Cudda, Shudda, and Wudda are three brothers that never shut up. Talk, talk, talk. That’s all they do and that would be alright if they were singing your praises. They’re always in your head making you feel like crap about past mistakes. The great thing is you can move past their petty conversations and decide to press forward. The best way to press forward is through action as rehearsing the same script entitled “Past Mistake(s)” keeps you stuck in the past. It’s one thing to assess a mistake for the sake of how you can do better in the future but it’s quite another thing if you’re busy listening to “Cudda, Shudda, and Wudda” and they leave you defeated. Look at your past mistakes, deeds for what they are worth and chalk it up to the game called “Life.” Better days are ahead but you can’t experience them if you’re keeping company with these deadbeat dudes. Interrupt the conversation they’re having in your head and it’s certainly okay to be rude in this instance as your future depends on it. Cut them off with positive words of self-encouragement, quotes, affirmations and lastly the word of God. Not to get preachy but I do recognize that God has the final say and I’d rather drown out their mess with His word that will never tear you down. I’ve fallen prey many times and gotten caught up in their shenanigans but I’ve made up my mind to move past their empty words and rewrite my story with words that reflect the greatness inside of me and actions to follow. So, the score is Francyne – 1 and Cudda, Shudda, and Wudda – 0. Interesting note though, it takes three of them to defeat one of me. We’re well into the last quarter of 2011, with a little over eight-something days left. Shall we ditch these cats and slide into the first base of 2012 with the winning team? I’ll see you on the other side.
I heard one of my favorite songs the other day, “(Find) One Hundred Ways” by James Ingram. In his smooth, velvety voice he tells the guy to find one hundred ways to show his girlfriend/wife how much he loves her. It’s a very beautiful song and it got me to thinking about what would happen if we found one hundred ways to show ourselves how much we loved ourselves. We’ve gotten too caught up in trying to be modest when to celebrate yourself and the unique expression that you are is very healthy for your self-esteem. This exercise is simple and it doesn’t require walking shoes, a treadmill or a water bottle but it will do wonders for your physique. You’ll stand taller as a result of doing it. So, grab a pen and some paper and start with number one and end with 100. After each number, list a positive quality – anything that you like about yourself. Don’t overthink it. It can range from the usual to the unusual. Don’t stop listing those qualities and characteristics until you have one hundred. Once you have that list, keep it and read it often as it will be music to your ears when you need it most.
Anybody that’s embarked on a weight loss journey successfully knows about disappearing acts all too well. When some of you starts to disappear, some of your peers disappear. “Don’t get too skinny,” “You’re going to turn into a bobblehead, if you’re not careful,” “How much are you trying to lose.” These are just a few statements that I’ve heard all too often and instead of internalize the foolery, I remember that accompliishing your weight loss goals is not easy. Guess what? It’s not easy to keep it off. It is something that you have to be conscious of at all times. I remember a long time ago, I was at a birthday dinner and there was a young lady at our table who had been unsuccessful in the past as far as losing weight. She balked at me for being too conscientious in my meal choices by ordering something healthy. As she proceeded to order the hot fudge sundae in a chocolate chip cookie bowl, she angrily proclaimed that she didn’t want to have to wake up and go to the trouble of thinking about what she ate. Here’s the skinny – no pun intended. Even if you decide that you’ll never try to lose weight, you will still have to exercise some diligence in maintaining your current weight. Unless you’ve been blessed with magic metabolism and you can eat whatever you want and not gain a pound, this is something that you have to work at. Some people will congratulate you on your weight loss and really mean it, while others will not like the fact that in some way you’re holding a mirror to them and the struggle they’re experiencing to lose weight. Some friends are only meant to be in your life for a season and if their season is up, that’s fine too. Finding people are on the same path as you and trying to live healthy will contribute greatly to your success. So, when those so-called friends disappear, new opportunities will appear to make new friends that will welcome a “smaller” you. Just stay open to those opportunities and relish in who you are becoming. If you can’t find a community, create a community, be a community.
I knew I should have done this earlier in the day – posting this entry, that is. I made a promise to myself that I would blog everyday and now here I am getting ready and remembering to keep my promise. I’ve been counting down the days to 2012 as a way of quantifying the number of entries I’ve written and a way to look back at my own discipline. . We’ve all encountered people with a lack of integrity but what do we do when break promises to ourselves? What promise have you made recently or in the past and you’ve already broken it? We do it all the time without even thinking about it. How many times have you started the diet tomorrow after a week’s worth of sweet indulgences only to fail again? It’s time to finally give that “breaking promise” thing the old heave-ho and find a way to follow through on your promises. It doesn’t matter how big or small but keeping it will do wonders for your soul. So much is bottled up inside of us and instead of addressing it, we medicate it, we overspend, we overextend, and we expect others to keep their promises to us. Unfortunately, we can’t control other people and their decision to not do what they say they are going to do but we can control how we are going to treat ourselves. We’ve gotten too caught up listening to people who can’t distinguish confidence from arrogance because they are too wrapped up in their own insecurities. But enough is enough, it’s long overdue that you started holding your head high and believing that you deserve to be true to you. So, my challenge to you is to revisit an old promise that you never kept and how you are going to go about unbreaking it. Nobody has to know but you if that works for you because sometimes people don’t need to know what you’re working on until it’s already done. Until next time, keep this promise to me to be kind to yourself during this process as you are a divine work in progress and there’s no need to play the “blame, shame, criticize” game with yourself. Well, I gotta go so I can keep my promise to be on time for my date with my sweetie!
