I’m a Human Not a Robot

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”- Plato

Before I head into my rant about the shitty morning I had (I feel much better now and this post won’t be me complaining the whole time I swear) I thought I should start off with an awesome quote my friend Jaemie shared this morning in regards to the incident I am about to tell you. Isn’t it awesome? Definitely something to always keep in mind and I know returning back to it will give me some perspective.

Let me just set the tone for this story. My morning started off at 410am when my alarm woke me from a bad dream. Ugh, I hate bad dreams especially because when I wake from them I am usually in a bad mood.

I proceeded to get cleaned up and ready for the gym. I came out to the kitchen to make my green monster and realized that the blender was dirty, my travel mug was dirty, and my lunch bag was sitting on the counter filled with empty dirty Tupperware. Crap! I forgot to make my lunch. At this point I had to decide what I should do; make my lunch or go to the gym because I didn’t have time to do both. I opted for the gym. So I cleaned the blender and made my smoothie, cleaned the mug, packed a quick snack and headed off to the gym.

Once I was settled in at the gym about 20 minutes into my planned 45 minute ride on the bike I realized I forgot to pack my recovery drink. On days when I get up early and have my smoothie at 430a I like to drink the recovery drink after my workouts so I am not starving hours before lunch. I was frustrated I forgot it but I knew I would be fine with the snacks I had. Oh, well.

After I finished up my bike ride I headed into the sauna. This is my favorite thing to do at the gym is relax in the sauna for 10-15 minutes before I shower and go to work. Sadly, the sauna was not on so I sat in there for about 10 minutes just waiting for it to heat up. At this point I tweeted something along the lines of “today is off to a rough start; no lunch, no recovery drink and a cold sauna. These things are just a sign that today can only get better.” Little did I know….

As the sauna finally started to warm I was trying to decide whether or not I should stay in longer or go home to get some recovery drink. Since I LOVE the sauna I opted to stay. A few minutes later I was joined by a woman I see at the gym when I go in before work. She sits next to me, why I don’t know- it’s a huge sauna and I was the only one in it- and started talking to me about allergies. I had my ear buds in and so I pulled one out and responded to her allergy question. This question lead to the following comment and conversation, which is what triggered this post, which I will do my best to retell. *words in parenthesis represent my thoughts

HER: When’s the big day?

ME: blank stare. I don’t know what you are talking about. (I’m thinking she has mistaken me for someone else, maybe someone who is engaged and she is asking about a wedding date)

HER: You’re pregnant, right? When are you due?

ME: (Ouch!) Um, nope. I’m’ not pregnant

HER: Oh, I’m sorry. Now I feel bad

ME: it’s ok (no, it’s not as I fight back tears)

HER: I just see pregnant women in here and I worry about the baby

ME: Nod. Put my ear bud back in (they probably weren’t pregnant, just fat like me. Try not to cry, try not to cry, just sit here for a few more minutes, and try not to cry)

I left in tears. I go to the bathroom, crying. I get into the shower and start sobbing now that I had the sound of the shower to drown out my lovely crying noises.

Then I began to calm myself down. I wish I could have recorded all the thoughts going through my head at the time. I want to share with you everything that was running through my mind but sadly I don’t have a waterproof recorder, or any recorder for that matter, with me. As soon as I got to work I wrote down as many thoughts as I could remember (in one of my nifty journals) and hopefully you can understand what was going through my mind.

First thought: I’ve lost over 100 pounds and I am still fat and now I am being mistaken as pregnant. Well that effing sucks. Yes, I know I’m not thin but man that was so hurtful. Who asks someone that? I must look a lot worse than I think. Why hasn’t anyone told me? I’m disgusting, Sobbing continues.

Then I think back to when I was in Houston with my pregnant co-worker and we went to the Galleria so she could shop for maternity clothes. We would walk in to a store and the employees would look from me, to her, to me again, back to her until I said- “she’s pregnant, not me.” That didn’t upset me, so why was this?

Then I thought about my body and how I have always carried most of my extra weight in my stomach. I am currently 31 pounds overweight and I think most of that excess is in my belly area. Some people carry their extra weight in their thighs, some carry it in their bum, I carry mine in my stomach and it has always been that way. Even when I was at a healthy weight I always had a belly and when I get there again I probably will too. I will probably never have a flat stomach without having skin removal surgery but you know what? I don’t care. As I have lost weight I recognized that my belly was getting smaller but so was everything else so still my belly is pretty large in proportion to the rest of my body and I am ok with that. I love my body. It is my oldest and best friend.

And as I started to feel better I thought about how a year ago this would have destroyed me. I would have gone into a downward shame cycle and went into hiding. I probably would have stayed home from work, crawled into bed and had a pity party that included me eating myself into a food coma. I would have let this woman’s comment negate everything I had worked for. I would have made it my excuse for giving up. I would have let her ruin me. But not today. Today I have control of my life. I don’t let my emotions spiral, unnecessarily, out of control. Yes, it hurt. No, I do not think it was a nice thing to ask someone but I also don’t think it was intentional. I wasn’t about to let her ruin my fabulous weekend. I had a life I had to get back to and this had already wasted more of my energy than I would like to admit. If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

I am not mad at her either. I won’t punch her in the face or give her dirty looks the next time I see her like I joked about earlier today. Really she was just looking out for the safety of my unborn child that was possibly being cooked inside my body while I sat in the sauna. I guess I can appreciate that.

Thanks for reading!

Oh, and a warning to the next person who asks if I am pregnant – I will punch you in the face. I take boxing classes so you better watch what you say! 😉

December 30, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Life, Weight Loss. 16 comments.

