Just Write Your Own Book

While reading ‘I am That Girl’ this last week- I got to the chapter about finding mentors. About finding people that have traveled portions of the path I want to go down and can help to guide my way. And I came to the realization- I don’t know of any women that have taken my path. When I got back to work, I chatted with my mentor to see if he new anyone. *crickets chirp in the distance*

When I read the chapter on mentorship- I suspected there were not a ton of women out there that could help guide me. Most of the women in my line of work choose to go in to pure management at some point in time and I have no interest in being a pure manager. It is not where I want to go in my career and I am good with that, but I now realize that there may not be a ton of mentors out there for me to follow. Basically- I’m going to have to write my own book.

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In another conversation this week- I talked with someone about how new employees succeed. We both agreed that it is not by waiting for someone to hand you a handbook and to follow it step by step. Frankly-handbooks do not really exist for success-each one of us has to make our own. We have to write our own book that will define how we will judge success, how we will treat people along the way and how our work lives will be.

All of the above is in the framework of a job, of ‘work’- but for me it brought a bigger life lesson to my attention. In our lives we will have wonderful mentors and wonderful people that come in and teach us lessons. At the end of the day though- we are responsible for writing our own book. It is not on our mentors and friends to make sure that we succeed.

We are responsible for building our own path. Looking at someone else’s path and comparing ourselves to their path may even be a bit foolish. They are in a different place and while it may look good for us, our own lives are meant to be unique. Our own lives will have different paths, even if we reach similar goals- those will probably be done in vastly different ways. We can learn from our mentors-but they won’t have specific steps that will guarantee that we get the life we think we should have.  No one has those steps, except me.

Today- I would like to encourage you to take time to write your own story. Fearlessly. Without doubts. Because your path is awesome and you should not be afraid of it.

Why Do Self Help Books Always Talk About Food?

I am about five ‘self help’ books in and every single one of them has talked about nutrition. Every. Single. One. There seems to be a good reason for it, but it is also one of those bitter pills that I really hate to swallow. (And considering that I loathe taking pills-you can imagine how that analogy sits with me.)

The point that every author is driving home is that taking care of your body is an essential part of taking care of your spirit as well. It is hard to take care of your spirit when there is a lot of negative body talk going on in your mind.  And that is pretty spot on.  Why does your spirit need to be cared for if you treat your body like crap? And this is something that I have been thinking about quite a bit over the last few weeks. How do I want to treat my body better?

spiritual health and Physical health are linked. Just think- how hard is it to improve your spirit when your internal dialogue isnegative-.png

If you have followed any of my journey- you know that I was in a really good place this time last year with my eating and with my exercise.  And then I tried to just maintain where I was.  To maintain the results I had gotten.  And, frankly, I did not do too good at that.  There was a certain point where the thought of this being a lifestyle change went out the window and now I am starting over.  However, I am hoping that personal development and self help will keep me on the right track this time.

I will never stop liking certain foods, but I can honestly say that I do not crave most of them anymore. And that is something it has taken me a long time to work through and admit. It may seem contradictory that this took time, but my old favorite foods are not really favorites anymore.  And right now, I have not found new foods that I just love that replace the ones I used to eat. That replacement is what I am working on now and it is not a simple thing. How do I change over to new foods that fuel my body instead of the ones that I have always depended on?

And here is where the self-help books kinda fail- they do not really give any tips on how to do this, on how to move from eating crap to eating food that is good for you. This is one of the most frustrating things and it is probably purposeful.  What works for each author is not guaranteed to work for every person.  But since I have been through this before-I think I can throw together a tiny list to help me remember where to start and to, maybe, help others on where they should start as well.

To replace my non-healthy foods I will:

  • try new recipes
  • try new foods
  • create healthier versions of old favorites
  • cook at least 4 meals a week
  • plan out treats
  • seek out healthy prepared replacements
  • keep trying until I actually have replacements

I know. I know.  Common sense, right? But it helps me to put things down in writing so that I can see what I am talking about.  So that I can see if what I am saying seems logical and it also doable.  There are times when the ideas in my head do not exactly translate well when it comes to practical execution.  I do think this will work.

