Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Cover Songs of 2015

Okay, this isn't on my usual roundup of "end of the year" posts, and my music posts tend to be the least popular, but I've seen a couple of other folks do this, and I wanted to chime in. So here are some really great cover songs that were put out this year.

10. Jessie J, Stay With Me (Sam Smith)

I absolutely love Jessie J and I love this song! She rocked this.






9. Michael Castro, Thinking Out Loud (Ed Sheeran)

There were thousands of Ed Sheeran covers floating around the Internet, but Michael's soulful, raw cover really hit me.


8. Lennon and Maisy, Boom Clap (Charli XCX)

These lovely young ladies have more talent than I could ever dream of having.



7.  Sam Smith, Hotline Bling (Drake)

Only Sam Smith could take a Drake song and turn it into...well...this.




6. Ellie Goulding, Take Me To Church (Hozier)

Ellie is one of the most talented ladies in the game right now, and this cover was no different.




5. PostModern Jukebox Feat Haley Reinhart, Creep (Radiohead)

I love everything PMJ does, but this one was especially addicting.



4. I Prevail, Blank Space (Taylor Swift)

I'm not a typical punk music fan, but I can't tell you how many times I rocked out to this cover. It's fantastic.





3. Madison Lawrence, When We Were Young (Adele) 

Honestly I could have put all of Madison's covers on this list. She's mega talented. But since Adele is fresh on everyone's mind, do yourself a favor and listen to her latest cover.



2. Ryan Adams, This Love (Taylor Swift)

Ryan Adams covered Taylor's entire 1989 album. I love each track, but this one is really special.


1. Kelly Clarkson, Better Have My Money (Rihanna)

Kelly is the cover queen. She covers a song every night on her tour. I was slightly addicted to this one, though.



Let me know what you think of these, and if you have any to add to the list!

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 in lists.

It's time for my annual end of the year reflection! 2015 was pretty calm. I sort of just coasted through. I was focused on reaching my weight loss goal, work, family, and friends. For this review I decided to compile a few different lists. Usually I make a separate blog post for each of these, but this year it's an all for one kind of deal.

A few things you will never forget in 2015


  • Hitting the 100 lbs lost milestone
  • Living with Amy (and Ollie)
  • Completing the Fight for Air climb
  • Attending a live taping of American Idol
  • Landing a new position at the American cancer Society
  • Florida trip with the family
  • Becoming Luke's Godmother
  • Sam getting engaged and all the dress shopping and planning that went with it!
  • Traverse City trip with Tom
  • Meeting Kelly Clarkson
  • Girls trip Up North
  • Lynn passing away
  • Reaching my goal weight (total of 135 lbs lost)
  • Jonathon and Sara moving home
  • My trip to Nashville


Favorite Albums of 2015.

10. Twenty One Pilots, BlurryFace
                   Favorite Track: Doubt
9. David Cook, Digital Vein
                  Favorite Tack: I'm Gonna Love You
8. The Weekend, Beauty Behind Madness
                  Favorite Track: Dark Times (Featuring Ed Sheeran)

7. Sara Bareilles, Waitress
                 Favorite Track: You Matter To Me (Featuring Jason Mraz)

6. Drake, If You're Reading This It's Too Late
                 Favorite Track: Energy

5. Pentatonix, Pentatonix
                 Favorite Track: Cracked

4. Ellie Goulding, Delirium
                Favorite Track: Army

3. Ryan Adams, 1989
                 Favorite Track: This Love

2. Adele, 25
               Favorite Track: All I Ask

1. Kelly Clarkson, Piece by Piece
               Favorite Track: Second Wind


Favorite Tweets



















Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dear Nashville, (A Love Letter)

Dear Nashville;

It has been approximately five years and 8 months since we last spent some time together. I waved to you, briefly, as I drove past last year on my way to and from Florida, but those moments were brief and do not count.

Nashville, ever since we first met in 2007, you've brought out the best in me. I didn't know how great you would be until I experienced you for the first time. I remember my best friend Sam telling me stories of you, and she crowned you here "favorite city". I couldn't imagine what would be so great about a city known for country music. What I discovered is that you are so much more than that.

I can count only a few instances where I felt, in it's total essence, BRAVE. Of those few times, I was in Nashville for most of them. There's something about the crisp of the air, the bright lights, the guitar strums that make me feel invincible. You make me feel hopeful, courageous. You make me feel at home.

It helps, of course, that I've gathered with some of my very best friends in Nashville. I think of you fondly, because I think of them. I think of walking down the streets, getting lost in a packed car, dancing on tables, discovering breathtaking views, skipping through souvenir shops, cheering on my friends as they hit the pavement, hugs in airports, and laughter in hotel rooms. I think of all the friendships we built, the secrets we shared and the way we gently encourage each other to be the best version of ourselves. I think of all of that, and I think of you, with immense glee.

For so long I thought that you and I could be together, forever. I was so comfortable, brave, and determined with you. I wanted to make you my permanent home. But as brave as I was, I was too afraid to make the leap. That might make some people sad...and for a while, I was. I still wonder what life would have been like if I had made my way to you. Maybe someday, I will find out.

But for now, I'm just visiting. I'm packing my bags and in just two days I'm heading to see you again, nearly six years later. I'll be reunited with some of those very special people who I've shared so many wonderful memories with in your city. We will, again, stand together in love, courage, and embrace each other for who we are.

And I, my dear Nashville, promise to take it all in. I will breathe your air, hear your sounds and walk your streets. I will capture it all and hold it close to my heart, where you will always be.

See you soon.

Love,
Megan





Friday, December 4, 2015

Pictures, Books, and Food.

Editors Note: I'm sort of half following #reverb15. I like the prompts that Sarah  and  Kay have provided so far. Check out their blogs if you want to play along....

Today I am grouping together the last three prompts that have been provided to share with you my favorite photo of 2015, my favorite book that I read, and my favorite meal!


I quickly scrolled through my Facebook photos to find my favorite picture for 2015. I had such a hard time deciding which one to choose! I'm going to cheat and share with you some that were in the running.


Do you see why I had such a hard time? There are some really great moments captured here! But the picture I chose is.




This is a picture of my family during our vacation in Florida. I love that this picture captured our giant smiles. We were all so genuinely happy to be on that trip, together. I have nothing but love for each member of my family, including Dave and Sara. This picture has been my "cover photo" on Facebook ever since this trip because it represents that my family is my number one priority. I love these people!


Moving from pictures and moments to books, I'll next share my favorite book that I read in 2015:

Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling

I. LOVE. Mindy. Kaling. I read her first book before I even really knew who she was. I read that first book in one day, and then proceeded to watch the entire first season of The Mindy Project in one weekend. And the rest is history. I love Mindy's honesty, compassion, quirkiness and humor. Her second book, Why Not Me? is a true gem, and I enjoyed it even more than her first. It's equally funny as it is inspiring. Her raw writing makes you want to be her best friend. I highly recommend reading this one!

