First day of school. First snowfall. First kiss. First adult beverage. First football game. First R rated movie. First trip to the hospital. First outdoor bootcamp. First blog. First yoga class. First time writing down your goal. First time sharing your goal with someone else. First green smoothie. First 5K. First warrior dash.
My heart pounds as I think about the emotions behind firsts. First time riding a bike with training wheels with the help of an older sister on roller skates is scary (that looks scary, right?) Yet, I learn. Years later, first time riding a road bike with strap in pedals, I was terrified. The fear that I might fall kept me from riding with others. Many miles later, I’ve had my first fall, no more than five seconds of slight embarrassment…totally self induced, and now the fear of falling has vanished.
What about something simple, like using Facebook for the first time. College friends were already using it and I knew this was the step to get more connected. I could simply push “add friend” to someone I walked by once on campus and all the sudden I had a new friend, easy. Cool.
Sometimes it takes the encouragement of someone else to move you towards your first. A dear friend of mine talked me into signing up for a half marathon with her. Turned out she didn’t end up running and I did (booo). However, I completed my first half marathon thanks to her pursuing what would be a first for me.
First time moving out of state. This scenario is loaded with fear, excitement and many unanswerable questions. For me, moving to Las Vegas, I feared life would never be the same, which it wouldn’t…and believing that was ok. I was bursting with excitement, Mike and I starting our life together in a new place and setting our own roots. Lastly, my mind was like a heated ping pong battle with darting questions:
“what will it be like? how long will we be there? will i get a job? where will i work? where will i grocery shop? will friends come visit? will i have friends there? am i going to miss ‘home’ terribly? where will i find my community? what church will i go to? what will my identity be?”
Step back…bigger perspective, I found clarity in the self-guided answers each of these questions led to. My first time moving to a new state and I got to celebrate hundreds of firsts!!!
A first is a first, nothing big or small about it, make it what you want. Baking a new dish for your first time, buying natural nut butter where you actually have to stir the oil in, signing up for your first rock n’ roll marathon, first time reaching out for someone to help you improve your health and fitness. Get yourself into a habit of practicing firsts each day. Maybe you go on a walk/jog or read a book instead of watching your daily tv show.
A child experiences many first, reignite the child in you. Your mind is curious, indulge it: try a new coffee shop, eat veggies at every meal for a day, start a book group, journal, work out with a friend. Each day is a new first of its own, celebrate it! You may fail (even a fail is a success) or you may succeed wildly.
Do you believe that you currently posses everything you need to succeed?
I love reminding myself that I am exactly where I need to be with the true story “Acre of Diamonds.” This story is about a farmer who lived in Africa and through a visitor became extremely intrigued in seeking out diamonds in Africa to make the big bucks. He chose to sell his house and travel the land. The farmer continued traveling, becoming discouraged as he was not coming across any diamonds. Tragically, the farmer’s funds ran out and he threw himself into a river and drowned.
Meanwhile, the new homeowner of his property discovered an odd looking rock about the size of an egg and displayed it on his mantle. A visitor stopping by was stunned and wide-eyed as he gazed at the odd rock, a world phenomenon, the largest diamond ever found!!! Hmmm….the property was full of them.
This farm became known as the Kimberly Diamond Mine, the RICHEST the world has ever known. The previous farmer was literally standing on his very own “acre of diamonds” until he sold his land to seek elsewhere.
What an amazing story. What treasures am I not looking at in the right light? The moral of this story has been present for me this week as I firmly believe that I am exactly where I need to be and have unique, personalized tools for success. Over my volleyball career, numerous game changing moments occurred when we were out of subs and without being able to change any players we could change the game plan. Changing the plan, not the players is precisely what I need to do in my life as well. After all, diamonds certainly have an odd look in their raw form.
Game changing plan:
1. SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE: I live in LAS VEGAS, how cool!!!! Born and raised in Colorado, it is so easy for me to talk about all that Denver has to offer, the community, the beautiful nature, etc. While Denver still holds a beloved place in my heart, each day I choose to celebrate this new journey with my most loving husband here in Vegas, connecting with genuine people, enjoying the desert playground and exposing myself in new ways…people don’t know what I’ve done or what I’m capable of until I show them!
2. CHOOSE TO SUPPORT MY BODY: Having health and energy is the foundation in accomplishing any goal. I am so blessed to be in my body and have the knowledge of knowing what foods best support me in feeling energized. My body is my player, on my team…forever…I want to plan to feel my best all the time! The more in touch I become with my body, the better I can plan ahead, from my workout level each day to food choices I make. Example: cereal does nothing good for me. It leaves me lethargic and craving more sweets. Plan ahead, have an alternative snack prepared for when that craving hits or get the cereal out of the cupboard completely.
