I Feel Too Much

I had the opportunity this last weekend to go to a book signing with a friend.  I have never really gone to one before, at least I haven’t driven two hours to go to one before.  This is actually a debut for this author, although he is well known for his internet blogs and non-profit organization.  The book is called If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski.  He wrote a short story, “To Write Love On Her Arms“, about ten years ago about a friend struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury, and suicidal thoughts.  The story spread across the Internet and in 2006 the non-profit organization “To Write Love On Her Arms” was born to support and help those in similar situations as his friend.  Before a couple weeks ago, I had never heard of him, his story, or the organization, but as I read more about their mission, I was moved and wanted to learn more.  The title alone grabbed me so I got my autographed copy that I’m starting to read through.  There are many times in my life where I have such a sensory overload of feelings, I become numb.  Reading stories his thoughts and stories about his depression and others lives, I’m reminded that there are a lot of people out there who do understand and do survive every day.

If you’re like me, you are probably wondering where I have been the last two months and how my program went.  Well, it definitely is an intense program.  I was worried about the diet from the beginning because they basically list the foods you can eat and recommend to not vary from that list.  For the first two weeks I was going to the workouts nearly every day.  The full 60 minutes was killer.  In all honesty by week three it stopped being fun and motivating for me.  I was having a hard time with the diet and there was just discouragement all around and inside me.  Another reason I stopped going was because I had a lot of other transitions in my life at that time and trying to keep up with this was the last straw.  I didn’t feel bad about the money or anything, I knew what I was dishing out.  I just wasn’t ready or in a right place to commit 100%, but it was a good learning experience for me.

As I just mentioned, I’ve had a lot of transitions in my life the last couple months.  My first transition was changing therapists.  It became a much more emotional transition than I was initially expecting.  Although I had been only seeing my previous therapist for six months, I had developed a very close bond with her.  I had known she would be leaving from day one, maternity leave gets planned quite far ahead of time, but I still felt like I was losing a close friend.  There were some last minute changes with who I would start seeing next which made me very anxious for a couple weeks, but eventually I met my new therapist.  Change is never easy, but we have to change in order to grow.  Still reeling from the heartbreak, I had a hard time warming up to my new therapist.  It’s been quite a few weeks now, and emotions have settled.  The big question will be who do I want to continue seeing if/when my previous therapist returns from maternity leave.  That’s quite far away, so I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

The other significant transition in my life was at work.  In some respects not a whole lot of was changing.  My main impact was adjusting to a new boss.  I also had advance notice of this occurring, but I couldn’t imagine what it would look like.  There is some ambiguity around the definition of my role, but generally I’m doing the same thing I was before.  It could have been a lot worse, well bigger, but it wasn’t.  This wasn’t as stressful to me, but it was still one more thing on my plate to deal with.

What do I have coming up? This week is actually a special week for me.  Thursday is my birthday.  Every year my birthday seems so surreal.  This year won’t be any different.  I have some plans with friends, nothing too extravagant.  Next year will be the big 3-0… how did I get this old?

I’m currently sorting my thoughts regarding exercise and developing a new plan of attack.  My next step is actually to do a 5K next Sunday.  I signed up totally spur of the moment, but I’m looking forward to it.  It is a run/walk 5K, so I don’t feel pressured about time, although I do have a number in mind.  There were a few incentives to signing up, one being the race shirt is a pretty teal green color and two they will be giving everyone medals for finishing.  This was something that I was really disappointed with my races last year.  I never got a medal because there was also another farther race at the same time who would receive the medals.  I wanted something to remind me of my accomplishment.  Anyway, with all this being said, the next few blogs may not mention my exercise.  Not because I won’t be doing anything, but rather it’s feeling very personal at the moment.  I’m continuing on a journey of self-awareness which I detoured to last year.  I want to write, but I don’t want the pressure right now to always be positive regarding progress or negative regarding failures.  I just need to see where my mind takes me.  As I stated in the title, I feel too much and I need to understand and decipher my feelings for a little while.  You will hear from me again, so until next time…


I’m Baaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!!!!

I’m sure most of you thought I would never return.  In some ways I wondered myself if I would.  It’s been a good start to the new year.  I can’t believe a quarter of it is already gone!  I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and working through issues and topics I have been avoiding for many years.  But this month is becoming a transition month for me.  The therapist I’ve been seeing since October is going on maternity leave.  I can usually handle change fairly well, but the build up is the worst part for me.  Tomorrow I’ll be meeting my new therapist and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.  One thing I’ve enjoyed with my current therapist is that I can email her during the week, then when I see her we have topics to discuss.  I usually bring up a lot more topics in my emails that we don’t get to, but just organizing my thoughts has been therapeutic enough.  I realized about a month ago that my emails to her have become my substitute for this blog.  It’s probably for the better since I can say more and be more candid, but I know my friends and family have missed me!

