Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there."  Unknown. 

Each person has their own habits routines that they do within their lives.  When something happens that person that brings them out of their comfort zone, it seems as if their whole world falls apart. 

When I signed up for the FIT Challenge, I did it because I was desperate for help.  I knew my health and life depended on taking full advantage of the opportunity before me.  Even  knowing that personal, intimate information would be shared with the readers of  the Sandusky Register, I did it anyway.  I chose to go public with my weight loss journey because I knew it couldn't be done on my own. 

With that being said, I do want to say this.  One of my biggest struggles, has been all the attention that has come with the FIT Challenge.  Doing such a personal, private struggle on a public scale has been very hard for me because I am used to trying to keep certain things private and close to heart. 

It threw me completely out of my comfort zone knowing that I was being accountable to a personal trainer, who was going to take measurements and weigh me in.  Eventually, I got used to being around my trainer, and the other members of the gym, and became open with them.  The gym became a safe zone,  a place I felt I could openly be myself over time. 

A few select friends, family, my trainer and members at the gym, I could be very open with about my weight loss journey.  They have witnessed first hand the transformation that has literally taken place before their eyes. 

What is hard, is when strangers come up to me and starts to ask me about my journey.  Telling my story is not the issue.  I enjoy talking with people and hope that perhaps my story inspires someone else, just like my friend inspired me with his.  However, the hard part is when they ask very personal questions that I am not willing to share. 

There are times when I struggle with how much of my private life I am willing to share with the readers, and those who approach me with questions.  Some days, I am more than willing to share and answer questions.  I do understand that others are in the same boat and want to know how they to can jump start their journey. 
For myself, I am not comfortable disclosing my weight to people.  I never liked it, however, I allowed it for the sake of the FIT Challenge since that was the whole purpose.  That is a personal battle still I am trying to over come on my own now.  The weight is still coming off, even after FIT ending.  Learning how to be on my own is  a struggle, since I don't have to report back to Mr. Muscles anymore.  The important thing, is that the transition is still in progress.
To those who ask, "Do you feel better?"  This is a tricky question to answer, and one most don't get when I respond.  I never felt sick before.  I also had never been at a healthy weight to know the difference.  I just knew I was a big girl who needed help in the worst way. 
Yes, I notice that I can do more things now I couldn't do before.  Like running 5K's, holding a child on my lap, bending over to pick something up.  These are little things most take for granted.  I couldn't do those before.  That feels amazing to me.  Its a process that will take time to get used to. 
I do have a request for readers.  Bare in mind, that when you talk to a FIT Challenger, past or present, keep in mind that we are normal folks.  We try to live our life as normal as possible during and post FIT.  Not all of us are willing to share everything while some are.  I realize we signed up for this, and everyone is going to be curious.  Please allow us the space if we need it if we are not sure how to respond to certain questions. 
I know me personally, I do appreciate the support and encouragement from others.  I also like to hear from others about their journeys and get excited with them when they do well.  I wish the new Challengers Godspeed on their journeys and hope the readers follow them as they progress in their lives as well.
Its truly brought me out of my comfort zone as readers have watched me transform my life into a much healthier one.  However, if it can help me be better, and possibly help others, I am all for it.  Its just learning how to balance both worlds and knowing what to share and how to answer without offending people.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Setting Goals

"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes." Andrew Carnegie

We all have issues we struggle with in life. My struggles were obvious to the rest of the world because my weight got out of hand.  Standing slightly over 5"2 and weighing over 300 lbs. it was obvious to the world I struggled with my diet.  There were times I was letting food control my life instead of controlling the food.

My  relationship with food and exercise started to change last year because of the personal relationships with other people. With out these few people in my life, I can not imagine what my life would be like now.

When I signed up for the FIT Challenge, my goals were more than just a lady wanting to lose weight and get healthy.  It was about getting my life back and learn how to live life again and stop hiding from the rest of the world.  I no longer wanted to be invisible to others and be more social.

For so long, despite being a heavy lady, and often the biggest person in the room, at the same time, I very much felt like the most invisible person.  Often being left of group outings fun because I could not physically do what ever it was my friends were doing or just not keep up. 

I found myself spending  a lot of time alone and going to restaurants alone.  Often I was lying to myself saying that I was okay with the way life was.  When in reality, I was crying myself to sleep most nights because I felt lost and alone and unloved, even when surrounded by a lot of people.

