Tag Archives: choices

What do you do when you fall down

30 Jan

What do you do when you hit a bump on your fitness journey or when you have a bad eating day? Do you just throw your hands up and say, “i’ve blown it so I may as just eat everything in my frig and pantry!!” or do you say, “Ok, I had a moment but now it’s time to get back on track and continue making good choices!” Which one are you?

We all have those days – those moments. It’s normal – we’re human and we mess up. However, it’s what we do afterwards that counts.

For example, last Saturday, I had one of those days. I had been getting up every morning between 4:30 and 5 and not getting to bed until after 10. Friday evening, I hosted a painting party to help me raise money for my upcoming missions trip to Haiti; so that meant planning and preparing for the 21 ladies that were attending. I had early morning prayer, fitness classes, and an afternoon of errands and preparing for the event. I didn’t get home until 11:30 that night and then had to be up early on Saturday to teach fitness classes. When I arrived back home Saturday morning after classes, I was tired and I was hungry and lack of sleep had my brain all foggy. None of these were conducive to making a good choice. I grabbed some chocolates that I had leftover from my party and ate them. Yep….on an empty stomach. And they were delicious!

Now….what did I do afterwards? Did I beat myself up for making those choices? Nope. I knew there were a lot of components that had led to my decision and that I’m human and once in a while I’m going to eat chocolate for breakfast! However, I also knew that I would get right back on track with my lifestyle and how I eat 90% of the time.

Again, it’s okay to have those moments. We all do. It’s what we do the next day that matters. If we continue making the choices we know aren’t going to bring us mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health and wellness, then that isn’t okay and we need to have someone help us get back on track. On the other hand, if we go right back to making those daily choices that will bring us life and well being, then all is well.

It’s not how many times we fall down, it’s how many times we get back up! So, get back up and keep walking!!! You can do this!

Irony in baking zucchini bread

22 Aug

A few moments ago I had just tucked myself into bed and turned the light off and was so excited to settle in for a good night’s sleep.  But as most of us do, I took a few moments to think about the day and reflect on what happened.  The first thing that popped into my head was my zucchini bread experience that almost ended up in the garbage can.  Then I realized that the reason why I even had the great zucchini bread fiasco was because of a lack of focus….and how ironic that my last blog had the topic of focus and the word was even in my title.  Needless to say, I severely missed the mark of focus during my moments baking in the kitchen today.  On my defense, I was quite sleepy today…..I am taking care of my uncle’s dogs and staying at his house every night, and he lives almost one hour from my house.  By the time I arrived at his house last night, it was around 11 and didn’t get into bed until after midnight; then the alarm went off at 5:45 this morning so I could get back to the studio and teach my morning fitness classes.  Even coffee wasn’t doing its job with helping me to be alert .

After a full morning and afternoon, I decided to bake two loaves of a new zucchini bread recipe from a cookbook, Against All Grains.  But first, I decided to slice up my sweet potato and get the pieces into cold water because I was making oven-baked sweet potato fries for my dinner.  (this little piece of info will make sense in a moment!).  I set the oven to 425 to pre-heat and begin prepping the zucchini.  About 15 minutes into slicing the zucchini, I heard some crackling sounds coming from my oven.  For a moment I was perplexed and then I decided I better see what was making the noise.  Well, I had left two skillets in the oven and they were pretty hot…I’m not sure what would have happened if I had not decided to investigate the noise – hopefully, it would not have involved any kinds of flames, smoke, fire extinguisher, etc!!!

I continued following the recipe – greased the pans, mixed all the liquid ingredients, mixed the dry ingredients and then added them to the liquid ingredients.  I was getting ready to put the batter into the bread pans and noticed a bowl setting off to the side with a plate on it.  (Oh, yeah….I failed to mention that I soon discovered that I did not have enough almond flour to make two loaves of bread so had to make a quick run to the grocery store.  I did turn the oven off; I covered up the dry ingredients that I had been measured and covered up the zucchini.)  I realized that under that plate was the vital ingredient to making zucchini bread….the zucchini!!!! I quickly added it to the batter and then put the pans into the oven to back for the recommended 45 minutes.

About 20ish minutes into the bake time, I really began to smell the incredible aroma of the bread.  I decided to glance into the oven to see how it looked, and I quickly noted that it was looking way toooooo dark to have only been in the oven for 20 minutes.  Here’s where the sweet potato prep comes to light….you see, in order to bake the sweet potatoes, the oven has to be set to 425 degrees – that was in the back of my mind when I turned the oven on.  Zucchini bread, on the other hand, only requires 350 degrees.  That’s quite a difference in degrees.  I hurriedly pulled the bread out and let it settle for a few minutes.  It still needed just a little bit more time in the oven.  I turned back the dial to 350 and gave it some time to cool off and put the pans back in.  I intended to leave them in for 5 minutes.

