Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Story Goes On.....

Today is a day that I will never forget.  October 1, 2013.  I truly hope that I will never forget the moment the Doctor said, 'all looks great.  All is progressing and your baby looks healthy'.  Those of you that are aware of our painful journey to these words know I don't take these words for granted.  You may be reading this not knowing we are expecting. Today was our 20 week check up.  We have been silent because Sam and I have needed to take time to process going through this again and the fear, anxiety and large amounts of hope that creep in from day to day.  We needed to talk it out with God and each other and getting to a place where we could accept whatever may come our way.  It's been hard to not say anything, I love celebrating good news, but it's also allowed us such a sweet time to take this in as a couple and look for moments where we could move forward and connect through this miracle.  No outside voices to tell us what we should do or how to cope, just us.  I wouldn't change a thing about the last 20 weeks.

The moments that led me to the room where we received our 20 week anatomy scan were precious and marked with pieces of our sweet Juliette.  As I walked into the perinatal specialist office, I was overwhelmed with my first trace of tears.  All I could remember was being in this space before and the painful news we received that Juliette would not make it.   Her heart was in danger.  As we were called back to our room, the two nurses that settled us and did the initial ultrasound were both donning scrubs with butterflies all over them.  A reminder of our Juliette on the clothing of our nurses.  My heart suddenly felt at ease that she was with us in this precious moment and all would be okay.  The tears continued as we waited for our Doctor to come in and discus the ultrasound.  He was going through the organs development as a list you check off and kept saying, 'looks good'.  He ended with the heart and said, 'looks good, looks strong'.  Of course.  Again, my tears flowed.  Tears of  inexplicable joy.  Tears where my heart felt as if it might explode from my chest. Tears that dripped with the loss of Juliette and hope for this baby.  It's all so overwhelming in a truly amazing way.  Life from the very beginning is so very precious.

I can't stop looking at this picture. It is something I won't stop praying over as we continue this journey. We will not take one single moment of this for granted.  As we continue on this path to February 14th and beyond.

As Sam and I continue to allow Faith, Hope and Love guide us....I go back to these words from our wedding. 

"Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime. Therefore, we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history. Therefore, we must be saved by faith.Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone. Therefore, we must be saved by love." (Reinhold Niebuhr)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Comeback 3.3% (aka Strength & Beauty)

Yes.  It's here.  I vowed never ever to write about weight or my struggles with it over the last couple of years.  I vowed never to publicly put on a blog my frustrations with the 'baby weight' after losing Juliette in November of 2011 and my lack of focus in removing said 'baby weight'.

Until Now.

You see, I learned (again) …a goal without a plan is simply just a wish.  I had to remember my roots and where I come from.  I mean, I am a 2 time Ironmaiden who planned, trained and completed 140.6 miles back in 2008 and 2009.  Surely, I can take off 30-40 pounds?!?  I am an athlete who has played competitive volleyball, run marathons and trained for the impossible.   I got this.  I won’t bore you with ALL the details of how I got here. If you know me, you know the stress I was under during the last couple of years. Cortisol, known as the "stress hormone" is secreted in higher levels during 'fight or flight', and is responsible for several changes in the body.  This actually started for me back in August as I worked with the wonderful nutritionist Carly Pollack at Nutritional Wisdom and we discussed taking out all workouts that raised my heart rate.  My body can't see running a 400 m and lifting weights  as anything BUT stress and so I found myself on the mat, practicing yoga at my new home, Wanderlust Live.  I started to see a few of the pounds go away in small increments but then there is eating.  And I was emotional + eating= most of the time. In the fall I had a few friends that did a program called Strength & Beauty with CrossFit Austin and had great results.  When I talked with them about it they simply loved that it was a reset button for 28 days and also had great accountability. 

You had me at accountability.

So.  I made a plan.  I knew that they would have a program that would start up in January and that this was going to be my turn.  My time to reset and find the athlete under all the weight.  I set a reminder on my calendar to sign up on January 2 and was excited for the program to begin on January 13th.  I even took it one step further and made a few changes one week early....no sugar and only drinking water.  Now, before you all think this is some crazy, fad diet.  It wasn’t. 

Here is what I removed:
Grains/Gluten, Fruit, Sugar, Dairy & Alcohol.

I know.  You are thinking I starved myself.  Nope.  I was quite satisfied with healthy proteins and copious amounts of vegetables with some of the good fats like almond butter, avocado…etc.  And about 7 days in I found the pounds melting away.   The other part of my plan was at least 7 yoga classes each week.  My return to veggies and yoga = my goal being met. 

I also found that why I am not a ‘let’s sit in a circle and share my feelings’ kind of gal, the group sessions were extremely helpful.  Hearing where people struggled and found success made you feel not alone.  It was a group effort.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say that shedding my weight was also like shedding some of the grief.  The weight was a reminder of the pounds I had put on when I carried her.  The weight was a reminder of depression, PTSD, losing your job.... But Juliette was also becoming the stark excuse that I wasn’t taking it off.  Not acceptable because I was stuck.  I was stuck not feeling good in clothes and stuck with a poor attitude at times.  And I was stuck in ALL the excuses.

