Mindfulness: No More “Why Did I Just…” Moments

mindfulness

Please tell me I’m not the only person who has eaten half bag of trail mix or half dozen (or more!) mini Reese’s cups and then stop and say “Why did I just do that???”  Can anybody relate??  It’s like I lose my mind for a minute only to realize (too late!) that I just made a poor choice!

 

Mindfulness.

 

Let’s start with a dictionary.com definition:  “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.”  

So first of all, WHEN do we have time to focus full attention only on the present???  Aren’t we usually doing 3 things or more at once?  

AND, what’s this “not judging” business?  I’m bad or a cheater if I eat half bag of M&Ms right??  I need to punish myself.  I need to verbally beat myself up.  

I’d like to propose that we can begin to take some steps towards mindfulness to reduce (and eventually rid ourselves of) “Why did I just….” moments!

I find that I have these out-of-control, mindless  moments most often when I’m tired, stressed, overwhelmed.  I’ve had it.  I’m over it.  I have no willpower or self-control left.  My tank is empty, and I think my tummy is too!  So I go on a spree before I realize what I’ve done.  

 

Mindfulness.

 

I believe that when we slow down, even a little, and take care of a few areas of our lives, we become more mindful.  It’s what we do in the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of our day that will save us from ourselves in those 5 minutes of losing our minds.  And it boils down to taking care of ourselves.  

Earlier this week I posted a picture of me getting a mani/pedi while reading a book and said that this is something that helps me stay mindful.  Now, how is that?  Those things (even though that mani/pedi was the first one I’d had in 2 months) provide some relaxation.  I took about an hour out of my day for some self-care.  I have a half marathon on Saturday.  I had PMS.  I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed with a few things.  I needed to take care of me.

Girls, it’s okay to take care of yourself.  You are better for everyone when you take a little time for you.  Because this is how it goes otherwise…..back to our scenario of “Why did I just do that?”  If one of those moments happen, then it leads to feeling bad about yourself, the negative chatter in your mind, and it all spirals out of control.  

So a key thing to help you stay mindful is self care.  It could be in the form of mani/pedi, a massage, bubble bath.  Whatever says “pamper me” to you.  

As I mentioned, when I’m tired it’s easier for me to have those out-of-control moments.  I think I need “fuel” and not in the form of lean protein or my superfood shake.  It’s usually in the form of chocolate!

When we’re well-rested and feeding our bodies proper fuel, it’s easier for us to practice mindfulness.  We have energy.  We’re not dragging in the mid-afternoon grabbing for a quick pick-me-up.  

Here’s the thing, when we have more energy and mental focus, we can Experience the signals we’re getting from our bodies and then properly Assess them as to whether to Take action.  

We’ll call it the EAT strategy 😉 When we begin to condition ourselves to slow down in other areas….taking the 5 minutes for quiet time, a bubble bath after the kids go to bed, a 10 minute walk before everyone else wakes up, scheduling an hour once a month for a mani/pedi….we can slow down in response to our hunger and craving signals and begin to assess what, if any, action we need to take to satisfy that urge.  

It’s a practice.  I still have moments.  In fact, a common phrase I use is “I need a moment”.  My son knows it’s like a “mom time out”.  I need to get my head right and my attitude right before I respond to anything or anyone.  

If you want more on mindfulness and exclusive content, sign up for my weekly email here.

Additionally, I have a free group starting on Monday April 11.  We’ll be talking about mindfulness and a whole lot more as it relates to your faith and fitness journey.  If you need some support and encouragement, reach out to me.  I’d love to have you in the group!  

 

I wanna hear from you….

When do you feel most out of control?  

Do you have a key word or phrase that lets your family know you “need a moment”?

How do you stay mindful?

Why You Should Trust the Process

trust the process

This Saturday I’ll be running the first of 3 spring half marathons.  Saturday is the Hoosier Half in Bloomington.  The next one will be the Indy Mini (If you’re an Indiana resident and a runner, you’re sorta obligated to this one, right??), and I’ll wrap up my spring with the Michelob Ultra half marathon in Chicago.  (I’m running this one with Team Momentum, first time I’ve done a fundraiser run. More on this in an upcoming post!)

 

Today I want to take some time and talk about trusting the process.  I’m sure you’ve heard the quote.  Sometimes it can be a cop out, “well it’ll take time; just keep on keeping on”.  But you want results, right???  How long is this “process” going to take??  What do I do in the ‘waiting’?

