Beautiful Chaos – A Year of Growth

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since my last blog post.  Life has been kind of crazy – both good and bad – especially with the Holidays.  I am so ready to say ‘see you later!’ to 2016.  Overall, 2016 was a very difficult year for me.  I’ve lost people that I love.  I’ve received horrible news on more than one occasion.  I experienced panic attacks, and overwhelming sadness.  I began to doubt myself about things I once felt extremely confident in.  I felt like one bad thing was happening after the other, and I began to feel defeated.  And honestly, I felt somewhat sorry for myself.  I had never truly experienced genuine hardships in the past.  At least, nothing compared to the past six months.  I didn’t know how to handle my emotions.  I became annoyed with myself when I couldn’t just “get over” it.  I grew frustrated when my anxiety began to rear it’s ugly head – wasn’t I past all of this?

What I did not realize six months ago, though, was that my feelings were normal.  When something bad happens, of course you’re going to feel sad.  I’m  so sensitive, and extremely empathetic.  I like to be able to fix things and make people feel better, so when I was unable to do that for my loved ones, it upset me.  My anxiety was also normal (which I think I actually knew, deep down), I just did not want to deal with it.  I was very hard on myself during this time, and looking back now, I wish that I gave myself a break.

Before I go any further, I do want to say that this year was not entirely awful.  I had some huge moments this year – good ones.  For one, I moved in with Saul, in May.  (I had basically been living there since February, but May we made it official.)  I absolutely love living with Saul – what’s better than having a sleepover every night with your best friend?  Saul turned 30 this year, so for his birthday (and Jordan’s) we traveled to Punta Cana for a week.  It was so amazing.  I had never been anywhere tropical, nor I had ever stayed at an All-Inclusive Resort.  I had such a wonderful time.  I had fun nights out with my girlfriends,too.  (Like the night I owed Jena $60 for taking a Lyft from her house in Lynnfield back to West Roxbury.)  Jessi’s Bachelorette Weekend was such a blast – definitely one of my favorite memories of 2016.  I also had my ten year high school reunion (I feel so old!) and I had a really good time going out that night as well.  I saw friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, and it was so nice to reconnect with them.  My bond with my loved ones grew stronger, too.  So no, not everything was bad.  But that’s how life goes, right?

I feel like this year was a year of growth for me.  I do feel like I’ve “grown up” a lot.  I am a year older (hello, 28!), and though I’ve clearly been an “adult” for awhile, it didn’t always feel that way.  I think in the past six months alone, I’ve grown tremendously.  And when I look back to five years ago, I can clearly see how far I have come.  I am no longer the same girl that I was at 23, 25, or even 27.  I’m maturing and growing everyday, and understanding myself better along the way.  And for that, I’m glad, and thankful.

Although I’ve learned a lot, I’m still learning.  When I started writing this blog post, I was actually going to title it “AN EYE FOR AN EYE WILL ONLY MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD BLIND”, and it was going to be about kindness. (My brain had other ideas when I began typing, clearly.)  I do want to talk about kindness though, and a lesson that I learned recently.

kind

I will not name names, or go into great detail, but recently, I received a “gift” from someone that I found to be really offensive.  It was a self-help book (which I didn’t really realize until later) , and it basically talks about not taking things personally, etc.  (Kind of ironic how personally I took it, LOL.)  If I had received this gift from my Mom, or someone else really close to me, I don’t think I would have taken it so personally.  But to get this book from someone who is not close to me – it actually seemed like a dig, to be honest.  Why is she giving me this?  I wondered.  It made me think something was wrong with my character.  At first, I brushed it off.  But a week later, when I was in Barnes and Noble, casually browsing every aisle, I came across the book, in the self-help section.  I immediately became infuriated – who was she to give me a self-help book!? I was so mad.  What I decided to do, I’m not proud of now.  At the time, I didn’t really think anything of it.  When this person’s birthday rolled around, I gave them a book, too.  It was a book about being kind.  And I actually thought it was a good idea, until I saw the look on their face when they opened it.  And I felt horrible. It was at that very moment that I realized – “getting even” did not make me feel any better.  Yes, I felt bad about myself when I received my gift.  But making that person feel bad, too – well, that just made me feel terrible.  I told Saul the story right after it happened, and how giving that book didn’t make me feel any better.  “Well, I could have told you that,” he said.  I asked him why, and he replied, “Because you’re a nice person, Erica.  Doing something like that is not in your nature.”  And he is absolutely right.

From now on, I will always choose kindness.  Getting revenge is not who I am, and neither is being catty or petty.  I will take the high road, always.  Kindness is always the best answer, even if at the time, you don’t think so.  I don’t want to feel bad about myself, nor do I want to hurt anyone’s feelings – even if they’ve hurt mine.  Like Ghandi says, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind”- and he’s correct.

I probably won’t post anything else in 2016, so I guess this is a farewell blog post.  Farewell to a year filled with loss, love, heartbreak, laughter, change, growth, confusion, happiness – a year filled with a billion different emotions.

Farewell to 2016, a year of beautiful chaos.

