Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy...content....and healing

Every once and a while I have flash backs to rough times last year (post traumatic depression maybe?)...and usually I will remember a situation where I was struggling with my life, fighting or being taken advantage of, or drinking a lot to cover up whatever issues were going on...but this morning was different. I was driving to work and I, for some reason, thought about a time in 2009 when I was on the metro by myself crying, drunk, and texting my friends that I hated my life and wanted to give up...obviously the next day, my closest friends were very concerned but I wrote the depression off to being drunk...another time I actually told people I was trying to end my life and decided to drink my way there...luckily, I ended up passing out on the floor before that happened. Now usually when I have flash backs to hard times such as these, I think of "shoulda coulda wouldas" and then try to think about how maybe those experiences helped me become stronger. But this morning, I felt like I hardly knew the person I was thinking about. I honestly do not remember what those feelings felt like...what that honest to god struggle with life or death felt like...what that cry for attention felt like...and most importantly, I've forgotten what accepting sadness feels like. When I was driving to work this morning and realized that I no longer even know the girl that I was a year ago, I knew that my "new me" had been complete....I knew that the happiness I feel on a daily basis has finally completely internalized itself and I am whole-heartedly happy. It is sort of a weird feeling...I am sitting here thinking of the time that I sat on the bed with the bottle of wine, sobbing hysterically and giving up on myself...and I feel like a third party spectator...I can't even feel those feelings anymore (nor do I want to) and I don't even remember what that girl felt...what it feels like to be at rock bottom. Wow.

I won't say it's been an easy journey...nor will I say I don't still question myself or hope for different improvements in my life...but I am a new person. The transformation I have made in the past year, is now stunning myself. And I hope that this will give some confidence and support to anyone who is thinking they are at rock bottom and have no way up. There is most certainly a way up...but it takes work. You cannot expect your life to change without you making an effort and sacrifices. I retired from drinking, changed jobs, ended a terrible relationship, lost and gained friends, moved apartments, and fell in love** (I actually forgot the drinking part when I initially wrote this sentence...I guess that is telling on how I have accepted that as a part of my life now). But through each of those steps (and probably noted in my blogs) I recognized how they made a difference in my they helped me become happier...and appreciating each of those steps and understanding why they were right for me. And also realizing that I deserve each of these things...why? Because I am a good person...always have been...just got a little lost and confused along the way.


** I know I write about being a strong and confident women that does not need a man...all of which are very very true. But when you have reached that confidence and accepted yourself...and THEN you find a significant is amazing. All I will say is that my boyfriend is amazing, he has supported me throughout all of these inner battles, and I love him dearly. I am a very very lucky girl. (I hope this isn't like a blog curse and now my relationship will go up in flames, hahaha)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"How you gonna win when you ain't right within?"

I can say with complete confidence that running keeps me balanced, happy, and (possibly) sane. Earlier this day I was in a bit of a I stated in my earlier blog, I have been struggling with gaining weight..and today it was having an effect on my mood. I think anyone who has had eating issues will forever have them...and they only become harder when you are coming to terms with gaining weight. Regardless of what anyone tells me, accepting being of a healthy weight and not the stick I was over the summer, is something that I will have to do myself...I do believe that it isn't impossible...but it will take time...and continual personal growth. the midst of this funk, I decided to go for a run outside. The first run outside in at least three weeks...the first run outside with melting snow on the ground...and the first run in a long time that has made me feel completely whole and happy. As soon as my feet hit the ground, the cold wind blew against my face, the Bob Marley Pandora mix played on my headphones, and the puddles of melting snow hit my calves...I felt calm, collected, and in a pleasant state of euphoria. With the cold weather I have been trapped running on a treadmill, and coming off of an injury I have been running shorter distances...but today, I was free. I felt like a pup that had been caged and was finally able to run outside and play. I sprinted up and down hills, I dodged puddles and ice patches, I sang along to the relaxing tunes of reggae, I smiled at other runners and received compliments from the local homeless....all of these things turned my funk into pure bliss. And to top it off...the sun started to set on my way my last half a mile I stared at the gorgeous orange sun set over the DC trees. This, my friends, is my happy place.

Now I understand that running isn't for everyone...but I would like to encourage everyone to find a "happy place" for them that doesn't involve alcohol. I know that it is hard when you are upset, tired, bored, really anything..not to drink to pass the time and emotions. But when you find an activity (be that running, cooking, reading, yoga, etc) it can be an amazing remedy for the "not so hot" feeling. So take a moment and think of something you enjoy...something that relaxes you...and go do deserve it!

