Sunday Funday

I wanted to get in another workout since this week had been so light.  I knew I would have the kiddo all day and it’s soooo nice outside.  I decided that we would find a new place to hike so I fired up google yesterday.  I didn’t want to drive far since I’d been in the car a lot this past week so I just searched for the best hikes in the city and voila – a plethora of choices.  I picked one along a large river that was less than 10 miles away.

This morning I made sure to pack a change of clothes and my Merrells to change into after church and two bottles of waters and we were set.  What a gorgeous day for it too!  We took our time and didn’t work up a huge sweat but my guess is that we hiked a few miles.  I wasn’t concerned about calories or distance.  This workout was all about enjoying this gorgeous weather and nature and discovering a new place with him.

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I love getting fit with my son and I hope it’s something we can share for many years to come although I realize the harsh truth is that one day soon he may be “too cool” to hang out with his mom and that’s why I am going to soak up every second of it while I can.

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Afterwards we went for froyo with a coupon for a free 5oz serving (it was burning a whole in our pocket) and then went to the grocery store.  I watch him pick up a package of food and instantly check out the nutritional information and I beam with pride.  Maybe it’s working.  Maybe he will pickup my new found healthy habits.  (I realize that’s a package of caramels but hey…it’s a start!)

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The Good Stuff Requires the Most Work

I did not wake up fat.  I will not wake up skinny.  Which is the opposite of what I used to say frequently.  Getting into shape requires a commitment.  It requires sweating really hard at the gym when you really just want to take a nap (that was me today).  It requires eating one pumpkin muffin instead of 2.5 (failed at today but dang they were good).  It requires patience (something I lack except with my son most days).

This is a common theme in life that I have noticed more as I have gotten older as well.  If you want to have a rewarding career, you must do the hard work and, for example, get your masters degree or any degree for that matter.  If you want to be a better mom, you have to read books and talk to other moms.  If you want to eat better, you have to pay attention to the calories and nutritional information of the things you are putting in your mouth (huge pain but only at first).  If you want to be a better Christian, you need to read the bible and get up early every Sunday and go to church.  If you want to be a better friend/spouse, you have to put in the time it takes to maintain that relationship.  If you want to have healthy finances, you must do the work to create a budget.  You get the point.

Taking the easy way out will only put you back where you were – no forward progress.  The good stuff is on the other end of all that hard work, but don’t be overwhelmed.  Inch by inch and life’s a cinch.  Take it one step at a time.  Tackle one area of your life.  That’s what it’s about anyways isn’t it?  Learning each day how to live your best life and once you have learned it all, check yourself before you wreck yourself because there’s still more to learn.  Around every corner is an opportunity to learn or teach.  Take that opportunity.  Don’t waste it.  You’ll be glad you did, but when you don’t, forgive yourself.  You’re human.  Do better tomorrow.

My Sobriety Experiment

You know what sounds like a lot of fun (because that’s how I usually decide whether or not to do something)? Not drinking for 30 days.

(Silence.  Crickets.)

No?

Yeah.  My thoughts exactly.  Why on earth would I agree to something that is so unrealistic for me?  I couldn’t possibly…or could I?

About two months ago, I had a very close friend relapse for the third time in a year and It was sad and scary and frustrating but mostly it made be feel so helpless.  There was nothing I could do to help him and really there never had been.  He was going to get sober when he was ready to.  Shortly after that, another very good friend that lives too far away finally took me up on my suggestion to give up all recreational substances for 30 days.  Well that was the kicker.  If both of them were going to give it up, so was I.  It wasn’t an easy decision.  I had tried it (at least once) in the past and failed.  Talking to a friend the day I decided I would try it, he said, “Commit to it: in or out?”  I think I muttered “in” and he said “what?” and I said “FINE! ALRIGHT ALRIGHT! I’M IN!” And that was it.  It was hard, especially that first week or two, but it got easier.  I had a support system like I never had before.  I could text my out of state friend when I really wanted a martini that I was mad that he accepted my challenge and now I had to do it.  I was talked out of quitting altogether when I realized my final divorce date fell within those 30 days.  Who goes through a divorce sober?!?! Um this girl…that’s who!  I didn’t need it.  I needed to feel every emotion.

