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Power Up Community Challengers  May 27th, 2010

Along the way we have heard from our featured challengers and now we we have a chance to hear from our community challengers. Here are a few blogs from their perspective:

Shelly Signs

The Power Up challenge came along at the same time as I was beginning some new healthy behaviors such as striving to drink 8 glasses of water a day and to start exercising regularly.  I appreciate the extra help that it provided to stay on track!  For others just starting out I recommend making a small list of the healthy behaviors you’re striving for and then posting that list in the bathroom and at your desk, wherever you are on a daily basis.  It’s so easy to get busy and forget!  It also gives you that extra chance at the end of the evening to make it a successful day.

Working with a personal trainer for a session every so often is helpful for those of us just starting to work out.  You’ll have the confidence knowing that you’re doing the activities that are right for the level that you’re at, and not causing potential damage that takes (sigh) time to heal.  I’ve always been pretty active, but when I decided to get back into shape in the fall I definitely pushed it too hard too fast, and ended up spending several months repairing the damage I had done instead of getting a little bit stronger each month.  Learn from my error, your body will thank you!

My next goal is to change my eating habits.  I’d like to eat more locally produced food, and really take advantage of what’s in season.  Come on summer, you’ve got the good stuff!

Jayendra Gokhale

I am an international student. I became a fitness enthusiast after coming to OSU. I did weight training 4 days a week.

I joined power up challenge during the winter term. I was injured in the arm at that time and could not do weights or swimming. But thanks to power-up, I decided to stay active. Then I went online and read some of the stuff on exercise, I decided to work other parts of my body. I also watched numerous power-up videos on you-tube to understand the simple yet motivating objectives of the challenge. This made me decide to do cardio 4 to 5 days a week. It worked. Not only did I keep active during the whole week, but I also managed to stretch myself a lot. I started with basic cycling, elliptical and running. I was doing 8 miles of cycling on two days,  1.5 miles of elliptical and about 2 miles of running per week (about 11 miles per week). As I went on, not only did I increase the resistance at which I was working out but also managed to achieve 25 miles during the week ending May 24. I still spend 2.5 hours per week on cardio, even though I have restarted weights in the gym.

Power up challenge made me feel that I was not alone in facing this challenge. There is a community of people around me who are into their own fitness goals and that feeling was great.

Power-up also helped me seek a balance in life. I enjoyed the encouragement received from power-up towards meditation and simple acts such as climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator, drinking more water, eating more veggies etc.

Finally, it is probably my short-coming that I could not find time to get together with other challengers and interact.

But kudos to power-up challenge which inspires people like me to achieve new, difficult and different things in terms of fitness goals.

Theresa Waters

Nineteen weeks ago I had the wish of being thinner, more fit, healthier.  I wished I could wear a cute black dress out on a date.  I wished I could play soccer with my son for more than 10 minutes without getting winded. I wished I had more time to work out.  I also wished I had money, that I didn’t have to work and that my mother was healthy.

It was easy for me to have wishes – impossible and out of reach, I never expected to achieve them.

I applied to be a member of a Power Up team but wasn’t selected.  I tried to get others in my office to join but found no takers.  Headed into the unknown alone and way out of my comfort zone I signed up as an individual.  The first few weeks of the challenge set me up for success.  I was reminded about GOALS and forced to confront my effortless wishes.  I had to think about both why I wanted things and why I hadn’t put effort in before.  It was painful.  I went to workshops including one on self-confidence that was a turning point for me.  I realized that it was not genetics or bad knees or a hectic schedule preventing me from improving my health, it was how I thought of myself.

Somehow in the re-creation of myself after divorce and career change I had decided I was weak.  That I couldn’t do things.  That where I was at was the best I could do, that settling was inevitable. 

How horrible to realize that the only thing holding me back was…me.  If I didn’t try I couldn’t fail.   Reading the blog, attending the CAPS trainings and doing some soul searching helped me accept that I would never succeed either.   It was around week 6 that I actually started challenging myself.

I am still challenged, but when I think positive I know I can do more.   I can run.  I can cook a healthy dinner.  I can speak up to take care of my needs.  I can wake up and do better tomorrow after a day filled with M&Ms and sitcoms. 

