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!

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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?

shrove

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

Eat Pray Run: My Journey of Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Well Being”

People often ask how I did this, why I got started and how I kept going.  I seem to have a form answer to give but really I don’t think I was as conscious of this all in the moment as I am now.  I’ll never forget that month of August in 2008 when I lost my job while my Mom was terminally ill in the hospital.  A week later, shortly after she was allowed to go home (not because she was better but because there was nothing more, medically they could do to improve her health) I lost my Mom.  About a week after that, I lost my grandmother who’d been battling heart disease.  What a four weeks right?!

Although it may seem like it, this isn’t some “aha moment” that happens where something “clicks” and all of a sudden this whole process becomes easy.  Quite the contrary…and it took a while too!   But at the time I did know one thing, genetics wasn’t in my favor (from both sides) and while I didn’t have control over that, I did have the option to have control over my weight. Don’t get me wrong though, I didn’t do this because I was afraid dying.  I don’t fear dying–we are all here for a purpose, once we fulfill it, that’s it and we don’t have control over that.  I made changes to my health because I wanted to start living my life.  I realized just how precious and (possibly) short it can be and I wasn’t going to take it for granted.  In my current state of being at the time, I was far from living life.  I wanted to thrive and I was barely surviving. 

So that’s how I started.  I guess the “easy” part was that I did have a clear start and a why.  That all evolved over time, what was rooted in the passing of my Mom and grandma internalized and was more focused on me.  It all happens with one step at a time and a consistent focus forward.  Looking back to learn is ok, but staying there isn’t an option that you can keep while on this journey. 

Even now, maintaining a healthy weight seems more challenging than losing-I’ve spent most of my life losing weight but rarely if ever maintaining a healthy one.  So how does one maintain a healthy weight, live a healthy lifestyle and enjoy the life they’ve been blessed with?  Great question and I plan to find out!  Some of my favorite (and regular “go to” movies have themes like this.  While I don’t have the means to jetset off to Europe or Asia or anywhere else in the world, I know that I can have similar growth wherever I am (now a days that’s a moving target, LOL).  

So I invite you to join me on my journey I’m deeming “EAT PRAY RUN” where I find my balance in living healthy and happy–both inside and out, because a Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Well Being. 

My activity of choice may be obvious to many of you who know me, but for those who don’t I’ll share some details….When I first started trying to live healthier staying active was challenging, I was over 345lbs.  So I started by walking, my Mom was an avid walker and I felt more connected to her when I’d go out for these walks.  Over time, my walking has evolved into running and in August of 2012 I ran my first half marathon.  Now I’ve completed 12 more and counting!  If you’ve never done one, the training programs alone can seem daunting.   13 weeks of running with long runs ranging from 5-12 miles long.  Now that doesn’t seem as long to me anymore but doing them on a regular basis since 2012 has and I recently hit burn out mode.  But in my heart I love running and know I don’t want to give it up, but we have been on a bit of a break.  

So enter in my “EAT PRAY RUN”!!  We all know what’s best to eat vs what’s not, but many of us don’t do it.  But I know how good I feel when my body is fueled vs fed.  By that I mean, when my eating habits are centered around fueling my body for optimal performance (day in and day out, in training, or competition) versus feeding my body either based on emotions or feelings.  When I “feed” myself, it’s usually higher in fat, salt, and sugar.  When I fuel myself it’s usually healthy fats, low sodium, minimal/no sugars and lots of water.  I feel my best when I eat like this, I end up having better and more sustained energy and sleep better too!  So there’s the EAT of my “EAT PRAY RUN”.

The PRAY is more about allowing myself time to reflect internally.  I’d confidently say that most of my energy/focus in a day is externally given–work, family, friends, etc.  It’s not a complaint, just an observation on my part that there needs to be more of a balance there in order for me to be able to provide my best self to those that I love and care for.  My PRAY will be spent in morning “me time” where I quietly reflect on what my day has in store, morning yoga and a motivational short read.  Additionally, in the evening I’ll plan to do some “me time” through reflection and meditation.  I figure that’s a good way to wind down my day.  I don’t know that I’ll have something to check in with here daily, but if I do, you can be sure that part of my PM  PRAY will be a blog. 

Finally, RUN.  Kinda obvious what that will consist of, right?  LOL.  But in all seriousness, I want to fall back in love with running–whole heartedly.  I know that part of that is realizing that I do run (as a wise person told me once) because I can and want to, not because I have to.  Also, someone else shared some wisdom with me in that, not every run needs (or should be) treated as a competition.  PRs (personal records) don’t need to be achieved at every race.  These are both important for many reasons, one being self care for my body.  Even elite athletes have time off from competing, and I’m far from an elite athlete!  But seem to neglect working in the balance of training and resting.   Finding and practicing this balance will be part of the RUN of my EAT PRAY RUN. 

