Making Movement Part of Mom Life

Being a parent is literally the most difficult job I’ve ever had.  There’s always four little eyes watching my every move and four little ears listening to my every word.  It’s a big responsibility and no one truly understands it until they’re actually in it.  It becomes much more apparent when your kids start asking questions or repeating things you say.  You’re no longer free to stare at yourself in the mirror and make comments about your body while your daughter is slipping her feet into your shoes so she can play dress up.  You can no longer hide the candy or the “mommy juice” (aka diet soda in my house) because your son has become very curious and will ask “what’s that?” a million times before you throw a Twizzler at him to try.

Well, I guess you can do those things.  You can do anything you want.  But I think every parent wants to set a good example for their kids.  And don’t get me wrong, we all make mistakes and say unflattering things about ourselves, partake in eat-out-of-the-carton ice cream sessions, and scream or yell at our kids out of frustration.  And that’s all OK because no one is perfect.  We’re all just doing the best we can.

I’m going to take a step back here for a second.  You ever say something and before you actually finish the sentence all you can think is I sound like mother/father?  It happens to me ALL THE TIME!  Some classic lines in my house growing up were because I said so and life’s not fair.   Those are just things I remember my parent saying, but what about things my parents did or behavioral habits they had??

When I thought about this, the first thing that popped into my head was making my bed every dang morning.  As a child I watched my mom make her bed every day.  I was taught to make my bed.  And now, as an adult, I will not leave my house without making my bed.  It’s just part of my life.  It’s part of my routine.  It’s part of my lifestyle.  I watched this habit, I was taught this habit and this habit became a habit of mine (remember, habits are not always a bad thing!).

Creating and teaching healthy habits to my kids is very important to me.  My goal is for my kids to see me engaging in as many positive, balanced and healthy activities as possible.  Positive self-talk is one.  Eating a well-balanced diet that includes everything in moderation and never feeling guilty about indulging is another.  And of course, my most favorite thing in the world to talk about—movement.

The word movement is all encompassing to me. It means parking a little further away from the store because you have two good legs and you should use them.  It also means not sitting on the couch every day from the minute you get home to the minute you’re ready to transition to your bed.  It’s about having a dance party with your kids instead of watching TV.  Or running around outside while cleaning up the yard instead of playing on a tablet (two birds, one stone here people!).  And it also means getting your heart rate up and strengthening and lengthening your muscles with various forms of exercising.

I want my kids to witness and partake in all of the above. I want movement to be a big part of their lives.  I want it to be a non-negotiable.  I want it to become part of who they are are and what they do.  I want it to be part of their lifestyle.

And while I won’t know if what I’m about to share is actually working until later on down the road (I’ll keep you posted by writing a blog post about it in 20 years), it couldn’t hurt to try some of these ideas.

Make time instead of making excuses.  I could probably write a 30-page dissertation on how I hate when people say they don’t have time.  No, you have time, you’re just not making time.  Instead you’re making excuses.  If something is that important to you, you find a way to get it done.  I try not to use the phrase “I don’t have time.”  Instead I say: “it’s just not the highest priority right now.”  Because if it was higher on the list, it would be getting done. Yes, it’s that simple. No, for real, it’s that simple.

If you want to be healthier, more fit, more balanced, more in control, have more energy… then MAKE IT A PRIORITY!  You might have to adjust your sleep schedule slightly or limit your social media scrolling time.  Unfortunately there are only so many hours in a day so you just need to allocate your time better because no one has time.  No one ever complains they have too much time.  We all just say there’s not enough time in the day… or do we just need be honest with ourselves about how we’re utilizing our 24 hours?

Workout while the kids are sleeping: I commend any mother that works out with her kids playing in the next room. I think that’s amazing. I prefer peace, quiet and not having to worry about how many times I’m going to have to pause to break up a fight or “oooh” and “ahhh” over artwork.

When I workout at home, I set my alarm as early as 4:40 AM so I can get my workout in before the morning mayhem begins. I know it sounds super early and maybe too early to some, but your body gets used to waking up early. It’s worth it to get your 30-minute workout done in 30 minutes rather than 45 or 50 because of all the stop and go.  Plus, I’m a working mom so I don’t have much choice– there’s no opportunity for a nap time workout.  And by the time I get home, well I’m lucky if I can keep my eyes open past 8 PM.

