I’m So Tired of Starting Over

It’s time, officially, to give up the cycle. Give up the go-beast-mode-for-2-weeks-then-fail-then-eat-cookies-then-hate-myself. Give up the positive / negative roller coaster. Give up the body hate. Give up the excuses.

I’m so tired of it. Seriously, in looking at my posts on this blog, most of them are about starting over, or refreshing and beginning anew in some way. Most of these I wrote to give myself accountability, and space to breathe and a way to start from scratch so I can go forward. Yet I never went forward. My journey towards health and regaining my fitness (and confidence in my body again) has been a series of false starts and terrible bounce-backs into binge eating and no exercise. I kept waiting for the right moment, when the world could slow down for just a second so that I could start over.

However, I’m slowly learning life doesn’t just stop so you can start from scratch. It’s something so simple, that I’ve known all along, but it didn’t truly resonate with me until the past week, after months of giving up and self-loathing. All the self-hate I could muster won’t make me healthy again, or able to jump like I did in high school, or give me the strength and arm definition I had as a competitive dancer. All the negative thoughts won’t make me stop eating chips and lots of free pizza and too many snacks at work. All the angry words I told myself won’t make me a disciplined yoga student or a faster, more dedicated runner. All the giving up won’t stop the world from turning, just so I could start over.

So here it is: I’m SO tired of starting over. I’m tired of giving up. So, now… I won’t. I won’t give up. I won’t get angry when I falter, I’ll just pick myself up and keep going. I won’t let one bad day ruin weeks or months of progress. I won’t be a part of this healthy-unhealthy cycle anymore. I won’t start over again and again because I won’t give up in the first place.

I WILL be healthy. I WILL be strong in mind while slowly becoming strong in body. I WILL find ways to nourish myself. I WILL be patient, knowing progress isn’t always linear but it’s still happening. I WILL look for inspiration and motivation everywhere.

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I WILL go at it with a plan. In an effort to make this change easy, so that it sticks, I’m looking again to my girls at ToneItUp.com — the trainers Karena + Katrina are not only beautiful and strong but extremely encouraging. While they give free workouts on their site multiple times a week, they also know how important nutrition is to get to your health and fitness goals. Plus, they seem really fun and they have a huge community of followers, which means I’m not doing this alone.

So, I’ve signed up for their 8-week Bikini Series challenge. I’m not a member of their Nutrition plan, so I won’t get a specific food plan, but after following their blog (passively) for a few years, I’m pretty familiar with what’s ToneItUp approved — basically whole, non-processed foods. Heavy on the greens. Lean protein is a must. Fruits for your sweet tooth. And yes, the *occasional* indulgence. OK, so I have to re-evaluate what my definition of “occasional” is, but the fact is, I’ve eaten this way before and loved when I did. So this time, I just have to keep at it, and make a plan so that it’s easy to do so. As for not buying their specific nutrition plan, I like looking at recipes for inspiration, but I actually prefer to not be on a set food plan — I don’t want this to feel like a diet, but like a way to guide me towards better eating habits.

The Bikini Series starts next week and goes until the first day of summer, and it’s a fun, TUI community-wide fitness and health challenge to help get beach-ready. It’s just the right amount of structure that I need so I can make fitness a priority. I’m not going to lie, some of my short-term goals are very superficial: I want my stomach and legs to look good when I’m in a bikini on the beach. I don’t want my beast-mode little bro being the only one in the family with a 6-pack this summer. I want to look good in photos again and rock a skimpy dress in a nightclub knowing my arms look stellar. But it’s more than that. I just want to start feeling good about myself again. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin again. And I know what I need to do to make that happen.

So it’s T-10 days until the TUI challenge officially begins. I won’t start over; this time, I’ll just start: start moving my body ever-so-slowly and start to feed myself for all the great things I’m doing. I’ll check in here as often as I can. Eventually my choices will become my behaviors, and my behaviors will become healthy habits. The world won’t wait for me to do anything; it’ll just show up every day and go, like always. And this time, so will I.

