Every Body Changes

2018 has been a year of change for me. I’ve become more in tune with body, stopped giving it what it didn’t want and started giving it more of what it needed. Today I am 14 pounds down and feel amazing! I still have a way to go until I reach my goal, but I am excited about where I am going.

In January I became Pescetarian. This combined with the fact that I cannot have dairy made me sort of make-shift vegan. I will have meat once in a while, but I noticed that my body does not respond the same way to meat as it does when I eat seafood. I feel heavier and just plain gross after eating meat. This versus eating fish and veggies, where I feel much lighter and have a lot more energy, made the decision to stop eating meat a no-brainer.

In July, I stopped drinking alcohol. My husband and I would drink almost every night and whenever we go out with friends it typically involved drinking. I had many reasons to stop, the biggest was that I did not like who I became when I was intoxicated. A sniff of alcohol is usually enough to do me in and it became harder for me to learn my limits. I would become someone I was not proud of and lacked the self control to be myself. Now that I’ve stopped, I feel in control of my life and decisions at all times. I also knew it was integral to weight loss but it was something I was never ready to give up. I wanted to just try it out to see what it would be like. If I had known it was going to be this easy and the sleep would be so much better I would have stopped a long time ago (maybe).

Finally, around the same time, I decided to make healthier choices and by April 2019 to lose 22 pounds and by my 30th birthday, November 2019, to be able to look in the mirror and like the way I look, because honestly I had been avoiding looking in the mirror at all for some time. I am happy to say that after 3 months of staying and slaying on my goals, I am 14 pounds down and so proud of myself!

The journey to get here was long and tough, but I am happy where I am at and excited to see where I go. Along the way, I have learned a lot of lessons. Not just about weight loss, but life in general. This is the story of my journey, what I’ve done, and what I’ve learned along the way. I hope those of you with similar goals are helped in some part by this.

Everyone is on their own journey
So many of us look in the mirror and think, wow I need to lose weight, and then look at others and think I wish I could look like that or If I looked like her, I wouldn’t have to watch everything that I eat all the time or I wish I had a metabolism like that and could eat like that. But, after talking to so many of my girlfriends and guy friends and listening to so many weight loss journeys and body stories, I have learned that no matter your gender, shape, size, weight, men and women of all sizes all around us are going through the same struggle. We are all a work in progress. Knowing these men and women were out there and struggling to be happy in their own skin like me somehow made this process easier. I knew I wasn’t alone when I’ve always felt like I was.

Realize it’s going to take time
Three months ago, on the day I decided to start this journey, I came home from Zumba class and I started bawling. I was so sick of being unhappy in my own skin. 3 months before my husband and I got married, we both got personal trainers. We worked hard, ate on strict meal plans, but by the end of it, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked. Last fall, my husband and I did the entire program of P90X. By the end, I still didn’t like the way I looked. It felt like no matter how hard I worked, I never looked the way I wanted to. I couldn’t even remember the last time I liked the way I looked.

And then I did. It was 5 years ago right after I graduating college. And that’s when I realized that I was sitting here trying get results after 3 months when last time it took me nine months to get there! It took me a while to gain this much weight. Of course it should take just as long, maybe even longer. That’s when I gave myself a realistic goal of 9 months. I am now 3 months in, at that same point at the end of P90X and after a personal trainer, and I don’t feel a sense of finale, but rather that that this is my taking off point and I still have 6 months to go. That is so encouraging for me.

Find a way to measure your success.
When we did P90X, part of what made it so discouraging was that I didn’t take measurements and I didn’t weigh myself. I could have been making tons of progress but I didn’t know if I was or not. This time, I am weighing myself every day. This allows me to be accountable for everything I eat. Plus if I make a poor food choice the night before, I can see how my body handled it. It’s the reassurance I need that a small square of chocolate isn’t going to do anything, and at the same time teaches me that a treat meal once a week doesn’t put me back on the scale. It also shows me that after going out of town and slipping up on my diet a bit may make the scale go up some, but I’m not tempted to get off my diet like I was before. I continue to weigh myself and hold myself accountable and when those pounds drop off again I know I’m back to where I stopped and get started again. Finally, on those days where I look in the mirror and feel like I haven’t changed a bit, even though I’ve been working so hard, I know that I have because the scale says so. I used to judge my weight loss based on how my pants fit, but weighing myself this go around has made all the difference for me. It’s so motivating knowing that the healthy decisions I make are actually paying off and translating to the scale. It’s what makes waking up and making the same decisions that much easier!

