What If The What Ifs Kill You?

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Are any of you “What if?” monsters?  Do you let doubt and fear cripple you to the point of inaction?

worst_case_scenario

I’m a “worst-case scenario” kind of person.  Here’s an example:

While teaching in a previous district, my school had a 30 minute homeroom class, which was a time for students to receive remediation and to work on their homework.  One of my kids was very high achieving who rarely had anything to work on so every day he would ask me if he could leave and go to Taco Johns for food.  I always told him no, and when he asked why, I said because half the town would explode and hundreds of people would die.

Here’s how:

  • He would be driving.
  • In typical kid fashion, he would take a circuitous route to waste as much time as possible.
  • His pickup would stall on the railroad tracks, which weren’t even on the way.
  • His pickup would be struck by a coal train.
  • The train would derail.
  • The derailing train would strike a passing gas tanker.
  • The gas tanker would explode lighting the coal cars on fire.
  • The explosion would ignite the natural gas lines causing multiple, subsequent explosions on the west side of town.
  • Hundreds of people would be killed.

THAT is why he could not go to Taco Johns!  I was saving lives and keeping him safe.  PLUS, he wouldn’t starve to death before lunch in 90 minutes.

doesn't work that way

Now, I know that this example is extreme, but it is the epitome of a worst case scenario.  My brain actually works this way.  I think of everything that can possibly go wrong and impossible things that can go wrong too.  So what does that mean for my fitness endeavors?

go as planne

Every day I wake up with the plan that today is the day that everything is going to get back on track with my eating and exercise plans.  I always think, “Today I will stay within my calorie/container allotment.  I will work out and feel amazing!”  Then the “What ifs?” set in.  What if my day is so long and exhausting that I don’t feel like working out when I get home?  What if it is “pot luck day” in the Teachers’ Lounge?  What if there is cake?  What if one of my friends texts me and wants to go out to eat? What if I just don’t have the motivation to stick with it?  What if I do stick with it and no one notices?  What if I’m just meant to be fat?

yoda-no-try

I have to face these doubts every day, and every day I meet set backs.  However, just like Yoda tells me, I am going to “do”.  I am not perfect, and I know that I’m not going to be perfect every day.  Some of the scenarios from my “What ifs?” are going to pop up.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not capable of adjusting for the interference and moving on.

inhale confidence

So when the “What Ifs?” start to crop up, I need to remember this.  I need to remember that not every obstacle will cause my train to derail.  Sometimes I may need to slow down to wait for the stalled pickup to get off the tracks.  Then I can simply pick up speed and continue on my merry way.

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Soulmates – Are They What We Think They Are?

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I am going to start off by letting you know that this won’t be like my usual blog posts.  All of my posts focus around the themes of health, fitness, weight loss, and everything mental that goes along with those.  However, I have felt inspired for the last couple days to write on this topic so I might as well go for it.  Don’t worry; this type of divergence will not become a trend.

Shibuya,TOKYO,JAPAN. Two stuffed panda are sitting side by side.

Do you believe in soulmates?  And if you do, do you consider it a romantic thing or just a strong connection to another individual?  Do you think that there is only one soulmate for you in the entire universe, or are there various people that you meet throughout your life that fill the role for a while?  Is it a permanent connection, or is it temporary?  Can you have more than one soulmate????

oh there you are

What qualities make a good soulmate?  Is it someone who knows everything about you?  Is it someone that is your complete opposite so that you balance each other out?  Is it someone who is a combination of both?  Is it a combination of people that fill the holes in your life to make you feel more complete and less disjointed?  Do they bring calm and chaos into your life?  Is it the person that just helps you to be a better version of yourself?

life you thought you'd have

One of the most profound questions (in my opinion anyway) that I posted as a Facebook status years ago was, “Where does the life you thought you’d have go when real life happens?”  Okay, maybe it isn’t that profound, but it is something that I have pondered from time to time.  When I was a teenager, I knew that I had life figured out.  I was going to go to college, get my degree in education, meet the man of my dreams, find the perfect teaching job, settle down in a smallish town, get married, make babies (3 to be exact – identical twin boys followed by a little girl), and live happily ever after.  It was perfect.  I had a plan, and once you have a solid plan, nothing can go wrong…. Right?

happy birthday to me

Last week I turned 33.  I am healthy, and I have a great job.  As I look back on my goals, there are many that I have accomplished and in which I take great pride  I finished my Bachelors degree including student teaching in 4 years flat, which immediately transitioned into my 2 year Masters program.  A month before my 24th birthday I had both my undergrad and grad degrees and was on my way to accomplishing  all of my goals.

life happened

I got my first teaching job in South Dakota.  It wasn’t my dream job, but I met and bonded with some amazing people that I still consider my friends.  I was blessed with the opportunity to teach some amazing kids that I have kept in Facebook touch with over the years as well.  My life was falling into place; all I needed was to find my Prince Charming.

prince on a turtle

I have dated, have been in relationships, have been loved, and have loved, but I have yet to find my happily ever after.  I pray it’s in the cards for me, but let’s be honest, there are no guarantees for the things that are out of my hands.  I can’t force a relationship to work.  I can’t make a guy want to spend the rest of his life with me.  I can’t completely change who I am to be found desirable by another person.

