Magna Cum Boring

I have sat through no less that 20 commencement addresses in my adult life.  As a Community College staff member, I attend our graduation ceremony every year.  And every year I wonder if it will be something memorable to thrill and inspire, and nearly every year I am disappointed.  If you are reading this and have given a commencement address I have endured, sorry.  But, you could have been one of the ones I remember!  I just don’t want to single anyone out by saying so…

035-annual-commencement-full

Anyway, there is a point is saying this. I have always sat in those seats and thought that I wanted to be the one up there giving the commencement address.  I work with these students day in and day out and I see a small part of the struggle they overcome to earn the right to sit in those seats and endure that address.  I want to motivate and inspire them.  I want to congratulate and encourage them.  I want to look out into the audience and say to their friends and family members that I know “someone in this auditorium wants to be sitting in these seats as a graduate and YOU CAN DO IT.”  All of the graduates have proven that if you want a goal badly enough, you can make the sacrifices to get there.

But then on the way home this year, I realized, that other than work at the the college for 17 years, I haven’t done anything worthy of delivering a commencement address.  Who I am I?  What have I done?  How can I inspire someone?

I have had this same thought many times as I encourage students to overcome their obstacles and reach their goals.  I then realize what a hypocrite I am.  I have this weight struggle that I have been dealing with across the desk from them for years and have not, up until this point, made the sacrifice, set the goals, and had the determination to stick with it to get this weight off.    

So I have decided that I will someday be worthy of the invitation to give a commencement address.  I will have a before and after of at least 200 pounds difference to show that setting goals, finding your why, and building your support team can help you accomplish anything you set your mind to.

If you are reading this and are on the graduation committee, I will be looking forward to my invitation to speak in 2020!  

What dreams are you working to make come true?

I am Wonder Woman!

How does a 284 pound woman walk 6 miles on a Saturday morning in June?  One. step. at. a. time.  My plan when I went to bed last night was to try 5 miles today.  But I woke up and wondered if I could walk a 10K (6.2 miles).  I decided I would, and that is where the adventure began.  Like Mel Robbins says in many of her talks, if you could amplify my thoughts for the rest of the world to hear, I would not be allowed to walk around unsupervised.  If you are not one of the 9.4 million views on her Ted Talk linked above, take some time today to listen!

File_000

Why yes, I was rocking some bright blue compression socks.  Thanks for asking!   They are pretty awesome!

 

I want to do this blog post to let you know that the end result of what you see people do is not the whole story.  Six miles may not be a big deal to some people reading this and to others it might seem impossible.  For me, it is a big deal.  Four months ago, I was 51 pounds heavier, and completely sedentary.  I could probably walk two miles under duress and could knock out a 5K if given enough time.  But it certainly wasn’t part of my routine to exercise.  My sister and cousin were running a marathon and I was going with them to walk a 5K in March, so I started walking more and have built up to walking more regularly now.  My friend challenged me to join a virtual event to do 200 miles in 100 days this summer.  It is keeping me on my toes!

So anyway, back to today’s walk.  I like to listen to audiobooks when I walk.  Today I pulled up some YouTube videos by Mel Robbins to listen to.  It is a great way to stay motivated.  I was listening to her talk about how we never feel like doing difficult things in our life, so if we wait until we feel like doing something, we won’t.  Her advice is that if you have a thought or idea, move on it within 5 seconds or your brain will stop you – especially if it is out of your normal realm of behavior/action.

I had multiple times during my walk when I wanted to just turn back and call it a day.  It was hot, I ended up with some blisters, the sun was beating down on me.  I had to remind myself multiple times that taking a 6 mile walk was just a series of taking one step at a time.  And that is what I focused on – the next step I had to take. And every time the lady on the RunKeeper app would announce that I had completed the next .5 mile increment, I would glance over my shoulder to make sure no children were in the area and mutter “fuck, yeah!” or “your’re a badass” or both!  

I had a couple of encounters during my walk that made me smile.  One was a lady who was walking in the same park I was and was walking toward me.  We shared some encouraging words with one another.  The other was a very sweet lady when I was at about mile 5.5 who was also walking in the park.  She stopped me and asked me if I needed some water because my face was so flushed.  I assured her I was almost home and thanked her for her offer.  You know you are reaching for the stars when even an innocent bystander wonders if you are about to keel over.  If that lady ends up reading this, thanks so much for asking.  I know when I about fell over when we stopped to chat, I wasn’t super convincing, but I did make it home just fine.

Do I have plans to do 6 miles any time in the near future?  No.  Did I enjoy it?  Not really.  Am I glad I did it and really proud of myself? Absolutely!  