Get your kids involved in exercising: However, there are times that I snooze my alarm on a Saturday morning. And I do that knowing that at least one of the kids will be waking up during my workout. It’s usually Ethan and he comes downstairs and sits and watches me.  But really he doesn’t STFU for 30 minutes!!

So while I regret hitting snooze because my workout won’t be as good as I want it to be, I figure it’s a good opportunity to teach Ethan about my love of movement. He imitates me using his Styrofoam weights, uses my step to attempt some cool moves, and works on his plank hug grip while I work on my plank. It’s cute and I love it.

Playground + Walk: I absolutely love being outdoors with my kids anytime it’s over 50 degrees. Every time we go to the “big park” in my neighborhood, I make it a point to remind them in the car: first we take a walk and then we play on the slides.

That’s right, the minute we get to the park I pop the kids in the double stroller and we walk around the park twice before playing.  I like this tactic for two reasons: 1) It’s an opportunity for movement FOR ME! And 2) it teaches my kids patience. They don’t always get to run to the swings the minute they see them.  And now it’s just part of the routine of going to the park.  It’s not like it happens every other time we go.  That means I don’t have to play “let’s make a deal” on the days I want to go for a walk. (I save that for when we leave: Ethan, Alex, do you want ice cream?!) #notajoke

And last, but definitely not least, schedule your workouts into your week on Sunday evenings.  Not like I think I’m going to barre Monday and Wednesday and I’ll run, like two days.  No, like, write it down in your planner and check it off as you complete the workout.

You might not have to write down your workout schedule forever, but I’ll be honest, over a decade into my wellness journey and I still find it useful to write it out.  In a way I kinda build the rest of my week around my workouts.  What I eat, when I socialize, when I have a drink (or two).  It helps keep you honest and who doesn’t like checking something off a list!?!?

None of these tactics are that sophisticated.  I prefer to keep things simple.  My kids are going to develop some of my habits (good and bad).  My goal is to give them as many good ones to latch onto as possible!

Why I Love to Weightlift

You know how you get when you talk about something or someone you love?  Like that super animated, talk really fast, lots of inflection in your voice type of talking?  That’s how I feel about fitness.  I love to talk about running, home workouts, barre… you name it, I’m excited about it!  Recently that excitement includes weightlifting.  I went from a cardio queen to a lifting machine (OMG, that totally rhymed, I am so happy right now 😉 ).

This was a huge transition for me because I used to HATE lifting weights.  I did everything I could to avoid it.  I would do extra cardio and then oops, ran out of time, gotta go so I’m not late for work all the time.  I just didn’t enjoy it.  And I didn’t see the benefits.  But so many fitness gurus talk about how weightlifting is super important for women—especially as we get older.  So over the past few years I started implementing it into my workout routine.  It truly does amazing things for your body.  And there’s a ton of different ways to go about doing it!  I also learned that it’s much more than “I lift things up and put them down.”  Form is everything.  Even when weights seem “light” you still need to make sure you’re in proper form so that a) you don’t hurt yourself and b) you’re working the right muscles for that exercise.

And that’s about as scientific I’m going to get about weightlifting because I don’t have too much textbook knowledge on it.  But I’ve been doing it for a while now and I am happy to say I see results from what I do and also (:knocking wood:) I don’t feel pain or get hurt often (I feel like I had to add the word “often” in otherwise I sound like a tool if I say “never” and I’ll end up eating my words).

Anywayyyy, there are three different approaches I’ve used over the years for lifting weights.

