fit over 50, Health blog, self care

Sometimes Our Mind Breaks As Well

“It’s not always the heart.  Sometimes the mind breaks as well.”  r.h. Sin

We live our lives trying to measure up.  But measure up to what?  Perhaps to a standard that was set by our parents, a teacher, by society or even by religion.   I get it.  You’re the female who works tirelessly to make sure everyone else is comfortable and happy.  You overthink and stretch yourself, because you want to be enough more than enough.  There are only a certain number of hours in a day, and you want to attack those hours.  No regrets.  At the end of the day, when your head finally hits the pillow, you wonder if you should’ve done more.  Could you have been more perfect?

The answer is no.  As always, you went over and beyond what was expected of you.

But people have dropped out of your life, haven’t they?  And it hurts like hell.  You’ve been shocked, disappointed, and sometimes abandoned.  Left to wonder what you could’ve done differently.  Maybe if you’d been softer or more authoritative … prettier or more outgoing  … thinner or more educated.  What if you hadn’t lost your temper?  What if you’d spoken up about what was bothering you much sooner?  What if you’d let more things slide?  The what ifs are endless, and they wear on you.  Maybe if you had been enough, you would have been more worthy of love.  I mean, bottom line is that if people stop loving you, then something must be wrong with you.  Right?

The answer is no.  You are enough.  The problem isn’t you.

But there are other women who have it all together.  They have perfect relationships with their families and they are successful in whatever they do.  They’re accepted and happy.  You see them out, don’t you?  They’re the ones who are always fixed up head to toe, wearing a smile.  They must be doing something that you aren’t doing.  What is the secret?

The secret is that there is no secret.

When we compare ourselves to others, we diminish the grandest act of God.  You are his most prized creation, created in His own image.  No one else in the world is exactly like you.  What makes you unique (you know, those things you see as flaws ) those are what make you so beautiful.

That woman you see out and about in town who “has it all together”.

Stop.

Picture her in your mind right now.

Yeh, she’s just like you.  She looks in a mirror and sees all the things she wishes were different about herself.   She’s had broken relationships, she’s lost her temper, she’s said things she wishes she’d never said and has done things she wishes she could un-do.  She balances work and family and hits the pillow at night just as hard as you do.  We’re all far more alike than we are different.  Some just wear better masks.

Sometimes our minds break.

We forget life isn’t a competition … that there are no winners or losers.

The truth is, no one is doing life better than someone else.  We’re all doing our best.  If you’re breathing right now, you’re winning.  Period.  So stop looking for what’s wrong with you and start seeing all that’s so perfectly wonderful about you.  When you begin to love yourself, others will love you back.  What you believe about yourself, others will believe.  And your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses.  Trust that and go with it.  There’s no need to fake it until you make it, because you’ve already made it.  You are enough.  Today, this moment, you’re everything you need to be.

As for those people who’ve left you and who’ve stopped loving you.

To those people who’ve made you feel like you’re not enough.

Let them go.

There are people who want to love you just as you are.

 

 

 

 

fit over 50, get fit, get healthy, Health blog, Uncategorized

Attention Online Dating Scene, Homecoming Queen, and Future Running Machine: Your Costume Is Everything

“Costume is a huge part of getting into character.  Your body soaks in what you’re wearing, and you turn into someone else.”  ~Jane Levy

Relationships.  Dang, we make them difficult, don’t we?  I mean, it’s actually simple if you think about it.  In each relationship, we play a role and wear a costume.  As long as we stay in character, those relationships roll along without too many bumps in the road.  In one relationship, we’re a daughter, and in another, we’re someone’s mom or grandma.  At times we’re a friend or acquaintance, a student or teacher … a neighbor, sister, cousin, aunt, employee, or employer.  Suffice to say, we’re many things to many people.  And in each role, we put on a distinct costume, whether we realize it or not.

We offer a friendly smile and thank you to the bag boy who pushes our overloaded grocery cart out to the Suburban that’s literally rocking in the parking lot, locked and loaded with a couple of wild kiddos who just got out of school for the day.  (Ummmm, yeh, that very detailed example might be personal to me.)

We offer a completely different smile and thank you to our mom when she takes the time to cook our favorite meal.

And when hubby brings home flowers, he gets his own special sort of thank you.  Boom-chicka-wow-wow, right?