Well, it’s not a coincidence that I have decided to start blogging tonight.  I love making big decisions on a whim and you can say I did that tonight.  Okay, not a complete whim… I’ve been thinking a lot more seriously about this journey the last few weeks.  I realized the number one thing I need in order to be successful is accountability.  Yes, this blog provides that a little bit, and I have friends who I can talk to if I need to.  But I need more than just someone to tell my journey to.  I need someone who can walk this journey with me and push me a long and pick me up when I fall down.  I wasn’t sure if I could really find that and if I did I was thinking I’d be spending thousands of dollars for that kind of attention.  My first thought went to a single personal trainer.  Most single personal trainers are part of a gym so you need a membership plus the sessions with the trainer and that can add up quickly.  I went to California Family Fitness, one of the biggest gym organizations in the area, and asked about prices.  I was looking at a monthly membership of about $55, personal training starting at $99 for 3 sessions but then increasing to $150.  Or if you want to buy your sessions in bulk, up to $1,100 for 23 sessions.  And how long does 23 sessions really last?  About 8-12 weeks depending if I workout 2 or 3 times a week.  Was I ready to dish out that kind of money up front?

I started looking at other gyms which are cheaper, but again it’s all about paying up front.  Well, my google searches brought me to a website with a slogan, “Lose 20 lbs in 6 weeks for FREE!”  That sounds a little too good to be true.  It took me a while to figure out the same company has 5 or 6 locations in the Sacramento area, one of which being about 5 miles from my house.  I had already decided I’d be willing to drive up to 30 minutes to a gym/trainer, which is about 20 miles.  So a 10 minute drive is more than perfect.  I was still skeptical though so I started looking at Yelp, Facebook, Google Reviews, and the testimonies on their website to see how legit this really is.  Just earlier this week I saw that there would be an Orientation session at the location near my house tonight so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to see what this place is all about.  I just didn’t realize I would have to make a decision tonight.

The company is called Results Transformation Center and as I mentioned they have several locations in the area.  Every few months they run a 6 week program where if you follow their rules and guidelines and subsequently lose at least 20 lbs in that time, they will return your $400 deposit.  All the reviews I read were great and honest.  They have many transformation pictures on their sites including videos of the testimonies and weigh ins.  I received the list of rules which includes at least 30 hour long workouts during the 6 week period, check-ins and participation on Facebook, weekly weigh-ins, and following their meal plan.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart and they will tell you if you have any hesitation, don’t sign up!  Wait until you know you are ready to commit and will reach the 20 lb goal.  So here I am realizing I need to decide tonight whether I am going to turn over $400 and commit to this.  The kick-off meeting which will discuss the meal plan is this Sunday.  I had actually been planning to go out of town this weekend to visit a friend.  Do I not make this commitment because of a short term trip has been planned?  Or do I realize I can probably visit that same friend another weekend and sign up?  Well, I’m sure as you’re probably guessing, I did sign up.  In some ways I feel like I still don’t know 100% of what I’ve signed up for.  I’m not worried about the workouts, I’ve had enough trainer sessions they can’t throw anything at me that will surprise me.  Also, I know I’ll be working out with others who are at similar fitness levels as myself.  The main thing I’m that helped me decide to sign up is the level accountability.  They are counting on me being there when I say I’m going to be there and they will encourage me along the way to make sure I follow through.  One thing I’m hoping for is to find one trainer or member who I can talk with on a personal level, because I work best in a one-on-one situation and this won’t be that focused in the workouts, but the amount of social media interaction they have, I’m sure I’ll find someone.  What I am most nervous about is the meal plan.  I really have no idea what kind of meal plan it will be.  Whether it will be a list of foods to eat and not eat, counting calories or other nutrition facts, or something more specific.  They did mention they suggest lots of snacks and basically eating every 2-3 hours, which I know works well for me.

With this new start, I will get back to documenting my progress in this blog.  I want a record of my activities and feelings and reactions to what is happening.  I will have to post a lot more to my FB page as I will use that to check in for each workout.  If you want to learn more about this organization and program, the best access channel for information is their Facebook page: Results Transformation Center on Sunrise.  They have a separate page for each location although they all are under the same company.  The more I think about this and write about it, I am getting excited.  I know this is exactly what I’ve been looking for and I just need to keep reminding myself that I can do this!  I’ve done it before!

All this talk about a new start reminds me of the following Bible text.  Although this is referring to a spiritual refreshment, I believe it can also apply to emotional and physical new starts as well.  Either way, it’s a great promise that God has given us and I know that without His help, I can’t do this, so Praise the Lord He is on my side!

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.
~ Ezekiel 36:26-27

I am INFP!

Recently I’ve found myself traversing a forest of self-awareness while on this journey of life.  It wasn’t completely intentional, but it’s definitely at an opportune time.  With my struggle of motivation recently I’ve been delving into the details of my personality.  I’ve had a general understanding of my personality for a long time.  I remember in junior high taking a personality test.  It was The Color Code test.  I was mostly White with Blue being my secondary color.  If you’re interested in taking the test online, check out: ColorCode.com. This was the first time I had identified who I am.  I found it fascinating and tried to learn more about what it means to be White.  Another term you might be more familiar with is Phlegmatic.  I sometimes felt more melancholy, but I think my true personality is definitely Phlegmatic.

I didn’t think too much about my personality after that; what I could enhance or change about myself.  It wouldn’t be until college when I dug deeper and took a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test.  I don’t really remember the context of taking it, whether it was for class or therapy or something else completely.  This is where I discovered I am an INFP.  At the time that had no meaning to me whatsoever!  I remember mentioning it to people and they would say, “Yeah I can see that.”  All I knew was what each letter stood for and beyond that no other context.

