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Category Archives: Emotonal Health

Nutrition + Groupon = A New Goal!

I decided I needed a new project to keep me out of trouble outside of work, so today I purchased a Groupon for an Online Nutritional Theraplogo_Health_Sciences_Academyist Certification Course from the Health Sciences Academy.  It pairs my struggling desire to lead a healthy lifestyle with online deals, it was a match made in heaven.  Armed with a coupon code for an additional 20% off the deal plus 6% cashback through Ebates, I saved 94% off the enrollment cost.  Being fully aware I am on a strict budget, I came to the conclusion that it was worth the money to educate myself on nutrient deficiencies and learn to build nutritional programs that can better my quality of life.  I’ve been tracking my own nutritional intake without any formal training and lots of Googling, MyFitnessPal, and common sense guessing for years.  I still have no idea what I am doing.

If this program can give me any sort of guidance and applicable information to better my vegetarian lifestyle without becoming an insane health nut (I want to be a sane health nut) and possibly help others on their journey towards wellness, than it will be worth every penny.  If not, I shall pen a strongly worded letter to the Academy.

I plan to update this blog with my experiences throughout the course.  I hope you will follow my progress with positive support, constructive feedback, and questions!

#100happydays

Those who know me are well aware that I adore social media and try my best to use it’s power for good and not evil.  I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of something called #100happydays from friends, but surprisingly there has been no mention of Chachi.

To complete this self awareness challenge you must sign up, then post a photo via your choice of social media of something that represents “happiness” to you for 100 days straight.  All the while making sure to use #100happydays to organize your images.  This was not created to brag, it was created to inspire. I’m on board with that!

The website shares that people successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

 – Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.

 

Today I decided to take on the challenge because:

1. I love taking photos

2. I love sharing on social media

3. I love any reason to focus on happiness

I challenge you all to join me on this journey and sign up for your own #100happydays.  Once the challenge is successfully completed you will get a little 100 page book for free of all your images. Don’t skip a day!

Here is my first #100happydays image.  It’s a post card from a former student worker who is now serving in the Peace Corps teaching in a small fishing village in Cambodia.  She wrote to thank me for my letter of recommendation which helped her get accepted into the program.  My heart swelled with pride when I read it.

cambodiapostcard

Please follow me on Instagram if you want to learn what makes me happy every day! I will gladly follow you back!

Maintaining in Both Worlds

I’ve gotten into the habit of using my personal Facebook account as my voice instead of my blog, and that needs to get rectified.  I want to share my thoughts and ideas with the world not with a limited group of friends!

One of the things that has crossed my mind lately is how awesome I feel in my skin. I’ve had a lot of personal road blocks this year, but right now I am in such a good place I need to share it with you all.  I found my goal has slightly changed as far as my clothing size.  Naturally, I’d like to feel lighter, stronger, and ultimately reach a healthier weight goal, but I also realized that losing more weight may hinder the natural curves of my body.  In the past when I’ve gone down one pant size lower than my current size 16, my ass got lost.  I have such a larger bone structure that I literally have to lose my ass to fit into a size 14.  I can feel my sit bones protruding and it’s actually uncomfortable sitting on hard surfaces.  If anything, I should maintain my booty for seat comfort alone!  I’m hoping glute exercises will help me keep the meat on the bone as I continue on my journey, but it seems when I get to a certain point of losing weight my body pulls from the areas I quite rather appreciate, like my derriere.  Does it pull fat from the rolls in my belly or my double chin, not so much!  But, I digress, that is a subject for another post entitled “Embracing the Rolls!”.

So for now, I’ll keep up the regular exercise and well as drink a milkshakes every so often to make sure I keep my curves nice and full.

milkshake

My Milkshake bring no boys to the yard because I’m still single.

Another reason I’m enjoying this time to maintain my shape while sharpening up the curves a bit with some yoga/cardio/pilates 3-4x per week, is because I’m wearing the perfect clothing size for a woman who loves to shop.  I’m 5’9″ and wear a size 14/16 in plus.  I also wear a L/XL in non plus sizes (depending on the store).  This is an awesome size to be because I get to shop IN BOTH WORLDS.  I get to wear clothing especially made for larger curvier ladies at Plus Size stores, as well as the higher end sizes at non-plus sized stores.  It’s quiet magical to say the least. I truly do find some items that fit me  well at shops like NY&Co., H&M, Kohl’s and TJ Maxx since they carry up to XL as well as some plus sizes,  but I tend to shop at more plus size specific stores like Lane Bryant because the clothing really caters to my curves.  (Please see my Curvy Fashion Page for a list of Plus Size friendly  stores.)

