Tuesday, January 31, 2012

that was then....

I found a picture of me from about 8 months ago - full length even - that I didn't know existed. Gotta say I spent a few minutes looking it, deciphering the different feelings and emotions it brought up. There was a time I would have been repulsed, saddened, disgusted, or sickened, maybe even a bit angry.

That was then...

Now I look at this picture and I'm impressed. That was a very unhealthy me. That was a very unhappy me. So why impressed?  Because that me had the strength to change. And because of that, I can't feel anything but respect for the me of 8 months ago. That me said, "Screw it, I don't have to live like this, I can make a change, hell I can make a bunch of changes!"

So, yeah, that's me around 245. Right before I started working with a trainer and basically doing what was needed to get aaaaall of my shit together.

That was then....

This is now....

Yeah, no makeup and my hair is rough - just finished working out.  But it's okay. This IS the same person, just in a different package. This person is also strong, but this person is so much happier. And no, not just because of the weight loss, although I'd be lying if I didn't say that losing nearly 60 pounds helped. Nope, this person is happier because she dealt with the underlying issues that lead to the heavy weight. This person is happy because she has found a path to loving the good, the bad, and the ugly in herself and in those around her.

I'm 50, and finally seeing the peace that can be. And that's a good thing...so very good. Am I finished? Oh no, no, no, no... There are days I just barely hold on to the motivation to keep going and doing the right things - and I'm SO not just talking about the diet and exercise.  Allowing the ugly side of myself  bitch inside of me to have free rein is much easier than restraint. It's a journey and a process - sometimes with hourly victories and defeats. 

That was then...and now...

Thoughts to take with me today: May God give me the strength to truly live what I write....Give me the strength to truly believe all the good....Give me the strength to be the person that truly accepts life's ups and downs with grace, love, and kindness.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The process..

Read an awesome article about weight loss yesterday. It had to do with the psychology of how people view goals.

Scientists had 3 groups perform tasks with 20 sections and the scientists measured how quickly they finished each section from start to finish.

Group one had a count down, as in they finished, and the 1 of the 20 icons dropped off, finish another task, then another icon drops off until all 20 were gone.

Group two had a count UP. Finish a task, get an icon until they reached 20.

Group three had a combination. 20 icons, but only the one they were working on was lit. The ones that were completed were faded out, the ones still to be completed were faded out.

Productivity between groups one and two were similar with a slight boost to group two. The group that did the worst was group three - ESPECIALLY when that group was in the middle numbers of tasks.

The applicability to weight loss? When losing a lot of weight - like 100 pounds or more - the MIDDLE numbers are actually the hardest mentally to shed. Each end of the journey is too far away at 50 pounds; it's been a long journey, and there is still a loooong journey to go. While physically the last 10 might be harder, mentally, the goal is in sight along with all the excitement, so there is a kind of a 'second wind' that kicks in for the last leg.

Or so the scientists say.

Since starting with my trainer on July 1st, I've lost 59 pounds, I'd say in my case, the first 20 were wicked hard,  the next 30 were pretty easy (relatively), and YES I can witness that physically and mentally, the last 10 have been brutally hard. It feels like the goal is sooooo far away and even though I'm over half way through, I keep second guessing everything I've done to get myself here.

What got me here?  well with a few variations and tweaks - this...

Cardio in the AM (4x), cardio in the PM (5-6x), along with strength 3x a week, trainer 1x a week
Daily ab work
Yoga 4x a week
1700 - 1900 calories (on good days, on bad days, let's just say the numbers are lower)
100 ounces of water
Sharp limits on anything processed or high in fat or calories

This got me to where I am - but is it what I need for the last 40? Are my doubts just a result of being far away from my goal? Do I need to make changes? If so, what?

Going back to the research, the suggestion is to focus on the building numbers and try to soften the focus on how many there are to go. This made me chuckle, because of course if anyone asks me about how I'm doing, I'll always, without fail, say "X down, X to go." So, maybe that's part of my problem? I dunno....

The other thing I think about is that if I keep doing what I'm doing, I WILL lose weight, even if it is slow, but every pound adds up. Give it 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months.....It will happen.

Thoughts to take with me today: Maybe I just need to dance with the one that brung me....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Definition of embarrassed...

