Do As I Say, Not As I Do

sleeping

sleeping (Photo credit: riebschlager)

I’m tired. I’m not talking sleepy here – I mean like bone tired exhausted. A couple of weeks ago my computer crashed. Not like a little crash where you can press down the power button for a few seconds and get it to at least come back up. I’m talking full on super crash where only a black screen pops up and some fancy code words appear that translate roughly into “You.Are.Screwed.” One of my responsibilities at my real job is the bookkeeping. All of 2012 was completely lost.

Before you ask me why I didn’t back it up and I have to poke you in the eye, I will tell you that I did back it up. I had backed it up regularly on flash drives. Apparently there were some corrupt files and blah blah. Long story short, I’ve spent the last few weeks recreating my 2012 books. (Thank the Lord everything else was saved.) This means lots and lots of hours in front of my computer doing mindless data entry. It is necessary, but excruciatingly exhausting. I’m still working on it and hope to have it done in the next two weeks or so. (I have also subscribed to online back ups. This girl learns quick!)

I’ve let this be a(nother!) excuse for not working out. Now, don’t get me wrong, if I wasn’t at my office or driving my kids somewhere, I was diligently at my computer entering all the info. See what I said there, though? I made sure I took care of things at the office. I made sure I took care of getting my kids to their activities. I didn’t take little breaks for myself.

None.

I would look at my little calendar hanging in my bathroom where I log my workouts and think, “well, it’s not as bad as it looks. After all, I have been really busy with work.” mmmm hmmmm…. I’ll try to remember how “busy” I was when my pants don’t fit. Oh wait, they don’t fit!

busy

If you’re in a rut where you’re taking care of everything BUT yourself, I want you to know you’re not alone. It’s human nature to give all we’ve got and at the end of the day there’s nothing left for us. Being committed to yourself can be difficult to keep, but it’s as important, if not more than all the other commitments we have. Is it time for you to re-evaluate and take a little time for yourself?

busier

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Shit Happens – Move On

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I remind you of this. I challenged myself to work out more days than I didn’t in December. In other words, work out at least 16 of the 31 days.

Wellll…..I didn’t. In fact, I worked out once. Three times if you count the couple of walks I took with my dog. Since he’s a Yorkie and his legs are approximately six inches long, let’s just say those walks weren’t exactly “brisk”.

Girl pouting because she didn’t meet her goal

There are reasons for this. I had to make a change in my work schedule. I’ve had the same job for the last ten years and I’ve always worked until 5:30, sometimes much, much later. This allowed me to hit the gym on my way home because my kids were always in their extra curriculars until around 8pm. A change in circumstances required me to be home when they got home from school instead, so I started leaving my office around 3pm. That meant I went straight home from work and helped with homework, got the kids ready for extra curriculars, and sometimes did car pool. After they left I would be able to focus on me. That ended up translating into laundry, making dinner, and picking up around the house. Basically everything for everyone but me. The thing is, once I walk in the door, my resolve to work out is G.O.N.E.

However, reasons why you didn’t do something are really just excuses, aren’t they?

At first I was all, “YOU SUCK! I can’t believe you can’t do this. You committed to all 4 of your readers that you would do this!” But, then I remembered this was the year of “Flaws and All”.  So, I forgave myself. Yeah, I know better; I know I could have easily done something. I didn’t –  and I’m moving on.

How can I try to “inspire” people when I’m not authentic? The truth is, we all have bad days, weeks, or sometimes month. EVERYONE. I cannot authentically try to motivate you to love yourself and have a positive body image, if I’m expecting perfection from myself. I blew off my work outs all month by making excuses. I’m human.

Moving forward, I’ve designed a work out plan for myself. I’m committing to exercising 3 days a week. That’s not a lot, however, the reason we often fail is because we set our expectations so high. Three days a week is a helluva lot better than what I’ve been doing, which is nothing. I’ll stay accountable to you even if that means telling you a month from now that I didn’t meet my commitment.

commitment_jpg

The thing is, shit happens. I can’t change the past and since what “you think about you bring about” means dwelling on past failures will lead to future failures, I’m not too worried about it. I’m focused on the future and being the best me I can be.

