Monday, August 29, 2016

Start Somewhere

Low-Carb Diet...Weight Watchers...It Works...Jenny Craig...Nutrisystem...Grapefuit Diet...Isagenix...Detox Diets...Advocare...Flat Stomach Diet...Beachbody...Vegetarian..Plexus...Level...Beverly Hills Diet...Fit for Life Diet...

Is your head swimming? If I was someone embarking on a journey to better health I would look at all the options out there and probably give up before I ever started. I just went on Google and put in "weight loss options" and it shot out 28,400,000 choices. That, I believe, is the beauty and the curse of the internet. There is a flood of information at your fingertips, but an individual can easily become overwhelmed.

So, what is a person to do? Once again I'm no professional, but I honestly think that you have to do what works for YOU. Not what works for your friend, your favorite celebrity, or that cool fitness mom you are following on Instagram. Even with that being said, where does one start?

I consider myself lucky because I fell into the solution of what works for me before I even realized I needed a solution. Up until 3 years ago I considered myself to be a fairly healthy person. I had a fairly nutritious diet and I exercised multiple times a week. I knew I had about 10 pounds to go to get back to my pre-baby weight, but what I didn't realize, though, is how good I could actually feel. The only reason I realized that It Works! would be the solution for me was because a friend shared it with me. Just a few weeks in I knew this was the solution for me.

But what will work for you? I think a large part of figuring out where to start is analyzing not only the obstacles you have in reaching your health goals, but also your strengths and what will help you succeed. For instance, in a previous blog titled What's Your Obstacle? I listed my personal obstacles, and one of them was food in general. I LOVE food so I know I would never be able to do a diet that completely eliminated a food group or meals in general. Drinking shakes for every meal would not work for me. Balance is a word that often comes to mind when I think about my approach to nutrition.

By stumbling on a product called Greens I was able to combat several obstacles in one. Allow me to explain. Because it is packed with 34 fruits and veggies and 52 super foods in one serving, my body was finally getting what it needed. I was never able to afford all that nutrition on a budget before this. Now my body was alkalized and ph-balanced, so it cut my cravings (obstacle #1), increased my energy (obstacle #2) and decreased the severity of my headaches. The best part is it costs me only around $1.50 a day (obstacle #5). Does it replace a healthy diet and exercise? NO WAY!! It just greatly enhances my health journey. That is why this works for me.

Now in reference to strengths, while I LOVE food, I'm pretty good with portion control. I know that if I eat a lot I feel gross and lethargic. I didn't really need a plan to focus on portion control. Did I need something to cut the cravings of the food I did like? Yes, most definitely. Another strength is that I really enjoy exercising, and I know how it benefits me both physically and mentally. No one has to encourage me to get out there and do something.

In my unprofessional opinion you finally just need to start somewhere. I realize you are probably thinking that it is easy for me to say this because I sort of "fell" into what worked for me. Yet, with all things in life, you need to take that first step. I already mentioned taking note of your strengths and weaknesses, but think about WHY you want to change. Are you looking to lose weight? Gain energy? Need help bulking up? Looking for endurance help to run a long race? Do you just want to have a better quality of life? Everyone's goals differ, so in the same way not every plan will work for everyone.

Just start. Find your WHY. Write out your goals. Analyze your obstacles. Emphasize your strengths. Find a support system. Then just take your first step. You can do this.

Simply put...just start somewhere.

They are a big part of why my health is important to me. I want to have the energy and mental stamina to be there for them day in and day out. And, God-willing, someday be around to play with my grandchildren and take them on a bunch of fun adventures. :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Please...Be Kind

When I think of an idyllic summer event, a parade is one thing that comes to mind. Whether it is for the 4th of July or some town's annual festival, there is usually a parade involved. Parades are often envisioned as a fun event for a community of families and friends that get together, smile at some fantastic floats and then proceed to get drowned by handfuls of candy until the children suffer from sugar shock.

This past weekend I was proven wrong. I won't be so dramatic as to say none of the above happened, but this was case in point where a few bad moments clouded out the positive. Ideally I know I should focus on the positive, but this is now the second year I've experienced it so I guess I've become a little sour to it.

