Sunday, March 30, 2014

No Regrets in Paris!

Well I am here, in Paris, in the City of Love, to run a Marathon next Sunday.  These last LESS THAN 48 hours since I arrived have been breathtakingly amazing.  I have visited the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Avenue Mouffetard, and today I will go to the Orsay Museum and Notre Dame again, because I didn't make it inside last time.  I will go to the Isle of Cite' this afternoon and have a cafe in the park like I told a friend of mine I would, and then tomorrow it is off to Versailles. 

42 Days ago I wrote a note in my "memo" section of my Iphone called "No Regrets in Paris" and it said "How I conduct myself for the next 40 days will determine whether I have regrets in Paris or not."

The reasoning was this.  In the past, I have been a classic self-sabotager.  In this new life, this new me, I am not.  In the past I have made goals and then NOT achieved them.  In this new life, this new me, I achieve them.

My question to myself 42 days ago, was basically asking was I going to be the old me or the new me going in to Paris?

I chose to be the new me.

I believe the reason I asked that of myself is that for some reason that day my confidence in myself was shaken.  I think I had gone a few days without running, which was OFF my training plan, and I gave myself an ultimatum. 

If that is what happened (and I'm speculating here because I really don't remember exactly why I took that moment 42 days ago to ask that particular question), then I may have used it as a decision point to switch back over to the new mindset, the mindset of health.  Because you see, even though I have developed habits of health incrementally and sustainably over time, occasionally an unhealthy habit, if I "feed" it, will gain strength and pop it's head into the picture again.  If I recognize it for what it is EARLY on, then I can focus on the HEALTHY HABIT again right away.

My training schedule was demanding, but common as marathon training schedules go.  I ramped up from a Half-Marathon distance to a Full-Marathon distance in about 10 weeks.  Looking back, that was one of the most difficult things I have done in my entire life.  But I did it.

NOT ONLY do I have NO regrets, I have already RUN the distance of 27.3 miles,  and I have remained TRUE to my eating plan such that I am a healthy BMI of 21-22. 

I truly have no regrets.  And I have no regrets IN Paris either.  Not only did I COME here with no regrets in how I have conducted myself to reach my goals, I am also CONTINUING to conduct myself in an authentic manner.  What does that mean?  Well I can tell you it is NOT a big list of "things I can't eat".  It IS a big list of "things I want to DO" - and consequently I DO eat, but my focus isn't on FOOD SEEKING BEHAVIOR unless it is a beautiful juicy yellow bell pepper and tomatoes which are two of the things I found yesterday.  My focus is not ON food here, it is ON LIVING.  And I am doing much of THAT!  =)

So reach for your dreams, all!  Never let them go, but DO remember in order to ACHIEVE them you need to DECIDE WHEN AND HOW.  Then GO FOR IT! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"I Could Never Do That" ... And the Paradigm of Control

I was reading a blog the other day which discussed the frustration a blogger had at the attitude of other people when she explains the program to them and they say "Oh I could never do that".

Those of us who are engaged in the process or already on the success side of the equation, who have found results in a relatively simple plan, HAVE been doing "that" and are ecstatic at what can come with the right tools, and many times we are so excited to share with people just HOW we did it, only to be met with "oh, no, that may have worked for you, but I could never do that" attitudes and we just kind of shake our heads and wonder what they think WILL work for them?

This even applies on the TIME part of the equation.  In the last 4 years since beginning my healthy plan I have been able to both reach my health and fitness goals but ALSO I have been able to accomplish organizing my life around what matters most to me.  My husband came home from a conventional workplace situation and now homeschools our 9 year old son full-time (and mountain bikes the rest of the time LOL!) and I have worked hard to establish a successful business, one that affords us, in a addition to a livelihood, an exponential amount of TIME.

TIME to do what is important to us.  This includes TIME to exercise and take care of ourselves.

You see, I run across people who look at my life NOW and say "well, of course you can both do what you do and maintain your healthy lifestyle, YOU have the TIME to do it!"

Why yes, yes we do.

I worked hard to MAKE the time, and 4 years ago I had neither health NOR time but I had a plan and the right tools.  Because I TOOK the time and MADE the time and kept true to my health goals, I now HAVE more time.  The time did not come FIRST.  THAT is what I'm trying to say.

"Oh but I don't have TIME to eat 6 times a day"
"Oh but I don't have TIME to go for a 30 minute walk every day"
"Oh but I don't have TIME to cook a Lean and Green meal at home"
"Oh but I don't have TIME to go to the gym"

Time is a fixed currency.  We all have the same amount of it each day. 

What are YOU investing YOUR time in? 

My husband and I got rid of Cable TV just about the same time that I launched my business, and let me tell you how much TIME that saved us?  You don't have TIME?  Shall I check your DVR recorded programs to see how much TIME you think you WILL have to watch programs that interest you?  You make time for that.  Do you plop down on the couch after the kids are in bed and flip aimlessly through the channels to find something to occupy you mind? 

Then you have time.

 What I'm saying is that sometimes our concepts create our reality in a self-fulfilling sort of way.  If you say you never HAVE time, then you will never HAVE time.  If you change that statement and say "I will TAKE the time and MAKE the time" then you will do that. 
First, I recognized and embraced the proper TOOLS to attain optimal health.  Three things were VITAL for this process of attaining and maintaining optimal health.

1)  With the correct INTAKE (the weight loss portion of our plan, then moving on to transition, then moving on to maintenance)
2)  The support and accountability of my HEALTH COACH and
3)  The bionetwork of support including Dr. A's Habits of Health to achieve a healthy  MIND in the process, I DOVE IN.  

 "I could never do what you do" regarding my Paris Marathon?

It was merely a continuation of the healthy mind I had been developing, and incrementally improving on adding the Habit of Healthy Motion (referenced also in Dr. A's Habits of Health).

Did you know I STARTED with the C25K Program?  The free podcasts?

