Monday, June 25, 2012

Choosing LIFE over Laziness

It's Monday.
But I'm trying to overlook that. 
It's a brand-new day.

I realized this morning that I have exactly 20 days til my 5K race. 
My palms are sweating just thinking about it!
I'd really like to run the whole thing
But let's be real peeps, I have not been running like I should.
I'm really trying to push past my plateau this week.
Things have been hard on the home-front
so running has not been too high on the priority list
under birthday parties,
husband's business trips,
and Mothers/Father's day events.
It's been a bit hectic.
But I'm desperately trying to overcome the funk.
If I waited til I "had time to run", I'd never do it.
I realize that now. 
It's all about priorities.
Let's just say that I have lost sight of my priorities a time or two.
You make time for what you value in life. 
I've valued things that don't matter for too long.

I've valued relationships that were completely unhealthy.
I've valued "relaxation" over perservearance.
I've valued food over nourishment.
and while I'm on a role. . .
I've valued the internet over my kiddos.
Blogging over quality time with my husband.
Trashy t.v. sitcoms over my relationship with God.
Laziness over Living.
It's such a vicious cycle to get sucked into.
I think we all do it. 
Some of us just have more self-motivation
and some of us need others to help pull us out.
This sister needs a drill seargent for life!
Apparently, I'm not self-motivated.
So if I could get one of you hard-core, fitness-driven people 
(who also has a thing for cooking healthy foods)
to come move-in with me and take me on as a personal project,
I would GREATLY appreciate it.
I would be the biggest challenge of your life!
Cause I'm wearing myself out! Ha!
But seriously. . . 
It's a brand new day.
Another one.
Each and every day that you open your eyes.
A day for new decision-making.
One small decision at a time. 
Get up and GO or get an extra hour of sleep...
Eat that donut for breakfast or whip up some oatmeal and fruit...
Sit on the couch or go outside...
Watch your kids play or play with them...
Say yes or no to your present self.
Because the choice determines who your future self will become.
Today, I'm choosing differently.
Just for today.
It's a brand new day.

What choices will you make today that will determine tomorrow?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Run for Cake

So, I decided early-on that I didn't want to write unless I had some motivation and encouragement for you fine people, OR I had something new to say about my journey.  I wasn't going to fill your blogger feeds with daily posts about what my scale told me this morning or pictures of each and every dish I decided to cook-up.  Lord knows there is already enough of that out there! (Sorry foodie's!)  As you can see, it's taken me all day to conjure up something interesting to write about, but I finally have it.  Are you ready?. . . . . . . . . . .

Diets Suck.

I know.  Riveting, eh?  But for real, doggs.  Diets are the pits.

I've tried almost every single one out there.  I've made progress, only to relapse, get depressed, and gain more weight.  It's a vicious cycle, I tell ya.  Let me count thy ways:

Trim-Spa/Hydroxicut/The Like:
This stuff gave me some pretty intense jitters. I could tell they sped up my metabolism, but they also made my heart palpitate and my palms sweat and deliriously dizzy at times. I remember one day, walking from the pool to my apartment and literally almost passing out on my porch.  The side effects of the appetite suppressant coincided with my forgetfulness and I would go all day without eating.  I lost some weight in the process, but I also think I may have done some damage to my heart.

Body For Life:
Let me just say, I think this is a fabulous concept. I had a youth minister who did this and got in some serious shape!  It even worked for me and the hubs for a time before kids.  But to this day, the thought of eating grilled chicken breast makes me almost want to throw up in my mouth a little. That was pretty much the only protein on the menu for me (as I don't eat fish). Weeks upon weeks of getting up and working out and eating nothing but grilled chicken breast and green beans left me 10 lbs lighter, but with a terrible taste in my mouth for the "staple" foods. After we quit, the cravings for all the carbs that I had been fasting from was more than I could take and the weight came right back. God bless mashed potatoes.

South Beach Diet: 
Did I mention I love mashed potatoes?  Enough said.  This one lasted about two seconds.

