Sunday, May 15, 2016

Breaking Out Of My Bubble

Over the last two and a half years, I have felt like I have lived in a bubble.  Not really paying attention to the outside world, except when and where needed for my necessary involvement.  Even now, I am still living in my own selfish world as I strive to make vast improvements to better my life and surroundings.

One of my favorite quotes is "Why fit in when your born to stand out?" Dr. Seuss.   It is fitting for what I have been feeling for most of my life.  For most of my life, I have just wanted to fit in with groups of people, and feel accepted for who I was as a person.  The more I tried to fit in with others, the more isolated and alone I felt, and detached from others.  It was very heartbreaking for me. 

Starting in high school, the more I tried to fit in and feel accepted, the more I turned to food for comfort.  It was just in small doses at first.  It started out so small that back then, I did not know the damage that I was causing by turning to food for comfort.  Food is a necessary for us to live by, yet it is not supposed to comfort us emotionally and mentally. To the point I was considering suicide.

When I got the spot to participate in the FIT Challenge in 2014, it literally saved my life in many ways.  I was ready for a change in my life physically.  Thinking I would be happier if I lost weight, I put myself out there to get help, not knowing how drastically my life would change by blindly going into something the scared the living hell out of me. 

One of the things that I have learned over the last few years, that the only acceptance that I needed was from myself.  That once I learned to love and accept myself, all of me and my flaws, the better my life would become.  The people that are meant to be in my life will be with me regardless of what happens.  Rather from a distance or close by, these people are there no  matter what.

Over time, as I lost the weight, I noticed that I was interacting with more and more people.  Not always so much socializing with all of them and going out, but talking to people in my everyday life.  Rather it was while shopping, at the grocery store or just chatting with somebody at work or the gym.  The shy, quiet girl is still within me, and I still feel her presence ever so often in my life.

However, it is hard to tell, on my part, if others are "real" friends or those who are just curious about my weight loss because I have been so willing to share my experience with the public as I have done the unthinkable and made a very private struggle a public one.  It has made me wonder who cares truly about me as a person, and who just wants something to talk about to their friends.  Because of the past experiences I have had in the past with others, I question every ones motives. 

I am so unsure of the intentions of guys so often when they ask me out, that often times in the course of my conversations with them, at some point, I start to shut down, unintentionally and misunderstand what they are saying, or stop paying attention.  I do this to protect myself to keep from being hurt.  Most recently, I turned down a dinner invite with someone I had wanted to spend time with, replying that I needed to run.  Seriously, who the hell does that?  I could have ran after dinner. However, not fully listening to what was being said, I missed a great opportunity to spend time with someone instead of trying to protect my heart from heartbreak.

Learning to live life and experience all the different types of things normal people do is an adjustment.  I need to know how the good kinds of heartbreak, and know what I like to do with others, instead of living a life where I am always alone.  Some moments in life are meant to be shared, regardless of if that person remains in our life or not down the road.

There is one person in my life at this point, that I am not sure if they will remain, or fade into the background.  This person, I can honestly say, I have loved dearly with my whole life, and am forever grateful for their presence in my life.  I can say I have never felt the same love or bond like I have with this person.

Though I am learning, in this process to accept love and respect from myself, and that from others as I follow my heart into the unknown.  God gives us the people and experiences we need for ourselves, and those who may need us later in life.  I am thankful for had happened to this point in my life.  I have learned so much in such a short time that I never thought I could have. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Make the most of detours

Through out life, we are always changing course. We get a lot of road blocks, detours if you will.  We choose how to deal with them when life doesn't go as planned.  Do we sit and wait for the road to clear? Go around or climb over it?  There are many options regardless of if we see it or not.

Back in September when I was in Dayton for the marathon, I spent time at the expo seeing the different races I could do for this year.  In my head, I had planned on staying on track with competing to stay healthy. It kept me focused.  So far this year, I've done one 5k,and afterward decided to pull out of all future races I planned on attending.

Life would have other plans for me.  Having not done a marathon before, I ran a great portion of the race not knowing I was injured.  I just assumed the pain and soreness would go away and was part of running a long distance.  Plus my body was still adjusting to a significant weight loss. Essentially, since September, my body has been saying, "Girl, let me heal!"  There are a lot of days, especially lately, I'm in pain.