friend soulmate

So does that mean that I don’t currently have a soulmate?  Or is my soulmate already in my life?  For so long, I’ve associated the term with romantic love, but the older I get the more I start to doubt that premise.  I think that soulmates are people that God puts in our lives to make us more complete.  They make us the best versions of ourselves possible, and once they fill that need, they are free to go on to help others.  But if you are truly lucky, they stay for the long haul.

only one soulmate

I think that soulmates are the people that you need in your life at that particular time and place.  They can be the friends that you meet when you move to a new town but never talk to again when you move away.  Does that detract from the friendship?  Absolutely not!  Speaking as someone who has lived in multiple places and made many, many friends, I can honestly say that I value each and every person that has entered into my life.  We have filled voids for each other in the moment.  We may not stay in touch beyond the occasional Facebook “LIKE” and/or random text or phone call any more, but that does not negate what they meant to me.  They made me more complete and a better version of myself when we were together.

impossible best friends

However, my truest soulmate is my best friend in the entire world.  We get each other.  We just “fit”.  We’re alike and different at the same time, and it works.  We look at each other and see everything that we want to be.  She’s married with kids.  My kids are my students, and I have fewer domestic responsibilities.  She’s a stay-at-home, amazing mom.  I teach high school Special Ed and Social Studies.  She’s a homemaker and super domestic.  I remember to feed my pets and forget to go grocery shopping.  She is spontaneous and funny.  I overthink everything and have a fairly dry sense of humor.  We are opposites and are the better for it.

best friend soulmate

I shared this meme with her the other day via Facebook Messenger, and our conversation went as follows:

Me (M):  I have this!  With you!!!!

Her (H):  I have this with you!!

M:  See.  Soulmates!

H:  We will out live our husbands so we need each other lol

She gets it and gets me.  I know that this conversation probably seems weird to the rest of you, but to us, it is hilarious and more than likely true.  We have been friends for 10 years, and we have no intention of letting go.  We compliment each other on our “adulting” skills and openly admit at we “life” better when we are together.  It doesn’t make sense to others, but it doesn’t have to.  We are friend soulmates, and I think that is one of the best versions of the term.

effortless friendship

So to answer a few of my earlier questions:  Yes, I believe that soulmates can be a romantic thing, but I don’t think that it is the only criterion.  Yes, I believe that a person can have many soulmates in their lifetime that fill various needs.  Most importantly, yes, I believe that soulmates can be disguised as best friends, and we are all the better for it.

Bootstrap Mentality

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boot straps

I think that most of us have heard the old adage about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Hard work and a can-do attitude are all that you need to be successful and to achieve your goals.  HECK!!!  It’s part of the American Dream!

americandream

Let’s avoid the politics of what this represents and just focus on the ideology of it all.  The American Dream perpetuates the belief that we are all capable of accomplishing our goals as long as we are willing to work hard to get it done.  We see this as a matter of effort rather than capability.  If someone is not successful, then they must be doing something wrong.  They must not be working hard enough.  They must simply be looking for the easy way out because we have clearly been taught that failure is a result of our own shortcomings.  Excuses are not to be tolerated and are viewed as a sign of weakness.

fallen and can't get up

So what about when you can’t do it?  How do you pull yourself up by your bootstraps when your bootstraps are broken?  Or what if you haven’t found your bootstraps yet?  What if you’ve just decided to buy boots for the very first time and didn’t know to buy ones with straps?  What if you just don’t have the motivation to do it on your own?

friend in me

I think that it is just fine to feel lost and to need help.  I even wrote a whole blog post a couple days ago titled “Do You Have Your Exit, No Wait I Mean Fitness Buddy?” about having an accountability partner to encourage you and to help you out when you can’t do it on your own.

help yourself

However, I do believe that there does come a time when you need to take responsibility for your own actions.  You have to be the one that makes yourself do what you don’t want to do, and if you can’t do that, you need to be willing to step up and take the “blame” for not accomplishing what you want.

excuses meme

I have heard just about every excuse in the book; I am a high school teacher after all.  If I only had a dollar for every excuse that I’ve heard or told myself regarding school work and/or weight loss, I would not only have enough money to pay for an entire body lift but to also pay someone to do the following.

unhealthy food meme

As glorious as the idea of not being responsible for my own choices is, I know that it isn’t feasible.  I need to be the one to resist the temptation.  I need to be the one to put on and lace up my shoes and do the work.  I need take ownership of my choices.  I can either choose to accept who I am currently, or I can make the choice to be different.

so I changed

I’m not saying that this is easy.  It seems really easy, but it is ridiculously difficult.  It is hard to change ingrained choices.  It is hard to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

choose your hard

So in my mind, pulling myself up by my bootstraps is choosing my hard.  I am choosing to do the workouts and to eat the healthy food.

not easy

I’m not saying that it is easy.  In all honesty, it is anything but easy.  However, it is worth it.  Self-perseverance and determination resulting in the accomplishment of a goal provides me with one of the greatest feelings in the entire world.  I love knowing that when I reach those goals, it is because of me.

wouldn't have it without me

So this is the bootstrap mentality.  I’m going to do this on my own.  It is okay to lean on friends and family for support from time to time, but the ultimate responsibility lies with me.  I will pull myself up by my bootstraps and do what needs to be done in order to become the person that I want to be.

