[flipflopandwellieboot.wordpress.com] “Strengthening my Core”

Yesterday I did a google search to see what the cyber-world can contribute to the definition of the word ‘core’. ‘Nitty-gritty’, and ‘heart-and-soul’ was added to my ‘core’ folder. Other explanations were also starting to fill up my word basket: 

– the innermost part of the earth; 

– part that is responsible for generating the planet’s magnetic field

– the most essential or important part 

– the important facts of a situation

– essential details of a situation

Add the ‘high educational’ voice of Webster to this:

– a central and often foundational part, usually distinct from the enveloping part by a difference in nature

– the inmost or most intimate part of an individual

-a part that is removable form the interior of a mass, especially do determine composition

Week 4 – 17 April 2020

It’s all in finding your balance, but even though I thought we were stabilising ourselves

I was still caught off guard by the 4th Friday of the officially imposed living-and-working-and-exercising at home experience. Experience indeed!! The ‘real’-ness of our houses as the centre of our universes, has settled in and the happy flow of life was carrying us onward. Surprisingly, fast is the movement of this river!! 

Shocked back to reality, that even the slower pace of life@home can pass this quickly too?? I was a bit puzzled by this thought, but also encouraged to make an EVEN BIGGER effort to be present in the moment!

Arno and Thomas were doing their final welding and grinding and digging, installing a sliding vehicle gate at the front of our property. This project has taken quite a few years (5 to be exact!!) to turn from words and plans into a green gate that slide on wheels from left to right!! They were so proud of their handywork and it was a very productive father and (naturally not-so-handy-) son partnership. I figured the absence of a maize of after-school activities and negotiating mountains of grade 10 homework, might have created a desire to hand-build something!

 Let’s rephrase wise Webster: A difference in nature (e.i.staying@home), which is distinct from the normal/natural (rushing around between school, work and extra-murals) has strengthened the central and often foundational part of a relationship between father and son…in other words, C19 has created an opportunity for ‘core-work’ in and between these two precious people.

Who are we?

What are we made of?

In this alternative times we’ve negotiate different ways of connecting with people who seems to appear into our lives. A ‘good morning’ over the fence. A plum cobbler that way, a book and some chocolates this way. Relationships built and strengthened.

These unexpected connections bring interesting skills and equipment with them… 

In this way we were blessed with a slackline that appeared in our garden. For those of you who might be wondering about the nature and functionality of such a device….. it’s is an elastic cable that gets rigged up between two trees, or in our case, between the steel beam of the balcony and the ‘swing’-tree. In real life, this will be used by adventurers like Bear Grylls or Steve Backshall to be-lay over a high river, or travers across a wide gully. The excitement in the Theron-garden was escalating!! 

The excitement of developing a new skill – walking on a tight-rope – was buzzing through the ranks. We got a very elegant, arms dancing, feet touch-touch-and-grab sweetly demonstration of what such an endeavour is supposed to look like. We took this in with silent anticipation. Wondering if our bodies will be able to mimic this show of balance and core stability.

Then it was  our turn…everyone nervously test-test the weight-carry combined with elasticity and movement integration of the cable. The hardest part is trusting the tension in the line with one’s weight, together with the instability of the floating line and body-untrained-core this is looking and feeling like a baby who is getting up for that first few steps. Needless to say, you cannot get onto the line, without somebody supporting you. Well, with my own attempt I needed two people to help me (one on each side) and not even with them both grabbing me firmly under my armpits AND me clinging onto their shoulders could I managed it!!!

So after a few tries, some members of the family actually started to manage a step or two!! Excited squeals of delight, interrupted by shrieks of fear and failure added another sound to the peaceful birdsong in our back garden.

I can testify that this skill is WAY more harder than it looks, but also if one gets the hang of it (or should I say the balance for it), it is an achievement with little or no comparison!!

As the days follow on one-another so the number of steps too. The greater the confidence of the individual, the stronger the mind with-in, the better failed attempts were attacked with more practising. The longer time spend on(and off!!) the line, the further the brave participant went. But when a new skill is honed, muscles work that has never been asked to perform until now, with the resulting pain and discomfort…mishaps can even cause arms in slings…and still the number of steps kept piling on.

Although my beloved was first to accomplish the whole length of the line, with the two teens following in close pursuit, I still found myself at the ‘getting-on’ stage!! Ok, I did not spend as much time as these brave hearts interacting with the new ‘toy’ , not to mention my natural affinity to balancing activities,which does not reach legendary status….but it brought some time for reflection. How am I caring and growing my core; developing my balance in a world where equilibrium (as we knew it) were swiftly swept from underneath my feet? What measures or values have people put into place, the gravitas of their human core, to keep them from falling off the slackline of life?