It's called "Couch-Potato to 5K in 9 Weeks" and it literally takes you from a place of NOT BEING A RUNNER AT ALL to running a 5K in 9 weeks.  Yes, I started THERE.  Right THERE.  If you download the podcasts, you see that the first week instructions sound something like this (you listen to the instructions which are accompanied by music AS you run/walk):

"Walk for 5 minutes.....(5 minutes later).."You are about to run for 2 minutes.  Ready?  Go!"........(2 minutes later)....Great job!  You will now walk for 5 minutes.....(5 minutes later).."You are about to run for 2 more minutes.....Ready?  Go!"......."

BECAUSE I began that program, because I took the FIRST STEP, MY instructions theoretically now look like this:  "You are about to run for 7 hours.....ready?....GO!"

If I had never taken the time to begin, then I wouldn't be where I am today as regards my ability.  Same with my eating plan.  I started where everyone starts, buying the plan through my Health Coach, and reading the Plan Materials for the very first time.  Now my instructions and plan are the Maintenance portion, but it is still a plan, and it is the appropriate plan for what I have accomplished thus far in losing 149 pounds.  I remember the first time I put my cooked protein on a food scale so as to be compliant to the guide, and wondering "is this really necessary?"

YES!  Being faithful in the small things IS really necessary because only then can  you work into larger areas of responsibilities!  Had I lost 149 pounds overnight without submitting to the system and the plan, I would have been ill-equipped to be a good steward of my new healthy body!  I know we all want "it off" overnight.  But that very impatience and unrealistic attitude will be our UNDOING if we do not quell it and submit patiently to the process, and allow for the passage of time, being faithful in the SMALL things, like, YES, weighing our cooked protein.

It IS really necessary to master the essentials. 

We DO control what we put in our mouths.  We DO control how we spend out time.  We DO control our lives.  But some of us have CHOSEN to subject ourselves to outside influences and then start saying thing like "my job won't let me exercise" or "my job's breakroom won't let me stay on plan" and we then act as though we are NOT in control.  We are.  We are in control of REFRAMING the argument to view it in light of the truth that if WE are born in THIS country of opportunity, we ARE born FREE.  We are FREE to make our own decisions and no one has duct-taped you to a chair and is forcing those vending machine Munchos or Bugles or Peanut M&M's down your throat at gunpoint. 

If we are NOT in jail and NOT in the hospital, we DO have full control over what we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat.  We DO have full control over how much we move (exercise), when we move, and what we choose to participate in for our healthy movement.

So my question.  ARE you in control of your time?  ARE you in control of your actions?  ARE you in control of what you eat and how much you move?  If you feel you have relinquished control of ANY of these areas, then decide right NOW to take back control.  Do it today! 

DEFY the concept that you don't have enough "time" by getting up 1/2 hour earlier!  DEFY the concept that you can't exercise by USING that 1/2 hour to go for a WALK!  DEFY the concept that you don't have enough time to expand your business by TURNING OFF THE TUBE at night and instead making your calls or engaging in other activities to move your businesses forward, whatever your business is if you are self-employed!

You can because you can.

Some look at my trip today to Paris and think "Lucky Ducky, SHE gets to go to Paris for 11 nights, how did she luck into that?  Must be NICE"

I didn't LUCK into anything really, I took my CREATIVE juices and I CREATED THIS TRIP out of NOTHING.

Four years ago I possessed neither the TIME nor the FINANCIAL ABILITY nor the HEALTH ABILITY nor the FAMILY SITUATION ABILITY (my husband worked full-time and we had limited vacation) to be able to jet off to Paris for 11 nights and run a marathon.  But it was a spark.  So I started working on the HEALTH ABILITY by starting where I was AT (Class IV Super Obese walking with a cane) and took the next step of doing what I needed to do in order to achieve a HEALTHY BMI.   I became a healthy BMI.  In other words, I DID the WORK.

Three years ago I made the decision to PAY IT FORWARD and launched my business.   I started working on the financial ability by investing the time I could invest, and using the tools I had and the wonderful support system I had.  In other words, I DID the WORK.

One year ago I decided to take my health and fitness to the next level, and I began conditioning myself with running.

Six months ago I decided to purchase my ticket for the Paris Marathon because I NOW HAD, after FOUR YEARS, the FINANCIAL Ability, the Family Situation Ability, the Health Ability and the Fitness Ability to actually accomplish this dream.

So indeed, I guess I am a lucky duck.  To be born in a country where these things ARE possible.  To have been given support and encouragement along the way TO REACH my dreams.  Yes, I suppose I am a lucky duck.

And that lucky duck did a HECK of a lot of WORK to get the point where others could look at her and call it "lucky".

SO PLUG IN!  Engage the process!  Contact your Health Coach and get GOING on the FIRST STEP!!!  Who knows how "lucky" YOU'LL "get" to be!  =)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Packed For Paris On Sunday. And Re-Packed Today.

FOR MY PARIS MARATHON !!!!!To say I am fairly excited is an understatement.  To say I am SUPER-DUPER EXCITED is not.

ONE YEAR AGO I decided that April 2014 would be MY year to run my FIRST FULL MARATHON. 

I had been maintaining a decent health status at a BMI of 24-25, which represented about 130 pounds lost, for about a year at that point through this AMAZING comprehensive HEALTH PLAN that I LIVE DAILY, and I made the command decision to FOCUS ON OPTIMAL and even ULTRA health.

Was I happy where I was?  SURE!  I was not discontented with my health status.  I felt wonderful, amazing, never better, and THAT was an amazing place to make the DECISION to continue my health journey towards ULTRA health.

You see, in all of my past "diets" I had been awesome about losing weight.  I could do it alongside the best of them.  I had been a professional dieter.  I would lose GOBS of weight.  Then once I would hit my goal I would REGAIN gobs of weight.  Once I hit bottom again, and experienced deep emotional pain and conflict, I'd begin ANOTHER DIET.  Thing is, the commonality between all of those past attempts "to lose weight" never resulted in me KEEPING IT OFF (which is what I now call "Maintenance, not 'keeping it off').  Until THIS AMAZING HEALTH PLAN! 

The plan I utilized, which came with the FREE assistance of my most amazing Health Coach who offered that extra layer of support and accountability without being a nag, without chasing me (in fact, I have called HER every week for 3 years now!), was persistent about pointing me towards Healthy Habits so that I could incrementally work on adopting those Habits of Health as my own.

