The Revolution

There’s a shift going on around us. It may only be a slight shift, but it is a shift nonetheless.

As a wellness coach, I am used to living and breathing a healthy lifestyle. In fact, I am surrounded by it. So much so that it can begin to seem like the norm. However, this lifestyle is not the the norm for a large percentage of the population of the United States. While lifestyle cannot be measured, weight can, and for this introduction, it is what we will use. Approximately 35% of the adult population of the United States is overweight (CDC 2015). While that number is daunting, looking closer reveals something a *little* different.

In 2011, the national percentage of overweight adults was 35.8%. In 2012, 35.7%. 2013, 35.5%.

These changes may seem insignificant, but when you look at the population of the United States, it’s not quite so insignificant. Based on the 2010 Census, the adult population in the United States was 209,128,094 (Census 2010). Assuming no growth in population between 2011 and 2013, the number of overweight adults in the United States dropped by 627,384 people. That’s more than the entire population of Omaha, Nebraska.

So, what does this shift mean?

I believe it means people are waking up and realizing that our lifestyle of the past 50 years may be significantly shortening our life span. We went from a county that worked hard in mills, factories and fields, to a county that works hard sitting at a desk. We went from a society that valued the home cooked meal, to a society that craves the convenience of the five-minute meal. While we are able to move through life much quicker, we were also quickly losing years off our lives. That is reflected in the leading causes of death in the United States (CDC 2016):

Heart Disease

Cancer

Chronic Respiratory Disease

Accidents

Stroke

Alzheimer’s Disease

Diabetes

Influenza/Pneumonia

Nephritis

Suicide

Six of the ten listed are known to be at least partially preventable based on lifestyle. The number one cause of death is completely preventable by lifestyle.

So, what do we do now?

We shift.

We shift our priorities. We shift our goals. We shift our plans. We shift so that we can spend more days in the sun with our kids, more days playing with our dog, more days loving our family. We are blessed to live on a planet so diverse, we don’t all fit into the same mold. There is no correct body type. There is no perfect shape. There is healthy and there is unhealthy. Unhealthy does not discriminate. It affects all races, all genders, all locations. Forget about weight, focus on health. I believe people are opening their eyes and realizing that the priority shouldn’t be losing weight, the priority needs to be being healthy.

One example of this shift in priorities: organic food. In the United States, the sale of organic food increased by 296% between 2005 and 2014 (USDA 2016) while the population of the United States only increased by 7.9%. That’s a whole heck of a lot of food per person! The more we demand it as a society, the more we can find it. A few years ago my local grocery store did not carry organic produce. Now it is nearly impossible to find that ‘other’ produce.

Also, have you ever seen so much kale? When I was working as a waitress in high school, kale was used as a decoration on our salad bar. Now it is known for it’s real power – nutrition. Though, it still makes a lovely green backdrop.

From kale, to sweet potatoes, to spinach, hummus, eggplant, squash, organic, GMO-free, antibiotic free, free range, and vegetarian fed. We are witnessing a revolution in how we, as a society, demand our food.

Every single human being on this planet deserves to live the life they want. They deserve to be happy. They deserve to be healthy. What stops most people from achieving that is themselves. We are our own worst enemy, our biggest obstacle, our strongest opponent. We create walls around us. We blame time, location, age, weight, family history, sleep, family time, friends, jobs, money as the reasons we can’t be better. We come up with a million excuses as to why we can’t change.

Then, one day, we wake up, and we realize, we are worth it. We realize we don’t want to feel tired all the time, fight chronic aches and pains, spend thousands on blood pressure/cholesterol/diabetes medication. We don’t want to die. We want to live. And we want to live well.

So, with all of our will, and all of our desire, we start. We start eating better. We start moving our bodies. We start making time. We start our own revolution. We start to think about where our food comes from, how it was prepared, and how it will benefit us. We learn about spinach, sprouts, cucumbers, oranges, zucchini, berries, peppers, apples, and yes, even kale. We try yoga, go for a walk, go for a hike, go for a run, try zumba, spin class, cardio kickboxking, and maybe even swimming. We tell everyone around us about our revolution and before we know it, they are starting their own revolution. We see a change. Not only in ourselves, but in everything around us. Before we know it, we are an army of wellness crusaders working to end the trend of preventable disease in our country and our world. We will demand better.

