Stop Doing it for the Result

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*Update from yesterday:  I haven’t picked it (yet) because I told you I wouldn’t but it’s killing me not to.  But I’m not. So there.

I’m always psychoanalyzing everything.  Not sure if it’s what you do in your 30s or because I’m psycho (that’s enough nodding from the peanut gallery) or maybe it’s everything I’m going through and just trying to figure out myself.  I have realized one thing for certain: I have to stop doing things for an expected result.

(Crickets…)

WHAT?!?

What’s the point, right?

Wrong. I worked out and ate right for years and never lost the weight I wanted to so I would give up and get frustrated and not workout and eat and drink poorly.  What good was that doing? None. Zero. Zilch.  I have to workout and eat right because it’s the right thing to do. Because anything else is just abusing my body and that’s not right.

Should you stop doing a good job because you aren’t getting the accolades or praise from your boss like you expected? No.  Keep doing a good job because it’s the right thing to do.

Should you stop being kind to someone who isn’t kind back? Nope. You kill them with kindness.  It’s the right thing to do.

If no one is looking, is that brownie you just ate still 400 calories? Yep.  If no one is looking, is that sin still a sin? Yep.  Do it because it’s the right thing to do, not because you’ll get what you want out of it.

Be the person you want to be, that you should be, even if no one knows about it.

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Learning from My Mistakes

So I’m in spin class and I can feel this zit on my face getting bigger by the minute (cute, huh?) and my skin hasn’t been the best lately so this is the third monster in a few weeks – hideous.  Truly hideous.  I may never get laid again kind of stuff.  And I’m a picker so I sit in front of my mirror and make it worse.  You’d think I would learn after years of my ex saying, “Stop touching it” and me not listening and having a giant crator on my face the next day at work…at 30 years old!  So I’m in spin class and all I decided in that moment that this was the one that I’m not going to pick and I’m saying it here so you can hold me accountable because tomorrow morning I’m going to want to pick it the moment I look in that mirror.

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That’s when I decided what I would write about today – learning from my mistakes. I preach it – learn the lesson in it or you will just repeat it – so it’s high time I started acting on it.  I have yo-yo dieted my entire life and I am done with that.  I implemented this blog as a new way to keep me accountable and maybe even be my therapy to get me out of that cycle.

Lesson 72:  Don’t go to bed hungry or you will awaken at midnight for a snack. I hear my stomach now so I’ll go grab some grapes when I’m finished here so I don’t make that mistake again.

Lesson 176: If you eat that third brownie, your stomach will hurt.

Lesson 235: Putting everyone else first might make them happy but it will definitely make you unhappy.

Lots of lessons.  I’m learning everyday.  I hope you can learn a few things from my journey as I share it here or at least get a laugh or two at my stupidity at times.

30 Days of Physical Activity

Another challlenge…because it’s fun…and I’m bored with my fitness routine…30 days of physical activity.  Who’s in?

I was thinking about my comment the other day about only working out three days a week and then I looked at my underarm fat (guh-ross)…..hmmmm…coincidence? I think not.  So I went to one of my workout buddy’s house after a class at the gym and after a half a bottle of wine we decided this would be a good idea (but only if sexercise counts).  Done.  Sold.  We would text each other everyday with the activity we did and keep each other accountable.

My excuse was always the kid and his homework or dinner or whatever and she travels a lot for work but we agreed that we can do pushups/crunches/lunges.  It doesn’t have to be all complicated.  So I did my pushup app on medium last night – holy hardness! 80 pushups and I had to skip the last few sets.

One thing I have learned through all this is that you have to know yourself.  Don’t commit to something you know you won’t do.  You’re just setting yourself up for failure and no one likes to feel like a failure.  I know that I will not get up early and workout like I used to in college.  That bed (affectionately referred to as the cloud) is just too dang comfy and warm so I memorize the afternoon class schedule and pack a bag so I’ll workout after work.  I know I won’t push myself as hard as a class does so I make sure to go at a time that there’s an instructor that I like. I know that I’m not going to abstain from chocolate so I budget my calories so I can have it.

