The Close of a Very Good Chapter

While raising two teenage boys, I often wondered what it would be like to have some girl time. Several years ago I’d seen a booth at a community event promoting a local mentorship program and knew it was speaking directly to my heart. The idea simply refused to leave me alone, so a year ago I acted on it.

Meeting up for a couple hours a week, we’ve had an unforgettable year. Running and bicycling are major components of this program and I love both, but Kiara was less of a fan; so the goal we set was to sample as many experiences as we could squeeze into that year, like Zumba on the Plaza…

Some orienteering and hiking…

 

And more hiking…

  

We worked on some tennis skills…

 

Headed to the pool…

Did some impressive cardio and strength training…

  

We did manage to hop on a bike a few times on open trails and studio cycling class.

 

We even climbed the walls!

  

We took some cooking classes and tried new foods like parfaits and pancakes and hummus, oh my!

We just kept showing up for one another, laughing all the way!

 

Playing hard was our job and we rocked it!

 

We met some great people like former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer.

And hometown legend Darrell Thompson…we’ll forgive him for playing for the Green Bay Packers haha, because he’s the outstanding president of Bolder Options!

Motivational speaker, Inky Johnson inspired us to keep moving forward no matter what!

And that was valuable advice because throughout the disappointment and unpredictability associated with an injury and a halt to my beloved running, Kiara was the constant that kept me focused and determined. We just got creative and kept going…like to the library!

And her first yoga class, namaste!

One of my favorites was taking her on her first snowshoe trek. Yeah, she really blazed the trail!

  

This mentorship never felt like work because we played our way through the year!

  

What a treat to throw animals into the mix!

 

We did sneak in some volunteer “work” but that was fun too!

 

And went right back to play, although sometimes it was one heck of a workout. So proud of Kiara for squatting, lunging and drumming her way through BarreAmped and Pound Fusion. I don’t think we ever sweated more!

 

Where did time go? This week after countless adventures together, we graduated from Bolder Options stronger and more confident than ever. But I don’t think this is the end for us…it’s merely the close of a very good chapter.

Have You Met TED?

I was getting a few things done around the house yesterday, not really feeling in the zone, when all of a sudden, sheer awesomeness came straight at me! This is not at all out of the ordinary as, thankfully, it happens quite often. I LOVE that!

I got my hands on tickets to last night’s TEDxZumbroRiver in my hometown of Rochester, MN. I knew my attitude was about to make a u-turn. I know this because I know TED!

Have you met TED? Trust me, you would know if you did! TED is not a guy, it’s an amazing idea…rather an enormous collection of ideas worth spreading. TED started back in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design were united. TED is a contagious nonprofit spreading thoughts and ideas all over the world.

I became acquainted with TED talks on a Delta flight, where I found I couldn’t get enough! I watched each talk available on the plane’s entertainment system. These short, yet powerful talks inspired me to think and dream right there on that plane! Hungry for more at the end of the flight, I got on TED’s website and was simply blown away by its abundance…over 2400 talks in more than 100 languages, just waiting to inspire its captivated viewers. I was hooked!

I’ve often thought about how cool it would be to attend a live TED event; and just like that, I found myself at TEDxZumbroRiver!

TEDx events are independently organized community experiences offered all over the world. Last evening’s TEDx program consisted of some fascinating speakers from Southeastern Minnesota and beyond, each sharing insightful messages aimed toward the theme of what’s possible.

Mind blown.

Friends, next time you’re not really feeling in the zone, take the opportunity to explore TED talks. You may lose all track of time, but the inspiration available will be worth every minute you spend there. Fellow FIT BFFs, check out a plethora of health and wellness topics sure to motivate.

Simply stated, you’ll be glad you met TED!

Monday Makeover

Happy Monday, Friends! Yes, I said happy! Some of you may not share my enthusiasm for that sentiment. There is one attitude surrounding Monday that is anything but positive.

Not long ago, I would have called the Happy Monday notion an oxymoron. I used to look forward to Mondays about as much as getting a flu shot or paying bills…but why? Monday is that day after the weekend when people are forced to return to the daily grind, the day we are thrown back into the insanely-paced, over-scheduled reality. At the time, a Monday seemed anything but happy.

I’m glad to say a lot has changed for me since then. Gradually, I’ve made many small, mindful shifts that have helped make Monday one of my favorites. I understand we all live with our own set of circumstances, therefore, some of these ideas may seem ludicrous to you.

I left a position that silenced my happiness; I didn’t want to work myself deeper and deeper into a job that left me yearning for retirement…life is way too short already! If your career is robbing you of your joy, it may be time to rethink that path.

A very simple thing I do to set the tone for the week is make the bed. It doesn’t seem like much, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment right away, every day. And as I’ve heard somewhere, “The state of your bed is the state of your head.” Not only does it look better, it keeps me from wanting to crawl back in.

I began purposefully devoting time every Monday to embracing gratitude. It’s amazing what abundance we can experience if we consider what we have, rather than what we don’t or what we wish we did have.

A cup of coffee and some time of reflection and journaling remind me my appreciation has developed far beyond the material. I find myself most grateful for my faith, loved ones/friends, good health and resilience. It’s awesome what little we actually need to feel complete. And what a wonderful feeling to radiate on a Monday!

I find no matter how I ate over the weekend, Monday is a perfect opportunity to reset. It’s a great day to refocus my efforts on cleaning up my eating, to be aware of what’s on the schedule so I can set myself up for success throughout the week. A bit of planning affords problem solving and positive choices.

My Monday morning workout is a must, and if it’s outdoors in a locale I love…even better! I take this time to set positive intentions for my week. Now that this has become habit, I really notice a difference if it doesn’t happen…like my whole week is off. That’s why I’ve come to defend this time and work hard to Never Miss a Monday!

Of course your schedule and priorities look much different than mine. If it works for you, that’s awesome! But if you find yourself in the blahs whenever a Monday rolls around, it might be time to consider a Monday Makeover! After all, everyone deserves a Happy Monday!

 

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!

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!

 

Finding My Joy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December Challenge: Advent Calendar of Wellness

Happy December, fellow FIT BFFs! Not sure how it arrived so quickly, but here we are in the final month of 2016. I know how crazy December can be. Prior to the beginning of my journey toward wellness, the holiday hustle and bustle threatened to take me down…year after year. One December actually found me in the ER with what I thought were heart attack symptoms. Thankfully, it was an anxiety attack, but I should never have allowed that month to feel so out of control. I’m happy to say I’ve made diliberate changes to avoid recurrence. In reminding myself, I thought it also helpful to share this little idea with you.

Two years ago, I prepared an advent calendar. You’ve all seen these, it’s a December tradition with little doors that children open, one for each day leading to Christmas…some even include chocolate.

Advent Calendar

Having lost a significant amount of weight by that time, my calendar did NOT include treats, but instead, was chock-full of motivation. It was simply a blank calendar I posted on my fridge as a constant, visual reminder to move. Each day as I completed a workout, I recorded it. Here’s a glimpse…

IMG_0643 (1)

I found with each passing day, I was more and more motivated to fill those boxes. By the end of the month it had been completely filled which left me feeling accomplished. I’m ready for that sense of satisfaction again…I’ve got a fun calendar printed off, posted and ready to fill with my fit activities.

december-2016

I invite you to join me in this festive fitness challenge. Simply print off this free printable calendar made available by the fine folks at iMOM here, and get busy gifting yourself a little wellness every day this month.

Let’s give ourselves a gift of wellness every day this month…one festive way to put our Best Foot Forward!