Thursday, November 29, 2012


I was always "regular."  I yo-yoed...did nothing but cardio...and was resigned to the fact that I would never look anything but average at best.  Then I got fat...did nothing...was tired of it...discovered lifting weights...worked hard...and got a better body than I ever imagined.  For a long time it was sort of easy for me.  My life was easy.  I had a nanny and a housekeeper.  I didn't work and I was obsessed with working out.  I had built my physical capacity to a point that things that are very hard for most people seemed not too bad to me.  Then my life changed.  I've been struggling to save a 21 year marriage and eventually going through a divorce for 2 years. 

The toll it's taken on me physically and mentally has been great.  Now everything feels hard.  I no longer feel like an invincible Wonder Woman when I hit the gym.  I no longer want to be there for 2 hours.  My once loose-ish (yet tight in the right places) yoga pants are tight in all the WRONG places.  The good news is that I'm starting to go in to the "recovery phase" finally.  I no longer cry everyday in private.  I wake up with hope, and I KNOW I will be okay.

The hard part is that it's hard to let yourself slide backwards.  When I was obese, I was super motivated to get in the gym.  Now, it's hard.  I feel weaker and my body is not the same, but I still look good and everyone thinks I'm crazy because I'm still fit. 

Yesterday I did nothing but eat crap...all day.  I felt like a bottomless pit of hunger.  No matter what I did I never felt full.  To top it off, I was busy and never worked out.  So by the end of the day when my kids went to dinner with their Dad and I was alone, I made a choice...a bad choice.  I should've gone to the gym to "work off" the loneliness and frustration and then eaten a good meal to FUEL my body and help it recover.  Instead I talked on the phone, went to the mall and justified it by buying one Christmas present for my daughter.  Then, I ordered pizza and stuffed myself at home. 

You are probably either A.  Disgusted with me and wondering how I could ever pretend to motivate anyone else  B.  Surprised   C.  Thinking, "Are we the same person?  I've done the same thing!"  or D.  Wondering if I will have the strength to come out of this funk I've fallen into.  So I got up this morning with my stomach growling and making ATROCIOUS noises...a weird, gross reminder of the crap I piled in it last night before I fell asleep in my makeup on top my bed, and I thought to myself..."Is this it?!?  Am I going to give up?  Am I going to say, 'Oh well...I still look good and I'm fit.  I don't need to get back to where I was again.' and continue to lie to myself and comfort myself with food?  Or am I gonna start all over again...on a Thursday...not a Monday...not on New Years!?!?"

I talk a lot about starting over.  In fact, I wonder if people ever think "There she goes again...whining and saying she's gonna hit the "reset" button!"  I'm not a paid model or fitness professional.  I'm a normal girl that grew up in Texas thinking if it wasn't fried, it wasn't worth eating and comforted myself with sweets when there was no adults to reassure me or comfort me with a hug.  I've worked hard to overcome those habits, but at times they creep back in because I'm human.  So the the fact is this...I AM starting over...AGAIN.  And I will continue to start over as many times as I need to because I am stronger than any obstacle or setback or sadness or disappointment that I may face in my life!  I'm not gonna use towels to wipe tears and I'm sure as hell not gonna throw in the proverbial towel!  I'm gonna fight...not for you this time, but for ME.  I'm gonna use the towel to wipe away my sweat and prove to MYSELF that I CAN come out the other side of what could be described as a tragedy BETTER!  My hope is that anyone else injured or struggling or just feeling lazy will join me and make today the first day of your COMEBACK!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes...

I woke up feeling really empty this morning.  I know...GREAT way to begin a post on what is supposed to be a motivational blog.  Sorry...I always speak the truth...pretty or not...happy or sad...strong or weak.  As I snoozed my alarm 3 times and drifted in and out of sleep, all I could think was "I just don't want to get out of bed today."  I wished I could have a remote control with a pause...or better yet, a fast forward button on it.  I finally stumbled out of bed feeling really alone and went to work.  I put on a smile and welcomed the 2 guys in the gym at 6AM, but behind that smile I felt an overwhelming sense of loss and loneliness.  My mind would wander as I thought about all the things I wish I had until I would bring myself back and continue to coach the guys. 

 I got done and drove home hoping my kids got up to their alarms and were ready for school.  As he always is, my 10 year old son Jake was up and ready for the day...sitting at the computer (where he can USUALLY be found).  I sat next to him while I ate an unhealthy breakfast that I knew would make me feel worse and started engaging in small talk.  The conversation turned to our birthdays.  Me and Jake share the same birthday and it's coming up on Sunday so I started asking him to make me a birthday list so I can shop for him.  He smiled...eyes still on the computer...and said, "I just don't know Mom!  I can't think of anything.  I mean I have everything I want."  I laughed and said, "Oh!  It must be nice to be the man that has EVERYTHING!"  He turned from the computer and our brown eyes met and then he said something that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since.  "No Mom.  What I mean is that I guess I just feel so thankful for everything I have that it's hard to think about asking for anything else."

Wow.  Everything I thought...everything I've felt over the past several days...began to crowd my mind as I hugged him tight...wondering what I ever did to deserve such a sweet boy.  In the 2 hours since that conversation, I've done a lot of thinking and many things have come into perspective for me.

In the fitness industry, there's so much focus on change and improvement.  We always want to be better.  Even for people in the best of shape, it seems that it's never enough.  In fact, I think that sometimes the better shape we are in, the harder it is to be satisfied.  It's always all about getting a little leaner or a little more cut.  It's about eating cleaner, becoming a little faster or stronger, and building more muscle.  We are always striving towards more...and that's not a bad thing...but I wonder if we've lost the ability to be grateful in our quest to be better. 