During this time, I'm learning to live a normal life. Getting in touch with myself, and those I love the most. Reconnecting with family and friends I have not spent time with in years because I was ashamed of myself. Also taking time to get healthy from a medical stand point. Getting in touch with doctors to get excess skin removed and relief from other issues I'm facing.

I'm forever blessed that I have such a great support system. My trainer has kept me focused through the entire process and I'm thankful for that as he strives to keep me comfortable through the pain as we move forward to better living.  He's become a good friend and my biggest supporter in this.  The other members of the gym, I am grateful for their friendships as well and ability to make me laugh and give hugs.

This gym and trainer are by far the best fit for me as life gives me detours to deal with.

Friday, April 8, 2016

skin skin go away

When I first started my weight loss journey, I should say, when I got serious, I only thought of the weight coming off. I didn't factor in the mental and emotional changes I would have to make.  These changes in top of getting rid of my old food choices, and activities.  Gone were the days of binge watching tv while on the computer, eating super sized junk food and deep fried what ever, washed down with sugar with light tea.

When I started the Fit Challenge, I knew I was going to lose weight.  I knew it was going to work and I had to learn to do everything over, like relearning to walk or ride a bike.  It was rough. I cried, almost daily, never in front of Ryan though. Many days, early on, I literally crawled up stairs I tears because I was sore. Ryan was super hard on me, always. Challenging every step of the way. At no time did he let me get away with excuses or play victim.  He never gave up despite our struggles.

Today, over two years later, and still working with Ryan, I see so many changes in my life. Better, more positive changes. I have more confidence, I'm happier, more active physically and socially. Mentally and emotionally I know I'm stronger.

In this process, I never thought of the struggle I would have with my excess skin. I knew I would have some, if any at all.  However, little did I factor in that for the length of time I wad heavy vs how quickly I lost so much weight, I have so much skin that gets in the way.  It's harsh, mentally and physically.

Mentally it's hard because when I look down, all I see is skin. It's a daily reminder of a former life I no longer live. It's hard seeing ladies in the gym who have flat stomachs, while I continue to wear men's basketball shorts most days to hide my stomach and skin. Physically the skin weighs so much.  It's pulling on my hips and spine causing a lot of discomfort.  This slow my training down for races.

It's frustrating because most days I am not sure if the emotional and physical anguish I'm going through now is much different than the lonely life I led as an overweight lady. Some days I swear getting hit by a train would feel better depending on how bad the back and spine pain is.

It does help greatly that Ryan insisted I see a professional therapist to help with my transition. It makes it easier for all of us. Talking to someone who only heard my issues and guide me makes a difference. I know I can say anything to Ryan, and anything is open for disscussion. However, I tend to shut down when conversation get deep in the gym. Not because of Ryan, because he tries. I trust him. There are normally too many ears open with no ear phones in. 

One day, I hope and pray God allows my journey with Ryan to be continued to be shared with others. Shared with finding funds to get the medical help for the surgery. Believe it's important to share with others so they know weight loss can happen naturally. I keep praying through tears that God finds a miricle for the healing for my heartbroken body. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Our weight is just a number on the scale.  It's only a number. Yet we let it define who we think we are, or who we're supposed to be. Even our physical size, we let that define who we are, even though there are several components to who we are.

When I first started my weight loss journey,I thought once I hit a, certain number on the scale, I would be happy.I would have a Normal life and not worry about anything with my health. Boy was I wrong.

I hate that a number on the scale is still controlling my life.  I want to be free. To live a long life full of normalcy where I'm not hiding from the world because of my size.
I don't want left over reminders of a life still attached to my body that I no longer live.

I cry so often because of the emotional and physical pain I feel from the previous life. Not feeling good enough for the great things happening in my life. Not sure if I deserve the  opportunities occurring or ones that may happen.

I want to feel the genuine love for myself, and from others that lead a long, healthy, productive life. I do feel it from time to time. Yet I feel guilty at times after talking to certain people. I am learning to cut them off so I can stay positive.

