Monday, March 28, 2011

Gonna Fly!

I fell off the horse. It started with a bad virus that had me sidelined. Then I just fell into a rut. I became overwhelmed with my PERCEIVED lack of progress. I failed to recognize the progress that I had accomplished thus far, which has been: down 22 lbs and I am wearing clothes that I wasn't able to wear three months ago.  I also failed to focus on the most important aspect of all this training: how I feel.

I lost focus as well. I allowed the chaos of others to infiltrate my life. It rocked my discipline. It took over space in my head that they weren't entitled to have. What was the most scary was that I wasn't even aware as to how much space and time they took over until I caught myself sleeping in until 6:00 am.

In the past four months, I was already at the gym for an hour and now I wasn't even out of bed. The time where I was excited about facing the day and hopping out of bed; of being awake before the clock chimed to wake me, was gone. I found myself sluggish and tired all day long. I found myself needing a nap instead of getting my second wind. I found this affecting other areas of my life as well: my business. I was unfocused and lacked concentration. By allowing their life to infiltrate mine, I in turn sacrificed what was my goal: healthy body, healthy mind. Their drama replaced my serene place. Well, no more I say to you!

Once again, this is my life to do with what I want!

Today I hit the gym with 60 mins of strength and cardio. And it truly was a busy and great day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Getting Refocused

OK, now I am over the flu and this is the first week that I have been able to really get back into the groove of things. It's always something.

This week on Tuesday and Thursday, I focused on upper body weight/strength and core & lower back. I decided to focus more on core because this is my trouble spot. These are also the days that I run in the afternoon.

When I ran on Tuesday, I found my body comfortable with the pace. Near the end, I slowed a little. My lower back was tightening up a bit and so I stopped to stretch it out. But when I'm running since I started this journey (before my flu infection) I felt my abdominals in a different way. My core was positioned in more of a support role, helping to my destination and not necessarily something that I use to feel was holding me back. It didn't feel like it something I had to push through to complete and to me, that is change. And when I was in the shower last night, I could see the definition in my arms, specifically, my biceps. It was a sight to see.

So it is where I see the little changes that I focus. It's not the number on the scale (which I still kind of watch - but hate that I do). It's the good, healthy fatigue that I feel in my body. I focus on how I feel in an outfit when I look in the mirror. I focus on the self-talk that I have when I feel that I haven't achieved what I believe enough and if I hear anything negative, I refocus on the positive things that I just identified not even two minutes earlier.

Evaluating myself is very important to success. Being honest, fair and objective is the only way to get what I want. It's what keeps me moving forward.

Another thing I have focused on is saying good-bye to the past. I've always had a pretty healthy sense of self and we all have our stories to tell. So as I said good-bye to those things that I just no longer afford to hold onto, I started a ritual of saying good-bye to my body.

I rub my core/waistline/hips and say good-bye. I will not miss you. I rub my triceps and say no more flapping in the wind.  I am certain you kind of get where I am going with this. So I say good-bye to all the negatives things I don't like about my body and tell myself I am changing, embracing the new, stronger, healthier me. Crazy, I know. But the connection with how one thinks and feels, whether good or bad, only allows those things to stay around for a very long time, whether good or bad.

And I realize now, that if I truly want to embrace healthy change (professional or physical), I have to say good-bye to the connection of what was once thought of as bad in my self-talk and my self-image.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Staying The Course

One of the things that is most difficult about this journey to health and wellness (as well as my career and financial goals) is staying the course. Being focused and disciplined enough to know that every day when I wake ~ this is my life to do with what I want ~ and hold tight to that.

As I take this challenge, I take it one day at a time. I motivate myself by finding the motivation in others who have gone before.

Muhammad Ali was, undoubtedly, the greatest of all time. When I was younger and would watch his weigh-ins, I was so far removed what his rants. I thought he was a crazy man. But of course, hindsight is 20/20 and now I realize what he was doing.

It doesn't matter who you have around you that may believe in you or not. What matters is how you believe in yourself. What matters is how you handle yourself through your self-talk. It's very easy to quiet the external chatter that is going on about you. What's the most difficult is to quiet the mind and the chatter within.

I am taking great efforts to do just that, to quiet my mind and the chatter within. I am taking great efforts to change that chatter to something more to my liking. To something that is more in align with who I am and what I want for myself and my family.

So my morning habit is 30 minutes of meditation. I love the self-hypnotizing effect of meditation. That is my time. Which is a part of my life to do with what I want.

Aristole said that we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

These are my new habits.

Today is truly a great day!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Getting From Here to There

Well, now that I have made the commitment the one question remains: getting from here to there. How will it be done.

