Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't Give Up

Confession time.

In my past life (that is how I refer to my life before my weight loss) I gave up pretty easily. Not just with dieting and exercising, with everything. The earliest memory I have of "giving up" is math. In first grade, I decided that math was too hard, and that I would never understand it. From that point on, I gave up. I had it in my head that I could NOT do math and even though I went to tutoring, I still barely passed every math test I took. In High School I took the "easy" math classes, squeezed my way through geometry, was placed in a class with mostly juniors when I was a senior.

That's just one example. I have many more.

I am certainly not proud of being a person that gives up easily. Excuse me, let me rephrase that. I am not proud of being a person that DID give up easily.

My kickboxing teacher told me "Some people only do things they are good at. Other people do things they aren't good at, and keep practicing to get better. You have to choose which person you want to be". That really has stuck with me, and I keep it in mind when I try new workouts, new recipes, new routines.

I was thinking about this as I was on a bike ride last night. I only recently began to ride my bike again. The hills are hard for me, and I have to literally say "push" out loud the entire time up the hill. As I was pushing yesterday, I thought how easy it would be to give up, to decide that biking is just too hard and that I wasn't going to pull the bike out of the garage again. But I can't do that. I must keep persisting, keep getting better.

I don't want to be a person that gives up so easily anymore. Giving up is only giving IN to my self doubt. And there is no way I am letting that self doubt have so much control over my actions.

There are going to be times where you want to give up. There are going to be times where you won't even want to begin something, because you fear it's too hard or that you won't be able to do it. Why let that stop you? Why not try and see where the challenge can take you? It might be scary at times, but the dear should fuel you, not stop you. Surprise yourself. Surprise those around you. Surprise the routine. Dare to do something different. Dare to keep going when you want to give up.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Let's Build Each Other Up

For as long as I can remember, my dad has been telling us "We need to build each other up, not tear each other down". We've all heard those words come out of his mouth so often that we kind of tease him about it now. But, in thinking about it a little bit more, he is so right. That simple phrase holds a whole lot of truth, and is probably the best advice you can give someone.

I am so sick of hearing stories about people being mean to each other- for no reason. I am tired of reading comments on social media or news stories where people just easily spew out hate. I am angry that hate crimes still exist, and I am deeply saddened that young girls (and boys!) are continuously told they are not pretty enough.

How long is it going to take for us to realize that we are ALL human beings? We were created to be placed on this earth for a reason, and to tear each other down is to stomp on a a beautiful creation. Imagine if you were an artist, and you created something you were the MOST proud of. It may not be perfect, but your loved it and treasured it. Now imagine someone else comes along, takes your work of art, and totally destroys it, leaving it broken and ruined? How hurt would you be? Well, we are hurting God when we rip apart someone else, because each human is one of God's precious, unique creations.

We should cherish each interaction we have with another human, instead of ignoring feelings or pretending like just because we do not know someone we don't have to care about them. And we CERTAINLY should begin to treat the people we DO know with a little more respect, love, and gratitude.

Just in case no one has told you lately, let me remind you that you are a beautiful, strong person whom is meant to be on this earth. Find your passion and let that fuel you. If people choose to tear you down or throw out nasty words to you, just remember that they cannot define you. Only you define you. Do not become what they tell you. Become who you want to be.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

In Mercy

As most of you recall, in November 2012 I became an Associate of the Sister's of Mercy. I spent a great deal of time writing about it, and explaining my desire to make that commitment. Mercy continues to be a part of my life, and throughout the last few years I have spent time at different Mercy events, supporting the Mercy Volunteer Corps and Mercy High School.

However, in the last year I would say my participation was down. There are many things I attribute to my absence. First, my weight loss journey. When I decided it was time to become healthy, I knew that I had to make it my number one priority. That's just the way it had to be for this to work. As a result, I lost a few friends along the way, and broke some previous commitments. Some may say that is selfish, but it was something that had to be done. And something that needs to continue. I am not finished yet. I still have a ways to go on my journey.

Secondly was my dad's diagnosis. That happened in September of last year and although he has been okay, I did take a step back from many of my obligations so that I could spend more time with my family. I realized over the last year just how important family is, and I truly made it a point to put them at the top of my list.

Third was the transition between jobs. At my old job I was often sick, and sad, and did not feel much up to doing anything. My new job has been fantastic, but still an adjustment. I work a lot of nights and some weekends, so figuring out my new job and role have been a big part of my life.

Fourth is having a boyfriend. While that may seem silly, Tom is one of the most important people in my life and as our relationship grows, I want to spend more time with him and to have our time together.

