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


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 :)