I Love Excuses

This past week, I started ramping up my running milage for my next upcoming race: The Denver Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  This will be my third half marathon on the books.

As I prepare for the race mentally, I’m realizing how freaking lucky I am to be able to run.  For years, like a decade, I told myself I couldn’t run.  In high school, I suffered a full patellar dislocation during a basketball game. (dislocated knee cap) It was quite painful and took a lot of therapy to ‘fix’.  I often wonder if I had been at a proper fitness level while playing school sports, if it would have happened.  Regardless,  I used this as my excuse of why I couldn’t be a runner for a decade.  I also used it when convenient.  If something was too hard, it was obviously my knee issues.  If something was too long, my knee would get swollen for sure……or would it? Let’s be serious: I WAS OVERWEIGHT.  Half of the time it was the knee, half of the time it was me.  As soon as I started strengthening my legs, my knee was never an issue.  Even now when I have knee pain, it’s never from this old injury.

For a decade, I missed out on so many things because of the excuse I gave myself.  As I prepare for my marathon,  I am also fundraising for the first time.  I have joined a team at my gym and have set a goal to raise $1000 in the next month, to donate to Augie’s Quest.  Augie’s Quest is a foundation that is out to Cure ALS. Even though most people associate ALS with “the ice bucket challenge”, very few people know what ALS actually is.

I used to fear something like cancer because it’s the worst thing I can imagine happening.  Now I fear ALS.  Imagine being a runner and then one day you have trouble tying your shoes.  Then next day you trip on a rock you thought for sure you had cleared.  The next month your legs start feeling stiff every morning and you have to develop a new stretching you routine.  Then you notice you can hardly get into the position to stretch.  You’re legs start locking up on you as you run.  Then one day, you trip so bad you’re injured.  After the injury heals you’re disease has now robbed you of the ability to run at all.  And then slowly, you can’t even walk. ALS slowly robs you, day by day, of your motor skills.  Slowly you can’t walk, talk, dress yourself, feed yourself, wash yourself…….day by day. Then eventually, you die, frozen in time and space.  This is my absolutely nightmare.  The worst of it: ALS is cureable if only it had the funding to do so.

We can all help cure ALS.  Can you donate just $5 to help me reach my goal? Can you help me help just one person get the medicine they need to walk a little bit longer? To hug their children? To smile?

give.class.org/kimgalbreath

We never know how lucky we are, until we aren’t.  Help me help them.  If you still aren’t convinced, listen to Anthony’s Story.

 

The Way to the Start Line

This weekend I will run the race that I’ve trained the most for all summer: The Spartan Beast.  On Saturday, I’ll run nearly 14 miles in the mountains and complete 30 obstacles.  I’ve never crossed a start line without crossing a finish line.  As the days draw closer, I’m realizing how bad I want it and how much is scares me to think I might not finish.

In this world of strange encounters and social media stalking, I’ve met and come across only a few stories like my own.   I’ve always been touched by  Gary Stotler’s journey to health and we continue to communicate and support each other’s journey’s online throughout the past two years. Gary was morbidly obese like myself and went on to lose the weight and complete marathons.  After reaching those goals, he has gone on to be an endurance trail runner.  Last year I watched Gary train for and complete the Silver Rush Leadville 50.  Again this year he trained for an even bigger race: The Leadville 100.  I felt such joy for Gary when he completed his first 100 mile race in March.  Then he just kept training and training.  He looked like he couldn’t have set himself up better for the Leadville 100.  I tracked Gary online throughout the race to see how far he had gone.  On Sunday, while I was up early, I checked to see where he was before I got out of bed.  He had run through the night and should be finishing in a few hours. And I was shocked.  Did Not Finish.  WHAT? What happened? Is he ok? I must have put in the wrong bib number………

Later I found out that due to both mental and physical aspects, Gary had quit at mile 69.  Now, 69 miles is farther than I will ever travel in a race.  69 miles is a jaw dropping amount of miles, even on the street.  I was so proud of how far he had gotten, but I was shocked that he hadn’t finished.  He had always finished.  He seemed to accomplish every goal he set out for but this time, he didn’t cross the finish line.

