Monday, July 30, 2012

Work Out Like It's Your Job

For most of us at some point in time, work is a reality of life. I was a part of the working world for the last 13 years in some form or another until fate made it possible for me to stay home with my kiddos.  Whether you love your job or hate it, working for a living is something that you know you have to do, and probably don't have much trouble motivating yourself to show up to each day. Wake up, get ready, arrive on time, do a decent enough job to not get fired (maybe better!), rinse and after day, week after week. As responsible adults, we make our careers a priority out of necessity. We work to make money, which helps us live the lives we desire. You can complain about it, think it's boring and wish you didn't have to do it, but ultimately, the rewards we get from working outweigh the "rewards" of not working (like sleeping in or having more free time).

So why do we treat other areas of our lives as so much less important? You can hate your job but still show up 40+ hours a week for decades. Even if you don't enjoy exercise, couldn't you muster enough motivation to spend 10 or 15 minutes a day on it? After all, the benefits of exercising—weight management, stress relief, stronger bones and muscles, a healthier heart, less depression, higher self-esteem, a sense of pride and accomplishment, a decreased risk for countless chronic and debilitating diseases—far outweigh the temporary "rewards" of skipping it (more couch time or a few extra minutes of sleep).

What would it look like if we all treated exercise like our jobs (or at least our second jobs)? Doing exactly that could help us make fitness part of our lives once and for all. 

Here are a few ways you can treat exercise like your job. View it the same way, and you'll make far fewer exercise excuses.

Make it a priority.
For most people, our jobs are our #1 priority. You spend more time at work that almost anywhere else, and your daily life revolves around your work schedule. If you exercised like it was your (second) job, you'd treat those gym appointments with as much importance as work. You'd make all the other things in your life work around your workout schedule. I know it can seem daunting, but think of all the many other commitments that you treat with respect in your life. Working out is just as important as many other hobbies and responsibilities because it keeps YOU in tip-top shape to be your best at everything else (including a better worker, partner, volunteer, parent, friend and so on). So next time your girlfriends want to plan drinks during your Wednesday night Spinning class, ask them to pick another day or time, or squeeze in a shorter workout and then go meet them. Only by making fitness a priority like you do your job will you ever be able to really stick with a workout regimen. Personally, if I prioritized working out as much as I prioritized meal planning or potty-training my rug rats, I would learn to view it in a whole new way. 

Show up on time. 
Most of us don't have trouble hitting the sack, setting the alarm, and getting out the door in time to beat rush hour and get to our posts on time. Why then are you chronically late for your personal training session or unable to wake up 30 minutes earlier to squeeze in a morning walk? The truth is that you are capable of showing up to things on time, but you aren't prioritizing your workouts like you do your job. If working out was your livelihood, you would not hit snooze or stay up too late. Think about that next time the early morning alarm sounds. If you treat exercise like your job, you may feel tired—maybe even unmotivated—but you'll get out of bed anyway and put your shoes to the pavement.  For me, making myself go to be on time is the key.  If I go to bed instead of stay up watching that late night Oprah Lifeclass, then I'd be a bit more rested and able to get up before my household. 

Dress appropriately. 
Most jobs have some kind of a dress code, whether strict uniforms or a certain level of business-appropriate attire. Because work is important to you, you adhere to those standards, purchasing enough work clothes for a variety of seasons and occasions. You don't have to spend a lot on workout clothes, but you should have something you can work out in: appropriate shoes for your activity, the right layers if you hope to walk or run in the winter, and any other gear that makes working out more comfortable and convenient, such as a gym bag and water bottle. Treat your workouts with as much respect as you do your job, and you'll never be at a loss for clothing or gear, which means you won't be able to make excuses about skipping it.

Try your best. 
I know plenty of people who just clock in, put in their hours, and leave when the clock strikes five. But I know a lot more people who try hard at work—and in many areas of their life. There's a lot of satisfaction that comes from a hard day's work, regardless of your job. You probably feel better at the end of each day when you know that you gave it all you could. Not only do you feel better, but your boss probably notices your work effort, too (and hopefully rewards you for it). Similarly, I see people in the gym who trudge through their workouts on autopilot without even an ounce of intensity. Yes, some exercise (even low-key) is better than none, but why not put a little more "oomph" behind your exercise sessions? Not only will your body benefit from a greater calorie burn and challenge, helping you get even fitter as a result, but maybe more importantly, YOU will feel proud of yourself. When I teach my boys new things, I remind them not to quit just because you get bored or it seems hard. I need to follow this same advice in my daily work-outs. We need to give ourselves work-outs that we can be proud of.

Climb the ladder. 
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? If you're career-oriented, then you probably have some goals in mind. You work hard, challenge yourself in new ways, and hope to climb the corporate ladder. Whether it's for prestige, self-satisfaction or simply more money, most of us hope to move up the corporate ladder. Your workouts should be no different. Regardless of your age or fitness level, you can always improve and take yourself to the next level of fitness. Have you been walking for years? Maybe it's time to graduate to jogging. Have you been lifting the same 5-pound dumbbells for 6 months? Then give yourself a promotion to the 8 pounders and see what you can really do!