When I started to work out with Ryan, it was the first time that I was starting to get excited about life again. The days that I would go to the gym to work out with Ryan, were always ones I looked forward to because I knew he held the key to my getting healthy.. Despite some days being more difficult than others emotionally or physically, I still showed up giving Ryan all that I had and tried my best not to let him down.

In the months since meeting Ryan, and even since the FIT Challenge ending, I can honestly say that I feel like a completely different person all together.  Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. 

One of the most important things that I've learned is setting small goals along the way, so that I don't get discouraged with the bigger goal.  It has made the journey much better and manageable for me.  In the past, I believe one of the reasons the diet attempts didn't work was because I just saw the bigger picture, and not the small steps along the way. 

Despite that I still have a long way to go, I am very happy with the progress that I have made to get healthy.  Its been an amazing journey of wellness and self discovery along the way.  I am excited about the person that I am yet to be when this is all over and the different expierences that I will encounter along the way.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

"The only failure is not to try." George Clooney.

One of my biggest struggles in this challenge is getting the diet down when out in social settings, and being scared that when I'm some where unfamiliar, there will not be anything I am able to eat.

For this reason, I have withheld going out a whole lot in social settings where food is going to be involved.  Not that I want to be anti-social, I just don't want to sabotage my diet, and all the hard work that has been put into my journey with one bad meal.

With enough notice, I normally consult with my trainer, Ryan Rose of Health & Strength, and get his opinion on my options.  I want to be able to enjoy life while making these healthy, life style changes.  Its important for me to use Ryan's expertise during this process and seek out his guidance when I am unsure of things.

This proved to be quite helpful when I went to the Cleveland Indians game last Sunday.  So I went to the game with some friends, instead of waiting until the F.I.T Challenge was over.

Ryan suggested eating the gluten free hot dogs they have at Progressive Field,  but to also research other options as well.  I did do my research on what is served at the ball park, and found a few places that served healthy food.

I settled for the Gluten Free hot dog Ryan had suggested.  I did away with the bun and bit into the hot dog and all I tasted with salt.  Long before I ever met Ryan, I had very little to do with salt, and have never liked it.  I don't buy it for any reason. 

Having to finish the hot dog was hard, only because I envisioned Ryan yelling at me, again, about the importance of not skipping meals.  (Yes, he gets on my case about that, a lot. Skipping meals is bad for the metabolism. Especially when you are trying to lose weight.)

I still struggle daily with the food.  Most days I win those battles because I want to win this war for my life. 

In this F.I.T Challenge, speaking for myself only, the only person I am trying to defeat is my old self.  Getting rid of her old eating and physical habits are both key components in this.  The most important is the mental aspect of it and believe that  I am able to make these positive changes because I am worth it. 

This past week, when my feature ran in the newspaper, Ryan had said that I was doing amazing, and that I was an inspiration to him, the staff and members at the gym.

Yes, I am putting in a lot of effort into this for myself to get healthy.  However, I can only do as well as what my trainer is teaching me to do.  He has taught me so much and has been completely amazing throughout this process.

Ryan has been such a great inspiration to me and been my biggest cheerleader through out this journey, despite how difficult it has been at times. Thank you for always having my back!

The other staff and members of the gym,  I truly do appreciate all your kind words, support and always being so encouraging.  I am thankful for each you more than you know.  You inspire me greatly. By working out next to so many wonderful people, it gives me hope and motivates me that there is a better lifestyle for me on the other side as I make this transition in my life. 

I rarely speak of my job during this journey for reasons beyond my control.  However I do want to say thank you to each and every person that has been so kind these last few months.  The list of names is to long for me to mention you individually.

The support and encouragement from the management, staff and co-workers has meant a lot to me.  I do appreciate the patience of my direct manager who has been so supportive of this whole process.  You are a Godsend and I appreciate all you have done to allow me to spend much of mornings with at the gym with my trainer.

To the other contestants:  Godspeed my friends!  Looking forward to see you all at the 5K on May 25. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Time Mangement

"Ask yourself, if what you are doing today, is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?" Unknown.

Most people in life have a set of short and long term goals they would like to achieve.  In order to get to their end result, they must take action and plan accordingly. 

Practicing great time management toward these goals are a key ingredient in getting there.  Regardless of what the goal is. 

I have found this to be incredibly true in my journey to a healthier me. 

Relearning how to be active again, physically, and eating well are both important parts of this process. 

However, so is planning out our days for healthy meals and activities, as well as other commitments are also important. 

Trying to balance work, my sessions with my trainer, additional gym time and adult responsibilities and free time activities can be challenging. 

I've heard a saying often in life, that if it is important to us, we will make time for it. 