We will.

All because, we made a shift, that started a revolution.

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What Have I Done…?

Well, here it is December 2015, and I am just now coming to grips with something I did in September.

In September, I signed up for a marathon. A full, 26.2 mile MARATHON! The thing I said I would NEVER, ever do. I am doing it. While I found the actual process of signing up easy; all I needed to do was give them money – I didn’t actually feel scared about doing it. In fact, I even made fun of the decision:

It started innocent enough. I thought how lonely my “13.1” sticker looked on the back of my car, and how a “26.2” would really liven up the car. Then I asked my brother-in-law, the poor guy I have been dragging with me on this running journey since early 2012, if he was going to run Eugene again this coming spring.

He of course, said yes. Then I asked if he was going to run the full or the half. He confidently answered the full, because “… I want to do one before I turn 40, so now or never.”

My response, of course, was “Yeah, I want to do one before you turn 40 too.”

So, like I said, innocent enough. But now I am TWO months into my crazy 30 week training plan. I hit 100 miles in October, then took one too many vacations and slacked in November. Am I really going to be a non-starter??

HELL NO!!

It is December 2nd, and I have all month to nab another 100 miles! I am signed up for private yoga lessons to stretch the parts of me that running hardened, and I have a new desire to not die in May. I figure another way to keep me accountable to my plan – is to check in here.

So with that, here is my check in for today.

Today I ran 6 miles.

I packed everything I needed in my handy safeway plastic bag (give me a break, it was early) and off to work I went this morning. That was after a morning that included falling into a puddle of laundry soap thanks to mischievous cats and cleaning up vomit, also thank you cats. By the time lunch rolled around, I was ready to throw the towel in and start eating my spaghetti. But, I looked up at the training schedule I posted above my computer and knew I wanted to go.

Midway through changing, I realized I made it to work with only ONE sock. “Nope, that won’t stop me,” I thought. I threw on my work socks, pulled them up to my knees, and rolled my purple running tights over them. Ain’t nobody got time for no socks!

As soon as I started running, thoughts filled my head, as they usually do. They included, in no particular order:

 

My spaghetti

My husband

What my dog was doing right now

If I remembered to feed the cats

Where had I put my car keys

Did I have to pee

Was that guy looking at me

Wedgie

 

Yes, the life of a runner is lovely. After thinking for what felt like hours, the man in my headphones told me I had only five more miles to go.

Balls.

This run was quickly becoming a bore, which is writer’s block for runners.

Now, for those of you who don’t know, I do most my running in downtown Portland around the waterfront. You can cross any number of bridges and get a 3 mile loop in. You can do that loop multiple times, or extend the southern end of the run with a relatively small chance of getting mugged. If mugged is what you are looking for, by all means, extend the northern part of the loop.

By mile two, I was on the east side of the loop, running towards my second of four planned bridge crossings – right when the bridge went up. As usual, this means the race was really on, and suddenly I was not as bored. I turned on my heels and ran back the way I came towards the next bridge. The goal with these bridge raises is to see if you can beat the boat to the next bridge, and cross before you get caught. A great way to practice speed work and pretend you are faster than a full-speed boat.

Of course, by the time I got to the next bridge crossing, the boat had long since passed, and I had another two miles to go. But, by now, I had plenty of new thoughts to occupy my mind. Such as:

 

My spaghetti

My husband

What my dog was doing right now

If I remembered to feed the cats

Where had I put my car keys

Did I have to pee

Was that guy looking at me

Wedgie

 

Then, like the sound of Harrison Ford’s voice, the man in my headphones told me I had reached my goal of six miles, and I jumped for joy, and took a selfie. Because, really, if you don’t have a selfie to document it, the run doesn’t really count…

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Until next time, keep your feet on the pavement!

 

Grownups and Taking Chances

Have you ever heard the myth of “being a grownup?” Basically, the myth says, you go to school, maybe go to more school – accrue some debt, get a job, buy a car – accrue more debt, start a family, buy a house – accrue more debt, pay your bills, and either die or retire and then die. Obviously, there’s more to it than that, the order can be different, the major events can change, but you get the idea. 
Be a grownup. 

Be an adult. 

