52 Fridays…Expect the Wonderful

Are you like me? Did your week go by so fast you feel like your head is spinning? I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where it went! This is a crazy-busy, insanely-paced time of year for me, but I know it’s only for another week until school is done. I’m only thinking good thoughts as I attempt to keep up!

And that thought brings me to today’s episode of 52 Fridays! I’ve got my beverage, journal and pen readied, I’m cozied into my chair and ready to explore this week’s idea. Come along!

It fits right into this time of year for many. Back when I was living a much unhealthier lifestyle, weeks like these would tear me apart. Why? It was all in my way of thinking. I was always on guard…just waiting for and expecting the next bad thing to happen. And do you know what? That’s exactly what happened because that was what I had my brain trained to look for. How depressing is that?!?

Let’s examine your way of thinking. Do you worry? Are you just waiting for the next thing to break or to derail your day or life? If so, how does that feel? For me it was downright exhausting, until I made a mindful change. It took me some time to shift my thinking, but once I did, I was able to recognize that feeling, adjust my thoughts and let the negative go. I can tell you it has made a world of difference in my life. And I’m sure my drop to a normal blood pressure has much to do with this more positive way of thinking.

If you don’t already, could you shift your thinking to expecting the positive instead? What does that look like for you? Take a few moments to try it on for size, then notice how you feel? Jot down those thoughts and feelings. Want to make an even bigger impact? It will take some effort, but put it do daily practice! You will be surprised at what happens…I promise!

If you only expect the wonderful, look out…here it comes!

I’m Springing Into Motion!

Friends, I’m outside, smiling for a reason today! I’ve been back to my regular fitness/nutrition regimen for a solid week and I’m feeling pretty good about that! If you’ve been following me a while, you know I’m pretty notorious for hitting a wall (or being hit by one), so to speak, picking myself up, checking to be sure everything is in working order, then aiming myself toward forward progress. I refuse to quit on ME!

My nature has become quite like that Japanese Proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight.” I’ve probably blogged at least seven of those “falls”…death of a loved one, trauma injuries sustained in an auto accident, multiple failed mammograms, biopsy, surgery, hospitalized family members, sports injuries, chronic pain…I could go on, you get the idea.

Lots of people have asked how I continue to push forward despite each fall or wall. What motivates me? All kinds of things, but I keep coming back to working through simple, short-term challenges. One I find on the internet, something a friend mentions, or one offered by my husband’s employee wellness program…anything that sparks my interest is worth a shot!

So I’m back on point with my fitness and nutrition for a week, and I’m determined to keep going, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open for that next little spark. As luck would have it, I’m beginning one today. It’s an extremely simple idea encouraged at Eric’s work called Spring Into Motion.

So between today and June 10th, I’ll be walking every day with an aim of 10,000 or more daily steps. Simple. Doable. Employees who participate and complete an evaluation at the end receive $25. I, as a spouse, earn nothing…unless you look further. Not only will I receive the health benefits, this is something that will get my husband moving too, something we can enjoy together. I’ll enlist the help of friends to keep me company too and will reward myself at the conclusion with some much-needed new shoes because there will be nothing left to these when I am done!

So I’m almost to my 10,000 steps already today. I made some time for a couple laps around one of my favorite trails and enjoyed the balmy fresh air and new life associated with spring…

Kind of symbolic…it’s a new beginning for me too!

Friends, think about what things drive you, motivate you to push forward, then implement a new one or more to get moving. Let’s ALL Spring into Motion!!!

 

52 Fridays…Breathe

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends! Have you been experiencing times lately where you are so stressed, when you stop to think, you aren’t even breathing? Well then, grab that journal and breathe! Take a few moments to relax, breathe deeply!

Consider those times you may find yourself holding back your breath in anxiety, frustration, disappointment, struggle. What would happen if, when you find yourself in those moments, you take a step back and breathe?

Is there a time or place you associate with peace? When I’m in one of the moments mentioned above, if I’m able to recognize it, I not only breathe, I try taking myself to one of those places. Here’s an image I go to regularly…

Jot some thoughts down in your journal regarding those moments you realize you’re holding your breath. When you find yourself there, take that breath. Where can you journey to in your heart, mind and soul? If you have a few places in mind, at the ready, you can escape nearly any situation, any time, Friends…give it a try! It really can be this simple to put your Best Foot Forward!

