Monday, November 30, 2015

Did you "come back"?

Biggest mistake I made more than a few times was "coming back."  
"Coming back" after a Holiday, life-changing moments and milestones, sickness, vacation...
If it slightly took me off of the routine, it seems like I was gone forever, or so it felt.  
 I had waited a long time to find the "perfect" moment to make a change and as soon as those ideal situations would pass, I'd have an excuse to quit once again. 
I was really good at justifying it as well...If my excuse was a headache, mine was the worst headache in the entire world, if it was a swollen ankle, mine was THE worst swollen ankle EVER...and if it was as simple as a doctor's appointment, whew then that excuse was EASY...
you get the idea! 

At my heaviest I felt lousy and out of control most days.  
But when I first started losing weight, exercising and eating BETTER (not great!) I noticed an emotional change almost immediately.  I wasn't my tired, lazy self and I was finally understanding what it was like to feel good.  Wow.  Should have been easy for me to "come back" after marriage, kids, full time jobs...but instead it was a way to make another excuse.

The moment something pulled me away from that strict routine, I'd fall off and found it so difficult to "come back" EVEN THOUGH I knew I felt better when I treated myself right, it still wasn't enough to keep me motivated and on the right track...crazy, isn't it?
Even when I first became a Mom, you'd think that was enough to motivate me for life but sadly, it wasn't.  Seems like I allowed it to hold me back even more...
I was "too busy" and "too focused" on everyone else that I let myself slip back into my old ways very quickly.  

 When I'd eat crappy, I felt awful.  When I ate right and balanced, I felt on top of the World!

What kept me from "coming back"?  I still don't know.  
Guess it was just easier to make excuses and keep things the way that they were.  I mean, it's not like my weight was altering my every day life, it was what covered me up from people seeing the real me.  The weight comforted me and kept me safe so maybe I wanted that more than I wanted to be healthy?  Who knows.  

Change is NEVER easy.  
And honestly I liked easy.  Easy was what I did best.  Easy was what I knew.  If something was difficult, I'd quit.  If I felt threatened, I'd quit.  If I was afraid, I'd run.  So maybe I feared letting go of the EASY life I had grown to love.  But that fear was now getting in the way of my health and day to day living...THAT is a problem.  
My body was trying to tell me but I ignored it for a long time.  I urge you to listen when your body is talking to you.  Take care of yourself no matter what.  
Don't let fear or intimidation keep you from achieving what you want.  

I was powerless as long as I gave myself no power.  Powerless as long as I didn't truly believe I could.  Powerless because I hadn't made up my mind to BE BETTER and DO BETTER!!!  

Seems like the Holidays were ALWAYS so tough.  Food, family and friends everywhere, a celebration every weekend and lots of cookies, carbs and mindless eating!

That disgusted feeling, the bloat, the burping and bowel issues would all follow those horrible meals yet hours later I'd find myself repeating those SAME habits knowing I wasn't even HUNGRY!!!!  Oh it angers me that I'd do that so often.  EVEN if I had done better in months past, I'd quickly relapse by simply seeing that junk food, the power and control it had on me.  So the "coming back" was much worse...
I'd try to jump back on the wagon, get outside and go for a jog but I felt so sick to my stomach and so incredibly tired and bloated, I wouldn't get very far and would come home and "reward" myself with more food...ugh!

The craziest is how alone I felt when I'd binge.
I was SUCH a social person...always have been and always will be.  I love being around people!  I've always been the "more the merrier" kind of person and I love that about me.  
I get along with most people because I'm easy going, I like to have fun and I love meeting and making new friends!  It makes me happy just as my family makes me SO incredibly happy so how it is that I felt so alone when I'd eat?  Tough question and I'm not sure I have a solid answer.  Maybe because when I'd eat, I was weak and that was a part of me I never wanted anyone to see?  I'd lose all control and the food would control my mind and that made me feel ashamed.  I'm an open book, I love being honest with family and friends because honesty matters.  I don't hide behind life or insecurities and that has made me stronger. Honesty makes some vulnerable because they don't want others to see "behind closed doors" or the "real person" but I'm the opposite, always have been so maybe my dirty little secret with food made me feel inferior because it was something I was embarrassed to share or discuss?  I'm still not sure and I'm not sure if I'll ever truly know.  