It’s a costume.  A familiar role.  And it’s as predictable and boring as dirt.  As long as each role we play remains in its designated box, those relationships will remain dirt,  predictable and familiar.  The message is pretty obvious.  Don’t ever, ever, everrrrr treat the bag boy like he’s hubby.  haha.  It’s much safer to stay in the box and to be dirt.

Some roles are easy.  As moms, for instance, we know exactly what our role is, don’t we?  The moment that baby is placed in our arms, we put on our motherhood costume, and you couldn’t rip that costume off of us if you came with a mechanical claw, a couple of raging bulls, and fifteen knife-wielding zombies who haven’t eaten in weeks.   We are mom, dagnabbit, end of story.

The role of employee, employer, teacher, student, and acquaintance are straight-forward as well.  These roles are far less emotionally driven than the role of mom/child, but we know what’s expected of us, and we can easily meet those expectations.

Other roles are more hairy-scary.  Kids rebel.  Grandma’s sometimes overstep and spoil too much.  A neighbor might not like the color you painted your house.  And a best friend might choose a new friend.

If a child would remain true to his role by respecting parental authority, his life, and the life of his parents, would be so much easier.  If Grandma would support parental authority and willingly give up her Matriarchal superpower, more families would stay intact.  If Joe-Blow neighbor would support his neighbor’s right to paint his house chartreuse green, there would be no need for fences or home owner associations (preach!).  And if every best friend valued the gift of having an old friend who loved her way back when she had braces put on her bucked teeth, used pasty white Clearasil to cover zits on her face, and went through a third break up with the same loser guy … then friends would be friends forever.

Are you getting the general gist of how life-altering these roles are?

Well hold on, because if you have a significant other, things become even more complicated.  What role do you play in your relationship with your significant other?  Are you the princess who is adored and cared for by your prince charming?  Are you an equal partner where you both demonstrate mutual respect and decision-making authority?  Are you submissive to an all-powerful partner … or are you the power player?  Is your significant other somewhat like a father figure?  Or more of a best friend?  Were you high school sweethearts?  Or did you meet on Tinder when you were sixty?

Whatever the role, our romance began somewhere, and that beginning continues to direct the relationship.  For instance, I have a friend who married his high school sweetheart.  She’s a couple of years younger than him and was crowned homecoming queen her senior year of high school.  To this day, more than thirty years later, he still refers to her as his homecoming queen.  In his eyes, she is forever his high school love.  I’m actually fairly certain she hasn’t aged a single year in his eyes.

I have another friend who complains to her husband all the time.  “Why don’t you do this?”  Why did you do that?”  “You make me so mad!”  She badgers the man constantly,  but her husband always responds with (insert a grown man using a baby voice here):  “I’m sorry, honey, will you forgive me?” … then he gives her a bear hug, a kiss on the cheek, and tells her he loves her.  She rolls her eyes, giggles, and tells him she loves him too.  This goes on every day and has for more than two decades.  I think she complains just so he’ll hug her, kiss her, and tell her he loves her.  It seems insane to me, but this has worked for them for more than twenty-five years.  They’re one of the happiest couples you’ll ever meet.

There’s another woman who was a widow.  She met her (current) husband on Christian Mingle.  He was a widower, too.  Their entire relationship has been built on how fate magically and mysteriously brought them together through internet dating.  They’re both in their late sixties / early seventies and talk about how they met all the time.

Each of my examples demonstrate a role and a costume.  It’s the normal, predictable, and expected that make up the foundation of what makes those relationships work.  The dirt, so to speak.

God forbid if the high school sweetheart in my first scenario ever ceases to see his bride as his homecoming queen.

In the second scenario, what would happen if the man’s wife did her normal complaining, but instead of receiving the typical hugs, kisses, and I’m sorry, the husband started accusing her of complaining too much?  What if he called her a pain in the — you know what?

And in the third example, I hope there never comes a day when the former widower tires of gloating about meeting his bride on an internet dating site.  I hope they both continue to acknowledge their magical, mysterious, fateful meeting … until death parts them.

The small roles that are played out in relationships hold tremendous power to make or break a marriage and/or relationship.

So what does this have to do with being fit and healthy?

Two things.

First, to feel alive, you MUST have relationships.  And if you’re going to have relationships, you’re going to be much more mentally and emotionally healthy if you succeed in them.  Grab hold of your role, embody it, don’t change your costume, and respect the boundaries each unique relationship in your life has established.   Some of those boundaries have been put in place by God, some by society, and some by our own volition.  Whatever the case, treasure them, protect them, utilize them, and keep peace.

