I Am Not A Dog…

I Am Not A Dog…

Deb and I have been playing around with intermittent fasting for a while now and it has really proven to be a game-changer for us so far (I’m sure I’ll blog about it when I have more data), but I’ve noticed something recently that has really caused me to stop and think. I realized that when I want to “reward” myself I go to food 100% of the time!

For example, yesterday was “balcony cleaning day” here at the condo. On the last Saturday of the month, we are allowed to break out the hoses and scrub brushes and clean the outside porches and just blow the water over the side. It’s a pain in the ass, but it makes a big difference – especially after Hurricane Irma completely salt-blasted our sliding doors and windows. The thing is that we always “reward” ourselves after porch cleaning with a big breakfast – either I make eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. here or we go out for breakfast. But, since we were fasting yesterday, there was no big breakfast and I was jarred by how sad that made me and how unmotivated I was to clean the porches.

Then, I started thinking about it… I do not have a single non-food reward system in place anywhere in my life!

What the hell?  I’m not a DOG!

But it’s true!  Whenever Deb and I start planning something that will make busting our butts to getting some big project done “worth it,” we automatically go to food… dinner out at our favorite restaurant, munchies in front of an episode of Star Trek, comfort food, etc. … ALWAYS… 100% of the time. And that’s just crazy! Is it just me?

I have resolved to come up with some non-food rewards that I can go to when I need something to spark my motivation in the moment. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

  1. Take a nap.
  2. Sleep in!
  3. Spend an hour away from my phone or computer.
  4. Eat lunch outside or at least away from my desk.
  5. Take a vacation day from work to do whatever I want!
  6. Unwind with a movie of my choice.
  7. Plan a long bike ride with my friends.
  8. Subscribe to a magazine I’ve been wanting to read.
  9. Buy a new song for my running playlist.
  10. Invest in some moisture-wicking workout socks.
  11. Buy a new sports bra.
  12. Come home with a bouquet of flowers.
  13. Sign up for a race.
  14. Splurge on a new running outfit or tri-kit (Hello, Tri*Fe Tri).
  15. Go for a mani/pedi.
  16. Treat myself to a massage!
  17. Get fitted for new running shoes at a running store.
  18. Plan a weekend getaway with Deb.
  19. Go to a yoga class.
  20. Plan our next dream vacation!
  21. Get a new hairstyle.
  22. Go to the local farmer’s market.
  23. Have a tourist day and do some of the fun things our town has to offer visitors (NOT Disney, thank you very much)
  24. Buy some new accessories for my bike.
  25. A new pair of earrings.

How do YOU reward yourself? Help me build my list so I can stop letting PIZZA be my reward!

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…

My New Favorite Breakfast

For the past several months, I’ve been eating the same breakfast – not because it’s on some diet plan or because I HAVE to, but because I want to.  It’s freaking delicious!  I got the basic method from Swim Bike Mom’s blog and then tweaked it based on my own tastes.  It’s a great pre-long workout meal or just a terrific, “sticks with you” breakfast in general.

Protein Quinoa Bowl

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 banana, smooshed up (technical culinary term)
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Vega Protein & Greens)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
dash nutmeg
1/2-3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Sliced almonds, optional

Mix everything but the blueberries together in a saucepan and heat until boiling (careful not to let it scorch).  If using frozen blueberries, pour the hot porridge over the berries in a bowl.  If using fresh berries, just sprinkle them on top.  Sliced almonds are a nice finishing touch too.  🙂

NOTE:  This is really just a method more than a recipe.  I’ve used brown rice, steel-cut oats, and millet and the results are just as good.  Use whatever berries you like.  Drizzle with honey if it’s not sweet enough for you.  Use peanut butter (or other nut butter) instead of almond butter.  Play with it and see what you like best!  And it’s super quick if you make a big batch of quinoa in advance and then you just have to scoop it into the pan.

Hope you love it as much as I do!

Photo Credit: DamnDelicious.com

Photo Credit: DamnDelicious.com

A Remarkable Wish…

CHRISTMAS WISH

I’m so excited about this holiday season for so many reasons, but one of the main ones has to do with something we are doing in my company, Cheslow Achievement Group.

We are a small business, but we have a big heart.  Every year, our team exchanges Christmas presents and has a get-together and it’s all great fun, but this year we decided to do something different.

Rather than spend money on presents that none of us really need, we’re pooling the money we would have spent and granting a Christmas wish for a local… It could be a person, a family, an organization, or another small business.  Deb and I got together and decides that we (as the company owners) would match whatever amount of money was in the gift pool.

So now were asking for people to send in their Christmas wishes.  It could be for themselves or they can nominate someone else.

  • Maybe someone needs a car repair that they can’t afford
  • Maybe someone needs rent assistance
  • Maybe someone doesn’t have enough food
  • Maybe it’s for something whimsical or frivolous

We’re collecting wishes until noon on Sunday, 12/20.  Then we’ll select a wish to grant and announce it on 12/23.

