If You’re Reading This, Please Share Your Thoughts…

If you know me at all, then you know that New York still feels like home to me even though I no longer wake up there every morning.  And if you know me outside of my blog, then you might know that while I don’t often see eye to eye with Mayor Bloomberg, I do have a great deal of respect for him.

A few years after I moved to New York it became mandatory to share calorie counts on menus, and I was okay with that.  As someone who tries to be conscious of what I’m consuming, I was pleased to have the information readily available, but seeing the nutrition facts posted on the menu never had an impact on what I was eating.

As someone who began making a conscious effort to know such things, I wasn’t surprised when I saw the information; I was already aware of it.  And I was aware of it because it was my responsibility – my choice,  to make myself aware.  An interesting fact, however, is that my favorite restaurants in New York (not chains) still don’t post that information so it didn’t affect me often anyway.

And on the rare occasion that someone would convince me to go to The Cheesecake Factory (I prefer the sushi next door) I always laughed when I saw my friends openly gasp at the nutrition facts.  I heard “Oh no, I can never eat here again” and “How can it be that fattening?! It’s salad” was a common question as well.  But the fact is that my friends still ordered the same meals and the same drinks and desserts.  And soda drinkers will still drink soda.

Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a ban on sugary drinks in restaurants in New York.  In his attempt to curb obesity, he has suggested that restaurants (and places like Starbucks as well) should no longer be allowed to sell sugary, calorie-laden drinks that are larger than 16 oz.  And maybe you’re thinking that this doesn’t affect you because you don’t live in New York City, but take a look at history.  New York sets the bar for everyone else, and I have a serious problem with what the mayor is trying to accomplish here.

I stopped drinking soft drinks in 2009, and I have talked ad nauseam about the benefits of breaking that addiction in my life.  It’s easily the best thing I have ever done for my body.  The cravings were almost unbearable at first; it wasn’t easy.  It took a long time to find soda repulsive, but I do.  In fact, I rarely waste calories on drinks of any kind.  Water is the only thing I drink regularly, and in my view diet drinks are just as toxic as their non-diet counterparts.    (I prefer to waste calories on food, but that’s a different flaw for a different day.)

I drank a 90-calorie iced coffee this week at Starbucks. It happens, but it's incredibly rare.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the mayor on a few occasions, and I believe that he cares about New York and its people. I realize that his efforts come from a positive place, but this attempt to control our caloric intake is eroding the rights of Americans.

I’m overweight even though I weigh a lot less than I used to, and I’m afraid that Mayor Bloomberg simply does not understand the the psychological (and in some cases) physical damage that could result from telling Americans what they can or cannot consume.

Like many Americans who have never struggled with weight and/or food addiction, he doesn’t understand the complexities of obesity.  And it seems that he has also failed to realize that addicts find ways to sate themselves.

I despise soda.  It controlled me for years, and I wish that everyone could experience the positive effects of no longer drinking it.  But it’s not my decision, and it shouldn’t be Mayor Bloomberg’s either.

The government already controls so much more than it should, and adding calories to the unconstitutional list of things that the government already controls makes me sick to my stomach.

It may not seem like a big deal to some, but my question is when will it end?  Where will we draw the line?  I don’t want to look back at my life fifty years from now  only to wonder at which moment America was no longer a free country.

I don’t get political on my blog often, and it’s not likely that I will.  This issue, like many others, is extraordinarily important to me, and I want to know what you think.

Do you support Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal ban sugary drinks?  Do you think it’s discriminatory? Do you think that the government has a right to tell you what you consume everyday?

 

New York? Los Angeles?

Though I hadn’t planned on it, my trip to Los Angeles forced me to think about what I want out of my life.  For months, my heart was in New York, but  being back recently I’ve realized that most things I loved about the city are different now.  I am different now.

New York has a tendency to take its toll on people.  Living there is an incredible experience, but it can be a grind too.  And in my experience, it’s a place to make tons of friends on the surface, but building friendships on a deeper level was hard for me.  It was nearly impossible for me, in fact.

