This Is Not Goodbye

I need a break.

A break from the blog, a break from social media. Just a break from it all.

After this contest ends I am going on a temporary hiatus from blogging. I have already cut way back on my Twitter and Facebook time and keep going back and forth about deleting my Twitter account entirely.

You have my email- it’s posted on the blog page. You know how to get in touch with me. I will still be here if you need anything at all.

I just need a break.

I need time to reevaluate my situation.

I don’t feel like I am doing my best to help anyone right now, especially not myself.

Right now I am at a point in my journey where reading people’s blogs or going on Twitter is just frustrating to me. It’s hard to explain what’s going on in my head right now and I know if I tried to I would just piss people off so let’s just say I need a break.

I’m drained.

There is no use to keep pushing myself towards these expectations I have set for myself, in regards to this blog, when I know I am never going to get there.

So, I am just going to step away for a bit and decide what my next step will be. What I want from this blog. What message I want to send. I have changed so much and so I think it is time for this blog to change as well.

This is not goodbye. This is just a quick break. I’ll be back and hopefully this blog will still be something that interests you.

Take care and as always, thanks for reading!

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April 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Blogging, inspiration. 9 comments.

Wordless Wednesday

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February 1, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . inspiration, wordless wednesday. 3 comments.

This is How We Change the World

Today we honor a revolutionary man; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King led such a monumental life and did so many things which significantly changed the landscape for our country and the world. Dr. King had a vision, ideals, and the eloquence to deliver them to the masses. He ignited change.

As we pay honor to the great Dr. King please take a few minutes to read what my friends are doing in 2012 to change the world.

We are all revolutionaries. We all hold the power needed to ignite change. Please don’t ever forget that.

CHANGE

I am changing the world, first by making the change I want in myself. I am ditching the excuses and shooting it straight. I am getting healthy and hope that the positive energy I feel is contagious, and those around be will become more positive as well. I have and will continue to donate to my charities. I volunteered for the USO; they have a backlog of volunteers which is good for them, and keeps me on hold for the moment. I hope just being positive and kind to all will catch on and the normal group/ work place BS and drama can be pushed out!

-Ashley

In 2011, I resolved to lose weight and “get healthy.” I hadn’t necessarily been unhappy, I just hadn’t felt satisfied or fulfilled in a while. I knew that I often felt sluggish and lacked energy, clothes were tight and I didn’t feel sexy or pretty. I was sure my weight was solely to blame. In my mind, the solution was to lose the weight. So, I did. Nearly 30 lbs. Know what? I left 2011 still not feeling terribly happy or thankful.  I was irritable often (my husband can attest to that) and short-tempered. I didn’t feel very satisfied or fulfilled.

Know why? I’d gotten the goal wrong all along. I should have first promised to accept myself, regardless of the numbers on the scale. Eureka! Funny thing is that, as I write this (and only because the offer was extended – Thanks, Dacia!), I didn’t even realize it. But thinking about change and what it really means and how it should start, made me realize that there was one, fundamental change that I’ve never taken on; self-acceptance.

What does that actually mean?  Loving myself, and focusing on what makes me special and unique, not on the numbers.  Recognizing my strengths, and challenging myself to share them with others. Respecting my weaknesses and limitations, and knowing when to ask for help. Hopefully, in making this my focus, helping myself first, I’ll be better able to help others. And, although the “others” I speak of may initially exist in a very small corner of my world, it’s a chain reaction, right?

-Kelly, www.TheBusyCrab.com

I believe when a lot of people do something small to make a positive impact it can make one great impact on the world. Even if it is just something small like picking up trash on the highway or donating clothes to people in need. For instance, my 16th birthday is coming up and I would like to have a small get-together and instead of people bringing presents for me, because I have more than enough, I would like people to bring an unwrapped toy to donate to a children’s hospital or our local Children’s Ranch to help those kids suffering or parent-less. Even with something as small as helping kids can make a positive impact and with everyone doing something positive, we can all eventually change the world a little piece at a time.

-Veronica

This year, I will affect change in the world by teaching and shaping the future- our children. As a teacher and a nanny, I strive to not only educate, but to positively influence children to be strong and capable. Too often we hear of students and children who just don’t care and are apathetic. But I want to see the next generation have a thirst for knowledge and discovery. And that starts with a teacher who cares.

-Crystal, @oneandonlycp

So I’m changing my world and hopefully those around me by two things this year.