The New You Challenge: Week 1

I’ve been told twice this week in regards to my weight loss; New Year, New You. I like it. It’s catchy. It also makes a great theme for my New You challenge. I call it a challenge because I don’t have a better word for it. It is not, however, a competition. It is a personal challenge that I am starting up, and of course will be participating in as well, in order to help get me to the ‘new you’ I am hoping to find in 2012.

When I first started my journey it was focused solely around weight loss. I needed to lose weight because the excess I carried with me was impeding me from living my life. Not too long after though I realized that I needed to be taking actions that would work towards improving my health and I had to make my health my number one priority. Yes, getting to a healthy weight will reduce your risk for illnesses (diabetes, heart disease) but it doesn’t necessarily make you healthy. It just makes you less of a risk for a weight –related disease. I like to say that weight loss (if needed) is a byproduct of living a healthy life but a healthy life isn’t necessarily the byproduct of weight loss.

Gauging health is difficult, not all of us have access to frequent diagnostic medical exams, so I base my daily/weekly progress on my weight loss (knowing I am lowering my risk levels) as well as how I feel physically. The scale is an easy indication of progress but it’s not the only one and not always the best one either. I like to monitor my energy levels, amount of uninterrupted sleep, regularity (yes, I will talk about poop during this challenge) and my overall wellbeing.

The premise of this challenge is to supply myself, and my readers, with guidelines that will help transition us into living a healthy lifestyle over the next two months. Each week I will present a new challenge and it is up to you whether or not you choose to accept and incorporate it into your routine. The only thing I ask of you is that you start to journal daily. You can write it down or do an online journal- whatever works best for you- because I want you to be able to reflect day to day and through the weeks on your progress and how you feel physically. It doesn’t have to be lengthy either- just enough to answer the few questions I pose with each challenge.

You do not need to check in weekly, although I would love it if you did, but I do hope you come by every week and check out the new challenges. Maybe you don’t want to participate but please come back- you might find some useful tips or advice that can help you on your path to healthiness.

This first week’s challenge is one that requires no special equipment and one that everyone should be able to do. When people ask me what they should do to get started or what changes I have made that got me to where I am today I always tell them to drink water. Lots and lots of water. I told my mom just the other day when she asked what she should do I said work your way up drinking half your body weight in ounces of water every day. I am not sure where I heard that you should drink half your body weight (or the minimum 64 oz, whichever is larger) idea but I like it and so I adopted it months ago. So, for me, I would want to drink 91 oz of water a day. I weigh 182 pounds, 91 is half that so that is my goal every day. I’ve been doing this for ten months now so I am pretty good at getting the water in but I will tell you on the days where I am struggling (usually the weekends) I feel it. There are days when dinner time rolls around and I can tell I haven’t gotten in enough water. At that point I try to amp it up but I am not always able to. Recently though I have gotten better and am so used to drinking lots of water every day that it has become second nature. Just like any new habit, it takes time for that to happen so please be patient.

For this challenge, the only thing that counts as water is water. Coffee, tea, soda, juice do not count. If you are not a current water drinker take this next week and work up to the goal amount if needed. Don’t feel like you need to be perfect every day. Don’t stress, just try your best. You need to make these changes work for you so they stick, become habits, and you are able to continue doing them long after these two months are over. This might be an adjustment for you so let your bodies adjust.

This is why I want us to journal. Journaling will give us the time daily to reflect on how we feel physically. I know that this was something I did not do when I first started out. Now I try to be more cognizant of body every day and it has helped tremendously. Our bodies want to heal themselves we just have to let them. So everyday write down how you feel. Did you notice any differences from the previous day? How does drinking water make you feel? How were your energy levels? Were you drinking consistently throughout the day or did you find yourself drinking more at certain times? What else did you drink? Were you annoyed that you had to pee every hour? 😉 Ok, you don’t have to answer that last one.

The journals are private, for your own introspection, but please feel to share any changes or anything you learn along the way and I will too. I have a new journal that I am going to use. I actually got three journals for Christmas (my friends know me so well) so I am so excited to start this challenge.

One thing I will try not to do is preach to you. As the weekly challenges come up you will see that not only are they not restrictive (especially when it comes to food) but they are going to be totally on your terms- not mine. I do eat a vegan diet but that is a choice I came to on my own. You will never be told to do something you don’t want to do (aside from drinking water) because the basis of this challenge is learning about YOUR body and what it wants. I cannot tell you what to eat or how to work out; those are decisions you will have to come to on your own. I can, and will, tell you how I got there and what I am doing now to continue learning and share that with you for each weekly challenge.

With that being said I do want to say one hypocritical thing. Please try to cut out soda. It is so bad for you. I gave up soda early on in my WLJ and it was rough. I had a strong addiction to diet colas but now I don’t touch the stuff. It’s just sugar (or artificial sweeteners) and chemicals. Try unsweetened tea instead. Or water J I drink green tea every morning during the week and on the weekends I allow myself a cup of coffee. I will drink herbal teas or even regular unsweetened tea once in awhile too but for the most part I drink water. 95% if not more of what I drink is water. I look at it this way: water helps to cleanse the body and remove toxins. Why counteract that by adding more in? That’s just my opinion. Do with it what you will.

So there you have it; our first challenge. Let’s spend the next week, through Saturday the 7th, getting in our H2O. Oh, and one more thing before I go. These challenges are cumulative. Meaning week 2 I will post a new challenge for week two that will be done along with the water challenge from week 1. Week 3 we will be doing a new challenge and week 1 & 2’s challenges. Make sense?