So this week, I’ve been trying my best to mentally focus for my race.  As I do so, I’ve been asking myself,  “Did I put too many eggs in the basket?”  Meaning, if I fail the race, will it make me feel as though I’ve failed? Will I feel like I’ve wasted the entire race season? Today is the first day I can say, no. Today I realize how freaking lucky I really am.

In preparing for this race, I have had some of the most fun I’ve ever had.  I’ve met some of the best people on the planet. Nothing can change the journey I’ve been on and nothing can take away the memories I’ve created.  The journey has truly been the best part 🙂

I will give everything I’ve got to my race on Saturday, and I just might come up short.  I’ve done everything I could do to prepare and those who know me know I’ll go as hard as I can.  I know I’ll cross that finish line, but now I can truly say, if I don’t, it won’t be the end of my world. My world is full of awesome people!  Thanks to everyone who has helped me train this year, even for one workout.  You all continue to push me, inspire me and make me the athlete that I am.  Love you guys.

Goat Yoga

Yes, you read that title correctly 🙂  This Sunday I did Goat Yoga with Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga at Just Kidding Acres.  Here’s what I learned:

It is EXTREMELY hard to focus on breathing, foot position or chakras with baby goats around.

I am a yoga fan but would not consider myself a ‘yogi’.  I like to incorporate some yoga movements into my workouts for stretching and recovery.  I like to attend yoga class (usually HOT) when I can, which is not nearly enough.  I’m hoping to get into a routine again soon, as I will need it when I’m ramping up my mileage this fall.

I was invited to Goat Yoga by my amazing friend Sarah.  Sarah has had a long journey of health and recovery and back again several times over.  She’s someone that you’re constantly impressed by the things she’s done and overcome and came out the other side unscathed. (#mostly)  She helps me take life not so seriously and most importantly we laugh.  A LOT.  So when we were “OHMMMMMMing” and the baby goats are mewing, I can’t handle myself.  🙂

 

Before class, we laughed.  During class, we laughed.  After class, we laughed.  If I were going for a super killer yoga class, I would have been HIGHLY disappointed.  But this wasn’t regular yoga, it was goat yoga.  The whole concept was as ridiculous as it seems.  You’re doing downward dog and suddenly a goat is chewing on your hair.  You’re doing tree pose while a goat is peeing next to you.  Some people were even doing yoga ON goats who refused to move and snuggled up on your mat.

Here’s what I learned from the experience: Sometimes, it’s all about the experience.  Sometimes you just need to giggle and not take yourself so seriously.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day to day and trudge along.  Take time to be silly.  I feel better going in to this week than I have in a long time and part of the reason is Goat Yoga.  You can’t take yourself too seriously at Goat Yoga.  It’s impossible.

I highly recommend Rocky Mountain Goat Yoga not for the yoga, but for the goats.  If you live in the area, get yourself a ticket! The classes will and do sell out.

A million tiny choices

When people in my new career hear my weight loss story, the first question is almost always “How did you do it?” Depending on the audience, I tend to tailor my response to what they are expecting to hear or maybe what they need to hear.  Lately, I’ve been playing a lot with the idea of choices.  The truth is, it was a million tiny little choices that brought me to my life now.

My hubby first started sparked the idea in me.  Recently he’s been ordering new things at restaurants we go to all the time.  The other day he waited patiently for someone to turn instead of cutting someone off and then the whole lane opened up.  He waits patiently for a older lady to cross the street and the parking space we need opens up. He says “Change your choice. Change the outcome. Let’s see what happens.”  Lately, both of us have been rewarded for small choices that change our course.

When it came to losing weight, it didn’t wake up one morning and decide “Today is THE day!” I didn’t start officially on any single day.  It was 100 choices over three weeks and then I noticed my pants are a little too big.  Then I decided to keep making those choices and add more to see how I could change my outcome.  And 1-2 MILLION choices later, here I am.

It’s making the same choices day in and day out to focus on your health.  It’s choosing health over whatever else may come. Example: My friend recently joked about me being the energizer bunny.  Trust me people, I’m just as tired as the next person. I also want to sleep in late and skip the gym.  I also want to eat stacks of pancakes instead of hard boiled eggs. I just make it a priority and hold myself accountable.  I don’t let myself get away with excuses.  Excuses lead to me being 300 pounds.