And now for the last prompt: My favorite meal of 2015. 

I did a brain scan to try and think of all the cool places Tom and I went to eat this year. I thought of the pizza pot pie that we ate in Chicago, but that was in December 2014. But man, that thing deserves some recognition. 

Okay, I've got to give this one to Ronin Sushi in Royal Oak. It was the best sushi I've had to date. I find myself dreaming of that sushi. I know, totally lame, But it's as good as everyone says it is, I promise. 

So there's a quick look into some of my favorite things in 2015. More to come as I continue to follow along with #reverb15 !



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Endurance and Engage.


Encapsulate your 2015 in one word. Why that word?

What would you like your word to be for 2016? Why?

I thought long and hard about this, folks. I had an hour and a half commute to a meeting today, and I spent the entire duration of the drive, there and back, thinking about my 2015 and what word I would use to describe it. 

The word I finally settled on? Endurance.

There's a reason I chose this word over similar words like perseverance or resilience. For most of my life, I absolutely hated running, in any form. I remember having to do the mile run in 7th grade and I was near tears. My good pal at the time told me to pretend like there was a sale at the Gap at the finish line. That didn't work. I was the last student to finish. I remember telling my friend "I just don't have any endurance!". That mindset stuck with me for several years. Not just in regards to running, although I did continue to "fail" at that through my high school sports, but in several aspects of my life. 

2015 was the opposite of that. One definition of endurance is:

the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina:

I relate this definition to my weight loss journey. I started 2015 off on a good note. I was already down about 90 lbs. There was no turning back. But I made damn sure of that. I didn't quit, no matter how frustrated I was with a weight loss plateau. I put one foot in front of the other, and I kept going. 

I also took a new position in 2015. I had so many doubts about even applying for the position. I doubted if I was "good enough" for it. I was terrified of failing. But something kept bringing me back to it. I applied and got the position. I absolutely love what I do, but it is certainly not easy. There are challenges and surprises and changes each day. I have two choices: I could let it overwhelm me, or I could endure....press on, and keep going. And that is what I have chosen to do. 

Here are some ways I believe I have embraced "endurance" in 2015:

Visualization
I practice visualization in nearly everything I do. When I am running I imagine the end of the run, or I recall past accomplishments to help keep me going. When I am boxing I imagine being in a ring. When I am in a meeting I visualize myself speaking up with confidence, which then, in turn, gives me the confidence to speak up. Taking the time to visualize has been incredibly beneficial to my life.

Planning
I don't think I would have had the same endurance if I had not planned so accordingly. I plan my meals and my workouts, I plan my meeting schedule and my office time. I even plan my "down time". I realize this may not work for everyone, but for me, in order to feel at peace and accomplished, I need to plan.

Taking Care of Me
Obviously being healthier and more active have helped me to have more energy and tackle life's challenges in a healthier way, but I also take care of myself by sleeping more, taking breaks from working out when my body aches, doing more yoga/stretching, etc. 

Endurance does not come easy, but it is something we can all achieve. It takes focus, hard work, and a little self discovery. If I could go back and talk to the 7th grade version of me who did not believe she had enough endurance, I would tell her she's wrong. She had it, she just didn't know she had it. 



As far as 2016 goes, I've chosen the word ENGAGE. And no, I'm not talking about Tom putting a ring on it. I mean to truly engage in the world around me. I'm certainly not going to lose focus or my drive, but in the midst of putting so much focus on my weight loss, I sort of forgot how to just be present. But it's more than being present and just "being" and appreciating life. It's about engaging, having meaningful experiences and conversations. It's about putting my phone away sometimes and talking to the people in the room. It's about calling up old friends to check in. It's about noticing the beautiful things in life as I run by them. I also tend to focus too much on what's next for me instead of enjoying, and engaging, in the current life. I'm aiming to do that in 2016.






Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Let Down

Most of you have been reading this blog for a long time. You know that I always choose honesty, and that I've been incredibly open with you about my weight loss journey, my dad, my struggles in relationships and friendships. We've celebrated, too, and I've shared a lot of memories. So that's why I'm trusting you now as I write yet another honest post.

As you know, two weeks ago I hit my goal weight- a number I've been aiming for since June 2013. I was so incredibly happy. I also wrote about it here, and how even though it's exciting, life will still go on. I'll still need to keep up my healthy lifestyle, and I've had to accept the fact that I will probably always have to watch what I eat. I'm fine with that. I get it. I have several friends who have lost a lot of weight and although they do allow themselves to indulge once in a while, they pretty much are consistent with their healthy choices. So I know it's what I have to do.

But in the last two weeks, I've also felt a bit...defeated? Down in the dumps? Sad? However you want to label it- I felt it.

After talking this through with some folks close to me, I know that this feeling is fairly common after hitting a goal. And boy, did it hit hard. I felt anxious, like I needed to quickly replace my weight loss goal with something else. I wondered if I should start training for a half marathon, or if I should learn photography or how to sew, or to finally write a book. All of these ideas were flushing around my brain, and all I kept thinking was that I needed to do something new. I needed to accomplish something else in order to ride on this happiness trail. I felt like if I didn't have a project or a goal, I was letting myself and everyone else down.

Deep down in my heart, I know the answer: Let it go and enjoy life. Don't focus too much on trying to be better or to accomplish something great. You've done that- now live.

But my foggy mind can't quite get that.

It should come naturally to enjoy what you have, but for me, and probably for countless others, it doesn't. So that is what I am working on.Slowly. That, and working on not obsessing over my weight while keeping up my healthy lifestyle (aka: finding balance).

I know that this is an incredibly common occurrence. Go ahead and google "depression after hitting a goal"- it doesn't matter what kind of goal, this is common. So I know I'm not alone. And, lucky for me, I have really great people in my life to help me.

I'm sharing this for a few reasons: To let you all know where I stand right now; and to spread awareness. This is the "downside" to reaching a goal that no one really warns you about.

Please do not think I am not proud of myself, because I am. There's just some baggage that comes with that pride, is all.

Don't worry, folks. I'm working hard on getting to know myself so that I can let go and enjoy life.

Also, this Demi Lovato song helps. Cuz, you know. Pop stars get me.





Tuesday, October 20, 2015

131 lbs later.

When I started this weight loss journey, I used to dream about the day I would reach my goal weight. I imagined a lot of tears and celebrations, hugs and high fives, and a deep, thought provoking blog post about it.

So far, only a few of those things have actually come to life. When I saw the number on the scale, I did cry. A lot. I burst into this ugly cry that I didn't know I could muster. Tom thought I saw a spider in the bathroom because I made this weird screechy noise. But when he saw the look on my face, he figured out what happened, spun me around in a circle and said "You did it!" 

We walked to breakfast and all I could think about was that I hit my goal weight. I was smiling like a fool. I texted my family and closest friends with shaking hands. I made a Facebook post. 