I have had success and fun in the last few months.  I think about things like 7 hours of sleep, the stairs and flossing.  I still indulge, but it’s no longer mindless and excessive.   I’m not wearing a little black dress yet, but last weekend my son and I rode our bikes all over Albany.  I have a ways to go, but I am on the right road and I know that I can DO things, which is what is going to help me as I move forward.

Kate Bridges

For me as a fitness professional, I did not choose a fitness goal to reach, as I have already incorporated exercise and nutrition into my lifestyle. I needed a goal to help balance me out, help me sleep better, and keep my stress and anxiety down. I don’t tend to leave much time in my day for myself, quite time to read, be alone, meditate, really whatever I feel like that day. This desire for better sleep, balance and stress reduction was my goal for Power-Up and after setting aside the time each night and making the effort to get in bed a half hour earlier I was able to make it a habit that I have been able to maintain. I also made the commitment to get 9 hours of sleep each night. This was not always an easy goal to accomplish and many times I left work or chores undone or my husband a little frustrated that I was not finishing a movie with him to get my rest. But I did it for me, to feel better and I did. The tracking and logging in each Monday kept my goal fresh in my mind for the coming week, reminding me again to make the time for myself each evening. I really have noticed a difference in my mood, energy, and over sense of relaxation as I have slept better and felt I have more energy to put into my work and relationships. This has been a great experience and I have developed a more balanced, healthier life because of it.

Thank you to all the community challengers!

Beginning of the Next Chapter  May 24th, 2010

I do promise to write more after my midterm tomorrow afternoon. This past week I’ve been thinking of what I want to say about my accomplishments in  the Power Up Challenge. Power Up has helped me in so many ways to get my thoughts and mind back into place…and bring that sense of balance and general well being back into my life. We all found a support system that we never really expected to find. We surpassed all our beliefs about our comfort zone and limits after we jumped into thin air from a 40 ft platform, hoping that the zip line would catch us and carry us another 100 feet down. Power Up has been a great experience…one that I am very lucky to have been part of. I can’t wait to explain more about my experience later on tomorrow. 🙂

Time flies!  May 24th, 2010

This challenge has been such a wonderful experience; I really can’t believe that the time has gone by so quickly!  I can honestly say that I was able to meet all of my goals and have gotten into a nice, healthy routine of exercise, mindfulness, and better nutrition.

  1. I am back into my pre-pregnancy clothes!!  I would still like to lose about 5 more pounds but I feel great!
  2. I have completed a bucketful of blood work and met with some great specialist that have provided my husband and I will all of the information needed to finally make a well-informed decision on whether or not to have another baby… not to say that the decision has been made but we now have all of our questions and concerns addressed
  3. I have also talked with some amazing counselors at Holt International down in Eugene and feel good about having some adoption options available to us as well

I absolutely will continue on with my daily Dixon routine – I have grown to love my afternoon break and so appreciate that this challenge has allowed me to finally get over there and find out what all Dixon has to offer!!  And I have found that being mindful of what I eat has really changed my food preferences overall – I don’t crave the greasy or overly sweet items any longer and I just feel so much better about myself at the end of the day when I know I have had my servings of fruits and veggies.

The people who have done this challenge with me are all amazing!  I feel very fortunate to have met and been able to work with each and every one of them… I have no double that we will all keep in touch and be there to support each other as we continue on in our wellness journeys.

Take care!


OMG — I actually did it  May 24th, 2010

One of my goals has been to internalize the challenge; to stop second-guessing myself, stop waiting until it was over so that I could go back to my old, comfortable patterns, to stop setting myself up to fail.  It hasn’t been easy and I didn’t even realize I’d succeeded until this past Saturday when 7 of us took on the OSU Challenge Course including several elements of the high course!   The rush when I successfully crossed the log set high (how high?  too high!) between 2 uprights was so much more than I could have expected.  Not just ‘wow, I did it’ but WOW, I challenged myself and succeeded!!  The same with the zip line; WOW!

