Monday, February 23, 2015

STOP swinging

Reflecting on my past, being addicted to the FEELING that I thought food gave to me, I realize that my life played out like a swing.
I have high times with family and friends, times where I'd forget about my weight and my addiction to food and the emotional attachment that it had on me.  At other times I'd sink low and feel worthless.  Never balanced.  

My diet/food intake worked the same way...

The above pic was when I'd swing far in one direction.  Foods were out of control.  I could eat until I was physically ill.  I would consume 1000's of empty calories until the emotion left my body, whether it was happy, tired, sad, or anxious...it didn't matter, I ate to protect or cover it up.  

In this pic above I THOUGHT I had that swing fairly balanced...I was controlling portions but not the foods I was putting into my body, and I had more bad days than good. I was working out like a maniac.  



Pic above I REALLY THOUGHT I had it all figured out this time...
I was running over 40 miles a week, working hard to focus on balance with my nutrition BUT a lot of that nutrition came from a box or a bag...I was controlling the binge eating most of the time and we did a lot less eating out HOWEVER I still didn't figure out that my swing wasn't fully balanced.  I would workout HARD and figure I should be "rewarded" with food.  A good workout meant it was time to EAT...but did I have it all figured out?

NO.


These days things are much different.  My swing focuses on having good days MOST of the time, working out hard and watching my food intake ALWAYS.  I don't "deserve" to eat crappy because I workout hard...it's far the opposite.  If I workout hard, then I should reward myself by taking care of my insides with proper nutrients.  They go hand in hand and for so long I knew that but felt like I didn't have to practice it in order to find success.  I was wrong.  It takes a balancing act.  The swing must find a way to stay level and not lean too far to EITHER side.  


I have learned that it is just as dangerous, if not worse, to allow that swing to fall to the other end.  Workout 2-3 hours a day, consuming very little nutrients if anything at all.  THIS is just as big of a problem for women.  Am I right?  

My life was only extremes...
I'd eat terribly, workout NEVER and expect my life to change and get better.
OR I'd eat so specifically that it drove me insane and made me grumpy and resentful toward everyone around me and then I'd exercise so much that I'd feel exhausted 24/7.  
THAT cycle repeated itself for YEARS.  Year after year, I'd think I was doing better and then that cycle would made an appearance back into my life.  

STOP SWINGING!  
FIND YOUR BALANCE!
It is SO unhealthy to allow yourself to swing too far in either direction, remember that?  If we want true health and happiness, it's about finding OUR balance.  And that balance may not be like the people around you and it shouldn't be...we ALL have our own journey and life to create and make better.  Use it to push you and make your stronger,  DO NOT use it to hold you back from achieving greatness.  If we all allowed things to stand in our way from accomplishing our goals, where would we be?  Back at the bottom.  Instead, lets rise to the top TOGETHER!  
You with me??
It's almost Spring/Summer, are you sticking to your New Years Resolutions and goals???  How?  Why not?  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

discovery.

When this journey begins, there's plenty of excitement and encouragement from the start.  As we start to lose steam so do those believers around us...
Sometimes we begin to doubt ourselves, we may wonder why we started in the first place and then others begin to say and think, "Hmm, I wonder when her old ways will creep back in?"...

Sound familiar?  
If not, consider yourself lucky :) 




That first day I decided to stop settling for my life the way that it was, was the day I started to really discover who I was, who I wanted to be and I learned a lot about the people around me.  
I'd love to say it was all sunshine and roses along the way, but that's just not the case.  
I am a sensitive person that will be your biggest supporter or your worst enemy if you hurt me or my family...blame it on the Italian girl inside me :) 
I knew along the way that change makes people uncomfortable but I never knew the lengths some would go.  I hear comments like, "don't you get sick of always watching what you eat?", "I like food too much to dedicate myself the way that you do.", "I hope you don't always make your kids eat healthy, that would just be sad for them.", "Muscles are gross on women, why would you strive for that?"...and the list goes on and on.  Or some old favorites, "You can't live on a diet, so you better learn to splurge more often.", "I don't have time to do what you do, must be nice."