Repeat. 
What has that gotten us? Approximately 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck (CNN 2013). At least 50% of Americans feel they are underpaid (Monster 2014). 40% of Americans are stressed out and feel stuck with their current job (AOL 2013). The average work week is approximately 47 hours (WP 2014).
Being a grownup is sure fun, right?
What kills me the most about those statistics? It is completely within OUR hands to change them. We are adults. We have the power to define our future. Not our boss, not our bank, and sure as hell not our credit card company. It’s up to us.
Which is why I am further baffled that people are willing to work their entire lives at a job they don’t love and that doesn’t pay them well. They will do the same thing over and over because… why? Why?! Because it’s what we are “supposed” to do? Says who? 
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different outcome. If you continue down the same path of adulthood, day in and day out, nothing will change. There will be no magic shift that will suddenly give you everything you need to be happy. Life doesn’t work that way.
If you want something more, you need to fight for it. You need to take a chance. You need to make a change and invest in YOUR happiness.
“Grownups” are so unwilling to invest in themselves, yet so willing to spend their lives struggling.
Stop it.

Stop it NOW!
I just want to grab a hold of the grownups and shake them! 
I have been blessed to have been taught from an early age, what’s important in life. How to be a kick ass grownup. I may not be perfect at it, but I’m still doing pretty darn good! 
I followed the general “rules” and accrued the required debts. I found a great job that tickles my brain and keeps me invested in the sciences. But I also took a chance. I took a chance, and invested in myself, and started my own health and fitness business. 
Why health and fitness? Because so much of my happiness is related to how I treat my body. Learning what foods make my body feel the best, what exercise makes me strong, and what stretches give me peace. Total wellness. It’s powerful. 
I know I owe so much of my happiness to the chance I took a year and a half ago. I took my life by the reigns, found health, nutrition, wellness, happiness. Then as if by a happy accident, I started to build an army of like minded crusaders who are not only helping others, but now building financial freedom for themselves! We are taking control. We are breaking the cycle. We are breaking the “grownup” mold.
There’s no way we were born to pay bills and die.
We were born to be free.

  

AOL 2013 – http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2013/03/06/americans-stressed-underpaid-overworked-survey/

CNN 2013 – http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/24/pf/emergency-savings/

Monster 2014 – http://www.monster.com/blog/b/millions-americans-underemployed-0820

WP 2014 – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2014/09/02/the-average-work-week-is-now-47-hours/

A Day In The Life….

I’m currently swinging in my backyard hammock next to a small, blonde and half-naked two-year old. You might be wondering how a childless gal like myself ended up in this situation, while I am wondering how long the silence will last.

Not long.

After all, my nephew is two, and while two may not be as ‘terrible’ as some may call it, two is most definitely loud.

I am not a parent. I am, however, an aunt, to basically the world’s most amazing kid. Today, the world’s most amazing kid and I had the best day ever.

Let me set the scene. Finding time to hang out with my nephew is difficult due to both my schedule, and the fact that my brother and sister-in-law never really want to let him out of their sight. Don’t get me wrong, they do not shelter this kid; quite the opposite, but it was a long road for them to get where they are today, and they are grateful for every minute they get to spend with him. To the point that I need to work pretty hard to snag him for a few hours, much less a day. Today, however my husband planned a day-long rafting trip along the Deschutes River in eastern Oregon. He invited quite a large group including my brother and sister-in-law. Lucky for me, I made it pretty clear two years ago that there’s almost nothing that will get me back in a raft, so I was left off the invite list and moved to the top of the nephew watching list.

After waiting by the door in my running clothes, my nephew finally arrived at 8 AM. I, with all my experience, decided I would wait to do my Sunday run until after he arrived, and had requested his jogging stroller for the day. I am a good runner. I average 50 miles per month. Today, I learned a very important lesson. Miles and stroller miles are very, very different units of measurement. At one point I am pretty sure my head dipped below the stroller handle as I was trying to muster up the strength to push up a huge hill (sidewalk ramp) in front of me. My nephew was chatting the entire way, but at one point asked if we were done yet. Ouch.

I was fairly interested to see my pace, but when I pulled my phone out, I found it had only recorded the first 0.23 miles of my run. I, of course, quickly corrected the mileage because I know my route, and I needed to beat my brother-in-law (on the other side of the family) at most miles run so far in August. There’s something really awesome about beating Oregon fan at something.

