It Just Took a Choice

Over the past few days, I've been fighting some serious depression.  I've been extremely overwhelmed by being in Kentucky with little income, no friends, and no way to accomplish what I want.  If I didn't have my boyfriend to talk to, I would honestly be a lump in my bed made soggy by all the tears I've cried recently.  I know that sounds a little dramatic, but it's true.  Even at a distance, I'm lucky to have him.  I need to stop making assumptions about him.  My general life experiences have led me to expect the worst from people, and I seem to forget that he's not just any person in my life - he's my boyfriend, he loves me, and he wants to help me.  I nervously and anxiously asked him if I could stay with him in Bloomington, but made sure he knew I wouldn't be able to contribute toward rent, utilities...anything, really.  My income is that low right now.  But he still said yes, when I expected him to say no.  Because he loves me and wants to help me.  So now that I have a place to stay in the town where I want to live, I've asked for a transfer at work from my store to the Bloomington store.  It'll take a few weeks, but I'm confident it'll happen because I'm a good server and I'm sure much of the Btown staff has limited hours because of school being on again. 

SO.  I'm happier today.  I woke up depressed, but I made a choice to leave my depression in bed and continue my day without it.  I made myself a (relatively) healthy breakfast, and now I'm going to get some exercise.  I'm thinking yoga and maybe some weights exercises to rebuild strength in my legs and therefore help my knee.  The healthier my knee is, the more bellydancing I can do, and there is no activity on earth that makes me happier or keeps up my optimism and self-worth more than dancing.

I have to admit, making that choice was hard.  I know the last post I made was about not eating crap and getting exercise, but I haven't done it yet.  I've sort of been mentally working up to it, I think, working on accepting the idea of change (even if it is a small change).  But today I'm ready to go.  There's no point in lamenting over my eating this past week or worrying about whether I'll be able to keep exercising and eating right in the days to come.  My choices on this day matter, in the time between waking and sleeping.  Nothing else. 

Simple and easy, just the way I like it. 


Weight Loss Smweight Loss

Lately, I've been very much anti-effort when it comes to my eating.  I've read a couple of studies in respected health journals about how the types of foods eaten when trying to lose weight really don't matter - it's the amount of food that is most important.  So, I've been slacking off on making sure I get my veggies and fruits and whole grains in.  My weight is going slowly down because I'm still eating less, and I'm comfortable with the pace. 

Actually, I have to say that losing weight has really not been a priority for me in the past month.  I just don't seem to care as much as I once did about the size of my body.  More and more, I'm finding myself very comfortable with the way I look and the idea of fitting into smaller clothes or wearing a bikini has almost entirely lost its appeal.  I just don't care about it anymore.  I haven't stepped on the scale, even out of curiosity, in weeks.

Instead, I'm starting to truly focus in on my health.  I can't exactly pinpoint why, but I think it started with my visit to the doctor about my knee a few weeks ago. Now that I have a serious health issue to care about, my health is starting to matter more than anything else.  If I do lose more weight, it'll be for the sake of my joints and not my self-esteem.  I'm going to start eating better and getting more consistent exercise, but for the sake of my heart and not any grand weight loss goals.  At least five people in my family have died from massive heart attacks at a relatively young age.  I really don't want to be the sixth.  And apparently my family also has a history of breast cancer.  So now I know where my priorities lie. 

In terms of eating, I'm going to try and get my grandma to let me do more of the cooking and shopping while I'm still living here.  If it's not a whole fruit, vegetable, grain, healthy fat or lean meat I'm not eating it.  And because life just seems to be so much easier when I'm consistent in my yoga practice, I'm committing to twenty minutes every day after I wake up.  I haven't been bellydancing lately in the interest of protecting my knee, but I'm going to talk to my former instructor and see what advice she can give me about making my practice safer for my joints.  I don't want to give up something that makes me as happy as bellydance if I can help it. 

So, to make sure I actually follow through with all these aspirations, I'll be posting more often here with what I've been eating and what yoga routines I've been doing.  I would looooove it if some of you jumped on the yoga bandwagon with me.  It does so much good for my body and mind, I wish I could force everyone in the world to try it.  Ooh, perhaps I'll become a yoga instructor and make money that way.  Interesting...


Introducing: To Earthward

Hello friends!

I have decided to start another blog.  This will be my third now - I am definitely addicted to blogging.  Being socially inept as I sometimes am, I have trouble expressing my emotions and thoughts aloud to other people.  I love that blogging lets me express what I have to say without the anxiety of having to get it out right on the first try.  I think "edit" is my new favorite word!

To Earthward

However, I don't plan on leaving The Act of Discovery behind unless you, my readers, move on.  As long as one of you is still following me, I'll keep posting.  I still want to keep thinking and learning about ways to be healthier, and my new blog really isn't the place for that. 

I went to the doctor this past Tuesday to have my knee checked out (finally!).  My doc made it clear that I would one day need knee surgery, but that a combination of naproxen, icing/heating, and coritsone injections would be able to put off surgery for quite a few years.  She also told me not to gain any weight, because each added pound would bring surgery from the distant future to the near future.  She did say I was a bit overweight, but not "excessively", which was nice to hear.  I even weighed in on their scale, fully clothed, at 200 pounds!  And while I was happy to see that number, it didn't give me an emotional high.  I think I've finally let go of the importance I used to assign to the scale.  It's a lovely feeling of freedom.

I should also say that my ex and I decided to get back together a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't want to say anything until I was sure it was real, haha, but it is!  I'm overjoyed, and making sure that I don't let my love for him overshadow my love for myself.  The long distance helps a bit with that, and I've also been trying to be more open with him about what I need/want.  Things are already better for me, and I'm much more comfortable with where I am emotionally than I was before.  I'm glad we had that little break, but now I'm really looking forward to our future together.  Unless I move across or out of the country, I don't see us ever leaving each other again.  : )

So, go check out my new blog if you like!  It is being hosted by WordPress, because I'm a total theme whore and they have a way bigger selection than Blogger.  <.<  But I hope you'll subscribe anyway, if you like what you read. 

Peace out, lovelies. 



Beauty is not something that can be achieved or lost.  It is not a state of being - it is being.  It is pain and love, sunsets and sunrises.  It is the experience of learning, growing, then changing.  Life is not beautiful - life is beauty

Therefore, our outsides are not, in fact, outsides.  Beauty cannot be contained, for it permeates all things.  Once that is accepted, our physical bodies then become tools for experiencing beauty - that is to say, for experiencing life, others, and ourselves. 

We should not worry about wanting to feel beautiful.  We are the very essence of beauty regardless of the appearance of our tools.  Those who would judge the worth of a tool on its appearance rather than how well it functions will never know beauty.  They have closed their minds to learning, growth, and change.  They have closed their minds to life.

You are not like them. 


What I've Learned


This has been me lately.  I don't really have much to say.  I've seen a few followers quit my blog, which makes me immensely sad, but I understand completely.  I can't offer any advice, I have no healthy eating trials to share. I'm not contributing to the community here at all.  What's been going on in my head recently is almost all break-up talk.

I am working toward some goals, but my biggest ones aren't at all focused on eating.  And to be honest...I don't really mind.  I've been eating much better lately, and have been exercising almost every day because I'm not constantly trying to focus on it and make sure I'm doing "what I need to do".  I'm doing what I want to do.  Eating right and being active are things that are happening as I strive toward my biggest current goal:  loving and taking care of ME first, before anyone and anything else.  Now that I've had some time to reflectively explore my past relationship with my ex, I see just how much energy and intention I had been giving away to him.  How much I had been trying, in every moment and in every way, to make him as happy as possible so that he would give me the affirmation I've been craving all my life - the affirmation I never got from my mother.  Accordingly, I felt like the happier he was, the more effort I put into taking care of him, the more he would love me. 

I've been saying, in my own head and to others, that he was at fault.  That I deserved more from him - more attention, more emotional connection.  I've painted myself a victim, saying recently to a friend that even though I needed more, I was "just so happy to be loved, in any way".

And yes, I certainly deserved and needed more...but not from him.

I probably asked him about 48239748392 times throughout our 4.5 years together if he loved me, and when he said yes I would ask, "Why?".  He would answer me patiently each time, being careful not to say anything I might, from my warped perspective, view as unloving.  And even though I knew, rationally, that he loved me...I don't think I ever understood my need to ask "Why?" until now.  

Of course I've known for a long time that deep down I don't believe people when they say they care about me; that I have always, in any situation, sacrificed my own happiness or comfort to make others happier or more comfortable;  and that I have determined my self-worth based on my relationships with the people around me (as if I do not inherently have worth of any kind).  

But what I've learned from breaking up with my ex is that I do all those things listed above because, for all the love I do my best to give to other people, I keep none to give to myself.  If I asked my ex to go on a walk with me and he said "No, thanks", I would get a little upset.  I would have loved to go out for a walk, but because I wanted to make him happy I would continue to sit on the couch.  Really, I was upset with myself for caring about his happiness so much that I wouldn't foster my own happiness by doing what I really wanted to do.  I projected that onto him unfairly, making myself the supposed victim of his supposed inattention - as if by doing what would make me happy, I was making him unhappy. When really, I'm sure that it would have made him much happier to see me taking myself than spending all my effort trying to take care of him.  He did love me, after all. 