Strive for work-life balance.
While most Americans struggle with this, it's something that we all want. If you follow a typical work schedule, you are at least taking a couple days off from work each weekend, which helps us better achieve the balance that we need in our lives. It can't always be work, work, work. And it can't always be work out, work out, work out. You need downtime, easier days, rest days, and a variety of workouts to help prevent boredom and burnout. Build rest, variety and downtime into your workout program just like you do (hopefully) into your work life. We all need to cut ourselves some slack sometimes!

One of the reasons I'm trying my hardest to make exercise a part of my daily life is because I treat it like it's my second job. It's a major priority for me—probably the second biggest priority in my life next being a stay-at-home-mom. There's almost nothing I do every single day other than keep up with the house and two toddlers and exercise, but at the same time, I'm learning to make it fun and give myself the balance (and downtime) that I need, which keeps me going strong.

So next time you find your workout motivation waning, or start making excuses to skip your exercise session, ask yourself how you'd respond to that hurdle if exercise was your job. Chances are, you'll clear it (and be glad you did).

Do you treat exercise with the importance that you do your job? Why or why not?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dear Younger Self. . .

***A few days ago, I published this post on my other blog: Miss Banana Pants.  I thought I would share the love over here as well! :)  Hope you enjoy, and feel free to check out my other home for all things parenting, hilarious, and ridiculously sarcastic. :)  I'd love some new company over there anytime!  

Oh, the things I would love to tell the younger me!  I know we've all thought this way. . .If I knew THEN what I know NOW. . .  Sometimes I just want to find that infamous time machine, go back ten years and have a sit-down-pow-wow with younger Michelle about what is to come.  Words of wisdom from a bit more experience; life management tips for the future.  Could I have ever used the help! Ha!  Life strategies are something that as women, we typically accumulate through time, growth, trials and triumph and also, a great deal of hard work. When I look back on the past, and my winding path of poor choices in to womanhood – a process that is very much still in the works – I think of all of the valuable lessons that grew from my mistakes, the wisdom that I have gained through the years, and the glorious, humbling, powerful hindsight that often comes so specifically from looking in reverse. There are many ways to live, and many life techniques that one generation can impart on another. For my part, here are some of the most fundamental, liberating, and oh-so-if-only-I-had-known-it-then life strategies I would tell my younger self now, if I could. Much like the knowledge handed down to me by those amazing women who came before, perhaps these lessons will serve as a little roadside assistance on the journey of younger women, or at the very least, fair warning. Either way, here is to hoping that the next generation does it all slightly more gracefully than I did.

1. Beauty Is Not Found on the Cover of Cosmo
Mirror, mirror, on the wall… who is the fairest of them all? This age-old question is one that has evolved for me over time. Naturally, in youth, we are more focused on the outward – how we look, how we compare to others, how our weight compares to those on the cover of the latest Cosmo, and how we can use appearance to fit in, stand out, or communicate who we are. It is only through experience that I think we truly understand the value something deeper, the value of this life lesson: look closely and you will likely find that the most beautiful women you know, regardless of their individual appearances, all have in common a passion for life, a caring and generous spirit, a great sense of fun, and a confident, positive attitude. This is no coincidence – it is the simple fact that true beauty really does originate, grow, blossom and thrive from within. It is important to take care of your outer appearance, of course, but the key is to balance that effort with nurturing all of those wonderful, graceful and loving inner qualities that truly enhance your natural beauty and allow the world to see how stunning you are through and through.

2. Be Completely Yourself - Always
This life strategy can be very challenging to practice at a young age as maturity is an evolving process and who we are develops in stages. For me. . .it was a rocky road.  I was never satisfied with who I was ten years ago.  It is natural to want to fit in, and even to sacrifice some of our own preferences, values or beliefs to make that happen. The truth, however, is that you really are the only one who knows for sure what is right for you, and your voice is worth fighting for. The number of times in my past that I didn’t trust my instincts, communicate what was true for me, or held back on my personality out of fear of what people would think is truly a testament to my knowledge that it is so much better to embrace those things that make you a beautiful individual. Be true to yourself and honor your own identity – your personality, your likes and dislikes, your outlook on the world. In my experience, the more of yourself you celebrate, the more likely you will be to find those who share your interests, passions and views, and think you are wonderful exactly as you are. I wish this confidence had come to me earlier!

3. Save Your Nickels!
Oh my goodness, if I had a nickel for every time I should have saved a nickel instead of spending it on "you-name-it", I would have many ‘a nickel right now, let me tell you! As un-glamorous as it might sound, this is one of the most important strategies for living I can impart on the younger generation: the sooner that you start saving for your future, the more options you will be creating for yourself down the road. I am huge believer in investing in travel, education, real estate, and Jimmy Choo shoes, or anything that is of value to you individually, and the more consistently you save by showing a little short term restraint, the more of those things you will be setting yourself up to enjoy over the long haul with greater freedom from debt. Plus, in today’s uncertain global economy, a girl really cannot be over-prepared for the ups and downs of the job market. Do yourself a big-picture favor and begin a savings plan – you will be surprised at how quickly it accumulates and how satisfying it feels to have a little something set aside for a rainy day.

