Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 5: Challenge
Did you take on a new challenge?  What was it?  Is there are challenge you deliberately avoided?  What do you want to do to challenge yourself in 2014?

The biggest challenge I faced and overcame in 2013 was meeting the weight loss requirement for my surgery.  It took me over 2 1/2 years to lose the weight – persistence and perseverance were key.  I failed so many times, but I never allowed those failures to get the better of me for too long.  Through lots of ups and downs, on the scale and mentally, I finally just decided to stop making excuses and start following the steps I knew would work.

In my career, I have taken on the challenge of teaching a totally new class – AVID.  It meant a commitment of four years to follow my cohort of students from freshmen year through graduation. It meant adding another prep – I teach four very different classes – English 3 honors, journalism, yearbook, and AVID.  (Most teachers teach two preps, maybe three). It meant spending a lot more time prepping for this entirely new class, which meant my work life became a lot busier. It also meant that I had to work with freshmen, who require a whole new level of patience to deal with students who are squirmy and silly and completely fun.  Although there have been moments where I’ve wondered if all the added time and work were worth it, ultimately, when I see the impact I’m having on the students’ lives, I know it is.

I’ve also challenged myself to start running.  I very recently (just last week) began the C25K program, and while it has been physically challenging, it’s not impossible, as it has been in the past. I love moving my body in this whole new way, and while I’m not breaking any records in terms of speed, I’m breaking through so many boundaries personally.  It’s exciting!

In 2014, one of my main challenges is to explore new hobbies.  I’ve focused for so long on weight loss, and while I still have a ways to go to get to my goals in that area, now that I’ve got it “down,” I want to start focus my energies on new areas of my life.  I’ve been so single-minded for so long in my personal life that I’m not sure what I might end up getting into, but I think that’s the fun of it.  The ideas I have are all things that take me out of the house and get me meeting new people:

  • Taking an Italian conversation class.  I’m so into my heritage in all other aspects, and I think learning the language is an important next step.
  • Joining a local run club.  Their program that lasts 28 weeks, has Saturday group runs, and a running schedule to follow during the week.
  • Reading more books, and maybe joining a book club.  This year I’ve been absolutely awful at reading books, even though I love to read, so I’m thinking that if I had a deadline and the expectation of discussing the book on a certain date, that would help.  I need to find out where I can find book clubs meeting in my area.
  • Taking some sort of art journaling/scrapbooking class that will tap into my creative side.
  • A dance class would be a great way meet people, do something physical, and have a lot of fun.

I’m interested in seeing what other challenges I find myself facing in 2014.



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This morning I got on the scale, as I’ve been doing every morning, and it was up, AGAIN. Not way up, but up enough that I got frustrated, upset, angry, and disappointed. In life. With my weight. In myself. Because I know better. And I deserve more.

Here’s the deal. The other day I went to a cooking class with a group of friends and had a great time. But I also had wine and food that wasn’t part of the Lean & Green plan. And I gave myself a pass because it “doesn’t happen very often” and “I don’t want to be a hermit” and “I’m going to do Zumba the next day and burn over 1000 calories, so I’ll make up for it.” I even blogged something along those lines.

But obviously my body went into “shock” and it didn’t matter how much I worked out this week. I’m up on the scale, so that one night of fun and frivolity set me back a week. Ugh. And then I know what’s going to happen, I’m going to get so frustrated and upset that I’m going to go WAY off the plan, and then it will send me into some sort of tailspin.

Not this time. Not to me. Not when I’m this close.

So this morning when I was upset, LC reminded me that I really needed to make the choice to stick with Medifast completely, without deviation, for this short amount of time. And she’s right. I mean, c’mon, I’m not going to be on this plan forever: it’s a means to an end. So as such, I should treat it that way and stick to it totally. No exceptions. No tastes. No excuses. I can do it. This is the perfect time of year, since I’m not that big into St. Patty’s Day or Easter. (And there’s always next year). My friends will understand that I need to meet them for a walk or for coffee rather than for wine and a meal. They support my weight loss. They know my immediate goal is to qualify for the lap band surgery. End of story.

So after the pep talk, I realized that instead of wallowing in it, I needed to DO something. Bella Does Life, after all. LC and I hit the farmers market and then Trader Joe’s. And then I did what any good Italian girl who likes to eat does – I cooked! And I cooked. And I COOKED. I made my Lean & Green meals for the entire week, plus some. Since I’m going to be taking them for lunch to work, I wanted to get them all ready ahead of time so I could just grab and go. Plus, I really didn’t want to have to deal with food on an empty stomach later in the week.

Here’s my menu for the week:

Monday: Italian Salmon Salad
Tuesday: Chicken “Club” Salad
Wednesday: Italian Tuna Salad
Thursday: Mediterranean Lentil Salad
Friday: Asian-Inspired Chicken Salad

I feel so organized now that I made all those meals and they’re all ready to go for the week. I know it’s going to help keep me on track. You guys know how much I love a stocked fridge, right, well just imagine how happy it makes me to see all this good-for-me food just waiting for me. I’d definitely say this is a NSV:

And for dinner tonight I made Langostino tails (frozen, from Trader Joe’s) with Zucchini “pasta.” The langostino were expensive, but it’s Oscar night, and they’re so low cal, I couldn’t resist.

