Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pillars of Salt

Are you familiar with the Biblical story of Lot's wife?

The long story short is that Lot was Abraham's nephew.  Lot and his family lived in Sodom, which was a very wicked city.  When God decided to destroy the city, He provided a way for Lot and his family to escape Sodom safely, but they were given directions to leave quickly and not look back.  As they were fleeing the city, Lot's wife looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt.
Photo from Jordan's Photo Gallery
Lately this story has been ringing in my head.  Looking back often provides a sense of nostalgia and brings good memories.  But for me, every time I get an "on this day" reminder on Facebook, I go, "Ugggh" and am sad.  Now that spring is FINALLY here, I can bring out my spring clothes.  But instead of being super happy to wear them, they are snug in all the wrong areas.  I want to scream.
This dress does still fit.  Do you see the difference?
So, truth be told, I have not gained much, if any weight in the past year.  I hover within the same five pounds.  But I have had a year that I would truly like to NOT look back on.

But one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13b-14

In June of last year I hurt my shoulder, which took over six months to heal.  Just thinking about it makes my shoulder twinge.
How it all began... A day of kayaking and paddling on a Stand Up Board was more than my shoulder could take.  Add in two years of heavy weight lifting and ... ouch.
In October I had surgery on the varicose veins in my leg and developed some post-operative complications, which meant I had to have a second procedure in December.  During recovery I had to serious limit my exercise routine.
Amazing that there are no pictures of my scarred up legs.... Go figure, what woman wants pictures of their nasty varicose veins?  Or better yet, the ugly post-operative scars?
Then in February of this year I injured my back when I was cleaning my basement.  A month later I fell on black ice in the parking lot at work and reinjured my back.

Not a day I want to remember!!!!
It has not been a fun year.
Recovery got me like...
I can't really even tell you what that does to a person who has worked so hard to lose weight and become fit...

Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Tracey!!
I feel like my lean body has turned to complete flab.  So now I get to practice what I preach on myself.  It's no longer about giving you all kinds of tips on how to be motivated, it's a giant transition back to find the inspiration, courage and determination to move forward for ME.

Big ol' grin as I write this post...
At 5:00 a.m.
I no longer have a personal trainer to kick me in the butt, so it means I get to do that myself.  And THAT is its own challenge.

So, if you notice some changes in my blog the next few months, it will be all about moving forward in my own journey.  Looking back does not help me.

Goal #1 is to be able to do three sets of 10 push-ups again.  I honestly think that won't take long to do, so I'm setting a small goal.


April 20, 2015 was when I first accomplished this goal!  Back to basics for me.

I have several other goals too, but let's focus on one thing at a time.  Learning to "listen to my body" and to not overdo it means baby steps.  I'll share them here.

Finding motivation to go forward means a working on a few things too...
Developing a routine and sticking to it.
Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition.
It's time to stop all the night time snacking.  No more ice cream!  At least not every night.
Accountability is a huge one for me, so tag, you're it. I'll be looking to you, my readers, to be my cheerleaders.

It's 5:25 a.m.  I am going to make myself some eggs and get to the gym for 6:00 a.m. when they open.  Normally I don't go this early, but I've been up since 3:00 a.m., I feel pretty good, so let's seize the day!

Here is my song for today...not such a workout tune, but definitely one to live by...
How You Live by Point of Grace
"It's not what you did, it's how you live."

Questions for you: (answer in the comment section below)
What motivates you best to work out?  To eat right?  What do you have planned for today?

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

How to Beat the Munchies

Out in the real world, a lot of people ask me questions about how to lose weight and various other ideas.  One I seem to be fielding the most lately is, "How do you deal with snacking?"

So, let me ask you...

Do you find that you eat well all day, only to come home and want to eat everything in sight?
Do you go searching for anything you can have to satisfy that need to munch?
Is night time or after work the hardest time for you?  
Or is it resisting the goodies everyone brings into the office to "share"?

I'll be honest, I love to eat and the more I think I've got snacking figured out, the harder it is to control.
There are a few tips or strategies you can follow to help with the munchies, but they require a little forethought.  Failure to anticipate your needs will lead you to self-sabotage, so the trick is to know what will satisfy your cravings, while simultaneously satisfying your needs.

The first trick is to plan healthy snacks.  Think about it, if you eat breakfast at 6, lunch at about noon and dinner at 6, or so, that's a long time between meals.  So, to keep yourself satisfied, you really should have mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.  Nothing crazy, but a couple healthy snacks on hand. Planning basically means you have the food accessible.  Most of my snacks don't require any prep, just making sure the fridge / shelves are stocked.

