Diet Pepsi and Donuts

Yesterday was Christmas. John, Tayler and I took the dogs to LaFramboise Island for a Christmas Day walk. The temp was beautiful, around 45 degrees. We timed it right. By the time we left, the parking lot was almost full. We walked for about an hour and 15 minutes – 3.65 miles. The dogs did great. Once we let Jack off the leash he was much happier. He is a hunting dog through and through. Nora did well considering she is afraid of everyone. 

The coat I wore was one I have had for a while. Pretty much a down liner jacket. It served its intended purpose. Perfect layers for the day. 

Once we got back home I was taking off the jacket and pulled a dime out of one pocket and a receipt out of the other. The receipt was from December 15, 2019. Two things were purchased. I have to laugh at this because it shows how much I have improved my food relationship. And it also shows what I have been doing for the last year. Diet Pepsi and donuts. There. My life has consisted of Diet Pepsi and donuts over the last year. Seriously, though, I eat nutritious foods most of the time and throw in the donuts and cookies once in a while. I also coach people to help them find their big picture life. Changing my mindset has improved my coaching so much. 

I used to have that all or nothing attitude and I used to be a food snob. Boy, have I changed. Now, I know I can eat donuts and fit them into my day and I am not ruining any progress I have made. I know that if I eat a donut I didn’t wreck my eating for the day and then go off the rails the rest of the day or even weeks after. I learned that I don’t have to restrict these foods, because come on, we all know they taste absolutely amazing. I have learned that I can eat this stuff and still maintain my over 40 pound weight loss. I don’t have to be ashamed if I eat this. I don’t have to feel like a big failure if I eat this. 

I can be me. I can enjoy the foods I want. I don’t have to feel guilty for eating things I love. But, the thing is, it took me a long time to get to this point. It takes time to change. Change isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth it. I work on myself every single day.

I used to talk crap to myself if I ate things like donuts or cookies or chips or pizza. I felt like I had to be all in all the time. I used to restrict, restrict, restrict, and then of course that can only go on for so long until the binge happened. I never actually binged according to the definition of a true binge. That was in my eating disorder days. Now, it would have been eating all of those foods that I had been restricting. I just wanted more and more and more of them. See, that’s the thing, as soon I told myself I couldn’t have a certain food or types of food, all I thought about was those foods and how much I wanted them. So, when I learned to build those foods into my plan, that pressure came off. It made it a lot easier to control what I was eating. I didn’t lose any progress I had made and I was happy with my food choices and with living my life. The food is never going away. It is always going to be around. 

So, what helped me change? I got a coach. Yes, coaches use coaches too. That lasted about a year or slightly longer. The accountability part is huge. I learned how to track macros. I had never really tracked anything previously. I remember in junior high tracking calories because of gymnastics. Which, by the way, is where my disordered eating began. But, other than that, I always thought just eating clean would do it for me. So not true. Because I definitely overate clean foods too and ended up needing a big life change. I learned to believe in myself. I empowered myself. I looked for the good in myself. I left the self doubt behind and tackled my health head on. Instead of wishing and hoping and saying what if, I jumped right in and saw the big picture. The best picture and the best I could become. I set myself up to do better and to be better.

Easy? No

Worth It? Yes

Shortcuts? No

Long Game? Yes

We always have choices. 

Lessons

Sometimes the kid is the one teaching the lesson. 

Tayler was home this week after her 18 credit semester. She needed some down time. We joined a gym for the week and went several times.  

I have to admit I had a little gym anxiety. Everything was different than my home gym and I wasn’t sure how to navigate what I needed to do. A little bit of overwhelm and irritation was happening. It all turned out good though. 

On the second day our program called for goblet squats. We found a corner with the dumbbells and got busy. We were doing goblet squats and I looked over and noticed Tayler had a 60 pound dumbbell. I was shocked. I was like WTF kid! I mean, I know she has been getting a lot stronger and has been lifting solid for awhile. She decided to try 70 pounds and nailed it. She made it look easy. We were doing the same program recently and she has been extremely consistent. Her body type – tall and lean and a hard gainer. She has a great aesthetic. If someone looked at her they would never think she would be as strong as she is. Her look is very deceiving. I love watching her get stronger and more confident. 

