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Archive for the ‘Active Lifestyle’ Category

I ran on the treadmill again today. My husband bought me “real” running shoes last week, and I am amazed at the difference it’s made for my running attempts! No bleeding or blistered toes! I feel so great! (Except for the chafed thighs – TMI, I know. I even have the Body Glide stuff, but forgot to use it…sigh…)

I hated running as a kid. I sucked at basketball because of the running part! I could shoot baskets, but I hated the running back and forth to get to the stupid hoop. I think I could have been a star baseball player except for the running the bases part. Hell, a woman my mom’s age (we played on a team together) CAUGHT up to me by the time we hit home plate when she hit the ball and I was on 1st…I was 17 at the time)! Sad, very sad.

I’m not fast. I don’t go very far (10 KM is my furthest). But each time, I love it more. This morning, I pushed myself to go faster than I normally do. Last weekend, it was a push to go further. Sweat pours down my my face and my heart pounds. And I run. The music plays. And I run. I stare at the blank screen in front of me, lost in my thoughts. Lost in my breathing, lost in the music. And I run some more.

I remembered the woman from 5 years ago. The one that was 20 lbs heavier than this one. The one that couldn’t even walk a km or up the stairs without running out of breath. The one that hated everything about herself. My words were cruel and mean. A look in the mirror was met with a glare and disgust. My thoughts were full of resentment and anger. All. The. Time.

Then…a thought…a small voice…a change…a decision. I decided to ask my best friend to walk with me. Walk in the 2 day, 60 KM Weekend to End Breast Cancer. That was April 2007 when we decided to do something. That first training walk had us short of breath, wondering what the hell were we thinking. But…there were two of us and we needed a change. The small voice begged me for something more. And so we walked. Two other friends joined us and the voice grew stronger.

Those first steps were so much more than training. They were the steps towards something so much bigger. My children’s support shirts say, “My Mom Walks to Save Lives”. It was my own life that I was saving. I had no idea how close I was to the edge. How my hatred had consumed the woman inside me. How it had poisoned my life. How I was dying inside.

Since then, I’ve walked many, many more KM’s. I’ve ridden my bike even more KM’s than that. I’ve pushed myself to try new things that get my heart pounding and my muscles working – even dancing! It is a part of my life. A part of me. It is not something I do “to lose weight”. It is something I do to live. And now I run.

I feel the strength in my legs and my arms. I bound up the stairs. I smile when the doctor comments about the strength of my heart. I enjoy a vitality that I had as a kid. I have energy to be with my kids.

I look in that mirror and see what my husband sees. My eyes see the difference. The voice in my head is less hurtful; is more tender. My thoughts are of all the blessings in my life. I am proud of the challenges I put on my body and it does not fail me. I accept the times that it does. I accept the little bit of “muffin top” that is still there. I admire the stretch marks that are proof of my struggles because I work to overcome them. I smile at the “crow’s feet” around my eyes because I have laughed often and long. I admire the strength in my arms as I am able to hold my children; those children look to me as an example of a life worth living.

My New Love Affair? It is not the running or the riding or the working out. It is not even my children or my husband or my friends.

It is ME. The woman I have become and who is still yet to be.

This is one of the songs from my Running Playlist. “Choose Your Race…And then you RUN”

 

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This morning for some reason, I made a mental note how I’ve not been sick much over the past year. Come to think of it, my family hasn’t been sick much either, thankfully. Some colds here and there, but that’s about it. At least not enough to actually remember being sick. Including the common cold. I wondered about that and thought I’d share some observations.

  1. I started My Happiness Project almost a year ago – Happier = Healthier?
  2. I ramped up my workouts over the past year; I’m in the best shape that I’ve EVER been – Stronger Person = Stronger Immune System?
  3. I don’t clean with a lot of chemicals (and I don’t clean much at all! 😉 ) – Less Chemicals, Less Irritants = Healthier House?
  4. I am a hand-washing guru (I used to be a Med.Lab.Tech.) and refuse to use hand sanitizer – Cleaner Hands = Less Sickness?
  5. I eat a much better diet – Garbage OUT = Good Stuff In?
  6. I don’t get flu shots nor take a bunch of “stuff” (aka – Chemicals) – Let My System Do the Work = Strong System?
  7. I drink more vodka – Alcohol is a sanitizer = No bugs live here!? (Just kidding!!! I don’t drink that much!!)

I did have a head cold a couple weeks ago. That just happened to coincide with me being very negative, depressed, not working out and overall not “NEW” self! Interesting! What’s also interesting about that cold was that I took a couple days off right away and got better in a matter of days instead of the weeks it always took me before.

A couple assumptions about me though:

  1. I grew up on a farm, drinking milk straight from the cow and veggies with the dirt still on them – I have a pretty strong immune system in general
  2. My kids are older now so we’ve been through pretty much most of the early childhood sicknesses
  3. I am not near as stressed out as I used to be which has been proven to make people healthier in general
  4. I have never kept a “super-clean” house, so my family has a pretty tough immune system anyway 🙂
  5. We have some pretty good genes in my family – not much for overall illnesses in general – thanks to God for that

Now, this is just observations in my family and myself. I am not a doctor or anything like that at all. Do what YOU think is best for you and your family.

