Monday, June 24, 2013

After the Thrill is Gone....There's Still Commitment.

When everything in the world tells you to quit going, how do you make the voice inside you that keeps you motivated, the voice that got you started, scream so loud that you continue the journey of what you know is right no matter what?!

6 years ago I said "yes". I was called to step up and do something for a cause I knew little about other than it was taking the life of someone that I loved very much. I was "called". What an overused phrase, right?! Let me explain what that meant for me. There was an overwhelming urge inside me that knew I HAD to do something, anything. I couldn't fix the problem. I had no control but I needed to do something that made me feel like I did in some way. When I started that's all I cared about and that's all I saw. I didn't see the underlying problems with the foundation I was raising money for. I didn't see all the bickering and the name-calling and the completely emotional wreckage between people that were fighting for the same cause. I didn't see that people with the same goal continued to tear one another to shreds and were walking away from something that they were once very passionate about.

Finding out that being an advocate for breast cancer was not all rainbows and unicorns was like the time I was a kid and I found out that not every kid thought church camp was as awesome as I did and some of them were just there to meet people of the opposite sex or to get away from their parents. It was like what I felt when I found out that Santa Claus wasn't real or like when I was told not everyone I love will make it into heaven. It was one of those moments when my heart felt heavy and my soul was punched in the gut.

I continue to feel that way even today, as I sit here more motivated than ever, and yet, defeated in some way. The media has been having a field day with the Komen Foundation and the Komen Foundation is having some legitimate issues. How do I defend an organization who has run itself into the ground over the past few years and made some very obvious public relations nightmares for all of us that are trying to raise money for them?

I'm angry. But I'm just not sure who I'm angry at or who I should be directing my anger towards. Some people have chosen to crucify the CEO's that are making six figure salaries. Some are attacking Planned Parenthood or Komen. Some are just blaming the economy of the entire country. What I'm seeing, apparently, there's enough blame to go around. I am disappointed in my fellow advocates and walkers and crew that have allowed the media to distract us from our main goal. We have turned our eyes from our hope and our mission of working as diligently as we can for patients, people we love, for a cure. We have turned away and immersed ourselves in politics, hate, bickering and darkened something that should have never been overshadowed by our human flaws. We have forgotten that we ARE the answer. We ARE THE CURE. If we quit, there is no money, no advances, no awareness, no answers for future generations.

I'm saddened and heartbroken and I have no idea how to fight other than to be persistent in the goals I've had all along. I am trying desperately to block out all the unwanted noise that continues to blind me from what is really important. It gets incredibly difficult on days when funds are slow to roll in, training is SUPER hot and humid, and it seems things are unraveling at the seams. 

I am interested to see the future for the largest organization fighting the war on breast cancer. For now, I will consider this a restructuring time for us all. A time when we can regroup and make plans to push ahead in whatever way we need to. Our cause is too great to just walk away. The journey isn't over. The mission isn't complete and therefore, I will not walk away.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Perfection Isn't Reality and Yet...

“Part of abandoning the all-or-nothing mentality is allowing yourself room for setbacks. We are bound to have lapses on the road to health and wellness, but it is critical that we learn how to handle small failures positively so that we can minimize their long-term destructive effects. One setback is one setback—it is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your journey toward a better you.” -Jillian Michaels

My entire life, losing weight was centered around the idea of this image of perfection. Movie stars, magazines, television programs all told me what perfection was "supposed to be". Every spring break I was "supposed to" have a beach body for bikini season and the same for every summer. As someone who absolutely loathed bathing suites, and still does, all this did was make me angry. If I got invited to anything that involved a water activity, I immediately could feel my throat closing and my heart beating 90 miles an hour. I would start thinking of reasons why I couldn't attend. What can I say, kids are super judgmental and I was my own worst critic.

As an adult though I had an epiphany the other day: if I want to swim, go skiing, get in a hot tub, or head to the beach for a few days, I should buy a suite that fits and bask in all my imperfection. Seriously, who looks like Victoria Secret models aside from Victoria Secret models. NO ONE. Yes, there are women that are attractive and are at the gym every free second they have, but I can tell you that's not the majority. The majority of women are trying to get an hour in 3 or 4 times a week, if they're lucky. You know what?! That's okay. This idea of perfection or nothing is silly. Perfection is a social construct that isn't real.

Maybe I took one too many sociology classes but bear with me for a moment. Surely you've heard this concept that society tells us what pretty is or what we should look like. Whether you want it to or not, it does. We see, everywhere we look, what a woman is "supposed to be". We grow up believing that we have to reach this level of flawlessness that is created out in media world. I am so confused by this mostly because that ideal image isn't real. Hear that: IT ISN'T REAL.

There are so many of us that think that there's a magic pant size or a magic number on a scale that is going to send us into perfection-ville and all our problems will cease to exist. That isn't real either. There is NO magic and this idea that we have created solely in our minds of a perfect us isn't correct. Am I saying embrace the unhealthiness that is you? Love that you're 100lbs overweight and miserable? No. Most people I know are not happy being overweight and sedentary. Our bodies were made to move and to eat foods that weren't processed and reprocessed and reprocessed again. The importance here is to realize that if you're unhappy, for heaven sakes, do SOMETHING! Start walking. Make small changes. Instead of a hamburger, eat half a hamburger and order something besides fries. That's just one example of many.

