Thursday, April 28, 2011

Self Doubt Anyone!?

The 40 days of lent really paid off!  Weigh-in was like Christmas day.  I woke up at 6:00 am on Sunday and had feelings of excitement, restlessness, and nervousness surging through my body.  Before I took my first step on the scale, so many thoughts raced through my mind.
1.      What If GAINED weight?
2.     What if I LOST NOTHING?!
3.     I worked my booty off, I hope I have the results to show for it!
4.     What will my trainer say?
5.     What if I ate the wrong thing the whole time and it was counterproductive?!
So after a deep breath, I took a step on the scale.  Yes, 6 lbs loss!  I was really excited and hurried to take my measurement.  I lost 1 ½ inches around my stomach.  Phew!  A huge sigh of relief came over me.  At 6:15, I began texting my trainer and others the good news.  To those who received an early AM text, I do apologize! Haha.
Now, I’m off to the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.  This Sunday!  Here are my thoughts:
1.      I’m not ready.
2.     What if I don’t finish?
3.     What if I have to walk?
4.     What if I finish last?
5.     I didn’t train hard enough!
6.     I should have run a couple more miles!
7.     What if I fail?!
WHAT IF- Self doubt?!  Why do I allow it to consume my thoughts?  Everything I do, I do it to my fullest potential.  So when I’m giving 100%, why do I doubt myself?  Truth is, I’m my biggest critique!  I allow failing to hold me back at times.  And that is exactly what Satan desires to do.  He uses people and things to distract us.  Satan encourages us to doubt ourselves because our performance isn’t the best.  But I don’t have to be the best!  I rest in the assurance that Christ doesn’t call me to perfection.  He was perfection.  Fact is, I’m going to fail, sin, fall short.  Romans 3:22-24 tells me, ‘For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God’.  But, I’m ‘justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus’.  Through His mercy and grace- I am saved.  I don’t have to be perfect!  I rest in His forgiveness.  Christ see’s my effort and knows I’m TRYING.
AS FOR TRAINING, I ask- Why am I being so hard on myself?  Why don’t I rest in the fact that each run- I give it my all.  That each set & rep, I give it my all.  That each meal I plan- I give it my all.  But reality is- I’m not perfect.  If I can’t follow Christ perfectly, why wouldn’t I slip up a little on my diet or exercise plan?  I cut myself short too much of the time.  I need to rest in my training & give Sunday my all when I run.  AS FOR YOU, what are you doing?  Are you giving it your all?  Are you cutting yourself short too?  If you are, stop.  Take a step back and rest in your effort.
I encourage each of you.  Don’t beat yourself up.  You are not perfect.  I commend you for your effort.  You are trying!  I encourage you, keep at it.  Encourage others on their journey as well. 
Once again, thanks for your feedback!  Each of you are very important to me and I appreciate the time you take to read my thoughts!
My junior year of college- 2 yrs ago.