I recently invested in the Scalloped Boudoir Lace Dress in size 14/16 from Kiyonna, a high end plus size designer, to wear to a wedding last November in Manhattan.  Kiyonna’s designs are not cheap but they are simply stunning as well as durable and well worth the cost.  She is actually one of the only plus size designers who starts at size 10 instead of 12, which reaches a wider range of women but ultimately leaves out sizes lower than a size 10.   I wore this dress to two Halloween parties as well as the intended Manhattan wedding and I’ve gotten wonderful and genuine compliments on how classy and well made it is for my shape.

kiyonna 1

Manhattan Wedding November, 2013

halloween 2

Halloween Party #2 in Philly Oct. 2013

Halloween Party #1 at Artworks Trenton, Oct. 2013

Halloween Party #1 at Artworks Trenton, Oct. 2013

Needless to say, I got my damn moneys worth out of that dress.  I’ve been asked where I purchased the dress as well as the designer, both in person an on Facebook, by numerous women.  Being one who is not ashamed of being a plus size lady, I simply tell the gals who are clearly not more than a size 8 that it’s from  Kiyonna, a plus size designer for sizes 10 and up.  I do feel bad if it’s not available in their size, then I think about the clothing items I find online and in stores that only go up to a Large and I know by the cut I will never be able to squeeze my T&A in that item.  C’est la vie!

So, let’s wrap up.  Where am I on my journey to Health and Wellness?  Well, I’m taking some time to maintain my weight and health where it is now.  I’m not going to obsess over losing weight, even though I’m only half way to my “set” weight goal.   I feel if I can maintain at the half way point and find it’s not the end of the world difficult, then when I do reach my goal I won’t sabotage myself like I have in the past.  My tattoo artist (he lost 100 pounds!) gave me some advice regarding my journey to health & happiness.  His advice was NOT to set a weight goal and just do your thing, be healthy, be active, until you feel you have reached your goal.   For some of us, that sounds awesome and for others it sounds like a train wreck.  You know you.  You know if you need structure, goals, a plan or if you can change your mindset for the better and ride it out until you find your  healthy weight.  I’ve gone the regimented plan before and it works only temporarily for me.  Once I hit that goal, I seem to self-sabotage in order to find that other “goal” I need to reach.  Maintaining is not fun for me.  There is no prize at the end, except perhaps living a longer healthy life and not feeling like crap.  But that’s apparently not enough for me! So we’ll see if having no goal in the back in my mind (for now) is either worse or better.  Commence Happy & Healthy Kate Experiment #53983404.

I’m still leading an active life, I’m not counting calories or cutting back on any certain food, but I’m just trying to be more aware of portion control and what my body is telling me.  Do I still overeat? Yup.  Especially with the holidays surrounding me.  But as weird as this sounds, I don’t overeat as much or as often as I used to and to me that’s a small victory.  I’ve also realized a setback won’t be as huge in my crazy mind as if i was trying to lose weight.  Maintaining is just as challenging as losing weight for someone who has struggled with the scale their entire life, so once I master the art of maintenance I think I’ll finally have the knowledge I’ve been lacking in the past throughout my yo-yo dieting to finally live life at a healthier weight, whatever that may be.

Focusing on strength instead of weight has also really helped my overall mindset regarding my health.  On some level it feels great to fit into a lower dress size, it shows your hard work is paying off, but for me I’m at the point where I am OK with the number printed on my clothes.  Why?  Because I feel healthy, I feel great in my clothes, and I look damn cute.

owl

TJ Maxx – Owl Sweater in XL

Is This Thing On?

HelloHello It’s time I crawl out from under my offline rock and get back into the blogging hemisphere.  I have much appreciation for those who continue to blog through the valleys of life, and I hope one day to be able to get to that point without turning into an Eeyore type personality.

Now it’s time to brace yourself and read a list of things I’ve learned over the past 6 months.  The bottom line is when someone you unconditionally love takes advantage of your kindness and betrays your trust, I found there are ways to move forward.

1. Trust.

  • Trust yourself.  Trust your instincts.  If you don’t have tangible evidence or proof but something going on in your relationship or your world in general doesn’t feel right, trust in your emotional intelligence. Hopefully you can distinguish control or abandonment issues from gut feelings. Sometimes I can’t until it’s too late and hindsight has become 20/20. But damnit, I am a smart woman. I am determined to trust myself more from this point on.