It was, sadly, too easy for me to play the game – often times pretending to be someone I was not in an attempt to seek approval from the people around me.  And as embarrassing as it is to admit that, I have to because it’s not who I want to be.  

I have a couple of friends in the area that I believe will always be there for me, but for the most part, it’s not easy for someone like me to make friends in a city that is consumed by social status and body image. It was tough to be honest with the people around me and with myself.

The weather was dreadful in New York last week before I flew to Baltimore.  Cold and rainy downpours made me wonder yet again…Do I really want to start over in this place?  The answer, surprisingly, is no.

Of course, I experienced some incredible things in NYC too.  Last week, while running from 57th St to Central Park South, I ran into one of my favorite singers of all time – Tony Bennett!  He smiled at me – completely acknowledging my existence and my efforts as I ran toward the park.  That’s definitely something that doesn’t happen everywhere!

Taking a break to photograph myself in Central Park.

I enjoyed my time in New York City.  And I’m fortunate to have a few great friends there and memories that I’ll keep for a lifetime, but the city is cold and hard and far from the people I love.  And at this point, I think I need to be surrounded by supportive and encouraging people in a place that has sunny days, fresh produce and good Thai food. =)  And it doesn’t hurt that you can rent an apartment with twice the space for half the price.  Who knew that LA was so much cheaper than NY?!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I found myself riding a bike on the beach in Venice the other day thinking “Why don’t I live here?”  Good question…so I’m going to apply to a couple of schools, consider my job options and work on moving toward some big goals which no longer include moving back to New York.

I guess I’ll need to come up with a new tag line for my blog. ;)  Until then, wish me luck with this next step.  So many things have fallen into place for me lately.  I can’t wait to see what unfolds here…

A Quick Note

I’ve done a lot of soul searching in the last 30 hours or so which means I have a lot to share, but I’m exhausted.  I’m going to fall into bed now and rest.  Today was fantastic from start to finish, but I’ll have to talk about it later.

But before I go, I have to say happy birthday to the best niece ever!  I love you, and I hope that being two is even better than being one. <3

Good night friends……

Workout Ramblings

After a weekend without formal workouts, it felt really good to sweat again.  I still don’t feel 100%, but I feel great about getting it done.  And I was reminded how much my body craves purposeful movement.  I was active over the weekend, but I didn’t exercise the way I usually do.  I did, however, do crunches. I’m a few weeks into my goal of doing 101 crunches for 100 days, and I’m pretty pleased with myself.  ;)

This weekend, I’m planning on rocking a couple of workouts with friends which is different for me.  I’m thinking we’ll jog across the Brooklyn Bridge and into Brooklyn for a bit, and we also plan to do a 5k or 10k in Central Park with additional friends.  I hope the weather cooperates because I’m really looking forward to it. 

And next week, I’m flying out to see my family in Colorado which means we’ll enjoy longs walks through scenic spots in the mountains, jogging at the Garden of the Gods and days at the park.  I’d like to rent a bike for the afternoon as well so I can soak up the nature. There’s just so much beauty to take in there.

Working out has been a regular part of my life for a couple of years now, but it feels good to recognize the changes that have occurred in me since beginning my journey.  I remember how much I hated sweating and moving excessively, and I remember how hard it was to walk up a flight of stairs or around the block.

Life is different now, and I’m utterly thankful for that.

Good Things

This week has been extraordinarily stressful, but the stress ceased last night when I solidified my plans for New York. I have a safe and comfortable place in the city to sleep now, and it’s such a relief! And now I can spend time being overjoyed instead of stressing over it.

Yesterday was a good day that got better as the day turned to evening. It started with a trip to the gym. It has been a few months since I was on an elliptical so that was my first stop at the gym. I spent 35 minutes pushing myself on that machine before moving to the treadmill. And I discovered that I love jogging on the treadmill. Jogging outside while in a warmer climate is awesome, but on the treadmill, I felt calm and steady and light on my feet.