4. Bad Boys Are Just That - BAD.
Having married a quintessential “nice guy” I may seem biased on this point, but believe me, I spent a shocking amount of my youth chasing the player/jerk/all-round bad boy, and guess what, with very few exceptions – that really only serve to prove the rule, in fact – bad boys are actually bad. Heed my advice, and add this to the top of your list of life strategies moving forward – relationships should be built on mutual trust, respect, honesty and caring, and those values are absolutely worth the wait. Yes, you may be one of the few lovely ladies out there with a bad boy who treats you right, or maybe you just prefer this type of guy, and that is your call, but for all those women working unhappily to stay in the favors of their not-so-nice-guys, keep in mind the adrenaline you feel trying to “win” over the rebel with the brooding attitude and list of rules is really not worth your time or efforts. You deserve someone who will love and respect you from day one, because for the record, you are amazing and your nice guy is out there.

5.Cherish Your "Homegirls"
No matter what stage of life you are in, a good friend is a blessing unlike any other. When you are young, however, you are often able to dedicate more time to enjoying your girlfriends, prior to husbands, children and other commitments that can take priority as you mature. Thinking of life strategies, I know if I could go back, I would tell my younger self to spend far more time cherishing my female friendships.Create more experiences with them. . .take more "girl vacations", host more cocktail hours, invest more in midnight talks. . . After all, when I think back now, it is truly those moments we shared together that resonate as some of the happiest, most supportive, wonderful times of my young life. A good girlfriend never goes out of style, so take advantage of the time you have together today.

6. Your Body is Truly a Temple
There are many different ways to live when it comes to diet and exercise and each woman has to find the path that works best for her. Lord knows I've been up and down more roads than one when it comes to "revamping" my health and wellness! When I was younger, however, I believed, like so many women do, that my metabolism would stay the same, I had plenty of time to develop good fitness habits, and I could truly treat my body with far less respect than I should have. Well shoulda, coulda, woulda’s aside, life lesson learned, because my body has changed with the years, two kiddos, and waaaay too much fast food, and now I am working to catch up. And truth be told, I have realized in maturity that loving and taking care of your body goes well beyond the valuable reasons for maintaining a healthy weight, it ties in to stress management, feelings of empowerment and self-esteem, and it can open the door to enjoying life in a truly healthy, centered way. Your body really is your temple and the better you are to it, the more it will give you in return.

7. Live in the Moment
The final point on a list of life strategies I would tell my younger self if I could really is the key to finding so much happiness, fun and joy in life for me, yet I can confess that it is a lesson that eluded me for many years – live in the moment! Being present for each day, truly invested in what is going on around you ensures you are not unproductively dwelling on the past, or wrapped up in what may happen down the road. Instead, you are awake for the now and able to better enjoy the blessings you have today, and be more prepared for the ups and downs life throws at you. Not every moment is going to be ideal, and I think we can all attest to the inevitable heartbreak that goes along with life at some point, but by living the moment you can put in to practice one of the most widely recognized and successful life techniques: the ability to hone in on the one moment you are capable of changing, relishing in, and truly maximizing.

It is never too late to adopt new life strategies, and while there are many things I would tell my younger self now, if I could, the road to the lesson is so much of the experience, there is very little I would change in the end. If you are part of the next generation of wonderful women, currently exploring your teens and twenties with the same innocence and optimism I did, I encourage you to find ways to live that speak to you, and to embrace the wisdom of those who forged the path ahead of you. And, if you are part of the maturing generation who assisted young women like myself, then I can promise you we are all grateful for your guidance and fail-proof advice. In that spirit, each one of our amigas, young and old, no doubt has a range of experience to share – what life strategies can you add to this list, ladies?
I'd love new wisdom to impart to, well. . .ME! Let's hear it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Do's and Don'ts of Bedtime Snacking

It’s bedtime, and you’re feeling snacky. This is the story of my life!  I can be good all day long, eating clean, responsible meals, no indulgences, but the minute the kids are in bed, something internally happens.  I become a gremlin.  I MUST SNACK.  Usually, I'm not even very choosy about what the snack involves. Sweet, Salty, etc. . .I do not discriminate. Do you have this problem? Do your cravings kick in at bedtime? Must you satisfy this midnight snack fetish?  As you stand in front of the fridge, you’re a little worried your snack choice might end up keeping you awake all night, so what to do? No worries. I've done my research. Here is a list of the worst foods to eat before bed. As long as your snack choice in under 200 calories, and doesn’t have caffeine, and as long as it’s not on this following list of "forbidden foods", give it a go, and satisfy that salty or sweet craving! Here are the 10 worst foods to eat before bed.

You know you’re not supposed to drink coffee, even decaf — which actually DOES contain caffeine, by the way — but why? That caffeine is a stimulant, so it’ll keep you awake, but it’s also a diuretic, which means you’ll be up and down to relieve your busy bladder all night, too. Yikes, the double-whammy! Naturally, then coffee tops most lists of the worst foods to eat before bed… or drink, I suppose.

Oh, how I do love chocolate, but it’s also one of the worst foods to eat before bed. this is such a bummer because the hubs and I love to channel surf before bed and scarf down a couple swiss cake rolls. . . at least we used to before we were shown the error of our ways. Sure, dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, but it also contains caffeine, and a lot of sugar, which will also give you a buzz you just don’t need when you’re trying to relax, unwind, and doze off.

