My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Control – me vs. food

We all like to be in control over different aspects of our lives. There are things we can easily control, some we can control some of the time, and others that we cannot control at all. Food should be one of those things we can easily control. The problem is lately I feel like food is controlling me. And I don’t like it.

Lately I feel like I’m always wanting to eat. I’m trying to be good. I’m trying to eat healthy. But it’s hard. Harder than it should be, harder than it used to be. It’s not that I’m necessarily hungry, I just seemed to always want to eat. I don’t know why. And I’m giving in way more than I should. And I don’t know why.

I’ve been keeping a food journal for over a year. I write down everything I eat and when. And more often than not, I include the calories. I know I should always include the calories, but I don’t always know what they are so I can’t include them. If I don’t know or can’t find out the calories, I probably shouldn’t be eating it, but I do anyway. So why am I over doing it? Why am I eating more than I should? Why am I eating things I know I shouldn’t? I don’t know. I truly don’t.

I find myself reaching for snack after snack. Some of them are healthy snacks, some are not. But regardless, I shouldn’t be snacking as much as I am. I don’t know why I seem to want to eat all the time. Something is going on. I just wish I knew what it is.

Like I said, I feel like food is controlling me instead of me controlling it. I know it all has to do with this slump I’m in. The feeling that I’ve lost or at least misplaced my motivation and drive. But what I don’t know is why or how to get it back. I’m trying, though. With everything I have. I don’t want to lose this fight. Although there are times when I fear I might. I’ve been sharing my struggles with my friends. They seem to understand and are trying to help me through it. And that’s the main reason for doing it. I know I need their help.

I’m frustrated and angry with myself. I know I can do better. I know what I need to do. I know how to control my food, at least for the most part. So why am I struggling with it? Why am I letting food control me? How do I take back that control?

I don’t have the answers to those questions. At least not yet. But I’m trying. I’m not giving up. I’ll figure it out. I’ll get back to where I need to be. I just hope it’s soon.

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New shoes!

Today has been a good day.

Today I finally got new shoes!

And so far, I’m loving them 😍

I’ve been complaining for a while now about my old shoes. They were just worn out and hurting my feet. I knew I needed new ones badly. I wanted ones for running. I may not go very fast, but at least I go. And if I plan on doing more races, I need proper shoes. I also need shoes for my regular workouts. I had it in my head that I would 2 pairs, and I was ok with that.

I’ve bought men’s sneakers for as long as I can remember. My foot is very wide at my toes, and I’ve never been able to find women’s shoes that fit right. They have always been too tight. The problem with having wide feet is the really cool looking shoes never come in my size. My choices are usually black shoes or white shoes. The last ones I bought were white. To make them more fun, I bought different coloured laces. One pair had green laces and the other had purple. The shoes were good when I bought them, but that was in November. And since I wear them everyday, they are pretty worn down. So worn down, in fact, that they squeak when I walk. Very annoying. Way past time for new ones.

So last week, I went to the mall to look for shoes. I went into one store that I’ve shopped at before. It is a sporting goods store. I stood there looking at the men’s sneakers for a few minutes. I picked up a couple to look at them and then put them back. There was another guy looking at shoes as well. After about 5-10 minutes, a salesman finally came up to the guy and asked if he needed help. He answered the guys questions, and when he was done, he walked in my direction. BUT instead of stopping to ask if I needed help, he walked right by me! He didn’t even look at me! So I picked up my bag and walked out of the store. Then I went to another shoe store nearby. Again, I walked in and looked at the men’s sneakers. The salesman came over to talk to him. I told him what I wanted. He tried to get me to buy the most expensive shoes in the store. I pointed out shoes that my trainer just purchased, and the salesman said they were not right for me. So I thanked him and left the store. I felt defeated. I didn’t think I’d ever find new shoes.

I told Tyler the story and he said he’d go with me and help me find shoes that will work for me. So we went today. We went to the same store where the guy tried to sell me the expensive shoes. He wasn’t working. There was a very nice lady working today. Tyler suggested I try on women’s sneakers first to see if they fit now. So we picked out a couple of pairs and the saleswoman went to see if they had the size. They did. So I tried on the first pair. AND THEY FIT!! Amazingly, my feet seemed to have shrunk. I guess that makes sense since the rest of me is shrinking too. The shoes fit incredibly well. I tried on the other pair, but they didn’t fit as well. So I went back to the first pair. Love love love them! The best part is they are good for running as well as my regular workouts! And they were on sale. I bought 2 pairs, different colours. In fact, I wore the first pair out of the store. Then Tyler and I went back to the gym where I tried out my new shoes on the treadmill. So far, I’m super happy. I can hardly wait to take them outside for a workout. I’ll let you know how they hold up.