  I think it's good to want more, but not at the expense of our happiness and our ability to be proud of how far we've come.  Sure, I've faced some serious setbacks and sadness in my personal life over the past year...things that anyone would agree are very hard to deal with.  Some might even say I've earned the right to have a pity party or two.  But at the same time, I woke up in a super comfortable bed this morning.  The temperature in my room was perfect.  I put my feet down on brand new carpet, and walked my very fit, very healthy body into a closet overflowing with clothes to get dressed for work.  I drove away in a new car from a lovely home filled with kids that are smart and healthy and that I love and that love me right back.  I went to work at a job that I love...where I have the ability to work with people that I really like...and I get to help them and see them improve. Yet all I could think about was what I don't have.  How silly.   How weak.  How wrong. 

Goals are important and we should all be striving towards being better every day, but don't become so wrapped up in what you want that you stop appreciating what you HAVE.  When you take the time to journal what you ate or write down what you did in the gym each day, make note of something that you are thankful for as well.  I have goals...goals to lean up...goals to get faster and put on some more muscle, but my new goal is to be able to say, "I just feel so thankful for everything I have that it's hard to think about asking for anything else."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A strong will and faith to match

9 years ago when I weighed 200 lbs, if someone had told me that I would be sitting here typing these words today...I would have laughed.  I was very unhappy and felt very defeated.  It wasn't until I made a decision to stop doubting myself and started working really hard towards a goal that my life and body began to change.  It was a very slow process, but I was successful! 

The hard part is that the struggle is not over once we meet a goal or lose all the weight.  It is a never ending battle.  You have to commit and recommit over and over, and you have to be willing to make your health a way of life.  Most importantly, you can never lose faith in yourself and your ability to change and be fit!  We all have times where we slide back into old habits or start to feel discouraged.  Don't let that stop you, or worse drag you back down to where you once were! 

The only thing between you and what you want in life is your will to try and faith to believe it's possible...because it IS possible to change!  It doesn't matter whether you have "bad genetics" or kids or you're busy or getting older.  Let motivational pics inspire you, but never try to look like anyone else.  Set goals and work towards improving YOURSELF and becoming the best possible version of YOU!  No matter what...if you have the will to change and be CAN achieve your goals with hard work and belief in yourself!  I did, and so can you!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Confidence is sexy

I remember a conversation in the gym several months ago.  We were talking about all the things women do to look better and younger and one guy said, "Who cares about a few wrinkles?!?  Confidence is way sexier than having no wrinkles!"  We all laughed and most of the guys agreed.  I remember thinking that it was an interesting perspective.

When I was getting my hair done all day Sunday, I saw this article above and I had to snap a picture with my phone because it took me back to that day in the gym.  The whole thing was about how men would rather be with a larger, less pretty girl that is confident and happy than a thin, beautiful, insecure woman.  78%!  That's a big number...more than 3/4 of men.  Now, I will say this..."plus sized" is a loose term so I don't wanna debate THAT...but the point remains.  Men prefer confidence over perfection.

This should be an eye opener to all us women!  Maybe we should stop obsessing over the outside and pay a little closer attention to the inside.  I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't try to look our best.  But I am suggesting that if the outside looks good, but we have nothing else to offer...we may find ourselves alone and seriously unhappy.

The next time you look in the mirror and you want to pick yourself apart...the next time you think that you are alone or unhappy because you are not thin enough...the next time you feel the need to complain about what is wrong with you...think about this poll.  I personally believe we should all always be working to improve ourselves (men included), but not at the expense of our sanity or health.  Don't starve to look like a supermodel.  Work hard in the gym and eat a balanced healthy diet.  Don't spend all your time obsessing over your flaws.  Take time to learn new things and become more interesting.  Don't spend your time telling other people what is wrong with you or what you would like to change.  Work on yourself from the inside out in private and learn more about other people rather than telling them about your flaws and insecurities.

Bottom line...if you want people to be attracted to you...whether it's romantically or as a friend...what's on the inside matters way more than what's on the outside.  We will all get older, and eventually gravity will take it's toll.  Work on building things that are lasting.  Be strong and healthy.  Be well rounded and happy.  Most of all, learn to like yourself so that you can exude confidence...because strength and confidence are WAY sexier than skinny and insecure!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Are YOU guilty of this?  Do you quietly judge and label people?  We all know that "you can't judge a book by it's cover", yet we still do it.  We've all probably been misjudged at one time or another ourselves and felt the sting, disappointment, and frustration that goes along with that, yet we do it to others.  We think that our own experiences make us experts on how people are and how things should be.  And when we do this...we are WRONG.

Don't assume people that are overweight are lazy.  Don't assume that people that are thin are full of themselves.  Don't assume that fat people are miserable and skinny people are happy.  Don't confuse the size of clothing that someone may wear with their level of confidence.  Don't think that because a woman is thin and beautiful that there's not more substance to her.  Don't label a woman that may not be as classicly beautiful and thin as being insecure or careless about her appearance.

Simply put, we are all different.  I have long blonde hair and big boobs.  I wear a bikini to the beach and I have nice things.  That doesn't make me any worse than anyone else.  Nor does it make people that choose to wear no makeup or cover up a little more better.  From afar, people could make many judgements...and have.  I've been told my whole life that people think I'm stuck up when they first see me.  I've been called bitchy because of the car I drive.  I've been called skinny on days that I looked in the mirror and felt fat.  I have faked confidence at times when I have felt scared and insecure.  People that stick around and don't hold on to labels see past the outside and realize that their original judgements are usually incorrect.

