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
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
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
With the holidays upon us I was recently asked to share a few of my favorite fit things! If you don’t know me here’s a synopsis…I’ve personally and naturally shed 170+ lbs (with no desire to gain them back). I’m a proponent of an overall well being–meaning that in order to truly live a healthy life we must address all aspects of health (mental/emotional, spiritual and physical). Health is an inside out way of life; we must treat our inside well to reflect a healthy outside. You’ve seen this probably when people post things like it’s “20% exercise and 80% clean eating/diet”. But it goes beyond that, our “dirty eating” is triggered by mental/emotional/spiritual lacking. Similar to how we often confuse hunger with dehydration (meaning we are actually in need of water not food). I can go more into that in later posts. This post is about some of my favorite tools to live/lead a healthy life! So here we go! And some of these are FREE!!
1) FitBit –This little device (which they have a number of models/styles to choose from) has been attached to my hip–literally–since February 2012! To date I’ve travel over 6.7K miles! I love this because it’s a great monitor and motivator to keep me moving throughout my day and not just for my workouts! The key about sustaining a healthy lifestyle is regular activity not just a hardcore 30-60 minute workout. This is both a motivator for those busy work days when I’m usually more sedentary and shows me how much more so then usual. It’s also a great “cheerleader” for those very active days I have! It’s caught on in my family–my Dad, sister, brother-in-law, three cousins and many friends have their own! It also allows you the ability to keep yourself accountable with your friends/family online.
2) Chopra Center Meditation — I’ve done two of the free 21 day challenges now and loved both of them! They also offered paid guided meditations and apps. They help clear my mental clutter and see what’s right in front of me and most important. I have to admit I don’t get “frazzled” as much any more and this is partially because these challenges allow you to schedule the time to decompress and they guide you towards sustaining the results of their meditations.
3) Gym Membership — I’m being general here because a gym membership is like a pair of shoes, one style/size doesn’t fit all. Take the time and do the homework to find the right one for you and your needs. I’ll admit, I’m a member of 24 Hour Fitness. I appreciate the convenience and the amenities they offer. But, there’s no sense in signing up for the one everyone else is if it’s not the right fit for you. You’ll never go and you’ll end up wasting money. In fact, perhaps the gym atmosphere all together isn’t your thing…or you are like me and can’t always get there, which leads me to my next favorite thing.
4) & 5) At Home Workouts — I have videos and small equipment (I’m going to mention more than one workout, hence this being two numbers in one). I’m usually at the gym but there are times I can’t get there. When that happens I won’t give myself an out but instead another option. I have a number of different workouts to go to but I like the total body workouts offered in the different BeachBody workouts. Tony has some great strength and endurance workouts (and NO he doesn’t just do P90X). My other at home is usually Pilates and/or Yoga. It’s still one of those workouts that I don’t enjoy doing with a group of people. So for Pilates I love my Tone and Tighten DVD that I got at my local WeightWatchers which came with some equipment as well! For yoga I use the PocketYoga app offered for iPad/iPhone. It’s a guided and timed routine for all levels of yogis!
6) At Home Equipment — Let’s face it, majority of us don’t have room for workout equipment at home and don’t really want an at home gym (I do some day but living in a studio apartment that’s not my reality)! My go to equipment is the following: yoga mat, kettlebells, bands, and my Gaiam ball/chair. I’m sitting on the ball/chair as I type this and it’s benefited me in so many ways since I got it! It’s improved my core while I work, it serves as workout equipment when not being my chair, and my back is much better since I’ve gotten this–I rarely get back/shoulder pain anymore. The bands are a great alternative to storing weights at home. For one they are lighter and easier to store! They come in different tensions to simulate heavier weights and are used in many at home workouts. Kettlebells can be found at many gyms now as well but I like having my stash at home too. They are easier to store (in my opinion) vs the regular dumbbells. They also provide a different kind of weight training workout–think of it like stability training with a weight. You can do isolated weight training, in addition a lot of the workouts include exercises that work more that one muscle/group at a time which equals more efficient! And a yoga mat comes in handy for of course your yoga/pilates work but also for any workouts that require you to do floor exercises!.
7) HydraCoach Water Bottle — I bought mine off of Amazon.com…well I technically got it for Christmas two years ago but I found it there, LOL. We all have our stash of water bottles (like coffee tumblers) we never use, but this is one I’ve used daily for the past two years! This water bottle tracks you daily water consumption. I got it because I always lost track of how many times I’d refill my water bottles and/or glasses. In addition to, this taught me that I was walking around dehydrated because I was consuming less than my daily goal needed for my body size! By far one of my favorite products! I have dropped it (not on purpose), it fits into cup holders, etc. and it’s still by my side daily! The only thing I’ve had to replace was the mouthpiece and that’s because after two years I wore it out!
8) Journal — Any one that inspires you to go to it daily will do! I bought my current one off of Amazon but I’ve gotten past ones at Barnes and Noble or other local shops as well. The purpose of my journal? Well it’s multi-functional for me! I track my food/water/activity in my journal but I also write down snippets of what’s happened that day to reflect those choices and then do a weekly reflection of how my week went overall–did I follow Good Health Guidelines, reach my daily water goal, and/or have emotional/stressful day(s)? It allows me to not only pause and reflect daily/weekly but it offers me the time/space to track that and learn from it. I can see patterns of good times and struggling times.
