Don’t Give Up

Don’t Give Up

Being consistent is the biggest part to any success or change that is acquired. Without finding a path to consistency the results you desire will never show up or they will slip away. When trying to lose weight or build muscle people will express to others how they have changed the type of food they eat or the amount of activity they do each day and also state that they do not feel any different, cannot see any change, or maybe that their results were temporary. They don’t always mention that they quit before the results could show up or before they could recognize a difference and they don’t always mention that the results were temporary due to old habits creeping back in. These are some of the real reasons the desired results do not appear or last more than a few weeks. 

I have been in those positions with the same kind of responses. Feeling as though my efforts were useless and maybe I should try something different or just accept what I was not accomplishing. At times I felt good, but I didn’t see the changes in my body and skin that were obvious to others and thought that what I was doing was not working. Hearing others say that they could tell my lifestyle changes were working kept me doing my chosen routine long enough for my own mind to see the improvements and benefits of my new lifestyle. 

For several months now I have been focusing on changing what I eat. I tried the 30 days of whole foods (recommended by my physician) during that last quarter of 2020, and I have worked toward making those food choices a normal daily routine. In the beginning it was difficult to remove sugar from processed foods from my food choices but replacing the cravings I was having with fruit helped to curve my cravings for sugary foods.

I have ice cream or some type of dessert once a month or even more rarely than that, but it is not something that I crave anymore. Anything processed I do in moderation if I must go that route. Knowing what to eat has only been a small part of getting the results I desire, actually making the choice to choose whole foods at each meal is the consistency that brings the results. Not giving up after a few weeks of has allowed me to feel and see the change in my body and health.

Change cannot be rushed and if will not happen or continue without action. Sometimes you want to give up before you have given yourself a real chance to see what you can accomplish with commitment, consistency, and a new mindset. If you feel like giving up, consider the why.

Have you put in the work long enough, have you taken a good look at yourself to see what others can see? If so, then maybe it isn’t your effort or mindset that needs to change, you may need a different plan designed for your exact situation. When I want to change my eating habits I went to my physician with a problem, and she was able to help me with a solution. Don’t give up on you, figure out your problems and reasons and move toward real solutions.

Conquer

Conquer

Welcome to a new year with me. Though it does not feel like a typical beginning of a new year I have set forth goals and milestones to reach. I haven’t done this out of feeling the need to become a new person or to set a resolution to forget in a few weeks. I am continuing a lifestyle. A day-to-day commitment to remember and act on the memory of what I desire to achieve each day. I am committed to building and keeping the lifestyle I want. 

I used to get caught up in the sparkle of a new year and make list of what I would do and how I would be. The truth is, only about one of my good intentions would actually make it off the paper. I am not sure of the exact year I stopped being so absurd in my plans and became more honest with myself about how to take the steps that were realistic for me to get the results I wanted in life, but it is a better way for me.

This year some of the things I am focusing on include strength, endurance, and being able to conquer what I set out to do each month. I want to become stronger in my physical body, but I see no limits to wellness and will also work on strengthening my total being. I can visualize my body taking on the movements and distances that will bring strength and endurance to every muscles and organ that is affected. Although I can see these things in my mind, I do not believe they will happen without action and commitment. If there isn’t a plan or guide to follow and a get up and do attitude the strength will not enter my body and the endurance will not show up. 

I can envision steps and goals being conquer day by day. Fitness and social goals, intellectual and spiritual ambitions are lined up in my mind ready to be swiped off the list and noted as accomplished. I feel empowered by seeing these things happen in my mind.  The empowerment feeling is a motivating force for me. It gives me the energy to get out of the blocks and run toward the path that leads to an end I desire. The good feeling about what is ahead and the change I envision will remain a picture in my mind and not a reality unless there is a plan and execution. There will not be a conquering without a beginning and a follow through for each step I have planned.

I encourage you to be excited about your life, your desires and the change you envision for yourself. There is usually a spark of excitement and energy in the beginning of anything new. As time goes by the excitement and energy that was present in the beginning can fade or completely disappear. When this occurs, it is helpful to evaluate the kind of change you have set to accomplish and see if it is still in line with what you truly desire. If they don’t line up, make your needed adjustments. If they line up the same, then you may want to consider why you aren’t acting on those desires. It can then get into a lack of planning and follow through, lack of inspiration or motivation, or the will to do is absent. Self-reflect and find out what is holding you back.