2. Know.

  • Know that you are stronger than you may think. Know that if you are not happy, you deserve better.  Know that your happiness should come before anyone elses and if someone is directly effecting your own mental health you must not ignore it or sweep it under the rug no matter how often the other person refuses to confront the issue. I do not mean to say you should be a selfish douchenozzle and fail to empathize with others.  I have learned that you won’t be able to get that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with helping others if you aren’t taking care of your own emotional, physical, and spiritual well being.  It’s been a battle for me, and after 35 years I’ve realized I need to stop preaching and start believing.

3. Feel & Deal.

  • Feel the good, the bad, and the ugly and don’t put a time limit on it .  Years ago a good friend told me that you need to feel the hurt someone inflicted upon you so you never forget how that particular person effected you. I am someone who gives everyone the benefit of the doubt, so this is advice I personally take with a grain of salt as every situation is different.  But I often refer to those words when a person leads me into a gut wrenching wave of hurt. I’m also a type of person who wants to deal with any negative situation fast and furious because my rational side is saying MOVE ON, don’t be a Debbie Downer, while my sensitive side is clearly not listening.  If you are feeling great one day it’s completely understandable to not feel so great the next day.  I’ve had to hear that a few times from my loving friends over the past few months after I showed much frustration over my roller coaster emotions.  I repeat, there is no magic time limit! Ride the emotional wave, call on others for support, and the people who truly care about you will never make you feel like you cannot reach out to them or that your feelings aren’t justified.  If you must be an island but cannot find emotional ease, look to yourself to figure out why you try to do it all on your own instead of leaning on someone, whether it be a professional, family member, clergy, or friend.
  • Deal with the crappy negative emotions now so you can move to the beautiful and positive emotions later. Be patient.  I’m not a patient person when it comes to myself, so this is especially difficult for me to accept.  Deal with it so you can eventually put it behind you and possibly turn your trunks of baggage into a few carry on bags.

4. Cleanse.

  • Cleanse your life of emotional vampires.  There are 5 types of emotional vampires:  Narcissistic, Victim, Controller, Constant talker, and Drama Queen.  I may sound like a drama queen myself, but I recently cleansed my life of a couple of huge emotional vampires.  These types of people are the worst kind of abusers because most don’t see any harm in their actions and there is no physical scarring. There is plenty of psychological damage that can be done though if you are not self aware, careful, and trusting of your own instincts.

5. Forgive.

  • Forgiveness is an act for yourself, not others.  In some cases it’s your “self” that you must learn to forgive!  In all the research I’ve done over the past month in trying to understand if I’ve forgiven a specific person, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no timeline.  If you feel that you’ve forgiven someone but still get angered at the thought of what happened, you probably have not truly forgiven them and that’s ok!  Forgiveness does not make their actions any less excusable and it does not make you a bad person if you are unable to forgive! There may be specific things you deem unforgivable but true forgiveness cannot be forced. Be genuine with your forgiveness. Find it in your heart to forgive somebody for making a poor decision, or find it in your soul to forgive yourself for making a mistake (during this past relationship I made the mistake of letting my health and goals fall by the wayside, failing to put myself first, which I plan to write about in a future post). You will then find yourself free of any hold the person had on you. Afterwards, you can truly begin to move on.

6. Love.

  • Love yourself, love others, keep loving even after your heart has been smashed into a million pieces.  Love those who appreciate, support, comfort, educate, respect , and are kind.  I’ll never stop loving and falling in love.  It can get quite exhausting after being taken advantage of more than once, but I believe in Karma and in the power of positive thinking.  There are many degrees of love and I think everyone deserves love and happiness, even the emotional vampires.  I’ve learned to be a little more selective to whom I give my love but I will not give up on it’s amazing power. Sometimes you come across a bad seed in a world full of good ones, but don’t let them sour your spirit.

7. Learn.

  • Take your experience and learn from how it all unfolded.  My goal is to take negative heart crushing experiences and grow from every single detail without ending up a bitter old lonely cat lady or changing my trusting and gregarious nature.  I’ve come across the paths of people with many more years on this earth who have a delusional version of reality and truth and may never learn from their mistakes.  On the one hand it makes me sad, on the other hand it’s really none of my concern and I can continue to lead a fulfilling life without their skewed influence. A life I love, and a life I’ll only live once (since I’m unfortunately not a cat) so I might as well make it a happy and healthy life.

love-quotes_3638-3

Long Time, No Write.

