I hit my first 10-pound loss. Actually, it’s 10.5 pounds. I’m so excited!  I keep thinking about how much further there is to go but this success in 6 weeks makes me believe I’m on the right path and I just need to keep doing it.  And 9-11 months from now I will be at my goal weight.

I’m grateful for friends who are supportive, whether that’s cheering me on or going on evening run/walks with me — and pushing me to do more running than walking. I’m grateful for this Fitbit Charge HR I have now and all the data it’s giving me that hopefully will help me be more efficient about this weight loss journey.

And I’m grateful for my God and this life He’s given me because it’s so full of great opportunities and potential for good.


I had my best time today! 12:48 average. 2.36 miles in 30 minutes. I will get back to 10 minutes in the next few months, people. Yes!


Today makes a month since I decided I needed a new way of life. One that was active, lighter and physically fulfilling. I’ve lost 8 pounds and got my speed down to 13:44 mile. I’ve set reasonable goals and really believe that sticking to my calorie count and activity level will be doable, with variety worked in. I even took a Zumba class tonight, one of a few classes I will incorporate into rest day schedules.
But I’m trying not to be discouraged because how I look doesn’t match how great I feel. I mean, it makes sense. Eight pounds lost is great but it’s only 10% of what I have to lose. It’ll take another 10 pounds to really start to see a difference. I have to be patient… And that’s never been my strong suit.

But just as I am changing my habits, I have to change that mindset and stay focused on the long game. Along with inspirational quotes and articles and blog posts, setting new challenges help.

My next bench mark is two weeks from now. I hope to lose another four by then, at the very least breaking the barrier to the next lower tens. And I hope to be running two miles straight. And then run an official 5k with the NYRR, one that counts toward the 9+1 (nine official races and one volunteer session for entry to the NY marathon). And with that I’m putting the 2017 marathon on the table. Yep. I said it. I will be at least 50 pounds lighter and cruising.

That’s all I’ve got folks. Up at 5 am for the next run. Happy as a clam.


Full parking lot at the track at 6:40am on a Saturday when it’s already 80 degrees. Get it, get it.

I read recently that choices are diet killers. I get it. If you can waffle on healthy choice over unhealthy (but yummy or otherwise pleasurable) choice, things can get complicated. 

So for me, once I’ve made the decision to reach this goal, I can’t have a choice. It’s now what I do. It has to be who I am. 

I exercise every day. For now that means run/walking 2.5 miles every day until I can run better again, when I can bring that down to five days with 3+ miles per day. I’m also doing body weight exercises:squats, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks. And some weights. I will build that back up but focusing on cardio now because it’s the weight around my middle I need off the fastest. 

Sticking to 1400 calories a day is actually not as challenging as I originally thought it would be. I try to keep every meal to 350 and know it means trade off elsewhere if I don’t. I try to leave wiggle room for (a small portion of) something tasty as a snack.

That’s me for today. Time to head out. Have a great one!


Day 11. I stuck to my calorie count today. I did not eat into my burned exercise calories, even though I was ravenous when I got off the train home because I worked a little late and didn’t have an afternoon snack today. 

I was thisclose to picking up takeout – yummy, delicious, saucy 1,000-calorie takeout. But no, I went home, made some quickie marinade and grilled my chicken tenders. Topping off my 1,400-calorie day with the last bit of protein I needed. And with a glass of rosé, of course.

So I got myself some new workout clothes instead of more food or dessert. I have made do with my five-years-old, two-sizes-ago gear but I’m hitting the point where I need a little more motivation. And I can’t keep tugging back down the hem of the only sleeveless running top I had as it repeatedly rolled up my expanded tummy.

I accepted the size on the new clothes because I know it’s more about being comfortable than those numbers, even as I believe I won’t be in them for long. Bought them on the cheap at Marshalls. And they all fit (though I’m not ready to run in the shorts yet). 

I’m gonna be so cute in the morning. 

1993

Today a photo from one of my favorite days ever popped up in Facebook’s memories tool: the wedding day of one of my nearest and dearest friends. And I didn’t/still haven’t allowed it on my timeline, even though my friend looks amazing, in all her Audrey Hepburn glory, and even though I remember how happy that day was for us all.

I didn’t share it because I was huge. It was eight months after I had my daughter and I’d put on a lot of weight with that pregnancy. It’s still hard to see. Even harder because I’m just as big now.