One is by getting fit and healthier and second by being a better person and growing in my love for God.

Getting fit and healthier is a sort of like a domino effect. I have two boys in my house, that basically look to me as their mother but also, I’m setting an example for their future lives and wives. Saying says “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” that holds true. It’s not that I was unhappy but I’m not my best person physically. Eating right in the house, if I do it, well they have no choice but to. Sorry my kitchen is not an order-up diner, it’s a ‘you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit’ kitchen. If I’m feeling better about myself, well then my work is better and my employer loves me even more than they already did. Friends start to ask what’s changed and you tell them, then they are more conscious of their lives. It’s like recycling, never-ending!

Loving my God, makes me love people more, so I’m learning to love everyone without judgment and doing so brings peace to me, my family and my friends. When you have peace with yourself, people see it, and they gravitate towards you.

Change all starts with yourself, how can you expect someone to change if you, yourself were unwilling to change? Be part of the solution not the problem; know that everything starts with the faith of a mustard seed.

– @rosed78

2012 Goals to Change my tiny part of the world:

1. Open my daughter’s eyes on how to make a change, even a small one.

2. Recycling: My town does not recycle. It is very frustrating especially moving from Seattle where recycling is a big priority and way of life. So my daughter and I have taken the initiative to start recycling as much as possible. We are going to buy a bin and load up all of our recyclables weekly and take them to the schools that do recycle. We have also decided to write our city council about the lack of recycling options in Lawton. This is a military town and there is so much that goes to waste. We would really like to make this change this year. Kind of a fun note: I bought these awesome stamps that have cute little recycling phrases on them. So every time I mail something (thank you notes or birthday cards) everyone who touches that piece of mail will get a little recycling wisdom. LOL

3. Volunteer work: My daughter and I really want to volunteer somewhere. I just started looking into different options, so we are still narrowing it down. With Bailey only being 10 we are limited in what we can actually do. Here are our options as of right now: A. Serve lunches to the crews for Habitat for Humanity. B. Work at the food bank helping to organize.

4. Shop locally!!! My family LOVES shopping at the farmers market. So I’m going to help raise awareness for the farmers markets here in town. They only run from May to Nov, so during that time I will be shopping there and blowing up FB with posts 🙂

5. Donate! We are donating all of our clothes to the homeless shelter. Bailey goes through so many shoes and clothes and I want her to see that other people can benefit.

-Amber

How will I make a change this year? Ok, yes I am overwhelmed by that question. I do however want to do something to help change someone else’s world. Last year I made several changes that put me on a healthy journey and that journey continues this year. Lots of folks need to start their healthy journey.  I want to do my part in encouraging people to make positive change in their lives. For me it took a little bit of reflection and self-love to get my ball rolling. The ball became a giant snow ball when I started to enjoy my workouts. Movement can bring a ton of joy to the human body. I have been studying Nia for several months and am working my way to begin teaching classes. I want to teach Nia for lots of reasons, but the one that resonates the highest is the spreading of joy through movement. My focus will not only be at area gyms but also senior centers. I have always enjoyed spending time around people in the generations above my own and I think helping them to get moving could be a very joyous experience for everyone involved. My focus for change this year is of the healthy journey variety, but it won’t be just me or just my household, I want to reach out into my community and help others to move and enjoy their own journey.

