Archive | October, 2011

Just Breathe: The Essence of Being Real

26 Oct

The essence of beauty and meaning is found in realness. Find that space that allows you to be at peace with exactly where you at, breath deeply and use that moment to move forward.

Just breathe – that’s what I tell myself to get through the difficult moments. How is it that we can go through challenging times so incredibly motivated and positive, but always end up at some point in a space that takes our breath away? What do successful people do to overcome that? Does everyone have moments like this, or is it just me?

The impetus for this blog started in my effort to just be real. To expose the challenges people face and offer strategies to help overcome them. I wanted to put myself out there. As I got going, I steered away from that goal, thinking that in opening myself up I might derail any future career plans I’d created. I played it safe. Safe earns you a solid B grade. That’s good, you didn’t fail, right?

What’s real though? Real is me sitting on the couch crying, thinking about the overwhelming feeling of having to balance everything. Real for me is doing a lot of things good, and nothing perfect right now. Real is admitting that there is confusion in trying to achieve your accomplishments, and there is a fear of failure. Real is high and low. Real is okay.

How then do I handle this moment, this feeling, and use it to better myself? I’ll pull in a few strategies I’ve learned over time that always seem to help.

1) Be true to yourself: It’s easy to get so busy doing what others say is the right thing that we forget to do what’s right for us. This is evidenced for me lately in my lack of running in an effort to shape the perfect bikini body for competition. It might win me competitions, but it certainly doesn’t give me any clarity. Clarity for me comes from long runs where I can take time to reflect on what’s important. I need that. When you figure out what it is that gives you clarity and makes you happy, whether it be yoga, running, crafting with your kids, the outdoors, cooking, whatever it is that you do for yourself, don’t let it go.

2) Repeat your mantra: I have a few mantras. One being, “You’ve got to want it more than anything else”. Two being the title of this article, “Just breathe”. Honestly sometimes I forget that, causing me a near panic attack, which brings this mantra back into focus. I remember to repeat those things when I find myself in moments like this. These mantras help me in a number of areas. I use them during hard work-outs to help me get through. I use them in nutrition when I am tempted to consume something that might give me immediate pleasure but in the long run I know I’ll regret. I say them, write them, believe them.

3) Take a moment: Clarity is achieved through stepping back and re-evaluating. It’s okay to change things. In my work-outs, I often take a few days off. I’ve learned that this allows my body to re-program itself and provides me better motivation to start back up. This strategy seems to work for life. Check out once in a while. Let your goals go for a few days and allow yourself time to just be. Meditate, sit on the beach and reflect, go for a long walk, have fun, laugh, meet a friend for a glass of wine, hand write a letter to someone, play with your kids or watch your favorite movie. Hopefully in allowing yourself time to decompress you will come back stronger.

These are some the things that work for me in challenging moments. What works for you? What mantras do you have? What are some of the strategies you use to help re-gain focus in life? I invite you to share your thoughts, either publicly or privately with me. And to those of you who have opened up to me lately and shown me how “real” you are, thank you. You have inspired me to write this post.

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Fear: Overcoming Obstacles to Success

23 Oct

Do you let fear and negativity hold you back from going after your goals, whether they be related to health, career, family or other areas in your life?  Do you find yourself saying “what-if” and then speculating on what the worst possible outcome could be if things don’t go your way?  We often approach new endeavors with fear in our hearts.  It’s challenging  to change that perspective.  We don’t want to fail.  We let fear guide us.  

Someone once said to me, “Answer your worst ‘what-if.’”  Often times, you’ll find that while the outcome may not be desirable, it’s also not something that is life-altering.  One the other hand, what if you tried something with the attitude that you could not fail, that given enough time and hard work, you would be successful.  What if you turned your “what-if” statement into something positive?  You thought of the very best thing that could happen.  

Use the following strategies to help you overcome fear and push toward your goals.

 Feed yourself with positive statements.  Think of the best thing that might come of any situation.  This might encourage you to try something you might not have otherwise attempted.

Surround yourself with a support network that believes in you.  The people you invest time in should see your potential.  Learn to recognize negative energy and remove it from your lives. Find a few people who support you no matter where you go.  Make this your “go-to” group.  Often times finding a mentor, someone you look up to, can be of great help.

Write down your successes to date: If you’re anything like me, you accomplish something, celebrate it, and quickly move to your next goal.  It’s easy to forget the small milestones along the way.  Make a list of all the things you have done of which you are proud.  Post the list as a reminder.  This will help keep you motivated to keep moving forward.

