Birthday, acknowledgement and acceptance

My 39th birthday came and went and while it was a fantastic day with lots of love, it was extremely difficult for me to receive all the attention I was given.

Over the past few days, I have struggled with tying my success, my failures, my struggles and my constant negativity to how I feel about my physical appearance.

I know, I could do things differently to change my physical health.  Part of my struggle with my weight goes back to the extreme amount of pain I’m in every day and using food as a comfort for that pain. This utter disgust for my physical state came to head over the weekend when my bed frame collapsed under us due to the excessive load it was taking on.  So a new bed is ordered but my pride is pretty bruised in the interim.

I’ve been going through physical therapy for my back for the past four weeks.  None of the pain has subsided in any way, shape or form and am hoping there is a next step to help move forward with a plan to reclaim my health.  Right now I hate myself. I hate my body and I hate feeling the way that I do. I’m hoping acknowledging these feelings will help me move past them.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)

I don’t know if I am able to determine the things I can and cannot change. I don’t know what I can and cannot accept right now because I feel so mired by over-analyzing and over-thinking every possible situation. I don’t know if I can accept my current physical limitations, which is probably why I have additionally injured myself.  I don’t know if I can change what I put in my mouth because I don’t want to and can’t accept that I don’t. I don’t know how I’ll feel about myself for not deciding to make the change.  Maybe I need to accept that my injury has to be solved first.

The struggle is real….

I’ve decided to revive this blog after careful consideration to the state of balance in my life that pushed me to assess how I’m feeling, what I’m doing and where I’m going. My health has generally been declining and the emotional toll of that has been a bit more than I’ve been able to handle.

Twenty-one years ago, I stepped on the yellow footprints at Parris Island scared and unsure of the decision I had made to serve. I was extremely fortunate to serve my whole fours years, but it came with a price tag.  Recently, I was granted service-connected disability status from the VA for the injuries I incurred while serving. I’m grateful to have this option to get the healthcare I’ve needed for outstanding problems that date back to a botched epidural during delivery, and lingering tinnitus and TMJ as a military musician. I’ve now been able to start physical therapy, and get pain management needs met.

Along with physical impact of service, I’ve never fully grasped the emotional one. Being a Marine is a difficult standard to live up to. You have to be stronger and tougher than anyone else to show why you are considered part of America’s Elite Fighting Force.

A short video of the Commandant expressing that ideal here.


When I left the Marines, I never lost that sense of perfectionism.  Always needing to lead the way, say yes when asked and take on everything I could. I grew a heavy anxiety whenever I did the opposite. Never really stepping back to say, can I do this or am I compromising something else in my life to say yes?

About a month ago, I got to walk graduation for my Masters Degree. This was a really proud achievement for me since I will be the first in my family earn a masters degree and it will help elevate my career.

Photo credit to Andrew Griesemer

While I have 95 days remaining in my program, I never once questioned in the last eighteen months if this is something I should do with my other ongoing commitments.  Full-time job, PTA President, and Veterans Resource Group Co-President, my constant worry grew on was I doing enough, what would people think if I stepped away, and would there be a struggle for the people I cared for now had to take on this extra responsibility?

Everything came to head about six weeks ago.

A situation I did not think would occur did, I found myself going through a miscarriage.

While I had make proper precautions to prevent that from happening, it did. There were no major complications and the full event completed a few days ago.

This created a great deal of perspective for me. I had to stop, I had to take care of myself, and I had to give others the opportunity to participate in the different activities I was involved in. Not one person criticized me for stepping away except me. Through this I was able to reflect internally on how poorly I was taking care of myself.  I couldn’t get out of bed or even walk to the car without struggle or pain. I couldn’t sleep due to the constant worry. I couldn’t enjoy time with my family or anything I was doing. Every public event, I wanted to run and hide. I didn’t want anyone to see how much I struggled to do the simplest task. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and I avoided public situations.

This is still a daily struggle. I’ve been operating in this mindset for so long, I catch myself back in it more than acknowledging when I’m not. I continue to work on it, but I’ve been able to identify that bottling it is not working so I revived the blog. Taking time to write it down and get it out is part of taking time to do something for me.

My Weight Loss Rollercoaster



Looks like fun, right?

It’s really not. Over the past six years, I’ve been on this crazy wild right and I’m ready to get off it for good.

Over the past eight months, I have been working hard to be healthy.  The most recent dip in the scale has come from some really hard work and eating differently than I ever have before.

Here I am at probably my heaviest along the way, the left photo is Christmas time 2011 and the right photo is Christmas 2013.



A big change happened for me after watching the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. Joe Cross at, had lots of resources and material to go on this amazing juicing journey.  I was ready to make the commitment.  I bought a juicer, went to the grocery store and set out toward health.  It wasn’t about just losing weight, it was about improving my life.  I was very fortunate to have an amazing supportive husband at home that washed and chopped and helped keep me motivated along the way.  It would have been much more difficult to see my family enjoying there regular meals without his help.  He was my rock.

