Monday, May 30, 2016

Four Letter Word: Fear

There have been so many things holding me back from living my life.  But the biggest root of it, was FEAR.  I didn't realize it until, I started taking on a victim role in some of my personal circumstances.  I am not one who lets myself be a victim.  I have always been able to find a way out of negative circumstance.  I wasn't brought up in a societal ideal situation, but did not let that hold me back from working towards my goals.  Recently, I let anger, adversity, and the fear of success stop me dead in my tracks of working towards my goals.  Now, bear with me as I get through my story of living with fear of success.

When my ex-husband and I were first separated, I worked hard to position and set myself up for success.  I had big plans and dreams.  I realized that many of our bills were not being paid during our marriage.  In my single life, I vowed to not let this happen again.  In our divorce, I took on all the debt and collections from my marriage. Because, my income was so much greater than his, I also take on more of the day-to-day expenses of raising our children (daycare is very expensive in Minnesota).  Now, I am in worse shape financially and physically than I was two years ago. 

Almost two years ago, I became a coach through Beachbody.  I was given the opportunity through a friend who inspired me in so many ways.  She encouraged me to take a leap of faith.  During my weight loss journey, Ria was a big cheerleader for me.  As I was weighing my decision, she reminded me of how many people I inspired during my weight loss journey.  I remember taking a look at my bank account and weighing the opportunity.  During my Weight Watchers days, my leader was pushing for me to come a leader.  I knew I had the skill set to coach others.  So, I signed up to coach and bought Piyo.

I had full intent of working the business.  I did for awhile.  My first paycheck paid for school supplies for my daughters.  My fulltime job got busy, and I couldn't keep up with my Beachbody business.  My business went on the backburner.  I lost so much of myself.  I gained weight.  My confidence slipped.  Fear was whispering in my ear.

I approached rock bottom.  By this time fear had a strong hold on me.  What if I get rejected?  What if I let people down?  What if I make more money and have to pay my ex-husband more money in child support?  Child support that I cannot manage to pay at the moment, because living expenses are so high. This is B.S!  I can't make ends meet and I am letting a four letter word hold me back.  And, for the third time in my life I am more concerned about what others think about me more so than myself.

Fear, you are not welcome here anymore.  I have had enough of you screwing up my life.  You need to leave now, and don't let the door hit you on the way out. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Food for Thought

Recently, I have had several conversations with different friends regarding their child's weight.  First off, I am not a dietician or nutritionist.  All of my information is based off my own research and my personal opinion from my own trial and error.  You can take it or leave it.  But, I feel that I need to get my thoughts out around the issue of the health of children in regards to nutrition. 

There is a lot of conflicting information out there.  There are diets, fitness programs, school lunch programs, and the government has a published set of guidelines.  Adults are bombarded with diet aids as well.  So, with all of this overwhelming information how do you chose what to follow?  Do you trust the guidelines set forth?  Where do you even start?

My first bit of advise for anyone: Start small.  Don't think about all of the recommendations and swirl.  Focus on one thing at a time until you have it under your belt good.  This is really the tip that helped me lose 60 pounds.

Find one thing you are willing and able to change.  I have a lot of ideas around this, but you have to pick what will work best for your family.  Maybe it is adding a serving of vegetables to your diet.  What!? No, one in your family likes vegetables.  Say it isn't so (that last sentence is total sarcasm).  I know there are many kids out there who won't touch anything green unless it is artificially colored.  So, how do you get your kid to eat a vegetable?  Mix it with something they like.  Disguise it.  Dip it in ranch.  Puree it and add it to their mac and cheese.  Throw some spinach in a smoothie. Here, is where I am going to guide you to the following cookbooks:

The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine

Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld

Get them used to eating veggies.  Ask them to try it.  Take x amount of bites.

Another idea is to get them involved.   It could be with the meal planning or cooking.  I found with my picky eater, she is more apt to try something if she helped make it.  Giving them the ability to chose what the family eats for dinner also gives them a sense of pride and ownership in the meal.  I generally give them some guidance like: pick a vegetable to go with spaghetti.  I usually give both my daughters a choice, though.  If I have the meals planned out for the week I will say, "M, spaghetti or chicken nuggets?  L, green beans or broccoli." 