<3

 

Winter races 2013

Last month I signed up for 3 races to round out the year. Part of it was so I could stay motivated because now that is gets dark before I even leave work, it’s even harder to convince myself for an after-work run. Part of it was knowing I need to do something to offset the holiday feasting that will no doubt take place. Most of it is because I’m running a half-marathon the first weekend of February. Damn, February is so far away! But if I didn’t have a few smaller goals to work towards leading up to this race, I know my inner laziness would get the best of me. I wouldn’t train until after New Year’s Day, I’d freak out over how close the race is, and I’d probably injure myself. Yeah, I’d like to avoid that.

So here’s my very light-race schedule for the end of the year:

Sat, Nov 23rd: The Cooking Light & Healthy Fit Foodie 5k – I’m running with an old j-school friend of mine who enjoys food and running as much as I do! The 5k is held in conjunction with the San Diego Food & Wine Festival, so the Finisher’s Village will include Stella Artois beer tasting, Cupcake Vineyards wine tasting, and more than 15 food tastings and demos. Running so I can eat? Yes please! This run was made for me & I’m really excited about running it with my buddy.

Thurs, Nov 28th: 7th Annual Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam Turkey Trot 12k – Speaking of running so I can eat, this will be my first year running a Turkey Trot. I’m a tad nervous about this because I signed up for the 12k distance instead of the 5k. Why you ask? The trail we’re running used to be the old railroad tracks to bring supplies to build the Hoover Dam. They’ve since removed the tracks, but the 12k route brings you through all 6 tunnels to a turnaround point with a view of the dam (hence the name). The shorter route is on the same trail, but your turnaround point is earlier, thus no Hoover Dam views :-( I figure if I’m running a turkey trot with Hoover Dam in the name, I have to see it right? Plus, those extra couple miles mean more turkey and pie for me afterwards, yum…

Sun, Dec 8th: Athleta Iron Girl Del Mar Women’s 10K – Another trail run hot on the heels of Thanksgiving. What am I thinking? Still, I’m looking forward to this one, and it gives me an excuse to get out of my bubble. I’m running this one alone unless I can convince some friends to join in. Either way, I’ve wanted to run an Iron Girl event for a while because I love their mission to empower women towards a healthy lifestyle.

These races are all coming up pretty fast, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. Unfortunately, I haven’t run much since my last half marathon in October, so logging relatively high mileage (5+ miles) per session may be an issue. At this point, consistency will be my only friend until the 5k. I’ll try to post my training log next week, but until then, stay balanced!

 

Yogi tea is sending me signs…

Earlier today, I killed time at the DMV by looking up potential universities and resources about a particular master’s degree. I’m a little shy to give many details about it, as it’s pretty speculative at this point and I like to hold things pretty close to my chest until all deals are sealed and loose ends tied. I knew even while earning my bachelor’s that I wanted to return to grad school, but for what exactly? I went to J-school, changed my minor countless times and still couldn’t make up my mind, resorting to a double minor. If I had learned about fields like cultural anthropology any time earlier than my senior year, I would’ve double majored in that as well. What can I say? I’ve always had a little trouble with focus.

I assumed I would get my MBA, not because I wanted to really, but because I thought it the pertinent thing to do. When I graduated only a few years ago, the job market was dismal, especially in the journalism/communications/PR fields — I considered even then jumping straight into grad school. Yet, I convinced myself that jumping into an MBA (or any master’s) program with no plan or focus on what I wanted to do with it when I got out would be an ill-advised investment. Instead I hit the job market running and put any graduate education plans on the sidelines.

As you may imagine, however, I don’t really want an MBA. (Who really does *want* to study for an MBA? The motivation typically stems from a desire to succeed or move up in one’s career, not from an actual desire of learning the material, right? …OK obviously I’m biased and that’s just my opinion…) I certainly see the immense value it would provide should I continue down this current career path. But as I looked on my phone this morning, at the various universities offering the particular program I have in mind now, I got a bit hopeful. Yet, I was also scared, so I didn’t want to let myself feel hopeful. So I saved the links and moved on.

