A Long and Slow Journey Forward

Just a friendly reminder that you CAN reach your goals, but it takes time and persistence.  I can’t tell you how many times people expect to see drastic changes in a week or a month or even 6 months. Stop focussing on the end result and start focusing on the lifestyle.  The people you see online, including myself, have been at this for years.  Remember that.”  ~ @bskyfitness (Instagram)

It’s one of the things I love most about social media – aimlessly scrolling through posts, when suddenly you find something that really hits home.  Well, this afternoon, the quote stated above did just that.  It spoke to me, giving me a reminder that I really needed today – that the super fit people I see on social media are not overnight sensations – they’ve been working hard for a long time to get where they are at.

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My motivation has taken a nosedive lately.  I have an internal battle each day with myself.  I know I should be eating better and exercising a lot harder, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  I’ve been eating quite badly, not tracking in my food journal, and doing the bare minimum as far as workouts go.  Yet, every day I look in the mirror, and want to lose weight.  I want to be smaller again – to look good, and to wear, smaller and cuter clothes (especially now that it’s summer).  I want to be fit and strong and ripped.  I want others to see me as an inspiration.  I want to feel healthier and have more energy and know I am giving my body the best that I can.  But for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Today, I am feeling a sense of motivation coming back though.  My husband has been eating extremely healthy this week (tons of raw fruits and veggies and cutting back drastically on sugar).  He said after a few days, he is already feeling better (plus, he’s down 8 lbs – it’s so unfair how quickly men can lose weight!).   The fact that my husband is eating better has also inspired my 12-year-old stepson who struggles with his own junk food and sugar addiction (poor child is just like me!) And now, as I see my son want to eat better, my motivation increases too – after all, what’s more motivating than being a healthy role model for your children?

But one of the struggles I often face is the challenge of not seeing results fast enough.  I scroll through social media admiring the tight, fit bodies of others and want the same results.  It’s not necessarily that I compare myself to these girls, but I certainly want what they have. But too often I forget to think of the extremely hard work, persistence, and dedication it takes to get those bodies.  I forget to think of the type of lifestyles people with those bodies have (and it certainly doesn’t involve very much ice cream, French fries, or long afternoons on the couch!)

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Most importantly, I have to remind myself that it takes time to get there.  Losing weight is a long journey.  New, healthier habits aren’t established over night.  It takes trial and error to figure out what works for you and it takes persistence and time to turn those things into an overall lifestyle.  It takes conscious decision-making each and every day.  It takes learning to pick yourself up when you fall and get right back on the wagon.  The weight loss journey is certainly not an easy one but it is a possible one.  With time, effort, persistence, and a hell of a lot of hard work.  With learning not to compare yourselves to where others are on their journey but to honour yourself where you’re at and to keep pushing forward.

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I need to remember that, not just today, but every day.  I need to know that reaching goals may not be easy, but it’s certainly possible.  More importantly, I need to lay off the ice cream, lace up my Nikes, and start pushing myself further in the right direction!

 

 

 

Hot and Miserable: Why Being Overweight in the Summer Sucks

Well it’s been a rough couple of weeks in the “back on track” department.  I haven’t exactly been eating on plan and have been slacking big-time with my workouts.  But today, something happened that has me re-motivated and ready to get back on track, again.

Before I tell you what happened today, let me take you back to a day last summer when I experienced a pretty big wake-up call.  My husband and I were on our annual trip to Toronto to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  Our hotel was located about a 20-30- minute walk from the Rogers Centre where we were going to see our favourite team, the Toronto Blue Jays.  Upon arrival at the hotel, we were notified that the elevators were broken and we’d have to carry our luggage up several flights of steep stairs.  This task was so difficult for me (because I had allowed myself to get so incredibly out of shape) that my husband ended up having to carry all of our luggage, while I still struggled to make it up the stairs.  After that fiasco, we set out on foot to head to the Blue Jays game.  Well it was a 40-degree day admist the concrete jungle of Toronto where the humidity rises to well above the actual temperature.  In the air-conditioned comfort of our hotel room, I had foolishly chosen to wear dark denim capris, sandals, and my Jays jersey (made from extremely heavy, non-breathable material!) Let me get to the point, and say that that walk was torture.  I started sweating immediately upon stepping foot outside.  I could feel sweat dripping from everywhere – making my hairline wet, rolling down my back, and soaking my clothes.  I felt terrible.  I hate being hot and throughout that entire walk I was so miserable.  Once we arrived, I made my husband force his way through the packed Jays shop in hopes of finding a lightweight tank I could fit into.  Unfortunately the crowds inside made my condition even more unbearable and we finally opted to just find our seats, which thankfully, were in the shade.

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All smiles even after I sweated my way to the stadium!

