Friday, December 30, 2011

...pLaNNiNg fOr mY "rOaDtRiP" iN 2012...

Making real improvements in your life can be the simplest, most complex, easiest, hardest thing in the world.  It all depends on how you approach it.  I am a stubborn person by nature, and I have always been resistant to change.  I think this is in part because I don't like being told what to do and in part because I am a perfectionist and I can hardly bear the thought of looking stupid or the out of control feeling of not knowing what I'm doing.

This personality trait paired with a fear of failure can make change complicated and hard.  There have been many times in my life where I put myself down or essentially gave up on my self because I quit when things were not going as I expected or wanted them to.  This is a fast track to disappointment and frustration and I don't now about you...but most of us have plenty of that in our lives without bringing it on ourselves!

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life.  I've even repeated a few, but no matter or lose...succeed or fail...I've learned something.  Negativity and doubt will build a wall that stands between us and the changes we want to make.  Calling yourself fat won't make you thinner.  Telling yourself that you can't won't get you closer to your goals.  Making excuses and trying to find shortcuts doesn't make growth any easier.  This doesn't mean we should allow ourselves to fail without trying or lull ourselves into thinking that this is the way things are and change is impossible.  What it does mean is that if you want to get somewhere, you need a plan...a map of sorts.

You need to treat change like you would a road trip.  You don't jump in a car and drive off without making sure you have gas or anything else you may need along the way, and you certainly don't start driving somewhere you've never been before without some sort of directions.  There are maps, navigation, friends and acquaintances that may have traveled the same road that can all offer you a clear cut path towards your final destination.

I decided to really change my diet this next year.  My life has felt very out of control in some ways over the past year and I feel ready for a change...a true, lasting change.  I think the discipline and lessons I learn, along with the possibility of physically feeling better will help me not just physically or with my diet alone, but in many aspects of my life.  I'm setting out on a road that I've never traveled.  In the past I tried to be all liberated and do it myself without help, but in the end I found myself anything but liberated from the place or behaviors I was trying to escape.  This time, I want to be smart.  I want to set myself up to succeed rather than doom myself to failure.  I am going to make a menu and get the "fuel" I need ahead of time.  I am not going to focus on what I'm giving up, but what I can gain and the example that I can be to others.

So here I go.  January 2, 2012 is the first day of what I hope ends up being a long, enjoyable, successful trip to better health!  I invite anyone that wants to join me "virtually" to come to the group page I've made on Facebook, STRONG LOLA 30 DAY CHALLENGE, and follow along.  You don't have to know it all or be an expert.  You just have to be willing to do something different and not too proud to ask for "directions".  I will put some links to helpful information here below the post!  New year!  New YOU!


For information on the Paleo diet, how to get started, what to eat and NOT eat, etc click the links below:




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

...WHO'S LOLA?...

I never wanted to be a business person. That's just not me. I'm a creative person that loves people. I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew that no matter what...I wanted a job where I could help people in some way. I dropped out of college as a social work major when I got married to work and put my husband through school. I never expected to be anything more than a Mom once I started having my children. If anyone would've told me that I would be writing and designing and selling t shirts to motivate people even 2 years ago...I would've laughed and said "NO WAY!". And I would've really never believed that I would start my own business in the process. I'm messy. I keep terrible records. Math and accounting and organization are not my strong points, but our lives take unexpected twists and turns. And so...through a series of twists and turns, and because of one picture of a tank top I made that said "STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY" got so much attention on I am today with my own tiny little business called "Strong Lola". Many people have wondered and asked about the name. I've heard, "What's the significance of the name of your business? Does it mean something? And who IS Lola anyways?" So with the recent launch of my website for "Strong Lola", I thought I'd share a little bit about "Lola"...who she is...and why I have such an affection for her that I named my business after her.

I've often said that my life may be crazy and full of chaos at times, but it's never boring. I am one of six children in a crazy, loud, sometimes tragic, loving family. Growing up, my 2 younger sisters and I were all so close in age that we were built in playmates...and not much has changed as we've grown up. The 3 of us are still the best of friends. We fight and makeup and we get annoyed with each other. But in the end, we are as close as can be. We go out together every weekend and share lots of laughter and adventures. It was on one of those nights that I became "Lola".