@Simply_Sidney http://simplysidney.wordpress.com/

This past year I have been most touched by the No Kids Hungry campaign.  One afternoon, while wrapping Christmas gifts and stressing wondering if I should stretch my budget to include Christmas cards, I caught an episode of Ellen. You know it was one of those moments where you are caught in your own worry that seem so important at the time, then you are told a story that makes you immediately aware of how truly blessed you are. Ellen had Jeff Bridges (the spokesperson for No Child Hungry campaign) with Sherrie Gahn, principal of Whitney Elementary. Sherrie was speaking about how the tone of her school becomes very depressing on Friday afternoons. Unlike most schools where Friday holds the freedom and anticipation of the weekend for carefree children, Sherrie’s school is unfortunately filled with children who are anything but carefree. Most of the children at Whitney Elementary spend the weekend hungry and filled with worry. Their reality is that they will more than likely not eat until school again on Monday. Horrified, I thought “oh no, that can’t be right, we can’t possibly have that type of hunger right here in America.” I was sobered by the reality that we do. After crying until my eyes hurt, I logged onto the website and signed the petition which I now invite you to do. I have begun taking the steps to help make a change in these children’s lives including a monthly donation. I am also planning for a Great American Bake Sale at my girl’s school to support the cause and teach my girls the importance of thinking of others. I have some plans to make a difference in my garden as well. This season I will Plant a Row for the Hungry. “There are over 84 million households with a yard or garden in the U.S. If every gardener plants one extra row of vegetables and donates their surplus to local food agencies and soup kitchens, a significant impact can be made on reducing hunger.” – Garden Writers Association   Lastly, I will be writing about ways to cultivate an organic garden, helping to sustain your family. If perhaps gardening space is a problem, I will supply you with a list of community gardens that you can join. If gardening is not your thing, I have ideas for you such as joining a local CSA to support farmers, and of course list your local farmers markets. For those of us that are not interested in gardening outdoors, why not grow a garden in your heart? You can plant a seed of kindness, in caring for others. A seed for compassion, in thinking of those needier than us. A seed for joy, in being grateful for our blessings. A seed for integrity, in how you teach your children. Lastly a seed for humanity, in being filled with benevolence for your fellow creatures. You will then be able to watch as your inner garden flourishes, causing you to reach out and make a difference in the lives of your family and friends and in turn the world.

-Melanie @baconseed

I believe we are all put on this earth to make a difference. We won’t always know when we make that difference, though because sometimes our tiny part in a change is integral but never seen.  So if we will never know what’s the point?  Why do I even bother?

I bother because others have bothered for me.  I bother because the inner city kids I teach every day need someone to bother for them.  And I bother because, if I don’t bother, who will?

I can’t do it all.  That’s something I have struggled with for the past few years since I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder.  How could I be the best mom, the best teacher, the best wife, the best friend, the best daughter, the best community member?  I learned it wasn’t possible to “be the best.”  It was possible for me to try MY best and have that be enough.  I make mistakes every day.  But what I am trying to do is:

Seek balance in my life for me and for those around me.

Show love to everyone around me, whether I know them or not.

Treat people the way I want to be treated.

Spend my money and my time in a way that reflects my beliefs.

I don’t believe we all have to feel the same way or choose the same beliefs.  For us, we are looking at The Fresh Air Fund (http://www.freshair.org/).  You might choose something completely different.  But please choose something, some way, to make a difference in someone’s life.

“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it.”  Danny Kaye

Let’s throw all the paint we can for ourselves and for others.

-Jen @ The RA Vegan http://theravegan.wordpress.com/

Here are my two cents for how to change the world. I can’t. The world is too big and there is just too much to do. I can my world though. It’s not too big and well, there is a lot to do, but I have help. What I will do is practice patience. I will take deep breaths and not get irritated at those who stop suddenly on the sidewalk in front of me, those who take up two seats on the bus with their backpack while other people stand around them, those who spout their opinion about everything but don’t let you say yours. I will just walk away from those people without a second thought. This will make me less stressed and more willing to help people around me. Those tourists who can’t find Paul Revere’s house even though they came from that direction or a co-worker who needs an extra set of eyes on a report during a busy time. I will make my environment one that I want to be in. If my world is a good place to be in, perhaps that will spread to others. I am not sure if that makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks for letting me scribble on your blog.

-wasnt_serious

2012 is going to be a really big year for me and I’m really excited! The largest change will be my college graduation in May. I’m earning my second bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and am following a track to become a Registered Dietitian. I made the decision to leave my job in corporate finance back in 2010 and begin this path because I felt inspired to help others. This is finally coming to fruition with my upcoming graduation and application to dietetic internships, which will begin in the Fall.

I felt called to become a RD because I wanted to help, teach and guide others to a healthier lifestyle. After working in the corporate world for three years, I understood firsthand the hardships that cause people to gain weight. I’m extremely passionate about cooking and wanted to use my love of food to teach others healthier eating starts at home and does not have to be daunting.

I’m actively working towards these goals by volunteering at my local food back for a program called Cooking Matters. Cooking Matters incorporates nutrition lessons with simple and healthy recipes that are taught to participants. Over the course of a six week period, classes meet once a week and learn about nutrition, followed by the entire class, together, preparing a healthy meal. I’m so happy to be working as a nutrition instructor and teaching the basics of nutrition to community members.

In addition to my schooling and volunteering, I’m working on my own weight loss journey. I ended 2011 41 pounds lighter than my highest weight, which I’m continuing into 2012. I aspire to lose 40 pounds in 2012, putting myself in the normal BMI range.

