Thursday, April 26, 2012

Suck It Up, Cupcake!

I had never heard that phrase before I came to work at my current school four years ago.  But from the first time I heard it, I loved it. 

Suck it up, Cupcake! 

Stop your moaning...complaining...whining...and just do what has to be done.

I use this phrase with my favorite 10 & 11 year olds all the time.  (And a few times with my family, but we won't go there...!!! Some things should just stay at home, ya know?!?!) 

But seriously who I need to speak this to these days is MYSELF!!

"Hey, Angie...suck it up, Cupcake!  Yeah...your knees are trashed and in a lot of pain these days.'ve been battling a cold and allergies for a month now.'ve got about a megaton of stress going on in your life.  Suck it up and get your butt back in the gym.  NOW!"


I believe I'll listen to myself...and if you need to find me later today, check out Planet Fitness.  I've got some working out to do!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sometimes Maintaining Is Enough...

I've spent a lot of time this week thinking...looking back at this blog to find a spark of encouragement and motivation to keep me moving forward.  And I think I'm getting there.  This is one of the reasons I have the blog, actually...besides sharing with anyone who reads it the incredible things God is teaching me about myself, about Him, and about life in general, I want a documented journey so that when I'm feeling like I have been this week, I can look back and see where I've been...and more importantly, refocus on where I'm going!

My birthday is going to be in 2 weeks (and one day...but who's counting?!?)  I had a goal that I wanted to hit.  And I'm not going to hit it.  Not even going to be close to it.  And the closer we get to my birthday, the more disappointed I become.  I wanted to weigh less than 200 pounds by my 45th birthday.  Somehow, I see those 5's and 0's at the end of an age as significant.  Milestones of a sort.  And this year, I have a 5.  I am also close enough to that goal that had I really pushed myself, I could have hit it.  But I won't.  Because although I set the goal and wanted the goal, there's something I didn't do.  I didn't work for it.

Oh, I've been working.  On lots of things.  I've even been working out. All year long, actually.  Through some pretty overwhelming pain at times.  I've had a flare up recently of my arthritis that is making every day life pretty painful, actually.  On my "Angie" pain scale, I can usually be found somewhere between 3 and 4...lately I've been about 6-ish.  This is my stopping limit for my workouts...and it's where I've been BEGINNING them.  So I get in the gym, move, and don't push hard...because if I do, I know I'm going to have to shut it down and go home for anti-inflammatory meds and ice.

What I've been doing since January 6th when I hit my 100 pound milestone is maintaining.  As of today, I've lost 103 pounds.  That's nothing to be ashamed of, I know.  And I'm not.  I'm very proud of that accomplishment.  I worked hard for it.  But you see, that's the thing.  I WORKED HARD to achieve it.  Lately, I've been working...just not working hard.  And this week, I've been examining myself to figure out why that has been true for the past several months.

I believe the arthritis flare up is a contributing factor to this.  I go to the gym because I have to...because I know if I do what I WANT to do and come home and rest these tired, achy legs, eventually I won't be able to walk.  I know that I have to push through some pain to make sure I don't bring even greater pain on myself.  I get well acquainted with it...and do it.  But I'm not working out hard.  The pain pisses me off, actually! I'm so tired of my knees hurting all the time!  I'm just doing enough to maintain the health benefits I've already established.  I'm not improving my health lately.  I'm just not letting it deteriorate.

I believe a little bit of apathy has also settled into my diet.  I'm not eating emotionally, which is a good thing given what I know about myself...and given the wide range of emotions I've been dealing with lately!  (Side note: entering menopause SUCKS!  Just putting that out there!)  But, I'm also not always making healthy choices when I eat either.  Take this week for example...I had a quick dinner on Thursday night that I haven't eaten in a long time...a Quarter Pounder with cheese.  I used to love these burgers....ate a few a week, I'm sure at some points in my life...but this week, I ate it because I was tired, it was quick, and it was on sale (buy one get one for a penny...that's just mean!).  And then...because my body is no longer accustomed to eating fried, calorie-heavy foods...I promptly had stomach pain and intestinal upset for the rest of the night.  So what did I do the next night?  Had fried chicken!  In the grand scheme of things, two really bad dinner choices this week are not going to kill me.  I know that.  And I'm not even beating myself up over it.  I've taken accountability for that...and I ate really well yesterday.  I'm not allowing myself to slip into the pattern of who I used to be.  But I do sense a bit of apathy in myself lately.  I just didn't want to care about what I ate this week.  And it showed by the choices I made.

I believe the bigger part of why I'm not working harder on my health goals, however, is that I am having to work a LOT harder on many other things in my life.  These are not things I'm comfortable or even able to put out here for public consumption on this blog.  But they are things you all face, stress, parenting stress, physical health stress, relationship stress.  It's nothing new.  But there's a BUNCH of it in my life right now.  More than I ever remember having I think.  And right now, I'm working so hard to keep myself sane and happy that there's just not a lot of energy left over to focus on my health goals.  I'm happy that I haven't slid back into old, unhealthy patterns of life while under this stress, but I also haven't pushed myself to keep moving forward.  In short, I'm maintaining.

What I determined this week is that sometimes, for me, maintaining is going to have to be enough.  At first I saw everything I just described to you as excuses.  And I hate excuses.  But they're not.  They're reasons.  And there's a difference. 

I'm not looking to excuse myself from essentially not losing weight since the beginning of the year.  Because excusing myself from it would mean that I felt like I NEEDED an excuse.  I don't.  I'm really OK with where I am right now. 

On the other hand, seeing these things as REASONS why I haven't lost weight helps me see that when these situations in my life are dealt with and managed, I am still going to be healthy (maybe even healthier), and I'm going to be ready to lose weight expend more energy toward reaching my health goals. 