So now I understand that much of what I thought he was doing wrong to me was me doing wrong to myself.  I can't imagine how difficult it must have been sometimes for him to handle me, but I'm so glad that he at least tried.  I wouldn't be here learning to love myself if he hadn't loved me first.  Even though he often denied it when I told him, he really was wonderful to me.  I don't regret a single second of our relationship, or, for that matter, our breakup.

I'm taking this newfound clarity and using it to work toward my new goal:  making Erika happy.  I'm pursuing my interests, working on my photography, doing yoga, and practicing bellydance.  I'm eating well and taking care of myself.  I'm excited for the future, uncertain as it is.  Although, I have to say, I'm not sure what to do about this blog.  Would anybody even want to read about such a self-centered goal?  Maybe not.  But I would so hate to leave you guys behind...

While I figure out what's in store for The Act of Discovery, I hope to keep reading about your journies.  You guys are up to some super exciting stuff, and I've never been more grateful for the support you've given me in the past couple of years.  So I'll be back around...eventually. 

Have a lovely end to your Monday, friends.  : )


Tangent: On the Debt Crisis

I have posted this note to facebook and twitter, and I want you to read it too.

Dear friends,

When I first heard people talking about the debt crisis, I shrugged it off.  Like many people I know, I’ve grown tired of hearing about all the ways our leaders have not met our nation’s needs.  To me, it was just one more tally on our government’s scoreboard of failure.  However, I was curious.  I wondered what the fuss was all about, what exactly was going to happen if America was unable to pay its bills.  Knowing that the reality of any issue is never clear from one perspective alone, I began to read as many articles on the subject as I could from as many different perspectives as I could find.  And the reality of the debt crisis shocked me.

The reality is this:  if the people we elected to represent our interests in Congress cannot find a way to keep America’s bills paid, every American will suffer.  Those who rely on federal aid will find themselves unable to pay their own bills.  Interest rates on everything from credit cards to student loans will climb.  State governments, many of whose budgets include large amounts of federal money, will find themselves tumbling even further into the red.  This will ultimately mean more strain on Americans that are already struggling.

But I’m afraid those projected outcomes are too vague.  Even though President Obama explained all of this in his national address earlier this evening, I know there are many people (especially a number of Republicans in Congress) who still do not truly understand what a default would mean for American families, just as I didn’t know before this weekend.  So, in order to illuminate any doubts or uncertainties my peers may have about the immensity of the problem we face, I offer my own personal reality.  I want to explain what would happen to my family if Congress cannot find a way to solve this problem.

My mother, my father, my stepfather, and my grandparents all rely on Social Security benefits as their primary source of income.  My grandfather also receives a pension check that the government guaranteed he would get after the steel mill he worked in for more than thirty years went bankrupt.  My mom and stepdad are disabled due to medical conditions and are unable to work.  My father is mentally disabled and can only work certain low-wage jobs.  As it is, my loved ones are already living government check to government check, barely scraping by.  If America defaults, my family members will not be able to pay their rent or afford groceries.  My mother, my father, my stepfather, my grandparents, and my six year-old brother will starve if Republicans continue to refuse to compromise.  I myself am currently tens of thousands of dollars in debt to the federal government due to the direct loans I used to finance my college education.  If America defaults, the interest rates on my loans will jump, perhaps high enough to add years to my already decade-long repayment schedule (and I am a fortunate graduate - others may need twenty years or more to repay their loans).  And because I opted to work part-time while going to school full-time so that I did not have to accrue more debt, I sacrificed many career development opportunities that have left me unable to find a decent job with my Bachelor’s degree.  If America defaults and the economy stalls, my difficulty in finding a job will only multiply and I will be unable to provide for my loved ones at all.

The reality of the debt crisis is that if Republicans refuse to compromise, they will personally cause the complete destruction of my family and our well-being - and we will not be the only family destroyed.

I am furiously angry that the people who were elected to represent America’s interests would potentially allow the total devastation of American families like mine instead of backing down on their unreasonable demands for a so-called "cut, cap, and balance" solution to this crisis.  It is clear that serious reforms in many programs are needed in order to keep America’s debt from spiraling out of control, but this is not the time for irresponsible rigidity on that point.  I believe that the Republicans have been offered a solution that is as fair and balanced as possible given the current situation.  That solution, which requires the end of tax breaks for people who earn more than $250,000 per year, spreads the fallout of America’s financial acrobatics across the income board instead of concentrating the damage on those whose lives it would obliterate.

In response to President Obama, Speaker Boehner said that if the government is spending more money than it takes in, it needs to spend less of it.  That is only half the answer – the other half is increasing income.  As my family and others know all too well, it isn’t always enough to stop spending; sometimes you have to get a second job.  What the American people need is not a frightening and unwarranted stalemate in Congress.  We need for Republicans to be the leaders they were elected to be.  Right now, that means embracing sacrifice, just as so many of their constituents have to do every day of their lives.

If you find the impending ruin of American families at the hands of a few self-absorbed politicians with poor judgment and bad timing as offensive and disturbing as I do, I urge you to stand with me and do something about it.  I believe that we can make a difference if we try, and that if we don’t make an effort we are failing ourselves and each other.  Write letters, make phone calls, beat on your representative’s door.  Attack them with the strength of your voice until they have no choice but to hear your indignation.  Do not be apathetic, because democracy only works when citizens are engaged. Your inaction will let that group of Republicans keep their jobs.  But, if we all stand together and refuse to let them play ultimatum with our lives, they will soon know exactly what it feels like to be out of work, in debt, and out of hope.

 If there is a right time to act, it’s now.  Please try to make your voice heard, even if a default may not affect you the way it will affect me.  My mom, dad, stepdad, grandparents, and baby brother would greatly appreciate it.  And so would I.

With love,


Mission: Accomplished!

Hello friends!

I apologize for my ridiculous absence lately.  Between the stress of moving and breaking up with my boyfriend of 4.5 years, combined with more joblessness and financial woes, I had to let blogging take a backseat for a minute.  But I'm back, and with some excellent news.

As of this morning, for the first time in over four years, I finally weigh less than 200 pounds.  I weighed in this morning at 199.5, and I'm looking forward to seeing that number go down as my activity rises.

I am now residing in a little town outside of Louisville, KY.  The move has certainly made me depressed at times.  Although I try to stay as busy as I can, there a couple hours each day that I feel very down and hopeless.  Whenever I feel like this, I try to just sit down and sort out the emotions, cry if I need to, and then get a little activity in.  I've been doing yoga, going on walks, and I've started strength training again.  Knowing that I have all this opportunity to really take care of myself and focus on me, not my family or financial problems or my now ex-boyfriend, makes me really want to accomplish some goals.  Having at long last accomplished my Under 200 goal, I'm feeling much more optimistic about my future in Kentucky. 

My next goal is consistency.  Although I will be keeping an eye on my weight, I am mostly focusing on doing some kind of activity each day.  I'm resisting a scheduled workout plan - it would be setting myself up for failure because I know I'll feel guilty and upset if I'm not able to stick to it.  That's happened too many times this year already.  My goal is to move my body in some way for about half an hour each day and do strength training two times a week.  I feel it's a good place to start.  I'm lucky in that my grandparents' apartment is in a very residential area (and flat!), so I'm sure to be on my bike whenever the Kentucky heat allows me. 

And now it's time for me to go and find a job.  So I shall be back soon and I will do my best to catch up on all your lovely blogs!  Have a beautiful day!


Relearning to Cope

Hey ladies!  I apologize for being pretty absent lately.  I haven't been particularly busy or more stressed than I already was, I've just been taking some time to make decisions and work as much as I can.

I've been trying hard to adjust my attitude toward positivity, and I think this whole don't-cut-yourself-down thing is finally taking hold.  I've been focusing on what I like about me, and reframing negative thoughts (isn't that a Weight Watchers tool?  Thanks for saving me some dough, Christie :P).  It's definitely helping me eat better, move more, and it's taken the edge off my stress enough that I've found a new coping mechanism to use in place of food:  crying.

I know that sounds a little counterintuitive - how in the world could CRYING ever make me feel better or less stressed?  Well, my entire life I've avoided crying.  I was often told as a child "You don't need to cry about it!" in reference to physical injury, emotional pain, and almost anything else.  So I internalized my feelings and developed a habit of overeating when I was upset.  I actually used to pride myself on the fact that I NEVER cried (before I was depressed).  In high school (when I got depressed), I used to tell people that I hadn't cried for years even when I would go home and cry in the shower almost every day.  Crying was too visible an expression of my pain - I didn't want anybody to see how much I was hurting because I didn't want to hear that I was weak or not good enough.  I dreaded being comforted by relatives because them reaching out to me just reeked of hypocrisy - how could the people who made me feel like shit in the first place think that their comfort would help me?  Of course, I was an angsty teen back then and now I certainly know that nobody ever made me feel like shit on purpose (and since I never told anybody, they never knew how I felt).  So when I couldn't cry in private, I ate in public.  It was so easy to spin it and make people think I was okay.  I could say, "Oh, I love donuts!  I'll have two!" and people would think I was double happy.  But I was really hoping that if I ate something I loved I would feel better.