I want to stay focused. To continue proving to myself that I can do this on my own, that I am worth fighting for, on my own. Even if I have to go alone,I will. In this life, it's just about staying focused on my goals, going to set high standards for myself, and hopefully others so they know that impossible dreams do Come true with hard work.

I try hard to stay focused and positive most is not one of those days. It's gotten the best of me today.  However, it's just a small battle in an internal war I will win.

Obesity is a national epidemic that can be fixed naturally. I found that out by busting my ass in the gym.It's  messing with my mind right now mentally.Yet,I am strong enough to overcome this. I will conquer the emotions and regain the strength Back to do what's right for
My life.

I never took in consideration the mental strength I would need or how long it would take. However, I have been extremely blessed with the great team of people around me to guide me through this process.

Today, the number got the best of me.  Yet in the end, I'll own my own strength to became a much better, stronger person. For that,I am grateful.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

"Why FIT in when your born to stand out?"

"Why FIT in when your born to stand out?" Dr. Seuss. This has been one of my all time favorite quotes. Especially in a time when I'm trying to figure out who I am, while feeling accepted for who I am.

I have been in customer service most of my life. Taking care of others and their needs. I work with a lot of families with small children on a daily basis.

Recently I had a family come in my store to buy last minute gifts before heading home. The mother insisted that the children buy something similar, so they wouldn't fight over whose was whose.

I looked at the mother and told her that it would  be better for the children to buy different things. That way, what they buy, are uniquely theirs, and kept and played with more, and longer than if they received the same thing as their sibling.

I don't have children of my own. Yet, before you judge me, know that I have five siblings.  I remember how much I hated and despised getting the exact same thing as my siblings or their wives/ significant other. I truly was less likely to use the gift, and often times, at. Christmas time, I would "forget" the items at my parents or return it.

What I am saying, is that, each person should be treated as the unique person that they are.  Not be treated like someone else.  Each person needs to feel room to grow, and feel loved as they are. No matter how old they are. We are all changing into a different, evolving person.

I can say that I'm okay with being different than most people. I am learning to love me, my life and what makes me who I am.  It's learning to balance everything that I have learned the last couple years and putting it in place. Living life, depicting myself and in the process of respecting the decisions others make for themself.

We all fight different battles most know nothing about. It's okay to be different, and be respectful of ourselves and others lifestyles. I have learned a lot about life from others who have much different lives and backgrounds than myself.  For that, I am grateful.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Finally feeling love

Daily now, I'm realizing just how blessed I've become. Many times when I thought God was torturing me by changing circumstances, He was improving my life.

One thing I had always wanted, hoped for, is to have a person, a friend or someone who truly cares about me.  One who challenged me mentally and physically as well as emotionally.

For the first time, I believe that there is someone.  Without this person, my life would not be what it is now.  On many levels, I feel challenged by this person to be a, better person. To think better and go after dreams, and take risks.

This person does not sugar coat things with me, nor should they.  Yet, they have gone through a lot to try and make sure I got help or was taken care of in certain situations.

It's been a huge blessing to have them in my life, and to call this person a friend, one who I consider family. I love this person dearly and, appreciate all they have contributed to this earth and my life.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Losing Myself to Find Myself

Major life changes are hard.  They are draining emotionally, mentally and physically.  There were many times I didn't know what I was feeling, or why for that matter.

Many times, I wanted to give up.  It was. In those moments, I would reflect upon what I had gone through to get where I was in that moment.  The progress I was making was far more worth the the frightening thought of going back to the person I was before I started my initial journey.

This week marks the two year anniversary of when I started my fitness journey.  It was this week that I met my trainer, Ryan Rose, at Health and Strength for the first time as part of the FIT CHALLENGE.

In the two years since meeting Ryan, he has helped me to get my life back by losing almost half of my self.  But this life changing period is more than just about losing weight.

During these last two years, it took losing myself, to find myself in the process. I'm still learning who I am, but I've gained a whole new perspective of life, and what I am capable of doing.

Life is not always going to be perfect, and there's will be plot twists along the way.  That's what's going to make it interesting and help us to grow as individuals though.