When you’ve lost all your pounds, it would be safe to assume that you’ve probably gained a greater sense of self, more confidence and a hot body to boot. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple. Sometimes what’s left after you’ve diligently followed a weight loss program is the rest of you that’s waiting to be tended to – your mind and your soul. Congratulations, if you’ve exercised enough discipline to stick to a program and you kept it moving on your favorite cardio machine.
In my upcoming book, “Fit and Fab for Life,” I talk about the necessity of doing the inner work. You know the stuff nobody sees beneath the well-fitted clothes and the toned body? It’s crucial for you to take inventory of who you are and what’s going on inside of you. Be honest with yourself and tap into what might still be eating you long after you’ve fitted into your favorite pair of jeans. Depending on what those emotions are, one might be hard-pressed to ignore this step because it’s such a tedious process, dealing with your stuff.
I promise you the challenge is worthy of the reward, as you will ultimately become more free in your mind to be the best you from the inside out. Dig deep and face the good, the bad and the ugly. Doing the inner work is crucial to the maintenance phase of your weight loss journey. Not addressing unresolved issues and emotions could cause you to slip back into old habits that will pack the weight on again. Holding yourself up to your inner mirror and reflecting on what you see will help you uncover things about you that need to be tended to. Although this maybe an uncomfortable process, the great thing is you don’t have to do it alone.
Seeking outside help is a great way to embark on the next phase of your journey. So tend to the garden of your soul, clear out the weeds, so you can blossom into the fullness of your best self. Emotional eating is a very real condition. Identifying those emotions that plague us help us to become familiar with them and develop coping mechanisms that don’t involve overindulging with food. While embarking into the inner depths of yourself, remember to be gentle with yourself and love yourself no matter what – it’s the fit and fab way to live and be!
As we count down to the end of the year with Day 92, how will you free your mind today? What are going to let go of? Old ideas, old friends that are really frenemies in disguise. You choose.
A few days ago I received an email regarding a 100-day challenge where you maximize your goals until the end of 2011. In retrospect, this year has been interesting to say the least. Some of it has been a blur while other times have been crystal clear. One thing I’ve learned how to do more is trust my gut -honor my intuition. When something doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t but we second guess ourselves until it becomes unavoidably clear that your inner knowing was guiding you correctly all along. I have learned how to relax more, love and be loved. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is scary but the catch is you can’t really get to the good stuff until you let your guard down. Loving and being loved is easy. Back to the challenge, how are you going to finish out this year? I’ve recommitted myself to my goals and dreams, despite taking a detour or two and scraping my knee along the way. I’ve pulled back the “Dora the Explorer” band-aid and the scar has healed nicely while I’ve rediscovered parts of myself that require deeper exploration. This can be scary. But I’m allowing the trepidation to recede because doing so allows me to become more of who I am and that’s all ways a good thing.
I resist the need to belong to align myself to the wrong group of people. I say “No” or I change my mind. I’ve also learned to welcome the accumulated wisdom from my life years and it feels good to know when you know. This is something that can only be earned with the currency of time. Having experienced some train wreck situations more than I care to remember, I have become more adept at assessing the situation and politely saying, “No thank you, I’ll pass.” So as I count down to 2011, on day 93 I embrace who I am and the amount of growth I’m experiencing in this moment.
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” – Gore Vidal
The season of Fall is upon us as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Leaves have already started to fall. What I love most about Fall besides apple cider and donuts is fashion. Yes, I love Summer for the easy sundresses, sandals, sunny days and breezy nights but Fall is when you really get to raise your style quotient and shop, shop, shop. Lately, I’ve noticed something about me when I do go shopping. I always navigate to the same departments whether it’s Macy’s, Lord and Taylor, Nordstrom’s, etc. I’m a girly girl and have always loved dressing up which meant skirts, not pants, dresses and suits along with heels. Oh yeah, give me accessories, accessories, accessories. I know nothing’s wrong with this but I’ve noticed that my wardrobe needs a shot in the arm, especially since I lost 60 lbs. Why? My lifestyle along with my body has changed just a tad. While my guy loves me in dresses, he also likes me to wear jeans and things that show off the fact that I work out. This has posed a bit of a problem because I was content occasionally wearing the one pair of jeans that fit me until we started dating. We had a very “nice” discussion about this and while he wasn’t asking me to abandon my beloved dresses, suits, etc., he was unknowingly challenging me to let my hair down a little. All too happy to help me get there, he politely took me to the only store that came to my mind – The Gap. I tried on several pair marching out to show him each pair until I got a “two-thumbs up.”
