Self Care. The Realization That I am Worth More!

Self Care and the realization that I am worth more has been a long and winging road. In my new job I am learning a lot of things, about a lot of things.  Sports haven’t really been a big part of my life.  I enjoy watching baseball, I like a good MMA fight, I do enjoy a football game now and again.  I find myself diving into the sports world to become more educated in hopes of being better at my job.  As I learn more about the great athletes of the past I find inspirational words.

Muhammad Ali once said “I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest! Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.” I really like this quote.  I like to think that he is talking about me, setting my goals and knocking them out one by one.  I can do all the hard things.  I just have to keep trying.

In having moved forward in my life, trying a new career path, being persistent and tenacious in my goals to be healthy and find happiness in my life I have discovered something.  The better I feel the more I take care of myself.  In both the sense of eating better and working out I do better, and in the sense that I enjoy the little things more.

Since I started my new position I have found a new way to reward myself for doing things like going to the gym, eating a balanced diet, and just frankly learning to be nice to myself.  I am of course talking about the simple act of pampering.

A few months ago I went and got a massage… it was not for me.  I spent the next several days, maybe a week sore beyond belief.  My chronic pain and connective tissue issues don’t allow me to enjoy the feeling.  I don’t relax.  I know having my haircut can be a double edge sword for me, sometimes its okay and sometimes it is very stressful. Yes it is just hair, but it’s too much pressure! I have found that getting my nails done is a really great way to spend just a small amount of time on myself.  I can’t do anything except just relax and focus on nothing.  I go every 2-3 weeks for a gel manicure at Ulta.  The girl there that does my nails is fabulous! Her name is Theresa, and she just makes me feel relaxed.

It seems silly that having my nails painted makes me feel more put together, but it does. Some people need to have mascara or lipstick on before leaving the house, I sort of feel that way about my nail polish. I am not a makeup girl.  Mom never taught me how to wear it. We would be late to a lot of things because she was putting makeup on.  It may be part of why I am so resistant to makeup.  My resistance to makeup might also be just that it feels so heavy or oily.

Every time I look at my bejeweled fingers, like little gems, 10 tiny presents on my fingers it is a reminder to me that I am worth taking care of.  IT seems so silly that one little change could do so much for me but it can.  One small behavioral change can be a visual reminder saying Hey Kris! You are awesome! Look at these awesome gifts to yourself!

And since I can, I’ll show off the two April gel manicures.

Self CareSelf Care

Looking in the Mirror

Looking in the mirror I find myself wondering if what I see is real. I have sat looking at myself in the mirror and asked our loud who the person looking back at me is. I have reached out to touch the mirror to see if I am living a lie. What in the world has happened to me?

On one side, I look at my life as it is now with a new job, that I adore. A job that challenges me, allows me to learn and expand my boundaries but doesn’t completely intimidate me.  A job, the piece of the puzzle that I longed for when I lost the near 180 pounds before that would let me keep my new life in order and keep my life moving in the right direction.

My previous job, the one that was supposed to give me a more normal life, has left me almost a shell of who I had become. My relationships have suffered, my health suffered.  When I would look in the mirror while at that job I didn’t want to look myself in the eye.  I felt like I was a disappointment to myself, like I had made a bad decision.

I look at my experience at my last job with a lot of sadness. As I was leaving there I could see only all the bad in what had happened there.  I gained back a significant amount of weight despite my best efforts to keep it off.  (Upside I have maintained over 100 pounds lost.)  I sat down with Robb towards the end of my time there and was so upset over all the positive momentum I had lost.  I felt like I was back at square one and that I had wasted so much of my life spinning my tires.

Robb helped me see the good in taking the job I did over two years ago. It showed me that I can do hard things.  Taking that job, and being thrown in to a sink or swim environment where I had to figure things out on my own, and make my own way was a real life lesson. I learned a lot while I was on the job there, about myself, about how I feel a business should be run, about the right way to do things, and not do things.

After the long talk with Robb, and a long look at myself and where I am in my life and that I can do hard things… much harder than I ever thought I could do.  I am reminded that I have done hard things, and I can do hard things… I look myself in the eyes again.

