Being Mindful & Taking Care Of My Body

If you remember, at the beginning of this year I decided to take a break from running.  It was no longer bringing me joy and I was totally burned out.  It was a tough choice, but more and more I’m realizing it was the best one for me.

Just because I don’t run doesn’t mean that I have totally given up on working out.  In fact, I think my workouts, and overall health, have improved vastly by taking a step back from running.  Adam and I have been following along with Fitness Blender’s workout programs and they’re no joke!  They incorporate strength, flexibility, HIIT, yoga, pilates, kickboxing, plyometrics… anything is fair game in their workouts and it keeps my body and my mind engaged in what I’m doing.

Last Friday, as we were finishing up our workout, Kelli (one-half of the husband/wife duo behind Fitness Blender) mentioned lifting a weight that’s heavy and challenging for you.  She also said that it was totally ok to drop the weight completely and just use body weight and that it was important to listen to your body.  After hearing this Adam quipped, “Unless you’re Katie, then you just keep pushing through the pain.”  He was mostly kidding and I told him I don’t always do that but then I started thinking about my runs.Being Mindful & Taking Care Of My Body | Life Healthfully Lived

No matter what, I always pushed through my runs.  The only time that I didn’t was when I hurt my knee and physically could NOT run.  Other than that, I ran and there were definitely some times that I should have stayed home.  Pushing through those times is probably what led to me being burned out on running.  It’s probably what made my body tell me that I had to stop or something worse than a slight knee injury was coming.Being Mindful & Taking Care Of My Body | Life Healthfully Lived

I’m not saying pushing through a tough workout is a bad thing.  It’s important to go a little outside your comfort zone and push yourself in order to become stronger, faster, and better.  But it shouldn’t come at the risk of your overall health.  If your body is telling you it has to stop or it’s going to completely give out, you should listen to it.

Which is part of what I have been doing the last few months.  There are days when I am raring to go on my workout, where I feel so strong and can lift heavier than I ever have before.  Then there are days when I’m more tired and can’t go at 115% the whole time.  That’s ok.  Before I would have thought I was just being lazy.  I would have said you have to push past this and keep go, go, going.  Now I pull back and listen and realize my body knows what’s best.Being Mindful & Taking Care Of My Body | Life Healthfully Lived

It’s kind of a relief, for both my mind and my body, to know that I don’t have to go all out 100% of the time.  It’s ok to pull back a little and adjust to what you need in that moment.  Health is a series of ups and downs.  You hope and work for the best but realize there are going to be times when you have to give in and take the down.  It’s a part of life and it’s all good!Being Mindful & Taking Care Of My Body | Life Healthfully Lived

 

Being Brave And Making The Change

I have been mulling this post over in my head for awhile now.  I guess it’s been at the back of my thoughts for at least a few months, but I kept pushing it away.  I didn’t want to deal with it and ignoring things always makes them go away, right?

If only it did.Being Brave And Making The Change | Life Healthfully Lived

So last week when I wrote about my theme for 2016, I knew that I would finally have to deal with this issue.  If I really want to grow and mature I have to actually grow and mature.  Profound thoughts guys, I know.  But for me, it was kind of profound.

I’m not dying, in fact, no one is dying.  No one is sick, nothing is horribly or awfully wrong.  So don’t worry about that.  But there is a big change coming for me and I’m a little nervous.  I’m putting on my big girl panties and telling myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”

I’m taking a break from running.

All of you reading this are probably cursing me because who cares if I’m taking a break from running?  It doesn’t affect the vast majority of people and this isn’t a life-altering announcement.  Except that it is.  For me.Being Brave And Making The Change | Life Healthfully Lived

You have heard me rave about running and how it has given me so much.  I am proud to call myself a runner and join the ranks of thousands who log their miles with their feet.  I have talked about finally running a marathon, I love watching races, and I love getting outside and hitting the trail.

