Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almost Back to Normal!


I'm sorry my posts have been hit or miss these past few days. Trying to blog on vacation is sometimes a real challenge for me!

I'll post my Wednesday Wow Factor
this evening (a day late) so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sweet Sixteen



Today an amazing thing happened.  I put on a pair of shorts I purchased last summer.  A pair of shorts I've never able to wear.  They were just too small when I bought them.  Today, the shorts were...
TWO
SIZES
SMALLER
THAN
WHEN
I
STARTED
THIS
BLOG!


Seriously!  It was the best feeling to put them on and feel them actually fit... and comfortably.  I expected them to be a little tight.  THEY WEREN'T!

When I started my blog on Wednesday, December 28, 2011, I was wearing a size 20.  (I have a difficult time admitting that even now... it really stinks.  But, it is what it is, right?)  Today, I wore a size 16!

I just can't believe it!
It fuels me to keep going. 
I know I can do this.
You can, too.
We can't give up on our dreams... no matter what.
Keep believing in yourself.
Keep believing in God and ask for His help.
He'll carry you through when the journey is difficult.
Don't just talk about your dreams... be about 'em!




Monday, May 28, 2012

God's Will



Sorry for the absence of posts these past two days!  I've been super busy with my family and friends and haven't had any time to focus on my blog.  I plan to do my best to post something inspirational the next few days, but please forgive me if it's not my typical post (or if I miss another one)!

I hope you're doing GREAT in your journey this week and I pray for you and the strength to keep moving in the direction of your dream!



Friday, May 25, 2012

Self Sabotage



Self sabotage... it's an ugly thing. 

We face temptation all day long.  Encountering smells, advertisements, other people eating food, our very own thoughts, and old habits that die hard, it's no wonder we find it so difficult to fight them off all day. 

But it is possible. 

And God has a plan for your life that FAR exceeds the circumstances of your day!



The book 'The Beck Diet Solution' by Judith S. Beck really helped me to think differently about my responses to self sabotaging thoughts.  The Beck Diet Solution Facebook page is a continuous help to me with daily reminders of how to talk back to those thoughts.  ('Like' it on Facebook!)

Here are three recent posts that spoke to me at just the right time:

"It’s okay to eat this unplanned food because it’s just this one time."
Response: I’m fooling myself if I think this time doesn’t matter because EVERY time matters. Every time I eat off track I make it more likely I will the next time, which makes dieting harder. Every time I stick to my plan I make it more likely I will the next time, which makes dieting EASIER!

If you think, “It’s okay to eat this because I just don’t care right now,” remind yourself that you definitely WILL care later, once the situation has passed and you feel bad and guilty and have potentially jeopardized your weight loss. Because of this, not caring at any one moment is NOT a valid excuse to eat off track.

Every time you have a good eating day, you build momentum to continue having good eating days. Start the week off right by making a commitment to have a good eating day TODAY and you’ll set a positive tone for the whole week to come!

I've put these responses into action and I KNOW they work!  I also know it doesn't work when I ignore the same responses.  Building your resistance "muscle" ensures that your weight loss will be successful and you'll be much more likely to maintain it.  That sounds a lot like this dream God laid on my heart!   :)

Don't give up, even if all you do is cry.  I've done a lot of that.  I just refuse to give up on this dream.  I hope you can find the desire to say the same for yourself.

Do not give up.

WE CAN DO THIS!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Embrace This Day




I believe I've crossed that line... and I crossed to the good side! 

This week has been GREAT!  I've starting improving my outlook and crawling my way up out of the valley.  I'm making much better choices again and I feel like I've found my second wind!  I've started "grazing" on small servings of food throughout the day and have been floored that I've felt fulfilled and how few calories I consume eating this way.  (Imma make it a habit!) 

This coming weekend and next week I'll be faced will extra challenges as I have some time away from work, but I've proven to myself in the past that I can handle it.  And I will this time!

I'm thankful for this journey... for the ups and downs.  It makes us stronger.  It makes us smarter.  It makes us better.  It makes us thankful.  It makes us healthy, both emotionally and physically.  It makes us new.  It helps us believe in ourselves.  It helps us grow.  It helps us help others. 

Embrace this day, no matter what you're faced with.  Believe you can make it through this and will find your way to a better place. We can do this...


