Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

If you come by my house tonight this is what you'll get ;)
So much has been going on over here in my little world but at the same time it is kind of life as usual. I guess that's a good thing???

Tomorrow wraps up week 9 of half marathon training and I am now just 9 days out from running my fourth half marathon….18 months after my last one. Eek! Exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. Training has been going very well and last Saturday I logged my first half marathon training run of this program and guess what? My pace was actually faster than any of my three previous half marathons. Sooooo….I would totally be lying if I wasn’t hopeful to PR next Sunday. But we shall see. My main goals (as always) are to finish and to run the entire distance so I would be perfectly happy with achieving those. Anything above that- icing on the cake.

E and I spent an amazing celebratory weekend beachside last week. It was still warm enough to swim in the gulf and I spent hours just walking and collecting shells. It was super relaxing just being on the water. E planned this whole weekend getaway for us and it included some amazing dinners out, a massage, a hockey game, and to wrap it all up…a puppy!

Yes, after a really hard loss with Charlie we ended up getting a cream colored Golden Retriever that we named Gordie after Mr. Hockey himself, Gordie Howe. He is just about 10 weeks now and we are ripping our hair out adapting to life as puppy parents. Thankfully he is pretty smart and is picking up on the potty training part pretty well. He sleeps really well and just needs one or two walks during the night so that is good for us. We are just so in love with this little guy and I cannot wait for him to grow up so he can be my running buddy. I even made up a Facebook page for him….because who doesn’t love cute puppy pictures?


School is going well. I managed to pull off two 100%s on my midterms- woo hoo! I feel like even though it is just turning November that the semester is almost over. Maybe that’s just because I have so much due next month. I think they need to scale it back with the homework. I think doctorates should be earned just by showing up. Maybe I need to send my professors pictures of Gordie and then they will just give me As. Sounds reasonable to me ;)

But in all seriousness, I am so super excited for November. We have a lot of great things on the horizon. Of course, there is the half marathon and I am starting a new job next week but also there is the Pensacola Craft Beer Festival, we have tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, hockey is back in full swing, and Thanksgiving with MY PARENTS! My parents are coming to Pensacola and staying with E and I and we will be spending the holiday together- me and my parents and E and his family. I am so excited. My parents have met E and I have met his family but this will be the first time we get to introduce the families. And knowing how similar our moms are I think it will be a really great visit.

Another exciting thing…I had my first skype interview for a podcast. It was so much fun! The questions were great and I honestly could have spent hours talking. I hope one day I get to do it again. It should be available in December some time and I will be sure to share the link then.

Oh wait, did I ever share with you that I am in a book? A few weeks ago the book “Down Size” by Ted Spiker came out and I am one of the (many) stories in the book. I think mine blurb is about 3 pages long. I read it, and even though we had to tweak/edit it a few times, I thought Ted did a great job telling my story from his perspective. It’s weird having only had done one phone interview with him and a few emails back and forth that he was able to do such a good job taking one of the stories that resonated with him and applying it to his book. I think it’s pretty cool. My name and story in a book. Crazy.

Anyway, I think that about wraps it up for today. I hope you have an amazing weekend!

Love and hugs,


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Body Image at 36 and 16....

I cannot tell you what I thought about my body and my self-image back when I was 16. Heck, I am 36 now (soon to be 37) and I probably couldn’t tell you honestly what I thought about myself for most of my life.

I am sure I had periods where I hated my appearance and I am sure I have had periods where I was comfortable, even loved how I looked. But as a teenager…I am not sure what I felt.

I probably felt what most teenagers seem to feel- wanting a smaller waist or bigger breasts. Boys to like me. A date for the dance. To be on the homecoming court/cheerleading squad/captain of the debate etc. – you get my point.

I write, every now and again, about body image. About health at every size and continuing to live a happy, healthy, active life not dictated by the scale. I talk openly about how much the topic of body image can drive me into a frenzy. Either because of how hurtful people can be or because of how body focused we have become, even when trying to not be.

I like to think I am at a healthy place with my body. I like how I look (most of the time, I mean come on- I am still a human) and I try to not let my outward appearances change how I feel about myself as I also try to not let other people’s outward appearances change/skew/determine how I feel about them. I mean, yeah it is so easy to make assumptions by looking at someone. But how often are we wrong when doing so? I have no numbers here but I can tell you that most of the times I have done that my assumptions have been wrong. And what did it ever get me – a whole lot of nothing good. So I try to stop. I try to treat everyone with kindness and respect and to be open.

I am thirty-six (soon to be thirty-seven) and it has taken me a long time to get comfortable in my own skin. It is something I am proud of and I want everyone to feel this same way, it’s liberating.

That’s me now, and it took me a long time to get here.