Junior yr of college- 2yrs ago


Friday, April 22, 2011

Confession Time, REAL Talk

So I have to admit this Easter weekend, I didn’t give up the usual ‘sweets’ for Lent.  After attending a Christian college and learning the impact Lent has, I have since then tried to give up something during the time leading up to Easter to help me focus my attention on “More Christ, Less of myself” (John 3:30). SO, are you ready for this?
I gave up weighing and measuring myself.
Some of you may think that this is really odd, however, let me explain myself and the reasoning.
Leading up to Lent, I had lost 86 lbs.  But, I had hit a plateau.  I increased workouts and kept the same ‘clean eating patterns’.  However, I lost nothing.  I wanted to lose my last 15 lbs. and it had become my main focus.  Leading up to lent, I was putting working out before my prayer time, church time, and bible time and had become very obsessed with my body.  I was weighing and measuring myself every day.  I would stand and critique myself in the mirror.  I found myself surfing the web looking for different ways to lose weight- different exercise, different diets, and even weight loss gimmicks.  I would literally stand in the mirror and listen to the lies the devil would feed me.  Thoughts like, “You’re too fat.  Nobody loves a fat person.  How will I get anywhere in life, I’m fat.  Nobody wants to be around a fat person” AND many other lies.  I STRUGGLE with ‘low’ SELF-ESTEEM.  All through my school years, I was the so called ‘fat’ kid and knew other people knew I was fat.  So what did I do to cope?  I used humor!  My biggest thought was, “If I can make fun of myself before ANYONE else can, they won’t be able to hurt me.  I’ll hurt myself before others will”. 
This mentality can be very dangerous.  On the outside you put up a front like you don’t care, but in realness, you care so much.  You just want to be approved of.  So here is the REAL TALK.  Even though I have lost a significant amount of weight, only have a few more pounds to lose, I have much more work to do on my thinking.  Thus, the reason why I gave up measuring and weighing myself for Lent.  I wanted to focus all my attention on Christ and my marathon.  I feel so close to God when I’m outside in his nature and running.  That when I think I can’t run another mile, I ask God for his help and strength.  I took the time that I was spending in front of my mirror critiquing myself and picked up my bible and prayer journal.  I took this time to read about how special I am to Christ and this is what I learned.
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.  Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”  Jeremiah 1:5
“For see, today I have made you STRONG like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall.  You will stand against the whole land- the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.  They will fight you, but they will fail.  For I am with you, and I will take care of you.  I, the Lord, have spoken”.  Jeremiah 1:18-19
Fat or skinny.  God loves me.  My life and Gods love for me isn’t measure by anyone or anything.  I play a significant part in His plan and that is to bring glory and honor to Christ.  I’ve used this time during Lent to refocus my attention on Christ and my race.  That everything I do and have is from Him.  I need to pause and remember that.  I encourage you all, this Easter weekend, to reflect on the real meaning of Easter.  That Jesus came to Earth as a sacrifice and paid the ultimate price- death on a cross so that we may have real life.  So when it comes down to you and your workouts and clean eating, remember that you don’t need that extra donut, chips n’ salsa, candy bar, soda, sugar drink, bagel, or any other sweets.  Make a good conscious effort to honor God with your body.  My philosophy, He has given you one body and one life.  Use what He has given you.  Don’t let the devil tear you down and tell you, “You’re no good”.  You are good.  You are loved.  Nobody AND NO ‘Thing’ will make you happy.  Do something for yourself and stop hiding.  Stop living like me.  Don’t let food become your drug.  Don’t let fear of failing hold you back.  Remember, Failing, is NOT TRYING. 
As for me and this training period, I’ve tightened up my eating and working out habits and focused on Him.  I will take my measurements and weigh myself to see how I’ve done come Easter day.  I’ll let you know how those turn out next time.  Be Blessed today.  Happy Easter Everyone.  Love you, and appreciate your encouragement and feedback!
Love A
My personal trainer and great friend Eva Shurts.  Make sure you all add her on FB and Twitter- She Rocks! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Success and Eating

As the days tick by and my race gets closer, I continue to fine tune my diet a little more.  I want everything that I put into my body to be ‘positive’ fuel.  However, that is always easier said than done. 
I’d like to give you a little scenario from this past week.  I was at work and headed down the hallway to the teachers’ lounge.  I drink green tea every morning and I just needed some hot water.  As I opened the door, AHHH!!! A gift from the principal, 6 boxes of assorted donuts.  Everyone knows that when watching what you eat, donuts are a huge ‘no’ ‘no’.  I should have turned right around, but I didn’t.  I thought to myself, I should just be nice and take one.  The other part of me thought, “How bad do you want it?”  Is that donut worth another hour of cardio?  Is that donut worth the guilt I’ll feel later?  Is that donut worth the torcher I’d have with my trainer later on?  I hurried up to get my water and bolted down the hallway.  Phew!  I made it!
Some of you struggling with weight might be able to relate to the work room scenario.  This brings me to my point on diet.  Since losing 86lbs, I get more and more people asking me what I’m doing.  I think when the question is asked, people are hopeful that it has nothing to do with what we consume.  Many of us are wishful that there is a magic pill to take, and we get to watch the weight melt away.  However, that’s not the case.  Losing weight, getting fit, and getting healthy starts with what you put in your mouth.  You can exercise till you pass out, but if you’re not going to watch what you eat, you’re going to fail. 
I’d like to show you a breakdown of what I eat in a day.  The answer to your question, yes, I eat the same thing almost every single day.  WHY? Consistency.  If you’re eating new and crazy things all the time, that’s what your body is going to want.  No, I’m not starving myself either.
6:30 am Breakfast: ½ C egg white omelet /1 orange/ ½ C Almond Milk
10:00 am Snack: 4 oz Greek Yogurt and banana
1:00 pm Lunch: Select Harvest ‘broth’ Soup OR Chicken Salad w/ salsa for dressing (no croutons or cheese)
4:00 pm Snack: 1C Kashi cereal & apple
6:00 pm Whey Protein Shake w/ steamed broccoli
9:00 pm Snack ½ C. Cottage Cheese & Pear
I won’t lie to you; I have cravings for the salty and crunchy.  I get the cravings for chocolate.  I get the cravings for something sweet.  But don’t fall to the temptation.  I honestly add it all up in my head.  For example: The donut=250 calories.  It takes me about 20 min to burn 200+ calories on the elliptical.  So if I just do 20 min, I’ll only be breaking even.  Is it worth the extra?  Usually not.  For me, I’ll admit, my biggest problem is my belly.  I hold my weight in my belly.  I’ve read several articles from Oxygen magazine and they will preach- sugars go to the stomach.  So for me, I reduce the refined sugars as much as possible.  I try to reduce the carbs as much as possible and eat fresh fruits and veggies.
Lastly, learn how to deal with your cravings.  When I think I NEED something sweet.  I’ll drink a 10 Calorie Fuse drink.  I buy 0 cal candy to suck on.  I go through A LOT of sugar free gum.  I eat Craisins and Raisins to fill my sweet tooth.  When it comes to the chocolate cravings… there are cocoa almonds that are delicious.  I also keep Tridents Chocolate Mint gum in my purse.  It might sound weird, but it’s good.  There are other ways to fill the craving.  My last point and biggest point is to drink water.  When you think you’ve had enough, drink some more.  Use a Propel packet in the afternoon to reward yourself as a little sweet low calorie drink.  But have some will power.  You don’t NEED the donut.
So my success for this week: passing up the donut.   What’s yours?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