It’s funny because I always tell my clients they are stronger than they think and they shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavier or try new things. 

I thought to myself that I should be taking my own advice and lifting heavier. And watching Tayler definitely inspired me to go heavier. I have kind of been going through the motions. I PR on some things, but I kind of slack off on others. So I thought well I guess I will see what I can do. And, to be completely honest, squats are not one of my favorite things and I am sure that is why I kind of slack on those. Usually with a KB I will grab the 16 or 20kg bell and call it good. That translates to about 35 and 44 pounds respectively. I ended up going for reps of 8 with the 55 pound dumbbell and definitely had room for some more. What was I afraid of? Why haven’t I been pushing myself in the gym? I always wonder about things like that. Why don’t we find our potential and push past it? Why do we stay in the safe zone? Why do we settle?  We have to break through the barriers to make progress. 

So why don’t we push ourselves? Well, I will tell you – because sore as hell legs. That’s why. My legs definitely felt those squats and are extremely sore. That’s why! Just kidding. I mean, they are sore, but I will continue to keep lifting heavy. Sore is part of the process. 

I was lifting in the status quo. It’s okay, but it’s not what I want for myself. I want to be in the potential section. I want to be even higher than that. I want to be in the go for it section and nailed it section. 

Usually we are the ones inspiring our kids and helping them become a great version of themselves, but this time the kid inspired me. It felt great. 

Now, ask yourself when you are at the gym or wherever it is you train, why you don’t try to lift more. Don’t put yourself in the box of being weak or calling it not strong. Don’t put yourself in the box of being afraid to go to the gym or lift weights. So many times we worry about what the scale says or what other people think and we miss out on how strong we are or how strong we can become. We miss out on the process and we miss out on our potential. We miss the big picture. 

Today is Christmas Eve. What do you plan to do with the in between time? You know the time between now and the new year. Are you going to find your potential and keep going? I know I am. Set some goals in your discomfort zone and then take the small steps to get there. Find your happy and your healthy place. Find you. Find your potential. 

Thanks for the lesson Tayler. 

Sandy

Memories of loved ones lost. It’s always hard. This time of year, holidays, other days, maybe even all days. Looking at pictures of them. Wondering about them. The what ifs. The whys. Do you ever hold an actual picture and study it? Looking at the faces and the scenery—the background and wondering what was happening in that actual moment.

I noticed today when I picked up a picture of Sandy. On the back it said, “10/02/02 Sandy’s last ride.” 

It was a picture of her at the Buffalo Ranch. She was standing behind her motorcryle. Beside hers was Nancy’s. The opening to the ranch had two big rock posts. It looked like a beautiful fall day. Her face held her beautiful smile. She always had that. No matter what. I found myself trying to zoom the picture bigger. I took my thumb and forefinger and moved them apart, trying to bring her face into focus. Trying to see. I wanted to see her face closer. I wanted to see her smile closer. Her eyes, and her hair. I wanted to see her clearer. I wanted to see her better. I wanted to remember her clearer and better. 

I took a picture of the picture with my phone. And then, I zoomed it closer. There it was. There she was. The smile. The laugh. The positive.

Missing you today Sandy.

Are you really fine?

How are you? Such a simple ask. The auto response. Fine. Always said in haste. Always said automatically. But are you really fine? Think about it. Stop going through the motions. Start really thinking. 

What if you aren’t fine? We’ve all had a rough year. I closed the doors to my brick and mortar. I lost over half of my income. Is that fine? Maybe not, but it was a choice I had to make. 

Did you have some hard choices to make this year? Think about being fine. What does that look like? My emotions and feelings have been mixed. Anxious one minute. Relaxed the next. Gaining weight one day. Losing weight another day. Eating all the food one day. Eating none of the food another day. The navigation has been hard. It’s different. It’s hard to know what is happening. It’s hard not to look to the future and be anxious about it. 

Giving thanks and having gratitude helps. Thanks for the hard. Thanks for the lessons. Thanks for the outlook. Thanks for the time. Thanks for the clarity and thanks for the fuzzy. 

