WELLNESS CHALLENGE BLOG: Debbie Norton - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

WELLNESS CHALLENGE BLOG: Debbie Norton

June 22, 2018

One week remains of our Wellness Challenge and I have mixed emotions. I am happy to have had this experience and pleased to see how far we have come. 

We’ve made great strides in our CrossFit workouts and have loved/hated each class. I look forward to seeing even more improvement as we get stronger and continue to push through our fitness goals. 

It’s been so much fun seeing the changes in my challenge mates including greater self-confidence. Tuesday night Sam and I were leaving our workout and realized Sofia wasn’t walking out with us. She had stayed behind to work out just a little longer. She has certainly hit her stride in the exercise department!

I am a little disappointed in my weight loss but as they say, you can’t out train a bad diet —not that my diet has been awful but I have struggled to stay on plan the last six weeks. I recognize where I’ve slipped and am working to jump back in to reach my weight loss goal. 

The Wellness Challenge feels like a great forward for of a book. When it ends, the book begins. I think I’ll title the first chapter, “Hold the fries, pass the broccoli.”

June 15, 2018

Our group of 4 wellness challengers are nearing the end of our five-month challenge.  

A couple of times I felt like I was failing. When the scale wasn’t moving like I wanted it to or when CrossFit seemed like it was too hard, I thought it would be easier to throw in the towel.

That would have been the easy way out. That’s where the change has occurred. I don’t want to take the easy way out now.

I am better equipped to face challenges head-on because I’m stronger, both physically and emotionally. For me, that means less fear, more determination and an overall feeling of well-being.

The end of the challenge means I’m moving into the next phase using this traction to continually make progress with my fitness and remain aware of the triggers that cause me to slide on my nutrition or meal planning and how not to let those triggers derail me.

Like the Ashley, Sofia, and Sam, I plan to finish the challenge strong. I look forward to letting you know what I’ve lost and what I've gained and what the future holds!

June 8, 2018

The Wellness Challenge has been such a positive influence on my life and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. In February, when asked what I wanted to accomplish, I didn’t hesitate with my answer. STRONG. I want to be strong until I die. 

Sarcopenia is the scientific term for age-related loss of muscle mass. Adults lose an average of 3-5 lbs of muscle mass every year over the age of 30. Good grief! At my age, how could I possibly carry a bag of groceries let alone hoist my heiferilla arse into my husband’s truck?

Why is muscle mass so important? It helps prevent falls because if you trip, you have the core and hip strength to right yourself. Weightlifting builds bones and helps prevent osteoporosis-pretty important stuff unless you want your hip to snap like a pretzel when you step off a curb. 

But wait, there’s more! Weight training makes you feel better, boosts your mood and prevents your spine from deteriorating into a lovely dowagers hump.

Don’t know what that is? Google it. You’ll run straight to the sporting goods store and buy some weights or better yet, you’ll call a friend and tell them you’re joining a gym and you’re going to kick Father Time’s wrinkly old arse down the road. 

The Wellness Challenge has changed me. My diet has improved and my mind is sharper. I’ve lost weight and I’ve gained more confidence. I’m happier because I feel great. 

This blog feels way too much like a brag fest but the point I’m trying to make is this incredible change of heart, mind, body, and soul has happened in less than 5 months!

I’ll never win any weightlifting competitions but I also don’t need anyone to carry my groceries, heft my suitcase or help me up the steps. I don’t plan to give up because I’m not going to give in. These are the words of a changed woman. 

May 25, 2018

Do you remember what you were doing in February? I bet you do because it was only four months ago. It was a wet, cold month with a lot of mushy stuff that fell from the sky.

Since I’m in outside sales, I was worried about footwear. Did I have the right kind of boots to keep my feet warm and dry yet look kind of professional? A lot has changed in those four months.

I know I yap too much about how much we wanted to do a handstand kick up but the envy was real. We would go to the gym and watch everyone effortlessly complete that move while we had to perform some sort of modification.

