Thursday, July 20, 2017

Running for a Cause

Someone asked me, "Why do you run?"

The truth is, I really am not crazy about running.  In fact, most people I know who run say the same thing.  Running is hard.  Super hard.  Yet, runners do it anyway.

Last week, my husband, Joe and I ran the Bubble Run in East Hartford.  Here's a glimpse...

We were like little kids running through the bubbles.  It was sooo much fun!  

So, even with my history of knee problems, that's why I run.  It's hard work, but it's fun!  I actually sort of started running by accident.  Last summer I started by doing intervals on the treadmill.  This turned into running outside to doing 5Ks.
SWEAT
One of the most appealing things about running is doing the races.  Local charities and non-profits organize races to raise money for their organization or to raise awareness for their cause.  A lot of people sign up for them either as a training run or to push their record to do even more.  I can tell you, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as a pack of runners rallying together for a good cause.  There is a tremendous amount of group energy and inspiration when everyone is laced up and ready to hit the pavement.
Maria & I at the Boston Run to Remember
So exciting!!!
For me, that's the thrill of the 5K.  Some day, maybe I'll train for a 10K or a 1/2 marathon, but for now, I am proud do do the 3.1 miles.  I feel like I just started running, and like I said, running is hard.  Super hard.  So, again, why do it?

I do it for me.  For the thrill, for how I feel after the run.  But I also do it for the cause.

I've run six different races.  My first run was last December and that was my best run.  I ran my best time, I think I was super nervous and I just wanted to kill it.  And so I did.
Our running team... I'm in the front, center.  This was a fundraiser for autism.
After recovering from the severity of my back injuries, I started running again in late April.  
The Tarentino Strong race is in honor of Officer Ronald Tarentino, Jr. who died in the line of duty in May, 2016.
When I started my blog, I started following other weight loss / fitness blogs.  RunEatRepeat is probably my favorite.  Monica Oliveras has a fun way of writing about running, food, health and life related concerns. She is a runner and she encourages her readers to get out there and run too.  Following her really motivated me to try running.  My husband has run for years and I've always watched from the sidelines.  It's disheartening to feel like I can't run.  Monica motivated me to try.  She's great for saying, "Just put on some shoes and run.  Yeah, that's all you have to do."

At first, I couldn't run very far at all.  I measured success by driveway lengths.  With each run, I tried to go a little further until I finally could run a mile, then 1.5, all the way to 3 miles.
I did a great little run in May to raise money for a Rotary Club scholarship.
Running can be hard on your joints, so it's important to have good footwear and stretch.  Flexibility is key to mobility, strength and endurance.  You want to take good care of your joints!

A little at-home yoga.
Races really help to keep your motivation up too and they are a great way to raise money for worthwhile causes.  Several years ago, a lady from my church started a ministry to raise awareness of human trafficking and to raise funds to provide care for its victims.  The name of the ministry she started is SHINE, which stands for Stop Human Trafficking In New England (the T in trafficking is not part of the acronym).  The major fundraiser they sponsor is a 5K run/walk.  As it is not just open to our church, it brings awareness of the problem to our community and raises money for partnering organizations involved with fighting the problem.  
My husband did the race in 2014, way before I was running.
It's a great event!
I realize I don't have to pay money to run.  It's probably the cheapest sport out there.  All you really need is a decent pair of sneakers.  But running for a cause does motivate me to improve.  It makes me happy to support local non-profits.
On National Sports Bra Squad Day, I ran the Westfield 5K to raise money for the local Boys & Girls Club.
It's rare, but you don't have to pay for every race you run.  The Tortoise and the Hare 3 Mile Run in Nahant is one such race.  You just show up, get your bib and run.
While on vacation in Nahant, we ran their annual 4th of July 3 mile fun run.
Like I said, the cause is a HUGE reason why I run races.  Raising money for scholarships, memorials, research and treatment for illnesses or just to support awareness - it's a huge part of why I pay that $20 - $30 to run a race.  If you are trying to raise money for a cause, think about sponsoring a 5/10K race.  I recommend making both an option to attract a bigger crowd.  It does take a little more planning, but if your purpose is to make money, you want to get as many participants as possible.  I have run races with under 50 runners and I've run races with hundreds, even thousands of runners.  It's a HUGE draw.  A well run, organized race will draw return runners who will bring their running friends.  You could even sponsor a few training runs in advance of the race, to get some new runners to participate.