Do You Have Your Exit, No Wait I Mean FitnessBuddy?

Exit Buddy

I sincerely hope that my Finding Nemo reference in my title was not lost on most of you.  {Side note:  I am a HUGE Disney fan and will make random references to Disney movies throughout my daily life.}

Okay, that’s enough Disney……. For now, but I promise that if you keep reading my blog, which I really hope you do, there will be more Disney and/or other movie references.

WARNING:  I am also a very sarcastic and snarky person at times.  If that offends you, you should probably stop reading now.  I do promise that I’m never intentionally mean.

Okay, and ACTION!

How many of you work out?  At home?  In the gym?  Walks and/or jogs enjoying the weather and/or nature?  If any of you do any of these things, are you a solo act?  Do any of you have a “fitness” buddy?

Fitness groups

A lot of people that I have talked to have said that having an accountability buddy helps them to stay on track.  It helps them to push through and to do the workout that they don’t really want to do.

So, what do fitness buddies look like?

Fake fit friends

Let me start off by saying I know that the women in the picture above are models at a photoshoot, but let’s pretend that they are fitness friends.  These women have perfect bodies, perfect hair, perfect make up, and perfect clothes.  Good Lord, there is a lot of perfect in this picture!  I look at it and have so many questions.  How do they workout with their hair down?  Doesn’t it get sweaty and in their faces?  How does their makeup stay in place?  Doesn’t their sweat cause it to run and smear?  How do so many of them wear the light gray bottoms?  Doesn’t it look like they peed their pants when they’re sweating?  And after all these questions, I have one more.  What is with my obsession with sweat?

Fake plank

How about these women?  They are planking and happy.  You know this is staged.  I have never once seen a happy, planking person.  Also, while they all have their hair pulled back, they all have perfect makeup and cute outfits.  These are not images that I think of when I think of fitness buddies.

The images that come to mind are the ones that are personal and not always so perfect!  But first, let’s start with a beautiful, non-sweaty picture.  You’re going to meet my best friend in the entire world.  The person that I go to with exciting news, sad news, joy, heartbreak, complaints, stress, etc.  If you’re a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you’ll get this next reference.  She’s my person.

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First off, I want to introduce to one of the coolest people in the world.  God bless my best friend Melissa!  She has been on her own fitness journey for the past 12 years and has worked very hard to lose weight and to stay healthy.  In the past 6 years, Melissa has had 3 beautiful daughters, 2 of which are identical twins.  During both of her pregnancies, she worked hard stay healthy and active, and after her girls were born, Melissa went back to her rigorous workout routines to lose the small amount of pregnancy weight that she gained.  She is a true example of someone who works diligently to find balance in her daily life through healthy eating and exercise while still allowing for small indulgences and rare cheat meals.

Buddy workout not happy

This is the image that comes to my mind when I think of a TRUE fitness buddy.  Melissa has worked hard to inspire and encourage me throughout my fitness journey, and one of the greatest ways that she has helped me out is simply by working out with me.  We have lived as close as a few miles from each other back when I was in grad school to as far as 450 miles apart.  Whenever we are together, we try to get a workout in.  As you can see, we do not have perfect makeup, hair, matching cute outfits, or smiles on our faces after a grueling workout.  We are both drenched in sweat, flushed red, and tired.

Buddy workout sweaty facetime

One of the greatest advantages of today’s society is technology.  Melissa and I currently live 450 miles apart, but we will manage to get at least 1 one workout in together a week.  We do this through FaceTime and owning the same workouts.  Because both of us own several of the same Beachbody programs, we are able to put in our DVDs and set up our iPads.  Through a little creative syncing, we are able to do the exact same workout in the comfort of our own homes while being able to interact.  It isn’t as fun as doing it together in the same room, but as you can tell, we still workout hard, sweat, and enjoy each other’s company.

buddy workout facetime

On other occasions, our friend Liz has been able to join the workout session.  Look at those guns!!!!  It is so nice being able to stay connected even though we are not geographically close.  I just want to note again that none of us have perfect anything going on in this pic, but we are getting healthy and having a good time.  Hey, look!  We are all sweaty.  Now I’m starting so see why I noticed the lack of it earlier.

buddy workout hike

While Melissa is the person that I work out with the most, I am blessed to have other friends that I enjoy doing physical activities with from time to time.  Living out close to Yellowstone has some great perks, including beautiful hiking trails.  When Megan and Ashley came out to visit me one weekend, we took full advantage of the beautiful weather and went exploring.  We were able to take our dogs and get in a good 3 mile hike.  I’m not going to lie; this is not something that I would have done if my friends hadn’t been with me.  It was so much more enjoyable to have that experience together.

kimber and me sweaty

A couple years ago, my friend Kim and I did the T-25 program together every day after school.  There were even a few horrific mornings where we did it super early because of life obligations after work.  Either way, we pushed each other to complete the program.  I know that there were many times that I would have avoided those workouts if she hadn’t been coming over and doing them right beside me.

buddy workout piyo

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Areanne.  She is one of my former students, and she asked me if we could work out together.  I was more than happy to oblige!  So every day we would move the desks in my classroom and play the workout DVD on my SmartBoard.  It was great, and I still miss working out with her daily.

friends make everything better

I think the statement above is very true.  Friends do make everything so much better!  They make horrible workouts bearable, and they give you motivation when you don’t have any of your own.  Mostly, they make it so you’re not alone.  I strongly recommend finding your own fitness buddy if you do not have one already.  It makes the journey so much more fun!

