Wanted By All But ONE…

Often times when I’m out on my longer runs I witness seemingly happy families and couples–old and young.  They’re in the parks celebrating, playing, walking and enjoying life together.  Early on in my running journey this used to gnaw at … Continue reading

My Passion Project–My Purpose & Myself

Biggest and most challenging project I’ll likely ever take on–myself.  *SIGH* Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad sigh nor is that a complaint.  I’m a worthy project to spend that kind of time and effort on.  Easy is … Continue reading

Seeing Clearly Now…

How about an update to this crazy no sugar thing I committed myself to?!

There’s a foggy haze that’s been lifted and I feel like I have something substantial to actually write about.  So during this “sugar detox” I’ve found some spiritual clarifty and practices.  I’ve gotten back to and better at meditating, I actually went out and tried hot yoga (thanks to my WeightWatchers friend Lula and my BFF Katie for the nudge), and I realized just how foggy I’d been operatering these last few months.

During my rebirth of my meditation practice, I came across this excerpt and felt the need to share.

The Final Obstacle Is Us

“The greater the crisis it seems, the swifter the evolution.”
~Elizabeth Gilbert
There has never been a better moment in human history than right now to be a woman. Nobody in the history of womankind ever had a better chance to manifest her own life than the modern woman … right now.

 Then why do we still battle the lingering doubts and prejudices in our own minds that convince us we are not worthy—not good enough, not strong enough, not talented enough, not brave enough?

Why are we holding ourselves back from greatness?

It’s from a Deepak Chopra daily reflection that I did a while back.  In cleaning out my inbox (yes, I do stuff like that) I came across it again and re-read it.  This speaks so much truth to me.  This whole process is really revealing how much I’ve been holding myself back.  I don’t sit here wallowing in regret about it, on the contrary!  I’m actually grateful for my new found clarity!  I didn’t know I was walking around in a fog.  I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing out on by being in that state of being.  I was more like a zombie then human.  I’d wake up, eat, work some, eat, want to nap (sometimes did), work a bit more, eat, and then sleep again.  It sounds depressing just reading that as I type it out!  To have a day like that, not a big deal in my book.  But to have every day like that, is NOT good!  But I wasn’t aware enough to realize that that is what I was doing.

It’s no wondering I wasn’t happy with myself.  It’s no wonder I put on 15 lbs over my goal weight–note that’s over my goal weight, that’s not based on the lowest I got down to.  Yes, I’m human and until I become superhuman or really accept and deal with my faults I’ll always fight this battle.  But with where I’m at now I feel like I’m in a place where I can do that.  Accepting you’re imperfections is easier said then done.  Actually, it’s almost as challenging to admit my imperfections–step one I guess.

We all “know” we aren’t perfection but who actually talks about it?  And why is it so hard to talk about anyways.  I just saw in the news how we are creating narciscistic kids but what about ourselves.  We start a petition because we don’t think it’s ok that Facebook has an emoji that allows someone to admit that they are feeling fat?  Why?  Who cares if that’s how they feel?  I feel fat sometimes–usually it’s when I’ve over indulged on food.  No we are being censored on admitting our feelings?  And the other thing…with this recent “International Womens Day” (do guys even get a day?) when did this start and why?  It’s like the feminist’s (uh oh, I’m going on a rant and I’m sure I’m going to get comments/emails about this but too bad it’s my blog I can say what I want) own Valentine’s Day!  Why do we need ONE day to celebrate ourselves as women?  Why do we need one day to “come together” and celebrate the amazing women in this world?  Why isn’t that happening every day?  Oh I know, because the other 364 days a year we are sitting in front of our screens and judging each other.  I’ve seen “plus sized” models go through fat shaming and celebration all in the same day.  I’ve seen thin women get praised for eating indulgently in public and shamed in the same day.  I’ve seen a self empowered corporate excecutive female get praised and criticized all in the same day for being a career minded female who also wants to be a mom.  What are we doing to each other?  Are we so unhappy with ourselves that we have to bring down each other too?  This does go back to my original point about admiting and accepting our own imperfections.  In today’s society you can’t be too thin or too fat because there’s going to be a group that comes together and bashes you for it.  BE YOU!  WORRY ABOUT YOU!  I don’t mean that in a selfish, self centered way but in a Michael Jackson “take a look in the mirror” way.

We are holding ourselves back and each other by living the way we are.  Let a kid get a gift they didn’t ask for on a list so they learn humility and gratitude.  Let a student fail at a problem so they can learn how to get it right on their own.  Let a baby fall while learning to walk so they learn how to get back up and try again.  Let a woman, man, girl, boy, etc. learn to pave their own path so that they may reap the reward for achieving their goal.  There’s always a reaction for every action we take–they may be unintended but it’s going to happen none the less.  What’s the better option–“Bandaid” the problem or find a solution?  I prefer the solution, personally!

