Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Case of the Yuckies

Not feeling well can really mess with me. I haven't eaten much today thanks to my stomach acting a little odd.  I must have picked up a touch of a "bug" that's going around; sounds like a stomach flu. Luckily the extent of it, for me, seems to be pain upon eating.  I've found that if I put too much into my stomach at once, I am given a sharp, stabbing pain in return. This happens if I take too big of a drink of water or something too heavy. I thought that something bland, like plain oatmeal might be okay. It wasn't. Ouch!! I did manage to nibble on some fruit (strawberries and grapes).  In small amounts the pain isn't as bad. I'm also okay if I sip on water. I've also had a some nausea but that's nothing, really. I can deal with that better than the pain, which at its worst made me double-over and get pale-faced (more than usual).

It could be worse. I could be experiencing the other difficulties associated with it. At least things are staying in my body. I'll be thankful that, so far, it hasn't been too bad.

I am behind in my daily water consumption.  It's lunchtime and I've gotten five cups in...Since I got up this morning. Generally I'm between eight and ten by now. Being able to only sip a little at a time really limits the water intake. 

Oh! In addition to this stomach thing, I am experiencing a bit of a bloated tummy. Lovely. Retaining water and not being able to drink as much water as I do on a normal day is not a good combination. BOO!!

Given that I'm only able to eat small nibbles of light things, I'm also behind in my daily caloric intake. I think I'm right around 300.  I left an apple and raspberries uneaten (that were meant to be eaten this morning) on my desk when I left for lunch.

The odd part? My stomach is still growling. It still wants food. It just isn't tolerating it. I can't even drink enough water to try to trick it into being full.

This is just not good.  People need a certain amount of calories in a day. We need a certain amount of water. I anticipate that this will also mean that a workout won't be occurring this evening.  It also did not occur this morning... I was just too nauseated and tired.

I realize that a day or two of not living as healthy as I normally do won't be detrimental. I just don't like it.

I love that I am motivated to be healthy, and that I really want to workout. I got a new exercise bike for Christmas and love it. I'm bummed that I won't be able to jump on and ride tonight.

I do not love that I feel yucky and have to rest.  On the upside, rest is important for daily functioning and even more so when our bodies are fighting off bacteria. I will take that as a sign to rest, knowing that I will only help myself by doing so. Knowing that when I feel better I can spring right back into action is a comfort.

I just find it annoying to not feel well, which seems to have happened more frequently than usual. It must have been a germy kind of fall. Or my immunity has been down because I ran out of those vitamins and, before that, I was doing a lot of traveling and was very busy in general. Being on the go makes a person tired (and eventually, exhausted!).  This causes difficulties in working out (who wants to when they feel ready to crash? Honestly?).  I know that when I'm tired my workouts aren't up to par (by my standards). I know I wasn't getting enough rest, or sleep, which probably didn't help me any. 

On the agenda for the weekend? More busy action. I hope I'm feeling better!! The people I've talked to who have had this bug (worse than I have) have felt better within a day or two. I'm hoping that by tomorrow, or at the latest Saturday morning, I'll feel back to myself. You know, so that I can go out on Saturday night, stay out late, become tired, and exhaust myself again...

I'm going to admit that I am looking forward to things slowing down (socially) in the next couple months (mostly thanks to the weather). I love my friends and family but sometimes I really do love staying home on the weekends, whether relaxing or cleaning (and always working out).

If I don't post before... Happy New Year!!

XOXO

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Weight, Appearance, and Shame

Recently I've been thinking about how as a society we are so hard on one another, particularly about things like appearance - especially related to weight. What prompted this? Celebrities.

Many companies use celebrity endorsements for their ads. This includes popular weight loss programs. I'm not criticizing these programs; I've tried some and had success in the past. They just were not long-lasting for me. Some people do really well with them.

I can't forget to mention the celebrity endorsements for things like pills and diets. These are generally not something I support....Especially pills. There is no quick-fix for weight loss and many of the products that boast fast, easy weight-loss are unhealthy.

I do partake in some celebrity endorsed products. I am a big fan of Jillian Michaels. I think I have purchased all but one of her DVDs....That one will come when I finish the current. I don't buy them because Jillian is on the cover. I buy them because I like them. I tried one back when there was a lot of hype around it, I liked it, and I've continued to buy them. I like how she focuses on circuit training. Technically this qualifies as cardio, however, many of the moves are strength-training moves. These workouts make me feel sore, sweaty, like I'm weak, and a huge sense of accomplishment when I'm done. The bottom line? Her workouts make me feel amazing.

Anyway, back to what I was originally discussing... Celebrities and weight. I like that celebrities endorse healthy methods for losing weight. Thank you!!

What I don't like is that the media goes wild with this stuff. On (possibly) overweight celebrities...First they are too heavy. But at the same time that they're criticized for their weight, they're also praised for it. Often times though, they lose weight (for whatever reason). Then the media praises them again. Sometimes though, the media speculates that they've lost too much weight. Then of course the underweight celebs have to have their share of being attacked.

Why is this something that we are so interested in?

I feel that if no one gave it a second thought, the media wouldn't be as obsessed with how much, or how little, celebs weight. Or what they look like. Naturally in media-land weight impacts on level of attractiveness. however, we crave this kind of thing, so the media continues to please us.

Weight, in general, is for some reason a big deal. Why should it matter to you what I weigh? Why should it matter to me what so-and-so from work weighs? It shouldn't matter, but it does. There are times when it is appropriate (like when it's your job to encourage someone to be healthy, or be concerned about their health), but for the average person it's inappropriate. I'm not your doctor (pretty much the only person in your life that I can think of who should comment on weight without being invited to do so). I'm not your nutritionist. I'm not your trainer. I have no business knowing what you weigh...Unless you invite me into that part of your life.

BUT...If I'm thinner than you, I'm better than you...Right?

WRONG. That's what many people tend to think. We use things like appearance as a means of being "better than" others. This isn't true. However, your health might be better than mine if you're 20 pounds less than my current weight and you're my height (says the BMI calculator). Is it about health though? Probably not. It's about how we look, where we shop, what we can do, and how others judge our level of attractiveness.

FYI: Not all thin people are "hot." I've seen several that I do not find attractive. That's another thing... Attractiveness varies.

Also? We're nosey. That's what it comes down to. We all have to know what's going on with everyone else. We gossip. Weight is something that people gossip about because it's generally not something that's common knowledge. Once you make it available to the public, people are less interested.

This brings me to my next point. Most people are sensitive and secretive about their weight. This includes celebrities. They will defend their weight and talk about it in general, but how often do they reveal their weight? How 'bout their clothing size? This is a rare occurrence.

It's none of anyone else's business, that's true. However, if we were less insecure about it and shared it more openly, that would make it much less interesting to others. Here is where celebrities could have a huge impact on society. If they were to share their weight and size people would become less interested. Sure, at first, it'll be a frenzy; possibly a huge "shocker" because it's so rarely discussed. After a while though, if it becomes more common, people probably won't care as much. But, we are private people in some ways.

I will admit that I'm as guilty as anyone else when it comes to weight and size of celebs. I've been guilty of Googling this information. This is not because I want to write an article condemning someone for being too fat or too thin. This is because I have an ideal shape and size in mind. Bodies are different but in general knowing the range of someone who is a similar height, build, and age can give us an idea of what we might look like at a similar size. There are online programs that generate little avatars of what we might look like. Looking at a real human doesn't seem that much different to me. Knowing how much so-and-so weighs or what size she wears would help motivate and inspire me. Instead, I have to look at people and guess, which is often totally inaccurate.

I'm sure that the differing opinion is that weight is a private thing. I addressed that...It's only super private because we make it that weight. I'm also sure that some might say that by knowing the height, weight, sizes, and measurements of celebrities may cause us to strive for goals that may not be attainable for us. Knowing this information might cause things like eating disorders to spiral. The thing is, society is generally not the only factor that contributes to ED. In some cases it has involvement but in many (most?) cases it is about so much more; often it doesn't even start out being about appearance. I do believe though that societal pressures and stress can contribute to feelings and thoughts that may lead to ED. It all depends on the person. Seeing Super Skinny Celeb A. on TV last night didn't make me anorexic today.

It's not secret that the media has put a huge spotlight on weight. Weight affects our appearance and level of attractiveness. If we don't feel that we look like society feels we should, we might feel shame. If we were all a little more open about these things, it just might help us to better accept one another.

XOXO



Friday, December 23, 2011

I Need a Strong Dose of Reality

I think I need to read the Meg Cabot series that begins with the book "Size 12 Is Not Fat." These books are mysteries but do throw in the struggles of being "average" in the US. I like the idea of the combo of the mystery and weight issue.

I never would read these before. Why? Because I was much larger than a 12, and then a 14 (second book). I didn't have any interest in reading that those sizes weren't "fat." In my eyes, they weren't. They were average according to stat that the average size woman in the US is a 12. At that time, they were sizes I'd have loved to have been able to wear. Either of those sizes would have made me feel normal.

As I sit here writing this, I feel fat. I feel like my thighs are giant. I feel the guilt of not working out yesterday because I was busy doing some Christmas preparations. I was on my feet almost non-stop from the time I got home to the time I went to bed. I wasn't just sitting doing nothing, but still....I feel lazy because I didn't workout.

Feeling lazy and fat, part of me wants to slap myself. First, because I have put on a few pounds from my lowest weight. Fluctuations up thanks to hormones contributed to that. So has being busy with various things. It's much easier to stay in my comfort zone for eating when I'm not as busy. That being said, when I'm not home my eating is not as good as it usually is. My lowest weight was about three months ago, right before a photoshoot. I was hitting the exercise hard and my eating was meticulous. I may have gone too hard at it...I don't know. Either that or I've been too out of control lately. Either way, I'm up a few pounds and feel like a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The truth is? I'm probably not as fat as I currently feel. People look at me and think I've lost weight, despite the fact that three months ago I weighed less. I'm also wearing smaller pants.

