Purpose

I wrote this for one of my classes, but I think it’s important and I would like to share it here. Maybe it will motivate someone into creating their own goals.

What is my purpose?  Why am I here?  What good can I do? These are very common questions people ask themselves, especially in early adulthood.  For their entire lives everything has been done for them, or maybe there have been expectations places upon them from parents or other adults.  As they themselves become adults, everything feels messy and scary; at least that’s how it has felt for me at times.  Some people are lucky and have known what their purpose is since they were very young; others may not know well into their forties and fifties.  Feeling like there’s no reason for you to be here can put someone in a dark place.  Finding your purpose can be enlightening and inspiring.  My purpose is to help others find themselves through communication to encourage them to make a better life for themselves.  I’ve only just begun my journey and have set clear goals to make the most of my life.  Personally, I want to change my lifestyle to a healthier one.  Academically, I want to complete my degree in communications, as well as become certified in life coaching, herbalism, and holistic healing.  Professionally, my goal is to work for myself, be able to travel the world and coach from wherever I please, and be financially comfortable enough to not stress about my bills.  Starting off small, my personal goal is simple, but will take a lot of will power to achieve.

I’m on the path to health.  My goal is maintain a healthy weight around 180 pounds, continue to train for faster half marathon times, and eventually embrace a vegan diet.  These things all take time mental and physical strength, but in the long run will make my life so much more pleasant and safe.  This goal is important to me, because I’ve always struggled with my weight and my relationship with food.  As a child, my parents had the same struggle and I watched them try every fad diet and program they could to lose the weight.  My grandparents have diabetes and other medical conditions that I refuse to get.  The only way to prevent these diseases is by changing my lifestyle now while I’m young.  This is also why I want to study holistic healing and herbalism.  I fully believe that everything we need to heal ourselves can be found in nature and I want the knowledge for myself.  I’ve been a vegetarian for almost a year now and it’s been easy for me.  I never thought about cutting out meat until this year, and it seemed like the natural answer for me and I’ve never looked back.  Someday, I would like to become a vegan and cut out animal products entirely.  This is a little more difficult, as most food products have milk or eggs or butter in them. However, cutting these things out and replacing them with plant-based items will be better for my health overall.  Still, the challenge will be putting more effort into my grocery shopping and ordering at restaurants, not to mention the willpower to give up “real” macaroni and cheese.  Two solutions to this and to my overall health goal obstacles will be meal prepping to prepare for an entire week’s worth of meals, and focusing on the bigger picture of keeping myself healthy in my mind and body.

My college education has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.  After graduating high school in 2012, I attended university for two full semesters before moving back home and transferring to a different institution closer to home.  There, I worked two jobs and only took one class to be eligible for an internship.  After accepting my out-of-state internship with the Disney College Program, I put my education to the side until I discovered what I wanted to study and began working full time.  Now, almost four years later, I’m ready to complete my degree. My goal is to graduate from UCF in 2020 with a degree in Technical Communication and a minor in Mass Communication.  I also plan to take many certification courses through online institutions for Life Coaching, Herbalism, and other forms of holistic healing. I am very passionate about natural healing through essential oils, herbal remedies, and crystal healing.  Learning about energies is something that has become fascinating to me over the past few years, and I believe in its power wholeheartedly. While my ideal career is in coaching and writing, I want the knowledge that comes with healing to be able to offer extra help to my friends, family, and clients as necessary. A possible obstacle will be money.  Money is always an obstacle for most things to help you grow academically or professionally.  However, through scholarships and loans, I will be able to remedy this.  Finding the time to fill out scholarship applications and saving money by cutting out frivolous spending will also help me achieve this goal.

My ideas for what career I want to pursue have changed a lot through the years.  As a child, the first thing I wanted to be was a dolphin trainer at SeaWorld.  From there I wanted to be a veterinarian, then a Broadway actress.  As I grew up and began my college education, I went from an education major to public relations.  Now, I’m not too far off with communications.  My career goal is to become a certified life coach, helping people make and achieve their own goals, while making enough money to support myself and my family, and travel the world as I work.  I’ve always loved talking to people and to help them sort out decisions they need to make.  Life coaching take that idea, but instead of telling your friend what she should do, you give her the tools to discover for herself what she truly wants.  I think this is a powerful career that is very important to those on a journey. I want to be able to have enough clients that I can support myself financially, while still giving each client the individual attention he or she needs.  I want to live a debt-free life in a small home where I have the freedom to travel with my husband and dog, seeing the world and writing about my adventures.  An obstacle to overcome is my own personal self-doubt.  I’m afraid of how people will perceive me as I embark on this journey.  Two solutions are to meditate and get rid of those negative thoughts, and to possibly hire a life coach myself.  Both of these things will help guide me and get into the proper headspace as I grow and go along this path.

