Posts Tagged ‘Food For Thought’
March 31, 2014
Good Morning! Currently, I am still in Florida soaking in time with friends in St. Augustine and family in Orlando later tonight.
Even though I am unplugging, I haven’t forgotten about you guys and today I would like to bring up a new Coffee Talk: Food For Thought!
After introducing the series earlier this month, I received a lot of positive feedback and became so happy to see a lot of you on board with the many posts to come. As much as I love talking food and fitness on the blog, I share an equal love for chatting about life and what we make of it along the way.
So, thank you for being so open to it!
(Have I mentioned you guys rock? Well, you do.)
Coffee Talk: Creating Who You Are
Go on. Grab a cup o’ coffee (or tea!) and let’s discuss…
The last five of years of my life have without question been the most challenging. It started with trying to figure out “what’s next” after my college graduation, and is still very much a concept and thought I face on a daily basis at 28-years-old.
Finding Ourselves vs. Creating Ourselves
It’s only human to wonder what the future has in store for us. The majority of us have (at least at one point in our lives) wished we could tap into the future and take a peek, even just for a few seconds to see what in entails.
- Am I going to get that job and will it really be a good opportunity for me?
- Is moving here going to make me happy?
- Am I going to end up with this person for the rest of my life?
(Don’t we all just wish that black Magic 8-Ball could tell us the answers?!)
As much as we want to plan out our lives and control everything, we must accept the reality that we can’t. And maybe that’s a good thing!
I truly believe that every single thing that happens in our lives is for a reason. Every person we meet was placed there for a specific purpose, and every relationship we go through teaches us something new.
As much as we question the bad and don’t understand the tragedies, who we are is greatly shaped by who and where we’ve been.
In order to move past the past, we have to pull the brakes on the control.
We can’t always figure “it” out, and when that happens we just have to roll with it. Whatever it is that we are looking for, we have to let that go and realize some things are just not meant to be found.
This is a concept I have been battling a lot lately. As we start to wrap up the end of our NBA season, I can’t help but to get those “what’s next” feelings all over again.
(If I am not dancing, what the heck am I going to do?)
My answer? A whole lot. Nothing specific, and no detailed answers to tell, but I really can’t wait to see what it is.
On Friday, I shared a picture of a quote I found while perusing the greeting card aisle at the grocery store. Something told me to go over there, and when I did, it made me stop right in my tracks and think.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
It really doesn’t get any simpler that that.
What are we really trying to find anyways? The answers?
Instead of worrying about finding who we are, channel that energy in who you can become.
- Create who you want to be.
- List out your goals and figure out how to achieve them.
- Define the type of person you want people to think of you as and work hard to become whatever that is.
As smitten as I had become with this little magnet, Scott also shared something almost identical on his social media pages the very next day:
And for the record, he hadn’t even noticed my quote on the refrigerator yet! Yeah. I think we all think about this from time to time.
Food For Thought:
Creating Yourself and Who You Want To Be
One of the greatest success stories about moving past struggle and creating greatness came directly from a dear friend of mine, Nichole.
You have probably seen her picture pop up a few times, as she is one of my close friends and teammates.
Since the very first day I met her, I pinned her as a very happy, hard-working person. Right away, I could tell she appreciated life in a special way and only wants to give off positive energy to whoever she encounters.
As the months go by, she has only gone on to exceed my expectations. Being a true light in this sometimes dark world, I think everyone who is lucky enough to know her should consider themselves at an advantage.
Just a couple of days ago, Nichole’s story of how she created herself came out. She was selected by her school newspaper as a graduating senior who has gone through adversity.
Through this article, I learned the details of her struggles overcoming brain surgery (twice), graduating college (on time), and making a professional dance team after she was told she shouldn’t dance again.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a bit reading it. As a close friend, and someone who has described me to be an inspiration, I am forever thankful to have met her and have been touched to have her in my life.