Normally I will post new challenges on Saturday but being that it is a holiday I thought I should put this one out there early so that you can read about it and start on Sunday, or sooner if you like. The water challenge is also a great way to undo some of the New Year’s Eve damage you may have done J Good luck and I hope to see you back here next week. If you want to you can comment, tweet, message me on FB or email me (axid200@gmail.com) if you would like to let me know you are participating.

Thanks for reading!

*Disclaimer * These ideas are my own, based off of what has worked for me so far, just presented in a new format. I am not a medical doctor and I do advise you consult with your doctor before making any changes in your diet/exercise routine.

December 30, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Fitness, New You Challenge. 23 comments.

Thought-Provoking Thursday: 95 Questions, Part 4

Here is the final set of questions from Marc and Angel Hack Life’s 95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness. Before I get started with my answers I wanted to share some thoughts I had with you. I have already found my happiness although it did take some time finding it. This year I have learned that happiness is self-imposed. Happiness cannot be given to us by things or by others; it is an emotional state we all have the choice to be in. I choose to be happy but I was unable to access that emotion until I removed the barriers standing in my way. I needed to learn acceptance. Acceptance for who I am today not for the person I hope to be in the future. I needed to realize that I am good enough, strike that, I am freaking awesome as is. Just because I am not at an ideal weight doesn’t make me less of a person. I still love, am kind to others, lend a helping hand when needed, I am a shoulder to cry on or a warm embrace, and I have always treated my friends like family. I was and am awesome, and I have accepted that. With that acceptance came self-love as I learned to cherish this body and treat myself with the respect I deserved. I also needed to forgive myself for getting to a place where I was so unhappy with myself and the life I was leading, where I was unhealthy and wasting my life. Yes, it would have been nice if I never made all of those poor decisions that lead me here but I feel like it was the path I was meant to be on. Not only do I now have this blog and a world of amazing people I get to share my life with, I have also learned to not take of this for granted and to appreciate every day as the gift it is. Forgiveness, acceptance, and love made it so I could access my happiness and I do so every day. What is standing between you and your happiness?
The other goal of these posts was for me to find meaning in my life. It says on my page (on this blog) that I am just trying to make my mark on the world which some days it was hard to feel like that would ever happen. I used to think that I was just another person, just living my life, and that I really didn’t have much impact on others. This was especially true when I would think about my friends. My friends have lots of friends so why do they need me? Am I really an important part of their life? Would their world be any different if I wasn’t a regular part of it? Sometimes it was hard to feel like I mattered, like I was important to others. Now as I have grown and learned more about myself I see now how important I really am. I don’t mean that in an ‘I’m so important, more important than you’ type of way I mean that in the ‘I am important and so are you’ type of way. What I am trying to get at is that realizing my importance, my true self-worth, has given me meaning in my life. Being a good wife, daughter, and friend is the meaning of my life. Being there for those who matter most to me is the meaning of my life. Inspiring others and helping people find the meaning of their life is the meaning of my life. Being inspired by others to change, progress, break down personal barriers, and truly live is the meaning of my life. I hope you know, or choose to find, the meaning of yours.
Now, onto the questions J
1. What’s something you would do every day if you could? Read. I love to read but it’s just not that high on my priority list right now. I try to make time to read at night but that doesn’t happen daily but I hope that one day it will.
2. At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? I think that would be after my Nia White Belt Intensive, after the graduation ceremony, when we were all dancing and celebrating together. It just reaffirmed my love for Nia, how much joy it brings me, and how lucky I am for the wonderful community I have to share it with.
3. Which is worse, failing or never trying? Definitely never trying. If we try and fail at least we can learn from the experience and that can help us find success in the end. Failure also teaches us perseverance, dedication, strength, and courage.
4. What makes you feel incomplete? There are times when Paul is away when I have no communication with him whatsoever. I am not a big fan of that. Its one thing when he is away and we can still talk on the phone it is another when I have no way to reach him and having no idea when I will hear from him. I feel incomplete when I can’t share my day with Paul and he can’t share his with me.
5. When did you experience a major turning point in your life? I know you all have heard me say how this journey has changed my life and it’s true. It really has changed my life but I want to tell you about something you might not have known- a major event in my life that changed my world very dramatically. My best friend committed suicide on January 2nd, 1998 and that was by far the worst day of my life. Jed had dealt with depression the whole time we were friends and had attempted suicide before. He had a lot of demons he was battling, as was I at the time, and I tried to be there for him best I could. I was 19 years old when he died. My world was shattered. I had no idea how to handle his death or the guilt I felt because of it. Even now as the anniversary approaches I think of the New Year’s Eves we spent together and the fun times we had growing up and it breaks my heart that he could never find the strength he needed to survive. I wish he was still with us every day. He was an amazing, kind, loving, funny, warm and friendly guy who didn’t have a single enemy. Just an overall lovable guy. It breaks my heart that I couldn’t have done more.
6. What or who do you wish you lived closer to? Don’t get me wrong, I love moving to new places and making new friends but I really do miss living in Philly. So I would definitely say my friends in the Philly/NJ area as well as all of the friends I made while living in Florida, Ohio and Washington and of course all the wonderful people I have met through this blog, twitter, Facebook, and the Weight Watchers online community. I wish I lived near you all (if you are reading this you are definitely included in that list 😉 ) so I could give you a big hug and thank you in person for all of your love and support.
7. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be? Anything is possible if you just believe
8. What’s something you know you can count on? The people in my life. They are always there for me through thick and thin.
9. What makes you feel comfortable? Familiar situations although I should add that I am getting more comfortable in unfamiliar situations now too.
10. What’s something about you that has never changed? I don’t wear makeup regularly. Even in high school I had to have my neighbor put on my makeup for me on prom night. I never got into wearing makeup and the skills required to do so were never developed. Now when I do wear makeup (maybe once a year at most) I kind of look like a hooker. I seriously need help being a girl. LOL!
11. What will be different about your life in exactly one year? Probably many things. Probably many things I don’t even realize could happen. In a year so many things happen. I would say that for sure in a year my life will be different because I will have taught a Nia (hopefully multiple) class. I can’t wait to learn my first routine and start sharing Nia with others.
12. What mistakes do you make over and over again? I put my shirts in the hamper inside out. My socks go in the hamper either inside out, inside my pant legs, or both. It kind of drives Paul crazy. I don’t do intentionally though.
13. What do you have a hard time saying “no” to? Vegan cupcakes from Green. Those little suckers are freaking fabulous. Paul and I get one to go very time we are there and then split it later. I had a red velvet one on Tuesday which was a little bite of heaven. My favorite so far was the mint chocolate cupcake. What can I say; I have always been a sucker for cupcakes. .
14. Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? At first I started writing that every day I am doing what I believe in but that’s not entirely true. I can think of things in my life that I settle for in order to be able to do what I believe in. Does that make sense? Like there are aspects I settle for in order for me to do other things I believe in.
15. What’s something that used to scare you, but no longer does? I used to have terrible anxiety particularly when I was in a car as a passenger. I used to have severe panic attacks any time we would be driving in bad weather. Now, not so much. So I guess my fear would have been dying in a car accident and now don’t have those reactions when I am in a car.
16. What promise to yourself do you still need to fulfill? The promise that one day I will be a mother.
17. What do you appreciate most about your current situation? I appreciate the fact that it allows me to live such a great life. We have enough money for me to afford two gym memberships and take all kinds of crazy classes and buy new clothes when needed and try out new recipes and buy fresh foods. We are not rich by any means but we do have enough to allow me to live this new lifestyle. I should note that taking a job that paid me 40% more than my previous employer definitely helped. I also appreciate the fact that I live in a city that has a great boxing studio and yoga studio where I can take classes, weekly year-round farmers markets, multiple grocery stores that have vegan friendly options and vegan friendly restaurants makes my life really great.
18. What’s something simple that makes you smile? Hugs. I am big on hugging. Just ask my French roommate from college. The French aren’t really huggers but I got her into the habit pretty quickly.
19. So far, what has been the primary focus of your life? I would have to say my career. Undergrad and grad school, co-ops, internships, and assistantships. Working since I was 14 and now when I make big decisions I always question how it will affect my career. Leaving a great management position in Philly and going back into an analyst role in Texas was a big change for me (financially and career-wise) but I have moved forward and continue to try to progress my career.
20. How do you know when it’s time to move on? When things just don’t feel right. If a person or a situation makes you feel bad or bad about yourself it is time to cut ties and move on.
21. What’s something you wish you could do one more time? Get married again and I don’t mean to a different person. I just mean I would like to have another ceremony and this time invite all my friends and family. Paul and I got married at a small chapel in Florida with 5 of our friends present. My parents were going through an awful divorce (random thing about my parents is that they got divorced and then a couple years later started dating each other. They now live together but are not married to each other) and Paul and I didn’t want to deal with any family drama so we just had a quick little ceremony.
22. When you’re 90-years-old, what will matter to you the most? The memories I have made.
23. What would you regret not fully doing, being, or having in your life? I will regret not ever finding a way to have children.
Thanks for reading!

