Creating Your Own Healthy Journey

I’ve created a new page at my blog.  I want to share what worked for me and what I know now that would have helped if I knew it in the beginning.  This page is meant to help you get started or re-started on the right foot and empowering you in your own health journey.  May 2012 be even healthier than 2011, may it be more fun and may true happiness be yours.

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Scale Day v26.0

When you are on a weight loss journey there are many highs and lows along the way.  Certainly making it through a hard workout feels amazing.  Seeing the first five pounds melt away is pretty cool, the next five feels even better.  Finding muscles you forgot you had is awesome.  Shopping for new clothes can really add up, but when you buy a size 6, when you started the journey in a size 12, feels incredible.  Hearing all my relatives compliment me is just icing on the cake.

With all the comments I received over the past few days only one hit me the wrong way.  After working hard for not just a few weeks, but 26 weeks, I’m not about to go into reverse and let the pounds back on.  This journey that I am on has not only changed my outlook on my health but also the reasons behind it.  What used to be one of the only reasons I wanted to lose weight, to look good in my jeans, is now just a by-product.  But nothing could stop my step-Grandma from saying, “now, just don’t put the weight right back on.” Yow, ah, ok, what do you say to this type of comment?  I can tell you what I wanted to say, but it was not appropriate to say to anyone let alone an elder.

Challenges will continue to come my way, but one thing I’ve got down is one week at a time.  I got Through Christmas week without gaining weight.  That’s right, I actually lost 0.3 pounds!!  Which is pretty awesome.  I did great on water this past week, 280 minutes of exercise (which is great considering my schedule) and sleep was actually pretty good.  Now calories, hmm, have no idea really, I can only say I didn’t go crazy, I had a Christmas cookie each day, but only one or two at the most.  I tried to keep to my normal patterns with foods, and considering I didn’t gain this week I think I did pretty good.

Last week I could have sworn the BMI calculator told me that once I (5′ 2″) weighed 136.5, my BMI would be 24.9.  I must have been mistaken, I need to weigh 136.4 before I enter the normal weight range.  Holy crud, I only need to lose 0.1 pounds!!!  I don’t normally do this, but considering the year is ending in two days I’m making a two-day goal.  My next goal is to enter the BMI normal weight category by the end of 2011.  If I would have said that 26 weeks ago I would have laughed at the impossibility, but now I just might be able to do it, regardless this year is a total success!!

I’m actually looking forward to making some New Years resolutions next week, I look forward to reading yours too.

Saturday I will be at a girlfriend’s house celebrating New Years with my 3 boys and a bunch of our friends.  My girlfriend’s husband is from Germany, so they celebrate New Years at 6 pm, when the calendar changes in Germany, how cool is that.  Shortly after I get my New Year’s kiss, my rocker hubby will be off to his gig, it all works out pretty well actually.

Hope you have a ROCKIN New Year!!!

Random Thoughts Monday v15.0

The Christmas weekend is winding down, I have one more party to attend this evening and then it will be officially over for us.  I had a very wonderful time this weekend.  It was great to see almost all of my family in just a few days.  My brother even got a private drum lesson from my dear husband, two happy men.  I was very proud of my oldest son who did a really convincing job of saying thank you when he unwrapped clothes, I’m glad we practiced 🙂