10 Ways to Win Your Week

Friends, I spent some time looking at the week before me…it’s a busy one. But I’m looking ahead for very good reason; I’m setting an intention, right now (as always), to be mindful of my time in order to win my week. Because when I do, I feel like this…

See, if I don’t gaze forward in awareness of upcoming events and possible triggers, the week will likely have its way with me, leaving unwanted consequences in its trail. By taking a peek at my upcoming week and making a plan of attack, I’ve already decided to win my week. Here are 10 ways I plan to do just that…

1. Set yourself up for success in the kitchen. If that means running to the store today, do it! Ensure that you have plentiful healthy food options that are ready for those on-the-go times throughout the week when you’d ordinarily make less than stellar choices. Keep some snacks handy throughout your day so you don’t even have to think…just refuel. If you want to take it a step further, purge all the junk that’s lurking in your cupboards!

2. Schedule your workouts. Look at your planner and place your workouts within. You will be far more likely to follow through if you’ve already made a plan of action. I promise!

3.  Invite company to the fun. If you’ve decided to try a new class, take a break or lunchtime walk, attempt a new hike or adventure, or are just doing the same-old same-old take a friend along. It will feel less like a chore and more like a party with a family member, co-worker or bestie. Better yet, this person may turn out to be the best darn accountability buddy you’ve ever had.

4. Hydrate! Even though it’s winter and you may feel like you need it less…drink that water! Shoot for the recommended 64 ounces per day.

5. Make sleep a priority. Sometimes we have to get protective of our time to accomplish this, but you are worth it! Sleep goes way beyond just feeling rested…there are all kinds of important benefits/restoration a good night’s sleep provides your body. And did you know, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18-64 years of age get 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Work on it!

6. Do what you love! Carve out a bit of time each day doing something you love. Whether that’s reading, crafting, gardening, playing a game, catching the latest episode of your inspiring podcast or simply meditating…do it!

7. Plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s setting a goal, registering for an event or planning a datenight, getaway or trip, put something on the calendar and make it happen. Without something to work toward, train for or eagerly await, we can feel stuck simply going through life’s daily motions.

8. Defend your time. Are you one of those people that says yes to all those extra commitments, only to find yourself feeling bogged down, trapped and overwhelmed? The magic word here is NO! Use it, mean it and don’t forget saying no to other people means saying yes to your wellbeing.

9. Don’t forget self care! This is also known as me-time. It is not selfish to do something kind for yourself, it’s necessary. Take time for a calming massage, soothing bath, facial, pedicure or nap. Take care of you! I challenge you to take it a step further and put ME-DAY on your calendar for an entire day each month and treat yo self. You will be amazed at how this enhances the rest of your month!

10. Look at the bright side. It’s there, within every situation, so look for and find the bright side in everything rather than dwelling on the negative. It might be tough at first, but you will find that silver lining if you take the opportunity to look. This is a most meaningful step toward a lifetime rich in gratitude.

This may seem like a lot to juggle, but the good news is it’s not rocket science. Start small in embracing these 10 practices; soon they will become second nature. Friends, have a great week and reach for the WIN!

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…

Simplified Christmas

Friends, it’s been a while…

I found myself at a point where life got so hectic, I needed a break to analyze and refocus. I examined my schedule and daily habits to clean house, so to speak. I was allowing old tendencies to creep back in; it became time to shut them down…to prioritize and let the rest fall by the wayside. I’m happy to report this helped me remember my why. And I’ve realigned myself in an effort to move forward.

So here’s the thing, the holidays used to kill me. I mean I used to work frantically from the moment my feet hit the floor until I collapsed into bed every. darn. midnight. of December to make Christmas everything I thought it was supposed to be for my husband and kids. It robbed me of my health and joy. I’ve worked the past several years to recreate my expectations…to get what I want out of the holidays instead of doing what I think others think I should. Boy, am I done with that!

