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Make it a priority

3 Sep

Over a year ago (May 2012 to be exact), I started a construction project in my house. While not the one doing the work, I was the one living in the mess. In a not-so-genius move, I swiped off all the stuff from my kitchen table and put it in a laundry basket. I was in a hurry to get it out of the way so I put the basket in my office.  My plan was to take care of it all once the construction was done and the dust settled.

Today I went in to my office and this is what I see:

basket

There it is….15 months later….waiting to be emptied….with my Northwestern diploma on the top.

I had great plans….but never followed through.  The task was simple…but it never made it to the top of the priority list. I know the basket is sitting there waiting for me…but I find a reason to not go in to my office. It was tied to something important to me…getting that diploma on the wall…but that didn’t do much to motivate me. Besides, I have competing priorities…a whole house to clean, a dog that needs attention, and candy that is just not going to crush itself. All the while really, really wanting that basket emptied.

Walking by the basket does not mean it will get emptied. Neither does thinking about all the great laundry I could carry in it. Thinking about how great it would be to sit in the recliner and read a good book was no help either. If I wanted the basket emptied I would have to actually do something to empty it. I have to set aside an hour to sort through the paper, file, and shred, and figure out what to do with the other things in there.

The same goes for any change you are making in your life.  You need to make it a priority….are you in or out? No more excuses, no more side tracks. Quit wishing and hoping and dreaming. Set the time aside and get it done. You either are or you are not eating better than you did yesterday. You either are or are not moving more. Fill in the blank…are you doing it or not?

To get something different, you need to do something different. Make it a priority…empty the laundry basket.

 

When all else fails, break a sweat

29 Aug

If there is anything I have learned over the past year, it is the basics always hold true. Today’s reminder: When all else fails, break a sweat.

It’s been quite a week. I will spare you the ugly details, but I will say that I am struggling to keep my head above water. No, that’s too dramatic. I am treading water for what feels like days. There is no sun, no breeze, nobody else is in the pool. I am kicking my legs and moving my arms and I’m getting tired. While I’m grateful to be able to tread water and not drown, I’m still frustrated that I’m not moving forward. So what do I do?

The old auto pilot has reared its ugly head. hmmm…I’m feeling tired and stressed so let’s eat sugar…..great idea. I have gathered significant evidence to prove that I feel physically and mentally worse when this old habit kicks in, yet I seem to start here. So now that I realize it has, I need to change what I’m doing…that whole “do something different to get something different” thing. So I tried listening to music, deep breathing, reading, and talking about it. None of that worked. I still felt like crap.

Then tonight I went to a Zumba class. I walked in frustrated and grumpy. I was frustrated about the events of the day. I was frustrated that I am still not back to 100% from my injury and that I have to ease back in to working out. I am frustrated that…(fill in the blank with a bunch of other reasons. And then I just forgot it all and started to dance. Well, at least my version of dancing since my hips just don’t move like Zumba requires.

I could have stayed home tonight to pout. I choose to get out and move. What amazed me a year ago, and what I was reminded of tonight, our bodies are made to move. When you do what it needs, it gives you what you need. Today it was a shift in perspective. To get something different, I need to do something different. Before the old auto pilot even has a chance to kick in, I am going to start with breaking a sweat.

Limits

31 Jul

Limit: the point, edge, or line beyond which something cannot or may not proceed.

Tonight I was the crazy lady walking the track.  There was a frown on my face. My body language said “pissed off” and my pace was fast. I put on my angry music and took off walking (lame!). Every time I lapped another walker I would curse them in my head. At one point I caught myself swearing out loud.  Why all the grumpiness?  I am working with a new (and hopefully temporary) physical limit.

The instructions were to limit my activity to walking or swimming.  Total crap I tell you. I have worked too long and too hard to be told I can walk or swim.  I am finally hitting some real fitness goals and am “this close” to running a half marathon and you tell me to walk or swim, no weight lifting, no sit ups, no kickboxing, no yoga? Yeah, okay. That sounds grrrrrreat….. Sure, let me give up anything that makes me break a sweat. Awesome.

