Saturday, May 19, 2012

Nowhere in Particular

The wind through my hair
the sun on my face
no inner dialogue to succumb to
just pure peacefulness filling me up

Stress relieving, thigh strengthening, sweat producing bliss

Riding to nowhere in particular
taking in the scenery

Surrounded by nature

Enveloped in love

Enjoying the company of family with racing hearts and laughter

Pedaling through life, thinking only happy thoughts

Speeding backwards in time to when things were simple
things were real

To childhood hopes and dreams

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Not Just Another Idea

In life, we go through so many stages trying to find ourselves. We enter school, for the first time and search for friends who are fun to play with, but as we get older we yearn for one who will not only understand us, but accept us even when they don't. Friendships have come and gone my whole existence. I seem to gravitate towards the weirdos or loners, if you will. The ones who seem to have lost their way. Some of those friendships are still hanging on by a very thin thread, while others got tossed by the wayside for one reason or another. Some have even blossomed into the best friendships I've ever had. And just like friends, ideas have come and gone. Exciting me at their presence, making me fall head over heals in love and then boring me when I, or they, have nothing left to offer. I think I've "found" myself several times over, yet nothing ever seemed to stick, until now.

If you know me, you know I've been on the path to getting healthy for a number of years. Even in this moment, I'm finding new ways to incorporate new health practices into my lifestyle. Which brings me to the main point of this blog. Sure, I'm studying to become a health coach and I'm virtually surrounded by health nuts galore, however I'm still not quite as healthy as most of them, which is fine. I don't need to be a Raw Vegan to be thin or to have ultimate health. I haven't even given up on meat. What I need is to remain who I am while finding out what works for my body and that's exactly what I intend to help my future clients figure out for themselves.

I live in a town where we have the limited options of Meijer, Walmart, Kroger, or Chief to shop for groceries. Meijer has the best options as far as organic produce goes. We don't have the luxury of a Whole Foods or Trader Joes. We have our dinky, little Farmer's Market during the end of Spring and throughout Summer and that's about as local as it gets around here. The people I want to work with are struggling to find healthy because it's hard to find it in our smallish town. It's been difficult for me and my family and we're as healthy as can be right now. Sure, we can be healthier, who couldn't be? Precisely my point. This is my target market. Real people who have families and jobs. Mothers who need balance between kids and husbands. Women who want a permanent fix in the weight loss category. Individuals who are unaware of how to eat healthy or what to cook for dinner. Real people just like myself. I may eat healthy, but I'm still learning how to add in more whole foods and crowd out sugar and processed foods. I have no clue how to prepare tofu or tempeh. Shoot, I recently just learned how to make quinoa. So yeah, I'm learning and experiencing it for myself so that I can share that knowledge with others to help them live better lives.

Health coaching, from my perspective, isn't simply me handing over the secrets of living healthy. It's me, lending an ear and possibly a shoulder for people who have real problems they want solved. It's not just showing others how to eat better or to motivate them to fit more physical activity into their lives. Being a health coach means being there and helping others find balance in their chaos. It's me, slowly changing the world, one person at a time. This is my passion. This is my life and I intend to do the very best job that I possibly can so that this idea isn't just an idea years down the road.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Body Image

Recently, an old friend tagged me in some really old pictures from my youth. Looking back, I came to the realization that I didn't look quite as bad as I once imaged myself to be. You see, growing up, I always considered myself to be of the chubby variety, mostly in part of the way others treated me. My step dad used to ask me if it was necessary for me to be eating certain foods because I didn't want to be a fat kid. I always retaliated with,"Well, look at your belly." Of course, that usually got me in trouble, but now that I think about it, he was partly to blame for the foods I was putting into my mouth. Also, I was in the 4th grade! Thanks for the words of encouragement, "dad". I took his harsh criticism and instead of using it to make myself not turn into the kid he envisioned me, I ate Little Debbies as afternoon snacks, cookies and cake for breakfast, drank plenty of soda, even though my mom soon limited us to one per day, but my point is, I obviously became an emotional eater. No, I was not overweight, but I did have a problem.

I remember looking down at myself, many a time, and silently hating my stomach, which I was pretty much doomed for life to always tote around. To me, that was my body and I would always have to live with the rolls or the extra layer of flab that covered my pre-teen mid section. Boys didn't like me because I wasn't as thin or pretty as the other girls. Soon after, I developed the "I'm not good enough" mindset and settled on being the chubby girl. I wasn't raised to watch my figure or to exercise, although my mom did cook great meals for us growing up, making us eat all of our veggies yet I was the only kid who had body issues. My sister could eat an entire bag of Doritos and wash it down with a Pepsi and not gain a pound. My brother still eats like he's a Sumo wrestler and you wouldn't be able to tell because he has not one ounce of fat on his body. It was very frustrating for me, living in a house full of unhealthy foods and watching my siblings eat everything in sight without any repercussions. Nope, not me. I ate what they ate and it showed, in my face, my thighs, my stomach...I had the bad genes, apparently.