But I do know that being honest with myself about my emotional attachment to food is what helps me get through each day on my journey to my healthiest makes it easier to "come back" each and every day! 

"COMING BACK" means something totally different these days.
I never leave, therefore it's never an option to have to COME BACK.

I make up my mind that if I have a poor meal or one that's not so balanced, then I step it up with the meals that follow, I make sure I get lots of movement, drink plenty of water and do better the rest of the time!  I balance my healthy choices with my not so healthy choices...
I would not survive the Holidays or any time of year on chicken and lettuce...TRUST ME!  

I'm Cajun and Italian, it's simply not possible...hahaha!  

What keeps me focused?  
That awful feeling I'd feel after eating poorly and trying to exercise.  
The feeling I'd get after eating more than one "bad" meal...the achy, the bloat, the tiredness, the doubt and the pity.  It's just NOT worth it to me any longer...simple as that!  
Knowing that those poor choices started reflecting on my health rather quickly and it was scary.  Knowing I was in my early 20's and having health issues most deal with in their 60's was frightening.  Scary enough that it helped me find the strength and determination to 

I guess you could say there's no need to "come back" anymore because I was "gone" long enough!  I was SICK AND TIRED of living a life of 
"Oh I wish..." and 
"If I was healthy..." and 
"One day when I lose weight..."

So if Thanksgiving was not only filled with memories and happy moments but lots of poor food choices and little's not too late to "COME BACK!" 
Sure the first workout will be tough, but after that it gets easier and you get better...

Then when you find balance with food AND exercise-you really start to feel better, 
so much better!  
It's okay to hit a bump in the road, as long as you keep "COMING BACK" and never give up!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

What do I see?

It's tough to understand if you've never spent countless days and nights wishing you could lose weight, look better and feel good but taking so long to finally find the courage to do something about it! It was always much easier to think about it and feel pity about it so I would lay awake and DREAM about what it would feel like. What it would be like to go shopping and the clothes in regular stores would fit.  I'd imagine trying on the outfits on display and they'd look just as good on me as they did on the store mannequin. When it was time for school dances, I'd go with friends to pick their dresses wishing I looked more like they did and feeling sick when it was my turn, knowing nothing would fit. Summer time would arrive and bathing suits were the FURTHEST thing from my mind- the more I was covered up, the better I felt but I'd look around at my friends and admire their suits and their confidence, unable to find enough of my own to change the path of my life...

Sure I was overweight but I wasn't repulsive...
so why did I constantly think about the way that I looked?


It's powerful. It can push us forward or hold us back for a lifetime. 
It's pushed onto girls at an early age and that's disappointing.
Teaching intermediate students, I'd often hear the word "fat" being thrown around all too often and once that word is used to refer to someone, it never goes away in their heart. 

So here I am today, over a 100lbs lost.  
I've changed my way of thinking, the way I feel and the way that I look.  I'm HEALTHY. 
But have I let go of my "image" issues? 
Do I see what others see when they look at me? 

Well I feel 110% better, that's a given!  
I'm healthier, no more high blood pressure and high cholesterol. 
My weight is "normal" and I'm no longer considered "obese". 

But today as I was Christmas shopping with my husband, I was chilly and we were in the boys' section.  I grabbed this hoodie pictured below and quickly noticed it was a Youth XL...I giggled and threw it on, thinking it would NEVER fit but to my surprise it DID fit and I loved it...haha! Beside the point!
Point is, I wore an Adult XXL or men's XL in jackets/hoodies when I was at my heaviest.  
THIS is a Youth XL. 
Am I still struggling with that image factor after all these years? 
That's an extreme size difference from the beginning of my journey to now yet I still don't SEE it. 
I know that I've lost weight, I know that I'm in smaller clothes and so on...
But that self-doubt and lack of confidence when it comes to clothing seems like it sticks around a lot longer than the actual weight.  
I've shed SO much of the old me throughout this journey and that makes me proud but when will that "image" I have of myself? I want to feel confident and beautiful.  My husband and our boys tell me that I'm beautiful but that's different...I want to feel it inside.  
But is it maybe because my "image" of beauty was instilled in me from a young age through Pop culture, TV, magazines and so on that I just can't picture myself like "that"? 

