Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Skinny.

I am an addict.

There.  I said it.

I am addicted.  I am addicted to something that is a time-waster.  I am addicted to something that could potentially be ruining my eyesight.  I am addicted to.... the internet.  Excuse me.  The Internet.

I am on it everyday.  I wake up with it (and a cup of coffee).  I use it during Quiet Time.  I use it when I cook.  I use it when I talk with friends and family who are more than a stone's throw away from me.  I use it to shop.  I use it help me ignore other responsibilities.  I use it a lot.  And in all the time that I have been on it, I have noticed a not-so-surprising-and-earthshattering pattern.  The Internet is full of Skinny.  Or as it is termed now, Strong As The New Skinny But Still Really Skinny.  There are sites that tell you how to move your body to lose weight.  Sites that tell you what to put in your mouth to lose weight.  Sites that tell you what NOT to put in your mouth to lose weight.  Sites that tell you what doctor to see to lose weight.  Sites that tell you that it doesn't matter if you lose weight.  Sites that tell you that you are worth nothing unless you lose weight.  It's everywhere.

The Before-and-After's are numerous.  The quick fixes are endless.  The reasons, motivations, diagrams are countless.  

And in all of this, good and bad, there is a pattern.  A single thread that holds it together no matter the author.  Do it (or don't do it) for you.  For You.  Even in my blog.  How many times have I said that losing this weight was for myself.  My children and my husband benefit, but it's for me.  I sit on my bloggy soap box and tell you how to change, how to stick it, how to focus.  For yourself.  And I don't disagree with that (obviously).  But there is something.  Something that is sitting on my shoulder, tugging on my ear, making me lose my Focus.  What if losing this weight, and getting fit and healthy, and running (not so many as of late) these miles, what if it could be something more.  What if, instead of turning inward on myself and Focusing and Gaining Control, I turned it outward?  What would that mean?

What if I could take this energy and this Life Change and use it to change other people's lives?  In part, that is why I am running with Team World Vision this October.  I am running what will surely be thirteen loooong miles in order to raise money that will benefit people that I will probably never meet.  People that, although I don't know their names, I know they are struggling, and therefore I am morally responsible for doing what I can to help.  And since I cannot jump on a plane to Africa at this stage in my life to help them, I will do my best to aid those who can.  But what else?

As of now, I will be changing the way that I look at my weight loss journey.  I will continue to run for Team World Vision, but I will also be on the lookout for what else this could mean.  Where can I spend the energy that I am gaining with every pound lost and mile ran?  Where can I spend the years that I am tacking onto the end of my life?  Where can I guide my family to not only encourage them on the road to Healthy, but also on the road to Gratitude and Servitude?  It can be anything.  Donating the clothes that no longer fit me to a woman's shelter.  And while I am at it, asking what I can donate in the lines of food and/or time.  Looking for (or starting?) running clubs that focus on children from broken homes.  Helping the kids donate some of their unused toys so we can not only help others but spend our time outside running instead of inside playing with Toys That Light Up In Order To Put Toddler Into A Daze.  Even asking a widow or someone who is just down on their luck to join you for a run, or a healthy dinner.  

This journey has been about me for too long.  It's time to start looking outward.  If my waistline is the only thing I change in this world, than I may as well have kept it cushy.  

If you would like to join me in this, please do!  We can start together, simply.  If you are feeling ready to start your own journey, email me at with your name and starting weight (I know! I feel awkward just ASKING!) and the reason you felt compelled to start.  We will work together (metaphorically) until October 10 (which is 4 days before my race) to capture a fitter, more well balanced version of ourselves, and for every pound lost by those who joined, I will donate $1 to World Vision, with a minimum of $5 donated for each person.  It really is not about the pounds lost, but that is the most tangible way to keep track, no matter how annoying it may be.  Join to lose weight.  Join to lose yourself in servitude of others.  I am not asking for money, only your commitment to better the lives of others around you as you better your own.  (That being said, if you would like to make a donation to World Vision outside of this journey, you can by following this link. Those donations will change lives, and will be tax-deductable to boot.)  The only other thing I ask is that if you have ideas on how to create a ripple of change around you, that you share it with me so I can share it with others.  Other than that, the only other time I will contact you is to get your final weight on the 10th of October so I know how much I will be donating.  Break my bank, people!  Change lives!  Go!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Clean Slate.

People talk about Falling Off The Wagon all the time.  I don't talk about it much, but it's mostly because I am too busy actually doing it and wondering how to get back on to verbalize.  It can be with anything.  Long-term goals, short-term goals.  A burnt dinner.  An overdue credit card bill.  We fall off the straight and narrow all the time, and spend the better part of our day stewing and wondering if it's possible to make things right again.
What we don't realize is that the time spent harping on ourselves and convincing ourselves of our utter lack of worth could be better spent just taking the next step forward.  It sounds so simple.  And it is.  If we let it be.