Goals are very important to make sure you’re making the most out of your life.  Having a purpose gives meaning to those goals and why you’ve set them in the first place.  For me, having goals like living my healthiest life, completing my degree and certifications, and having my dream job as a self-employed life coach all help each other.  My three goals all support my purpose statement, which is to help others find themselves through communication to encourage them to make a better life for themselves.  If I can’t meet my own goals, I have no right to help others make theirs and hold them accountable.  Achieving my goals means everything to me to make my life better, as well as the lives of those around me.  Attending Valencia College is a small part of what will get me to achieve my goals.  Without Valencia, I wouldn’t be able to complete my college credits and go on to UCF and graduate.

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Living a Cruelty-Free Life

February is almost over and I’m continuing to embrace change and transformation. Some of the goals I set out for myself at the beginning of January and February were not met, but they were replaced with greater and more permanent forming habits. January was more about shifting my mindset and gaining focus and starting the routines I want to keep with me. February has been about setting goals and making a plan on how to achieve them. These new practices are really all derived from one main idea: I want to take care of my body, mind, and soul.

One way I’ve decided to do this is to shift into a cruelty-free lifestyle. It’s been something I’ve contemplated for a while, but I was motivated by my friend Lindsey over at Listy Lemon and her post about making the cruelty-free switch in cosmetics and skin care. It makes the journey for me easier when I know there are other people in my life with the same ideas.

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What this means for me personally is that I no longer wish to purchase products that are tested on animals. In my opinion, my dollar is a vote. When at all possible, I want to use the money I earn to support businesses that share my beliefs. There may be times where I am not able to follow this, but I’d like to do what I can. When it comes to cosmetics and cleaning products, I’ve discovered how many options there are that don’t involve harming animals. With a quick Google search I found so many blogs that are rich in information on cruelty-free brands. Cruelty-Free Kitty is one of my favorites to visit for an easy answer. PETA’s website also has a super easy resource for discovering if a brand is cruelty-free or not.

Shopping cruelty-free can be different for everyone. There are some companies that do not test on animals but are owned by a parent company that does. An example of this would be Urban Decay, which is owned by L’Oreal. There are some people who choose to buy from fully cruelty-free brands, and some who use their voice and money to support the cruelty-free company and not the parent company. I’m more aligned with the latter group; it’s a less-limiting way to shop, and I’m still showing the parent company which products I would rather purchase.

I have a lot of makeup products that still have plenty of use left. The money is already spent, therefore I see wasting it as worse than the purchase I made when I wasn’t shopping mindfully. However, any new cosmetics, skin care, and even cleaning supplies I buy from now on will be smarter purchases. With resources like the two I listed above, it’s incredibly easy to find products that don’t harm innocent animals.

Another way I’ve chosen to live more mindfully is changing my diet to a vegetarian one. For years I’ve watched all the documentaries on Netflix, Food Inc., Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and more. I’ve known how bad our food industry is and especially when it comes to meat. I’ve seen the videos of chickens being mistreated, and I know about the added hormones and preservatives. For so long I’ve turned a blind eye to not only the treatment of animals before they become my dinner, but also the way eating meat makes me feel physically.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Chick-Fil-A, Big Macs, and bacon. Never say never, so maybe I’ll eat meat again someday, but I do know that from a health standpoint I feel much better when I don’t eat a lot of it, even when it’s something I’ve prepared at home. As of recently, every time I eat meat (especially red meat) I feel sick and sluggish. As far as my diet goes, at this time I don’t have any plans on going completely vegan. Honestly, it’s about my own comfort socially and financially. I think I would like to eventually make the transition to veganism someday, but that isn’t in my plan currently.