HCG Diet:
Okay, I had a difficult time with this one too. For one, let's take Michelle's potatoes away again. No, you do NOT get a cheat day. And you have to remember to take these liquid hormones three times a day. I definitely saw results. We're talking a pound or two a day would come off.  For weeks straight!  The very first week, I lost 11 lbs!  The second week 6! But then I cheated, and instead of getting right back in the saddle, it was a downhill spiral. Within three weeks, I had put all the weight back on, plus some. Super duper.

Rx Diet Pills/Phentermine:
I'm sad to say, if I still had some of these little nuggets of happiness, I would be taking them in a heart beat.  Unfortunately, my doctor says, "No no!  You too skinny now!"  (Yes, he's Asian and has the most adorable accent. But no compassion for my lack of personal drive.) This is basically legal "speed".  It is an amphetamine and it gets the job done quick.  The fabulous part is, you don't have to help it work at all.  I was still chowing on Happy Meals with my boys and not stepping foot in the gym and I went from 172-138 lbs in 4 months. Can I get a Hallelujah!? However, these little gems are habit forming and once you wean yourself away from their miracle, you are left with a very tired metabolism that now doesn't know how to function without the help of said super-pill.  I've gone from 138 back up to the 160 that I am at today.

The moral of the story here? I promise I have one.  Nothing works but hard work.  In the kitchen and out of the kitchen.  Though it's tempting to return to the safety of one of my "lose it quick" schemes for weight loss, I know from past experience that it's not going to work. I have to muster up enough self-control and motivation inside myself to take each and every day, just one day at a time. I'm going to have to wake up every morning and tell myself, "Today, I choose to make healthy choices for myself". And boy is it annoying.  And boy, is it tedious.  And boy, does it suck balls most days. But when I got on the scale this morning and saw that I was down 3 lbs from when I started this three weeks ago, I was a lot prouder of myself than the times before.  Because I know the 3 lbs came from running my booty off and changing my perspective one meal at a time. I still splurge.  If you've seen my facebook page, you are all well-aware that I love me some chocolate! And I have a tendency to indulge myself a little more than I should. But the weight will come off eventually as I'm continuously training myself to choose more wisely.

Why do I tell you all this? Because sometimes you just need to hear it one more time.

Nothing works like hard work.

Keep up the hard work, friends!  And thanks for spurring me on in my journey as well.  It means more to me than, well. . . . .cake. And everyone needs a little bit of that! :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

God or Another Rock Anthem? That Is the Question.

What kind of runs do you do?
Do you pop in the ear buds and turn up the volume 
and completely groove out to pop music?
Do you listen to audio books to keep your mind entangled?
Some people listen to sermons or tutorials as they "press on" for motivation.
I hadn't found my "niche" as they say.
Until today.
Today. . . . . . I listened.
I realized awhile back that running isn't as enjoyable as I had hoped.
It's taking a lot of perseverance to keep it up.
I love the high that comes right after--
knowing that I accomplished a great work-out.
But some mornings I just don't have the "get-up-and-go".
(Hence my two-week running strike.)
Here I am, back in the saddle though.
And I had a breakthrough.
A moment of enlightenment, if you will. 
One that many of you probably have come by a lot easier than me.
After blowing through play list upon play list 
and coming up bored and unmoved,
I decided today, I would 
P R A Y.
I've used my running moments this way before.
But instead of talking so much,
today, I listened.
I plugged in the Pandora to worship music
(which I've found doesn't naturally make me want to run faster)
and listened.
I have a lot in my life that I'd like to hear from God about.
A lot of questions.
A lot of internal struggles.
A lot of unresolve.
Apparently, it's not that He wasn't speaking;
I feel that sometimes, I don't hear because I haven't stopped talking.
(Story of my life, just ask my husband.)
So I ceased. talking. altogether.
And I heard.
Thank you God, for meeting me on my run.
For speaking so clearly.
For knowing what my heart needed to hear.
Best 20 minutes in my training so far
and definitely a practice I will continue.
Pop princesses and audio books are good distractions.
But for clarity,
I highly recommend listening.
"Does a body (& soul) good"
(yes, I went there. LOL)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Burn Calories Without Exercise!