Allow yourself to fail: Great success often follows failure. It does so because a person learns from their mistake and is willing to try again, and try harder.  Don’t let failure keep you down.  Use failure as a learning experience, and allow it to ignite your passion to succeed the next time.

 Changing your perspective and the way you view things can make the difference in your ability to handle any situation and achieve your goals.  Learn to let fear go and watch how quickly you soar!

Instant Style: 10 Tips to Help you Shop Like a Pro

17 Oct

Everyone has their own unique, personal style.  Finding it can sometimes be tricky.  It takes patience and time to create a wardrobe that is uniquely you.  Below are ten shopping tips that will help you get started.

  1. Shopping is easiest when you plan enough time.  Even if you hate to shop, allocate at least 3 hours to allow yourself time to try on options and browse the selections. 
  2. Remember to shower and get ready prior to shopping. You will be happier with the way you look in clothing if you are ready as opposed to having just rolled out of bed or coming from the gym.  Treat shopping like a date.
  3. Ask the people you admire where they like to shop.  
  4. While everyone has their own reliable stores where they enjoy shopping, don’t be afraid to walk in somewhere new.  You may be surprised at what you find.
  5. Don’t shop tired or hungry, it will make it difficult to concentrate.  
  6. Remember to wear undergarments.  This may sound obvious, but there are always people who don’t come wearing a bra.  You will typically want to try on items with one, so don’t forget it!
  7. Select accessories such as jewelry, hats, and scarves at the time you buy an outfit.  It is much easier to match things up when you have all of the items with you.  In addition, these “extras” tend to add your personal style and make the outfit. So include them in your budget and try to incorporate them to your wardrobe.  
  8. Establish a budget ahead of time, as well as a list of “essential” items.  Start by finding the essentials to ensure you have a wardrobe base and then spend your additional money on the other items.   
  9. When buying bathing suits, if the store policy allows it, seriously consider buying and trying them on at home.  People are rarely happy with the way they look in a swimsuit in the store dressing room.  Trying it on at home in front of your own mirror can make all the difference.  You can always take it back if you are unhappy with the fit.
  10. Ask the sales people to point out popular new items. Often times these things sell out first, so take the time to try them on.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask them for advice on what might look nice on you.  That’s what they are there for!

And remember… shopping can (and should) be fun with a little practice and planning up front.

For more style tips – Visit my facebook page under Kim Miller Style

Going the Distance: Learning to Love Running

10 Oct

 

Friend Miki Stevens trainning for her next big race

I can’t pinpoint the exact the moment that running went from something I forced myself to do for exercise, to something I loved. I can; however, remember very clearly what it felt like during my first mile. It was the longest fifteen minutes of my life. Slowly but surely, though, I grew to love running. Reflecting back, there were very specific things I did to become a runner.

Set measurable goals

It helps to have a simple and measurable goal when you start, possibly one that combines walking and running. Be specific. For example, alternate running and walking for a total of twenty minutes. It’s easy to think that you have failed when you are only able to run for a few minutes without getting winded. However, if you are not a runner, this isn’t that uncommon. I’ve come across many people who are extremely fit and active, yet struggle when it comes to running. When you first set out, try incorporating intervals of running and walking into your workout. Providing your body with short breaks will refresh you and keep you motivated. Attempting to run long distances when you begin will likely wear you out and discourage you from continuing to run.  Each day you run, attempt to go just a bit longer or just a bit faster. Invest in a gps-enabled watch and chart your times and miles each day. Keeping a log will allow you to review your progress. Slowly you will improve your running ability and you will be able to gauge how far you’ve come. Don’t forget to revise your goals over time. As running becomes easier, add miles and/or try to improve your speed. Also, you can always incorporate hills which will make for great endurance training.

Listen to your body

There are times when you will hit the road and feel completely motivated. It’s like with life, some days you are “on” and some days you’re not. Follow the rhythms of your body. Make every attempt to get out and run, even when you are tired. Odds are that if you take the time to strap on your shoes, you will find the motivation to follow through with your run. Getting out the door is the hardest part! However, if your body really feels “off,” give yourself permission to relax your pace, or even walk a little bit more. Listening to your body will help prevent injury and keep you motivated. Always remember to monitor yourself, and try to have more “on” days than “off” days.

Seek support

The best way to enjoy running is to learn about it. I would suggest reading other runners’ success stories. It’s motivating to read about people’s personal journeys and transformation into runners. Check out books from the library written by runners; they can serve as inspiration. You might also join a local running club, subscribe to runners’ blogs, or enlist the support of those you know. Tell people you have running goals and ask them to hold you accountable. Encourage others to inquire about your progress.  Take advantage of the free classes many of the sports stores offer around town and definitely get to know the people at your local running store. They are excellent motivators, and always have good information to share.