As a strong animal lover, I’ve always struggled with knowing where my meal came from. So far the decision has been an easy one. I still think fondly of meat-lead meals I’ve enjoyed in the past, but I don’t crave them. It makes me much happier to know I’m making a small impact on the world. Not only am I not supporting the treatment of these animals, I’m not supporting the incredible destruction of our planet by animal agriculture. 

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There are enough things I do every day that aren’t good for the environment; I drive a car, I don’t recycle (that’s not entirely my fault when my apartment complex doesn’t have recycling bins), I use aerosol hairspray, etc. Despite this,  I have switched from using pads and tampons to a reusable menstrual cup, I recycle whenever I can at work, and cutting out meat is another way of being kind to the planet.

With my new spiritual views, I no longer feel right morally harming another creature for my own gain. Having opposable thumbs doesn’t make me superior to my dog or the cows that are sent off to make steaks. As I live a more positive life, I can’t do that when I’m knowingly supporting the food products or cosmetics that are so negatively created.

Part of me wants to assure you that I won’t be the stereotypical vocal vegetarian: you know, the one all the jokes are about. The other part of me remembers that I’ve never been subtle about anything, so why should my diet be any different? I remain, as I have become, a straight-edge, democratic, hippie, vegetarian feminist.

Spiritual Awakening

I’ve always been interested in the supernatural or metaphysical. Even when I was young and living in a conservative Christian home, not allowed to watch The Wizard of Oz or Harry Potter, I still had a strong affinity for learning about magic, ghosts, and other things many people in our church and community saw as “demonic.” As I grew up, my family became less dependent on religious doctrine and we each went our separate ways spiritually. I’m very lucky to have had so many different resources and experiences through my parents’ discoveries because I’ve been given a great spiritual foundation from varying ideologies.

With that foundation, I’m beginning to seek out spirituality for myself. After high school and college, I gave religion a wide berth, not because I felt negatively towards it as a whole, but because I needed space to come to it on my own. I don’t like labels, especially on things like religion; they’re too limiting for such an unknown and strong energy. Even describing myself as “agnostic” didn’t sit well with me. It still doesn’t.

I’m forging my own path through different means. Currently I’m focusing on mediation and healing energy. Chakras, crystals, and candles, oh my! I’ve begun teaching myself to read tarot cards and hope to take a 6-week course on it next month. To learn the cards and their many meanings, I’m updating my Facebook page and sometimes my Insta daily with a tarot card that my deck chose for me that day. I really love it so far and appreciate the clarity it adds to a situation. Tarot isn’t meant to be “fortune telling” or reading the future; tarot is a reflection of yourself.

Similarly, I bought my very first crystal this week. At a a local metaphysical shop I was browsing through the many cases for a few specific ones as gifts. My intention was to buy for others on this trip and only get the tarot cards for myself. I came to the sunstone and saw the brief description on the card and it took my breath away. While it isn’t the most beautiful or most versatile, it certainly is the most important crystal I could have chosen as my first. Instead of putting it in my “shopping cauldron” like my other purchases, I felt drawn to holding it in my hand while shopping, and continued to do so once I got into my car as well. It immediately warmed in my hand and I could feel its energy vibrating through me while I held it. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I have a lot of things I want to learn. I want to educate myself and share my knowledge with those who want to hear it. Maybe that gets done through healing, readings, or charms; maybe my new positive energy will strengthen others to seek out a deeper spiritual awakening of their own. Nonetheless, I want to research and read and try everything to see what works best for me.

Will any of this last? I hope so. I want it to. It doesn’t feel like church revival “warm fuzzies” that fade. This feels like a transformation in my deepest soul. I don’t feel this transformation only spiritually; I feel it emotionally and physically. I feel lighter as I’ve been practicing mindfulness in the past week, taking care of myself and ridding my life of negativity. I’m focusing on the positive energy and not allowing the negative to come close to me. I’m speaking blessings and focusing on the good in myself and in others. I’m becoming mindful of the way I sit, the food I eat, and the amount of wastefulness I’m trying to reduce.

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January Goals

I could very well write about New Year’s Resolutions and how I plan on maintaining long-term goals throughout the entire year. But we all know how resolutions go, and I hate admitting that I’ve failed at something. Instead of writing about the long-term, I’ve decided to break down my goals into smaller, month-sized pieces and share them as the year goes on. Many of my goals may be the same month to month; this makes it less of a resolution and more of a continuing habit.