I went through multiple mental shifts through this time. The first being just how I felt about food.  Food was always a comfort for me.  I liked eating it and looked for places and meals to enjoy it to the fullest. After spending 60 days on juice only, I came to view food as something to sustain me not a pleasure item to make me feel good.  It really just became fuel.  I’m going to put the best fuel in me to get from Point A to Point B, and it’s still how I view it today.  Do I still enjoy chocolate?  Yes, but I no longer eat a 1 pound bag of M&M’s in one sitting.  It’s an infrequent treat that I always remember doesn’t give me the nutrients I need.

The next shift was how I felt about the scale. The bane of my existence.  The number I held myself hostage by my entire life.  Today I sit at 173lbs and a BMI of 28.  In the eyes of doctors, I’m overweight. I had to shift my thinking on how I felt about that.  While weight and BMI can be an indicator of health, it’s not always a useful test. You can have people who sit on the couch, eat fast food, smoke and drink, and have a “normal” weight and BMI.  I run three times a week, eat my vegetables, quit smoking and limit alcohol to only special occasions. Am I in the shape I want to be?  Not yet, but I’m working toward it.  Everyday I take steps to go toward that goal. It’s not fast but I know I am living a healthy life and that was always my aim.  It wasn’t about a number.

1234311_10202062047252764_1081669791_nThe picture above is from 2013.  The picture on the left was after completing my 60 day juice fast.  The picture on the right was from a couple months before starting the juice fast. My next mental shift was about how I look. We see so often in our society on what a body “should” look like.  I came to embrace all the nuances that are ME. I don’t have perfect curves, or muscle tone but I had to come to grips with how I felt about how I look. So often I looked at pictures and think “Was I that heavy?”. I had to accept that I spent many years carrying around extra weight. And while that weight gave me a different appearance, it didn’t make me any less beautiful.  I’m still the same person I was, just thinner or thicker.  The problem really was how I felt in general.  I was sluggish, tired, and not able to live my life to the fullest when I had the extra weight.  I couldn’t keep up with my children or even the stairs at work. I was frustrated and depressed with just not feeling well.  I wanted to feel better and that meant forgetting what I thought it should “look” like and just do it.

The most recent shift I experienced was in analyzing my weight loss over the past six years. Seeing how close I was to success of reaching my goal weight and gave up. I was going through some medical issues at the time, but I truly gave up on being healthy. Healthy living is a lifestyle.  It not something you can just decide to do and then stop.  I was able to reduce my pain, discomfort, and illness by changing my eating.  No magic pills or drugs.  Eating a plant-based diet and exercising has me feeling the best I have in my adult life.  I will continue to make that choice everyday.  To take care of myself and keep working toward my goal until I have reached them.  Then make new goals and keep going.  This past January, I successfully completed the Disney Dopey Challenge.  Four races, four days, and 48.6 miles.  It was such a huge accomplishment and I’m ready to keep reaching my health goals for the rest of my life.


“Well,that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.” – Flynn Rider (Tangled)


On the verge of “one”-derland

Today marks the 7th week since starting my regular exercise routine and 18 weeks since starting my diet program.

At Planet Fitness today, I recorded my best 5k time in a long while at 35:00 mintues.

Down another .8 lbs this week, I’m closing in on the 200lb mark. Today, I weighed in at 202.8 lbs. Over the past eighteen weeks, I’ve lost a total of 36 lbs and feeling stronger and stronger as the workouts continue at Planet Fitness.

My diet plan has been pretty simple up to this point. Exercise and portion control. My morning usually consists of yogurt/oatmeal/hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit (banana, plum, peach, nectarine). Lunch usually consists of leftovers from dinner the night before. Lean meat, a small portion of rice or pasta and a salad or steamed vegetable. A snack of what I didn’t have a breakfast usually comes midday, like hard boiled eggs or yogurt. Dinner is more of the same as lunch (hence the leftovers). I also have some sort of treat after dinner like a skinny cow, or a small bowl of ice cream. Sometimes jello and cool whip.

The nice thing about my diet plan is I don’t feel deprived. I have a treat here and there but all in moderation. I realize that every food choice I make and decision to get up and workout is step closer to success and the health I deserve. When I choose to indulge or sleep in, that’s a step in the wrong direction.

My clothes are fitting looser and I’m starting to see that athlete and skinny person emerge. It’s been a great feeling to have made so much progress, but I still have a long way to go. Encouragement from my family and friends has been so critical.

Today I realize how much time I’ve spent avoiding my health issues and how short our time is here. I remembered that life is urgent and there is not time to sit around feeling sorry for myself on my previous failures at weight loss. I’m ready for success and the future with my family. I’m excited to visit Disney World next weekend and feel like I can make it through the whole day and enjoy our time there without needing to stop and rest and take time away from the experience. My stamina and energy are coming back and I’m so grateful for that.