Gym Blog | Day 22

I’ve really been enjoying these cardio and core days, you guys, but I’m definitely overdue for a leg day. Continue reading “Gym Blog | Day 22”

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Daily Prompt 10/25/16 | Transformation

I am starting to feel pretty, for the first time in a very, very long time. Transformed.

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt | Transformation]

Makeup was never something that I was particularly passionate about. Continue reading “Daily Prompt 10/25/16 | Transformation”

Try, Try Again

Hello, friends. Yesterday, I found myself looking at my reflection, and feeling disappointed. My face has gotten rounder, my skin seems duller, and I just look… unhealthy. All those new clothes that I bought in celebration of losing 25 pounds barely fit me now, and I hate it. Despite all of the hard work I put into my diet and exercise at the end of last year, I find myself feeling like an absolute failure these days after falling off the wagon several months ago, and being unable to commit to diet and exercise again. I want to fix that. I want to fix me.

I think the biggest reason my last diet, although quite successful, failed after just 3 months, was because switched from a diet consisting of pizza, fast food, and carbs, to a “vegan” diet, on top of counting calories, very suddenly. I was eating less than 1,200 calories a day, and working out every other day, and it was just too big of a change, much too fast, and it drove me insane. I lost 27 pounds in less than 3 months, and felt better than I had in YEARS, but when I crashed, I crashed HARD. As much as I love him, I blame my carnivorous partner for about half of my crashing and burning. For always bringing home pizza, snacks, and wanting to eat out. For always telling me that cheat days were okay, even though I had already had 2 or 3 that week, and it was only Wednesday. For completely neglecting his own health, and being unwilling to work with me on making our entire household healthier. It was so hard to focus on eating right when I was surrounded by my favorite, terrible things, that I had been starving myself from. I needed his support, and he wasn’t willing to set aside his live of food to help me.

So, I failed.

I’ve managed to stay around my pre-pregnancy weight (give or take a few pounds, as my weight fluctuates pretty crazily), which is a tiny victory for me… but I miss feeling healthy. I miss daily walks, and Zumba three times a week. I miss having soft hair and glowing skin. I miss having energy. I miss buying clothes in sizes that I haven’t fit into in 8 years. I miss feeling proud of myself.

I’ve decided that I’m going to go back on my no meat/no dairy diet (it’s not full vegan, I still eat eggs, sorry), only this time, I won’t be counting calories. Giving up meat and dairy wasn’t all that bad, and wasn’t nearly as difficult as weighing, measuring, and logging every single thing that I ate. It was exhausting. Not allowing myself to stray off of my calorie count even a little, without being filled with guilt self-hatred, was awful. I was healthier than I had been since high school, and would still hate myself for eating a cookie. That just isn’t healthy, and it was a recipe for disaster.

Now that the weather is warming up, I’m going to invest in a new pair of sneakers, and a few pairs of loose shorts. I’m going to try to get outside more, and spend more time at the park with my son. I’m going to cook more, and research fun, new ways to incorporate more vegan-friendly foods into my diet so that I don’t end up eating beans and rice, or salad, every day.

I want to be healthy, physically and mentally. I can do this!

Jan

Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | A Fleeting Moment of Confidence

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely.

In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 3/14/2016 | Fleeting

I have a very love/hate relationship with diet and exercise. As some of you may already know, from the middle of October to the end of December, I decided to make some changes, and started eating a mostly vegan diet (I still ate eggs). I didn’t do it for any moral reason, and I don’t care if you eat meat, or don’t eat meat, I did it for me, to be a healthier individual. I struggled a bit at first with giving up dairy, as a large part of my diet tended to include cheese, or milk products, but I found that giving up meat was pretty simple, as I never really ate much of it, and didn’t really crave it in any way.

Not only did I make this change to my diet, but I also decided to actually DIET during this time. I downloaded a free app called Lose It!, which I had used previously to lose weight, and began tracking my daily calorie intake, as well as my weight loss. If you are counting calories, and want a free, simple app to help you out, I highly recommend it. Between this complete overhaul in my diet, and counting calories, I found myself struggling to stay on track early on, as well as struggling with cravings. I had many, many slip-ups and cheat days for the first month, and kicked myself over it, feeling guilty and disgusted with myself. I tried to keep junk food and dairy out of my fridge, but that becomes incredibly difficult when you live with a dairy crazed carnivore who wouldn’t touch a vegetable if would save his life. Every other day he was bringing home cookies, or ordering pizza, or bags of chips, and it was unbearable. I even asked him to stop, but he never did.

