Thankful for the struggle

Thankful for struggle

Wow it’s been a hot second since my last blog post and for that I sincerely apologize. EEK!! In the past six months I can say that I’m thrilled with where life is taking me! There have been many changes in my life–I officially became a Beachbody coach in June, got a new car in August (bye bye mini van) and moved into my very own apartment in September. YAY!

I’m so beyond blessed with life right now!! BUT I can assure you that it hasn’t always been this way. I haven’t always been this positive and cheerful. I believe that the only way I am able to fully appreciate each of these wonderful aspects of my life NOW is by reflecting on my past struggles. I’ve been through A LOT in my life-I mean who hasn’t? We all have baggage and stuff that has happened to us. However, it’s all about how we handle those obstacles and struggles. I love the quote posted above so very much and it couldn’t be more true.

“I’m thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.”

It’s no secret that my move from Buffalo, New York to Raleigh, North Carolina after graduating from college in May 2012 was very very hard on me, if not one of the hardest things I have EVER done. My first year of teaching and living on my own in a new state was quite the challenge. Not only was I anxious and homesick 99.9% of the time but I felt so conflicted in the fact that I didn’t think teaching was for me. I remember calling my mom sobbing–telling her I was going to pack up my car and head home SEVERAL TIMES. I even researched what it would cost to rent a U-Haul and trailer my car home, that’s how miserable I was. It was nobody’s fault, I was just so uncomfortable with being me and navigating this unknown territory just sent me in a downward anxiety ridden spiral. The only way I knew how to make myself feel better was through my anxiety medication (which I don’t think ever helped) and eating (until February 2013). I found comfort in gorging myself on any fast food that I could find. I looked forward to weekends with Ben and Jerry and Netflix–that is before Netflix and Chill was a thing…I was trapped in my own body and I was in denial that I had an eating problem.

While I was in North Carolina I had this attitude that I was the victim and everyone should feel bad for me. I always dreaded the flights “home” from Buffalo to Raleigh. I cried on my drive home from the airport before stopping at McDonald’s and then curling up in my bed full of tears to nap away my misery. I just assumed I was destined to be anxious and miserable and that’s how my life was going to be. I didn’t see it getting any better and I felt very little purpose in life. I was truly going through the daily motions and hoping for a miracle.

November 2015 TransformationMy miracle finally came on February 6th, 2013 when I decided to join Planet Fitness and attend my first Weight Watchers meeting because one of my students in my class told me that I was the biggest. I was so embarrassed and heartbroken in that moment. I felt so hurt and ashamed that I let a second grader define my size. BUT I had been struggling for so very long that I truly NEEDED that. That student was the voice of so many family and friends that wanted to say something but couldn’t because they probably didn’t want to hurt my feelings. This student didn’t care about my feelings but I’m so much stronger now because of that comment. I let that comment define me in the moment but it truly changed my life for the better. That comment sparked my healthy lifestyle and I’m extremely thankful for this journey.

It’s truly not about how much weight I’ve lost anymore. It’s not about a number on the scale. It’s not about the fastest mile. It’s not about the heaviest squat. It’s not about how many Beachbody customers I have. It’s about what this journey has taught me. It’s about appreciating and embracing the fact that I came from a very low place in North Carolina. I went from letting my anxiety and struggle with emotional eating control me to loving life as a Beachbody coach with BIG goals. The fact that I just typed that brings tears to my eyes. Happy tears just streaming down my face. I never ever thought that I could help myself let alone inspire anyone else.

This journey has brought me strangers from all over the world that I now am blessed to call my friends, an amazing team, confidence I never knew I had, and a much bigger purpose in life. I couldn’t say any of this in February 2013. Dream Big. Get Fit. 2016 is going to be the best year yet. Love you all. ❤

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Failure is fuel.