 

It’s making new choices, risky choices that might be uncomfortable. For example: I’m about to run the Tough Mudder for the third year in a row.  The first time I went, I ran it with strangers and didn’t even really know what I was getting myself in to.  Instead of backing out, I chose to be uncomfortable and I’ve been running that race ever since.  It’s the best race I run all year.  Another example, recently chose to share my story with someone at the gym and now they are turning into a weekly client, which could blossom into years of revenue.

 

But it’s also about forgiveness. You’re not going to make the right or best choice all the time.  And you have to learn to forgive yourself.  I still eat crap sometimes!  I skip a workouts! (really, I swear!) I scream at the car in front of me instead of waiting patiently.  But I try not to dwell on those choices.  I try my best to forgive myself and move on.  You can’t change the past because it’s in the past.  What’s the point of being sad or mad about it? Let. It. Go.  Make better choices today.  Be awesome TODAY. 

No one chooses how you feel.  No one is going to make the choice for you.  No one will be there when you have to hold yourself accountable.  You could work with a whole team of fitness experts (I know a great one if you need a card…..) but in the end, you choose what happens. Trust me.  If I could make the choice for everyone, we would all be happy and healthy and running a mountain somewhere.  We would all feel what losing 160 pounds feels like and you wouldn’t be here reading this blog. I can’t make that choice.  But you can.  What choices will you make today?

Favorite Exercise #1: Jump Rope

In elementary school we ran a fundraiser every year called Jump Rope for Heart.  You had to get sponsors and jump rope for so many minutes in gym class each day.  I also remember not being very good at it, as I was most sports. I lacked the coordination and cardio strength to be successful at jump rope.  This left me feeling like a failure, unfit and added to my self doubt.  As a child, I always blamed myself for not being able to do certain movements in gym class or at sports practice.  Now that I am studying fitness training and how programs should progress, I realize how unprepared I was for many of the movements that they expected us to be able to do.  Did we jump rope each day for just a few minutes before being asked to do it for 20? No.  Did we do supportive strength exercise for the muscles needed to jump rope? No.  Did we do cardio regularly? Maybe 5 minutes to start each class.  The problem was in the program, not the exercise.

Now I love to Jump Rope.  I use jump rope as my cardio in a circuit before anything else.  I love to jump rope and I recently learned to do Double Unders. (Two rotations of the rope in one jump) Here’s some benefits to jumping rope:

  1.  It’s super cheap!  You can find speed or regular jump ropes on Amazon for $5-$8 that will actually last for a while and start you on your path of jumping rope.  You don’t even have to buy one when you’re starting. (See Invisible Rope below!)
  2.  It’s portable!  You can literally jump rope anywhere and everywhere.  I used to have a jump rope in my office for quick cardio bursts.  I have a jump rope with me almost everywhere I go.  It’s so easy to get in a few quick minutes.
  3. It’s a HIGH calorie burner! Jumping rope is one of the only activities that burns calories as quickly as running, without actually having to run. 10-16 calories a minute! 
  4. Good for the Brain! Jumping rope is great for the brain because it demands both physical and mental focus.  In order to do it correctly, so many systems need to work together.  
  5. Agility! One of the typical mental images of jumping rope is a boxer.  The reason for this is because boxer’s jump rope for the foot strength and agility on the balls of their feet.  Always jump rope on the ball of your feet! 
  6. Bone Density! Most people would be surprised to hear that jumping rope is better for your joints than running because the shock is absorbed by both legs instead of one at a time.   