I began jogging earlier this year when Brad laid out a realistic plan for me that helped me form some good habits. I started doing intervals in order to create a habit, and I’m doing more than I could have imagined. And like Leigh said, one mile turns to two miles until you’re running a half-marathon. Dare I even think of running an entire marathon? ;)

When I entered this new gym, I was greeted by the sound of Pearl Jam coming through the loud speakers. It was as if the gym gods were welcoming me into their domain. The song that was playing, “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” is one of my favorites so I listened then jammed out to PJ with my iPod. =)

I needed that workout yesterday because my stress level was quite high. My blood pressure was fine, but I still felt an aching pain in my chest. And over the last several hours the pain has lessened so I hope it’s gone completely by tomorrow.

Another cool thing happened yesterday. I earned my #100daychip! If you’re not familiar with the chip, you can see the details here. It’s an incredible accomplishment, and I’ll write more about that later.

My friend, Kelly, are doing some fun things like working out, the Yankees and some of our super awesome, aforementioned mutual friends. She loves Mark Teixeira as much as I love him. That’s completely random, but true…and awesome. =)

And before bed last night, I got an unexpected phone call from someone makes me smile. It was the perfect way to end what was a productive and happy day. And it makes me look forward the the next couple of weeks. =)

My mom told me that God had a plan, and it seems He did. I didn’t expect to have the kind of day that I had yesterday, but I’m thankful for it. And it does reaffirm that I should relax and have some faith. I’m going to try. In the mean time, I’m just happy that I reached the light at the end of this tunnel.

ScaredHopefulWorriedExcitedNervousAnxious

A few nights ago, as I was preparing to do one of my favorite workouts – 30 Day Shred, Joel Osteen (author and pastor of a mega church in Houston) came on and spoke on the mistakes we make by magnifying our problems instead of magnifying God.  I spent the next 30 minutes thinking about how I so clearly believed that God existed and that he cared for me only a few months ago. 

Now I’m staring at my laptop with tears filling my eyes, and I’m not sure where to start.  When something makes me scared or nervous, I tend to run to my blog and pour my heart out as quickly as possible – at least with most things.  But there are times in which I say nothing….times in which I let fear and stress take over my thoughts which allows the challenges I’m facing to become much bigger in my mind.  I do this even though I know that often times, after I state my fears, they don’t seem so big.  

I woke up with a headache yesterday which isn’t common for me.  And it’s certainly not common to wake up feeling bad two days in a row, but I had the same kind of headache today.  And with that headache, I feel pain in my chest.  I’m not panicking over it because I know from experience that my body is feeling physical pain as a result of the stress I’m under now which stems from the fact that I’ll be back in NYC a few days from now (exciting!) and the fact that I lack a solid plan beyond disembarking the plane (scary!)

When my mom called earlier today, I told her about the ache in my chest.  We agreed that my stress level needs to come down, and she was quick to remind me that God has a plan for me so I need not worry so much.  My response, which no doubt bothered Mom was “Yeah, well…I don’t really believe that God is looking out for me, and I’m just being honest about it since He knows anyway, right?”  Well, I can tell you that those words probably hurt Mom more than I know, but she didn’t argue and decided to pray for me instead. 

Fast forward an hour or so.  My friend, Dan, sent me an instant message.  I haven’t seen Dan in almost two years, and it’s been a while since we talked.  And as we were chatting about his career and upcoming wedding, Dan began talking about how God has a plan for our lives.  He talked about God’s timing.  And he said that he’s learning that God has a plan for us, but it’s totally up to us whether we decide to follow it or not.

 This is a pic from the last time I saw Dan – about six months before I began my weight-loss journey. =)

I’ve known Dan for about 7 years, and over the years we have talked extensively about politics, baseball, fitness, the State of Texas and how to recreate his magical Swedish pancakes.  I’ve shown him my favorite parts of Oklahoma, and I even gave him a really crappy tour of NYC before I began losing weight.  That’s a story worth sharing later,  but I cannot remember talking about God with Dan – ever.  It may have come up, but it has never really been a focal point of our conversations.