So, here I am, feeling like a massive, lazy cow, and I shouldn't. I should be happy with what I've accomplished and less freaked out about not being as small as I want to be. Instead of focusing on the positive I'm focusing on the negative. I beat myself up over missed workouts, less than perfect eating and other things far too often.

Today I have decided that I'm still really fat. I'm not wearing a size 12, or a size 14.

I'm wearing shirts that are mediums and my new favorite pants from Express, that are a size 10. I'm wearing a size 10/medium and I think I'm fat.

There is a person, somewhere in the world, who would like to get her hands around my neck and strangle me right now. There's a girl who thinks I'm a terrible person for thinking that and that a size 10 can't possibly be fat. There's another girl ready to hit me over the head with a blunt object. There's one who is crying, because she would give anything to be that "small."

When I feel like this, I try to remind myself of where I've been. I think of how big I once was. I'm thankful that I'm no longer that size; that weight; that degree of unhealthy. At the same time though, I still stress about not being "perfect."

FYI...Hormones really can mess with your mind as much as your body.

I've decided that those will be the next books that I read. Maybe reading about a fabulous average size character will help me to remember that the fact that I'm less than average (depending on the pants, quite honestly). Some of my clothes are smalls. I do still have some larges (mostly pants, because I'm between a 10 and 12 right now, which is why I'm now only purchasing Express pants because I wear a 10 in them). I mostly wear a medium....Dresses, skirts, most shirts...They're all mediums. I'm okay with this. I'm excited that I can wear 10s, comfortably. However, now I want EVERYTHING to be no larger than a medium or a 10. By the way, I did fit into (and buy!) a pair of size 8 jeans from Express....Admittedly, they had a little stretch to them.

I wonder what size will be small enough? When will I stop feeling like the fat girl? When will I finally be happy with how I look? When will accept my size and weight? Who knows.

I'm not sure I'll be happy with how I look anytime soon. It's the skin. It's causing me to not be able to fit in smaller clothes. I hate the fact that I can move the skin around, and that it is what is keeping me where I am size-wise (and probably weight-wise too, at least in part).

I am trying to be happy with being in my size 10 pants. I think that the extra pounds have me freaked out that I might go up again and not be able to fit into them. That would be nothing less horrible. I'd be super mad at myself then. I am glad to know that I have the self-control to NOT allow myself to gain more than a few pounds. I'm happy to be working out hard again...I see the numbers going back down very, very soon. A person can't work this hard and not see results. Dedication.

At this moment, I am reminding myself that a size 10 really is not fat. Neither is a medium. Which in turn means that I am not fat....?

That notion is a hard one for me to grasp.

XOXO

Relationships and Mental Health

Judging from the title, this post could turn into a book. That's a huge topic. I'll simplify and discuss some of my relationships and my own mental health. This post will not cover every relationship I've been in and how it's had an impact on my life.  Some of those will be saved for other posts.  This one is about three relationships.

The first one honestly isn't so bad. We were young. It was, of course, perceived as fairly traumatic at the time, but not anymore. I think that before the break-up occurred we were both starting to drift from the relationship. We met the summer between my Junior and Senior years of high school. He had just graduated and left for the Navy about two months after we met. The majority of our relationship was time spent apart. We had lots of contact, but time in person was limited, usually a week or two at a time, every few months. Did I mention we were young?

It was a difficult break-up but more in how it was done. He left me a message on Yahoo Instant Messenger to tell me he met someone online and was moving in with her. I returned home from class to that message. How nice.  I had a hard time with it, but as I said I feel that we were both starting to drift away so it wasn't as though it was something that really tore me up.  Honestly I've had shorter relationships end, totally unexpectedly, that were more difficult than that was.  I didn't hate him. I did hate his method of breaking up though. That's a very immature, wimpy road to take. I cried. I had a rough time. We talked, and he left the girl he had started dating. He was away for a couple months and wrote during that time. In the end though, it was best for both of us that we not get back together. 

Looking back I have no ill feelings toward him. I'm completely free of that relationship, meaning I'm over it. I've moved on. I think that this is a huge thing. If, after all this time I still had anger or bad feelings, it would be an issue. Obviously I've moved on, which is healthy and normal. He has too. In fact, he's married now, to a girl who seems to be really nice. They seem good together. I don't have frequent contact with them, but  would also have no problem talking with them if I see them sometime. In fact it would be a nice thing rather than something awkward.

This is what you do when relationships end. You get through it and you get over them. You move on in life.  To say that you hate someone or you never want to see, or have anything to do with, them again is honestly quite immature. Why let something that's obviously over impact you that much?

That being said there are other relationships that end and you should desire no contact. However, these are generally relationships that are not good. That doesn't mean a bad break-up. We've all had bad break-ups and later things have been fine. Hurtful words exchanged when something is ending is one thing.  Hurtful words throughout the course of a relationship is something totally different. Especially when those words turn into more.

Things brings me to the worst "relationship" (I call it a "situation")  I've been in. But first....

I discussed two former relationships however after receiving some e-mails from a person concerned with my discussion of one of them, I'm editing this post. I'm doing so because I'm tired of dealing with it. I feel the way I do and that won't change.

I was told that the originally posted content was offensive. My intention was not to offend anyone but to share my story, how I felt and what I thought. I didn't point out the qualities that were good (although at the beginning I said it wasn't bad until I tried to end it...apparently I should have listed all said person's good qualities). I guess because I didn't share my own shortcomings, which, by the way, I am well aware of as I have said in other posts,  I do not think I'm some perfect person without fault. I know I have flaws and that I've done things that aren't nice too.

I would like to point out that I was sharing ONE perspective of a particular situation. I was not recapping the entire relationship. I was discussing how my own feelings about myself made me feel and how I didn't stand up for myself. Maybe things would have been different; bad or good.

Yes, I told you I'd edit this post, that I'd take down what I'd written about myself to illustrate just how messed up I was...Which I have done. I didn't say that I wouldn't post any commentary about why I edited the post. I caved; I gave you what you wanted...Because I'm done hearing about it. Now, let's leave this alone.

Now on to the things that apply to another situation and that story...

First let me say... It's good to know that when all else fails, no matter what happens, a father will always be there for his daughter.  My Dad always seems to know how to "fix" things.  I don't think I've ever been in a situation where he hasn't been able to help me, or at least give me some good words of wisdom. My Mom is an amazing person too, but sometimes there are things that seem to be more of my Dad's job.  Both are loving, supportive, and encouraging...But do you think I'm going to send my Mom after some jerk? No.

So...This guy...

 I was down, fat, and lonely.  He was someone to hang out with. At first I felt sorry for him. He found me on MySpace, but had seen me around town. I heard the story of his messed up childhood and felt bad for the kid, so I agreed to hang out with him. It felt good to be admired, and flirted with. Who doesn't like that?

Here is where I will fully admit that I'm sure I let it go too far. It was like a whirlwind and suddenly it was more than just hanging out. I was glad to have someone to spend time with so I was okay with whatever it had become.

Those were the feelings at first. Great! Who doesn't like to feel good? Most people when dating or entering new relationships, or just feeling appreciated, get that sort of high. It feels good to be wanted. To someone who was living in the land of blubber, it felt extra good. When no one else could possibly have looked at me like I was pretty, it was a feeling that was very welcome. If they did they were those gross (my opinion) "chubby chasers" who were only after one thing. They seemed to come out of the woodwork online. It was nice to talk and flirt and then when it got to be crossing a line, it was very nice to send them off into cyberspace, never having to speak to them again. Oh block feature, you're a gem.

Things were okay for a while until I decided I didn't want to be in that situation. Things happened along the way that started to send up giant red flags and really started to scare me. Constant calls and texts when I was with friends and family were obnoxious. Being told I put my family first (uh, DUH) was a major pain. Leaving notes on my car when I was with friends, and then waiting outside places for me to leave (and following me) was an annoyance that turned into fear.  Messing around in cars is not a safe idea.  Following people and trying to black them from getting out of places is horrific. Speeding down the expressway trying to follow them, and then get away from them (when they realized pictures of their license plate were being taken), was especially fearful. Honestly...WHO DOES THAT? Who puts someone they claim to "love" in jeopardy of getting in an accident because they "want" to talk to them so badly?

This guy also got in my way of losing weight. Not only did he further damage my self-esteem by telling me no one else would want me, he tried to deter my weight loss efforts. He made me feel guilty about losing it...Guilty about getting healthy!!!? Horrible. Unfortunately everyone else was always before me, and I let it happen for a while. He told me he liked me the way I was. He said things like "why do you want to be skinny like everyone else?" He said that being skinny was gross. Then the truth finally came out... If I lost weight I might leave him.  His own insecurity made him act horribly toward me. His own insecurity made him convince me to be unhealthy because it was best for him. I could have been at risk for dying young, but that was okay because HE had what he wanted. Jerk much? Yes.

Thinking back, he was damn right about that. If I lost weight and started to like what I saw a little more, it would have given me more confidence. I would have started to see what everyone else saw in me. I wouldn't hide under layers of fat anymore.  I probably would start to feel good, and realize that I shouldn't be with someone who treated me so badly; someone so controlling, filled with anger, who was hurtful, and mean.