I’ve posted this before, this little something I borrowed from Facebook. You’ve likely seen it…

I’ve learned that if I want to survive the holidays intact, I need to let stuff go. LOTS of stuff. Last year my family traveled to Florida for Christmas. I still yearned for a tree, so I took a simple approach. Not only did all the ornaments remain boxed in the crawlspace, I didn’t even shop for or wrap gifts. The trip was our gift to one another. And just for giggles, I decided to quick make the tree mine…

I stuffed several pairs of my running shoes in the prelit tree and hung my race medals from the year…took me 10 minutes tops! But it soon fell over from the heaviness of the medals so we enjoyed a bare naked tree. No one objected! I didn’t even send out my usual 100 Christmas cards, and do you know what? Not one single person mentioned that they missed it.

As December flew past, we suddenly found ourselves on Cocoa Beach Christmas morning…no guilt laden cookies and candy, no shredded gift wrap, piles of gifts we didn’t need…simply spending the day together this way was the best gift of all time!

Oh how I wish this was our new tradition, but it’s not realistic right now. No, we won’t be on the beach again, but I leaned some valuable lessons from last year. I’ve simplified my gifting, I’m being that one person who won’t be mailing cards. Heck, my tree is naked again and the jury is still out as to whether it will be loaded with ornaments or remain simplistic. I mean, I kind of like the natural look…

I did a simple “Advent calendar” with goodies for my teenager, but I promise you, I didn’t stress! Those days are OVER! I’m done with the even higher high blood pressure, stress-induced, mindless emotional eating, panic attack trip to the ER, sleep deprivation to sew matching jammies for everyone, chronic crabbiness, yada, yada, yada. None of it served me or my family.

So while the general population is spending December stressing themselves to a frenzy, forgetting what it’s all truly about…I will be working on the above bucket list. I’ll be enjoying my family. I’ll be at the gym continuing to work toward better health and simply breathing.

Santa could learn a thing or two. I spoke frankly with him this week. Since I won’t be baking, he may have to settle for a yogurt at my house on Christmas Eve. He doesn’t look too excited, does he? Ho Ho Ho? Well, Ha Ha Ha!!!

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!

My September Goal…Back to Basics!

Happy September, fellow FIT BFFs! Parents across the country are breathing a sigh of relief. They’ve survived another action-packed summer and it’s time for the kids to go back to school! It’s time for students to be reunited with friends and return to a predictable schedule.

This becomes the perfect time for parents to return to themselves, so to speak. Back-to-school season is a great time for parents to get motivated, to refocus on their own personal goals…that’s what I’m doing.

Although I’ve lost a significant amount of weight within the past 5 years, I’ve experienced the slow and silent creep of partial regain. Hey, it happens, but I refuse to beat myself up over it. Instead, I’m reminding myself (and anyone else who’s interested) just what it’s going to take. This is what I’m calling my…

Brightly Colored Childrens Toy Magnetic Alphabet Letters on White Background

A is for Attitude, make sure it’s the positive kind.

is for Breathe…take time to quiet your mind and soul.

is for Calories, yeah, they count. Read those labels and stick to a serving size. One.

is for Determination. Some days will be easy but others you’ll need to dig deep. You’ve got this!

is for Every Day…a fresh new opportunity to be successful, so go for it!

is for Food! Remember it’s fuel and your stomach is not a garbage can!

is for Goals. Set them. Reach them. Set more!!!

is for Hard! Heck yeah, it’s hard! If it weren’t, everyone would do it!

is for Inspiration…look for it in others, never stop seeking it out. Soon you’ll be inspiring others too.

is for Journaling. Write down everything you eat…EVERY. SINGLE. THING!!!

K is for Keep Going! Start over as many times as it takes…just keep going!

L is for Lifestyle Changes…lots of little modifications make big differences. Huge.

M is for Mindful Eating. Eat at the table. Don’t rush or distract yourself with TV, computer or phone.

is for Never Give Up. Ever!

is for One Day at a Time. Results take time; be patient! Yesterday is over and tomorrow isn’t here yet, so focus on today.

is for Promise…promise yourself that you will see this through. All the way!

is for Quit, don’t you dare! And, for Pete’s sake, quit saying ” I can’t.”

is for Reward Yourself. You’re working so hard and you deserve it; buy that new pair of (running) shoes!