  • Light Weight/High Reps– This used to be my go-to strategy. I’d hit the 8 lb dumbbells and do bicep curls and chest presses for dayzzz.  I still use this method sometimes.  Usually it’s when I do an EMOM (every minute on the minute) workout.  I’ll use the 8 lb dumbbells and curl for one minute straight.  This will definitely fatigue my muscles even though I would normally use 15 lb dumbbells but do a lot less reps.  To me, it’s just a different way to work the muscles—I’m using lighter weights and doing more reps rather than heavier weights and less reps.  It’s a way to switch things up.  And not just for my muscles, but for me mentally.  I admittedly get bored of doing the same thing week in and week out so changing up HOW I do my lifting gets me more excited to do it.
  • Medium Weight/Super SetsSuper sets, by MY definition, is when you do two exercises back-to-back with little to no rest in between- 10 reps each. For example, you might do a bicep curl and then drop those weights and pick up your heavier weights for a bent over (hehe) row.  Your “rest time” is basically the time it takes you to put your curl weight dumbbells down and pick up your row weight dumbbells.  You can also do this in the form of quad sets where you do four exercises back-to-back.  This method is fun because it moves quickly and definitely gets your heart rate up.  Obviously you’re not using your max weight (at least not for every exercise) because your muscles will be SPENT with 2.5- 5 lbs less than your max weight—trust ya girl on that one.
  • Heavy Weight/Low Reps– This is probably the most effective way to get strong, quick. Meaning, build da muscles.  I used to HATE using heavy weights because I thought I’d look like a dude.  But I’ve used this approach and definitely like the way it feels to lift heavy weights.  Also, I’m pretty sure the only way I’d be able to build muscle like a man is if I started taking testosterone … which is not on my to do list.

Okay, so I told you HOW I lift weights, but I haven’t told you WHY.

  • I used to hate wearing tank tops or anything sleeveless because my arms didn’t look good. HA!  At 25 I was already thinking my arms looked terrible so I would try to hide them as much as I could.  So yes, from an aesthetic standpoint I like the way my arms and shoulders look since I started lifting weights.  I feel more confident in tank tops, sleeveless dresses, etc.  I like looking cut and definitely enjoy checking out my arms in the mirror sometimes. (What?! I’m just being honest here 😉 ).
  • I love seeing the progress I’ve made and feeling stronger every day. I also love saying things like “no, I got it” when someone asks me if I need help lifting or moving something.  I have my limits of course, but it’s nice to feel strong.
  • I believe that lifting weights has helped me other areas of fitness—specifically running. Even when I used to use weights at the gym I would rarely work my legs.  Now I do leg workouts with dumbbells and feel a huge difference.  I run once a week and I feel like I’m pretty much just as fast, if not faster, than I’ve ever been (in my adult life) because of incorporating leg workouts to my routine.
  • There are so many health benefits to lifting weights but that’s not really my wheelhouse so I’m going to let this beautiful graphic do the talking. (It had me at “feel good” endorphins and reduces stress and anxiety.  Anyone else?)

Benefits Of WeightLifting

Like I said , I used to hate lifting weights so if you’re in that camp, I totally get it.  However, I truly believe that it’s part of a well-rounded fitness regimen.  And it doesn’t necessarily need to be 3 or 5 times a week.  I will lift for 6 or 8 weeks and then take a break for a couple of weeks.  This gives my body time to recover and for my muscles to start craving the lifting again.  I totally encourage people to incorporate some sort of lifting into their routine.

I  would love to hear other ideas and ways that people like to lift.  I’m always looking to try out new things.  Please share what you do in the comments!!!

 

Holiday Season Weight Maintenance Tips

'Tis the Season for Holiday Weight Maintenance Tips!

Today’s post is all about holiday season dos and don’ts.  It is so easy to get caught up in the holiday fun and completely forget about your health and fitness goals.  And then you wake up on January 1st and you’re already feeling sorry for yourself and the idea of taking on 2019 seems very distant. I see myself stress the minute Halloween candy hits the stores.  I even caught myself saying, “ugh, it’s so hard to stay on track through the holiday season.”  That’s like 1/6 of the year that I’m talking about… and ya know when it’s also hard?  The summer.  The dead of winter.  And also, ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Okay, so I’m not saying anything earth shattering here… we all know this.  So what can we do about?  I got some ideas for you, kids.  Don’t you worry!

