General Reflections

Fake It To Make It So

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I have always said I wouldn’t sugar coat my wellness journey – there are ups and downs. I seem to be in a valley right now…

I’m having a rough time as of late. I feel beaten up.  I have just a sense of blah around most things in my life right now. I’ve been trying to sit back and reflect on it though. Could it be the mid-life crisis that people talk about?

I’m in my early 40’s, although closer to mid 40’s than I sometimes realize – I’ve been in the VA area since 1996. I’ve had ups and downs career wise. I’ve gotten married, had kids, and helped my husband battle a serious health issue. I live in a nice suburban area, own my home – my kids are fed, receiving a great education, have family that loves them. Same can be said about me – I have a great husband who is my biggest champion, my kids are amazing – so, why do I feel lonely and unfulfilled lately?

fake-it-till-you-make-it

I feel unconnected and bored – not really feeling close to many people around me. I‘m having issues staying on point with my nutrition as well. I feel like a big blob and have been making excuses for eating crap.

I believe that in the idea “fake it until you make it“, surround yourself with positive people and words. Being down and being around a bunch of Debby Downer people and thoughts doesn’t do anything to help pull you out.

Positive Life

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

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what would you tell your younger self

I saw this posted question the other day and it made me pause. It’s an interesting question to ponder.

Now that my daughter is entering her teen years and has started to experience all that goes with it, it has put me in a reflective mood. She has already begun dealing with friend drama, body image worries, and embarrassing parents.  I want to let her experience things without being a helicopter parent, but also benefit from the knowledge that I have. I didn’t have a picture perfect childhood and want to do whatever I can to prevent her from experiencing some of it.  I see traits in her personality that mirror mine and it worries me sometimes.  I know there is only so much I can do as her mom – sigh…

As for me answering that question – I would tell myself to not let fear control my decisions. I was always so scared of being uncomfortable, craved stability and that made me so rigid. I saw things one way and that was it – wasn’t open to trying anything new and was so scared to just take a chance.  How about you?

Oh and I would definitely tell myself to start exercising as an outlet for stress – I often wish I was in shape from the onset!

11 Things I Wish I Could Say To My Younger Self

Be Proud

 

Obesity at Disney: A Snapshot of Our World

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It was changeconfront6 years ago, during my last trip to Disney,  I started to get my ass in gear and began taking care of myself. Having just gotten back a few days ago from my family’s latest trip there, it became clear to me how many people in the world need to do the same.

Before I go off on a rant about my observations, I want to preface it with the following: Everyone, no matter who they are, what size they are, where they come from, how much money they make, deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.

It seemed to me that something like 80% of the visitors to Disney were overweight. Every park, every hotel; There was an exorbitant amount of seriously obese people everywhere I went. And 9 out of 10 people who were using scooters, were obese.

I guess I live somewhat of a sheltered life in that my social circles – it’s not the norm. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of people who could stand to lose some weight and/or get moving but that’s not what I am talking about. The shock was how many out of control obese people were there.  Before someone points out that it’s an economic thing – these were people visiting Disney! It’s not exactly the definition of affordable.

There are a few things that upset me about seeing this microcosm of our world:

  1. For a majority of the morbidly obese, something in their lives is out of control. It’s not about the food, it’s about what’s going on in their head. To see how many people are so out of control in their lives was shocking.
  2. I understand that everyone has a story and you can’t tell what’s going on in someone else’s world by looking, but it appeared that many of them seem resigned to accept their circumstances. They are obese, it is what it is and they ‘live’ with it. They eat the processed, crap, junk food as if that’s how you should eat.
  3. To add on to my second point above, renting scooters instead of walking isn’t going to help anyone’s situation. I pointed out to my daughter that the average human skeleton isn’t designed to carry a ton of extra weight. It’s hard on the knees, feet – joints in general so I understand the reasons for renting a scooter but there were so many of them in the parks during my visit. So many of the obese people I saw were also in scooters.
  4. They are passing bad habits on to their children. Obviously, being at Disney, there are a ton of parents. It was clear that children are growing up learning their parents’ bad habits. Many of the obese adults I saw had children who were also dealing with their own obesity issues.
  5. While everyone is free to live the way they want, it’s a fact that obesity costs everyone. “The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. Childhood obesity alone is responsible for $14 billion in direct medical costs.”  PhitAmerica compiled 10 Flabbergasting Costs of America’s Obesity Epidemic that really highlights how obesity isn’t just a personal issue.