Here are some suggestions:
Almonds (1 oz. = 160 calories, 6 g carbs, 14 g fat, 6 g protein)
A protein bar (depending on the brand = 200 calories, 16-23 g carbs, 6-7 g fat, 20-21 g protein
An apple with peanut butter (270 calories, 29 carb, 16 g fat, 8 g protein)
Greek yogurt with 1/2 serving granola (I use Bear Naked granola)  (195 calories, 22 g carbs, 4 g fat, 18 g protein)
A protein shake with a frozen banana (235 calories, 30 g carb, 2 g fat, 28 g protein)  I use left over cold coffee for my liquid and it makes a great pre / post-workout snack! (Not pictured)  Leave it in the blender a little longer than normal and viola!
Note one common thread: these just about ALL have a decent amount of protein AND healthy fats.

Things to avoid:
  • Trigger foods (for me, that's raisins, chocolate, cookies). What do you eat that makes you want more and more?  You may want to keep these kinds of things OUT of the house completely.
  • High carb foods with little to no protein or fat - while an orange or baked potato chips may taste good, they may not sustain you.  Try some fruit with cottage cheese or nut butter instead. (That's why I'll have an apple with peanut butter.)
If you are truly hungry, make sure you are eating enough for breakfast and lunch.  Skipping meals, or not eating enough, lends to hunger.  If you find that nothing satisfies you, binging is a potential hazard, which is an entirely different problem in and of itself.

When you feel hungry, but you know you shouldn't be hungry, ask yourself if you really are thirsty.  Chances are a glass of water will take care of your need to munch.  I just had a handful of almonds and two glasses of water and I feel much better.
I keep water in the fridge all the time, with sliced lemon.  It taste much better than straight from the tap and is a lot less expensive than drinking bottled water all the time.
When all else fails, try gum.  Yep, sugarless gum might just satisfy your need to chew and your need for something sweet.  One slice of Extra gum is only five calories.

If it's ice cream you love, try Skinny Cows.  I recommend you keep them out of reach, so one is enough. I keep these in the freezer in the basement and save them for my night time snack.  It satisfies my need for ice cream without a ton of bed time calories.
160 calories:  28 g. carbs, 3.5 g fat, 4 g protein

Thought I'd start sharing my favorite workout tunes with you.  Share yours in the comment section.  Here is my absolute new favorite workout song:
Chained to the Rhythm by Katy Perry, feat. Skip Marley


Questions for you: (answer in the comment section below)
How do you beat the munchies?  Do you prefer sweet treats of salty treats?  What's your one major trigger food?

Subscribe to new posts!  When a new post is added, you will receive an email notice so you can check it out.  I promise:  no SPAM and I won't share your email address with anyone.  Look at the top right side of the page to subscribe.  

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Little Things

So, I disobeyed my doctor yesterday and I pushed myself more than I have in a long time.  Yep, probably over did it a little.  I didn't push through pain, but I did lift weights, go hiking and take a bike ride.  Two years ago, that was my definition of a perfect day, only my bike ride was 40 miles and I was lifting 100 lbs.  It's 2017, let's try 15 lbs and a 5 mile bike ride.  A month ago I couldn't even tie my shoes, so that's a huge improvement!!!  I'll take it.
Monument Mountain, Great Barrington, MA
A friend of ours ran the Boston Marathon yesterday.  I'm so proud of him.  He hurt his knee in January, tore the meniscus and was told, "No running."  He trained for the marathon anyway and did it, even through the pain.
Here's a picture of the medal he got!!!  He texted this to my hubby last night.  I bet he didn't know I'd put it up on my blog.  Go Marty!  Super super proud of you!!!!
On Saturday I did a 5K race, only I walked because of my back.  This race welcomed walkers, so I was happy to participate.  There was a group there from Achilles International, which supports runners with disabilities.
Some of the disabled runners had special bikes designed just for them.
The lady in the middle here is a blind runner.
I was super impressed with this group.  Each athlete has guides that run along side of them.  I have to be honest, as "happy" as I was to be outside on Saturday, walking and participating in this race, I really wanted to run.  I could feel it in my soul.  I just wanted to run.  Participating in this race with these athletes really gave me a fresh perspective.

I am not disabled.  I am well.  I am healthy.  Sure, I have a sore back.  Yes, I'm dealing with this and it sucks to go through this.  But I will get through it.  I will recover, this is not permanent.