Looking back at our conversation, I’m starting to believe that Dan’s thoughts were a direct message from God to me.  Dan didn’t know I was stressed.  At that point, all he knew was that I’m heading north.  He didn’t know that I’ve been hesitant to talk about it because it scares me.  Nor did he know that I haven’t spoken much about it here because while I’m blessed with so many supporters, I know that there are 3 or 4 people who read this blog daily just waiting to see me fail. 

So I’m laying it out today.  I’m so excited to be heading back, but I’m also terrified.  I’m going back to secure my new job and search for a tiny apartment (anything with walls and a roof really) that will allow me to rebuild in the only place that has ever really felt like home.

I still have a couple of friends there, but for the most part, I’m starting over at square one.  I have to find an apartment that I can afford, buy new furniture, new shoes, winter coats (thankfully not for months)new dishes, bath towels and everything else that I’m not getting back.  I’ve started to pick things up here and there, but it’s overwhelming to think of everything that needs to be done in the next few months if I’m making New York home again now.

So, to the few who hope I fail and/or believe I don’t deserve to move forward, say what you will.  I censor comments for that reason.  To everyone else, thank you for listening.  Maybe it won’t it won’t be easy, but maybe it’s not impossible either.  And maybe I don’t deserve everything that I hope for, but I’m willing to work for it now.  Maybe God does have a plan that I need to be privy to so if you pray, pray for me today please.  Pray that I’ll know God cares that I’m alive and that He has a plan for me and that He shows me.

Patience has never been my strong suit, and I’ve made mistakes in the past that make it necessary to start from scratch at 30.  I have no idea what will happen when I land in the big apple.  I’m not sure how I’ll feel or where I’ll sleep or what I’ll figure out for the future, but I’m facing these fears.  And that’s all I have to say today.

Unexpected Fears About Weight Watchers Meeting

I’ve said this many times before, but Weight Watchers has changed my life.  More accurately, the people in my Thursday meetings in Westchester County (half an hour or so outside of New York City) changed my life

When I walked into that meeting almost two years ago, I was welcomed immediately! And when I left that evening, I knew that I had just been exactly where I needed to be.  For the next year and a half, I walked into that group every Thursday – often times staying for two meetings because I had bonded with so many in both.

And these members, including our incredible leader and equally amazing receptionist, were there to hug me when I was having a rough time and to celebrate every little accomplishment.  They celebrated when I reached the 100 pounds mark, and when I was at my lowest point at the end, many of them pulled me aside and reminded me that it wouldn’t always feel so bad.

Together, we walked a 5k, though several of us hadn’t done it before.  We donated hundreds of pounds locally during the Lose For Good campaign each year and most importantly, we were able to relate and understand our fears and accomplishments together.

I made friends that I thought I’d keep for a lifetime, and that’s where it gets scary.  It has been months since I last attended a meeting in New York, but it’s time to go back.  When I left New York, everything hurt…my heart, my body and my mind.  I was utterly miserable.  I was saddened by the loss of love that I believed I had (even if I could not yet see that some of the blame was mine.)  I talked about it, cried about it and eventually of tired of hearing myself whine so I stopped.

I stopped blogging about the “gut-wrenching agony” – yes, a flair for the dramatic, I know.  I stopped talking about how unhappy I was.  I changed my phone number and stopped lamenting over my regrets…I cut out as much negativity as I could, and after a few months I started feeling better.

But in cutting out the painful parts, I cut out the good parts too.  It was easier to ignore the people who meant something to me than to admit that I had been wrong in any way.  I wasn’t sure who to trust or who liked me or who had taken the other side.  It seemed easier to “cut my losses” than to face the fear of rejection.  

Now, several months later, I’ve begun dealing with the anger I feel toward others as well as myself.  And I miss my friends.  Some of them are gone forever, and there’s nothing I can do about it.  But now, looking at the big picture, it seems overly dramatic (even for me) to assume that everyone I loved hates me.  In fact, most of them probably thought nothing of it apart from maybe wondering why I fell off of the earth.  And after talking with a close friend moments ago for the first time in months, I am relieved to know that those silly fears were just that – silly fears.
 
