than sweat therapy, is crunching through the leaves on a nature trail.
Decided that I needed to get out and get a little alone time today, and I hit the Queen Elizabeth park down by the ... Saskatchewan (?!) river... either way it was wonderful - just me and the woodland creatures.
It's a rare thing to be able to just enjoy the walk - no ipod, no HRM, no watch - but as soon as I saw the leaves, I was in heaven!
See... I'm originally from Michigan, and moved to AZ back in '92. Don't get me wrong, I fell in love with AZ the minute I stepped off the plane the first time I visited.
But I was completely sold when I learned that snow was as rare as the world renowned jackalope.
The only down side to the beautiful Sonoran desert is the fact that "fall" doesn't exist, at least not in the way that the rest of the world thinks of it... there's no trees turning shades of yellow, orange, and red. There's no slightly musty, earthy smell of a pile of leaves that litters the side walk.
And there's no crisp leaves to crunch through as you walk through the yard or down the street.
That is the thing I miss the most from my life in Michigan (ok, truth be told, it's a tie with fireflies in the summer).
I was very excited to get my crunchy leaf fix today.
I was able to snap a few photos along the walk - and yes, I was rather chilly. :)
Later on, the hubby & I were able to wander a bit through Old Strathcona, just south of the area around where he's working... Yay for a bit of sight seeing time!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
than sweat therapy, is crunching through the leaves on a nature trail.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I made it safe and sound into Edmonton - after a long, long drive, flight, and even longer time in line for customs. Was great to see my hubby, but was even better to see the inside of my eye lids.
So far the darn messenger, Mercury has been pretty quiet and I've been able to spend a nice time with the hubby, his work partner and his new wife.
Oh yeah, and my hubby had to take me to the evilness that is the Italian Bakery in China town.
OMG wanted to take everything home! And definitely will be taking a long walk tomorrow! LOL!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Retrograde: "Moving in the opposite direction to something else."
Mercury: Since Mercury rules communication, it's said that everything goes haywire in that area during a retrograde phase.
These days I'm not one to put much stock in the celestial bodies and their movement/impact on my life... planets revolve as they have for many a millenia and will continue to do so for many a millenia more.
So why has this last month been like fighting an uphill battle, banging my head against the proverbial brick wall? Why it's so very easy to tick friends off, and make enemies of the easiest going of people? Things that are normally easy are extraordinarily difficult... and I wonder if my Babblefish is broken and I'm suddenly speaking Klingon in a Goa'uld home world. (and if you followed that, you're a supreme geek! YAY! I salute you!)
Mecury Retrograde dates for 2009: September 6th to 29th
Yes, there's a 99.9999% chance it's just one of those times that are challenging overall and presenting an opportunity for learning and personal growth and all that jazz.
I'm still blaming Mercury, the blasted messenger of yore.
Happily, his return to the straight and narrow path starts tomorrow... just in time for me to ENJOY my vacation. Excellent timing on his part, I must say. ;)
Now if I just need to figure out who the --bleep-- ordered snow for the Edmonton region this week. We need to have some words. ;)
Friday, September 25, 2009
I woke up this morning and I was whiney.
I've been dealing with sinusy issues this week - annoying but mild considering how it used to be. Then I was thinking about how I dislike being sick/snuffly while traveling, especially on a plane... OMG the pressure on the ears and face makes me cringe.
Ugh, then the packing! What the heck am I gonna pack for a week for a place that's, on average, 30-40 degrees cooler than what I'm used to?!?!
Side note: For all the Alberta, Canadians around - I'll be in Edmonton from 29 Sept - 3 Oct.... just sayin'... and aside from that I have no other details.
And OMG my eating schedule is going to be all sorts of wonky.
*This* is within the first 5 minutes of waking up.
Then I heard the collective groan of my two lovely princesses - Stevie & Veruca.
In unison, they said, "Get over yourself, Woman!"
Oh yeah, good point.
I then declared today to be made of all things awesome and fun. And so far, it is.
First off - my beautiful friend Ramona and her amazing husband Rob renewed their vows today, after 10 fantastic years of marriage.
::Squee:: makes me all giddy and happy thinking of it!
Then, while I took it easy-ish at the gym, was horribly satisfied with my workout. I had a lovely, albeit chat when I got home with MaryAnn (thanks for that little perk, darlin'! :)
This weekend is gonna rock! I'm looking foward to enjoying the beautiful weather we're having by getting back to my fave walk/run spot along the Rillito river walk. Then I get to meet one of my SparkFriends, Michele... YAYAY!!! Cannot wait!
Sunday I have a bridal fair I'm going to be working, and the extra income is going to go towards roof repairs (and bird eviction of those #$!%ing pigeons!)
Then Monday afternoon I board a plane for the Great White North (kooookokokokokoooo! Sorry, little Bob & Doug throw back there ;) to spend a week with the hubby in his home town, and get to see Ramona!
Not sure which one I'm looking forward to more... eh, who am I kiddin', I lubs my hubby, but OMG get to meet Ramona!! YAYAYAYAYAY!
Oh yeah, and a nice little vacation to boot.
It also means limited time on the computer which is probably for the best all around. Needing a break from a lot of things right now, and this is great timing. I'm taking my workout stuff and I forsee taking several walkies for a bit of alone time, but I'm also looking forward to just relaxing and getting some rest to come back revved up to kick some butt!
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I know I've abstained lately from my usual musings on Wednesdays in lieu of sharing amusing, inspiring or through provoking images.
