Friday, October 9, 2009

What the experience meant to me

A week ago was my last night as a Weight Watcher’s leader. It’s been almost two years at one meeting in particular. It was a bitter sweet moment and one that I wanted to write down and share with all the people that have touched me during the last few years.

I started my weight loss and fitness journey in 2007 with Weight Watchers. I had joined Weight Watchers so many times before. After all, my oldest son will be 22 in November and I was still working on losing the “baby weight”. However, I was determined this time to be fit and fabulous by the time I turned 40. It would be different this time I just knew it and it was! I made my Life Time goal in August of 2007 after loosing about 50 pounds and over 56 inches. I also incorporated running into my life and was training for my first half marathon a feat I never even thought about much less embraced and was actually going to complete.

It was at this time that I knew I had to be part of this organization. I wanted other people to feel the same way that I did. To set and reach goals that before had just been dreams or better yet, accomplish things that they had never even considered doing before.

I won’t forget my first meeting. I even blogged about it.
I was so worried about what people would think about me and if I could really get the meeting plan prepared and articulate it accurately. I had so much to teach them.

As the time passed we talked about so many things, moving more, planning, motivation and everyone’s favorite “Fat Girl/Guy Thinking”. Weight Watchers calls it Automatic Negative Thoughts but I like the other term better.

Last night as I finished the meeting, I had so many people come to me and tell me what a blessing or inspiration I had been. However, they don’t realize what a blessing and motivation they have been to and for me. You have helped me work through several of my own issues by talking about your own struggles. You have taught me to share more about myself and you have taught me to reach for stars that were not even in sight two years ago.

I will cherish and care about each individual that I have met along the way. Some reached their weight goals other have not reached their weight goal but have learned and reached other goals that will help them along their journey. I’m so honored to have been able to be a part of each person’s life as they allowed me just an hour of their week to work towards becoming the person they know they can be.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I’ve been Missing In Action for quite some time. I’ve had so many life events that have caused one day to seemingly roll into the next and before I knew it a week and now months have gone by. It amazes me how time flies, and in a blink of the eye we move from January through December.

I attended the Women’s Fitness Retreat a couple of months ago. It was a wonderful experience. I met so many nice people that I never met in person before. We spent three days working out hard, learning to eat right and trying to come to terms with the Fat Girl/Guy thinking that lurks in all of us. Months later I’m still processing some of the things that I learned about myself. I’m sure as the weeks go by I will have a lot of thoughts to share and hopefully ones that cause you to take a look at some of the things that are happening within your own life.

One topic that came up frequently was how various “life things” can get in our way and cause us to be derailed on our weight loss and fitness journey. I ran across a quote and I think it’s very relevant: “Adversity is a fact of life. It can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we react to it”. – Anonymous

It sounds so simple, yet it is so true. We are all going to face adversities of one sort or another in our lives. They will all be of varying degrees and could range from the death of a loved one to the kids driving us nuts. At the moment, each of them will be the most important thing.

During these difficult times, we have options to control our reaction to the issue. A fight with someone doesn’t mean that a banana split will inspire a truce. A binge on chocolate chip cookies will not bring a loved one back, and a McDonald’s Big Mac will not make the bad day at work better.

We all have many choices that we can choose from to get us through adversity. I have several that I use but I would love to get comments on what you use that is non-food related to help you during your difficult times. Maybe if we share our strategies will can arm ourselves for the next event.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Crazy Little Thing Called Guilt

Remember that song "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"? It's kind of cute in that it talks about all the things that love does to a person and what has to be done to control it.

Guilt is the same way. It's amazing how it can affect our thoughts about ourselves and accomplishments. We can be successful 95% of the time and we make one small boo-boo or poor choice and we tend to believe that we have undone the lasts week's worth of effort. We start focusing on all the negative things and forget about the positive, buying into the mental suggestion that we will forever be in a state of un-health and misery.

We can't change the past but we can change the future. We need to let go of the guilty feelings, forgive ourselves and move on. If we continue to focus on the poor choice and let the guilt consume us it is harder to make the next step or to make the correct choice the next time around. Its that fat girl or guy that sits there telling us how we aren't worthy or that we are a failure. We can't listen to that.

One great tip that I have used is to write your feeling on a piece of paper and then burn it or if you are worried about fire, just throw it away. True, its purely symbolic gesture but the idea is to help get rid of the guilt and not hold on to it any longer.