Find what works for YOU
Another reason why P90X and having a personal trainer didn’t work for me is because I didn’t actually enjoy it. They felt more like chores to me than anything else. Then I thought back to what I did those 9 months of success and it was workout classes! I absolutely love workout classes! I love Zumba, Body Pump, Yoga, and Spinning! It’s easy to work these into my schedule, even at 6am, and it’s a motivation to get to the gym.

However, I have several friends who don’t like classes for one reason or another. They choose to workout at home, with a trainer, at work, or not at all. Some people choose the Keto Diet or Weight Watchers or just making healthy choices. Not one way is right for all people and just because one person is doing one thing doesn’t mean that’s the right thing for you. Because I have found what works for me, I know that I can adapt these lifestyle changes permanently, and not just for 3 months this time.

Listen to your Body
Getting in tune with my body is what helped me figure out what I should cut out and what I should keep. Assess how you feel after you eat something. Does your tummy hurt? Do you just feel like crap afterwards? These are signs that your body does not like it so stop giving it to it. Also don’t just follow any diet on Pinterest because there’s a picture of a skinny girl next to it. Don’t just started the Keto diet because your friend is doing it. And by the way, try to cut out alcohol, I lost 5 pounds almost immediately from just that. No body needs alcohol.

Carbs are not your enemy
Unless you’re on the Keto diet of course. Otherwise I find that if I don’t consume carbs for breakfast and lunch, it’s easier to make poor food choices for dinner because I am just so hungry! Personally, I eat some form of whole grain carbs (like oatmeal with bananas or eggs and toast) and then have a large lunch with more carbs (tuna salad wraps, chickpea sandwiches, chili) and then a snack when I get home from work (like a protein bar, almonds, or shake). Then by the time it’s time for dinner, I’m not even that hungry so having a small piece of salmon and broccoli is an easy decision for me to make. I do not, however, have carbs for dinner. When your body doesn’t have carbs for energy, it burns through fat. I remember reading this piece of advice a while ago, and my personal trainer reiterated it to me, that if you don’t have carbs for dinner your body will burn through fat while you sleep. I am no dietitian but all I know is that I feel light and skinny when I wake up in the morning!

You don’t owe anyone an explanation
I may not eat meat, but I love bacon and charcuterie. I may not drink, but I will have a light beer or gin and soda once in a while. I may not eat dairy, but I might If I have Lactaid on hand. I may have a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes I make crappy food choices. I refuse to deprive myself of anything because I never want to regret choices I have made to better my overall health. Everything I have omitted from my diet, I still consume maybe 3% of the time. Sometimes at restaurants I say I’m vegan because then I know that I can consume whatever I am given without a doubt. All of these contradictions open my life and choices up to skepticism and criticism from a lot of people around me. People constantly wanting to remind me of what I don’t eat, as if I don’t know or something. It can get old, annoying, and exhausting.

Here’s what I’ve learned though: I can do absolutely anything I want. Not just with my diet but with my life. I don’t owe anyone and explanation and anyone I may want to give one to would never ask me to. The first time my best friend saw me eat salami after becoming pescetarian she told me she was proud of me because I wasn’t depriving myself if I wanted something. When we go out to eat, whether I say I’m vegan or I order something with cream in it, my husband backs me up (and maybe reminds me to take a Lactaid). My work-wife-co-teacher constantly gives me non-dairy-free treats because she knows “how much I love them even though I don’t eat them.”

I have to be honest though, when people closest to me question my decisions or tell me to “not be” dairy/meat/alcohol free, it hurts. And while I wish I could tell them to MYOB, I’m still trying to come up with a nicer response.

