Love, Love, Love

There’s a song from the 90’s that was in the movie, Night at the Roxbury, entitled “What is Love?”, the theme of the movie. The characters are brothers who are very close, have a falling out, eventually reconcile and everyone lives happily ever after.

The movie was a flop and there wasn’t much depth. Probably the only thing that became a success was the popularity of the song, “What is Love?”

So, what is love??? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

love is “an intense feeling of deep affection for a person.”

If we look at the Bible and see what Paul wrote about love, it encompasses many things like patience, kindness, hope and trust.

There a numerous references to love. It seems this has been the most discussed and researched topic since the beginning of time. From philosophers to poets, love has been a subject of intangible curiosity.

Recently we said our final goodbyes to my beloved uncle, who not only was loved very much, but was also the pillar of the family. He was an intelligent and kind person who was passionate about his family. He wrote and reflected on life and would share those thoughts with us. During the services, his spirit was strong and we felt a power of love so fierce that we couldn’t help but feel deeply connected to one another.

The energy of grief, though prevalent, was overshadowed by the fortitude of love our entire family expressed towards each other. The priest highlighted the fact that the only thing that is of ultimate value is LOVE. In his Italian accent and jovial expressions, he emphasized love threes each time he spoke about it.

This had me thinking more about the power of love, particularly when families unite during circumstances like a funeral. We rejoice in reuniting with one another and reminisce on our past. It’s a strange thing if you think about it. Why is it that it takes something like death to bring family together??

Since the pandemic, we have become creative in connecting with our loved ones. There really isn’t much excuse to be in touch, even for a few moments. Technology enables us to speak or see each other across the world. Staying in touch has never been easier. Yet, we fall into a trap of our own busyness and forget about those that mean the most to us…those whose roots are our life force.

We get caught up in our own lives and don’t take the time to plan get togethers with our families. Life happens. The key is to purposely set time to keep connected with our family. It isn’t always that easy, which is why we need to be intentional in putting our families and loved ones a priority. Annual family reunions is certainly one way to stay connected.

What else defines love?

Love means feeling compassion and empathy towards others. No judgement. When we judge, we set up a barrier and separate ourselves from others. When we are separated, how can we truly love?

Even after much time that passes, families can find themselves back to a place of love, despite all the heartaches from the past.

Love means acceptance and understanding.

Love has a partner that can’t be forgotten. Forgiveness. Without forgiveness, we are trapped in our own pain. We cannot move on and we hold hardness against others. When we forgive, we become free.

And who doesn’t want to feel free from our negative feelings? I don’t want to be weighed down with hatred or ill will. I realize that even if we all share different philosophies about life, we still share a common bond. After experiencing this loss in my family, it is more obvious how short and precious life truly is and we must not take our families, our friends or ourselves for granted.

All we need is to Love, Love, Love.

My family, May 2021

‘The beautiful things in life are not just things. They’re the people and places, memories and pictures. They’re feelings and moments and smiles and laughter.” -author unknown

Wellness Journey – Week 5

Last week was probably my worst week so far. I did not feel well physically or emotionally. I have lower back pain due to a combination of a bad hip and arthritis. Despite the constant pain, I push through and do what I can. However, the pain was pretty bad and I didn’t workout but maybe two times. Emotionally, I was sad and frustrated. I felt that everything I was doing was not getting me anywhere because the weight is not coming off as much as I thought it would.

Not only was I upset over the weight, I had other things happening that affected my feelings. I couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness and being down most of the week. I lost my drive.

When Saturday afternoon rolled around, I was finally feeling more like myself and started reflecting on the week. Yes, it was a difficult week. Yes, I was in pain. Yes, I was sad for multiple reasons. Why wasn’t I cutting myself some slack? After all, not every week is going to be fantastic.

So what if I didn’t get in all my workouts? It’s not the worst thing that could have happened. I suppose I felt betrayed by my own body. I was discouraged I couldn’t do what I have been doing for the past several weeks.

It was challenging to get out of my own head and give myself grace to just be ok with the situation. I am grateful for my support and accountability group. I knew if I told them what was happening, they would help me. I wasn’t wrong. They gave me tips and tools on how to get out of my funk. They also emphasized that I need to be gentle with myself. I found I was receving the advice I normally give to others!

It is completely ok to take a break, as long as that break doesn’t last too long. I compare it to a parking space. I can park in it but I can’t stay in it forever.

Eventually I have to move.

Wellness Journey – Week 4

You can’t have growth without some failure and setbacks along the way.

found quote on Pinterest @mollyhostudio

This was an interesting week to say the least. I have continued to do my workouts, balancing between walking and strength training by high intensity workouts and I am feeling good. I can now hold plank for a minute, which is a big accomplishment for me!