Source Article: 6 Surprising Benefits of Jumping Rope

While I’ve been jumping rope for a few years now, I tried to go back and think about how I really learned.  Hopefully this helps a few of you be more successful:

  1.  Just get your feet moving: Sometimes starting with a rope just hurts.  If you are hitting yourself every few jumps, you’re never going to want to continue.  If you have fear of the rope, it could even get worse.  Jump rope with an “Invisible Rope” first.  Jump to the beat of the song.
  2. Watch yourself in a mirror: Now, watching yourself jump rope can be quite shocking if you have as many ‘nonfirm parts’ as I do. 🙂  Just watch your feet.  If you are jumping with the invisible rope from step 1, make sure both feet are off the ground at the same time BEFORE adding the rope.
  3. Rope Progression: Start with a softer rope, even one of the beaded ‘playground’ ropes.  DO NOT get one that is so soft that it holds NO shape when you are jumping.  (Even though they are usually super cute and brite) Work your way to a wire or thin speed rope to do more complicated jumps.  As you learn to jump rope, you’ll learn what you like in a jump rope.  If the rope is messing you up after you’ve been practicing a while, it could be the rope. 🙂 Length of rope is also important.  To measure, stand on the rope and the handles should meet your armpits.  Some ropes are child length and some are for giants.  It makes a big difference.
  4. Exercise those muscles: Jump Rope uses all of your leg muscles and even into your glute. (Duh!) Any additional leg strength exercises that you can do are going to benefit your jumping rope.  Calf raises, lunges, squats, deadlifts…..it’s all good!
  5. Time: I started with a timer for jumping intervals.  At first I could go for a minute and eventually two.  The more I tried, the better I got.  You can see yourself improving with this exercise easily.  Now I count my jumps because I find it keeps me more accountable.  Now, if I use a timer, I’ll just slowly jump.  But if I give myself a number, I’ll try to get it done ASAP!  A typical AMRAP or Circuit for me these days has 200 single jumps and 20 double unders each round.
  6. Keep Trying!  Don’t let more than a few days pass before practicing again!  With jump rope, muscle memory is key, so just keep trying.  I think you’ll get addicted pretty quick!  Get that heart pumping!
  7. Form is really everything:
    1. RELAX!  When you are jumping rope, relax everything as much as you can.  This includes: knees, hips, calves, shoulders and especially neck.  Keep your body aligned but relaxed.
    2. Jump Up and Down: I know how this sounds but what I mean is, jump in the same exact place each time.  If you are finding yourself moving forward or backward, your body isn’t aligned.  This can lead to knee and hip pain.  Until you are more advanced, you may lack the proper ankle and foot strength to do fancy jumps.
    3. Don’t jump so high: Half the time I see new ropers, they are jumping 18 inches in the air!  You literally need just a few inches for the rope to pass below you.  The more force you use to jump up, the more force you put on your joints when you return to absorb the jump and reload for the next.  Also, a higher jump takes more time.  The closer you remain to the earth while you’re jumping rope, the faster you will become and the healthier your joints will be.
    4. Shhhhhhh!  You should listen to yourself jumping rope just like you watch your feet.  If you sound like a herd of elephants, your putting an elephant’s worth of force on your joints.  If you sound like a mouse……duh.  Try to make as little sound as possible when you’re jumping rope.  This keeps your joints light and your form in check.  Aways jump on the pads of your feet.  Not your toes.  Not your heels.  Trust me.

 

 

I’m a Dirty Girl!

So word is apparently getting around that I like to lift heavy things, climb like a monkey and run in the mountains, preferably while covered in dirt. Two or three weeks ago my friend/colleague/trainer Matt asked me if I would fill in a place for someone who had dropped out for a Mud Run.  Matt is my weightlifting coach at the gym where I work (still weird to say….) and lets me come to his class and disrupt the men in their routine by adding sass and slowing everyone down. 🙂 He’s also the size of a refrigerator. So when he pulled a pink tutu out of his bag, I could hardly contain my excitement.  Matt’s girlfriend, Sarah, had someone drop out of her team for the upcoming Dirty Girl Mud Run.  The tutu and matching princess socks were the required costume.  He was willing to take over my shift so I could go run in the mountains covered in dirt.  What a guy!

So of course I agreed to the race without even considering it much of a question.  I signed up; put on my tutu and met up with the girls.  I was running the race with Sarah and Krista, each of us in our required tutu.  I felt like I knew Sarah through Matt but I was meeting Krista for the first time.  The last time I agree to a race without looking it up and ran with strangers, (Tough Mudder 2015) it was the most fun I’d ever had on a race.  So I figured it was worth the risk. AND WE HAD A BLAST.