This guy would just show up at my house, despite being told not to. When asked to leave me alone, the calls would start.  One night my cousin spent the night and he had her so freaked out that we moved the mattress from the spare bed into my room and she slept on my floor. We went to bed with hammers and crowbars in hand; anything that could seem like a weapon in case he came back. I'm angry at myself for this. My cousin is someone I love and am protective of.  Yet I didn't call the police like I should.  Now I was not only putting myself at risk but someone else too. I think back to some past events and get upset with myself, but I know that I cannot change them.

I got angry. I said a lot of mean things, hoping this would make him leave me alone. It only fueled the fire. He got worse. One night he refused to take no for an answer. I went to bed, again with weapons on my stand next to my bed, and tried to sleep.  Soon I was awakened by a noise. I went out to the kitchen to find him crawling through my kitchen window. I tried pushing him out the window but he made it in.  How he could overpower me is still beyond me.  Apparently the adrenaline cursing through his 120 (ish) pound body was enough. (I know...One of those fat girl, scrawny guy situations comes to mind...still makes me laugh).

He managed to get in, refused to leave, and refused to let me leave. He physically assaulted me. Luckily when he was taking my phones apart and hiding them I got to the front door. I didn't make it out, but a neighbor heard me scream and called 911. As I was being dragged, face down, from my hallway to my room (obviously where no one would be able to see a struggle through the windows), my toe was cut. I screamed. Funny, it hurt worse than it appeared. This made him snap out of his insanity and then he tried to help me (this pissed me off). It was then that I heard the police radios. He pushed me out of the way to get to MY door first. I managed to get in front of him and nearly ran at the police.  I have never in my life been so relieved.  I was honestly afraid that he was going to kill me. I can't express how much of a safe feeling I felt when the police arrived. I wanted to hug them.

He was arrested, to be held for at least 24 hours. I didn't sleep that night. I called my Dad the next day to tell him about it all. I basically moved back home for a while. I was too afraid to stay all alone. One afternoon I was in my parents backyard, getting some sun and drinking a beer, just trying to relax.  He drove by. Once in one vehicle, the next in a different vehicle, he tried calling my parents house, and then drove by again. I got scared. I called my Dad to come home, and then I called 911.  He was arrested again, for violating his probation.  I had a personal protection order too, but I believe the probation violation was more severe. He was jailed for, I believe, 90 days.

What I don't understand is WHY would you try to force someone into being with you if they didn't want you? I realize that no one handles rejection well. All of us react, badly, in some way or another. However, trying to push someone into being with you is a little....unstable.

During that time I sought therapy. I needed to figure out why I was letting people treat me that way. The bottom line was my self-esteem. I didn't love myself enough. I didn't think I deserved good things, so I took the bad.

I also met a guy that summer. It was just after that incident happened. I thought he was cute and seemed really nice. I had a good conversation with him when I was out with a friend. The next day, when we were all hanging out (we had mutual friends), I was mute. I was terrified to talk to him. I was super self-conscious about how I looked...My hair was wavy, I had no make-up on, and I had a bathing suit on under my cover-up. He was cute. He seemed nice. He MUST have been drunk when we talked the night before, because he couldn't possibly be interested in me. So that was that. I went home, knowing that I totally blew it.

Interestingly enough, we met again at the start of the following summer....Our friends had a bonfire and we were there. I was still somewhat afraid to talk to him, but kept making eye contact with him across the fire. Finally we talked. Yes, we...I actually spoke to him! The next day, one of my friends texted to see if she could give him my number. Of course that was fine with me, so she did. A while later, he texted to invite me over again, for dinner. I went shopping during the day with my friend, so I couldn't do the dinner part, but agreed to stop over that evening. We all went out for a while, and we talked ...AGAIN!

I was realizing that I wasn't such a troll, and that good guys could be interested in me. I had learned to like myself, was on a path to loving myself, and was finally feeling comfortable enough to let the real me shine through. It was quite a different perspective than when we had met the previous summer.

We dated for a while, but it didn't last. He had an ex who came back into his life, and that was it for me. Totally blindsided.  That was hard. I was just learning to love myself and someone else came along (as had happened other times). Naturally I wondered what was "wrong" with me, despite my friends telling me everything that was "wrong" with her. In the end, on paper, I was the better choice, but that's not the one he made. And that's okay. I'm sure they had their history, he had his thoughts and feelings, or whatever it was...He felt it was the right choice. I don't hate him. I'm not angry with him. I was pretty hurt but life goes on. None of that makes him one of the "bad" guys. He's a good guy; it just wasn't what was meant to be.

Anyway, the the guy now dates a girl I know. Good luck to her. I'm sure everything is all fine and dandy now. I'm sure, like other people, he has her convinced he's changed. I also heard that the night he physically assaulted me he "blacked out."  Hopefully that doesn't happen with her. This girl has a son. I'd hate for an innocent little boy to be exposed to that. I'm sure he's convinced her I'm a monster and that he was somehow innocent in all of it...Guys like that, abusers, they're good at that kind of stuff. They have a disgusting charm that girls fall for. She also doesn't like me because I told her soon-to-be-ex-husband about his past.  I'd like to point out that I did not agree to any conversations with him or anyone about it, and simply told him that I believe that police reports and such are available for public record. Apparently this caused more drama for her. Hey, honey, you know the expression...You made your bed...

Also? Last time I checked, it is MY STORY TO TELL. I will share it with anyone. One thing that this did for me was give me strength. I will be strong. I will make my voice heard; no matter what. It's my story and my voice will shout it from the rooftops. I will no longer be silenced by some guy.

All in all, these bad experiences have helped to make me who I am. The people though? They didn't cause me to change. The crap I dealt with actually made me feel worse about myself. It was when I was on my own, able to look at things differently, and make the changes I needed to. No one but me deserves the credit for my lifestyle change.

I decided to get healthy. I decided to give up bad foods. I decided to cut down on going out and drinking (significantly). I decided to workout. The feelings I started to have about myself made me change. The first few months were hard...Pushing past that "I wanna give up" point that had always blocked me in the past wasn't easy. But? I did it. This time I decided I was unstoppable.

Once I got a taste of the healthy, happy lifestyle I knew I'd never go back. I won't.  Two years later and I'm still happy and I'm still getting healthier.

Relationships really can make you or break you if you let them. You have to know what's good and what's not. You have to know what you deserve, and not accept any less. Don't sit around thinking someone will change because that might just be your own wishful thinking. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If something makes you feel inadequate, it's probably not worth it. Relationships can be great, and they can be hell.  Do what is best for you. You might hurt the other person's feelings, but in the end your happiness and well-being is what is important.  It took me a long time to learn that it was okay to not stay if it wasn't right for me. No one likes to be the one to hurt someone else, but you really do need to care for yourself before someone who you may not even like anymore. That person deserves to be out of a relationship that you don't want to be in. That person deserves his or her own chance for happiness. You deserve the relationship that's wonderful, after that first bit of excitement fades. The relationship will take work, but if it's worth the work, you'll put in the effort.

Also, if you're not ready for a relationship, don't enter into one. That can cause difficulty for yourself as well as the other person involved. It's not good for your own mental health and it's not good for the other person's. It also is not good to keep such a strong hold on the past. Somethings just are not meant to be. You can't force them, no matter how much you want them. Sitting around, wishing and hoping isn't good for you. Get the closure you need, and move on. You'll feel a lot better when you do.

Whatever in life holds you down, makes you feel horrible and worthless, and you feel like you don't deserve any better...Know that you do. You are worth so much more than you give yourself credit for. You can do so much more than you think. You are a person who deserves happiness in life. Whatever it is, it isn't too late to change it...But you REALLY have to be ready and willing to make the changes. It takes work. Waking up one day and saying "I think I'll do this" isn't all there is to it. When it gets hard, don't give up. You have it in you, you just have to find it and then push yourself...Hard.

XOXO




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Struggles.

I've never been a big eater when it comes to holiday meals. One scoop of the things I like (I'm a picky eater), one plate only, and I'm good. Beyond good. Generally full and, sometimes, too full.

I love to bake. Even just putting little things together is fun for me. It's one of my hobbies. Last year, I was crunched for time so my Mom did most of my holiday baking. This was not only super helpful but I didn't have those temptations in my house. Instead, they inhabited hers for a few days.

This year is different. This is not going well for me.

The tiny temptations are becoming giant monsters. Or at least it feels like it to me. I have not overindulged or eaten an entire batch of anything, like some people do. However, from my perspective, the little I've had is too much.

How much is too much depends on the individual. My "too much" is probably lower than the average person's "too much."

Keep this in mind as you read.

I have not yet been found sitting on the floor, bowl in hand, and batter spread across my face. No, no, no. The dangerous territory I'm in is not quite that extreme. A few years ago, maybe. Now? NO WAY.

Last night I made some fudge (super easy recipe, by the way; and thanks to Sarah at Sarah's Deals!). I sampled a tiny bit to make sure it was good, but that was it. The rest went into containers and into the freezer until it comes out this weekend travels from my home to its new home. Out of sight, out of mind. Plus, I'm viewing it as a gift so that makes me less willing to want to sneak a piece. I like to think of it as taking someone else's present from under my tree, opening, and keeping it for myself. That's not going to happen. It's easy to resist when I look at it that way.

Temptation one? Resisted. Take that!

I also made some of those pretzels with a Hershey kiss melted on it, and topped with an m&m. I honestly cannot remember what they're called, if there is a name. Those were also easy to make, and really it was a matter of assembly more than anything. I ate two of them. Really not that bad, considering that's not even half a serving of kisses, m&ms. or pretzels. They're good, just so you know. I love the sweet and salty mix. It's definitely one of my favorite taste combinations. Those also went into containers and into my freezer.

Temptation two? Resisted. I'm on a roll!