I would encourage you this week as you move through the week whenever you find that you are beating yourself up over something, to write it down, get rid of it and move on.

Even better than that, write it here on the blog page where you can leave it for good. I'll comment back to help you get through it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Planning + Preparation = Success

Preparation is the second half of Planning. I talk a lot about how we need to have a plan for everything that we know and for some things we don't know. However, the best laid plan cannot come to fruition without effective preparation. Too many times we plan but don't prepare and come home to find that we are either too tired to cook or we don't have the necessary items on hand. This makes it so much easier for us to grab something quick, easy and often unhealthy.

This weekend I took all the food that I eat in a week and laid it out on the table so you can get an idea of what I am talking about. Now, I'm not saying that you need to eat what I have in this picture. What I'm demonstrating is an example of what advanced preparation can look like. I have meals prepared in baggies, pre-portioned and ready to grab and go. That's how I can be successful.

Now, the next thing that you might tell me is "Oh Kathleen, I couldn't possibly do all that, it takes too much time". Well I'm squashing that one because it took me just a little over one hour to cook and bag up everything here, including laying it out and taking pictures. I use my Sunday afternoon to do my grocery shopping and then immediately come home and start preparing. It's worth the couple of hours to shop and prep back to back and it leaves me in a success mode for the week. I've even prepared enough so that I have food to last me through the weekend. I have no excuses to go off plan now, do I?

The other things that I do is brown up some hamburger for others in the house and make a few extra chicken breasts or one casserole that I can throw into the oven or my son can fix on those nights when track practice runs longer than normal or the husband has to work late.

There is nothing like the feeling of control and confidence when I can come home and know exactly what I'm having for dinner and all I need to do is reheat it in the microwave or pop it in the oven and cook it up. Quick, easy and healthy, that's my style.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm Not Perfect!

I received more emails from PhitNews subscribers last week than ever before.. Most of it centered around the couple of sentences I wrote, regarding my "rough week". I won't go into the details of what caused it because it doesn't really matter. What makes me fall off the wagon will be different than what makes you fall off the wagon. What does matter, is that we ALL fall off the wagon at one point or another. Don't let anyone tell you they don't, because if they do, what they are probably saying is that they just haven't yet, or they're simply lying to you! Its what we do when we fall that is the measure of our true strength.

Perfectionist thinking gets people nowhere. It's a nice idea to live in fairy tale land where Ding Dongs and Ho-Hos are all calorie free and we can sit on a bench and be fanned by a nice looking "cabana boy" but it probably won't be happening anytime soon.

Perfectionist thinking with regard to our weight loss occurs in different ways. For example, some individuals are afflicted with the all or nothing attitude which convinces them that if they don't lose weight each and every week they are failures. They focus on their imperfections and have a difficult time recognizing the great strides they have made. Another example (this one is my personal favorite) occurs because we get depressed when we don't meet goals that we set for ourselves, even when we suspect that the goals may not have been realistic in the first place.

Here are a few of the things that I have started to do to help myself when I get into one of my slumps.

1. I write about it. I write to you people out there. I trust you. You have become part of my family and I know that you want to see me succeed as much as I do you.

2. I look for the positive in whatever is happening. Most of the time I can find it. If I can't, I jump to the next step.

3. I ask for help. I have one or two close friends whom I trust to give me that swift kick in the pants (so to speak) when I become obstinate. I know that they will be honest with me and I've learned to trust them when they tell me that things are okay, or that they will get better.

4. Make a small goal that I know I can achieve no matter what, even if it is just to eat a healthy breakfast!

5. Enjoy the process. I can't say I'm so great at this one, although I'm getting better. I'm learning so much about things that I never would have considered in the past. I'm also learning more about myself, and that's even better.

"No one is perfect... that's why pencils have erasers." ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Say Yes!

I was watching a movie the other night. It is entitled "Yes Man" starring Jim Carrey who plays the main character in the movie. In short, he was leading a dull and unfruitful life when a friend turned him on to a motivational conference. In the conference he becomes convinced that he should just say "Yes" to everything. If he doesn't, bad things, he believes, tend to happen.

Later he meets a young woman who lives carefree in a band that has only five or six fans. She takes a running/photography class because she just likes to do both of those things and in essence just lives life to the fullest, the complete opposite of Jim's character.