This past week, I've been told that I was crazy, insane and many other adjectives for waking up at 3:30 A.M. to go to the gym and work out.  This, was a challenge for me, because I am not a morning person by any stretch. 

However, it was something that I saw as important because my body has gotten used to working out five or six days a week and is adjusting to the new me that I am slowly becoming.  Also, there are times, going that early is the only time I have free because of other commitments through out the day.

I have also found it easier to plan my grocery list and meal plans ahead of time now.  That way I don't have to worry about what I am eating and how many calories are in those meals.

I've also added a lot snacks to my grocery list as well for those cravings in between meals.  Snacks like apples, celery, rice cakes and peanut butter. 

This week, I had the pleasure of going through my closet and getting rid of three-fourths of my clothes.  By getting rid of those clothes, it does not leave any room for me gain any of it back. 

Plus, mentally, I think it will help me on the physical journey to show how much progress that I have made so far and give hope for the future.

One of my biggest challenges will occur between my turning this blog in, and it being published.  I'm going to a Cleveland Indians game with a group of friends.  It will be the first time in over seven years since I've been to an Indians game. 

The challenge will be finding healthy options and sticking to my diet, not skipping my frequent meals and still have fun.  It will just take some careful planning on my part to make sure I stick to the diet. Stay tuned next week to see how well I did.  Go Tribe!

To my trainer Ryan Rose at Health and Strength.  Thank you for being part of this journey with me, and my story.  You have taught me so much, and I do listen even when you think I don't hear what your telling me.  You'll always be my little angel!

To my fellow Challengers: Godspeed on your journey, and stay focused.  I am so proud of all of you. 

To the residents of Erie County who read this: Please come to the F.I.T. 5K on May 25.  You don't have to be a runner, just come out and join us.  It would be great to have as many people as possible running through the streets of Sandusky. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Comfort Zones

Comfort zones!  They are being wrapped up in a blanket by the fire on a cold winter's day.  As nice as those moments are, there comes a time we know that we must get up, and change our position and do something else. 

By participating in the F.I.T. Challenge, it has brought me out of my comfort level more than I ever imagined. It has also provided me with the accountability that I very much needed in my life.  Which has been a tremendous blessing in my life.

For myself, stepping out of my comfort zone and taking my weight loss journey public was the step that was necessary for me to get healthy.  This is not just a challenge for me, it is a life changing journey.

At this point in time, we are over three months into this challenge.  (Really, we are half-way through already??) Food is still a struggle for me at times.  It is a matter of over coming all the temptations, cravings and peer pressure and reaching for the healthier options instead. 

In the very early stages of the challenge, I told Ryan, I noticed I was stopping to think about my food choices more often.  He told me, "If you have to think about it, your answer should be, "No, don't eat it!"  So, that has been what I've been following when I'm not sure.

Almost every Friday, the last thing that Ryan tells me at the end of our workouts is, "Make sure you eat good this weekend!"  He also has to remind me how important it is for me not to skip meals.  I'm supposed to eat 5-7 times a day.  There are days it is difficult to remember to eat that often, especially on busy days. 

Once a week I'm allowed to have cheat meal, where I can eat anything I want to, within reason.  It is very hard for me to cheat.  The times that I want  to, my friends remind me that this is a complete lifestyle change, not just a temporary trial period.  It is something I have to do for the rest of my life.

One day, I stopped by the Subway that's close to the gym to eat in between workouts.  One of the ladies working had mentioned that she had seen my trainer and I in the paper. She had also told me that my trainer stops in often to grab something to eat sometimes. So, when ever I go in there now, she almost always starts to get my salad ready for me. 

One day, there was a new guy there working with her.  This guy had asked if I'd wanted croutons for my salad.  She looked at him and laughed, and replied, "NO!  She does not want croutons. She is on a diet, and she and her trainer are in the paper.  She also does not want a pop or chips either." 

This lady, as well as the other employee's at that Subway are why I like stopping there to eat.  They help keep me accountable for journey.  Though they don't know me well, they know my desire to get healthy. 

I do want to say, that I truly value the time, commitment and knowledge that Ryan has provided me during this challenge.  I'll be forever grateful to him because he has been a key factor in saving my life.  Yes, he is hard on me, and makes me do things I don't want.  There are days I get frustrated and am in tears.  However, I would not want him to go easy on me.  I would not want another trainer for this because I believe he is the best person for me to teach me a better, healthier ways.