However, when I weighed myself this past Wednesday as part of the 21 day challenge, I was disappointed I had not lost much of anything. In fact, I couldn’t resist looking at the scale later in the week, only to be met with higher numbers.

I have to admit I might have gone a bit overboard on the weekend by having a more than sufficient BBQ meal with friends on Saturday. I hadn’t eaten a lot that entire day, aside from one protein shake and half a protein muffin I shared with my husband. We had gone to watch our son play in his first high school game and we didn’t plan accordingly.

What is that saying, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail?” Perhaps that isn’t exactly what happened because I don’t consider this a failure, but a lesson and reminder to always carry provisions when out and about. Not having any healthy snacks and water was definitely not thinking ahead.

Both my husband and I were famished by the time we went out with our friends. I never want to be in that position where I don’t have something to tide me over until the next meal, including water!

I said to myself that I will have a case of water on hand for those “emergencies” and will keep on hand a few protein-enriched snacks, like a protein bar, almond butter, or something easy to carry that won’t perish for moments like I had on Saturday.

I may have had a bit of a setback in my progress of losing weight, but I have also gained some insight into my behaviors and how I can be better for the upcoming week.

My attitude and steadfast determination to be healthy and do right by my body is my primary focus at this time. The weight will come off. I need to stop fixating on that and keep my eyes on the bigger prize of being healthy, strong and feeling good.

Me after Saturday’s morning fit camp

Wellness Progress – Week 3

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

Author unknown

I did it! I finally broke the 10 pound loss mark! It seemed like I was hovering for a couple weeks. I was getting a bit frustrated because I have been working hard to lose and get stronger. I have been consistent in my exercise routine and eating habits. So, when the scale wasn’t moving, I started to feel like I would never get past a certain stage.

I know about muscle weighing more and losing inches is just as important, but the almighty scale seems to have presedence over everything else. But, It’s all good because I know I continue to make progress.

I began a 21 day challenge along with some fellow Fit Campers and it’s a great way to keep focused and motivated. Before I started this 21 day challenge, I had a goal to hold the plank position for more than a minute at a time. Someone posted a plank challenge in our group and turns out with this challenge, I should be able to hold plank for 3 minutes by the end of the 21 days!

This past Saturday was another successful Fit Camp at the nutrition club where I also get my protein shakes. I noticed how I was able to handle the repetitions quicker and I could do the modified pushups easier than the week before. My stamina has definitely improved.

I felt so good after my Fit Camp workout, I decided to go for a walk on the boardwalk by the beach. It was a beautiful day, too. As I was walking, I saw that the small island off shore was accessible by a walkable sandbar due to the very low tide that day. I had never walked out that far and decided to take on the adventure! It was so fun to explore and get my exercise in as well.

Beginning of the 1.5 mile round trip walk to and from the island

I should have listened to myself when I knew I needed to stop at some point so I could turn around and go back to my car. I had already walked a good mile or so. But, like they say, curiosity killed the cat and for me, I was very curious! It was so fun to explore and observe this quaint little island that is home to some local birds.

On my way back, my body wasn’t happy with me and I knew I’d be paying for it. By the time I got home, I was completely wiped out and my back hurt. I had to take it easy the rest of the day. I had no idea I would be in a lot of pain from walking more than usual. I did a double workout and my body did not like it!

Despite overdoing it, I love the fact that I push myself to my best ability. I find myself wanting to move more. Being part of the 21 day challenge and support group is making me hyper focused on my goals.

Wellness Progress – Week 2

I love this quote because it speaks about our mindset and how crucial it is for our success.

I feel stronger. My body seems to be able to handle a little more and the weight loss, though minimal, is still happening. I am focused and determined to continue this journey of getting my body in shape, my health in check and my mind open to all possibilities. My mood has changed. I am not as depressed and my positive attitude is starting to shine through more each day.

This past Saturday, I attended another fit camp and boy did my butt get kicked! I left feeling tired, but strong. A few weeks ago, I wasn’t able to keep up a full pace, and in this short time, my endurance has greatly improved. It’s all about putting the work into it to get the results. I don’t go to a gym. I work out at home, walk at least 4 times a week and do the weekly fit camp at the nutrition club.

The beginning stages are always exciting. You see results fairly quickly and this is where I have gone lax in the past. So what is different this time around?

I WANT it more than ever. I NEED to feel good both inside and out. I SEE myself accomplishing my goals this time.