You can’t trust a process you don’t even know.  You still need to identify your goals and how you’re going to get there.  It may be a training plan for a 5K or half marathon.  It could be some changes to your eating habits to lose weight or have more energy.  It could be a schedule change.  You may need a mindset shift.  Maybe you need to find a Bible study to follow.  

 

Just as the saying goes “April showers bring May flowers” so we have to do the work and spend the time to get the results.  

If you want to run a race, whatever distance it may be, you can’t just one day get up and go do it without having done at least a little training.  I’ve run over 50 half marathons and more than a dozen marathons, but every time I start a new training plan and am running 7 or 8 miles, I think “how am I going to be ready to run 13 or 26?!?!”  Well, I’m not ready on day 1 of training but by the 10th, 12th week, I’ve built up my mileage, and I’m ready to go.  

When you decide it’s time to make some changes in your nutrition, the first day you cut out your daily Coke or iced tea, you won’t lose 5 pounds.  But over time and replacing that coke with water every day for a week, two, or three, you will begin to notice a change in your body.  

The first day you set your alarm to get up early to read your devotions, you may want to hit the snooze and put off this new routine until tomorrow.  But once you get up Monday and then again on Tuesday and again on Wednesday and spend 10 minutes of quiet time, you’ll realize that these few extra minutes get you focused for the day.  You’ll face the day with peace and confidence.  

But all these changes don’t just happen.  The results don’t magically come as soon as you do something.  It takes time.  Time to figure out what changes YOU need to make (not what your best friend is doing).  Time for your body and lifestyle and mindset to respond.  

But just as these April showers bring forth beautiful May flowers, those changes you start making today will have results if you stick with it and trust the process.  

 

Tell me….

Are you having to trust the process in some area of your life?  If so, what is it?  

Do you have any tips on how to trust the process?   

8 Excuses Busted: Make One Change Today

no excuses

No More Excuses!  Easier said than done, right?  I mean, I don’t always make excuses, I just don’t  or can’t or won’t.  Anybody with me?

 

But there are definitely times when our excuses feel very real.  And honestly, they don’t feel like excuses.  They are facts of our lives.  They are real to us, and it’s hard to see a work around or another option.  Healthy eating?  I only have so much in my grocery budget.  Work out?  I only have so much time in a day.  Rest?  Have you seen my schedule???  Quiet time?  I pray when I’m falling asleep at night.  

 

Today I’m going to take on a few excuses, or maybe even facts of life, and bust them with some practical tips to a fit and healthy lifestyle.  

1.  Not enough time

  • As it relates to working out – For some reason we think that we must work out 30, 60, 90 minutes for it to “count”.  But that just isn’t the case.  Whether we do 10 minutes when we get up and 10 minutes at lunch or a 15-20 minute workout, something is better than nothing.  And those 20 minute workouts can give you some amazing results.  I recently reviewed some YouTube workouts that were only 10 minutes long, and they left me sore and sweaty.  Check them out here!
  • As it relates to preparing healthy food – Do you have a crock pot?  Do you have some time on the weekend or maybe one evening a week when you can bake ahead some chicken and put it in the refrigerator?  How about put snacks in a baggie or small container?  You can freeze a variety of dishes and pull them out to fix for dinner.  The key is to plan and prepare ahead of time.  

2.  Not athletic, can’t run, hate cardio – First of all, running isn’t the only exercise.  While some people (me included!) love it, others hate it, and that’s okay.  You don’t have to become a runner.  You didn’t have to be an athlete in high school to be able to exercise now.  There are so many workouts these days, I’m confident you can find something you’d like to do.  Do you like to dance?  What about Zumba or Cize?  Do you like hardcore bootcamps?  What about a kickboxing class or the new Hard Corps 22 workout?  Bike.  Walk.  Lift weights.  Yoga.  I can help you find a workout that’s right for you!  

3.  Weather – My husband has been known to be a “seasonal” exerciser.  I tease him about hibernating in the winter.  Lol!  I often say it’s not the weather it’s the clothes.  With the right clothes, you can get out in any type of weather (for the most part.  I know issues like asthma do make extreme conditions difficult.  Listen to your body!).