So that’s why I’m sitting here in bed (at 915pm PT) and I’m ok with that.  Label me the old lady who’s in bed before some kids are.  I don’t care.  I know that I need sleep in order to function well and with this jump ahead an hour, “performing well” isn’t where I’m at yet.  I know I’m a littler bitter that I don’t wake up at 6am to daylight anymore because of daylight savins.  But the whole government isn’t going to change that just to please me–nor they should!  Plus, I’ll adjust and get there.  I’ll be happy when the weather starts to warm and I can go for an evening run after work outside because it’s brighter later now.  I’m just a little immature about it at the moment–I’ll get over–I learned that lesson young too and I’m better for it!

So what’s this rant (yep, I’ll admit that) have to do with inner reflection, imperfection, and appreciation?  We are all individuals part of a greater piece/system.  My place in this world effects others who come in contact with me–physically or socially.  I know that if I’m not offering my best self through taking care of myself first, i’m weakening the system as a whole.  So yes, some times I just suck it up and get up and do what I have to because the world isn’t going to stop revolving if I don’t want to get out of bed.  Plus, being in that state isn’t going to make me feel any better.  Getting up is hard sometimes, but it’s for the best in the long run.

I’m seeing clearly now that taking care of myself–first and foremost–allows the system as a whole to be better.  It allows me to offer my best self to those I love and care for.  I’m not an immortal superhero who can do everything, all the time, forever.  I’m perfectly imperfection me.  What I can’t do well, someone else can and I’m good to delegate to them.  I was put on this earth for a reason and I’ll work at vocation versus trying to fulfill other’s!

Be ok and accepting of who you are and why you are who you are.  Accept your imperfections as openly as you accept your assets–they all make up who you entirely are anyways.  I’ll share this one last bit with you.  Someone in my WeightWatchers meeting this week said something so simple and yet so profound.  She was going on a cruise and worried about making the healthy choices with the all you can eat options.  A friend told her to just enjoy herself AND (this is the part I love) to let enough be enough!

Unbelieveable Me….

I’ve been very aware–for whatever reason–this week when I’ve wanted to turn to someone, anyone, else for support and guidance this week.  From the smallest thing of “where/what do you want to eat…” to “…guess what just happened…what do you … Continue reading

It’s time…

“Whether you’ve seen angels floating around your bedroom or just found a ray of hope at a lonely moment, choosing to believe that something unseen is caring for you can be a life-shifting exercise.” ~Martha Beck I’ve been reading a … Continue reading

Shrove Tuesday–What is it, why do many “celebrate” it & what I’m confessing to you?

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So as a kid we always had breakfast for dinner on Shrove Tuesday.  That’s how i knew it growing up “Shrove Tuesday”, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  I did grow up Catholic so I partially fasted for Lent by observing the no meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays.  We didn’t call it “Fat Tuesday” or Mardis Gras but I knew others who did, and took it for all basically being the same–splurge before the fasting/cleansing period of Lent.

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My Mom would go all out for this breakfast/dinner feast!  We’d get home from school that afternoon and the griddle for the pancakes would already be set up.  She’d have a fresh dozen eggs in the fridge for us and fresh bacon from the local butcher!  Sometimes she’d even make fresh hashbrowns and fresh squeezed orange juice!  It felt like a bigger weekend breakfast on a weekday most times!  It was like a holiday breakfast on a random Tuesday night!  I have very fond memories of those evenings.

Now a days we’ve shifted to taking our “brinner” out to a restaurant.  Something just isn’t the same without her here to do it all with/for.  The griddle hasn’t seen the light of day for almost a decade.  It wasn’t so much a day of being gluttoness but a day of gathering and feasting together.  We didn’t go “hog wild” all day long.

Today, my Dad and I did breakfast for lunch instead since I had dinner plans elsewhere.  I love breakfast any time of day but I’m pretty standard and keep it usually to an egg white omelet with fixings and wheat toast, dry.  But I was feeling nostaglic and this is the one day I always go all out for my breakfast not at breakfast meal.  I ordered the pancake breakfast–two buttermilk pancakes with eggs (whites), and bacon! YUMMY!  With a busy morning of work and calls, the time away from my desk, visiting with my Dad was more than welcoming!  Even the walk down the hill in the chilly California weather was welcoming!

Afterwards I wondered though, what’s the real meaning of the term “Shrove Tuesday”–especially the shrove part.  So, typical Dad response, I Googled it!

