Sunday, August 28, 2016

Where have I been?

This past month has been a whirlwind.

My "diet" went completely out the window.

My bike was in the shop and the puppy ate my helmet, so I took an unexpected 3 week break from riding.  Almost gave up completely on doing this years' Ride To Remember.  I just didn't see the point. Why bother? You can't do this ride if you aren't training for it.
Ride to Remember, 2015
I finally finished the master schedule at work, which was excruciating and mentally consuming. I never want to do it again. I become everyone's worst enemy because they don't like the schedule, they don't like how it came out, there is this, that or the other problem. I have seriously had it.  School starts tomorrow, can you tell I am frustrated??
During our Faculty Meeting on Thursday, the other counselors and I were sitting on the floor in the auditorium working on our students' schedules.  I am sooo over it!
I had exactly two days off this summer. Two.
If you count the 4th of July, I had three days off.
During my long weekend "vacation", we went up to Little Allum Pond and spent the afternoon relaxing on the water with some friends.
Not being a quitter, I started training for the Ride to Remember three weeks ago, and resolved to stick to my 3 x week goal.  So far, so good. I feel STRONG and am enjoying riding more than I remember. In fact, I love it.  (I loved it before, but sometimes you forget how much.)
Rode for almost 70 miles last Saturday with over 4K of climbing.  Had an amazing time!  This is me at the top of Mt. Skinner.
Removing all dietary restrictions (not that I really had any, but...) and eating whatever I want  (when I'm hungry) has given me a lot more energy to ride this year. I feel like my "care free" food attitude has made a big difference in my energy level.
Did the Southwick Rail Trail a couple weeks ago.
Why haven't I been keeping up the blog?

I hinted to you that I've been going through something personal this year and it has really taken a toll on me emotionally.  I haven't been going to the gym as much as I am used to either because I'm in such a rut that I can only focus on one thing at a time. Right now, it's riding.
Sooooo hot!!!  First ride out withe my new gears and new helmet.  Talk about sweat!!!
Sleep was escaping me, and often still does. But the sheer exhaustion from riding my bike 100-125 miles per week has made sleep much easier.

I am largely in survival mode right now, makes it very difficult to write motivational blog entries.  Practicing what I preach during tough times is an internal struggle.  I can't give up. I know that.

Here are some truths I need to remind myself of daily....

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
1 Chronicles 16:11

The Ride to Remember 2015 is in a little less than three weeks.  I am actually looking forward to it!  In a few minutes, I'm going out for a ride.  Maybe I will be able to shake off some of the stress from getting ready for school to start tomorrow!

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58
To close, here's a message I got this morning from my dear friend Amy:

"God knows and wants us to lean into very vulnerable...but it's the safest place to be."

Advice to live by...

Question for you...Answer in the comment section below.
Are you excited about "Back to School?"
What fun / exciting things did you do this summer?

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Monday, August 1, 2016

The Change Factor

I wrote this post on Friday, on my way to work.  Usually I proofread my posts before I publish them, so I saved it and said, "I'll put it up later."  My weekend was crazy busy and I never had a chance.  So here it is, a few days late...

Recently I started talking about transformation.  Transformation is defined as:  a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance; a metamorphosis during the life cycle of an animal.  I can tell you that my weight loss and physical training has resulted in both types of transformation. The physical transformation does not maintain without continued effort, which requires a transformation in both my day to day behavior, as the internal dialogue that occurs daily in my mind.
April, 2011 at Epcot Center
I've shared briefly with you that I have some personal things going on in my life right now.  One contributor was the nagging tic toc of trying to finish my degree.   After all the work I did to get to this point, I really had second thoughts about my goal to become an administrator and I did not have the drive to finish.  Uggh.

