Fitness Cruise 2017 Life Lessons

A month ago I was on a cruise ship sailing around the Caribbean. I wrote a blog about it on the plane ride home, but something happened and that particular blog has disappeared. I was disappointed when that happened because I put a lot of work into that thing…but then what happened was now, I have had a month to reflect on that week and have an even deeper appreciation for the experience. The lessons that I learned are ones that I feel a need to share.

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First A little background. We signed up for this cruise over a year before it was scheduled to set sail. The Tonya that signed up for the cruise had just come off of running 681 miles in 2015 (or what I liked to call 20FITteen). I was feeling pretty good about my self and even my pants size (mostly). I was pumped for this cruise and I was hoping that it would keep me motivated through the year of 2017. Well… life kind of happened. I ate too much, I didn’t push myself hard enough in the gym, I didn’t run enough. . . I bought bigger pants. I have no reasons, no excuse, no justification. But let’s just say that by the time the cruise came around I felt like I was not worthy of going on a cruise that was about fitness or healthy living. AT ALL. Don’t get me wrong, I was way excited to be on a cruise… just didn’t feel like I would fit in. I wasn’t happy with what I had done. I was ashamed and spend A LOT of time beating myself up and not putting anything into action. But then something magical happened:

I embarked on a journey with these two lovely ladies:

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We left from Miami and sailed to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and then on to Grand Cayman Island (my favorite!) and then a final stop was in Cozumel, Mexico.

The reason I even found out about this cruise was because I have been a long time fan of the show the biggest loser. NEVER, until Season 11 did I really care or feel any sort of connection with anyone from that show. However there was this one particular contestant in Season 11 that I admired. Her story, her attitude and her outlook on life was simply inspirational. Before she got onto the biggest loser she, herself, lost 100 pounds. Her smile light up the room and I thought, I could be friends with this girl. And Holy crap, if she can push herself at the gym… why can’t I! Her, and her super cool mom were my favorite. Well, I started following Courtney on Facebook and her posts keep me positive on a regular basis. When I found out she was going to be on this cruise I started to round up someone to go with. Luckily I have cool people in my life who want to spend a week on a boat with me :). So, had it not been for Courtney I wouldn’t have found out about this trip to begin with. Anyways… this is getting long already. I would probably write a short novel about all the things that I learned but from here on how I am going to go Listy. So in short.. these are some of my fitness cruise takeaways:

  1. From the moment I stepped into this group of people I felt worthy and I felt like I belonged. NO ONE cared that I had gained some weight and that was AWESOME. They were there to support me and encourage me. I will never forget!

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  1. Be yourself. This goes back to Courtney. You know, you can be ANYTHING you want to be on social media. Courtney is exactly the same as she is online, in person. She is Genuine. It reminded ME to be genuine as well. Love ya Courtney!DSCN1957
  2. you just never know whose life you are going to influence. I am sure I have said this before, but it’s worth saying again! This women right here is just as inspirational as her daughter. I won’t ever forget your encouragement and your attitude Marci! And of course Kevin too. You guys are so much fun and I wish we lived closer!

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3. Fitness and healthy living takes a team. A tribe. A support system! I am  GRATEFUL for mine little circle, but sometimes I don’t let them in on the struggle or know how they can be supportive, but I know they are ALWAYS there. These two are a great example of how you can keep each other going. The winners of season 11. Well the winner and the runner up…but they are ALL winners in my book. Sisters. Such a bond and make me appreciate even more so the bond that I have with my sisters. I am so glad I got to know these girls. They truly are an inspiration. Even years after the show, staying the course and being so dedicated to being the person that they know they are. PS. I now want to go on another trip to NYC and take a Soul Cycle class with Olivia. Love you ladies!

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4. I wish i had a picture to go with this one… but i don’t. I met this girl named “Murn” who taught me a few things.