This is the 5th time I've walked in this parade. My husband was one of the managers of a store in this small town, and for the first three years we walked with his co-workers. He since then has left that job, and the past two years I've walked with some of my It Works teammates and their families. We don't really even have a float...we just have a truck that we decorate. The adults hand out information and coupons about our products, and the children throw candy. 

Sounds fun, right? Unfortunately, no. I have been shocked at the amount of people that will laugh right at me, roll their eyes and say things like, "That is so ridiculous....Stuff like that never works...You have got to be kidding me...What a joke." I'd like to add they say it rather loudly so anyone in the surrounding viewing area can hear what they say. 

My reaction? Well, inside I'm boiling, but on the exterior I'm smiling and saying things like, "Thank you, have a great day!" Don't get me wrong, I KNOW this (It Works) isn't the answer for everyone (future blog topic). I'm not expecting everyone out there to jump at the chance to get some information and a coupon from me. That being said, I'm also not expecting people to be downright rude. Since when can we not keep our thoughts to ourselves? I kept thinking about the phrase, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." 

I don't want you to think this was everyone, or even the majority, but behavior like that can deflate a good mood faster than a pin to a balloon. I'm honestly not upset about the fact that they were bashing something I believe in, it was the matter in which they were doing it. One main reason why it bothers me? Take a wild guess who is listening to bet, the little kids sitting around them.

While I was enjoying the "banter" my daughter was experiencing behavior of a different kind. She was armed with a basket of generic Pixy Stix, and I had coached her on giving just one or two to each kid so there was plenty to go around. That apparently was easier said than done as multiple times older kids surrounded her and literally shouted, "Give me 4 of those!...I need more!...Give me a whole stack!" At one point the kids were almost 15 feet out into the street tracking her down. There were times when the look on her face was borderline fear and confusion. 

At that moment I was very sad for her. The idyllic summer parade of smiling families graciously catching candy and waving at floats melted away. I honestly wasn't having much fun at that point. 

Like I said before, that wasn't the majority. There were several adults that kindly asked for information or a coupon and then did say "Thank you." There were many that I know probably didn't want the information, but they still gave me a kind smile and took it. Nothing rude was said. Likewise, there were so many children that sat nicely on the curb waiting for the candy to come to them. They didn't chase anyone and gang up on them. When they did get candy they looked up at you with those adorable eyes and said, "Thank you." And, if they forgot to say it, a parent gently reminded them. 

I know I'm not saying anything new to any of you. More and more these days you hear or see something unkind being done. I work at a school, and the things I sometimes hear would make you cringe. Earlier this summer at our local wading pool I saw a brother and sister making faces, laughing and pointing at my girls. When my girls came out of the pool for a little break they told me the other children said that they came from a "stupid family." My older one seemed a bit offended, but my younger one seemed so oblivious to the fact that they were being rude because in her words, "They are so wrong, Mommy. We aren't stupid." 

As I get to the end of this blog I'm wondering if I even have a logical point to bring this all together. You might be wondering why I even wrote this. Well, one, I was too taken aback at the fact that somehow a parade was not a very enjoyable event for me, and I can't get the vision of my daughter's reaction out of my head. This, too, should have been fun for her. Also, this is one of those times when I just need to write to get things off my chest.

So, will I throw my hands up in frustration? I hope not. This will never go away, I know this. There will be more parades, more kids at the pool, classmates as they get older, etc. There is no denying the fact that there is sin in this world. I know I'm a sinner and I know my girls are as well. Events like this weekend remind me that there are always little ears listening and little eyes watching everything I say and do. When unkind words are said between my girls I remind them of how that makes them feel, and I remind them of the need to show love to each other. Most importantly, what are we as children of God directed to do? We are to love each other and build each other up, not tear one another down.

I pray I'm able to focus on the positive in all the kind people at the parade and the children that used their manners. When you focus on the negative it can wear you down like a load of bricks. Thinking positively, I will move forward.

Simply put....Please, be kind. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

What's Your Obstacle?