  • In my Random Thoughts Monday v12.0 I mentioned Spotify and the possibility of sites like these making the iPod and buying music obsolete.  My dear husband, the musician, has a strong interest in understanding how musicians get paid.  He keeps me educated on the plight of the struggling musician.  One of many reasons musicians keep writing and playing music for the public is because they CAN make a living.  Let me ask you a question.  How much money do you think you’d make if one of your songs was played one million times over a five month period?  Do you think it would be more than $1,000? Well it’s NOT, Lady Gaga only made $167, for her one million plays on Spotify!! Hmmm, in the article I just linked you’ll see that Basca (The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) chairman Patrick Rackow says “this is leading to a climate of fear and distrust”, well said!!  If Spotify doesn’t do a better job, i.e. at least paying singers/song writers what radio pays for each of its plays, it will be going down fast.  I wonder where Spotify will be without Lady Gaga.  This whole story reminds me of the Napster days and when Metalica worked hard for themselves and the musicians that were having a hard time getting heard.  I also remember the public at large not standing behind Metalica, like we couldn’t stand behind the rich rock band, even if their fight was right.  Well if folks like Lady Gaga don’t fight to say $167 for 1 million plays is absolutely ridiculous, what will happen to the struggling up and coming musicians?  What will happen to the future of music?  Ok yes that is a bit dramatic, but this can be some scary stuff!!
  • My first cousins are all in college except the youngest, who is a senior in high school.  They have begun to tell the true stories from their youth and their mom is finally beginning to understand the youngest was not lying about how awful she was treated, better late than never.  The best was when I heard the oldest, 23, berating the youngest for her short skirt (just an inch or two above her knee) and for kissing her boyfriend on their couch.  He said, “she’s only 12, she shouldn’t be kissing boys.” I had to give him a reminder several times that she is NOT 12, she’s 17, her skirt could actually be shorter and kissing a boy is perfectly fine.  Their visit was a lot of fun.
  • MY Lions are going to the playoffs, first time since 1999!!  Yow, I am so proud of my team!!

How are you going to spend the last 6 days of 2011? What ever you do I hope it is fun!!

Scale Day v25.0

Some bad news and some good news.  My youngest woke with a 100 degree temperature yesterday, by mid morning it was up to 102 and by lunch 104!!  He got a good nap in just his diaper and then we headed out for a 5pm doctor appointment.  We were home by 7pm with some free amoxicillin (our local grocery will give you this antibiotics and several others free with a prescription, so nice).  The doctor thinks he has strep throat!!  My 2-year-old who has only ever seen a doctor for well visits might have strep!!  Oh my!!  We wont know for sure if he has strep until Friday, but until then they will treat it like it is, hmmm.  Good news, after two doses of medicine, his temperature is back down to 100 today and he seems to be slowly coming back to that joyful boy.

To say I’m distracted by the “joys” of the season and my youngest is for certain.  I want to look at the bright side.  Everything I need to be ready for this weekend is in the house, now I just need to finish a million things, my youngest needs to continue to get better and then…the joy of the season can truly begin.

Before I get back to my youngest (who just feed me a cheeze-it) and my long to-do list…Christmas has come early to this lady!!!  I know hard to believe with the way my post started.  Today is my weekly scale day.  Over the last TWO weeks I’ve only lost a grand total of .5 pounds.  This week I had less exercise minutes than last week, but I did better on the amount of sleep, did a TON better in water and I made better food choices.  I actually ate a little more this week, but I picked healthier foods and I got snacks in too.  This morning I didn’t know what to expect.  Would you believe it if I told you I lost 3.1 pounds this week, well I did, seriously!!  Wow, what, ya, 3.1 pounds!!!  So what was the big change this week? Water!!  I was probably retaining some water and this week with hitting my water goal all but one day certainly did the trick.

Three weeks ago I set a goal to lose 3 more pounds before Christmas and I am happy to say that I actually lost 3.6 pounds.  Wait the news gets better.  I have now lost 28.3 pounds and my BMI is now…………………………….25.0

HOLY _ _ _ _!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

It wont be long now before I can officially say I am NOT over weight!!  Wow, so exciting.  I actually only have to lose .3 pounds more before I hit the beautiful 24.9!!!  Yes, Christmas has come early 😀 I’m not making any goals or new challenges this week.  I’m going to follow my goals, drink my WATER, and for sure listen to my hunger scale and have a few Christmas cookies, but just a few.  This year is a success. 😀

Each week I work hard on trusting the process and I will certainly take that thinking into the New Year.

Happy Holidays everyone!!!!

Random Thoughts Monday v14.0

Christmas weekend is just 5-days away.  All week I’ll be baking cookies, wrapping presents, doing laundry and packing.  This is one of the busiest weeks of the year and mostly I love it, all the work becomes worth it when I get to spend several days with family.  Not everyone gets to spend time with family this week, but I hope everyone still has something fun planned.

