A small gesture to you can be the world to someone else

Hello dear readers!

I do my best to pay it forward and go so far as make my birthday the “give everyone else a present and don’t tell them” day…

 

Today, I woke up a little late, didn’t get my work out in, (will be doing it tonight!!) and was overall not in the greatest mood. I had in mind a gesture for a team member at work and almost forgot due to all these complications and “life” getting in the way. Man, am I glad I took another minute to do it.

What took me a few minutes to think of and then put together cost me literally nothing but time.

The look on her face and the gratitude that she expressed will stay with me long past today’s early frustration. It occurred to me that if we all took a beat to do something nice for someone else, it might just improve a rough or already good day.

Think about it!

Meet yourself where you are…

Hello dear readers, I come to you to tell you today about a failure.

 

I did not work out yesterday, but I did not eat unhealthy foods, either. I feel like this is a small victory but an important one.

Having to confess that to you hurts, as I know that my energy and posts sometimes spur you on to accomplishing your goals.

Let my inactivity inspire you as well. If it helps, I went paddle boarding on Monday without knowing what to expect and got a sunburn (despite using sunscreen) and my arms hurt for a day or two afterwards. But you know what, after getting over the initial, “am I really going to do this” (which by the way is the feeling that floods me any time I do something new) It was fun and exciting.

So what is today’s message? Meet yourself where you are. If you didn’t work out today, pledge to do so tomorrow.

Think about it!

No one has a voice like you

Someone recently said to me, Jennifer, you inspired me to…… (fill in the blank)

That really touched me. I was glad that I accomplished my goal which is to inspire one person a day. So if I inspire you to work on something that matters to you or that you were scared to do or not motivated to do, please let me know. Let me widen that scope.

If anyone inspires you for the greater, please tell them. You never know but you might just be the driving force in their life that has them try one more time or post another blog or write another speech. You have tremendous impact. Yes, I am talking to you.

Do not ever feel like “I am just one person, how can I matter?”. Trust me, you do. Go and Be Awesome.

 

 

Directions and Baby Steps

whirlwind of a weekend!!

Friday afternoon, I drove to Dallas for a business trip (more on that in a bit) and usually road trips are stressful for me because despite being a good director, historically I have been bad at following directions.

This started when I would drive the 9 plus hours to New Orleans and I would contantly panic at the 610 split, is it North or South? Once I got to the signs saying “Beaumont” I knew I was okay and on the right track but the panic would constantly grip me at the worst part of the trip, when I had to choose left or right?

I am delighted to tell you, dear readers, that with three separate destinations, I did not get lost once which opened my eyes to the notion that maybe it hasn’t been difficult at all but rather my thought process about it that made it more difficult.

Bolstered by my hat trick, I headed to the Smart Conference featuring prominent speakers on career, marriage and parenting. I volunteered to attend for free and met some like-minded people who are working to get out of debt and happy to serve the organization for the day.

I could do an entire series of blog posts on all things I heard so I will just hit on a few quotes from each speaker and tell you that I learned so much and am filled with a renewed sense of motivation and purpose about living intentionally.

“A good test of a relationship is how a person responds to the word no.
Love respects no, control does not”
-Dr. Henry Cloud-

“Giving is the antidote for selfishness” -Rachel Cruze-

“Be open to the idea of being known
and knowing someone-
-Dr. Emerson Eggerichs-

“Outrageous Generosity is a character quality of people
who win with money”
-Dave Ramsey-

“You can’t please people. You just have to speak the truth.”
-Dr. Meg Meeker-

“Nobody really cares how you feel. They only care how you act”
– Andy Andrews-

Then after it was over, I drove home and then this morning I walked/ran 3.1 miles. I have a great support team, not the least of which is my husband who came to support me and some good friends cheeered me on, it was fun and tiring mainly because when I work out on my treadmill I am insulated from having to find a place to run, or avoiding people in front of me walking really slowly likely because they just stopped running and were cooling off themselves. My running buddy told me later that when I ran I was going really fast more than when we have jogged together. I was not prepared for “hitting the wall” since I have comfortable going 3.5 miles every time I run my treadmill. It was shocking to find myself ready to quit so close to the end. Susie Gidseg was AMAZING! “Just take it nice and slow” “30 seconds from now, you are going to hit that finish line and feel amazing” “you are doing great”

I really wanted to quit, and would have but for my partner. Once again, I am learning, the baby steps matter, one builds on another and you get there one baby step at a time.

I am planning to do this again, till I am able to run it from start to finish and will continue working intervals and slowly, steadily make my way to the next goal. What are you working on?
What baby steps are you taking?

5 days to a 5K

Well, dear readers, it is almost here.. I set a goal for myself to slow jog at 5K (originally the goal was a 13 mile half marathon) but I wised up after a quick conversation with my more experienced marathon running friends and they set me straight.

