This Year I Resolve…

Friends, we are a whole week into the New Year and I didn’t want to share my 2017 plans with you until I had a more firm understanding of them myself. I’m still motivated by and working on a resolution I began a couple years back involving my Facebook friends; I’ll post an update to that one soon.

Before devising my 2017 plan, I found it integral to reflect on 2016. It will begin to make sense why…bear with me!

In hindsight, 2016 was a year I threw caution to the wind in many aspects of my life. I was tired of stereotypes running a loop in my mind, and the more I walked away from them, the freer, more alive I felt. I also noticed many ruts I’d found myself stuck in, and busted out of most throughout the course of the year with amazing family and friends along for the tumultuous ride. Here’s a photo montage sampler.

Tried some relaxing new therapies like meditating in a salt room…


And floating in a salt tank…

Chilling in a cryotherapy chamber…

Surrendering to a sports med doc and my first cortisone injection…

Cozying up to the healing benefits of a laser at physical therapy…

Taking a crack at chiropractic treatment…

I employed a new mindset when it came to some normally tense healthcare moments. In dealing with a biopsy and subsequent surgery, fear and worry were not allowed any energy. I simply chose to believe it was nothing until it was something. It’s still nothing.

I was blessed with new friendships that provided an abundance of generosity and support…  

Which encouraged me to press beyond the struggles…

 

To encourage others to accomplish new milestones…

 

To inspire others to embrace new things, gain confidence…

 

It became ingrained; inspired me to share my love of adventure and fitness within a mentoring role…

But still taking time to fulfill my venturing needs such as these…

 

And these…

 

 

I embraced holidays in new ways…traded Mother’s Day Brunch for a delicious hike…

Replaced a traditional Christmas celebration for something a bit more rejuvenating…

I guess I could sum up 2016 as just that…

REJUVENATE (verb)

  1. to make young again; restore to youthful vigor, appearance
  2. to restore to a former state; make fresh or new again

In breaking with past expectation, trying new things, planning new experiences, I’m REJUVENATED! Friends, that’s my plan for 2017…I’m throwing conventionality out the window and continuing to explore all the many wonders life has to offer!

My Favorite Reward for Blogging

Friends, though I’d love to say I’ve figured out how to monetize this blog and make a full-time income (or any at all), that has yet to happen. I share my experiences with you for entirely different reasons. So why do I do it?

I know there are others where I have been that need to hear the road to wellness and wholeness is not only possible, but one of the most extraordinary journeys of one’s life.

I blog to encourage others as they take the first steps toward healthier living and achieving dreams; to know that if they fail on the first attempt, they have unlimited opportunities to try again. I want to impress upon readers that none of you are alone in any of it if you don’t want to be. REACH OUT!

I hope that those struggling with the yo-yo thing, like I did. try one more, or as many times as it takes to get it right. Of course there are difficulties along the way. If wellness were easy, everyone would have it figured out…would be strong, fit, well nourished and complete. But it’s not easy, and everyone’s circumstances are different. Tough “life stuff” happens and it can easily render us feeling powerless, defeated.

There are many days I begin feeling those circumstances attempting to pull me back. And about that same (divine) time, one of you REACHES OUT and reminds me why I’ve gone public with my story…why I put it all out there. Your messages mean the world to me, and hearing from you is, undoubtedly, my favorite reward for blogging.

I recently received this message of kindness from reader, Shelby H.:

Hey thank you so much for your inspiration! You are amazing! This Ted talk reminds me of what you are doing! You didn’t let digits define you, you became more! You didn’t get to choose the cards you were dealt but you chose to do something with your life! Seriously thank you for your inspiration!

And along with her message she attached this link to BeUtoFullness, an amazing TEDx Talk by Tami Hymas.  This video was far too important for me to keep to myself!

Such wonderful words of wisdom, that we don’t have to compare or compete with others because you are the only you…we are all exactly differently, the same! Friends, as mentioned, if you’re in a tough place, you can become more. As stated, we don’t get to choose the cards we’re dealt, but we can choose to do something with our lives!