Second, if you really want to become fit, you need to wear the costume and play the role.  Buy the yoga pants, ladies.  Wear the sneakers.  Pull your hair back in a pony and sock a cute strapback cap on your head.  If you dress the part, and if you embrace the role, you’ll succeed in every area of your life, including in fitness.  Your body soaks in what you’re wearing, and you turn into someone else.  Do you want to become a runner?  Dress the part.  Do you want to become a yogi?  Dress the part.  Then join a gym, hire a trainer, buy a treadmillor an elliptical machine, or take part in a regular exercise class.  It’s not only important to dress the part, you have to actively play the role.

Every time I run a race, I look forward to being given my bib and number.  It makes me official.  It makes me a runner.  The 5k race is a role.  My bib and number is a costume.  My body follows what my mind believes … and it works.  Every.  Single.  Time.

The method is so simple, perhaps it’s too simple, yet we sometimes miss the obvious.  Why do we make life more difficult than it has to be?  If a fifty year old woman can still be her hubby’s homecoming queen more than thirty years later, you can certainly be fit and healthy.

Just my thoughts.

Mel

christian blog, Down Syndrome, Fitness, get fit, Health blog, self care

How A Special Needs Mom Fought Loneliness With Three Easy Steps … and Won!

kuhl jacket 4

I’ve been a special needs mom to a princess who rocks an extra chromosome for more than 13 years, and thanks to the miracle of adoption and a red-headed cheese puff who also rocks that extra something, I’ve been a special needs mom to two kiddos for 10 years.  Both are non-verbal, and both are a handful of mischief, drama, and constant giggles.  Like typical siblings, they fuss with each other (which amounts to grunting back and forth for what seems like an eternity at times).  They take things from each other, occasionally pinch one another, and even manage to tell on each other.  Picture little man grabbing my hand and pulling me to his big sister, then bursting into tears … while at the same time, big sister rolls her eyes and looks away.  Yep.  She’s usually guilty.

hope and charlie with momma!

Neither can take care of any of their needs independently.  They rely on me completely.  I dress them, bathe them, feed them, put them to bed, and read their minds (at least I try).  I talk to them, filling in their quiet with my own version of what they’d probably like to say if they had a voice.  Hopey has a high cartoon voice when I speak for her.  She thinks it’s hilarious, especially when I roll my eyes, stomp my foot, and act like a true teenage girl.  For Charlie, I use a sweet baby voice … because he’ll always be the baby of the family.

We try to agree on music in the car.  If I choose a Luke Bryan or Bruno Mars song, we’re always good.  But when I step outside the box, they sometimes break down into sobs.  We try to agree on clothing choices, but they’ve been known to rip off their clothing just as I finished getting it on their wriggling bodies.  Charlie, for added affect, likes to throw his shirt across the room.  Uhhhhhm, I guess you don’t like the shirt choice, dude?  haha.  (Did I mention they are full-on drama?)  I can laugh about it now.  I mean, c’mon, it’s funny.

The stress level of a special needs mom has been likened to the stress level of a combat soldier.  I’m convinced it isn’t necessarily because the role is so difficult, but because special needs moms never feel like they’re doing enough for their kiddos.  We question ourselves constantly.  Have we provided enough opportunities?  Therapy?  Education?  Are we feeding them too much?  Are they exercising enough?  Did I remember to double lock the doors so she can’t escape during the night?  Is his sniffle worth a doctor’s appointment?  Or is the risk of him catching something worse too great for that appointment?  And don’t even get me started on how much we worry about our child’s future.  Honestly, our minds never shut off.

There was a time when I was so caught up in figuring out how to be a special needs mom that I forgot how to live.  Unintentionally, I closed doors on friends and family who’d been in my life for years, because I felt they couldn’t possibly understand my new normal.  One day, I awoke to an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and regret.  I’d been so laser focused on reaching my two kiddos, that in the process, I forgot that I needed a support system.  I felt lost.  I thought I was being the best mom in the world.  But you know what I realized?  If I lose myself, I’m not being the best mom I can be.  More than anything else, they need me to be me.