When my final health journey began in 2010, I was committed to HEALTH, not LOSING WEIGHT.  I was committed to TRANSITIONING TO MAINTENANCE, not "keeping IT off".  And I progressed in my health goals and did indeed attain a healthy BMI.  Then my focus remained on MAINTAINING OPTIMAL HEALTH which I did for an entire year.  THAT was the springboard from which my Paris Marathon journey began last April.

Here is the interesting thing I learned about myself last year in April.  I learned that LIFE WAS GOOD HERE (in health) and I was in a great place! 

So, you ask, if I wasn't in a place of emotional pain and conflict, then why in the world would I choose to continue?  What was my motivation?  After all, I was in a GREAT place! 

I wasn't disgusted with myself
I wasn't growing OUT of my wardrobe
I wasn't disliking what I saw in the mirror

My motivation did not spring, then, from what I wanted OUT of my life (pain, conflict, etc) but my motivation sprang from WHAT MOST AWESOME THINGS I COULD CONTINUE TO ACHIEVE as regards my health.

I was looking FORWARD to the GOOD things I would be bringing IN to my life as a result of moving towards ULTRA health!

And THAT, my friends, is the difference between having POSITIVE GOALS and NEGATIVE GOALS.

Positive goals are things I am looking FORWARD to.  Negative goals are things I want to GET AWAY FROM.

On all my previous "diets" I wanted to ultimately get away from MYSELF.  On THIS journey, however, I began to LOVE myself and CHERISH getting to know...ME!  I didn't seek mindlessness, I didn't seek numbing out, I didn't wish the process would speed up already and I could be "done with this thing" and off of it.  No.  I wanted to continue IN optimal health and even achieve ULTRA health.

Have I arrived?  NO!  And that is the beauty of it!  I never want "off this thing" because I never want "off this life!"  I LOVE my life.  It's good here, in health!  And in addition I have attained a even MORE healthy BMI of 21-22!

So, I began planning my trip.  And I made my whiteboard training schedule.  And I committed to following it.  And I did.

Now, on Thursday of this week, I will board an airplane to Paris.  I will stay on a houseboat at the base of the Eiffel Tower for 11 beautiful intriguing exciting nights.  I will walk and walk and walk.  I will sit by the River Seine with my journal and get to know myself EVEN MORE.  I will have an affair with the city of Paris.  On April 6th I will don my running gear and shoes, present myself at the starting line with my Race Bib # 61234, and I will run.  And run.  And run. 

This IS freedom.

Life IS good here.  Come join me in Health.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Don't "Banish" Your Inner Brat, Recruit Her/Him!

In my journey to optimal health I found a very VERY powerful and influential ally. 

My "inner brat".

Affectionately, I call her "Bratty" and I do so in love.  Because you see, I'm not afraid of her, nor do I reference her with any shame.  I'm proud of her.

Why you ask?

I mean, really, isn't SHE the source of all my impulsive off-plan eating decisions?  Isn't SHE the voice who tells me "come on, one little bite won't matter, you can always start over over tomorrow", and isn't SHE the one who invites skepticism in the plan even when and ESPECIALLY when I'm rockin' and rollin' and doing really really well?  Isn't SHE the one who sneaks in when I've had a perfectly ON PLAN day and blindsides me with a sucker punch just when I've almost made it to bed?


She isn't.

Not anymore, and I'll tell you why.

Because I recruited her.

Many of us prefer to attempt to lock our inner brat in a closet AFTER duct-taping her mouth closed and putting her in a little white jacket with no arms.  But you know what I found, when I indeed attempted that?

She'd pull a Houdini on me and appear out of NOWHERE and before I could even ask how in the Sam Blazes she got out she was already working her devious plans to sabotage me and my efforts.

SO.  I got this WILD idea.  I know my inner brat is strong.  I know she is cunning.  I know she usually gets what she wants.

I harnessed her strengths and thereby MINIMIZED her negative impact on my journey.

I know what you are asking, "HOW HOW HOW HOW!!!!!"  I know you are thinking "Man, if I could do that I'd be SET!"

And you would.

I'm not saying it is easy and I'm not saying it is a walk in the park and I'm not saying it is the same procedure for everyone.  First step, though, is that you CAN'T ignore her or put her in a corner.  You need to get to KNOW her.  LEARN what she likes.  Find out what she's after.  Find out what drives her.  Because in this knowledge lies your blueprint on how to absolutely bring her over from the "dark side" to YOUR side.

OK so how did I do it SPECIFICALLY?  I'm being brutally honest here, and I'll tell you that my inner brat likes shiny things.  Super shiny things.  Sparkly things.  Beautiful things.  Yes, she does.  SO, all I had to do is find something that she wanted MORE than she wanted the off-plan foods and off-plan behaviors.

For me, this involved shine.  A whole lot of shine.  When I dropped below 200 pounds (I started at 272) I bought myself a Sterling Silver Tiffany Charm Bracelet with a single charm on it.  I wore it.  Alot.

And I told my inner brat that for every 10 pounds WE lost (my inner brat responds to numbers, by the way, which I don't AGREE with, I'm all for attaining and maintaining optimal health but on this my inner brat and I disagree occasionally), for every 10 pounds, we would purchase another Tiffany Charm to go on our beautiful and SHINY (did I mention shiny?) Tiffany Charm Bracelet.

She responded favorable to that notion.  Any time she would be distracted by a shiny piece of cake or shiny glass of red wine (oh how that red wine sparkles in the glass in the sunlight....I digress) she would be DRAWN to the shine UNTIL I got out my charm bracelet and dangled in in front of her.

Soon enough she would take her focus OFF of the off-plan items of food or drink and she would put her focus ON the NEXT CHARM.  Oh yes, I'd browse the catalog online and pick out my NEXT CHARM every 10 pounds.  In this way she had a distraction.  She was busy picking out the NEXT CHARM.  She was too busy looking BEYOND the sparkly wine to even NOTICE the sparkly wine anymore.  She was looking at the CHARM.  She even began to whisper to me things like "Oh come on, you, put that corkscrew away, silly silly girl WE WANT THE CHARM!"  Yes, I'm sure she said that.  I'm sure it was NOT audible, lest you think I talk to MYSELF ha ha I would never do that...heh heh..heh..