While I am totally for splurging while on vacation and Disney is a great place to do that – it is possible to eat healthy there…

The resort we stayed at Port Orleans: French Quarter had a fridge that had containers of fresh fruit and veggies available during all hours in their restaurant. I also noticed that each ‘quick snack’ store also had some options available. Also, if you have any special dietary needs, you simply ask for the Chef. The Chef will come out to discuss your needs and try his/her best to accommodate what you need. We tested it each and every morning with my son’s gluten allergy. I also brought some single serve Justin’s Almond Butter with me so I could dip fresh apples or celery in it for a quick, healthy breakfast or snack during the trip.

So, what’s my point? It was shock to me to see how many people are so out of control in their lives that they let themselves go to that extent. It was shocking, sad and made me angry too. We all have to take personal responsibility for who we are in this world.

Is the obesity epidemic caused by lack of education? is it because of economics?  Is it generational? Yes, yes and yes but does that make it right? No.

We need to participate in the discussion and come up with innovative, strong ways to address it – together.

Fake It Until You Make It

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I’ve always said that I will be honest when I take to this blog — the triumphs, the struggles, the shit times and the great moments of my life. So be warned…

The past few months I’ve been struggling. Struggling to remain focused. Struggling to get my ass in gear — I’m not sure what’s up with me.  have been making bad food choices on the regular even though I can tell they are wreaking havoc on my body.  I’ve been having crappy workouts –and even hit the snooze or skip the alarm all together, letting sleep win over working out at 6A.  I lost my mojo for CrossFit, have been doing boxing – which I love but it’s not giving me the workout ‘high’ I need every time. And it’s hard to get my body warmed up and full engaged to box at 6A.

I’ve been losing focus on things I have always loved which seems to make things worse. Before you tell me, I am going to talk with my doctor about my changing mood — but it’s an odd feeling. You know you ‘should’ do certain things and ‘want’ to do them but the effort to do them seems exhausting. Even calling the doctor at the first sign of trouble.. does that make sense?

Getting used to working full time is tough too. The entire house has to readjust to Mom not being home all the time to take care of the little things. Some days it seems overwhelming — I know I am being a Debbie Downer but not every day is sunshine and rainbows. I try to live by the Fake it until you Make it motto but some days it gets to me. Today is one of those days…

I am searching for a way to feel re-energized and refocused and so far haven’t had a ton of luck…

Me as Darth Vader

Halloween Party 2014

We are headed out on vacation at the end of this week to a sunny location so perhaps that will lighten my mood and of course even when I am not feeling like it – I hit the gym. I always feel better afterwards. Even a bad workout is a good workout.

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Tell Your Story and Let It Go

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I regularly read the musings of an entrepreneur, writer James Altucher. He seems to have a really good perspective and gives good advice.

 Here’s a short excerpt from the Post by James Altucher.

How do you prepare for a good death?

I think we live in four dimensions at the same time.

The physical world, where we can get stabbed in the heart and bleed. The emotional world, where we can get stabbed in the heart and cry.

The mental world, where we can get stabbed in the head and get demented. And the spiritual world where we get stuck living in the past, filled with regret and anxiety.

Stress is the knife of the emotional world. Stress leads to inflammation of the cells (again, I’m a doctor).

The major causes of death in the US: heart attacks, cancer, strokes, Alzheimers – all caused by inflammation. And then diseases caused by smoking. Don’t smoke.