The young lady says "The world's a playground. You know that when you are a kid, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it."

Is this not the truth? All too often we don't want to get out of our comfort zone, or to try something new for fear of failure, rejection or embarrassment because of what others may think. We don't play in the grass, crawl on our hands and knees, ride bikes or just lie on the ground and watch as clouds go by. I wonder why this is.

One thing that I've learned to do during my weight loss and fitness journey, and I'm still learning, is to live life to the fullest. To try new things, meet new people and get outside of what I would normally do. I've learned so much about whom I am and how much I have to offer to others and how much other people have to offer to me. I was missing out due to my insecurities. But not anymore! I'm convinced that life is a playground and I want to try all the rides, not just the merry-go-round.

Live life and say yes to something that you have always wanted to try but were too afraid to.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Karen’s Success Story

I've been a Weight Watchers leader for a year and a half now, but although recently I've struggled with continuing in this role for several reasons, Karen's story represents the major reason why I keep this job.
Karen has been an active WW member for over 89 weeks folks! EIGHTY NINE! That is one year and almost 8 months. I can't say that I remember her when I started my weight loss journey but she must have been there around the time I reached my goal. I do remember when she reached her 75 lb mark as I weighed her then. I weighed her at her 100 lb mark as well.
When I do my getting started meetings and when I took this meeting over I told everyone that no matter what, if you feel like quitting, please come and talk to me. I truly and genuinely care about you reaching not only your weight loss goal but your YOU goal. I tell them that I understand what it is like to be at a plateau. I was at one for NINE WEEKS, and I never want to forget that feeling. I tell them I have big shoulders and I can deal with the fact that they don't want to track exercise or they are just sick of doing this. But please, come and give me one chance to help them get re-motivated and to stay with the program.
Well, Karen had been struggling for three months to lose three pounds. She had been up 1, down 1.8, up .6, down, 2.6. Back and forth. You know what that's like, we've all been there. Yet, each week she would continue to come and weigh in. Last night she came as usual and I happen to weigh her. She was in a doom and gloom frame of mind and said she just really didn't know how this was going to go. I told her not to worry, let's just see what happens. She stepped on the scale and had lost 4.6 which pushed her into her goal weight of 154.6. Her total weight loss was 158.8 lbs. That's right 158.8 over an 89 week journey. She burst into tears, I cried for her and hugged her tightly and told her how proud I was of her (I'm tearing up right now thinking about it). I told her that it was now the beginning of a whole new her.

It doesn't end here. She proceeded to tell me that she almost didn't come to the meeting that night. She said she was sick of living like this and messing around with three sticking pounds but somewhere in her head she remembered me telling her to "just give ME a chance" and that we would work together to get over that hump. She said after she thought of that, she just had to come to the meeting and talk with me. To make things even better, her granddaughter who usually just drops her off at the meeting, stayed that night and was there to celebrate and witness this life changing event for her grandma. We also figured that during her weight loss journey she lost an AVERAGE of 1.77 lbs each week. What do we say here, "1-2 lbs per week".

We celebrated that night hard in the meeting room, we talked more about what it means to reach goals and persevere. We talked about support, what it is, and why we need it. We talked about never letting a little thing like the number on a scale, a cookie or pie rule how we live our lives or how it can make us feel.

I can't stress to each and everyone of you enough, that you can do this. You can learn to change your life, to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. You are worth it, and if I could hug and cry with each one of you as you reach your goals, I would do so gladly.

In short, this is why I'm a Weight Watchers leader and this one episode has brought more joy and satisfaction to me than anything I've experienced in the last few months.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It’s About Attitude

Many of you know that I just completed my first triathlon. I'm now part of an elite club. Less than 1% of the world's population ever completes a triathlon so no matter what my time or where I placed I'm a pretty special person, if I do say so myself.

I don't want to talk about me today though; I want to talk about a fellow competitor with whom I did the race. Her name is Jill. This was Jill's second triathlon and she was very excited about doing it. She had purchased a new bike, trained, and was ready for the first triathlon of the year. I know she was excited to be competing with our friend Kathy and me. Together they were going to "break me in" to the so called tri-world.

We had a great night picking up our race packets, looking at the huge pool that we would swim in, checking out the transition area and driving the 12.5 miles long bike course to get an idea of what to expect. Let me tell you, there are lots of hills in the Oxford, Ohio area!

