Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's My Blog and I'll Rant If I Want To

I normally use my blog as a vehicle to talk about my weight loss journey, family matters, and topics close to my heart. I rarely ever use it to rant. Be forewarned, this blog is a rant. If you don't want to read my rantings now is the time to turn back.

I have several pet peeves. We all have them. Pet peeves are simply behaviors by other people that bug us. Something that bothers me may not bother you and vice versa. But here are a few of mine...

My number one pet peeve is people who drive in the fast lane but go slow. I saw a picture on Pinterest the other day. The picture was of a person who was stuck driving in the right lane because someone was holding up traffic in the left lane by going slow. The driver of the car in the right lane was holding up a sign in their window that read, "Get out of the fast lane, moron!" Sometimes, I wish I had that sign. Maybe I should make one! Ha! My pet peeve really boils down to people who ignore the rules of the road. If you don't plan on going the speed limit, then please DO NOT drive in the left lane. Kindly, get over into the right lane and stay there. Secondly, if you are not a multi-tasker, for the safety and sanity of others, DO NOT talk on your cell phone. I can't tell you how many people have almost caused me to get into a wreck because they were on their cell phone. It especially annoys me to be on the interstate and have to pass you because you are talking on your phone. I set my cruise control to a speed somewhere in between 75-80 and I really hate having to put on my brakes because you are an idiot. My blood really gets to boiling when 10 minutes down the road, you ride my bumper and then pass me, only for me have to pass you AGAIN a few minutes later because you are still on your stupid cell phone and can't keep an even speed and talk at the same time. I hate to say this, but most of the time it's a woman. I could keep going on and on about all the things dumb drivers do to get me really annoyed but it would take me several posts. People, just use your brain and pay attention while driving because you will end up killing someone if you don't!

Secondly, I really get annoyed when people who I don't know at all or barely know give me their unsolicited advise or opinion. The worst time in a woman's life for this is when they are pregnant. Before I get started on this one, let me be clear, I am not pregnant. I only wish! When you are pregnant, you become a target for this type of behavior. Majority of people you come across will have some knowledge of pregnancy or some opinion that they feel is important enough to share with a mere stranger. Most people mean well but every woman is different, every pregnancy is different. Just because you are a parent doesn't make you an all-knowing, expert on every one else's pregnancy and children. If you are a close friend or family member, your opinions and knowledge will probably be asked for and welcomed. If you barely know the person, keep your comments to yourself unless asked. This is not limited to pregnancy though. I recently had an acquaintance, someone I BARELY know, give me some very unsolicited bit of "wisdom". Most of you know that I have struggled with my weight for a while now and that I've made some very big lifestyle changes this year. I am so close to my first weight loss goal of 30 pounds down that I can almost taste it. :) Anyway, I had a conversation with someone that I felt comfortable talking about my journey with and apparently this acquaintance listened in. Really, that's fine. If you are having a conversation near me in a normal voice, chances are, I'm listening in too. Later when more people were around, she made a couple of comments to me, regarding health and food. OK, fine. I'll give her that. I had the conversation in her hearing range and sometimes people just can't help themselves. But I draw a line when you make a direct comment about what I am eating or drinking and my weight when I don't know you! I make calculated decisions concerning what I eat or drink. I only eat or drink something if I really want it and I've made allowances for it. She doesn't know me, she doesn't know my journey, and she should have minded her own business. Please, if you don't know someone, keep your advice and opinions to yourself, unless you are asked for it.

Thirdly and lastly (not my last pet peeve but the last one for this post), I am so tired of seeing adults who still act like teenagers. GROW UP! Willy Wonka said, "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." A LITTLE, NOW and THEN! Nonsense should not characterize your life. It's the mama's that really get my blood boiling. I don't care if you are married or single, but if you have a child, please STOP going out getting drunk and wasted every weekend, leaving your child with your family or a babysitter. Grow up and raise your child. And for the love of Pete, if you are doing it, stop posting your wasted pictures on Facebook. Nobody wants to see that. No matter how cool or hot you think you look, you don't! Set a good example for your kids. If you have a kid you should stop acting like a kid yourself!