The confidence, trust, positive outlook on life I've gained from this expierence, is far greater than I ever imagined.  Ridding my thoughts of all negativity and self doubt made my life completely different. My world started changing for the better because of it.

To this day, I will always be grateful for the guidance, training, advice and tough love my trainer has shown me through the process.  There are not enough good things for me to say about Ryan. He's been amazing to work with the last two years.

I'll always be grateful for the friends who stuck with me through all this as well.  Words can not describe the gratitude my heart feels for my small Sandusky family who've been extremely supportive through this.  I love you all.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Who do you say that I am?

In New Testament scriptures, Jesus asks, "Who do you say that I am?"

This past week, I've been thinking about that question. Not only in how it applies to my faith.  However, it's made me question who I am as a person. Take away all outside influences from  church, politics, the news, peers, work and social media, I wonder, "Do I tell the world who I am, or do I live by who the world says I am?"

It's a simple question.  I have spent forty years with myself, you would think I knew who I was, right? What are the basics of who I am.

I can say that the last few months have been extremely difficult.  Lots of crying and tears. The emotional and mental part of my weight loss journey is starting to catch up.  It's over whelming.

Of course, it comes at a time when I start a new job, and injured.  Both stressful situations by themselves.   I am up to the challenge and accept it.  I know that I will conquer the challenge and come out on top a much better, stronger person.

There are many days I feel like a life of contradictions.  I feel strong, but have moments of weakness.  I cry often behind closed doors.  I love dumb jokes and love to laugh, yet I take life to literally and am serious most of the time with people. I don't hold back telling someone I love them, but hide my hurt feelings and cry alone to avoid confrontation.

One day, a healthy lifestyle change will emerge in me to make positive self esteem and respect.  Learning who I am. Offering the many gifts God has placed in my life and blessed me with.

In a recent conversation with a friend, I told him that this year has been emotional in many ways.  I ran my first marathon, turned forty, and started dating again.   It's been hard, but it's every bit been worth the struggle to be standing here today.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

"I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me. " Tracee Ellis Ross
Frustrated.  Anxious.  Fearful.  Grateful.  Blessed.  Thankful. A wide range of emotions.  Yet I have felt all of them this past week.  Sometimes within a matter of minutes of each other.  Its been an emotional roller coaster for me.
As I mentioned in my last blog, I was having complications with my left foot upon returning from the marathon in Dayton.  After Ryan sent me home from the gym that day, I did make an appointment to see the doctor.  However, the pain in my foot was bad enough, I went in to the ER because I could hardly walk. 
After x-rays and a brief meeting with the attending doctor, they diagnosed me with a heel spur and Plantar Fasciitis.  They put me in a walking boot, and put me on medications to help me. 
When they asked if I had questions, I looked at them and asked, "When can I run again?" The look on their face was priceless.  They just replied, "It may be a few weeks, that running was why I was hurt." 
Its kind of ironic, that the one thing that I struggled with in my journey to start doing, is the one activity that I truly miss doing now.  I very much have a love hate relationship with running.  However, its become my outlet in life, my stress relief.  My addiction.  I can not wait until I am able to start back to running.
The hardest part of being unable to run right now, is learning how to work out in the gym, without doing any cardio.  To learn how to workout around the current needs that I have.  Just doing upper body workouts or working on my abs.  At this time, I am only allowed to do things in a seated position while I am in the gym so that I am not putting pressure on my foot. 
Learning to listen to my body, and respect the needs it has so that it can heal properly is important.  Mentally, I want to be able to  put a good full body workout in.  Physically, my body is telling me to calm down and heal. 
What it comes down to right now, is that I am scared of going back to my old ways.  I don't want to become that woman again who is over 300 lbs. and miserable.  As much as I tried to pretend I was happy then, deep down, I was not. That girl is in my past, where she needs to be.
I very much enjoy the active life that I have now where I am spending time doing fun things with friends, and just enjoying life.  Loving myself enough to be goofy and crazy doing random things with friends or family.  At this time, I just have to be cautious of what I eat and my activity levels. 
This way I am not injuring myself and can focus on other aspects of my life.  Making better life choices.  Choices that need to be made soon so I can become an even better version of myself.  Though these decisions are hard, I know they are needed, and I have to respect the process that I am going through. 
All though right now, this part of the process scares me.  Not knowing how soon I will be able to fully start training again for more races.  Its hard.  Even if I may not be able to do long distance runs again, and just do short races, I will be okay with that.  I just want to keep becoming a better version of myself.  Knowing that I have done something I had never done before, that is something I am proud of. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly." Proverb