I am notorious for doing this with my "diet"... or lack-there-of.  I do well with breakfast, but semi-binge at lunch (because.... how could I possibly choose between leftover pizza and fresh stuffed mushrooms?? Must have both!), then spend the rest of the day eating whatever I get my hands on because I can "start again tomorrow."  I let my temporary lapse of self-control, my lapse of stillness run the rest of my day.  It takes a heap full of perfectly acceptable minutes and hours and turns them into a pile of weary, sad moments spent contemplating just how sad my poor little gut is, and just how weak my control is.  I eat ice cream after dinner, even though it will make my stomach stretch to a level of discomfort so high that my normal, sane brain cells wonder why it is that I like to knowingly and willingly put myself through it again.  But... I'm starting again tomorrow.  Today is ruined.  May as well get it over with.  Drown my sorrows, so to speak.

I've done this with my exercising as of late as well.  I have a stress fracture in my foot, which has made it so I can't run, do yoga, or even walk long distances.  So therefore, I don't do anything.  I have fallen off of the path when it comes to my normal routine, and instead of looking around and seeing what else there is, I cave in on myself and throw myself a grand old pity party.  How much easier our lives would be if we just lived each day instead of groaning about how hard living actually is. 

What I need to realize is that people mess up.  Things happen.  And you don't have to wait for the water to settle to make a change.  The sun rising does not mean that your slate is clean.  Your slate can be cleaned the very moment you make a mistake.  So I had two days worth of calories in one sitting.  Oops.  Did it taste delicious?  Sure did.  Do I need to spend the whole day being a garbage disposal because I have a stain on my record?  Silly.  I need to enjoy the splurge, then start again... that very second.  Not the next day.  Not after the weekend.  Not when I get home from vacation.  Now.  Otherwise the hole will be 50 feet deeper than it needed to be by the time I make the decision to really start.  And, sure, hard work is good for the soul, but we have enough of that in our lives already to be nonchalantly adding weariness that could have been avoided.

The problem though, at least for myself, is the actual desire to make the change.  I talk a big talk when it comes to my weight loss journey.  When I made the decision to get healthy however many months ago, it felt different.  It felt heavy.  It felt like it had some substance, some credit to it.  And I think that's been a huge, if not the biggest, factor of the success I have had so far.  I fell into a routine, and I stayed there.  I had made the decision, not for my kids or for my jean size, but for me.  So I could let my body be what it so desperately wanted to be.  The desire was there, so the pounds fell off.

But I have an engine that burns out.  That's been the case my whole life.  I get excited about something, do really well, then burn out.  I have so many half-done projects in my house it's embarrassing.  And since I have been in the States, I can feel that drive burn out.  I'm not sure if it's because I am not in my own home with my own food and my own routine, or if it's something more.  Right now I am excited to get back so I can hop back into Weight Watchers and hopefully turn the tide on the weight that is slowly creeping back on. 

But there's the rub.  When I get home.  It needs to happen now.  I need this to be a change that I carry with me.  Because Lord knows with the life that we lead, I am never in one place very long.  So how do I nail it down? Make it permanent?  That's what I need to find out.  That's what I need to uncover.  I think it would be a lovely gesture if I saved myself the trouble of picking up after my poor attitude. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I have a stress fracture in my foot.  That sucks.

Moving on...

I'm happy to report that the changes that gripped me in my last post are still holding on tightly, sinking their claws into my chest a little further each day.  That makes it sound like an unwelcome change, but it's not.  It's just that it's just so dang hard to keep my focus on the things that matter, because the things that don't matter are so much prettier.  They flutter around, catching my glance, dropping sparkles in my eyes that instantly fill me with a feeling of more, while the things that matter sit solidly still, reflecting not a sparkle, but a heaviness and a sureness, one that's dull but prominent, filling me, not instantly, but gradually with a feeling of enoughEnough stills me, leaves me in a silence that makes it possible to see clearly.  More drives me mad, rippling the water so all I can see are millions of reflections everywhere instead of the stillness that sits just beneath. 

I feel like the culture that we are immersed in is constantly driving us up a ladder, up the rungs to the Next Best Thing.  Keep moving forward.  Get the latest model.  Try the latest technique.  To stop and be content with where you are at is to be outdated, sedentary, unmotivated.  Lazy.  And while there is a certain stillness that can be classified as laziness, not all stillness is the kind that gathers dust. 