4. Too expensive

  • As it relates to working out – It doesn’t cost anything to put shoes on and go out the door for a walk.  But even if you want/need shoes and workout clothes, they can be found on sale all the time.  You can purchase one DVD with several workouts for a small amount of money.  There are several workouts on YouTube and Pinterest that are legitimate and easy to follow…and free!
  • As it relates to eating healthy – Places like Wal-Mart, Kroger, and Target know that people are interested in organic, gluten-free, and just all around healthy foods these days.  You can often find store brand for cheaper than name brand items.  Places like Amazon and Drugstore.com offer great deals on healthier versions of items.  Frozen produce or seasonal fresh produce are usually priced right.  

5.  My family doesn’t support me – This is often where it comes in handy to define your Why.  (read more here!)  Get your family involved.  Set the example.  If you have to, when they’re eating chicken nuggets and fries for dinner, have a salad.  Eat the protein and veggies while they go ahead and eat the starch.  Just choose smaller portions of whatever you have fixed for the whole family.  Take the kids to the playground and walk laps while they swing and slide.

6.  Healthy food doesn’t taste good – There are so many healthy Pinterest boards to follow with easy recipes.  One of my favorite websites is www.hungry-girl.com.  She has some great ideas on how to make your favorite recipes healthy without losing the yummy taste.  Seasonings are your friend.  Be willing to experiment.  Check out some ideas here.  

7.  I’m tired all the time – I know it seems backwards, but getting fresh air and movement will help your energy level and get those endorphins moving in your body.  Even if it means getting up 10 minutes early to go for a walk.  When you begin to replace sugary and starchy foods with fruits and vegetables and lean protein, you will notice improvement in your energy level.  

8.    God knows what’s in my heart – Yes, He does.  But He still wants time with you.  “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Just take a minute to really notice His presence in your life.  Write down 3 things for which  you are grateful.  Be purposeful in this time.  It will provide mental clarity.  

 

What’s next?  I know it’s not easy to bust these excuses on your own.  Accountability is key.  Support is critical, especially if you feel like you’re the only one in the house who wants to get healthy.  I have an answer!  Join my “Fight the Good Fight!” Facebook group.  This will be 3 weeks of check ins, encouragement, support, and accountability.  It’s free!  All I need from you is a desire for and a commitment to living fit and free!  It’s not always easy, but together we can “Fight the Good Fight!”  To get your special invite to this private Facebook group, please email me to let me know you want in AND what excuse you’re ready to bust!

 

Tell me….

Did I miss any excuses?

What other tips do you have to bust the excuses?

 

Dealing with Discouragement: How to Break Free From the Funk

discouragement

 

We’re entering Easter week.  Palm Sunday seemed like the day of celebration but we know the dark days that followed, AND we also know the end of the story.  Nevertheless, there were dark days.  There were days of sadness and despair.  There was quiet.  We know the end of the story, but on that first Good Friday, they didn’t know the end of the story.  They knew the prophecies, but were they true?  

 

We have those days, those times in our lives. We think it’s all good, then……  We seem to hit the lowest of lows.  Everything is dark.  There is quiet.  This wasn’t how we imagined life.  Nothing is as it should be….or so we think.  

 

How do we deal with the down days?  The dark periods in our marriage?  The seasons when we think our children have turned their backs on everything we’ve raised them to know and be?  The days when we look in the mirror and we’re disgusted with what we see on the outside not to mention the secrets we hold on the inside?   

 

This being primarily a fitness blog, how can we relate Easter, the despair of Good Friday, and the dark days in the tomb, to our battles in this area of our lives?

 

Girls, our struggles with weight and body image can bury us.  I know the feelings.  I’ve been there.  These struggles can leave us feeling completely and utterly hopeless and discouraged.  We beat ourselves up for bad choices or workouts missed.  We convince ourselves that we’ll never be able to change,  and thus we resign ourselves to a life lived in a “funk”, stuck, no way out.  We resolve that we’ll never feel comfortable in our own skin.  We’ll never look in the mirror and believe that He was really talking about us when He said you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.

 

Do you know what I’m talking about?  Have you been there?  Are you there now?  Living in that state of discouragement?  In a funk?  Maybe feeling like the grave will never open and the chains will never break?

 

Freedom?  What’s that?  Oh how I long for it, but I’ll never experience it in this area of my life.  

 

But I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to live in discouragement.  You don’t have to feel stuck in this funk.  You don’t have to stay bound by the idea that nothing will change and that you’ll never be good enough.  You can change.  There is hope.  No, it’s not found is some special diet or supplement.  It’s not found in a specific exercise routine.  It’s not in a product or even an idea.  