We headed out to the race on Saturday morning and somehow we got lost along the way. Whilst trying to find our way, we stopped to ask for directions. At the same time I wanted to check out a strange noise I'd heard coming from the back of the van. We found that Jill's bike had fallen off the bike rack and was being dragged along the road for who knows how long. Her tire was shredded and rim thrashed. We knew at this point, that it was unlikely that her race would take place as planned.

I was sad for Jill, I was also sad for me because I felt I needed her to complete this race. I had no clue what I was doing. I was tempted to just back out.. I mean, it would have been an honorable gesture, right? Probably also cowardly , but you know, Jill wasn't upset at all. In fact, she just said, "you know, it was meant to be, but I'm still going to swim and run". So that is exactly what she did. She did the swim portion, waited for me to finish the bike ride and was at the transition for us to run our three miles together and for us to finish as friends and as a team.

Finding the positive in and learning from a negative experience are important parts of dealing with setbacks. The most important part of a setback is getting up and moving forward. Not letting that negative experience to permanently impede your forward movement.

An old Chinese proverb says: "Fall down seven times, get up eight times.." Its determination and attitude that will get us beyond the difficult walls that block us from our dreams.

My kudos go to Jill this week who didn't let a little bike wreck keep her from having a great time and completing a dream.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking Care of Yourself

I believe that in life there are givers and takers. One isn't better or worse than the other because we really should see ourselves on both sides of that equation. Sometimes giving and sometimes receiving.

I however, tend to be a giver and probably do a terrible job at being a receiver. I give and give and then I get to a point where I feel burnt-out and resentful toward the very people that I have enjoyed giving to.

We talk a lot about taking care of ourselves in non food related activities. Recently, I have found myself to really be burning the candle at both ends. I love being active in my family's life and I really enjoy the relationships and interactions that I have come to have with many people within my community locally and in web land. However, I was starting to see that I was suffering. Some of the things that I would normally take time to do for myself were being put onto the back burner and worse yet I felt that some of my duties as mommy and wife were being ignored.

So I had to take a step back and look at what was really important to me. I asked myself a tough question; what could I keep and what did I need to let go off? What could I give to someone else? I can't be Wonder Woman, as much as I would love to wear that cute outfit and have an invisible plane! So recently I made some changes in my life that will allow me to take better care of myself and those that are closest to me.

Is it hard? Did I disappoint some other people in the process? Yes, I'm sure I did. However, I need to practice what I preach and I was finding that some food items were making it into my cart that perhaps shouldn't be there or I was fudging a bit on a good workout to make room for other things when really those weren't as important as eating right and exercising.

What type of changes do you need to make in your life to "right adjust" yourself so that you are taking care of the most important person in your life, YOU!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fake It Till You Make It

Do you ever feel like you just aren't "in the mood" for this anymore. I sure do. Trust me, just because I'm a Weight Watchers Leader and Personal Trainer doesn't mean that I don't get sick of counting calories or Points or measuring, weighing, drinking water and exercising. Many times I'm just not in the mood. You know, it gets old after a while and sometimes and I just want to rebel.

In fact, sometimes I do rebel. It's in times like this that we just have to "fake it till we make it". We simply go through the motions whether we like it or not. That's why is so important to have things planned out and keep them readily available for the times when we are just not in the mood pop up. Trust me, we aren't going to plan a menu when all we want to do is grab something simple and go home to do nothing.

Having two or three quick and healthy meal options is a great way to work through times like this. I always make sure that I have chicken breasts cooked and frozen ready to use as well as some brown rice and frozen veggies. A person can do a lot with just those few ingredients.

Exercise needs to be approached in the same way you approach brushing your teeth. You don't spend hours in the bathroom brushing your teeth but the dentist recommends 2-3 three times per day and you must brush for 2 minutes. So with exercise, since its many more pieces to take care of, you must just get in 2-3 bouts of 10-15 minutes of movement. Take a walk around the building, that you work in, walk up and down the staircase at home. Just move. It's like brushing your teeth, you just gotta do it!