9) Garmin Forerunner — as a runner I have to admit that I’d be lost literally/metaphorically without this! They come in different styles/models and my Dad even purchased one this past year for himself. Mine is GPS and Heart Rate monitor in one, which is why I got it. With the training for half marathons I’ve been doing and they on/off road running for it, it’s been a great guide both for miles and my heart rate!
10) CEP Compression Sleeves — my newest addition to my favorites! In a month I’ve gone from none to four pairs! They are the one thing I don’t want to take off after my long run days! They keep you muscles in tip top shape while you are on the go in addition to they are great for recovery as well! Speaking of recovery, I’m sneaking in one more as a bonus (BonVital) my sport cooling spray. This was introduced to me by my sports massage therapist and is great for recovery post run! I pack it in my after race bag for immediate use after I change out of my sweaty clothes. I reapply after I shower post run as well. I’ve noticed my recovery to be faster and with little/no soreness.
So there you go!! A few of my Favorite Fitness Things!!! But remember, they don’t work unless you do!
I still find it hard to believe sometimes that I’ve completed 8 half marathons in a little over more than a year from my first! As this year comes to a close (and my birthday nears) I’m wrapping up my year with my 9th and final half marathon! I’ve evolved my walking into jogging into running. I’ve gone from hoping to finish my first half in under 3 hours (finished 2:35) to my last half finished in 2:02! I’ve gone from focusing mostly on PRs (personal records) to ENJOYING running! I’m beyond “half crazy”! LOL
One of my most recent experiences around running really opened my eyes. I was at a table with some co-workers I was getting to know (beyond email exchanges) and all of them had questions for me on/about running. It was like I was sitting on a panel for runners and non runners. The best part, I never once thought “who am I to answer these”, because deep down I’m a runner and my head is catching up to my heart on that!
Running has been one of my best forms of measuring my progressing over the last few years. For those of you who don’t know where I started here’s the summary: I was well over 340lbs, lost my job/Mom/Grandma within a one month period, and in a general state of feeling lost in the dark. With no Mom, job, or significant other I had nothing to “fall back on” but myself and my current self was in no shape to help anyone including myself. I didn’t start off running at 340+ lbs, I started by just putting one foot in front of the other and walking. My Mom was an avid walker so this also served as a way to connect with her. As the weight came off (both literally and figuratively) walking became easier and I started to challenge myself with walking/jogging intervals. In time that turned into running. At some point though, I had to go outside myself for support and in doing so I found great motivators in family, friends, and social media. Yes, social media played a part in my weight loss journey. It’s been via social media that I’ve been able to share my story, meet others on their journey and those who I admire and aspire (running wise) to be like some day! It was the days I felt I had no where to turn when I’d turn to my SM friends and they’d lift me out of my trenches with no judgement.
I’ve met some AMAZING people through running! This past month I had the opportunity to meet some of my running idols at the RunRocknRoll #RnRLA (Los Angeles) expo. People like Dani from WeightOffMyShoulders (fellow WeightWatchers leader), Brian from PavementRunner (who’s a fellow Bay Area runner and a TOTAL ROCKSTAR in my book, ironically we didn’t meet until LA), Linze of SeeSharpRun (super fun/funny guy and never a dull moment when with him), John (who is another rockstar and running #SA2LV this weekend), and last but not least I got to meet some of the @RunRocknRoll team (super cool and committed people who’ve put on some amazing races and included me in them)! My point to calling these people out? They don’t need the extra follows trust me, they all have quite a following! But that they are worth the follow, whether you are a want to be runner, new to running, been running, male/female, East/West Coaster, etc.! These people cover all the basics and make running fun. They recognize that it’s about more than PRs but enjoying life and running through it, they pay it forward, and they are inclusive in all they do! They all inspire/motivate me when I feel like I don’t have anything left to give.
I say all that to say this….
I know it’s been a busy and crazy year and starting this year with doing just my 2nd half ever I’m ending it by completing my 9th! How apropos that it will be on the same course as many of the above and with @RunRocknRoll! This post is a reminder to pause through all the hustle and bustle (especially coming up with the holidays) and remember how far you’ve progressed this year. Change is constant, we often overlook the positive changes we’ve made because of this. Once upon a time, the #RnRLV was on my bucket list for runs because it usually fell on my birthday weekend. This year it’s a few weeks earlier, but I feel it’s still a great way to celebrate my life–I’ll be running in a 5K the weekend of my bday in lieu of!
People often ask why I run…I’ve heard a lot of other’s answer this “because I can”, “it keeps me sane”, etc. And while those all apply to me as well I’d have to honestly answer that I run because it’s a blessing on the life I was graced with. It’d be like being given the gift of life and not waking up each morning. I haven’t always had the ability/capability to run, now that I do I won’t take it for granted. This is why I’m ReNewedMe. I couldn’t go back to what I knew as “normal” and in turn I created my new normal and realized change is good and not as scary as I often saw it to be.