I feel blessed to have had the experience of being overweight.  I've literally lived life on both sides of the spectrum.  It creates an awareness in me that not everyone gets to experience.  I know firsthand that being overweight does NOT mean you are lazy or don't care about how you look.  It doesn't mean that you are passive.  I've been very thin...much thinner than I am now...and so I also know firsthand that being thin is not an automatic ticket to happiness and confidence.  Being thin does NOT mean that you don't eat or that you think you are better than others or that you are bitchy and superficial.

We need to stop taking sides.  There's no "us against them" fat vs skinny!  We are all people and that has NOTHING to do with size either way.  We need to throw away the labels and misconceptions.  We need to realize that many times our judgements come from a place of insecurity within ourselves.  The next time you see someone different than you, lose the urge to label them and be strong and secure enough in yourself to get to know them first.

Friday, June 22, 2012

...sAvE yOuRsELf...

I think growing up we get the idea that there will be someone to save us if we ever need it.  Some people even begin to rely on it.  We grow up with parents there to catch us as we take our first steps, and we read comics where we see Superman always saving Lois Lane.  We see infomercials on TV as adults about quick easy ways to lose weight and get in shape.  We want diet pills to make us thin and a superhero to come along and save us from our troubles, but here's the TRUTH....

It's nice to have a little help now and then and it's okay to ask for it, BUT you don't need anyone to "save you".  You have all the skills within yourself to accomplish your goals and to save YOURSELF.  You can be your very own superhero.  You can change your life and let go of things and people that are holding you back from your true potential.  You can overcome physical weakness and become strong if you are willing to work hard.  STOP looking for an easy way.  STOP being a victim waiting for a hero to come along and "catch you."  Be strong and SAVE YOURSELF!

Monday, June 11, 2012

..gReeN LiGhTs...

Recently my daughter finished her driver's ed class. Now every time we drive, she tells me all the traffic laws that I'm breaking. We had a funny discussion the other day about green lights.  The light turned green and my middle chilled yelled from the backseat, "MOM!  GO!" and then my oldest daughter that just finished drivers ed said, "NOOOO...proceed with caution." in a really SARCASTIC tone. We all laughed and I said "What was all that about?"  She told me that when they learned about traffic lights and what they mean in driver's ed that the teacher asked them the question..."What does a green light mean?"  Of course they all said "GO!" and  he informed them that the rule of traffic is not that you should go immediately when you see green, but that you should proceed with caution to avoid a wreck or to keep yourself from getting crashed into by someone else that may not be paying attention.

As I drove home from having lunch with friends today, one old friend and one new friend, I was thinking about some of the things that we talked about and things that had been said.  I often do this; replay conversations in my mind.  We talked about a lot of things but one thing we talked about briefly towards the end was fear. We had a short discussion about how a lot of times people are afraid to take a chance.  They're afraid to do something different.  We talked about how people become lonely because they close themselves off from relationships.  All of these things are done out of anticipation that something bad COULD happen.  The light turned green and I giggled and thought "Proceed with caution." to myself.  Because I paused, a lady honked at me to go.  I quickly hit the gas pedal and continued on but something occurred to me as I drove forward.

I started to think about all the things that we do in life to avoid any mistakes or any kind of hurt.  We are taught to do everything with caution, and in some cases that is good.  We do have to protect ourselves, but we can't let that mindset constantly stop us and hinder us from growth.  Babies fall when they begin to walk.  If they never got up again, none of us would walk.  Hearts get broken and sometimes people don't love us back, but if we never tried again, we'd all be alone.  Businesses fail and mistakes are made, but if everyone that ever failed never tried again...there would be no cars or electricity.  We would never have heard of Michael Jordan and there would be no cures for diseases that once took lives.

 I think sometimes we proceed with too much caution.  I know I do.  I hold myself back and use caution as an excuse.  You don't build strength in the gym by lifting light objects or doing things that are easy.  You build strength by consistently lifting more than you did before...over and over and over again.  Life inside or outside of the gym is no different.  You have to be willing to take a risk if you want more...more success...more happiness...more strength.  The next time an opportunity arises that has the potential to change your life...take it.  The next time you have a chance at love...take it.  The next time you're in the gym and you're faced with a choice to do a little more and push a little harder in order to get stronger, don't talk yourself out of it.  Don't make excuses, and stop being so cautious!  Be strong enough to GO after what it is you want in life without fear!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

...sToP iT!...

Sometimes the best advice is simple advice.  People look to therapists and books and friends for great revelations to problems that we know the answers to deep down inside ourselves.  I experienced this recently after I had breakfast with my friend, Wes.  He started out as my personal trainer 5 or 6 years ago (I can't even remember how long it's been now), but ended up my dear friend.  We met to discuss our training, but it ended with me telling him about some situations in my life that have really been weighing me down.  He listened as he always does even when I know it must sound ridiculous.  He tried to interject here and there, but he mostly listened.

We finished and moved out to the parking lot where we continued to talk (at least I did).  I said, "I don't know what to do!  I don't know how to get out of this situation that frustrates me and makes me so unhappy!"  Wes said, "Yes.  You do."  I never skipped a beat and continued with a list of excuses and rationalizations.  I noticed that he was writing something down on the notepad he had.  He turned it over and showed it to me.  It said "STOP IT!"  Then, he tore it off and gave it to me.

We said our goodbyes and I drove home.  I kept thinking about his advice.  What kind of advice is that?!?  STOP IT???  It's so much more complicated than that.  The funny thing about me and Wes is that I really like to be right, and many times he and I agree but when we don't...try as I might to prove him wrong...he ALWAYS ends up being right.  I tried to think of every reason why that advice would not work, but in the end, once again he was right.

