#FitnessFriday - Inspiration
This week's blogging topic for #FitnessFriday is "Inspiration." Who inspires you? Who is your fitness hero? Why? What have you learned from the person or people who inspire you?
I have to say, when I first started my fitness journey in February 2010, I hadn't watched The Biggest Loser before. And so, when I first saw it at some point after my health journey start date, I was intrigued. Hooked. Loved Jillian Michaels in particular.
The way she's portrayed to get to the bottom of the contestants' life issues -- no nonsense, no bullcrap, no excuses. She's sympathetic to a degree, but won't allow the contestants to wallow. She digs deep in to their truth and helps them rebuild their confidence, which in turn fuels their fire to take better care of themselves, to treat themselves better and to find the drive to really believe in themselves.
She's been down the weight loss road. She's walked the walk. When I learned her story, I was inspired even further to dig deep through my issues, and though I haven't lost weight nearly as quickly as any of the Biggest Loser contestants, I much prefer the slow and steady, this-weight-will-stay-off route anyhow. But, I feel like I can identify with Jillian so much... I have that fiery passionate side that she shows so often. I have that within me as well and I'd love to help more and more people believe in themselves enough to achieve their goals. She is helping people in such a BIG way. I admire that. I'd love to emulate that, but with my own personal twist of course. :)
Bob Harper too. I realized after sticking with Jillian's workouts for so long, I needed a change of pace (not to mention Bob Harper's workout DVDs were on a hugely discounted sale at the time!), so I bought up a bunch of his workouts. WOW! I found that I really love his instruction and workout style too!
They have such differing styles, yet they complement one another so well, and so I get something different but great out of each of their workout DVDs.
I recently updated my website's store to reflect some of my favorite products: specifically, workout DVDs (of course, heavy on the Jillian and Bob DVDs), equipment, books and foods. Check them out by clicking here!
And so I shall keep this week's blog post short and sweet...... I know, quite the change from last week, right?! As always, if I can help you in any way... motivation, accountability, product recommendation, advice, tips... anything... just let me know! Leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by.
Have a GREAT weekend!
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A while back I applied to be a Celebration Party host for #DisneySide and not long ago, I received an email notification that I had been chosen to host a party - just in time for our little guy's second birthday! I was notified that I’d also be receiving a party pack to host the party, but its contents were top secret. I finally got my package last week and decided to film an unboxing video with my husband's assistance. Enjoy!
(Side note: I felt so silly trying to figure out all those darn zippers! Haha!)
#FitnessFriday - Progress
Hello and welcome! This week's #FitnessFriday topic is all about PROGRESS. And so, I share my most current before/after photo yet again for illustration purposes.
As I've mentioned in previous #FitnessFriday posts, I began my journey in February 2010. I don't know exactly how much I weighed then, as I didn't have bathroom scales at the time. It wasn't until July 2010 that I officially weighed in for the first time. At that time, I weighed 199 pounds.
I'd already had a treadmill from previous attempts at losing weight, and so I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and started off on a magical journey that has taught me oh-so-much about myself along the way. As my fitness journey has progressed, it has become so much more than simply the number on the scale. I currently hover around 135-140 pounds, and I quite like that number range to be honest. What I'm more concerned with these days is toning, lowering my body fat percentage and continuing to learn how to appreciate and love my body in its current state while also envisioning and appreciating the changes I aim for. Fitness now is more about pushing my current limits, breaking down the walls of impossibility and achieving what I once never thought possible for me. Challenging myself on so many levels has become nearly an obsession. A GOOD obsession, because obsessions aren't always bad. ;)
I've hit many a plateau along the way, I've trial-and-error-ed my way through, beyond and past them. I got pregnant around June 2011, and had to switch mindsets from losing weight to gaining a healthy amount throughout the pregnancy, while only able to do gentle workouts. I gave birth in February 2012, and got back to the business of running, working out and exercising as soon as I was cleared by the doctor. I went from 150 pounds to 182 pounds during my pregnancy and I've again taken the slow and steady route to losing that weight. We'll be celebrating that little guy's second birthday next month and so it has taken me two years to lose around 50 pounds this time. Slow and steady works for me, because I feel like I'm more likely to keep the weight off permanently than had I done a fad diet and lost a radical amount of weight very swiftly.
Some days I can hardly believe how agile I've become, how strangely athletic, how new this body feels to me after years and years of obesity. It's like getting used to a whole new vehicle after having driven the same one for many a year. A smaller, sportier, faster one at that! Seriously, I'm even astounding myself at how fast and how far I'm able to run these days after choosing and, most importantly, sticking to my new run training program.