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Aren’t they beautiful?!

I’m hoping these new shoes will be the first step in getting me back on track and out of this slump I’m in. Time will tell, but I’m feeling good about it. I’m feeling sort of empowered with these new shoes. I’m starting to feel excited again about working out. Like I said, it’s been a good day.

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“When the student is ready, the teacher will come”

I almost always take the bus to the gym. I live in a smallish town and our public transit is pretty good. And to be honest, I actually enjoy the ride. It gives me a chance to think, to read, to write, to play games on my phone, or to finish waking up. And sometimes I chat with other people on the bus. I’ve had some pretty good conversations on the way to the gym.

There is one lady I’ve had several chats with since January. We’ve talked a lot about weight loss and my journey. A few weeks ago she was telling me that she was talking to a friend of hers about me. Her friend asked my name, and she laughed and said she didn’t know, she never asked. We both laughed about that. After all the conversations we’ve had, it never occurred to either of us that we didn’t know each others names. It only took 5 months, but she finally found out my name. And her name is Amber.

Not long after that, Amber and I were having a discussion about destiny and reasons things happen. I said, I don’t know how or why I got so lucky to have found Tyler, but I’m not questioning it. He has done more for me than I can really explain. I’ve never met anyone like him before. And she said “when the student is ready, the teacher will come.” She explained that when someone is ready, truly ready to make a change in their life, the person or persons who can best help will reveal themselves. I thought that was brilliant! I had never thought of it that way, but it makes complete sense. Because I’d proven I am serious this time about becoming a healthier person, Tyler showed up to help me. And, to be honest, I don’t think it’s just him. I think all the amazing friends I’ve made in the past year and a half showed up to help me along in my journey. Liz, Matt, Aidan, Karen, Jenn, Chase, Sarah, Sean, and Edel are just a few of the other wonderful people I now call my friends. They keep me inspired and motivated. And they are always there for me.

And it doesn’t just apply to a journey like mine. In theory, it could apply to any change or life journey. We all need support. We all need help in one way or another. When we really need it, that help shows up. The trick, of course, is learning to recognize it when it does. I hope I’ve been able to do that. I would hate to think that I’ve squandered a gift like that. And I hope all my supporters know just how much I appreciate everything they’ve done and continue to do for me. They mean the world to me. And I don’t know where I’d be without them.

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GUEST POST – The benefits of friendship and support systems

I asked my friend Sarah to write a guest post for my blog. This is what she sent me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

Thank you, Sarah. You’re awesome, my friend.

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The Benefits of Friendship and Support Systems

I have always had the idea in my mind that having support when starting a fitness journey was not an essential part of the process. I never thought much of having a workout buddy or that there would be benefits to having someone there trucking along right beside you through the pain and gain. This all changed when I met Jenn. We very quickly established a strong friendship. I soon realized how wrong I had been with my thought process. Jenn is kind, caring and listens to all the struggles I go through. She understands how hard this journey can be because she is experiencing it herself. After Jenn, I started to meet other people who were like minded at the gym and were always willing to give me helpful advice and support. Without Jenn and these other great supporters in my life, I would not be able to get through as easily as I have. They make the journey fun, exciting and glorious.

Having strong friendships create your support system. These people listen to your concerns, help you create alternative plans if something isn’t working, comforts you through struggles and pain and they give you a sense of belonging and happiness. They help you change unhealthy lifestyle habits and encourage you to give better ones a try.

This being said, these kinds of friendships and relationships do not happen by themselves, it takes effort. Just as much as you need them, they need you. The enjoyment and comfort friendship can provide, however, makes the investment worthwhile.

So I want to thank Jenn for opening up my eyes to my new mantra. She made my belief possible and continues to be a wonderful friend in life and my fitness journey.