If you don't buy it/have it; you can't eat it.   If you stop buying (fill in the blank food you overindulge on) you can't eat it.  Same goes for healthy foods: if you don't have healthy foods in your kitchen, you can't eat them (because they are not readily available to eat).  Don't feel a victim to the foods you have to give up.  I have a really bad sweet tooth and pastries are my weakness.  I don't buy them to bring in the house.  I will buy them as a treat and enjoy them away from my humble adobe.  I know if I have them in the house, I will eat every last crumb.  But, I don't deprive myself of them either.

Don't focus on what you are giving up...focus on what you are gaining.

Don't make it seem like there is something wrong with them.  Always keep in mind that they are watching you and picking up cues from you.  Make conversations about getting healthier and being healthy and what does that mean and look like.  For me being healthy is being able to do more stuff with my kids.  It is about being there for them and it is something we are all in together.

And one big one: Celebrate every single accomplishment!  Your son tried roasted broccoli?  High five!  Your daughter drank all water and no juice?  Cheers (with water glasses).  Someone lost 5 pounds!?  Mani's all around.  Let them pick the goal and mini goals that support the big goal.  Most importantly, work together to create a non-food related reward system around what motivates your child.  I try to keep in the back of my mind that I give the dog food treats...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

My Weightloss Trifecta

Hi Friends,

Thanks for stopping by.  I appreciate you taking time out of your day to read my musings.

I have been struggling with my ride on the wagon.  I keep falling off, and can't seem to keep my place.  In losing my place, I lost myself.  I couldn't quite figure out why I couldn't get back on the wagon I had come to know and love so well.  Then it dawned on my that I was pushing out a very important part of my healthy lifestyle equation.  Support and Accountability.  I had always had this, but stopped tapping into this resource when I needed it most.  I have amazing people in my life who lift me up and keep me going.  I turned my back on them.  Also, I stopped being accountable with myself, by doing the research and self development that was helping me keep my head in the game. 

When I first started losing weight, I found that keeping myself educated on various topics helped keep me accountable and pushing towards my weightloss goals.  Building on what I learned the week before helped me keep on track, break through plateaus, and understand how what I was doing effected my body.

Ultimately, this feeds into the other two parts of what keep me on track.  The two attributes that I have the most control over.  That is my diet and exercise.  I realized this when I was really digging into my soul to understand how I had gained almost all of the weight back.  I need these three things all the time in some capacity in my life to maintain my health.  I call it my Weightloss Trifecta.

I actually got to the point of where I was neglecting all three areas of my weightloss trifecta.  I let my kids rule my life.  I couldn't figure out how to manage their schedules and mine.  I got tired of making two meals.  I had a lot of excuses.  But, the bottom line is, that I got in my own way. 

I have gotten better about controlling my diet.  Now, I am reaching out and working with my support system.  I will be using this platform to help inform you of the topics I am researching.  And lastly, I will be scheduling work outs to ensure I get it in and posting pics to social media.  So it is exercise and accountability all in one :)

Where I really beat myself up with all of this is over the fact that as a Beachbody coach, I have my trifecta at my finger tips.  I have work out programs paired with nutrition and a network of people who support me.  We run challenge groups to engage people just like me and you who want to take control of their health.

Where do you struggle?  What can you use more help with?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Taking Care of You

With school in session, I am really feeling the effects of being a working parent.  There is the rushing out of work, picking the kids up from after school care, running them to xyz activity, and trying to squeeze in homework, dinner, and some quality time together and time for myself.  I do not think this feeling is unique to a single parent, either.  I hear it from women who are married with children.  They discuss how their husbands take one child to xyz and they take the other to abc.  It shows that it just isn't adults who are busy - kids are too!

But, let's talk about what this does to parents...SERIOUSLY.

Do you ever feel like you lost yourself since you have had your children?
Do you ever wonder when you will have time to _____ (something good for yourself)?
Do you ever wonder how on earth you are keeping it all together and if/when you are going to drop a ball?
Or, have you dropped so many you have lost count?

