Day One Hundred Seventy…

Facing downward, legs working left, right, left, right, left… Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Keep going, think about your foot skating across the floor. Neon light electrified the room in predictable patterns, blue, green, orange, red, “Turn it three FULL turns to the right!” I reached down and turned the knob, one (my wrist swiveled all the way around) two (again) three (again). Then the force of the weight and resistance hit my legs it was like trying to ride through quicksand. My legs were obedient and kept moving, but now the center of my core kicked in because it had to. The tension rose like fire through my entire body.

I looked through the big windows out into the hallway hoping to see Jimmy or Eddie – friendly faces to give me encouragement, but they were not there. I looked at the instructor and loud music filled my ears and then I looked back down, Keep moving find the rhythm match the beat. My mind began to wander a look for some refuge,  You come from deeply competitive, sharply intellectual, hard-working people you can do this Jenn. That’s who you are. I looked up into the mirror and saw the muscles bulging on the sides of my legs, I felt my core tucked in and my whole body engaged. I made myself loosen my grip on the handlebars and put the energy back into my core and my legs. Shoulders down, my form was correct. Then the music changed…

“COME ON! Sing it!” She shouted with so much force and energy, her movements kept almost mechanical timing that her level of fitness afforded her and others like her. Sing it? I read that if you can sing you’re not working hard enough. My brain babbled back. Then something amazing happened. The whole right side of the room, men and women joined the chorus, “I WANT TO KNOW HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE RAIN!” Their voices thundered through the spin studio and I was awestruck by a feeling of pure joy.  A smile spread across my face, and tears welled in my eyes at the generosity and love I felt this moment.  When I let in the love the journey changed from a challenge to a celebration of life. I felt truly grateful and humbled to be with them.

I’m the kind of person who regards herself as an uphill kind of girl I seek out the challenge and lean into it and don’t doubt I can make it. I feel in control and strong and just keep moving. It’s when I reach the top that trouble begins. When things begin to speed up I feel afraid.  Maybe this is my next lesson – maybe if I let in the joy and embrace the love the challenge will ebb and the celebration will begin. Maybe success is not only defined by struggle, maybe it can be something more. Could it be that others have always known this, and I am just realizing that now? This is what I’m thinking about, and I think it may be something important I have to learn.

More tomorrow.

Day One Hundred Sixty-Nine…

I never knew this but, the natural state of the brain is to think about the future.  As we imagine the future we are create memories. Now, hope is a belief that the future will be better, so if you are a hopeful person, then the future you imagine will be positive as will the memories you create. That is an exhilarating piece of information to know – hopeful people envision a positive future self and the brain will generate memories around this future.

Words of Wisdom

In many ways, this blog is dedicated to hope. It was created as an extension of my belief that anyone can change their lives for the better. So long as you believe it, you can take action to create the life you envision for yourself.  This is not magical thinking, it is positive psychology. Once you believe that you can shape your the future it means you are willing to do the work that it takes to get there. Sticking to routines, working the program, getting in activity all of these personal actions lead to better results.

If you want learn more about the power of hope, watch this TedTalk by Shane Lopez it is very inspired.

One of the excerizes Dr. Lopez suggests is doing a picture collage of what you’d like your future to be. It’s fun to do it’s sort of like day dreaming. However, if your serious about it pcik something and begin to stratigize how you can make these things happen.  If you want to make one of your own, I’d love to see it! I used Canva to make mine, it’s free and very easy to use!

Hope Board

Note:

I made Bird Balls tonight… I don’t know how they will taste, but they’re cooking and I let you know! If you’re interested to take a look:

Day One Hundred Sixty-Eight…

We are expecting snow just in time for the first day of winter break. So, in keeping with the season, I have been in the house, wait for it, cooking! This is what I’ve made so far:

I need my food to be varied and colorful. I do rely on staples like Fage 0% Greek YogurtJoseph’s Pitas, and Boar’s Head Ovengold Turkey but mixed in with that I need other foods so I don’t get bored. I want to make this a lifestyle change, not a life sentence!  I’m spending this week thankfully at home, and now that I have some time, I am looking forward to planning out some new recipes for dinner.

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If you have any suggestions, please post them in my comments box. I fixed it so it is easier to leave comments.

I want my last words to you today to be about risk. Whenever I think about what I really want, like reaching my weight loss goals, there is an element of insecurity and risk. Wanting something so badly comes with vulnerability – what if I don’t achieve it and now I let everyone in the world know that it’s something I really want?  Fear is the voice that tells me that I can’t do it or that I’m not enough or that even if I get what I want it will be a gift I can’t keep.

The thing is, it’s not a gift – it’s an extension of my own power.  Arbitrary doubts will hinder what is possible, and just being alive is a risk. I can either embrace it or run from it. I have decided to embrace it and let the chips fall where they may. I have decided to trust myself well enough to believe that if I try I will be successful.  I have decided that the world can be a beautiful place where there are people who want to support you just because they are kind and good.  I believe this for me and I believe it for you too.  So, if you believe me, then let’s go for broke and do this-this, is our year to get to goal.

