Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Surviving the Holidays!

We had our first family gathering of the season this past Sunday evening at our house. It was actually not a Christmas gathering per say but a family birthday party for the December birthdays. The theme was "Summer" so we all wore summer clothes, had BBQ hamburgers (Yes, and it was a downpour. Thank you to the hubby for standing out back getting soaked while he grilled.), pasta salad, potato salad, and all the fixings that go along with a summer picnic. Oh, and shall I mention the strawberry shortcakes and any type of ice cream float imaginable for dessert. It was in that moment that I felt my mind want to run away from me and start playing all sorts of tricks about what I was getting myself into as far as my food choices, not to mention knowing this was the week of Christmas and New Years and things would only get worse not better in the scheme of food choice intake. 

We are creatures of habit, some more than others, but for me, if you've read my blog long enough, you know I thrive on routine and structure. In fact, things don't go so well in my brain when unforeseen things come up (I need to work on that, I know). My entire weight loss journey and everything I've become has been based on learning new strategies, finding things I enjoy, and making those things become healthy habits in my life. Learning to get myself through the holidays or any other time (vacation, special occasion, etc.) should be no different. 

When I was out on a run this morning I was thinking a lot about this and the one thing that I was reminded of was that I AM IN CONTROL. I am in control of what choices I make. I am in control of who I have become. No food or event can take that away from me unless I decide to let it. And knowing that I am not perfect and sometimes slip, sometimes more than I'd like, I am prepared for the consequences that follow and know what needs to be done to get back on track. Not that I have any intention of going there this holiday season. I just like to know ahead of time in my brain that I've worked out all the details. 

The attitude I personally have taken for the holiday season is to maintain and not gain. Now, that doesn't mean, beat myself up over the 9 pounds I mentioned a few blog posts ago that I am trying to get back off. It means from that point on...to maintain for now. I want to enjoy the holidays and not be so worried about losing but focus also on not gaining. Here are a few things I worked through today on my run that I plan to do and thought I would share.

- Don't fixate on the foods you shouldn't eat. Eat them, just in moderation. In fact, take everything you want, small amounts, and then be proud of yourself for sticking to your plan. 

-Drink plenty of water. Water for me is a filler and it sure does help. Oftentimes I add my flavor I use when going to the gym and it's a liquid treat in and of itself. (Lately I'm hooked on mango!) 

- Exercise EVERY DAY. Even if you don't feel like much, or it's a rest day, a walk is better than nothing. Especially during the holidays when consuming calories adds up quickly. 

- If you're headed to a function, don't arrive famished. It's better to get a head start at home and fill up on something safe before having a few treats at the party. 

- Use a smaller plate when you have the option. 

- Share with a friend. If it helps to be able to talk with someone about your "holiday helps," go for it. Sometimes just be accountable to someone is all it takes. 

- Be positive. Positive self affirmations. At the end of each day, write down the things you did well, as far as food choices and exercise. Did I stay within the boundaries I'd set for myself etc? 

- Most of all, enjoy the spirit of the season! Don't let your mind sabatoge your reason for enjoying the holidays.  

I pray each one of you have a blessed holiday season. I know in looking at my own life, I have so much to be grateful for, my health being a huge part of that. Thank you for your continued support. See you in 2015! 

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Now is the Time

I've been wanting to blog about this topic for well over a month now but I wasn't sure how or what I would say. I still am not sure exactly what I'm trying to voice but I'm wanting to give it a shot. This has no intention of offending anyone or your personal situation.  These are just my thoughts. Like I've said numerous times before, I blog mainly for myself and to hold myself accountable but if my entries bless others along the way, that makes me just as happy.

I had been out of the gym for a brief time while dealing with our move.  When I started back to getting serious about my fitness schedule again, I learned that a dear friend of our family (young mother of 2) was diagnosed with Leukemia and immediately put in the hospital in isolation for a month while they started rigorous chemo and various cancer treatments. Her life was taken over in that very moment, on that Sunday morning, by doctors and nurses and people who knew what she needed in order to fight the rough road ahead. She had no choice. She had to step away from everything normal, including living at home with her husband and young boys, being a mom, and everything that her fairytale consisted of up until now . She had to take a step forward in faith, praying for a miracle. My heart ached. I cried.  But she went forward with such courage and an amazing outlook which really touched me in a special way. 

