Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sliding Board

I’ve been thinking a lot about my weight loss/get healthy/fitness journey getting back to where I was a year ago. You know, back before working all the time and then suffering through two ridiculous injuries. Back into the groove I used to thrive in.

Today the realization hit me that I have gained back just under 40% of my weight loss. That number hurts my heart. Not because I feel fat or hate the idea of being the weight that I currently am but because I know what it took to lose it all and how ‘easy’ it was to gain 40% of it back.

Now I should start by saying, I am still super proud of maintaining that loss for almost 5 years. And maybe had I never gotten injured I would still be kicking ass in maintenance mode. But that is not what happened. And now I am here. Fighting every day to get back to that place where I once was. Not necessarily a weight but a lifestyle. An active and healthy lifestyle that I enjoyed so much.

After three weeks of focusing my energy into making better decisions – eating more whole foods and moving my body more- I had a really rough two days where I just did not GAF. My eating wasn’t off the rails, although it could have been better, but that wasn’t the issue. The issue was I just had this gloomy “I really don’t care anymore” feeling that I could not shake.

Even getting up today took a solid hour of convincing that I needed to get out of bed and get my booty to work.

My journey towards health has always been a mental battle more so than physical. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy exercising at 300 lbs and it really isn’t easy now either at 200 lbs as my fitness level is super low. BUT the physical hurdles were (are) nothing when I compare them with the mental battles.

Now whether or not this is true I am not sure, but it certainly feels to me that I can ‘lose’ any mental battle way faster than I can the physical ones.

When I think of my biggest struggles (convincing myself I am worth it and then motivating myself to have my actions reflect that belief) I picture a sliding board.

Convincing myself I deserve to be healthy and fit and talking myself into doing the ‘right’ things can some days feel like I am climbing up a sliding board. Here I am at the bottom feeling low, and trying to get back to a healthy, positive, loving, caring mindset is a series of small, challenging steps. I need strength to push forward and I need focus to stay the course. Each day am navigating myself to the top of the slide- to that place where I need to be.

But then I take a misstep, I give up on myself, and boom! I am quickly back on the bottom of the slide. Usually I stay here for a day or two (or week or month) before I turn back around and start to climb again.

It seems so easy to slide back down when you are barely strong enough to climb.

I know that I every time I fall I am not falling to the bottom. And I know that every time I start to climb it will get easier. Even when I think about my sliding board now I know it is not nearly as steep or as long as the one I set out to climb 6+ years ago. I’m a different person now, so my life challenges are different too. Maybe my sliding board is more like this one:

Side note: I grew up calling this a sliding board but apparently that is a regional term and most people call this a slide. Hopefully the title of this post was not too confusing for you :) 

I do feel like this time around it has been more challenging. I am not sure if that is because the circumstances are so different or if it is because I feel like I lost so much this past year or if it is because I cannot envision what my healthy lifestyle will look like now that I have so many activity restrictions. Probably a mixture of it all.

I think that 6 years ago it seemed easier because I had nowhere else to go but up. I was super lazy with terrible eating habits. Something, no matter how small of a change, was so much better than where I had been. Now the changes I need to make aren’t huge, I mean even at my worst during the injury, I still packed my breakfast and lunch every day. I did eat some processed foods but not a ton. I was probably closer to 60/40 than 80/20 but I still rarely drank or ate out. I was just completely inactive. And that is what led me here today.

Maybe I just have too many expectations of what my life should be based on where my life used to be. I think maybe I just need new expectations, new goals, and new dreams instead of wishing back the life I used to have.

Tomorrow I see my doctor for my semi-annual checkup and will get back the lab results from my blood work I had last week. My last check up back in the fall, even though I had already started to gain weight from the injury, my doctor was still super impressed with my lab work results. She said she was not concerned with the weight gain because I was internally the picture of health. I wonder how much they have changed after a solid 6 months of no activity….

I will let you know tomorrow.

Lastly, I really need to thank you for allowing me a place to talk about these deeply personal feelings. Trust me, although it may sound really negative I merely want to showcase the side of the battle I am fighting right now. We all have our own hurdles, and right now this is mine. It’s no different than yours. But when I talk about mine it helps me to put things in perspective and begin to really focus on the underlying struggles and issues. Because at the end of the day, I want to be healthy again. I want to be fit and full of energy. I want to treat my body, mind and spirit the way that they deserve to be treated because I only have one life. And I intend to live it fully.