If all you do is work on ways to reduce stress, avoid time travel (obsessing on past and future), and of course, don’t smoke, then you will start preparing for a good death.

Everyone wraps themselves in their dramas: their friends, their family, their divorces, their failures. We build up a mythology of our misery. The pantheon of people who “did this to us”.

Can you take a break from that for today? Just today please. And then maybe tomorrow. If you can’t, then text me why.

Because the truth is:

Nobody did anything to you.

Except your mother.

One of the comments left really spoke to me and it’s something I am going to put into practice…

I did a workshop with a great life coach more than a decade ago, which focused on how people create their personal narratives, and she said she had a rule that she would only tell a story to other people 3 times and after that she’d let it go because to keep re-telling gave it far too much weight and life and kept her from moving on. I try to remember that rule when there is drama in my life; it really does minimize stress, regret and anxiety.

Finding Your Passion & Making A Difference

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“We’re successful if person by person we help make a difference in their lives.”  

Read this article about Elizabeth Holmes, who has made medical history and is now one of the youngest billionaires based on her invention.  What’s amazing about her story is she took a risk, a leap of faith supported by a passion and a purpose and it paid off.. (an understatement as she is a billionaire now).

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about following your passion and doing work that is meaningful to you and makes a difference in the world.  When was the last time you sat down and really gave your life a good look, asking yourself if you are doing something that satisfies you and contributes to your happiness? For many of us – that sort of stuff changes, or we really have no clue what path we are meant to walk down. And I realize, in most cases life doesn’t allow us to just drop everything and try a bunch of different paths  – but I do think we can choose to do something every day that gets us closer to figuring out what makes us happy.

There’s lots of advice about how to find your passion out there, but I particularly liked Psychology Today’s post: Five Steps to Finding Your Passion because one of the suggested steps was to think back to your childhood to help guide you.  What did you love to do as a child? 

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Today’s Reason to Workout = Improves Concentration

From Forbes:

6 Ways Exercise Makes You Smarter

Dr. John Ratey, author of “Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” says that exercise improves your brain in the short term by raising your focus for two to three hours afterwards.

In the long term, it can even help starve off brain aging and Alzheimer’s. This works on the cellular level through neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to improve itself with blood flow and levels of brain-derived protein.

Boxing - Heart Rate

Don’t Let Them Dull Your Sparkle

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Everyone knows that person who leads with their tales of how life has done them wrong. You meet them, say hello –and within the second or third sentence, they have already begun to over share and you are left feeling a bit awkward. Or the person you’ve known that is the Eeyore of the world. Everything is Hard…(say that in the Eeyore voice). My advice to handle them — keep them at arm’s length and don’t let them dull your sparkle. If that’s not possible, then refer to my brother’s advice, given years ago to me: Treat them like a visiting ambassador in your home.  

Whenever I start to lose my shit over someone, I try to put that saying into practice and realize the interaction, visit will soon be over.

We can all change

 

Keep Learning Online For Free

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Since I switched things up last night and went in for a boxing class, I took today as a rest day.

Keep LearningA huge part of staying fit is exercising your mind by constantly learning new things and challenging yourself. That can mean trying to master a new skill, learn a new subject or adopt a new behavior. Whatever it is — it’s jarring the established connections already made in your head. There’s a bunch of research out there about how learning new skills keeps your mind sharp while you age. 

I’ve been doing research on what FREE online education classes are available. It’s no surprise that you can find practically any subject and topic imaginable. No Excuse List lists sites ranging from languages to cooking and Business Insider listed out The 12 Best Free Online Business Courses To Take This Fall.  I encourage everyone out there to pick something they want to learn this Fall and go for it.

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Boxing heart rate 9.17.14

September 11: I Remember

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This was written by my husband last year on 9/11:

9/11 I Remember

I Remember…

Whenever I see the numbers 9 and 11, I remember.