  • follow your dreams.
  • it’s NEVER to late to become what you might have been in life.
  • you Do you. Don’t care about what other people are doing. You do… YOU
  • Every day is CHOOSE day. It doesn’t matter what day it is. it’s ALWAYS choose day. you get to choose your attitude and create the outcome of your day.
  • Yoga: you can’t do it wrong and you can’t do it right.
  • If you aren’t checking yourself out, how do you expect anyone else too
  • it’s important to breathe
  • yoga isn’t as boring as i thought it would be

5. Do something you might be scared to do. I wanted to Swim out to this infateable playground in Cozumel, but it was a hard swim and then there was this REALLY tall slide that I wasn’t sure I Could get to the top and if I did i would be terrified up there. Well I did it and it was totally worth it.

 

6. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Wait, did I yell that one? Full disclosure I am still working on this one. But here is what I learned from an entire week of not having my cell phone. I use it TOO MUCH. It wastes a lot of my time. I am missing out on a ton of my life by staring at my dumb phone. I am missing opportunities to connect with people. I use it to prevent myself to have to deal with the real world. It’s killing my relationships. And why?!?! Seriously. There was question whether I would be able to go a week without Facebook but it was SO FREEING! I am not kidding you! I still haven’t figured out how to totally incorporate this into my regular life, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I have tried to be more conscience about actually being in the moment when I am with people. It’s such a habit… baby steps.

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7. speaking of that. Be in the Moment was another. Just enjoy what you are doing now. Don’t worry about what’s next or what you should be doing or what ever. Be in the moment.

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8. Don’t judge people. Someone who looks unhealthy quite possibly works really hard and is really  very much healthy. We all don’t have the same standard. People come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And all these people INSPIRE me! A community, A family… that I will not soon forget! Don’t forget to encourage those around you!

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9. Don’t let other people define you. Don’t let your past define you.

10. You are stronger than you think you are. Do something that you don’t think is possible. and Be freakin’ Proud of yourself!

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Sometimes is’s fun to get a little fancy

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Also I would like to report that since I got back that I have been on track and my pants are looser. Truth be told, I have increased my workouts (kinda) and sorta started making better choices… but I am inspired and I haven’t totally given up on the whole healthy eating thing and that progress. I can’t tell you the last time I had onion rings OR a cupcake… soooooo. eventually the pants will fit again. But for now I am proud. I am worthy. I am ME and I am happy. I will keep running and making good choices, and someday I will be in smaller pants.

Thanks for letting me share this incredible journey on the Carnival Vista with you all.

and now… it’s time for my run!

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Earth Day

So. My first 5k ever was 5 years ago. My sister Jen made me sign up. I thought she was crazy. Me? Run?!?  a 5k?!?! hahaha. Well. I did it. Was the farthest I had ever run. And vowed to never do it again. Well I did. The next month. Apparently I caught the bug!! Yesterday was the anniversary of my first 5k. Something super cool happened at yesterday’s run. But before I tell you about that I need to tell you about how apparently competitive I am. I didn’t do as well as I thought I should. I finished like 2 minutes slower than I wanted too. I had to stop several times because I was struggling with the whole being able to breathe thing. I’m not going to make excuses about why I didn’t do “well” so I’m not going to. But immediately I started sorta started saying ” I coulda done better.” 

And then I thought back over the last 3.1 miles. The image of this young girl (she was probably 10 or 12ish) flashed into my mind. She and I were running at a very similar pace. She was all by herself and you could tell she was obviously pushing herself. I don’t know her story… All I know is I was watching her and she kept me going (unbeknownst to her). When she hit a wall and started walking I ran passed her and tapped her shoulder. Smiled. And told her she was doing awesome and to keep going. I could see the spring return to her step and she smiled and started running again. Funny thing in… When I was having a “my lungs hate this wind and this running thing” moment… She caught up to me and did the same thing. Told me we got this and to keep pushing forward. This continued through the race. Sadly I don’t know how she finished because I ended up finding some motivation and finishing strong. I really wanted to find her though. Was so cool to have that connection. Run I g is so much more than running. It’s freeing. It’s empowering. It builds self confidence. It reduces stress.  The list goes on and on. 

The other inspirational story was the 89 year old lady who walked the 5k. Yes. You read that right. 89!! I took this screen shot of the local paper’s website.  

 I think it took her an hour and 14 minutes. She is freaking 89! Running passed her was the coolest thing! Too see her living out her dreams and still rocking a 5k… gave me hope. I want to be that cool at 89! I don’t think there was a person there who wasn’t inspired!

