Friday, November 9, 2012
It's funny how we all have our our habits that we develop. Many times we do not even realize what we are doing until an outsider points it out to us. Brian Mackenzie was leading the class, but Carl Borg was his right hand. As we went through drills, I kept hearing the same 2 things from Carl..."USE YOUR HAMSTRINGS!" and "STOP LOOKING AT THE GROUND!" I still remember the last day when we were doing a workout and he finally yelled at me, "MARSHA! STOP STARING AT THE GROUND! LOOK UP! THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD AROUND YOU TO SEE!" I haven't thought about that in a long time, but those words came to my mind Monday as I walked out of the gym and stopped to lock the door.
I've put off writing this since because at that moment, I made a decision...a decision to "look up"...a decision not to be consumed with pain and disappointment...a decision NOT to cry...and I knew writing about this was sure to bring tears. I hoped that maybe I had used all my tears up but unfortunately there's still some in the reserve I guess.
I got married 21 years ago and I planned to be married forever. Unfortunately there's 2 people in every marriage and we can only control 1 of those 2...ourselves. I won't get into detail to spare my loved ones more pain, but I will say this...deciding to divorce after 21 years has been the most difficult, heart breaking, surprising, disappointing, hurtful decision I have ever made. I pride myself on being strong. I encourage others to find their strength...to stay positive and believe in themselves. I was able to do that for a long time, but over the past month I have fallen into a dark place that left me very weak at times. It's left me questioning everything I have ever known and believed. At times, I have felt hopeless and wondered if I will ever get the strength and happiness back that I once possessed.
As I stood at the door and put the key in the lock, the most amazing fall breeze swept through and blew my hair. The temperature was perfect, leaves were falling and making rustling noises on the concrete, and for a moment I paused to take it in. I thought about how much I love the fall...how good it felt...how amazing it is to watch leaves fall off the trees and then reappear in the spring...and for that brief moment I was happy. I was able to look outside myself and enjoy what was around me. I was transcended above all the hurt and pain that I have been so mired in and as the wind blew I could hear that familiar command, "MARSHA! STOP STARING AT THE GROUND! LOOK UP! THERE'S A BEAUTIFUL WORLD AROUND YOU TO SEE!"
You see, I've been doing what I do on a long, hard run. I've been looking down because I didn't wanna look up and see the end further away than I wanted. Unfortunately in my attempt to make things easier...I made them harder. Sure, I couldn't see how far I had to go, but I couldn't see anything else either. I couldn't see the good around me and I haven't been able to muster the strength I needed because I wasn't really sure where I was at. All I knew was I was hurting and I wanted it to go away. I still hurt. I'm still scared, and I still feel like a failure in some ways but something changed the day the wind blew my hair and the voice from the past told me to "look up."
Saturday, October 6, 2012
I'm a little embarrassed to say that fear has been a big part of my life in different ways. I did and did not do many things because of it. As a little girl I was afraid of being hurt. As a teenager I was afraid of not being good enough. As a young woman, I feared not being smart enough to get a degree and a job, so I defeated myself in college by getting bad grades and eventually dropping out as soon as I got married. Sometimes the fear served me well. It kept me from doing things that were bad because I was afraid of disappointing my parents. But most of the time, it also kept me from the love and happiness and peace that I always craved. It's like I have the demons of the past following me...taunting me...holding me back...telling me that I can't or that I need help. I learned to coexist with "them" well. I dedicated myself to being the best Mom I could be. I shopped and went out with friends. I laughed when I wanted to cry. I made sure all my time was filled and that I was never alone with myself for too long. I didn't want the same fears I had as a little girl and bad memories to come back. I wasn't sure I was strong enough to face them. That worked for a long time...and then things changed.
I was lying in bed Wednesday night alone gripped with fear just like when I was a little girl. I felt like I couldn't move. I wanted to jump up and run away, but I couldn't. The only difference is I wasn't afraid of the boogeyman...I was afraid of the future...of being alone...of supporting myself...of all the tasks that I have avoided out of fear all these years. After 21 years of marriage, I'm back to having my own room. Soon there will be no one to pay the bills but me. I won't be able to spend and shop without thinking. I will have to pay attention and stick to a tight budget. For a moment, I felt stuck...frozen...hopeless. I tried talking to a friend but I was too closed off mentally to hear any other point of view and so at 3 AM, I stared at the ceiling wondering what would happen to me. I don't know why, but I got up and decided to make a budget and find a way to reduce some costs. I started searching for cars...cars that cost half as much as the Mercedes I needed to get rid of. I made my choice and set out to do something...ON MY OWN the next day.