However, I do think that there is some truth to having a healthier lifestyle and being better able to fight off sickness. That can be proven by the stats.

Anyway, these are things I think about while on my days off! LOL! The life of leisure! I could get used to this! <GRIN> Ooooo! And a song to share (of course!) from one of my favorite Canadian Country artists!

 

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Coolest Bike EVER

A long time ago, there was a little girl, the oldest of four, who got an awesome brand new bike! It had a blue banana seat and the high bar at the back, with those great big handle bars that went waaaaay up high, kinda like a Harley motorcycle. Very cool.

One problem…she didn’t know how to ride it!

I remember that little girl. I’m pretty sure that bike was the coolest bike on the planet. I don’t remember who got it for me (oops!), but it was awesome. Probably my Dad. It’s something he would have quietly picked up for his girl.

Anyway, being the oldest of four, I knew that no one would have time to teach me to ride. So, I decided to teach myself. I remember going along, sitting on the bike, holding onto the picket fence trying to get my balance. I’m pretty sure that it actually worked, since I can ride a bike to this day and I don’t remember anyone teaching me otherwise.

That bike was freedom. I could take off away from my siblings, away from troubles, away from everything. As fast as my legs could take me! I remember that!

All too soon, I had to pass that bike on to my little brother and I got someone’s old 3 speed. Now, that was awesome too! Suddenly, I could climb that hill that we grew up on. More control, yet, more freedom. I put many miles on that bike! Except, now, I had others able to accompany me. We set up “roads” and “gas stations” and “drove” around our little “town” with our bikes. Hours and hours up and down that country driveway…

Then, I started to earn my own money. I started to save up. I knew what I wanted to save up for…a “mountain bike”. Back then, that meant a bike that weighed about 40 lbs! with big fat knobby tires. They had 6 or 8 speeds. Oh, and hand brakes! It was the perfect solution for my skinny 3-speed tires on the gravel roads. I wanted to go farther and faster everywhere was gravel!

I remember going to McLeod’s – the local hardware store – and getting my own bike. That I paid for. My siblings were so jealous! It was all I wanted. It was PERFECT!

My first ride – I was going to be cool – I offered to ride up the hill to the mailbox. Easy with all those gears I now had. Only, now, I had hand brakes. And one hand had the mail in it. And I had to go downhill and turn into our driveway in the middle of the hill. And I didn’t quite know which hand brake was the front and which was the back. And I was showing off. And…and….yep….face plant in the middle of the gravel road! And the mail went everywhere. And my siblings laughed. And my mom smiled, knowingly…. And my dad wondered what the heck had happened to my face since he’d left that morning! 🙂

Well, that wonderful bike stayed with me up until three years ago when I got my hybrid bike that I have now. I didn’t want to let it go, but there was no room, and it was soooo heavy, and I was soooooo out of shape! It was time to move off to that bicycle heaven in the sky…

The first year after I got this bike, I rode it, maybe, 3 times. Huffing and puffing all the way. Then we started training last year to do the MS Bike Tour and in about a year, I have put more than 400 km on that bike!

Last year, I suddenly remembered that freedom of riding from my childhood. How it feels to hop on and let my legs take me somewhere. I am not a runner, so the thrill I feel taking off on the bike is so very powerful to me!

To feel the wind in my face. To be flying down the side of the road, seeing the Rocky Mountains in the distance or hearing the birds singing. To watch the grass sway in the wind as I cruise by. It is so exhilarating! To ride for a couple of hours brings me such joy and elation! It is difficult to describe. I don’t mind the hills because I feel my legs pushing hard and my heart pounding in my chest, reminding me that I am ALIVE! I am MOVING! I am BLESSED.

I like to ride with my friends. It gives us a chance to talk, but also to just BE. Words don’t have to fill the spaces in time as the wheels keep turning. We are just there, miles disappearing under us. Cares being left at the side of the road. We are like kids again, out for a “joy ride”.

I went out for a ride recently on a warmish, Chinook kind of day. I long for Spring. I long for my tires to hit the road again, miles disappearing again. Spin class and stationary biking leaves me aching for the sunshine or even the windy days. But, they are something at least to keep me, while I pine for the fresh air and the dusty roads of my cycling journeys.

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Hey everyone!

Are you still psyched up for your January quest to be more healthy? How is your dedication to fitness coming?

It’s January 19th today!

I just read a post from Jonathan Roche – he is reminding everyone to keep taking those “baby steps” toward your goal of a healthier lifestyle – take small steps each day. If you have an off day, get back on and try again the next.

He makes a great point – you can’t run a marathon by sprinting at the beginning! You’ll never make it to the end! Take it slow and steady and you will finish!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to see so many of my friends and family posting notes on their Facebook status about active choices they are making! It just keeps me going to know all of you are out there, trying hard too! It is so awesome to encourage each other to get back in the game and push ourselves to be healthier, to have fun and to get out there and enjoy life!