For the lactose-intolerant or for those who suffer from heartburn, cheese can be one of the worst foods to eat before bed. It can also be heavy in your tummy while you’re trying to sleep, even if you’re not intolerant. Enjoy the cheese and crackers earlier in the evening.

Chips and Salsa or Spicy Thai may sound like the ideal bedtime snack, but wow, are you asking for trouble! The spicy peppers and other ingredients may cause heartburn, and for some, they’ll even give an unexpected energy boost. Rather than sleeping, you’ll be up cleaning the bathroom, washing your car, writing that novel…

As I mentioned with chocolates, it’s a good idea to avoid sweets before bed. The sugar will get you all buzzed up. Try a naturally sweet alternative, like a handful of fresh berries or an apple instead. These also contain sugar, but it’s a lot less likely to give you a buzz and crash later. 

Trust me, nothing will sit as heavy in your stomach as you’re trying to sleep than a big, greasy hamburger.You may think it's an absolutely fabulous idea at the time, but trust me on this one!  It’s almost guaranteed to give you heartburn, too. Skip the burger in favor of something lighter, less greasy, and less loaded with fat. You’ll sleep a lot better.

I know, I know. It seems like a night-cap makes you feel drowsy. That’s true, but did you know as soon as the alcohol works its way out of your bloodstream in a few hours, you’ll experience a wake-up, stimulant effect? It’s best to avoid alcohol 4 to 6 hours before bed for just this exact reason. It might help you drift off, or worse, pass out, but then you’ll wake up, and get frustrated as you try, and fail, to fall asleep again.

Beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber, but sweetie, don’t eat them before bed! They’ll make you gassy, for sure, and that’s a horrible way to spend the night. Imagine the embarrassment of ruining sexy-time with an ill-timed toot. Save the beans for another time, during the day, when the gas will have plenty of time to work its way out when you’re not trying to sleep… or snuggle. 

Most colas contain a lot of caffeine, which by now, I’m sure you’ve seen is one of the worst foods to eat before bed (or drink before bed). Even non-cola sodas can contain a lot of caffeine, and they’re all loaded with sugary high fructose corn syrup. Stop drinking soda at mid-day to avoid staring at the ceiling, wishing you could sleep.


They’re greasy and salty and oh-so-delicious, but French fries are another of the worst foods to eat before bed. First of all, the grease from the fries may end up on your jammies, fingers, and face, requiring another bed-time beauty ritual. Also, the grease will sit heavy in your tummy as you try to sleep… avoid the fries at bed-time. If you crave something salty, why not try a handful of almonds or a few saltine crackers instead?
See, my snack-fetish friends? You can still snack at bedtime, but try to keep the snack light, not overly sweet or caffeinated, and under 200 calories (so it doesn’t sit heavy in your belly). As long as your snack doesn’t appear on the "forbidden foods" list, and as long as it meets the other criteria, dig in… then go scrub your teeth, wash your hands and face, grab your snuggly, and settle in.  Sweet dreams and happy, healthy snacking!
 What’s your favorite bedtime snack, and why?
 Does it help you sleep?
 Do tell!  I love all your feedback!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Motivation: New Puppies and Dreams of Bikinis

Well, it's time for a little Monday motivation from someone who needs it immensely herself!  It's been a crazy weekend, and even crazier last week, and I am pushing through some stress and other irritating factors in order to keep my mind focused on the prize. The weeks are slipping by slowly and my first 5K is coming up ASAP.  Not just any 5K, but the one in which I WILL run the entire thing.  I will not take exhaustion for an excuse. I have to keep pressing on. In the meantime, could life cut me a little break?! For real!!! No one else is allowed to need me for anything, no more emotional breakdowns are in order, and my children really need to get with the program on my new journey to health.  If I have one more request for McDonald's, I think I may just pull my hair out! :)

Let's talk about "planking", shall we?! I am pretty proud of myself, actually!  I have clocked 97 total minutes of planking in the month of July.  I'm a little over halfway there! I only have 8 more days to get this goal cranked out, so I'm going to have to bump my 10 minute daily goal to 20 minutes. I don't think that this will be too horrid, seems as though it's getting to be a daily ritual.  I make coffee, I plank while it perks. . .I cook breakfast, I plank while it cools. . .I watch a little Phineas and Ferb, and we plank through the commercials.  The kiddos are hilarious about the whole ordeal!  Either they are climbing on top of me, or climbing under my planks. They know I'm exercising, and try to join in sometimes.  I love it that they recognize that it is important to me, and mommy is trying her best to get in shape. My constant hitting the kitchen floor has sparked many conversations about health and taking care of our bodies and what all that entails. It's been a great experience this month.
Another change that I've made over the last week or two is the way that I shop.  I'm trying really hard to eat as many whole foods as I can. I'm spending most of my grocery dollars in the produce and poultry aisles. I actually feel a whole lot better! I have to say it takes a whole lot more time and effort and planning in order to make these meals, but overall, it's been a pleasant and much needed transition. I'm cutting the fast foods completely, only allowing one day a week to splurge in restaurants, and doing away with pop as well. I enjoy teas and water so much more now that I'm running so much more. One pop can leave me so dehydrated during a run, as I usually don't carry water with me. Eating foods that are 80% water has helped cure this problem as well.  I'm eating a lot of cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc., all of which are made up mostly of water. My grocery bill may be a tad bit more, but it's worth it at the end of the day when I don't have that greasy pit in my stomach or am dealing with heartburn from so much soda. I wish I had changed my perspective years ago.