And then- just like that- life went back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be when you have a parent in the ICU. I was back at the gym yesterday and today. I'm still counting calories and steps and trying my best to stay away from foods that could be a trigger for me. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it wasn't a life changing moment. It was a moment of pride and celebration and joy, but just as quickly as it crept up, I started to plan for maintenance, to remind myself that I can't give up now that I've "made it", and to push myself even harder in my workouts.

But rest assured, just because life goes on, my entire body beams with pride when I think about what I have accomplished. A montage of the last two years and 4 months flashes through my mind- I think of the classes I took, the stair climb, the planning, the cooking, the counting, the moments in dressing rooms where I fit into clothes, the moments where I realized just how strong I am- and how strong I've always been. Those are the things that make my heart flutter when I think about my weight loss. Not necessarily how I look now, but more how I feel now, and how damn hard I've worked.

Although I didn't realize this at my highest weight, I've always been beautiful. It just took two years and 4 months of pulling it out of me to realize it. My now slender body is NOT what makes me beautiful. It's my confidence, my determination, and my passion. Megan's always been awesome. She was just in hiding for a while and used her body as a way to avoid the world. 

What happens next? I may have hit my goal weight but that certainly doesn't mean I can walk away from my healthy lifestyle. I can't just pass it off like it was a phase. It's my life now. Of course I am terrified that I will fail, or that I will give up. But the new me isn't a big fan of giving up, so I don't forsee that happening. I still choose health and happiness over anything.

I cant thank you all enough for your support over the last two years. Some of you have been here from the start, when I was at my heaviest and could barely do 2 minutes on the elliptical. Some of you came in the middle, when I was down about 50 lbs and you've seen me push past plateaus. And some of you are just getting introduced, you didn't even know me at my highest weight, yet you're still so supportive of me. THANK YOU. I am not sure I could have done this without you all and your sweet comments, encouragement, and love. You kept me going when I wanted to quit. Thanks for putting up with my before and after pictures, frustrating Facebook rants, and workout check ins. I love you all so much!

Now onto phase 2- living this healthy life to the fullest.




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

This is what grief feels like

My cousin Lynn passed away late Tuesday night. Even though I sensed she would pass soon, I still felt gutted. Heartbroken. Mad. Helpless. Sad. Guilty. 

I wanted to cry but I couldn't. I wanted to eat a whole cheesecake. I wanted to go for a run. I wanted to go to church. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to be with people I loved but I also wanted to be alone. I felt so conflicted and confused and anxious. I finally realized that I was desperately searching for comfort. But nothing, no matter what I tried, seemed to satisfy that. Not even the pumpkin pie ice cream my mom and I ate.

Because when someone dies, there's no quick fix. Nothing will make the hurt magically go away. When I realized that I finally took a deep sigh and thought "okay, yes, this is what grief feels like". You forget, I think , until it happens again. 

I also remembered a quote I had learned from my days working for hospice, which is "grief is not a problem to be solved, it is simply a statement that you loved someone".

I can't solve my grief or the dozens of others who are heartbroken over the loss of our Lynn. My ONLY comfort is knowing that her spirit lives on through those in her life. I'm almost jealous, actually. I wish I had known her in the same way some of her dearest friends did. But I am lucky to watch from afar, to read the stories and to see the pictures and to verify what I've always known was true: my cousin is super cool. 

I loved Lynn, and I love our family. We've been through hell and back. We've lost folks tragically. But we have an incredibly love for one another, a bond that cannot be broken, and an instinct to jump in when someone needs help. I'm so proud to be part of this family. 

Lynn, I am going to miss your humor and your bravery. I'm sorry we could not spend more time together but I've always admired you, cared for you and rooted for you. Your music, wisdom and laughter will love on. I promise we will take care of your siblings and your parents. Rest sweetly. Give Laurence, Terry, Mike, Jim, Tom, and Grandma and Grandpa my love. You are beautiful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lynn.

A few weeks back, my cousin Lynn, a breast cancer survivor, shared with us that her cancer had come back in the brain. There were multiple tumors that caused her to have a seizure. The plan was for her to undergo chemo and radiation. Lynn was so positive and confident- she was ready to fight cancer, once again. Unfortunately, the cancer is just too strong this time. Lynn's health is declining.

Today Lynn's Facebook page has been absolutely flooded with incredibly sweet messages from her friends and family. It is quite evident that she is very loved- whether it's an old college buddy, a neighbor,  or a parent of one of her former preschool students, Lynn was admired. I sat in front of my screen for quite a while trying to figure out what to write to her. There just aren't any words.

I want to be mad. How dare cancer come and latch itself onto someone so young? I want to be sad. I hate knowing that Lynn is so uncomfortable, and my heart absolutely aches for her, for her boyfriend, for her siblings and for her dear, sweet parents. I want to HELP. I want to FIX IT. I want it to stop, I want her to get better. I want cancer to go away. I want us all to live in a world where cancer doesn't exist.

And I can promise you, the American Cancer Society is working tirelessly to make that happen. I know some don't believe me. Some people believe a cure is out there and someone is hiding it so that we can continue to make money off of cancer. That is so far from the truth. Each and every day I work alongside doctors, nurses, social workers, researchers, specialists, etc who want cancer eliminated just as much, if not more, than you do. Even if it means we're out of a job. That would be the best day of my life, of all of our lives, is if cancer was no longer in business.

So I can't take away Lynn's pain and I can't kick the cancer out of her body with a snap of my fingers, and I can't even find the right words to comfort her or her family, but I will keep being a warrior in the fight to end cancer. That, I can promise you. Cancer is going DOWN.

My own memories of Lynn are faded. We are eight years apart, and when she went off to college in New Orleans I was just 10 years old. She never moved home after that. But I do have some memories. They mostly consist of Christmas gatherings and doll houses and Fort Walton Beach. But one thing I clearly remember is that I always thought she was just so cool. She was so artsy and creative and passionate. She was in a band-I mean come ON! How cool is that? I loved that she was a preschool teacher. She was so easy to talk to, always smiling. Even back then, I thought she was one of the bravest people I knew. She still is. She always will be.

Tonight as I was praying and reflecting and trying not to punch a wall while all my emotions came out, I suddenly thought of Laurence. Laurence was my cousin who passed away at 16 from brain cancer in 2010. Something told me "Laurence has got this". I know he is watching over Lynn and our entire family right now. He's been where she is now. I can just picture him standing over her, praying with her, playing a U2 song.

To close, I will share with you Lynn's band, The Kitty Lynn Band. It is a collection of pictures of her and the band with their cover of "Run Boy Run"


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sometimes, it's not me in control

I stumbled on a blog prompt that read "take the third line of the song you're listening to and write about how it relates to your life". At first I thought that sounded pretty silly. I surely could think of something more exciting to write about, right? But the truth is my creativity and inspiration for writing has been running low, so I thought I'd give it a shot. And here we are.