For those of you who are not familiar with Myers-Briggs Types, rather than trying to give you a summary of my limited understanding, Wikipedia is always a good starting point: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. To break down my personality, it’ll help to know what each of the four letters means.

  • I: Introversion – How they focus their attention or get their energy, as opposed to Extraversion.
  • N: Intuition – How they perceive or take in information, as opposed to Sensing.
  • F: Feeling – How they prefer to make decisions, as opposed to Thinking.
  • P: Perception – How they orient themselves to the external world, as opposed to Judgement.

There are many ways you can describe someone who is INFP: Introspective, cooperative, creative, attentive, idealistic, loyal, compassionate, peaceful, empathetic… These all sound wonderful, right?  Maybe not to everyone, but INFPs also have their share of weaknesses.  The latest book I read that really put into words my best qualities and short comings is INFP: 33 Secrets From The Life of an INFP.  It’s a free book I found on Amazon and I figured it might give me some ideas.  So let me share some of these secrets with you.  Not all of them completely applied to me, but they each made me stop and think and recognize where I may have already overcome a weakness or excel in a strength.

  1. Creative – This one is pretty self-explanatory.  I have a very creative mind.  Unfortunately though I have not built up my artistic skills.  I would say my creativity tends to be more idea based and displayed through actions or words.  The main key I have found though with this secret is to trust my intuition and ideas and let my creativity flow naturally.
  2. Idealistic – I had never really put this one to words before, but when I think back over time and my approach or reaction to things, I can definitely see strong idealism.  I definitely have a positive, hopeful, and perfect opinion of the world around me and the future to come.  This can easily become a weakness though if I don’t look at life realistically but remain blinded by my fantasy.  I can see where this has caused me to be naive in some situations.
  3. Driven by Emotion, Not Facts – When I first read this one, I questioned it for myself.  Although I do like facts and logic, when it comes to drive and motivation I can definitely agree that emotion takes precedence.  I prefer to hide my emotions as much as I can, but when I’m moved by something, my passion does flair up!
  4. Can Be Disorganized – I think the author says it best: “What might look like disorganization to those on the outside might be perfectly comprehensible to the INFP, who remembers, with uncanny precision, exactly where anything is located in a messy room.”  I can be sickly comfortable in a disorganized messy environment, but only as long as I made it that way!
  5. Loves to Daydream – Everyone like to daydream, but the INFP has a particular interest.  This is where the magic happens!  With our creative, idealistic imagination, the world in our minds is the most beautiful place around.!
  6. Not a Planner – This isn’t completely what it sounds like, so let me explain it for you.  We are constantly planning and pondering the future, but part of that planning is the infinite possibilities that could arise.  We enjoy being spontaneous and going where the wind takes us, but don’t doubt it’s something we haven’t already thought of!
  7. Avoids Conflict – Yes, yes, yes!  I will do whatever it takes to make sure there is peace in the world and everyone is happy and content.  And if it means walking away from a fight, I have no problem with that.  Why waste my time in a negative cloud of conflict and tension when I could be looking for tranquility?
  8. Easily Distracted – It doesn’t take a lot to distract my concentration and motivation with something.  But the number one culprit, my mind!  I can fall into a fantasy world so quickly… Oh, I love this song on the radio!!!
  9. Enjoys Complexity – I’ve always considered myself a great problem solver.  However there are times I’m faced with a problem that just doesn’t interest or challenge me and I begin to wonder if I love problem solving as much as I thought.  Reading this I realized it is only the complex problems that I feel are worth solving.  This can also be applied to complexity in the world around me.  The INFP will try to decode and uncover every hidden meaning of life around them.
  10. Prone to Anxiety – OMG!  YES!  I actually think my anxiety is getting worse, but I have attributed it to the amount of uncomfortable situations I am putting myself in.  I don’t enjoy being anxious, as it can be an overwhelming burden, but if it’s good for me or will make the world a better place, I can handle the discomfort!
  11. Fear of Rejection – I struggle with this one a lot although it has gotten better, especially at my workplace.  But I often tend to hold my tongue for fear of other’s judgement and response.  I guess this a magnified quality of being an introvert.
  12. Easily Frightened – As I was trying to decide which items I wanted to talk about, I knew I had to keep this one!  Now I can be extremely brave and daring when I want to or need to be, but this is a quality that has haunted me for as long as I can remember.  My most vivid memory of being easily frightened for no reason at all was when I was a kid and I would play with my sister.  We grew up where my bedroom was on the second story and my sister would often come up the stairs and jump out to scare me.  Even when I knew she was coming, I would get physically anxious and frightened with anticipation.  I think she enjoyed that a little too much!
  13. Enjoys Building Up Morale in Others – I like the description given for this one: “What isn’t to love about an INFP cheerleader (who, coincidentally, wouldn’t be caught dead as an actual cheerleader!)?” One of the things I enjoy most in life is supporting and encouraging others.  I have terrible self-doubt and criticism, but I would never vocalize that to another person!  I try to only say good about other people and find the positive in all situations.
  14. Prefers Fantasy to Reality – This goes well with the daydreaming.  The main way this can be a disadvantage though is how I am always fantasizing about the outcome of things, when it really happens and isn’t one of the ideal situations, I can become pretty devastated.  It’s tough being disappointed all the time because I could see it happening a different better way.  But I will never stop dreaming of the beauty of what may come!
  15. Prone to Idealization/Devaluation of People – I try my hardest not to let people know about this one.  I don’t want anyone to know the expectations or disappointments in the friends and family around me.  I know this is something that makes INFP relationships very difficult because we can’t help but put the closest people in our lives on a pedestal.  And no matter what you or anyone else says, it will take a lot to knock them down.