Until a few months ago that is.  Lately, I have been struggling with my running.  Instead of waking up excited to head out for my run, I’m dreading it.  I find myself dawdling longer and longer before finally motivating myself to get out the door.  At first, I thought it was just a down week.  All runners have them.  Those days or weeks where it’s just a little tougher to get out the door than usual.  I thought it would pass, I would get back to my usual enthusiasm soon enough.  But that enthusiasm hasn’t returned.Being Brave And Making The Change | Life Healthfully Lived

My immediate reaction was to just push through.  I’m a runner.  This is what I do.  This is what I have done for the past eight years.  This is how it is.  I was just going to keep running and ignore that little voice in the back of my mind that was telling me something just isn’t quite right.  And then Adam got a cold right before the new year.

He took a week off from running because he is much better at resting when he knows he needs it most.  And because he likes to take any excuse to not run :).  I still kept up with my normal running schedule, but I started to sleep in a little with him and go on my run later in the morning.  Then I started to get the sniffles on my rest day and when I woke up on Monday, I did not feel like running.  Even more than I had in the past few months.  So I did something that I rarely if ever do: I decided not to run.

It was a little tough at first and I found a different workout to do inside just so I had some movement.  But it wasn’t horrible and I found myself feeling ok about my decision.  As it stands right now, I haven’t run in over a week.  That’s the longest I’ve gone since I hurt my knee a few years ago.   And I’m going to keep not running for the foreseeable future.

Am I giving up running completely?  No.  I am eternally grateful for everything that running has given me.  It totally changed me inside and out and that is truly amazing.  It’s because of that that I’m taking this hiatus.  I don’t want to keep running until I totally hate it and I give it up for good.  I want to find that feeling that I used to have and in order to do that I have to let go.Being Brave And Making The Change | Life Healthfully Lived

I’m also not giving up exercise altogether.  This decision is opening doors for me to explore other areas of fitness that I had previously neglected.  I’ve been doing Fitness Blender’s 5-Day Fit Challenge and I have been excited for every new day.  I’ve missed that excitement when it comes to working out.

So what can you take away from this really long winded post?  Just because something scares you or you’ve been doing something for years doesn’t mean you can’t change.  You are not a tree.  If you don’t like something get up and move.  Switch directions.  Try a new approach.  I have no idea what my relationship with running will look like in the coming months but it will always be there, waiting for me.

Besides, what’s the worst that could happen?

Being Brave And Making The Change | Life Healthfully Lived

The best is yet to come…

Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki

Happy November and Happy Health Feature Day!  I’m slightly late with October’s feature, but I was a little busy celebrating my birthday.  Which, by the way, was an awesome day!  I’ll be sure to share it with you next week. 🙂  Now onto the health feature!

Last month, we met Jamika and heard about her amazing story.  This month, I would like to introduce you to Meghan Siwecki.  Meghan and I actually went to high school together and were in the same section in marching band.  She was a year older than me and she really welcomed me into the section and made me feel comfortable.  We became fast friends and some of my best memories in band include her.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

After she graduated, she went to college at Southern Illinois and we drifted apart.  Through facebook, I was able to see what she was up to and in the past few months I noticed a big transformation in her health.  She made some awesome changes and she told me that she really wanted to help inspire others to turn their health around.  When you read her story and see all the hard work she has put in, I’m sure she’ll inspire a lot of you!Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

Name and Age: Meghan Siwecki, 28

What did you weigh before and how much weight have you lost?

When I started my weight loss journey, I weighed around 180-185 pounds.  Honestly, I do not like stepping on a scale which is why I don’t know the exact beginning weight.  Currently, I weigh around 135 pounds.  

What made you want to turn your health around?

I decided to change my lifestyle because of how I truly felt about myself- the outside didn’t match the inside. I wasn’t confident in myself at all and that needed to change. I chose to change my weight to help with my confidence.  I hated going to the store and looking all the way at the bottom for a shirt size or not being able to go to certain stores because they didn’t carry my size.  When I started this transformation, I was a size 14 and in my head that wasn’t bad considering I was a size 18 when I graduated high school.  I was the “fat friend” and struggled to do things that should be easy for a woman in her 20’s.  It was hard for me to walk more than a mile without being out of breath or sweating like a pig.  Also, being a teacher it was hard to hear what middle school students would say every day and it made me flashback to being in school myself and getting bullied because of my weight.  I decided to not be sad about it all the time but do something to make myself feel better about who I am.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

What did a typical day (food/exercise-wise) look like before you changed?

