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.

Willing Your Mind

Willing Your Mind

The physical and mental strength are tied together in some way. Wanting to become stronger and having the mental ability to will yourself to do it is an example of this. Are your limits mental or physical? How do you anticipate overcoming each part?

With a desire to become physically stronger I have asked myself these questions and the answer is a part of the question. Doing the work to become stronger and convincing self that it is possible to take on more weight, more resistance, more repetitions. Getting over doubt and unhealthy fear in the mind that you may not reach the goal or expected end so why even go fit. 

For me, February has been a month of not giving up on the goal, the change, the lifestyle that is sought. As I mention in a prior post the sparkle of new can fade so quickly and resistance of doing the new thing can settle in and cause old habits to return. The days are going by so fast that falling into old habits can sabotage any efforts that are being executed. Making the day count is what can help even if resistance to change appears on your doorstep. 

Consider this, you wake up and skip your workout or plan for whatever change you are working toward and it just so happens that you already had a scheduled rest day on the day before. There is no way to get your planned action in during any other time of the day. You can choose to stay dormant a few more days because you are off your plan or you can defeat old habits and go for the next action.

The thoughts you have about your actions can lead you to success or failure. Dwelling on what happened on a single day or week whether it moved you toward your goal or halted it can cause you to become stuck and create a clear path to the old habits you are working to resist. The mind and actions are so closely knitted together that you have to be aware or how you are willing yourself in all that you do or desire.

I overcome getting started doing a little if I cannot do a lot. If I miss the time slot for my hour workout or other plan of action, I go for 20 minutes at another time. When I miss a day, I remind myself that I cannot get that day back, but I can redeem the time by what I do in the future. I make it all count; in the end every action will add up to some result. How will you overcome the fading of excitement, the pain of going on, the doubt that you or change isn’t worth the time and work demanded? 

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?

Rhythm and Sunshine

Rhythm and Sunshine

Ahhh October. That is an expression of happiness. I am feeling good about entering into the next phase of building a healthier lifestyle, a stronger body and new heights of writing. The last 9 days have been a time of releasing. Releasing all the energy I had gather each day for exercise and not saving a portion for the following day. I wanted to make the most of my daily walks and runs and not be caught up in what I would do “tomorrow” even though I had a schedule of daily exercises to work through. I didn’t feel like I had to remind myself to run, walk, or to do some other type of activity each day, I awakened each morning with a mindset to do it.

I felt the habit I have been working toward kick in. It was similar to getting up and making a cup of coffee or eating breakfast every morning without really thinking about it I felt the need to do it. I had a mind to get the most out of the month as it came to a close and in doing so I strolled into a rhythm and found my natural flow for staying active. Oh, and the weather has been favorable which allowed me to be outdoors more and jump back into my running plan.  

I took my strength training routine out to the deck in my back yard. I love being outdoors to experience the elements while exercising. There is something about the sun shining down bringing warmth and energy to the body and mind, it sets the mood. For training I am working all the normal areas triceps, biceps, chest, legs, abs and glutes on rotating days. I started with lighter weights and have been increasing by 2 to 5 lbs. depending on the chosen exercise and muscle group. Sometimes I have an audience due to being in view of neighbors, but it doesn’t bother me. I am focused on my reps, sets and heartrate. I tune out the humans and tune the sounds of nature in.

 I remember the few times that I had to adjust to the public eye when I joined a gym several years ago. I would get to the gym and hop on the treadmill or use the elliptical without hesitation. Using the weight machines and free weights are what caused me to feel the eyes of the public whether real or not. I hadn’t entered into a gym for years and joining again sent my confidence in using the machines free falling without anything to catch it. I was being watched, at least by the employees and it was an uncomfortable feeling filled with doubt.

After about a week of watching me go for it I was approached by the staff and receive assistance with learning proper techniques and what would be great for my immediate needs. Soon after I was tuning everyone out just as I did while using the cardio machines. I had gotten passed the eyes and centered on the self-improvement. Now I am comfortable anywhere. I am comfortable enough to sweat, get exhausted, and take on the next level. 

I am glad to have a rhythm now. Whichever ways I choose to change my body and health I feel confident in knowing that I am set into living a new way. I created a natural flow by breaking old habits and taking new actions. I view the month of October as an open opportunity to continue in the rhythm I have entered and allow it to carry me to the next level.