Folks, we aren't always going to have a stellar workout or have a week of fantastic eating, or lose weight every week or make a huge personal breakthrough in our thinking. But, what we can do, are small consistent things that add up over time to gradually get us to where we want to be.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Attitude Shift

Attitude is a huge factor in determining weight loss and fitness success. We might think that it's just the food we eat and the exercises we do or don't do that determines the eventual outcome but that's not all. Yes, they are important, but in addition, it is our attitude and how we choose to embrace the process that forms the framework for continued success or failure.

If we are looking at the changes in our food and the need for exercise as negative then it will be difficult for us to want to embrace and maintain the lifestyle over the long term. We need to look at the changes as things we want to do, that we know are beneficial. Not as punitive assignments that we must undertake, or else. Sometimes we must do them but our focus should be mostly on the fact that we know the outcomes from the process will ultimately get us to our goal.

Here are a few tips that we can use to help shift our attitude.

1. Keep a gratitude journal. Write down all the things about the process that you are or will be grateful for. They can be anything from being able to keep up with your kids or grandkids, to walking up a flight of stairs without becoming winded.
2. Use positive thinking. So many things exist on the internet today that we can subscribe to that will help us start the day on a positive note.
3. Limit your exposure to negative people or effects. We sometimes get bombarded with sights, sounds and people that tear us down.
4. Surround yourself with like minded people who help you become better at eliminating your bad habits.
5. Instead of saying "I can't"; ask yourself, "How can I?"

Choose one two of these this week as it relates to your weight loss and fitness journey and see if by shifting your attitude about your new lifestyle, you achieve more success and happiness in the process.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Starting Now

I've recently challenged my group of Weight Watchers members to a Spring Arm Challenge. If you are reading this blog, you are welcome to join in as well.

The idea of this challenge got me thinking about the many times we wish to accomplish something but put off making the effort due to one or more of a variety of reasons. The one that I hear about the most, is one that even I have been guilty of using. It is the one that says; "I'm not good enough". What?! How can any one of us know whether we good enough at something if we've never even taken the first step?

If we're honest with ourselves, we will often conclude that what we consider to be reasons for not taking the plunge, are actually excuses in disguise. You don't have to be good to start something, but you have to start if you hope to ever become good at whatever that activity is.

Its not enough to simply decide to do it, we must start the process. We must do something tangible and measurable. We have to put action behind our decisions.

My challenge to you this week is to start on that project, goal or aspiration that you have been putting off for weeks, months or even years.. It doesn't have to be a huge step but a step that puts you that much closer to reaching your dream.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Get brilliant on the basics

"Get brilliant on the basics" is what Vince Lombardi said when he took over the losing Green Bay Packers and a reporter asked him how he would turn around the team.

As many of you know, a football enthusiast I am not, nor do I really understand the game. However, I'm learning to follow it somewhat and I will say that I've come across some rather interesting individuals as I learn more about the current coaches and athletes as well as those from years gone by.

What struck me about this quote is that so many of us look at our weight loss and fitness journey as a mysterious and complicated undertaking. Sometimes we have to try a few different approaches before we finally find what works for us, but all in all it is a simple process and what he wrote about "getting brilliant on the basics" is so true.

If you hone your skills on the following three basic areas, you will reach your weight loss and fitness goals and accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

1. The 90/10 rule

Make healthy food choices 90% of the time. If you can't kill it or grow it then it probably isn't all that great for you from a nutrition standpoint. It may sound harsh but our bodies weren't made to process substances with names we can't pronounce. Our bodies do know what to do with fruits, veggies, lean meats and the like.

The other 10% of the time, enjoy life. Have some of the indulgences that you want and then move on. Earn them through eating healthy 90% of the time and then enjoy them.

I joke with my Weight Watchers members and tell them that our bodies only know to put "Ho-Ho" cream on our thighs for later processing.

2. Move More

Move More. Get off the couch and away from the TV and start moving. Our bodies have over 200 bones and 600 muscles that need daily use and activity if they are to serve us well. We need to incorporate cardiovascular activity and resistance training to take care of our bodies well into our golden years.

Find something that you like to do and get to it. So many different activities can be done and never feel like exercise.

3. Postive Focus

Get Rid of the "Stinkin' Thinkin". What we feed into our minds and thoughts are what we should expect to get out. Find a group or a close friend that supply you with motivational support and a place to vent. Start focusing on all the good things about yourself daily instead of the negative things. The areas that you want to improve in, work on them but don't fret over it.