So I learned on this path of self-discovery that THESE are only words.  
I control ME. Those words have no power on me.
Years ago, a comment like that would send me spiraling out of control, eating so much in one sitting that it would make your head spin.
But I noticed long ago that when I let those words penetrate, that's when they hurt.  And when the hurt began, I had let those words win.  I was no longer in control and here began the cycle I repeated so often.  When I'd fall off and lose steam, I started to believe those words too.  The mind is SO incredibly powerful, especially when dealing with healthy living and weight loss.  It can wrap you up and before you know it, you're in that closed space with little room to breathe-it consumes you, and your entire life.  

I have DISCOVERED that these words need to be repeated to myself when...
I'm lifting weights, doing sprints, helping another woman find her way, pushing toward the finish line of another half marathon...that's when those words should have meaning!  The meaning that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE, THERE IS NOTHING I CAN'T DO, I AM STRONG AND I AM HEALTHY!  

Do not let what others say or think dictate your life, successes or failures.  They can still love and care for you dearly but in a way, they feel vulnerable with you up there on top so understand that and let it push you forward, never back.  If we prove them all wrong, the journey ends and THIS journey, full of discovery is NEVER ENDING!  
Embrace it and start pushing through the doubt right now.  
Those voices might be YOU, repeating all the times you fell short, the times you quit, and YOU are telling yourself, "Wait, I have a bad knee or I have diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism.  "I'm older now so I can't do this like I used to." 
 "I have _____ or _____ so I can't do the things that they can do."
SAYS WHO??

...STOP now and START discovering the better, healthier you today! 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

quotes and role models

“You, each, showing up every time, inspire me to do what I do. This is huge for me. A lot of you have trickled this down to your kids. As an overweight kid, my whole heart wants every single one of you to be healthy, to be confident, to feel beautiful in your own skin, and that is what it’s all about. It’s not about being a size two. It is not about being skinny. It is about feeling beautiful. It is about having a support system, having people that believe in you and being here when everybody else seems to want to knock you down. I want you to feel like, in this place, you can be lifted up.” Marissa


I have tears in my eyes as I proof read our article for the magazine next month.  The above quote was from me when speaking to the group about what they each have meant to me...
These women are now positive role-models for the world around them.  THAT is more than I could have ever imagined for this journey.  Wow.  The only way we can make this world a healthier place is by each of us spreading that inspiration throughout our families, our friends and our communities! 
 
 
I get emotional thinking the role model I once was or lack there of...
 
I was a drinker, smoker, junk food addict that felt sorry for herself so she never pushed beyond her comfort.  Comfort was, for me, a place surrounded by "I can't", failure and insecurities but in that bubble, I felt safe because nobody could hurt me there. The food was there for me when others had let me down and food was there for that emotional roller coaster I rode for years...filled with ups, downs and tons of regret of all the things I couldn't do because of my weight. Food numbed the emotion for so long that it was hard to decide how to feel anything. That safe place I built left me feeling dead inside.  My life had a different meaning, almost like going through the motions but never really FEELING anything. If I felt this way, I can only imagine how others feel that are trapped in this same place.  Have they given up on everything? Do they remember what it's like to feel happy and strong? For me it was never and will never be about "skinny" because that struggle to find balance can swing both ways.  It should always be the way you feel.  How do you feel after a great workout?  How did I feel after a binge that lasted hours and left me feeling physically sick? How do I feel now as I cross the finish line of another race? It makes all the difference in the world!
 
It will help you succeed or help you fail, we are in control of the outcome ALWAYS!
 
