Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Just One Choice

So my food has been pretty sloppy lately.  A 10 day span without a personal trainer, a feasting holiday and a crazy schedule, combined with some high level stress and I've got a perfect storm for excuse-making.

In reality, I have two choices:  Make good choices, or make excuses.  And the whole motto of my world is supposed to be about making the next right choice, not the next right friggen excuse, right?  RIGHT!

I have a long distance workout buddy now who is even more motivated than I am and a heck of a lot more self-disciplined than I am.  As a fitness bud, to increase my likelihood of success and to help get me back in the right mindset, I have agreed to take pics of everything I eat today and picture message it over to my friend for accountabililty.

It's AMAZING how just ONE next RIGHT choice leads to an entirely different perspective.  By simply sending off a pic of my apple this morning, I got a little excited.  Sending over the pic of the oatmeal was downright empowering.
That one decision (to send food pics) set an entire series of next right choices into motion today.  And that one single act COMPLETELY altered the trajectory from a probable path of sloppy eating and then self flaggelation to clean eating and pride instead.

Cool, huh?

Make one good choice today.  It doesn't matter what it is.  Do it because you want to feel better.  Do it because you want to look better.  Do it because you want to be better.  Do it because you're worth it.  Do it because you want to prove you can.  Do it because the alternative is having a bad day when all it might take to turn your entire day around is JUST. ONE. CHOICE.

Just do it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Scale Tale

Once upon a time, I hated scales.  In fact, I avoided them for years at a time!  Why on earth, when I wasn't ready to do anything about it (and really, probably couldn't do anything about it at the time), would I want the details of how bad it was?  Heck no!  I was the queen of denial and I didn't even OWN a scale until last year.

Then there came a point when the reality smacked me in the face.  You can't fix what you don't acknowledge.  Sort of like this:

Then I started doing what I call scale gymnastics.  That's where you figure out the absolute best way to stand on the scale to yield the lowest possible number.  Instead of standing directly on it, if I could shift my weight a little to the right, and turn my right foot on a slight angle, while putting the tippy toes of my left foot up against the window where the numbers were, the number would always be less!  YAY!  So on weeks where I didn't eat right, or exercise well, it was no big problem.  I could just do some scale gymnastics and VOILA, I lost a pound!  woohoo!!

Now, I'm at peace with the scale.  If I do my part, the scale reflects my next right choices.  If I have an off week, or month, well, the scale is just reporting the consequence of those choices, too.  It's all good.  I guess because I accept that there will be good days/weeks/months and sometimes not-so-good ones, the scale is no longer something to avoid.

And just to toot my own horn a's down 5 pounds from last week.  I really feel like (and know) I'm back on track and moving forward again.  YAY!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Core Strength

"The turning point in the process of growing up
is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt."

Max Lerner

"Core Strength" is all the buzz these days. What I'm learning in the world of fitness, it's all about strengthening the core of the human body - the abs and back muscles that are so deep they attach to the spine and pelvis. It is the foundation from which all other movement occurs; it is the physical center of a person's body. When the core is strong, everything else works much better, easier, with less effort or struggle.

Before I could get to a place where I could even consider working on my core physical strength, I had to first examine my core emotional and spiritual strength.

The Emotional Core

My emotional core was severely damaged at a very young age due to some life trauma.

I spent a lifetime feeling "less than" everyone else. I wasn't good, I wasn't good enough. At my core was shame. I couldn't seem to do or be enough to satisfy my inner longing to be accepted and loved. I looked outside for external validation for everything from how smart I was, to how I looked, to how funny I was, to the kind of job I had. I needed someone outside of myself to tell me I was okay, and sadly, even if they did tell me that, at my core, I did not believe them.

The core belief that I was "less than" led me to accept "less than" in my marriage(s). It led me to accept "less than" my dreams. It led me to accept "less than" living up to the potential I was created to reach. Fortunately for me, a friend came into my life that helped debunk those core beliefs.

She loved me. She didn't love me IF I looked, acted, behaved, performed a certain way. She didn't love me despite all my inherent badness (that I thought I had.) She didn't love me IF I loved her back a certain way. She didn't love me conditionally IF I met her needs, jumped through hoops, and met some certain standard. She just loved me and said, "I love who you are. Period. It has nothing to do with any choice you have ever made or will ever make on any given day." And somehow that reached deep into the core of my being and broke something loose. I believed her.