So, what does it take to organize a race?   First of all, you need a cause.  What is it that you are passionate about and needs funding?  Then, get a team of people to support you in your efforts.
The Boston Run to Remember is in honor of first responders who died in the line of duty.
The most important part about planning the race is to get runners, so advertising is key.  I recommend using an online site, such as EventBrite to promote your race and help with your registrations. There is a small fee to these sites, but EventBrite is very reasonable and most of the proceeds go directly to your cause.
I wore old sneakers for the Bubble Run because I didn't want to ruin my good running shoes.  They were soaked by the time we were done!
To keep costs down, ask for donations for things like ... t-shirts, prizes, water and nutrition for runners.  See if you can get a local DJ to donate his/ her time and equipment for the event.  Contact local law enforcement agencies to inquire about the cost to keep your race safe.   You want to make sure runners have a safe path and do not have to run in traffic!  Many police departments will donate their time for good causes.  Or, perhaps there is a local park you can use with trails / roads for your runners.  Unless you have access to a facility with open restrooms, don't forget porta potties!!!!  Runners need to go!!!  And make sure you have enough of them!  There's nothing worse than running a 5K and then not being able to relieve yourself because there is a long line for the bathroom.

A couple things to consider....

Water stations along the run.  Runners need to hydrate and it's wise to have one or two areas where runners can grab a small cup of water or gatorade while they are mid-race.   You'll want a trash area close by because usually we quickly discard the cup after we swallow.

Fun activities.  Maybe you can have some prizes for costumes.  A good DJ will play great music at the start / finish line and adds a lot of fun to the race.   A pre- or post- race kids fun run is a way to ge the whole family involved.  Have some other related fitness contests after the run, such as a pull up bar, or jump rope / hula hoop contests.  While it may seem gimmicky, a lot of runners are fitness fanatics and love this kind of thing.  But, it's optional.
After the Bubble Run, they shot cannons of bubbles at us and it was so much fun!!  We were completely soaked in bubbles.
Professional photographers.  Your runners LOVE to see themselves run and it's great to have photographers stationed along the run.  Upload the pictures to your website and use a search tool to help runners find their picture (with the bib).
I kept every bibs from each race I've run.
Signage!!!  Make sure you have LOTS of signs for your runners.  Where to park, where the start line is, where registration is (day of and pre-registration), and MOST importantly, where to turn along the way!!!

It's not that complicated to plan and organize a race.  If you need to raise some money for your cause, DO IT!
Joe and my hubby, Brian.  My running partners.
If you want to run your first race, just do a google search for "EventBrite races" or "EventBrite 5K races" add your town to narrow down the search.  Don't be afraid to try!  There are new runners at every race I've ever run.  A lot of them walk along the way and that's perfectly okay.  The key is to stick with it.  Run a safe race.  You don't want any injuries along the way, so keep your eyes on the road, watch where you are going and if you have to walk a little bit to catch your breath, so be it.

For a girl who hates to run, I sure do have a lot to say about why I love it so much!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

Questions for you (answer in the comment section below):
Have you ever run a 5K?  A 10K?  What was your most memorable race?  If you haven't run one?  Why not?  Are you interested?  Message me....

Musical notes    
This is one of my FAVORITE songs!  I just love Maroon 5.  And this video is the best one I've ever seen.  I LOVE how they crash all these weddings.  Add this to your play list today!