All the excuses I had for why I couldn't "STOP IT!" were invalid.  The only reason I can't stop is because I've been refusing to stop.  And I've been refusing to stop...because as much as I say I don't like it...I don't WANT to stop or I would.  It made me think about other situations in my life and I realized that this simple advice was all I needed.  If something is not working in my life, if I'm doing things that are making me happy, or allowing people to treat me in ways that I don't like...I need to stop it.  I need to say "No."  I need to walk away or limit my exposure to people or places or things that do not ADD to the value of my life.  I am in control of me and I choose what I do.

If you have situations similar to mine in your life where you know things are not right, take the focus off others and take an honest look at YOURSELF.  If you are seeing no results from the work you do in the gym after a reasonable period of time, STOP what you are doing and do something different.  If you are around people that bring you down or make you feel drained and sad, STOP it and walk away.  If you are not losing weight, look at what you are eating and how often you are working out.  STOP eating crap or doing the same thing you've done and expecting different results!  As you face situations in life...whether it's the need to lose weight, or the desire for happier, healthier relationships, or the goal of getting stronger...deep down, you know what to do.  If you are unhappy, you are on the wrong track.  You have to sit and evaluate WHY you are doing (or not doing) what you know you should to be happier, healthier, and stronger.  Changing our lives and becoming happier and stronger is not as complicated as we make it out to be.  STOP doing the wrong things and start doing the right things.  It really IS that simple.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


(This is from an original blogpost that I wrote a while back that seemed appropriate today!)

Wouldn't you like to be faster than a speeding bullet?...more powerful than a locomotive? to leap tall buildings in a single bound? Sounds pretty good to me!  What about the ability to cling to walls?...or to have super human speed, agility, and strength? These things would certainly come in handy most days at my house. I can think of many times in my life where being able to stretch my body into different shapes and lengths, or being able to become invisible, or to fly would've been incredibly helpful. I can't do these things because I am just a human. I am mortal. I walk on the ground. I can be hurt, and one day I will die. I don't possess any of the characteristics of Superman, Spiderman, Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman or any other of a long list of super heroes. I guess that makes me regular...nothing special...nothing super.

Everyone loves super heroes. Men want to be them, and women want to date them. They give us a glimpse of greatness...of what it would be like to be better than everyone make a difference in the world. They make us feel safe and give us hope for a better tomorrow. When Lois Lane falls, Superman is always there to catch her. When she is in trouble, he saves her from the bad guys.
My kids always need a band aid to make them feel better when they're hurt...or think they are. We go through band aids like you wouldn't believe in my house. Whether it's a scratch or a cut...bleeding or barely noticable...a band aid is ALWAYS a neccessity. The only thing that can calm their cries or heal their hurts faster, is a kiss. As a Mom, my kisses can dry tears and soothe pain. It's like magic. I started thinking about this one night as I held my daughter in my arms and kissed her stubbed toe. Yes, I really did kiss her toe with my lips. Her crying got quieter until it went away, and soon she was back up and running around. She still had a tear sitting on her cheek, but she had a smile on her face and her toe, the one that was ruined for ever, was working just fine from pain. For a moment in time, I held a super power of sorts...the power to calm. I made her feel safe, just like Lois Lane feels when Superman cradles her in his arms and places her feet carefully back on the ground.

When one makes a list of super heroes, there are certain men that come to mind first. I always think of Superman, Spiderman, and Batman. Those are my top three. Until, I started to think about what powers they each possess, I had never realized that while Superman and Spiderman have numerous and specific superpowers, Batman does not. Batman fought crime and saved people just like the other guys, but he did not use special, super human powers. He made use of what he had. He used his wealth and his intelligence...his love of technology, his detective skills, and his physical abilities to accomplish many of the same things his fellow super heroes did.
This leads me to the thought, that in our own way, we can all be some way. A mother is a super hero to the child that she comforts with her kisses...that she catches as they fall...not from a tall building, but as they take their first steps. The businessman that stops on the highway, rolls up his sleeves, and changes a tire for the woman with a van full of small children, even though it's hot and he's tired, and it will make him late for dinner, is a superhero. The doctor that heals the patient...that saves his life for yet another day, is no less of a hero, than if he were Superman. It doesn't take real superpowers. It takes using the talents that we each have the best of our ability...for the good of others. I can...I am...I will be...a super hero today.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

...sPeCiaL eDiTioN...

I've said it many times...I'm different...not like anyone else.  Growing up and even sometimes now as an adult, I have described myself as weird.  I think about and see things from a little different angle than most people.  I speak without thinking, and at times I find inappropriate things to be funny.  I laugh when I'm nervous, even if it's a serious that no one else would laugh about.  I can be terribly quirky, and when I'm focused or "into" something...I can be borderline obsessive.  Many times, when I order my food at a takes a long time and the person I'm with may think they are with Sally from the movie "When Harry Met Sally".  I need certain things on the side.  I substitute one sauce or side for another.  I always open and rearrange my hamburger so all the ingredients are "straight" and just how I like them.  Most things in my life are different, and so I have many adventures and life with me is hardly ever dull. 