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for awhile now…..for the past few weeks months, I know that I’ve gained at the scale. BAD. There is no denying that so….. I’ve been contemplating going back to Weight Watchers. I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the way that I look and feel. I constantly compare to what I looked like last summer and how CLOSE I was to my goal last July/August. Also, timehop is a b.i.t.c.h. Therefore, last Friday, May 29th 2015 I have re-committed to Weight Watchers for the sole purpose that it works. YAY! It was a super vulnerable feeling walking through those doors again but I knew it had to be done. I felt my absolute BEST last summer at 157lbs and the fact that I let the pounds pile back on is so so upsetting. I know I should have never quit in October in the first place. It just kills me that I spent from February 2013-October 2014 losing all this weight, driving to the gym, putting in the work, running all the miles, doing all the grocery shopping, just to basically end up right where I started. Those thoughts alone bring me to tears. You can add up all the time and money that was spent on the first journey but that WILL NOT push you forward. I’m making a promise to myself that I can’t obsess about the past, the only direction is forward. I have to let the past go and realize that this journey is a new beginning and I have to remember that I’ve done this before and I’m worth it to myself to get healthy again. My favorite part about the quote above, “the time will pass anyway” is something I have to hold onto because just as the time will pass anyway, I can’t rewind or erase the mistakes. It happened and I have to use this failure as fuel to push forward and the simple fact that I know where I was and where I can be is motivation enough. (See happy July 2014 photo below)

Transformation December 2014This quote reminds me to just get back up!

never quit quote

In addition, if there is anything I have learned on this journey is that you have to do what works for you and only do it for YOU. Do it because you want to crush your goals. Do it so that you can walk into your favorite store and try on that awesome outfit without hesitation. Do it because you deserve to walk around with the highest level of confidence and you deserve to feel the most comfortable in your own skin. People may suggest other weight loss products and programs BUT you know you best. I know that I can’t simply eat clean and workout..maybe you can but I KNOW that I need to track my points and exercise. I also need that accountability to someone at the scale every single week. That’s the only way IT WORKS for ME. This does not make any program better than another though. In this life we get to choose what works for us and if you’re killin’ it with a different program but still working towards the best version of you and you’re happy doing it..then GO YOU! We’re all in this together and nobody should knock someone else’s journey to becoming healthier simply because it’s not their program of choice. DO YOU ALWAYS.

Recently, someone shared with me that it’s hard to get back on track and tracking their points is hard. That statement really made me think that yes, nobody wakes up and says, “YES I LOVE TO TRACK, TRACKING IS MY FAVORITE” nobody wants to count calories or track their food in any app and if you genuinely do…then I need to meet you and get your autograph. It would be GREAT if we could all eat what we wanted without keeping track or putting in the work during workouts. However, personally, I feel that being overweight is harder. Walking around feeling uncomfortable and not fitting into the clothes I wore last summer is harder. Running at a slower pace than last summer is harder. Taking 17 minutes longer on this year’s half-marathon is harder. Not being able to sit down without feeling my fat rolls rolling on top of each other is harder. Not being a size 10 is harder. (Yes, I went there) It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting to not be 110% happy with you. Tracking IS hard, there is no minimizing the time and energy that must go into preparing food and workouts BUT gaining 35 pounds in 8 months is harder for me. (Ouch. Makes me sick.) Choose your hard. That is all.

But I would rather end on a positive note SO here is a wonderful transformation photo of me at 214 pounds to running my FOURTH half-marathon and Sunday’s meal prep. YAY. Smiles all around for moving forward. Can’t wait to see my Sunday warriors this week! Keep on keepin’ on fitfam! 🙂

4th half transformationmeal prep

What the scale WON’T tell you but my smile will

Yesterday, I finally returned to my favorite Sunday Warrior’s Weight Watchers meeting for the first time since my FIRST half-marathon and my SECOND half-marathon with a trip to Disney in between. SHOCKING. I thought to myself, “I’ve been so determined, what the hell happened!?” Well I realized that life happens and that it’s okay. The scale slips away from everyone but most importantly what I’ve learned from this whole process is that you have to OWN whatever happens and most importantly, keep kicking ass and taking names! I will say with confidence that I am actually HAPPY I gained 1.6 pounds. Yes, call me crazy but I was expecting at least a 6 pound gain from Disney (that damn Mickey ice cream!) and losing track over the past few weeks. Regardless, it’s definitely a weight off of my shoulders (I’m so punny) since I anticipated the absolute worst but was pleasantly surprised. I tend to do this a lot, as you will realize later…..