So what was the point? At first I really didn’t know.  I would answer “just to prove to myself that I can do it” when people asked but I knew there was more.  What would it be like to be sober again for the first time in seven years because I wanted to, not because I was pregnant?  (I use the word “wanted” loosely.)  Was I also an alcoholic?  Can I handle my emotions on my own?  Can I have fun without it?  Would it make that much of a difference in my fitness?

The answer is that I can have fun without it and I don’t need it to handle my emotions and I’m not an alcoholic and being able to say all of those things makes me very proud of myself (Yes I’m singing Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson in my head right now).  It’s weird to be completely clear and aware for an entire month.  It’s a good weird though.  It’s a weird where I feel more like working out than I used to.  It’s a weird where I spend more quality, focused attention on my son (although some of those times made me want to drink even more).  It’s a weird where you realize the things you used to enjoy really aren’t all that fun and the world really is a beautiful place to be enjoyed in a completely different way.

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The 30 days are over and I’m sitting on my balcony of the Hyatt Savannah sipping on a glass of Merlot enjoying a breezy night.  I’m in no rush to go out and drink and to be honest I’m actually a little nervous.  I want to keep this feeling of being aware.  After 30 days of sobriety I know this for certain:  I have to take pride in myself.  No more “shame caves.”  I’m not sure how wine or martinis play into that but I know they do play a part and the next 30 days might be more interesting than the ones that just passed.  Stay tuned…

Doing what you want to do vs. Being who you want to be

I have learned that there can be a big difference between doing what you want to do and being who you want to be.  You must first decide who you want to be and then make choices based on that decision.  You must make certain that on a daily basis you are making choices that line up with who it is you want to be. Duh, right?

Well for some reason that wasn’t so clear to me for some years.  So I ended up in a place where I was making decisions in the moment that didn’t benefit me or my family longterm.  Well enough of that.  Goals and priorities and a vision of my future. That’s what I have now and I couldn’t be more excited!

Who do I want to be? I want to be a good mom.  I want to be a fit mom. I want to be someone my parents can be proud of. I want to be a great example for those that work with me.  I want to be an inspiration to those around me and I want my actions to match my words.

What do I need to do to be those things? Spend quality time with my son teaching him about life and showing him how much I love him without spoiling him (balance).  Make working out a priority.  Eat more salads and less fried foods (I’m NOT giving up chocolate). Drink less alcohol – that only leads to bad food decisions and not going to the gym the next day. Read more books/blogs/articles on how to be better at all these things.

Does that mean that I will be perfect? No Does that mean I won’t slip and eat some fries or not workout here or there? No. What it means is that I WILL get up the next day and I will refocus on my goals, priorities and vision.

Who do you want to be?

The Buddy System

I’m on vacation with my family at the Gulf this weekend and this morning my son and I walked about a mile to the beach and as we were wrapping up we saw a group of people doing what looked to be a boot camp led by what sounded like a wannabe Drill Sargent.  Now keep in mind it is a gorgeous Saturday morning at the beach.  76 degrees.  Sunny.  Did I mention gorgeous?  Why would they choose to do that instead of watch the sunset while sipping a cup of coffee on the pier?  As I watch them I’m reminded how I got started on this little Journey – group fitness.

I started at a small (Lisa would kill me for saying this but expensive) gym that only does classes about three years ago – The Body Bar.  Those classes would kill me.  It was the hardest I had worked out since college – dripping sweat – but I loved the results, and I loved the community. A group of girls meeting every night with a common goal: to make themselves better.  They would miss you when you hadn’t been in a while.  They laughed with (at) you when you got extra creative with a Zumba song. Your instructor knew which songs were your favorite.  They even let your kid hit the bag a few times at the end of kickboxing class if he’d been really good on the sidelines while I worked out.  The yoga instructor would look the other way as tears rolled down my face during a reflective moment after she recited a quote that touched me. I was going through a tough time and those girls were there for me even though they had no idea what was going on with me.

