First Breakfast…

One of my commitments this year has been to wake up at 3:30 am and use the early morning hours to create: to write, to plan, to meditate… to do all those things that tend to get lost in the shuffle once the craziness of the normal day sets in. It’s required several things to change.  First, I’ve shifted my workouts to the evening. That’s been a TOUGH adjustment. I’m most definitely a morning girl and I really prefer to do my training before anyone wakes up (not after everyone has gone to sleep), but it’s a shift I was willing to make as Deb and I negotiated how to fit in my health coach training program course work. Second, it means I have to add a meal to my day. I really believe strongly in eating every 4-ish hours. So, when I’m getting up at 3:30 am, I need an extra breakfast to carry me through to smoothie time (~8 am).

This is my new favorite first breakfast (not to be confused with my favorite breakfast quinoa bowl that I still eat nearly ever day around 11:30 🙂 ). I absolutely LOVE avocados, but honestly, smooshing one up on a piece of toast never really occurred to me. Then one day, about 2 months ago, I saw a picture on Instagram and thought, “Wow, that’s a great idea!” Yeah, I know, I’m way behind on trending uses for the avocado. It is the BEST thing EVER!  Not too heavy, full of brain fueling good fats, and just enough to keep me filled up until the next meal.

And, my dear son, who has taken to ditching his morning cereal at home in favor of whatever nasty breakfast they are serving at school (don’t think I’m not onto you, Josh Flynn!), has started asking for avocado toast for his breakfast! I’m going to call that a #momwin.

I posted a picture of my first piece of avocado toast on Facebook and got so many comments about how to spiff up my eats. People said I should add tomato slices, or a squirt of lime, or an egg, etc. And I’ve tried every single one of their suggestions… and they are all good!  But, this is my favorite by far… Toast, avocado, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper… Perfection!

Perfect avocado toast with hot green tea! Mmmmm…

No One’s Going To Do It For You

My son is in 8th grade. He is a really smart kid, but he, like most 14 year olds, is lazy.  He likes the path of least resistance, and given the choice between doing homework and playing xBox or Minecraft or watching videos on YouTube (not that I actually GIVE him a choice, but that’s another post for another day), guess what wins?  Yeah, not so much with the homework. Up until this year, he has gotten great grades with minimal effort.  This is the first year where he has actually be required to put his nose to the grindstone and work for it.  And guess what?  His grades have sucked this year.  I mean really! BAD!

It’s kind of embarrassing because his Language Arts teacher is a friend of mine and I cringe when I do my weekly check of his online gradebook and see D’s and F’s in her class. I’ve tried talking to him.  He glazes over and it’s like talking to a wall. This last quarter, my teacher friend has assigned a project that was assigned at the beginning of the quarter and is due in mid-May. Her rationale, I’m sure, is to teach her students how to take a big huge project and break it down in to weekly milestones so they’ll be better prepared for such things in high school.

The project was assigned right before Spring Break and my son came home all excited to go out and buy the binder and dividers and such for his portfolio. And he kept talking about how great it was going to be and how he was going to get a head start on the project during Break. So imagine my surprise when I checked the gradebook a few weeks later and saw a row of F’s for his portfolio checks! Then I got an email from his teacher… my friend… telling me he was WAY behind on the project.

Yep, got it! So, I sat my son down that night for a heart to heart talk. I told him that life is pretty simple – you can either wait for someone to hand you success (and plan to wait a really long time and be pretty unsuccessful in the meantime) or you can decide to take the reins of your life and GET SUCCESS.  I don’t know if I broke through or not, I suppose time will tell.  And I suppose there are those who would say I’m a bad parent because I’m not making sure he’s keeping up to date with his school work.  But dang it, he’s 14 years old and I’m sick and tired of wanting his success for him more than he wants it for himself! His success is up to him, not me. I love him dearly, but I cannot and will not do the heavy lifting for him – he has to learn to do it and want to do it for himself.

I think there are a lot of people out there like my son.  People who are plenty smart and who have a lot of talent in certain areas, but they are waiting for someone to hand them success.  Let me say it again:

No one is going to hand you success!

You must go out and get it yourself!