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Wow Factor!






Week 21
Start date: 12/28/11
Initial weight: 218
Current weight: 199
This week's loss: No loss, no gain!
Total weight loss: 19 pounds


Last week's dream focus: Focus on being HEALTHY and making good choices.  When I make poor choices, I'll admit it was a mistake and I'll make a good effort to do better next time.  Search hard for the things I can learn during the plateaus and valleys, because they WILL occur.  I will be faced with them... on more than one occasion.  Celebrate every small victory.  Implement more healthy movement into my day, even if it's not a "workout".  Embrace the really difficult and challenging aspects of this journey... I'll feel so much more accomplished and proud of myself when my dream becomes reality.


What went well:  I chose healthier foods and snacks, staying under my caloric budget!  I had more revelations about my journey and where I've been this past few weeks.  I've felt a lot of support from my friends and family during the challenging moments (and there have been a LOT).  I didn't gain any weight this week (especially exciting with the amount of sweets I consumed)!  AND, the one day I TRULY wanted to give up and quit... I DIDN'T!  I was reminded of how important this dream is and of all the reasons I CAN'T give up. 

My husband and I have started walking downtown together in place of spending $20+ on lunch.  It's been so fun and a getting away from the job for even 30 minutes has been way nice.  AND we're saving a bunch of money (which is ALWAYS nice).


Challenges: Having sweets around the house tempted me and I gave in many times.  I didn't do any set workouts besides walking and taking the stairs at work.  Ignoring negative and self-sabotaging thoughts has been so challenging this week.


This week's dream focus: Continue focusing on being HEALTHY and making good choices. Remember that EVERY decision matters.  When I'm tempted to think "It's okay to eat this unplanned food because it's just this one time", respond with "I'm fooling myself if I think this time doesn't matter because EVERY time matters!  Every time I eat off track it's more likely I will the next time, which delays my dream from being reality.  Every time I stick to my plan, it's more likely I will the next time, which brings me closer to my dream!"  Celebrate every small victory.  Implement more healthy movement into my day, even if it's not a "workout".  Continue embracing the really difficult and challenging aspects of this journey... I'll feel so much more accomplished and proud of myself when my dream becomes reality.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Dream Fulfilled is Sweet to the Soul


I feel as though I'm on the brink of crawling back up the mountain and getting out of this valley.  It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who's there now or who's been there before.  And I cherish the support I have in all of you and others in my life.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart...

These valleys can be REALLY difficult.  They can make you want to quit.  They can test your patience.  They can toy with your emotions.  But the more you fight against them, I promise, the easier it becomes.  We just need to be okay with repetition... with getting up and starting again.  We need to be okay with making mistakes and slipping up, because it's GOING TO HAPPEN. 

* We are not perfect *

We have to accept that discipline is what makes us proud and accomplished in the end.  We have to be okay with saying no to temptations.  We need to stop compromising what we ultimately want for the thing we want right now.  Throwing in the towel is the easy thing to do... but it leads us to continuous feelings of shame, remorse, depression, and a miserable life.  (18)

God put dreams in your heart, spirit, soul... dreams that are important and can help you become a more fulfilled, joyful, happy person!  Why would we ever want to stay miserable?  It doesn't lead anywhere good... just to further self-loathing and disgust.  We'd be a fool to ignore the dreams God gave us by not trying to make them our reality!  (19)

When we surround ourselves with other dreamers, encouragers, and supporters of our dreams, it propels us in that positive direction!  We encourage each other, rejoice in the victories, and reach down to lift each other up when we stumble.  Feeling that we aren't alone helps us to get up and try again.  But surrounding ourselves with dream crushers/dream smashers/dream killers only leads us to further suffering.  (20)


I came across this passage today that spoke loudly to me about my very struggles.  I indicated above (with the small numbers) how the passages relate.  Thank you, God for helping me see this in Your light!


Proverbs 13:18-20 (NIV)

18 "Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame,
  but whoever heeds correction is honored.