Ok, this is most definitely not me.  I would kill for those skinny thighs! This is adorable Miley Cyrus and her adorable Husky pup on a daily run.  The pics that would be taken of me, were I to be VIP enough to warrant a paparazzi following, would involve wider hips, baggy basketball shorts, and an adorable pit bull puppy by my side. That's right! I (temporarily) have a new running partner!  Out on a run one night last week, I came across this little cutie on a main road, running right in front of ongoing traffic.  He took quite a tumble and landed right at my feet.  Being the softie that I am, I made it my civic duty to ensure that he found his rightful owner. After calling the local pounds and putting up flyers, his owner seems to be MIA. He's been slathering my kiddos with slobber, taking nose dives into the backyard wading pool, reminding me of the woes of potty-training a pet, and being an overall love bug. I've grown quite attached to this "temporary" new sidekick and have decided to make him a daily accessory for my morning runs. I'll feel a lot safer and more motivated to keep moving with an energetic pup at my heels!  Now, if only I could get my hubby to allow me to name him and claim him as my own. . . .we're still working on that part! (wink, wink!)

This shall be me in TWENTY DAYS!  We have officially booked a family vacation to South Padre Island Beach, Texas for 7 whole days! I could not be more excited!  I haven't been to the beach in awhile, and am looking forward to jumping the waves with the boys and laying on the sand, soaking up rays. Of course, with the fact that a beach ensures I will want to wear as little clothing as humanly possible, I'm nervous about being "bikini ready".  Who am I kidding!?  I haven't worn a bikini since pre-children, although, that is my goal one day.  I'm slowly but surely getting closer and closer! From the beginning of this whole process, I have shown steady progress.  I'm down from 165 in May, to 155.5 lbs as of today!  I'll take it!  I've plateaued at this weight, but with the changes in my diet and running more frequently, I look forward to feeling confident and energetic on the beach with my family and parents. I'll post photos (as I know that I'm behind on my Progress-In-Photos page) as soon as I get back.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

100 Reasons To Work-Out Today

So. . .today is one of those days. I'm feeling skinny.  These days don't come around every single day!  I've ran 2.5(ish) miles for the last two evenings in a row and stayed well within my 1200 calorie intake goals for each day. And I know the scale can be a big, fat, hairy liar when it comes to water-weight and how much clothing weighs, etc, but it is telling me that in the last three days, that I have lost 4 lbs!  I'll take it! It's great motivation for me to keep up the calorie counting and running for 30 minutes a day.  It's when the plateau arrives that I'm dreading.  I know it's just around the corner! I will stop losing all the water-weight and start gaining lean muscle mass and the numbers on the scale will stop moving steadily downward. It's in these moments, that I need something to cling to.  Here it is. . .

