Week 1 WW

I’m a week back into Weight Watchers and feeling strong! So far, I’m down 6 pounds!

I know that is a big number, but the first week or two will always jumpstart you. There were definitely some changes that needed to be made to my diet.

The biggest change I’ve undergone thus far is cutting back on the carbs. I still eat and enjoy whole wheat pasta, bread, and brown rice, but not as much and not for every meal. I grew accustomed to having two slices of toast at breakfast especially, but now I eat one piece or have a whole wheat pita or tortilla instead. I’m particularly careful to measure how much I’m eating to keep me honest. Carbs are comfort, but they are also necessary for the body to function, so I refuse to abandon them!

A specific carb I’ve cut down on using is butter. I love butter, particularly on top of carbs and inside dishes to make them taste so much better. Not using it as frequently has helped me become more creative with spices in dishes, but also helps me make better choices, for instance, peanut butter is a better alternative to butter on my toast in the morning because it has more nutrients and substance.

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The biggest benefit has been a lack of bloating. I would sometimes go to bed feeling gross or overly stuffed, not thinking that I’ve eaten too much more than I should until that point. I already eat a ton of veggies, but I’ve upped my in take, hello breakfast scrambles, and my tummy has improved overall.

My energy levels have also improved. I don’t feel as tired when the alarm rings at 4:30 in the morning and my workouts feel better fueled. I’m excited to see how much easier my running gets as I continue to shed pounds, including speed and endurance.

It’s also important for me to remember how far I’ve come from 7 years ago now when I was 100 pounds heavier to see how far I’ve come.

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rebranding

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Almost two years ago, I moved to LA to pursue a career in writing. I had a foot in the door, flirted with the prospect of maybe, kinda, sort of having a measure of success in getting into the industry at the lowest level.

I came home.

For the past few months, it’s been challenging. I’m happy to be closer to family and friends, thrilled to be a new aunt, and proud to be working as a personal trainer and helping people on their health journeys. I’m also happy to have tried LA, lived it, experienced and explored because I do miss it, more than I anticipated.

More than anything, I’m a little lost. As I edge nearer to 30, I feel like I should have my life figured out more than I do. I get so caught up in thinking how my life should be going rather than focusing on where I am right now. I’ve been a little ball of anxious, negative energy and I’m ready to come out of it.

This is evidenced more in what I claim to be most passionate about: writing. In all the articles and books, random words of advice I’ve poured over to make me a better writer, the message is clear, in order to make it as a writer, you need to write. I haven’t.

So here we are again. When I first created Give Me My Crown Already, I was on the brink of graduating college, I had just lost 100 pounds, and I felt as confident and prepared as I ever had in my life.

Since, I’ve learned a lot about what I don’t want to do professionally and more about sacrifices and failures that were unexpected. I’ve gained a few pounds and sometimes hate myself for it because I think I should have this down by now. It makes me skeptical and negative and exhausted.

When I first was losing weight, I knew nothing. I just tried. Exercise was my best friend. Going from nothing to something had fantastic results and working out helped me better to manage my anxiety. I enjoyed food more than I ever did when I was heavily overweight and was making better choices and having fun concocting fun, healthy, and delicious dishes. Over the course of these past six years, I have maintained most of the weight loss, but I long to get back to my lowest. I slipped into some old, bad habits, not necessarily with eating, which I’m okay with, or exercising, which I do six days a week, but with my negativity.

No more.

As I rebrand this blog, here’s what I promise. I’m writing, in many different fashions because I miss it and agonizing over stringing the perfect words together is far more satisfying in the long run than researching what I should be doing with nothing to show for it. I am going to be honest about my progress and how I feel. I am going to try to not let negativity devour me, which means forgiving myself my humanity.

With my two passions, writing and healthy living so intersected, I have the opportunity to share my story and learn a lot more about myself and life. Thanks for your patience.

Join me?

Breathe

“The hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it.” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 

These past two weeks have been bordering on terrible, with a few good things sprinkled over, but thus has been 2016. It’s an actual thing, people hating on 2016. There’s been a lot of major celebrity deaths, bad political happenings, and a general consensus of unhappiness.

Seventeen days into 2016, I lost my beloved cat. A few months later, I lost my aunt and one of my best friends in the world. I also became a personal trainer and moved across the country. I made new friends, tackled challenges head on, took off on adventures, and made memories with family. I’m still living and breathing and pursuing dreams. This year, I learned the true depth of a human’s ability to adapt. I am both proud and sad considering this revelation. Do we adapt because of our strength or because, in time, we forget?

There is not happiness without sadness, joy without anger, or relief without fear. Nothing is more challenging or damaging than forgetting the specialness of life, but mundanity and exhaustion are very real.

I keep waiting to snap out of my funk, to get out of my own way, and to be given a break. And I’ve got an amazing life. Being so far away from my people does not help.  I’m learning, adapting, and delving into my own strength, and those shared by loved ones, and beginning to understand that life doesn’t care who you are or what you need. Life is one big trial and error experiment and I’m realizing my failures are just as, if not more, important than my successes. Instead of feeling bad for myself and moping, I’m persevering. Some days are harder, or easier, than others.

“But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”(Harry Potter).

Everything Happens for a Reason, Right?

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason? I do, with the condition that people be active, hard-working participants of their life. There are some events that will happen to us no matter what we do, good or bad, and then there are the ones based off of choices and actions that occur through a combination of circumstances we don’t always understand or recognize.

Up until this quarter-life crisis of sorts, my life has seemed to fall into place before me. I went the usual trajectory of education up through graduating college, working hard, gaining accomplishments, and growing into an individual who knows her own learning style and confidence. A seasonal job opportunity came together right out of college, then another regular position fell into place after just a bit of search and a touch of curiosity that set me en route in that direction.

