Finish Strong

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You can’t go back and change the beginning.  But, you can start where you are and change the ending” -C.S. Lewis
“The person who starts the race is not the same as the person who finishes the race.”
-Unknown

I’ve been there so many times.  I have started something with glee.  I started a new workout plan, diet, or project. I am so excited at the onset.  I think to myse;f “I am goint to CRUSH this.”  For example, I recently signed up for a 10K charity run.  I was excited to start training and adding in more cardio.  I was confident that this would be a piece of cake. I ran a 10k before.   Heck, I ran a half marathon before! This would be a proverbial “walk in the park.”  I had a positive mindset and nothing was going to stop me from reaching my goal.

Or, was it? 3 weeks before the race, I started to train outside.  I quickly realized that I was not in the kind of shape I used to be.  I would get tired and pained quickly during my runs.  How was I supposed to run 6 miles?? My confidence and belief wavered.  You see, the deeper you go and continue to work, obstacles will almost always rear their ugly head.  Maybe you get tired. You get injured.  You get tempted and give in.  Is that the end?  Some would say so.  You failed. You “fell off track”.  It’s al l over once you hit a rut.

Or, is it?  You see, struggles and obstacles are part of the process.  They test your behaviors, discipline, and will to go on.  They make you want to turn back.  You feel like throwing in the towel.  But, These obstacles are just speed bumps. The glory lies in continuing on.   Working through and past obstacles.  Your spirit and will are stronger than the small obstacles in your way.  In the end, I did run that race.  I worked through the discomfort the whole way.  I committed to the process and took one step after another.  It was tough.  But, I knew there was an end to it.  As I reached the finish line, adrenaline kicked in.  I sprinted the last few hundred yards after an hour plus of running.

When you feel you are struggling, do not take the easy route.  Do not turn back or stop trying.  No, no, no.  Straighten yourself up. Proclaim that you will not be deterred.  These measly obstacles will not thwart you from reaching your goals.  Keep trying and pressing through your struggles.  You will come out stronger and smarter than ever before.  I promise.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 
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Start Slow

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“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”. -St. Francis of Assisi
“Start where you are. Use what you have.” Do what you can.-Adam Ashe


A few months back, I signed up for a charity race.  My company was sponsoring the event.  I had to work the vendor table before the race.  Naturally, I decided to run the race as well.  The problem was that I signed up for the 10K without a training plan!  Not the best strategy I assure you.  Even so, I began working toward running 6 miles.  At first, I ran on the treadmill for 10- 15 minutes.  After doing so for a week, I bumped up the time.  I ran for 20 minutes, 25 minutes, and so forth.  I worked up to 45 minutes comfortably on the treadmill after a few weeks.


Then, the weather finally improved enough for me to run outside.  I was stoked!  It had been close to a year since I have ran outside.  I was so confident I could pick it up quickly.  To my dismay, I STRUGGLED on that first run.  I had to stop at 3 minutes!  I eventually did a loop that took me 45 minutes while jogging and walking.  It was tough!  That run made me realize how different a jogging on treadmill and outside really are.

With 3 weeks before the race, I knew I was in trouble.  I was not prepared.  My endurance and weight was not where it should be to run 6 miles!  But, I did not want to turn back.  I did not want to shy away from the challenge.  So, I ran anyway.  Sufficed to say, I ran the race and finished.  I didn’t break any records to say the least.  Some lessons did come from this experience:
  1. Start any new goal/ venture/ change slowly
  2. Pace yourself and your progress
  3. Train with he same activity as your end goal/ event
  4. Work p to a goal
  5. Do not overwhelm yourself with a huge goal!!