Are you in Volusia County, Florida?  Do you (or someone you know) have a “Remarkable Wish?”

Let us hear about it!  Send your wish or your wish nomination to remarkablewish@debcheslow.com, or post it in the comments on this blog, or message our Cheslow Achievement Group Facebook page.

Today is My Super Bowl!!

IMWCIt’s October 10th – the Saturday nearest the full moon in October.  To fans of triathlon that can only mean one thing: Today is our Super Bowl!  Today is the Ironman World Championships on the Big Island of Hawaii on the Kona Coast!

As if racing an Ironman wasn’t a grueling enough task in and of itself with it’s 2.4 mile swim in the Pacific Ocean, 112 mile of biking from Kailua-Kona to Hawi and back (with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain/loss in the mix), and 26.2 mile run, throw in some wicked heat from the lava fields and the trade winds that can blow so hard they have been known to blow racers off the road.

The Ironman World Championships is the Holy Grail of long course triathlon racing.  The best of the best of the professionals show up year after year and push the envelope of possibility.  And then there are the age-groupers who come in all shapes and sizes and inspire with every mile.  The people I am most awed by are the physically challenged (PC) athletes!  It is an incredible test of mental and physical will to race an Ironman under the best of conditions, but to do it without legs or with one arm is almost unfathomable.  I am privileged to know one of these amazing athletes who is racing in Kona today.

ash-swimash-bikeAshley Cooper-Heath (or Coop, as her friends call her) is as feisty as they come.  She is about 5’4″ of pure determination and fun!  Coop was in a car accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down.  Most people would wallow in self-doubt and pity, but Coop is cut from a different cloth.  She views her new reality as an opportunity.  She lives her life outloud and with purpose.  Triathlon is a passion for her and she set her sites on the biggest, baddest triathlon of them all – Kona!  Ashley swims like everyone else does – she just pulls the entire course, she uses a handcycle on the bike course, and a racing wheelchair on the run course.  That requires some MAD upper body strength – I can’t even imagine!

Unlike every other Ironman race where you pay your money and train your body and go race, Ironman World Championships is different.  You have to qualify to race.  Over 2,000 athletes will compete in Kona this year:  There are 50 professional men, 35 professional women, a handful of lottery slots (that ended this year), some Foundation slots, 200 Legacy slots (reserved for people who have raced 12 or more Ironman races – let that sink in… TWELVE), and the rest are Age Group slots where people qualify by placing high enough in their Age Group at certain qualifying 70.3 or 140.6 races around the world.

ash-runAshley traveled to Luxembourg in June to race in one of the qualifying events for PC athletes.  She placed 1st in her division and punched her ticket to Kona!

I am proud to call her my friend and I can’t wait to race-stalk her today as she competes to become only the 2nd female handcyclist in history to complete the Ironman World Championship course within the 17 hour time limit.

IMLOU-ladies

SBMAT Teammates (l to r) Jillian O’Malley, Meredith Atwood, Margi Stroh, Rebecca Dobbins, Anne Reed, and Teresa Morgan

But the fun doesn’t end there!  On Sunday, SIX of my Swim Bike Mom Ambassador Teammates are competing in Ironman Louisville!  That is so tremendously exciting and I can’t wait to cheer them on!

The Ultimate Discipline

ultimate discipline

I was reading “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman and this quote really jumped out and grabbed me “A warrior is happy without reason.  That’s what makes happiness the ultimate discipline… Happiness is not just something you feel – it is who you are.”

And I started thinking about and pondering it over and over in my mind.  Is happiness like any other habit that can be cultivated?  Is it like eating right and exercising and flossing your teeth?  Is happiness a skill that can be learned and internalized to the point that you don’t have to think about “being” happy because you just “are” happy?

millmanI posted this picture up on our Cheslow Achievement Group Facebook page yesterday with the caption:  “My challenge for you today: Just be happy today! For no other reason than that it feels good. Shock the people around you with your happiness, with your positivity. Be stubbornly unwilling see anything other than opportunity, blessing, and awesomeness in whatever you encounter today! Imagine what would happen if everyone did this today.”

I took my own challenge and was surprised at how difficult it was.  There are SO MANY distractions in our daily lives – so many bits and pieces of information that can derail us from what we plan to do.

vintage-social-mediaI’m 50 years old, and I very vividly remember a time when the most distracting things that happened at work were phone calls, the office chatter around the coffee machine, or the scramble to get something done for a manager in an emergency.  Holy cow, there was no internet (at least not in the way we know it today), no cellphones (I believe our GM had one and it was the size of a carry on suitcase), no email… I THINK we had a fax machine – you know, one of the ones with the rolls of thermal imaging paper – LOL).  There was so little to distract us from what needed to be done.

And yet, as I sit here today, I wonder how on earth businesses ever operated back in the stone age of pre-1995.

