Amy Grace is Fit Minded

I have been battling my weight my whole life. That’s not to say that I’ve never been thin because I have but it’s usually been during a bad break-up or during some other emotional turmoil. I look great but I feel terrible, which sort of negates the feeling of being skinny.

I like to exercise, especially when I can do it outside with friends. I love taking long power walks through the parks by my house or working really hard with my trainer and accomplishing an extra few reps or a faster pace on the elliptical machine. However, when winter rolls around, you will find me holed up in front of the television or taking long naps while my small children sleep the afternoons away.

I love the feeling after a workout so much but it’s getting to the gym or more likely, just out of the house that is the tough part for me. I’m unfortunately, inconsistent at best.

I also struggle with eating the right things. Like most women, I am addicted to anything “comforting” whether it is carb-heavy, sweet, high calorie and so on. I know intellectually that I should be eating lean proteins, tons of vegetables and fruits and the “good stuff” in moderation, but I don’t.

I have known for some time that I need to “rewire” my brain. I need to make good choices and physical activity a priority and actually train myself to look at both as wonderful things to nurture my mind and body, instead of something that I dread. I just wasn’t sure how and where to go about doing this.

Dr. Huberty and I have a mutual friend so I have had the opportunity to spend time with her personally. We have discussed nutrition, activity, women’s issues and the balance of family on many occasions. When she invited me to join the Fit Minded Book Club, I jumped at the opportunity.

My initial book club meeting left me feeling even more excited and more empowered than I could imagine. Dr. Huberty told me after the meeting that she thought I was “ready” and I couldn’t have agreed more. I had already started reading the first book and was thrilled because it immediately spoke to me. Somehow seeing the concepts I struggle with in print defined the issue and makes them seem more conquerable.

My goals for Fit Minded are clear-cut and have been since I said “yes” to being a part the book club. I decided that I am not going to hold myself to the unreasonable standards that the media puts out for us. I am going to do things that nurture my body and mind so that I can be the best possible me. I am also going to focus less on pounds and inches lost and more on the loss of negative self-talk that keeps me from being the best I can be. I will develop healthy behaviors that I can sustain for the long-term and not beat myself up for little slip-ups along the way.

The members of this session’s Fit Minded Book Club are ready to dig in too. We have had only two meetings but most members were seemingly ready to share their stories, fears and accomplishments. It’s amazing to me what total strangers will share when they feel they have a community who has similar (or identical) obstacles to overcome.

After only two meetings, the Fit Minded Book Club has already given me reason to hope. I can’t imagine my life without the struggles of weight and health but I have a feeling it’ll be much more enjoyable when I am not living in a state of constant guilt about how I look, how much I exercise or what I eat.

I can honestly tell you that I am “ready” to find out!

Participate in Fit Minded Online and Be Successful

A Session 2 member who participates in the book club exclusively online recently gave us an update on her progress. Here’s what she had to say:

“I started a run/walk program the middle of September just after the book club started. I started with a 1 minute run/3 minute walk for 5 repetitions. I am now doing 2 minutes and 15 second run with a 3 minute walk for 7 repetitions. My daughter is a runner and she is encouraging me as we exercise together. As long as she will continue to coach me, I will continue because I love the opportunity to spend time with her. In addition, my co-worker and I listen to the book club meetings together during our lunch hours. This has helped me stay motivated because we can talk back and forth while you are also discussing. We also keep tabs on each others’ progress. I’ve lost some weight without having put much effort into changing my diet. However, I am becoming more conscious about what I eat and about my physical activity. I am wearing my pedometer faithfully. I sometimes get discouraged when my step count is not where I want it to be; but this triggers me to take some laps around the living room just to increase the numbers.”

She has been able to change her attitude about physical activity, access social support to become more active, and become more aware of her choices – all by participating in the book club online!

Mary Anne Conway is Fit Minded

What a positive experience Fit Minded has been and still is!

Even from a distance, I receive so much support from the audio versions of the meetings. I have “attended” each meeting and walk away from the computer energized by each week’s wealth of information. I’ve gained so much awareness from these meetings, not just awareness of physical activity, but about so many areas in my life.