While I didn't run, I did walk as fast as I could and I was keeping a really good pace.  Just about 14 - 15 minutes per mile.  My normal walking pace is about 18 - 20 minutes per mile, so I was pushing it.  In fact, I was at the front of all the walkers.  Not trying to compete with anyone, just myself, I took advantage of the beautiful day and I totally turned my self-pity upside down.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14

I'm not entirely sure why I ever even started running.  I have a bum knee and the doctor told me, "No running!" years ago.  In fact, he lectured me sternly about it.  But last summer I just sort of started doing it.
A post-run selfie last December
Saturday I was inspired by the people who were run-walking in front of me too.  I was able to keep up with them for most of the race because, well... I guess it just worked out that way.  Witnessing their determination was good for me.
This couple would run about two - three house lengths, then walk, then run, then walk.  I reminded me of when I started running...that's what I did.  I measured my distance of running by driveways.
The ladies on the left of this picture were run / walking with the little boy.  He was such a trooper.  3.1 miles is a LONG way to run for me, let alone this little guy.  He tried with all his might.

The lady on the right was such an inspiration.  She just kept at it, never giving up.  Towards the end there was a pretty decent sized hill and she went up that hill as fast as she could.  The last 1/2 mile, her friend came out and ran the last trek with her, cheering her on.

Okay, so I have a sore back.  And it's no joke.  When tying your shoes is a big deal, you treasure every little accomplishment.  So, it's time to stop feeling sorry for myself.  Today is the day.
More pics from our hike.  Joey, Leia and Sam
Princess Leia
Treasure the little things.  You are blessed.
O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forevermore
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord Oh Lord Our God

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Psalm 146:5

Questions for you: (answer in the comment section below)
Are you a runner?  How do you deal with injuries when you are training?  What's the worst injury you've had?

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Square One

Looking back is such a thing these days.  There are #ThrowbackThursdays and #FlashbackFridays.  Timehop reminds you of what you've posted on various social media sites.
Even Facebook has an "On This Day" reminder of the things you said over the past x number of years you've been on Facebook.  Sometimes it's embarrassing and you think, "Did I really say that?"  Usually  it's kind of nice to reminisce and think about where you've been, what you've done.

When the New Year rolled around, I was excited.  I thought to myself, "This is YOUR year!"  I was committed to regaining the strength I lost between my shoulder and recovering from multiple surgeries on my leg.  I was finally cleared to go all out and that's exactly what I did.  Until this happened: Down and Out.

Over the past 3+ years, I have been so focused on fitness that going from 100 to zero is a major blow.  Now I measure progress in terms of tying shoes, taking a walk without pain, cleaning the house, and picking up the laundry basket, and simply making it through the day.  I am restricted from doing just about everything that makes me happy.  No weight lifting, no running, no cycling. My doctor told me, "Back pain is tricky.  You have to listen to your body."
I couldn't run this race, so I walked, while my running buddies ran.  They were good sports and didn't mind waiting for me.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day for this race.l
Listen to my body?  What does that mean?

I have ALWAYS adhered to, "No pain, no gain."  "Give 100%"  What happens when you can't do the things you love?  What about when you were obese for your entire adult life and busted your butt to get in shape and now the rug is pulled out from beneath you?  Literally.

I wish I had all the answers to my own problems, but the thing is, "Back pain is tricky."  What works for one person, doesn't work for the next.  What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow.  But I do know, pushing through the pain will make things worse.  So, in this case, pain means "STOP."
Happy Easter from me and Sam
My doctor told me it could take a year.  A YEAR!  Are you serious?  He said, "You cannot put a time line on your recovery.  You have to listen to your body."

Listen to my body?  Here we go again.  What does that mean?

A year...

So, it's spring and I had already signed up for all kinds of races and other events, which I had to bail on:

  • A bunch of 5K races that I can't run.
  • The Run to Remember at the end of May.
  • The Tour de Cure and the Tough Mudder in June.

I have the Ride to Remember and the Rugged Maniac in September and I can only hope I am well enough to train for these in time.  But..."Back pain is tricky" and "Don't put a timeline on recovery."  So, I'm calculating how long I think I need, minimum to train for the Ride to Remember.  I'm not sure.  I think it depends on how well I can hold up riding for extended rides, once I actually can start riding again.