19 A longing [dream] fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
  but fools detest turning from evil.

20 Walk with the wise and become wise,
  for a companion of fools suffers harm."



Friends, please do not give up on this dream.  We CAN do this!  Let's continue making small changes and forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes.  Believe that this can happen... ALL things are possible to those who believe!  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flaxseed Fever


A few friends have shared with me the benefits of adding flaxseed to your diet.  I finally took some time to research this and I'm so excited about what I found!  I'm eager to give it a whirl and begin adding milled flaxseed to my food.  I'm especially eager to see if it can really help promote fertility.  (Praying...)

NOTE:  I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V.  I am not a medical professional.  The information I'm providing is based on research I've performed.  Please consult your doctor before adding flaxseed to your diet.


What Is Flaxseed?
  • It's not classified as a grain but has a similar vitamin and mineral profile
  • It's very low in carbs
  • Its combination of healthy fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance
  • In power form it adds nutritional value to foods without affecting the flavor



Flaxseed Nutrition
  • High in most B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese
  • Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, a key force against inflammation in our bodies
    • Inflammation is a key player in chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and some cancers
  • High in Fiber, both soluble and insoluble
    • This fiber is mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax
    • Adding fiber to your diet also aides in stabilizing blood sugar and promotes proper functions of the intestines
  • High in Phytochemicals, including many antioxidants
    • Phytochemicals are our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances that balance female hormones
    • Evidence shows lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer
    • Lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes

Flaxseed Caution
  • Big fiber load (hee hee)
    • With flax so high in fiber, it's a good idea to start with a small amount and increase slowly; otherwise, cramping and a "laxative effect" can result.  People will IBS should be extra-careful.



How Do I Use Flaxseed?
  • It's believed that consuming ground flaxseed (also called milled or flax meal) over flax oil (which contains just part of the seed) is better because you get all the components
  • 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed a day is the suggested dose
  • Flaxseed, when eaten whole, is more likely to pass through the intestinal tract undigested, which means your body doesn't get all the healthful components
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of ground flaxseed each time you eat foods like oatmeal, smoothies, soup, and yogurt, for instance.  It'll become a habit and you won't have to think about it1
  • The dishes that hide flaxseed the best usually have dark sauces or meat mixtures.  Flaxseed usually isn't noticed when added to dishes like enchilada casserole, chicken Parmesan, chili, beef stew, meatloaf, or meatballs!  For a 4-serving casserole, add 2-4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed.  For a dish serving 6 to 8, use 4-8 tablespoons.
  • Substitute ground flaxseed for part of the flour in recipes for quick breads, muffins, rolls, bagels, pancakes, and waffles.  Replace 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the flour with ground flaxseed if the recipe calls for 2 or more cups of flour.
  • The freezer is the best place to store ground flaxseed.  Freeze pre-ground flaxseed in the bag you purchased it in.  The freezer will keep the ground flax from oxidizing and losing its nutritional potency.

Where Can I Buy Some?
Amazon.com
iHerb.com

Where Can I Learn More?



Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Know I Can Do This


I know I can do this.
I'm just really struggling in my journey right now. 
I'm hung up on how far I could be had I kept the momentum I had in the beginning.
I'm craving sweets like crazy.
I haven't worked out in probably three weeks.
And I'm on the border of feeling defeated.

HOWEVER...

I won't give up on my dream.
I won't believe Satan's lies.
I won't allow him to keep me from pure happiness and joy.
He won't rob me of what God has in store.


I will look to the One who created me and loves me.
I will put my trust in Him.
I know He has a plan for me.
I know I'm going through this valley for a reason.
I know I will grow and learn from it.
I believe His purpose for me is far greater than what I can imagine.
He will guide me and show me how to get back on track.
MY DREAM WILL COME TRUE... in His time.



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Aww, Honey



We all know I have a mean sweet tooth!  So why not figure out "sweet" things that are actually good for me (in moderation, of course).  I was thrilled when I stumbled upon an article describing how adding honey to your life can help shed some pounds!

I wasn't aware ---> "Honey is a simple sugar, but unlike white processed sugar it contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. When the body digests processed sugar it uses vitamins and minerals in the digestion process, rendering the sugar empty of any nutritional value. Honey helps speed up metabolism, which in turn helps the body burn more fat."

HECK YEAH!   I'm sold!

I think it's great to add as many smart, HEALTHY, foods options to our intake as we can.  Maybe, before I know it, all these additions will add up to a lifestyle of purely healthy eating.  (Don't forget, I'm a dreamer...)  