I would like to express my extreme gratitude to my readers who have helped me achieve over 10k views in 5 months.  I was on vacation for a week and not really posting much over the past month, so when I logged in today I was all smiles!

It has been a very surreal past few months for me.  My personal life is in a place I would not have believed if told details 6 months ago.  I’m in a wonderful new(ish) relationship with an old flame, I’m in a new living situation I’ve never been in which is pretty awesome, and my sister is getting married in a little over a week with me as Maid of Dishonor. But this is what I’ve been feeling like doing instead of going to the gym…

nap

It’s that horrible spiral I find myself on when my health routine gets interrupted.   But these are life’s curve balls that get thrown at you whether you are sick, have little ones, have a full social calendar, or go on vacation and your gym/workout schedule gets pushed to the side.  I attempted Yoga while on vacation, but in an environment with lots of bugs and humidity in a cabin with NO AIR CONDITIONING I gave up after 2 days.  Then upon return from vacation my boyfriend moves in with me the very next day.  Not finding time to get to the gym because I’m hot and exhausted from our road trip and the move makes me realize I’m just coming up with excuses.  So I get down on myself.  This leads to a week of adjusting to the new living situation with a house in disarray and going back to work for the week.  I do have time for the gym if I made an effort, but I’d rather get the house together so it looks presentable than focus on myself making sure I look presentable.  Once again I need to change my way of thinking.

no time gym

I will stop thinking like the photo above.  I need to get my priorities back on track, I need to start making time for my own well being, and I need to remind myself it’s not too late.  I mentioned in a previous post if you fall off the healthy living wagon for a day, a week, a month, or even a year, it may be difficult to get back on but not impossible.  Of course it would be ideal not to fall off the wagon at all, but pshaw, I’m far from leading an ideal life!  What I do need is to take my own words of advice and not feel like I’ve permanently messed up my health regiment.  Time to get back to making better decisions!  It’s something I need to do, and I will.

I will take the feeling of tight jeans, joint pain, and lethargy as a reminder that I need to start moving just a little bit each day instead of feeling depressed and sabotaging myself when I go down the dark path of healthy destruction.  I will remind myself that my usual daunting 2-3 hour gym routine doesn’t have to exist.  Running for 20 minutes is better than nothing, don’t you remember that amazing feeling you get from the endorphins after a workout!?  Believe me, once I get moving, I’m good to go.  It’s the getting moving part that I have trouble with, I seem to psych myself out instead of up.

Stupid Newton and his physics laws of motion.

This blog helps keep me accountable for my actions and I cannot thank the blogging community and readers enough for it’s support and outlet for people struggling with body image and health issues their whole life.   Writing has always been easier for me than speaking face to face (though I’m definitely pretty open in person too) but it’s when I’m not open in either area when things are probably bad.  This blog helps me get out of that dark place and back on track.  I suggest anyone thinking about starting a blog should create one as a therapeutic resource on top of any other personal reasons.

So far, It’s worked for me.

My Weak Monday.

My Weaknesses:  Time Management, Ice Cream and Peanut Butter, Shopping, Laziness/Cuddling with Cats, and Useless Guilt.

I have many strengths I just wouldn’t know where to start (insert sarcastic tone), so today I’ll focus on my weaknesses.

I took off from work yesterday, Monday, from work to catch up on house duties and some early gym time after a whirlwind of a Mother’s Day weekend.  I was lazy though, and reverted back to very poor habits.

It started off with a healthy egg white omelet for breakfast with my darling man, who didn’t finish his French Toast, so I helped him.  Damn my helpful nature!  My main squeeze is not a big eater, which does not compute in my mind.  So, after partaking in a few extra calories, I figured I’d work it all off in the gym later.  Well, I had intended to get to the gym.  But alas, my strong and capable legs did not walk the 4 blocks.  Oh, how the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

It’s amazing how sometimes (not always) I feel such guilt if I don’t go to the gym or do any sort of movement (yoga, pilates) on my day off, and then I start my way down a slippery slope of caloric self sabotage.  I have control over what I eat and how I move, and by choosing to be lazy and unhealthy the guilt kicks in to the extreme.   To add insult to injury, yesterday was after a feast of a day celebrating with both my Significant Other’s family and mine for the Mother’s Day holiday over the weekend.  I was able to squeeze in an hour at the gym beforehand on Sunday, but I was looking forward to Monday off and 3 hours at the gym.  3+ hours I spent doing the complete opposite!

