Monday, November 17, 2014

What's your Challenge?

So I know most of my blog posts tend to be about personal discovery, how to deal with issues and things I learn the along the way. This one is a bit different, but still has the same theme. As many of you know, I’ve been on a journey to embrace a healthier lifestyle. I was brought up as the fast food queen and didn’t have to work at being thin. I did do a lot of physical activity, but it just was for fun (i.e. dance, basketball, track, cheerleading, etc.)  I never saw it as work or helping my body.

Once I got to grad school, I started to feel and see the effects of my not-so-great choices. I was never and have never really struggled with weight (I wasn’t happy with it, but it wasn’t a true struggle), but I did struggle with fatigue, strength and not being able to do physical things. I struggled to walk up stairs, struggled to breathe in dance classes, struggled to be able to balance working a waitressing job, an internship and grad school from a purely physical standpoint. I had trouble getting out of bed and had trouble not wanting several naps throughout the day.

While a goal of being a professional dancer/cheerleader fueled the fire, I decided to make the change to get in shape and be healthier. I can tell you, it was TOUGH to navigate what exercises to do and when, what things were good to eat and how often and when to eat them. I learned that while there are overall trends, you really have to do what is good for your body. You’ll FEEL it. Sometimes that means indulging in some high calorie foods. Sometimes that means taking a break and sleeping in. Those aren’t necessarily sound like they are a part of the lifestyle I’m trying to achieve and maintain, but they definitely are.

The ONE big thing I’ve discovered about myself is that, like in school or work, I like to work on deadlines. I like to procrastinate. I get a rush in getting things done efficiently and meeting a hard deadline. That translates into my workout schedule. If I don’t set small goals for myself (work out 3-4 days a week, for example), I won’t do it. I’ll make excuses for myself or just generally say I’m too tired or don’t have time, neither of which are the case MOST of the time.

One big change that I’ve made and am continuing to work on to help me stay on track is to NEVER miss a Monday workout. It doesn’t matter if I do it before work, during lunch or after work. It doesn’t matter what the workout consists of – sometimes it is weightlifting, sometimes the elliptical, sometimes a quick ab workout and sometimes a dance class. BUT I never miss it. It starts my wee
k off on a positive note. I feel like I’ve accomplished something after a hard Monday, being able to say, I sucked it up and did what I had to do. That sets the tone for the entire week. I’m more likely to work out more throughout the week and stay motivated. It also keeps me from feeling as tired or worn out.

While I think you need to do what is right for you, I would say try out as many little things to stay motivated! It’s hard to do so, especially this time of year, where there are fun holidays, food and cold weather. I like to curl up, read a book and drink yummy drinks, but just making small changes and doing small things can help to keep me on track through the season. I have read that the average American puts on 8 pounds throughout the holiday season, and I definitely see the truth in that for myself. By ensuring I keep up with my workouts and only indulge once or twice a week in comfort good, I don’t have an uphill battle come January! Don’t create that for yourself! My biggest challenge is to not skip a Monday workout throughout this season. Make one for yourself and stick to it! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Picking Yourself Up

I’ve been super bad about blogging lately, but I’ve made a promise to myself to not blog while angry EVER and I’ve been mighty angry as of late. There are a lot of things that haven’t been going so well, work related stressors, family issues, etc. and that contributes to being generally in a foul mood. While people might not see that externally, my internal mood tends to spill out when I’m writing. I made the promise to myself to not spew my negativity on the internet, so I apologize for my self-imposed hiatus.

BUT! I’m back and I want to use one of my latest experiences as a discussion starter or even just a thought starter J I recently went through a huge betrayal-type situation. I had a close friend who I very much valued her opinion and friendship basically try to hurt me, humiliate me, take away an opportunity that I LOVED to have and then justify it by lying about me to mutual friends and complete strangers. I didn’t really think this could happen after middle school, but alas, it does. It isn’t an easy thing to get through. Not only did I have to mourn the loss of opportunity and friendship, I had NO idea what triggered such a negative reaction. I also lost many friends in the crossfire as they didn’t know who or what to believe. That definitely affected me. It wasn’t fun or easy to work through. BELIEVE me; it took a ton of time to work through it.

I was angry, sad and mortified. My trust was completely broken and I started to question my own judgment. I wracked my brain to understand what I did to deserve such a transgression. And then I had it! I didn’t do anything. I wasn’t wrong. I didn’t deserve it. I had something horrible happen to me at the hand of someone I trusted and cared about and I have to live with it, but I wasn’t the issue. Oftentimes, people (me included) think they do good things to get good outcomes and bad things to get bad outcomes. When something horrible out of the blue happens, I tend to blame myself and try and find reason as to why that happened. Sometimes, people are just terrible – it isn’t my or your fault. Now, I’m not saying to NEVER accept blame for a bad outcome, but sometimes, it really isn’t YOU. It’s THEM.
After the fact, I tried to find the silver linings. I was able to devote more time to my boyfriend, friendships, work, etc. I was able to come to terms with my entire lifestyle change to be healthy and fit and that I was, in fact, doing that for me! I wasn’t doing it to appease said friend or anyone else. I was able to THINK. I had been running myself ragged with these people, FOR these people, who clearly didn’t care for me. It’s nice to be able to devote my time, effort and energy to things that matter and to people that cared.

After coming to that realization, I realized that I needed a re-charge, reset, refresh. I needed to come up with new goals to get that opportunity back that was taken from me. I needed to think outside the box. I needed to come up with a plan to reach those goals and stick with it. FOR ME. No one else. Picking yourself up after something horrible isn’t easy. And my life hasn’t gotten any less difficult; I still have the issues above – BUT being able to work through them, come up with positive ways to cope and positive ways to move forward has been my saving grace. I also can say that I didn’t do it alone. By reaching out when I knew I needed some help and having people reach out to me to give support, I was able to work through things much more quickly. I’ll be honest – I felt very alone, but having people just say, “hey, what happened to you sucked and I hope you are doing ok” really made the difference for me! Having a support system really helps and I’m glad to have built lasting relationships with people who are there to help pick me up. Yes, I picked myself up, but I had help to continue standing.