Eyes Ahead to Fitbloggin

So here we are, in the thick of winter in Minnesota. It’s cold and it’s been “dark” here for what seems like eternity.  It’s dark when I get up for work most mornings, and the sun in setting, or set when I leave work.  The “real feel” temp this week was -33 when I went to work this week.  Key in the ignition of the car and I closed my eyes and hoped as it cranked hard, and then eventually purred to life.

Realistically I know the daylight is lasting a bit longer everyday, as I can see the sun out of my office window a little higher each day.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, I am inching my way into the anniversary of the”jump” that changed my life.  You have to jump before you can soar, or fall flat on your face as the case was the first time.  Last year when I left my job it could not have come at a more critical time.  I truly was at the end of a truly frayed rope, that had been tied and retied so many times. I as a shell of a person.

I was so afraid that in leaving my job that I would not be able to make it to Fitbloggin in Savannah.  Fitbloggin is Family.  I needed my family.  I needed my family more than ever after quitting.  When I attended Fitbloggin in Portland, I knew I needed to follow my heart and get thing in order… I didn’t attend the whole conference in Portland.  I spent some time connecting with actual family… that got me to my center… any a year later in Savannah, I cried when I saw my fit-family… and I cried as they departed, I held back sobs in the cab on the way to the airport in Savannah.

Savannah Fitbloggin provided me with the reinforcement I needed to know that I was on the right path.  Coffee and quiet heartfelt conversations, laughter so hard that it gives you a headache and the spins.  Hugs from Mickey Mouse… I mean Cmon… where else do you get a sense of belonging and acceptance no matter what choice you are making because it is what is best for you.  Even now thinking about Fitbloggin I get misty eyed.

This summer brings the opportunity to travel to Denver for the “family reunion” this year.  I can’t wait to see everyone again.  I’ve never been to Denver, just as I had never been to Savannah or Portland.  One of the great things about Fitbloggin the last few years is that it has been moving around. This allows us to see different cities and experience different things.  More than that it allows people from different parts of the country to get to the conference, that couldn’t based on the previous location.

One of my fears again taking the job I have now is that I wouldn’t have vacation to get away for Fitbloggin in June… right now my eyes are on the PTO accrual prize to get my 24 hours accrued so I can put in my request so I can have Thursday, Friday and Monday off (because who want’s to go back to work on a Monday!) I will have the time in, despite having to serve Federal Jury Duty in March, so I will be there.

I can’t wait to get #AllTheHugs and have #AllTheFeelings.  I have been working on my goals that I set for myself during the #JustTrollin session hardcore for the last few weeks and I am actually seeing results.  Now that I am finally in a stable environment with my job where I feel secure I am getting “into the flow.”  I want results by the time I reappear at Fitbloggin even if I am the only one seeing the results of my work.  The changes I have made I don’t know that I would be as comfortable with without my friends. It’s time to thank everyone!

Are you coming to <a href”http://www.fitbloggin.com”>Fitbloggin</a&gt;? If you haven’t been before you don’t need to be afraid, people are VERY welcoming.  Plus you can always come find me! 😀

Success Redefined

How do you measure something that there is no clear definition of? Something that is not actually quantified by everyone the same way? How can one person simply define a word and it be the pinnacle and definitive answer for everyone. Simple, you can’t, I can’t.
Each and every single one of us must sit back and look at the big picture and look to see what we are trying to find success at. Are you successful can be such a loaded question, and lead down so many roads. It can lead you to a very positive or very negative place based upon where you are mentally and how you interpret the question.
In the health and wellness world how do you view success? When I started losing weight I was over 400 pounds. I know you have read it over and over again but it bears repeating because I will never forget it, I felt as though I was going to die. I was trapped inside a tomb that was my body. I had high blood pressure, dangerously high, I had high cholesterol, horrendous triglycerides and the thought of doing anything except driving around delivering packages in my car, and drinking red bull and Starbucks at all hours of the day and night was my reality.
I am still not at my goal weight, I got to about 250 and my life went through a shift. My personal life underwent an overhaul, my professional life went through a complete shift where I went from working nights and weekends to a 55+ hour a week shift that starts at about 3:45 every weekday morning. I regained in the neighborhood of 50 pounds and if I didn’t know better by most of the definitions that I can think of that would make me a failure.
WRONG! I make my own definitions of success, and I do not view this as a failure, because I am still trying. I am still actively choosing to pick the better choices for food. I choose to go to the gym instead of going to the coffee shop on Saturday mornings. I choose to push myself to be better I choose to get up and go.
I measure success not in the number on the scale, because a number while a unit of measure is not a measure of self worth, and is not a measure of what I have accomplished but in how I feel. I do not measure success in the size of my jeans, or in the number of friends I have or the number of miles I can run, which by the way is ZERO. I measure my success on the number of times I get up when I fall down.
I measure my success on how strong I can be, for myself and for my friends. I measure success in what I can give to others, and the strength I can share. This past weekend I participated in the #happy5k project. (Check them out on Facebook and Twitter!) I love this idea, it is a virtual 5k, and their motto is Have a Purpose, Push Yourself. I love this motto. As most of you know I am currently stuck in the pool for exercise (and if you followed twitter last nights dreadmill went horribly and I am back in the water until further notice) So I water walked my 5k.
I love that there are things like virtual 5k’s that I can participate in that allow me to have the sense of community with other athletes, that can give me the same rush and feeling of success that I had when I did the Prior Fat Pack 5k, or the Fathers Day 5k. I am hopeful that I will be back in action by the time the Color Run comes around in July, but since the treadmill killed me after 1.25 miles yesterday and I can barely walk due to heel issues from it today we shall play by ear.
I had a successful virtual 5k, I am part of something bigger. I love it!
So I will continue on babysteppin-waterwalkin my way thru one setback at a time as long as it takes.
I am a success story, I will forever be my own success story, I just have to decide how I want to end my success story… luckily there is still too much of the story to be written to worry about an ending.
Are you successful? Do you keep pushing yourself despite the odds to get where you want to be? How do you define your personal success?

