in shape.

Q. Who was I fooling? A. Me. I was only fooling myself.

I felt triumphant as I walked out of SNAP Fitness with my white key card dangling from the bright red lanyard. I’d taken a step forward. I went from just HIIT to just the elliptical to weights and cardio to just weights. I was doing a good job, feeling hella strong. Still, my shirts and pants got tighter. My face got fuller. The scale and circumference of my waist increased. I bought newer clothing in larger sizes and pledged to continue to “go hard” in the gym. Something wasn’t right though. Even in all that, my diet was still off considerably.

You ever do this? Think you can literally outrun a horrible diet? I did. And I was only fooling myself. I sure as hell wasn’t fooling my waist line. Or my favorite dress I could no longer fit. Or those jeans I had to box up. Or the camera.  Each one knew what I didn’t know.

ME to ME: I’m good. I can still fit this medium top I bought 6 months ago.
TOP:
The internet's favorite pursed-lips reaction GIF comes from a 2009 rap battle hosted by the Ultimate Rap League. The battle was between rappers Jesse James and Conceited, a then-newcomer to the battling scene.Conceited was irreverent through Jesse James' bars but made the notorious face when James tripped up over one of his words.

I had to clean up my diet.

I tried to do this by simply vowing to buy better food, but truth be told, we DO buy really good food when we grocery shop. Mostly seafood and chicken (but we NEED that bacon, #sorrynotsorry), fruits, and veggies, with hardly any packaged foods, gallons of water, etc. It’s not how we grocery shop that gets us into trouble. It’s the compulsive snack food shopping.

I’m not kidding when I say it’s compulsive. Whatchu know about going to McDonald’s for a 3 pack of cookies (480 calories and 45 grams of sugar) and hot fudge sundae (340 calories and 48 grams of sugar) at midnight? Or running to the nearest gas station to grab a 20 oz bottle of Coke (240 calories and 65 grams of sugar) and 4 pack of Twix (440 calories, 44 grams of sugar, 20 grams of fat)? Or eating a pack of Oreos in 3 days by yourself (2,730 calories, 253 grams of sugar)? I can tell you I know a lot about it. I have done it dozens of times. And I’m not even counting my love affair with Big Zax Snack Meals, Classic Chicken Sandwich Meals from BK or that Wendy’s 4 for 4 when cravings for salt and ketchup high fructose corn sugar crank up.

I’d eat the BEST breakfast and the BEST lunch and then by the end of the day “reward” myself with a snack or fast food because “what could it hurt, right?” Or a quick late night trip because “it’s not a big deal!”

Before we go any further, I want you to take a glance at the nutrition information I put next to my favorite snacks. 45 grams of sugar? 65 grams of sugar? 253 grams of sugar in 3 days?? And from ONE food item? Am I insane? Am I TRYING to get Type 2 Diabetes? Apparently so. Did you know the suggested added sugar intake for women is only 25 grams? I did! This didn’t stop me from literally eating bags of sugar every week. #SendHelp

Daily Sugar Limit- 9 teaspoons for men, 6 teaspoons for women
Glo note: I was eating over 10 times this on a regular basis. Why???

Did you also know high sugar intake leads to belly fat? I knew this too! Even with all this knowledge, I managed to fool myself into thinking I could “work off” all the trash I was eating. smh…it’s actually kinda funny.

Look, I’m all about being body positive and loving the skin you’re in and all that jazz, but I’m also about not spending money on new clothes just because I’m not making good food choices. Plus, my old clothes are kinda cute and I’d like to wear them again! So yeah, when I break my juice fast tomorrow, you can bet I’m going to be more cautious about how I treat myself in terms of how I eat. It’s imperative, both physically and mentally.

 

 

in shape.

Cute dresses…

I opened up the purple, plastic box sitting next to the TV stand in my bedroom. Digging through it I found shirts, dresses, pants, all nestled away because they no longer fit. I pulled out one of my favorite, a sleeveless, A-line dress with royal blue, navy, and white designs. I LOVE this dress. I laid it on the bed and piled atop other cute, formerly worn dresses and skirts.

A cream and black, horizontal striped skirt (Size 8 *ha*), a black and white cocktail dress, a fun, multi-colored cap sleeved dress (with pockets!), a heather gray and white striped dress with a shiny pewter colored belt, all unworn because I’ve grown out of them. What a waste. Seriously.