From now until Christmas- I am going to check in with different recipes I am trying and also with different foods that I am picking up to give a chance. That is not saying that I will not enjoy some off menu food over the next few weeks-but I am saying that I want to limit that.  I am saying that I am going to start working on my 2017 goals now-instead of waiting for the next Monday, the next 1st of the month or the next year. Nothing will change if I do not start working.  So today-I start to work.  And this time-it is not for the scale. It is to get healthy. Spiritually and physically healthy. And reaching that goal will mean so much more than any number on a scale.

#iamthatgirl: Becoming the Girl of Your Dreams

I made a promise on my facebook page to show more of what I am currently working on and working through.  The book I Am That Girl is the latest book I’ve added to my ever growing list of self-help books that I have read.  And I would absolutely suggest that any woman who is having some self doubt pick it up and read it. It is not a ‘everything will be brilliant if you just do this, this, and this’ checklist book.  It is a book that makes you think and really consider what you WANT in life. And on this day where everyone talks about what they are thankful for- I want to share a little about what I WANT in life that makes me thankful for where I am now and where I am going. img_5550I will not sit and pretend my life is hunky-dory all the time.  I weigh more than I want.  I am perpetually single. I am in a job that I love. I want to push my creative limits.  I want to live a life that does not hold me back from getting the things that I need in this life. And I am thankful for every single sentence in this paragraph.

I am thankful for realizing that there are things that I can do in my life to prepare me for what I want.  I am thankful that God has a plan for me and that He is giving me time to get my act together.  I am thankful that people have fallen in to my life at the right time to move me to where I am now.

Some of you know this, but some of you reading this may not know my story.  I grew up in a small town, joined the military at age 18, lived in 4 states in the last 10 years, traveled to multiple countries abroad and have about broken every mold people would place on a child from Smalltown, USA. I did all of that because I did not put limits on who I could be as a person.  I did not and will not put limits on the life that I want to have.

img_5555I Am That Girl talks about living this kind of life.  And it also talks, specifically, about learning from every single experience that happens in life.  That every time we get knocked down, we must pick ourselves up, learn from the experience and move forward in life.  This is a part that I sometimes struggle with.  Moving forward.  Moving on.  Letting go of things that are negative so that I may embrace the positive. This is something I have made a conscious effort to work on for the last year or so.  It has not been easy, but it is absolutely worth it.

In a world where being thankful comes in all shapes and sizes I can honestly say this- I am thankful for every experience in my life.  I am thankful that I get the opportunity to move forward.  I am thankful that I get the chance to create the life I want.  But what does that look like?

I think there will be a bit more writing and blogging and a little less sitting and playing random games on my phone.  I think there will be a bit more of letting my creative side win.  I think there will be random trips to places I just want to go to for the weekend.  I think there will be trying new things and joining new groups- because it looks like fun.  I think there will be more days when I dance in my desk chair at work- because the music is just that good. I think there will be days where my introverted self gets a chance to just rest and enjoy the peace.  And there will be other days where I push myself to find new limits. I am the girl I need to be at THIS moment and I will work to be the girl I want to face in the mirror.  Every. Single. Day.

Go out. Be that girl.  Be who you need to be.  Enjoy every day and every thing that comes your way. This life is meant for you to live.  So create the life you want and do not let anyone tell you that you should do it some other way.

 

Stress Management Challenge

img_5546Over the last several months, I have worked my way through several books that are meant to help me in various aspects of my life. Some have focused on building confidence.  Other books have focused on becoming a better leader.  And there are still other books that just deal with being a girl and all the stuff that comes along with that.

Now- I am starting a 21 Day Stress Management Challenge.  I have always been a, somewhat, stressed out person. I know that is part of what drives me, but I also can realize that I do not have to stress this way to be productive.  I can have my good stress, but I really need to find better ways that scarfing down a bunch of chocolate to deal with bad stress.

