New Year’s Wish

It’s another new year and of course all the “new year, new you” stuff is flying fast and furious.

Yes, it’s a new year. Yes, there are 365 days to write your next chapter. It is awesome. We all have the power to effect positive changes, though – any time we choose. We don’t need a new year, a new season, a new month or a Monday.

Here’s my wish for you for New Year’s health and fitness resolutions:

Forget the weight. Stop obsessing about “what you weighed in high school”. Don’t fixate on a number on a scale. Seriously. It measures your relationship with gravity. Turn your focus elsewhere. Focus instead on strength. If you run, focus on pace or distance or form. How do you feel? Are you winded climbing one flight of stairs? Do you have energy (without caffeine) to get through the day? How do your clothes fit? These things are much more indicative of health then overall weight. Really. Let it go. Get brave and throw out the scale! (If you must measure something because you have to have tangible evidence of progress, take your measurements; waist, hips, chest, arm and leg!)

Find something you love to do. Do you loathe the dreadmill? Why do it then?! If you hate doing something, it’s not going to stick. There are a bazillion ways to move your body. Surely there is at least one way to move that doesn’t make you feel like poking your eye out. Figure out what that thing is and do it! A body in motion stays in motion – it’s more than just some funny saying.

Focus on adding things in. Instead of making giant sweeping changes that make you hate your life, hate your food and crave crap, why not try something different? Less deprivation and more inclusion. Want to eat less junky foods? Great! Focus on adding in fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat the rainbow! Try a new fruit that you’ve never had. Have you seen the selection at most grocery stores? There’s likely some produce you’ve never tried. If you are full of whole, healthy foods, you will crave junky foods less. Want to include more exercise? Awesome. Instead of drastic measures like “I’m going to workout 7 times a week!”start from where you are. If you never workout, try including 1-2 workouts per week. Already pretty consistent? Try adding in 1 more workout if that’s your goal.

Sleep. Get more of it. Really. Your phone will still be there in the morning. If you drink caffeine, stop drinking it after noon so it won’t affect your sleep. There are many studies that link unhealth to lack of sleep. Check a few out here, here, and here.

Make the decision. If you are making health and fitness goals, awesome! Do it. Make a plan, follow through. If it doesn’t work, that’s fine – but don’t you dare give up! My trainer used to say, “Quit quitting on yourself!” She was right! Reformulate your plan. Adjust. Learn what doesn’t work for you, and why. Get help. Seek advice from your doctor or a registered dietician. Hire a personal trainer. Have people on your team guiding you toward your goals!

Less apologizing. No saying “I’m sorry,” because you can’t do a push up on your toes, balance the way you think you should, or run a mile. There is no need for an apology. Your fitness level is what it is. We work from where we are and make progress. As a trainer, I promise you – I’m not judging. I want to help you get where you want to be. No apologies necessary.


Here’s to a healthy and successful 2016!


Learning, Learning, and More Learning

Since the phone call, I have met with a registered dietician in my area twice and have gained a wealth of knowledge. So much of which is counter to what we are taught as trainers. (Not to mention the crap nutrition info that gets passed around on the internet!)

During the first session, I was poised to take notes and hang on her every word. What I had been doing hasn’t been working. I was feeling great for the most part, and still strong, but I had been slowly creeping back up the scale, both the literal one, and the scale of sizes in my closet. I was teaching spin and loving it, strength training 2-3 times per week and running any chance I could. Along the way, I kept thinking it was because of the move, the deployment, the lack of a fitness tribe as experienced in Hawaii. When all of your friends are doing the same thing and intensely motivated – it’s not exactly easy, but it is so much easier. Despite crafting a life dedicated to activity and doing fun fitness-y things, I wasn’t heading in the right direction. The dietician promptly said, “A little bit of nutrition knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” And how true that is.

