Wanted By All But ONE…

Often times when I’m out on my longer runs I witness seemingly happy families and couples–old and young.  They’re in the parks celebrating, playing, walking and enjoying life together.  Early on in my running journey this used to gnaw at … Continue reading

My Passion Project–My Purpose & Myself

Biggest and most challenging project I’ll likely ever take on–myself.  *SIGH* Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad sigh nor is that a complaint.  I’m a worthy project to spend that kind of time and effort on.  Easy is … Continue reading

Facing the Facts…In the Mirror

Well excuse me while I clean up and dust around here….Spring cleaning, right?!?

Life is full of transitions…seasons change, people get married, people have babies, we change careers, people move their homes, etc.  Some of life’s transitions are less visible though.  We often feel them before we actually realize and recognize that they’re upon us.  I recently read that we naturally (or subconsciously) have major transitions about every seven years.  [Momentary pause while I count out with my fingers and toes how many years old I am…. :)]  Hmm, if this theory is accurate that would mean I’m going through my fifth life transition cycle this year (I’ll wait while you do the math).  To be honest, I could feel it creeping up on me earlier this year.  It’s not so sneaky anymore, that or I’m getting wiser with these years.

One thing I did today–likely influenced by my need/want to “shake the dust off” of things in my life–really shook me tonight.  For more then a week I’ve been wanting to make my hair shorter then it’s been.  I do this sometimes, so it’s nothing new.  But this time I went really short– I have only had it this short once before in my life and that was because I took a risk on a “stylist” I shouldn’t have.  I watched her snip snip snip away my hair over the course of the hour it took her.  I was comfortable and yet a little anxious about it.  She blow dried it, straightened it out a bit to tame my fly-aways and we were done.  I must have been either shocked or expressionless because she asked me if I liked it more then once.  I quickly responded yes, thanked her, paid/tipped her and then was on my merry way.  I didn’t wander around the stores or take peaks at myself in the mirrors along the way, I just left.  I was just as abrupt getting in my car and driving back home.  I never once really took a look at myself again after I left the salon.  Dad commented shortly after I got to his house for dinner, but not in a shocking way–it was quite a boring evening to be honest.

When I got home, showered and blow dried my hair (yes, I know I just got it done but anyone who goes that short knows there’s no way to get rid of those little tiny stray clippings without showering) then it hit me!!  Right then and there, in my bathroom, I lost it…I just balled my eyes out for a good 30 minutes, by myself (thankfully because it was one of those moments I likely wouldn’t have been able to articulate what it was that I was feeling).  I wouldn’t even know who to tell if I did have someone.  Why? Well, because tonight in that mirror, starring back at me was my Mom.  I didn’t cry because I was regretting the decision to cut my hair short or even that she cut it a bit shorter then what I actually initially wanted.  I was crying because I haven’t physically seen my Mom in almost eight years.  Yet tonight, here she was starring back at me.  I know, I’ve heard it over the years of how I look so much like her–both my sister and I do.  But this was too eerily similar.  This was not one of those passing comments–one which I spent most of my younger years dreading/loathing/defending against but recently embraced and would say “thank you” in response.   This was beyond “I see the resemblance” and more “I’m looking at a ghost.”

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her.  I know that there’s things I do that are very much like her and her way of doing things.  I embrace that and I love that I’m able to keep that part of her alive.  But tonight I felt like I can’t see certain people out of concern that I’ll upset them.  Somehow through all that–more importantly–tonight reminded me that no matter how great of an accomplishment I may achieve in my life she will never be there physically to celebrate it with me.  No matter how much weight I lose and healthy I become, no matter how many races I run, no matter how great of a job or money I make, no matter where I live, no matter who I marry, etc.

Sounds like I’m giving up, huh…?  Quite the contrary.  I say and realize all that to say this…  Today I actually finally start to live my life for me.  Not for the praise or promise of a parents’ love/admiration.  I’m not ashamed to admit that a small part of me has held on to that belief from my childhood.  I’m human.  I guess the best way to say this–because it’s how she always used to say it to us (“so you have a real job now….you have a real place to live…etc.”)–today I live a real life!  I wake up tomorrow for me!  I’m passionate about a career that I chose and love!  I’ll run because I can and love to (ok to be honest that may wait until Tuesday since I’m still trying to shake this cold)! But you get the point now.  I started writing this blog through tears, but I had to start in order to get here.  It’s a liberating feeling…which I didn’t really recognize that I was bound by until recently.

