…”But you look better when you’re sick!” 4 Things Everyone Needs to Understand About Fitness (Day 34/90)

There is perhaps nothing that makes my blood boil more than people who make fun of “fat” people.

Then, I discovered something that makes me almost as mad…

The other day, someone posted on Facebook saying they missed being in shape and really wanted to focus on fitness again, accompanying it with a picture of them about a year ago when they were in better shape. Someone else commented saying, “I like the way you look now better!”

Suddenly my blood was boiling again. Why? Because saying that is similar to saying, “But you look great when you’re sick!” This individual was currently overweight, so she was saying she wanted to work on taking care of herself again. Yet this friend, not understanding the nature of the issue, thought that the proper way to support her was to say she looked great sick, instead of saying, “You look beautiful no matter what! But go for it!”

Why would a friend discourage someone from actually taking care of their health? Why would they impose their own opinions about what looked “better” and assume that saying you want to get back in shape means you think you currently look ugly? I think all of this stems from a HUGE misunderstanding of the issue of health and fitness.

This isn’t necessarily a new issue. Who knows how long the debates have been raging. Especially recently, the dialogue surrounding fat-shaming, bullying, and obesity and being overweight in general has escalated. And people have been upset over the unrealistic proportions of Barbie for just about as long as the doll has been around.

But where do we draw the line? How on earth can we help our young people grow up confident in themselves, loving themselves no matter what they look like, yet still encouraging true health and advocating taking care of yourself to avoid a multitude of preventable diseases?

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Here’s what I think needs to be addressed as loudly and as often as possible:

1) Obesity and unhealthy body composition is a FATAL issue that must be addressed. People are dying. Something must be done.

2) Obesity and unhealthy body composition is a MEDICAL ISSUE, not a matter of opinion.

3) No matter what diseases you are fighting, they do not make you “disgusting” or “gross” in any way. All people are beautiful. The terms used and the bullying must stop.
And finally…

4) We must have a correct attitude in order to know how to properly treat and talk about the issue of obesity, especially with young people. We’re often overcompensating and sending terribly fatal messages to our children.

So first of all, PLEASE think like a medical professional. Throw out whatever other ideas you have previously held, and instead choose to view obesity and body composition through a purely medical, scientific, and objective lens.

1)
We MUST agree that there is a problem. If someone cannot accept this, then we can’t make any headway. The obesity epidemic is not just a media scare tactic. It’s not an over-exaggeration. It’s not a lie. People are dying every day. Every life is precious; even one preventable death is too many.

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- About 66 percent of Americans over the age of 20 are medically overweight

- About 36 percent of Americans are medically obese (approx. 72 million people)

- One third of U.S. children are overweight or obese

- The obesity rate for 6-19 year olds more than doubled from 1980 to 2011

- Being overweight or obese is DIRECTLY linked to several comorbidities including:
– Type 2 diabetes
– High blood pressure
– Heart disease
– Some types of cancer
– Osteoarthritis
– Pregnancy complications and more

- Those suffering from obesity will have less range of motion due to muscle tightness and joint restriction caused by the presence of excess body tissue that puts extra stress on joints and can lead to injury

-MY generation is the FIRST generation in all of history to actually have a shorter life expectancy than our parents. With all of our science, medicine, and technology, our life expectancies have been steadily increasing in the recent past. Yet for my generation, that is changing for one reason only: the rise of obesity.

And finally…

- The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that of the leading causes of death in the US, 57 percent are caused by cardiovascular disease and cancer. And of those deaths… Nearly 80 percent could have been prevented if a healthy lifestyle was followed.

In working with the Project 10 Challenge (a challenge to gain 10 pounds of lean muscle or lose 10 pounds of fat), I have heard many, many stories from individuals who were, or are, extremely obese. Time and time again, they talk about their wake-up call.

One girl shared that for her, her wake-up call was when her doctor gave her 2 years to live.

She was 25.

These stories break my heart. But they also strengthen my determination to do something about this fatal, but preventable disease.

People are dying preventable deaths every day. Can we all PLEASE agree that there is a huge problem that must be solved?

If so, then let’s move on to:

2)
Obesity and unhealthy body composition is a medical issue, not a matter of opinion.

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Recently, I was speaking with a friend who is a woman in her 50’s. She was talking about eating habits, losing weight, etc. in reference to Visalus, the fitness company I work with. To gather more information, I asked her if she was overweight.