Over the last several weeks, my fellow co-workers and I have been watching caterpillar's go their the different stages into becoming beautiful butterflies.  It has been an incredibly fascinating process to watch, as they grow into full blown caterpillar's, form their cocoons, and then break free and come out a butterfly.  Just this week, we released the last butterfly so he could join others as they migrate south to Mexico for the winter. 
Watching the caterpillars over the last several weeks, has had me extremely intrigued in many ways.  I would get really excited at the different stages.  There were times I would just sit and watch them.  Made me think about the journey that I have been on the last couple of years as I struggle to get healthy. Many times, I would think, "I wonder if Ryan gets as excited watching me go through my different phases, good and bad, as I do watching these caterpillar's."  Of coarse, he is the only one who can answer that. 
This week, has been an important week for me in my journey.  It has been a week of rest and recovery from running the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio.  It is always important to make sure to take care of our bodies after such an intense workout.  I had used the day after the race, as my rest day, and then go into the gym that Monday to do yoga and use the bike to stretch out my muscles.
It was also part of my recovery plan to make sure I ate and hydrated properly and still go enough sleep before and after the race.  This was important so that I did not get myself sick during or after the race.  I needed the proper nutrients and rest to keep my energy levels up.  There are a few things I still need to work on when doing long distance races, but its a learning process for me since I am still new to the running world. 
I will admit, when I made an attempt to go to the gym to do a light workout on Tuesday, Ryan sent me home.  He insisted I take additional time off because he took one look at me, and could tell my foot was in pain.  I am not sure at which part of the race I hurt my foot because at one point, my whole body hurt. I just kept running despite the discomfort because I chalked it up to being normal due to the distance being ran.
However, I am thankful for the additional time away from the gym to fully recover and give my body the proper rest it needs so it can heal properly. My body needs the time to adjust to a normal schedule.  The rest and recovery part of the process is hard for me.  Mentally, I want to be in the gym because that is what I have grown accustomed to.  Physically, my body is telling me to stay away to regroup.
The last 20 months, has had its share of challenges in my journey to a healthier, better version of myself.  It does not matter if my journey is perfect, or I become the best at something.  It is always a matter of me becoming a perfect me, the best me possible. 
It has been an incredible blessing to me, that Ryan has stuck with me through this whole process.  He has had a front seat to watching me turn from a cranky, tired catipillar who could barely do anything in the gym, to a girl is restless not getting to run and exercise.  The transformation he has helped make is nothing short of amazing, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the future to see what else happens.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Preparing to Do The Impossible

As I Write This Blog,  I'm on my way to Dayton,  Ohio for the Air Force Base Marathon.  It seems so surreal that race weekend is  here already.   Months of training for this.    At first it felt like time was going so slow.   Now,  it feels like it appoached  so fast.

The last few months,  this has been more of a mental journey for me.   Learning who I am becoming as I adapt to my new physical self.   It's a struggle at times letting go of my old self  image so I can move forward.

There have definitely been a lot of tears, especially in August when I turned 40.  It hit me then that I was in much better shape than  when I graduated from high school. Not a lot of people can say that.  Fortunately for me,  I had the help of an amazing trainer whose been great for, pushed and  challenged me in ways I never thought possible.

I can say that I'm a much better person,  mentally,  physically and emotionally because of my time with Ryan Rose.  He's truly kept me  grounded in this process, while showing me a way to being truly dependant of myself and flying on my own with the support of many others. My hope is that I Always do my best to honor him in a positive reflction in my fitness  journey.

There were many times in my  life I thought how nice it would be to run a marathon.   However, in those moments, it was physically impossible  due to my extreme size.   Now,  I'm a third of my old self. Running my first Marathon with 15,000 other athletes.