Now I know that eating never makes me feel better.  It just makes me feel worse and say terrible things to myself.  So although I've always had this aversion to crying, I've realized lately how much it helps.  And since I'm home alone all day while my boyfriend's at work, I can just cry and cry and let my stress out without anybody asking questions about it and making me feel awkward.  It's almost kind of...nice.  I can just sit on the couch with a box of kleenex, work through my stress, and cry it out.  When I calm down I take a shower and try to work out solutions for my problems.  Once I get my emotions out of the way, life's ups and downs become much easier to navigate.

So, between the crying and the positive self-talk, I'm happy to report I'm back down to 201!  Yaaay!  I'm feeling optimistic about losing more weight and finally, finally reaching the golden streets of Onederland. I know it will happen soon.  Like a cleansing downpour, I can feel it coming.

To depart, I leave you with an adorable picture of me and my oh-so-serious li'l bro that I took when I was home last month.  Ain't he just the cutest?  : )


Sharing a Helpful Post

In case you don't follow Lyn at Escape From Obesity, this post is really helping me today:

Binge Monster


Potato and Spinach Frittata

Hello lovely readers!  So I just made this AMAZING Potato and Spinach Frittata for breakfast and now that I'm done eating and super happy I want to share it with you.  I was sort of following this recipe, but I did do some things differently.

So here's how to make it.  First, assemble your ingredients.
  • eggs
  • onion
  • garlic
  • potatoes (I used Russet)
  • milk (I used skim)
  • spinach (I used frozen)
  • olive oil (I used extra virgin)
  • shredded cheese (recipe called for cheddar, but I used an italian blend and it was delicious)
  • salt
  • pepper

Find yourself a good sized skillet.   Peel and thinly slice 2-3 Russet potatoes.  Put enough olive oil in to coat the pan, plus a little extra, 2-3 tablespoons.  Mince a few cloves of garlic, dice a solid handful of onion, and chop 1-2 cups of spinach.  Adjust the measurements based on the size of your pan; just imagine all the ingredients in there together and prepare whatever will fit. 

Set the heat to medium.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic.  Give it a minute to get happy in the oil and add the onion.   When the onion starts to become translucent, add in the potatoes and stir it well to coat everything nice and evenly.  Put the lid on your skillet and let the oil do its job until the potatoes are soft.

My potatoes cooking away; I love the way steam on the inside of the lid looks.

Make sure you have at least 6 eggs.  If you don't, make your boyfriend go to the store (thanks, boyfriend!).  Beat the eggs with 1/3-1/2 C of milk. 

When the potatoes are finished, add your chopped and more-or-less-thawed-by-now spinach.

Pour the egg-milk all over the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and stir everything up.  Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese, put the lid on, turn the heat down to Lowish, and say goodbye to your tasty future breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack until the eggs are set.

When the eggs set up, kill the heat, sprinkle a little more cheese over the top if you like, and cut into eight slices.   Delicious!  I ate mine with fresh raspberries on the side for an amazing breakfast and can't wait to have another piece tomorrow. 

If you make this, be sure and let me know how it goes for you!


10 Things I Like About Me

1,000 awesome points to anybody who gets my not-so-subtle reference to one of my most favorite movies ever! 

Anyway.  I got some very helpful comments from Christie, Candy, and Erin on my post yesterday.  Thanks, ladies.  You have no idea how helpful you are.  : )

So, as per Christie's advice, I'm going to pretend I'm talking to my best friend when I talk about the way I perceive my body.  I know I would NEVER point out the kinds of things I discussed yesterday if I were talking to my best friend, Bonnie.  Bonnie is a gorgeous, hilarious, warm-hearted woman - telling her what's "wrong" with her body would be pointless.  She's AWESOME, so who gives a shit?  Well, I'm awesome, too, so who gives a shit about my crappy skin?  Nobody but me, apparently, so I won't worry about it either.  It's not like I'm running up and down the street naked anyway. 

Instead of listing all the things I don't like about me, I'm going to list ten things I DO like about me.  This list could honestly probably be expanded to 20, or even 30, things if we weren't just talking about my body.  I do generally think I'm a pretty amazing person, which is why I get so upset when my outside doesn't match my inside, so to speak.  But, with no further ado, here are the 10 things I like about me

1.  My eyes.  I think my eyes are really beautiful (and it kinda sucks I have to hide them behind glasses all day, but I do hate wearing contacts).  They change color depending on what I'm wearing, going from kind of a flat grey to vibrant blue on the outside and light green in the middle.  I lovelovelove them. 

2.  My hair.  Although I do hate the way it looks right now because my style is far too grown out and I can't get it cut for awhile, it's still gorgeous.  Very fine, yet thick enough that I can wear a lot of different styles.  And it's naturally blonde, which is awesome.  It gets a bit sandier in the winter and gets much much lighter in the summer, so it always looks a little different.  It does grow painfully slow, but that's okay.  I love it anyway.  : )

3.  My shoulders.  I've always thought I have nice, feminine shoulders.  Not too broad or too narrow, they balance my wide hips nicely.  I've got a bunch of sun freckles on top of them, which I think are really cute.  I think I look great in halter tops/dresses/swimsuits. 

4.  My boobs.  Yes, they're large (D-DD), and yes, they do get in the way and cause problems.  But I'd still have big-and-slightly-annoying boobs than no boobs at all.  I guess I'm just used to them, but it's nice to feel so womanly, especially since I don't dress very femininely at all.  

5.  My figure.  This is kind of a shoulder-boob-hip combo, but I do have a lovely hourglass figure.  And it kind of makes up for not having any ass to speak of.  I was very happy when the belted shit/jacket/dress trend showed up.  I was like, "Finally, something that looks good on me!".  Happy day.

6.  My legs.  Chunky thighs aside, I've got some pretty nice gams.  They look great in heels (although heels hurt my ankles super bad so I never wear them) and shorter dresses (although I never wear those either due to chunky thigh syndrome).  I remember I once showed up at my boyfriend's house in a skirt and his dog immediately started jumping all over me and his mom was like, "Get down, she's got hose on!"  But I didn't.  I've never worn hose, and his mom was shocked. 

7.  My hands.  Although I wear my nails short and never paint them, I still feel like I have nice, feminine hands.  My fingers are pretty long, I have thin wrists, and they're not too big.  I'm very happy with them.

8.  My nose.  Some people have largish noses, or pointy ones, or strangely upturned ones.  I think my nose is perfect for my face, and it carries my nose piercing really well. 

9.  (Oh no, I think I've run out of things...)   AH.  My lower back.  You know those dimples that really fit people have when they've worked hard on building their lower back muscles?  I naturally have those, and I think they're kind of sexy. 

10.  My overall proportions.  This one might be cheating since it's not specific, but I think in general my body is well-proportioned and that even though I'm overweight I carry it pretty well.  Whenever people guess my weight, they unfailingly put me around 180.  I get some hilariously shocked faces when I tell people I weigh over 200 pounds.

I don't know if I've ever sat down and really thought about the physical aspects of myself that I love.  This has been a lot of fun and quite enlightening.  Looking over the list, I'd have to say that all of those beautiful, feminine, lovely things definitely outweigh having bad skin.  And as far as being afraid of no guy wanting to be with me...if he can't look past my skin to see at least those ten things above, then he obviously isn't worth my time.  I'm glad I've finally realized that.

I feel a lot better about things today.  Not only about myself after completing that list, but about life in general.  I found a very cute, very cheap apartment for next year that I'm going to sublease from a good friend ($390/month, stress-free deal, gotta love it).  I have an interview on Sunday for a job in a town close by.  And even if I don't get that job, I know I'll find one in August when the student population comes back after summer is up.  And until then, I'll be okay. 

Today is a good day.  And I think I'll go get some exercise to make it even better.

Adios.  : )


What I'm Really Afraid Of

Hey ladies.  As I'm sure you can tell by my absence from the blogosphere the past couple of days, I haven't been doing so great working toward my goals.  I did do The Shred on day 4, but I haven't done it the past four days.  Day 5 was really busy, and I was just tired.  My body isn't used to working that intensely.  I'm thinking I might start again, but do it every other day this time until I reach that level where I can really give it all I've got.  However, tiredness and busy plans aren't the only reasons I haven't worked out or eaten well the past few days.

Every time I start straying from my plan and back into Obesity Zone, that magical land of self-destruction, I've been making an effort to give some serious thought to the question, "Why?".  Why do I do this again and again?  What is it that's keeping me from achieving my goals?  The answer is obviously multi-faceted and complicated, but yesterday I gained some clarity on part of the reason why.