Is it time for you to forgive yourself of past failures? Whatever mistakes you’ve made, you have the opportunity right this second to change everything. Who else is ready to move onward and upward?

Resolving To Be Awesome In 2013 – Guest Post by SwimBikeMom

I am thrilled to bring you today’s guest post by Meredith Atwood of SwimBikeMom.com. She is an incredible inspiration and totally hilarious. She has serious goals without taking herself to seriously.

bike

Every New Year, I found myself looking at the same body and getting mad.  Each year, I would make a list:

1) lose 1000 pounds;

2) fit into jeans from the 80’s;

and 3) wear bikini by summer.

And then at the end of EACH year, I would scream and hate myself, saying, “I can’t believe that an entire year has been “wasted” and I still look…like… this.”  Uggggh.  (There might have been some flailing and cursing too. Just saying.)

Things began to change for me in 2010 when I found the sport of triathlon.  While I still really don’t love the way I look, triathlon has been a welcomed change to the standard, empty look-better resolutions. Therefore my one resolution for 2013 has been: NO RESOLUTIONS.

swim

Instead of resolving to not do things, I now set goals. Big, nasty, huge goals, and I work on completing those.  And that’s it.

I would love (love) to wear a bikini this summer, but I would much rather finish my big race –Ironman—in June than wear the bikini.  I am working on focusing on what matters (being healthy), instead of that which really, in the end game, doesn’t matter (wearing bikini).

For 2013, let’s all think about the things we can accomplish. The big goals we’d like to achieve.  Instead of thinking about the things we shouldn’t do (Stop eating this! Stop doing that!), let’s turn our eyes to what we should do… and what we can do.

Be grateful for the great things that our bodies can achieve… the bodies that look just like they do. Right now.

Instead of cursing my fat rear end, I’m turning my eyes forward…towards the big things I will achieve in 2013.  That, somehow, feels a lot more happy than any bikini.thumbnail

Meredith Atwood is a wife, attorney, author and blogger at www.SwimBikeMom.com.  Her book, Triathlon for the Every Woman, was just released and is available on Amazon, Amazon Europe and in Kindle editions.  She’s finished two half Ironmans, and is tackling Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June of this year.

Changes You Cannot See

I’m sharing the above post with you because it was something I needed to read. And if I needed it, maybe you do too… I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. I think the mindset that Kate discovered was far more powerful than the lower number on her scale.

This is Not a Diet

I have a before and after picture.  I have quite a few of them, actually.  You can see them here if you have not already.  Pretty cool, eh?  Many people have told me I look like a completely different person.  They tell me I look younger.  I am unrecognizable.  100 pounds is a lot of weight, no doubt about it.  I did something many people only dream of doing, and I have the pictures to show for it.

Yes, this is a part of my story, I lost a lot of weight.  I have said this before but it bears repeating, my weight is the least interesting thing about me.

As time passes, I become more and more aware of the other changes that have taken place, the ones nobody can see.  These changes are so much more meaningful and profound than my smaller size that I begin to…

View original post 1,299 more words

Why We Quit

Give Up Graffiti #ds367

Give Up Graffiti #ds367 (Photo credit: brendan-c)

“You can’t fire me – I QUIT!”

I’ve never said those words, but I’ve been in a few situations where, had the opportunity come, I might very well have. Can you just imagine that scenario? You’re working a job, probably one that sucks pretty badly. You think about quitting, but, well you’re not really that into dumpster diving for dinner so you keep showing up to work. One day something blows up and you end up getting fired (wrongly, of course). You think, ‘WHAT? I hate this place. You can’t fire ME. I’m firing YOU!” You are appalled at the very idea that YOU were the one in the wrong when you actually show up to this crappy job every day. It’s not like you’re heart broken that you no longer have that job. Quite the contrary; it’s a relief. But YOU didn’t get to make the decision – your boss did.

You didn’t control how it ended.