I continue with classes today only I am on a tight budget so I go to LA Fitness.  It’s not the same but it’s better than the treadmill to me.  I still love the energy of a class.  Being around other people working hard to make themselves better.  They could be anywhere else in that moment, but they are there sweating and grunting and struggling right beside me with the same Step routine or spin class.  I have a few girlfriends that I workout with that also have memberships there so we keep each other accountable.  I don’t think any of us could do it without each other.

As my son and I walk the mile back from the beach, here comes the group of boot campers with two very fit, shirtless men leading the pack. When I point them out to B, he starts running with those two men in the front.  Now my son, B, is not a runner and at this juncture he doesn’t even have on any shoes, but none of that matters to him. He sees some inspiring people that are having fun and getting fit like he’s seen his mom do and he wants in on the action.  Wearing a huge grin, runs for a few blocks by their side.  By the time I catch up with him, he’s still in the jolliest of moods.  Apparently B, like his mother, feeds off that positive energy too.

I couldn’t do it without my buddies, especially my shortest buddy.

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Below is my rockstar dad and I before we walked a 5k with B Thursday night. He’s not ready to run one, but I like to still do them with him in hopes that he gets the running bug like my dad and sister.  He might just be like me though and just not have a palette for it, which is fine with me but I like to expose him to it just in case that’s his thing. Kind of like broccoli – it might take a few times but he’ll realize it’s not all that bad considering how good it is for you.

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I Must Have Been Catholic

Oh the guilt.  I must have been Catholic in another life.

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What do I have guilt about you ask?  A freaking hamburger.

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A greasy patty topped with greasy cheese in between two buns without one gram of fiber I’m sure and precisely five steak fries off my son’s plate. The worst part is that it wasn’t even that good!  Ugh!  I was so good all day that I really should just let it go.  A smoothie, a boiled egg, four almonds, and then a chef salad for lunch. Then I blew it.  Okay.  This is the moment in which I’m letting it go.  I can’t take it back so what’s my other option?  Tomorrow will be a better day.  Tomorrow I will not have a greasy hamburger and I will do the Kaiser Permanente Corporate 5k.  Ah.  All better.  Join me and release the guilt of the past (maybe I’m talking about more that just food but you’ll have to read another blog for that).  Tomorrow is a new day.  Tomorrow you can start over and be the person you know you can be (yes, definitely talking about more than hamburgers).

Inspiration and Motivation

Inspiration is defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.

Motivation, similarly, is the reason(s) one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

Below you will see the inspiration that’s posted on my fridge.  Today I had lunch with my dad who is so fired up about his fitness and inspires me.  Inspiration evokes a sort of emotion. People that are excited about what they are doing inspire me.  People that care about what they are doing and how it affects the world inspire me.  I have made it a point to surround myself with people that inspire me.  I strive to be that inspiration to someone.

My motivation, on the other hand, is seeing the numbers on the scale go down or the girl in front of me in spin class that’s super toned and I’m forced to look at it the entire class and think “if I just keep this up, I too could have those legs and butt. Keep spinning!” Motivation is the carrot at the end of the string.  It’s that bikini you want to wear next summer or that little black dress you bought on sale at Neiman Marcus hoping one day to fit into it.

I believe we need both to make the changes needed to get where we want to be in life.  What inspires you?  What’s the carrot you are reaching for?

(This photo of JLo on my refrigerator motivates me not to eat that ice cream sandwich that I want so badly.)

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Get Your Mind Right

After trying every get-slim-quick scheme that there is and losing weight some of the time and putting it back on and then some every time (rinse and repeat), I have come to one conclusion: you have to get your mind right.  It has to be for all the right reasons, and you have to listen to your body.  But most importantly, you have to be grateful.  Grateful for a body that carries you through the endless tasks of the day of a working mom, arms to pick up your 70lb child when he needs a hug, legs to move you through that step class that you know you are going to love when it’s over but good God you feel like you might have a heart attack in the middle of it and all the heart and soul to love every minute of your blessed life.

