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Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking back on 2012

I learned a lot this year.  About myself, about friendships... about life.  Around me, babies were born and angels gone to heaven too soon.  People got married and people broke up.  The scale went down and also back up.  I feel as though I have changed in just the short span of 2012. I've tried hard to get back to a person that I used to be, and all the while not giving up.  I joined a gym, I ran six races (I think) including the 10 Miler (!!!), I started reading more, and I gave up sending notifications from social media to my phone.  I'm learning what truly matters and what battles are worth the fight.

This year I learned two big things:

~Sports injuries... If it hurts, STOP.  Stretching is important.  If you aren't happy with one answer, keep asking.  The first doctor I saw told me that maybe I just can't be a runner.  If that was the consensus from more than one professional, I may have stopped, but I needed to run.   I may not be fast, but I needed the endorphins.  I worked with a great physical therapist named Chad who got me back to running, and taught me how to prevent further injury.

~Exercise is medicine... Seeing my cholesterol go down, change in meds, even areas of my psoriasis improving!  And being down 3% body fat since joining the gym. I'll take these changes even if I can't fit into a size 6!!  I feel so much better after a hard workout or a session with my trainer, than sitting around doing nothing.

2013 is going to be a good year! I'm almost 35 and there's much I want to accomplish before then.  **Confession: I'm kind of afraid of turning 35.  I think about what I thought I would have accomplished by now and I'm ready to work harder to get there.  There's much more that I'm going to need to change to get there.  And I hope it happens before the big day.

I'm not running a New Year's race this year, mainly out of fear of another injury after last year.  I still consider myself a "new" runner, but I think that's because I don't run fast.  It's supposed to be cold and the cold is not calling my name this year.  I wish all my racing friends luck!  Maybe next year I'll be back out there! (and I'll be 35... *sigh*)

What I am planning is finally doing 13 in 2013.  Of course, it's 13.1 to be exact!  In a little longer than a month, I can enter the lottery to run a half marathon on my 35th birthday.  Yes I'm excited!  And maybe I can get 13 races in this year, but we'll see how many I can afford.

As tomorrow quickly approaches, I wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe new year.  Don't make resolutions that you'll never even try to achieve.  Don't say you're going to lose 5 or 50 pounds and then complain about how hard it is to do.  It is hard!  But trust me when I say it's worth it.




Friday, December 21, 2012

Life is short.

Last Friday when I heard the news of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I immediately wanted to throw up.  I just couldn't do anything but think and reflect about life.

There are so many monsters in this world.  I wanted to protect my boys and I wanted them to know how much I love them.  And I needed to know that they were safe.  I know every single one of my friends who is a parent, felt the same way.  So I did get them out of school early.  I tried to explain to them what happened and why I was there and that I loved them.  Then I bought them some ice cream at our favorite ice cream shop.  And we waited until daddy got home. I cried when I watched the President's news conference.  I hugged my boys and even let them sleep in our bed.  I hope and pray that I never know the pain of losing a child.  And I stayed off social media the rest of the night.  I couldn't bear to hear the discussions on gun control already starting.

Anxious.

It made me feel absolutely anxious to know that this was happening in the world.  And to feel anxious, this was okay for me.  I've learned how to better handle my anxiety.  Going to the gym, running, talking to people who can relate, all that has helped me.  I have found that I am now so much more focused on myself and my family and less so on certain people.  I avoid those people, those relationships, and situations that make me feel anxious.

Why do I bring up Newtown?  Because life is short. Life is way too short.  And I am determined to live my life with no excuses or apologies to anyone but those who matter most.  I'm not perfect.  I don't strive to be either.  I know a part of my journey is making sure that I am also mentally healthy as I get my body to my idea of healthy.  And I don't want to let the bad guys win, because I believe there is more good than bad in the world.

But that's just what I think.  And I really don't expect anyone to agree with me.

So everyday, I tell my boys that I love them.  I want to be the healthiest mom that I can be for them, the healthiest wife for my husband, and the healthiest me... for me.  And to take care of everyone else, I need to take care of me.  I want everyone to realize how important they are.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Focused?

Sometimes blogging is so much work for me.  I type, delete, retype, re-read... and then sometimes I think I hit publish just to get something out there.  And then I wonder, "Isn't this the same thing that I just got done blogging about?"  So if this is one of those posts that's just all over the place, please forgive me.