Big cardio night...4:30 spin class, some ab work, running, 6:15 spin class. I've done this routine before. As long as I keep an eye on my sugars, and keep the snacks coming, it's an awesome time. Tons of endorphins, good calorie burn, one of my favorite nights!

After the 6:15 spin class tonight, someone made a comment to another person about food and calorie problems and we had a very brief discussion.  Yeah, I've had my share of issues, but not so much lately. I actually said the words, "Yep, I'm so glad those days are behind me. I'm pretty much in control of my diet now. Very solid."

I'm a type 2 diabetic....what do you think my blood sugar did about 90 seconds later? Yep....down, down, down.

And I'm down, down, down..... on the floor. Been a long time since this has happened. Luckily it happened at a safe place and juice was on the way. Take my sugar - 68 - which is low, but not horrible, it's been worse. Drink my juice, just kind of hang out, on the floor. Of course at that EXACT moment, my doctor walks by on her way to exercise.

"Hey" she says, "How you doing?"
"Oh fine."
"Really? You're sitting on the floor with a container of juice next to you. That doesn't look fine."
"Uhm, yeah..." awkward silence.  "Blood sugar slipped a bit. All good"
"Well, I'm in here if you need me."


Do I need any more reminders of the great truth in life, "Pride goes before a fall?"

One freaking snack short.
This of course means that a morning workout is out of the question. Unless I want to see if I can trigger this to happen again, I'm going to need 18 - 24 hours of rest and quiet.  Thank goodness I didn't push it even further and enjoy a full blown crash. That's about a 36 hour reset.
As frustrated as I am though, in a way, it's okay. This is just another reminder to love the body I'm in and take care of it.  It's okay to work hard, but the machine has to be fueled. I'm not invincible, as much as I would love to think so.

So home to food. After a low episode like this, it's time to open and just let the food come in. Eggs, soup, bread, trail mix, peanut butter, crackers, bananas.  Calories be damned...time to eat! And there is the problem. The calories I just burned? I'm replacing every damn one of them and then some.

Is this smart?
Is this efficient?
Does this lead to a healthy body and lifestyle?

I think we all know that the answer is no.


It's times like this I struggle against every negative thought out there and I just have to punch through to the other side. It's just a thing.  Don't let one bad night take away all the progress of the past months.

Thoughts to take with me today: It's gonna be okay. Promise.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrate the little victories

We all know weight loss is hard. Amazing isn't it how easy it is to put on the pounds...but taking them off? Not so much.

Seeing as it is a completely gray day here, and my weight loss seems to be stuck...again....I thought I would spend some time being happy about the little things I can do now, I couldn't 6 months ago....

*   Bending over to tie my shoes
*   Climbing stairs without getting winded
*   NO  MORE INDIGESTION! (actually, that's a pretty BIG victory!)
*   Fitting into my shoes better...yes, shoes. My feet are narrower, go figure
*   Running a half-mile at a time
*   The 'gun show'  Free tickets baby!
*   Holding a plank for a minute
*   Choosing clothes because I like them, not just because something sort of fits
*   Smiling when I look into the mirror

And the things I continue to be thankful for, every day of my life

*   My wonderful and patient husband
*   Two awesome kids
*   Numerous incredible friends
*   A great trainer
*   Yoga
*   The ability to move
*   My job  -  love my students!
*   Eva - she's the part of my brain that just doesn't exist - and that allows me to be a good teacher!
*   God and everything He has given me and allowed me to enjoy

It's gonna be a great week!

Thoughts to take with me today:   Let me have peaceful thoughts, peaceful words, and peaceful emotions. Namaste.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Be careful what you ask for...

Last week, I told my trainer I'd like to focus more on the core during training.


Did I ever get my wish granted!

I did more exercises than I thought could possibly exist for the core, and best of all, I don't think I repeated exactly any exercise I've ever done.

So many different muscle groups get activated at one time it's hard to figure out where to concentrate.

At one point she looked at me and asked 'Bet you thought we would just be doing crunches!"

Uh, no, I didn't think at all. I've found that thinking when it comes to training never works out. Better off just doing. Let someone else think.