  Back to me for just a second. I did a little side by side comparison of my first Earth day to yesterday.  

 The difference in these two photos is more than just physical. It goes a little deeper. The girl on the left had very little self confidence. She didn’t believe in herself. She would have NEVER envisioned her weekends/ vacations revolving around 5k’s and 10ks. All I have to say is regardless of yesterday’s Finish time… I am freaking proud of the girl on the right because you know what.  I fought to become her! Actually I take that back. I continue to fight to be the girl on the right. Every. Single. Day. Is it hard? Yup! It’s it worth i?!? You better believe it! Am I exactly where I wanna be? Nope. But I’m continuing the fight. I won’t quit. I wanna be like Irene. Kicking butt at 89! For now… I’m just gonna keep doing my best and keep fighting the good fight. 

Who inspires you? 

And what did you to today to make yourself proud?!?

 Keep fighting to be the you that YOU want to be. 

I did that?!?! 

So a month ago I wrote a blog. And I received some of the kindest words from a friend of mind. Apparently I inspire people! Me?!?! I guess so! How did I do such a thing? Just by being me I guess! Here is what a friend of mind posted on Facebook….     

First I need to say that I am so freaking proud of how she has taken control of her life that it’s an inspiration to me! It’s definitely a full circle type of deal. 
It really did get me thinking. How Would 221 lb Tonya have reacted if you would have told her that someday she would inspire someone to lose half their body weight? What would she say if you told her that countless people would look to her for inspiration and motivation on a regular basis? If you would have told Chubby Tonya that people would literally make different choices from the vending machine just because I walked in the break room? 

This much I know. I would not have believed it was a possibility. I didn’t have enough belief in myself that I would be able to make the changes necessary to even be where I am today. But I started on a journey… That has been steal,y quite amazing ….

I think The coolest part about what Bonnie wrote is that fact that I inspired her just by being me. By my being imperfect and flawed and being honest about my struggles and just by living my life. Not shoving healthy living down her throat.  That’s how I hope to continue to be. An inspiration just by being me.

It’s people like Bonnie that keep me having my head in the game. It was really easy when I was leading weight watchers meetings (chubby Tonya would have laughed if you told her that was in her future!) and had to stand up in front of a group of people and be accountable. Now, I don’t have that. I don’t have to weigh in weekly. It is up to me to keep going. And it’s hard…

Being someone’s inspiration is really kind of a cool thing… But it’s also a lot of pressure. Like I can’t slip up. I have to stay on my A game. However, it also means that when I do have a moment there are always people to knock me back to my senses 😉 I am so blessed to have such a solid support system! 

Your future is in your hands. What are you going to do with it? People are watching you… Be proud of who you are. And be You. You are beautiful, capable and amazing… Above all.. You are worth it! It’s not easy! Losing weight was not easy and keeping it off is not any easier. But don’t give up! Deal?!? 

What’s your excuse??!?!

So lately I’ve kinda been full of excuses. Excuses of why I can’t eat healthy or can’t work out. Of course I am fully capable or doing both… It’s just hard. Stress, changes and challenges are making it more difficult. Bottom line is I tend to turn into a whiney baby and don’t wanna. Don’t wanna work out and don’t wanna eat right. I like easy… But easy doesn’t really pay off now does it?!?! I think I covered that I’m my last blog. So why do I have to cover it again?!? Well cuz tonight I had an encounter at the gym that inspired me and needed to share it.