I'm afraid that even if I put in the effort to seriously change my lifestyle and get super fit and healthy, when I finally achieve my goal weight (somewhere around 160 - what a normal BMI for my height would be) I will still hate the way I look.

Now, I know that sounds a little fucked up.  How could I ever hate the way I look at 160 pounds?  Well, there are a lot of little things about my body that are, basically, wrong.  Things that are messed up, that quite literally could not be fixed without surgery (if that, even).

The following might be a little TMI, but I want to explain.  The grand majority of my issues are skin problems.  While I naturally have nice, pale skin that tans to a lovely bronze color, the quality of my skin is pretty shitty.  I've always had acne, blackheads, and whiteheads on my face.  My pores are huge and I have a lot of scarring from picking at blemishes.  I have dark circles under my eyes and some small wrinkles already forming.  Weight loss won't change that, so I'll have to deal with it no matter how thin I am.

I have scars in my cleavage from terrible acne I got there when I was about 15.  My hormones just went absolutely insane, and the fact that I was horribly depressed and quit eating more than once a day probably didn't help.  I got the giant pimples, I popped and picked at them, and now people always point at my chest when I wear low-cut tops and say, "What's that?".  I hate it, but there's nothing I can do about it.  And I'm afraid that boob-shrinking weight loss would just make it more noticeable.

If I were to ever wear a bikini, you would instantly notice the patches of fucked up skin under my breasts.  Years of underwire support have made big swaths of skin red, dry, and irritated.  I do my best to keep it cleansed and moisturized, but I'm scared that it will always look like this.  At least now, when I'm overweight and only feel comfortable wearing a tankini, nobody can see that skin.  I'm afraid to expose it to the world.

On my stomach...where do I even start?  I have a big splotch of purple spider veins on my left side that I've probably had since I was 16.  I have lots of stretch marks from weight gain that will never go away, and a permanent red line where my belly fat folds when I sit.  My honest-to-god worst fear is for somebody other than my boyfriend or family to see my bare stomach.  Which is why being comfortable in a bikini is basically my life's holy grail.  But I'm afraid that even if I lose weight, my stretch marks and spider veins will still be there, always.  As if they were pointing at me and laughing at my obviously stupid desire for that bikini. 

The last, and worst, problem with my skin that weight loss would only make more obvious is on my thighs.  More specifically, right in the crease where the very top of my inner thigh meets the pelvic area.  The bikini line, I suppose you might say.  Ever since I was young, I've gotten what must be some kind of terrible acne right in that spot.  I get these very large, very painful bumps beneath the skin.  I can feel them rub against my underwear whenever I sit, stand, walk, or even change position.  Not only are they painful, but the skin on top of them usually turns dark and purple, and I have a lot of scars from trying to pop them like regular zits when I was younger.  Even now, after I've finally figured out not to touch or mess with them, they'll still leave scars just from being there.  My skin is permanently fucked up in that most private area.  If I wear swimsuit bottoms now, you can't see the marks because of the way the fat on my thighs kind of comes together.  But if I ever weighed 160, you would see it.  You would see it from a mile away.  The thought of anybody noticing it honestly makes me panic.  Just thinking about it right now has my heart rate elevated.

But I think the worst thing about all of this is not that I would feel uncomfortable in a bikini with all these skin issues.  The worst part is that now that my boyfriend and I might break up, I feel like no other man would want me.  Like no other man would look past all that terrible skin, especially the part on my inner thighs.  It's true that I had all these skin problems when my boyfriend and I got together, but I honestly did not have sex with the lights on until I was absolutely, 100% sure he was in love with me and didn't care what I looked like.  And really, it wasn't until last year that I fully believed him when he said he didn't care (and we've been together for over four years now). 

Rationally, I know that confidence is far more sexy than being thin or having good skin.  But I can't help but feel despair when I look in the mirror and realize that weight loss won't necessarily make me feel better about the way I look.  And I think that is what makes me go off plan, every time.  That's what I'm really afraid of.

I've never had health insurance that would cover a visit to the dermatologist, and I won't until I find a real job with benefits.  So I have to put up with it.  There's nothing I can do to make my skin better.

I obviously still have a lot of self-esteem and self-worth issues to deal with.  I just can't get over the panic I feel when I think about stepping out in a bikini without perfect skin or trying to date anyone but my boyfriend.  I don't know what to do about it, but that feeling is always in the back of my mind, telling me my lifestyle changes are pointless.  That weight loss won't change anything. That I'm always going to be insecure, unhappy, and embarrassed.

...blah.  I need all the cyber hugs you can give me today, friends.  :(


The Shred, Day 3.

First, let me say hello to my newest followers!  I saw a while ago that there are 14 of you, but I haven't welcomed the newbies.  So, welcome!  I hope you enjoy visiting my little corner of the blogosphere.  : )

Day 3 was hard today.  Once I actually got down to it, it went by CRAZY fast.  My endurance is definitely improving.  I only had to pause it during the strength and cardio sections, and there were a few strength sections I actually did all the way through!  Yay me!  I'm already seeing some fairly drastic changes in my body (like some very slight muscle definition in my thighs that is totally new to me).  I can't wait to see how I'm going to look and feel 27 days from now.

So about two weeks ago I sent in a resume for a Philanthropy Assistant position with The Nature Conservancy's office in Chicago.  I was really hoping they would call me because I think they do great work here in the State and abroad.  And they called me!  I had a phone interview today.  I have no idea how it went, but I feel like it went pretty well.  The lady did say "perfect" and "terrific" about seven times while I was describing my experience and skills, and I even made her laugh once.  I did let a couple unprofessional phrases slip out of my mouth (like "y'know" and "oh man"), but overall I think I did pretty well for my first ever interview!  I really hope they select me for an in-person interview.  If they don't, I will probably cry.

Well, that's all for me today.  I hope everybody out there is doing good with their goals today!  Have a great weekend, ladies.  : )


Falling in Love with Jillian Michaels

I've just finished day 2 on level 1 of the 30 Day Shred, and I'm officially in love.  Of course, it's not your typical butterflies-in-the-tummy love.  It's painful, sweaty, and accompanied by a lot of panting and grunting on my part, but it's love nonetheless haha.

There are a lot of reasons I'm loving the 30 Day Shred.
  1. The music.  It's upbeat, is perfectly timed with the exercises, and changes depending if you're warming up/working out/cooling down.  I have to say that at the end of the circuit when I hear that music change to cool down music my heart literally skips a beat.  Although it may just be giving out from all the intensity.  Hmm.
  2. Jillian's pep talks.  There are certain things she says during level 1 that really strike me.  Like when she talks about how we've been told to just take the stairs or some such wimpiness and she says "That's a message of lethargy" that doesn't help us at all and that we CAN work out and work out hard.  How true.  I know I definitely didn't realize how strong I actually am until I started doing this.  I also like near the end when she's telling you to just keep going and don't quit and she says "I want you floating off the ground right now.  This is easy.  Nothin you can't do".   At that point I actually yell out "EASY" and "NOTHIN I CAN'T DO" because I feel like I'm about to die but I KNOW that I am so awesome I can keep going.  Jillian makes me believe in myself, and I love that.  
  3. Insta-progress.  I know I'm only on day 2, but even just from yesterday morning I'm already seeing a huge improvement in myself.  I love that each day is an opportunity to see improvement.  My issue with weight loss has always been that results don't come fast enough for me to stay encouraged.   But when I know that each day I'll finish the circuit a little faster and a little stronger than the day before, it really makes me want to do it again the next day to see how much better I'm getting.  And since right now I can only use the weights half the time (probably because I'm starting with 5 lbs because I don't have 3 lb weights) and have to pause every minute or so to catch my breath and drink some water AND I'm only on level 1, I've got a long way to go.  There's a lot of improvement in my daily future, and I LOVE that.  
  4. It's 30ish minutes of really spectacular me time.  And it's probably the best way to spend my me time that I've ever found.  I love making myself feel AWESOME.
So yesterday The Shred took me 39 minutes and I burned around 470 calories.
Today The Shred took me 32 minutes (although I forgot to unpause my HRM for about five minutes there, so really it probably took me about 37) and I burned 406 calories (but with the five minutes of very intense activity unaccounted for, it was probably more like 456).

So, my time has already improved!  I wasn't working quite so hard today because I did drop the weights for half the sets and I was focusing on proper form in the leg exercises so as not to hurt my already tender knees.  But that's okay!  400+ calories gone in under 40 minutes is still hella impressive.  I know I'm impressed with myself.

But now I have to take the fastest shower ever and get my ass to work on time, so I shall update tomorrow with The Shred day 3!  Adios amigas!


Look What I Found!

Holy crap, you guys.  I love the internet.

30 Day Shred

That's a link to the ENTIRE Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD that somebody in China put up on the internet.  Levels 1, 2, and 3, the whole shebang.  I know I've been wanting to try but didn't have the cash to put down for it.  Who wants to do it for a week with me?  Anybody?  :D

Also, I've added a few links to my Exercise page.  Check it out!