Onward to #FitBloggin!

Oh yes that’s right! 160 days and counting!  Excitement is building as the Fitbloggin’ date grows near.  My flights are booked, my hotel room is reserved, I have 2 roommates secured, Mer and Liz, and I am so very ready to go!

I used to be so very afraid of meeting new people, and stepping our of my comfort zone, but not so much when it comes to things like this, at least not anymore.  One of the things that I have fallen in love with about this community is that everyone has at some point felt the way I do.  We have all at some point felt like the biggest one in the room.  We have all felt like the outcast.  We have all felt like we are going to fail, or that we aren’t going to succeed, and we have all made a decision that we are ready to change our lives.  We have all has hit’s and misses.  So many of us have tried and failed more than once, on more than a few occasions some of us have even quit and thrown our hands in the air.  We are a persistent bunch though.

I can’t wait! I am looking forward to meeting some of the people that have shared their stories with me.  People who I have cheered on, and shed tears for, and who I so desperately wanted to give a hug to for so many reasons.  I am ready to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.

Will I see *YOU* there?

Finish Line? Off-Season?!

Tuesday nights #Fitblog chat was one where I actually felt that I didn’t belong.  Many of you know I only stay for the first portion of the fitblog chats.  Then I head off to my weekly trivia sessions.  This fosters a different area of my life and thusly keeps my life balanced.  My trivia friends are not the same people as my #f2fpack friends.  While some of them are more health minded than others, orders of chicken fingers and fried exist at the bar, because well it’s a bar! Anyway, back to fitblog.  This weeks #fitblog was about race reflection.

When I looked at the topic for the week I figured it was probably not even worth my time to say hi.  I don’t do races.  I have never competed in a TRI, or a duathlon, no ragnars for me.  I haven’t even thought about a half mary, in fact that scares me!  Heck, I can’t even run a half mile yet.  But I am getting stronger every day.

So after the 30-seconds of self-doubt that my head was filled with cleared out I remembered that this year I did actually complete a race.  I actually did two!  I completed two 5k’s within a month of each other.  I also have another one on the books.  I may not run them, but they still count.  So I popped up my intro, and jumped into the start of the chat with both feet.

The nice part about #fitblog is the dialogs that happen outside of the questions being asked.  The community comes together and it is a great dialog.  Ann from twelve-in-twelve joined in on her first fitblog and asked for some running advice.  I hope she got some answers.  It really is a great community!

Things were humming along, and people were talking about how their races had gone so far this year.  People shared their ragnar experiences, and other race stories.  It was cool to hear about the wonderful experiences that others had.  The questions continue, and then a nerve was struck.  A question was asked about what to do in the “off-season” …

OffSeason

Now, I understand that each sport has its own peak performance time, and winter especially in Minnesota is not that time for running, or biking, or well most outdoor summer activities, because they are summer activities.  However this REALLY struck a chord with me.  When you live a healthy lifestyle, being active is a part of your life.  There is no finish line to this adventure, and there is no off-season.

I have come to accept the fact that I will forever have to work out.  I am hopeful that I won’t have to spend as much time in the gym every week as I do now once I get down to my ideal weight (which I am unsure of where that is at this time).  I don’t think that I have any dillusions about it though.  This is my life now.  Eating right, and working out.  There was no training camp for this marathon called life, and no training camp means no off-season.

It is time to get used to it, because this is your life now, and forever.

#FitBlog Got Me Thinkin

You can’t run from your past.  It is a part of who you are.  It shapes who you become.  Tuesday night I was home from the gym early enough to catch most of #Fitblog due to the fact that I forgot my swimsuit.  iFail! (At least I still got my sweat on at the gym on the elliptical and the recumbent bike!)