The whole point of this is to say that this experience was a major wake-up call for me.  Summers are hard when you are overweight and out of shape.  Sweating from everywhere makes you feel gross (and you’re probably already struggling with self-acceptance, as I was) and the heat caused by excess body fat, simply makes you miserable. I realized then that had I not let myself get so out of shape both climbing the stairs at the hotel, and walking on a hot summer day, would not have been such miserable tasks.  This revelation, of course, just made me feel more miserable as I began wallowing in frustration and disappointment.

So what does all this have to do with today?  So far it’s been a decent spring.  We’ve had plenty of 20-degree days where it feels amazing to be outside and it makes me feel excited for summer.  But what day did my husband and I choose to leave all of our outside jobs to?  The hottest day of the spring so far.  Today it was 30-degrees and just doing the simplest job (ie. Washing patio furniture) was completely exhausting.  The heat felt unbearable and I wanted nothing more to escape it.  This was frustrating because I had intended to get a whole lot of work done outside today (our yard always needs it badly after a long winter) but I just couldn’t take the heat.  Once again, I came to realize that if I wasn’t so overweight and was eating better and working out more regularly, these sort of tasks probably wouldn’t be so arduous.

But instead of being angry with myself this time (which I am trying hard not to do – although it isn’t easy), I am trying to take this reminder of that terrible day last summer and let it be my motivation.  I am tired of being so miserably hot and out of shape in the summer.  I am tired of not having enough energy and suffering headaches due to bad eating habits.

As of today, our annual Toronto trip is about 10 weeks away. That’s 10 weeks to change my diet and get back to working out.  It’s only been three weeks since I fell off track of my latest attempt and I am determined not to let these three weeks off the wagon become three months.  I understand that I won’t always be “perfect”, but I also have to realize when something needs  to be done, and do something about it.

So, I’m starting with soccer practice tonight.  It’s still extremely hot out and I haven’t played in several years, so I am fully expecting this practice to be brutal.  But I am going to honour where my body is at today, and I am going to push it just a little past where it comfortably wants to go.  That, and I am going to drink lots, and lots, and lots of water.  Wish me luck, I am certainly going to need it!

A simple dose of happiness

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Sometimes when I get a big boost of motivation, I worry that the feeling won’t last.  I try desperately to hold on to it, to bottle it up, and preserve it for those days when I just don’t want to do anything.  I’m only two days in, but I am happy to say that I am feeling just as inspired today as I was a couple of days ago when another burst of motivation suddenly came over me.   In fact, I’m once again amazed at the difference of the power of positive thinking (why do I always forget how simple it is?)

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been feeling pretty great.  I’ve felt energetic (despite a lack of sleep), focused, and truly happy to be alive.  In fact, yesterday as I was driving I was thinking of all the things I love about my life – and not just the everyday, obvious things like my husband, kids, family, friends, and career, but rather, the less obvious things.

One of those things is the idea that I still have so much time to figure out this thing called life.  Lately, I have felt inspired to find ways to improve myself mentally, emotionally, physically – even spiritually.  I am learning a lot about myself – building on and feeling proud of my strengths, and working hard to improve myself in the areas where I struggle.  I am discovering more about the things I value in life, and opening mind to things I never contemplated before.  I am slowly learning that how I perceive a situation has a direct impact on how much stress I feel, and that I have complete control over my inner peace. And on days when I am feeling happy and inspired, the fact that I still have so much time to think about these kinds of things, is simply, exciting.

I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again.  Take it from me, a person who’s spent more of my life being a couch potato, then I have working out: It’s truly amazing and outstanding what physical activity can do for one’s mental state.   Much like before, it’s only been a couple of days since I’ve been back on the “active” bandwagon (I recorded 16,000 steps on my Fitbit yesterday and have already put in an hour walk this morning!) but already the feel-good vibes are unbelievable and empowering.

Like I mentioned above, I pray that this motivation will last and that I can continue to remember how easy it is to put myself in a good place.  I know I have to stay focused, determined, and dedicated and if I do, my entire life is only going to get better 🙂

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Stronger Body, Stronger Mind

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Like most of my attempts to lose weight in the past, my most recent attempt has had its ups and downs.  Actually, I think it’s safe to say that this one has had more “downs” than “ups”.  That being said, I am feeling another big boost of motivation today and am ready, once again, to climb back onto the bandwagon.

One difference between my past adventures in getting healthy, and this one, are some of my reasons for doing so.  Of course, wanting to look better is always near the top of the list, but more than ever, wanting to feel better is as much a motivation as anything.