Sugar by Maroon 4
Your sugar, yes please.  Won't you come and put it down on me?  I'm right here, 'cause I need
Little love, a little sympathy.  Yeah, you show me good loving.  Make it alright.  Need a little sweetness in my life.

Instagram:  @tracoleman99


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sometimes You Need a Little Help

I've been neglecting the blog again.  Whoops.

I started a different post, which needs something to make it more interesting, so it got put on the shelf.  Then we went away on vacation and ... here we are.

If you are a regular reader, you know I have been struggling with a bunch of different health related things over the past 12+ months.  After I hurt my back in March, my doctor told me not put a time line on my recovery.  "Listen to your body.  It could take a year, it could take longer."  I've already been dealing with my shoulder for a year, then my leg, now this.  The setback has thrown my anxiety into full blown depression, which I battle nearly every day.  I can have three or four really good days, followed by a week of feeling down.  It sucks the joy out of life.  To look at me, no one would really know.  I put on a good face.  I had an amazing day yesterday.  I went for a long bike ride with my friend Erica, then I went wine tasting with my friend Katherine.  I ordered a pizza for dinner, so I didn't even have to cook.  But last night I couldn't sleep, I laid in bed for almost two hours, wide awake, feeling so down.  Woke up super early and laid in bed awake for another two hours until I finally decided to get up.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17

Unless you have struggled with depression, it's hard to understand.  How do you have a great day, and then feel so down?  Nothing is really wrong, so you don't really want to talk about it.  Sometimes you catch yourself feeling it, realize you shouldn't be, and then you feel guilty for feeling the way you feel.  That's kind of what happened last night.  Usually a good night's sleep will help, but when that doesn't happen...

I went to church this morning.  The message was the first in a series entitled, "The Cross of Christ."  Our pastor talked about how we don't really fully understand the cross...  Christ knew no sin, but he gave EVERYTHING so we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21, adapted).  I left feeling encouraged.  My soul cries out, Hallelujah.  This song...
Man of Sorrows by Hillsong
Oh that rugged cross, my salvation, where Your love poured out over me.  Sent of heaven, God's own Son, to purchase and redeem..and reconcile the very ones who nailed Him to that tree.

In my last post, I told you I was going to start training with my friend Ashley.  Between my back and shoulder issues, I often feel defeated when I leave the gym.  It's one thing to have sore muscles, it's entirely different to push through back pain or to exasperate the tendinitis in my shoulder.  This is why I asked Ashley for help.  I've had two sessions with her and she's given me a workout plan, specifically to address my concerns about improving my strength and endurance.  

I have three different workouts, focusing on one of the major muscle groups each day and core strengthening each day.  She has me doing things I hate, like mountain climbers and burpees.  I hate burpees.  Really hate them.  But, she said, "It has to be uncomfortable for change to happen."  And I guess all my whining about my diminished strength and endurance means  I have to do things I don't like, even if it means doing burpees.  
Burpees are on for tomorrow.  Here are some messy mountain climbers.  I had to do 4 sets of 50.  I thought it said 5 sets of 50.... uggh.

It also means retraining my brain to muscle connections.  I've unconsciously been taking shortcuts to "protect" my back, while potentially putting myself in danger.  So instead of squats on the squat rack, it's kettle bells and focusing on depth and form...

I'm glad I have Ashley to work with me.  She's helps me with accountability too.  Today I wanted to stay home, instead I made sure I worked out.   I have to report out on how things are going at our next session.  No excuses.  No, "I was tired and feeling sorry for myself."  

Sometimes you just need a little help.  The trick is, asking for it.

Tonight I am feeling better.  I was able to accomplish a few things, grabbed a power nap, got to the gym, and even posted to my blog.  Breathe.

If you are interested in personal training, please contact me.  I can share with you my experiences and give you some guidelines for what to expect and how much it costs.

Question for you (answer in the comment section below):
Did you celebrate the 4th of July?  What did you do?

