Thursday, August 6, 2015

Loving Someone On a Difficult Journey

Recently, I have been getting a lot of questions from others about how to help their loved ones lose weight.  That is a hard question to answer in some aspects, while still simple in a different aspect.  I am not a doctor or personal trainer to be giving out professional advice on how to help someone. 

However, the best thing that I can tell anyone, from my perspective of a person who has been through a major life transformation is this.  It applies to those who are going through situations beyond weight loss, like what I have been through.  It applies to drug addicts, alcoholics, or what ever addiction the person has in their life. 

My answer is this.  You have to love the person through the process.  The entire process.  Not just the end of the journey when they in are recovery, but in all stages of their journey. Even in the very early stages where its obvious they need help, but are unwilling to accept it.  Love them, and encourage them.

Don't sugar coat the situation they are in, but by no means should a person be made to be ashamed or belittled either.  We all need to know the consequences of our actions and how our personal decisions affect those around us.  We also need to be shown the positive rewards of what life will be like if we make the changes to do better for ourselves.  Not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones as well.

There were a lot of times during my struggle with food addiction and obesity, that people would say really rude, hurtful things.  I was bullied many times, looked down up and discriminated against because of my weight. Even by those who I thought were friends or cared about me. 

Several people tried to talk to me about me about losing weight and how it was important for my overall health.  Give me tips on what I should and should not do. All things I already knew.  Things I had heard many times before from doctors and other "concerned" loved ones.  What I would tell them most of the time, is that I didn't want to be lectured about food and be included on outings where some sort of physical activity was included.  An activity that I could do, or slightly above what I normally did so that I could challenge myself.

In order for anybody to make a complete change in life, and for it work, first and foremost, they have to want to change.  It can not be forced upon them or bullied into doing.  It has to be a sincere need and want on their part. 

It is also important that they have a strong support system that is going to love them through the process.  It has been a great blessing for me that I have had a wonderful support system around me on my journey.  My trainer especially has been absolutely amazing for me. For with out him, I know I would not have done as well.  His guidance, knowledge, support and love really made a difference in my life.  He never went easy on me, and never let me give up on myself.  That meant a lot to me.

There are a few select others who have loved my through this and hugged me and listened to me cry when it was hard.  That is what helped get me through this difficult journey.  Knowing that there were people who loved me enough to see me through this. 

For those who want to see their loved ones get help, the best I could tell you is to love them.  Be there for them.  Listen to them and give them positive feedback and encouragement, while directing them down a better life than where they currently are. 

As I sign off, the song, "I'm Going To Love You Through It" by Martina McBride comes to mind.  It means a lot to me.  Granted, the song talks about someone who has breast cancer.  However, it touched my heart just the same because the love I felt from others on my journey meant a lot. 

From "I'm Going to Love You Through It" By Martina McBride
When you're weak, I'll be strong
When you let go, I'll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I'll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can't take one more breath
Just take my hand, together we can do this
I'm gonna love you through it.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Learning To Challenge Myself Beyond My Limits

Back in January, I chose to began a journey to challenge myself to do forty new things this year that I had not done before.  Or at least a different version of something I had done before.  It did not matter what it was, it was just a way to challenge myself to see what I have been missing out on since I tend to stick to the same routines a lot and seldom go out of my comfort zones. 

Well, initially, it came about because around Christmas time, my trainer and I were talking.  He told me that I needed to start meeting strangers and getting used to new things.  That I had to stop living my life like I was still living life like I was in my old body.  (This is paraphrased, and not exact wording.)  He loves to push my buttons to test my limits.  Pushing me out of my comfort zone so that I can become a better version of myself. 

However, after I went home and had thought about it for a long while,  I knew that he was right.  That I had to live a life that was fitting for the person I was becoming, and to stop living my life like I was the same person physically from my past. Essentially, it came down to the fact that I know that I am not the same person, physically, mentally or emotionally now when I first met Ryan.  I am not even the same person from six months ago or when he and I first had that conversation.

Doing this challenge, was more about finding new things that I like to do.  Trying new things I didn't know if I would like.  Some of the things I have tried, I will not do again.  Some of them, I may.  It is more about experimenting with life and taking risks.  Finding new passions and directions in life that we may not otherwise encounter by not challenging ourselves.

I have learned so much about myself during this process.  Learning to be flexible has been a struggle for me.  It is okay to go off my timeline, or off plan once in awhile.  There have been times when I have changed plans for the day and replaced the original with an even better plan that came up. 

Like the day spent with friends at Cedar Point.  My original plan was to go to the gym that day after work.  However, my friend messaged me that she was in town with the kids.  I gave up my plans for the gym to see them.  I knew that I was going to get cardio in by walking the park all night.  Plus, I could catch up with a special friend and spend time getting to know her kids.  It was a great night learning new things and getting different perspectives and life challenges.