I think, for me, part of dealing with the bad stress is just acknowledging that it is there.  That there are stressful things that happen every day that are not helping me to be more productive or pushing me to be a better person.  There are just some crappy things that happen and cause stress and maybe I can work on those things not being a trigger anymore.  Maybe I can work on finding those parts of my life that I stress about that are beyond my control and LETTNG GO.

I will be the first to admit- that I do not think this sort of thing will get solved in 21 days- but I do know that 21 days is how long it takes to form a habit.  21 days straight is the amount of time that it takes to start putting some good things in to practice.

So I’m starting my new years resolutions a bit early this year.  I want 2017 to be far less stressful.  I want to love myself more for exactly who I am.  And to get there- I think I should start here.  It may work.  It may not.  But I have learned one thing- every step along the way is a chance to get it right. Take those chances. The worst that can happen is that you realize that there is a different path meant for you and you just need to have the courage to go out and find it.

Finding Courage in Hurt

im-duct-taping-my-heart-back-together-again-and-although-it-hurts-it-is-far-better-than-closing-it-off-forever

I have always been that girl- the girl that was always alright.  The girl that hid pain and hurt deep down inside because that was easier than dealing with it.  The girl that very few people really knew, even if they thought that they did. But now I refuse to be that girl anymore.  I refuse to hide behind a wall that protects me, but keeps me from living.

Over the last year- I have worked hard on me.  Not in the same way that I did in 2014 and 2015.  For those two years, I focused on losing weight, getting down to a ‘suitable’ size and otherwise making the outward me look good.  But when I got to the size that made me ‘happy’, I found out that that didn’t really make me all that happy.  The things that I thought would come along with it, just didn’t.  I had worked so hard to only feel empty when I got to where I wanted to be.

And that emptiness led me to look at the inside-to look at my hurts and really try to address them. This year showed me that life happens and I still need to learn how to cope. I found that I needed to work on my soul and trust that once that was right, my body would follow. Because it did not matter that my outside was good, when I was struggling with where I want to be in life. I was, and am, struggling so much with where I want my life to be.

I realized that burying my pain deep inside was only going to make things worse.  It was not going to allow me to move on past the things that hurt me and to the life that I truly wanted.  I didn’t come to this conclusion on my own, I came to this conclusion from taking on some heavy duty introspection and reading as many self help books as I could get my hands on.  I also had some really long chats with good friends who get me-who understand why I buried things so deep for so many years.

They get the girl that feels too much and never half feels anything.  The girl that has been profoundly hurt over and over and had never really dealt with that pain. The girl that wants to let people see her heart, but is terrified at the fact that people will not realize how hard that is for her to open up. They get me. And because they get me-they have been there as I learn to actually deal with pain.

So this pain and hurt is different than all of the other times.  This time-I have let people know that I hurt.  I have opened up and said ‘I am hurt and I am not alright’, which is hard for the girl that is ‘always alright’.  More importantly though- I have not ignored what I needed.  I have take uncomfortable steps to address what I need to get over what I feel.  I have surprised myself with confronting issues, instead of pushing them aside and trying to just cope.  At this point though-what I am most astounding by-is the fact that I have found courage in hurting.

I have found courage to face what hurts the most.  I have found courage to tell my friends where I truly stand and trust that they will not judge it.  I have found courage to say that I am getting better every day, but not every day will be a great day.  I have found courage in me.

I write all of that to say this-take time to find your courage.  Take time to find your peace.  Take time to find the person that you truly want to be and move towards being that person every day.  It may hurt.  It may be uncomfortable- but it will be worth it.  You will find moments of peace and courage and pride.  Those moments will keep you going.  Those moments will show your progress and that is all most of us can hope for-progress not perfection.