December 29, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . inspiration, Life, thought-provoking thursday. 2 comments.

You Know Me- I’m Always Planning

With another holiday weekend in front of me, I decided I needed to spend some time today and plan out the meals for the weekend. Last week, with my parents in town, we ate out almost every single day and Paul and I are kind of burnt out on restaurant food so planning to eat every meal at home was a must. We also wanted to plan super yummy vegan meals for when our friend KJ and her little daughter are over for New Year’s Eve, her husband will be working 😦 , and for our friends coming over for New Years day to watch the Cowboys vs. Giants game. We needed to make sure we planned out some awesome food so tha no one would complain about eating vegan 🙂

Oh and I should tell you now, because I don’t think I have mentioned it on here yet, that starting January 1 Paul is adopting a vegan diet as well. I did not ask him to or even try to persuade him towards going vegan- he came to that decision all on his own. I am pretty sure it was a combo of the science and research behind the film “Forks Over Knives” and the fact that Rip Esselstyn, who is the son of one of the main doctors in the film and appears in the movie, is a former pro triathlete, currently working as a fireman and eats a plant-based diet. I think seeing an athletic man speaking about the positive effects of adopting a plant-based diet without having to sacrifice health or fitness helped show him it’s more versatile than he thought.

Since Paul is going vegan I asked him if he wanted any special foods or meals before January 1, sort of like his last meal, and he said no. I think he is ready for the change, which is a good thing, and hopefully it is a smooth transition for him. I know for me life will be so much easier now that we can eat the same meals all the time. We usually eat the same things on the weekends but during the week it is each man for himself in our household. Now we can meal plan, shop, cook and eat together which is awesome. He even helped me pick out some recipes for the weekend. Believe it or not he took two vegan cookbooks with him to work today so he can start coming up with lunches and dinners he would like during the week- I was pretty shocked. Then he said to me that he wanted to make me miso soup and veggie lo mein (I love lo mein) this weekend so it is on the menu for Monday. It’s great he is so excited for this.