“Feelings” & “Feels Like”

To be honest, who feels like doing anything?!  Certainly, sometimes I ‘feel’ like just doing nothing but worrying about me.  Who cares about anyone else!?  How about when it comes to exercise?  More importantly, eating right?  I look back at this last week and have been frustrated with working out.  I’ve been physically exhausted.  I worked out hard the week before and felt great, but not resting over the weekend brought about a sad week of training.  My eating habits, the same, but found myself cheating more often than not.  My attitude and energy was lacking.  Even my trainer noticed I wasn’t myself. 
I then find myself thinking, I don’t ‘feel’ like doing this.  And so I’m not going to.  (And this week, I actually tried to skip a Thursday Power Burn class with Eva Shurts)  That’s why when our ‘feelings’ play such a huge role in our lives, I think it’s important to have someone keeping us accountable.  Someone who is going to tell you the truth!  It takes my trainer telling me to “kick it up the last 20 second on the TRX”, or “just a couple more jump squats and your there!”  Ugh!  Doing this entire workout stuff is difficult when I’m not tired, so when I’m exhausted already- my attitude can really plummet. 
But, ‘feelings’ only go so far.  We have to PUSH PAST our ‘feelings’ and remember what is reality.  Reality is “WHY”.  Why am I pushing myself in the gym?  Why am I choosing to eat right?  Why am I choosing to get up and go to work or classes?  Why are you doing the laundry?  Why are you making dinner?  Why are you cleaning the kitchen for the 1,000 time today (when no one has bothered to say thank you?!)  Why are YOU doing what you do?  ‘Feelings’ will always come and go.  One minute we’re happy, the next- upset!  But the key to remember is not to let our feelings run our daily lives.  Which is why my blog is about success in various forms…
This week wasn’t like last week where I can give you a list of all the tasks I accomplished.  But it’s an accomplishment because I PUSHED ‘through’ the week.  This last week wasn’t a success in making huge gains, but I did SOMETHING.  When it comes to getting fit, we train and make good eating choices, but then something comes up…  In our walk with God, we are adamant about following Him, but then something comes up.  We get busy, and quickly slip away from Him.  We fall off or have a falling out.  That’s life!  But the key to success is not to check out and think, “Oh well, I’m done” and stop trying.  My advice, start making the right choice the very next moment. 
Success= Not basing your daily actions on FEELINGS.
Lastly, I want to give a shout out to the many moms on their fitness journey (this includes women who don’t have their own ‘biological’ children, but play a huge role in another individual’s life).  I’m inspired by you because you perform the various tasks of being mother, maid, wife, taxi, counselor, nurse, cook, and so much more!  A couple weeks ago I was giving a mom crap for missing a workout class, she was quick to inform me that she was at her children’s athletic event and she “will never miss one of those”.  Props to her!  I’m sure she doesn’t always ‘feel’ like doing what she does.  Doesn’t ‘feel’ like driving to another event, but she loves her family and does it unselfishly.  Love moves people into action.  So when it comes to you, working out, and eating right.  Love yourself.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why Blog && About What?!

