Fear to freedom

It’s hot.

Like, I’m having trouble thinking because it’s so hot.

So today, I’ll let someone else do the talking.

But first, a story.

From senior year in high school until the summer after I graduated college, I worked as a life guard. I worked in all different kinds of facilities, but mostly at pools in apartment complexes. It was the kind of job where, a lot of the time, my main function was just to talk to people.

One woman used to come every night right before I closed down the pool to swim laps, and then she would stay to talk with me while I folded up all the umbrellas, put away the kick boards and filled the pool with chlorine for the morning.

I remember feeling incredibly lost that summer, unsure of who I was, where I was going and what the future would hold, and a lot of those fears came out during our conversations.

On my last day at that pool, she invited me over for dinner.

I remember two things from that night.

One, we drank Gatorade from wine glasses.

Two, this passage she gave me. In moments of doubt, it continues to serve as my guide:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

 – Marianne Williamson

A vision of success

My trainer and I had a moment a few weeks ago.

Maybe it didn’t stand out to him, but it will stay with me for a while.

Let me start with this: I hate that gyms are covered in mirrors. I know its good to see your form, but I hate watching myself work out. It’s not so much my own reflection that I mind, but having people watch me, watching myself just rubs me the wrong way. It makes me very self-conscious.

Anyway, it was nearing the end of our half-hour session and as I was lifting dumbbells he was asking me about my weight loss progress and telling me how much more weight he believed I should lose.

 

We talked about reaching 100 pounds lost. He said, in his thick Peruvian accent, “I think you’ll look great there.”

I said, “I can’t even imagine it,” and turned away from my reflection.

He got mad.

“C’mon, Jodi,” he scolded.

Maybe it doesn’t sound like a scolding, but after almost a year of twice weekly visits, he needs few words to get his point across.

And his point was: I should be imaging it.

Every day I should spend time envisioning my goals, whether weight loss or otherwise.

 

A few weeks ago, I watched a documentary about Lindsey Vonn called “In the Moment.” Vonn is a professional skier with four World Cup championships. There’s a moment right before every race where Vonn closes her eyes and goes through the course in her mind. She has a vision of each curve, every turn, jump and movement that she’s about to take.

That’s where she wins or loses the race.

And it’s a lesson that can be applied to anything.

Take a moment. Slow down. Focus. See yourself successful in whatever way that means to you.

 

With whatever goal you are trying to reach, there are going to be bumps in the road getting there. Positive thinking will get you through. See yourself winning. See yourself overcoming challenges. See yourself making your wildest dreams come true. See yourself as someone who has lost 100 pounds.

It will happen. It is possible.

The more I sink into my weight loss philosophy, the more I see how the strategies I’ve used to change my weight can be used to change everything in my life.

And it starts with getting your head in the right place.

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” – Lao Tzu

—–

Now…The Numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 167.5

This week: 166.5

Change: -1

Total loss: 76.5

 

Sea of tissues

Remember that sore throat I told you about?

It turned into a cough. And then turned into a cold. And four days later, I’m still sick.

I happen to have what I think is a pretty good immune system. The last time I remember being sick was actually this time last year, but even so, I’m a huge baby when it comes to getting colds. I whine a lot and am over dramatic. Just a general bundle of joy to be around haha.

So instead of complain any further about how it’s finally sunny after weeks and weeks of rain and I’m laying in bed surrounded by a sea of tissues, I’m going to give you a few really awesome things other people have said about walking. For the full list, click here.

A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. -Paul Dudley White

The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk. -Jacqueline Schiff

There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is likea piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast. -Paul Scott Mowrer

All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking. -Friedrich Nietzsche

Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise. -Carrie Latet

and my favorite:

Meandering leads to perfection. -Lao Tzu

Trust in the must

Some days I wake up giddy to work out. I’m full of energy. I can’t wait to say hello to all the friendly trainers at the gym.

Some days I love going to the park, running, walking, moving.

These last few days were not like that.

I’ve been sticking to my 10K training plan, albeit a little reluctantly. So what do I do when those lulls hit? Bribe myself. It works every time.

 

Most of my weekend runs are coerced by promises of lunch at the Whole Foods salad bar. I get my self pumped up the night before for early morning gym session by searching for motivational sayings on Pinterest. And if all methods fail to get me out the door, I promise myself I will only stay at the gym for 10 minutes, and if I hate it, I can leave.

I’ve never left.

 

On Wednesday my training schedule said to do 30 minutes of cross. I had an early deadline at work and used my 6:30 a.m. wake up call to get to the office early instead of the gym. The thought of going to the gym after work, when it’s really crowded, is so undesirable. It was a little bit cold out, slightly drizzling and I was feeling sorry for myself.

But then I happened to glance out my window and saw the most beautiful pink sunset. I knew I had to get outside. I stopped being a wimp, put on some warm clothes and went for a head-clearing walk around my apartment complex.

It was just what I needed.

 

The benefits of exercise continue to amaze me. The power of using a workout to transform a bad day into a good one has been so useful to me.

Yesterday, too, I had a stressful day at work. Nothing has gone according to plan this week and the actual work I had to do was slowed down by phone calls and emails. I had a 2 mile run on the training plan and was dreading it all day.

I was too hungry to go straight after work, so came home and made a quick and simple dinner of eggs and veggies and then finally got to the run.

And you know what? It didn’t suck. Near the end of the 2 miles, I was getting a little antsy to be finished when it dawned on me that an hour ago I wasn’t sure if I would do it at all.

It’s a struggle every day to push against the habits I lived with for 23 years. As weird as this sounds, it’s very strange for me to actually set goals and follow through on them. This thing, where I do what I say I’m going to do, is very new to me. And sometimes it makes me nervous.