Just finished level 1.  Nearly threw up, can hardly type because arms so weak.  Took me 40 minutes for the 20 minute circuit, kept having to stop and catch my breath.  Burned 472 calories.

In love.

The Sweet Spot

I've come to realize something over the past couple of days spent at home, bored, waiting to be called for a job and hoping to not be called by the credit card people.  I've been feeling down lately about this whole weight loss thing.  Looking at my past "performance", so to speak, all I was seeing was that I lost a few pounds, gained it all (or more) back, lost it again, gained it back, lost a little more, gained, and so on and so forth.  I was thinking, "Why am I doing this?  Why do I try again every day or week just to have the same cycle of loss and gain happen?"  I chided myself for not working out enough, for being lax in my eating, for not wanting it enough to make it happen faster.

But I've come to realize that I have made a difference in my life.  I've lost nearly fifteen pounds since this time last summer, and I know in the deepest part of my heart and mind that I will never go back to 216.  I won't let that happen.  It really just is not an option in my head.  This morning I weighed in at 202.5, and got upset because I was hoping to be back to 201.5.  But the number doesn't matter.  The loss matters.  The fact that even when life had gotten to be too much and my old habits took over I was still able to recover, to take the weight back off (and in a pretty timely manner, I think). 

Of course I'm going to gain weight back sometimes.  Shit happens.  But what I want, what I started this new blog for, is to change the way I think about my weight.  To address the underlying emotional issues, to find that sweet spot where eating and life, with all its shit, are in balance.  And that's what I've done.  That's the difference I've made.  The number doesn't matter.  What matters is that I now eat about five servings of fruits more per week than I did last summer.   That I eat about six or seven more servings of veggies per week than I used to.  That I have kept my weight off (save for those five pounds of wiggle room), and that I have changed my habits.  While I still feel the need to seek out less-than-healthy food when I'm upset, I'm now able to limit my intake to one cookie or such.  Yesterday, when I was so, so emotionally wrecked, the worst thing I ate was a falafel from work.  And I even had intentions of going home to make something healthy, but was starving and already downtown so I decided it was okay.  Because that's life.  Give and take. 

I am not a failure.  I'm a success.  I'm doing this, as slowly as I need to so that my habits can fall in line with the way I want to live my life.  I am making changes every day.   And if I only lose fifteen pounds by the next summer, then so be it, because I can guarantee that my mind and my response to food will be completely different.

I think I've found my life's sweet spot.  And now that I see it, I couldn't be happier to be here.

So here's to my success, to your success, and to all of us doing this together.  Because I know I couldn't have made it here without your support and friendship, and I won't be able to keep going without you either.  I once thought I didn't need this community, and I have never been more wrong about anything in my entire life.

I promise to be more present and supportive to all of you like you have been for me.  And I want to thank you for being the biggest part of my success.  : )

Have a beautiful day, everyone.  <3


Almost Entirely Not Health-Related

I apologize in advance for this ridiculous post. I'm really suffering right now, and since I have no money to put on my prepaid phone and thus can't call anybody to cry on their shoulder from a distance, I have to let my feelings out here.

I'm sure I've talked about how broke I am / my one-job-but-it's-not-enough situation here.  I work two days a week at my favorite restaurant in town, and I love that job.  But I make less than 80 dollars a week, and have rent, credit card payments, utility bills, and other things to pay.  The past few weeks have been really hard on me.   I've had to borrow ridiculous amount of money from my loving family.  None of them have ANY money to spare, and I feel so, so awful every time I have to call with another request to help me with rent.  They always help me, but having to ask and knowing that them helping me means they can't pay their own bills makes me sick.  And since I can't afford to put more minutes on my phone, I can ONLY call to ask for money, which makes me feel even worse.  In the past month and a half I've had to borrow upwards of $700 (and I intend with every molecule in my body to pay it all back). 

I can't find a second job.  I've put in at least fifteen applications around town and sent out three resumes to companies that are hiring for positions I qualify for.  My major credit card payment is two months over due, and they've been calling me nonstop (but I can't answer to work something out, because there's no money on my phone).  My lease is up at the end of July, my grandparents are moving to Kentucky, and I haven't found a real job/have no money to save so I can't afford to move OUT of my apartment, much less into a new one.  My boyfriend doesn't want to stay together.  I have nowhere to go, and literally no options.

Every time my life starts to work right, shit like this happens.  And yes, I made the decision to quit my job at the beginning of last semester even though it paid really well. It was so stressful, and I wanted to be HAPPY, not stressed all the time.  Now I feel like I'm being punished for wanting to be in a healthy mindset.  Although I've finished college (a major achievement), my BA in Anthropology is pretty much useless.  And since I had to work all through school, I didn't have the time to gain any leadership experience with outside organizations, do an internship, or volunteer much at all - all those things that employers look for.  So I also feel punished for going to school for something I loved to learn about, because even though I have a degree I can't get a job.  I'm nearly $30,000 in debt and that number just keeps growing and growing with every week I don't find a second job. To make matters worse, I spilled a full glass of juice on my computer night before last and now it won't turn on (currently using the boyfriend's). 

Depression has hit me hard.  I think I've cried every day this week, and I never let myself do that.  This morning I could feel myself giving into it, giving up on everything.  Even eating right.  I had a bowl of cheerios with THREE heaping tablespoons of sugar, just because I felt like eating right didn't matter any more.  But I have lost a little weight (back down to 202-203), so I thought maybe I would go to this store Maurice's in the mall, where I have a store credit card, and let myself buy two new things to cheer myself up a little, to make me feel like at least my efforts to be healthier haven't failed.  I found a pair of shorts I loved and a summer dress I felt comfortable wearing without a bra (which would be SO nice to wear).  I handed over my Maurice's credit card, but it was declined.

Declined.  HOW?  I hadn't used it in almost six months!  SIX MONTHS.  The sales girl called customer service and they said that LAST NOVEMBER I was two months behind on my payments.  That's true, I said, but I paid off that balance in full as soon as I remembered I was behind.  Customer service lady said it didn't matter.  Because I was late they had taken my credit back down to $0 so I couldn't get anything. I asked if I could get a credit increase now that it was SIX MONTHS LATER, but she said no.

Why?  My income's not high enough.

I lost it.  I all but ran out of the mall and by the time I got to my car I was sobbing.  I cried all the way home.  I'm still crying, right now.  I don't want to sound like a five year-old here, but how is any of this fair?  I have worked SO HARD to improve myself, to be independent, to help myself be a happier person.  And every time I get ahead, money bites me in my pasty white ass.  Money is literally the only thing wrong with my life.  How fucking ridiculous is it that BILLS are preventing me from being happy and reaching my goals?  It's total bullshit.  And all I can do is sit in my apartment and cry about it.

But there is something I CAN control.  I can control what I eat and when I exercise.  I have equipment here at home - I don't need to pay to go to the gym.  Our kitchen is stocked with fruits and veggies.  I'm going to do my best to hold on to that fact and manage my health even if I can't manage my finances.

Deep breaths, Self.  It'll be okay.


Real Talk

Normally on this blog I refrain from speaking the way I usually do (ie, with a lot of expletives) and I generally adopt a more positive tone than usual.  I do this for a couple reasons.  I don't want to offend anybody with my language and if I write in a more positive tone, even if I don't feel it, it helps me to think more positively.

But I think it gives you, my lovely readers, the wrong idea of how/who I really am.  Sometimes I blind myself to how I really am by writing this blog, and I don't want to do that anymore.  I'm tired of presenting one persona to the external world and another to myself, no matter how little difference there may be between them.  I just want to be me.  This healthiness journey has to be one of self-acceptance before it can be one of change, so please allow me to engage in some real talk, for at least this post. 

I don't understand why it's so goddamn hard for me to do this thing, this eat-right-exercise-lots-lose-weight thing.  The thing that kills me is it's not hard now like it used to be.  I know what I need to do (eat only when hungry, exercise at least three times a week, no sugar no cheese no pop) and I'm tired of making excuses for not doing it.  Yes, I am a little afraid of how it might change my life but I know it needs to happen.  Do I want diabetes, heart disease, and arthritic joints?  Fuck no.  I have to lose this weight.  It must happen. 

I'm pissed off with myself that I'm not making it a priority.  I'm pissed off with myself that I'm more afraid of change than I am of the aforementioned health disasters.   It's bullshit, and I am certainly worth more than bullshit.  

I've realized that living with my boyfriend has turned out to be a huge roadblock for this weight loss.  I have always been a people pleaser, and part of that means doing what everybody else does so that I'll fit in/be liked/whatever.  My boyfriend doesn't feel the overwhelming need to lose weight like I do and therefore doesn't want to eat only healthy foods or get exercise every day.  And whatever he does (or doesn't do), I'll generally do too.  He's certainly supportive of my desire to be healthy, but it would be so. much. easier. for me if he jumped on the bandwagon with me.  But I can't make him want what he doesn't want and it would be stupid of me to try, so I need to get over it.  I need to learn to say no - no, I don't want that pizza; no, I won't sit on the couch all night and watch Netflix; no, I won't buy those cookies because if they're in the apartment I'm absolutely going to eat them. 