Sometimes it takes my brain a while to truly accept and assimilate these bodily changes. Some days I just don't feel like "myself" -- I'm still figuring out who the heck I am, at my deepest root and core, because who I thought I was, I am not. Who I thought I was then was in fact nothing more than a bunch of negative, naysayer voices from my past. Just a collection of old recordings, old labels that stuck regardless as to their truth and validity. So many self-limiting beliefs have been shattered along the way. So much fear faced. And my journey is not yet through.
I don't believe I realized at the outset of this journey how much of an emotional ride it would be as well. I was prepared to be happier once I was smaller. Fitter automatically equals happier, right? Turns out, the answer is not exactly. By losing weight, I was stripping away something I later realized I relied on as my physical shield against the world, a part of my very identity even. Who was I if I wasn't the "fat girl" anymore? And so it has been just as much a journey of rediscovering myself. My TRUE self amongst all the naysayers' voices in my head. All those put-downs from the past, all the garbage fed to me as "truth"... peeling away layers and layers of social conditioning as I shed each pound.
I honestly think that may be part of why so many give up so quickly on a fitness or weight loss attempt. You really do have to face a lot of mind junk and fear of the unknown, you have to continually make the decision to be uncomfortable, to push yourself, to get past all the excuses. It's all about being strong and willing enough to continually step outside your comfort zone, your safety net, and truly believe with all your heart and soul that you CAN achieve whatever you set your mind to.
Fear will always be there. But you know what else is there too? A spark of determination. It's in each of us. Find whatever it takes to ignite that determination, fan the flames, face the fear, look it square in the eyes and tell it you CAN.
"Some mornings you just need to punch fear in the face & tell it to shut up! Go past the emotions & don't look back! You've got this!" ~ Sandi Krakowski
As a quick summary, I'm currently following the schedule I set for myself and my workout buddy: a hybrid P90X and intermediate half marathon training plan. I have my first full marathon scheduled for November 9, 2014, and I'm sure there will be a few other -shorter- races throughout the year for me. My workout streak stands at 55 days today and counting. I'm taking a full-on no excuses approach from here on out. My determination is far stronger than any excuse now that I've made working out a priority and thereby a habit.
The self-discipline that I've developed and continue to improve upon has carried over in to other areas of my life. Achieving goals in the fitness realm has carried over in to creating and achieving non-fitness-related goals, including building my own business(es) alongside my husband, homeschooling my 4th grader and organizing my day-to-day schedule, and all that comes with it.
As a bit of a side note: I've done this all without a gym membership. Apart from the handful of times I've visited a gym as a guest, I've done this all from home or the great outdoors. I have a long list of awesome workout DVDs that I just love. Ask me for a recommendation, and I'd be oh-so-happy to help guide you toward the workout DVD or program that you may well enjoy so much you forget you're even working out. Not just Beachbody products either. I freely and fully support and recommend Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper and other DVDs to others all the time. ;)
If you've made it this far, thank you for sticking around! I suddenly have so much to say (cue DMB) and, well, a lot of support, encouragement, stories, accountability assistance and more to offer at this stage in my journey.
If there is ANYTHING at all I can help you with from my non-professional self-education and personal experience, please don't hesitate to reach out, say hello, ask away..... I've had friends tell me they feel that they can come to me with any issue (fitness or otherwise) and feel comfortable sharing with me, as I'm one of the most non-judgmental people they know. I love helping others achieve their goals, fitness or otherwise, in any way I'm able. Leave a comment to let me know you visited... Let's start a conversation!
Until next week..... Happy #FitnessFriday!
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Apart from the occasional -momentary- blink of jealousy, I'm past the point of comparing and competing with others in the sense of needing to be "better than" or "just like" anyone else.
I firmly believe we're all on our own individual paths in life and we're not all meant to be alike (how boring would that be anyway??). It is useless to me to covet what someone else has. Likely I have no idea what it took for them to get to where they are, and who am I to begrudge them what they've achieved?
Instead, I focus on becoming a better ME each and every day. I learn from my mistakes of yesterday and apply those lessons today, over and over into infinity. Yeah, I'm nowhere near done learning, and I doubt I ever will be as long as I'm alive. I'm on a mission to be the best version of ME I can be. No. I'm on a mission to be the most AUTHENTIC me I can be, 'warts' and all. Remember, Just Say No to Perfectionism!
I'm slowly but surely becoming more confident in myself, to believe in myself, to trust myself and to be alright with who I am - unashamed, unembarrassed, and unapologetic. I am who I am, an ever-evolving human being who refuses to give up on herself.
