Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Restarting My Health Journey for the Millionth Time

I hate writing these posts. I hate putting it out there. I’ve done it too many times. I’ve started and stopped my health and fitness journey more times than I can count. I lose the weight, then I gain it back and then some. It’s discouraging. It’s scary. And I hate it.

And yet, instead of changing things all those others times I stopped and started, here I am starting again. I’m not going to say it’s the last time, because that sets me up for failure. But this time, I have to work as hard as possible. I can’t let myself feel defeat. I have to push. If I don’t see results right away, I need to be patient and work harder.

I need to know that it was a long process to put this weight on, and it’s going to be a long process to take it off. It’s not going to happen overnight. But I can do this.

Why this post on a Monday morning? Because I’m starting my health journey for the millionth time this morning. I’m refocusing myself. I’m reminding myself that I have to do this. I can’t keep living at the weight I’m at. It’s not healthy. It’s not about appearance anymore. It’s about my health. And that needs to change.

In less than a year, I will be getting married. Yes, we will finally set a date. In two months, I start trying on wedding dresses. While I know, in two months, I won’t be anywhere close to my goal, I hope to be down at least 10 pounds. I know dresses can be taken in, and that’s my plan.

I know a year is plenty of time to lost the amount of weight I need to lose (around 65 lbs). But I’m just going to focus on doing the best I can do.

So here we go. Starting over again. But this time, I feel like the switch finally turned on and I’m ready to do this.

I Am A Guillain-Barre Survivor.

At 4 years old, you never expect to end up in one of the largest hospitals in Boston, surrounded by doctors in white coats, enduring test after test, prick after prick, all in the name to walk again.

But I did.

Let me back up. 25 years ago this coming April, started out like any normal month. I was an active four-year old. An only child of two wonderful parents. I was in pre-school, and was getting ready to enter kindergarten in the fall. I loved arts and crafts, playing on the swing set, and just being a typical kid.

At 4 years old, I had learned to walk just a couple of years prior. I was starting to become more independent. I was finally becoming a big kid. I wasn’t a baby anymore. Well, at least in my mind I wasn’t.

But in a just a couple of day’s time, that all changed. I had been fighting a virus. Like every other child that spring. Except mine had ulterior motives other than to keep me off the playground.

The details surrounding my diagnosis are a bit fuzzy. I was four after all. So bear with me.

This is what I can remember from that fateful April morning, in bits and pieces.

FullSizeRender
Riding my bike in the driveway and garage, right before falling ill with Guillain Barre.

I remember riding my bike in a circle in our small garage. I still wasn’t feeling well. I remember falling off, and landing on my knees. But I was having trouble standing, and walking. I remember my parents rushing me off to my pediatrician’s office and him asking me to walk down the hallway. My pediatrician knew what was happening just by my gait. A rare illness called Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

I remember being rushed to Boston in the back of my parent’s blue station wagon, while lying across the backseat. I can’t remember if falling off the bike and going to my pediatrician’s all happened in the same day. But I know it was pretty close together.

My parents told me when I was older that my pediatrician wanted me to go by ambulance. That I would get to Boston faster. He made a call to Mass General Hospital and they were ready for me. But my parents didn’t want me to be traumatized, or scared, by the ambulance ride. I was 4. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I just thought I was having trouble walking.

They also told me later on that they had never driven so fast. They were pulled over as they neared the city, and my dad explained what was going on to the police officer. He told them to go. To get me there as fast as they could. If I could meet that cop today, I would thank him. He didn’t keep my parents waiting for a speeding ticket, when they could have at the hospital, trying to figure out what was happening to me.

They were ready and waiting for us. They whisked me off for test after test. I remember being surrounded by doctors on a hospital bed and covered with white sheets. I was in the pediatric ICU. I underwent a spinal tap, along with multiple other tests, to see what was still working (legs, arms, etc.)

I was treated by one of the top pediatric neurologists in Boston, Eileen Ouellette. If anyone reading this knows her, I would love to get in touch with her. The last I found of her is either she is living on Nantucket now, and she was elected vice president of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005-2006.  Without her, I don’t know what my life would be life today.

She confirmed the diagnosis. Guillian-Barre. And at the time, a very rare syndrome. So rare, in fact, that the Boston hospitals had yet to see a child with it. They consulted with doctors across the country trying to determine a course of treatment.