A week and a half ago I hit my personal wall and found my resolve. I’ve come to terms with the lifestyle changes necessary and I’m not trying to do them–I’m doing them. There is no try. Only do. I’m down 5 lbs. already. I have 80 to go.

I just put that in writing. For the world to see. Because it’s happening. Because for the first time in 20 years, even though I have never lost a sense of my attractiveness, I can finally acknowledge that I want to be skinny again (like in that picture above), and much of that is in my control.

Run. Every day. Stick to the daily calorie count/nutritional goals. Every day. Retrain my tastebuds. Rewrite my mindset. Every day.

I wasn’t going to do a big declaration thing but here I am. I’ve been athletic in the past (half marathon six years ago, plenty of gym time with a great trainer) and I love feeling strong but I’ve never been as fully committed to my health (eating habits included) as I am now. I’ve let difficulties and stress lead to emotional eating and lack of movement. But that’s over. Because guess what…there will always be stress! So oxygen mask on myself if I want to live the life I’ve envisioned. And I can use all the help and encouragement you can share, fam.

Y’all think I’m cute now? Wait til you see me in the coming months and year. I’m gonna be stuntin’ on errybody.

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© Gsphotography | Dreamstime.com

I had never planned on being a single mother to two kids but I’ve been doing it for seven years, ever since my 16-year marriage went south and the man I wed at 20 was for all intents and purposes out of the picture. And in less than three months, my firstborn, the boy who still makes me smile at the mere thought of him, will graduate high school. And I’m a mess.

I’m a mess because it’s been a long ass road. Being a parent means sifting through all your baggage and issues to make the best decisions for your offspring, and creating a life with meaning, purpose and potential for them. And I have a lot of baggage. A sexually abused girl who married young, was disconnected from her mother and then had a husband with his own mental health issues which came to bore on one truly traumatic day. After which I had to be the sole breadwinner, cheerleader, disciplinarian, and guardian of all that was important for my two little loves. I did not do it perfectly. Some days I did it downright poorly. But I showed up for them every day and kept the lights on (okay there was that one time…), food on the table, conversations going, doctor visits happening, parent/teacher conversations in swing, homework checked and now he is graduating and going to college. I didn’t do this alone–my village is strong. But I did this. And while it’s not really the finish line, I’m ugly crying across the mile marker.

I’m a mess because the idea of him starting a new chapter, of semi adulthood settling in is both utterly thrilling and utterly terrifying. I know he is a good person, with good values and a good, mostly sensible, head on his shoulders (he chose a small SUNY college for accounting after weighing cost, grades and earning potential–who is this kid??). But he is a teenager, and they are all subject  to stupid decisions. I have had many a conversations (too many for his taste) about decisions about sex, drinking, and drugs. And associations and friendships. And personal responsibility and morality and society. And he is also a Black man, with all the prejudices and problematic situations that may mean for him. His beautiful thoughtful mind, affable nature and articulate speech are certainly wonderful gifts that can help him go far but they are not enough to shield him from someone else’s preconceived notion or a series of actions that can end up hurting him. And while I’ve come to terms with that while he’s navigating around our town, the thought of sending him into the wider world snatches a bit of my breath away sometimes.

But I’ve decided I’m going to own this entire emotional experience. Because at some point this moment will pass and become just a memory. Like when he first learned to walk. Or talk. Or started school. Or learned to drive. All those milestone moments that consumed my world but then got left in the rear-view as we sped on to the next thing. I will revel in all these emotions and be on the lookout for which of the moments in this experience I will get to snapshot in my mind. Which of these moments will come back to me when I’m holding his firstborn or when I’m aged and infirmed. Which will make the catalog of memories, joining the likes of the first day I sat in a ray of sunlight with him in the rocker in his room and snuggled his head tucked under my chin. Or how he used to mispronounce the word ¨flowers.¨ Or his many wild goofy boy moments. Or the way he now bends down to kiss my forehead and hug me. Sure, I will go through it with my daughter and her experience will have its own unique qualities, as the complicated mother daughter relationship would. I will revel in all that because it too will pass.

But give me this moment to be in full mom-ness. I’ve earned it.

625450_10151331300703111_1403634286_nDespite my penchant for trials of physical endurance, I haven’t been especially fit for most of my life, primarily because I let life get in the way and I don’t stay consistent with healthy eating or exercise. But I’ve always felt the strongest and most vital when my body was of use. My pregnancies, while riddled with unpleasant side effects, were healthy and I often drew strength from the visualization that I was helping to create another being. Delivery was made more manageable by the thought that it was finite and there was a point to it, something wonderful in the end.