Today I choose to eat healthy, to put exercise as a high priority for myself and my family.  I don't feel sorry for myself for the obstacles I've faced, rather I use it to push me further and make me stronger.  I regret nothing because it was all part of the journey.  I am inspired daily by those around me.  I choose to balance my foods, my exercise and my life.  I no longer turn to food to fill an empty hole, I instead choose positive behaviors that make me feel alive and happy.  That burn I get from a great workout, when my legs are shaky and I'm short of breath-that feeling replaces all negative feelings for me because I am strong and I work hard. I used foods to coat sadness, stress or anger but when the food was gone, I was left feeling lower, a cycle that was so difficult to break.  I now use workouts to fuel my emotions and IT WORKS.  Wow!
   It is a gift to fuel my body properly and I feel so much better filling my body with nutrients rather than foods that have no nutritional value but served as comfort for so long.  I quit smoking because my kids don't need to see that unhealthy behavior either.  It was just another "crutch" I leaned on to get me through emotional times.  I never knew how to deal with the happy and sad times in life...I only knew how to "fix it" and that led to my unhealthy lifestyle I, myself had created. 
 
 
I'd like to share some of their comments regarding our group. 
I dare you to not find inspiration through their words and stories. Once you convince your heart and mind that it's time for change, there's nothing holding you back any longer.  Amazing how our minds sense defeat and it can take over our lives in what feels like a matter of seconds.  Rather than defeat, our mind needs to feel success.  One positive change will lead to others and you'll forget that person that you once were.  YOU have the power to change and become better.  Your children are watching and they will pick up the habits they see from you, both healthy and unhealthy. 
 
 
“So, I started about 14 months ago, about a week or so after my last cancer treatment, and, unlike the other ladies, I haven’t lost weight, but I’ve gained weight, which I wanted because I felt really crummy after 6 months of chemo and radiation. I got my strength back, have made a bunch of new friends, and also finished the half marathon with Marissa by my side. I was really freaked out about the whole idea of even trying it, but she told me, ‘I will be with you. Don’t you worry, I’ll get you to the finish line somehow!’ And of course, we prepared to some degree, but 13 miles is a lot, but we did it and she was with me every step of the way.” Gerda P.
“I’m down over 70 lbs. and have lost 35 of that since I started Move It Mommas. But the most amazing thing is that from November to now, I haven’t lost any more weight but my body has changed very dramatically. I also came off my cholesterol medicine and am trying to come off my diabetic medication!” Kelly S.
“There is no intimidation here. You can come here and feel comfortable at any size, at any level. You can do the workout; she has modifications and I don’t feel separate from the group. I still feel like part of the group just because I can modify and still move. I would have never gone to a gym.” Christine K.
 
...and those are just a few! 
STAY INSPIRED and keep working hard.  You might be at the beginning, middle or climbing further and further on your journey but never allow it to end!  Never get comfortable with the way things are and think about the lives that are WATCHING YOU!  Are you being that positive role model for your family and friends? 
 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

for that girl and...

She's why I do what I do.
She is the fuel behind my desire to be better and to help make others healthier...
I was the "bigger" girl for most of my life.  I can't remember a time in my life where I felt small or even average.  I always stuck out.  Bigger, taller, and that belly.  


While I'm still a 5' 10" woman with a size 11 shoe, I'm FIT and HEALTHY.
I've been able to say that for a while now and those words never lose value.
I feel strong.  I'm not skinny, nor do I strive to be but I work on being a better, healthier version of myself EVERY day.  

My boys.
They are added fuel to my fire.
I LOVE that they value exercise and taking care of their bodies.  When they get home from school, they drop their backpacks and outside they go!  They LOVE being active and they know how to fuel properly, while sometimes they choose not to! Ha!

I'm often asked, "How do you stay motivated?" and that is my answer. 
I have the fuel from years of neglect to my body.  I neglected my health and chose to poison my body with food that wasn't nourishment but rather a sense of satisfaction and comfort for me.
I've realized over the years that I was replacing empty feelings with food.  A bad combination that leads to self-sabotage and a very hard habit to break.  It's like a disease.
I HAD to eat so it surrounded me and that temptation was most of the time too strong to fight.
In my heart I knew it was the wrong choice and I knew I was sinking deeper within that hole I created, BUT to climb out took too much effort.  Climbing out and fighting back would separate me from the pack-I'd be the odd man out and why did "everyone else get to eat terribly but I had to watch every bite?"  That wasn't fair, was it?