Now wait, I'm not writing this post for you to tell me I'm beautiful.  It's to help women like me understand that when on this journey, we must know that it's about nothing else but getting healthy!  Nothing else matters and we MUST want it for all the right reasons rather than the wrong, skin deep reasons or we'll go nowhere fast.  We have to feel good about ourselves throughout the journey and if we struggle with that, as I do, then we must work on that every day.  It's just as important as being healthy.  As always, I'm a work in progress and I love that...always changing and growing!  I'll take it! 

One huge thing I've learned is to stress the importance of 

It shouldn't be about a certain size, number on a scale, wanting to look like someone else or losing weight or getting healthy to "fit in". 
We can't get caught up with the magazines, the models, Hollywood superstars...
It's about being real.  The day to day ups and downs.  The good and the bad.
We have to find a way to balance all of that while also being healthy.  And if it were easy, all would do it but the truth is, they don't.  
It's a select few that can dig deep enough to seek the kind of change that lasts a lifetime!!  
Lets be THAT select few...what do ya say??  

I don't exercise and eat right to add days to my life
but rather to add quality of my life to those days!!

So I'll wear my Youth hoodie with pride knowing I've drastically changed my body from one extreme to another from old fashioned hard work, dedication, focus and determination!  It's the ONLY way to achieve long-term success!  I didn't find it right away, it took a LONG time but I learned a little each time I took two steps back and those moments of learning helped steer me in the direction to help other women do the same and I can hopefully help some of them not repeat my mistakes that I made time and time again...that is my hope and wish! 

And I will continue to help women and girls understand that they are enough and they are beautiful.  I want them to see their beauty from the start and not compare their flaws and imperfections to those superficial standards that girls and women are held to.  

Talking with one of my Mommas today after class, her and I spoke about hurtful things that loved ones said to us before our journey's began.  She spoke about her father saying hurtful words and I about my grandfather saying something similar.  We agreed that those words don't just go away.  It's hurts and will always hurt but it's how we choose to grow from those moments.  They love us and didn't mean to hurt us but we both said, our weight issues were SO personal that it dug deep and will never go away.  PAY ATTENTION to how you speak to loved ones when it comes to wanting to help them be healthy.  Choose words wisely because chances are, they already know they need to change and need help but they MUST be ready without you pushing them to want it.  These days I take those hurtful words that used to hold me back and they now push me forward because I realize he chose poor words but was only worried about me and where I was headed if my health didn't improve.  Women and little girls internalize A LOT so when you speak to them about appearance, their weight, their size, careful with your wording.  You do NOT want a young girl feeling like she isn't enough....they'll get enough of those comparisons through TV, social media, etc.  We need to be their role model and guide. We want her to say, "Hey, my Momma works out, eats healthy and takes care of herself...look how beautiful she is...I wanna be just like her when I grow up!" 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

and we meet again...

The night before race day has arrived...
A HUGE milestone for us and another half marathon to complete.

This series that includes 3 Texas Bridges will be complete after tomorrow morning! 
It's a BIG goal with many TOUGH obstacles but we haven't let it stop us yet.

Race #1 was the Kemah Toughest 10K over the bridge not twice but FOUR was TOUGH but we all finished!!!  And would you look at those smiles??! 

Race #2, Toughest 10K Galveston!  This one was surprisingly easier than Kemah but still VERY TOUGH!  But we did it...and we had some new faces too :) 

And here he is, Fred.
He's a BEAST isn't he?
Uh Oh. 
He's the 3rd bridge in this series but instead of a 10K, it's a half marathon!!  OVER it twice!

