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Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly Challenge #44: Where's your MOJO?

This week is all about excuses.

We all have them. The reasons we give ourselves, and others, for not doing what we know is best, or what we promised ourselves or others we'd do. But this time we're not just talking about being a couple minutes late to work, or not getting all the laundry done...we're talking about health, fitness, and overall MOJO.

Have you found your MOJO? If not...why not?

Are you in a job you don't like or that doesn't challenge you? Do you throw yourself under the bus first, giving up your fitness appointment for the benefit of someone else? Do you have a hard time setting boundaries with others (boss, spouse, etc.) making it impossible to take care of you?

If you are having a hard time getting motivated, or staying motivated, take a look at why. What are YOUR excuses and why are you sabotaging yourself?

Your challenge this week: Identify the excuses you make that stop you from finding and keeping your MOJO, and make at least one change in at least one excuse.

Knowlege is power. Figure out your inner dialogue (aka excuses) and you can change it. Change the way you talk to yourself, and motivate yourself, and you can find your MOJO.

Ashley's Story: Have You Seen my Motivation?

This is one of those weeks that I've been dreading. I knew I'd get to this point, but I didn't think it would be so soon after my great measurements. I've lost my motivation. Have you seen it?

Last week, I talked about taking care of yourself when you're trying to take care of everyone around you. Well, after my daughter got better, my son got sick, and then my husband starting throwing up. I've been trying to finish Halloween costumes. My house is a wreck. I'm feeling very ambivalent about my job, but reminding myself that I'm lucky to have work. 

I'm in one of those places where things aren't really bad per se, and I know they could be much worse, but I'm just not feeling motivated to do anything right now. I'm trying to tell myself that this journey isn't about losing weight, but instead about being healthy. I'm still working out, but my eating has been horrible. It seems like I have so far to go and I'll never get there. I've tried and failed so many times. What's different about this one?

This will pass. I'll move forward once again, but for now, it's just one of those weeks. I know you've all been there, too. So, how do you kick start your motivation? Where do you look when your mojo is hiding? How do  you keep going when you feel like your goal is so far away?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Weekly Challenge #43: Go Sugarless!

I can hardly belive it is already late October. Its time for crisp fall apples, winter squash, veggie soup and...Halloween Candy. Ugg.

Even the healthiest eaters sometimes struggle at this time of year. Everywhere you turn, there's another bowl of candy, a baked treat, and a "reason to celebrate." But we all know that stuff just isn't good for you. And once you start eating it, it can be pretty hard to stop.

This week, give yourself a jumpstart on the holidays by eliminating the refined sugar from your diet. No soda, no cookies, no ice cream and don't even think about that candy corn. But you weren't eating that stuff anyway, right?)

Natural sugars, of course, are an important part of a healthy diet, so keep eating your fruits and veggies as usual.

One week, no refined sugar. You CAN do it, and your body will love you for it!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ashley's Story: Taking Care of the Caretaker

Last weekend was great. My husband and I dropped off the kids with sitters and went on a double date with two of our best friends. It's one of the first dates (If not the first. It's too hard to remember what we've done in the past eight months!) we've been on since my son was born in February.

My daughter stayed with her grandmother overnight and when we went to pick her up on Sunday, we discovered that her voice was gone. She was so cute whispering to us and generally seemed to feel pretty good despite her missing voice. Things changed Sunday night when a low-grade fever started and really changed when she woke up in the middle of the night with a temp of 103.5 degrees.

My husband had a huge project deadline at work this week and so I took Monday-Wednesday off of work to take care of my croupy girl. It was nice to be with her. She's been needing some one-on-one time lately (my son went to daycare in hopes he wouldn't get sick, too). Monday, I had a low-grade fever, too. We spent the day laying on the couch together watching PBS Kids.

So what does all of this have to do with anything? I missed my walk on Monday and Wednesday and I missed bootcamp Monday night. By the time Wednesday came around, I was feeling beat down and horrible. I had been having caffeine to help me through the days, not drinking all my water, and not exercising. I found myself thinking to myself, "Ugh, I think I'm coming down with some. Something is seriously wrong with me."

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had been so busy taking care of my daughter and my family, that I had forgotten to take care of myself. It was so easy to slip into my old habits, but my old habits don't help. Instead, they make me feel like crap and I could hardly stand being around my family. I realized that not only are all of these habits good for my body, but they're so good for my mental health. I have to remember while I dole out care to everyone else, that I have to take care of the caretaker. It's one of those things that I really do know, but I often forget.

So, how do you remember to take care of yourself when things get hectic? Tell me in the comments. I would really love to know that I'm not in this journey alone!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekly Challenge #42: The Power of the Push Up

What do you do when your bootcamp coach says "time for pushups?" I'm willing to bet you groan, shoot a dirty look or, at a minimum roll your eyes. Admit it - you know its true!

Pushups aren't the easiest thing in the world to do. But they are worth every bit of effort you put into them. Pushups work SO many muscle groups. Primarily, they work your deltoids (shoulders), triceps (back of the upper arm) and pectorals (chest). As if that weren't great enough, they can also engage your rhomboids (shoulder blade area), Erector spinae(spine), Rotator cuff, Posterior Deltoids (shoulders), Serratus anterior (near your arm pits), Rectus abdominus (abs), Transverse Abdominus (abs), Gluteus maximus (glutes), and Quadriceps (quads).