I'm also thankful and appreciative to the rest of the staff at Health and Strength, and the other members.  Thank you for allowing me to work out there! Bo, thank you for always being so kind and helpful!  The other members of the gym are all supportive of each other, and are encouraging. 

Though I am being forced out of old habits and my comfort zones, deep down I know that it is for the better.  Its making me a much better person, on so many levels.  I can honestly say that now, I am a completely different person than what I was just a few months ago. 

In signing off, I do want to wish Godspeed to my fellow contestants.  You are all amazing people and I am thankful to have met each of you.  Keep up the hard work.  In the end, it doesn't matter who has won, because we've all won our health back and a new lifestyle to pass on to others! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Santa Deliver's Gifts

Just before Christmas, I was asked by "Santa" what I wanted. I replied, "Not much. Just for the Register to pick me as a contestant for the F.I.T. Challange. (There was one other wish, but I won't mention it because it doesn't apply.) Santa must of thought I was a really good girl this past year because I received both things.

Since finding out that I was accepted to partcipate in F.I.T., I have been humbled, blessed and surprised with how much support I have received from everyone. As soon as I found out, I posted the link from the Sandusky Register to my facebook. Withing the first couple minutes my facebook started "blowing up" so to speak. It shocked me at how much support and encouragment I was getting from people. I was deeply touched.

I am really excited that I am at Health and Strength Gym. The staff has been great, and really nice. The other members there that I've met while there are just amazing people. They are really encouraging and helpful.

My trainer, Ryan, has been great so far. He's been really nice, but also extreamly intense. Which is a good thing for me. I need somebody who is willing to be intense with me and not be afraid to yell at me and hurt my feelings. Knowing that my life is in his hands, and that I have to listen and be accountable to him has made me stop and rethink my decesions outside of the gym.

My family is really excited that I am finally getting the help I need to get me back to the physical shape I need to be in to live a more productive lifestyle. Its been frustrating for me not to be able to join my family and friends on fun outings because I am not capable of doing them physically.

It is going to be an intresting six months of re-learning how to live my life the right way. I have complete faith in the system and that it is going to work well. First and foremost, I know I am losing the weight for myself. However, regardless of if I win or not, I want to be able to represent my trainer, my family and friends and my employer well and not let them down.

I'll forever be greatful that Santa gave me the "gift" this year. There is nothing greater than having our health back and having more time with friends and family.

I wish the best of luck to the other contestants as well as we make this journey togather. Godspeed!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Listening To My Heart

There are songs out there that seem so fitting for certain situations in your life.  A song that makes you remember a long, forgotten memory.  A special time, place and person that is frozen in time.  Sometimes that song seems to magically have the answers that you have been searching for in life.  (Well, we know the answers, but fail to see what's in front of us sometimes.)

Admittedly, I will log on to YouTube.com  and listen to some of these songs, just to get them out of my head.  The other day, while on YouTube,  "Listen To Your Heart" by Roxette came across the play list.  It reminded me of my much younger days, and the movie "Pretty Woman" that I used to watch with my mom and sisters.  

At this particular moment in time, "Listen To Your Heart" seems so fitting in so many ways.  There are times in my life, I seem to listen to the wrong things.  I've had the tendency to listen to what others tell me about how I felt, or what I needed to do with my life.  Or I let my brain talk me out of doing something my heart really wanted.  In the end, I've been upset and miserable because I ended up listening to something that was not good for me and made me miserable. 

Although the advice, suggestions and what ever were given with good intentions, it was not something that was fitting for my life.  I had experiences that I may not have had otherwise.  Some of them, even brought me out of my comfort zone.  I am a better person having gone through this life situations.  In the end though, I knew it was the wrong choice for me and that I still had the desire to go after my original choice or plan. 

Making the transition to thinking for myself and not paying attention to what others are trying to tell me about my life is going to be hard.  Yet it is something that is necessary for me to live my life the way it needs to.  Granted, I know there are going to be times that I need to seek advice and counsel from others who are wiser than myself in certain situations.  That is a part of growing up, is admitting when we are wrong and need help. 

Right now, I just have to sift through all the different issues in my life and determine what are my true blue feelings and ideas.  What I want to keep within my life and what to toss out.  What dreams I need to focus on in life to get to where I am supposed to be in life.  I need to start focusing on the dreams and desires that I know will make me happy, and be for the greater good of everyone else. 

