Gifts

The train tracks’ vibration rocked me to sleep, but the sudden stop and screeching of the breaks into the Paris train station jolted me awake. My brother announced that we had arrived in Paris and needed to get off the train. It was something like 5 or 6 when my brother, mom, and I started our walk to find our hotel. There was no bathroom break, no brushing of teeth, no breakfast, and no COFFEE. For some reason, my brother had an urgency to get out of the train station and start walking. We walked for nearly an hour in the cold rain before we found our hotel. By the time we reached our place of refuge, I was crabby, tired, and my feet hurt because I only brought one pair of shoes with me on my backpacking trip through Europe. Our room was on the hotel’s top floor and very small, almost like a bedroom doomer. From our window, if we turned our heads fully to the left, we could see the Eiffel Tower’s tip. 

The year was 1993. My mom and I traveled to Switzerland to visit my brother who was there on an internship with Citibank. After spending a week in Switzerland, we began our backpacking trip through Europe, visiting France, and Italy, and several southern cities in Switzerland. The journey was magical. The experience was remarkable. The art, statues, architecture, countryside, and history were simply breathtaking. 

I had received a rare gift to see other cultures and customs up close, to see the “old world” with my own eyes. Only, while I was ‘seeing’ with my eyes, I didn’t ‘appreciate’ with my heart. I was a young nineteen-year-old brat who complained that I was tired; I was hungry, my feet hurt. I don’t know how my brother and mom put up with me for the three weeks we were together. If my brother had it his way, he would have left me somewhere to fend for myself. 

It wasn’t until years later that I truly appreciated the gift of my visit to Europe. The fact that I walked The Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and took a gondola ride on Venice’s canal streets was indeed an incredible opportunity for a nineteen-year-old. How much more would I have marveled at David’s statue, or contemplated why the leaning tower of Pizza hasn’t fallen over yet had I known the full value of where I was standing? 

When you’ve been furloughed for months, and the world around you has dramatically and harshly changed, your mind tends to reminisce about the good ole’ days. 

Today, I am finding myself in a similar situation of appreciation for another gift I took for granted. Just as I accepted a free trip to Europe in 1993, I accepted the free gift of salvation through Christ in 2001. Just as I complained in Europe that my feet hurt, I complained to Jesus that I was tired of following His word. Just as I returned from my trip abroad to my regular life, I returned to the sinful ways of regular life after walking with God for ten years. And Just as it took me years to appreciate my trip to Europe, It has taken me years to appreciate the beauty of my salvation through Christ. 

Well, maybe not years, more like months. These last four months have been transformative for me as I seek a deeper relationship with the one true God. As the world around me screams in chaos, as statues topple, masks mandated, and an election looms, I sit in peace, knowing that my future is secure. 

From a secular viewpoint, my future is ANYTHING but secure. COVID decimated the travel industry, so no going back to my old company. My furlough will be ending in two months. The job search is miserable, and the money will run out soon. Yet, each night I sleep soundly. 

How is it possible with so much uncertainty in my own life and so much evil present in this world that I can be grateful to God for each day that passes? 

There is a well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that talks about how our eyes, ears, and minds cannot conceive what God has prepared for us. But the frustrating thing is most people stop at this verse and think we cannot know.  

Keep reading: 1 Corinthians 2:10: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.” I don’t know about you, but I think it is incredible that the God of all creation wants us, His Creation, to know God’s deep things.

Because I don’t have security in this world means I can find safety in God’s promises. The best part is God wants all of His creation to have shelter in His Son Jesus Christ. If you are struggling with anxiety and fear, and all seems lost, there is one more door to try.

Matthew 7: 7-8 

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

As I travel through the scriptures to visit the events in History, I start a different kind of backpacking trip, and this time I take nothing for granted. I stand in awe of all that I see happening in the days of Noah Genesis 6-8, the statue of gold, silver, bronze, and Iron in the book of Daniel 2, and the promise of the appearing of our Blessed Hope in Titus 2:13. Jesus is real. His story is remarkable. His love, protection, comfort, peace, and countenance are utterly breathtaking. 

Jesus is waiting for you with open arms.

No Fear. Keep Going!

Each morning when I wake up I have a blissful 30 or so seconds where it feels that the world is its old self, I can hear the hum of humanity and I’m free to roam about my city. Thirty seconds is such a short time before reality sets in of our new way of living. 