Lastly...last night I went to a great party with some of my most fabulous friends and saw some of these gorgeous, smart, funny girls letting boys (not men) and alcohol ruin their night. I know a big part of being upset was being drunk...but I'd like to reinforce to every girl reading are beautiful. You are strong, you are funny, you are smart, you are independent, and no boy is worth your tears...and more importantly NO boy should ever make you question any of this attributes. Unfortunately, girls get a lot of their confidence from guys liking them...unfortunately, most parties serve the purpose of finding a guy or girl to like, and unfortunately, the number of worthless asshole guys seems to increase as the days go by. It takes very strong girls to realize that they are worth a lot, and to brush off any guy that doesn't takes very strong girls to love themselves regardless of love from anyone else...and it takes very strong girls to do what makes them happy and be who they want to be. Do it. At the end of the day, it is one else...that looks in the mirror and reflects on your day and how you spent it....make the most of each day with things YOU want to do and things you care about. Make yourself happy. :)

Now I know this is coming from the girl who started this blog saying she was upset about her weight (thus not practicing what I preach) BUT outside of this small issue, I have learned over the year to be happy with myself, surround myself with people that are happy with me, and to continue to make myself happier. It's hard's a different mind set...but it can be done. Love yourself :)


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gaining weight is the new losing weight....huh?

** I'd like to preface this blog by saying I am not trying to bother anyone with this post about gaining weight. I know that weight loss is a sensitive subject with a lot of people and if you think me talking about gaining weight would upset you, please don't read this. Thanks :) **

Since August I have been trying to gain weight. Yup, that's right. While the rest of the world is on a track to losing weight, I am trying to plump up. And fortunately (maybe unfortunately?) I have been successful. Okay let me back track...when I quit drinking, I immediately dropped a lot of weight because I stuck with my normal workouts (with probably more workouts since I wasn't hung over ever and was training for a marathon) and wasn't consuming any extra alcohol calories. A lot of people commented on how small I was but I sort of took that as a compliment and thought nothing of it...until I went to the doctor. He advised that I gained 10 lbs, and so I did.

Now let me just tell you, that when you are trying to lose weight for the past 10 years (all through college and beyond), to switch to gaining weight is a very hard thing to grasp. Not to mention that I have always struggled with an eating disorder/body image "issue" (if you will) and I strongly believe that, for most people, while the actions may go away, the mental angst of a skewed body image will probably always remain somewhere in the back of your mind. So I am going to tell you my thoughts and feelings on this issue, in hopes that writing it (because I write better than I ramble/speak) helps me handle some of these thoughts...

When I started gaining weight, I set a top weight goal that I vowed not to exceed. Well I have exceeded it. And now a lot of my pants no longer fit (mind you, these pants were bought when I was tiny and are probably tailored for 12 years olds...but still..). I do think that the clothes issue is a big one because regardless of how small the clothing is, if it is snug on my body and making me feel uncomfortable, I will feel like I've gained too much weight. So today I dug up an old pair of work pants and threw them on, and I feel great and I guess that may be the cure to that issue (ohh how I despise buying new clothes every couple months I gain or lose!).

The larger fear I have is this...will I stop gaining weight? Since I have started gaining weight, I have steadily gained weight the entire time...and I am very concerned that I am just going to continue to slowly get bigger and bigger until the point where I am very displeased and uncomfortable. I am confident that with my love and commitment to exercise and relatively decent (minus the holidays) eating habits, this won't be an issue...BUT, considering it was so easy to gain...what's to say I won't just keep gaining? One could argue that my body needed the extra weight I have put on and maybe now will plateau once it's reached its level of healthiness...but I could argue, then what about obesity?

I believe what is the hardest to handle is the simple concept of gaining. While the entire rest of the world is trying to lose and trying to eat well and exercise and be smaller, I have been trying to gain. Ahhh, yet again, I go against the norm!! And knowing how it felt to be skinnier, and how I looked at that weight...I won't is hard to look in the mirror and not compare myself. While I know I am healthier and (hopefully) more attractive, it is still difficult to accept the change as a positive.

Now, after I have typed all of this (and hopefully not completely annoyed or appalled you), I do feel better. I have compared pictures from the summer and I do think that I look a lot better now, and I am sure I am healthier and stronger....and I am sure over time I will become confident with who I am. And hopefully with a healthy diet of moderation and exercise, and NOT dwelling on everything I put in my mouth, I will maintain my healthy weight and be okay. Here's hoping :)


Friday, January 14, 2011

Mommy, I made a new friend today!

