Monday, November 24, 2014

how's your mind?

I think as we approach the Holiday's we start to think about the year ahead but also we look at the year that will soon pass...
Did we do all of the things that we set out to accomplish?  Did we stick to that New Year's Resolution?  What will we work toward in 2015? 

I distinctly remember in my past setting out to have "THAT YEAR, the one where everything changed and I never looked back" only to fall short by February.  Been there?
What was wrong and why couldn't I stick to it?
I saw the commercials getting me geared up for discount gym memberships and treadmills on sale, I'd spend hours searching for good, healthy recipes to make...what was wrong?  Why didn't it work?
And it wasn't a failed attempt once or twice, it was EVERY.SINGLE.YEAR...

You see it wasn't about the "want" or the "frustrations with my health or lack of",
My body was ready and able. I had the resources, the money to spend and the time (if I MADE time) but my mind gave out much sooner than all of those other factors.  
I didn't believe in ME so none of these "tools" would stick.
It didn't matter how much I wanted to change or get healthy...I could have cried every day for 3 months but if my mind didn't believe I could do it, it seemed like a where I'd wake up as the same old me but I wanted so much more.  I was doomed to fail time and time again.
Making over my MIND took work and it will take work for the rest of my life.
Some things my mind had to understand:

Life isn't always fair. Some people have to focus on their health EVERY,SINGLE.DAY of their lives
Putting in the work is hard and it probably won't get any easier.
It's a SLOW process. I didn't gain the weight or decrease my health overnight 
so it will come off painfully and slowly.While it's tough, I wouldn't trade it for anything because it has made me who I am today.  I am stronger because of the struggle and I appreciate that.
Our bodies are strong but our minds are too.
Our mind will give out far before our bodies.  We are strong and our bodies are built to work hard so when your mind tells you to quit-then it's time to dig deeper, get inspired and keep going!
I can remember saying "I can't do ____" before trying.  THAT was my mind. You know my body could handle it but my mind didn't believe I could so why try?  WRONG ATTITUDE.

I think SO many people find themselves defeated in their mind so their body just follows.  If we repeat to ourselves that we failed and are worthless, at some point the body will believe it.  
I get excuse after excuse on WHY people can't workout, lose the weight or get healthy...
All I hear is the mind quitting on the body.  NO matter the struggles, we were built to fight. 
 We were built to be strong so why allow our minds to get in the way of that? 

Let your New Years Resolution be to STOP allowing defeat in your life and start fighting back!
SET a goal and reach matter what life throws your way.  
You can use those moments to make you stronger or defeat you...YOU CHOOSE!
Stop making excuses for your health and start making changes.  Excuses become all the same...
It's when you rise about those excuses that you can really make change happen so why wait?
I challenge you to not even wait until 2015, START NOW!  Why do you need some grand start to the New Year to get YOU healthy?  There's only one YOU so work on it today and every day!

Thanksgiving Day swap idea:
MIM Moon Pop Pumpkin "Pie"
whole wheat Moon Pop topped with Pumpkin low fat cream cheese!  Ohhhh it's So good! 

We can all make up a list of excuses, a to-do list a mile long or priorities that rise about exercise and nutrition but what do those excuses do for us?  Make us better?  Nope.  
These kids attended boot camp today because it's Thanksgiving break.  How many excuses can we make, as Mom's when our kids are home from school?  Instead, these ladies brought their kiddos and they worked out with us!  Some of them begged to attend tomorrow!!  YES!  Exposure is key and when they watch you putting your health as a priority, they'll do the same!  PROMISE!  It's a beautiful thing...TRY IT!!!  

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Staying focused throughout the Holiday season

Sometimes staying healthy can be overwhelming around the Holidays...
EVERY year I must decide what's important: to indulge over and over again or to find balance, while having a few not-so-healthy menu items here and there!

One way to stay focused is creating or finding a challenge to keep you accountable and motivated...or possibly a winter race, depending on where you live.  
I have created a challenge for my local group of women called "Jingle the Jiggle Away"! 
I will have three categories or chances to win while having participants throw in $5 to the winners pot!  

Any tips on ways to include my readers from far away would be appreciated? I'd love to get my online readers a chance to play along and stay inspired right along with us??  
It will be three weeks beginning the Monday following Thanksgiving 
and ending the week before Christmas! 