Do you feel like you know me better now?  I’m sure some of my acquaintances reading this now know a little bit too much about me.  I’m curious to know though whether those who do know me would agree with some or all of these, that you know of!  Also, if you happen to know your own Myers-Briggs Type, please share!

Now, I wanted to find a meme about INFPs and I found more than I was bargaining for.  I hope you enjoy these!  I chose the ones I relate to the best!

If you don’t think I’m creepy, it’s because you don’t know about all the things I think but never tell or do.
FYI, every time I start writing a blog post, the first thing I want to say is “I’m sorry…” and it could be about the simplest thing!
This blog is evidence enough!  Right, friends?
To my co-workers, my desk isn’t this bad, right…?
I hope other people have these thoughts too, because I know I do!

Oh yeah!  I’ll repeat a good song at least four times before continuing on with an album.

It’s just rude not to say “Hi” to someone you make eye contact with!  Oh, and don’t forget to wave!

Ahhh… the “last minute panic”!  Those were some of my best essays in college, 3 am the morning it was due!

Ummm… yeah, this is pretty much every Sunday.  That’s why I usually need advance warning if you want to have dinner or something.  I need time to seriously get ready!


Tonight I had what I like to call a “Revelation”.  Some call it an “Epiphany”, for others it is their “Aha! Moment”.  It wasn’t anything new, it was actually like a memory.  I remembered and realized again what my inspiration and motivation is for this journey.  There are a lot of reasons to lose weight and become healthy: Lower risk of health conditions, have more energy, look better and feel more confident, be able to wear that size you never thought you could.  These are some of mine and there are many more that are similar, but the one I remembered is much more personal.  The reason I want to lose weight and become healthy is to be able to backpack the John Muir Trail!  I could shoot for the moon and say the Pacific Crest Trail, but I need to start with a more realistic goal.

What brought on this revelation, you might be wondering.  I had found a movie on Netflix a couple weeks ago that sounded intriguing and saved it to watch some day.  The movie is called “Mile… Mile and a Half”.  It is a documentary of a film and photography team hiking the John Muir Trail.  I had finished a different profound and inspiring movie earlier and decided to watch this as well.  I am so glad I watched it tonight because unbeknownst to me, it was exactly what I needed.

I’ve always loved the outdoors since I was young.  Climbing trees, hiking, wandering in the woods, sitting by a river or waterfall, these were the activities that gave me energy and made me happy.  When I was twelve I went on my first backpacking trip.  It was with a group from my Pathfinder club (for those who aren’t familiar with Pathfinders, it is a club similar to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but it’s organized through the Seventh-day Adventist church.)  We spent months preparing for this trip.  Making sure we had the right supplies. Practicing packing our backpacks.  Determining what was needed or not so that we weren’t carrying unnecessary weight.  I had never been prepared down to every little detail before.  I was looking forward to the trip because I was with my friends and it was such a grown-up adventurous thing we were doing.

My first backpacking trip.

My first backpacking trip.

It wasn’t easy, but we were all in it together and it was one of my most memorable trips from those years.  Looking back at this picture now, I barely recognize myself.  I look good and healthy and although I might not look it in the picture, I was genuinely happy, which is saying a lot for how I felt during that time.

Anyway… this is what I truly want!  I want to be fit enough to carry a 50 lb backpack for tens or hundreds of miles.  And as crazy as it may sound to you, I know it’s realistic and attainable. If I were to try and go today, I don’t think I could make it 5 miles.  I wish I remember how many miles we went on that trip.  All I remember is that we were in Shenandoah National Park hiking on the Appalachian Trail.  That could be another goal, to hike the Appalachian Trail.  The bottom line though is that this is what I want for myself.  I’ll never look that young again (I was just a kid!) but I want to be that skinny and fit again!  And to know that when I reach this place in my life, I too can experience the beauty of the Sierra Mountains like what was captured in tonight’s movie.  It is beauty that can’t be described with words and even a picture only captures part of the experience.

Like usual you might be wondering how I am doing since last weekend.  Well, I did go running, once this week.  I could go into my excuse that Taz was having an issue with an owie and I was distracted by his discomfort and restlessness.  But I know if it’s not one thing, it’ll be something else I’ll use as an excuse.  I really want to figure out my current stamina with my heart rate monitor, so I’m planning to use my treadmill for now.  I can control my speed much better and I think it’ll be easier for me to actually do it, since I don’t even have to go outside!  My immediate mission though is to find a picture or a phrase or something that will remind me of this Inspirational Achievement to motivate me every day when I get up.

