The Ripple Effect

My girls pushing their grandma on the tire swing.

My girls pushing their grandma on the tire swing.

As I sat in an interview the other day, I was asked why I had decided to switch careers and focus on teaching fitness classes rather than cute little first graders.  It was the day after my stepmother had just passed away so the answer came right to me.  It was such an easy question to answer, but my emotions almost took over.

As a child I was raised pretty much in the same way most kids around me were raised: eating meat and potatoes for dinner and Captain Crunch for breakfast.  Even now, my dad sees nothing wrong with this type of diet.  Well, my husband doesn’t really either, but he is a bit more willing to follow suit.  When it comes to my own kids, I know that I will not apply my childhood eating habits.  Often I am given grief (even by my own family members) for the food journeys we currently partake in.  My husband will feed the kids bacon when I am gone, but then adheres to the meatless version upon my return.  My friends just find it rather fascinating and occasionally ask what is so great and healthy about eating cardboard.  Then there are the “no candy” policies I have to enforce with teachers.  Eating healthy is basically a daily battle so I can see why most people might just throw their hands up and roll through a McDonald’s drive-thru.  I know I am not perfect either, but I keep coming back to fight.

However, after the toll that heart disease and cancer has taken on my own family, I can’t stop fighting the battle.  If you can avoid a heart attack or cancer, why not at least try?  It’s not going to hurt anybody if you decide to add a few extra veggies to your plate or try a few meatless dishes each week.  Sure, you might still have a heart attack or get cancer, but maybe it will be just a little easier to fight back.  I tried very hard when I spent a spring break with my stepmother (already sick with cancer at the time). I fed her vegan meals all week in hopes that it would make her better.  Of course there are forces of nature beyond our control, but we can at least try, right?

Yes, I know it is hard to chew on that piece of tofu when you would rather be chewing on a piece of meaty steak.  Maybe you have never been a morning person and can’t seem to roll out of bed in time to get to the gym before work.  Those are your choices to make and sometimes you choose not to.  It is especially challenging when you think you are alone and feel like you have no power to make positive changes in your life.

This is where I step in.  This is where I can be there to hold someone accountable with making the change.  I can encourage someone to come back to the boot camp class after finding the courage to try it out one day.  I can encourage someone to join me for a personal training session and find out that it really can be a simple process that fits nicely into your busy schedule.  I can encourage someone to find the strength within and train for and finish a half marathon.  That’s what I can do.  Or at least I can try to do just that.  I know I will not always succeed, but as with teaching small children, if I can at least make the difference in one person’s life, then I have done something meaningful and it will truly be worth the time and effort.

Running has always been an important part of my life and I have my mother to thank for introducing me to the sport as a child (even though I never liked running as a child).   I grew to love running and I strongly believe that it has made me a better person in so many ways.  A few years ago I decided that I would move beyond my personal love of running and learn to share my love of the sport with others.  And that has been an extraordinary experience thus far.  It would take me too long to write about all of the amazing adventures and stories I have experienced through my clients.

Here I am now, a few years after starting Inspired Miles Coaching LLC, and I have decided to take it even further.  It’s not about me becoming a better runner or more fit.  It’s not even about making money (however, an extra income would be helpful in raising 3 girls).  It’s about guiding others down this path to a healthier and stronger life.  I do realize it is not an easy task.  It takes motivation, dedication and a whole lot of patience.  A WHOLE LOT OF PATIENCE.  Lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight.  They might not even happen in a year.  It just takes small steps and a lot of faith in the process.

To me, being fit and healthy is not about looking good in a swimsuit (however, that is a nice bonus) and it is not about fitting in with the latest trends (crossfit, paleo, etc.).  It is just about being a better version of yourself…. from the inside out.  In the process, you might have some extra energy to keep up with your kids or add a few years to your life so you can watch your grandchildren grow.

Yes, the answer to that interview question was easy.  I am here because I am inspired to make a difference and help others see that they can make a change.  Their inspirational stories may then ripple out and touch the lives of others.  This is so big and important that someone out there may save another person’s life through this ripple effect.  My stepmother’s life could not be saved, but she fought so hard until the end.  Her fight lives on through me and I will continue the fight in her memory, my mother’s memory, my grandmother’s memory and my grandfather’s memory.  They all loved me so much and that will give me the strength to continue on this journey.

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January Challenge

Fruits and Veggies!!

Fruits and Veggies!!

I don’t really believe in making New Year’s resolutions.  I think you should be making resolutions year round in order to constantly make positive changes when YOU feel they are necessary (not when the calendar dictates).  It is kind of sad to see the gym packed all through the month of January only to find the numbers dwindling in February.  I think people get the idea that they have to make some kind of resolution (which usually seems to involve some type of exercise or diet regiment) so they tell themselves that they will vow to go to the gym more often.  Then it doesn’t last long because they weren’t really motivated to do it in the first place.  Maybe it was the wrong time or they made a choice that didn’t fit their lifestyle.  Or they chose a goal that was not realistic or they tried to take a giant leap instead of focusing on small steps.  It takes a bit more planning than a one night stand with an idea on New Year’s Eve.

