The Able Body

eagle

Hello, friends!

I just got back from vacation with my extended family.  We visited the north side of Lake Tahoe in California.  I took the photo above from the top of the trail at Eagle Rock.  Let’s just say that while it wasn’t a terribly difficult climb, it still took stamina, balance and a little endurance.  Of course, the reward for climbing to the top is a stunning view which almost doesn’t seem real!

This day out on the trail taught me something valuable.  Stay with me here…now, generally, whenever I vacation with my siblings, I feel like a beached whale.  My sister and younger brother and their spouses are quite fit.  I’m more of an average size with about 15 extra pounds on my frame.  If you see me in a swim suit, you won’t be impressed.  I can’t help but compare myself to others around me, but I still find a way to rationalize and enjoy myself anyway. (Hey, nobody is perfect!)

While realizing that I, again, failed to lose those stubborn extra pounds before this year’s vacation, I decided not to dwell on it.  I was having a good time with my family, and decided not let my less than perfect body spoil my week in nature’s paradise.

Then came our family hike up Eagle Rock.  Some individuals in our party labored to climb the trail, having trouble with the incline and rocky terrain.  I, on the other hand, was completely able to climb the trail, help my girls up the steep parts, and make it to the top with a smile on my face.  That’s when it hit me… I may not have the perfectly shaped body, but I have a strong one.  My body was strong enough to make it to the top that day, go horseback riding the next, and generally handle whatever adventure was on the roster for the rest of our stay.

That day really opened my eyes.  I saw clearly that the big picture isn’t about being perfectly thin and shapely, but about taking care of yourself.  I’ve found more inspiration to eat well, sleep well, and keep moving.  Yes, this body is aging, but it doesn’t have to stop climbing mountains.  As long as I keep moving, and taking care of myself, my able body will take me where I want to go.

 

 

 

What’s new, anyway?

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Hello, friends, I apologize for being away from the blog for so long!

I’d been working a lot (outside of coaching) in the past few months, and not feeling much inspiration or energy around the thoughtful topics I love, like wellness, self-help and positive thinking.

I’m glad to say that I’m feeling a little more balanced these days, and have made some changes to my coaching practice.  One great thing I found about my training, was that the process could be applied to all kinds of different situations from wellness, to career goals to personal enrichment.  The down side of this wide spread application was choosing, initially, not to specialize.  Over time this lead me to feel a bit scattered, as I tried to apply my coaching in a number of different directions at the same time.

So, I went back to the drawing board and gave some thought to what I do best:

#1 I am a good listener.

If you are feeling alone and need someone to talk to (about anything), I can be a big help.  I hear you!

#2 I’ve spent a lot of time learning to recognize and follow my instincts.

If you don’t know what to think or what you even want anymore, let me help you get back in touch with the real you.

#3 I can talk turkey with the best of them.

I pride myself on being tactful, but if you want honest opinions about situations and decisions from a neutral 3rd party, give me a call.

In addition to the points above, I’m continuing to study and learn more about conflict resolution, health and wellness, and creating sane, effective plans of action for positive change.

If you think I can help, please let me know!

 

 

What moves you?

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The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. (Isak Dinesen)

Please excuse my lousy photography, I left this graphic large in the hopes you’d be able to read the text at the bottom.

I found this greeting card in a cute little shop on Cape Cod many years ago, and I stopped dead in my tracks.  Somehow this sentence resonated deep within me, and I thought, “Oh my God!  This is genius!”

There is almost no problem that can’t be overcome with hard work, venting frustrating or taking a meditative break.  Mama Mia!

This seemed very real for me, because I’m pretty much up for all three of those things.  I’m not afraid to work hard, take the time to express my emotions, or spend time on the water.  In fact, I often wonder if I’d be better off living next to the ocean, because it feels so relaxing and inspiring by turns.

Have you ever come across a quote, image or idea that inspires you or feels like absolute truth?

I’d love to hear about it, please leave me your comments!

 

Those darn groundhogs!

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All of you living in cold weather winter places right now probably tuned in yesterday to see if the groundhog saw his shadow.  We get pretty excited about it here in Pennsylvania, since we have thee famous groundhog/ weather predictor: Punxsutawney Phil!

As we shiver through the winter, we hope every February 2nd that Phil won’t see his shadow, since that forecast means 6 more weeks of winter.  (This year more winter was predicted.)  Of course, it’s also impossible to observe the day without thinking of the movie with Bill Murray, Groundhog Day, where his day just repeats on a loop.

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On that note, I recently told a friend of mine that I felt like I was living in Groundhog Year.  It seems that the seasons spin around faster and faster each year, and that it’s the same s#!t each time. As in, this time of year always is awesome, this time of year is always depressing, and I’m always broke!  I still haven’t paid off my credit cards, lost that 10 pounds or changed much of anything.

It’s as if my weaknesses around money and weight loss are the groundhogs that keep popping out of the lawn (like in Caddyshack.) Nope, still didn’t fix it!

This realization at first made me sad.  Wasn’t I getting anywhere?  (Insert deep thoughts here.)

After a while I noticed that I actually had progressed in other ways.  I had gotten better at keeping things in perspective and noticing my priorities.  I had gotten better at finding the silver lining when things weren’t going so great, AND I pride myself on never really giving up, even if I momentarily pull the covers over my head and hide from the world.

