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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The Grade Disappointment

Ah. The dreaded Logs and Exponentials test. The one test that each year without fail makes the lowest test average. Not just because the material is difficult, but for the first time students need to study hard and, unfortunately, most don’t.

Grading this test is always hard for me; failing grades back to back … to back. Sure, you can clearly see your top students excelling and see which students put in the time and effort to study. But for what feels like most of students, all you see is your own disappointment.

That afternoon after grading those tests, I came home completely distraught. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to pass back their tests the following day. What was I going to say? What was I going to do to help them bring up their grade? Did students who clearly didn’t study deserve a second chance? It consumed my every thought. It was more than disappointment, it was personal.

So, I sought out the advice of my fellow teachers and asked them how do you not take it personally when your students fail? I was looking for a magical potion to carry my worries away and every teacher I turned to gave me the same answer. I do. I couldn’t believe it.

Teachers spend an insurmountable amount of time and energy on each of their students to help them learn and succeed. I make myself available to my students each morning. On this test, I provided them with not one or two but three test reviews. I even told them exactly what was on the test, down to the very questions. And yet, only a handful of them went back to study. How could they do that to me?

How could one student write “please explain” on several questions when I could have explained at any point throughout the unit if she had just asked.

How could another student write “IDK” on nearly every question when I told him exactly which questions to study.

How could my class not be their number one priority?

And that’s what I failed to realize before. I spend at least 6 hours each day with my students at the center of my mind thinking of activities and resources to help them learn and succeed. But them? They spend very few hours thinking about my class outside of the 90 minutes every other day when they are actually in my classroom. They’re thinking about their other classes, video games, sports, friends, their lives. But, when they are the center of our world, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we are not. And as a result, we end up with mixed emotions and meager explanations.

Maybe I didn’t explain this concept well enough. Let me talk to their old math teacher and find out how they did last year. Maybe there was something more I could have done.

The next day I was ready to give their tests back. I had a pep talk all planned out for them. I was going to give them encouragement that they could bring their grades up and I was ready to help them get there. I was nervous. What if they would all gang up on me and tell me I was an awful teacher? What if they would tell me that the test was unfair and I didn’t teach them something correctly? What if they were right?

Instead, their response was even more shocking.

While you all are working today, I’m going to hand back your tests.

“Oh no.” *dreadful looks*

Before I give them back to you, I want you all to know that this test is notoriously the hardest test of the year. This is the first time this class is difficult and you need to study harder than you did before.

*head nods all around*

However, it was also very obvious if you did not study at all for this test.

*accusatory glances are their friends*
*shrugs of acknowledgement from students who scored poorly*

But I want you to know that I am here for you and you can do test corrections as always.

*Mischievous looks at each other as if my test correction policy was brand new, even though it’s the same one I’ve had all year.*

I know you all can do this and this material is difficult, but I am here for you to help you succeed.

I couldn’t believe it! The students that didn’t do well knew they didn’t do what they needed to do. Even “IDK” and “please explain” who caused me so much grief humbly asked me about the test corrections policy and if there was anything else they could do.

All of the grief that this situation brought me was for nothing. And it made a lot of sense after the fact: these students are my whole world, and I am just a piece of their world. Their failures are my failures, but my disappointment isn’t necessarily theirs. And I have to be ok with that.

So did my spiel of encouragement prove to be effective? All I can say for now is that later in the week, I overheard everyone asking their friends if they studied for their first trigonometry quiz. I was not disappointed to hear many yes’s, and this time, grading their quizzes wasn’t so painful.

You Make me Feel Like I’m Living a Teenage Dream

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/daily-prompt-its-friday-im-in-love/

Daily Prompt: It’s Friday, I’m in Love

by Krista on February 14, 2014

Remember your first crush? Think about that very first object of your affection. Oh, the sweaty palms. The swoony feeling in your stomach. Tell us the story of your first crush. What was it about this person that made your heart pound? Was the love requited? Change the names to protect the guilty or innocent if you must! No judgement here. Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s so funny to think back to that very first person you ever laid eyes on and had all these crazy fantasies. You take one look at them and see your life in fast forward. You picture coming home to them every day after work, cooking in the kitchen as they wrap their arms around you, surprising you with flowers, kissing them goodnight, snuggling on the couch watching t.v., midnight walks along the river. All those wonderful fantasies that clearly only live in your dreams.

Then you snap back to reality and realize you’ve never talked to this guy in your life, he doesn’t know your name or your existence, and will probably never see him again. But that doesn’t stop your 12 year old mind from picturing you with him for the rest of your life.

Creepy!

That happened to me many, many moons ago. But I’m not sure if I would call it a crush. That’s nothing more than an object of your affection, someone to input into pre-existing fantasies that have been swirling in your teenage hormonal mind already.

A true crush is someone who can make those fantasies come true. Every last one of them. Seems totally unrealistic right? Those are things you only think about as you fall asleep or while you’re dreaming, not things that would actually happen in real life. That’s what I thought too. Until I met my first real crush.