My life inside the gym is not much different than outside in terms of being different than many people.  Most people want to feel as little pain or soreness as possible.  I like to be pushed hard.  I like to use and channel the pain.  Most people want to stick with movements and methods of weight training that are familiar and or fun.  I like to do Power lifting or Olympic lifts while other people are sitting on machines, and it's not because I'm especially good at it.  Agility, balance, and coordination are NOT this girl's strong points!  Most people want to have an enjoyable experience in the gym.  People go to the gym to escape stress.  They want to have fun and do whatever they want to do that day or visit with friends on the treadmill.  I enter the gym with butterflies and nervous anticipation, and I like that.  I like the feeling of panic that I get at the beginning of a workout that is really hard...when I wonder inside how I will finish, even though I ALWAYS do.  I like the fear of being chased by my friends that become my competitors at the gym during a group workout, but most people don't and that makes me and everyone else like me...a little different...a little weird. 
It's hard not to feel conspicuous or wonder if maybe we should try to conform and be a little more "normal" at times, but the truth is...if you want something different...something have to be willing to do things differently.  You have to be willing to stand out or look a little foolish.  You have to accept that not everyone will like or agree with you.  You have to be willing to step outside the box that most other people are standing in.  Sometimes when we step outside the box and we do things that other people are not yet willing to do, it can make us feel alone because we ARE different.  What we have to remember, is that different does not equal bad.   

Be grateful for the qualities that make you who you are! Don't feel apologetic or get the desire to change who you are so you can try to be like everybody else!  Be willing to stand out and shine, and be proud of the great accomplishments that go along with that.  Other people will always have their opinions, because it's easy for the people sitting on the sidelines to judge you. The voice that needs to reassure you and the only opinion that should your own. Be proud of who you are and how hard you are working to make improvements and be strong. Ignore the critics sitting on the couch or the jealous people that are too lazy to do what you do! Just because you are different, it doesn't mean you are weird. You are a one of a kind, special edition! Remember that today! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Don't be hatin!

"How things look on the outside of us depends on how things are on the inside of us."  ~Anonymous

We've all been guilty of doing it.  It's human nature.  We are quick to judge on outside appearances.  We decide whether or not a person is worthwhile.  We compare ourselves.  We make assumptions.  Sometimes we like what we see and sometimes we don't.  Many times whether or not we like it has more to do with ourselves than it does the person we are looking at.  We criticize to make ourselves feel better and we comfort and lull ourselves by making quick judgements and convincing ourselves that we are right and others are wrong.

Some people even take it a step further, they convince themselves that other people's successes are an attempt to make them feel like a failure.  For some people, life, happiness, and success are a "zero sum game".  A "zero sum game" is a situation where one person's gain can only result from another person's loss.  These are people that spend their time trying to prove others wrong so they can feel right...people that cannot feel good about themselves without tearing other people down either directly or non directly depending on how courageous they are...people that focus on what other people are doing rather than what they can do themselves to make a real difference and have a positive influence.

I've been on both sides of the fence.  When I was weak minded and insecure...I constantly looked outside myself to prove others wrong.  It was my attempt to soften the internal ache I felt because I was unfulfilled and selfish at the time.  I appeared confident.  I said I didn't care what other people thought...but INSIDE...only I knew that it was a lie.  I needed attention and reassurance to feel better.  I still like those things.  Everyone does to some extent, but I am different now.  Don't get me wrong...I still struggle.  I struggle with the way I and others see me.  I struggle not to feel like I have to be perfect.  I struggle when people misunderstand my message or write unkind things.  I struggle to be as accepting and kind towards myself as I have become with others, but my attempt to help others and make a small change in the world has also changed me and the struggle has given me strength I never knew I could find.
I have learned what true strength is.  I know that strength of character is as important as the outward appearance of strength.  I know that how much I lift in the gym only equals a small portion of my strength.  I know that strength and beauty comes in ALL shapes and sizes...all ages...all colors.  I know that sometimes it shows more strength to turn the other cheek than to stand toe to toe and fight every time I disagree or I feel hurt or misunderstood.  I know that the way I treat others is a direct reflection of how I feel about myself deep down.  I know that it takes more strength to see others achieve success...sometimes the very success that I desire...and be genuinely happy for those people...than to tear others down to make myself feel stronger.

The next time you find yourself judging someone else...the next time you start to feel envious or have a desire to talk about another person...take a moment and determine what it is that is bothering YOU.  Explore your feelings and stop projecting your insecurities outward.  Have enough internal strength to overcome those feelings and be strong...not just in appearance...but in character as well.

Monday, March 26, 2012

...rEcHaRgE yOuR BaTTeRy...

Most of us use our cell phones a lot.  I remember a time, many years ago, when all I did with my phone was make calls.  It's not that way anymore.  I use my phone for everything.  It's my calculator, address book, organizer, camera, and alarm clock.  I text instead of calling whenever I can.  I check my email, post to and check Facebook updates, and play games.  There's not a day that I go an hour without doing something on my phone during the day.  Most of the time plugging my cell phone in at night to recharge is sufficient.  But ever so often, my phone get used so much during the day that the battery becomes too low and I have to recharge it sooner.  Sometimes when my phone gets very low, I take it and plug it in and let it get good and recharged.  Other times, I try just plugging it in here and there in the car or for just a few minutes at a time.  This helps, but I find that it doesn’t take long and my phone is dead.