Explore a variety of courses

To me, it’s interesting how every person is different in where they like to run. Personally, my passion is trail running. Being outdoors allows me to gain perspective and relax. For some, they would rather run indoors on the treadmill while others prefer the running paths near their home. For beginning runners, it’s important to try a variety of locations as you will naturally be drawn to some more than others. For more seasoned runners, it is advantageous to do some running in all types of terrain. The change in location helps strengthen your overall running abilities. Finally, it is important to incorporate other fitness interests with running. Activities such as pilates and yoga are excellent ways to strengthen your core, which will make running an easier activity.

Participate in Races

Racing is a valuable tool to improve your skills. When I say race, I don’t mean win. I simply mean to participate. Participation in races does several things for you. Most importantly, it connects you with motivating people who share a common interest. Even if you simply show up and walk the race course, you’ve come a long way in challenging yourself to improve. Racing for those who are striving to become better also adds an element of challenge. Whether you are racing against the ten-year-old next to you or the front runner in the group, being in a race environment stimulates you with amazing positive energy and it pushes you to do better.

Most importantly, remember that running well is something that takes time. Whenever you change your routine or embark on a new challenge it requires a period of adjustment. Don’t give up quickly. The more you practice running, the better you get at it; and the better you get, the more your crave it. One day, you just might turn around to find it’s something you can’t live without.

A Love Affair with Food: Ways to Enjoy Treats While Still Maintaining Your Weight Loss Goals

6 Oct
I recently asked the question, “What is the greatest barrier to losing weight?” The answer was, “I love food way too much.”  It’s natural that we tend to love food.  We live in a culture where food is a focus, and often times, not in a healthy way.  The rise of fast food chains, quick and easy on-the-go meals, and inexpensive ways to manufacture food drives our economy.  Let’s face it, in many aspects food is vehicle for creating community.  Much of what we do is centered around food, and not participating often makes us feel left out.

How then do we change our relationship with food in order to better care for ourselves without giving up that sense of comfort and enjoyment.  The answer lies in balancing what we eat by simplifying our choices 80% of the time.

Indulgences are necessary for some people.  If you are one of these people, allow yourself the right to do that.  More importantly though, don’t focus on these occasional moments, focus on what you eat the majority of the time to determine if you are really going to be successful in your weight loss goals.  The simpler you eat during your non-cheat moments, the better off you will be.  Here are ten tips you might consider in order to help you find balance in your food choices:

1.) Sandwiches: Skip the cheese.  If you enjoy cheese save those slices and pair them with almonds and an apple for a snack later in the day.

2.) Hamburgers: Add vegetables such as lettuce, onions and tomato but skip the ketchup which can add sugar to your diet.

3.) Flavored waters: Pass on the additives you dump in your drinks.  Instead, add your own lemon or cucumber for a naturally refreshing drink.

4.) Nuts: Stay away from the bags that add salt and opt for non-salted options.  Better yet, pick non-salted nuts in their raw form rather than the dry roasted brands (which often contain added oil).

5.) Coffee: Try adding soy milk or almond milk as coffee creamer rather than half and half and flavored creamers.

6.) Pancakes and Waffles: Skip the syrups high in sugar.  Add fresh fruit to sweeten the taste.

7.) Vegetables: Veggies should be eaten in their raw form.  If you are dipping carrots in ranch dressing consider that your treat.  The same goes for adding cheese to broccoli, mayonnaise to artichokes, and butter to corn.  The more you eat it plain, the less you will crave the toppings.

8.) Oatmeal: Buy oatmeal in the form of plain oats or steel cut oats.  The prepackaged options may look healthy but they often contain additives.  This goes back to understanding and reading the ingredients carefully.

9.) Pasta: Avoid marinara sauce which can be high in sugar and add unnecessary calories.  Try adding fresh tomatoes and basil instead.  For moisture, you can spritz a bit of pure olive oil to provide you with a healthy serving of fat.

10.) Brown rice: Skip the soy sauce.  Soy sauce is off the charts when it comes to sodium.  Try mixing vegetables in for added flavor.

Ensure that you follow the “simple is better” rule 80 percent of the time when it comes to eating.    What you do EVERYDAY is more important than what you do once in a while!  So concentrate on making good decisions every day and this will allow you to a treat of your choice once in a while!