That one conversation opened up the floodgates to another area in my life.

The Spiritual Core

I was raised Catholic. I still love many of the traditions of Catholicism and although I no longer call myself Catholic, there is a tremendous respect I have for the religion. However, at least in my case, I never really understood the concepts of "grace" or "mercy" fully. To me, the message I received was that all humans are bad, miserable failures, there's not a thing we can do about it, but we better keep trying. When we screw up, we must do penance, repent, and try hard to not do it again, only to know deep down we are miserable sinners who are going to fail. But have no fear, despite our inherent badness, God loves us anyway.

Whether intentional or not, or whether my own mind played a part in the interpretation, that is the basic message I spent my life believing.

Now, after understanding the grace and mercy of a friend, I began to understand God's grace and God's mercy. Through the love of a friend, I suddenly realized that right now, today, exactly where I am, regardless of anything I did or said or that happened to me yesterday, I am perfectly loved. I realized that all these imperfections are part of the perfect plan! I had a clean slate. Yesterday was really, truly gone and there was no need whatsoever to worry about it. Today, I am good, good enough, and there was absolutely no reason to carry around all that shame. There's a song I love that expresses it so well:

The Next Right Choice - MY Core

Slowly, over the past few years, I have been moving toward an incredible new life. New thoughts, new patterns of behaving, new friends, a new house, a new town. I even got a new job. It feels like the past is very far behind me now.

But what else is true is that the core of shame is not entirely gone. It hangs around, lurking, waiting for an opportunity to jump in and take over my thoughts and feelings.

Through some trial and error, however, I have come to understand that it is entirely within my power to keep it at bay and to keep myself moving forward into the life I have always wanted. And it all comes down to making the "Next Right Choice" today.

  • For today, I choose to walk by faith, because for me, that is what works. Because when I am plugged in to my spiritual self, I am stronger. My core is filled with hope, strength, life and light.

  • For today, I choose to try to eat healthy. Because when my core food choices are healthy, it creates a foundation from which my mind makes better choices and on which my body can function with more energy.

  • For today, I choose to get moving. I work the abs, the back, the legs, the arms, and the heart. Because when at my core there is a stronger body, I can move better throughout the day. I have energy to keep going and do all those things I want to do. I can carry myself out into the world, explore it, and participate in it...fully.


If you ask me, core strength is pretty darned important! I encourage everyone to examine their core beliefs about themselves, their core beliefs about their spiritual lives, and to act consistently with what rings true for you. Living authentically, being true to who you are, and not letting the world rob you of your THAT is Core Strength!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


From August through October the biggest problem I faced was a complete lack of motivation. I lost focus after the family and high school reunions and didn't really have any big goals to focus on.

In turn, I slowly stopped exercising, stopped blogging, got incredibly messy with my food choices, and started to get depressed.    Slipping off into isolation made it worse. A little cause-and-effect action there? Yeah, I'd say so.

So now it appears that I have my mojo back.  I want to stop and look at what it took to get it back, and think about how I'm going to KEEP it going.

To get back on track, I had to admit how bad it was.  I had to come to grips with the reality that not only had I not lost a single pound since June, I had actually gained 18 pounds.  (That's right, 18.)  That hurt.  Even as I looked at the scale, I kept saying "wow, I gained a couple of pounds."  I didn't do the math.  It was 18 pounds.

Then I had to forgive myself and say it's okay, at least it wasn't like previous attempts where I'd fall off the program and keep on gaining until I'd gained it all back and then some.  I caught it in time for it to just be a slip and not a full blown relapse into the old patterns.  (This forgiving myself and accepting that life happens is HUGE in overcoming a roadblock.  Remembering I can hop back on track at any point of any day and leave the past behind me is critical.  I can't move freely into tomorrow if I'm trying to drag yesterday in with me!)

Next, I had to end the isolation.  One fact of my life is that I lack the motivation to consistently push myself physically without some sort of accountability.   Blogging helps tremendously.  Putting this all out there publicly most certainly keeps me accountable to someone besides myself.