She responded with, “I don’t consider myself overweight. I just like to say I’ve got… ‘More to love.'”

…what? I wasn’t asking for her opinion. I wasn’t implying any standard negative associations society usually places on the term “overweight.” I was asking for a medical diagnosis, because “overweight” is indeed a medical term. This was a yes or no question. Either you are or you aren’t.

Her answer would be very similar to this:
– “Are you diabetic?”
– “I don’t consider myself diabetic. I just like to say… I have to take my insulin.”

See how ridiculous this is? We have so skewed the meanings of these words that we now act like being overweight or obese is a matter of opinion! Ask any doctor or medical professional. This is simply not true.

For example, why do I say “unhealthy body composition” instead of “fat?” Because “fat” is a term laden with negative connotations. It implies personal opinion and subjectivity. Unhealthy body composition means a medically unhealthy body fat percentage. A medically unhealthy waist-hip ratio. A body that is not functioning properly and is breaking down due to a sedentary lifestyle and/or improper nutrition.

Yes, that means this also includes being “too thin.” That would be included in “medically unhealthy body composition.” But this is not your opinion of whether someone “looks too skinny.”

We MUST separate fact from opinion. We must remove societal connotations from the terms associated with unhealthy body composition.

The US CDC recently classified obesity as a disease, and I believe this was the right move. Why? Because maybe it’s one small step toward being able to finally address obesity and other unhealthy body composition problems objectively. Maybe we can finally start giving them the same societal treatment as other diseases. Throughout this, I may often draw parallels between obesity and diseases like cancer. Some people may get offended by this. But while cancer and cardiovascular disease account for 57% of death, a full 80% of those are preventable if it were not for unhealthy lifestyles and obesity. We need to continue to draw parallels. It should not be offensive. I believe the only reason those kinds of comparisons are offensive is because of current societal attitudes toward obesity and body composition.

This brings us to:

3) No matter what diseases you are fighting, they do not make you “disgusting” or “gross” in any way. All people are beautiful. Fat-shaming, thin-shaming, and bullying based on appearance in general must stop.

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- For example, would you call someone disgusting if they were diabetic, because you thought it was gross that they had to give themselves a shot?
– Would you call someone ugly because they were bald from receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment?
– Would you make fun of, mock, or ridicule ANY person for being ill and fighting a fatal disease?

Then WHY ON EARTH do we do these things to those who are obese? Or those who we believe are “too fat?” Or those who we believe are “too thin?”
If you had reason to believe someone was sick, would you just stand there and laugh at them? Of course not! You would point them to a medical professional and ask them to seek treatment.

And then, if you knew someone was sick and had been medically diagnosed, would you call them gross and say it was all their fault? (Even if it was, because it was a preventable disease) Of course not! I surely hope you would instead be supportive and encouraging and help them recover in any way possible, as well as further preventing it in the future.

Fat-shaming must stop. Skinny-shaming must stop. Bullying based on body composition in general must stop. People are sick. They are dying. Many unhealthy body compositions are FATAL. This is NEVER something to make fun of or laugh at.

All people are beautiful.

It doesn’t matter if you’re obese, if you have heart disease, if you have cancer, or if you have any other mental or physical illness.

You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are loved.

Nothing changes that. The way you look will never change that. How healthy you are will never change that.

So if we can all accept this, then finally, we’re ready to properly address health and fitness with the right attitude.

4) We must have a correct attitude in order to know how to properly treat and talk about the issue of obesity, especially with young people. We’re often overcompensating and sending terribly fatal messages to our children.

See, in response to the awful way many people talk about being “fat,” I believe we often overcompensate with what some may call “self-acceptance,” but upon closer inspection, is actually not a healthy message to convey.

fat Barbie

There was a recent article brought to my attention that highlights this issue quite well. It was asking whether there should be an obese Barbie made. Barbie has, of course, long been a source of controversy in the realm of body image. However, the picture they showed as an example of the overweight Barbie idea was clearly an objectively unhealthy person. For most people, especially a lot of the people commenting, the biggest issue was that she had a double, if not triple chin. Many people thought that was just too much, but the rest was fine.