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Today *the original title was too long

Aside from taking care of my sick puppy and then scraping the heck out of my heel on some brick, I was having an awesome morning. I had an appointment to see my chiropractor at 730a so I am feeling pretty great right now. Plus, he is just the nicest guy so I always enjoy my time there. Thursday’s are usually very stressful days for me – they are almost always the busiest work day of the week and then when I am home I am usually swamped with LuLaRoe party stuff. That means I usually end up going to bed much, much later than my norm and waking up much, much earlier on Friday- to take care of business stuff -before I leave for work. During a typical week I pretty much feel a little more exhausted every day from working during the day and night every day and by the time Saturday hits I am a full on zombie. If I am lucky, my body will let me sleep in on Sunday but usually my internal clock has a different idea.

For the past few weeks, as we are starting to prepare to close up our LuLaRoe shop, we have been able to step back a bit and make a little more time for ourselves. Did I tell you why are we closing our business? We are in the process of getting ready to put our house on the market because we have a contract down on a new build home that should be ready sometime this fall. 

We knew that once our house was on the market (hopefully by June 1) we would not be able to run our LuLaRoe business again until we were settled into our new home later this year. It would be a logistical nightmare to try and make it work so we made the difficult decision to close. The close may be temporary, or it may be permanent- we still don’t know for sure. But I am trying not to stress about that. Or the 1,000 pieces of clothing I need to sell before we list our home. Or what this means for my LuLaRoe group and the connection I have made with some of the most amazing women. I am trying to not stress over any of that.

Which you know that means I am absolutely stressed over all of it.

Which is why I am trying to get into a daily meditation routine and am practicing daily self-care acts.

It’s also why I am trying to eat better and be more active.

And why I am trying to spend more time with friends and Erick and have a ‘normal’ life again.

Now more than ever I need to control the things in my life that are controllable and try to NOT STRESS over the ones that are not.

So today I am going to start something I hope to be able to do weekly- a ‘what I am going to do to take care of  myself today’ post.

Today I will:

1.       Take a walk out in the beautiful sun during my lunch break and literally stop and smell the flowers

2.       Stand at my desk (I now have a variable height desk, post injury) for a total of 4 hours

3.       Eat an amazingly yummy and healthy dinner with Erick and NOT have my phone out at the table (which is pretty hard to do when you run an online business)

4.       Jump on my fitness trampoline for 20 minutes

5.       Meditate

6.       And most importantly (and the most difficult)- I WILL NOT STRESS EAT!!!

Those are my six goals for today to help me feel good about myself, find balance between work and self-care, and end the day on a positive note.

What are you doing for yourself today?



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Why Now?

Is it weird to come back to blogging in a time where blogs are kind of a thing of the past? Are blogs a thing of the past? I hear it is all about microblogging now. I really don’t know what that means- small blogs is my best guess. LOL!

Honestly, it’s ok if no one reads this.

My main goals is just to write.

I never really expected anyone to read my blog posts for the five years prior so now isn’t really any different.

I just need to write again.


Because a) it’s kind of unfair to Erick to have me dump every thought and emotion on him solely all the time. Poor guy, I am sure he misses me writing too. So reason A is really that I need another outlet.

But the main reason, I guess reason B, is that even though I have an outlet (and I am sure I have more outlets than just the hubs but sometimes I suck at communicating the hard stuff) there is still so much I have been burying inside. And when I do that it’s only me stuck with those thoughts. Those thoughts, which could be perfectly harmless had I just said them to someone else and had a normal conversation about them (or wrote about them in my blog), then turn to damaging thoughts.

Because those hidden thoughts and emotions had time to fester they’ve turned from something maybe a little negative to something off the charts negative. I have spent far too much time over this past year telling myself I was a failure. That I was disgusting. That I was not good enough. And you know what happened? I started to believe that.

I lost hope in myself.

I conceded.

I believed that was that and I was just destined to go back to that person I was six years ago. That girl that sat on the sidelines and passively watched her life pass her by.

I lost my identity.

And I gave up.

For months and months I just gave up. I was broken. I would never heal. I would never be that girl that ran back to back half marathons or finished a triathlon or would ride 50 miles on her bike just for fun. That girl was gone and she wasn’t coming back. And I had no fucking clue how to process that.

I don’t know what happened to bring me there or when I hit my breaking point but rock bottom came and that familiar feeling- that one I felt 6 years ago when I started this ‘journey’- hit me like a ton of bricks.

I didn’t give up six years ago. And I won’t give up now.

Life is so much more than race medals. I cannot run and I will probably never run again. But I am so much more than that.

And I can do so much more than that.

I just have to get there.

Baby steps.

Just like 6 years ago.

Baby steps.

I need this now the same way I needed it then. I need an outlet. I need a space to share everything. And  I need to be able to tell myself that I will be ok. I will get stronger and healthier, I will change my life again. And if I keep telling myself enough times I know I will start to believe it.

