Girls on the Run

When I was a kid, I didn’t have good self-esteem.  Well, I did when it came to school; I was smart and liked school.  But, socially, I did not feel good about myself.  I was fat and ugly.  I was literally the Queen of the Misfits.  Those at school that didn’t fit in with any other group hung out with me.

It didn’t help that I was not athletic, or at least I didn’t think I was.  I didn’t feel comfortable running around chasing after balls, and because I was fat, I never got picked for anything other than anchor for tug-o-war.  Oh… wait… I did make the bowling team.

One of the most exciting things about my transformation is the fact that I am now physically confident.  I believe in my body; I recognize and appreciate its strength.  I’m now willing to try new things, even if I am likely to fail.  In the past, failure was always due to my weight.  I was sure people were laughing at me, thinking that I was too big to do anything with my body.  Now, if I fail, I don’t indict myself for it; I don’t see it as my fault.  Now, if I fail, it’s merely because it’s new to me, or I need to strengthen that body part.

This new-found confidence and attitude has allowed me to try all kinds of wonderful activities: sailing, zip lining, pole dancing, boulder scrambling, free climbing, rope walls, mountain biking, and more.  It’s been a joy.

All through this process, I’ve thought that I should share my experience – my story – with others in some way.  The transformation shouldn’t go to waste; it should ripple out to others who might need inspiration and encouragement.  Up until recently, I hadn’t found the avenue to accomplish that rippling.  Now I think I have.

Through my Leadership program, I learned about an amazing non-profit organization called “Girls on the Run“.  It’s a program dedicated to developing self confidence and healthy living skills for girls ages 8 through 13.

“The programs combine training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development.”

As soon as I heard about this program, I was certain I needed to be part of it.  There’s no council here, so I looked into starting one.  In the process of doing that research, I discovered that another woman had already assembled a team to bring this exciting program to our neighborhood.  I emailed her, and earlier this week, we had a first meeting.

On the way to the meeting, I heard Paula Cole’s “I don’t want to wait”, a song that I haven’t heard in years… and one of my anthems when I splitting up from my first husband.  It was incredibly apropos to hear that song on my way to this meeting.  At the time it was popular, I was finally admitting to myself that I didn’t want to wait anymore to live life.  I didn’t know what was ahead at that point, and I could never have foreseen all the wonders that I’ve experienced in these last couple of years.  Specifically, I could never have foreseen joining up with a group of runners to help young girls prepare for a 5K!

We have a great group, filled with knowledge and expertise, and I think we’ll be able to conduct our first training in the fall.  I am thrilled that I might be able to help at least one girl avoid being ashamed of her body, that I might help one girl learn to love to move and feel that amazing sense of accomplishment when she achieves something physical that she didn’t think she could do.

April 28, 2010 at 4:22 am Leave a comment

A colorific food find!

I was scanning the produce section at Trader Joe’s when I turned around to discover these delightful, multicolored gems.  Purple and yellow broccoli and cauliflower, mixed with the usual green and white.  I had to buy several packs of these hue-tastic veggies.

I grabbed a couple of bags of seafood blend (shrimp, calamari rings and bay scallops) along with the veggies.  I sauteed them while the veggies were steaming, and voila! A healthy, tasty, visually-appealing dinner! 🙂

March 28, 2010 at 7:20 am Leave a comment

Scale the Strat 2010

In less than a week after doing the Muddy Buddy Race, I competed in Scale the Strat 2010.  This is a charity event, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association, so I had a raise a minimum of $250… and climb 108 floors or 1,455 stairs.  It was the ultimate validating event for someone who climbs stairs as part of her regular workout regimen.  My concern was that I didn’t know how I’d do climbing continuously.  I only have 6 floors in my building, so I always have some built-in recovery time when I come down.  The Strat doesn’t afford that luxury.  It’s all the way straight up.  I was even more daunted when I learned I couldn’t listen to music. 

When the day came, I did it in 17:43 minutes, using the “turtle method”: slow and steady with no jogging or two-at-a-time stairs.  I was BEYOND proud of myself.  It was such a tremendous accomplishment, another huge first for me.  I am already looking forward to next year.  🙂

    

March 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm 1 comment

Muddy Buddy 2010

Earlier this month, I did something unprecedented: I competed in two athletic events in less than a week. Me! The girl who was only ever picked to be anchor for tug-o-war!!

