Here’s my sign

We are officially, technically homeless.  Yes, that’s right.  Between moves, we usually have no address.  But that’s okay as we are either with family or at a hotel for the night.  As sad as I was to leave such great neighbors, I was anxious to get on the road.

I’ll be perfectly honest and just say diet has been mostly iffy and as far as workouts, well let’s just leave it at I spent plenty of time humping it up and down stairs in our packing and moving flurry.  I also noticed I had had a few sodas, and yes a few burgers, but I tried to balance that out by eating lighter meals between.  We were doing pretty well with the meal planning.

We hit the road Saturday morning when we had finished all our business with our house and saying goodbyes. We stopped at McDonald’s for lunch because it was there, and on the turnpike there isn’t anything else.  I did okay-I went for one of those deluxe chicken wraps, grilled.  but then I also got fries and a coke. Bad, bad.

But some time after we had hit the road again, I heard this noise, and looked down and saw this:

Photo: Ewww. I'm going to take that as a sign.

Of course I had to laugh.  But then, I felt like this was a sign.  A reminder I didn’t need to finish that soda, and that in fact I had probably been drinking too many sodas, especially since I haven’t been eating all that great, and of course, not exercising.  I took it as a sign to keep my commitment to get fit closer to the forefront of my mind.

If you’re like me, there are times if someone is shouting and yelling at me to do one thing, to go this way, to whatever, I tend to dig my heels and go the opposite way.  The paw on my drink was a nudge, a reminder to keep to the path.  I haven’t had a soda since.  I think that’s a pretty big deal.

A Tale of Two Women

It’s Whiny Wednesday.  Fair warning:  I do have a need to talk about something (someone) and this tale is sure to be loaded with snark with a few dashes of vitriol for good measure.  So, if you don’t want to read any further, it won’t hurt my feelings.  However, if you’re in the mood for some head shaking, guffaws, and drama, read on.

body imageThere are two women, Ethel and Maude, who are related by marriage.  They each have their own little lives, and their own families to deal with.  You would think that they might be good friends, but no.  Maude can’t really stand Ethel because of a variety of reasons, mostly because Maude thinks Ethel is a dumbass.  At first, Maude wondered if her dislike of Ethel was misplaced, since Ethel is skinny and sort of has the body Maude would like to have.  But Maude’s husband has said if she ever lost that much weight, he’d divorce her because he doesn’t want to have sex with a skeleton.  Maude thought that was pretty funny, but after spending more time around her, she’s decided the dislike is rooted in the stupidity of the other.

Ethel is stick thin, and her bone structure is small.  Maude, in all reality, could never be that thin without looking like an anorexic, and she knows it and has determined that she doesn’t want to be skinny anyway  She wants to be strong and fit, something Ethel in all her skinny glory, isn’t.  Over the last months, Ethel has started complaining about her body because she’s gained weight since she moved to the area, developing a nice pair of saddlebags (which you can totally see because she’s always wearing leggings) and a bit of a belly (big enough now it looks like she had to lay down to zip her jeans).  She even has a pair she keeps wearing that she can’t button, and then wears a little shirt that shows a little belly (and her undone jeans).  She thinks she’s so sexy, but it’s just sad.  She likes to make like she’s a supermodel if you see her pics on FB.

She knew Maude exercised at home, so asked if she had any old DVDs she could have so she could get in shape.  So Maude, being the nice gal she is, gave her 2 of her older DVDs that she didn’t use.  For all her complaining about wanting to get in shape, Ethel has only used the DVDs once.  Another time, she also went for a little run-1/4 mile and used her husband’s weights. And a time after that, she went for a little walk (4 miles).  These events occurred weeks apart from each other, after which she spent the rest of that week complaining about how sore she was from her exercise.  Maude just shrugged, because she knows how it is when you start a new workout, in shape or not.  Ethel thinks she’s healthy and fit because she’s not overweight, so doesn’t get that she isn’t healthy at all because weight is only one indicator of fitness.  She thinks she’s in such great shape, but Maude could probably toss her across the room without breaking a sweat.  Maude may be fat, but she’s strong as hell.