Now, I find myself absolutely paralyzed multiple times a day as my brain is bombarded with more stimuli than I had to deal with in a week back in those days – Facebook, Twitter, email, instant messages, text messages, calendar reminders… Hell, my freaking WATCH even yells at me to “MOVE!” if I sit idle for more than 45 minutes.

32082831_sThen, in the midst of my paralysis, I had to breathe and start shutting down programs before my head exploded!

Work… Freak Out… Breathe … Shut Down … Reboot … Smile … Be Happy … Repeat…

That is how my day went yesterday as I took my own challenge to be persistently “happy.”

And I consider myself to be a HAPPY person!

I am very positive and optimistic!  If this was so difficult for me, imagine how hard it would be for someone who doesn’t have my normally sunny disposition?  LOL!

So, I’m curious…

What is your most persistent obstacle to happiness?

As much as I hate to say it, I think I am going to have to unplug from social media except for certain windows of time during the day.  Ya’ll help hold me accountable, okay.  I am going to persist in this pursuit of the ultimate discipline.  Who wants to join me?

Short Update and Musings on Cruises

blog fail yetiWell, here we are in mid-August and another 3 months have gone by since I’ve posted.  I really need to get my act together in the blogosphere!!

Soooo, here’s my summer in a nutshell:  Swim, Bike, Run, Work, Sleep, Eat, Repeat…  Normally, “Mom” would fit in there as well; however, this year my son had the wonderful opportunity to spend the bulk of the summer with my family and his Dad in Virginia.  He left on June 5th and I picked him up at the airport yesterday.  I’m not gonna lie – the break was nice, for both of us – but I missed him terribly and am very happy to have him home!

Beach2Battleship-Iron-Distance-TriathlonThis summer’s main endeavors were starting a new 70.3 training cycle for PPD Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 that is just shy of 60 days away!  😮  And I’ve been training while battling some tendonitis in my right foot, so I’m running almost exclusively on an elliptical.  I have a good friend who has hip issues who has successfully and competitively completed triathlon after triathlon (including 2 70.3s) while doing almost all her running on the elliptical!  If anything her run is stronger than it was before.  I’m hoping for similar results.

I also turned 50 years old earlier this month.  FIFTY???  How the hell did THAT happen?  The fact is that age is just a number.  I feel better at 50 than I did at 20!  I celebrated the beginning of my 6th decade on the planet with a BIRTHDAY BRICK!  I woke up early on August 1st – the day before my birthday – and rode my bike for 50 miles, then I drove to LA Fitness and swam 5,000 yards, and finally, I ran 5 miles.  It was hard, but I felt so great afterwards!!  And, the icing on the (birthday) cake was that at no other time in my life could I have finished any one part of that workout, much less all 3 parts!

920After I finished, I received one of my birthday presents – an upgrade to my data life – a Garmin Forerunner 920XT Multisport watch!!!  It is so amazing.  My friend, Meredith Atwood – aka Swim Bike Mom – told me that a 920 would change my life.  I didn’t believe her – I mean, seriously, how can a WATCH change your life?  But she was so right!  This gadget does EVERYTHING!!  It even monitors my sleep and sends me my text messages and Facebook notifications! 🙂  I think I would marry this watch if that were an acceptable thing to do.

My other big birthday present was a CRUISE!! My very first!!  Deb and I decided to drop everything and live out a dream of throwing a bathing suits and a bottle of sunscreen in a bag, jumping in the convertible, heading down to Port Canaveral, and hopping on a cruise ship for a few days of R&R…  Okay, so we packed enough shit for a family of 8 and took my SUV, but the rest is true enough.  😉

ship-Sensation-w600Our ship was the Carnival Sensation – a FUNship – and we were cruising over to the Bahamas (Nassau) and then spending a day at sea, and then back into Port Canaveral – Thursday – Sunday.  We really had a blast!  We put the cellphones in the safe and completely unplugged for 3 days, which was amazing.  And we proved that it is possible to make healthy food choices on a cruise ship – all evidence to the contrary ALLLL around us!  There was a 24/7 buffet available somewhere on the ship.  At any moment you could get eggs, sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, hamburgers, fried chicken, french fries, cake, pie, cookies, ice cream – all manner of greasy, fatty foods that you may as well just apply to your thighs.  But there was also cereal, oatmeal, fruit, salad bars, and an awesome noodle bowl station with all kinds of great veggies that got stir fried up with yummy sauces.  In the dining rooms there was always a vegetarian option or a light option on the menu.

buffetdrinksAnd, you know what?  I found that I actually CRAVED oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and looked forward to my noodle bowl at lunch, and my Indian vegetarian meal at dinner.  It was delicious and satisfying and I felt GOOD after I ate it.  Who knew?  We chose to have a mixed drink each day – on Friday (our port day), I actually had 2 mixed drinks and 2 beers over the course of the day – #ZF!!

I loved the cruise!!!  And I’m already planning our next one – maybe next summer!

So now, off to my trusty steed (my bike)!  I’ll be back soon!