 

Day One Hundred Sixty-Seven…

I first heard the term neuroplasticity when my daughters were born prematurely 19 years ago. When you give birth to premature babies, they run all kinds of tests to rule out things like brain damage. Fortunately, our girls were fine, but you can imagine how scared we were at that time. Their neurologist, probably sensing our distress, told us a story about these Tibetian Monks who were able to reshape their brains through repeated practice and meditation, this was called, neuroplasticity. What? There was this beautiful watershed study- a discovery about how our brains are amazingly flexible and changeable. Now we know that our brains can compensate for injuries, and we can even change the overall structures of our brains if we know how – just incredible!

Watch this, it’s fascinating.

I am thinking about how I have rewired my brain to create these new healthy habits. How did I do this? Well, for one thing, I pay attention to my goal by writing these posts each day. I practice mindfulness when I eat and get activity.  I have a lot of repetition for making good decisions each day.  When I think about these, let’s call them practices, it actually changed the way I think about food.

I’m going to share one more video that I think shows this really well in “reverse”…

Blew your mind huh? If you are following Weight Watchers and getting activity along with a solid belief system that you will accomplish your goal and rewire your brain when it comes to your relationship with food.  You are that brilliant!

I hope you had a great week, more tomorrow…

Day One Hundred Sixty-Six…

I am changing – I feel different I am lighter than I used to be and that is having a positive impact on my energy levels. I love going to spin before work! I love it because it is a powerful way for me to begin the day and I enjoy it. I don’t think I could have predicted this when I first began going.

 

The world is starting to change too. I noticed birds singing as I walked back into the house after class this morning. That was special and I was grateful to experience it first-hand More often than not, it’s easy to miss these small gifts.I’m working on how to be more connected and aware of what is going on around me.

 

I can see my goal on the horizon and that is different too. Lots of people are noticing my weight loss now, and sometimes that feels good and sometimes it feels awkward.  Either way, the most important thing is that this is something I am doing for myself.  I will be sitting in a free seat that will be paid for through the day-to-day dedication it takes to get to goal.

 

 

Day One Hundred Sixty-Five…

Valentine’s Day means cards, flowers, and of course chocolate. For me, it also meant day three of after-school professional development.  It was my turn to start the session off and so I stood in the middle of the room and began by thanking everyone for coming. Teachers were laughing and chatting with each other, so I smiled and waited. Then, all of a sudden a teacher looked at me, opened her eyes wide and shouted, “Jenn, oh my god! You look amazing. I didn’t really notice you there before, but you look awesome!” It was strange. On one hand, it was nice that she noticed, on the other, I felt embarrassed.  So, I just smiled and said thank you.

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On my way home, I stopped at Walgreens to buy little gifts for my family.

Happy Valentines Day
Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

I was rushing as I walked through the aisles of Walgreens. I was on the hunt to get presents quickly so I could get home. I was holding cards and candy when all of a sudden I heard, “I used to write greeting cards.”  I looked up to see a very tall older man smiling down at me. He wore glasses with dark thick frames and a grey Breton Cap I could tell that he had a story to tell, and in that moment I could have said something polite and walked away, or I could decide to be present with this stranger.

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He told me about how his brother, who has since passed on, would do the illustrations, and that he would write the verses. Being a fellow writer, I said, “Writing is something that never leaves you.” His cheeks dimpled as he smiled and nodded his head in agreement. One of the boxes of chocolate I was holding had a basketball on it. He looked down at the box and said “I used to play baseball. You know, I’ve lost my taste for chocolates since I began chemotherapy. Things taste different now.” He had already survived cancer once. He asked me if I was going out to eat, and then told me how he and his wife had already been to dinner because “Old people like early dinner.” I laughed and said, “I like early dinner too.” Sometimes people just need a connection, at this moment that’s what this man needed, so why not me? I thanked him for sharing his story with me, and then he said, “I really can’t help myself, it’s therapeutic for me.”  

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I will continue to look for good while facing my awkward moments head on.  I am so grateful I’m learning how to be in the world without eating my emotions and that I am making strides towards goal. Thank you for reading.

  

 

Day One Hundred Sixty-Four…

Day two of leading professional development after school is done. Each night’s routine has been pushed back because of my later hours at work. I just finished packing my breakfast, lunch, snack for tomorrow about a half-hour ago.  Dinner is still cooking, and it’s 8:57 pm. I must confess, it’s pretty daunting!

When I was weighing and measuring my foods for tomorrow, a thought crossed my mind, “I’m so happy I am taking time to do this for myself because it’s important to me.”  Now, this is the time when you may think to yourself, “Is she for real?” I tell you, it’s the truth because every day, I feel and see my efforts paying off. I feel so much more energetic and just plain happier.

Did you know that adding activity to your morning routine does a lot for your efforts?  From boosting your metabolic rate to increasing your mental and physical energy levels and actually,  getting better quality sleep. I am very fortunate that I have a friend who goes to my 5:15 am spin class. She is both encouraging and inspirational – thank you, Jen! 

Think about this, try working out in the morning. Find something fun that you enjoy, and see how you feel.  I bet you’ll be glad you did.