A picture is, after all, worth a 1,000 words.
Thing is, there has been a lot going through my brain since yesterday, although it really started about a year-ish ago.
That's when I decided it was time to figure ME out... what made ME tick, how to make my body respond the way *I* wanted it to, to enlist the help of my inner princesses to make my dream a reality.
I finally *got* the whole goal setting thing. I *got* that you need to build a big dream. I *got* the how AND the why of affirmations.
Essentially, I went from being in the process to the process being in me.
Then I told people about it.
Then I freaked. The "what if's" sprang out of the shadows like gnats, nibbling at my self confidence, threatening to erode the foundation I was so carefully laying for my life.
What if I fail?! What if I don't meet my goals? What if I just made a total fool of myself? What if I lose interest? yadda yadda yadda.
BUT (yes, there's a "but", though this is a good "but") I kept going. I kept doing it anyway, and ever so slowly, the only thing that was left was, "What if I succeed?"
Well, guess what? I have succeeded beyond my wildest expectations and I'm continuing to grow and see success in ways I couldn't even imagine.
Then yesterday happened.
You see, since putting my goal and intentions out there about the 5K and about my fundraising goal, something weird happened.
Some little mental "what if" gnats appeared again... followed by a few Fear Flies.
All of a sudden I went from looking at the upcoming event as a fun way to enjoy my current level of fitness, to OMG must take it serious!
I went for a 2 mile walk/run after work. It's been part of my routine for a couple of weeks because I decided it was time to kick things up a notch to move me towards one of my goals a little quicker. It wasn't something I *had* to do, it was something I wanted to do. For me.
But those darn Flies started buzzing, telling that I had to "train" not just do, I had to increase my speed, what was I thinking, I needed to do this or that. They followed me for the entire 2 miles. Then the gnats started in with the 'what if you can't do it? what if you come in last?'
When I got home I was about ready to send out an email to everyone saying 'Changed my mind, nothing to see here, move along.'
Instead, *I* got an email... several actually... saying donations had been made.
In less than 24 hours, I am just a few dollars short of my initial goal of $400. The first day!
And I was cc'd on emails that folks had forwarded my message around to others.
So I got out my mental fly swatter to rid myself of those pesky Fear Files.
I put up my mental pest strip to ward off the gnats...
I reminded myself that this WAs fun, that I was doing it for me, and because of the amazing love and support I've received in such a short amount of time, it was time to stop limiting myself and dream BIG!
I increased my financial goal from $400, to $4,000! Heck, I'm confident I'll have to raise that number again.
I'm also confident that, no matter my time for this run, no matter what my placement when I cross that finish line, it will be FUN, and it WILL be a personal best!
Thank you all for helping me SOAR!
PS Help me make my goal: www.firstgiving.com/stephanieflagghanley Thanks!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Well, I've talked about it, I've hemmed, I've hawed... and I finally decided just to do it!
I am very excited to announce that I have entered my first 5K race! While I don't really fancy myself as much of a runner, the weather here in Tucson is cooling ever so slightly and making it much more appealing to be outside.
On October 24th, one of the local farms will be hosting The Great Pumpkin Race (http://tinyurl.com/GreatPumpkinRace) and with a name like that, I couldn't resist - next to the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is my favorite holiday movie.
While my entrance fee will go towards benefiting the Hydrocephalus Foundation and Tedy's Team, I figured it would be a great opportunity to put the FUN back into fundraising. I have greatly enjoyed my fitness journey, and wanted to use my first competitive run (with a bit of walking thrown in) to not only do something good for myself, but also for others.
I have set up a page through First Giving to raise funds for the American Heart Association.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, and is something that has touched every aspect of my life. From my family, to friends, to co-workers, I know more than my share of people who have suffered from all aspects of this highly preventable disease.
Please help me meet (or exceed ;) my goal of $400 for this event. Any amount will be warmly welcome and I will proudly display the names of all those that donate on my shirt during the race. Remember, all gifts are tax deductible!
Thank you for your support!
Monday, September 21, 2009
I felt really nostalgic and sentimental this weekend.
Part of it has to do with friends of the hubby and I getting married in Colorado Springs this weekend. I wasn't able to attend, but the hubby was and I just saw some of the photos... it brought back memories of my wedding and, despite the craziness that surrounded the event, it was so worth it to be married to the amazing man I am honored to call my husband.
And it got me thinking about how much has changed over the last year - I feel like I've grown in some ways by leaps and bounds. I have a phenomenal group of friends and mentors (and some are both ::coughRamonacough::) around me that are motivated to be the best them possible. To all my fantastic friends reading this: I'm grateful every day that you have come into my life and can't imagine where I would be without you.
I've renewed some friendships, and have let others lapse. While the latter isn't always fun, it's necessary sometimes to remove yourself from the company of people whose path doesn't complement your own.
As I was talking with one of my dear friends this weekend, I realized I was feeling particularly sentimental about something else... something silly, but no less meaningful. You see, the conversation drifted towards health, nutrition, weight, etc., as it tends to do when I'm around... (big shocker, I know! LOL!) and in the midst of the conversation, I stopped and asked my friend:
Do you remember when food was... well, just food.
We both started going down the "remember when..." road and, while it wasn't specifically explored, our musings begged the question: when did food cease to be the sum of it's parts, and just became... parts: carb, fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.?
Bagels ceased to be bagels and became nothing more than a guilty carb indulgence (and as big as your head!)