Last year, my sister Kathy and I had gone to hear our friends and their band play live music outside of a local restaurant with another friend of ours. It was a warm summer night...perfect weather to sit with friends and listen to music outside. The place we went had picnic tables outside for seating and there was an area in front of the stage for dancing. I personally love to people watch and there was one person in particular that caught my eye that night...a woman.

I say this at the risk of sounding like a superficial witch, but she wasn't that attractive and she was a little overweight. No one would ever see this woman and say "Wow! She's beautiful! I want to look like her.", but that's not what I noticed. What caught my eye was the way she was dancing and the way she carried herself. She was dancing with the man that she was there on a date with. Her eyes NEVER left his. She twirled around as if she were a tiny dancer with a perfectly toned body. It was obvious that she felt no discomfort or embarrassment. She was so free and at ease and it wasn't because she was drinking either. She was completely sober.

The more I watched her...the more I was intrigued and drawn to her. In fact, I began to feel a little jealous. It seems crazy for me to say that I was jealous of her...that for a moment I wanted to be that very imperfect lady dancing and laughing...but she looked so sure of herself. She wasn't looking around, and she certainly wasn't worried about what other people thought. I turned to my sister and our friend and said, "Wow! Do you see that lady?" They said "Yes.". I said, " If I had HALF her confidence...I could take over the world!" I wished that I could be more like that.

Later on, she and her boyfriend struggled to take a picture of themselves at the table right behind ours. My sister that never meets a stranger and will talk to anyone, offered to take one of them. Then she introduced herself. "Hi! My name is Kathy." The woman smiled and said, "Nice to meet you! I'm Lola." Through our conversation, we learned that the man she was on a date with had been her husband many years ago. They had been divorced for over 10 yrs and had reconnected. Neither ever had children or remarried and even though they had once failed...they were giving their relationship a 2nd chance.

I said, "I love the name Lola! I wish I had a cool name like that!" and that was the night my sister and friend nicknamed me "Lola". I loved it, because to me...I associate that name with someone that is happy and confident...someone comfortable in their own skin and willing to take chances...someone determined and not afraid to go after what they want in life, even if there are risks. So when I started thinking about starting a business where I could expand upon what I am doing at "STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY"...I wanted to choose a name that seemed appropriate. I thought about all the obvious choices, but none seemed to fit. It was almost like naming a baby. I wanted the name to represent all that I wanted my business to be about. One night as I was reading an old note my friend had written to me..."Lola" made perfect sense! "Strong Lola" would be the name of my business.

I knew that "Strong Lola" was a name that people would either really like or think was weird. I knew that everyone would say "Who's Lola?" or wonder quietly why I would choose that name...but I also knew that this was the perfect name because it embodies EVERYTHING that I want myself and other women to be! "Lola" is a woman that loves life. "Lola" is kind, but she's not a pushover. "Lola" is true to her heart and carries herself with confidence. "Lola" has goals...a purpose in life...and she isn't afraid to go after what she wants. "Lola" seizes the opportunities that come her way, and "she" doesn't give up or lose hope. "Lola" is comfortable in her own skin but is always seeking to be improve. Combine all these qualities with a strong will and mind...and a healthy, fit, strong body...and I believe this kind of person CAN conquer the world in her own way!

I want the people that follow me on Facebook and my blog to feel empowered...not in a figurative, "rah rah", feel good kind of way...but in the truest sense. I want women and girls to know that you don't have to be perfect or the ideal of what other people think of as pretty to be beautiful. The woman I saw the first time I looked at Lola and the woman I saw by the end of the night were very different. She became beautiful to me in her own way. I also want to change the way women treat each other and THEMSELVES. I want us to stop hating ourselves because we don't look like THAT girl over there and learn to improve upon who we are and what we have. I want women to take care of their bodies and be healthy without feeling guilty or selfish. There is no age limit or boundaries. ANYONE can change. ANYONE can be better and stronger. It's never too late to become more like "Lola"!