All three aspects are key in me learning the balance of living this weight and healthy lifestyle, which is ultimately my goal.  I know the yo-yo living of training hard to burning out is a reflection of the way I used to live.  In order to truly not go back to that, I need to change how I live day in and day out–internally.  What I think, I do.  So I will do my best to keep it mostly positive because I know that ripples to many other aspects of my life.  It can easily break me when I’m struggling with food or a workout.  Which can just as easily domino beyond just one day!

This year August will be different…I will do more than survive…I WILL thrive.  I will take what I learn each day to build on to the next.  Each small step leads to bigger change.  I will stumble but that’s part of the process.  I will get back up, dust myself off, and continue on…I’m that determined to find the balance in my healthy lifestyle–i prefer and enjoy it over the alternative and I want it to become easier over time.

Stay tuned for more on my #EatPrayRun, #FindingBalance and #DreGetsHerGrooveBack!!

For daily check ins, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @ReNewedMe

Mind Over Platter–A Food Lesson Learned Running

How is it that when I want to be mindful that I think about everything else except what I want to be focusing on?  BUT when I just want to be “brainless” I’m all of a sudden very aware of what I’m doing, feeling, thinking, etc?! What gives?!?!

This didn’t come up out of no where.  A couple of weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to attend a Mindful Eating Event hosted by FoodieMcBody.   It was a great and very eye opening event.  I was there with a room full of about 10 other people and I realized I felt very alone.  We ate in silence without eye contact and I realized that I don’t normally do this because I didn’t like the feeling of feeling alone.  I’m not going to give it all away, I HIGHLY recommend if you are ever in the Bay Area when she hosts this, that you attend in person!  Of course you leave something like that feeling empowered and inspired to want to live the rest of your life like this–eat by candle light every night, sit down to dine, one bite at a time, put down your utensil after each bite, etc.  But reality is, that doesn’t happen!  I ate about a cup of food that night after have a very full and active day and I felt completely satisfied.  For the next two weeks, my mind felt like I should eat myself out of house and home!  Often not even remembering how much and what I even put in my mouth–let alone how it tasted–kinda like my eating out of the peanut butter jar yesterday!

Then I had 10 miles to run last Sunday–during which I was very mindful and aware of how my legs, lungs and (in general) whole body felt while running.  I heard every pound of my feet on the pavement, every breath in and out, and person pass me along the trail.  I felt every tightness in my calves, quads, hamstrings, and burn in my lungs.  Starting out, I could have sworn I heard every tick of time going by–SLOWLY…much like my speed.  And then I thought…”How is it that I’m so aware of all this while I’m running but I’m so unaware when I eat?”

Have you ever thought about or asked yourself that?  Am I alone here too?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT trying to deter anyone who’s thought about trying running to not try!  I LOVE running and there isn’t anything I’d rather do (I think that’s pretty evident being that I’m approaching on completing my 7th in 14 months this weekend)!  Running is very much a mental activity while at the same time not.  I have been on runs where I literally have almost closed my eyes while running because I’ve gotten so relaxed–head to toe, inside and out.  It’s like meditating but easier–in the sense of hitting that happy non scattered place in your head.  In that sense, it’s that aspect of running that I’ve become “addicted” to.  After completing my first someone asked me how I liked it and how I was feeling now.  When I paused to think about my answer, I realized I hadn’t had a long run since my half and I missed that “happy place” that long runs take your mind to!  I say it in jest but it’s kinda true, running gives you a sense of a high that you really keep wanting to get back to.  Training for long runs teaches you how to physically get there but once that becomes a natural movement for you–knowing you pace–you are able to get to that quiet place and enjoy the run!

So I guess I’ve kinda answered my question here…In order to be as mindful eating as I am a runner, I need to set up those routines so I don’t over think so much and can just sit down (that may be the hardest part to implement right now) and enjoy my meal.  I can eat until satisfied and not be concerned that some child somewhere else is going to starve because I didn’t join the “clean plate club” that meal.  I can stop and enjoy my food and not be worried, sad, or concerned about what’s going on outside of that very moment.  I can enjoy and learn to stop, pause, and be aware/present in that very moment and OK with whatever may happen at said moment.

I think to help, I’m going to continue to read up on this with the book Savor by Thich Nhat Hinh which informs readers about mindful living and how it relates/impacts our eating.  I may be at a point of maintaining my weight, but I know what got me to my highest…it wasn’t ONE piece of cake, pizza or bag of chips.  It was my relationship with food and the practice of eating/dinning.  That fear of the unknown–as small or simple as it may actually be.  That not wanting to feel the pain, sadness, anger, etc so turning to food to numb it because mentally it was unbearable.  Running has taught me more than just how to run (because I never was good at it…I nearly passed out after my mile run to earn my Presidential Fitness award in 8th grade!); it’s taught me how to be mindful, present and aware.  Running has taught me how to feel, be ok with what I feel, and that I’ll survive whatever it is I feel.

The view from my last 8 mile run in San Mateo and the thought I had while approaching that turn.

The view from my last 8 mile run in San Mateo and the thought I had while approaching that turn.