This is going to be a hard thing.  Yet I know that it will be worth it in the long run.  To go after my dreams and not be afraid of being held back by fear or what others are telling me.  Yes, I know there are times when I am my own worst enemy.  That bridge will have to be crossed when we get there though.  It will be worth it in the end to listen to what my heart wants.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dining Out Alone or With Friends

Being a single lady, I find it a struggle to cook meals for myself.  Although I don't so much mind left overs, I just don't always like to make a lot of meals ahead of time, and save them for later.  Only because I hate to have the same thing over and over again.  So, I give in, a lot, and go out to eat.  Now mind you, I know it is much, much cheaper for me to stay home and eat.

There are pros and cons to eating out verses dining in.  There are days that I would rather stay home and eat and just not bother dealing with people.  While other days I just crave having something simple, like cereal for dinner or, having dinner for breakfast and don't want judged for it.  While there are days where I want to go out and eat just to be around people. 

There is one place that I love to go eat, and don't mind dining alone.  That is Ruby Tuesdays.  I LOVE that place.  The majority of the time, I will go sit at the bar, and talk with the bartender or strike up a conversation with whom ever is sitting near me.  I've met some amazing people sitting at the bar.  Sitting at a table or both alone, its not always easy to meet people dining when you dine alone. 

One of the reasons that I love going to Ruby Tuesdays, not only do I get great service from them, their healthy options for diners who are trying to control their weight is amazing.  Most other places I go is such a struggle for me, only because I am never sure what to order and I have to study the menu and ask lots of questions about what I can make changes to. 

I love to dine out with my friends.  Though I must confess, it does not happen as much as I'd like it to.  As we have gotten older, its just gotten harder to do things.  Though I know if things are important to you, you will make time for it and there is no excuse for not doing it. 

When I am with friends, my biggest fear is when they ask to sit in a booth. I get embarrassed if I am too big or can't fit at the booth because my stomach is too big.  I really hate it  if we have to be moved to sit at a table.  Most of the time I try to laugh it off as my heart breaks. I normally don't say anything to my friends because I try to make an effort to accommodate their needs as well. 

I love being with my friends and spending time with them. At the same time, there are times when I wish I could find the right person to date.  I really don't spend time with a lot of guys or date much anymore.  It would be nice to start dating again, and just be out there.  Its a little nerve wrecking at times just thinking about it.

I must admit, there is somebody that I am interested in.  This person is AMAZING and I am forever thankful that I have met them.  Despite my feelings for this person, I know there is a good chance they don't feel the same as I.  That is okay though.  I love having friends, and either way, I will be doubly blessed by having this person in my life.  They have been a great aspect and has played a huge role in my life at the present time.  For that, I'll always be thankful. 

Rather or not I eat in or out.  Alone or with others.  We all have to eat, and to learn to eat well. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out With the Old, In With The New

As I sit down to begin this blog, my last blog of 2013, it is nearing mid-night on New Years Eve.  In just over two hours, it will be New Years Eve.  We'll be saying good-bye to a year of ups and downs, and make plans for a fresh new year.  Goals and resolutions will be made and forgotten about.  New friends will be made in the new year, and others will move on because life happens.

This past year has been like no other year that I have experienced at all.  Its been full of ups and downs and interesting turns and twists.  It has definitely put my heart through several types of emotions that I normally do not show in public, let alone admit to.  It has also been a year of extreme growth for me in many different ways.  

One of the biggest joys that I have witnessed this year, was going home in May and watching my youngest sister graduate from high school.  I am so proud of my sister and the path that she is on to success.  She is defiantly one of my rays of sunshine.  Believe me, there are many people who bring sunshine into my life, hers is one of the brightest.  She is one that I end up turning to when I need to share secrets with or ask certain questions when I don't know how to ask one of my friends up here. 

After returning to Sandusky after "Buddy's" graduation, I was looking at the photos I took.  It was when I came across a photo of the two of us that I realized how awful I looked as far as my size.  I knew then that I had a problem and it had to be fixed.  Yes, I know it sounds so cliche and that so many people say they didn't realize how big they were until they see a picture. 

Now, don't get me wrong, I knew I was a "BIG" girl.  I KNEW.  I just didn't want to admit it, and always had the image of me at the size I was when I was still in high school when I was active and still playing sports.  I thought I was still that girl, and could do anything I wanted.   The next day, I went to Weight Watchers and signed up with them to get my weight under control.  That in of itself was huge because I was admitting to somebody else, and that I would have to be accountable to somebody else in my weight loss journey to a healthier me. 