A little over a month ago, I was serving as the Maid of Honor at the wedding of my best friends Pam and Dave. It was a absolute perfect, beautiful wedding full of love, happiness, and dancing. Lots and Lots of dancing. Yet, Pam and I both agree, it feels like a different lifetime. 

Three weeks ago, I went out to dinner with a few friends, where we all sat at the same table to enjoy our favorite Mexican meals and a few margaritas. We threw a few jokes around about the coronavirus, but we all knew as long as we didn’t lick the table or touch our face, we would be just fine. Now eating out feels like an alternate reality. 

This past Thursday, we had my grandma’s “funeral,” where the only immediate family came to support one another and say our goodbyes without hugging or touching. What should have been a room full of people was mostly empty as we asked others to send condolences and pray from a distance. During this virus age, even a funeral feels taboo. 

In a matter of six weeks, the walls of society have closed in on us. All the while, we are suffering some death. A physical death due to or because of this virus; death of our jobs; death of our 401Ks, and death of our freedom. Much like my grandma’s funeral, we are told to keep our distance, yet our very nature as humans is to comfort each other, to be near each other, to hug each other in times of crisis, which is why this particular social distancing and self quarantine is so difficult. 

9/11 brought us all closer because of a common enemy of flesh and blood. The 2008-09 crash hurt us in the pocketbook because of failed economic policies, which are still the result of humans. This new crisis, however, is a unseen invader and running rampant in our country. This time our enemy is fear.

So what do we do? How do we go on without letting fear overtake us? 

Fear, they say, can be worse than the disease itself. Fear overrides our thinking and keeps us captive to irrational thought. I know because earlier this week, I, like the rest of the country, was trying to figure out what was going on as fear consumed me. 

Full disclosure, I’m a Christ-follower, albeit not a great one, but over the last year or so, I’ve been drawing closer to Him each day. I have to say that before the world went on lock down the most soul-quenching times that I sought Jesus was when I wanted to just be near Jesus. Nothing more. Not to ask Him for a favor, or a blessing, or a pardon. Just to be in His presence. 

Then the virus showed up on our shores, and life began to get scary. Naturally, I started to pray, and this time I came to His feet with a whole list of questions. In His grace, God reminded me of my favorite Bible verse Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will set your path straight.” I can say this verse is a great comfort, but as I opened my eyes after praying this verse, I saw the answer to my question, “No fear. Keep going.”

A few years ago, I was going through some crazy personal stuff (which now seems like kids play) and decided to get a tattoo to remind me no matter what life throws at me, I will not have fear, and I will find a way to keep going. So that’s what I intend to do. “For God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

In the words of the great orator Samwize Gamgee 

“It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding on to something. That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”

It took me a while to find my footing and give my fear to Jesus in this coronavirus world. I’m sure as the weeks progress, there will be setbacks and fear will try to creep in, but as Samwise and Jesus teach us, we need to hold on to the good in this world, and the good of God, all of which are worth fighting for.

Death In The Time of Corona-virus

Josephine Lutzo
August, 8, 1919 – March, 14, 2020

The world, as it seems, is going through a great crisis. As with any crisis, whether private or public, uncertainty is tagging along for the ride. Uncertainty is what people fear most. We are creatures of security and routine. When these comforts are disrupted, we tend to go a bit crazy; our anxiety spikes, and our depression rears its ugly head. 

Many are collectively wondering about bills, kids, elderly parents, and if their job will be there while this invisible storm moves through. As with all great storms, a name is required and this one has many. First was the Wuhan virus, then the coronavirus and now Covid-19. Why all the iterations of names? Apparently, during a global pandemic, political correctness is still required. 

But that’s not what this post is about. This post isn’t even about the virus itself, but rather the ripple effects that reach far, wide, and deep. 

I’ve been aware of the virus since January, watching it impact several of my meetings that I manage for my client. At first, we had to restrict attendees from China, then Hong Kong, then Italy, then the world. No more travelers and no more meetings. My heart dropped each day watching a giant novel corona-wave wash through Asia, then Europe, and I knew where it was headed next. It was only a matter of time before it showed up in America. 

The first cluster of cases was in a nursing home in Washington state, sadly claiming the lives of several elderly adults and bringing to light the lethality of the virus to those with compromised immune systems. It’s my opinion that those experts in the WHO, CDC, and medical field were watching their worst nightmare unfold as the data came in, and the words community spread were first uttered. The nature of this virus is such that it can live in a person without making them sick, but they can still be contagious. Hence the invisible trademark of this pestilence. 