With all that being said, here are my goals for January

  • Drink more water
  • Run 3 times a week
  • Lose 5 pounds
  • Complete a “75 Push-up Challenge”
  • Complete my half marathon without dying
  • Enjoy my trip to Disneyland without stressing out about money
  • Continue reducing the items I own
  • Crack down on a good skin care routine
  • Publish at least 4 blog posts
  • Read at least 4 books
  • Maintain a private journal
  • Focus on more photography

I tried to make goals that were diverse. Some are health-related while some are personal goals, and some are just good practices to get into. I spent a lot of December thinking on these and making strides to begin my new habits.

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Both in this blog and in my personal journal I’ve
mentioned that 2017 is the year of growth, and I plan on returning to that word throughout my year. Everything I do this year is all based around personal growth. Expect that to be a reoccurring word in my posts.

What are your thoughts on forming New Year’s Resolutions? Do you stick with them through the entire year or do they fizzle out? How do you separate a “resolution” and making new habits, or is there a difference at all? I’d love to know your opinion on this, and I hope you join me through this year of blogging.

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Connect Bluetooth to WHERE?– (Thoughts on my.Flow and other period business)

Just today I’ve seen several articles and mentions in YouTube videos about this product called my.Flow, a period tracker that syncs via Bluetooth to an app which tells you when your tampon is full. As someone who both owns a vagina and a smart phone, these are my thoughts on the product from the articles I’ve seen.

As far as technology goes, I think this product is really interesting. I’ve seen the Buzzfeed post of the Kegel exercise device/app to measure your pelvic floor muscles, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t extremely curious to try it out (if it wasn’t so expensive!). I’ve become very intent on utilizing technology to track my period using an app, something I never did until recently and wish I’d been doing it all along. Having access at your fingertips to the comings (hah) and goings of your body is such an important part of not just your sexual health, but health in general.

As a former tampon user, I can attest to the terror and paranoia that come with having an excessive amount of blood. Having to be at work on the heaviest days of my period were miserable, because I would worry about leaking through my costume in the two hours between breaks. Forget the cramps: a little Advil can numb that. Nothing can save you if your tampon is full. Most days I would chance the chaffing and uncomfortable diaper-feeling for the secure backup of a pad. For that reason, I like the concept of my.Flow: being able to differentiate between paranoia and actually knowing if you have some time before absolutely needing to go to the bathroom right now.

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However, I feel like this product seems too cumbersome just to tell you what you usually already know. Having a tampon string long enough to clip it to your waistband is too much. I can’t even put my phone in my pocket with headphones attached to it without ripping something out. Having something tug on a tampon string connected to a pager could make for a messier situation than a small leak.

From the few pages I’ve visited, it seems like consumers will also have to buy the special tampons that go along with the product. Tampons are already expensive, and having to order special Bluetooth-friendly ones just adds to the cost that is already forced upon vagina-havers for something we never asked for.

There are enough dangers associated with tampons. Now we’re adding wires and technology on top of the chemicals used. While the concept is cutting-edge, I think there are still better ways to go about handling menstruation.

When I first started my period, I only used pads. Tampons were scary to me and it took about a year or longer before I finally went to using them. Pads are messy and make you feel dirty for sitting in a puddle of your own blood, hoping you don’t shift the wrong way and leak everywhere. Tampons were uncomfortable to figure out at first but finally they became my weapon of choice. Except for the occasional leakage, they’re much more discrete and seem to do a better job all around. However, I knew I kept tampons in for much longer than is recommended. Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 5.30.41 PM

I slept in my tampons, leaving them in for up to 12 hours depending on the sleep schedule I was on. How I never got TSS I have no idea. It was when I finally realized just how dangerous I was being every month that I made a change. Just a few months ago I decided to invest in a menstrual cup (I use the Lunette cup) and I’m never going back.

While a cup can run you $30-$40, it’s reusable for much more than the same amount of money can get you in tampons and pads. While a menstrual cup can seem pretty overwhelming, it’s been the best decision I could have made for myself. No worries of Toxic Shock, very seldom is leaking a worry, and you are able to leave it in for up to 12 hours without needing to empty it. The benefits of using a cup is well worth the try.