Nichole looks at life in a different way and always remembers that someone out there is always going through something worse. Somehow, she continuously finds silver lining in any situation and has been an absolute blessing to hang around.
Just a few months ago, she even started a blog dedicated to inspiring others. She is, without a doubt, creating exactly who she wants and sees herself to be! You go girl!
And I think that concludes the ramble for today… I hope you enjoyed this little nugget of Monday motivation.
Here’s to kicking off the week to a great start. See ya tomorrow!
Questions of the Day
• Where are you focusing your energy? Finding or creating yourself?
• What is one thing that keeps you pressing towards the future?
March 10, 2014
Good Morning! Hope your Monday is off and running smoothly. I had a great weekend, and in case you missed it here’s the recap! Splendid.
While attending our church service yesterday, I felt a special connection to the message and wanted to reflect on it today. And before you think differently, I promise that anyone with any religious background can relate to this one.
Actually, talking about what I take home from services has sparked the first post of a new series I hope you will enjoy reading here on the blog!
I named it Coffee Talk because I want it to be the type of subjects you would enjoy reading or discussing with a friend over cup of coffee. Think of it as a virtual heart to heart, if you will.
I included Food For Thought into the title because I want to questions to come up that come up to make you think! I would love you to engage back into the conversation with me and use the comments section to discuss the topics at hand. So without further adieu, let’s start the first one!
Coffee Talk: Moving Past What Doesn’t Matter
It’s no secret that Scott and I have been through more than our fair share of adjustments and transitions over the past few years. In fact, since the day we exchanged wedding vows, everything about our every day lives has changed. My last name, the city we call home, our ability to see Orlando friends and family every day, wardrobes, licenses, and occupations are just a handful.
With any new life changing situation or new chapter, there also comes a set of challenges and obstacles we encounter. Transitions. Things that pop up in our “plan” of how we see our lives unfolding.
Most of these things come as a surprise, and aren’t exactly what we were hoping for. Sometimes these things are people. Sometimes these things are the environments we live and work in. And sometimes, we build our hopes up so high that everything is supposed to happen “this” way, and as a result, we get frustrated about what these new situations are and what they aren’t: what you’re used to.
That’s just it. The concept of change. Transition, adjustment, moving forward… all of these things equate to taking an unfamiliar step into a new direction we can’t predict the results of.
So what do we do? We live for the day and take it in baby steps, day by day. We see how everything turns out, and the smart ones do so without those preconceived expectations in tow.
They accept change, take situations for what they are, and move on. They find and create their own happiness.
The biggest take-home I got from our pastor was to live in the NOW. Stop thinking about “one day” or in the future when things might go a certain way. Quit wasting the time you have and start living life to it’s fullest.
Feeling extremely connected to this concept at this point in my life, I started taking notes and jotted down three questions he asked the congregation:
• How much time do we spend or waste worrying about things?
Oh man. Who doesn’t waste time worrying about things?
At this moment in time, I am surrounded by silly life worries and stress about petty things. Things that don’t matter. Things that are frustrating and annoying. Rumors and gossip. Who did this or who said that. Things that, unfortunately, I find myself guilty of stressing myself over as well.
At the end of the day, who really cares? None of us should. Things happen, and how you deal with it is the only thing you can control. Basically, you have three options:
1) Complain about it being different.
2) Do something to change it.
3) Realize it is what it is and move on.
I know I am guilty of the first two, and the third is what really takes my focus and determination to follow through. As someone who has gone through a multitude of changes in the past few years, I feel like I have been faced with these situations over and over. Every day, around every corner I turn, something is different than what I am used to… and usually I don’t like it. Because it’s new, and change isn’t an easy concept to grasp and accept.
But, over the past few months, I have finally realized that I choose my own happiness. I can’t always control the situations I am put in, but I can control how I let them affect me. I have started to separate what I used to know with what I know now, and I appreciate the two categories separately.
We are all handed things in our lives for a reason, and with every challenge or frustration, we also have the opportunity to learn a lesson. Is this going to change? Is there anything I can do to change it? If not, then don’t stress over it.