Patrick Lencioni’s statement that ‘a core value is something that a person should be willing to be punished for’ ties in completely with our garden-balancing-act scenario! Taking this a bit further, we can also understand why people with a strong emotional, spiritual and intellectual core can endure harder falls and turmoil (c’on Webbie: a state or condition of extreme confusion, agitation or commotion…yeah, right!!) get up and navigate through the stresses of unforeseen life happenings more eloquently. 

This brings me to the question: How can I adore my core? How do I attend to my core? Or better even – Where is my core, what is my core and how strong is my core? How do I find balance within my body and what is the relationship between me and the environment that I am positioned in?

From my humble own experience (which is different from yours) I’ve learned a few things. Who knows, maybe this can guide or prompt you into being awake to the attention needed to grow a strong core in yourself and in the people who you love.

  1. Nurture your spirit (your inner-man or -woman, the ‘real you’)

In order to understand your core, you need to reflect on the Creator of your spirit man, your core. The awareness of a BIGGER picture, where each of us has an important assignment to fulfil, has the ability to settle our weariness, loneliness and fear.  Read the Bible daily. Let the words soothe the chaos within you.

2. Attend to your soul (will, mind and emotions). 

A thought provoking article or book can also add to your stability in soul and mind. Personal growth and development, drawing on resources out with yourself, will engage your mind. It’ll align your will into setting new patterns and routines. Finally, it will anchor your emotions on truth… not running riot chasing after every conspiracy or piece of fear-raising fake news. Establish balance in your ability to discern what to allow into your ear and eye gate and what to banish from your home – this includes a non-tolerance attitude towards TV programs, movies, idle talking and established boundaries (amounts of screen-time and bed-time routines).

3. Exercise your body (‘vehicle that carries and protects your inner man)

No beating around the bush here – a healthy body hosts a healthy soul!!

Take particular care in eating healthy and doing exercise daily. A few  jumping-jacks can lift your heart rate as much as it can make you lift your head up!! This is where the physical core training comes into play, e.i balancing on the slackline, doing an HIIT workout, walking around the perimeter of the garden, or having a chasing crawling race with the baby!!

4. Establishing routine

There is nothing better you can do to connect your body-soul-and spirit (and building relationships within your immediate family while caring for their core as well) than to set a healthy daily routine. Make sure to incorporate variety with-in your weekly routine. The main priority for you is to get dressed in the mornings. Next up is to schedule in time to relax between doing house, office and school work. Lastly, purposefully plan rewards for yourself and the family. This will make the process of developing and working towards goals so much more entertaining and enjoyable.

We are all striving to the centre of balance. I guess we are wired within to crave routine, unity, peaceful living and joy. We long to anchor our souls and rest in a place of safety. These core values are who we’v been created to be. When this balance of rest is challenged, then we are naturally inclined to reclaim it. 

Our former situation will not look the same again, but with a strong core…and the willingness to keep on strengthening our core, we will be renewed in body, soul and spirit.

Don’t you want to join me on the tight rope??!!

John Spence – Definition of success: When your core values and self-concept are in harmony with your daily actions, choices and behaviours.


Google is not a good search engine for definitions. For English words, http://onelook.com is far better. 😉

[2020-05-02 17:00 UTC]


#balance, #core, #equilibrium, #exercise, #fitness, #skill, #skills, #soul, #spirit, #strength, #strengthening, #strong, #value, #values

[fitambitiousblonde.com] “What makes this time different?”

In asking that question, I am trying to get to the bottom of why I have been able to make a meaningful lifestyle change that has enabled me to reach my health and fitness goals this time around when all the other times I previously attempted it, I failed quickly and spectacularly? Why am I so motivated to stick with it this time? Why have I been able to commit to and complete 5 different but equally challenging workout programs over the last two years? Why am I able to continue to pick that steamed vegetable side over the side of fries (most of the time 😊) that I used to order or to choose to take the stairs over the elevator every time that is possible? And most of all, why am I enjoying the process so, so much these days that I can’t even imagine ever going back to the way I was living?