This moveable festival is determined by Easter. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve“.[1] Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics,[2] who “make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with.”[3]

absolve

The part of the excerpt that stood out the most to me was the part at the end where it states that people make a conscious effort of self reflection–what they’ve done, what needs to change, and what areas they need help in.  I’ve been looking to do this, looking to find the time and effort to do just this!  2014 was challenging on many levels–physically, emotionally, personally and professionally.  I started 2015 with renewed spirit but not feeling completely in control and back on a good/healthy track.

I’m looking to change this.  I feel like I’ve been taking short cuts by looking for answers everywhere but to myself.  So as we wrap up this Shrove Tuesday, I’d like to renew me.  For a while I was doing something new and positive every Lent instead of giving something up.  But this year, I’m going to do a combination of these two practices.  I’ve found myself craving sugars and the not so good for me carbs.  I know “we can eat anything in moderation” but these things really do react with my body.  But much like a drug, they can be hard to quit and moreso when there’s an emotional connection there.  So for Lent I’ll be weening myself off of processed sugars/sweetners and the carbs that my body doesn’t like–white flours, bread, etc.  My addition of something positive will be my re-implementation of “me time”–quiet, self reflection time.  I’m also adding a “Move It, Love It” aspect to this by increasing my activity.  I did just sign up for my 20th half marathon after all!

I commit to this and to myself for 40 days, beginning Ash Wednesday.  It’s 40 days of taking care of myself…I worked so hard for so long to let go and forgive myself for all the burdens, hurts, and wrong doings I was “carrying” in weight for decades.  I’m not going to “repack”!  I’ve learned.  I’m going to forgive myself, no guilt, and move on.  Get back to my basics…self love, care, and patience.

Ash Wednesday Symbol

C is for COOKIE and Cookie is for ME!! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Many of you saw my post from this weekend when I baked (and finally nailed) my pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe!  I made some tweaks and most of the made for a healthier cookie.  Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a health cookie.  I just made some swaps that were better alternatives than the usual recipe.  For example, I swaped half the butter for 1/2 cup of pumpkin.

The recipe is below and please note that I’m not a recipe writer so if you aren’t sure about something, please do ask!  Hope you enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

-1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter

-1/2 cup pureed pumpkin

-3/4 brown sugar, packed

-3/4 cup of Stevia (this is a 1:1 for the other half of the brown sugar.  So if you don’t do sweetners then do this as brown sugar instead)

-1 tsp of baking soda

-1 tsp cinnamon, ground

-1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground

-1/2 tsp cloves, ground

-pinch of ground (or fresh) ginger

-pinch of sea/kosher salt

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-2 large eggs

-1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour

-1 cup Oat flour (I made my own–cheaper and easier–by blending Quaker instant oats in my food processor)

-2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

(NOTE: this is the part where I may miss a detail because I bake so much it’s just natural and I don’t think about certain thing.  SO…IF you have any questions or need clarification, please feel free to ask)

1) Preheat oven to 350* F

2) In a mixing bowl (I make mine in my KitchenAid mixer) blend sugars, butter and pumpkin for about 1 min until mostly combined.  If you use a mixer use low-medium speed.

3) Stop the mixer and add the vanilla and the eggs.  Then continue to mix again until combined.

4) Stop the mixer once more and add the spices and baking soda.

5) With the mixer on low add in the flour–one cup at a time–until combined.

6) Stop the mixer and add the chocolate chip.  Only turn on the mixer to combine the chocolate chips into the dough, maybe about 30 seconds.

7) Scoop dough into about 1 inch balls onto a lined/greased baking sheet–twelve (12) scoops will fit on a standard size baking sheet.

8) Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes and then allow to cool on the baking sheet for about two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

ALL DONE, repeat until all the cookies are made! Simple as that!

For my Weight Watchers friends, I got these to 2 Points per cookie…not bad!

On a Quest for a RE-ReNewed Me

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I’ve seen and heard a lot of inspiring things over the course of the last couple of days and while I may be tired from the full schedule that I’ve been managing, I’m smart enough to know that I’m seeing and hearing all these things for a reason!  I’ve said it before and still believe “EVERYTHING in our lives happens for a reason and exactly when it’s supposed to happen.”

I’ve been working on this post for over a week now…Recently, I saw a good one “REAL > perfection”.  Why do I think this is so great?  Simple, there’s always a part of me that gets caught up in the whirlwind and strives for perfection.  But that’s not what it’s about and SURPRISE–I’m NOT perfect!!  The REAL me is far from perfect and perfect isn’t even realistic, so why even attempt at making it part of my goal(s).  I could sit here and point the finger at others, but that’s not realistic.  I’m the one who makes the choice.  And if I feel out of control then that’s a result of the choices I’ve made.