My Mission: to continue down this path of authenticity, which I've heard holds space for those around me to feel more comfortable with being their authentic selves, too. I say it's time we stop competing with each other, judging one another's faults, comparing ourselves to distorted images of beauty ... and just LIVE our individual REAL authentic lives - proudly, unashamedly and boldly.
In what ways do you struggle to be your authentic self?
#FitnessFriday - Motivation.
Ahh, motivation. "The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way." "Motive"-ation. This week's #FitnessFriday theme is ... you guessed it, stating and reaffirming our reasons WHY we do what we do when it comes to health and fitness.
Background: My first real spark of motivation came after suffering two miscarriages, as well as having a very sedentary job at the time and literally feeling the rolls of back fat touching each other as I sat all day long. Not to mention at the time I had a five year old little boy that needed his mommy to be able to keep up with him. All these things lit a fire under my behind and - just like when I stopped smoking - I found the determination to start changing my unhealthy eating habits and embark on a new journey which included running, yoga, kickboxing and other various workout DVDs and equipment.
That was four years ago. What keeps me going now? Now that I'm so so close to my "goal weight" I chose all those years ago? Now that I'm not so focused on the number on the scale and instead focused on toning, strengthening, flexibility and run pace? Well, looking back at how far I've progressed is a big one. I never, ever want to go back to being the person I was, physically, mentally or emotionally. I've learned so much along the way and I've come so far. The only way to go is onward and upward, right? That's what I tell myself anyhow, and it seems to be working!
To keep myself focused forward, I continually set new goalposts. Ones that are just out of reach and even intimidate me to some degree in the NOW. Goals and dreams that I can grow in to. It's become habit, almost bordering on obsession at times, to push myself beyond my current limits. To test the waters of growth, expansion, self-improvement, new techniques, new skills and new ways of thinking. I'm not comfortable with settling. I'm becoming more and more comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know I have it within me to reach any goal I set for myself. 26.2 miles seems daunting now. But just watch, in 295 days, I WILL do it. :)
My other motivation these days? My desire to pay FIT forward by being an example of what CAN be done, by showing support to those around me who aim to get fit and healthy, by being a source of help in any way I can to anyone who reaches out to me. I'm a natural born helper, and - as it turns out and as much as I want to deny it - I believe I'm a natural born leader too? I just do my thing and stay as true to myself as possible, and it seems to really inspire others... I have to say, that makes me happy and motivates me to continue onward and upward, too.
My Facebook pages, Motivation. and Running Is My Zen, and my smaller Facebook group, Fitness with Friends, are my biggest pay-it-forward places. Stop by and say hello - we're a friendly bunch!
And before I sign off, one bit of news that has thus far flown under the radar... I am now a Team Beachbody Coach. Yes, I just signed on last week. However, I promise you will NOT hear me talk incessantly about BB, their products or ask you a million trillion times to buy products. I won't badger you, but I will answer ANY questions you may have and make product and program recommendations accordingly. The biggest thing this means is that I have access to a BUNCH of new resources to be able to assist you with your health and fitness goals. And helping makes me happy!
So if I may help you in any capacity, don't hesitate to reach out. I'm more than happy to talk over anything health or fitness-related with you... vent to me, check in with me for workout or food accountability (I have a couple of people already who text me daily to let me know they got their workout in. If I don't hear from them, I check in. I'm willing to do this for you as well), ask me any questions you may have (especially about running!) and I will do my very best to assist you the best way I know how. And if I don't have a particular answer, I likely know someone else who will.
Building a better, stronger, fitter, healthier, more loving me .....
As well as helping others in any way I'm able .....
In a nutshell, THAT is my motivation.
How about you? I'd love to hear what motivates YOU!
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#FitnessFriday - Goals
Hello and welcome to the first installment of #FitnessFriday, a linky, blog carnival, blog hop, whatever you want to call it, hosted by The Healthy Moms Magazine, and co-hosted by myself and the lovely bloggers listed at the bottom of this post. Join the blog conversation every Friday for coverage on fitness and health related topics!
Our first topic is that of setting GOALS. First, a little background on my journey, and then we'll get to my current goals. For the longest time, I never saw the value in setting goals in any area of my life. But all that has changed in the past four years. I went from over 200lbs in February 2010, to around 150lbs when I got pregnant with my now almost two-year-old, back up to 182lbs at the time of his birth, and back down again to my current 135lbs, all by setting goals, and working my behind off to achieve them or to come as close as I possibly could/can. Along the journey, I've learned (and am still learning) to back off from the idea of "perfection", of there even being an end-point to this fitness, health and (now) athletic journey. I wrote a blog post last week talking about breaking the perfectionism habit.