Chicken went from a meat that was part of the weekly dinner rotation to a coveted source of lean protein.
Dining out was an event that you got excited about, something you dressed up for, something that happened on special occasions. Now it's more common for folks to use a restaurant menu more than they use a shopping list.
The fridge became a receptacle for leftovers and "food" rather than a warehouse of ingredients waiting to be transformed into savory meals.
And meal times used to be when the whole family would sit around the table, at the same time, and ::gasp:: talk! Ok, during my teenage years I know there was less talk on my part, but still, the meal was eaten together. If the phone rang, we let it ring. If it was important, they'd call back.
I also realized during this trip down memory lane that, while I'm firmly in the 'food is fuel, food is divided into various macro-nutrients and consumed in certain ratios' camp, I'm moving more and more back towards the "good old days" when food was enjoyed, not vilified, or something to be feared.
I also really enjoy cooking. I LOVE the meditative action of chopping and prepping the veggies and meat, adding in seasonings, waiting for the aromas to waft out pan or oven. I love to savor the meal I prepared, and love even more the complements/jealous looks I get in the lunch room. I eat off of a real plate - our "nice" dishes - and sometimes pull out a wine glass for my fizzy water. Even when the hubby's not home, a little extra sparkle on the table (eh, who am I kidding, the TV tray) make me happy.
So the next time you sit down at a meal (yes, you're actually supposed to SIT to eat. LOL!) shift your thinking ever so slightly. Pull out the nice dishes once in a while. Turn the common place into a celebration and savor the food on your plate.
Yes it's fueling your body, but let the experience fuel your heart.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
in the "Evolution of A Dress" at least.
As I was going through the pile of stuff we had accumulated to donate to Goodwill, I came across The Dress.
I made this dress with my own hands, picked out the fabric, cut and sewed it lovingly - though I'm sure there were a few, um, 'choice' words said as happens during involved projects like this.
I wanted something to wear to my friend Alaina's wedding that was as beautiful and as special as she was. I didn't want to outshine the bride in any way, just to present myself in the best way possible, and I achieved that goal... even though I had to squish myself into it (It was a toasty day in July in California, and an outdoor wedding to boot... luckily the reception was inside.)
That became my 'go to wedding' dress and I loved it!
So when I came across The Dress today (and honestly, I thought it had already been passed forward) I had a moment of doubt of adding it to the box with the items for donation. I thought of keeping it to show off my craftsmanship, and also to show where I started and how far I'd come.
Instead, I decided that it had served its purpose well, and it was time for it to move on, but not before one last commemorative photo to close that chapter on it's illustrious career.
Now it is sitting in my car, waiting to be taken to the donation drop off and then to be 'discovered' to begin it's new journey. Perhaps they will document its evolution in their life as well.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Handle every stressful situation like a dog. Pee on it and walk away."
From the Brat Factor 365 Surprise
Heh... that's sort of a reflection of my mood today... kinda silly, kinda feisty, sorta stressed but willing to, well, walk away from it at least. ;)
First off: Happy B-day to the US Air Force!
I'll be showing my appreciation by sweating through a 5K this afternoon on behalf of those who have and are serving. For my scary brilliant cousin Brent (who probably WOULD have to kill me if he told me what he did), for Jim, Billy, Kim, Rob, Dave, Shaun, and the MANY other peeps I don't have names for... From my little corner of the world, I say Thank You! If it weren't for what you do, I wouldn't be able to get away with all the silliness *I* do. (And I put a little extra in the mail today to the USO. :)
I'm not really sure why I've been feeling all sentimental about the service men and women of late - I blame CrossFit as they are very much connected to the military, and have several workouts dedicated to fallen heroes. Either way, it is what it is.
Secondly, I've been carb obsessed this week, but not in the way you may think. Ok it sort of is, but there's a few parts to it.
One part is the fact that I realize my mental pictures are changing. What I mean is, if I were to say the word, "Carbohydrate", what's the first image that pops into your mind?
Or maybe this...?
For me, now, the first image I get is this...
It has come up a lot this week where the term "carb" has become synonymous with "Grain"... in fact doing a Google search for "carbohydrate" images yielded, in the first 5 pages, bread, pasta or both in 99% of the images.
Yet, when you look at the nutrition info of fruits & veggies, they are all carbohydrates. I've been getting a little frustrated because of it. I have been in a few conversations about limiting "carbs", only to realize the other person was talking about grains. Or, I've found that I have to make distinctions between grain 'carbs', fruit 'carbs' & veggie 'carbs'.
I blame Tom & Barry.
See, in BFFM and the Body Fat Solution, Tom Venuto drew the line of distinction between "fibrous" carbs (aka most veggies) and "starchy" carbs (aka potatoes, yams & grains).
Then in the Zone, Barry Sears further clarified it by showing me portions/block sizes for the different types of 'carbs'... when faced with a choice of 3 tablespoons of brown rice or 3 CUPS of lettuce as one serving/block of carbohydrates, which one do you think *I* am going to choose? Both have 9g of carbs, but which one is going to make me feel like I ate something?
And that brings me to the other part of the 'obsessed'. I think I've mentioned before that, due to learning and practicing very clean eating habits, and being sure I eat enough, the only time I /really/ get cravings is if, for whatever reason, I'm HUNGRY, or when I'm not getting something that my body needs.
This week, I have been craving cinnamon swirl toast like a mad fiend! But mostly just the toast... heck, it got to the point that the scary "donut stix" in the vending machine actually started to look... good!
