Let’s try…

I sent out my weekly email on this morning and I got A LOT of comments, so I wanted to add to this a little bit and publish it here for my weekly blog. 

The fitness industry is an interesting thing. The industry preys upon people’s weaknesses. The quick fixes, the pills, the powders, the wraps, always trying to persuade the public to buy them. Always promising they work. We know they don’t. We know it’s a farce. We all know it. I’ve told you a million times eating good food consistently and exercising consistently and practicing patience will make all the difference.

I want to unpack this a little bit more though. I want to know why are we always wanting to change how we look? Why do we let ourselves be defined by a number? Why do we let ourselves be defined by what others might think of us? Why do we spend seemingly our whole lives trying to change? What is wrong with us that we feel we need to? Think about those questions. Think about how you react to them. 

We were always told from a young age to accept people the way they are. To accept our friends as they are. To not judge people. To not judge period. Yet, it seems like that happens more and more and more. People are getting judged for how they look or for how they don’t look. There are so many judgments being thrown at everybody. We are constantly judging ourselves as too. 

When did that become a thing?

Growing up, I don’t ever remember my mom worrying about how she looked or what she weighed. I do remember my grandma, however, always worrying about her weight and how she looked. Has being overweight always been something to hate on? Or do we know being overweight is not healthy and that may be why we are constantly trying to change how we look? Let’s take it one step further. How did we get overweight in the first place? If we were eating healthy and moving a little bit each day how did we get overweight enough that we feel we need to change? What is the tipping point?

We spend so much time focusing on our appearance that we forget to live. We are so obsessed about if this outfit looks good or if that outfit makes us look fat that we totally lose ourselves. We miss out on so much LIFE because we are living in a world of judgment.

How about we try and live our lives and stop stressing about changing. What would happen if you weighed ten pounds less? How different would that make you feel? Why did you want that in the first place? I just wonder what is different. Your confidence? Your self -esteem? Your whole life? Why?

One of the comments I received from an email reader was that for her it is how she feels in her clothes and how they fit. She also does not care about the size, it’s how she feels. I totally agree with this. Who cares if we have a bigger or smaller size than the “ideal” size for those judgers of our bodies. If it fits and you feel comfortable, who cares. 

Another reader said it was about health for her and not so much looks. I LOVE this statement. I think we all feel like we could be a little bit healthier. Me included. I enjoy my life though. If I go out to eat, I’m having the glass of wine. I’m not going to have 3 or 4 and I’m fine with that. I do not feel deprived at all. One is plenty. That took me a long time to figure out. I used to feel like one was not enough and the next one was too much. It’s all about perspective and mindfulness.

Another reader talked about how she feels way better eating healthier and working out consistently, yet will go back to eating not so healthy and then feels like crap. That usually stems from feeling deprived. That’s why I feel like it is okay to eat off plan. What usually happens is we are excellent eaters during the week and then here comes the weekend and the whole damn train derails. We feel deprived during the week and go all out like it’s our job on the weekend. Plan a few off plan meals or treats during the week and see if that doesn’t help you during the weekend. 

We all want to look good. We do. Don’t pretend you don’t. Don’t pretend. But my point is find a place where YOU feel good and where YOU feel healthy and where YOU feel confident and then rock it. Don’t worry about what anybody else says or thinks. This is for you. Make sure you find your reasons for change. Make sure you want to change for YOU. And if you don’t want to change, awesome!!! I love that we have the choice. We have the power. Find your reasons. Whatever choice you make, make sure it’s your choice. Change or don’t change for YOU!

I also think we all need to be a little less hard on ourselves. We need to be a little bit nicer to ourselves. We need to back off a little and just live. We need to learn to live without constantly worrying about how we look. We need to stop obsessing. Live your life.

Let’s try. 

City Kids

 

When we were little, we used to go to our cousins’ farm for two weeks every summer. It was in Hurley, well not exactly in Hurley, more out in the country. Hurley is a small town my family lived in until we moved to Pierre, when I started Kindergarten. There was a fire incident at that house involving a rug. Fire and me started early. Hurley is really small. The population in 2014 was 403. Hurley is located 30 miles southwest of Sioux Falls. 