But what I do need to think about is to remember that working out pays off in dividends more than just the body being reshaped, but also in the spirit settling, my soul smiling, and best of all..... Oh! Well hello there endorphins! I've missed you and love that you are spending the day with me!

Yeah...too cool

Thoughts to take with me today:  Love, LOVE, LOVE the journey and remember every gift I'm allowed to have - my body, my family, my friends - they are all here to remind me of how amazing life can be.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What a difference a day makes!

Well, a day and a full night of sleep!

6 1/2 hours, solid, uninterrupted, beautiful, glorious sleep.

This morning, I ditched the cardio for yoga - wanted that restorative movement. No need to get the heart racing every single morning of my life!

One of my yogis says "Allow the grace of the breath to move you into the pose."  I love that. So very true. Thinking on that, I chose moves that encourage deeper stretches, opening up the sides and the heart, no forcing, no pushing, just sinking more and more as the breath allowed. Lovely, wonderful. Just not enough positive adjectives out there to describe the feelings that those asanas can give. Release.

It's funny - I don't think I "think" during yoga, at least not more than what pose I'm going to go into next and a quick mental check list of what's going to bend/twist/fold/straighten. But after a yoga practice I feel like I've made important decisions. Not sure how that happens, but nonetheless, I do come to conclusions for problems I was fretting about previously.

I've decided I need MORE yoga in my life, and less cardio. It may very well slow down my weight loss, but there is no deadline out there for me - no blue ribbon for life when I've hit a magical number. Yoga puts me in a better mind frame for the day. I'm calmer and kind of care less about little things. I'm  just kind of cool with what I can control and just kind of shrug at the rest of it. Let others have some say in stuff. Let go of the feeling I have to know everything. Let God be in charge. It's all good.

This place I'm in now? This is where I want to be. Where I was yesterday? Nah, not so much.

The weight loss will happen on its own schedule. Why shouldn't I just go with what makes me smile and let life flow by unhelped by me? There's just not that much I can do anyway.

Thoughts to take with me today: Wait...what's the name of my blog? Oh yeah...Choose Joy! Yep, just choose joy every day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


This weight loss journey has been long and hard and I'm officially tired. Just down to the bone tired.

I had several people warn me months ago about 'burning the candle at both ends' to which I said, "Well, it's a pretty big candle." and it was, but it's not now.

The two and three a day work outs, the repeated days of eating 1000 calories while burning 1500 or more, the stressing out about every fraction of a pound, the 3 - 4 weeks of no breaks, have all taken their toll. Yes, I've pretty much stopped all of those things, but the damage is more than done.

I've lost a lot of  pounds - 55 of that since July 1st - out of the 110 I want to lose which leaves me with about 45 to go.  But 45 pounds is a lot of weight still and I no longer have those deep fat stores to burn off. Now we are getting to that deeper, more internal fat. The stuff that so genuinally wants to stay with me forever. In other words, it's gotten hard.

I can add up the positives all day long - the smaller clothes sizes, the wonderful feeling of my body moving through space, the pride in watching muscles develop all day long. I know all of those positives. But they came at a price.

Endorphins no longer roar through my body after a hard workout. Just the opposite.  I so miss those endorphins. They were like little friends that kept me company for hours.

Solution? Not sure other than to keep all the positives right in front of me and keep putting one foot in front of the other and never, ever giving up.

Thoughts to take with me today: I guess this is where the woman in me breaks out and puts on her big girl panties and just works through this shit.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I'm still standing.


Thoughts to take with me today: Pain is temporary...healing is forever

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I did it!

