Fighting Frustration

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Sometimes we feel like we’re taking one step forward, only to take two steps back. No matter how hard you try to gain momentum, you feel stuck or something just comes out of left field & brings you down a few notches. It’s during these times that we fight frustration and tend to get discouraged. Speaking from experience when I get discouraged I set myself up for failure. So, how do we fight frustration?

First, we need to figure out if what we’re frustrated about is worth it in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes we blow things way out of proportion. I know I’m guilty of this. Take a few breaths and collect yourself. Maybe this is just a temporary nuisance. If it is, do your best to let it go.

Second, is this something that is out of your control? I was recently faced with tachycardia (fast/irregular heart rate). My heart rate has always been a little high, but it has gotten out of control. This was the last thing I wanted to hear after the issue with my heart last year. My doctor put me on a Beta Blocker. I was beyond frustrated! I don’t like the way the medication makes me feel, as it lowers my already rather low blood pressure (making me very lethargic). But, you know what? Right now this is completely out of my control. If I don’t take the medication, I’m putting myself in grave danger. There is literally nothing I can do. I can only continue on the right path to a healthier and happier lifestyle. There’s no reason to stew in my frustrations. As hard as it is, when we’re faced with frustrating circumstances, we must fight it. Especially when it’s out of our control.

We have to be stronger than our frustrations, as they have the potential of sabotaging our progress and goals. No journey, big or small, is without bumps in the road. It’s how react to the “bumps” & how we plow through them that really matters.

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Fall down 7 times, get up 8.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve written on this blog. I guess you can say I’ve been “out of sorts”. It really isn’t anything I can explain or put into words. I couldn’t seem to get out of this funk I was in.

Summers have always been rough on me eating-wise. We’re not on a schedule, it’s too hot to be completely active outside, the kids are getting on each other’s nerves, & I spend the day playing referee. All this equals the perfect storm for bad habits. No, I’m not making excuses for myself. *I* made some bad choices this summer, *I* chose not to exercise as much as I should, and *I* let anxiety get the better of me. No one else…just me! The new me can own up to my mistakes far better than the old me. I know when I screw up, the only way to fix it is to get back up.

So, here I am. I’m here to correct myself. I cannot allow myself to slip back into my old ways. That isn’t an option. My life, my health is at stake here. This is a journey and journeys aren’t always easy. Sometimes we stray off the path. No one is perfect, we all mess up, and we don’t always do exactly what we should do. That’s okay! As long as we can get back up.

Another thing, we need to stop being so hard on ourselves. I am so guilty of this. I beat myself up & the negativity committee has a party in my mind. It needs to stop! Positivity breeds positivity. I need to learn to not only encourage others, but encourage myself. So, be kind to yourself!

As I make a U-turn back onto the right path, I will be posting more. Writing helps me stay on track and holds me accountable. So look out for more from me. Remember not only to be kind to others, be kind to yourself.

Transparency is Best

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I haven’t written in quite some time. Maybe it was writer’s block, maybe life got crazy, or maybe I just didn’t feel like I had much to say. Honestly, I should’ve made myself write.

I always said that on this journey, I would be completely transparent and honest. I feel like over the past 5 months I haven’t done that. Instead, I stayed quiet. During the difficult times, the struggles is when I should’ve been sharing more. The weight loss has been slow, really slow. Truthfully, it isn’t anyone’s fault but mine.

You see, life gets in the way. In some ways I went back to the old Amy. The Amy that put everyone first. The girl that didn’t make being healthy a priority in her life. If you’re wondering…no I didn’t spiral out of control and gain tons of weight. Thankfully! I just didn’t put in the work that I know I can. And you know what? That’s okay. You know why? I got right back at it & reeled myself back in.

Over the past several months I’ve grown, I’ve learned much more about myself and how my mind works. A healthy lifestyle is so much more than eating healthy & exercise. A HUGE part of it is mental and until you get your mind right, you can’t be successful. I know sometimes that’s a lot easier said than done. It’s difficult to dig deep inside yourself (and sometimes painful). But I promise, it’s worth it.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

-You have to recognize your weaknesses. Learn What triggers you to want unhealthy foods, or sit on the couch for days. Instead, find something that distracts you from falling into the same ol’ rut. Go for a walk. Play a family game. Spend time on your favorite hobby. Anything to keep you moving & away from bad foods.

