Have you ever had one of those weeks where you start it out doing one thing or something and then that things ends up being sort of a theme for the week? Or you look back on the week and you see a pattern you inadvertently created over the days and you go “oh!”? That’s what happened to me 2 weeks ago! I was at the tail end of a 60 day transformation challenge at the gym I joined this year. Workouts, meal prepping, club events to win prizes, weekly weigh-ins, it was a blast! I’m happy to share stats if you’re into that sort of thing but let’s get to know each other first…..
“Go hard or go home”. That was the motto I adopted in the penultimate week of the challenge, fresh off a half marathon and just buzzing with energy. I talked about this in an earlier blog post The Madness of March!
In the final week of the challenge, “Achievement Week” it was called, I took a series of photos, daily – it started quite spur of the moment but I do like spontaneity. Inspiration comes from the randomness of my mind and my general surroundings! It’s the little things. I give you 7 Titi moments and words of wisdom.
“Some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.”
― Charles Bukowski, German-born American poet, novelist and short story writer
I had just finished “Team Alpha” – a focussed group training class at the gym. Very “cross fit type”, strength training, Olympic style lifting etc. I took a mat, did a set of abs exercises, and just sat back, transformation challenge on my mind. I took a breath, admiring my compression sock clad legs….ok, not quite. Ok, maybe a bit! I blanked out and went into my thoughts for a moment….with all the people, machines, music….everything around me became still….or maybe it was me. When I came out of my reverie, I looked down and smiled. I noticed the dumbbells matched my socks! I saw softness, strength, success. But pink dumbbells? Really? I thought, almost laughing. I was never one to gravitate towards pink. I remember when my niece Chi turned 2, I asked her what she wanted and she said “PINK”! I had to break it to her gently that while I understand her love for all things pink, I’m not able to give her the colour, coolest auntie that I am. The 60 day transformation challenge brought me back to who I am, it transformed me physically and mentally. I’m more energised and loving the things I love.
1. Stop for a minute. Stop, see, smell.
“Smell the roses. Smell the coffee. Whatever it is that makes you happy”
– Rita Moreno, Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer
I didn’t sleep too well Monday night, between the buzzing with adrenaline and generally getting over Monday. BUT. In the spirit of going hard, no rest for the wicked etc etc. I got up, flung myself out of bed and ready for the office. I typically work from home most days but the gym is closer to the office and if I wanted to get a quality workout later, I wanted to make sure I got my work out of way. I stumbled into the building still feeling bleary, did a detour through the office restaurant, looked up and saw this sign. I swear I saw white light and heard angels singing. “Take a photo of me, TAKE A PHOTO OF ME”!!! It said. So I did. I always listen to the voices. I caffeined up and went about the day. It was a good Tuesday.
2. Find what makes your day possible, what makes it happy, what makes you happy.
“Every exit is an entry somewhere else”
– Sir Tom Stoppard, Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter, knighted in 1997
Another day at the office! A rather uneventful day it was. There will be days like this. You wake up, you go to work or look for work, you work out or not, you go home or to your living place. That’s it. No bells or whistles, no fireworks. It’s just a day. Some days are just that…..a day. Every day doesn’t have to be “exciting”, sometimes it’s the grind. The grind can be exciting, sometimes. We can get up in the social media life where everything is exciting or someone is living the exciting life you’re not. Fast forward to the end of my day, I came out of the room I had planted myself, looked ahead of me and was struck by the hallway! I never noticed it so grand, beautiful. It was beckoning me to come to it. I looked above my head and there was the exit sign, glowing. I think it’s time to leave, go, you’ve done enough. Thank you, don’t mind if I do. Then I saw my photo. Apt. Effortless. Yes.
3. Make sure you read the signs
“Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise”
– Alice Walker, American novelist, short story writer, poet, and activist.
I have a salad every day. EVERY DAY. I call it my super delicious titi salad. Greens, carrots, apple, walnuts, celery, bell pepper, all chopped to loving perfection and in equal measure, dressed with just extra virgin olive oil. No, not bragging. I eat this EVERY DAY. I’m happy to have the same meal every day. I was a picky eater as a child. What am I saying? I still am a picky eater! Though, the term I’d use is “selective”. I’m sure I drove my mum mad. It wasn’t even how a food tasted, I wouldn’t eat something because I didn’t know what it would taste like. But how will you know if you….? Let me just stop you there because you won’t win this debate. I didn’t like any food that was “green” or “round” (Brussel sprouts had no chance!) or had “seeds” (I’d take out the black seeds in bananas). Adventures I can do, but I do not want to be surprised by my food. More on this another day! There are studies that say feeding is a visual process for humans and we are wired to choose “coloured” foods over “green” ones. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Decades later and I’m in love with the greens after embracing healthier eating.
