Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Everything is terrible. I feel so defeated."

I ran across a Panic! message board post earlier this morning, and the pain and sadness were so strong. This new member is just getting started but feels like she has already lost. I replied in the message thread, but I also wanted to blog about this. I think we all have these sort of moments and it's important that we know we are not powerless, we are not victims, and all is not lost. 
Here's the message and my reply: 

"I was ready to start, motivated, and excited. I ate a healthy breakfast and made good choices today. Upon coming home this evening, I discovered that my pet died, my dad's cancer came back, and I failed a required class in school. I feel so defeated." 

I'm sorry you had that kind of day. Sounds horrible. Believe it or not, there is a different way to look at this. Instead of thinking, "I would have started except all this bad stuff happened," change your perspective. Try this: 

"Thank goodness I am starting to take better care of myself physically, because I am going to have a lot more to deal with emotionally and mentally. The healthier I eat, and the more active I remain, the stronger I will be to deal with whatever else comes my way." 

Yes, you had bad things happen. But why let yourself become one more bad thing to stress over? Why not let YOU be the one good, strong and healthy thing in your life while you deal with everything else? 

You can do this. Hang in there!

I share all of this because I know how it feels. Right now, I'm dealing with the grief of losing a good friend, being laid-off from my job, another friend's nearly successful attempt at taking his own life, and more family stress than I can list. It's a lot to handle. Honestly, it feels like more than I can handle sometimes. It's as if the bad news isn't just pouring on me, it's drowning me. 

But I have a secret weapon. Me. I may not be able to control all that is going on around me, but I can most certainly control my own actions. I decide to fuel my body with healthy, nutritious foods instead of junk. I decide to spike my body with endorphins by working out every day instead of sitting like a lump on the couch. 

And it isn't just food and exercise. I decide to reach out to friends who make me happy instead of people who will tear me down with negativity. I choose to find the best I can in each moment. I choose to BE the best I can in each moment. 

It's not that I am living in denial. I know our financial situation is going to be tough until I go back to work. I know my friend is in a lot of pain and has a long way to go before he is himself again. And my family woes will likely never end. 

But I am not defined by the bad things going on around me. I am defined by how I choose to repond to them. And today, my response is to eat right, workout, and be happy for all the great things in my life. 

Happiness is a choice that I've made. 


P.S.: GIAFLAIR is the new Spark member who posted the original message. If you would like to give her a little encouragement, you can find her here: 

(Originally posted on SparkPeople.com)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Moments of Doubt at Barter Hill

I went off to the gym this morning, confident I would work out but not really sure exactly what I was going to do. I'm on day 12 of my 31 day exercise challenge, and I'm mixing it up with biking, walking, and running. 

Anyway, I was heading to the gym and I decided I would run. When I hit the treadmill, I thought, "I can do a 10k this morning, no problem." 

And then I started running. I stepped off at 6.4mph with the plan of kicking it up .1 each half mile. Everything was going great until I hit Barter Hill. 

What is Barter Hill? It's not an actual hill, of course. It's that moment on a run when I start negotiating in my head to try to get out of my original plan. It goes something like this: 

"I was going to run 6 miles, but I should just run 3, instead, and then do 30 minutes on the bike. Same cardio, but easier on my shins." 

"Why run a 10k? I should just do 30 minutes of cardio and then switch to strength training." 

"This is too much. Your shins hurt, don't they? Probably best if we just run the 5k and then you can go for a long walk this afternoon. Yeah, that's a great idea. You'll get another full hour of cardio." 

Like I said, Barter Hill. And sometimes, it's too much for me and I cave. But not today. I skipped ahead in my music until I found a song that was faster and louder, cranked it up, and started running even harder. 

My plan today was a 10k. I did it. I ran 6.2 miles in 55:40, then I walked another .22 as a cool down to complete my hour. 

Suck it, Barter Hill. Today, I owned you! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm Not Destination Happy. I'm Journey Happy.

I recently watched "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition," and I heard a woman make this comment. She said, "I'm not destination happy. I'm journey happy." 

She went on to explain that she had learned that her life, her happiness, was all going on right now, in the moment. She realized that it was silly to put off her happiness until she lost the right amount of weight, or had the right job, or met the right person. Her happiness was right there for her in every single moment. 

I have thought about this for a while now, and I really understand what she is saying. Happiness is not something handed to you upon arrival somewhere. Happiness is the gift you bring wherever you go. 

I have goals. I want to lose more weight, get stronger, run faster, find a more rewarding career, finish writing my play, run my marathon, and build a stronger relationship with my husband. But completing any and all of those things won't make me happy. I think it's the opposite, really. When I am happy with myself, with who I am and what I am doing, it's easier for me to attain my goals. I have more confidence in who I am, more energy to do the work required, and more satisfaction each step of the way. 

I am journey happy. Right here, right now. And that makes the destination that much more enjoyable. 


Edited to add: I posted this pic on Facebook right after my workout, and I captioned it, "Captain Crazy Hair." A friend of mine replied, "with great cuteness comes great responsibility." I LOVE IT!