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Saturday, January 30, 2016

What Little Changes Can Do

When I was in my 20's, I subconsciously thrived on stress and drama. I was attracted to it. I got caught up in various television Soap Opera's. Was glued to the news channels for hours during a disaster story. I always had to know the latest drama going on at work or in other people's lives. 

For whatever reason, I needed to feel like I was a part of it all and because "like attracts like", I surrounded myself with people who were full of drama and stress. And, what goes hand in hand with that? Negativity! Also known as, life's biggest energy sucker.

Even though I thrived on stress, I was always a positive person. I was the one that would tell you that the glass was half full.

It wasn't until I started associated myself with positive people and situations that I realized how much control I had over my own happiness and opportunities that surround me.

I have since grown into the person that will drink the glass of water while others continue to argue over how full it is because life is too short to argue over one's personal perception. But, challenge me when I know I am right, and it's totally "game on". HA!

Don't get me wrong. As optimistic as I am, I have found myself in plenty of stressful and negative situations but how I choose to respond is of my own doing. I just try really hard to not allow anyone to dictate my emotions. I allow myself to be sad, mad, angry, or happy. And, it's OK to feel sad (for a moment). It's OK to be mad. More importantly, it's OK to be happy.

There is nothing naive about being happy or positive. Most negative people perceive positive people as being naive because we aren't focused on what could go wrong.

While I am aware of the risks I take, I choose to focus on what can go right. Where is the wrong in that?

And, I do not dare let anyone tell me that I can't do something for myself. Tell me I can't achieve something and I'll show you I can.

I use my inner motivational speaker to push myself to succeed in everything I do. Whether it's a tough project at work or my effort level in the gym, I can talk myself into finishing whatever I start.

Last Sunday, I decided to push myself a little harder at the gym because a bigger effort = bigger results. So, I added an extra 10 minutes to the StairMaster at a slightly faster speed for a total of 30 minutes. I also increased my time on the rowing machine from 60 minutes to 65.

Yes, that is a mere 15-minute addition. 

Nothing to call the news stations about but at the end of the week, that 15 minutes per day (x7 days) added up to an additional 1 hour and 45 minutes of kicking ass in the gym. 

That extra effort has made a difference on the scale because when I weighed myself this morning, I was excited (more like shocked) to see that I had lost FOUR pounds this week, bringing my total weight loss to 35 pounds since October.

Other than changing the brand of protein shake I drink, I didn't eat anything differently. I am still consuming 1 gram of protein a day per pound of my target body weight. I am still drinking the same amount of water each day (which is half my body weight in ounces).

I can only attribute those four pounds to the additional 15 minutes of time.

When I started back in the gym just three months ago, I knew that my body would lose the first few pounds fairly quick because I hadn't worked out for more than two years. I was right because the first ten pounds practically fell off.

It took a month to build enough stamina to maintain an hour on the rowing machine and 20 minutes on the Stairmaster. My body became stronger and my muscles more leaner. Kind of goes along with that saying of, "Life isn't getting easier, I'm just getting stronger."

However, after two months of the same routine, my body became accustomed to same daily level of physical stress and my weight loss slowed down. It needed a little more stress to trigger muscle stimulation so last Sunday I granted it's wish.

I didn't add new moves or workouts to my routine. 

I didn't add some latest fitness craze piece of machinery, equipment, or pill to swallow. 

I simply pushed myself a little harder than I did the week before. 

15 minutes harder.

Did I die? No. 

Was I still breathing in the end? Yes.

It was just a little change that made a four pound difference.

I said goodbye to my days of thiving on stress years ago and I cannot stand drama. The only stress I like to feel these days is the stress of my muscles working.

Say goodbye to old habits, negative people, and nay-sayers. 

Chase your dreams. 

Achieve your goals. 

Add another 15 minutes to whatever is important to you.

Do not settle for anything less than what you want to achieve. In relationships, work, or just life in general. 

If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello. 

I got this! You got this!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

It's not over, until I win!

I watched this video several days ago it struck a chord deep within me. The powerfully evocative words invaded every thought I had for the past week.

Various, and sometimes random, thoughts were running through my head a million miles an hour.

I began questioning myself and what my true purpose in life is.

I started a list of my accomplishments in my head and because I'm a woman, I over analyzed it. Over thought it. Lost sleep over it.

I am a STRONG woman and it was aggravating me that I was suddenly feeling so weak. Not broken. Just weak. And I have no room in my life for weakness.

On any given day, I'm the type of person that will rise up every morning despite the pain. I rise up unafraid of what the day may bring because I know that I will always outshine the darkness. If I fall seven times, I will always stand up eight. Always!

  • I have raised an amazing son who grew into the most honorable and respectable man.
  • I have a successful career with an amazing company.
But, I don't just want to raise a family, work, and then die! I feel like my life has a bigger purpose.

Since high school, I have been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Everything!

We are placed where we are supposed to be and people are positioned in our lives for a purpose. Whether it's temporarily or for a lifetime.

No matter the situation I was placed, or the people involved, every move that has been made throughout the course of my life has helped guide me to where I am supposed to be. However - I have come to realize that I have yet to fully become the person I was created to be.

I began to explore what it is that makes me truly happy.

I am already an accomplished graphic artist, photographer, cook, baker, crafter, and writer.

Does that mean I am supposed to open a restaurant where I write, design, and hand make my own menu that features photographs I have taken of the dishes I created?

HA! As much as I love doing all of those things for others...none of them are the reason I was born (although, some may think otherwise).