I want to start my blog with explaining my title and giving some background about myself, “Success in Various Forms”.  Graduating from college almost a year ago, I really have come to question the definition of success.  Four years ago I would have told you success was going to college, graduating, making a significant amount of money, getting married, starting a family, and living Happily Ever After- Right!?  However, after accomplishing graduating and not receiving a teaching position I’ve revaluated what success is. 
Success=setting and achieving goals that are important to you as an individual. 
My ultimate goal when I set off to college was to get a degree and help those in the inner cities of America.  However, budget cuts and the economy when coming out of college put a damping on that.  I couldn’t afford to live in the city, pay off my student loans, and not have a well paying job.  Sadly, I moved home feeling defeated that God hadn’t opened up a door for me to stay in St. Louis, Mo (one of my favorite cities of all time!)
Upon moving home, I received a job with the local school district as a paraprofessional.  It was great experience for my degree in Elm Education and Special Education.  I also had been working hard on losing weight and eating right.  School was over by 3:45 and I automatically jumped into classes with Eva Shurts, my personal trainer and great friend.  My daily work schedule allowed me to put all I had into my training.  I had started my weight loss journey at 226 and continued to fine tune it.  Currently, I’m down 86 pounds and loving it.  I’ve gained a new since of self appreciation and pride that I’ve lacked for many years.  Many of you know that at the beginning of the year I was featured and Nike Women’s Spot Light.  For those of you who want to know more details about that, here’s how it went.
Serg Eva Shurts told me about Nike Women’s facebook page where you submit a word describing yourself.  I submitted, “I’m making myself Dynamic”.  A couple of days later they contacted me saying they loved my word and wanted to know ‘how’ I was making myself ‘Dynamic’.  The follow is what I submitted to them.  I thought you all might want to read it…
[Many children are chunky when they're young.  As children grow older, and become more active in school athletics, they tend to lose a lot of their weight.  However, I didn't.  One month after having to have my gallbladder out at age 11, I dislocated my right hip and had to have a pin and a screw put in.  Being on crutches for a month and being completely immobile created poor habits.  I began to watch TV. and eat.  Two years later I had to have a pin and screw put in my left hip and I was on crutches again.  I continued to eat and got bigger.  As I grew older, I wanted to become more active.  I was overweight though.  I jumped on the Atkins weight loss train and ended up losing 40 lbs. 
The 40 lbs didn't stay off though.  No matter how less I ate, and how active I was, I continued to gain weight.  I thought running would be the solution and so I bought my Nike shoes & Nike Sensor that connected to my ipod and shoes.  My senior year I completed the Eisenhower 1/2 Marathon in Abilene, KS.  I was excited about my success, but all the hard work I put in, I had actually gained more weight.  I was frustrated and I promised myself I wouldn't run another 1/2 Marathon until I dropped my excess weight.
Off to college, I was determined not to gain the freshman 15.  Sadly, I had gained back my 40 lbs I had lost in school high school.  I started working out with a personal trainer and after kicking my butt day in and day out at the gym, and him seeing what few calories I was consuming, he directed me to a doctor.  My blood was taken and it came back that my Thyroid wasn't working.  After various medications, we landed on Synthroid.  I followed the workout plan and changed my diet to completely resemble a diet of a diabetic.  I ate lots of fresh fruit and veggies, Lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates and cut out all refined sugar.  The fat began to melt away.  That’s exactly when I tried out for cheerleading at Northwestern College in Orange City, IA where I was attending school.  I made the team and dedicated my whole summer to getting fit.  The next school year came and went, cheerleading was a blast, and working out had never been so much fun.  I was finally getting the results I had desired.
Who would have thought a tiny little glad would make my life so miserable?  I had such poor self esteem, but it was when I decided that I was going to get healthy for me that I gained a whole new respect for myself.  I continue to run, lift, dance, ride bikes, and swim.  I'm hard working and never give up.  I'm becoming DYNAMIC.  Thank you Nike for providing the proper gear to do so.  My next goal: Another marathon or Triathalon.]
I also submitted the same story to Oxygen Fitness Magazine and after various emails and phone calls; I will be in their August issue. 
Now my question… what is success?!  I have no idea, but if you would have asked me 5 years ago I’d be featured by Nike or in a fitness magazine, I would have laughed at you.  Working out and eating right was never a passion of mine, however, it has become a passion.  I’ve learned that you set goals and strive with all your heart to achieve them.  And sometimes, you fall short and things don’t work out.  That’s okay though!  You have to give yourself some credit for trying.  You don’t fail, if you gave it your all.  Failing is not trying at all.  So I ask you, what are you striving for?  What goals have you set?  Are you giving it all you have?!  Are you doing it to glorify yourself, others, or is God getting the credit?  I’ve realized through my many experiences, I’m me, created by God and here to glorify him.  You may disagree, and that’s ok.  But success comes in various forms, and many times when you least expect it.  I encourage you to take a step back and reassess your goals.  Reassess your attitude.  And try again.  Whatever you may accomplish, consider it a success, and remember- your success will be different than the person sitting right next to you.