Whenever I fly and go through airport security, I remember.

Whenever I drive past the Pentagon, I remember.

Whenever I see the New York City skyline, I remember.

Whenever someone says “Let’s Roll”, I remember.

Whenever I see the letters F.D.N.Y. or N.Y.P.D., I remember.

Whenever I see Giuliani, or hear his name, I remember.

Whenever I see an American flag at half staff, I remember.

Whenever the Department of Homeland Security is mentioned, I remember.

Whenever I hear about a U.S. soldier being killed in action, I remember.

I remember seeing my yet to be born daughter for the first time via sonogram, and how happy I was. I remember the confusion going on in the doctor’s office as we were leaving, but not understanding why.

I remember my boss calling me as I drove to work late, and her telling me to turn around because they were evacuating the campus.

I remember being glued to the television, when the second plane hit the south tower, and I remember watching the footage over and over again until it was permanently etched into my brain.

I remember people hanging out the windows, and then falling/jumping to escape the fire.

I remember the shock of watching the south tower collapse.

I remember “All circuits are busy” when trying to use the phone.

I remember hearing false information about the Pentagon, and the White House.

I remember being scared and helpless when the north tower collapsed.

I remember footage of thousands of people walking out of the city, covered in grey ash.

I remember newscasters switching from talking about and showing the horror, to honoring and showing the heroes.

I remember reading the scroll at the bottom of the screen for hours and days.

I remember breaking down and sobbing in the middle of the night as I thought about all of those lives lost.

I remember mobile surface to air missile launchers deployed around Washington D.C.

I remember David Letterman, coming back on the air and not telling any jokes.

I remember New York City tourism grinding to a halt, and making it a point to show my support by visiting.

I remember seeing the gaping hole where the Twin Towers stood from the top of the Empire State Building, and the site still smoldering over a month after 9/11.

I remember walking all over the city with my pregnant wife, and having a great time.

I remember Shock and Awe.

I remember ignorant people saying horrible things about Muslims.

I remember having a great sense of Patriotism, and being thankful for the brave men and women who serve in our military.

I remember crazy conspiracy theories.

I remember President Bush standing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln with a banner that read “Mission Accomplished” in 2003.

I remember the U.S. soldiers that were killed in action.

I remember having a conversation with a young coworker about where we were when the planes hit, and he replied in middle school – I remember I am getting older.

I remember how precious life is, and how much I love my family and friends.

I remember that the world was forever changed.

You are damn right I remember……..everyday.

Being Less Judgmental Day to Day

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Be Curious, Not JudgmentalI came across a blog post by one of my CrossFit friends who runs Craic in MA – and it enhanced a previous blog post I wrote last week – how not judging others is one of the hardest behaviors for so many of us to do. Think about all the ways you judge things in the course of a day. A few examples like the weather, your outfit, how you feel, your hair – you make judgments on those things before you even leave you house in the morning.  John writes:

“If your goal is lasting change then it’s going to take work. It doesn’t matter if you want the body of your dreams, more money in your bank account, a more fulfilling career, or in this case – to be more accepting of others for the choices they make.”

And that’s what I am trying to do — with a new job, new people to meet, I have decided to put my best foot forward and make some changes to how I react and respond in certain situations. The other day I was showing someone pictures from Facebook and they immediately made a comment about the way someone looked and I challenged them about it.  It’s easy to sit back and decide who someone is without really considering what walking in their shoes may be like.

Here’s another good post about judging: Judge Not. Failing That? Learn A Lot. that may offer some insight. To be less judgmental day to day definitely takes awareness, practice and work, which is probably why many of us choose to focus on other goals.

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Quote: be in love with your life

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“Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul go into business together and this time it’s legal…barely. Find out what happens when Julia Louis-Dreyfus becomes a client, trying to offload television’s most coveted item, in this video starring three Emmy Award winners. ”

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Boxing heart rate data 8.20.14

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