I went to the Acura dealership to look at a new/used car they were selling for a good price. It had all the stuff I like...heated seats, navigation, push start etc and it fit into my budget. I walked in only to find out the car was already sold. The internet mgr saw all my printouts for different dealerships and when I was questioned, I said, "Well, I'm not going to stop until I find a good car that has what I want and I'll go all over the DFW Metroplex if I have to." He smiled and walked away. When he came back he started trying to sell me great cars that were new and about 3-4 thousand above the budget I set. He told me it wouldn't make a big difference. I did not agree. I held my ground...nicely of course. Before I knew it, they were offering me a brand new car with everything I wanted at invoice. I told them I had to think about it. I walked away wondering, "Can I do this? Can I buy a car by myself? Am I smart enough to not get taken advantage of?" The next morning I called the sales person from the previous day and made an offer. I accepted the price but wanted more for my trade in and a certain interest rate. He called me back and we had a deal! I went to the dealership feeling pessimistic. I was sure something would go wrong, but I was not going to bend. It came time to finance. The rate was 1% higher than I wanted. A year ago, I would've caved. I didn't. I showed them that this rate was available other places and told him I refused to go any higher. I was prepared to leave. To my surprise, we had a deal...a deal that was in my favor...a deal that I got...all on my own. It felt great driving my first new car purchased on my own at 42 yrs old off that car lot.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
It was only natural for me to cling to that again when he moved back after being gone for years. When he left, my life was different. I shopped, got pedicures, barely worked, and had what seemed like the perfect marriage. He came back to a very broken friend going through a divorce that at times has been consumed by fear...the fear of how to go from a girl that dropped out of college when I got married at 21 and later became a stay at home Mom to a woman that can support herself...the fear of never being loved again...the fear that maybe I'm not as strong on my own as I once thought I was. I asked him to workout with me. I was sure that if he programmed our workouts and I had a time to meet him each day, I would become a motivated bad a** again.
After months of working out together, I have realized that I was wrong. I have felt like my workouts just weren't as intense as they needed to be. I have continued to struggle with motivation. I know Wes has sensed this too. He's changed our programming, but no matter what...I never feel like I'm beginning to get back to where I was mentally or physically. It wasn't until yesterday that I had a breakthrough of sorts. We decided to start a new, much more intense programming schedule this week. I told myself that I would try really hard to take this seriously and work as hard as I could.
Monday we met and ran sprints. It took us a long time, and it was hard and intense...and I loved it! I went home exhausted...literally. I ate dinner and fell asleep in my workout clothes. I got up Tuesday a little nervous about the workout. I knew it was hard and I wondered if I would feel weak and defeated. I had to coach the 9AM class at the gym before we could workout together. It was a tough workout that required a lot of coaching and encouragement. Wes and I worked together and kept instructing and encouraging the people in class. One person in particular was struggling. I gave him tips throughout the workout and I was really proud of him when he had finished. As soon as the class left we got started. I wasn't my usual self. I wasn't silly or doing a lot of talking. We were only a few minutes in when Wes asked, "Are you ok?" I smiled and said, "I'm fine. I'm just being serious." "Good." he said, and we finished up the first 2 parts of the workout.
By the time I got to the 3rd of 4 parts...I was tired. I went to press the bar up and missed. I tried a second time and missed. Something strange happened at that point. Instead of me getting down on myself and starting the inward self loathing and bashing that I normally would have, I could hear my own words in my head. I remembered the advice and encouragement that I had just given someone else. I corrected my form and followed my own advice and suddenly I was successfully pressing the bar overhead. It was still hard, but I was able to get through it. Even though I could barely get to my car after the workout was over, I left feeling good. I felt proud that I had worked so hard and that I had chosen to encourage myself rather than tear myself down when I originally failed. It was on my ride home that I came to a realization.