I am very susceptible to advertising.  I am consumer.  I have been known to purchase a book based solely on its cover.  I love everything Apple.  I see commercials for a restaurant and put it on my list of things to do.  (That little trait is greatly magnified while I am pregnant.)  I am ok with my weight, but my ears still perk and my eyebrows still raise when I hear about the latest method to shaving off those last few pounds.  There are just so many things to get.  So many things to do.  It's impossible to keep up.

And yet we continue to try so hard.

Being in the States for the last few weeks has been more eye-opening than I was anticipating it being.  Especially with my eating habits.  I eat like I have a tendency to do my shopping.  I need to eat the Next Best Thing, and I need to finish it because otherwise I am wasteful.  I need to eat these fries even though I've eaten fries at every other meal in the day because these are different.  They are new and shiny and what if they are the best fries ever? And I just let them sit!  What a waste!  And I will eat this ice cream NOW even though I could wait but what fun is waiting when I can have it NOW? 

So I am working on being still when I eat.  Being still when I shop.  Letting the ripples wear themselves out so I can see clearly.  Letting my will and mind exercise the power that they do indeed have over the stuff that surrounds me every day.  I hope that it will only take a few times of overcoming the voice that is roaring more more more now now now to help me see that it can be done.  I imagine that voice as a roaring lion, yelling at the top of his lungs.  It's scary at first, startling, making you want to jump into action.  But my will and my strength are the lioness that is hiding in the brush, silently watching, not wasting her energy on yelling and making a show.  I find her to be more powerful, because she sits and waits.  You aren't surprised when the roaring lion attacks, but when the lioness strikes, it's one of power and strength that you didn't see coming. 

So be still.  Wait.  Let the noise subside, and see what is left.  Listen to the subtleness.  Listen to the calm.  I believe that when we learn to do that, it will be so much more gratifying than seeing the useless rungs of the ladder pile beneath us.

Friday, June 29, 2012


I'm almost 28.  On July 9, nothing extraordinary will happen.  The stars will not realign.  The earth will not shift.  The birds will not sing any other song than the one they holler every morning.  But I will be a day older, and that day happens to begin a new year in my life.  28.  I think I've been telling people I was 28 for about two years now, which may explain why I am not particularly excited by my birthday anymore.  Who has time to keep track of these things?

But also I think it's something else.  I think the last year or two of my life has set me on a journey, and I believe that that journey has an end point in mind.  I think there is specific growth happening, growth that is preparing me for whatever the years I have left are going to bring.  I think that everything from the people I've met to the books that I've read to the cupcakes that I have made have been steering me (maybe sometimes shoving me) to something.  Something that is happening... tomorrow?  Next year?  When I turn 50?  On my death bed, which hopefully is quite a few years from now?  I don't know.  But something is there, looming in my future.  And I know only one thing.  That something has absolutely postively nothing to do with me.  So, turning a year older?  Not that big of deal.

Did you know that I am not the center of the earth?  That the sun does not rise so I can be grumpy about being up too early?  That the rain does not fall in order to ruin my plans?  That people everywhere do not plan their life according to what I post on facebook?  *gasp*  I know.  I'll give you a minute.  Gather yourself.

It's like I have been living my life for these first almosttwenty-eight years with my head down, staring at my feet, walking forward and wondering why I keep running into things.  Now, I'm not a selfish person.  I don't think.  I like to believe that I give freely and that I can be depended upon.  But I think it's human nature to run around, even passively, wondering why it is that things keep getting in your way.  Why things just don't work out for you.  And I think it's shocking for people when they look up and see that there are others running around wondering the exact same thing.  It's easy to get lost in yourself, in your life plans, in your job, in your day, in you.  And I think it's easy to be so lost that you don't realize you are doing it.  I'm sure there are some reading this and thinking "She is so right!  I can't stand those people!"  But honestly, I think it's the majority. 

That's why it's so shocking to meet someone with their head up, looking around, searching for people in need and attending to them, forgetting themselves.  It makes your head snap up, your fog clear, even for the briefest of moments.  And then you hope and pray that you can have the strength to keep your head up too.  Because in those first moments, it's hard.  It strains your neck, having to use the muscles from keeping your head from drooping.  It hurts to look all around you and see the masses of people that are in so much pain that your heart doubles in weight just from glancing them for the briefest of moments.  It's makes your brain swim to take in just how big this world is, and just how little of it has to do with you.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of those people recently, and I hope and pray to God that the change has been permanent.  Because this world is too big, and this life is too short, to spend the whole time looking at your own feet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Calorie Burning is Calorie Burning... right?

Why is it when you set a goal for yourself, everything around you seems to topple over into your path, making the road that has been nice and straight and clear now congested and dangerous to travel?  Why is it when I'm not training for any run in particular, I can run and be fine and up my mileage (when my laziness doesn't get in the way), but as soon as I set a goal, say maybe a half marathon, my hamstring is all, you wanna waaaaaa? and pulls itself all out of whack?  Life is crazy.