Last week I skipped my random thoughts post because I wrote a novel of a post about my history with dance and my first journey back into teaching.  I joked with a fellow blogger about how I should send cookies to anyone who reads the whole post.  Anyways, here are a few of my random thoughts this second to the last week in 2011.

  • On Saturday I took my boys to the local Toys-R-Us where the Marines had a bus to fill with toys for Toys-for-Tots.  I have to say that visiting the Marines at that bus is one of my favorite things about Christmas.  Not only do I get to see some fine upstanding nice young men dressed in beautiful uniforms, but my sons get to see them too.  My oldest is always very impressed with the men in uniform and this year he went on and on about how courageous they were because they stand and protect us.  I was very proud of many young men that morning.
  • We don’t have as much to spend on Christmas this year.   Our income has not gone down but our health care bills sky rocketed this year with both my husband and oldest spending a couple of nights in the hospital.  I’m happy however that we will still be giving our usual amounts to the charities we like to support.  We support, not our library (because the people in my wonderful community support it very well), but my dear husband’s parent’s library.  They have a wonderful little library and I love supporting them.  We also support a very productive soup kitchen in inner city Detroit (their motto: Feeding Bodies, Nourishing Spirits, Strengthening Communities), our local Loaves and Fishes, Toy-for-Tots of course and Seedlings which makes braille books for children.  What are some of the Charities you like to support?
  • I think I’m going to add a page on my blog about how I would start my weight loss journey if I were to do it all over again, which I have no plans of doing by the way.  I hope to have it up this week. I want it up in time to hopefully inspire one person to start their journey in 2012.
  • My journey in learning my first Nia routine continues with not as much progress as I would have liked.  My replacement laptop arrived around lunch last Wednesday and it has taken me awhile to get used to the thing.  The first routine I’m learning has 10 songs and I’m only through the first 4.  I still hope to have all 10 in my body and mind by the end of the year, I’ll just add this to my crazy list this week.  Actually I hope to get at least one or two more in me this week and the rest next week.  I’ll keep you posted.
  • Oh Holy Lions, wow, if you didn’t see the game yesterday you have to read about it, simply go here and see the 4 slides they have on their site.  Nothing I love to see more than a team fight their way through a game and win the whole thing in the last few minutes with a successful extra point kick.  Not only did our beautiful YOUNG Quarterback have a good game, but our rock of a receiver, Calvin Johnson, did too.  The icing on the cake was having Suh back (after his suspension for kicking a player during the Thanksgiving game), apologizing for his bad choices and then getting back on the field and playing great.  To top it all off Suh blocked the Raiders last second field goal attempt, ok sure it was a 65-yard attempt, but still he blocked it and we WON!!

I hope your week isn’t too crazy, strive to get as much done as you can early in the week so that you can slow and enjoy the people around you this weekend.

Scale Day v24.0

This past week did not consist of many normals.  Many of my new ways of life were challenged.  When stress is high, my to-do list is extra long and my sinuses go crazy I need to remain focused on my daily goals and I certainly did NOT stop to think about the fact I AM still on a weight loss journey.  Lucky for me, many of things I do on this journey have become second nature, but my effort was still not 100% this past week.

Since the week of Thanksgiving I have failed to get 400 exercise minutes in a week and this week I failed again but not by much and I will count those 380 minutes as a success!!  Many of those minutes were the same movement, since I was studying for my first Nia teaching experience, which was not good for my body.  This past week I’ve dealt with a lot of sore muscles, to help I’ve been stretching a lot.  I’ve noticed that my stretching has improved much lately, not as quickly as I had wanted, but somethings have their own schedule!!!  So not only did I miss out on about 20-minutes of exercise I also did not get enough water in the last week.  Now I had a sinus cold, I should have been drinking more water not LESS, urgg.  To top off a bad week I was not getting the rest I needed either, again another bad when you are fighting a cold.  I did stick to my calorie limit and was good about planning out snacks each day, yeah one good thing.

