Thursday, July 22, 2010

Purge the Stinkin' Thinkin'

I really dislike the word 'stinkin.' It's so overused, I guess (sort of like "awsome)." It's perfect for my subject 'o the day, though, because it's lodged itself in so many of our minds...ok, ok...and it rhymes. BY the way, 3 months since last I blogged??!! INEXCUSABLE! Please accept my humblest of humble apologies for not placing my messages high enough on the totem pole (and how is a writer-at-heart supposed to become a writer-in-action unless she WRITES)? I've really had beaucoodles to share with you, my friends, I just need to make doing so a priority.

At any rate, how many of you can honestly say you never have any worries and that life is always completely rosey and you feel on top of the world no matter what? A lot of us might like to SAY or THINK that we are just a bucket of sunshine no matter what goes on in our lives but I challenge you to take a closer look--an honest look--at your every behavior. See if the way people see you on the outside truly jives with how you think you act.

Mind chatter can take over in an instant. Rather, oftentimes our worries about money or relationships or our jobs or any number of other things can take up so much of our focus and energies that we don't even realize how we allow those thoughts to take over and, in fact, guide our lives into a negative spiral. Whether we mean to or not, we allow so many random thoughts about our worries to linger in our brains which then weasel their way into our hearts and souls--into the very core of who we are.

I'd heard a couple of friends casually mentioning the book "The Secret," by Rhonda Byrne awhile back and my interest was picqued. My husband knew I wanted to read it and bought it for me for my birthday back in May. FINALLY, I've started grabbing--no, MAKING time to read (reading is one of my passions and I think everybody should read a little bit of a BOOK every day) and I feel like I've come home in this book, The Secret. I don't want to give away any details. The Secret is really a book that I think everybody should experience first-hand; it's a quick one to get through, by the way, but it's a keeper. It's one you'll likely read more than once. The crux of the book is sharing with people the message that you attract to you that which you spend your thoughts and energies on. Think about it for a second. Money issues are huge for many of us right now so let's take that example. You may be doing things to try to dig yourself out of a money situation right now: taking on an extra job, selling stuff off, etc, but you're likely spending an extensive amount of time thinking about your LACK of money, your mounting bills and all of the snowballing challenges all of that brings. The basic idea is that what you continue to dwell on you will continue to find coming your way! Dwell on the LACK of money and how much you NEED it you will continue to find yourself LACKING and NEEDING money! You've got to get playful and creative with the situation and convince yourself that you have enough and you will eventually find that this is the case.

To glean the full impact of the book, with all of it's poignant and personal examples, you really have to read it. I can tell you, though, that it reinforced what I really knew to be true in my heart. It's more than just positive thinking. Positive thinking is a good start and it's long since been one of my personal platforms. It is, however, only the beginning. You have to actually starting thinking and believing that the things you want to happen in your life are in progress. They are already set in motion! Make room for them! ACT as if they are going to happen and be ready to receive them. I want to be a writer. I'm going to just start thinking that I already AM a writer--for I am! I may not be published yet but I WILL. I WANT to go to Ireland. I've wanted that ever since I was a child but, in all honesty, I've always thought of it as some remote, unreachable goal that 'will happen someday.' If I continue to think of it as such a remote possibility it will always just be out of my grasp.

Another point to consider is the idea of kindness and generosity. I don't know about you but I aim to be a kind soul who brings genuine happiness to others. I'm not perfect. I have my hot buttons. I aim, however, to keep myself in check and not be a comPLAINER or a griper. When I give something or do something I want to do it out of the feeling of abundance. I want to possess, as The Secret mentions, the thoughts that, "I have everything I need and I'd like to share with you." The author brings up yet another wonderful point in that if you feel like you doing something sacrificially then it stems from a feeling of LACK whereas if you give of yourself or give things or money from the standpoint of "There's plenty and I want to share" it comes from a feeling of abundance and abundance will then find it's way back to you. It's a WHOLE new way of training yourself to think and feel and I LOVE it! What an explosively positive world this would be if we all focused our our abundance and not our lack!