Anyway, I like to challenge myself year round and I usually find a way to involve my family.  For the month of January, it will be a challenge focused on all-you-can-eat vegetables and fruits (my secret way of getting my kids to eat more of the good stuff)!  The goal is to earn points each day by eating a certain number of vegetables and fruits.  The bonus comes when you try something NEW!  My daughter keeps talking about brussel sprouts and I just turn my nose up.  I think I might have to suck it up and cook some brussel sprouts.  I have seen pictures in recipes where they actually look like they might be good…

Please feel free to follow our challenge.  The winner usually gets a day of sitting back while the loser does chores or the winner may get taken out to lunch (obviously it depends on who the winner is… I will be happy with sitting back and barking orders at my oldest daughter :).   We are a pretty competitive family so I think that I will need to do a lot more grocery shopping in order to get through this month.

JANUARY CHALLENGE

RULES:

  1. Consume 6 different types of vegetables per day.  They must be different so one pound of green beans will only count as 1.  You need to consume at least a small handful to count as one.  Don’t worry about exact measurements, but use good judgment.
  2. Consume 4 different types of fruits per day.  One fruit or a handful of fruit pieces (dried fruit counts).
  3. Max points earned per day is 10, BUT you may earn one BONUS point per day if you consume a vegetable or fruit that you have never tried.
  4. You may not make up points on another day.  You may not substitute fruits for vegetables or vice versa.
  5. Must be “real” vegetables/fruit:  not Eggo blueberry waffles, fruit snacks, desserts or other processed treats.  Healthier options will count: such as granola bars made with real dried fruit (homemade is always best).
  6. Tally up your points throughout the day and record them on the calendar at the end of the day.

SUGGESTIONS:

Vegetables:

Broccoli, Squash, Spinach, Tomatoes, Carrots, Celery, Tomato sauce, Soups, Chili, Peppers, Kale Chips, Zucchini, Salads, Onion

Fruits:

Pineapples, Mangos, Dried berries, Apples, Canned Fruit in water, Bananas, Oranges, Berries, Natural Applesauce, Kiwi, Banana Chips

If you made a New Year’s resolution, then good luck to you!  It is kind of nice to start with a clean slate and for some reason that slight change in a number seems to do that for all of us.  I am looking forward to whatever 2014 brings my way!

Running and Facebook

Like it... or not

Like it… or not

Yes, I will admit that I often talk more about running on facebook than I do about my own kids.  There are certain things about my life that I feel are nobody’s business.  However, there are also the things that I can yack about for days and have no problem disclosing every last gory detail.  I have chosen to “tell all” when it comes to my fitness goals.  I figure that if I can at least inspire one person through all of this then I have done what I was meant to do.   I know half of the time it sounds like I am bragging or trying to prove to the world that I am some kind of athletic goddess, but that is definitely not the intention (and even though I am proud of my own personal accomplishments, I know that I am not better than anyone else… well, except for murderers, rapists, thieves… okay maybe I am better than a few people out there).  Actually, there are people out there who could care less about fitness.  I am definitely not “cool” in their eyes nor would they even glance at my facebook posts or blog.  The great thing about it though, is that I am not trying to impress anyone.  If someone doesn’t want to read my post, then they don’t have to look at it.  If someone doesn’t want to be my friend because they are sick of reading about my running adventures, then they can defriend me.  No worries.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I really love it when my family and friends post about a success they had with running or while doing some other type of exercise regiment.  I could care less about what their kid ate for breakfast (just kidding… or maybe I am not).  The bottom line is that everyone has their own interests and there is nothing left to do but appreciate each other’s uniqueness.  Some of my friends are interested in discussing parenting issues and I can totally relate because I am a parent myself.  I am not one for much discussion in that area, but I appreciate their views.  Some of my friends are interested in posting recipes and I often find some that are quite appealing.  Some of my friends like to discuss politics… I just read and move on (I am not very political).  A few of my friends enjoy writing about fashion.  As you all know by now I am very lacking in that department so I find that I can always learn a thing or two from my fashionista friends.

But back to what interests me most: fitness.  Well, running specifically.  I know how challenging running can be so I am always thrilled when a friend or family member posts about their new running experiences.  I send them virtual high fives and words of encouragement.  I love reading about how they ran 2 miles one day and then pushed themselves to run 3 miles the next day.  Sometimes this continues and I find out that they have run their first 5k or started training for a half marathon.  Other times it just goes away and I assume that they have fallen off the running wagon for one reason or another.  In any case, these are my all-time favorite posts and I never let one slip by without hitting the “like” button or adding some positive comment.  My friends and family can always count on me for that.

Obviously if you are actually reading this blog then you must have some positive affinity towards fitness and don’t mind me yacking about it 24 hours a day.  Yes, this is my interest and field of expertise (okay, so I like to think I am at least some sort of expert).   If I would have been writing a blog 10 years ago, then I probably would have been writing about other adventures that had nothing to do with running (because I really didn’t think much about running 10 years ago).  It’s funny how people’s interests change over time.  I am always hoping to convert a few walkers.  Let’s get running people!