-Laura @LLBean75

My focus this year is on my health and happiness. I know that initially sounds selfish and I know I won’t bring world peace, but I agree with Dacia that small changes can make an impact. My health has taken a back seat to most everything else for the past 10-12 years, so I feel like this is my year to put myself first and gain control of my weight and health. I’ll be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend by ensuring that I’ll be around for a very long time. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll inspire someone to make a healthy change in their life. I want my health and happiness to be contagious.

@ CarbaholicMama, www.carbaholicmama.blogspot.com

I want to inspire people to do what they think they can’t. I never thought in a million years I’d lose 75 lbs., but I did, and because of that, I have 2 close family members who have lost weight and met their healthy weight range, as well as inspiring another close family member as well as my husband to do the same. I’m still struggling to find personal inspiration, but if I can help others, then I’m satisfied at the end of the day! 🙂

-Ashley K., @Ashleyk199

One of my goals for 2012 is to do volunteer work.  I also plan to get more proactive with recycling. I am thinking of how to help my community, in some way, but my plans aren’t finalized. I see people struggle and I can’t stand standing by and doing nothing. I wish I had millions of dollars to help people all over, but I do have a little extra, plus some good ideas, to help people around me.

-Sarah, @fabchallenge

Change has never come easy for me, and what I love about this is that my daughters class did is on Friday.  My Dream is….it was called. My husband and I have decided to donate money every month to St. Jude’s hospital. We feel that all children should have the ability to receive treatment. In addition to this I am going to continue to pay it forward, helping others who need a hand.

Kindness goes a long way, and when we are kind to ourselves it shows through in all areas of our lives, the world needs more kindness and caring from all people.

-twingirlmomma

This year I am making more of an effort to buy local products.  Central New York is booming with hard working folks who are producing great items.  We have some of the best farmers around and I plan to buy more from them and less from “the big guys”.  Not only is it a great way to support my local economy, but there is something really gratifying by eating a tomato or cucumber that has been picked right here in this town.  I hope to inspire my fellow Weight Watcher members to take a trip to their local Farmers Market on the weekends and stock up on those Power Foods!! You can be healthy AND make a positive difference in the world.

-Suzi, www.suzistorm.com

This year I want to raise awareness about mental health issues such as depression. Using my blog as a platform I want to share my own experiences to let others know they are not alone. Hopefully I will be able to share some good advice too! I also want to raise money for Aware which is an Irish charity for those who have mental issues! I hope to do this by running the Women’s Mini Marathon in June.

-Chantelle, @chanywallace

This year I am changing the world through love. My vow is to create a better and more compassionate world for all of its inhabitants and that includes animals. I will continue to follow a vegan lifestyle because I believe it can impact how people view the treatment of animals and their use of them if by no other reason than planting those thoughts and ideas every time I engage in a conversation about veganism. I will continue volunteering at the animal sanctuary as well as look for other opportunities locally. After reading Melanie’s post above I am also excited to learn more about the No Child Hungry campaign and what I can do to show my support. The more involved I become in the community and fostering an environment I want to live in, the more involved those around me will become. Making small changes, built on love and compassion, which reflect my beliefs can only help others to do the same. If we are supposed to lead by example then I must become the example I wish to set.

-Dacia 🙂

Thanks for reading!

January 16, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . inspiration, Life. 2 comments.

Finding Your Motivation

Today I want to share with you this amazing post from Notes from a Skinny Chick about finding motivation. I read it last night and it just completely resonated with me. Yes, I am biased because I am in the post but even if I wasn’t I would still be sharing it with you today.

Reading Skinny Chick’s post made me think about the last straw; what it was that made me decide to take action in order to save my life. Luckily for me that breaking point is documented in the first post I ever wrote on this blog. I am thankful that post will always be there to remind me of that day. I will forever be able to look back and
revisit those thoughts and emotions and use that to keep me motivated.

I am also very thankful for you. You keep me motivated. Your constant love, support and encouragement is amazing and I can’t tell you enough how appreciative I am to have you in my life! You have no idea how much you have helped me; you have saved my life! I love you!

Now, head over to Notes from a Skinny Chick and check out her amazing post. Then if you are feeling nostalgic, like I was, go check out my very first post from February 20, 2011. Not even a year ago and yet it feels like another lifetime. I know I feel like a completely different person. So crazy!

What motivates you? I would love to hear your thoughts on Skinny Chick’s post!