I understand the attractiveness of being able to see from an app how everything is holding up down there, however, I think it’s not quite necessary. It’s too much technology hooked up to your hoo-hah that can just be solved by other means. It’s a product I appreciate the sentiment from, but not something I think I’ll explore.

 

 

The Star Wars Half Marathon

About this time last year my friend Skylar and I decided to sign up for a half marathon together. We signed up for the Avengers Half Marathon at Disneyland so we could also plan a trip for the 60th anniversary and holiday events.

When we signed up, we thought we would train and work hard to meet our goal for the November race. I was extra ambitious and signed up for the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge, which meant I was running the 10k and the half marathon. Neither of us did much training, and by “much” I mean, “I don’t think we trained at all.” Life was busy and work days were long and boyfriends and roommates took priority over running. Fair enough.

Because training was low on the list of worries, I was not at all prepared for my 19.3 miles that weekend. Somehow I managed to push through, even though it meant I didn’t get the most out of my Disneyland trip because I was asleep in the hotel for two days after my races. I cried for the last 4 miles because everything hurt and I realized I made a mistake in not preparing at all. There was a point where I didn’t think I would make it and just wanted to sit down and wait for the wheelchairs to pick me up and take me to the finish line.

I was so relieved to cross that finish line, and although I was frustrated with myself, I was proud that I had persevered through the race. I proved to myself that I could finish on time and showed what my body was capable of. With that being said, I also vowed to never sign up for a race that long without committing to at least a little bit of training leading up to it.

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My race medals after taking a loooooong nap in the hotel.

Fast-forward to the beginning of this year. Tax returns came and I had planned on  saving mine to put towards another Disneyland trip with Jay for his birthday later this year. With our breakup, I had no other plans for that return (besides using it to pay off my credit card, which would have been the responsible thing to do). I wanted to start running again to help with my depression and emotions that remained after such an awful heartbreak and I saw there was still registration available for the Star Wars half marathon in April–8 weeks away. I found a training guide and signed up.

Now, I didn’t follow my training guide. In fact, I never ran farther than 3 miles in those 8 weeks. But I averaged walking at least 7 miles a day at work, plus I had friends to encourage me and run with me a few times a week. Even consistently running 3 miles every few days made such a huge difference when it came time for the race on April 17th.

I made it to the race expo the day before my race to get my t-shirt and race packet. To me, the expo is what gives me the motivation to get up the next day for the race. There is so much energy from the people excited to run their various events during the weekend.

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As soon as I saw the signage, it became so much more real that I was actually doing this race.

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All of my race gear ready to go early in the morning.

I worked until seven or eight o’clock on Race Eve, and my alarm was set for two in the morning to be able to make it to EPCOT for parking. It was that moment that I suddenly felt anxious about running this race. I suddenly remembered how unprepared I felt at Disneyland for the race and it scared me for this one. For a moment I lost all confidence in myself and wished I was at home sleeping.

Something cool that happened before the race was that they had several character meet-and-greets out both before and after the race. As someone who isn’t fast enough to factor in character photos during a race, I really appreciated the incorporation of characters during that time before heading off to the corrals. I hadn’t seen the line for Boba Fett until it was too late, but I did manage a photo with the storm troopers.

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Other characters included Darth Maul, Darth Vader, and Captain Phasma.

It really wasn’t until I was in my corral (L for “Last!”) that I realized I couldn’t back out. When the time finally came to GO there was no turning back. While training with my friend Kristen, we had recently developed an appreciation for :30 intervals so that was my plan for the majority of the race. There were times I would walk a few extra “dings” but then I would make up for it and run the same amount of time. Somehow, I felt really good.

IMG_9482During my first half marathon, I was shot by mile 7. It dawned on me too far along just how far 13.1 miles really was. By mile 9 I was ready to sit on the ground and wait for a wheelchair to pick me up. By mile 10 I was in tears because every part of my body ached and felt like my joints were separating with 3 miles still to go. I felt emotionally and physically broken by the time I hobbled over the finish line and went straight to my hotel room.

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I chose one character photo instead of a bathroom break so I could meet Sabine (And Ezra, but Sabine was more important to me).

This time around, none of that happened. Around those miles 8-10 I felt overwhelmed, but I knew it wasn’t impossible. The tears I cried were when I crossed the finish line and realized how good I still felt even with as little training as I did. I proved to myself that I was capable of making great time and pushing myself to complete this massive distance.