Yes, I may have to struggle with that chocolate and shopping addiction for the rest of my life, but that’s OK.  I figured out a way to let myself off the hook, and it made me feel a whole lot better.  Nobody is perfect, and those little groundhogs are gonna pop up time and time again when you least expect them.  But, we keep moving forward the best we can.

I guess that’s the moral of this story…we keep moving forward the best we can, and we do everything in our power to keep our sense of humor.  They can be really annoying, but sometimes groundhogs can be pretty funny and cute, too.  Don’t let the groundhogs get you down!

 

A simple way to get focused…

purpose

Well, since it’s still January, I’ll still say Happy New Year!

Did you make resolutions?  How are they going?

I know I spend a lot of time wondering about my purpose in life.  (Is that weird? Wait, don’t answer that!) Where should I put my energy?  I feel pulled in many directions between my family, education, working, etc.

I recently came across this TED talk from a few years back, and I really liked it.  Adam Leipzig gives us a simple framework for discovering, creating and defining your life’s purpose!  The steps are simple, but with some thought can be quite powerful.  Why don’t you give it a try?

How to know your life’s purpose in 5 minutes

This video is from YouTube, so please forgive the intro commercial!  The whole talk is only about 10 minutes.

I like how he talks about the “examined” life AND the “lived” life, as well as how we bring our gifts into the world to serve others.  It may start in your head, but it has to get out into the world to do any good!

I hope you enjoy it!

 

A Healthy Step into the New Year

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Happy New Year to Everyone!

I like all those memes going around on Facebook saying that a new year and a new day is a new slate, for us to rewrite our story in the best positive light.  It’s a nice idea to keep in mind.

I’m sorry I have not written in quite a while.  My mother in law was very sick over the holidays, which created a bit of chaos and all kinds of mixed emotions.  I love the holidays!  Wait, a member of our family is deathly ill!  Kids opening presents and laughing with joy! The depression of spending time in the hospital.  You get the idea.

Luckily she is home and on the mend, and her prognosis has been improving each week!

So, let’s get back to my main idea today, talking about being healthy.

Back around Thanksgiving I told you I was taking the Holiday Maintenance Challenge, where I tried very hard to maintain my weight over the holidays.  I still enjoyed plenty of treats, but did more exercising and tried to eat healthy when it wasn’t a party day.  I’m happy to announce that I did succeed, and that I didn’t add any extra weight! Woohoo!

I’m all about what works in real life, and doing weight maintenance was realistic and doable, versus swearing off holiday treats.  That would have just left me pissed and resentful.  Anyway…

Something else big happened in the last month, too.  I found out I have sky high cholesterol.  Exciting, no?  I have the double whammy of family history, so I need to get serious about healthy eating.  At this point my risk factors for having a heart attack are minimal, given my general good health and blood pressure, etc.  Of course, as I age, and if I don’t take off some weight, those risks will go up.  I’m not planning to drop from a heart attack, so I’ve got to get things moving in the right direction.  This is my life or death wake up call, so I’m going to pay attention!

I like to think of myself as fairly evolved and thoughtful, but just like most people, I need some serious motivation to stick to a plan.  Looks like I got just what I needed.

So what is my plan?  First I started taking fish oil supplements, and that’s basically going to be a “take them for the rest of my life” thing.  I can deal with that.  Then I looked up the recommended foods to eat and those to avoid, and started reading food labels. Wow, I was really eating a lot of fat!  Some good, some bad, but a lot.

I went through my fridge and figured out where I could substitute a full fat option for something healthier.  Luckily there are lower fat options for cheese and coffee creamer on the market (things I can’t live without), and I started eating more oatmeal and fruits and veggies.  My other big battle is sugar.  I just crave it, even though I know it’s not my friend.  I’m taking that day by day!

I also downloaded an app for my phone with a pedometer.  I’m not a fitbit junkie, and my goal isn’t 10,000 steps a day.  It’s just a gauge to keep my activity in perspective, so I can clearly see if I’ve been moving around or not on any given day.  I’m so glad there are so many free tools at my disposal!

I have about three months before being re-tested for cholesterol levels, and I am determined to make some progress.  I’m also intending to take off 10 pounds this calendar year.  I know there will be good days and bad days, and times when I all I want is to stuff my face with a doughnut, but I’m going on this journey no matter what.

Well, I’m off to decide on a new recipe for ratatouille, wish me luck!

 

 

The Angel Tree

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I wanted to take a few minutes to tell you about one of my holiday favorites.

I stumbled across The Angel Tree by Daphne Benedis-Grab 2 years ago at my daughter’s Scholastic Book Fair.  I’m not even really sure what drew me in, but I bought it.  She was 6 at the time, so I read it to her, chapter by chapter, each night in December.  Long story short, we both fell in love with the story.

It’s recommended for ages 8-12 and grades 3-7, but I think younger girls especially might still enjoy it.  The main characters are young teenagers in high school.  They come from different backgrounds and have to deal with typical teen stuff.  They have challenges with their families, with their school work and activities, and with figuring out just who they are.  Sound familiar?

The four unlikely friends are drawn into a heart warming mystery that challenges them to get over their differences and work together.  The themes of community and generosity also run through this book.  It manages to be a lovely holiday story, while still being pretty realistic.  There is no fairy tale here except for the beautiful New England-feeling backdrop of small town life.

If you know a young person who needs a solid holiday read this year, I highly recommend the Angel Tree!