Tag Archives: self esteem

Just like riding a bike

Family bike ride. :)

Family bike ride. 🙂

I can’t really remember when I started riding road bikes. It happened as a natural extension of my relationship with my husband since he is so into bike riding. Perhaps it was my brief relationship with triathlon’s that sparked my interest in bike riding again.

Growing up – I was constantly on my bike, blazing through my neighborhood with no fear. In the evenings, all the neighborhood kids would ride their bikes in a circle at the dead end on my street just because we didn’t have anything else better to do but it just seemed to feel like the right place to be.

Back then, wearing a helmet to ride your bike wasn’t a thing. So some of the crazy stunts I pulled, or just some of the stupid mistakes I made on my bike could have ended up a lot worse than they were. Usually I walked (okay LIMPED) away with skinned up and bloody legs or arms, only to be right back in the saddle the next day. I loved my bike.

I loved the feeling of the wind whipping through my hair, I loved how fast I could go and the feeling of your stomach dropping as you went for it down the steepest hill you could find. It was like freedom to me.

As I aged out of the “it’s cool to ride your bike” thing, I forgot about my bike. I think my parents gave it away to my cousin – I really have no clue. I think I also forgot how much fun I had on a bike until I revisited the idea as an adult.

And even then, I approached “bike riding” with so much more caution as an adult. Everything seemed harder and more complicated. The hills seemed scary, the idea of riding without a helmet absolutely ludicrous. What happened to that bike riding fool I was so many years ago?

I eventually found my grove again on the bike. I found friends who also liked to ride their bikes, and while we didn’t ever meet to ride in circles in my neighborhood – we did meet up to ride several mile loops that led absolutely no where. Biking became “exercise.” I enjoyed it, but I always felt like it was so much harder than I remembered.

When I got pregnant, my doctor banned me from road riding. I haven’t set foot on a bike in over a year. Last night, my husband aired up my bike tires and brought my bike upstairs for me. I pulled my helmet, gloves, special shoes and sunglasses out of a bag that hadn’t been opened in a long time. It was like seeing a good friend whom you’ve lost touch with – and while you are excited to see them, it’s weird at first no matter what.

I was terrified all over again. How do I change gears? Will I remember how to clip in and out – what if I fall and make my knee hurt even more? I didn’t want to go for a ride anymore, it seemed too hard.

I did it anyway.

My husband offered to come outside to help me get started – but I refused. I needed to just do this on my own. If I was going to fall, I wanted it to be on my own so I could just get back up again, shrug it off and not have to tell anyone about it in the first place.

That first down up stroke was the most nerve wracking. It was like committing to something all over again. It took me awhile to get my left foot clipped in. I got my feet squared away and started working with the gears, trying to remember how to do this, praying I wouldn’t screw things up and cause my chain to pop off (I seemed to always manage to do this to my bike before).

I only rode my bike for about 20 minutes. I avoided the big hills and kept it in an easy gear. My knee hurt. My posture was all wrong. I felt out of breath. But I did it.

And maybe this weekend I’ll do it again. And maybe the time after that I’ll tackle that hill in our neighborhood without throwing on the brakes. I have to get back to that person.

I know I’m looking for myself again. Waiting, wanting to see that girl fly down the hill, wind blowing her hair, eyes wide and a scared but excited grin on her face. I need to find her. I’m searching at the end of every street.

 

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It’s been a long time….

I have to admit, I’ve been cheating on you.

I’ve been blogging elsewhere privately during my pregnancy as I didn’t want this blog to become a pregnancy blog. I thought I could still write broad yet meaningful topics here on ThirtyStory while experiencing this life changing event – but, turns out – I couldn’t. I’m sorry about that – and sorry about my disappearing act.

As the day draws closer to actually having my son (we’re due April 23 – just a few weeks away now), I’m definitely feeling that same old current sweeping by me that I had before – that overwhelming feeling of “Can I do this?” And not the be a mom thing. Obviously, I’m doing that whether I’m ready or not, right? But my mind has turned toward those days and weeks after my son is here and I have no excuses to not be exercising regularly again. When I’ll be self-conscious again about my weight (not that that has truly stopped being an issue for me during pregnancy) and I won’t be buying clothes that are made especially for my large belly. At least, that’s the hope, right?

I’ve witnessed more than a few of my friends whip right back down to pre-baby weight and then some – and I wonder, will that happen for me? I’ve struggled with being overweight my entire life, can I honestly let myself believe that I’ll be one of the lucky few that bounce back to their pre-pregnancy bodies? Not that I was even all that happy with where I was BEFORE getting pregnant, but it would sure be nice to at least bounce back to that instead of staying bigger.