My intent, tonight, is write about the importance of self care and what that means to you and your children. 

I stopped working out.   I stopped planning out meals for the week.  I stopped eating healthy most of the time.  I stopped drinking enough water each day.  I stopped taking care of myself. 

These were things I that I had down to a science in my life.  And slowly, I gave them up.   I realize, I have deviated so far from where I was.  Now, I feel like I am really struggling to get back on track.    And I believe I struggle, because I am wondering about why, when, who, what, and where did this happen.  I obsess over it, instead of doing what I know I need to do.  That is stop giving a flip whys, whens, whos, whats, and wheres.  It is grabbing onto the reigns that I had a grip on before and kicking the horse to get him to gallop. 

The truth is that these young humans we are raising are watching us and learning from us.  They see our cues and those get programmed into their minds.  Sure, I can't get them to eat broccoli, but if they see me consistently eat it they will come around.  Them not seeing me exercise sends a message that it is not important.  They want to be like us.  That in itself should make it important for you to take care of yourself.  Then, your children will learn good habits to take into their adulthood. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Giving Up

How did I get derailed from my path to happiness and my ideal life?

Divorce, new job, mass layoffs at new job, and maybe some dating.

Divorce stinks.  Divorce is the worst thing I have gone through.  My marriage crumbling away was frustrating.  I tried to keep it together.  Now, maybe I didn't got about keeping my marriage intact in the best way.  I know I didn't.  I enabled my ex- husband, myself, and our relationship to take the course it did.  Never did I speak up, address him, or take action clearly enough to steer the marriage back on the right course.  You see, I did probably the worst thing.  I tried to fix it on my own.  I didn't seek input from my ex on what we needed to do to right the ship.  If he gave input I shut him down or out.  In my defense, the last few years of our marriage I didn't feel like I had a partner.  I felt like our relationship had morphed into roommates.  And, at the very end, I felt more like his mother than his wife. 

I learned a lot from being married and divorced.  I learned how to be a better partner for future relationships.  I learned how to be vulnerable.  The vulnerability did not come easily.  It took two friends to pull that beast out of me.  You see, I was perfectly uncomfortably comfortable in my shell.  I was uncomfortable because, I felt alone and burdened.  I was comfortable, because no one could hurt me or judge me or break me there.  I didn't have to go through the discomfort of sharing my story and be pitied.

OK, I digressed a bit.  Back on track.  When my ex-husband move out (per my request).  We were in agreement on how everything was to be divided and parenting time with the kids.  I got a lawyer to draw it up.  In the meeting he was agreeable.  We agreed to split the costs of the children based on the percent of what we each make.  I made more, so I would pay more of their expenses.  She drew up the documents.  We proof read them separately, and he had some concerns over the wording.  I told him to tell me what words he wasn't happy with, and I would have them corrected. 

He ended up getting a lawyer.  Again, we rehashed everything.  Amended what he was not happy with.  Then, we waited forever to get finalized documents....only to find out his lawyer left the law firm.  She left the records of our case in disarray.  He came up with new demands.  Which lead us into mediation.  I walked out of mediation having to pay him child support, because he was making $13/hour doing construction.  Which is considerably less than I make.  Ironically, in my small hometown he could have gotten job in a factory making more.  I looked at the help wanted ads and found most construction jobs paid $20-25/hour.  We have joint custody. 

I gave up on myself, because I didn't have the budget to cover my monthly expenses with the added child support.  Especially, since I went from paying 70% of childcare to paying 100% of childcare.  I tried hard to live within my means.  I saw a financial counselor.  When she looked at my expenses, income, and compared it to a typical budget she came up with that I should have a $700 a month deficit.  I didn't have that big of a deficit, because I cut corners where I could, looked for deals, or found creative ways to budget.

