Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's been a while...

A year and almost a month to be exact. As I have sat here and read my past entries on this blog, I have been filled with a mix of different emotions, but chief amongst them being REGRET. Why regret? For starters, a whole year? Not a single post? I have avoided writing like the plague and I've avoided it not because I've been busy, stressed, or tired, although I could use those as lame excuses, but rather because I've failed miserably at my goal of losing weight and honoring my commitments to myself, and I haven't been able to face myself...until recently. But I'm jumping ahead.

When I read my last post back in 2010 today, I was amazed at how identical the start of my last year was to 2011. I had a sinus infection this year as well and had house issues with a busted pipe in my garage from the insane ice storm that hit Dallas two weeks ago that I'm still recovering from. Health-wise, I started the year with the same resolve to make this year THE year I conquer my weight issues, once and for all. But the nagging question is: What will truly make this year different?

I also felt a bit of melancholy because in 2009, I was optimistic. I'd lost *some* weight and thought I was well on my way. I was running, writing, traveling, and trying new things. Since then, I've gained ALL the weight back I lost and 5 extra pounds. The highest the scale read for me the first week of January was 250lbs. To think of how I vowed that 245lbs would be the highest I ever saw and to surpass that has crushed my spirit. This week, I was 247.6, but 250lbs is still lurking around the corner.

So what happened? How did I get so far off track? The one good thing about the start of a new year is that it does allow for some self-reflection which I started in December. I decided to finally start being truly honest with myself. As optimistic as my past posts were, and even on bad days when I posted, I still wasn't being as honest as I could have been with myself. The truth is that I've lost a part of me that cares about me. I stopped paying attention, I stopped caring ENOUGH. It's one thing to go for a kickboxing class once a week, or a jog here or there, and to eat Kashi for breakfast and tons of fruit, or to get up and brush your teeth and put on makeup, it's another thing to really be able to look yourself in the mirror and be happy, to consistently show up for yourself and not just glide through life demanding so little of yourself.

A lot of great things happened last year. I got engaged to a wonderful man who loves me the way I am but has voiced concern for my health. He moved to Dallas and we have being going through the relationship ups and downs that come from inhaling each others air. I have come to learn a lot about myself from my first serious adult relationship and focusing on who Lara is within a relationship construct also took me away from who I am, period. There have been positives with that, definitely but from looking at my fat rolls, some not so positives as well.

Along with the beauty of moving into my first home, getting engaged, and just living has come the stress of an ever-changing workplace. My job, next to my excess weight is the highest source of my stress. The nature of the job itself is stressful but compound that with all the other auxiliary drama and I leave work daily wanting to just come home, eat, watch bad TV and fall asleep on my couch, which is precisely what I do. As I mentioned earlier, these are not excuses, just contributing factors.

The biggest factor is this:

Friends, I've stopped believing in myself. I've lost faith that I have it in me, but I have faith that God has big plans for me and the very least I can do is show up and see what those plans are.

So I'm going through the motions. I have stockpiled on self-affirming, self-help books on everything from setting goals to losing weight, and living your dreams. I am hungry for anything that can help get me recharged and back(?) on a path of wholesome, healthy living.

Truth be told, I had been toying with the idea of abandoning this blog altogether and starting a more comprehensive one called "Lara cuts the crap" because "the crap" isn't just food, it's about everything else that makes us less than who we can be, but at the end of the day, that's just another excuse to not finish something I started, so I am finally sticking to something and keeping this blog. Besides, one could use the chicken argument: Is my fat causing the other crap, or the other crap causing my fat? I aim to find out.

Although I've decided to keep this blog and its emphasis on weight loss the tone of the blog, however, will change. It will be more honest, more journal-like, if you will. The one thing I noticed about my past writing is that I wrote as something who already had the answers, but was just having a hard time implementing them because life got in the way. This time, it's going to be my raw, open thoughts and emotions. I am a student, not (yet) a teacher. I come seeking knowledge through my own experiences, trials, tribulations and hopefully successes. I want to share this with anyone who cares because I will need the support, the friendship, and on occasion, the kick in the pants. I DON'T have it together, but I'm gathering all the lost pieces, and fitting the puzzle together piece by piece.

The past is gone, the future is not promised, all any of us have is NOW.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The week from...

I am sitting here at almost midnight, wide awake because last night, I slept for 11 hours straight! Then woke up and slept for 3 more hours. It turns out the "not so hot" feeling I had when I last wrote was the beginning of a sinus infection. I initially thought it was the flu and tried to self-medicate and for a week threw down copious amounts of Theraflu and Nyquil to no avail. Finally, yesterday, when my throat began to swell and I felt like I was swallowing pins, I acquiesed and went to the doctor where I was promptly diagnosed with the sinus infection and sent home with $100 worth of meds and a doctor's note for a day off.

This has also been the week when the earth shook for 35 seconds in Haiti and took with it thousands of beautiful Haitian souls. When I began to hear the reports and started looking at pictures, a part of my spirit broke and I wept for a nation already in crisis now faced with hell on earth. I know everyone is asking for donations and so many people have already given, but if you haven't, please do.

This has also been the week when a week ago, I closed on my first home, signed the gazillion papers I needed to sign, found out I would have to pay an exorbitant amount to break my lease and then was told that my paperwork didn't go through with the house due to a "glitch" in the system and new guidelines. So now a week later, still without my keys and the hopes it's all resolved tomorrow, I sit patiently waiting.

Every cloud has a silver lining...if you look for it.
The sinus infection caused me to lose my appetite for darn near everything so I lost 2lbs. Ha ha. I know it's a stretch but silver lining people, silver lining.

It is incredibly difficult to find a silver lining in the Haitian crisis, except the hope that is coming from the situation, the rush to aid I've seen demonstrated in individuals around the world, and hopefully the attention that country has needed for YEARS is finally coming to it. Personally, whenever I have wanted to feel sorry for myself this past week I keep thinking "What if I was in Haiti?" One day even, as I took a hot shower, I was filled with gratitude for how good a hot shower feels and how much of a luxury that is.

The house situation will resolve itself and I'll soon be in my first home, cooking healthy meals and exercising and finally finding some balance in my life so all I have to do is wait.

Patience, gratitude, perseverance...


Saturday, January 9, 2010

First workout of the new year

Hi there, good people!
Today was my first workout not only this year but in months! Last night, I was feeling sort of "off." I was achy, my head hurt, and I was incredibly fatigued. I felt like I had the flu but without the other crap that comes with it. This morning, I woke up with the headache still and feeling only slightly better but still decided to drag myself out to my kickboxing class.

Admittedly, I wasn't exactly eager for movement. It is incredibly cold in Dallas, colder than it's been since I moved here in 2003 and I really just wanted to keep laying down and watching Food Network, but I knew that if I was to start on a new path, I would need a push and group exercise does that for me.

I arrived 10 minutes late and as was to be expected, the class was packed with new faces wanting a new start as well. The first 15 minutes felt like I had never left, but after that, I grew nauseous, my body felt weak and I just couldn't get those kicks up like I wanted to.

It was towards the end of the class as we were laying on the mats doing crunches that I had an epiphany: I would take a zen approach to my health and fitness this year. No more all or nothing diet plans. No more pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion with my exercise just so I could feel like I had done something good. I would ease myself into better health. I would run slower if I needed to, kick lower if I must, and forget picking up yet ANOTHER weight loss book. I will cook my meals and enjoy the process and use my common sense. In other words, I will listen to my body and obey what it is telling me. If it says "go faster" or "slow down," I will. For this to become a lifestyle, it can no longer be something I start and stop because it's gotten too hard to maintain.

The thing with being "Zen" is that it requires focus and discipline, two skills that I find myself often without, but I will rest assured knowing that I'm doing something, rather than nothing at all.

Happy Trails!

Zen Lara

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 - New Year, New Me?

Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits. --Anonymous

Happy New Year, everyone! Here is to hoping that 2010 brings us happiness, peace, and great health.
I found the above quote when I was looking up New Year's Resolutions today. It made me chuckle but I have thought of it all day and it also sort of scares me that it might be true.
As I reflect on 2009 and the fact that I have not written in this blog since Nov. 8th, I find myself conflicted with many varying emotions. On the one hand, I am proud of the things I accomplished in '09: I started the process of buying my first home(I close on it next week), I lost *some* weight and accomplished my goal of running 30 minutes straight, I got promoted at my job, and I started a serious relationship. I also traveled more than I had in years and started writing this blog; which was something I had always wanted to do.

But then as this new year has begun, I also see what I probably shouldn't refer to as my failings, but rather, my "incompletes." I realize now that I have a chronic case of starting things and never finishing. The moment I begin to make progress, I find ways to self-sabotage. It is why I still have not conquered my clutter habit because I start cleaning one area, move the crap from that area to another and then start manufacturing more piles of crap. It is also why I lost 20 lbs last year, but now have gained almost 10 lbs of it back(I was 234 lbs when I weighed earlier this week), it is why I not only stopped running, but stopped going to zumba and quelle horreur!, stopped going to my beloved kickboxing class. I suppose I would be more depressed, disappointed, etc, about it if I wasn't so busy, preoccupied, and frankly TIRED.

But it is for these same reasons that the desire to get back on track keeps haunting me. Inevitably, whether one chooses to make resolutions or not, we all tend to want to do better whenever a new year begins. I want 2010 to be the year I conquer my demons, but I have wanted that every new year. The only difference is that I actually did get a headstart last year. I know now that it can be done but I have to do it! I know how to lose weight, I have the tools to organize my life, and know where to find the support I need, so there are no excuses.

I have been on a spiritually enlightening path over the past couple of months. I believe the home-buying process evoked in me a need for faith and perseverance because there have been quite a few hurdles and some disappointments, but for the first time in a very long time, with each disappointment, with each hurdle, I would take a deep breath, pause and keep up the work I knew I needed to get it done. I have decided to use that as a map for my year because it quite simply works!

There are a lot of ideas I'm toying with as far as getting a plan in order to help me accomplish my goals, but first I have to define those goals. I have decided to type them up in nice font and frame them like poetry and place the frame in a place where I can see it daily. I have also agreed to create a vision board with a coworker(more on this later) of all I want to see manifested this year.

I know now that I need some sort of support. Attempting to do this alone is incredibly hard. When our Weight Watchers class ended before thanksgiving, I thought I could lose weight on my ow; instead I gained 6lbs! I couldn't seem to stop eating and didn't have any one but myself to be accountable too and that just didn't work. I am both the good angel and bad angel on my shoulder and the bad angel is usually more persuasive.

I don't know what 2010 will bring. None of us could have predicted some of the things 2009 brought, but with a lot of hardwork and effort and Divine Intervention, I know I can end 2010 on a better note than I am starting it.

Stay Tuned and Bon Année everyone!

P.S What are YOUR resolutions?


Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Derailed Train

Isn't it ironic...My last post was about making a u-turn and getting back on track and it was filled with so much optimism and promises and now here I am, almost two months later, completely derailed, with perhaps just one wheel on the track.

Here's the truth: I've been avoiding this blog. I could tell you of all the things I'm attempting to do(buying a home being chief amongst them) but the truth is that this blog has always in a way held me accountable to myself and because I have for the past couple of months, failed miserably at the weight loss game, I have played the "see no evil" game with myself. I've been like my little nephew who when he doesn't want to be social will close his eyes and pretend not to see you. I have done the same with my weight. The problem is that for the first time in a long time, this year, I made progress and so the part of me that has changed is in deep battle with the part of me that hasn't, so there is this nagging voice that's telling me to stop the bullshit and get back on track.

Friends, I haven't run in forever, I have eaten every fried, greasy thing I can find. I have stuffed my face with cookies, cakes and candy and I've done it with the little devil on my shoulder gagging the little angel on my other shoulder and promising to kill her and her family if she tries to talk me out of my food debauchery.

I.FEEL.LIKE.CRAP! For the past two weeks, my digestive system has been acting up. I feel bloated, gassy, and lethargic. My muscles feel like they are seizing up and I'm feeling aches and pains that worry me.

I can't blame the fact that my Weight Watchers meetings at work are on hiatus until the first of the year. There are still meetings in my neighborhood and if it meant enough to me, I'd go. I can't blame stress because there will always, of and on, be life issues that bring a certain degree of stress and will I always eat my stress away? If so, I'll always be in battle with my weight.

The lowest weight I saw on the scale was 225lbs back in September. It was an anomaly and didn't last long. The last time I weighed, I was 231lbs. I can feel every bit of those extra pounds. I can't do this anymore.

I'm not going to make any grand declarations this time around. I'm just going to do what I started off doing, making the changes I need to make and documenting the journey. I have learned that even this; even failure, is part of the journey. This is who I am: a person struggling to choose good over not so good, healthy over not so healthy, exercise over laying on my couch, and if I can do this even 80% of the time, I am already winning the battle.

Happy Trails, mon amis!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Making a U-Turn.

Here's the truth: I stopped writing for a while because I lost my motivation. I was tired, week after week, of gaining and losing the same 1 - 2 lbs and only half-heartedly following the WW plan, while others in my WW group had lost in 6 weeks more than I've lost since I started this plan over 5 months ago! BUT, thanks to the prodding of good friend(thanks, Syl and Tangy) and a sudden drop in weight(more on this later), I'm BACK! I must say, I've missed writing, missed this blog, missed focusing on me.

What have I been up to? Well, I was the maid-of-honor at a friend's wedding. For weeks before that, I was doing a bunch of running around trying to get ready for that, as well as taking on my huge decluttering project, while having a house guest and starting a new job. I feel like I've been constantly on the move for a month, which is a huge change of pace for me. The wedding was great, and somehow, while in Maryland, even without working out, or tracking, I lost 4 lbs over the weekend?! I attribute it to the fact that we got very little sleep, ate pretty sporadically and when we did eat, it was healthy, Nigerian food. I came back and got a cold/flu which also adversely affected my appetite. So without much deliberate effort, I've dropped to the lowest weight I've seen on the scale in a while which is 225.5lbs. Needless to say, I'm thrilled.

Now I haven't worked out in quite a while. The last bit of exercise I did was Zumba two weeks ago. I miss running. I was to get up and go kickboxing this morning but my body is still so tired for being up late coughing my lungs up, that I turned over and went back to sleep.

So, now that my life is getting back to normal, it's time to regroup for the hundreth time this year. I'm calling on the wisdom of Dr. Oz in his book: You on a Diet. In it, he mentions making a dietary/fitness u-turn when you get off track. Instead of completely giving up and regressing, acknowledge you've lost your way and then turn around and go back in the right direction. Even though I'm still losing weight, I'm not happy with the fact that I've gotten off the fitness track and my diet is still in dire need of work. I just don't FEEL good.

Also, even though I'm glad I lost weight before the wedding, the photos still show me how far I have to go. I still battle with feeling smaller than I look and it's disheartening having to contend with your true size in pictures, but it's all a part of the journey and as Maya Angelou says: "Won't take nothing for my journey now."

Alright friends, here we go again!

The struggle continues.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Favorite "Health" Foods

I'm not a big fan of the words "health food" because I feel that ideally, most everything we eat should be healthy. Unfortunately, as a culture, we have become so far removed from what real food should taste like that anything that's really good for us is thought of as boring, bland, etc...

I tend to straddle the fence between eating pure, unadulterated food and pure, junky, crappy food. But one thing is for sure, when I eat a bunch of junk, my body starts craving something healthy and wholesome. It is usually at that point that I make something with one or more of these healthy ingredients.

1) Short-grain brown rice: I had tried long-grain brown rice several times before first trying the shorter variety. I never could get into the longer-grain kind because they always came out mushy and gross. When I first tried the short-grain rice at a Chinese restaurant, I instantly fell in love with its chewy texture and almost nutty taste. I will even go as far as to say I prefer it to white rice. If you haven't tried it, give it a whirl.

2) Spinach: Before I started drinking green smoothies, the only time I really ate spinach was when I made a Nigerian dish with it or ate spinach salad. Now it's appearing more and more in my consciousness. You can't go wrong with this powerful vegetable

3) Kashi Go Lean Crunch + Vanilla Silk Soy: I list these two together because this is my breakfast staple. The combo is so perfect together. Kashi's cereals are filling and healthy but I tend to have to soak the Crunch for a little while as the grains are quite hard and might be detrimental to my dental work.

4) Plain Greek Yogurt: I love the thickness and creaminess of this yogurt. It's also slightly tart so I love the fact that I can control the level of sweetness by adding a touch of honey. I usually will cut up some fresh fruits like apples, peaches, or mangoes in the yogurt with a few walnuts or almonds. YUM!

Anyway, I just wanted to share some of my favorites. What are your favorite health foods? Do share, I always needs suggestions!

Happy Eating!