What I want is to get down to a healthy weight and ask myself, "Self, did you seriously put in all that work to lose weight and change your life?" and be able to answer, "FUCK YEAH I did!  I'm so fucking awesome!"

I want to be proud of myself.  I am seriously fucking tired of constantly letting myself down.  I want to discover what it feels like to accomplish my goals, and I want that act of discovery to change my life.  It's about damn time I did it already. 


Summer Lovin' Challenge: Weeks 3 and 4

So, if I've been paying attention correctly, this concludes week 4 of the Summer Lovin' Challenge and phase 1. 

Although I asked for a weigh-in pass yesterday, I take it back.  Instead, I will take responsibility and accountability for my actions, eats, and lack of exercise.  My week 3 weight (last Wednesday) was 203.5.  My week 4 weight, taken this morning, is 206.  So in the last two weeks I have gained back 4.5 pounds, but I know it will be gone in no time if I put in the effort that I did the first two weeks. 

I spent some time last night thinking more about that identity thing I talked about yesterday.  I'm at a special time in my life.  I've graduate college, am just about to make some decisions that will really affect my career path, and this is the perfect chance to reinvent myself.  Hasn't this whole weight loss thing been about reinventing myself from the beginning anyway?  There is an identity I want to craft for myself.  I want to be a strong, independent, loving, responsible, and fun young woman.  I also want to be physically fit, unhindered by extra weight.  At 201.5, I got a taste of how unhindered my life could be, and I sure as shit want that more than I want 208, 206, or even 190 for that matter.  Being happy, healthy, and optimistic every day is so worth more than sitting on the couch and eating shit food. 

So, at the end of phase 1 of the challenge, I have realized that while reducing my calories can certainly help me lose weight I need to include some exercise as well.  The beginning of phase 2 happens to fall on the week after I've finished school, and since I don't work enough I have plenty of time to devote to making healthy choices and working out.  At the beginning of the semester, I signed up for a 12-week weight loss exercise program via email newsletters from an exercise expert lady at About.com.  I let all 12 weeks of workouts and nutrition tips float into my email inbox.  Reading over them, they're very similar workouts and goals to what I would be doing anyway, so I'm going to jump on the wagon a little late and start their 12 week program.  I love the momentum this challenge has given to my desire to shape up, and perhaps another program aimed at exercise will help the end of phase 2 of Alexia's Summer Lovin' Challenge be much happier and successful than the end of phase 1.

I was supposed to start the 12 week exercise program yesterday but ended up enjoying the night on the couch with my boyfriend (excuses).  I shall merge days 1 and 2 of the program into today since I had all kinds of excuses yesterday.  So, today, I shall do 20-30 minutes of interval cardio training and full-body strength training routine. 

I'm ready to get back on the horse.  With your support, I know I can stay on it for a little longer than two weeks this time.  : )


Holding Myself Back

Hello friends (and a special hello to my new followers!  So glad you're here!).  I hope everybody is doing okay.  There seems to be a lot of bad things going around lately.  Just stay strong, keep your chin up, keep your goals in mind, and everything will work out. : )

It's obviously been about forever and a day since I last posted.  You can pretty much guarantee that when I'm not blogging, I'm eating too much/exercising too little, and that it exactly what's been happening over the past two weeks.  It started the Thursday after my last weigh-in, when I had a falafel and fries at work.  I ate them because I believed I deserved them from my great losses, but also because I knew my family was coming in the next day and that my eating would be screwed for the weekend, so I did the worst thing - I said, "Why not?"  And I ate, ate, and ate so much more until I literally felt sick.  I had wanted to work out the next Monday, but I didn't.  Last week was finals week, and although I only had two exams I took it as an excuse to eat, eat, and eat. Now it's the week before my period, when I always feel ravenously hungry and never feel full, and I just can't seem to reign myself in.  I feel like my mind and body are two entirely separate entities and although my body says "do right by me, reach for the apple" my mind (or the brat within) gives it the finger and picks up a cookie. 

And it's not just that now I've gotten into the habit of eating bad things again I can't stop.  There's been a mental component too.  The day after my last awesome weigh-in of 201.5, I remember walking around thinking "It is so much easier to move - this weight loss can only make my life better".  But then, when I looked at my body in my full-length mirror and tried to imagine what I would look like after another 10, 20, or 30 pounds shed, the fear hit me.  It seemed to me that the bones of my hips were in fact much narrower than the fat on them and that with time, if I lost more weight, I would lose my curves.  This simple, almost fleeting thought really freaked me out.  Even though I have always, always, always been overweight I have also always had a lovely, almost perfect, hourglass figure.  It's one of things I'm really proud of (even though I did nothing to earn it).  I'm not a feminine woman, and sometimes my curves are the only thing I have to remind myself that I'm beautiful and sexy.  Which, I think, is almost half the problem (shouldn't I be relying on my own thoughts and confidence to feel sexy?  But I have body images issues and need to find things about myself that I like to boost my self-image, so how could my curves and my confidence ever be unrelated?). 

Basically, I was freaked out because of the ways I thought weight loss might change me, of the ways it might alter some very simple things that are hugely important to my identity (like my curves).   I know that I am who I am no matter what I weigh and that there are certain aspects of my personality and worldview that could never shift.  But yet I've been afraid of change for the past two weeks, eating myself almost right back up to my starting weight.  I've been letting my fear hold me back. 

So, I would like to request a weigh-in pass from madame Alexia this week, and spend next week getting back to eating only when I am hungry, drinking only water, and working on not letting fear hold me back from ANYTHING.  Not from eating right, working out, losing weight, or changing for the better. 


Summer Lovin' Challenge: Week 2

Good morning readers!  I hope you all have been having a great week, and for those of you doing the Challenge I hope you've had a successful week.  I know I have.

Last week I was upset with myself because even though I had lost 3.5 pounds, I hadn't put much effort into actually changing my habits.  But this week I turned it around (like I said I would!).  Instead of tracking food, I put my track book away.  I didn't use it at all.  I decided that I would eat only when I was hungry, not when I was bored or stressed or because the food was just there.  I've been doing great with it.  Several times this week I've been reaching for a snack or candy and thought "Do I need this?  Am I hungry?" and was able to pull my hand back and walk away if the answer was no.  And when I was hungry, I tried to make the healthiest choices possible.  For instance, I made a little pizza for lunch the other day with a FlatOut Italian wrap (don't buy these, they seriously taste like cardboard - they're only good for pizzas) and opted to put red and green peppers on it instead of pepperoni.  My photo class got pizza the other day, and I chose the smallest slice of tomato-topped pizza (not pepperoni), and didn't even eat a breadstick.  AND I was sitting right next to the pizza boxes.  I've been snacking on veggies instead of cheese, eating fruit instead of sugar...the list of healthy changes goes on!  Last night I made myself a baked potato after work.  Normally I slather my baked potatoes in cheese so thick it usually won't even melt.  But last night I found myself automatically limiting the cheese to about a 1/4 cup and I didn't even have to fight myself about it.  I thought, "I should put less cheese on, I don't need all that".  And I did it, without a second thought.  I'm so proud of myself!

And the scale reflected it this week, too.

I lost another 3 pounds and currently weigh 201.5! 

I'm finally feeling better and am able to breathe without too much coughing, so I'm hoping to get back into the gym sometime this week.  Probably not this weekend because it's my boyfriend's birthday and my family is coming into town for the official opening of my exhibit at the museum, but I'm hopeful for Monday. 

Well I've made myself late for class again.  I'll take and post new measurements tomorrow, I promise!  Have a great Hump Day!


Easter, Illness, and NSV

So, it's Easter.  I'm certainly not a religious person, but I can say that this Easter I am not spending my time stuffing my face with Cadbury Eggs.  You have no idea how much I love Cadbury Eggs.  Cadbury chocolate in general is amazing, but those damn eggs have had such a hold on me for most of my life.  I remember being genuinely depressed in my younger years when stores would stop selling them after the holiday, and being absolutely elated when I saw them again the next year.  I used to joke about buying boxes of them to get me through to the next Easter.  Pretty messed up, but that's where I was. 

However, where I am now is much better.  After the end of TOM, my chocolate cravings have subsided entirely.  I'm losing weight with the Summer Lovin' Challenge.  Although I'm sick and stressed about school, I haven't yet turned to food to make me feel better.  And even though I weigh myself pretty much daily out of curiosity, it's just curiosity.  If the number is higher than I expect, I look for an explanation and then work out a solution to the problem.  I don't fret or complain about like I used to.  It's just a number, one way to measure my progress. 