By this time my dinner was done so I sat down to eat…..yep, you guessed it!  5 minutes turned into 10 minutes before I looked at the clock for another reason and then jumped up and ran to the oven expecting to pull out charcoal crisp bread.  Thankfully, it was good, and I did not have to throw it out.  But there was definitely a lesson to be learned from all of this mishap in the kitchen.  You see I was not truly focused on what I was doing.  Yes, I was reading the cookbook but I was also thinking about other things, had the radio on, was doing laundry. and answering texts.  Also, the lack of sleep was not helping me be at my best mental clarity.

I write all of this to say that when we decided to focus on those three to five things that I wrote about in my last blog, we have to make sure we truly are focused.  We can write down our goals and how we are going to focus but putting it into practice is another thing. Sleep can effect our ability to be laser sharp and at our best mentally.  Multi-tasking can diminish our ability to produce first-class work with excellence.  We have to practice being aware – being mindful – being in the moment.  When we practice those things, it helps us stay focused and ignore all the distractions that are around us.  You can guarantee that the next time I am in the kitchen following a recipe I will be totally focused on the directions for that recipe.  A quest for focus and excellence begins with the small things…..and in the kitchen.

And now I must end the blog so I can be in bed before midnight…I have five minutes 🙂

Focus and Choices

20 Aug

It’s been a while since I’ve made the time to sit down and write.  I can’t use the excuse that I’ve been too busy because we all are busy and we all have the same amount of time to get things accomplished.  It all comes down to what I have chosen to do with my time; and, obviously, I made other choices and let others things take priority.  In my life, when I see that I have not done something in a while that is important to me, I know it is time to pause, reflect, and see where I need to focus and what I need to let go.

Letting go of things is not easy, but I have to remind myself that I can’t be scattered in various directions.  I can do many things with mediocrity but that is not what I want to do.  I want to focus on 3-5 things and do them with excellence.  I have to be aware of what distracts me and know those distractions, recognize them, and then ignore them.

This became clear to me when I was lying in bed for 10 days with some kind of bacteria that got into my digestive system.  I was so ill that I couldn’t do anything…read, listen to the radio, watch TV, etc.  Nothing gets you thinking more than not being able to do anything or go anywhere.  I kept thinking “what if I had an illness that would leave me like this forever?  Have I done enough with excellence that I would be satisfied with what I have accomplished up until now in my life???”  I decided to take the three weeks of illness and the forced “pause” in my life to reflect, think, and focus.

I know that I will fall once in a while and get distracted but it doesn’t matter how many times I fall down….it matters that I get back up and get right on track again.

Do you feel like you are being scattered in multiple directions???  Are the important things in your life getting the attention they deserve?  Are the choices you are making today taking you in the direction of your goals, values, and vision for your life?

Don’t wait until an illness forces you to slow down and have to get off the merry-go-round.  Schedule one day or a weekend retreat to re-visit your vision for your life.  See where you need to focus – what you need to let go of – and the choices you need to make in order to do this.  Write it down. Put it in several places.  Remind yourself on a daily basis of what you need to choose to do and not do that day.  Every choice in each moment does matter.  I wish you all the best, and I will be right there with you making choices to get me to my goals!

Is there a better time of the day to workout?

3 Apr

Is there a better time of the day to workout?

People ask that question because they’ve read somewhere or heard it somewhere that a certain time of the day is better than another time to workout. And, there’s always research and a study that will confirm that morning is better, that afternoon is better, that mid-morning is better, etc. All of the information that is out there can be confusing and/or make you feel guilty if you can’t fit in a workout during the time that is supposed to be optimum according to the article, the book, the author, etc.

Here’s my opinion – the best time to workout is when it works for you and your schedule as long as you get it in during a 24-hour time frame.

As a fitness instructor, I’m glad that everyone doesn’t get up at 4 a.m. to do a workout because that means no one would come to my morning classes, my noon classes, my afternoon classes, my evening classes!!! I’m glad that people can find what works best for them and that they have a choice as to what class they can attend.

Is it better to do a workout in the morning? In my opinion, it is only because you know you have done it for the day and don’t have to worry about something unexpected happening to keep you from your workout later in the day. But some of my best workouts happen in the afternoon or evening. Some of my worst experiences running have happened while running first thing in the morning and then I’ve also experienced great early morning workouts. It just depends on the day.