Everything matters and nothing matters. It all matters or none of it matters. Right? Weird how that works. So many things we want not to matter, matter. And so many things that do matter to us, shouldn’t. We focus on things we can’t control. We don’t take the time to work on ourselves where we are. We are constantly looking down the street. We are constantly looking for help. We are wishing and hoping and what if-ing. But what if we looked at where we are with compassion and love? What if we loved ourselves for where we are and what we are right now?

We are told we should change. We are told we aren’t good enough. We are told we aren’t skinny enough. We are told we aren’t pretty enough. FOR WHO???? It’s a trap. Go to the mirror and look at yourself. Look hard. Tell yourself how you feel. Be kind. Be loving. Be compassionate. It takes a long time to get to I love me, but it’s there. It’s in there. Sometimes it’s deeply rooted and takes a long time to come out. Start unwrapping. Start saying nice things. Start looking for her. Start looking for the person you once knew. The one who is fun and carefree. The one who wants to live and enjoy life. The one who does’t care what other people think. Do this for yourself. Only you can help yourself. Nobody is coming to save you, except you. Take a step. Take action. Little by little those steps will turn into big progress. It may take a year. It may take a month. It may take two years. The time passes regardless. Start loving yourself where you are right now. Start looking into your own eyes with compassion and love. Start seeing you. Start loving you no matter what. 

It’s All Gravy…

Timing is everything. I wouldn’t have even been in the store, if not for having to take John his phone. He forgot it this morning so I took it to him. I thought I would stop at Dakotamart for a few things before I headed home. 

I notice people. It’s just a normal thing for me. He was tall. He had dark hair with gray in it. It was long. He wore faded jeans, no brand. White tennis shoes, maybe New Balance. He wore a dark zip up jacket. As he walked away towards the milk section, I thought to myself that he looked kind of like Hal Ketchum, the country singer who recently passed. That is why I noticed him. 

I was perusing the coffee creamers. Califia has a new one. I was excited. Almond milk creamer, mint cocoa flavor. In fact, drinking it now. It’s okay. Everything always looks and sounds better than it tastes. So, there’s that. 

I heard a voice and that guy came over towards me. He said, “I’m 68 years old and you could have had a naked lady on your shirt and I wouldn’t have thought twice, but when I saw you had gravy, well…” He laughed, and then I laughed and we both laughed. My sweatshirt was from a virtual 5K. It is a cranberry color for Thanksgiving and has a gravy boat on it and it says “it’s all gravy.” He then started telling me about his mom. He said she has passed, but he said she was the worst cook ever. She overcooked everything and even canned vegetables she boiled to death. He said the shirt reminded him of his mom. He said thanks for helping him remember her today. He walked away. 

A minute later he was back again. He told me he was sorry, but he just had to tell me a little more. He had been drafted and he said before he was drafted he thought he was a picky eater. He said when he was in the military though, he ate everything. All the vegetables and all the food. He really wasn’t a picky eater. He decided that his mom was such a terrible cook that he thought he was a picky eater. He laughed again and said how wonderful to be remembering all these things and that he would be thinking of this all day. He left again. 

Back again, after about 30 seconds. Now we get to the gravy point. He said for Thanksgiving his mom always had to make a lot of gravy. And he noticed that he and his siblings fought over the dark meat of the turkey because the white was so dry that they couldn’t eat it unless it had a ton of gravy. He again told me that he loved my sweatshirt and that it brought back all these great memories of his mom. 

I loved this. You just never know who you will inspire. You just never know what is going to trigger someone’s memories. It takes zero effort to be nice to people. Zero. You get a whole lot back in return. It’s all gravy! 

Today Is Thanksgiving

John is watching the news and the dogs are curled up and sleeping close by. The cats are sleeping too. Soon they will all be begging like they haven’t been fed in weeks. The furnace is humming and pushing out the heat. I can hear the muffled voices from the TV. 

I sit here at my desk, looking outside at the cloudy, slightly foggy sky. It looks cold. It’s still. No wind. That’s nice. My coffee is warming my belly. The taste on my tongue is my familiar. Strong, yet smooth. Creamy, not sweet. Just right. 

I think about this year and the difficulties. I think about the hard things from this year. I think about so many things from this year. I could be bitter. I could be negative. I could dwell on it. But I don’t. This year taught me a lot. It taught me a lot about myself. It taught me a lot about people. Things were seen with clarity. Things were seen with a good eye, not a rose-colored glasses eye. 