For me it had to be a lifestyle change.  I’m not built skinny and fit.  I have to work at it, but it’s worth the work…like most things. What was worth the hard work for you?

Have a Little Faith

Have you ever underestimated your abilities and afterwards thought, “Dang.  Maybe I could have done it better/harder/more”?

I tried the Push Ups Free app this morning and did just that.  I opened the app and clicked the “Easy” option and blew right through it. Probably won’t even be sore.

I have been buying large tops for years…like since high school.  I went shopping last night and for the first time since I can remember I finally had the confidence to buy medium right off the shelf (HAPPY DANCE!).

I had to come to work several days in pants that were too big on me before I finally listened to my girlfriend and stopped buying double digit sizes <insert huge toothy grin>.

Why is it so hard for us, especially women, to have faith in ourselves…to believe in ourselves?

The same thing at work. I don’t want to speak up because what I have to say is probably elementary and everyone will think I’m a dumb blonde, but one day recently I finally I spoke up.  Finally I applied for that position I thought I wasn’t ready for and you know what? They listened and appreciated my opinion and I got that position.

Set some goals, make them challenging but attainable and go for it.  You can do it.  You are smart enough.  You are brave enough. You are strong enough  Those people you see achieving the things you want are no different than you.  You are just as special as they are.  Love yourself enough to believe that you deserve to make all your dreams come true.  Don’t say “Why me?”, say “Why not me?”

Tomorrow I’m doing that app on medium.

And of course now I have this song in my head: (Please pass the gouda.)

They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

I’m trying to decide who is teaching who here.  I think every lesson I try to instill in my son I think long and hard if I practice what I preach.  I think we’d all like to do that, right?

I like to sneak in my lessons too.  Kind of like we do with our veggies (which I did last night in some chili that I made and i highly recommend). Today was a hike with two of B’s friends and two other moms (one was mine and the other was a neighbor).  They were out for school so we made a day of it and drove up to the mountains to hike a portion of the Appalachian trail – Blood Mountain.  I hiked it last spring and have been hoping to drag him there to hike it since then but wasn’t sure he would be ready.  After our hike a few weeks ago, I thought it was time.  Plus I can blog about how to sneak workouts in for your kids.  Bonus.

And a workout it was!  Boy howdy! The boys were having a blast especially at first when it wasn’t very steep – looking at rocks and bugs.  Then it became steeper and steeper and there were more steps to climb.  We lost one hiker – my mom – due to her knees but she did awesome considering.  After she fell back it was just B and I bringing in the rear.  Our other three hikers were way ahead of us.  I felt very out of shape – lots of panting (not the good kind) and rest stops.  Then came the point I had been waiting for – B wanted to quit.  There was absolutely no way I could carry him as I had a pack on my back and I could barely carry myself.  Not to mention the little stinker is 70lbs so no. I was prepared…armed with all the things to motivate him to keep going:

I’m so proud of you for making it this far.

You’re doing so well.

It will be so worth it because the view from the top is amazing.

I’m so proud of you for taking care of your body.

And it worked!  He made it to the top!  We made it to the top and our friends were there waiting and winded as well.  It was so worth it especially for me because the look on his face when he turned to see the view from the top was awe and amazement and priceless.

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I got to say, “See, it was worth all that hard work. Aren’t you glad you didn’t miss this?”

Hmmmm…definitely a lesson in there for both of us.

When did you take the easy road and wished you had pushed harder and put in the work? I always hike when I need to be reminded that it’s almost always worth the hard work because the view from the top is amazing.

PS Yes I hate those knee high socks that the kids are wearing these days.

Focus

I read an article last weekend that said if you focus on the muscle you are training, you will see better results.  I have actually heard this in the past and try to apply it when I remember it and it makes sense.  Multitasking is actually not all that great for you especially when it comes to working out and eating right (and a lot of other things but that’s again for an entirely different blog).

