September 9, 2010


". . . Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. . . "
-Robert Fulghum
I’ve been reading a lot lately in the blogosphere about how my friends are struggling, losing their motivation, forgetting about their why, not able to shake the bingy feelings, enduring enormous stress. We have ALL been there. Its been said that we are either in a problem, heading out of one or heading into one!

We sure don’t live on the mountain top, do we? Mostly life is made up of expectations that we must manage, relationships that we devote every nourishing cell in our body to, work that may or may not fulfill, and some joy, pleasure and pain along the way. And, sometimes life is just HARD.

How do you cope when things get tough?

In my younger years I was always active. In college I'd run a couple three miles most mornings, bang a tennis ball against the racquetball court just for the fun of it, and play some one-on-one basketball for, ahem, a study break. If I wasn’t daydreaming or writing poetry in the fold of my Western Civ book, err I mean studying, I was out doing something fun, something competitive, something that moved my body.

I remember one time being really stressed out about something (probably a test) and going out for a run. I ran, and ran, and ran, I don’t know, for a long time, lots longer than normal. The next day I could barely climb the stairs to my classes!

Exercise was just the way I coped with stress. And, it worked. I sometimes got sore muscles, but I was always known as the laid back girl, so relaxed, so easy going. I was that girl.

Then life after college, what they call the REAL world, entered and somehow, someway I let this active lifestyle slip away. I still got work outs in, joined fitness clubs wherever I lived, but the problem was that my eating pace stayed pretty much the same as when I was in college while my exercise sessions were far fewer in number.

Then Mr. Right came along. Love, love, love, all you need is love, right? After a whirlwind romance and a brief engagement, we married and three short years later we started a family. House, family, job, husband, kids, you know, the American dream . . . and STRESS. And, instead of turning TO exercise, I turned away. For the life of me, I don’t know why, but it spelled . . .

D I S A S T E R . 

The pounds piled on. Life became harder than it needed to be. I suffered more than I needed to suffer. And, I missed so much. So much.

Mr. Right became Mr. Wrong, a mismatch that somehow managed to last 17 years finally fell apart. I could blame the marriage-turned-rocky, the messy divorce, the INCREDIBLE kids that I tried desperately not to screw up, the demanding jobs, or the obligations that life is made of. But, it wasn’t any of those things. The fact that I added 100 pounds more than I needed to my frame is nobody’s fault but my own. MY reaction to life. MY way of coping.

My personal trainer once told me that the best thing you can do at the end of a long, hard day is to work out…it’s like salve on a wound. I'm re-finding that tube of salve these days, and coping in much healthier ways.

But, I want to know . . . what have you found to be the best way to handle the ups and downs of life? How are you being kind to yourself? Please share your wisdom in the comments!

With you in the journey,


  1. Thanks for sharing Cheryl! I find going for a run/hike really helps me clear my head and get me out from underneath things that weigh me down. I have also learned to sit with a problem, ponder it, think it through and then move on. If I need to act on it, then do. But not just worry over things constantly.

  2. Exercise helps me too. But I did not discover it until later in life. Another thing that helps - venting or talking with a good friend.

  3. I used to cope with food, now I'm finding a good run really clears the crap outta my head!

  4. No true wisdom yet....All I know is that I am done "using" food. It just creates a new problem added on to the original problem you're trying to eat away. I find the days I work out really hard with my day goes smoother as far as food. Exercise is great much better than chocolate.

  5. Wow, I love this, thanks for sharing!I cope with food often, and even now as a trainer am not prone to turn right to working out to relieve stress. On my worst days, I am on the couch with a movie, but they are rare, thank God! Love you Cheryl!

  6. FYI, Cheryl- I "un"followed you by mistake, but I think I got it undone. My apologies, I just got click-happy!

  7. @Amber It makes sense, get some fresh oxygen to our brains! Somehow it also just makes everything, even if its unchanged, more manageable.

    @Karen Good one, I think I learned THAT later in life.

    @Kerri You speak the truth lady! And, once in awhile we get to feel the runners high too. :)

    @Lisa Yes, you're right, and somehow somewhere along the way, it just stopped working for me, and all I felt was horrible. Exercise seems to help me be able to face things squarely instead of avoid them.

    @Mary Its good to hear that someone in the "industry" still has to work at all this! Its so funny that we look to food and nearly anything else to fill a void that those things just can't fill. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    @Jo I wondered where you went! Glad you are back. :)

    I think another thing is that when I start to get over-confident in my ability to always do the right thing, that's when I find myself, well, humbled. This is where dependence on my Higher Power (Jesus!) definitely comes in!

  8. Yes, if I can start my day with good praying and praising, I can handle stress so much better. Working out is the next best thing to beating stress. Great post Cheryl! Then again, they're always good!

  9. I totally hear you, and the more weight we gain by coping with food, the harder life gets. It is harder to do basic things like the stairs or playing with kids. We have a limited time on the planet, and we best do our best to be healthy.

    For me weight loss is the ultimate way to get back to healthy, and I too am with you on the journey.

    Check out the link. Let me know what you think of my blog too! Power to you in this! --T

  10. A good sweat helps me cope with life's ups and downs. On days when I am just in an awful funk, a good sweaty workout can always make me feel better.

  11. Hello my friend! I've been gone for too long...enjoying my summer with family but also struggling with my goals. Being like a wayward child. I want to get back to 'that place', like the one you speak of. Why did I wander away? I'm slowly coming back...more from me in the days to come on my blog!

  12. @Heidi Awww, thanks. :) You are right about that quiet time in the AM, too. So important. SO important.

    @Trevor That's a very HOT looking blog! I love what you say about the cycle of change starting with one thought that leads to another and another. Look forward to getting to know you!

    @Jessica WOW, me too! Whether its biological and gets those toxins movin' on out or psychological doesn't much matter, does it?! Thanks for the comment!

    @Holly SOOO good to hear from you! Your struggles (and mine and everyone else's if they're honest) are why its called a journey. Write those goals down (otherwise they are just pipe dreams, right?), keep them reasonable (cuz we can't do it all at once, right?), and hold on to the fact that perfection is NOT the goal! Love you lots!