But you can’t talk to Ethel and explain these things, because despite a lack of education, she thinks she knows everything.  Like how Nutella and fried potatoes are essential food groups, and skinny means she’s healthy.   Seeing Ethel and hearing her complain about her body, yet does nothing about it only annoys Maude these days, and it just pisses Maude off to no end that Ethel is determined to make her kid just like her, by saying things like, “oh, you don’t like to eat that” just because Ethel doesn’t like it.   Just like doing all sorts of things for Ethel and her family annoys Maude because whatever they gave, it wasn’t good enough, what they wanted, or they wanted more.  Ethel pesters their mother-in-law to ask Maude for things or information, but Maude doesn’t have time for such ignorance or these annoyances because she’s on a mission.   Oh, she still does what she can (family’s family and all that), and tries to do it with a gracious heart, but still gets annoyed to have to be doing anything at all for that lot of ingrates.

See, Maude has spent most of her life overweight and out of shape and the last couple of years complaining about it.  She spent some time blaming her husband (his snacking), her kids (no time), and genetics (family is overweight too).  She spent probably too much time in negative self-reflection, wondering why she could never lose weight, and why she was a failure.  Recently, she realized she was doing waaaaay too much complaining and beating herself up for past failures and not nearly enough DOING.  So, she decided she’d had enough of making excuses and rationalizing her shortcomings away.  In short, she decided to quit bitching, because no one else was going to be living her life but her, and if she wanted to have a good one, she’d better “git-to-gittin'”.  So, she put on her big girl pants and decided to make her own destiny instead of waiting for someone else to give it to her, unlike Ethel, who didn’t want to learn about her new home (hers was so much better), learn the language (she hasn’t bothered, other than a few phrases), and expected her in-laws to help her find a job (which they did, and then regretted it when she acted like she was too good to work there).

Maude doesn’t think she’s better than Ethel, but she knows damn well she’s smarter and more determined.  Smarter being the sticking point-Maude knows that the random efforts Ethel makes toward fitness are not going to get her in “bikini-ready” shape.  Maude knows that to make it with anything-whether it is making a new life, or transforming the one you have-you have to want it, and you have to work hard for it.  Maude struggles with the slow pace of her weight loss, but knows the number on the scale is not the be-all-end-all of her journey to fitness.  She’s keeping her eye on the prize, because with every workout, she feels how much stronger she is getting.  She feels how rock hard her thighs are getting, and sees how her butt is looking more and more awesome with every set of lunges and squats.  She admits to flexing her biceps in the mirror to see those proud little bumps she never had before.

Whether it was more money, more fitness, more time, more things, Maude often dragged herself down thinking about what she didn’t have.  But realizing her wanting never got her anything but more heartache, she’s changed the way she thinks.  Maude now likes to keep her focus on what she wants and HOW she’s going to get it, instead of WHY she doesn’t have it.  Maude looks at Ethel, and sees a shadow of her old, unhappy self, who often wondered why she didn’t have “it”, whatever it may have been.  Ethel only sees what she doesn’t have and WHY she doesn’t have it and who’s to blame for the lack.  Oddly enough, she’s never the one at fault.

I can already see who’s going to get their “Happily Ever After” 😉

It’s Monday-again

Funny how that just keeps happening, isn’t it?  It’s Motivation Monday and I wanted to throw out a quick blurb out there to everyone.  I am hitting it hardcore with the final packing this week before the movers come.  You know, they have all those pesky rules about what they will and will not ship.  Of course, that just makes it harder on those of us who are trying to leave town with little more than a few changes of clothes.

I found some time to do some research last week about staying fit while traveling.  You know, like tips to help me eat healthier, workouts I can do in a hotel gym or in my room.  I’ll share what I’ve learned later this week.  Also, I’ll be keeping in touch during our travels with shorter entries over the coming weeks.  Next week is going to be a doozy and I’ll be busy “supervising” the packers.  You know, like making sure they don’t pack the trashcans with garbage in them.  Don’t laugh.  It’s happened.