I was so looking forward to getting on the scale today, NOT.  Today is also a measurement day for me, thank goodness!!  All my measurements stayed the same, except my waist and hips, both down another 1/2″ (total since start: 4 1/2″ off both!! ). Yes I did get on the scale and I gained, but only .3 pounds.

OK, fine, stop, take a breath, remember where I’ve been…I’ve lost 25.2 pounds…I can lose the last 10 pounds, oh that’s right I only have 10 to go…I can do this…I need to re-find my focus and give the same effort I have over the first 23 weeks…breath…now GO!!

This week it’s back to all my goals, exercise minutes, water, hunger scale, sleep, stretch, repeat

No giving up here, .3 pound gain, what ever, I’ve already moved on to this week, it is all about THIS WEEK!!

I hope you all have a great week!!!

When it’s Time to Teach

Today I have two stories for you really, which makes this a long post, the first section is about where I’ve been and the 2nd is about where I’m going.  Feel free to scroll down to the Present Day section to read about When It’s Time to Teach.

BACK STORY: I’ve been studying dance since 1982, I was 9, although it was casual that first year, my second year brought on a whole new level of dedication and more classes.  By the time I became a teenager my life was dance.  Everyday after school I was dancing until it was time to go home and sleep.  Several weekends a year I was in competition and each summer from mid-junior-high until I graduated from high-school I was either in LA or New York studying dance.  During my childhood years I challenged myself a lot and accomplished a lot too.  I collected a lot of trophies in my day, not only on the state level, but on the national level too, but in the end I kept doing it, because I loved to dance.  I loved the discipline of dance, I loved the movement, I loved the way my body felt filled up with rhythms from the music.  Dance to me was magic.

By the time I needed to start thinking about what I’d do after high school I became highly conflicted.  I desperately wanted to dance professionally, but my heart had this other need that I could not ignore.  I wanted to go to college, I wanted that normal life that most teenagers had that I felt I missed.  I also have this overly realistic side to myself, I call it my truth and it was going to stop me from making the grand gesture of committing to dance.  I knew I was only 5′ 2″ and in the dance world that can get you cut from an audition before you can even step on the stage.  Of course I know now that I could have made a living somehow, but I wont look back.  I went to college, only one semester went by before I missed dance so much that my heart ached.  By my 2nd semester I was a double major and living high on dance and business classes.  The following year brought on sorority life.  I had it all, college was the time of my life!!!  By the time graduation hit I had met the man I wanted to marry (spoiler here: I married that prince and we have two beautiful boys), I had my business degree and I had a scholarship with Gus Giordano, a very famous dance company in Chicago.  Off to Chicago I went, I used my degree to get a good job and lucky for my they flexed my hours so I could dance at Gus’.  Dancing on scholarship has a lot of plus sides, including learning from amazing teachers, dancing along side company dancers and even getting pulled in at the last-minute to substitute teach.

Long story short, 5-months into the scholarship my knees started to hurt.  The pain was so bad I couldn’t walk up and down the stairs.  I was tearing the underside of my knee cap, not good.  Decision time.  I loved dancing at Gus’ and I loved Chicago and still do, but I had a prince waiting for me back in Michigan.  I had a degree I could lean on and I still had some dance connections back in Michigan.  I believed I could make it work, just on a smaller scale than I had intended.  By this point I’d also gotten a taste of getting a good salary, which was something even my scholarship buddies could understand.

Much longer story short, once back in Michigan, it was 1997 now, I was dancing a little and working a lot.  It was not long before I was no longer dancing because my career was taking off.  Dance was forgotten, how to take care of my body was forgotten, everyone elses needs became my focus…my mom took a Nia class and immediately tells me it’s something I must try.  Why? Because you love to dance.  I do? I had forgotten and I didn’t give Nia a chance.  Two years later around the time I turned 38 I had enough of forgetting about me.  Starting slowly I pushed movement back into my life.  I started to blog and not long after a beautiful person stopped by my blog and started to comment and it didn’t take her long to say…Nia…hmmm

Nia and me = instant love connection, my body came back to life, movement, joy, rhythm, heart, choices…I chose me.  When I started Nia my BMI was 30.2, 5-months later when I took the White Belt Intensive (the training that would allow me to teach Nia to others) my BMI was 26.4.  Change was in full force and catapulting my life forward.