I think we’re like that with a lot of things, not just some crappy job or our commitment to fitness. We are so afraid of failing that we would actually rather quit. That’s why the diet industry is a $20 billion a year business. How many times have you started a fitness routine or a new “diet” and it was hard? Anyone? Anyone? It was SO hard, in fact, that you just gave up on it. You thought, “Ya know what? This doesn’t work. I quit.” Except here’s the truth – that work out DVD you gave up on? It would have worked. The reason these companies can offer you a money back guarantee isn’t because their program is magical or the only way to get in shape. It’s because if you go from doing nothing to do something – anything – you will see result. But you don’t see results, because you quit.

Quitting is easy. It puts you in charge of how things end. You can walk proudly away from your “stupid” gym because you didn’t like it anyway. You can come up with a million reasons why you quit going and they can all be because of the gym. But the reality is, if you would have put the work in, you would have gotten results. Putting the work in can suck. Putting the work in might mean admitting that you aren’t as strong as you thought. Or you might get embarrassed because you aren’t sure what to do. Putting the work in is uncomfortable.

Your fear of failing is so great you’d rather walk away.

Stop being a quitter. Easier said than done, right? Yes, especially if you’ve always been one to walk away when the going got tough. YOU are the decision maker. People don’t quit on you; you quit on them! But if you’re truly ready to meet your goals, you have to be prepared to keep going even when you want to quit. You have to prepare to fail. Failure isn’t permanent; quitting is.

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”  ― Maya Angelou

You owe it to yourself to fail. There is no great success without failure. Pick a goal, any goal at all, and determine you are going to stick with it. If you struggle with discipline, read this. It was written by Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete (don’t worry carnivores, it has absolutely nothing to do with vegetarianism) and is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever read about creating habits.

You can start right now. Set goals that are worthwhile and be determined to see them through. If you are willing to quit on a goal when it gets rough, what’s the point in starting? Is it something you really wanted anyway? Make your mind up right now, in this moment, to only devote your time to things that are worthwhile. When that’s the case, quitting is not an option.

Mommy’s Not Fat – She’s Squishy

Fat Bastard (character)

Fat Bastard (character) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but my vision is pretty horrible. In fact, I wouldn’t be able to pick my own kids out of a line up without the help of glasses or contacts. I can only see close up; and I mean right in my face close up. Anything beyond an arm’s length is just blurred color.

I was at my annual eye exam recently, which is always super fun. I mean, who doesn’t like to go and have air “puffed” into their eye? Just thinking about it now is making me blink compulsively. So there I am, sitting in the exam room waiting on the doctor without my contacts in. Honestly, I think they make you take them out for fun just so you can’t see, but that’s just my opinion. Anyway, the doc walks in and it’s one I haven’t seen before. I can tell it’s a woman with blonde hair. That’s it. Oh, she was also wearing a black shirt (although it could have been navy). She was super nice and we did the whole “is this better, or is that better” routine. (By the way, does that stress anyone else out as much as it does me? I mean seriously, that’s a lot of pressure. This will determine the way I see for the next year. What if I make the wrong call? What if 2 really was better?) We talked about our kids and Christmas and that whole routine. Then she gave me some contacts to put in and said she’d be back in a minute after they have time to settle.

When she walked back in – and I could actually see her – she was super cute! I don’t mean cute like a teenager or whatever. The older I get the worse I become at accurately judging someone’s age, but I’d put her around my age – 35 to 40. I just blurted out, “Oh look, you’re so pretty! I didn’t know that before I could see!” (Yes, I’m a dork. I just can’t help myself. If I feel a compliment, I have to blurt it out even if it makes me feel like the weird aunt sometimes.) Her reaction was so sweet and genuine. She said, “oh my gosh, thank you. I needed that!”

She went on to explain that during Christmas her and her family had spent the day in their pajamas. Her six year old son had told her she looked like she had a baby in her belly. Her husband told the son he couldn’t say stuff like that because it basically meant he was saying his mommy was fat. The six  year old said, “Mommy’s not fat. She just has a squishy belly.”

My own children have also made similar observations. Out loud.

“Mom, why does your butt shake so much when you walk?”

“Mom, why do your boobies look at the ground?”

Out of the mouths of babes.