Oh yeah, and I had a serious, sudden case of Teh Dubm.
Once that happened I realized something was seriously off... doing a quick check over what I'd eaten, I realized I cut out most of the fast acting, straight into the blood stream starchy foods, especially later in the day.
I had a hard pretzel and felt much better.
One thing I love about this journey is the fact that there is an unending supply of learning opportunities: What works; what doesn't; how to tweak what doesn't work to make it mostly work for now; etc.
What I'm learning these past few weeks is I need to remind myself that, "Body runs veggies (and protein!). Brain runs on starch!"
So to all my fabu friends who are past, present & future figure competitors: I feel your carb depleted pain!
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I'm thinking that all my encouraging, thoughtful energy was spent yesterday... so today I will just share these awesome quotes that have crossed my path this week.
"No stream or gas drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined."
~Harry E. Fosdick
Don't change just enough to get away from your problems - change enough to solve them.
Don't change your circumstances to improve your life - change yourself to improve your circumstances.
Don't do the same old things expecting to get different results - get different results by doing something new.
Don't wait to see the light to change - start changing as soon as you feel the heat.
Don't see change as something hurtful that must be done - see it as something helpful that can be done.
Don't avoid paying the immediate price of change - if you do, you will pay the ultimate price of never improving.
Change can't be viewed as the enemy - instead, it is the source of both personal growth and organizational salvation.
"Blessing doesn't follow a need, it follows a seed.
God doesn't give you your needs, but He will give you the right seed.
The speed of your obedience determines the speed of your harvest.
The instruction I obey is the future I create.
When my measure of seed equals my measure of faith, the right harvest will come into my life.
Your seed today protects your tomorrow. Faith without seed is incomplete, and seed without faith is incomplete.
Stop looking at what you don't have and start celebrating what you do have. Thankfulness is the right attitude!"
~Dr. Nasir Siddiki
And to plant a small seed - tomorrow (Friday, 9/18) is the "birthday" of the US Air Force... to commemorate this event, I decided to do a 5K (not outside and with adequate time between my snack and the actual walk/run! LOL!).
I will be joined in spirit by a few of my CrossFit teammates - some will be walking, some running, some biking - each of us doing a little extra work for the men and women who are working so hard by serving in some capacity to keep us safe.
Let me know if you will be joining me to do a personal 'thank you' for those that work so hard.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This is in honor of a few friends who are Rockstars and don't know it... actually, I think they do know it, they just forgot for a moment.
Recently, they got distracted by this silly thing called life and lost sight of their awesome ROCKSTAR selves.
You see, they started to build habits, got their minds in a good place, started to see progress...
Then went ::flop::
They didn't fail, they just hit a small speedbump on their otherwise smooth road.
These things happen. Sometimes the speedbump is OMGHUGE and blocks your view of where you were headed in the first place.
Other times it's really just a little pebble that trips you up and jolts you back to reality. It makes you realize that you weren't paying as close attention as you thought. You zoned out for a little bit, went on auto pilot, got startled and have to get your bearings.
Either way, you may be confused, wondering where your life has gotten to... you may feel like you're floundering or lost, especially if that molehill seems like a mountain. You can't quite see where you've been - there's a faint trail there behind you, but the starting point is obscured - and you can't see where you're going clearly.
Or you may feel you're spinning your wheels, stuck, questioning if your current mode of transportation is /really/ the right one for your journey.
Or maybe the path just isn't as clear as it once was.
Guess what?! This, all of this, is perfectly normal.
Probably, if you've been paying attention, writing things down, journalling, etc., you can look back a few months to a year and see that you've been through this before, probably more than once.
If you keep looking, you'll discover something amazing: You got through it.
Look at this time as a blessing, not a curse. It's a great opportunity to re-evaluate (goals, direction, implementation), refuel (recharge your brain, refuel/re-energize your body), review (your progress, your positive steps, your GO ME moments!) or just plain rest (take some down time, especially if you've been going full boar for a few month to recharge and recover).
So, to my fantastic friends I leave you with this thought: "Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly!"
And this great bit of advice from <link>www.WingsfortheHeart.com </link>
Do you ever have trouble following through with the goals you set?
Here are three key areas that need to be in line with your intention:
1) First and foremost, make sure that every goal you set is of VITAL importance to you. This can be tricky because we so often fool ourselves into thinking we want one thing when we want something entirely different. Get to the heart of what you really want. Why do you want it? What will it do for you? What positive things will it bring to your life? How will it help you? How will it make you feel when it's accomplished?
Write all of this down and keep it handy so you can refer to it as often as necessary if you feel your commitment beginning to slip.
2) Think about what will happen if you don't follow through. Would nothing much happen if you don't achieve your goal? If not, then you need to raise the stakes! You have to make your goal the most important thing in the world, and if you don't do it, you'll deal with negative consequences. Even if you have to indulge in a bit of "make believe" in order to do this, do it. For example, play up the fact that you'll lose respect for yourself if you don't follow
through; or you might agree to give up something you love if you don't make it happen.
3) Then, each and every day, renew your commitment. It's easy to be committed when your goal is new and your motivation is high, but you need to be able to STAY committed - no matter what! Each day when you awaken, read through the goal you wrote down on the first day, and stress again how vitally important it is to you. Promise yourself that you're going to do as much as you can to work on your goal that day, and every day until you achieve it.