I still think about that lady I met a couple of years ago when I'm having a day that I want to quit...or when I'm worried about what everyone around me thinks...or I don't like the imperfections I see in the mirror. Those days, I tell myself..."Remember who you are! You are Lola and you are strong! There is no goal too lofty or problem too big to overcome." "Lola" is my nick alter ego of sorts...but I'm willing to share it with anyone that wants to share it. "Strong Lola" embodies everything that I have done with "STRONG IS THE NEW SKINNY" and they fit together perfectly. So, let's all be more like "Lola" and work towards being stronger and happier and more confident than we ever thought possible.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

...DiFFiCuLty aNd oPPoRtuNitiEs...

"In the midst of difficulty lies opportunity." ~Albert Einstein

Many times we avoid things that are difficult. We want to avoid the pain and hard work...not realizing the good that can come from it! I often think about my personal journey and the changes I made. I don't think I could've been ANY sadder than I was during that time in my life. I remember how far I had to fall, before I was able to try and get back up.

I was always "together". I've NEVER been one to skip showers or go around without makeup...even when my kids were babies. I got to the point where I was so depressed that I wasn't taking showers and I cried all the time. I would come home from dropping kids off at school and preschool and sob sitting in my car in the garage. To say that I was in the "midst of difficulty" feels like an understatement, but those were definitely difficult times.

I remember the night my husband came home from work and as usual...the kids were going crazy and there was no dinner. I was crying and I asked him to come talk to me. I told him that I needed help. And just to be clear...I don't ask for this was strange. I told him i felt I needed to see a doctor but that I was too distracted and fragile to even make an appointment. He agreed to make the appointment for me, and that first visit was one I will never forget. I felt like a prisoner...ready and wanting to escape the minute anyone turned their head. When the doctor asked me what was wrong, I started to sob uncontrollably. He wrote furiously on my chart. He prescribed me an anti depressant, which helped in some ways, and made things worse in others.

I never told anyone but close family that I had to take medication. I was so embarrassed about it and was afraid that people would judge me, but I feel like other people need to know that it is okay to seek help in whatever form you need and there is no need to feel ashamed. The initial medication took me from crying all the sitting in a stupor...only to gain even more weight. I needed some immediate help, so it was okay for a short time, but I had to eventually have the medication switched and then shortly thereafter was when I was out from under the fog of depression and I could start to make decisions that would change me and the course of my life forever.

I will not get into the exact details of the steps I took today, but I started slow...with one small goal at a time. I started at 200 lbs and so my goal was to get in the 190s. When I hit the 190s, my goal was to get in the 180s. I took baby steps and I'll be wasn't all sunshine and roses. I did it on my own. I had no trainer or anyone to motivate me or give me advice. I had to figure it out as I went along. In the beginning I didn't lose weight quickly and I felt discouraged at times...but all I could think was that even if I wasn't losing...I was no longer gaining and so I continued my program. Eventually...because I stuck with it...I saw great success.

It was a long hard year of high highs and low lows. I have thought about it at times I wondered why...why I didn't do something when I was only 20 lbs overweight...why I waited until it was so difficult. Contrary to what people may think...I do not regret the way things happened. I NEEDED to be miserable and it NEEDED to be difficult in order for me to truly dig in and embrace the journey. In the midst of my difficulty, I saw opportunity and I grabbed it and held on to it. I would not be the person I am today or have made such strides if things had not happened the way they did and so I am grateful for those difficulties.

"Rock bottom" or difficulties...whatever you wanna call different for each person. Some people may not have to get to the level I was at to be uncomfortable enough to change, but here's the point I want to make: Those low, difficult times...the times that I felt like I was looking at a stranger in the mirror...the times I could see no happy future...the times I could hardly stand to carry my child up the stairs...the times I was treated badly in stores...were a blessing of sorts because they allowed me to gain a desire for change which lead me to seize the opportunity.