It's the basics that get us hung up most of the time. Get brilliant on the basics and tell me where you end up.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Struggle a little, so you can fly!

The transition from your old self and habits to a new and improved YOU can be likened to that of a single egg morphing into a beautiful butterfly.

We've talked about this in the Meeting Room but I thought it was worth repeating just because change is inevitable in all our lives whether it has to do with health and fitness or something else. How we move through that transformation can be insightful.

A butterfly starts its life as a tiny egg, just drifting on a leaf, seemingly oblivious of what is happening to and around it. This is somewhat like us when we are in the denial stage. We don't see a problem with our weight, health or lack of activity. We have managed somehow to get this far with no issues. However, at some point we have an "aha" moment when we finally see the need for change. Maybe we couldn't buckle a seatbelt on an plane, fit into a seat in the movie theater or heaven forbid, experienced a health scare involving ourselves or a loved one.

At this point we have entered the caterpillar stage. We start thinking about what needs to be done, and how we will get there. Some caterpillars are known to eat until they get too big for their skin. Yikes! Maybe that is why some of us overeat in stressful situations, it could be our caterpillar survival instinct at work.

The action phase is similar to the cocoon phase. There is so much taking place inside that we don't see. In fact we may even find the chrysalis to be ugly. Often we have changes that are happening inside us during this phase. Our habits are getting better and we notice what works and what doesn't. However, we don't see this on the outside as the changes are covert. This is when it is important to look inside to acknowledge and take credit for the things you are doing right.

The maintenance stage is comparable to the butterfly emerging from his cocoon. He has to struggle to get through the opening. You take the final steps to find the wherewithal to continue with this lifestyle and spread your wings.

Here is the story I told in the meeting room: (Author unknown)

A man found a butterfly cocoon and brought it home with him. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as possible and could go no further.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

Struggle a little, so you can fly!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Experiencing Life

Eleanor Roosevelt has become somewhat of an intriguing and captivating figure to me. During the past few years I have run across quotes from her and she seemed to be such a well educated individual. After reading her book entitled "You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life" I learned that she really had no formal education yet seems to be such a smart individual and a person that would have been fascinating to meet and listen too.

Here is one of her more famous quotes:

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience"

For some reason, this just smacks me across the face and tells me to ponder, consider and reflect on my life and what I'm doing with it. Am I living it to the utmost? Do I reach out and eagerly reach out without fear for those newer and richer experiences? Honestly, I have to say no. I'm a person that likes things to be black and white and unknown or vague situations are not circumstances that I handle well.

I learned through my weight loss and fitness journey that I would be experiencing situations of this nature and slowly I had to embrace them. Now I have come to love them. The gym to me in the beginning was not a familiar place to be. I really didn't know what I was doing. Fortunately, I had a great trainer and some awesome material. However, I still was doing it on my own basically, and I had to struggle through the uncomfortable stages and awkward feelings. Nevertheless, I now, blast through the gym doors and know what I'm doing, and why. I now have people asking me for help. What a change! I've learned to enjoy different foods not only for their taste but also from their texture and color and I'm better now because of it.

I know that I want to experience more in life. I know I have a lot more to experience in life. I can't say yet that I will do so eagerly but I am committed to "reaching out".

What fears or concerns you have about losing weight and being healthier that are keeping you from living your life to the utmost? Let's work on them together so we all can begin to really experience life.

Friday, February 20, 2009

In It For Life

Two nights ago, during my Weight Watcher's meeting I posed an interesting question to the group. I wanted to know by a show of hands, how many of the members would describe themselves as being on a diet. I was pleased when not a single hand was raised. It made me feel confident that each member of the group is destined for success in the pursuit of their weight loss and fitness goals.

Weight loss and ultimate fitness cannot be contained by following a fancy diet of high this, low that or none of those. It has to be a sensible approach to choosing healthy foods 90% of the time and getting our tushies off the couch and moving more. We have bones and muscles in our bodies and they need to be used. If we don't use them we will lose them.

Too many people start the process thinking in terms of being on a diet and that once they reach their ultimate goal whether it is a certain number on the scale, a specific dress size or what have you, that they are done and all will be well from then on. When this approach is taken, it is just a matter of time before the individual reverts to the same lifestyle that brought them to where they were to begin with, and in many cases they end up worse off than they were before.