I’d like to say that with this realization came a sweeping life altering shift.  As with most change, however, it was slow and steady.  I began by hiring a trainer.  I felt if I committed to her and to a schedule, I’d stick with it.  As it turns out, she became my biggest cheerleader.  Not only did she daily encourage me to push through my workouts, as I got to know her, she slowly invaded all of my empty, hurting spaces.  She asked me questions about my life.  She listened.  And she reminded me that I’m enough and that God is always with me.  Last year, she challenged me to run a 5K.  I ended up running thirteen.  She’s been my trainer for four years now, and I count her as one of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life.  The gym quickly became my community as I met new people.  In the process, I became physically stronger.  The more fit I became, the happier I felt.  My energy increased as endorphins kicked into high gear, I went from a size 8 to a size 4, and then one day I realized I felt like myself again.  It had been years.

tonya and me --- hot chocolate race 2018

Around the same time, I decided to open my home once a month to a group of my best buddies for a pizza party and karaoke.  They are all so much fun, I knew they’d usher happiness right into my life on a regular basis.  And they never disappointed.  What I didn’t expect, though, was what a tremendous role their parents would play in my fight.  These selfless moms and dads would drop off or pick up their adult children, and instead of walking away, they’d hug me.  They’d look me in the eyes and thank me for hosting a party.  Sometimes they’d come into the house and chat with me.  They made an effort to get to know me and my children.  Welcoming me into their lives without any walls, prerequisites, or expectations, they made me feel like a part of their families.

halloween pizza party

And finally, I became intentional about hiring sitters so that I could get out and do regular things that other moms get to do.  I have to say, God really showed off in this area.  I was terribly slow to trust others with my munchkins, because remember, I never left them.  So it was going to take some super fantastic girls who had a true desire to spend time with Hope and Charlie before I’d be able to leave them.  He brought me Nancy, Dana, two Hannah’s, Kelsey, Katie, Bryn, Bethany, and Rikki.  I can’t say enough about these girls, who are my superheroes.  Each wear their love for my kiddos on their sleeve.  They’ve worked tirelessly to break into Hopey’s tiny circle, they’ve tried every trick in the book to get Charlie to eat solid food (at 10 years of age, he still has his food puree’d and put into a bottle), and they’ve recklessly embraced all of me.   Whenever I attempt to show them more love and appreciation, they immediately meet we with the same.  They’re like beautiful mirrors reflecting everything I have to give right back to me.   I treasure them.  In every way, they are the hands, feet, and heart of God.

hannah and bryn

Life is messy.  There are times when we wake up and wonder how things became so crazy.  Can you relate?  But my message is that it’s never too late to make changes.  Maybe you’ll be blessed by getting a chance at a re-do.  Or perhaps you’re like me, and you’ll have to start all over from scratch.  It doesn’t really matter as long as you dig your heels into the dirt and move forward with intention.  I began with three simple goals.

  1.  Exercise so I can be healthy enough to raise my kiddos
  2.  Open my home to others
  3.  Hire sitters so I can occasionally get out

I stuck with them, continued to move forward, and my life totally turned around.  Not only am I not lonely, my life is filled and overflowing.  If I can do it, so can you.  What are your three simple goals?  Write them down and make a decision to hold yourself to them.

Just my thoughts,

~Mel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fitness, get fit, get healthy, Health blog, self care

Four Easy Ways To Make Time For Fitness

The Cheese-Puff is nude more often than he’s clothed.  Shirts, shorts, and shoes are such an unnecessary bother when sensory processing is a daily struggle.  “Clothes on,” I say, at least twenty to thirty times a day.  Pulling a shirt back over his skinny-winny little bare naked body, I take time to kiss his tomato red hair.  Who could resist?

fitness blog 6

Hopey dumps waaaaaaay more water from her cup than she drinks from a straw.  She sometimes pours it over her own head … sometimes over mine.  Why?  I wish I knew.  But she thinks it’s hilarious.  After the water is spilled, she runs off on her tippy toes and giggles with abandon.  “No, Hopey,” I yell, as she ditches me for the hidden shadows.  At every moment, though, I choose my battles.  And water just isn’t that big of a deal.

fitness blog 7

Bringing up two kiddos who sport an extra chromosome and who are non-verbal is challenging.  Neither speak one word, but they still fuss and fight like typical siblings.  And both vie for my attention constantly.  One goes to bed with the chickens and rises early.  The other is a night owl and is like waking the dead.  One can tag you in the head with a ball from twelve feet away.  The other can climb your body like you’re a tree and have his arms around your neck before you know what’s happened.  They try to get away with jumping on beds, climbing on tables, and rolling the house in toilet paper … every single day.  They’d rather dance to a Luke Bryan song than eat.  They’re master escape artists.  And if I leave the house without them, you’d think the whole world has come to an abrupt end.  You’ve never seen the drama these two can cook up.