I disagree. Maybe someone has extra skin on their face from weight loss, so it creates a double chin. I don’t really care. A double chin may mean a person is suffering from obesity, but not always. My problem? She was round in the middle, with her waist clearly larger than her hips. That is extremely unhealthy, as having a waist-hip ratio of greater than 0.80 for females and greater than 0.95 for males is directly linked to increased risk of a number of chronic diseases, because there is a correlation between these and fat stored in the midsection. In all, she was designed to clearly portray an unhealthy body composition and represent obesity.

Now, is this a problem? I’m not sure.

See, we have to ask what the purpose is behind showing this.
Most likely, it’s to basically send the message that it’s okay and normal to be obese. They want to make sure children don’t feel like terrible, disgusting people for suffering from obesity.

Is that wrong? Not necessarily. But …what if they had:
– “Type 2 diabetes Barbie” complete with insulin to show that it’s “okay and normal” to have this primarily preventable disease also?
– “Heart disease Barbie”
– “High blood pressure Barbie” complete with a blood pressure sleeve to check her blood pressure daily
– “High cholesterol Barbie”
– “Sedentary Barbie” – an obese Barbie who stays in a wheelchair because her muscles, bones, and joints, are no longer strong enough to carry the weight of her excess body fat
– Or even “stay at home Barbie” who remains indoors because she cannot leave her house, cannot walk without fatiguing, cannot go outside without overheating, and comes complete with a doctor note that has given her 2 years left to live

See, these are all REAL effects of obesity. But we’re trying to trivialize obesity. Trying to pretend that it’s possible to have the body composition, but not suffer the effects. We’re lying to our children and acting as though unhealthy bodies come with “no strings attached.” No disease. No death.

That is simply not true. I can point you to HUNDREDS of individuals who have experienced all of the above scenarios. They would NOT be in favor of obese Barbie. They would explain how the very last thing they would ever wish on a child is the acceptance of the message that obesity is “okay and normal” and doesn’t bring with it pain, disease, despair, and death.

We must continue to be so, so careful not to overcompensate. If we do, we’re simply replacing unhealthy messages with unhealthy messages.

We need to change our attitudes. We need to change our messaging. We need to change the terms we use and what we mean by them.

My dream is that someday very soon, my generation no longer has a shorter life expectancy than our parents. My dream is to see individuals loving themselves and loving life. To see every person living life to the very fullest; enjoying and experiencing all that this beautiful world has to offer. My dream is to see parents and grandparents living happy, healthy, energetic lives with their children where they are able to actually play with their kids and enjoy their family.

So what can we do?

1) Share messages like this. If you agree, please, please share. You never know who is in your life right now who desperately needs to hear this.

2) Watch yourself. What example are you setting? I strive every day to exemplify in myself what I hope to see in others.

3) Censor your words and actions. Listen to yourself. Are you sending the wrong message, especially to young people?

4) Do what you can to help others change their life. This is precisely why I so dearly love my work with the Project 10 Challenge. It’s changing lives every day. This is also why I earned my personal trainer certification- so I can do even more to help others.

5) Reach out for help. Need help with nutrition, personal training, and more? Please let me know! Email me at teresa@teresascanlan.com
I’d love to help!
Seek professional medical treatment if necessary. Reach out to other health professionals. Use your resources.

It never hurts to ask.. And it just might save a life.

Day 25/90

Sometimes God knows exactly what you need. …Okay, actually, make that ALL the time.

But unfortunately, I only pay attention sometimes… and then I only remember a few of the times that I even paid attention.

The last couple weeks have been, well, insane. I realized I hadn’t written anything in far too long, but kept on putting it off. The days were turning into a blur, the moments hardly memorable, and I could feel the stress mounting, overwhelming me in a slow suffocation. I like to wake up with anticipation. When you wake up with dread, you know there’s a problem.

“Achievement to most people is something you do… to the high achiever, it is something you are.”  – Doug Firebaugh

See, I love that quote and believe it very much. It’s not necessarily what I’m doing each day that matters as much as who I am, which includes the attitude in which I carry out each day. When that attitude, outlook, and character begins to change… let’s just say it’s not good.

But then I was able to attend an Easter pageant with a great friend of mine at Immanuel Bible Church not too far away from here, and that was one of those moments that hung suspended in time. I realized it had been too long since I had simply been able to sit, silently and still, soaking in truly beautiful music. The performance had a orchestra and incredible singing, lovely dancing, and moving acting. As the familiar story of the crucifixion and resurrection unfolded before my eyes, I was nearly overcome with emotion. The scenes were so familiar, yet in that moment, finally taking the time to think about them and take them in brought new insights, new thoughts, and new overwhelming love for my Savior.