Meals for the New Year

Friday dinner: Veggie Burgers with Kale-Cabbage-Leek Grill Mix

Saturday lunch: Back on Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad with side salad

Dinner: Vegan Enchiladas with Cilantro Avocado Cream Sauce, Spicy Rainbow Rice and Bean Salad, Pico de Gallo and Guacamole

Sunday breakfast: Vegan French Toast (Everyday Happy Herbivore)

Lunch/Dinner: Caribbean Peas & Rice

Party Foods: we’re going Greek-vegan; falafel, eggplant dip, tabouleh, hummus, grilled veggies, pita and a mix of fresh vegetables for dips

Desserts: Frosty No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies and Chocolate Peanut Butter Chews

Monday breakfast: Overnight Oats

Lunch: Miso Soup with Veggie Lo Mein

Dinner: Back on Track Wheat Berry Salad (I love leftovers! They make life so much easier)

*Recipes not linked are from our cookbooks at home

On top of eating some fantastic vegan food this weekend I also have some great activities planned to help me ring in the New Year. Friday night Paul and I are going to a San Antonio Rampage hockey game which is always fun. Saturday morning after my Weight Watchers meeting we are going to go hike the Enchanted Rock. Please check out the awesome video below about the Enchanted Rock Park, it’s pretty amazing. As I said earlier we will be having KJ and her daughter MJ over for dinner and hanging out with them until MJ’s bed time which will probably also be mine and Paul’s bed time since we need to get a nap in- we are doing a midnight 5K. Since both of us are normally in bed around 9p we thought napping would be our best strategy to make it to midnight and through the race. Sunday will be a very relaxing day as we celebrate with more friends. I am meeting MS for lunch and then we are going to Synergy for their annual New Year’s Day celebration – the Burning Bowl Ceremony with Jodi Roberts and Stephanie Phillips. Then afterwards I will be watching some football (hopefully seeing the Giants destroy the Cowboys) with friends. On Monday we invited our former dog walker over to come spend some time with us and the doggies since we haven’t seen her since we moved. It should be a lot of fun. Then I plan on ending the weekend with a couple of boxing classes at Club KO and hopefully Paul will be joining me for that, too.

TPWD: Enchanted Rock

What do you have going on this weekend? I would love to hear about your plans and how you will be ringing in the New Year so feel free to comment below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

December 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Life, Recipes, Weight Loss. 5 comments.

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday: New Clothes and New Numbers

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New work outfit from the Gap: top size Large and trousers size 12 regular! Woo hoo for new sizes and for finally being able to shop at the Gap. I don’t think I have since we entered the 2000’s. Also, I would also like to mention I started this year wearing 3X or 26/28 tops from plus size stores and am now wearing large tops from regular stores. Pants went from size 24s to size 12s. It’s pretty amazing to me when I look at those numbers. I can’t believe I’ve come so far.

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My current body fat percentage is 32.8% – yay- but the really exciting number is what’s below. My BMI. Which as of this morning is 29.9 which means I am no longer obese! Yay! I am now in the overweight category! I know, being overweight might seem like a weird thing to be excited about but for me it is. I started this year Obese- Category 3, which is the worst, and am now down to the overweight category. Next stop- average/normal/healthy…not really sure what it’s called. I just know my goal is for my BMI to be below 25.

Thanks for reading!

December 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Weight Loss, wordless wednesday. 3 comments.

Thought-Provoking Thursday: 95 Questions, Part 3

Continuing on from last week’s post, here are my answers to 24 more questions from Marc and Angel Hack Life’s 95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness post. If you are participating in this four part post please leave me your answers or link to your blog in the comments section.

1. When you think of ‘home,’ what, specifically, do you think of? I think of my parent’s house they currently live in, which is not the house I grew up in.

2. What’s the most valuable thing you own? My engagement ring. Last year for Christmas we had the original diamond taken out and put in a diamond from a ring that my father gave to Paul- it was my grandfather’s ring. It is by far the most valuable thing I own because of what it represents and the ties it carries with my family.

3. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what would you miss most? I move around a lot and now that Paul is in the Army it is just a matter of time before we have to move again. When the time comes to leave San Antonio, what I will miss the most are my friends and the wonderful community I have found here.

4. What would make you smile right now? If someone could turn the heat up in here. It’s freezing!

5. What do you do when nothing else seems to make you happy? Give Paul a hug, if he is around, or turn to my friends for a laugh/smile.

6. What do you wish did not exist in your life? Infertility

7. What should you avoid to improve your life? For me, following a vegan diet has drastically improved my life so I would say avoiding animal products.

8. What is something you would hate to go without for a day? Sadly I will have to say my iPhone

9. What’s the biggest lie you once believed was true? That I didn’t deserve happiness

10. What’s something bad that happened to you that made you stronger? Growing up in a household with a parent suffering through a mental illness

11. What’s something nobody could ever steal from you? My heart, my ability to love.

12. What’s something you disliked when you were younger that you truly enjoy today? Eating. I was such a picky eater as a kid. I wouldn’t eat anything. Now I truly enjoy eating.

13. What are you glad you quit? Smoking.

14. What do you need to spend more time doing? Hanging with Paul and my friends, specifically MS, who I haven’t seen in forever.

15. What are you naturally good at? Memorization

16. What have you been counting or keeping track of recently? Ha ha…I do Weight Watchers so I track everything; what I eat, what I drink, and my activity.