With warm weather comes motivation to clean up the house and yard. This spring cleaning pays off by burning calories. A day of household chores can easily exceed the calories you burn during an hour at the gym.
  • Push mowing the lawn. If you have a lawn to mow, get out the push mower. You’ll blast 199 calories in 30 minutes. Compare this to the 51 calories burned during 30 minutes of using the riding lawn mower, and a little pushing and pulling is well worth your effort.
  • Digging in the dirt. Do you want to start a garden, or do you have new flowers or a tree to plant? Get digging! Digging burns 106 calories in 20 minutes.
  • Scrubbing it clean. You can get a full body workout while cleaning your tile floors, baths, and showers. Scrubbing that dirt and soap scum by hand for 30 minutes will burn 95 calories.
  • Vacuuming the floors. The pushing and pulling combined with a little squatting to get the dust bunnies under the couch will pay off in 128 calories burned in 45 minutes.
  • Mopping the floors. If you take your floor cleaning a step further and get out the mop, you will burn another 85 calories in 30 minutes.
  • Washing the car. Wash, rinse, repeat. Forty minutes of washing your car until it glistens in the sun will burn 114 calories.
An added benefit of household chores is that you rarely do one thing at a time. The same sunny day you mow the grass, you might also wash the car. When you vacuum, you usually mop too. Those calories add up! If you set aside the 3 hours and 15 minutes on a Saturday morning to do all of the things above, you’ll burn 727 calories, and you will have accomplished a lot around the house!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Bachelor Party and Suffering from a Plank-Over

So I wasn't doing so hot last week
But I took a turn for the better on Monday night!
To date I had only planked 8 minutes of my 180 minutes of the month.
At first I was going to skip my exercise all together
and hunker down to indulge myself in some ridiculous drama
of one girl's attempt to find love on a game show. 
The Bachelorette. 
Oh, Emily. 
I can tell you one thing she might do. . .
Not waste her time watching reality t.v.
Surely she doesn't have a perfect body because her and adorable Ricki
sit on the couch all day eating Cheeto-Puffs. 
Could this chick be any more physically perfect?!
So I decide that if I was going to be a complete "Girl"
about my affection for scripted drama and date nights,
I would also challenge myself to a little "plank challenge". 
Planking through all the commercials proved to be the perfect way to watch!!
I didn't realize how many dang commercial breaks there were! 
So let's recap the evenings festivities. . .
Emily went on a date with Mr. Incredible (Sean).
His muscles are fabulous. I must say.
And I'm pretty sure that his hair NEVER moves.
Kissing in front of Buckingham palace was silly though.
Come on Em, you know that's not really where
 Will and Kate had their first kiss. . .
It was probably in the wine cellar where the Queen's video 
surveillance wouldn't catch the drunken moment. 
Regardless, a good date.

And then three minutes of hellish planking.

Next, Miss Perfect had a group date.  
These are always fun to watch.
This one, more so!

Shakespeare in the park with all her boys in tights!
Some, like adorable race car boy, Arie
totally got the shaft in this activity.
I'm sure this had nothing to do with ratings.
Let's put the guy that Em adores most in a dress and pigtails.
And then we have Ryan, (who wore a scarf, by the way)
to have the first public kiss.
Ya gotta give the boy props.  He worked it on the kiss!
But is anyone else tired of his chauvinistic remarks?

And then more planking. 2 more minutos to add to the total.

And now the drama unfolds as our villain is revealed.
Kalon the Jerk.
As if coming into the show in a private plane didn't already seal his fate
with the rest of the guys in the house.
He has to go and call Emily's daughter "baggage". 
Slick move, Romeo.
We get to see Emily's temper flare.
Which is nothing compared to most of ours.
Again, she's perfect, I tell you.
She kicks Kalon the Terrible out
and goes home to pout because none of the other guys
kicked his butt for her. 
Was she wanting to see an old-fashioned fist fight? 
I don't get it.

And then more planking. 3 long minutes of it.

The last date is with Jef-with-only-one-f
Come on now, Emily.
He's a cute little guy, but he's not "daddy" material.
And his hair is prettier than yours.
They see London from the top of the Eye.
Who wouldn't love that date?
I get the feeling that Emily was bored, though.
They had their first kiss
(at this point though, she's had so many, 
how can she keep track of the magical ones?).
End scene.