When you view yourself a certain way, regardless of what the mirror is bouncing back at you, that's how you look in your mind. Even now at 125lbs and the healthiest I've ever been, I still think of myself as that chubby girl. Only when I actually see myself do I remember that I'm not her anymore. I remember when I went off to college I actually lost 20 pounds instead of gaining the popular Freshman 10 or 15. My friends thought I was starving myself because they weren't used to seeing me sans meat on my bones. I'll be honest, I felt awesome! Sure, I wasn't entirely healthy, but I was skinny and that's all that mattered to me. Admittedly, I was mirroring the eating patterns of another student who was addicted to exercise and not properly fueling her body. She was the reason I grew to love pasta and salsa as a meal followed by many cigarettes. It was working for me, so I didn't see how damaging it was to her body until I watched her pass out, not once but 3 times in the same hour. I believe we stopped hanging out shortly after this event.

I've struggled with weight my whole life, that's a fact. At my heaviest, I was 192, with child. One of the reasons many will never see a pregnancy picture of me. I was a cow in an over-sized t-shirt. Seriously. Of course, I lost most of that weight after giving birth and breast feeding, but even after, I was still pretty puffy around the edges. I worked with some extremely skinny girls and that certainly didn't help because they ate the same crap I was eating, yet my body wasn't the size of an arm. Oh yeah, I compared the shit out of myself with these girls. I remember one of them getting me to go on walks with her a few times. I don't know if she was trying to help me out, but I appreciated the gesture. We would often go out to bars or clubs and I always felt inadequate dancing next to them. Like they were a part of some club that I'd never get into. It sucks when you feel that way about yourself. It's demoralizing. I didn't know how to be skinny without harming my body in the process and I wasn't about to go back down that road, so instead, we tried diet pills. Boy was that an awful idea. My husband had gained weight right along with me so we decided to diet together. The pills were some off brand of a popular new diet craze and we paired them with the ever so healthy Atkins Diet. We were like walking angry zombies on steroids. That diet didn't last long. Eating all meat zapped any and all energy from our bodies and made our breath smell like the inside of a cats butt that was scrounging around in a dumpster. I don't recommend it to anyone.

Now that I know what proper nutrition and exercise actually does for the body, I can look back and laugh at our attempts to be healthy. My body image may still need a little tweaking, but at least I can teach my daughter and other women how to feel better about themselves without the need to step on a scale everyday. It took me years to be able to know what I can and can't eat and to stay at a steady weight and to show others that it's possible to live your whole life not being that person you had stamped on your brain as a child. Being thin isn't the be all end all, it's about being healthy on the inside and letting that shine through to the parts others can see. It's about being grateful for the struggles and learning to be a better person despite our losses or mistakes. Body image is in our minds. It's in the way we are treated and in the way we treat ourselves. You don't have to be the chubby girl if you don't want to be the chubby girl. You simply have to want to change in order for change to happen. It seems hard to grasp when you get started, but I promise you, one day you will love what you see on the other side of that mirror if you just have the motivation to do so.

Monday, February 20, 2012

IIN Love

Let me start off by saying that I am completely, madly in love with IIN. It's nearing the end of the 2nd month and although I'm not up to par on my modules and training, I am not only learning a lot, but have made many new and wonderful connections with the classmates. I even have a health coach of my own, to help and guide me along this journey through schooling and starting up my very own business. My coach is amazing! I assumed the school paired us up with people who were similar to us because we have so many things in common and get along so well, but yet again it was one of those things that happened by pure chance. So far, we've spoken twice on our phone sessions. She makes herself available to me via email and telephone if I should need her assistance and she already has her own business complete with website and blog that I can not only apply to my life but recieve tips for my future career as well. I seriously couldn't be happier or luckier to have connected with such a great person!

The January class made a Facebook page for any questions or suggestions we may have through out the year. What an awesome place of support! I have met so many new people! I was even able to gather a small group to virtually study together on a bi-weekly basis. Our first meeting went so well, which I conducted myself, with the help of another classmate and new friend. I was extremely nervous the entire day at work, trying to figure out how everything would come together. I didn't even have Skype at that point. Luckily, one of the group members walked me through exactly how the meeting should go and what we'd be going over and as 9:00 rolled around we were all talking and laughing and getting to know each other so well that it barely felt like a meeting at all. Everyone had something of importance to share and I learned a lot from each person. I can't wait for study group this wednesday! Hopefully I can wind down and have a dreamless sleep after this one. I was so keyed up from the last meeting that I dreamed all night and barely slept at all. Too much adrenaline I guess? I'm a little relieved to be able to sit back and let someone else take the reigns, this week.

The most exciting thing that's happened thus far, would be figuring out my official business name. I wracked my brain for a few weeks to see what would come to me and although I didn't end up with the original name I picked out, I was able to find one that fit me and would represent my health coaching business completely. I jumped ahead quite a bit by purchasing my domain name, but I felt as though I had to grasp onto it before it was taken by someone else. I won't reveal the name publicly until my web page is fully operational, but that time will come soon enough. Until then, my plan is to continue learning and studying my bum off because my time at this school is very short lived and I want to enjoy every tiny moment that gets me on the road to true success.