P.S. I'm not one to tell secrets, but I'll let you know who these special people are... maybe you can write them a nice note of encouragement.
Lean in a little closer... I'll whisper it in your ear.
::does Rockstar/air guitar dance::
YOU are AWESOME! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise... not even yourself!
There just happened to be all of these the past couple of weeks. Had to compile them... :)
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
It's amusing when someone asks for assistance and I offer up advice - they follow it and end up being a total rockstar, and I do the opposite and get bit in the butt.
So apparently I know what I'm talking about... I just don't listen to myself. LOL!
I shared with a fellow team mate about pre-workout nutrition, and make sure to drink lots of water and have a lite snack about 30-60 minutes before hand, but no sooner.
Yeah, I ended up having my snack, which was a little heavy, about 20 min before heading out for a walk/run... in the 90 degree heat. And I felt that snack every single step of the trail.
ooof. And oops.
I still managed to do some running (even though my legs hate me after the lunge/squat fest that's been the WOD this week), my heart rate didn't get over 160, and I did 1.5 miles in 20 minutes. I then forced myself to walk the last 1/2 mile sllloooowwwwly, and now my heart rate is back down to 68. Whee!
Guess I'm at least doing a decent job at at conditioning my cardiovascular system. :)
Now off to the shower and throw together some dinner. :)
I was listening to Jillian's show this morning - I know! Twice in a month. Ooh, brrr... did I just feel a cold breeze come up from the underworld?! LOL!
Anywho, it was a show from January and she was talking about a new product/program she's working on that involves customised workouts for an incline trainer (think treadmill that starts out at an incline that can get steeper... I think my calves just whimpered.)
Basically the trainer would have a chip/card that you would plug into your computer, download the program, then put in the trainer and she talks you through the workout as it controls the speed, incline, etc. I'm guessing/hoping there would be some sort of manual over ride on it, but it's a cool idea. I use a semi-customized workout when I do my intervals on a treadmill, but I have to keep track of my time, heart rate, speed, etc. This would be a way of being 'pushed' by a personal trainer, and helping you break through some self imposed limits.
Then she talked about how it could have widespread applications, like her having a TV show. You'd hop on your trainer and, through the satellite signal, the workout would be 'broadcast' to your machine. In theory, she would have control over millions of people's exercise equipment!
So... world domination jokes aside, this is a cool, yet infinitely scary concept!
The cool thing is that, like going to a group exercise class or a running/biking/walking group, there's a sense of community. You know that you're not alone and there's at least one other person out there doing this workout with you. I know, when I go to the gym, or go for a walk around my neighborhood and pass people on their morning walks/runs/rides, it's nice to see other dedicated people there at gawd awful early to partake in the sweat therapy ritual with me...
Ok, that came out weird.
You get what I mean... Basically, it's comfort to know that you're not alone in your fitness efforts.
Then it hit me: While the powers of this technology are (mostly) being used for good (This /is/ Jillian we're talking about... lol!) there's the potential for it to turn evil really fast.
(This is where I channel my inner conspiracy theorist... and go down the 'What If' path.)
It got me thinking about companies who talking about charging people more or less for their health insurance premiums based on things like activity level, BMI, weight, etc. Heck, the company I used to work for had a $10 'surcharge' for smokers, and if you checked the "Non-smoker" box on the form, and were caught, you were charged that $10 from the start of the benefit year. My current company is doing prize drawings for people who participate in health and wellness activities - eating better, having fruit instead of candy, exercising, taking a fitness class, etc. You send in your little blue form and get entered into the drawings. But all this is 'on your honor' - they don't know I really went to the gym this morning and rocked my work out. I could have hit the snooze bar and eaten bon-bon's for breakfast. They won't call Bally's to access my account to see if I scanned in or not.
But what if they did?
What if my job, or my pay, or my insurance depended on doing what I said I did? Or it depended on how fit/strong/thin I was?
What if I was forced to exercise, eat right, etc.; that it wasn't a matter of free will but a government mandate?
I had this George Orwellian vision of people forced to work out on these machines that transmitted data of how hard you were working and if you didn't burn the prescribed amount of calories you were shipped off to some evil gym somewhere... all in the name of creating a "healthier America".
I know! All aboard the crazy train! Wooo wooo!
But is it really? With the rising costs of health care/insurance, coupled with companies freaking out about the economy, I'm guessing there will be more conversations relating to how to charge employees more or less premium dollars. Is it so hard to imagine that there might be a time when embarking on a healthy lifestyle is not a matter of free will, but a requirement for employment, insurance, heathcare, child care, education, etc.?
Luckily my coffee kicked in and I'm in a much happier place now. :)
Just pay no attention to the camera hidden in the air duct.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Some days, it's just not meant to be.
This week is a series of those days.
What's the saying? "The best laid plans of mice and (wo)men..."
Or is it something about a certain road being paved with good intentions?
Acutally, I prefer: "People make plans. God laughs."
This week I had /planned/ to hit the gym 3 days, do some kick butt workouts, and continue on my merry way.
Instead, the universe decided that, this week, my only job is to consume half world's supply of coffee to keep myself coherent.
Between furry alarm clocks that have decided that play time is now between 3:00-4:30 am (it's a DARN good thing they're cute!), my wonky sleeping and eating schedules, and general "Blah" feeling, most likely influenced by the previous items, my unplanned rest week is looking better and better!