I should get to sleep if I’m going to go to my Weight Watchers meeting in the morning!  Here’s to another week of strength, success and stamina to get the job done.  As my spiritual guide, I know that I can’t do any of this without God helping me along the way.  I don’t always give him the credit He deserves or trust Him when I’m in over my head, but I when I do stop and think about what He has done, is doing, and will do in my life, I can truly praise Him for carrying me through this life.

I wait quietly before God,
for my victory comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken.

So many enemies against one man—
all of them trying to kill me.
To them I’m just a broken-down wall
or a tottering fence.
They plan to topple me from my high position.
They delight in telling lies about me.
They praise me to my face
but curse me in their hearts.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.

Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind,
and the powerful are not what they appear to be.
If you weigh them on the scales,
together they are lighter than a breath of air.

Don’t make your living by extortion
or put your hope in stealing.
And if your wealth increases,
don’t make it the center of your life.

God has spoken plainly,
and I have heard it many times:
Power, O God, belongs to you;
unfailing love, O Lord, is yours.
Surely you repay all people
according to what they have done.

~ Psalm 62 (NLT)

Ready or Not, 2015 is Here!

Every time I think about writing again, my first thought is to apologize for not having written in a while.  But then I begin feeling guilty and upset with myself for letting you and myself down.  I have to remember: although this is to inspire anyone struggling with weight loss or just being healthy, this is also a way for me to process my successes and my failures.  It’s hard talking about failure, but everyone goes through it.  And I have failed!

Last time I wrote I said I was starting a training plan for my half-marathon in March.  The intention was there, but the motivation was still missing.  I took a few walks and kept telling myself I’ll go for a run tomorrow… I’ll begin first thing next week… The week will start on Monday… I was constantly pushing it out.  I even started lying to myself that I had started, because mentally I had started, I knew what the first step was.  I just hadn’t physically started by taking that first step.

(Before I continue I want to apologize to my friend, I hope you can forgive me for not being honest with you.) It hit me last week when I was having dinner with a friend and she asked how my training was going.  I was feeling so terrible with myself, I couldn’t help but blatantly lie about my progress.  It’s not that I didn’t trust her with the truth, I just couldn’t say it out loud myself.  It would actually make it true.  If I kept telling others and myself what I wanted to be true, maybe that would make it true.  Later I realized that nothing but the truth would ever be true.  I don’t know if this is making sense to anyone.  Maybe someone understands exactly what I’m talking about because you’re in the same predicament, and if you are, I want to tell you that you don’t need to lie anymore!  What’s done is done and it’s never too late to own up to the truth and actually do or say the right thing.  It won’t be easy, but you will feel better!

So where am I today?  I started thinking about what would inspire me to get out there and go running again.  I had gotten for Christmas a heart rate monitor and wanted to try it out, but at the same time was being held back by my insecurities.  I thought back to when I first started running last year and remembered how I felt getting my first real running shoes.  I still use them but they don’t have the same spring in the step they did long ago.  It was an easy decision for the shopaholic in me, I needed to get a new pair of running shoes.  I got a new sports bra while I was at it.  Now equipped with the right tools, I was feeling confident about that first step.  So this afternoon I used my heart rate monitor for the first time and tried out my new shoes and new bra. (Don’t worry, I was wearing more than just that!)  I have never looked at my heart rate while I exercise so I had no idea what the monitor was telling me at first.  Thankfully my RunKeeper app could integrate with the monitor and on the voiceover queues it would tell me what my heart rate is and what zone I was currently in.  It was really eye opening for me to see how quickly I would reach 90% MaxHR.  And it was very difficult staying in the aerobic zone.  I definitely have a lot to learn about my body.

Well, I also went back to Weight Watchers and got a rude awakening there.  Since July I had been back five times sporadically. I knew I was moving in the wrong direction and I was hoping I hadn’t done too much damage during that time.  If I look at the bright side, I’m down 2 lbs from where I started a year ago!  It won’t necessarily be easier this time around, but I definitely know a lot more than I did a year ago.  I know tracking points does not work for me, so I’m focused on Simply Filling.  I can eat Power Foods without tracking and I can use my weekly allowance on whatever other indulgences I want.  Stocking the house with the right food is step one.  Thankfully they published a book with just Power Foods for grocery shopping and restaurants.  That will at least point me in the right direction and hopefully inspire creative meal planning.

Another year is ahead of me and I’ve decided this time I need to take it day by day or at the most week by week.  I don’t want to make any predictions or set any lofty goals, but rather focus on what I can do right now to make better choices and be more active.  Here’s to the mystery of the 2015!

Happy Anniversary!

Wow, has it really been a year?  Technically my anniversary was yesterday, but I had a busy night and didn’t have time when I got home to write about this.  If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, a year ago yesterday I wrote my first blog post.  So much has happened in the last year, but at the same time it went by too quickly.

The first six months I was on a roll!  Going to the gym three times a week, running twice a week, eating a balanced diet.  Then the inevitable happened, I went on vacation!  I wasn’t able to go to the gym for a few weeks and I wasn’t able to consistently go running.  But probably worst of all, I started treating myself.  I had worked so hard the last few months, I deserve to splurge a little bit!  Although that technically is true, it’s dangerous to start doing that without a plan.  One thing I, as well as most Americans, struggle with is moderation!  You can lose weight and eat ice cream.  You just can’t eat a pint of ice cream in one night.  Or eat an ice cream sandwich every other night for weeks on end and expect to maintain the same results you were making.