Musical notes    
Not only does this song have a super rhythm, which is perfect for longer runs, but it reminds me of my husband.  He is my superhero, my fairy tale bliss.  He's the one I want to turn to, the one I can kiss.


Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
But she said, where'd you wanna go? How much you wanna risk? I'm not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts, some superhero, some fairy tale bliss, just something I can turn to.  Somebody I can kiss.

Instagram:  @tracoleman99

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's Humbling

Happy Father's Day!  I hope you were able to celebrate with the man or men in your life that you love.  I had my dad over for lunch and spent the whole day with my husband.  It was nice.  Relaxing.  No fuss.
Dad & I
My biggest cheerleader
Brian & I
My heart
Back to the blog...so here is the bare honest truth.  This whole getting my game back on thing is extremely humbling.  I am perpetually feeling like starting all over again is just too much for me and the desire to throw in the towel seems to be nagging at me like crazy.

Discouragement knocks at my door every day and this afternoon I caught myself truly feeling sorry for myself.  Stop everything, get out the violins because poor, poor Tracey.  Oh my, when I realized I was wallowing in self pity, I pretty much slapped myself in the head and said, "Cut the bullsh** and get it together!"
So me!
Last week I set some pretty steep Goals for myself.
In my last post, I said to set realistic goals.  Realistic means ones you can actually attain.  Me?  I had a crazy busy week and planned two runs and two bike rides in one week.  I am lucky I got in one of each.

It's probably smart to a lot of people to set high goals so you can push yourself.  But me, I get discouraged too easily if I don't meet my goals.  I feel like I've failed, even if I've tried to reach them.  It's rubbish, but it's my Type A personality.
Courage.  That's what I need.
I did legs at the gym yesterday and my shoulder is bothering me, so I was going to skip working out today and just do some yoga at home.  Instead, I decided to do an at-home workout, followed by the yoga.  It was great.  I feel energized and encouraged.
I did 10 minutes going up and down the stairs, followed by a circuit of Kettle Bell swings, walking lunges, Kettle Bell Squats and bent over rows, that I repeated three times.
at home Yoga....feels so good.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 Corinthians 12:9-10

I also realize that I'm going to need some help as I work my way back.  Even though my proud self feels like she knows everything, I need someone to kick me in the butt.  I do.  So I asked my friend Ashley to help with me and we have plans for Wednesday.  It feels weird to have a new trainer.  This will be number four.  But I like Ashley, so if I feel like I can trust her after our first session together, I know it will be good for me to work with her.


For me, working with a trainer is less about having someone tell you what to do, and more about having someone to kick you in the butt, to encourage you when you're feeling down and to push you when you just don't want to.  I feel super whiney, so hopefully she won't be annoyed with me.
Looking forward to getting rid of the dueling voices and rebuilding my confidence.


This week's goals are a WHOLE lot more reasonable....

Question for you (answer in the comment section below):
Did you do anything for Father's Day?  What?

Musical notes    
A perfect workout tune for me...

There's Nothing Holding Me Back by Shawn Mendes

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Goals

How was your weekend?  We went away for a wedding in Maine and it was amazing.  What a great weekend!

This is Part Three in my series "All or Nothing." Today I am focusing on fitness and exercise. This has been my biggest mental hurdle over the past year because I have been dealing with one injury or health related issue after another, with virtually no relief.  My doctor has given me at least two stern talking to's about overdoing it. I have had to take a MAJOR step back and let my body heal, which has resulted in both some weight (fat) gain, a significant loss in muscle mass, and a blow to my routine.
This was during recovery from my back injury.
What used to be normal is now work. What used to be a warm up is now my work out. While I used to go out for a 30+ mile bike ride 2-3 times per week, I have only been on one this entire season.

I, myself am fighting the all or nothing game. I want to be what I was a year ago. Heck, I'll take where I was six months ago. But that's not the case, so I stand here at the crossroads of "Try again, do it again, it's worth it!" and "Ugggh, I don't want to do this. It's hard."