I completed Avengers in 03:30:00, and Star Wars in 03:12:23. Going from a 15:51 pace to a 14:41 pace and shaving almost 18 minutes off a half marathon time was so amazing to me. I knew I wanted to “do better” than my last half, but I had no idea I would do that much better.

The race had started at EPCOT and ended at ESPN, so I took a charter bus to the Polynesian and took the monorail to EPCOT from there. During the bus ride I rested and wished my phone hadn’t been dying or I could have gone to a park to show off my medal with the rest of the racers. Instead I went home and napped for five hours, but I deserved it.

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Crossing the finish line.

What Does it Mean to Be Healthy?

I’ve written a lot of posts about rebooting my health goals. Like, a lot. Like here, here, also here, and you get the picture. It’s not that I just stop caring about my health; it just gets hard. Even when I stop eating what’s good for me or lower my activity level, I’m constantly thinking about how good I felt. But let’s be honest with ourselves: “health” isn’t just diet and exercise.

I’ve done a lot of diets and workouts and weigh-ins and measuring and counting. That’s great if that’s what you want or need. To me, my health is not defined by numbers anymore. It also isn’t just about food. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

What does “healthy” mean to me?

  • not biting my nails
  • keeping a consistent schedule
  • hydration
  • not eating only junk food
  • raising my activity level
  • giving myself love and grace
  • not hitting the snooze button

These don’t sound like the epitome of health, do they? But listen, they’re all steps. Having scrambled eggs and sausage for breakfast is better than ice cream (I may or may not have done that yesterday) and even opting out of my daily soda at lunch is a step to making my body happier. Making a turkey sandwich for work instead of stopping by McDonalds saves calories and money–a two-for-one deal!

I’ve never been a “snoozer.” I don’t know what happened recently (actually I do), but I don’t want to get out of bed when I have to. I reset my alarm for a later time and get ready for work at the last minute. I always feel so much better when I just get up and start my day, plus I get to have time to write before work.

Like I said, my health is not defined by numbers. I don’t need to lose a certain number of pounds or eat a certain amount of calories or run this many miles a week. That puts too much pressure and anxiety on me if I don’t meet those numbers. I see nothing wrong with people who need those numeric goals, it definitely works. But that isn’t the best way to motivate me personally. My Fitbit step goal is really the only number I care about.

I’m so incredibly proud of the race medals I’ve earned. Even though I didn’t do as well as I wanted, running a half marathon or a 5k is a huge achievement for anyone. It’s like the quote that says, “No matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.” And that’s what I want for myself. Running is so rewarding to me, and after running (mostly walking) a half marathon last November, I got a little taste of the person I could be. I didn’t train like I had wanted to, and that is my biggest regret as far as my health goes. If I could comfortably run three or four miles, that would mean everything to me to be able to work harder for longer races.

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Last night, Enthusiasm asked me how badly I want to meet my goals. It made me think a lot about my past attempts. I won’t call them “failed,” but they were forgotten. Disney costumes are so unflattering, and I’m tired of looking down and seeing my stomach in the pants I wear at work. I know how to dress my body on my own time, but I want to feel better at work. I don’t want to hate myself or feel down about myself for one emotional reason or another. I want pretty fingernails again. I want to be happy and energetic again. Diet, activity, mindset, and consistency are all equal factors to finding peace with myself and my health.

Being healthy, both emotionally and physically, is hard. Creating and keeping healthy habits takes time, but I know just as well as anyone else that it’s so incredibly worth it. So here I am, starting again. I’m picking up where I left off with my health and doing my best to make a better physical and emotional situation for myself.

Paleo and Training

Today was day 3 of being Paleo. Usually by now on a “diet” you think “What the hell am I doing?! I want to cheat!” But so far I haven’t had any major sense of desperation as far as food goes. There’s honestly something really exciting about walking around Whole Foods and knowing that it’s a whole new world of health.

I had found some recipes that I wanted to try, and since it was my day off, I went hard-core grocery shopping. A lot of the stuff I got cost more than I would like to spend on food, but much of it was stuff that I’ll use for a while. A jar of coconut oil is $20, but it’ll take me a while to use it. Almond flour is a good $12, but there’s no way I can use it all that quickly. So that how I excuse myself for spending $130 between Publix and Whole Foods. 