That's a lot of bang for your exercise buck, so its no surprise they can be challenging!

This week's challenge: Discover the power of the pushup! How many pushups can you do in two minutes? Can you improve on that in one month? Do them whatever way works best for you - on your toes, on your knees or box style.

Challenge yourself to increase your strengh and fitness with pushups. Your body will love you for it!

Ashley's Story: Sweet Success!

Last week, I told you that Lorri Ann was doing my second set of measurements last Monday. I think I almost exploded through the roof of the McKinley pool house when she told me my numbers. I'm down 48.5 inches overall and down 18% body fat! IN SIX WEEKS!!! I knew that I was going to have some loss, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be that much.

Why was I so shocked? Because in the time I lost all those inches and all of that body fat, I had only lost five pounds. I had stopped getting on the scale because I was feeling so defeated by it. I'm glad I did, because my results showed up in my measurements, not the scale.

So, what's different this time around? Why is it working for me now when it hasn't before? There are a few reasons.

1. I have a workout buddy. At the end of August, my son's daycare provider (who has now become a good friend) asked if I wanted to start walking with her every morning. We walk about 45 minutes each weekday. Knowing that she's walking down to meet me each morning is the motivation I needed to get out of bed and get active first thing in the morning.

2. I saw what bad food choices were doing to someone I loved. Two people who I'm very close to have struggled with food for as long as I can remember. It's starting to show in their health and their lives. I expressed my worry recently and was met with a response that felt like a slap in the face - "Promise me you'll just be at peace when I'm gone." Unconsciously, this person was choosing her addiction to horrible foods over more time here with me and others she loves. I've decided to stop choosing food over the people who are important to me - my husband, my children, my friends, and myself.

3. I got sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I wanted to run around with my daughter. I wanted to be awake enough to enjoy time with my son. I wanted to feel good enough about myself to enjoy time with my husband. Some things in my life needed to change and the way I take care of myself was the biggest change that needed to be made.

So, I've been working at it. I will honestly admit that I haven't completely said goodbye to the drive-thrus or the ice cream. I don't do all the exercise that I could. But I'm doing what I can right now and trying to take small steps into a better, healthier lifestyle. This change is hard. I'm still a work in progress, but I just don't mind doing the work as much as I used to. In fact, I'm enjoying it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Weekly Challenge #41: The Daily Look

How many times a day do you look in the mirror? Be honest! Maybe not a close look, but at least a glance or reflection in a mirror? Probably a lot, right? And when you do see your reflection, how often do you think (or even say) something negative about yourself?

Negative self-talk is something most of us do without even thinking about it. Somewhere along the line, many of us become our own worst critics, far harder on ourselves than we would ever be of others.

There is an old saying: you teach others how to treat you. But really, when you say negative things to yourself about yourself, aren't you teaching yourself how to treat you? And if you say those things aloud in front of your child who looks like you, are you teaching her how to treat herself?

This week's challenge: The Daily Look. Every day this week, at least once a day, look in the mirror and say one nice thing about yourself. Sounds simple, maybe, but you might be surprised by how challenging this can be!

Remember, in order to love and care for others, you have to work on loving yourself. It all starts with you, and one simple look.

Ashley's Story: I'm Back

First of all, let me apologize for disappearing back at the beginning of the summer. Shortly after starting back to bootcamp, my left hip started to hurt to the point that I developed a nice limp. During my pregnancy, I had pubic symphysis diastasis, a condition where your pelvis starts to separate because of pressure. Based on my post partum symptoms, my docs were worried that I had torn cartilage in my hip. I was ordered to stop all exercise.

I had a MRI where they injected ink into my hip (ouch!) and everything came out clear. No torn cartilage, but also no diagnosis. So, off I went to physical therapy. My physical therapist was fabulous. She gave me several exercises to do each day and within a month, the pain that I had been living with since my son was born in February was gone. Now, I'm back.

I started back to bootcamp in late August. Lorri Ann redid my measurements and let's just say those few months off from exercise (where I was eating all of my emotions about having a bum hip) were not good for my waistline. Everything was bigger than it had been six weeks after giving birth. I threw myself a little pity party and then I said, "Enough!"

I've been walking every weekday morning for 45 minutes with friends and going to bootcamp once and sometimes twice a week. I've been trying to pay more attention to what goes into my body as well. Over the past month, I really had some "aha" moments about my issues with food and how I've been living my life. I'll share those with you more in a few weeks though.

My six-week measurements are coming up on Monday. I'm excited, nervous, and hopeful. I have been trying extra hard this week with the knowledge that I have to face the tape measure on Monday.

I have to tell you all that I just wrote that sentence as "I have been extra good..." and then erased it. I'm really trying to work on the way I think about food. I'm trying hard to stop labeling things as good or bad and start thinking of them as healthy or unhealthy. I've found that anytime I limit myself, I binge. So, I am working to make this a lifestyle change where I don't make anything off limits, but instead recognize why I'm important enough to put healthy food into my body. I really am tired of feeling bad, emotionally and physically, and I'm changing my toxic relationship with food.

P.S.-Even if all of that weren't already great enough, today I'm wearing a pair of jeans that I haven't fit in since before I got pregnant!