In order to answer those questions properly, we need to back it up. I mean wayyyy up. Like back to the beginning of my story when smart phones weren’t a thing, we had to look at paper maps to figure out how to get somewhere new, and the closest thing to Google we had was the card catalog at our local library. Man, those were the days. Also, yes I am that old. But anyway, having put some thought into this whole question of why this time has been different, I realized that back when I was growing up is really the last time up until now that I can remember genuinely enjoying being active and healthy. I played sports from day one pretty much. I learned to swim before I could walk and was in the pool on a swim team my entire childhood. On top of that, I played basketball, softball, ran cross country, and even played a bit of soccer all throughout elementary, middle and high school. And I loved every minute of it. I loved getting up at 4am to get in the pool for practice before school. I loved the 7am swim meets on Saturday’s even though a lot of the time the water was absolutely freezing. I loved practicing every day after school. I loved practicing on the weekends with my dad. I loved competing, not only as part of a team but against myself.

While I am no longer competing to win a blue ribbon at a swim meet, or practicing my little ass off to get that starting point guard post on the varsity team, I am competing against myself every single day to be better than I was the day before. That competitive spark is back in me and more than anything these days I don’t want to let myself down. Even back when I was growing up, it’s not that I liked to beat other people so much as I like to prove things to myself. I like to work as hard as I possibly can and see the fruits of my labor being realized. I like to push myself further than I thought I could go to prove to I am capable of doing hard things. But that competitive spark didn’t just randomly decide to reignite because let me tell you before this last time, I tried and failed many, many times to get and stay healthy and in shape.

After my teenage years when I went off to college and beyond there were suddenly no more teams to join. No more teammates relying on me to get up early and get my ass in the pool. No more medals to win or PR’s to break. This is when the struggle became real. This is when the fun stopped. My weight fluctuated. I tried starvation diets. I tried endless hours of cardio. Then I would get frustrated, swing the other way, and eat anything I wanted without setting foot inside a gym for months at a time. There were times I was so thin it was scary and there were times I was much heavier than I wanted to be, and let me tell you, neither one of those versions of myself were healthy. Two years ago, that all changed. I finally had enough of the yo-yoing. I wanted to lose ten pounds, get my mental health under control and make a real, lasting lifestyle change. I knew it would be different this time because I wasn’t giving myself the option of failing. I even remember exactly where I was when I made this commitment to myself. Crazy the things we remember in life, huh?

That day started about a 6-month long process of doing exactly what I had done in my previous attempts to lose weight which was pretty much not eating a lot and finding the closest treadmill and making it my best friend. Can anyone guess what happened next? If you said I almost threw in the towel because the process was tedious and not sustainable you would be 100% correct. But this time I had real motivation on my side so instead of giving up I doubled down. I knew I needed to shift the way I was eating and working out to find a long-term solution, not a short-term fix. So what did I do? Well, it was a combination of a few things that I want to share below just in case someone out there is reading this and is on the verge of giving up and/or debating if it’s even worth starting again. Just keep reading a few minutes longer and maybe some of the mindset shifts I made this time around will help you as well:

I found the fun again!

Like I talked about above, wayyy back in the day, exercising and being healthy was fun for me. I knew I needed to find that enjoyment again if I had any chance of achieving my goals for long term success. I found that fun in the at-home workout programs that have changed my life! I credit these programs with a large part of the success that I have had over the past two years because they are challenging in way that I can’t even describe but also so much fun to do! There is also a ton of variety….everything from yoga, to Pilates, weightlifting, HIIT, tai chi, cardio, boxing, Plyo, you name it and I would be willing to bet you can find it on this workout platform. I was the biggest skeptic going into this you guys. I thought no way am I going to be able to achieve my goals, let alone enjoy working out from my living room! I also knew, however, that what I had been doing wasn’t working and I was rapidly headed for yet another failed attempt so really, what did I have to lose? Not to mention several of my friends, family members and even two co-workers of mine swore by these programs, so I signed up, pressed play, and I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself! These programs are also keeping me sane right now in the midst of all the craziness going on around us! I have not missed a beat with my health and fitness goals because I am able to do these workouts at home. In case you are interested, I will link my top three favorite programs I have done so far as well as where you can you find the free trial of ten of the latest workouts below:

  • LIIFT4
  • 21 Day Fix
  • 21 Day Fix Extreme
  • Morning Meltdown 100

Click to access FREE_BOD_Workouts_Int_20200319.pdf

I realized it was a combination of eating right and exercising.