I no longer want to be the spectator on the sidelines, but an active player on the field. Not to mention, I am putting myself out here in the public for all to witness to keep me accountable.

All of this is helping me keep my eye on the prize…a healthy person who will be a better version of my current self.

What is Your WHY?

Please leave your comments and let me know your thoughts. I would love to engage with you in a conversation or learn what keeps you going.

Are We Over Consumers of Social Media?

Image from internet

There is no doubt our use of the internet and social media has increased over the last few years, especially in 2020 since the pandemic hit the globe. Our dependency on the internet has become paramount to how we learn, communicate and market our businesses. It’s almost as if we don’t know how life would be without the internet, let alone social media. Some statistics compiled by Datareportal published in January 2021:

  • More than half of the world now uses social media
  • 4.66 billion people around the world now use the internet, of those users, 316 million new users have come online within the last 12 months
  • 5.22 billion unique mobile users

I was interested in finding out some of the statistics because personally, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the different platforms out there. The main ones like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are steady in usage. I discovered Tik Tok last year when we were on lockdown. From there, I have been introduced to Twitch, Clubhouse and Clapper. Normally, I wouldn’t bother using all these social media sites, but my habits seemed to have changed. I am curious as to what these apps are all about and find myself drawn to them.

The average social media user may use 8-10 applications. I named already 6 I use; SnapChat, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Meetup round out my main 10 social media applications I personally use. Looking at this kind of blows my mind! Not only am a registered user, but I am a fairly active user of most of these apps! No wonder my mind is filled with information it’s trying to process!

Which leads me to my main point: Are we over-consuming social media?

Just analyzing my own usage, I’d say it is very probable. Just as we can over-consume food or drinks, we certainly can over-consume the use of social media. Some say it doesn’t impact their daily lives much and that it is just part of the norm. If we keep our use in check, then it doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. However, if we spend several hours on various apps, there could be an issue.

Another thing to consider is that we do not have much downtime. We spend our time on some sort of device an average of 11-12 hours a day! The rest of that day is spent eating, running errands, etc. Where do our minds wander if we aren’t allowing them the space and time to think and imagine? Social media has become our source for fulfilling so many needs, including busting the boredom.

Don’t get me wrong. Social media is part of our culture and is necessary for many aspects of our lives. However, we shouldn’t allow it to become the sole way of creating and communicating. Think of it as a gateway to further connect with others and learn new things and try not to get lost in the scrolling habit.

I am grateful for all the social media platforms. I have made friends and connections that are invaluable. However, I will not forget what’s most important, either “in real life.” Balance is the key.

It may do us all some good to to take a self-inventory once in awhile to make sure we aren’t over-consuming and are living a more balanced life. Allow our minds to have free time to just “be” and maybe do nothing at all! If we do that, I would guess we will feel less stress and have a positive approach to our day.

How much time do you spend on all the social media apps?

If you decide to cut back your consumption, what will you do with your free time?

Leave a comment here or message me! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic!

Wellness Journey – Weekly Update

It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to, has power over you, if you allow it.

Since starting my health and wellness journey, I have made it my mission to remain determined and persistent in exercising and watching what I eat. I also have made my journey for the public so I remain accountable. It helps me to remain focused on my goals.

I have lost a total of 7 pounds so far in 3 1/2 weeks. Not too shabby. For the most part, I have been doing well, not missing the foods I know aren’t good for me. The key is to stop and think, “Is it worth it? Do I really need this?”

I posted a video on Tik Tok last week sharing a weak moment I had. I woke up feeling a bit sad and frustrated, but couldn’t pinpoint my feelings. It was St. Patrick’s Day and my mother-in-law brought over fresh loaf of Irish Soda bread the night before.

I usually have given into my feelings and emotions and convinced myself that it’s ok to treat myself. Of course, that is self-sabotage because that’s just the mind being weak and giving in to temptation. I remained strong and said to myself I did not need to eat the bread to console my feelings.

I was proud of myself and realized then and there, that I CAN do this. That I AM strong enough to fight those emotional feelings when it comes to eating. For me, this has to do with retraining my brain to understand the what’s and why’s of my behavior. Once I change my thinking and my attitude, then results will happen.

I am not saying I may slip, but I know I can get right back on track because I want it that badly. I don’t want to feel sore or in pain all the time. I want to be able to do activities without struggling. I may not be able to do some things like I did in my youth, but I know I can get stronger and build my stamina while losing weight.

And for today, that is enough.

Retrain Your Brain, Part 2

Your body achieves what the mind believes.

author unknown

As February comes to a close and March begins, there is the promise of spring arriving soon. Spring has been known to many as new beginnings or a fresh start. And that is where I am at right now…a fresh start.