Do not feel as though it is impossible to change. Whether you have 100 lbs to lose or 10 lbs to can do it. Whether you work, or have children, or bad genetics, or anything else in your life that make it hard to get started...doesn't matter. The time to grasp the opportunity is NOW. I will never tell you it will be easy. It's not, but it IS possible to change regardless of your situation. You'll look back later and be grateful for the journey if you do and you will feel proud when you look in the mirror and know that YOU did the work and YOU made a change for the better. Look at the difficulties in your life as a catalyst for change. Find the opportunity waiting for you and make a change.

Monday, December 12, 2011

...a foRcE tO bE reCkoNeD wiTh...

YOU are a force to be reckoned with.

When hard times come...your shoulders are strong enough to carry the weight.

When you face a mountain of adversity or a seemingly unsurpassable plateau...your legs have the energy you need to get you to the other side.

When you get knocked down or people push you aside...your feet stay steady and you continue on no matter how many times you have to stop.

When the pressures of life are bearing down on you...your back is sturdy and your will is unyielding.

When those you love are suffering or have fallen down, you are there...steadfast...ready to offer a helping hand or pick them up with strong arms if need be.

When it would be easier to quit, or skip the gym, or grab fast food...your willpower and determination are relentless.

No one can break your spirit or take away your dreams. No one can stop you but you...because you are a force to be reckoned with! Be a force for good in your life and in the lives of others.

Friday, December 9, 2011

...peRfeCtLy iMpeRfeCt...

So today is a departure from my regular positive effort. Today is just me...venting...being real. I tell people all the time that the most frustrating thing about being a trainer especially when it comes to complicated Olympic this: I have been to the classes. I know what to look for and the words to say. I can watch people and see what they are doing wrong, but when I personally stand in front of the bar to do the same lifts...despite ALL the knowledge and hours in training courses run by great coaches...I am still a human being with flaws and I make mistakes too. Just because I KNOW what to do, doesn't mean I always do things right.

I would describe myself as perfectly imperfect...a Monet painting of sorts. From afar I look together, beautiful, like I have it all...but much like those paintings, it's an illusion of sorts. When you get real close...well, depending on the day...I can be a real mess. I'm distracted and forgetful. I'm the smartest airhead ever, and news much as I want to be times I find myself sitting in Whataburger chowing down a Whataburger with cheese while drinking a Diet Dr Pepper. I lose my temper...speak before I think...and I don't get near enough sleep.

It's hard to be a perfectionist in an imperfect body especially when you want to be able to be positive and uplifting. So while I usually try to have something thought provoking and upbeat to say so that I can help other it's about me being ME. The veil is down and the "Wizard" is revealed for a moment.

These are MY REAL life pseudo motivating thoughts after a really long night of working at my computer and an especially CRAP-TASTIC morning! The Japanese proverb says "Fall seven times, stand up eight." Well, I say that when you fall down...sometimes you just need to take a moment and lie there. Maybe you need to figure out how you got there and think about what you need to do in order to stay upright, because let's be honest...falling down SUCKS! It hurts! Or maybe you need to lie there and laugh for a minute. Who cares if people see you looking like a fool! Cut yourself a break and then dust yourself off and get back up and go again!

Someone once said, "The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places." This meaning that if we want to succeed. we have to keep going...and for the most part, that is true...but let me offer another suggestion. Sometimes when we are on the road to success and we come across a "parking place"...maybe we just need to pull in and take a little break for a minute. Maybe we need to take another look at the "map" and make sure we haven't taken a wrong turn before we head back out full speed ahead! Along the same lines, there's a Buddhist saying that says, "If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking." Well, sometimes we are facing in the right direction but we come across people that want to trip us or we find ourselves staring at a wall of adversity. If you come to a wall and keep walking, you will expend a lot of energy and get nowhere. You have to be prepared and strong enough to climb the wall or smart enough to realize that it's time to go around the wall and do something different. I'm not a person that advocates quitting, but every now and then...when something is just not HAVE to change course if you want to keep moving forward.

So what's my point with all this? Life is not perfect and neither am I. Chances are that if you are reading this, you are not perfect either. Because if you probably couldn't stand to read my drivel. It's okay to NOT be perfect. Even people on magazines have cellulite. They just have photoshop to help them out a little. And guess what...even the greatest athletes miss the pass or stumble at times. Motivational speakers get sad, and good people question their faith. It's not about whether or not you struggle or fall or keep's about doing better and not letting those things bring you down permanently or give you an excuse to quit altogether.