Currently I have the TV on, I’m chatting with a friend on my phone, and I’m blogging. How on earth can I be really good at any one of those things?  I’m sort of half assing all three.  The same goes with working out and eating right.  If you’re at the gym running on the treadmill (for example), reading a magazine and thinking of the pile of things at work you need to do, how can you pay attention to your heartrate and focus on getting better at whatever it is that you are doing? I have actually left a kickboxing class before because my head wasn’t in it.  I’ve found that if I don’t get this sweaty at the gym, there’s no point…

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And sometimes I can’t get that sweaty if I’m distracted mentally.

I struggle with focus in many different areas and I’m working on it because I don’t think my lack of focus is doing anyone any good – especially me – and I’ve found that I’m worse about it after a few cocktails.  My sobriety experiment taught me that and I’m thankful for each lesson I’m learning everyday on this journey.

I’m going to turn off the TV now (at least I had it muted while I was typing).  My phone is already off and I’m going to forgive myself for being me and trying to do several things at once and vow to do better next time.  Are there any tricks you use to regain focus?

Smug vs. Helpful

I walked past our receptionist’s desk yesterday and saw an orange and an apple.  I know she’s been going to the gym and watching what she eats so I told her I was proud of her for her healthy snacks.  She responded with a grumble.  I was puzzled.  She said she just hated eating healthy…that it wasnt what she really wanted.  I asked her to remind me of her age and she said she’s 27.  I said “I thought like that when I was 27 too” and went on my way.

That night I thought maybe I came off as smug or condescending and decided I would try to make it right today.  So this morning I walked in and went directly to her desk with head hung and apologized.  She had absolutely no idea what I was talking about and said I did not offend her. I continued anyways and explained that I should have been less smug and more helpful.  I told her that I used to feel the same way.  The key for me was deciding it was a lifestyle change and not a diet.  When I did that, I no longer chose foods because they were on some approved list. I chose foods that I like and that are good for my body. Garbage in, garbage out, right? How could I feel good when I wasn’t giving my body the proper fuel.  The reason I felt sluggish and grumpy and had insane heartburn was because my body was mad at me.

She listened.  I gave some examples to try to be helpful instead of smug, but I remember what it was like at the beginning of my journey….several times.  I would see no movement on the scales eventhough I felt I was doing everything right. Frustrated. Defeated.  Accepting of the fact that I would always look this way and thank GOD I had someone that loved me anyways.  Well I was wrong (mark it down because it might not happen again) and I’m glad I was.  Something clicked.  I believed in myself.  I started to put myself first.  I pushed harder than I thought I could go and I started to feel better when I ate better and I took note of that. Each time I would slip into my old ways I wouldn’t feel as good as when I was doing what I knew I should and I took note of that.

Maybe one day she’ll look back and remember what I said and apply it.  Maybe she’ll think “that smug bitch” (because that’s what I would have said in the past). I hope the former but I can only control me and my reaction and I was only trying to help because I care.

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Tomorrow is a New Day

I was talking to a friend today and he said, “…but I was so absent in the past, why should I show up like a hypocrite in the future.”  I responded, “What you did in the past does not define what you do in the future.”

This is so true for so many things.  So what you didn’t workout all week? So what you at a cupcake (or 3) for dessert last night?  So what you sucked at your last relationship? So what you weren’t the most attentive parent in the past?  It’s ALL in the past.  There is nothing you can do about that greasy hamburger you ate.  Learn from it, don’t order it again, and move on.  Workout tomorrow.  Be a better partner/friend/lover tomorrow.  Be a better listener.  Be more compassionate.  Be the person you want to be.  Make choices that reflect that and forgive yourself when you slip. You’re human. Practice makes perfect.  Create new habits.  You can do it.

Now say it with me:  What I did in the past does not define what I do in the future.

Rinse.

Repeat.

Now go forth and prosper.

App-tastic!