One of the things that surprised me is that I agreed to hang out with somebody at Cedar Point one day.  I have known this person for about a year now.  He and I still barely know one another as we hardly see one another.  Most likely, the adventure to ride roller coasters won't happen, due to conflict of schedules and limited contact.  However, I was surprised the invitation was put out there, and that I actually accepted it. 

This gentleman is nice, and a great guy.  Someone I enjoy talking with.  Just not somebody I ever expected to receive an invitation to hang out with sometime.  Normally, he is not somebody I would consider saying yes to.  Yet I did because he is a great guy, and was willing to give anyone was chance to get to know them.  I enjoy just getting to know different people at this new stage in my life.

Its not just learning about myself now.  Its about learning about other people I had never been about.  Being introduced to different types of cultures and backgrounds.  Why they are at this point in their lives.  Learning about their past and where they see their futures.  How they came to be the person that they are. It is interesting and entertaining to learn about others and enjoy the company of others as we get to know our selves and each other.

Through this journey, and making an effort to do and try new things, has really challenged me to be a better person.  It has taught me a lot about myself and what I am capable of mentally, emotionally and physically.  Where most of the growth has come from is mentally.  Ryan has told me all along that anything we try in life, we can do.  We just have to put forth the effort because the mental aspect of anything is the only thing we really have to overcome.  It all comes down to the effort and the work we are willing to put into reach our goal. 

Even after this challenge is over, I will continue to try new things.  Learn about different aspects of this great world we live in, so that I can become a better person for myself, and a more productive member of society.  I will also come up with challenges for myself so that I can continue to become even better at things.  I am not do a lot of things well, I just want to be able to try a lot of things so I can keep my brain active. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Looking For a Hero

On any given night in America, ladies sit around talking about how they wish "Prince Charming" or a "Superhero" would come sweep them off of their feet.  They want a guy to come in and take care of them and all of their needs for them. 

Many times I have been one of those girls in this very conversation.  Yet, at the same time, I had a deeper yearning to know that I could take care of myself without having to need a man to take care of me.   More than anything, I just wanted somebody to discuss things with and get a different perspective or guidance from.

In 2013, my life had gotten so far out of hand due to life events happening that caused me to allow myself to reach 350 lbs. That is a number I never dreamed of seeing on the scale.  Yes, it is just a number, but one that caused me to be so ashamed of myself that I rarely saw my extended family or friends when I made the trip home. Those trips home even, were few and far between because I kept making excuses why I had to stay home.   

What it came down to, was I was to embarrassed at how big I had let myself get.  I was so ashamed of my size, that at my sisters graduation party in spring of 2013, I refused to eat in front of the party guests because I was scared of being judged of what I was eating or how much. 

After that weekend, I made a pact with myself to start taking my life more serious.  It meant making better, smarter choices for my health needs so that I could be a starter in  my life instead of sitting on the sidelines.  \

It was not fun being in the doctors office so often because you were sick for weeks at a time or so often.  I did not enjoy that I had to use a CPAP machine in order to be able to wake up in the mornings. 

In December of 2013 I sent an essay into the to apply for their FIT Challenge.  A local weight loss challenge the newspaper, "Sandusky Register," sponsored that put five people against each other to see who could lose the highest percentage of weight in six months. 
I found out in mid January 2014 that I was one of the five chosen to receive a free trainer and gym membership for six months to help kick start my way back to a healthy life.  Each week, I would have to write blogs about my progress with my weight and what I was dealing with.

I was so desperate to get the much needed help to get healthy, that I was willing to walk 40 minutes each way to the gym daily in negative degree temperatures and knee deep snow  to meet my trainer, Ryan Rose, at Health and Strength gym.  Extreme? Yes, however, I knew very early in the process, that if this opportunity was going to work, I had to put forth the effort. Especially knowing six months is a very short time to fix a lifetime of bad mistakes.

In the six months that I had with Ryan, as part of FIT Challenge, he provided me with a wealth of knowledge and tools to help me get my fitness and nutrition in order so I could take care of my needs after our time together with no help. Ryan taught me how to take care of myself  properly in the kitchen and in the gym.  Making smarter, wiser choices for myself instead of letting others make those decisions for my life so I could be a happier, healthier version of me.

When I started working with Ryan, I weighed 314 lbs.  When the FIT Challenge ended that July, with Ryan's assistance and guidance, I had lost 92 lbs., bringing my weight down to 222.  This accomplishment meant I was the first female winner in the history of the FIT Challenge and also had lost the most weight lost by any contestant ever.  Out of my group of contestants as well, I had lost more weight than the other four combined as well. 

In the time that since winning the FIT Challenge, my journey to a healthier me did not stop.  I continued to not only continue going to the gym, I have also continued working with Ryan as well once a week. 

I also started to compete in 5k's as well.  Eleven months exactly after meeting Ryan, I ran in my first half marathon, weighing 179 lbs.  It truly meant the world to me that day that when I crossed the finish line that day, that Ryan was there to meet me with a hug.   It was a very proud day for both of us.

