athletic things on that field to not only pull from behind, but to take the game into the first overtime ever in Super Bowl history, winning the game and the title.

It’s hard for me to not observe all that goes on in a game from an athletic stand point. I am in awe that these guys can get slammed by 100’s of pounds of bodies on the ground, fly through the air, run at the speed of light, move with the agility of a deer being chased, bounce and land on their feet again. Their moves I often think of as strong male ballet. For such a rough sport I find beauty in the strong athletic movement of it. These are athletes in their prime.

Yes, I know and understand these men train as hard off the field to keep their bodies strong for the sport they play on the field. Nutrition and strength training are vital roles in their success on field.

Ok… so this post isn’t about the fact I may be getting more and more into football…. ūüėČ it is though,¬†going to be a nod to the average, ordinary, hard working athlete.

To you. To me. To the normal people.

Those ¬†who are disciplined and dedicated in training their bodies for tasks beyond the “usual”. We won’t be under stadium lights in front of a million screaming fans or earning coveted trophies.

No,¬†our rewards will come from¬†the dedication to our own sport ( or if you’re crazy like me…sports…) where we train hard against ourselves, setting new goals, working hard, returning home exhausted with maybe the only one happy to see us being our dog who is happy to wash the sweat from our grimy legs.

We alone know the mornings or evenings we will put ourselves through our sport, sometimes not feeling entirely like doing it. We know the mornings we are up early out getting it done while people still sleep. We understand the aches of a body worked hard and yet somehow, embrace it, preferring that over aches from doing nothing at all.

Our training teaches us more about nutrition and eating¬†smarter to perform better. We learn how to set aside foods we don’t need and focus on foods that are fuel for our bodies to become stronger for our sports. It becomes a learning process that somehow our bodies teach us as we move along. How to eat enough, and eat enough of the right foods.

We set goals, lay out our own “game plan” and train like the world depended on how successful we are at it. We perhaps, have a few events we train for in a year. For some, it could be stepping stones to something bigger.

A 5k that starts off as a lark, leads to training for a 10k, and maybe ultimately a half marathon or more.¬†¬† A cycling event or¬† maybe a mix of cycling and running. Perhaps there are loftier goals of full marathons or Ironman competitions or the desire to see just “how far” you can go doing something.

The things we can choose to pursue are limitless… sometimes only hindered by our minds and our thoughts of doubt that could hold us back.

So this post is to all of us, to you, the athletes who are inspiring to every day people who watch you. You may never get a “prize”, or have public accolades, or be famous. But what you do every day, what you work towards, the goals you set, the ambition you embody, the passion you have for your sport, could be inspiring someone else to get out and move. It could inspire them to try something new and different, to get beyond their comfort zone because they see you working it and doing it every day.

And that my friends, is certainly reward enough. To inspire and motivate others is one of the greatest gifts of all.

 

incredible-average

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motivation Or Discipline?

 

 

motivation

Motivation. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

Motivation: ¬†we need it¬†in life to accomplish anything we¬† put our minds too. Without it we lack the ability to get anything done. Some days we are more motivated than others. Some, we don’t care if we get off the sofa all afternoon.

For instance a day like today… cool, cloudy, rainy, it screams… “Stay home and lay on the sofa all day and read!”

I didn’t… I’m actually at Starbucks writing this blog right now so at least I’ll have some level of productivity today ūüėČ

Sometimes, let’s be honest, it’s hard to sustain a constant level of motivation.

Let’s take that over to exercise. I believe sooo many people have good intentions when it comes to doing it. They start off in the week feeling highly motivated to do their chosen activity and then as the week wears on, their motivation begins to lag.

If ONLY we could keep that at a constant level.

Motivation can be a fickle thing.

Do we¬† need more than a “pull yourself up and drag yourself to the dreaded task motivation ?”

I think so.

In the beginning we do need a level of motivation to get going. We have our reasons to do it and that carries us for a bit.

However, at a point something new takes over, or it has to since as we all know, motivation can lag and eventually disappear.

What is that? ¬†you might be wondering as you sit there tossing down your coffee…. what is the “thing”?

It’s¬† discipline.

Discipline :The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.

“the practice of training” .