You know what works well for you, your body, and your schedule. That is what should determine the time of your workout. You should never feel guilty because you can’t workout at a certain time that an article said you should workout. If you read something or hear something that makes you wonder if you would see different results if you could workout during that time, try it for a week or two and see what happens.

If you read or hear that working out on an empty stomach does “such and such,” try it and see how you feel and how your body responds. I, personally, cannot workout on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I get very nauseous and can’t give 100% to the workout and it ends up being a waste of my time. Also, if you have low blood sugar or diabetes or other health issues, it may not be the best choice for you to workout with nothing in your stomach. You might pass out. (Also, you should always check with your doctor and/or pharmacist if you are taking medications.)

Listen to your body and know how you respond to a workout at a certain time and then make it happen. When I’m working with my clients, we always look at schedules and lifestyles and then we make a plan. I’m happy as a trainer/coach when my clients are working out and it doesn’t matter to me what time they do it as long as they get it done. And this would be my advice to you, as well….just get your workouts done…..and have fun while doing it!

Here’s to fun fitness and fabulous workouts!!!

Sleep – it does a body good!

19 Jan

In the November/December issue of IDEA Fitness Journal, there was a 5-page article that went into depth about sleep and what it does for a body.  I think many people are working on their food choices and activity choices when it concerns their well-being, but I know a lot of people do not factor in the importance of getting enough rest and quality sleep.  I know we have long to-do lists, and it seems like there’s never enough time to do all that we need to do. However, I’m hoping that after reading this, you will see how important and vital it is to your total body health to put sleep at the top of your list.  

Most adults need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, but most people only get about 6.5 hours per sleep.  Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, memory loss, high blood pressure, diabetes, overall fatigue, headaches, muscle aches and has been found to influence how well one can pay attention and focus.  One big important thing that sleep does is it allows the body to release the human growth hormone (HGH) which can improve fitness and sports performance. When HGH is being released into our bodies, the body does its repair and regeneration work.  It helps build and repair muscle mass, tissue and cells.  So, see, a lot is going on while you are sleeping; and you are actually helping your body out by choosing to set a bedtime for yourself every night.  I know I hear a lot of people say, “well, I can sleep when I’m dead.” Well, guess what?  By choosing not to get adequate rest, you could speed up your time to get that eternal rest.  I think I would rather get my vital sleep and live a while longer.

IDEA suggested to share the following list with clients, so I’m choosing to share it here:

~ Limit caffeine, particularly in the afternoon and evening.

~ Limit alcohol.  Especially avoid excessive consumption before bed.

~ Try to quit tobacco use; nicotine is a stimulant.

~ Don’t use a computer, cell phone, or handheld device in the 90 minutes before bedtime. LED lighting “tells” the brain to stay awake.

~ Limit television viewing before bed.

~ Lower the temperature in the house or bedroom before and during sleep.  The body likes cooler temperatures.  Many sleep doctors suggest lowering body temperature 90 minutes before bedtime.

~ Take a hot bath 90-120 minutes before bed.

~ Use the bed for only sleeping, lovemaking, and perhaps reading before bed.

~ Nap only 15-20 minutes in the early afternoon, if necessary.

~ Keep a sleep diary to track patterns.

~ Eat 3-4 hours before bed and avoid heavy meals. Some evidence suggests that a light carbohydrate snack before bed helps sleep.

~ If possible, protect sleep from intrusions (unexpected noises); consider wearing earplugs.

~ If you don’t fall asleep within 30 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until your body and mind feel tired.

~ Meditate, listen to soothing music, or create other nighttime rituals that signal it’s time to sleep.

~Use blackout curtains to block light.

~ Buy and use a reliable, effective alarm clock.

~Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow.

(Source: Rosekind, 2008)

Try these suggestions and begin to put sleep at the top of your priorities.  If problems still persist, you may want to talk to your doctor about possible sleep disorders and get the correct tests/studies to see if you do have one.  Sleep isn’t just for babies and children; it’s for all of us. The hours we spend resting and sleeping will benefit the hours we are awake.  You will see results by choosing to get the right amount of sleep. Try it!  You’ll like it cuz sleep – it does a body good!

I was one of the 1 in 3….

26 Nov

I recently read an article in my Women’s Health Magazine that brought back a flood of emotions and caused my heart to tighten in my chest as I remembered a time not too long ago where I was living some of what was written in the article.  I hesitated to write this blog but decided to write it because someone else could be one of those women and trying to deny what is happening to them. 