I got a trainer - someone knowledgeable who can make sure I work out all the muscle groups and not just the parts that feel good, that I like best, or where I'm strongest.  This is someone who's going to say, "keep going, you have one more minute" when I feel like saying "that's ALL I can do."  This is someone who says, "You can do one more" when I say I want to quit.  And I'm just stubborn enough to prove him right.  :-)

I got a workout partner.  I meet my friend at the gym on trainer days and we work out for 30 minutes before I meet with the trainer (so far I'm doing some cardio and warmups during that time.)  Then on days when I don't meet with the trainer, we meet either at the gym or at my home to work abs, core, and practice techniques.

These things so far have picked me back up and got me moving again.

What's going to KEEP me going forward and motivated?  Here are some thoughts, let's see how they pan out:

  1. Focus on how far I've come, not how far I have to go.  There's still a long journey ahead and that gets so flipping depressing sometimes.  If I instead look at where I started in this journey, and all I have overcome to get where I am, I get a little energized to help tackle today.
  2. Focus on today.  I don't have to worry about all of this week, next week, next month.  If I do the "next right choice" JUST for today (am I doing cardio? weights? toning?  Ok...then just do it) it's easily managed.
  3. Find a goal and reward system that works.  On weight watchers they give silly little stars on your profile when you lose 5 lbs. or reach some other preset milestone.  That doesn't motivate me.  Buying myself a new outfit when I reach a new size down DOES motivate me.  Thinking about losing another dress size motivates me.  And thinking about seeing folks next spring when I'm unrecognizable motivates me.  So I need to make travel plans for the spring and show off what will be the new me, right?  I think I'm going to start Googling for where I shall travel next year.  That will motivate me.
  4. Music motivates me.  I need to create good playlists to take with me to the gym.  While I LOVE my Avett Brothers, I need new playlists that keep it fresh and can be changed depending on types of workouts or the mood I'm in.  That will give me something to work on when I'm not at the gym, but still thinking about my good choices.  And to say I love music is an understatement.  Discovering new bands is a favorite pastime!
  5. "Just Do It."  Nike got it right.  No matter what, I need to JUST. Do. It.  I have never left the gym or gotten off the treadmill saying "man, I wish I didn't work out today."  Duh.  I ALWAYS am glad I did it and (and this is the most important part) I LOVE HOW I FEEL WHEN I DO IT.  I have to focus on the fact that "Just Doing It" FEELS BETTER than not doing it!
So I'm going to tag this post with "Motivation" and come find it when I'm lacking motivation.  I have to tell you, my trainer keeps trying to motivate me saying "Just think of the bikini this summer."  LOL It makes me laugh on the inside.  I'm 45 and have never worn a bikini, have no desire to wear one, and am pretty sure no one else would want me to. 

 I'll need to work with him to come up without something that is truly motivating.  Something like... "Think of the CRUISE you're going to treat yourself with when you reach your goal......"


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Pick Things Up, I Put Them Down

Well, I've done it. I've dragged my plateau'd derriere over to Gold's Gym, and gotten myself a trainer named Danny.

When you're making these life goals, and if you really want them badly enough, then:

1. You're going to set yourself up to SUCCEED, and
2. You're going to do whatever it takes to make it work.

When I first signed up, Golds, via Compel Fitness, signed me up with a young trainer who had issues with being on time, which morphed into issues with showing up at all. I was upset, there was no one else available in the time slots I needed and I was about to demand a refund when they suggested there may be another trainer in the pipeline.

I held on and decided I was worth figuring all this out. I simply cannot motivate myself without a trainer. I do not know why. I'm a smart girl. I want this...the fitness...the weight loss....BAD! And yet, given the choice between sitting on my arse watching X Factor or watching it while on the treadmill, I choose being a couch cushion warmer. So folks like me need to pay to be told to move. So be it. It is what it is.

I'll tell you about my new trainer. HE ROCKS. He gets me! He knows I'm motivated and knows we're in this together. On days that we don't meet, he has written instructions on what I should be doing. He asks me questions like "Is there anything you need to confess?" hahaha (like the Chocolate Cake I made last weekend. Shhhhhhhh.)

He's killing me already, and I love it. LOVE. IT.

Yesterday he had me doing arm exercises to a point where I was literally shaking. He said, "That's want to work to the point of failure." I busted out laughing and said, "then we may as well just call it a day, I'm already there!" :-) He actually meant you have to overwork the muscle until IT fails/tears...but you know, I'm a smart allack...