This year,  I am running  in honor of those fighting invisible medical issues.  Rather it be depression, PCOS, PTSD, Auto Immune Disorder, Mental Illness,   and those who deal with addiction, rather it's their private addiction or a loved one who fights it. This run is for all of  you.

This run run I obviously am doing for myself as well.  I benefit from this race physically and mentally. Running is mostly a mental sport and you have to keep pushing yourself.  For myself, this is allowing  those barriers to come down   I've kept up for so long.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Its hard to believe that it is fall already!  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  Its the season of sweatshirts,shorts, football, and pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING!  It is also the time of year where kids start back to school. 

I remember always being nervous starting school.  Excited about the new year and what would happen, what memories would be made.  It was always nerve wrecking as well because I was always
nervous about my class load, and if I were pushing myself hard enough, and if I would be able to fit in everything I wanted or needed.

I grew up in small, Appalachian village an hour east of Columbus.  The high school had corn fields and a chicken coupe up the hill the smelled awful in the spring and fall when we opened the windows.  We had FFA, 4H, Drive your tractor to school day, and we always had the first day of gun season off of school for the deer hunters.

In the last few weeks, I have had conversations with others about school starting because my friends either have kids in school, or they are in the education system.  I am still in touch with several friends who became teachers after high school.  In our conversations, we see the striking differences in our generation, and the youth today.

Most of the kids I grew up with, were average sized kids.  There were a couple who may have been classified as underweight, and some who were considered overweight or morbidly obese.  However, most were fairly average. 

What concerns me with this generation, is that it is not the case any longer.  Kids are much bigger now than what they used to be.  There are many reasons for this. I believe that technology plays a large part in that.  Kids have easy access to computers, cell phones and game units to help them stay "connected" to others. 

The kids in school who were not comfortable with themselves due to their size, it shows. Those who do not understand what the student is going through, take advantage of the situation and tease and taunt the less confident.  Depending on how long the teasing, bullying lasts and the age at which it starts, it can leave a lasting impression on a very vulnerable child that can lead into adulthood. 

While I was in  high school and college, my way of staying connected was picking up the house phone saying, "Lets go outside and play game XYZ!!"  We were outside being active socially, not looking at our phones every two minutes to see what someone was doing.  Cell phones were just starting to take off while I was in college, so there was no unlimited calling to whoever I wanted.  There were long distance charges. 

To this day, I still keep in touch with my former high school English teacher.  Mr. Frank had spent some time as an elementary school principal.  Mr. Frank had explained that more often than not, he could tell by the students, if the parents are in shape or if they are overweight because the habits are passed down to the kids.  He did say that its not always the case, but it is more often than not.

In our conversation, Mr. Frank, had wondered if there were a direct correlation in being in a lower level income bracket and a families fitness level, which then also ties in with the intelligence of the person or family.  If a person is not getting fed properly, or getting the proper nutrients, they are not able to concentrate on studies or work and do not always have the energy to do high impact activities. 

My conversations with my friends in the education system really made me think.  We are all individuals, and want to see a change in how kids today eat and be more active socially, away from technology and learn to be more confident in themselves by physically interacting with kids, and learn new perspectives from one another.

It makes me wonder if there is a program that could be started where low or medium level income parents could come in and be taught how to eat healthy on a budget.  How to plan healthy meals, and prepare them, and have the kids involved in the process so they can learn how to be more active in their dietary needs early in life.  This way, they can learn to try new foods other than Ramon noodles and chicken nuggets.  (I know, popular staples in most house holds with kids.)

It is my hope, to one day see the kids start putting technology down, and be more active with their friends.  Not just physically playing sports, but getting to know them on a more personal level that goes beyond lol, bff, likes and comments on Facebook.  Making lasting memories with family and friends instead of learning to live a life where it is acceptable to be fit, healthy and happy long after you leave school.

Friday, September 4, 2015

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself." Andy Warhol

In many conversations that I have with others, often times we talk about our lives goals, or why we have  not gone after certain dreams or desires.  The most common response is that they don't have time to make the change, no matter how bad the situation is. Other times the person is scared to go after the dream because of failure and the ridicule they may receive from loved ones.

