{#aheartfitfriday} How to be strong and change your body

I’m pretty sure no one, at the end of his/her life, thinks, “I really wish I wore my skinny jeans one more time!”  Or “Damn, I never fit into a size 6 (or 8 or 4 or 2 or… whatever your dream size is)!” 

Right?

I don’t know.  I’m pretty sure I won’t, anyway.

No, not because I did that already.  Because, in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter what size you were ever?

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes weight loss so hard. A woman’s weight really impacts how she feels about herself in the present. It’s daunting and overwhelming to think about losing weight. Especially if it’s more than 5-10 pounds. 

For me, it became this mountain that I didn’t really believe I could climb.  I kept looking straight to the top rather than breaking the trek into manageable little hikes.  It was so daunting that I just told myself it was too much, continued to eat what I was eating, avoid exercise in my too tight workout clothes, and tear myself down in the mirror every time something didn’t fit me well.  The things I said to my reflection were awful and completely unhelpful.  Even exercising, I was the worst drill sargeant ever in my head, screaming at myself and saying things I would never say to or even think about another person.  

I am undoubtedly my own worst critic as I believe are most women.  We’re really mean to ourselves, aren’t we?

I believe what I may wish at the end of my life, is that I was in better shape.  I’ll probably wish I’d treated my body better each day, recognized its strengths, and given myself some compassion for its weaknesses.  When I look at my grandmothers, I already know I would regret not keeping up my muscle tone and leaning on unhealthy habits to stay slim.  My one grandmother tells me every time I see her to never even think about smoking.  It’s so not worth how I’d feel at the end of my life.

I think it goes beyond the more obvious bad habits, though.  It’s everything we put into our bodies.  How do you feel when you eat clean, unprocessed foods and get exercise?  Don’t you feel lighter?  I do.  

Changing my thought process was really how I lost my weight.  After reading the first few chapters of a book called The Willpower Instinct (thank you Amber!) I realized I needed to change how I was thinking.  I was focusing on the outside and not the inside.  What we eat affects everything about how we act and feel.  You want to lose weight and keep it off?  Focus on health and well being and the rest will come.  Get rest, make time for quiet reflection and meditation, get exercise and avoid foods that will make you feel heavy.  Focus on how you want to feel.

Want to know why I’m writing this?  Because I need a pep talk.  I haven’t gained weight, but I’ve gone back to old habits, I’m pretty sure I’ve lost muscle, and I can feel the difference.  I may be able to wear most of my favorite clothes, but it doesn’t matter if I don’t feel any good.

Ladies, let us support each other and encourage each other, but more importantly, let’s promise to be kind to ourselves.

Bring it on motherhood!

Kids shape their mothers.

I know, that sounds backwards. I think it’s true, though.

I’m not sure anything changes and shapes a person more than parenthood.

Have you ever looked at another person, man or woman, and just known, instinctively, that they either did or did not have children? I have.

Ok, so more often than not, I’ve met a woman and had a sneaking suspicion she wasn’t a mother. I’m also sure it’s not an exact science and I’ve probably been wrong. I’m about 100% positive I was on the other end of that assumption recently by the expression change I saw when I said something about my kids to a woman at the gym.

I’m not talking about an assumption based on age really, though. I’m talking about something else.

What is it about motherhood that just completely transforms a woman? If you’re a mom, do you feel even remotely similar to the woman you were before you had kids?

I don’t. Not at all. That person feels like a stranger.

I realize some of that might be age, but there’s been a noticeable change in my attitude since becoming a mother. Well, no actually, since I first started showing during my first pregnancy. There was a change in the responses I got from people. I’m not really sure if the “chicken” or the “egg” came first. I might have changed at that point, but that’s the first time I really noticed a huge shift in the way others treated me.

That same thing about motherhood that makes it special and sacred and beautiful, also stole something from the person I was once. Part of becoming the woman my family depends on, meant losing part of myself.

It’s a big deal. It made me feel like I had to redefine myself for a long time.

Who am I kidding? I still feel that way sometimes.

I adore my kids and I wouldn’t trade the change in me for anything. But it hasn’t been an easy thing for me. I don’t know if it’s normal or has anything to do with how long I waited before starting a family, but I have a feeling most women feel this way.

I’m different now than I was five years ago. I think I spent a lot of time this year, trying to get back to the person my husband married. I got into shape and grew my hair out thinking that if I could get back into the same cloths and wear my hair the same way, I’d feel like her again.

It didn’t work. I don’t know what I expected, honestly.