If you have started this year with a plan to continue or begin your total wellness lifestyle and adjust as your life changes you are likely on the path that will keep you from extreme pitfalls that can accompany some resolutions and vows to become this or that. As you go from week to week determine the action that is needed for the steps you want to take towards your goals. Remember whatever you desire or see yourself having or doing only happens with action.

Down Time

Down Time

After weeks of my walking slower and finding ways to adjust my exercise plans to suit my foot injury I am back to normal. I am feeling good about being able to intensify my workouts and take on more miles while walking and running once again. I did not know that I would miss being active and unlimited as much I did during my down time. I have experienced feeling constricted by circumstances, but for some reason this time it affected me differently.

The difference was in the type of things I thought about while I was down with this injury. I thought about how many times I didn’t run, walk or do some other form of exercise while I was feeling good and able. Not being able to do what I wanted to do hit me really hard. I thought about the days I slacked for no reason at all. I remembered the days I ignored my will to get up and take care of my physical health and thought, now I really did not have that choice. I couldn’t even walk a few blocks at a slow pace without feeling a pain that caused me to shake and retreat into a limp. 

I did not want to dwell on the past and what I did not do, but I couldn’t ignore the thoughts I was having. I needed to acknowledge my thoughts and feelings and use them for the future. They would be a new momentum to cease the day and the moment while I could. During the time I was down I did not sit around idle waiting for a chance to get back to normal.  I was able to read a couple of books, get some needed research in and plan for January. Although I sat down more than usually, I made adjustments and did what I could to keep my health journey on track as a lifestyle and not a moment. I opted to do seated exercises and combinations of movements that I could achieve while lying on a mat to keep me moving forward and over the hump of feeling constrained. 

There are always challenges in anything that must be done or experienced. You will not always be affected in the same way as your siblings, friends, parents, spouse or even co-workers, but how you are affected is still important and relevant. Any part of your wellness dimensions can change abruptly for the good or bad and you have to be prepared for the impact or at least willing to adjust if you desire to thrive. To obtain the lifestyle you envision or to maintain the lifestyle you are currently living you must take on the difficult and undesirable tasks along with the simple ones. You also need to have a tolerance for unwanted change and the ability to know when a change should happen. 

I have learned from this experience and that is something I strive to do in all of life whether it is a situation that causes me to feel pain or joy, anger or excitement, I want to learn and have a take-away. I am understanding more and more to take the moments as they come and not to sit on time, it will not be there when you get up.

November

November

November happened in a blink for me. I didn’t let the whole month pass by without taking time to reflect on what has been happening in the world. I couldn’t ignore the way lives have shifted with the circumstances of the world and how on any given day many, including myself, would have to find a way to adapt. There are some things we can resist, but when we cannot resist, we adjust to be able to handle or keep up with what is happening. If you want to make it through each day with your sanity and some hope you adjust. If you want to survive you find your feet right where you are.

I have done some physical adjusting of my own this month. Just a couple of weeks ago I injured my foot and I had to take a seat and care for myself with hopes of getting back to my original state as quickly as possible. I wasn’t out for a run or having a strength training session when I injured my foot, I was right in my home doing normal activities. The air in the house felt stuffy and I decided to open a window, well just as I headed for the path to the window, I jammed my toes clean into the corner of a recliner. 

I didn’t feel much pain as my toes and the recliner met, although it was enough for me to grab and rub my toes. I continued with my day as usually and after a few hours passed I could feel the pain and swelling setting in along with a sizeable bruise. I didn’t even consider sitting down to ice my foot I had to keep moving if I was going to wrap up some loose ends and finish packing my carry-on bags for my morning flight. 

Morning arrived and the top half of my foot greeted me with an excruciating pain.  I could barely apply pressure to my foot, but I had some essential traveling to do which included several hours of flying and driving. I suffered through the pain in my foot over the next few days without taking time to ice or soak until I returned home 6 days after the initial incident (not the thing to do). I still feel a slight pain at the point where my toes connect to my foot and this is a sign for me to find a modified exercise if necessary or to simply rest. 

While my foot was sending signals to my brain for pain my heart was in its own broken state as I had to travel to bury my mom. I am adapting to life without her here with each passing day; remembering, reflecting, and resting my mind. I think this will become a new part of my life as the weeks go by and the change sets in.

Now is a good time to consider the adjusting you will need to do as life around you continues to change even if it is just the change of weather. As temperatures turn cooler and the cold/flu season sets in your body will need to build a resistance for the germs. Grab some leafy greens and maybe a sweet potato or two to keep your body ready to fight off illnesses. You will also need to make up for all the extra calories your body burns while being active in the cold temperatures. Trying some new soup recipes or a new canned soup may serve both needs.

