Redefining success

So…I’ve struggled with writing this blog for months. MONTHS! And I think I’ve got a good idea why. Success is something I don’t feel qualified to talk about. And I’ll tell you why in just a second, but first I just have to say it’s because if those very things I just might be perfectly qualified to write this blog. Here’s the thing. I fail. A lot. 

I fail at maintaining a positive attitude (choosing joy if you will). 

I fail at being the kind of friend/ daughter/ sister/ auntie/ cousin/ coworker/ employee  (You get the idea) that I would like to be. 

I fail at being a good girlfriend (I take out a lot of my attitude and issues on my wonderful, loving, and very understanding boyfriend). 

I fail at returning phone calls (sorry grandma!) 

I fail at doing stuff. I have a lot of great ideas and fail at following through. 

I fail at making good choices… I try… But that dang sweet tooth!!! And that emotion eating thing. And onion rings. 

I fail at my job… More than I would care to admit. 

I fail at keeping track of my checkbook (thank God for my mother) 

I fail at reading my Bible regularly. 

I fail at being in the moment sometimes. 

I can’t even manage to take a ONE a day vitamin for crying out loud. 

When I was growing up I always figured that by 35 I would be married. Have a houseful (more like 2 kids) a house and a dog. I would be working as a kindergarten teacher and loving life. Well… Life had other plans. There is NO freaking way that 17 years as a bill collector (well… Some of those were customer service years) was something I thought of. Ever! But does that mean I’m not successful? I don’t hit my “goal” at work every month. But does that make me a failure? Am I trying new things? Am I going outside my comfort zone?  Am I changing lives? How’s my attitude? I think these are the things that should be defining my work succes. It’s hard…..VERY hard to see that in the moment, but sometimes I need to step back and realize it. 

What I realized when thinking about this whole thing is that sometimes your definition changes over time. When I started my weight loss journey I viewed success as me fitting in a size 10 jeans. No lie. However…. Today if I had to buy a size 10 I would be disappointed in myself. Not because there is ANYTHING wrong with being a size 10, but because I am currently like a size 3-4. And me going back to a 10 at this point would really show I had given Up.   This isn’t about pants size… It’s about how perspective changes as time passes and goals are hit or things change.  On a related topic when I started thinking about wanting to run, I wanted to 30 seconds, yes SECONDS!  Without feeling like I was going to die. Now, I run 5 miles for fun. Things change, the definition has to change at some point.  

I guess I say all this to pose a question. What does success look like to you? How do you define success? I asked this question on my Facebook and had several conversations with people about it. I got lot of interesting answers. Some very specific summed up as results define success. A lot of people said they define success by how happy they are. Some people responded that it’s the seeds you plant and the legacy that you leave behind that really defines success. 

I guess what I’m learning is that it’s the daily things that add up to success. I’m still trying to figure this all out. I’m not perfect. And you know what?!?! . I’m going to keep failing. Maybe success is not letting that failure define me. Maybe it’s not letting failure keep me from keeping on trying. Maybe it’s getting back up once I’ve been knocked down. Idiot really know the answer…. 

What are your thoughts? 

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I did what?!?! 

So… I have been meaning to write this little blog for a few months now. However.. A few things have stood in my way. Mostly myself. I wanted to take a moment to brag on myself a little.. But haven’t been feeling worthy of the bragging. However… Just recently I have been told that I am too hard on myself… So I’m taking a moment to reflect.. And yes maybe brag a little. Just know what your getting into. But first I’ll start with the reason I haven’t been feeling worthy. I have been feeling really squishy (like a busted can of biscuits maybe) since the holidays. I blame cupcakes, my onion ring addiction and well.. All around not good choices sometimes. I feel like I preach “make good choices” and while I really do pretty well overall… I could be doing better. But you know what… I am a human. Not perfect. At all…and guess what. That’s okay. (That part was for me… And I’m going to type it again cuz I don’t believe it sometimes) IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE PERFECT. it’s okay to have some frosting… And maybe a little bit more… Sometimes. It’s okay to skip a workout or two. Your body, soul, spirit needs a break. Rest is okay. Rest…. Something I honestly need to work on. I have a hard time sitting still sometimes. It’s true. But I can’t be so hard on myself. My pants still fit and I’m happy= I win!! 