Something to look for when you read through The Secret is the explanation of a tool she suggests using called a "vision board." I'm creating one for myself today. It's a visual presentation of all of your distinct hopes and dreams. You keep it in a prominant location so that you not only see it daily but believe in it daily. Cut our magazine pictures and attach other visual prompts tied to your dreams and then change them out as one dream or goal comes true after another. We humans have this great ability to allow 'stinkin' thinkin' to cloud our minds, take over and hold us from our positive potential. It's time to purget that crap and start truly focusing (in action, not just in theory) on positivity and on the things we WANT out of life...not on the things we want OUT of our lives. Maybe you KNOW you're bogged down and focused on the negative stuff in your life. Maybe you THINK you're a diehard think positive individual but you just can't understand why you're stuck in hard times. I call you to be honest with yourself about where your day in/day out thoughts really lie and what your actions speak of. Do you talk about people all of the time? Do you wallow in bad situation? Do you harbour grudges? Yep, bad stuff happens that is out of our control but it IS within our power to choose whether or not to let go of the bad. Who are you hurting if you don't? What point are you proving and to whom by not letting go of some unfair thing somebody has done to you?

The true answer is there for you if you look and if you are honest with yourself.

So! I'm off to create my vision board! What fun this will be! It's kind of reminiscent of the "Illustrated Discovery Journal" that Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of "Simple Abundance" (another favorite of mine) suggests as a helpful tool in discovering who we really are. Oh happy day, folks! Let's take spring cleaning a step further this summer and get moving on tossing out all of those negative thoughts...all of those thoughts about what haunts us. If you have such a thought, notice it and acknowledge it but then let it go and turn, instead, to the bright world of your hopes and dreams. Think on them as already being a part of you for any hope and dream that you hold in your heart and mind is just that: real.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A new path: I've gone Vegan~

A close friend of mine recently recommended a book to me that would, in effect, change the path of my life forever--for the better. The book is Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet which tells the long and sordid tale of the journey of food from source to our table--to be specific: meat, dairy and eggs. I'll leave the details of the book for it's author to share with you but suffice it to say that my heart was moved after reading merely the first chapter. Alicia had gotten my attention and had called me to action. I not only decided to become a vegetarian but to take it a step further by making the bold move to become vegan.

A high school friend asked me, out of sheer curiosity, what moved me to make a decision so "late" in life (That's my paraphrasing of his question, by the way. He was much more gracious than to word it like that and we are still spring chickens afterall...ugh...poor choice of metaphors for this subject though). It was a good question though. My family has, afterall, been very careful to eat healthfully and to make good choices such as eating whole grains, lean proteins and limiting sugar intake. While we aren't heavy meat eaters and often eat vegetarian dishes we did eat chicken, fish, pork, and beef with fair regularity. This healthy way of eating was impressed upon me early as my mom and stepdad cooked healthfully and introduced us to non meat products such as "Tenderbits--" a rather delicious faux scallop-ish sort of...well, stuff. My mom would toss rolled oats into her chocolate chip cookies accompanied by much teenage EYE rolling from me. But the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, no matter how hard the apple tries to toss itself when it's going through it's teen years. I matured into an adult who was mindful of what she ate and what she prepared for her family.

Still, though, we ate meat.

I'd always wondered what it'd be like to become a vegetarian but never really had the motivation or the gumption to try it out on an exclusive basis...until I read The Kind Diet. The friend who suggested the book has been a vegetarian for years as a result of her strong feelings against the harsh treatment of animals. Both of us had an awakening upon reading the book and have had several discussions with eachother about it. There was not a doubt in my mind that I wanted to do my part to make a difference. With mild concern over the fact that this was a lifelong, long-term decision with no lookin' back and a few thoughts of "Oh my gosh, am I really going to be able to do this thing," I mustered up my gumption and plunged myself into the world of becoming a vegan and in learning exactly what that means.

I'm still learning. I feel like a sponge. There's so much to read up on, so much to find out about, so much to research and plan. My basic plan is that I don't eat meat of any kind nor do I eat any dairy products or eggs. I also, in keeping with the plan of doing the best for my health, limit to a bare minimum any kind of refined flour, sugar and also artificial sweeteners. As a vegan, I'm choosing not to use any product that has been tested on animals or contains animal product. This is where the research comes into play--where I'm really having to do my homework. I need to be choosy about what cosmetics and skincare products as well as which laundry and pet products I, bedding, everything!