So, I’m leaving you today with this little gem I found online from Nike.  Gotta love their marketing department.  They have a way of making me want to get up and go for a nice long run a la Forrest Gump.  Well, I’ve spoken about greatness before, about feeling great, and being great, and making yourself great, but this really sums it all up nicely.  Have a wonderful day and don’t let ‘you’ keep you from finding your own greatness.  We all have it in us.

nike greatness

Harmony in My Head

Good Motivation Monday to you all!  The other day I was reflecting on how, a lot of times when I wake up,  I have a bit of song playing in my head.  I used to wonder if I was crazy because it’s not something people talk about, and by the time I’m brushing my teeth, I’ve forgotten what it was.   But in that half-twilight between sleep and awake, I find myself playing a little ditty in my head, sometimes an old favorite, sometimes something new.

I love listening to music.  Mostly, I just tune in to the radio, but when I’m exercising, I like the hard, driving beats stored on my iPod.  I haven’t quite caught on to the whole iTunes and I’m terrible about ripping my CDs to my computer, which means I don’t have very much new music, and what I do have on there is pretty old. I’ve been listening to the same playlist for over 10 years now, but a good song never goes out of style.  I favor techno beats above all else, but there’s some rap and rock mixed in there too.  What makes it even better is that the songs I listen to on a run or in the gym are not songs that you hear on the radio, so when they queue up on my playlist, it’s like a little visit from an old friend.

music is my fuelSometimes, a song might come on that’s not what I need right then.  Maybe the beat is too slow, or the lyrics are not what I want to hear, cuz, you know, I’m not really feeling Taylor Swift’s “Today is a Fairytale” when I’m trying to get my cardio on.  Those are the times when I start fumbling with the iPod trying to find something else.  Something that keeps me going, pushes me to the end of the set or interval.  There’s just something to be said about the right song that motivates me to finish strong, that finds the little extra fuel I need to get to the end.  I especially need this when I’m running.

When the hubs and I go for our walks, we don’t listen to our music since we spend most of the time talking.  Well, I can’t speak for him, but I spend most of my time gasping out half sentences between steps and grunting in acknowledgement or dissent as we make our way on the route.  Sometimes, especially when we hit the hills (all up, natch), I wish I had my tunes to keep me going when my shins start burning and I want to slow down.  The hubs, who is in better shape than me, just trucks right on up, leaving me in the dust.   Gah, sometimes, I wish he’d get nicked by a car on one of the blind corners!  He’s nice enough to wait for me at the top of the last hill, bastard that he is.

In appreciation for those things that motivate us to keep going even when we think we don’t have the juice,  I thought I’d share with you 10 of my favoritist tracks from my meager collection, in no particular order.  Have a good Monday, and an excellent start to the week.

Song Artist
1 Sabotage The Beastie Boys
2 Lose Yourself Eminem
3 Spice Eon
4 Busy Child The Crystal Method
5 Millionaire Queens of the Stone Age
6 Feuer Frei Rammstein
7 Get Free The Vines
8 Lust for Life Iggy Pop
9 We Have Explosive The Future Sound of London
10 Kernkraft 400 Zombie Nation

Don’t Look Down!

Hello, Motivation Monday!  It’s time to rock and roll, shake the cobwebs out, and get moving and a groovin’.

new way to beThe weekend was fraught with peril-it was the hubs’ big 4-0, and Orthodox Easter (Kalo Pascha! to any other Orthodox out there).  Next weekend will be another whopper: our anniversary and Mother’s Day.  Will the insanity ever end?  Yes.  Yes it will.  Things are SOOOOO much less stressful since I’ve given up on the “all-or-nothing” attitude.  It helps me to put things in perspective, reminding me that a half slice of the hubs’ b-day cheesecake was not going to break the calorie bank, or undo all my hard work.

Of course, if I ate like I did last night, I would, but that’s the beauty of special occasions.  They are called so because they aren’t everyday occasions.  A big part of changing my life has been about changing how I think and react to things.  In the past I might have denied myself the cake.  Or I would have had it and then felt tremendous guilt.

