Sunday, October 27, 2013

Taking my Own Advice

It became very apparent to me this week that I need practice at taking my own advice. My last post was all about taking care of yourself first before helping others and that was the last thing I wanted to do. Friday morning I got up and went to class, even went to work and then realized I couldn't focus, still felt lethargic and faint and my voice was going. I left work and came home and slept pretty much all day. I continued to fight with myself that I was okay and better and I could get through it but really wasn't. Yesterday I spent the entire day on the couch and took care of myself even though all I wanted to do was go out and join the fun. Today I am on the mend, energy is coming back, voice is resting. I am LISTENING body, I got the message, rest! And even though what I really want to do is go out and enjoy life today, be outside, workout, what I AM doing is listening to my body and resting. My lovely friend Susie is even stopping by with some home made soup - THANK YOU.

Check in with yourself today, what are some messages your body has been sending you that you have been ignoring? Maybe you haven't been getting enough sleep? or enough water? what is it you really need to take care of your well being - only you can say.

On a side note, save the date - Saturday November 9th from 1PM to 3:30PM I will be at an incredible event called Balanced Mentality which is being hosted by Studio4 Athletics. I will be sharing my own journey which includes my own personal diagnosis of depression and how exercise, healthy eating and participating in BDHQ's Biggest Winners has transformed my experience of myself.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Creating Your Self-Care List

This past weekend many of us celebrated Thanksgiving, a time to be surrounded by family, friends and those that matter the most to us in our life. This year there is so much to be grateful for. I am grateful for my community, each and every one of you, who has contributed to my life this year in one way or another. The people in my life, my community, are my WHY - the reason I continue on this journey of health and contribution. In class on Sunday, Michele was talking about self-care, taking care of ourselves so we can take care of the people in our lives. This seems so simple, just like putting on the mask on the airplane before helping someone else, but something we often forget. I have written about it before but it bares repeating, you will never make the difference you want to make if you are not willing to prioritize YOU. This doesn't mean you forget about everyone else, this means taking care of you, putting the time aside for your workouts and actually doing them. When the alarm goes off at 5:30AM and you think "for me i'm just going to sleep in", the choice of getting up and rocking your workout, sleepy eyed and all, will have you so invigorated that your day will fall into place. So what does taking care of yourself look like? Well it will be different for everyone, for me my self-care list looks like this:

1. Scheduling time every single week for my workouts, for me they happen to be in the morning and I know that my experience of myself when I wake up and accomplish a hard workout is that of pride.
2. Having one evening a month (minimum) where I have absolutely no plans, no workouts, no socializing, just taking time to regenerate and recharge my brain. Usually this looks like enjoying a glass of wine and a movie with my husband or reading a book.
3. Spending time every weekend to prepare my food for the week so I am not confronted by the busyness of the week.
4. Scheduling my breaks at work to connect with people who are important to me, this fills me up and keeps me engaged in the rest of my day.

Everyone's self-care list will look different, but what I know is that if you do not know what you need to do to take care of yourself then you will never take the actions to do it. What you may experience is burn out, you may even be successful for awhile at transforming your health BUT I can pretty much guarantee you there will come a point where you will hit a wall. The wall of "I give up" or perhaps "What's the point?" and if you are not present to what you need to do to recharge yourself, to take care of yourself and to make yourself a priority I guarantee the results will be the undoing of all your hard work. So ask yourself the question, "what do I need to do every day, every week, every month to make sure that I am taken care of?"

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What I GOT in the ILP

On Friday I completed a 7 month journey of self, better known as the Introduction Leaders Program (ILP) with Landmark Worldwide. Looking back at these last seven months I have done a lot of growing. In reflecting on that before class I was having a hard time seeing the results. It's kind of like weight loss, you see yourself every day it is so hard to see the results until you look at a picture from 3 months ago. In this program though I had huge results for my life.

1. At the very beginning of the program I was asked to share my story in a local running group. When I was first asked I figured it would be like 15 to 20 people so I said yes, later I found out I would be speaking in front of approximately 200 people. Imagine my face as I sat at my desk on the other side of a telephone call being told it would be 200 people, it kind of looked like this....

ok or maybe more like this....

or imagine something in between those two reactions, I think my response was something along the line of silence as Mena said "oh is that okay that it's 200 people.....are you still there?" And I said "ummm...yes that's no problem". Immediately after I hung up the phone I was dreading this and in this program dreading is not a place we want to be. After some self talk and a phone call with my coach I was clear I was no longer dreading it, I was excited that I was about to make a difference for 200 people. I just watched the video again today, I hadn't seen it in several months, and was reminded of those body sensations I felt as I stood there. What else it reminded me of is how far i've come in just these few months that now if someone asked me to do that I would have no problem saying yes to it. Here's the video for those that missed it.

2. Throughout my weight loss journey, and my life in fact, I have had this context for who I am like "i'm not worthy", "i'm not important", "what I think doesn't matter". I've written and shared about this multiple times and throughout the last few years I have had glimpses of finding "self worth" and then it fades. When I entered this program how I was relating to myself was the same, I was uncomfortable with my biggness, I didn't want ot be acknowledged or looked at. It's like this...

I can truly say that I have changed the way I look at myself. What I got in this program is that who I am for the people in my life is someone who makes a difference. I make a difference even when I dont know i'm making a difference just because that is who I have created myself to be. Being a contribution is my self expression. I'm clear that I was put on this earth to go through this journey in order to empower other people in their lives and i'm even more clear now that I fulfill on that every day when I am willing to acknowledge who I am, I got that in this program.