3 more grueling minutes of planking later. . .

We experience the infamous cocktail party.
All the boys are looking yummy
(except for John, in the RED pants!)
Ryan takes this time to recreate more Shakespeare,
Sean creates another perfect kissing moment alone,
and she gets her recommended dose of Arie.
But she's still upset at the lack of brutality
on her behalf when it came to Kalon the Nasty.
Get over it honey. 
We're not in high school anymore.

Break for 3 more minutes of planking.

The "most dramatic rose ceremony yet" again.
Aren't they all though.
Mr. Alejandro Bonito goes home.
No bueno.
And she waits til the last millisecond to choose Arie.
Rudeness. (and ratings)
Cause we all know she will end up with this one.

In the end, it has to be the race car driver.
Roll credits.

Final 3 minutes of planking and I call it a night.
SEVENTEEN minutes clocked 
and my favorite show erased off the DVR.
Very productive evening. 

And now, two days later, 
My abs are suffering from a major "plank-over".
Feels so good.

Happy Hump Day, peeps!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cupcakes and Running Nude with a Potty-Mouth

I love the quote that says, "If you are tired of starting over, stop quitting."
Can I get a T-shirt design, please?
And yet I struggle with this on a daily basis.
One of my biggest faults is over-commitment and under-follow-through.
It's a curse, really.
(and I'm pretty sure a tad genetic.)
One thing I'm not going to do is lie to you and tell you that I ran last week.
At all. . . not One. Single. Time.
It's pathetic.
I did so well during week one and two and didn't miss a single run.
Then I totally drop the ball on Week Three.
It's not like I didn't have a ton on my plate:
Potty-training my three-year-old is proving to be harder
than nailing jello to a tree.
We're making 20-minute sprints to the bathroom, underwear flying
Only to have pee and poo splattered all over my tile floors,
and tiny baby bottoms. . . and my hair.  
(Don't even ASK me how that happened.
 It was a seventh world wonder experience, I assure you. )
While we're talking about WONDERS, 
I'd like to use this platform to point out that part of my sleepless nights
have been spent cheering my THUNDER team to greatness
Western Conference Champions, baby!! 
Also. . . 
One of my bestie's is having a baby, so I've also been staying up
til ungodly hours of the night making baby blankets
and scrapbooks and teeny-tiny-baby-bikini onesies.
Going to bed at three when you're supposed to be up to run at six
does not, I repeat NOT a cheerful mommy (with motivation to boot!) make.
And just to add nonsense to my already chaotic excuse,
I had nothing to wear.
No really. . .I hadn't done laundry in three weeks.
I'm not so sure running nude through my neighborhood is even allowed.
So I quit.  Just this week.
And hated myself for it. 
So many of you were very encouraging.
Telling me to pick myself up and start over.
That's the reason I decided to do this little blog.
The accountability is just what I needed.
If you haven't joined any of our conversations, you can do that here:
I'd love your support and inspiration in doing just that. . . 
Starting over.
Here I go, Week Three!
Alarm clock, get ready for a pounding!
I'm going to give it my all this week. 
I'm going to Run, Run, Run my little heart out!
In a sports bra and shorts cause laundry is done and the nudist lifestyle is not longer necessary.
You're welcome.
And on an equally serious note, 
We're all going to go pee and poo in the potty this week.
(This is my wishful thinking, although I can assure you that I will go in the big girl potty.)
All systems are officially a go for a Do-Over Week Three.
There is only 5 weeks left before my 5K race.
Heaven help me!
Send me your prayers and your well-wishes, friends!
(and cupcakes, if you've got em.)

