The New Year So Far…

We are already into the fourth week of January, Friends! Did you make any resolutions this year? Set any intentions? A goal or two? If so, how’s it going?

Did you know that by the end of January, roughly 58% of resolutioners have already quit? Aware of this statistic, I chose to do something different this year. Instead of resolving to change myself in some way, I took a whole new approach. I began with what I already know about myself…

I’m sick and tired of numbers…the one on the scale, all those I add up as I tally calories throughout the day, those associated with how many minutes of activity I accrue, the total calories burned, total steps taken within a day, mileage distances of workouts, my heart rate, yada, yada, yada. Often, I get so wrapped up in the numbers of it all, I forget to enjoy what’s really going on.

I also know when I rely on only a few modes of activity to accomplish my weekly fitness needs, the same old foods to nourish my body, my adult activity/food ADHD has me so bored I’m about ready to quit.

But I’m no quitter!

So I set an intention this year to look less at the numbers and more mindfully at the heart of what I’m doing. Simply stated, I’m changing things up, trying new things…LOTS of new things. Here’s what January looked like in that respect.

I stopped talking about all the recipes I’ve been meaning to try, and started actually trying them. Like this Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili recipe from skinnytaste. Even the leftovers were the bomb!

My husband and I enjoyed that one so much we decided to take another of skinnytaste’s recipes one step further…we spent datenight in…a glass of wine while preparing this…

Santa Fe Turkey Stuffed Peppers…another skinnytaste hit! Add a salad, some candlelight and the rest of the wine and it resulted in one of my favorite dates ever!

I’ve been using Great Lakes Gelatin products in my coffee for months to promote joint support and mobility. I thought I’d take it a fun step further by experimenting with a tried and true recipe…my cranberry baked oatmeal has new-added benefits!

This try new things intention was certainly not limited to the kitchen. There are still many classes and activities I have yet to try that have been speaking to me for quite some time. It seems all I had to do was keep my eyes open for signs. I followed one to this blacklight ride at my gym.

With such a change of atmosphere, I forgot I was at the cycling studio; it felt like the party of the year in there! That got me thinking, what else have I been missing out on? Next, I found my way to a Cardio Jam class that had me stumbling all over myself, but got a sensational cardio burn. And while we’re talking about fire, I took a Pilates Mat Core class that kept my core ignited for days!

The more new I tried, the more I knew I was onto something! I continued to watch for signs and found myself registered for a session of intro classes on the Pilates Reformer. This has been a class I’ve been pretty intimidated to try for quite a while, so I figured it was time!

This past year I acquired a pair of cross country skis fresh from the universe (I love when that happens)! The conditions were perfect last week, so it was time…

And just the other day I spotted one more sign for a class I knew was meant for me. I mean, why wouldn’t I try blindfold yoga?

This phenomenal instructor reminded me I have a lifetime of lessons to catch up on if I’ll simply turn my gaze inward.

So there you have it, my first three weeks of January. Rather than preparing to ditch a resolution, I’m hot on the trail of continuing full steam ahead with an intention I LOVE…my sampler of sorts. I can’t wait to see what the months ahead manifest!

Friends, I hope you are making progress on your goals, intentions, and yes, even those resolutions. I’d love to hear about how it’s going! Leave a comment below if you’d be willing to share. Also, if you have any recommendations or suggestions of what you think I should try this year, drop those ideas below too! Remember, nearly nothing is too crazy!

Keeping it fresh, changing it up…another extraordinary way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

Win-It Wednesday New Year’s Edition

Happy New Year, Friends! I was truly inspired by each of your giveaway entry comments…your goals and intentions for 2018 motivate me to move forward with similar aspirations. It’s time to announce the lucky winners for today’s New Year’s Win-It Wednesday!