I don't think that it's just me (or at least I hope not)...because I think other people get enjoyment out of this...but I was just sitting here thinking about how interesting it is that we (as adults...yup, we are "adults") still get thrilled when we make a new friend. Last night I went out with a variety of new and old friends and friends brought friends, and we ended up with a large group. Now in the beginning everyone does the analysis and determines (based on whatever) if they like these "new people". So I'll say I was people seemed nice...I like my friends..I trust their judgment, people must be somewhat cool! Then over the course of the evening (and a few drinks for the new friends) conversations flowed and laughs were shared. Then (after even more drinks) the new friends started sharing their excitement about the newly made friendship and their appreciation for how nice we (as a group) were. The whole thing is quite interesting...even if you may never speak to them again, and all the future plans you made will never turn into anything, in that moment, you and your new BFF' relationship is one of the most exciting things to happen to you. This makes more sense (I guess) if you are new to the area because then you are hoping to make new friends and build a good network of cool people to hang out with...but, even if you have been in the same place for years, have a core group of best friends, and enjoy what you do with them, making more new fun friends is still super exciting.

It's so interesting. Maybe it is that you have found another person in the world that enjoys your company and this boosts your self esteem (and therefore you are drawn to see them more to continue boosting it). Maybe its because new friends mean new things to do and everyone loves change. Maybe its because you have certain hobbies that not all of your friends share, and when you find someone that loves a hobby like you do, you latch on to them! Maybe its because connecting with another individual is an upper, and who doesn't love uppers?

Whatever it is...for the past twenty six years I have been making new friends (and keeping the old-- one is silver and the others gold, circles round, it has no end, that's how long you'll be my friend...YEA GIRL SCOUTS..hahah)....and it is still fun and exciting...and I'd like to believe helps shape me into being a more well rounded, diverse, interesting, cultured, silly, and fun girl :)

Go make a new friend!!

PS- While I do think that drinking helps the "friendly" situation and does push people to become maybe more excited than the normally would, or make plans that really mean nothing....since I am sober and was/am still excited to make friends, I don't think that it is all alcohol. I think drinking moves the process along faster...and can sometimes ease the awkward tension. But the perk of being the only sober girl is that I can sip on my water and let everyone else give the drunk love...and just smile and take it in :) Cheers to new friends.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts :)

Hey friends! So, this may be a long one...but a good one, so get excited.

I am going to start with my exercise tip for the week/day/whatever. Since a lot of people are trapped indoors in the wretched DMV blizzard of 2010 (please note sarcasm), many are stuck using the treadmill or elliptical to get their cardio exercise in. To save myself from the inevitable boredom of those machines for more than 10 minutes, I have come up with a couple of interval routines that pass the time quite well! Also, many people don't challenge themselves to their fullest...they don't test how much resistance they can handle, or how much speed they can push through...this workout will test both!

For the elliptical:
Start at your baseline resistance: 7 (for example)
- 1 minute: 7
- 2 minutes: 9
- 1 minute: 8
- 2 minutes: 10

So here I am going up 2 levels, down 1 level. Continue this pattern until you have reached the highest resistance you can manage...then work your way back down :)

For the treadmill:
Start at your baseline speed: 6.0 mph (for example)
- 1 minute: 6
- 2 minutes: 6.3
- 1 minute: 6.2
- 2 minutes: 6.5
- 1 minute: 6.4
- 2 minutes: 6.7

So here I am going up .3 and down .1, so the intensity on this interval is more intense. You can also do 30 seconds, 1 min 30 seconds, or 2 minute intervals. You can also go up .5, down .3. Play around with it!! Either way, you are switching up the speed and always increasing your stamina :) Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~ second section of wonderful, long blog begins.... now!

Again, with the new year comes a lot of new years resolutions to diet, be healthy, be happier, etc. I have noticed that some of these resolutions include cutting back on alcohol for dietary reasons...and because it is for dietary reasons and not the reasons I cut back for, I've realized I am sort of defensive or sensitive to the issue, I guess. Let me explain...I know someone who cut back for a diet, and someone else made a comment about how hard that would be. Now because (as a means to solidify and stick with my decision) I view alcohol use in a different light now, I immediately took offense to have comment and began to think about how it shouldn't be hard for people and how it shouldn't only be considered a dietary issue. But then I immediately (okay maybe not so immediately cause I am still me...more like a couple days later) got myself back in check and remembered the wise advice I received "just because you have a headache, doesn't mean the rest of the world has to take an aspirin". I remembered that my decision and my experience with alcohol is very unique to me, and if nothing else, I should be supportive of someone trying to better their health! I know that none of this information is new (in my blogs) but I did realize that this will always be an issue for me. For as long as I have created a mindset towards drinking (necessary to keep me on track), I will be faced with the opposing views of everyone else...and the only thing I can do is NOT judge. In the way that I don't want anyone to judge me for not drinking...I most definitely do not want to catch myself judging others for appreciating alcohol and enjoying drinks. You just do you..imma do me ;)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ third section to this long, yet fabulous, blog!