Thanks for reading!

January 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , . inspiration, Weight Loss, Weight Watchers. 1 comment.

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.

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.

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.

My Daily Inspiration

There are times when I wake up in a funk for no reason in particular. No matter how hard I try to keep a positive attitude, stay upbeat and be more thankful for all my blessings there are just some days where this is harder to do than others. A couple of months ago I just would have gone on with my day, being miserable until I snapped out of it. Now, I am so fortunate to have this blog, and your continuous support and encouragement, as well as the blogs of others to help. I am growing addicted to Word Press; I love when I find a new blog that inspires me or makes me laugh or even makes me cry. There are just so many wonderful blogs out there that every day I find new inspiration.

Today, I wanted to share three of my favorite blogs which bring me great inspiration with every visit.

Simple Beauties; A Year of Thanks & Appreciation of Life’s Beauty. Everyday I get to read about something she is thankful for which in turn makes me do the same. This is something we should all do daily. Her posts are short and sweet and only take a minute out of your day to read but what they provide you with in return is enough happiness and warmth to last all day.

Graceline; Daily Musings of an Etsy Shop Owner/Grama. You all know I love Karen’s work and try to be as supportive of her paper crafts as possible because they are amazing. I also read her blog daily not only to see what she is up to in the paper crafts world but because most days she posts beautiful and inspirational quotes, photographs  and stories. Reading her blog serves as a reminder that anything is possible.

*Sidenote: don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a chance to win something beautiful from Karen’s Etsy shops. The deadline is today. Here is the link to the post with the details.

Malavika’s Blog. I am refreshed by the perspective and insight she provides in each post. To me, her posts are a bit of rock star mixed with a bit of a spiritual guru. In her April 10th post she closed with this sentiment; “If you try to live your life as though everything is an experience; then everything that happens to you is beautiful”. I fell in love with that thought and asked her whose quote that was- it was hers. She has an amazing spirit and it shines through in her writing.

I would really like to thank all of the wonderful people out there taking time out of their lives to write and of course thank those people who take time out of their lives to read what I write. I hope that today you are able to take a few minutes to visit these sites in order to find something beautiful and inspiring. Hopefully I have inspired you to go get inspired… 😉

Thanks for reading!

What inspires you? Do you have anything you read daily that helps provide you with perspective and/or inspiration?

April 14, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . inspiration, thought-provoking thursday. 8 comments.

Friday Mashup

Sorry but today’s post is going to be a mish mash of different topics. I have a few things I want to talk about today.

First up, it’s April 1st and my first weight loss goal deadline is here. Since I started out weighing myself at home I did the same this morning. Going forward I will be using the WW weigh-ins so you will see a jump from my weight today to tomorrow (WW meeting) because of the different scales and being weighed fully clothed. You probably don’t care about that right now, you probably just want to know if I made my goal and I did. My starting weight was 286 and I am now down to 274.8. I am super happy about this especially because I thought I might not make my goal weight today because I am extra bloated -my monthly visitor has graced me with her presence. For next month’s goal of losing 10 pounds I will post my WW weight tomorrow and we will use that number for the May 1st weigh in, which I will do on the WW scale.

Second big bit of news is that yesterday I had a surprise, well surprise to me, annual performance evaluation. I received nothing but positive feedback and an overall performance rating of outstanding which is the highest you can receive. Yay me! This should put me at the top of the list for a raise, if my company has money to give out for raises, which would be awesome. More than anything though I am just excited to get some positive feedback and recognition for the work I am doing. Do you remember last week when I was upset about the condescending comment my boss made? Well, I don’t want to go into all the details but I will say that he has since redeemed himself. I am definitely feeling a big boost of self-confidence after everything that happened yesterday and it feels great!

Last up is not really news; it’s just something I really wanted to do today. I have experienced so many small victories since I have started this blog. I had no idea how much writing about these topics and receiving your feedback would really help. Your support has made the past five weeks a whole lot easier and heck of a lot more fun. It is great having a (small) community of readers helping me through this process. I owe this all to you so today I would like to give a few shout outs to the people who have made this all possible. To the people who I turn to for inspiration and the people whose support has inspired me; thank you! I love you guys!

