Feeling renewed

I’m back! Hopefully for good. I am currently working on some projects and trying to get some direction in my life. While I was focusing on that, my eating and exercise habits fell off. I stopped doing Crossfit because my body could no longer handle the intense exercise. Not to completely blame Crossfit because I was also eating poorly with tons of inflammatory foods and alcohol, so who knows if I will return to it in the future. I’ve made lifelong friends at that gym so there is something to be said about the sense of community that it fosters. Like I just mentioned, I was eating poorly while doing Crossfit, so once I stopped lifting so heavy and working out as often, the scale went up, like all the way up. I’m up about 6-8 lbs… My fitness class also went on hiatus in August so that didn’t help either. Now that it’s back, I can see the weight gain and I don’t like it. Plus how can I be an inspiration to others in regards to living healthfully, if I can’t monitor myself? So here I am, slowly get back on the health train, for good this time. (Suddenly got this weird urge to watch Mission Impossible 1…probably because of the train scene. Yes, I am that simple)

Food– I am an all or nothing type of girl. I can’t say that this is the only plan I am doing, but this is the one that I’m starting with! I’m currently reading the “Change One” book which I found on my bookcase.  It’s not even a diet, it just teaches you how to implement one change at a time.

Week 1 is all about breakfast. My plan is to have my protein smoothie as late as possible in order to take advantage of the health effects of intermittent fasting.

  • Breakfast
    • Coffee
      • almond milk and almond creamer
    • Protein smoothie
      • 1 cup almond milk
      • 1 scoop protein powder
      • 1 cup fruit
      • 2 cup veggies
      • 1 tbsp chia seed

Exercise– I need to start exercising as intensely as when I was doing the Crossfit. And it’s not just cardio that I need to add, but the strength. I had a gym buddy when I was doing CF, so that’s gone. But I have you guys and will stay cognizant of the changes I want to make. I want to be an inspiration to my family and my class participants. This week’s plan:

  • Sunday
    • AM- Strength class, followed by elliptical machine
  • Monday
    • AM- Dance class prep, upper body strength
    • PM- Dance performance squad.  (There is so much stopping, that not much cardio happens, but I am doing more than I would if I was at home, so I’m counting it!)
  • Tuesday
    • AM- Dance class Prep
    • PM- Barre class with my sister
  • Wednesday
    • AM- Dance Class Prep
    • PM- Masala Bhangra Class
  • Thursday
    • AM Dance Class Prep, lower body home strength
    • PM- Dance freestyle class (have no idea what that is)
  • Friday
    • AM and PM- Dance Class Prep, upper body home strength
  • Saturday
    • Teach my class! Tons of calories burned

That is the plan. I will post during the week to keep you updated. Have a great day!!

Self Sabotage

What is self sabotage? According to Psychology Today, self-sabotage is “when a behavior creates problems and interferes with long-standing goals.” I have a lot of goals that I want to achieve in the next 6 months. So why have I spent this evening cleaning, cooking and am currently sipping my second drink?!?

How does one achieve their goals? How does one get the fire inside them that moves them to do more than others? I think I just have so much to do and so many thoughts floating around in my head, that I end up doing nothing. In the morning, I want to do so much, but the time just seems to fly. I have the basics down: eating, basic self care, going to work everyday, chatting with friends and the weekly exercise classes, but that’s kind of it. I want to be excellent, successful, financially stable and most of all, happy.

The good news is that I’m feeling better emotionally and much more positive about my current situation. Each morning I wake up and write down 10 things that I love and value about myself which was suggested by Jake Ducey. I also write a list of all the things that I’m grateful for. Doing those two activities in the morning leaves me feeling content with where I’m at. However, I know that I can do more and you HAVE to do more to move to the next level. If I wanted to stay an office manager, remain overweight and teach dance classes on the weekend, than I wouldn’t have to do anything more. But to find a new job, lose weight and get paid for my classes, I need to take the necessary steps to get there.