In the last month, three people from varies points in my life have passed away.  It really has made me think about how precious life is, and how we should maximize our time while we have it.  Telling those who mean the most to us how we feel, and forgive those how have wronged us, and to also forgive ourselves for our mistakes, to others and ourselves. 

My one friend who died, was just a couple years younger than myself.  He was such a perfect example of the kind of person I strive to be.  Always laughing, joking and having fun, while at the same time, being somebody that I could talk to openly about life and well, just anything. 

His death hit me hardest, because it very well could have been me.  Seeing his struggles with his heart issues, I knew that if I didn't get my weight under control, my weight was going to control my life.  I wanted to live life out loud, with others, instead of hiding behind closed doors being scared of others.

By learning to eat right, and be in the gym most days, its definitely prolonged my life a lot. Its provided me with a much better quality of life by deciding to get healthy, and go after my life long dreams.  Its provided me with the confidence, self-esteem and mental changes needed to think more clearly to make better decisions for my life.  Though there are still adjustments that I am making, and goals I am reaching for, its a much better, improved life than before.

I would encourage anybody, to make the time to improve the situation they most want to improve.  We have but one life to life, and one body to live that life in.  Enjoy the life that you have while making those improvements.  Learn to love your life, your self, and those who are in your life, family, your friends, even those you adopted as family. 

There are simple swaps you could make to improve your health.  Instead of eating out at lunch while at work, pack your lunch.  Doing this, not only saves you money in the long run, but it saves you calories, and you know exactly what you are putting in your body.  (The money you save by packing your lunch, you could invest in a gym membership.)  When you go to the mall or grocery store, park a little further away and get more steps in. If you watch t.v. you could use the commercial breaks to walk up and down the stairs or do weights. 

I should take the time to say thank you to Fisher-Titus for sponsoring the Fit Challenge, and the Couch to 5K meet ups in Norwalk and Sandusky.  It is a great cause that has changed my life greatly, and I am grateful to see that its going to be continued so that others lives are changed as well.  Godspeed to those who are taking the steps to get healthy.  It will greatly improve your life by leaps and bounds.

In two weeks, I will be in Dayton, running the Air Force Marathon.  Quite often lately, I've been told I am crazy for doing it. Which I laugh with them and agree, because who does this so soon after a major weight loss. Apparently I do, because its been a goal most of my life to be able to run a marathon, and to one day make it to Boston. 

These last two weeks before the race will be hardest because I have to start tapering, cutting back on the intensity of my workouts and runs. This is the part where I have to be mentally strong, and prepared to make it through the race.  The training and physical part are easy to overcome.  The mental part, will be conquered  as long as I stay focused on the goal. 

To my trainer, Ryan Rose, thank you for all your efforts in getting me to this point.  You've seen me through some horrible times, and have been a great trainer and friend to me through this.  Your simply amazing.  You've also been part of my proudest moments as well.  Thank you for all you continue to do.  I could not be more proud of you than what I am right now. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

"If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail." Unknown

Those that I am closest with, can attest to the fact that my life revolves around food.  At any given time, I am either eating, talking, thinking or cooking food. 

I have the appetite of a growing teenage boy some days, often walking through the front door, throwing my things down and saying, "I am starving." Its more often than not heard when I come home, physically exhausted from the gym or a run.

Food is an essential part of our lives, and is a necessity to live.  The quality of our diets, definitely affects the quality of our health and our lives.   Over the last couple of years I can say I notice a complete and total difference in how I feel mentally and physically just from making the switch from eating poorly to eating mostly healthy foods.

Its been a struggle some days to eat right on really busy days.  Especially on the days that unexpected things come up, and I am not able to eat at my scheduled time, or I forget my lunch at home. Although, I normally try to plan ahead and set every thing out so that there are no unexpected blunders or surprises with my food during the day. 

Every week, when I get my schedule for work, I sit down and make a schedule for my weekly workouts, including my independent runs outside of the gym, and my sessions with Ryan, and other strength training in the gym.  I fill in my weekly planner around other things and see how active I will be each day.