Before I realized how long it had been, I was going on three months of irregular exercise and junk food eating.  My reasoning: I’m still on “vacation”, I’ll go back to my routine next week.  Then it became a consistent next week promise for another month.  Around this time I started to truly realize I was in denial and couldn’t admit to what had happened.  I had not just fallen off the wagon but I was rolling down the hill towards the creek, where I started in the first place.  I held on to this hope that I could just pick up where I left off, now four months prior.  But if you talk to anyone who exercises on a regular basis, even just one week of not exercising will allow your body to lose it’s strength and endurance.  You won’t lose it completely in a week, you just might feel more sore than usual.  But after five months of this promising to start next week, who was I kidding?

So where am I today?  I could easily say I’m back at square one.  I’m back to where I was a year ago and act as if this last year didn’t even happen.  But fortunately for me it did happen.  I know now that I can do this.  It may start slow and fluctuate along the way but it is possible to consistently lose weight months on end.  In all reality I’m not at square one.  I do weigh less than I did a year ago, but more importantly I have a year’s worth of knowledge to build off of.  And there’s no taking that back!

Before I get into my current plan, I apologize for taking so long, but let me tell you about the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 10K.  My goal for that 10K was to finish and finish within the two hour time limit.  I went for a few trial runs in the weeks leading up to the 10K, but I knew that I was no where close to what I had imagined nine months ago when I first signed up.  I wanted to finish without killing myself along the way.  The day arrived and it was time to face the music.  I am so entirely grateful that my sister was there with me every step of the way.  We started with a steady walking pace.  One thing I’ve learned is don’t go full throttle right away.  You have to warm up and build up to that pace you want.  The first two miles we walked, and I was feeling good, so we started jogging some intervals.  We used landmarks and feeling to determine each interval.  Although that’s a good visual incentive, I think I do better with timed intervals, at least at this point.  The next two miles I really used up my gas.  By mile four I didn’t have anything left.  I just wanted to finish!  We walked on and my fear of not finishing in time was growing.  Then we reached mile marker six and I knew it was almost over.  When we reached the end I saw the clock read 1:50 something, all I cared was it’s not over 2:00.

That day I was not prepared.  I actually thought I was in over my head.  In some ways I felt like I had wasted all that time the last few months.  But really it was humbling experience.  It gave me a good perspective of why routine is important and why training is most of the work.  This last Sunday two of my friends ran the full California International Marathon here in the Sacramento area.  They had been dreaming about this for twelve months and seriously training for at least nine months.  That’s nine months of early 5 am runs during the week and 6 am long runs on Sundays.  They didn’t just wake up last Sunday and say, “I think I’m going to run a marathon today.”  There was planning and preparation and consistency that brought them to that day.

With that said I have already signed up for the Shamrock’N Half Marathon in March. I don’t want to predict where I will be, but I have mapped out a schedule for myself and I know if I want to be serious about this, I must stick to this schedule!  That’s what I’m starting with.  I’m running outside when I can, or on rainy days like today, I will use my treadmill.  That’s why I have it, right?  I will make it back to the gym.  I’m waiting until after the New Year for that one, but I have exercise videos I can do in the meantime.

That’s my plan. Creating that groove again where I feel better after I exercise than before I exercise.  It’s not going to be easy, but it is possible, I’ve done it before!  As I’m finishing this post, I can’t help but think about the following text.  At face value it sounds very much like what I’m going through right now, but if you put it into context, there is a larger picture and spiritual awakening that it tries to tell us.

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

~ Romans 5:1-5 (NLT)

Mind Over Matter

When it comes to depression, there really is no mind over matter.  The problem is with your mind so the matter is just a looming weight ready to crush you.  It’s been a particularly difficult couple months.  In October I began to admit my need for change in order to jumpstart my life again.  It was actually really difficult to come to terms with this.  I decided to start meeting with a new therapist, which has been really good so far.  At my monthly visit with my psychiatrist I knew I needed to make some kind of changes.  And having already reached the max dosage of Prozac, how do I move up?  We decided to add on an additional antidepressant, Wellbutrin.  Honestly I didn’t feel any difference for the four weeks I started taking it.  I even had a pretty severe episode where I didn’t leave my house for two days straight and cut off most communication with the outside world.  Not my brightest moment.

I started getting curious as to whether this is normal.  Can a medication like this just stop working?  Turns out this is a condition called antidepressant treatment (ADT) tachyphylaxis.  Or in layman’s terms, “Prozac Poop-out”.  Doctors don’t really understand why it happens, but it is common.  It’s not specific to Prozac, as it can occur with any antidepressant.  The solutions are to increase the dosage, switch to another antidepressant or add on a supplemental antidepressant, which is what I’m doing.  The problem I’m faced with now that I know this is rationalizing why I need to continue taking Prozac.  I mean if it’s not working I need something else.  But one thing my Psychiatrist mentioned is just because it doesn’t feel like it’s working, it is making a difference.