My cousins had two farms. They also had two giant German Shepherds, Lady and King. They lived at the first farm until they moved to their grandma’s farm, the second farm. The cousins moved there after their grandma could no longer live there.

We were all close in age. My older sister, Wendy’s matching cousin was Nancy. My matching cousin was Lisa and my younger sister, Sherry’s matching cousin was Amy. My brother didn’t have a matching cousin, but there were two older cousins, Doug and Brad. Later came Sara, she was a St. Patrick’s Day baby. I remember my aunt Sue’s belly touched the steering wheel when she was pregnant with Sara. I seriously don’t know how she could even drive. 

We were city kids. I was definitely not a country kid. The farm wasn’t my favorite place to be. I should specify. I liked the farm, but was afraid of every single animal on the farm. The sheep, the pigs, the cows and guess what? I was even afraid of the chickens. Those suckers would come after me. I remember one time the sheep got out and we were all supposed to go outside and try to get them rounded up and put back. I was slow. I was scared to go out. I was scared to be around those sheep. I didn’t know how to herd them. I didn’t know anything about them. I still had to go out and help. I barely remember helping. I just know I was scared every step of the way. 

We picked weeds and we picked rocks. We worked. It wasn’t a vacation. We played in the hayloft and in the silo. We were outside most of the time. Summer was fun, except for the farm animals. We used to get the rotten eggs and go out in the trees and throw them at the old cars that died and were left to rust. One day there was a dead cow and it was covered in maggots. I thought I was going to die, but at the same time it was fascinating. It was fascinating until Wendy’s matching cousin, Nancy, got a stick and then covered the end of the stick with maggots and then chased me around the barnyard. I swear that is the reason I could run so fast. So, I guess I should thank her. 

A treat was when we went to Turkey Ridge. It was a small grocery store/gas station a few miles away. I always got the pack of tiny size chiclets gum. It was candy coated and so sugary and sweet. I’m surprised I didn’t have a billion cavities. I would also get the red licorice strings. I remember tying the strings in knots until I couldn’t anymore and then I would precisely and methodically eat one knot at a time until it was gone. I remember one time we were driving to Turkey Ridge, Brad usually had to drive us, but I think it was just all us girls this time, but the song Afternoon Delight was playing. We were all laughing because the song had been played to death. I think we hated it. Whenever I hear that song now, I think of that time and I think of how much fun we had. 

My cousins had a few weird ways of eating things. We always had good food, but when we had Jello they would put Cool Whip in it and then mix it all together. Ewwwwww. I don’t understand how they could ruin perfectly good Jello by mixing in the Cool Whip. I just don’t get it. We always had something good to eat and always a good dessert. There was a chocolate cake they used to make. I am trying to think of the name, but I can’t quite remember. I want to say atomic cake or something like that. The best chocolate cake EVER. 

Another thing that I thought was odd was when aunt Sue made coffee. The coffee was a stovetop pot. She would put an egg in the grounds. She will have to explain this to me because I don’t know why she did it. I might have missed something about it. I remember strange things sometimes. I remember parts of strange things sometimes.

Our time on the farm was so good for us. City kids need to have a little taste of the country. The time of a kid’s life is playing outside and learning to work hard at a young age. I remember so many things about the farm. So many good memories. So many cousin memories. So many cherished memories. I am grateful for my time on the farm.

Rest In Peace Mike

An old friend died today (April 10, 2018).

Mike died today.

I’ve known him since Kindergarten. A tiny, blond haired boy with glasses. I remember thinking his hair was as blond as mine. I liked that. Mike was the sweetest of boys. So kind-hearted. So friendly. So nice. He never changed. He was always like that all through high school. Mike was raised around girls and he knew how to be nice to girls. He wouldn’t hurt a fly. He was like a brother to me. He was just so easy to like. He was nice to everybody.

We meet people for a reason and people come back into our lives for a reason. Mike and I were good friends after high school. I even used him as a reference for a job. I hadn’t seen Mike or talked to him much after that, in person anyway. We were friends on Facebook and messaged back and forth once in a while.