I am trying to prepare myself for battle. I know that finding the time and energy to exercise is going to be much harder as a new mom. Working full time, teaching, and having a little one is going to eat up most of my time, so I have to have a game plan. I know other moms and dads who find the time to work out – so I know it’s possible. I just have to find the right work out plan, the right timing and all that jazz. Unfortunately, I won’t know what the “right” plan is until I’m living it. I can’t predict what life will be like in less than a month for me. All I know is that I still have goals for myself – that I still want to reach toward being a healthier and fit person. I don’t want to lose that part of myself and I start this new chapter of my life.

Knowing who you are and who you WANT to be is a big part of any successful goal setting process. I think I have a pretty good grasp on both of those things right now – so it’s all about finding the right path to the goal. I know it will be another adventure – something totally new and different from anything I’ve experienced so far in my life. I’m nervous. I’m scared. I feel like I did the night before my first 5K – so afraid I’d fail, but excited to try.

And that’s what I’m sticking with – the excitement of trying.

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Water Wings & Things

I have no idea why I decided that reconnecting with my inner swimmer was a good idea as we start moving into the winter months. There is nothing more fun than being freezing cold BEFORE you jump into slightly chilly water and then being even more cold as you desperately grab your towel and gear to get back to the locker room to shower and dry completely off before you head outside into the windy night.

Great idea, Dre!

But, I have to be realistic with myself that “going for a walk” every day is just not going to cut it. First off, I only ACTUALLY go for a walk maybe 2-3 times a week even though my goal is every day. So that isn’t a great success rate. It’s not that a walk is difficult, it just seems boring to me after years of high intensity cardio kickboxing or classes set to fun music blasting over the speakers. I need something that challenges my coordination and my mind in addition to just being a good workout.

On the other hand, I realize that working out while pregnant is a different story than just working out in general. I have more things to consider, and like it or not, it’s harder to catch my breath now that things are starting to happen inside me. Walking up stairs winds me more than usual and doing something as simple as vacuuming couch cushions got me out of breathe. It’s super annoying. And then I remind myself that there is a greater purpose  behind all of it and it’s not a forever thing. That helps. A little.

Exploring a New Workout

I’m sure my aerobics class will be pulling moves like this in no time.

So, yesterday I checked out a water aerobics class offered at my gym. Other than it being sort of freezing, I thought it was a good class. Definitely more low key, low intensity than I’m used to – but that IS sort of the point, I guess. And she did have us do some drills where I got to push myself a little harder and I liked those. We worked a lot on resistance stuff – so I felt like that was something I don’t do often enough. We used water weights and did some shoulder work, triceps, biceps – it was good stuff. Everyone was super friendly, and I definitely think I’ll go back.

It’s sort of interesting being back in the “searching for what works for me” stage of exercise. I feel like I went through this process several years ago and discovered I really liked TurboKick and group exercise. So in going back to my roots, I’m remembering that I’m way more likely to keep up with work outs if I’m part of a class/group program. So the water aerobics fits the bill for that. It’s definitely a class you can chat during which is different for me – but I liked it.

On Wednesdays, our gym offers another class called Water Running. The same instructor leads it and she said it’s more cardio focused – so I’m curious to give it a go. Of course, I’ll update you on my thoughts. I’ve never considered a water running class before – so I’m not even sure what to expect! But the part I hate about running the most is the pain in my joints and injuries – so running in the water might be an awesome solution.

Hey – maybe I’ll even find a 5k water running competition. It’s always fun to train for something!

So – in going back to this place in my life where I’m trying to find what works for me again – it’s reminded me of a few key decisions you have to make if you want to try and lead a healthier life. Funny enough, deciding to be healthy is only one piece of the healthy lifestyle puzzle. You have to do a little soul searching, too.

1) What are your priorities? Write them down & rank them.
2) Does your schedule reflect those priorities? (As in: If your #1 priority is your health….are you making time to prepare healthy meals and work out? If not…this is a red flag!)
3) Think of a time in your life when you were successful at something – what were the key factors? How can you replicate this in your current situation? (Example: I’m always more successful when I’m part of a group who are trying to accomplish similar things – so I know for me, finding a workout I can do with a group of people will help me stay on track vs. just trying to do something on my own 100% of the time).