In no specific order:

James&Jax– where do I start… She is the reason why I blog so mad props to her for getting me to start this! She is a full-time editor and a full-time mom and her ability to juggle a million different things at once inspires me. She is as open and honest on her blog as she is with her friends and family, maybe even more so. She continually works towards becoming a better person, finding happiness, and creating a healthy lifestyle for her and her family. She has always been an inspiration to me for as long as I have known her. She is pretty fantabulous!

jakennicksmomma– She just rejoined Weight Watchers after the birth of her second son two months ago. First weekly weigh in she lost six pounds. What a rock star, especially because she does not have much weight to lose. Juggling two young sons, running her household, being married to an officer for the U.S. Marines (military life adds chaos) and she is still kicking butt not only at WW but on her yearly goal of walking 550 miles- she was at 116.3 on March 26. Can you say Super Woman? How can I not be inspired!

hookerchick- as a successful career woman I often turn to her for support and guidance. She is totally overworked, under paid and underappreciated and I know this because she took my old job when I moved to TX. She is grace under fire in the situations where you would find me running around hysterical. I try to model my professionalism after hers. She also lends inspiration to how I want to live my life; a world traveler, always willing to try new experiences, we could all be a little more like her.

*Reader tip: Something hookerchick does which I think is a great idea is that she uses Groupon and Living Social discounts to try out different types of  fitness classes. For example, the other week she went to a rowing class. Taking advantage of these type of offers allows you change-up your routine and a save money at the same time. Win-win.

Ambers0182- she could quite possibly be the most positive person I have ever met. Her enthusiasm and zeal for life is truly contagious. She and I are gym buddies and even though we live over two thousand miles apart we try to help each other stay motivated. Everything about her life is inspirational; a single mom who moved 2000+ miles away from her friends and family for her job and though it all still maintains a positive outlook. I try every day to be a little more like her.

Xihj186- my big sis whom I love so much! She is the whole package; smart, funny, and beautiful. She kicks butt at everything she does which in itself is impressive and inspirational. She has always been here for me when I needed her most and so far on this journey has helped me through this with her kind words and advice. She told me that one night at spin class she got mad at the fat on her legs and that was a great motivator for her. It just stuck with me and I think of it every time I work out especially when I am feeling the jiggle it makes kick it into high gear.

Monie137- my San Antonio partner in crime. She has been through a lot with me over the past year of our friendship. Because of her I was able to easily survive 7 months of living apart from Paul. She kindly accompanied almost every place I went over those months and now is my Weight Watchers partner. It is great having someone to experience this with and another person to keep you accountable is always a good thing.

Baconseed– although it might seem this way, all of my inspiration isn’t just found through other people or other blogs dealing with weight loss. I found baconseed through James & Jax and I immediately fell in love. One thing I have always wanted was my own garden and unfortunately Paul and I have never lived anyplace where it was possible to have one. So I look at the pictures on her blog and yearn for the day that I could be doing the same. Now that I am going to be moving onto post and will be able to have a garden I am so excited. Baconseed even offered to help me out with any questions I might have. How awesome is that? Baconseed you inspire me everyday to create something beautiful. Thank you!

The Reluctant Weight Watchers Foodie: Weight Watchers; yes, reluctant; at first, yes, foodie, yes. I love Word Press and the other half a million bloggers on here because of the fact that the other day I stumbled across this blog. What could be better than another person of similar circumstances blogging about their WW journey all while posting healthy and yummy recipes??? It could only be better if maybe she had a group of losers (weight loss losers) on her blog that post their goals and track their weights. Oh wait, she does. This blog has it all and I love it. I am one of the newest Reluctant Losers and am so happy to be a part of this group. Thank you for the opportunity!

The Grumpy Man’s Guide to Losing weight & keeping it off: my first follower that I didn’t have to ask to read my posts. He has lost over one hundred freakin pounds. As if this fact alone wasn’t inspirational enough for me (as I need to lose 125 pounds) he posts daily about his diet and exercise, includes practical tips all with a refreshing sarcastic tone. He addresses situations that everyone who is dieting will or has experienced without sugar-coating anything. I know my journey is going to be tough and I know it will be a long, ongoing battle but having him to turn to every day for support makes it so much easier. It is great to see someone who has lost so much weight still working very diligently through diet and exercise to burn through those last 14 pounds to his goal weight.

To everyone, not just the people listed above, I thank you for being my support when I needed it the most. Just by reading this you have brought validation to the hard work I have put in so far and fueled the fire in me to keep going. I truly appreciate everything you have done for me. You are all superstars!

Thanks for reading!

April 1, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Career, Diet, Friendship, Life. 9 comments.