The sooner you realize that, the more you will learn and get out of every hard spot handed to you.
• Do you experience frustrations with people that are dominating your thoughts?
Of course. If I am frustrated with something, that situation or person completely takes over my thoughts and energy at that point in time.
Whether I keep what is going on to myself, or share it with loved ones, I allow it to consume time out of my day to dwell on it and ninety-nine percent of the time, I get mad at myself for allowing myself to worry over silly things I can’t change. (See point above!)
Once again, if you have frustrations with something or someone, only you can fix them. If it’s a case or situation that is simply un-fixable, stop giving them the time of day. Instead, focus your energy on the positive things and people surrounding you!
• Have those things ever gotten so full that you miss what is going on around you?
Absolutely! Friday was a perfect example for this.
Since I usually spend my weekend at events, games, practices, or outings, I try to dedicate a good part of my Fridays to cleaning the house. As soon as I finished my work for the day, I went upstairs to tackle some laundry and start the cleaning process. Right then, I encountered a situation I instantly became frustrated with. No matter how hard I tried to change it, the answer was clear and no budging was going to happen.
So I got angry. I shared my frustrations with loved ones and I ended up spending the entire afternoon on the phone. I got zero cleaning done, and I barely even took a break from it to get outside and run before the sunset. Umm… that’s crazy. Why do we allow ourselves to get so frustrated with things we can’t change that it ends up consuming our hours, days, weeks, and even years?
Instead of getting what I needed to get done, I completely stopped my day and plans to get wrapped up in frustrations. Why?
It’s really silly, and there comes a point when you have to tell yourself you are not going to let it affect you anymore.
Separate it from your day, your mood, what you are doing when you encounter it, and put it on a shelf far, far away from anything that concerns you. It’s really not worth it.
Food For Thought
I do my best to try to listen to my own advice, and when I do I am a much happier, more productive person. Change and challenges happen and we are the only ones that can control what happens next.
You get the choice to spend your time in the spotlight and on things that matter, or caught up in the background on things that really don’t.
If you ever get in a place where you can’t distinguish exactly how to handle it, or if it is even worth stressing over, think about how it will directly affect you a year from now. Better yet, five years from now. Are the things and people you are worried about still going to be there? If not, then they certainly aren’t worth your trouble.
Whenever I find myself at wits end, I have to take myself out of the situation and become emotionless. I can’t care. If something is the way it is, and I have tried to change it the best I know how, and it still isn’t ever going to budge… why persist? Accept what it is and move on.
Let those you worry about do the worrying for you. At the end of the day you will be the one enjoying life in the meantime.
And there it is, friends. Our first Coffee Talk! I hope you enjoyed reading my little nuggets of perspective every once in a while, and I welcome you to join in on the conversation below!
Questions of the Day
• Are you good at walking away from stress, or do you let it affect your mood/day/life?
• Any tips on how to go about your day without getting wrapped up in it?
February 20, 2014
Today was one of those days I really didn’t want to do much. I know… just call me the spokesperson for Lame City. I’ll take it, but for the record, I have been thrown through a handful of unconventional loops this month, both mentally and physically.
Before you start thinking, please don’t read too much into this post! I am okay and I am still very much here to pop in and share daily inspirations and musings with you. But, at the same time, you all know I like to keep it real and tell you if I am having one of those “meh” days.
We all have them, and today is most definitely a “meh” day.
It started off very productive, if you count getting a spray tan and trip to Target in before 9 a.m. productive. But when I got home, I put on a pot of coffee and couldn’t help but to notice the snow storm going on outside. I hate to be that person who keeps bringing it up, but I am going to.
There’s only so many days you can take gloomy, cold and snowy weather outside before winter depression sets in. (I really, really, really can’t wait for the spring to get here!)
There I was, sitting down eating breakfast and thinking about what I needed to get done today. A lot. And I had zero motivation to do any of it.