I realized that the reason that I have struggled so lately and never improved was not because of the programming or because of a lack of encouragement. It has been because I was searching for something outside of myself that I needed to find within. I was looking to someone else for strength and confidence. The strength and confidence I needed was there inside me all along. It was just hidden and masked by fear and sadness. Unfortunately, I know I'm not alone in this. I'm sure there are many other people that have felt the same feelings.
Don't make the mistake of looking outside yourself. EVERYTHING you need to be successful lies inside you. It's not so different than the experience that Dorothy had in the Wizard of Oz. She wanted the wizard to help her get home when she had the power within herself the whole time. Look inside YOURSELF. Find what it is you need and then begin to enjoy the success and happiness that comes from knowing that you are all you need! YOU are brave enough and strong enough to accomplish ANYTHING you want to! Remember that.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
I thought about these series of books as I was lying in bed the other night thinking about the twists and turns my life has made. It was as though my life was a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. I went back in time to the first situations that I can recall that really shaped who I am and the subsequent choices that I made. I tried to imagine where my life would be had certain things NOT happened to me. I fantasized about how much more confident I might have turned out to be or how much "better" things might have turned out for me. I walked through every step and just like the books I loved as a child, the ending was always different. Many times, the way my imagined life turned out was simpler, more successful and almost always there were less scars from hurts and disappointments. There was always something good, but there were also always things that were missing from the end of the story.
All of our choices...all of our experiences make us who we are. We can become better and happier than we ever thought if we are willing to stop going down the same path and decide to make different choices. We can make changes...turn the pages back...and choose a different path with a better ending. Your life is YOUR adventure. YOU have to choose to work hard. YOU have to choose to make changes. YOU have to choose to be strong. Don't let anyone else make your decisions or choose where your life goes. YOU choose your own adventure!
Thursday, July 5, 2012
We decided that we would walk fast in the shade and run when we hit patches where it was sunny as to avoid getting burnt. It'll be like intervals...but more fun since it's mostly shade. (This was my thought as I was still trying to convince myself that it was a good idea.) Savanna agreed. And she is not known for being naturally agreeable so I was shocked. This child has not EVER run with me at the park since she was a toddler and did so as a passenger in the stroller I was pushing! I was going to take every advantage of this opportunity to try and spend some "quality time" talking with her and also try and show her that working out can be fun. Okay, so maybe choosing to do so in 100 degree weather isn't the smartest but I was going to work with what I had!
There is a big hill right in the center of this trail. I hate/dread it EVERY SINGLE TIME I run. It seems to go on forever! I assured Savanna that we would only run on the parts of the hill that were sunny and we could walk in the shady parts. She was doubtful in her abilities, but she did it. We turned around at the ending point and started back. I cheerfully told her that THIS time the hill would be easier because most of the sunny parts would be downhill going this direction. I then cautioned her to pay attention because it might be easier to trip running downhill. I said this because Savanna can be a little clumsy at times. Actually, she has been know to randomly trip and fall many times throughout her life. Luckily, we all laugh about it and so she smiled but then I saw some fear start to arise. She got a crinkle between her eyebrows as she said, "Mom, I don't want to run downhill! What if I fall? You KNOW how much of a klutz I am!" I reassured her and said, "Oh Savy, you'll be fine!!! I didn't tell you that to scare you. I told you so you would pay attention." The look of total disbelief was all over her face when she made the next comment...a comment that both surprised and saddened me a bit. "What if I fall and scrape up my face? I NEEED my looks Mom!"
I laughed. "Oh Savanna! Quit being crazy! You're not going to fall and what do you mean you need your looks?" There was a part of me that thought she MUST be joking, but she was very serious. "Mom. (motioning to her face as we ran...downhill...without falling) My looks DO make a difference. Without my pretty face, things would be a lot harder. When I was at camp a couple of weeks ago, I didn't ever have to clear my tray in the cafeteria once that week. There were always boys offering to throw my stuff away and I never had to carry my suitcase up or down the stairs. I'm going to NEED my looks to get by in life."