17. What has the little voice inside your head been saying lately? You’re doing great, keep it up!

18. What’s something you should always be careful with? My words

19. What should always be taken seriously? Life

20. What should never be taken seriously? Life 😉

21. What are three things you can’t get enough of? This tough trying to think of non-food related things…lol! I would say Nia, yoga, and vegan cupcakes 🙂

22. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? I probably would have been more social when I was heavier. I think back not just on earlier this year but back to 2008 when I moved from WA to Philly but I didn’t really see many of my old friends while I lived there because I was ashamed of how I looked.

23. What fascinates you? The body’s ability to heal itself

24. What’s the difference between being alive and truly living? Ha! Dacia February 2011 vs. Dacia December 2011. I say this pretty frequently- the best part of the changes I have made in my life is that they allow me to be an active participant in it. Before I was a couch potato, always on the sidelines, never really doing anything and the days just ticked by. Now I look forward to every day, every new (and most of the time small) adventure that arises. It’s fucking fabulous!

Thanks for reading!

December 22, 2011. Tags: , , , . inspiration, thought-provoking thursday. Leave a comment.

What Motivates Me…

I often get asked what keeps me motivated and yet I still don’t have a good answer to give. I know there are a plethora of factors that contribute to me making good food choices and getting in exercise almost daily but it is hard to explain it all in a short answer. Recently I have been giving a lot of thought to what has helped keep me on plan/on track in the (almost) 10 months since I have started this weight loss journey and I am still having a hard time expressing it verbally. I decided the best way to explain what keeps me motivated is to write about it.

When I first started this WLJ my actions were fueled 100% by motivation and that motivation came from the desire to lose weight after hitting my personal rock bottom and from the great friends and family I had cheering me on. I laid all my cards on the table, told the whole world (ok, the whole blogosphere) where I stood (286 pounds) and promised I would be accountable to make the changes in my life that would help get me to a better place. If that’s not motivation then I don’t know what is.
It didn’t take me very long to learn my first big life-changing (yet obvious ) lesson which was if you don’t love what you are doing it will be very hard to do it on a regular basis. If you don’t love the food you eat you won’t want to eat it, if you don’t love your workouts you won’t want to do them. When I realized this I set out to make sure I was spending my time only on activities I enjoyed and only spent my calories on foods that were good for my body (this is key, too) that I also loved eating. This is when the weight loss became much easier. It is also why I have been able to maintain this lifestyle for 10 months. I look forward to every meal, to every workout. I never dread going to class or the gym and therefore have no reason to try to convince myself not to go. If you are in a place where you are looking for reasons to get out of doing something you should do then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your activities and find something new you want to be doing.

Not every day is easy but every day it gets easier. At ten months in my food and activity choices have become part of my lifestyle, they are habits. Every week I plan out my meals and I plan out my exercise times and then everything else (aside from work) gets planned around that. I still go to the movies, hockey games, out to dinner, spend time with friends but my number one priority is my health so I schedule all other events around my workouts, not the other way around. I knew from the beginning that the changes I were making needed to be permanent, that I was adopting a new lifestyle not a quick fix, which is also why it is important that I was finding things I loved to do. As the pounds come off, muscle start to replace fat, and my endurance radically improves I am able to try new things and push my limits. I have already achieved far more than I ever thought possible.

Aside from learning all these great life lessons on this journey I have also learned so many things about myself. One that was somewhat of a surprise to me is that I love challenges. I never really thought myself to be a competitive person but I guess I am. Whenever a challenge presents itself I immediately accept. These challenges, Shrinkvivor, 7/30/100 Day Chip, 25 Days of Fitness, etc., have also kept me motivated. Having an additional reason to make good decisions has contributed to my success and if you are like me challenges can give you motivation to push through the hardest of days.

So my answer, the short version, is this. Loving what I do is my motivation. Feeling good is my motivation. Getting my health back is my motivation. Achieving new personal bests and unlocking impossibilities is my motivation. The thrill of a challenge is my motivation. Knowing that my actions inspire others is my motivation. Having a phenomenal support team around me is my motivation. Becoming the best version of me is my motivation. Living, actually actively participating in, my life every day until I die is my motivation.

But that’s just me. We are all different. So my advice to you is to look inside and find what motivates you and don’t ever forget it!

Thanks for reading!

December 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Exercise, Fitness, Weight Loss. 5 comments.

Tuesday Survey Fun!

I saw this survey over on Less Britt More Life and thought it sounded like a fun post for today.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 5:00am; I overslept. Thankfully Paul’s alarm went off at 5a and woke me up or I would have been late to work.

2. How do you like your steak? Not from an animal. The only steak I am eating is made from veggies, soy or wheat gluten

3. What was the last movie you saw at the theater? Love Actually. Not in 2003 when it came out in the theaters though- just last week.

4. What is your favorite TV show? I would say my favorite is probably the Biggest Loser but I love a lot of other shows, too.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Hmmmm….that’s a tough one. I would have to say somewhere in Europe (Germany, Italy, and Czech Republic) or somewhere in Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Japan)

6. What did you have for breakfast? Green Monster made with Orange Dreamsicle Superfood

7. Do you wear glasses or contacts? Glasses but I am hoping to get contacts soon

8. What food do you despise? I really love all the foods I can eat but since I chose not to eat animal products I would have to say I strongly dislike them

9. Favorite Place to Eat? Right now I am on a Green Vegetarian Restaurant kick. They can make anything vegan so I have tons of options when I eat there. I love, love, love their homemade falafel and the kale salad

10. Favorite dressing? Roasted Garlic or Mustard Vinaigrette or Poblano Ranch (from Green)

11. What’s your favorite movie? Tie: The Usual Suspects and Life Is Beautiful

12. What are your favorite clothes? For the most part I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. Now that I am on this WLJ I have found my favorite clothes to be anything that fits. Loose clothes are almost as bad as tight clothes.