The song was "Rely on Me" by Jason Mraz- and the third line?

Sometimes it’s not me in control

I mean--come ON! The universe was spot on with this one. There are a lot of things going on in my life right now that are worrying me to my core, but I have zero control over them. I know that you are all well aware of that feeling, it's something each of us live with. But it's still frustrating, and scary.

The truth is we can't be in control all the time. Sometimes we have to let someone else take the reigns, sometimes we have to give it to God. For the most part, we have to let it go and take it's path the way it's supposed to.

My dad is undergoing brain surgery on Friday to remove a mass. That's incredibly terrifying. Sure, we want that thing out of there, but brain surgery is tricky, and so scary. There is nothing I can do in this situation to control it. I'm certainly not equipped to do the surgery myself or to tell the surgeon what to do. I, along with the rest of my family, just need to trust in the medical team, give each other support, and be there for my dad when he comes out of surgery. I know this. I know that's what we need to do. But I continue to be scared.

For whatever reason, the simple, relaxed way Jason Mraz sang that line made me take a sigh of relief. Maybe it was the reassurance that none of us are in control or maybe it's just the smooth vocal stylings of Mr. Mraz- either way, I felt comfort.

So what do I do now? Now that I have acknowledged my fears, and that I recognize it is not in my control?

I practice. I of course can't just let my dad's surgery go and pretend it's not happening. Instead, each time I start to panic, I say to myself "sometimes, it's not me in control" and I follow that with a prayer to protect my dad during and after his surgery.

I've asked you all for a lot of prayers during the years. Prayers for myself when I was struggling internally, prayers for my students at Cristo Rey, prayers for victims of tragedy, prayers for my family as we navigated through my dad's cancer diagnosis. I'm coming to you again. As we go into this week, prepping for surgery and recovery, please pray for my dad, the medical team taking care of him, and my family.

And if you're feeling overwhelmed, or in a panic, remember- sometimes, it's not you in control. Remember how strong you are, how wise you are, you've probably been here before and conquered, you can do it again. You can let go, let things happen as they should.



Sunday, October 4, 2015

Weight Loss Update

Usually on Sunday's, I make an Instagram post that updates my progress on my 7 week challenge, along with celebrations. This week had so many ups and downs and turns though, that I thought a blog post would better capture where I stand right now.

As a reminder, here is what I have been doing with my challenge:



So at the beginning of the week, I was super excited because I had lost 4 lbs. I was at my lowest weight to date, and just 2 lbs away from my "ideal weight". I credited it to my clean eating plan, as well as my weight lifting. I was so excited and knew that if I just kept going, I would hit that magic number.

But then...

I went on a work conference Thursday-Friday. Although I had it in my head that I would be careful and continue with my plan, things didn't quite work out that way. For the most part, it was beyond my control. I have no idea how the convention center prepared their foods or what kind of sauces/spices they used, which makes it really tricky to count calories or to watch my sugar/sodium intake. For the past 4 weeks I have been REALLY strict with my diet. Nothing over 12 grams of sugar, no bread, no chocolate, no alcohol, etc. During these two days, I broke nearly every rule. During our conference there was candy on the table. Do you KNOW the struggle of sitting in a room for 8 hours with candy staring right in front of you? I admit, I broke down, and had a few pieces. Did you know there are TWENTY FOUR grams of sugar in a BITE SIZE Milky Way? I do now. Needless to say, I went way over my sugar/sodium goals.

To top that off, we were jam packed with meetings and lectures, leaving little time to move. I did manage to workout Friday morning, but for just 20 minutes. Better than nothing, but not nearly what I usually do.

And one more kicker- I did not drink near the amount of water that I usually do. I would say I drink around 90 oz a day. At the conference, it was probably more like 24.

So, do you know what happens when you've been eating super clean and then have two full days of- well- not clean? You gain weight. And I went back up 5 lbs.

I've read a lot about it, and here's what I've managed to grasp: It's not actual weight. It's more water retention. My body is basically trying to process all the junk, and since I didn't drink enough water and ate a lot more carbs, it's holding on to the carbs. Mix that in with sodium which makes you bloat, my gain is really just my body being confused, and not being used to eating that "crud". Someone compared it to a hangover. I need to flush my body out now with tons of water and veggies.

So, that is what I will do. I will continue my plan of clean eating. Hopefully the water weight will disappear but if it doesn't, I just keep going. I'm on this plan for life. I'll keep up with my weight lifting and my cardio and making solid choices in my diet, and my body- and my mind- will be happier for it.

Today I will sit and make my diet and workout plan for the week, and get right back at it.

Thanks for reading, I'm off to refill my water bottle and make some vegetable soup :)


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Plans Will Change

A little over a year ago, I had this vision of my blog becoming more active. That vision, clearly, has diminished a bit. My posts are not as frequent as they once were. I can't really pin point the reason- it just happened...or didn't happen, depending on how you look at it.

But today I had something I wanted to say, and instead of posting a long Facebook status, I came here. My usual spot for my thoughts and ideas. My blog.

Today I'm thinking about how life, so very often, surprises us.

Take a moment or two to think back on life- how often did things go EXACTLY as you planned them to go? I'm going to take a wild guess and say that most of us will answer "Not very often".

And that's because, as hard as we may try for things to work out they way we WANT them to, there are always going to be surprises. There are other people who will come in and out of our life who may change our minds about things. There are opportunities around every corner, and we may fall into one that we never expected. There are hurdles that we won't see coming.

Yet, as much as we know this, as much as we try out best to prepare for this and to give ourselves mantra's like "whatever happens, happens" or "everything happens for a reason", it still sucks when it happens to us. It's okay to admit that, it's okay to be upset or mad or confused by it. But we can't let it stop us, or put a hault to our vision. We must keep dreaming of our future, embracing the present and learning from the past.

A change in plans is GOING to happen. Life WILL take us down paths we never thought we would walk down. We will get rejected from things that we so desperately want. It's inevitable. But we must keep going- and open our eyes to whatever it is falls into our lap.

Did I plan on working for the American Cancer Society? No. I thought I would be working with youth for the rest of my life. But I was led down a different path, and now I wouldn't have it any other way.

So maybe life has taken you down a different path lately or maybe you aren't where you want to be yet because things keep getting in your way.  I'm here to tell you that you have a lot to offer in this world, and that things will fall into place.



Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why I Make Strides.

If you're my friend on Facebook, you've probably noticed that I have been pushing for donations for my Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team. To sum it up, I've been asking people to donate $8 toward my goal of $3,000. I've decided (inspired by my coworker Abby) that if I reach that goal by December 31st, I will donate 8 inches of my hair to be made into a wig for cancer patients.

I'm extremely grateful for those who have donated- it means a lot to have their support, and a simple "thank you" really does not do justice for how much I appreciate them.