Vegetarianism and Veganism is not a game or a contest for me. My reasons for choosing this path are very personal and hold great meaning and value to me. I'm not looking to earn any kind of brownie points by labeling myself as a vegan but am trying to improve upon my health, my athletic performance (several elite athetes, including Ironman Triathlete Brendan Brazier, will testify as to it's astounding effectiveness), and to do something positive for our environment as well as to take a stand for all animals. I'd recently been dwelling on the fact that 'we shoulda bought a hybrid!' type of thoughts but an interesting fact I recently learned is that you more effectively and dramatically reduce the amount of emissions by becoming vegan than by buying a hybrid vehicle! What a strong stance we can take--and truly make a positive difference--while doing something great for our bodies at the same time in making this choice. But I want to live and lead by example...not by brandishing some sort of "I AM VEGAN" badge. I want to walk the know?

It helps that I already love fruits and veggies, brown rice, whole oats and other whole grains, beans and tofu. Matt and I were already drinking green smoothies too. I found a wonderful vegan whole wheat pancake recipe this past weekend. My biggest adjustment, truly, has been in how I take my coffee. I've always really looked forward to it as my sweet and creamy treat...with a couple of Splendas and a couple of T of half and half. It took some adjusting but I'm enjoying my coffee with Stevia and I alternate plain coconut milk with almond 'milk.' I'm getting used to the actual taste of COFFEE. Don't know that I will EVER take it black like my husband keeps trying to get me to do (bleh) but I never say never. :D That's something else I learned from Alicia's book: eating dairy actually leaves a coating on your tongue that inhibits your taste buds from realizing their full potential! Flavors come alive once you cut the dairy out!

Enhanced flavor is just one benefit. I'm hoping to realize many health benefits but we'll need time to provide the answers in that experiment. It's been shown to reduce if not eliminate allergies, cancer, all sorts of baddies! After only two weeks, though, my middle (as in my core) is really started to tighten up! I feel tighter and lighter. When I look at my face in the mirror I can see a vibrance. My skin's in excellent shape! Plus, I just feel super~ Some of you might say, "Well, YEAH, Lisa. You're eating nothing but veggies! You're going to shed some excess!" No, dear friends, I'm eating whole grains, fruits, beans, natural peanut butter, nuts, soy products and the occasional creamy soy desserts (like Tofutti). I haven't been counting calories but I can tell you that I'm in touch enough with that subject to know what I'm taking in and it's pretty close to what I was consuming in calories before my switch. What's different is the content. WHAT you eat DOES make a difference. I can feel it. Matt and I had already started actively listening to our bodies in terms of what they need; we cut out alcohol entirely (we were only occasional wine or beer drinkers anyway) back around Oct or November because of how even one drink left us feeling. This pathway into veganism seemed a natural part of this flow for me.

So, I'll keep you posted on my journey. It's not a diet (I don't like that word anyway). It's a complete life change. I'm not here to judge anybody for their choices or eating habits...only to provide feedback from my own experiences and to share with you if you'd like to hear it. Would love to hear of your experiences as well. I commend anybody for ANY amount of positive change they can make to their eating habits. Going full tilt boogie on becoming a vegetarian or vegan may not be how you want to go. Perhaps you want to dabble around in it a bit. I don't think ANY of us should be judgemental...neither those like myself who choose the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle nor those who maybe have incorporated some elements of vegetarianism but who haven't embraced it fully. We are all different with different sets of circumstances, feelings, goals and outlooks. But any amount of change that we can make to positively and kindly impact our world is a wonderful thing~

As always,


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Part 2: The other side of the coin

I wrote last time about the responsibility we parents have to teach our children that they are of supreme value no matter what exterior package they find themselves wrapped in. I talked about the importance of not focusing on "I need to lose weight" or "I'm fat" dialogue but looking for and eminating a positive self image. Our children mimic what we do. They look to us, follow our lead and live according to the lifestyle they've lived with us. All of that is an unbelievably important part of helping your children develop a positive self image for themselves. That being said, the second part of the equation touches on our obligation to train up our children to be active individuals.

If we sit around on the couch all day eating crap food and playing video games our children are going to learn to do the same. It's one thing to take the occasional time out and enjoy some gaming but another to make that behavior a habit. It still amazes me, too, at the continuous stream of people I'll witness circling a store parking lot to get that close parking spot when they could have parked a little distance away and walked into the store in a quarter of the time! People look for whatever shortcut they can to avoid walking, jumping, bending,'s a sad state to be in. We were created for so much more. We were created as strong, able individuals. No, we don't have to gather our food (well, some do!), build our domiciles and rummage around outside for any of a number of natural materials to create any of a number of necessities. But our bodies are still such that we DO need to take care to be creatures of movement. Inactivity=unhappiness and poor health.