Big Time Don’ts:

  • Stop saying things like “it’s so hard this time of year” and “ugh, I always gain a few pounds during the holiday season.” The more you say these things and put them out into the universe, the more you believe them.  (Cough, cough, self-fulfilling prophecy, cough, cough).  So if you’re constantly saying, “I’m fat”… guess what?  Your brain actually thinks your fat even if you’re not.  It is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT to get out of this type of habit.  When you’re used to saying things like this it’s almost like it comes out of your mouth without you even thinking about it.  So, trying not to say these things is the first step.  But if you catch yourself slipping up (like I did a few weeks ago), you should follow it up very quickly with—“but it’s my CHOICE and this year is going to be different.  I am in control.”
  • Don’t forget about your workouts—whatever your routine is during the rest of the year (3x, 4x, or 5x per week) KEEP IT UP. This is not the time to slack.  In fact, I challenge you to add on an extra 10 minutes to your workout every other day.  (I’ll post up some 10-minute workouts on my Instagram page next week to give you some ideas!).

Big Time Dos:

  • Track what you eat. Whether you write it down on a piece of paper (like me) or use an app on your phone (My Fitness Pal and LoseIt are two great options), keep track of what you put in your mouth.  This is annoying and time consuming, there’s no doubt about it.  But try it for 4/7 or 5/7 days per week.  I guarantee you on those days you’ll eat better because you’re consciously noting what you’re eating.  And, because you’ll feel so good you might even want to track an extra day or two.
  • Don’t track what you eat on Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or at your work holiday party. Life is about balance—you have to train your brain to understand that.  We all have a different definition of balance.  You might think my definition is too loose or too rigid.  Just find YOUR balance.  In my opinion, unless you’re a bodybuilder or training for a bikini competition, there’s absolutely no reason to track all the time.  You should be able to go away on vacation or enjoy a holiday gathering without tracking your meals because when it’s over you just go “back to normal” (whatever YOUR normal is—i.e. clean eating 75% of the time). There’s no thinking about it, it just happens.  And believe me, it doesn’t happen after a few days… this took me MONTHS to wrap my head around, but once I did, it made my life so much easier.  Getting “back to normal” after a few days of indulging became part of my new normal.
  • Keep it moving! If it’s warm enough outside, go for a walk.  If you go shopping, park far away from the entrance.  If you have stairs in your office building, take ‘em.   If you have a FitBit, or Apple iWatch, use them to track your steps.  Try to hit 10,000 steps per day.  This is a tip for all the time, not just the holiday season.  I get that it’s much more convenient to park close to the store entrance, but it’s not such a bad thing to get a few extra steps in.  Sidebar: if you have children with you, always try for a closer parking spot.   If you are buckling and unbuckling children from car seats and putting them in a shopping cart and keeping them alive, you’re probably getting a pretty sick workout anyway, so kudos to you, you deserve the best spot! 😉

I personally head into the holiday season on maintenance mode.  Truth is, I’ve gained about 5-6 lbs over the past few months.  Yes, some of it might be muscle.  But some of it might be from overindulging.  I’d like to lose that weight now but I decided not to get myself too stressed over it.  I decided to go 100% maintenance mode from now through the end of the year.  That includes:

  • Keeping track of my eating more days than not,
  • Increasing the intensity of my workouts,
  • Enjoying holiday parties and get togethers with family and friends,
  • Planning to kill in come January 1st.

The holiday season should be fun.  We already stress about gifts and parties and seeing our families.  Your health shouldn’t be an extra stressor.  My biggest piece of advice is to find something that works for you.  I don’t think anyone’s ever said, “completely letting myself go and throwing caution to the wind” was the best decision they ever made.  So find a way to balance it all out.  Exercise, eat well as much as you can, indulge when you want to, and get ready to kick 2019’s butt!

~L

Putting in the Work

In honor of Flashback Friday, I thought it’d be fun to talk about my high school running career.  I much rather tell you about my tennis career because I was actually good at that.  But I think sharing something I sucked at would make for a better story…

My first day of track practice in 9th grade was nothing short of ego-crushing. I just came off of tennis season and felt pretty good about how it went.  I had easily made the Varsity team and was one of the better players.  I knew going into the winter track season that it wouldn’t be the same; I was just using running as a way to stay in shape for tennis, build up my endurance for long matches.  And running long distance (the 1500 meter and 3000 meter races) was a really good way to do that.

The track coach split everyone into two groups- long distance and sprinters.  I made my way over to where the long distance runners were gathered.  Pretty much all the long distance runners just finished up their cross country season. I was probably one of the few people who voluntarily decided to run distance who did not run cross country.  The coach told us to run the power lines.  First of all, what are the power lines?  How fare are we running? Can I stop and walk when I’m tired? Are there snacks along the way?  What if I get lost?

