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!!!

 

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.

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?

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!

NSV New Accountability in Place

Friends, I’m ecstatic! I’m back from the jeweler and so excited because the ring is back on my finger!

If you weren’t around to read how it became my greatest Non Scale Victory earlier this month, you can catch up here.

When I slipped the ring onto my finger it fit perfectly, leaving no room for error as my new accountability piece.

It feels so right having everything back the way it belongs; I can’t stop gazing at the symbolism knowing it’s repaired, resized, restored…just like me!

Thumbs Up, Panera!

Friends, before I began my weight loss journey, I ate out all. the. time. I based my choices on what looked good and never made informed decisions. This mistake weighed heavily on my health…literally.

I’ve learned occasional dining out can be a wonderful adventure as long as one employs mindfulness. When planning to dine out, I simply take a moment to browse the restaurant’s online menu to determine what choices would best suit my nutritional needs. Many restaurants offer very accessible info…I LOVE that!

Some restaurants take it one glorious step forward by posting calorie information on their menu boards. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate that. I took the opportunity to meet someone for lunch at Panera today. What a wonderful feeling to know I can quickly skim their menu board and order something delicious and nutritious!

Take a look at this BOWL OF AWESOME!

It’s been a while since I’ve eaten there, so this salad was new to me. You are looking at their BBQ Salad with Chicken. It comes in this enormous bowl and with the sheer volume of food and the amazing flavor, I never would have guessed there were only 470 calories in that giant salad!

It is one thing to pick an item based on its calories, it’s totally another to choose it because it’s phenomenal. Guess what I’m ordering next time?!? Way to go, Panera!

I’ve noticed other restaurants beginning to post calorie info on their menu boards too.  These are the places I will choose last minute because I know what I’m getting. Friends, eating out doesn’t have to be a disaster for your goals. Take time to make mindful choices so you can enjoy your meal even more…just one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Evolution of a Walk

I’m wallowing this weekend in an upper respiratory nightmare. I had high hopes of getting to the gym this morning, but I didn’t want to be found unconscious beneath a machine, nor did I think anyone wanted what I’ve got. So I invited my husband, who’s suffering the same malady, to join me for a gentle walk on a most beautiful day.

The weather was unseasonably warm for a February morning in Minnesota, so fitness plan B turned out to be the perfect choice. It’s amazing what fresh air can do to restore a person’s head, heart and health.

The thawing warmth, combined with the playful puddles and joyfully singing birds put me in a place of reflection. As we worked toward completing our leisurely 3.5 mile stroll, I considered the evolution of my perspective toward walking.

Here’s what I mean. As I thought back to the time before my weight loss, I remember feeling very differently…like back in 2011 when I didn’t consider shoveling a great workout, it was simply a chore. And if someone had asked me to take a walk after that, I would’ve been too exhausted.

About this same time in 2012…winter camp at my unhealthiest, should someone have invited me to walk, I would’ve recommended they dial 911 before we begin…not. even. kidding.

Friends, here’s where things get exciting because a few months after this picture, I set off on my healthy lifestyle journey and things began to change dramatically! About this same time in 2013, if you had asked me to walk, I would have suggested we do it in the hilly woods of Oxbow Park because I had some serious training to do with around 30 pounds strapped to my back in preparation for an upcoming backpack hiking adventure.

I had lost a significant amount of weight by this same time in 2014 and was in fantastic shape, but if you had asked me to walk then, I would have had to pass. I was very busy doing nothing, or rather healing from automobile accident injuries. Dang it, one step forward, two steps back…

I behaved my butt off during that time so I could return to an active lifestyle better than ever. It took lots of patience and pep talks, but I bounced back with a force to be reckoned with! And should someone ask me around that same time in 2015 if I’d like to take a walk, I may have recommended we do it above ground because I was pretty wildly into high adventure, like swinging through the trees in Flagstaff. Guess I had something to prove to myself, huh?

By this time the following year, I had replaced the adrenaline addiction for a longer sustained endorphin high. If you had invited me to walk with you in 2016 I may have suggested a half marathon!

A lot has changed between then and now. I ran myself silly that entire year and am now taking some much needed time to restore a reluctant knee. So if any of you are interested in a calm walk of any distance, now’s the time to ask…though you may want to wait until my germ circus leaves town. A walk with Eric this morning was exactly what I needed to get my compass pointing true north again, to put into perspective how thankful I am to be back embracing a walk.

Just the Beginning

Friends, it took me a few days to process the closure which occured this week. The words were not readily available, and they continue to escape me. But I want to attempt to share the best I can. My 4 1/2 year stint with a dietician, health coach and trainers has drawn to a close. I was astounded at the multitude of memories and emotions that bubbled up surrounding my final training session, weigh-in and coaching appointments. Profound Gratitude, Friends!

