Monday, January 27, 2014

You can be great

You’re stopping yourself from being great and here’s why…

When I was eleven years old I had this big dream. I wanted to live in a mall with all my friends. We’d travel through the halls on rollerblades and bikes and live off of cookies and pretzels. We’d throw dance parties and only go to school if we felt like it.

My dreams matured as years passed. I wanted to be high school royalty. I wanted to make movies. I wanted to wear cute sundresses and vacation in the Keys. I wanted someone I liked to actually ask me out. I wanted to go to work happy. I wanted to own my own business. I wanted to be the life of the party.  I wanted to spend days camping and hiking. I wanted to get married and have kids.

I pictured these things, but I didn’t approach them as goals or realistic dreams. They were the type of thoughts I had right before I went to bed at night. They were fantasies, much like my mall dream and never once did I think, I can actually have these things if I work for them.

When I looked in the mirror at over 350 pounds, I sometimes thought; This will do. Sometimes I applied a lot of extra effort to how I looked. I might buy a new outfit and put makeup on. But honestly the best thought I ever had about myself was…Yeah, I look okay for being a fat cow. And for some reason (that I’ll never understand,) I let that be good enough for me. I was so embarrassed of myself that I mostly stopped caring all together. I stopped brushing my hair for a year. I didn’t care enough to chase my dreams, because even though I desperately wanted them, they just seemed so out of reach and completely unreasonable.

So, I’ve been facing this new, weird feeling. I look in the mirror and I’m pissed. I don’t like the way I look. I don’t like the way clothes fit. I can’t stand how thin my hair is, and I wish I could completely get rid of these dark circles under my eyes.  But I realized feeling these things is better than feeling nothing at all because while there will probably always be something about myself I’m not satisfied with, I now know there are some things I can change. If I want to lose this muffin top, I will do just that.  And these days, when I throw on my favorite outfit or curl my hair just right, I think…Yeah, I look pretty good. Period. End of thought.

Knowing that I have the ability to change myself for the better gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams as goals, whole-heartedly.  I was stopping myself from being great because I didn’t believe that I was capable of change, I didn’t think I was worth change, and I didn’t think life would wait for me to change.  I didn’t think I was great, so getting there seemed out of the question.

I wasn’t scared of failing because I thought starting in the first place was worthless. But to be great and achieve the great things you want to in your life, you have to think you’re capable of greatness. My nose will always be pointy. I will probably always snort when I get really tickled and I may never climb Everest. But it took me 15 years to realize that all the things I want out of life don’t have to be pipe dreams. And if I still really wanted to live in a mall with all my friends, sipping on Orange Julius and swimming in the fountains, I would actually have the courage to work toward it no matter how outlandish it may seem. Thankfully, I graduated to dreams of finishing a half-marathon, taking a fishing trip, fitting into my size 10 cocktail dress and swimming a mile.

Stop thinking you’re not worth all the great things you want out of life. Instead of sleeping with your dreams, start chasing them.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The greatest running advice ever

I’ve received two great pieces of advice in my lifetime. I’ll save one of them for a later date, but I’ll share one with you tonight.

Don’t go out like an asshole.

My sister gave Eric and I that sound advice last year before our first 10K. I can’t remember who told it to her, but I’m positive she appreciated the tip as much as I did. She encouraged me to start at a normal, steady pace. You start too quickly or too hard and before you know it, you’re huffing and puffing or worse, pulling your caboose over and stopping your race before you even really get started.

I’ve applied that logic to my life across the board, but I must have forgotten it in recent months. I’ve been pushed close to tears almost every other workout. Why can’t I run more than a half mile without stopping? I felt like I was starting all over again. Why do I feel like I’m 350 pounds? We’re planning on a half marathon and I can’t even run a mile? Things weren’t looking good.

Then by some miracle, that advice popped in my head today and I was actually excited to get out and run in the 32 degree weather. That’s right. I said excited. The last time I was excited about running was months and months ago. So, I made it home after work and started my run. I took off at a pace closer to 12:30, as opposed to my 11:30 pace I’ve been trying to maintain.  I had an 11:30 pace six months ago when I was running every day. I need to ease back into this.

So whatda ya know? I jogged those three miles without stopping and it only felt terrible for about a half mile of it. That’s progress my friends and for the first time since the start of phase two of this journey, I thought, I can really do this. Not only can I do this, but we can do this. Because if I can do this, so can Eric.

Time to apply this logic to swimming.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Good morning, Moon

You know how you know someone wakes up before the butt crack of dawn to work out?

They tell you.

I’m telling you now that I’ve been waking up before 5 in the morning to get to my workouts in. I have to tell you this because I’m using this blog to keep me awake for at least another hour. At what age is it socially acceptable to go to sleep at 7 P.M.?

The workouts have been good, but I can’t say they’ve been brutal. I want us to push a little harder, hurt a little more, and feel just a little bit better. That being said, I’m pretty amped about our commitment and know that these wee hour workouts will ultimately pay off. 

What have I learned about myself and life before 6 A.M.?

·      Yogurt and granola bars are not a substitute for a delicious and filling egg breakfast.
·      The body will actually function before daybreak.
·      It’s possible to shower, dry your hair, and get your makeup on in less than 15 minutes.
·      You need flip-flops in winter.
·      Driving at 5:30 in the morning is nearly enjoyable.
·      My cat thinks waking up before 5 is unnatural.
·      You can run laps inside!
·      My knee hurts less in the morning

Eric has managed to make it to every early morning workout, which has to be an act of God. I’m not sure how I’d be handling this alone, so I’m very grateful.