Anyway, I'm on the move. I'm feeling like I'm really back on track. The food is good (clean, accounted for, healthy), and I'm doing some form of exercise every day (even if it's just stretching some days). I have an awesome workout partner (my ex's other ex, but that's a whole 'nuther story hehe) and we're really committed.

I used to think a gym was filled with mostly guys like this youtube video:

But that's just not so.  There's just a bunch of people doing the best they can to either get in shape, or stay in shape.  So if they are 110 pounds and too thin, or 330 pounds and overweight, it doesn't matter.  They share the same goal.  And I noticed most people are too busy doing their own thing to worry about the gal with the thunder thighs next to them (me hehe).

So for the next 6 months, me and Gold's will be getting up close and personal.  And I'll have to come back and tell you more about my trainer.  Maybe he won't mind a picture (so he and I can do before/afters for this phase of my Carly Project!)

~Carly ♥

If you are getting this in email, you won't be able to see the youtube video so you'll have to come to the site to see it (link is down at the bottom.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Universal Sucking

This funk of mine just doesn't want to go away. Mind you, the best thing I can DO to get OUT of a funk, is to GET UP, and GET OUT, and MOVE, and take ACTION and leave the funk behind.

Still, there's absolutely no point in experiencing a funk if I can't over-analyze it and then broadcast my funk findings, right? :-)

Whilst sitting around in this funk yesterday (eating, not exercising, have a right jolly old pity party, complete with nostalgic music to make me homesick for a past I can never go home to, you know, greatly enhancing the funk drama), I found myself feeling like I got the short end of life's stick in so many ways.

Poor me; no man has ever loved me. (I can assure you the two men, who claimed to, did not, in fact, actually love me. Love doesn't brutalize. Just saying.) Anyway....Poor me, I've been doing life alone for 7 years with no family in the state. Poor me, I have a long commute. Poor me, being a single mom everything lands on my shoulders alone and it's so much responsibility. Poor me, my house is a 1947 home that needs everything replaced. Poor get the idea.

I tried to make myself cry. I put on Linda Ronstadt's "Somewhere Out There" and then laughed at the Youtube video. What a dorky haircut and cheesy song (I like cheesy though.)

Then I Googled poetry for sad, lonely, loneliness, aloneness, being alone, blah blah blah. I thought most of the poetry I was reading kind of stunk and it didn't make me cry, either. (Mind you, when I wasn't TRYING to cry, several tear ducts opened wide up and released some tears...well I needed that in order to clean out those ducts...I tend to hold tears in for months at a time.)

Right. So then I somehow got thinking, "This sucks." You know, all of it. It just sucks. Being human. Doing life. Going through all the motions. Making choices, hitting brick walls, backing up, making other choices, hitting more brick walls, rinse, repeat.

Then I asked myself "Who DOESN'T it suck for?"

Hmmmmm. Now THAT was a good question that started to turn my day around. I thought...

Well, it sucks for black people having to overcome SO MUCH hatred. It sucks for immigrants trying to come here and find a better life, leaving their families behind. It sucks for women, not making as much as men and having SO MUCH responsibility. It sucks for men, always having to "be strong" in stereotypical he-man fashion. It sucks for Native Americans. I mean, come on, we invaded their land, killed whole populations, and took over like we owned the place. And then took ownership! It sucks for people with learning and physical disabilities. It sucks for poor people with not enough to eat. It sucks for rich people who can't handle because someone always did everything for them. It sucks for famous people who can never go out on the street without being recognized. It sucks for Obama having half the globe hate you. It sucks worse for Bush having 3/4 of the globe hate you. That was a sobering even sucks to be President sometimes.

And it occurred to me, that this entire planet, the cold, hard world, is filled with Universal Sucking.

And our job is to do what we can to make it less sucky, one little choice at a time. And that first choice can be in how we choose to look at things. Hopeful, or hopeless. That's really what it all comes down to for me at any given moment.

Today? Today I am hopeful. I am hopeful that having all these goals means something. I am hopeful that forging ahead, making myself be strong, forcing myself to keep going in a forward motion....will impact my son and he will incorporate these lessons into his toolbox for life.

Maybe there isn't really Universal Sucking. Maybe there is Universal humanity and we get to choose if it sucks or not. I like that a lot. (Of course, I already knew it. Sometimes I need to be reminded of the same things DAILY. That's why affirmations work so well!)

So there. Funk Day is over and it apparently wasn't a total waste of time! Yay!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...