Find Your Cheerleaders
Once I started making my health a priority, something amazing happened to my energy. Not only did I have more of it, but I became a lot more positive and had no tolerance for negative people. This is why I took it especially hard when people close to me (or at least, whom I thought were) said nothing to me when they saw changes even though they knew about my goals. Instead of cheering me on, they would notice it and say nothing. Unfortunately, there are people like this that are negative and make you not feel as good about yourself and your accomplishments (not just weight loss, but really about all things). I have learned that it was never about me. It was a reflection of themselves and what they were going through. Someone may not congratulate me on my accomplishments because they are struggling with the same goal. Understanding this made it much easier to deal with situations like this, and realize who my real friends were and who to stay away from. And by the way, don’t let these kinds of people make you afraid to brag on yourself! You are a powerful being and no one’s negative energy can get in the way of that! You lost 3 pounds? You worked your butt off at the gym last night? You’ve decided to start making healthy choices tomorrow? Shout it from the rooftops! You are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

I did, however, find my cheerleaders. Those that would notice every single pound and cheered me on for it. These individuals make it easier to continue on my journey and feel good about myself and all I’ve accomplished. Surround yourself with people like this, people who feel like sunshine, and ignore all the haters. You can always count on me to be one of your cheerleaders!

 

There is a stigma associated with weight loss. We must be shallow and all we care about is how we look. This is why we don’t talk about being comfortable in our own skin since we are taught from a young age “it’s the inside that counts.” While this is true it’s a lot easier said than done. Yes, you should try to lose weight to be healthy, but the truth is you can be healthy and not happy in your own skin. Last year when I went in for my yearly physical, my doctor told me I was completely healthy and I asked her if I needed to lose weight. She told me “you should be at a weight where you are happy.” And that is what I, and so many of us, are striving to do. There is nothing shallow about this, friends. Don’t let anyone make you feel like it is. We are making our happiness a priority and that is more than ok. I can’t tell you how many times I told people about my weight loss struggles and their response every time was “me too.” We are all on the same path, let’s support one another and lift each other up. You never know what anyone else is going through, so be kind always.

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Lessons I’ve Learned from my Best Friend…. And Chelsea Handler

I just finished reading Chelsea Handler’s book “Uganda Be Kidding Me,” (by recommendation from my best friend, Jill) and wow, I don’t remember the last time I was in tears laughing so hard from a book. I quickly learned that this was not a book I should read at work. I’m sure the people in the ER don’t need to listen to a 20 some year old’s high pitched laugh while they’re sick with the Flu or are in the middle of a GI Bleed.

In any case, surprisingly enough I learned a lot from Chelsea Handler! A lot of these things I already knew though because I had learned them from Jill.

This is Jill.

This is Jill.

Let me start by saying Jill is my everything. She is totally the kind of girl I would take home to meet my parents, just so they would know that I do indeed make great life decisions. She’s the person I seek guidance from in all things. I have told her numerous times that I want to tattoo “WWJD” on my wrist, until she so sweetly in that very Jill way informed me that I cannot do that because that acronym is already taken.

This book is about the several trips Chelsea Handler has taken throughout adulthood from Botswana to Switzerland. But she never goes anywhere without her best friends, specifically her best friend Lesbian Shelly. Their relationship is much like mine and Jill’s in that Shelly is a lot like Jill, minus the lesbian part.

Jill and her fiance. Just to clarify, Jill is not a lesbian.

Jill and her fiance. Just to clarify, Jill is not a lesbian.

So between Chelsea Handler and Jill, I have learned many life lessons. Here are just a few of them:

A best friend is someone you can call in case of emergency. At one point, Chelsea Handler brought home a new puppy that overnight tore apart their whole house. Chelsea immediately woke up Shelly and asked her what to do. I remember one time I dropped candle wax all over my dresser because I accidentally closed the window on a burning candle. It got all into my eyes, down my dress, and all over the carpet. I texted Jill, “umm. How do you get candle wax out of stuff…” and she said “oh dear, we’ll figure it out.” I was so comforted by the fact that we were now in this together.

Animals are life. If you’ve ever seen Chelsea Lately, you are probably already acquainted with Chunk Handler, Chelsea’s adorable dog. She is so in love with him that he flies on her private plane and Chelsea will fly commercial. Chelsea also believes that Chunk is the spirit of her mother. Well, the only other person I know that is nearly as obsessed with her pet is Jill. I don’t think Jill thinks Henrietta is her mom, although I have seen Henrietta and Jill’s mom (who by the way, has a sense of humor to rival Chelsea Handler) together and they are two peas in a pod. I mean, who wouldn’t be obsessed with this adorable face?

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Don’t be fooled by her ridiculous good looks.