That thought came into play this week when I underwent a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell (PBSC) harvesting procedure in hopes of saving an unknown cancer patient’s life. It was not the surgical option many think of with bone marrow donation. There were none of those risks to be concerned about nor that kind of recovery. But the PBSC is no walk in the park. Five days out donors begin daily shots of neuprogen, which helps stimulate the growth of stem cells in the blood. Because of that the bones and muscles become extremely achy, like the worst case of the flu you’ve ever had. But a good acetominophen regimen and lots of water makes that manageable. The procedure itself involves having a rigid needle in one arm drawing blood into the closed tubing of the machinery, where it is spun in a centrifuge, separating the layers and extracting the stem cells. The remaining blood is then returned to your body, with accompanying extra fluids, via a needle in the other arm. And that goes on for 5-6 hours.

It was uncomfortable and sometimes straight painful (because you still have those achy feelings). And so hard to sit through by the end. But damned if I didn’t still feel amazing. There was a grand purpose to it all. And I love everything about that feeling.

Five years ago I didn’t think I could exist without the man I’d married at age 20. His personality and force of will dominated my world and colored every decision I made, to the point where I questioned my own decision-making abilities. Since then I’ve run a half marathon, hopefully helped save a life, kicked my career up a few notches, moved into my own place, and embraced the rollercoaster ride that is raising two teenagers — without a partner. I’ve screwed up quite a few things along the way but I’m closer to understanding that that’s just a part of being human and not a defect in me. I know I am strong. I know I am powerful. I know I have a purpose.

 

Sitting here on the couch this Saturday morning, watching Melissa Harris-Perry and her guests discuss the crisis of the children crossing the Mexican border. My 13-year-old daughter is sitting in the other corner of the couch, iPad in hand, probably filling online shopping site carts with things she’ll later ask me to buy. And while that impending mini-battle already annoys me, I was feeling pretty good because in one of the first segments of the show, which was about the chokehold-by-police death of Eric Garner, she had been more actively paying attention and making conversation with me about it. And as I wrote that last line, she looked up and asked a great probing question about immigration, which I attempted to answer without getting too long-winded (my usual struggle).

I’m filled with hope and joy that I can add MHP to my weekend education toolbox. For the last few years, my CBS Sunday Morning habit has provided some interesting teachable and bonding moments between me and my kids. They’d always be doing something else in the living room or near there and something from the show would seep in and engage them. I took those brief spurts of conversation as glimpses of the erudite adults I hoped they’d become.

There is such a thing as too much information for kids. The world is terrifying for even adults right now. And seeing too much of what’s going on out there can make a child feel like they are not ever safe and cause them anxiety. But I think for teenagers in particular, who are inclined to deep deep self involvement and who can have an outsized sense of their needs and wants, understanding what’s going on in the larger world is very important. And even as I despair at the ratchet music or shows they are almost obligated to be attracted to as teens,  I hope that these toe-dips into my TV world complements the education they get in school during the week and continues to foster conversation between us here at home.

Why is it that when we see someone doing the right thing we instinctively feel the need to praise them for it? Shouldn’t it be part of the human experience that we always endeavor to be kind, to ease the suffering of others, to try to be the best of ourselves that we can be? Is it because we see it so infrequently that we need to call it out? Or is that because all the unkind, awful things in the world have such weight to them that we must spend more time shining light on the moments of humanity that make us feel better? Isn’t that the reason for the popularity of  Upworthy and videos like whatever latest viral video of something heartwarming that just popped up in your social stream? Restoration of our faith in humanity.

I’m preparing to donate stem cells and because I’m a writer/sharer at heart, I can’t help but share moments along the way on social. But I’m increasingly uncomfortable with people praising me or telling me they’re proud of me. A huge hope of mine in sharing has been to encourage others to register for marrow registry by showing how little of your time and effort it takes to possibly save someone’s life. And it’s an interesting adventure to me. I want people to talk to me about it and ask questions and yes, maybe be a little geeked out about it like I am, but not to look at me like I’m doing something extraordinary. There are people who do that. Who give something it’s risky for them to give.  This is not that.

But maybe that’s just what they need to say. And I need to be okay with that.

 

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