3. I KNOW ENOUGH: Get over the fear of not knowing enough…IF someone else can do it, why can’t I? I don’t know what I don’t know until I seek, learn and discover that the odd rock actually is a diamond waiting to be discovered! Change the plan: set goals, write them in the affirmative each day, and share only with those I know will support me!
Will a refreshingly new level of diamond be exposed if you set your alarm just 5 minutes earlier each week to create more time in the mornings for a workout, journal time, or a sit down breakfast with family?
Experience discomfort, try new things and look at that odd rock with a new perspective. You ARE exactly where you need to be, equipped with the most uniquely fitted passions and tools to unravel something great. BELIEVE THAT : )
You can listen to the full story here:
I was 14 years old, within my first months of ever picking up a volleyball and my coach asked me to think of a word that would define how I wanted to play. Through my mind ran words that I had seen on the shoes of the 18 year old girls. For example, looking down at the shoes of a player of whom I really looked up to with amazement, had the word “unstoppable” written across the toe box of her shoes. It seemed as though rich possibilities outgrew my mind and I toyed with a few words and soon enough, one stuck.
without fear; bold or brave; intrepid.
To me, this word triggered an invincible feeling. It enabled me to play within my skill level while aggressively attacking the blockers on the other side of the net…even if they were 5 inches taller than me. The word fearless surfaced confidence in me as I told my setter, “give me this ball, I’ll put it away.” I taped my wrist before each game and wrote the word fearless on it, always reminding me of what kind of player I wanted to be.
Fearless, believe, great, beautiful, curious, cheerful, courageous, ALIVE!, excited.
How do you feel after reading these words? I love how words can trigger different emotions and actions from people. What word or phrase empowers you to be great everyday? What words support your goals and promote you to live large? What do you believe of yourself, your body, your capabilities when working out? Do you set goals with your trainer or talk about your “power” words to drive success? The saying is true, we are what we think about! Building on that idea, get a bit more depth from a very effective goal coach, Brian Tracy.
Today, I have a piece of art that I can always see, featuring the word fearless, as it continues to trigger emotions and actions for me!
I want to give a little shout out to my pops for his consistent love, leadership, playful spirit and letting me think I’m pretty rad when it comes to the outdoors. I mean, I feel like a bad ass when I get to tell people I go backpacking every summer, have hiked many 14ers, and started skiing when I was 3. Then, I remember two things: one, I grew up in Colorado and look like a novice compared to the masses and two, all props go to my Dad for instilling an adventurous, healthy lifestyle in me from the get go.
Here are 10 memories of connecting with my Dad through movement and how he led by example as my young, impressionable eyes watched him each day.
10. When my brother, sister and I were little, our parents would make a blanket bed in a wheelbarrow and as we all laid in it and gazed at the stars, they would take us on a walk. (Great full body workout for all you dad’s and mom’s out there)
9. Screaming with excitement and thrill as my wide eyes watched trees fly by in the birdie-light attached behind my Dad’s mountain bike. (It’s hard to beat a good bike ride when it comes to a cardio and leg workout)
8. Taking our dogs on morning walks together before heading to the bus stop. (getting your body moving first thing in the morning boosts your metabolism and mood for the day)
7. Sharing his daily jogging journal with me…way before I had any interest. (setting goals and keeping track of them is essential to any program, especially a health and fitness program)
6. Having a stretching poster hung up in their room I would sneak in and imitate the pictures. (daily visual and mental reminders can help keep you on track)
5. Spending hours with me at rhythmic gymnastics, encouraging me and giving me tips with his little knowledge of the sport. “That looked good, do that again!” (having a health coach or person who can encourage you and help you along your journey is a must)
4. Starting the tradition of annual backpacking trips, completing sections on the Colorado Trail each summer! (getting outdoors, getting physical and out of your comfort zone is a great way to change up your daily routine)
3. Taking me on mountain bike rides, without any mental prep of the challenging terrain I was about to encounter. (trying new things and being open to new experiences and new opportunities is key to life and certainly has applications to a healthy lifestyle)
2. For his diligence and dedication to walking. He keeps a pedometer and hits 100,000 steps each week! (setting achievable yet challenging goals will help keep you engaged in exercise and in life)
1. He accepts when I challenge him to a running race…even when he knows I’m gonna beat him ;) (spice it up with a little competition)
As I reminisce on the many memories and on-going adventures that are inspired by my Dad, I am so very thankful. With fitness in mind, doing this exercise made me realize that movement, the great outdoors and a sense of exploration has been instilled in me from a young age. Looking over this list, I love the theme of movement without structure. He loves these activities and wanted to enjoy them with his kids because it was playing, sparking curiosity, connection and laughter.