Before I went on my health journey, there was little to no exercise.  Sometimes my friend and I would go walking but that would be less than a mile and it was a slow speed walk.  I would eat whatever I wanted to eat! Fast food, tons of chocolate, ice cream, greasy food.. basically anything I wanted to eat.  I will say I always drank milk and ate fruit, even before the health journey. Whenever I would be bored at home, I would eat something just because I didn’t have anything else to do at the time.  

What was your goal when you first started?

My goal when I first started was to honestly lose about 10 pounds and just be healthy.  I knew I wasn’t a healthy eater so I wanted to work on that too.  By no means did I anticipate to lose the amount of weight I did.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

What did you do to change your diet and lifestyle?

I went through a lot of different ways to help me lose weight and become healthier.  At first my friends and I at school all wanted to lose weight so we started The Biggest Loser competition. At that time, I started watching what I ate but didn’t truly try to lose weight.  Then my friend told me about the Couch to 5K program and after looking at it I decided to give it a try especially since school was out and I had summer to work on it.  I completed the program and it was not easy by any means! There were some days I was crying while running, and I might have only been running for 2 minutes! But it was so difficult because I was that out of shape.  However, I didn’t give up.  Also, at this time someone I knew started talking about these protein shakes, which helped with weight management.  They aren’t weight loss shakes because I know what that does to your body.  I decided to give the shakes a try and drank one for breakfast every day, since I was never a breakfast eater anyway.  The combination of working out and those protein shakes made me realize that I could do this! I need to get my life back and this was going to be hard work, but it would happen.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

After I completed the Couch to 5K program, I ran my first 5K and it sucked! It was in Chicago which was great and my dad ran it with me.  At one point, I remember my dad telling me, “Meghan, why don’t you just stop running.  You can walk along with these people.” I thought about walking it, but I’m not a quitter.  I continued to run and I won’t lie, I walked some of it, but I ran across that finish line! My goal was to finish in less than 45 minutes and I finished within 43 minutes.  Looking back, that was a long time to run 3 miles.  That was the starting point to my journey.

After that, I decided that I need to do something besides run because it was going to be winter and I didn’t want to go to the gym.  I bought a workout DVD from the store, “The Biggest Loser”, and started doing that at home. I worked on that DVD for about a year or so, and I also had another DVD I threw in there at the time. While I was being conscious about my workout regime, I was also careful about what I ate.  I continued to drink my protein shakes, eat healthy lunches, healthy snacks,  and a well-planned dinner.  I didn’t go out to dinner anymore unless it was for Subway.  Soon, I felt the need to change my workout routine because I was getting bored and felt like the workout wasn’t doing anything for me.  I heard about the program T-25, which, fortunately my sister had and gave that a whirl.  Man! I thought I was somewhat in shape after running and my other DVD, but nothing compared to what T-25 had in store.  My first day trying it I remember turning it off after 10 minutes because I didn’t think I could do it anymore.  I tried it again the next day and took a lot of breaks but got through it.  I did T-25 five days a week.  I did this program for about a year and a couple months.  Then again like before, I got bored and needed something new! I knew I wanted to keep my workout somewhat short and so I found Insanity Max 30.  I was so pumped for that and knew it was going to be the true test to see how much I had improved over time.  Again, just like T-25 I was dying after the first 10 minutes.  I did not turn it off, though… I fought through! That was a 60-day program, but I continued and still workout with Insanity Max 30 because it truly tests every muscle in your body.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

My lifestyle changed throughout this time because I wasn’t always thinking about food.  I occupied myself with other things in life and thought about what my workout was going to be like instead of where I was going to get dinner that night.  I slowly became a happier person and once I saw that, I knew I couldn’t stop the journey.  My whole outlook on life changed after I lost some weight that was noticeable.  