Plan of Action: I’m going to blog more often to have some accountability. Also to be more consistent with my goals. Changes that I will implement until my next post:

  1. Lower carbs- I’ve been doing research on keto. Even though I’m not going that route, I want to lower my carb intake because I think I’m insulin resistant and I don’t want to be a slave to glucose spikes. I’ve already cut out bread, so the next steps are bananas, plantains and other higher starched foods
  2. Write a blog every 3-4 days
  3. Practice my class choreography daily- I haven’t taught a class in 2 weeks. Although it’s nice to be off, I think I’m regressing in my fitness capabilities, especially since I’ve stopped doing crossfit. I want to start dancing daily, for at least 30 mins, in order to get my energy back and to have new moves when I return to teaching in 3 weeks
  4. Study 30 mins for my AFAA fitness instructor certification or GRE exam
  5. Take a walk during lunch every day, at least around the block

That’s it! Nothing too out there or challenging. I can get better. I will get better!

Forgiveness

Sorry I’ve been missing. I’ve been feeling a little out of it and not at peace. I’ve always had issues with looking ahead into the future, seeing what is possible but not the path and getting discouraged. I end up turning to old habits, such as eating takeout daily, drinking too much and watching lots of TV. For some people, that might not seem like such a bad thing, but I know that I could do so much more if I actually tried and didn’t get discouraged so easily. It also makes it so I’m not happy in the moment. Always waiting to be happy in the future, which isn’t even promised. I’m currently working on correcting those bad habits and working on my mindset, which is a daily process.

Even though my eating hasn’t been ideal, I have continued to work out and do Crossfit, although I am the only person gaining weight while doing it, it’s because of my diet. I really love to exercise and see the progress that I’m making on that front. I’m also still teaching my fitness class on Saturdays, however I can’t be a good example for my students if I’m gaining weight and not living a healthy lifestyle. One of my missions in life is to help people lose weight, so I will be Subject #1.

Forgiveness – It’s not easy to forgive but they say it’s the most important step in moving forward so I am extending that to myself.

  • I forgive myself for not treating my body in the best way possible and for being so hard on my appearance.
  • I forgive myself for simultaneously having an ideal of perfection yet making so many active attempts to fail, causing a constant state of body dissatisfaction.
  • I forgive myself for criticising every aspect of myself making it difficult to ever be at peace.
  • I forgive myself for sabotaging relationships and friendships for fear that people would leave me or that their feelings weren’t sincere
  • I forgive myself for not knowing how to maintain healthy relationships.
  • I forgive myself for not opening up more to people for fear of retaliation or dismissal of feelings.
  • I forgive myself for putting my cat Elf through months of chemo making the last months of his life painful and scary (I started crying when I wrote that one so I think I have a lot of guilt with that one).
  • I forgive myself for drinking and eating in excess.
  • I forgive myself for not really trying to find my calling when I was younger and working on jobs that were not for me.

I forgive myself and will continue to work on it everyday. Just like if you were cheated on, it will take daily effort to truly get past it.  I need to start listening to my mind and body in order to see what I’ve been covering up with the excess food and drink.

Quote of the day –  “Create an inner harmony where your loving soul guides your physical behavior, rather than having your soul always come in second place” – Wayne Dyer

Next week’s goal is to focus on mindful eating. Asking myself before I eat -1) Am I hungry? 2) Will this food bring me towards or away from my goal? Try to accept my answer with no judgements and enjoy the food, whatever it may be.

Community Question – What are your goals for next week? Do you need to work on forgiving yourself for something?

 

Advice to My Younger Self

I was listening to a podcast just now on regaining weight after losing it. The host asked the guest, if she could go back to a certain age to give advice…. when would she go back to and what advice would she give her younger self… This got me thinking.

I have been overweight since elementary school and have been dieting since that time. That’s one of the “perks” of having older sisters. I was reading Self magazine and admiring tall, thin and lithe bodies like Gabrielle Reese or Veronica Webb since before puberty. I never once thought that I couldn’t look like that if I followed a 1200 calorie plan. I have never liked the way that I look. Never. I have been comparing myself to celebrities and models since the start. When I got my first real crush in college, I started running because I thought that my weight was the only thing holding me back from him liking me. I started running around the track, lost the weight and started putting myself in his line of sight. We never dated. Then I would drink excessively to relax and be more sociable, because men would screw any girl that was there, right? You could blame 90210 and Melrose Place for those ideas. So now, not only was I a problem drinker, but I was eating like crazy to deal with loneliness and shame from drunken escapades. It’s just been a constant cycle of binging and abstinence, never any type of moderation with food or alcohol.