If you have been following me or read my blog posts, you may have come across my post entitled ReTrain Your Brain. That post focused on changing our mindset into a more positive way and not focus on things out of our control, but on all the good things we can be grateful for each day.

Usually people set goals beginning of the new year. I did not because I don’t like to set myself up for failure. However, I’ve gotten over that pity party, so to speak. I am ready to make some changes and set goals that will benefit me not only mentally, but physically, too! I decided yesterday that I would begin my new health regimen by exercising and eating better…again.

I say “again” because this isn’t the first, second or even tenth time I’ve tried to be physically healthier, lose weight and get into shape. I have struggled most of my adult life going up and down the scale. I have changed my wardrobe several times, pledging to myself that I will never wear THAT size again! Yet, for whatever reason, I fall short of my ultimate goal. Then I just lose all interest or motivation to pick myself up and try again.

I am reminded of a song called “Tubthumping by Chumbawamba. The lyrics are simple and catchy, but the chorus is the part that I can relate: “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” To me, it means that even if I get knocked down, I will always get up again. No matter what, I will never give up. I may fall, but I pick myself up eventually, despite my frustrations, despite the obstacles in front of me.

Another song is “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. In the beginning of the song, Eminem says “ Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?” What a question! It really makes me think if I truly treated my health as if I only have ONE SHOT to improve, then of course I wouldn’t waste that opportunity, right?

Easier said than done. There are so many of us who struggle with maintaining a healthy weight and eating the right foods on a daily basis. What keeps us on track? I had brought this topic up in a recent chat on Tik Tok and I received some input about how restarting again is ok. Some people say to Keep the WHY nearby; Why are you doing it? That’s a great point! Why am I working towards a better, healthy me? At this stage in my life, it has a lot to do with my actual health and not be in pain every time I move.

Other people said to start small, don’t take on more than you can chew. Set goals that motivate you to keep going to reach them. Someone said they make certain rules for themselves where they are allowed a cheat day, but only after a successful week. It’s setting boundaries. It’s building a structure to follow. All of this seems so simple when you put it on paper, but yet, I am fighting my inner voice that is saying, go ahead, you can have that piece of cake…you only live once! And that is my point. We Only Live ONCE. So we need to treat our bodies as the most precious possession we own. If it were to break, we’d never get another one.

image from Pinterest

Yes, there are temptations. There are times we just don’t feel like it. We start convincing ourselves this is too much work. Too much to think about and it is overwhelming. I’d rather just live my life, do what I want and not worry about any consequences. Wow. That seems a bit immature, doesn’t it? Time to put on my big girl pants and start making the changes NOW.

I have listed out a few things to help me (and you) stay focused and keep on course. I hope these help you if you are feeling like me and are ready to make changes this year.

  • DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Preferably, 1/2 of your body weight in ounces is the minimum.
  • REDUCE or better yet, ELIMINATE SUGAR. Sugar is a culprit of many ailments, including inflammation. It is addicting and there is no nutritional value to it all.
  • SET GOALS, but keep them small and achievable. Once you have accomplished those goals, you can work on making bigger or different ones.
  • JOURNAL. Keeping a food journal has been proven to keep people accountable. If you “lie” on what you ate, you’re only hurting yourself. Be honest, and keep track of your intake of food and beverages.
  • FIND A BUDDY. Speaking of accountability, having a person be your weight loss buddy can help you remain motivated, especially when you start losing interest or feel helpless.
  • GET PLENTY OF REST/SLEEP. The body needs to be able to rejuvenate, especially after a workout. Take the time to allow your body to rest and recover. Try to get enough sleep so you are well rested for the next day.
  • BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. We aren’t perfect and we may slip once in awhile. The key is to acknowledge that and then move on and not beat yourself up over your mistakes.
  • SWITCH THINGS UP once in awhile. Routines are great, but for some, you can become bored and eventually stop. If you walk, maybe try bike riding or even choose different locations to walk. Explore your local surroundings. Even changing the time you exercise can be helpful if you feel like things are getting stale.
  • HAVE FUN WITH IT! Make it a game. Listen to music that gets your feet moving. Music is powerful and it can help make the time pass by quicker than you thought.
  • BE PROUD OF YOURSELF! Reward your good behaviors! This doesn’t mean eating an ice cream Sunday. But, maybe do something you wouldn’t normally do as a reward. Also, you’re on this journey for a reason and taking the first step is a great start!

My hope is you can relate and want to follow me during this new venture of mine. I plan to have weekly updates and share my experiences along the way. I’d welcome your support!!!

Image from Pinterest