My third treat won't be baked for another day or two. I'm making some peppermint whoopie pies. Those will be really easy for me to resist. They're large, so it's not like one tiny thing can lead to seventeen more. I look at them and see fat and calories, before I see sweet yummy goodness. Those? Not an anticipated problem.

My problem? The leftover m&ms from the pretzel treats I made last night. Those little things are hard to resist. I'm not going to throw them away because that's just wasteful. If I take them to work, they're still in the office, and still within my reach. Well, if I get up and walk to them, but you know what I mean. Plus they're kind of difficult to share with groups.... I mean, multiple hands in one bowl... GROSS! I have a feeling if I were to take them to work, they'd sit untouched.

Also, they're little. It's very easy to eat "just one handful." This wouldn't be so bad if it was only once a day. One handful turns into three reallllly quickly.

The funny part? I have never been much of a sweet eater. I've found this with other foods and have heard it from other people too. Although things have never been favorites, they're THERE, begging to be eaten. I think it's because in the mind of someone who's focusing on being healthy, or trying to lose weight, they're taboo. They're a "bad" food. Those tiny little shell coated chocolates are mighty dangerous.

I hear them call to me. Those commercials are lies. The little guys don't want to be avoided. They actually WANT to be eaten. I hear a chorus of little squeaky little voices saying "eat me, eat me," every time I pass that container. I may only grab a few, not even half a handful. Guess what though - those little dips into the bowl add up over the course of the day. Not. Good.

Here's the odd part... I cannot eat them in odd numbers. I have this thing with even numbers. It's slightly bizarre. Or maybe a little OCD?

I'm not sure what it is but I like things to be even. Maybe it's because odd numbers don't match up. Evens do. If you have four of something, there are two here and two there. If you have five you either have two and two, with one left out, or you have two and three which is unbalanced. Maybe that's part of it. I like harmony and balance in my life. Maybe the fact that odd numbers don't allow for a perfect balance is what bothers me. Maybe it's just an odd little quirk.

Yes, I also eat them with the correct amount of colors too...So that I am eating an even number of red and green (these are the Christmas m&ms). Yes, sometimes I even count them out and match them up so that they're all in perfect harmony before I eat them.

I do not do this EVERY time. I think this is where OCD is just barely out ruled. I can easily grab a handful and toss them into my mouth, without having to arrange them. If I had OCD I couldn't function this way. It'd be too scattered for me, and would cause me to have great anxiety. Yes, I'm pretty sure I am not truly OCD.

It's a showdown between those pesky m&ms and I. Their squeaky little voices are just too cute, and too annoying, to resist. So far the m&ms seem to be winning. They haven't won overall though. If that were true, I wouldn't even be writing this. Why? They would all be g-o-n-e. I'd have eaten them already.

I am hoping that my mindfulness of the temptation will help me to resist it. I'm not saying I won't allow myself to have any, but it needs to be in moderation. I can't eat the equivalent of a bag (the small size) in a day. That is too much for me. One handful, okay, that's acceptable. If they're sitting there tempting me, it's probably better to give in and eat a few rather than wait and later eat the entire bowl (which by the way is a small bowl. There honestly are not THAT many left after making those treats).

In the end, it'll be a tie between the m&ms and I. I will have eaten them, but not at once. I will have exercised restraint. I will have been in control. I will have kept my strength to do so. That makes all the difference. Actually, that may make me a winner in the end, even though I will have given into the temptation that they have been throwing in my face.

I guess my idea of struggling is different than that of others. A few years ago, the little snacks would've been there and I would've eaten them. I would not have had a second thought about it.

I am happy that I view this little hurdle as a problem. It makes me feel good about myself. It helps me to know that while I will have my bad times, I've changed. The bad times are much less than they were in the past.

I've come a long way, baby.

XOXO

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Another Dinner

This was a dinner from last week.

The recipe:

Whole grain couscous cooked in 99% fat free chicken broth, steamed broccoli, and boneless, skinless chicken breast. Yummy!!

Just cook the couscous with broth according to the directions on the package, steam the broccoli, bake the chicken, and put them all together.

I had a cup of the couscous and broccoli mixture and 4 ounces of chicken.

I found the recipe on Sparkpeople and modified it by adding the chicken.

XOXO

Yummy Yummy!

Tonight's dinner.... Mini tacos, modified from a recipe on Pinterest.

The recipe included... Extra lean ground turkey, taco seasoning, lettuce, fat free cheese, and multigrain Scoops for the shell. I topped mine with a dab of far free sour cream, as I was out of taco sauce.

The recipe called for tomatoes too but I am not a fan.

XOXO

Vitamins, an Essential.

Lately my workouts have been lacking.... Lacking in terms of frequency, duration, and sometimes intensity. I will say though, that intensity has been pretty dang good.

My problem seems to be starting a workout. Recently, I'm just NOT the workout girl I once was. The last month has been awful. In addition to being busy I find other excuses (and as we all know but hate to admit, they are EXCUSES). Lately the feelings of being tired and cold have been my primary workout deterrents.  Who wants to workout if they're already feeling tired?

Then of course when I do workout, I am energized and feel much more awake. This leads to another excuse... If I don't work out early enough, then it's too late and I won't be able to sleep.

This is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!!

I have prided myself on my workouts. I feel strong and amazing when I do them. Like right now, I feel the soreness in my thighs and lower abs from yesterday. I've done some of my desk exercises, and can actually feel the burn while doing them. This is great! I love this feeling!

Unfortunately it has not been a long-lasting feeling of greatness. The last few weeks I've gotten the workout bug but it's gone away much too quickly. I usually workout at least 5 days a week.  The last few have been 2-3 days a week. This? I do not like. Not at all. Not one bit. It's awful.

I know what I want.  I have goals to reach...Goals that influence my body, my health, and even my future career path. Yet, somehow I cannot seem to find my motivation. It seems lost; buried by a pile of  days that contain "I'm tired" or "I'm just too cold" excuses.

The imaginary light bulb is glowing brightly above my head.

Vitamins!!!!

I just realized that I haven't been taking my nightly multivitamin. I am pretty sure that this is what is impacting on my general feeling of blah.  I had started taking vitamins over the summer and was feeling awesome. My workouts were harder, more intense, and I was kicking some butt by early fall. I felt amazing.

The last month I have not been taking my vitamin. I ran out and keep forgetting to buy more. A multivitamin contains iron.  Iron is a must for someone who has anemia, like me.  My hemoglobin and hematocrit were low, then when the iron from the vitamin got into my system, my level improved a little. That's when I started to feel better. I felt more energized, slept better, and just felt healthier in general.

This just might be the answer to why I am feeling so blah lately. I have many of the symptoms of someone with anemia and they tend to worsen when my level goes low. They tend to improve when my level is more stable (such as when someone remembers her vitamin).

I've gotta take that vitamin.

Don't worry...I'm starting tonight. I take mine at bedtime because if I don't, I feel sick. I get sweaty, warm, and super nauseous. Not so much fun. Vitamins are meant to be taken on a full stomach. What better time than after all of the day's food has settled. I guess I could take it anytime after dinner, but bedtime just makes more sense. It tends to fit into my routine better.

I am actually pretty excited to get back to taking my vitamin. I know this will help me feel better and get me out of this little rut I seem to have fallen into.

It's really amazing how much control what happens in the body can play on what we want to do. I've had great reasons for working out. I mentioned that friend who started her journey. I thought that staying on track and kicking butt to help motivate her would be an awesome motivation for me. It was a few weeks ago when she first mentioned it. However, my motivation dwindled.

How can I encourage and check up on someone else if I can't even do ti for myself? Yes, something is wrong. I feel the motivation during the day, but then by the time I get home from work I'm so exhausted that I just want to do nothing. I have found that it's much easier to tell myself I'm doing it, and do it as soon as I get home.  If I allow a break, that's just bad news.

I'm so happy I came to this conclusion today. I'm excited to take that vitamin at bedtime. I'm eager for my levels to build back up so that I can get back to feeling good and kicking some ass. My competitive edge hasn't left. I want to "be better than...." but when I'm tired it's easy to let that slide and say "oh I'll be back at it tomorrow." Not now.  I'm going to push, even as that level builds. I'm not waiting. My workout diva is coming (back) out.

For some more info on iron deficiency anemia, check out this link:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001610/

XOXO

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fitness Time.

One of the things I frequently hear from others is that they don't have the time to focus on exercise.

I understand that people are busy. I realize that many of you have families to care for. You may also work. I realize that there really just do not seem to be enough hours in the day.  I also know that sleep is a vital part of your health; and that many of you probably do not get enough.

As stated in a prior post...You need to plan. 

Sometimes it's more than your exercise and healthy eating.  Maybe you need to figure out a general daily plan. I realize that life happens and sometimes we deviate from such plans, but you'd be surprised at how much a plan can really help your life.

That being said....Exercise; there are ways you can fit it in.

If you're a stay-at-home Mommy, which is let's face it a full time job in itself, you can come up with some creative things to do.

Young children? Make nap time your "me" time.  Or find activities that give you exercise but also include your children. Even a little exercise is better than no exercise.  School aged children? Find a place to fit your exercise into the day while your children are at school.

If you work part-time, make your work days your days off from exercising.  On your days off, exercise!

Working full-time includes such a variety that it's hard to say one thing that will work best for everyone. There isn't a universal work-time exercise that I've found, or created yet.

Some of you work, on your feet, the majority of the day. Some of you are so busy you may not eat your lunch. Hint? EAT your lunch!! If you are already on your feet, see if you can walk at a faster pace. It's simple enough, and should be easy to do...Unless you already spend your day running at high speeds. I am unaware of a job that requires 8 or more hours of constant running. However, if you know of one, please enlighten me. Also, take the "long way" instead of a short-cut that you may use.  Take the stairs, not the elevator.  Park a little farther away. Look for little changes that can be made. Over time the little things will add up.  Sure, you won't see immediate results from those things and you really do need to do more than just making little changes, but it's a start.  Good habits can result from those small changes.