This past June, I completed my second half marathon, and I am  currently in training for the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio, hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It is just a matter of continuing to challenge myself at this point. Challenging myself mentally and physically so that I can grow in all aspects of life.

These days, my weight hovers between 155 and 160.  The lowest I have been is 150.  Most of the extra weight that I have, I believe  is excess skin that needs to be removed.  However, I do not have the extra money to cover that surgery. 

I am no longer concerned with the my actual weight, as long as I can manage to live my life in a normal, healthy manner.  Learning to make smarter choices for myself that will not take me back to my old life. Being positive and remaining active is all I am concerned about now.

One of the most important things that I have learned through working with Ryan, is that I had to learn to love and respect myself enough to save myself.  I did not need a prince or superhero when I was strong enough on my own to save myself.  Ryan has guided me through this process like a champ, and stuck with me along the way, even when it was tough for us. 

When I met Ryan that first day in the gym, I never dreamed he would be more than my trainer.  He is my friend, my brother, my hero, whom I love and respect. What he has taught me about life you can not put a price on.  The new memories I am making with loved ones, is a priceless gift that Ryan has been a huge part of. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Finding My Normal

Over the coarse of the last several months, my trainer and I have been having conversations that I need to start acting like a normal person.  That I need to stop saying things like, "I couldn't do that before!," When I would tell him about an activity or something I had done outside of the gym.  It needs to get to a point in my life that I am not comparing my life before and who I am now. 

Finding my new normal, is hard.  It is an adjustment.  I want and need to feel normal in my current body.  I love the person that I have become.  Yet I wonder as I sit here tonight, I can not help but wonder,  "How do I love me, and let go of my past self, while appreciating the struggles I have overcome while embracing the stronger person still inside for the world to see?"

I have been an overweight lady for so long, it is all I remember.  That lifestyle and way of thinking is hard to overcome.  Deep inside of me, I know that I need to get rid of those old habits and thoughts as they are hindering my progress towards the future I want and desire. 

There are a couple things that I can think of that I know needs improvement on my part. The biggest thing is that I need to learn to open up to people.  I need to learn to talk to those loved ones when I am hurting, struggling or when they have done something to hurt me.  At some point I need to verbalize this in a healthy way so the relationship can be maintained and I no longer push that person away.

There are some days I am so confused that I don't know if I need a hug and a really good cry, or if I just need a super hard workout to get all my aggression out.  Perhaps I need all of it together.  Right now, I know there is a lot of bottled up energy and aggression.  It is not healthy to internalize it and bottle up it up again to the point where I start eating my feelings.

The other thing that I need to focus on, is loving and accepting myself.  Respecting myself enough to move on past mistakes, forgive them and move on in a more positive, productive way.  This way, I can be a much better reflection of who I want to be, and hopefully be a great reflection of those who have helped me to get where I am today. 

Figuring out my new lifestyle, my new normal is more challenging than I thought.  Letting go of the girl I was to become an even more amazing person is a challenge. I know that old girl is dead and I need to let go because she has not part of my future.  My future self is waiting and is excited about the possibilities to come with the plans I have today for us. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Eating my Emotions

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we'll ever do.  Brene Brown

When I was younger, I used to think that I would have life figured out as an adult.  The truth is, next month, I will be forty years old, and it feels like I have more questions than answers and this point, and even more unsure of what direction to go in.  Life at times, seems so complicated and going in so many different directions. 

Life has often thrown out several curve balls that I had never saw coming, others I had seen or suspected of.  With these life lessons, I did not always handle them very well.  From a very young age, I had bottled things up, and didn't talk about what was wrong. 

Regardless of if these life events were good or bad, I did not know how to deal with the stress of them.  Both good and bad moments, I shut down emotionally from everyone.  Even when I had to be around others, I did not say a whole lot about my feelings, I just literally ate my feelings. 

The worse I was feeling emotionally, the worse I ate.  The more processed, greasy, salty or sugar filled it was, the more it numbed what ever I was feeling mentally or emotionally.  Food hid the pain and became my comfort and my friend.

Feeding my feelings was the only way I knew how to deal with things.  It was the wrong way.  It is not the only way to deal with emotionally charged situations in life.  There was one day I was talking with my trainer about half way through the FIT Challenge and told him I did a lot of my emotional eating, and not eating because of a physical need. 

Even now, over a year later, it is something I struggle with.  Verbalizing my feelings and emotions. To stop hiding them being afraid that what I am feeling is wrong.  Even worse, being afraid I would hurt someone else's feelings, or lose a relationship because of my emotions, because  my "feelings were wrong." 

I realize that this has to change, and change fast.  I can't change one bad behavior and trade it for another.  Although I am no longer stuffing myself with bad foods, I have lost focus in other areas of life.  I have started to push others out of my life that I know deep down, care and hate that I am hurting myself in the process of doing so. 