The fifth reason is one I have only recently admitted to myself, and that is the loss of Sr. Mary Jo. She was my mentor, my friend, and my role model. Her actions and words alone are a huge reason why I became an associate in the first place. When she passed, it was almost as if a little part of my passion for Mercy passed with her. You'd think it would have fueled me, but instead I took a little step back. I missed her so much, and to know that I was not going to see her at events made me very sad.

I tell you all of those things merely to explain why I maybe have not been as active with Mercy as I thought I would be when I became an associate. Perhaps they are just excuses, but I felt like I had to put them out there- maybe more for myself.

Anyways, this last weekend, I attended the annual Associate Retreat. I almost did not go. Since I had been absent so much, I almost felt like I shouldn't go- like I was not one of the "regulars" and that I wouldn't fit in. But, several had made the personal invitation, and I went for it. I am not sure what I was expecting- perhaps your typical spiritual retreat. But what I got was so much more than that. Over the weekend we spent our time discussing leadership. Specifically, leadership in Mercy. This was perfect, as it is something I personally have not thought much about, and had we not had this retreat I probably still would not be thinking about it. But having an entire weekend focusing on that allowed me to feel that passion for Mercy all over again. My mind was going a mile a minute with ideas I wanted to share, stories to tell, people to talk with. I am usually very quiet on retreats, as someone who is shy and nervous. But this time, I felt like I had so much to say that I was jumping in quite a bit. I was so energized by the openness of the other associates and the Sisters who joined us that I was bouncing off the wall.

I needed this weekend, mentally. I needed to step away from those five things that I mentioned up above and just to bring myself back to Mercy. After all, Mercy is what formed me. Mercy is in everything that I do. I forget that, sometimes, but I know that the very core of who I am as a person was built through my experiences at Mercy High School and as a Mercy Volunteer Corps member.

So where do I go from here? Now that I have had this fantastic retreat and energized my love for all things Mercy, how do I live it? I've got a couple of ideas. I have suggestions to forward on to the leadership team. I have ways to show my support of the Sisters- I plan on visiting the elderly Sisters twice a month. I have plans to invite fellow Associates over for a potluck. There are ways. Now I just need to do them. I can't go crazy. I can't be attending workshops and parties and conferences every week. But I can live Mercy in all that I do...and invite others to join me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday

The past week or so has been a real test to my strength and ability to keep this weight loss thing going. I have barely been home, and didn't do as great at meal planning as I usually do. Typically,l even if I have a busy work week with lots of late nights, I am still able to plan my meals pretty well. I didn't this time, and I was surrounded by temptation.

And I, must admit, I gave in a couple times. Tom and I had pizza for lunch on Saturday. My menu options were limited, and I really didn't want to order a grilled chicken sandwich without a bun AGAIN. So I gave in and had pizza. Now, you and I both know that one meal does not make or break a lifestyle change, but for someone like me, one meal does put me down a slippery slope. I start to think "well, I had pizza, and I didn't gain weight, so I can probably have __________ too". NO! When I start doing that, I fall off the wagon. I want to stay in the wagon!

Tonight is my first night in my house without anything going on since Saturday, so I sat down and made my meal plan for the rest of the week- and I planned out my workouts. I am getting back on track!

Last I checked on the scale, I was down 66 lbs. I am a little scared to look due to said meal plan issue, so I won't look again until next week. My guess is I will stay about the same for a few weeks and drop again- as usual. At least, that's what I hope!

My biggest accomplishment in the last week is the fact that I rode 5 miles on my bike. Not a stationary bike, a real bike. I haven't ridden a bike in years. It felt so awesome to be out there, wind in my face, pushing myself to go up the big hills. I wasn't sure if I could do it at first, but I managed! What pushed me was thinking of my little buddy Claire, the little girl I am running/working out for because she has a disability that limits her. I thought of all the scary things she has to do every day and it made me push past my own fear!

So I guess that's it for me. I just wanted to share that the little voices in my head have been annoying lately and wanting me to quit. But I will not! I am going to prove them wrong! No quitting for me!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Music Monday: Paramore and Fall Out Boy

Tomorrow night, I will be joined by thousands of my closest friends at the Paramore/Fall Out Boy concert. I saw Fall Out Boy last summer, and wrote about it here, but I have never seen Paramore live. I adore both bands, and both hold special places in my heart. Today I thought I would share my 5 favorite songs from each band.


5. Part II. This is from their latest album, and I can't stop listening to it.

4.  Misery Business. I mean, is there anyone who DOESN'T like this song?

3. Pressure. This was the first song I heard by Paramore, and I wanted to hear more immediately. I loved the sound. I feel like this is one of the few bands that have really stuck to their original sound. I'll always love this song.