I started my fitness journey with Couch to 5K and my treadmill. In the past four years, I have not had a gym membership. And so, other parts of my fitness journey have included yoga (LOVE), Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper DVDs, Wii Fit, and more recently, P90X.
I reached my big goal of running my first half marathon in September 2013. And so my new big running goal for 2014 is a full marathon in November 2014, the Veterans Marathon in Columbia City, Indiana.
Other goals for 2014 include continuing to strength train and practice yoga, as well as clean up my eating habits in order to continue toward trimming fat and building muscle. I only weigh in and take measurements once a month at this point, but I used to record and log everything - daily food intake / exercise - over on MyFitnessPal. I highly recommend this FREE site to anyone just beginning their fitness journey.
After my friend over at FitPersonified and I finish P90X at the end of February, we will continue our half marathon training plan (after which we'll start on a full marathon plan) and choose another program(s) for strength training and yoga. We will be keeping everyone up to date on our progress not only on our blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, but also on our podcast, the Healthy Everyday Lifestyle Podcast.
I'm excited to be a part of #FitnessFriday and cannot wait to connect with all of you each week! I invite you to leave a comment below sharing your 2014 goals, asking a question of me, making a topic suggestion you'd like us to cover on our podcast, or sharing your own fitness journey. I also invite you to click the links below to read my fellow co-hosts' blogs, or the buttons at the bottom to connect with me elsewhere on the 'net.
Happy New Year and ... Stay Motivated!!!
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Join the Brainstorm!
I want to pass along a some info about a really great cause, and ask that you consider showing your support, while at the same time challenging yourself!
3000 Miles to a Cure was founded in October 2012, when cyclist, wife, and mom of 4 kids, Maria Parker found out that her sister, Jenny, had been diagnosed with an incurable brain cancer. At the time of diagnosis, Jenny's prognosis was terrible - she probably wouldn't live to see her 5 children graduate high school, go to college, get married, or have kids of their own. That lit a fire for Maria - she started on the Race Across America, the most grueling bike race in the world, and won, raising over $80,000 for brain cancer research in the process.
Now, 3000 Miles to a Cure is extending an open invitation to everyone to challenge themselves. Participants can celebrate and continue the change-making power of unity, hope and action by joining together in the 3000 Mile Challenge. Together, all the participants will walk, run, cycle, swim, etc. for a total of 3000 miles in 10 weeks. The challenge started on January 1, 2014, but it's not too late to join.
For more information or to register, you can visit www.3000milestoacure.com/3000-mile-challenge. The registration fee is $30 per participant, with 100% of that $30 going directly to brain cancer research. 3000 Miles to a Cure runs efficiently, and where they have costs, they are covered by a generous private donor.
3000 Miles to a Cure believes that a cure is within reach, with the right support given to researchers when it counts.
Hello again! Welcome back. Or, hello for the first time if this is your first visit. I promise I will attempt to make this one a bit shorter than my previous blog post.
I'm excited to report that I will be part of The Healthy Moms Magazine's upcoming new blog series, Fitness Friday. Also, I was interviewed recently by So What? I Run, as part of her Runners Inspiring Runners series. You can read the interview here. Things really are picking up for me in the blogging world again, and I love it!
On a running-related note, I set myself a new 1 mile PR today on the ol' treadmill. Whew, I could hardly believe it. But, after performing some Kundalini yoga in the morning, I got in to a great groove with my running form and the music I was listening to. It felt almost effortless.
Speaking of music: I've found that this album by Squarepusher has some excellent songs to run to, my favorite: Dark Steering.
What's on YOUR run or workout playlist?
Well, I promised to make this one shorter, and shorter it shall be. It's nearly 11:00pm, I've been snowed in but on-the-go around the house all day long, and so it's soon time to sleep. Tomorrow is Legs & Back day with P90X and Workout Streak Day 38.
Just Say No to Perfectionism!
I've always compared myself to the "PERFECT-ME." The one who does it all, has it all, and makes no mistakes. No more! ~ Sean Stephenson
I came across this quote yesterday as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. It really sums up what I've been doing for so darn many years I lost count. I honestly felt as though I needed to be a perfect version of me to be worthy of love, affection, and all the good things in life.
Before happening upon this quote, I'd already resolved very firmly to leave behind feelings of guilt, shame, unworthiness and self-loathing when 2013 ended. Honestly, I really started digging in and letting go as of December 1 (my own personal "new year", being that my birthday is on November 30) with the aim of fully letting go as of January 1, 2014. And so far so good.
That's not to say it's been easy, a walk in the park. Nope. Each day I get up with the same determination. The determination that my thoughts will not control me, nor will I try to control them. Rather, I remain aware of what I'm thinking, how I'm feeling, question whether what I'm thinking is even true, and then guide my thoughts another way if they're heading south.