OK yes I do occasionally talk to myself, er, her, uh, I guess it's the same thing.

The point of this story is that if you STOP ignoring her and find out what she truly wants MORE than the "yummy off plan food", if you treat her with respect and kindness, remember SHE IS A PART OF YOU, then you can bring her on board with your health goals.

In a way, my Paris trip is testament to this power.  You see, my inner brat also loves to travel.  She also has always wanted to see Paris.  In this way I have kept her ON TASK through my transition and maintenance, I have kept her ON TASK and aiding me through my long runs and even my 27.3 miler last week (yes, I ran a "trial run" marathon in anticipation of running my ACTUAL marathon).   I have grown to love her, and I stopped shaming her YEARS ago.  She is me, I am her, and I'm not about to put part of me in a corner out of shame. 

I hope this made some practical sense.  It made sense to me!  =)

I am a Free Certified Health Coach and would love to assist you on your journey to optimal health!  Please contact me at and let's get going on YOUR health!

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Review of an Awesome Book and the Applications for My Life

I received a book a few days ago that someone recommended me to read, called Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. These are the best-selling Authors of another book, Crucial Conversations which I have yet to read but I think it is next!

In the "Influencer" book, there are THREE areas where influencers operate with great skill:

"1) Focus and Measure: Influencers are crystal clear about the result they are trying to achieve and are zealous about measuring it.
2) Find Vital Behaviors: Influencers focus on high-leverage behaviors that drive results. More specifically, they focus on the two or three vital actions that produce the greatest amount of change.
3) Engage all six sources of influence: Influencers break from the pack by overdetermining change. Where most of us apply a favorite tool or two to our important challenges, influencers identify all of the varied forces that are shaping the behavior they want to change and then get them working FOR rather than AGAINST them. And now for the really good news. According to our research, by getting six different sources of influence to work in their favor, influencers increase their odds of success tenfold."

This is a pretty awesome book so far! I realize that I have been the MAJOR INFLUENCER of MY OWN BEHAVIOR during this process of getting healthy! I've employed ALL THREE of the areas discussed above! Without even knowing I was doing anything formal LOL!

Because if you think about it, the FIRST PERSON we need to influence in order to CHANGE OUR OWN LIVES is......OURSELVES. And I know by experience I was a tough nut to crack.

Take #1: I have always said we need to be CRYSTAL CLEAR about where we are HEADED in this process of getting healthy. Not some vague ambition about "I wanna lose weight...I really really wanna lose weight.." which is so uninspiring to me I want to run away when I hear it. No. Crystal clear on the POSITIVE OUTCOME we want to achieve. Not what we want to LOSE. What we want to GAIN. Specifics, people, SPECIFICS. Crystal clarity means you can see the intricate detail. Even "to get healthy" is pretty vague, so I had to go about defining EXACTLY what that meant FOR ME. WHAT did "getting healthy" mean? So I did that.

Then #2: Finding vital behaviors. I knew that if I didn't absolutely retool and redirect a few vital behaviors which were sending me in the WRONG direction I would never achieve lasting change. Therefore I INTRODUCED Habits of Health in to my life. I made them SO ROUTINE in my life as to repeat them DAILY with ease. Incremental, sustainable changes that I could bring INTO my life. I didn't focus on the behaviors I wanted OUT of my life, those habits of disease, but I focused on BRINGING IN habits of HEALTH which necessarily edged out the habits of disease because the two habits could not exist simultaneously in my life.

Finally, #3: The six sources they refer to as they expand this concept are:

*Personal Motivation
*Personal Ability
*Social Motivation
*Social Ability
*Structural Motivation
*Structural Ability

I'll break these down for you:
*Personal Motivation = Do I ENJOY the process of getting healthy?
*Personal Ability = Can I physically do what I want to do?
*Social Motivation = do others encourage me to enact the wrong behaviors?
*Social Ability = Do others encourage me to success?
*Structural Motivation = Am I surrounding myself with "things" that are enabling my performance, or am I surrounding myself with "things" that are disabling performance? Ask are the things I surround myself with, or the things I reward myself with encouraging success or encouraging behaviors that will sabotage my success?
*Structural Ability = "environment" can either enable or disable performance. To examine this source, ask does my environment enable me for success?

One of the biggest hindrances I found in both my own journey and helping others is #1, personal motivation. Do I enjoy the process of getting healthy?

This is an absolutely foundational question to answer for ourselves. Because if we allow ourselves to continue viewing this process as one big bummer, one big restriction, one big deprivation, then it will ABSOLUTELY remain that for us and we won't even have an opportunity or desire to establish the other 5 sources to harness them for success.

We won't want to. Why do something we don't want to do? After all, we live in a free country, right? We don't LIKE being uncomfortable. We don't LIKE doing things we perceive as CHORES. BUMMERS. KILL-JOYS. And let's face it, we can only hold our breath (another unpleasant task) for SO LONG before we have to burst out of the water and get some oxygen. If our oxygen is yummy nummy food, then that is exactly what we will reach for in SPADES when we come up for air. If our oxygen is AWESOME HEALTH then we will continue doing the behaviors that will enable us to REMAIN in optimal health once we GET there.

So, the FIRST step in utilizing all 6 sources of inspiration/motivation on your journey to health is to GET HAPPY in the PROCESS. Make PEACE with your limitations and find JOY in your journey.

No Eyores here is what I'm sayin'. Can you hear him now, in his Eyore voice? "Ho-hum, another bummer day doing another bummer diet, life is full of disappointment and deprivation..."

Wow this blog has run long but I am just excited about what I'm learning and how I can apply it to my journey! I may edit later and add thoughts, but my brain is full and no more words will come out right now LOL.

Rinse and Repeat!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Well I did it. The Pre-Marathon Marathon.