When my motivation is high, I tend to overdo it. I just got over a migraine that lasted 10 days. And my shoulder has been bothering me for the past couple days.  It stinks to get old.


This post is all about setting weekly, or even daily fitness goals.   If you are just getting started, or are working your way back from injury or medical issues, the key to long term success is to start small.  Don’t set impossible goals you cannot achieve.  Be practical.  It's okay to reach a little, but don't set unattainable goals and set yourself up for failure.
I am thinking one bike ride is realistic and two is probably a stretch, but I am going to try to ride on Wednesday and again on Saturday morning.
I am doing this, starting today.  My nutrition for the weekend was literally off the chart, so today I am going to reign in the food demons and make sure I get my workouts in for the week, and that’s what my goals reflect.

I took the word "vacation" to heart.  I ate and ate and ate.  Rum Raisin ice cream on top and Peanut Butter Fudge Swirl on the bottom with a waffle cone bowl.  OMG, to die for.
For me, the mind game has to some extent been about time. I find myself thinking, "If I can't get to the gym and workout for an hour, why bother" has been a trap.  Truth be told, my weight on the scale hasn't changed more than 5 lbs since Christmas, and that's because I've got my nutrition figured out pretty well. But your muscle mass will diminish if you don't train, and that's what has happened. The rule about muscle weighing more than fat is fact, not fiction. So while the scale hasn't moved around much, my clothes don't fit like they used to.  The image in the mirror is not as sexy as it was. I don't like it.
I got to the gym yesterday and did a push workout.  Just because my nutrition was a mess for the weekend doesn't mean I couldn't work out.  It felt good to be home.
I battle between what I want (now) and what I want (long term). It's a struggle. And the problem is two fold. One: physically, I can't do what I could do or I run the risk of reinjury. Two: I have to turn off the nagging voice in my head that tells me to quit, to give up.  It’s so easy to just let my busy schedule take over my days.


This whole learning to listen to my body means turning off the dueling voices in my head.

Here are today's goals:
Part of my issue has been time and today is no exception.  I am bringing my gym stuff to work, going to the gym on my way home and then to my 4:00 p.m. appointment.
My challenge for you this week is to set some goals.  Make them SMALL and ACHIEVABLE.  If you don't work out at all, don't set out to walk six miles every day.  Try 3-5 walks per week ... maybe 1 - 2 miles per walk.  And, don't forget the weights.  Try a basic introductory workout at the gym like this one from BodyBuilding.com:  Best Beginning Weight Trainer Guide with Easy-to-Follow Workout or this one The Complete 4-Week Beginner's Workout Program from MuscleAndFitness.com.  The trick is start small and light.  Do NOT put the maximum amount of weight on the rack, thinking you got it.  If it feels like you got it, take it down at least one notch.  Focus on form over the amount of weight.  You don't want to overdo it and either hurt yourself or quit.

Questions for you (answer in the comment section below):
What did you do this weekend?
What goals do you have for the week?


Musical notes    

This is another MUST have on my playlist.  A definite favorite!

Can't Stop This Feeling by Justin Timberlake
I got the sunshine in my pocket, got that good soul in my feet...


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Sunday, June 4, 2017

All or Nothing: Part Two

All or Nothing...this is a topic I have been discussing with my friends lately and I thought I'd bring up the subject with my readers here, since it seems to be a popular theme.  I wrote Part One earlier this week, where I talk about mindset.  The idea that we have to do it all, or why bother trying seems to resonate with many.  Recognizing and addressing this mindset is instrumental in long term success.  It can be All or Nothing, but it doesn't have to be.

In this post, I want to talk a little bit about nutrition.