:)



I’ll Have Some Honey (or I’ll Have Some, Honey)
  • Sweeten desserts, foods, and drinks with honey instead of white sugar.  Cutting back on processed sugary products insures that your body is absorbing more nutrients and consuming less calories.  If you crave something sweet, use honey instead of sugar.
  • Drinking a teaspoon of honey in warm water after meals helps with digestion by allowing the body to store vital, fat-busting minerals and vitamins, eliminating accumulated fats and waste products.
  • The combination of honey and lemon is a potent detoxifier and will kick-start the metabolism first thing in the morning.  Combine honey and lemon in a glass of warm or boiling water and drink in the morning before breakfast!
  • A tablespoon of cinnamon and a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm or boiling water in the morning upon waking and in the evening before bed is believed to aid in weight loss.
  • We all know a drop of honey in tea is good for a sore throat, but you can add it to most drinks for an extra energy boost.   It’s way better than artificial sweeteners.  Forget energy bars and shots!  Try a tablespoon of honey before your next workout to boost athletic performance
  • Feeling lethargic?  Skip the coffee and try some honey.
  • Preserve fruit in a honey sauce with one part honey to ten parts water, and cover your berries!

Bottom line, honey is pretty awesome (in moderation)!


Resources:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Keep Going, You'll Get There



I typically like to write each blog post with words from my heart and not rely on other people's writing to fill the space.  When someone else's words speak loudly to me, I just have to share!  Today I came across the post Ask the Diet Program Coordinator: Getting Back on Track Today.  

Wow. 

So brilliant and such a great reminder for me where I am right now!

And it usually does feel like a brick wall when I'm faced with the desire to overindulge or exceed my caloric intake for the day.



Here's the Q&A:

Q: One of my main problems is that I always say, “I will eat what I want today, then I will start tomorrow.” Then tomorrow, I say the very same thing. Seems like tomorrow never comes. What I can do to stop this destructive behavior and thinking?

A: Good question! We think that “I’ll start my diet tomorrow” is one of the more common sabotaging thoughts (up there with, “I’ve blown it for the day, I might as well continue eating whatever I want,” and “Just this one time won’t matter”). One of the reasons dieters tell themselves that they’ll start dieting tomorrow is because it helps reduce their tension about dieting. Often when dieters are off track, are feeling bad about their eating, and are acknowledging that they need to do something about it, they feel a level of tension: What am I going to do about this? When am I going to do it? By telling themselves, “I’ll start tomorrow,” that tension goes away because it means they have a plan; their questions have been answered. However, the problem with this is that the plan doesn’t usually pan out and more often than not, dieters don’t end up starting the next day.

Because dieters can’t rely on starting tomorrow, it’s important to come up with helpful responses to that sabotaging thought so that they don’t continue giving in to it. One thing that we ask dieters is, “When has ‘starting tomorrow’ ever helped you to reach your weight loss goals?” We discuss with dieters the fact that every time they have the thought, “I’ll start dieting tomorrow,” and give in to it, they make it harder for themselves to actually start dieting because they make it more likely they’ll put it off again the next day, and the day after that. Every single time they’re tempted to start tomorrow but instead force themselves to get back on track that moment, they make it more likely (and easier for themselves) to do so the next time. We also remind dieters that if yesterday they told themselves they would start tomorrow, then tomorrow is today, and it’s time to start!  (This is POWERFUL, kids!!!)

We have dieters make Response Cards with these ideas on them, which they read every time they have this type of sabotaging thought. Here are some sample Response Cards:
When has ‘starting tomorrow’ ever helped me to reach my goals? Starting tomorrow just doesn’t work so I have to start today, right this moment. A week from now, a month from now, a year from now, I will be so happy I did.  Today is yesterday’s tomorrow so it’s time to start right now. I can’t wait until tomorrow to start dieting again because if I do, it will be even harder to start. Just get back on track right now and guaranteed I won’t regret it.

It’s important to remember that getting yourself back on track right away and not waiting for tomorrow is a skill, and the more you practice it, the easier it will become. Right now your tendency to give in to that thought is probably pretty strong, so it’s easy to keep giving in. But the more and more you reinforce the habit of not giving in to that thought and of just doing what you need to do in the moment, the easier and easier it will be to do so. So remind yourself why it’s worth it to not wait for tomorrow and start practicing today!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday Wow Factor!