There are some universal basics: calories in vs. calories out (food we consume vs. the energy we expend), but there are other factors as well. 150 calories of soda vs. 150 calories of vegetables are going to do entirely different things to your energy level, mood, satiety, hydration, etc. This is where the what we are eating is just as important as the how much.

For the Type II diabetic, our bodies have an elevated level of blood sugar, beyond what is normal. (Hyperglycemia). To counter this elevation in blood sugar, also called blood glucose, our pancreas produces insulin to help bring that blood sugar back down. At first the body will produce more insulin to get the blood sugar back to normal levels, but over time it cannot keep up. Welcome to Type II diabetes. (Type II has a strong hereditary component. It has been said that genetics loads the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger.) Keeping it in check will be a priority for life.

That tank top was an XL

Is it a bummer? Yeah, I guess it could be seen that way, but I get to choose how to view it. For me, meeting with the dietician clicked a missing puzzle piece into place. Though not effortless, I’m not having to kill myself in the gym. Concentrating mostly on high intensity interval cardio (running and spin primarily) and once a week lifting 1-4 reps of max. This maintains current muscle mass. Lifting too much (high reps, focusing on endurance) my body bulks, which is what my 3-day/week plan had been doing. Go figure.

Top pic is the same April shot as above, the bottom is me as of 5 minutes ago :)
Top pic is the same April shot as above, the bottom is me as of 5 minutes ago 🙂 15 lbs down, 12 inches overall and a medium tank.

Ultimately, a body is a body. Mine does what I ask it to and then some. It allows me to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I still wonder if progress pics help anyone except the subject. It’s more than just vanity. When we figure stuff out (that most of us have been trying to figure out since our teens!) it’s empowering to see that success. Dealing with this personally has no doubt helped on many levels as a personal trainer.

If you have been eating well (be honest!) and exercising regularly but aren’t seeing results –  get your blood work done. Have your primary health care provider take a look at it. Take those results to a dietician. Learn. Try something new if what you are doing isn’t working.

It is worth it. YOU are worth it!

Challenges, Accountability, and Finding Balance

As a member of various fitness groups and pages on social media, there always seems to be some kind of challenge, contest or accountability thing going on. For example, one group is streaking (repeating running or exercising consecutive days in a row), another is recording minutes per week engaged in physical exercise, and another offered up a fast food New Year’s resolution. The resolution is to abstain from fast food entirely (including Starbucks) for as many days as possible. I love all of it; the feeling of not being a fish swimming up stream and that we are all in this together to improve our health. Camaraderie and having partners to help us stay focused are wonderful things.

What I struggle with though, is when to say “I’ll pass, thank you.” I tend to have a hard time living in that elusive window of moderation and balance. It’s all or nothing. It’s either balls-to-the-wall or slugfest on the couch. No middle ground. I recently finished  a 138-day running streak (at least 1 mile per day). It started out as a challenge to streak for 100 days. Then, my son wanted to jump on board. Many days it was a strength workout combined with running. Some days were just a casual walk with my dogs. Sitting here typing in my 3 hours of minion-free time, it feels like I “should” be doing something physical. “Why didn’t I do the workout first?” The truth? I had to get some bills paid, eBay stuff shipped, and make some appointments. It was just nice to do it in the quiet (and finish a task uninterrupted) instead of trying to do it around playing family, barbies or coloring with my daughter. Getting crap done allows me to really be present when the kids are here.  My being present and not in my head thinking about the 45 other things I could be doing results in them feeling more connected, more loved, and all the feel-goods. Time and presence are the keys to improving and maintaining my relationships.

Given all of this that I know to be true, why do I feel guilty about when the workout doesn’t happen as it should? I know I’ll be walking the dogs with the kiddos later. My workout will still happen and they’ll get some exercise, too. It’s a win-win. But there is that nagging in the back of my mind. Perhaps it’s simply that I know how good I feel when the workout is done. Maybe taking one step closer to the window of balance is just what is needed.