Disciple begins to be the next step when motivation has moved you out the door.

Discipline is what takes over and moves you out of bed into your workout clothes. It reminds you that you will NOT be happy with yourself if you come up with some lame excuse to not get it done. It is the thing that becomes wired in you to help you accomplish new goals.

I often get asked how I stay so “motivated” but the honest truth is, motivation is not what drives me anymore. It’s pure discipline that’s been hard wired in me¬†now.

Discipline is what makes me structure exercise as a part of my morning routine, makes me put on workout gear first thing when I get up, and already have planned my athletic adventures for the day.

Discipline moves me outside when the weather is less than ideal or I don’t “feel” like it. ( I always feel like it once I get going) Discipline reminds me of my goals and it also reminds me of how awesome I’ll feel when I finish.

Discipline can see ahead and not just the day I’m in. It knows that what I do today, makes me stronger for tomorrow.

Discipline says that goals are not reached by sitting back and doing nothing, or not making it a priority. Discipline doesn’t allow excuses to come in and justify not doing it.

Motivation, can be a much more fickle beast but it’s the first step towards a more¬†disciplined life.

Remember the difference…

Motivation has a “general desire”

Discipline is ¬†“the practice of training”.

Motivation is great to get you moving, but always aim towards a lifestyle of discipline in your endeavors.

Do you see a difference in motivation and discipline? Have you learned the difference in your life?

 

 

Conquering Your Mountains

Conquer: to successfully overcome, to climb ( a mountain successfully).

I had just returned recently from one of my long rides out on the bike when I got a message from my daughter in law. Actually, it was a photo of my new granddaughter, wrapped snuggly in a towel after her bath.

Her big eyes wide open and alert, her tiny nose peeking through, she looked quite content and comfy.

After responding with the usual… ” eek I love her, she’s so cute”… I tell her that’s what I need…

A shower.

I’m in desperate need of it as I’m now sweat dried and dirty from the road.¬† I told her I had finished up 32 miles to which I get this response…

“you crazy woman!” ( this is a high compliment indeed haha)

It was followed by… “I’m so proud of you for conquering the bike while you can’t run!”

I really don’t think she knew how much those words meant to me.

I had certainly been on a bike in the previous year, but it was a cheap little bike I had picked up from the local Wal-mart and certainly not designed for the things I had been doing to it. I thought the¬† guy at the first bike shop I went to was simply trying to sell me something pricier when I told him what my riding goals were. I was kind of ( ignorant) to some aspects of cycling at that time… now I know…

I should’ve caught on when during a longer ride the handlebars had come loose and I had to physically manhandle them into place to finish the last 5 miles of my ride.

Cheap bikes aren’t meant to have the life ridden out of them ūüėõ

It was June of this year when I got my first, real, professional road bike. A hot little black and red Cannondale. I found another bike shop where the guys there have taken me in and taught me essential things, and also challenged me on another level as well. It’s also kinda cool to have a place to land where you can talk about your athletic goals and they listen, offer encouragement and suggestions.

So, since June, I’ve been out on the road a lot more. I’ve added more miles, and learned to not be intimidated by crazy monster hills that make me think they’re gonna eat my lunch.

I’ve sharpened my mental muscle a lot more…and I thought it was pretty tough from all that marathon training…but like any muscle…. there’s always room for growth.

Cycling is work. Often hard and demanding work.¬† You learn to enjoy the downhill moments ’cause you know more hard stuff is coming at you.

Not only that, there is learning about your bike, all that shifting stuff (gah) and also learning how to push yourself more. It’s easy to sometimes stay in your comfort zone, it takes work to get out of it.

So I thought about that whole “conquering the bike” thing.

Being an endurance runner, I will admit, the move to cycling was rather seamless for me. I already had a lot of strength and discipline from distance running so physically it fit me well.

¬†But It’s not just that…it was learning to conquer:

perceived limitations,¬†my assessment of¬†my abilities, getting out of (yet) another comfort zone, mountains, hills, and more mountains to take on, conquering the mechanics of the bike and riding in a different way, ¬†conquering self-doubt when the next step seems to taunt me that (what if) I don’t have what it takes? It’s also¬†new skills and having an open mind to be taught and learn.