Baby steps.



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Mic Check...Is This Thing On?

Wow! It has certainly been awhile, huh? (I won't tell you that it took me 10 minutes to figure out how to log into my Blogger account. SMDH)

Let me take a minute to wipe off some of the dust that gathered on this ole bloggy blog and then we can get started.

The last we saw each other I was celebrating my five year blogiversary by apparently never blogging again. LOL! I have not written a new post in over a year, and yes the last post was my 5 year post. Kind of weird, right?

Maybe from the outside, yes. But something big happened just a few weeks after my 5 year post that changed my life completely. In early March 2016 I signed up to become a consultant with LuLaRoe (super amazing clothes that helped me to feel comfortable in my skin and find my self-confidence) which on the surface seems like maybe not too big of a deal, right? It’s just direct sales- no big deal, right? Nope, it is a huge undertaking that I have spent 40+ hours a week on top of my full time job and still working on my doctorate running this new business.

I was (and still am) ridiculously busy. It’s a lot. At least, a lot for me.

We (Erick and I- he is pretty much my business partner in LuLaRoe) live our life with no margins. (See post here: http://carlabirnberg.com/2017/04/10/the-importance-of-living-with-margins/) We have said no to so many life events, passed up on spending time with friends, no vacations, just work, work, work 95% of the time. *We do try to take 12 hours to ourselves on the weekend when we can although I am still always connected and never really ‘off’. I am not complaining, I love my business, but I can say with certainty that I did not know exactly how time consuming this would be when I signed up.

And of course, you can probably guess what else has been sacrificed over the past year- our eating and exercise habits. Long gone were the days where I would make every meal from scratch and in its place is junk food/ convenience foods I can make super quick before I need to get back to work. Our gym routine went out the window early on as working every night made it impossible to get up early to hit the gym. Sleep has been complete crap too.

And then, late last August/early September I hurt my hip and back and that made that whole terrible lifestyle situation even worse. A tear in my superior labrum and bursitis in my hip, coupled with degenerative disc disease and bugling discs which created a mess with my sciatica, I got to the point where I could barely even move my right leg.

Doctors, steroids, Orthopedist, Chiropractor, physical therapy, more steroids and after months and months of pain, extremely limited activity and terrible side effects from the steroids I am FINALLY finished with PT and meds (well, only as needed) and am cleared for light activity. Yay!!!

So why am I telling you all this? Because this past year has really changed my life to the point where I don’t even recognize myself. And I don’t just mean that because I have gained weight (which I have, a whopping 50 lbs in one year!) I mean that the person I was, and worked so hard to become, the one that loves to be active, eat well to fuel her body, and focuses on taking care of her mental well being- seems to be gone. Or maybe just buried.

After a rough start in March where I found myself on antibiotics and feeling like a hot mess, I finally started to take some action and control back in my life. Right now, for April, I am focusing on daily, weekly, and monthly goals that are slightly challenging yet still doable. I am using the Goal Digger tracking sheet from Brooke’s blog (Link: http://brookenotonadiet.com/2014/07/11/goal-digger-free-printable/).  I tack my steps and sleep on my Garmin, my water intake on the Plant Nanny app and am even trying to move back to food tracking using My Fitness Pal.

Week one for April was pretty good and I am hoping week two will be even better. I have also started meditating at night. I am trying to work my way up to making that a daily habit. My exercise right now is mainly walking but I am hoping to start a 3 week yoga program in the next couple weeks. I also bought a fitness trampoline for some low impact exercise. AND once I close up my LuLaRoe shop (more on that some other time) I want to get back into weekly bike rides like we used to go on every weekend. I am trying to slowly re-introduce things and not try to take it too fast because I really, really, really don’t want to reinjure myself. So I am definitely baby stepping back into fitness.

Meal planning has been going really well and I love having time again to cook every day. I am really looking forward to summer and grilling out a lot. We tend to eat more lighter foods in the hotter temps and it is really helpful when I am trying to not overindulge too much.

Oh, and I am also doing a self-care challenge in my LuLaRoe group for the month of April and taking time each day to focus on me...it is such an amazing feeling. A daily self-care routine was very much needed! 

I have so much I want to talk about right now but I don’t want to make this post any longer than it already is. But I really hope to get back into a blogging routine. I need the accountability. It was so amazingly helpful the first time around. And right now I am trying so hard to fall back on the good habits that got me to a 130 lb weight loss. I know it’s not starting over, but honestly some days it does feel that way. I just keep telling myself- it’s not a new book, just a new chapter.