Recently, I was called out on bottling up everything.  I know it happens, and it needs to stop.  I realize this and the person who called me out, is the one person that I am scared most of losing in my life. 

I know that there is a moment coming soon that I am close to having a complete melt down and explode from all the bottled up emotions I have.  I am hoping that when it happens, I will have been able to defuse a lot of the built up emotions, both the good and bad ones, so that its not a bad melt down.  Once these emotions are released, I believe that I'll be truly be free and can finally be free to move on with life.

I don't want to be held prisoner of my past any longer.  I want to be free to express my feelings in a healthy way.  To open up freely with my loved ones who are in my life.  To have healthier, happier relationships with not only myself, but with those whom I love and cherish as well. 

I realize that I am a work in progress.  That things take time.  However, it is all part of the journey.  The hardest part is admitting that you need to change, acknowledging it and acting upon it.  It helps to tell others that you want to change that portion of your life as well.  Not so that they can help your or keep you accountable for it, those are own responsibilities.  For myself, I know its just easier to get things done if another person knows what I want to change because I will actually do it if they know.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Finally Freedom from my Inner Demons

As I sit down to right this, it is Independence Day in America.  There is so much to be thankful for in life.  I am forever grateful for the  freedom and protection that our military personal have fought so hard to seek for us.  They fight so many battles in places that we do not see, nor do we know the struggles that they must fight within to keep our borders safe.  I am forever grateful for their service.

As I sit here tonight, I can finally say that I am celebrating my own personal Independence, freedom in my own life.  The last few months have been incredibly hard for me.  It has been a struggle emotionally and mentally as my physical self has gotten much smaller.  With my transformation, so much has changed internally for me. 

Its not always possible for the physical, emotional and mental states to be on the same page when your going through a major life change, such as an excessive weight loss.  Especially when you are doing it for the public to watch and in the beginning stages of a mid life crises.  On top of all the random things that have been happening the last couple of months, I have been very emotional and have not known which way to do.

My eating had not been the greatest, and that was affecting my mood as well.  Yes, different foods do affect your mood, regardless of if we realize it or not.  For myself, I know that if I eat poorly, regardless of my gym time and workouts, I will be moody and cranky, and not always link  my mood and food together. 

However, I can say that today, I am finally over coming my demons.  No, my journey is not over.  I still have a lot to learn and I am most defiantly not finished.  However, I have beat my demons.  My inner demons are not going to win, or get the best of me regardless of the negative lies that they may try to tell me.

This afternoon I was talking with a friend of mine from back home about running.  I absolutely hate to run.  Yet I do it anyway.  Running is purely a mental sport.  It is you against yourself.  You have to make your body keep going even when it gets hard.  Its just one step at a time regardless of how long you run.  There are times in runs you have to slow down or go faster.  But you finish and push through to the end. 

Running is a mental sport where you are on your own.  Even if you are on a team, it is an individual sport where you solely have to rely on yourself to push forward and finish.  With that mentality, that is how I have to get through life.  Taking risks on my run through life, so that I can pick myself up when and if I shall fall.  There are days that I will fall, and may be down for a few days.  However, I realize that no matter what, getting back up is the only other option I have so that my demons don't win.

By my running, no matter how dreadful it is some days, I do it.  It has been the best therapy for me.  Time and time again, by running, I have surprised myself with how much I could do.  How far and how fast I could go.  The more I do, the better I feel about my life.  The more free I become and feel about my life. 

Running through these walls have been the most gratifying feelings for me.  Finally feeling free of what has been holding me back.  Yes, I know that I am not done with my journey.  I still have work to do.  However, my demons are no longer going to be controlling my life.  Working past those walls and putting those demons in the past where they belong is by for the best thing I can do for myself and those around me. 

We chose the path that we go down in life.  Not others or our past.  We must decide to what to do.  Today, I chose to be happy and free within myself. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Keeping It Simple

Simple things.  Simple seems so small.  We don't always think about the little, simple things that make up our everyday life.  Well, because they are always there, and we don't always have to think about them.  We take them for granted all. 

There is so much power in a moment.  No matter how simple and mindless it seems.  Looking back upon my life, it seems that it is the small moments that have made all the difference in my life.  Those little moments that built up over time without realizing it that lead to the greater, end result. 

The last year and a half, my primary goal has been to get myself back to a much healthier state, physically.  At least the physical aspect is what was the main focal point when I started because that was the most obvious and in most dire need because I was in really bad shape to begin with. 

Little did I realize at first that I needed to work on the mental and emotional aspects as well.  It was not until the Fit Challenge was almost over that I realized how important that my physical, mental and emotional states all depended on each other to work well in order for me to be completely healthy.  I used to think they were all separate.  Although I was physically out of shape, I really thought that I was okay emotionally and mentally. 

In reality, I knew because of my physical state, I was lying to myself about how I was doing mentally and emotionally.  Though others saw it, they knew that in order for the help to work, I had to come to terms with all aspects of it.