Fred and I have a history...
I ran this half marathon two years ago and swore to myself I'd NEVER run this bridge again...
Because it defines TOUGH. It defines pushed beyond limits.  It defines strong. 
I pushed with ALL that I had to complete this race in the past and while I did it, I hurt afterward.  It took EVERYTHING that I had...
I was sore, achy and exhausted so you're probably wondering why I'd come back to conquer this bridge AGAIN???

I'm not running it alone.
I will have my Move It Mommas right there, as they have been in both bridge races for this series...and they are nervous, as am I but we're going to do this.   

Three miles EACH way, six miles total ON THAT BRIDGE...
So why?
Well since changing my life, 
I have this giddy excitement when I complete things that seem out of my reach.  
I get thrilled about doing things that were UNTHINKABLE to the "old me".  
Crazy, isn't it?  

There's always a point in these races where I am exhausted, hurting and feel it has defeated me...all of a sudden my mind and body find a way to DIG DEEPER and to KEEP PUSHING to that finish line and in that moment, nothing else matters.  
It's me and the pavement.  
One foot in front of the other.  
My body, my breathing.  
It's quiet and I'm full of fear yet fearless at the same time.  

THAT is why I keep coming back for more...
Because I CAN.

In that same moment of fear, I feel so alive. 
It's amazing.  
I cross the finish line and I see the smiling faces of the strong women around me.  We gather, give sweaty hugs and snap pictures because while we were so nervous, we doubted IF we could do it and we were so fearful of the unknown...

And why must we keep proving that we can?  I guess because WE CAN!  And we don't need to prove anything really, but we do because WE CAN! 
And we enjoy knowing that we CAN because we work hard to be healthy.  
We work hard to be strong and we want to FEEL alive more than we want to feel defeated. 

Races are a place of inspiration.  
The people.  The hugs.  The nerves. The like-minded friends beside you.  
Runners young and old, tall and short...we all come together to achieve the SAME goal...
13.1 miles is a looooong way and tougher when you have six miles over that big, nasty bridge BUT that's what makes it even greater...a bigger challenge.  A bigger fight.  We will fight every one of those 13 miles and then keep pushing for that .1!!!!  

So one more why?
These crazy races represent my life before getting healthy and losing weight and that finish line represents my life the way it is today!  
I fought HARD for years.
I still fight hard to avoid temptations.
I fight hard to wake up with enough motivation to get out move and exercise!  It's not easy.
So that start line is how I felt for years.
I was nervous about change.  I was afraid to seek change.  I was fearful to work SO hard for something only to fall short before "finishing"...
So in my past, 
3...2....1...GO! and I'd stop.  Why?
Because I let fear paralyze me. The first step was too scary so I'd give up by making excuses.
Sometimes I'd START but when things got hard, my breathe became weak and my legs were tired, I'd quit...
I mean if I quit my legs would not be tired, my breathe would go back to normal right?  But had I made any changes or was I still sunk in that deep hole I buried myself in?  Yep.
The start line is a glimpse.  It's the way things COULD be if we had the guts to keep going...

As we near the finish line, we start to feel ALIVE.  We feel emotions we haven't felt in a long time.  We feel pride for ourselves...not anybody else in that moment, just us.  And that's important.  We deserve that.

There's the FINISH LINE.
Here we go....

So once I'd reach that finish line, I figured I was done but now I realize if I'm comparing these races to my road to healthy living, 
the finish line is NOT the end...

Instead it is the beginning!  
The beginning of feeling THIS way more often...almost always.  
That feeling we get from being exhausted from exceeding our limits is better than never pushing our limits AT ALL, isn't it?  YES.
Our body was meant to be pushed.  Meant to be tested and meant to be challenged...
And tomorrow when I cross another 13.1 mile finish line, I will get THAT feeling once again.  And while I'm nervous, anxious, feel like it MIGHT defeat me, 
I will keep fighting and placing one foot in front of the other because I CAN. 
Because I am able.  
I will do it for the old me that NEVER thought she could.  
I will do it for all those that cannot do it for themselves.  
I will do it because I CAN! 
And my Mommas?  They can TOO!
Cannot wait to conquer this huge milestone on my journey and share the beautiful moments as they do the same!!!  What a beautiful "job" I have.  These women and I are able to share moments at these finish lines that can NEVER be replaced and I'm forever grateful for that! 