I know I’m not exactly old (as much as my husband likes to tease me that I am!) but I definitely can feel changes in my body that come with being in my mid-30s.  Having been substantially inactive for the last year or so definitely hasn’t helped.  In fact, it’s led to a lot of minor aches, pains, and stiffness that I’ve never felt before.  Getting up after sitting on the floor sure isn’t pretty anymore, and I’m so out of shape, that I can barely go for a fast-paced walk without getting out of breath.strength

In addition to that, I’ve really noticed this time around, the mental and emotional challenges of not being active.  The longer I sit around, being lazy, the more I want to sit around and be lazy.  Then I feel crummy and guilty.  But even the guilt is not enough motivation to get myself up off the couch.  So I try self-loathing instead.  That doesn’t work either and before I know it, I’m caught in a vicious cycle of terrible self-esteem and just wanting to give up altogether.

But all that is going to change.  It’s going to change because I am not a lazy, self-loathing, unenergetic type of person.  I am determined, I have drive, I have a self love that is dying to come out.

Today, I am feeling a rejuvenated sense of motivation.  I am inspired to make my body (and my mind) strong again.  I want to challenge and push myself to places that will surprise even me.  Last time I took this journey, I ended up running 10k marathons. Running was something I had tried in the past, but had always failed miserably at. I was convinced I’d never be a runner.  And then I learned to run.  I began with one measly minute and continued to surprise myself as I was able to tack on more and more time.  When I competed in my first 10k race in 2011 I felt like I’d climbed to the top of an insurmountable mountain.

That feeling of victory, of confidence, of self-pride, of genuine happiness when you reach goals you never thought you’d accomplish, is exhilarating.  I miss that feeling.  I want that feeling again.

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So this time around, while I can still admit that I want to wear cute clothes and bikinis and tight dresses again, I’ve found a new inspiration that I think will stick.

My motivation comes from wanting my body and mind to be healthier and stronger.  I want to be an inspiration to others again.  I want to feel proud of myself again.  I want to meet goals and reap the rewards.

I want to feel victorious.

Strangely, this new source of motivation came to me today while watching the Blue Jays game.  It was Marcus Stroman Bobblehead Day so they were featuring the young, rookie pitcher who was supposed to have been the Jays’ big star this year.  Unfortunately, Stroman drastically injured his knee in spring training, had to undergo surgery and may be out of the game for the entire 2015 season.

But what inspired me about Stroman is his determination, dedication, and never-ending positivity.  While others may have let devastation and disappointment consume them, Stroman is using his time off to work harder than ever to make himself an all-around better player and person.  He is attending Duke University, is just months away from obtaining his sociology degree, and is working his butt off in rehab with hopes of returning to the Jays this fall.

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

I’ve been following Stroman on Instagram for some time now, and his outlook is incredibly inspiring.  Although he’s had major setbacks, his smile is as big as ever and his focus is sharper than ever.  More than ever, he’s determined to make his dreams come true, and he’s not letting anything get in his way.

So I’m taking a lesson from Stroman, and I’m making the choice (again!) to put in the hard work, determination, and dedication it will take to meet my fitness goals. I know it will take time (as it did before), and I know there will be ups and downs, but  I’m excited to get back in the game.  I’m eager to be strong, to set and reach goals, and ultimately, to be victorious.

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Third Week Check-in: Big results!

quote 7It’s been three weeks now since my husband and I had a big heart-to-heart about my weight and I recommitted to my health.  I am so happy to say that I have kept this promise to myself and continue to track in my food journal and be active every day.   While I did weigh myself the other day (and am down 5lbs!), the number on the scale isn’t my primary focus because I am so pleased with the effects it’s had on my mental health and overall well-being.

The biggest result I have noticed so far (after 3 weeks of re-introducing healthier eating and regular activity) is the overall improvement in my mood and level of motivation.

I’ve always known that physical activity has been proven to affect one’s mental health and overall moods, but I had never really paid attention to it before.  Over the course of the last year and half though, as I let my good habits slip, and virtually became a couch potato, I also increasingly suffered from low energy levels, major lack of motivation, and general feelings of tiredness and unhappiness.  At one point, I even suffered from a mild form of depression and had to take a stress leave from my part-time job. quote 5

But now, after only three short weeks of recommitting to healthy habits, my moods have changed drastically.  Day-to-day my energy levels are significantly higher which means I get a lot more done (with less effort), and this results in a feeling of accomplishment (which for me, always makes my day feel complete). In addition to this, my overall feelings of happiness and self-confidence have also increased significantly.  Even though I know I still have a long way to go with my weight loss and fitness goals, the feelings of self-pride and satisfaction after every little milestone met, continue to drive my motivation, which leads me closer and closer to meeting these goals.

I don’t know why all of this comes as such a shock to me but I really am having a hard time believing the big results (mentally, emotionally, psychologically) that such little changes have made.  The other part of me continues to question why I waited so long to re-introduce these healthy habits back into my life.  But that doesn’t matter now anyhow. What matters is the change has been made, I am feeling big results, and my motivation continues to be high.  And the most exciting part is that I know as I continue to see results (mentally and physically) my motivation, feelings of self-worth, and overall happiness will only get better. I am so glad I have found myself again 🙂