Since April 2013, I have gained 30 pounds and 3 dress sizes. Only 7.5 lbs a year, but it adds up over time! I went from pushing into a size 10, but still being able to fit into some of my 8 bottoms to before juicing 11 days ago, practically pushing into a size 14 (yes, my 12s were getting snug. This is why it was imperative for me to get my weight and eating under control.

I held the sleeveless, A-line dress with royal blue, navy, and white designs up for inspection. I can see where I’ve almost ruined it by trying to squeeze my body into it far after it truly stopped fitting. But again, it’s one of my favorites, so I was foolish and perhaps a little desperate! I knew I had some progress, so I tried it on. To my surprise, it fit again. Not perfectly, but there was definitely a difference since the last time I wore it. I looked in the mirror and decided to wear it.

That was day 6.

Today on day 11, I’m proud to say I weigh 165.8 lbs (down from 177.2 lbs) and 1.5 inches around my waist. I started at 36.5 inches and now I’m at 35 inches. Juicing was meant to jump start cleaner eating, so I can shrink my waist. I’d love to get it down to 31 inches. I’m not really worried about my weight as much as I am about how my clothing fits. I think continued weight training will help with this. I’m excited to see my progress by the time I hit the big THREE-FIVE, but I have to keep pushing.
Today’s juice recipe is below.

  • 4 small apples and 1 medium apple
  • 4 cucumbers
  • 2 lemons
  • 8 kale leaves
  • 1 slice of pineapple
in shape.

I haven’t chewed food in over 48 hours. #SendHelp #WhyAmIDoingThis

I haven’t chewed food since Sunday night around 10 p.m. I promise I’m not crazy.

The idea of juicing has been on my mind off and on ever since I watched Joe share the amazing health benefits in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It has taken years to pull the trigger because juicing seemed too difficult and too extreme. I wasn’t ready to commit. Today, I am 30 pounds heavier and indulging in  horrible eating habits. This in mind AND staring squarely in the face of age 35, juicing doesn’t seem so crazy. It actually seems practical, necessary even.

There is something about abstaining from chewing food that makes one contemplative. Perhaps this is why fasting is a popular religious exercise. Fasting requires discipline, self-control, and time management skills. These qualities are the precise reasons I’m doing this. When I choose the 4 for $4 menu at Wendy’s instead of eating the grilled chicken and veggies I have cooked at home, I’m showing a lack of discipline. When I eat that extra slice of pizza when I’m already full, that’s a lack of self-control.  When I buy food to cook, but make no time to prepare it, leading to the “need” grab fast food, I’m not exercising my time management skills.

wendys-4-offer
Glo note: Why is this so tasty?

During these 14 days  4 days 14 days, I hope to sharpen my discipline, self-control, and time management skills. So far, so good! Since Monday, I have successfully made my juices, avoided impulse eating, and passed up yummy food at a retirement ceremony.

The general idea is if I can pass on Reese’s cups, chicken tenders, bacon, Santita’s, and deep dish pepperoni pizza now, I will be able to do the same when I begin chewing my food again. Practice control now, so I can practice it later. I also hope a break from packaged foods, sugary drinks, and deep fried foods will curb my taste for those foods. Only time will tell…

As I close out day three, the biggest lesson I have learned is that I can do it. And I hope to prove it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day. In juicing, I’m doing something I never thought I would do because I didn’t think I could do it. Each day I follow through I think to myself, “Glo…you can do this.” And that thought doesn’t begin and end with juicing.

I hope this positive self talk echoes in my mind in as many situations as possible.

“Glo…you CAN do this.” 

Yes, yes I can.

in shape.

Y’all, my waist is 35 inches. #WhyThough

I haven’t thought about my waist measurement in years. YEARS. Perhaps since the my wedding in 2008? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m suffering from increasingly noticeable booty do and finally bit the bullet and pulled out the tape. Thirty-five inches. My waist in 35 inches.

How did I get here?