Many of my friends struggle with weight loss and talk to me about their struggles.  A few have gone as far as to tell me, "I can't do things your way, I have to do it this way."  And I do understand.  But if you want to lose weight, you have to address your nutrition.  Quick fix remedies that we often try, don't lend themselves to long term or sustainable success.
I have written a lot about nutrition on my blog.  In fact, I wrote an entire series on nutrition last year.  You can check it out here:  Flexible Dieting Basics.  In a nutshell, I keep track of everything I eat and drink.  If it has calories, I track it all: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. 

For people just getting started, you have to realize this is a learning process.  You don't have to do it all or know it all right at the beginning.  You learn how to read food labels, how to truly track your food, or how to assess your macros, you might think to yourself, "I can't do this.  It's too much.  It's too hard."

It's the "all" or "nothing" mindset that defeats them before they are even out of the gate.

If you have not read the first part of this post, I would encourage you to do so.  All or Nothing: Part One.  Starting with and keeping the right mindset about losing weight or getting in shape is critical.  It is a learning process.

So, nutrition.

If you are trying to lose weight and want to do it right, but are susceptible to this "All or Nothing" way of thinking, focus on ONE area to get started.  Where do you struggle?  See if you can work on that one thing.  Here are a couple suggestions.

  • Try JUST keeping track of your food and beverage for a week.  Whatever you eat or drink, add it into MyFitnessPal.  Don't worry about what you eat during the first week, just track it all.  After the first week, start to make some adjustments.


OR

  • Try to increase your protein every day to at least 100 grams of protein.  You'll have to keep track of the protein you eat to reach 100 grams.  Try this: two eggs and / or egg whites for breakfast, at least two protein rich snacks (e.g. Greek yogurt or protein bar), 5-6 oz. lean protein for lunch (6-8 oz. for dinner), and maybe a protein shake post workout.  This should get you there, or pretty close.


OR

  • Think about how to address night time snacking.  Eat a little more during the day so you're not hungry.  Skip snacks that are high in carbs or refined sugars.  Try an apple with peanut butter, or one of those new low sugar / protein ice creams.

I bought a few of these ($4.59 / pint at Big Y).  So far I've only tried the Peanut Butter Cup.  As a person with an ice cream problem, I will be honest... it doesn't really taste like true ice cream.  But it does meet my need for sweet, cold and creamy.  Halo Top Flavors here.  I can eat about 1/2 pint and not feel guilty
OR

  • If you don't eat breakfast, start eating a protein rich breakfast for a week.  Every day, one week, try: two eggs with one slice of whole grain toast  (add some peanut butter if you want), a Greek yogurt with granola, a protein shake.  Avoid cereals high in refined sugar, muffins and bagels.



If you are afraid to move forward because you feel like it has to be All or Nothing, try to change just one thing in your diet.  See how you do /feel after one week.  Make only ONE change in your routine.  In one week, see how it worked for you.  Consider it an experiment on yourself.  Positive results are empowering and give a lot of motivation to improve in other areas.  Let me know how you do, I'll be interested in your results..

Throughout this series, I will talk about other nutritional areas you can begin to address.  Keep it simple and see if you notice any difference.  This is a learning process.  You are learning about nutrition, as well as how what you eat affects you.  

Questions for you (answer in the comment section below):
What is your one biggest nutritional challenge?  (Mine is night time snacking.)
Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Musical notes 
This song has kind of a long intro, but once it kicks in, there is a super melodic beat that is great for running or working out to a steady beat.
Hymn for the Weekend by Coldplay
Oh, angel sent from up above.  You know you make my world light up.  When I was down, went I was hurt, you came to lift me up.  ....  Then we'll shoot across the sky.


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Instagram:  @tracoleman99


Monday, May 29, 2017

All or Nothing: Part One

All or Nothing is a theme I have been discussing with several of my friends over the past couple of months.  I decided to write about it here.

For those of us who struggle with body image, weight management or trying to exercise, it seems to be a thought process we all have in common.

If I have to lose weight, I have to do it all or why bother.
This is NOT me!!!  But, if I think, "I have to look like that, or why bother?", I only set myself up for failure.
If I am trying to lose weight and I blow my diet, I might as well throw the towel in, because "I just can't do it."
#AllTheCarbs
If I join a gym and am faithful to workout two - three times per week, but then I have a tough week and just can't get there, "What's the point?"


