Thursday, September 6, 2012

I've Let You Down

They say it's good therapy to write your struggles down if you want to get somewhere with breaking through them. Before the age of the internet, some of us would rush to our diaries to share these battles with an audience of no one; others would grab a handy spiral notebook to jot down a thought or two only to roll it up into a ball and toss it into the nearest available wastebasket.

Now we have the ability to share our thoughts or demons we're fighting with an entire community all around the world. It gives us an instant soundboard where we once relied on a conversation or a letter to a friend to get any wanted (or unwanted) feedback. We also have the opportunity to make a positive impact by taking a negative aspect of our lives and sharing its realism with the world while exercising our own humility in the process. Almost any struggle you have can be empathized by another person because he/she is right in the middle of it like you are. We can find comfort in this if we only reach out to the world with our current struggles. There truly is strength in numbers as well as accountability where needed.

This leads me to the purpose of this entire blog post. I have demons I fight on a daily basis. They may be different from yours, but neither is any less of a demon than the other. I've shared mine in the past, but I've been pressed to share them again lately. I'm finding that balancing work, family, health and fitness, and relaxation time has been more difficult than I had envisioned since my daughter was born almost a year ago. When I stress, I tend to let one or more things get thrown to the bottom of the list of priorities. The one that always makes its way to the bottom is my health.

Ever since I was a teenager, I've struggled with anorexia to different degrees. When I became health and fitness-conscious the beginning of 2008, I started to turn my life around. I was eating as much as I should be, and I was eating the right things. I made dramatic changes to my body for the better. I gained weight and had lean muscle mass. I looked and felt great. I was quickly becoming a type of role model to people I encountered on Facebook, my friends, and my coworkers. I was one of the few (at the time) Team Beachbody coaches who gained weight as a result of doing the company's fitness programs. In the back of my mind, I was aware that this demon was always going to be here and could come back at any point in time; however, I was convinced I'd never let it happen, so it was not an issue.

Fast-forward this timeline to February 2011: I found out I was pregnant with my first child, and I was ecstatic. I vowed to be one of the few mothers who worked out consistently and stayed conscious of what she was putting into her body so that her child could have the best nutrition possible. Very shortly into my pregnancy, I realized I wasn't able to work out like I wanted to. Each time I tried, I would feel nauseated and couldn't bring myself to continue. I eventually had to give it up entirely, and I didn't work out the rest of my pregnancy. That's not to say I wasn't active because I made sure I kept moving and climbed stairs on a daily basis right up until the hours before my daughter was born.

The nutrition aspect was tricky. I didn't binge on junk food, and for 90-95% of my pregnancy, I ate very well. Unfortunately, I wasn't eating very much. Not only was I not consuming enough for myself, I wasn't consuming enough for a baby on top of that. I knew this but still couldn't bring myself to eat more for fear that I would gain more weight than was absolutely necessary. Maybe I would have gained more weight had I eaten as much as I should have. Maybe not. I ultimately gained 22 pounds altogether, which was within the range that I needed to be. I gave birth to an 8 lb, 10 oz, healthy baby despite the lack of nutrition I provided for her. I was truly blessed that things turned out that way.

The time spent after my pregnancy has been an uphill battle as far as eating goes. I started off with a lot of motivation to get back to where I was, so I tried eating well, and I started working out again 6 weeks after I gave birth. As time went on, and I was working out consistently, I was getting frustrated that there wasn't much change to my body. I was expecting to jump right back into the body I had before I was pregnant. It's an inconceivable notion to the wise man, but it was a reality in my head. I had been trained from my years of self-motivation that anything is possible. I'm not saying that I could never get my body back the way it was before I was pregnant, but it will take a lot more work and probably will never be exactly the way I envision it. Having had a C-section, I know my abdominal muscles are not the same. Everything has been shifted, stretched and cut. I even have charley-horse-like pains when I do hamstring stretches or many yoga moves. My abs are also not as flexible, and I struggle with twisting my torso. Those issues alone are discouraging because my flexibility will suffer because of them.