Recovery Week: What I Learned

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Oh workouts- how I’ve missed you.  I took the last week completely off from working out because I was BURNT OUT.  I desperately needed a week off and it did me a lot of good.  What I want to share here is what I learned in the last week and a few things that I noticed earlier but did not pay attention to.

So in the last week- I learned that just like I need time to unwind when it comes to the end of the work week- I also need time to unwind from working out.  I need some time when I can just sleep in every morning and not worry too much about what exactly I am eating.  Also- my body really needs the time to rest and rebuild from all the weeks of no prolonged rest. While I had a few more aches and pains than normal this week (thank you cold weather)- I felt that my muscles were much stronger and more stable when I got back to my workout today.  I also am now feeling the post workout high that I have kind of missed in the last few months because I looked at working out as an obligation.  And not something that I get to do.

In the last week, I have also thought a bit about some of the things that pushed me towards that point of being completely burnt out.  One of those things is that I am a bit of a perfectionist.  I want to do the absolute best that I can do all the time and while I have gotten better at being able to accept what I am not good at- this whole maintaining weight loss and losing weight thing was something that I could not really accept. That was not really the best place to be.  So- I am trying to just work on where I am and keep the long term goal in the back of my mind.  When that long term goal is up front- it pretty much makes it difficult to even celebrate the tiny successes that are super important to celebrate.

Another thing that I should have paid attention to earlier was the fact that I was no longer excited to work out.  I did it because I felt obligated to do it.  I did it because people expected me to have this to talk about and I felt the pressure to keep it up.  From here on out- there are going to be well defined off weeks.  Weeks when I force myself to take a step (or 5) back and think about all of the other things that are going on in my life and work on those things as well.  I do work on those things while working on my fitness- but I do not dedicate as much time to them as I should.  So, I’m going to try to find more balance over the next few months.  Not be so hard on myself when the scale does not look the way I want it to right now and have some faith that all of the things will fall into place so long as I keep working.

So- that’s recovery week. It was good for me.  It allowed me to re-focus and now I am able to work on the things that I really want to work on again with renewed vigor.  Until next time- have a great time and keep working to make yourself the best person that you can be!

Managing Weight Loss: Jenny’s Method: #1 REIGN IT IN

Accepting There Will Be Ups and Downs Is Essential

Accepting There Will Be Ups and Downs Is Essential

Oh my goodness!  We have made it to the last week of these tips and I have loved gathering and doing these.  It has been a great way to look at my mom’s life and see what she has really done to keep herself in shape.

For me- REIGN IT IN- is her number one method of managing her weight.  Why is that?  It is because this is the most realistic part about maintaining weight loss- there will be moments when some of the weight comes back.  There will be moments when my weight fluctuates and that is okay- just so long as I remember to reign it in and concentrate on my weight once it reaches my 5 pound leeway zone.

For years my mom stayed within 5 pounds of her goal weight, pretty much year round.  And how did she do that?  She had a firm ‘line in the sand’ about how much she would allow herself to gain before she locked back down on her nutrition and fitness.  In real life- once we reach our goal weight- we are still very likely to workout and eat well, most of the time, but it will not necessarily be with the same vigor that we used while we were in the active weight loss phase.  And that is okay.  I learned from ‘reign it in’ that this is an essential part of weight management and an essential part of not continually being hard on myself. Leeway is key.

So for those of you out there that go ‘5 pounds is too much!’ or ‘5 pounds is too little!’- these are just general guidelines.  I know for me that 5 pounds is a pretty good range AND that much more than that will have me go into a full blown back slide and that is absolutely something that I want to AVOID.  Reign it in is about being realistic with where your body is comfortable and you are comfortable with what you must do to maintain that particular weight.  Reign it in is about accepting the ups and downs and working with them to get better results in the long run.  Reign it in- is about living your life the way that you want without constant fear of the scale and of being your ‘goal weight’.  And that is why ‘reign it in’ is number one.

Do you have any requests for a new Saturday Special series?  Anything you want me to dig into and find you some answers?  Leave suggestions in the comments!