And in general, it's good to take the time to actually LISTEN to what my body is telling me. Yesterday I was fighting it... I really wanted to make it happen. This morning, every cell in my body said, "Oh HAYYLLL no."
Who am I to argue with that kind of logic?
Either way, it's not that big of an issue anymore. Yes, it means that my self imposed deadlines will have to be re-figured. No, it's not the end of the world. I just means I get to continue on with my life as I have been: Adjusting and accomodating when necessary. Taking breaks when needed so I don't get burned out helps me get a bit of distance to make sure I'm still excited about what I'm doing... And the slightly antsy feeling I've got about getting back to it tells me that yes, indeed, I am.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
This is pretty much nothing but a rant, and mostly lacking in any sort of political correctness.
All day I was living happily in the afterglow of a wonderfully relaxing weekend with my hubby. Really - it was fantastic and while it was a bit difficult getting into work mode, I felt rested and ready to take on the week. Then it happened... I was... well, read on if you want. But again, you've been warned.
This is one of those days where I wish weight loss was less... obvious.
Where, if I could just quietly do my thing so no one would notice, and my physical appearence stayed the same, I'd happy. Don't get me wrong. I'm LOVING the changes that I've made in my life - I feel GOOD (OWW! dun na duh na dun....) and I feel strong!
And honestly, I don't mind the compliments - I'm getting more used to just saying "thank you"... And if folks ask questions on how to truly get their health in order- you all know I welcome it!
But seriously, if I'm doing things in a healthy, non-extreme way, what business is it of other people what I eat/don't eat?!
And seriously, if you're going comment about what YOU think I do/don't eat, then you won't mind when I stop by your desk and make snide remarks about YOUR eating habits.
I feel like posting a sign on my desk that says:
1) YES. I have lost weight. I've also gained so much more insight into my life.
It's called self development and radical self acceptance... you should try it.
2) YES. I do know how much I've lost. NO! I'm not going to tell you. It's happened over the past 4 years. But you really only started noticing in the last 12 months. The bigger question is: Why does it matter to YOU what the numbers are on MY scale?
I've gained a healthier lifeSTYLE that I LOVE. How about you?
3) YES! I AM eating a cookie/piece of cake/bagel/REAL sugar/REAL bread/ice cream/fries/soda/insert random, supposedly "forbidden" food.
It's called living in the real world and practicing moderation in all things... including moderation. Again, you should try it.
4) YES! I AM eating again... and will be in a few more hours. Deal. Contrary to popular opinion, you actually have to EAT to reach a HEALTHY weight.
5) NO! I really, really, really don't want to hear about your friend's 2nd cousin 5 times removed that lost a TON of weight eating a carrot every other day. I actually respect my body... and my life... and my health.
I got yet ANOTHER remark about what I supposedly do or don't eat.
A co-worker has yummy peanuts in the shell, and the shell is coated in some sort of spicy seasoning. NUM-O.
I was snacky, and grabbed some... seriously, I had 3. Then another co-worker STARES at me.
Me - Ummm... what?
Her - YOU don't eat things like THAT!
Me - I don't? Since when?
Her - Well, I haven't SEEN you eat anything like that in FOREVER!
Me - Really? Guess you haven't been paying that much attention.
Her - But you eat so HEALTHY!
Me *munching happily* - yep... you're right!
No, this event it's not a huge thing in and of itself, but it brings to mind one simple question: Does it ever stop?!
Does the projection of other people's food/body issues ever truly stop?
If I'm 50 pounds heavier, you think I shouldn't have the cake, but then guilt me into having some so YOU don't offended.
If I'm 50 pounds lighter you think I need _2_ pieces because I'm getting /too/ thin, but then ridicule me if I actually eat it, because it's not 'healthy'.
You're right... it's cake. Sorta like bacon: it's the antithesis of healthy. It's also nummy.
I've made my peace with it. Have you?
Friday, September 4, 2009
There's this story about Michael Phelps that I never really *got* till today.
Basically, the swimming Adonis that he is, totally smoked (ooh, bad choice of words, LOL!!) his competition, broke records right and left, won 8 frackin' gold medals, etc... at the end of one of his more spectacular races, he tore off his goggles and tossed them down, majorly skeeved off about, well something.
Was it because he beat his own personal best time? Nope.
Is it that he won the race by an unquestionable margin? Nope.
Is it because he proved, yet again, that he *is* the human equivalent of a merman? Nuh-uh.
(yes, that's him in the forefront)
It's because, get this, his goggles filled with water.
"so, Michael... you just swept the race, how do you feel? Elated? Proud? Ecstatic?"
So why would a man who just did something so awesome be SO annoyed?!
Let me tell you why:
I got to the gym today excited it was an 'easy' day... the Workout Of The Day was the Push Press 1-1-1-1-1-1-1.
That translates into 7 sets of 1 rep... the idea behind it isn't to lift 5 pounds 7 times and call it good.* It's about finding your own personal one rep maximum and striving to improve it.
"The best inspiration is not to outdo others,
but to outdo ourselves." - Anonymous
I started out with all the positive expectation in the world. I wrote in the poundage for the last set as a goal - it would be 15# more than the last time I did it, and would be an AMAZING personal record. I pictured it in my head. I OWNED it...
Or at least I thought I did.
Not only did I not make that goal. I didn't finish the workout.
I got to round 6 and my body just said, "Nope."
I took a good rest in between set 5 & 6, was holding the bar, breathing and not only did I have a stray thought of, "Hope my wrist can hold up..." but my arms threatened to fail.