As a substitute teacher I have the priveledge of working with a large number of children. I've actually been blessed with the opportunity to sub P.E. on a fairly regular basis this school year. We had the opportunity to talk about the importance of playing outside and of being active. Many children willingly and candidly offered to the discussion the tidbit that their families sit around at home and do nothing on a regular basis. Most of you from my generation (70's and 80's) remember how we'd be cut loose to run around and play outside from the moment we finished homework until the sun went down. As a family, we'd ride our bikes around the neighborhood, go for hikes at local parks, jump the waves at the beach, play croquet and toss around a Frisbee. My home was one centered not so much on organized sports but on the arts (which I'm also passionate about). I didn't get into sports until I jumped into soccer--and then added crew--in high school. But even my art-centered family recognized the importance and value in movement and in finding an outdoor activity that is FUN!

That's the key, my friends. You must find activities that you and your family enjoy doing and then, well, you've got to do them...REGULARLY! True, I'm an athlete and I enjoy running, biking and swimming. I enjoy participating in 5K runs, half and full marathons and triathlons. While these goals may seem lofty for some of you, I think you'd be surprised by how attaintable they truly are. I also realize, however, that running is not everybody's 'bag.' I AM pleased that our entire family is participating in a 5K together this coming weekend (it'll be our girls' first; our son has already finished several) but there are other things we like to do together to stay active.

Take this week--Spring Break--as an example. I haven't done my first run this week and I've been off from both jobs. But we've been super active all week. Monday we went to a nearby park and went letterboxing. This involves lots of hiking around while following clues to find a 'planted' hidden package containing a rubber stamp. We hiked around for a good couple of hours. Tuesday we went to the beach and jumped some waves followed by another hour of letterboxing at a park in Cape Canaveral (which just happened to include an exercise trail! Right up our alley!) ;) Yesterday we relaxed at home for awhile then, inspired by our favorite scene in Twilight, headed off to our local baseball park to play family baseball. We blasted our Twilight soundtrack out of the truck. Muse's Supermassive Black Hole always makes me feel, now, like I'll bust onto the baseball diamond with excessive speed, vertical leaping ability and a throwing arm that'll send a ball a mile down the road. Vampire superpowers aside (we don't really have them, hehe), we had such a great time that we found ourselves glued to the diamond; we played a 1/2 hour beyond the time limit we'd set for ourselves! We hadn't even driven away when everybody was saying, "Let's do this again tomorrow!" (and boy was it a workout).

Regular exercise results in such a feeling of peace. Those endorphins kick in and make everything feel peachy. Stress melts away. You're able to better DEAL with any stress that attempts to flutter its wings at you. You sleep sooo much better. With proper nutrition (another critical key we'll touch on later) exercise helps your body maintain it's proper balance, shape and level of ability. My friend Shelly and I really love Nike's longtime slogan: "Just Do It!" I'm a firm believer. It's so easy to make excuses and to let one day of inactivity merge into the next. Before you know it (because we all know how blasted quickly time passes) you AND your children have had several years of experience as professional couch potatoes.

FIND SOMETHING (S) YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN LIKE TO DO TOGETHER that involves movement! Try different things. I've mentioned several. If you're lucky like we are to live in Florida you've got water everywhere! SWIM! We have our own pool and, in the summer, we live in it. If you don't have your own pool there are lakes and public pools and beaches everywhere. Play ball: baseball, basketball, kickball, soccer, football. Play catch, toss a frisbee. There's a great game that we have and love to play called "Cosmic Keepaway." Look for it at your local Wallyworld or Target, etc. Run together. Change it up. No need to do the same thing all the time. Keep it fresh but JUST DO IT! If you've been doing this, you know exactly what I mean. If not, you're heart will be warmed by the quality together time it provides for you and your family. Not only will you be setting your children up for a positive lifestyle and self image but you'll be doing YOUR body and mind a world of good!

By the way, BeachBody has a couple of fun workouts for children. We have both of them and do them from time to time together for fun. Shawn T put one of them out and it's part of his "Fit Kids Club" and the other one seems more geared toward smaller children (like preschool, k and 1st). It's by P90X's Tony Horton and it's called Tony and the Kids. Pick these up from my website in the BeachBody store by logging onto

Keep it fun! Keep it positive! Keep the movement flowing~

As always, I welcome comments and am here for you if you need help or encouragement or just want to exchange ideas.