Friday, June 8, 2012

You Can't Change The World

For as long as I can remember, and long before I decided to start taking my certification classes to become a counselor, I have been the person whom my friends, family, coworkers sought out when they were in distress.  When they wanted to let it all out, when they wanted advice, when they needed support, it was me that they came to. 
I always loved being that person (who doesn't love to be needed?!) but often times in the past, I got too pulled into it.  I felt so much for them that I began to take on whatever they were dealing with.   Their stress, their worries, their bad situations, all implanted themselves in me.  I so badly wanted to turn it around for them, for them to see the way.  If only I could snap my fingers and it would all melt away for them.  Why can’t they see it as clearly as I do?  Why can’t they step into changing it?
This started to wear on me.  I wanted so much to be there for them, but often times they never changed. They went back to the drugs, went back to their bad relationships, went back to jobs they hated, they didn’t change anything and then soon enough they would be calling me again.
Luckily, years ago after really letting a friend’s junk wear on me, I learned a big lesson -  a lesson of which I constantly remind myself and others. 
I am only responsible for my experience of life.  I am not responsible for anyone else’s experience but my own. 
As much love, listening, advice, guidance and encouragement that I give someone, they are ultimately responsible for their own transformation.  They are responsible for their own letting go, for their own moving on.  They are responsible for their own experience of life. 
I can show them the way.  I can guide them, but I cannot fix them.  For someone to change, to heal, to move on, to transform, they must be fully open to it.  They must want it.  They must be ready to fix themselves.  I don’t heal people. I can only encourage people to heal themselves.
This may sound a bit harsh, but it is the truth.  As much as you try, as much love that you give, they still may not get it. They still may not see the way and you must be okay with that.  You cannot allow yourself to be pulled into it, because then really you are no use to anyone, especially yourself.  Stand in love. Give love. Listen through love, but remember…
You are not responsible for their experience of life.  You are only responsible for your own.  And if you're anything like myself, I am in need of constant transformation of my own!
“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.”- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I'm on a Plank-A-Thon, and I Hate It's Guts!

The PLANK. . .
Killing myself slowly in my own home.
It sounded like an Okay idea at the time.
That was before I did one.
Now I'm re-evaluating all my previous life decisions.
As will you, if you join my June Plank-A-Thon.
I'm on a mission (heaven, help me!)
To plank an accumulated 3 hours over the course of one month.
I'm only 5 minutos into this mess as of today.
Someone pointed out the fact that I have to plank for 6 minutes a day 
to reach the total 180 minutes for the month.
Thank you, whoever did the math for me.
180 MINUTES?!?!!!
Sounds like a butt-load more time than 3 hours!
Breathe. . . .
But this is why I blog about my woes, isn't it?
So that I can whine and gripe and all of you glorious people
get to tell me to keep going and not quit
and stop acting like a big, fat loser lady!  
So here's your chance! 
But before I open up the phone lines, 
maybe I should explain a bit about what I'm doing with this madness.
A lot of people (my hubby included)
wondered "what the heck is a plank"?
(And yes, I googled this business to give you the actual definition.)

The plank exercise ranked number 10 in the ACE study and is a great way to build endurance in both the abs and back, as well as the stabilizer muscles. This move is also great for building strength for push-ups, an exercise that requires quite a bit of core strength.
How to:
  1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
  2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
  3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
  4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle.
  5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
So there are a lot of variations of the "Plank" and I plan to try them all.
Goodness knows, I'm going to have to switch this up!
So here are photos of me attempting each and every style of planking.
Laugh if you want to, but only if you promise you'll try them too!

Basic Plank 

Aside from the fact that I look like I have a kangaroo pouch,
this is my favorite plank pose. 
It's the easiest for me.  
Just get in push-up position and hold it for 30 seconds.
I'm trying to go longer than that, 
but honestly, once I get to a minute
my body starts shaking uncontrollably.
And nobody wants that.
This is the most basic of poses and I recommend it for starting out.

Reverse Plank

This is the basic plank in reverse. 
I'm finding it mainly strengthens the backs of my arms 
and my back muscles. 
And after a good run, it's hard on my legs
as you place most of your balance on your heels and shoulders.

Stability Plank

This rendition of the plank works with your couch or a stability ball.
Place your shins on top of either one 
and balance your weight on your hands.
I'm trying to actually do a combo of push-ups with this method.
I say "try" because realistically I have NO upper-body strength. 
But it's building those arm muscles as well as my core.

Side Plank

This is the hardest plank variation for me.
Can't you tell by my intense facial expression?
I look like I'm having a complete blast! Ha!
Just balance your weight on your forearm and the side of the leg.
Some mix this pose and add leg lifts.
I will NOT be attempting this. . .
It was hard enough holding this pose for the 3 seconds it took
to take one measley photo before I toppled over. 