Do you know what it is like to see a part of you die? When I was so big I felt like there was a part of me that was dead. As I lost weight I felt my life come back, it was if I was being reborn, awakening, it was amazing. Working my 55 hour weeks I watched the death creep back into my life. The rebound after reducing my hours to 15 for my last week there, was like night and day.  It was like a rebirth.  Now that I have been free of what I can only deem as the soul suck for almost a month it is as though a weight has been lifted.

It turns out that mirror I was looking into was a reflective coated window.  A window I could open and walk through.  A bad decision can be undone.  Failure is not fatal, failure is not final.  I  was unhappy with where I had gone.  The path I had gone down, took a left turn and led in a direction I didn’t like.  It may have taken some time to stop the skid and get life heading in the right direction again but I did it.

So keep that in mind… no matter where life is leading you, you have the power to steer into the skid so to speak.  Ultimately only you will get to decide if you end up in the dark woods, in the green grassy flower filled meadow, on the beach, or under a rock.

From Scratch, Creating a New Life.

Creating a new life, from scratch… no I’m not pregnant, although if you check out my instagram, facebook or twitter feed you will see comments about how I look like I am glowing or radiant. However this past week it’s like I am finding a whole new world, or as I prefer to think of it I am creating my own. As of Friday afternoon as I packed up my stuff, took a look out my window, and shook my head as if it were all but a dream, I knew my life had been changed. I completed my second week on the job at my new place of employment. It has truly been awesome. Yeah okay, awesome is one of those words that gets overused, so we end up having to make up words for when something truly amazing really happens, but truly the changes that I have experienced in the last two weeks have been astounding.
It was my second full week in my new job. For some reason in my mind I kept thinking it was my first week. I had worked a full week the week before, working two jobs was crazy. I don’t know how anyone can do it, I was exhausted mentally. I guess that in my mind having still been tied to my old employer being at my new job just didn’t feel like it was my new job. It does now, I am slowly settling in, I put a photo on my desk, I have a comfy chair, and some of my things in the drawers. It is all becoming routine.
Pieces of my life are not so much falling into place, as being strategically and surgically inserted. As I mentioned on the blog in a previous post that I started an Aqua Aerobics Boot Camp which I am attending on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings before I go to work. I have missed the water. More than the water, I have missed the classes. I have been in the water on my own, swimming laps, walking in the vortex pool, but I hadn’t found a class that fit my old schedule. This one gets me excited, gets me out of bed.
The second time I was in class, I was more comfortable. It wasn’t that I was uncomfortable in the class, but I hadn’t taken the chance to really say hello to many people before class. At the end of the Monday class, after I had sucked all of my emotions back inside I introduced myself to some of the ladies. Wednesday after class we were all getting ready to leave and it finally dawned on me that two of the women in the class I knew! They looked familiar when we were in the pool, but people look different in bathing suits, then it dawned on me… I had met them previously when I was at weight watchers.
It is a very strange feeling to me that in changing my hours and having only reduced the number of working hours by two each day and adding on a commute that totals just about 30-40 minutes each way I have somehow managed to open up more time in my schedule. Somehow I can now magically easily fit a workout in… and it just works? I know it is just starting out, but it is too simple for me to NOT do it.
Rebuilding my life from scratch in this new daywalker world is weird… Tuesday night I made my return to trivia, which is something I very much enjoy. Since I had taken my old job I had only been able to go one time. That is once in over two years to something that I had done every night for years before that.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went back but I was greeted with open arms and a seat at our normal table. People wanted to know where I had been what I was doing now what was going on I had kept in touch with some people but not as well as I had promised or hoped to. I was SO TIRED, I had only planned to stay for a little while. My goal was to stay up until 2100, I made it to the end of the night at just after 2200. More than that I made it to the gym the next morning!
I keep wondering why the people around me keep talking about this transformation they are seeing in me. That I look years younger, and that I seem “better”. I didn’t know how far down the rabbit hole I had gone. Was I really that lost? How did I become so far gone and not realize it? I know stress causes cortisol problems, and there is no doubt that I have some adrenal fatigue issues, but can my body truly be physically responding this quickly?
How fast can my body heal itself getting sleep during the proper hours? How fast can my body start to remember what it was like to be at “peak performance”. I know it is going to be a long road to get back to where I was. I know I lost tone, and strength, and stamina, however the more you give your body the more it wants it. I am trying to get my body back. I am ready to fight… I have been persistent in what I have wanted I keep coming back. I kept changing my style of attack when things didn’t work, but like a dog with a bone I have not given up thus far.
I am excited for the things that are to come, I am excited for the adventure and the promise my life is holding. Just as spring has arrived, I too have arrived, just in time to blossom into a new and promising life.