Instead of loathing in my lack of self-motivation, I turned it into motivation to share this post with you today.
Losing motivation is something I think we can all relate to. Whether it is having a case of the Mondays, a temporary absence from the gym, Senioritis at the end of the school year, or – in my case – Danceritis (what I like to call the month of February in the NBA season), we all struggle with staying on top of what we are supposed to from time to time.
I don’t know about you, but I hate that no motivation feeling. I mean, it’s nice on a Saturday morning and all, but smack dab in the middle of my work week? Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.
So what can you do about it? Lots of things, and below you will find my go-to moves to battle those days where I feel less than motivated!
Tips for Staying Motivated
• Make a plan.
As soon as you get the day started, make a list of things you want to accomplish before you go to bed. (I really need to start doing this again!)
Map out your day and try to stick to your schedule. These are the types of days I always get the most done, including workouts!
Although it might be tempting to cross of the easiest tasks first, take more time and effort crossing off the challenging ones. Those, in completion, are what feel the most accomplishing and will give you even more motivation to keep moving!
• Baby steps.
If you have a million things going on and become easily stressed out about everything you need to accomplish in a short amount of time, resort to baby steps. Don’t think about what you need to do next or tomorrow, but what you need to do right now today.
Go back to that list you made in the morning and start crossing off one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself!
• Set attainable goals.
Hey, I want to say I have run a marathon one day as much as the next guy. (Okay, I might be fine topping out at the half distance.) But, if that is just something you already know isn’t in the cards or not important enough for you to personally work towards in the future, look forward towards other goals you will actually follow through with.
Personally, signing up for my second half in October is an attainable goal for me. It won’t be easy by any means, and I will have to train again for it, but I know I can and will accomplish that goal. Knowing this gives me the motivation I need to stick to my plan of getting it done!
• Get out of your comfort zone.
We can all easily get caught up in what feels like Groundhog Day. Doing the same things day in and day out until your life feels slightly monotonous. The best way to shake that feeling is to get out of your comfort zone and do something out of the ordinary.
For me, it was joining a monthly Book Club I only know one person in. I haven’t picked up and finished a book in quite a while, and making a commitment to read at least one a month forces me to get back to it!
• Mix things up.
I guess this one kind of piggy backs off of the previous point.
A sure fire way to always keep life interesting is to go out of your way to try something new.
Don’t think you can pull off that fashion trend? Know for sure you won’t like that film? Positive you don’t like seafood (as opposed to just saying it?) You will never really know until you actually try it.
(Mini flashback to that 80s roller skating party!)
When I started dating Scott, he introduced me to his rule about going out to dinner and traveling:
We don’t go to chain restaurants unless there aren’t any other options available, and we both have to try anything and everything at least once. I found that outlook on life really attractive and strive to be as open minded as he is in that regard.
If I ever get tired of doing the same type of workouts at the gym, I will try out a new group fitness class or choose the elliptical instead of the treadmill. I will ask a friend to join me to hold myself accountable or even rock a new fitness shoe or outfit to feel like something is different.
When it is all said and done, you will then have more options to turn to the next time you need to spice up a weekend: dinner, movies, activities, workouts, recipes, etc.
• Keep inspiration handy.
I started a Quotables board on Pinterest for this very reason. Whenever I need that extra push of motivation or inspiration to start my day or handle something challenging, there it is.
Also, if I am ever feeling a bit womp womp about getting around to writing a blog post, I take a quick scan of blogs I find to be inspirational. Are you on Bloglovin’ yet? I highly recommend it and enjoy getting an email update filled with motivational people every single night!
• Schedule breaks.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been too “in the zone” to eat lunch at lunch time or answer a phone call. Finding the right time to take a break is great, but make sure you never get “too busy” enough to take one!
Whether it is enjoying a cup of tea next to a snowy window, going for a twenty minute walk outside, or meeting a friend to catch up over lunch, do yourself a favor and include those moments into your life.
