Tuesday, September 20, 2016

dog kisses

So this happened last night...
What started out as a cute moment with my neighbor dog who came over to play turned into a blurry selfie of a dog licking my cheek.
You see, I'm not a dog person. I'm not going to be a dog person. Ever. I don't want to be a dog person.  They bark.  They smell.  They slobber. They require attention and food.  The list could go on and does.
But, somehow...someway...this dog has worked his way into my heart.
I love this dog.  He loves me.
Maybe it's because he comes and goes aften a few minutes of play time.  Maybe it's because he doesn't try to take over my side of the bed.  Maybe it's because I have two teen boys and am used to more random smells and the constant disappearance of food occurring.
Who knows the reason why, but this dog is special to me. So, last night when attempting a pic with him and I saw what was about to take place, I braced myself and allowed a dog kiss to be planted on my face.  I still jerked a little, as indicated by the blurry pic, but usually I'm bending, flailing, and making my getaway far ahead of a wet tongue touching my face.  Really, it's just...ick...I can't even...
This time was different.
Because my thoughts about this dog are different.
Because he makes me happy when he bounds toward me as he sees me and hears my voice calling his name.
Because my time with him is usually short and I want to make him feel loved when he's with me.
When I started to think about why I allowed my neighbor dog to lick my face, I started to see a pattern developing.
My mindset changed about this dog, so my reaction to him is different than with other dogs.
A similar thing happened when I changed my mindset about exercising.
For years I thought it was about spending hours on a treadmill and doing cardio things that I just did not enjoy and found tremendously boring.
But, I pushed play on P90X, not knowing what it or who Tony Horton was.  I just made up my mind one day I would become stronger and pushed play.  I opened my mind up to trying something new even if still under the umbrella of "exercise".
Like with my neighbor dog, though, because my mindset was different, my reaction to this certain exercise program was different.  It endeared itself to me.  I was drawn to it everyday for an hour; sometimes longer.  I felt better after spending time engaging in its methods and, perhaps, a little madness.
You see, by spending time with my neighbor dog, investing in him, and allowing my "no dogs allowed" sign to be taken down, I have found my soulmate in the doggie world.  I never thought it would happen, but when I met him at just 8 weeks old, I was willing to try.  We have been best buds ever since.
Similarly, like I have found my soulmate in the dog world in this pup from next door, I have found my soulmate workout in P90X.  By changing my mindset about the reason I would workout, I tried something new.  I learned to open myself up to new challenges, things I did not know I would like or even love to do.  Once it happened, the door was opened to a whole world of options and new things to set goals toward and challenge myself to accomplish.
So, my encouragement to you is to think differently about exercising.  Perhaps nothing has clicked yet because you haven't found the one for you yet.  It's out there.  If I found one, anyone can.
Dog kisses still aren't my thing, nor is cardio, but some days I welcome both into my world to make me a better person. Inside and out.

Friday, September 9, 2016

choose your easy

More and more I am seeing this thought meme-ing its way through social media...
"I wish it were as easy to lose weight as it is to gain weight."
I beg your pardon...

Whoever said it was easy to gain weight?
What part about gaining weight is any easier than losing it?
I gained weight consistently over the course of the first 41 years of my life.
I do not recall those years as easy ones where my weight was concerned.

What is easy about being the heaviest person in your family? Or in your class?
What is easy about having to buy clothes that are labeled as "husky"? Or later on in life, have to shop in a special section of the store for "women's sizes" or even in stores that only carry "women's sizes".
What is that supposed to even mean...women's sizes???
What is easy about feeling as if you have no self control?
What is easy about eating until your pants are too tight before you ever get up from the table?
What is easy about feeling guilty for eating when you're not even hungy?
What is easy about dealing with shame, directly or indirectly placed on you due to your size?
What is easy about hiding in pictures or just avoiding being in them altogether?
What is easy about wishing for a different life and never seemingly able to understand how to attain it?
What is easy about dealing with depression about your weight, sometimes giving way to indulging even more to "comfort" yourself?
What is easy about going out with friends and seeing them eat the same thing you do but they never seem to put on a pound?
What is easy about seeing your poor choices and lack of self control be learned by your own children right before your very eyes?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Let me assure you, gaining weight is anything but easy.

Why does this concept get under my skin every time I see someone mention it?
Because it is empowering excuses to run their lives.
Excuses such as, but not inclusive to...
I deserve to be happy and food makes me happy.  I cannot stick with a diet.  I need fill in the blank.  I'm tired.  I don't have time to cook/exercise.  I don't care.  I will start losing weight when fill in the blank.  Nobody wants to join me.  I don't know how to lose weight.  I feel intimidated at the gym.  I don't like to cook.  It's too expensive.  I am afraid of failing{again}.  Exercising is boring.  I don't eat vegetables.  My knees/back hurt.  I stress eat.  I have tried everything...nothing works. 

Gaining weight is not easier than losing it.
It is all a matter of your perspective.

If you change the way you think about nutrition and exercise, you'll change your view of easy.

Losing weight takes a why, much determination, and a plan of action...and a Plan B for when life happens.  Life has a habit of getting in the way of your plans.  Expect it and prepare for it as best you can.  Take notes along the way of what works, doesn't work, needs some tweaking, and what you enjoy, as well as, what challenges you the most.  Make adjustments that pave the way for progress.  Forget about being perfect.  Or instantaneous results.  Think marathon versus sprint.