But that’s the beauty of CrossFit. If you can’t do what the big kids do, there’s always a modified exercise. But with those HSKUs I felt like the kid still tooling around with training wheels while the big kids raced by on their 10-speeds.

I was trolling on fellow challenger Sofia’s FB page and was reading comments about the video she posted of her HSKU.

One comment caught my eye. “I wish I could do that.” I literally said out loud, “YES, YOU CAN!”  You can do it!  

In four months, I’ve trimmed 5 inches off my waist, lowered my blood pressure, reduced my cholesterol by nearly 40 points and I feel like I’m back on the playground, chasing the other kids and sometimes catching them.

I have another month remaining on the challenge and not every goal will be met but the one that matters has already been accomplished.

I’ve changed my mindset. The words “I wish I could do that” have been converted to the action, “I am doing that.” I’m going to keep doing that. I’m going to keep kicking back the hands of the aging clock. I can’t stop it but I can sure slow it down. 

May 18, 2018

If you’re keeping up with our blogs, you know that one of our goals is to be able to complete a hand-stand kick up. Then what? We start walking on our hands? 

That would take some serious strength but just because we are unable to walk on our hands doesn’t mean we should ignore our arms during weight training.

We’re doing our best to strengthen our upper body, lower, and core. We probably pay the most attention to our legs because strong legs help save us from falls and keep us young.

We all have relatives that seem to age twice as fast once they need a walker and then that feeling of doom sets in once they advance to the wheelchair.

Another upside is how exercise combats depression and raises mood and the only side effect is sore muscles.

Today’s weigh-in was a bit disappointing (gained a pound) but I’ve already pushed it out of my mind so I can concentrate on making improvements.

Tonya, our nurse practitioner, and owner of Got Health? Wellness and Weight Management gave me some suggestions and encouraging words to get me over (or PUSH me over) the hump.

I am bored by the food I’m eating, therefore I’m making choices that aren’t too wise. It’s no wonder I’m bored because I tend to eat the same food day after day after day because it’s convenient and takes very little brain power.

I’ve had Spring Rolls on my mind today so I’ll stop by United on the way home and pick up some rice paper and veggies. Now, if I can just keep from eating them two meals a day for the next two weeks!

May 11, 2018

This week was so much better than last week. I know this because I read everyone’s blog last week and we were all pretty down.

The difference for us was being pushed during our workout Monday. We were told we could lift more weight, so we did. It was that simple.

We walked out of the gym a bit taller and with more confidence. Mind over matter, I guess.  Next week, my mind needs to keep up the positive talk to keep me on the right path.

In the planning stages – a kayak adventure in the Wichita Mountains and renting a 10 person “Dragon Boat” at OKC RiverSports. Details to follow!

May 4, 2018

Get out of my way! The last seven days have been filled with seemingly important things that got in my way.

My work days were overwhelmingly busy and twice stretched into the evening, causing me to miss CrossFit.

A vacancy at the duplex we own meant hours showing it, screening applicants and prepping it. Blah, blah...you know how it feels because everyone has those weeks. 

Looking back, I probably could have made one of the missed workouts. I definitely could have kept a better food diary and food choices? Yes, I made choices. Not all of them good. 

What I missed most of all last week was my connection with my challenge mates. I counted 29 texts in our group chat.

We normally blab at least 10 times a day. Most notably missing was Sofia and I did not do my job checking on her nor did I send many encouraging texts or incredibly witty remarks. Okay, I never send witty remarks. Thank goodness for Sam who left a sweet "miss you" note on my computer monitor.

She reminded me that we're in it together.

It's the togetherness that I missed the most last week, the interaction with my challenge mates. The high-fives, hugs, and support left a void in my week and the void reminds me to regroup, hitch up yoga pants and get back to the basics of the challenge.

Today I look forward to a trip to OKC. My best friend and my sister are driving from Kansas and we are meeting to anything we want and nothing we have to. Just packing my overnight bag feels rejuvenating. 