I love to dance which is why I am becoming a certified instructor and teach on the weekends at a church. Dancing allows me to workout every week to stay in some sort of shape and help others stay motivated and in shape. I really don’t like Crossfit, but I like challenging myself. I joined Crossfit to literally whip my body into shape. I loved the results but after being sidelined, I gained some weight back and have been binging ever since. Everything that I do to my body has been to modify the emotions with a substance, get it thinner by starving, making crazy eating rules or exercising until I get injured. I’ve never just loved it for still fucking working. Appreciate it for what it is because it’s as perfect as I’ve allowed it to be. And I should be grateful and I am in this moment.

I have these affirmations on my wall in my kitchen and bathroom that say:

  • I am beautiful
  • I love my body
  • I care about what goes into my body
  • I love myself
  • I care about my body

Is it normal to have to remind yourself of that? Why is my self esteem and self image so distorted? There is no one to blame at this point, but how can I rectify it? I know that finding the answer to this question is the only way to reach a stable and healthy weight. I aspire to love myself and treat my body with TLC. I think it’s time to put my scale away. That’s step #1 for damn sure.

1st Injury

Ok. So technically I wasn’t injured doing Crossfit, but I was injured doing a HIIT class at the Crossfit box. I sprained my ankle, mildly, but it got me thinking about what is important in my life. I wasn’t able to teach my dance class on Saturday because I have pain when I put my full weight on my foot. It’s improving with each day and I will be back to 100% by next Saturday.  I fell so deep into the Crossfit and gym buddy culture and mindset, that it’s nice to get a little reprieve, a break from working out. I have been going there  3-5 times per week, and at times taking 2 classes back to back. It was bound to happen.

I got injured in a class that is taught by a coach that isn’t my favorite. Coaches have different personalities and motivation strategies, but this one seems to think that if you say you can’t do it or are struggling, you just aren’t pushing yourself enough. Which is ironic because I usually am out of breath in his class, which is 100% plyometrics, ladder drills and sprints. Plus I paid $225 per month to be there and am taking 7-8 classes per week, believe me I’m trying.

They also all assume that you are trying to get in shape for “the summer” when I’m just trying to get in shape for life. They don’t know that I’ve lost 44lbs so far, so yes I am one of the largest folks in there at a size 14, but I’ve come a distance. Some also don’t pay attention to limitations. But in the end, if you get injured, it’s your fault. Even though folks are screaming at you to go harder, you are supposed to ignore it or tell them that you are having pain. So with that realization…… I’m going to start running my own race and paying attention to what I can and can’t do. I also will only listen to the trainers that I trust. Some trainers see when you are having difficulty and tell you to modify, others tell you to push harder. I’m going to stick to the former teachers from now on.

Can we also talk about peer pressure and gym buddies for a minute? In my previous post, I said you are who you hang out with, BUT if your gym buddy wants to work out 6 days per week, you have to just say no if your body can’t handle it. I’m going back to 4 days a week (S,M,W,TH) and my gym buddies can go together on the days that I can’t.

I started the post saying that I know what is most important now and it’s not working out at the Crossfit gym, it’s my dance class. They were unable to find a substitute for my dance class on Saturday, so due to my decision to take a HIIT class, they were teacherless. The site manager sent me a pic of the ladies dancing to a video of me that one of them recorded in order to practice at home. I am making a difference in these women’s lives, I feel it, and I don’t want to spoil that trying to do suicides sprints and box jumps. This internship, which is over in maybe 3 months, is the top priority for me now and I really need to take care of my body and add more rest to the mix. So I made a new rule, no more HIIT training on Fridays at all so I can be 100% on Saturday.