Do you ever have days where you feel like your cell phone?  There are days that require a lot out of me...days that I'm especially busy...days that come with added stress...days that I feel as though everyone else needs my help.  These days cause my inner “battery” to get run down faster.  If I ignore the signs that my inner “battery” is low or if I try to quickly “recharge” it, before long...I have nothing left to give to myself or others.  Sometimes, you have to take the time to stop and fully recharge your “battery”...not just for a few minutes, but for as long as it takes to be back up to full speed.  We make excuses that we are too busy or that we don’t have time, but once the battery is dead on your’s worthless to you and we are no different.
 Pay more attention to where your battery is at.  I have deleted “apps” on my phone that drain my battery.  Maybe we need to practice this in our personal lives as well.  If there are people that take from you and drain you, but give nothing in return...maybe you need to reconsider how beneficial they are to you and whether or not you want to keep them around.  If you are feeling the sign that your “battery” is low...if you are irritable or tired or sad...recognize it and make a real effort to recharge.  When we allow all of our energy to be taken away and given to different tasks and people, we suddenly become just like a cell phone without a charge.  We are of no use to those around us, and we have nothing to give.   Don’t allow that to happen.  Keep yourself recharged so that you have the power to live the life you want.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

...step away from the donuts and nobody gets hurt...

The smell...the way it feels when I first bite into it...the texture in my mouth...the happiness I feel when I eat a amazing.  Seriously.  I admit it.  I freaking love doughnuts.  I do.  So heading up to the school for "Muffins with Mom" (where they serve Krispy Kreme doughnuts) with my 10 yr old son, Jake seems like a perfect opportunity to have one.  Right?

I told myself before I left the house.  I will NOT have a doughnut, but I wondered if I could do it.  I scanned the cafeteria for Facebook friends.  The coast was clear.  I thought, "I could eat one and no one would ever know."  We all know that's not true though.  I would know.  Once I was resolved to chatting with Jake while he ate THREE DELICIOUS, AMAZING, SWEET doughnuts, I started to have a little inner pity party.  "It's not fair!  Look at all these other Moms eating doughnuts!  It's only won't make me fat...or kill me...or ruin everything."  These were the voices in my head.  I tried to talk to Jake so I couldn't hear them, but my inner fat girl talks really loud and she likes attention.

As bad as it felt to sit there, it felt really good to walk out having kept my word...not to my friends on Facebook...but to myself.  There's power and happiness in self control.  There's freedom in making a choice and sticking to it.  There's peace in going through the day proud rather than carrying regrets after a few moments of joy.  Don't short change yourself.  Have faith in your ability to choose and follow through.  Relish the power that grows every time you make a choice to do the right thing...whether it's a food choice or a choice of whether or not to hit the gym.  Small choices can make a big difference.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

...Nasty girl...

Last week after I was done working out with my friend, I decided to run across the street to pick up a few tank tops at the mall.  It seemed silly to go all the way home and get fixed up just to drive back to where I already was.  There was a big vertical stripe of sweat on my back, and I felt like I must look really nasty.  As I pulled into the parking lot, I started to feel self conscious and worry about what people might think.  I wondered if the salespeople would tell me not to try on the clothes.  I started to worry about what other people might think too.  Still, I grabbed my purse and headed through the door and up to the lingerie department.

I quickly grabbed the 3 tanks that I was there for and turned to find the register.  As I turned, there was the sales lady standing right there.  A little thrown off, I started to tell her that I was ready to check out.  She smiled and said, "Would you like to try those on?".  I felt surprised that she was asking me the very thing that I thought she would NOT want me to do.  I quickly said, "Oh no!  I'm sweaty and nasty!  I'm sorry.  It's just that I just got done working out across the street...".  She cut me off and said, "Oh honey, you look just fine.  You look like a girl that knows how to work hard!"  I was so surprised.  I felt myself smiling and standing a little taller.  I paid, thanked her, and walked towards my car.  Only this time...I wasn't embarrassed or rushing because of my sweaty shirt.  This time I walked out with a new perspective.

I'm so grateful that the kindness of a stranger helped me understand what I should have already known.  My sweaty tank top was a symbol of my desire to work hard and be strong.  It was a sign that I didn't stop when it got hard or when it was hot.  I kept going and I had the mark to prove it.  I realized that my sweat was not something to be ashamed of but a badge of honor!  Now, when I walk out of the gym or come off the trail after a tough run and I am sweaty, I try to remember that day and feel proud...not nasty!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

...tAkE yOuR oWn aDviCe...

It's an interesting phenomenon being a mother to three children.  I am the same and they all have the same father, but my pregnancies and deliveries were all very different from one another and my children are each very unique.  They each have their own look and their personalities are very individual.  I love that, because while it can be frustrating at times, it keeps me on my toes and lets me experience life through different perspectives.  It's like seeing the world through four different views; mine and all three of theirs.

This morning I already had my oldest and youngest children to school, so I started doing what I do every morning.  It starts with the intercom and progresses to me yelling upstairs and ends with me walking up to my daughter's room to see what I can do to help her not be tardy for school.  Apparently she inherited my inability to get anywhere on time, because Sydney is ALWAYS late.  She usually emerges looking fabulous with perfect hair and makeup and a smile on her face, but that wasn't the case today.  She looked like she hadn't even hardly gotten ready.  Her hair was a mess and she was very agitated and running around grabbing things.  She decided to do her hair on the way to school, so we left.  I could tell she was really frazzled and on the verge of tears.  This is odd because Sydney is tough.  She and I are very similar.  Sometimes we can be harsh and sarcastic.  We say what we think and sometimes it's bold and unfiltered.  We both have a very soft side to us too, but sometimes it's hidden.  Sydney is very self sufficient and rarely complains, so when she is visibly is strange and I notice it right away.

Like most moms, I hate to see my children upset.  When they are hurting, it's like the piece of my heart that belongs to them hurts too.  I want so badly to help them get through their problems and be well adjusted, happy kids.  Once we got in the car, I turned to her and said, "What's the matter, baby?  You seem really off this morning."  She began to just unleash everything she's been holding inside.  She talked about how tired she is and how nervous she is about trying out for cheerleading even though she portrays total confidence to everyone else.  At that point, she was all out venting and I was happy to listen because I knew she needed to talk.  She started to talk about how she has "the worst luck in the world" and how she's so tired of working so hard and giving her all to everyone around her but feeling like she doesn't get much in return. I listened and then I gave her some advice.  It went a little something like this...