The Dirty Girl Mud Run is a 5K course in Copper Mountain with 10-12 obstacles.  It was attainable for all levels and a great race for newbies.  This was Sarah and Krista’s first obstacle race and I knew that I was agreeing to go their pace and be a supportive team member.  To be a total cocky jerk, the race was really simple for me.  I tried to focus on being patient, encouraging my teammates and having fun with racing.  Check check and check.  It was a great day.

I almost got emotional a few times on the course.  I’d never run an all female race before.  Also, I’d never done one with so many of my ghosts along the path.  Again, to be a total jerk: Most races that I run now, I NEVER would have been able to do before.  I rarely see someone the size that I used to be in a race and never anyone bigger than that.  Most races I run, my old self wouldn’t have even knew existed. This race is attainable for everyone so I saw so many versions of myself along the course.   I remember one girl in particular.  We were coming up to a climbing rig with: a cargo net climb to the top, horizontal traverse across a cargo net and then slide down a fireman’s pole; then crawl through the bubble pit to the other side.   The whole thing was maybe 12-15 feet up in the air.  Ahead of me I saw someone who was larger than my past self just giving everything she had to get to the top.  But down below I saw my old self.  She was standing to the side and wasn’t even going to try.  Both my teammate Sarah and I tried to encourage her to try and offered to help her.  It was clear she was just going to watch.

I wanted to encourage her more and fill her with a sense of inspiration and rigor to give it a go, but she was so defeated before she began.  I saw myself in her eyes.  I knew she would never try; no matter what I said.  I watched so many women that day accomplish something they never thought they could.  One woman was frozen at the top of a long slide and my team spent a long time trying to encourage her.  Eventually she told us to go.  She had the biggest smile on her face when we found her at the finish line to tell us that she had done it!  But to the girl at the cargo net, she wouldn’t know.  She wouldn’t know what that was like.  I don’t know that woman.  Maybe just walking the course was her goal that day.  Maybe that brought her more joy than the obstacle would have anyway.  But I saw it in her eyes.

Defeat. Not defeat from fear of the height or the obstacle.  But defeat from even trying.  I’d been in that place so many times.  Here’s what I think she was going through her head:

I’m to heavy for that.  Will the obstacle even hold me? I’m not supposed to do those things.  What if I fail in front of everyone? I know I can’t do it.

These phrases kept me from even trying to lose weight so many times.  “I know I can’t do it.  I’ve tried already. What if I fail?” Fear of failure is something I deal with everyday of my life.  Its something that I struggle with in everything I do.  But I keep trying.  I keep failing and trying to be ok with it.  I’m trying to be ok with not being able to do EVERYTHING.  But it’s hard.  My fear of failure made me miss out on so many things in life.  I’m not letting it rob me anymore.  I almost missed out on the most beautiful Saturday on Copper Mountain with the most beautiful of ladies! 🙂

Running of the Green

For the past three years, my husband and i have completed the Running of the Green Lucky 7K in Downtown Denver. You can read about last year’s race: here. 

When you run the same race with the same course for three years, you can feel such a difference! You rarely get the chance in fitness to compare one workout to the next.  This was a cool experience! Here’s a snapshot of each year’s race: 

2015: I had never run farther than a 5K.  I didn’t even know if I could. A few days before the race I went out and ran 4 miles just to be sure.  Since I’d already signed up with friends, I figured I had to do it. I didn’t look at the course and it was brutal!  So many hills….will the race ever end?

Pace: 10:49 .  I was walking every 1/3 to 1/2 mile.

2016:  I was much more confident after running it once.  I knew what the course would be like and when I should walk.  I felt more confident about racing and new I could finish.  The course still felt pretty hard but not as hard as the first year.  I ran some of the uphills but still walked frequently.

Pace: 10:00,  I walked at least 4-5 times

2017:  I knew this was my year.  I knew I could finish faster and push myself harder through the course.  I’m faster now and I’ve been training on hills and trails a lot more.  I am so much stronger now, the race felt kinda easy!

Pace: 9:06,  I only walked once!

Overall I know I’m always getting stronger and faster but it was amazing to FEEL how much stronger I was.  In 2015 I dreaded every hill and walked almost all of them.  This year, I sometimes noticed the uphill or was able to easily push to the top.  I was proud of myself when I crossed the finish line, thinking of how hard it had been the first time and how far I’ve come as a runner and as an athlete.