The group started running.  Everyone was chit-chatting with one another while we made our way towards the power lines. I could barely keep up, let alone talk!  And as we continued to run, the “real” runners pulled away and got smaller and smaller while I fell behind.  It was probably a combination of them picking up their pace and mine slowing down.  But damn, I sucked!  I probably ran 3 miles that day while everyone else probably ran 4 or 5 (maybe even 6, I was that slow).  The group turned around at some point and scooped me up on their way back to the high school. The same thing happened on the way back—they pulled away and I “walked with a bounce” back to the school.

It was quite clear on that day that I was never going to be the fastest runner on the track team.  Hell, I probably wouldn’t even compete with the average runners, but I was determined to get better.  And I did. I showed up to practice EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I was one of the first people out on the track after the final bell.  I ran on Sunday mornings.  I did all the things I could do to get better.  And I did!  Was I the best?  No, and that’s OK!  As long as I was getting better, I felt good.

Fast forward a few months.  I was sitting at my high school’s annual Varsity Dinner.  Each coach got up and presented a couple of awards to players on their teams.  The track coach, good ol’ Mr. Dwyer, made his way up to the little stage.  He handed out an MVP award (which ya’ll know I didn’t get).  But then he started talking about the next award—the “Work Horse” award.  And before I knew it, I was being called up to accept!  Alright, alright, it’s a little embarrassing that I even remember this but whatever, it meant something to me! I look back on that now and think, I really did deserve that award because I truly worked my butt off during track. I was never going to be the best, but I just wanted to improve and become MY best.

Little did I know, winning that award would later teach me two great life lessons:

  • You can work your tail off for something—whether it’s getting a job promotion you think you deserve, beating your PR (personal record) at your race, ANYTHING, and still not get the promotion, or run your best race time, or whatever. You can try really hard at things and still fail.  And that’s OK.
  • On the flip side, you could know that you’re never going to be the best at something but that shouldn’t stop you from putting your all into it. It should never keep you from trying because THAT is the only way you actually fail- by not trying, by not pushing yourself, by not reaching YOUR potential (whatever that is).

failure-quote

Here’s a cute little example:  I’ve run 3 half marathons- 13.1 miles.  Each time I’ve run the race, I’ve run a faster time than the last (that’s been my goal each time).  The reality is, no matter how hard I train, I’ll probably never be able to run 7 minute mile pace for 13.1 miles, but it’s not going to stop me from trying to get better each and every time I run a race.  I’m still going to try MY BEST, IN THAT MOMENT to do even just a smidge better than last time.  I mean, I’m a “work horse” according to my track coach, so I’m going to put in the work (work work work work work ß me singing Rihana’s song “Work”).

I thinks sometimes people feel like if they put effort or work into something and they fail then they are a failure.  So when they try something and fail, they get sad/upset/angry/disappointed and kind of close themselves up to trying again.  They don’t want to try something else and fail again because they think:

Failure + Failure + Failure = I’m a failure

Right?

Nah… it’s more like

Failure + Failure + Failure = Growth + Learning + Experience

Think about all things you’ve learned from doing the things you’ve always done?  Whomp whomp… probably nothing.  Think about the times that you’ve tried something new—what did you learn?  You’d be surprised at what you took away from those experiences, big or small.

I worked my butt off for 4 years in track. And I’ll tell you, I never won a race. I never came in first—not EVER.  It didn’t stop me from trying or putting all my effort into each and every race.  I was OK with knowing that every time I stepped out on the 1500m start line, I was going to run over a full minute slower than most of the other girls. And it was OK.  It was kind of a good lesson to learn so young—you mean, I can try really hard and still not be good at something?  Umm, yeah.  So what you’re saying is, even if I know should get the promotion, I might not?  Umm, yeah.  But I should keep doing whatever it is I need to do to be MY best self and eventually things will fall into place?

HELL TO THE YES!