One more point and realization I’ve had over the years… I do recognize that many of the accomplishments, people I’ve met, relationships I’ve nurtured, and experiences I’ve had would likely not have happened without her passing.  As hard as that sometimes is to say without tears, I know in my heart that’s a blessing and that’s one signed, sealed and delivered personally by her.

So stay tuned…we’ll see how this lives out together!

[No more tears…just one hell of a deep/long sigh, thankfully a less congested one…]

 

Meaningful Maintenance rant…

What’s a “meaningful maintenance rant”?  Good question–begin rant here.

Maintaining my “healthy weight” has been just as big as a challenge as shedding the original 170lbs!  NO JOKE.  It’s easy to slip into the mindset of “I got this…I know what I’m doing…I’m FIXED…” and they go on.  TRUTH is, none of that is accurate or appropriate!  Maintenance is hard.  That’s probably why the percent of people who reach their goal weight and maintain it long term is lower than 5%.  CRAZY right??? We see these success stories all the time in media, on reality shows, and social media posts!  I know, I got caught as one myself.  But in doing that I started to lose focus on myself and my own well being.  Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about “not being fat” anymore.  Truth be told, a part of my mind still thinks/sees me as that 345+ lbs girl.

Tonight I did something I hadn’t done in a long time until this year.  Stress, lack of sleep, burn out, etc. got the best of me and I at anything that was edible and not nailed down.  Didn’t really like (or have) much at my house so I went over to my parents house to eat there.  I was tracking in the beginning of my day, even knowing that I was going to go well over my WeightWatchers daily PointsPlus target for the day.  But when I left my house, it was all bets off.  I ate to until the point where my head hurt, hurt to the point were it felt like the roots of my hair were being pulled out of my head.  Like my hair had 5lb weight attached to each strand.  It was pounding, my eye sockets felt swollen.  My mouth was dry and the taste in it was less than appetizing.  My throat even felt raw like I was getting a sore throat.  My ears felt like I was getting an ear infection and at one point I had a weird back feed like sound echoing in them.  Note, we’re still on just my head.  I wanted to take a pill for it but stopped myself.  Why?  Because I realized I wanted the pill for the same reason I wanted the food.  I wanted to stop feeling the pain.

Shall we go on?  My chest felt heavy. My belly felt bloated and the more I ate the more it felt like I had a big balloon in there filling up with helium gas.  I think i could feel my stomach getting so full with food that it was pushing my other organs out of the way and up to high parts inside my rib cage.  I felt tight and I was wearing yoga like pants…those “give” a lot and so the fact that I felt constricted in them is beyond a bad sign.  All this extra food weight made my legs feel like they couldn’t support the rest of my body.  My knees started to ache already like I’d instantly added 10lbs.

At one point I felt like if I could just stick my finger—NOPE! Stop.  That thought was just as bad/hurtful as the idea of me eating to make my feelings go away.  Both just as damaging even at opposite ends of the spectrum.  I turned to my 48oz water bottle and started sipping away.  Something had to help me end this slippery slope!  It all felt like an instant hangover.  Which with the drinking bouts I had in my younger days, I swore I’d never drink to that point again because of how miserable that feels.

I share this graphic thought process because I know I’m not alone out there in doing this.  I know because others are just as honest as I am about the struggle to be healthy.  This is not just about calories in versus calories out.  This goes much deeper.  I knew when I had satisfied my food as fuel need.  I went on for hours more of intermittent eating though.  I woke up tired, not wanting to get up out of bed this morning–not sure why.  I never made my bed (which is unusual for me) and to top it off, I walked less steps today than I did yesterday (and even if you added up both days, I still wouldn’t total up to 10K steps).

It’s 10pm PT now and I haven’t put food in my mouth for about two hours.  I’ve showered.  I’ ve continued to sip my water and my headache has reduced to a minor/dull ache.  I tracked (what I could remember) what I ate and pre-tracked for Saturday.  I’ve already declared it a new day and fresh start.  What bothered me so much that I did this? Good question.  Still haven’t answered that.  But i’ll get there.  Maybe a look into my “burn book” (more on that in my next post) will clue me in on what is “weighing me down.”