Coming back to everything you need to do will feel a lot easier if you allow yourself at least a few minutes to unwind and refresh!
• Find your social support and hold on.
Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Reach out to friends and people who are equally as motivating, listen to each other and share ideas.
Ever wonder why I use the hashtag #FitFluential religiously? It’s basically the best inspiration I could ever ask for in the healthy living and fitness blog world.
If it’s school work you are having trouble with, talk to your peers or counselors for course suggestions. Frustrated at work? Isn’t that how Happy Hours with co-workers started?
Help people help you.
• Rock out.
This might not apply to everyone, but if you are anything like me you need music to keep you going. Whether it is during a workout or while I am blogging, I go through multiple stations on my Pandora radio throughout the day, depending on what I am doing and what kind of mood I am in.
I have noticed that I am the most productive when I am listening to upbeat music and that is why I create and share workout playlists with you!
If I am ever in a writing slump, I crank one of them up for a song or two, then turn it down and get back to work!
• Acknowledge your accomplishments.
When you complete something big off of your goal, to-do, or even cleaning list, reward yourself! Why else do you think “healthier” desserts were created? It’s like an accomplishment and a treat all in one!
My favorite trips to the gym always include a recovery protein smoothie from the cafe afterwards. It’s like my little way of treating myself after the hard work I just put in.
Also, I really look forward to getting pedicures. I used to get one every two weeks when I was a server and dancer in Orlando, and I always had that reward in my mind during a physically hard day at work.
If you attain a notable goal in your professional career, don’t let it go unrecognized! Finally purchase that iPad or upgrade from your point-and-shoot camera (not hinting here or anything, Scott!) to help you stay on top of things and further your successes.
I hope you have acquired even a little bit of motivational gain on some kind of level. If not, then all I have left for you is…
Coffee. Drink lots of coffee.
Kidding! (Kind of.)
See you all bright and early with tomorrow’s Friday Favorites!
Question of the Day
• What is one thing you have done lately to help you stay motivated?
February 4, 2014
I was going to share something food related today, but I guess all of that can wait until tomorrow’s WIAW. Today, my heartstrings are tugging at my typing fingers and telling them to share everything about my recent run, so I’m just going to roll with it and see where it goes.
I only had about a half an hour to complete a workout yesterday. I could have easily skipped it since I was going to get plenty of cardio in during dance practice, but I didn’t want to. I could have popped in a workout DVD or completed one of my already put together at-home workouts, but I didn’t want to do that either. I wanted to run.
Running is an outlet for me and during the freezing winter months in Michigan, I miss the luxury of running comfortably outside to clear my head a few times a week.
So, with a glimpse of the sunshine beaming down onto the snow, I wanted to take advantage of it by getting out there and enjoying the (somewhat) sunny (pretend) warm afternoon outside.
Running Through Challenges
Geared up and ready to set out on a quick stroll around the neighborhood, I put on my Winter Workout Playlist to warm up with a walk.
From my view, the roads looked plowed enough to run without having too many issues, and I was pumped to get out there!
Challenge #1: Scott pulled into the driveway right as I was leaving it. As much as I wanted to take that half hour and spend it with him, I charged forward.
Challenge #2: Knowing I was on a time schedule, I mapped out an exact route in my head to complete about two and a half miles in twenty minutes. About three minutes into my run, I realized the sidewalks and roads were no longer plowed, and definitely not runnable.
I took a chance and ran on the street, dodging ice patches, slush, and the occasional passing car.
Challenge #3: About half way to my half way mark, I found my path was completely blocked by snow.
Part of me wanted to press forward, but I knew my stubbornness wasn’t worth me risking slipping and twisting an ankle since I was also in a hurry. So I turned around.
I was running with the Armour39 performance monitor, so I was already frustrated that I couldn’t track a consistent, normal run. Eventually, I got over it and kept tracking it anyways.
Challenge #4: My music stopped playing at an audible level.