S is for Sleep! Get it. Lots of it. You need it….enough said.

is for Try New Things. Try it all…new activities, classes, ideas, foods and recipes.

is for Unstoppable. Convince yourself that you are, and you ARE!

V is for Vegetables. Eat them, all kinds of them; they are a weight loss friend!

is for Water…drink it often. Lots of it!

is for eXercise. Often. Do the active things you enjoy frequently.

is for You Are Not Alone. Many are on similar journeys. Find them and support one other.

Z is for Zero Regret….what you will have when you give it all you’ve got!!!

Although this may seem a vague goal, I’ll be reminding myself of these ABCs daily to move forward in the month of September, mind, body and spirit. I’d love to hear from you…what’s your plan this month?

FIT BFFs Goes to Vegas

Friends, I’ve been traveling quite often the past couple years in search of adventure, fitness and fun; I THRIVE on it!

I recently spent some time in Las Vegas attending IDEA World Convention, a four-day cutting-edge experience in fitness education, networking and motivation. I specifically attended to participate in BlogFest, in hopes of energizing my blog and reigniting that spark for my continued weight loss endeavors. I’m ecstatic to say I got that and SO MUCH MORE!

I was introduced to some fantastic motivators/fitness experts/authors Todd Durkin and Jorge Cruise. They were so generous with their inspiring messages and gift of their books!

 

I was starstruck coming face-to-face with Kathy Smith in my hotel lobby and later so excited to hear her message. Was amazing to see her in person after those step workouts we did together in the comfort of my living room all those years!

We were contantly on the go, even before BlogFest officially began, we met up for an early morning warm-up…seriously a hot mess sweatfest! July in Vegas, you know!

And that was just the beginning of the workouts because we were hopping all weekend!

 

I really enjoyed this Inner Idea Experience, four separate yoga threads woven together to produce a beautiful tapestry of profound namaste. I welcomed the delightful pause it provided.

 

The calm was very helpful because it was right back to high energy-activities like the mindblowing EXPO!

My most memorable experience was at the Reebok booth where I was fortunate to spend some time with Biggest Loser trainer, Jen Widerstrom. She gave me some much needed boxing tips and a gratitude rich experience I’ll cherish forever.

I LOVE a good expo because it brings me face-to-face with new experiences I’m dying to try…

A few minutes on that thing and my core had no idea what hit it! I will be begging and pleading with my gym to add these to their group fitness schedule!

It was fun to visit with the reps of some of my favorite products. LOVE the array of colors Bosu offers!

I had to do a double take when I spotted Tim, co-owner of my beloved Rollga. I couldn’t believe he was there, as he’s just up the road from me in St. Cloud, MN. But of course he was there, his invention deserves to be in every gym around the world and I’m so happy to witness it happening!

I’m thankful to have spent some time with the fine folks at Great Lakes Gelatin because in a week’s time of using, I’ve noticed a significant reduction in pain and increased mobility in my angry knee. WIN!!!

Throughout this wonderful conference I allowed myself a little me time. I got my recharged self to the gym…and I’m so glad I did. I built a little extra me time into the tail end of my trip too; I knew I would need to decompress and let my mind digest all it had taken in.

 

So I moved off the convention site for my last few days, but I didn’t sit still for long…

Because when in Vegas, there are far more things to digest than thoughts…

 

And I was even lucky enough to spend some time with my Cousin Bonnie as we attended a funny little show that reminds me it’s definitely time to keep moving!

 

Just ask its star, Cindy Williams (you know, Shirley from Luverne and Shirley!!!), we barely caught up with her after the show on our way out haha!

No, Friends, I will never stop moving…partially because I’m still wearing off that pot pie from Hash House a Go Go, but because I know there are so many more things I want to see and do!

What a fantastic treat BlogFest in Vegas was for me, and the experience just kept giving, like the first class upgrade I was awarded on the way home…aw, thanks, Delta!

And thank goodness, because the lightening in Minneapolis lengthened my time on that plane. Which made me miss my connecting flight home, but no worries…an overnight in Bloomington and right back to the airport for my plan B workout!

Because it’s all about putting our Best Foot Forward!

 

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?