So…. Here is where I brag a little. Last year I set out to run 672 miles. Yes, the girl who refused to run the mile in high school…. Set out to run 672 miles in 2015. Just in case you are wondering that was about 56 miles per month. I am not going to lie… I was nervous that I bit of more than I could chew. I started off strong in January (I ran 100 miles in that month alone)… Truth be told i think I broke myself that month. And then I had to step it up… Was quite a roller coaster of a year. I can’t lie. Not all of the runs were enjoyable. Sometimes I ran because I “had to get my miles in” here is how my year looked she. It came to miles: 

  Now.. I bet your saying to yourself. Umm. Tonya, that’s more than 672 miles. Yup! I pushed it a little. 681 made more sense because 81 is kind of my number. 81 is my “ultimate weight lose goal” and.. Well I was born in 1981. So.. I pushed a little harder and made it happen. Therefore, I have to be proud of me. I made a goal and I crushed it!! I ran further than I’d ever ran before… I ran faster than I had ever done before. I pushed myself further than I thought possible. So.. Bottom line. I’m freaking pumped that I actually did it. 

Okay… Moving on. Here is why I continue this healthy living journey. It’s because of random messages I occasionally get like this: (I hope she doesn’t mind… I tried to take out any personally identifying info) but I’m really proud of her and it inspires me to continue doing what I do. Here’s the message:  
      

The word pregnant is missing. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. This is from someone that I admire dearly. And I can’t explain how proud I am of her courage and strength!  Bottom line… I have to keep on keeping on! And when I beat myself up.. That’s not helpful to me or people who are looking to me to be an example. It’s really not helpful. So.. Instead.. Let’s celebrate our successes. Live a little and be kind. Be kind … Even to ourselves. K?!?! 
  

Attitude is everything…

confession: I am not perfect. Okay. That’s not a real revelation. Here’s the deal though. I have been struggling with my attitude more than I would like to admit. Here’s what happened on Saturday. I had absolutely nothing to be cranky about. I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted and plans to hang out with the boyfriend and my besties (which I was excited about). However apparently when I got dressed in the morning I out my cranky pants on. 

  Thinking maybe I need those ^^^^

I had an attitude that was simply no fun to be around. I knew that it was me and only me who could change out of my cranky pants. The worst part was that I was even crankier that I couldn’t shake this attitude. Lecturing myself for being cranky. Luckily I was able to shake it before hanging out with the besties… Unfortunately the boyfriend didn’t get so lucky. However… I’m pretty lucky that he puts up with me regardless. It was still in the back of my mind though as far as why I choose to be so cranky and made a conscience effort to not wear those pants on Sunday. Well, as if Pator Brian was reading my thoughts… the topic of the message on Sunday at church was about making lemonade. Watch the message here http://greatjoy.org/media/sermon-library/ if you are interested. The topic was a bit broader, about when life is knocking you around and handing out lemons. How to react and make the best out of it. I…. Brought it down to smaller scale and took a “make lemonade” every single day. Let me tell you the rest of Sunday was fantastic. I was in a good mood from the moment I left church. I went for a walk later in the day and…. This happened:  

 got me a little DQ mini blizzard. Decided to keep walking to burn off a few of those calories… And then Mother Nature decided to see how good I was going to do this “make lemonade” thing. I was over a mile away from home and it started legitimately raining. I couldn’t help but smile. I embraced the rain and enjoyed it. (Had this happened Saturday I can promise I would have reacted differently. Much differently). When I got home I looked like this:  

  Drown rat. Soaked. But smiling. Choosing the smile felt better. No lie. Here’s where it gets real. It’s Wednesday now and I have been in and out of making lemonade and having a sour attitude all week. Work in progress I guess. That’s why I’m writing this. As a reminder that it really is up to me how I view things. My choice how I react. And only I can choose my attitude. Choosing Joy is what I strive for. Whether or not I always do it… It another story. My day really is a whole lot more enjoyable when I choose to keep the cranky pants In The closet. Progress, not perfection…. Right?!? Thanks to all my people for putting up with me. Let’s make some lemonade ūüėČ 