I set this goal in December, which feels like a very long time ago but really it isn’t.

http://www.biggestloserrunwalk.com/Austin_TX-Half-Marathon-5K-2014

In today’s workout, I got to 3.9 miles which means 4 miles is not that far away, who knows I might even hit that mark by Friday and then I will be consistently going 4 miles at least twice a week, then the next goal is 6 miles in an hour… (still moving toward that slowly but moving there all the same! )

Also worth noting, free pizza in breakroom, untouched by me, determined to stay paleo till Wednesday which makes a full week of no cheating!

Compared to where I was in January? “Workout 3- got up to 3.1 mph!! Ran 30 seconds walked 30 seconds – went 3.00 miles!!”

Normally, I am not a fan of comparison as it tends to be defeatist but comparing where you were to where you are, usually works out!

I am sooooooo close to 4 miles I can taste it.. I am coming for you 4 miles.. when to think I used to only do 1 mile on the treadmill…. I think I can, I think I can!!!!

Think about it!!!

Why do we have to hear “good job” from someone else to believe it?

External validation. Likes on Facebook, but more importantly, comments on facebook and text messages (I hate them, but when they are encouraging its a little easier to swallow).

Case in point, my husband and I are both working very hard to eliminate our debt and I was feeling a little down about the (in my mind) small progress we have made since we started in August of 2012. Then in talking with a friend, she helped me see, well no, actually you have done amazing things in the last year and a half. I have successfully walked in 2 organized 5K events and have a big one coming up at the end of March. This is really helping me to stay focused and moving steadily towards the goal of more running and eating well.

Regarding my own personal weight loss goals, I have been feeling discouraged of late, but again, another supportive friend said, well, look at what you have done just over the last few months. I have committed to working out 3 times a week and for the last month and a half, I have done that. Yes, I have complained, and really struggled but I have still done it. So, I am taking a moment, today right now to recognize myself for a few things.

Last year at this time, I was NOT exercising at all and just starting to explore a healthier diet. This year, I am working out three times a week and eating healthy. Last year, I was working out maybe once a week and that was a big maybe. Today when I worked out, I ran/walked a mile in under 20 minutes. In just a month, that number has gone from 20 minutes to 18 minutes. Today, when I worked out, I did not have any chafing because my body is getting used to working out and that’s a big win as far as I am concerned. Today, when I worked out, it sucked a little less. I may never get to the point that I like it but I do like how it makes me feel to finish and picturing all the people who love and support me really helps me get to minute 60 of my workout. (You know who you are!)

So I have resolved to be okay with the fact that I need the outside support, and welcome it. I am further resolved to recognize my own achievements and really rejoice in the incremental victories. For instance, today I did not want to workout AT ALL but I got up and did and I am glad because it inspired this post and I feel energized and ready to tackle the day.

Think about who you can reach out and support with a phone call or email or encouraging comment on Facebook or Twitter. You may not realize it, but you could be the voice they need to hear to push them to their next milestone.

Think about it!

 

Balance is Everything….

So my motivational photo shoot has come and gone. Sad face. It’s hard to come back to reality after such a fantastic departure from it.

So to be accountable and honest I will tell you, I haven’t weighed myself in a week to try to motivate myself. Yesterday I stepped on the scale to see where I am and I am back up to 247 which is disheartening, especially because I worked out first and yes I know you gain weight when you gain muscle but its still tough.. when I was at 241 just two weeks ago.. but that is okay, I will persevere because I realized something. The goal is better health and weight loss. Both goals are important, and the balancing of them is just as important as whatever number flashes on that scale.

I think its easy to forget that a year ago, I wasn’t working out at all but recovering from appendix surgery ( I could barely walk ) and was in an incredible amount of pain. So a year later, not only am I consistently working out (every other day) and eating healthy, I am continuing to find ways to enhance our life including but not limited to not feeling guilty when we do eat ice cream and other assorted yummy goodness. I am giving up the guilt and I have my husband to thank for it. 80% of the time we eat healthy and abide by paleo.

The other 20% are just going to exist and I am excising the guilt. Thank you Jeremy, I appreciate the balance you bring to our lives daily but especially in this matter.

 

What could you stand to let go? Think about it!

Former fat girl to pin-up..

Former fat girl to pin-up..

Ladies and Gentleman, The picture you see here is the culmination of a year of hard work, exercise, weight loss and the paleo lifestyle and one extremely fabulous photographer!

A year ago my husband and I got a strong indicator that we needed to change our eating habits or we were headed for heart disease, obesity and other really serious consequences. We began by cutting out soda over Thanksgiving, chocolate over Christmas and in January we began eating paleo (see more details here) http://www.thepaleomom.com/

My husband deserves a huge amount of thanks (*Thank you Jeremy*) because he put us on this path in January of last year and he has consistently figured out ways to keep us on this path to eating paleo. In the first month, January 2013 we didn’t cheat at all, culminating in a fabulous meal (funny how much you appreciate it after you deprive yourself!) on January 31st.