Week 20
Start date
: 12/28/11
Initial weight:
218
Current weight:
199
This week's loss
: Gained 1 pound
Total weight loss:
19 pounds

Last week's dream focus: Motivate myself to get in gear and start implementing these toning and cardio sessions; stay within my caloric budget for the week; tackle that fear and insecurity that holds me back from moving in the direction of my dreams!

What went well:  I ate better, choosing healthy foods and snacks.  I consumed less calories than the previous week and had some serious revelations about my journey and where I've been this past few weeks! I did better with Mexican food this week!

Challenges: I went way over my caloric budget again, but much less than the previous week.  Again, I didn't work out once, with the exception of extra walking and taking the stairs.  

I've been searching to find my motivation and that "one thing" that will get me back on the path of really rockin' it.  What I'm discovering is that there might not always be just "one thing".  There could be a series of eye-opening "ah-ha" moments and reminders of things you already know.  There could be things you have to learn the hard way - those life lessons - for it to really sink in and stick.  They're starting to come together for me now and it feels good!  

My biggest revelation is this: "These are the trying times. These are the minutes, the hours, when you need to brace yourself and just ride it out. They are the ones that make up your character. Because, really- how you act when times are just peachy is nothing compared to how you act when times are rotten. The peachy times don’t say as much about your strength or your determination. These moments where you feel your weakest, when you’re absolutely certain that you’d rather give up than keep going- they’re going to come. If there was no struggle, no strain, we wouldn’t feel so accomplished at the end. We couldn’t be so proud. It’d feel less special. So there’s merit to pointing out the hard parts. Weight loss will come with equal parts struggle and strength. And each will change along the way. You’ll know that it doesn’t stay hard forever. You’ll also know to buckle down when those hard parts come, sure that relief always follows..."


This week's dream focus: Focus on being HEALTHY and making good choices.  When I make poor choices, I'll admit it was a mistake and I'll make a good effort to do better next time.  Search hard for the things I can learn during the plateaus and valleys, because they WILL occur.  I will be faced with them... on more than one occasion.  Celebrate every small victory.  Implement more healthy movement into my day, even if it's not a "workout".  Embrace the really difficult and challenging aspects of this journey... I'll feel so much more accomplished and proud of myself when my dream becomes reality.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Solved a Math Problem!


Today I realized something BIG. 

Since I started this journey on December 28, 2011, I've continued to subconsciously think "I have 80 pounds to lose". 

Now, if you know me or follow my blog, you're very aware that Chrissy + math = frustration, disaster, and throwing in the towel.   :)

However, I ACTUALLY SOLVED A MATH PROBLEM TODAY!!!

I've lost 21 pounds since the day I began this journey.  If I wanted to lose 80 pounds total, I only have 59 pounds left!!! 

Simple to you.  Incredible to me!

See how something as trivial as subconsciously focusing on the wrong number can place a barrier in your path?  So I hit a plateau.  So I haven't lost weight as rapidly this past month or two as I did in the first three months.  So I'm struggling to motivate myself to work out.  So I've had more cravings I've given into.  SO WHAT!

This is my journey and I'm learning how to fight through these battles.  I'm not alone in this.  I'm not the only one who's gone through it.  Other people have conquered and overcome and lost weight and maintained!

My New Focuses:
  • Don't put too much energy towards this 80 pound goal, even if it's less than it was when I started.
  • Focus on being healthy and making good choices.
  • When I make poor choices, I won't beat myself up.  Instead, I'll admit it was one mistake and I'll make a good effort to do better next time.
  • Search hard for the things I can learn during the plateaus and valleys, because they WILL occur.  I will be faced with them... on more than one occasion.
  • Celebrate every small victory.
  • Implement more healthy movement into my day, even if it's not a "workout".
  • Remember, I'll NEVER regret a workout but I'll always regret skipping one.
  • Embrace the really difficult and challenging aspects of this journey.  I'll feel so much more accomplished and proud of myself when my dream becomes reality.
  • Don't EVER give up on this.  Anything worth having is worth fighting for.


Monday, May 14, 2012

The Moments That Make Up Your Character


I need to be honest.  I'm struggling right now in my weight loss journey. 