Treat Day

I think I am blessed in a way. My job isn’t one that has “Treat day”. We don’t usually have a ton of snacks in the office. Around the holidays there are treats, I have been known to supply the office with baked good and snacks on an occasion but overall it isn’t a minefield like I hear some places are.
It is a pizza junkies dream as I have mentioned before. I would say 3 days a week or so there is delivery pizza coming into the office. With me being off gluten and dairy it isn’t even asked of me if I want to go in on a pie. … Even before I started my “No Dairy, No Wheat, No Fun” Mantra as the boys here call it I wasn’t much for ordering in except an occasional Sushi delivery, or Jimmy Johns Unwich. I usually bring my food… I don’t get a lunchbreak during my 10 hour day… so I need food that I can eat cold, I strive for things that can sit around. Hot coffee Cold water? What are those things!
One of my new employees called in today to tell me she would be stopping by the office to drop off some paperwork. I said it wasn’t necessary, to which she said she had a treat and “You should never turn down a treat”. My mind immediately went into self-hate-negative space… which it does, but I am learning to recognize, and I though, never turning down things is how I ended up the size of a house. I didn’t let myself stay in that headspace long and told Patty I would see her soon.
When Patty arrived she placed a gallon size bag of cookies on my desk… My eyes went wide like cookie monster ready to go on a binge! I immediately grabbed the bag said thanks so much! Everyone will really enjoy these, and turned to give them to my supervisor without another thought. I plopped them on his desk, without taking one. She looked upset, and I explained in a playful fun way that the guys here all say I am on the no dairy no gluten no fun diet. I said that I appreciated it but that I just couldn’t eat it.
She understood, no drama, the world didn’t end. I have spent a good bit of time thinking about this whole, treat yourself thing. I do treat myself… I treat myself by eating the foods that nourish my body. I treat myself by buying the foods that I like to eat. I treat myself by enjoying a better cup of coffee… I am sorry buy Folgers just isn’t my cup of choice. I will drink it, but I prefer something better. I am not one to blankly turn down a treat but I am one to be selective of what treats I have these days. A treat doesn’t have to be defined as food, it can be getting a new bottle of nail polish, or a new dress. It can be a trip to a new gym to try out a guest pass, or even making an extra deposit in a savings account for something bigger.
It is all about framing what you want and finding and fighting for what you want out of life. For me those cookies… they aren’t the treats I am looking for right now. Yes the looked so good, and I LOVE the thought that was behind them… but I will let everyone else in the office enjoy them, and rest more soundly knowing that I treated myself by making the choice that respected my body.
I may or may not have treated myself to a can of the new Apple-berry LaCroix fizzy water when I came home from work, and I may have even changed my dinner plans with the crockpot cooked chicken to spicy pb2 chicken and cantaloupe. I feel good about my day. The sun was out, the puddles of slop were abundant for splashing in… and now I will retire to bed… on schedule!
xoxo ❤

Staycation Recovery

So I spent the weekend indulging in treats I don’t usually have. Steak dinners, ice cream (custard actually), a breakfast burrito with bacon and avocado, and I wonder (ok not really) why I am craving carbs and sugar the last two days. Ok not really. Combined with hormones and bad nutrition I set myself up for this.
It doesn’t happen often, and it was a wonderful weekend. Nothing like celebrating all the things that make and made my life here awesome. A small impromptu breakfast with a few friends on Saturday after my 10k, which turned out to be 6.7 miles once I cooled down. A nice romantic dinner out on Saturday night. A movie at a theater I had never been to on Sunday morning, followed by a fun afternoon of silliness at MOA and a night relaxing at the Radisson Blue. (Talk about swanky!)
I am so exhausted right now, sheer reliance on caffeine is what is keeping me upright at my desk. I feel like I need a vacation to recover from my staycation. Crazy right?

Either way here I am… I had a nice weekend… but I am ready to get back into a focused mindset.

Oh here are my two fave photos from the weekend…
WonderWoman10k

Anniversary9Years

Slow and Steady 28 Days.

28 Days Later… sounds like a story of rehab, or an addict right?  4 weeks have passed since I started on Nutrisystem.  I am still alive, I have not quit.  I have not found it particularly difficult to stay on plan.