“I want” vs. “I want to want”

“I want to be fit.”  I said this about a million times between the ages of 18 and 28.  I would complain that I was going to the gym and I still wasn’t skinny.  I would say things like “I’m fat” ALL THE TIME.  To the point where I’m sure it got annoying to listen to.  And I eventually got tired of saying it.

IMG_6925

I came to the conclusion that all those times I said “I want to be fit” what I really meant was “I WANT TO want to be fit.”  The reality was I knew what it took to get fit and healthy but I wasn’t willing to do the things I knew would get me there.  I wanted to want be fit.  And for a long time “I want to be fit” were just empty words.  They were meaningless.  The saying it part is easy.  The execution is where we all get tripped up.  How many times have you said one or more of the following?

I want to get healthy.

I want to stop smoking.

I want to get a new job.

I want to buy a bigger house.

I want to go back to school.

I want to have a better relationship with my spouse.

I want to start my own business.

I want to start my blog (oh wait, that’s me!)

We want, we want, we want… but do we REALLLLLY want these things?

No, because if we did we’d stop saying it and just actually do the damn thing.  For whatever reason, we aren’t that unhappy, we aren’t that uncomfortable.  Meaning we don’t like that we’re tired and lethargic all the time but it’s not to the point where we’re ready to execute a plan to get us right.  The thought of what we have to do to get to our goals is waaaaay more daunting than staying right where we are in our “comfortable enough” state.  We come up with thousands of excuses as to why now isn’t the right time for us to do “that thing” or work on “that goal.”  And what it comes down to is YOU JUST DON’T ACTUALLY WANT IT…. YET.

So, what you’re saying is… if I’m not ready I shouldn’t bother trying because if I say I want to do something and then I don’t do it I’m just one of those people who says things that they don’t mean and inevitably comes up with an excuse about why they can’t do it so instead I just shouldn’t care and not say it and not want it until I ACTUALLY want it.  (I love a good, purposeful run-on sentence).

Ummm, NO! The answer is NO.  What you should do is stop saying you want all these things and just pick ONE, just ONE that you want bad enough to actually go for.  You have to care enough about something at some point in your life to do something about it!  So pick ONE thing and do it.

Sounds easy, right?  Well it’s not.  Because anything worth having takes WORK.  It takes self-discipline. It takes willingness to change. And it takes our least favorite thing ever—sacrifice.  You have to give up something to get something.  But, like, 1000% of the time what you gain far outweighs the things you lose along the way.

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SIGH! It was super fun to type all of that.  I felt powerful and in control and kind of awesome… BUT the reality is, I still have things I WANT TO WANT.  For instance…

I WANT TO WANT a new job.  For those of you that don’t know, I work for a financial services firm.  I’ve been in the business since I’m 20 years old and have been the operations manager at my office for over eight years.  There are things I LOVE about my job (like the fact that every day is different, I meet some cool people, and I get to take care of MY people).  But I also dislike things about my job (it gets boring at times, I meet some not-so-cool people and I get overwhelmed on a daily basis).  HOWEVER, my comfort, or discomfort level is not high enough.  I like my job… but I’m not passionate about it.  My dad (who I work for, interestingly enough) would tell me that you don’t HAVE to be passionate about your job… because it’s a J-O-B, not F-U-N.  True, Jay, I get that. But I want more. But obviously not enough… at least not right now!  Because if I did, my resume would be updated, I’d have a picture on my LinkedIn profile and I would be networking my butt off to get that new job.

On the other hand, I ACTUALLY wanted to get healthy and fit a few years ago.  I finally chose to stop saying it and just started doing it.  And it took me becoming a Beachbody coach, posting after-workout selfies and using color coded containers for me to do it.  And that may sound LAAAAME to you but I don’t care.  It’s what worked for me.

This past summer I decided I wanted to get my license to sell life insurance.  The first step was saying “I want to do this.”  The second step was telling everyone I worked with that I was doing it.  The third was taking a course and skimming the study materials.  And the fourth was taking the test.  I’ll admit… I started step one at least twice since I started working.  And I probably skipped over step two, which is why I never got to steps three and four.  Look, you don’t have to tell everyone what you’re doing because maybe that’s just completely unnecessary and uncomfortable for you.  For me, though, I needed to.  I can’t imagine someone in my office asking me how the studying was going and having to sheepishly say, “Yeah, I’m not doing that.  I [insert any lame excuse here].  I knew that I wouldn’t want to have that conversation.  This time I actually WANTED it.