In the midst of all this soul searching, I was contacted by a local writer who was authoring an article on how people stay motivated in keeping their new year's resolution of getting fit/healthy. She had phoned my gym and the owner gave her my name and number because he felt my story would be fitting [insert look of shock on my face here].

I agreed to meet her the following day and during my short 30-minute interview with her, she asked me some very pointed questions that started with my back story. I gave her the Cliff Notes version of my weight loss journey and challenges.

She asked what kept me motivated. If my social life had suffered or if I had lost friendships/relationships because of my dedication. I answered each question with ease. She asked me what advice I would give to "a person of size" who had made a new year's resolution to get fit and wanted to stay motivated. Her eyes lit up as I spoke.

At the end of the interview, she said my story will make a great addition to her piece and she asked me to email her a photograph of myself so she could include it with the article.

After my interview concluded (which took place at the gym of all places), I jumped into my daily workout.

As I rowed, I was reviewing her questions and my responses in my head. I think I was about 7,000 meters into my daily 12,000-meter row when I had an epiphany. My eyes were wide open, my heart became full, and a smile came across my face.

I was born to inspire others. That is my purpose. That is what I was created and designed for.

Then the questions began in my head. Do I finish my book? Draft a screenplay based on my story? Start a support group for the motivationally challenged? Open a gym? Become a public speaker (which would require me to get over my fear of speaking in public)?

I haven't quite determined just exactly what I am supposed to do with my purpose yet but I do know one thing - all roads have led me to Texas for a reason.

Whether it's to simply learn that lesson or to take action and begin a new life with a new dream, I am energized.

My blood is pumping with motivation and my mind is determined to put a plan in motion so I can carry out my purpose - and I will not quit, until I win!

I got this!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Do it for the, "OMG, you look amazing!"

Since my last post, I have been asked several times if I started back at the gym to lose weight for my husband or if I started back for myself. I know I was asked because my friends and family want to make sure I am losing it for the right reasons.

The honest truth is, and I can't believe I am putting this out into the atmosphere, my motivation began the morning I discovered my underwear had become too tight. I had a breakdown right there in my closet. As soon as I received clearance from all of my doctors to begin working out again, I leapt at the chance to join a gym.

I have had a home gym since moving to Texas, which included an elliptical, Total Gym, and an upright stationary bike. As much as I'd like to say I was dedicated to using it, I can't.

I knew I needed to get out of my house if I wanted to make a difference. It becomes to easy to make excuses when you workout at home, including the old, "I'll just sit down for five minutes and then workout" excuse. That five minutes turns into an hour and by that time all motivation has been lost and you tell yourself, "I'll do it tomorrow."

That was no longer going to be me.

I looked into several gyms that were located between my office and house. There are at least 10 and nearly all are well-known names. The only criteria I knew I wanted was the location and hours of operation. It had to be close to home and because I can have a hectic travel schedule it had to be open pretty much any time I wanted to go.

There was nothing special that drew my attention to Anytime Fitness when I picked up the phone to inquire on their membership fees. It met my criteria because the facility is just four miles from my house and all members have 24/7 access. At the time, it was just another gym.

It wasn't until I walked through the front doors for a tour of the facility that I knew it was where I belonged. Words cannot explain how magnetically I was pulled in but I immediately felt at home. In a very strange way, it was calming. It didn't take any convincing on the owners' part to make me commit. The fact that they have a Concept 2 rowing machine was just an added bonus.

I signed up on Wednesday, October 7 and I was in the gym for my first workout on Thursday, October 8.

Since that first day in October, I have never felt like I was in competition with anyone while working out at the gym. I feel like I fit in. Everyone there is working toward a goal of their own and no one is there to simply bounce their half-naked body around. You know the type.

Another reason I love this gym is the owner genuinely cares about the experience his members have in his gym. You can tell by witnessing the interaction he has with everyone. From high school students to senior citizens, everyone is treated with the same respect.

I've been a member of other big name gyms, but whenever I walked through their doors all they saw were dollar signs. They could care less what I actually wanted to achieve and they just wanted my monthly membership fee. The fact that the owner of my gym actually takes the time to listen to what the members wish to achieve with their fitness goals and then takes action to help set them up for success really sets his gym apart from any other.

Raving about gyms or fitness centers hasn't ever been high on my list but I had to take a few minutes to brag about mine. Why? Because I love them!! Annnd because they have taken their own time to brag about me.

We think our member, Dawn Wagner, is even more awesome than today! We sure appreciate her incredible creativity in making this super cool graphic of our cardio area!!
Posted by Anytime Fitness - Katy, TX on Thursday, January 7, 2016

ALL of our members at AF Katy are incredible. And one of them is this lady. Her name is Dawn. You've heard about people...
Posted by Anytime Fitness - Katy, TX on Friday, December 18, 2015

My home gym has since been dismantled. Being in the gym has become one of only a handful of my happy places. I look forward to working out every day. I am there when I'm sick. I'm there when I'm tired. I'm there when I travel. I was even there on New Year's Eve where I rowed 20,018 meters into the new year at midnight.

I may be using the words my husband spoke to me as fuel to my fire to reach my goal, but I am doing this for myself. The size of my ass just happened to be the initial source of motivation.

Since I've been on this new journey, I have been enjoying the results. So far, I have lost enough weight that others are starting to take notice.

And...who doesn't love an, "OMG, you look amazing" compliment?

Do it for the compliments. Do it for smaller underwear. Do it for yourself.

I got this! You got this!

p.s. - If you are looking for an amazing gym to join, check out Anytime Fitness. They are everywhere. As a member, you get 24/7 access to all of their gyms. This makes it easy for me when I travel. Their monthly membership fee is by far the most affordable for what I receive in return.

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