2. Still Into You. When Tom and I first started "seeing each other" again, I asked him if there was a song that reminded him of me. He picked this one.  Since then, we always text each other when we hear it, or turn it up if we're together and hear it in the car. It's become "our song".

1. Decode.   This actually isn't from an album (it was a bonus track on the international album for Brand New Eyes). I know it from Twilight. Hush. It's a really awesome song.

Fall Out Boy

5.  Alone Together. My favorite from their latest album.

4. Coffee's For Closers. I've just always really liked this song.

3. Dance, Dance. Cause. You gotta dance sometimes.

2.  What A Catch, Donnie. I've got troubled thoughts and a self esteem to match

1. Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy. My brother played this song for me when I was 15 and I instantly fell in love with this band and have been listening ever since.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday

I am very pleased to announce that I dropped another pound and am now officially down 65 pounds...maybe even a little bit more than 65! I am confident that the plateau is over. I know I may hit a few more, but I just have to keep working. I busted my butt last week and crushed my "calories burned" goal. I just have to keep that up! I don't have a specific topic today, so here are some bullet points.

  • On Friday night I tried a new class: Pilates II. It was a step up from the Pilates I am used to and incorporated weight training and cardio. Just 10 minutes in, I was sore and tired. But I finished, and did my very best. The class isn't at the most convenient time: 7 pm on Friday nights...but I enjoyed it and think it will help me to strengthen my core. If you haven't tried Pilates yet, I do recommend it. It's fun (kind of) and challenging.
  • One thing I am working on is cutting down on carbs. I'm a carboholic. I love bread, potatoes, and pasta. But, I have heard again and again from people that those foods could be slowing me down. I am not going to totally cut out carbs, but I am watching my intake. Example? For lunch today I made a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich. I order turkey burgers no bun. I skip the roll at Panera. Little things like that. For snacks I have been eating nuts or cottage cheese instead of pretzels.
  • My coworkers at my "new" (doesn't feel new!) job have been starting to notice my weight loss. Obviously they didn't know me before, but it's pretty cool that they have noticed a change since I started there. And being that I have lost about 25 lbs since February, it's reassuring to get those compliments. It means I am doing something right. 
  • I have been doing HIIT workouts on the days I don't take classes. So far I have done these:

  • Lately I have been jogging to the gym. It's a half a mile and I can make it almost the entire way without stopping. A 1/2 of a mile seems ridiculously short to most of you, I realize, but this coming from a girl who can barely run to first base in softball! I have been TRYING to jog back after my workout, but I usually end up speed walking. So at least I know that on the days I walk/jog to the gym, I am getting a full mile in!
  • I continue to hit further and run faster in softball. On Sunday, my brother in law was behind me in the line up. He's a strong hitter AND the fast human I know, so as soon as he hit the ball I just started running. And I managed to make it from first base to home plate TWICE without getting out. I have been playing softball since I was 10 and I have never once done that. 
The dress on the left is a size 22. The dress on the right is a size 16. It is the same designer.

PS: A year ago today I did my FIRST weight loss Wednesday blog! Amazing how far I have come since then!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dear Ryan

Dear Ryan,
Hi baby! Happy July, little guy. It's been pretty hot outside, but you LOVE to play outside, so I don't think that bothers you too much!

You have been coming to our softball games and I love to see you there. You are always all smiles, playing with your friend Will and cheering us on. After the games you and I have been running the bases together. At our last game, you liked it so much, we did it THREE times. You are such an active little boy.

Tom and I were out shopping on Saturday and we found you some Elmo slippers. You LOVED them. Your mommy said you didn't want to take them off! I am so glad you like them. Tom was so happy to buy them for you. We all know how much you love Elmo!  I think your mommy was just as excited about the slippers as you were!

Grandma Carolin set up my old dollhouse for you to play with. It's a complete set, it even has a barn for animals. You loved playing with it! I am happy to pass it along to you.

You have had a good summer so far. Swimming lessons, play dates, softball games, and parties. Soon you will be going Up North for a really fun weekend. You're a lucky boy, Ryan. You are having so much fun. And you are so very loved by all of us.

You continue to call me "baba", and you are such a little lovebug. You give everyone hugs and kisses goodbye and goodnight. You are learning new words and phrases. Your mom has taught you to say "IU!" for Indiana University. Shes' hoping you will cheer for them, but your daddy wants you to cheer for Michigan State. One of these days, we will find out which one you favor :)

I will get to see you in a few days. Mom and Dad are going to the Tigers Game, so I get to hang out with you! I am very excited. I love any moment that I get to spend with you. I am sure we will "cheers" our cups, scrunch our faces, go for a walk, eat ice cream, and read some books.

I love you so much, Ryan!