Thinking about this later during the day, I began to understand that part of my excitement came from the realization that no matter how much cheering and/or encouragement I got from the rest of the (unified) challenge team, I was the one who said ‘yes’ to the challenge.  It came from inside me.  It was not imposed by other people’s enthusiasm or sense of what I should be doing.  So, looking at the larger picture, I did internalize the concept of this PowerUp Challenge without even knowing it!

Now, of course, comes the hard part — getting on with my life and maintaining the progress I’ve made so far.  And trying to figure out strategies to make it work.  Yes, I have my SO who is behind me 100%, but he can’t impose any structure on me.  Neither can my children.  I have to find strategies that put me in control.

One of the things I’ve learned during this past 18 weeks, is the power of writing down what I’m feeling — good and bad.  The power of a diary, a journal, a blog.  And, as much as I’ve hated doing this (sorry, Kerry), I think it’s a wonderful supportive strategy and I plan on continuing it.  Perhaps even start my own ‘public’ blog.  Or perhaps not. <G>

I’ve been adding more fruits and veggies, more fiber, to my diet and Bill and I have been hunting for exciting recipes that we can try with this in mind.  And now that summer’s coming, I really have no excuse not to walk more.  I even got myself an MP3 player to make the walking a little less gruesome. <G>  I have rollerblades (unused) packed away in the garage somewhere.  Now would be a good time to find them.  And, of course, use them.  And I want to learn cowboy line dancing, and go swing dancing.  Perhaps take some more lessons.  Exercise as fun.  Who’d a thunk!

Keep the challenge going in my head.  Eat my fruits and veggies.  Walk, walk, walk,  Dance, dance, dance.  And skate!

And hopefully, keep in touch with the wonderful team members who gave me so much encouragement along the way.

Finale  May 23rd, 2010

As with the end of this process, comes the beginning of new things.  The beginning of the end of my full recovery after over exacerbating my knee.  The beginning of the summer, and all the outdoor activities it will entail.  The beginning of a new job.  The constant understanding, and the re-learning of trust, and faith in humanity.  All have meaning and focus.  Now, to continue with this?  To keep going, and never loose the experiences, and the effects they have had on me?  That is a definite.  This experience will not only help to shape the rest this next bit down the road, but it will also shape my choices in all future decisions.  I hope that my common sense, and learning that occurred through these experiences will provide me with the fodder I need to grow the environment I wish to foster.

This isn’t the end. No, seriously, it’s not over…  May 23rd, 2010

Although the Power Up Challenge is coming to a close, it’s been impossible for me to get into the ‘Power Down’ mindset since, from the beginning, my personal goal date has been June 20th

But as a not-quite-endpoint report I will share how this journey has been for me.

Going into this back in January I had several goals, among them:

1) Make it to the top of Valley Library without stopping and without needing a paramedic with an oxygen tank at the top!

2) Learn to cook healthy ethnic foods- something beyond the standard comfort foods that I enjoy.

3) Get a handle on stress

4) Lose weight and gain strength/endurance

I’ve been preparing for the library climb and have successfully tromped from the main floor to the top without stopping but there’s still that basement level so tomorrow (Monday) that’s on my list of things to do.  I’ll have my Rocky Balboa attitude on for sure.

Spicing up mealtimes with healthy ethnic foods has been a fun challenge and one I will enjoy for the rest of my life.  I picked up a thick, hardbound book of Chinese recipes that will take me a couple of years to get through (think Julie & Julia- only in slow motion…) and I’m looking forward to THAT journey, for sure!

Making time for ‘balance’ in my daily life is something I have never focused on, or if I did it wasn’t for very long!  Having this be a weekly challenge has gotten me into the habit of looking for that balance and as a result I feel it immediately when things are off kilter and need to be centered again.

One goal that I didn’t know I needed to focus on was getting adequate sleep.  Keeping track of the days I did, and did not, get enough sleep gave me a surprising reality check on just how crucial those 7 hours really are for me and how much it really affects my performance and mood during the day.

Now, for losing weight- this has frustrated me more than anything else.  I walked, rode my (stationary) bike like a madwoman, did pushups, situps, physioball exercises, tried to eat right…but the pounds just weren’t coming off like I thought they should.