By far, the hardest thing that I have gone through this year was in July.  In mid-July, I had got the dreaded call that I had been expecting.  My sister called to tell me at work that my beloved Granny had died.  I was completely and utterly devastated.  It was hardest knowing that I was up here alone without any of my family around.  There was nobody to talk to or just tell them I needed a hug.  Or I should say, I didn't know how to ask for the hug.   

My Granny was one of my best friends and somebody that I talked to often.  She was always there for me as a child and was always cracking me up.  There are times now, even six months later I want to call her, and know that I can't.  I know that she is resting high on her mountain where she belongs, watching over us.  

One of the best things though that I have learned this year, is that it is okay to take care of me, and to stand up for what is right.  I've stood up to people who thought they were going to bully me into putting up with their rude, nasty behavior.  Even when it was hard, it felt good to do the right thing.  

The biggest blessings for me though this year, is the many blessings I call friends.  These friendships are priceless and I have been touched by each of the people that are present in my life and the love that I feel from them.  Some of these friends, I have known most of my life.  While others I have only known a short time.  

These friendships mean so much to me.  There are three people that I have felt comfortable enough, and confident enough in our friendship that I could finally tell them some secrets that I don't share with anybody.  It finally felt good to not have to hide anything from them, and trust somebody enough to let them in.  By telling them, I felt like I could FINALLY be myself with them and not pretend to always be okay, and appear uptight.  Well, one of them kept telling me that I had too many secrets because she could tell I was giving prepared, calculated answers and avoiding the real question with my response.  

One of the people I told was a guy.  That was a huge step for me.  Because for the first time in a very long time, I had opened myself up to being friends with a straight man.  Most, well actually, all of the guys I have spent time with in the past few years were all gay, with an exception of one person.  But that relationship no longer matters.  I know that all men are not mean, nasty, cruel or hateful.  

Its just that for the first time, I finally felt safe enough in this friendship with this man that I could be myself.  He has seen just about every emotion a person can have.  For the first time, I've even allowed a man see me cry, and that never happens.  At work even, and I try to remain in control at work!!!!   But I was upset with him, and I cared enough about the friendship to mention it, and actually hugged him at work, which is something I also do not normally do at work.  

Truth be told, these three people are ones that I care deeply about and I would do anything to keep them in my life in some way, shape or form.  God definitely blessed my heart by bringing them into my life at this point in time.  My life has been forever changed and altered because of them!  

Awhile back ago, I spent an afternoon with some ladies from work.  These three ladies I have become close with over the last year.  One of them looked at me, and mentioned that I finally looked happy.  It is true though.  I am extremely happy now in my life.  I'm finally accepting things as they currently are, and making changes on things that need fixed.  I'm not stressing out about things like I used to either.  

The other day, I was talking with a guest at work.  We were talking about the New Year approaching.  I told her that despite 13 being known as an  unlucky number, that this was a great year for me despite my Granny dying.  That also I was looking forward to 2014 being even better than what this year was. 

That is how I am going to look at it as the year goes on.  Even if there are set backs with the goals I plan on setting, there is always ways for improving and doing better.  The journey is half the battle in reaching our destination.  

Happy 2014 Everyone!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Emotional Rollercoaster

The last couple of weeks, its felt like I've been on an emotional roller coaster.  There have been a series of ups and downs that have shed lots of tears,  Tears of joy and of heartache. I don't know if its my age, or that I've learned to let myself live in the moment now, and not try to bottle things up any longer, and just my self feel what ever is there come out.  

Last week as I was coming in to work, I was a little early so I went and sat in our employee lounge for a little while.  One of the ladies that I am close to at the hotel approached me.  She had seen me the day of the 5K in my Santa outfit and all.  She came up to me, gave me a big hug and told me, "Just so you know, I am really proud of you for doing the 5K.  We all are.  I know you don't hear it often and that its nice to hear.  But I am cheering for you in your journey to lose weight."    That really meant a lot to me for somebody to come up to me and say that.  

After the initial race, and after I posted the pictures on Facebook, I received messages from people saying they were proud of me, and congratulations and such.  However, it just meant so much more that somebody would come up to me and give me that hug and hear them say, "I am proud of you."

Also in the last week, my heart broke in several pieces as I found out two people are fighting cancer.  One is a dear friend of mine that I was close to while in Wyoming.  I had spent a lot of time with he and his family while I was there.  The other is the daughter of a couple that I know.  Mind you, I don't know them all that well, but know them through work, and we have crossed paths along the way of life.  However, how can it not break your heart when you find out a little 4 year old girl has brain cancer.  