Today reminded me that no matter how upsetting something is, there’s always a way around it or out of it. I showed myself that I really want this badly enough not to allow myself to fail. So I won’t.

I love this rinoculous that I picked up at the farmers market today. It’s a great reminder of my goals and how much I believe that I can accomplish them.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Has it only been a week since I last wrote a HYC Update?  It seems like it’s been forever, but then again, a lot has been going on around here.

It’s a new year!!  A fresh start.  A chance to do it right this time.  Not that I feel like I’ve done anything wrong, but let’s just say that I’ve learned some things along the way so that this time things will (hopefully) go a bit smoother. I love January because it’s filled with new beginnings and new chances to see how much we can improve our lives.

Which is the topic I want to cover today.  Challenges.  It seems like I’m seeing lots of challenges posted on many of the blogs I frequent, and I couldn’t be more delighted.  I love joining in on challenges because they help to motivate me, connect me with others who are like-minded, and they get that competitive side of myself going.  Love it! I do realize that one person can only join so many challenges, but so far I’ve found a few that I’m really enjoying, and I thought you might be interested in learning about them too.

The one that I look forward to every day is one that I wrote about earlier, but it’s so worthwhile that it bears repeating: FatGirlvsWorld turned me on to TheDailyChallenge from MeYouHealth, and I joined on Thursday. Every day they give you a different challenge to complete, and as you do it you get points. (I’m not sure what the points add up to, other than these cute little online stamps, but that’s not really the point of doing the challenges). My first challenge was to clean out my inbox, then it was to set a resolution (the closets were mine!). Today’s was about turning a negative into a positive.  So the challenges are little things that can have a bigger impact on your life and well-being. Easy and good for you, what’s not to like? You sign in using Facebook and can ask your friends to “connect” with you. I’m looking forward to completing each day’s challenge, and I hope some of you guys join me. ScaleWarfare joined the other day, so we’re getting quite a little group of bloggers, and I think you should be next!

The next challenge comes from the Sisterhood, who always put together such great ways to keep us connected as we strive toward a goal.  I love the idea of this challenge, and the fact that it’s going to involve not just weight loss, but fitness and well-being, too.  (Notice any patterns?) “This challenge will, of course, focus on weight-loss, but we’ll also be throwing in some fantastic fitness elements, so even if you don’t need to lose weight, there will be something for you (and we promise not to punch you)! Read: NO EXCUSES! SOOOOOO, the challenge starts right here, right now. Today. There are no teams this time around, because we really want you to focus on the ONE person who is most important: YOU. Yes, you. You are important, beautiful, smart, funny, and strong; and you can do this. We promise. If you stick with us, you’ll be successful in all your fitness and weight-loss goals, and you will have FUN doing it.”

I missed the first week of this challenge, but I’m definitely going to be checking in on it throughout the remaining 8 weeks until February 23. 

And finally, I’m joining the January Being True to You Challenge. For this one, HealthyLoserGal has set up a different purpose for each week:

  • Week 1: “The first week of January, for the True2U challenge, put at least an hour aside by yourself, with no distractions, and think about what you truly want for your health and fitness.”
  • Week 2: “The second week of January, the challenge is to begin to achieve that goal.  Figure out how you’re going to achieve your goal. Week two of January is you concentrating on YOU and making your goal a priority in your life.”
  • Weeks 3 & 4: “Between Saturday, January 16th and end of day, Monday, January 31st you have 12 days that you should be moving or working toward your specific goal.  That gives you four days off that you can “slip” during those 16 days.”

Here’s my plan for the Being True to You Challenge:

  • Week 1 – I’ve decided that I want to start taking advantage of all of the classes offered at my gym, and what better way to get to them than to challenge myself to attend them on a regular basis each week?  Done.
  • Week 2 – 24Hour Fitness offers tons of classes every day of the week, but because I want to keep this realistic, I don’t want to over-commit and under-deliver.   Beginning this weekend on Saturday, January 8, I will attend 3 group exercise classes, trying different types of classes to see which ones are the best fit for me.
  • Weeks 3 & 4 – At this point I should be attending classes regularly and seeing which ones I like and which ones aren’t my cup of tea.  My goal is to attend 9 group exercise classes by Jan. 31st and if I do, I’m going to treat myself to a pedicure. It’s a win, win if you ask me!


So each week I’m going to use my HYC Update post to let you guys in on my progress towards all 3 of these challenges, especially the last one.  You’ll notice that I’ve chosen challenges that involve not just weight loss and fitness but also well-being.  Because  that’s something that I need to focus on in order to make sure my mind is as healthy as my body by the time this year is through.

Will you join me in any of these challenges?  If you’ve found others, what are they?

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