Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I choose joy

I have a friend who epitomizes what I like to call the "buck up, little camper" mentality. She's positive in the face of adversity. When she's down, she listens to Gospel music. When she's struggling with things in her life, she tries to focus on the good.

I wish I were more like her.

Last week, I was wallowing. Big time. Why am I so unhappy? Why can't I focus on the good? My friend and I were emailing last Friday when I was feeling blah. She reminded me of the good things in my life: I have a job. Family, friends and a boyfriend who loves me. My health. A place to live. So much more than so many people in this world.

What I don't have, she told me, was a grateful heart. And when I was stubborn and insisted on staying in my "poor me" state, she told me she was not going to talk to me for the rest of the day.

I understood. I don't want to be a negative Nelly. I don't want to pull others into my pool of self-pity. In fact, I don't want to swim there, either. It's far too shallow, and damn if I don't keep scraping myself on the bottom of it.

I spent a lot of time this weekend thinking about my friend. About my grateful heart. I don't know where it's been lately. But I'm trying desperately to find it again.

Happiness isn't hard. Sure, we deal with struggles. We have heartbreak. But we can choose joy. We--I--have the power, every single day, to make that choice.

I've been focusing on the negative for far too long. I remember when I first started this journey. I had such excitement and hope. Yeah, it's been a long time since I started, but there's no reason I can't still feel that.

So that will be my focus. A grateful heart. Joy. Keeping my power.

And hopefully, soon, I'll be able to say that my wish came true--I AM more like my friend.

Thanks, T. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On my honor, I will tri

I'm easily influenced.

Tell me about your favorite movie. Your favorite TV show. Your favorite lipgloss. I'll probably try it. I'm a quick sell.

But if you ask me to swim, bike and run with you, all in the span of a couple of hours? Don't be surprised if I balk a little. Or even a lot.

My friend and co-worker Elesha is obviously pretty persuasive. Because she has effectively talked me into signing up for a triathlon in May.

Now, before you panic or dissolve into hysterical laughter, let me clarify. I'm doing the super sprint triathlon. It consists of a 300-yard swim, 8-mile bike ride and 2-mile run. Totally do-able, right? Um, right.

Here's how I'm feeling about it all. The run? No problem. The swim? I'm not as scared as I maybe should be. The bike? Freaking terrified.

I haven't been on a bike that moved from the floor since I was 17. I recently acquired one (thanks, Mandy!), but haven't yet had the courage to ride it. There was a big debacle with my friend Carla and me trying to get our bikes sans bike racks into our cars for a Silver Comet Trail ride. When that didn't work, I rode for two seconds in her parking garage, but that doesn't count. So, it's been about 21 years since I've been on a bike. Riding 8 miles seems daunting.

I've never really been a strong swimmer, either. I'm a total water baby (literally--my parents enrolled me in a Water Baby class when I was just a few months old. They just dropped the babies in the deep end and let us have at it.), but when it came time to learn the actual strokes, well, I thought it was more fun to just swim underwater or doggy paddle (of course my brother, the athlete, was the star of the swim team when he was in high school. Cue eye roll.). Still, I think I can make my way OK. I'll just need to practice a bit.

I've shared my plans with a few friends and family members. Here's a sampling of the (paraphrased) reactions I've gotten:

My dad: What? Can you even swim? That sounds hard.
My boyfriend: I can help you with the swimming. We can go to the natatorium and practice. Oh, and I know someone with an extra bike. I can oil it and oil yours and get them ready and we can ride together and you can totally do this! (Insert more cheerleading here)
My best friend, Rebecca: That's really cool.
Me: That's it? Aren't you going to freak out or tell me I can do it?
Rebecca: It's not even phasing me as a big deal, because it's totally something you can do.
My brother: So I have until May to get you ready for the swim?
My friend Carla: Seriously? OMG! Wait. Maybe I'll do it with you. How long is the swim again?
My friend Paul: You mean THIS May? You'd better start training now. 
Various other friends, including my dear LaTonia: Girl, if I could swim, I'd totally do it with you.

I know for some people who are more accomplished athletes, 300 yards, 8 miles and 2 miles doesn't seem like much. But it's definitely a new (and much-needed) challenge for me. It's also one I'm not completely sure how to accomplish.

But I know I'm going to tri my hardest.

Oh yeah, I'll be training for several months. The puns will be flowing. You're welcome in advance.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Something old is new again


Seriously, ouch.

Today, I am HURTING. But it's good. Really good.

Last night I took a new strength-training class offered at Children's. It was HARD. It reminded me a lot of boot camp--push-ups, sit-ups, wall sits, lunges, etc. Man, I'd forgotten how tough, yet exhilarating that can be.

Not long into my weight loss journey, I started personal training. I often credited that with helping me avoid major plateaus through my first 100-pound loss. Then this summer, I took two months of back-to-back boot camp. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. But I loved the soreness that reminded me I was a bit of a bad*ss. Yeah, I said it.