So numbers don’t lie and when I started this journey beginning of January my weight on the scale read 180 pounds.  Heaviest I have ever been.  My final weigh in after 28 days was 163 pounds (!) losing 3.3% body fat.  A total of 14 inches lost in all places.  I could feel this is in my clothes, and I could certainly feel that every time I stepped onto my yoga mat.  Since then I have taken off another 5 pounds on the scale and I am more than ever committed to my daily practice of yoga.  I am slowly & safely working to my goal of 140-145.

So many have asked...what now?  The truly wonderful thing about Strength & Beauty is I found my true love of so many delicious veggies that I don't crave all the sugary, sweet stuff like I used to.  Do I indulge in a treat every now and again?  Why yes....Sam and I split a cupcake this past weekend after going to the Kite Festival.  And it twas delicious.   I watch my portions and I know where my triggers are that cause me to go off the path.  Be warned: I WILL get to my goal.  

I had a quote on my desktop during the entire 28 days that says, "If compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete."  That was my realization in all this...the weight had come on for whatever reason and I lost all compassion for myself.  As my good friend Andi always says......you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help others.  In this case, I had to cultivate compassion which first included myself, make a plan, achieve the goal and then start on my next dream.   One love, one heart, one destiny....Bob Marley, I could not agree more. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

THIRTY. EIGHT.

I  haven't been here in a few months, but no doubt I am hitting up my journal outside of the world wide web.  Much transformation happening, and all good things, it just seems I have my trusty notebook with me more than I have my computer.  I warn you...this post will start out a bit heavy, but stick with me....there is a bright light at the end. In fact, I think this could maybe help people see that staying the course and facing the shit, can and will eventually bring hope back into your space.

Yesterday was THIRTY EIGHT for me.  Yep.  38.  I know it is really just a number but let me take you back to one year ago at 37 and you may start to see why it is so momentous for me.  For myself and Sam.  Last year I was barely 2 months into having lost Juliette and didn't want anything to do with my birthday.  Nothing.  In fact, I didn't want anything to do with anyone's birthday.  I had a few friends over (Thank You Tristy and Crash!) to watch the Bachelor with me and have some dinner....this was my poor attempt at 'celebrating', watching some of the worst trash on TV.  Where was I in the world of depression?  If I couldn't celebrate birthday's with my daughter, then no one was going to have that side of me.  (and sidenote:  previous to this...I absolutely LOVE birthdays)  January 30th of last year was also the first time I admitted to anyone outside of my counselor that I simply didn't want to live anymore.  That my suicidal thoughts were heavy and very real.   I remember my beautiful friend Melissa taking the time to hear me say those words and then not judging, not telling me what to do, but helping me process that.   And then she stayed on me...walks, coffee, stopping by my desk and just provided a listening space.  Many things happened from January 30th to May 7th (the date that I lost my job.)  More depression, stress, PTSD, anxiety off the charts....in other words, a complete and utter hot mess.  After May 7th, I began to breathe again.  And I found the inhale and the exhale as a continual work in progress.  Could it be that an embarrassing moment of watching someone I used to call friend, 'let me go', be a large blessing?  Sure was and is and now will always be.

Over the last 8 months my daily prayer, intention and path has been to just return to and find that better version of myself.  To allow God to heal my heart and my pain.  I don't need or want it to go away completely, the pain also carries my love, and I know now, that loving that recklessly will always be worth it.  To let people in and allow them to help me heal was also a valuable part of the process.  Not easy for me, I like to prove I can do it all my own.

This week, more than ever in the last year, I have found my soul smiling and seeing that better version as my husband planned my birthday evening, as I met up with friends, as co-workers celebrated my birthday and as I found myself on my yoga mat with my new family at Wanderlust Yoga.  Yesterday.  I celebrated.  I celebrated 38 years old.  I laughed with my husband,  I enjoyed reading every text message, voice mail, email and facebook message from friends and family.  I celebrated.  I celebrated the path from the year before, even the tough stuff, because the tough is what gets you to the party folks.  I didn't see that when I was in the middle, how could I?  how could anyone?  My heart and my soul are singing again and as my husband so beautifully put in the card he gave me last night, "Here is to a new year that will be surely be full of new adventures, awesome moments, much laughter and love."  I didn't know if I would ever believe in this again.  But I do.

As I was in yoga class this morning, the final song was Idina Menzel singing 'No Day but Today', which resonates with me, especially these words:

There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret--or life is yours to miss.
No other road
No other way
No day but today

I pray, hope and want this for everyone I come into contact with.  Whatever today is for you, there is only today.  Good or bad, work through it, trust the process (I know, so cliche').  And if life hands you lemons, you do NOT always have to make lemonade.  That is crap.  Be real with the moment, find people you trust and work it out.  Ask God the tough questions, just because.  I am so glad that I had that conversation with Melissa one year ago on my birthday, because of that....I celebrate, dream and hope.

Namaste friends.  Namaste.