The mom, my doctor, wasn’t mad at her son of course. Kids have a way of pointing out the obvious, even if their delivery is less than stellar. Doc admitted her belly is a little squishy. That didn’t take the sting out of hearing it out loud. You know what else she heard out loud? My compliment. Look, I’m nobody to her. It’s not like I think by me complimenting someone I’m changing the world. But, I can tell you from the look on her face, it did make a difference to her. Did that make her belly less squishy? Nope. It was the exact size and shape it was the day before when her son told her she looked pregnant. However, she saw herself from a different perspective and  it certainly made her feel good. It is possible to feel good in your own skin right now.

Even with a squishy belly, a shaky butt, or downward looking boobies you are awesome. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Shut It, Bitch!

see yourselfDuring this stupid-crazy time of year, I encourage you to give yourself the gift of self-acceptance. Oh yeah, you’re going to hear me talk A LOT about self-acceptance in the upcoming weeks. So, well, accept it! I believe self-acceptance is the key to success… successful relationships, successful career, parenting, fitness, the list goes on and on.

Tell me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing you downplay yourself quite a bit. See if this sounds familiar, “Oh my goodness you look great today.” Your response, “are you kidding? Look at this huge zit…look at the gray in my hair….look at the stain on my shirt.” Or how about this, “Your daughter’s birthday party was so much fun!” Your response, “oh, well obviously you didn’t go to Anna Fancypant’s party last weekend. It was so awesome. They had blah, blah, blah.”

SELF.ACCEPTANCE!

Every time you find negative self-talk bubbling up in that pretty little head of yours say, “shut it, bitch!” You can say it out loud at first if you want – it might be kind of fun. Or at the very least your craziness will totally distract everyone from that gray in your hair. Honestly, I’ve struggled for a super long time with body image. No matter what size I was, what I saw in the mirror didn’t match what others saw. I was so incredibly self critical, I didn’t even enjoy my goal weight. Oh of course I did a little happy dance when I saw “the number”. And yes, I had a ridiculous grin on my face when I bought a pair of jeans with a really low number in them. Aside from that? I was worried about “toning up”. I was worried about running farther or doing more or (gasp) gaining back the weight. I never enjoyed that number. It turns out, my happiness had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a number. 

Since I wasn’t happy, old habits started showing back up in my life. Exercise became an option. Having seconds became okay because “tomorrow” I was going to get back on track. After all, I knew exactly what to do in order to get right back to where I was. You know, back to that number. Except my old tricks weren’t working. Or more than likely, I wasn’t as dedicated to them. This time around, I didn’t have a “why”. My “why” the first time I lost weight was to get to a certain number. I achieved that goal and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and I knew that in the back of my head. So this time around, once I “started” to lose weight again, I didn’t have a real “why”. My “why” was totally half-ass while my actual ass was more like an ass and a half.

There is little that is more humbling than losing weight in front of friends and family just to gain some of it back. I’m a personal trainer. That isn’t supposed to happen. In fact, I sometimes forget I’ve put on a few extra pounds. Right up until I see someone I haven’t seen in a while and I get that, “oh, well, um look at you” look from them. You know that look.

BUT, things have really started clicking for me lately. What has changed? Not my pant size. Not the size of my bootylicious booty. Nope, in fact my pants are tight and I’ve unofficially given up jeans. Why in the hell would I wear something that is so uncomfortable it cuts into my skin? Or is so loose in the waist in order to fit over the rest of my womanliness? The only thing that has changed is my perspective. I refuse to listen to the mean girl that lives in my head.

Oh it’s not always easy either. I look in the mirror and she really starts her shit sometimes. But, I’m a chic with an attitude and I don’t let bitches talk to me like that; not even the ones that live in my head. So I just look at her and smile and tell her, “not today. You have NO control over me today.” It doesn’t always work. She wins sometimes. But, I will NOT let that discourage me to continue to tell her to eff off. Nope. I’m going to continue to shut her down day after day even when I’m not feeling it. I will continue to shut her down until my voice is consistently louder than hers.

If I can do it, so can you. Make yourself the “why”. You are worth it. You are absolutely perfect just the way you are. You have to believe that. Believe it in your heart and your brain will follow. A number in your jeans or on your scale will not increase or decrease your awesomeness. The key to your happiness is in your way of thinking, not your way of eating. Start treating your body with the love and respect it deserves and you will “magically” discover your happy weight. You will over eat less because it’s not really what your body wants. You will find the workout that is for YOU and you will enjoy doing it. Even if it’s not what “everyone else is doing”.