If you have a job that's mostly standing with little walking, do an activity like squats when you have a few moments. For example, if you're a bank teller, those counters are high.  If someone comes into the lobby, they won't know if you were doing squats or just picking something up off the floor. Your co-workers may notice, but take it as an opportunity to share with them a way to add some exercise into their day.  Share your efforts to get healthy. Who knows, you may start an at-work exercise trend.

Some of us have jobs that are mainly desk-jobs with some walking mixed in. I'd say I end up sitting more than I am up, moving around.  A lot of my work is on my computer. I do a lot of reading, writing, and faxing.  People stop in to talk, which of course involves sitting.  When I go to see a patient, I stand. Even if they offer for me to sit, I politely refuse. I just tell them that I spend a lot of time sitting and that it feels good to stretch my legs out by standing up.  I take the "long way" when I walk around the building.

Another easy thing I've done is wearing heeled shoes. These are not pumps or stilettos. It's actually too disruptive to wear clicky shoes where I work. People are sleeping, resting, or visiting. The "click-clack" sound is not a nice (and often unwelcome) distraction. Rubber heels are best. They have cushion and also a little bounce, while giving me that extra little bit of muscle work. My most recent choice of shoe is a pair of Sketchers wedges...closed-toed and black so they are still professional and follow all the rules (blah). I do have flats that I wear at times, but lately these have been my shoe of choice.  I'll gladly take the extra little health benefit they give me.

If you're like me, sitting for long periods of time is an annoyance.  I get restless, shift in my eat a lot, and sometimes really just have to get up and move. 

I try to do exercises at my desk, not only to get the benefits but also to relieve the tension I feel from sitting so much.  I may do leg lifts, or even something simple like contracting and releasing my abs. Easy. No one seems to notice. I can do them while I work at my desk.

Unfortunately these times seem to be fairly random.  I think about doing those exercises "here and there" and do them, but then slowly forget.  I think it needs to become a habit, just like any type of exercise.

My schedule varies from day-to-day. I can follow a basic schedule for each day of the week, as far as knowing what I'll have going on on which day however lots of things tend to come up as the day goes on.  It makes it hard to say "at these times I will do this..."  Instead my goal will be that four times a day, ideally two in the morning and two in the afternoon, I will complete a round of desk exercises.

I found an article listing four easy exercises that I can do while sitting. These will not replace anything in my normal routine. They will be simple additions that I can do while I work. Most are not going to be noticeable but one or two of them will be. This doesn't bother me.  I am slightly fearful of the "AB Lift."  My chair is on wheels. I can see this resulting in a minor injury. Or at least a little fall from the chair. I'll see how it goes! Please see the link below for exercises and instructions.

I may substitute some seated crunches for that hovering exercise...Or maybe do both. They are pretty obvious, and a little funny to watch, but it doesn't take long to do them. However, I'm thinking that they'll be a little safer since my chair is on wheels and all.

To do a seated crunch:  You should be sitting up straight, grip the edge of your chair and then bend forward and down slightly. Hold your abs tight, and make sure your movement is controlled.

For the exercises I discussed above please visit:
http://www.fitsugar.com/Desk-Exercises-Strengthen-Abs-Thighs-Buns-19114865?page=0,0,0#1

Even on days when you don't have time for a full workout, you can do simple exercises that will benefit your body.  Don't hesitate to get creative!

XOXO

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sharing a Post

I'm going to share a post about what sounds like some awesome shapewear! As you have read, I am hoping to have surgery but right now I still have lumps and bumps caused by my skin.  This is something I'm going to try to help smooth out my body under my clothes. If only this was invisible so I could sport a cute little bikini. Oh and I need one for my legs, as my thighs are horribly skinnishy (as in they have skin, not that they are thin). Hmmm...If this solution were possible, none of us would need surgery and fewer of us would want it.

http://www.priorfatgirl.com/2011/12/if-you-cant-have-surgery.html

Proper Prior Planning...

Yes, I realize I didn't finish it. My Dad uses that expression a lot. It drives me nuts. Why? Because I know. I don't need to be reminded that I should have planned. Had I planned, things would've had a better outcome. The funny thing is that sometimes no matter how much planning you do, things still don't work out like you think they should. I suppose there's a reason for everything though, so even failure to plan can result in what's best. You may not think it's best. You may not see that it was best until sometime in the future. In the end though, the way things happen are generally how they supposed to.

Unless it's a case that's not so life altering and is much simpler.

This brings me to how important it is to plan when you're trying to be healthy. Whether trying to lose weight or just live a certain lifestyle, planning is important.

Fooooood.

I've not been the best at this. I generally have an idea of what types of things I want to buy, and do make a list at the grocery store, so that part I'm good at. To sit down and plan menus? Not so much. Some people make a plan for every day of the week. While I am anal and some things are best when I schedule them, what I eat is not. I typically have an idea for what I want to make that week (generally only two meals since I like to use my leftovers rather than throw them out because they sit too long without being touched). I buy the things I know I'll need for those meals. It seems to work for me.

I will admit that when I don't plan by having meal ideas in mind, it can lead me down a bad road. I've been known to eat some odd dinners due to lack of planning and not knowing what I want. Multi-grain crackers and light ranch? Yup.  With a side of chocolate chips? Sure.  While it's not the healthiest, I'll admit that I do stay in my recommended nutritional ranges, even when I eat random dinners.

The bottom line is that it's best to cook, even when you don't want to. It's even better to plan what you'll cook ahead of time.

Also related to food planning is daily planning. This is SO much easier for me than trying to decided ahead of time when I'll eat what for dinner. In the morning, I can plan out, and track, what I intend to eat for the day. Tracking helps me stay on track with my eating, and makes planning a whole lot easier. It just takes a few minutes every morning. I plug in my plan for the day, and it's all done.

Naturally things happen and I sometimes deviate from the plan. Generally that's an easy fix. I keep in mind the calories I had originally planned for a meal. I make sure that what I eat is about the same. Then I just change what I eat in my tracker. Easy.

I have found that planning can be a bit of an excitement at times.  Like today, for example, I realized that I can have a small treat later. A treat! Yay!

After tracking my daily foods, I'm at 1203 calories.  My range is 1200-1550.  The thought is that on the days I eat more, those are the days I do a workout. I'm not the best at following that and generally keep it around 1200-1350 calories, even on days that I workout.  1500 just seems too high. It scares me. Although, every now and then, I do eat higher calories. It's good to trick your body. As a rule though, I stick to my 1200.

Say what you want...Feel free to lecture that I'm not eating enough. I'm alive and not starving so, clearly, I'm eating enough.

If I were under 1200 calories a day, I'd welcome a lecture. I'd even welcome an ass kicking about how I need to eat more...Especially when combined with working out. That is amount too small for an adult woman.Under 1200 calories a day is dangerous territory. In the end, it generally does more damage than good. I'm done abusing my body, so trust me, I'm sticking to at least my 1200.

Anyway...I'm at 1203 for the day. I can have a snack that's as much as 100 cal if I want, or even 150! That is a nice thing to look forward too. Planning helps to show me that sometimes I can have a little treat without causing (too much) damage.

Planning keeps me on track. It helps me to stay focused and motivated. It helps me control my eating, which is a huge part of staying healthy.

Exercise.

Just like planning keeps my eating on track, it keeps my workouts on track. It's much easier to stay consistent with a plan in mind.  Whether it's a plan of what I'll do for a workout, how long, or when...A plan is a plan.  Generally my plans include all of those. 

I like to look at planning as goal setting.

It's easy to write down "I'll work out for __ minutes __ times this week."  It's better to include which days those times will occur, but let's face it, life happens and that is sometimes difficult.

It's also a great thing when you exceed your goal. Let's say that you have it planned out that you're going to run for 30 minutes three time a week. Today is one of those days.  When the 30 minute mark comes around, you don't want to stop. So you don't. That's the beauty of these goals -- you don't have to stop there. Generally a goal is set so that you have to achieve a minimum number of minutes. If you reach those minutes and want to keep moving....KEEP MOVING!!!

Goals are important. Rewards are just as important - they can help you stay motivated!

Reward yourself as you meet them.  Small weekly goals like the example above count too! Small rewards (a new nail polish or some other small thing) are a great way to keep yourself motivated. As you reach your larger goals, like pounds lost or certain, give yourself larger rewards. Your smaller goals might include something to help you give yourself that larger reward. Maybe put a dollar in a jar for each small goal...Then when it's time for a big reward, you'll have saved a little extra cash to spend on YOURSELF.  I know a lot of you have families and you put them before yourself. You need to do something for you once in a while too.

Planning has been an essential part of my journey. Recently it's been planning if I go out to eat or something. I research and plan ahead. I plan my workouts so that I can achieve my goals, and so that I can add some variety to my routine. I still plan meal ideas and shop accordingly. I don't need to plan as much now as I did at first because what I would plan has become a part of my daily routine.

Find an on-line program. Start a journal.  Keep a spread sheet. Write in a notebook, or on post-its if need be. Whatever you do, and however you organize it, your POA (plan of action) is something that will carry you through your journey and will continue to help you live a healthy lifestyle.

XOXO

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ready? Set? Move!!

Today was like a day one for me... Almost a re-start but not totally. I'd call it a re-start on the workout front. I was on workout vaca for over a week! Rare for me! However, due to being out of town for a few days over Thanksgiving and then battling headaches, body aches, and other physical ailments last week, it just didn't happen.