**Please email suggestions to: 

Make sure you keep plenty of healthy options on hand so you aren't caught off guard around homemade chocolate chip cookies or fudge brownies...eeek!
I love cottage cheese but my tummy cannot tolerate it most of the time, until I found THIS!  
Lactaid, lactose-free cottage cheese!  
It's a perfect pair for my fresh berries or a great addition to scrambled eggs for extra fluff! 

crunchy PB, another staple in our home!
Nothing like a Chocolate rice cake topped with some crunchy PB for an on the go snack while Christmas shopping or running errands!
I packed this one on my trip to the grocery store this week.  I topped the rice cake with PB, wrapped it in wax paper to avoid sticking and then dropped it into a plastic bag!  SIMPLE!

Delicious alternatives to traditional Holiday meals always helps us stay focused!
I tried my lasagna recipe, only subbing noodles with spaghetti squash and layering in a baking dish rather than a large Pyrex!  It was delicious!
1 lb lean meat of your choice, I used extra lean ground beef
chopped garlic and onion
Brown meat with garlic and onion until cooked through.  Add 1 large can of tomato sauce-no salt added and simmer.  Slice spaghetti squash lengthwise, spoon out seeds, etc and lay face down in Pyrex with 1-2 inches of water.  
Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes or until outside of squash feels tender and you can pierce with fork easily.  Flip over and scrape creating "spaghetti noodles" from squash.  
I then layered my baking dish with some "noodles", a layer of sauce/meat mixture and then small spoons of low fat ricotta then top final layer with 2% Mozzarella.  Bake until melted and bubbly :)

FOCUS by creating healthy, balanced snacks throughout the day.  I started my day with 1/2 cup Lactaid cottage cheese mixed with fresh berries and 1/2 of a clementine orange!  YUM! 

FOCUS by preparing new meals rather than getting in a repetition of the same foods each week. 
I sometimes saute 2 egg whites in coconut oil spray and serve on a whole wheat Bagel thin or slice of sprouted bread.  Served with fresh raspberries here!  

FOCUS by doing things that are active together as a family!  
We will be running a 5K as a family on Thanksgiving Day!  How about you?
Create fun games outdoors that'll keep your family from standing around the food and munching!  Create new, healthy memories!!!

A proud moment for me this week!  I am in charge of the Run Club at my boys' school.  We have over 100 children that show up, voluntarily twice a week at 7am to run on the track and build up their mileage.  My boys LOVE this group, especially my oldest.  He averages around 3-4 miles/day and placed 2nd in his grade level for most mileage over an 8-week period.  My youngest placed 1st in his grade for mileage so to say I was proud is an understatement!
I love running because it's about YOU and YOU only.  Nobody does it for you or helps you out, you MUST put in the hard work, every step and every breath to be successful and my boys did that along with 100+ other students!  WOW.  Coming from a girl who HATED running and all forms of exercise growing up, it makes me proud knowing I am part of something that is keeping these children healthy and we are exposing them to active living at a young age.  That is so important.  Especially in a world of team sports-which I still promote, running is an individual sport based on nothing more than THE RUNNER.  THE ATHLETE.  Running will be there for their entire lives and they will not need a referee or umpire to be successful at it.  They do not need a goalie, a first baseman or a quarterback to make healthy strides with this sport and 
Hope they will carry that love with them for a lifetime...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

the way it used to be...

I remember like it was yesterday, the feelings I'd have when it was time to change but would it stick?

Most of the time it was, Oh yes I'll start Monday.  There will be Tae-Bo in the living room then healthier meals and NO fast food.  I'll start Monday and it'll be great.  But since I "start" Monday I better live it up these next few days since I'll be starving after that.  
Then the dreaded Monday would arrive, I'd start with a bad mood from being "hungry" and then I'd spiral out of control the second I was left alone with all that temptation surrounding me.  Or my mindset would be, Ah I did great today so tomorrow a Happy Meal won't mess things up too terribly bad? The Happy Meal would turn into a trip to the convenient store for Doritos and a Sprite...and next thing I knew I was "starting again" next Monday :(  
I think for me the road less traveled seemed scary.  I wanted to be social, hang out with friends and be able to enjoy myself at parties and family gatherings and that usually meant FOOD was involved in some way.  Unlike drugs and alcohol, we must have FOOD to survive so in that sense, we can make excuses for our poor food habits.  Most people find it discouraging to have to think about the things we do with our bodies- exercise and nutrition.  It takes work and planning.  Some days I hate it, others I embrace it and love it because it outweighs the old me and where I stayed for so long.  If you haven't been in that dark place, then it's hard to grasp or understand.  And if you've never successfully overcome it, then it's even more difficult to see happiness and success on the other side of things.  Am I right?  