But the donations have been pretty slow. True, I only started asking about a week ago. But since I was only asking for $8, I guess I had high hopes that things would be moving along faster. And trust me, I get it.. Most of my friends and family have causes that they are pretty dedicated to and devote their time and dollars to those causes. We all have our passions and I am totally, 100% an advocate for that.

A small part of me, though, wondered if some are holding back because they think that since I work for the American Cancer Society, I have to raise money for this event.

That's not the case- at all.

Sure, we're encouraged to support the events out of our office, to join teams and to spread the word about them, but we are in no way required to raise money, to donate ourselves, etc.

I'm participating in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for more reasons than because I work for the American Cancer Society.

A big reason is because many women within my church community have been affected by breast cancer. I can name at least six women that I know in that group who have been diagnosed (and beat) breast cancer. That's just not right. These women are mothers, many of them are teachers, and all of them are women whom I admire. I started a team called the St. Hugo Striders for them- because dang it, none of us at St. Hugo want to hear the words "she has breast cancer" ever again. By standing up in the fight I am telling breast cancer to stay away from our Church and our school, our precious community that has been an amazing influence on my life, and in the life of my family. I'm walking in honor of them and their fight. When I set up this team, all I wanted was for others in the St. Hugo community to join me to walk and to show our support for these women. So far, I'm still walking solo. Again, I get it. It's hard to commit to a date, especially with young ones who have sports and other commitments. But even if I have to walk solo, I'm determined to stand up for these women.

The second reason I am walking is for my cousin Lynn. Although my team name is to honor the St. Hugo women I mentioned, Lynn is in my heart and on my mind daily. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012- and just 33 years old.  Lynn was a preschool teacher and a jazz singer at the time she was diagnosed- a perfectly healthy, active, and quirky 33 year old. In a very short amount of time, She underwent a mastectomy, aggressive chemo and radiation, was told she would never be able to have children due to the hormone therapy she was on. By June 2013, she was considered “cancer free”- until January 2015. Lynn had not been feeling very well and went to the doctor to get things checked out, and discovered that the cancer was back- in the liver. Lynn is one of the strongest, most determined people I've ever met. She's been through hell and back with this cancer and all it's entities. I can't imagine the hurdles she has had to jump over, but she remains strong. I'm walking for her- I'm raising money so that we can fund research to help people like her. I'm walking to raise money for programs like Road to Recovery for Lynn. Because she's one of my favorite people, and she deserves the BEST treatment, services, and support that she could ever imagine. And that's where the American Cancer Society comes in. That's where I come in. How can I sit here and KNOW that I can make a difference for people like Lynn and just NOT do it? How can I just write a Facebook posts that shares WHAT Making Strides Against Breast Cancer does for breast cancer research and programs and just not participate?

I can't. I have to walk. For Lynn, for the St. Hugo women, for women and men everywhere- for our future children, so that they can live in a world that's free of breast cancer. I really do believe that day is coming, my friends, but it won't come without the research.

Is the research actually being done? YES.

Does the money actually go somewhere? YES. 

So if you're ready to join me, here are a few ways you can help:


  • Share my team page and ask your friends/family to donate
  • Join my team and walk with me on October 24th as your way of FIGHTING BACK.
  • Join my team, walk with me, and ask your friends/family to donate to our team.
  • Donate to my team (Remember, all I am asking for is $8)
  • Host a fundraiser at your office...whether it's putting out a coin can, selling Wall of Hope Cards, hosting a bake sale, any fundraiser will help


Here is a link to my team page for you to do any or all of the above: 

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/sthugostriders

Not only will you help me achieve my goal, you'll also help the American Cancer Society make important advances in the fight against breast cancer. You will also be helping a cancer patient receive an authentic wig so that they can feel “normal”. As a caregiver, I know how vital this is to treatment.

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Other Side

Well, folks, as suspected, my weight popped back up 2 lbs again. Giant sigh. But, I just keep trucking along. I told myself that as long as I keep doing what I've been doing, I'm not doing myself any harm. I did create a 7 week challenge for myself to cut out coffee, alcohol, anything over 12 grams of sugar, and a few other things that could be the culprit of my up and down. As I said, I'll just keep going. 

Since my weight loss updates have been incredibly boring these past few weeks (I mean really...you get it, right? Up 2 lbs, down 2 lbs, up 2 lbs, etc..how often do you need to read about that?)...this week, I decided I would ask some of my family and close friends to share their persepctive of my weight loss journey. Which may seem totally self absorbed. But I promise you, that was not my intent. I simply thought it would be refreshing for you to hear from others. 

My hope is that by hearing some of these "testimonials" if you will, it will inspire you to chase after whatever dream you have because you will see how much of a positive impact this has had on me. 

Ready?

My Mom. Both of my parents have been on this journey with me since I started, and both have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. 

Megan's weight loss has not just changed her physical appearance. While outwardly that is what most people see, I see so much more. Megan feels good about herself and her confidence has soared. She is a different person in her job and her social life. Whereas before, Megan was never sure of her abilities, she now exudes confidence that she is doing the a fantastic job at ACS. Socially, she is more comfortable at family gatherings and in social situations. She speaks in front of others with ease. She feels her opinions and ideas are worthwhile and important. Megan has changed in so many ways. The person she was two years ago has gone through a metamorphosis ...from a scared caterpillar to a beautiful, confident butterfly.

My Dad: In addition to being supportive and encouraging my dad has also had his fair share of challenges during this two year span.  he's also very introspective.  

Your weight loss journey has brought out so much inner strength. This strength is physical, emotional, and spiritual. Obviously your new body is much stronger. You can run and walk greater distances and with more speed. Emotionally, you are so much less anxious and confident in your abilities. The anxiety that was causing you to overeat is not taking over your life. Spiritually, you are able to connect with other people and their issues. You are giving the advice now and your thoughts are so well received because they are heartfelt and genuine.

My Sister In Law: Sara is not only my sister in law but also one of my best friends, and has been so supportive of me. She gently corrects me when I am too hard on myself.

Megan is my husband's sister and in the past 11 years, has grown to be a sister of my own. As I'm typing this I realize I have known her for the better part of her adult life- and my own. Megan is one of the most loving, caring, heart-on-her-sleeve gals I’ve ever met. She has been that way since I met her. I was so nervous meeting my husband’s family and she was quick to accept me and do anything she could to make me feel comfortable. I’ll never forget that. The Megan I know has always had a passion for helping others and a kindness that never seems to wear or fade. Since losing over 125lbs (go on girl!) she has gained the confidence to share that Megan, the one only those closest to her have been fortunate to know, with everyone. Now, thanks to Megan’s success and new confidence, the entire world gets a chance to know who she really is and what she stands for. They can hear about her journey and her struggles. They can look up to her as a role model and the strong female that’s been hiding under a cloak of insecurities and doubt for far too long. Megan hasn’t become someone else, she hasn’t changed as a person, she’s just finally confident enough to show everyone who she really is- an amazingly tough and fantastically cool girl that everyone needs to know. I’m so proud of her. I cannot wait to see what her future has in store. If you have been any part of this journey or if you are just now getting to know Megan, feel fortunate. It’s not every day you get to meet such an exceptional woman and person.