"I know how you feel and I'm sorry you are having a rough morning.  Unfortunately, you are a lot like me and you're right...we are not "lucky."  It's okay to have a moment and talk and even feel upset or think it's not fair, but it's what you do afterwards that counts.  Sometimes it feels as though we have to work twice as hard as everyone else for the same result, but we appreciate every success we get even more.  Remind yourself that you CAN do anything.  You have to let go of what other people are doing and continue to be a good friend and work hard because you want to.  You can't control whether or not you get back all you give, so be thankful that you have a heart that allows you to give so much.  You are having a bad day, but you are strong and you will get through this and wake up to a better day tomorrow."

We pulled up and she looked at me with her blue eyes and long eyelashes and said, "Thanks Mom.".  I told her that I love her and drove towards the gym to work.  The car was quiet because I turned the radio off when she began to talk.  As I sat in silence, I thought about what she had said and how I have felt those exact same feelings and even said some of those exact words before.  There have been times I have allowed those feelings to get the best of me.  Then, some things became very clear for me.  I had just sat and given her some great advice...advice that maybe I should take myself.  It's easy to tell someone else how to have a better life.  It's nice to be someone that people come to for advice, but it's better to believe and follow the advice yourself.

I am so hard on myself.  Many times, I put myself down in ways that I wouldn't think of doing to my own children.  It occurred to me that maybe I should talk a little nicer to myself and listen to the words of advice that I offer to my children.  I believe and meant every word that I told my daughter this morning.  Now it's time for me to take my own advice, and live by those words.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

..Is it REALLY hard?...

I drove to the gym with mixed emotions.  I was full of excitement, fear, skepticism, and happiness.  I haven't driven to the gym with emotions like this in a long time.  For a long time I've gone through the motions.  Sometimes I complain about not being where I want to be or where I once was.  Sometimes I work really hard and sometimes I walk away wondering if I could've done a little more.  There's days when I write a workout or head to the gym to do what the other classes are doing, but I don't feel those real butterflies anymore like I used to feel.

It's like a relationship.  At first, you work hard.  You're on your best behavior.  You are excited to see "the one" and you get those butterflies when you do.  Every kiss is electric and annoying habits seem so forgivable.  And get comfortable and secure and you stop working so hard.  You don't worry about always looking your best because you feel sure you'll see him or her again and you can make up for it then.  Before you know it, you've lost that excitement and things that were once "cute"...are now annoying.

Well, my workouts have become like a crusty old man that I have been married to for 50 years.  I'm bored and I find myself looking at "other workouts", wondering if maybe I should just move on and start fresh.  Here's the problem with that.  Sometimes in relationships and in other areas, such as working out...we DO find that we are not getting our needs met and we need to move on to someone or something that more matches who we are today and can give us a better, healthier quality of life.  But may be the right person and place...and we just get lazy.  It seems easier to just start over because it's always easy when it's new and who doesn't love those butterflies and the exhilaration you feel when you are just beginning.  Unfortunately, nothing stays new.  So if you're in the right spot, you have to reevaluate your feelings and adjust your behavior from time to time. 

I worked out with a trainer, Wes, for a year.  We became great friends...the kind of friends that last a lifetime and survive life changes and moves halfway around the world...friends that can be apart for years and come back and feel like you never missed a day.  He changed me forever in more ways than just my physical appearance.  Wes moved away 4 years ago and I missed him terribly.  He and his wife recently moved back to Texas.  I was feeling in a rut and he has been busy making a new life and wanted to get back into better shape again.  One day, I decided to offer him a deal.  I wanted us to workout together.  It would give him a set time and place to be to workout and I would have the extra motivation he provides as well as his expertise.  Don't tell him, but this is a way better deal for me than him because honestly...I have a lot more to gain from him than he does from me, but I got lucky and he agreed.  We will workout together 4 days a week and yesterday was day one.

We've done Crossfit and Crossfit-esque workouts together for a long time but we decided to start our first 3 week cycle with the basics.  I have to admit.  I was worried that I would get bored or it wouldn't be hard enough.  All my fears went out the window yesterday when we started.  I always prided myself on working hard...going the extra mile.  We started with worksets of Presses, but instead of the barbell that is my old, familiar friend...we used dumbbells.  I did a few warmups and then began.  I hadn't been over there 5 minutes when I heard that familiar voice "That is no where near heavy enough for you!"  I went into my old girl client whiny mode (I know...annoying) and said "It is heavy!"  He smiled..."No.  It's not."  I picked up another set...5 lbs more.  "Okay", I thought.  "Here I go!  THIS is the weight!"  No such luck.  "You still need more.  Push it up!"  I cleaned the dumbbells up and it was a struggle.  In fact, he had to help me push the last few up.  OH, wow.  The light bulb came on and I was flooded with a mixture of fear and excitement.

I realized that I have been taking it easy on myself.  When Wes first left, I stayed true to the things he taught me.  But somewhere along the way...I got cocky and I started slipping.  It seemed easier to just keep changing things up and trying to start something new, but the "new" would always wear off and I'd be back to square one.  I realized that sometimes when we think we are working hard, we really aren't.  I had a great workout and I left tired and happy.  I woke up a little nervous this morning...and I liked it.  I feel a new sense of hope.  I know that I will achieve my goals now and I'm so grateful to have Wes by my side to help me get there.  Never again do I want to slack off like I have.  I didn't even realize it.  I thought I was working hard...and I WAS...but I could be working harder.