This has happened before, due to the cold temperatures. Apparently my iPhone is also a Florida native who doesn’t always perform it’s best in freezing climates.
Not having music doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I am a person who thrives off of it. I mentioned last week that I literally have music playing at every moment when I am home, unless I am reading or watching television. During any type of workout, I have to have music I am into playing or it totally throws off my kick booty outlook.
I know, I’m super high maintenance about it. Now you see the challenge.
There I was, only about half way done with my allotted time to run and ready to get back home and move on.
I’m not sure why, but at that exact moment I felt like snapping a photo of my awesome “running track”.
Before you think I am overly dramatic about this one twenty minute run, I promise there’s a purpose in sharing it with you. Read on!
For the remaining ten minutes, I finally saw the reality that workouts don’t always go the way we plan. Days don’t always go the way we plan. Jobs and relationships don’t always go the way we plan. Life doesn’t always go the way we plan.
Listening to nothing but slushy crunching from my footsteps, it only took ten minutes to have an entire new perspective about what is going on in my life.
Running In Circles
In a sense, the title of this post is literal. Due to blocked off sidewalks to my “normal” running path, I did turn around and run in circles around my house until my time was up.
In another, the title of this post subtly mirrors what all of us do every day: deal with the viscous cycles of life’s ups and downs.
Without getting too deep in this one post, I’ll simply say that this year has been one of many challenges.
When Scott lost his job three weeks before our wedding day in Orlando, I thought the next year would be the hardest on both of us, as well as our relationship. And it was.
After moving up north, away from family, friends, and everything I knew, this past year and a half has proved to challenge me and us more than ever.
Just like all of you, I have my good days and bad days. But our futures are only ours to change. The only thing you can change about your future it is your perspective. So that’s what I did.
In just ten short minutes, I blocked whatever negativity I am forced to deal with out and just went for it. I appreciated the fresh and freezing air, even though my nose was running uncontrollably. I stopped getting frustrated with snowy sidewalks and used the random snow patches as obstacles I could jump and hurdle over whilst looking like and idiot. I’m pretty sure what neighbors did see me now refer to me as “that crazy runner lady” and I am now proud to hold that title.
And I think the best part of it all was that I didn’t even know how far I ran. It didn’t matter.
Just for fun, I took a look at my Armour39 app stats and saw the following:
(The left screen shot was taken after my final full speed running step and the right two were taken after I was finished with my cool down walk.)
Do you see it? Look at the 11 minute mark. That’s when I turned around and everything changed. That’s when my perspective lightened. That’s when I said a big “screw you” to the challenges and just went for it. I gave it my all and was on a natural high for the rest of the night as a result.
You might be thinking, “it was just a freaking twenty minute run, Heather.” And you’re right. But you’re also wrong. Nothing is just anything. Things are what you make of them. And through this crazy year of ups and downs I have learned that every day is a gift.
When I got home from practice yesterday, Scott and I turned off the television and had actual conversations. We talked about our days and he showed me two videos he stumbled upon earlier.
Got your tissues ready? Okay… I warned you.
Okay, I’m bawling again.
I don’t know if this is all stemming from my run or if it also has to do with a group text that continuously happens between a few friends and I, but I guess my entire purpose of this post is for you to take away two things.
1) You don’t have to keep running in circles. You are the only one who can change your path, and in a sense, your future.
2) You’re not alone. No matter what you are going through, there is someone out there who can relate and knows what that feels like. And things can always get worse. Find your support system and keep them close!
I have a hard time remembering these things myself. So I encourage you (and me) to keep those two points in mind whenever you feel like you might be running in circles just “going through the motions” on a run, at work, in your relationships, and in life. You don’t have to. And you’re missing out on what life could be. What it’s supposed to be.
Well friends, I think I better stop there. Thank you for taking a few minutes to read my running reflections. Maybe now you get why the heck I run so much. Me time. Thinking time. Reflecting time.
I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day with a positive attitude! Because I’m sure we could all use one to bounce off of. See ya tomorrow!