I was grateful to see a familiar face near the end of my run, and stopped at my friend’s house so my nephew could say hello to their two girls. We were barely though the door before we were greeted with squeals of joy and my nephew went about making himself at home. In the recliner, with a blanket, and soon a plate of pancakes courtesy of his friends. However, once the food was gone, he had moved on to rummaging through the various toys available to him, and was demanding a game of football within minutes. Lucky for me, my friend was gracious enough to offer to play with my nephew while I ran down the street to the house and took a shower. Considering the first words my friend said to me when I arrived were along the lines of “you are really sweaty” I clearly needed one.

The scramble following the shower was when I got a real idea of how much work a small, blonde, two-year old can be.

I started to load the car.

First, let’s talk about car seats. I may not be a parent, but I sure as heck know you can’t buckle the kid into the front seat next to you. No, it is much safer to install a 15 pound piece of plastic with a 25 point harness that anchors to 10 different points in your car. I’m glad my husband and I have our own carseat for occasions like this, because it is never coming back out of my car. Ever.

Next up, the diaper bag, which I triple checked for wipes and diapers. This kid can throw down in that department. Then it was snacks, water, my wallet, sunglasses, and sunscreen. In total, it took me about 45 minutes to get back over to my friend’s house, at which point my nephew was helping the girls sell lemonade. As difficult as it was to pull him away, I had a big day in mind, and we needed to get on our way.

Our first stop was the Portland Aquarium. I had never been before, but the reviews seemed decent, and I had heard you could feed the fish. I was happy when we arrived only 30 minutes after it opened and it was not crowded. With my $10 Groupon in hand, we set about on our little adventure. Most all of the tanks were taller than my nephew, which meant he was either planting his nose against the glass, or climbing up a ladder or a wall to see in. Most every fish he saw, he called “Uncle Brian’s fish” since my husband is an avid fisherman, and clearly, all fish belong to him.

Watching him bounce between tanks was fun, but what was even more fun was watching him see some animals for the first time. Including the anemones. While he didn’t want to touch them himself, he most certainly wanted “Auntie Della” to touch each of them. He would watch quietly and study each new creature very hard until they moved or he moved, at which time he would laugh and laugh, and give resounding “That’s funny!” So much joy in that little laugh.

He also couldn’t decide which view was better, his view from 2 feet above ground, or from my hip. I did a lot of lifting today. I feel pretty good about missing my weightlifting tonight. When it came time to feed the fish, the view from my hip was his chosen location. Except when it came time to feed the Koi. He was excitedly digging into the pellets when he looked up to see a Koi jump, which caused him to jump, and fall off his step stool. I was able to catch him, and get the incident on video. That’s what I call an auntie win.

We ended up walking, running, or riding through the gallery loop three times. Each time he pointed out “Nemo” when we passed the Clown Fish. I finally convinced him to go to “Uncle Brian’s truck” with me, and we set off on our next adventure. We headed east towards my grandma.

On Father’s Day of this year, my mom’s mom had a stroke that while considered minor, effectively ended my grandma’s ability to live alone any longer. At 88 years old, my mom and uncle made the tough decision to find a foster home for grandma. I know it tore them both up to do so, but just as our parents worked to keep us safe as children, we children will eventually have to work to keep our parents safe in their golden years.

I had not yet seen grandma at her new home, and I was excited to not only visit her, but bring along my small, blonde, two-year old friend. The house was on a busy street, but it was beautiful. A great yard and plenty of light. The caretaker is a very, VERY friendly Romanian woman, who greets everyone with a hug. She was tickled to see my nephew and asked if we would be coming back before we even got in the door.

We walked down a long hall and came into an open room with four little old ladies sitting around a table talking. Grandma was in the back. I always worry that one day she won’t remember who I am, but not today. She moved quickly, much quicker than I expected, to come greet us. My nephew and I spent the next hour visiting with grandma. She still struggled with her memory, and asked me a few times if my nephew was my son, but in all, we had a wonderful visit. My nephew was happy to give her lots of hugs before we left.

On our way home, the magical silence of the nap happened. Which is good, because the remainder of the day included grocery shopping, a pool party with 35 small children, and a late night bath that would be disturbed by a fly landing in the bath water and literally causing screaming.