Two of the most important “Ah-ha’s” that I became aware of through my involvement in Fit Minded Book Club, are: 1. I learned that I do not have a time issue, but I do have a motivation issue. 2. I have a tendency to confuse being busy with being active.

The online resources provided by Fit Minded have proven to be extremely helpful. Although my husband and I are avid walkers, I (we) did let the weather dictate our walks. The article about winter outerwear has allowed me (us) to continue to walk outside (which we prefer over walking in the mall or in the skywalk system) in much colder temperatures. I knew dressing in layers was important, but the fiber content of those layers was the missing link for me. Going into a sporting goods store is too overwhelming when you don’t know specifically what you’re looking for. While I was layering, I was still sweating and getting very chilled. Layering with the proper clothing has made a huge difference.

Fit Minded has benefited me in so many ways these past few months and there is still so much room for improvement. I am so glad I decided to join Fit Minded; I look forward to continuing my journey as I work to increase my physical activity.

Stephanie McMahon is Fit Minded

What advice would you give to future Fit Minded members?
Make time for you, your family will also benefit from this. Find something you like to do. If you don’t like it, you won’t continue after Fit Minded ends. If you love it, it will become a necessary part of your week. I would have never thought that I would get up and go to workout at 5:30 AM three times a week, but now I can’t imagine not getting up for that workout. Try different things so your mind and body are challenged every day. You won’t know if you like it if you don’t try it. I am working on this myself, and I hope to find several types of activity to enjoy. Boy I never thought I would enjoy physicl activity! Learn to sweat!

What is the biggest change you have made since Fit Minded started?
I have made me a priority. While my body image is still not great, I do feel better about myself overall. I am physically active, I didn’t do any physical activity before. I am participating in water workouts of some type at least 3 times a week.

How has Fit Minded changed you mind about physical activity?
Well I certainly see the importance of physical activity. I feel better both physically and mentally when I get to do my workout. My self esteem is also much better.

What were your goals when you started Fit Minded? Do you think you achieved them?
My goal was to just move a little more. I knew I was a big couch potato, and that I needed to change. I just wasn’t so sure it would really happen. I surprised myself. Thanks to Diane and Abbey for all the help and encouragement I think I have turned the corner on getting more physically fit.

Fit Minded Phoenix- Leslie

Leslie, a recent graduate of Fit Minded Phoenix, joined Fit Minded with the mindset that it would be helpful to learn about physical fitness. She didn’t think she would actually change her activity levels, which she described as “comfortable.” 16 weeks later, she is happy to report that she was very wrong. Leslie says that she went from thinking a few laps around the pool counted as exercise to now having a beautiful long-term relationship with yoga and barre classes at a local dance studio. She says these activities provide her with a sense of peacefulness, inner strength and power that has changed her life. Leslie said that her biggest “Ah-ha” moment came when she started to become aware of excuses as they were still coming out of her month. Like many women, Leslie has a family and full-time job that requires out of state travel. She said that now instead of making excuses, she fits in activity whenever and wherever she can, which sometimes means waking up 20 minutes early to do an online Udaya yoga session, finding hotel gyms and taking the stairs.

Since overcoming the barriers that were keeping her from being active, Leslie continues to discover the benefits of her new healthy lifestyle. Not only has she lost weight and inches, but more importantly she feels great about herself! She’s found that she now has more confidence, improved sleep, better eating habits and is motivating those around her. Leslie encourages women who want to increase this physical activity to try it in small steps and to listen to themselves when they make excuses. Whether it be time, kids, fatigue, she believes that everyone has these obstacles and can overcome them if they really try. In closing, Leslie says, “I am amazed at how much my life has changed since Fit Minded! I turn 50 this April and I am feeling that I am a confident, fit, and strong woman – a better gift than I could have ever imagined!”

Letter to Future Self

Below are letters from our latest research study for Fit Minded. Women wrote letters to their future self, read what they had to say to themselves below, they are very inspiring.