It is by no means easy for a person to admit that they need help.  Losing weight is hard work if your on your own.  To do it with the whole community watching, was even harder for me because I did not enjoy the attention that came with it.  However, I was more than willing to accept the attention and try to remain positive about it because I desperately wanted and needed the help.  When you are ready for the change, you will do what ever it takes to get to your destination.  No matter the extremes you will take.

Sometime about half way through the process, I was getting frustrated with everything.  I was at a point where adjustments were being made all at once with all aspects of the process.  Adjusting to the new changes in my life were hard and making those changes accordingly were hard for me.  There were times I was crying several times a day, for several days in a row.  I didn't know how to accept or deal with the new changes and process them.

One day, my trainer looked at me and told me that I needed to just calm down and enjoy life.  That I needed to enjoy the process of change, but to learn how to live life again as a normal person.  For a good portion of the last eighteen months, I had been so focused on losing weight and getting healthy, I had forgotten to live my life.  

Its still a work in progress for me to start doing "normal" things again, and simplifying my life now.  Its getting easier for me to make out swaps so that I can do fun things with friends and family, doing fun things with them and learning to adjust my food intake according to my activity levels for the day.  Learning to make those adjustments are necessary so that I am not stressing out any longer and putting myself in a situation where I am back over 300 lbs. like I used to be. 

There are days that simplifying things is harder than it should be.  However, as I purge out the old lifestyle, it is getting much better for me.  I am making better decisions in my life about what I need for me and my needs, while hoping that my actions and decisions are a positive reflection of who have helped me greatly in my life and have stuck with me along my journey to a better person. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Giving Up

"Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat."

The last six weeks are so have been quite challenging for me, physically, emotionally and mentally.  Unexpected things come up in life.  I get that.  How we respond to each situation is entirely up to us.  It is entirely up to us to respond in a positive productive way, or we can let the situation control us or handle it poorly. 

One quote that I have heard from my trainer previously, is "Silence sometimes speaks the loudest."  That is paraphrased, and may not be the exact wording.  However, this quote has helped tremendously in these situations the last month and a half because it has taken a toll on me in many ways.  I have actually taken the time to step back and think of how to respond to these situations so that they are handled in the best way possible, not only for myself, but for those who are affected by it as well.

Yes, I know my weight loss journey directly affects my life.  However, in certain situations, I strive to be a positive reflection of those who have so generously helped me along the way and have been a great support system for me. 

With each of these situations happening, one right after another, I felt like I was getting kicked in the stomach and dragged down, left to die at times.  There was no where for me to turn with nobody for me to talk to about what I was feeling or going through.  My trust issues were on high alert.  These last few weeks, I really had to look within myself to find my own strength to carry on in order to move forward so that I would not have to depend on others for help. 

It was also during this time, I have realized how much further I need to go with my journey mentally in order to move forward in a positive manner.  I've always struggled with food, emotions and self control. 

When ever I am extremely stressed, upset or flustered, I tend to eat my emotions instead of dealing with them the proper way. When the first blow came in late April, I was extremely hurt and upset over something.  This has always been an issue for me, and this time, I didn't want food to control me like it had in the past. So, instead, I started doing double workouts when possible to take my mind off of it. 

This was apparently the wrong time for me to do double workouts because I was starting to run outside during the afternoon, when the weather was really warm.  Something I had not done previously.   I had also started trying a new protein shake during this time. 

So within a weeks time, not only had I become upset about something, physically my body was being overworked, over stressed which caused me to break out in a rash that covered a very large area of my body.  A rash that I could not get under control, and Doctors could not figure out what exactly caused it.  However it lasted the better part of three weeks.  During which I had to cut  back drastically on my workouts. 

Since my workouts were cut back and I was being super sensitive emotionally, my eating was not what it should have been.  No, I did not go completely off of my diet.  However, I started to eat a lot more sweets and other garbage that I had tried so hard to stay away from the last year and a half.

Yes, I did gain a few pounds back.  Am I concerned about it?  Not right now, because my trainer said not to be because my body is tired.  Realistically speaking, I know I need to listen to him because my body has been through a lot the last couple of years with such a major transformation.  If it gets out of hand, yes, I would be concerned, and we would fix the problem. Right now, my main concern is just getting healthy again, physically and getting back in the right mindset mentally and emotionally so that all three can be on the same page, or close to it. 