If I feel OK for the rest of the day, I will return to “the box” tomorrow morning, then rest on Tuesday and then do a double on Wednesday. If my gym buddy says anything, I will just tell her to kick rocks… in the sweetest way possible.

You Become Who You Hang Out With

I had a bad week. Everything that I could’ve done wrong last week, I did. I had take out, twice a day, everyday, and the scale is 5lbs greater than the week prior . I’m at the point of existence, where I know what I should be doing, but I allow a crazy work day to cause me to tailspin. Please note that I said allow because I’m not a victim here. My favorite line from Ferris Bueller’s day off is “Sooner or later everyone goes to the zoo.” It was as if I fell down, couldn’t regain my balance and everything that I reached for pulled me back down.

The week started off bad with an interaction with my boss that pretty much happens multiple times per day. He refuses to see a patient that was referred to see him, sometimes for a good reason and other times not so straightforward, and I have to relay the message to an angry person that yells at me or vents their frustrations about the process. This makes me, and many of my coworkers, turn to food.  Some days I am better able to deal with the complaints but last Monday it put a spotlight on what is wrong with my job. No one, not even my administrative manager, cares about the position that this puts us in. Or the stress that this has on my mental health and my body so after 5 and a half years, I’m done. I looked at my previous weight logs and it’s the same cycle, I lose weight, gain it back plus 15, lose weight and gain it back plus 20. I won’t do it again so I made the decision to quit and actually move forward with it. I’m giving myself until August to get a job in the public health/wellness field or save enough to quit. I’m also planning to apply for a Masters program. Luckily I missed the application deadline for the program this year, so I don’t have to use the excuse of tuition reimbursement to stay at my job. I will pay for each credit out of pocket just to quit my job.

But how did I get out of my downward spiral of french fries and veggie burgers? I went to dinner and happy hour with two of my Crossfit friends and it really opened my eyes to what is possible. One woman quit her 200K job due to her mental health and has multiple job offers coming in. The other woman is the creative type that just got her first paid role in a play, she has a successful podcast and constantly has meetings in her craft.  She asked me what I wanted to do and at first I was hesitant but I said.. “I want to help people lose weight but I know that there isn’t much money in that.” She got excited and said “Wow you have so many options, you can open a studio, do coaching, there aren’t a lot of black women that are losing weight doing this. People would follow that, let me know if I could ever help you”. I woke up on Saturday with a whole new attitude. I was positive and didn’t feel hopeless. Which brings me to the title of this post.

I have told that dream to other folks but no one has had that reaction that it was actually possible or that I had options. Her reaction literally made me excited and I started planning what to do. They say that you are the sum total of who you hang out with, whether it’s weight, salary, or attitude. This is reason number 1736 that I am glad that I joined this gym. The soon to be employed lady is encouraging me to go to grad school and the creative one is someone that I can sound off ideas to. Yes, in the perfect world I should be able to be self motivated all the time, but it’s not always the case so now I have friends to keep me accountable and motivated, not just in the gym but outside.

Current mood: Grateful, motivated and positive AF

Motivation Monday

When you have a lot of weight to lose, it requires a lot of motivation, not so much willpower. Some folks believe that willpower is not finite, but as someone that has dealt with intense cravings, willpower can only get you so far before you tell yourself, “screw this, I can start again tomorrow or Monday.” For better or worse, weight loss has always been in the forefront of my mind. When I see a new health magazine at my job, I always take it.  I keep a binder filled with weight loss stories, recipes, pictures and I retain any interesting tidbits that the magazine offers. I also post 1-2 pictures of cover models in my kitchen, just as a reminder to stay on track and so I never forget what I’m trying to do. I’ve plateaued for awhile, completely due to poor eating habits, so I brought it up a notch. Phone screensaver. I plan to reach my goal weight by my birthday in October, and I only need to lose 6 lbs per month.

In order to be on schedule, I need to reach 183 by April 1. Seeing this picture on my phone is the reality check that I need when I’m craving a cheat meal or about to go down the road of no return. Every cheat meal matters so I’m trying to limit them to 1-2 per week. This screensaver reminds me to stick to my plan and ever since using this trick, I broke the plateau and am the lowest I’ve been since 2012. If you try it let me know how it works.