And then there is Ally….Ally Del Monte AKA losergurl. She is 16 years old and she is my role model. Funny, I know. She’s so young but man, she has got it all figured out. She is smart and funny and beautiful and has the biggest heart. I love her writing, her perspective. But more than anything I have so much respect for her bravery. She puts her life out there, in the open for the world to see, and she doesn’t sugar coat the harsh realities of what life is like as an overweight teenager. I read this piece she wrote on the Huffington Post (originally from her blog) and I was just floored by how authentic her voice is and just how absolutely amazing it is to see someone just 16 years old really understand the truth and impacts of body image and how societal beliefs/norms can make just about anyone feel substandard.

It is such a great piece and I would love for you all to check it out. Either at the HuffPo or Ally’s blog.

Thank you Ally, even though you don’t know me (and will probably never see this), for being the epitome of courage, self-love, kindness and compassion…at just 16 years of age.

Love and hugs-

Friday, October 17, 2014

Maintenance is....hard???

Recently I have gotten into many a discussion about what life is like in weight loss maintenance mode. Most people I know in this phase will say it is hard, maybe even harder than the losing part. And I agree with that.

Kind of.

I don’t know.
Don’t throw things at me.
Maintenance is hard….ish.
I mean once you enter maintenance you lose all your cheerleaders. Long gone are the days where I would post my weekly weight loss only to receive tons of positive feedback. Or the days where I would post about a weight gain and still receive tons of positive feedback. People love the weight loss story- the triumphs and setbacks, the struggles and the victories. It’s great to watch for so many reasons. It’s why people love the Biggest Loser and reading weight loss stories in magazines. It’s fascinating and motivating.
But then you hit your ‘goal weight’, the finish line is crossed, and then….nothing new to report. I mean then it just becomes ‘normal life’ and that is quite boring, in comparison. I mean really, I am not sure how anyone not of blood relation to me can stand reading this blog. Trust me, I try to write about topics that are important to me and I try to make my posts meaningful but that is easier said than done. And instead I end up writing fluff, short updates on training or my day to day life and I know that is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some days it isn’t even mine…
My point is this that after goal, you lose your niche, your story and in my case you lose direction. I started out as a weight loss blogger and then I lost the weight, what else is there left to talk about. I can talk about my life but that seems boring.
That is how I would describe maintenance. Not hard but boring.
You see, for me, maintenance involves a few different things
-being active (which I love)
-eating really great meals (most days) based around a whole foods plant based diet (which I also love)
-creating balance (which in turn keeps me happy and I love that)
Yes, doing these things does take a little extra time and effort. I have to meal plan and schedule out my workouts/training sessions/running plan. I have to make sure I wash all my gym clothes and pack up my lunch. But that stuff, that’s kind of just normal life. Boring and normal.
I find that in this phase I often forget what hard really was. And to me, my present life, isn’t it. Yeah, I would definitely say that maintenance is less glamorous than weight loss mode but hard?
Hard was weighing almost 300 pounds. And nothing will ever come close to that. Not weight loss, not maintenance. Hard was not being able to do anything, or at least anything easily. Hard was being in pain all of the time. Hard was humiliation from feeling judged, criticized. Hard was feeling that people were literally disgusted by you. Hard was not having control and watching your life spiral into nothingness all because of your weight. That was hard. Unbelievably hard.
In comparison, everything since that first day of my weight loss story back in February 2011 has been easy/easier. And I need to remember that. I chose that life back then and that life sucked. I choose this life now and it is freaking awesome. So my question is then…what the heck is so hard about awesome???
Remember that, Dacia!
Love and hugs,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bipolar Disorder and Breast Cancer

Bipolar Disorder and Breast Cancer….

They both run in my family.

Last year my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and opted for a double mastectomy. We were all very thankful that her decision has led her to be cancer free since. Yay, Mom!

But there are others in my family that have (or had) breast cancer and are being faced with that same tough decision.

I know it cannot be easy.

But thankfully, one thing that there is never a shortage of is people out there supporting/advocating/fundraising/walking/wearing pink and doing all sorts of awesome things for breast cancer awareness, research, treatment, etc. There are a bajillion support groups and a whole month dedicated to this disease in which you will see athletes and actors donning pink for this cause. It’s awesome.

Trust me, I did not come here to badmouth breast cancer supporters or advocates- they are some amazing people.

No, what I came here to do was to talk about a realization that I had last year. You see, my mom’s cancer scare garnished me a lot of sympathy/empathy. People went out of their way to make sure I was ok, mom was ok, our family was ok.  There was just so much support.

But the thing is, for almost my entire life my mother has been sick. She has been battling (and currently kicking its ass) bipolar disorder since I was just a wee one. It was not an easy road for her. It’s easier now, but it will always be a battle. And my mom is a freaking rock star. And I have learned so much about strength, courage, compassion and love from her. She has been through so much- she is the epitome of what it means to be a fighter.

But, from what I have experienced, people don’t have the same type of sympathy/empathy for someone living with a mental illness as they do for someone battling cancer. Why is that?

I can blame the stigma that still exists that allows people to believe that ‘crazy’ people are scary/danger to society/should be avoided at all costs.