Believe in Yourself

I am guessing I am not¬†alone in this… but sometimes I have doubts. Crazy right?!?!? I think things are impossible so sometimes…. just sometimes…. it stops me from even trying. Do you know how strange that is? Let’s think about it… how do you know you can’t do something if you never tried? What do you have to lose. Sometimes my confidence waivers and I start believing the “you can’t do it” lie. And thoughts of quitting and doubt and fear try and creep in. This is where my Believe tattoo come in handy cuz I need¬† a constant reminder to believe. ¬†Here is a story about a time where I didn’t quit…

This story takes place in Cold Spring MN at the iRock Run 5K that was on Saturday May 2nd. First I have to tell you that this run hold a special place in my heart. The run starts at the company that a lot of my uncles worked and my grandpa Mack worked as well. I just feel a sense of connection to them being there. The run brings you through the lot that houses all the granite and part of it even went through the warehouse. It was just so cool to be surrounded by the product (granite) that they used to work with for years and years.  I can only imagine how proud my grandpa would be of me. He passed away when I was a teenager. I was a VERY different person then! Just being there made me feel nostalgic and I wanted to do really well to make him proud.

Me with grandpa mack (2)

This is the last photo I have of me and my grandpa Mack (he made me sit on his lap). Love this photo.

I really had my heart set on doing well in this 5k. I knew from past experience that this was a small run with few participants so I figured I could end up in the top finishers. However… the week before the 5k I logged 23 miles in 7 days.(that is a lot for me in a week these days… so the doubt started creeping in)¬†Needless to say my legs felt a little like Jello. Oh and I Rollerbladded 6 miles on Friday night also.

The day of the run was HOT. It was 75 degrees. Unseasonably warm for May in MN. I wasn’t ready for that. It seemed like my dreams of doing well were shot a few times. The legs, the heat and there was a HUGE issues with my music. This girl doesn’t run without music. Long story short I got to the starting line and my iPod has been wiped of ALL my music. So I had to run listening to my iPhone music that kept playing the same song on repeat!¬† Funny story the lyrics of the song go ” you’re not gonna die tonight” that was just what I needed to hear. (not necessarily over and over and over again)¬†Needless to say I was fidgeting with my phone more than I should have been. I never stop and walk in a 5k. well I had to this time. I got a major side pain! However I pushed through. I had grandpa Mack to make proud and most of all I had Me to make proud too.¬† So I just kept putting on foot in front of the other. I had a little chat with… well me… and it went something like “you aren’t a quitter anymore.” I have decided that quitting is caterpillar behavior. I am working on making butterfly decisions.¬† The butterfly decision here was to give it my all. When I started running (in 2011)¬†I would slow down when I came close to the finish¬†because I think subconsciously I figured I was gonna finish so I would take a break or something dumb. Now I power through to the very end. As you might have guessed it I didn’t quit.¬†¬†¬†Not this time!

I came across the finish line like a champ.

11150367_845105288894442_9060773124381262383_n¬†That is me finishing with flair. Yup. I am a dork. But I didn’t quit. I chose to believe in myself. I killed this 5k and I was so freaking proud of me. Had I let those doubts win… I would have never had that feeling. I would have never got a twenty five dollar gift certificate towards new SHOES (I like shoes) and I would have never got this cool little granite plaque thingy ….

0180cde43e043d864986570ec732886695aa2d8a96The reason behind the award… well I was the second female in my age group to cross the finish line. The reason behind the gift certificate was because I was the 3rd female to cross the finish line. Even better is my time was 24:22. My fastest 5k time yet! Nailed it! Here is the fitsnap I made of the run.

01388fd3b1d4e571da416a7a05f6c9794ebae6f7e6_00001So much orange= Awesome! The moral of the story is this: Believe in yourself. Whether it’s in business, in weight loss, in fitness or basically in life in general. You are worth believing in. You can do things you never thought were possible. Be the person you want to be. Only you can control that. The future is what you make it. I know all of those things are clich√© but they are true. Think of the things you can accomplish if you acted like you believed in you. I know I have quoted it before and I am sure I¬†will quote it again “You will always act like the person you believe yourself to be”. My Pastor Brian says it a lot. So my question to you is: Who do YOU believe YOURSELF to be?!?!?