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Still struggling

Why? I don’t understand it. I’m still fighting with myself over everything — workouts, motivation, food. It’s out of control. And I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know how to get back on track. I know what I need to do. I know what not to eat. So why am I having such a hard time??? To make matters worse, I feel like I’m letting my supporters down because I’m not doing what I should be. I feel like some of them may be disappointed in me. And that hurts. But what can I expect? I’m just making excuse after excuse lately. I’m eating things I shouldn’t. I’m not pushing myself as hard as I know I can. Everything seems so much harder than it should be. I’m better than this. I know that. I know I can push through the aches and sore muscles. I know how to eat clean. But just because I know it, doesn’t mean I’m applying it. I’m making excuses. And I’m being lazy. I’m disappointed in myself, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find out others are disappointed too. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn some are ready to give up on me. Maybe they think I’ve given up on myself. I haven’t. I really haven’t. I’m just struggling. And I don’t know how to get out of it. I’m trying. Really I am. There are times I just want to sit in a corner and cry. I don’t know what’s wrong. How can I fix it if I don’t know what’s wrong?? It’s taking just about everything I have to get myself to the gym. That leaves very little to push myself through my workouts. I look in the mirror and I don’t like what I see. I see someone on the brink of failure, the edge of giving up. And I’m fighting with her. I’m fighting hard to stay in the game. But I’m worried. I’m afraid I’m losing to her. And it scares me. I need help. I need someone to say its okay, to help me find the drive I once had, to help me defeat that girl that wants to give up.

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Trouble with motivation

I don’t know what’s wrong lately, but I’m struggling. I’m having a lot of trouble staying motivated. I don’t seem to have enough drive. All I want to do is eat or sleep. I don’t know what it is. I haven’t been to the gym for several days now — I took Thursday off for my mom’s birthday, I couldn’t push myself to go Friday or all weekend, and today is a holiday so buses aren’t running. I don’t know where my motivation and drive has gone, but I wish it would come back.

I thought I had this self-motivation thing under control, but I guess I was wrong. I had gotten pretty good at pushing myself. Or so I thought. Suddenly I can’t seem to make myself do what I need to do. And I don’t know why.

I don’t want to give up. I want to keep going. I need to keep going. So what’s the problem?? Why am I having so much trouble?

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Maybe tomorrow I will feel better when I wake up. Maybe tomorrow I will be ready to go when my alarm goes off. Maybe tomorrow I will be excited when I get to the gym. Maybe tomorrow I won’t have a problem pushing myself. Maybe.

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Memories – Happy Birthday Mom

Today would have been my mom’s 66th birthday. I went to sleep last night thinking of her and woke up this morning thinking of her. I’m filled with memories today. Everything seems to remind me of her today.

I took the day off from the gym today because I knew it would be a hard day for me. Yesterday I took in cupcakes I made in honour of her birthday — butter pecan cake with whipped cream cheese frosting. Everyone said they were good. (For the record, I did not eat one, although I did have a little bit of frosting). Baking always reminds me of my mom because she’s the one who got me interested in baking. I can remember being a little girl and helping her in the kitchen. She taught me to cook as well, but baking became my passion. Christmas just didn’t feel the same until we started baking. I still feel that way now. Even when I was recovering from my surgery, I still baked at Christmas. It has always made me feel connected to her. Probably more so now that she’s gone.

As I get older, I find myself doing things like she did. It used to bug me, when I was in my teens and 20s. But not now. Now it seems kind of special. I wonder if my brothers and sister feel the same way. Do they find themselves doing things or saying things like she did? If so, I wonder how they feel about it. I will admit my mom and I were not always close. I was a daddy’s girl growing up. Mom and I clashed a few times when I was a teenager. And after my parents split up, we didn’t talk for a few years. But life has a way of bringing people closer. Mom and I mended our differences and grew quite close. When I found out she wouldn’t be able to travel to my wedding, Dan and I moved our wedding to her so she could be there. She even made my veil. When I moved far away, I tried to call and visit as often as I could. It got harder and harder to visit though. And I regret that. I hope she knew how much I loved her and wished I could have visited more often. It breaks my heart to think otherwise.

A couple of years ago, my dad and I went to visit his brother. My mom was always close with my Aunt Liz, even after my parents divorced. And when I saw my aunt, I realized just how much she reminded me of my mom. It was Easter weekend of 2011. I called my mom while we were there and let her talk to Aunt Liz. It meant a lot to me to hear them talking. And I think it meant a lot to my mom too. When we visited again after my mom died and after my uncle died, I was reminded again of how much my aunt was like my mom. I think I told her that too. At least I hope I did. My aunt is a very special woman too.