Shelby, thank you for reaching out and giving me a lift when I really needed it!

And remember, Friends, we are all together in this. So whether you are in need of a pep talk, or if you have words to uplift another…REACH OUT!

 

Finding My Joy

Friends, those of you who’ve met me more recently would be surprised to know, it wasn’t long ago I was in a rather dark place. I was overweight, overscheduled, overwhelmed. I fell for the perfectionist trap in so many aspects of my life. When I often fell short, I dug myself deeper into a sense of failure. Despair.

I made it my mission to be in control of situations in an attempt to make everyone else happy. It was an exhausting existence. One which consumed me with worry…suffocating every chance for personal fulfillment. See, in living in this manner, I unknowingly left myself out of the equation time and again. If you had asked me what my hopes and dreams were, I couldn’t give you an answer because I was running the program, going through motions that never made sense but seemed expected. It was just what the women in my family had done for generations. In trying to measure up to certain standards, I found myself constantly falling short.

How did I get to this place? I had the love of family and friends…the support was always right there for the asking. But I was missing the integral puzzle piece to my wholeness…ME.

I’d become so caught up in the frantic pace of pleasing others, attempting to meet everyone else’s needs, I forgot myself. Ignored me. It has taken me 4 1/2 years to shift my focus from looking away to looking within. At first it felt terribly self-centered, but wasn’t that the point? Don’t we all need to meet our own needs first in order to be of any help to others? YES!

I admit, this was a terrifying concept at first, because putting myself at the top of my list of priorities negated everything I thought I knew. Yup, this was a scary place. But, little by little, I’ve chipped away at the senseless expectations in my head, jumped clear from my comfort zone, again and again, to create a profound sculpture of a healthier, happier me.

I’m no longer smothered by worry or expectation. I’m trying new things almost daily to point me toward my life purpose. I’m not only able to dream again, I’m living those dreams! And the result? Contentment. Exhilaration. Pure JOY! These are great feelings to take into the new year.

Friends, set aside some quiet time this week to focus on YOU…one more way to put your Best Foot Forward

Some Magical Awareness

Friends, something happened yesterday that was just too exciting to keep to myself. Let me back up a bit to set the stage…

A few weeks back, my friend Matt nominated me for a push-up challenge to spread awareness for veteran suicide. I was to do 22 push-ups daily for 22 days. Why 22? Sadly, each day an average of 22 veterans kill themselves.

Well, as many of you know, I can’t back down from a challenge, and there’s a huge place in my heart for our veterans…those brave men and women who have put their lives on the line for us. So I just couldn’t say no.

Each day I’ve been posting a video of my push-ups on Facebook. I realized right away how boring it would be to do those push-ups in the same manner every day, so I thought I’d try to spice things up for my Facebook friends.

It has become great fun for me to choose some interesting locales as my backdrop. A set in the snow back home in Minnesota was a great contrast, as a Christmas trip found me doing push-ups on Cocoa Beach, under Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, beneath the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom and next to the Knight Bus at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios.

Friends, yesterday will be impossible to top, as I had some magical help from a life-long friend. I met up with Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice for a quick round of 22. What happened next blew me away! Watch the video to see Mickey do something completely unexpected…props to you, Mickey, and thank you for helping me spread awareness for #22kill!

You can check it out here!

I encourage you to reach out to the Veterans in your life and remind them that they have your love and support. Please spread the word that Veteran suicide is not the answer!

Veteran Crisis Hotline for veterans and families in immediate crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255 and press “1” or send a text message to 838255. You can also chat with someone online at www.veteranscrisisline.net

Nalu Float Review

Friends, amidst the feverish pace of holiday preparations, I was able to hit pause on all of it last evening. A profound opportunity allowing me to return to inner peace, I left completely recharged. Does this sound like heaven? Well I assure you, it came as close as I think I’ve ever been.

Jon, owner and operator of Nalu Float in Rochester, MN generously provided me with a 90 minute complimentary float in the hope I’d share my experience with readers.