That was easy right? Yes and no. What it did was make me see that I had kind of gotten stuck in a style rut and needed to expand a little. This would bring on another challenge because now I scrutinize everything I try on with this two questions, “Doe this make me look fat?” and “Doe this make me look old?” Perhaps dating someone younger does this but nonetheless, I ask these two questions as I don’t want to look too old nor do I want to look like I’m trying to be 25 again, regardless of how young I look for my age. What I wore at 25 is not what I would wear now. I worked in an office during high school so I was always dressed up in school so that I could easily transition to my office job after school but I also wore the “Flashdance” off-the-shoulder sweatshirts anything that Lisa Bonet wore in “The Cosby Show.” So my style ran the gamut in those early years. As I get more into with myself, I’m allowing myself to evolve and I believe my style is evolving to compliment the different sides of me – from the ladylike dresses and suits to the jeans and things that show off my shape, according to my guy. And you know what? Letting my hair down and not taking fashion so seriously suits me just fine. Oh yeah, I’ll also be adding more casual pieces to my wardrobe that make me feel sexy and also get his “two-thumbs up.”
So you’ve lost weight and you’ve reached your goal with a myriad of efforts. Those efforts included working out on a regular basis and watching what you ate. Feeling pretty good, you stick with your routine for a while and then it happens. You get bored. The treadmill workout starts to feel like drudgery and the elliptical trainer is no better. The key to staying motivated is you’ve got to keep it interesting. There are so many ways to get your workout on and you haven’t even scratched the surface. I bet you could come up with 30 different ways to keep your workout interesting on a regular basis.
From fencing to Zumba, staying in shape doesn’t have to end or begin with the treadmill. Studies show that those who keep their weight off exercise on a regular basis – regular as in “daily.” I don’t know about you but I don’t look forward to getting on the treadmill everyday. So it’s important for me to find other activities that will keep me motivated and thus working out regularly. As I lost my weight, I tried a number of things that I always wanted to try. Some days I would run, and other days I might take a kickboxing or a Zumba class. I also had a trainer who always had something up his sleeve so our workouts were never the same. The truth is this is a lifetime commitment to yourself and lifetime is a pretty long time. Making an workout appointment with yourself and keeping it is important. Know your workout style and preferences. For example, I prefer working out in the morning and it never fails if I don’t make it to the gym in the morning, I’ll tell myself I’ll do it later on. It doesn’t always workout that way unless I have a workout class scheduled. Honestly, I don’t like working out in the evening but I will do it on occasion.
It takes a little bit of homework but if you’d like to take your workout to the next level and you need a shot in the arm to get excited again, then try something different like rock climbing, fencing or something that you’ve always wanted to try. If you’ve never hired a trainer, find one that might train you and your friends. Instead of going out to eat with your friends, how about throwing a workout party and have a trainer do a group session. Have your guests bring a healthy dish to share. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and do different things that will keep your fitness journey fun and interesting. So, how do you stay motivated for the long haul?
The weekend always brings the challenge of unstructured eating due to hanging out with family and friends. Those good times can sometimes wreak havoc on your weight. I believe in moderation not deprivation. But let’s face sometimes moderation goes out the window when those wings are just too good to pass up. I’m always networking and there is always the temptation of food lurking about. So what happens on Monday when you step on the scale, lo and behold you gained a pound or two, or three? Hopefully, it doesn’t go further than that. Here’s my advice on this because it’s happened to me. First, accept it and don’t beat yourself up about it. Did you have fun? I had dinner with my sister, my niece and my son and in the moment it was really about them and the love at the table. And yeah, there was a two-pound weight gain staring back at me on the scale Monday morning. Rather than fret about it, I got on the treadmill and did what I could for the morning. Scale back a little during the week, increase your cardio from 45 minutes to one hour. If time prevails, do four sets of each weight-bearing exercise instead of three. Also, do jumping jacks in between each set. Also, work out a little extra on the weekends but don’t use this as an excuse to habitually over indulge yourself. Negotiate with yourself what you’re going to eat and try to stick to the plan as much as possible. The point is don’t let two pounds turn into five, and then into 10 pounds. I weigh myself every morning and I go by the way my clothes fit too to keep me in check. Extreme? Not really if you’re serious about losing weight and maintaining your weight loss. So, cheers to good times and more importantly finding balance with food and fitness. Join the fit and fab revolution and don’t look back. This is the journey of a lifetime.
Fit and Fab for Life
“All the people who come into our lives are there to teach us lessons. Unless you learn the lesson, the same type of people will continue to show up in your life until the cycle is broken. You have to learn the lesson in order to move on.” – Dave Wise