The nap gave me a moment to reflect on how lucky I am. I am able to spend an entire day with this little one, and watch him discover new life experiences. I get to share him with his parents, my husband, my grandma. I get to be part of the village that raises him. I get to watch him grow, play, love and learn. I get a lot of people telling me I need to have children. I am told I will regret it, that I will be a great mom, that I am hurting my parents, and that a child will make my life better. Good or bad, someone always has an opinion, and that’s okay.

All I know is that right now, right here, is all I need.

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Helen

I am currently crammed into the backseat of my sister-in-law’s SUV, sandwiched between the door, front seat (where my much too tall brother-in-law is driving) and my two-year old nephew’s massive car seat. I feel like I have not showered in days, even though I know I did this morning. Everything hurts. I feel more muscle pain than I ever have after a hard workout or a half marathon. I suppose 1,486 miles in four days will do that.

My current situation – as in – my current location crammed in the backseat, has given me ample time to reflect on the past week, with no clear escape from the rush of emotions associated with the past few days. Twenty five hours in a car. Plenty of time to reflect.

Last Friday, a mere eight days ago, I was running on less than five hours of sleep and basically dead on my feet making my house “perfect” for my husband’s 30th birthday party. The party was a great success – we had loads of food and everyone left with a smile on their face. My husband easily convinced me to pack up the truck and boat, and head out to the river that night and stake our claim to the prime springer salmon fishing spot on a local island on the Columbia River. We got in around 1 AM and were up with the sun to get the rods in the water.

On his first return trip to the island, he brought his two cousins with him. Before he was off the boat, I heard the familiar sound of his dad’s ringtone. I expected it was for a fishing report, but even from my location twenty feet away, I knew this call was different. I managed to reach the boat just as he hung up the phone.

“Grandma died. She had a heart attack.”

Seven words. That’s all it took.

I’ve experienced loss. I’ve lost grandparents, friends, cousins – it all hurts. But there was something different about this loss. The loss of Helen hurt more because of the new life that is currently spitting his milk on me. My husband, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law had spent the last few months planning a trip to Montana to visit Helen and Lloyd (grandma and grandpa) over the 4th of July weekend so that they could finally meet their great grandson in person. That realization that Helen would never get to meet him – that is what was different. It was like we lost Helen, then 20 people walked up to us and took turns punching us in the gut.

We all made arrangements with work, pet sitters, neighbors, and loaded up two cars and began our journey east at 6 AM on Wednesday. Four states in 9 hours was nothing new for us. My husband and I traveled to Montana each year to visit the grandparents and fish – well, at least he fished. I usually spent my time with Helen.

We hadn’t made it out of Oregon before my father-in-law got slapped with a speeding ticket. Part of me wanted to pull our car over and yell at the trooper for adding to his burden. For goodness sake, the man just lost his mother. But, I was not driving, and there’s really no good excuse for 85 in a 65, so I didn’t really have a leg to stand on.

The remainder of the trip east was fairly uneventful. My mother and sister-in-law were pretty desperate for Starbucks, but besides that, it went smoothly. We dropped off all our luggage, approximately three week’s worth, at the hotel, and headed to Victor, Montana, home of Helen and Lloyd. It was difficult to see some faces we had not seen in years. Helen had five children. Albert – the second oldest, had built the home Helen and Lloyd lived in on the same lot his home was on. He and his wife, Deb, have tirelessly taken care of Helen and Lloyd for years. Jeanie “Tinks” the second youngest, and someone we had not seen in years, was already there with her husband Skeeter, as was the oldest son, Billy, and his two boys, Chris and Cody. The evening was bittersweet, with plenty of tears and plenty of hugs. We learned that evening that the youngest son, Buzz, had gotten lost somewhere east of Yakima, and that we shouldn’t expect him until the next day.

The next day was another tough day. As you may have noticed in my last paragraph, Lloyd was not one of the faces we saw the night before. We learned the previous weekend that Lloyd had and infection that caused him to be admitted to a local assisted living facility. What we didn’t know at the time was that he had been there for three months and his condition was not improving.