So, to answer your questions...
Yes, I am going to Physical Therapy.  Yes, it is helping.
Yes, I do still see my chiropractor, but this is a muscle injury, and there's not much more he can do.  It has to heal.
No, I haven't gained weight.  Not at all, really.  But my muscle mass has diminished and my clothes from last spring don't fit as well.  Great, just great.  It really is true, muscle weighs more than fat.
No, I'm not going to give up.  I realize that I am starting all over again.
My motto!
Back to square one.  And I also know I may not be able to move from square one for a while because, "Back pain is tricky." and "I have to listen to my body."
Today I did some very light weight lifting.  I mean, very light, like 10 - 15 lbs. light.  It felt good to just hold the weights in my hands.

While I already track my food, I am going to start tracking my workouts again, as well as my pain to see how I do every day.  I have to learn how to listen to my body.

I also realize that #FlashbackFridays and #ThrowbackThursdays are no good for me because all the retrospective is doing me in.  Looking back isn't doing me any good right now.  So it's looking ahead.  Starting over from square one.  Ground zero.  It's only up from here.

Question for you: (answer in the comment section below)
If you celebrate Easter, what did you do?

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Down and Out

Good morning!  Today is March 22, 2017, thirty two days since my last post.  Usually I would say something like, "I've been so busy." or "This happened and that happened."

Today, instead, I just want to post a quick note to let you know what's going on and why I've been so silent.
My daily wardrobe for the past ??? days,  Look at my smile!
Last month I strained my back while cleaning the basement.  The pain was agonizing.  I experienced horrifying muscle spasms.  At first I could barely walk without having one.  The first week, I went to my chiropractor three times, had a full body massage and was only getting worse.

My friend Katherine opened her hot tub up to me, which has been an amazing God send.  It has been my only source of relief for the past month.
The following week, I left work on Tuesday, in tears from the muscle spasms and spent the rest of the week at home recovering.  Rest and strictly following the doctors' orders, I was finally able to go back to work last Monday.

I was even cleared to go to the gym on Wednesday to do light cardio.  I did 30 minutes on the elliptical at a very slow pace, followed by very gentle back stretches.  On Thursday, I considered going to yoga class, but I decided my back needed to rest more than it needed the additional push with the yoga and I skipped it.


Friday was St. Patrick's Day.  I woke up super early and felt fantastic.  I finished cleaning all of my scrapbook supplies that had been in the basement.  I did two loads of laundry and even made dinner for me and my husband.  He had to work that night and I figured it would be easier for him to bring it to work and then my meal was already all set.  I was picking my older son up from college that night.  I had a lengthy to-do list at work and was so looking forward to tackling it.
All of my scrapbook supplies in order!!!  They were spread out all over the dining room since I started cleaning the basement.
I wore the new green shirt and shamrock socks that I bought to run in a St. Patrick's race.  I couldn't run because of my back, but it was Friday and I usually dress more casually on Friday.  My makeup and hair came out great.  I was so happy!  What a great day it was going to be!  I even got an extra-large coffee at Dunkin Donuts on my way to work because, "Why not?"

We had a huge snow storm in Massachusetts last week.  In fact, most of the country had the same storm.  The warm air on Thursday had melted some of the snow, which refroze over night.

On my way into the building, I slipped on the ice and fell on my back, re-injuring my already compromised back.

I can't even begin to tell you all that has happened since then.  To sum it up in three words:  pain, nausea, and tears.

There has been some other stuff going on, which I can't really get into.  Yesterday I was angry with God for my circumstances.  I found two verses which really helped me.
One is my life verse:
Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous; do not be discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9
God is with me.  He's got me.

And the second one, He gave me (when I was still mad) is this:

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7-8

I do trust in Him.  I do feel the heat right now and I do not need to be afraid.  He is with me.

I realize this was not the quick post I intended it to be.  Sitting is excruciating, but I did just have my morning dose of pain relief, so maybe that's why I'm able to write so much.  I will be back when I am feeling up to it.  In the mean time, please follow me on Snapchat (tracoleman993) or Instagram (@tracoleman99).  You can see my progress and updates there.  I am addicted.

Questions for you: (answer in the comment section below)
Have you ever hurt your back? How did it happen?  How do/ did you manage the pain?

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!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

STRESSED

Do you know?  I'm sure you have heard...

S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D spelled backwards is DESSERTS.


Yep, this is definitely how I became obese in the first place.  

This post is all about how stress affects weight loss efforts and three tips on how to address it.  We all have and deal with stress differently.  Sometimes stress comes in mega doses, like having a baby who won't let you sleep, struggling with relationship problems, caring for an aging parent, coping with health problems, dealing with overwhelming work demands, or being in the middle of any major life change.  How we manage the stress has a direct effect on our health and well being.  