"Savanna. You are beautiful. I remember when you were a baby. I would just look at you, even when you were asleep and marvel at what a beautiful child you are. Now is no different. Your beauty is striking, and being beautiful has its perks. People may be nicer to you, boys may give you attention, and opportunities may come your way because of the way you look, but you cannot spend your life relying on your looks. Solely relying on your looks means giving up the power to be happy...all the time...no matter what. It may mean that you are only happy when you are getting attention and miserable when you are not. Relying on your looks means that the opinion of others counts more than YOUR opinion of yourself. Looks fade and we get older. One day you will not look like you do now and if your entire identity is wrapped up in your appearance, you will feel lost and always be looking back. You are so smart. I can't imagine having your intelligence, and I know you can do great things. But more importantly, you are strong. If something were to ever happen to your looks...it would be sad but it shouldn't be the end. You need to be strong enough to have more substance that you can fall back on. Looks are nice, but they should be like the icing on the cake...a bonus. You have stayed with me in this heat and never complained until now. You have kept going when I KNOW you wanted to stop. I don't ever want you to forget this. You are more than what you look like."
Thursday, June 14, 2012
My thoughts turned to the people in my life. Something made me think about a friend I used to have. We are no longer friends, and even though I still miss her from time to time...I have no desire to ever rekindle that relationship. It was just like eating junk food. It was a quick fix. It was fun and "delicious" at the time, but there were always consequences to the behavior afterwards. Eating sweets and junk food is great while it lasts, but that's the problem. It doesn't last long and I am always left wanting more. It slows me down and keeps me from progress.
Maybe we should look at how everything in our lives is effecting our health and well being. It's not just about the food we eat or how often we work out. It's also about our mindset and the people we surround ourselves with. Those things can directly effect how we think and the choices we make. They can have just as big of an effect on our fitness as the food we eat does.
Make a choice to be your best. Eat good food and train your body to be strong. Surround yourself with people that are positive and help you want to be better. Get all the junk food out of your pantry and lose the junky people in your life that keep you from being the strong, happy person that you should be!
Sunday, June 3, 2012
So this morning, as I woke up with an iffy stomach and a guilty conscience over the box of Junior Mints that I bought and ate at the movies last night, I started thinking about habits. We become like Pavlov's dogs in a way. (If you don't know what that is...google it.) We go to the movies so we think we need candy and popcorn. And it works in reverse too. We are tired or busy and we don't workout. We tell ourselves we can't. We spend time rationalizing and lamenting over our "inability" to get to the gym or have time to go for a run. Soon, it just becomes the norm. Tired or busy = an excuse to not workout.
I know from personal experience that we can form new habits or get rid of some we don't like. I know this because I'm living proof. I was not raised to exercise or eat healthy. I had to create better habits. I've heard people say that it only takes a week to form a habit, but I know for me that sure has never been the case. Maybe when it comes to short term success or doing something that may not be as challenging it works, but I think it takes longer to form habits that stay with you for years or a lifetime. So I started researching a bit, and I read an article in "The World Of Psychology" about habits and how long it takes to form a habit. This article said 66 days (approx 2 month). That made more sense to me.
Here's my challenge/plan for anyone that struggles to consistently workout: Get a calendar...buy one...print one off your computer...whatever...and for the next 66 days, I want you to workout 5 days out of EVERY week. It can be at different intensities, but it needs to be a workout. Walking leisurely without breaking a sweat or reading while on an elliptical doesn't count. Do it whether you are tired or busy. It doesn't matter. Mark it off on your calendar and plan for it on days that you are busy. I suggest writing out what you will do on what days at the beginning of each week so you have a clear idea of what you will do and can easily follow the plan you set for yourself. If you have one day that is especially busy, make that day your "rest day" or plan to get up an hour earlier and do it before your day begins. Worried you will be too tired? Go to bed an hour earlier the night before! Make NO excuses. Hang your calendar up in plain site and be accountable.
When people asked me how I lost weight and found time to workout 5-6 days a week when I had 3 little kids, was on 2 PTAs, and was running a household...I say the same thing every time. I made it my "part time job." I didn't call in sick or decide not to show up when I didn't feel like working. I treated like I would any other job that I didn't want to get fired from. Most of the time people would rather stay home than go to work, but we go. Why? Because it's our job and we are adults and know that as adults we have to do things we don't always like. We work because we need money to live on. Well, we should be taking care of our bodies because we need them in good shape to truly live and get the most out of our lives. It's just as essential in my opinion!
