Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful A-Z

My friend Shari wrote a beautiful blog this morning using each letter of the alphabet to tell what she is thankful for. Her words flowed and I loved what she wrote so much that I want it printed out on poster size to hang in my office.

You can read Shari's beautiful post here:

Naturally, her post inspired me to write my own ABC's of Thanksgiving. So here goes. 

The American Cancer Society for all that they stand for, all that they do and all that they encompass. Each day I feel blessed to work for the greatest nonprofit in the country and to be a part of something so big. Books, for allowing me a few minutes to escape into other worlds. Cameras for capturing life's precious moments. Dad. Each and every single one of the people who prayed for my family during our most challenging time. Fort Walton Beach- the smells, the tastes, the sounds.  Grace, God's greatest gift to us. Hips Resale Boutique, my favorite store, and it's employees who know me by name. Ideas that strike you out of nowhere and give you so much energy you just might burst. Jokes that make us laugh until our sides hurt. Kickboxing, my latest and greatest obsession, for teaching me strength, patience, and balance. Love, it always finds it's way back to us, even in the most unusual circumstances. Music and finding the perfect song for each situation. New friends and old friends. Places that feel like home. Quilts to snuggle under when it's cold outside. Ryan. Sunshine,  making each day just a little brighter. Teachers who are molding and challenging our youth. Useful advice from friends. Vacations with friends and family. Working out, the fact that I have the ability to do so. Xmen, Ninja Turtles, and all things 90's. You. Zero complaints.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Cheers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

weight loss Wednesday

I haven't dropped anymore lbs in the last week or so, but I know I am still losing SOMETHING because my clothes, some of which were just purchased two or three weeks ago, are falling off. 

Either way, I am still getting closer and closer to that 100 lbs. And as I get closer, I am thinking about all of the things that I couldn't/wouldn't do 100 lbs ago.

Things like run the bases at softball...or walk up a few flights of stairs without getting winded. Now, I can jog a full mile without stopping and climb 45 flights in the stairmaster. 

Things like wear a bikini or go shopping at "normal" stores. Do you know that everytime I go shopping, I still immediately beeline for the plus size section? Even though I don't need to only shop plus size anymore. I'm down to a size 14. That's a hard thing to change. I've been "plus size" since I was 17. As far as the bikini goes, I still have a long ways before I could pull THAT off, but it's getting closer.

But the most important things are things most might not even think of. Like...100 lbs ago I couldn't fit comfortably in a seat at a concert or sporting event. I had to literally squeeze myself in, and then spend the entire time in pain. Just last week I went to my first event since losing this much weight: a basketball game. I reluctantly sat down and was shocked that I actually had wiggle room! I could easily get up and down without getting stuck! It was an amazing feeling, and one that I can't ever remember having before.  

There's also one thing I've always wanted to do: go rock climbing. I never have because I was too afraid. First of all, I'm scared of heights, so there's that. But I've also been scared that I would be too big or that the rope wouldn't be able to support my weight. Now that I am almost 100 lbs lighter, I feel like I should try it. I want to try it. I just have to get over that fear of heights ;-)

Other than that, there's not much I COULDN'T do before. It was just that everything was much more difficult. Moving through my days before was painful and exhausting. I remember the days when just walking down the hall to the bathroom felt like a huge chore. Now, I purposely take the long way, getting in some extra steps wherever I can.

Mostly, what has changed is that I have learned to love myself. I am not saying it's impossible to love yourself when you are overweight because it's not. But I would be lying if I told you I was happy with who I was before the weight loss. I wasnt... And that was the biggest problem. Because I didn't care about myself, I didn't take care of myself, and it was all one vicious cycle. Now, my healtb is my priority. I love that I take care of myself. I love how my skin glows, I love how strong my muscles have become and how I can feel my hip bones. I love that I love me.

Friday, November 21, 2014


One of our Thanksgiving traditions is for everyone to write what they are thankful for on a paper leaf. As we eat, the younger cousins (who are now not so young), read them aloud. The rest of the guests try and figure out who wrote what. It's usually pretty obvious, like the year I wrote Nicki Minaj or the year one of the little kids wrote "cheese" and we all burst out laughing.