I want to take this opportunity to thank each of our generous contributors; many thanks to our friends at:

Aurorae Yoga

OOFOS

Rollga

 

Our lucky winners are…

Aurorae Yoga mat, tote & beach towel: Tina 

OOFOS choice of one pair recovery footwear: Julie 

Black & Gold Mix Rollga Warrior foam roller: Missy

Congratulations, Winners! I will email each of you for contact information. Many thanks to all who entered.

Now let’s all get with it, to put in the strong work and focus it will take to achieve our goals and intentions for 2018…putting out Best Foot Forward!

2017 in Review

I need to let you in on a little secret, Friends! When you say or write something, you can actually speak it right into existence. Here’s what I mean…a year ago today, I posted this photo…

And do you know what? 2017 ended up being nothing short of ridiculously amazing! I had some basic notions of what I wanted out of the year, set some intentions/goals and went for it. Much of what I aimed to accomplish focused on fitness and wellness, while spending time with friends and family. Here’s just a peek into my year…

January was a snowy one, so much of my activity revolved around it…

 

But back indoors where it was warm, I spent some time rock climbing and doing yoga with my mentee…

 

And there was a fun little racquet sport date night Eric and I took a whack at…

February brought more snow, so I was right back out there in it!

 

And took a little trip to Wisconsin for some cousin hiking, walking and roller skating fun!

 

March rolled around quickly and found me hiking, biking…

 

And more biking…

And back to Wisconsin for more fun cousin time because I just can’t ever get enough!

And as April rolls around, here’s where all heck breaks loose and the year completely gets away from me in a ridiculously amazing way! Like Spring Break in Colorado where we hiked a mountain and got the rockstar tour of Rocky Mountain National Park from an expert!

Managed to get a bucket list workout at Red Rocks Amphitheater crossed off while we were out there…

Soon it was time to head back home because I had a flight to catch for Portland, headed up to Hood River to mark Multnoma Falls and the PCT Bridge of the Gods off my bucket list with glorious cousin time!

 

And while we were there, I had some of the most life-changing yoga classes at Flow. Just putting this out there…I dream of taking my yoga teaching certification there someday!

May was here before I knew it and the weather was extraordinary for lots of walks, biking and hiking!

Next think I know, I’ve blinked and it’s June! I spent an entire year with my mentee and it’s time to graduate from Bolder Options, but not before one last hard core Pound class on the Plaza!

 

Next thing I know, I’ve hit the open road, helping move my cousin and pups to the Florida Keys!

 

And I sure would have loved to stay longer, but I flew home just in time to leave for our annual family vacation on the lake. I don’t know how, but that week goes faster every year!

 

And just how did this happen? I somehow blinked and it’s already the Fourth of July; I’m back in Wisconsin again!

 

But not for long and we’re back home and hitting the bike trails of southern Minnesota…

  

And I’m so glad I got that family time because next thing I knew, I was flying to Vegas for the IDEA World Fitness Convention/Blogfest where I met some fantastic people and learned more than I ever thought possible!

  

And just like that, I’m back home and it’s August! But I’m not there long because I’ve got a fun girls’ getaway planned with my friend Summer Katie. We may have set a record on waterfall hikes along Minnesota’s North Shore and into Canada!

  

And just as that trek comes to a close, I’m right back up there in the same territory with my mentee on a once-in-a-lifetime outdoor adventure through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with new friends. Thanks, Bolder Options and Quetico Foundation!

 

I came home just in time to Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Soon it was September and life slowed down. So much so, I found myself on a fall getaway where I had a resort’s beach all to myself as I tagged along on Eric’s work seminar. Never have I experienced more tranquility than alone on the sand and docks. It was a time of great reflection and introspection.

 

October allowed me to continue with the calm and relaxation, embracing the beauty of the outdoors…

  

November tried to copy October’s weather so I was able to get many miles of hiking in before winter arrived…

  

 I managed to sneak in some last minute yardwork just before December when I got one more great hike in.