The five “kids,” my husband and I, my sister and brother-in-law and nephew, were all sharing a hotel room. We slowly peeled ourselves out of bed and each got to work with our morning routines. First priority, feed the two year old. Second, exercise. My husband and I hauled 100 pounds of dumbbells with us and got to work punishing our already sore bodies. My brother-in-law, headed out on a run and my sister-in-law did this murderous plyometric workout video where she was doing jump squats while holding weights above her head. I think we all pushed extra hard that morning, knowing the rest of the day could be emotionally draining.

My husband’s uncle Albert picked us up and took us, along with his son and my in-laws to the facility to visit Lloyd. He seemed in fairly good spirits. He was in a wheelchair and had all sorts of tubes coming from all over, but overall, he looked no less tired that he had last November when I saw him. He had always seemed less lively than Helen, but his orneriness always kept him young. He was still just as ornery when he recounted how if the facility had done any of that “preaching stuff” he would have packed his bags a long time ago and left on his own. Without missing a beat, he moved on to how he was hoping to go home soon.

“But there’s nothing to go home to.”

Another seven words. Shit. I could feel the water in my eyes and see it in everyone elses.

That was about the time someone suggested we go outside. My nephew was getting a bit crabby being in the small, white-walled visitor’s room, so we all packed up to sit in the gazebo in the center of the facility. It was a nice visit, and it was great to see Lloyd watch my nephew run around. Everyone is always impressed by the amount of energy my nephew has. Explosive is a good way to describe it.

Albert began to tell Lloyd about all the plans for the next day for Helen’s memorial. Helen was not a flashy woman, and wanted nothing to do with a funeral. Her wishes were pretty simple. So was the plan, which included a family barbecue in the yard Albert and his parents shared. As I sat listening to him explain it all to Lloyd, I just felt like I needed to contribute somehow. After saying our goodbyes, I asked Albert if there were any plans for dessert, and if I could make something. By the time I got to the car, I had offered to make four pies, cookies, and had already made my shopping list. I had to do something.

Our group split up at this point. It was time for my husband’s conference call and my nephew (and brother-in-law) needed a nap. I headed to Helen’s to start making pies. Both my mother-in-law and Tinks offered to help, which reminded me of the last time I baked in the kitchen. It was last November, and I was making Helen and Lloyd an apple pie on our last night together before the men returned from their fishing trip. She wanted to help too, but I had shooed her out of the kitchen because I wanted to do something for her. I am really glad I did.

I stuck my mother-in-law and Tinks with the job I disliked the most – peeling apples. They made quite a team and by the time I had four crusts made and chilling, they had my apples sliced. I was just pulling the third pie crust out of the oven and pouring the lemon filling into it when my husband called to say his conference call was over and he was coming over to help. I hadn’t even realized it had been three hours. I had one pie left to bake and all the cookie dough had been rolled into balls and was ready to bake. By the time my husband arrived, I was putting the last pie in and hiding the cookies from him. I was completely exhausted, my feet hurt, and I had a headache, but I finally felt like I had contributed something and could rest now. I turned off the oven and again felt the familiar heat of tears. It was in that moment that I realized I would never be baking in that kitchen again.

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Friday began much the same was Thursday did. Get up. Get the nephew fed. Bury your feelings in power squats. My sister-in-law interrupted me to have me join her and my bother-in-law at the pool to watch my nephew jump in. He had just that morning decided jumping in was not as scary as he had thought in the past, and it was awesome to see.

I headed back to the gym, and my husband volunteered to watch our nephew in the hotel room while his parents went for a run. Ten minutes later my husband walked in carrying my nephew. I figured he had realized watching a rowdy two-year-old was not as easy as he thought. Boy was I wrong.

“Albert called. He wants you to speak today – do the eulogy.”

I wonder what my face looked like at that moment. I loved Helen and I was so completely honored that he felt like out of the entire family, I was the one who could best speak on her life. But – the memorial was three hours away. How could I possibly have anything meaningful to say in three hours? Suddenly the thought of all of her children and most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren looking at me popped into my head. It was absolutely terrifying. I had been doing public speaking since high school, even competing on one occasion, and even that didn’t compare to how I currently felt.

So, I did what any well-educated, smart, organized woman would do. I put it off. I can’t stand procrastination, and suddenly, I was doing it myself. I don’t know what I expected. Maybe I would have some great idea pop into my head during the 15 minute drive from the hotel to the house? Unlikely.