I spent 3 days in the pediatric ICU. I was isolated. My parent’s had to stay in a small room down the hall. I was alone. And at 4 years old, completely petrified. I remember screaming for my parents and buzzing my buzzer. I didn’t want to be myself. I was in a scary hospital, in a scary room, hooked up to all kinds of machines, and I couldn’t get out of bed without help. But after three long days, I was transferred to a regular room in the pediatric unit for the remainder of my stay.

IMG_2390
Off to my first check-up in Boston after recovering

I stayed at Mass General Hospital for a total of 7 days. 7 days of rigourous treatment. 7 days of painful therapies.

I have two very vivid happy memories from my stay. The first? Playing in the children’s playroom with other pediatric patients. All of us in wheelchairs. Laughing. And completely forgetting that we were in a hospital. Most of us probably didn’t quite understand what was happening. And the second was my bath time with one of the aids. She was just wonderful. Her and my mom wore raincoats one day, and kept adding bubble bath to the tub so I could splash and play like a normal kid.

My worst memory? My IV got infected one night. They had to rush me to an OR to replace it. Thankfully, I don’t remember too much about it. But I remember how painful it was and how scared I was.

But after 7 days, things started to get better.

I was sharing my room with a baby. I’ve always thought her name was Renee, but I could be wrong. She had spina bifida. I remember my parents being there and we had some other guests in the room, including our priest that we were very close to when I was growing up, Father Jamie. I heard her crying. I kept saying ‘Mommy, the baby is crying’ but no one heard me. So I did the only thing I could think of. I climbed out of bed, holding on to whatever I could find, and walked over to her crib.

IMG_2392
Kindergarten – rocking my denim skirt and hot pink socks.

Yes. I walked. After nearly 7 days of being essentially paralyzed, I got up from my bed and walked. It was second nature. It made sense to me. But when I turned around to say she was crying again, everyone was staring at me with their jaws on the floor.

The treatment was working.  At least that’s how I remember it.

I was released from the hospital in mid-April. I can remember vividly driving into my driveway to our forsythia bushes in full bloom. And laughing because I reminded myself that my Papa could never say ‘forsythia’ so he just called them yellow bushes. At 4, I probably couldn’t say it either. I was probably trying in the car, which is what got me laughing.

Even though I was home, walker in tow, I wasn’t home free yet.

I endured weeks of intense physical therapy. Painful physical therapy. Guillian Barre is the only disease that paralyzes you from the legs up. I was lucky. Well, lucky in the sense that my legs were paralyzed and my arms had some paralysis, but nothing more than that. It can be much worse. The disease has the potential to paralyze your respiratory system and so much more.

I endured both occupational therapy and physical therapy. My therapists were sweet, caring and pushed me hard. It took some grueling swimming, stretching and every other kind of exercise to get my legs and arms working again. It was horrible. Remember I was only 4. I hadn’t built up any kind of pain tolerance yet. And being in that much pain at 4, and still being able to remember it at 28, I know it was painful.

Even when I was in pain, crying and wanting to quit because I just wanted to go home and watch TV, they pushed me to take that extra step, and to go just a little harder. They refused to let 4 year old me quit. And I’m glad they didn’t let me.

Because it worked. All of their hard work paid off.

FullSizeRender2
A nice family vacation in Disney World after I fully recovered.

I went for follow-ups through the years, until I was probably 6ish (again, fuzzy on the details). At the time, my doctors had told my parents they weren’t sure if I would be able to participate in sports, or normal activities. I had (and still do not have) any reflexes in my knees, elbows or ankles.

Boy did I prove them wrong. I played the gamut of sports (softball, soccer, swimming, ice skating, skiing, and so on), but didn’t find my one true love of horseback riding until I was 9. And even that was painful. I worked so hard at it because I loved it. But would come home crying and in pain. But I worked through it.

I also suffered from a pretty depleted immune system from the treatment. As I got older, it got better, but for a long time, I was always that kid sick with something. Just another side effect.

But here I am, 25 years later. Still without my reflexes, and possibly a bit more injury prone (but that’s probably just because I’m klutzy), but I’m here.  Thanks to some wonderful doctors who decided that they were going to cure a little girl who contracted a rare disease that they had never seen in a child before.

Not only was I walking, and running, just a couple of short years after, but I was an athlete. A strong athlete. Proving that, you can do anything you put your mind too.