These days, I like to redirect my mental energy into positively programming my subconscious.  Instead of focusing on what I want to avoid, I focus on what I want to achieve.  You know how you might be climbing to some precarious height, and someone else yells, “Don’t look down!”, and of course, the only thing you want to do is look down?  This is the same concept.  For me, this revolves mostly around food, but sometimes  around my workouts too.

For instance, I haven’t worked out yet today.  I feel bad about it, but I haven’t yet done anything about it.  However, when I was reading up for today’s entry, I realized that I’m the one holding myself back.  I have had rather dismal results in the weight loss department (I’ll post updates tomorrow), but I have lost significant inches in my hips and waist.  But instead of focusing on the improvements, I have unfortunately focused on the number on the scale.  So, in my head, I’m telling myself that I’ll never get where I want to be.  And of course, what is the outward result of that?  I ain’t done shit today!

I’ve determined I need to focus and shower myself with positive affirmations consistently.  I know, it sounds stupid, and my inner pessimistic cynic is sneering in mockery.  But here’s the truth:  if you’re already telling yourself that it’s not worth it, then it won’t be, whatever it might be.  Believing that positive thinking doesn’t work becomes a self-fulfilling negative affirmation.  You can’t think yourself thin, but you can change the way you think to make your fitness and weight loss goals totally achievable.

If I’m just sowing weeds with my negative thoughts, I’ll never see my goals achieved.  I have spoken before about changing my inner monologue, but like a lot of things, this is something I need to practice everyday.  And I have been neglecting that part of my growth.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to juggle a toddler, a baby grand, a medium hippo, and 3 camouflaged balls, trying to keep up with all the things I need to do on the outside, I forget to work on the inside stuff at the same time.

So, instead of the voice in my head so insidiously whispering that I’m not going to workout today, so why did I bother with the sports bra? I’m whispering back to it that I’ll be working out when I get home from picking up my son from school.  That I will make time for anything I’m committed to.  That I love working out.  That the scale may not be budging, but my muscles are growing stronger.  That I am the only one responsible for my results.  To quit bitching and get fit.

Instead of telling myself not to look down, I’m going to tell myself to look up, and ahead.

 

I’m Not the Jackass Whisperer

Since I started changing my relationship with food and fitness, I noticed my Facebook page has sort of morphed from the usual fare of Grumpy Cat memes and other fun stuff to include more of my food, and of course, I also post a link to my blog entries to share them with my friends.  Now, I know that there are plenty of my friends who are happy with who they are and where they’re at, physically and mentally, and to them, I say, “awesome, more power to you!”

There are also the select few who poke fun at food or recipes that I’ve shared, commenting that it’s missing meat (egads!), or I’m converting into one of those health-crazed Californians when I post a Shakeology picture.  These guys are my friends, but it still annoys me that they are mocking my choices.  But, then I reminded myself that I am not doing this for anyone else but me.  There’s no point in trying to justify why I’m changing my life to people who are just trying to shame me.  I’m not the jackass whisperer!

jackassI’m reminded of a time when I was in college.  I had gained about 50 lbs since high school, and my cousin had commented on it.  He said something along the lines that the family fat genes were catching up to me.  And at the time, I accepted it.  Practically my whole immediate family on my dad’s side is overweight, so obviously, it’s genetic, isn’t it?  Most of them have been on some diet or another for most of their adult life.  My aunt has even had her stomach stapled, but it didn’t make her thin.

My dad had amazing results on Atkins, twice, but gained the weight back as soon as he went back to eating “normally”.  I remember back in the day, my grandmother had the cabbage soup diet posted on her fridge.  She was forever trying to diet and lose weight.  She doesn’t have to worry about that now, as she’s 89 and her health is failing and she can’t even keep weight on.

I firmly believe that my grandmother would be in better health today if she had been more active throughout her life.  I see her frailness, and I know that yes, everyone eventually will decline, but how much better would her life be right now if she had been physically fit, and not just skinny?  I see her, and all I can think is, I don’t want to grow old like that.  Wracked with pain from tiny fractures caused by osteoporosis, unable to walk without assistance, needing oxygen to breathe at night.