Stop waiting! We all have everything we need inside us at this very moment to be WILDLY successful! Why do we drag our feet?

Fear?

Fear of what?  Failure?

When we sit back on the edges of life and wait for success to come find us rather than running out to meet it, aren’t we just failing by default?

My son seems to be waiting for something to light a fire under his rear-end to get rolling on his project, but has a gradesheet full of F’s in the meantime.  He’s FAILING! And there’s no reason for it.  He’s smart enough.  He has the resources and the tools and the time to get the job done.  But he’s just not taking action.

Sure there will always be shiny objects to distract us from what we need to be doing in any given moment, but are those distractions going to take us where we ultimately want to go? I hope I can make my son understand this lesson before it really bites him in the butt next year in high school.

As for me, I’m going to ride my bike!

Psst… I’ll Tell You A Secret

Psst… I’ll Tell You A Secret

Image Credit: 123RF.com

When Deb and I sat down on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, to begin our most recent round of coaching, she immediately tasked me with re-creating my “bucket list.”  This was a list of 30 things that I wanted to do, be, or have in my life.  The list could consist of ANYTHING – from huge, Level 1 goals like solving the healthcare crisis in America to super-simple Level 3 goals like getting a new pair of sunglasses.  I had the entire world of options at my disposal.  I came back to session #2 with my list of 30 things and proudly read it to Deb. Like most of our clients, I quickly discovered, much to my dismay, that my list was, in fact, composed of a bunch of very rhetorical statements that I had absolutely no emotional attachment to. Damn!

So, I went back to the drawing board. I started asking myself the hard questions:

  • What do I really want?
  • How do I want to send my days?
  • What feeds my soul?
  • What things/people/events/opportunities will help me live a joyous and fulfilled life?
  • What is my PURPOSE?

So, at session #3 I present Bucket List 2.0, and although I didn’t know “HOW” a lot of that list would ever transpire, I just knew that I wanted them.

Last week, without any warning whatsoever, TWO of my Top 5 Bucket List items fell into my lap.

Anyone who has read more than 3 of my blog posts knows that I have a great affection and respect for my friend, one of the people who inspired me to start training for triathlon, Meredith Atwood.  One of my top 5 bucket list items was to collaborate with her on a program.  I didn’t know what kind of program or what the topic would be. We had kicked the tires on some concepts before, but she is always going Mach 5 with her hair on fire and the timing just wasn’t right; however, it continued to be a goal, albeit a longer-term goal.

Another of my Top 5 bucket list items was to spend my days “playing” on social media and actually get paid to do it!

So, imagine my surprise and delight when I received an email from Meredith last week that started off, “Hey lady! So. I have been marinating on a new program, and I wanted to see if you and Deb might want to be involved with.”

WHAT?

UHM, YES!

And guess what?  The platform of the program is Facebook-based, so I will indeed be spending my days “playing” on social media!

So, this brings me to the distinction between “allowing” and “forcing.” We have to ALLOW the things we want to come to us and know that if they are based in love and are in alignment with our values and our purpose, they WILL come – they might just not come on our timetable or exactly in the way we first envision them.  When we try to FORCE an outcome and exert our will, the outcome is generally not what we hoped it would be.

Now, what is this new program?  It’s called “Your Brave Mind” and you can read more about it here and here. And it’s going to be amazing!

In a nutshell, Your Brave Mind will be a series of online events (hosted on Facebook) that will each cover a different topic in the area of mental toughness.  The first event is on the bully in your brain! Cool huh?

The bully is that little voice that speaks to you whenever you try to step outside of ​the box​, tackle new challenges,​ ​or​ make a ​significant ​change in your life. Everyone has​ tha​t voice, it’s just that some bullies are much louder and meaner than others. In only 5 days you will gain the awareness​ (and tools)​ you need to tame the bully in your brain​. You will discover:

  • What​ (or who?)​ the bully is
  • Why listening to the bully is the absolute worst thing we can do if we want to change an area of our life
  • How the bully got its voice
  • Why the bully is so mean
  • Why making the decision to change will never be enough
  • How to actually change the conversation with the bully in your brain

If you have ever struggled with the mean girl/guy in your head who tells you that you are terrible or that you can’t do something, etc., then this program is for you! Come join us!