1923902_514811417085_616_n
Showing my beloved horse, when I was 16. Nearly 12 years after falling ill and recovering from Guillian Barre.

I am a Guillain-Barre survivor.

I can’t write this post and not thank my parents. I was four. I was their baby. Their only child. They were my rock through this. Alternating nights on the pull out sofa, driving me to PT, and everything else. Seriously. You are the best. I love you both.  (And my family, and friends, and everyone else that was around during that trying time. I wish I remember more of the ordeal, specifically the love and prayers that surrounded me and my family.)

New Signature

100 Days of Active, Round 2

If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, then you’ll remember my failed attempt at 100 Days of Active last year. Last year, the idea was to be active everyday in the days leading up to my birthday.

Well, it didn’t happen. I tried. But not hard enough.

So, I’m bringing it back. For no other reason than to give me a good goal, and something to keep me moving.

100 days of active

I’ll be tracking it on here. But I’m not going to be doing it daily. I’ll check in once a week with my weekly activities, and weigh in.

Now you’re probably thinking “Is it 100 straight days?” and the answer is yes. The last time I tried this, I gave myself leeway to skip doing anything active on certain days. Which led to failure. Yes, my goal is something active everyday for 100 days.

30 minutes of activity every day for the next 100 days. Now, it doesn’t mean a hard workout every day. It could be something as simple as a lunchtime walk. But the idea is get me in the mindset of making time for exercise in a busy schedule.

This will run just about 14 weeks. I think it’s like 2 days over. So I’m planning out the first 8 weeks. Weigh in’s will be on Thursday, and the posts will be on Thursdays.

I like having a schedule. Otherwise, I can’t handle life.

The first 50-ish days of 100 Days of Active

Week 1: March 5 – March 11 (Yes. It starts tomorrow!)

Week 2: March 12 – March 18

Week 3: March 19 – March 25

Week 4: March 26 – April 1 – We leave for Las Vegas on March 30th. Essentially my 100 Days of Active for the days we are there, will be walking all over the strip. Seriously.

Week 5: April 2 – April 8 – We are back on April 4th from Las Vegas.

Week 6: April 9 – April 15

Week 7: April 16 – April 22

Week 8: April 23 – April 29

So for the first week or two, I anticipate being very cranky. More because I plan on trying to force myself out of bed in the morning to try to get a walk in on the treadmill when I can. And I really like sleep.

I hope you follow along. This will be a hard, but really good, challenge for me. I need it. I need to force myself to get active and doing something like this will remind me that it’s not about having time, it’s about making time.

I’ll be posting images throughout the challenge on instagram (follow me!) and will be using the hashtag #100daysofactive.

Wish me luck. Here we go!

New Signature

 

I Can. I Will. I Am Going to Lose the Weight.

I’m frustrated. I’m upset. And I’m angry at myself.

I know. It sounds harsh. But I think it’s time to be a bit harsh on myself.

I’m really struggling to lose weight. What started as a 30 pound journey in 2009, has gradually grown into a 40, than a 50 and now a nearly 60 pound weight loss. Which completely blows my mind.

I’m mad because I can’t believe I allowed myself to get to this place.

I’m angry because I didn’t see it happening. I was in denial. I didn’t believe I was gaining that much, even as that scale creeped up.

I’m frustrated because I’m having a hard time seeing the needle move.

I know it’s not all about the number. But when you have nearly 60 lbs to lose, let’s be real, it is all about the number.

With our trip to Vegas looming in just over 70 days, with wedding planning and all that goes with it (including shopping for that perfect dress), it’s time to stop being lazy and start facing my weight. I’ve been trying to do that for weeks, but have been nonchalant about it. If I eat poorly, I shrug it off and say I’ll do better tomorrow. No more. It’s time to be strict with myself again. Not restrictive. Just strict.

i can i will correct

Here is my plan.