If you’ve never heard of floating, this is an experience like no other. Nalu operates two float tanks that each hold 800 lbs of epsom and water at a depth of 10″. The water is heated to 93.5 degrees to duplicate skin temperature. You can read more about floating at Nalu Float here.

I’ve floated at other establishments before, but what sets Nalu appart from others is the warm, welcoming atmosphere. I felt right at home, probably because this business is nestled within a cozy home.

The waiting area, bathroom and float room are decorated with serenity in mind; they are spotless too! All the little extras like the pre-float meditation, luxury toiletries, robe, slippers, piles of plush towels and post-float cup of tea make this a truly exquisite experience. It’s plain to see Jon pays meticulous attention to every detail of his operation to leave a lasting impression on his customers.

As I mentioned, I’ve floated in the past, so I could hardly wait to climb into that tank!

 

But I’ve never taken the opportunity to float 90 minutes. I was astounded at the results. From the moment I stepped in, all sense of time ceased to exist. I felt as though this were an out-of-body experience until I realized it was much more of a melting inward, into my inner-most being. With the simulation of deprivation of all senses, it seemed impossible to discern where my body ended and the water began. Nearly right away, I felt weightless and quite suddenly noticed all pain left my body.

The boyancy produced from the high salt concentration allowed every last inch of my body to be suspended, supported, cradled. There was zero pressure on any of my angry parts. Although I’d been to sports med, the chiropractor and physical therapy this week, this was the modality that provided the most relief. I felt all of it…my muscles, tendons, ligaments…everything relax and release…just subtly let go.

This release allowed me a complete awareness of breath. The longer I was in the tank, the more I noticed how my breathing slowed…almost as if it were no longer necessary. I was just that gone…heavy meditated! My soul was lulled by the gentle rhythm of my heartbeat. I would have to describe this sensation as tranquil solitude. A state of blissful euphoria deeper than any I’ve experienced in the outside world.

Friends, I can’t think of a better way to treat your loved ones this holiday season. If you need a last-minute gift idea…look no further! Stop by Nalu’s Facebook page here for details on their current gift package offerings. And while you’re there, don’t forget about treating yourself too. Don’t forget to tell them Carla sent you!

This floating phenomenon is one more healing way to put our Best Foot Forward!

I

 

 

Oh Christmas Tree

Had a little fun trimming the tree FIT BFFs style tonight just for kicks!

christmas-tree

The opportunity to blog my adventures, discoveries, failures and successes has been a huge gift for me again this year. Many thanks for your suggestions, encouragement, input, accountability, friendship and above all, for reading! Merry Christmas FIT BFFs!

 

Lifesaving Life Hack!

I guess that title is a bit dramatic, Friends. I’ve been struggling with something that has become terribly uncomfortable, to the point of me choosing to avoid it altogether. But I have to do it, so I turned the idea over and over in my head until I came up with a bit of an earth shattering solution…in my mind, at least lol!

Life hacks have been dreamed up by some pretty creative, innovative, clever folks. They look at a problem long enough to discover a way to deal with something in a new, simplified manner. Urban Dictionary defines a life hack as “a tool or technique that makes some aspect of one’s life easier or more efficient.”

There are entire websites devoted to sharing life hacks. If you find some spare time, you might want to check out what shortcuts, tricks and strategies people have discovered to improve daily life. Some of them are real a-has!

My knee has continued to require regular icing to reduce inflammation.  As I’m lying on the couch with multiple ice packs on my knee, the shocking-cold sensation travels instantly up my spine. This happens no matter how many sweatshirts and blankets I employ to counteract it. That feeling is only multiplied when I see the snow blowing outside and hear the weather woman tell of the -26 degree windchill. It has become a freezing-cold hell of an experience that I’ve aimed to improve. And I’m pretty proud of a solution I just devised.