Way to go everyone! Keep it up! You are making the right choice to be healthier! And to take it one step at a time, and get back up again when you fall! I am so proud of all of you!

Here’s yet another song to encourage you on those tough days when you don’t know if you can go one more mile on that treadmill, do one more pushup, one more lap in the pool, or one more rep with those weights. YES YOU CAN!

*

Stand – Rascal Flatts

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Have Some Fun

I just read an awesome post at Cranky Fitness:

What to Do When Nothing Else Effing Works: A Short Guide to Silliness

Click on the link and read Jo’s post! The point is to not be afraid to just be plain silly! You will get more out of your fitness if you are having fun! And find opportunities for silly fitness like Jo’s example of washing the floor while imitating Mick Jagger!

Right now, I am having a BLAST with Box Fit class. And Spin is actually fun too!

I have raced around the house putting stuff away. It’s fun, the kids think I’m weird, but it gets my heart rate up PLUS cleans up! I have sprinted down the hall at work! Crazy, I know! But fun! and faster!

Try it! It’s Friday! Be silly today! Your heart will get pumping and will be full of happiness! At the very least, everyone else will have fun laughing at you!

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Waterfall

Every woman I know is busy. Busy with home, busy with work, busy with kids, busy with friends, busy with family, etc. etc.!

And, most women I know say that they are too busy to take care of themselves. This is very hard for us women to do! We are so busy taking care of everyone else, that we neglect ourselves.

You have the right to feel good, have energy, and enjoy life! I can’t say that enough to the women in my life. Actually, to all of you. Men too. I know really great men too that neglect their health.

My Happiness Project theme this month is fitness. The point I want to make today is that Fitness is about taking care of Y.O.U.! Feeling great and having energy to get through the day. Being healthy so that you can be with your kids, spouse, friends and family!

Sunday should be a time to unwind and rest; preparing for the busy week ahead. Spend time taking care of you. Relax, unwind, do what YOU want to do.

Start with something relaxing: a warm cup of tea/coffee/cocoa and a good book or magazine or article that you’ve been meaning to read. Find a quiet corner and just breath. They can do without you for 15 minutes! Unwind. Focus on yourself. You will be surprised at the results! How wonderful even just 15 minutes of uninterrupted “ME” time can be. And it is NOT being selfish! Everyone deserves some time to themselves.

Here are a couple videos to get you “in the mood” for quiet Sunday Fitness:

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As I continue on the theme of Fitness for January, I have had several conversations this week about weight loss. Of course, this time of year, everyone is talking about it.

What bothers me is how many are going on these diets and exercise programs starting off with the thought of how much weight they want to lose, and how fast they want to do it.

My advice (and what has worked for me) is to not focus on weight loss/gain. Focus on the reasons WHY you want to lose weight.

  • Do you get tired easily?
  • Do you want to feel better and have more energy?
  • Do you have several different sizes of clothes?
  • Do you want to keep up with your active kids?
  • Do you want to be a role model for your kids because they are becoming “couch potatoes”?
  • Do you want to be around for your kids when they are older?
  • Most of all, do you want to feel better about yourself?

It all starts because of a terrible self-image.

This is something I have struggled with over the years and I’m finally getting a grip, though I still have bad days.

I have learned to stop beating up on myself for the way I look. We have to love ourselves for the way we are. Everyone gets older, everyone’s body changes for various reasons.

Focus on the positive: like having more energy and feeling better. While you may lose weight while on these “programs”, there are going to be some days where you don’t lose any weight. If you focus on the feeling better aspect, it won’t matter how many pounds you lose/don’t lose, because you will know that you feel better and that’s the important thing.

You didn’t gain this weight in 12 weeks, so don’t expect to lose it that fast! Focus on making changes to your fitness as a lifestyle and you will find that the 12 weeks will start you on the habit of an active lifestyle so that you will be around for your kids and set an example for them. The weight loss is secondary to that, in my opinion.

One of my biggest motivations for better fitness is my daughter. She is only 10 and I have heard her or her friends saying things about how they look! Already! Of course, we all blame TV and magazines, but it is up to us as mothers to set the example! Help them be strong enough and wise enough to resist the terrible self-image the media sets us up for.

Don’t let them see you comparing yourself to super models or “skinny” friends. Don’t let them hear you complain about your body or being critical of yourself in the mirror. Don’t let them hear you being negative about other women’s looks, like saying, “Look at that horrible outfit, what is she thinking”.

Instead, let them see you getting out there and having fun being active with them or with your friends. Let them see you carry yourself with pride no matter what your body shape, because you are beautiful! Let them see you making good food choices. Let them hear you lift up a friend’s spirits by complimenting her instead of putting other women down.

Having a positive self-image is the best way to ensure that our daughter’s do too!

Talk to your daughter (and take heed yourself!) to these:

We Are Girls – a video from Concerned Children’s Advertisers

Onslaught: from the Dove Self Esteem campaign

or listen to music that encourages them, not hurt them. Songs like this one from Kellie Pickler: Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful:

You are all beautiful! Just the way you are! 🙂

Update: January 11th – Rhonda posted this song:

Listen to the words!

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