13. Where would you visit, this weekend, if you had the chance? This weekend is Christmas and if I could be anywhere it would be Paris, with Paul and my parents. That would be the perfect way to spend Christmas.

14. How many tattoos do you have? Nine

15. Where would you want to retire? Philadelphia or maybe somewhere outside of Philly where we can have some land- it really depends on what we want to do in retirement.

16. What is your desktop photo? At work, just my employers logo. At home it is a photo from Haath Se [By Hand] from one of her Friday Freebies. It’s a beautiful photograph of these amazing yellow flowers.

17. Where were you born? Pennsylvania

18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Pretty much any but I particularly love watching football, hockey, and baseball.

19. How many siblings? None

20. Favorite pastime/hobby? Reading, when I can make the time, and I also love to cook and blog also when I can find the time 😉

21. Coffee Drinker? I only drink coffee on the weekend and sometimes not even then. I drink green tea most mornings.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person? I used to be a night person but all of these years working jobs that start very early in the morning has cured me of that. I am now a morning person.

24. Do you have any pets? Yes, two fabulous doggies. I would have more if we were allowed to.

25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? Ok, so if you read yesterday’s post then you know I have lost 100 pounds (YAY!) but I did not mention yet that I now weigh less than Paul….for the first time probably ever! Woo hoo!

26. What did you want to be when you were little? A biochemist or President

27. What is your favorite color? Blue

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Dog

29. Are you married? Yes, I am. We celebrate our 7 year anniversary in three weeks from today!

30. Always wear your seat belt? Always, always, always!

31. Been in a car accident? Nothing major (knock on wood) just minor fender benders

32. Any pet peeves? I have so many… people who chew loudly (thanks Dad for that one), people who talk on their cell phone in public restrooms, coughing (and yes I realize people cannot help it if they are coughing but the sound grosses me out), bad drivers…

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Daiya cheese loaded with veggies!

34. Favorite Flower? Lillies and tulips

35. Favorite ice cream? I haven’t had ice cream since I adopted a vegan diet so I have no dairy-free favorites but before I used to LOVE chocolate hazelnut gelato

36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Freebirds World Burrito. They sent me a list of all their menu items and the ingredients so I know what I can eat from there. I have also heard they might start offering vegan cheese as an option as well as noting vegan items on their menus. Even now though they have a lot of choices for me 🙂

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? Never but it was close. I almost failed the parallel parking.

38. From whom did you get your last email? WordPress email notification – new post from Haath Se

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Whole Foods

40. Like your job? Yes! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

December 20, 2011. Tags: , , . Life. 4 comments.

Monday Randomness!

I’m here…I’m alive….and I am almost ready for the parents to arrive in a few days. Christmas shopping- finished! Decorating (what little we decided to do this year) – finished! Grocery shopping and cooking for the week- finished! The only thing I have left to do is some cleaning, wrap presents and possibly bake some cookies but most of those things can be done while my parents are here. So, yay! I am pretty much ready for the holiday weeks to begin!

Last week I hit a huge milestone and although I did post about it on Facebook and Twitter I did not mention it on my blog. The reason why I hadn’t mentioned hitting my 100 pounds lost milestone yet is because I wanted to write this epic post thanking everyone who has helped me along the way. Unfortunately I have really struggled with writing it so over the weekend I decided that I would turn the blog post into a vlog. It will be much easier for me to convey how I feel if I just did it on video so hopefully in the next week or so I can get some time to record my thanks to you all. In the meantime let me just say that I know that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for Paul, my friends (that’s you 🙂 ) , family, WW members, trainers, teachers/mentors, and co-workers who have been super supportive throughout this whole process. I love you all very much and owe you big time! I only hope that one day I can return the support and encouragement you have showed me!

As you know, I have been participating in the 25 Days of Fitness Challenge (O’ Fitness Tree) from the Sisterhood and am happy to announce that I have exercised every day so far this month and my tree now has 18 shiny stickers to show for it. Yay! I have an exercise plan for 6 of the remaining 7 days in the challenge- the only day I am still not sure on is Christmas. Synergy, Club KO and the post gym will all be closed on Christmas day so my plan is tentatively to walk with Maggie, run/walk with Paul or do an exercise DVD. What I will end up doing really just depends on the weather. I know I will get some exercise in though I am just not sure what yet.

With the holidays here and my more chaotic schedule I have started going to the gym on post pretty frequently. At first I started going because it was convenient and something I could do with Paul. Now I love going (weird, I know) so I can ride the stationary bike and sit in the sauna. Just last week I decided to ride 26.2 miles on the bike to see if I could and I did in just a little over 84 minutes. Being able to do that made me feel great not only because I achieved something I set out to do but because I was doing an activity I hadn’t previously been able to do because of my weight and physical condition. When I first started exercising I could not ride the regular upright bikes so I would ride the recumbent bike at the gym. Then when I tried to ride an upright in November I was shocked that not only I was able to ride it but that I loved it. Fueled by my new found fitness capabilities (and a new pair of minimalist sneakers) I decided to test out my running ability yesterday on the treadmill on the gym. I ran a half mile in 5 minutes and 45 seconds. To most people that probably doesn’t seem like anything special, especially if you are a runner, but to me it was like I just climbed Everest. The longest I have run at one time was maybe a minute and a half so to be able to run for almost six minutes I was pretty freaking excited. Today I heading to the gym after work to hit the bike and treadmill again and will keep you posted if I reach any new distances in the future.

