Challenges make us great

Our lives are really just one big challenge right?  Sure there are days where we are on auto pilot.  We go through the motions and get done what we need to.  There are days that are exciting where we are on the highest of highs but they are often then balanced out by those where we struggle to remember why we started the journeys that we did.

I’ve talked often about getting back on the right path with my weight loss.  I spent some time today looking back on photos from when I was at my highest weight in 2011-2012 and when I was at my lowest recent weight in spring of 2013.  And then the ups and downs since then.  I wondered why, when I looked so happy when I was losing the weight why I couldn’t keep it up, why I stumbled and fell.  I didn’t have an answer.  I don’t remember what happened to make me slip up.

What I do know is that sometimes your tool box is really only half full of all the tools you need to complete the job at hand.  Sometimes you just don’t have all the knowlege you need or you didn’t get all of the parts you needed to build your final project.  Way back in 2008 when I got down to my lowest adult weight I had cut a ton of sodium out of my diet.  I was also working 3 jobs, under extreme stress, probably not eating much period at all and when all of that let up I put all of the weight back on and then some.

But I still know how to look for and avoid high sodium foods if I make the effort, and it impacts my migraines.  Then in 2012 I started working out, focusing on portion control… I was determined to be a runner.  I kept trying to be a running up until last summer when I realized I don’t want to run, it’s not for me, my body isn’t built for it and you know what that’s fine.  And I was hungry… all. of. the. time.  I saw progress but the moment I stop counting I was back up again.  The moment I stopped working out progress slacked.

But I know the basics at the gym, I know how to use equipment and free weights, just not in the most efficient manner.  I have some of the tools for the kitchen just not what was best for my body.

So recently I started using instagram as inspiration and began following Macey Phillips who has lost tremendous weight in less than a year through weight training and HIT and HIIT as well as IIFYM (If it fits your macros) meal plan.  And wouldn’t you know she opened up a fitness challenge that started monday.  I signed up immediately.  She’s put a ton of work into the 8 week program, customizing Macros plans which let me tell you I eat alllllll day. IMG_5760

IMG_5780There are also work out routines that at first glance you’re like I got this, that is until you feel like you’re going to die during circut two of the HIT segment.IMG_5810

3 days in and I’m down 3 lbs… maybe some is water weight but remember I was back on this fitness thing for the last few weeks…. so I’m thinking well maybe this is real progress…

Other things that I’ve been able to find joy in now that I feel like I have control over my life again – because when you feel like you can control yourself you feel like you can control everything…

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More time outside with Minnie – including visitng her friend Carlos down the road

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You can’t tell me that her selfie game isn’t on point!

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Realizing I don’t hate how I look – I can make this work, it can only get better from here if I work for it.

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Getting back to this place in a few weeks… my summer home…

And I just may have applied to host Matthew Mayfield for a house show – though with Minnie, I was lucky to have a good friend offer space at his local establishment for the event… I’m just sitting here freaking out now like a fangirl waiting to hear if I win the bid…

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This is one of those moments when life is good… it’s a snapshot in time but I’ll take it… and I wanted to make sure that I documented it because the next time one of those huge obstacles hits or when I feel like I can’t do it and just am over everything I can reflect on this and realize that nope, the strength is there.  Just have to tap into it and remember when we can flex our muscles and when we control what we can we get to enjoy that which we can’t.

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When enough is enough

Since coming home from Tortola over a month ago I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching… like a lot a lot…

I panicked when my knee swelled on vacation and when it flaired up again after getting home I sunk into a pretty massive depression.  Not sure if I was even aware how bad it was.  Between the nasty winter we had in Pittsburgh (can we say sub zero for pretty much ever) and stress at work and the professional organization I am heavily involved in I just think I was cracking and in total denial.

I lost my appetite and that’s new uncharted territory for me.  I am a stress eater – give me all the food, and yet I was forcing myself to eat every day.  I just wanted to sleep.  I feared the worst was going to result from every situation I walked into.

And then little by little change started to creep into my life assisted by a break in the weather and that beautiful thing called daylight savings time.  I met up with some friends for drinks and just vented and oh to not feel so alone felt fabulous.  I saw the doctor and was told that my knee actually looked great from the arthritis standpoint and that time should help the swelling – just be careful and get some more weight off.  And when a friend lost his mom to cancer I remembered that all the crap I was dealing with was really not that bad compared to what 1. others were going through and 2. what I’d already made it through in my past.

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So when those clocked bounced forward this weekend and when we got up to 55 degrees on Monday it was like the angels sang and the lights came on again and all was right again.

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I started following some amazing inspiring people on different social media platforms – I’m joining a spring fitness challenge.  And I’m changing the way I’m looking at this challenge I face.  I’m not going to look at that end goal of how many pounds I have to lose or what size I want to be or any of that stuff that discourages me when I don’t get there quick enough.

I created tracking sheets and every week I’ll be logging weight and 13 measurements.  And I’ll log the change in each for the week and then total from the start.  And as long as there is SOME change – then that is how I will gauge my success.  And eventually that will lead me somewhere.

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I’ve been blessed to have some amazing success professionally and I achieved that because I worked so hard for it.  I didn’t just hope that a paper would write itself or that a project would fall into my lap.  I didn’t assume networking would come to me or that communication was easy.  I worked for it and it paid off.  It was something that daily I motivated myself to improve at.  My health needs to be no different.  Why it’s taken me 30 years to make that correlation I’m not sure.  Sometimes book smarts does not always equate the most common sense!

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One of the biggest things that always held me back from full force going into this journey was what other people would think of me at the gym.  I’m not in shape anymore.  I don’t know what I’m really doing with free weight.  The muscle boys scare me on the squat bars and in the dumbbell area.

And then I realized – well at some point they had to do this for the first time too.  If I walk over with some confidence, if I pick up a weight I know I can handle, if I do an exercise I’ve had experience with – that seems like a good place to start.  So day one I was lucky enough to have my friend Val tag along and do arms with me and then day two I ventured into a leg day on my own.

And when I wanted to fall over during weight pendulum lunges because I left them until last and it took me 5 minutes to complete 10 on my left leg and I thought my god someones got to be looking at me going what is this girl doing – I opened my eyes and looked around and I saw a 50+ year old man grunting so loud as he lifted I could hear him over my head phones, I saw two younger guys lifting weights lighter than mine, I saw a lot of people looking at no one and I thought “ok, there are people in here who are probably just as worried about what people think of them and they are being beasts and doing this anyways and focusing on them and you can do this too” and I finished my set.

I hit the treadmill afterwards and did intervals through the leg cramps and every time I wanted to stop I asked myself why and was it because I was going to be injured if I continued or was it because my brain wasn’t cooperating and the answer was always – your BRAIN.

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I’m average at best but you know what I’m willing to take average right now because consistency got me somewhere once before and it’s going to do it again.

These last few months have been worth it because I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a great head space before.  I’m ready.

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