From one food addict to one who hasn’t realized they are one….

Food isn’t the answer.  You first have to know the question you are asking in order to find your answer.  STOP, PAUSE, REFLECT, ASK…be mindful to what is going on in you, around you, about you…you have the answer…the answer is in your heart.  So now I say good night.  I’m disconnecting for now to do that for myself.

Thank you and in good health,

Andrea

Unbelieveable Me….

I’ve been very aware–for whatever reason–this week when I’ve wanted to turn to someone, anyone, else for support and guidance this week.  From the smallest thing of “where/what do you want to eat…” to “…guess what just happened…what do you … Continue reading

It’s time…

“Whether you’ve seen angels floating around your bedroom or just found a ray of hope at a lonely moment, choosing to believe that something unseen is caring for you can be a life-shifting exercise.” ~Martha Beck I’ve been reading a … Continue reading

Shrove Tuesday–What is it, why do many “celebrate” it & what I’m confessing to you?

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So as a kid we always had breakfast for dinner on Shrove Tuesday.  That’s how i knew it growing up “Shrove Tuesday”, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.  I did grow up Catholic so I partially fasted for Lent by observing the no meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays.  We didn’t call it “Fat Tuesday” or Mardis Gras but I knew others who did, and took it for all basically being the same–splurge before the fasting/cleansing period of Lent.

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My Mom would go all out for this breakfast/dinner feast!  We’d get home from school that afternoon and the griddle for the pancakes would already be set up.  She’d have a fresh dozen eggs in the fridge for us and fresh bacon from the local butcher!  Sometimes she’d even make fresh hashbrowns and fresh squeezed orange juice!  It felt like a bigger weekend breakfast on a weekday most times!  It was like a holiday breakfast on a random Tuesday night!  I have very fond memories of those evenings.

Now a days we’ve shifted to taking our “brinner” out to a restaurant.  Something just isn’t the same without her here to do it all with/for.  The griddle hasn’t seen the light of day for almost a decade.  It wasn’t so much a day of being gluttoness but a day of gathering and feasting together.  We didn’t go “hog wild” all day long.

Today, my Dad and I did breakfast for lunch instead since I had dinner plans elsewhere.  I love breakfast any time of day but I’m pretty standard and keep it usually to an egg white omelet with fixings and wheat toast, dry.  But I was feeling nostaglic and this is the one day I always go all out for my breakfast not at breakfast meal.  I ordered the pancake breakfast–two buttermilk pancakes with eggs (whites), and bacon! YUMMY!  With a busy morning of work and calls, the time away from my desk, visiting with my Dad was more than welcoming!  Even the walk down the hill in the chilly California weather was welcoming!

Afterwards I wondered though, what’s the real meaning of the term “Shrove Tuesday”–especially the shrove part.  So, typical Dad response, I Googled it!

This moveable festival is determined by Easter. The expression “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the word shrive, meaning “absolve“.[1] Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics,[2] who “make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God’s help in dealing with.”[3]

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The part of the excerpt that stood out the most to me was the part at the end where it states that people make a conscious effort of self reflection–what they’ve done, what needs to change, and what areas they need help in.  I’ve been looking to do this, looking to find the time and effort to do just this!  2014 was challenging on many levels–physically, emotionally, personally and professionally.  I started 2015 with renewed spirit but not feeling completely in control and back on a good/healthy track.

I’m looking to change this.  I feel like I’ve been taking short cuts by looking for answers everywhere but to myself.  So as we wrap up this Shrove Tuesday, I’d like to renew me.  For a while I was doing something new and positive every Lent instead of giving something up.  But this year, I’m going to do a combination of these two practices.  I’ve found myself craving sugars and the not so good for me carbs.  I know “we can eat anything in moderation” but these things really do react with my body.  But much like a drug, they can be hard to quit and moreso when there’s an emotional connection there.  So for Lent I’ll be weening myself off of processed sugars/sweetners and the carbs that my body doesn’t like–white flours, bread, etc.  My addition of something positive will be my re-implementation of “me time”–quiet, self reflection time.  I’m also adding a “Move It, Love It” aspect to this by increasing my activity.  I did just sign up for my 20th half marathon after all!