Getting your mind in the game is a HUGE part of the struggle.  I made this egg white and cottage cheese omelette today for breakfast with fresh fruit.  It took 5 min of my time, zero planning and it was delicious and filling.  A win-win!  The old me would have decided on cereal, most likely Cheerios (a not-so-bad option right?) but I'd eat 3-4 heaping bowls of it.  All of a sudden I'd make a decent breakfast option, terrible for myself.  How did I always manage to do that?  Ugh.  

These days are a balancing act.
It's a constant struggle and I have good days and bad.  You will have them too.

I was afraid, lost and had zero self-confidence.  That's a bad combination and a tough one to break.
Slowly, after years of learning from my mistakes and successes, I have found that balance as of now.
That's not to say bumps down the road may deter me but I will NEVER QUIT!

My heart aches for adults and children who feel as I did.  Who went through the "I'll start Monday's" over and over again.  It's a cycle that has no end unless WE PUT AN END TO IT OURSELVES.
Enough has to be enough and we can't want it for superficial reasons.  So you want to be ready for your class reunion?  Great that'll last for a few weeks and then you'll sabotage and end up right back where you started, only further back.  It must be for your health, your well-being, your change to start living life to its fullest.  It has to come from your whole heart, body and soul.  
A road this difficult can't be attempted just to fit in a pair of jeans, it must be SO much more than that...and yes those smaller jeans are a HUGE perk but not the fuel behind my fire and desire to live healthy!

Monday, November 17, 2014

success or decide!

the people around us play a huge factor in our success or our failure...
Choosing to be healthy is a TOUGH decision, one we must make every day.
Whether we fight high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease or another health-related illness.  
Having to remove ourselves from "the pack" and be different is very hard to do.
It's easier to just blend and live life the easy way. 
If our family isn't aware of our personal struggles, it can make things twice as difficult to succeed.

I'm often asked from readers about helping their children.  

It's a fine line and a tough one to bring up with our children when it comes to their health. I was overweight and wanted things out of sight, out of mind always.  I never wanted to discuss weight loss or my weight because it was an exposure of my insecurities and if we didn't talk about it then it didn't exist in my mind.  It was just easier that way.  We often talk about US but what if it's not US and it's THEM?  Then it's a whole new problem that is often times difficult to deal with on so many levels.  
If a loved one struggles with their weight, it's not fair to "punish" the entire family, remove all junk food and start over or is it?  Depends on if we want success or failure for that person that we love...and honestly, it's always better to adapt a healthy lifestyle regardless of our physical appearance right?
Is it then fair to single out that child giving them their "special food" while others in the family are devouring chocolate pie?  NOT AT ALL.  
So where's the balance between long term success or constant failure?

I preach about things being tough going at a healthy lifestyle alone but honestly, it's darn near impossible without a support system.  While my workout group has one another, they still go home to their "normal lives" and we never know what that means unless we live it.  Are there temptations all around?  Do they have an overweight husband who struggles as much as they do?  Is their entire family unhealthy and overweight and they have yo-yo'd for most of their life? When you discuss healthy eating, will they take it as a time to starve and barely eat throughout the day knowing it's not healthy but it'll give them temporary and FAST results? 
A support group is KEY in their success or their failure.  If they have loved ones constantly making them feel guilty for exercising or watching what they eat, will they hit a breaking point and fold under the pressure?  Will that support group lift them up so much that they will find strength within the group to carry over to their personal lives, therefore leading them to helping others lead healthy lifestyles and be the example?  WOW, as a health educator we always hope for that last one...but it's never that easy.  

In my role, I just remember that I am part of their support system.  Lifting them up when they need it most.  Helping them know that I too struggle and will struggle for the rest of my life, hoping they see that I'm only human, I have plenty of flaws and I do well just getting through another day battling emotional eating.  I choose to be real and give them real answers to real questions.  
I do not sugar-coat anything...both literally and figuratively.  LOL!
In my position they need to know about the HARD DAYS not the days where I feel on top of the world.  The hard days are the ones that determine or success and failure.  The hard days are what make us stronger.  The easy days are there to give us hope and guidance to make it through another hard day...that's all.  The hard days make it worth the work and tears.  

Find people that with be there for the HARD DAYS too!  They will help support you when you succeed and be there to lift you up when you have failed...

Be that for someone you love.  Don't try and break them down, instead lift them up!
If you feel jealous of their healthy lifestyle, become a part of it!  Join the club!  You'll never regret it, you'll feel better and you'll be helping yourself while helping someone you love so much!
I guess I just feel for those that seem lifted up when they are working out with me, yet feel destroyed when they get around family and friends that may not see the reason for their interest in healthy living...that makes me sad.  We should ALL want our family and friends to be happy and healthy...RIGHT?!  Why is that so often NOT the case?  Ugh...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

cards from years past...

