Project Finish Line: Move & Be Grateful

Of all the silly things I’ve done, NOT getting my weigh in on camera this week was super stupid! Why, you ask? Because I lost  almost 2.5 pounds last week!! From 152.6 to 150.2!!! WHAT??!!?! People! I’m telling you! If you want to transform your body – and in doing so your mind and health – CARB. CYCLE. Carb cycle!! 

And MOVE. Find something that you enjoy and just keep doing it. Last week I ran a mile each on Sunday and Monday, followed by some strength training, then I slacked off Tues-Thurs, and rounded out the week with snowboarding/skiing on Saturday, a half an hour kicking the crap out of a heavy bag at the gym on Sunday, and today another mile run. BOOM!!

Loveland Ski Area


You get a little self obsessed when you start feeling great about yourself!

BTW – can you tell my energy is pretty well through the roof? 

I won’t belabor the point anymore. I will just beg, plead, and encourage you to consider a transformation journey. Just try it! You won’t believe how your whole life changes around you. If you need a little inspiration, watch Extreme Weight Loss. Because I stand at a teeny, tiny 5’3″ (or 2″ depending on who’s tape measure you believe…) the one that lit a flame for me was the one with a wonderfully sweet woman who was actually considered a little person. She ended up running a full marathon! 

I leave it here for now. Look out for a mid-week DIY! 

Project Finish Line: Shit’s Getting Real

Why is shit getting real? 

Because one of my three goals has proven itself to be in the stage where I can settle or dig deep. 

Not an ounce came off this week. Not. Even. One. 

   Last Week’s Weigh in

This Week’s Weigh In

Yes, yes, I know – it’s the holidays, we’re all eating a bit more crap, and thank goodness I didn’t gain anything. 

But that’s where goals get into trouble – they get into trouble at the place between comfort and complacency, the place where you find out if you would prefer something to change or you demand that it change. For me, it is time to recommit to this self-imposed challenge, to not accept mediocre but require my desire to be reality, to dig deep and through relentless focus on the execution of my goal believe in the sheer force of my indomitable will to succeed. 

When you see results like this after three months, when things look just fine, how do you recommit?

Remember me mentioning in The Genesis that I looked like a pork loin in shrink wrap in one of my Goal Dresses? Well…this is Goal Dress 1. With room to spare!

I decided to see where my Goal Dresses were fitting. Goal Dress #1 zipped up so effortlessly I nearly busted out the pom poms and threw myself a victory party!!!

But wait. 

There was still…(cue ominous music)…Goal Dress #2. 

Goal Dress #2 was worn in my tattoo & piercing shop days where I was the illustriously titled Shop Girl (read: clean, organize, fetch coffee, look pretty, use cleavage as the primary accessory, flirt shamelessly, and sell, sell, sell). This was sometime between 21 and 22 years old. 

And 20 pounds ago. And it was extremely form fitting even then. 

So on it went. 

Well…let me be clear. On it went AFTER repeatedly buttoning the screaming buttons; on it went after buckling the belt in such a way that said buttons were less likely to pop off and imbed themselves like shrapnel in one of my dogs; on it went after sucking in certain parts of my voluptuous anatomy and standing in such a way that I could stand in the mirror, snap a selfie, and not run back out of the room to cry into a gallon of ice cream. 

And the results were thus: 

It’s on. That’s progress. But progress is NOT the goal.

Not as flattering from this angle. A little more real. And it wasn’t all that flattering in the first place. Eek.

Yep. THIS is how you recommit. 

You remind yourself that, although we are all beautiful as we are at any moment in time, there are few fashion statements accentuated by fat rolls – back fat, belly fat, that wierd fat that somehow gets stored as psuedo-chicken wings right under your armpits and above your bra strap…

Goal Dress #2 WILL FIT AGAIN. But it’s gonna need some help. Like…at least another 10-shed-pounds of help. 