What tricks do you use to motivate you for weight loss?

Weighing in

The dance class that I taught yesterday was NOT good. I didn’t rehearse the dances the day before like I usually do because I spent the prior day at a spa with a friend. I got home really late and then didn’t prepare that morning. So I was pretty much winging it. I made a few mistakes and in one song, I missed a mark and actually went to rewind the song so we could redo it, which I’m pretty sure is a faux pas. It was a vital part of the song though. Thank goodness this is an internship and I’m not getting paid. When you are dancing in front of a crowd, and they are all watching you… there is nowhere to hide and you can’t cover it up.

Today was my zumba certification class and it went well. I LOVE Zumba and I love to dance. I love great teachers and the one that taught the class was exceptional. I want to be a great teacher and I plan to put more effort into this. I’m glad that I am in this 6 month internship because it gives me time to perfect my craft, work on cueing  and just get better. That way when I start trying to get a job at a gym or studio, I will be 1000 times better and will also have 6 months of experience under my belt. But tomorrow is back to reality. On the scale of importance, I would rank 1) Fitness instructor development 2) Crossfit obsession and 3) Current job. With each new thing, the job is getting lower and lower on the totem pole.

Now onto the main event–>

IMG_0835Here is my current weight. I’m going to do a post tomorrow on maintaining motivation and how to do it. I was plateaued for 2 months going back and forth between 188 and 187. I made one change last week and have now reached the lowest weight that I’ve been since 2012. Motivation is hard to maintain, especially when you are stressed or feeling low. I set a goal of being 183 by April 1 and I’m pretty sure that I will be below that by the end of the week.

 

Getting a Punching Bag

One of my goals next year is to deal with stress and frustration in a… healthier manner. One that doesn’t involve me gaining weight, feeling lethargic and having any regrets. So I’m buying a punching bag. Work is super stressful, and so is adulting. The first thing I realized when I became an adult, even before I knew how hard it would be to get a job, was that no one cared how much or how often you drank. As long as you fulfilled your duties, you could buy it at ANY TIME. Which I did! I went to work everyday, socialized, occasionally drank too much at happy hours yet most people liked me. But life isn’t supposed to be about surviving, it’s supposed to be about flourising. To be perfectly honest, and no one knows this, there were full YEARS, when I was still living with a roommate and miserable, that I would go to work, come home and drink beers and cranberry vodkas, get drunk, go to sleep and start over again the next day. Could you imagine?  I had weeks of abstinence, even got help including AA and outpatient rehab treatment, and I somehow got it under control, but I never stopped for longer than 30 days. I think if more people knew that about me, they would understand why I am the way I am… 34, single, introverted and all that jazz. I am probably not someone that should be drinking given my history and that is something that I am eliminating ASAP. But anyway…

I took my second boxing class this week and I realized I love the punching bag. I imagine it’s my boss (I really don’t hate him). I imagine it’s my fears. I imagine it’s all my self-anger and my frustrations and I beat it until I’ m done. Unfortunately in classes they only let you go for 2 sets of 3 mins… so I’m getting my own. That way after work, instead of the occasional, or not so occasional drink that I was having towards the end of this year, I will beat the crap out of it.  And also tone my upper body while I do it. I have some rage in me and I’m tired of complaining all day to coworkers and myself. I don’t want to hear it so I will just beat the bag and call it a night. I really want to be myself and authentic. I feel like alcohol and depression pushes everything down to where you are drinking your sorrows and  pretending everything is OK and then repeating it the next day. I don’t want to bite my tongue anymore. I want to be proud of myself and help others. So here is the bag I bought:

61aVvIQj3+L._SL1500_

I’m Back!!

Whew… Where have I been? Well I have been a mad woman these past few weeks, literally. Things are looking up, yet staying the same. I’m trying to navigate the waters and trying to decide what is the next step.