On the food front, I’m not a fan of fast food in general. I would much rather eat my own food from home. The times when I would eat fast food, I never felt good afterwards. Ever. No one eats lunch out of a drive-thru bag and thinks, “Hmm. That was delicious and will help me feel better!” No, it’s more like, “Ugh. I’m not hungry anymore but I feel like crap and I want to take a nap…” Basically, the fast food type of challenges are not really that much of a challenge, which is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge for someone. Something occurred to me as I was re-working this post from a draft. I can sound really awful! Here is a portion of what I wrote (unedited):

So why do we continue to put crap in our carts and fill ourselves up with junk? Why do we complain about bloating, pain, weight gain, and general sluggishness and still buy boxes of preservative, artificial food-like products? Some might say it’s because we don’t know. Okay, maybe to some degree. If you never listen to the news, and you were raised on junky cheap foods, I get the patterns of habit. But really?! Does anyone consider the connection with how we feel with what we put in our mouths?

While I agree with the substance of what I wrote – I reread it now and cringe. I sound so preachy and self-righteous! YUCK. Like most people who like the world of extremes – once we learn something (i.e. – healthy living) we think we must convert EVERY SINGLE PERSON to our way of thinking. Does this really do much good? Or do we alienate those around us? I think it’s more of the latter. Delivery methods count. If you have ever yawned through a fitness post, or I’ve come across as self righteous and preachy, I do apologize.

Here’s the thing; I know what it feels like to be winded at 9 a.m. by simply walking up the stairs. I know the frustration of running after a toddler who is faster than you. (And the worry that he’ll duck into traffic and what do I do if I am not quick enough to grab him?!) It sucks to feel that way. It sucks to feel depressed and think there is no way to climb out. It sucks to live in a body that doesn’t feel good. (This has nothing to do with aesthetics and being “pretty” or a socially acceptable size. It has everything to do with how we feel on the inside.) The realization of just how bad I felt came only when I started to feel better. Only then, did I realize just how uncomfortable in my body I really was. There is an urgency that many of us feel that have gone from unhealth to fitness. It’s simply an urge to share just how much better we feel, to share just how good it feels to be in a body that moves and is well-cared for. It’s an urge to help anyone who is tired of being tired. Ultimately, please understand that a delivery method may not always be palatable, but it’s coming from a place of passion. 

Those of us who have succeeded in any measure of lifestyle change are passionate people. We know what it’s like to feel awful and we know how good the opposite feels. I LOVE the feeling of a killer workout. I LOVE the endorphins that follow a spectacular run. And ultimately this blog – when it pertains to fitness – is me sharing that love with anyone who wants to listen.

When it comes to food, fitness, and being present with family – balance is hard. We live in a space of “if some is good, more is better.” Here’s to all of us finding some balance and not clobbering each other over the head with our passion in the process.

It Wasn’t All That Long Ago

I have labeled my son a “picky eater”. Much like his father, he prefers to eat only a few different foods, is reluctant to try new things, and detests condiments, sauces or dressings of any kind.

While not all of this is necessarily bad, as a parent, I see other kids happily gobbling down anything placed in front of them, my other child included. As a baby, I would introduce a food, he would spit it out, refuse it, etc., and then I wouldn’t offer it again thinking he didn’t like it and okay, off we go to the next new food to try. What I didn’t realize but later learned is that kids, as well as adults, often have to be exposed to a food 10-12 times before they can really decide if they like it. Familiarity is key. (When I pointed this out to my husband – a couple of weeks later, I caught him eating a banana. He has sworn he HATES bananas due to texture, but was giving this familiarity thing a try!)

Let me just say that this whole process is so foreign to me. I am an eater. To the point that I once had over 50 lbs to lose. Seriously?! I know my way around a fork. I think that may be why it’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my son just has a narrow window of tastes right now.

As a result of this beating my head against the wall, I decided earlier this year to just relax about it. I always tried not to watch and wait to see if he’d try something new, or pressure or punish. But I know he was able to feel my frustration with his “selectivity”.