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress has a negative effect on most major body systems.  The hypothalamus signals the production of epinephrine and cortisol, which are commonly referred to as "stress hormones."  Too much cortisol causes all kinds of disruptions to your body, including increased hunger and spikes and dips in your blood sugar level.  

It actually becomes a vicious cycle:


This graphic is just the tip of the iceberg.  Excess cortisol causes migraines, affects your mood, and your ability to sleep, just to name a few.  Okay, so now that you know stress is bad for you, what are you supposed to do about it?

Hearing that stress is bad for you and knowing you're stressed does NOT in and of itself help.  I remember how hard it was when my kids were little.  The last thing I wanted to hear was that I needed to reduce the stress in my life.  No kidding!!  

So, what do you do about stress?  If you have small children, you can't just give them away.  If you have a super stressful job, it's probably not likely you will just give that up.  The stress doesn't go away because you wish it. There are things you can do to manage your stress and even alleviate it.

Here are a few tips.  I have TRIED all of these and there are not quick fixes.  In fact, some of them directly contradict what you WANT to do when you are stressed.

One:  Exercise

Exercise daily.  Yes, it may seem counter intuitive to add one more thing to your to do list, but it works.
  • Taking 30-60 minutes per day to focus on only you, gives you time to yourself.  Knowing you are doing something to help yourself feel / be healthier eases your stress.  
  • Exercise produces endorphins which helps you to sleep and reduces stress.  
  • Furthermore, exercise provides all kinds of other benefits, such as reducing fatigue, improving concentration and cognitive functioning.  
  • Even on a busy day, I put my headphones in and take a walk.


Two:  Sleep

You need sleep to recover.  It allows both your body and brain to function better.  Most of us who are stressed struggle with being able to sleep.  Insomnia only adds to our ability to handle the stress, so it can become a vicious cycle.

Here is what works for me:

Nap when you can.  If you have a young child, nap when they nap.  It seriously is okay!!!  You can do whatever chores need to be done at another time.  If you are sleep deprived, a nap will help you recover some of the rest you needed.  And for whatever reason, napping does not prevent me from sleeping through the night later.  I LOVE naps!

Have a regular bed time.  Go to bed consistently at the same time.  It helps.  I swear by it.

Unplug.  Put your cell phone down and leave it alone for at least an hour before going to bed.  You seriously do not need to check social media, or play Words With Friends one more time before you go to bed.  My son told me this week that the blue light from my cell phone actually disturbs your sleep.  I checked it out and a study from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston supports that. (Why your cell phone causes sleep problems.)

If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't fall back to sleep, try this:

After 30 minutes of sleeplessness, give in and just get up for a little while.  DO NOT go on the computer and try to stay away from your cell phone.  Have a drink of water and lay down in another area of the house.  If you have night sweats or are cold, try to take care of that by changing your clothes or using an extra blanket.  Lay still for a little until your body is able to acclimate and fall back to sleep.

I watch reruns of Law & Order.  After about an hour, I turn it off and fall back to sleep.  Even though my sleep was interrupted, I almost always am able to get through the day.  If I can't fall back to sleep, I am at least resting and have kept my cognitive activity to a minimum, so my brain is able to rest, even if I am awake.  Most people will tell you to not watch TV, but this is what works for me.

Three:  Be Good to Yourself
  • Get a massage.
  • Get your nails done.
  • Meditate and pray.
  • Get up a little earlier than you normally do and try stretching with quiet music for 20 - 30 minutes.
  • Eat healthy - plan your meals.
  • Don't beat yourself up when things go wrong.
  • Talk to your friends.  
I am amazed at how many people tell me they don't have friends, or at least not friends they can talk to.  Making friends is so hard and I totally get it.  I lost a best friend last year and the thought of trusting someone else causes me so much anxiety.  But I could not get through life's challenges without having a confidant or two to help me.  

If you struggle with not having friends, you have to make a conscious effort to expand your circle, even if it's only by adding one or two people to your friend list.  Go to church and join a small group.  Have lunch with someone whose company you enjoy and make a point to do it more often.  Pray and ask God to meet your need and to give you courage to branch out and make a new friend.  These ladies are the backbone to my support system.  I can't imagine how I would get through without them.

The Bottom Line
When you are stressed, the most important thing you can do is try to alleviate your stress.  If it's a short term problem, recognize that you will get through it.  It may be hell for a week or a month, but it will eventually pass.  