Fitblog was about blogging this time… You can see the whole log over at Http://www.fitblogchats.com

140 characters is hardly enough room to provide a well thought out answer.  It has left me thinking much of the night.  I even ended up going back to my old LiveJournal and reading what I was doing 10 years ago.  My “LJ” is after all 11 years old now and contains my entire relationship with my ex husband.  I would hit the delete button… but you can’t erase your past… you can’t run from it.  It is a part of who you are.  It is a part of what makes me who I am.  I learned a lot from that relationship about what I deserve, and what I am worth.  Going back and reading excerpts from my old life often leaves me feeling so sad and depressed.  The entry I plucked today.  10 years ago, closest entry to this date was about a girl I went to school with (I became related to her through marriage) who had just passed away from Cystic Fibrosis after having been in a coma after a lung transplant.

So I figured I would take a little time and discuss the #fitblog questions on my blog today

Q1) Why did you start your blog?
I started this blog after a meeting with Jen, a priorfatgirl.  She saw me scribbling in my notebook after one of her get-togethers and told me I should start a blog.  Inspired by that I thought it would be a great way to help others.  I wanted people to know that they are not alone on their journey.  I started out at over 400 pounds and I was miserable!  Most bloggers that I could find were starting out in the 250-range and that was so frustrating.  Was I the biggest person in the world?  Was there no hope for me?  I wanted others to know that getting healthy was possible, and that losing weight could be done.  It would be hard work, and that there would be struggles along the way but that each and every one of us is worth the fight.
Q2) What has surprised you most about blogging?
I think at first what surprised me was that anyone gave a damn about what I had to say.  I didn’t think that anyone would actually care that I lost weight, or gained weight.  I didn’t think anyone would want to read about my struggles, or the challenges that I faced.  Yes mine are a little different from other people, due to the nature of some of my illnesses, but there are also so many that are the same.  Lack of motivation, family issues, temptation foods, who wants to read about that right?  Maybe it just helps knowing that we aren’t alone.  I know I read a lot of that stuff.
Another thing that I have found surprising with blogging is the community that has been forged.  I have real friends that I met through my blog, and other blogs.  Like actual face to face friends.  Call on the phone in the middle of the night and pour my heart out friends.  Get together on a Friday night and have a girls night out friends!  Whether I met these ladies on my blog, or on someone elses blog, it was because of blogland that I met them.  These people are more than just words on a page to me, they are family.
I know for a fact there are people not in the blogging community that do not understand what goes on.  It is just like every other group activity out there… you don’t fully understand it unless you do it.
Q3) Have you ever wanted to quit blogging? Why?
I have never wanted to quit blogging.  This is why my LiveJournal is still active after 11 years.  It is “friends only” for whatever kind of joke that truly is on the internet.  When I split up with my ex husband before I moved to Minnesota… god an eternity ago I thought about quitting blogland then.  I had my own dot-com back then where I blogged more publicly (and had forums) along with my LJ.  I shut that down just because I didn’t have time to maintain the site without his help.
I didn’t really have much to say for years after the split.  my life was very stagnate.  I did very little other than play my video games.  I lived here in Minnesota barely leaving the house, not engaging in any kind of activities so there was no reason to share myself with the world.  I kept interacting with my LiveJournal followers though.  I always enjoyed the interactivity of the blogs.
Q4) What is your vision for the future of your blog?
I would love to see my blog be a place for others to find a way to help themselves.  I want people to find inspiration, and support in my words and experiences.  I would love to use my blog as a gateway to a career for me to help change the lives of other people.  I feel like I have a gift, I just don’t know exactly what it is, or how to use it just yet… but I am getting closer to exactly what it is.
Fitblog usually doesn’t make me think this much, but I suppose thinking about how long I have been bobbing along in blogland has left me a little sentimental.  I don’t know how I truly feel as I go back and read thru some of my LJ blogs.  I can clearly see how unhappy I was at some points.  I can see how alone I was and how desperate for friends I was.  It is definitely nice to have a record of what was going on in my life for the last 11 years.  Looking through a virtual scrapbook of what I thought was important as a 19 or 20 year old is very enlightening now.  It is also kinda sad, as that is truly the blog of a dead person.  The person from that life is dead.  Yes I have continued to update it here and there as I have been in Minnesota.  I have updated as my weight has come off… but since the launch of this blog it has faded and been placed into the drawer like an old diary.
So… Care to take a few moments and share your thoughts about blogging?  Maybe answer these questions on your blog and comment on mine to let me know you did!  Or just leave your thoughts in the comments!
Then next Tuesday log into Twitter or http://fitblogchats.com/ and join the #fitblog experience!  They start at 9PM EST.  Make some new friends and have a good time!