Random Thoughts Monday v18.0

Last week was on of the fastest weeks in my life. I’ve been attempting to increase my evil day job hours and at the same time give Nia and my book editing daily attention. I might be pushing myself a ton, but I don’t see any other way at the moment. I’d love to give the evil day job the boot, but until Nia and gosh one day my book is sold that just aint going to happen. We solder on, don’t we, yes, we do, with a big smile, because my neck is pretty much all the way healed!!!

I have a few random thoughts…

  • Several months ago I shared one of my favorite ever links: What Woman Look Like. I like this site so much, because you can look at your height/weight/paint size & even shape type. If you are like me you may look at yourself and say, you need to lose a few (and I do, but just a few). If I would have found this site a decade ago (when I was 15 pounds lighter than I am now and I thought I was very over weight) I would have seen other woman, whose shape and size were similar to mine and would not have been able to call them over weight. So what would what mean about me…you got it, truth can feel really good sometimes!! Are you being truthful to yourself about your weight and how you feel? What can you do right this minute to make you feel better about yourself? I do not have to remind you to go do what ever you thought of, right?
  • ‘Most runway models meet the BMI criteria for anorexia,’ I believe it and so does a plus size model magazine as reported here. The article gives an interesting photo of a “plus-size” model and a “straight-size” model and goes on to say ‘Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, she weighs 23% less.” Wow, something is very wrong here. Wonder when or if they will ever get a clue?
  • Author Jeaniene Frost wrote a very interesting post on January 7th, entitled New year, no resolutions. Jeaniene is an amazing author, I really enjoy her books. She is a New York Times best-selling author, so why would she have self-doubt? Very interesting read, please check it out!!! 
  • Nia
    • Sanjana (the routine I’m currently learning): I made minimal progress this past week, however I did the movement several times as I worked my way back from injury.  This week I will continue to practice teaching the first 5 songs and begin the bars for the 6th song and 7th songs.  There are 8 songs in the routine.
    • 52 Moves in 52 Weeks: There are 52 moves in the Nia dictionary and what a great way to better know your craft than to spend 1 week with each move!!
      • “A” Stance. Stand with feet wider than hip width. Keep your knees spring-loaded and relaxed. Start with your weight centered, shift your weight back and forth and return to center to feel your balance.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day. He was such an inspiration. One of my favorite quotes of his:

“A right delayed is a right denied”

Yes, he was brilliant!! My great friend over at www.ThirtyThreeandCounting.com  created an inspirational post today in honor of Dr. King: This is How We Change the World, she had some help from her friends and I’m honored to be on the list. Please check it out!!!

Have a great week everyone!!

~Do you want to start or re-start your health journey? I’ve created a list of things that worked for me, see the last page listed at the very top of this page and Create Your Own Healthy Journey today!

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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.

Random Thoughts Monday v10.0

I’m now completed two days in my Nia White Belt Intensive and I’m feeling stronger than ever before.  Have you ever been in that place where you are doing something that feels right for your body, your mind AND your spirit?  Well that is where I am right now.  I had an absolute blast today.  I’ve met eleven of the most amazing people from all over, Israel, Canada, North Carolina, Green Bay, Chicago and several from around Michigan.  We all come from different backgrounds but we all share one very important thing in common, we love movement.  Through Nia we are becoming fast friends and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.  Yes it will be awhile yet before I get to bed (I’m writing this post Sunday night;), my body is exhausted and I’ll be rising about 5am tomorrow, but I can’t wait, I can’t wait to learn the next bit of Nia.

  • A massage would feel great about now
  • My feet would love a good soaking
  • My back would love the hot pad
  • Aleve will be taken, by me, very soon
  • My Lions didn’t just lose today, they lost big time and my new Chicago friend had a little too much fun rubbing it in 😦
  • Have you ever listened to a piece of music and not moved your body, at all?  We’ve been listening with stillness these past two days in my Nia classes.  I’ve been at concerts where you sit and listen to music and it’s wonderful.  But I do know that I have never ever quieted my mind and body and simply listened.  Listened for the spaces between the beats, listened for an instrument to return to the party, listened for the full story of the music is a whole new experience.  Give it a try: relax your body, keep your mind alert and with your spirit waiting, just listen

Since my body is about to drop from all the dancing I did today I’m going to close up for today and go get some aleve and that hot pad, refill my giant water jug, lay out my clothes for tomorrow and rest my body

I hope you have a wonderful Monday and that you do something today for you.

