Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Little Disney Magic

Tinkerbell, the Castle, and spectacular fireworks just before we began our family 5K
Mother's Day weekend I had the pleasure of running the Neverland 5K and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon through the streets of Disneyland and California Adventure along with my family (the 5K) and my good friend, Jacee (the half). We signed up for the race back in August (Disney races are known to sell out almost immediately) which seemed far enough away to take the leap even with all the uncertainty I felt. My heart was still aching from the loss of my dad in April, but I knew I needed to do something to keep myself moving forward.

When race weekend arrived a few weeks ago, I'll admit that things didn't look like what I had imagined they would. Don't get me wrong: a fun weekend away with my family, visiting with my good friend, racing through the magic that is Disney--That was all perfect. But I wasn't the me I had hoped I'd be. My training had gone fine and I was prepared for the distance, even if it was going to be at a snail's pace. But I was still struggling with my grief and coping with the roller coaster of emotions with food, especially the sweet stuff. Despite training for a half marathon, I still managed to return to my heaviest weight. And I was frustrated and angry with myself.

But the magic of Disney helped me see a silver lining. The Tinkerbell Half Marathon was my sixth half marathon and probably one of my more challenging races. But you know what? I did it! I completed the race even though my health wasn't where I wanted it to be. It reminded me that I can do anything I set my mind to as long as I try and I believe.

So I came home with a reignited sense of belief in myself. With this belief, I decided to tackle my weight issues. I took a big leap and gave up sugar, following the Prevention Magazine 21 Day Transformation challenge. Normally I'd be too afraid of something so drastic, especially since I often rely on sweets to deal with difficult emotions. But with my new sense of strength and optimism, I jumped in and have now been successfully living without sugar since the 11th. And it feels great. I've already lost 10 lbs, I feel in control, and I have seen a dramatic decrease in cravings.

This Disney race came at the perfect time. It was just the encouragement I needed to help myself become the me I want to be. I couldn't have imagined taking this leap without my new sense of self belief. Tinkerbell has now become a new symbol of strength for me and she pairs perfectly with my old favorite "Believe."

My new Tinkerbell running shoes, complete with wings, pom-poms, and inspiration

Saturday, March 07, 2015

From the Heart, Letting Go

It is time to let go. It is time to let go of what's not working. As fun and valuable as this weekly art project is for me (52 Weeks from the Heart), I often find myself stressing to keep up or catch up. So it's time to simplify, even if it's just changing my thought process. 

For instance, this month I had originally planned on focusing on photography projects since it was last March that I received my first dSLR camera. But unexpectedly I found myself pulled towards a daily hand lettering challenge on Instagram. So rather than stress about balancing both projects this month, I've decided to focus on the hand lettering right now. I'm going to follow my inspiration.

I'm also going to move away from the "52 weeks" approach and aim for weekly projects and blog posts. The end result may still look the same from the outside, but I'm hoping it will help me let go of some of the stress of keeping up with a 52 week year long project. I'm going to let go of my previous plan in order to find less stress and more joy. 

The idea of letting go can be applied to so much more. Letting go of the need for perfection, or an all-or-nothing mentality. Letting go of my grief and emotional pain, by journaling and confiding in friends, rather than bottling it all up inside of me. Letting go of expectations, especially unrealistic ones. Letting go of needless worrying  about what I can't control. The list goes on. It may not be easy to let go, but it's well worth the effort as I try to stay open.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Getting Healthy: I Am Capable

inspired by Made Vibrant's #HandLetteringCourse and #MeetYourselfMarch
Another month has raced by and it's time to check in with my 2015 health goals. I'm still starting out slow but little by little I'm making progress. I've traveled another 108 miles by foot (of which 22 miles were run). I'm still working with my Jeff Galloway training plan as I prepare for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in May. I've enjoyed a few runs with my older daughter, Rebecca, and some fun yoga sessions with my younger daughter, Katherine, including a fun Star Wars Yoga adventure.

I am still struggling with my weight, but I'm starting to really see the source of my current troubles--emotional eating. Grieving the loss of my dad has set me on quite the emotional roller coaster and even now, almost a year later, I still find ways to numb the pain rather than face my feelings. I'm hoping to address this by starting a long overdue daily journaling practice. I'm reading a book by Aurora Winters that offers a method for working through my thoughts and feelings. I've also started reading the book, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food. I could definitely use some alternative methods to feeling better. I imagine some extra creative time will continue to be part of the plan, between my weekly 52 Weeks from the Heart and now a new challenge, Meet Yourself March.  

Meet Yourself March is a challenge to encourage a daily lettering practice and self discovery. The challenge was created by Caroline Winegeart, an artist I discovered when listening to a "Raise Your Hand. Say Yes." podcast by Tiffany Han.  I created today's image as Day One:

I am joining @ckelso #BetterLetteringCourse#MeetYourselfMarch Day 1's prompt: Three words to describe you. I thought about using obvious descriptions like creative, sensitive, loving, etc.. but the three word phrase "I am capable" seemed even more descriptive. I am capable of deep emotion and quiet strength. I am capable of crazy things like running a marathon and losing 30+ lbs. I am capable of great happiness and inspired change. Etc.. Now is the perfect time for me to remember this. I am capable!

I've completed the first few days of prompts and I'm really enjoying it. I hope the fun continues. It'll be interesting to see where this month takes me. Happy March!