Friday, April 2, 2010

Do your children a favor...STOP talking about losing weight!

What, Lisa? You want me to take the focus off of losing weight? I didn't say that at all, dear friends. What I'm talking about is this continuing stupid cycle of placing so much focus on 'being thin.' We still talk all the time of needing to lose weight; we obsess about how we used to look and how we really need to lose 10, 20, 30 pounds or more. What's worse is that people--usually moms--make these dreaded comments in front of their children. Wake up, folks! If you're guilty of doing this then you're part of the cultural impact bombarding our children with the desire and need to fit into a particular (ie: skinny) mold in order to be of worth and value. Time to man (or woman) up to the part we've played in this horrible situation and do something positive to change it.

I suffered from an eating disorder in high school. It's a lurking, secretive, horrible burden to bear. Let it be said that I didn't fall into mine because my mom obsessed about weight (she never did...she was always awsome about helping us discover our beauty within and for praising us for who we were and not what we looked like). I fell into my problem for other reasons--I tend to be a perfectionist and, I believe, a bit obsessive compulsive. Who knows why? Genetics? Life situations? It's anybody's guess. Go to this website for some good, basic info on eating disorders:

Our children are not oblivious flies on the wall. Just yesterday, I was talking with a friend about how intuitive and adept at observation children are. In other words, they don't miss a beat, people. They catch your miserable glances at yourself in the mirror. They quietly listen to you complaining to your friend about how 'fat and bloated you feel,' about how you wish you were as skinny as you used to be and about how you're just going to starve yourself and work out like crazy to lose that weight. Then, they file that info away into the recesses of their brains and they store them in their hearts and these tidbits become the foundation that will haunt them forever. Raising an American Girl (a great book, by the way) talks about how these types of comments make girls feel that the natural changes their bodies will be going through are unwelcomed and something to fight. Boys are not immune to eating disorders either. Many, many suffer.

Many folks DO need to change their incredibly bad habits related to their eating and lack of exercise and, the truth of it is, so many folks (Americans in particular...we ARE so flippin' fat!) need to lose weight! The key is in placing the focus not on looking a certain way but on being healthy...being healthy so that you:

~FEEL great

~have energy to do the things you want to do and play with your children!

~decrease risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and all sorts of ailments

~live, God-willing, a wonderfully fullfilling and healthy long life

~be strong enough to function in life--lift things, climb flights of stairs, carry packages, etc

~ maintain Joie de Vivre!

If you ARE overweight then you do need to formulate an action plan to get healthy. There are lots of 'skinny' folks who are terribly unhealthy, though. People all over this country could stand to look into eating clean and getting active. Place your emphasis on goals such as those above as opposed to 'being skinny/think,' looking a certain way and on losing weight. You can make your journey toward good health a family affair. Tell your children that you're tired of being too tired to run and play with them and that you're making some changes so that you can enjoy the great outdoors together! Make a point of saying positive things about yourself and about your children...and PLEASE! Do not continually compliment them on 'how pretty they are,' or 'how thin they are.' Tell they you're proud of how well they read, how well spoken, well-mannered or respectful they are of others. Let them know you think it's awsome that they did 5 pull-ups at school when they tell you about it (and if they don't, ASK them what they've been up to in P.E).

Drop me a line if you need encouragement and direction. You can leave me a message here, find me on facebook (Lisa Fitzgerald Amos) or email me at My BeachBody website is loaded with tools to help you get and stay on track (such as a BMI calculator to give you the proper info on how much weight you actually need to lose and a calorie calculator to assist you in setting up a successful eating plan). Our children absolutely love getting active with it a run outdoors (we're all doing a 5K road race together next weekend) or one of our BeachBody workouts to name a few.

