Where it all began 5 years ago...

5 years ago today, I went to a conference at work where I had an 'ah-ha' moment that started this whole thing.

One decision to start led to losing 75 pounds, learning to love myself, gaining confidence, finding my purpose and the courage to pursue my dreams and start my own business.

ALL OF THIS from one simple decision to just start. 

The next day, after the conference, I decided to start blogging again. I used to blog way back in college about running, but I stopped when I hurt my shin and life spiraled after that. I blogged the early days of my journey and I then moved to this lovely site instead. I wanted to republish a few of my blogs in the early days of my journey. Maybe you are on the starting line of your journey, looking at all of these women on social media, feeling like they just don't get it.

Girl, I get it. I was there too once. And one simple decision to start could change your life, just as it did mine.

Here is the blog I wrote, September 28th, 2012, the day after I attended the work conference:

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This is weird for me. This blog used to mean so much to me and now I have not blogged in over a year. I have stopped running, I am not happy with myself and honestly I feel like I don't even know who I am anymore.  As I read through old posts on here, I remember how much joy running brought me. Why did I let a stupid injury stop me?

Lots of things in my life have changed over the last year. I got into a bad relationship, forgot who I was completely. I gave up my entire life for someone who I wasn't all too interested in.  I liked the idea of him, but didn't really like him. Eventually, I realized that he wasn't what I wanted and I broke things off. Ever since then, I feel like I have been in this weird process of trying to find myself.  Who the heck am I? What do I want? What are my goals?

I have been doing a lot of soul searching, lots of reading, trying to pinpoint what I need to do to get back on track.  Yesterday, I went to a luncheon for work.  It was an all women's luncheon and to be honest, I was completely dreading it. I have lots of work to do and I really didn't want to drive 30 minutes to eat lunch and be lectured.  Anyways, I went and oh my, it was EXACTLY what I needed.  Funny how that happens.  The speaker talked about how to find harmony in life. How to be at peace with yourself.  She made us write a list of our accomplishments, ten of them. Ten accomplishments?  I sat there, my mind was blank.  While everyone else scribbled things down quickly, I sat there frozen.  An accomplishment? I have nothing. So my accomplishments were:

1. Bought a new car
2. Ended a bad relationship
3. Got a new job
4. Adopted a new puppy

...and that is as far as I got. Four things? That is all I have done in 2012? We are 10 months into the year and I have four lousy accomplishments?! All of my coworkers had long lists of accomplishments that included getting married, having children, running marathons, getting promoted, being happy. I won't lie, I felt pretty lousy.  The speaker then had us write down our Disappointments.  Oh phew, something easy.  So while everyone at the table sat there looking puzzled, I scribbled down a very long list.  Pretty sad.  Well, my list included not saving as much money as I wanted, losing friends, being single, not making as much money as I wanted to, not losing weight, not working out, not being happy...and oh boy, I could go on forever. 

She then asked us to compare our accomplishments and disappointments. And just as everyone in the room noticed, all of our accomplishments and disappointments were within our OWN control.  Those accomplishments were things I did, things I put my mind to and succeeded. The disappointments were things I did not work hard enough at, things I had a bad attitude about.  If I want to gain more friends, lose weight, workout more, make more money...I can do all of that. The only thing in my way is myself. 

Why? Why do I do this to myself? Why do I allow my fears get in the way of accomplishing the things I want to do with myself. Why do I downplay my accomplishments and focus on my disappointments? 

I started to read "Your Best Year Yet" today, one that was recommended by the speaker.  10 steps towards having the best year of your life.  Easy enough, right? Step one...make a list of your accomplishments. AGAIN?! Ok, so I sat down and took an inventory of the last year. I made a good attempt to give myself credit where credit was deserved.

My new list of accomplishments:

1. Bought a new car - my dream car
2. Ended a horrible relationship
3. Got a new job, which I really enjoy
4. Adopted the sweetest puppy ever
5. Learned to clean and maintain a clean apartment - constantly
6. Gave up gluten completely - solved my stomach issues
7. Remained single after tough breakup, giving myself time to focus on ME
8. Lost weight on my own from eating better
9. Learned to manage my anxiety without medication
10. Gained responsibility at work

This time, I was able to get all 10. And I feel really good about all 10. Sure, there are things I wish that I could put on that list. But, I guess that is what the list is for. See your accomplishments and all the things you wish you could put on that list go on your 'disappointment' list. And the goal is to make those disappointments become accomplishments. 

Next step is making a new disappointment list. I will make time to take a deep inventory of what I want.  More to come :)

Jess
 

Hammer and Chisel Round 2

If you saw my latest blog post, then you will know – I successfully completed Hammer and Chisel. I loved it so much that I decided I wanted to do another round…which starts today!

I had incredible results my first round – countless inches and 13.7 lbs lost which helped me hit my goal weight that I set three years ago at the beginning of my journey. I have a feeling round two is going to be a bit more challenging considering we will be moving into our dream house this week and I have a very sick little boy at home! We are living out of boxes right now and Ben has been sick for about a week now. To say I am stressed is a massive understatement right now. But I am reminding myself that this is called a LIFEstyle for a reason. If we only worked out and ate healthy when we felt good, we probably would rarely do it because let’s face it – life for most of us is crazy and hectic.  