All these issues culminate into one large disappointment in myself. Is it unwarranted? Yes. Is it unrealistic to feel this way? Of course. How my mind works and how it should work are two entirely different things. I've let situations I've been in and people I've known to dictate the way I feel about myself and how much self-esteem I allow myself to have. I find myself somewhere between surrendering to these feelings and wanting to fight them.

This pattern allows me to fall back into starving myself. For years this was how I dealt with stress or how I would punish myself for something I felt I'd done wrong. I'm finding myself right back in the undertow of this disease. I'm trying to paddle my way out but not grabbing onto the occasional life preserver that's thrown my way. In my own pride, I feel like I can get out of this myself when it's clear that I cannot. It's funny how pride blinds you to reality, but we're so hell-bent on hanging onto that as if it's absolute truth.

This is my moment of honesty. I'm failing in my fitness and nutrition because I've fallen back into this lingering disease. I'm definitely not perfect but never thought I'd see myself in this situation again. If you're suffering from this, you know it's just a matter of being in remission rather than ever being cured. It's a daily struggle to keep the emotions at bay and focus on what's important. Some days are worse than others. I'm determined to get back on track, and I'm going to exercise the aforementioned humility by asking for your help and support. Help me to be an example for the girl/boy/woman/man that is sharing this emotion with me right now. I can't do it alone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Four Types of People On Facebook That Annoy All of Us

This is going to read a lot like a Cracked article (minus the profanity but still including all the sarcasm), and they've probably showcased something similar, so bear with me. I've been watching this behavior become more and more common lately. Any person that has more than a handful of friends on his/her Facebook page has at least one of these types of people popping up on the newsfeed. You probably have someone (or several) in mind right now, don't you?

The Serial-Relationship-Status Changer

You also know this one outside of Facebook because you're sure to meet a different guy or girl each time you decide to double date, and chances are, you have more than one of these serial daters as a friend on your page. Every relationship they get has them shouting that this person is the one. They've overcome leaps and bounds to be together in their own Romeo-and-Juliet-like "reality".

Judith Naivety is in a relationship with Steve Chump.

The comments below show the elation all Judith's friends have in her newly found love with Steve. Judith posts a series of status messages over the next couple days proclaiming her love for Steve and how he's her soulmate. Follow that with...

Judith Naivety is married to Steve Chump.

Wait--did I miss the engagement? Was there a secret destination wedding? Did they elope using a JP? No, of course not. I didn't miss anything. They're not married in the legal--or any--sense at all. Judith and Steve just want Facebook to know they're in a "life-long", "committed" relationship after one week of dating. It's always good to make these kinds of commitments quickly.
A short time later...

Judith Naivety is in a relationship and it's complicated.

Suddenly, Judith's Facebook friends rally on her page to get the scoop on what Steve could possibly have done to change the outlook of this "marriage". Did he add a girl to his Facebook friends without consulting Judith first? Did he forget Judith's name on their second date? What did he do (because the man is usually the first to be blamed by women)? Judith's response will always be, "I don't really want to talk about it," but she will always be fine with posting cryptic status messages over the next few days to fish for sympathy [See The Cryptic Status-Message Poster]. This is standard. Put that can of gasoline away and keep it far from this fire.

Judith Naivety is no longer listed as in a relationship.

Wasn't it just a few short weeks ago that Judith was proclaiming her love for Steve? I'm sure it felt like an eternity to her, and it certainly was when compared to her last relationship that lasted 48 hours.
Less than a week later we see...

Judith Naivety is in a relationship with Rambo Rebound

This whole process just repeats itself from here on out.