  •  Weigh myself weekly. I hate the scale. If I could get away with not owning a scale I would. But right now, I need to see that number to validate the hard work. I also will be watching the BF percentage closely.
  • Low-carb/low-sugar/high protein. I know low carb works for me. I also know I feel a lot better without all of the breads in my life. We’ve wondered for a long time if I have a gluten intolerance, and that could be attributing to a lot of my issues. At least going low-carb will help significantly.
  • Less dairy. I love dairy. Dairy does not love me. I love cream cheese, regular cheese, pretty much any cheese. I’ve already learned I can’t eat yogurt anymore, and since yogurt makes my belly angry, cheese will too. If I’m going to have it, it’s either a little bit of cream cheese in the morning, or feta cheese on my salad. I already drink almond milk in cereal and coffee, so that will be an easy adjustment.
  • Drink black coffee. I’ve been testing the waters with drinking black coffee in the morning. And I like it. Even though I drink almond milk in my coffee, drinking it black in the morning will make it a bit more pure and save on the calories.
  • Drink more tea.
  • Less alcohol. I don’t drink much as it is (only on the weekends), but I plan on cutting back how much on the weekends as well as what I’m drinking. I LOVE beer. Especially a good craft beer. But if I’m trying to stay low-carb, then beer is not a good option. I’ll probably stick to ciders or wine, when I do indulge.
  • Nutritional shakes for breakfast. Last winter, I did a Shakeology challenge with a friend. I loved the shakes for breakfast and found I felt so much better throughout the day. I’m getting samples of Vega’s nutritional shakes to try (I like that they are all-natural, gluten-free, etc.). If I like those, I’ll buy a tub or two and make those my breakfast in the morning. A good healthy start to the day.
  • Take my vitamins and supplements daily. I have a Vitamin D deficiency and I’ve been pretty horrible about taking my supplements. It’s time to get back on track with my daily dose, along with the rest of my vitamins to keep myself healthy.
  • Exercise 5-6 times per week. This will be the hardest for me. Getting to the gym is my biggest challenge. But I will make it. And I will work out at least once a day, 5-6 times a week.
  • Stay optimistic. It took me years to put this weight on, I know it’s not going to come off overnight. I need to stay focused, and optimistic. I have a habit of giving up if I don’t see results right away. I have to remind myself that a loss is a loss. Whether it’s 4 pounds or a 1/2 lb. It’s still a loss.

The good news. I started back on this journey right around the new year (I know, so cliche), and have been very conscious of what I’ve been eating. The bad news. I haven’t gotten into my exercise groove yet, and I’m still splurging a bit too much.

Back at it. Here we go.

New Signature

What I’ve Learned From a Year-Long Injury

yearlong injury

5 diagnoses. 4 x-rays. 3 doctors. 2 MRIs. 1 cortisone shot. That essentially sums up the last year of my life. Since Labor Day weekend 2013, my life has felt as if it has revolved around my left foot. From doctor’s appointments, to exercising, and everything in between, everything has been about my left foot.

I won’t lie. This last year has been trying. I’ve been in a walking boot three times, on crutches once for 4 weeks (but probably should have been on them when I was first diagnosed), and have been forced to put most of normal activities to the back burner on numerous occasions, all because of a foot injury that just wouldn’t heal.  It seemed like just as I was able to get back into a routine of exercise, and more importantly – riding a horse, my foot would start to throb, and I’d be at square one again. Since I was first injured, I’ve gained 20 lbs. And that’s after losing 10 initially. I should have eaten better. And I could have worked out with my upper body more, but I decided I would rather eat my feelings. I’ve always been an emotional eater. This injury completely interrupted my life, as they always do.

But this isn’t about how much my foot injury set me back. This is about how what this injury taught me.

I know. You’re probably wondering how an injury could teach me anything when 99% of the time, I wished it would just go away in my sleep. But reflecting over the last year, I have learned from this.

yearlong injurySource 

I’ve learned that it’s okay to rely on others. You are looking at a person who doesn’t like to ask for help. Who has NEVER liked to ask for help. I’m not sure why, I just never have. But with this injury, I’ve had no choice, especially when I found myself on crutches. And I what I found out was that people are always willing to help. I quickly realized that little things like getting dinner in the kitchen, grocery shopping, and just about carrying anything, wasn’t going to happen without help. Thankfully, I had a lot of people around me who were always happy to assist when I needed them.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to rest. I like to be on the go. Sure, I enjoy taking a break, reading and watching TV, but on my terms. When you’re in a boot and/or on crutches, it’s not on your terms anymore. It’s a forced rest. Accepting that I needed to be off my foot and on my couch was sometimes tough to take, but I stuck it out. But I found a new respect for my couch, and just being able to sit quietly without having to do something.