In the middle of a journey it can be so difficult to feel yourself getting stronger especially when you aren’t using a scale.  While the number on the scale is important, I find that I’m measuring my fitness more and more by my abilities than by the numbers. And the numbers are in: I’m pretty freaking strong.

 

Infectious Fitness

For the past 2.5 years, I have been running a Fun Run club at my school.  Truth be told, it has sometimes been really discouraging.  It seemed like no matter what I did, no one was interested in running next to me, behind me or in front of me.  Running helps keep me sane and able to do my job.  It de-stresses me and relieves anxiety that can be devastating in the teaching profession.

I tried several different ideas to get people excited. Different days, different lengths, different routes, incentives……nothing seemed to work.  I eventually got a trusty group of walkers.  While I enjoyed spending time with them, I knew they weren’t receiving the mental benefits that running brings.

Still I persisted.  Every Friday, I ran my miles.  I knew that someone was always watching.  Students would see me run by at their after school program.  Teachers eager to start their weekend would see me on their routes home. Parents would see me and honk.  And then finally…..I started getting some real members.  This fall, I started offering boot camp after school.  At first, it was just a reason for me and my friend Nestor to work out together at school.  Then someone joined us. And then more and more.

One of the beauties of working out with your colleagues is that you are all under the same stresses.  You would think that this leads to an hour long complaint session but it ends up being the opposite.  Now, every Wednesday AND Friday, I have a steady group of 5-9 people that show up to sweat.  Even though we finish sweaty and smelly, it’s so rarely about the calorie burn.

I look forward to boot camp days all week long.  We have administrators and teachers, all struggling with the same exercise or interval.   Everyone is at their own level and doing their own thing.  It usually takes some convincing of new members that we aren’t so tough.  But most importantly: WE LAUGH.  I have gotten to know my colleagues in a brand new way because of this.  Everyone leaves smiling and feeling good.

I used to hope that just one person would join me on a run, that I could infect just one person……..this past Friday we held a Boot Camp 5K and 10 people ran.  My heart was so full! I have so many proud moments as a teacher but this one is definitely going toward the top of the list.

Change Your Perspective

Don’t worry: there will be NO ‘glass half full’ references in this post.  In the past 8 weeks, I’ve gone through a lot of life changes.  Instead of dwelling, I’m doing my best to just push forward and look ahead with confidence in the unsure.  It’s actually quite bizarre. But as I spend time shifting my perspective, I realize how many times this habit has helped my in the past.

When I was still 290+ pounds, I could NEVER think about the fact that I had over 100 pounds to lose.  That goal was insurmountable.  There was just no way.  No one loses 100 pounds.  So I decided that I didn’t want to lose 100 pounds, I was just going to lose the first 50.  After losing 50 pounds, maybe I’d be out of plus size clothes? But how cool would it be to say I’d lost 50? And then I did.  When I looked at the BMI Chart, if I lost just another 50 pounds then I would be in the ‘Overweight Category’ and not the ‘Obese’ category anymore……   (****this was before I realized how craptastic BMI is and that it doesn’t actually mean anything)

After I lost the first 100 pounds, I had fallen in love with fitness.  Then I just set goals for what I wanted to be able to do and my body responded.  I set several goal weights along the way and reaching eat one felt great and every fitness goal and finish line made all the work worth it.  It was easy to keep going when I loved it.  That’s how I lost 150+ pounds: in small chunks because losing an entire person is completely ridiculous.

Honestly, I don’t think any one is more surprised that I lost all of the weight than I am.  I’m the one that heard every negative thought and still had to continue forward.  If I had focused on losing 150 pounds at the beginning, I never could have done it.  But when I focused on one goal at time, it seemed easier.  Sometimes it was 10 pounds away and sometimes it was one race away.  But shifting my perspective is what lead me to success and more happiness than I thought possible.

I can count several different times in my life when I did this and had the same results.  So I’m depending on it now.