 

Never Have I Ever….

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Ok, so let me start off by apologizing to my mother and any other reader who is not a fan of consuming alcohol.

cheers

Not going to lie to any of you; there have been times in my life where drinking played a very prevalent role in my social life and other times when I would go for weeks without having a drink.  However, when I was in graduate school and went out with friends on a regular basis, I was known to not only partake but to also participate in various drinking games.  Being a rugby player, beer pong and flippy cup were two of the favorites, but there were also card games, movie games, and truth-or-dare type games.  Again, I’m really sorry, Mom!

Never Have I Ever

One such truth-or-dare type game is called Never Have I Ever.  If you’ve never played, it’s pretty simple.  One person makes a statement regarding something that they’ve never done.  If any of the other people playing HAVE done it, they take a drink.  Simple, right?  Okay, so let’s play!  If any of the following statements apply to you, take a figurative drink.  I’ll let you know when I should take a drink too.

cheers

Never have I ever looked in the mirror and hated what I saw.  (Okay, this seems pretty easy.  I’ll take a drink.)

Never have I ever cried in a fitting room while trying on new clothes.  (So soon? Ok, cheers!)

Never have I ever mentally berated myself using the cruelest words regarding my appearance, weight, etc.  (Good grief!  Another one?  Down the hatch!)

Never have I ever lost weight, swore I’d never gain it back, and then gained it all back and then some.  (Someone get me a refill while I finish this.)

Never have I ever tried diet pills even though I know they’re a hoax.  (Oh man, this one’s strong.  Better sip rather than drink.)

Never have I ever starved myself, eating very little for several days only to binge afterwards.  (I think the ice is melting.  It’s going down easier.)

Never have I ever binged on thousands of calories in a single sitting.  (I wonder if they’d notice if I just pretended to swallow here…. Yep, I’m caught.  Two drinks for cheating.)

Never have I ever made myself throw up after a binge.  (I swear I’ll take a drink just as soon as my refill gets here…. OK, done!)

Never have I ever pushed my body to the breaking point working out trying to attain unattainable perfection.  (I think the bartender stiffed me.  I can’t taste any alcohol in this.)

Never have I ever completely given up on exercise all together for months on end.  (My friend just tried my drink and made a face.  Must be some alcohol in here.  My turn to drink again!)

The list could go on and on, but let’s stop here.

drunk and dizzy

Okay, okay….. Let’s do just one more…..

Never have I ever thought my body was perfect just the way it was.  (Wow!  This is the first time I’ve set my glass down since this game started.  I don’t have to take a drink here.  Wait!  What?  That is so not a good thing.)

change ahed

I’m not saying any of this to gain sympathy.  I’m putting all of these out there because I know that many of you have been or currently are in my shoes.  You have felt the despair that comes with being overweight and/or uncomfortable in your own skin.  The worst part of all of these feelings is that they are accompanied by the feeling of being completely alone.

We feel like no one else could possibly understand what we are going through.  Worse yet, when we do reach out, it can quickly come across as whining or compliment fishing.  It is easier to wear baggy clothes and not draw attention to ourselves.

guilt

For me, the strongest feeling that accompanies my weight issues is guilt.  I mean, it is my fault that I’m overweight.  I control what food goes into my mouth.  I control what kind of exercise I do.  No one force fed me junk.  No one forbids me from exercising.  I am my own worst enemy.  How do I start to address problems that I caused?

what-you-allow

I am in the process of trying to change the negative talk that flows freely through my brain.  I am working on loving myself, which in itself will bring peace and contentment.  I do not want to allow myself to continue with the constant mental berating.  I do not want to be unhappy in my skin for the rest of my life.  I’m working on reaching out and talking to my people when it gets to be too much.

love the process

I’m not perfect in any way shape or form, but I am willing to work on myself.  I am willing to try to improve.  I am worth the effort.  I want to reach a point where I can drink to the last statement and not drink to the others because they are so far in the past that they don’t matter.  It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Starting Over Again – Stress and Depression

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Hello Again, and I would like to say thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I haven’t written a post in almost 2 years, and my only reasons are lack of confidence and laziness.

In Fall 2013, I was in the best shape of my life.  I had lost 80 lbs, was fitting into size 10 skinny jeans, and felt amazing in my own skin.

Comparison

For me, pictures are the easiest way to show how far I have come!