Last Wednesday, I had my first of 36 personal training sessions with Tanya.  I loved every minute of it!  I discovered I was stronger and had made so much progress from the very first session she and I had together this summer.  I'm doing pushups on my TOES!  And I'm now swinging a 30 pound kettle bell.  I felt so amazing afterwards and these good feelings continued into Thursday when I had my annual physical.

I had really debated even having a physical this year.  I'm one of "those" nurses and I freely admit it!  But in this last year, three of my friends have had to deal with cancer.  All women in their 30's and none the same body part.  Did I need another reason?  If it could happen to them, it could happen to me too.

At the physical, I wanted to make sure that we checked my cholesterol.  And guess what?  I no longer have high cholesterol.  Do I believe that diet and exercise helped?  Hell yeah I do!  And I'm going to make sure that I keep at it since it is only one part of being healthy.

I met a friend for dinner and we had so many laughs!!  It's amazing how good laughs with a good friend will stay with you for hours, if not days!  This friend of mine is also struggling with her weight, and I'm determined to help her with what I can.

At my training session this week, we did measurements.  Tanya also took some "Before" pics.  I wish I could just jump to the "After" pics!  I remembered we did some measurements back in July and I was curious about my progress since then.  Guess what else?!  I've lost 3% body fat.  It may not sound like much, but I'm pretty certain that I would not have been able to do this on my own.  Having a trainer helps me stay focused.  I do work on things outside of the sessions, like my eating habits, but I do need to get my butt kicked and I'm enjoying the butt kicking once a week!  34 more sessions to go!

This week a thought occurred to me.  There's a person at work who seems to ask me all the time, "Are you training for something now?"  My answer is going to be, "The rest of my life."  Truly.  I may not have a race coming up, but this isn't just a fad for me.  This is my life.


**(I've been wanting to say something about the Newton, Connecticut tragedy that occurred on 12/14/2012.  I debated if I wanted to include it in this post or another one.  I decided it deserved it's own post and I hope to get it up tomorrow.  Stay tuned.)**




Saturday, December 8, 2012

9 months

No, I'm not having another baby! Let's just get that out of the way right now.  But I've made a commitment to creating a new person in nine months.  Hopefully. :-\ What I've done is decided to lock in and commit to nine months of a weekly session with a personal trainer.  No big deal, right?  It's only nine months.  And babies are made in nine months... well, 10 months really, but enough about babies.

This past week has been one of those weeks.  Why am I doing what I'm doing?  Why do I keep going back to the same habits?  Oh yeah, because they're habits, duh.

The thing about the nine months, is that I know I'll survive working with my trainer on a weekly basis for nine months.  I'll go so far as to say that I love my trainer and how I feel after I've had a session with her!!  She kicks my butt, and I've made progress since joining the gym nearly six months ago.  But what I'm worried about is meeting the goals I've set for myself during this nine months.  I know I need to remind myself everyday that life also isn't a race.  I need to get in the mindset that nine months can feel as long or as short as I make it.  I know I need to make SMART goals... you know: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  And in the end, I'M the one who has to do all the work.  I can't blame my trainer if I don't drop 50 pounds or whatever before then, right?  For some reason I can't shake the thought that if I don't meet the goals, then... I'll be a failure.  I'm almost afraid to leave that thought there in print. I might have successes in other areas of my life, but one thing I seem to fail at is losing weight and keeping it off.  Do you ever feel that way too?


So besides showing up every week for training, I know I'll have to do my own work on the side.  I know I'll have to be diligent about my portions and what kinds of foods I eat and just tracking in general.  And not skip meals.  Sure I can burn a bunch of calories at the gym, but if I eat twice as much after I worked out, then obviously that's not going to help!!


All these things, I already know all this, but it's so frustrating that it just doesn't work every single time.  Because it's not easy.  Because life is not easy.  Because I'm not the type of person who can just drink a shake and call it a meal.  Because I can't limit myself to only 800 calories a day and function.  Because I don't have time to be an exercise bulimic nor do I think like that.  Because I still need to spend time with my family.  Because I want to do it the right way to have a healthy mind and body. And I want to chase these doubts and fears away and be able to look back at this post and think that it wasn't so hard after all.

Because in the end, the work and effort will be worth it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Holiday Weight and Blasting

Ugh. I got complacent and haven't been tracking. I ran a 5K on Veterans Day and felt just "meh" about it.  I did it, but I certainly would've done better had I trained.  I missed a whole week at the gym Thanksgiving week.  I was doing really well with a lifting plan.  But the food was calling me.