Adequately inspired, I knew I needed help. How can a girl sculpt quickly? How can we shed fat when we, the fairer sex, are intended to store fat for some mysterious childbirthing purpose? I’ve been at this for three months and am only averaging 4.5 pounds lost a month (that 1-ish a week for those keeping track). What’s the secret? Is it diet and nutrition? More cardio? Less? Weight lifting, dirnking more water, endless crunches, zero carbs, no fat, body wraps – what?!?!? 

So I went to the font of all knowledge to ask my question and throw myself on the mercy and counsel of – you guessed it – social media. 

Thus far I’ve heard: more cardio, do situps, keep eating healthy. 

Ugh. 

Fine. 

I’ll get through this week as a holiday slacker (though a gym-going-mostly-healthy-eating-slacker), because I also believe goals need to incorporate a dose of kindness and reality in order to succeed, and then I’ll buckle down even harder and strive for 2 pounds lost per week, only one controlled cheat day per week, commit to 5 days per week in the gym, and add a sixth where I can. Honestly, five is hard for me given my job, but this WILL happen! I want my body back!!!

That’s where I’ll leave it for today, kids. You’ll be hearing from me again soon as I have the week “off” (off meaning not in the office, but on call and chained to my email as always…), and thus I hope to provide a sneak preview to my inaugural novel. 

I may also be sharing a bit of information on a fourth goal added to Operation Finish Line…

Here’s wishing you success in anything you wish to acheive. 

Project Finish Line: Finish Line Friday! (On Sunday)

How can a Finish Line Friday be on a Sunday, you ask?

Because I weighed in on Friday morning and it’s taken me until this fine Sunday evening during a very stressful Seahawks football game to sit down and catch you up. 

This week was another week of life happening – totaled car, late night meetings, trouble with the boss…I’m feeling pretty beat up. Happily, progress towards my goals continues.

 

Goal 1 (Size 8 by August 2015) met with limited success, although one more pound down is one more pound down. Two days in the gym (ugh – so sad), but a decent week of nutrition got me there. And may I please remind us all I started at 167 lbs. My last Size 8 days saw me at about 140-145. Eight-thirteen (what I suspect will be very hard won) pounds to go…

Week 8 Weigh In


Week 9 Weigh In

I’ve also started working on pursuing a passion that may translate into more exercise – Roller Derby! 

When I was a kid I loved to skate (roller blade, really), and the good thing about being curvy is you have a lot of weight to throw around. What better marriage of my natural talents than strapping on eight wheels and…well…throwing my weight around? 

It will also give me a chance to release some pent up aggression and my naturally competitive nature. Perhaps Seahawks football will become less stressful. ūüėČ

Now if only the Denver Roller Dolls or Rocky Mountain Roller Girls would get back with me.. 

Goal 2 (Finish My Novel) got little more than a few passing thoughts from me this week. I’m quite stuck as I near the end, but I plan to take the week of Christmas off from work (we’ll see if that means I am actually off or just not in the office), and at least one of those days (and probably a few nights) will be spent click-clacking away on my lap top fueled by the fervent hope that someday I’ll get to print my “masterpiece” and finally have completed something tangible. 

And, finally, Goal 3 (Go to Europe in 2015)…You may recall last week I was feeling a bit unsure of this one. Is it the right thing to do? Shoouldn’t I be 100% focused on paying off debt? Can a girl this buried by loans of every variety and trapped on the hamster wheel of working to pay bills instead of working to live my life truly, in good conscience, spend the next 8 months paying off a credit card just to rack up the charges all over again by taking something as frivolous as an international vacation?

  Southern Europe – Suggested Route

 

I’m still waffling. 

But today…today, I think yes. Today, I think I must take this opportunity before it passes me by and is gone forever like so many other missed chances I should have taken. 

My poor husband got to experience one of my random almost-meltdowns over the stress of our debt – brought on, I suspect, by a combination of holiday expenses, a newly replaced dishwasher, a totaled car, the recent loss of a dear friend, some new personal experiences, and a bad work week – and was subjected (and dealt with gracefully) to a rant inspired by my reading on Dave Ramsey’s book. 

God help the man who marry’s a passionate (Aries) woman who reads.  

