Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Goal Bracelet

I'll admit it - I'm an emotional eater.  Having a rough day?  Let's stop at the store and pick-up a pack of Double Stuff Oreos!  Up in the middle of the night stressing out about something?  Where are the chips and pretzels?  Have something to celebrate?  Let's bake brownies!

I'm also a visual person.  There are signs and post-it notes all over my house, car and office to remind me of things that I need to do.  When there is a special event in my life I like to buy or keep a small object that I can look at to remind myself of that great moment.  I have inspirational quotes and Bible Verses posted in prime spots for me see daily.

When I saw Tara Costa, former Biggest Loser contestant, on Dr. Oz's show sporting her Goal Bracelet, I knew I had found a great tool to help me on my journey towards Pittsburgh's Half-Marathon and ultimately an overall healthier lifestyle. 

Tara Costa from Season 7 of The Biggest Loser
A Goal Bracelet is simple and inexpensive to make.  I bought a pack of beads at the craft store for $4.99.  The packet included beads with letters, spacer beads and the string.  The great thing about making your own Goal Bracelet is that it can say whatever you want.  My bracelet says "I <3 RUN PITTSBURGH" to keep my half-marathon goal fresh on my mind.  Your Goal Bracelet can have your goal weight on it, the name of a loved one that you are getting healthy for, the date of an event, a single inspiring word . . . whatever will remind you to make wise choices. 
My Goal Bracelet
A great suggestion that Tara shared on the show is to wear your Goal Bracelet on the wrist of your dominant hand.  That way any time you reach for something you see it.  When I'm reaching for or doing something unhealthy, I am reminded to make a healthier choice.  When I'm reaching for or doing something good, I am encouraged to keep going.

                           Not a wise choice Lisa!                                        You Go Girl!  Give me 5 more reps!
Eating has been one of my stress coping skills for so long that I often would be halfway through the bag of chips before my conscious brain would catch up and realize what I'm doing.  Over the past several years I've gotten a lot better at dealing with stress in a healthier way, but I still catch myself falling back into old habits.  Food is my comfort zone.  The Goal Bracelet has helped me catch myself when I'm ready to put my money into the vending machine or reach for the snack cupboard door late at night.
Another great benefit of the Goal Bracelet is that people ask me what my bracelet means.  This gives me an opportunity to share with them what I'm doing.  Hopefully, through our conversation, I can inspire someone else to think about their health and the choices they are making!
A quick side note: I do still enjoy a bowl of ice cream and other treats now and then, but I eat in moderation.  A single scoop instead of three.  One cookie instead of four.  I have learned that MODERATION is the key.  Depriving myself of a treat when I really want one only leads to eating way more than I would have or a very grouchy mommy!
Time for this goal-focused mom to lace up her running shoes for a five-mile training run.  If my kids ask you where I am, please tell them that "Mom Went Running!"  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Accepting a New Challenge

"There is more work.  You're not supposed to get comfortable.  You're supposed to progress.  You are supposed to continue to be challenged.  It is going to continue to be hard."  Jillian Michaels, Biggest Loser, February 11, 2013

That's what happened - I got comfortable.  Lacing up my running shoes and pounding out my two-mile block got easy.  I accepted going to my Zumba class once a week instead of two.  My turkey burgers began to taste routine.  Without my recognizing what was going on my energy level dropped, I began to eat three slices of pizza instead of two, I gained eight pounds and grouchy stressed-out mom was showing up more often than happy-creative-isn'tlifegreat-Mom.  My journey of leading an active, healthy lifestyle had stalled.

Thank goodness for supportive people who see us from the outside and are willing to intervene when they recognize we have veered off our path and are heading in the wrong direction.  Thank goodness for my sister!

Meg: Happy 40th Birthday!

Me: My birthday is still months away.

Meg: I know.  But I just bought your birthday present and I need to tell you about it now.

Me: Oooooo . . . I like surprises!  What did you get me?

Meg: I just registered us for Pittsburgh's Half-Marathon!

Me: . . . . . . . . .

Meg: Isn't that exciting?!?  You know you can do it.

Me: . . . . . . . . . . 

Meg: You've been talking about running it.  I knew you were too nervous to sign yourself up, so I did it for you.  It will be great!  You'll be great!

I was truly speechless.  And completely freaked out!!!!  But after letting the idea soak in for a couple of weeks, I was ready to accept this new challenge.  I have more work to do when it comes to pushing myself to lead an active, healthy lifestyle.  So training officially starts today.  This part of my journey is not always going to be comfortable.  It's definitely going to be a work in progress and it is going to be HARD.  But I can do it.  I will complete the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon.

Has your journey stalled?  Are you still waiting to get started?  Challenge yourself!  I'm not suggesting that you sign-up for a half-marathon - everyone's journey is different.  Look outside of your comfort zone and set a goal for yourself.  Strive to take a walk three nights a week.  Try a new exercise class.  Determine that you will try a new health recipe once a week.  If I can get back on track, then I know you can, too!

Here I go.  I'm putting on my running shoes and heading out the door for my first official training run.  What are you going to do today?