The thing is, we don’t know what is going to happen with our lives. We only know there is a plan. God does have a plan for each and every one of us. We don’t know the reason why some things happen. We see the thread, weaving it’s way through the story of our lives. Part of Mike’s plan was cancer. That thread was cancer.

A few years ago, Mike’s sister, Nikki, came into my life. I loved her just as much as I loved Mike. Just as kind-hearted, just as nice. Just as friendly. Just as special. I believe the reason for Nikki coming into my life was so I could reconnect with Mike. Mike was our common thread.

I knew each member of the Hawkins family. Kim was a year older. Mike was my age. Then there was Rise, Amy, Nikki and the baby, Sarah. Their grandma lived by Lincoln School. The grade school Mike and I attended. The Hawkins blondies were there a lot playing outside. Their grandma was the sweetest little lady. She used to come into Sooper Dooper when I worked there through high school. Again, Mike was the common thread.

Our dads went to school together. Same high school as all of us.

I sent Mike a Facebook message, the last message, on March 31st. I knew he wasn’t doing well. Nikki had told me she was heading down to be with him.

“I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and have been praying for you constantly. I pray for peace and comfort. Know that I love you and appreciate your friendship! Hugs to you dear friend.” I knew it was coming to the end for him. I knew it wasn’t going to be long. I wanted him to stop suffering. I wanted him to feel better. It wasn’t in the plan. This was a dark thread in Mike’s journey.

Nikki texted me today (April 10th) and told me Mike went home. I knew it. My intuition had him constantly on my mind. I had a feeling it was today. I knew it was today. I just knew. He is not suffering anymore. He is in a better place. Nikki told me he never complained. I totally believe that. So like him.

I was looking through some of the Facebook posts from classmates and everyone posted about his smile, or how kind he was. He always had a kind word or asked how they were. I looked at his Facebook page and there were many posts from his co-workers. People talked about how many hearts he has touched and how much they will miss him. He will definitely be missed.

Mike can see the quilt now. It’s not just threads here and there anymore. He knows the reason. He knows.

Rest In Peace Mike Hawkins. I will miss you my friend.

Life is short. Live accordingly.

Fear

What are you afraid of?

Does fear cripple you? Do you let fear cripple you? Does fear hold you back from life?

So many of us hold back from doing things because we are scared. We are afraid. We are fearful. Is that natural? Or do we learn to fear things? I really wonder.

Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Although fear can apply to anything, let’s use an example of working out. Are you afraid to work out? What is it about working out that you are afraid of?

The most common things I hear are fear of getting hurt, fear of looking funny, fear of judgment, fear of not being good at it.

Those are all very valid fears. But I challenge you. Remember when we were little and we were learning how to tie our shoes or we were learning how to ride a bike or learning how to jump rope? We knew we couldn’t do it the first time we tried. We practiced, and then we practiced some more, and then we practiced some more after that. We live in a society of quick fixes and instant gratification. Getting good at something and overcoming fear is not a quick fix. It takes practice and patience.

Instead of being fearful of working out, embrace that fear and start practicing. You never know what will happen. If you are afraid of getting hurt, start slow. Start with walking. It’s pretty hard to get hurt by walking. If you are worried about how you look, start working out at home. Hire an online trainer or hire a trainer at a private studio. If you are fearful of not being good enough, everyone starts someplace. It is okay. A good trainer will guide you and help you learn proper form before throwing you to the advanced versions of exercises. If you are intimidated by a gym setting, start on the treadmill, using headphones or watching TV. You have already won half the battle by showing up. That is a huge step and not an easy step.

When you really want something and you are justifying not taking action because you are afraid and because you think things are out of reach, that is when you need to keep going. Nothing worth having is quick. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes failure. Failing is learning. Failing makes you stronger. Failure helps you. Don’t be afraid of failing.

A UK study showed that 75% of women put off exercise because they fear what others might think of them. Can you believe that? 75%! That is just crazy. We certainly are a judge-y society. The women polled said they were afraid of their appearance, their ability, and the fact that people would judge them as mothers for putting themselves first. Isn’t that sad? I think so.

Fear stops them. Fear stunts their confidence. Fear and more fear.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Half the battle is showing up. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t let fear be an excuse. Take off that lampshade and shine on!!