100 Reasons To Work-Out Today
  1. Because it makes you feel confident
  2. Because it helps you get stronger
  3. Because exercise helps combat depression
  4. Because you'll feel proud of yourself
  5. Because you have goals you want to reach
  6. Because you'll feel bad if you don't
  7. Because you want to move forward, not backward
  8. Because it burns more calories than not working out
  9. Because it improves your heart health
  10. Because you want a great butt
  11. Because it prevents diabetes
  12. Because you want to be a good example to your kids
  13. Because you want to feel good in your clothes
  14. Because it reduces your risk of cancer
  15. Because your body was made to move
  16. Because you want to be an athlete
  17. Because you want to look better
  18. Because it lifts your mood
  19. Because you want to stand taller
  20. Because it reduces back pain
  21. Because it feels good
  22. Because it makes you feel accomplished
  23. Because you spend most of your day on your butt
  24. Because swimsuit season is always coming
  25. Because strong is the new skinny
  26. Because dieting only works so much
  27. Because it strengthens your bones, too
  28. Because it helps you lose weight
  29. Because it allows you to eat more food
  30. Because it's the best way to spend "me" time
  31. Because it helps you de-stress
  32. Because it's cheaper than therapy
  33. Because you want a strong core
  34. Because you want to take care for yourself
  35. Because you take pride in your body
  36. Because it strengthens your legs
  37. Because it helps your clothes fit better
  38. Because you want to push yourself
  39. Because you are capable of more than you ever imagined
  40. Because moving your body feels good
  41. Because it keeps your mind sharp
  42. Because it helps you beat belly bloat
  43. Because it helps you sleep better at night
  44. Because it gives you energy
  45. Because you want to stay healthy as you age
  46. Because you want to look younger
  47. Because you want toned arms
  48. Because it improves your balance
  49. Because it burns off last night's dessert
  50. Because it boosts your immune system
  51. Because sweat is sexy
  52. Because you want to live longer
  53. Because you want to get better at your game
  54. Because you want to catch someone's eye
  55. Because exercisers earn more money
  56. Because you're more likely to eat better when you exercise
  57. Because you want to shave time off your running pace
  58. Because you want to breathe easier
  59. Because you want to see the scale drop
  60. Because exercise improves your sex life
  61. Because you are worth it
  62. Because being fit makes everything in life better
  63. Because you promised yourself that you would
  64. Because you deserve a better life
  65. Because it'll help you drink more water
  66. Because you want to do real push-ups
  67. Because it reduces your health care costs
  68. Because you'll miss fewer days of work
  69. Because you want to create a new future for yourself
  70. Because it'll help you like what you see in the mirror
  71. Because it makes clothing shopping more fun
  72. Because you want to look and feel incredible
  73. Because exercising can be fun
  74. Because it'll give your skin a glow
  75. Because it's a good way to spend time with your friends
  76. Because it'll help you prevent the middle-age spread
  77. Because it reduces your blood pressure
  78. Because you don't want to let yourself go
  79. Because you don't want to squeeze into an airplane or rollercoaster seat
  80. Because it strengthens your spirit
  81. Because it's a cheap way to entertain yourself
  82. Because you'll be able to reward yourself
  83. Because you need a reason to wear those new workout clothes
  84. Because you're tired of being tired
  85. Because not working out is not going to get you very far
  86. Because it's a great way to spend time outside
  87. Because you made a commitment to yourself
  88. Because you're tired of starting over
  89. Because there will always be another wedding, vacation or reunion
  90. Because you're not a quitter
  91. Because it improves your cholesterol
  92. Because it boosts your metabolism
  93. Because it prevents age-related muscle loss
  94. Because if you can do this, you can do anything
  95. Because a fit body is a healthy body
  96. Because it beats sitting on the couch
  97. Because  everyone has at least 10 minutes to spare
  98. Because you want to be stronger than your excuses
  99. Because not working out isn't working out for you
  100. Because the only workout you ever regret is the one you skip
And yet one more reason is completely vain and self-absorbed and makes me sound like a ridiculous "girl". . .I want to be a HOT MOM.  I want to go on vacation in 25 days to South Padre Island Beach with my hubby and two kiddos and for people to look at me and think, "Wow.  I can't believe she is a mom of two kids!  She looks fantastic!"  I want my hubby to think I'm the sexiest chica on the beach, and one day, I want my two boys to be embarrassed that their high-school teacher is hitting on their mom.  Sounds silly, but a girl's gotta have goals, ya feel me?!  So here I go, with spending yet another day drinking a gallon of water, throwing back another protien shake, and dining on grilled chicken and cucumbers.  Here's to looking out at the waves rolling in and not feeling the urge to suck in my stomach on the beach in a month. I can totally do this! 

What are some things that you would add to this list of reasons?

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm a Virgin at Aerobics

This is an exert from my other blog ( about my virgin attempt to try out an aerobics class. Thought I'd share here.  Hope you get a few chuckles at my expense. :)

I picked up a class calendar at my local YMCA where I like to go run and decided to attempt my first Zumba class.  A number of my friends have said how fun it is, so I decided that would try it out.  Upon arrival, I realized that I was one of the only ones in the class that didn't take it SERIOUSLY.  Everyone was decked out in their skintight spandex and sports bras, complete with headbands and special Zumba sneakers.  I was in a t-shirt and basketball shorts. My bad. I didn't realize I needed to come to look like I was going to be included in the next Susan Sommers Sexy Buns workout video.  I sighed as the class began and immediately fell behind.  Way behind.  As "I'm Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO blared over the stereo, the booty-shaking commenced.  Hips were swinging back and forth and the pelvic thrusting totally through me off.  Did these women take a DVD home and learn all these moves before the class? I joined in with only about every third move.  I was hopeless.  I had no mojo and I certainly wasn't bringing anything sexy back.  It was entertaining to watch all the 50-year-old "cougar-types", get their groove on.  I believe most of them were probably strippers in a former life.  And all of the 20-somethings droppin it like it's hot could probably leave this class and go directly into a MTV Spring Break casting without a problem.  However, I needed to take my clumsy rump home and study up a bit more on how the Latinas learn how to move their booties.  I enjoyed myself.  And Lord knows the other classmates enjoyed watching me make a fool of myself.  But the next time I go into Zumba class, I'm coming prepared. . .With neon armbands and leotards made for the Macarena.

Happy Monday fitness friends!  Hope your week gets off to a good start!  I'm mixing up my protein shake and getting my day started! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How Do They Do It?

I found this article online that compiled a list of tons of tips and tricks from people who successfully lost 50 lbs or more in there weightloss journeys. Here are some nuggets of advice that they give as to how they got the best results. Some are more obvious, but one thing that I've learned on this journey to fitness is that we know but don't practice half of the advice that is given to us. Here's to listening and not just hearing! 

Drink Water

One of the biggest common denominators amongst people who lost over 50 pounds is they all switched over to drinking water. They gave up the sodas and sugary drinks and instead quenched their thirst with water. This tip alone helped hundreds of people lose weight.

Keep a Food Journal

Write down everything that goes into your mouth. Most people were surprised to see how much they were actually eating. It wasn’t until they wrote it down that they began to realize the cause and effect of what they were putting into their bodies.

Count Calories

What a boring a tedious job, but probably one of the most effective undertakings for losing weight. There is no getting around calorie balance. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat less than you burn.

Control Portion Sizes

In our super-sized food culture, portion sizes have gotten out of control. Eating portions the size of your fist is a good start towards controlling your food intake. Don’t feel like you always need to finish off all the food on your plate. Leaving a couple bites will teach you self-control.