I travel, kayak, explore, and dance like a fool with Hope and Charlie.  My life is so much fun, but it can also be chaotic.   And hard.  If I didn’t take time to be on top of my game, I’d be overthrown in a minute.  My secret to being the consistent queen of my brood is fitness. Exercise boosts my mood, gives me energy, and is empowering.  Do I have time to be fit?  Ummmmm, the answer to that question is a hard no.  Do I always feel like working out?  I’m fifty years old and am outnumbered by two kiddos who have more energy than a zoo monkey, so the answer to that question would be a hell no.  But I make fitness a priority so I can remain the queen.  haha.  At least in my own mind.

This begs the question of HOW to make time for fitness.

fitness blog 10

If you’ve read this far, you’ve checked off the biggest and most important box by realizing you need to make fitness a part of your routine.  If I can do it, you can too:

First, make a schedule and stick with it.  Carve out thirty-five minutes of time, five days a week, and make that time a priority.  Even if you don’t feel like working out, push through it.  Eventually, it will become a habit.

Second, plan your workout ahead of time.  If you try to workout on the fly, you won’t make near as much progress.  Every other day, use weights to focus on arms, shoulders, and back.  The other days, work legs and glutes.  Take five minutes each day for abs and set aside fifteen minutes each day for cardio.  It’s can actually be that simple.

Third, find someone who will hold you accountable.  Without an advocate who will push and encourage you, the beginning of this journey will be nearly impossible.  Your head will give you every reason under the sun why it’s not normal for a woman to sweat.  You won’t be able to sit down on the toilet seat, climb out of your car,  or bend down to pick up the quarter you dropped when checking out at Publix, because your muscles will be aching.  You’ll wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.  You’ll think you’re too old, too fat, too tired, too busy, or too depressed.  Trust me, you need someone lined up who will remind you that if you want to be a queen, you must continue to tackle those push-ups, squats, and burpees.

Fourth, change your point of view.  Your workout isn’t optional.  It’s sacred.  You wouldn’t skip eating or sleeping.  You wouldn’t miss an episode of The Bachelor or that Starbucks visit with your college roomie.  With statistics overwhelmingly proving how a regular fitness routine boosts your health and increases longevity, why wouldn’t it be sacred?  It’s a no-brainer, and can be achieved with only 35 minutes per day.  Yassssss, Queens (and Kings)!!!!

Here’s a quick 35 minute routine to get you started:

Download Tabata Stopwatch Pro

Settings:

  • Initial Countdown = 5 seconds
  • Exercise Interval – 25 seconds
  • Rest Interval = 10 seconds
  • Number of sets:  30

 

Week 1:  

(Use your Tabata stopwatch with the settings above.  It will prompt on when to begin each exercise and when to rest … Just do as many reps as you can within the exercise interval, making sure to implement correct form.  Don’t rush.)

Arm Day:

  1. Bicep Curl and Overhead Press
  2. Tricep Dips
  3. Bent Over Flies
  4. Chest Press (lie on mat or on bench)
  5. Chest Flies (lie on mat or on bench)
  6. Skull Crushers (lie on mat or on bench)

Leg Day:

  1. Prisoner Squats
  2. Front Kicks
  3. Side Lunges
  4. Squat Jumps
  5. Donkey Kicks
  6. Walking Front Lunge

Fifteen minutes of cardio:

Walk three minutes, jog three minutes, walk three minutes, jog three minutes … alternating until you’ve completed fifteen minutes.  Go as hard as you can.

Five Minute Abs:

  1. 20 crunches
  2. 20 crunches with legs bent into stomach
  3. 20 crunches with right leg up in the air / left leg still crunched to stomach
  4. 20 crunches with left leg up in the air / right leg still crunched to stomach
  5. 20 crunch toe-taps (crunch legs into stomach, then extend legs down to tap floor)
  6. 20 crunches (cross right leg over left knee — bring left elbow to right knee)
  7. 20 crunches (cross left leg over right knee — bring right elbow to left knee)
  8. 20 bicycle crunches
  9. Two 30 second elbow planks 

PLEASE send me a private message if you have any questions … or feel free to comment.  I’ll be your advocate, your cheerleader, and your go-to!!!

fitness blog 5

Just my thoughts!

Melanie