 

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I thought back to this many times the next week as I went home for Easter. Good Friday suddenly held so much more intense meaning. The scene that unfolded before my eyes- Jesus, the Son of God, being physically nailed to a cross of wood – was sickening, gruesome, and terrifying. It was MY sin that nailed Him there. That gruesome sight was the necessary payment for my sin. And while most days I want to stick my nose in the air, pat myself on the back, and check off the little box that says “sinless day today,” this thought humbles me every time. It doesn’t matter what I do, I can never repay Christ for paying for my sins. How wrong I have been to treat sin so lightly in the past! I skim over portions of the Bible that I don’t necessarily like. I pretend I don’t notice the small compromises I make in my life every day. I treat sin like it’s having an extra piece of chocolate at the end of the day, instead of seeing it as the very thing that was cause for a bloodied, dying, innocent man. What incredible love. What fierce, fierce love He has for me.

How wrong I have been. I cannot continue to laugh off the deliberate sin issues in my life. The past week was a time of sorrow and repentance. And that repentance then became forgiveness, hope, and incredible joy.

I didn’t even want to be home for Easter. I had too much to do, was too tired, and knew that home would be busy. But it was exactly what I needed. No, I didn’t do any school while I was back in Nebraska… didn’t really do much of anything! But talking, laughing, and relaxing with my family was priceless. We went glow bowling and spent time at my mom and sister’s coffee shop in Scottsbluff; sang songs and worked out; saw my best friend’s new baby girl Addi and caught up with old friends – it was lovely. Again, God knew exactly what I needed.

Coming back to finish the last week of classes and then final exams and papers, my thoughts are directed differently. No, my day-to-day may not seem much different (still crazy!) … but again, it’s not necessarily the actions that matter as much as my priorities, my attitude, my thoughts, and my character.

…But actions still matter of course! …So more on that later (;

 

Love and Prayers,

Teresa

Day 4/90

Today did NOT go the way I wanted it to in regard to my goals. It was terrible. But the rest was great! Funny how that happens sometimes.

It started last night with the fact that lots of procrastination had me looking at what I had left to do, along with the fact that I was to leave at 8am for the airport, and I realized there wasn’t enough time. An all-nighter was the only solution. I had physics homework due by midnight; a two-page report, a data analysis project, and another two-page exercise due for my 8am and 9am classes the coming morning (that I needed to turn in before going to the airport); a 10-page research paper to get mostly done for Thursday, as I would be flying back and just barely get back in time to turn it in; plus packing, showering, and getting ready all before 8am. It was now 9pm. 

A couple hours later, as I was still working at my desk, I was getting super hungry and of course being tired, craving everything I shouldn’t. I knew from the start that anytime I stay up much past my typical bedtime, it usually ends badly. I ended up caving, which resulted in a trip to McDonalds. Now a lot of people don’t believe that I can eat a lot. They seem to think that “a lot” means a stereotypical girl version of “a lot.” (which is more like a smidgen) No, my stomach is a bottomless pit and whether I’ve been eating healthy or not, whether I’m hungry or not, I can EAT. So eat I did. All through the night, in fact, all the way until 6am the next morning. At that point, I finished packing, got ready, turned in assignments, and headed to the airport. 

Well, the rest of the day continued to spiral on the health front, as we all know that one bad choice often leads to another. Being extremely ridiculously tired, I continued to buy junk food at the airports throughout the day, and ended up not working out at any point today either. (I was planning on doing that in the morning before leaving, but being sick to my stomach from eating all night plus being up, couldn’t do it. Then was planning on it in the afternoon once I got to the hotel, but was so tired I had to sleep instead.) So basically, all-in-all, on the nutrition and exercise front, today was a major failure! 

However, other than that, today was great! I flew out to Birmingham, Alabama to be the keynote speaker at the Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Conference opening banquet this evening. Such a privilege to be here and speak with these women and I had a great time! This is also my first time in Alabama, so I have another state checked off the list. (:

I’ll be flying back to DC tomorrow, and although this trip had me missing two days of class, it was wonderful and a fantastic experience to be a part of. Luckily, I won’t be traveling for speaking engagements or missing any more days of class from now on until the end of the semester – which is actually in just about 5 weeks! Crazy. 

