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.