This year I have remained positive. I have remained thankful. I have continued to roll the boulder up the hill. I show up. I take the steps. I grind. I hold back when needed. I speed up when needed. I learn. I love. I keep learning. I keep loving. 

We get one life. We don’t know when it will be snatched away. My outlook is positive. My life is positive. My life is not perfect. I wouldn’t want it to be. I am thankful for every breath I get to take. I am thankful for everything I get to do. I am thankful for the peace I have. I am thankful. 

Today is Thanksgiving.

The Sliding Scale

The dread. The anxiety. The dread. Yes, I said dread again. I hated going there. I didn’t care what it was for. I mean, seriously, why did I have to get weighed when I had a cold. I mean come on. Why is the scale such a mindfuck? Who made me hate it? Why did I hate it? Where does that come from? The fear, the shame, and the overall self-loathing, all because of the number on a piece of equipment.

The dreaded scale. But this time I am talking about the old-fashioned kind. The sliding bar scale. I bet you know which one am talking about. The one that instills even more dread and shame and anger.

It was tall. It was massive. It was intimidating as hell. The top slider covered the pounds 1 through 50. The bottom chunky thing that landed on an increment sounded like it weighed a ton. You damn well knew when you went to the next increment and so did everyone within a 50 foot radius of the waiting room. The scale itself was heavy. Oh, I almost forgot. I was daydreaming the dread. The bottom increments were 0-50-100-150-200 and maybe more. I don’t remember for sure because I was always concerned about that number that was 150. That number meant something. That number meant that the chunky thing dropped to the next increment. The 150 increment. The horror of that increment. 

The way the scale worked was a person stepped on the platform of the scale and waited. The nurse would watch as people stripped off nearly everything they owned. Because lighter. Okay then. I will use myself as the example here. I’m sweating bullets already because we all know the doctor scale and our home scales NEVER match. I mean never. The doctor scale always has to add a little zinger for us and be up by around five pounds. It twists the knife in, just for good measure. As if, we weren’t anxious enough. 

So, I looked at the scale. Okay, deep breaths, here we go. There is another factor I needed to take into account. The human factor. The nurse factor. Her job was to stand there and take a look. A judgey look. She decided what increment to start at. Now, just a little side note, if it was me and because I know so many people have that dreaded scale anxiety, I would definitely go lower than a stupid guesstimate I had for a person. Or maybe way high to make a person feel better. It’ a crap shoot. I bet her job was not fun being the judgey one. But alas, a girl can dream. And alas, hindsight is 20/20. 

Okay then. I stepped on the scale and waited. I waited for the increment. Increment 100. Because obvious. I wouldn’t start at the 50 increment, unless I was a child. I don’t know, I was probably acting like one. She moved the top slider over to the 140 area. Nothing. Another half inch, 145. Nothing. Shit. This sucks. Another half inch, 149. Nothing. The dread started to kick in. The anxiety for sure. The steps of scale grief. Dread – Anxiety – Shame and then Anger. Anger for the push to make a change. Anger because I let myself get this way. Anger because shame, anxiety and dread.  Circle jerk of emotions and feelings. So, she keeps moving the slider, just waiting for the balance to come. The clunk of the 150 increment. Watching my face and my eyes glued to the slider. Feeling the pain of the dreaded piece of equipment that has the power over me. The power of my self worth. The power over how the rest of my day and maybe even my week and month are going to go. That is a lot of power to give to a piece of equipment. 

That was the old me. The new me knows the scale is nothing more than a tool for data. That took a while, not gonna lie. I never weigh the same on any given day, because my body changes all the time. When I track my weight, I look for patterns. As long as the scale is moving in a trend pattern that I want, or staying in a holding pattern, I know it is working. I have taken that power away from a piece of equipment. It no longer decides my worth. It no longer shames me. It no longer makes me angry. Sure, there are days when I can still feel a little bit of dread, because I am human, but I don’t let it define me. The scale path is never linear. There are ups and downs and downs and ups. It’s just the way it is. 