Sometimes it’s just a little funny how the days that are the worst are also the best. I feel overwhelmed and this is of course exacerbated by being overly tired, but at the same time, there were so many things today that made me smile. The weather is absolutely gorgeous here, there were so many adorable little kids smiling at me and making my day in the airport, and meeting so many of these sweet elderly ladies tonight was a joy. God’s blessings are constantly all around me. Tomorrow is a new day. A new day to keep my eyes open for God’s blessings, and a new day to take a deep breath, set my mind aright, and discipline my body to stop being a slave to its cravings and natural desires. One day at a time, I suppose. 

For those on a health journey, today was just a great example of what NOT to do! :P ha  – Get your sleep, drink your water, eat healthy, and go workout! I’ll be following that advice tomorrow! Night all! 

I Challenge YOU!

Today I’ve been thinking… (shocker, I know!)

It’s already April 1st.

Three months of 2014 are already gone.

90 days of the new year have passed.

A quarter of the year is done.

Is that crazy to you or is it only me?!

Looking back at the past three months, yes, I’ve done some things. But for the most part, I’ve been scattered and chaotic and have wasted way too much time. (I’m pretty sure if I added up all the time I wasted mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds, I could have written a book, run multiple marathons, and finished my degree. Or something close to that at least. I mean, there’s a lot to see when you’ve got accounts on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – and goodness, I don’t even do snapchat!)

Three months have passed. Am I where I wanted to be three months into 2014? I had big goals starting the new year! I’ve made some progress, but I’ve also done at least an equal amount of staying in place. I know I wanted to have invested a lot more time with my family and friends and saved a lot more money. Where will I be in the next three months, when we’re halfway through the year?

The time will pass no matter what. In three months, we’ll be halfway through 2014 and the summer will be here. No matter what. Whether I’m productive and happy and improving; or whether I’m wasting time, spinning my wheels fruitlessly, and staying in once place – the time will pass.

So, I’ve shared MY goals for the next three months. They’re goals to challenge myself in body, mind, and spirit over the next 90 days. So now, I Challenge YOU!

Will you join me on this 90 day journey? You don’t have to, but it sure would be lonely to do this all by myself. :P

What would your goals be? They can be small – tiny even. Maybe just implementing one small habit in each of the three areas. How can you challenge yourself physically? Mentally? Spiritually? If you’re ready to accept the challenge, here are some ways we can do this together! (You could pick one, a few, or all of them!)

  • What’s your physical 90 day goal? What new activity will you be trying? Set specific goals for sleep, water, nutrition, and more activity with me! Setting an actual, specific goal is proven to help you achieve far better results than just aiming for a general idea!
  • Need help with meal plans? Workout plans? Let me know!
  • Try waking up an hour earlier and going to bed an hour earlier. They say 5am-8am are the most productive hours of the day, even if you don’t consider yourself “a morning person.”
  • Make it a goal to actually have 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. We say we do, but when you track it, chances are you’re not actually getting them all in!
  • Have 10 pounds to lose or 10 pounds of muscle to gain? Join me on the Project 10 Challenge and Visalus will donate 30 meals to kids in need every time someone loses 10 pounds of fat or builds 10 pounds of muscle! Get started at http://www.TeresasChallenge.com – and email me at teresa@teresascanlan.com if you have questions or want help in doing this together!
  • Get “The Compound Effect” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and go through them with me! We can discuss them on Sundays together on Facebook or on here (:
  • What audio book are you listening to? What educational/informational books have you always wanted to read?
  • Join me in memorizing at least one verse every week. This week’s verse is I Corinthians 10:31 – “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
  • List 3 ways you can get more plugged in to your church and the local body of Christ. Serving in nursery? Joining or starting a Bible study? How can you develop deeper relationships and serve more?
  • Whether you’re a Christian or not, what spiritual lessons have you been learning? Share your thoughts with me!
  • Write down at least 3 things you’re grateful for each day – and find 1 person each day to personally thank and tell them how much they mean to you
  • Write one handwritten note to someone in your life each day and send it to them (It can be the same person or a different one each day)

I challenge YOU to also make the next 90 days count. To challenge yourself in body, mind, and spirit. If you started the year with grand plans, but haven’t taken action on them since, now is a great time to pick up and keep going. Do you accept the challenge? (:

 

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Day 2/90 – Starting stats! (“Before”)