For this round, my goal is not weight loss, although I do still plan to follow the Lean Out meal plan. My goal is to continue to build muscle and lean out.

We close on our dream home tomorrow and this week will be spent working and then working on our house to prepare to move this weekend. We won’t be home much in the evenings which can make dinner time and meal planning tough. I did my best to think ahead and get a plan together.

Here is my meal plan for this week (following the 1,200-1,400 plan):

Before workout: energize preworkout (free)

Post workout: recover post workout shake (free)

Breakfast: two eggs, banana oat waffles with peanut butter and black coffee (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 purple, 2 tsps)

Mid Morning: fruit (1 purple)

Lunch: mixed green salad with grilled chicken and sweet onion citrus vinaigrette (2 greens, 1 red, 1 orange)

Afternoon: Café Latte shakeology and water (1 red)

Dinner: hasselback chicken (adding in cheese to get 1 full blue) with broccoli and brown rice (1 red, 1 green, 1 blue, 1 yellow)

Water intake goal: 128 ounces

My meal prep this weekend consisted of:

-          Making a double batch of the batter for my waffles (Ben eats these too!)

-          Grilling 5 servings of chicken for my salads

-          Cooking the brown rice for my dinners

-          Prepping and cooking 6 servings of my hasselback chicken

-          Cooking my husband 10 servings of his own version of burrito bowls (I bulk his up with more chicken and rice and cook it on the stove)

Since our food is almost all cooked for the week, I am hoping it will make it easier for us to stay on track this week while we are on the go!

Follow My Journey

So here we are. December 3rd, 2015. The New Year is right around the corner.

Three years ago, I used December as an excuse to eat like crap and relax…and wait for the New Year to get back on track. I would spend the month over eating and over drinking which always led to even more weight gain. Now that I am three years into my journey, I hate the idea of waiting for the New Year to make a change. Did you know Americans gain on average of 10-12 pounds during the holidays? Then come January, people find this spurt of motivation and set out to lose weight. The gyms get packed, people go crazy over dieting and losing weight – yet it never lasts long. Weight loss can’t just be a New Year’s resolution, it has to be a way of life – a choice you make every day of the year, regardless of which month or holiday it is.

I am three years into my journey and down 70 pounds. I didn’t lose this weight and keep it off just because of a New Year’s resolution. I did it because I value my health and my confidence. Every single day for the past three years, I have made the choice to continue on and make this a lifestyle. I refuse to spend an entire month gorging myself with food and then working to lose it next month. It makes no sense.

This month, I will be following the Hammer and Chisel program. It is a 60 Day Beachbody program with Autumn and Sagi that is going to help me build more muscle and get shredded. So, while everyone else is packing on the pounds, I will be shedding them and getting in the best shape of my life. I refuse to sabotage myself this month. This program means workouts and a meal plan. Is it going to be easy during the holidays? Absolutely not. But, it is a choice I am making and I know I can do it.

I plan to blog my way through this program so I can share my experience and also keep myself accountable. Hopefully you will follow my journey!

Would You Rather...?

Would you rather…

See a specific number on the scale OR fit in a certain size?

For the longest time I thought scale = size. Thought If I could just be a certain weight, then I would finally be a size 4. I know I am not alone here when I say that I used to define myself by what the scale told me. If I was up a pound – then I was pissed, fat, discouraged, depressed and wanted to quit. Yet – if I was down a pound – then I was happy, on top of the world, excited and lean. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The fluctuation of a POUND or two could either make me feel like I was a cow or it could make me feel incredible.

WHY do we do this?? Why do we put so much value in a stupid number?!

If I have learned anything on my journey, it is that your weight does not mean a thing. Yes, I still get caught up in the number every now and then. But when I really think about it, the scale says nothing about me.

It doesn’t tell me how pretty I am.
It doesn’t tell me how fit I am.
It doesn’t tell me how much muscle I have.
It doesn’t tell me if I am healthy.
It doesn’t tell me my self-worth.
It doesn’t tell me how successful I am.

I used to think I had to be 130 in order to be in shape and healthy. That if I wasn’t that specific number, then I was not good enough. I would let the scale determine if I was going to quit or not. And when the scale didn’t change by 10+ pounds in a week, I thought this whole healthy lifestyle thing was a joke.

And, here I am today. Weighing in at 148 lbs and in the BEST shape of my entire life. I wear a size 4 comfortably and my shirts are an XS. I highly doubt too many people hear 148 pounds and think fit and healthy. Most people don’t associate a number higher than 140 with healthy and fit. My journey has taught me that the scale means nothing. People can be 120 pounds and be more UNHEALTHY than someone who weighs 170 pounds.

Define your success on how you feel. If you feel incredible, don’t let the fluctuation on the scale make you feel otherwise. Don’t give it that power over you. If the scale has too much power over you, then stop weighing yourself. Put your scale in your trunk. Give it to a friend. Tell your husband to hide it…and only bring it out when you know that you will continue to feel amazing no matter what the number reads.

Let your clothes, pictures, mood and measurements define your success…not a dumb number.