Don’t Diet

The best “diet” is the one that best fits into your lifestyle. Once you find that, it’s no longer a diet – it’s just a way of life. One of the best healthy weight loss tips people sent in was to approach weight loss as a lifestyle change, and not as a diet. Once you get it out of your head that there’s an end date, you can start focusing on the day-to-day realities of living a healthy lifestyle. Being fit is not a destination – it’s a way of life.

Be Consistent

No one is perfect. We are all going to make mistakes. However, successful people are consistently living a healthy lifestyle. Over a period of time, they are eating healthy 90% of the time, and they are exercising several times a week.  Make exercise and healthy eating part of your everyday routine and soon it will be as second nature as brushing your teeth.


A healthy lifestyle takes planning. Most mistakes occur from a lack of a plan. Plan your meals in advance so you know what to buy every week at the grocery store. Only buy what you plan on eating, and try to cook your meals ahead of time. The simple nature of reheat and eat makes it much more likely that you’ll stay on track.

Make Small Changes

Make small changes consistently until they are habit and you no longer have to think about it, and then make another change. There’s no need to completely change your lifestyle all at once. You’ll be much more likely to stick with your new healthy lifestyle if you make small changes. Try changing one thing at a time.

Educate Yourself

Learn the whys. Don’t just do something because someone said to. Understand the purpose behind it. Many people just want a meal plan or blueprint to follow for weight loss. However, the successful people that lost weight and kept it off long term started taking an interest in how nutrition and exercise impact their bodies. They learned the “whys” behind what they were doing, and they were more successful because of it.

Get Active

Nearly everyone who lost over 50 pounds added in some form of physical activity. Even if it was just a little bit, the fact that they were more active helped them lose the weight. The trick is to find an activity you enjoy. Not everyone likes the same exercise. Find an activity you love to do, and then push yourself out of your comfort zone. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

You’re going to mess up. We all do. Successful people don’t beat themselves up over it. They get right back on track. They don’t wait until tomorrow to do so either. Their healthy lifestyle and weight loss continues to move forward and make progress because they allow themselves to make mistakes, learn from them, and then end up stronger as a result.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

We are highly influenced by the people close to us. Many successful people had to move forward with their lives and leave old friends and lifestyles behind. It was a hard decision to make, but they understood how important it was to surround themselves with people who believed in their dreams.


How do you expect to accomplish your goals if you never start trying to achieve them? Beginning is half the challenge. Don’t be afraid of failure. People who lost over 50 pounds stopped waiting for things to happen, and went out and made things happen.

Stop Making Excuses

Successful people made the shift and realized that the reasons for why they weren’t reaching their weight loss goals were actually just excuses. It was a hard idea to accept, but once they were honest with themselves, they spent less time making excuses, and more time finding ways to accomplish their goals.

Do It For Yourself

Make ME #1. Lose weight for Me, not because of pressure from other people. We all have our own reasons for wanting to lose weight, but a common denominator amongst the healthy weight loss tips sent in was that the successful people undertook their new lifestyle because they wanted to. They weren’t pressured into weight loss by friends or family. They did it for themselves, and as a result, they inspired others to do something for themselves too.

Be Patient

You didn’t gain your weight overnight, and you aren’t going to lose it that way either. We all want the weight gone quickly, but once you realize that weight loss is a process, you can stop beating yourself up for not reaching your far-fetched weight loss goals. Stop looking at weight loss as a day to day challenge. If nothing changes, nothing changes. This is a lifetime commitment to changing.

Stay Positive

Negative thoughts lead to negative results. You are the result of what you think. Keeping a positive outtake on your weight loss journey increases the odds of your success. You will learn a lot about yourself during your lifestyle transition. There will be many challenges and difficulties, but it’s important to understand that even though it might not be easy, it will be worth it.

Discover Your Relationship With Food

Why are you eating bad? Make the connection between your eating habits and your emotions. Get to the root of your negative lifestyle choices. Know when your body needs food and when it wants food, and find new ways to reward yourself other than with food.

Don’t Try to Be Perfect

If your goal is to be perfect, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. No one is perfect. Even the people who seem to have the most perfect bodies didn’t get there by being perfect. Perfection is something many strive for, but ultimately something they will never achieve. Do your best!

Never Give Up

Weight loss happens the moment you don’t give up. Many people don’t realize how close they were to achieving success. There comes a time when things just click, but that doesn’t happen until you’re ready to throw in the towel and call it quits. The longer you stick with it, the higher your odds of success. Keep moving forward, and don’t ever give up!
All this advice was originally shared on this website:
Happy hump day, lovely fitness amigos! Keep on-Keeping on!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Replacing Bad Habits with Good Ones (Cause Water is Yucko!)