Prove me wrong. I dare you.

Fruit Loops For Lunch

English: A bowl of Kellogg's Froot Loops cerea...

I’m also taking that approach with my health, but it’s not been an easy road. Because I have been in pretty damn fantastic shape in my life, it’s easy to look at that as the gold standard. While I’m certainly no slob, I’m not in the “best” shape I’ve been in my life. I’ve caught myself thinking that “walking” isn’t an exercise and if that’s all I’m going to do then I might as well just do nothing. I mean, I was a runner for goodness sake. Walking is SO below my fitness level. I’ve thought, “I could really go for some relaxing yoga right now.” Just to talk myself out of it because it’s not “up to” my fitness level. I see people in blogs and on facebook who are less experienced than me doing AMAZING things and rather than encourage me, it discourages me. In the meantime, that kind of thinking led me to doing NOTHING AT ALL!

But dude, that kind of thinking is totally jacked up! By only accepting the highest level of fitness from myself, I’ve inadvertantly  accepted doing nothing. That has led to a 15 pound weight gain. That’s pretty much like saying, “Since I don’t feel like making my kids an elaborate breakfast buffet, I’m just not going to feed them. They deserve better. So instead I’m just going to sit here and read mom blogs about really good moms and feel sorry for myself.” WTF? See how stupid that is?

Look, I’m not saying you shouldn’t push yourself. I’m a huge advocate of setting big goals and SURPRISING yourself. I truly believe we are totally capable of way more than we think. I also think we should give ourselves a break. If walking is truly all we have in us on a particular day, then walk. It is so much better than sitting on the couch. The couch is where motivation goes to die.

Sometimes walking – and Fruit Loops – are enough.

Flaws and All

I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half now. While it seems like I just started it also seems, at the same time, that I’ve always blogged. I enjoy writing and most of the time, the stuff just writes itself. I’ve evolved from trying to do a motivational and instructional blog to sharing some of my own struggles with you. I’ve changed the look of the blog about a bazillion times (seriously, though, that’s super fun to do!). I’ve changed the web address of the blog a few times. If I would have stayed right where I was, who knows how many followers I might have by now. But, I took the chance and “started over” by starting a brand new address. And then another. Through all of that, what I was really seeking was me.

Over the course of the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve joined gyms, quit gyms, (I’ve quit and rejoined the same gym like 3 times). I’ve found new classes, I’ve tried classes that were definitely not what I was looking for. I’ve tried working out at home. I’ve tried working out at the gym. I’ve tried cardio only, I’ve tried getting serious about weight lifting. I’ve tried this weight loss method or that one. I’ve looked into “coaching” schools so I can help teach people how to live better. I’m constantly searching for answers. But the truth is, I only need one thing that will answer all of my questions.

I need a positive self-image and I don’t have it. All those other things I’ve been doing? Well, they were just the distractions while my brain finally caught up with the rest of me. So, I’m done “changing” everything around me (except maybe the look of the blog, because that shit is FUN I tell ya!). What I need to work on has absolutely nothing to do with my abs or how many calories a bagel has. What I need to do is learn to honestly and authentically love myself and my body for all that it is and all that it isn’t.

My “theme” for 2012 was simplicity. I think my brain needed simplicity to quiet down. I needed to get rid of all the excess so I could “find” what I was looking for. And what I was really, truly looking for was a way to accept myself, flaws and all. My theme for 2013 is going to be “flaws and all”. I’m flawed. I make mistakes as a wife, mom, employee, friend, daughter, sister, etc. Why? Because I’m flawed. I don’t look like a super model in the mirror. Hell, I don’t even look like pictures of myself from a few years ago. I’m flawed. I can’t have a team following me around telling me the right things to do or say. They can’t airbrush me to make me look idealistic. They can’t do my hair and make up. (Although that part would be sort of awesome.) I can’t have a team to tell me if I have broccoli in my teeth or toilet paper on my shoe. I can’t have a team motivating me constantly or pushing me at every work out. I can’t have someone slap the donuts out of my hand (dude, I will break someone’s hand!). You know what? That’s okay. It’s time to accept myself for all that I am.