I’ve never been worried about the virus itself as those same experts mentioned above have stated that many who get the virus will live to tell about it. That is, it’s not a death sentence for the majority of us. My concern grew for my parents and my grandmothers. My parents, thank the Lord, are pretty healthy 70 years old, but my grandmothers are 100 and 97, or were… 

Remember that ripple effect I mentioned earlier? The ripple reached my front steps today with the news that my 100 years and seven-month-old Grandmother passed away suddenly. Yes, I know she was 100, and every day for her was a blessing and a gift, but she wasn’t in hospice, she hadn’t just gotten out of the hospital, and there were no significant issues that would alert us that her days were turning to hours. 

Grandma started today as usual. But by lunch, she told her nurse she wasn’t feeling well, and before the nurse could get back to her room with the oxygen, she had already passed away. She went so quickly and peacefully. I am sad at her passing, which goes without saying, but when I think about it, I’m heartbroken, thinking she died because of the ripple. 

The ripple is that she knew her nursing home was on lockdown; she knew her kids couldn’t visit her; he knew that Major League baseball was postponed (She was a huge Cleveland Indians fan). She knew that this virus was here, and it took her security and routine away. I believe she died of a broken heart (stress) because she was cut off from her family. Maybe it has nothing to with the virus. Maybe if this world pandemic weren’t happening, she would have still passed away today, March 14, 2020. She was over 100 years old, after all. But the timing of it all seems a bit strange to me. 

These times are unprecedented. Society has come to a standstill. The skies are quiet once again as they were during 9/11. Only this time, it is not for a week but for much longer. If there is one thing that can give us security is that we are all going through this crisis at the same time, we are all in this together, and we can all help each other find our new routines to get us through. 

As for my grandma, I am so grateful that God took her quickly. I know she had a beautiful life, and she is now in heaven, experiencing the beauty and majesty of her Lord and Savoir. Rest in peace, be restored, and enjoy being home in Heaven Grandma. I will always love you. 

Pop Quiz

Eudaimonia tip #35 – Adaptation is the key to your survival 

Question: What is the one thing in life that remains constant? Anyone anyone? 

Answer: Change! 

Or more specifically, the idea that we can plan all we want, but sometimes life takes a different turn throwing us into a new way of living, just when we got used to our chosen road.  

The last few months have been one giant frustration-fest as every time I went to write, I found my words were negative and downright depressing. It was then that I decided I would retreat into the shadows, not wanting to be seen, and in the case of my blog, not wanting to be read. 

My vision was simple. I would blog about my weight loss journey shedding the pounds and being victorious every day. Of course, we all want it to be that simple. The reality was more like slow weight loss with one complication after another. 

Then I remembered why I started this blog in the first place to show Excellence, understanding, determination, authenticity, and inspiration. I want to inspire others with my words, but sometimes there is no inspiration found within for the words to make sense. The next best thing to being inspirational is to be authentic. So here’s what has been going on with my health and weight loss adventure. 

My previous posts shared my venture into the Keto lifestyle, which I quickly grew to love. I loved not having cravings for sweets. I loved having energy and having a clear head. I loved that I could eat once or twice a day and not be hungry in-between. I loved that I was not a slave to food anymore.  

Just as I thought I had found the foods to eat that would keep me satiated with no cravings, things started to go wonky with my monthly cycle. It was not only late, but it lasted way longer than usual. This went on for September and October, causing me great overall dismay. My fuse was short and not sweet. The easy-breezy attitude I had over the summer that everything will work out was overcome with anger, concern, desperation, and overall just a pissy mood that once again I had to deal with some crap that my body didn’t like.  

Enter Dr. Huang, who is my new holistic doctor, since the other one I was seeing left the practice. I have theories as to why he is gone, but I’ll save that for another post. My first impression of Dr. Huang gives me hope that he is a keeper. He was calming, listened to my issues, and confirmed what was kicking around in the back of my head.  

My already compromised kidney cannot handle the high protein diet and over-stressing my liver, causing my hormones to back up and not flush from my body as designed. I believe Dr. Huang’s exact words were “Your hormones are like plastic.” which means they aren’t moving out of my body as intended resulting in a wonky cycle. I was an overly hormonal toxic mess, which isn’t where one wants to be when trying to lose weight. 