So I reduced the weight.
I reduced it again.
It got to where I didn't trust myself to try and lift the empty bar (45#) that I easily moved at the warm up. I stomped my feet a little, re-racked my weights and stormed out.
Oh yeah, and I smacked my nose with the bar on the warm-up lift (on the way up... ::rubs nose:: OW!)
"The point of CF is to get better at life.
Being unable to workout tomorrow because you were pigheaded today
is not in line with our goals." Garddawg
Here's the thing: Set #5 was a personal best of 65#! I've managed 55# but never 65#.
Thing is, I was shooting for 70#.
"Don't place mistakes on your head, their weight may crush you.
Place them under your feet as a platform to your horizons" Trainer_T
Yes, I'm happy I did it once, and I know that 65# WILL be mine next time... more than once! I'm just disappointed because I know I could have done better.
*If you're at the level where 5 pounds IS your personal one rep max... then YOU are a ROCKSTAR! I truly mean that with all my heart!! That means that you have worked your way up through 0-4 pounds and can lift more than you could before.
Considering the 4# weights kill me when I do reverse flyes, I totally salute you! (once I can lift my arms again! LOL!!!)
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Process: proc-ess; -noun; a systematic series of actions directed to some end; a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner.
Right now, at this very moment, you are in the process of (fill in the blank).
The question is: is the process in YOU?
I'm sure you're scratching your head on that one... so let me 'esplain in terms of weight loss.
You, at some point, said, "I'm going to lose this weight!"
You then sought out the tools to help you. From the minute you signed up for SparkPeople/Weight Watchers/FitDay/etc. or you cracked open a book related to weight loss (Atkins, South/North/East/West Beach, Zone, etc.), you started the "process", and all that entails.
Hopefully started using the tools at your disposal: tracking your food intake, adjusting your calorie allotment, eating more fruits & veggies and (ideally) cutting down on the processed food, starting to exercise and tracking your movement, etc.
All these things are designed to help you shed the excess poundage so you can reach a healthy weight.
These are things you can learn to do to make the process work well for you - eat this, not that. Do more of this, less of that.
And when it comes down to it, anyone can go through this process and achieve some measure of success. Heck, many people have reached their goal weights in this process. In fact, many years ago *I* was one of those people. I started the process in January, and by December I was down 60 pounds.
I focused on the exercise and the food and lost weight.
Then I immediately gained it back.
Thing was, I had a lovely structured environment that was conducive to the process. There were a few interruptions along the way, but overall I was able to plow through and get the weight gone. I was firmly IN the process, mainly because I believed that if I did the steps, and lost the weight, all the worlds problems will be solved.
Yeeeaaahhhh, not so much.
As soon as my environment changed, I was totally and completely lost. Patterns/habits/thoughts that were still there resurfaced and, well... you saw the pictures.
This time around, the process is IN me.
It's something you see in people who /really/ get *it*. Something you see in that magical 3% of the population who achieve _lasting_ weight loss. Something that changes you from focusing on the results, to focusing on creating a healthy future.
The difference, the key, the not so secret secret: It's all mental.
"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
It's being open to change. It's being open to learning a new way of doing things. It's realizing that maybe, just maybe the habits you've lived with for most of your life might need to be part of your past. It's understanding that it won't happen over night, but you are willing to slowly learn new habits, new thought processes, new coping mechanisms, that will eventually propel you to the body you dream about. It's recognizing that the inevitable bumps in the road aren't fatal, they're opportunities to be creative. It's also coming to terms with the fact that, while it's simple on paper, it's not easy, and being ok with it.
It's a gloriously slow, and fantastically uneventful way of going about it, but once you get it - really get it - it gets IN you... and it's yours for LIFE.
You will wake up one day in 6 months, 8, 12 months and realize, "Holy Macaroni! I've been cooking my own meals, getting my sweat on and reading my goals and affirmations almost every day for the last 4, 6, 8 months! Darnitall, I really like myself! Time to go shopping for new clothes and get the family ready for our hike!"
The thing is, it's universal: Once one process gets IN you, you can see ways to apply it to other areas of your life. You see the value in developing a spending plan, like you developed your eating plan. You start to release the physical clutter that's in your home, the same way you released your mental clutter. You baby step your way to break the habit of smoking, the way you baby step your way to the habit of daily/every other day exercise. You build your business the way you build your muscles - one repetition at a time.
Success is truly a 2-5 year process, and the only thing that is instant is the decision to change.
Now, go forth, and decide to let the process get in you today!
And now, for a moment of extreme OMGcuteness:
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I have to say, I'm truly humbled... looking at them, I'm realizing how far I truly have come physically, mentally, emotionally.
And I'm also amused because really, I don't have many photos of myself. Basically, I never liked having my photo taken, and it shows in the small number I was able to find.
So here goes... starting with an evolution of a dress...
This is where I started... roughly. This is from my friends wedding in July, 05.
Then the following year...
At my Aunt & Uncle's 50th Anniversary party in June, 06
In between that, I did a bit of yard work...
Around May, 07
Then fast forward a couple of years...
At our friends wedding April, 08
Enjoying time with the hubs before their wedding.
I continued along for the next couple of months before our wedding...
And then things REALLY started to pick up.
Took a trip to Mt Lemmon for my birthday...
Then was feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere...
But apparently I was doing ok... in March/April-ish, 09
Then we went to Florida...
In April, 09
And then to Dallas...
In August, 09.