One of the keys to success, I believe, is humility. What that means to me is being smart enough to say to you don't know it all. In the past, as my parents, siblings and everyone else who knows me, can attest to is that I always jumped feet first with no parachute. Translation: once the newness wore off, so did I. I didn't know how to keep it going.  I would go into things with little or no knowledge and expect to make it work. Duh: Wall meet Head.

So with the two most important things in my life, my physical goal of becoming stronger and my career and financial goals of expanding and growing my business (not worried about the financial really b/c with one comes the other - I believe), I humble myself and look to others who have gone before.

Now with the health and fitness stuff I have to admit that it is very confusing. There is so much information out there. Just the diets alone are enough to fill a library all by themselves. The Atkins, The Zone, Cabbage Soup, Weight Watchers, T.O.P.S., Jenny Craig, Medical Weight Loss, Low Carb, No Carb, If It's White, Don't Bite... I mean it makes me crazy. So I had to do a little research for myself, consult with professionals and the meld the two.

I understand that our bodies need carbs. There is no getting around it. Carbs are essential to fueling our body. It's the type of carbs we put into our bodies that makes the difference. Now I am a carb junkie. I love hard, crunchy carbs. I love breads. And guess what: both are bad for you. But as I researched, I discovered that the best carbs for you are the carbs that come from fruits and vegetables. Now, I would say that 90% of my daily carb intake comes from that source. I allow 10% for a white, flour tortilla with my egg scramble in the morning or two slices of bread for sandwich, if I so choose. Hey, it works for me.

Our bodies need protein to create muscle strength. So my primary source of protein is 80% chicken and fish and 20% red meat. I like red meat and I am not going to apologize for it. A good medium rare steak really hits the spot. That, and a Miller Lite. Out of the bottle.

I now tend to stay away from cereals but allow myself the occasional bowl of oatmeal with blueberries or whatever fruit I want, topped with honey. Yum!

So a morning breakfast, for me, will generally consist of one egg scrambled, organic spinach, red pepper and feta cheese. I love the salty flavor the feta adds and the meal itself just tastes great. I am a creature of habit. And that is now my morning habit.

A lunch may consist of a tuna or egg salad sandwich and dinner will be either soup that I made on Sunday that carries our household till Tuesday when I end up making the chicken or fish dinner or mix up some fancy vegetarian meal that I just threw together. I get creative to keep it fresh.

I also have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack, if I so desire. That will consist of a yogurt, piece of fruit or some nuts (a handful).

So that's my meal plan. Nothing elaborate or very complicated. Keeping it simple. Works for me.

As far as my work out goes:

Mondays and Fridays - 60 minutes of cardio/strength at the gym. I have to confess this is not your Jane Fonda workouts from the 80's. These are mini boot camps designed to challenged every ounce of your being. I love it.

Tuesdays and Thursdays - 60 minutes of strength/weight training. I watch the personal trainers in the gym working others and steal ideals from them. Works for me. Then I round out the afternoon with a 3 to 4 mile run to keep my body condition for road running.

Wednesdays are optional rest days. Meaning if I want to rest I do. If I feel the need to move, I swim. That makes it easier on my joints and even though it works my muscles, I find it very soothing with no fatigue.

Saturdays are my long runs starting now at 3 miles. I have to condition myself for being outside. But when I was a creature of habit with my running, my longs runs got up to 10 miles. My goal before the I hit the marathon will be to run at least one 15 mile long run. We shall see.

The foundation is there. The commitment is there. Keeping my heart and mind connected will be the challenge. Failure, I believe, is the disconnect between the two. That's not to say that I have to work at because I do. As I physically move toward my goals (both health and career) I have to see it mentally in my mind. I have to visualize myself, everyday, doing and working and moving toward it. I have to hear myself say repeatedly: this is my future, this is my destiny. Only I can do this. The challenge will be doing it when I don't want to do it.

So there it is, my plan. I am the only one who has to work it.  I think it's successful so far: I am down 17 pounds and I didn't gain any weight over the holidays.  That's success in my eyes.

Be good and well!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Transformation Comes from Within

As I stated in my last entry, I am battling the flu (which I am winning and expect to be back to the gym next week), but I am keeping myself focused. Staying positive. Trying to keep my mind and heart connected on a much deeper level.

I tell myself repeatedly: I am a winner; I can do this; This is my life to do with what I want; I am the best; I love myself for who I am... and so on. To me, these are very powerful statements. These are the statements that have governed my life much of the past six months. To say them once or twice a day is simply not enough. To wake in the morning knowing what your purpose is "...This is my life to do with what I want..." and know and believe that you make it your absolutely best day ever, awesome!  To go to sleep at night knowing "...I love myself for who I am..." and know that you truly did embrace yourself with the gentleness of a newborn, then your day was a success. You know why? I believe that how we treat ourselves is how we treat others. It's all very subconscious behavior.