I've learned over time that we all get different battles to fight.  My journey is MINE alone.  Nobody can take that away from me.
I can't walk in your shoes because it would take me out of my own and I'm proud of who I am and who I work on becoming...
This is our fight to fight.  
Do we have a common goal?  Sure.
Can we use one another as support and inspiration?  Absolutely.

I see that girl I used to be in SO many people around me.  I see their beautiful faces but behind it, I see the pain, the regret and the failure.  They have given up.  They have decided it's far easier to throw in the towel than it is to keep fighting.  
I use MY FUEL to keep me going day after day.  It's a lot of fire in there and when I run out of fuel, I lean on others to lift me up...to add fuel to my fire.  Sometimes it's the ones that wish I wouldn't succeed but most of the time it's the ones I've helped along the way.  The children that attend my run club at the school.  Some are overweight and afraid to put themselves out there but they show up willing to fight back.  That takes an unbelievable amount of courage, especially at such a young age.  I hid behind my weight and for them to stand up, willing to seek change...that's a HUGE step on their journey.  Their journey is starting much sooner than mine did so for that, I applaud them.  I applaud the women that stand up saying they never worried about their weight until their 50's but now it's a whole new ball game.  THAT takes courage.  Admitting we have flaws and fears takes courage and strength.  

If you can admit it and put it out there for the world to see, THAT should give you fuel and strength for years to come.
The key is to NEVER STOP FIGHTING THE FIGHT!
I have to wake up every day, good or bad, and tell myself that I deserve this.  
My body, mind and soul deserve the life I'm creating for myself...

THIS is a real feeling.
The feeling of crossing a finish line to a race that you never thought possible in your past?  That's REAL.  
Seeing your children's faces as they watch you transform into the healthy woman they always knew you could be?  THAT IS REAL.  I can't describe the emotions I feel when I run beside my boys in a race.  Or when they see my "fat pictures" and they say, "Mom, that's when you were unhealthy but not anymore!" 
The feeling we get from mindless eating of an entire bag of chips, a large pizza on your own or 4 cupcakes at a birthday party?  THAT IS NOT REAL.  
That instant rush we get will disappear the moment we walk away and realize that we gave in to a feeling, an emotion and put it into food.  
For some, this isn't your struggle but maybe it's that you hold back from eating for fear of gaining weight.  Maybe you tip the scale to the other extreme where it's protein shakes for breakfast and little else throughout the day?
Maybe it's you do great throughout the week but the weekend comes and it's time to pile it on...alcohol, chips at the Mexican restaurant and donuts for breakfast because "it's the weekend"... 

these are all forms of defeat standing in your way of success
  
Maybe yours has NOTHING to do with food but rather a lack of confidence because "things" don't look as they used to.  You fear that people may see and judge those flaws and that frightens you and keeps your beauty covered up.  

Whatever fight you fight, choose to reverse it and do it for that...
It's easier to dwell in that lonely place but the fighting back takes courage and strength that we ALL have, the key is FINDING IT.  And once we find it, it can easily disappear but keeping that fire lit...
that's what separates the true success stories.  
What will your story be? 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

leader of my pack!

Here is MY PACK! and if you're reading this...you're part of the PACK too! Come on!!

Prepare your mind and body.
The journey of a lifetime awaits.
Are you ready?
There will be no perfect situation so you might as well start now!
It's all about making up your mind...the heart and body will follow.
You must take charge and decide once and for all that THIS time will be different!


My pack was all smiles today...They show up each day willing to make their lives better.  They show up when they could have found a million other things to do that day.  They show up when they don't feel great, they didn't get enough sleep or they have a headache. 
 They may not always smile but they always show up.  
But why?
I believe a PACK is made up of encouraging people that choose to fight TOGETHER. 