Overall, the race was a great experience and I am glad I stuck to my guns and ran.  Next time, I plan to train more appropriately and seriously.  Have you ever set a goal and worked up to it?  Comment below! As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

Labels- Do’s and Don’ts (part 2)

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The nutrition facts label.  It’s like another language isn’t it?  So many words, numbers, and terms.  It can make your head spin!  Most of the time, people ignore this important tool.  They buy the food they like without even looking at this label.  They choose foods because of price, taste. or convenience.  Sometimes, they do not even realize what they are putting into their mouths!  Put simply, the nutrition facts label can be a helpful tool in your decision making.  It gives you valuable information on that food product.  You can make more informed and good decisions when reading these labels.  Here are some simple tips to make it easy deciding from a food label:
Don’t                                                                  
Blindly chose foods without reading their label
Think a package is 1 serving
Add salt or butter to salty or buttery foods
Choose foods high in sugar Choose foods high in fiber
Eat foods with long ingredient lists
Do
Choose foods lower in calories from fat
Eat the serving size on the package
Choose low salt and fat options
Choose foods high in fiber
Choose foods with short lists
The nutrition facts label can be a helpful tool when making healthy decisions.  It can be intimidating.  Start slow.  Practice with foods at home.  Decide if the food is helping or hurting you from the information included on the label.  You will catch on quickly.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve! 

Labels- Do’s and Don’ts

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Labels- we seen them everywhere.  We label people.  We label products.  We label foods.  Depending on the label we give something, it will change the meaning and the perspective we take.

For example, we label people.  We generalize.  We label rich people as “greedy,” “grimy,” or “despicable”.  We label overweight individuals as “lazy”, “losers”, or “undisciplined”.  These labels we use create how we interact within the world.  If you see the people I outlined above in this way, would you interact with them?  Probably not.

What if we turned this concept inward to ourselves.  If we see ourselves as “lazy”, “uncommitted”, “no good”, or “weak”, how do you think we would act?  Like losers, I’m sure.  So, why give yourself labels like that?  Consider changing the way you see things. Change the way you see others and yourself.  Choose constructive thoughts, words, and actions when viewing other people, yourself, and products.  Choose products and people that will benefit you in your mental, physical, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual health.  For example, call yourself “loved”, “worthy”, “enthusiastic”, or “strong”.

Don’t
Allow others to determine your identity
Choose friends who do not want the best for you
Listen to negative messages
Dwell on negative thinking
Beat yourself up

Do
Choose a strong personal identity
Choose people who raise you up
Listen to positive messages
Cultivate positive thinking
Love yourself unconditionally

Choose people who support positive labels about you.  Choose people in your live who call you “smart”, “great”, “helpful”, “compassionate”, etc. They will support you both when you are on top or rock bottom. You will notice how you feel about your confidence, self-esteem, and decision-making.  Do this over time.  You will not only take on behaviors of positive labels. But, you will become more of those qualities!  As Always, Eat, Move and Improve!

“P”atterns

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The direction of our lives depend on the patterns we create each day.  This means our behaviors, habits, thoughts, words, and actions form who we are and where we go. They are subtle but they drive our actions and interactions with the world.  If we are not careful, our minds will choose the patterns that are most accessible. Mostly, negative messages and tones from around us! I let that happen to me before.  Not a road you want to go down.  Trust me.  Want positive changes in your life?  Choose positive “P”atterns throughout your day.  During the day, I will speak these words to myself to repeat these patterns so they become second nature. Below, I outline some “P”atterns I use.  Find the words that speak to you and focus on adding them to your daily routine!

Peace: In this day and age, it is so difficult to find a mindful calmness.  We have distractions, loud music, annoying people, and electronics that keep us busy.  Finding peace and quiet almost means locking yourself in an empty room with nothing to do.  Or, does it?  The secret to outward peace is inward peace. Our minds create peace or chaos depending on what we feed it. If we feed busy distractions and fill our lives with commotion, our body will feel the business.  If we fill our minds with peace, quiet, kindness, and compassion, we will feel such.  Give yourself some quiet time and your body and mind will thank you.


Positivity: Our world throws so many messages at us.  Negative news, rude people, tough situations.  It’s sometimes easy to dwell on the negatives in this life.  It is so critical to develop a positive mindset.  Practice gratitude, looking at the bright side, interacting with positive media, and smiling.  You will see how your perspective will change for the better.