Another way to measure my progress is by clothes.  I'm sure most of you guys out there have clothes stashed somewhere that you'll "get into someday".  For me, that thing is jeans.  I have about three pairs of size 14 jeans hanging in my closet that I kept because I knew that someday I would be able to wear them again.  I don't know if it was wishful thinking at the time I put them away or if I really did believe in myself that much, but there they are.  And today, I tried on a pair of those size 14 jeans, and they fit!  I didn't even have to struggle to button or zip them.  They were even comfortable.  I still wore my size 16s to the doctor because as the 14s slid around and I was muffin topping a bit and just didn't want to deal with that, but I can proudly say that I am currently able to wear size 14 jeans!  Yaaaay!  This is the size I wore all throughout high school, the size I wore when my boyfriend and I met.  And although I'm not quite ready to go replace all my size 16 jeans (mostly because I don't have the money), it feels great to know that I could.  Once I do buy all new jeans, I never want to wear size 16s again.  I'm not going back.  I am a new woman.  Yay for Easterly rebirths.  : )

Now, for the illness.  Yes, I am sick again.  It sucks. The next paragraph may be a bit TMI, so if you don't want to read it,  close my blog now.

Last chance.

Okay.  I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and there was blood in my urine.  That's never happened to me before, so I kind of freaked out a little bit, but I went back to bed.  I went to the doctor today and explained everything that was wrong with me.  Not only the blood thing, but the cough, the cold, the mysterious rash on my shoulder, the fact that I've been sick pretty much all semester long.  And the doctor diagnosed me with a UTI, an upper respiratory infection, and ringworm.  Ugh.  I just want to be healthy!  I can't work out when I'm sick and can hardly breathe, dammit. 

Oh well.  I'm looking forward to my weigh-in on Wednesday.  I can feel some interesting changes going on and can't wait to see what my final weight for this week will be!

Happy Easter!


Tiny Moment of Victory

This is just a little blurb to let you know I made a smart choice this morning.  I'm proud of myself for it, and I think if I post more of these little moments where I make a difficult, but healthy, decision I can be more focused and make more good decisions as time goes on.

So, today.  I am sick.  Again.  Some terrible cold/cough thing, and I feel like a pile of dung run over by a smelly dung truck.  Breakfast is something I know I need, even if I don't feel like eating.  We have very limited options in the kitchen right now as we're out of most everything and won't have money for groceries for at least another week.  My options were going to be:
  1. Cheesy scrambled eggs, perhaps with some veggies.  But I didn't feel like making it.
  2. A bowl of Cap'n Crunch.  Mmmm.
  3. Spend money I don't have for a bagel and cream cheese near the museum that my waistline doesn't need.
And then, I thought of a fourth option! I remembered I had a bag of apples, bread, peanut butter, and honey.  So I sliced up an apple and had a piece of toast with peanut butter and a drizzle of honey (I'm rapidly discovering that honey makes everything better).

I'm proud that even when sick and presented with terrible choices, I found a way to eat something healthier.  Go me! 

Here's hoping I feel better tomorrow.  Hope you're having a healthy Friday!


Summer Lovin' Challenge: Week 1

I think it's safe to say I've had a pretty bad week.  I did well the first couple of days, had a mixed day or two, and then completely fell off the wagon at the beginning of this week.  But, these are the things I've learned:

  • My TOM really messes me up food-wise.  It was particularly bad emotionally this month (that usually doesn't happen), but oh jeez was I just wanting to eat EVERYTHING.  I have to be prepared for that.
  • I need to do more meal planning.  There were several times where I almost opted for something cheesy, greasy, and bad because I had no idea what kind of healthy thing I could throw together with what's in my cabinets/fridge/freezer.  
  • I must commit to exercise.  I worked out twice this past week (three times if you count that crazy shift at work), and that's simply not good enough.  I must make the time for it.  It must be a top priority.  
  • On the subject of meal planning, I need to find easy, quick, convenient, yet healthy things to eat or make when I'm pinched for time.  Do you guys have any suggestions for healthy snacks or meals that can be made quickly/prepared ahead of time?  
  • I need to get more fruit in this house.  I need more money!  Argh!

Anyway, let's talk about progress.  I think I'll take new measurements every two weeks instead of every week.  Alexia wants to keep track of how many pounds everybody's losing, so I have decided to do the weigh-ins every week.  I just need to remind myself that this is not about the number on the scale - it's about making healthy habits that will last the rest of my life.  So, I will tell you that I lost 3.5 pounds last week and currently weigh 204.5 (so I guess I should quit bitching).   But I'm not super thrilled about it because I really didn't make much of an effort to change my habits last week.  But this week will be different.

This morning, as I was coming back to bed from the bathroom, I got a glance of myself in my dresser mirror.  It was one of those corner-of-your-eye kind of deals where you don't see things clearly, but you get the idea.  And I saw myself, for just an instant, much thinner than I am right now.  Must have been the angle my body was at, but it has stuck in my head.  And really, that's all I want.  To be thin, healthy, strong.  To stand up straighter, to have more confidence, to not let anything - not even myself - stand in my way.  This is what I want.  To have that image of myself become reality through dedication and perseverance.  I know that I can do this, no matter how many kit kat bars I try not to eat or the 50 eight week challenges it might take me to get there. 

So this week will be better.  For my own sake.  To prove to myself that I can do it. 

See you tomorrow. : )


Ravenous Beast

I have been such an emotional wreck today.  Nothing bad happened, I'm just having a really terrible time of the month, apparently.  I'm already mad at myself for not sticking to my plan all week, and then TOM pretty much doubled the strength of my negativity, so I've been feeling like shit and eating everything in sight all day.  I'm also afraid that I'm either A) getting sick again or B) have developed allergies.  Neither of those things is better than the other.  All of this combined has made it a terrible day.  Week 1 review comes tomorrow, and I can tell that the nice loss I felt earlier this week has certainly swung in the opposite direction. 

I'm not happy.  I think I'll take a nap.


Checkin In (Ugh)

I'm so annoyed with myself.

On Friday I was eating great.  Oatmeal with blueberries and honey for breakfast, a wannabe burrito bowl with brown rice, shredded chicken, black beans, and hot sauce with an apple.  And then I had my first shift at my new job (which I love!) as a host/server at one of my favorite restaurants in town.  It's a really laid back kind of place and the people that work there are great.  The customers even aren't that annoying.  So I worked for a couple hours and by the time I got off I was really hungry.  I was determined to be healthy, even turning down some free food (this is the place with those delicious falafels - yeah, I got a job there.  Let's talk about how great a decision that might turn out to be).  And then I walk in the door to find my boyfriend had ordered pepperoni pizza, breadsticks, and cookies from my favorite pizza place!  Ugh.

At first I decided to just have one slice of pizza.  I even let my boyfriend eat my cookie.  I was okay, until the leftover pizza continued to sit on the coffee table.  Then I started to eat it just because it was there.  That's one of my worst habits - eating food just because it happens to be in front of me.  So I had two more slices and two breadsticks with cheese sauce.  Ugh. 

I went to bed without having exercised.  Sigh.  So Friday was a bust.

Yesterday I wanted to do better.  My boyfriend made farina for breakfast (cream of wheat, I think), which I love, so I had some.  He made it with skim milk though, that was nice of him.  : )  Later I was kind of panicking about what I was going to eat.  We're low on fresh veggies and the only fruit we had was a little cubed pineapple and some apples.  I realized I definitely need to do more meal planning so I have enough stuff around to make meals with. 

So then I remembered that we had a ton of frozen vegetables, leftover queso fresco from burrito bowls a couple days ago and some leftover tortillas.  I made a veggie quesadilla and did half an hour of yoga (burned 125 calories).  I had to go to CVS to get something, and ended up getting a candy bar, one of those king size Twix with the four little bars inside.  I ate it almost without even tasting it.  I had such a bad chocolate craving, and when I left for work and parked downtown, I looked through my purse and found a kit kat bar!  I have no idea where it came from.  But I ate it, too.  (I was wondering why, then remembered it's TOM time)  Then I went to work.  I think my shift last night could definitely have qualified as a workout.  Half the restaurant is upstairs, so of course I was running around all night seating people and cleaning tables.  My heart rate was definitely elevated, haha.

After work I went home.  I was in a good mood.  I had put a lot of cheese on my quesadilla earlier (definitely a little too much) and wanted something else cheesy.  I really just love cheese.  But, I remembered I hadn't had any fruit yet and that there was pineapple in the fridge.  So I ate that, and then a friend called and invited me to a shindig at their place.  I was super excited to go, because I pretty much never go out and I haven't gotten to see those particular friends in a while.  Of course I had a few drinks, stayed the night, and came home this morning to farina, bacon, and eggs.  Can you tell my boyfriend likes to cook breakfast?  :D

So Saturday was still pretty bad, what with the chocolate and booze calories and obvious lack of nutrients.  I've already had a full, fatty breakfast today but I am planning a healthy dinner of salmon, roasted broccoli, and baked french fries.