HERES the article I read from "The World Of Psychology":
HERES one about "10 easy ways to make exercise a habit": http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/exercise-habits
Monday, May 14, 2012
All the coaches were different. Different teams have different dynamics depending on the coach and the parents, but some things are similar. One thing that I noticed with every team is that there were always coaches placed strategically on the field when the team was at bat. There was always a coach standing by third to tell the boys when to run for home and when to stop. Sometimes the boys became so dependent upon the coaches that they lost the ability to know when to keep running. Sometimes, if the coach was distracted and didn't tell the player to run...the player would stand there and lose the opportunity to score a run. Other times the boys would work hard...and steal bases...and load them up and then they would get out, the inning would be over, and they'd never get to run across home plate.
I started thinking today that sometimes we are no different than little boys on a baseball team. We stop short of a "home run" at "third base", and sometimes we "strike out" before we get a run. Sometimes it's because we are scared. We doubt our abilities and fear failure. Sometimes, it's because we are waiting on a "coach" to tell us what to do. We've lost the confidence to make our own decisions and know when it's time to keep running. I think we should change that. I think we should be a little braver. I think we should take more chances and run more. Even if we fail at times...it's better than standing there and never knowing what we could've done, and it doesn't mean we should try again the next time. Every pro baseball player that's ever played has been out before. We need to summon the courage to keep running because you never know when they day will come that you will stop being afraid and accomplish something great!
Monday, April 23, 2012
As I thought about this, in between making more "to do" sticky notes and putting on makeup in my bathroom, I began to think about people...my people...the ones in my day to day life...the ones I care the most about. I was thinking about how I organize people into imaginary boxes with labels. I expect different things from different people, and I give of myself in different ways depending on the "box" that people get put in. So I started to review the people closest to me (besides my children) and before I knew it...my totally normal, good, strong, "everything is just fine in the world" kind of mood took a turn and the tears began to fall. Then, they began to flow. I was filled with disappointment and sadness because I realized that a few of the people in the most important boxes...the ones I keep closest to me...don't really fit in those boxes the way I thought they did or the way I want them to and they take much more than they give.
As high maintenance and demanding as I can be at times...I am a giver. My greatest desire in life is to help people and make others happy. It's like the old Girl Scout camping rule...you should always leave your campsite better than you found it. I try to leave people better than I found them. I guess where the problem arises is that not everyone lives like a girl or boy scout and while the "Golden Rule" is what I try to live by...I don't get the same in return very often. My first reaction was to blame the people that have let me down, but you know what they say..."When you point the finger at someone else, there's three pointing back at you!". So, I had to put down the mascara brush that was now useless with tears flowing and take a good, hard look at the unhappy girl staring back at me in the mirror.
After I stop trying to figure out what is wrong with ME, I finally ask myself the question, "WHY?". Why are these people where they are in my life? Why do I do the things I do and give the way I give when I am smart enough to see that there is little or no reciprocation? I think there are 2 reasons. The first is that sometimes it is because I want so desperately for a person to have a certain role in my life or fit into a certain "box". It's like Cinderella's step sisters trying to force their feet into the glass slipper. I try to cram the person where I want them and hope that somehow they will surprise me and fit. I make excuses for them, even though deep down I know the truth. I want people to care about me the way I care about them, but I know that I have no control over other people's feelings.
Life can be such a vicious circle of cause and effect when we do not make the right choices. It's like I need to find the strength to make these changes, but my strength is drained because of the unhappiness that these problems are causing. Change in any form is tough, but some changes are easier for us than others. Everyone has their weaknesses and mine is the people that I care about. I have survived some terrible things in my life that not many people know about. I've conquered major weight loss, and I can always find the strength to workout or begin eating healthier, but it's people...sometimes the seemingly closest to me...that I have a hard time being strong enough to deal with. It's hard for me to set boundaries and deal with the possibility of people walking away from me or getting mad at me. Maybe some of you struggle with the same thing. If so, it's time to make changes. It's time to believe that you are worth being treated with love and respect.