In other, non-weight loss related news, I had mentioned that Paul and I were playing each other in the playoffs for our fantasy football leagues but I haven’t given you any news since. That is because of two things; one being that one of the leagues we are in wasn’t in playoffs the week Paul and I played each other- it was still the regular season. I beat him but that didn’t matter too much, we both made it into this week’s first round of the playoffs where I won my game and he lost (to my father) his. The way it looks to me is that next week will be the final playoff game and I will be playing for the championship against the number 1 seed. Not likely I will win, the guy I am up against went undefeated this season, but who knows. In the other league Paul and I did play against each other in the first round. The league is set up kind of strange in that the first round of the playoffs lasts two weeks- two teams play each other for two weeks and it is the cumulative score of those two weeks that decide the winner. Right now I am up 21 points over Paul but we both have guys playing in tonight’s game; I have Akers and Mendenhall and he has Wallace so it is still anyone’s game. I will let you know how it all pans out. I am sure Paul is thrilled that my dad will be here for a week gloating about beating him in the playoffs 😉

Oh, and one last thing. Paul and I went to the Alamo Drafthouse (a super awesome movie theater that serves food and beer/wine) to go see Love Actually last Wednesday which was such a great way to spend the night. We both love that movie and it was fun to be able to see it in the theater together. If you haven’t seen this movie you should go and rent it now! It’s such a great movie! I haven’t seen any other Christmas movies yet but I am sure I will over the weekend. Speaking of the Drafthouse I am sure I will be there with my parents on Christmas day to go see a movie. I am guessing we’ll go see the new Sherlock Holmes (we saw the first one on Christmas day two years ago when they were here- and they LOVE the Drafthouse) or we’ll see the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not sure which we’ll pick but if you have an opinion on one versus the other please feel free to share.

Thanks for reading!

Happy Holidays!

December 19, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Fitness, Weight Loss. 1 comment.

Thought-Provoking Thursday: 95 Questions Part 2

Continuing on from last week’s post, here are my answers to 24 more questions from Marc and Angel Hack Life’s 95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness post. If you are participating in this four part post please leave me your answers or link to your blog in the comments section.

1. What was the most defining moment in your life during this past year? February 22- my turning point. The day I recognized I had to be accountable for any changes I wanted to make and that I need to recognize that I was the only person responsible for where I was in my life. That day I took ownership of my life and dedicated myself to becoming the best possible version of myself I could be.

2. What’s the number one change you need to make in your life in the next twelve months? Creating balance. I have been able to get where I am today because of the amazing husband of mine who has picked up my slack. Next year I need to work on creating balance that will allow me to take back some of my household duties and not rely on Paul as much.

3. What’s the number one thing you want to achieve in the next five years? Become a practicing Nia and Journey Dance teacher

4. What is the biggest motivator in your life right now? My health and removing as many health risks as possible so I can live a long life

5. What will you never do? Shop at Wal-Mart on Black Friday- that’s just asking for trouble

6. What’s something you said you’d never do, but have since done? Get married. I never thought that would happen.

7. What’s something new you recently learned about yourself? I can ride an upright stationary bike. When I first started working out I couldn’t and I had to use a recumbent bike instead. Now I can ride an upright bike. Next up- a spin bike.

8. What do you sometimes pretend to understand that you really do not? Pretty much anything Paul says that has to do with the army. Most of the time I have no clue and I hate having to constantly ask him to explain stuff.

9. In one sentence, what do you wish for your future self? Future self: I wish for you the courage to follow your heart and make your dreams come true.

10. What worries you most about the future? Not having saved enough for retirement

11. When you look into the past, what do you miss most? I miss having my friends close by. I wish that all of my friends, from childhood, college, etc, could all just live near me. I miss hugs and hanging out in person.

12. What’s something from the past that you don’t miss at all? The 100 pounds that have recently left my body.

13. What recently reminded you of how fast time flies? My friend’s younger brother is having a child. I still picture him as a little kid and any day now he’ll be a father.

14. What is the biggest challenge you face right now? Finding the time and figuring out the best method for me to learn and teach Nia routines

15. In one word, how would you describe your personality? Quirky

16. What never fails to frustrate you? People who talk on cell phones in public restrooms. That bothers me and kind of creeps me out. It’s just weird.

17. What are you known for by your friends and family? Hmmm…maybe being a good cook. Hopefully for being a good friend too.

18. What’s something most people don’t know about you? I am a licensed aircraft mechanic and I have nine tattoos.

19. What’s a common misconception people have about you? People think that since I am fat that I am not flexible but actually I have always been flexible (like as in bendy, yoga type flexible) even when I was at my heaviest. When people see me practice yoga or see me stretching for the first time they are usually shocked.

20. What’s something a lot of people do that you disagree with? Not put themselves/ their health first. I know how dangerous that can be. I was there less than a year ago and it was a very scary position to be in.

21. What’s a belief you hold with which many people disagree? The belief that I am the only person standing between me and my dreams. I can achieve those dreams or I can stop them from coming true- no one else.

22. What’s something that’s harder for you than it is for most people? I have no idea about this one but since I can still barely jog/run for a minute and I know tons of people who are runners I’m going to have to say that running is harder for me than most people.

23. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend? Loyalty, compassion, sense of humor- in no particular order.

24. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? I’ve been working on being nicer to myself, not being so critical, to recognize my beauty and not compare myself to others, to get the envy and jealousy tamed. I’m human though so sometimes I slip up. I think that if I had a friend that treated me that way, kind and loving most of the time with only a negative comment once in awhile, I would probably stay friends with them for a long time.

Thanks for reading!

December 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . inspiration, thought-provoking thursday. 6 comments.

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