On Saturday I made the decision that since I was 3 weeks out from participating in the Paris Marathon in Paris, France on April 6th, I was keen on making sure I could do the following:

1)  Complete the distance
2)  Complete the distance in under 8 hours

I wanted to be sure that I was bringing the proper fuel and get an idea of what my pace needed to be in order to NOT get "swept" from the race course.  Getting "swept" means that you are unable to stay in FRONT of those officials whose job it is to slowly drive the "sweep vehicle" along the course based on an 8 hour finish time.  They pick up those participants who are BEHIND the 8 hour finish time, since those participants will be physically unable to finish the race in the time allotted.  In a large city such as Paris the race organizers only have SO long to block off the roads, and they MUST re-open them on schedule.  Hence, the time limit.

Part of my mental preparations for this marathon have been truly BELIEVING that I can participate in and finish the Paris Marathon.  So this was a big deal for me to do a "trial run".

Also, I remember back in 2007 when I trained for a Half Marathon, the "Half-Marathon Training Book" told me that if I trained up to 10 miles I could run 13.1.  So, I did what the book told me, and I trained up to 10 miles.  Then I began my race, the Boulder Backroads Half Marathon.  What I found out right about mile 10 was that if you trained up to 10 miles, you could run......10 miles.  I ended up bonking shortly after passing the 10-mile marker, and walked the rest of the way.

SO.  For all of these reasons I made the decision to do a "trial run" literally for my Marathon. 

I went to bed at 7:00 pm on Saturday night, and woke up at 3:30 am on Sunday.  I took 1/2 hour to eat breakfast (Medifast Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, best fuel ever) check e-mail, get dressed, and stretch a little.

At 4:00 am I set up my Strava Iphone running application and pressed "record".

The music I decided to listen to on my first few hours was from IHeartRadio and it was an "All Choral, All the Time" station.  I can't even describe adequately how it felt to run under the black sky twinkling with stars, the moon beginning to work it's way to setting, and the entire neighborhood being asleep as I silently padded my way around the lamp-lit streets.

The first 3.5 hours were fun and games LOL.  The second 3.5 hours were mind blowingly difficult.  Now, prior to yesterday, I had indeed run 20 miles because the Marathon Training books told me that if I could run 20 miles I could run 26.2 on race day.  Because of my prior experience with this type of advice I didn't believe them.  But in this case, it was true.  I COULD run 26.2 miles.  Well, I could FINISH 26.2 miles within 8 hours, let's put it THAT way. 

I ended up running until mile 16, walking from mile 16-18, and running the last 9.3 miles.  You see, I completed not 26.2 miles (marathon distance) but 27.3 miles.  WHY?  Well that is a funny story but basically when I did the 20 miles a few weeks ago I ran to 20.6 miles and then my tracking application on my Iphone (Strava), whose information I was USING the whole time and whose display SAID 20.6 when I stopped the run, actually RECORDED 19.9 miles on my data feed when it processed my run!  Imagine, going for the big 20, GETTING there according to GPS, and then the program TAKING 0.7 miles away for no good reason whatsoever!  I was NOT going to be bitten twice on that one, and I truly wanted at least 26.2 miles to be recorded on my permanent feed so I ran an extra 1.2 miles to make sure it gave me credit for at least the 26.2.  It actually recorded 27.3 miles so I'm proud of that also.

Ultimately, how did I FEEL?

Amazing.  Amazing and amazing.  Today I have to admit is more amazing feeling than yesterday.  Yesterday I got home, took a very short warm bath (NOT aren't supposed to take a hot bath after a long run because it increases the lactic acid production), changed into my comfy sweats, took two ibuprophen, drank some powerade zero, ate 2 cups of non-fat cottage cheese and took a 2 hour nap after stretching.  Then I spent the afternoon walking around a local Railroad Theme Park we have in Scottsdale with my family.  Slowly walking that is. 

And I really feel good.  I feel like I accomplished exactly what I wanted to accomplish, running a marathon.

Now my Paris Marathon will be a "fun run" that I can go to and enjoy without the pressure of "Will I get injured?  Will I finish?  What if something happens and they don't accept my paperwork and I can't participate?"  If any of that happens, no biggie!  I'm there, I'm enjoying Paris, I have already run a marathon (marathon +) and all is good! 

I have planned for any contingency, and run my first marathon.  Granted, it wasn't an "official" marathon, it was more of a private event.  A solo event.  An individual time trial, if you will.  =)

How does this fit into my continuing goals of maintaining optimal health?  Well here's the fun part.  Because our program isn't about a "goal weight" but about FIRST attaining a HEALTHY weight, and then moving to Optimal Health, and then moving to Ultra Health, THAT is my roadmap.

I have not "arrived".  I will not rest on any perceived "laurels" I have achieved and say "Finished!  Done!  Now get me OFF this thing!"

No.  For me, I have attained optimal health and maintained it for some time.  I am now adjusting my sites (and have been for awhile now) to "attaining and maintaining ULTRA health".  And I am SO excited about that process I LEAP out of bed in the morning EXCITED to continue the process of BECOMING. 

Becoming that person I always knew I could be.  That person I yearned to be.  That person that I KNEW was inside me waiting to get out.

I believe that much of my angst (sadness, madness, you name it) I felt while obese was simply my insides screaming that my outsides WEREN'T ME.  And that conflict worked itself out in ways that made me MISERABLE.  I KNEW that I wanted to be authentic inside and out.  I KNEW that I was wearing a fat suit (of my own making) and that the "me" I was presenting visibly to the world was NOT in accordance with my deeply held values of living our best life, of living up to our God-given potential, heck, of even TAKING CARE of and being a good STEWARD of this gift-of-a-body that we have been given to take care of.  I was doing NONE of that at 272 pounds Super Class IV Obese and walking with a cane.

Now, at 122, no cane, running marathon(s), enjoying life, modeling health for myself, my family and my community, I can truly say that EVERY day is simply "The Best Day of My Life!"  (Lyrics Below).  And yes, this song IS my ringtone.  

I had a dream so big and loud
I jumped so high I touched the clouds
I stretched my hands out to the sky
We danced with monsters through the night
I'm never gonna look back
Woah never gonna give it up
No, please don't wake me now
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ii-fe
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ii-fe
who oo-ooo-oo cares about everything now
I howled at the moon with friends
And then the sun came crashing in
But all the possibilities
No limits just epiphanies
I'm never gonna look back
Woah, never gonna give it up
No, just don't wake me now
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ii-fe
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ii-fe
I hear it calling outside my window
I feel it in my soul (soul)
The stars were burning so bright
The sun was out 'til midnight
I say we lose control (control)
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ii-fe
This is gonna be the best day of my life
My li-i-i-i-i-ii-fe
This is gonna be, this is gonna be, this is gonna be
The best day of my life
Everything is looking up, everybody up now
This is gonna be the best day of my l-ii-fe
My li-i-i-i-i-ii-fe

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Every Morning I Make a New Decision....