Confess…you can’t live without your apps either, can you?  I am not always on the cutting edge of apps but lucky for me, I know people that are. Two that I can’t love without are Lose It! and RunKeeper but my guess is that if you are reading this blog, you already know about those two.  Just in case, however, I use Lose It! to track the calories I intake and RunKeeper to track the calories I burn.  I used them heavily at the beginning of my quest but less now that I kind of know how much I burn per mile or how much a tuna melt from subway will cost me in the gym. Nike Training is another great one that I used in the beginning until I discovered that classes are my thing.

Two new ones that I’m going to try are C25K Free and Push-ups-free (I live for a good free app).

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My dad, president of his local running group, called today and he’s on such a high from the Tri, where he just finished third in his age group – GO DAD – that he asked, “When is B going to be ready to do his first 5k?” B is my son and he has done a 5k but he’s only walked it.  I think it’s time and what better thing to do with your son than get fit so we will start C25K together the next full weekend I have him and hopefully I can talk his dad into continuing the days that he has him.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

The conversation with my dad was so inspiring.  I said to him, “You didn’t even go to the gym 10 years ago.  Did you ever think we’d be having this conversation?”  It’s an amazing thing to see someone transform and focus the way he has for the better.  He’s with his sick mother this week in Florida and being with her has made him realize even more that he is doing the right thing.   He’s learning so much about his body and teaching it to me and he’s so motivated.  I’m enjoying witnessing his journey and sharing it with you here.

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What apps have helped you on your journey?

Making New Habits

So I just completed my second vacation since starting this blog and the one thing I have noticed is that this blog keeps me accountable to what I eat and do while on vacation which is a good thing.  My vacations these days look a lot different that my vacations of the past and some of that may just be due to maturation but I think a lot of it has to do with the new habits I am creating with the help of this blog and supportive people in my life.

Habit #1: Pack healthy snacks.

Duh, right? This does not have to be hard.  Some waters, triscuits, bananas, apples (lucky for me it’s apple season) and grapes or whatever works for your family and you can get your kids eat.  Just about anything you pack will be better than what will tempt you at the register at that hole in the wall gas station.  Use this tip for work too.  I keep almonds in my desk at work.  They don’t go bad, they aren’t so yummy that I want to eat the whole back but they will tide me over if I’m starving and it’s not time to eat. Here are two of our roadtrip favorites:

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Habit #2:  Plan your physical activity.

I shoot for three workouts a week. With a kid and job and social life, that’s about all I can commit to.  It’s not a ton and I recommend more but it works for me right now.  This week all my workouts had to be while I was on vacation since I was on mom duty the days before I left.  It was a worthwhile sacrifice that I highly recommend.  I even told my friend traveling with me beforehand so he would be supportive.  He only grumbled a tad and then he scheduled some fun physical activity for us one day.  We biked all over the island – well maybe it was only 4-5 miles but it felt more like 10 – and then we did a sunset kayak trip that night.  It was so fun to try something new!

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Was it a little hard to hear him say, “Okay you go to the gym.  I’m going to go back to sleep.”? Sure.  Was I slightly offended that he thought I should go to the gym while he slept? Maybe. Did I want to crawl back in bed on my vacation? Absolutely! But I didn’t and I’m thankful that I didn’t because I always feel better when I workout – mentally and physically.

Habit #3: Drink less.

This one is big for me.  I love a happy hour, wine with dinner, mimosa or Bloody Mary at breakfast….I could go on but I’ll spare you and me.  After my 30+ days of sobriety, it’s no longer a habit to drink at every meal and I’m kind of digging that.  I got to see that big time on vacation.  I’m not tired as early, I feel great in the morning and I spend a lot less money (dang those hotel drinks can be expensive).  Did I miss the dancing and uninhibited fun? Sure.  It’s a different lifestyle and one that I’m trying on for size to see how it fits. What can it hurt? I’ll admit I am enjoying waking up feeling great to enjoy these beautiful sunrises.

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I’m creating new habits as I go.  I’m sure I’ll come up with some more.  What habits would you like to create or break?