Next week? I have my sights on you! I'm hoisting the flag of the Wellness Challenge and shouting, "Get out of my way!"

April 27, 2018

Our Wellness Challenge is doing what it’s meant to do.  It is challenging the four of us to put healthy food in our bodies which gives us the energy to exercise.

Pretty simple.

You’re forewarned.  Randomness is coming.

We are not quite half-way through the challenge and here are my numbers.

Down 20 lbs.

Waist -5 inches.

Cholesterol down 40 points.

Good cholesterol up.

On top of that, I feel great.

I am thankful for Samantha, Sofia, and Ashley who encourage me when I feel discouraged.  

I lean on Tonya our nurse practitioner and owner Got Health, who has seen me at my worst. By worst, I mean when I’m on the verge of tears and I don’t

want anyone to see me being vulnerable. That is the side of me I never like to expose. I feel comfortable sharing my struggle with Tonya. She has the ability to get me to open up, to confess, to dig down and talk about my “issues.” I really think she’s secretly a psychologist.

Fortunately, we still have over three months left on the challenge which means nearly 80 more CrossFit classes at CrossFit Wichita Falls. Daniel, Josh, Dianne, Peter…the other members.

They have made this challenge such a rewarding experience.  

Coming up? The next three months. I’m ready.

April 20, 2018

My fellow challengers and I have all met obstacles the last couple of weeks.

Sofia has been fighting nasty allergies, the news department has been short-handed so more responsibilities have fallen on Sam’s plate and Ashley has been very sick the last few days. I, too, have been popped in the nose by pollen. 

While laying on the couch in a Kleenex shroud, I have been watching YouTube videos on how to do those pesky handstand kick ups, eating tangerines and reading self-help columns. Goodness knows I need self-help. 

In a July 2017 Success.com article, by Daniel Milstein, the author reminds us to start listening to our inner voice. What is it saying? Is it telling us to procrastinate or do it now?

Are we being asked if we deserve this? Deserve what? Good health? Hell, yeah! Is the voice telling us that we are a failure or is it cheering us on?

Too many times my inner voice has been a nagging little whiner, pounding negative thoughts into my brain and causing incredible self-doubt. Immediately following self-doubt is fear and even worse, fear-based decisions. 

Fear is both crippling and crazy. As I write this, I can’t even remember what I was afraid of a month ago. What kept me awake at night and caused me to worry about my job, my family, my friends? What was SO AWFUL yet now so forgettable?

I was choosing to listen to negative self-talk. The same voice that used to tell me I was too tired to go to the gym or suggesting that a bag of chips was going to be a great snack. 

It feels pretty good to put a gag on that voice.        

Occasionally I still hear it but I have to remember that it’s the voice that wants to teach me a lesson. A lesson learned by way of poor eating habits and inconsistent exercise.

The other voice, the positive one, is telling me that I’m making great progress to a healthier life and I really like the way that sounds.

April 13, 2018

I know this blog is supposed to be about my journey on the wellness challenge. Next Friday I will tell Tonya at Got Health that I've done pretty well with my eating plan. Daniel at CrossFit knows I made it there once and next week I'll be back in full force. I want to share what else is going on this week.

But first, I need to apologize to some of my friends.

To all of my friends whose children have flown the coop, left for college or moved to another city, I apologize. I was not there for you. I did not know you would be experiencing such a void in your life.  

It's been a tough week. Today, my son, my only child, is moving 400 miles away. I never dreamed it would be such an emotional experience. He's transferring within his company and moving to Topeka, Kansas which is where I was raised.

I shouldn't make it sound like it's a bad situation because it's a great move. For a couple of months, he will live with my sister and her husband while he gets the lay of the land and locates a house.

He will be in the same town as my parents and I find comfort knowing that he will spend time with them, helping them around their house and creating memories with them. I know they are looking forward to having more time with him.