Once we arrived, I sat alone on the deck of Helen and Lloyd’s house. I watched all the people hurrying around, setting up, and bringing more food than we could ever eat. There were probably 30 people there. Thirty people that would not be there if it weren’t for one person.

Helen.

I wrote “Helen” at the top of a sheet of scratch paper. It was pretty easy after that. Like my husband had suggested, I wrote down my memories of Helen. I added a few stories she had told me. Then I wrapped up my thoughts the same way the had stated – none of us would be here without her.

I think it is amazing how many lives one person can touch just by being born and making a few decisions. Getting married. Having kids. Moving to Montana. All just normal parts of life, yet the impact each decision has is immeasurable.

Rest in peace, Helen.

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I wish…

Have you ever said “I wish…”

I know I have. I wish for pizza when I’m hungry. I wish for a bikini body in December. I wish for a cleaning fairy to come while I’m sleeping.

I wish for other things too, but they are not really “things.” I wish I could help my friend overcome their eating disorder. I wish I could help my other friend lose the weight that is making her doubt how beautiful she is. I wish I could help the woman I met on the street know that she can run a mile too.

I wish my grandparents had lived longer.

I’ve done a LOT of wishing. It was it until last year that I started making a change that could help me get to what I wished for. I started being the change I wished to see.

It’s not about weight – It’s about loving yourself and those around you enough to say “enough is enough.”

Enough with your clothes not fitting.
Enough with being tired.
Enough with being stressed.
Enough with watching your kids play instead of playing with them.
Enough with feeling self conscious.
Enough spending money on cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure medication.
Enough with sore joints and damaged vertebra.
Enough with diabetes.
Enough with heart attacks.

Fuck cancer.

Everything is in your power. Nothing is out of reach. You just HAVE to be the change you wish to see.

We, as Americans, do so much damage to our bodies. The food we put in to save a few minutes, the walk we skip each day – we are continually on a repeat loop of “I’ll do to tomorrow.”

I’m telling you right now, DO IT TODAY. Make the change today!!!

The types of highly processed foods we eat, as well as the sedentary lifestyle we keep, has been directly linked to many chronic diseases that plague our society – obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, depression, cancer…

You have the power. You just have to decide and commit to make the change.

I want to continue to see changes, positive changes to folks around me. That’s why I coach. That’s why I spend my spare time working on ways to help folks. I want everyone I come into contact with to realize the power they hold. The power to change the course of their lives. You have that POWER.

It Is Always Something

It’s always something, isn’t it? Something is ALWAYS getting in the way of our plans, whatever they may be. If your plan is to go to a movie, your babysitter will bail. If you plan to wash your car, it will rain. If you plan to catch up on your favorite TV show, the DVR will stop working.

There is ALWAYS something.

Just like when you decided to finally take control of your health, wellness, and fitness. Something came up. You didn’t have time, fast food is easier, you couldn’t spend the money right now, your foot/back/butt/arm/stomach hurts, etc.

I want to invite you to stop making excuses and to take control of your life. Newsflash – something will always come up, for everyone. You’re not alone. You just have to realize your excuses are just that, yours.

I never have time to workout or meal plan. I make time. Fast food is easier, but it’s also disgusting and full of nasty mystery meat I won’t put in my body. I wanted to pretend I didn’t have the money, but holding on to my iPhone while watching my cable TV show on my flatscreen while using my laptop to shop for clothes on Pinterest made me realize I did; I was just investing in the wrong things. I’m also 30. Everything hurts all the time. It’s hardly a reason to slow down! Hell, it hurts to workout the first time! But each time it hurts less and you get stronger.

Today I invite you to invest in yourself. No more excuses. No more regrets. I do not care what it is, just make sure you stop making excuses and make this year the year you take control of YOU. We all are given the same opportunities in life to work for what we want.

I cannot wait to see what you do!

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Featured image by Jay Mantri

Welcome to my Page!

After years of thinking about starting a blog, I have finally pulled the trigger. I decided to start this new adventure on my 30th birthday. Perhaps as a way to show myself that I am still as tech savvy as I was in my 20s.

Today is also the first day of my new job. Lots of first today. New blog. New decade. New job.

Let’s see what is in store…