The Cryptic-Status-Message Poster

This is the person who is constantly posting status messages that say a whole lot of nothing. His/her world is supposedly falling apart, but you're not allowed to know the reasons or what the problem even is. It will sometimes--but not always--end with the acronym, "FML". Expect the obligatory spelling, grammar and punctuation errors throughout.

i cant beleive sum1 wuld do that 2 me!!!11 they didnt even ask what i thot bout it fist thizwill change my life 4eva n they dont evn get it fml.

To the unsuspecting or devout followers of this person, this will be interpreted as an immediate cry for help, and the comments will promptly come in to ask if he/she is alright and ask what's going on. If you even get a response from this person, it will be simplistic. They have it down to an art, so expect more questions than answers when all is said and done. A smart friend would just leave all these status updates alone because chances are it's just a minor bump in their day that's been dramatized for added effect. They'll be over it in time for the next "crisis" to be announced in...3...2..1...

The Sympathy-Picture Poster

You're sitting at your computer (or on your phone), casually browsing through your newsfeed when you come across a somewhat risqué-looking picture. It's a picture of this person half-naked and most likely in a provocative pose, and the caption notes something to the effect of the person looking fat or ugly ("I don't know. What do you think?"). This picture is followed by comments from the opposite sex stating how "sexy" they look and assuring them that they are not fat or ugly. Women are the biggest offenders of this annoyance.

Newsflash: If you're posting a picture of yourself like that and putting yourself down in the caption, you don't truly think you're fat, ugly or any other degrading term. You're not as low on self-esteem as you attempt to present yourself to be. You're actually quite the opposite. I guarantee that someone who thinks very little of him/herself will never do this. I also can guarantee that someone who thinks well of him/herself in a very humble way would not do this either. That leaves one type of person: the arrogant one.

The Boaster Poster

This person was always around--even before the Internet. They always bragged about their accomplishments. It went beyond having a proud moment and crossed into the territory of tooting their own horn to the point it sounded like an entire French horn section of an orchestra. Now we've given them a public forum to not only annoy people in their general, geographic vicinity but people all over the world.

This especially comes into play once children are involved. Now that I have my own daughter, I know what it feels like to be proud of her accomplishments. I want to tell everyone that my daughter is awesome...all the time. What holds me back? A little humility and recognizing that every parent feels that way about their own child. Don't get me wrong: You can certainly brag about your child on occasion. It's the parents who don't know when to stop and turn everything into a competition that drives me crazy. That's great if your child was potty trained by the time they turned a year old, but that doesn't make another parent less than you because theirs didn't until they were three.

Just sayin'...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fifty Shades of TMI

It was recently that I was first introduced to a book called, "Fifty Shades of Grey". Did I read it?Not your average coffee table book... Absolutely not, so don't expect a legitimate book review. What was described to me is "porn for women". Desperate housewives everywhere were flocking to pick up a copy of this new, erotic book. I guess it was a step up from their bookshelves full of novels adorned with a half-nude Fabio sweeping a woman off her feet and a new background on each cover. Having read a few of the narratives on the backs of these books for kicks and giggles, I've determined they're all the same story with different settings. Prove me wrong.

Based on reviews from different sources, you can either believe this is the best thing to come into a sex-starved woman's life or it can make for good kindling on a cold night. Being that this is not my cup of tea, I'm not planning on reading it just to be able to give an unbiased opinion or to even give it an honest try. I'm sure its biggest fans are also serial viewers of "Days of Our Lives", which I have about as much interest in as I do poking my eyes out with a pitchfork.

According to the synopsis, the story follows a naïve woman named Ana Steele and a glorified gigolo named Christian Grey. In a nutshell: Ana interviews Christian for a job with the college paper; they're attracted to each other; Christian propositions her for sex; Christian makes her sign a contract barring any discussion about what they do together--as well as one to submit herself to his freakish fetish of BDSM and his bizarre rules along with that; sex, sex, more sex and insanity ensue. I think there's a partridge in a pear tree in there somewhere too. If not, it's probably Ron Jeremy in a pear tree.

I'm all for women buying a feel-good book if that's what floats their boats, but the whole plot to the story just seems like something out of a sadomasochist's fantasy [There's also nothing wrong with that if you're into it], which poses the question: Are there really tons of women out there that are into getting beat by a man for sexual pleasure? It's evidently more popular than I once thought or this trilogy wouldn't be on the best sellers list. Conclusion: Beating women is wrong...except when it's not.

I'm sure I'll catch a lot of flack for this post, but I'm prepared. How many of you have actually read this? Maybe many of you have, but it sits in your lockbox where your husband won't find it. I won't tell...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Crash Course In Parenting [101]

Wow--it's been so long since I've revisited my blog. I remember spending countless hours here, typing paragraphs laced with sarcasm and life lessons while trying to figure out why the average customer I came across during my days in retail had the common sense of a rock. Those were the days of fewer responsibilities but seemingly many points of stress. My outlet was to vent--if you will--to the masses that make up the Internet.

As time went on, it also simultaneously escaped me. My blog went by the wayside. I got married to a wonderful husband April 29, 2006, and we recently had a daughter who was born October 7, 2011. Ever since she was born, life has been dramatically different. Of course it has changed in the most cliché ways, but it has also made me step back and say, "Holy cow! Where did my childhood go?" Wasn't I the one sitting at the "kiddie table" yesterday? Wasn't I the one with my face jammed in a corner and/or getting my behind beat last week?
I had a conversation with an elderly woman in the waiting room of my daughter's doctor's office this afternoon, and we discussed just that, and I'm coining a phrase now that I'll call "life speed".
Pre-children "life speed" perspective: You've just turned 21, but you'll be remaining this age physically and mentally for the next 60 years (at least) because you never get old.
Post-children "life speed" perspective: You're growing hair out of your ears and buying wrinkle cream and Just For Men by the gross all before your child comes home from the hospital.
I'm now living on the opposite side of the fence. I'm the parent, and she's the child. It's feeling like I'm in an alternate universe.

As I'm typing this, I'm listening to the sounds of the neighborhood children playing, which is giving me a glimpse into a future of temper tantrums in public, home fashion shows that end with my clothes torn and makeup on the walls, young love ending in tears and heartache, and sleepover parties with hoards of giddy girls squealing at a decibel level that would scare a pitbull into submission. All these can be looked at as future points of stress that may cause me to bald before I reach the age of forty (if I'm lucky). Wrapped up in all that insanity is the sweet reality of having this person in my life who is totally an individual but is all of me at the same time. I know her inside and out, and no matter what she does in life that may upset or frustrate me to the point of wanting to subject my brain to a lobotomy, she is my child, and that "unconditional love" that all parents talk about is absolute truth in my world.

Although I'm just getting started with this whole parenting role and haven't yet been exposed to the full potential of my daughter's emotional ups and downs, I'm somehow looking forward to it. You can never come out of a difficult experience without being stronger than you were going into it. Every possible experience you go through builds the fibers of your being into who you are today. Before my daughter came along, I could never have imagined the person I've become at this moment. I'm in control of helping to mold her into the person she is and the person she will be; however, she's also molding me into a better person than I could be on my own. How cool is that?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5-Bite Diet?!?

It's been a while since I've blogged in here, but I posted my thoughts on this diet on Facebook and MySpace, so why not here? Here it is:

I couldn't resist tearing a new one on this deal.

I took a couple days off because of my grandfather's passing. There isn't going to be a funeral or anything, but I thought I should at least spend some time with my family over the next two days.
On any day I have off, I got up, washed some dishes, turned on the TV, and what? "We're going to have Dr. Alwin Lewis to talk about the new 5-bite diet." That grabbed my attention immediately.