The sooner we resolve ourselves to the fact that this is the way we will need to live our lives from now until the end of time, the better off we will be.. This means learning to find moderation in what we do and eat, embracing moving more and having healthy activities incorporated into our daily lives.. It means believing in ourselves and filling our minds with positive thinking and the desire to pass these lessons on to our families and to the next generation. It means learning to love the feeling of rolling on the floor and playing with our children or pets and not having to dread the thought of having to say that we can't participate.

Folks, if you want to be successful, you must be in this for the long haul, for your lifetime that is. Be in it for life and it will become your lifestyle. If you do this, I can say with confidence that your weight loss journey will be much easier and a lot more enjoyable.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Time in a Bottle

I often hear people say that they don't have enough time to exercise or cook healthy meals. I've talked often about tips for prepping foods on the weekend and planning to help us have a smoother week. I also posted a few months ago a schedule of mine showing how busy my day is and how I get through it.

My come back to this comment is we have all the time there is. The problem is: How do we make the best use of our time?

Here are couple suggestions for helping you.

1. Work on developing a routine pattern.

If we plan our day with a routine pattern waking up at the same time and incorporating our activity as an essential part of our day we are less likely to miss or skip it. If we have a general pattern as to when and what we eat we are less likely to stray.

2. Say no to nonessential tasks

Many times we find that we agree to take on additional tasks and work without considering how this will impact our own life or those around us. Before agreeing to one of these tasks consider your own goals and schedules and ensure that you can still ascertain what you want to accomplish.

3. Maintain good health

Maintaining good health through proper nutrition, rest and regular checkup help us to ensure that we can continue with our active lifestyle..

All of us have only a limited amount of time on this earth and as sand through an hour glass it can quickly disappear before our eyes. However, using this time and making it count for something is the beginning of good judgment and lasting happiness.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Open up to Self Knowledge

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote: "It is curious that many people seem to fear self-knowledge because they assume, and often quite wrongly, that it implies discovering only derogatory things about oneself. Actually, an important part of self-knowledge is that it gives one a better realization of the inner strength that can be called upon, of which one may be quite unaware.."

Because it is easier to say, "I can't," than "I can," or at least "I can try," many people go through life unaware of untapped strength, even untapped ability. They haven't explored their own capabilities. They really don't know where their strength lies"

Wow, do I see so much of this in people that are in their weight loss and fitness journey? You bet I do. I even see it in myself and today that's what I want to write about.

Before, I started this journey the thoughts of doing any type of physical activity short of a walk with my child or dog was really something unheard of. It really isn't that I didn't want to do it. I just didn't think about it and I'm sure if someone suggested I would have laughed them off.

It wasn't until I met an individual that helped me realize that I had so much more potential in me if only I would take one leap of faith and "try". It started with just losing weight and slowly learning more about healthy nutrition and activity, including weight lifting and various cardio activities. Then she asked me to run a race. "A race" I thought, I mean I'm no Olympic marathon runner but she told me how this would give me a new found degree of self knowledge regarding what I could do and how far I could push myself. I did my first 5K and actually enjoyed it. Then she asked me consider a ½ marathon. 13.1 miles. Honestly, I thought she was insane. Again with quiet persistence she encouraged me and suggested that I just start running longer distances.. I didn't commit to running that first race until I had already run 8 miles and it was at that point that I knew I could do it and I did.

Now I'm at the beginning of a new journey for triathlon training and I'll tell you. I'm scared and I'm not sure if I can do it. I know I can run and I'm pretty confident that I can ride that bike. It's the swimming part that has me worried. I'm practicing and doing the things I know I should do to train. I've contemplated several times backing out but decided I really, really wanted to do this. So I signed up for my first race. I'm not backing out now, because I would lose $45, and I'm cheap! :)

My wonderful friend continues to gently prod me and encourage me as I learn to discover myself, my capabilities and my potential.

You too have more within you than you know or can even mentally conceive. If you only reach within yourself you will be able to take yourself to astonishingly new heights.

I would love to hear of what things you have felt concern over but looked within yourself and discovered that you could do.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

To Reach Your Destination, Don’t Go It Alone!