Today didn’t start out the way I wanted it to. After going to bed late, I turned my alarm off multiple times and finally got up at 7am, leaving just an hour before I had to be to class. I figured I would just cut my morning Bible time to 30 minutes this morning in order to get going. Already feeling a little stressed from the rushed morning, I flipped to today’s page in Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” and came across this: (For those who don’t know, Young’s book is written as though it is Jesus speaking to you, so these are meant to be His words)

Taste and see that I am good. The more intimately you experience Me, the more convinced you become of My goodness. I am the Living One who sees you and longs to participate in your life. I am training you to find Me in each moment and to be a channel of My loving presence. Sometimes My blessings come to you in mysterious ways: through pain and trouble. At such times you can know My goodness only through your trust in Me. Understanding will fail you, but trust will keep you close to Me.

 

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and thanked God for His unending peace and everlasting love for me. What an amazing day it is when I remember Who has planned it for me!

As I stepped outside to walk to my first class, Policy Analysis (one of my favorites), I inhaled deeply the beautiful smell of Sunday’s rain, and a new morning. The weather was gorgeous today and it’s beginning to hint at spring. The warm sun in the afternoon was much needed and long-awaited here in Northern Virginia.

With today being my first day officially back at the gym and eating the right nutrition, it’s time to officially post my beginning stats and pictures! (otherwise known as those infamous “before” mugshots before the glamorous “afters” … I tried to not make mine too horrendous, but I wasn’t looking too hot today)

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Starting Stats:

Height: 5′ 5″

Weight: 135

Body fat percentage: 22.5%

Goal: Lose 10 pounds of body fat initially. Build lean muscle and drop 7% body fat. I also will be working on increasing my personal one repetition maximum for both chest press and squats, as well as running a half-marathon by summer!

Want to join me on your own fitness challenge? Check out http://www.TeresasChallenge.com (:

 

Okay, so that’s where I am. Now, that motivates me to push myself even more these next three months! After all, we’re already three months into the new year. I’m realizing that if I’m going to make things happen, I’ve got make them happen NOW. (:

One way I made sure to do that today was when I realized that every time I have to workout in the evening, I put it off until I just don’t do it. On mondays, wednesdays, and fridays, I have class 8am to 5pm, so evening is the time to get to the gym. Usually, after physics I’ll go have dinner, then say “oh I need to wait to workout.” Then… it’s 9pm and time for bed and I still haven’t gotten in the gym. So I decided to outwit myself today! I brought my gym back with me to physics and then went straight to the gym and didn’t even allow myself to walk back to the dorm. I went to the dining hall and got a to-go box so I could still get some food, but just left it to eat after working out.

It worked! Got a great shoulders and biceps workout in tonight and felt great. Sometimes you just have to be extra sneaky to trick yourself into doing what you need to do! (;

I was also mostly on-track for nutrition today, which I was extremely happy about. Need to drink lots more water before going to bed though, as I was far behind on that all day. Now time for company calls with Visalus, then off to bed! Happy Monday!

Day 1/90

Today was officially Day 1! And what a day it was! Since I better get to bed here, I’ll just give the short version:

I woke up at 3:30am in order to get my things together, put my face on, and get out the door and on the road by 4am with my friend Krysta. We drove down to Durham, North Carolina to spend the day with my trainer, Lindsay Messina and her group, The Fitness Divas. It was an awesome day!

I made sure to bring my oatmeal with Vi-shape mixed in and my coffee with me as we started off, and then brought my vitamins, water, and some food for the rest of the day so I could stay on track with nutrition. We got to Durham about 9am and joined the group. Such a fantastic group of women! This particular day was focused on prepping for fitness competitions (Fitness America, WBFF, and NPC), so there was a diverse group of about 20 women, some more experienced, some beginners. But all were passionate about improving themselves, challenging themselves, and being the best they could be. It was perfect for my first day for sure!

We did a killer workout to start (my legs are currently quite sore) and then spent the rest of the day discussing all aspects of competition, nutrition, mindset, lifestyle, etc. plus lots of practice posing and walking. It was a super full day and went by so fast. Around 6pm, we said goodbye and got on the road home. I brought lots of my books with me, so I was able to get a little work done while Krysta drove some. I’m sure I’ll be talking more about Lindsay Messina and all that she’s done for me, but I simply can’t say enough about this girl! She’s a huge encouragement, inspiration, and fantastic motivator and has been a tremendous influence in my life thus far. I’m so looking forward to our continued relationship and know that I have much more to learn!