I commit to this and to myself for 40 days, beginning Ash Wednesday.  It’s 40 days of taking care of myself…I worked so hard for so long to let go and forgive myself for all the burdens, hurts, and wrong doings I was “carrying” in weight for decades.  I’m not going to “repack”!  I’ve learned.  I’m going to forgive myself, no guilt, and move on.  Get back to my basics…self love, care, and patience.

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Perfectly REAL

Just two words–“Perfectly Real”–and yet so loaded and powerful.  I’ve stated before that my goal hasn’t been around making the “perfect body” but being healthy and fit, at least for me.  The journey itself has been far from perfect!  I’ve tried to sit down and write this post a number of times but never end up finishing it…ironic?  Maybe so, or that’s the message.  That if my goal were about perfection, it would be an unrealistic goal that I’d never actually (naturally) achieve.  Plus what is “perfect” to one person may be far from perfect to another and in the end the only definition and opinion that matters is my own.

To be perfectly real and honest, this journey has been ongoing since I was a young child.  Petite until only about three and then always the “big kid” from five years of age and on.  Being in a constant state of watching my weight…watching it rise and not in a good way.  It was the root of many struggles for me growing up.  I can’t even imagine how kids make it now a days with the instantaneous and long-term effects of social media out there.  Bullying was hard enough when it wasn’t blasted out on social media.  But my real struggle was internal.  So much that it got to a point where I considered…well, lets just say that I wouldn’t be here writing this today if I had chosen one of the options I had considered for myself.  Today, I’m choosing to officially and permanently let that part go and not carry that baggage with my into my future–doubt and fear are rooted there.  I have no need or room for that moving forward.  Instead of dragging it around, my choice is to learn from it and move forward.  What did I learn?  Well, that I was put here for a reason and that reason extends well beyond myself.  So taking my life at a young age would have been selfish and irresponsible of me.  I didn’t think it through much; it was hard to see anything past my pain.  It used to make me sad to think of that time of my life but now I’m grateful for it.  It was one of the first real breakthroughs in my life. In addition to, it was the first time (that I could remember) that I allowed my Dad into that deep space in my mind and heart, that I always only let my Mom into.  My Dad is and was a great dad, but he travelled a lot when I was young so I often went to my Mom for comfort.  I remember her coming in to my room on a number of occasions when I was going through this dark point of my life and thinking back, I can see the hurt in her eyes.  She tried to help and fix me but couldn’t, and that was hard.  My Mom was great at that.  I often naturally want to turn to her for that even still today and I can’t….at least not in the way that I used to.

I say all that to say this.  Not having her here to “save me” is what led me to making my first real decision on my own.  That was a power that I’d never felt and will never forget.  It’s also a reminder that I am able.  It make take some time and effort on my part, but I can do it.  This “perfectly real” me that I talk about is a bit of self acceptance and a dose of realistic thinking/goal setting.  I still shoot for the stars but instead of focusing on the stars, I look at my first step to get to there.  Knowing I can is a major aspect in this.  If I don’t think I can, than I eventually won’t.  In addition to, I’ve learned, it’s not about if someone else got there (or gets there) before I do, it’s about when and how I get there.   Being me, the real me, not who I think people want me to be is key.  My body is able…it’s not a body builder’s body, it’s not an elite runner’s body, it’s not a couch potato, it’s not a professional athlete’s, it’s not a model’s…it’s mine.  I’ve worked long and hard for it too.  No six-pack, some muscle definition (from hours of hard work put in), less fat then muscle now a days, smaller than it’s ever been as an adult, excess skin, but in the end it’s all mine.  Not perfect but definitely perfectly real.  Perfectly capable and able to assist in achieving my hopes, dreams and goals that I have in this life!

Perfectly real is a mind-set at its core.  Being true to one’s self, values, beliefs, and goals.  Being open and honest.  Being confident and humble.  Being grateful and gracious. Appreciating how I got here instead of complaining about all the struggles.  It’s those challenges that have made me stronger and better and more appreciate of life.

Be you…be the perfectly real you that you are meant to be and love it!

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On a Quest for a RE-ReNewed Me

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I’ve seen and heard a lot of inspiring things over the course of the last couple of days and while I may be tired from the full schedule that I’ve been managing, I’m smart enough to know that I’m seeing and hearing all these things for a reason!  I’ve said it before and still believe “EVERYTHING in our lives happens for a reason and exactly when it’s supposed to happen.”