Do your children one of the biggest justices you possibly can by checking your 'diet' and 'weight loss' talk at the door and focusing on being healthy, happy and fully enriched by togetherness, relationships, art, music and all that jazz~~~♫♪~~ Until next time...~~slainte!~~

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How to Get Fit When You've Got a Suffocating Schedule

No time for working out because you're working so much? I hear ya, my friends. Due to circumstances stemming from the current economy, I had to take on a second job 4 weeknights per week. I was already a substitute teacher and was working as often as I could. Blessedly, when this night job opportunity came my way I simultaneously started working fulltime at the school during the day--still as a substitute for now. I was not only aware of but have long-since experienced the benefits of good fitness first hand so was distraught at being too busy to be able to fit workouts into my new schedule. I love to send up praises for these jobs because I love both of them, the people with whom I work, the children I teach and the chance to meet our financial needs and start getting some things paid off. If I were really honest (and those who know me KNOW that I cleave to honesty) I would have to admit that, even through the blessings, I've had gnawing yearning to reincorporate regular exercise and training back into my routine. But how?! I was hardly getting enough sleep as it was!

I know so many of you are facing the same challenge in your lives. We're working harder than ever these days and are so busy! What precious time we do have we want to spend with our families. Let me quickly lay out "A Day in the Life of Lisa" for you...prior to adding exercise back in:
~Monday through Friday I pry myself from my bed at 6am to quickly get myself dressed and ready, children up and at 'em, my lunch packed, dog let out, dog and cats fed, etc etc...all of the typical morning stuff.

~We scurry out the door at 6:45 to get Dustin to middle school, the girls to their appropriate enrichment/chorus activities and my booty to work at the girls' school.

~I'm at work at the elementary school until 3:15-3:30...depending on which after school duty I have at which time I rush on home. During the schoolday I get a 1/2 hour lunch break and am otherwise typically VERY active the entire day. (this is elementary school, afterall)!

~I've got 1 hour after work (an extra hour on Wednesdays due to early release) to throw a load of laundry in the washer (we're a family of five; we go through AT LEAST one load per day), grab a healthy snack, pop open bookbags with the children to help with homework/look at memos/sign agendas, change my clothes (if needed) for night job, perk a cup of coffee or green tea, kiss my husband and my little lovies goodbye and fly out the door to drive to Orlando for my evening job.

~I work at a proof operator (bank data entry) from 5:30 until anywhere from 10:30 until midnight (or later sometimes). We get a 1/2 hour break but otherwise are keying nonstop during the entire shift. Time goes quickly.

~After work I drive home and arrive there, on average, around midnight. Time to toss a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, fold and put away any that might be ready, wash any dishes that might still be left (Matt and the children really try to help...sometimes he's just so tired too) and do any house chores that I can muster up before washing my face and falling into bed. I'm usually getting to bed around 1am...sometimes later on those later worknights.

~Day starts all over again the next day!
~Tuesday pm's, Saturdays and Sundays I'm off work. As I'm sure you can relate to, the time flies by lickety split. I fill that time with housework and getting organized as well as family time (playing games together, eating together, relaxing together, etc).
So there ya have it! My life in a nutshell these days! Sound familiar to any of you? Not everybody has to work 2 jobs but many of you do or you probably at least feel like there's little spare time. You'd LIKE to exercise but just don't know where to start or where to fit in it. I urge you to read on, though, because you owe it to yourself to rethink things and do what it takes to take measures to attain a good level of fitness. If you're overweight and/or walking around with excess belly fat you are really setting yourself up for some dangerous health problems. Don't think you have time NOW to do anything? Imagine what issues with high blood pressure or heart attacks will do to your current routine. It's not just about exercising to fit into a pair of skinny jeans (although looking FINE is a really fun benefit of taking good care of yourself). It's about making yourself a priority so that you will feel your very best and be your healthiest. This, naturally, leads into you enjoying your life to the fullest and being the best you that you can be for the special people in your life.

How do I accomplish this then, Lisa?!

I'll share with you what I've done and maybe you can borrow some of my tips...the things that are working for me in the midst of my nutty agenda:

~Staying organized is key. I use a part of my weekends to plan meals for the week and we shop according to those mealplans. I prepare healthy meals in advance and freeze them and also plan healthy crockpot meals. Remember to plan healthy and easy lunches and snacks for yourself like I do so that you aren't scrambling and finding yourself in some drivethru for your food. What we put into our bodies is actually cornerstone to shedding excess weight and feeling great. Exercise just gives us a boost and makes us stronger, more flexible and relieves stress. Healthy eating choices are paramount--it's all in the advanced planning, people!