Seeing that in a budget format, in black and white...was a big blow to my mojo.  And the deficit would have been worse had I stayed at my previous job. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Establishing my "Why"

What is your why? is a question that gets asked a lot in the BeachBody community.  I have to dig back to myself from January 1st 2012 when I first really committed to getting healthy.  In the past I did it half heartedly.  I joined Weight Watchers, because I was:
  • sick of being unhappy
  • not liking my reflection in the mirror
  • not being able to buy clothes that I thought were cute
  • deeply contemplating what kind of legacy I wanted to leave my daughters
  • not able to keep up with my daughters
  • not living my ideal life
As I look at each of these points I think:
  • What is happiness to me?
  • What do I want my relfection to look like?
  • Where do I want to shop?
  • What do I want my daughters to learn from me?
  • What do I need to do to keep up with my daughters?
  • What is my ideal life?

What is happiness to me?  Feeling free from debt.  Having minimal stress.  Living life to the fullest.  Feeling at home in my home.  Being comfortable in my skin.

What do I want my reflection to look like?  Like this chick from my class reunion in Sept of 2013.  I am totally loving those calves.  Those calves are the result of a good diet and exercise.

Where do I want to shop?  I would love to walk by any store in the mall, walk in, try on the cute number in the window, and it look good on me.  I also want the budget to purchase the cute clothes...yes, this goes against some minimalistic principals, but more on that later.  But, what can I say, I really like looking good.  I don't care how superficial that sounds.

What do I want my daughters to learn from me?  I want them to learn that their body is the only one that they have.  They need to take care of it by fueling it with wholesome foods and getting enough exercise.

What do I need to do to keep up with my daughters?  I don't want to be the mom sitting on the sidelines.  I want to be engaged and involved in their lives.  We have so much more fun playing than we do sitting on the couch.  I want them to learn inner strength, perseverance, love, compassion, and kindness from me.

What is my ideal life?  My ideal life is one where I am not struggling to hold it all together.  I have enough income to cover my bills, save some, and have some for having fun.  I don't have debt; well, maybe a mortgage.  I have a healthy diet and do a lot of from scratch cooking.  I have time to exercise.  I love myself.  I work to live.  I spend time with my daughters.  I feel safe and secure.  I am calm. 

OK, so I was well on my way to achieving that, and now you are wondering what happened....

Well, there is more to come.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lost Identity

I have lost my identity.  I am not talking about my social security number or credit card information.  I am talking about how in the midst of motherhood I gave up bits of who I was here and there.  I didn't have a problem with this at the time.  I loved the nurturing my daughters into who they are becoming.  But, now that they are becoming more and more independent I am realizing that I need to evolve myself as a person and a mother.

I realized that I lost myself as I was going through my initial weight loss journey and my ex-husband and my separation and divorce process.  As I tried to submerse myself in social situations, I felt a bit awkward.  I didn't feel like I had a lot to add to conversations.  It was especially awkward in situations were the majority of the other people did not have kids, because I found my conversations revolving around my kids or I couldn't relate to being able to do what I want when I wanted.

It really hit home when someone at work mentioned that he really felt got to know my kids through working on a project with me. At first I was offended.  I wondered if the people around me didn't think I had any depth.  Did they enjoy being around me, or did I bore them?  I immediately tried coming up with ways where I could transform myself to be more than a single working mom.

That is how I came to realize that I had lost myself again.  I couldn't remember the last time I worked out or really did something for myself (within my own interests).  I was waiting.  But, I didn't know what I was waiting for.  Slowly, I came to realize I was waiting for directions on how I should be living my life.  The realization didn't make any sense to me, because I wasn't the type of person who could be easily defined by the norm.

In my process, I came to some good conclusions.  I enjoy being the mother to my children.  I enjoy experiencing new things with them, watching them grow and develop, and being proud of their accomplishments.  I never lost any ability to do the hobbies I enjoyed in the past.  It is that those hobbies just look different now.  And, as I embark on the next chapters of my life I cannot wait to see how my interests continue to evolve.  But, I also have to keep in mind what MY vision of my life is and the things I want to focus on: improving myself physically, mentally, spiritually; working towards financial freedom, raising my family, enjoying time with my friends, and spending time exploring new places, things, and ideas.