One of my favorite phrases is “then life intervened.”  I slowly gained about 25 lbs back, and then held steady at that weight for about a year.

Then last year I made some major life decisions that I really struggled with.  I decided to uproot my life and to move to a new town 360 miles away, which also put me 650 miles away from my family.  I knew that it was an amazing career opportunity, but I was very unsure of whether or not it was the right decision for me personally.  I was going to move to a town where I knew exactly one person; I was leaving the amazing social family that I had built; I was going to be farther away from my family than I had ever been in my life.

After an abundance of internal struggle and conversations with my my mom, I ultimately accepted the job.  Immediately I started to pack on the pounds through stress eating, which I also attribute to depression.  I was preparing to go on an amazing vacation to Italy and Greece, and when I should have been working on losing weight and getting in shape, I was eating junk food by the pound.

At the beginning of June, I went with my mother and brother  on our trip, but I have very few pics that aren’t selfies because I hated how I looked.

Summer Pic

I was overweight, my clothes were very snug, and I looked like I had given up.  However, I do have a few selfies that I feel beautiful in.

Rome Selfie

Greek Night Selfie

After returning from my trip, I continued to gain weight.  I was stuck in a horrible place of not wanting to move for personal reasons and wanting to move for professional ones.  However, the contract was signed; I had signed a new lease and had given up my old apartment; I was obligated to move.

After the move was complete, I was very excited about the fact that my new place had 3 bedrooms, and I dedicated one of the upstairs rooms to fitness – much to the chagrin of my older brother who graciously helped me move my 7,000 lbs (that might be an exaggeration) treadmill upstairs.  I decided to go back to my fitness roots of Jillian Michaels, and I bought her newest 60-day program Body Shred.

Body Shred

I did exactly 4 days and promptly quit.  I was out of shape; it was hard.  Why should I bother?  I was destined to be fat.  I stayed in that mindset for the next 4 months.  I got my junk food addiction partially under control, lost about 10 lbs, and kept it off.  I was still depressed.  I hated being away from my friends and family.  As much as I was loving my new job, I could not shake the funk that I was in.

I decided right before Christmas that enough was enough.  I asked my parents for the newest Beachbody program of Hammer and Chisel, and they graciously got it for me.

Hammer and Chisel

I committed this time.  I knew I could do 8 solid weeks of this program.  I got my eating in check and was following the workout schedule religiously.  Guess what?  Life intervened.  I learned some news that really put me back in a funk.

friends are angels

Thank God for amazing friends.  My best friend in the entire world called me out on the fact that I had quit posting in our Facebook fitness group.  She questioned me and provided me with emotional support.  Through a little encouragement and a couple FaceTime workouts, I was able to get back on track.  I finished the program in 9 1/2 weeks, and even though it was supposed to only be 8 weeks, I consider finishing the program a victory.  I did more than the required 56 workouts.  I did all of the additional deluxe workouts that were considered supplementary, and I did a couple extra workouts as well to finish out a week.

Snail progress

I’m still working at it.  I’m still struggling daily.  I’m still battling stress and depression, BUT I’m not giving up.  I’m working at finding a balance and finding happiness.  I’m working on accepting that this is going to be a lifelong battle for me.  I will not accept that being unhealthy and overweight all that is in store for me.  I will succeed!

Oh, You Work Out?

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I had a meeting this morning at 7:30 before school started, and I had a little bit of paperwork to finish up before the parent, student, and other staff members arrived.

morning meetings

According to my workout calendar, this morning is also the morning that I was supposed do not 1, but 2, workouts for ChaLEAN Extreme, which in total take an hour to do!

workout for an hour

Logical thinking says that I should just do my workouts this afternoon after work.  However, according to the same handy dandy workout calendar, I’m scheduled to do a Turbo Fire workout that is 40 minutes long.

I know myself well enough to know that I am not going to want to do almost 2-hours worth of exercise this afternoon.  So what was my solution?

1-15 collage

I set a new alarm for 4:30, based on the pic you can tell I hit snooze once, and got up and worked out.  I was almost done with my workout when my regular alarm went off, and I feel like a million bucks knowing that I’m still on track with my calendar.

im-not-morning-person--large-msg-133080792925

Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely NOT a morning person.  My ideal life schedule would have me getting up around 11 AM and not going going to bed until around 2 AM.  However, I’m a high school teacher and that is never going to be a realistic schedule for me.  I need to find something that will allow me to get my workouts done and to stay on track.

Exercise in the Morning

It’s hard for me; I’m not even going to try an lie about that.  I absolutely hate life when I’m trying to get back into a workout routine and waking up before my natural instincts indicate.  I can come up with a dozen excuses about why I shouldn’t work out in the morning, and I always want to justify those excuses by saying that I’ll exercise after work.

find a reason

Let me tell you, it is SO HARD to make myself work our after work.  I work with teenagers all day long, and it is exhausting both physically and mentally.  When I get home, all I want to do is plop down on my couch and take a nap.  But if I do that, do you really think I’m going to want to get up and exercise after?

need to exercise

Once I’m in a set routine and on the ball, I can go home sit down for a while and then get up and do my scheduled workouts.  However, I have to stick to my due diligence while I’m getting myself into the routine.make a habit

Once I’m in the routine, I’m a machine!  But let me tell you, it only takes me about 3 days to break that habit that I worked so hard to form.  I always have to be cognizant of the slippery slope that I’m stepping on when I allow excuses to override what my good sense is telling me.

never regret when I do

This I what I have to remind myself.  In all of her workout programs, Chalene Johnson addresses the fact that we all have days that we don’t feel like working out.  However, she also tells us to give her just 5 minutes, and then we’ll be hooked.  Guess what?  She’s right.  Even when I don’t want to, I know that if I just press play, I’ll end up finishing the workout and feeling amazing.