food

Upon returning home from breakfast at the diner, my house is a mess.  I get into house cleaning/laundry/dusting mode.  This leads me to sorting a lot of the stuff I’ve accumulated from my love of shopping and collecting stuff over the years.  I am motivated to downsize not only because my boyfriend is moving in next month (exciting!) but because we often watch Hoarders and he jokingly tells me I have the beginning signs of Hoarding. (lol-damn him for being right).  By this time it’s time for a late lunch and the idea of getting to the gym before the after work 5pm crowd is less and less likely to happen.  I then proceeded to make poor high calorie lunch choices (pizza?  yes please!) and gave in to a pint of Edy’s Maxx Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream (omg yum) and sat my ass on the couch, IN MY GYM CLOTHES.  Food as comfort is an ongoing theme in my life.

20 minutes later, I felt gross.  A feeling I know all too well from my overeating habits.  A feeling I know will be the result of my actions.

chaircat

After my lunch feast, I decided it’s time to play around with my new DVR (and of course cuddle with my adorable cats).  That was a big mistake if I ever wanted to get my butt off the couch and moving.  10 hours and many feature films later, it was time to pass out and go to bed.  Monday was over and I was well over calories and feeling guilty for not taking the time to get to the gym.  Distracting myself with positive house tasks helped me a little with the guilt of feeling unproductive wellness wise.  Fortunately, last night I did not have much of a dinner nor continue to stuff my gullet for the rest of the night (which is actually a very bad past habit of mine.)

As far as a day of fitness and wellness, yesterday was a wash.  As far as organization and donating crap and getting it out of my house, yesterday was a success.

Today I packed my gym clothes and plan to hit it HARD after work.  I know if I made better choices it wouldn’t be such a roller coaster, but I think it’s a small victory knowing I have started fresh today and will not continue down the path to nutritional destruction.  Putting the breaks on a down spiral is just as difficult, if not more, as making the best nutritional decision from the get go.  This is something I’m continuing to struggle with, and I’m thankful to have such a loving support system to help cheer me on.  Managing my time and health priorities is something I’m getting better at, but I still fall victim to these tiny set backs!

Thank you, dear readers, friends, and family, for not only being non-judgemental but understanding it’s a learning process.

I’m getting there!

canandwill

Grat…I mean…Catitude.

I am thankful for so many things and for so many people.  I have numerous exciting changes going on in my personal and professional life.  I am grateful not only for the specific wonderful new chapters opening up, but for my readers/friends/family who have been cheering me on along the way.

Specifically, I wanted to extend a humble bow to everyone who has supported me with kind words, constructive non-judgmental feedback, and inspirational energy and stories regarding exercise & wellness.  I started this journey for myself, and I stay true to my goals because of you.  For that you will forever have my gratcatitude.

katygym1

Killin’ it at the gym, cool cat style.

This morning alone I had 3 people tell me that I am still losing weight and looking great, when in fact I have gained weight…muscle weight.  It’s amazing how building, strengthening, and shaping your body can make such a difference not only in how you feel and look, but in how you are perceived by others who are NOT your scale.  It’s taught me that the scale is not always the best judge when it comes to your health, but it is still a good way to make sure you aren’t going too crazy with extra calories with an increased workout.  I’m currently trying to balance out my calories with activity right now and it’s been a struggle.  I’ve been hardcore committed to classes 2x a week at my new gym (pilates and yoga) and learning other types of core work to do on my own after cardio/weight training. Needless to say, my appetite is increased a lot and late night snacking is my vice.   This is something I am working on curbing.

I honestly don’t see a dramatic difference in the mirror, my clothes are still pretty tight fitting and luckily I still think I look damn good.  Others have been kind enough to notice positive changes in my body shape and nice enough to tell me.  Even my favorite sandwich technician at Subway noticed I look more fit, without any type of selfish prompting!  To me, that is success. Look out Jared!

All in all I am grateful for everyone who has  been there for me when I was not at my best, when I was at the top of the world, and when I’ve just been blah.  It shows to the true character of my friends when you’re there for me through thick fat and thin, sickness and health, and unbalanced and balanced serotonin levels.  I wouldn’t be on this road to wellness without your unconditional love and support so from the bottom of my cat loving heart, thank you.

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