I was losing weight, slowly, but not at the rate that I wanted, so I started exercising. I was already going on somewhat regular walks with my son, around 2.5 miles each time we went out, but with the weather getting colder, I knew it was only a matter of time before we would be forced to stay indoor. At the recommendation of a few friends, as well as my mom, I started looking up beginner Zumba videos on YouTube, and was instantly hooked. I was able to burn several hundred calories in 1/4 the time as walking, and it was fun. The weight started to melt off after that.

I lost 10 pounds. Then 15 pounds. Then 25 pounds. I had already reached my pre-baby weight, as well as my lowest weight since college, and I felt great. My skin had cleared up from the lack of daily in my diet, and I was able to buy clothes, several sizes smaller, for the first time since getting pregnant. I even began considering buying a bathing suit, and shorts, for the first time since college. I am not joking, I haven’t owned a bathing suit in 7 years, or work shorts in probably 5 or 6. I felt good, and I looked good.

For a fleeting moment, I was the happiest I had been in years.

Then, the holidays came. I tried to have some self-control, but no one in Kyle’s family seemed to understand my struggle with my body, or my diet. Despite being very open about my dietary restrictions, and politely turning down their cooking (they are the type of folks who cook everything with ten pounds of butter), they would just repeatedly tell me to “Just have a cheat day!”, or “You look fine, just eat!”, and it drove me nuts. Even when I did eat, his grandmother would keep pestering me to eat MORE, or actually BRING ME PLATES OF FOOD when I politely declined. She would get offended when I said no. I hated being forced to eat, but I allowed it to happen, just to please her.

That was the start of the end.

There were rapid-fire holiday and birthday get-togethers, and I found it harder and harder to control myself around all of the sweets and savory foods. So I didn’t. The weather had gotten gloomy, and sucked all the energy from my body, and I slowed down on my exercise, until I stopped completely. Over the course of barely two months, I gained back 9 pounds of the 27 total pounds that I had lost. I noticed the definition in my legs and waist going back to being flabby, and the new, smaller clothing that I had bought stop fitting me in a flattering way. And once again, I hated myself.

I tried to get back into my diet several times, but no longer had room on my phone for my calorie tracker app, and used that as an excuse to ballpark it, which ended in failure. I would get stuck eating my son’s leftovers from his meals, and using that as an excuse to eat other meat or dairy items, as I had already lost it for the day. I made a lot of excuses, and it showed. It showed all over my body.

The weather has started to warm up, and I have been able to get outside to walk more with my son, and he is finally old enough to play with me at the park. This has given me hope, and determination, to try to get back on track. My birthday is in a month and a half, and I have decided that I want to lose 10 pounds by then. I ate a vegan diet today, and managed to get a good walk in with my kiddo, as well as a brief Zumba workout (I am astonishingly out of shape from my time away from it). I felt great… until Kyle got home, made two amazing smelling pork burritos, and only ate one of them. He was going to throw away the other… and I ate it. Granted, I didn’t go bonkers on the calories today, but I ate a burrito that was basically nothing but meat and cheese, and I hate myself for it.

As I’ve written about in the past, self-control is my biggest downfall when it comes to anything. It has ruined everything in my life at some point. I love eating healthy, and I love exercising. I love fruits and vegetables and salad and cooking… but between the weather, my empty bank account, my un-supportive, carnivorous husband, and my horrible lack of self-control, maintaining any sort of healthy lifestyle is a massive struggle.

I’m hoping my self-hatred can outweigh my lack of self-control… otherwise, I fear I will never be happy with my appearance. And I can’t live like that anymore. I miss my fleeting moment of confidence.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

5 Pictures, 5 Stories | Part 2

Hello, friends! I recently posted a blog entitled 5 Pictures, 5 Stories, which people really seemed to enjoy! I really like going through old pictures, and reliving memories of the past, so I thought that I would do it again. So here we go, 5 Pictures, 5 Stories | Part 2.

1. New York, New York
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Back row: April, me, Danielle. Front row: Barbara, Kat, Theoni.
The summer after my junior year in high school, I had the amazing experience of going to NYC with several of my soon-to-be senior friends in the Upward Bound program. This also happened to be the weekend that the final Harry Potter book in the series was being released, marking the end of our collective childhoods, and we all bought it, and basically all finished reading it that weekend. It was amazing. I struggled so hard, because I was the first person to finish the book, and I wanted to talk about it SO badly, but I had to wait. This picture was taken in Central Park, the day after the release. I still in contact with all of these wonderful ladies, and I miss them all so much.

