How to be better at everything you do!

After reading Kathy Sierra's blog: Animals love exercise…why don't we? I feel that I've been remiss in not sharing a very important part of my life over the past year with you.

Kathy says:

Want to be a little smarter? Have a better memory? Stay mentally sharp? Improve higher brain function? Run. Those who exercise have a mental advantage over those who don't.

She's right.

The lifestyle change that changed everything

There are many reasons for my renewed invigoration and energy this past year. Perhaps the primary one was a major lifestyle change that my husband and I undertook spring break last year.

Kip and I had been talking about doing “something” for a while. We were both 50 and 40 pounds overweight, respectively, and I was having terrible back trouble. I didn't feel good. I had no energy. We just couldn't keep up with our three kids. We looked at Body for Life and thought it would work for us but figured we'd have to get up at 5 a.m. to run or lift weights. That seemed awfully early for folks who didn't have energy.

And then he left

One morning I woke up at 5:15 a.m. and he was gone. Not gone for good but he came back around 5:45 drenched and smiling. He had gotten up.

“This is it. I am taking back my life. I am no longer going to feel like my best days are behind me. I am drawing the line in the sand and taking back my health starting today. I will no longer be a victim of my own bad habits. It is going to stop and it is going to stop now!”

The next day

The next day, I worked out with him. The Body for Life program has worked for us. We're both very technical and I can honestly say I've always hated running until about 10 weeks into it. I now LOVE to run and can run a mile in less than 10 minutes which is good considering when I started I couldn't finish in 20 minutes. I love lifting weights and haven't “bulked up at all!”

We've been going for almost a year. Kip has lost 40 lbs and I've lost 30. We look and feel like new people. We've undertaken new things.

Kip has been promoted twice since he lost the weight. The folks at work respect his desire and discipline and it has flowed over into his work. I've started blogging and writing again..something I've missed greatly over the last few years. I feel like I am a new person!

A legacy to live by

Even better, we are modeling behavior for our children. They see us making healthy decisions and living healthy lives. We run and play with them. They like their new parents.

Interestingly, I have gained increased attention and interest from my students. (And I look 10 years younger and shop in the juniors department sometimes!) Some of them have seen my drive to get up at 5 a.m. each morning and do it too. In fact, the football team meets at school at 6:30 a.m. and lifts weights each morning, not because of me but because of our football coach. It has now become the cool thing at our school to get up early and exercise. I can't take credit for it all, but maybe I had a little part.

Put First things First

Stephen Covey talks about putting “First things First.”

For me, it is getting up, reading my Bible, praying, and exercising. Before anyone else gets up.

Thank you, Kathy for reminding me to share my transformation.

Lessons from the Journey of Transformation

It doesn't matter what you do, just do something. Here is what I've found in my journey:

1- There is no such thing as losing weight without sweat.

2 – There is no such thing as getting healthy without sacrifice.

3 – You don't have to give up everything you love to get healthy.
(You can eat your favorites just not the WHOLE CAKE!)

4 – My problem was emotional eating, not hunger.
I had to learn to recognize the signs and stop it.

5 – I had to have a “free day.”

The hinge of the Body for Life program is having one day a week to “blow it.” I could eat anything I wanted, as much as I wanted. That was chocolate chip cookie day. Most people couldn't believe that I lost 30+ pounds eating 10 chocolate chip cookies a week. They'd see me on my “free day” and be shocked at how I was eating.

I could make it through the week knowing that at the end I could have anything I wanted. ANYTHING!

6 – Find what works for you —
My sister jumps rope and has a Blizzard once a week. I run and lift weights and eat cookies on Sunday. I have friends who go to Curves and has a huge Starbucks frappucino on Saturdays. It has to fit you and your personality. But it always involves work, planning, and sacrifice.

7- Accept imperfection
My problem was that I was trying to do “diets” perfectly. This wasn't a diet but a lifestyle change. Bill Phillips stresses

“It is not what you do all the time that determines your health, but what you do most of the time.”

You're not going to look like Cindy Crawford because Cindy Crawford says she doesn't look like Cindy Crawford! We are imperfect humans. Enjoy the journey. Seeing yourself improve is fun!

Enjoy the results!

I can honestly say everything in my life is better. After the first 10 pounds my back problems went away. I am four sizes smaller. I am a whole lot happier.

The Magic Pill

If someone told you that there was a magic pill you could take that would prolong your life, prevent cancer, prevent diabetes, prevent stroke and heart attack, prevent depression, and prevent osteoperosis you would take it. The side effects are profuse sweat about 30 minutes a day and infrequent growling of the stomach. You would rush out to buy the pill!

Well folks, it isn't a pill. I've just described exercise and healthy eating.

Why don't you join in?

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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