I got to thinking about health and how many of us struggle with either weightloss, body imagine, getting healthy, or whatever it may be. For some it can be very debilitating, scary, and I'm sure causes great amounts of stress and even depression for some. But then I am reminded that even as scary as the road may look, and at different times on our journeys we're not quite sure we have it in us to move forward or how we're going to get there, we have not been the one diagnosed with an illness such as Leukemia and had our lives temporarily taken away and at the will of doctors and hospitals. It motivates me. Doesn't it motivate you? 

If you have the power to get healthy and be healthy, why wouldn't you? For the past 4 years I have been a huge advocate in helping myself take on a new lifestyle, but just the thought of knowing so many people out there like my dear friend who struggle with illness, some even terminal, and the fact that they don't have that choice at the moment to get healthy and fit in the same way that you and I are aiming for, makes me want to shake the world and tell everyone to count your blessings and be grateful for what you have in the moment because you never know what curve ball may be thrown your way. Bottom line is this...If you're in a spot where you feel like you've been wanting to change. CHANGE. If you feel like you've been at a stand still and the weight isn't budging, MOVE FORWARD. If you feel like you can't do it alone. GET HELP. 

There are so many times where we get caught up in somewhat of a pity party, myself included. "I can't seem to lose the weight. I've tried everything. My body was made this way. I'll start tomorrow. I have no motivation. I'm not disciplined enough. And the list goes on.....but really I'm learning we really need to ask ourselves: How can we get there? What tools do we need to be successful? Who can we help along the way? And most of all, be grateful for healthy bodies, even if they need some work and fine tuning. 

I just want to close by letting you know that my dear friend that I was telling you about is actually a certified trainer. She believes in healthy. She believes in taking care of YOU. If she could, she would be on a hike today exploring some new adventure and taking in all that God has created on top of a mountain somewhere.  If you're not ready to commit to yourself, commit to someone else. Someone who is going through a trial and has temporarily been restricted from the kinds of things you and I get to do.  Do it in their honor. Serve them in a way that will not only make a difference in your life but will bless them too.  I know it would make my friend's heart happy to have anyone out there that is struggling at this moment with either body image, weight loss, exercise, or changing their life around for the better, to just do it! Step out of the box. Have faith. Whether it's for the first time or whether you're needing to get recommitted.  Life is too fragile to wait for the perfect moment or a better time. Now is the time. 

Thank you Elena for blessing me so and giving me new perspective on life. You have made me a better me in the last 6 weeks. Thank you. It won't be long and we will take the guys and hike to a mountaintop together again. You're a fighter and your faith on this journey so far is nothing but inspiring. Bless you. 

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Onward and Upward....

Now that Thanksgiving is over and the leftovers are either eaten or thrown away, it’s time to get my brain back on track. The good news is it usually only takes me a day or two of being out of sync with my eating to help me crave getting back to a healthy lifestyle again. One of the perks I guess of spending the last few years retraining my body and brain on what healthy is all about.

I was excited to start my week and get back into my normal. Like I said in my post just prior to Thanksgiving, I have been somewhat out of sync for some time now with moving, remodeling, and getting settled in our new house. I made a plan of attack this weekend. I am craving “normal” but also know with the holidays around the corner, I am human and certainly not perfect and am bound to eat naughty on occasion. Regardless, getting my mind back on track is what’s most important and is what’s going to bring me the most success. It is so easy to get into a cycle of thoughts that spin you out of control when times like the holidays come and go. For me, it’s remembering that I’m not on a “diet”  but choosing to eat and live healthy is what motivates me to keep going forward. I remind myself that it’s the small decisions I make every day that are going to make the difference, not the week I took off to eat what I wanted over Thanksgiving break. 
These are a few of the things I reminded myself before I went to bed last night and that seem to bring me great comfort in times when I feel like I need it most. 
Take each day as it comes. 
Don’t dwell on the naughty things I ate but celebrate the fact that I was able to eat them. 
Don’t think of the things I haven’t been doing (like getting to the gym) but write down all the things I HAVE been doing (spending time with family, etc).
Reflect on how far I’ve come and even with a 9 pound disadvantage at the present moment, I am no where near what I was just 4 ½ years ago. 
Enjoy each day. Whether I messed up with eating or exercise, enjoy the moment and the day I am currently living. 
I’m learning to be grateful for the curve balls that have come and gone on this journey I call maintenance. I knew when I signed up for this challenge that it wasn’t going to be easy. It’s not supposed to be. I’ve had to work hard to become who I am and I don't believe health and happiness are suppose to come easily. We have to work at it. Just like anything else in life. This time of year was a good reminder of how grateful I am for a healthy body, that with a little training and positive self-talk has become something that has allowed me to do things in life I never dreamed or imagined. Life is good!

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