But why do they show up?
I think they believe in me. And that's hard to grasp. I battled my weight for as long as I remember so how is it that I am their leader?  It seems surreal.  
They choose to walk beside me, hand in hand on this journey.  OUR journey.
Together.
Since they have come into my life, I have realized that it is OUR journey. 
 We have separate obstacles but they are a part of me forever.  And YOU are too. 
When I want to give up on myself they are that reminder to keep going.
SO many years of starting something, only to fall short of the finish line.  
Because of them I now see beyond that finish line to the next, and the next and the...
it just keeps going!
We are being featured in a local magazine and today was our official photo shoot!  
HOW EXCITING!
My dreams were big but this far exceeds my expectations of what I wanted for this group...
They shared their story with the writer and founder of the magazine.  They put it all out there and it was beautiful to listen to such amazing stories that I have witnessed but it never gets old hearing it from their mouths.  
We are promised a big article in this magazine and they deserve it!  SO PROUD!!! 

To dream big and watch it become reality is such a beautiful thing that I honestly never thought I would experience.  It's been a journey full of ups and downs, an emotional roller coaster filled with success and plenty of defeat.  I kept one thing in the back of my mind and that was to NEVER GIVE UP.  I may have had large bumps in the road, but I never allowed myself to fall deeper into that hole of self-doubt.  
Being able to pick yourself up and believe that you can instead of just wishing you will makes all the difference in the world.  
It's making up your mind to not accept failure in your life from that moment on...
 I'm not sure if it's because I lived in that dark place for a while, I know how it feels and my heart aches for those that feel trapped there or if it's my passion for helping others but both have come together to build a beautiful group known as the Move It Momma's and we have so many more stories to tell.  Don't you worry, 
I will share that article as soon as it is published...I can hardly wait!!!  


I'm proud of what I have achieved and can't wait to see where we'll go from here!  I'm hoping to change the world.  I want to create a movement around the world that creates encouragement rather than intimidation when it comes to our health.  I want women to be able to feel strong, beautiful and inspired when they leave a workout.  I want all women to feel the support of people that want them to be better.  We have enough women ready to knock us down so where's the women that lift us up?  Find them and reach out.  Create an environment that makes them feel beautiful while working on your health, together!  It's not about skinny, fitting into those jeans you've had tucked away in the closet (that'll be a perk but it shouldn't be THE reason), it's about feeling strong, happy and loving ourselves and appreciating all that we are capable of achieving!  We need people that celebrate our victories rather than drag us down!  Remember we need both in order for success to occur because those "haters" tend to push you further just to say, WATCH ME and the ones that "encourage" will be there cheering you all the way to the finish line and BEYOND.  They will pick you up when you fall down and they will be the stepping stones you need to achieve greatness!!!  Let's GO!  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Fear and inspiration



I always believe in being honest with ourselves and those around us. It's how we grow, admit our mistakes and share our successes.  

When we share our struggles and fears, it makes us vulnerable and exposed.

MANY do not choose honesty for fear that someone may see right through them, judge them and then it's too late-there's no turning back.

On this journey I have found that the most rewarding part has been sharing the BAD.  Yea the triumphs and victories are why I do what I do and help others do the same but the bad stuff?  That is what seems to resonate with people so much.

Not how great you're doing but how you felt at your bottom or how you feel when you've had a bad day.  I find that when I share my MESSY stuff, people begin to listen and become inspired.  
When I tell the hard truth, it's almost like I see the emotions of others just fall out.  Their shoulders aren't as heavy and their eyes fill with tears.  SHE UNDERSTANDS.  
SHE'S NOT AFRAID TO SHARE THAT?  
We cannot be inspired unless we have that fear lingering in the background.

IMPERFECTIONS make us vulnerable and full of fear, don't they?
What if I fail at losing weight again?  
EVERYONE will judge me and say, Oh she lost the weight a million times guess she's gaining it back again.  
First of all, who is EVERYONE?
Have they stepped out of their comfort zone a day in their life?  Do they know what it's like to run a mile in my running shoes?  NO.
So how can they judge me and bring me fear?

Funny thing is that along with that fear comes the inspiration...THE MAGIC.