I love food.  I love being a foodie and making fancy meals, and going out to eat at some of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities.  But I also love holiday foods.  Gravy over turkey, green bean casserole, lots of cheesy foods and pies and cakes and cookies and candy!  Sounds heavenly, right?  Not so much so when suddenly my jeans are reallytight and the number on the scale has gone up.  I confess that I kind of freak a bit when it moves 2 or 3 pounds in the wrong direction.  And I take full responsibility for making the wrong food choices. I know I CHOSE to eat as I did.

I've been on vacation this week, and it turned out to also be a Body Blast week at the gym!!  This is exactly what I needed!  The session was a little different this time with only 4 days, but Saturday would be an hour long.  Monday was an all over body day.  Tuesday was legs.  Wednesday was arms.  Today (Saturday) we did cardio and Tabata.

This session started out a bit harder for me.  I hate jumping jacks. Or any kind of jumping.  And we did lots of that.  Tanya the trainer likes to remind me that it's a good calorie burn.  Okay, I'll buy it, but I still hate it.  By today it was much much easier to do things, but by the end of the hour, I was beat and my shirt was soaked.  But I was smiling. :)  

And you know what? I've improved since I first started working out and the first Body Blast session.  I can now use the 15 pound hand weights for most of the exercises!  I can do real burpees!  I can do some real pushups!  This feels great!!  And you know what else I noticed?  I was stronger than some of the thinner girls in the class.  And the other day when I worked out, I had to add more weight on the leg press after a guy got done using it.  I'm currently pressing 235 pounds, but that's as high as one of the machines goes.  I have yet to figure out the other machine.  The last few times there have been dudes using it. 

Oh and I lost 3 pounds this week!!

Now I'm telling myself, I need to keep up this momentum.  Christmas is just around the corner and I want to end the year with a good number on the scale. It might sound stupid and it might not mean a lot, but I still have A LOT of weight to lose.  So I'm going to be accountable and make better food choices and keep going to the gym.  And I keep telling myself that I'm going to get better at blogging.  There's always next year. ;-)

How was Thanksgiving for you??

Sharing my story

About a month ago, I was given the opportunity to share my story with those I work with. It's taken me some time to complete this post, as has been the case lately.  I don't want to go into too much detail about what type of organization it is, but thousands of people could potentially read what I had to write.  I sat and thought long and hard about what I would want to say. My story could be long, or it could be short.  And then I got to thinking, have I really shared all there is about me on here?  It is MY blog after all and maybe I have censored myself a little bit.  But honestly, what do people really want to know about me that I haven't already shared?  Oh wait... my past.  Have I really said all I can say about who I used to be?

I got called fat a lot. And I believed I was. It wasn't uncommon for my parents' friends to tell me I was fat or chubby each and every time they saw me.  Looking back now, I was normal, or just like other girls around me.  I just wasn't stick thin.  During high school I did gain weight and I blame that on having a job and having a boyfriend.  When we first started dating, I was 16 and didn't eat red meat, it would take me a while to eat lots of food.  But suddenly it seemed I was surrounded by food a lot.  I worked in a grocery store, we had open lunch and didn't have to eat in the school cafeteria, and I had my own money to spend.  When he and I finally broke up during my sophomore year of college, he even told me that he liked girls who had better bodies than me.  Yeah, that sucked.  During the 3 years we were together, I had gained over 50 pounds.  The first month after we broke up, I dropped over 20 pounds and I wanted to lose more!  Eventually I did and was at my lowest during my Junior year of college.  I would often go to the fitness center or go for a run when I didn't want to study.  My friends and I had planned a spring break trip and of course we had to look good.

But I realize, back then I wasn't losing weight to be healthy, as I am trying to do now.  I did it to be a person I thought I would be happy as.  I wanted to be that girl that walked into a place and turned heads, that girl guys would to talk to instead of talking to another girl.  I wanted to wear super cute clothes and grab anything off the rack.  And I was that girl for a couple years, having fun and meeting new people.

That's not me now.  I want to be healthy both mentally and physically.  I want my kids to know good choices as they grow up, and I hope they don't ever have to struggle with weight as I have.  And I want anyone who reads this to know, that it's not easy... but it's not that hard either. And sometimes sharing our stories keep us grounded and remind us.  I needed to be reminded why I even began in the first place and why I keep going.  I'm not even close to being done, but when I want to give up or get lazy, I go back to reading my story that I shared.