I’ve learned how necessary, and important, it is to be active. You know the whole phrase ‘You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone’? That pretty much sums up the last year. I never really enjoyed exercising. I rode horses and liked to walk. I was starting to get into running when I got injured. In the last year, my activity has been on and off, depending on how the foot was. I can’t tell you how many times I looked at my fiance and said “I wish I could go for a run right now.” Let’s just say, activity will be incorporated back in my day, almost immediately.

But one thing I already knew, I have the best support system there is. There have been countless tears, rants, angry text messages and swears thrown all over the place since I first was injured, and my fiance, family and friends, have always been there to remind me that this will heal and I will get better. And without them, I probably would have tried to chop my foot off lost my mind.

Most importantly, I’m on the road to recovery. I’m on the mend. I’m out of the boot, and off crutches. I’m slowly getting back to my normal activities. I should be fully cleared by 12/1. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep reflecting on what I’ve learned and continue to focus on healing.

New Signature

Crutches Be Gone!

I do promise that soon enough, the blog will become more regular. To be quite honest, as I said in my last post, it’s taken a back seat to the busy-ness that has become my life. I also won’t lie – I just haven’t had the inspiration to blog. Or to write in general. And I don’t like to post on the blog, just to post. That’s not fun for you, or for me. It’s not content I can be proud of, nor is it interesting for you to read.

As soon as I get some motivation, the blog will become more active. Pinky swear.

But for now, the good news of the week?

I’M OFFICIALLY OFF CRUTCHES! Oh, and I get to start transitioning out of the boot.

I know a lot of people chronicle their injuries on their blogs. Part of me wishes I had because I probably would have been able to get a lot of pent up things out. But, again, I didn’t want to post over and over how much it sucks being injured and how sick I am of crutches. So I didn’t. Consider yourself lucky, because my family got to listen to it instead 😉

But that’s all over because I’m off of the crutches and I can officially start getting back to my normal life. Within 2 weeks, he wants my fully out of the boot. So it means I get to start wearing two shoes (sneakers!) again. If I’m going to a lot of strenuous walking, the boot has to stay on for another week or two, but short jaunts means two shoes!

I also got the all clear to start exercising. Boot on at the gym for the next week, but I can do the bike and upper body. And I start personal training with a friend (they are considering it my physical therapy). I go back in 6 weeks for another appointment which is where I should get the all-clear to start doing more cardio. As my foot feels better though, I can do the bike at the gym (with a sneaker within 2 weeks) and start walking again.

I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU HOW RELIEVED I AM. I needed to hear all of this yesterday. I’ve been so down about this prolonged injury that hearing that I’m on the mend was amazing.

Now, it’s time to stop comfort eating (and drinking) and start getting back on track. Since the injury re-occured, I’ve gained probably another 10 lbs (NOT GOOD!) so now I’m facing a 60 lb weight loss.

But I know it’s not going to be instant, so I’m focusing on small steps. I know I’ll get there. It may take me a year, but by this time next year, I’ll be at my goal weight, and healthy as can be!

A Disappearing Act

Yes. I did it again. I had a few solid weeks of posting, and just like that, I disappeared. It wasn’t on purpose. I promise. Life just got so busy that the blog took a back seat again. So, today’s post is simply a life update.

Foot: I’ve been on crutches with non-weight bearing since September 22nd. I go back on October 20th (5 more days!) and will be handing my crutches in. Well, I’m hopeful that is what will happen. I had a solid week of straight depression from being on crutches. I felt useless, and didn’t want to leave my house. It was hard, but I kept reminding myself others have it way worse than I do. I kept telling myself that 4 weeks isn’t that long, even though it felt like an eternity. But I slowly forced myself to get out and do more. And now, here we are, just 5 days away. Keep your fingers crossed that the crutches will be gone and I’ll only be in the boot a short time longer. I’m ready to be out walking and enjoying our beautiful fall weather!

Photography: Unfortunately, the business took a bit of hit during the month of October due to the whole crutches thing. But I’m truly lucky I have such amazing clients who didn’t mind being shuffled around to other dates. Seriously, they rock. The Etsy Shop seems to be picking up. I’m getting more sales that are from different parts of the country, which is super exciting! My goal was 10 sales for the year, and I hit 14 already. I’m hoping for a few more before the year is up.