Another has been dealing with my shoulder injury.  I don't tend to handle pain well.  I have very poor pain tolerance, but I also never tend to listen to my body and allow it to heal.  You would be amazed at what you actually use your shoulder for and how simple day to day tasks can affect it.  I am almost eight weeks into this injury and it's only the realization that I need to STOP so my shoulder can recover.  So, my training has had to alter completely.  Furthermore, I've had to STOP feeling sorry for myself and look at this as a detour, not a road block.  Trying to hurdle the problem is not allowing my shoulder to heal. I'm learning this lesson.  But I'm not feeling sorry for myself anymore.
There are some other things going on that I can't really talk about here.  Suffice to say, it's required me to do a whole lot of praying and trusting the Lord to resolve these matters.  When things are out of your control and there is absolutely nothing you can do about the situation, the biggest mistake you can make is to allow your worries to consume you, becoming their own road block.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51:  10-12  (NIV)

I found myself looking inward.  Instead of being diligent with my nutrition and training, I made short cuts.  I would buy a container of ice cream and eat it all in two nights...adding hot fudge or caramel sauce to make it extra delicious.  I wasn't working out because my shoulder hurt, because I was busy or tired.  I ate potatoes with butter and sour cream.  I didn't care.  I felt like, "What's the point?"

When I got on the scale at the beginning of July...  I had gained a total of 15 lbs. since my lowest weight last fall.  While I had gained a few pounds back after riding season was over and was feeling good, the upward slide was out of control.  I realized what was happening and said, "Enough!"
I enjoyed my holiday weekend, guilt free and the following week I started an entirely new fitness regimen to help me refocus.

This.  This is it.  This is THE Change Factor that you need to have to make transformation true.  Life happens.  It does, but you are in control of how you allow it to affect you.

I hear people say things like this all the time:

"I need to lose weight first, before I work out."


"I haven't worked out in over a month.  I feel horrible."


"I'm so busy right now, I just don't have time."

The change factor I am talking about is the one that takes place inside of you.  It's the one that says, "Get your butt off the couch and get to the gym."  OR  "What are you doing?  Why are you eating that?"   When you are being truthful to yourself, you stop making excuses, you stop letting obstacles get in your way, you tell yourself you are worth it.  And you act on it.

Hearing the internal dialogue is really what is important.  You have to hear yourself, what you say to yourself about what is keeping you back.  And then you have to find a way around it.

I'm happy to say, I FINALLY finished my degree this week.  The only thing left to do is to apply for my license with the Massachusetts Department of Education and wait for it to be reviewed.
I'm soooooooooo happy and sooooooooo relieved!
I am also happy to say that I have one physical therapy appointment left and I feel confident that I can continue the work I started there and slowly rebuild the strength in my shoulder.  I realize I can't over do it.  This is the hurdle that will prevent my recovery.

So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10  (NIV)

While life's other challenges are still happening... with ups and downs, it has been good for me to really trust the Lord with it all.  I've been having a very hard time sleeping lately.  As much as I try to give it all to Him, I wake up at 3:00 a.m. feeling helpless and wrought with worry.  The other night, I woke up with a sign that God has this under control and I can't tell you how relieved that made me feel.  We aren't through this yet, but God is good!

Even in the middle of the night!
In times of trouble, it is only when we truly seek Him that we find peace.
The More I Seek You by Christ for the Nations, featuring Kari Jobe

As long as your focus is internal...and you keep looking at your problems, your circumstances, your condition, you will not be able to move forward.  Instead, look out, look up and refuse to let it all keep you down.

10 Signs You're Doing Well in Life
(Even if You Don't Feel Like It)

When I started this blog a little over a year ago, I described it as my "journey" towards fitness.  And that's what it is.  This is a journey.  There is no race, you get to finish line and you've suddenly arrived.  It doesn't work that way.

If you are trying to lose weight, get fit, thinking about a change in career or going back to school...if you are at a cross roads of change...I challenge you to really examine your internal dialogue and take steps to act on what you need to do to affect that change.

The change factor requires BOTH an internal shift in how you think AND action.

You CAN do this!

At Sunday's family reunion.

Question for you...Answer in the comment section below.
What did you do this weekend?

Now:  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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