  • Cost:  $24.97
  • Forum: Online group coaching via a closed Facebook Group
  • Duration:  5 Days
  • Starts:  Monday, May 8th

Register Now!

 

I can’t wait to get started!  🙂

Self Love… A Bad Thing?

I was doing some research this morning for a new project and I pulled up my go-to word choice tool, thesaurus.com and entered the term “self-love” in the search bar. I was actually taken aback when I saw the top synonyms…

WOW!  “Conceit”… “Narcissism” … “Vainglory” (had to look that one up)… “Vanity” – OUCH!

I certainly recognize that there are people out there who have true personality disorders that take the concept of “loving themselves” to the extreme, but my goodness, is it really so bad to seek a place where you can honestly say “I love ME!”?

Why is it that it seems so normal and no one seems to notice when you loathe yourself on a daily basis, but when you start changing and challenging those beliefs, certain people want to call you a narcissist or conceited or “up on your high horse” (as my Gramma used to say)?

Back in 2010 when I decided to change my life, there was some backlash. There were people in my life who did not like the changes they were seeing in me. There were those who actually felt MY efforts to change ME were a direct offense to THEM. It both saddened and infuriated me at the same time, but I was sick and tired of hating and abusing myself in myriad ways, so I was willing to do the hard work that change at that level demands. I never purposely cut anyone out of my life, but there were definitely those who wanted no part of my new life, and so they fell away, and that still makes me sad sometimes.

Am I perfect? HA!  Soooooo far from it! But I am BETTER! Better than I was in 2010 in a million different ways. And one of those ways is that I have chosen to love myself and to accept myself in all my imperfection and to keep fighting the good fight – to become even better each and every day. Some days I succeed and other days I crash and burn hard, but I’m always striving for better.

So, when I saw the terms above listed in response to my query for a synonym for “self-love,” it was jarring. Has our society and our culture become so jaded that self-loathing is the norm and anyone who dares to drag themselves out of the pit of despair is seen as an anomaly… a weirdo… an outlier? Is that where we are now? What about our poor kids?  Do they even stand a chance if we are into the 2nd generation of self-haters? Who can they look to as a model of a healthy relationship with “self?”

What does all this mean for our future? I don’t have the answers, but I think the questions are worth pondering.

 

Changes…

Changes…

I’ve posted before about the malaise I experienced after Ironman Florida and my efforts to figure out what I wanted and what was next. It’s taken some time and patience with myself, but I’ve decided on a trajectory that will ultimately make me a happier, more fulfilled person (and I’m pretty darned happy as I sit here, so YAY ME!), and I thought y’all might be interested in finding out what that decision is. During the coaching process with Deb, she kept coaxing me to explore what I REALLY wanted out of life… not what I thought I SHOULD want… or what I thought I could get… or what other people wanted for me… but what I really wanted deep down in my soul.

That’s a really difficult exercise for a person like me who is so hyper-focused on the needs of those around her.  I am a “caretaker” by nature.  I like taking care of people and making sure they are happy and that their needs are met – often at the expense of my own goals and desires.  My nature got me in deep trouble in my marriage, because I crossed way over the line of “caretaker” and into the realm of “enabler.” Things can get really bad really quickly when you constantly enable another person’s bad behavior.  I did that for 17 years. 😦

But I digress…

It took a lot of time and persistent effort to begin to discover what I really wanted. Deb has a lot of really great exercises and tools to tease this out of a person. I spent time thinking about when I was the happiest, professionally. What were the things that really lit me up? And the thing that kept bubbling up to the surface is that I just really love to help people get past the bullshit story they keep telling themselves that continually holds them back from achieving the things they want in life. And I am MOST happy, when I do that with people in the area of health and wellness.

A long time ago, I remember my sister and I used to walk around the track at the gym and talk about how great it would be if we could get paid to eat right and exercise. LOL. Of course logic would grab hold immediately and tell us all the reasons why that was a preposterous idea. Today, I look back at all the energy we put into that concept and I know that the decisions I’ve made over the past few years are a subconscious result of all those walks! Karate… Release… triathlon… Ironman… It’s all building to this…

I’ve decided to become a Health Coach.