Which wasn’t until about 3 months ago. I waited 24 years, but he finally arrived. When I first laid eyes on him, I think it was written all over my face just how incredibly hot I thought he was. I knew absolutely nothing about him but the teenage fantasies already started to flow. Sweaty palms and all, but he was just glad I didn’t smell like curry.

We talked for an hour and half but what felt like only 5 minutes. And then we danced while my stomach was still churning and my heart was beating to the bass of the salsa music. By the end of the night, oh I was definitely infatuated.

And then a week later, I was in serious daytime-drama-teenage-fantasy-crush-mode.

And over the course of the next 3 months, he made every one of those teenage fantasies come true.

And they just keep getting better.20140214-153447.jpg

I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but this is what every day feels like with him.

xoxo
Avi

Eat the Stupid Chip

Have you ever saved that one nacho in the center of the plate for the very end? You know which one I’m talking about; the delicious hub of all the cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and chili. It was just way to good to eat first, so you wait and eat all around it, sometimes violating it and using it for dipping other chips into. And then you wait until the very end so you can enjoy that glorious chip… all…by…itself.

How’s that been working out for ya?

Delayed gratification: the root of all evil. The excuse we give ourselves to not enjoy happiness that second. So we can ride the wave of anticipation until that magical moment when we can take a bite into happiness.

But have you ever wondered how that happiness would compare if we simply enjoyed it from the first second instead of waiting?

Well, here’s what I’ve been realizing more and more lately: the longer I delay gratification, the magnitude of happiness that I could experience decreases over time.

Because you know what happens to the good nacho chip? It gets soggy.

Or worse: someone else eats it. (I could have killed her…)

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But what happens if we just ate the chip right then and there? We can be as happy as possible and even a half an hour later we still experience the high of a great nacho!

So next time, kick delayed gratification to the curb and eat the stupid chip. Unless of course, you like soggy chips.

Or you’re out for blood.

Much Luv,

-Avi

5 Ways to be Happier Right Now

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I have always considered myself to be a grade A optimist. But it wasn’t until the other night when I was talking to my roommate that I realized how necessary it is for everyone to be some level of optimistic. It truly is the way to see the world in a beautiful light, appreciate your surroundings, and has been my key to happiness.

So, I want to share some insight into the mind of an optimist. I hope that this post will bring you some happiness in turn.

1. See the Sunshine

Every morning when you wake up, look up at the sky. There are always gloomy, cloudy, rainy, foggy days. But no matter what, whether you see it or not, there is sunshine. Look past the clouds and grey and find the sunshine. Instant happiness! Use this to start your day and apply the same logic in anything life brings your way. I know it sounds corny, but try it tomorrow morning and you’ll see!

2. Make the “small things” BIG things

When you arrived at the crosswalk, did the light turn to walk (I LOVE when this happens!)? Or when you arrived at the automatic door, didn’t it just feel like the universe was saying “WELCOME!” (I love automatic doors)? I don’t know about you, but those don’t sound like “small things” to me. Those sound like wonderful ways the universe is saying have a nice day! Appreciate these moments and make them into big deals!

3. Cut out the Negative Nancy’s

We all have those people in our lives that suck the happiness out of us. No matter what they have to say it seems like something is always wrong with their lives. Or worse, the people that are always trying to pull you in one direction, make you feel bad or defensive, begging for your attention, and just don’t make us feel good inside (I call these people emotional manipulators). Get rid of these people. They have no space in your life! My dear friend, who is the sweetest person in the world, is somehow a magnet to these people. I had lunch with her the other day and she wouldn’t stop talking about one of her friends who had hurt her and it slowly turned into a swarm of all of the hurtful things this person did to her. I couldn’t believe there was someone out there sucking the happiness and cheer out of her. After about an hour and half, I looked at her square in the eye and said “you need to cut this girl out of your life.” She’s de-friended her, stopped responding to text messages and feels so much better now. Just remember:Surround yourself with people who love you because that’s what you deserve.

4. Pick up something you love
Whether its a camera, your running shoes, or even a good and trashy romance novel (Nora Roberts, anyone?), pick it up and get your happy fix. So often, myself included, we tell ourselves we don’t have time for these small pleasures because there’s something more important we need to do like work or school. But if we deprive ourselves of these small pleasures and surround ourselves with things that make our head hurt, when do we make time for happiness? Take a 15 minute break, do something you love, then go back to work. You’ll be in a much better mood and these “more important” things won’t be so bad.

5. SMILE
Ok has this ever happened to you: you spend an hour getting ready, doing your hair, your makeup everything. Then you look in the mirror and you’re like “what did I do wrong?” because you feel like you don’t look as great as you should? It happens to me all the time and it took me a while to find the reason. I wasn’t smiling! Add a smile to your makeup! It makes people wonder what you’re thinking, releases endorphins, and best of all, it makes you happy, even if you’re not happy inside! Try it. Now :-D!

I hope that if nothing else this post brought a smile to your face and a little happiness in your life. If so, I’m so happy to hear it.

If not, well, there is no if not. I’m an optimist, remember 😉

Much luv,
-Avi