For example, I've taken a complete NO EXCUSES approach to my workout schedule as of December 1, and as of today, I've successfully completed a 36 day workout streak (and yes, rest days are scheduled and count toward my streak, in case you wonder). Each day, I get up and the part of me who is comfortable in her comfort zone would prefer to just skip it. Just for today. She always reassures me we will get back on it tomorrow. Yeah, I've heard that line before, far too many times. I can't trust that thought.
Then there's the part of me that tries to tell me that there are far more pressing and important things to be doing than taking care of my body. I listened to that voice for much of 2013, and really believed it to be true for most of that time. This is the same voice that convinced me that it was more important that my husband's and children's needs came before mine, rather than each of our needs being equal. No longer can I trust that thought either.
There's the thought that's like an indignant three-year-old. "I just don't wanna!" accompanied by folded arms and a foot stomp. For us parents, do we give in to our children when this is their response? Especially if it's something important. Nope, we don't. And so, this thought is not even considered.
And so on...
(Shameless product plug: Though this is a book geared toward children, adults often take a great lesson from it also. I highly recommend it! -- Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?: Four Questions to Make You Smile Again)
All of these thoughts have their roots in FEAR, and in comparing myself to this perfect version of me. The one who makes no mistakes. Ever. The one who's the perfect mommy, the perfect wife, the perfect business owner. The one who never has to clean up after her messy mistakes and human errors. Essentially comparing myself to someone who will never be. I'm breaking free from perfectionism in 2014!
Thing is, I've found through trial and error, that if we have the right mindset, we can still aim for achieving our very best in any area of our lives without driving ourselves crazy and bringing ourselves down because of the "Why try? I'll never be 'perfect' anyway" attitude (self sabotage, self-defeating thoughts, starting something new and giving up because it's hard, etc.)
As my mentor and good friend, Regina Cates, advises, "Question a mind with a mind of its own." In other words, don't always believe every thought you have. Make sure to evaluate your thoughts for truthfulness, for validity, for your own best interest.
In kicking self-sabotaging thoughts and actions to the curb, you become stronger, more disciplined. You spend less energy beating yourself up and have more energy to devote to the things that will build you up.
As for me and 2014, it's a year of confidence. A year to be unapologetically me, to share who I am with you, and no longer feel guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, or unworthy for not being "PERFECT-ME". No more!
Thanks for joining me on this journey.
My big fitness goal for 2013 was to run my first half marathon. Mission accomplished: September 2013. The photo to the left reminds me of how far I've come. I am - but I'm NOT - the same person I was back then. A lot of things have changed. A lot of things *I* changed. Firstly because I was unhappy with how I looked and felt. Lately it's been about further pushing, testing and stretching my limits. In between has been littered with trial and error, emotional ups and downs, learning experiences, injuries, a pregnancy, successes, triumphs and learning experiences galore.
When I first stepped on my treadmill with my Couch to 5K app back in February 2010, I had no idea - none whatsoever - that I would be embarking on not only a physical journey, but also a mental, emotional and spiritual one all at the same time. Nothing could have prepared me for that, but I embrace it fully now, as I continue to set bigger and wilder goals for myself.
My big fitness goal for 2014, in that case, has to be just big enough to intimidate the crap out of me, and that it does. Before I was able to over-think it and talk myself out of it, I took advantage of the $20 discount I received for registering for my FIRST FULL MARATHON on New Year's Day, January 1, 2014. The Veterans Marathon in Columbia City, Indiana. Now, the race itself isn't until November 9, 2014, but it's just one of those things... something I've never done before and so on the face of it, it appears scary and intimidating. But, broken down in to day-by-day, week-by-week, month-by-month training goals, and only looking a shorter distance down the road at any one time --- just like I did with my half marathon training once I fully committed --- I *know* I will be able to run 26.2 miles, in honor of America's veterans.
In 2014, I will be sharing my journey to the marathon, as I have done throughout my fitness journey... except this time, I aim to share not only all the ups, but also the downs and the in-betweens. In 2014 I'm determined to break the perfectionism habit, one small step at a time, by sharing my not-so-great moments, right alongside my greatest accomplishments. This helps me (and hopefully you too) remember that we are all just human and all on our own unique journeys..... I'm allowing myself to be more vulnerable.... no self judgment, no more need to be "perfect" (whatever that is anyhow)... just companionship..... camaraderie... no competition.
"We're all just walking each other home." ~ Ram Dass
Stay tuned...... MUCH more writing planned for this year...
And, in the meantime, leave a comment to let me know what you aim to achieve in 2014.
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