2. Manduca Sexta
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The summer before the summer that I went to NYC, I had an internship in the Biology department at the University of Southern Maine (I was part of the UB program for 4 years total). My boss was a very tall, very nerdy man, who was obsessed with Harry Potter, and we got along amazingly. I also worked with a young woman named Muna, and another guy… whose name I can’t remember. My main job, every day, was to take care of the Manduca sexta caterpillars, in all of their various life cycles. Every day, I would:

a) Scrape the eggs off of tobacco plant leaves leaves from the moth cage, and put them into little containers with slices of wheat germ loaf (which I also made).
b) Take out the hatched eggs from the days before, and transfer them into bigger containers with more food.
c) Take the even BIGGER caterpillars from the days before that from their containers, and put them in even bigger containers with food.
d) Take the biggest caterpillars, which were ready to begin their chrysalis stage, and put them in wooden blocks with holes drilled in them, and store them away.
e) And finally, take the oldest blocks, with the already formed chrysalis, and put them in a giant moth cage. However, I was not allowed to open the moth cage myself, because the dust on their wings was dangerous to inhale, and at my height, they would fly directly into my face. My very tall boss handled that part.

The best part was that all of this was for cancer and tumor research. Something about how the caterpillars go from having multiple eyes within an eye (sort of like a fly), to two eyes as a moth… or something… I never fully understood it, but it was an amazing experience, and I loved it so much. I enjoyed the work, and keeping meticulous records on all my little bug friends. I wanted to be a forensic entomologist for the longest time, and being able to work closely with scientists and these insects was an amazing experience.

3. Dancing Kings
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These are my friends, Julien and George. When I was accepted into the Upward Bound program as a freshman, which is pretty uncommon, I had a hard time making friends. As an upcoming sophomore, I was a whole year or two younger than everyone, and my awkwardness and shyness didn’t help me connect to anyone. Until I met Julien and George, who were two years older than me, and best friends. They were both genius level intelligent, and I still have no idea why they chose to befriend me, but I’m not complaining.

We had very similar interests in music (Julien introduced me to the Foo Fighters, George introduced me to Pink Floyd), books, and video games… including DDR. I had been playing DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) for only a year, mostly in the privacy of my own living room, when I met them. We started a DDR group in the lounge, and spent all of our free time playing. They were both incredible, and pushed me so hard to be good at it. This picture was taken at the Friends and Family Night Talent Show, which I was too afraid to enter. They KILLED it. That was the last summer I spent with them, as they went to  different school, but they helped me become more confident in myself, and also helped me get on a healthy track with my weight loss. I lost 45 pounds between my junior and senior years, and I owe it all to them.

4. Little Sister
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This is a picture of the last time I ever saw my little sister, Desiree. The picture was taken at her 4th birthday party, the summer that I left for college. Desiree had been taken from my father and his girlfriend, along with her other two girls, and had been adopted by a woman named Amy, and her husband. I was not able to visit them often, and was fed a lot of bullshit reasons as to why. In 2012, I flew to Maine as a surprise for my mom, and had planned to visit them, but my grandmother, who had known of my plans all along, told me that I could not. According to her, despite my sister knowing she was adopted, she would not understand who I was, or how we were related… yet she understood who our grandmother was, and she was allowed to visit frequently. I was so angry. This beautiful girl is 11 years old now. Maybe I’ll get to see her again at her wedding. Who knows? I also now have a 4 year old sister, who was also taken from my father, who I may never see again as well. Family

5. Relay For Life
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I had the honor and privilege to participate in our local Relay for Life event for 3 summers in a row. Kyle’s grandmother and mother both have teams, and Kyle had been doing it since he was young. His grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, as is mine, and my uncle died of a brain tumor, and I wanted to be a part of this so badly. This picture was taken in the summer of 2014, when I was 3 months pregnant, at the last Relay event that I attended. That is our stand in the background, which was boxing themed, to match the Relay theme of “Finish the Fight“.

We had our snow cone machine set up, which Kyle and I manned every year, as well as trinkets for sale, and a boxing ring and props for pictures. This was the first year that the event had to be held indoors, due to weather, and we had to fit our tent inside the hallways of the high school. The turnout was still great, and we ended up raising the second largest amount of money out of the two dozen teams there. Kyle’s mom joined a nursing program that same year, and we had to say goodbye to our Relay team. Hopefully we can do it again in the future, especially after this incredibly emotional year, where we have already lost so many to this disease. Fuck cancer!

Thank you for reading, friends!

Jan