In fact it’s highly likely that you’ll be seeing another Emo-series post from me sometime this week, but don’t worry – I’ve got a much less self-indulgent DIY piece coming soon as well. ūüėČ

 

So another week down, and many miles to go before I sleep. 

Aside

Project Finish Line: The 8 Week Itch

Having gone back over my calendar I find that I am embarking upon week 9 of Operation Finish Line. 

Like any Type A personality, I was hoping to come here today and tell you that I rocked out on yet another amazing week of kicking ass and taking names on my goals but, alas, it is not so. I am, after all, a mere mortal. 

So here’s the somewhat despressing breakdown: 

GOAL 1: Size 8 

With my Three BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) still lying ahead, this past week was a bit less than stellar. I suppose I can call it my 8 Week Itch, since the 7 Year Itch is supposed to be when spouses start falling off the two-man bandwagon of fidelity (did I mention December 5th was my sixth anniversary? Yipes!), because I did indeed fall off the wagon. 

My post-Thanksgiving high of having lost a pound over the holiday week must have made me cocky, because last week I went to the gym only one time, did not follow my nutrition plan (so says the Oreos, cappuccino muffin, hamburger, fries, shot of Jameson, and…well…you get the point), and I traveled and ate out which always translates to disaster for me. I went from 154.2 last week to 154.4 this week. Perhaps .2 lbs gained does not actually qualify as a disaster, per se, but it is definitely NOT progress. 

Today I went and lifted weights, got sweaty, and WILL go back tomorrow for some treadmill time. 


GOAL 2: Finish My Novel

I am so happy to report that I actually made some progress here! Minimal progress, but progress nonetheless. 

I took a few hours on Saturday to hit a Starbucks, pop open my lap top, turn on some tunes, and add another chapter to my book. I’m so close I can finally see the end in sight!

Endings are hard, though, so I’m definitely not winning any speed-writing contests for this one. 

Should I post a chapter or two here? Would anyone care to read and critique?

 

GOAL 3: Go to Europe

I’ve met with a bit of an obstacle here, but as so many quotes tell us, if we really want something we will find a way. If not, we’ll find an excuse. 

I am now the proud owner of a totaled car; I have enough credit card and student loan debt to make me nauseated sometimes; my paycheck isn’t getting any bigger; the holidays are here (which inlcude the birthdays of my newly-adult niece, and a close friend); my mom wants me to come visit for Christmas; we went halvsies to bring my mother-in-law home for Thanksgiving….lots of really great rationalization for continuing to let the money roll in and out without any real idea of where it all goes. 

But live in a world (read: work in a proefession) where all the sound reasons in the world are just excuses wrapped in pretty paper and sparkly bows. 

I hate excuses. So I will find a way.

 

Overall this Progress Post could really bum you (and me!) out, but I have been reminding myself lately that it is important to learn in the face of adversity. After all, we just had a holiday that was all about being grateful.

My mantle gets dressed up for holidays. However, the giant Turkey balloon (which was later used to make Lolly Pop Guild voices at my dogs and scare the crap out of them!) was from my sister-in-law.

And there is no shortage of blessings, luck, good karma, or whatever you choose to call it, in my home. So I am learning from my setbacks and challenges a few things I have forgotten this last year. Things I think are true of us all. 

Things I Forgot to Remember:
1.  I am super talented! 

Sure, there is PLENTY of shit I cannot or should not do (including but not limited to: having kids, keeping plants, going armed into large crowds of holiday shoppers, or anything that involves prolonged periods of patience). But I also have a lot of love and kindness to share, I’m pretty damn funny when the mood strikes me, I am THE BEST at Thanksgiving (yes, all of Thanksgiving. All of it.), I’m smart a reasonable amount of the time, and I can be very motivating. 

Sometimes I forget that for all my shortcomings and character flaws, I still have strengths. What are your strengths and talents? I know you have so many!