 

The freedom comes when we get our minds right.  When we figure out why we’re doing this.  It comes when we stop listening to the clamoring voices telling us about quick fixes or how we’ll never win this battle.  Freedom comes when we start listening to the truth about who we are and find our unique fit.   

 

So back to Easter.  I don’t know your story.  I don’t know if you’re experiencing your darkest day or if you’re in the waiting, but I do know the end of the story.  It ends with victory.  It ends with new life.  It ends with freedom.  Are you ready to open that chapter and start living it?  Maybe you say “YES!” but you’re not sure how to move past this moment.  Contact me.  Together we can find your fit, and you can start living free!

 

Tell me….

What are your plans for Easter?

Is it Spring Break for you?  Going anywhere?

How to Have a Bad Day Without Letting it Define You

bad day

We all have a bad days.  They’re a guarantee.  (I know, not the way to start a Monday.  But keep reading….it gets better!  🙂 )

Humid weather = Bad hair.  

Daylight Savings Time but someone (certainly the husband!) forgot to set the clock forward an hour = Running late all day.

Spring thunderstorm + Power failure = Fridge full of spoiled food.  

PMS strikes = Bag of chocolates inhaled before you know what happened.  

Enough already!  I think you get the point.  We all have bad days.  They happen.  It’s life.  But it’s how we deal with them that determines the next day and the next time that same thing happens.  

 

Let me share a story with you…..  (This was a recent Friday)  

Early trip to Target (my favorite place on earth!  lol!).  Starbucks coffee (my favorite drink!).  Beautiful sunny day.  No traffic issues.  Got home a little before noon.  My plan was to make my shake as soon as I got in the door, because I was hungry.  Well, I got involved in unloading, putting things away, and then I opened one container of trail mix (and I KNOW trail mix is not good for me, because I can’t stop at one serving!).  And then I snacked on something else I got.  Then I opened something else to try.  And then I opened the Reese peanut butter footballs.  (Because you have to have Reese peanut butter footballs for Super Bowl, right??) And an hour later, I’m regretting every bite of everything I had just had.  And then the negative talk comes in. The feelings of guilt and remorse.  Why did I do that?  What kind of example am I?  But, I shook the thoughts (for the moment), fixed my shake (because I knew I still needed that boost of superfood nutrition), and I did fine the rest of the day…..with the eating…..

Then there was the evening.  

I was out and about.  I noticed EVERY person.  I began comparing bodies in my head.  “I wish I looked like that.”  “I bet she didn’t stuff her face with trail mix and chocolates today.”  “Why can’t I get a grip?”  Negative talk.  Comparisons.  Insecurities.  

And what?  

I made a few bad choices in the middle of one day.  But I allowed that to take over my entire thought life.  (Oh, and I won’t bore you with the small argument with my husband all because I was feeling bad about myself and took it out on him.)

 

It all went south after eating a bit too much trail mix.  I could’ve righted the ship immediately after, but I didn’t.  I indulged a couple more times, but then it seemed things were getting better.  BUT, my mind, my self-discipline had been exhausted by the fight I had with myself that day, so I had nothing to fight off the negative thoughts later that day and then took it all out on my husband too.  

Ugh!  Day wasted.  BUT, was it really?  Here is where we can still take back control.  

Yes, a lot of that day went south, but I learned some things.  (And I doubt I need to mention that I learned not to bring trail mix into my house! lol!)  

That day didn’t have to define me.  When I laid my head down on my pillow, I took inventory and determined the next day would be better.  It was Friday, I could’ve said, “Heck it’s the weekend!  Let’s just throw caution to the wind and start a diet of restriction on Monday.”  Nope!  I don’t operate like that anymore!  I wasn’t going to sulk and feel sorry for myself or beat myself up.  I wasn’t going to name myself as a loser or failure or quitter or fat or undisciplined.  

The day just was.  Now, what can I learn from it?  I had to take some time to go back over the day and notice where I could make changes.  It was not going to define me.  I would let it REfine me.  What could I learn and how could I handle things differently the next time?  

And in the midst of all of it, trail mix and Reese footballs in hand, I was always a loved daughter of the King who didn’t look at me any differently than He did when I woke up that morning.

On the journey…

Always learning and growing…..