This year, my leaf will read something like:

My dad is alive.

Back in September, when we went through that terrible trauma of not knowing what was going on with him, we also didn't know what it meant. We were confident that whatever was happening was not going to kill him, but we also were so unsure about it all. Naturally, that leads to fear, to "what if?". So the fact that he is alive, home, walking and talking is the greatest gift we could have been blessed with.

And then there's everything that goes along with that: thankful for the doctors who cared for him, for the nurses who held our hands through the process and who wiped our tears, to the medicine that helped pull him out of the steroid psychosis, to the friendly aides who took such amazing care of him. To each person who visited even though it was terribly painful to see him in that condition, to the people who delivered meals or sent gift cards so that we could eat, to anyone who babysat Ryan or did laundry or ran errands,  for our employers who were so compassionate and understanding, for the phone calls/cards/emails, for the prayers, and for God, who held us tightly during that time and embraced us with His Grace.

Most of all, I am thankful to be blessed with this crazy group of people I call my family. We would not have made it through that hell without one another. We came out of it stronger than ever before, a united force. No one should dare mess with us, not even cancer.

I learned so much from September 5th- now. Mostly, that family, laughter, sharing and friends are among the most important, cherished things in life. Everything in between is just "stuff". We put "stuff" first a lot, when it should be the other way around. Being with the ones you love, making memories, and giving back to others is a beautiful way to live your life.

Dad, thank you for pulling through. You are the strongest man I know, and I am so proud of you.
Mom, thank you for being the world's greastest caregiver. I know it's exhausting, but you are doing a phenomenal job.  Your patience and compassion shine.

Lord, thank you for blessing me with this family, these friends, and this life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weight Loss Wednesday: The Secret

Whenever someone asks me my "weight loss secret", I feel silly in my my answer is not enough. Because my answer is "eating right and exercising". It sounds so, so simple.

So I've come up with a better way of wording that statement. Ready?

Finding motivation and resisting temptation. 

Yep. That's the secret, folks. It took me a year and a half to figure out how to put it into words, but that's it. 

Let me give you an example.

Monday was a busy day at work. 9am meeting, 10 am meeting, office thanksgiving party, 1:30 pm meeting, and 2:30 pm meeting. I barely had time to respond to emails. When I got home around 5, I told myself that I would just lay down for 10 minutes and then get up and go to the gym. Well, 10 minutes turned into an hour and a 1/2. I wasn't napping... I fell into a YouTube hole and suddenly it was 6:40 and I hadn't even changed into my workout clothes. I then thought "well it's already almost 7. Maybe I should just make dinner and relax". I wrestled with this thought for about 10 minutes before I came to my senses and changed. I got to the gym and did 40 flights on the StairMaster and 2 miles of jogging on the treadmill. I left feeling satisfied...and energized. 

Then, I had to stop at the store to pick up just a few more things for dinner. The store was overflowing with temptation. First I wanted cider. Then cookies. Then cheese and sour cream for my tacos even though I had already decided I was going to leave them out of the recipe. Then beer. Then back to cookies. But, I resisted and left the store with only what I needed. I easily could have bought the things I WANTED, and I think it's okay to give yourself a treat sometimes, but I had already had a treat at our thanksgiving party and I was not about to ruin the hard work I had just put in at the gym.

Things like that happen every day. The key, as I said, is to always find the motivation. Remember how much BETTER you feel after a workout and don't let lame excuses stand in your way. Those excuses are sneaky little demons, trying to stop you from reaching your goal. No way Jose. 

And try, as hard as you can, to steer clear from temptations. I'll admit I've given in on several occasions. And that's okay. But it can't become a cycle, or else you won't get anywhere. You don't really need the extra "stuff". A cookie is delicious but do you need it? Or can an apple and peanut butter satisfy you instead? Think about it. Take 2 seconds to stop and think before you grab what looks good. 

Since I've had this epiphany I wrote out the words "find motivation and resist temptation" on several notecards. I have one hanging at work, one in my car and one in my room. That way, whenever I'm feeling "too tired" to go to the gym or like I really want to order a pizza and drink beer, I'll remember that this magic combination has helped me lose to lose 88 lbs....and counting.