Once I get my weekly planner put together, that is when I make my grocery list and meal plan for that week.  One of the things that I have learned working with Ryan is how important it is to eat and plan according to my activity level.  If I am going to be more physically active, of course I am going to need more energy and fuel to get through the day verses a day where I get to be lazy where I need less food.  Its still an issues of calories in vs. calories out. 

On the days that I know I'll be doing long runs, I will plan my food intake to have a little bit of carbs the night before and to eat properly for it in the morning before I head out the door.  The other days when I know I wont be as active, its a  lot of veggies and lean proteins. 

At this point in time, I know that my diet will be changing in a few weeks when I run the Air Force Marathon in Dayton.  This is something I am nervous about.  Not the race, as I am confident in my training as far as that goes.  (I still have to train hard for the race leading up to the mandatory tapering process and necessary rest period doing what is right.)

My food intake in the days leading up to the race is what I am concerned about.  This is the first time that I am traveling for a few days since I have lost all my excess weight.  So that is going to be tough by itself to see if I can stick with the meal plan, especially for a major race.

Leaning to eat around my daily activities is starting to become a natural habit.  It is still a learning process for me though.  Planning for all the different scenarios  through out the week is important so there are no surprises. 

I do plan for cheat meals as well.  My cheat meals are normally not to horrible though because they are calories that still have to be worked off in the gym.  They are there more to keep me focused mentally so that I do  not have binge sessions with food and go way off coarse when life gets emotional or hard. 
Its just a matter of planning for day to day life.  We have to treat our body with respect and fuel it properly.  Just like you put premium fuel in a Benz, you should be putting premium fuel in your body for it to run well so it does not break down. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Success in life comes when you simply refuse to give up, with goals so strong that obstacles, failure, and loss only act as motivation." Unknown

Throughout life, we all have a set of goals we make.  A list of challenges we strive to beat to better ourselves.  Some of those goals are harder than others, that require smaller goals we must conquer first. 

The reasons why we start toward a goal or challenge are different for each of us.  Over time, the reason why you started may change, however, it is important to remain on the path toward the goal and stay motivated towards finishing regardless of why things have changed or the challenges that have come up.

When I originally started my weight loss journey, it was because I had an interest in dating again, and knew where I was physically, had to change.  Two years later, and close to my goal weight, my motivation for getting healthy has changed.  I had to learn to love myself through this process, instead of seeking love from other people to feel love.

Just like other goals and challenges in our life, we have to stay focused toward what we are working for.  Even when the reason we started is no longer valid.  Staying motivated takes work.  There are times it takes work and it is challenging at times when things get really hard. 

When things have gotten hard for me, especially at this point in the process, my reasons for sticking with it far out weigh the reasons for giving up and quitting.  The difference now, is that through this process in getting to know who I am, I have learned to trust my instincts and to also love and respect myself enough to keep  moving forward. 

During my health and fitness journey, I have kept making new goals to challenge myself.  Making new, harder goals that were once impossible for me to attempt,  have kept me focused and motivated to stay with this. 

In less than a month now, I will be running my first marathon in Dayton, Ohio.  There are times I wonder what possessed me to sign up for a full marathon.  I wonder if I am ready at times or if I am crazy for trying it.  However, at the same time, I can say that at this point, I feel ready for it, confident in my training that things will be okay regardless of my time. 

Like my other races in the past, my first race of that distance, I don't set a time on when I expect to finish.  My only goal for this race like all of them is to finish, and not come in last.  For this race, I am just there to enjoy the race and get the experience so that I know better what to do to run the Boston Marathon one day. 

Yes there are days it gets really hard for me.  There are definitely days I want to stop and quit it all.  I don't want to get up early some days to train.  Some meals are harder than others because I would love to be able to go back to eating what I used to occasionally. 

Those are the times I have to stop and reevaluate where I am.  Even though in those moments of weakness now, looking back, I don't want to go back to where I was physically or emotionally.  I am a much better, stronger person today because of the positive changes that I have made. 

No matter what are goals in life are, rather it be weight loss, finishing a degree, getting promotion or starting a business even, it is important to stick with goals.  Even if the reasons why we started are different now, it is important to stay focused, re-evaluate and keep moving forward.  We all become better because of the challenges we face, stick with your dreams.