On May 15th I’ll embark on a one year journey of education and discovery with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Health Coach.  I know that pairing the education I’ll receive along with what I already know about the mind will be a powerful combination, and that I will be able to help A LOT of people with a boatload of knowledge, passion, desire to make a difference, and “been there, done that” experience.

What exactly IS a “health coach?” A Health Coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who works with clients to help them feel their best through food and lifestyle changes. Instead of prescribing one diet or way of exercising, Health Coaches tailor individualized wellness programs to meet their clients’ needs. I love this definition.  I have no desire to sit down and create workout plans for clients – there are so many truly GREAT athletic coaches out there who have that part nailed – rather, I want to work with people who have a true desire to change, but just need some help unraveling all the lies they have been told throughout their entire lives about health and wellness (and maybe even their capabilities). I want to help people get their mind and body in sync with one another, because when that happens, anything is possible!

In this day and age where “healthcare” is anything BUT “health” care and most people are one health crisis away from bankruptcy, I believe that more and more people are beginning to turn away from traditional medical interventions and are looking at what they can do to support their own health and wellness and get away from heading to the doctor all the time. However, when these same people start looking around, they become positively paralyzed by all the information and misinformation that is available.  Combine this with all the lies we have been told about how to be “healthy” and it becomes apparent that people will need guides to help them sift through all the crap out there.  I intend to be one of those guides!

There’s a lot of tweaking that will have to happen and somethings may have to give somewhere along the way, but I’m very excited about this new path.

Here we grow again! 🙂

The Kids Will Eat It Too!

I spend a lot of time on social media.  In fairness, I probably spend WAY more time than I should on social media, but that’s not the point.  I see a lot of my friends who are striving to change their diets and eat healthier, post things like this (not an actual post): Tonight for dinner I ate a baked sweet potato with shredded chicken, black beans, and salsa.  It was really yummy.  I made mac & cheese for the kids.

When I see a post like this I have great empathy for that mom.  I WAS that mom for the first 7 years of my son’s life.  I went through the first half of his life as a short order cook in my own home – I made 2-3 dinners every night: Something I wanted, something my husband would eat (often very different from what I wanted), and then yet a third “meal” for our son. It was exhausting, but that’s what I thought I had to do.

My son’s diet consisted of “kid foods” – pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, PBJ, goldfish crackers, french fries, those disgusting Kid Cuisine dinners, etc.  Of course there were good foods too – he’s always loved veggies.  Anyhow, he had so many respiratory issues when he was little – asthma, allergies, pneumonia (twice) – and it seemed like he always had a cough and a runny nose. I never ever considered that his health issues and his diet could be related, and sadly our pediatrician never even asked about his nutrition because he was a normal sized kid.

Then, in 2010 everything changed.  We moved in with Deb and I had an incredible opportunity to change everything. Deb taught me that the quality of the food we put in our bodies is one of the most important things we can focus on. I still remember sitting down to dinner at Deb’s that first night.  We had roasted chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for dinner.  Josh looked at his plate, then looked at me and asked “Where’s mine?” (assuming I had made a separate dinner for him).  Deb’s daughter’s were wide-eyed. Deb and I explained to Josh that this was a “new house with new rules” and one of those rules was that dinner was dinner. He didn’t have to eat it, but there would be nothing else until breakfast. He looked at the plate, and looked at me, and back to the plate, and said “Okay.” (such a resilient boy 🙂 ) and he ate the dinner – AND HE LOVED IT! After 2-3 days, he stopped looking at his dinner plate with skepticism and started getting very inquisitive about new foods and ingredients.

In the years that followed (he’s almost 15 now), my son has developed the most expansive palate of any child I have ever met.  He loves food!  He is proud of the fact that he will try anything. He still doesn’t care for raw tomatoes or bell peppers, but he’ll eat squashes and brussel sprouts and quinoa, so I’ll take it! And a funny thing happened when we cleaned up his diet… All the respiratory issues vanished – within DAYS! POOF!  GONE!  He has missed exactly 3 days of school in the past 6 years (he had strep throat last year that took him down for a few days) due to illness. Eat well, be well… Who knew?