Most importantly, don’t forget to schedule some time to relax, meditate, and take care of you.

After Sunset

After Sunset

You are in your daily routine and all has been going well from week to week and month after month. Then a bump in the road appears and knocks your entire routine off what you thought was a well paved path. Your story may sound like this: you get home from work and gear up for your daily run. You are a couple of miles into your chosen path and well into your zone when you realize the sun has set and darkness is approaching faster than it did at this same time last week. Instead of your hour long run you have to turn back with barely 25 minutes in or you won’t be able to see a thing. 

This may describe you if you are not used to running and walking outdoors in the evening or if you misjudge the amount of time you have when the days begin to shorten in this season. The rest of you who are constantly outdoors for various activities are back home right when the darkness sets in with a full workout done and having your last meal of the day. You are accustomed to adjusting for the seasons and you have been waiting to implement your plan.

The other answer could be that your gym is open again and you were able to fill one of the available time slots, no worries about the daylight disappearing. Whatever the answer you had a plan and put it to work. If you are not the one to plan and you go with the flow that is your plan. You may spend this season speed walking around your house or office and doing sit-ups, pushups and other exercises right where you are, and you will have made it through the days without wondering what to do.

If you are wondering what to do and you know you are not the type join groups in the park or a parking lot for a cardio workout every day or you don’t have the time to and you don’t have the room or funds to set up an assorted home gym. The only way for you to get active right now may be the running shoes and a trail or a few dumbbells. If this is your situation, you will need to take a look at everything going on in your life each day and decide what to cut out or change.

Consider swapping out your even walk or run with something on your morning schedule or make bigger moves on your days off. If you absolutely have to stick to the schedule you have you might find virtual exercise classes a few times a week to be just what you need. What you don’t want to do is wait for your gym to open up for you to switch up your routine. Find yourself prepared when it opens back up and be ready to go to another level or maintain what you have gained. 

I have not let the setting of the sun or the need for a jacket slow me down. I am owning my health and my journey. As I look ahead at the last week of October, I know I will need an exercise plan for at least the next two months to keep moving forward with my wellness plan. Some of my routine will carryover and there are some new things to implement and now is a good time to be ready. Even if I do not know what the plan will be for the entire two months there must be some type of direction to keep the momentum going. One thing I am sure of is that time does not pause for us even if the clock is broken. 

Is The Fit Right

Is The Fit Right

Are you doing it alone or do you have a team or maybe one partner? I have been running and doing other exercise routines solo for the last two and a half months. Running is something I have done alone so often that I do not think much about having a partner for it and I enjoy the time with myself. If I did run with someone regularly or a few times out of a month I would choose someone I could keep a good pace with and someone with a similar endurance level for running. If there is a large gap in the endurance level of the partners or group of runners there will be a mile or two in between each person. I imagine the same would happen in other workout settings too.

I recall a time when I moved to a new state and one of my neighbors invited me to walk in the mornings with her and another neighbor. I thought it would be great to have some company while getting some exercise and I excitedly got ready one morning and met them at the cul-de-sac near the street they lived on. We started off walking and talking sharing names and a little bit of history, so I didn’t notice the slow pace in the beginning. 

After a few blocks I realized the pace was very slow for me. I felt like I was stumbling over my own legs or feet by trying to walk at pace that was awkward for me. My new neighbors usually did three laps around the neighborhood to get the amount of exercise they desired for the day, but I couldn’t see myself doing this much longer at the slow pace. I walked one lap around the neighborhood with them which was about a mile and then I politely let them know I was going to head out of the neighborhood to run a few more miles. 

It is good to have company during a workout. A team of people working for similar results or just one other person to celebrate getting through a long run, or a hit class with is great to have. Teaming up with the right people and having the option of modifying the workout for your level is the key staying motivated and being successful in group exercise. If there isn’t enough of a challenge for you or if you are being left behind, you will likely move on or feel like you failed if you are just starting out and may even quit.

Being in a class is great for different levels of exercise and being able to slow down your pace if needed or to modify the amount of weight and still be in an atmosphere of motivation and be pushed if needed. Of course, when you are running you will adjust as the path you are on changes from flat to hills and whether the wind is going against you or with. If you find yourself running with a group and you are in the rear, you can always use it as a time to challenge your normal pace and work to gain a new speed. 