After a couple of months of “relaxing” about food, I’ve noticed some things. FIrst, when I do put a meal on the table, there is always at least 2 things he will eat and likes, plus 1 new thing. He doesn’t have to eat it, but does have to sniff it, lick it, or bite it. If he doesn’t like it after that, okay. So far he has tasted brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli (4 WHOLE BITES!) and zucchini bread. He passed on the brussels sprouts (so did his sister), but we’ve made it a game of “try the new crazy food mom has made!” They laugh and we keep it light as we chomp, crunch and tear through the food!

And more importantly, I’ve been remembering how far we’ve come. While at a restaurant, I overheard a mom ordering a root beer for her preschooler. In my mind, my first thought was NO! A preschooler doesn’t need soda! But I had to stop myself and take stock…(you know the verse: that pesky one about the stick in someone’s eye, but you’ve got a log in your own, or that other one about glass houses….)

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I drank soda at least weekly.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I RARELY worked out.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I could eat obscene amounts of really unhealthy food.

It wasn’t all that long ago that it didn’t occur to me that not every meal has to be a feast.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I didn’t know I should be reading ingredients and nutritional information.

It wasn’t all that long ago…for so many things.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I began MY journey. My journey isn’t going to be like anyone else’s.


Here’s to me getting that log out of my eye, setting my rocks down, and grabbing some Windex to wipe down my shiny glass house!

The One I Don’t Want to Write

I lost 50lbs.

We moved almost a year ago. I gained 8 lbs. The hubbs deployed.  Then 12 lbs more creeped on. Old habits resurfaced.

I thought I had this. I thought it was “under control”. My eating has not been on point – completely hit and miss. My exercise – meh. I’ve done some little 5ks here and there, but honestly – I’m pushing through – not all that excited or motivated. About any of it. The races I had signed up for were really the only thing keeping at least one of my feet on the right track. I’m definitely not working out at the level I was.

I know part of it is the deployment. Much of it is the dark at 3pm, cold and I have no energy. I feel like I’ve lost a bit of my fire. I look back at old posts, magic marathon moments….the excitement is remarkable. I still tear up when I see the marathon pictures. I feel like I’ve let people down in a way. Not that I’m perfect or don’t have failings, but I guess I just felt like “I got this”.

I don’t.

I have to get back to basics. Do the things I know I need to do to get my weight and health back on track. I refuse to be the person I was before 2011.

Which brings me to the subject of failure. I like to succeed. I like it when things are going great – the goals are being met, the PRs are happening all the time, consistent improvement, when things are in control. I may be a slight control freak…..

I have to remind myself that failure only happens when I stop trying. It won’t happen if I continue to lace up my shoes and get in the runs. Failure can’t catch me if I keep getting up and trying again. And again. And again. Never stopping. Resting from time to time, healing, listening to my body – of course. But not stopping. Never giving up.

I had set out to get certified this year to become a personal trainer. It didn’t happen. I have the materials – and I will take the test eventually. It is still the long term goal, but I feel like I had to take a pause of sorts. The things I had in mind for “getting done” this deployment just became back burner. This deployment took so much of my energy. I felt like I just needed to survive. There wasn’t anything left for thriving.

Tomorrow my husband returns. And while I will not be one of those wives whose life stops when the deployment starts, I do find that with littles, it’s harder than I had expected. Much of my energy is consumed by them. And that is how it should be. There is a time for everything.

I am a better parent, wife, friend, etc., when my health is on track. (And I’m much nicer at the grocery store!) While this “home port visit” will be entirely too short, I know it will be the welcome reprieve to readjust, reevaluate, run, workout and reset some priorities. I want to make this time I have count to give me that boost to thrive instead of just survive the last leg of this deployment period.

I’ve “survived” in an unhealthy way for a decade. I thrived for a year.

It’s time to thrive once again.


Over the past 6 months I have done things I never thought I would. Things I never thought I could. in addition to losing almost 45 pounds, 20+ inches, and seemingly shedding sizes weekly, I’ve gained an incredible amount of confidence. And it’s not just confidence in appearance, although there is that too.