People are told to throw away their scales. I used to be one of those people. Not anymore. I use the scale for data. And, more importantly, I faced the scale fear. I was afraid to know what the scale said. But now, I have faced that fear. How else will you get over a fear unless you face it? I get on the scale every single morning and I track the data it gives me. That’s it. It has taken time to get to that point. The scale is powerless over me. I am the power. I had the power all along. The power to change. The power to love myself. The power to change myself. 

If I go to the doctor now, I just leave everything on. Who cares. The scale will not tell me my self-worth. Period. 

Memories

The things we remember. The things we miss. When our kids were kids. Little boys. Little girls. The moments that hit us in the now. It feels like a slap in the face and a stop you in your tracks. The moments that bring instant tears to the eyes. Those moments. The ones you never get back. The ones that even now you remember plain as day. The ones that really provoke the big emotions and the big feelings.

Life is precious and life can be taken at any time. Time’s up. And there he goes. A friend of mine lost his son a few years back. It was a tragic accident. It was life altering. It was life forever changed. Forever memories are the only thing left. The ones. The kid memories. The ones that keep trying to fade but you won’t let them. Those kinds of memories. 

I was talking to this friend a few weeks ago. We were just sitting and talking about things, life, jobs, people and kids. He said the thing he missed the most about his son, was when he was a little boy and would run through the house with his blanket cape. Running and looking behind, watching the flow of the cape. Watching the waves roll. The cape. The fun. The wonder of a small little boy. Watching him. Wondering what he would become. The life He had in store. 

Those kinds of memories. 

I have my own memories of my kids when they were little. There is one in particular that I think about and the emotions bubble right up to the surface. The tears just flow and I can’t help it and I don’t even know why. But, every single time I think of it, it happens. No rhyme. No reason. Just because. Maybe their innocence. Maybe the big cruel world to come. Maybe a big bright world to come. Maybe nothing. 

John and I dropped off the boys to a movie and then came back later to pick them up. They both came running out of the theater and looked like they were getting along and having fun. They had big cheesy smiles and bright eyes. Then time slowed down. Way down. They had candy in their hands and were running towards us. They were close to each other. The little boy competition. Who will get to the pickup first. Then it happened. Their feet got tangled and one of them fell. The other looked up at me. I could see the fear in his eyes. The explanation in his eyes. His eyes telling me it was an accident. The eyes thinking he was going to get in trouble. It was an accident. We knew it was an accident. We knew he didn’t trip him on purpose. We knew. 

The whole thing was less than 20 seconds, yet those memories have lasted the rest of my life. I don’t know what it is about it that just gets me. The scraped knees, the scraped hands, candy running like ants across the sidewalk or the eyes. All of it. Every detail. I remember that part like it was yesterday. I don’t remember what happened when they got in the vehicle. They didn’t get in trouble. They didn’t fight. That part of the memory is gone. So strange. 

Powerful memories. I often wonder why or how we remember what we do. What is it about a certain memory that stands out. It makes me curious. It’s not like I told myself to remember this 20 years down the road. Sometimes I tell myself to remember a dream and one hour later I can’t remember it. 

Life is funny. Memories are interesting. Some memories make it to the compartment in the brain that will never forget. Some get put in another compartment that may be accessible at a later date…or not. Some strike at random times. Some never strike. 

The emotions and feelings tied to the memories may be why we can so easily remember those really, really important ones. Maybe that person is no longer here or maybe it was just a special day. Whatever the circumstance, the kid memories hit me the hardest. 

Are you there yet?

I find inspiration in many places. I hear a phrase or a word or two and my mind goes. It starts dropping the letters and then words into place. When I am in a good place writing, meaning when I feel a good blog post is coming together, I get emotional. I have to stand up and walk around. That’s my process. It feels. That’s just the way I do it. So today, there were a lot of letters and words that were falling and dropping into place, so here I am.

I was on a Peloton ride this morning. An endurance ride with Christine or CDE as she is known in the Peloton fandom. She definitely has a way with words. She strikes you in the throat with them. They just work. They make a person think and more importantly, feel. 

Most days I am fine with riding or walking on the tread and just want to “go through the motions.” I don’t want the life advice. I mean, I’m there. Leave me alone and just tell me what to do. Some days are different for me. Some days the emotions bubble to the surface. 