I have continued to eat healthy, overall. naturally I've had a treat or two...or ten, maybe! In general though I'm healthy. We all can use a treat now and then, I think that if you're healthy and the treats are limited (very limited in my opinion), you're safe. Without those indulgences, we'd eat to try to satisfy ourselves and would likely end up eating more in the end.

A friend started her journey toward a healthier lifestyle today. Yay for her!!she has a wonderful family; beautiful children, and from what I can see is a great wife and mother. I'm glad she's decided to give herself a gift... Merry Christmas to you! Almost two Yeats ago my birthday gift to myself was a healthy lifestyle. It is, by far, the best gift I have given myself. I hope that two years from now she can say the same. She's been through a rough time or two and I k ow she has the strength to do this!

She is part of my motivation for getting back on track with working out. If I am going to encourage and support someone else, I better be doing the work too. I feel better and am ready to be back in action. My other motivation was that I just missed it. I missed the sweat. I missed the soreness. I missed the red face. I missed that awesome feeling; that post-workout
high.

I did a walk/jog interval session today. I love intervals. I really live high intensity intervals.... Can't wait to do some HIIT again soon! Today, though, was just regular intervals...no HIIT. At any rate, it felt so good.

Sometimes the body needs a rest. I usually give it a few days, at max. This was a longer rest than what's normal for me. After being off of the workout train for a while, I burned some awesome calories today. This will not be the case as my body gets adjusted again... It could be as soon as tomorrow or the next day. That part doesn't really matter ad much though; the calorie burn, the pounds lost. What is really important is the benefit to my body. My health and wellness and just being in shape is what matters most, to me.

If you've fallen off track, haven't started, or find yourself on a break.... Get moving!! It really does feel amazing. At first it might be hard but if you oust through the difficult moments, you'll reach that rewarding feeling. It is SO worth it.

Ready? Set? MOVE!!!!

XOXO

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Crazy Body.

First, I am happy to report that despite not really losing much weight, when I went shopping last Friday, I bought smaller pants...One size smaller in most, and two sizes smaller in one pair (jeans, stretchy and wide leg, soooo probably a fluke!). Apparently despite not dropping pounds like I wish I would (I still blame skin for some of that), I am getting a little smaller. Slowly. Too slowly for my anxious self but...What can I Do?

This week has been a pain in my neck. I'm pretty sure that none of the pants I bought on Friday would fit today. BUT they will. Certain circumstances cause random difficulties.

I suppose I need a disclaimer...

**If you can't handle talk about bodily functions, stop reading. If talking about personal things is too much for you, stop reading. If you freak out about what's appropriate and what's not, stop reading. If you're a guy who thinks female things are scary, creepy or gross, stop reading. This is a personal blog. I talk about personal things...Usually as they affect my health and wellness. Sometimes things happen that aren't dinner table topics of conversation (for most people...my job has desensitized me, I think). I won't post anything graphic or disgusting but I am gonna talk about my body and what it goes through.

That being said....

TOM (ladies know what this means) stinks!!!

This has been a horrible, horrible week for me in terms of health and wellness. Finally today I'm starting to feel better and more like I want to attack back!

My ass feels like it is about to bust out of my pants. Generally I like having curves. I like building that muscle. I love looking at my shape in the mirror and seeing a tiny little waist (ha! not today!) and a curvy booty. I feel so feminine and pretty. Okay, I'll confess....Pretty dang hot too! This is not a hot feeling. This is feeling like you're a balloon that is inflated to the max.

Today I am ten pounds heavier than I was a week ago. Don't be alarmed...I have not fallen of the wagon, gone on some insane binge, or anything horrible like that. I'm sure that over the Thanksgiving holiday, thanks to not working out (not an actual workout anyway, but did spend two full days on my feet shopping, legs and lower back hurt after day one...so that's something!), and eating things that I don't normally eat, I may have gained a couple pounds of actual fat or whatever.  Certainly not ten though. It takes 3500 calories to equal a pound though, which is why I say maybe a couple. Although 7000 extra calories over four days seems a bit crazy. I didn't eat THAT much, and certainly not that much over my calories. My weight has been stable since Monday, so the "gain" was actually over those four days. I know that I ate higher sodium foods over those days...so, there's some possible fluid retention.

That being said, I know I am retaining fluid right now anyway, so sodium does not help. It just makes me retain more! Lots of it. This tends to happen to me...oohhhh every month, sometimes I'm lucky and it's every other month. Last month I gained a whopping 16 pounds in a short period of time. It quickly went back down. Why do I retain this? TOM. I can feel the retention...In my belly, in my fingers, in my face, in my thighs, and in the most painful spot my boobs. None of the other spots hurt like they do. It's nice to appear larger than normal (and to fill out some of that extra skin lol), but it hurts. The rings that I normally wear do not fit. Well, not well. They're tighter than I like, so I just don't wear them.

I never noticed the retention before I lost weight. I could see, in pictures, that my face looked fatter. I felt a little worse but it wasn't this obvious (to me). Maybe it's because I didn't weigh myself. Now that I do, and I watch what I eat, I work out, and am healthy, I notice these things more. I notice the changes. Before I didn't workout. I didn't care as much about what I ate. I gave into the fast food temptation. I had no problem sucking down diet coke, or buying candy bars. These are things I don't do anymore. I have awareness now. How would I be fully aware of the changes in my body if I wasn't keeping track? I felt fatter than normal but at my size, it didn't matter much. All that bothered me were pictures....I hated my face looking fatter. Maybe that's because that was the part of me that was less fat. For a while there, every picture taking event that came up was during pre-TOM/TOM. Lucky me.

I know that these pounds will come off. I drink a lot of water, which will help flush it out. In fact I think that's started happening. And as the hormonal changes continue to occur, even more fluid will be flushed out. Sometimes this lasts for an entire week, so hopefully by Monday I'll be starting to feel less like a blimp.

I am also one of the lucky ladies who has a surge in appetite. We burn more calories during this time, so it's only natural that our bodies want to eat more. We need them to function. However, I feel like I am constantly hungry. It's not just that I think I am...I experience actual pains and my stomach growls like crazy. It's real hunger, not imagined.

I experience cravings and am one of those people who likes to satisfy the cravings that like to creep up. I do not eat healthy. For example, dinner on Monday night was a bag of Smart Pop popcorn and some peanut butter fudge. I know, I know...HORRIBLE. I hate this. I feel like I'm weak and off the wagon when this time comes. It is so incredibly hard for me to resist those cravings. And if I don't, I sometimes end up eating too much of other stuff because the craving isn't satisfied. I think that, in the end, it's better to satisfy the craving and eat a smaller amount, or something still chocolately (for example) but not so high in calories and fat....Like no sugar added fudgesicles or fat free hot chocolate. Moderation is the key. I can't eat a box of fudgesicles in a day. Obviously that's not any better. But one twin pack is okay. As is a cup of hot chocolate, made with water or skim milk (no marshmallows!).

I have not worked out in about a week now (unless you count all the walking, trying clothes on, and all that fun stuff while shopping). But as far as a traditional workout..Nope. Last weekend was busy. I knew I wouldn't get time, and would be tired later in the day and then not want to make time.

Monday I had a chiropractor appointment. I don't like to workout after an adjustment. I have this notion that I might mess up what was just fixed. I wasn't feeling so great anyway (cough, sneezy...something I usually push though).Plus I got home late, was starving and ate right away...and on and on.Tuesday I felt ready to workout. The morning was great (although no morning workouts have occurred because I also sleep more this time of month). I couldn't wait to get home and workout. I came back from lunch and BAM! Menstrual Migraine. For anyone who has experienced one of these, they are hell. Seriously. I wanted to cry at my desk at one point because it just hurt soooo bad. I went home and it was still there. Now tell me, who wants to push their body when their head is pounding to the point that keeping the eyes open hurts. I took some pain medicine, which helped the headache. However, I get a little too relaxed and somewhat "loopy" sometimes so working out after a med? Not a grand idea.  Yesterday I had to pick up my new glasses and get a few (HEALTHY) groceries. I didn't get home and get things put away until after 7:00. Yup....No workout yesterday either.

So far today I feel okay. I think I may have another headache coming on, but hopefully it doesn't last or isn't bad. There's a little pressure in my noggin but nothing horrible.

I NEEEEEEEED to work out today. I WANT to work out today. I've had enough of this being busy and not feeling up to it stuff. I am ready to dig back in, get on track, and get back to my usual routine. I miss it. I feel like a lump when I don't work out...Especially when combined with retention, increased appetite, and poor eating habits. These things are nooooot going to help my weight, my shape, or how I feel about myself. I'm ready to burn some calories. A good workout will result in a good sweat. A good sweat means more fluid will leave my body. I have lost as much as four pounds of fluid in a workout before (yeah, I was a hot sweaty mess!). It sounds gross, but it feels so good. I love it. I crave the sweat....Hopefully that craving is stronger than the craving for chocolate or something salty (which I don't have in the house) today.

There you have it...I'm female. Once a month I am plagued with something that tortures my body. On the upside my mood hasn't been too bad this month. This is a shock to me. Usually when I feel like this physically, my mood is wild too.

I've only really had one bad moment this month. I got annoyed and "yelled" at my dogs on Monday. Then felt bad about it and started crying, and hugging them like crazy. Oh and apologizing (yes to my dogs). Yelled is in quotes because I didn't actually yell, just sounded mean (I think). I haven't been too angry, sad, or anything else.... So far, so good. I'm not sure what's worse, the emotional roller coaster or the physical insanity. Either way, I know it's short term and I will feel normal again soon!!

What is particularly encouraging is that a friend and I have recently decided to help keep one another accountable for working out. This should help, and is just what I need right now since I'm feeling so yucktastic.