Since mid April I will admit.  I have wanted to quit and give up on my journey.  Especially when the blows just seemed to keep going.  It felt like it wasn't worth it to keep going.  Tears were falling constantly, and it was getting increasingly harder to pretend that I was okay.  Few could see through the fake smiles and the "I'm fine." One let me go because he knew that I would open up eventually.  It has not happened yet, but it always comes out.  
The one thing that has kept me going on my journey, is the fact that I still have two big races to prepare for.  A half marathon in June, and a full marathon in September.  Had it not been for these races, and training for them, I most definitely would have given up and quit everything.  Its felt like everything was no longer worth the efforts I've put into getting healthy to make it worth it.
The people who I thought were behind me in this process, have hurt me in ways I never dreamed possible.  There has been nobody for me to turn to talk to about what I am feeling or expierenceing.  Its hard when the support system that you thought you had is no longer there and is pulled out from under you. 
I don't mind being single and independent.  Its great that I don't have to depend on a spouse or significant other to consult with over things. However, at the same time, these last few weeks, it would have been great to have somebody to consult with, or just to have somebody to go to and hug when I can not get the words out I want to express.  Its hard and my heart is breaking because at this point, I am still unsure of which direction to go or what to do in certain situations. 
The one thing I know that I need to do is just to keep giving myself my best efforts to improve.  There are no other options or others who matter now because giving less than I deserve to myself is not acceptable and I need to do better to get to the end of the this journey so I can focus on other life goals.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Learning to Listen

Most of the problems that occur in relationships is communication.  No matter the type of relationship, it is not immune to communication issues, especially the closer the two are to one another. 

Over the past year and a half, I have learned that the communication between my physical being and my mental being are not always agreeing on what is right for me.  There were days, at my heaviest, my physical body wanted to stop while my mental self said keep going.  There are other days mentally I want to keep going, and my body is too tired. There are also a lot of days, my trainer is the referee and tells me to not do anything, and just relax and rest. 

This past month has been hard on me both emotionally and physically.  Towards the end of April, a series of events occurred that left me completely hurt and upset.  There was a period of time when I was questioning everybody in my life, and the relationship I had with them.  Especially the ones that I had the closest contact with on a regular basis. I started to withdraw from a lot of people during this time.

Just days after the biggest blow, I started  trying to keep myself busy. This was so that I would not overeat or anything, I started doing intense workouts on my own, and doing two a days so that I could keep busy and not over eat.  Essentially, by pushing people away, and keeping busy, I was not dealing with the issues and my body was taking a massive beating due to it.  Especially since the two a days were during days that were really warm outside, and was too hot for me to be running during the day, when I know better.

By not listening to my body, and not stopping when I should have, my body started breaking out with skin irritations.  A combination of stress and over working my body physically is not a  good idea, especially when training for major races.  Due to the irritations, and the length of time I've had them, its starting to affect my training for the half marathon coming up, despite my cross training, at a lower impact level so my body can heal. 
At this point, I can say that I should know better in what to do in certain areas.  When things happen, I know I should address them with the people involved instead of ignoring or truly stating how I feel about something.  Learning which battles to fight is a struggle, because I have started to learn to stop and think about how to react to a certain situation.  Often times, I wait to long to speak up or let my feelings be known, and my feelings end up getting hurt even worse. 
One day, I will get things right.  Listening to my body and mind.  While also keeping all of my relationships healthy and dealing with what ever issues come up in a positive way so that the relationships are still maintained with no hurt feelings.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Becoming Who I am Meant to Be

In the movie "Legally Blonde" Elle Woods goes to Harvard Law to try and win back her ex.  After a lot of challenges in the movie, Elle considers quitting because she feels she is trying to become something she is not.  Her mentor, Emmet, suggests that perhaps that maybe she is becoming who she is meant to be. 

There are times over the past year and a half I have felt like quitting on my weight loss journey.  It got hard, often.  It would have been easy to quit and stop trying to eat right, and working out.  To go back to eating bad foods and being inactive.  However, I stuck with it in the end.  There was a friend of mine that I had a conversation with last April.  We had a conversation about my wanting to quit the FIT Challenge.  He looked at me and told me not to.  Casey was like, "Don't!!! You need to be the same inspiration to others that I was to you.  You have to keep going." 

I had went home after our gym session that day and thought about what Casey had said.  I realized that it would not be just myself that I was giving up on.  That I would feel like I was giving up on Ryan as well after all the time and work he had put in to help me.  I knew Casey was right also, that my story, my struggles and my triumphs could possibly help somebody as well. 

I have stuck with my continued lifestyle change the last year and a half.  This is the longest I have ever stuck with a diet and workout plan, ever.  It has been intense, and challenging.  My whole life has changed because of a simple decision on night to apply for the FIT Challenge on a whim.  Its been the biggest blessing in my life, because it has caused me to take huge risks and sacrifices that have brought me great joy. 

Through the pain of these changes, many more blessings and happy memories and moments have occurred that I had never expierenced before in life.  Its a nice feeling to know that now, I am starting to enjoy life again, and to finally feel alive instead of going through the motions. 

I may not know the direction I am going all the time in life.  Or what I am meant to do.  At this time, it feels as if my life maybe heading in a different direction than what I am used to.  Its exciting and I am open to changes.  However, at the same time, it is very scary to take steps in changing your life's path and doing a complete life makeover. 

