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? 

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?!?! 
  

Who is that girl?!? 

This whole blog has been brewing in my head for quite some time. And I’m not really sure I can make it make sense… But I’m sure gonna try. It all started when I started seeing people post photos of kids going back to school pics of their  kids. Along with senior photos. I decided to look back at mine. It generated a lot of thoughts. Here is one of those photos: 

That was 1999.. And I was probably about 70ish lbs heavier then, than I am now. Here is the deal. I am gonna be real honest. I have been struggling lately. Not so much taking my healthy living journey seriously. Tired of constantly making good choices. Feeling a little…maybe a lot.. Stressed out. So I take it out on food. Why? Cuz that’s what I know. That’s what my fall back has always been. Eating right is NOT always fun. Working out flat out sucks sometimes. Quitting is really…really an appealing options. Eat what I want and be lazy.. Sign me up. But wait just a second. Let’s think about how unhappy, unhealthy chubby Tonya was. How much it sucked to carry around that much extra weight. How I could not see my feet beyond my belly when I stood up. How self conscious I was. How I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. How I didn’t even try because of my size. How quiet and shy (some of you don’t believe that… But it’s true). Sometimes I don’t even recognize that girl… But sometimes she is so close to being back it’s a little scary. Do I want to go back? Who do I want to be?!? 

So these were the thoughts that were going on in my head when I get a text from my brother. Said he showed my 5 year old niece this photo:

  Her response was: Auntie Tonya (I am the one in the grey) looks different. Which lead me down a whole new train of thought. I have 4 nephews and a niece. Ranging in age from 3-6 years old. They currently don’t know “Chubby Tonya”. They know auntie Tonya who loves to chase them and play on the playground with them and race them (Carter says I am the fastest). They know an Auntie that tries to make good choices and tries to teach them about balance. They know an auntie who runs for fitness and for fun. An auntie who has run a lot of 5ks (I should count!). An auntie who is learning to be happy with how far she has come. They know a much more confident person than I was in high school. I think I want to be the Auntie they know. I don’t think they need to know Chubby Tonya. I am not ashamed of who I was…and I am not yet who I want to be. And I may have even gone backwards a time or twenty… But I didn’t give up. I WON’T give up. I can’t give up. That is the lesson I want them to get from my journey. Not giving up. And being healthy is worth it. That is the Auntie I want to be. Yes, I struggle… And I expect that to continue. But I will keep fighting. For them and for me. I know what to do. I have the support system to make it happen… But it’s ultimately up to ME to make this happen. And you know what?!? I got this. 

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.

IMG_0337.JPG

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?!?!?!

Gimme a break…

Now that I have got your attention.. and quite possible the Kit Kat jingle in your head (you’re welcome). Here is thoughts that have been brewing in the wonderfully complex brain of Tonya as of recent. I have actually been experiencing a little blog withdrawl… it’s been 12 days since I added wisdom (or ramblings) to the blog world. So here goes. As you all know I am on a mission to run 100 miles in January. Well, Just a quick update. I am RoCkInG it! As of today I am at 86 miles. And have a plan on how to get the rest of them in before Scrapbook Camp. Well, Here is what happened on Wednesday. I was feeling nothing short of exhausted. My body was like “okay, Ton… you have ran enough I can’t run another step let alone mile” I wanted to run.. like in my mind I had a goal to hit. I also had other stuff to do at the gym. Apparently my exhaustion was apparent and was told to take a rest day. A WHAT!?!? I can’t.. Not now. Are you ILL?!? are you kidding me?! these are all things I either thought or said.  Well contrary to my desire to just run regardless.. I took it easy and called it a rest day. I took a BREAK!?!? huh. Interesting concept. I actually took off Wednesday and Thursday. Funny Part… I felt better the next day. More energy and more gumption. Here is the bottom line. You deserve a break. Maybe it’s a break from running, or whatever your workout of choice is. Maybe you made poor choices at Pizza Ranch (oh..wait..that was me) and instead of giving yourself a lecture.. you give yourself a break. Maybe you didn’t hit a goal you were striving for in your perfect little time frame… I don’t know what it is… Just..Gain a renewed focus and do better tomorrow. Maybe your life is super scheduled and you feel like you are pulled in a billion directions. Take a break. Relax. read a book… watch a movie. DO NOTHING. it’s okay. Healthy even. Take care of you mentally and physically. Why? Cuz you are worth it. That’s why. Life isn’t perfect and may not be exactly as you thought it would be. It’s OKAY. Give yourself a break and make this the best life… you really only get one. Make it matter.

me

Time for a…. Pep talk!