I’ve always said that I wanted to go back to NY, but this self-doubt and rejection didn’t surface until the ticket was purchased.  And these particular fears took me by surprise.  I’m still nervous, but I will not let that keep me from walking into that Weight Watchers meeting filled with people that mean something to me. There may be people who no longer like me or those who expect an explanation, but there could also be a heart-warming homecoming complete with a weigh-in and a hug.

I’m going to hope for the latter and show up regardless because I am done letting fear rule my life.  This whole process is scary, but as I said in a recent post, it’s not nearly as scary as giving up before I try.

Choosing My Future

The choices we make today affect how we live tomorrow.” 

I’ve heard this quote a few times today, and it has put in my a very introspective mood.  I’ve made choices that have resulted in the life that I have now.  A year ago, I would have been fine with that statement, but I didn’t realize that I was lying to myself and the people around me.  I am not where I want to be or where I thought I would be.

And while it’s embarrassing and a bit distressing to admit that I’m 30 and disappointed in myself, admitting it is necessary to breed hope.  “The choices we make today affect how we live tomorrow.”  That quote is full of truth as well as motivation to work toward the life I want to have. 

I’ve already started by changing my relationship with food and exercise, and to be honest, nothing in life ever seemed more daunting than that.  Now it’s time to start applying the same will and strength to other areas that are also important.

I’ve reached a point recently in which I feel like I know what I want out of my life, and it’s all different than I thought it was – at least different than I admitted it was.  I want a career that I enjoy and to love someone who loves me as much or more.  I want a baby girl (someday..you know, after I find that person to love and everything. ha)  and to live the life that has always seemed so foreign to me.

I don’t truly have any of these things today, but I’m working on the new career which will take some time.  I have established some new goals which terrify me, but I’m much more fearful of looking back at a life wasted. 

And I can’t control the rest – finding the love of my life, making a family, etc. but just admitting this is something that I couldn’t do until recently.  Of course I want a family – a husband and a baby…maybe more than one baby! Why has it always been so hard to admit/accept that? 

I’ve been thinking on this for months now though I’ve only decided to openly admit it today.  I think that one of the reasons it’s so hard to admit that I want a family is because it has always seemed so out of reach.  It’s still out of reach.  I’m not even dating anyone right now, and I still weigh more than I should (or want to) so thinking of making a family is absurd. 

But if I ever hope to have the things I want out of life, I need to start acting like it.  I need to recognize that opportunities are most often found through hard work.  I’ve coasted for a long time.  I’ve felt temporary happiness that was fleeting, but I want the real thing.  I want to look in the mirror and see someone who can make herself happy and successful on her own because she knows she deserves that. 

No one can fix this for me or make it all better except me.  For years, I have cared so much about what people think of me that I’ve neglected to care about what I think of me.  I’m worth so much more than I’ve given myself credit for, and that changes now. 

I’m anxious about the future, but I don’t want to miss out on all of the amazing things that definitely will not happen if I don’t start creating those opportunities for myself.  I’m going back to New York in a few weeks to start working on creating a new future.  It’s terrifying and exciting and nerve-racking liberating!  And I forgive myself for being afraid, but I don’t think I could forgive myself for not trying. 

I can’t control every aspect of the future, but I will work to increase my chances of creating the life I want for myself.  And if I fall on my face, I’ll get up and be proud that I tried before trying again. 

So that’s it…it’s almost time to begin a new chapter.  Am I ready? I sure as hell hope so…

Fun Things

I have an incredible family.  Seriously folks…I have no idea when my sister turned into such a wise and loving woman, but I’m lucky to have her.  I’m so thankful for my parents too…and while I’m at it, I have to say that I also have some pretty terrific friends. 

My friend, Kelly, sent me a care package a few days ago, and it’s time to play Show and Tell.  =0) Kelly is very familiar with my love of junk food.  She also knows that I need a real bagel from time to time so she made that happen too, and it was……awesome!