I was 25 when I moved to Texas from Kansas. My son is 25 and moving to Kansas from Texas. It's just a coincidence, I know.  More than a coincidence is the feeling you get when you know that your life has changed.

My mom told me one of the hardest things she's been through was watching me drive the UHaul away from 3625 Holly Lane in Topeka. I understand her feelings now. 

April 9, 2018

It’s only been a week since my last blog entry but during that time I hijacked the struggle bus and drove it into the wall!

The day I wrote that entry, I visited a friend of mine and as we were talking, he was drinking a beer. My favorite beer. He offered one to me. I politely declined.

When I got home, all I could think about was that beer! I withstood temptation until the next day. While running my Saturday errands I decided to pick up a 4-pack but I told myself I would only have one during the entire weekend.

Yeah, right. Over the course of the weekend, I consumed all the beer, ate two Pop Tarts, devoured some Cheetos and... well, you get the picture.

I drove the struggle bus until Tuesday when I was finally able to extricate myself from the wreckage and get back on plan. Unfortunately, it was a bit too late to salvage any weight loss in time for my Friday weigh-in at Got Health? Wellness and Weight Management.

My goal is to lose two pounds a week and since this was a two-week weigh-in, I should have been down 4 lbs. I didn’t lose 4 lbs. I gained two.

I fully expected Tonya, our nurse practitioner, would give me a lecture or at least a spanking but she didn’t. She was understanding and encouraging and gave me suggestions of how to handle similar episodes in the future.

I can’t say enough good things about Tonya and how she encourages me to work through the emotions of eating.

I feel that I’m in a better place this week but if you see me and it looks like I’m starting to spiral downward please hide the keys to the struggle bus. I don’t want to ride it again any time soon.

March 30, 2018

Sometimes “Good Enough” really is the best I can do

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the phrase, “good enough never is.” Grades, assignments, sales goals, personal goals. No wonder I often feel an overwhelming urge to quit because I know that the end result is not going to be good enough. It won’t be perfect so I throw in the towel.

I kicked perfection to the curb last night. It happened at CrossFit.

Prior to beginning our training at CrossFit Wichita Falls, I thought CrossFit workouts were all about flipping giant tires, running and lifting a lot of weights.

Now that we’re two months into the challenge, I know it’s more than that. Here is a great overview of what the regimen entails from the CrossFit corporate website.

 “CrossFit is constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity. All CrossFit workouts are based on functional movements, and these movements reflect the best aspects of gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. These are the core movements of life.”

Going into the first class, I wondered how I would be able to keep up with the 20-somethings and 30-somethings.

That’s where scalability comes into play. I may not be able to deadlift the same weight as 27-year-old Samantha, but I can sure deadlift my maximum amount, the same number of reps as Samantha.

The really amazing thing is the next time we perform deadlifts, I will likely be able to increase the weight I’m lifting.

But last night I had my “ah-ha” moment. It happened while we were attempting hand-stand kick-ups. This is a move that we often see during class.

Essentially, you want to complete a strong and stable, freestanding handstand. Seriously? I’ve never done a handstand in my life.

The first night we attempted them, it took all of my courage to just get both feet off the ground. I was afraid my arms wouldn’t support me and I would crash to the ground, break a bone and die of embarrassment. It didn’t happen. Do you know what else didn’t happen? I couldn’t do a hand-stand.

Last night, our warm-up included three rounds of 10 HSKUs. Guess what? I couldn’t do them again but something really wonderful happened. I came close.

Toward the end of the last set, I decided to try one closer to the wall and my goal was to finish the handstand, with my legs leaning on the wall.  Again It didn’t happen but I came close.

I tried it one more time and it still didn’t happen but I got even closer. It wasn’t perfect. I didn’t meet my goal but last night’s attempts were better than all the others.

Those sloppy, uncoordinated, spastic attempts at hand-stand kick-ups really were good enough and at that moment, I felt that I had achieved perfection.