The overarching theme of this year is about keeping it real with myself and taking deliberate action to solve anything I see that needs fixing. So to “keep it real,” the most likely culprit is my natural proclivity towards eating like a 10 year old whose parents have given her permission to eat whatever her heart desires. Pizza, Zaxby’s, Coca Cola. Twix Bars. McDonald’s 3 for $1 cookies ($1.27 with tax, THANKYOUVERYMUCH!). French Fries (make it a large). More Coca Cola.

I’m 5’6 and 180lbs with a BMI in the “obesity” range. My weight shows up in my tummy and face. I have got to lose weight!

Now those who have seen me may be rolling their eyes right now. The typical response I get when I mention my need to lose weight includes eye rolling and deep sighs. I think this is because I carry the weight a bit differently, I wear clothing that hides  used to hide my mid section, and because they haven’t seen me in my birthday suit (and they shouldn’t…that would be weird).

What are the implications?

I’m a natural researcher. I like to know stuff. Lots of stuff. As much stuff as possible. Naturally, I hopped on the Google machine to find information on what a 35 inch waist means.

  1. My 35 inch waist puts me at risk for obesity related diseases.
  2. I’m overweight and overfat (due to my waist size and BMI), but even thin and “average sized” people can be overfat.

This is really scary considering my family history with diabetes and heart disease. I can’t hit age 35 with a 35 inch waist. I’ve gotta start eating like an adult and treating myself better!

Since January, I have tried to visit the gym at least 4 times a week.  I took a break during our ordeal, but have been back at for the last 4 – 5 weeks. I am doing a mix of weights and cardio with the hopes of boosting my metabolism and burning fat. I have to admit it’s getting discouraging, but I have to keep in mind that it took me years to gain the weight and that I can’t expect to take it back off after a few months of gym time.

As a bit of disclosure, I’m considering doing a full Reboot…more on the reasons why later in a later post. Wish me luck!

Uncategorized

Eating lunch in my car and other “burned out” behaviors.

I balanced the box on my lap as I opened a ketchup packet. On mild days, I can turn off my car and leave the windows up without the worry of sweating profusely. I grab my Coke Zero (with no ice) and take a sip. My eyes are usually fixated on a video playing on my cell while I eat. This has become a ritual. This is my twenty minutes of solitude. Only twenty minutes because the other 30 or so are spent walking my dogs, ordering food, and driving back to the parking lot adjacent to my office.

I’m not sure when I started eating lunch in my car, but I know why I started doing it. It’s a chance to get away from the interruptions and my apartment and my office phone and my emails and the IMs. It’s a chance to be left alone. My brain is on loan to others for at least 12 hours a day and it feels good to sit and drink sweet soda and eat salty, deep fried chicken fingers with near absolute certainty that I won’t be interrupted.

I work. I work all the time. I work at work. I work at home. I work on vacation. I pride myself on how much I’ll work. Working all the time usually means not leaving work until 6:30 p.m. When I was short staffed it meant working until 11 p.m. I never want anyone to feel I’m not “pulling my weight.” I want to be regarded as someone who cares about the quality of my work and my respect for those who depend on me to do my work correct and on time. In my eleven years working full time, I have taken 3 actual vacations using my earned annual leave. Three. In 11 years.

I counted this dedication as a virtue. “Look how much I can take on!” It wasn’t until a few months ago that I realized this is unhealthy. Like, really unhealthy. It wasn’t until I reached a breaking point of too many hours, too many burdens, too many “small fires” to put out, too many questions, and naggings, and failings that I realized I had to slow down. I have to admit, I wasn’t smart enough to figure this out on my own. A trusted confidant implored me to stop and take time for myself. To actually practice self-care.

Interestingly enough, I KNOW self-care is important. I have had it scheduled every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. for the better part of a year. Fact is, I never, ever use it. I always find time to fill this time that should be dedicated to unraveling, practicing quietness, praying, reading, walking, resting, to doing more stuff…The problem I face that we all face honestly, is that there will always be more to do. ALWAYS.

Practicing self-care is difficult in an age where everyone is “hustling” and pushing themselves to the limits to attain “success”. Hustle culture is one of the most ubiquitous memes on the web and I know we’ve all seen them.

But what happens when you’re literally out of gas and the hustle is killing you? When you’re so busy proving you can grind or that you have a great work ethic or that you truly desire what you’re after, that you’re killing own mental health?