Dear future self,

You did it! You’re once again happy with your body. You enjoy the time you spend on your own, working out because it gives you time to focus on what you want for yourself both in life and just for the day. You’ve tried many workouts and have found what works for you but continue to explore because you never know what you’ll find. You’ve given yourself lots of excuses of reasons to quit along the way because things haven’t always been perfect or easy but you stuck with it. When things got tough or stressful or just didn’t go the way you wanted, you turned to those who support you instead of holding it in and eating away your pain and frustration. You workout not only to be healthy and because you like to; but because it makes you feel better. You love yourself as much as others love you. I’m so proud of us!!!

After 1 year you are now in the habit of doing good things for your life and your body. You make it a point every day to spend at least 45 minutes on the elliptical, your bike or walking. You have stronger arms and legs. Lunchtime is now your own time! Everyone in our house is more capable because you are letting them learn and grow by doing. It feels good to be taken care of because you deserve it! Since time has a way of making changes we don’t notice, it is ok if you find you need to do more to keep up with your new strengths or weaknesses. The important thing is to be a participant in your health, not a victim. Don’t give up!

Dear future self:

Status: SLEEK AND RACY! Goal accomplished. Go ahead and hit the enter button on your Facebook page! Wear those black leather pants that you always dreamed of wearing (after watching Grease and Olivia Newton John). You did it!

Fifty two weeks have flown by and forty-five pounds are no longer a part of your existence! It seems like just yesterday that you felt doomed; you would always weigh what you’ve weighed since at least 2001. For years, you patted yourself on the back for not really gaining anything since 2001. But in reality, you were unhappy, because that was not your ideal weight and your energy level was definitely not what you wanted it to be.

Thank goodness for befitminded! Thank goodness for your initial interest in the program when you saw it in the email at work, but mostly thank goodness for the possibility of becoming a member of an iPad group that piqued your interest strong enough to get you to make the first step.

Now, not only do you look great, but you feel great! Walking up the stairs to your second floor office is no longer even a little challenge, the elevator to lunch is broken in your eyes, and four flights is a common occurrence as you make your way to a healthy lunch with your friends. Exercising three times a week has become easy for you, and finding time is not an issue.

You were smart; you knew it wouldn’t be easy, but you didn’t let that stop you from beginning. You knew that there would be times when it would not be possible for you to do what you meant to do, but you still continued, didn’t stop and didn’t give up!

Now when you go to visit Tom, Christina and River and Poppy, your granddaughters in Bozeman, Montana, you can hike and ski with them, and you can play ball with them. You can run up and down the steps from their garage to your apartment above. What a joy! What a vacation! Keep it up. This year, try something new…dance, get back to playing tennis…you love tennis! Make this year the year of new choices…new ideas for your enjoyment and health!

-The New You

I am writing this letter to let you know that life wil be hard and times will get rough. But you can’t give up. Stay strong, stay bold, and most of all don’t see your flaws as weaknesses but see them as strengths. See yourself as others do a good sister, strong mother, and dutiful daughter. Always take the time to laugh, live and love; laugh at the things that make you cry, live every moment as if its your last and share love with the people that matter most.

And most important don’t take yourself too serious and enjoy life to the fullest!

Your best friend…

Rain Exercise

Below are examples of an exercise called “RAIN” taken from a book we read in Fit Minded. See what women have learned to Recognize, Accept, Investigate, and Non-identify.

R(Recognize): I recognize, that based on my previous experiences, I have ready-made excuses as to why I won’t succeed at changing. For example, “I’m too tired to exercise, etc. ”

A(Accept): I accept that I make these excuses because changing requires hard work, like working through the tiredness.

I(Investigate): I feel ashamed when I don’t live up to the changes I wish to make.

N(Non-identify): I can choose not to give in to the feeling of shame and every minute of every day give myself a clean slate.

R (Recognize): I do not make time for ‘extra’ moving/exercise.

A (Accept): I have other things that I deem more important.

I (Investigate): I feel disappointed with myself and frustrated with my shape.

N (Non-identify): But….I must look at the whole person I am…a wife, mother, daughter, teacher, friend, volunteer…thankful for the health and blessings I do have.