Sometimes the right person crosses your path at the right time. There is this gentleman I see at the gym quite frenquently. I will call him Jeff. His name isn’t Jeff…. But we never knew his name so we started calling him Jeff. Even though I learned his name at some point….he is still Jeff to me. Anyways… I haven’t seen him for a couple of months. Tonight he was at the gym. He always smiles and waves and says hi. Not usually a conversation to be had beyond him telling me I’m looking good and me saying thank you 😉 He is a super friendly guy. Anyways… I have noticed over the past year or so he seems to be having a harder time getting around. He is walking with a cane and doing way less than he used to. Come to find out tonight he has not been able to move his body for months and has not been at the gym for 2 months, he is dealing with Parkinson’s and dealing with bursitis and he is 66 years old. Says he can barely get up the stairs. When I asked him how he got to the second story of the gym, his response was “one step at a time.” This was super inspiring to me. Healthy living really is a “one step at a time” journey. He will never know that I’m sure… But him pushing through a workout, doing what he could was inspiration to me. He can not do what he once did. But him being there doing something was impressive!!! He did more than I wanted to do. I did manage to suck it up and Do my thing. How could I not after that! I know he wanted to do more… He told me that himself, but he physically couldn’t. Made me step back and realize that I have NOTHING to complain about. Seriously Ton… Suck it up. So next time I wanna play the “i don’t wanna” “I’m stressed” “I’m trapped in the couch” “I just wanna get fat” card… I hope I stop and think about Jeff. If he can get off the couch with actual reasons to stay there…, I can surely get my butt in gear. Dontcha think?!?! Think this photo I found on Pintrest sums it up the best.

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I don’t know what your excuses are… But I’m sure you can do something. Another quote I see on Pintrest a lot is…. “Do something today your future self will than you for” I don’t know who said that… But I think it a lot. Maybe it’s walking to the end of the driveway. Maybe it’s putting down the Little Debbie and picking up an apple. Little itty bitty teensy changes make lasting impact. Trust me on this one. We got this! Let’s dump the excuses and make headway in 20-FIT-teen. K?!?!?!

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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It’s your choice

I feel like I have to start this blog with a disclaimer. I realize this is easier said than done. Trust me. I am writing this for all of us who struggle. I gotta be real honest. Life has been kinda sucky lately. Causing me lots of stupid stress. I try not to stress out… But it think it’s getting to me. I realize there are things going on that I have zero control over and that being stressed about it doesn’t do any good. However… Sometimes the brain goes crazy. Mine, probably more than some others. I kinda just wanna stay in bed all day… Or hop on the next plane out of this place! However, What I realized it this stress was causing me to be a crank-bucket. I don’t like being cranky. I would rather be happy. Here is what I realized… My crankiness and negativity was rubbing off on those around me. Was infesting my environment. Apologies to those who had to deal with the toxicity of this. The “cove of positivity” is no place for negativity! Today I woke up with a new attitude. I chose JOY. Man oh man did it change my day. Everything went better and the atmosphere seems better around me. Rainbows and sunshine if you will. Maybe your life in not turning out like you thought it would. Maybe you are in a situation that seems bleak and helpless. You can’t always control the circumstances but you can change your attitude about them. I stopped and looked around me at all the reasons I am blessed and quickly realized that my life could be worse… A LOT worse. I am way to blessed to be stressed and I know things will work out in the end. I may not see the plan… But freaking out isn’t going to be helpful. So. I am choosing joy. That being said if you see me not choosing joy… A gentle reminder might be needed. So… Not matter what is going on in your life. Choose joy!

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Pintrest find! Figured it was appropriate!

Scrap camp 2015

Just wanted to write a little blog about scrap camp. I get a lot of crap for going on a scrap booking retreat but I don’t care. I love being crafty and putting my bazillions of dollars worth of scrapbook stuff to good use. Here is what happened this weekend however. I failed. In more ways then one. I failed at being prepared and organized. I forgot super important things at home. I failed at making good food choices… My social butterflyism got in the way of even pretending to be productive . I failed at scrap camp. But it just proves a few things. I guess I am a human being… And I am not perfect. The good news is you don’t have to be prefect to have a good time. I slept it. I took naps. I went for a walk one day and a run the next. The good news is that weekends like this don’t define me. I am back on track starting… Well… Let’s be honest… Probably tomorrow. The intention of this weekend was to make scrapbook pages about running… Well I did a few. And I will share them here. Hope you enjoy the digital journey through my lack of scrap camp productivity. Ps. One thing I did NOT fail at was running 100 miles in Janurary. Nailed it! 103.5 miles to be exact! 568.5 miles left to run in 2015. Totally got this! Will keep you posted!

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The little pull tab, pulls out my January run calendar. Awesome!

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There you have it! That’s pathetic compared to what I know I can do… But it was fun. So that’s a win! Until next time… Make it a great day!