My #3 Fav Resource…and the newest challenge at The Journey

Can I be honest for a moment?  Cause I really think I should be.

Me, right now..

  • my clothes don’t fit right (some because I cycle a million times a week and some not)
  • I am tired
  • I am in pain…hips are really killing me lately
  • winter is coming and I’m not a big fan of the “s” word (in Minnesota that “s” word comes with negative temps…like below 0 kinds of things – and some of you right now don’t even know what that feels like)
  • I’ve had some pretty nasty (but tasty) food go in me…some habits regress…and weight come back on.

me timeAbout 2 weeks ago I started working on me again.

That might sound weird and odd because I teach classes and “exercise” almost every day…but those aren’t my workouts.  I can tell people what to do and how to do things and help them with their form, make them feel the burn…and many times I am feeling it right there alongside them.  By Thursday I am usually walking around with sore legs, teaching a class with legs that could hardly walk up 2 flights of stairs…but I am still going.  I hear the complaints from those I work with and trust me…I know what sore feels like.  I’m feeling it right there with ya.  My body needs more though than what I can do while teaching.  I’ve pushed it to extremes before and I haven’t been at that level for a bit.  In classes I have to be able to talk.  As I tell those in class…”if you can have a conversation with the person next to you then you aren’t working hard enough”.  (Let’s add to that list…read a book, talk on the phone, surf the web on your phone or text)  Well, if I’m telling you that…that means I can talk in a conversation and that isn’t my workout.  Make sense?

I first started not to try as hard in February.  Our family went to Florida and honestly, I didn’t want to have to worry about what foods I had and I just wanted to enjoy our time as a family.  I worked really hard up until that point and I just wanted to relax.  I needed it.  I was at my lowest weight since high school (many, many years ago) and I was ready for a little break.  We did eat fairly healthy while we were gone but I did enjoy food too.  Where the slacking really happened was when we came back.

My schedule was crazy.  My son needed more of his mom.  Kids’ homework and my work was just a bit stressful and I was just waiting for summer to get here.  I kept telling myself that in the summer I will be moving more and can focus on being outside with the kiddos, walking, running and just having fun.  Reality happened…summer wasn’t quite so calm…I had an injury with my shoulder and my “me” time was a lot less than my original plan.  A lot of my workouts just couldn’t happen and the intensity had to be less than my norm.  My neck hurt, back and as I was recovering I realized the root of the problem was my shoulder.  Today, I am now able to bench press without pain…so yeah, it has taken awhile to recover from that.  I had to back off of deadlifts, push presses, bench presses, boxing…all the things that I really, truly enjoy doing and that make my body feel like it is going to fall over from the workout.  My “me” time at the gym used to leave me covered in sweat.  It was such a great feeling!  (Right now some of you are going “gross” or “I don’t sweat”.  If you think that…come with me and I will make sure that you do sweat…cause you can.  This morning I left the gym and I could smell myself.  TMI?)

Now I am working on finding that “me” time again…and it is tough.  Three kids.  Wife.  We have a crazy puppy.  I work early.  I work with people in our home on a semi-weird schedule.  I volunteer.  I help my husbands business.  I try to clean…but let’s face it…with kids, dog, husband…it just never stays clean so what’s the point. 😉  I try to make healthier meals but…when the kids (or other grown-ups) in the house complain it doesn’t really make me want to try hard.  I’d rather say “shut up, eat it and enjoy it”.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I have said similar words to my family after I have spent an hour or more making something that is supposed to be really good for you but obviously someone lied on their Pinterest post that it was healthy AND tasty.  Can I just add that my meals never look like the pics in those posts too?  I mean, seriously.

Life is hard.  Throw in trying to be healthy at the same time and we might seem like we are making it even harder for ourselves.

That is why Small Changes work best for me.

If I do a complete overhaul of my life and have a starting date for all these changes that are going to happen in the various areas of my life…I will fail.  I have before.  If I try it again that way I will fail again.  Nothing like thinking we are going to succeed and have awesome results when we really are just setting ourselves up for disappointment.  Am I right?  Have you been there?

In a few months our calendars are going to flip to another year…and that means Resolutions.  That also means that the gym is going to get a bit busier and people are going to be working so hard while they are there…eventhough many will hardly be able to walk the next day because they haven’t been on an elliptical in 11 months or more.  They will try.  They will get sore.  They will cut every bad food item that they have consumed since March and will be eating salad non-stop.  Next day they will think about trying and may or may not go for the “torture”..and eventually the lack of results at the unrealistic pace that they expect will send them back to the couch with the remote in their hand.  There are people who are champions and succeed with this complete overhaul scenario.  Unfortunately…I have never been one of those with a WINNER sign over my head as a result of this strategy.