Having been successful at losing almost 150 pounds and also maintaining a healthy weight now for 2 years, people ask me "how did you do it" and they also ask me "is maintenance easier?"

The basic thing I can tell you is that each morning I wake up and I make a fundamental decision to live THIS DAY as a fit and healthy person.

Every.  Day.

This isn't a "once and for all and for always" decision that I made 4 years ago with a grand proclamation of "I will from this day on forever live as a fit and healthy person...." no.  Those types of proclamations don't tend to work so well for me.  The only one that has was my decision to get married (and sometimes that feels like a daily decision also LOL!).

I DID however, decide WHO IT IS I wanted to be.  A fit and healthy person.  And then every morning I make the decision to conduct myself today in the same way as a fit and healthy person would conduct themselves.

And guess what?  Utilizing the tools that TSFL had to offer me, I was able to make my dream happen.  One day at a time.  Waking up and looking in the mirror and saying "Ok Self, you have some options today.  How shall you live?  As a Class IV Super-Obese person?  Or as a Fit and Health person?"

And I would make my decision for the day and that was that for 24 hours.

It helped to make that fundamental choice first thing in the morning, because that way I didn't have to fret over 247 more food and drink and activity choices that would have occurred that day.  I just made the ONE choice first thing in the morning, and when those 247 other situations presented themselves I always did what a fit and healthy person would do instead of agonize over whether I "should" or "shouldn't" eat or drink this or that.  I would just think "What would a fit and health person do?" and then I would do THAT.

I didn't think "What would a person on a diet do?"  Because THAT is not the identity I wanted to adopt, either temporarily OR permanently!  I already felt like I had been a lifelong "dieter" and that is a weary life-sucking place to be ALL of the TIME. 

No.  I decided to be a "fit and healthy" person.  I enjoy being one now, and every morning, EVERY MORNING I still wake up and say "who do you want to be today?  How do you want to live today?" and I make the decision DAILY to be and to live like a fit and healthy person.

Even in maintenance.  So it isn't a question of "is it easier".  It is neither easier or harder.  I am STILL on an eating plan of my own choosing, and I am STILL asking myself that question, so in my view nothing has really changed from the 5&1.  My goal was "to attain and maintain a healthy weight" and I just so happen to be in the maintenance part of that, but it doesn't change the fact that I am on a regimented eating plan. 

So if you are reading this, and holding your breath waiting for the day you will be "done with this process" I implore  you to re-evaluate your motivations, and your goals.  Because if your goal is "to lose weight" and that is all, then you will ALWAYS have weight to lose.  It's called the "oscillating pattern of lose-gain-repent-repeat".  But if you listen to Dr. A in Dr. A's Habits if Health, if you incrementally adopt those habits as your own, if you make the decision to pursue OPTIMAL HEALTH and even ULTRA HEALTH instead of making this a "weight-loss diet" look out, your life is about to change in ways you haven't even DREAMED of yet.

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I can't even relate to the old "me!" anymore!

I have spent some time reading my blogs from 2007.  These were the blogs from my first time on plan.  The time I lost 140 pounds in 14 months and felt GREAT, but I hadn't adopted healthy habits as my own.  I was in "diet" mode.  I was totally pumped, and maintaining my self-discipline through sheer will and motivation in order "to lose weight".

Reading those blogs now made it sound like a complete stranger wrote them.  My life is so different now, my mentality is so different now.

You see, I learned (by gaining it all back) that if my focus was ONLY on LOSING THE WEIGHT then once that task was done, I couldn't sustain my "motivation" in order to KEEP it off.  Sheer white-knuckle will-power will only get us so far, and then we have to come up for air.  We can only hold our breath for so long.

But this last journey, the one I began 4 years ago in 2010 with a coach and learning the habits of health, THIS is the journey where I actually CHANGED my oxygen, I CHANGED who I was, and I FOCUSED on attaining and maintaining OPTIMAL HEALTH.

So, so so so SO different.  SUCH a different process.  SUCH a different result.  "Did you lose the weight?" people ask....

No.  I BECAME OPTIMALLY HEALTHY and I am moving in to ULTRA HEALTH.  Big big difference. 

"Oh, so you DIDN'T lose the weight?"

Again, I say NO.  I didn't LOSE anything.  I CREATED health in my life.  I GAINED optimal health.  I'm absolutely DONE with talking about weight loss.  It is a negative goal.  It is something people want OUT of their lives.  I'm in to talking about what I want IN my life.  What I want to CREATE with this process of getting healthy.

"Well then what's the point of 'dieting'?"

I don't diet.  This last journey was NOT a diet.  It was an eating plan that I used to attain a healthy weight.  Because when you are after Optimal Health, and you are overweight or obese, the very FIRST STEP is getting to a healthy weight.  Unless you smoke, and then quitting smoking is actually the first step, THEN attaining a healthy weight.

But getting to a healthy BMI is the FIRST STEP in the process of attaining and maintaining optimal health!  So it isn't a "weight loss diet" and THIS is the key difference.  It may sound like tricky words and a fancy way of saying the same thing, but it truly at its CORE isn't.  And I am more than confident that I will MAINTAIN OPTIMAL HEALTH.

Do you see what I said?  I didn't say I would "keep it off".  I said I would "maintain optimal health".  Again, saying I'll "keep it off" puts the focus BACK on the weight I wanted to LOSE, and the fact that I wanted it GONE FOR GOOD.  Again, NEGATIVE GOAL.  Non-sustainable.

I am ALL about what AWESOME things I am bringing IN to my life as a result of getting healthy.  I'm NOT about what I want to KEEP OUT of my life or ESCAPE from. 

See the difference?

It makes all the difference in the world to me.  One is fear based.  One is hope based. 