In a nutshell, here's what it is: You can eat whatever you want! Yes, you can (in a non-Obama-type way because I don't want to offend B.O. by that association)! have to skip breakfast, and you can only have 5 bites for lunch and 5 bites for dinner. You can have unlimited (low-calorie) teas, colas, coffee, water, etc. for the day. By doing this, you're supposed to lose weight and change what your stomach considers as "full". This can be 5 bites of a Big Mac for lunch and 5 bites of a tub of lard for dinner...just as long as it's five bites. "It's better than getting gastric bypass surgery and works the same way" (this "doctor's" golden argument of the diet).

Ok, let's briefly forget the fact that you're starving yourself here because that's completely obvious to EVERYONE.
1. You're skipping breakfast. It's not like it was some made-up garbage or part of a fad diet when doctors and nutritionists said breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It jump-starts your metabolism for the day. If you skip it, then what? Not only do you not get that metabolism kick, you're robbing yourself of the energy you need for the day. You get the most bang out of your buck with breakfast if you eat within one hour of waking up.

2. You're not taking in enough calories. If your caloric-intake for the day is in the hundreds, you're starving yourself. Plain and simple. Take it from someone who struggled with anorexia for six years of her life until she realized this is no way to be healthy. Yeah, I lost weight eating less, but was I any healthier? No. In fact, I was probably worse off then than I ever was in my life health-wise.

3. You're not getting the nutrients your body needs. This guy claims that you can do this safely as long as you take a multi-vitamin every day for your nutrients. He also says the reason why it's ok for obese people is because they "have too many nutrients" and need to cut back. WHAT?!? Their obesity has nothing to do with having too many vitamins and essential nutrients. They're not eating properly (i.e. the McDonald's diet) and exercising. Of course, health problems (thyroid, for instance) and age can affect it, as well, if you are on a good nutritional plan and exercising regularly. If you're not even trying though, there's no excuse.
I think it's common sense that a person is going to benefit more from vitamins and nutrients coming naturally than through a pill. A multi-vitamin can only do so much for you. You know, they're called supplements for a reason: They SUPPLEMENT. I think someone needs to show this "doctor" the definition of that word.

4. You may lose weight, but you're not getting healthier. Going back to point #2, you're starving yourself and not just of calories but proteins, carbs, etc. These are essential things your body needs throughout the day. Eating 5 bites of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese is not going to have the same nutritional value as eating grilled tilapia on with some brown rice. But when we're talking about this diet, I guess the better I eat, the more starved I'm going to be, so I'd pick high-calorie foods to compensate.
It's not all about how MUCH we're eating but WHAT we're eating. This guy is trying to capitalize on saying the only problem here is that we just eat too much, and it has nothing to do with what we're eating. It has been PROVEN that if you pay attention to what it is you're eating and eat properly (even sans exercise), you'll be healthier. Starving yourself doesn't do it. Been there, done that; doesn't work! And not only that, it screws you up mentally. I can't even begin to go into the layers of problems that creates.

I found it interesting that someone who was trying to back up the diet wrote this in a comment on a website: "Many anorexics/bulimics/compulsive over eaters are having success with this diet. Loosing 15-30lbs every two weeks." Do they realize that they mentioned people with anorexia and bulimia as having success with the diet? Why should they be starving themselves anyway? I thought their problem was they needed to gain weight and/or get some help from a psychiatrist.

I guess I'm so passionate about this because I've had to deal with the absolute mental and physical tortures you put yourself through when you don't eat enough. I know anorexia is a different animal than just doing one of these diets, but it perpetuates the problem and could cause it in people who wouldn't have become anorexic otherwise.

As people in the Beachbody community (or otherwise), I think it's so important for us to impress good nutrition even more so when diets like these (don't even get me started on the acai berry diet) pop up. People who are uneducated in this area will jump right on this wagon and potentially destroy their bodies and lives. It's sad but true...