March 23, 2018

Is elephant allowed on my eating plan? I hope so because I’m chewing away at mine. Something you don’t want to do is like eating an elephant and the only way to get it in your gullet is to eat it one bite at a time.

That’s how I’m breaking down the weight loss portion of the Wellness Challenge. I look at my overall goal as my elephant and the bites are the weekly weight loss goals.

To get to a healthy weight during our challenge, I need to lose 2 lbs a week. That number still seems like a lot. So I broke it down, even more, it’s about 4.5 oz. a day. Easy peasy. 

At least it seems a lot more manageable when I’m tackling a few ounces a day instead of trying to gag down a pudgy pachyderm.

Does this approach seem silly? Probably. But for me, it’s a way to tackle my goal and have fun while I’m doing it.  

March 9, 2018

Have you ever been to New York City? If so, you probably noticed the technique of the taxi drivers. The light turns green and they're OFF!

They accelerate as hard and fast as they can only to come screeching to a halt at the red light just a block away. I have felt like those taxi drivers at times.

Running from point A to point B, quick starts, and quicker stops, never taking breaks in the middle. And by "breaks" I mean time for myself.

This Wellness Challenge has helped me slow down, take time to make better choices with eating, plan my meals and schedule workouts.

Slow and steady wins the race, right? If I can keep that in mind I can hopefully kick my "all or nothing" approach. 

I have to remind myself that slow weight loss with Tonya's guidance at Got Health is what I want.  Goals are accomplished during steady workouts with my challenge teammates and the coaches at Cross Fit Wichita Falls.

I won't get there overnight but I will wake up tomorrow knowing I'm making progress and that's what matters. Slow and steady...slow and steady.

March 2, 2018

Sound the cry! “Y.N.Y!”

A couple of years ago, my sister introduced me to the book, “Younger Next Year” by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D.

Lodge is a specialist in internal medicine and preventative healthcare. Crowley is Lodge’s 70-year-old patient who is stronger today than he was at 40.

Together, in alternating chapters, they explain Harry’s rules and the science behind them.

Here are Harry’s Rules

1) Exercise 6 days a week.

2) Eat what you know you should.

3) Connect to other people.

4) Commit to feeling passionate about something.

The science part of the book ranges from the molecular biology of growth and decay and how our bodies and minds evolved.

It speaks directly to how our bodies fare so poorly in our sedentary, all-feast, no-famine culture. The authors base their plan on the idea that instead of looking forward to pain as our bodies slowly deteriorate, it’s possible to live as our younger selves…for our entire lives.

Essentially, they tell you to exercise 6 days a week and eat what you should so you can stay HEALTHY UNTIL YOU DIE.

What an incredible approach to living, especially for those of us who are entering (or are in) our third act of life. Wouldn’t you rather be 83 years old and die because you’ve skied head first into a tree than die alone of a heart attack while sitting in your easy chair, eating Cheetos?

Man, strap some skis on my feet and point me toward the tree because that’s how I want to go!

This challenge has inspired me to connect with three awesome coworkers and they inspire me every, single day.

My passion for working out has returned and I’m looking forward to some new adventures in the coming years. I certainly feel younger than I did a couple of months ago and I’m going continue to push that clock back with every sit up, push up and burpee I can muster.

The next time you’re faced with a choice of elevator or stairs, cake or fruit, beer or water, sound the cry, “Y.N.Y!” and make the choice to be younger next year.

February 23, 2018

How do you dig deep and stay on track when you’re trying to lead a healthier lifestyle? If you’ve seen the stories on Newschannel 6, you know I talk a lot about accountability and how this Wellness Challenge helps me stay accountable.

Since I haven’t been successful doing this on my own, does that make me weak? I don’t think so. I believe it makes me stronger.

Dr. Tonya, our nurse practitioner and owner of Got Health? stresses the importance of our food diary. Basic stuff, right? It’s basic because it works. Every bite, every day. When I stray for a few days and get loose on my diary entries, guess what? The calories move up and I’m not even aware of it.