Once you have these three items checked off – you can move to the next step which is actually making changes to your schedule and exploring options that are a match for your preferences. Of course, we’ll talk more about those next time!

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Filed under Challenge, goals, health, Life, motivation, pregnant and healthy, resources, Results

New Realities

I’ve been on a soup kick lately. My hubby recreated my favorite soup from Olive Garden – the delicious Zuppa Toscana. His version was equally delicious and I think I ate about a gallon of it for lunch. Now i’m extremely full and probably make a swish swish sound when I walk.

After a a L-O-N-G day of work yesterday, I arrived early at work this morning trying to mentally prepare myself for an earlier appointment. That appointment didn’t show up, so that sort of sucked. I mean, I arrived early for nothing! It did give me time to sit and check my email while I sipped on my coffee, I guess. I just can’t wake up today. It’s one of those beautiful it’s-almost-Fall-days outside, and all I can think of doing is taking a blanket outside and lounging in the grass and letting the sun warm my skin. As I was taking what I would call a “slow walk” with my co-worker after eating all that soup, we were listing all the things this weather made us want to do. We both ended up listing things and then saying, “oh to be in college again!” College was certainly one of the few times in my life where I had gaps in the middle of the day to do things like go lay in the quad, or go out to eat at 2am in the morning and still maintain a normal life. When I do things like that now – it throws a huge kink in my life.

For instance, staying at work until 9 last night completely deflated me for today. I’m just tired and feeling a little down today (despite my delicious soup, of course). As I was walking to my car last night, a student who attended my presentation was walking with me and we were talking about how different a college student’s schedule is from a professional working person (for the most part – I’m sure there are exceptions). He was telling me his normal bedtime is about 2am. Oh, I remember those days. Now about the only reason I see 2am is because I drank too much water for dinner and I have to get up to pee. But when I asked him the last time he saw 6:30am, he agreed it had been just short of forever. I joked with him about enjoying the crazy schedule while it lasted – because once college is over and perhaps the first few years of working while you are still vibrant enough to go out on weeknights and still function at work the next day, it all changes whether you want it to or not.

I used to be a night owl. I would stay up so late. And I would get up early to get to work and just do the same thing over and over again. Now – I prefer to be in my bed all washed up and teeth brushed by 10pm so I can do some reading and be well on my way to sleep between 10:30-11pm. I set my alarm for about 6:42 (roughly, right?), knowing I’ll snooze at least once. Without fail, I struggle to get up every morning despite having 8 hours of sleep. What happened to that night owl who didn’t really require sleep? Perhaps I was more caffeinated than I remember in college?

All of a sudden, I’m just aware of some of these small changes in the type of person I am. The type of person I’m growing into…or growing up to be. I’m sitting here thinking that if I just could get home a little earlier I could get the floors swept and de-clutter the kitchen table before dark. And that idea sounds really appealing to me (not because I enjoy cleaning, but because that would mean that i’d be finished before I’d normally get home from work – SCORE!)  If you could see me right now, I’m totally making a disgusted face AT myself. Who am I?!

I guess it’s natural. Priorities change as you get older. I’m sure I’m nowhere near the finish line of personality and priority changes in my life, I’m only 31. But when I think back just 10 years, I was 21 – living out my senior year of college. President of my sorority, editor of the student newspaper, intern extraordinaire, babysitter of the year, 3.8 GPA. I seemed to be doing it all so well, and I don’t remember ever feeling this tired. I guess life has a way of sneaking up on you – taking you by surprise. Maybe working on a college campus amongst all these energetic and never-stop-to-rest students, I’m constantly reminded that that time in my life is over. And it makes me sort of sad.

Until I remember all those papers. And the friend drama. And the boy drama. And being totally broke all the time and not having a kitchen or any private place for just me. And maybe, it’s a worthy swap, after all.

Being a grown up can be pretty good – maybe I just need to embrace nap time again.

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Three Tips to Get on Track with Life

Well, it’s raining – again! I can’t believe how much rain we have been getting here in the South when so many people are desperately in need of rain in the mid west. I am SO glad I forgot to return the umbrella I borrowed from my office yesterday because I had to use it again today to get from the gym back to my office. I taught my TurboKick class, showered and got ready for the day again since I have a presentation to do tonight on campus.

It’s not going to be a super long presentation – but I’m hitting some highlights of how to get on the right track your first year of college. As I’m contemplating the millions of tips I could give, I’m trying to pick the tops ones in hopes that something I say strikes a chord with them and they actually take action! I don’t often interact with students on the younger end of the spectrum in my role, so when I present to freshman it’s always a refreshing perspective for me. Everything is new and interesting. Every piece of advice is something you might consider, even if just for a moment. Particularly when I speak to a group that focuses on leadership, I feel like the audience is there to hear something that will make a difference in their college careers.