~Try waking up an hour early to get a workout in. It's a GREAT way to start your day! I have a hard time with this right now because I'm only getting 5 or less hours of sleep (and you do NOT want to cut out sleep,'s important to your overall health as WELL as to weight loss...did you know that?) and I can't sacrifice more but, when I can, I like to kick start my day with the AWSOME Yoga Booty Ballet "A.M. Latte" workout. It's only 30 minutes long but supercharged and leaves me feeling great).

~Wherever and whenever I have to walk during my day (and it's a LOT at school) I push that body! I move like I'm a woman on a mission...squeezing with my cheeks (and not the ones I smile with ;) and working those legs. Park as far aways as you can at stores; don't take easy ways out. Stick that extra exercise in there anywhere you can! It all adds up. Don't just schlep around---MOVE it! (but don't forget to smile)!

~See if you can incorporate a brisk walk into your lunch break at work. I know LOTS of people who have started doing that. Some do it at the school. We've started doing it at Symcor (night job). Instead of eating during our break, my friend Shelly and I eat before work or on the way and then we spend our break fast walking with a little run here or there through the corridors of our building. 6 times 'round is a mile. We crushed 2 miles last night and are looking to attain a higher goal. We'll do this those 4 nights per week! My husband has often thrown some pushups, crunches and pullups into his workday. Drop and do as many pushups as you can a few times a day. Squeeze your butt while driving (rofl...try it...I'm serious)! Challenge yourself to look for unique ways such as these to incorporate exercise into your regular day. Get a friend involved...your more likely to stick to it if somebody else is depending on your company and encouragement.

~Find a workout program that is shorter but very effective. I can help you with this! (I'm a BeachBody coach loaded with a multitude of programs, remember)?! I'm a HUGE P90X fan but had to reevaluate my game plan once I started working 60+ hours per week. I don't have time right now to commit to the hour-hour and a half, very regimented workout schedule per day with P90X. I've vowed to do another round in the summertime when I've got a break from school. In the meantime, I've found success and heaven with BeachBody's Yoga Booty Ballet. SO many different workouts available under the YBB category...many are just 30 minutes. I've mentioned the morning one. I've also started doing the "Pajama Time" relaxation dvd almost each night when I get home--it's the absolute DESSERT of yoga and I've never slept better. Pure and Simple Yoga (also YBB) is only 30 minutes but a wonderfully intense workout. Then there are other hour long ones for days when I wake up early enough or have the day off.

~I keep a journal of the food I eat, the water that I drink and the exercise I do each day. This holds me accountable to myself and pushes me to do SOMETHING each day (I hate to have a page that doesn't list some form of exercise for that day).

~During our family time we make sure to spend some of that time in motion...biking or running together, playing on the playground, playing tag, tennis or some other shenanigans that burn calories while we have fun. Actually, Dusty, Sydney and McKenzie have certain BeachBody workouts that they like to do with us. Dusty's wanting to do P90X to get stronger for drumline tryouts at the high school next year. McKenzie got complimented on her 'ripped abs" during a checkup following her appendectomy last month and she told the nurse "I do P90X" (grin...she does me proud), and Sydney can do all kinds of crazy yoga moves! We just bought BeachBody's Shaun T "Fit Kids" workout dvd and I did it with my P.E. classes. A group of the 4th grade students wanted me to work up a similar routine with them for the talent show. So you see what serendipidously good turns your focus on including fitness in your life (and your family's life) can take you! Sometimes we'll throw on some music and spontaneously bust into a family dance party. Get nuts with eachother! It's fun, keeps you fit AND sets an all-important example for your kiddos.

It's so easy to feel overwhelmed when you have so much to do, when the piles of things to file are stacked up (mine are, by the way) and when you're at the bottom of the hill looking up. Gillian Marloth from Yoga Booty Ballet says, "In order to change your body, you have to change your mind." Start today. Make a plan. Let me help you. You're NOT in this alone--that's why I'm here. I'm here to share my story and to help you put a plan of action in motion. Do not be bound by the seemingly heavy weight of an overwhelming schedule. The boundaries are all in your mind. Leave me a comment here or, better yet, message me through my BeachBody website or on Facebook. Anything is possible. I'm a walking testimony! ♥~peace!♥

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Pointed Effort to Enjoy the Meat in the Middle

Do you find yourself continually rushing off from Point A to Point B? Do you feel like you don't have enough time to do all that you'd like to do? Overcommitted? Locked into a gruesome schedule out of necessity?

I can definately offer a resounding "AYE!" for that last one.

