No, I’m Not Eating My Emotions

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Food. I like that stuff.

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

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

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

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

They ruined me.

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

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

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

I often referred to it as mindless eating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To break free you must first:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges, Obstacles, and Being an Overcomer

A 4ish mile run yesterday morning.

And you’re thinking….sooo… what’s new? you went for a run….

Thing is, it was my first run since I raced last Sunday. I haven’t gone that long not running in… I don’t even know when…… I traveled home Monday and my natural inclination (usually) would’ve been already plotting a run for Tuesday.

But disturbingly, this thought crossed my mind Monday evening,
“I don’t really care if I run anytime soon….”

It freaked me out. Like, where did that come from ??

True, I was tired.

Friday-Monday each day I had traveled about 4 hours at a time, I ran 13.1 miles Sunday ( literally…. ran them all… other than walking through water stations to get fluid in) and even though I mentally dismissed it as “only running 13 miles” fact is, it’s still a good distance to run.
Let’s not forget the complete and total… frustrating let down… of not getting to run the 50K….or that at race day I had logged (roughly) 990 training miles since August.

I guess it was a breeding ground for my “whatevah if I run again” crazy thinking…

I messaged a running friend who assured me I wasn’t a freak but to just allow myself a little down time. He told me I’d be back on my game again soon. Sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you’ve put yourself out there, given your all, worked hard and ….resting… is an ok thing.

So I did. I mean I wasn’t a total and complete sloth. I did do a few days of strength training in my week, but I never looked at my running shoes. ( I think I heard them crying at night 😉

Therefore, yesterday morning, when I knew I was ready to get out there it was totally with the intent to run easy…. and run wherever I wanted….. and however I wanted…. no agenda.

And you know what? It felt amazing. Those creepy feelings were gone. I was back out where I needed to be. I felt alive.

I’m refocused and moving forward and know what my new goals are.

You know those moments we go through where we feel laid low… are often the times where we… once again… redefine ourselves.

Challenges and obstacles define us. They can either take us down, defeat us, and make us want to quit….OR…. they can push us, shape us, and mold us into overcomers.

We just need to decide how we will respond.

How do challenges or obstacles help you move forward ? How do you deal with them ? Do they strengthen you ?

I Don’t Do Diets

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Hey boys and girls =)

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But aren’t you…. on a diet ??”

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

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

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

Then one day I changed the game up.

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

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

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

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

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

Every single day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I didn’t even eat them all…

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

Strength

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Strength~ the quality or state of being strong, bodily or muscular power, vigor. Mental power, force or vigor.

It’s no secret, I love running. However, one thing I found I enjoyed a few years ago was tossing around some heavy metal objects, namely weights. When I first started I had these cute little 5lbers ( don’t give me a hard time…. I didn’t know better 😉

I moved up to 8’s, then 15’s, 20 and finally to what I use mostly now, 35’s. I got a 35 lb kettle bell for Christmas I like working with. At this point, I’ve built some wicked arms. Not only that, building my upper body has made me a stronger runner.

When I slip on these gloves…. it makes me feel all business. I know I’m planning to work. I love how strong I feel when I’m doing it and I love the strength and muscles I’ve built. These gloves are like… work clothes 😉

Strength has become one of my, life words, in the past year. Strength isn’t just necessary in a physical way, but mentally, spiritually, and emotionally too.

Strength became such an important life word to me that I made the (very) permanent decision to have it tattooed on my wrist as a bracelet. The word is in the banner, and chains surround my wrist to reflect the strength of iron, while the flowers bring my feminine side into it.

I guess I feel rather, passionate, about it.

There are so many times I glance at that when I’m going through something and it reminds me: I can bring home the final miles of a marathon. It reminds me when life situations threaten to swallow me. It challenges me to look beyond what I think is difficult, to fight back and push against the very pressures that are (ultimately) giving me strength.

The culmination of events, good and bad, in my life have forged this out in me.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times I wish I could’ve passed on, but then, would I have developed the mental and physical strength I have now ? Things happen for a purpose and if we let them, they shape and mold us to be stronger.

Do you relate? Have you been through things that you feel have made you stronger ? Share with me in the comments.

No Excuses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That Post- It is still in my bathroom.

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

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

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