It’s more about little stuff. Like when a friend visited this fall and we decided to go paddle boarding. I’d never done that before. Previously, that would be something I would have not done out of fear. Fear of failing, looking stupid, or not knowing what I am doing. That and fear of falling. Ha! Now it’s, “Great! Let’s go try that! Who cares what we look like?! If we fall in – no big deal. We get wet, we get back up on the board!”

Or little stuff like chatting up another mom at the playground. Before I would have waited until she said hello first. Not anymore. I’ll chat with her. No fear.

I like not being afraid.

And if I fall on my face? Yeah, well, it’s happened. And it will happen again.

I’ll just have to get up again.

And now as I look forward to my next event, I’m a little unsure of myself. I signed up for a biathlon. No, I signed up for TWO biathlons! One in January and one in February. They are both 5k races followed by a 1k swim.

Um, have I mentioned that I don’t even own a swim cap? Or a one piece competitive bathing suit yet? I think I may have goggles around here somewhere. And do they make swim caps large enough for my big hair?!!! Ha!

No fear.

Will I look like I don’t know what I’m doing? Yeah, probably. Am I going to have fun and learn to do something new? (And step out of my comfort zone yet again?)

You bet! And I can’t wait!

My First Half

Today I ran a half marathon. I just need to breathe that in for a moment. Wow.

I woke up this morning full of adrenaline and anticipation (having slept very lightly as my mind was racing all night long!) I have been looking forward to this race for sometime - even before I had actually signed up. It has been a goal of mine for awhile, but even as I got dressed at o'dark thirty and ate some breakfast, I still thought to myself, "Can I actually do this?!" Today that answer was a resounding YES!

I have ran distances like this before, but there is something inspiring about being in an event with 1000+ other runners of all different athletic abilities. The other runners inspire me. The faster ones whom I hope to one day be like, and the slower pacers whom I was just a few short months ago. That is one thing I love about the running community. We are out there encouraging each other whether we realize it or not. Whether its deliberate or not. And there is room for all fitness levels. We walk before we jog, we jog before we run, we run before we sprint. Bill Murray was right - Baby steps!!!

On the run itself there were moments of euphoria and moments where I was asking myself why the hell am I doing this?! The euphoric moments cannot be beat! When I look up and see Diamondhead crater to my right and never ending ocean on my left. No - you can't beat that. I feel powerful in those moments. I can do this. I can do anything I set my mind to. The, shall we say, "less than euphoric" moments were hard. Some runners call that hitting the wall. I feel like 75% of this is mental. The whole "if you think you can or you can't - you're right" definitely applies. I try to learn from the hard moments too. Focus on breathing. In and out. I repeat my weightloss goals...I listen to music. Whatever it takes to push the focus from pain and negativity to whatever thought will get me to another one of those euphoric moments! They just can't be beat!

I love running with music. So much so that I really doubt I would run as far or as fast without it. I love the shuffle feature on the never fails to have THE most perfect song come up just when I need it!

But all of these thoughts aside, this run for me means so much more. I crossed the finish line (SPRINTING) with my battle buddy who has been on this fitness journey with me. We have cried and laughed and achieved goals together that neither of us thought were possible.

I had given up. I was just going to be a mom. Just a mom. I am learning that while I strive to be the best mom I can be, I do also need other things in my life, some that are just for me. Running is that "just for me" thing. I crave it. When I get that time to work on me. It makes me a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend. It is possible. It can be done. I can dream big. Without holding back. I did it.

Now - time to take a nap!
 Me and my battle buddy Katy!
 We’re almost to the finish line!


 …and this is where I start becoming emotional 🙂
 Sprinting to the finish line!!
 Relief! It’s over!


And it hits me that we actually did this!
 Very emotional!
 I am so grateful for these two ladies! They inspire and teach me everyday!!
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