It’s ok, though. At the same time, I do not want to be that naive, insensitive, quick-to-react person ever again.

I’m really happy I tried to get the positive things back, because I think it helped me rediscover who I am now and where I’m going.

My kids have helped to shape me into a person they can look up to. I’m so grateful for this life and for all the changes. Bring it on motherhood! I’m ready.

Biweek? {#aHeartFitFriday}

I love these weekly posts.  I love exchanging words of encouragement and hearing about your journeys.  Unfortunately, I don’t have much to say this week.

Nothing’s wrong.  I just need to figure out where to go from here.  I’m no longer trying to lose weight, just trying to improve my fitness level and I need to find a new way to track that.  I need new goals and a new “adventure”.

I really thought the CharityMiles challenge would be that, but it’s not working.

Let me tell you why:

I’m already in a routine of going to the gym which doesn’t depend on the weather.  Yes, I could run outside rain or shine with the stroller rain cover, but there’s also the consideration that I have a double jogger and three days a week, Dylan’s at school during my work-out time.  Who really wants to walk or run with a double jogger and one kid?  I’d spend the whole workout compensating for the empty side and stopping every time the stroller went off the sidewalk into the grass.

I have a gym membership with 2 hours of childcare, awesome group fitness options, a separate yoga studio, sparkling clean facilities, and locker rooms that make you feel like you’re at a spa rather than a gym.  I’m not trying to brag, just sharing some love for Cando in case you live in NJ and are in the market for a new gym.  We’re committed to a membership until the summer (and we’ll probably renew) and I love the convenience.

As for the new adventure:

I have some ideas, but I’m going to explore my options and report back next week.

How about your fitness goals?  Are you enjoying time outside with the spring weather (assuming you don’t live where the snow fell this week)?  Do you have a gym membership and, if so, a favorite group fitness class?

I’m not doing the linkup this week, but it’ll be back next week.

 

Taking time {#aHeartFitFriday Link-up}

As I approached the coffee pot for my second cup this morning, I realized I had accidentally unplugged it.  I turned it back on, poured myself a cup and tasted it.  “Not warm enough”, I thought to myself.  Out of habit, I reached for the microwave door, but cringed at the thought of the taste.  It just wouldn’t be the same.  With the stove-top, on the other hand, I could stir it while it heated and catch it at exactly the right temperature.  It was a question of time vs taste.  I had a choice between the easy way and the better way.  Which would you choose?

I chose the stove-top.  I guess I could have made a whole new pot, but I had just made the coffee about an hour prior and that seemed wasteful.

What does this have to do with fitness, you ask?

Every.single.day, we make choices.  Many of those choices we make based upon the convenience factor.  I believe that fitness comes with a change of heart.  A desire to choose the better way over the easy way with regard to everything.  That also means prioritizing.  The things that we take the time for are our priorities and those priorities define us.  We can only do so many things well.

Coffee doesn’t define me, but I would have chosen the microwave (or, really, no second cup of coffee at all) if I had been faced with the less-than-warm cup of coffee on my way out the door to the gym.

I do, however, enjoy a good cup of coffee.

The choice I’ve made to focus on my health has meant a lot of sacrifice.  More than I ever imagined, honestly.  Among others, my social and blog time… and many unanswered emails (I’m sorry!).

At the same time, it’s helped so many things I used to struggle with, fall into place.  My household runs smoother and my hubby and kids get more undivided attention from me because my head is clearer.  I’ve chosen to make more time for my overall well being, which means more time resting in my God, preparing healthy food, getting exercise, and learning about the things that interest me, which in turn has meant more quality time for everyone else.  When I’m with you, I’m 100% with you.

When mama’s happy, everyone’s happy, right?

It also means sometimes I sacrifice a little taste for a microwaved cup of coffee or even a lighter meal, but that just makes those good cups of coffee and meals that much more of a treat.  Believe me, the increased energy level and smaller waistline are worth it.

Speaking of waistline, I never gave my measurements when I reached my goal last week and I’ve lost a few more pounds since then anyway, so here are my final stats:

  • IMG_3608DSC_9219Height: 5’9″
  • Weight: 150.2lbs (total -21.5lbs)
  • Waist: 29″ (total -4″)
  • Hips: 39″ (total -3″)
  • Bust: 35″ (total -5″)

Don’t you just love where I lost most of my inches?  LOL.  Oh well, I guess I’ll take it… 😉

How about you?  How are your goals?  Have you noticed other changes in your life since making fitness a priority? Don’t forget to link-up!