Friday, September 18, 2015

Preparing to Do The Impossible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 4, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 23, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.