I remember the broken woman I was when I first met each of these life-changers. When I take time to reflect on that time in my life, I’m inevitably and instantly in tears. I was absent back then, in a deep dark hole of despair. I was (246 pounds) morbidly obese, aimlessly suffering the loss of a loved one, medicated for high blood pressure and feeling out of touch with everything and everyone. Lost.

But now, when I look back at the infinite things each of these people taught me, tools they provided, confidence they instilled, patience, heart and soul they shared…I’m simply blown away at what a gift this experience was and is. And when an old tendancy attempts to creep in…worry, the fear of future failure, I shut that stuff down immediately because I’m no longer defined by a number or a diagnosis. I am strong, healthy, empowered, loved, determined, inspired, dedicated, focused, centered, healed and whole. Found.

I hesitate to call this my before/after because it’s not. It’s simply then and now; not at all the end, rather, Just the Beginning of anything I dare to dream!

My Wedding Ring NSV

Friends, if you don’t already know, I’m an eternal optimist! Though life can be terribly confusing and mysterious at times, I do my best to find the bright side in every situation because everything happens for a reason. Sometimes a person has to be patient for all the pieces to come together to make sense, and boy, can it be intense when it does!

I’ve had an experience this past month that is just too phenomenal to keep to myself…my a-ha came today and it blew my mind!

Nearly a month ago, I realized the diamond from my wedding ring of 22 years had vanished. Instead of freaking out, as I would have before my weight-loss journey, I was surprisingly calm. The old me would likely have cried, puked, feverishly searched and stressed through a sleepless night over the lost stone. This was a true test for the new me I’d worked so hard to become.

I simply breathed while considering how many places the diamond could have disappeared throughout my day of errands…it could have been anywhere inside any number of stores, or outdoors where everything was covered in crunchy snow. Of course, I looked around the house, but I wasn’t willing to make myself sick over it. The truth of the matter, that thing could be anywhere, and a trillion times tougher than finding a needle in a haystack!

I had to admit, I was surprised, myself, how at peace I was. A ring was just a symbol of something much greater, and if Eric wasn’t upset, why should I be? I kept remembering how, toward the end of my weight-loss, the ring had become so loose on my finger, I was afraid I might lose it. How ironic the stone turned up missing instead.

A wise friend suggested the stone disappeared because it was from our old relationship. And just as I’ve transformed, so too had my relationship with Eric. It was time to replace it with a renewal to our commitment. I LOVED that beautiful sentiment; it had me in tears (the good kind). 

I set the empty ring aside and didn’t think much more about it except when I glanced at it every now and then. I know this is going to sound kind of crazy, but I had the calmest feeling, like everything was going to resolve itself. But how?

Nearly two weeks later, I spotted something shiny on the carpet mere inches from a furnace vent. Yup, found it! It seemed miraculous that it turned up, yet I wasn’t at all surprised because, you know…everything happens for a reason, right? Only what the heck was it?

I was thrilled to have the same stone back. Eric and I both decided it was still a symbol of our love, whether old or transformed. I missed having that ring on my finger and was excited to know it would be back on there soon!

So far, I bet you’re wondering what’s the point of my story. Well, I was thinking the same thing…why did this happen. I wasn’t able to pinpoint that one yet.

This week has been rough. It marked three years since our car accident. I also had my final training session for my weight-loss program and I was unraveling. Why? I’d been successful throughout those 4 1/2 years. I’d worked through an immense amount of baggage and habits. I’d been given every tool imaginable to be successful. But the safety net had been cut away and that made me nervous. I spent the week on the verge of tears.

Thankfully, another wise friend sent me some magically timed words, “It is a new beginning. Not an ending…You my dear, the Queen of finding signs and meaning with everything in life, this is a sign that you are ready to go and make your way with the skills you have been provided.”

Of course she was right!

Friends, it’s about to get so good…stay with me! I took the ring to be repaired today and the jewelers marveled at how amazing it was to have found the diamond. Apparently, it was a miracle, but an even better thing happened next! I mentioned the irony of having lost the stone rather than the ring because it is so loose. The ladies pulled out the sizing guide and I’m convinced this whole thing happened so I’d feel victory in decreasing that ring when I truly needed a win!

One of the women mentioned that she had been on a weight-loss journey too and when we shared a bit more of our stories and I showed her my before pic…

she came clear around the counter and hugged me. She thanked me for inspiring her! But what she doesn’t know is that in their encouraging me to resize the ring, I’ve just found the accountability piece I so desperately needed…my new safety net!

It gave me chills thinking how this wedding ring was a symbol of our marriage vows, and with this diamond escapade, has become a further commitment…the additional promise I needed to make to myself this week…to both of us, really. With this ring, I thee WELL!

Friends, this one ended far better than I could have ever imagined, my all-time greatest NSV all thanks to the guy who’s always beside me and the Guy upstairs!