Have you entered into your rhythm for the things you are working to change? Keep pushing and making the choices that will bring the change you desire until your natural flow appears. I encourage you to move with the confidence you have and get what you need for it to grow. The journey continues.

Time

Time

In Seven days, the month of September will be over our shoulders and we will enter into the last quarter of this year. Some look at November as the last month of the year to get any real work done that will bring results. December is seen by many as a time to slow the work and look at what the year has been. It is also used as a time to reset and prepare for the upcoming year. Looking through the eyes of wellness, slowing the approach or coming to a stand-still if only for a couple of weeks can have an undesirable outcome especially if a new routine is not yet a habit. 

Think about the times that you decided to change your diet, your daily activity, your thoughts or reactions to experiences. You had to actively work at making these kinds of changes until they became unconsciously made choices. Until the automatic decision making for the new life you are pursuing kicks in slowing the approach or skipping important habit building days can lead you back to the path you struggled to get off from. 

You definitely need a time to recover and pan over what you have achieved you just have to pick the right time to do this. That time will not always be aligned with the norms of the world, it will align with when you started, your goals and your plans. Evaluate, plan, and adjust as you need to. Consider the day to day choices you make, those choices will connect and add up to some type of result. The actions you take or do not take today will show up in the weeks to come. 

I have the opportunity to close this month out the way I desire to and you do too. Nothing is holding me back and there are not any obstacles that cannot be overcome. Have you thought about your obstacles and how you will get through them? I will not wait until the 30th and try to eat seven healthy meals in a day, write for seven hours straight, or run until I cannot take another step. I will work on each area of my life I desire to change for a reasonable amount of time each day and adjust according to what is or isn’t working. When the second week of October arrives, I’ll put into action the gain I would have achieved by then from the next seven days of September. That gain will sure up my confidence and take me to the next level.

Becoming faster, stronger, healthier, more knowledgeable, more understanding, more of anything will depend on what is done now. Closing out this month with actions or acquired information toward your personal achievements will show up in the next weeks or months to come. If you have not executed your plan or adjusted your thoughts and actions to align with the change you are awaiting do not expect the desired results to land in your hands ready to be unboxed. 

Take it all in. The past, the present and your vision for the future. Give yourself some time to know what you want and how it should be acquired. Your plan, executed according to your ability and your daily choices. Rest when you need to, gain some insight and never give up.

Process

Process

Prior to starting a new commitment to running I was doing a combination of walking and running for a distance of two to three miles 4 times a week. I didn’t wake up and start a five-mile run on cold muscles back in August although, I have a long history of running it would not have been a smart choice. It takes time and distance to prepare for the longer runs and to be able to run nonstop. 

During the months of June and July I worked on walking at a speed that I was able to keep for 10-15 minutes and then a run for 8- 10 minutes and close out with another stint of walking. As I progressed the walking speed increased, and the time decreased. I couldn’t hold back on the desire to run and of course the amount of time for each stint of running increased with my desire. Some of the walking I did was at top speed and I laughed to myself as I tried to figure out a form that flowed. I was entirely involved in the speed walk; it was new and worked a set of muscles that I did not feel being activated during my running or slower paced walks. 

 Most of the transition to running from walking was about feeling. Your body will let you know what it can handle, and your mind will determine if it is a legit claim. There is a difference in the pain of getting stronger and the one that says stop before you injure yourself. You may not get that signal on moving day when you are packing and lifting boxes, but if you exercise regularly or train for a sport you know that signal. Listen to it.

Process must be present. We hear it’s a process and we say it to others but knowing it internally and figuring out what to do each day, week or month for the change we desire to see is the break-down of the process. Whether we are looking for a change in health, lifestyle, networks, or our own behavior we must figure out what the direct and personal plan should be without rushing or skipping crucial stages. It could be quick and simple and not much consideration needed and there are other situations when a total acceptance of the new will be pieced out and reasoned within before we can take a step toward the change.

My running plan has gotten me to where I want to be right now. It has even branched off and guided me into a heightened awareness of what I am eating and my fluid intake. My senses are open and waiting for the next benefit of taking care of my body and my passion.