I can blame the media for their often misguided representations of mental illness

I can blame the schizophrenic homeless man on the street that keeps yelling at passerbys because he is living in an alternate reality that we cannot see nor understand

But why blame them?

I know the truth about mental illness. I know that it is a disease. I know that having a disease does not make you less of a person. I know that there is a superhuman strength required to battle these diseases and there are few on the sidelines cheering for these people. But we should be.

I should be…

And for that to happen I need to be an advocate. I need to be a cheerleader. I need to talk openly about my experiences and help to break down the stigmas that exist. And I need to be a friend and supporter for those around me, always.

Everyone deserves to know that there is someone out there that loves them and cares for them no matter what. Scars and all.

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Catching Up and Checking In...

It has been a crazy, whirlwind these last two weeks.  We drove from our home in Pensacola all the way to Austin (and then down to San Antonio) to spend time with friends and catch two days of Austin City Limits music festival. It was so much fun. So, so, so much fun! All of the bands we saw totally rocked, the weather was perfect, and I got to spend time with some of my favorite people. Oh, and we got to stop at a new brewery on our way home from Texas- Bayou Teche in Louisiana. It was awesome. Their facility/tap room just opened this past summer so it was really nice to find them, try out some of their incredible beers (ALL of them were great) and meet some of the owners, employees and locals. I randomly ended up trading my old iPhone case for a DVD of documentary made by this local woman I met there. I just love how the most random things happen when we travel.

Unfortunately, as we were headed out from Baton Rouge to Austin we received some heartbreaking news- the puppy we were planning to pick up the weekend of the 18th (yes, this upcoming weekend) was very ill and the owner contacted me because she was going to have to put him down. Long story short, Charlie (now known as Darwin) has a neurological disorder which is affecting his ability/desire to eat. Thankfully, though Darwin was taken in by the vet and he is still hanging in there, being handfed, and we are all praying that he can recover, although it is unlikely. Right now, that is a decision for the vet to make as they have taken over care and ownership of little Darwin.

That was some really tough news to hear, especially when I thought little Charlie/Darwin was going to be put down. I am still really sad about losing our puppy but knowing he is under the best care and still fighting the good fight helps get me through the day. It was a rough day. I know that there is a dog in our future, now was just clearly not the time.

Wow…that was hard to write. I am still a mess over this whole thing. Especially after losing my Maggie and Ruby earlier this year (who are happy with their current/new family- I still check in on them) and dealing with the guilt that I couldn’t do more to keep them. It certainly hasn’t been easy but I hope in time it will get easier…

Ok, so that was our Texas trip…the good and the bad. I am always thankful that there are so many amazing people in my life to help me through the bad. When I talked about Charlie on FB (because honestly I did not want to recount that story again and again to my friends and family) I received an outpouring of kind words and support and it has made this whole thing somewhat bearable.

Once I was back from Texas I had a really short two days back at home until I took off for NYC. I can’t tell you why I went to New York but if you think about it long and hard, and you know the person I was in NY with, then you can probably figure it out. I have to wait three months to talk about it…that is quite the challenge. But, I am so excited to be able to share all of the details with you when I can and I am feeling so lucky and honored to be able to have had such an opportunity. But for now…mum’s the word.

While I was in NY I got to do some fun tourist things (Empire State Building, Central Park), eat some phenomenal vegan food, and spend time with my bestie and my ‘sister’. Thankfully I was able to extend my time in NY and that allowed for a meet up with my ‘sister’ Kelly (someone that has been a HUGE part of my journey these past few years) and that my best friend Jaime came to NY to spend the day with me. It was so much fun. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so happy I had some of my favorite people there with me to celebrate. And celebrate we did J


Training while traveling was…interesting. I was able to fit in every run for week’s five and six except for my long run for week 6. I had every intention to run my long run through Central Park but rainy, cold weather kept me from that. Timing wise, I just couldn’t fit in a long run at the gym before Jaime arrived at Penn so I just chalked that one up to life and enjoyed the day with my friend that I see once, maybe twice a year. Priorities. Friends come first J

I also had a mid-term due while I was traveling in NY. I always seem to be away during mid-terms and finals and find myself writing papers/completing projects from 35,000 feet. It is something I think I am getting better at but it doesn’t make it any less stressful. Not complaining though. I am lucky to be able to work on my third degree, for free. It is definitely a great perk of this job and it allows me to work towards a big life goal of mine. I just wish I my professors would let me submit work on my own timetable ;)

So, that is about it. I think you are all caught up. This week I am back to my normal half marathon training and meeting with my personal trainer. I also have some fun stuff planned for the weekend, including a ghost tour and a 5K with E, but it is all local (mostly) and I am so happy about that. We are home for two more months and I am really excited to be able to get back into my routine and get prepped for the holidays! Can you believe we are just 2 weeks out from Halloween???

Love and hugs,