Friday, April 13, 2012
When I saw the picture above on a friend's Facebook page that says, "Don't believe everything that you think" it made me stop and think about my thoughts and how they shape me...how they effect my day and my decisions. I thought about how hard it is for me to accept a compliment or believe the good things that people tell me some days. After I discount a compliment or ignore something good someone is telling me, I always regret it. I always wonder why I didn't just smile and say "Thank you!". I get so frustrated with myself and think that with all the nice things I hear these days...why do I struggle to believe those words at times?
I realize looking at that picture that even though it's been a long time since I was told I was "ugly" by a boy in 7th grade...even though it's been many years since I suffered from betrayal or dishonesty...even though I've turned my life around and made something very positive out of some negative things that I went through...my thoughts have not changed as much as they should. I tell myself mean things at times. I can limit and defeat myself when I focus solely on my weaknesses instead of celebrating my many talents and strengths. I've learned to grow a thicker skin and ignore the things that may be said about or to me in the past couple of years. So I guess what I've figured out is that other people are not as much of a problem as I am. These days, it's my own voice and my own thoughts that I need to change.
Stop believing everything that you think and stop believing the bad. Make a decision today that you will change and set your course in a different direction. This one change can affect every aspect of your life in and outside of the gym and bring you happiness and success that you may be missing out on. It may be easier to believe the "bad" and hard to change your thoughts, but anything worthwhile is not easy.
* The picture at the top that was the inspiration for this blog post is from the SoMuchMore Facebook page. Please go visit this page and "Like" it! It's an uplifting, great page that provides daily inspiration for a unique new website! CLICK HERE to visit the page!
Monday, April 2, 2012
I remember the day I had fulfilled my P.E. requirements in 10th grade and I no longer had to go. I was overjoyed! And so began an adult life where I avoided anything athletic. I was conditioned to believe that because I wasn't good at it naturally, that it meant I never would be and I should accept it and not put any effort into it. I had never belonged to a gym in my life until I was 34 years old.
I joined a gym because I was overweight and miserable. Everyday was a struggle. I was out of breath and tired and my own reflection repulsed me. Although I always tried to look my best, I was often treated like I was invisible in stores. There was even a day that a salesman stopped waiting on me in the middle of me trying to purchase a car stereo to wait on a young, thin, pretty girl. It took me right back to gym class...to being picked last...only because they were forced to. I hung my head and walked out with my toddler on my big hip. No one even noticed I was gone. I sat in the parking lot in my mini van and cried uncontrollably.
It was there that I met the man that started out as my trainer and ended up one of my best friends. I was a reluctant participant in a free 1 hour session with him, but through the course of events, I became his regular client for a year. My life forever changed. I was still NOT naturally athletic. I was awkward and clumsy, and I had no sense of balance. I wasn't accustomed to doing things I wasn't good at. Those were the things I avoided in the year before. Wes didn't allow that. He pushed me...hard. He knocked me down when I got too big for my britches and he built me up when I was feeling low. When he moved away, I had to learn to do it on my own...and I did. By the time I became a personal trainer myself, I was no longer the girl no one wanted on their team. I was the girl leading the team...the one that everyone knew they could count on to go a little faster and fight a little harder.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
When he moved away, it was very hard on me. I lost my coach...my mentor...my confidante...my friend. I grieved that loss. I never thought I would get over that, but like any loss in life...time heals and what was once a sharp pain became a hardly noticeable dull ache. Wes moved on and found the love of his life that became his wife and I found that I could do things all on my own and became a personal trainer. We kept in touch and I was really excited to have him and his wife move back here recently. I was feeling a little bored and frustrated with my own training and he wanted to get into better shape again so we decided to start working out together again.
I stopped at the store on my way home and as I got out of the car, I received a text. It was from Wes. I was surprised to read what it said. He told me that the workout was great and that he was really impressed with my knowledge. I put the phone down in disbelief. I picked it up and read it again. I had a moment right then and there in the parking lot. It began with being so surprised because Wes has so much knowledge and I've never felt like I could ever be half the trainer he was. Then I stopped for a moment to examine WHY I was so surprised by that compliment. I've been training people for 4 years and spent thousands of dollars going to seminars to learn and become a better, more informed trainer.