 

Winter has definitely hit now with temps below zero. I’m so thankful I have this place to call home…

I’m sure glad I decided 2017 would be so great. It was phenomenal! And with the new year mere hours away, I figured I would speak my hopes right into existence again…

Here I Go Again!

Hey Friends, I wanted to let you know that although I haven’t been writing frequently lately, I am not slacking! Those of you that read my previous post know that I spent the month of October and the first few weeks this month completing a step challenge. It was a very simple idea, work toward getting the recommended 10,000 steps in daily. It was a bit harder for me than it sounded because I tended to get my activity done in ways my Fitbit doesn’t track. No worries, though, I made a conscious effort and hit the target all 42 days. Since I last posted, I continued to walk or hike daily, oftentimes with friends…

  

Even after the challenge wrapped up, I continued to find myself hitting the 10,000 step target every day…great new habit! One that put a crazy idea into my head…more on that in a moment.

I made another great investment of time lately too. A couple weeks ago, I joined a new maintenance support type of group made up of folks just like me who were members of the weight loss program I completed. We have come together to help one another through the holidays and beyond, keeping focused on our health and wellness. Our first meeting two weeks ago featured a healthy potluck. Ordinarily, the thought of a potluck terrifies me because I already know my choices will be few and far between. But this time was very different…not only were all the offerings healthy, the salads and main dishes all included recipes and nutrition info. Here’s a glimpse at one of the two bountiful tables!

This was the first potluck I ever felt safe about, if you know what I mean. So this program is simple, come together twice monthly to discuss challenges and successes, share helpful tips and weigh-in. We were also offered a food journal and encouraged to use it.

I should mention I joined this group because I not only wanted to maintain what I have left of my weight loss from these past 5 years, I want to forge ahead and drop more pounds. So this is what my first two weeks looked like…

I pretty diligently recorded my eating. I wrote most everything down nearly every day. I didn’t really begin with a calorie target for each day, but tried to keep it under 2000 calories.

I refocused my fitness efforts too. Just a few weeks back, my gym began a major renovation, one I couldn’t help thinking kind of symbolized my renewed goals too. I looked closely at my workout habits and routine and gave it some fine tuning. Beyond continuing my 10,000 daily step goal, I scheduled my strength training workouts and classes into my planner. This has been instrumental in my consistency. Because before I wrote these into my week, they were much less likely to happen.

I’m excited to report I’ve had two tremendously successful weeks. The scale dropped 5 pounds, my active wear fits much less like touniquets and I’m seeing some fun definition changes already…

Although the gym changes are obvious, you may not notice any with me. But that’s okay, I FEEL them and I know they are there. Even better? I’m driven to continue through the holidays and beyond.

One thing I’m so excited to share is that I remembered my why. Not only that, I remembered how excited I am to work toward some short and long term goals. I set an INSANE milestone goal for 2022 when I turn 50. It’s so damn crazy, I’m not going to tell you quite yet what it is. Just know I haven’t done much of anything lately that scares me, and this thing is well outside my comfort zone. Way beyond this continent even!

Friends, when’s the last time you refocused, redefined and reset? If you are spinning your wheels, maybe the time is now. It is making all the difference for me and is another great way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Another Month, Another Challenge

Happy October, Friends! I’m not sure how it’s here already, but September is clearly gone. I spent last month returning to the basics to realign my focus, but I had some pretty heavy stuff to deal with following a family member’s health issues. Its time consuming nature really tempted to hijack my success. Although I’d love to tell you I made great strides of progress, I was lucky to escape September holding on by my fingernails. The good news is I didn’t backslide.

Many of you ask me how I stay focused, how I continue to pick myself up when I need to and start over. Friends, I look forward to the beginning of each new month because it gives me opportunity to look back, readjust and move full speed ahead. I also know I can turn the page every week if I need to…heck, each and every DAY is a fresh new chance to begin again!