I have another friend who is starting her own journey on Sunday. What an awesome way to begin the week! Healthy and with an optimistic outlook. I'm very proud of her, and am thrilled to be able to be a support for her and help her along the way.

The fact that she's starting is also a good motivator for me. Lead by example....! I'd feel much too hypocritical if I were encouraging something and behaving totally differently. Luckily, I should be back to normal by then, which is good. Her decision to being her journey will help me to get back on track after this rough week. I guess her timing and mine are totally "on." 

Hope you are all having a great week! Stay healthy!!!

XOXO


Edit: I wrote this two days ago. In those two days, five pounds have disappeared. I expect that within a few more, the other five will be gone. Crazy body!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dream a Little....Nightmare?

This blog is, in general, about health, fitness, and all things associated with either. This post is not. Not directly anyway. I'm sure, in some way, it could be linked to my subconscious, life stress, or something else that relates to wellness. Let's be honest though, I don't really want to try to figure it out. The connection isn't that important.

I don't really want to maintain two blogs so, I guess, every now and then I will post random topics here.

Last night I had an odd dream. It was about a wedding. My wedding. I'm not married. I'm not engaged. I'm not planning or assisting in the planning of a wedding. This wedding has no direct impact to my life at the moment. Perhaps my subconscious is trying to tell me something?

I never got to the wedding part of the dream. It was everything leading up to it that I dreamt of. It was...A disaster. This dream was more like a nightmare. Quite honestly it's the opposite of what I would consider my dream wedding.

First of all, I was wearing a black wedding gown. It looked more like a bridesmaid or prom dress. It was that typical satiny fabric, strapless, a-line, with an ugly little rhinestone square on a satiny black ribbon around the waist, like a belt. I would NEVER get married in something like that. First...Black? Never. That ugly little rhinestone and ribbon belt? EWWW.

The person in the dress, while me, didn't look like me. I was chunky...Not fat like I was but there was more to me than there is now. My chest was bigger, but so were my tummy and hips. I had brown hair. Messy brown hair. It was like I had it done but it was falling out of the style. I remember screaming something about that's what I get for not going to get my hair done at a salon.

There was also an issue about shoes. I was freaking out about the black dress and suddenly became obsessed with having to have white shoes because I needed SOMETHING white. I was in Walmart with my Mom, trying to find shoes. I was looking at the kind that don't even come in a box! They were on those plastic hangers like slippers often come on. This would also never happen. I'll admit I'm a clothing snob... Shoes from Walmart? Not for me. It was also interesting that one of my old assistant managers (from when I worked there) was working, and I was trying to hide from him because I was so embarrassed.

The site of the wedding was at someone's home. I remember one of my cousins was supposed to be helping to set things up but we couldn't find him. Then I saw these posters, done by kids of my cousins (who are currently one and almost two). The cousins in the dream were cousins that I don't see much anymore, but I was close with them in the past. The posters were large white pieces of paper with a message welcoming out of town guests to the wedding. The kids had drawn on them in crayon. For some reason this pushed me over the edge. I was not having welcome posters at my wedding, and certainly not posters done in crayon by toddlers. I went all Bridezilla and said enough was enough, I was not doing it. Everything was falling apart and turning out to be a bit too white trash for my taste. This was not good enough for me, the girl who dreams of a princess style wedding.

I was crying, I was screaming, and I wanted to run away. In fact in my dream I may have run away. I can't remember if I was screaming that I wasn't going to get married this way to someone specific or if I was just screaming it to no one in particular. That's when either the dream ended or I woke. At the end of the dream I knew I wasn't going through with that wedding, but I have no idea if I told anyone or if I just bolted.

Other than the black dress and the white shoes, the dream was in color.

I remember feeling as though it was rushed and I'm not sure why. A shot-gun wedding? No thank you. I felt as though I had no control. I felt as though I was being forced into a marriage. I felt like a girl who was entering into an arranged marriage when everything inside of her didn't want to.

I do not remember who I was marrying. At one point though I thought maybe it was supposed to be an ex. I'm not sure though. The dream wasn't really about the groom. It was all about me ending up in a situation that I hated. It wasn't about the idea of the wedding itself, but of all of the things leading up to it that were going wrong and that were not how I wanted them.

Interesting. Maybe this is not related to anything. Maybe it's showing me something.

I could pick it apart, research it all, and see what conclusion I can come up with....But there are many directions to take. Dream interpretation online is very basic. It might focus on the colors, the feelings, or something else. A lot of the ideas in the dream can mean different things. It would take a bit of time and some reflection to try to piece it together. The things that stand out (the most) to me are: the fact that I was wearing a black dress, family members I haven't seen in a while, my hair style falling and looking horrible, the search for the shoes, and the general feeling of having no control and that everything was going wrong. Why those particular things were important, I'm not sure.

My general feeling about the dream is that it showed me how important my independence is to me. It's something I value. The feeling of being forced into a situation that I didn't want was not easy for independent me. In fact it caused me a lot of anxiety and was seriously upsetting. In the end, I didn't go through with what I didn't want. That's very similar to how I am in life. I do think that the embarrassment of the situation was interesting... Maybe that's my snobby side coming out. I'm not comfortable with things that aren't how I want them. I don't want to settle for less than I feel I deserve. I am very competitive and I like to show off. I want the best of the best and anything less (or horrendous like in the dream) would be very upsetting to me.

I like to think about my dreams and what they might mean, if anything. Maybe it was nothing. Any dream experts out there that want to shed some light on this? I'm interested in hearing different ideas and opinions. Studying this kind of thing is very interesting to me.

XOXO

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pretty Powerful

The voting ended on Friday for the Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful campaign contest.

 As anticipated, I did not win.

However, for signing up so late into the contest, I don’t think I did too bad with my 130 votes. It certainly was not 5000+ like the winner had, but I’m happy. What I’m most happy with is that I reached a few new people.

Thanks to my friends who shared the link on Facebook. Some of you had friends who messaged me, and I’m so grateful!!! The people who messaged me wanted some advice for various reasons. They may have felt lost, out of control, or just in need of a change. I shared my blog link and messaged back and forth. I hope that I inspired them to make a change.

My goal in signing up for this contest was to touch at least one person. Mission accomplished.

I want to continue to educate people about obesity… It’s BAD. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a nurse. I am just a girl who looked at herself one day and thought “no way” and made a change.

Whatever excuses you have, please know that they are just excuses. You CAN do the things you can’t. You just need to get inside your own head and encourage yourself. You have to be that little annoying voice that is screaming at you to push harder. Be the person you want to be deep down. By making excuses, all you are doing is hurting yourself.

I’m not saying this is all about appearance. It’s not. It’s about health. It’s not just about losing weight. It’s about adding years to your life. It’s about being happy and healthy. I firmly believe that mental and physical health are very closely related.

I want the people who feel like they are in a hole so large that they’ll never escape to know that, they can. It’s a long road. It can be hard. I’ve experienced my fair share of tears and anger. I’ve experienced far more moments of feeling accomplished, proud, happy, and thankful.

I can’t tell anyone what they need to do to change… Other than eat healthy and exercise. Ya gotta move and ya gotta watch what goes into your mouth. You can’t eat fast food and sit on the couch and expect change. It won’t happen.

Stop being lazy. That’s what it is. The excuses for why you “can’t” do something… That’s just laziness. You need to kick laziness’s ass. And you need to keep kicking it.

Sometimes I think I may offend someone with what I say. Too bad. I’m being honest. I am telling you the things that your well-meaning family and friends won’t. I’m not going to spare your feelings because maybe you need to feel. Maybe you need to cry and feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. If you don’t feel, it’s likely that you don’t really feel the problem. You need to feel.

Honestly, for me, this started out as “I need to lose weight.”  It’s become so much more. I’m an advocate for health. I never expected to discover that health would become so important to me. I love working out. I am back in touch with my inner-athlete. I want to go run around a baskeball court. Seriously, I was just pivoting around my kitchen tonight. My inner-athlete has been gone for a very long time… Since 7th grade when she thought she wasn’t good enough and gave up sports. She’s been gone for a long time and now she is ready to burst out of me.

I’m going to do Warrior Dash in 2012.

I want to do a small triathalon. I know I can bike, depending on the run I can do that… I need to go get into a pool because I haven’t done any real swimming in ages. I want to finish it… That’s all… I don’t need to win. I just want to do it. Doing these things, for me, is living. There is no greater experiencing than feeling the wind in my hair while biking; the sweat pouring off of me while running; and I’m sure the water rushing over me while swimming will be just as freeing. Ten years ago I never thought of those things or how amazing they would make me feel.

Ten years ago… Wow. When the heck did I become old enough to say things like that? Me no likely. Not one bit. I wish I was ten years younger. Well, maybe not…Maybe between five and eight. I can’t go back though. I can’t have a do-over.

Lately I’ve learned that age, the number, isn’t what is important. It’s how you feel. If I feel like I’m a 20-something, that’s okay.  Someone recently said that age is just a number… I think I’m finally accepting that.
There’s all this pressure at my age to be in situations that I am honestly not ready for. For example, right now, I don’t want babies. I’m so happy for my friends and family members who have gorgeous children. I love them. But I have a lot of living to do before I’m ready for that. I hate that sometimes I feel that time is running out. It’s not. I’m just learning who I really am….A little later than most, but earlier than others.
Where I live doesn’t help with that. That’s what you do around here… Get married and have babies. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I relate better to the characters on Sex and the City than I do some of the people around here. For me, life is not all about getting married, having babies, and living here. I need, and want, more in my life. I was lost for far too long. Now that I’m learning who I am and am letting her out….I need to live.