Quitting really isn’t an option….

Todays blog brought to you in part by my revelations from this mornings run:

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Warning I’m slightly caffeinated and this might be all over and a tidge rambly.. Oh wait all my blogs kinda are. So. Never mind.

So.. I continue to struggle recently with the whole choosing joy thing. I try. I really do… But some days I just don’t have it in me. I have been in a funk recently… And I’m gonna be honest.. I don’t like it. I prefer happy Tonya. Life is way more fun when I’m happy. And people around me tend to appreciate it too. Either they appreciate it or they are annoyed with me… But either way I’m happier when I’m happier. Hehe. Anyways. This whole life throwing me a curve ball thing is still affecting me mentally. I know it shouldn’t. But I really really want to succeed… Like really! So what happens when This girl is struggling mentally!?! I eat. I stop caring what I put in my body. Luckily I have not stopped working out because it make me feel way better than ice cream… And it allows me to sorta be off my eating game a little. However the scale might be noticing my deviation more than I would like it too. Anyways the point here is I did not choose my circumstances but it is 100% up to me to make it happen. It’s nobody else’s responsibility and above all I get to choose my attitude. Truth be told, today was better than most days recently and the only reason was the way I viewed the day. Brain felt more clear and I just… Well…. Chose joy. Made a huge difference. And I made better food choices and I think that makes me feel better too. Bottom line is that I refuse to quit. I will not give up on me. And I recommend you doing the same. I have a list of reasons why quitting working on me in not an option. I probably should look at it more often. As I’ve said in another blog about me not wanting to look myself in the face and say that I blew a huge opportunity to succeed…well.. I most defiantly do NOT want to look myself in the face and have it be a less healthy and happy version of me. That’s not acceptable and not an option.

Another reason to write this particular message is due to the fact that some dear friends of mine are going through an unexpected life event that could cause them to stray off a journey. In all honesty we are more like family. These are my weight watchers members. Even after I had to leave they are and will always be my people. The meeting that we had grown to love had to close… But I am I am telling you now…That quitting isn’t an option. It’s a lifestyle and you owe it to you to finish what you started. I have faith in you. You are worth it. DO NOT QUIT! As you might have guessed all those things were written as a reminder to me as well. We are all on this journey of life (and weight loss) together and I hope you never forget that I’ve got your back.
Found this just today as I was scrolling t through FB. Seemed fitting for me today… In this time:

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Truth be told not having to be held accountable to my weight watchers people on a weekly basis has not help me keep my head on the game. I don’t have to stand up in front of a group of people on a weekly basis and try and motivate and be an example of weight watchers makes me a little more relaxed. And the truth is that’s a little scary. The last time I lost this kind if accountablity I gained like 20 pounds. No exaggeration. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. Butterflies can NOT go back to being caterpillars. Time to get my head in the game… Break out of this funk… Get my big girl panties on and keep on spreading my wings and FLYING. The sky is the limit… I totally got this and guess what?!?! So do you! I’ll leave you with one more Pintrest find that I found rather fitting.

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Make good choices!

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

I don’t know where to begin this blog. Other than to say my life has recently put me in a position to make some changes that were/ are not fun/ easy or comfortable. Having to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and having to give up things that I love. Having to put my faith in God and believe that everything happens for a reason and when one door closes another one opens. What I have learned is that keeping an open mind is important and it’s how you react to the situation that really decides the outcome.

That being said… today kinda sucked. I had to say good bye to a group of people who have become like family to me. The watched me stumble and trip and babble my way through week after week of weight watchers meetings. They loved me in the beginning when I didn’t have a clue and was a scared frightened girl… And watched me blossom into a… I don’t know really… I still really don’t have a clue… But they still love me. They make me laugh and they inspire me. They keep me real and honest and accountable. They gave me crap about wanting a tattoo…. But we’re excited when I reached the goal (haven’t quite got the tattoo yet… So they may never see it). They mean more to me than they will probably ever know. We took this little meeting and grew it into a stable group of members who love coming. Who hate it when the weather puts a wrench in the meeting. They hold each other accountable and that makes me happy.