What will you challenge yourself with this week?  What will you stop talking yourself out of doing?  Go after it! You CAN DO IT!

The Gift, A F*CK, and Me

“Once you get ‘it’, you have to give it away to keep it.  It’s a gift” – FatDag’s friend regarding recovery from addiction (posted on WW Connect).

I have been listening to so many books lately to feed my my mind and keep me motivated and everything seems to fall into place and I find what I need when I need it.  I started a couple of weeks ago with a book called “The Life Changing Magic of not giving a Fuck” by Sarah Knight,  Wow oh wow was there freedom in that book for me.  Finally permission to stop giving a fuck about every little thing.  I have been slowly removing guilt from my life and this book was the swift kick in the ass that I needed.  I realized that like Sarah says, I really do have a Fuck Budget and I can only give so many fucks and then I am all out, so I have to choose what I spend them on.  This book is one I highly recommend.  She discusses how not to be an asshole while being direct about what you will no longer be giving your fucks to.  

The life changing magic of not giving a fuck

I followed up with her book called “Get your Shit Together.”  It is quite a nice sequel to the first and also was exactly what I needed.  While I haven’t done all the exercises in this book, it inspired me to tackle the mess that is our family financial situation. Apparently if you avoid looking at the checking account regularly, it doesn’t magically grow.  Who knew?

And now, I discovered Mel Robbins on YouTube and just started her book “Stop Saying You’re Fine” and while I am not far into it, it has begun to inspire me to start making some of my dreams a reality.  

My dream is to have weight loss success, and someday help people who have struggled with their weight all their lives like I have.  I want to encourage and inspire them.  I want them to realize, like I have started to, that it isn’t just about getting the weight off. It is about gaining the mental and physical freedom that comes with not being weighed down by the pounds, the guilt, and the disappointment that comes with a lifetime of failed attempts at weight loss.  There is freedom on the other side and I want people to experience that.  

I was starting to doubt my dream and wonder in the sea of voices discussing weight loss how I could be unique or different or even add anything to the conversation.  But I have decided after the FatDag quote above that I am not going to worry about any of that.  I have been given a gift and if I don’t give it away, I will lose it.  

I am committing to waking up everyday and finding a way to give that gift away.

What gift have you been given?  What dream have you been sitting on?  What are you allowing fear to stop you from doing?

Take a Bath

What I am feeding myself on this journey is not just about the physical.  It is also about the mental.  From humor to inspiration to practical advice and suggestions, I am on a constant diet of motivation.  The good news is, motivation doesn’t cost points, calories, carbs or macros.  No matter what you are counting, motivation can be a part of your daily intake.

My favorite Zig Ziglar quote is, “They say motivation doesn’t last, but neither does bathing, that’s why they recommend it daily.”  This constant daily diet of motivation is what it takes to counteract all of the things in our environment that can pull us away from our goals.  From those damn TV commercials for the big burgers or the amazing ice cream to the people who “kindly” bring cupcakes and donuts to work, challenges surround us.

My daily motivation comes from many sources: Instagram, Weight Watchers connect, My WW buddy/bestie, friends, and family, podcasts, and Facebook.  Any time I want to turn to food, I have been turning to technology or someone in my life I trust.  Motivation and support is just a click away in many cases.  Use all of your resources!  I have set up a pinterest board called “Wisdom” for the motivating quotes I like – check it out!

How do you bathe daily in motivation?  

TED Talk Tuesday 5.23.17: Mindset

I love TED Talks.  I love that they are short and on a variety of topics. So for the next few Tuesdays I will be showcasing a different TED talk and discuss how I will be incorporating it into my journey.

TED Talk Tuesday

This week’s TED talk is by Carrie Green and is entitled “Programming Your Mind for Success.”  She discusses the extreme importance of mindset on your road to better health.  By describing a series of experiments she an her colleagues preformed with hotel housekeepers, factory workers, and university students drinking milkshakes, she was able to show how one small tweak in the way we think of things has a huge impact on the outcome.

The hotel housekeepers for instance, by the nature of their jobs, get a significant amount of exercise each day.  But when they were asked if the exercise, most of them said no because they don’t intentionally exercise.  By very simply showing one group of housekeepers a poster that showed how many calories they were burning with each cleaning task they did,  that group had statistically significantly better health when the researchers returned.  Their weight and blood pressure was down – and they did not report adding any extra exercise.

So all of this made me wonder if the mindset we have during our weight loss journey by default has the potential to impact our weight loss one way or the other.  If we go in worrying that this will be another time to fail is it inevitable that we will fail.  If we go in with a mindset set on success and feed that positive mindset regularly, are we more likely to succeed? I’m going to take a guess and say YES.

So what is your mindset? Are you convinced you are going to be successful?