The longer I walked, the more I started to relax. It’s amazing how a simple walk can clear your head. I saw myself walking the track a year ago. My pace was much slower and I was sweating like crazy. I faced a limit of “cannot proceed” because of all the extra weight I carried. I was out of shape and I hated almost every minute of the workout but I did it anyway. I showed up and worked out every day because I did not want to be limited by my body any longer.

Fast forward to today where I faced a limit of “may not proceed”. It took all I had not to run. That’s why the fiercely independent (stubborn) me was so mad today. I mean, if you think about it, I earned this… I did the work… I lost the weight… Well Anne, you can think what you want, but the instructions were to walk or swim, end of story. I never thought I would be in a place where I was itching to be active, but here I am. This limit has been really hard on my heart and on my mind. I don’t like limits anyway, and knowing that pushing a limit now can make an injury even worse…  gggrrrrr…

To get something different, you have to do something different. Instead of focusing on the limit itself, I shifted my focus to success within the limit. It took 3o minutes of walking and thinking to shift my focus, but I did. I showed up, followed directions, and walked (okay, I cheated and did pushups too), all within my limits.

The Cougar Wall of Pride

14 May

Back in the day in high school, I took conditioning gym. The reason I signed up for it was because it did not involve a team sport, wearing a gross rented swim suit, or having a ball thrown at me on a regular basis. I just wanted to show up, walk, and go back to class.

Once a year we had to do the president’s fitness challenge which included running a mile. It was my senior year and Mr Mc Coy was my teacher. The class headed outside to run on the track. I was “lucky” in being part of the second run, which meant I got to sit there for an extra 15 minutes or so thinking about how slow I was, how much I didn’t want to run, and how much the boys in the class would make fun of me. I hated gym class with a passion.

Mr Mc Coy started the clock and off I went, waaaaaay behind everyone else in the group. I want to say I finished somewhere in the 14-15 minute range but I have no idea. I remember being totally out of breath and completely mortified for finishing so far behind everyone, but I did it. As the boys in the class made fun of me, Mr McCoy yelled at them and told me I did a good job. He even nominated me for the Cougar Wall of Pride. That meant I got a note from him, a little pin of the face of a cougar (the school mascot), and my name on the wall in the main hall way. Nobody knew why I was up there, but let me tell you, I was proud every time I walked by and saw my name. I actually ran a mile.

Flash forward…. Tonight I was on the treadmill and hit the first mile in 9:36 and the second mile in 9:16….a personal best pace for me. During the second mile, I just kept thinking to myself “how about this for the cougar wall of pride Mr Mc Coy?”As I watched the distance thingy on the treadmill, I imagined myself rounding the corners of my high school track. Engage your core, power through your legs, breathe. And when I was done I felt the same pride I did when I got my note from Mr Mc Coy. These are the things I never thought were possible, but here I am.

Even when you don’t believe in yourself, other people do. Believe them….you can do more than you can imagine.

Stop doing what isn’t working

18 Apr

According to my last weigh-in, I am 7 pounds away from a total of 100 pounds lost. As I type that I’m inclined to gloss over that small little fact. Not anymore. Let’s think about that a minute…93 pounds down. Holy cannoli with a cherry on top! I can’t believe it as I write it.

This weekend I was trying to think of things to keep me motivated and focused the next few weeks. I drew a new little tracker on my kitchen white board.  While this may seem like no big deal (and it really isn’t) it has turned in to one. See, I have this funny habit of being really good with big goals but then freaking out when I am about to achieve them. For whatever reason, when I think about losing 50 pounds I am 100% okay and believe I can do it. When I think about losing 7 and being on the verge of an accomplishment it makes me nervous. And when I’m nervous the old habits come out. And the old habits are not worth it anymore.

The last 2 days have been full of unnecessary and non-nourishing snacking. Eating a bowl of popcorn is not fatal, I know, but it is not contributing anything either. If I had to eat, why not pick some greens or a shake or something?  Uh, duh. Anyone could tell you why… that’s not mentally satisfying.  Well guess what…neither is the popcorn anymore. Focusing on the weight goal and eating the popcorn no longer work for me. Why do I keep doing them?