I remember when my mum “tried” to add avocado to my plate. To say I went into panic is an understatement. What is this green mushy looking messy thing???? AND WHY IS IT TURNING BROWN?!!! Anyhoo, back to present moment. At the weekend, my friend Liliana made dinner, with a salad, she knew me well enough not to add raw tomatoes (thank you friend). We are both on the 60 day transformation challenge so we are discussing, comparing notes and what not. I’m quite biased about my salad but this was SO DELICIOUS I asked what dressing she used. “Apple cider vinegar and black pepper”, she said. The avocado makes it creamy, she added. Meal prep shopping took notes! With an avocado, you hold hope in your hands – it can delightfully surprise or terribly disappoint. It can make or break your guacamole. Literally and figuratively. The hope of the world was restored when I cut open this picture perfect avo. I have a new salad to name.
4. Surprises are what you make of it
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
– John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States.
I decided to walk to the grocery store, it was just 1.3 miles away. Ish. I only needed….an onion and maybe carrots. I was working from home. Friday’s are typically rest days. That means I don’t workout or have a workout. Well, most Fridays. It was a sedentary day, head down in meetings from the early am, so when the thought of walking popped into my head. Ok! I said. Beats taking the car just for a handful of items. Fitbit check (gotta get those steps in!), Trainer’s check (gotta keep these calves cushioned), headphones check (checking out Tiffany Haddish’s “The last black unicorn” audio book). I was set to go. I’m ambling, bobbing my head as I go, I cut through the park and the picture that met my eye was…well, look at it!
The road curves, it straightens, it widens, it narrows, it goes over bridges, it runs through alleys. It is beautiful, it has pot-holes to avoid, it is near, it is far, it takes as long as it takes and ends anytime you want it to.
– Titi Osu
5. We are all on our own road, our own life journey (ie my road and your road is different!)
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. …
– Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Father of the United States
Taxes will NOT be the death of me. Just the thought of it….nothing gets me more discombobulated. I know I’m not the only one here, am I right?! For lots of different reasons I’m sure! I moved to the US from the UK over 5 years ago. I’m having to do UK taxes as well as US taxes, long story.
In the US, the tax year is a calendar year, January 1 to December 31, the deadline to submit is April 17th. In the UK, the tax year runs from April 6 to April 5, the deadline for paper submissions is October 31 and for online, January 31. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of year in wild panic confused about filing dates, deadline dates, the country I’m filing for, if I’ve filed…..you’re spiralling out of control Titi, get a grip! I usually do after a few breaths. In the UK, as an employee, you don’t file taxes, National Insurance (what you pay if you earn over a certain amount) and income tax is taken automatically out of your wages. In a good way, I’ve found filing taxes, as an employee as it’s done here in the US, does bring me face to face with my money. I have come to appreciate it – think positive Titi, thoughts become things, choose the good ones! I did get a friend to help this year. Exhale.
6. Know your money, know your worth.
“Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week”
– Joseph Addison, English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician
Sunday and brunch. Love it! Again with my eating habits, I have the SAME thing for breakfast EVERY DAY. Surprise surprise. It is a power breakfast though – oatmeal, walnuts, cinnamon, half an apple or banana and a scoop of egg white (unflavoured) protein powder – the latter I deliciously discovered quite by accident (thank you Will)! Brunch is a nice surprise for my tummy! I get to catch up with a friend or friends, and have something different to eat. Even on the 60 day transformation challenge with my disciplined eating habits, nothing comes between me and brunch. Will you be surprised if I tell you I have the same thing for brunch at a certain restaurant I like to go to? Ok, I won’t tell you.
On this fair Sunday, I had my final weigh in for the transformation challenge and took my “after” photos! I was so pleased with the results I saw – on paper and in person! I went into the challenge purely on a whim, I didn’t set any kind of expectations. I came out a winner! Learning life style habits I’m carrying forward. I went from 23.3% body fat to 18.4% (10 days later it’s at 16.5%!!), eating real food I must say. Too often people think or are misled to think you have to starve or eat bland food to be a certain way or weight. Not I said the cat. No.
I rewarded myself with a movie and kettle corn/popcorn. My kryptonite. My delicious. It was the perfect ending to a perfect week! Just a nice “quiet” week…going on at it’s own pace. I went with it. My speedy running pal Nigel says he has one speed, “go”. I love it! Sums life all up really.
- Go with the flow
- Go get it done
- Go with all your heart
- Go at your own speed
- Go for it
- Go hard or go home
Sunday is another chance to start the week!
- Go. Do. Be. You.