Struggling big time. 

I've been trying so hard to motivate myself in different ways to exercise and make good food choices and not overeat.  I thought putting myself out there on this blog would be enough to hold me accountable.  And paired with my 'Wednesday Wow Factor' group at work, it would be even easier.  But wow...

I've begun noticing some old habits creeping their way back into my daily routine; laziness... doing anything but working out, eating too fast and helping myself to seconds, skipping meals... leading to ravenous eating, out-of-control cravings for sweets... and giving into them, low supply of the right kinds of foods around the house, and consuming mexican food out the ying-yang.  These have been my struggles in the past two weeks. 

But notice the key word: "past". 

Today is new. 

Those lapses in judgement are in the past.  

They aren't valid reasons to give up.

They serve a purpose.

I learned something new today.  We need to accept that it's going to be hard... it's going to be really, really hard at times.  We're going to mess up.  We're going to hit plateaus.  We won't always feel like doing what's necessary to become healthier versions of ourselves.  We'll be tempted to cheat and sneak and be lazy.  We'll be tempted to give up.  We'll be tempted to put ourselves down.  And we'll be tempted to ignore our dream... what we really deserve for our life.

Andie, from 'Can You Stay For Dinner' completely inspired me today when I read her blog post 'A Different Way to Think About Losing Weight'.  I HIGHLY encourage you to read this. 

PLEASE READ IT! 

It will take 3 to 5 minutes to read, but it's so worth it.  Andie is a motivational, inspirational, beautiful woman who lost 135 pounds and has maintained it for five years, while continuing to eat real foods.  She's actually my original inspiration for blogging my own journey.

Anyway, this post of her's is amazing.  It really changed how I've been looking at this plateau... this current struggle.

I need to share some words from Andie's blog.  The words that spoke to my heart the most.

"These are the trying times. These are the minutes, the hours, when you need to brace yourself and just ride it out. They are the ones that make up your character. Because, really- how you act when times are just peachy is nothing compared to how you act when times are rotten. The peachy times don’t say as much, anyway, about your strength or your determination. These moments where you feel your weakest, when you’re absolutely certain that you’d rather give up than keep going- they’re going to come.
 
And they
 
will
 
be
 
hard.
 
Like,
 
really
 
[really]

hard.

...

I’d liken it to this: If you decide to have a baby and no one tells you that yes, parenthood- while a life-altering miracle- is trying at times, then when you get to those moments where you feel drained and down, you’ll not know what to make of yourself for having those feelings. Am I a bad parent? Am I cut out for this? Am I doing this all wrong?
 

If there was no struggle, no strain, we wouldn’t feel so accomplished at the end. We couldn’t be so proud. It’d feel less special. So there’s merit to pointing out the hard parts. Weight loss will come with equal parts struggle and strength. And each will change along the way. You’ll know that it doesn’t stay hard forever. You’ll also know to buckle down when those hard parts come, sure that relief always follows. You’ll know that I felt it too, and that it gets better."

I really care about my character, strength, and determination, especially when times aren't peachy.  That REALLY spoke to me.  And accepting that struggles and pain are a part of this journey, and knowing I will feel more accomplished, special, and proud in the end really drives me to battle through. 

I continue to focus on my dream. I know it's meant to come true.  So I CAN and WILL bear this hardship today!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Momma's Day

 




I have an AMAZING mom! 


She taught me right from wrong, even when I didn't listen.  She showed me how to trust in God when it feels like everything is falling apart. She believes in my dreams and helps me believe in myself.  She taught me how to cook and bake... and how to deviate from the recipe!  She helped me to understand the importance of our heritage and to embrace the past... then to learn from it.


My mom taught me how to put others first, even when I felt like being an only child.  My mom showed me how to love those you know and those you just met.  She sees my gifts and helps me use them in the most effective ways.  She instilled a good work ethic in me.  My mom didn't give me everything I wanted as a child... and I thank her for that.  She didn't let me go to a New Kids on the Block concert when "everyone else" was going... and it's probably for the best!  :)


My mom taught me how to be a good wife by her example.  She showed me how to keep my eyes focused on God during hard times and struggles.  She showed me how to embrace my elders and learn from their great wisdom.  My mom taught me how to laugh and find humor during frustrating times.