I am an emotional eater and I know that because every time something stresses me out all I can think about is going somewhere to eat something I like to make myself feel better. Once I realized that about myself, I now have the power to change it. I just suffer through the pain, maybe say a prayer, cry, punch something, not someone, although that could be effective, and keep going

This journey is not easy. Let me repeat that: Trying to eat healthy and make the right decisions for a quality life is NOT EASY. If you choose to do it the right way, it will never be easy. If you're an emotional eater like me, it's a constant fight between emotion and logic. "I want to eat that cookie. I WANT that cookie! I'll feel better. Just a bite. Just let me lick it...No! Do you know how long you'll have to stay on the ellipical if you eat that?! That hover-round is calling your name. If you keep eating like this you'll have a grabbing stick in no time." And so it goes...

My main goal is to tell myself every day not to be an all or nothing person. I have a prayer that I was saying every day for a while, "God, help me not to be an all or nothing person. I need the middle ground right now." Simple but effective. There's nothing more freeing than having control of your emotions and knowing that you don't need to rely on a substance of any kind to get you through the day. It's freeing to know that perfection is not reality and that I don't tell myself that to just feel better BUT because that is TRUTH. My "perfection", my self-worth, is based on the goals I set for myself that are realistic, that I can meet and be proud to reach. Perfection is realizing there is no perfection.

27lbs. down. 55ish to go.    




Friday, March 1, 2013

Living Healthy, Testing Sanity

When I began this blog it was strictly meant to be about losing weight and getting healthy. After a short while, I got distracted apparently. My focus is now turned towards venting, chatting, rejoicing, etc. about the journey of truly trying to be healthy which includes not only making healthy eating choices and exercising but also forming good habits. Period.

I can tell you that the past almost 2 weeks have been interesting. I finally made the decision to allow, ask, beg my childhood friend, Val to help me. She is a nutrition consultant at my gym and for a long time I refused to believe I needed anyone's help. At 32, I have decided that as strong I as I want to be or think I am, I still need help sometimes. I need support and accountability. It makes all the changes bearable.

For the first 3 days she put me on a detox plan in which I was eating mostly lean meat and green veggies. (Hold your excitement.) It was simple enough except the first day, what I call the day of panic, I was angry, grouchy, and just all out hungry. I felt as though I was losing my sanity. People kept offering me food I couldn't eat and I kept saying no. All I really wanted to do was head to Jody's Bakery and eat cookies until I I was in a diabetic coma. The fat kid inside me was having some issues. Day 2 and 3 were much better though, and after 3 days of detox and 3 other days of a healthy eating plan, I had lost 4 lbs. There was some exercise thrown in there also. Overall, feeling like a crackhead without a fix was worth it.

Today is day 11. I don't know if I've lost any more weight since I refuse to weigh myself every day but I do know that I feel great, for the most part. I'm stressed out over preparing food. I like to cook...when I have time...which is never. I like to make my own food at home BUT when I get off work or I come home on a lunch break, I don't want to spend the entire time trying to get all my protein and veggies prepared and down the hatch before running back to work or heading to bed. Now, I know what you're thinking. Prepare, chop, slice, dice and freeze. I know all of that. I know what I NEED to do but getting it all planned and together is another story. I told myself that I would take Saturday or Sunday of this weekend and prepare a week of food but honestly just thinking of that wears me out. It's a lot of work to keep up this lifestyle. A lot of work.

The flip side of that, it's a LOT of work to stay uncomfortable, fat, and tired all of the time from not moving. It's a lot of work to have to carry 80 extra pounds around on a skeleton that didn't grow when the fat did. I love the way I feel when I'm working out and not eating crap but it certainly is not the easier path. The easier, quicker path is to eat at McDonald's and be done with thinking about it. Yep. Eat the "poop nuggets" as I call them and carry on. Side note: the ingredients in those nuggets looks like pink poop, hence poop nuggets. Not to mention, they have the same nutritional value. Easy isn't better. Easy is regret.

I've spent the better part of my life trying to build and maintain better habits. I do well for a while and then I'm back to the same destructive patterns. My question to myself and every one else is, if it feels a thousand times better to live a life eating what God intended us to eat and sweating and moving, again, like we were naturally made to do, why do we choose the easier road that only leads to diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, heart attacks, and gargantuan amounts of low self worth? We waste our lives running after a schedule of events that doesn't include what should be most important, our health and our well-being. Through our actions we are creating a world of tv watching, glutinous, lazy, barbarians. We are teaching our kids that a cheeto, burger, oreo filled lunch is okay because it fits the schedule and momma "ain't gotta cook."

I can only worry about my habits and my future children's habits, if I have them. Saying that, there will never be a time when I won't try to encourage people to make better choices. I hope that my better choices, all my "no's" to girl scout cookies and trips out to eat at the local pizza joint, will not just be an annoyance for my friends and family, but an encouragement and a knowledge that better choices are out there and we owe it to ourselves to choose better.

Today my goal is to choose better. To go to the gym. And to try not to be bitter about it.

22 down. 60 to go.