Hey! I got a one of my bugaboo yoga moves right finally – it was the Parivrtta Parsvakonasana! (for the English speaking - it's the revolved side angle) This is the one I always seem to screw up the shoulder/hand position on. Consistently I put my arm with the hand up backwards, then try to twist it 270 degrees to get it into position and then up asking - "Really? am I just that challenged?" (last week  my yoga instructor calls me out in class... "Go ahead there Traci, I want to see you twist that arm aaaaall the way around.  *sigh*)
Anyway, what happened was that I was in my yoga room this morning and decided to only do asanas I liked - nothing hard, nothing that caused stress, just easy, lovely moves. I went into the side stretch, which is a well, a great side stretch, then found myself breathing and twisting into the angle.   Just didn’t think about my arm, but thought more about the side stretch and feeling how awesome everything felt when I exhaled, twisted and went a bit deeper. Then I realized that my arm was up PERFECTLY and of course it was perfect because there was my straight line of energy. Everything felt so freaking awesomely strong and it was lovely! And I'm like....woah....
I held it for who knows how long – as long as it felt good really, then came up. And to my credit when I went to the next side, I again focused on the stretch and then took the twist with the breath and then checked my arm and sure enough, that beautiful straight line of energy on the other side -- and NO wrenching my shoulder out of the socket!
Damn, it feels soooo good when everything aligns and I can just sink into the pose and feel everything open and breathe and relax. It feels so good when my mind is just at peace, even if it is only for a few poses. What a gift to the senses to let the mind rest.
And now, 6 hours later sitting at my desk during lunch, if I stop moving for just a second, that deep feeling of calm is still there.
Thoughts to take with me today: breathe it in...

This is what it looks like......

Monday, January 2, 2012


Why is it so hard for me to just "be?”
Besides, what does it even mean to just 'be'? 
I think it means to take a step back and just observe what happens and what feelings are there rather than to step into them and just get soaked by them with no discrimination between harmful and beneficial.  I think it means to take experiences and memories and stack them against a standard and judge whether or not these issues are worth expending emotional effort over.
I think it means to honor the heart and just not let the harmful stuff get through.
I think the concept of ‘being’ ties in with the idea of using the mind to protect the heart. There is a Sutra says that if the mind is weak the heart can be hurt (or something like that). The mind is the first line of defense – and the mind can consciously control the breath which is the second line of defense. If there is a thought or emotion that overcome both of those defenses, it better be something of true substance.
How to build up those defenses? I think it’s with the love of family and friends and positive experiences and taking the time to truly rest. To reflect on the wonderfulness of what God has so graciously given us in the best of times. To let some prana build up in the soul.
There is no way that anyone can be fully guarded for the absolute worst of experiences – okay, maybe a saint, but I don’t really know any of those – so maybe the key is to protect the heart from the little bumps and bruises of life by keeping the defenses strong when times are good.
Maybe the key to ‘being” is to actively search for the positive in every thing around me - sing, dance, pray, read my Bible, spend time with my lovely family and friends, whatever it is that feeds my soul – and just let the negative go with no more than a mild observation.
Someone cuts me off? It happens.
I gain 2 pounds? It happens.
A memory of a past wrong floats in my mind? It happens.
A friend doesn’t respond the way I wanted? It happens.
Prana  = life energy. It surrounds us all every day in all the positiveness of love, nature, good food, and our own relationship with God. We take it in with each breath.That’s the key to ‘being.’ That’s what should never be allowed to just ‘happen.’ That’s what should be honored.
Thoughts to take with me today: Be

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The wedding

The wedding is two weeks in the past, I can finally start to reflect on the whole process.

It's quite a task to organize a wedding! I have an INCREDIBLE amount of admiration for those wonderful wedding coordinators out there - it's a job I could not do on the regular!

What went wrong? Oh! Tons of things!

Jessica's neck broke out the night before from a necklace she was wearing - her neck was bright red all around and she couldn't wear the necklace we bought for her special.
The hall delivered the wrong size tablecloths. **sigh** those tablecloths!
The best man was unable to come because the National Guard couldn't process him quickly enough
One of the necklaces for the bridesmaids was lost! There was a hole in the bag and it slipped out.
The salon took FOREVER with Jess's hair and we were 45 minutes late to even start the wedding pictures.

What went right?  See this smile?

Everything was perfect!

Afterwards I had to really TRY to think about what didn't go to plan.

What would I do differently? Laugh more, worry less, and love the whole process. All the little things I worried about didn't matter to a hill of beans. In the end, it was all good, very good. I hired true professionals who all did their jobs FLAWLESSLY! 

(Plug here for Cafe Torino in Warrenton, Galloping Grape in Warrenton, Everlasting Flowers in Marshall, and Party Elegance in Fredericksburg. I'll never plan an event without them!)

It was a glorious day surrounded by friends and family. Nothing truly went wrong at all.

Thoughts to take with me today: Laugh more, worry less, love the whole process...of life!