Passion: Passion is tough to define.  A dictionary definition seems cheesy here.  To me, “passion” means a burning desire to spend time with something or someone you love. Life seems dull without it.  Passion makes life exciting and meaningful.  Find your passion and you will find your direction and reason in life.


Power:  The world makes us feel powerless sometimes.  We get beat down.  We fail.  We get criticized or discriminated.  DO NOT allow the world to make you feel powerless.  YOU are powerful!  You have the power to make decisions and determine your outcome. Personal power comes from owning who you are and your choices.  If you do this, no one can make you feel any less about yourself.  Own who you are and step into your personal power!


Presence: Our culture and thinking has a way of turning us away from the present moment. Technology, distractions, the news, situations all have a way of taking us away from a mindful moment in the here and now.  We dwell on the past on past mistakes.  Or,we overthink and overanalyze in the future.  Past and future thinking robs us of the peace in the present moment. Find strategies that put you in the present moment.  You will feel more at peace and powerful to make great decisions.

Patterns make us who we are- good and bad.  Choose patterns and behaviors you can be proud of and see your life change.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

How to Eat Well When Traveling

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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

“Unfortunately, there seems to be far more opportunity out there than ability…. We should remember that good fortune often happens when opportunity meets with preparation.”  -Thomas Edison

If you’re like most people, you travel every now and again.  That’s great!  It is important to explore this world and see all of it’s wonders.  In fact, I have seen stats that suggest traveling lowers depression.

When you are looking to make a lifestyle or behavior change, sticking to your plan can become difficult on your trip.  Food is quite available when we are traveling.  But, the food available usually does not fit into your plan.  We pass gas stations, sit down restaurants, dessert places, and fast food joins as we make our way around our new surroundings.  It is critical to stick to your plan despite being in a different zip code.  You do not to lose all the progress and momentum you have built up before the trip.  Here are some ideas on how to eat well when traveling:

-pack a lunch or snack on the road before you leave
-Choose healthy snacks when you make stops on your trip
-When arriving, locate a grocery store nearby.  Stock your fridge and cabinets with foods that fit into your plan
-Choose salads, light entrees, or vegetable dishes when eating out
-Drink alcohol in moderation.  Only 1-2 at a time
-Choose an appetizer or dessert.  Not both.
Remember, you are trying to make lasting changes in your life.  Do not allow the temporary time away ruin your permanent behavior change.  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!

The Brighter the Better

 

 

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.”- Allen Klein


“People in this world shun people for being great, for being a bright color, for standing out. But the time is now, to be OK with being the greatest you”.-Kanye West


“Revolution begins in putting on bright colors”.-Tennessee Williams

The other day, I walked past a woman in a parking lost.  She wasn’t hard to miss.  She was dressed in pink from head to toe!  A pink hoodie, pink sweatpants, and pink shoes.  Another man commented “that’s a good color on you”.  Without a beat, the woman responded “the brighter the better!”  That made me think.  Made me think back on some well known athletes who dress brightly- Tiger Woods on Sundays, Connor Mcgreggor at press conferences, Serena Williams on the tennis court, Rey Mystery Jr. in the wrestling ring.  They stand out.  They make a statement.  You cannot miss them.

More so, these athletes have a confidence about them.  They are enthusiastic and passionate individuals.  They give off positivity and swagger when they compete.  This made me think deeper.  Dressing in bright colors can help us as individuals.  We want to become our best selves in life and in the gym.  We want to be noticed.  We want to show off.  We want to feel confident and have that swagger in life. I am not sure what comes first- the bright colors or the attitudes of belief, confidence, swagger.  But, it doesn’t really matter.  They are both intertwined.  Next time you want to feel better about yourself and get noticed, dress in bright colors: bright shorts, shirts, socks, shoes, bandanas, you name it.  Put on your bright look and kill your workouts!  As Always, Eat, Move, and Improve!