-Find time to get your fitness in. I saw a quote a few weeks ago that said, “remember someone busier than you is working out right now”! **Toes stepped on** How true!!?? Contrary to what your mind tells you, you are NOT too busy to workout. You have the time! Which brings me to my next bullet.

-You have to be stronger than your excuses. You know the ones. You’re too busy. You’re too sore. I’ll only “cheat” for a few days. They’re all nonsense! I spent a couple weeks nursing a rotator cuff injury. I skipped the gym because it “hurt”. Then it hit me…were my legs broken? The answer would be a big fat no. I most certainly could’ve been walking & strength training my legs. But, I didn’t! I let my excuses win. You have to recognize your B.S. and push through it.

-Find support. Surround yourself with people that understand your journey. People that aren’t going to tempt you to derail all your hard work. Don’t give into those that sabotage your new healthy lifestyle. Be strong and stand your ground, or move on.

-Treat yourself. I have learned that I simply cannot succeed if I don’t occasionally enjoy a treat. I’ll feel deprived & want what I can’t have even more. Which, eventually sets me up for failure. I’m a serial dieter and I know how this works. This is a lifestyle change…FOR LIFE. This has to be a change that you can live with for the rest of your life, or you won’t be successful. That said, you have to realize that a treat does not mean a binge day. Which might be something you can’t come back from.

In close I will say this, if you fall down you can always get back up. One stumble in the road will not ruin your entire journey. You can, and will do this!

“Your mind will always believe everything you tell it. Feed it faith. Feed it truth. Feed it with love.”

I Never Thought I’d Be Here

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I didn’t think that at a few days shy of 41 years old that I would be morbidly obese, that I would be in an emergency room with blood pressure so high that I was on the verge of a stroke, or that I’d be on an operating table being prepped for a possible aortic dissection. But, there I was almost 9 months ago. I don’t know what I thought would happen when I continued to eat like crap, not exercise, & not take care of myself. Everything and anything came ahead of me. I had anxiety and didn’t even realize how bad it had gotten. I was depressed and never knew it, nor did I understand why. I have the most amazing husband and three beautiful children. I am blessed! I didn’t realize that I wasn’t happy with myself. It wasn’t my life. It wasn’t wonderful family. It was me. I let everyday life, busyness, jobs, responsibilities, stress, etc. get the best of me. I hit rock bottom. I never thought I’d be here.

I didn’t think that after just 9 months I would feel this good. I never knew that I was this strong. That I could be this happy, this confident in such a short time. That rock bottom? Yeah, it only made me stronger. I needed to be there to get lifted back up. Have there been obstacles? Of course! No journey is without obstacles. However, there hasn’t been one day that I wanted to give up. There have been hard days. Days that I wish the weight would come off quicker, lazy days, emotional days, etc. That said, any progress in the right direction is still progress. This is a lifestyle change and I have a long way to go before I reach my goal. But, every day I get closer. I feel like a new person. I’m doing the things I enjoy again. I’m truly happy with myself. Something I haven’t felt in a long time. I NEVER THOUGHT I’D BE HERE.

What I Learned In 2017

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What I learned in 2017. Well, most of these I already knew…but never experienced or admitted.

1. God is definitely in the miracle business.

2. I can never begin to understand the grace of God. Or the grace He has given me.

3. If you want to change only you can make it happen. You are responsible for your choices and actions…no one else!

4. Change is hard. Change can hurt. Changing is sometimes lonely. Change is freeing. Change is amazing. Change brings strength you never knew you had.

5. There is no place in my life for negativity. You can’t grow with a negative mind or surrounded by negative people.

6. Let things go. If something is bothering you, fix it or let it go. Realize that some things can’t be fixed.

7. Always go with your gut instinct.

8. If people are saying negative or untrue things about me, it says way more about them than it does about me. LET IT GO!

9. If someone is going to gossip to you, they will gossip about you.

10. When you go through tough times, you always find out who your real friends are.

11. God answers prayers when you least expect it.

12. Anxiety is way more powerful than I ever imagined.

13. Setting goals is important when you’re on a journey to becoming a better “you”.

14. Hiking and walking in nature is so rewarding and refreshing.

15. Exercising does way more to your body than getting it in shape.

16. Finding who you are or who you used to be is so important.

17. You have to find time for yourself and spend time by yourself (and not feel guilty about it).

18. Loving yourself is crucial. Even if you are a hot mess 🙂

19. You have to stop caring about what others think. What you do, how you do it, & how you live isn’t anyone’s business. Do you! On the flip side, stay out of other people’s business. Haha!