We’ve decided to increase the Wellbutrin to see if that starts to help.  It’s just been one day at the higher dose and I think I’m starting to feel a difference.  I only say that because I woke up this morning with a strong desire to go for a 5 mile walk and I actually did.  Taz loved it; I haven’t been walking him nearly enough lately and I’ve noticed.  I haven’t been doing any exercising for weeks now and every week I tell myself I’m going to get up early and go for a walk, but I never do.  What’s different about today?  For one thing the fact that I am going to “run” a Turkey Trot 10K on Thursday probably has something to do with it.  I’m not in the shape I wanted to be when this week arrived.  I won’t be able to run like I had dreamed of doing, so my goal is to finish!  There is a two hour time limit which I think is plenty of time finish in even if I’m walking most of it.  I will attempt to run a little, but I’m not going to push myself too hard.

I’m also realizing I need to clean up the way I’ve been eating.  I’ve been pigging out on too much candy and fast food and soda, it’s pretty disgusting.  I need to start bringing lunches to work again and purge the house of the delicious rich chocolates.  Munch on carrots again and apples and drink water!  I know what to do, I need to make a realistic plan and follow through.  Nothing too overwhelming or overly ambitious, but enough to be successful and find that groove again.  This is life and it’s not easy, but I’ve come this far, there is so much more to come!

I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving week!  My family is visiting me which can be stressful in hosting, but also reassuring in knowing they can help me and work with me for the next few days.  It’s going to be a good week, I can feel it in the air!  I will post pictures and an update regarding my Turkey Trot 10K, so stay tuned…

Before I depart, I want to leave you with my favorite Thanksgiving Bible passage.  May the words fill your heart with thanks and joy to God our Creator!

Shout with joy to the LORD, O earth!
Worship the LORD with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
Go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
For the LORD is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
And his faithfulness continues to each generation.
~ Psalm 100 (NLT)

Where have you been?

I know, that’s what everyone has been wondering… Where have I been?  How am I doing?  When am I going to write another post?  I’ve gotten this question from so many people, I think it’s time to come out of my shell and speak up. I don’t exactly know what I’m going to say, but I do know this is the most difficult post I’ve written yet.  I’m so nervous about being honest but I need the accountability more than ever before.

So how have I been doing… not well.  I’m sure you could’ve guessed that.  When I become a recluse and cut off communication, I’m actually revealing my depression.  I eventually realize the state that I’m in and the decision I need to make: continue down the path I’m on, or make a change in my mindset and routine.  I mentioned in my last post that I’m in denial.  I was hoping that by being honest about my denial I could move on to acceptance and change, but as much as I wanted to, I wasn’t ready.  Honestly, I don’t know if I’m ready now.  I’m hoping this post can help me work out whatever I need to, or at least start the process.

What is the problem?  I don’t know for sure, but here are the facts. I haven’t been to a Weight Watchers meeting in over a month. I haven’t been running, or even walking, in weeks.  I am still going to my personal trainer sessions, sometimes, but not as often as I had planned to.  My weekends have been busy off and on for a number of weeks.  When I’m not busy, I’m trying to recharge at home.  But that’s where I find myself falling into old depressive habits.  Sitting down all day in front of the TV.  Mindless shopping on Amazon.  Binge eating on whatever sweets I can find in the house, and there’s a whole lot more than there should be.  Eating every meal at the drive thru, soda is a given.  Basically, I’m up at least 5-10 lbs and I’m sliding out of control.

The first question you must want to ask me is, Are you still taking your Prozac?  Yes!  Not at exactly the same time every day, but I am taking it every day.  Although it is a happy pill, a wonder drug, it’s not the be-all and end-all for me.  I know this is more psychological than physiological right now.  I’ve given up.  That’s it, that’s the honest truth.  I have given up trying to lose weight and become healthy.  I have lost my mojo, my drive, my reason for going down this road.  I’m not giving up on life, it hasn’t come to that yet, but I’ve put my mind on cruise control and steering just enough to stay on the road.

I need a jump start.  I need to wake up from this foggy dream.  I need something to change and I’m not exactly sure what.  All I know is I can’t do it alone, because that’s what I’ve been trying to do for weeks now and it hasn’t been working.  I need help in the form of prayers and encouragement.  It’s going to be rough getting going again, but God will give me the push that I need.  The words of David express so perfectly His consistent support to our cries for help…

I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.

I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.

Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.

For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.

Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the Lord.

Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?

Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!

Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right;
his ears are open to their cries for help.

But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil;
he will erase their memory from the earth.

The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The righteous person faces many troubles,
but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.

For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous;
not one of them is broken!

Calamity will surely destroy the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.

But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

~ Psalm 34 (NLT)

Never Forget!