It is important to take some time to think about your skill level and how active you like to be so that you don’t give up if one choice isn’t a great fit. If one class or course isn’t for you try something else and keep trying until you find the right exercise and the right group or person to partner with. Know what is for you and what isn’t and don’t feel bad about moving on from a partnership or group. Friends and neighbors and even trainers will understand or get over it in time. 

Your health is up to you and reaching your goals or new levels will not happen by going along for the peace of it or to please others. There are other activities you may have in common with your friends and neighbors that you can do together and still have them in your life. 

Your Chosen Path

Your Chosen Path

On Sunday afternoon I was able to walk on one of the trails from my list of places I haven’t been. I did the 6 mile run on Friday and wanted to take it easy for a couple of days to give my knees and legs a break so I thought it would be a great time to visit a new to me trail and take in the sights around it. The drive to the trail was about 15 minutes and surprisingly finding a place to park was not an issue. There are several entrances onto the trail I picked one, merged right and was on my way to a new experience.

I found that the entrance I chose was nearly in the middle of the trail. I walked about a mile absorbing the sounds of the water and creatures and the site of various rocks and trees before the path ended at another parking area. I took note of the landmarks near this parking lot so that I could maybe start at this end for future visits. I then headed back North to see what was to the left side of my entry point. After going about another mile to the north and passing plenty of other pedestrians I came upon another merge in the path. I explored these parts of trail and pictured myself being there early in the morning on a warm day running down the path, getting around the obstacles and enjoying the scenery.  

I chose to visit this trail on a walk day so that I could get to know the path. I wanted to get a good look at the everything around me and learn the nature of the trial and the surroundings. The first time I run a new course I am open to distractions due to my visual nature of wanting to take in all of what I see at once and process it immediately. The distractions can cause me to slow down and unnecessarily change my stride. I also get thrown a little on a new path by thinking about which way to turn and whether or not I will get in the number of miles I desire with my choice. 

When I am running, I go into zone I am not focused on the turns and landmarks or how far down a path I should go if I am familiar with the path. Being able to walk a trail or drive through the streets I plan to run on and become familiar with the area and the amount of people that frequent the area can help me with getting into a zone and staying there during my runs. While I am in the zone, I am more aware of being safe and my mind is on my breathing and stride until the moment even those thoughts fade into the background and I begin to take in and enjoy my surroundings without feeling a need to search the area.

Becoming familiar with the place or area you are planning to exercise at is an important part of the preparation. If you cannot visit or drive through the area a few times prior to going there you should at least find some information about the area from city websites or the people who have visited the place or area. Map the area out especially if you are outdoors. If not for safety and a better experience do it to know where to park, where to use facilities, and how to get back to civilization it you happen to journey far away. 

There is fun in spontaneity and being able to go by instinct is a gift, but don’t be afraid of a preparation. Being prepared may actually allow you to have more freedom in your choices and on your journey.

The City Run

The City Run

The weekend, it comes quickly for some and is a real timely count down for others. I guess it depends on when you work and what you have planned on the days you are off. Some use the weekend for complete rest and others use it as the time to get the most miles in and to go on adventures. I did some of both this past weekend. On Friday I went on for a 6-mile run through the city streets and on Sunday I was able to explore a trail that’s on my list of new places to go.

Running into the downtown area is energizing for me at just about any time of the day with all the different buildings, sounds, parks, and people passing through. It can feel like a course straight from a television series. There are hills that slant and curve, sidewalks that have become extended eating areas. Some of those walkways end suddenly or are distorted from tree roots pushing through.

There are also people on a quest to be on time and some with plenty of time to pause and stare at the sights. I cannot leave out the walk signals that take too many minutes to show up and seconds to leave and of course animals leashed and unleash. As I spot those animals, I think will they chase me, lunge at my legs or lie down and count how many others like me pass by. Yes, these things give me a spark.

On Friday’s run through the city I went during the morning and it was just about the time for the breakfast places to start the gathering of people for coffee and daily specials. There were plenty of vehicles traveling the streets and other pedestrians getting their daily dose of exercise also. I stayed alert and did my share of maneuvering to keep a good pace.

I started my run with a mind to take the longest and most direct path into the core of the downtown area and once I reached three miles I would turn and head back home. For most of the run I stuck to the plan, but a few hills were calling for me to come on up and see what they had to offer, and I did.

Halfway up one of the hills I felt like I had completely left the path headed to the bustle. It was isolated and filled with sounds of nature and several blocks of greenery to go along with it. I hadn’t taken this detour before and for a few seconds I thought I must have gone too far up and the hill may be turning more toward the west than I desired to go. Once I reached the peak of the hill, I could see the city landmarks and my comfort level returned. I went over another block and then turned to head back down the hill to connect with the main street again and I was quickly back on the planned-out path.