OK. That's enough ranting for today. I hope I didn't offend anyone but then again, I warned you from the beginning.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lessons I Learned While Running...

I started running in May of this year. I started out with the Couch to 5K plan and when I finished the program, I ran my first 5K. I had every intention of keeping up with my three days a week running regimen but didn't. On average, I run one to two days per week. Some weeks, I don't run at all. I've been running mostly on the treadmill at the gym but today, I decided to head outdoors.

Last week, I didn't run at all. I did manage to get in two good walks outdoors but by midweek, I had started feeling a cold coming on and was having some pain in the bottom of my right foot. I didn't get in any other exercise for the rest of the week.

I woke up yesterday morning with a full blown cold or sinus infection...something. After a night of tossing and turning because not being able to breathe properly through my nose was making sleep difficult, I decided that I would go for a run this morning.

The scale hasn't budged in a couple of weeks. Basically, I've been doing the bare minimum, enough to keep me from gaining weight but not enough to actually lose some. I realized this morning that there are exactly four weeks until I head to my hometown for a week of Thanksgiving fun. I want to make the most of these next four weeks, really putting the effort into my healthy lifestyle and pushing myself towards my goals. Plus, I am positive that I will finally be able to  wear my wedding band again if I can lose another five pounds. I haven't worn it since about midway through my pregnancy with Abigail. Sad.

So, today, I laced up my running shoes and went for it. I learned some very valuable lessons today...

1. Drinking a cup of coffee an hour before you run or exercise is beneficial. It awakens your muscles and gives you energy. However, drinking a BIG cup of coffee is not. This amount of coffee with slosh around in your belly and eventually lead to Jillian Michaels screaming at you in your mind, "YOU DON'T QUIT UNLESS YOU PUKE!" Puke, I did not, but I came close several times.

2. Always, Always, Always be sure that your iPod is charged before your run. A dead iPod is useless and the sound of your breathing and feet pounding the pavement may lead to a nervous breakdown or at the very least make you more aware of what you're doing to your body. I welcome the distraction of music in my ears when I run.

3. Wake up early to run. If you don't, you have three options. A). Take your 30 something pound preschooler with you on your run. You will have to use the jogging stroller. This will make your run much more difficult. B). Sweat it out at the gym. While it is an excellent option, don't forget that it will take much more planning on your part. The gym frowns upon taking your child to the gym daycare in their pj's. Your child will also want a snack and a drink. Getting to and from the gym will be a long, drawn out process, even if you live just down the road. C). Your final option (the option I chose this morning) is to wait to go on your run when your spouse finally gets out of bed. By this time it will be after 10 AM. You will check the forecast and find out that it is a breezy 70 degrees. This sounds perfect. After finding out your iPod is dead, you head out the door to enjoy your child free, stress free run. However, you have not taken into account one thing. One very important thing. Even though it is a breezy 70 degrees outside, you have forgotten about the sun. While you are running, trying not to concentrate on the sound of your breathing and feet, trying to hold down the vomit welling up inside of you from the copious amount of coffee you drank an hour earlier, the sun will try to obliterate you with it's death rays. DO NOT let the forecast fool you! The sun IS your nemesis.

4. Consistent, daily exercise is key. This allows you to skip a run every once in a while when your not feeling well. Inconsistent exercise and a scale that won't budge, will force you outdoors even when you feel like a giant elephant is sitting on you face. You will have also chosen option three. So you will have to deal with the giant elephant, also known as sinus pressure, while you try to avoid death rays from the sun, vomiting, and having a nervous breakdown. It will not be fun!

5. I hope you like jello. Because, that is what your legs will feel like after it is all said an done. However, you will not regret running. What you will regret, is NOT exercising or running, even in the face of all the obstacles you had to get through to get to the end.