These are just some of my people:

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This next part is for them:
THANK YOU!
Thank you for being there for me. Being my rock and my support. Making me laugh and understanding that I do not have it all together. We are not perfect….but we are all pretty awesome. It was hard to express this in the meeting…. But it has to be said. Keep being awesome. Your journey is not over. My journey is not over. We must keep on.. Keeping on. No reason to quit. Is the journey long and hard? Yup! Is it worth it!!?!? Absolutely! You just never know who you are inspiring… Just keep being you! And if you EVER.. And I mean EVER need anything… You know how to reach me! Don’t be scared to reach out… We need each other! What was today’s meeting about? Who’s got your back!?! Answer: I do! Sure we stumble and fall… Let’s just not give up. K?!? Keep me posted and I’m excited to be apart of your journey! I love you all! And you will forever be in my heart!

You know even if you were not a part of our fantastic little group… The things above apply. It’s true! Reach out. We are here for each other.

As for me. I don’t know exactly what the future holds… But I know who holds the future.

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Thanks for making me feel special…. This week and every week! And don’t forget: MAKE GOOD CHOICES. ( well, most if the time)

Ps. This blog was written entirely while walking on the treadmill. The people in the picture know why. Nobody is perfect… Right?!?! Lol. This is why I love weight watchers… Cuz perfect is NOT required!

Let’s get physical

Hmmm. Were do I start? Today I had an appointment I was Not looking forward to. AT. ALL. The super fun “girly doctor” appointment as I call it. The OB-Gyn if you will. There are several reasons I don’t so much like this appointment. First of all. It’s just not that comfortable and slightly awkward. Second of all it causes me flash backs. It was a routine physical that found something crazy happening inside of me. A mass on one of my ovaries actually. The doctor at the Mayo Clinic actually called it a “softball sized massed filled with chocolatey goo.” This appointment was 7 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember sitting face to face with probably the most Amazing doctor on the planet and seeing her in tears attempting to explain to a confused 26 year old girl that she might have to have her ovaries removed and might never be able to have kids and/ or might have cancer. I remember getting my mom on the phone and attempting to expat to her what is going on. What I remember most of all is my reaction to Dr. Regan. I wasn’t scared. I did not reach panic mode. I looked her straight in the face and said “I don’t care what it is… My god is bigger than this.” You see… She had a right to be concerned. They run this blood test to see the possibility of cancer in your body. It’s the CA125 test. To be normal the number should be less than 35. Mine was 403!!! I literally left that physical that day with a note to bring to work that said: Tonya may not return to work UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE… That did hit me a little. What do you mean until further notice. However I maintained my God is bigger attitude and did what had to be done. Which was surgery at the mayo clinic less than a week later. Talk about a whirlwind of a time in my life. Spoiler alert: there was no cancer found! They ran pathology when I was in surgery and I was cleared and still have 98% of my ovaries!

What I learned was a lot!
–Freaking out doesn’t help.
–Don’t stop believing.
–Enjoy the moment (we had lots of fun in Rochester despite the reason we were there)
–My family rules!
–attitude is everything!!!!

So…. Every time it go to the clinic for my yearly check up I kinda get a twinge of a “what if” trying to creep in…. Today however was a lot of fun. My new doctor (who is fantastic, but will never live up to doctor Regan… Sorry but it true) is impressed with how healthy I am. She loves how low my heart rate is. And she is inspired by me and my healthy life style (which always makes me smile)… And most importantly she has no concerns about my health! Apparently my healthyish living is paying off. She even said I have abs!! Lol. She was impressed by how strong my abs are. Huh.. Interesting I didn’t know I had abs. Wish I could see them. Lol. Bottom line of all is journey down memory lane. You only get one body and one life; take care of it. It’s worth it. You’re worth it. And God is bigger. That is all! Be blessed.

Attaching a picture from my official medical charts. Just about says it all.

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