So let’s hit RESTART together! Today is a whole new month! I’m still facing some obstacles that keep me from working as hard as I would like, but I won’t let that discourage me. Why? Because I’m grateful for what I can do. When I take time to examine what I’m still capable of, it inspires me to get out and JUST DO IT!

I’m always keeping my eyes open for new motivation, so when my husband’s employee wellness program announced their October and beyond challenge, I jumped aboard. I LOVE their pic and the name…Walktober!

I plan to spend the next 42 days enjoying the fall foilage as I walk to accumulate points. I downloaded the Walktober app and will use my Fitbit to track my steps. I’m excited because my husband is on board too.

And better yet? Here’s where you come in…I’m inviting any of you that live within a reasonable distance to message me on the FIT BFFs Facebook page to schedule a date you’d like to meet up and join me for a stroll through the crispy crunchy leaves…a walk on the trails, a hike in the park…whatever works, because the only thing more fun than working toward my goals? Not having to go it alone!!!

I’m serious, Friends! NOTHING would make me happier than having you reader friends as walking buddies each and every day of this challenge. My schedule is pretty flexible and you can pick the speed and distance, within reason haha!

So PLEASE hit me up to let me know when we can walk or hike…one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Seriously…let’s do this!

 

Fine Tuning my Hospital Strategy

Friends, I drive past Mayo Clinic’s St. Marys Hospital Campus frequently. I was born here, had a fractured arm reset in second grade, visited the ER more times than I would’ve liked including my auto accident trauma drama. I honestly admit that each time I drive past, I thank the man upstairs every day I’m not there. I also send some positive thoughts upward for those that are.

I feel the heaviness of others when I pass by because I recall gut-wrenching days spent there with pretty heartbreaking outcomes for loved ones.

Unfortunately, yesterday found me there around the clock as my mother-in-law underwent a very delicate surgery. A day like that reminds me how fortunate we are to have world class medical care right here in our own backyard.

Before my weight loss journey, I would treat this day as the enemy…sedentary for hours in the waiting room, emotional binge eating to no end and panic stricken with worry and anxiety. Thinking back to my dad’s lung surgery simply haunts me. Thankfully I’ve learned to approach this kind of day with a more mindful strategy…take for example how I handled my husband’s surgery a couple years ago in case you missed it…

Despite the outcome, that turned out to be a pretty successful day. Recalling that experience, I was able to face yesterday’s uncertainty by putting my needs first, to take great care of myself so I could be stronger for others. Here’s what that looked like…

Once we got my MIL checked in and off to surgery and enjoyed a cup of coffee with her sister, I did something postive to feel helpful in this setting.

Someone will be receiving a pint of high-octane enthusiasm!

Next, I hydrated and fueled on something smarter than a blood donor center cookie…what better snack than an RX bar at a hospital haha?!? After a quick recovery I wandered upstairs…

The chapel was a beautiful place to release my concerns, leaving them to the guy in charge. Feeling peace filled, I returned to the waiting room for an update from my husband and his aunt. I spent some time blogging a great recipe, then it was off to lunch. I advocated for a place across the street, an escape from those four walls where I chose a nourishing lunch to be proud of…salmon salad for the win!

We were already starting to feel some exhausting effects of being up at 4 am, but our day was far from over. Heading back to the waiting room to find surgery was still underway.

I find it so interesting that if the Mayo Clinic calls sitting the next smoking, why in the world are there no treadmills in waiting rooms? Think of the power they could generate to make Mayo greener too?!? I mean, just a thought, Friends.

It was time for me to move more, so I racked up some steps exploring this fine historic piece of Rochester like a tourist.

The courtyard was a great place to breathe deep!

Then back inside for an educational look at St. Marys beginning, like this first operating table designed and constructed by Dr. Charles H. Mayo in 1889! There are some pretty cool relics in that heritage hall.

Back upstairs to the waiting room where it is now well into the afternoon…still in surgery. I take some time to catch up on e-mails, school notifications, scheduling, snack. This place is still filled with nervous people and energy and it isn’t long before I’m back out wandering the halls to avoid them.