Anyway, as you know, I've been kind of slacking in general since then. I've gotten in some cardio, but I've absolutely avoided any strength training at all. Boy, did I feel that last night. I felt weak and awkward, and at one point I actually thought I might puke. But I made it.

Today I woke up with my shoulders, quads and abs burning. I missed that feeling. Hurts so good. At the same time, it feels a little bittersweet, realizing that I've lost a lot of my strength. I'm really going to make regaining that a priority.

I had a great weekend at the Ronald. Thanks to all of you who joined me on Facebook. I ate all my own food, avoided the GIANT cake and even saved enough points to have two pieces of cheese pizza with everyone during biweekly Pizza Night Sunday.
The ginormous cake I avoided all weekend (with my hand shown for scale).
And today is Tuesday--weigh-in day. I mean, that's why you guys are here, right? To see how I did?


I got rid of 3.8 pounds this week.

Booyah. Hey, it shows that if you actually work the program, it will actually work. Who knew? I tracked like a fiend, I got in lots of exercise and I prepared ahead of time.

I plan to keep it that way.

Thanks for your support, all.

Oh, P.S. We got a sample Weight Watchers bar today at our meeting. The flavor? "Celebration Cake."
Cake! Finally!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Work is a battlefield

I've got my armor on. I'm ready.

This weekend, I'm heading to my battleground--the Ronald McDonald House.

But I'm prepared.

Last night I stayed up cooking for the weekend. Lots of chicken breasts. A batch of cauliflower soup. Healthy food is my chain mail.

Last time I worked at the Ronald, I took my struggles to my "Erika is Losing it" Facebook page. It saved me. Every time I was tempted, I updated my status. I had people following along, "liking" my updates and encouraging me the whole time. It was my saving grace.

So I'm doing it again. Want to see how I do? Think you can talk me out of the endless sweets at the House? Join Team Erika on Facebook and follow along.

Seriously, I need you.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jesus be a fence

"Jesus, be a fence." It's a prayer a friend of mine said once when referring to a person she was trying to avoid. It cracked me up at the time, but I admit that I have used it numerous times since then. A text from an ex: "Jesus, be a fence." A former high school frenemy I randomly see in Target: "Jesus, be a fence."

Last night, it was frozen pizza.

First of all, let's start from the last time I blogged. It's not fair for me to just carry on like nothing has happened since we last spoke. That wouldn't be the truth. So let's, in bullet form, get some updatin' done, shall we:

  • I have completely slacked on my program.
  • Fast food and I have re-acquainted ourselves in horrible new ways.
  • I have a boyfriend I adore (but I learned my lesson and won't be posting any pictures for a loooong time. You guys remember how that went last time, right?).
  • Having a boyfriend who doesn't always make the healthiest choices (I mean, come on, he's a boy--he can get away with that) is a new challenge I have to overcome. 
  • I spent most of my holiday break sick. And when I'm sick, I eat. And eat. 
  • My official bridesmaid's duties have begun--my best friend's wedding shower was last weekend, and, because she is from Wisconsin, it was resplendent with cheese. Glorious cheese. You'll probably see lots of upcoming posts about events and festivities surrounding the wedding, which is in March.
  •  I weighed in yesterday for the first time in months. It was not good. All together, I'm probably up a good 15 pounds from my lowest weight.
  • I'm trying very hard to make a new commitment. I asked my WW leader, Dee, to give me a new weight record, rather than look at the gain from my last one. I needed to start fresh.
So there you go. Updated. Most of it is negative, I realize. But I'm trying very hard to refocus. It's hard when I've basically ignored my health for the past few months.

But back to that frozen pizza.

Last night, I decided I wanted to have a "Last Supper." I should have known better. That's old-Erika mentality. It's diet mentality. I can't be that way anymore. And I know that. But still, so I did.

I bought some crackers (hello, Chicken in a Biscuit. Have you ever? Yum.), some spreadable cheese. And a frozen pizza. Of course.

I preheated my oven. I unwrapped the pizza. And it was freezer burnt. Well, I'm certainly not one to let a little possible food tainting daunt me. So I cooked it anyway. When I took it out of the oven, it didn't look right. Rather than bright red and tasty looking, the pepperoni was gray and sad. And rancid. I was forced to throw it away.

Jesus, be a pepperoni fence.

Now, I don't know if Jesus has the time or not to care about whether or not I ruin myself with frozen pizza, but I'm grateful that some greater force made me stop and ask myself what I was doing. I opted for my Smart Ones Mini Pizzas that I had in the freezer. And you know what? They were just as good.

From hence forth, I'm am committing to a few things (Yay, positive bullets!):
  • Blogging twice a week.
  • Updating the Erika is Losing it FB page every day.
  • Some form of physical activity (even if it's just a walk around my office park) daily.
  • Tracking my food and consciously working to make better choices.
  • Drinking the recommended amount of water (this has never been a problem for me, but boy have I slacked in this area).
I'm hoping 2013 is the year I meet my goals. I think I said that in 2012, too. I didn't make that happen. But no one has the power here but me. I fall down and I get up.

But this year, I'm hoping to stay up.

What are your commitments this year?