That year, an opportunity presented itself to me that, due to my previous dedication to academics and interest in teaching, led me towards receiving my Master’s degree. At that time, I was still hesitant and uncertain if this was what I wanted to pursue as a career, but it was a one year, fully-funded program, and you just don’t turn down an experience like that. It was not for nothing, as they say, because I learned more about myself in terms of resilience, flexibility, patience, and resolve. I grew as a professional and as a student in search of constant learning, whether in the physical realm of classes or life experiences. I also met a great group of people who I worked with in my classes, our tiny bunch socializing and working, and one of the reasons I was able to get through the toughest times of the program.

It would have been easy to continue down the path of education. I am not saying this in terms of the job search because I cannot attest to that, but the focus of my search for stability and professional endeavors would have been far clearer had I stayed that path. It is with a flurry of self-doubt and fear that I decided not to be a teacher, at least at this time in my life. I enjoyed it for the most part. It was challenging, but rewarding, and is more than an admirable profession for one to pursue. The difficulty is, at least at that level of education, one’s primary passion must lie in teaching. Mine is writing, and teaching was an adjunct, not the way to start a career.

It was through a period of difficulty, with tremendous support and guidance from my family and friends, especially my parents and siblings, that I realized that I owed it to myself to pursue other endeavors, as difficult as it may feel. I am doing that now, though the path is unclear and scary, even more so than when I started. As many will find and agree, the job search is not an easy thing to overcome. I have found that I am either over-qualified or under-qualified and people, which is the most frustrating situation to find yourself.

I write this now because I am scared, but also because I know that in some way, with a lot of effort, patience, and flexibility, it will be okay. My belief that everything happens for a reason has been tested greatly in these past months as I struggle to find my professional self, but when difficult challenges arise, it is all about how you handle yourself.

Everyday, I strive to be productive. I still write, read, and learn, knowing that improvement and growth are what makes life worthwhile. This stage of my life is not going the way I expected, or as smooth as some of the others have come together, but my belief is that this is part of it all. I continue working out and taking care of myself and the other parts of me that I want to foster outside of work, such as cooking.

So yes, I do believe that everything happens for a reason, though it will not always- in fact, rarely- be the way you expected. Don’t give up, but work hard and play harder. I’ve realized that I can’t live with the perspective that my life is somehow on hold and will continue once I get my next job. Life doesn’t wait in this way and neither will I.

Do you believe in fate?

Introducing: Thoughtful Thursdays!

In the theme of introductions, I welcome you to what I am deeming Thoughtful Thursdays. I can’t promise that every day will be crowned with alluring alliterations. For the record, these probably won’t all be so serious.

After this long, challenging, but important year and a few wonderful vacations, I am struck with this feeling of having found myself again. At the time, throughout the year, I hadn’t even realized I lost myself. Sensing things so clearly now, I realize that my guard was up, getting me through every day that didn’t feel quite like fulfillment. It wasn’t as though I didn’t work hard or find success or enjoyment out of my every day. I was just putting myself and my heart on temporary leave.

This could have been dangerous, but sometimes it’s necessary to get you through something that is unsavory, but so vital to your growth. That’s how I’m approaching it anyhow.

In this moment, however brief (hopefully brief!) it may be, I can breathe and see again. I’m trusting myself and my body as my senses are reawakened. I have this opportunity to search for what makes me happy.

Around February this year, when classes were increasing their workload and I was struggling with the knowledge that teaching is not for me and yet here I was still juggling this program, I kept having recurring dreams. In them, I was pregnant and eagerly yearning for the child to be born. The constancy of the dreams scared me because I am in no way ready for children. Hello, I’m still balancing myself. However they kept appearing, so I did a little dream research. Take such a concept as you will, whether you prefer to think in the abstract or the concrete, but the interpretation struck me.

Apparently, whenever you dream of being pregnant, male or female, it suggests that a creative spark is surging within, wanting to come out, but has been repressed for whatever reason.

During my first semester of the Fellowship Program, I made it a point to write, journal, blog, whatever every day to keep my creativity flowing. As the spring semester approached, my classes were upped as well as the course work. I now had to travel back and forth between class, after spending a full day at work, three sometimes four days a week, fitting in as many workouts as possible. Writing was pushed aside for sleep when I should have made better time for it, but hindsight makes everything clearer.

After I read more about this dream interpretation, I began to reflect and recognize the truth behind it. My mind was swirling with story ideas, my fingers itching to take pen in hand and foster new worlds. When things began to slow, I wrote four stories in one month. I’m not saying they were great, but they were something.

They made me feel alive again.
On the plane home from California where I visited with and was inspired by my friend Brad, I outlined three chapters of the novel I’ve been considering for the past two years but never made any true progress.

I can’t get the ideas or that world out of my head, a matter in which I will never complain. Excitement is roaring, motivated by the freedom and lightness summer and rest brings.

Fittingly, my horoscope (Scorpio) today says: “Keep reminding yourself that your fulfillment is not only important but also possible. It will make it easier to accept that twists and turns are inevitable.”

What I learned most from this year is that in life, there are going to be trying times, challenging and painful, that you would not have chosen or wanted for yourself. That clean copy of your life you seek to write is really just a bunch of scratchy, messy rough draft copies. But those unpretty obstacles will be the place you learn the most about yourself.

Fulfillment is what you make of a situation, not necessarily what that situation is. Most importantly, make time for the things in life you are passionate about.

I have not been through a soul-crushing, physically bruising time. My Fellowship was a blessing and helped me grow in my education and my spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I understand this. I just didn’t happen to enjoy every minute of it. I probably complained more than I should. I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around all the time. But now I can very much enjoy saying, it is a part of my past and it will help push me forward towards the true fulfillment I seek.

The hunt is what makes it worthwhile.