I think most folks who truly know me would consider me to be an open, friendly person. I have no qualms talking with people and sharing conversation of a personal kind. Despite this outward-reaching quality, I can also be surprisingly introverted in a way that causes me to quietly sit back and notice things--to make observations and allow my mind to take me on an internally busy and ever-branching mental journey. Something I've noticed in particular lately that people are not only fraught with the heavy load of a full calendar but they are rushing at break-neck pace from one destination to the other with blinders on to the reality all around them along the way. This saddens me.

There are certainly times when we have to boogy along to get to where we need to be. I can relate to this all to well. I usually am blessed with being able to work fulltime as a subsitute teacher and then have about an hour in between the time I leave school and the time I need to head out for job #2. I'm eager to get home after the night job and get cozied in for the brief bit of rest before the workday cycle starts all over again. I'm often rushed on weekends to squeeze in whatever activities we have lined up along with the basic housework that I'm not able to complete during the work week. Monday arrives all too soon. Time is a precious commodity, that's for sure! I don't often have the luxury of a couple of hours of 'playtime' but there is still plenty of 'meat in the middle--' plenty of space between Point A and Point B--to at least PAUSE to smell the roses if not to alltogether stop.

What can we do to ensure that we're not becoming robotic and rude and missing the whole reason for which we were created? (As much as it FEELS as if we were created to work like dogs to pay the bills we're really all gathered on this beautiful planet to enjoy relationships of all levels with the people we cohabitate the planet with)! Well, I've been making a point of getting back into practicing yoga regularly and it, along with pointed prayer to our Father above, has been opening my mind and my eyes to some suggestions:

~Make a point of making eye contact with those you pass and offering up a 'Hello' as you pass. It can be quick but make it genuine.

~Stop for a few words when you can afford a minute. Again, make it genuine and heartfelt and about something other than the blasted weather for goodness sake!

~As you walk or drive from where you're coming from to where you're going make a point of really looking around you and NOTICING things around you. Take off those blinders. Walk with a quickened pace if you must but put some expression into your face (other than grumbly-faced) and notice the colors, architecture, lighting, activity around you and interact with folks as you cross paths.

~If you have to commute (like I do for the evening job), grab a book on CD and enrich your mind by listening to a narrated story or enriching book of some kind. I've really enjoyed this and am currently working through Lord of the Flies, narrated by the author (haven't read that since junior high or high school)!

~Take a candid look at your calendar. You might actually be able to free up some time for bits of fellowship with friends during time slots you previously felt were booked. I'm trying to coordinate such a thing with some of my friends from the school...even a 1/2 hour-45 minutes once a week to do a brief yoga video with some chitchat during would be a wonderful and restorative respite.

~OF GREAT IMPORTANCE: Find some sort of outlet (I emphasize here that they be positive in in not turning to alchohol or kicking the dog) for your stress so that you will be more open to a positive outlook. I truly find regular yoga practice to be an activity that strengthens my body, helps me become flexible but ALSO helps me become and remain centered and at peace. I have numerous yoga-related workouts available through my BeachBody site and can steer you in the right direction for the dvd(s) most appropriate for you.

There are other ideas. I'm sure you can even drop some suggestions in a comment below (I'd welcome them)! The point is, we all get so bogged down in our schedules and underneath whatever challenges are currently stressing us and pushing us to our limits. The key is to not let these things control us and lead us into making decisions that alienate us from what really counts. When all is said and done and we reach that point in our lives when we're nearing the end do you really think we're going to look back and say, "Wow! I'm so glad I raced my way through life so that I could get to where I was going as quickly as I could!" or are you going to remember all of the special moments you shared--both with family AND with friends--long-lasting as well as brief? Some of the beautiful friendships you end up making may very well find their conception in one of those brief passings where you take the time to say 'Hello, how are you today?'

If you think you're already a positive, upbeat and friendly person then SUPER! But you might want to do a reality check from time to time like I do to be sure that what people actually see from the outside is in alignment with how you consider yourself to be. Certain stresses and projects have occasionally shoved a nasty mask on my head. Often we take it out on the ones we love the most. I like to strive to remain very present and aware and not get suffocated with thoughts of the past or of the future. It's not that we should never ponder these things. Rather, its a matter of proportion. Let the present and a state of positivity be your driving force and your goal.

~Think about it~ Wishing joyful moments to you all. As always, I'm here for motivation and support if you need it. ~~Slainte~~