Some of my top tips would be:

1) Don’t just be a student.

  • Grades are important, but they are not the only thing that you will be judged on. Being in college is about more than just showing up to class and turning in work. You need to pick a few organizations and be involved. Be a leader of some sort in at least one organization.Volunteer some of your time. Give back to your campus is some way.

2) Utilize resources while they are free

  •  Like the academic success center, tutoring assistance, counseling, career development (as in getting your resume reviewed, getting help with finding jobs/internships, interviewing help, etc), taking classes beyond the required so you can expand your skill sets, going to free concerts and events that expose you to new ideas and cultures, going to the gym and utilizing the free exercise classes or seminars offered, climb the rock wall, sign up for a trip that takes you off campus with your peers

3) Take responsibility for your own destiny

  • Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what you should do; spend time creating your own plan. Whether you stick to it or not doesn’t matter, but at least attempt to organize yourself. This means reading information about your major and understanding the classes you need to take and what order you need to take them. This means thinking ahead so you can block out time for that “must have” part time job or internship.

There are so many more that I could share – but I think those hit a lot of the highlights of getting on the right track. It’s so hard to get BACK on track from a crazy freshman year. Pulling your GPA up from a 1.5 will seem impossible. Creating good study habits and finding people with similar values is a lot easier if you start off in the right mind space. Setting goals for yourself and posting them in a place where you can see them is a great way to remind yourself everyday why you are here.

I think these 3 lessons can be transferable to non-students as well. It’s easy once we graduate and start our careers to stop really reaching for something more. To do more than just go to work. To get involved in the professional community, or to take action in your community through volunteering in some way. We forget that we are in the driver’s seat and let life just float by when we really need to take charge of our own destiny’s and have a plan for ourselves. We need to set goals, write them down and revisit them. We need to evaluate our progress and change things up when needed. We need to do more than just take up space, am I right?

And if you look around, I bet you have a lot of resources available to you that you aren’t using. That spare room could be a gym. Your neighborhood association could need some help. Your old sorority/fraternity chapter might need some extra hands during an upcoming event. Your church might need some help in the nursery. Your place of employment might offer to pay part of a class fee if you wanted to go back to school to work on that certificate or degree you’ve been considering. Take action. Take responsibility, take back the driver’s seat to your own life. This is your journey, where are you going?

 

 

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Thankful Thursdays: First Days…

Things are starting to become “abuzz” on campus – some students have already started to move in, but tomorrow will be the “big day” – all our new freshman will be coming to campus and getting moved in, meeting their roommates, orientation leaders – and of course, me! 🙂 Okay, well only a select few will meet me this weekend as I do teach a freshman 101 type of course. Our first class meets on Saturday (school on SATURDAY!!??). Want to feel old? These incoming freshman were born in (ready?) 1994. I’ll let that sink in for a second. And that’s not just a random call out for Forrest Gump – that movie actually came out in 1994 to put things in perspective. (You’re Welcome)

 

Phew, back to the post now.

I remember my college move in day and that whole weekend vividly. I went to a college 8 hours away from my home town. I grew up in a small town, went to college in a big city. I knew no one, but I don’t remember being scared. I remember pure excitement! I met new friends immediately, and it was a whirlwind of adventures that first semester in college. I don’t really remember any of the homework assignments, or readings – what sticks with me the most are the friends I made, the decisions I was faced with that first semester of being on my own, and how much fun college was compared to high school.

I had a chance to reconnect with some old friends from my college last weekend. Unfortunately, the circumstances weren’t great – we had come back together to provide support for a college friend who lost his sister suddenly in a car accident. But, it was good to tell stories about the stupid adventures we all got into, the movies was watched on repeat, and we laughed and I thought that was better than crying for a little bit. It reminded me of just how much the people I met in college meant to me, and still do. How that experience connected us with invisible threads we often forget about until we’re together again.

College was this magical experience for me. The people I met, the lessons I learned (inside and outside the classroom) shaped who I am in my adult life. I often think because of my college experience – it made me want to continue to be in that environment as part of my career. Here I am, almost a decade later, still sitting on a university campus – nervous energy bubbling up about the adventures of yet another school year. Wondering what amazing things I’ll learn this year, what new students may darken my doorstep and if maybe I’ll have the chance to help them grow and develop the same way the faculty/staff at my college helped me grow into the woman I am today.