I’m learning to have faith in myself. That when the time comes, I’ll do what is right for me, even if it’s the hard thing. That I can depend on myself and trust myself. It’s been a process.

 

When I was traveling around India two years ago and making plans that were shaky at best, my traveling companion would always say “Trust in the must.”

The phrase stuck with me. It obviously meant something else in India, but lately it’s reminded me to believe in my healthy intentions and that, at the end of the day, what is meant to happen will happen.

It’s helped me to stop doubting that I can be successful. This is so cheesy, but it’s helped me to believe that I can do the things I want to do.

It’s Friday, the week is over and everything got done that had to get done. My deadlines were met, my workouts done..and now my sink of dirty dishes are all clean 😉

Putting yourself in the path of least resistance to your goals rarely means taking it easy.

Align yourself with the energy of the universe and then take action.

You will get to where you are meant to be.

 

 

Keep it simple, seriously!

I know the phrase is “keep it simple, stupid” but I decided to change it a bit 😉

Because, seriously, it’s something I need to remember!

I’ve been more than a little overwhelmed lately with all the paleo diet advice out there.

And then I remembered I don’t care at all about eating like a cave(wo)man. I’ve never really been good at following a plan. I’d rather just do my own thing.

I’m not abandoning the principles of paleo eating completely, however.

I’m going to continue to focus on whole, fresh foods, lots of veggies, protein, and how much sugar I’m consuming.

Food restriction and lists of “acceptable” or “allowed” foods just isn’t for me!

But a renewed interest in cooking, an abundance of vegetables and new flavors – that’s something I can get behind.

There are two blogs that I follow that have great mottos. The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson, who pushes the rule don’t be ridiculous and The Fat Nutritionist who reminds me to Eat food. Stuff You like. As much as you want.

I was both being ridiculous and eating food I didn’t like. Total failure.

Not anymore. Back to basics. Back to me.

Happy Monday 🙂


One change at a time

When I look back at the beginning of my weight loss journey, I can truly see how *this* time was different.

You know how I know that? Because I didn’t start out saying “this time is going to be different.”

A big reason people fail when they try to lose weight is because they focus too much on a dream of a different life and believe that simply being skinny will give them that different life.

Then they lose a bunch of weight through unsustainable methods and when they realize their life is no different, they go back to food as comfort.

Or at least that was how it had worked for me.

Hundreds and hundreds of times I would wake up full of enthusiasm always to end up, an hour later, a day later, a week later or a month later, hiding in my room eating everything in the kitchen. And when that food was gone, I would buy more.

It sounds crazy to think that a whole lifetime of habits can change in one single instant, but how many of us hold on to that hope?

Think of any skill, such as playing the piano. No one would expect to sit down at a piano and know how to play, but that’s the mindset of so many people when they say they want to lose weight.

When you take on too much too quickly, you’re bound to end up overwhelmed and eventually discouraged.

When I first began losing weight, other people thought I was crazy because I didn’t exercise and I didn’t plan on exercising. Seriously, I began my weight loss journey with a conscious decision  not to exercise.

Instead I focused on one change: food.

I lived and breathed and obsessed over nutrition every second of every day. I wrote down what I ate when I was awake and – true story – often dreamed about what I had eaten when I slept.

At first I tackled small challenges like weaning myself off of Lean Cuisines and learning how to go food shopping and then moved on to bigger things like exploring the reasons why I was an emotional, secret and binge eater.

Once in a while someone would tell me, “You know, you would lose weight faster if you exercised a couple of times a week.”

Good advice, maybe, but time was and is still not of the essence to me.

I continued on that path until one day I realized that healthy eating habits were suddenly mindless and just something I did. Grocery shopping no longer requires two hours in the store reading food labels, I can recognize real hunger from wanting to eat in response to my emotions, and the idea of ever consuming another Lean Cuisine again makes me gag.

I had a similar journey to exercise. Each day I would wake up with one thought on my mind: When can I walk today?

I walked before work, after work, in the dark, in the cold and rain and when temperatures rose above 100 degrees. I walked to get coffee, to meet my friends at the bar, to run errands and for frozen yogurt. If it was within a few miles, I would walk there. I canceled plans to fit in a walk and often made my friends walk with me.

Here’s the thing: you don’t have to do everything at once, or everything perfectly from the beginning to lose weight. A lifestyle change doesn’t happen with a snap of a finger. There is no time limit for you to get it right. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by losing weight, especially when that number is over 100. But if you focus on actions and doing instead of results, and break down what needs to be done into manageable steps, everything really will fall into place.

“Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Wednesday Weigh-in

This week was tough!

I worked long hours, took on a lot of stress, didn’t sleep well and my hunger levels were high! I didn’t make it to the gym as much as I would have liked, although I did fit in a killer run over the weekend.

I know there was a lot I could have done to make things easier, but sometimes you just have to realize that you are not facing normal circumstances, and push through.

Yesterday I finally took some time to unwind constructively. I got up early and went to the gym which set a great tone for the day, I made time to read from my book of daily meditations and journaled with a pen and paper. As a result, I felt better almost immediately.

I also limited my time on Facebook and Twitter and disconnected from the “social” world while actively being appreciative of my more concrete surroundings.

With all that being said, here are the numbers:

The numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 176.5

This week: 177

Change: + .5

Total loss: 66

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” – Confucius

Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Planning for success

I was finishing up stretching at the gym when I received this email from my sister:

 

Tomorrow, in order to combat the weekend blues I’ve been having, I will get up early and try the new spin class being offered at my gym.

I’ve never taken a spin class before, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

Knowing a plan is in place to keep my motivation high over the weekend just makes me feel so much better.

Off to work!

Happy Friday 🙂

 

Little notes

Someone gave me this poem in 2007 during a hard summer before my junior year of college. The words have stuck with me since:

Happy new year 🙂