Its also been a struggle this week only because this is the first Christmas my Granny is not with us.  Surprisingly I have done really well with it.  I have acknowledged that she is gone and accepted it.  There are days its harder than others only because I want to be able to call her and tell her about all the random stuff that you can only tell your Granny and know your going to laugh at her response.  I love my Granny and miss her everyday. 

Christmas week has been special for me though this year.  I have been extremely blessed beyond belief this past year with amazing people in my life who I love dearly and would not trade for the world.  My heart has been touched deeply by these people.  I celebrated Christmas with a couple different friends the Monday before Christmas.  Even if we didn't exchange gifts, it wouldn't matter because their friendship means so much.  

These friends have become my family up here when I can't be with my own back home.  They really are the glue that holds my broken stained glass window together.  Though I know my life seems broken and beaten at times,  together with these people and the memories we share, its a beautiful picture.  One day, it will make a great story to tell.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My First 5K

There are a lot of things that are on my bucket list.  One of them was to participate in a 5K run/ walk.  Well, I can cross that off my list now.  On December 15, 2013, I was in my very first 5K/ Half Marathon,  The Santa Hustle.
Now, mind you, I knew going in that I was not going to be running it.  That the odds were fairly good that I was more than likely going to be one of the last people crossing the finish line.  Which I was.  However, my only goals were to finish the race and to not be dead last.  Which I was not.  
There are a lot of reasons why I signed up for this race.  First off, it was in the middle of winter, and I needed motivation to get off my ass and do something besides be a coach potatoe.  Second of all, I know I am some serious need of exercise and need to be a lot more active than what I already am.  
In my weight loss journey, I know that I need to set small goals and improve upon them.  I had nothing to go on before, and I figured that this would be a great starting point to see how I can do better in the future. 
There are many other aspects of my life that I am working on besides my eating and exercise habits.  They are all getting better and for that I am thankful.  Right now, my eating habits and exercise do seem to be the main focus of what I am trying to fix.  
My attitude and emotional state of mind need to change as well.  I have to learn to get the negative thoughts out of my mind and stop listening to all the bad things people are telling me.  One of the things that I have been doing is taking the advice of one of my Weight Watchers leaders.  Kim had told me over the summer that every time they enter my thoughts, just to think of the song, "Gives You Hell."  I had never heard the song before and had to youtube it to know what she was talking about.  It quite honestly has helped out a lot. 
I am thankful for all the ladies in Weight Watchers, and friends and family in my life who have been behind me since I have started my weight loss journey.  It has been very encouraging so far.  It has been keeping me accountable to have people in my life who remind me why I am doing this when I want to give up. 
Right, now, I am debating on when and where I want to do my next 5k and see how much I can improve on my time and placement.  Its exciting to see the results and meet different people.   

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful

Another Thanksgiving is upon us this year!  This year, so much has happened, and I am reminded once again to count the many blessings in my life. 

So often, we tend to focus on the negative aspects in life that we forget to be thankful for the many gifts that are bestowed upon us, no matter how small they may seem to be.  This year, there have been a series of events that have caused me to be even more thankful for the great things that I do have.
In July, my world came crashing down to almost a stand still when my Granny passed away without getting to say good-bye to her.  She was an amazing woman and made an everlasting impact on my life that will never be forgotten.  When I hear the song, "I Am Your Angel" by R. Kelly and Celine Dion, sometimes it seems as if Granny is telling me that she is still here on earth with me, and that brings me great comfort.
This year, however, I have gotten to know some people through work who have made all the difference in my life, in where I am at.  They have helped me get out of my depression and have lifted my spirits beyond belief.  They are really special people who I'll be forever grateful for. 
They have inspired me to be a better person, to reach for my dreams and go after what I want and desire.  To stop putting myself last, and that I do deserve putting myself first.  Its not a matter of being selfish, its a matter of taking care of myself so that I can care for those that I love and care about.
All the small blessings that I have actually turned into a huge blessing.  Of all the things that I am most thankful for this year, is the love and friendship of those who are in my life.  No matter how often I get to speak or talk to those I care about, they will always be important to me, and I'll pray for them always.  Its these people that make my life worth living.
Though the negative spots in my life happened, they don't make up my whole life.  We live through it and learn from them.  Good things always come bad experiences and we grow from them.  That's what makes us stronger.  I know I'm a better person because of the life experiences I've had. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Missing Out On Memories


For well over ten years now, I have worked for Cedar Fair Entertainment. It has been an amazing journey working for a company that has provided me with many great friends, memories and experiences that I otherwise would not have been provided.