Take my advice and don't learn these lessons the hard way!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words (or Memories)

I apparently stored some pictures in the bottom drawer of Abigail's dresser and forgot about them. Today, Abigail brought down a picture that she had found when looking for some of her flashcards in that bottom drawer. I had an immediate reaction when I saw the picture. Most of the time, I let her hold pictures without giving them much thought but this one was different. I told her she had to be very careful with it if she was going to hold it. The picture isn't very old so it's not fragile. So, what makes it so special that I want her to be careful with it?

It was one of the last pictures taken of my aunt before she died. The events surrounding her death are harsh and sad and not intended for this post. Just a couple of days before her death, she helped serve at the youth Valentine's banquet at our church. The picture shows my aunt, my mom, and a couple other ladies at work in the kitchen.

Her name was Tina. She was my dad's only sister. She had dark hair, a beautiful smile, and a laugh the filled up the room. She was kind, beautiful, smart, and loved. She was strong and brave. She had to be. She had three rambunctious boys who have grown up to be rambunctious men. Ha! OK. Maybe they aren't so rambunctious anymore...maybe. She would be very proud of the men they have become.

I loved spending time with her. Several months before her death, she and her boys had moved in with my grandparent's. I loved going over to my grandparent's house in the evenings to hang out with my cousins, see my grandparent's, and spend time with her. I remember her working on cross-stitch's a lot of evenings. She would let me try on her clothes and she always talked to me like I was an adult not just some obnoxious kid.

I have tons of other memories of her. She had this awesome Trooper. We kids used to always fight about who was going to ride in the back of it. The back was meant for storage, not passengers. There were no seat belts so several of us would sit back there, being tossed around by every bump. We didn't just ride down the street. We often rode like that to the next town which was thirty minutes away. I still find it completely ridiculous that our parent's actually let us do that. There is no way I would let Abigail do something like that.

 I have fond memories of going to the roller skating rink or driving to Statesboro for our family Christmas party. There was always a race to see who could make it to the Trooper first. Riding with Aunt Tina was always the first choice. She made the best Christmas cookies. It was years after her death before I ever found someone who made Christmas cookies like her. Now, we make them with Abigail. I don't think they taste as good as hers did but I think about her every time we bake them. Most of my memories revolve around the holidays or weekends because for most of the time she lived in South Carolina. It was only right before her death that she moved back to Georgia with her boys. I remember being so happy that my cousins would be living right next door and that we would get to see her and them every day.

I was twelve when she died. I had been to funerals of relatives before but for most of them, I was young and didn't really understand or they were distant relatives or friends of my parent's that I didn't really know. Her death was hard. It was hard on us all. Her life was taken from her which made the pain of losing her all the more difficult to deal with. I had never felt such devastating loss.

Our family dynamic greatly changed. I can think of several things that aren't the same since her death. There is no holiday or family gathering where I don't remember that she isn't there or wonder what it would be like if she were. Another thing that changed was that my grandma started calling me Tina. Not on purpose of course. I worked with my grandmother for two summers at her job. My aunt had worked with her before her death as well. That was when I noticed her calling me Tina more and more. She always caught herself but it always made me feel sad and almost guilty in some way. I couldn't figure out why she would even call me by her name. I thought maybe it had something to do with me working with her and maybe it did but I once asked my dad why he thought she did that. He said that it was probably because I reminded my grandmother of my Aunt. He said that I often reminded him of his sister. He said that our personalities were a lot of like and so were our laughs. I remember thinking that was one of the best compliments I had ever received. I was glad that I was like her in some way.

I still miss her... a lot. I often dream about her. Even in my dreams, I know she isn't supposed to be there, but I'm always glad she is. Dreams like that are hard to wake up from because once you do, the person you love is gone again. But in some ways they are a blessing too because even if it's only in a dream, you get those few moments with that person who no longer dwells among the living.