It’s five minutes until 8 P.M.  Sleep is now acceptable…right?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gym rat

I’m out of shape. I fell out of the exercise habit and I paid the price for it both physically and mentally. The good news is, I’m well on my way again and I’m feeling consistently happy and hopeful for the first time in months.

There was a lot of gab about people deciding to start weight loss and lifestyle changes at the first of the year. Social media makes it pretty easy for people to share their opinions…on everything. I saw several posts about people excited to work toward a new and better person. For some of them, this will be their first legitimate effort at changing their habits. For others, this may be the 2nd or the 15th time they’ve tried.

Alongside those hopeful and excited posts about new starts were other posts saying that people trying to lose weight or get fit this time of year were just “joining the new year’s resolution bandwagon.”   They implied that their gym membership was a waste and an annoyance since they’d become unmotivated eventually. It’s a shame really, because it’s never the wrong time to make a good effort.

Eric and I joined a community center just a couple days ago. It has workout equipment, an indoor track, basketball courts, and a swimming pool. We have to prepare for a half marathon at the end of April and a triathlon later in the year. So even if Eric drowns and I face plant off my bike again, at least we know we gave it all we had.

At this point in my journey I was more than ready to commit to a gym and the perks it has to offer. -30 degrees? I can run inside and not on the dreadmill. A year-round swimming pool will help my muscles and provide me a little variety. And I know enough about weight-training to be spending some consistent time focusing on various muscle groups.

I didn’t always feel “ready” for a gym membership though, and I’m sad for anyone who is starting the new year out feeling discouraged. I’m disappointed that so many people have reacted so negatively to people wanting to change their lives for the better. Eventual success or failure should have nothing to do with it, because recognizing you need the change and wanting it are the first steps.

These negative people are the ones who have spent years and years in the gym. They’re consistently making progress, staying healthy, and meeting new goals. Do you know what I have for these people? Respect.  I’ve only been working out regularly for a couple years and Lord knows that I’ve wanted to just throw in the towel on it a dozen times.

Unfortunately, I have no respect for someone who thinks another person’s goals are too lofty or efforts in vain. Everyone has to start somewhere and if it’s in “your” gym, during “your” time, I hope you welcome them with open arms. The Royals may not have succeeded with this motto, but we can; This is “our time”. Now is the time to make a change.

My gym experience so far? I’m feeling really good and really positive. Eric is a great motivator. He’s in better shape than I am which really pushes me to try harder. He stays positive, but also treats me like all my little successes so far are expectations not miraculous victories. I want to reward myself for everything.  I did week two of that Couch to 5K workout without stopping.  Woo!  Eric’s thoughts? “We should have started with week three.” That’s the truth, and I’m realizing that where I’m at in this journey should be accompanied with a lot higher expectations.

That being said, I still feel a bit discouraged. A lady at the gym the other day told me I should start by walking on the treadmill a little every day. She told me to, “Just take it one day at a time.” I’ve come to the sad realization that even after two years of working out and losing 170 pounds, I’m still the “fat girl” at the gym. People are quick to offer unsolicited advice. It’s frustrating and a little bit hurtful, but it also makes me want to push that much harder. I’m just not much for settling into negativity.  Getting healthy and feeling good about myself are priority, and these little things shouldn’t stop me from getting there.

I hope that everyone finds a way to strive for the 2014 version of themselves they so desperately want to meet. I hope that through discouragement and failures they find a way to pull themselves back up and keep pushing. . I hope these things for myself as well and I know having a good partner to help a long the way will be of great benefit. Attitude is a choice, regardless of the direction others around you may be pushing. Stay positive. Stay strong. Here we come.

Saturday, January 4, 2014


It’s January 5th so I guess it’s time to post about the new year. Don’t ask me what happened in my life over the past year. I have absolutely no idea how I got from January 1st, 2013 to today. Seriously.

I do know that the past year was full of stories and if I have anything to say about this year in front of me (which I do), this year will overflow with stories.  If God and life have anything to say about my coming year (which they do), I know those stories will range from tragic and painful to inspirational and outrageously fun. I hope no matter what, that my stories are filled with the kind of love and laughter I’ve become quite attached to over the past couple years.

Resolutions this year? I don’t want to box myself into a very specific set of goals that will determine how I feel about myself after these 365 days pass. I won’t be doing that. However, I whole-heartedly support the idea of resolutions and taking some time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go. With that in mind…

I resolve to:

Have more victories.
I remembered a victory I had over a year ago. Eric visited me at work. When he left, he gave me a goodbye hug. As he pulled away he excitedly told me, “I can fit my arms around you!” and hugged me again. I had lost about 70 pounds at that point and it was an exciting victory in the middle of my journey to a healthier and better me. There will be more victories in 2014.

Work hard.
I was rewarded this year for my hard work…with more work. I don’t want that to end since I’m on my way to having a career I thought I could only dream about.

Play harder.
 I’ve seen life and death already in 2014. Beautiful babies born and hard goodbyes said. It’s true what “they” say. Life is short. I don’t know what I was doing the first 24 years of my life, but I wasn’t embracing that ideal. Life has gotten a lot sweeter since I realized that enjoying this crazy ride is part of what makes this life not only bearable, but enjoyable.

Love unconditionally.
For those that I love, no stipulations or obligations. I love you plain and simple.

Give freely.
I don’t have a lot to offer materially, but I think I have a lot to share and should give more freely.

Cue that hallmark music? Come on folks, we’re all trying to create better versions of ourselves. Cut me some slack. Let me post this cheesy New Year’s post and let us move on with our lives. I’m excited to see what my friends and family do with this year. It is going to be a year of opportunity. Don’t pass any one of them up.