Now, I still search for the bigger feelings beyond getting sweaty. This comes in all forms from the rush of a bike ride, working out in a group setting or with a friend where I can connect and have the accountability of someone else there with me, playing with a new piece of equipment, learning a new exercise, or preparing for an upcoming race or competition.
I challenge you to think of someone who inspires you to get active. Take five minutes to make a list and feel the motivation as you physically write down the ways you are grateful and enjoy moving your body! A, this is brilliant as your mind can only hold one thought at a time, make it a positive one. B, it will give you ideas of how you can inspire others to get active as well! Just this morning a best friend and I wanted to meet for coffee…we put a physical twist on it, we chose to walk at the park with our warm beverages and chatter.
I offer my thanks to all those fathers and men who have given their time and devotion to help bring this gift of movement to life. Personal thanks to my daddy for your living example of health and active play. I so look forward to our upcoming backpacking trip!
Let’s talk about sugar. You are at birthday party and celebrate with a serving of cake and ice cream. Consciously you are enjoying a sugar-filled treat with loved ones, wonderful. What about when you sit down to a bowl of cereal, a can of vegetables, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, sipping on a soft drink throughout the day at work, coffee with cream and sugar in the morning, some more coffee with cream and sugar when you hit that mid-afternoon wall. Sugar is everywhere and as humans we are naturally drawn to sweet things. So without eliminating sugar from our diets, (heck, that’s impossible…I love a sweet treat), let’s become more conscious about the amounts of sugar we are consuming and the effects it has on our bodies.
Just having celebrated Memorial Day, we are proud to be Americans! Are we also proud of being addicted to sugar? As Americans, we consume 150 pounds of sugar per year, 55 pounds of white flour per year and 53 gallons of soda per year. WOW! In comparison, on average we consume 8 pounds of broccoli per year (wa wa). From the liberal recommendation of the USDA, we should consume no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar per day, yet we are consuming 32 teaspoons of sugar per day! This isn’t all coming from our occasional piece of birthday cake. Let’s gain some knowledge on where all this sugar is sneaking into our diets.
- Lemon poppyseed Clif Bar contains 21 grams of sugar, or 5 teaspoons.
- Chocolate-glazed cake donut from Dunkin’ Donuts contains 14 grams of sugar, or 3 teaspoons.
- 16-ounce Starbucks Frappuccino contains 44 grams of sugar, 10 teaspoons
Like the many names you may want to yell while working out, sugar too has many names and will read on labels as corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose or fructose. When sugar comes in these forms or as sucrose (refined table sugar), it lacks the ‘good stuff’. Not only does this cause more stress on our bodies to digest it, the body must deplete its own stored minerals and enzymes to absorb sucrose properly. As well as being nutrient deficient, foods high in sucrose are often empty calories, in which, our bodies are consuming high levels of calories but still lack nutrient value so trigger additional hunger signals. Along with additional hunger signals, sugar can cause havoc on health through depression, mood swings, chronic fatigue, type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, high cholesterol, decreased immune function, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, acne, PMS, ADD, cancer, binging, hormone imbalance and belly fat. With the ability to limit sugar intake, health, moods and energy increase while fluctuating insulin levels that cause belly fat, decreases!
In order to be successful, it’s not about eliminating negative things, but adding the ‘good stuff’ in to make your feel more bountiful! So let’s chat about the benefits of unprocessed sugar. Unprocessed sugars are found in whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, and contain vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins. When these foods are chewed, cooked and digested, the natural carbohydrates break down into separate glucose molecules and enter the bloodstream evenly, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients.
Add some whole foods that are naturally sweet into your diet the and see if it provides any satisfaction to your sweet tooth. Some of my favorites are sweet potatoes with cinnamon, apples with nut butter, steamed veggies or oatmeal with cacao powder and maple syrup. Have fun playing with some new energy snacks and share some of your favorites! You have the power over sugar, so make choices that support your body, energy and your relationships! Honestly, my moodiest times come from overloads in sugar. Suddenly I’m engaging in a conversation that is turning south, noticing I don’t sound like myself…not good. So in honor of happy moods and sharing joy in relationships, my husband, Mike and I are celebrating our first anniversary today and will choose to get active and eat real foods because we know this best supports how we feel about ourselves in which we can more lovingly enjoy one another!
Starting with sugar, ending with love….strange how it’s all connected