 

2. I am valuable and deserve respect. 

I would love to be beautiful and rich, or be some kind of grand innovator or political figure, but I’m just me. I’m one small person in an unfathomably enormous universe, but I am still just as valuable and deserving of respect as are the other people with whom I inhabit this earth. Perhaps I’m not pretty enough, smart enough, social enough, funny enough, polished enough, or whatever…But I’m trying. I’m trying to be a good person, surround myself with positivity, and give love and humor to those around me. So…let’s all remember that we do those things and be nice to each other. 

And ourselves. 

3. Doctor Suess had it right. 

It’s coming up on Christmas, and though I’m not a Christian anymore I still love this holiday. I found myself with no joy this year for ANY of the awesome holidays from October-January, and I realized it was because this time of year magnifies the best and worst in people – the “worst” part being the reason my joy was waning. 

But as Doctor Suess and his tale of Whoville taught us, Christmas is about so much more, and I plan to live that way this year – even if it wierds my family out a little. Or a lot. 

It’s not about the gifts. In fact, I have no wish list (aside from the goals here), and I want for nothing. I simply want to take some time for myself, enjoy falling snow and crackling fires, be thankful for all that I have, and generally just find some peace. I want my family to be happy, and I want to try to find my own source of happiness inside that I seem to have lost this year. 

See? Already all dressed up for Christmas.

 

4. I’m not every going to be everyone’s cup of tea – And that’s okay. 

I get really wrapped up in what certain others think of me. Even strangers can sometimes screw with my mojo. Why? I don’t know. 

Childhood trauma, family alcoholism, being the baby of the family and always wanting attention, being a typical attention-whoring Aries…call it what you likek, but even the most well-intentiond criticisms get me down sometimes. 

But the thing is, that’s okay. Just like I enjoy super strong Earl Grey with milk, lemon, and honey, some folks like it weak and plain. It is what it is, and I have to remember that the individual preferences of others are not necessarily an indictment of me, but simply an expression of individualism. 

 

5. Happiness comes from within. 

Depending on outside stimuli to find happiness truly is a recipe for disaster – or disappointment. If you can’t be happy in your own company, then why would anyone else? I haven’t found that for myself yet, but…I will. 

 

Okay, so maybe a little joy came from machete-ing a pumpkin (below). 

My dad left a machete behind when he died. It came in very handy for Thanksgiving prep when I encountered a particularly difficult pumpkin. Unforeseen side affect: I want to find more stuff to machete whack!

 

So all in all, not as successful a week as I would have hoped for, but I’ve found that I am dedicated to my goals.

I choose to find the way, not the excuse.

Feel Unpretty Too

I’ve been on¬†a little bit of a journey recently. Okay, longer than that, but if I get into all the details of my journey it will end up being a How I Met Your Mother 10-season situation, and ain’t nobody got time for that. So we’ll call it recently, as in like the last two months.

It started when I signed up for a six week “fitness transformation” competition. After spending the months of June-October physically, mentally, and emotionally abusing myself at work (my job is…complicated…), taking a break over the holidays, and then subsequently finding myself in a near-cataclysmic-depression at the thought of returning to work, I decided I needed to take some kind of action – no matter how small.

So for five weeks now I’ve been eating green smoothies for breakfast, sticking with lean proteins and veggies for the rest of my meals, and participating in a cross-fit-like group workout three times a week. And let me tell you, I LOVE it. Minimal weight-loss, no visible differences (that I can see), but it just feels good, dammit. It’s made me feel a little more confident and happy about taking care of myself.

But, inevitably, the typical life stuff has continued to occur around this, and in the last two weeks I’ve really found myself giving into insecurities. This is pretty typical for us all, right? Right. So why did it take my husband saying, “How is it possible that one person/event/comment do this to you?” to get me to really recognize just how stupid that is?

What he meant was that I seem to be this larger-than-life badass, seeking and achieving success, impressing (some) people at work, making friends, leading a humble but incredible life, always up for adventure, and fairly consistently emerging as the natural leader in any group. I go to my workouts and beast through them like a champ, stick to my nutrition plans, start loving myself enough to get a little selfie-obsessed, start receiving tons of compliments, and then… A single person, an off-hand comment, a minor event (that of course I obsess over and ultimately overthink into a much bigger deal than it is until it starts festering and chews me up from the inside out) sends me into a tailspin.