"Keeping it off" is fear based.  It implies that I might gain back what I worked so hard to get out of my life. 

"Maintaining optimal health" is hope based.  It speaks of potential and promise and health.  All the things I want to keep IN my life.

People ask me what the difference is this time as opposed to last time.  The difference is my mindset.  So far I used the "same" eating plan.  Because it worked to achieve my goal.  But my goals were very different.  First time = lose weight
Second time = gain health

Thank you TSFL for giving me ALL the tools I needed to Gain Health.  I am living proof that anyone CAN do this.

My life has changed in very practical ways, some of which I list below.  All because I chose to attain and maintain optimal health.

FROM:  Size 26 Women's Stretch Jeans 
TO:  Size 2 Tommy Hilfigger, Levi's, and Polo Jeans

FROM:  Size 24W Dresses from Dress Barn, Catherine's, and Lane Bryant
TO:  Size 2 Dresses from Nordstrom's

FROM:  Walking with a cane because my knees hurt so bad
TO:  Running a Marathon

FROM:  Getting stuck in the turnstiles at Disneyland
TO:  Slipping through the turnstiles sideways without even engaging the metal bar

FROM:  Salespeople avoiding my gaze
TO:  Salespeople greeting me right when I walk through the door

FROM:  Having 13 sizes of clothing in my closet ranging from 2-26
TO:  Having everything in my closet fit, and only having 2-4's hanging in my closet.

Life is good in health.  Get here as fast as you can!  =)

Rinse and Repeat!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What a fun day! RG3-Warner-Fitzgerald-Urlacher-Bledsoe

Yesterday was one of the best days of my life so far!  I say so far because it seems like almost EVERY day becomes my BEST day when I am in control and living the life I want to live! 

But a little about YESTERDAY.  If you are at ALL in to football, then you will recognize these names...

RG3 (Robert Griffin III), Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Urlacher, Bledsoe, Ponder, Rivers, Smith, Irvin

These are the peeps who were at Kurt Warner's Foundations' Charity Fundraiser Day yesterday (see photo below, I did not take the picture but I was standing next to the man who did!), the Extreme Football Experience which involved 8 Flag Football Teams, each with a celebrity quarterbacking the team.  I was a volunteer because I have a special place in my heart for both the Warner family AND the work that they do with their Charitable Foundation called First Things First ( .

They took our family on my son's "Make-a-Wish" trip in 2009 to Disneyworld and I got to spend some time with them for a week.  I was at my heaviest.  Brenda Warner is the one who told me "It's never too late to become the person we 'might have' been" and she is one of my real-life inspirations and heroes.

Here's the thing.   Four and a half years ago I was huffing and puffing walking around Disneyworld.  It was torture.  I was hot and miserable.  I got stuck in the turnstiles and they had to let me through the stroller gate.  I needed a seat belt extender on the plane coming back (but not GOING, which showed me I was STILL EXPANDING by the week!).   I had a BMI approaching 50.

Yesterday at the fundraiser I was assigned as the "shadow" to the professional photographer.  This meant that for about 6 hours it was my job to run around the field with him with a clipboard so I could keep track of who he had photographed and who he still NEEDED to photograph in order that all teams would have lots of action shots to document the day.  I had my FitBit on, and I logged 9 miles yesterday of walking/running.  I never broke a sweat.  I wasn't huffing and puffing.  I was in the sun all day long, with a hat, sunscreen (yes I re-applied every 2 hours), appropriate long sleeved but very light activewear, my Asics running shoes (new pair had to break in before the Marathon next month), and my sunglasses. 

And I felt like a million bucks.  Fit and healthy.

My question to you:  Where do you want to be eventually?  Are you willing to sacrifice a few things NOW for what you want eventually?  Or are you still stuck in the oscillating pattern of lose-gain-repent-repeat because you've never deliberately gone about changing your WANTS?

What do YOU want?

Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Old Journal Entries.....

I got out my old journals from my newly married days 20 years ago, and reading them was quite difficult because I was in SUCH a state of UNHEALTH both in body and mind (I believe I had obesity-related depression) and I KNEW it.  I was already over 200 pounds ( 5 foot 3), at age 26.  I ended up reading about 4 of my old journals, because as was typical back then I would buy a new journal, write in it for a few days or a few weeks, and then abandon the effort.  The first few days or few weeks would be filled with some proclamation involving getting healthy and losing weight.  Then the pages would taper off in to food logs, weight logs, exercise logs, and then all the yummy restaurants I was visiting and what I ordered there.  Then a few more pages of self-loathing, depression and then the rest of the journal would be blank.

It was actually rather painful but also enlightening being the NEW me, reading what the OLD me was going through, because I just wanted to help her!  I just wanted to tell her "I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH, I HAVE BEEN THERE MYSELF" and wouldn't that have been ironic LOL!

But seriously, I DID know what she was going through.  I DID live that experience.  I DID come out the other side and find peace.  Finally.  Peace about who I am.

Here is a juxtaposition of two journal entries made by the same person (me), one was written 18 years ago and the other was written a week ago. 

18 years ago: 

"Why do I seem to be slipping back into the mindset of being uncontrollable in my diet ? Like it's too much effort?  Dear Lord, help me, be my strength, help me!  Along with that mindset comes an incredible sense of a loss of self-worth.  It really hurts!  Like being numb and selfish, and having an intense loathing of myself.  Where does it come from?  Why does it continue to haunt me?  I know not, but sometimes I don't feel anything.  I feel like my mind is filled with mush and I am simply unable to focus, to concentrate, to collect my thoughts, to function.  Today, this week, has been one of those weeks.  It's terrible.  How much more will Dave (husband, then and now) put up with?  I feel like I'm a constant let-down to him and that compounds the feelings of hatred I have for myself."