Monday, March 12, 2012
When the word diet is said, I immediately cringe. I cringe as a fitness professional and I cringe personally. We hear it all the time..."Diets don't work!". Actually, they do work. The problem is that the results usually don't last and you're left with disappointment and depending on the extreme matters you may have taken, you could be left MORE unhealthy than when you started! Starving yourself or working out to excess WILL make you lose weight, but it is NOT maintainable and can do you more harm than good in the long run. This is the opinion of the personal trainer side of me.
Personally, I cringe because I am a girl that knows what she likes and isn't happy when I don't get it. I associate diets with the LOSS of things I enjoy, and I hate the feeling of deprivation that has always accompanied diets in my life. I remember being a teenager and moving an old stationary bike in my room. I remember eating lettuce and taking diet pills and riding that stupid bike. I remember hating myself and feeling ugly. Obviously that's extreme and unhealthy, but I think even healthy diet plans can be risky if you don't have the right mindset. After my 2nd child, I joined Weight Watcher's and had great success. I didn't get strong at all, but I sure got skinny. It started out well for me, but somewhere along the way...old demons and ideas crept back in. I was so obsessed with the number on the scale that I was going to see every week when I went in for my weekly meeting, that I would refuse to eat meat for 2 days before weigh in and I would use laxatives the day prior. I've never admitted that to anyone, and it makes me sick to see the words on my screen. The only reason I admit this is because I know there are women and men out there trying to be better but they are going about it in the wrong way. The Weight Watcher's plan did not drive me to that. Being on a DIET and my own personal fear and unwillingness to REALLY change both my body AND my mind drove me to that.
You may think I'm going to go on a rant about the Paleo diet or how I have began eating in the last couple of months. I'm not. Do I think there are benefits to this way of eating? Yes, but the point of this is to change the way you see food in general, no matter HOW you choose to eat. Make a decision to eat healthier. Simplify your choices. Ask yourself questions. "Does this food make me healthier? Or less healthy?" When you are choosing something, be aware that you are indeed CHOOSING. You don't HAVE to eat crap because you are traveling or tired, and you don't have to skip meals because you are busy. It's a choice...a choice that's easier to make if you think ahead.
Monday, February 27, 2012
I BEGAN by telling him all the DON'Ts! DON'T eat this and DON'T drink that. He smiled and laughed and said in a sarcastic tone, "Wow...so I can pretty much just drink water... That sounds great." We both laughed and I went on to tell him what you CAN have, but really it was too late. The focus began and ended with a focus on what NOT to do. As I've thought about reeling my own diet back in a little tighter again since my 30 Day Challenge ended...I've focused a lot on the DON'Ts and that can be pretty depressing and leave you feeling deprived. Some of the ladies in the STRONG LOLA 30 DAY CHALLENGE group on Facebook talked about doing another 30 Day Challenge because they felt like they had slipped back in to old habits.
DO choose the highest quality of food and meat that you can afford! I recognize that buying grass fed beef and organic veggies costs more than if you buy the regular stuff, but if you can work it in to your budget...it makes a difference in the way you feel, the taste of your food, and the way your body digests it. The food you buy that is not organic and is in the grocery story has chemicals that your body has to process and remove in order to keep from poisoning your system. I have also read that organic veggies, grass fed beef, range free chicken, and cage free grain fed eggs also have a higher concentration of nutrients. Pay attention to the QUALITY of the food you purchase and do the best you can. If you can't get the highest quality, don't beat yourself up or feel like you cannot participate in a healthy lifestyle. Make the best choices that you can and remind yourself that whether you are eating organic veggies or not, prepared properly that's still a better choice than throwing a bag of frozen corn in the microwave.
DO eat balanced meals! While I understand bacon is delicious and so is fruit...only eating those things or eating too much is not good either. Make sure that you have balance on your plate. Eat protein and healthy fat and good carbs at every meal. People think that the word carb is evil. It's not. We need carbs, but it's best to get them from healthy sources like vegetables and fruits and sweet potatoes. Choose good, healthy carbs rather than eliminating them from your diet. Make sure you are getting enough healthy fat so that you feel full and stay satisfied longer. There are lots of sources of good fats in olive oil, raw nuts, avocados, and olives.