Dolphin Plank

This one wasn't the most fun either.
Place your forearms on the floor and balance your weight on your toes.
And hold for your designated time. 
Don't ask me why they relate this pose to a serene, delicate mammal.
I felt a bit like I had been captured and was being tortured for 30 seconds.
It was excruciatingly hard for me. 
I may stick to the basic plank until my "Core" feels better.

So what do you say?! 
 Suffer though the June Plank-A-Thon with me??

Monday, June 4, 2012

Storms, Inclines, and 6 Miles, OH MY!

I realize that I was supposed to run this morning.
Really I do.
But cut a sister some slack today, will ya?
My poor legs are still recovering from the weekend.
You see, the hubs and I went to Roman Nose State Park for some childless R&R.
However, that's not what we got.
We set up camp and had lots of talk time around a bonfire,
but once we were good and asleep for the night, severe weather rolled in.
(That's Oklahoma for ya!)
We're talking lightning, thunder, rain, and strong winds.
In a tent. . .I'm not thinking so!
So we retreated to the back of the jeep and that's where we stayed til the morning.
Let's just say, I didn't sleep fabulously.
I feel as though my hips will never be the same.
I did however get up and go running first thing.
All by my lonesome.
It was bittersweet.
The "wind sweeping down the plains" was mixed with running
up and down our state's mini-mountains.
I realized why I love a treadmill.
Inclines (especially natural ones) are not my fave.
But I'm pretty proud that I got my final run in for Week Two. 
(May I have a round of applause, please?!)
After breakfast we decided to start a day of hiking.
This is the hubster's outdoor love.
I've chosen to try to love it too.
We still have a love/hate relationship though.  We're working through it.
The hike was about 6 miles. 
All but 10% of it was barren, cacti-covered wasteland.
We affectionately named it "Sunburn Prairie". 
Don't get me wrong, it was a good day.
We had some spectacular views of the lake and mountain ranges.
And some forest exploring to find some beautiful natural springs!
Ice cold water was Definitely what we needed
After our 100 degree day!
But I have to say. . .I prefer running.
On my nice, FLAT neighborhood streets for exercise. 
My legs are still quivering at the thought of Week Three training,
But we'll tackle it tomorrow. 
Today. . .
Today the only running I'm going to be doing is after these two beauties:

Get it this week, amigos! I plan to also!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Don't Be The Victim

Lots of folks consider themselves victims. Some wear this distinction like a badge of honor.
Victims give up their own power. They make excuses. They blame. They want others to take care of them and make them feel good. They choose to not take responsibility for their own lives.
Guess what? You don’t have to be a victim.
Victimhood is a choice we make.
Things happen. These are our circumstances. The facts of life. They cannot be changed.
Lots of folks experience negative circumstances. Some of these circumstances are downright devastating. I've personally been through many of these "victimizing" circumstances. 
In our minds, we create thoughts about these circumstances.
The good news? We get to choose the thoughts we think.
Some choose the thought, “I am a victim.”
They create a life of misery, inaction and blame.
Maybe they think it’s the easier that way. Or perhaps they believe it’s their only option.
I want to tell you something. You don’t have to choose this path and it’s NOT easier.
I speak from experience. Boy, do I speak from experience!
The details don’t really matter.
I could have chosen victimhood. I didn’t.
Consider this…
  • What if you believed that some people are simply incapable of certain emotions or actions?
  • What if you believed that it wasn’t about you?
  • What if you believed that everything in your life unfolded just as it was supposed to?
We can choose to look back on our lives and see that we went through the exact challenges that were necessary to allow for the growth we needed.
I am grateful beyond belief for the challenges in my life. Every single one. I may not have understood them at the time. I may have fought tooth and nail to wish these challenges away. But there they remained. 
My circumstances have bestowed upon me the greatest of gifts. Gifts that no amount of money could ever buy. The gifts of forgiveness, empathy and unconditional love.
My thoughts about my circumstances created my results. A life filled with gratitude, joy and courage.
I decided one day that I am not a victim.
I chose a different path.
And you get to choose yours.
It really is that simple.