Moment of honesty...I have had a terrible day...a really REALLY terrible day! I felt like I had fallen...and I couldn't get up...and even though I can see the humor now, there was nothing particularly funny about it at the time. There have been a few moments since I opened my eyes that I have wanted to not just pull into a "parking place along the road to success" but veer off the road altogether and drive to a beach in Mexico with my middle finger in the air. But here's the thing, I allowed myself to stay down until I felt ready to stand back up. I didn't run away to Mexico like I wanted. I gave myself permission to have a bad day and be IMPERFECT. And even though my day has been off track and not at all what I had planned...I'm back up on my feet and I'm ready to face whatever comes next. I guess I should be embarrassed to admit all this, but truthfully, I'm not. It takes courage to keep going when things get rough. I could sit around wishing I were more like other people, but that does me no good. I am me and I have to accept myself in spite of my flaws. No matter what has come my way...or how badly I may have handled it...I'm still going and you can keep going on days like this too!

Monday, December 5, 2011


The other I was lying in bed...I started thinking about CHOICES. I was thinking about how EVERY choice we make, big or small, has a consequence and the ability to change the course of our lives. Most of the time, we think of consequences as a negative thing. If we break the law, the consequence is a ticket or worse. If we misbehave as a child, the consequence is a punishment. If we fill our lives with chaos and people that bring us down or drain us, the consequence is unhappiness and stress. If we eat too much, the consequence is weight gain. It's hard not to see choices as a burden when you look at it that way. It makes life a drudgery. We begin to do the right things for the wrong reasons. We choose better out of fear.

That can be changed, if you change the way you look at choices. When we do what is right, we get to lie down at night feeling safe and sleep without fear. When we eat healthy, we feel better and our bodies perform better in the gym. When we only surround ourselves with positive people that create positive energy, we are happy and more true to ourselves. When we work hard and lift weight CONSISTENTLY in the gym, we look better and we get STRONG. It's unavoidable.

I am a worrier. I am embarrassed to say that many times in my life, I have made decisions based on fear and guilt. I want to change that.
So my suggestion to anyone that reads this is the same thing as what I am personally trying to transition to in MY own life. It is important to have goals and know what you want and where you want to be, but don't focus SOLELY on the end result. Focus on why you want what you want and what you need to do to get there. Take all the guilt and fear out of it. Don't diet to get skinny. Don't drive the speed limit to avoid a ticket. Don't go to the gym because you hate the cellulite in your legs or because that's what all your friends are doing. Make positive, healthy decisions and then sit back and ENJOY the GOOD consequences that come from good choices!

Friday, December 2, 2011

...MoRe pLeAsE...

At some time or another we've all wanted to be "ER"...prettiER... thinnER... smartER... strongER. We think that if we had MORE...more money... more time... more friends... that our lives would be better.

Sometimes, what we think we need more of to have a better life...isn't what we need at all. We don't need more money. We need less keeping up with the Jones' and more sharing. We don't need to be prettier. We need less focus on our outward appearance and more time devoted internally. We don't need to be thinner. We need less starvation and crazy diets and more focus on moderation and overall health. We don't need to be smarter. We need to make better choices and think before we act. We don't need more time. We need to use the time we have more wisely, rather than wasting it on things that don't matter.

As far as friends and strength goes, I believe that if we could all be more careful in the way we treat others...if we could be kinder...and think of someone else before our selves...if we took the time to think before we speak...practiced the "Golden Rule"...were less shy and more willing to reach out...and could learn to let go of jealousy...we would have more friends then we know what to do with.

I believe that if we would lift heavy stuff rather than read as we walk on the treadmill...if we would choose to stop making hard...take our health seriously and treat our bodies like a temple that houses our soul...if we were willing to step outside our comfort zone...learn to endure the hard times with grace and allow those times to teach us...we would have strength abounding.

Take a moment and think about what it is you want more of and why, and then...go get it...not the easy way that doesn't last...but in a way that permanently changes you and everyone's life that you touch.