I also started an Instagram account for my photography. I figured it would be a nice way to share my portfolio, both personal and professional work, without bombarding those on my personal Instagram account. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this before. Sure, it’s a pain to switch between the two, but it’s also pretty nice to have a social media portfolio of all of my work! And in a week, I’m already over 50 followers! Win!

image1

The Reading Goal: This has been a bit of an…adventure. I’m right around 65 books read for the year. I have just under 3 months left. So somehow, I need to read 35 more books in the next 2 1/2 more months. And if I don’t make it this year, I will next year. (I also said this in 2012 and 2013!)

And that’s pretty much my life update. My foot, photos and reading. Oh… and if you missed it on Instagram… we bought a new couch over the long weekend. It’s pretty amazing, and I kind of never want to leave it again.

image1

Untitled design(8)

What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self: Tips for Happiness, Overcoming Anxiety, and Tackling Life Head-On

Life goes by in an instant. One day, you’re 18 and off to your freshman year of college, and the next you’re nearing 30.

Recently, I’ve found myself looking back at my life so far. Nostalgic? Perhaps. But I’ve been thinking more about what I’ve learned so far in my short life, more than I have been reminiscing.

And as I thought about what I’ve learned, it made me think about the things I wish I could tell my younger self; the lessons I’ve learned, how to handle the bumps in the road and to remember that even those dark moments, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could go back in time, these are the things I would tell myself.

YoungerSelfUnsplash

Kick your worries to the curb. Worrying is normal. Letting your worries overcome your day is not. Some worries are worth fretting over. While others, like saying ‘no’ to someone isn’t worth it. Worrying takes up too much energy.

Don’t be afraid to try new things.  You may have a fear of what others think of you, but don’t let it hold you back from trying something you’ve always wanted to. Letting what others think of you get in the way of life will only cause missed opportunities and regret.

You will suffer from debilitating anxiety and depression. And you will get through it. Anxiety and depression run in your family. You’re bound to face it at some point. It just so happens that it will be your first semester of college and your first time living away from home. A very common time. You will battle with it all through college. Panic attacks and debilitating depression will become a normal part of your day. But in the end, you will get through it. You will learn how to cope. You will learn how to fight back. And in the end, you will want to help others simply by telling your story and letting others know they are not alone.

Exercise is necessary.  Just because you rode horses and practically lived at a barn, does not mean you will stay skinny and in shape forever. Learn to enjoy going to the gym, going for runs, and being outside. Because once you have a full-time job, finding time to exercise will become an excuse. And you will end up having at least 10 excuses every day for not going to the gym. If only you developed a routine in college, you’d be less likely now to fight the idea of working out.

Ask questions of family members before it’s too late. Your family members hold the key to your history. Learn everything you can before it’s too late. Find out more about your great grandparents. Ask your grandparents about their families. Listen intently. Your grandparents love to tell stories from their younger years.

You will know when you fall in love (and it will happen when you’re 22). It’s life-consuming, mind-altering and the best feeling in the entire world. When movies describe finding your soul mate, they most definitely got it right.

Friendships come and go. Some friendships will fade away on there own as you grow up and grow apart. Some will disintegrate before your eyes and there is nothing you can do. Others will end abruptly and painfully for various reasons. Others will grow stronger than ever, and you realize that they are some of the best people you know. Some will be new; that will develop over college and your career. And you can’t imagine life without them now.

Life will challenge you. As cliche as it sounds, life will throw you curveballs. And you will have times where you question how you are going to overcome them. But you will, and you will come out stronger than before. Life isn’t supposed to be easy. Without challenges, we as people aren’t able to grow and change. Take those challenges head-on and know that you will rise above.

Your best laid plans will change. At 16, you had a plan. You were going to graduate high school. Go to college. Become a teacher. And teach 2nd grade. Suddenly, as a freshman in college, you discover you would rather be writing, change your major, and focus on Journalism. As graduation nears, it hits you that print journalism is disappearing. You flounder. Take a few odd jobs, and end up at a company that changes your direction. You start a Master’s program in Marketing, and focus on a new career path. You end up in financial marketing for 2 years before landing a career that you are both passionate about and enjoy.

Sometimes those initial plans are meant to be disrupted. Because without the disruption, you may not end up where you are supposed to be.

You are responsible for your own happiness. The actions of others can make you happy, but they are not responsible for your happiness. Find ways to enjoy life. Find your passions. And do them everyday. Life is too short to not be happy.

