Four Letter Words

To me
Coming from you
Friend is a four letter word
End is the only part of the word
That I heard
Call me morbid or absurd

I was obsessed with Cake when I was in high school. I wanted to be that girl in a short skirt and a long jacket–in fact, I think my friend and I tried that look and then realized it was way to ’90s fashion and not enough early 2000’s fashion and we gave up and just belted the music from my 1988 Grand Marquis as we drove around our small N. Michigan town. It wasn’t until she and I got into a fight that I really started finding meaning in some of the brilliant lyrics they were putting out there.

When I realized what “friend is a four letter word” meant it hit home, mostly because my best friend since I was 14 had just ditched me for a guy and I was left calling her four letter words alone in my car. And it clicked–friend is a bad word, coming from her, to me… it hurt.

WHY am I talking about Cake when it’s New Years Resolution time? Or four letter words when ‘friend’, F-R-I-E-N-D is clearly a 6 letter word–Yeesh, Sloan, get with it–amiright?

Well, I want to blow your mind–I have news for you–D-I-E-T is a four letter word. Both literally and in the message I want to convey to you and your friends.

“Wait, wait, wait. Sloan–you are a personal trainer, a health coach AND know more about nutrition that most people I know… Aren’t I supposed to go on a diet January 1st? Well, January 2nd actually–I’ll be too hungover and needing carbs on the 1st. But all the magazines tell me to do a juice cleanse, a raw vegan, sober, high protein, with the lunar moons and my hormonal cycle DIET. This is what we do EVERY YEAR!!!”

I get you. Most people’s New Years Resolutions made every year have to do with losing weight, getting into shape and making this year the best year EVA! However, how often do we fall off the wagon, only to get super down on ourselves by mid February, drown our sorrows in post Valentines Day candy sales and say “next year”?

Image result for resolutions calvin hobbes

Here’s what I propose: Don’t make resolutions. Make a commitment to one or two small health changes in your day to day. Here’s what that can look like:

-Get a skim latte instead of a full fat one.
-Get off a stop earlier and walk a little bit more.
-Wake up 20 minutes earlier so you have time to do some yoga or gentle stretching.
-Pass on that hump day glass of wine.
-Swap brown rice for white rice.
-Order the fish instead of the steak.
-Try a new class at the gym.
-Do research on hiring a personal trainer or a health coach. Ask questions about who they are and what they do.
-Set an alarm for once an hour to get up from your desk and walk around, do 10 squats and stretch your arms in the air, (this feels really good, I promise!)

DIET’s set us up to fail. They set us up to do xyz for XX amount of time and then when cabbage soup is falling out of our ears it’s over. The 30 day cleanse is no longer a constant after February 1st and guess what? We lose everything, errr or we gain everything back. By making small manageable changes we develop habits. Life long skills that don’t encourage an end point. There is no end point to a balanced lifestyle.

Resolutions give us the idea that we accomplish this one thing and then we’re done. But guess what? Living a healthy life, walking your daughter down the isle at her wedding this summer, playing with Legos on the floor with your grandson, keeping up with your marathon running significant other–these are all things that will not happen with a ‘resolution’. They will happen when you make sustainable, maintainable changes in your life. 

One. Step. At. A. Time.

So. As we kiss 2016 goodbye (FINALLY), let’s start 2017 not with a list of huge resolutions. Let’s break that habit and start small. Start with manageable. Start with a 20 minute walk and some extra stretching at our desks. Let me help. Email me. Leave a comment. I want to hear what you’re doing in 2017 and beyond. I want to know how I can help you!

Seeking Shelter

I’ve been craving quiet lately. We live in such a media driven world where cell phones are ringing, text messages are coming through, snap chat, facebook updates, twitter posts…on top of that I live with boys. Well, father and son actually—son with a bum knee and a knack for falling asleep on the couch with the TV on or a video game controller still kissing his fingertips, I felt bad at first clanking around in the kitchen at 630am, but quickly remember he has his choice of three bedrooms upstairs to sleep in. Grind on, coffee maker, grind on.

            The television is generally turned on right away. Fraiser, Will & Grace, or some other sit-com is what blares at my brain by 8 o’clock. Not Matt Lauer, Al Roker or one of the other friendly faces on the Today Show—it’s laugh tracks and corner gay jokes are laughed at right on cue while I sip my coffee. Which is fine, I have a bedroom that I can seek refuge in, and I often do, grabbing my novel and hiding away under the covers with candle lit to cover up the stench of my work out clothes.

            By the time I head to the Tavern I work at, hungry families are lining up to order lemonades and afternoon beers. Families. That means children. Whenever a couple brings their child into the bar I find myself quoting Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama; “You have a baby…in a bar” [cue face drop] I was ready to join my co-workers for a smoke break after my 20 top that consisted of more children than adults…the tavern was taken over my ankle biting, high pitched screaming, sticky fingered children. I told my manager that that was the best birth control, ever.

 

My answer for some quiet this week? The pool. I swam competitively for nearly ten years. Swimming is comfortable, swimming is easy (unless I have a tough workout planned), swimming is like a big, quiet hug. I’ve been training for a triathlon, and eventually will be swimming the first leg of a half Iron Man this fall. Needless to say, I’ve been in the pool quite a bit lately. But today, today I appreciated the pool for more than it’s caloric burn, it’s ability to stretch my body and build my muscles—it was quiet.

            No. Wait. The deck wasn’t quiet at all. The lifeguards had music playing, there were children (though the pool is an appropriate place for those munchkins,) there were other swimmers swimming laps. I jumped in. In that moment being surrounded by bubbles, I recognized the silence under water. I had known how loud my life was outside, but I hadn’t realized how quiet it could be.

I seeked shelter there for an hour. Not enough, but enough for the moment. Just noticing this quiet refreshed me. As I put my ear buds in for my run home I played soft, soothing tunes that were enough to ease me back into reality.

 

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA

 

           

Routine VS. ?

As much as I love tromping around the world, changing my location, exploring new places, I have learned in the last year that I thrive in routine. Even in Thailand I created a strict routine for myself during the week, it consisted of early mornings, early evenings and eating pretty much the exact same thing every week day. It seems boring, especially when you’re in a foreign country but a girls gotta do what she’s gotta do to stay sane. As I traveled the rest of SE Asia I was forced out of the routine and struggled. I couldn’t run every day, I couldn’t control my food intake, (yes this is part of the adventure, but for weeks on end this becomes stressful).  Being out of your comfort zone is great, but I think we can all agree that it’s hard.

           

I’ve been here in Deep Creek, MD for about three weeks now. I have a job, I’m training, and I’m helping coordinate a race. If I work at 10am, I get up at 6am and get to the pool, gym, trails…etc. if I work late I sleep a bit later and push my training forward a bit. I’m routine. The check in people at the pool recognize me, the gym people know me by name, the friend I live with knows what I like to eat—hell, he made a pot of coffee before I even got up this morning, (best surprise EVER)

 

But the question I’m started to ask is, is routine productive? Or is routine like running on a treadmill, not moving forward, but just getting really tired and bored (boring)? I try to set goals. In fact a friend of mine and I both have made a goal list: he is getting out there. Hitting the gay bar scene, getting out of his safe circle, pushing his limits and making himself uncomfortable. I’m…reading more. Thinking about writing more (and failing,) training (but obsessing,) and…that’s about it. I’m having a hard time identifying what I want.

 

If routine is comfortable but works do you stick in it? How often should you stray? When do you throw your hands up and fly across the world again due to not knowing?

 

Penang Island, Malaysia--the World

Penang Island, Malaysia–the World