I’ve been working on this post for over a week now…Recently, I saw a good one “REAL > perfection”.  Why do I think this is so great?  Simple, there’s always a part of me that gets caught up in the whirlwind and strives for perfection.  But that’s not what it’s about and SURPRISE–I’m NOT perfect!!  The REAL me is far from perfect and perfect isn’t even realistic, so why even attempt at making it part of my goal(s).  I could sit here and point the finger at others, but that’s not realistic.  I’m the one who makes the choice.  And if I feel out of control then that’s a result of the choices I’ve made.

These last 12 months have been my first that my goal has been to maintain my weight and not lose it.  What a roller coaster this has been!  I learned quickly, that I knew how to lose but I had no idea what it was like to maintain a healthy weight.  At first I dropped some more, then I maintained my goal weight for a bit, but after that a series of events happened and I’ve been in a gain mode for a while.  Maybe it’s all the traveling I’ve been doing this year, maybe not.  Maybe it’s the personal struggle of trusting myself and my abilities, maybe not.  But even if it is due to all that, my goal has always been to live and lead a healthy life.  That involves being able to transition when those times arise in my life.  Making my new healthy habits fit.  How do we do that?

I said it in the beginning of the year and I’m realizing how today…2014 was a year of challenges.  Don’t get me wrong, challenges aren’t a bad thing.  They change us and often for the better–making us stronger, better, and wiser.  Those things that push us out of our comfort zone are what expand our comfort zone until it no longer exists.  I’ve done this before.  For example, I started this journey by walking to be active.  Then I tried going faster little by little.  I worked my way up to jogging a mile without stopping and I still remember to this day how great that felt…I ran, WITHOUT stopping, a whole mile!  Then I ran/walked my first organized 5K.  I’d intermittently throw in some 10Ks to kinda prove that I could do more.  Finally someone said to me, “You know you could run a half.”  I looked at her and thought she’d lost her mind or wasn’t talking directly to me!  LOL….love this woman though, then and still now!  She told me I could and I showed her (and myself) that I was able!  It’s the same in life.  Constant cycle of doubting ability (or assuring a confined comfort zone) and breaking those barriers down.  I’m realizing that I’m still going through these cycles and will until I no longer have barriers/a comfort zone to break through.  Is that realistic?  Maybe.  I may not live that long to find out though as it could take many many years to accomplish.

There’s another great quote that comes to mine as I type this…”It’s not who you are that holds you back; it’s who you think you aren’t.”  **I’ll pause to let you ponder that one**  OK, ready?  It got to a point for me when I realized the more people would challenge me to do bigger and better things.  The more people would start to see this new me and the potential that I was (apparently) exuding, would tell me and encourage me to think/do bigger and bolder goals.  It was this point in my life that I recognized that I was the one holding myself back and I was doing it every day, sometimes multiple times a day.  How?  Every time the words “I can’t…” came out of my mouth, I was doubting my own abilities.  I was saying couldn’t even before I tried.  The day I realized that was the last day those words ever came out of my mouth again.  It took a while to stop thinking them–especially when a certain trainer would have me do atomic push-ups on the TRX.  But it was challenges like that which made me stronger.  All this spread beyond my fitness and strength goals.

But since that peak, I feel as if I’ve lost sights of goal setting and achieving.  When I was losing there was always a goal out there–lose weight, hit my goal weight.  But since then…since then I forgot that I need to now set regular goals.  That this journey with my weight and health is never over and always present in my life.  That every choice I make ripples into the next and they all affect my wellbeing.  Now that I’ve said this, I need to focus forward and work towards a maintainance lifestyle.  Which requires regular self assessments, healthy choices all around, positive thinking, living life active and reflection/me time to rest and recoup.  My focus first is assessment which I’ll address in my next blog post.  Followed by a blog post about healthy choices, and so on.  This is what my “Quest for a RE-ReNewedMe will entail.  This is my choice, I will post about it (all–good, bad, and ugly) because I’m REAL and far from perfect.  And because the ultimate goal is really about continuing to strive and become a better version of my self while living my vocation to help others–BALANCE.

 

In Good Health,

@ReNewedMe, aka Dre