Every conversation with Jill consists of what Henrietta is up to these days, what she’s doing now, and how she can’t stop talking about me. If you talk to Henrietta in front of Jill, Jill will fill in the voice for Henrietta, and it always makes sense.

“Hi Henrietta! Remember me?”

Jill’s response: Hi Meow-vanti!
Henrietta’s response: HI(SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS)!!!!!!!!!

Oh, and for your Birthday and Christmas, you just might get a card from Jill and Henrietta. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

All things can be fixed with laughter, alcohol… And a razor. Whenever Chelsea finds herself in a pickle, her first solution is to find the closest Bloody Mary or margarita. They found themselves in the middle of Africa on a horrible resort where the coolest thing to see was a squirrel. Chelsea’s response was, “we didn’t fly all the way here to look at a squirrel,” and they proceeded to tell the tour guide to take them home so they could drown in their miseries.

The last awful series of events in my life was when I had gotten into a car accident, had a consecutive number of horrible days at work, and locked myself out of the house twice over the period of 3 days. The final time I locked myself out of my house, was right before mine and Jill’s Monday night girls night. I had just driven an hour back home from work only to realize that I had lost my key again. I was sitting in my front yard, inside of my car (not knowing that my house key was underneath my seat the entire time) on the verge of tears. Jill told me to just come right over even though I had nothing with me and desperately needed a shower and to shave my legs after working in the ER for 10 hours. Once I got there, she handed me a glass of wine, a towel, a razor, and one of her dresses. By the time I stepped out of her bathroom I felt like a whole new woman! Jill literally has the reset button on me. I guess you could say I’m her Gigapet.

Manners are our friends. Chelsea Handler having no manners needs no explanation and this book has so many wonderful examples of that, like being rude to tour guides, not powering down her cell phone before take off, and answering the door without bikini bottoms. Her friends are always there to steer her in the right direction. As for me, Jill has always reminded me to use my manners. Like the other day when she burped and said excuse me and I said nothing, she repeated, “I said excuse me.” And I, as any normal person would do, stared blankly at her as if I thought I knew the appropriate response in this social situation but all that came out was “goo.” Jill reminds me on a regular basis that I was actually raised by a pack of wolves and she’s in the process of re-raising me now. Thanks Jill.

There is no such thing as a dumb question. One of my favorite parts of this book is when Chelsea asks her sister, Simone, something that had been troubling her. “Simone, I need to ask you something but it has to stay between us. Is the moon… the sun? Like, are they the same thing?” After her older sister answered her question, Chelsea requested she not repeat that that had just happened Simone responded, “it’s ok Chelsea. You not knowing is a poor reflection on me.”

Everyone needs that person you can ask dumb questions to. Jill is mine. Yesterday I asked her “why are there so many cats?” She politely responded with an actual historical answer. I didn’t even know there was a history behind cats. Maybe she was just making it up, I don’t know. But Jill could feed me any lie and I would believe her entirely. If that’s not true love I don’t know what is. Later that day we also had the following conversation:

“Jill, do Pilgrims still exist?”
“What?”
“Like, how come when people introduce themselves they’ll say ‘I’m Irish’ or ‘I’m Indian’ but no one says ‘I’m Pilgrim’?”
“No, they don’t exist anymore.”
“What do you mean no? How can a whole race of people disappear??”
“It’s not a race. It’s more like a status. A Pilgrim is someone who crossed the ocean to come to America during the 17th century.”
“Oooooh! Well, my people crossed the ocean to come to America too. Am I Pilgrim?”
“No, Pilgrims with a capital P are the white people that came to America. But you’re ancestors are pilgrim with a lower case p!”
“Wow, Jill. That’s the most racist thing I’ve ever heard.”

At the end of the day , I don’t even need anyone else. Jill pinky promised me that if we out-live our future husbands that we can live together as old ladies and become lesbians. And, well, pinky promises are blood.

I guess Jill will have more in common with Lesbian Shelly that we thought!

Happy birthday, Jill! I love you so much!!! I don’t know what I would do with out you! And I can honestly say, I don’t know what would become of me if I didn’t have you.

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xoxo,
Avi

5 Reasons Why I have Considered Deleting Facebook (but can’t)

The original concept of Facebook was awesome: being able to connect with your college friends and then staying in touch as the years went on.