Conquering a new sport when running has been my “baby” for the past couple years.¬† Hey, at this point, why settle for one sport ? ūüėõ

So I reflected on those simple words she spoke to me and soaked them in… they have come during rides to remind me what I’m capable of, what I’ve learned, and more importantly how I’ve grown and learned.

I’m not done yet. I have so much room to grow, learn, get stronger and better and what I’m doing. But I am confident, I will continue to conquer it.

So I’ll leave these words with you, my faithful readers.

What have you conquered? What seems bigger than you and you find yourself digging deeper to overcome and conquer something you previously didn’t think you could do ? It’s in the journey that we learn and grow but if we are strong and persevere we find we¬†have everything we need in us to conquer and overcome, no matter what it is.

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On top of one of the mountains that challenge me ūüôā

Intimidation, Life, And Crushing Goals

Intimidation.

 To intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another, to make timid; fill with fear. 

If¬†we think of this word what usually comes to mind is in regard to people…. one person intimidating another.

That in my opinion, is the lowest form of cowardice however, this isn’t where I’m going in this post.

I want to talk about how we can be intimidated with life or things in life.

Keep in mind part of the definition…. ” to make timid, or fill with fear”

Intimidation is just fear and fear can be crippling to living our life out loud. It can rob us of our potential and the potential for our lives and what we can accomplish.

I contemplated that in a fresh way this past week.

I try not to live my life in an intimidated way on any level. If there’s one thing living an athletic lifestyle has taught me… being intimidated has no place in it. In turn that has carried over into the rest of my life.

Every new challenge or goal has required a level of strength and discipline to stomp down any aspect of fear and intimidation.

The fear of the unknown. Feeling intimidated or inadequate.

Being able to face a physical challenge that ( in the moment) seemed daunting and out of my perceived abilities.

For instance….Learning to run. I know, sounds easy enough, right? But running is hard.

I remember being up to running around 6 miles several days a week when a friend tossed out at me I should run a half marathon.

I laughed. Yet, she had planted a seed. I rolled it over in my head and within a couple weeks I had signed up to run a half marathon a few months later.

Yes, it feels intimidating to look at running a race that’s 13.1 miles. I felt the worry of “what if”.

Yet I toed that line and did my first half in 2:15. I walked away with a new level of confidence and a new awareness that stomping down potential fears would only make me stronger in what I pursued.

It was the beginning for me in my athletic journey… a take no prisoners and don’t even think you can’t do it mentality.

More half marathons, full marathons, a 50K all eventually fell under my feet.

No room for intimidation.

Yet, there I was again facing it this week out on my bike. Ha, cycling has also taken me to a whole new level of finding out what I’m made of.

It’s demanding and requires much strength. Toss in some major hills and it’s even more fun.

For instance, this one particular hill. ( It’s really a mountain they cleared and paved over if we’re being honest) Anyway, it’s a blast flying down it, but it requires a huge amount of strength mental and physical to ride up.

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You want a strong mental game when you see this coming and I’m fairly sure I break the speed limit on the way down ūüėČ

 

 

It was a part of my route the other day. I’ve ridden it before but¬† it was always in the front of my mind on my ride… it was coming.

That’s when I realized I was allowing it to intimidate me.

Why? well truth be known, I’m fully aware of the physical demands it requires.

It’s freaking hard. It requires a brutal amount of my strength.

But I know I can do it.. that I have done it… and the way to keep crushing it and putting it in place is to well.. just keep doing it.

Keep heading out there, staring it down and using the same strength I’ve used to muscle through every other challenge and conquer it.

I know every time I do it I will become stronger, mentally and physically.

I will always, of course, have a healthy respect for it. How can I not?

But I’m making a choice to not be intimidated of it. How? I will keep intentionally seeking it out until it begins to feel totally natural to me.

Pushing down fears, taking them head on and not being intimidated with hard things in life builds and strengthens us in ways we can never imagine.

What mountains are in your life that intimidate you or leave you feeling fearful?¬† There’s only one way to overcome it and that’s by facing it and pushing until you have put it under your feet.

Don’t let those things keep you from the potential that lies in you.