Okay, this week, I’m focusing on the first chapter of “The Compound Effect” which is “The Compound Effect in Action.” One of the central themes of this chapter is the formula  Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE

To illustrate this, Darren Hardy uses this example: If you were given a choice between taking $3 million in cash this very instant and a single penny that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which would you choose?

If you haven’t heard of this before, you may be tempted to make the “obvious” choice. After all, how much can that one penny really add up to?

Well, I hope you chose the latter! If not, do the math. It’s astounding. Choosing the money right away would mean just $3 million – but choosing to wait those 31 days, starting with that single penny, would mean $10,737,418.24! That’s the compound effect. There’s so much more in just this first chapter, but there’s at least a starting point to begin thinking about how our impatience and need for instant gratification may often be inhibiting us from implementing the compound effect in every area of our life.

The verse for this week that I’ll be focusing on is  I Corinthians 10:31
“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

This is one of my favorite verses and is especially important to keep in mind this coming week as I begin these various challenges in my life. I must always remember why I do what I do.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Challenge Accepted.

*** I sat on the edge of my unmade bed and stared at the tiny blue pill. Sigh. “So, little pill, we meet again.” Usually I would throw it back along with the multitude of regular vitamins and supplements I take daily for nutrition. But the past two weeks have been increasingly overwhelming and I found myself stopping and staring at the little thing more and more often each night, allowing my mind to wander to dark places, if only for a moment.

Why was I back here again? It was maddening and frustrating and I just wanted to throw all the little blue pills away forever. It seemed as though it was taunting me. Challenging me. I thought I was done with this. Thought I could “check if off the list.” Depression: conquered. Done. Gone. But no. There was that tiny blue pill once again, reminding me it wasn’t over. I took a deep breath and threw it back with a swallow of water before rolling over into bed.  ***

 

For those who don’t know, I’ve been dealing with depression for almost three years now. (Has it really been that long? Ah no wonder it feels like I should be done by now!) I started medication early last year, slowly easing off of it by August. Then, as I returned to school just a couple months ago for the Spring semester, I started having symptoms start recurring, sucked it up, and got back on medication for the past month or so.

To be clear, medication does not define any of this, nor is it really central at all. It means nothing, other than it simply physically demonstrates to me the reality that I’m still not done with depression. It’s not the medication I have a hard time with. That’s why I usually just throw down that little pill along with all the others, with a smile on my face and hardly a second thought. But that’s when I’m not in this funk.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been slipping. They’ve been busy and crazy and hectic and overwhelming. I’ve had some great times and laughed lots. From the exterior, everything seems fine and when things are too busy for me to notice, I even feel fine too. But there’s a definite difference and I can sense it at times like these. It’s a challenge – a negative one. A challenge just to keep going to the next day. To combat it, I have to challenge myself in a different way.

 

The ViModel 2014 competition in Louisville

The ViModel 2014 competition in Louisville

Two weeks ago, I competed in and won a fitness competition to be the 2014 ViModel and represent Visalus Sciences and the Body by Vi Project 10 Challenge for the year. It was incredible and a fantastic experience! After the weekend and after our photo shoot was done, I figured I would take a day off to celebrate and relax. Well…. let’s just say a day off turned into a week off, which stretched into two weeks off. Those two weeks off also weren’t just two weeks off training – they were two weeks of loading myself down with tons of junk and trash food, very little sleep including the first all-nighter of the semester, little water, lots of stress, lots of wasted time, late assignments, waking up late, forgetting things, skipping important priorities, and dropping all of my usual weekly and daily planning and organizational activities.

That brings us to last night. Sitting on my bed staring at that pill. Every night for the past two weeks, I had been taking longer and longer to ruminate before taking it. Pondering all the ups and downs of the past couple months. Why was I letting myself slip back down? Why was it so hard to even care that I was?

So last night, as I lay in bed with my thoughts, I finally made a decision.

I’ve decided to really challenge myself for the next 90 days. Challenge myself to strive for more balance in my life. Challenge my body, mind, and spirit.