Monday, January 23, 2012

School Update

I am taking this opportunity to share with whomever is interested in how school is going for me, so far. Last Monday I received my big, red box with everything I need to study and use for my journey to becoming a health coach. I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty excited about the ipad and so was my daughter. School officially started on January 17th and my first module was posted so I could begin my training. Let's be honest, I was pretty stressed out and nervous about what was taking place. For a person who used to get bored with the norm, I often find myself freaking out about change. This is a huge step for me and as I don't know the exact outcome once I got down to business I began to feel more at ease with what is about to transform. I had a lot of time, last week, to get some of my fundamentals listened to and to be able to join in on the discussions and started on my first, real assignment. What this school is teaching is something I believe in heavily. Everything I was hearing made so much sense to me and I realized I was smiling halfway through the video and audio learning objectives. Teaching proper nutrition and holistic healing is what I've been passionate about for a long time and what I'm learning is exactly what I've been trying to help others with in their struggles to live healthier lives. Even though a part of me is still a little fearful of what's ahead, I know that whatever comes of this experience will be something I will be able to be proud of. For right now, I'm happy in my decision to start this process. There will be ups and downs and things I'm not going to want to do, I'm sure, but I know it will all be worth it in the long run. 

"It's never too late to become who you might have been." George Eliot

Monday, January 2, 2012

The First Taste

I wanted to share something that happened to me at work, the other day. As I mindlessly wandered about the store, straightening up books for the gazillionth time, I overheard a couple, reading aloud, from the alternative health section. They were going over what kinds of foods effect you in which ways or which ones can heal certain maladies. Vaguely, I picked up on what they were trying to cure and I contemplated approaching them with the knowledge of my own. After awhile I heard the word elderberry being mentioned, and if you've been recently sick, I've most likely recommended this very same thing to you for your family. Taking in a big gulp of air, I calmly walked up to them and said how I overheard their conversation and wasn't sure exactly what they were trying to cure, but that elderberry was absolutely one of the best defenses against viruses. The woman said she suffered from Chronic Sinusitis and has been to the doctor several times and aside from being prescribed antibiotics, nothing has helped her get better and it's actually gotten much worse to the point of possibly having to have surgery on her nasal cavities to open them up and allow her to breathe normally. I told them of all the benefits of elderberry and asked her a few other questions as far as what she's tried and also recommended a couple other things that might help her out. We talked for a good 10-15 minutes and I really felt like I was helping this woman with her problem. She was very grateful for my suggestions too. After I walked away from them I had this overwhelming sense of pride for having the knowledge to share with these people who were desperately searching for an answer. Although, after I left them alone to their own devices, I overheard her saying how she doesn't like to drink a lot of water...I almost kicked myself for not suggesting proper hydration, but I was not about to approach them again and tell her how she was ruining any chance of recovery by dehydrating her body. *sigh* Oh well. Another time, perhaps.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome to 2012

I tend to shy away from making ridiculously, unreachable goals, especially as a New Year's Resolution. This year is different. This year, I am making a huge decision in my career and my goal for 2012 is to quit my current job, learn something fairly new, and makeover the way that I make money for myself and my family, along with being happy in what I'm accomplishing. I have said many times that I would not go back to school. I did it straight out of high school, loved it, met some amazing people, but essentially let it fall by the way side, got married and had a child instead. At the time, I was okay with the way things panned out. I always wanted to fall in love, find the right man, and be with him forever. Kids were never really part of that plan, but once our daughter came along it was absolutely the best thing we could have ever created together. I love my family. I love the life we have made, but I am not happy in my career choices. There are no regrets, because I have met some great friends along the way, but I feel like being almost 32 and stuck in retail management is really not so good for my mental health. So, a few days ago I stumbled upon a school that a distant cousin and current fitness instructor (I'm not sure if that's the correct term) had listed on her facebook profile page and googled it instantly. After looking it over and reading several reviews about what the intention of this institution was based upon, I decided to set up an appointment for a call that's scheduled for tomorrow morning. I know myself and I know that I get excited about new ideas and often second guess myself and never follow through, but I honestly feel like this will be different. I talked it over with Dan and I will talk it over again, after I receive more information about everything it entails, but he was on board as soon as I mentioned that I wanted to do this. Basically, I'd be learning about health and nutrition and how to start up my own private practice with this knowledge. I have a friend who would love to be a personal trainer and we've been talking about possibly going into business together, which would be so perfect for the both of us. I'm pretty knowledgeable in nutrition as medicine and with my own personal experience with getting healthy I have been helping friends stay motivated and helping them eat better and make better choices with food and exercise and I know I can take this further to actually make something of myself and continue to help others while making a living doing so. (Holy run on sentence!) In any case, this is my goal and tomorrow is where I make a change for the better. I'm nervous and anxious and scared, but I will not let fear take center stage in this life altering decision. I've finally found something meaningful to do with my career and I'm running with it, no matter how hard it may seem in the beginning. Here's to a new year and a better me! Cheers!