Lately, the last few weeks. Years ago. Now. Today. I don’t know. Who knows what is going to pull that trigger. It just does. A word, a phrase, something. The way it settles. The way it is said. 

My nutrition group is an integral part of my life and I do whatever I can to push them to get rid of the diet mentality and the all or nothing mindset. We try to kick that damn can down the street and look at lifestyle. There is no end to eating. There is no end to taking care of yourself.  Diets end. We don’t. 

For so many of my clients it’s hard to flip that switch. They have been turning that light on forever. It’s definitely a battleground. We look in the mirror and what do we see? My eyes. My body. My mirror. That is the battleground we walk on every single day. The between. Battling and loving. Battling and hating. It’s hard sometimes to love ourselves. Our worth is not tied to a number on the scale. Our worth is not tied to our size. It’s okay to want to change, but I want to be able to love myself through the battle. It takes a lot of time to get to I love me. So, so many people know this, but they aren’t there yet. They are still battling. It’s not about the pick ups. It’s about the get ups. We battle every single day to get through life. When we aren’t happy with ourselves, it makes it a helluva lot harder. So we work on ourselves. We show up everyday for the battle. 

Today’s ride was about loving ourselves. Respecting ourselves. Being there for ourselves. Are you there yet? 

I stopped looking and I started seeing

I used to believe in miracles. The fast track to fat loss kind of miracles. The ones that promise you will lose weight and feel amazing fast. The ones that tell you detox is the way to go. Before I learned about nutrition and diet, I used to believe in miracles. I got swept up in the hype just like millions of other people. The trash can fire I huddled around—that kind of hope and warmth and comfort. I didn’t want to kick that can down the street, because I wanted that can to be THE can. The one that was going to work this time. No matter how over priced and over sold and over promised, I didn’t care. I wanted desperately to lose weight or to detox something. I now know that isn’t healthy. All those things do is not work. They keep you coming back for a new can. I learned to do the work. I found sustainable fat loss. I found what works and it’s not any of those miracles. 

Here’s how that whole miracle was found in my bathroom last weekend. 

I was going through the drawers in my bathroom and I came upon one of those miracles. This particular miracle expired in 2011. I started laughing when I found it because I have seen the light. I know better now. It was a Maximum Strength Fat Burner. You know, because minimum strength does nothing. The label cracks me up. Here is what it says it is formulated to do: 

Promote Preferential loss of fat mass – what?

Encourage Lipolysis (release of fat from mature cells) – what?

Inhibit production of phosphodiesterase – what? 

And I believed. 

Exactly what it told me. 

I wanted so badly to believe. I wanted this to be the last time I needed to. As much as I wanted to believe in the magic pills, the magic potions, the detoxes and the magic ab exercises, they don’t work. The label even gave me the answer.  The label told me use in conjunction with any sensible diet and exercise program. Right there, that sentence is the answer. That was the answer I had it all along and just refused to see. It’s the answer we all refuse to see at one time or another. I didn’t want it to be that simple. I didn’t want it to be me! How could I be the one who controlled what happened to my body. 

So many of us want to believe so badly that we will try anything. We waste our money. We waste our time. When the answer is right there in front of us for us to see. The answer is to live an overall healthy lifestyle. The answer is strength training. For me it’s 3 x per week and walking every day. The answer for me is eating lots of fruits and vegetables. The answer for me is to drink lots of water and to stay hydrated. The answer for me is adequate sleep. For me it’s at least 7 hours every night. The answer for me is work on my overall health and well being, including mental health. The whole me. That is my answer. My answer works very well. 

Health is way more simple than what these products try to sell you. They sound so good. They sound so enticing. They sound too good to be true and right there, that little voice in your head,  tells us every single time. If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true. 

I moved away from the miracles and took my health into my own hands instead of the hands of the diet industry. I am much happier and much healthier. I know how hard it is to break free from wanting those miracles to be THE miracle to be THE can you don’t have to kick down the street. But I stayed vigilant. I stayed consistent. I stayed present and I stayed patient. I saw results and I am still seeing results every day. 

I am not tempted by those miracles anymore. I don’t need those kinds of miracles. I stopped looking and I started seeing.