Fitness Instructor Training– The program was successfully completed this past Tuesday! I had a final last week which included teaching a class and multiple choice test. I was a nervous wreck. Over the past few months, I’ve really learned a lot about myself. I don’t handle stress too well. It affects my sleeping, I drink more and I am constantly on edge, probably due to the drinking and sleeping less. I get it done in the end but everything suffers, including my appearance. I passed the class, so I am officially in a 6 month internship starting in Jan/Feb. I will be teaching a class every Saturday which will be great for me because it will limit Friday night happy hours. I have my playlist down and about 75% done. I need to just fine tune it and clean it up but I still have…

Statistics– Yes. This beast is still on my back and I’m taking the final on Dec 17. I want to get a A- in the class, however to qualify for tuition reimbursement I think I need a C. I’m currently at B level if I get EVERY QUESTION RIGHT on the exam. I started studying. I’m giving myself more time to prepare than the midterm which should be better because I won’t have to prepare an exercise routine that’s due at the same time. It’s just a hard class for me, the theories seem convoluted, the class is online, but I need to focus. This is my last class in my program, I need to pull through and like Tim Gunn says.. Make it Work. Tomorrow is my job’s holiday party. After that, I’m not drinking until after the final so my mind is clear and all the wires are firing at 100%. I’m making cheat sheets as we speak and rereading all of the information.

Weight Loss– I’ve plateaued. I made a friend in my instructor training course and we have been working out a lot. I started taking dance classes, like Samba and belly dancing. I don’t think I’m overcompensating with calories by eating, but I’ve (honestly) increased my alcohol intake which was at zero when I was losing weight the fastest. I also stopped the extra lunch time cardio I was doing during my lunch hour because work became a mess. I just feel burnt out. I constantly feel in a state of mild exhaustion. When I don’t focus, I say stupid things, like the wrong day or that I don’t understand what reproachful means, or I’m smart enough to figure it out from the context.<—– see brains. I know it’s my fault because my self care has gone out the window. I need to focus on getting enough sleep, drinking enough water.

Work– Work, work work. What is there to say. My job is one that I can do and as of right now there is some level of security, but I dislike it a lot. I asked for an increase in bonus and my boss said yes. It was a crazy year with the drama with the hiring and firing of the assistant. This job is just so not what I want to do long term, if at all. I loved being in the instructor training program. Being with folks that cared about fitness, discussing it. I realized that even though I sound like an idiot sometimes at work, when it comes to fitness and exercising I am an encyclopedia. I love making up dances and teaching it and will definitely make that a side job once I get certified. But what about the full time job… I have a wellness job search going and I get notices when positions open up and there are so many great jobs out there. I think once I get my Public health certificate and start teaching, I can put that on my resume. That way employers can see that I am serious about this. The end goal of course is to be a Health Coach and helping people lose weight.

The struggle is real. I won’t even get into dating now. That will be a post for another day…

So my plan until next week to get back track is to

  1. Drink 11 glasses of water per day (it’s recommended that we drink half of our body weight in ounces per day. Since I am 185, that is 92.5 ounces which is 11.56 glasses. I rounded down for sanity purposes).
  2. 7 hours of sleep. At the beginning of the semester I was in bed at 10-10:30. Now it’s 11-12. I need to get up at 6am to have a productive day so I need to start getting ready for bed at 9:45 pm. Have my Epsom salt bath (I will do a post on this soon) at 10 pm, and lights out by 10:30 pm.
  3. Limit TV. Not sure how I found the time, but I’ve made it through 7 seasons of Criminal Minds this semester…. From now on I can only watch TV, movies or frivolous YouTube videos when I am beautifying myself or cooking, because if I’m not multitasking, I’m really wasting time. Plus it might give me some inspiration to paint my nails or twist my hair more often.
  4. Stick to my exercise and food plan. Studies show that deviating from a plan lowers yourself esteem and your ability to follow through in the future. Which is why missing 1 gym class in a week, can lead to missing 4 classes, or is that just me? They say it’s better to aim low and achieve it, than aim high and miss it.

So those are my 4 goals for next week really, but I’m starting now, because I don’t believe in waiting for tomorrow or Monday. I always say, when you decide to start something, start immediately at the next meal or even the next bite!

Happy Friday!!