Now I realize not everyone requiring frequent icing is equipped for this hack, and heck, I also know I can’t use this method all the time. I will, however, do this every single day I’m at the gym until the spring thaw! Here’s my brilliant solution…

ice

Just looking at the picture brings back warm, toasty memories. This morning I took two bags of ice into the sauna and while my knee chilled, the rest of me sweltered. There were ZERO shivers of ice cold lightning shooting up and down my spine. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back to the gym right now! So there you have it, my ice-ice-baby life hack!

Friends, any time you are plagued with a situation that needs improvement, bounce it around in your brain until the right idea hits…it could be a real lifesaver! That’s one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

Nothing is Impossible

Friends, it’s very hard for me to believe what blessings this past year has brought my way. Exactly one year ago this morning, I was in Honolulu starting a marathon…A MARATHON! I admit, if you had told me two years ago I’d run one, I would have told you, “Impossible!”

I’d only just begun running the year before, and never imagined in a million years I would run 26.2 miles. In one day. For fun. Yet I found myself meeting up with Rhonda and Matt, complete strangers at that time, to do exactly that!

honolulu-start

Just a few short years before, this concept was impossible. Unthinkable! Because at 246 pounds, the first few miles would’ve surely induced cardiac arrest!

2012-hawaii-299

But having lost the weight, adopted healthy eating habits, a love of fitness and a wellbeing in my soul, I allowed myself to think crazy thoughts. And when certain thoughts just couldn’t be ignored, I set goals. Little by little those goals became realized dreams I never even knew I had a few short years ago.

hawaii-dec-2015-796

It took everything I had to give that day, but I knew all along it was there.

honolulu-together

And when it was done, I was able to say what I never thought I could…I was a Marathoner!

honolulu-medals

And better yet, with continued determination, the astounding generosity of others, despite injuries, health setbacks and mental blocks…these further impossibilities became realities:

  • Carlsbad Half Marathon, Carlsbad, CA (January)
  • Donna’s Half Marathon, Jacksonville, FL (February)
  • San Diego Half Marathon, San Diego, CA (March)
  • Beginner’s Luck Half Marathon, Henderson, NV (April)
  • La Jolla Half Marathon, La Jolla, CA (April)
  • Rockin’ Robin Half Marathon, Rochester, MN (May)
  • Med City Half Marathon, Rochester, MN (May)
  • Mammoth Lakes Half Marathon, Mammoth Lakes, CA (June)
  • Bubble Run 5K, Madison, WI (June)
  • Mini Iron Man, Many Point, MN (June)
  • MN Nuthouse 5K, 10K and Half Marathon, Rochester, MN (July)
  • RAGBRAI 420 miler, IA (July)
  • Ragnar Great River, WI/MN (August)
  • America’s Finest City Half Marathon, San Diego, CA (August)
  • Med City Fall Half Marathon, Rochester, MN (September)
  • Mankato Half Marathon, Mankato, MN (October)
  • Marine Corps Marathon, Washington, DC (October)
  • Rock’n’Roll 5K and Half Marathon, Las Vegas, NV (November)
  • Silver Lake Walk with Friends Half Marathon, Rochester, MN (December)

And to think it all started a year ago today; all of it seemingly impossible, yet…

impossible

Friends, you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to…ANYTHING! Believe in yourself, your hopes, dreams and ambitions. Set multiple short and long-term goals to get yourself there. Tell yourself I’M POSSIBLE and put your Best Foot Forward; there’s no telling where we can take ourselves if we remember NOTHING is impossible!

truewhite Advanced Review

Friends, a while back I was noticing some yellowing of my teeth…although I’m smiling in this picture, it was not something I was too excited about.

true-white-6

Around the same time, coincidentally, Jerome from True Company reached out asking if I’d be interested in trying their truewhite whitening system…I love how things work out like that!

I quickly agreed, because you readers know how much I enjoy those little me-time endeavors, so I had nothing to lose!

True Company generously provided me with a complimentary Advanced Plus whitening system for two people. I was excited that my husband and I would both give this product a whirl.