Two weeks ago I started thinking about my small changes I would be making.  For me…I need an entire week to just get my mind wrapped around everything.  Pump myself up.  Get some positive encouragement going on in my mind and tell myself that I CAN DO THIS!  It helps…and if you need to start somewhere…start with this.  In fact…let’s make it a challenge for anyone that wants to start making small changes.

How is this challenge going to work?

Each week I will post a rundown of what I did each day and a small change to focus on.  It will be a diary of sorts…how I felt and a few tips to keep you motivated.  If the small change that we are focusing on for the week is something you are already a pro at…find something else that you know is a challenge for you and have that be your small change for the week.

When do you start this Small Change Challenge?

Honestly…don’t start this until you are truly ready for change.  I know it might sound odd.  It might sound like I really don’t want to see you succeed but truthfully, you have to want this for YOU.  I would love for every person to start getting healthier but there has to be some sort of spark inside you that says “I AM READY!”  It has to be there or you probably won’t make it through this.  I can’t make YOU want it for yourself.  You have to find this for yourself and really take a moment and think about this.  Your spark and desire might show up in a variety of ways for you…pants are getting too tight, the number of the scale is making you freak out and wonder if your eyes might need glasses or maybe you just don’t even want your picture taken because you don’t want to see what you really look like.  It might be years since you looked at the REAL you in the mirror…and a photo shows you what you have been avoiding.

When you are ready…start.  If that is today…start today.  If you need a day to really think about all of this…take a day.

Whatever day you are going to start…here is SMALL CHANGE #1

SMALL CHANGE #1:  Find all the positive quotes and pictures possible that make you want to change or inspire you.

Put them on your phone.  Hang them on your fridge.  Put one in your car.  Wherever.  Whatever.  Remind yourself of these positive things and focus on them.  Change is not just a physical battle but also a mental one.  In fact, I would say that my mind plays a much bigger role than my muscles.

If I have a barbell sitting on the floor and it is 70 pounds, which I know I can lift over my head, but I have one sliver of doubt that I can’t do it today…I won’t be able to.  My body can do it…I’ve done it before…but my entire body must be on board.  My mind is what pushes me, what tells me that I can go one more time even when my muscles are screaming.

My mind is what tells me that it doesn’t matter if people are watching because I am doing this for me and those looks don’t matter…cause I am doing an awesome job!  When I mess up and don’t do the exercise with 100% perfection (which happens a lot), I am still doing an awesome job!  I tried.  That in itself is awesome.

Our mind is a powerful tool when we talk about getting healthy and making small changes.  If our minds aren’t in this we may as well just sit on the couch and continue eating that ice cream as The Biggest Loser is on (yes, I’ve done that).

choices week 1I had a few special days where this was pretty specific in my to-do’s.

  • Monday…I teach classes at a gym and the hallway going to one of the rooms is just filled with pictures and inspirational quotes.  I took a moment and just stood there and read them all.  It was quiet.  Just me in this hallway.  I read each and every one.  I snapped a few pictures too of a few and put them on our site that day (you can find that post here).
  • Wednesday…Mentally I was close to getting to the point where I knew I could do this.  This journey was like starting over again and that defeat, that I let myself slide, was rearing it’s ugly head.  The thought of “loser”, “fat” and many other derogatory words could have been used to describe how I felt…but I had to get those out of my head and just keep telling myself, “I can do this.”  I had my workout to do and I didn’t want to do it.  I really didn’t.  My body was saying that I wasn’t going to do it…my head was saying that I had to.  I did the workout.  🙂
  • Friday…I came across a quote that just hit home.    “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.” – William James.  

I’ll be posting next week what I am up for SMALL CHANGES #2…and I can tell you already that these first few days weren’t my favorite but I just keep that end result in my mind.  See…the mind is still a part of the process!

Oh…and my #3 Fav Resource?  It’s gotta be Girls Gone Strong!   If you haven’t checked it out before…do.  So much info there and they just redesigned their site.  Great women.  Free info. Videos too that show you how to actually do things and explain why.  A lot of what I do at the gym is because of them.  🙂


Jessica is a mom to three kids, puppy and a wife to 1.  She teaches fitness classes at two locations in Rochester, MN and works with women individually with their fitness goals.  You can find more info about Jessica and others we called “groupies” here.


3 thoughts on “My #3 Fav Resource…and the newest challenge at The Journey

  1. Jan

    I’m an “all or nothing” kinda girl… Trying to change that… I want to do PERFECT all the time, but I always fail. This post was exactly what I needed to hear. My small change last week was taking a flight of stairs each day that I worked and continue to add a flight. I’m now taking the elevator to the 12th floor and taking the stairs to the 15th floor. 😊 This week, I’m recording everything I eat in MFP regardless if it’s healthy or not. Thanks for the great post!


  2. Pingback: The Small Changes Challenge #6…It’s Not Easy Being Green | The Journey

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