 

What we can learn from moms

How many ways are there to do the same thing? A gazillion? Are there any two kids in the world that are the same?  Sure we can learn from each other and there are a lot of moms out there with wonderful advice, but in the end we need to do what is best for us and our family.

Living day to day, mom or not, can be hard, that’s the obvious.  My family, friends, blogging and tweeting has certainly helped me coop with life’s ups and downs.  But every once in a while I remember the best advice I ever got.  I was about six-months pregnant with my first son and I was at my baby shower.  A very wise mom, wish so much I could remember who, told me to listen to all the advice and then do what ever I think is right.  This wise woman gave me the key to so many of life’s challenges.  I only took it to heart in reference to my soon to be mommyhood, but recently I’ve realized how poignant her advice was to many of the trials in life.

Families look different and function different, which is amazing.  What works for me and my family situation may or may not work for you.  Why there are folks out there who feel they can judge anyone is beyond my comprehension.  I know many moms who would change their situation if they could, i.e. work more, work less.  I also know many moms who wouldn’t change a thing, of course it is ok to want/need to get out of the house, I don’t have to tell you that, you already know.  I love a lot of things about my situation but it’s not perfect either.

Which brings me to the first reason for my post.  Moms know one thing for certain: our kids are not perfect, but there is absolutely NO reason why they should not love themselves completely and unconditionaly, after all, we do.  I’ve known this little fact so clearly for the last 5 years, but haven’t taken the time to realize one other fact, my mom feels the same way about me.  Hmm…I’m hard on myself, yes I am, I beat myself up over the littlest things.  No, I’m not perfect and it was only recently that I realized that I’m glad I am not.  How else would I learn anything.  One of my all time favorite quotes:

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more
intelligently.  -Henry Ford

This past Sunday a new show started on ABC: Once Upon A Time and I loved it, no surprise there.  Here is a little spoiler from the first episode.  A woman (Emma) who has given her son up for adoption 10-years ago is found by that son (Henry).  Henry has been adopted by a woman in Storybrooke (Regina).  Henry think Regina is the evil Queen from Fairy Tale Land and he begs Emma to stay in Storybrooke.  Regina sounds like most moms when her son goes missing and she is very protective of her son when Emma brings him back.  As Emma turns to leave she asks Regina, “Do you love him?,” I can only imagine that if Regina responds with a convincing yes Emma would feel that Henry is where he belongs and everything would be OK.  Isn’t that just it, the one thing we all MUST give our kids is our love.  A child who feels love can do anything, can dream the big dreams and be happy.  Kids know when they are loved, we parents are pretty transparent on that point.  I of course don’t pass up an opportunity to tell my kids I love them.  Regina spat out her answer, “Of course I love him.” I don’t have to tell you that Emma decides to stay in Storybrooke, but what is more interesting is why Emma asked her question and the question itself.

Many of us can still learn a thing or two from our moms and or the moms around us.  We should love ourselves and embrace any flaws we perceive, those flaws give you a chance to learn.  We know when we are doing the right thing for us and if we are or not we should love ourselves anyways, learn from the result, move forward more intelligently and everything will be OK.

Scale Day v17.0

The past 7 days have been a trial on many levels, not just on my healthy journey, but also with work and my passion with writing.  I started several new responsibilities this week for one of my clients and it has stressed me out to say the least.  More tasks, means more billable hours, means more cash flow for the family and that is worth it in the end.  When I start something new it always stress me out, does that happen to you too?  It’s past time to take a breath and relax.  But I’m also working on a new blog to represent my writing, that part isn’t stressful, it’s the knowing I’m that much closer to my first reality check.  The more I think about it the more I am embracing it, I want my writing to get better, I want a chance to one day be published.  Until now my writing has been for me, kind of like another child and I need to let that feeling go and embrace positive progress forward.  All of these thoughts are what I need to take into this next week in my Healthy Journey.

This past week has been a very busy one for me, which was a test for me and my goals. I sort of past.  I did get just over 300 355 minutes in of exercise (just realized I short changed myself on the minutes), but I didn’t even average 7 16-oz glasses of water (my goal is 8) and I went over my calorie limit twice.  On a good note I didn’t totally go crazy on calories, just 100-200 calories over, but when you are trying to make a 3500 calorie deficit in a week that is just not OK!!  Ok, one more confession, but there is a happy side.  Last Saturday, which has become my sleep in day and workout in the afternoon, I had a breakthrough on my book.  Instead of working out I kept writing, I wrote over a 1,000 words that day and finished the scenes I’d been having troubles with.  On another good note I had my highest workout minutes the very next day, but I can only cheer so far because those extra minutes just made up for the minutes I neglected the day before.  In addition with all the busyness I didn’t get in my all of my intended minutes for the week, I had wanted 400, boo.