The next time you feel bored and unsatisfied.  The next time you want to complain about where you are or wonder why you are not seeing the results you want, don't think about something new or blame it on other people or circumstances.  Walk to the mirror and look in the reflection.  Reignite the passion that you once had.  Ask yourself "Is it REALLY hard enough?".  Answer honestly and adjust accordingly. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

...eX fAt GirL...

I've done it for so many years that it seems second nature.  I've called myself an ex-fat girl, and I AM in fact an ex-fat girl.  It's a label and persona I've given myself that I realized has done 2 things for me.  It has served as a badge of honor and it has acted as a really sneaky excuse of sorts and a "security blanket" at times.  The badge of honor part has always been apparent.  I went from someone with no real confidence that was scared of a woman that still gets scared but knows I can face any challenge.  I went from overweight and UNFIT; trapped in a body I a person that is fit and can be proud to walk down any beach in a bikini.

As for the other part...well it's the part that not many people see; the part that is hidden by confidence that is sometimes real and sometimes fake.  It is the sneaky part that lives in my head and takes up space that could be better used.  You see, I realized lying in bed this morning that as long as I keep thinking of myself as an ex-fat gives me an excuse to settle...because ANYTHING is better than where I was right?  WRONG.  It's been 8 YEARS since I started that journey and frankly, I don't know why I keep that girl in my head and heart.  "She" does nothing but bring me down and make me see things in the mirror that are not there!   "She" makes me afraid and "she"allows me to settle.  I don't like that.

It's like climbing a mountain.  You want to look up and focus your energy on rising rather than constantly looking back at the ground below.  There's a reason that when you are high up, they tell you not to look down.  It scares you and makes you start thinking about "what ifs" rather than taking it one foot upward at a time.  I don't think this is any different.  I'm afraid that I have lowered my expectations in some ways and been too hard on myself in others.  Sounds confusing, right?  You should live it.

It's time to tighten the harness and look UP.  It's time to let go of the past and all the hurts and disappointments that got me fat in the first place.  It's time to fight for even better and believe that I deserve it it.  I think of my ex-fat girl as a 70lb weight pulling me down slowly...making it harder for me to continue to progress and be truly happy and strong.  It's like Robert Deniro's character in one of my favorite movies, "The Mission", where as penance he is forced to carry heavy things strapped to his back as he and the Catholic priests hike up the side of a mountain and cross rivers to teach the natives Christianity.  Even after he has done his part, he will not let go until the priest cuts the rope for him.  There's no one to cut the rope but me and it's time to find a knife.

 Don't drag old things with you.  It saps your energy and drains you of you true strength.  Let go of past hurt...of the old you...and move forward with greater ease.  Allow yourself to reach new goals and stop letting those things be a silent excuse to be less than you want to be.  Look up, not down and allow yourself to be strong.

Monday, January 16, 2012

...sNiCkErs aRe sCaRy...

I've had that uncomfortable, unsure feeling...a foreboding that something bad was about to happen for the entire hour I've been here at home.  I tried to be a "big girl" and just not think about it.  I tried to convince myself that there was nothing to be afraid of, but the anticipation has been building.

When I was a little girl, I was afraid a lot.  Sometimes, I would get so scared in my room at night that I couldn't stand it and I had to leave and go get one of my parents.  I knew I would get in trouble, but it didn't matter.  Sometimes, I was so afraid of whatever I thought was under my bed that I could not even get out of bed.  I would lie there frozen until I couldn't stand it anymore and then I would JUMP from my bed to the door because I was sure something or someone would grab my leg from under the bed if I was close.

I'm happy to report that those days are past.  I still get scared sometimes at night, but not like I used to as a child.  That's why it's odd that as soon as I finish typing these words.  I am going to "jump" so to speak and drive away from my house as fast as I can.  I am not afraid of the boogey man.  My fear is of something real...something I can see and touch.  The only way I know to keep myself "safe" is to run away.

I feel sort of pitiful that I sound so weak but it's not as weak as it could be.  Sometimes we have to find our strength in whatever form we can get it.  For means that rather than standing "toe to toe"...I'm walking...or driving away.  I'm determined to be healthier.  I'm determined to eat better and exercise control...control that has been lacking for a while.  I want the Snickers bar that's in my living room so bad that my mouth is literally watering as I type the words.  It actually belongs to my daughter or I would throw it away, but since I can't...I'm gonna leave and then tell her to hide it when we get back home because I fear that small, delicious treat.  I fear the hold that foods like that have over me and I fear the regret and anger I will have towards myself if I indulge.

We sometimes box ourselves in and set ourselves up for failure because we become so set in the definitions we give things.  We talk about facing our fears and not backing down when we think of being brave and strong, but sometimes avoidance is important too.  That Snickers bar is like crack to a junkie or a drink for an alcoholic for me.  Just as I would never expect a recovering alcoholic to sit in a bar or take a recovering addict to a crack house, I am not expecting myself to sit in a room with something that I want so bad, but know I shouldn't have.

Don't set such rigid definitions that set you up for failure.  Be smart enough to find your strength wherever you can and be willing to practice divergent thinking and able to take things as they come.  Our lives and challenges and strengths and weaknesses change and we have to be willing to be flexible enough to do what it takes to be matter what...even if it means running away!

I have a "30 Day Challenge" for eating healthier going on.  You can follow that blog at so read my daily thoughts and see what I'm eating!  :)