Here’s a look at half of the whitening system we received…there were two of everything included, except the shared activating LED light device.

true-white

We thoroughly read through the directions and began molding our mouth trays.

true-white-2

Eric and I had no problems with the lower trays, but we both left our upper trays in the boiled water for a moment or two too long, causing some accidental folding over and fusing of those trays…oops! Operator error stinks! But this company was so wonderful in shipping out some replacements and we were back in business right away.

What happened next was a bummer for Eric. As I began using the whitening kit, I had a pretty raging upper respiratory thing going on, so he chose not to proceed, as we would be sharing the LED light device. There was no reason to share the illness too, so I continued on without him.

The directions were very straightforward. I was able to form my trays relatively well this time. I placed the gel in the trays as directed, made very easy thanks to the syringe. I placed the trays over my teeth, inserted the little light, closed my lips over it and relaxed for the recommended 12-15 minutes. It looked something like this…

true-white-3

I used this time to catch up on emails and before I knew it, I was already finished with that first application. Cleanup was quick…just removed the trays, rinsed my mouth and rinsed the remaining gel off the trays. That was it. I was excited to do it all again the next day, because who doesn’t want another opportunity to relax?

true-white-4

And so it went for the remaining three days. Although this is a very simple, straightforward process, I urge a person to avoid whitening while plagued with a cough. At one point during one of my whitening sessions, I had a persistent need to cough that couldn’t be stifled. I made it to the sink just in time to forcefully eject all contents from my mouth…not pretty!

So after the whitening process, I have to say I really appreciate that I could do this in the comfort of my own home at my convenience. The process was simple, and despite some expected tingling from the gel, totally painless. I also appreciate there is enough gel for a few more touch-up applications. And when I clean the LED light with some antibacterial soap, Eric will be all set to take his turn.

I confess, I was a bit fearful my teeth would glow in the dark like Ross’ on that episode of Friends. I admit, I did not notice a major significance of change.  I did, however, notice my teeth appeared a few shades whiter. I wonder if I played with the molding of the trays and got an even more precise fit, I might get a more noticeable effect. With a couple more subsequent sessions with the leftover gel, I expect even better results.

true-white-5

Friends, I give this convenient whitening system a thumbs up! But don’t take my word for it, you can experience this fun me-time project for yourself at a significant savings. Simply click here to the True-Company’s link, offering a very low discounted price for FITBFFs readers! Perhaps this is just the thing you’ve been looking for to fill your own Christmas stocking!

true-white-7

Keeping it Fresh

I had no plans figured out for some physical activity today. I wasn’t sure how my knee would react after yesterday’s 13.1. Turns out it was pretty swollen and aggravated. But my attention immediately went another direction because it finally happened, Friends; I woke up to SNOW!!!

I know I am not the demographic norm, at my age, for those who are even mildly okay with it. I’d guess about 93% of those folks here in MN HATE the white stuff. But I couldn’t be more excited! In fact, I never put my snowshoes away last spring…they’ve been sitting in my garage, waiting all year!

They were just as anxious as I was to get out in it today, but it was not to be. We only got 2.5 inches. It will take another 10 plus for these guys to see any action. Patience.

snow-1

I already knew I couldn’t push things at the gym today, so I had something perfect in mind to change things up. I settled for a short walk to the park with Eric; how could one stay in on a beautiful, snow blanketed afternoon like this anyway?

snow-6

The crisp, fresh air was invigorating. We walked right up to my favorite part of the park, not having to wait our turn. We had the place to ourselves.

snow-2

I spent the next 10 minutes or so forgetting about my angry knee; it seemed more than happy to participate in this opportunity to soar!

snow-3

Some of you may think I’ve lost it, but I invite you to jump on a swing and not have the experience bring you back to the simple joys of childhood! I could do this all day, except that it was 33 degrees and I may have forgotten quite how to dress for this weather. Regardless, I was refreshed. Renewed. Energized!

snow-4

As we left the park headed for home, I noticed how clean and new everything appeared…untouched. There was really only one thing left to do…

snow-5

My first snow angel of the season. Not the most impressive, but it’s a start. I walked home satisfied in knowing much more snow will fall, and when it does…these guys will practically jump on my feet!

snow