DO prepare ahead to avoid snap decisions choices made out of desperation! Many people cook meals ahead of time. I think this is a great idea and is very helpful to many people! I have never been big on this as I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, but I prepare by ALWAYS having some type of veggies on hand and some kind of meat thawed out in the fridge. As long as I have food that I can prepare on the spot, I will make good choices. Another option is to cook bigger portions when you cook and put the leftover away for later so they are easy to grab and reheat when you need them! Remember that you always have a choice. Panicking never leads to anything good. Many times, if I stop for a moment and think I can come up with a meal that is delicious and quick.
DO eat food that you like! I am a picky eater so I preach eating what you like. I have a very narrow range of meat that I like so it can be a challenge at times, but I never want to feel like I'm forcing myself to eat things I don't like. If you don't like broccoli, don't eat it! Find another green that you DO like and find different ways to cook the foods you enjoy. I LOVE zucchini but if I ALWAYS eat it prepared the same way, I get sick of it. I grill it, saute it, and sometimes I add canned tomatoes. Using different spices and ways to cook things is fun and keeps you from getting bored. Be creative! I've surprised myself (in a good way) many times throughout the course of the past 2 months.
DO eat when you are hungry! This is not about starvation and deprivation. REMEMBER THAT! It's about nourishing your body and fueling it well, so that it runs more efficiently. If you are hungry, EAT! This is another example of why it's good to prepare and always have food available. If you have snacks prepackaged or you have fresh fruit and veggies in your fridge, you can easily prepare a snack that is healthy. If you are consistently feeling like you are hungry or never satisfied, look at what you are eating and make sure you are eating enough protein and healthy fats. This doesn't mean you have a free pass to eat all day just because you are bored. Don't confuse stress or boredom with hunger, but if you really ARE hungry then you should listen to your body and eat!
DO make your food look appetizing! I never used to arrange my food in any certain way on my plate or care about the colors. I certainly didn't garnish my food or make my plate look photo ready. Now, I do. It does not take me hardly any extra time to throw a little garnish or place my food carefully on my plate. When I sit down to eat and I have a plate that looks beautiful, I am excited to eat what I have prepared and there's also a sense of pride in what I have created. It sounds silly, but this has been something that I and my family have really enjoyed. It makes our meals more of an experience and that is a good thing.
DO keep track of what you eat! Since the day I started the Strong Lola 30 Day Challenge, and even in the month since it's ended...I take a picture of every meal I eat on my phone. This does a few things for me. It keeps me honest. If there's bad stuff on my plate, it's gonna be in the picture. It's easier for me than having to write everything down. I don't need a pen and paper and my phone is always with me so it works well and I've accumulated quite the library of "food porn" as we like to call it! It also goes hand in hand with making my food look appetizing. I want to create meals that are photo worthy! Try it for a week. And if you want even more accountability, start a blog and post your daily meals! It's also fun to send your pics to friends that are also watching what they eat to share ideas and get that reaffirmation that you are doing a good job!
DO be flexible and forgiving with yourself and others that are not making the same choice as you! Sometimes you will HAVE to eat out or you may find yourself unprepared. DO THE BEST YOU CAN. Most restaurants will cook food to order. Just be sure to ask lots of questions. If you are at a Mexican food restaurant, order chicken or beef and ask for grilled veggies and/or guacamole INSTEAD of rice and beans. Don't freak out or become a food "Nazi". Having grilled veggies that were grilled in regular butter or vegetable oil is better than eating a cheese enchilada. And if you make a mistake or choose to have a cheat, do it and then get back on track the next meal without beating yourself up! I find when I beat myself up, it almost gives me a license to really go crazy because I feel like all is lost anyway. That is not the case. You are human. Move on and do better next meal.
DO workout! They say you can't outrun a bad diet. Well, you can't just eat healthy and get fit either. You need the two parts working hand in hand to be truly strong and fit! It was hard for me at first, because my body was not accustomed to functioning on good, real, healthy food. I was tired and felt bad. I was weak in the gym and I wanted to just forget going most days, but I hung in there and eventually I felt MUCH better and I could see real changes both in my appearance AND in my performance in the gym.