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I haven't posted here in almost two months, which makes me wonder if I should even continue. I used to have so many things to talk about (ok, complain about) when I still worked in retail, but I haven't for almost a year now. I don't come in contact with people who get my goat on a regular basis, and I don't have to deal with back-to-school shoppers or the Christmas rush. Some part of my brain misses sharing all that with you, but I certainly don't miss it enough to ever work in retail again. Thankfully, I've been at a job I love where the people are terrific, and I get paid a lot more and put up with little to no bull crap for almost a year, and I don't plan on ever giving that up.

My main focus has been on fitness since the beginning of February when I started this journey with P90X. I never dreamed that I'd get so involved with it when I started. I remember writing that blog and feeling fed-up with feeling tired and not wanting to eat. I was falling in and out of anorexia and therefore, my weight was going up and down, up and down. On top of that, I wasn't happy going to the gym. Even though I was underweight, I still was embarrassed to lift in front of anyone. You would expect those feelings to come from someone who was obese and ashamed of their body. Well, I wasn't obese, but I still felt like I was. It was like talking to a brick wall to convince me otherwise. Sometimes you just have to figure things out for yourself or be lucky enough to have something speak to you. P90X was it for me.

Now I've been spending a lot of my time trying to get other people involved. I became a coach on Beachbody a couple months ago, and I've been able to meet some people through that and sell products. However, I still want more. I've been milling over what to do fitness-wise with any extra time I have. Summer is quickly coming to an end, and people are going to end up in their fitness slump. Not many people want to work out until January 1st comes around. I'm especially having a hard time finding people that like to work out in Erie, Pennsylvania (if that's you, let me know). I think there are a lot of people who are unhappy with how they look and feel, but they'd rather do the quick fix of a diet pill and not put some real effort into it. I don't have a success story where I went from fat to thin, but I know of people who have doing these programs, and it's inspiring.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to start up some P90X classes or something along those lines. Finding people around here would be difficult, but I think if they really wanted to get in shape for next summer, now would be the time to start. If you do want to get involved, please let me know. I'm having the worst time finding any fitness-minded people in this area. Anyone that may know of a way I could get these classes going, please let me know. I sort of feel like I'm stuck.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More P90X/Beachbody News...and I'm Still Alive

I know it's been an incredibly long time since I've written on here, but my blogging has gone by the wayside lately, and something else has replaced it. I think it's kind of obvious what that thing may be...*cough*P90X*cough* I'm already about halfway through my second round of it, and I've become really engrossed in the whole program and the community of people I've able to meet through it.

Over the past month or so, I'd really been considering taking it a step further. Heck, I already have the license plate, and people are sending me messages almost on a daily basis to ask exercise/health-related questions. I'd been thinking about becoming a coach on the Beachbody website. I had been asked several times by random people if I was already a coach, so it made me think about it a little more. I kept questioning myself on whether or not I could do it, but I guess I didn't need to ask that because I've already been doing that for free the past month or two without even thinking about it. So yesterday I took the plunge and signed up to be a coach, and I'm now waiting for my little start-up kit to show up in the mail. I don't really care so much about making money through this, but I thought it would be a nice opportunity to share what I'm passionate about and help other people at the same time. It sounds kind of cheesy, but that's really where I am with this. All due thanks need to go to one guy for giving me that extra push to sign up: Jason "Puckhead" Diebold. Check out his site because he's an awesome coach and person.

Also, I was contacted a couple weeks ago by someone from Beachbody, and he put a cool opportunity on the table for me that I couldn't pass up. Nothing is official so far, but I'm supposed to find out the final word in a couple weeks, and I couldn't be more anxious. If it goes through successfully, it's going to be one of the biggest events to happen in my life. I am just looking forward to the wheels it's going to give to me to spread this whole program around this area because--as you can see--I'm extremely passionate about it, and most people in Erie haven't a clue what P90X is. I'm just praying all goes well. If not, I still have the coaching, and I'm more than happy to have a voice through that.

I'll keep you guys updated with the news when I receive it. I don't want to explain in detail what it is right now, but I'll just say that it's BIG (as in national). I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

You can visit my site here. It needs updated badly, but I'll be getting to that this week.