So ya I was looking forward to scale day, actually I really was, it’s just what I needed to kick me in the pants and start fresh on a new week.  I’m happy to report I didn’t gain this week, which the old me totally would have, I didn’t lose much, but I’ll take it, .3 pounds.  I like round numbers and who doesn’t, I have now lost a total of 19 pounds and my current goal isn’t totally out of reach.  Three weeks ago I stated I wanted to lose 5 more pounds before I started my Nia White Belt training.  I have two weeks to go and 1.8 more pounds to go.  Oh boy, these next two weeks are going to be serious business!!  I AM up to the challenge!!

What challenges have you set for yourself lately?  Are you making them work?  What could you change to help ensure you’ll meet your challenge?

Scale Day v13.0

When I turned off the alarm this morning my mind went through three thoughts.  1. I know I lost this week, I worked hard and did great with the food choices and calorie counting.  2. I might not have lost this week, maybe I didn’t do enough. 3. I have a few ideas of things I want to try, regardless what the scale has to say I should do them.  Knowing that only a non-loss would really get me to make a new change, I actually didn’t know what to wish for, gosh I’m strange!!

As it turns out I think I got it all.  I didn’t gain but I only lost 1/2 a pound.  A new zero has entered my life and I was happy to see it.  Last week my weight was 151.2 and this week it is 150.7.  I was hoping to see 149 something, but that zero was a happy sight.  On a really bright side, I have some non scale news.  I’ve not been liking my clothes lately.  My t-shirts are so loose they look like maternity shirts and my jeans keep falling down.  Yesterday I found myself with 5 extra minutes as I exited the mall and I tried on size 8 jeans (when my journey started I was stuffed into a size 12, remember I’m only 5′ 2″) and I got them all the way up.  Sure they were snug, but I got them up and over my butt.  Speaking of which my butt is still large, but I have a waist and it’s smaller than my butt!!  Plus I’m starting to see the effects of all those ab exercises and my arms, lets just say I have muscles and I like to flex them.  I know I’m a dork, but it’s been a long time since I had anything to flex.  I also need to mention saddle bags.  When I started this journey one of the things I was thankful for was that I didn’t really have bad saddle bags.  Well as it turns out they were just covered up in excess fat.  Now that I have shed some of that fat you can see the bags.  They are not really bad, unless my doing side planks, wow and then they just hang down, so gross.  Ok, enough of that talk.  A few additional numbers to through out, my BMI has actually changed from last week, it’s down a tenth to 27.6, which is down 2.6 from where I started, not bad at all.  I only have 2.7 more points before I can say I am not over weight.

Several weeks ago I started a stretching goal, because I was feeling sore and it really helped.  The last few weeks I’ve been feeling pretty good and I’ve found my extra stretching sessions going by the wayside.  For almost three months now I’ve been working out practically everyday, in fact I’ve only missed 4 days.  This week actually included a missed day, but I doubled up my workouts a couple of days later.  My workouts are still very challenging.  Sure I’m making my movements bigger from where I started but I’m still able to get my heart rate up there…but I want a new challenge.

I have a zillion Pilates and several Yoga tapes that I have not yet gotten into.  I’m planning on adding two afternoon sessions this week, one Pilates and one Yoga.  the first Pilates session I’m going to try killed my arms the last time I did it (which was probably more than 5 years ago), it uses the band and I can’t wait to see if my new arms can handle the session.

I have huge plans for the next 6-months of my life and I can’t believe I have not yet mentioned it here.  You may have read some where along the way on my blog that I’ve studied dance all my life, including college and even had a scholarship with a company in Chicago post graduation.  Problems with my knees killed my dreams at the time and I came back to MI.  The move turned out to be a great decision since I married the man who made me want to come back and we now have two amazing boys.  My mother has been bugging me for years to try Nia and more recently one of my favorite bloggers sent me a Nia workout.  To say it was love at first dance is an understatement.  My love for Nia grows the more I learn about it and I have signed on to undergo White Belt Training in mid November, which will allow me to teach Nia.  The thought of making any kind of living from movement has me jumping up and down, in fact excuse me for a moment…ok I’m back 🙂 I am very thankful that my mom kept bugging me (ok that is what she excels at) and for my new bestest friend for bringing Nia to my life.