In other words...sometimes, maintaining is enough.  And that's not a cop out for not hitting a goal of mine.  It's truth.  And truth is what I base my life on. 

So, there you have it.  :-)

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Woman Who Made Me What I Am...

One important thing that I've learned along this journey to a "new" me is that where I came from is important.  Vitally important.  And I have to tell you, I come from good stock, friends.

Today is Friday, April 6, 2012.  One day before my mom's 66th birthday.  Tomorrow will be fun to celebrate her birthday with her, but today is a far more important day in her life.  Today will be the last day that she is a full-time worker.  She's retiring at the close of business today.  Retiring from a job she has done well for 41 years.  Retiring from a job that she never wanted in the first place.

My mom grew up in an era where many young women, herself included, wanted nothing more than to grow up, find the right guy, marry him, and have lots of babies.  Her dream began that way in 1965 when she married my dad, and took another step in that direction in 1967 when she had me.  But that dream changed significantly when the marriage ended and she found herself a jobless, single mother.  There would be no "right guy" and only one baby for my  Watching a dream die is a difficult thing to do, isn't it?

There is no one I know personally whom I admire and respect more than my mom.  Alone, with no formal job training and a 4 year old daughter to care for, she did what so many in that situation also find the guts to do...she built a new life - out of pretty much nothing except love and determination.  She found a job, one that was willing to train her to be a bookkeeper, something she excelled at.  She found a montesori school for me that I remember being fun.  And most importantly, she found within herself a strength that I'm not sure she knew she possessed.  Crises will do that for you every time, friends. 

My mom is someone who knows a bit about journeying to a "new" self.  She never wanted to be a bookkeeper, but over the course of her unintentional career, she found that she was very skilled at it, and developed a new sense of self esteem that she might not ever have experienced had she not been forced into discovering it.  She could have been bitter about it all, but she took it in stride, found the positive aspects of her life, and slowly, over time built a new dream, a new life.

Anything I know about beginning again, about perseverance, about getting back up when you fall down, I learned from her.  My mom made me the woman I am, her model and guidance are responsible for making me who I am becoming.  I owe her everything.  You see, I was her new dream. The reason she pulled herself up by her bootstraps when the world came crashing in was that she refused - FLAT OUT REFUSED - to allow anything to happen to me.  Rather than lean on the state for support, she reached deep down inside herself and found all the strength she needed.  For herself and for me.

So, Mom...enjoy today.  As you told me this morning, you earned this.  I agree wholeheartedly.  You've earned the right to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Thank you for everything you did...for me...for yourself...for us to have a life that I look back on and love.  You are an amazing woman and I am so, so proud to be your daughter.  I love you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Just a Plain Old Thursday...

Someone very wise once told me that "Normal" is just a setting on a dryer.  I love that quote.  It applies to so much of life.  For example, why be "normal" when with a little effort you can be extraordinary?  Or why expect "normal" when it's the unexpected surprises in life that can be so entertaining and enjoyable?

But with all due respect to the wise woman who shared her view of "normal" with me, I do think there does need to be a sense of normality about life in some ways.  It helps us maintain our sanity, I think.  It let's us know what to expect and brings us a bit of comfort and security from routine.  And I've been lacking that in many ways lately, personally and professionally. 

Spring Break has been a WONDERFUL time of resting and relaxation for me.  And today especially was a great day of "normal" for me.  A great workout, time with a wonderful friend, some household chores, and cooking a nice meal.  Just a plain old Thursday.  And BOY am I grateful for that.

Hope your day was "normal" in the very best sense of the word...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

And Watch Me Rise Again...

I lift weights now.  Did you know that?  Me...Angie.  Power lifter!  Hahaha!  Not quite yet, but I will be one day.  That you can take to the bank.  For right now, I can do a little more than this over here, but not too much.

Every time I raise that bar over my head or curl the weight in my hand, I wonder how it is I got to this place...where it is not inconceivable that I can lift that weight...repeatedly.  Because those of you who know me in real life, not just on this virtual reality called my blog, can attest that I've never remotely been someone that ANYONE would mistake for a weightlifter.

But you know what?  People change.  We experience things in life that knock us out of our complacency...that force us to look at who we are...and change...grow.

We rise again.

Better.  Stronger.  More like we were made to be.

This is the last post based on the song Who Am I by Casting Crowns.  I heard that song 2 weeks ago tonight in concert.  I have to tell you...I've heard that songs hundreds of times.  Crowns is one of my favorite bands...have been for years.  And this song isn't new.  I can sing it word for word, know all of the harmony lines.  But 14 days ago when I heard it, something in it reached right into my spirit and ministered to me.  These lines in particular...

Who am I
That the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again.

And over the past two weeks, I think I've figured out what God wants me to know...what He was saying to me that night, and has been saying to me from the first moment that I met Him.

Angie, you are Mine. I know you.  I've saved you. And I love you.  Just like you are right now in this minute.  Get UP's time to move on.

I have held on to insecurity because of my body image...because of past relationships and hurts...because of probably hundreds of reasons that I am not going to take the time to name here.  But what I've really discovered over the past few weeks of this song marinating in me is that who I WAS is not the definition of who I AM, nor of who I WILL BE.  And God loves me just as much right now as He did when this journey began 2 years ago...and just as much as He will when I reach the end goal of weight loss.  His love is not dependent on me...on my success...on my failure...on my faithfulness...on anything I bring to the relationship.  His love is dependent on HIM ALONE.

And because of that, I don't need to be insecure...afraid of failure...afraid of success (oddly enough!)...afraid of anything.

So yeah...I lift weights.  You know why?  Because it's time to be who I was meant to be.  It's time to rise again.  God and I have things to accomplish in my life...and it's time to get on with it.


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