20. Love. A lot. Life is short. Love hard.

Finding Self-Confidence

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Self-confidence is a tough thing. It’s something I struggled with almost my entire life. I still do. My weight played a huge part in that. As the weight comes off, I’ve noticed that it’s getting better. I’m not hiding behind a body or oversized clothing.

I’ve started taking pictures. Not of people or scenery like I normally do-of me! This is a huge shift. A change. I was always the one behind the camera, not in front of it. I don’t do it because I’m vain. I do it because I’m starting to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I do it because I need the visual of before and afters to keep me motivated. I do it because maybe one day someone will see my picture and story & say, “I didn’t give up because of you”! I do it because of my kids. I spent years shying away from the camera because of my weight. I know the memories are still there, but I wish the snapshots were. So, I promised myself that I wasn’t going hide anymore.

Lack of self-confidence keeps us from doing what we love and enjoy, what we need to accomplish, &  everyday life. Whether it’s weight, or something else holding you back, you have to address your insecurities head on (in baby steps, if you must). It is very hard to accomplish your goals if you don’t get your mind right first.

I’m sure you’re wondering where to begin. If you’re facing a lot of self-doubt & insecurities in your life and you want to change, lean on family and friends. There is always someone there to talk to. Start a journal. Write down your emotions, your goals, and your fears. It really helps. Those things you used to love doing that you stopped doing? Get out and do them again! I can’t stress this enough. I was stuck in a huge rut. Something I can’t even really explain. It’s nobody’s fault but my own. After I got back on track, I started doing the things I love again. I couldn’t be happier. I even started a checklist of adventures and things I want to accomplish (that gets bigger by the week).

The most important thing to remember is YOU ARE ENOUGH! You can do anything you put your mind to. You just have to believe in yourself.

~”The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself” Maya Angelou

Reflecting on a Crazy Year

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I spent the past few weeks reflecting on the year. A year that has been the second most difficult year of my life (second only to the year I lost my dad). At first, I found myself dwelling on just how crappy it was. Then, my husband reminded me that even with all that had happened there was a lot of good. He was right!

So much happened this year. A lot of illness, loss, & change. Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget all our blessings when we’re faced with such difficulties. It was easy for me to be so negative about the year, when I should’ve been thankful. There were times when all I could do was focus on all the bad things happening to us and around us, forgetting all the good and positive.

Our family has had a roller coaster of a year (as you have read in previous posts). Our middle child, Joey had health problems. It was a difficult time for all. But, the blessing in that is that his diagnosis was far less severe than they initially thought. Joey also lost two friends to suicide within six months of each other. Nothing can bring those sweet boys back and I really haven’t found a positive in the situation. At least not yet. I pray that these kids know that there is ALWAYS someone to talk to, to love. It has been heartbreaking to see these kids go through this. Seeing your child lose a friend and hurt is so painful to watch. However, I know they will share their story someday and, who knows, it may save someone’s life.

Then, we had my heart scare. Which was the reason for me starting this blog. The reason for me starting my health journey. There were days that it was all too overwhelming. What happened. What was ahead. The fact that I, little ol’ me was spared. What was it God wanted me to do next? It was so very hard to stay positive. But, that’s just it! How can I not be? I was alive when honestly I probably shouldn’t have been. The days of being negative needed to be over, the days of self sabotaging, self pity, etc. It was only by the grace of God that I was still alive. It was time to get my shit together and stop feeling sorry for myself. And I did. I’m down 50 pounds, I’m happier, more positive, more present, and I certainly don’t take life for granted.

The year brought changes. Change is never easy for me. When I got sick I knew I had to make a career change. Which was one of the most difficult decisions in my life. One day after deciding it was time to start thinking about resigning my position, I got an email from my former boss. ONE DAY!  My husband and I just started praying about it. The next day I was sitting in my cardiologist office waiting room & my email alert popped up. She wanted me to work for her. What!!?? It would be part time, telecommuting, and the pay was good. I seriously couldn’t believe this was happening. I accepted. I still took at least a month or so for me to put my notice in at my current job. Like I said, change is hard! So, I’m now back in publishing doing photo editing. I love it! The hours are random, but I love working from home, love the flexibility, & I love my boss!

I guess in all this I can say that yes 2017 was a roller coaster of a year, but we persevered. I learned so much this year! Change isn’t so bad. And there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for! Even in our most difficult times, we have to rest in knowing that somewhere there’s a silver lining.