Last night our daughter randomly woke up in the middle of the night and just couldn't fall back asleep. I tried my best to help her get back to sleep, but the next few hours until dawn were riddled with restless sleep. The result? When my alarm went off to go running.....I didn't. Therefore this blog idea was born.

To start this off, give an honest answer to complete the following sentence. Don't worry, you are not being graded, and you don't have to share your answer with anyone. 

My biggest obstacle to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is: ________________________

Your first response was quite possibly something along the lines of, "Seriously, how can I pick just one?" It is like when you are asked to pick your favorite movie, book or food. What an impossible question.

To be fair, I'll share the answers that crept (more like stampeded) into my mind.

1) FOOD: That probably seems like such an obvious answer, but I had to include it. Carbs, chocolate, and cheese. Those, along with many other things, can go down this hatch whenever.
2) ENERGY: If you wonder what I mean by this, go back and read paragraph one again. 
3) KNEES: I had two ACL surgeries on the same knee in my early 20s. Now at 40 sometimes that knee aches a bit.
4) TIME: I'm a wife, mom to two girls and I currently have two jobs.
5) BUDGET: Our limited budget doesn't always have room for the healthiest options.       
6) LIFE: No day, week, or month is ever the same. Not being able to adjust to what is around you can sometimes become an obstacle. 

Some of my obstacles I'm fighting to love of food,
not consistently exercising, and random sleep patterns. 

This got me would a professional trainer or nutritionist complete that sentence? No person is perfect, so I'm assuming even those that earn a living based on helping others with their health and fitness goals must at some time face some obstacles.

As an It Works distributor I end up talking with many people that are looking to help maintain some sort of health-related goal. Oftentimes they are overwhelmed by the amount or severity of obstacles that they are facing. One lady I met at a vendor show asked me, "Where do I even start?"

I always start by clarifying that I'm not a doctor or a professional trainer or nutritionist. As I stated in a previous post titled I'm No Jillian, I'm just an average mom looking to overcome some obstacles of my own. I honestly think a first step is just realizing what those obstacles are, and then making a game plan that fits you as an individual. What works for me might not necessarily work for you because your obstacles might be different.

Let's take a second here to analyze the word obstacle. Some may say I should replace it with the word excuse. Obstacles are defined as things that can block or hinder someone's progress, while excuses are reasons put forward to defend the fault of someone. When I consider the individuals that I have talked to before about attaining health goals, I look at their struggles more as obstacles that prevented them from even starting in the first place. Personally I think an excuse is when you have the tools to do something, but you don't. For instance, if I had started this blog by saying I have had some great nights of sleep lately, but I didn't get up to exercise because my favorite TV show was on I don't think you would empathize with that as much. OK, that maybe wasn't the greatest example, but I think you know where I'm going with this.

This obstacle vs. excuse discussion makes me think of a quote I've seen floating around social media a lot lately.

"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you don't know anything about."

Recently I was talking with someone that I have known for quite some time, and they shared with me some HUGE obstacles they are facing on their health journey. I was blown away. I had NO idea this was going on in their life. Their obstacles are not just physical, but mental and emotional as well. If anyone told this individual that they were excuses to them maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I truthfully would probably slap them.

So, if you are sitting there ready to take charge of your health goals, think back to those obstacles that popped into your head up top and start formulating a plan to help you overcome those obstacles. Maybe identify what your biggest struggle is and start there. If that seems too overwhelming start smaller and tackle those first. Once again, I think every individual is different, so what works for Joe doesn't necessarily work for Jane. In my next few blogs that are on the health-related spectrum I'll explain how I'm overcoming (or trying to) the obstacles that I listed above. 

Remember, you are NOT alone in this. The internet and social media can get some bad rap, but there are a lot of good parts of it as well. Not only is there a ton of information to be found, but Instagram and Facebook have so many groups that are there to support you in whatever your obstacle might be at this time. Want to find another average overtired working mom (or whatever your role is) out there that might be able to understand your struggle? Look no further....they are out there....or here. 

Staying fit and healthy is something that is important to me. It just is. I know how vital it is to how I feel, how my body functions and my overall mental state. Is it easy? No way. I have obstacles, but I just keep trying, day in and day out. 

Simply put...don't let your obstacle become your excuse.