I made Cauliflower mashed potatoes which were pretty good (for cauliflower), and Mango bars (which I kind of messed up, but they still taste good) and then went to DHS for a few hours. I’d definitely make both again, and will probably try different fruit variations to the mango bars. It’ll be a lot easier to make those when I have a big food processor. I only have a very small one so had to make it in halves so the consistency was a little off. But overall it was a good recipe.

After being home for a little bit,  I went on a two-mile run. I’m ready to start training for the Tower of Terror run as well as the Princess Half, (oh god…registration for that is next month. Ugh. Money.) so with this added energy from eating right, making a little time for running should be easier–let’s hope.

So, day three and I’m still doing alright!

sBRING It–ShayLoss Diet Bet Challenge

How many times does a person have to start and stop again? I don’t know, but at least I’m not the only one. If nothing else, I’d rather start and stop and start again than quit forever. While I was catching up on my YouTube subscriptions on Tuesday, I realized that ShayCarl and HiImRawn were starting up a new DietBet challenge and beginning to train for a marathon. It was, again, perfect timing for me to also start again with weight loss. This video was great to remind me that it’s okay to begin again.

No matter how well I do, no matter how much weight I lose, I always seem to gain back to the same place. I forever fluctuate between 212-215 when I gain it back. All I want is to be under 200 pounds. Obviously, I don’t want it ENOUGH or I would buckle down and be there. But it all has to do with priorities. Because of my work schedule, my priorities have been eating whatever food I can whenever I can. If I can eat it in a 15 minute break without much effort, it goes in my body. Whatever is quick to eat when I get home or before I leave, I’ll eat it. And no matter how much walking I do in the parks and at work, it’s not going to change the fact that I’m eating like shit. And one apple here and there doesn’t make enough of a difference.

I haven’t gone running, and that’s going to hurt me. The excuse is that I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed to leave and have to explain to my roommates what I’m doing, I’m embarrassed to be seen huffing and puffing, and I’m embarrassed passing/being passed by others walking and running along the same pathway. I’m also so used to running at night, but I’m afraid to here. The area I live in is nice, but I also feel like it would be perfect to target girls by themselves if someone were to want to snatch someone up. Someone could snatch me up anywhere, so why am I afraid of it here when every apartment complex has security guards that I could run up to? (Oh yeah, because the security guards would probably do nothing and there’s that one who’s super creepy) I don’t know. It’s a stupid excuse that doesn’t deserve to be an excuse.

I have the Expedition Everest 5k next Saturday. We’ll use that as a slap to the face reminding me to get my running together before Tower of Terror in October. Not only that, but I so badly want to do the Princess Half Marathon in February. Piper and I have to do that together! I have the mindset to WANT to be a runner, but don’t actually have the get-up-and-go to do it. Why is that? Where is my drive?

So I joined the newest Diet Bet, weighing in at 214.8 pounds. I need to lose down to 206.2 in order to win. In a month, this is doable. But is keeping it off?

When it comes to eating right, I’m fine during the day. It’s at night that my tummy gets the rumblies that only hands can satisfy. I walk in the door and engulf anything edible in my path and completely ruins the good that I did that day. That’s the biggest thing I’m going to have to train myself to do this time around–stop the mindless eating. It’s 100% doable; I’ve done it before, I can do it again. 
I miss how I felt last summer when I was doing so well. I want to feel like that again. 

Refocused on My Health

I didn’t want to write this today. Know that. But my intentions for writing it are not for typical “New Years Resolutions” reasons, so there’s that. It just happens to be written and posted on January 1st, which is a day when normal people set goals and such for themselves that they will keep up with for a month and then quit. I’m done quitting.

