Significant Milestone = Time for Reflection

Though not exactly a resolution, on January 1, 2015, I set a goal.  It was somewhat far fetched, and would require equal parts persistence, sacrifice, grit and luck.  As I reached this goal on Saturday, with about three weeks to spare, it sent me into a state of reflection.

The goal that I achieved is running 1,000 miles.  Even though I ran every step, it’s difficult to wrap my mind around that distance.  That’s like running from Wisconsin to Florida, from Georgia to Rhode Island, or Southern California to Oregon.

Getting there didn’t happen quickly or easily.  And it’s actually quite similar to the broader journey to health and weight loss.  It was accomplished through many small steps adding up to one larger journey.  Each small step taken alone seems rather insignificant, but when chained together, produces something meaningful.

As coincidence would have it, the seeds that grew into the beginning of those small steps were planted four years ago Saturday.  That was the day that my “before” picture was taken, as we headed out to a Christmas party.

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Before (Dec. 2011)  – During (2012) – Now (Dec. 2015)

As we got ready for that same Christmas party this year, I couldn’t help but think of the changes that I occurred in my life and my family’s life over the past four years.  The external changes, while obviously easy to see, only show a small portion of the story.  The internal and interpersonal changes, however, are much more meaningful.

As noted by a physician after losing weight, my health benchmarks have all improved.  Additionally, I’m now able to enjoy activities with family and friends in ways that I previously wouldn’t have been nearly as quick to embrace.  As a family, we enjoy skiing, swimming, running, playing tennis (and much more!) with friends and extended family.  And thus these relationships have also benefited.

At the end of the day, strong relationships are what make a healthy and active lifestyle truly sweet.  A most sincere thank you my friends and family who have stood by my side and helped me to achieve this 2015 goal.  xoxo

Finished the Race Dead Last & Couldn’t be More Proud

This weekend I will participate in my third full marathon.  I’m not embarrassed about the fact that I am a pretty slow runner.  (OK, like, really slow.)  Although time has never been my focus, I did used to worry about that dreaded scenario where I finish a race dead last.

Last night, there was a kids’ fun run that is part of the marathon’s pre-race festival.  Our 6-year old daughter, who has been running laps around the block with me this summer, asked to enter the 1/2-mile distance.  The event was held at a baseball stadium and was two laps around the perimeter of the fence.

The race started and she took off, but by the first turn, she was lagging behind.  By the time she made her way around the outfield and was coming down the third base line towards home, the front of the pack (on their second and final lap) was on her heels, and quickly blew past her.

I’m watching from the stands and see the volunteers with the kids’ medals step out to start placing the awards around the kids’ necks as they finish.  They hadn’t noticed that one straggler from lap one was mixed into the pack of top finishers.  I’m thinking to myself that my daughter is probably going to claim her prize and exit with the rest.  As she realized what was happening though, she started turning back and forth trying to decide what to do.  She asked a duck mascot on the field what to do.  We see the duck bend down answer her…..

Then she takes OFF!  She powers through the line of award givers and takes to the field completely alone for her final lap.  There were volunteers placed along the fence who cheered her on the entire way.  My eyes welled up as I watched her run her little heart out, with all of the workers and spectators watching her.  And she was rewarded with cheers and high fives as she rounded home and was presented with her medal.  She finished dead last.  She wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed.  She was PROUD.

As her mom and as I runner, it was amazing to watch.  It took something special for her to get back out there and finish strong.

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May all of the participants in this weekend’s marathon, half marathon and 5k have the same courage, and also be rewarded with the pride that comes from putting yourself out there and finishing!

Watch her victorious finish for yourself….

Every Darn Day

A friend recently paid me a compliment.  She congratulated me on “figuring things out” regarding eating, exercise and weight maintenance.  While I am appreciative of how she perceives my existence, it has nagged at me.