I had to tell my daughter that the picture was special because mommy's Aunt was in that picture. I explained to her who Aunt Tina was and that she didn't live on earth anymore but in heaven with Jesus. She wanted to know why. The realities of her death aren't something a small child should hear. Maybe one day, I'll tell her the story when she's older. A story of life and death, of good and evil, the reality of the sinful world we live in. But until then, I'll tell her stories about a woman who loved God, who loved her family, and who is missed greatly by her family.

This picture is from the late 80's or early 90's, I'm guessing. It was the only picture I could find of her on my cousin's Facebook page. I'll have to scan some into the computer and add them to this post later.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

When I was growing up, my mouth always got me in trouble. Whenever I was "grounded" it was often because of something I had said rather than something I had done. My mom used to always  tell me to think before I spoke but for some reason, my mouth was faster than my brain. I usually had some quick-witted, sarcastic comment on the tip of my tongue before my brain ever had a chance to compute what my mouth was saying. Apparently, this character flaw started at a very young age. I distinctly remember being in Allied's Department Store (whatever happened to Allied's?) in Claxton with my mom and Grandma. I tend to have an opinion about most things and I apparently had one about the shoes my mom was making me try on. I don't remember what I said, but I back-talked to my mom in the shoe department and my Grandma reached over and popped me right in the mouth, in front of everyone. I was instantly angry and embarrassed and not really very repentant but I apologized because, really, who wants to be popped in the mouth a second time? That memory has stuck with me and I often recall it when my mouth has been on the loose again.

Over the years, I've gained some control over my tongue and I've allowed my brain to catch up with my mouth. Notice, I said "some" control. There are still times when I unleash a verbal onslaught on some poor, unsuspecting person. It's usually my husband. Sorry, honey! My poor judgement in words often comes when I'm upset, angry, tired, or not feeling well. Something about emotional situations causes me to forget my brain again and let my mouth take control.

On top of all of this, my humor is often very sarcastic and sometimes mean. In my family, sarcasm and mocking are a common thing, especially at family gatherings. Most things aren't off limits either. I have been mocked mercilessly about something I wore, things I've said, ex-boyfriends, things I've done, etc. If we love you, you are fair game. Ryan had a hard time adjusting to this family dynamic because it wasn't something he was used to. In my family, it's when you're not being picked on that you should be worried.

In today's society there are multiple ways to communicate. So now, my brain has to not only be worried about what my mouth might say in a person-to-person conversation but about email, text messaging, social media, etc. All of these outlets provides opportunities to slip up, to say something potentially hurtful whether it's meant to be funny or not. Majority of people online today seem to use social media to air their "dirty laundry," to complain about someone or something, and to cause drama. I won't lie. There have been times when I've been tempted to do those same things. It's like there is this false sense of security with social media that makes you think you can say whatever you want without any real consequences. But the truth is, no matter where or how you say it, words are powerful. Whether or not they are meant in jesting or in a mean spirited way, words can be hurtful. Words can either build someone up or tear them down.

On Facebook today, I read a status update that made me sigh inwardly. This person has no clue that I've been struggling with this but I felt like she was talking to me. Her status said, "Be careful with your words. Once they're said, they can only be forgiven, not forgotten!" You see, social media got the best of me recently. What started out as an innocent, funny, "game" ended up with me taking it too far. What I only meant as a joke wasn't really perceived that way. Some of the comments I made were off the wall silly things but a few of them were about the person directly. Now, please understand that I hold no ill-will against this person whatsoever. I consider this person to be a friend. However, they may not know me well enough to understand my sense of humor. Most people think I'm a quite, reserved person but I'm really not. You just have to get to know me and for me to feel really comfortable around you before that side opens up. Again, social media opens up a whole new realm of false security that makes you think people really know you, when in most likelihood, they probably don't. So, I said a couple of things about the person that I thought they would "get" in this "game." The two things that I'm sure were the most offensive were only said because of two previous occasions when similar remarks were made, one by the actual person, and the other by me. Regardless, I should have allowed my brain to catch up with my mouth, or fingers in this case, to evaluate how what was being said would be taken or could be perceived.