If you are dealing with a more long term stressful situation, implement some of the things I mentioned above.  Even if it's small measures, a little can go a long way to help you manage whatever is in front of you.
Instrumental music is so soothing.  Some of my favorite artists are Jim Brickman, Kenny G and Yanni.  Just listen to the notes and let them cover you with peace and serenity.


Everyone's needs are uniquely individual, and I know finding time for it is often what interferes with being able to reduce your stress.  Often the feeling of "There's not enough of me to go around" is the one thing that stresses us out.  It is amazing the time you find when you prioritize it.  Knock out some of the things you feel like you absolutely "have to do" and wait until the weekend to do them.  If you have plans every weekend and just can't, then cut out some of the plans.  I'm serious.  Your kids will survive if they don't participate in a season of sports or if you take turns with another parent to bring them to practice.  Some of the things you think are so important probably are not deal breakers.  Housework can wait.  The earth will not end if there are fingerprints on the fridge and a pile of mail on the counter.

Take care of you.  Make yourself a priority so you can better take care of those who need you.  If you are stressed and unhappy, your family feels it.  You end up being someone you don't want to be.

Take care of you first


Tracey's  Getting Fit is celebrating it's two year anniversary!

Question for you: (answer in the comment section below)
What is one thing you do to help manage your stress?

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Happy Birthday to My Little Blog

I just got back from a 4 mile run with my husband and his buddy, Joe.  What a beautiful day and a GREAT run!

Last summer I decided to not reload "TimeHop" on my  new phone because Facebook features "On This Day" so you can look back and see what you posted last year (or years prior) on any particular day.  I actually have enjoyed this feature as it helps me to reflect on my journey and remember where I have come.

Today I was reminded that it is the two-year anniversary of "Tracey's Getting Fit."

Bear with me as I reminisce and share some highlights of the past two years.

Here is where it all began:

When I started this journey three years ago, it took me a little while, but I realized early on the importance of setting fitness goals was to my success.  Having something else to focus on besides just losing weight really drove me to stick with it.

Here are my top five favorite posts:

Mike Cobian was my personal trainer for over six months.  On November 30, 2014, he died suddenly.  This is a deeply personal entry about the effect he had on my life.  Even today, every time I ask myself, "Why bother?" Mike is in my head.  I hear him say to me, "Come on, Tracey, you got this." or "It's all you, Tracey."  

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

One of my most important fitness goals was to do a 100-mile bike ride called "The Ride to Remember."  The ride honors the memory of police officers who have died in the line of duty.  Growing up, I was always the last one picked in team sports, and now people call me an "athlete."  It's hard to think of myself as an athlete.  Who me?  Ummm, yeah, I think you are mistaken.  This entry, details my experience doing the Ride to Remember.

Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

What is beautiful?  Is it your outward appearance?  
Best quote from this post, "When I look in the mirror today, I see lines in my face where there were none before, but I don't see the tired, sad face that used to stare back at me.  Even still, it's hard to say, 'Yes, I am beautiful.'  Unless I look at the word differently."

Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7b


The school district where I work has a quarterly news paper that goes out, featuring various stories about what is going on in Springfield schools, as well as highlights about the accomplishments of our graduates and teachers.  In this post, I shared the article they wrote about my journey to lose weight and do the Ride to Remember.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

If it weren't for Dmitriy, none of my goals would have been accomplished.  Dmitriy changed my life.  Yes, I did the work, but Dmitriy gave me the keys to open doors I never even imagined I could open.  I love him dearly and am so grateful to him for everything he did for me.  He believed in me and made my dreams come true.

There are "friends" who destroy each other; but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24 (NLT)

My blog has helped me to remain accountable to myself.  Writing about my journey, what I've learned, and what's going on in my life, have been key to staying the course.  Life is not all candies and butterflies.  While this is not a favorite post, I do appreciate having this blog to share what's on my mind, even when it may not be pretty.

What's next?

I enjoy writing my blog, sharing with you along the way and I hope to keep doing the same.  I don't anticipate any major changes here at this point.  I appreciate my readers and I hope to grow my audience.

Thank you for sharing my journey with me!

Questions for you: (answer in the comment section below)
Do you like birthday cake?  What kind is your favorite?  Butter cream frosting or whipped?

Subscribe to new posts!  When a new post is added, you will receive an email notice so you can check it out.  I promise:  no SPAM and I won't share your email address with anyone.  Look at the top right side of the page to subscribe.  

Follow me...
Instagram:  @tracoleman99
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Email:  tracoleman99@gmail.com