(A sidenote here to the Blog Reader, although this was written 18 years ago, these feelings stayed with me and were consistent, as was my unhealthy body, up until 4 years ago when I began TSFL)

Last week:

"Today I watched in interview with Bono about what his ideas of the Meaning of Life was.  His answer?  Love.  Reaching our Full Potential individually, our true God-given potential, and that God, the God of the universe, is mind blowingly interested in the details of our lives.  Hope.  Optimism.  Love.  These are the things he had as a boy and continued to cultivate through his incredibly inspiring life.  He said he is humbled and blessed.  I feel like Bono.  In the last four years I have been discovering the me I always knew I "could have been".  I am she.  She is me.  And it has absolutely been the ride of my life.  In 28 Days, 4 weeks from tonight, I will be on my way to Paris France to run a marathon.  ME.    Life is grand.  It boils down to choices, really.  Daily choices and daily actions which, over time, show us what we are capable of.  If we accept that we are insignificant and worthless, our actions will become self-fulfilling prophecies as we seek to actively undermine our worth every single day, propagating the lie.  If, however, we embrace the truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, if we embrace the knowledge that God truly made each one of us special, if we act on that in love and hope first towards ourselves, we can eventually help others see THEIR value and worth on this world stage.  It starts and ends with.....LOVE."

The tenor of the two entries are diametrically opposite of each other.  And both are accurate to my feelings at the time they were written.

I have realized who I am.  As the Lego Movie highlights, "I am The Special".  Each one of us is The Special.  Each one of us has been uniquely cast PERFECTLY into the role of....OURSELVES.  We each have a heroic story to tell with our lives.  We can each do amazing things.  If we believe we can.

It isn't just gobbledy-gook.  If Morgan Freeman as the voice of Lego Vitruvius says it, it HAS to be true.  =)

We are, each one of us, THE SPECIAL.  We just need to step into that truth and LIVE it every day, with each one of our choices.

Believe it.

Rinse and Repeat!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Honing Our Abilities of Tying Actions to Consequences....

I lived there for much of my childhood, indeed my adult life also.  Where did I live?


My address was "1, Bite Won't Matter Street" which was on the corner of Instant Gratification Way.

I don't live there anymore.

When did I move?  I moved away from there 4 years ago, although I do admit to occasionally finding myself back there, you know when you drive on autopilot and find yourself at your OLD house?  Yes, sometimes I do that too with my journey.

But now I live in a different place.  I call a different place home.

So enough analogy, let's get down to what I am even talking about.

When I had what I will call "fat brain" I rarely tied my daily actions to long-term consequences.  I lacked foresight, by choice, because frankly I liked food too much to get pull my head out of the sand and take a good hard look at where my choices were taking me.

Then I complained about where my choices HAD taken me.  Oh, was I a good complainer.  I complained about how I didn't have enough TIME to do anything about my health (and then refused to MAKE or TAKE the time).  I complained about how EXPENSIVE eating healthy ALL THE TIME was (myth).  I complained about how my feet hurt from plantar fasciitis, and how my back hurt from being compressed with 140 extra pounds that I didn't need.  I complained about how I felt in the morning when I woke up, physically.  I was usually disappointed in myself upon waking, feeling guilty for letting yet another day pass by where I wasn't doing anything to help my health. 

That was a dark time in my life.  From age 23 to age 40 are really just a conglomeration of feeling sorry for myself.

What changed? 

I decided that I was going to fight for ME.  I decided that I wasn't going to let fate or genes or the part of me that felt like a failure determine the direction of my life ANY MORE.  I took control.  I took the pen and decided to write and alternate storyline.  After all, I'm the author of my story, right?

Here's how my story looks now, since I got hold of that pen:

*I make a living helping other people create health in their lives
*I work from home and have time to spend with my family
*I am "fit as a fiddle" so says my Mayo Clinic Cardiologist who recently signed a "permission slip" of sorts for the Marathon I'm running in 4 weeks
*I have a closet full of clothes that FIT and nothing that does NOT for the first time in my entire life
*I greet the day with a smile and a joyful heart full of gratitude
*I smile at strangers

Learning to tie my daily actions to long-term consequences was a key part of the change that had to take place in my life.  And this has had benefits not only in my physical health, but also my financial health and my emotional health and even my spiritual health!  It is a great skill to develop, I highly recommend it.

How do you develop it?

Well, take any action or habit that you currently have.  Whether you love it or hate it.  Now, think "what will my life be like if I repeat this action daily for the next 2 weeks, 2 years, 5 years, etc?"

Do you like the "results" of examining that habit?  Then keep the habit!  It is a good one!  Does your heart cry "NOOOOOO!" when you telescope a particular habit out to next week or next year?  Then look at changing that habit, it isn't doing you any good.

And always remember, as Robin Sharma says, "Seemingly small improvements, practiced daily, produce stunning results over time" and conversely, "Seemingly small neglects, practiced daily, produce tragic results over time".

My question to YOU and to ME is simply this:  "Do I want stunning results or tragic results?"

I think the answer is pretty clear.   I choose stunning.

When people ask me "how long did it take you" with my health journey, my new answer is "one day at a time".

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I received my FitBit Force on Thursday of last week and after charging it at 5pm I set about logging steps.  I did manage to get in 5,000 steps by the time I went to sleep, and then logged over 24,000 steps the next day, Friday.  I was SO PLEASED with myself!  Tickled actually! 

But then I activated the "sleep activity tracking" feature last night for the first time.


Danger Will Rogers! 

It is a reminder to me that there is MORE to living a life in Optimal and Ultra health than SIMPLY losing close to 150 pounds, maintaining a healthy BMI long-term, and (for me) running a Marathon (I have trained up to and including 20 miles and am running the Paris Marathon on April first full marathon event EVER!)


The recommended sleep for a woman of my age is 6-8 hours. 

When my fitbit synched with my computer this morning I had the baseline reading which has, let's say, STRONGLY ENCOURAGED me to put a laser focus on the Healthy Habit of Sleep as my next Habit of Health to work on.

It told me what I think I instinctively knew, that I need to change my ways.

For ALL of last night in bed, I ended up with a TOTAL SLEEP TIME of, (are you ready for this?)....

1 hour and 58 minutes.


Apparently FitBit told me I averaged a 40% efficiency, and was very restless 9 separate times last night. 

ONE HOUR AND 58 MINUTES of restorative sleep!  Oh man.  I am getting right into my book and reading the "Healthy Sleep" chapter.  Today.  I am going to make some REAL changes.

Starting today.

Rinse and Repeat!