Know how much you can take and recognize the signs of burn out. For me, it was sitting in my car eating lunch. For others it may be:

  • Sleeping…all the time…
  • Irritability
  • Changes in attitude

Click here for more signs and practical ways to address them.

One of the ways I’m addressing burn out is through doing more to experience life. This ranges from pursuing relationships, getting a monthly massage, using my vacation time, and doing all I can to not take work home with me. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s kept me from the edge of exhaustion. I just have to remind myself of what’s important to me and find balance the best way I can.

Uncategorized

Life happened.

I had such high hopes for this blog. I was going to share all these great stories about how I was making strides. You know, “getting a life” and “getting in shape” and “getting out of town”. Even in all my aspirations, life happened. And happened. And happened again.  It’s been months since I posted here. So much “life happened” that I didn’t know how to clearly articulate it here. I honestly didn’t know if I wanted to articulate it here. I think I have to do this to continue. I’m finally ready to begin again.

“Life happened” on a Friday…

I took lunch around noon. I’d been putting it off for days, but I was so anxious I couldn’t wait anymore. I had a digital test from months before, so buying another one was unnecessary. I followed the instructions, placed the test in a cup on my washing machine, turned off the light in the room, and gave my dogs their afternoon walk.

The same anxiety that drove me to take the test, drove me to prolong our return indoors. I gave the dogs an extra lap around our apartment complex before returning home. By the time I reached my door, my heart was beating out of my chest. I took the dogs off their leashes and walked back to the room where the test was waiting for me in the dark. I say “test,” but it was more than a “test”. This was my future. The start of my life. A New chapter. Something I have wanted for each of the eight years of my marriage. The thing that put me under the knife to remove fibroids and out of work for 6 weeks. The thing that sent me to a reproductive endocrinologist last October.

I was hesitant, but I couldn’t prolong it any further. I had to go back to work. Just look at it

I looked. And I saw. And I shouted. And I cried. A “plus” sign. A PLUS SIGN. A PLUS SIGN!

D______  has been my friend for 20 years. She has heard me lament and sigh and cry and wonder aloud if I’d ever be a mother. She understands. She was the first person I called. I could barely catch my breath. Hyperventilating. Crying. Pauses. I scared her. “What’s wrong?!!!” I told her. She scolded me and then congratulated me.

“Does W____  know?”

“No. Not yet.”

More details followed by “I love you, Sissy” and “goodbyes.” It felt unreal. I told him that night over dinner. He was shocked. And thankful. And hopeful. We were happy.

We arrived at our OB/GYN about a week later for our first ultrasound appointment. I’d downloaded the Ovia Pregnancy app. Each day I received new alerts about our baby.  According to my count I was seven weeks along.  I was excited, but tried not to be too excited. This was our first pregnancy and I am “high risk”. No guarantees.

W____ is quiet. Probably just nerves.. Our doctor walked into the room smiling ear to ear. Upbeat. He’d been as much a part of this journey as is possible for a doctor. Crying with me. Praying for us. Loving us.

The ultrasound technologist couldn’t find our baby at first, but I wasn’t discouraged. It’s still early right? Finally, after a little more probing, a small, dark image appeared on the screen. I looked at our doctor. There was worry behind a smile.

“And when was your last period again?” I told him.

“There is a chance we’re counting wrong. Let’s revisit in two weeks.”

New appointment is scheduled. We are quiet on our walk to the car.

“What’s wrong?,” I ask.

“Nothing,” he says.

He’s lying. He was worried. I can tell, but I’m confident.

It only took two days and a few Google searches for my confidence to flee.  A paralyzing anxiety took its place and formed a painful ball in the pit of my stomach.

W____ got ready for work and I got ready for my day. He’d been gone for an hour before and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to say something. I had to warn him, my body had failed us. Or at least that’s how I felt. I dialed his number. I was a bit relieved when he didn’t answer.

I cried a bit and my phone rang. It was him. I reluctantly answered.

“What’s wrong?,” he said.

“We’ll talk when you get home.”

“No. What’s wrong?”

“There’s something wrong with the baby.”

We prayed on a three way call with a pastor’s wife who is also a nurse. I didn’t feel better.

Cramping and spotting began later that day. I called the “after hours” line for my doctor’s office to ask if I was  losing our baby. The doctor I spoke with wasn’t my doctor. He didn’t know me. He hadn’t cried for me or prayed with me. He didn’t soften his words to ease the blow.