I’ve never felt restricted since diagnosed with chronic bilateral hydronephrosis until now. While it’s not a death sentence, and I’m well aware there are worse diseases to live with, I do not want to lose a kidney, or worst-case scenario have to go on dialysis someday.  

So Keto is finito for me, and the mind-trip that this abrupt change in diet caused was not fun. I struggled with what to eat since I quickly became accustomed to eating a lot of protein. I refused to go back to my old eating habits of chips and popcorn and all that starchy crap. I decided that I would up my daily carbs to 140g a day not wanting to rebound to the 300+ carbs and eat sensible amounts of protein (95g) and moderate healthy fats (100g).

I’ve been eating my new macro numbers for a few weeks, and all is going well. My energy is excellent, and I feel like things are starting to move out of my body thanks to the supplement program, Dr. Huang put me on to support and flush out my kidneys and liver. The most notable change is my attitude. I feel calmer and surer that this too shall pass. 

Before my mood evened out, there were a few dark days where I wanted to give up and dive back into my old eating habits, but then I remembered how I felt a year ago at this time. I was 25+ pounds heavier, none of my close fit, and I was a hermit, hiding from the shame of my weight gain. I will never go back to that feeling again. 

No matter how many turns our lives take, we must keep adapting to what’s in front of us. So I have to adjust my macros and eat to support my kidneys and liver. This is one of my crosses in life, and I will carry it as I do all the others. 

I’m A Bad Blogger

My blogging duties have been on the bottom of my to-do list these past few weeks, which is just a no-no if you are trying to build your blog into a reliable source of entertainment and information. There have been many instances when the opening line for a new post popped into my head, but then distractions took over, either something around the house, a call or just being plain old’ lazy that prevented me from grabbing my laptop and pounding away at the keys. 

The gnawing whisper reminding me that I need to write and write more often is a pain in the ass, but it worked as I’ve finally succumbed under the weight of it all. Gosh, that sounds awful, but sometimes writing when you don’t want it is a weight, but I choose to carry it nonetheless. 

First, I didn’t finish the “summer challenge” due to my feet/tendon problems that are finally showing signs of improvement. I’m both pissed at myself for not getting back into the workout routine, but also glad that I laid off to give myself and my feet time to heal. Second, getting hurt when you are trying to improve your quality of life SUCKS, because it throws your whole game off. Third, I’ve dropped some weight, but not as much as I was hoping.  

Always the optimist, even when I’m having a pessimistic day, I try to look for a break in the clouds to know that the sky is still blue and where it belongs.  

My break is Keto. I’ve always agreed with those that said weight loss is 80% mental and 20% physical. Even though I haven’t been working out, other than walks with my dog Friday, I have been sticking to Keto. For those who don’t know, Keto requires a high – quality fat – diet, moderate protein, and low carbs in the 30 – 50-gram range. The macro breakdown is something like 80 Fat / 15 Protein / 5 Carbs 

Just for fun, I threw in intermittent fasting (IF), which is simply not snacking during the day. The big question is, what has all this Keto and IF done for me. Let me count the ways:

Amazing Energy

My get-up-and-go is back!

Clear thinking

No craving  

Eat two-three times a day 

Portion control 

Steady weight loss. 

I’m sure there are more benefits, but these are the main ones that have helped me with my quality of life. If I had to pick a top three, they would be energy, portion control and overall control over food (which isn’t listed) 

Looking back during my high carb and starch days, I see how I was a slave to food. I would eat and still be hungry or always crave sweets after dinner. Being in control of what I eat is the best feeling. I can decide what goes into my body and no longer eat based on cravings which just propellers the cycle of more craving. And if I want to eat some corn chips, I can, knowing that a handful won’t kill me or send me into a carb-sweet-eating frenzy. 

The only way I was able to do any of this is by tracking what I eat via the myfitnesspal app, which gives me personal accountability and shows me my macro breakdown each day. 

While Keto is touted as a great way to lose weight (and no doubt it is), there are many other benefits to this eating lifestyle. I haven’t dropped vast amounts of weight on Keto, but rather averaging about a 1 – 2 lbs a week. Overall, I’m down 15lbs from when I started mid-summer. 

A lot more work needs to be done as I ramp up for the fall activities and wedding duties that are scheduled over the next few months. I have eight weeks until I need to order my bridesmaid dress, which is motivation enough to bring back my workouts! 

Stay tuned to this channel for more posts relating to all things that can help us be better people to ourselves and each other. 

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Down, But Not Out!

Eudaimonia tip #33 – Sometimes you have to laugh at the absurdity life can bring. 

The past few weeks have been a challenge as my feet have been giving me nothing but problems. I finally went to the podiatrist last week to see if I self-diagnosed correctly, and within minutes the foot doc confirmed that my google skills were on the money. 

I had, in fact, tore my posterior tibial tendon, which takes FOREVER to heal. But with the help of a fancy and quite uncomfortable ankle brace, I am now feeling more supported and less fearful of one day waking up to flat feet. 

My arches (and feet) are one of my best features, and I do not plan on letting them get worse as there is way too much living, walking and eventually running to do once I completely heal.

The pisser of the whole thing is my exercise restricted to walking and light weights, but I still manage to get at least three workouts in a week, along with a bike ride when I can fit it in. The only saving grace, silver lining, rainbow after the storm (take your pick) is my steadfastness to eating Keto. I do well on this maco plan as it helps me avoid starches and even with a leaner exercise routine I’m still managing to lose weight. 

Hallelujah! They say that weight loss is 80% food and 20% movement and right now, the only thing I can control is what I put in my mouth. 

On top of my injury, my poor girl Friday is also suffering from a tendon tear in her left back leg as a result of a squirrel chase gone wrong. At least I’m getting in some weight lifting as I have to carry her everywhere as I cannot bear to see her limping, and she cannot do steps or jump at all, so her leg does not get worse. Hopefully, the vet has a space open tomorrow to get this checked out and get her feeling better.  

We are a sad bunch Friday and me, just what are the chances of fur-mom and fur-baby both having injured tendons at the same time? Sometimes you have to laugh at the absurdity of life. 

But I digress. My journey to self-improvement is taking a wider bend than I had planned. Yes, I’m annoyed and pissed off that I wasn’t more careful when I jumped into working out daily, but at least I started to work out, and I know the fire is there when my body has healed. If I’ve learned one thing from this year is that there is a reason for everything and life has a way of working out even in the most annoying circumstances. 

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

Uninvited Detour

Eudaimonia tip #32 – The key to any life change is how we adapt to life happening all around us.  

Why I thought my weight loss journey would be straightforward is the question of the day. Most people would find that when they exercise more and eat less, their bodies react appropriately with increased energy, weight loss, and overall happier mood. Because exercise is good for the brain, at least that’s what they say… whoever they are. 

The good news is some weight loss is happening. I feel every so slimmer, I can see more of my jawline, and my clothes are fitting better. All of this is the silver lining rather than the pie filling because my body is just stubborn.

I admit I attacked my new lifestyle with a fervor. The first week I started my couch to 5K (Cto5K) running plan, and the week after I added on the summer challenge and also adopted a keto diet. The first two weeks were pretty impressive. My momentum, determination, and commitment levels were all working in my favor. 

As I progressed into week three of my running program, I was tasked with running seven two minute runs with rests in between. I started slow and only ran four the first day, then five, six and on the last day, Sunday, ran all seven. The feeling of accomplishment was excellent, and I was enjoying the running game until my feet betrayed me. 

Yes, the agony of da-feet (sorry I couldn’t resist). 

My plantar fasciitis (PF) kicked in on my left foot, so I threw some KT Tape on to help with support. I followed up with some stretches I remembered from the first time I had PF. A few days later, I saw my inner ankles starting to get poofy, but still pushed through and kept adding on my seven-minute runs. I should preface I notice my shins were stinging along with pain in my feet with every strike on the treadmill. 

I knew my feet were in precarious shape as I entered week four, and decided to repeat week three building up my seven-minute run intervals. Tuesday’s run (July 23) did not go well. My feet and shins hurt BAD, and I could barely get through the four two minute runs without wincing. The next day my feet were totally swollen and tingly and very uncomfortable to walk on, which posed a problem since they are required to get around and do things. 

Luckily, I had my appointment with my holistic doctor on Friday the 26th. I gave him the low down on the hijack of my lifestyle. He asked questions and then suggested that my ankle swelling could be related to my kidney function. It just so happens I have unilateral nonobstructive Hydronephrosis on my left kidney. This is a fancy way of saying that my left kidney doesn’t drain efficiently and retains fluids. Ironically, my left foot was the worst of the two, so some correlation can be made. 

This internal issue was discovered by ultrasound in 2017 as my left ureter (the tube that connects your kidneys to your bladder) was enlarged and dubbed the megaureter. My kidney function tested resulted in my left kidney draining at only 34 percent, causing my right kidney to pick up the slack and function at 66 percent. A few months later, I had surgery to see if there was a blockage, but there wasn’t. Lucky me, because that would be too easy. So now I’m stuck with a swampy left kidney, and no one can do a darn thing about it! 

I reminded the holistic-doc of my kidney issue, which confirmed his suspicion and led to supplements that support the kidneys and a few other ones for good measure. 

Next came the dark days of forced rest. There is nothing more annoying than wanting to work out, but realizing your body needs to rest. For the next two days, I stayed in the AC on the couch with my feet elevated and in compression socks.  Sunday I kicked the socks and was a bit more active by way of errands but still skipped any exercise. 

By Monday, my feet were my own again. The swelling went down, but I still had some soreness. I resumed my strength training workouts this week minus the running, and added in some yoga, walking and hopefully biking this weekend. 

My diagnosis is a combination of stressing my system with so much change, along with repetitive running on the treadmill resulting in body rebellion. 

The moral of the story is, sometimes what looks like a straight line has more turns and bends in it than perceived. My momentum took a hit, as I was looking forward to running again, but I realized that I needed to adjust my trifecta to weights, yoga, and healthy-keto. 

The key to any life change is to expect for life to happen, injuries happen, sickness happens, work happens, vacations happen, sick kids happen. You get the idea. How we react to those happenings is what matters most for success in the long game.

The Scales Dirty Tricks

Eudaimonia tip #31 – Self-worth is found in the commitment of the mind, not on the numbers on a scale. 

There is nothing like going full steam in the first two weeks of your new lifestyle. I hit every workout and tracked everything I ate to ensure that I am burning more calories than I consume. 

After week one, I stepped on the scale, I closed my eyes and prayed for a drop in the number, even just a pound would be a win and give me the confidence to keep going. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes to see that I’ve dropped TWO pounds. “Yes, this is awesome!” I cheered and happily proceeded with week two. 

Continue reading “The Scales Dirty Tricks”

What Doesn’t Suck

Eudaimonia tip #30  Keep your focus as you climb the mountain. 

I’m halfway through the second week of my new lifestyle and still getting used to my new trifecta of weights, running, and Keto. It’s not the weights or the running that has me crying internally. It’s the Keto flu that has me in a quandary. 

Continue reading “What Doesn’t Suck”

Ready, Willing, and Able

Eudaimonia tip #29 – Never lose your mindset.

I always want to have this mindset. I always want to have this fire that has attached to me like an invisible rope pulling me towards my forever-body. A body that is healthy and free from pain and restrictions; that is comfortable in its skin; that looks just as good in sweats and a t-shirt as it does a dress and heals. 

Weight loss; exercise; living a healthy lifestyle, all of these goals can only be achieved through one thing: mindset. If the mind is ready, then workouts happen; If the mind is willing, then the right foods are eaten; if the mind is able, then the commitment is real. 

They call them cliches for a reason, but the whole “horse to water” one seems to fit this topic quite accurately.  The name of the game is never losing your mindset. 

The first week of the Summer Challenge is in the books and I have learned so much about myself, from how to track and hit my macro numbers to committing to working out six days a week. There was a bump along the way, such as a pulled … something… tendon… in my left foot that left me questioning if I would be able to finish my Cto5k runs this week. Thankfully, a few strips of KT tape took care of the problem, and I was able to complete my third day of running with no issues.

Along with the bump came a small victory. I went to a concert Friday night and opted for the 5 oz glass of chardonnay with only 3.5g of carbs over the vodka madras that I REALLY wanted which had over 23g of carbs. It’s these smart choices that confirm I’m on the right path to my former thinner self.

Before starting the summer challenge I was wearing a size 20, and then got down to a size 18 on my own, but a tight 18. I knew I had to up my game and go back to the basics — the right calories in combined with calories out via exercise. There was a real fear that running was a fad, but now two weeks in my love for the simplicity of running is coming back full force, along with my love for exercise in general. 

I know there will be hard days, the days that I turn into a stubborn horse and refuse to drink the water, but knowing those days are out there means I am one step closer to overcoming them. See, the way I see it anticipation leads to preparation, which helps fortify the mindset. 

My goal. My vision. My quest is simple; keep pushing, keep moving, keep eating right to get back to that size 14 and beyond. All the while appreciating that no matter how many times life tries to derail me, I shall rise again. 

Photo by Skully MBa from Pexels