Present day, well lets start with last week: Now I was going to tell you all about my week leading up to the day, yesterday, in which I taught my first Nia song.  Lets just say it was a week filled with stress, sinus troubles, tons of work (paid kind and un-paid mommy/home maker kind), broken coat and a broken laptop, it was horrible.  On top of all that mess I was trying to finish learning several songs in the first Nia routine I was learning.  By the time my laptop blinked off in its last breath Friday afternoon I thought I was going to lose it…it was a blessing.  Last week I stated I wasn’t stressed about leading my first Nia song in front of my mentor, my mother and several new friends, but I was stressed about not giving Nia what it deserved and it deserved my full attention.  Life can be crazy and hectic if you let it, sometimes you have to shut out the noise and be quiet.  My now dead laptop apparently knew I needed quiet, yes that is the cup half full version.  With work forced to be done for the day I was able to get back to Nia and I found my center.

The process of preparing to teach began with first listening to the music and listening again and again and again.  Next I diagrammed the music, in Nia we call it doing your bars.  With my bars done I could see a pattern in the music, I could see where the music changes from the intro to the vocal, to the chorus and patterns inside each section.  Once the music was understood I turned back to the movement.  I’ve been doing the movement for this song for many months, but now I had to get to know it in a whole new light.  I learned how to prepare the students for the movement, how to start the movement, what to say when, all while remembering to listen to the music and pay attention to the movement.  I decided when I wanted to give the students choices in movement and movement change queues.  A lot goes into preparing one for teaching, a lot of learning, a lot of practicing, do, repeat, do again…by the time it came time to drive to the class I was stressed so tight I was about to snap.  A big part of my drive was trying not to think about  what I was about to do and who I was about to do it in front of.  I could not however help the thoughts like, why, why are you doing this, couldn’t you have just stayed in your basement, do you really need to be putting yourself through all this?  I didn’t answer that question, I new my truth and in that moment I would not be answering in truth.  I kept moving forward.

Walking into the room and seeing my mentor Winalee was part of what I needed.  Seeing her open her arms to me and hugging me tightly was what I needed.  As friends, my mom and brand new friends entered the room, about 12 in all, I was reminded why I’ve climbed out of my basement. Sharing movement and the joy of dance with others is magic.

Winalee brought us all together and explained the focus for the routine, she also stated that we’d be having a guest artist.  She was talking about me!!!  I knew my song was 3 songs into the routine and during Winalee’s first two songs I tried to relax and enjoy her instructions.  Before I knew what was happening she was helping me put on her cordless mic that wrapped around the back of me head and my song had started.  Unfortunately for me by the time I was done with the mic the song was past the point where I had planned to get things started.  I took a deep breath and remembered no one would die if I started a little off.   Then I heard it, I heard the beat I needed and the song really begun.  I shut out everyone in the room, although I could sense Winalee just to my left silently supporting.  My concentration was strong, I didn’t get lost in the music or in any of the patterns.  I did forget a couple of the things I had wanted to say, but I got the movement right and no one fell down!!

The rest of the class was a lot of fun, mostly because the stress was leaving me in waves and Winalee is awesome.  Looking back at how I got here is important, but now is the time to look forward to what I CAN do, I can do this.  I can learn a full routine.  I will learn a full routine.  Now that I have this first test behind me I can look forward to relaxing into my new role.  Now that dance and Nia is fully into my life I’m going to continue to make magic in my basement but I will also but one foot in front of the other, because I want to, I need to share this magic with others.  It’s time to teach!

Not until you let yourself be free will you be free to be yourself.  Until you let yourself fly will you know what you can really do.