3. Also in this program I truly got how still afraid of connection I was. I was intimidated by people who were really self expressed or out there and I had it like I was the odd person out. What got created out of this program was a community of people all out to have each other win in whatever we were all up to. I started to play games with myself to have connection become fun. For example, last week I played a game with myself called "authentic connection" and the game was I would make a comment or talk to every single person I met that day, wether it be standing in an elevator, at a cross walk or in the line up at the coffee shop. I got that in the past I would never do that, I had it like what is the point of even talking to the stranger in the coffee line up? They will never remember me. But what this did was open up a whole new world of connection with people all inside of simply saying "Hey, I love your outfit, you look fabulous". Now I get that my connection with people is all my creation, moment by moment I can choose to have connection or not and those moments that I choose not there is nothing wrong but I can look if there is something stopping me from wanting to be out there in the world and living.

So to sum up what I really GOT in the ILP, I got that I am whoever I say I am at any moment under any circumstances I have the choice to be unstoppable, unmessable and a contribution or I have the choice to give in to my internal dialogue of "i'm not good enough". What an incredible thing to get for myself in only seven months! Thank you to all the participants, coaches and leaders in this program who always listed to me as someone more capable than I ever saw myself to be.

Friday, October 4, 2013

BW Success Story: Shannon McCartney

Last week we finished another amazing session of Biggest Winners with even more jaw dropping results this time. The lovely Shannon McCartney was our Biggest Winner losing an incredible 33 pounds in 12 weeks. Shannon is the shining example of commitment! I remember being in class and she said "I changed my entire work schedule so I could be at every single workout" - she was committed, now 12 weeks later and down 33 pounds Shannon looks amazing. She graciously agreed to be interviewed, I'll let her tell her story.

What was your starting weight?
254 pounds

What is your current weight?
221 pounds

What is your goal weight?
180 pounds

What had you join BWs?
One night I saw the BDHQ advertisement pop up on facebook and I ignored it, but found myself creeping back to it a couple of times. I was able to access the website where I came across a blog and read about peoples different weight loss journeys. I remember wanting to join but feared it at the same time... did I mention the program started the next day? I began playing the mind games where I was disappointed in myself for being scared and not following through. I emailed the gym really late that night... a nervous wreck... hoping and praying that my request was received too late to start this enrollment... but at least I tried, hence not being disappointing in myself. Did I mention mind games? Well, I received an email early the next morning inviting me down to the gym, and as I said a few choice words my new reality began. It was time. Time to gain back control of my life, time to invite fun back into my life, and time to choose it for the right reason... me!

How long have you struggled with weight?
You know, I've always hated this question. Being overweight doesn't always imply a negativity such as sadness or depression, in fact I have always been quite a positive upbeat person who lived quite happily at any size. What I have struggled with is Society's view on obesity. I was born into this world with hypopituitaryism, long story short (pardon the pun), I was injected with growth hormone- an anabolic steroid- 3 times a week from the age of 18mos old through until about 16yrs old. Following that was daily estrogen/ progesterone pills which I finally stopped (against medical advice) about 2 years ago. I had enough of people telling me how my body should look. I have always been a huge advocate for self love regardless of your size.

Why was this time the right time for you to take on your health?
A couple of years ago I had a routine doctor's appt and learned that my blood pressure was high. I was given the speech "next visit in 6 months, if it remains high we will have to look at medication to control it" It took me 2 years to return. Mortified that I would be back on any medications, let alone blood pressure medication... at 38yrs old!! During those 2 years I made some lifestyle adjustments, none which included exercise. The truth was I was petrified of having a heart attack. I honestly thought that it was a highly likely possibility.
I had that follow up appt., and to my surprise my blood pressure was fine. It was the rush of emotions that followed; relief, shame, and fear... because now there is really no excuse. When did it become okay to give up on my health? When I joined BDHQ I remember saying "If I am going to die of a heart attack I would rather it be during a workout than laying on my couch watching tv.

What would the YOU today tell the YOU 12 weeks ago before this program about deciding to be in it or not?
As I would say to anybody in that situation, when the time is right it will happen. I would also say, yes it's fun, yes it's safe, yes you will love it, and yes you can!

Apart from the weight/inches what is the biggest change you have noticed?
I have my upbeat, cheerful energy back... plus I have never slept better!!

What do you do to maintain your schedule, life, health and have it all balance?
First off let me just say I do not have children to worry about- kudos to all of the parents out there balancing their own health with their families. It isn't easy, you really have to know what you want and prioritize in order to get there. You also have to make sacrifices. I had to switch over 20 shifts at work in order to attend all of the workouts. It wasn't easy but I wanted and needed it so badly. I missed my 21st high school reunion in order to attend a weekly weigh in and workout. Again, not an easy decision but I really wanted and needed to be focused on this program. I missed opportunities to get off the island and visit family. I was able to fit in some desperately needed girl time but had to sacrifice the late nights in order to get in the early morning workouts. It's a balancing act for sure, but I find if I keep my goals at the forefront then the sacrifices are tolerable.

What was your biggest accomplishment over the last 12 weeks?
The small victories: attending a party and not snacking on the chips and cheezies, getting through a day at work without eating goodies delivered by patient's families, getting out of the grocery store with only the items on my list. Feeling proud of myself for succeeding each and every day.

What did you have to do to make this program work for your life? what changes?
I had to face it head on. Life I mean. I had to look at my current situation and admit that I wasn't happy. That was one of the hardest truths I have ever had to tell myself. From that point it was all forward motion, one step at a time.

What is next for you? goals?
I have just resigned with the Biggest Winner program for another year-yay! My goal is to find joy in everything I do. I want to say yes to every invitation, I want to ski down those slopes, hike up those mountains, lay on those beaches... and look and feel good doing it. I also want to retire from my nursing career with a healthy pain free body.

WOW Shannon, I acknowledge you for being brave, courageous and authentic and taking this program on FULL FORCE! You are a shining star and will accomplish anything you set your mind to.