I can’t help but think of one of my favorite quotes (from SATC, of course)…

“Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free til they find someone just as wild to run with them.”
With all of that, I’m trying to say… You’ll change. Not just physically but emotionally and mentally as well. It’s scary, like a lot of changes are. It’s so good though. Self-discovery is something truly amazing. I’m sad that my real self was hiding inside a fat, insecure (although I’d never admit that and didn’t act like it) girl. This me? Was dying to get out.

Most importantly you have to love yourself. You don’t have to love how you look, but you do have to accept it. I think that for me, finally looking in the mirror and accepting myself for what I really looked like helped me to change. When I accepted myself, I decided to change myself.

The only person who can change you is you. You can get advice, you can seek therapy, you can do many things to help. In the end though, it’s up to you. You have to be ready to change.

You hold the power to change your life…Now how amazing is that?

I may not have won a contest, but I’ve won…. I’ve won against obesity. I fought a disease that I allowed myself to have. I prevented health problems. I’ve won a new attitude. I’ve won a new, strong, and real confidence. I’ve won a new outlook on life. I’ve won a new sense of peace. I’ve won the fight to really know myself. I’ve won the ability to inspire and motivate others. I’ve won a new direction.

On the shallow end of things…I’ve finally won my inner hotness!!! Hey, as much as it is about health, it’s about appearance too (for me anyway). I wouldn’t be set on getting cosmetic surgery if it wasn’t. I’ve the ability to look in the mirror and go “daaaamn.”

Most importantly, I’ve won my life.

What I’ve won is so much more important than a contest.  In the end, I happen to think I am Pretty Powerful.

XOXO

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Being Sick? Sucks!

I haven’t posted in a while. Shame on me.

I was busy… Spending some time with some of my loves. I had a much needed GNO last Friday night (okay since today is Saturday I suppose that’s now two Friday nights ago). A few of us had a super fun outing downtown at Howl (at the Moon) and spent the night in the city. Ahhh…Chicago…Your excitement, energy, warm people, gorgeous views, and well…All of you. I love you, still.

Yes, my love affair with Chicago continues. When I say Chicago, I mean downtown…FYI.

The rest of the weekend was fairly laid back… A little shopping, out for dinner, nothing too wild and crazy. Overall, it was a great weekend with great people.

Sunday I started feeling kind of “blah.”  You know the feeling… Tried, like your temp is a little high, just yucky in general.

Yes, yucky and blah are medical terms…Haha.

So I just relaxed after I got home on Sunday (other than unpacking, of course). Monday I went back to work and felt okay, not great, but not horrible. Actually I felt much like I did on Sunday…Just blah. Tuesday was pretty much the same, but I was starting to feel worse… I noticed that my voice was getting pretty rough in addition to feeling how I did the previous two days. By the end of the work day I was feeling worse. I thought about going home to workout to “sweat it out.” That didn’t happen. I was much too sluggish.

Wednesday showed up. My voice did not. Well, not very well anyway.. It was there, but mostly a whisper. I’d have a moment of excitement when it would seem to come back but then it quickly got weak again. No bueno. So I went to the doc on Wednesday. Apparently I didn’t just feel blah. I was sick… Walking around for probably at least a couple days with a low-grade fever, without even really paying much attention. A sinus infection and laryngitis. Lovely. This meant an antibiotic for me. This also meant that I felt super crappy. I usually don’t go to the doctor unless something is making me feel really bad; whether it be sickness or an injury.  By Wednesday night my voice was even worse.

On Thursday my voice was pretty much gone. I had a bit of a whisper at times but most of the time, a whole lot of nothing. Good thing I didn’t go to work. This was SO HARD for me. I hate missing work, mostly because I know that I will, undoubtedly, return to a pile of work to catch up on. Who wants to do that? Not me. I’d rather be there and not deal with a friggin’ mess. I also had been saving up my sick time so that when I decide to have cosmetic surgery for excess skin, I’d have lots of time saved up.

I used a couple hours on Wednesday, and then 8 on Thursday, and another 8 on Friday.  Over two days off of work… UGH… I can’t wait to see how insane my work day will be on Monday. Thrilled, I tell ya, thrilled. Ha.

I’m feeling better today. Mostly I’ve just been dealing with a cough and feeling tired. I still haven’t done much of anything because it wears me out. However, I have been able to focus to look at things on line, and here I am, blogging! This is a huge improvement.

You know what I haven’t been able to do though… Exercise. I am honestly hating the fact that I can’t work out. Even thinking of it exhausts me right now. I’m taking off until Monday, but then it’s back to it.
I’ve already gone A WEEK without working out. My last workout was at the end of the last week….Thursday. I didn’t work out on Friday because I had a couple appointments then headed out of Podunk later in the day. I’m going to go ahead and count being on my feet for several hours, in heels, and much of it spent dancing, as a workout. This isn’t something I do on a regular basis. I’m sure consuming Stoil Raspberry and water, followed by a piece of pizza, didn’t do much for me though. Oh well… I have to LIVE this life that I’m in, even if that means partaking in big girl beverages and eating a piece of pizza every now and then. I didn’t eat much the rest of the day anyway, so calorie-wise, life was okay.

I had plans to have dinner with a couple friends last night….Friends I haven’t seen in a while. I had to cancel because I’ve been sick. Thanks sickness, you ass.

So. Being sick? Sucks. Mucho. I hate missing work. I super duper hate missing workouts. I also hate being cooped up in the house. I’ve had limited contact with the outside world over the last few days. It’s not like I’m going to a function every night of the week, but at least I get to be around people. Thank God for Facebook and texting or else I’d have been lost.

I can tell I am starting to feel better because I’m getting a little angry about having been sick. I want to get out. I want to do something. I want to go be wild and crazy. However, I’m still not up to par, so…..Home it is. Fantastic.

I’m honestly about to have a little pity party, complete with tea (not the kind from Long Island either… The kind of the green variety). Maybe I’ll splurge and have some fat-free hot chocolate. Woooohoooo…It’s a party over here.

All of this sitting has given me far too much time to think. Now I’m feeling quite unhappy, borderline depressed. I seriously need to feel better fast. I need a workout to make the endorphins surge through my body. I need some social interaction, in person.

The last few days, spent in sweats, doing shots of Theraflu cough syrup, surrounded by dirty tea cups, empty bottles of water, and dirty tissues… Has left me feeling less than glamorous. I want glamour. I need glamour. I want a fun, glamorous life. Can I please be ten years younger (but still in this body, not the body I had ten years ago…or a better one!) and do it all again? I want to go live in the the city, with roommates, working in a store or waitressing or something… I want to live the “cool” life for a while before I grow-up.

Newsflash. I am a grown-up. I’m quickly approaching 31. I’m supposed to be responsible. People look at me like they can’t quite figure me out because I’m unmarried, and have no children. That’s because of where I live. It’s not fun here. This is not the place for me, yet here I am….

With that, I’m off to look at indeed or CB or something. Maybe there’s a job waiting for me…In the city, where I can breathe.

XOXO

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Full Heart.

Tonight I found a contest on the Bobbi Brown website (see previous posted). It’s  for her Pretty Powerful campaign. Unfortunately the contest opened on August 1st and ends on the 18th of this month. The person in the lead for my state has over 3000 votes. At this point I’m not sure that I would get quite that many, and the first place person is chosen based on the number of votes.
However, although a win would be amazing, that’s not my primary motivation for entering this contest. I thought it would be a great way to get my story out there a little more. Honestly winning would have been HUGE for sharing my story, but I think that this might help too.

Why do I want to share my story?

I want to serve as inspiration for someone else. I want them to realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want them to know that they have the strength inside them to accomplish their goals. It’s hard to find sometimes. There are days that I still struggle to gather motivation for a workout, or I fight urges to eat junk food (still can’t keep it around, or I eat it).

My story is specifically about weight loss and getting healthy. I think that the idea of being able to change yourself can be applied to many situations. I think that I could tell my story in a way that could inspire and motivate people with other issues.

I want people to know they’re not alone. You’re not the only fat person. You’re not the only out of shape person. You’re not the only one who knows they should choose the healthy dinner but the temptation of a steaming, gooey pizza is too strong to resist.

I want people to know that there is at least one other person in the world who has been there. There is at least one other person cheering them on; encouraging them; wanting to fight their fight with them.

I want to use my new found love for health and fitness in a way that I can mix it with my career as a social worker. I eventually hope to open a private practice where I can not only help with mental health issues but also with physical health. This will require some more training on my part… I want to get my personal training certification. I also want to take some nutrition courses. I want to do these things to further my own knowledge and to benefit me in the future. This comes from the desire within me to share this amazing feeling with others.

Why is my heart so full?

I only signed up for the contest a few hours ago and already my facebook page and my sparkpage have been commented on by friends and family… They’ve voted. They’ve shared my link. They’ve said some wonderful things about me… The things that I don’t think about myself on a daily basis. Their kind words are such an awesome reminder of where I’ve been and where I will continue to go.

It was so touching to see what people have to say about me. Honestly I got a little teary reading some of what was said.

My family: You are amazing. I cannot imagine, nor do I want to, what my life may have been like had I not been placed for adoption. I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world…

My friends: You are nothing less than amazing. Whether we’re super close friends, we used to be close friends and drifted, we were once roommates, we worked together for a while, we work together now, or we are new friends… The little things you say really do mean so much.

It isn’t just tonight or the comments about this contest; sharing the link….It’s been a constant factor throughout this journey.

All of the encouragement along the way has been such a huge factor in keeping me motivated. There are times I haven’t wanted to workout but I’ve read comments and that was enough to make me do it.

As I sit here tonight, my heart really is full… Full of happiness that my family and friends have brought into my life.

I know this was kind of a corny blog post, buuuuut…. :)

XOXO