Like the roller coasters at Cedar Point, my weight-loss journey has had its ups and downs. It has been a huge struggle for me. When I first started working for Cedar Point, I easily fit on the roller coasters, and had a ball enjoying the day in the park with family and friends when they would come up and visit.

Now, when family and friends come to the park, I am on the sidelines watching kids or belongings while others are riding coasters. I do my best to pretend that it doesn't bother me that I'm missing out on the fun stuff. Its been so long since I've been on an actual coaster, Millennium Force was new.

I am at the point in my life now, that I no longer want my weight to be the reason I am not getting invited to go do things with family and friends. I don't want them to be embarrassed by me, nor for me if strangers should say something to me.

The last few months I've been doing better about making better choices in my journey to getting healthy. I have been making better food choices in my diet. I've also started doing a lot more walking and being more active instead of sitting behind the computer or watching T.V. Even though I'll be walking it, I have signed up to participate in the Santa Hustle 5K that Cedar Point's Castaway Bay will be hosting in December.

Exercise has been a challenge for me as I am no longer sure of what I am able to do. I need professional help in getting in better shape from somebody who knows what they are doing. I know the best thing about getting in shape is that I am going to be healthy and will feel better about myself.

However, the best gift would be able to join family and friends when they participate in sports and play at Cedar Point. I'd also be able to tell the guests I interact with at Cedar Point how much fun all the coasters are instead of telling them I have not been on all of them yet. It is my hope that a smaller me would provide me with many more years, memories and friendships.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Those Who Have Helped Shape Me

There are people from our childhood who have helped to shape us into the people we turn in to as adults.  These influential people may not always know they are shaping us, while others purposely do.   Most of  those who do shape us in our early years, are family. 
One of the people from my childhood who has helped make me the person I am today is my Uncle Danny.  Danny was loved by everyone who knew him and was kind without a reason to those around him.  He loved his family and friends unconditionally. 
For the record, Danny was born with Down Syndrome.  Growing up around my uncle knowing he was different taught me a lot of things about life.  My siblings, cousins and I all knew that Danny was born different than others.  Yet that didn't matter to us.  We accepted him for who he was and loved him regardless.
For myself, knowing the my uncle was special, I learned how to be patient with others and took my time listening to what he had to say and was gentle with this loveable man.  Because of my uncle, I've learned to be patient with others who are in my life now and listen to what they are saying. 
Being around him as a child and knowing he couldn't allows communicate with us in ways he wanted, I had to take the time to stop and actually pay attention to his body language and what his heart was saying.  This has helped me quite a bit later as I realized that people in life are so called, "normal," don't always say what their feeling because they don't know how to say it out loud. 
Although Danny was not trying to shape me into the adult that I am now, his imprint is forever upon my heart forever.  I cherish and remember the memories that I have with one of the men I have loved the most in my life. 
The last month of Danny's life was difficult for me.  He spent the better part of his last month in ICU at Wake Forest University Hospital in North Carolina where the doctors did all they could to make him comfortable and help him.  Spending the night in ICU with him was one of the best things I could have done for him because he was always there looking out for me as a child.  Granted, it was hard to see him tied up to so many gadgets. 
Late at night, I would sit there holding his hand, talking to him, telling him stories about what I had been up too since I'd last seen him. It was almost as if time had stopped for a moment in time and we were back to when I was little again and we were talking.  My Granny always said that what he and I shared was special.  I'm thankful for the time I spent with him during our time together. 
Despite the loss of my beloved uncle, I am forever grateful for all the time that I had him in my life and the impact he had on it.  Danny is the reason that I have learned to bite my tongue, be patient and have tried my best at loving others regardless of their shortcomings.  I always try to look for the good in others because of my uncle because that is what Danny did. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Short Encounters With Inspiring People

There are people who cross our paths, and forever change the course of our lives.  It is unknown how long these people will remain within our circle.  Sometimes these people are there for just a small fraction of time, while others are there permanently. 
There is a gentleman that I met one year while I was working a second job for the holidays.  This person over the course of a couple months had soon become one of my most favorite people in the world.  He has touched my life in many ways I'll never forget. 
Though we didn't talk about deep, personal issues, we had conversations that I had not had with others.  It felt nice to have good, casual conversations about things with somebody.  This man had inspired me to do things I had once gave up on in my life.  It felt like he believed in me when I had given up on myself. 
I'll always and forever for the brief time that I had spend talking with and working for this man.  He is amazing and inspiring.  I'll always feel blessed that I had the chance to know him.