Recently, I had to quit boxing.  It doesn’t mean that I love boxing any less or that I’m ungrateful for the lessons it taught me.  At first, I was really sad that it wouldn’t fit in my schedule any longer and what I had been working towards was longer important.  But instead of dwelling on it, I’ve shifted my perspective.  I realized that most of the goals I’d had in the last year, ( a PR 5K, completing the Tough Mudder….) didn’t even have anything to do with boxing. So I decided to shift my perspective and get excited.  Boxing was creating a whole avenue of anxiety that I didn’t even realize was there.  I now find it EXCITING to train myself.  I love that I can train when, where and how I want and not report to anyone.  I can change my body in anyway I want!  After 8 weeks, not only have I been getting to my goals quicker, I’ve changed my body composition fairly dramatically.  While I’ve maintained my weight, I’ve exchanged 6 pounds of fat for 3 pounds of muscle.  Pretty awesome.

Also, a month ago, I got laid off at my school.  I was devastated for a few days.  As a specialized teacher in Drama, (and music before that) I always knew I was at risk for being cut when the budget goes down.  I’ve been fortunate enough to always be ahead of the curve when that’s in question.  But this time, I didn’t see it coming.  I had just come back from a weekday getaway with Dan for his birthday when I got called to a budget meeting.  10 minutes later, my job had been cut.  I. Was. Shocked. After a few numb days, I saw the sliver lining.  There’s only been one thing stopping me from going into personal training full time: the love of my students.  I have been 75%ish…maybe sure… that I was going to try to get into personal training next fall.  But I kept coming back to the kids, my guilt of leaving them, my colleague family and the program that I’ve built at my school.  Now, there’s no program to ‘abandon’.  I’m being forced to leave my position, so I’ve decided to just jump ship all together and try something that I want and I know that I’ll be good at.  And for what seems like the first time in my life, I’m sleeping through the night again.

So here’s the moral of this chapter of my story: when you shift your perspective, your goals seem much more attainable.   In the past two months I had to quit the sport I love and lost my job OR I have all the time I want to train myself and I can now dive into a new career distraction free.  It does feel a lot like losing the weight, like standing at a starting line, and maybe when I cross this finish line it will bring me even more joy and success.

How the Universe Works…..

January Sucks.   I mean sucks. It’s cold.  I can’t run outside.  I hate my job, my house, my car, my………..I always want everything to change in January.

Every year you think it’s going to get better right? A clean slate!  A new year!  Everything resets……..right? The real truth is, if you keep making the same decisions you’ve always made, you’re life will always be the same.  The real truth is, if you don’t change anything, nothing will change.   The real truth is that January 1st is no different than December 31st.  I was just as morbidly obese at the end of 2011 as I was at the beginning of 2012.  But for the first time, I was willing to do something real about it.

5 years ago, I was standing on my bathroom scale mortified.  I had ALWAYS promised myself that I would never see a number on the scale that started with a 3.  NEVER would I see 300 pounds.  Well, that day, or shortly after, I hit 285.  What was I going to do? How was I going to get things going in the right direction? It was then that I made a commitment to change.

I first looked at my life and realized I had  no goals, no direction.  Of course I had a career path but I was really just ticking the hours away, day in and day out, with big macs in the middle.  Nothing in my life was inspirational or motivating me to better myself.  The first decision that I made was to change my location.   I looked at my life in the Midwest and realized it did not fit my ideal lifestyle.  I wanted my life to be filled with adventure and excitement and I was heading for death via cheeseburgers and having my skin attach itself to a couch cushion. That’s when I made the decision to move to Colorado.  When I say ‘I made the decision’, that’s what I mean.  ‘We’ (my hubby and I) didn’t.  I did.  I told him he could come if he wanted to but I was going.

I know how that sounds.  I know that seems selfish.  BUT, I knew I could love him better.  I knew I could offer him more.  I knew that I was holding him back, even if he never would have admitted it.  I also knew that if I didn’t change, our lives together would be cut short and full of…….nothing. I think it was that decision that got me to where I am.  Now, I made the decision in 2012.  That summer we moved to Colorado.  It would still take many years for me to lose the weight and get to where I am now.  But that decision, standing on my bathroom scale created a domino effect that has now saved me life.  So………

 

What decision can you make today that will set you up for the future?  Even if you can’t advance toward that goal or change very much in this moment, what decision will you make? The clock is ticking.