 Rather or not I am on the right path, I am very blessed with the positive people in my life and the changes they have helped me to make towards a more positive and productive life. I can not wait to meet the person that will be standing at the finish line and seeing the amazing person that she is becoming. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Finding my Perfect Life through My Imperfections

"We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen." D.H. Lawrence

Since I started my weight loss journey through the FIT Challenge, so many things have changed in my life.  I have learned how to live a life that has added years to my life.  Eating right, getting to the gym and being more active over all, have gave me a new perspective. 

The mental changes are the most important ones that have made all the difference to my new way of living.  The new physical body that I currently use, is all because of the new mentality that I have.  Learning to eat right and exercise properly took time and effort .  I had to learn to let go of the past and negative thoughts, and emotions. 

My journey has not been easy or perfect.  There have been many times that I wanted to quit, give up and there definitely were a lot of tantrums, arguments and tears.  It was a struggle for my trainer to get me to truly talk to him about things and open up so that he could help me. 

Being deeply hurt by several people in my past really put up a lot of walls between myself and the rest of the world.  I did not trust a lot of people when I first met Ryan, especially men.  I still have those same issues.  However, it is much easier for me to talk with Ryan and trust him. 

Its still a learning process to open up to others and let them in so that I can enjoy a life that is meant to be lived, and not one that is just going through the motions.  Its all about learning to take risks and doing what is best for ourselves while being a positive reflection of those who have helped shape us into the person we are now. 

My weight loss journey with Ryan has not been perfect.  There are a lot of struggles and hurdles that had to be overcome.  Physically, emotionally and mentally, those hurdles had to be jumped over.  Some take longer to get over, and had to be faced.  We can not avoid or side step the hurdles if we want to improve ourselves. 

For myself, it seems as if I have been facing a series of hurdles recently before I reach my end goal weight.  Its something that I must embrace and learn to deal with in life.  There are always going to be tests and hurdles.  It is just a matter now for me to learn to maintain a higher standard of living for myself.  To learn to live my life, having fun and being my new self while dealing with the hurdles.  Balancing everything out in a much better way and dealing with the hurdles in a positive way instead of pouting and shutting them up with food and other poor decisions.

My life and my journey has been worth everything that has happened. I would not trade a single moment or how Ryan and I did things for one moment. Its just learning to deal with them in a more perfect manner than what I used to.  Life is a learning process that we go through no matter how old we are.  Its just finding out what works best for us.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, 'I'm possible.''' Audrey Hepburn

Since participating in FIT, a lot of changes has made their way in to my life.  Eating healthy foods are now on my plate at meal time.  I am in the gym five or six days a week, sometimes twice a day.  Even running in 5k's and a half-marathon. 

The mental and emotional changes that have been made are the most surprising ones to me.  I am actually taking the time to think about my decesions and consider all options and perspectives now.  It does not happen all the time, sometimes I still fall back in to old habits.

Recently, it has been brought up to me, on several occasions, that I need to start taking more credit for my efforts and dedication to my weight loss success.  People saying, "You should be proud of yourself!"  It is very hard to hear, as well as frustrating and hurtful. 

This year, the sacrifices that I made to be in the gym daily, sometimes twice a day, eating right and driving my trainer crazy, were all things that I chose to do.  Getting up at 3:30 am. some days to work out, was something that I chose to do to get the time in that I needed to get healthy. 

Never did I think it would be an issue where I would have to say out loud on Facebook, my weekly blogs or in private conversations that I am proud of myself for what I have done.  I've always been happy with the time, efforts and dedication it took to get healthy. I just do not think its necessary to say this.

Over the coarse of the year, I have posted links to my blogs, photos and have made many other status updates about my progress on Facebook.  Something that I would not have been confident enough to do before.  Being proud of ourselves is not always saying it out loud, its in our actions as well.  Honestly, if I was not proud of myself, I would not have signed up for the Santa Hustle Half-Marathon or even agreed to do the update on my progress since winning the FIT Challenge.

Yes, I don't say everything I need to.  There are days I am not sure how or what I am feeling, so I just remain silent.  Some weeks its even more of a struggle than others to write my blogs.  Its hard to be as open as I need to be and still be honest and sincere while being private at the same time. 

This transformation has been a long process.  Its taken a toll emotionally, mentally and physically on me at times.  Yet the efforts will all be worth it when I get to my end goal weight.  Its just learning to adjust when there are speed bumps and adjusting the goals and plan accordingly along the way to make the necessary improvements.

"Progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Coming Out of a Cocoon

During the last two months, I have seriously felt like I have been dwarfed in a twilight zone, hit with one thing after the next.  Things coming out of left field that I've not been able to control, that would cause me to stress out over.  When I stress over things, I tend to over think, over eat and make very poor decisions.  All of these things are all bad by themselves, but when you mix them together, its never a good thing.  Especially when you are trying to lose weight, and in training for long distance events.

