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!

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

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

Pamper Yourself

So part of health and wellness is taking and making time for yourself right?  Some TLC goes a long way!  This week I got the (somewhat) unexpected surprise to do a little of that for myself!  With 2014 being as full as it’s been, that’s often been hard to do!  In the past I’d take a mini trip to wine country or a spa day but it’s been challenging (time and finances wise) to make that happen.  It doesn’t change the need for it though!  So when this blue box showed up on my doorstep I was thrilled!  I didn’t know what would be in it and although it was small it was packed full of great goodies–and I’d like to share them with you!!

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I was immediately drawn to a few things in particular and couldn’t wait to get them open and in use!  The only item in the box I’d tried and/or purchased before was the Tide To Go Pen–which works very well by the way, especially in the moment!  Much more subtle than dipping your restaurant napkin in your water glass (or *cringe* licking your napkin) then attempting to dab out your stain!

So first product I tried was of course the Sally Hansen nail polish! Love to girly it up every now and then–plus, if i feel late night mindless snacking coming on, it’s a great way to keep me from dipping into anything!  Can stand taking the time to paint my nails then ruin them!  Fun color of barracuda and their applicator tip was rounded, which I’d never seen!  It’s genius because now with that tip you are less likely to paint the edges of your cuticles/fingers in addition to your nails!  Made my non ambidextrous self feel more capable to paint both hands well and not just one!

 

Next, so I’ve always had an issue with acne–ever since puberty kicked in–and it hasn’t gone away.  At 32 years old, that’s more than frustrating.  Two of the products in the box were geared towards improved skin health!  The Eco Tools sponge and Olay Regenerist Moisturizer.  The sponge is an affordable option for sensitive skin needs–there’s also an exfoliating one.  The texture is quite unique and I’m still squishing it because it’s just like nothing I’ve felt or used before.  Out of the package it’s hard but add water and it softens right up!  For me, the Olay made me think “I’m too young for that!”  But really, skin health–especially your face–is important at any age!  Also, after just three nights of adding this to my regimen I’m a convert!  I see and feel the difference in my skin.  It’s smoother and my acne seems to be more in control–for me that’s an improvement!  My face is noticeably smoother as well!

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So lastly, I’m not quite headed down the aisle but after browsing their site, when I am my first stop will be Riley & Grey!  The card included in my @Influenster #VoxBox offers 50% off for your own personal wedding site!  In addition though, they have so much more!  Inspiration for not just weddings but honeymoons, baby showers/parties, and fashion and reception!  They have a modern flare with a classic/traditional inspiration!

So my moral here, is don’t forget to scribble in some time for you…whatever you may be doing or in the middle of!  Even things as simple as painting your nails or giving yourself a facial can help boost your mood/energy!  The wedding website, instead of being a part of the process you dread or groan about, may be something you look forward to instead!

Take time to enjoy the “little things” and your gratitude will multiply your abundance!

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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A Few of my Favorite Fit Things…

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!

Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

Wrapping up my Year of the Half Rock n Roll Style!

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.

Be BRAVE, Be Bold, and Show Your Support!

My Story, a Review, and a Discount!

I honestly can’t even recall how I came across Bravelets, but I knew I had to have one when I found out more about them!

We are in one of the most recognized awareness month’s in our modern day society—Breast Cancer Awareness.  Pink is everywhere and on everyone—including big manly NFL players!!  But breast cancer affect many more than just one month a year.  Every day it’s changing people’s lives and so are many other issues we have causes for.  There’s a ribbon of every color for every different one out there!

In 2008 my Mom’s battle of uterine cancer ended.  It shouldn’t have though; she should still be here today.  I’m not saying that out of ignorance or denial.  I love my Mom—always will—but had my Mom listened to her body, put herself first (instead of everyone else) and gone to the doctor to get checked out sooner, they would have found her cancer and been able to treat it before she got to stage 4. 

The one-year relative survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least one year after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) for uterine cancer is 92%. The five-year survival rate for a woman with a local (without spread) uterine cancer at diagnosis is about 95%. If the cancer is diagnosed with regional spread, the five-year survival rate is about 67%, and if diagnosed after the cancer has spread more distantly, it is 16%.

(American Cancer Society’s publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2013)

My point though is not to bore you with statistics but to bring awareness to the reason we have these months, keepsakes, etc.  We do it to remember those who have passed and to keep hope alive for those in the fight.  Even more progressive, we bring awareness to how to prevent the same thing from happening to ourselves and those we love!

Bravelets has become one of my favorites—my first purchase was for myself and my sister—not only because they feature products for every kind of cause but also because they go a step further than many others out there!  With all these causes many companies have capitalized on these without giving much back to them.  Bravelets gives $10 for each product sold to that specific cause—so my purchase of two peach colored Bravelets sent $20 ($10 for each) to Uterine Cancer research!  They have already given over $280,000 to causes!  In addition to, it was founded in/on being proactive during tough times—hearing the words “I have cancer” can weaken even the strongest person.  I was a grown woman and I instantly felt the tears streaming down my face when I heard.  After that everything was fuzzy and words sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  I admire the founder for being as productive as she was during the time when she found out her Mom was diagnosed!  Truly living the spirit of Bravelets

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My final point to this blog is, with all the big transitions that have gone on in my life (job loss, death of my Mom, death of my Grandma, etc.) I’ve experienced a shift in perspective.  Last holiday season about half of the gifts I gave also gave back in some way.  Bravelets is a great gift to give this holiday season—for the special women and men in your lives!

In short, Bravelets is a special “anchor” that reminds me every day to be strong…not simply because my Mom is no longer physically with me but because I AM STRONG.  I’ve survived all that I have and thrived in the process!  Hard days are inevitable but they don’t need to be permanent—Be BRAVE and persevere!  Live life in the present!

*****The team at Bravelets has extended a special discount to my readers!  Enter promo code RENEWEDME2013 at checkout and receive 10% off your order!  What a deal, save 10% and give $10?!?! It’s a win win!!  Feel free to share!*****

https://www.bravelets.com/

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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.