As far as I know, I’m the only one in my family trying to make a change like this.  Not just changing what I eat, but changing the way I feel about food.  I’m working out and building muscle, because I don’t just want to be thinner, I want to be healthy.  Thinness is not a sign of health, it just means you’ve got good genes.  I want to be fit, and most of all, I want to be happy.  Happy with myself, happy with how I look, and happy about what I have accomplished.

I can’t vanquish the naysayers.  There will always be someone, somewhere who just doesn’t get it.  There will always be people who are happy the way they are, at whatever weight that is.  And that’s fine.  Not everyone wants to get “ripped”.  It’s okay.  I’m not here to tell you that you’re wrong, that if you want to be happy, you have to look like Shaun T.  I’m not sure I want to look that ripped!  I want to be strong, fit, and try on clothes without being disgusted with myself.

I’m not saying that people who are happy about where they are, physically and mentally, are jackasses.  What I’m saying is that there are always going to be people in your life, wherever they may be, who will try to bring you down, by mocking your efforts, or making fun of your food choices.  Don’t let them bring you down!  Whatever your goals are, however much weight you want to lose, however much muscle you want to gain, those are things that no one can take away from you.  Don’t let other people determine your course; you are the master and commander of your own future.  Let them poke their fun, but in the end, you’ll have the last laugh.

*sorry for the edit, I hadn’t finished my entry and I accidentally hit publish.

Are You Inspired?

Hey hey! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  It’s Motivational Monday today, and as I was thinking about something motivational today, I came across a meme posted by one of my Facebook friends that I thought was perfect.

don't give upI honestly don’t spend much time on the computer on the weekends other than to maybe look up a recipe of directions somewhere, but occasionally, I use the time to catch up and read posts from the other blogs that I follow.  One of the blogs that I find most inspiring is mydiabetesandme.  I don’t have diabetes, but Shannon’s story inspires me to keep moving forward and to not give up doing the right thing for my body.  In a lot of ways, I feel her story mirrors mine, as far as the emotional aspect of food.

I read a few of her past entries this weekend, and I was inspired. Her story is one of triumph, and love reading about her love affair with Adam Levine, learning to dance (and love it), and seeing how far she’s come.  Now, I don’t know Shannon personally, but as when reading blogs about personal journeys, I feel like I do.  She could have been me.  Struggling, unhappy, not knowing the best way to feed my body for my needs.

I read about her journey and where she is now, mentally, and physically, and I want to be her.  She is my hero, an everywoman who has been there, done that, and is now holding the torch for the rest of us.  I’m sure she’ll probably laugh as I’m extolling her virtues as if I’m nominating her for sainthood.  And maybe I am in a way.

You see, I saw the above meme on Facebook this morning, and I did not immediately think of me, and how I would want others to see me.  I thought about her first, and thought, “she is my inspiration”.  And one day, I hope to be able to carry the torch for others, and they can say the same of me.  One day, people will see my story and be inspired to change their lives.

Deciding to change your life and put your health and fitness first is daunting.  We are plagued by self doubt and our own negative nancys.  But every day, we have a choice.  I have a choice to eat my kid’s leftovers, or eat that chocolate, or fritter away my morning doing nothing.  Every day, I have the choice to do the right thing for myself.  And on the days when I feel my resolve falter, I have to ask myself what am I going to have to show for myself at the end of the week?

I decided on sharing my journey to health and fitness through this blog, making it public, because what better way to stay on track than to have an audience?  It’s my accountability, you are my support.  I know people are reading, and I can’t talk about the best parts of my journey without talking about the pitfalls, the hard times, and the temptations.  I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way about certain things related to food and fitness!

This is not just about losing weight; it’s the personal growth, the motivation, and the inspiration I find along the way.  It’s learning to love myself, from the inside out.  It’s finding simple pleasures that keep me going through a workout or a run.  It’s making delicious food that fuels my body in the right way.  And yes, it’s reading the other’s transformation journeys and how the number on the scale is not the endstate, it’s just the beginning.

What’s your inspiration?  Who, or what, keeps you going?  Do you hope that one day someone will see your words and be inspired by them?  I do.  Every day.