What’s five or six saltine crackers? 50-60 calories. When I eat a few crackers two or three times a day and don’t count them, at the end of the day I look at my diary and think I’ve got room to spare and can have an evening snack. In reality, reached my daily limit of calories and should forego the snack.

Does willfully ignoring my food diary derail my plan? No, but it definitely slows my progress. It’s hard to be as excited about the slow progress so the accountability of that basic food diary helps keep me on track. Tonya will remind me of that when I see her later today.

The trips to CrossFit are when I really lean on the strength of our group. Samantha, Sofia and I recently moved from the on-ramp training classes to the real classes. We call them the “big kids” classes.

I won’t lie, the classes are hard but so rewarding. We like to go to the last class of the evening because there are fewer people in attendance and we feel that our awkward, newbie moves don’t stand out as much.

It’s a challenge for me to go home, change clothes, get comfortable and head back out to the gym. Just last night I sent the other girls a text and said I’d rather take a beating than go to the gym. Samantha agreed. Sofia said if we weren’t going, we HAD to go Saturday.

Then in the very next text, Sofia said, “Get dressed. I’m dressed. We’re doing this tonight.” That’s why we call Sofia, “Coach.” We went. We did the workout and we all felt better for it.

While we were at the gym, Diane (one of the trainers) reminded us that when we don’t want to go to the gym, that’s when we need it the most and when we’ll give it our all.

I’ve found my group. My posse. My peeps. My friends. They help me stay on track and I hope I do the same for them. If you’re like me and are struggling to find the motivation, find that one person that is ready to go on the journey with you. It sure makes the trip a lot more fun and so much more rewarding.

February 16, 2018

One bite is my kryptonite

It all started with some chocolate I gave to my husband for Valentine’s Day. If you know me or saw our first segment of the challenge, you know that chocolate is not my “thing.” I prefer salt & crunch to sweet & soft most days. 

But then my husband offered me a bite.  Not a whole piece, just a bite and I did not refuse. I was even careful to take the tiniest of bites because I’m on this challenge and I did not want Tonya at Got Health? to read the word CHOCOLATE in my food journal.

Later that night, as I was lying in bed all I could think about was that chocolate. It was calling to me, begging me to come to the kitchen. I reached down, found my willpower and went to sleep.

The next night my willpower folded like a cheap lawn chair. I sprang out of bed, found the bag of chocolate and before I knew it I had eaten THREE pieces. 300 calories were consumed before I knew it and the sad part is, I didn’t even enjoy it because as I’ve said, “chocolate is not my thing.”

In the future, please don’t think I’m rude if you offer me a treat and I decline because one bite IS my kryptonite.

February 7, 2018

Weight a minute! Is that how much I weigh? I've had so many of those moments on the scale, I got to the point that my weight didn't surprise me but it certainly angered me.

Yo-yo dieting, hit-and-miss exercise and sporadic bursts of commitment have been a pattern all of my adult life. 

In 2013, I got committed to exercise and a healthy diet. I found a group of friends to be my gym buddies and got healthier, improved my "numbers" and celebrated a 40-pound weight loss.

In March of 2015, I took a new job with long, unpredictable hours and fell away from the gym and the accountability I had with my gym friends. Healthy eating habits? I forgot what they were and the weight crept back...or did it race back?

Fast forward to January 2018. I'm 57 years old and I feel okay but don't feel okay about my physical appearance.

I understood the importance of exercise and its role in keeping you healthy until you die. I started looking for people to work out with and then the opportunity of this challenge presented itself.

I jumped at the chance like a chicken on a June bug. I am so excited to share this journey with three great women. I love knowing that I'm going to see familiar faces at CrossFit.

I know we will continue to celebrate our successes and lean on each other when we struggle. In the end, though, I'm doing it for me. I'm making time for myself instead of making excuses about not having time.

These next few months are going to be a challenge but I'm ready to make a change and share my journey with you.

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