It's beautiful to watch it first hand within my group of strong women.  
I witnessed it today and it's THE most beautiful thing I've ever seen.  



With this group we talk A LOT.  Yes we sweat, ache and push hard too but we talk.  We get to the heart of one another and we get to some tough, emotional issues and through that I have found that we find beauty in imperfection once we remove the fear of judgement.  

No judging here.  Encouragement only.
I believe in that and will never let that change...ever.
It's the glue that bonds us forever.  These ladies have beautiful imperfections, fears that have held them back for years, obstacles they felt were too great to fight so they gave in.  They are mom's who put their children first.  They have a common goal to be healthy...simple as that.  

We have a group running a local half marathon in April and one of our members started a page to keep us together, hold us accountable.  She has her own page and shared some struggles she was feeling before class today.  On this journey I see that many play mind games with themselves.   IF the mind wraps around our fears then it is so hard to bounce back.  We let it win and it can manipulate us into thinking we are not capable of happiness, health and success.  Yes it's THAT powerful.  So she felt defeated and she put her fears out there for her fellow Momma's to see.  Then the comments began to pour in...
They had me sobbing...so beautiful.

It taught me something SO valuable.  
Being honest with ourselves and others about things we are afraid of and fear most...
THAT INSPIRES PEOPLE.  
They see that honesty, vulnerability and determination and they want to be part of it.
It begins to spread all around you and all of a sudden you realize that the EVERYONE you feared so much are the ones rallying behind you!  Wow!  The doubters don't steal your sunshine any longer because you have support and it makes you feel whole.  And you'll see the doubters a lot on this journey, look out for them.  They'll give you that added fire you need to conquer more goals than you can imagine.  But the EVERYONE that matters, they'll catch you when you want to fall and instead, help you get back up and fly.  

I know my EVERYONE and I am fully aware of my doubters.  I need them both for success and I am grateful every day that I am able to share my honest struggles and triumphs with all of you...thank you.  It's a tough, emotional journey but as I say a million times, the tough days seem easier when I remember who I used to be...I wouldn't trade the hard days for anything because they represent my strength, my willingness to get back up 
and keep trying day after day.  

Do you have fears holding YOU back??
Address those fears and then "make a brand new ending"

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

BEAT THE ODDS!

I believe that change won't happen by focusing all of your energy on who you were, 
or who you used to be and your OLD WAYS.  
Change comes from focusing on building who you want to be right NOW!  

You must be willing to do things differently.  You must take on the world in a different way and makeover your MIND.  The heart will follow...
I have days where I feel like giving up but that would bring me back to that unhappy place.  I'd be that girl that just settled and didn't fight back.  That girl is a distant memory and I'd like to keep her that way.

If YOU or someone you know seems to have lost hope in finding that healthy balance, act now!  
Help them understand that their life is too valuable and you love them too much for them to settle.
I settled and it brought me nowhere.  I was unhappy and tried to make others unhappy as well.  Unhappiness breeds unhealthy habits and the cycle will continue until you decide that YOU deserve better, you deserve more than what you are doing!

The trouble I've found is that so many people want others to do the work for them.  It doesn't work that way and it never will.  A doctor can't fix your issues with emotional eating, just as a pill can't determine your success.  That MAGIC must come from within.  You make the MAGIC happen and YOU BEAT THE ODDS!  If someone or something else did the work, then you don't truly change.  Fighting hard every day made me a stronger, healthier and happier person and that is a gift that cannot be taken away from me...EVER!

One thing has never changed.  I LOVE being different.  I love standing out.  I didn't love being unhealthy and unhappy though, BIG DIFFERENCE.  
I created an empty slate for myself, never knowing what the road ahead of me will lead but I've trusted this path and it has brought me to an entirely different level in my health, fitness and life so I'll put my faith and trust in knowing who I work on creating and building every day is a better, stronger version of who I once was and used to be!

I promise to help EVERY person see that they are capable of these same changes AND BEYOND...yes, I'm talking to you too :)


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