Aside from the drinks last night, I've been doing good about drinking just water.  And just in case you're interested, Thursday night I did jogging intervals around the track by my house for 40 minutes (including a warm up and cool down) and burned 472 calories according to my heart rate monitor.  So I've burned about 600 calories in the last four days.  Definitely need to be moving more.  And need to be doing more meal planning, too.

The end of the semester is so close.  Just a few short weeks away, and I'll be a graduate.  It's kind of weird to think about.  I'm almost sad - I really love learning and there are so many interesting new classes being offered next semester.  I have to start making some serious decision about my career path, and I'm feeling extremely uncertain about everything.  I'm glad I have this challenge to keep me focused on something.

Until we meet again, here's a link to an article about how a nutrition professor lost weight eating little more than Little Debbie cakes.  Very interesting.

The "Twinkie Diet"


Days 1 and 2 of Summer Lovin' Goodness

Good evening, sexy ladies!  I have TEN followers now.  Oh my god, wow.  You guys are so awesome!  Thank you so much for reading my blog!  I hope you go and join the Summer Lovin' Challenge.  Better late than never, right?  Time to start loving yourself and getting ready to love summertime this year.

Cause that's what I'm looking forward to.  Loving summer.  Going out in shorts and not hating myself.  Not feeling embarrassed about the way my stomach and backfat look in tank tops.  Refusing to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather because being overweight makes me sweat so bad and it's just too damn hot to move a body with this much extra fat on it.  I'm tired of that.  I want this summer to be different.

Also, I'm looking forward to a SUPER HOT SWIMSUIT.

Granted, it may take me until next summer to get into that thing.  But I do not care.  It will happen.

Also, I'm moving to Texas in a couple of months, so maybe by Christmas!  Ooh, what an awesome gift to myself that would be, huh?

Well I'm sure you're all dyyyying to know how I've been doing with the challenge.  And I'm happy to report that I've been doing not so badly!

Yesterday, day 1, was a total bust on the nutrition front.  I ate my breakfast smoothie (had to use sugary fruit juice in it...grrr) and was satisfied.  But in my photo class we had decided to do a picnic-themed group photo for a poster contest.  As with any picnic, there was food everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  We were literally throwing it at each other.  And I was doing okay resisting until I was offered a cookie.  It was a chocolate chip cookie made with whole wheat flour, nutella, and the minimum butter and sugar needed to have it come out as a cookie.  And it was amazingly good (I gotta get the recipe) but I ate it because I thought to myself "Huh.  Whole wheat flour?  Minimum sugar?  Sounds fairly healthy!"  And then I proceeded to eat three more, a few bites of cake, a brownie, and about five handfuls of those gross cheesy puffs with the neon orange cheese powder that looks like clown cocaine.

But, I did not give up!  If it hadn't been for the fat-fest I just described, I would have had a perfect day.  I snacked on fruit, meeting my 3 fruit servings.  I made burrito bowls with shredded chicken, sauteed peppers and onions, black beans, brown rice, cabbage, and Mexican queso fresco (which I think is similar to string cheese nutrition-wise).  It was a veggie fest, at least 3 of my 4 servings.  Of course the carbs, fat, and sweets were all out the window.  Had too much dairy/protein, too.  Lumping them in together, as my Mayo Clinic food pyramid does, is really hard for me to deal with because I'm such a cheese addict.  It is was my favorite snack. 

However, I am perfectly on track today!  Had oatmeal made with milk and topped with honey and blueberries.  (1 fruit, sweet allowance, 1 carb, 1 dairy/protein).  For lunch, I had a nice big salad with balsamic vinaigrette and eggs, plus two triangles of pita bread with red pepper hummus (2 fats, 2 dairy/protein, 2 veggie).  I had an apple for a snack (1 fruit) and a burrito bowl with extra brown rice and sauteed veggies for dinner(2 carb, 1 fat - cooked with olive oil, 2 veggie).  So, what do I have left?  A fruit and a carb!  So I'll be snacking on pita chips and pineapple later tonight.  :D

Okay, so when I got my Mayo Clinic food pyramid thingy, it came with this great list of foods that go into each category and what the servings size is for a certain amount of calories (for instance, a list of servings sizes of sweet things that are 75 calories).  I just noticed that corn is on the carbohydrates list.  Have any of you ever considered corn a carb and not a veggie?  In my mind, carbs are just bready things.  Hmm. 

Anywho, I'm excited to get some exercise tonight because I found my heart rate monitor!  A few months ago I bought one of these bad boys on amazon for 80 bucks:

Except mine is silver and not red.  Sad day.  BUT, I'm excited because I thought I had lost the little bean-shaped computer thing on the bottom that connects to the strap, but this morning I found it hiding under the runner on top of my dresser!  Yaaaay!  I'm not crazy about counting calories in, but I do like to see what workouts get me the best bang for my buck, so to speak.  I'm excited to use this to compare jogging, jogging intervals, and cardio/strength circuits to see what the differences are (and of course to share them with you!)

I think I'll get changed for that exercise right now.  I shall report tomorrow with another perfect day (hopefully)!


And so it begins...the Summer Lovin' Challenge

Gooooood morning, lovely ladies!  Since I last checked, I have a new follower for a total of 8!  Hello hello, I hope like my little blog.  : )

Today marks the beginning of Alexia's Summer Lovin' Challenge, a two-part, eight-week, healthy-habit-establishing endeavour sure to rock my socks off!  Er, well it would...if I ever wore socks...  Anyway, there's two parts to this post, so read it when you're home from work/class and have all the time in the world to listen to me!  Teehee.

Part One: The Plan

So here's my plan for this thing.  I'm not using a caloric cap (how will she ever lose weight?! you may be asking).  Instead, I'm focusing on eating the right amount of properly portioned servings of healthy foods.  Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and a little dairy thrown in for kicks.

Sidenote: If you have no idea what a proper portion size is, like me a few months ago, check out Mayo Clinic's website. They have a literal asston of information on healthy living and active lifestyles.  

The Food: A while back, I did one of their free assessments that tells you what you should be eating to lose weight and gives you a personalized food pyramid.  Swanky!  My food pyramid says that I should be eating 3 servings of fruit, 4 servings of veggies, 4 servings of carbs, 3 servings of protein/dairy, 3 servings healthy fats, and up to 75 calories in sweets.

The Treat: I know that it's pretty much impossible to do anything 100%, 100% of the time.  I also know that I need a treat every once in a while to keep myself from going off track (aka, running away from it as fast as I can).  I just got a job, HALLELUJAH, at one of my favorite restaurants in town.  They serve Greek and American food, and have the best.damn.falafels I have ever had.  So, once a week, I'm going to treat myself to a falafel sandwich.  If I've been really, really good that week I might even have some fries.  If that doesn't sound like much of a treat to you, you have no idea how good these things are.  I would much rather have one of these falafels than ice cream, or even chocolate!  I'll be looking forward to it every week, that's for sure. 

The Beverage:  Only water or tea.  No soda, sugary iced tea, or sugary fruit juices.  I may have a glass of skim milk every once in a while or some Crystal Lighty kind of thing, but mostly it's gonna be water.  Water, agua, H20.

The Exercise: My goal is to do something that makes me sweat for thirty minutes each day.  That's a great healthy habit to establish.  This exercise could be running, biking, yoga, walking at a fast pace, practicing bellydance, or doing a strength/cardio circuit.  Just gotta get my sweat on.

The Evaluation:  I'm going to record each day how I've progressed toward my goals in my handy daily planner.  Every Wednesday, I'm going to recap the week and determine whether or not I get fries with my falafel.  Let's say if I have 6-7 perfect days out of 7, I get fries.  If I have 3-6 perfect days, I just get the falafel.  If I have less than 3 perfect days, I don't even get the falafel.   That would be a sad week indeed.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Also, I'm not going to be doing weigh-ins every week.  I find that if I do stuff like that, I get way too focused on the scale.  I want to establish healthy habits that will lead to a healthy weight, not the other way around.  I will post my starting weight and will weigh at the end of each phase to see how I did.  However, I will take and post body measurements each week.  Then I can see where the weight is coming off. 

Part Two:  The Starting Stats

We're all starting somewhere, right?  This morning I weighed myself (after waking and peeing, before eating), took my starting measurements, and "before" pictures.

Starting Weight: 208.  This is actually what I weighed when I started my first blog in January of last year.  I'd be sad, but I weighed 216 last summer.  At least I'm not there anymore. 

I know what 208 feels like.  But to be honest, I never thought it looked like this... 

Starting Pictures:


 So I'll take new pictures at the end of the Challenge.  Hopefully ones I'm not shocked to look at.  : /

Starting Measurements: Taken in inches, by myself.  I'm not worrying about accuracy, I took a Bioanthropology class last semester that taught me how to take proper anthropometric measurements.  

Mid-Upper Arm:  13.75
Bust: 43.5
Chest (like bra band): 37.5
Waist: 39.5
Hips: 46
Butt: 44.5
Thigh: 24.5

Annnd now I've made myself late for class, so I gotta cut this short.  But I am having a fruit smoothie for breakfast - two servings of fruit down!  See you tomorrow!