The detour up the hill was a great bonus for my run and heartrate. Sometimes I get into the habit of going the same way over and over again that a left or right turn seems odd, but I take it anyway to see what is there. From my experience the city run is never without a view or obstacle to maneuver and that is why it will always be on my list as a paved place to take in.

Make this week a better week for you. Will you take a right, a left or is straight ahead the change you need?

Getting Beyond Your Limits

Getting Beyond Your Limits

I am going for another round of daily leg workouts to fire up my muscles again. I really like doing a vigorous routine of side shuffles, jumping squats, forward lunge, and jumping jacks in combination for about twenty minutes and then finish with a brisk walk for 10 to 20 minutes. I go for a high number of reps during each set when I am not using weights to keep the workout in resemblance of a HIIT routine. It is difficult and I definitely take a ten second break to breathe during the moments I feel like I am not going to make it through another set, maybe even 15 seconds. The walk keeps me from getting stiff afterwards and gets me to my 30-minute minimum of daily exercise.

Doing these kinds of vigorous routines and switching up the type of exercise I choose to include throughout each month has been beneficial for the building of muscles and keeping the motivation when I think about passing on the strength training. My flexibility and balance are increasing as I perform the various movements required for the different types of cardio and weightlifting, I am doing. I feel my body being healed and I am doing the things I once felt were beyond my limits.

It is amazing what the body is capable of doing and becoming. We may sit around suffering from one complication to the next and not be aware that exercise can change those complications we wake up to everyday. Becoming stronger can change or eliminate the pain we have in different parts of our body. Sometimes we see exercise or diet being pushed on us as a way to look good or to get back into a piece of clothing from five years ago and ignore the real reason to get moving. 

The more important part of exercise is the healing of the body and mind that can take place with each day that we give our bodies a chance. Whether it is by way of a short hike, a long run, or weight machines however you choose must be right for you and where you are in your relationship with exercise and better health.

I encourage you today to get to know your body and understand why you feel certain pains or limits. How do you feel about your body and health? Ask yourself why you feel the way you do about your body, about exercise and your total health. I hope the clarity you find will bring the change and motivation you desire into your journey. 

Expectations

Expectations

How is your journey going? You may have planned out a new path or life’s events pushed you into change without warning it still adds up to your journey. It’s your way of doing what you do and embracing what cannot be erased to get to the next phase or even the next day. I hope you are enjoying your wins large or small and not marinating in your losses or setbacks in a way that freezes you up. 

I do not want to get caught in the freeze up. I started on the path to a better lifestyle as a whole for results. Keeping a momentum that I can work at each day is how those results will come. I tell myself this to refrain from moving so quickly that I cannot keep up each day or to keep me from slowing into a full stop. Once the routine of getting up and doing becomes a natural flow I still have to decide how much I want to give to each activity I do. 

How much effort can you put into whatever you are working toward and not be exhausted to a point that you do not want to continue without seeing the results you are expecting. Even though you know there is a process for just about everything you want those timed results that have been set in your mind by expectations. It may sound like this: I want this in a week, that in three weeks and in 90 days I got to have these results. If those expectations have been out of an attainable reach or lower than your actual results your momentum can be unwillingly shifted. Figuring out your personal momentum and being able to stay on target or adjust your expectations during the successes and failures is a way to keep your natural flow of getting up and doing in motion. 

As I put time and effort into my health I expect to benefit from my actions. I am looking for physical results. I think about what I expect and what I am doing to get the results. I need the correct actions for the expectations. If weeks go by and the body is not responding I have to consider if what I think I am doing right is the problem and research until I get the answer.  I know if one part of the being is improving the entire wellness areas can benefit from the change. This is my desire a totally improved package. 

If the body is strong and healthy it can lead to feeling better mentally and emotionally. You can take on a range of new experiences with a better health. It may be exploring nature through hikes, cycling or doing the thing you wanted to try but didn’t have the energy to do it. The new experience could also come by way of meeting new people due to a rise in esteem and confidence. You are less worried and anxious about health issues and open to enjoy life again.

Every part of the being fits together and works together in some way. Being mentally stressed or emotionally drained can cause physical complications and the physical illnesses can strain the psyche. Work on being fit and strong in your way for your best results each day to keep your total wellness in the best shape. Have the best week.