I'm reading a fantastic book by Eleanor Roosevelt. I've used her quotes many times and decided that I wanted to know a bit more about this woman. The book, in case you are interested in reading it, is "You Learn by Living - Eleven Keys for A More Fulfilling Life"

Some of the things she writes about have given me so much to think about. Its fascinating to realize just how so many aspects of what she says can apply to our weight loss and fitness journey. She tells the story of a young child telling his parents that he wants freedom. The parents decide that for one day the child may decide everything for himself. After about half of the day the child returned to his parents and started to ask questions. The parents responded that it was the child's decision because it was his day of freedom. The child paused and replied, "I'm tired of Freedom".

I share this story from the book because many times we start a fitness and weight loss program and believe that we can do it "all on our own". We want the freedom to make the choices and do it "our way" only to quickly realize that "our way" doesn't work, and that going it alone is tough.

We have the freedom to make choices during this process and we should learn how to make them wisely. After all, we can't have someone buying our food and cooking it for us. I wish I could, but I'm not rich enough. What we do need is someone or a community of people to help us learn to make better assessments and decisions that will enable us to develop the tools to at some point, do it "our way".

Are you trying to do this on your own, is your own way working or are you getting the help and support that you need from someone or a community of people. I would love to know your thoughts on this.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Because I'm Worth It!"

L'Oreal has a great catchy line in one of its commercials that says "Because I'm Worth It" and some Hollywood beauty then tries to entice you to purchase their cosmetics. Now I'm not here to say that that makeup line is good, bad or indifferent. What I am going to say is that YOU are worth it.

So many people don't take the time, money or effort for themselves in this weight loss and fitness journey. I hear it all, I don't have time, eating healthy is expensive or it's too tough and yet they still want the ever elusive fit and healthy body.

Before any of us can really know that this journey will be the one that sticks, we have to believe that we are "worth it". We are worth the struggles, the planning, preparation, and yes maybe pain and heartache that will accompany us on the journey. In order for us to get from one point to the other we have to look deep within ourselves and embrace all the good, bad and ugly and then let it go.

Too many times women believe that their worth is in taking care of their family and friends always giving of themselves to others and never providing a moment for themselves. Men tend to find their worth in their jobs and will often work long hours for a job that they can't stand but won't take ten minutes to prepare some food or get involved in some activity to keep themselves sane. Both wonder what they are doing living a rat-wheel type of life, moving rapidly but going nowhere.

Each of us deserves to be healthy and fit. We deserve to live life to OUR fullest potential. We deserve to laugh and roll around on the floor with our loves ones or our pets. We are worth the extra expense of a healthier diet and some time away to take care of ourselves.

I encourage you this week to find one or two ways that you can be kind, love yourself and find your worth because if its one thing that I have learned is its that "I'm Worth It"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hope vs. Expectation for 2009

I've been doing some reading lately and something caught my attention that I thought was so significant that I had to write about it. It's the difference between concepts of Hope and Expectation. What is the difference between these two ideas and how can we use each of them to motivate us to achieving a healthier, fitter and more fulfilling life?

Hope is a belief in some sort of positive outcome. It allows us to think in a bigger scope than what we might normally be accustomed to. However, it leaves us with some sort of opposite "choice" as well. Perhaps what we are hoping won't be the outcome as well.

An expectation is considered probable and normally there isn't a question about it. It implies a high degree of probability and usually some type of plan or preparation is envisioned so that we can reach it.

Too many times when we start a new year we are "hoping" that this is the year that we will lose that weight, start eating healthier or exercising, even if history has shown that the likelihood of our completing the dream isn't favorable.

I would like to challenge everyone to look at 2009 in a different light. Let's set ourselves up to obtaining some of these dreams by setting expectations for ourselves so that our dreams are more likely to become reality.

If we start expecting ourselves to eat right, exercise and lose weight, we are more likely to put a plan into place and follow it. Set the expectation today. Start with just a few simple changes to get you on this road. Here are my suggestions:

1. Plan. Plan a day of your life or two days of your life. Write it down on paper so that you know what hours you really have to work with.
2. Add one veggie to your daily menu. (We should be getting in 3-5 per day!)
3. Drink an extra class of water during the day.
4. Move just a little bit more. It doesn't have to be a lot, just start moving around. Commercials during your favorite television program are great times to do it and you won't miss a beat of it.
5. Plan. Plan how you can incorporate items 2-4.

Dreams are wonderful and I believe that we should all have them, and big ones. Set new and higher expectations for yourselves in 2009, which will in turn bring you that much closer to making those dreams part of your own reality.