You really can’t have one without the other when you are trying to get healthy. You can read a little more about this in a post I wrote a while back called, It Takes Two…, but the gist is nutrition and fitness go hand in hand. If you are looking to create a meaningful lifestyle change you have to be consistent with your workouts and on top of what you are eating. My genius idea in my previous attempts to get skinny was to eat as little as possible. Like I am talking a handful of crackers a day, which most days would be just enough to keep me from passing out. I literally cringe when I think how dumb, and not to mention, reckless I was back then. I realized this time around it wasn’t at all about getting skinny. It was about getting healthy. Now every meal I eat I try to do so with intention and the purpose of fueling body with the nutrients it needs not only to be healthy but to maximize the efforts I am putting in with my workouts. The more I move, the more I need to eat. I see food as an ally now. I use it to help me feel and look my best and most importantly I finally have a healthy relationship with food these days. I don’t weigh myself at all. I eat when I am hungry and I stop when I’m full. My energy levels are up, my sleep quality is a ton better, my anxiety is all but gone and as a bonus my pants fit well which goes a long way in assuring me that my fitness and nutrition are both on point!

I educated myself.

And still am! I put away the mentality that I knew everything I needed to know about how to get my butt in shape and I started researching. And I continue to do it to this day. There is so much information out there about living a healthy lifestyle I will probably never be able to absorb even a fraction of it but I try to learn something new every day. These days I am mostly working on learning about nutrition because that is my weaker point. The workout programs I follow take the guesswork out of how to get in shape, how to lift properly, how to maximize your efforts, etc. so my focus is now on learning how to fuel my body properly. Currently, I am trying to educate myself about macros because I don’t think I am eating enough protein to achieve the next goals on my list. The point is I humbled myself enough to ask questions and most importantly to challenge my assumptions. A perfect example of this is I swore by endless hours of cardio for weight loss until I discovered from listening to other people and doing my own research how amazing weightlifting is to shed those unwanted pounds and get leaner. Take your health into your own hands you guys and invest time into learning how to properly manage it. Read articles, study what other people who have been successful are doing, get to know your body and body type, have clear goals and make a plan about how to achieve them in a smart, safe and healthy manner.

I was patient.

I stuck with it long enough this time that I got over that hurdle of wanting to quit and started to see change happening. I quickly realized that a fatal flaw of mine in the last several go arounds was I was looking for a quick fix, not a long-term solution. This lesson was probably the hardest one on this for me to get through my thick skull as I am not a patient person by nature, but I knew from all my failure before that I had to become one. I finally recognized that meaningful change was not going to happen overnight, but it would happen if I showed up every day for myself and put the effort in. I continued to work on my goals even on the days and sometimes weeks that I didn’t see any progress being made because even though I couldn’t see the changes happening, I could feel them. I actually think I noticed the change in my mental and emotional health long before I saw any weight fall off or muscles start to form. Just feeling better, happier, and more calm gave me all the incentive I needed to keep going. Eventually the weight started to come off and I could see the outward changes as well. While it feels like I woke up one day and suddenly saw all my hard work starting to pay off, in reality it was happening from day one. You guys, this is a slow process, especially in the beginning but quitting won’t make it happen any faster! Stick with it, find enjoyment in the process and just know changes are happening each and every day.

All of that being said, I don’t what you to think that I wake up every single day feeling like I want to go run a marathon or lift weights until I can’t move anymore. And I sure as heck don’t wake up every morning being thankful that I am going to walk into my kitchen and find my superfood protein powder instead of donuts, but the majority of the time I really enjoy the process of living a healthy lifestyle these days. I have found the fun again and my competitive nature is back in full effect. I am motivated to keep going so as not to let myself down. And what’s more, is even on the days my motivation isn’t there, my dedication still is. I am dedicated to maintaining the results I have gotten thus far and building on them to achieve bigger and better goals. I have put in a lot of hard work to get where I have over the last several years and I have no plans on letting up. And my experiences in getting to this point are also why I am here today, and why I started this blog. I think so many other people out there have been where I have been. Where we start, stop, start, stop and start and stop workouts or diets or a combination of both over and over and over again until we are so frustrated we end up not even starting anymore. Break that cycle and stick with it you guys please!! Write out your goals, post them somewhere you have to look at them every day and make a conscious decision that nothing will get in your way of achieving them! And guys, make it fun because life is entirely too serious otherwise!

Hope you all are staying safe and healthy!!!



“I don’t what you to think” => “I don’t want you to think” 😉


[2020-04-17 13:41 UTC]

#determination, #diet, #discipline, #exercise, #fitness, #food, #fun, #happiness, #happy, #health, #joy, #nutrition, #progress, #typo