Flaws and all.

What You Can Learn From An Eleven Year Old Swimmer

Coach

Coach (Photo credit: williamnyk)

My eleven year old daughter is a swimmer. She gives herself this label unapologetically. She doesn’t say, “oh, I swim.” No. She says, “I’m a swimmer.” It doesn’t matter how fast she goes, how many personal best times she hits, or how many first place positions she receives. She is  a swimmer. We don’t have to ask if she’s going to practice. She is. We don’t have to check before entering her into a swim meet. She’s swimming. We don’t have to wonder if she’ll like the funny swim tee we found. She will. She’s a swimmer.

At her meet this weekend she didn’t do so hot. She added times to every single swim; not just a little, but a significant amount of time. She tried to brush it off like it didn’t bother her. Of course it did. Her Dad and I are her biggest cheerleaders. We are at every single swim meet whispering under our breaths, “Come on, baby, come on, baby!” at her every stroke, every turn. We meet with her after every single swim and discuss how she did – good or bad. Her Dad is passionate. In fact, we don’t see eye to eye on the best way to motivate and keep her motivated. He grew up in a competitive household and I didn’t. Naturally we approach things differently. His passion sometimes manifests itself with flailing arms and a loud voice when he’s discussing her swim. He got so frustrated at the meet this weekend that he just stopped. He couldn’t say anything to her. And she cried. She asked me to talk to him. “Mom, he doesn’t even care. He didn’t even discuss my swim, he just asked if I had enough snacks.” I asked her in return, “I thought you got upset when Daddy talked to you like that. I didn’t think you’d want him going over each swim with you. You always get argumentative and insist you did your best.” Her response? “No, I want Daddy to talk about it with me. That’s how I get better. That’s how I know what to work on.” Daddy 1 – Mommy 0.

Her Dad emailed the Coach on Monday following the meet, asking what she needed to work on since she had posted some less than stellar times. (Side note – she cut some SERIOUS time on her previous two meets. I’m talking kick-ass, hell yeah that’s my baby! time.) The Coach responded with, “she’s doing fine”. Fine? But, she added time! The Coach went on to explain that if she focuses on technique, improved times always follows. The important thing is that she enjoys it and perfects her technique. She needs to focus on the “how” and the improvement will follow. And the most important thing of all is that she continues to enjoy her sport because she will not improve at a sport she resents.

I learn a lot from my kids. I’d be missing out on a major opportunity if I didn’t. Here are the lessons to be learned from this:

  • Own it. You are an athlete. If you run, you’re a runner. If you swim, you’re a swimmer. Own it. You don’t need an Olympic medal to be proud of what you do. It doesn’t matter if everyone around you is better. You just have to show up and claim it. Mindset is half the battle.
  • Find what works for you regardless of outside pressure. I thought her Dad’s style was too rough. I didn’t grow up playing sports. Not that I’m of the “oh, everybody’s a winner” mentality. Far from it. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. But, his style worked for her. She craved the feedback and apparently the way it was delivered even if it made me cringe. It pushed her. It made her want to be better. It helped her focus and she loved it. My hugs and high fives were only part of what she needed after each swim. She also needed a kick in the ass. She craved it and when she didn’t get it, she was upset. This is the feedback that worked for her and she knew that enough to insist on it. INSIST on using what works for you even if no one else can understand why.
  • Doing things the right way consistently is more important that being the best. You cannot improve if you don’t focus on doing things the right way. If she focused on having good times every single time she swam, she’d give up. Who wouldn’t? Does she get excited when she posts a good time? Hell YES! She worked for that shit. She practiced and practiced. She took the time to improve every stroke. She paid attention to the details. So WHAT if you can’t run as fast as your friend? So what if everyone around you has already run a half marathon, lost 100 pounds, or (seems to) eat perfect all the time. Do YOU, baby! Focus on the tedious, the technique, the little stuff. Show up. Every damn day. The successes will come. They always do when you put in the work.
  • P.S. If you tell my daughter I’ve learned anything from her OR tell my husband that he was right, I’ll have to delete this post and any supporting evidence. So, let’s just keep this between us, kay?