Untitled design(8)

A Final Diagnosis… hopefully.

It’s been a long year. But hopefully, after today, I’m finally on the FINAL road to recovery.

The “final”, and it’s in quotes until I’m cleared, is a stress fracture/reaction in my navicular bone (sound familiar?) and a plantar plate ligament injury in my second metatarsal. Essentially, there isn’t an evident fracture in my navicular bone, but they aren’t ruling it out. And since last year when I was first diagnosed, I was non put on non-weight bearing, it didn’t heal. The ligament is essentially stretched out in my plantar plate, so I have to tape it to my big toe to try to repair and shorten the tendon again.

So what does this all mean?

I’m still in a boot. Except now, I have crutches. And a non-weight bearing order for 4 weeks.

I won’t lie. I’m frustrated. And down. And angry. And upset. But, I’m also hopeful. And trying to be optimistic. The new diagnosis with the plantar plate makes sense. The navicular stress reaction makes sense. Especially if they both went undiagnosed or were treated improperly the first time.

I keep trying to tell myself that it’s only 4 weeks. And hopefully in 4 weeks, this will all be behind me for good and I can focus on recovery and regaining strength.

But that doesn’t disregard the fact that right now, at this moment, 4 weeks seems like a lifetime away.

On the plus side?

Maybe I’ll develop some insane upper body strength from carrying myself around on crutches….

So I ask all of you – if you’ve had an injury where you’ve had to be non-weight bearing, what kinds of things did you do (exercise related) at home to keep yourself moving and focused?

Untitled design(8)

#TransformationTuesday

As an avid Instagram user, I always try to keep up with the latest trends. I don’t always participate, but as someone who loves social media, and uses it daily both in my life and career, I like to know what’s popular. Social media is always evolving and changing, and it’s important to me to keep up with those changes.

One weekly hashtag that I’ve had an interest in has been #TransformationTuesday. Search for this particular hashtag and you will have thousands of photos in front of you, of people who have made incredible weight loss transformations. Whether it be from a weight loss pill company flaunting the results of their products, or the hard work of someone over a couple of years to reach their goal weight, these are truly incredible and inspirational transformations.

CREATIVITY.

Someday, I’d love to be the person flaunting my huge weight loss. It would be a great feeling to have a #TransformationTuesday like that. But, since I’m nowhere close to that, it made me think long and hard about what #TransformationTuesday means.

Is it about weight loss? Or is it a representation of a new you?

My own personal #TransformationTuesday – it represents a new me.

At 18 years old, I was 50 pounds lighter then I currently am. I was an avid horseback rider who spent most of her high school years living at the barn, where I was the happiest. The four-legged creatures were my favorite. I was a freshman in college. I had a core group of friends from home. I was a homebody. I was shy. I didn’t handle meeting new people well. I had never been in a serious relationship. And I was ashamed of my body. Even though, looking back now, I would love to be back at that size.

Fast forward 10 years later. I’m close to 50 lbs heavier. I don’t ride nearly as often as I would like, but I still get to the barn at least once a week, nor am I as active I should be. I’ve graduated with my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. I’m engaged to the love of my life. I grew out of my shyness. I’m not afraid to speak up and express what’s on my mind. I enjoy meeting new people. I have a career I love. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Yes, I don’t like my body. But I’ve learned to accept it and know that the only one who can change it is me. But the difference is, I’m happy. I may be overweight and not in good shape, but I’m happy.

10562506_10100146174202975_5170983196039126486_oOne of our engagement photos done by the talented Jaclyne Beaupre Photography

So what’s my transformation? I may have gained 50 lbs, but during that time, I found a sense of happiness and well-being that I never fully allowed myself to have.

I fully believe that we are never done ‘transforming’ ourselves. In a world that moves fast to move forward, we are always in need of some form of transformation to stay relevant. My next transformation will be working on getting to a body I’m 100% comfortable with. Not a weight; a body.

And from there, my next transformation will be continuing to live, love and learn and enjoy every day to the fullest. While not a normal transformation, continuing to open our lives to those three things every day will help up to transform as human beings.

So let’s change the traditional #TransformationTuesday from a weight-loss inspired hashtag to one that shows how our happiness has transformed.

 What defines your #TransformationTuesday?

Untitled design(8)