These last 12 months have been my first that my goal has been to maintain my weight and not lose it.  What a roller coaster this has been!  I learned quickly, that I knew how to lose but I had no idea what it was like to maintain a healthy weight.  At first I dropped some more, then I maintained my goal weight for a bit, but after that a series of events happened and I’ve been in a gain mode for a while.  Maybe it’s all the traveling I’ve been doing this year, maybe not.  Maybe it’s the personal struggle of trusting myself and my abilities, maybe not.  But even if it is due to all that, my goal has always been to live and lead a healthy life.  That involves being able to transition when those times arise in my life.  Making my new healthy habits fit.  How do we do that?

I said it in the beginning of the year and I’m realizing how today…2014 was a year of challenges.  Don’t get me wrong, challenges aren’t a bad thing.  They change us and often for the better–making us stronger, better, and wiser.  Those things that push us out of our comfort zone are what expand our comfort zone until it no longer exists.  I’ve done this before.  For example, I started this journey by walking to be active.  Then I tried going faster little by little.  I worked my way up to jogging a mile without stopping and I still remember to this day how great that felt…I ran, WITHOUT stopping, a whole mile!  Then I ran/walked my first organized 5K.  I’d intermittently throw in some 10Ks to kinda prove that I could do more.  Finally someone said to me, “You know you could run a half.”  I looked at her and thought she’d lost her mind or wasn’t talking directly to me!  LOL….love this woman though, then and still now!  She told me I could and I showed her (and myself) that I was able!  It’s the same in life.  Constant cycle of doubting ability (or assuring a confined comfort zone) and breaking those barriers down.  I’m realizing that I’m still going through these cycles and will until I no longer have barriers/a comfort zone to break through.  Is that realistic?  Maybe.  I may not live that long to find out though as it could take many many years to accomplish.

There’s another great quote that comes to mine as I type this…”It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you aren’t.”  **I’ll pause to let you ponder that one**  OK, ready?  It got to a point for me when I realized the more people would challenge me to do bigger and better things.  The more people would start to see this new me and the potential that I was (apparently) exuding, would tell me and encourage me to think/do bigger and bolder goals.  It was this point in my life that I recognized that I was the one holding myself back and I was doing it every day, sometimes multiple times a day.  How?  Every time the words “I can’t…” came out of my mouth, I was doubting my own abilities.  I was saying couldn’t even before I tried.  The day I realized that was the last day those words ever came out of my mouth again.  It took a while to stop thinking them–especially when a certain trainer would have me do atomic push-ups on the TRX.  But it was challenges like that which made me stronger.  All this spread beyond my fitness and strength goals.

But since that peak, I feel as if I’ve lost sights of goal setting and achieving.  When I was losing there was always a goal out there–lose weight, hit my goal weight.  But since then…since then I forgot that I need to now set regular goals.  That this journey with my weight and health is never over and always present in my life.  That every choice I make ripples into the next and they all affect my wellbeing.  Now that I’ve said this, I need to focus forward and work towards a maintainance lifestyle.  Which requires regular self assessments, healthy choices all around, positive thinking, living life active and reflection/me time to rest and recoup.  My focus first is assessment which I’ll address in my next blog post.  Followed by a blog post about healthy choices, and so on.  This is what my “Quest for a RE-ReNewedMe will entail.  This is my choice, I will post about it (all–good, bad, and ugly) because I’m REAL and far from perfect.  And because the ultimate goal is really about continuing to strive and become a better version of my self while living my vocation to help others–BALANCE.

 

In Good Health,

@ReNewedMe, aka Dre

For the FUN of the RUN–my 1st Race Recap (ever) of my 10th Half Marathon! RnRSF

In August 2012 my goal for my first half was part serious and part joke–I kept saying that I just wanted to complete all 13.1 miles, upright and cross the finish line on my own two feet.  Then I started training and decided I could finish and that I wanted to complete it in under 3 hours; I ended up finishing in 2:35 so I was thrilled!  Then I did my 2nd half and beat that time by almost 20 minutes, then my 3rd half and PR’d again by another 5 min, and so on.  PRs became something I was getting used to and using as my focus/goal for each race.  Then the inevitable happened and I didn’t PR.  I was kind of bummed at first but I got over it, it was bound to happen at some point and I really hadn’t trained as well as I could/should have.  Then it happened again…I not only didn’t PR but I came in at the same time I did as my 2nd half and here I was completing my 9th!  Something dawned on me then…