Compare how easy it is to feel a sense of accomplishment when a workout is over, knowing you chose to give it your best that day to how easy it is to feel winded walking from the parking lot into a building.
Compare how easy it is to feel happy about a healthier option by ordering a cheeseburger without a bun versus drowning your sorrows with a side of fries.
Compare how easy it is to know the sore muscles you feel are growing and becoming stronger versus feeling weak and tired from doing nothing all day.
Compare whether your struggle, whatever it may be, is worth the reward you get from it.
It's up to you to choose your easy.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

my college car...

I had a moment over the weekend when I remembered my car from my college days.  Something during Sunday's sermon made me think of it. Wish I could remember what it was that sparked such a memory, but I know I had to chuckle when the thought of that car crossed my mind.
That car.
Oh, that dear, seafoam green Chevy Impala from some year in the 80's...bless its heart.
That car spent as much time not running/getting worked on as it did running.  Maybe more so.  When one thing would get fixed, another went awry.
Some things I never even attempted to get fixed due to the cost.
Things like the heater running 100% of the time.
That included summer, folks.
Summers in Indiana are more humid than in Georgia.
When I would travel the four hours from Fort Wayne to home, I would buy a bag of ice and put it under my legs to stay cool. I did what I had to do to get by...and, it never left me stranded on the side of the road; usually just in a parking lot somewhere.  There is that.  And, for this, I am truly grateful. I also kept a mom & pop garage up and running with all the repairs they did...we felt like family, seeing each other so often.  They tried their best with what they had to work with in that car.
If Google had been around then (don't laugh), a picture of that car would have appeared when you searched for "lemon" images.
Not even kidding.
Well, that Chevy had one thing quirk that embarrassed me more than anything else.
Soon after I began driving it as "my" car, it decided that when I went to shut it off, it would continue to sputter, cough, and hiccup for awhile before one last "Achoo!".
I can laugh now, but back in the day...oh, the horror was a car doing such a thing, to a young, single lady trying to make her way through life.
I asked some questions.  Got some opinions.  Found an answer.
Believe it or not, it was an easy fix: premium gasoline.
It preferred a higher octane fuel.
It ran well on premium; not so well on regular.
Guess where I'm going with this...
A human body is just like my Impala...it runs its best on higher quality fuel.
There are differing levels of food quality out there for us to choose from in a grocery store/restaurant just like there are usually three grades of fuel to choose from at most fuel pumps.
We have to decide which one we want based on several factors that include cost, quality, and goals.
When I put the lower grade fuel in my Impala (nicknamed "The Beast" by my college friends, and rightly so), it acted up.  It ran, but did not run well.  There were all kinds of consequences to the choice of a lower quality fuel that I had to endure.
Likewise, I have found that my body operates accordingly to the quality of "fuel" with which I choose to fill it.
Was I living and breathing in the spring of 2013 when my weight had spiked back up to 180+ pounds? Yes.
Was I feeling good, and operating at my best?  Not at all. Not even close.
The fuel I choose for my body is just as important as the fuel I needed to choose for "The Beast" back in the day for it not to totally embarrass me.
Our bodies are in need of a variety of clean, as close to its natural state as possible, food on a consistent basis in order to run in such a way to fight off some illnesses/colds/viruses and to operate at its best.
Feeling good, having sustainable energy, and being well are more important to me than any jean size ever will be.
My car told me, in no uncertain terms, which fuel it preferred.  My body does the same.
Lately, I have consumed too many carbs...the good, the bad, and the ugly kinds.  By choice.  And, my body is responding according to my choices with increased tiredness, headaches, and sluggishness.  I'm mending my ways, but still reaping the effects of my choices days later.
Clean eating is a choice I have made for my body.  It is why I daily drink Shakeology.  It makes my body run smoother, perform better, and helps my overall health.
It does not mean that I do not enjoy treats now and then.  I will never give up bacon or pizza, but I will be wiser with my portions of them for my own good.  I have taken on the challenge to not eat a food when my mind says, "I 'need' it", but to consume something because I want it as an occasional treat.
Our mentality toward food and about food has to be healthy.
Food is our fuel.
It is not therapy.
It is not there to give you a hug.
It is not something to empower.
It is not there to make you happy.
Food does not need you to “need” it.
It is simply fuel for your body like gasoline is for your vehicle.
My tastes have changed over time and my body craves healthier food now...higher octane fuel, one might say.  A treat now and then will not undo my progress, but to get to my goals, I had to be very choosy when I began this journey to a healthier version of myself.  I had to be dedicated to new choices.  I had to look at food in a new way.  I had to control my food choices instead of them controlling me.  A mind over matter issue.
Accountability groups helped me tremendously with this in the beginning of my journey, and why I, still today, go to my coach's long running group when I find myself struggling in a certain area.  This is also why I now run a monthly free group of my own.  I want to help people look more intently at their relationship with food and food's relationship to one's overall health.  I want to share my experiences and lessons learned the hard way with others so maybe their journey will be less bumpy than my own.
Maybe you're reading this and feeling as if you're running like my Impala did when on regular gasoline...slow to start, moody, and kind of embarrassingly awkward.  Message me and let's talk.  I'd enjoy nothing more than having you in my next free accountability group and seeing you thriving and feeling better than you have in years.
The Impala and I...well...we've both moved on in life.
Only one of us has improved with age...{smiley face}