Today’s takeaway?  Think about the things you’ve said you want.  What’s the one thing you’ve said you wanted time and time again and just haven’t been able to do?  DO IT!  You’re not getting any younger! (Sorry, I had to go there.  And also, it’s true).  You can sit around all day and think of all the excuses in the world as to why you can’t… but YOU CAN.  And YOU SHOULD!  In the words of Jim Rohn, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Turn “I want to want it” to “I want it” to “I did it!”  And if you need someone to help cheer you on through the process, I’m here for you, babe!  😉

~L

Genuine Happiness

This one is going to be hard for me.  The version of me that you’re going to read about below is not the person I want anyone to think of me as.  But it was who I was for a long time, whether people knew it or not.  And I learned a valuable lesson that I think is worth sharing.

There was a time, not too long ago, that I had trouble being happy for other people.  I was one of those people that would roll my eyes when I saw someone post something on Facebook or Instagram about their amazing weight loss or their brand new huge-ass house.  Like an actual eye roll, scroll without “liking”, mutter “no one cares” reaction to someone posting something they were happy and proud of.  Seriously?!?  I was that insecure that I couldn’t be happy for someone else’s achievements?  (:shutters:).  Umm, yeah, apparently I was!  I should’ve been happy for them- and not just pretend happy, like genuinely happy.  A few years ago I realized why I was like this.

I truly thought that if Sarah was skinny that meant I had to be fat.  If Samantha was successful that meant there was no success left for me.  And if Lucy was madly in love, I’d be alone forever.  I don’t know where this mentality came from.  I have no recollection of ever being taught this.  Why did I think that there was a limited amount of happiness or success or love in the world?  Like they were products at a store and once the store was sold out, I was SOL!

It wasn’t until I joined a multi-level-marketing company and became an online fitness coach in 2015 that a major shift in my mindset occurred.  It was truly one of the BEST DECISIONS I EVER MADE.  I still thank my lucky stars that the opportunity fell into my lap when it did.  DISCLAIMER: I am no longer coaching so don’t worry I’m not asking you to join my team (even though you, yes YOU, would probably rock at it 😉 )

Here are just a few gems that I took away from my coaching experience:

  1. I learned how to genuinely be happy for other people. I don’t know how it happened.  I’m not sure if it was because I was surrounded with so many people cheering me on or the fact that I started to feel better about myself (controlling my eating rather than feeling controlled BY it). But it was like the positive energy from this new network of people was contagious.  And then one day it just clicked.  Even though there were plenty of coaches doing better than me, I was rooting for them.  I was happy to see them do well.  And this spilled over into all the other parts of my life.  I noticed that when I was scrolling through FB or IG, I’d “like” or comment on things that I would normally just scroll right past.  I was happy to see that other people were happy and successful.  It started to make ME happy.
  2. I was surrounded by like-minded people. As my online network grew, I got introduced to so many amazing people.  These people made me “level up” as I like to call it.  Meaning, they pushed me to be a better version of myself.  They were happy, successful, high energy and positive and I wanted to be like them!  And now, I seek out happy, positive, and supportive people.  No one wants to be around a Negative Nancy (#oldme)… we all want to hang out with Positive Patty (#newme).
  3. I was introduced to personal development. I am OBSESSED with becoming better.  And no, not better than you.  Just a better version of me.  One of the ways I do that is by reading books on personal development. I use PD to help me get through times when I’m feeling down, sorry for myself or just when I need to redirect my focus back to my goals.  It helps reaffirm that I’m on the right track.  Even if it’s a slightly uncomfortable track.  Which leads me to:
  4. Pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I’ve pretty much always played it safe. And let’s be real, safe can be boring!  Becoming an online fitness coach was definitely WAAAAAAAY outside my comfort zone. I’m a private person so sharing things about my weight loss journey wasn’t easy at first.  But I saw how sharing my story helped inspire others to start their own journey. And I also realized that when ideas keep you up at night (like starting your blog) that means you should GO FOR IT.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll always be successful.  You have to fail in order to grow.  But believe me, every time I do something outside my comfort zone I gain a little more confidence.  And that pushes me to challenge myself even more.