A stop in the gift shop for an essential oil boost gave me some energetic support I was hoping for. I continued out onto the grounds to this amazing little place.

What a thoughtful spot for some peaceful meditation. I sort of lost myself there, lost all track of time. I received a text that although surgery was still in progress, we were being moved up to the ICU floor, so I headed that way. And just like that, I was validated for my efforts…

Hit my 10,000 step daily goal…BOOM!

More family joined us and soon I was feasting on a well-balanced, calorie counted hospital cafeteria dinner that was AWESOME. It was time to settle in for some relaxation and zone out on the NFL Kickoff.

We didn’t get word from the surgeon until nearly 9 pm that the day’s efforts had been a success…nearly 12 hours I might have spent worrying, I left the impatiens to the flowers outside lol!

We knew she was in the hands of one of the world’s finest neurosurgeons…so thank goodness I’ve learned that worry changes nothing but my blood pressure and weight!

After some reflection and time spent within those walls, I am fired up, now more than ever, about wellness as a defense against aging/illness. It was an exhausting day for all of us, but I slept well knowing I had taken great care of me…put my Best Foot Forward!

I look forward to driving past that hospital again soon, filled with gratitude for what miracles they work there but thankful every day that I don’t need one!

 

New Month, New Goal

I know I’m a day late, but this just illustrates how quickly summer is slipping through our fingers! How did it get to be August already?

At the beginning of each month, I set new goals; some are stricter than others, but all aim toward a healthier, happier me! Yesterday I really looked inward. What improvements did I hope to accomplish? Did I want measurable results? How could I make the most of my time? What outcomes would increase my health while feeding my heart and soul? These thoughts circled my mind as I pedaled to the gym.

I continued to consider what I hoped to achieve this month during my workout. As I biked nearly halfway back home, clarity…

I can’t possibly slow summer down, but I can spend more time enjoying it while it’s here. Why not take my workouts outdoors to soak in that sun, breathe deep the fresh air and embrace all that’s left of this season?

Folks, it couldn’t have been any clearer than the crystal blue water before me. I’ve decided to turn my focus from diligent calorie counting and the vigorous routines that have become habit for me at the gym toward embracing the outdoors in my pursuit of fitness. This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to watch what I eat and get my workouts in, it simply means mindfully spending more of my energy in an environment I can’t seem to ever get enough of.

I’ve already made some exciting plans to get myself outside more. Instead of mourning summer’s end with regret, I plan to look back with fond memories of epic adventure and wellbeing. While my results may not necessarily be measurable, I intend for them to be unforgettable!

Friends, you’ve got an entire month left of summer, how will you plan to make the most of it?

Five Years of Climbing!

Fantastic feelings surrounded me when a fun little memory popped up in my Facebook feed this morning, a priceless reminder of what I embarked upon five years ago this week…

At a glance, I barely remember that lady. But when I pause to recall what it felt like to exist in that body, so many feelings flood back. I see that smile and know it was merely a facade. I was suffering within, physically, mentally, emotionally.

I think back to the continuous hard work and dedication necessary to be where I am today and don’t regret one single day of those five years it took to get healthy.

I liken my transformation to climbing a mountain. It was a giagantic undertaking, one which couldn’t be achieved quickly. Looking up, this task seemed unsurmountable from the trailhead. But, with clear goals, a keen sense of direction and a fire deep within, I put one foot in front of the other over and over again. I encountered many obstacles along the way, but did my best to navigate each of them with focus. I climbed.

Some moments I put forth more effort than others. Often times I gained a lot of ground, others I stumbled. Still others, I fell flat on my face. The true gift in this journey was grace. When the going got tough, I forgave. I picked myself up, brushed off the dirt and realigned my mind with my body and soul. I climbed on.