So. . .every Monday is a new week and I have a tendency to hit things full-force on this day and then be exhausted by Tuesday.  Not this week.  I am taking things slower and setting realistic goals for myself. I thought I would share some of those with you. Whether you want them or not. :)  So here goes......
Don't you just adore these Ecards?!  They make me happy.  And this time, give me a bit of inspiration.  This exact conversation seems to be one that I have with my hubby on a weekly basis.  Especially this week, since we just planned a family vaca 45 days away.  On a beach.  Where little clothing is involved. It might be just the added push we need to get serious about our health for all the vain, petty, wrong reasons.  But yet, an added push. :)  So here's so looking hotter in 45 days in South Padre!
This week will be an effort at replacing bad habits with good ones.  I've learned a bit about myself in this whole process.  I can't take something away from myself without replacing that loss with a new gain.  A healthier gain.  So this week, I am giving up soda. Seems like a small enough goal, but you have no idea how much I rely on my caffeine to get me through the day without killing someone!  As I take that away, I am coming up with new ways to learn to like water.  Cause let's be real. . .it's just not as exciting and fulfilling as a good cola. But water it is for me for awhile.
This is one idea that I found on Pinterest. Get a water bottle that keeps track of your water intake.  It may even help to write times and amounts on the water bottle so that you are breaking up your goal of intake down into increments. Small goals are always a lot easier than larger ones.  I want to consume 8 glasses of 8 oz. of water per day so that means I need a water bottle that can hold 64 oz.  Once I drink the whole bottle, I've reached the goal.
This is another idea that I've found that has helped me bigtime in the water-department of things. I constantly keep hair bands on my wrist (in case an emergency ponytail is needed!).  I started keeping eight of them in varying colors on my wrist and taking one at a time off as I finished another glass of water. This has helped A TON cause it's a constant visual reminder of how much left I have to drink. If you are anything like me, water just doesn't "wet your whistle".  A little advice. . .MIO. It's a lifesaver.  There are so many flavors and they are small enough to keep in your purse and squirt into a bottled water on the go.  I don't know how I would stomach 8 glasses a day without this wonder-liquid. Gracious Mio!  (a free plug for your product!)
I just love this quote.  So true.  When life seems like too much to handle and I plead with my hubby to take the kids and let me hit the neighborhood for a run at dusk, I feel a temporary escape from my world off perpetual mommyhood. I run and I feel free, even if only for a short time.  Its rejuvenating and allows me to fall back into the mindset that I can and will do this life excellently. That each day is a fresh start to try to get it right this time. I need that moment daily.

And so, as you tackle your Mondays. . .do it whole-heartedly! Do it with everything in you! You can be better than you were yesterday! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Start Again

The common theme on most of these weight loss blogs are the same. Gung-ho on day one, and then the drive slooooowly fizzles out. What is the deal, man? I have been the worst offender, I can promise you that! How many times in the past 7 weeks that this little blog has been alive have I committed and recommitted? I just spoke about this same thing last week. And yet, here I am again wondering why my personal goals for the month of June went unmet. I had set a side-goal for myself. In addition to running of course, I aspired to "plank" 3 full hours in the month of June. Once again, I fell VERY short. And so, it seems, have a lot of my new friends on their fitness journeys lately. So what is it that gets us so fired up and passionate only to fizzle out before the real progress shows up? Where does that spark go when the alarm goes off in the early a.m. and you wrestle with whether to go back to sleep or find your running shoes? And what do some of these women have that I don't have? These women that make it look so easy with snug, fashionable yoga pants, toned shoulders, and bustling energy. These moms that show up with full-make-up at the gym carrying their happy kids to the play area and prance like gazelles to the treadmill. What are their secrets? What is their motive? And where do they get their degree in "how-to-make-a-messy-ponytail-look-sexy"?! It's mind-boggling, to say the least. You're lucky if I show up in my hubby's t-shirt and gym shorts with a smirk on my face. I like my sleep. And that, is the understatement of the year as a mom. We barely sleep as it is! 

Yet here I am trying to uncover the secret to success in fitness and weight-loss. Beyond starting over every Monday. Cause you know that's when all diets begin. LOL. 

I must say, I look at people like my mother-in-law in awe and envy. She's a grandma of four now and quite possibly in the best shape of her life. After months of engaging in the Weight Watchers diet, she got down to her goal weight and took up running. Now she runs half-marathons and can run laps around ME any day of the week. In fact, I would love for her to run a few laps FOR me! That could be helpful. But regardless, she inspires me. And I think to myself, what does she have that I don't have? Self-discipline, motivation, drive, confidence that she can do it? I think more than anything, she had courage. Courage to do whatever it took to be be healthy. It takes a lot more courage to get off the couch than it does to just sit there. Because failure is so inevitable in this journey. Failure wounds us daily. We need to be courageous enough to stand back up and keep on going. I think this is something I lack. Something I am just now realizing about myself. 

I need courage. 

Mom-in-law took the 3 hour Plank-A-Thon challenge with me and let me know yesterday that she did it. She DID it! All three hours in comparison to my 2 hours and 14 minute shortcoming. And so, I ask myself, what should I do today to be more courageous?...... Start again? It would be easy to pick a new goal. I almost did. But I've decided to start my plank-a-Thon challenge over again. This time, I'll make it too. This time I'll have a bit more courage. I'll accept my failures and decide to begin again--even if it's not Monday yet. 

And to all those out there like my mother-in-law......all those Malibu Barbie Moms at the gym, and to every last one of you who have inspired me to keep going...thanks for the courage! Thank you for assuring us that this thing isn't impossible. That we will one day reach a point of progress if we keep starting over. Today is a day for courage. Brush yourselves off and start again!