And as if that wasn't enough action for this weekend!  I co-hosted the 5K FUN RUN-COLOR RUN at my sons school this morning!  I MC'd the race, we pulled it off with A LOT of hard work and was able to watch my boys cross the finish line!!!  

Then I rushed home, showered and got dressed for a best friends baby shower to host!  Came home from that to spend some quality time with my three boys that I love most and then its up EARLY for my meeting with Fred!  

Friday, November 6, 2015

Is your DIET showing?

How true that statement can be!

For me it was the truth for a long time.  
In 2001 I was my heaviest and unhealthiest for two, main reasons:
I ate terribly and I never exercised.  

As I started to eat somewhat healthy and exercise frequently, the weight started to come off SLOWLY.  Before I knew it I had lost 75lbs.
As years passed, my life took twists and turns but thankfully I never allowed my weight or health to get THAT FAR out of control again, 
however to say I was 100% committed to healthy living would be a LIE.

I enjoyed healthy foods but I didn't know my limitations.  
Once I started munching on a healthy snack, I wanted more and more so I now exchanged my bad habit with fast food to a fixation on overeating healthy foods!  

It's important to remember that if we find our healthy balance our weight, mind, quality of life then our body will ALL reflect these positive behaviors!  
It's how our body says THANK YOU for treating it so well and the way it should have been treating all along!  
It's a fact so when someone tells me, "something is wrong with my body, I'm doing EVERYTHING right and not losing weight and my body is not changing AT ALL." 
I have a tough time believing that.  

Clearly my diet was SHOWING whether I wanted to believe it or not.  There it was. I was still heavy, carrying too much weight than my body was designed to carry.  

In this picture below I was a running machine.
 I ran 6 days a week, practiced intervals, long distance runs, ran 5 and 10 K races, etc! I was more active than I had EVER been in my life but I struggled with balance in my diet and it showed. 

This picture below was taken at the Aramco Houston Half Marathon in 2012.  I was around 200lbs, working out 6 days a week YET my diet was a mess.  I ate "healthy" until my boys would have that leftover mac and cheese staring at me in the pot and I'd quietly stick my spoon in, take a bite...and another, you get the idea :( 

My "excuses?"  I had quite a few- Life was my husband and kids (It still is these days but it's a balance of taking care of myself, my husband AND our boys!)  I stayed busy 24/7, teaching Physical Education so eating on the go, munching on crackers and cheese and then Mexican food for dinner was just the way it was.  Trouble is, I wasn't taking care of me.  
It is NOT healthy to consume empty calories throughout the day only to overeat in the evenings before bedtime.  I'd run in the evenings to justify that dinner I was about to consume or had already was a race I was NEVER going to win.  

My body could never catch up and I was the reason it wasn't going to win...ME.  I was in control of what I did and didn't do to help it and here I was again, enabling it from what it was designed to do CLEARLY having the knowledge and personal experience this time around but it didn't matter :(
Good news is that a few years ago, I found that balance and I haven't looked back since!
And you know what, IT SHOWS!  
My diet and exercise finally reflect on the outside!  I take care of myself physically and mentally and NOTHING FEELS BETTER!

It's different for each of us but it's important to know that if you're honest with yourself, if you put in the work with your DIET and incorporate movement and exercise, YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU FOR IT IN A VERY BIG WAY!  Trust it!  It has never let you down, but rather you've probably let it down a time or two. 
Sure there are obstacles we may face along the way whether it is a issue with metabolism, hormones, medications, allergies BUT it does not mean that you start to abuse your body and punish it for these obstacles, but rather you start treating it EVEN better knowing it has to work really, really hard to do certain things.  Why make that process more difficult.  We don't enjoy working harder than we have to, so our body feels the same!  Take care of yourself EVERY DAY, IT WILL SHOW ON THE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE!!!!  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Do you feel GOOD?