As most of you know, 2013 was the year I reached my highest weight of about 250 pounds. I don’t know my exact weight, because I couldn’t stand to weigh myself when I first began losing, But I know I was anywhere from 240-260 so let’s just split the difference and say 250. After gaining the More-Like-Freshman-Fifty, I came home from school in May and made a change; not just went on a diet, but began to make lifelong habit changes. In June, Shay Butler posted a video on his ShayLoss channel on YouTube about starting a five week challenge to get in shape. Because of this challenge, I became very close to a community of people like me who were wanting to make permanent changes. We became the Red Faced Warriors and they became a HUGE part of my 2013 year. Without them, I would not have lost the 50-ish pounds that I did. I would not have gained the inspiration and motivation that I did without this community. 
I did slack on exercise after the summer, I will admit that. But the eating habits have continued. But since October, I have done very little activity other than a few mile runs with my sister. I lost my mojo because I no longer had a goal like the Tower of Terror run. The run was over, so I stopped running. But I missed it. Like a lot. A few weeks ago, registration opened for the Expedition Everest Challenge in  May, and I convinced my sister to run it with me. This has given me a new goal and added motivation. From following running motivation on Tumblr and Instagram, I have a new vision for my 20th year and where I want to see myself. 
Runners World posted this article about setting running goals for the year, and I plan on keeping up with this. My goal as I said in a previous post is to run a half marathon in 2015. I have a year to train, and I know it is going to be a huge year. Making time to run is going to be hard as hell. I will want to sleep in, watch Netflix, go to the parks instead of run. But I have to. I have the DESIRE to run and be healthy, but the DOING is harder. But I never regret it once I’m out there. I want it to be a part of me. I want to feel confident saying “I’m a runner.” 
I want every one of these medals. I COVET these medals. These medals motivate me. I will have them all. But especially I want this one:
I want the Coast-To-Coast medal, meaning I have to run a half (or full!!) marathon at both Walt Disney World AND the Disneyland Resort in the same year. On top of this, I want the other challenge medals like the Dopey and Goofy Challenges. Of course, I want to run other races not just through RunDisney, but I set my mind to running in every RunDisney race, and that is a goal I will achieve. The full marathon will take some major determination that I just don’t have right now, but a half is doable. I did 10 miles in October! Even though my feet hurt so badly, I could see that a half could be feasible with better training. I guess I’ll say while I have no IMMEDIATE plans to run a full marathon, I’m not saying I never will. It’s just a lot to think about at my current level of running. 
On top of the Runner’s World article that is going to help me shape up my running this year, I also got Sean Sarantos’ ebook he wrote about health and nutrition and fitness. I’ve watched him on YouTube a lot recently (NOT just because he’s absolutely dreamy, but because I really do like the information he gives) and have learned a lot through his videos. He’s very good at encouraging people like me (not-fit, self-conscious-when-it-comes-to-the-gym women) to not compare ourselves to others. I like his weekly videos gear specifically toward women, and he’s constantly saying in his book and videos and twitter and everywhere else, that ANYONE can do the exercises he shows. He doesn’t dumb anything down, but explains things that many fitness people assume you know. I’m looking forward to trying out the plans in his ebook and hoping to grow from the experience. It’s not a formal book. He cusses and calls his readers “little birds” and it’s very much like a conversation between you and him. He explains his terms and I really appreciate the informality of the whole thing. 
He also tweeted me back. So it is inevitable that we are going to fall in love now. He grew up in San Antonio. So we have the whole “Native Texan” thing together. 
Of course, the next two weeks are NOT going to be healthy ones. I’m leaving Saturday to spend a week in the car and on a cruise ship. Then starts Disney training and work. Once I get to Florida, though, I WILL have healthy food in the apartment if nothing else. Even if I don’t get any running or weights in, I will have a good diet (Maybe not 100% but at least 85%). 
I know that with how busy I am going to be this year. But I’m ready for the challenge. Health IS challenging. But I’m going to plan ahead meals, and maybe have to wake up early to go run or wait to take a nap until after. But however  it happens, it’s going to happen. I’m GOING to lose the last 50 pounds and I’m GOING to run that half marathon. I’ve got a notebook that I want to use to write down a food journal, running times, other workouts, quotes, progress, etc. I will of course update my blog with this, but not as often. That’s why I want to use the notebook. (YES I know there are apps for that, but I’m old-fashioned enough to want to hand write it). 
I am also doing this #TeamRunDisney photo challenge for January. So follow my Instagram. 
I really hope anyone who reads this that might be feeling like I have: ready to get back at it, but haven’t for whatever reason, joins me this year to complete our goals that we started out with. Message me so we can help motivate each other! Sometimes you just need someone who is on a similar journey as you to keep you accountable and focused. I’m ready to be focused.