So, Moms who make multiple meals every night.  I don’t judge you – I was you – but give yourselves a break and let your kids try your yummy healthy food!  They will eat it – maybe not right away, but if you persist (and take away other options) they WILL eat it – and even love it!  Here are just a few tips that worked for me.

  1. Ease into it. Kids are driven by what feels good, so if they are used to chicken nuggets and french fries and you stick a plate of broccoli and brown rice in front of them, expect some push back.  But if you just start crowding out the less healthy stuff with good, wholesome food, all of a sudden they are eating healthier and better – better is a good word.
  2. Dinner is dinner. There are no separate meals – everyone eats the same thing.
  3. Involve the kids. Involve your children in menu planning.  Ask them what they would like.  If they say “PIZZA” – perhaps you could plan a make your own pizza night with sprouted grain tortillas as the crust and lots of veggie toppings. When kids have some say-so in what they are eating, they are more likely to eat it.  Same goes for meal prep. Get the kids involved in the kitchen.  If they cook it, they will probably eat it!
  4. 2-Bite Rule. My mom used this with me and I use it with Josh.  Some foods just look gross on the plate.  It is what it is.  Lots of kids won’t eat something that looks gross.  So, we have a rule:  You have to try two bites of anything new.  If you don’t like it after two bites, you don’t have to eat it, but you have to try it. They won’t automatically LOVE it, but after a few tries, they tend to accept it.
  5. Gag Food. We let each kid choose a “gag food” that they just WILL NOT eat.  For Erin it was sweet potatoes, for Nicki it was rice, and for Josh it is raw tomatoes (I think he may have been switched at birth).  They get a pass on this food, but they only get one and they can’t change it from day to day.  It took Josh 3 years to decide that raw tomatoes was indeed his gag food.

Good luck and healthy eating!

Coming to A Head

Coming to A Head

volcanoLife is kind of coming to a head right now.  There are so many things that are either ending or beginning in the next few days and I’m finding myself feeling a little stressed out over them, so I thought writing about them might help… :/

First, Deb’s dad has been visiting us for the past month.  He’s such a dear, sweet man and we have really enjoyed having him with us. Tomorrow he heads back to Maryland and we’ll be readjusting to a house of three again.  On one hand, I’m sorry he’s leaving – he’s a cool guy and I like him a lot!  But on the other hand, I need to get back to my routine, and eating at restaurants 3 times per week is NOT part of my routine. He doesn’t get our plant-based eating style (he doesn’t like and won’t eat vegetables), so finding things to eat here at home (when we’re not going out) that will work for all of us has been challenging to say the least.

Second, my training plan for Great Floridian Triathlon begins on Monday, and I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it.  I’ve really enjoyed my off-season.  I’ve enjoyed lifting again.  I’ve enjoyed just flying by the seat of my pants and doing what I FEEL like doing instead of being so structured. It’s very different from last year when I was chomping at the bit to get to the training.  I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting back in the training mindset and I’m counting on my body and my mind jumping right back into the groove.

massive-actionThird, the house is still on the market and we are getting antsy to get on with it. There’s no pressure to get it sold, but we’ve found the place we want to move and we’re just anxious to move on to the next stage of the adventure.

Fourth, Unrealogical has gone to the publisher and we’ve already gone through the first round of content review with the legal eagles and are now waiting for phase #2, and that’s a little nerve wracking.

3HUFifth, I start Round #3 of Swim Bike Fuel next week (or Round #1 of 3HU, depending on how you want to look at it) and I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself to really GET IT RIGHT this time.  I’ve had great results with both of the previous rounds, but I get a little loose with the rules sometimes and I really want this to be a “third time’s the charm” type of thing.

excitementSo, lots going on and I just feel stressed out.  I’ve been using all my tools, but my stomach feels all knotted up and I can’t seem to unravel it.  Right here, in this moment, I am VERY uncomfortable.  And when this happens, I get excited, because it usually means I’m on the verge of some major life shift.  Something is out there looming on the horizon – something big – I just can’t quite see it yet.

Stay tuned…