(this is for all the ladies who have been in a not-so-hot's not you!)

After moving forward with my life (post-abusive relationship), I've noticed a few instances where something I was told during that time was affecting my current life (e.g. no one would love the real me). Now usually these thoughts enter my little, always processing, mind and cause tears, some anxiety, some self-doubt...and then a large reality check, that THIS doubt is a product of THAT crap. Anyways, I had another realization of the "aftermath" the other day...and I believe this is a thought for many women so I hope to help someone through this blog.

The other day I became upset about something small, but upset nonetheless. My love was able to handle the conversation rationally, talk through what I was feeling, and we settled it (perfect, right?). Well, as I was laying in bed, I thought to myself..."wow, it's so great that HE CAN HANDLE ME". "He Can Handle Me"...meaning I am such a handful/crazy lady/stress that only few men can "deal" with being with me as a girlfriend. THIS thought comes from men telling women that the women are "lucky" to be with them because THEY are the onnnnnnly men that can "handle them". This becomes ingrained in our minds...that what we do, our emotions, our thoughts, our problems with life or the relationship are ridiculous, unwarranted, unjustified, and draining. Now I won't discount that some (maybe more than some, haha) issues that women bring up are draining for men...but in a relationship, it is important that both parties are happy and I do think that most men have realized what it takes (emotionally) to have that balance. But this concept...that this man is the only one that can handle you is, first of all, just a way to keep you around because now you feel alone and that he is the only option in the word, and, second of all, a way to completely break you down and doubt every thought you have.

So what did I do...?

I changed my thought. My boyfriend is great...but not because he "handles me", but because he is capable of having conversations, good at staying calm if I am upset, and tries to understand my concerns. I think that framing your significant other in those terms, is MUCH better than believing that he can "handle you". You do not need to be "handled" or "tolerated" need to be loved, appreciated, and understood. for thought. If you notice yourself thinking that you have to find someone who can "handle you" (deal with, tolerate, whatever) or you are lucky because your boyfriend can handle you...please think about what you are saying about yourself. Would you want to "handle" someone else? No. Do other people in your lives (your friends and family) complain about having to tolerate you? No. Then don't let a stupid man convince you otherwise.

You're beautiful :) (men and women!)


being able to handle me"...wrong way to view it. aftermath of a crap bf

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New years resolutions?

Well it is that time a year where gyms are packed, health stores are sold out, and people vow for life altering I thought I'd share my resolutions with you! Now I don't have any fitness or eating goals because those are oddly my strongest points but I have plenty of behavior goals. I'm not sharing this as a declaration of my commitment to any of them because we all know how well new years goals stick but I am more so sharing them as ideas or food for thought for others....

1. Get my finances in check! While I don't think getting out of debt is a reasonable goal without the resource of endless money...I do think being mindful of my debt, aware of my accounts and making valid efforts to pay off debts and start saving is achievable. I'd also like to increase my money knowledge...e.g. Know where the hell my money is being invested and how much my 401k is taking out! Hehe

2. Stop using my phone while driving...notice I'm not just saying texting...I'm talking no Facebook or email while driving. Facebook or email while driving, you ask?! Crazy, right? Well apparently I can't go a red light without checking Facebook now out of sad!

3. Listen to my body :) I've noticed over the years that my stomach is quite sensitive to pretty much everything, and being a tad of a health nut, I tend to ignore the fact that lots of fiber, sugar free anything, and vegetables hurt my stomach and continue eating them. BUT, my friends, that shall stop today! While eating healthy means a lot to me, I don't think that the pros outweigh the cons for this one. Eating a meal and then sitting their in pain and (sorry for the TMI but...) holding in my poor little gas, is not fun in the least. So...I am going to try and be more aware of what I eat and how it affects me...and how walking and H2O can help mediate the issues, as well. (** however, if I gain like 20 lbs, this resolution goes out the window, haha)