My Former boss, Peggy: I asked Peggy to share because she has quite literally been with me from the start of this journey. I had a few occurrences at work that were terrifying, and they were due to my weight and high blood pressure. Peggy used to have to take my blood pressure weekly. She saw me transform before her eyes... And teased me about some of the healthy foods I brought in for lunch ;-)

What I see is a very confident young lady who set her mind ,body and spirit to accomplish a goal and she did. No more fears to step ahead . YOU are a Winner. I am so proud .You are always beautiful but now you can see what we all seen. I would have to say your faced challenges that most people do not but I think it may have made you more determined to reach your  goal which was to be healthy.. I am not sure I could eat all the things you did but I am old. LOL I am glad to see your energy and determination to exercise and eat right so your weight loss was steady.but healthy. Stars for you all the way.

My Boyfriend: Tom and I started "talking" when I was at my highest weight. He's been there since the start. He's also always found me beautiful.... He's been the one to watch me cry when I hit plateaus, to be the taste tester for my cooking, my punching bag to practice kickboxing, and my biggest cheerleader. 

I've  been with Megan throughout her whole weight loss journey and I have been lucky to see how much of a positive experience it has been for her. She has gained so much confidence in herself. Also, she is now more accepting of compliments of her being beautiful and sexy because she always has been but thanks to the weight loss journey, she feels that she is. She's also been getting stronger thanks to the kickboxing class (I let her practice on me) . Kickboxing has s helped her become braver than she was before in that I think she will now kick a clowns butt instead of running away from them (she'll do a hell of a high kick to it's big red nose!). But mostly, I've seen her become happier in general. She gets legit sad when she can't work out but usually we'll find some way to get some exercise in, regardless the weather or equipment we have available. I know that once she gets to her target weight goal, it won't be the end of the story but just the first chapter. I know she will continue to kick butt.. This will be one story that will not be ending anytime soon.


I'd say the general consensus is: I've become a stronger, healthier, happier, more confident version of myself. These are all things you've heard me express, but now you've heard it from some of the people closest to me who have literally watched me transform.

I love you all so much. I can't tell you what the words of my parents, Sara, Peggy and Tom meant to me or any of the kind, supportive words I hear from others around me. It helps me to keep going, and just knowing that I have such a strong support system is all I could ever ask for.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dear Nicole Arbour...

Before I begin my open letter to Nicole Arbour, allow me to give some back story to all those reading.

Nicole Arbour is a Youtuber (and self proclaimed "comedian"). She has a history of pissing people off. Last week, she made a video titled "Dear Fat People". In this video, she spits out hatred and disgust toward overweight people. She says that fat shaming doesn't exist...and she claims that she is making this video to "help people" because she cares about them and wants them to live longer.

This video has made it's way around news circuits. Other Youtubers have made their responses. Their are some heated discussions happening. People have very strong opinions about the video, and about Nicole.

And as a former "fat person", I certainly had a lot of feelings when I watched this video. So here I am, to share those thoughts.

Dear Nicole;
By now I am sure you've heard every type of response to your video. I know there's no way you will ever read this one, nor do I think it will change your mind about fat people. 

First of all, I can 100% agree that obesity is a concern. I work for the American Cancer Society and I know that diet and exercise play into your chances of being diagnosed with cancer. But I also know that there are perfectly healthy, THIN people who are diagnosed with cancer or other diseases. Being fat does NOT equal a death sentence or a diagnosis. It does not always mean unhealthy, same as being thin does not always mean healthy. But, yes, obesity is a concern. I am a huge advocate of healthy lunches in schools, getting people to move more and cut out crappy, processed foods. I get it-it would be great if we were all healthier. But there's a problem- it's not that easy.

In your video, you made the statement that you are jealous of fat people, because they get to eat whatever they want. That was the moment where my blood started to boil. That was the moment where your video became all too real for me.

Nicole, I was once obese. And do you know how I got to be obese? It wasn't because I was lazy or because I loved food and loved getting to eat whatever I wanted. It was because I was suffering from depression and anxiety, and it sparked a food addiction. Much like individuals turn to alcohol or drugs, I turned to food to comfort me. Now I know they are some people who think that food addiction doesn't exist or that it would be an easy addiction to have. That is not the case. My years of suffering from a food addiction were the darkest years of my life. I hated who I was, so I didn't care that I was killing myself with food. I barely left my house, I lost friends, I never had a serious relationship. I felt worthless. And every time I tried to stop, my depression/anxiety told me I wasn't worth getting better...that I would never be loved...that I would be better off this way. Each day I had to force myself out of bed because I didn't want to face the world. I would never wish that amount of loneliness, unhappiness, or self destruction on anyone. It nearly destroyed me. 

Are you still jealous? Do you want to be the me that I was a few years ago? Have at it. Tell me how it feels. Let me know what it's like to sneak food into your bedroom so no one sees you binge...or how it feels to be so sick to your stomach that you are lying on your bathroom floor. Or to look in the mirror and hate yourself. Tell me how jealous you are then.

You also say that "fat shaming doesn't exist". Your video negates that point pretty quickly, since that's all you are doing in your video. But trust me, it exists. It existed every time someone stared at me, or laughed at me, or called me names. It exists, and it's getting worse.

I've lost 125 lbs. I'm in recovery from my food addiction. I didn't lose weight because people like you told me I had to, or because people like you called me disgusting. I lost the weight because I figured out a way to handle my anxiety and depression that wasn't food. I stopped letting it control me...I became free. I lost the weight when I dropped the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I'm so worried for people who have your mindset. People who think that you are "Helping" others by making fun of them, tearing them apart, calling them names. That. Doesn't. Work. In fact, it often causes more problems than good. Here's what you can do instead. If there really is someone in your life whom you are worried about because of their weight, you have a conversation with them about it. You tell them you are worried. You do not call them disgusting, or tell them it's "so easy" or that you are jealous of them because they can eat whatever they want. You help them determine what the bigger issue is, and you help them work through it as best you can. That's what my parents did for me, and here I am 125 lbs lighter. That's what works. Not yelling into a camera about how awful it is to be fat.

Your video was a big trigger for me. After I watched it I just felt so sad and heavy. I wanted to lay in bed all day and be sad about it. As I mentioned above, when I was at my worst, and my highest weight, I felt worthless. Your video basically said "yes, you are worthless". My heart broke for the girl I was a few years ago when I watched your video. And I'm a 28 year old grown woman, so I can't imagine the impact your video had on young teens who are struggling with body issues. Maybe you think that's not your problem but as a human being who is trying to be a household name, I'd say it is your problem. You are well aware of your audience and who may stumble on your video.