I left the DMV and got to work. I made myself a cup of tea. Then this little gem presented itself:

this is not my actual tea, I drank mine too quickly and tossed it before I remembered to snap a photo (image c/o http://integrativenutrition.tumblr.com)

this is not my actual tea, I drank mine too quickly and tossed it before I remembered to snap a photo (image c/o http://integrativenutrition.tumblr.com)

Maybe it’s not really a sign, but the little note on the end of my ginger herbal tea bag left an impression on me all the same. I can trust my intuition, if I only listen. I read it, again and again, and it put a smile on my face. I let the thought sink in: maybe I really do know what I want for my future.

2013 Goals – Yes this is still valid in May!

I posted this a tad late (MAJOR understatement), but this year started with one goal only to grow into many. Some are related, some are similar to my 2012 Goals, and some have come up after the many events of this challenging and wonderful year.

At the start of the year, I declared 2013 the year of health! It tied in with my resolution, which is to cultivate a daily yoga practice, but the focus for me was purely physical: I wanted to be fit to look good. I wanted to be happy with the person I saw in the mirror everyday. Fast forward some months, and those desires still hold true. However, after seeing what this year has had in store for me already, I think it’s more accurate to declare this the year of love. This year means love for my family, love for my craft, love for the future that I’m creating, and most importantly, love for myself. This may not happen in the blink of an eye that years typically turn out to be, but this year can make all the difference. It has already taught me that there is room in my heart to grow and that yes, there is a capacity to love even more.

With an open heart, here is my list of goals for 2013. Last year I was 2 for 12, and I kept  my resolution (to pay off my credit card with the highest APR!), so let’s see how the rest of this year fares:

  • Cultivate a daily yoga practice.
  • Eat clean 80/20.
  • Be active every day, even if it’s a 10 min walk to the coffee shop or a much-needed time to stretch #enjoytheworld
  • Now that I’ve paid for all transportation, save at least $2,000 for living, eating, and entertainment expenses for my European adventure this summer!
  • Pay off my second credit card & be 100% credit card debt free by Nov 5th, 2013!
  • Earn more money this year. Create other avenues that fuel my passion and my bank account if that’s what it takes!
  • Learn more about cooking (I just bought a TON of cookbooks to help me with this particular goal).
  • Write for a food-related publication (other blog, site, magazine?!)
  • Find the strength during mile 11 of the Long Beach Half Marathon run through it and not walk.

I keep running into a quote or thought really since the exact words vary each time, but the aim is simple: Focus on how far you’ve come and not how far you have to go. With that in mind, here’s a few things I’ve already accomplished this year:

  • I’ve saved up enough money for a 2.5 week trip to Europe across 5 cities. I will celebrate a wedding, see so many of my closest friends, go to new places and see one of my favorite cities in the summer for the first time! I’m doing all of this because I was disciplined enough to save my hard-earned cash!
  • I earned a merit raise at my job. I guess this technically resulted from the work I did in 2012, but it still counts ;-)
  • I started to actually take my overall health seriously. My body deserves the best I can give it, so that’s exactly what I’m doing #fitforlife #healthyeveryday
  • I ran my SECOND half marathon – the OC Half – and despite an old knee / ITB injury, I did it in a much faster time than I ever expected.
  • I traveled with my dad and sister to the Philippines for the first time in 23 years. It was the greatest experience of my life to spend so much time with my family who is so far away.
  • Oh, and yesterday I won a friendly plank competition against my siblings. Held it for 2 minutes, and while that might be a small victory, it’s still a personal record!

Oh 2013, you’ve treated me well and taught me so much already, I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year brings!

Finding your edge

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Playing your edge. It’s not a new concept, but still one that returns to my mind every day. Sometimes it’s fun. See how far you can go. The exhilaration from the unknown can feel like a fierce breeze luring me from my comfort zone. It can also be painful. The fear of getting hurt, of losing out, of being wrong — these all can feel more real than even the most enticing breeze. So I learn to play my edges. How far can I do without going too far? How much can I push the boundaries of what “too far” is?

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The term itself came to me from yoga. My instructors would advise me to seek out the very most I could do with my body, find a place there where I could remain and harness my own power of the mind to truly keep me there. They gave me a name to something I’ve always played around with, no pun intended. Sometimes I could be cautious or meek, looking outward but staying within that comfortable boundary. Other times, I can do nothing but leap and hope to fly. What does playing my edge in yoga teach me about finding my edge in life?