Know why I write this blog? Because I need a place to come back to and be reminded of lessons that I have learned. And maybe help someone in the process. So here it goes. These are the thoughts I was thinking during my five mile run tonight. First, however, a little background, I am still struggling to find a balance between my increased workouts and eating what I know I need to be eating. I have mainly been eating two things: anything and everything. Lol. I’m sure I am not alone in this. I get to this “I wanna eat everything I can get my hands on” and I’m not exactly talking fruits and veggies here people…. Well. I was in a mood today. A “why can’t you figure it out and get your head in the game” lecture mood. A “I don’t wanna life weights cuz it’s dumb and boring” mood… And a “why can other people eat whatever they want and not care” mood. First of all I wanna say I am lucky to have someone who does not allow these moments to last long… He made me get my butt to the gym. While I was running something happened. I started to think about all sorts of reasons that couldn’t quit. I started to talk to myself like a friend and not someone I was trashing for poor decisions. I cut myself a little break and ran a little faster. Something more amazing happened when I got home from the gym… I didn’t eat anything and everything. I ate when I had planned… Well drank a protein shake (trying to work on getting more protein in my diet) and stopped. Wait a second… Stopping is an option. Well yes, yes it is. Must admit I felt pretty proud of me. It’s a daily struggle sometimes. Here are a few of today’s thoughts: I was looking for motivation to get to the gym. I realized that sometimes you just gotta do it. You’re not gonna always wanna do what you know needs to be done. Just do it. Not doing it isn’t an option. Think about how you will feel when you push through. Workouts you don’t wanna do are important. Just put one foot in front of the other. Builds character! You never know who you are inspiring. I know I have talked about this before but I was told by a 12 year old this week that I was more fit than she was. Made me feel good. Makes me feel good when people ask me about weight loss and working out. Meaning… I can’t quit. Gotta keep on keeping on. You have to be the hero in your own life. This journey is all about you. Sure you can have a support system (please do!!) but at the end of the day… No one can do it for you. You control what you eat and how much you move your body. It’s true. Was talking to a coworker about this very thing today. I really love seeing people succeed and as a weight watchers leader it’s kind of a passion of mine. I love it when my friends and family take control of their lives… But I can’t make people make changes. On that note… If you need someone in your support system… You have me!!

IMG_0067.JPG

2014…What an adventure!

I have been trying to figure out how to sum up the year that was 2014. And I really haven’t come up with a real good way to do that. The conclusion is… I am one blessed girl. I spent the year surrounded by friends and family who love and support me. Went on some amazing adventures with some pretty amazing people and had a blast doing so. I hit a goal that took me forever to do so. (And I will hit it again… Had a bit too much fun over the holidays). All I can really say is that I am having fun being me. Overall, life in 2014 was a bit roller coaster-y…but that’s life…. Right?!?! Gonna recap the year in a few of my favorite photos….

DSCN0619-0.JPG Lifelight with Rachel, Jen and Hali. This was our adventure at Falls Park!

DSCN0793.JPG the fam spent the day at the zoo. I love these people more than they will ever know!

DSCN0709.JPG discovered a new love of paddle boarding!!! So freaking fun!

IMG_0279.JPG totally crushed my 10k PR!

IMG_0316.JPG literally spent the day walking around HILLY Duluth Minnesota!

IMG_0315.JPG
Welcomed this amazing lady into our crazy family!

IMG_0314.JPG
Got a little muddy with some dirty girls….

010ca6f299bf6d671c281d9ec595e6807a710a3f40

Added to my “bestie” group with the addition of my newest littlest bestie Whitney. Got to spend some time (although never enough) with my Little bestie Brooklynn too. And their mom who has been my bestie the longest. Love them all!

DSCN0993.JPG
Visited the Big Apple with my sister Jen. This is us in front of the FRIENDS building. k and i at Disney on ice

Auntie and Kiersten bonding day at Disney on Ice. So many memories!

I could keep on going. I have a bazzillon pictures…. And so much more. Thanks for taking this little journey down 2014 memory lane. Looking forward to an adventurous fun 20-FIT-teen! Make it a great year!