4. Calm down!(probably the most important of the bunch) I've noticed that in being a people pleaser and trying to roll with the punches, I think I keep in a lot of things that bother me...and then (when the timing is usually wrong) I (in some passive aggressive form) go off the deep end on someone for something kind of unimportant. So I believe what my goal is is to find balance (as a wise woman once suggested!). I need to find a balance between expressing my discontent, and letting things roll off my back (choosing my battles). I think that my general intensity plays a large part in this as well...I usually become quickly excited about events, new products, new trends, basically anything people suggest haha...and I think that that intensity and excitement leads me to expect the same intensity from others, which can ultimately lead to disappointment (irrationally). So...I always like to tell myself that acknowledging my "issues" are the first/most important step...which is true, but I can't allow myself to stop there. I know this is an issue, and most importantly, an issue that will affect my relationships with the people I care about most. So hopefully...with a little time and self awareness, I will be able to calm down, find a good balance, be happy, have rationale discussions, and build stronger relationships :)

5. NOT discussing any important things via email or text!!! So many things are misconstrued...I become an angry, vocal person that I don't want to be. And bottom line is, if I can't say whatever I am typing to your face, then I shouldn't be saying it at all! :)

Now, I know this blog is supposed to be the journey of a sober girl...and it is..and it always will be. But I do think it is quite interesting that a year after my decision to retire from the sport, I can still find ways to better myself and (most importantly) am still very happy with where my life is headed. I think it just shows that people are always growing and improving and changing, and as a friend, significant other, or relative, the best you can do is support and love them.


Monday, January 10, 2011

But I don't want to...

There is always an excuse not to do something...and as I have discussed many times in my blogs, we always rationalize our thoughts to meet our actions. One of the easiest things to talk yourself out of is exercise. Yesterday morning I woke up with a plan and every intent to run outside. Then my stomach was a little uneasy and I figured it was frigid outside, so running seemed like a bad idea. Fortunately my boyfriend had the intent of going to the gym in his that seemed like a better option. Still not "in the mood" to workout, I went down and decided to set up a circuit. I lifted a little and didn't really feel the push to continue (the normal exercise high I get) and I still felt sore from lifting earlier that I hopped on the treadmill to warm-up. The combination of speed work and awesome Wyclef Jean was the push I needed! My stomach issues went away and I powered through 4 miles of hills and sprints and felt amazing afterward!! So my advice to you is...if you are ever in doubt, unmotivated, not "feeling it", and think of the 100 excuses possible not to exercise...just give it a try anyways. Try a couple different exercises and see if one catches your fact...hope on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical and power through 10 minutes and see if your level of motivation and excitement doesn't change. It's those excuses that push us down and make commitment difficult...but powering through the excuses and coming out on top when you least expected it is such an amazingly rewarding feeling...AND keeps you motivated and prepared for the next silly excuse.

Now go run :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thank get out there and work!

In seeing friends and family a lot recently due to the Holidays, I have been given tons of praise and support in regards to the changes I've made in my life...and I just want to say Thank You! I am in no way trying to brag, but there is nothing more satisfying then hearing someone say that you have inspired them. It is interesting because my entire life I have self identified as a "people pleaser"...I have always tried to help people out and make people happy. And I tried so much that I let go of my wants and needs and aimed to please everyone else...and I tried so much that I would get upset if I thought I failed or if I thought someone was angry with me because I did something wrong. And come to find out, I didn't need to try at all! Somehow, finally focusing on myself and being happy has, in turn, made others happy...without me even trying. I think it speaks a lot to the energy that we give off. I have to come to realize that when I am happy with myself and my life, I naturally do things for others without thinking of it, but I also feel that I give off my happy vibe...and an inspiration. Again, I am not trying to toot my own horn...but more so help people to realize that it is true...being happy with yourself, is the first step to being happy with others. And the energy that comes from being happy can inspire and motivate others to do the same :)

Now on the topic of motivation....

With the New Year, a lot of people are trying to be more active...which I love. And I have had a decent amount of people ask me for recommendations on how to start, where to go, what to do, and most to find time! My only response to that is that you have to make it a priority. There will ALWAYS be something else you could be doing. There will always be an errand that needs to be run or an event that you'd like to attend...but it is the act and mindset of making it a priority that will make a difference. I recommend making a weekly calendar. For the most part, you know social events and work events the week before. Include exercise in your it around your social life and work...OR include it in your social life and work!! Go for walks with friends, go for runs at lunch...anything! And most importantly...stick to it! If you planned to workout after work and someone asks you to do Happy Hour...tell them you can't, but maybe the next day or you could meet them later. And if you are a social butterfly, then try to exercise in the morning so it's out of the way. I know getting up early isn't easy for everyone but I promise that feeling accomplished by 8am is a wonderful feeling...and then you don't have the stress of doing it later. These are just my two cents :) ...but the most important thing is to make it a priority. Make it a routine, a habit, and the fun "me" time that you deserve.