 

Tell me….

Have you had a bad day recently?  What did you learn from it?  

Turn Your Why into Action

How

We talked about finding your Why on Monday.  I firmly believe that this is the key to success in any endeavor…..health, fitness, business, etc.  (For our purposes, we’re focusing on living a healthy lifestyle.)  Still once you’ve figured that out, you need to figure out how.  

How am I going to exercise?

How am I going to fit it into my schedule?

How am I going to find the right workout for me?  

How am I going to structure my eating habits?

 

Your motivation is found in your Why.  You know exactly WHY you are choosing to get fit and healthy.  You have something deep within that is moving you towards health and fitness…..and it’s not a number on a scale or a pant size….it has to be more than that, because YOU are more than a number!   (If you still need help working through that, contact me.  I’d love to help you figure out your Why.)

 

The first step in the how, is to find what you like to do.  If you hate to run, then running isn’t for you.  Even if you think that’s the quickest way to weight loss.  You’ll never stick with it.  Even though getting a gym membership and a trainer seems like the right thing to do, if you can’t afford that or don’t have time to meet a trainer 3 times a week for an hour, then that’s not how to meet your goals.  So, what do you like to do?  

Do you like to be outside?  How about walking, running, or biking?  

Do you like to dance?  Ever thought of turning the radio on and just moving around for 20 minutes?  If you want more structure like a class or DVD, there are zumba classes everywhere and DVDs that can lead you in some dancing.  

Do you want to get strong?  Maybe you have a gym membership where you can go lift some weights or get hooked up with a trainer.  Or there are great DVD and online workouts like BeFit and Metabolic Effect that incorporate strength training.  

 

Once you figure out what you like to do the next step is to decide if you want to workout in the morning, lunch hour, or evening.  You can read all kinds of things that tell you working out in the morning is better than evening or vice versa.  But again, bottom line is you need to pick a time that you’ll stick with.  If you’re not a morning person, then exercising in the morning is likely not the best plan for you.  

 

If you still need help figuring this all out, you don’t have to do this alone.  Contact me.  I’d love to come alongside you and help you find your motivation and your soulmate workout.  Let’s do this!  

And to keep the encouragement coming, be sure to sign up for my email to be sent straight to your inbox each week.  I give even more tips and encouragement on following your why and sticking with the plan that is right for you.  When you sign up, I’ll send you my go-to scriptures and prayers that will get you started on that path to being Fit & Free.  

 

Tell me……

When do you workout?

Have you found your soulmate workout?  If so, what is it?

 

Your Motivation Can Be Found in Your Why

motivation

Let’s face it….it’s hard to do the right thing.  It’s hard to eat right.  It’s hard to exercise.  It’s hard to refrain from gossip.  It’s hard to smile and wave at the driver who cuts you off.  It’s hard to save money.  Life can just be hard sometimes.  Even a lot of the time.  We all have our areas of struggle and weakness.  Given that this is primarily a health and fitness blog, I’m going to focus on that part in the “life is hard” scenario.  

Why should I get up 15-30 minutes early so I can work out?  Why should I pass on a second helping?  Why should I strength train?  Why should I limit my sugar intake?  

 

Well, I don’t know, but in the question lies the answer.  The answer is “Why”.  It’s YOUR “Why”.

You see, all these things that are hard….. They aren’t necessarily things we HAVE to do.  I mean, you don’t HAVE to exercise.  You don’t HAVE to skip dessert.  You don’t HAVE to save money.  You don’t HAVE to be nice.  

But we want to do those things.  We desire to be fit and healthy.  We want to have enough money.  We want to be nice.  

So back to your health and fitness.  The key to doing these things and sticking to them is finding your WHY as it relates to that area in your life.  

 

WHY do you want to be fit and healthy?

WHY do you want to exercise?

WHY do you want to limit sugar intake?

 

You may have a history of illness in your family.  You may have small children you want to be able to play with.  You may currently have a health issue that needs to get in check.  You may have a wedding coming up.  

 

I don’t know what it is for you, but until you figure out your WHY, you won’t stick to the plan long term.  You won’t develop a healthy sustainable lifestyle.  

 

On my next blog post, we’ll talk a bit more about the HOW to of a fit and healthy lifestyle, but until then…..

 

WHY do you want to be fit and healthy?  

WHY do you want to be free from outside noises and distractions in this area of your life?