The last several weeks, I have been dealing with nightmares/ or flashbacks, what ever you want to call them of events in my past.  I had been doing very well at putting those two events in my past and keeping them there.  However,  trigger moments happen and you can not always control it when they happen.  Thankfully, its not lasted as long as it has in the past.  I have been learning how to deal with these moments much better than what I used to and have an amazing support system. 

However, do to the trigger moments and the setback, it caused me to withdraw completely from Ryan in talking to him about what I was struggling with in the gym.  It was very hard for me to open up to him about my issues, and I could feel unnecessary tension building up because of it.  Its something that I felt absolutely awful about because Ryan has been a very good friend and a wonderful trainer the past year.

It got to the point where I felt that enough was enough that I had to tell him about my struggle, despite him being a guy.  Deep down, I knew in order for him to help me, I had to open up with him, so that we could work through this together and put our resources together so that we could move forward in our progress together. 

What it came down to, was that I was embarrassed to talk with Ryan, about my insecurities about my extra skin hanging down and how uncomfortable it was for me to have it.  I try not to be a vain person, but the skin is getting in the way and causing issues for me I never thought possible.  I was embarrassed to talk with Ryan about it at first only because he is a guy, and I originally wanted a female to talk with.  However, after much thought, I came to the conclusion it was best to talk with him because we have come this far together and we could figure out together.  I had to set aside my personal issues and struggles so that I could get the right help I needed 

In the end, I know its the right thing to do, to open up to him  Though at times we may be learning together, by sticking with each other, I know we will figure the best option for both of us so that we can conquer the demons together. 

Though it has felt like Ive been in a cocoon the past couple months, one day, a beautiful butterfly will emerge

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hitting the Plateau

One of my biggest fears during my weight loss journey has been hitting the plateau.  I had been very lucky so far that I had not hit that point yet.  Until now.

In fact,  I have only lost 9 pounds since the beginning of January.  Yes, I know that I should be happy with that loss at least because the number is still going down.  Its not going down as fast as I would like to though,

Granted, I know that I should be more realistic in my journey to wellness.  That I have to continue to my fitness goals based off of real life responsibilities and situations.  I do know that this is not The Biggest Loser and losing the weight secluded from family, friends and work.  Life happens and real life stresses are going to happen that we have to deal with in the process.

One of the hardest things for me right now is that I am struggling with self-control and my sweet tooth during the most intense situations.  At times it feels like there is that cartoon image in my head of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other going back and forth.  Honestly, the devil seems to win more times than I would care to admit the last couple of months. 

Rather it seems to be deciding to walk to the gym in sub-zero temps or eating something that I know I should not.  Even it is something healthy, eating it at a later time in the day than I should sometimes wins out because I feel to make what I should. 

I do realize that as my weight goes down, that it will be harder for me to lose weight.  I also realize that now that as it gets harder for me to lose, I am going to have to adjust things in my workouts, increasing the intensity and adjusting my diet accordingly. 

At this time, I know that I should be training for long distance races, and I need to properly fuel my body for those sessions.  It is also a matter of doing it while I am still in weight loss mode so that I can do it right with out harming my body in the process. 

At the end of this journey, I want to be able to get to my goals with as little injury to my body and no side effects because of my dietary changes in the process.  I want to be able to do this all the right way now, during the process so that I can be completely healthy not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.  No matter how hard it is for me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Letting Go

"Life teaches you the art of letting go in every event.  When you have learned to let go, you will be joyful and as you start being joyful more will be given to you." Sri Sri

This past month has not been the greatest in my weight loss journey.  Its been a struggle mentally, physically and emotionally.  Therefore it has hindered my progress in losing additional weight. 

In the past month, I've been hit with colds and injuries that have prevented me from being in the gym as much as I would have liked.  The injuries have prevented me from working out as hard and intense as I would like. 

When the FIT Challenge ended in late July for Ryan and I, we set a 65 lb. weight loss by the end of January.  That is not going to happen.  I have lost over 50 lbs. since July which is still good.  I know that I can be extra hard on myself and I'm trying not to stress out over not meeting the goal like I would have a year ago.

It is just a matter of me learning to readjust my diet and workout routine so that I can stay focused and stay on track with my progress.  It is important that I stay on track mentally so that I don't let myself go physically. 

One thing that I know needs to happen, is that I have to stop using Ryan as a crutch, and depending on him as much as I have.  Its come to a point to where I know I have to start doing things on my own and learning what works for me, and learning to push myself. 

Ryan has been great through out this process, and I know he wants to see me continue to do so well.  Yet, its time for me to be able to trust myself and own instincts about what to do.  This way I can have more control and confidence in my own ability.  I know and realize that he won't be available all the time and can not always help me or come to my rescue.

I know that I need to make that break now.  Its time to take the training wheels off and go forward from here.  Yes, there will be times when I'll still need additional guidance and assistance as my physical transformation improves.  Its just another step in a healthy direction to move on from here.  No matter how scary it is. 

"Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve." Unknown