In closing, Nicole, I have this icky feeling that you aren't going to change your mind. I've seen your Twitter feed and the way you've responded to critics like me, and it isn't pretty. You don't seem to care how hurtful your video actually was. You call it comedy and satire. You just don't get it.....and you may never get it. But I certainly hope that reading stories like mine opens your mind a bit. I hope you learn to use your platform for good. And I certainly hope that you have learned some things along the way. In today's world there are a lot of ways to get your 15 minutes of fame, I'm utterly confused as to why you chose this route.

Thanks,
Megan



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Weight Loss Wednesday

Thanks to everyone who reached out last week when I was having a pity party about being "stuck". I've accepted the fact that yes, this may be it. But that certainly doesn't mean I'm going to stop. 

I did drop down one pound, so I'm now six pounds away from my goal... But I'm not getting my hopes up because I know I could go back up again.

Last week a coworker walked by me and I noticed she looked slimmer. So I said something... Turns out she has lost 42 lbs! Which is incredible! I sang her praises and congratulated her on the accomplishment. Then she told me that I was her inspiration. And in that moment, I didn't care about being stuck or my goal weight. I was so happy. I've said all along on this journey that if I can help someone else, that's all that matters. And my is that true. 

So I will keep working to (hopefully) inspire others. I've started a run club amongst my circle of friends. We are going to run/walk every Sunday morning until winter rolls in. I've become a team captain for a work wellness challenge where I can encourage my coworkers to  be active. I have fallen in love with taking the lead on anything to do with wellness because it has become such an important part of my life. I just want to share in the joy that it has given me, and I want to help others crush their goals.

As for me I will continue to eat clean, workout, drink my water and hope that these 6 lbs disappear. But even if they don't, I'll walk with pride knowing that I've accomplished more than I ever thought possible, and that I've helped some others along the way.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Things I Love: Summer Edition

I thought it might be fun to share some of my discoveries this summer with you all. There are things I've stumbled on, whether it be a podcast or food, that I love so much I want to share so that you can embrace them too. Later this week I'll be sharing my favorite memories from the summer, and I may do a separate "summer jams" post.

But for now, here are 10 things I fell in love with this summer:


Smash Hit Kickboxing
I have been taking Kickboxing at my local YMCA for well over a year. But it was only once a week, and, frankly, I wanted more. So I started looking around for other places that offered kickboxing and stumbled on a small kickboxing gym near my house. They have beginners classes, cardio kickboxing, bootcamp, etc. I absolutely love it. It focuses so much on the technique and the athleticism of kickboxing. I've learned so much in my 3 months of taking classes there and I honestly feel like it's been a huge asset to my weight loss journey. I noticed a major change in the sculpt of my calf muscles from all the kicking, my reflexes are quicker, and I've gotten stronger. I look forward to every class at Smash Hit, but my favorite is the Saturday morning bootcamp style class. I walk out of there and have to wring out my headband of sweat. For those in the area, looking for a new way to workout, please check out this gym! It's been my favorite summer activity.

http://www.smashhitkickboxing.com/

Trader Joe's
Yeah, I know. Trader Joe's is nothing new for most people. But I had never stepped foot in one until this summer, and now it's the only place I go for my groceries. It really is as awesome as everyone says it is. They have unique variety of foods that are usually pretty healthy, the prices are great, and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. I'm a big fan of their chicken sausage, trail mix, Inner Peas snack, sushi, and pre made salads. But really, I've liked almost everything I've purchased from Trader Joe's. And I love the conversations I have with the staff.

Quest Bars
I don't eat a lot of meat, so I try to sneak in protein in other ways...eggs, peanut butter, trail mix, etc. I Someone suggested I try a protein bar, specifically, quest bars. You guys....they are delicious. The best part? They are healthy! Unlike a lot of other bars, they aren't packed with sugar and they are low in calories. I am obsessed with the chocolate chip cookie dough flavor. It's a sweet treat in the middle of the day when you are craving chocolate. I also sneak them into movie theaters for my snack :) You can find Quest Bars at GNC, Trader Joe's, and.... 7 Eleven. Yes, 7 Eleven. I was shocked. And they actually carry a wide variety of flavors there.

Unreal
Summer TV isn't exactly thrilling. I don't watch much TV anyways. But I stumbled on an article about a show on Lifetime called Unreal and I just had to check it out. The verdict? Obsessed. It is a fictional show that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the production of The Bachelor. I don't even watch The Bachelor- never seen an episode in my life. But Unreal is fascinating. It really makes you think....and it's quite scary to think that the manipulation that happens behind the scenes actually happens on "reality" tv. If you need a show to binge watch this weekend, try Unreal.

Reply All Podcast
I started listening to podcasts lasts fall when Serial was all the rage. I was addicted to Serial and Invisibilia- both of which are on a break right now. When they went on a break, so did I . I went back to listening to the radio and the music on my phone. But then my favorite morning show host was let go from the station I listened to every morning....so I was on a search to find a new podcast. Which leads me to Reply All. I know there are a zillion podcasts out there, but I landed on Reply All and I love it. It's basically a show about the Internet. It takes different "things" out there and explores them...like Craigslist or Twitter. It's really interesting, and funny. The episodes are short so it's perfect for my commute. I was really glad to discover Reply All.

NatureBox
Subscription boxes are super popular right now- and for good reason! It's so convenient to get a gift delivered to you each month. I know a lot of gals who get makeup subscription boxes. NatureBox is a healthy snack subscription. My roommate got me a gift card to NatureBox for my birthday so I used it toward my first two boxes, and I will continue it. I love it! It's so fun to try different, healthy snacks. My favorite snacks have been Coffee Kettle Corn Popcorn, Honey Dijon Pretzels, Pumpkin Praline Seeds. I've enjoyed almost everything, though.

https://naturebox.com/

Salvation Army
My trips to Salvation Army stores used to be for Halloween costumes or just to see what kind of odd things I could find. Now, it's where I do the majority of my clothes shopping. For starters, it's cheap. But because I am still losing weight, I can't stand the thought of spending $80 on a pair of jeans that may not fit in a few months. Enter Salvation Army (or any Goodwill store, really...I've just had the most luck at Salvation Army). There is a particular store in Rochester, MI that has far exceeded my expectations. I've snagged some awesome finds there- including a beautiful purple wrap dress that was perfect for my birthday dinner- and I always find myself wishing I was nearby so I can stop in. If you've never tried to shop at a Salvation Army, go for it. You may be surprised!

Starbucks Cold Brew
I am an Iced Coffee kind of girl. And, I like my coffee strong. So when Starbucks announced that they were going to be selling Cold Brew, I was ecstatic. It is so delicious, and oh so strong. Folks who aren't a fan of coffee probably won't like it. I had Tom take a sip once and he shook his head like a wet dog. But I love it. Even though I try to cut back on coffee, I just can't resist Cold Brew. It is perfect for a summer day.