It seems like those of us who struggle with our weight fall into this thought pattern and I want to try to address it here.

So, today's post is about this particular mindset.

I was overweight for most of my adult life. I did the yo-yo diet thing, repeatedly lost 20 - 30 lbs., only to put it back on again.  And again.  And again.  As I got older, my metabolism slowed down and the weight became harder to shed and the things I used to do for the "quick loss" didn't work anymore.  If I had a bad day, I would just go to town because I'd already blown it.  The problem was that getting back on the right path became increasingly more difficult every time I blew it and the mindset changed to, "I just can't do this. Why bother?  I'm a failure."

If this rings true to you, I want you to practice a few positive mindset tricks that have helped me.

1.  Focus on today ONLY.  Don't worry about tomorrow, just today.  Try to get through today and make it the best day you can.  If things go well, CELEBRATE!  If you have more of roller coaster day, don't let the downs derail you.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34
The "all or nothing" mentality has been something I have seriously struggled with since I hurt my back this winter.   While I've managed to keep my weight technically in check, I lost a lot of muscle mass and my strength has diminished drastically.  What I forget is how far I have come.  This side by side picture shows a HUGE transformation from where I started three years ago to where I am today.  And even though I am not where I was a year ago, learning that it doesn't have to be ALL or NOTHING keeps me in check and makes me humble.
2.  Create a mantra.  Your mantra is the positive expression or saying or word you say to yourself to help you.  Maybe it motivates you.  Maybe it helps you to keep your focus.  Maybe it just makes you smile.

When I was losing weight, my mantra was:
You are not a quitter, you can do this.

Now that I pretty much have that part down, I have a new mantra:
You are enough.  You are beautiful.  You are loved.

Maybe that sounds super self-indulgent of me.  But when you struggle with body image issues, it is important to hold onto these basic truths to keep yourself real.

Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

3.  It's all about baby steps.  Every step you take in the right direction is a win.  BELIEVE this!

Have you ever seen a baby learning to walk?

They use a walker, or maybe they furniture surf.  Their parents hold their hands to support them.  They fall down.  A LOT.  But eventually they walk - unsupported.

Do you remember learning to ride a bike?  

You didn't just get on the bike and were off.  Maybe you had training wheels. Maybe someone held the back of your bike while you tried to pedal down the street.  Maybe you fell a dozen or so times.  But you learned how to ride it.

Or learning how to swim?  

When you first started swimming, you probably had an adult with you to hold you up, to make sure you didn't sink.  Maybe you used swimmies or a kickboard.  Maybe you had lessons.  They didn't just throw you in the deep end of the pool and expect you to be Michael Phelps.  You struggled, but eventually you learned how to float, how to kick, how to move forward.  Maybe you even learned all the strokes.

Well, with losing weight or developing a healthy lifestyle, you can't expect yourself to just get it all right at the first try.  This kind of thinking will ultimately end in defeat.  It does not have to be ALL or NOTHING.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Stay tuned for more on this topic...

Part Two is here.

Questions for you (answer in the comment section below):
If you have a bad day, how do you get back on track?
Did you do anything fun this weekend?

Musical notes 

I've been running more often lately and have added several new songs to my playlist.  I realize I need some even beat mellow tunes to set the pace so I don't put everything I have out there on my first mile or two, so I switched things up a little.  The audio version of this song has a great beat and is awesome for running or working out...

It Ain't Me by Selena Gomez (feat. Kygo)
Who's gonna walk you through the dark side of the morning?

It ain't me.  It ain't me.


On a side note, sorry I haven't written anything in a month.  If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know I've been posting updates there, but life and a lack of inspiration has made writing a challenge.

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Instagram:  @tracoleman99
Email:  tracoleman99@gmail.com