Sometimes I could see the top of that mountain clearly, others I couldn’t make it out at all. Thank goodness, I knew in my heart it was up there just waiting for me! So I continued climbing.

On the toughest of trials, I stopped to look down, to consider giving up, turning back. But I knew I’d never be happy if I quit…never forgive myself. So I kept climbing.

 My favorite part of the adventure was never being alone. So many wonderful people jumped in to join me for sections of the ascent, and that made ALL the difference.

Reaching the top was a precious gift of an extraordinary view. A fresh new awakening of immense affirmation. As I peered down to where it began, I remember those crushing feelings of heaviness within. Each step upward a bit lighter, a little easier until I reached that summit where I breathed deep, that fresh mountain air, and knew in my heart…I DID IT!

Oola For Women Review

While waiting for my flight to Portland last week, something awesome happened…something very Oola! Because the flight was overbooked, the airline offered generous compensation to a volunteer willing to catch the next flight. I just happened to be traveling alone, was scheduled to arrive earlier than necessary and, incidentally, had a book I was dying to dive into; without a moment’s hesitation, I stepped forward!

As I tucked my easily obtained reward (enough to purchase my next getaway flight) into my bag, I pulled out my advance reader copy of Oola For Women I received in the mail just days earlier. There was nothing to do but relax and digest the wisdom of Dave Braun and Troy Amdahl with Janet Switzer and the inspiring stories of 42 women.

This was sort of deja vu for me as I recalled reading Braun and Amdahl’s original Oola book last year on a flight to San Diego! That’s when I was first introduced to their 7 key areas one needs to balance and grow, to live the life of one’s dreams…fitness, finance, family, field (career), faith, friends and fun. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to put these areas to work in my life and have found extraordinary balance in doing so.

These same 7 key areas are beautifully re-presented in Oola For Women, using powerful stories to further the reader’s understanding and connection. The poignant story each woman humbly shares brilliantly illustrates these areas, and beyond as the authors warn of traits that block one from living the life of their dreams, as well as ways to accelerate reaching those dreams.

I kept thinking as I read story after story, how they resonated deep within, how I related to so many as if they could be me!

The last section of the book invites the reader to look deeper into her life, to get real with where she is and where she wants to go. A simple strategy designed to get readers on The OolaPath is spelled out in a straightforward manner, and as they say, “Once you start, there’s no going back to ordinary.”

Braun and Amdahl are currently traveling across the country in their OolaBus collecting a million dreams, so how appropriate there is a blank OolaWoman Goal sticker in the back of the book to record that dream! It’s become difficult for me to narrow it down to a single dream, so I will continue to think on that.

In the meantime, as I finished their book during my Portland vaca and know the OolaGuys are big fans of doughnuts, there was only one thing left for me to do…

 

Dave, Troy, these VooDoo Doughnuts are in honor of your beautifully crafted tool for women to find that delicate balance in an unbalanced world! You two are changing lives all over the world with one word!

Why not treat yourself to less stress, more purpose and uncover that greatness within! Friends, Oola For Women hits bookstores across the country tomorrow, May 2nd. If you’d like, check it out at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

 

Oh, and keep your eyes open for that VW OolaBus!

New Month, New Goals

Happy May Day, Friends. I don’t know about you, but April was a complete blur for me.

I had setbacks, I made progress. There were struggles, but also victories. I made some poor choices, yet achieved some big stuff. I experienced some ordinary doldrums, but knocked several accomplishments off my bucket list. It’s truly amazing what a single month can hold, yet so easy for 3o days to slip by without creating momentum toward an intention.

That’s why goal setting is imperative for success. What better time than today?

I’m setting some clear, simple goals to move myself forward during the month of May and I’ve enlisted the help of my new accountability buddy to get it done!

Together, we will shoot for 10,000 steps every day!

Friends, a plan without a goal is just a wish. So set a goal today, then get busy working on it.

I’d love to hear what you plan to do with your month. Let’s all put our Best Foot Forward!