Here’s the kicker, though.  In January I took a full set of measurements and yesterday, after four months, took those same measurements again.  In spite of only losing a handful of pounds I actually got rid of 1.75 inches in my waist, 2.25 inches off my abdomen, 1/2” from my upper arm, and 1/2” from my thigh.  Not huge numbers to be sure, but this is where the difference I was looking for came through!  I’ve definitely got the ‘stronger’ part of my goal down pat!  Unfortunately, I actually gained a 1/2” in my calves from all the walking and keeping the tension on the bike up high, but I’ll take toned over flabby any day of the week, even if it means gaining a little size.

So, the scale?  It’s going back out in the garage where it belongs.  I actually considered going all “Office Space” on it but didn’t want to frighten the neighbors…

And this journey?  Far, FAR from over.  I feel healthier and stronger both physically and mentally and this challenge has given me the leg-up I needed to get this life-long party started!

Thanks to *everyone* that has helped and encouraged me along the way: my family, The Fire Breathing Beaver Squad, Kerry, Tiari, Theresa and Teresa, and the whole Power Up Challenge team.  This has been FUN!

My journey… flying high!  May 22nd, 2010

What a way to end the challenge, but on a very high note! This morning we got to spend time on the Challenge Course on campus. We did a mini-version of it at the beginning of the challenge in Dixon Rec with a series of group-oriented activities. Reflecting on where we have come in this challenge, the mini to full challenge course was an awesome analogy of where we started to where we are now and where we can go.

We ended the morning with all of us doing the 35 foot zip-line and having to step off a platform, trusting the equipment and more importantly, the people on the course with you. I feel it was an excellent way to prove to myself how far I’ve come and what I am capable of when I try. I am not saying that it was easy and there were some moments during the morning in which I wasn’t sure I could, but the pay-off was so incredible! I am so glad that I tried. Hearing everyone yell from the ground in support is what helped the most!

It’s just one more way that I know what I can do and that I can continue this journey. All I have to do is take the first step and try–because I can take the second step!!

Take that first step!


Me and Abbee about to ‘high’ five on the log about 30 feet above the ground, right before we crossed paths and repelled down! Thanks Theresa for the photo!

The End  May 21st, 2010

I am sad to have the power up challenge come to an end. I have really benefited from this challenge a great deal. My two goals were to improve my back health and average 7 hours of sleep. I would say I have accomplished both of those goals and I am very excited about it.

It has been great having the support of so many wonderful and talented individuals. The support that we had from CAPS at our team meetings was great, along with the guidance and direction our amazing team leader Theresa provided us was fantastic. I truly think that everyone in the group is in a better place in life because of this challenge and I am excited to see how we can all continue to challenge and push ourselves to become better people.

I am committed to continuing to focus on my health and wellness and constantly improve as a person. I want to make sure that I make my personal health a strong focus in my life and that I continue to increase my confidence daily. I am thankful for this challenge and hope that it has impacted the other participants in the same way it has me and maybe others on campus as well.

My journey…  May 20th, 2010

We had our last meeting with our CAPS team this week and it was a very bitter sweet meeting. They did a great job of bringing this part of the challenge to an ending and we all got to say what it has meant to us. Having the support of this group of people as we shared our struggles and triumphs was a pleasure and something that I shall truly treasure. This support was very helpful as we travelled through our journey.

I’ve been reflecting about this journey and the things that I have learned and feel that it is only the beginning. I want to continue working out and eating healthy. I like the way that I feel. And it is not just physically, but mentally as well. I feel stronger and more comfortable with where I’m at, I am happy. The balance that has been part of this challenge has been so helpful in gaining that feeling. I know that I need to take care of myself and not just in a physical sense.

I could list all the specific changes that I have experienced, but I believe that the inches and pounds are a secondary bonus of the challenge. The strength and flexibility that I fell are so much more important.

Still reflecting..


Off week…  May 17th, 2010

Just a quick note… had an off week last week; was home sick with a stomach bug on Monday and Tuesday and then had a large collaborative proposal due on Friday so didn’t make it over to Dixon all week =(.

But… it was a beautiful weekend; we worked in the yard or with our honey bees all weekend long soaking up as much sunshine as possible and I was back over to Dixon today.

So, here’s to a better week!