Enough about a number though. Really, what is ONE number (okay, more like three numbers strung together sometimes 4 because you can weigh like 135.2) going to tell you? Yesterday my leader (whom I adore and is super inspirational and motivational and just ALL OF THE GOOD FEELS) said something that really stuck, “Do not let 10 seconds on the scale determine your week.” This statement really got me thinking that everyone in that room is so much more than a number and we should not let the scale dictate or measure our happiness. You’re really going to let ONE number tell you that you ran 66 miles this month?! YOU BETTER NOT. I believe that anyone who is on a weightloss journey should not let one measly number define them. I mean for goodness sakes if I let a number control and define me, I’d have quit the first time I gained. Not to mention, I’ve run TWO HALF-MARATHONS since the last time I sat with my Sunday Warriors. The scale won’t tell ANYONE that.

The scale won’t tell you how my body was yelling at me during Saturday’s half because it was 88 degrees outside and I was so dehydrated. (Never doing that again!) I don’t think you understand unless you have actually ran in a 5k or half marathon or marathon that your brain starts to think some pretty crazy stuff. I wanted people sitting outside their houses to just turn their hoses on and cool everyone off. I envisioned the children standing on the road running inside and getting me a damn freezie pop. That’s when you know you’ve lost it, like when this one woman handing out water told me she could see the finish line at the 11 mile mark and I thought to myself, “NO YOU CAN’T. DON’T YOU DARE LIE TO ME.” In all reality I know she was trying to be encouraging but don’t tell me you can actually SEE the finish when it’s INSIDE the stadium and TWO miles away. I’m dying here, THANKS. After I saw someone on the side of the road with an ambulance I thought to myself, “Chelsea it’s hot, you need to slow down, who cares what your time is you are just aiming to finish standing up at this point.” So that was my mentality for the rest of the race. I figured my time was going to be a lot slower compare to my first race due to the hills and heat. So here I go with the whole anticipating the worst thing…..I mean not that I’m obsessing over numbers or anything but my first half marathon was on May 25th which I ran in 2:31:11 and Saturday’s 50 yard finish was 2:28:52. The scale won’t tell me that I actually beat my time!  The scale won’t measure the happiness that I felt when I found out that I beat this time earlier today. The scale also won’t tell you about the real smile in this transformation picture but I will.

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That smile comes from over a year of hard work, persistence, determination, dedication and defeat. I feel it’s important to discuss the defeat I have experienced as this journey is far from perfect. That smile also comes from the fact that in February 2013 I could barely run 13:20/mile and just last week in Delaware Park I ran one mile in 8:40. TONIGHT I RAN ONE MILE IN 8:35!!! That smile comes from an endless list of accomplishing things that I never thought were possible. That smile comes from the fact that I was once wearing size 18 pants and now I fit into a size 8. That smile comes from the fact that I no longer wear XXL shirts. That smile comes from the fact that I can be comfortable in shorts and a tank top. That smile comes from the fact that even when your body wants to quit, when every muscle is aching, your head is pounding, sweat is in your eyes, you want to faint, puke and collapse all at once, YOU DO NOT GIVE IN. That smile tells you that others will support and encourage you but at the end of the day this is your OWN journey and you have to rely on yourself and do what makes you happy and successful. I find myself thinking about another quote from Silver Linings Playbook….

The world will break your heart ten ways to Sunday. That’s guaranteed. I can’t begin to explain that. Or the craziness inside myself and everyone else. But guess what? Sunday’s my favorite day again. I think of what everyone did for me, and I feel like a very lucky guy.

I can totally relate to this quote. I used to run everyday in high school. I had a specific 4 mile loop around the village of OP. Throughout the years I lost sight of that but now running is my favorite again. Sure, a lot of stuff happens in between but you must remain grounded. You must have a constant. I’ve learned through experience that there are going to be setbacks along the way, the scale may lean one way, you didn’t run your best race, you experience a heartbreak, or you’re stressing out about school/work. Whatever the situation is, at the end of the day, if you want it bad enough, you will do what it takes to figure it out. You have to push all the bull**** aside and remember what you truly want. Nobody is going to go out there and get it for you and sometimes you need to be selfish in what you are after. Finally, the scale will not tell you that I am a fighter or that I refuse to give up on myself, only my smile can do that. Do not let the scale run your life. YOU run your life. Thanks for listening! Stay tuned for more =)

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P.S. I got some new kicks tonight and I’m even MORE pumped about running. I’m not sure where Brooks have been my entire life but I’m glad I found them =)

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