The operative word here being “original.” I am sorry to say that I was part of that generation that ruined Facebook. Once my generation came along, high schoolers realized there was another avenue of social media to let every stranger in the world know where they are, what they’re doing, and give them another opportunity to creep on them. I, having an older sister and knowing what Facebook was intended for, did not have one until I graduated high school and got into college. So I suppose I’ve always had somewhat of a distate for Facebook: and for as long as I’ve had one it’s only evolved into something I don’t want to use even more.

I’m not sure when games, obnoxious advertisements, and sharing to the 5th degree was ever intended to be integrated into social media. It was tolerable before, but with every new evolution of Facebook, it becomes increasingly intolerable. We’ve gone from the “poke” to Farmville to the point where I have seriously considered deleting it altogether.

I know what you’re thinking; why don’t you just delete your Facebook then and quit whining about it? Trust me, as much as I want to, it’s an addiction. It’s like knowing how terrible cigarettes are for you and not being able to quit. Facebook is my drug and social-media-cancer is my imminent death.

In the mean time, I’m going to whine about it. Here are 5 reasons why I have considered deleting my Facebook:

1. Procrastination
It’s our go-to method of avoiding homework, work, or doing anything productive in life. Even though you’ve convinced yourself that you won’t log on during exam week or you’ve deleted the app from your cell phone a thousands times, you somehow find yourself at the corner of “man I want to tell the world how much I love this song” and “but I really need to finish this project.” Who wins in the end? We all know the answer to that one.

2. It puts you in a bad mood

Or maybe it’s just me. Or maybe it’s all women. So many us fall victim to “virtual envy” and Facebook is our first avenue. How many times has this happened to you/your friend/your sister: You’ve been dating a guy for 6 years and have been waiting for him to propose for 5 and everytime another one of your friends gets engaged, you defriend them/block them from your newsfeed/immediately close out the notification. But it keeps popping up in your news feed because your friend’s-mother’s-sister also happens to be friends with her and she liked her status, “happily engaged! Can’t wait for the big day!” and there you are, at the bottom of a carton of Ben and Jerry’s.

Ok maybe I’m exaggerating. But only a little.

3. Judgement Central

When was the last time you stopped yourself from posting a picture because you didn’t want your Facebook “friends” to judge you and your life decisions? It’s because we’re friends with 1,000 people and only really know about 20 of them. I’d say don’t worry about that long lost relative or that old college roommate who didn’t know how to keep her music down, but then I’d be a hypocrite.

4. DRAMA! DRAMA! DRAMA!

Whether it’s “I cannot believe she defriended me” or your mother calling you at endless hours of the night because your dad’s sister’s husband’s sister in India whom you’ve never met in your life somehow came across a picture of your new boyfriend and *gasp!* he’s not Indian! And privacy settings? Who is Facebook trying to kid. If I had a dollar for someone who wasn’t supposed to see my Facebook that did I’d be rich enough to buy Facebook.

5. I don’t need to know about some giraffe somewhere being killed and fed to the lions.

Or accidentally coming across a video of baby chicks being shredded into McDonalds chicken nuggets. Facebook is everyone’s hub to mandatorily make people read what they have to say or watch the videos they post as their friends scroll through their newsfeed.  And who’s brilliant idea was it to automatically play videos? “That way, as people scroll across them when they’re in a doctors office and they accidentally leave their volume on, everyone will stare at them as an obnoxious blonde chick is screaming out of their phone or a monkey is humping it’s girlfriend! It’s brilliant!” And don’t even get me started on Bit Strips.

Oh yeah- and defriending those friends that post stupid stuff like this doesn’t work either. Because as long as someone you know liked a post, you can see things from people you don’t even know (half the time I swear I don’t even know the liker). And honestly, I don’t need to see what your mother’s-sister’s-friend’s-plumber posted, liked, or shared on Facebook because usually something depressing, offensive, or stupid. Once in a while I’ll come across something pretty awesome! But then the next thing will be back to ridiculousness and it’s not even worth it.

Maybe a total deletion of Facebook is pretty harsh. Maybe I’ll just have 10 Facebook friends and a waiting list and the minute one of them does something stupid, they’re out and the next one is in.

Beware my friends.

Much luv,
Avi