Often, when my mouth gets away from me in my anger, it takes a while for me to feel remorseful about what I've said. I have to allow myself time to cool off and look at the situation with a clear head. But in a situation like this, where no harm was intended and I truly respect the person involved, remorse came instantly when I realized that the person may have been offended. It sat like a rock in my stomach while I went back and forth in my mind wondering how I had let my mouth get away from me again. I mean, I'm 28 years old for crying out loud, why is this still happening to me? I sent off a quick message to the person who said they were fine but even then I didn't feel right. I couldn't even go to sleep last night until I sent the person an apology. The truth is, I still don't feel good. I feel bad. I feel embarrassed. I feel like I did years ago when my Grandma popped me in my mouth in front of a store full of people. The only difference is, this time I am truly repentant.

The problem with words is that once they are said, you can't take them back no matter how bad you want to, whether you meant what you said or not. In this case, I didn't. As I was lying in bed last night, a couple of Bible verses kept coming to mind. One of them, I could only remember the last part and when I looked it up this morning, the verse was actually talking about deceiving a person but that last part still stuck with me, "Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I am only joking!" Proverbs 26:18-19. Even if you are joking, it doesn't make the words you say less hurtful. The other verse is Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits."

I really hope that this is a lesson that I don't have to learn again, anytime soon. Words can be used for destruction or words can be used for building someone up. How will you use your words today?

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Got My Groove Back

October arrived on our doorsteps with the gift of cooler weather. While I am a summer girl at heart there is just something about fall. I love the cool weather that enables me to walk out to my vehicle, buckle my child into her car seat, and get in myself without breaking into a sweat and ruining my freshly applied makeup and without making my hair frizz out especially after I spent so much time straightening it out. I love that Starbucks brings back it's Pumpkin Spice Latte (even though I haven't had one yet). I have fond memories of fall. I was pregnant with Abigail in the fall (she was born in November). I remember going on my lunch break at work, stopping off at Starbucks for a skinny caramel macchiato and then heading over to the nail salon for a pedicure. I would relax in the chair, sip my drink, and think about what it was going to be like to hold my baby for the first time. I love scarves, pumpkins, fall colors, hayrides, bonfires, college football, Halloween, Abigail's birthday, and Thanksgiving.

The arrival of October meant the end of September and I couldn't help feeling a little sad this year. Why you ask? The passing of September meant that I was out of time to meet my first weight loss goal. Most of you know that my initial goal was to lose 30 pounds by September. When I realized that it wasn't going to happen by the first of September, I tweaked it a bit and reset the goal for the end of September. You may also know that I struggled for most of September. I was off my game. I didn't exercise enough. I made poor food choices. I went to bed late. I didn't take my own advice. It took me awhile to get my groove back.

However, in the last week, my groove returned. I've had a renewed vigor when it comes to exercising and eating right. I took a spin class, used the elliptical, went for long walks, and ran on the treadmill. I cooked healthy meals, ate nutritious snacks, and increased my water intake. I've added back dark chocolate to my life and it has made a huge difference. I noticed before that my daily intake of dark chocolate seemed to help me control cravings for unhealthy food in my life. I really struggled with food cravings the whole month that I had stopped eating the dark chocolate every night. Once I resumed eating it, my cravings decreased greatly to the point they are pretty much non-existent now. I have three dark chocolate Hershey Kisses every night before bed. It's definitely something to look forward to every day. I love chocolate!

So, how has my last week changed me? Well, for the first time in over a month, I've lost weight again. I lost a pound!!! That is pretty consistent with my weight loss over the last several months. Most weeks I lose between 1-2 pounds and then I usually have one really good week where I may lose up to 4 pounds.

I also have a new goal. I still have 6 pounds to lose before reaching my 30 pounds down goal. It may be a stretch but I am hoping to lose those 6 pounds plus 6 more pounds by Thanksgiving.  There are only 7 weeks until Thanksgiving. That averages out to a little less than two pounds a week. I may not be able to do it but I'm going to try my hardest. I need you to keep me accountable and encourage me. You don't realize how much that actually helps!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,