We all have self-talk.  And unfortunately, the majority of it is negative. We didn't get the promotion we wanted: loser. We've gained 10 pounds in three weeks: fat ass. You get what I'm saying here. We're not schoid, crazy people trying to figure out who is saying what to us. We know what we're doing and saying to ourselves. The problem is we are our own worse enemies. It's easier to believe in what we don't like about ourselves; what other's don't like about us than it is to just feel good about being alive.  So I said to hell with it all.

When I decided to change careers, I had to change my mindset as well. Especially in a commission driven business where I am the only person accountable for my success or lack of it. While I was still uncertain after I passed the test and interviewed firms to hang my license, I still held onto the belief that this was my life to make what I wanted of it. No longer was I going to be a slave to a thankless boss whose main job description was the kick my ass at every turn and give me the whopping 3% annual raise she deemed worthy of my efforts and sacrifice from my family! No, this was MY life to do with what I want and I am doing it.

I held onto that and chugged my way into this career. I joined a gym. I've always been one who didn't shy away from physical activity, but allowed the distractions of life to interfere.  But with the mindset of it being my life and the endorphin and serotonin rush I got from the physical activity combined, I felt myself becoming mentally stronger in my belief and convictions.

My reading materials are different. I want things that are going to feed my soul; that will create a fiery inferno mess with what I already hold true about myself and just explode with success and happiness. Because these things that I want for myself, I want for my husband and family as well.  And while I transform myself, I transform them by defacto. By transforming myself I've created this gravitational pull (I believe) and draw them into life not necessarily to live on my terms, but to find terms of their own and make it work for them.

I haven't been to the gym in seven days today. But in my mind, I see myself at my goal: strong and healthy and rocking a pretty great shape for a woman facing 50. That makes me feel good.

But I still need a few days rest. I know this. But come Monday I will wade back into the waters allow my body to rebuild itself and move on to the next level. That should take about a week to get my groove back and in two weeks - bam - I'll be hitting the gym full force and running my crazy butt off in the streets.

I am excited about my life. It's what makes me feel good!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Let the Games Begin!

Well, I have been threatening to get back into shape for years. I've had many distractions (a/k/a excuses) to ignore the most important person in my life: me.  It's very easy to do. As many working mothers and wives out there know (and I am certain men feel the same way). And if you are a care taker, much like myself, nothing brings you greater joy and distraction than tending to the needs of others rather than maintaining the needs of your own!

Can I get an AMEN!

Then a few years ago when I turned 48 it hit me: I'm gonna be 50 in a few years. No one every really tells that one day you'll be your parents. It sort of gets drowned out the all the noise life brings with it.

You have your kids, family, work.  Which when you are going through it, you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's sheer chaos from the gate. Then the next thing you know, you're parents are aging and you are caring for them.

And then one day you're looking in the mirror and the face you see staring back at you isn't the one you remembered.

So what do you do? Well, in my case, I changed careers! I became a real estate agent! Outside of my husband and family (well grandkids ;)), nothing brings greater joy than helping make someone else's dreams come true.  It's a great feeling. It truly is.

So what next? Join a gym! So I did! Yeah me! I joined Lifetime Fitness. I am now working out five days a week for approximately 60 to 90 minutes a day.

Then what? You pledge to raise $10,000 for the Michigan Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and add running to your regime. I am rocking my own boat, do you mind!

So there other day, I was checking out my Facebook account and my niece has "Liked" this Skinny is the New Strong and it struck me: I don't want to be skinny or thin. I wanted to be strong and healthy. So here I am, creating this blog and pledging to keep to this challenge.

Since I joined the gym, I have already lost 17 pounds. Normally, I would let that number bother me but I realize two things: I am facing 50, so it's not gonna come off as easily as it did when I was 25 or even 35 for that matter. But I am building muscle. I've lost inches and can pinch less of myself so that is where I notice.

But anyway, I digress. Getting back to my blog.

Right now, as I write this, I am not feeling it. And I am not making an excuse. I am struggling with the flu. But I am keeping myself positive; focused and believing in my heart. And that is where true transformation begins: within our heart and mind. You have to keep these two connected if you want to see great change.

But I will continue to blog, keeping you updated as I move back into the swing of things. I am the only person accountable for my success both in the gym and in my business. As with every aspect of my life.

I'll post pictures, as well.

In the meantime, please be good and well.