Runkeeper
I've only become a somewhat serious runner this summer. And by somewhat serious, I mean I run once a week.... for 3 miles, tops. But, RunKeeper has been my best pal during this journey to becoming a runner. It counts your miles, tracks your pace, plays music while you run, etc. There are a couple apps just like this, but I prefer RunKeeper over any of them. I like that, when I finish, it compares it to my other workouts so I can keep track of my progress and personal records. I use it for walks, too, and you can use it for hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, and even swimming (still haven't figured out how you can do that without killing your phone but hey). It's a great app for those who want to keep track of their workouts.

StitchFix
I had never heard of StitchFix until I complimented a coworker on her blouse. She responded by telling me it was from StitchFix- a subscription box that sends you new clothes based on your style. After taking a survey on your sizes, style, etc, you are assigned a personal stylist who picks out items for you. You pay $20 for the box, which you can then use toward any item (s) you want to keep. I signed up because now that I am a smaller size than I can ever remember being, I need some help dressing myself. I'm so used to just wearing frumpy clothes because that's all that fit. I need some assistance in wearing clothes that fit and that look good! I have not gotten my first box yet, but I plan on posting a review on the blog when I do.

So there you have it, some of my favorite things I have found this summer. Have you tried any of these? What are your thoughts?



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Up and Down and Up and Down

My energy level is quite low right now so please excuse me if this blog lacks pizzazz! 

So, I've hit a point in the weight loss where I just keep going up and down. Which has happened a few times during this journey, but it's especially frustrating now because I am just 7 lbs away (most days) from my goal weight. Some have told me that I'll be battling these 7 lbs the rest of my life, that most likely my body has already decided it's in maintenance mode and that I'll be going up and down like this forever. My answer? Too bad. I'm sorry if you feel like this is it, body, but it's not. I just want to see that number on the scale. Then we can play roller coaster. Please, let me get these last 7 down without you interrupting me. We've got a lifetime of going up and down, let me reach that goal. 

Part of me also feels like this CAN'T be it. I can't have just reached where I need to be. Where's my confetti and trophy? It can't just "end" quietly, right? I mean come on! This has been two years and 3 months of hard work. I can't just say "well I guess that's it". 

Then there is the part of me that knows I will never be "done". As daunting and frustrating as that may seem, it's true. I will need to continue to work out, eat healthy, track my calories. I'll need to be careful. Partly because I don't want to ever go back to my old habits, partly because I am terrified to gain weight back, and partly because... Well, I actually enjoy living life this way. So if I'm enjoying it and I'm healthy, why go back?

So I guess you could say I'm a bundle of mixed emotions right now. I am back to being exactly 7 lbs away from my goal and with the pattern, I'll go back up again, then lose it. My goal is to break this pattern and drop those last 7 lbs. I'm  trying some new tactics to help me get there, like not eating a few hours before bed, but I'm still stuck. Any advice/tips appreciated!

Also, when I do reach that magic number, I'm not sure what will happen. Don't get me wrong, I'll be excited. Overjoyed. Incredibly thrilled and relieved. beaming with pride But then I have a feeling a May get a little sad, because nothing will ACTUALLY happen. Life will go on as normal. Is that at all slightly depressing to anyone else? Probably not....but as I mentioned up above, when you work SO hard for something and then it's just... Over...there's a feeling of emptiness that comes along. No one wants you about this when you start a weight loss journey! 

Sorry to be a downer guys, just slightly frustrated. But I keep working hard! My health remains my top priority and I'm not stopping !


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Back To School Advice

It's hard to believe, but it's already "back to school" time. This time of year makes me extremely nostalgic. Sometimes I wish I was back in school. Sometimes I count my lucky stars that I'm not in school. No matter where you stand, though, we can all admit that when you're going back to school, whether you are a 5 year old starting kindergarten or a seasoned teacher getting your classroom and lesson plans ready, this time of year brings out the butterflies.

Today I want to offer some advice to students going back to the classroom. 

Although you may be nervous, this is also so exciting. You are about to begin a brand new year, full of fresh opportunities. There are memories to be made, friendships to spark, lessons to learn and so much room to grow. It's normal to be nervous. Most people will probably tell you to walk into that school with your head held high and not to worry about what others say to you. I'm going to tell you, straight up, that there will be days where you can't hold your head high. There will be days where you fight with your best friend or get a bad grade or just have a rough day. And that's okay. You're allowed to look down. You're allowed to be sad. What you can't do, though, is let that one moment define your entire life. It will be okay. What you also must know is that you are never alone. Even if it feels like the entire world is against you, you are deeply loved and cared for. You're also not the only one feeling sad, scared, or like you don't "fit in". Every single one of us has been there. 

It's so easy to get caught up in drama, or to treat life like a competition. We want to look good, we want to be the best athlete, we want to be the funny one or the smart one. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. You don't have to be the best, you just need to try your best. Find what it is you love to do and do that. It may take some trial and error. You may think you are destined to be a professional volleyball player but learn that you actually prefer theatre. That's okay. Try new things. Treat yourself with new opportunities. You never know who you may meet along the way or what kinds of adventures you may have. Also, it doesn't matter if what you want to do is "cool" or not. Just try it. Years from now you will wonder why you ever cared about being cool. In the long run, it so doesn't matter. The "popular" group? They are just like you. It just so happens that one day someone decided they were the popular group. That's it. It's not because they are any better than you. 

On the bad days, the really bad ones, the ones that make you want to lock yourself in your room, just remember that those days don't last forever. Remember that you are a human being who is worth being loved and cared for, so please take care of yourself. You're destined for something big on this earth, don't miss your chance to shine.

Don't spend all of your free time on social media. Have conversations. Get to know your classmates and teachers, face to 
face. Talk to your siblings about their day. Don't miss the chance to have real life conversations with those that you love. It may not seem like it now but life will felt by you, and you don't want to look back and have no memories besides your Twitter feed. 

Pay attention to your teachers. They are dedicating their lives to enriching yours. They work countless hours to prepare you, teach you, and guide you. You are their number one priority. They have a vested interest in your life and well being. So even if they are "boring" or even if they have you a C when you felt you deserved an A, pay attention. Ask questions. Each teacher will leave you with at least one valuable lesson, if you let them.

Treat those around you with kindness and respect. There is no need to be cruel or harsh. People will remember how you treat them. They will remember that more than they remember anything else about you. So treat them in a way that you want to be remembered. 

Remember to thank your parents. They are making sacrifices for you and they are putting your first. You may find it totally embarrassing to have them around now, and maybe you don't see eye to eye, but chances are, they are your number one fan. Let them be. 

In summary: Each day is a new chance. Take risks. Be brave. Reach out for help  when you need it. Give others a hand when they are struggling. Be kind to yourself and to those around you. Make memories. Be you. 

Good luck this school year, and know that there are millions of us who have been where you are, and we've all survived.