Before I lost weight, I distinctly remember having friends or acquaintances who slimmed down, and thinking that they had broken through to the “other side.”  You know, the side where you just have it figured out, where you magically are able to balance what you eat with how much you exercise, where you know when to stop eating and where you’re not tempted by sweets and treats.  I remember being quite envious of their newfound enlightenment and wondered if or when my time would arrive.  (Trust me, I begged and pleaded with my own brain to figure it out.)

The fact of the matter is there is no “other side.”  There is no magical enlightenment that happens that allows me to effortlessly make sound decisions.  Even though I have maintained my weight loss for nearly 3 years, it’s still requires effort.  It requires effort every day… every single day… every single darn day.

But what’s the alternative?  The alternative is to be somewhere I’ve already been, and somewhere that I’ll hopefully never return.  Thanks to a friend who traveled this same road 13 years earlier, from nearly the beginning, I had the understanding that this is a life-long journey.  If weight loss and maintenance has an end point (i.e. a goal weight), limited success is possible, but life-long success is unlikely.

The point of this post is that I know and accept that this will require work every day of my life.  Though I do it for myself, I also do it for these munchkins, two of three pictured here.

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Yes, some days, weeks or months might be harder, some will be easier.  And in a twisted way, I enjoy it.  I enjoy learning new things, challenging myself and talking with friends about our collective journey.

Is it work?  Yes.

Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Breaking the Soda Habit: Seltzer Water

Until a couple of years ago, I would have described myself as a “Diet Coke addict.”  It wasn’t until one afternoon when I offered a healthy, athletic friend a soda when she stopped by for a visit that I gave it much thought.  Her response to my offer was, “No thanks.  I don’t ‘do’ soda.”  The answer rattled around in my head for a few days.  Though I knew sodas, and more specifically diet sodas, should be consumed in moderation, it never occurred to me that there were people who didn’t “do” sodas.

That interaction set me off on my journey to kick my soda addiction.  Initially I tried to switch ‘cold turkey’ to pain water.  That left me… flat.  I needed a step-down.

Chilled, carbonated water fit the bill.  But swapping out every diet soda with Perrier or San Pellegrino quickly became costly.  After searching the beverage aisle at the grocery for another alternative, I discovered that seltzer water was basically the same thing, at a fraction of the price.

Switching from diet soda to seltzer water did require a small adjustment period.  When I would initially drink it, I would be expecting a sweet taste, similar to Sprite Zero.  After a short time, however, that was not an issue.

Over the past few years, I’ve heard rumblings that maybe seltzer water isn’t a good swap for pain water.  So I was happy when an article that addressed the misconceptions appeared in my news feed.  It also describes the types of carbonated waters available, like mineral water, seltzer water, club soda and tonic water.

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to soda, but enjoy the bubbles, give this informative article a read.  

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From Getting High… to Getting a Runner’s High

Whether you’re a runner or non-runner, I encourage you to take a minute to read this article. The high schoolers featured in this story made a commitment that was both physically and mentally difficult, and they accomplished an amazing feat this past Sunday.  The teachers who created and administer this program have likely changed the course of these kids’ lives forever.  Congratulations all around!

Click Link:  From High to a Half Marathon

Weight Watchers Founder, Jean Nidetch, Dies at 91

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Jean Nidetch, who founded Weight Watchers in 1963, died today.

This USA Today article about Jean, and how she came to start her business, is very interesting.  As mentioned in the article, she lost 72 pounds and transformed how people approached weight loss. When the business first started, Weight Watchers helped those struggling with weight loss to adopt a sensible food plan and to provide social support through weekly meetings.  A format that is still in use today.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2015/04/29/weight-watchers-founder-jean-nidetch-dies-at-age-91/26595677/

I’m thankful that she started her business and shared it with many thousands of people around the world.  I might have to try to find a copy of her autobiography to read.  (Though not on Amazon… it’s listed at $164.94.)

Weight Watchers Works

Not that I didn’t already know that.  A new study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine reviewed various commercial diets.  Their results found that, according to their standards, two plans worked:  Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

The only real problem that I have with their study is calling Weight Watchers a diet.  It’s a LIFESTYLE.  Really.

Today Show coverage of the story.