My sidelined leg has me doing lots of thinking on what I can do to keep my body moving and improving while I can't run.  I do work out DVD's (p90x and Jillian Michael's 30 day shred [I really dislike her sometimes]), but those get boring.  Walking is good, but that gets boring.  I would love to do some kind of sport, like volleyball or racquetball, but finding the time as well as the other players is difficult.  I play with the kids, but I would also like something that doesn't have as much potential to swirl down into crisis mode at the drop of a hat. 

Do you know what I like?  What I was doing for quite a while but had to stop because of our vacation to the States?  What I am most certainly going to rejoin as soon as I can?

P...p....p.....  pole-dancing.


That's right.  I said it.  Dancing that is done on a pole.  A pooooooole.  On which you dance.

If you know me in the flesh you are probably scratching your head at this.  I mean... remember this?  That doesn't sound like someone who is ready to hop on a pole.  But it totally is.

I was introduced to it through a friend of a friend, who was having a birthday party at a small studio that is literally in someones backyard.  It only has 3 poles, and the party was more of what you expected when you think Pole Dancing.  There were flashy lights, and Sexy Faces were strongly encouraged.  I was there, in my big t-shirt and long pants (25 pounds heavier than I am now), a little shy of this big metal thing that I was supposed to swing around.  Near the end of the party, they mentioned they did 6 week courses, where you begin in level one and move your way up the ladder ( pole) at your own pace.  I was intrigued.  I did have a lot of fun at the party... but to do this weekly?  Eesh.

But with a few friends, I signed up and decided to just do it.  This blip of a life is too short to just refuse to try things.  So I show up for my first class in my pants and t-shirt, only to find out that I am way overdressed.  That won't swing this time.  This time I am supposed to be able to actually use the pole and to do that, it needs skin contact.  Next time I came prepared in shorts and a tank-top.  And I still could hardly do anything.  Did you know it's actually quite hard to get your big butt on that thing?  The class was not like the party.  The lights were turned on, we did a warm-up, we worked our butts off.  These girls were serious.  And I was intimidated.  Because I couldn't do a darn thing.

But that's exactly why I wanted to bring this class up on here.  Because, 3-4 months in, the differences were amazing.  I have not done any other kind of sport in which you see your improvement so dramatically.  My first attempt to climb up the pole was laughable, ending up in a prolonged squeeeeeeeeeee as I sadly slid down onto the floor.  But by the end, I was getting all the way up and doing moves that used only your upper body strength to keep you from crashing to the ground.  And it was so, much, fun. 

The class was small, only 6 girls, and while I was one of the bigger ones, I received nothing but encouragement, and I felt that everyone was just as excited as I was when I finally reached the top (because it did take a while).  I have never had this strong of an upper body, even when I was involved in three different sports a year in high school.  And because of the logistics of pole-dancing, I was able to see that, while my body was big, it was capable.  It was able.  I could do this.  The moves I had the hardest time with were the ones that I went into them thinking that there is no way I am going to be able to do that with my leg while holding on with just my pinkie! Well, maybe I'm exaggerating, but there were some silly moves!  But in order to do any of them, I needed to step out of my head, encourage myself, and just go for it.  And you know what?  Sometimes all that accomplished was me hitting the floor really hard (I had some magnificent bruises!).  But then I just tried again.  And again.  And again.  And each time there would be improvement.  Sometimes it took quite a few sessions to get it down, but it happened.  And there is nothing better than doing something that, at the beginning, seemed impossible.  Whether it be climbing up a pole, or running a 5k, or finishing college, or deciding to just be ok with yourself exactly how you are.  There are so many goals that we all set for ourselves, and so many fall by the wayside because we get into our own heads and decide that it cannot be done.  So we fail before we even take the first step.

I've found through most things that if you can get past the first step, the next one will be easier, and the one after that will come a little more naturally.  It's that first step, the one into unknown territory, the one that send us into a place where we might fail, where we might uncover some weakness... that step is scary.  It's so scary.  But the fear from going in head first, then the exhilaration that fills you when you survive... that will keep you going.  And success may be one day away, it may be one year away, it may be ten years away, or it may be just out of your grasp even up until the end... But really... when you think about it,  I wasn't excited that I was sitting at the top of the pole (that actually hurts quite a bit, holding yourself up there!).  I was excited because I took that journey.  I was excited because the bruises were worth it.  I was excited because I was able to set a new goal. 

So go ahead, take the first step.  Take the leap, take the plunge... whatever you want to call it.  You may fall flat on your face.  And that's ok.  It will be an awesome story to tell.  Log it, look at what didn't work, and keep going.  Live your life.