This one is a hard one for a perfectionist like me. One that I have to remind myself of often. I’ve always felt I could be better especially physically, but this in another life lesson that I’m teaching myself – balance and patience.  Maybe you (meaning me) don’t need to consume 2000 calories of margaritas and chips and cheese dip every Friday night.  Maybe you don’t need to attend EVERY function after work. Maybe you don’t need to spend $200 every time you walk into TJ Maxx. Maybe you don’t have to be perfect.

I started doing two things over the past year: reading a very inspirational blog and meditating.  Now I don’t meditate enough or even often and frankly I’m not very good at it, but when I do, I love it.  There’s a saying that those who don’t have time to sit still and reconnect, should be the first ones to do it.  It’s true. I use the guided mediations that Deepak does on the Chopra Center site – the 21-day free ones.  There’s always a great centering message that I can use throughout the day and it helps me start my day on the right foot.

The blog has been the most helpful, though, and I have to thank my friend Allison for introducing me to it.  It has helped me to really just except myself as I am in this moment and to act with love of myself first and then love of others.  It’s reminded me to be patient.  That God has a plan for me and I must pay attention to the world around me and trust that he will take care of me.

I do not have all the answers.  I’m learning about myself everyday.  I’m learning to love myself just as I am.  I doesn’t happen overnight so I’m learning to be patient too.

Mixing It Up

So yesterday I told you about adding variety to my smoothies.  Well that’s actually kind of a theme for me.  I like to mix it up with most things I do to keep it interesting. I’ve learned this about me over the years.  I think that’s the key to figuring out a life long plan that will work for you.

Today I mixed it up with my workout, which I have to do or I will get bored. My friend Mark surprised me today and took me to Tennessee to paddle board which I was so excited about (once we got there and I knew what we were doing)!  Neither of us had done it before so we were a little nervous that we’d spend most of the time in the water but low and behold we were champs and didn’t fall in once! It was a beautiful day for it and so much fun.  He even challenged me to do a downward dog on my board to which I accepted and completed successfully.  I’m bound and determined that the next time we go, I’ll be able to do a headstand on it.  First though, I must be able to do it on dry land. One thing at a time.

So do you like to keep your workouts routine or change things up a bit? What works best for you?

(The kid who took a photo of me on my paddle board has yet to send it to me or you could see that I actually did it. NTS: bring your own phone/camera!!!)

Life Lesson for Mommy and Child

One of the hardest things for any mother to do is put herself first. That’s one of the reasons my weight got out of control, but I have learned how to teach my son (an only child) about boundaries and give and take.  He usually wakes up around 6:45 on Saturday mornings but he lets me sleep in until 7a (a whopping 15 minutes more – I’ll take it!).  This morning was not unlike all the others.  I made the wee one breakfast and we had a little chat.

“Mommy is going to the gym for a 9:45 class and then we can go to the Home Depot kids workshop.”

Cue the whining. Time for a life lesson.

“This is how life works babe.  We do what everyone wants/needs.  One for me and then it’s your turn.”

The reality is that he loves the kids’ area at this gym.  He makes new friends everytime and it’s only an hour and it’s really fun but most importantly I need it. I’m the adult.  I know this so I have to make this decision for both of us no matter what push back I get from a 7 year old.

So I nipped the whining in the bud, made a smoothie (see recipe below) for me and we went to the gym for a great one hour toning class by Elena at LA Fitness and, shocker, he had a blast in the kids’ area. I love this class when it’s over because I’m always sore for at least 2 days.  During…on the other hand…not so much.

Home Depot was great afterwards and he got to see his mother take care of herself, a life lesson that I hope he takes into his future relationships (something I hope I don’t have to worry about for MANY years).

Breakfast Smoothie

1/2 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt (the Kroger brand is my favorite because it has the most protein)
Splash of OJ (maybe 3 tbsp if I measured)
Dash of Raspberry-Lemonade Crystallite sweetener

Blend for 30-45 seconds.

You can mix up the fruit depending on what you have on hand and what’s in season. I’ve used peaches, mangos and bananas at different times to add some variety.  I also don’t measure any of this so you can adjust depending on your taste.  I have this every morning and a boiled egg and four almonds for snack a few hours later for more protein to rebuild my muscles.