The care package was filled with my favorite things from Trader Joe’s, but she added something that I hadn’t tried yet – Popcorners.  They come in several flavors, but she sent two that she knew I’d love…butter and salt.  And all I can say is “Wow!”  These things are fantastic!

In fact, the Popcorners are so good that I made a trip to Whole Foods yesterday in search of more! I found only two flavors – the two that I already love – so I bought them.  Apparently, they come in several other flavors as well.  I think I’ll have to talk to Popcorners about sharing some with me and/or one of you! What do you think? =)

I’m totally thankful for Kelly and for her thoughtfulness in sending me healthy and satisfying snacks!  I found some new snacks at Whole Foods yesterday too, but I’ll share those later.

Yesterday was a rest day which means I’m ready for a solid workout today!  I reached my goal for the second consecutive month last month, and I’m going strong.  I plan to do at least 1,000 minutes of cardio again in March then increasing my goal for April.

How’s everything going for you?  Are there any new snacks or exciting workouts I should know about?  What’s for lunch today?

Is This Goodbye? Really?

It’s after midnight, and I’m over 1,000 miles away from the Upper East Side..but I can’t stop thinking about the news I received only moments ago.  My favorite restaurant, Jasmine, has closed.  Can it be true?  Couldn’t the internet and my super city-savvy friend be wrong?

Pad Thai

If you don’t love food then you probably won’t understand the heart-sinking feeling I have right now.  Jasmine’s Pad Thai was easily the best in the city in my opinion, and the beef satay was life-changing…but I loved so much more than the food.  Some of my fondest memories of New York include that place.

Pad See Yew

The first full week I spent in New York was fun, but exhausting.  After walking up four flights of stairs (88 steps to be exact) I was so tired that I opted not to eat dinner one evening.  My friend, Scott, who has loved Jasmine for more than 10 years introduced them to me. And they were the only restaurant that delivered to the door (you know, up the 88 steps.)

 This was one of the last times I ate at Jasmine..I think? Probably Summer of ’10.
 Aria was my favorite server there. I hope she’s doing well in school and that the closing didn’t affect her negatively. In this photo, I had lost 27 pounds. Now I can say that I’ve lost more than an entire Aria. :)
 Goofy pic with my friend, Scott, but that’s what happens when you fall into a food coma..;) This was after the first taping of Rachael Ray that I ever attended and before I began my weight-loss journey.

The food was magnificent too.  During the three years I lived in New York I brought countless people to that restaurant, and everyone always loved it.  Following dinner at Jasmine, I would often walk to M. Rohr’s (a coffee shop only a couple of blocks away.)  Lord, please tell me that it’s still open! :)

 This is what a caramel macchiato should look like! =)

Anyway, I realize that it’s silly to be so dramatic about a restaurant, but it was my favorite.  And I miss many things about New York that I have to accept as gone forever..my precious dog, Sadie..my bicycle, a few friends and even my ex-boyfriend who, in truth, was my best friend.  And now it looks like I have to add my favorite spot to that list too. It’s amazing how drastically and quickly things can change.  Perhaps a restaurant closing is trivial, but I had so many special moments there.

I celebrated my 29th birthday there with friends..took the best picture ever outside that evening after spending the day being drenched on a sailboat on the Hudson. My friends and I ate there after attending tapings of The Rachael Ray Show and The View. I met my friend and fellow blogger, Jen, there last year when she was visiting from Utah, and I was reunited with my friend, Ellen, who was an exchange student at my high school when we were in 10th grade.

 With a few of the girls at my 29th birthday dinner..

That place is filled with fond memories, and I’m sad that it’s gone.  I don’t really believe it yet..I was looking forward to eating there again in the next month or two. I suppose it will just take some time to wrap my head around this information.  I know there will be new places with new memories to be made, but tonight I’m sad to know that Jasmine is gone..And I’m counting on my super city-savvy friend to find the next best Thai food in town…