I’m not sure what the future holds but I’m going to work hard to put my body and mind in a place where I will hopefully be teaching and spreading the love of Nia to Kalamazoo (who currently does not have a Nia teacher).  Yes I need to keep up my cardio, because not only will I need to be able to do the Nia steps for my students but I will also need to be able to talk and instruct them through the class!!  But I also need to improve my flexibility.  I remember me as a new dancer back in elementary school, stretching daily in order to do the splits, thirty years later I’m in the same spot.  I know first hand what it takes to be flexible enough for the splits (all three ways) and to fold yourself in half over your legs when they are straight out in front of you (seated forward bend).

Here are my goals: splits, a full seated forward bend and losing another 6 pounds before While Belt Training.

How am I going to do it?  I’m going to keep eating well, keep working out daily, add afternoon Pilates and Yoga (starting once a week) and I WILL stretch daily.  The only way to really improve my flexibility is to really work at it, not just as my muscles are warming up or cooling down.  It needs to get its own part of my attention.  I can’t wait to see what my body has to say about these new goals.  Hmmm, a sense of excitement and a can do attitude, that for sure puts me on the right foot.

September 2, 2011

Well, after not losing weight this week you’d think I’d be more careful with my calories.  Yesterday was a total bomb.

All was going well, my water intake was great, then the afternoon hit and I was so hungry.  Yes, I’d say a 5 on the hunger scale.  I drank a class of water and had a couple of nuts.  I did my grocery shopping and I was pretty good at the store, it could have been really bad too.  The trip gave me another sign that I have been changing my eating habits, because I had one craving in the store and since I was hungry I indulged.  So what did I get, was it some candy, no, was it cheese popcorn, no, it was veggie chips.  I had to laugh, because when I got home I ripped open the package and had two chips, man did they hit the spot.  The result was very different from what would have happened four months ago.  unfortunately I was still hungry.  While unpacking the food I accidentally ripped open a banana, so I made a drink with it (milk, banana, little sugar, little cocoa and coffee), which is less than 3o0 calories, not bad, again it could have been so much worse.

The problem was that I now had enough calories left for a little dinner, which is normally fine.  Last night I had dinner plans at the best Asian restaurant in town, their fish tacos are amazing.  How could I not enjoy, husband and I hardly ever get a date night.  Again it could have been a lot worse, we didn’t even have time for coffee.  I love me some espresso, which would be fine, but I like mine with milk and chocolate, oh yes, the mocha, yummmm, I do usually go for the tall, skim and no whip though.  We did make it out to the best brewery in Michigan, Bells where a couple of local bands got together (all good friends of my rocker husband- in fact one of the guitar players is my youngest’s godfather and we are god parents to their oldest) to play the whole of Abby Rd.  The show rocked and of course I indulged in one beer.

I blew past my calorie count yesterday, by more than 700 calories, it could have been a lot worse.  I didn’t complete let go, but I did indulge, which is ok as long as I don’t make it a pattern and I get right back on track today.  Yes I have had breakfast, I’m on my 2nd 16-oz glass of water and I’ve had two aleve, because I’m older now, rocking out, staying up late and having one beer does me in 🙂

I did sleep in this morning.  I will get in a work out this afternoon, already have it scheduled with the family.  I got to thinking, it has been 14 days since I missed a morning workout.  I was tired yesterday morning during my workout, I didn’t have the best workout, which made me sad.  I remember a couple of weeks ago I slept in a few mornings and I felt rejuvenated once I got back into the morning workout routine.  I’m hoping the restful morning will help me to have a good workout this afternoon.  I also have been thinking for some time that I need to spend time everyday stretching, more than what my workouts cool down provides.  My muscles are starting to feel tight, a sign of strain and over work I think.  Starting today I’m making a daily goal to stretch and I’ve added it to my goals page, I like that page!!

So in summary, I’ve gotten off track and my muscles are tight and tired.  Today I will get back to my calorie limit and all my goals, including the new stretch goal.  I’ll continue to listen to my body, indulge occasionally and then get back on track and move forward reaching for my goal, a healthy me.

Happy Labor Day Weekend Everyone!!!