My mom has been by my side during heartache, sickness, celebrations, sadness, defeat, achievements, new beginnings, struggles, consequences, and victories.  I know she'll be there for the ones ahead. 


I'm so blessed to have a mother like you and I hope you never question for a second how much I love and appreciate all you've done for me, all the things ahead, and who you are.


I love you, Mom!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Trust Your Struggle



As you probably know by now, I'm really struggling with finding the motivation to work out.  It's been easier to find a thousand reasons to skip working out than it's been to convince myself I'm NOT too busy or tired.  I know there's a reason I'm struggling so much with this part of my journey.  Although I don't understand it right now, I'm trusting that I'll find that one connection that will change my life forever!

The company I work for holds 'Lunch & Learn' sessions on different topics throughout the year.  Yesterday the topic was 'Balanced Fitness'.  I tried to enroll but the session was full.  Fortunately, a friend was able to attend and sent some notes!  They were simple, easy, and too good not to share.  I absolutely LOVE how they make me feel!  I hope they help you, too!


Balanced Fitness
One of the first things mentioned was the importance of removing the negative aspects and outlook from exercising and fitness. "Losing weight" is something we frequently talk about and we think of it as a good thing.  But "losing weight" actually contains a negative word/idea. 

If we instead look at exercise as a way of improving our health, with "losing weight" as a side effect, it puts a much more positive spin on things!  When we associate negative aspects with fitness, it feels more like a chore--something we HAVE to do rather than something good we allow for ourselves.

Exercise is something we should do for ourselves.  It's important to take time to exercise for both our minds and bodies, as they are intricately connected; and be purposeful with our physical activity.  Many of us have barriers that can mentally hinder us from taking time to exercise and improve our health.  A good activity to help this is to list those barriers, whether real or "perceived", and think of solutions to them.  Once you've done this, it's usually not as difficult to find time to implement physical activity.  Even 5-10 minutes at a time is good for our bodies!

Important Benefits of Exercise:
· Lowers blood glucose (blood sugar)
· Lowers blood pressure
· Decreases inflammation (many ailments are related to inflammation--even in organs, etc.)
· Enhances immune function--decreases cortisol
· Lowers overall cholesterol. Raises HDL (good) and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol
· Reduces risk of heart disease and stroke
· Relieves stress, tension, anxiety, & depression
· Improves your self-image
· Improves your body's ability to use and regulate insulin
· Keeps your joints flexible
· Improves blood circulation, reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and nerve damage
· Helps control weight
· Improves sleep
· Gives you more energy
· Increases overall quality of life

 With our busy lives, stress can be a major factor therein.  With stress, cortisol builds up in the body and can cause weight gain.  Exercise reduces this build-up of cortisol and slows down, or reduces, the effect on weight.  Again, it's most beneficial to focus more on overall health and improvement, rather than solely on weight loss.

How much and how often should we exercise?  A very important element is to ease into exercise and build upon it.  Going too hard too quickly can result in injury, often from joint damage.  Many people go too hard when they first start exercising without realizing it.  You shouldn't experience sore muscles the day after working out.  If you do, you probably did too much. 



How Much & How Often?
·       Moderate-intensity activity for at least 30 minutes 5 or more days of the week
·       If you aren't accustomed to exercise, you may want to start with 5-10 minutes and work your way up gradually
·       "Progressive overload"--as you become stronger, add a few extra minutes to your daily exercise
·       It's better to walk 10-20 minutes each day, rather than 1 hour-long session each week
·       Always warm up to prepare your body if you intend to do more strenuous aerobic exercise
·       Always cool down to return the body to its normal state and to help prevent pooling of blood in the arms and legs

Most of us know about and hear about aerobic and strength exercises, but equally important are stretching and core exercises.  Core exercises lead to better posture, balance, stability, and more efficient movement.  Even at work we should stretch every hour or so (simple stretches of our neck, back, arms, etc.) for a few minutes.  When exercising, we should stretch after we do our other exercises, not before as is commonly practiced. 

Think about a piece of gum... you put it in your mouth and chew it for a while.  Then, when you pull it out of your mouth it's nice and stretchy.  If you put a piece in your mouth with some ice chips and chew it, it's more likely to tear rather than stretch when you pull it out of your mouth.  Your muscles work in much the same way.