I have a role where I get to meet new people every single day, and they are often searching for something. Someone to help them figure out a game plan, find an internship, to share excitement about a job offer.  I’ve also had the chance to connect with students on a deeper level and that has lead to a whole host of other types of conversations about life, relationships, healthy behaviors, and so much more. I often get bogged down by the paperwork and process part of my job, and I forget what a wonderful opportunity I have everyday to make a difference in someone’s life. Sure, I’m not SAVING lives by any means – but it’s so awesome to be in a role where the people I work with are in this magical stage of their lives where big decisions are being made. When they are learning how to be independent, gaining confidence, learning to tread water gracefully instead of just splashing around.

My hope is that every now and then, I can make an impact – even if it’s a tiny one. We all have the chance to open our hearts to helping others – and while I’m not a huge “volunteer-er” I have a big heart for helping my students and people around me so they can be happier with the choices they make as it relates to their work, their careers, etc. It’s a big responsibility, but I know I owe it to them, because someone took the time to mentor me, to be-friend me, to challenge me, to train me, to knock me off my soapbox when I needed it – and mostly, just to believe in me.

Today’s post isn’t about motivating you to lose weight, work out more, eat differently or anything like that. It’s about taking pride in who you are, how far you’ve come, and giving back when you have the chance. No kind thought or words are ever too small to make a difference!

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Filed under family, health, just for fun, Life, thankful thursday

Celebrating the BIG WIN

Last time, I talked about the little things along the way and how we shouldn’t overlook how important they are to us on our journey to being healthier. Today’s weigh in felt like a BIG WIN for me, and so I wanted to also properly celebrate that because all those little decisions I’ve been making this week paid off.

What I Did This Week:

I have been tracking my carbs a bit more – not writing down every single thing but paying a bit more attention to where I’m getting my carbs. I was surprised that one of the all natural fruit/nut bars I’ve been eating has like 23 carbs! That is a lot for such a small food item. I definitely want to be careful and not rely too heavily on those as a snack if I’m eating something starchy during the day (like my one allotted potato or corn based meal!). Just having that awareness has helped me make better decisions this week about what I should snack on based on what I had for lunch or what I’ll be having for dinner.

Apparently, it worked! I had gained a bit of weight last week unfortunately. But I sort of saw it coming because I just wasn’t on the bandwagon as much as I should have been. I had Mexican food twice PLUS a day at a baseball game where lunch was wings, popcorn and hot dogs. While I didn’t indulge in a bun with hot dog and  I passed on the cookies -there just is no recovery from so many off plan meals in one week. My weight REALLY fluctuated last Friday and it was depressing, but great motivation to pay more attention this week so I can meet my goals. So I was down about 4 pounds this week from my number last week which was a major win! I know a lot of it was probably just inflammation from eating the wrong types of food last week, but I think at least 1-2 pounds of it is reflective of my hard work this week.

Results

Either way, I am now about 7.4 pounds away from my first mini weight loss goal!!! 7.4 pounds away from my “wedding weight” as I like to call it. I’ve come a long way – I’ve lost about 10.6 pound since my initial visit with a nutritionist to do my metabolism testing back in December. My TurboFire program definitely helped light a fire under me again to take control of my situation instead of just being mad about it. And now my 30 Day Food Challenge has given me the tools I needed to make some life changing changes by really helping me focus on what I’m eating.

I’m finding that what Mark Sission (from marksdailyapple.com) says is true…80% of your fitness/health comes from your diet, 20% from exercising. I definitely think I had this ratio mixed up in the past. I was trying to work out all the time to compensate for some bad eating habits. Now I’m focused on making good decisions with my eating I can work out and not feel like I have to kill myself every time. I can be active in an enjoyable way – like on a hike, a walk with the dogs (although sometimes walking Yoshi is a nightmare!). Last night I wasn’t feeling that great so I didn’t do my strength training program (on the agenda for tonight!). But I decided to do a few sprint type things in the house – I did 50 jumping jacks and then jumped rope for 30 seconds. I did walking lunges and then quick feet drills. I ran up and down my stairs about 20 times as fast as I could (with my dog Peach running right along side me haha!). Something was better than nothing.

I feel like this new way of eating is very empowering. I am finally in control – and it’s a really good feeling. And today was definitely a reminder that all the little decisions along the way can pay off for a big win.

image

This is my BIG WIN Dance

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