What does a typical day (food/exercise-wise) look like now?

For me now, I still drink my protein shake for breakfast.  I’m weird when it comes to food and food in the morning makes me feel sick.  I eat a lot of fruits, protein, salads, and I do throw in the occasional sweet treat.  I have a huge sweet tooth so that’s something I couldn’t give up.  I just had to change what I ate and how much.  I still workout to Insanity Max 30 every day and recently got a new DVD, Cize and have been trying that 3 days a week as well.  Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

Who has been your biggest support?

My biggest supporters have been my family, hands down.  They have been there for me the whole journey and have been supportive in both words and making better food choices at home for when I visit them.   

What was the hardest thing to change?

The hardest thing for me to change were my eating habits.  Food was always a comfort for me when I was frustrated, upset, bored, happy… any emotion really.  I still struggle with what I eat some days, but it’s a work in progress.  Nothing is ever perfect.  

Who or what is your motivation?

My motivation is myself.  I look at pictures of myself 5 years ago or even in high school.  I realize that I don’t want to go back to who I was then both emotionally and physically.

How do you stay motivated every day?

I stay motivated by thinking about my next fitness goal.  I know that I have to work hard to achieve that goal and if I don’t keep with my workout and eating routine then I could fall back into what I used to be.  I also think about others who have told me they want to change their lifestyle after looking at my pictures.  Life motivates me! Being happy motivates me!

What is your biggest struggle now?

My biggest struggle is what I eat and making sure I keep on track.  There are days where I eat cereal for dinner because I don’t want to cook anything.  Or when I’m at school I eat chocolate because I’m stressed, but this struggle isn’t going to stop me from achieving my goal.

What are your goals now?

My main goal now is to tighten my body and gain more muscle.  I honestly don’t want to lose any more weight because I’m at a stage where I’m comfortable.  I just need to work even harder to make my body what I envision it to look like.

What is one thing you can do now that you never thought you would be able to do?

One thing physically I can do now that I never thought I could do is a burpee and lots of them! I know that sounds silly but I remember having to do them in high school and I just pretended because I couldn’t do it.  Not only can I do a burpee but I can do a one-legged burpee and a one-armed burpee.  When I did my first real burpee I had tears in my eyes because I knew that I was finally getting to where I need to be physically.  Even though burpees suck sometimes, there is nothing like the feeling of actually doing 10 in a row when 10 years ago I couldn’t even kick my feet back and hold myself up.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

Emotionally I can walk with my head held high and be proud of who I am and who I have become.  When people look at me and say you’re beautiful I actually believe them now because I feel beautiful.  It has taken me years to get to this point, but it is something that’s worth waiting for.

What is your advice to those who are just starting to lose weight?

If you are just starting your journey, don’t give up! There are days when you are going to want to sit and eat your food of guilty pleasure; whether it’s ice cream, a cheeseburger, or chocolate, but don’t give up! Each day is its own adventure, take it one day at a time.  Encourage yourself by rewarding yourself with certain things you have wanted when you reach milestones.  Be proud of making the change and altering your lifestyle.  It doesn’t matter if you only did 5 jumping jacks or ran 2 blocks; at least you aren’t sitting on the couch eating chips.  This is about YOUR body and well being.  Always believe in yourself.  Have faith.Health Feature: Meghan Siwecki | Life Healthfully Lived

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I love that Meghan kept at her health and fitness even when she wanted to give up.  She knew it was hard, but still worth it.  I also like how she kept changing things when she got bored.  That helped her stick with her fitness routine and keep up her good eating habits.  Thank you so much, Meghan, for sharing your story and keep up the amazing work!

If you or someone you know wants to be featured in one of my transformation posts, let me know!  You can contact me on my Facebook page, Twitter, or email me at lifehealthfullylived@gmail.com!