And here we are today:
And I'm going to be REALLY brave and show you what's under that:
That was taken this morning (proven by the sticky note)
So there you have it... a few stops along the way and I'm looking forward to seeing what comes along in the future.
Sorry for the less than thrilled look, was more of a 'is the camera gonna oh, it's... no... oh going off now" look.
And then I had to post this one, mainly because I got a cool complement today. A coworker passed by, stopped, turned around, and said, "Seriously?! WOW! You're calves are out of control!"
Ummm... Thank you?!
Now I understand why...
Ok, so there was a /little/ extra flexing on the one leg... but still! My legs and ankles look like they go together now!
See... I've always had very thin wrists & ankles. The rest of me is a medium/large-ish frame, but my wrists & ankles... tiny. I always had to laugh at the 'determine your frame size by your wrist measurement' things because if I went by the 'small frame' charts, I'm supposed to weigh 120. Granted we all know those charts are cr@ap, but still.
Anywho, because my ankles are so small, my lower leg has always looked huge (to me anyway) in comparison - sort of this odd, extreme "V" taper. But not so much any more.
Looking at both photos it's time for me to realize that yes, indeed, I'm shaping up, I'm becoming more concentrated, and my body shape is not what I think it is. Despite the last holdout of body fat on my upper thighs and tummy, the rest of me is doing pretty darn good.
This has also reinforced my decision to not step on the scale for a while. I have a goal to be below 150 by my birthday next month, and honestly, looking at the fantastic physical progress I've made, I don't want the reality of the scale to ruin that for me. :)
So there you have it, progress pictures and confessions of body image insecurities.
Ok, those of you who have been around me for any amount of time know that I have a love, not-so-loving relationship with Jillian Michaels.
I'm getting over it.
I'm working on being open to hearing other ways of talking about things.
I'm learning to be more teachable and open to reproach (something that is a Tome in the making).
It's just not easy when she makes me want to chuck my iPod across the room during her show, but still... I'm workin' on it.
The love I do have for her is the fact that she has some amazingly insightful, motivating, passionate things to say about, and focuses on, becoming a healthy BEING...
The podcast I just started listening to (it's from the 1/4/09... so I'm a little behind, sue me. ;) is a perfect example of that, because she's talking (ok, ranting) about working on the mental things that get in your way - or looking for outside help in the form of therapy when you're constantly repeating the same self defeating, self destructive behaviors over and over again.
This is where I shall wax metaphysical for a moment and reflect on the fact that God/the universe/Powers That Be, however you want to recognize it, is always listening. The ponderings you have, the random questions that you pose in your mind when you're working through a problem, etc., they are being put 'out there'. And on the other side of that, God/the universe/the PTB are always, ALWAYS giving you answers or pointing you in the right direction... its up to you to look/listen for them.
This week (I know, it's only Tuesday) has had many, many themes, and one of them has been challenges. I commented in my CrossFit group how it amuses me that we all tend to post our workout info, followed by "OMG got my butt kicked... it was great!"
Seriously, what kind of person gladly puts themselves in a situation like that?
Um...someone like me, I guess.
You see, I'm realizing that I'm finally at a place where I welcome challenges. I see the value in pushing myself, even just a little bit. Yes it's scary, yes I look at a workout and say 'there's no way!' then do it anyway. I find a way to make it happen.
This carries over into other aspects of my life as well. This past week I've found myself doing things that are really out of character for me: opening myself up to share things with people that I normally would keep to myself, and getting amazing feedback from it; actually talking during a weekly coaching call that I rarely dial in for in the first place; getting rid of things in my house that I've held on to for YEARS... etc.
I've taken the time to slowly chip away at that wall that's blocking my path to whatever greatness that's waiting for me on the other side.
Now, back to Jillian... I actually heard the intro to 2 of her shows this morning, and both of them related to the same thing which has been another theme-o-the-week: (paraphrasing) it's not about the results, it's about the process.
See, when I started this weight loss journey, I wanted to fit into the skinny jeans, I wanted to look good, I wanted a certain number on the scale and the waist band of my pants to be a certain size.
When I started, that's all I was focused on - the measurable results. All in all, if you have to start somewhere, starting with something measurable is a good place - food, activity, scale, pant size, etc.
The more I worked on that, the more I felt myself banging my head against an invisible wall.
Thing is, once I tried to figure out what that wall was, and how to get around it, /that/ is when I got much more than I bargained for. That's where I really started to learn the self development piece of the equation.
See, for most people, the physical weight is buried under years of emotional weight, and then the subsequent supporting habits. Which is what Jillian was talking about - looking deep within yourself clearing away the issues that surround your core being, and letting it out.
Finding the value in being a healthy person on the inside will eventually translate into finding ways to make your physical body as healthy your spirit.
It's really not about the food. It's not about what exercise you do. Yes those two things ultimately help shape your physical form, but if your spirit is weighing you down, you won't get very far. You'll occasionally eat healthy, go all in with working out, but the 'stick-to-it-ness' won't be there.
Willpower will never win over ingrained habits.
If your habit is to sleep till the last minute, rush around in the morning and zoom out the door 10 minutes before you need to be at work, will power alone won't help you get up an hour earlier every day to workout, make a good breakfast and leisurely drive to work. Focusing on building your mindset and seeing the overall value of learning a new habit will.
So while I'm not on the same page as Jillian, I definitely appreciate her bringing the concept of building your best SELF first, or at least along side of building your best body.