Loving my job, my life, my appearance, the person I’m becoming is suddenly turned into feeling incompetent, second-guessing my career, believing I’ve been consistently lucky and not deserving, wanting botox & a boob job, and shaming myself for eating dessert because my cellulite-encrusted fat ass does not deserve chocolate cake! What am I? A pizza-faced 14-year-old? Have I developed adult-onset bipolar disorder?

This is frustrating to me because, as we all know, I value logic. If you weigh the hard facts, there’s no reason for me to be so insecure as to allow a few individuals or minor stressors to tear down the very¬†fabric of my self-worth. So I did what I do when I get obsessed (and, yes, this is the third time in one blog I’ve used a variable of the word “obsess”¬†– I’m obsessive; you’ll get used to it) and I took to Google to research.

Turns out, according to Psychology Today, I’m not bipolar or regressing to my teenage-angst-phase, or even all that unusual. I’m just a narcissist.

“As humans, once our basic needs are met, much of our conscious and unconscious behaviors are meant to make us feel loved and valued. But this love and value can come from external or internal sources. Internally, the source of love and value is self-esteem. And externally, this love and value tends to take one of two forms ‚Äď either the long-term reinforcement of the self that comes from good friends, family or a committed relationship, or the short-term benefits of narcissistic behaviors in which we seek attention, admiration or adoration. One is a cure, the other is a band-aid. If enough of your external validation comes from attention, it can become an addiction ‚Äď a dependence on the affirmations of others in order to feel a sense of worth.”

Ouch.

I may not go out “seeking” attention (I’m actually something of a crowd-avoiding introvert. Unless alcohol’s involved. And, c’mon, who can’t say the same thing when alcohol’s involved?), but I definitely seem to let the external forces dictate much about how I feel about myself.

Ugh. You’ll have to pardon me – I’m a little grossed out by myself at the moment.

If this was one of my girlfriends talking to me I’d be inclined to slap the shit out of her (I’m sort of a tough lover) and then hug her and stroke her hair and tell her how amazing and kind and beautiful she is (because I’m also pretty sympathetic and nurturing at the same time).¬†We are ALL beautiful – really! I actually believe that. I love to watch people – maybe it’s that introvert in me; I tend to be an avid observer. And I have been fortunate enough to observe beauty – real beauty, not the airbrushed, over-pornographied version of beauty that suffocate magazine stands and music videos – in many forms.

I remember vividly a moment in high school when a senior guy was walking toward me and spotted his girlfriend. His face lit up, and when he hugged her he really hugged her. He wrapped his arms around her, closed his eyes and inhaled her sent, and smiled this amazingly contented smile that I didn’t think teenaged boys were capable of. That was beautiful.

I’ve seen the wide brown eyes of a curious little Iraqi girl who couldn’t speak to me but wanted to know everything about me; I’ve been in a roomful of¬†friends and strangers¬†singing Don’t Stop Believing on¬†karaoke night; I’ve¬†been lost in the¬†contrast of icy blue eyes¬†in the ivory face of a boy with dark hair; appreciated the luscious curves of a full-figured woman with tattoos; adored the¬†strawberries-and-cream complexion of my niece when she was just a baby sleeping on my chest; longed for the intimacy and lasting love of an eighty-year-old couple still holding hands as they walk down the sidewalk together; seen the kindness of a good heart behind the eyes of a horribly scarred woman in the checkout line at the grocery store.

This and so much more I’ve experienced, and still – for me – I can’t simply have a good heart, or do good work, or be in an amazing relationship with the sweetest, most¬†attentive man on earth. I have to do all that AND have the unanimous approval of everyone else around me, no matter how much or how little they mean to my life.

And that. Is. RIDICULOUS.

So what to do?

Well…I haven’t decided yet.

But it feels like it’s time for an experiment. One based on sound logic and factual information that will recondition my brain to stop being such a needy little bitch and start auto-reinforcing the badassedness that makes up the woman I want to be.

Stay tuned.