The first was the Muddy Buddy Race.  Teams of two traverse a 6-7 mile off-road course and 5 obstacles.  At the start of the race, one team member runs and one rides the bike. At the 1st obstacle, the rider drops the bike, completes the obstacle, and begins running. The runner arrives, completes the obstacle, finds their bike and begin riding. Teams continue leapfrogging each other through the entire course. At the end of the race, racers crawl through the infamous Mud Pit crossing the finish line together as official “Muddy Buddies”!

It was one of the most fun and exhilarating things I’ve ever done, and I’m still in awe of myself for finding out about it, finding a partner, and doing it… all within the space of three weeks.  Something brand new and daunting… but I didn’t let that hold me back.  I just did it!  I’ve become my own Nike commercial!! LOL 🙂

   

   

March 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Microbes and hormones and chemicals… Oh My!

Interesting headlines today:

In an effort to once again pin down why diets don’t work, researchers have launched various studies and have found there are myriad reasons why we’re packing on the pounds, reasons that go beyond consuming too many calories. 

I find it all fascinating… and hopeful, in a way, but it’s overwhelming to me.  I know that when I keep my calories low, I lose weight.  When I don’t, I gain weight.  I can sugarcoat it all I want or cover it in scientific rhetoric, but it always comes out the same.  When I’m honest with myself, I find out I have just plain been eating too much. 

That’s not to say that microbes and chemicals don’t play a role in weight or that they don’t impact our health.  It’s just that, as far as my body goes, the equation is simple… although it’s definitely NOT simple to execute.

March 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment

Active Hair Coloring?

We’ve all heard of active sitting: where you incorporate some sort of physical movement, no matter how small, into your sedentary job or homelife.  I do it myself, by sitting on a stability ball as my office chair.  I also do it by performing various arm movements during the day, or sometimes using my FLOW software, which prompts me to do exercises at my desk every hour or so.

But, tonight: a first!  Active Hair Coloring!  I ate too much today and wanted to get more cardio in to compensate, at least a little.  I also needed to color my hair.  I’m a home hair colorer, so the ideal solution was easy to find.  While I was waiting for my hair color to process, I did 30 minutes on the Gazelle.  Voila… active hair coloring!  I was so pleased with myself for coming up with it.  I love combining necessary or fun activities with fitness.  It makes me feel efficient, and it makes onerous tasks seem more purposeful and worthy.

It also turns potentially “risky” situations into opportunities for success.  For example, tomorrow morning, my husband and I are going to a pancake breakfast at the airport hangar.

  • We are pedaling our bicycles to and from the airport, which means we’ll get in at least a six-mile ride.  🙂
  • I normally dread being confronted with the white-flour pancakes, syrup and sausage they serve.  The food is always yummy, but it’s got no redeeming nutritive value.  This time, along with getting exercise by biking back and forth, I’m also bringing PB&J pancake batter, made with white whole wheat flour, Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread, Smart Balance Omega 3 Peanut Butter, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk.  The topping will be reduced-sugar strawberry jam.  It’s fun… and healthy!
  • Plus, I’ll be too busy cooking to have much time to eat.

Perfect!!

March 6, 2010 at 5:21 am Leave a comment

Work Break Workouts

In addition to doing stairs, I also try to do mini workouts during the day on my breaks.  This week, I tried two new ones:

1) Pure Barre Workout – http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/isometric-exercises

2) Women’s Health Mag Ab Workout – http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/isometric-exercises

The Pure Barre workout was perfect for the office.  Very doable in a cramped space and in work clothes, even a dress or skirt and blouse.  That doesn’t mean it was a low-key workout, though.  It was surprisingly challenging!  The small, concentrated moves quickly grew tiring; I could definitely feel it and was somewhat relieved when I finished up each exericse.  This one is going to become part of my regular repertoire.

I was excited about the Ab workout because many of the exercises use a stability ball, and I sit on one as my office chair.  I didn’t have a medicine ball in the office, so I had to improvise with a door stop (that a friend had made for me) as my hand-held weight.  Yowsa!  This workout was SUPER tough!  I couldn’t get through half the moves.  Plus, it was hard to do them in the narrow confines of my business crib while wearing a dress and pantyhose.  In fact, I was pretty discouraged after doing the workout yesterday, and I’d basically decided that I could only do this one at home.  Interestingly enough, today, some of my ab muscles are sore; I can feel that the exercises – that I did manage to do – worked.  That made me smile. 🙂  I think with a little tweaking, I’ll be able to do this routine here at work, too.

Breaks at work are so important, particularly breaks for movement if you are in a sedentary job.  If you can make the most of those breaks by getting in a workout, you’re way ahead of the game.  Try every possible workout you can and be open to customizing them for your ability and surroundings.

March 4, 2010 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

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