When my mom died, I was nearly derailed off my journey completely. I felt like I was in a fog for probably 6 months. I wasn’t sure I was ever going to come out of it. But I did. And I think I’m stronger because of it. I think about my mom a lot. I’d like to think she’s proud of me and what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s the memories of her that help keep me going, keep me from giving up. There are days that I cry when I think about her. And there are other days when I smile and laugh. Like when I think about her up there spoiling my cat Sloan who died in 2010. Even though mom never got to meet Sloan, she would make him toys at Christmas and he loved them. Mom had a cat named Maxx and she spoiled him. I can just imagine her spoiling Sloan the same way. My other cat who died, Jale, might be harder for her to spoil, but I bet she found a way. It’s thoughts like those that make me smile and miss her even more.

She got the chance to see my home or the town where I live. But I bet she would have loved it here. Most of the time, my area is very peaceful. I think she would have liked walking along the waterfront. Or driving around the county. I wanted to shoot a video for her, so she could see where I lived, but I never got around to it. I regret that. But I try not to dwell on things like that. I try not to have regrets. Life is too short. Losing my mom so young made me realize that. I try to live a better life in part because of her. I miss her every day. And I think I always will.

I love you, Mom. And I miss you so much. Happy Birthday.

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A letter to my mom

This week is a difficult time for me, with Mother’s Day and what would have been my mom’s birthday within days of each other. I lost my mom in 2011. I miss her every day. There are times when I just want to pick up the phone and call her. I want to tell her about my accomplishments, my achievements. I want to hear the pride in her voice. I want to visit her, hug her, tell her I love her. With that in mind, I’ve written her a letter to tell her all the things I wish I could tell her now.

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Dear Mom,

I miss you so much. I’m sorry I didn’t call as often as I should have. I sorry I didn’t make more of an effort to visit. I hope you know how much I love you. Even now. Even though you have been gone almost 2 years. It’s hard to believe sometimes that it’s been almost 2 years. Time has really flown by. There is so much I wish I could have said to you before you left us. There is so much I want to tell you now. Jerry let me have the angel bear I gave you. It’s sitting on the shelf above my desk. And the angel picture you painted for me so many years ago is still hanging on the wall in my bedroom. They remind me of you, as if I need reminding. I like to think you are watching over me.

I wish you were here to see the woman I’m becoming, the woman I think you always wanted me to be. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you sooner. I know you always wanted the best for me. We clashed on several occasions about what was best for me. I did hear the things you said, even if it appeared I didn’t. I heard them, but didn’t truly understand. I know that now. I’m sorry it took me so long to understand.

I wish I could tell you how much I admired you, how much I wanted to be like you. You were always a strong person, especially when times were tough, like when your dad died, and when you and dad split up. I was so shy and introverted, I didn’t think I’d ever be as strong as you. I’ve proved myself wrong there. I think I’m very strong, much more so that I ever thought possible. I think I owe some of that to you, for showing me the way. Thank you for that.

I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you about my health. I know now that I wasn’t ready. I heard the things you said, I just wasn’t ready to change. I’m sorry it took so long for me to be ready. I’m sorry I didn’t listen when you got sick. I’m sorry it took me getting sick to realize how right you were. I hope you are happy that I’m finally getting it right.

I know I wasn’t always a good kid. I know we had our problems. But I always loved you, always respected you. I was just trying to find my own way, be my own person. You taught me that. I am who I am and who I’m becoming because of you and dad, of the things you taught me, of the ways you showed me, even if you didn’t realize that’s what you were doing.

I wish I could talk to you about my journey. I want to share my accomplishments with you. I want to cry on your shoulder when I’m struggling. I hope you are proud of me, of what I’m doing. I’m proud of myself. I’m not sure I ever thought I could be this person. But I like being this person. No, that’s not right … I love being this person. I’m doing things I didn’t think I would ever be able to do. I wish you could meet the new friends I’ve made. They are a great bunch of people. I think you would like them. At least I hope you would.

I love you so much, Mom. I wish you were still here. I know it was your time to go. I know you are in a better place. But there are days when I really need you. I will always miss you. I will always keep you close to my heart. I will always love you.