 

 

 

xo

HEALTHY SELF -HEAL THY SELF

My (Very Long) Weight Loss Journey

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I have struggled with my weight since Sophomore year of High School.  It probably started before that, since I was anxious and self conscious during my Middle School years (who wasn’t?)  My friends were skinny – all of them.  I was never a “skinny” girl – I’m not built that way.  But I certainly wasn’t fat when I weighed 140 lbs. Though, I thought I was.

I’ve always been a “comfort food”eater when I’m feeling down.  The Summer after my parents got divorced, I remember eating lots of Lipton soup with noodles.  (Soup has always been my go-to comfort food, FYI.  It reminds me of when I stayed home sick from school when I was little at my Grammy’s house, she always made the most amazing home made Chicken Noodle Soup ever.)  So many carbs.  So much sodium.  I was young then, and I really wasn’t aware of how terrible I was eating.  I was aware, however, when I went back to school shopping in late August and my normal size no longer fit me.  When I stepped on the scale I was devastated at how much  weight I had gained.  And that’s where it all began.

Over the years, I have tried every diet, every fad, you can possibly think of.  I tried lots of diet pills – Stackers, Xenadrine – I convinced myself that they worked, but in reality, they just made my feel anxious.  I would take diuretics and then a really hot bath to shed my water weight/bloat.  I tried the “starve yourself” diet – 500 calories a day, 12 fat grams.  How I managed to do this for almost two months is beyond me.  I was about 17, and I lost 30 lbs so quickly.  Obviously, I gained it back, and more, just as fast, if not faster.  I tried Weight Watchers.  This was back when Weight Watchers kind of sucked.  I remember being baffled by the points system.  My grilled chicken salad with lite Italian dressing and a half of a pita pocket was 12 points.  A Big Mac was also 12 points.  Why the Hell would I want the salad?  An apple was 2 points, but so was a nutri grain bar. Which one would I choose?  I lost about 20 lbs, but I quit that as well.  And gained back my weight.  The same with Jenny Craig.  I lost 20 lbs, but really, can you live on pre-made, frozen meals, forever?  Of course not.  I never stuck with that either.  For a few years, I maintained my weight.  My good friend, Amaritta, taught me a lot about eating healthy.  I started shopping at Trader Joe’s, and made healthier choices.  I really wasn’t losing weight though, probably because I would eat whatever I wanted on the weekends.

It was not until this past January, that I realized I really needed to do something – something that worked.  And it finally clicked.  I had to stop thinking of eating healthy as a “diet”.  I didn’t want to be on a diet, I needed a serious life-style change.  I did join Get in Shape for Women in January, with Greta’s encouragement.  I didn’t know enough about it. Yes, I lost 10 lbs that month, and I was very excited to be down 10 lbs before my vacation to Punta Cana in February, but I quit that as well.  I knew I would never stick to their “diet” for life. It wasn’t reasonable for me.  I don’t want to drink protein shakes.  If I want a cheese stick, I’m going to have a cheese stick.  (Also, FYI for anyone else contemplating joining, I really disliked the owner.  At my first weigh in, I was a little shocked because I had gained weight over the Holiday’s.  I remember the owning asking me, “Do you feel like a failure?”  Ummm, no I didn’t, but I do now.  Bitch.)

I tried eating healthy, and I have maintained my weight since February, give or take a pound or two.  I thought back to my past “diets”, and I realized that what I did like about Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig was that I could go to the meetings and weighed in once a week.  It held me accountable.  So I decided to join Weight Watcher again.

I joined last week.  It’s very, very, different than I remember.  Fruits and vegetables are zero points, which is amazing.  I had my first weigh in today (well, second.  I don’t count the first week because it’s just my starting weight) and I lost 7.4 lbs!  I was shocked and thrilled.  I’m not starving myself.  The first two days were definitely the hardest.  I used to snack mindlessly, so I missed snacking the most.  The first night I went to bed and all I wanted was a vanilla frosted donut from Dunkin Donuts.  Yes, I have to count points, but I can eat whatever I want. Your point value is based on weight, height, age, gender, and physical activity.  So what I eat may not work for someone else, obviously. This week was a little bit of a learning week, figuring out what I like and don’t like, and what is worth the point value and what isn’t.  I was going to post my food journal, but it’s a little bit redundant, seeing that I eat the same thing almost every day.  But I will list some of my favorite finds!

 

Strawberry.ashxeliquid-strawberry-flavour-250 (4 Points)

43000009505eliquid-strawberry-flavour-250 (1 Point! You can have 2 tbsp’s.)

 

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squash spaghetti 2 (Green Squash noodles.  I bought it pre-made at Stop & Shop. ZERO POINTS. I mixed them in with Peppers, Onions and Squash.  It was delicious.  And I used spray butter in the pan, so it was all zero points!)

index (4Points.  This was worth 4 points for me.)

shady-brook-farms-93-7-lean-ground-turkey-20-8-oz_3115484 (4 oz is only 2 points.  Great for a turkey burger.)

dd_egg_and_cheese_english_muffin1 (Egg & Cheese on English Muffin from DD. 7 Pts.)

Pasta_Primavera2 (This is really good for a frozen meal.  6 Points.)

 

Wish me luck on my journey!

 

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