I love people asking questions about my transformation...I think honesty is how we grow and how we are able to help others on their fitness and health journey's.  

A newer member asked yesterday, "was your change gradual or was it all of a sudden?"

I answered, "a slow process, and I learned so much along the way and am still learning."
Because you see the workouts are EASY.  Some hate to workout and sweat, I LOVE IT!  I love to feel alive and able.  I love feeling stronger and pushing harder...and I love feeling drenched in sweat and shaking when it's over.  Crazy, right?  The eating?  Ugh.  I LOVED eating poorly.  And that's tough to admit and throw out there but it's so true.  And I justified with every ounce of my body that it was okay to eat somewhat poorly because I worked out.  Right?  SO WRONG.  
The eating would sabotage me time and time again.  It didn't matter how hard I worked out, I was consuming more calories in "healthy" foods than I was burning and they were NOT balanced at all.  

Here's a shot from our Christmas card in 2012.  
A perfect reflection of what I looked like working out AND eating "healthy"

Here's another from 2009.  I'd say this was a time where my husband and I had let it go.  All of it.  We ate like the typical family.  Not great but not as bad as it had been in my heaviest days.  We were "busy", we had 2 active boys, he was working shift work and I was teaching PE.  We were BUSY so we had an excuse?  Mac n cheese was an easy side dish to chicken, spaghetti and meatballs were okay because we were using "whole wheat pasta" disregarding the fact that we'd eat 2-3 times the portion size in one sitting.  In my mind, I knew.  But I was hungry.  That was a good excuse but it was learning that ALL things must be in moderation, not just sometimes.  That was and IS the hardest part of this journey for ME.  Always will be.  The food.  Learning to not associate my moods and emotions with the foods that I eat.  BUT it's a work in progress and each time I share my story and I use honesty, it gets me closer to the goals I have set for years to come.  I always remember where I started, where I sat in-between for so long.  My heaviest and unhealthiest times in my life were short, I spent most of my life looking as I did in the above picture and the one below.  A size 12 or 14, working out 5-7 times a week but eating TOO much of the "healthy foods".  I guess I reached a moment where I became FED UP with it.  FED UP with working so hard only to destroy that hard work with one meal of whole wheat pasta and some bites of chicken.  Whole wheat didn't make things healthy, what makes me healthy is eating for FUEL and nourishment NOT out of pleasure.  A HUGE DIFFERENCE that has taken me YEARS to figure out.  That's not saying you won't, but for me it's something I struggle with every day...

These days are FAR different and there's no guarantee on the rest of our lives but if I set a goal to always remember how I feel when I exercise and fuel properly with balance and control, then it's one more day I get to feel good, to feel strong and to feel unstoppable.  That's a gift.  One of THE greatest gifts that I can give myself and my family.  They want and need a strong Mom and Dad.  I need to be out there living life with them rather than off to the side because it's easier at a distance.  I need to be involved and enjoying life's moments that would've passed me right on by in my past.  I need to find comfort in love and my surroundings rather than through something so UNimportant like FOOD.  Food is Food.  I say that so often but it's something I repeat to myself frequently.  Don't give it more credit than that.  Each meal that you choose balance, celebrate that and be proud.  It's an accomplishment.  NEVER deprive.  It only brings on feelings of sabotage and failure.  You'll go so long depriving until you give in and go until you're physically sick.  Why do that?

Life can be SO MUCH more.
If you're the one that chooses to eat balanced and healthy but refuse to get out and MOVE.  Same rules apply.  It's a balancing act of BOTH.  Your body craves the exercise and the nutrition.  They go hand in hand and one won't truly work without the other...I'm living proof.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

building a family...

from the beginning this group has been so much more than just the workouts...
we share, celebrate and are a support system for one another...
but YES we work hard...
we share recipes and tips that make healthy living just a bit easier...
and the instructor and "head momma"...well she's pretty silly and keeps things light and definitely entertaining...yes it's ME :)
everywhere we go as a group, we make a scene and I LOVE that about us...
The MIM's get personal tours, special discounts locally and we are always treated SO great while out and about discovering new, healthy things.  
and while the group gives quite a bit of credit to me, I give it all back and then some because my Move It Mommas group is something I am SO very proud of.  THEY are the reason women show up ready to change.  THEY are the reason that we've built a family and support sytem.  THEY are why this group differs from so many "boot camps" out there...THEY amaze and inspire me...
I would have never imagined that the many years of feeling all alone in how I strruggled and how I felt would bring on all of THIS.  

If it's a passion, pursue it.  
This group is proof that if you have a dream, go after and chase it.  YES we are local and haven't taken over the globe YET but it's watch out!

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