So, the moral of the story?  Becoming an online fitness coach was a turning point, not just in my fitness journey, but in my life journey.  The things I’ve taken away from the experience are things I only wish I learned earlier in life.  But just like everything else, it happened when it was supposed to.

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And just as a sidebar, if you are ever approached by someone to join their team or company, just remember, it’s a compliment!  They see you as someone they feel would be an amazing addition to their team.  They see you as an influencer.  They see you as positive person.  They see your desire to help others.  So don’t immediately say no. Think about it.  The worst that can happen is that you get an experience that teaches you all the things I described above. Not terrible, right?

~L

 

Welcome, friends!

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I’ll be straight up honest—I have no idea what I’m doing.  Not with this blog. I mean, in life.  I am literally walking through life trying to figure things out.  Every.  Single.  Day.  This is hard for me to admit because when I was 18 and 24 and 28, I legitimately thought “I got this” when it came to life.  I had everything planned out—and guess what?! Everything was going exactly according to plan!  Ahhh, isn’t it so nice when that happens?

But then I realized that the plan I had when I was 18 and 24 and even at 28 was not making me happy. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t depressed or terribly unhappy but I just knew things weren’t right.

Things changed.

It’s as simple as that.  I had everything I could have asked for—a husband, two kids, a good job, a home, family close by. I mean, geez, Lauren, it seems like you got it all, what’s the problem?!?!

So, before I go any further, let me introduce myself. My name is Lauren. I live on Long Island.  I have two children- 3.5 year-old Ethan and 1.5 year-old Alexandra (aka Alex, aka Chicken, aka Chickie, aka Chickie Chickie Nug Nug,  you get the idea).  If you follow me on social media you know that I’m into fitness, food and funnies.  I love to laugh (even at my own expense, even if my face gets beet red).  I love to be around people and I totally vibe off other peoples’ energy.  I’m not always happy and bubbly but I do my best to put a smile on every day.  I can be judgmental and witchy with a capital B at times (which I’m working on).  And I find one my greatest joy is making people smile.  I also get a high when someone sends me a message and asks me for advice on working out, their diet, or that I inspired them to get moving again.  And most recently I’ve been excited about sharing my story.  Not because my story is so wonderful but because in sharing my story, I hope to give others the confidence to share their’s.

One of my favorite quotes is from John Churton Collins- “If we knew each other’s secrets, what comforts we should find.”

The minute I heard this quote (on Criminal Minds, if you’re wondering) it stuck.  I’ve always been a super private person.  I never had any issue talking to other people about THEIR problems, but I wouldn’t be so quick to share my own “stuff.”  As I’ve gotten older, I realized that I’m not only doing myself a disservice, I’m doing my friends and family a disservice as well.  No one- your family, friends, spouse, partner, co-workers, etc. can truly understand who you are unless you’re willing to become vulnerable and let people in.  Only through letting people get to know who we really are, can we develop a deeper appreciation and understanding for all the people that we cross paths with throughout our lives.

For me, this realization has been life changing.  Only over the past couple of years I have finally become more comfortable with who I am.  Don’t get me wrong, I still have fears and insecurities… but I’ve worked through SO MUCH these last couple of years and I’m finally starting to feel like I can be my true self.  And it’s incredibly freeing.

That being said, fitness, exercise, running, and just generally being active have been the trigger for a lot of my changes.  I’ve learned so much from my days of running high school track to running half marathons to lifting heavy weights.  Things I do during my workouts, I apply to situations and problems that I’m experiencing in my life.  And most of my epiphanies come either during or right after my workout when my muscles and brain are highly stimulated.  It’s never been about looking a certain way.  It’s been about finding a way to take control of my life, finding ways to change my thoughts, actions, re-actions and everyday behaviors.  It’s about feeling confident and finding my true self.

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photo cred: motivationalping.com

So I’m going to share my story through the lens of my “fit life.”  Some of it’s going to be hard to talk about, some of it’s going to be light and fluffy and most of it will be somewhere in between.  I’m super excited about this new part of my journey and I hope you are too!

I appreciate your feedback and any questions or comments you have.  😉

~L