I Choose FIGHT!

For those of you new to my story, I’ll bring you up to speed. In 2012 I began a journey that saw me through a significant weight loss, and more exciting, a tremendous life transformation.

I’ve been on this wild ride for almost six years and I’ve experienced a multitude of highs and lows. Keep in mind, I’d previously gained and lost weight throughout my adult life…more like a roller coaster than the yoyo thing, really.

So my history was to lose the weight and then, for whatever circumstances, gain it back, plus more. It was a cycle that left me more ashamed and further defeated each time. Until 2012!

This time was different…SO different! I didn’t just focus on the food this time, so not only did I have the support of a dietitian, but I regularly met with a trainer and a health coach. Work in these areas were key to my lasting success…know how I know? Though I’ve gained back some of that weight over a longer period of time, I’m continually turning toward the issues instead of away from them. Here’s what I mean…

I’ve been taught to mindfully pick apart my behaviors, to pinpoint what needs to be fine-tuned. So lately I’ve noticed that creep on the scale, trending in the wrong direction. I’ve found myself feeling uncomfortable in my own skin again. In the past, I would consider these failure, I’d further busy myself with distraction, give up on me, and proceed to emotionally eat myself back to where I started and beyond.

One of my key, lifelong struggles has been to try to do it all. I know that when my calendar is relatively clear, I’m more in tune with myself. But as soon as I take on too much, spread myself too thin, that whole busyness thing…well, my progress collapses.

Now that I’ve been equipped to pull back and observe self, I’ve noticed some areas I need to revisit to hone a more positive outcome. Number one, I looked at my recent schedule to find there has been a ton of travel combined with a new job and countless epic things going on with my kids…none of it bad, but I have to retool to find myself in all of it, to regain the balance I know is just right there!

Number two, my diet has been off the rails. Am I seriously still dealing with this struggle?!? I could list the reasons, but they would quickly appear a simple laundry list of excuses. It is what it is. I’m on day three of journaling my food and although I hate it more than almost anything, this has to be another big priority for the time being. No excuses!

And number three, though I’m good about staying active, it’s time to refocus those efforts. Again, lots of reasons…frequent injury/arthritis associated pain, the onset of menopause kicking my ass, the reality that I’m older than I was when I started this journey…again, these could be looked at merely as excuses. I’m not going to give up because in doing so, it will all get worse! I’ve been fruitlessly arguing with myself over this part for too long…what a waste of time and energy!

I’ve considered returning to work with a trainer for a while. My strength training has become less and less and I realize it is KEY if I want to turn everything around. I stopped meeting with Kasi about 18 months ago to finally aim for autonomy; when it became clear the ship was sinking on my own, there was only one thing to do. I’ve committed to meeting with her once a month to buoy me back up to a place I can confidently breathe. If I employ that higher level of watching the watcher, I see that this is not failure, this is survival at its best!

Yesterday was our first session back together. My previous apprehension about it is gone. I know I made the right choice. Friends, we can either wallow in the poor me, I can’t do this hard thing alone flight response, or bite the bullet, ask for help, grab someone’s hand and courageously choose to fight together.

Though it can be so, so tough…I’m renewing my vow to choose FIGHT from here on out. Forward really is the only option, an important way for me to put my Best Foot Forward.

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!

 

Fantastic Friday Find: Seedtastic Bread

Happy Friday, fellow FIT BFFs! You know how much I LOVE trying new things and when I discovered this latest find, I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

Let me back up a moment to inform newer readers and remind returning folks that I make it my mission to try at least one new item every time I grocery shop. This keeps me from falling into food boredom and helps me stumble upon my new favorites. I should also mention that I am a fan of the incredibly low prices and wide selection of healthy options Aldi offers…makes eating healthy so simple!

Speaking of simple, Aldi carries their own line of organic products called SimplyNature. Yesterday I discovered this Seedtastic bread containing an impressive 21 whole grains and seeds! I’ve been in the mood for avocado toast, so that’s exactly what I thought of when I spotted this bread.

Friends, it did NOT disappoint! It was so good, in fact, that I decided to take the avocado one step further today. For those of us observing meatless Fridays, check out this little avocado toast/egg salad number I created for lunch.

It was so easy…toast a slice of Seedtastic bread, slice up 1/4 avocado, mash a hard boiled egg and mix with 2 tbsp light mayo, place over the avocado, sprinkle with paprika and voila…a nutritional powerhouse containing a mere 285 calories.

I’m so glad to have found this bread, I’m already looking forward to tomorrow morning’s peanut butter toast!

Friends, next time you’re in the grocery store, challenge yourself to purchase at least one new item. I’d love to hear what you choose, so leave a comment when you do! And remember, trying new things is one more great way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

Treasure Trove of Free Motivation!

Friends, when my boys were young, we lived at the public library. Their constant hunger for knowledge was regularly satisfied with a large tote filled with new books, computer games, music cds, audiobooks and movies each week. Their eyes lit up like it was Christmas when they’d spot something that sparked a new interest, and we were often mesmerized at the sheer volume that building held. I often wondered, if a person calculated the msrp of all the materials we’d borrowed, how many millions of dollars the library afforded my little learners!

We were often treated to some wonderful enrichment opportunities there as well. Storytellers, magicians, musicians, artists and scavenger hunts to name a few, all these priceless educational activities…FREE!

My boys are in high school and college now; although no longer frequent patrons, a homework assignment sometimes brings us back. And now that I’m no longer needed in their search for materials, a visit allows me to realize what an amazing adult playground exists there too!

I was recently impressed with a display…

Of course, it is ever changing because these resources are constantly borrowed. A walk around the corner reveals stack upon stack of engaging resources related to healthy lifestyle, mindfulness, nutrition, wellness, fitness and beyond…and these are just the items that aren’t checked out. I’ve spent hours on the library’s website browsing the limitless offerings and reserving materials that are constantly checked out.

My favorite feature is reserving them to our local bookmobile that stops every two weeks, just two blocks from my house. These items literally come to ME!!

Friends, many of you have asked me how to live healthy on a budget. Here’s an answer right here. The price is better than budget-friendly…it’s free. But priceless!

Those who’ve told me they can’t afford a gym membership or workout equipment…here’s my answer to that…

There are multiple stacks of shelves at my library with hundreds of workouts for any ability level. There is a class of your choice, available any time, day or night, just waiting for you to hit play! No membership dues, no intimidation of any gym-related nature, ready at your convenience. Some of these DVDs were instrumental in my weight-loss success early on when I was building my fitness confidence. Even now, I find a few new ones that spark my interest each time I visit.

Or maybe you find you need that community connection of working out with others? Or looking for a professional talk related to various wellness topics? Look no further…

Check out what your local library has to offer. I’m willing to bet it offers more than you think. And a wonderful bonus? If your library doesn’t have a resource you are looking for, many are able to borrow from neighboring community libraries or take requests for new purchases…how cool is that?

If you’re looking for some fresh motivation, give your local library a visit…a free source of encouragement and one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!