Here’s the thing – I’ve challenged myself physically the past year, and especially the past several months. But I’ve realized that’s not enough. In part, this was inspired by Visalus’ CEO Ryan Blair’s idea of “1 hour for my body, 1 hour for my brain” in reference to his 90 day challenge to spend 1 hour a day working out and 1 hour a day reading or learning. In part, it was also inspired by some of my fellow Vi-Challengers on Facebook who were not only challenging each other in their physical goals, but also challenging each other to make a video explaining their favorite Bible verse.

So I realized that in order to stop slipping and to force myself out of where I’m currently at, I need to strive for balance of body, mind, and spirit in the next 90 days.

People say you can’t chase two rabbits at the same time and expect to catch both as an argument to focus on only one thing at a time. But then there’s also this…

Big Legs Small upper body

Don’t be this guy. Balance is important in life.

I’ve also realized that I need to be more transparent and more accountable. Social media is the ultimate “perfecter.” Everyone has a perfect life, a perfect family, and definitely always perfect pictures of themselves! I’ve often tried to act like I have it all together… so many times I’ll just ignore all that’s going wrong until I have something I’ve done right that I can announce to the world and act as though I’ve just been off doing fantastic things! I haven’t had a blog for years… and I began to like it that way, because it was easier for me to not get too deep or really talk about what’s going on in my life. But the fact is, I’ve been struggling with things in all three of these areas. While I hope to always remain appropriate, many people have encouraged me to be more open about those things. So this blog will be an attempt at that. I think I might benefit from it, even if no one else does! /:

So, to start, here are some “preliminary confessions” as well as my new goals for each of the three areas of focus: body, mind, and spirit.

Body:

Confession:  After competing, my “one day off” turned into a week off, which stretched into two weeks off. Needless to say, it’s time to get back on the wagon. One day off? No problem. Two weeks off? I gained almost 10 pounds and am back up to 22.5% body fat. It’s not about the way I look, it’s about the way I feel. I’ll be sharing more about that as we go.

Goal: I’m ready to take my training and nutrition to the next level. I’ll be reporting my daily nutrition, as well as getting back to drinking over a gallon of water a day, getting 8 hours of sleep, taking all of my vitamins and supplements, lifting 4 days a week, and taking boxing and yoga classes at least once a week.

Mind:

Confession: Traveling a ton and working during my freshman year took my GPA down right away. Then, I took the fall semester off school and put myself way behind. Now, I’m in my last stretch of school for this semester and it’s been tough. I still plan on graduating on time (Spring 2016) so I have to get on top of things. Additionally, I’ve found I have many toxic attitudes that have been holding me back and harming my mind and my life, so I need to focus on self-improvement. I’ll be sharing more later.

Goal: Within the next five weeks, I’ll be pushing my mental capacity to finish the school year strong and up my GPA. My goal is to spend at least 10 hours a day on school, 6 days a week. Additionally, I will be working through “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey, one chapter a week, for a total of 13 weeks. These books have been groundbreaking for me, and it’s time to review them thoroughly, with implementation this time! Each chapter will be studied on Sunday, with implementation planned for the week. Also, I’m committing to listening to 30 minutes of instructional/educational audios daily. One of my bucket list items is to read every Presidential autobiography, so I’ll be listening to those during my morning workout.

Spirit:

Confession: While I decided to make my relationship with Christ a priority this year and began really changing things in January, I’ve realized that I’ve become complacent. This has meant the recurrence of several things I’ve been struggling with spiritually. I’ll be sharing more as I go, but the bottom line for now is that these sins won’t budge without Christ doing a major work in my spirit.

Goal: Daily time allowing the Spirit to work. I’m reading through the Bible chronologically over the course of the entire year, so my goal is to stick to that and not fall behind for the next 90 days. My plan is spend an hour every day first in the Word, then using the rest of the time for prayer, meditation, and the daily devotional I’m working through, “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. Also, I will memorize at least a “verse of the week” every week and invest more in my church and young women’s bible study group. I’ve found that gratitude is a huge part of living a full life, so I will write down at least three blessings I’m grateful for each day. (This is of course inspired by “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp… If you haven’t read it, it’s a must)

 

I’m ready for this challenge. Because the way I’ve been feeling lately I simply can’t allow to last. I have to push myself beyond it and keep moving. I’ve already found that hard. I actually have been trying this whole past week to already start changing all of these goal areas, but kept on failing. Too tired, too unmotivated, too stuck. So now I’m determined to put it out there to the world, however petrifying and embarrassing this may be.

Challenge accepted.