While I do miss the endless hours I used to have cooking, prepping, basically having a huge romantic relationship with my food, this is good therapy for me.  I still have to do some work in the kitchen.  I add food to my meals, you need to.  I am still pressed for time and do things like add yogurt or a hardboiled egg as my protein most of the time but when it comes to adding veggies, I get to show my love for myself with them.  I get to chop and saute, steam and prep them as I would have before.  I don’t just slop things on a plate, or pop them in the microwave.  After all this is still about more than just food right?  This is about a lifelong relationship with food and how it effects everything in life.

I am working to become more aware of all things related to what is going on.  What triggers me to want to eat, is it emotional, physical, is it the taste of something, a smell, is it just the sight of something that I can’t handle?  Hedonic hunger was something that spoke about at weight watchers, meaning it isn’t about will power, and I believe very strongly that this is true. Chemically there is too much going on in bodies for us to be able to deny something our hormones chemically are telling us to want.

So how has it been going otherwise? Pretty well, I am back on antibiotics, for another sinus infection, which i suspect is actually bronchitis :/ I have a CT scheduled for the 19th followed immediately by a consult with the ENT specialist that I have been seeing. So I am currently on activity restrictions which makes me anxious. I had just gotten back into a routine/rhythm that was working for me at the gym. It feels like every time I get into a patterns the rug gets pulled out from under me. I won’t let it stop me, I finish the meds next Saturday, which means Sunday morning I am coming for you Gym! YOU HEAR THAT!!!! I don’t however know how my body is going to handle all the antibiotics, steroids, and cough meds currently being thrown at it.

I weigh in once a week, Tuesday nights, in my kitchen. I thought about making it some morning, before I ate, before I did anything the problem is that if I weigh in up, and I can’t get my head out of that crud it was a bad week spot then my whole day would be shite! I don’t need that.

According to my calculations I lost 11.5 pounds from my Aug 12th weigh in to my Sept 3rd weigh in. I received my new box of food in the mail this week, first part on Wednesday, second box (frozen on dry ice) on Thursday and in the box on Wednesday was something called a Nutribear!

Nutribear 10 pound Loss

Nutribear 10 pounds!

10 Pound

Number 10

I love that there are cute rewards for having lost weight with the system. It makes it feel a little less alone, and a little more like a community. He is about the size of any beanie baby. I am not sure what I am going to do with him yet, right now he is sitting next to my bed.
I never made it through any of Weight Watchers things long enough to get any real bling. I got the 16 week stay an succeed hands, I got that danged 5% reward sticker a few times… up down up down…. it just wasn’t the right program for me. I did a 5k but never got the bling. It isn’t really about the rewards, but it is nice to have something saying hey good job right? Maybe? …

So uhm, I went to another PriorFatGirl #OBOS meeting this weekend. I am sure you are wondering why I bothered if I am on Nutrisystem right? Well we all know I won’t be eating out of a box forever. I had a great time hearing about #PFC Protein Fat and Carbs. It is basically how I ate before I took my fulltime job, which is awesome! Cassie talked about how EATING FAT WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT!!! Something I have known for ages. She encouraged the attendees to eat real food, like butter, cream, cheese, whole veggies and fruits, meat, eggs, and nuts. Eating a combination of protein fats and carbohydrates at each meal keeps your blood glucose levels stable. It was pretty much a flashback to the early 90’s for me actually when I was learning about how to help manage my brothers diabetes (not type2) in getting him through the night with a stable balanced sugar level by putting enough fat with the carbs to keep things from spiking too fast and how the body breaks down protein slower and it helps regulate sugar levels.
It made me want to go back to school for nutrition… alas time and money are always factors. 😦 It was so great to see familiar faces, and new ones too. I was pleased to have gotten to stay for the full event this time. I poked my head in on the last one, which happened to be on the wedding day of a dear friend, when I had many many tasks on my plate. It was just not good timing.
It served once again as a good reminder that it takes time to get to where we all want to be. It is important to remember nothing is forever, and we all need to do what we need to do when we need to do it and with what we have.

A new week is about to start and I am doing what I can. Prepping what I can in advance, making the best choices for myself and reminding myself everyday that I am worth more than I think I am. It isn’t about Ego, it is about appreciation of self.

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?