“That does sound like a miscarriage, but come in first thing Monday morning.”

I cried as I got dressed for church the next day. W____ was silent during the drive. We arrived early and sat in the empty sanctuary. I thought we could make it through the service, but within 5 minutes of sitting in our usual section, I got up and walked back out to the car. W____ had ventured off somewhere, perhaps to find our pastor and our doctor (he also attends our church). Before I knew it I was back in my car, seat reclined back, sick and sobbing, troubled by overpowering cramps reminding me my baby had died. We drove home and laid in bed. I was tired of crying and questioning and crying some more, so I hopped out of bed, dried my tears and resolved to move on. I had to be strong, right? I’m not the only person this has happened to, right? And I should just move on, right? That’s what people do, right? I found out it wasn’t that easy. At least not for me.

Putting on a face at work was difficult. Everything seemed so small in comparison to what I was experiencing physically and emotionally. It was hard to focus and hard to care. The same was true at home. Sleep became my friend. I escaped through funny YouTube videos, political podcasts, and keeping busy with distractions and hopes of new opportunities.

I couldn’t bring myself to post here. I didn’t come back at all until today. The days it gets too hard, I let my sorrow, seemingly overwhelming, wash over me like a tide, praying for it to erase everything, so I can forget how hurt I am. Or how hurt he is. Or the questions we both have about whether we’ll ever carry a baby to term. Or how we’d worry every day if we ever conceived again. And my questions about what exactly I was suppose to learn from this experience. Perhaps it was a lesson in powerlessness and dependence. I’m still trying to figure it out.

I didn’t want to talk about this, but I did want this blog to be an honest. I didn’t want an overly curated version of my life. Because of that, I couldn’t begin posting about anything else without first sharing this part of my 2017. I stopped blogging because “life happened,” but I want to continue blogging because life has to go on.

Gloria gets out of debt, Uncategorized

The Part-Time Ramseyites.

We’re part-time “Ramseyites”. I say “part-time” because if we were true Dave Ramsey disciples, we’d have no debt by now. The copy of Financial Peace I purchased in 2007 is out for display on one of  my end tables. We plan our month expenditures. We’re snowballing debt and saving money. Even with that, I don’t feel we’ve done enough.

Honestly, I’m ready to be done. I’m ready to be off this debt treadmill. Debt robs you of opportunities and I’m tired of being robbed. I’ve passed up business ideas because I felt bad putting money towards a business venture when I still owed other people money. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be in a position to take advantage of any opportunity that falls in my lap.

I’m so tired I’m ready to throw weight behind the sentiment. We currently pay an uncomfortable, and yes, shameful 23% of our monthly take home pay to creditors. Twenty.Three.Percent. Nearly a quarter. I’m not proud of that, man. Hard to admit.

xirr5jiw8acmo

I could sit and feel sorry for us, but I won’t. I talked to the hubs about attempting to use his entire paycheck for savings and debt only. He agreed.

While some of my friends and associates were sleeping, watching a ball drop, dancing or kissing their boo, I was budgeting my way into the new year. Two minutes from 2017 and I was click clacking away in a Google Sheet, planning our freedom.

For the first 6 months of 2017, we will devote forty percent of our take home to paying off debt. Time to get to work on becoming full-time “Ramseyites.” I think ole Dave would be pleased.

Uncategorized

“Slowly, Surely”

I can’t believe I’m starting another blog. I have been putting this off for at least one month, but here I am. I’m the worst at this. I’m a “love ’em and leave ’em” type of girl when it comes to these things. The commitment required to keep them up is one I’ve never been able to see through.

So why? Why another blog? Because I’m venturing into a new chapter in my life. I’m not really sure what this chapter holds because it is being written with each moment. The plan is to document my trials and triumphs as I start my journey to what I jokingly call “getting a life.” Going for the things I want in every aspect of my life. In relationships, in work, in personal pursuits, in service. I’m going to faithfully and transparently document what it looks like when I actually “go for it.” The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I’m going to ease into this, as it’s been a while, but I’m confident that publicly sharing my pursuits will motivate me to continue. It’s time to be intentional. It’s time to make it count.

Peaceeeeeeeeee.