Run to be badass

So this is why I get up at 5:30.  This is why I work out.  I want to be the best me that I can be, and I know that exercise will help me get there!  Excuses won’t!

Hardest Muscle to Train

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weight room

Do you workout?  If you do, what do you do?  Do you lift?  Do you run?  Do you do videos at home?  Do you take classes at a gym/fitness center?  Do you make up your own thing with late night dance parties or walking around your neighborhood?

What are your favorite exercises/activities?  Do you like getting your heart rate up?  Do you enjoy a good sweat?  Do you go into beast mode?  Are your workouts more on the zen side?

OR

i don't workout

Do you think working out is a waste of time?  Are you anti-exercise?  Do you believe that eating healthy is the important part?  Are you happy with your body so you don’t think exercise is necessary?  Are you so unhappy with yourself that you don’t think exercise will work?

OR

look good naked

Are you like me?  Do you work out because you know it is what your body needs?  Exercise is vital to the health of your organs, of course, but the vain reason to work out is that it gives your body shape.  It doesn’t matter what body type you prefer, super lean, curvy, or somewhere in between.  By exercising, your body takes on a more defined shape, which in turn can make you feel better about yourself.

But what if you don’t get the results that you want?  What if no matter how hard you try you can’t do something?  What if you fail?

F-E-A-R

I’ve said in previous posts, and I’ll say again that I DON’T like working out.  I sweat enough for 5 people; my heart pounds; I get TIRED.  BUT I still work out.

I’ve gotten some amazing results from exercise that include improved blood pressure, a lower resting heart rate, better sleep habits, looking and feeling better in all of my clothes, and a better outlook on life.

I’ve also fallen off the exercise bandwagon and have gotten some scary results.  I gained weight, had increased blood pressure, had a lot of negative thoughts, struggled with  poor sleep patterns, and suffered from mild depression.

Just so you know, while I wasn’t working out, I was also eating fast food multiple times a week and drinking regularly.  I wasn’t happy with myself, and I was in denial about the negative impact I was having on my body.  I almost convinced myself that I would never get back to where I had been in the past so even trying to get back into shape and to lose weight was a pointless use of my time.

strongest muscle

I needed to retrain the toughest “muscle” in my body: my brain.  I knew that all of the negative thinking and self doubt were fear talking.  I knew that if my body could do something once before I could do it again.  I wasn’t being unrealistic in my expectations.  I didn’t think I needed to become an Olympian.  I just needed to get back to where I was when I was healthy physically and mentally.  I needed to train my brain!

train your brain

I faced personal issues at the beginning of 2014 that I allowed to get me off track.  I have an amazing friend who wanted to work out with me so she propelled me through the month of February, but then she started coaching track.  I allowed the fact that she wasn’t working out with me any more to be an excuse to not work out at all.  I took March through May off from exercise completely.

TurboFire

I gave up until the beginning of June when I was getting ready for the same friend’s wedding and my dress was SNUG to say the least.  I was using  a minor injury of a broken toe as a previous excuse not to workout, but I did Turbo Fire religiously for 3 weeks leading up to her wedding.  I was NOT going to look like a stuffed sausage in my dress at her wedding.

She was a stunning bride, and I was thrilled to be a part of her day.

She was a stunning bride, and I was thrilled to be a part of her day.

Dress view

I look at the pictures of me from that day, and I know that Turbo Fire really helped me to fit into my dress comfortably.  However, I knew that it was a larger size than what I was wearing when I was at my lowest weight and smallest size.

Playing a nurse in the South Pacific during WWII

Playing a nurse in the South Pacific during WWII

After the wedding, I gave up on exercise and “enjoyed” the rest of my summer.  I put enjoyed in quotation marks because I knew my clothes were getting tighter, the scale was creeping up, and I was feeling overall mild depression.

piyo

At the beginning of August, I knew I needed to get back on track so I bought the workout program PiYo.  This program was advertised as no/low impact and a combination of Pilates and yoga.  I then payed the piper and took starter photos.

January 2013, October 2013, August 2014

January 2013, October 2013, August 2014

I broke down and cried, but I could no longer be in denial.  I was on the wrong way trend, and it HAD to stop.

I struggled with staying motivated in working out and eating right, but I refused to give up.

Piyo results front piyo results side

I did the PiYo regular calendar religiously for 6 weeks before quitting all healthy habits for 4 weeks.  Then I hopped back on the wagon and did the whole 8 week PiYo Strength calendar over a 10 week stretch.  My results can be seen above.  Slowly over 5 months, I lost 12 pounds and 33.75 inches over all.

yoda-no-try

Right now, I’m on an amazing path!  I have lost more weight since the After pictures were taken, and I am on a roll with my workouts.  On Monday, January 5, I started doing both Turbo Fire and ChaLEAN Extreme.  It is my goal to complete both programs in their entirety this time.  I started and quit each program a couple of times in 2014, but 2015 is going to be my year!

Chalean ExtremeTurboFire

Finally, I’m working on training my brain to want to eat healthy foods!  Anyone that knows me knows that this is my GREATEST STRUGGLE!!!  I love processed foods, fast foods, fatty foods, fried foods, etc.  I don’t naturally gravitate towards whole, natural foods.

ShakeO

To start off the end of the year right, I did a 3-Day Shakeology cleanse when I got home from Christmas.  I wanted a fresh start at eating healthily, and I knew that I would be able to smoothly transition into the 21 Day Fix eating plan after completing my cleanse.

21 Day Fix

This is the first time that I can ever remember sticking to eating whole, unprocessed foods this long in my entire life.  Now to be honest it has only been 10 days, BUT the longest stretch before this was 2 1/2 days.

I credit Shakeology with helping rid my system of some of the items that cause me to crave the unhealthy options.  In testament of that, I was able to walk by a display of my favorite chips in the store without even being tempted to buy them.  That is HUGE for me.

So to bring everything full circle, I’m working on training my mind to believe in what my body is capable of.  I’m capable of working out daily and maintaining a healthy weight and shape.  I’m capable of eating healthy foods and sticking to a reasonable meal plan.  I need to remember that it is my mind that is doubting my body’s abilities and not the other way around.

what the mind believes

I will train my brain so that I can achieve my goals!

Starting Over – Over Again

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I was on a roll. I was losing weight. I was eating right. I was exercising daily. I was on top of the world. I was in the best shape of my life. I was… I was… I was…

I think all of us can relate to some or all of these statements at one point in time. We’ve all gone through ups and downs in both our physical and mental health. When we are making positive strides towards our goals, we are unstoppable, but when we are struggling, we are LOW!

I abhor bullying, and as a high school teacher, I see it daily.  I experienced minor bullying as a child and as a young teen so I have no patience for such behavior.

anti bullying

However, I am one of the worst kinds of bully when it comes to my mental tirades against myself.

“You are worthless.”  “You are disgusting.”  “Who in the Hell do you think you are to try an wear something like that?”  “No one is going to find you attractive so why do you even bother.”  “You will never be as pretty as your friends/family.”  “You look like a whale.”  “You’re just embarrassing yourself.”

what-you-allow

I know that if I ever heard a student making any of those statements to another, I’d be all over them in less than a heartbeat.  So what makes it okay for me to say that to myself?  The answer is simple:  NOTHING.  Nothing makes that kind of mental badgering okay.

believe in yourself

I know that I’m not the only person in the world that does this.  I have had too many conversations with friends and family to be that ignorant.  However, this is a recurring theme in most of our lives from time to time.

We spend so much time looking back at times when we felt better about ourselves that we don’t know how to make the transition back to the present.

last-chapter

I have written numerous posts about how I struggle with motivation and staying on track.  One of the things that I did earlier this fall was start a fitness group on Facebook.  It has been awesome, and I have loved all the support that I’ve gotten and have given to the active members.

team-beachbody-coach

Since January 2014, I have had an amazing Beachbody coach who has encouraged me to take the steps towards becoming a coach myself.  I’ve always hedged and avoided her because I didn’t feel capable of helping others.  I felt I needed to be perfect.  However, a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked me if I was a coach based on all that I do for our FB group.  Her simple question inspired me to make the leap, and I signed up to be a coach.  You can find my page at http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/hkmurphy1983 .

I announced my decision on my FB fitness group and on my regular FB page, and I am in awe of all of the support that I’ve gotten from my friends.  What has amazed me is how this simple decision made people feel comfortable enough to talk to me about the very things that I struggle with.

Start where you are

This is where I make my point.  So many of the people that I’ve talked to want to know how to make the change.  They want to get back to where they once were, and because that is so difficult they continue to flounder.  I can say that because I’m in the same boat.

I gained weight over the summer, and I want to get back to when I felt thin and amazing.  Basically, I want to go back to November 2013.  Is it feasible?  Nope.

I am going to share the epiphany I had at the end of October.  I knew what I needed to do to get back in shape and to lose weight once again, but I was struggling.  I was trying to do everything at once, and I was failing.  SO I made a list of what I needed to do.

  1. Find a way to stay motivated every day.
  2. Get back to working out daily AND enjoying it.
  3. Get my eating under control.

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve made this list, but this IS the first time I didn’t expect myself to do all three items at once, and perfectly nonetheless.

I started with #1 by creating my own daily posting challenge for my FB group.  I knew that challenges like that had worked for me in the past so I returned to a positive and helpful comfort zone.

Once that was in place, I started working on #2.  I physically wrote out my workout calendar like I did when I was working out regularly and loving it.  I’m kind of weird about checking things off; I love to mark that I’ve done something.  It started working.

Then something awesome happened.  I got a message from one of my students who had heard me mention working out in the past.

Student 1 Student 2 Student 3 Student 4

We worked out together at school on Monday and Tuesday, and then Tuesday night she messaged me again.

Student Text Weekend

We continued our daily workouts over the weekend and are set to continue this week.  Working with her motivates me to push harder, and I’m enjoying the camaraderie.

I’m still working on #3.  I’ll think I have my eating in check.  I’ll count and log my calories.  I’ll prepare healthy meals.  I will KNOW what I’m doing.  Then I’ll back slide.  It is a process that I’m working on.

if-you-are-at-peace-you-are-living-in-the-present-lao-tzu

So here is my advice to people trying to start over.  Make your list of things that you want to do.  Then pick one goal and focus on only it.  You can try to incorporate the others, but do not become bogged down in them.  Wait until you have a firm grasp on one area before doing another.  This will help to prevent the feeling of being overwhelmed which leads to failure in your mind which leads to giving up.

Smash your iphone

Also, do NOT become bogged down in failures.  If you make mistakes, do NOT wait until tomorrow or Monday to start over.  Start over IMMEDIATELY that day!  Forgive your mistake and move on.

not a dog

This is SO me so I feel comfortable saying it to you.  I always think, “That was a great workout.  Now I can have a candy bar!”  NO NO NO!!!

you're beautiful

If you start with the negative, self-bullying, say something nice to yourself.  Remind yourself that it is okay to not be perfect, but it is not okay to loath yourself.  Don’t wait until you reach your idea of perfection.  You don’t do that to your family and friends so don’t do it to yourself.

And finally, just remember the wise words of Confucius:

journey

It’s a process.  Some parts are great; some parts suck.  You’ll get through them all!

Imperfect Perfectionist

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When I started my blog, I set a posting goal of at least one post a week. Not to brag, but I did excellently until school got out at the end of May. For some reason, I really struggled finding the motivation to sit down and write once I was no longer regularly in front of my computer.

chained to a desk

Also, I have personally put an unnatural amount of pressure on myself to be perfect in my attempts to share my story and to motivate others.

weight on shoulders

But how can I help others when I’m struggling myself?  How can I motivate others when I can’t seem to keep myself motivated?

stay motivated

In the middle of August, I jumped back on the bandwagon with full force.  I was following the PiYo workout series, and I had my eating under control for the most part.  I completed 6 of the 8 weeks, lost pounds and inches, and felt amazing!

piyo

And then for some reason, I quit.  No distinct reason why; no major precipitating factors.  I just woke up one morning and didn’t want to work out… So I didn’t.  And then I didn’t work out the next day.  Or the next.

downward spiral

I went on a downward spiral fast with my exercise, which I then let take over my eating, and most disappointingly, I let it stop my participation in my Facebook support group.

defeated

You see, I’m a perfectionist… an imperfect perfectionist.  When I feel on top of my game and am doing everything in my power to lead a healthy lifestyle, I am confident in my abilities to share in my daily triumphs and struggles. I am damn near obsessive in my dedication to be the best group leader that I can, and I want to be active online and in my personal life.  I feel on top of the world.

top of the world

However, when I’m feeling defeated, I don’t think I have any right to encourage people to eat healthy and exercise.  I feel hypocritical.

yoda-no-try

Thank God for the wonderful people in my group.  They have sent me the most encouraging messages saying that they miss me and my daily participation.  They make me want to get back on track with my workouts and my eating.

However, the one person that encourages me the most is probably the person that I most take for granted.  My mom.

Mom and me

I’ve said in previous posts how much my mom inspires and encourages me.  She listens every time I feel the need to rant and rave about whatever topic, whether it be in regards to my job, my friends, or my struggles with my weight and fitness.  She listens for hours on end without complaint.

However, when she tries to check in with me because I’ve been inactive with my support group and/or distant in general I act annoyed with her.  I know she knows all my flaws and loves me anyway.  I just feel like I’m failing her somehow.  I know how proud of me she was when I lost all of the weight, and I know she worries that I’m going to go through the same cycle of gaining and losing and gaining and losing again that she has faced.  She wants better for me, and when I feel like I’m not meeting that, I take it out on her.  It isn’t anything that she does; it is all my mental expectations being projected on her.  She bears the brunt of my disappointment in myself, and for that, I am truly sorry.  God blessed me with one of the best, and I take it for granted.

Not perfect

This is where I’m at right now.  I’m working on getting back on track with both my eating and exercise.  I have to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect and on top of my game 100% of the time.  It is okay to stumble and to struggle.  It is not okay to allow one slip up to completely derail me.

Smash your iphone

I’m here, and in support of Yoda, I’m doing.  It’s okay to be imperfect.

I do want to give a HUGE shout out and THANK YOU to Nicolle Hendrix, Kathy Biles, Lisa Eddington, Jenn Record, and MOST IMPORTANTLY my mom Kristi Murphy!  Thank you for not giving up on me and for checking in with me when my presence online became nonexistent.