Domestic Terror is the issue and the statistic is 1 in 3 women in the U.S. experience violence at the hands of a man in her life.  1 in 4 U.S. women have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (hit with a fist, beaten, slammed into something, etc.).  1 in 2 have experienced psychological aggression (insults, humiliation, name-calling, coercive control). 1 in 6 have been stalked by an intimate partner. These numbers are way too high and something needs to be done.  Women need to be educated and taught that is okay to walk away and to seek help. 

Thankfully, I got out of the relationship before it turned into physical abuse but mental/verbal abuse is just as bad and does as much damage on the emotions and wellbeing of a woman.  I was blessed that my recovery time was short and I had a great support system that was there when I decided to be open and honest and admit what was going on.  Also, I am blessed to have an uncle who is a retired cop who had a “one-on-one” conversation with the guy and let him know what would be done if he tried to contact me ever again. 

You may wonder how a woman would allow herself to be in a situation where a man could abuse her….it’s easy.  You ignore the red flags, and you are willing to overlook certain behavior because you want to prove to that person that they are wrong in what they say about you or think about you.  You also observe him being kind, friendly, charming with others so you begin to think the issue is with you or that maybe you are overreacting and being petty.  Most often, after an argument or episode, he will be very charming and make you forget about what just happen.  You will keep your opinions to yourself to avoid an explosive argument….even stating my opinion on a certain book sent him into a rage one night. 

The article  gives some behaviors to watch for…warning signs that a man could be an abuser.  The Source is Debby Tucker, executive director of the National Center on Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence:

1 – constantly checking up on you

2 – Isolating you by criticizing close friends.

3 – Driving a wedge between you and family.

4 – Acting overly charming.

5 – Monitoring your social media accounts and pushing for access.

6 – Moving too fast in a relationship.

7 – Wanting to control the finances.

8 – Putting down your appearance.

9 – Dismissing your opinions quickly – or worse, calling you stupid.

Ladies, if the man you are dating exhibits ANY of these behaviors, please break off the relationship completely and get counsel.  When I say break off the relationship, I mean to break it off and have no more communication at all with him.  The guy I was with had several of these behaviors – and I wish I had read this list to know and be aware before I got in too deep.  Again, I am very blessed that we broke up before it turned physical – I remember the last night…a conversation turned into him exploding with anger because he was convinced I was lying to him and was going to a conference to meet someone. He proceeded to yell, cuss me out, and  throw a piece of furniture across the room.  I remember thinking, “what am I going to do if he hits me?” I think that is the moment things started becoming clear to me. 

Another reason why I almost didn’t write this blog is I realize what could happen should the wrong person read this and report back to him.  But the day I cut off all communication with him is also the day I stopped allowing him to control me in any kind of way.  I will never share his name or give away his identity but I will share my story to help other women get out of abusive situations because I believe everything we go through in life is to help someone else.  I never want any woman to have any of those feelings of low self-worth and that nothing you do is good enough.  Please don’t be a statistic.  Be Smart. Be Safe. Value yourself, your wellbeing, and your health.  Don’t be one of the 1 in 3.

Puzzle Pieces

15 Nov

This week was one of those weeks of question, uncertainty, and just feeling like pieces of dreams were falling all around me.  There are two of my friends that I group text with on a daily basis – we live in different states but our daily tag-ins keep us apprised of our days and what is going on in our lives.  My week started out with a negative doctor’s report and I was quick to text them and just share my fears and my doubts and my worries.  Both my girlfriends were there for me with words of encouragement and hope.  My friend, Dawn, made a great statement that has really stuck with me.  She said, ‘God will bring the puzzle pieces together in an organized fashion.’  Now, I’ve done several puzzles; in fact, my nieces and I have started a tradition of buying a Christmas puzzle and putting it together during Christmas break.  When you have 1,000 pieces all over the table, it can be quite overwhelming but you start with you foundation first – all the pieces that have a flat side you start connecting so you can make the frame.  And then you look for similarities and colors and start trying to fit pieces together.  You don’t wait to check if pieces will fit until you have found the perfect match…you just start trying to connect them.  If one piece doesn’t fit, you put it aside and try another.  That’s how life is…..you have the general frame of what you picture for your life and then there’s the pieces that somehow will fill the middle and make a beautiful picture.  You try things – sometimes they don’t work; but you don’t stop. You try something else.  You try a relationship and that person may not be the right fit at the time…so you go to another piece.  You make connections and you develop a network and somehow, eventually, more and more pieces fit together and it gets easier and easier to see the big picture and bring the puzzle to its completed perfection.  I’m not going to leave a puzzle half-finished with pieces scattered everywhere…i’m going to keep trying pieces and know that the puzzle will come together and will look better than what I could have pictured from just looking at the box!