This past Sunday I completed my 10th Half Marathon, it’s still amazing to me that within less than two years I’ve completed 10!  So here’s some background.  I am born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area–hills are part of my regular training/runs.  I did the RnRSF last year for their inaugural race and it had some good hills in there.  This course was a “go big or go home” kind of hill course and if you don’t know SF, then you should know that “inclines” are anything that are not pancake flat and “hills” are some serious climbs–whether that makes them short but steep or long.  Comparing this year and last year’s courses felt like night and day!  Once I faced the facts of what the course had in store from me I decided my goal was going to be “enjoy the views…and yes that was definitely a plural!”  This course started us out at the beach at sunrise for 0.25 miles then we headed up our first set of (many) hills into the sunrise itself–we had hills for breakfast!  Once we got into the Presidio and Sea Cliff it was all postcard views from there–and we were going to earn them!  I could talk about them but I will just post some of the pictures that runners took along the way.  I thought of stopping but I chose not to except for once and that was with some fellow bloggers who were cheering runners on along the course between miles 2 and 3!

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@pointonemiles and @pavementrunner

Explaining these views is pointless, they speak for themselves.  But for someone from here, they even got me to consider stopping because they were SO BEAUTIFUL!!

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From top/bottom and L to R @sojomy, me, @pointonemiles, @katietheactor, @hayz808,  @pavementrunner, @run_westin, @runrocknroll

This weekend was more about why I enjoy running and not about how fast I could finish it!  Isn’t that what life in general is about?  Enjoying the journey and not focusing about how fast you arrive at your final destination?  I was so proud of myself for my finish but I was elated at the finish line because the amazing fun-filled weekend I had was well spent and worth the hurt (and tiredness) that I felt!  I met people who inspire/motivate me daily via social media and I feel like we all really know each other like any other friend I’ve had for years!  We all instantly click when we get together like we’ve never been separated by distance.  We encourage each other to keep going when it feels hard or hurts, to go further when we feel we’ve gone the distance, to keep our heads up when we keep ourselves down, to be proud of what we’ve done because we couldn’t at one point, and to enjoy the view and have fun because in the end that’s what it’s all about!

This weekend I conquered the hills of San Francisco, I completed my 10th half marathon (and plan on completing many more), I was blessed with some AMAZING views and I’m grateful to be a part of this running community that spans over many miles, ages, demographics, experience, etc.  We all have one common thread and it keeps us together through all the ups and downs–or in this case peaks and valleys!

 

 

For more great views check out RnRSF recaps at  http://www.pointonemiles.com/  and  http://pavementrunner.com/rnrsf-2014/

 

Leaders (Weight Watchers) Need Love Too

I’m a leader who called out sick this week for some meetings.  Why?  Because I caught whatever is going around and I’m down for the count! I’ve tried to write this blog I’ve titled numerous times, but I end up allowing myself to get pulled away by other things.  But I sit here now and recognize that this post isn’t just for others but also for myself.  Had I sat down and written this the numerous times I started to before, it probably would have come off more like and rant or venting session from me.  But my intent for this is just the opposite.  This message goes for mothers, fathers, care takers, teachers, etc. ALL of you out there you naturally put other’s well-being before your own on a day to day basis.

When I decided to join the WeightWatchers team I remember thinking that this would be a great way to hold myself accountable to my maintenance efforts.  Quite the opposite has lived out…I find myself putting my job(s) before my own needs and it’s having side effects on my body.  I spent this last week sick.  I don’t get sick often, in fact since I started taking better care of myself and living a healthier lifestyle I pretty much haven’t gotten sick at all.  But this past winter I’ve caught bad colds twice from interactions with others who’ve chosen not to stay home and take care of themselves but go out and end up infecting others.  I know I’m not living in the time of the plague but still….PEOPLE, I’m not asking you to stay home if you are sick for my sake but for YOUR OWN.

Why do we neglect to take care of ourselves or to do so last instead of first?  I find that many of my old habits like this are coming back in my new role as a WW Leader.  In talking to other leaders in my territory I find that many of them have similar habits and it saddens me.  Why is is that we who are so motivated to help others neglect to help ourselves?  In reality I offer my best self to my members when I am at my best.  They inspire me, they motivate me and they encourage me through their own actions to be the best version of myself.

So I’m leaving this post short and with a sweetness to finish….Leader, members, all people of this world…please don’t forget to take care of yourself first and foremost so you can really offer the best versions of yourselves to those you encounter!  Take time for yourself on a daily basis, eat well, be active, sleep soundly, and wake up with hope in your heart that each day is the day you will positively impact someones life!  Set yourself a solid foundation so you can build great things upon it!

 

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