Your loving daughter,

Jenn

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Struggling to get back into routine

I’ve back from my trip to Arizona for a few days now but I’m struggling. Struggling to get back into my routine. Struggling to get back to normal. The day after I returned, I was at the gym. But it was hard. I barely managed to get through some cardio. The next day seemed just as hard. Tyler and I worked outside for the first time this year. We did hill runs. Although Tyler said I got my best time ever, I felt like I struggled badly. Why do things seem so much harder when we return after time off? I think the “old” me would have given up this week. But the “new” me doesn’t want to. The new me wants to keep going, to get back to what I should be doing. So why is it so hard? Why do I sometimes feel like I can’t do it? And it’s not just my workouts. I’m struggling to get back to my normal eating patterns too. I’m trying not to be hard on myself. I was gone for more than a week, so I know it will take time to get back into the swing of things. I just have to keep that in my head and do my best each day. And turn to my support crew when I feel like I’m slipping. And hopefully that will work.

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Forgive me Tyler for I have sinned …

I was bad. And not just a little. I ate a lot, and lot of it was not exactly the best things I could have chosen. I knew I’d be a little bad, but didn’t think I’d be as bad as I was. I ate a lot of good food. And most of it, I don’t regret eating. And I was way off schedule too. I wasn’t eating every 2-3 hours like I’m used to. It was often 4-5 hours between meals. And the meals were pretty large too. And then there was the snacking. Okay, some of the snacking was good, like apples and grapes, but a lot of it wasn’t. I tried to get pictures of everything, but I forgot a few times.

The day I left, I lost track of what I ate and when. But I started the day with a breakfast sandwich from Tim Horton’s. The night I arrived, we went to Red Robin. I had a burger with a side salad. I forgot to take a picture of it.

The next day we went to cold stone creamery. I had a kids size ice cream. It was delicious. That night, Jeff’s parents made breaded chicken corn on the cob for dinner. I forgot to take pictures again. We also had strawberries and whipped cream for dessert.

Tuesday, I did pretty good until dinner. Jeff and I went out for Mexican food. We loaded up on chips and salsa before we got our entrees. I had a sampler plate. It was fabulous! And we had sopapillas for dessert.

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Wednesday, I was pretty good until after lunch. I had a great 1/2 sandwich for lunch, but it was big! Then we went to Costco where we indulged in several samples as we walked around. Then for dinner, we went to ihop where I had eggs, hash browns, turkey bacon and cheesecake pancakes topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

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Thursday, I had pretzel bites at the mall in the afternoon. Then that night, Jeff’s parents made dinner again. We had baked ziti with ground turkey, garlic bread, and a salad of carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers. We had apple pie with whipped cream for dessert. Again, I forgot to take pictures.

Now Friday is where I went a little crazy. It was Relay day. For lunch, I had a 1/2 of a corned beef, pastrami, and brisket sandwich on rye bread, with a small side of coleslaw, and a mini cannoli for dessert. Dinner at the Relay was a chicken breast with a Marsala mushroom sauce, with pasta and Caesar salad, and a fortune cookie. During the rest of the night, I ate dried fruit, trail mix and beef jerky.

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There are 12 mini cannoli there … but I didn’t eat them all … I only ate about half of them

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Saturday, we went to a Chinese buffet, including ice cream for dessert. And I had 2 more mini cannoli.

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That’s the 2nd plate I filled up at the buffet

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Sunday, I had the other half of the pastrami, corned beef and brisket sandwich for breakfast; a blt sandwich, with a mini chocolate covered pretzel blizzard at lunch; and for dinner we went out for Mexican again. We had bean dip and chips to start, then I had a cup of tortilla soup and chili verde for an entree, and a 3/4 of a cinnamon-sugar sopapilla with cream for dessert. Then later that night I had another mini cannoli.

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Monday, we went out for breakfast where I had a skillet of potatoes with scrambled eggs, green chilies, chorizo and jalapeño cheese. Dinner was hamburgers, corn on the cob, tomatoes and cucumbers at Jeff’s parents. Dessert was angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream and mini cannoli.

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Tuesday, I ate Doritos, trail mix, breakfast enchiladas with chorizo and scrambled eggs, and an ice cream cone from McDonald’s all before boarding my plane home. On the plane, I ate popcorn, trail mix, and beef jerky.

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The worst part is I didn’t workout as much as I should have. While I did a fair amount of walking, especially at the Relay, Jeff and I only made it to the gym once, and we went swimming once.

I’m looking forward to getting back to my regular routine. And working off the indulging I did while I was away. I think next time I go away, I won’t leave the voice in my head at home.

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