My mom has been dealing with some health issues lately and as we go to doctors appointments to get answers, I find myself discouraged with "THE WAY THINGS ARE" once again.

I'll start by saying 3/4th's of my life I did NOT feel good. At all.
I ate terribly, was always tired, cranky, bloated, achy...THAT was all I knew.
That was MY fault, nobody else. 
I didn't exercise, I didn't eat right and I suffered consequences from that.

You know I saw a science project the other day that I re-posted to my Facebook page, The Move It Momma and was so disturbed by its findings.  It was DQ, McDonalds, Burger King, Sonic and Whataburger hamburgers being tested to see how quickly they would mold by sitting out on a counter, in its original bag/wrap.  It was 38 days in and NONE of the bread or the patties MOLDED...NONE!  They were placed next to a homemade, lean beef burger and it molded within 2 days!!!!!  How scary is that?  So if sitting out on a counter can't break it down, what do we think these things are doing inside our bodies????!  I cringe knowing that I voluntarily put this into my body AT LEAST once a day, if not more!!!  SCARY.
Who's fault?  MINE.
One of the many reasons I dealt with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as had a sick gallbladder because it could not process all of that CRAP.  And yes, that's exactly what it is.  Saddest part?  I ENJOYED EATING IT.  EVERY BITE.  That bothers me so much.
My body craved THAT food.  The food that caused my body such harm, my mind wanted it and wanted so much of it that I'd only stop when I was physically sick.  
THAT was my feeling good.  I didn't know any better.

Back to my rant, 

3/4th's of my life I DIDN'T FEEL GOOD.
My mom is having intestinal issues but she exercises and eats right most of the time.
She's otherwise a healthy woman and takes good care of herself.  
So her frustration comes from the question, "Why do I feel so bad?"
I explained...
I believe she knows what feeling good feels like so the small amount of time that she feels bad, 
it shows...she feels it.  

The difference is that MANY people do not know what feeling GOOD feels like at all.
Wouldn't you agree?

I'm certain I NEVER knew what it felt like until I changed it, stopped filling it with crap and exercising to get the blood pumping and my muscles working!!!  

Now that I'm in tune with feeling GOOD, I sure know what its like to feel BAD.  Others sadly, may not know the difference.  They may wake up each morning thinking THIS is how it will be forever...
It gets better, it can be better if we appreciate our bodies enough and work hard to feel it!!  

Think about you know what feeling good feels like???  Be honest with yourself.  
If not, then your body is having to work overtime, 24/7 to TRY and feel that feeling but sadly, it's a battle it can't win with you stacking the chips against it...literally!  

I can't be with these women ALL DAY LONG but for this hour I can focus on helping them feel GOOD.
If they leave me and make poor choices that feeling GOOD will be VERY temporary but at least their body gets a small sense of what it's like to feel that way.  

Exercise gives our body a little vacation from having to work SO hard.  How great is that?

Want to know what's even BETTER??

When they leave me and they continue to feel GOOD by fueling their body properly and by helping their families do the same!  Ahhhh what a wonderful world!

It's that PERFECT world I dream about at night.  No more, "I feel like crap EVERY DAY"...
We know what it's like to push hard, work hard and be busy going 90 miles an hour throughout the day...we get TIRED. Don't we?

How do we think the body feels when we stack the weight of the world on it and say, 
"Okay, work your magic"...It was NOT designed to do that!!!

It was designed to be used NOT abused and sadly, I abused my body for YEARS 
and it let me see that through never feeling GOOD.  It showed me by getting sick often, feeling achy and tired, feeling lazy and depressed...IT was trying to teach me but I wouldn't listen.

What is your body telling YOU???  

Let's make it a goal to all FEEL GOOD, day after day, week after week...and while we'll have bad days too, we can focus on knowing we'll feel good again SOON!  
It's never too late to show your body the appreciation it deserves!!!!  

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