I’m not going to sit and worry about not losing this week (another thing that doesn’t work). I’m not going to worry about when I can color in those bars or what it will mean if I hit the 100 total a few weeks late (gosh Anne, who set this arbitrary schedule anyway? And WHO CARES… it is 100 pounds down). What I will do is erase the white board and write myself a nice little inspirational quote. I will focus on the big picture and the overall journey so far. I will focus on my 11 minute mile and the new running shoes. Those things work for me.

To get something different, you need to do something different. Stop doing what isn’t working. Start doing what will work for you. You will need to pay attention so you will be able to recognize when things are not working for you. Does it make you feel bad? Does it stress you out? Do you dread it? Then stop doing it.

But you have to log your weight every week….  Really? Says who? I need to log weight when it works for me and if that is once a week, every other week or once a month so be it. I have to get on the scale every morning to know how I’m doing… Really? Even though it drives you mad and can throw off your entire day if you don’t “like” the number? How exactly is that working for you?   If I can’t have the best workout ever, I’m not going to go at all… Really? Because sitting on your butt is what got you where you are and it’s going to get you something different? Nope, suck it up and go anyway. Do what you can…but do something.

Let’s be clear: “stop doing what isn’t working” is not an excuse to get out of clean eating or workouts. Eating better and moving more works… Period. However, this does give you permission to change things up a bit. I don’t like kale, but I am willing to eat spinach, broccoli and one other green vegetable to say I have diversified my greens for the day. I don’t record my weight gains, but I make sure the overall slope of the tracking line is in the down direction. It may take you a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s not a race, there is no pressure. Try new things. Do what works for you, in your time, and you will find success.

My all time favorite dress

15 Apr

There are certain milestones we go through in life. This week I hit one that is 18 years in the making (holy cow 18 years…)

When I was a little girl my Aunt Virginia used to buy me dresses. I would get one for Easter, Christmas, sometimes a birthday. There are a few I can still remember…my top favorites being the blue one with the white flowers and the gray and white Easter dress/suit that I wore the following Halloween to be a “business woman”. It wasn’t just about the dress. It was the whole shopping experience with my mom and aunt. I was in the chubby girl section, but they still made me feel pretty when I tried on the dresses.

Fast forward to my senior year in high school. It was time for prom and I went shopping with my friend Chrissie. (turn by the Fannie May…lol)  and found a dress at Marshall Fields. It was stunning. For the first time in my awkward high school years I felt pretty.

Then it was time for college and on came the freshman 15. Then I had my first job and first apartment and on came another 20. Few years more, few pounds more. More life, more pounds again. Then you hit a certain point and who cares…how much bigger can I go…and I did.

Then one morning I woke up and wanted something different and I decided I would do what it took to get that new, better something. The damn broke and the good flooded in. Fast forward 10 months… and A LOT of hard work. And here I am:

033013 Prom dress fits

The dress fits! Even more important,  I feel beautiful… like I did when I was a little girl trying on dresses with my mom and Aunt Virgie..and not just when I put on the dress (note: I just put it on to take the picture, I do not wear it around the house). I went from shopping in the chubby girl section to the running gear section. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with this change in my life is like none I have experienced. To get something different, you have to do something different. This marks another “I wish/yeah right moment” accomplished. What is possible in the next year? Who knows…but I’m excited for the ride and the many dresses ahead.

Remember this day

10 Apr

This post is a letter to myself…you can read it anyway.

Me and Denver

Me and Denver

Remember this moment, kid. It has been a long time coming. You let go and opened yourself up to something more, something better and here you are. You, my dear, are amazing. Whenever you come back and read this blog, I hope it stirs up exactly what you are feeling as you write it.

Remember what you had imagined your life would be, and where it is now and know that the possibilities are endless. There’s no more “in a million years” from this point forward. Believe the unbelievable for yourself…you already proved it possible.

You know what it took to get you here…let that carry you through every new challenge that lies ahead. You have come so far and there is so much more in store for you. Step up, decide, no fear, and enjoy the ride.