Most of the time its easy but old habits die hard and ice cream really tastes good so we do struggle. Cheating once a week makes it bearable but there are times when its harder than others.

I can tell you that at first it was easy and the pounds just fell off, but about mid May I realized that I was going to need to exercise to keep the weight going down. I realized it but didn’t really start doing anything about it till August, and September, and then October is when I got the idea to do this photo shoot to keep me on the right track. I had a picture of a model that I looked at while running/walking on my treadmill and it really helped to motivate me and then this past Sunday on my 37th birthday, I put on a vintage red bathing suit and stepped in front of the camera and the transformation from fat girl to pin up model was complete. I want to publicly thank a few specific people who helped make this possible. Joan Ellen Young, you always say the right thing, even when I don’t want to hear it, Dr. Keya Howard, you said exactly the right outrageous thing I needed to hear at the exact moment I needed it. Summer Penland, thank you for your support, Aunt Linda, your message really helped me move through the harder days, Dr. Caroline Acebo, you are one fantastic source of inspiration and sexiness, Rachel McGinnis Meissner, the “if you’ve got it flaunt it, really landed on me. Liz Roark, your comments when I was down in the dumps truly made the difference, Jessica Brill, “not too naked” Leslie Lawson, your treadmill challenge helped me cross the finish line and last but not in any way the least, Jeremy Haston, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me and you inspire me daily and I thank you.
I worked out in the cold, the rain and the “i don’t want to” all the while my eyes on the prize of this photo shoot, and I am delighted to report I lost those 50 pounds. The day came and we headed to Temple in the car and as I walked in there was a beautiful plate of macaroons and champagne to celebrate MOI!  I was treated like a movie star on my birthday! As an actress, I had some trepidation about posing for the camera but with Erin’s deft coaching, I took to it like a starlet on her first press junket!

I could go on and on about the picture perfect posing advice and vintage 1940s make up and hair to die for
not to mention a closet full of pin up dreams waiting to be realized!This little picturesque house in Temple was
just what the doctor ordered for this former fat girl.. I left Erin’s studio feeling like the absolute diva I truly am.
It has led to greater confidence every time I audition for a show and any time I have a photo shoot. I have done two photo shoots with other studios since January 2014 and am delighted to say I
have been bitten by the modeling bug and will be back to Lone Star Pin up again very soon!

Never again will I call myself fat, and from now on I will be looking at myself through that lens. Its a much nicer picture than the one I have been carrying in my head for years.

What have you been holding on to that simply isn’t true?

Think about it!

Thank you for the music…

Thank you for the music...

(insert ABBA here) Dancing Queen in particular.

When I hear the song, “Dancing Queen” it reminds me of 3 things.
1. When I first moved to Austin, I was staying with a friend who came home to hear me playing it on his cd player and said, “my cd player is confused about its identity”
2. When I was driving from Austin to St Louis and my car died and white smoke came out of the hood.
3. The movie Mama Mia and how much fun I had watching that movie with my good friend Sharon and then the joy I had in getting it as a gift from some dear friends of mine so I could enjoy it over and over again.

and then #4. This morning I heard it while listening to the soundtrack on my ipod nano and working out for the 10th time since the year has begun. It’s starting to get a little easier, and I hope eventually when I work out, I can wear this face you see above as I work out and truly enjoy it like some other people I know. I keep taking it one step at a time and hoping it will get easier and so far it has. Maybe it will also become fun. Who knows!!!

It’s scary till you do it.

“A life lived in fear, is a life half-lived” A great line, taken from “Strictly Ballroom” which is my favourite movie, ever.

I could be talking about several different things. I purposely write in the most vague way possible to allow for my readers to apply it to whatever they feel strongest about at the moment of reading my post.  In this way it allows you to read into it what you wish.

So for today, It’s only scary till you (fill in your blank) For me, it’s scary to walk/run a 5K. After you have, you know what to expect and how hard it will be and what the challenges and wins are. I myself have not run a 5K yet, I am training for it now. Tomorrow, when I do my work out, in the preparing stage, I will be running for a minute and then walking for one minute. I have done this intermittently but not at a full stretch before. In order to ready myself for this Saturday’s 5K experience (slow jog for the first half and then walk for the second half) this is what I must do. In thinking about that, I realize that at one point or another, everything that I have done that filled me with fear, I somehow “felt the fear, and did it anyway” and after it was done, it wasn’t so scary. A few examples include:

1. Moving from New Orleans to Austin.

2. Changing my major from business to drama

3. Changing my lifestyle to paleo.

So far, these things have all been hard but worthwhile. I am finding that to be true about exercise as well.