Dear Friends,

I never intended to take this long to write my next post.  It’s been a most eventful summer and thinking about sharing all the details of what I’ve seen and done makes me a little overwhelmed.  The climax though was my most recent trip to New York City and Philadelphia.  Although I’ve visited both cities before, having grown up on the East Coast, this was a very different trip because I was depending on public and paid transportation and otherwise traveling on foot.  I have to admit, between the four days of visiting the two cities I got over 80K steps.  Although it was great cardio exercise, returning to my boot camp workouts was a rude awakening to the necessity of remaining consistent.  But back to my adventures…

My favorite location of New York City has become Ground Zero.  I will always remember my first visit to the City when I was eight years old.  Seeing the Twin Towers was so mesmerizing.  They stood so grand and majestic casting their shadow on Lower Manhattan.  The next time I was able to visit New York was in 2005.  The destruction at the site of where those great towers once stood was very sobering.  There was a make-shift memorial and display at the site commemorating those who lost their lives that sad day.  It was the first time that September 11 felt real to me.  It brought back memory of the heartache the whole country was feeling that day.  This most recent trip to New York gave me another opportunity to see the transformation that has taken place in the last nine years.  The beautiful Freedom Tower stands in memoriam of its parent towers.  The recessed pools that cascade down into the bottomless footprint drowns out the noise of the busy city life surrounding this hallowed ground.  The new 9/11 museum was open, but unfortunately the wait to buy tickets and to get in were not part of my sightseeing agenda.  I will go back some day, but I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to pay my respect to the innocent and brave lives that were taken that historic day.  Each year on this day, I pray for the survivors and remember the events from now 13 years ago and how America changed that day.  I will never forget!

Never Forget

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
– Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)

With the summer coming to an end, facing reality has been more challenging than I anticipated.  I knew I would need to get back to my normal routine, but being off of it for so many weeks has really messed with my mind.  I’ll start tomorrow… Sunday will be my fresh start… I meant Monday… Even getting up for my 6 am bootcamp workouts that I’ve already paid for each month has become optional in my mind.  I know each session I miss is just money down the toilet.  And the changes I’ve made up to this point didn’t happen over night, or even in one week.  It’s been the continuous progress I make each and every week.  I think one of the reasons I’ve been putting off this post for so long is because I’ve been in denial.  Denial that I’m still on this journey.  Denial that I’ve actually quit working for this. This blog keeps me honest with you as well as myself.  I don’t like reporting that I haven’t been doing well, but I need to get back to writing each week.  So next week I will have a better report.  For both you and myself!

Summer Lovin’

It’s already the half-way point of July and it’s been a great summer so far.  I’ve definitely kept busy but in a good and happy way.  First off though, I am sad to report I am very behind on my 100 miles goal for July.  But, I’m still running hard to get in as many miles as I can.  I was probably a little too ambitious, but even if I don’t reach 100 miles, I’m running a few times a week and that’s all that matters.

I hope everyone had a Happy Fourth of July a couple weeks ago.  I celebrated the day by running my second 5K.  I was not nearly as nervous as my first one, so that took the pressure off a lot.  I planned to run with Tammy and we were going to do our usual intervals.  We started with a 1 minute run, 1.5 minute walk and didn’t bother looking at any timers or clocks or anything.  Just went where our feet took us.  At the half-way point they had a water station and we took an extra walking break so by the time we were running again we had switched intervals.  We were now running 1.5 minutes, walking 1 minute.  I asked Tammy if she wanted to continue and she was up for the challenge so we kept going on the new interval.  In the last stretch we were feeling tired but we still had a lot of strength in us to keep going.  We finished strong with a final sprint to the end.

Tammy and I about to cross the finish line!

Tammy and I about to cross the finish line!

My next goal is the 10K on Thanksgiving Day.  I need to create some kind of running plan so I can slowly but effectively build up to that distance.  A few weeks before the 10K though I will be running another 5K and my dream is to run a sub-30 minute 5K, but the closer it gets, I’ll see if that will become a reality.  I’m also excited because the 5K is going to be the Biggest Loser Run/Walk at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.  It gives me an excuse to enjoy a day at Six Flags.

Today has been a good day for me!  The last few weeks I’ve been pretty stuck in a rut with my weigh ins.  I’ve lost and gained the same two pounds for weeks now!  Well, this week when I stepped on the scale I was pleasantly surprised to see a massive dip in my weight.  I always weigh myself first thing in the morning just to make sure I haven’t gone off the rails, so I knew it would be a good week to weigh in.  It was the best week!  I FINALLY reached my 10% goal at Weight Watchers!!  I have lost a total of 24 lbs since the beginning of the year!  And I like to remind myself that doesn’t include the 7 lbs or so that I lost prior to joining Weight Watchers.  So my total at this point is over 30 lbs lost!!  You know, it’s not easy and it’s not always fun, but as long as I keep putting in 100% I will see progress.

I’ve got a pretty solid routine right now with bootcamp training three times a week and running twice a week.  I know there is always more I could be doing, but I look at it this way, I’m doing a lot more than I was a year ago.  I’m moving in the right direction and that’s all that matters.  I’m a little nervous about the next few weeks because starting Friday I will be on vacation through the end of the month.  I’m going to try to make it to weigh in once a week with Weight Watchers, but other than that I won’t really be keeping tabs on my progress.  I won’t be going to my bootcamp classes so I will have to really focus on eating right and getting as much walking/running in as I can.  Either way, the vacation will be nice.

Since I won’t be around next weekend or for the next two weeks after that, I probably won’t write another post until August.  I have a lot of momentum right now to keep working hard.  I’m truly loving this summer because for the first time I feel like I honestly love myself.  I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far this year and I’m ready to keep this year going strong.  This transformation hasn’t happened over night, and it wasn’t just a snap of the finger.  There has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but it’s all been worth it.  If you want to make a change in your life, just keep moving forward!  It’s as much about the journey as the destination!

As a token to represent the love of myself that is growing within me, I want to share with you the true meaning of love.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT